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Sunday

Last Sunday night, I took my dish of coffee ice cream (yes, coffee ice cream is back!) out to my balcony.  There was a wonderful breeze blowing, a relief from the heat of the day.  People were running or biking or kayaking or walking dogs along the river.

Earlier in the day, I talked with both of my boys, and they sounded great. I also had approximately my 1, 716th weekly call with my ex-neighbor who moved away in 1989.  Unless one of us is out of town, we talk every Sunday.

And, I finished a wonderful new novel by Pulitzer Prize-Winner Geraldine Brooks.  It’s called Horse.

Although Sunday has been my favorite day forever, of late, I have a new reason to love it.

No doctor appointments.


Follow-up to Falling

Who would expect that an 80-something-year-old-woman would fall flat on her face on a huge slab of plywood and not break a single bone?  I thought of that when I returned to the “scene of the crime” on Wednesday.  It was sort of like getting right back on the horse once you’ve fallen.  Much to my surprise—and relief—the plywood was gone.  Someone with authority must have heard the ambulance and decided to do something about the hazard.

Fifteen years ago, Peter tripped on a sidewalk and pulled me down with him.  He was fine.  I fractured my hip.  In the emergency room, the doctor on duty said, “You know, most people aren’t alive a year after a fall like you’ve had.”  Thank goodness, I’m not most people.

But this fall was a wake-up call.  No matter how scintillating a conversation I am having on future walks, I will keep my eyes glued to the sidewalk.

We all should.


Crisis!

I stay away from writing about heart-breaking crises in the world.  Others are better than I am at that.   But I am not shy about sharing personal crises, and –get ready—this is a big one.

Trader Joe’s is out of coffee ice cream!  When I went to replenish my supply just after the fourth of July and saw none, I asked a helper to check “in back”, but no luck.  I figured the fourth of July had emptied the freezer shelves.  He assured me it would be in the next day.

On my second visit, I got more information, but no ice cream.  It seems that there was a production issue and all Trader Joe’s stores are ice cream-less AND they are not sure when it will be solved. 

The next day, a friend was going to Trader Joe’s and agreed to check.  No luck.

That night, out of desperation, I took some vanilla ice cream that I save for hot fudge sundaes from the freezer and poured left-over brewed coffee on top.  It wasn’t bad.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.


Fear of Falling

It happens all the time.  Little kids fall and middle-sized kids fall.  Football players fall.   My peers fall.  At some point, everyone falls.  

On Monday, I fell.

I was walking with a friend.  We were entering an outside track.  For some reason there are two huge slabs of plywood that must be walked over at the entrance gate.  I have walked over that plywood many times.  I don’t know why it is there.  I tripped on the space between the two pieces and landed face-down on the plywood. 

Miraculously, I broke nothing.  My friend and a passerby insisted I get checked out at an ER, and called an ambulance.  I will skip the details other than to say that I am black and blue in a lot of places, and I have a split upper lip that looks like I just lost a prize fight.  (I have resisted saying to those inquiring, “You should see the other guy.”)

I have friends who only walk alone so they can keep their eyes focused on the ground.  Not a bad idea, but not for me.  However, in the future, I will concentrate on…

Staying vertical!


Solo on July 4 Weekend

The July 4th holiday weekend was always a big deal for Peter and me.  Often, we joined friends at their vacation homes or at local parties.   Peter was a big fireworks fan. Me too.    

This year I was at home. It wasn’t so bad sitting on my balcony with the newspaper and watching the action on the Charles River—rowers and kayakers and folks walking, running, biking, or skateboarding along the closed-to-cars road.  I finished some paperwork related to losing Peter, and failed at trying to epoxy a broken piece of pottery—epoxying was always Peter’s job. 

I read a book purely for pleasure, fixed myself a delicious new recipe and felt grateful for all I had and have.


Camp Wingfoot Forever

When I was nine, my parents sent me to Camp Wingfoot for Girls in Madison, Ohio for two-months. I loved it.  Most campers cried when their parents dropped them off.  I cried when mine came to take me home.

My favorite activity was horseback riding, and I can still remember Ginger, Blacky and Ghost, three of my favorites. But I loved everything about camp for the five summers I spent there.  

