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August 2022

Comfort Zone

The Cambridge Reservoir is a kettle hole lake, a five-minute walk from the home we lived in for twenty-three years.  It is 155-acres of water surrounded by trees on a lovely 2 ¼ mile walking path.  Peter and I walked around it countless times, and we took the family Thanksgiving picture there every year.

On Thursday morning, I walked there by myself because I needed to be there.  A dear friend died Wednesday night.  He was my friend even before I met Peter.  He and his wife had so many wonderful adventures with us, including years of bike trips in many countries and lovely weekends at their home on a lake in New Hampshire.  He was 91.

There weren’t many people on the path at ten o’clock in the morning, so I was alone when a pair of white swans came into view, not a common sight.  I stood there watching them.  I decided that they were Peter and Gordon, letting me know that they are together.

It was a comforting moment.

Family Reunion

Who would think that at 80-something, one would have a peak experience?  Who would have thought that thirty-one relatives from my mother's side of the family, ranging in age from 21-months to 84 years could have so much fun together?

For three-plus perfect sunny and low humidity days, we gathered in Jamestown, R.I., a small beach community across Narragansett Bay from Newport.  Reunion central was a cousin’s house, complete with a pool and a never-ending supply of cold drinks and snacks.  Guests stayed in Air B&B’s in the neighborhood.

I met several of my cousins’ grandchildren for the first time.  Families came from as far away as Bogota, Colombia and Seattle, Washington.  During the day we walked along the ocean in Beavertail State Park, went to an ocean beach or just hung out at the pool.  One of my first cousins regaled us with his recollections about my mother’s generation (six brothers and sisters) and my grandparents.  Even the little kids listened.

I’m living on the fumes.

August to August

In two days, I will have lived in my apartment for one year. Peter and I were lucky enough to buy a unit down the hall from our rental apartment, so it was an easy move, especially helpful since his Parkinson’s Disease was worsening.

We made some compromises.  I didn’t like the bedroom being so close to the entrance.  I hated the color of one stark green wall that dominated the living room.  The bathroom sink leg kept falling off. On the other hand, as a corner unit, it was filled with natural light.  Most important, it would be ours. 

One year later, there is no green wall.  The whole apartment has been painted.  Not only is the bathroom sink replaced, but the very sad bathroom floor tile has been updated. I found that I can live with ice cube trays rather than pushing a button on the refrigerator door for instant ice.

What’s missing, of course, is Peter.

On the Balcony

When it’s not too hot, I like to sit on my balcony and watch the activity on the Charles River—Canadian geese, ducks, sculls with their accompanying motorboat-based coaches (whose instructions I can hear even when I am inside), kayaks and more.

However, there is a street between the River and me. It has two two bus lines, ambulances to and from the nearby hospital and plenty of ordinary traffic. So, I can’t pretend I am away from civilization.

At the same time, I can watch the entrance to our condo building. It’s not well-marked, so I always tell my visitors to look for a prominent NO U-TURN sign on the street right at the entry to the driveway.  I am amused by the astonishing number of vehicles that ignore that sign. It’s almost as if the sign were to say, “Please U-Turn Here!”

As much as I miss rushing off to work every morning, having time to notice things is a plus.

Linked Out

LinkedIn is a professional networking and job-searching Internet site founded about twenty years ago.  Microsoft purchased it for around $26 billion in 2016. There are more than 800 million members around the world.  Today, they lost one.

Normally, that would not be worth reporting.  But it’s almost nine years since I retired, and although I have written a book,  done some pretty cool volunteering, and still get requests from people who want to “link” with me, it seemed to be time to opt out.

Opting out is not blog-worthy.  What is blog-worthy is how I feel about it.  I liked getting notices of jobs I used to be qualified for. Headhunters were still contacting me. I was finding it interesting to see what’s going on with former colleagues.    Giving all that up makes me realize how important it was to me to be employable.

Until now.

A Grandmother's Dream Come True

It was completely out of the blue-- a noon phone call offering a 48-hour-visit from grandson Grady.  It was his only week without football practice, and he chose to visit me! He was here less than 24 hours later, thanks to a Delta Airlines on-time flight.

At 6’5” and trying to bulk up for football season, it was a non-stop eating visit.  But we took a road trip to beautiful Halibut Point State Park, near Rockport, MA. We also did some serious bargain hunting at TJMaxx and Nordstrom Rack.  Like many of his peers, he tries to buy used or bargain clothes to help save the planet.

I presented him briefly at my condo’s grill night—I’m sure he’s never seen more old people in one place—but they loved him.  I had filled the kitchen counter with snacks, many of which he consumed and some of which he took home.  We watched a TV program on the ocean animals of Monterrey Bay. And before I knew it, we were back at the airport, and he was gone.

I’m living on the fumes!

My New Job

I cannot remember the last time I was elected to anything. In fact, I can’t remember ever running for anything.  But I was persuaded to run for, and was elected to, the Board of my condominium. Despite not voting for myself, I was victorious.

I assumed office on Monday.

Here is an example of the issues I face.  If you are driving to our building at night, its sign at the entrance is hard to see, so some lights were added.  An unidentified unit owner complained that the lights disturb her by shining into her living room.  As a result, the sign is unlit on her side, and if you are driving from the west, you can’t see it at night.

The Board is described as a serious time commitment. Long monthly meetings, plus a committee obligation. I am also told that one must add five minutes to the time it takes to get anywhere because residents often stop board members to complain.

It’s a one-year commitment. 

Stay tuned.

The Economist and Me

Peter subscribed to The Economist, a weekly British magazine, for years, and his subscription has not ended.  As a pre-Peter boyfriend of mine used to say, “Waste not, want not,” so I read it every week.

The July 23rd issue’s Culture section reported on a more-than-breath-taking performance of the Rachmaninoff 3rd Piano Concerto at the Van Cliburn competition in June.

The 18-year-old South Korean pianist, Lim Yun-chan tackled this difficult piece at a remarkably young age and delivered the competition-winning performance. I listened to it on YouTube where it has been viewed more than 5,000,000 times.

At the end of his performance, conductor Marin Alsop wiped a tear from her eyes.

You can listen here