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November 2022

My Lovable Nutty Son

I asked my son Jeremy to write a guest blog post, and he said no, so I will report the story he told. 

For more than a year, his morning commute passed the construction site of an in-progress Wa-Wa store.  For those unfamiliar with Wa-Wa, it is a popular chain of stores that sell sandwiches and snacks and plenty of other stuff.

Jeremy had been informing me of its status on a regular basis. He scheduled a coffee date with a colleague when opening day was announced.

(I should mention here that Jeremy vowed to and did eat in the top 100 chain restaurants in the U.S. a few years ago.)

In addition to Jeremy and his colleague, the Wa-Wa mascot, Wally Goose was there.  An excited crowd enjoyed free coffee.

At the 9:00 ribbon-cutting ceremony, the new store team was introduced with much excitement.

This is the kid that had a clementine-eating contest for his 50th birthday celebration.

What will he be up to next?

Pins and Needles

A neighbor who quilts decided to organize a “sewing circle” in our building.  She put a signup sheet up in the laundry room and scheduled the first meeting in her unit. 

Since I have been knitting a pillow cover for way too long, I decided to attend.  The first meeting was last Thursday at 3:00.  Remarkably, about ten women showed up.  When I arrived (late), the group was taking turns talking about what they were working on and why.

When I left (early for another commitment), tea and cookies were about to be served.  It was a pleasant event with lovely people.

Just not my thing.

P.S.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!


I had my annual Medicare wellness checkup on Tuesday.  This has (much to my dismay) replaced my thorough annual checkup of the past.  It included a tedious paper questionnaire.  I do get the necessity for medicine to be delivered more efficiently, but I miss the old-fashioned examination that comes with a conversation.

Much to my surprise, I saw a new nurse practitioner, not my primary care physician.  She was fine, just not what I expected. Much to my relief, all vital functions seem to be intact.  Her words when I left made it all worthwhile.

“You are an eighty-four-year-old in the body of a fifty-four-year-old.”

Remember Customer Service?

It was time to replace my walking shoes.  My default was to order the same ones from Amazon.  However, they were no longer available, so I made a different choice. Two days later, the shoes arrived, and I found them to be exactly wrong.

It occurred to me that I used to buy running shoes at a running shoe store.  There, I tried on shoes before I bought them.  So I went to that same shop, still in the same place after all these years.

The salesperson talked to me about how I would use my shoes.  She brought out a couple of pairs.  I liked one better than the other.  She offered to bring some other choices.  I must have tried ten pair, none of which was out of the question.  I chose one.

By that time, I knew she was working on a PhD in molecular biology, that she played ice hockey in high school and graduated from Wesleyan University. 

The whole experience was pleasant.

Just sayin…

Ifs, Ands and Butts

Women of a certain age will recall when rear ends were subjected to various constricting devices that disappeared (thankfully) when panty hose came on the scene.  I do remember my father (who died fifty years ago) whispering discretely, “I’d like to have that swing on my back porch” so clearly, rear ends were observable.

I’m not sure when I first heard about Brazilian butt lifts, but on my recent trip to São Paulo, I couldn’t help but notice the beautifully contoured rear ends of tights-or-jeans-clad young women.  This was particularly noticeable as I sat over a long lunch in an outdoor restaurant and watched the women saunter by.

A Google search once I got home explains the process which I will not describe here.  I’ll just say the procedure “increases the volume and improves the shape.”

I don’t regularly notice women’s derrières.

In Brazil, you can’t miss them.

The 80-something Traveler

Disclaimer:  For some of us, health, care-taking demands, or financial issues may preclude travel (other than from an armchair).

For those who love travel as much as I do, but are hesitant about it, I am here to tell you to go.  We have lost so much because of Covid.  We have isolated ourselves and missed much that enriches our lives.  Move on with a mask, but move on.

From my first solo trip abroad in 1964, clutching Arthur Frommer’s “Europe on Five Dollars a Day,” travel has been a priority for me.  But other than business trips, I traveled exclusively with Peter until his Parkinson’s Disease made that impossible.

An April trip to Berlin with Jeremy’s family showed me that I could handle in-airport hikes and time change, but as an 80-something, how long can I expect to be able to travel? My philosophy, covid and age affected, doesn’t count on my going until the plane to my destination is in the air and I am on it.

My trip to Brazil’s Pantanal showed I can travel as long as I am not adverse to accepting help putting my carry on overhead or climbing out of a large row boat. 

As we age, we must adjust our expectations, but still do what we love.

Carpe Diem!

The Pantanal

Screen Shot 2022-10-29 at 8.29.50 PM

For years, I have wanted to visit south-central Brazil’s Pantanal region. My favorite vacations have involved animals in their native habitat, and I yearned to come (almost) face-to-face with a jaguar.

My son Seth, who lives in Brazil six months of the year, agreed to join me (i.e., take care of me).

We flew from São Paulo to Cuiabá in the state of Matto Grosso where we met Seth’s friend Adam who was joining us for the three-hour drive to our “ranch”, mostly on a very bumpy dirt road.  It was hot, and we eventually had to turn off the air conditioner to conserve gas.  But Seth and Adam are very entertaining, and I loved having no responsibility for anything.

For six days, the three of us spent three hours in the morning starting at 6:00 a.m. and three in the afternoon in a motorboat on winding rivers.  One of our two boat drivers had never been in a city. But he knew where the animals were. We saw jaguars, sometimes alone, sometimes in pairs. We saw lots of otters up close, including diving for and chewing fish.  We saw snakes, in fact an otter who caught a snake who was twisting and turning in the air to unsuccessfully escape.  We saw elegant birds.  I fell in love with the capybaras, one pictured above with a bird on his back, just feet away from me.

I am thrilled that I can still do adventure travel.  I’m not so agile at climbing in and out of rowboats, and I struggled with my carryon up the stairs to the small planes, but otherwise I did fine.  And people want to help.

I feared that Covid or an inconvenient fall might get in the way of this trip.  Once I boarded the plane for the 10-hour flight to São Paulo, I knew it was a reality.  My take-away—plan the good stuff, and if you are lucky it will happen.

I am lucky.

Cuiaba and Back

If all has gone well, I will have flown 9,620 miles in the last ten days fulfilling a dream trip to the Pantanal, the wetlands of Brazil, where I will have seen wonderful animals and birds in their natural habitats. I’ve cried in Alaska, Africa, and the Galapagos Islands upon leaving similar experiences, and I’ll probably have cried when leaving there too.

I may be a bit old for adventure travel, but if motivation helps, it should have been easy for me.  Having my Portuguese-speaking son and a friend of his with me will have been a huge bonus.  At 80-something, each day is a gift. 

The days in the Pantanal will have been  a dream come true.