This Week’s Good News!
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that regardless of how many differences appear to separate us from others, those differences disappear when kindness is at the forefront of all that we do. This next Good News story will really float your boat.
May Comfort and Joy be Your Portion
Thank you to all who have chosen to keep in touch over the many years I have hosted this blog.
Please stay safe during the Holidays and take some time for yourself as we plod toward a New Year!
This Week’s Good News!
As someone who relies on books to provide carefree, enjoyable quality time in my life, I really appreciate a story based out of Chicago, that focuses on libraries and their book-return policy. Just wait until you read this one!
This Week’s Good News!
Chad Kollman knows how to make lemonade out of lemons. The thing is, he doesn’t even consider that he’s been served a heaping portion of lemons, even though the casual observer might conclude that to be the case. Enjoy this story that is certain to brighten even the darkest of your days.
This Week’s Good News!
I absolutely love seeing a variety of age groups doing something grand for others. We all have the same number of hours in a day and choosing to use a few of those hours to benefit others can go a long way toward improving our little corner of the world. I hope this story about a very industrious young man who lives not far from me, impresses you as much as it did me.
This Week’s Good News!
I’m a writer and a published author so when independent bookstores can thrive in this 21st century, Amazonian world, I enjoy celebrating with them. This local bookstore proves you can be small but still make a grand impression. I love this type of good news! And by the way, I recently published the 2nd edition of my novel, Requiem for the status quo, a book I wrote to honor my father’s Alzheimer’s journey. Yes, it’s available on Amazon, but it’s also available at the independent bookstore featured in this week’s edition of Good News!
This Week’s Good News!
A New Jersey mom took her son to a skate park on his fifth birthday as recommended by her son’s behavior therapist who is treating the youngster’s autism and ADHD. You will perhaps be surprised by how her son was treated by some older boys who frequented this same skate park. Read all about it here.
This Week’s Good News!
Wow! Talk about making lemonade out of lemons! Joe Bahr suffered the loss of his brother, Marty, to Alzheimer’s disease. Joe and Marty made a deal before Marty passed on. Check out here what that deal entailed. What a legacy Marty left for the rest of us!
Stories that make a difference
As an author of a novel whose mission it is to make a difference in the lives of those faced with a horrendous terminal disease, I feel my stories-that-make-a-difference-detector is quite keen.
Ariel & Shya Kane’s new storybook, Being Here…Too, is one of those, and deserves 5 out of 5 stars. (Preorders now being taken for the Kindle version; both eBook and paperback will be released November 12, 2018.)
I was gifted with the opportunity to read the Kane’s latest book before its release, an opportunity I could not pass up given how impactful their books’ messages have been to me over the years. There is no woo-woo involved in what they offer a world conflicted and torn apart not by just political or global issues, but also those internal how do I live the best life I can live? struggles each of us face.
On page xviii, the following statement sets the tone for the direction readers can expect to go later in the book:
“life will support you if you let it”
The format of the book is such that each brief chapter contains a story of individuals who were not afraid to be honest/transparent about their failed efforts to make the best of their lives. In Chapter 8, co-author, Shya Kane, states, “…everyone has a terminal illness – it’s called life.” So very true. Many are those who have lost a loved one and/or prior to receiving their own terminal illness diagnosis had the mistaken notion that there’s always tomorrow, or I’ll live my life to the fullest another day when erroneously convinced another day, and another, will actually be granted us.
Living in the moment – “bypassing the mind to find the moment” – is where Ariel & Shya Kane suggest true fulfillment lies. We can either live life as a victim or as its author and my friends, after sixty-five years of life, I can declare that for me, fulfillment exists in the here and now, not in the past or the future. The stories presented within the pages of Being Here…Too will paint a clear picture of what it is like to be buried in thoughts that wipe out any chance of the present taking center stage in one’s life. Been there…done that…doesn’t work for me..at all.
The authors conclude the book by describing how dissatisfaction with life gets in the way of being fulfilled.
Over the years…we have come to realize that the only time life dominates you is when you are not living in the moment. When you are not being here, your hopes for the future create an illusion, a dream of how it will someday be better than it is now…
True freedom happens when the illusion dissolves and you live life directly in each moment – not as you would prefer it, but as it is.