Recently, after dinner with friends, we started singing camp songs we remembered from whatever camp we attended.  The next day, I Googled Camp Wingfoot to see if it still exists. No, it closed in 1985, but its brother camp (Roosevelt) is still operating. 

And there is a Facebook group of Wingfoot alumnae!  To join, one has to answer some questions about the camp, like the name of the building where the owners lived.  I didn’t know that, but I wrote a couple things I did remember and said my brother had gone to Roosevelt, and they accepted me!  The group has 366 members, counting me and a not-too-bad website.  I’m probably the oldest member because the Facebook page is only fourteen years old. However, because it is a Facebook group, it tells you if anybody is a friend of a friend of yours and sure enough, a good, younger friend of mine, is friends with a Wingfoot alumna.

Of course, the website has a few pages devoted to Camp songs. Fortunately, I was alone in my apartment because…I sang them all.


Whatever Happened to Allen K?

Long, long, ago in a far-away-land (Beacon Hill, Boston), I had a lovely roommate named Patty.  In 1961, I attended her day-before-marriage-to-Allen-events in Kansas City, Kansas, but flew to Omaha, Nebraska that night to be in the wedding party of another roommate the next day.

Patty and Allen settled in Providence, Rhode Island and Peter and I saw them (and their children) often as they were only 45 minutes away.

Thirty years later, Patty, a non-smoker, died of lung cancer.  And although we saw Allen for a while, we lost touch with him after a few years. 

Last week, I was wondering whatever happened to Allen. Google informed me that he passed away four years ago.   I learned from his memorial page about their grown-up kids and that Allen had a long and happy relationship after Patty died.

It was a happy/sad walk down memory lane.


Bathroom Report

When Peter and I moved from our rental apartment to a condo down the hall last August, one of its two bathrooms needed work, e.g., you could only get hot or cold water from the sink and the teeny tiles on the floor and walls were so chipped that even bleach didn’t make them appear clean.

Ten months later, I almost have a new bathroom.  My contractor, Chuck, is creative and terrific when he shows up, which is not very often. 

The walls around the tub could not “handle the tile being removed” said our building superintendent, so Chuck suggested using a “tub surround” to cover the existing tiles.

Well, the tub surround is beautiful.  It looks like marble which it is not.  I was trying to explain it to neighbors and the next couple of times I saw them, they would ask—what was that stuff called?  It seems that it’s hard to remember “tub surround”.

So on Thursday, as I put up a new shower curtain, I decided to invite them to a bathroom open house to begin momentarily, dress is casual, etc.  They appeared minutes later, and I gave them the five-minute tour.  They were quite taken by the tub surround, but they also loved the towel racks, the toilet paper holder, the shape of the sink and the white with a hint of gray painted walls.

And, with so little notice of this event, I was shocked that they came with the perfect bathroom-warming gift…

A bar of Dove soap.


Five Women, Three Hours, No Politics

My BFF* was having a big birthday.  She did NOT want a party.  She was very CLEAR about that.  Instead, two of her friends organized a luncheon, telling her to save the date and offering no further information.

So, on a perfect day last week, five women gathered at the home of the hostess in a beautiful-wooded-setting where the only competition for our attention was the continuous chatter of birds at the feeder on the deck.

We all didn’t know each other well, but we all had known the birthday girl for years.  Somehow, we got into talking about the past—how we met our spouses and how we knew the birthday girl.  We talked about our parents and their parents and parenting.

Before we reluctantly parted, we realized that we hadn’t spoken of politics, the Ukraine war, Covid-19 or any number of challenges facing us.

It was a great pleasure.

*Best Friend Forever


Father's Day

My father died fifty years ago.  He was a heavy smoker, and died of lung cancer.  I remember him putting quarters in cigarette machines to buy his Lucky Strikes when I was little.  There would be three pennies (change) inside the cellophane wrapper that he would give to me.

About twenty-five years ago, I learned that Dad had a whole family before he married my mother.  I guess a parent's divorce wasn’t revealed to children back then.  Now, I am good friends with my half-sister’s daughter who is only a few years younger than I am.

My sons lost their father last fall.  I wonder what they will be remembering about him when they are my age. 

My guess is they will say he was funny and smart and loving.*

*You can watch Seth’s new interview with me on how to age successfully at https://bit.ly/3b6FWtW  (It’s in English with Portuguese subtitles.)