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April 2021

Of Course(s)

When I feel sad about all the things I can no longer do—take a bicycling vacation or stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve come to mind—I try to focus on all the good things that I can do.

The courses that I take are at the top of the list.  In my Great Decisions class, I have learned about China’s relations with Africa, what’s going on in the Koreas, how global supply chains work (especially relevant when the Suez Canal was blocked) and more.  I am learning all about firearms in my “America’s Love Affair with Guns” class.   On Thursday, I spent most of the day watching an excellent (and free) MIT conference on social media—the issues are mind-boggling. 

At the end of the day, one of the most pleasurable things I encounter is the smile on Peter’s face as I present a pretty darn attractive main course at dinner.

I am trying to keep my glass half full.


I have had a fair number of crushes in my life.   Crushes are pretty harmless at my age, but they do add a little spice to my life.

My latest crush is a fifty-four-year-old named Sam Sifton. I have never seen him.  He writes a column called “What to Cook” in The New York Times a couple of times a week.  Although I often try his recipes, what I really like is his style.  It feels like we are having a conversation.  He shares bits about his life like how hard it has been being home full-time during the pandemic, how not being able to go out to dinner or cook for lots of friends is a bummer.  He’ll comment on what’s going on in the world.

Every Wednesday, he urges his readers to cook without a real recipe, although he will suggest the basic ingredients.

Of course, I bought his new cookbook, The New York Times No-Recipe Recipes Cookbook.   What I like about it is there are no teaspoons or cups to measure.  Ingredients are only suggestions.  It has helped me to be more creative in the kitchen.

My new crush has spiced up my life.


Horseback riding and riflery were my favorite activities at Camp Wingfoot in the late 1940’s.  I have a couple of blue ribbons from riding and a bunch of awards in riflery, including Pro-Marksman, Marksman, Marksman 1st class, Sharpshooter, Bar I and Bar II.  So, my first experience with guns was positive.

Back then, the National Rifle Association was all about guns for sport. Today, the shooting of people seems to be what guns are about.  Last year, 19,380 American were killed by others using firearms and an estimated 20,000 used them to kill themselves.   In Britain, fewer than four people out of a hundred own a gun. In the U.S. there is more than one gun for every person.

It’s sad.

Here a Kathy, There a Cathy

Women named Kathy or Cathy have played important roles in my life.  My staff assistant in 1981 was Kathy. So was a graduate student I counseled thirty years ago who is still a friend.  A Kathy whom we met over fifty years ago in our ski club is now a neighbor on the floor of our condo building.  My sometimes trainer, who has become a friend, is another Kathy.

Peter’s physical therapist and his nurse from the Visiting Nurses Association, have been coming to our home regularly for three weeks. They are both named Kathy.  We just hired a lovely Ugandan woman to help out with Peter a couple of times a week. Her name is Kathy.

Peter’s occupational therapist is not named Cathy.  His name is Matt.

A Hallmark Moment

I am very fussy about greeting cards and often spend too much time looking for the “right” card for the intended recipient.  For Peter’s 91st birthday last month, I got it just right.  The sentiment perfectly captured my feelings. 

“To my Husband, My Love, My Life Partner--

Looking back on this incredible journey we’ve shared, I think about the way our lives were then, the way they are now and all that’s happened since we started out.

I think of our laughter and conversations.

I think of family stuff—all the big and little things we’ve somehow gotten through, and of the good news, happy moments, and milestones we’ve celebrated along the way.

And even though it’s hard for me to believe how far we’ve come, it’s even harder for me to put into words just how much it’s meant to have you by my side through it all.

Happy Birthday.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

Two Questions

Now that I am a “seasoned” 80-year-old, I consider myself an “expert” on life in the 70’s.  It’s a transitional decade—going from full-time work to full-time what?  Trying on some things until you see what’s right for you.  Once you find your rhythm, life in the 70’s can be terrific.

The eighties are different.  For most of us, our lives have become somewhat limited.  No matter how much we exercise and eat right, our bodies are tired of being perfect.  We have less energy.  It takes longer to do everything, and we wonder how we did all those things before in addition to our job and family responsibilities.  

The other day, I had two questions for Peter.  1.  Do you look forward to every day?  2. Do you ever feel like your health is so compromised that you want to give up? 

His answer?


Body Update

I used to give regular updates about the state of my 70-something body. I would report things like new wrinkles, more prominent veins, the flattening of my rear end and other imperfections.

Today my body is pretty stable.  My exercise regime is the same. I lift weights, stretch every day and walk whenever I can.  My weight doesn’t vary.  

What’s changed is that I don’t think about my body so much.  It’s partially because of the pandemic leading to my using no makeup and abandoning my “professional” clothes.

When I fell on the ice early in the pandemic, I knew I should do something about my bleeding lip, but I just kept on walking, and I have the scar to remind me.  A few weeks ago, I was late leaving home, and while rushing down our stairs, got a splinter from the wooden banister, and just kept on going.  Now I have an annoying bump on my thumb because I didn’t stop to remove the splinter.

It is a constant reminder that the body that has served me so well deserves a little more attention.

It Could Happen to You

PayPal texted me last week to check on a $499 iPad  purchase that had been charged to my account. They asked me to call and confirm the purchase. And I did call to inform them that I had made no such purchase.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t PayPal who had texted me, but some incredibly talented, experienced scammers.

I have recognized scam calls in the past. I never give my social security number over the phone and usually don’t even answer the phone if I don’t recognize the person calling.  But a text?  It fooled me.  And the offer to put the money back in my checking account? What was I thinking (or not thinking) to allow that?

When I met with the vice-president of our bank to close that account, he told me that this type of scam is growing by leaps and bounds, and many people have lost enormous amounts of money.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen to me.

I share this embarrassing episode so that maybe others won’t make a similar mistake.

Consider this a public service announcement.