The present is all we have, so why live elsewhere?
I hope you’ll not let another moment go by before securing your own copy of Being Here…Too.
Hiking always makes me feel good to be alive, even though my joints and muscles complain more often than not at the completion of each hike.
There’s so much goodness found in the mountains, streams, lakes, and forests of the Pacific Northwest. Along with that goodness is the kindness that oozes out of every beautiful sight we behold:
- the sweet and varied songs of the birds that are hidden from sight, but not by hearing;
- the welcome shade provided by trees that have been around longer than my timespan on this earth and that will remain long after I’m gone;
- the flowers and berries, both common and unique, that serve to add color to the landscape, thus softening the feel of the dirt, rocks, and rooty trails that receive our eager feet;
- the top of the mountain vistas – what my husband and I call the payoff – that await our sweaty, achy, bodies, making us forget the out of breath effort it took to get there; and
- the people we meet along the way who love hiking as much as we do.
At yesterday’s vista view, we met a young man who with his wife, moved to Seattle from Utah. Just three weeks into his Washington State experience Matt is in love with what our state has to offer. His wife’s job is what prompted their move: she is in her medical residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She has the overnight shift so Matt is taking advantage of her daytime sleep schedule to explore the new place in which he lives.
Matt is a microbiologist who is putting off looking for a job for a few weeks while he acquaints himself with his new home. We recommended he enjoy the best weather the Seattle area has to offer before getting anywhere near a laboratory. We also told him we felt certain he would have no problem finding work in his field given the renowned medical community in the area. We had a simply delightful conversation with this man who, after I mentioned my family’s history with Alzheimer’s, offered the promising breakthrough just discovered regarding a virus that might contribute to the disease.
Whether Baby Boomers like ourselves, young children, or everyone in between, the hiking community just seems to give off kindness vibes – a kindness that provides lasting benefits for these late-in-life hike enthusiasts. I know this has been a far different Kindness Fridays to which you may be accustomed, but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless.
One day at a time
Living one day at a time is a good philosophy to uphold regardless of what’s going on in one’s life. I would extend that sentiment to say, “Live each day one moment at a time.” It’s good to plan, set goals, even write a bucket list, but doing so addresses the future, not the present.
When I was admitted to a local hospital for hip replacement surgery, I knew that would be one step toward many that I would accomplish to attain complete recovery. I had no idea what accomplishments I would be able to celebrate or in what order they would appear, I simply knew I would eventually be able to move beyond my physical restrictions.
I was right.
Walker. Yep, I held onto this piece of durable medical equipment (DME) like it was my lifeline…because it was. I learned how to use it while still in the hospital and once I got home I outfitted my own walker with a multi-pocketed pouch wherein I stored necessary items: water bottle, iPhone, iPad, tissues, snacks, so that wherever I landed, I was set. Two weeks post surgery I was able to retire the walker. What a lovely step in the right direction.
Cane. Using my Hurrycane is liberating – I say is, not was, because it’s still attached to my person as a means of transportation. Today, November 6th, marks one month since my surgery and I am still nowhere near ready to retire this piece of equipment because I still need the support it provides. I’ve even learned how to use it as a pick-up-something-I-dropped-aid, as long as the dropped item is thicker than a piece of paper or bigger than the Vitamin D3 capsules I take every day but sometimes end up on the floor. I drop things often enough that my husband simply follows my trail of items to discern where I’ve been lately.
Raised toilet seat. I know, there’s a visual all of you would prefer not to have, but early on in my recovery, it was a requirement that meant the difference between responding successfully to my most base urges, or…not, and that visual would have been far worse to contemplate. Fortunately, it served me well and I retired it three weeks post-surgery.
Medications. Okay, this is a tricky one. I abhor having to take medications, whether over-the-counter or prescribed, but when your leg is sliced into, requiring major manipulations by the surgeon and his jolly helpers – not to mention sawing off sections of a bone that I would no longer need – a person is going to have lingering pain issues that need to be addressed, and this person sure does. I am a very slow healer; an 80-year old can have the same surgery as me and return to yoga or square dancing classes a mere two weeks after receiving their bionic hip. Not so, I.
So here I am, wishing I was further along in my rehabilitation but refusing to compare myself to others who appear to be better off post-surgery than I am. I can smile throughout my day and sleep well at night knowing I have one of the most effective rehabilitation tools a person could hope for: my husband. Jerry supports me physically and he supports me emotionally, the latter of which has been almost more important than the former. He recently held me in his arms on the couch while I bawled into his neck, saturating it and his t-shirt with my tears. On that particular day, I was tired of hurting. To be sure, pain is very taxing on one’s body and emotions – there is no separation between the two – so if my body is having a hard time, so is my psyche.
Is that a lose/lose situation? It can be, but if I remember to live one day or one moment at a time, I’ll be less inclined to allow fear and frustration to take root. Fear is based on the future: what if I never get better? what if the surgery didn’t work? what if I am never able to be as active as I want to be? what if I never stop hurting? All future-based.
When living in the moment I can celebrate my ability to:
- climb the stairs in my house two at a time instead of one;
- walk to the end of my driveway to retrieve the mail;
- get in and out of bed without assistance;
- bathe with very little assistance;
- dress myself;
- do more tasks in the kitchen than I was able to do four weeks ago; and
- hold my grandson and give him a multitude of smooches while he sits on my lap.
Regardless of how long it takes for me to get back to “normal” that time will come and when it does it’ll be right on time. In the interim, I’m going to acknowledge each moment as precious and not concern myself with that which has yet to occur.
“How to have Fun with your Aging Parents”
I am reblogging the attached article about Christina Britton Conroy’s book that truly appears to be one all of us Baby Boomers need to add to our bookshelves. Personally, it has been a delight to be one of the AlzAuthors’ newest members. I am in such good company. Coming December 20th, you’ll be able to view my introduction as a member of this enriching group of authors.
Source: Meet Christina Britton Conroy, author of “How to have Fun with your Aging Parents”
Community discussion on Alzheimer’s disease
Saturday, August 26th, 3 pm
I am excited about my next author event which will take place at Book Tree in Kirkland, Washington.
Book Tree is a fabulous, quaint, neighborhood bookstore that truly excels at bringing the community together.
Here’s the content of their website’s About section:
BookTree is a vibrant gathering place for the exchange of ideas, and discussion of books and the literary arts. It is a place where all are welcome to continue their journey, expand their knowledge, feed their interests and further their education through books and literature. It is a place for families to find and enjoy the best of current literature. A place where our customers can hear local and traveling writers, authors and poets present their work.
BookTree is one of the few remaining independent bookstores on the Eastside that will be an important part of our city’s identity. It will be successful because of the generous support of our community who values a stand-alone retail bookstore.
BookTree is owned by 2 people who are passionate about the inherent value of books, reading, writing, listening and sharing diverse ideas, and viewpoints.
I hope to see you on the 26th!
Interview of fellow BRW author: Matthew Brockmeyer
I’m always thrilled to promote fellow authors, especially those who have the same publisher as myself: Black Rose Writing.
Another author, Rebecca Howie, who interviewed me on July 16th, provides this wonderful peek into the world that Matthew Brockmeyer has created in his novel. I hope you’ll investigate what he’s up to!
Lighten up Mondays
Earth Day was Saturday, April 22nd, but we should always be focused on the place on which we live.
My nieces and nephews will get a kick out of this one: 17 trees are saved by every ton of existing paper that is recycled. That means if we pulped every Harry Potter book we wouldn’t be able to see the sky for foliage.
And here’s a comic sure to bring a chuckle:
You might not expect to find kindness lurking in an international airport. Airports are notoriously me-focused with tempers creeping higher and higher as we navigate airport check-in, TSA, and every-seat-full airplanes.
My husband and I experienced a kindness that worked very much in our favor on our return flight from Las Vegas to Seattle earlier this week. In the pre-boarding area – Gate E15 – the Alaska Airlines employee kept encouraging passengers to check their large roller suitcases at the gate to allow for more space for everyone in the airplane. Those bags could be checked at the gate for no charge whatsoever (usually it’s $25 per bag).
I observed those who took Alaska up on their offer but many did not. I understand how difficult it is to part with one’s belongings. There might be something in that roller suitcase a person might need during the two and a quarter hour flight. (I’ve yet to see someone yank their roller bag out of the overhead during a flight however. Once it’s there, it is there to stay until the plane comes to a stop at the jetway, then people, like meercats, jump out of their seat, pop open the overhead bin, and are good and ready to steamroll themselves down the aisle out of the plane … even at the sacrifice of other’s toes.)
My husband and I have one carry-on each: a backpack. Our conservative manner of traveling paid off at McCarran International Airport. Instead of announcing rows – starting at the back of the plane – for passengers to start boarding, the Alaska agent said, “Anyone without a roller bag; anyone with a carry-on that fits under the seat in front of them may now board the plane.” And there you have it: a kindness was extended to us that might not have been a kindness to the remainder of the passengers with their roller bags but it was a kindness nonetheless.
It was a kindness of which we were able to take advantage; a kindness that rewarded us for traveling light.
When things don’t go as planned
We’ve all been there. We lay out our carefully orchestrated plans – thinking we’ve arranged for every contingency – and then we find ourselves facing a roadblock for which we hadn’t planned. Yowza! Now what? My husband and I had that experience during a recent week-long Arizona trip. We flew into Las Vegas, NV, only using that locale as our arrival and departure location; no overnights.
The planned itinerary:
- 4 nights in Lake Havasu City, AZ to visit family. CHECK! And we had a delightful time as planned;
- 2 nights in Sedona, AZ to hike and experience all that this mystic location had to offer. NOPE! A snow storm changed those plans.
- 2 nights in the Grand Canyon, AZ area after Sedona. NOPE! A snow storm changed those plans as well.
We switched to a Plan B itinerary:
- 3 nights in Desert Hot Springs, CA to complete several hikes in Joshua Tree National Park. NOPE! Torrential rain and flooding.
We spent 2 nights in Desert Hot Springs and managed to squeeze in one hike before the monsoon descended. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves but we cut our visit short.
Plan C itinerary:
- 2 nights in Las Vegas, NV. CHECK!
When circumstances proved out of our control – and certainly weather falls into that category – we knew there was no sense in getting upset and raising our blood pressure over the whole matter; flexibility was the order of the day. If all those weather events hadn’t “interrupted” our vacation itinerary, we would have never had the opportunity to hike at Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. This place is so beautiful, that we decided to hike there two days in a row. The photos included in this blog are from that experience.
We’ll return to Arizona some time in the future to fulfill our Sedona and Grand Canyon bucket list items … but then again, who knows what places we’ll actually visit should Mother Nature decide to come along with us on our vacation once again.
New Year, New Focus, New Look
I’ve been authoring this blog, Baby Boomers and More, for five and a half years. Perhaps that’s a record for blog ownership, I’m not sure, but what I do know is that I thoroughly enjoy writing about matters of significance. I guess that’s why my blog has survived as long as it has: there are a heck of a lot of things going on in the world that fall into that category.
My website address remains the same: http://www.babyboomersandmore.com, but with a broader emphasis on life as it unfolds for all of us born within a certain year bracket:
- iGen (after 2000)
- Millennials (1980-2000)
- Gen X (1965-1979)
- Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and
- The Greatest Generation (before the end of WWII).
Yes, there are many differences between the generations but we have one major characteristic in common: although as individuals we are strong in many ways, we still need each other to get to the finish line.
With that change in overall focus comes a new, primary blog identification:
Living: the ultimate team sport
If we consider all the people with whom we come in contact as being members of the same team, we will do all we can to support them. We’ll bolster rather than compete; we’ll pick them up rather than step over them as a means to an end; we’ll exhibit respect for each other’s talents while nurturing our own; we’ll not take advantage of weaknesses in order to falsely boost our own strengths. In short, we’ll stand by our teammates and want only the very best for them.
Another goal of mine: write more succinctly, at least after this particular post. 🙂 I know you’re all busy and have better things to do than read my oftentimes lengthy magnum opuses. I’m newly committed to being as succinct as possible, somewhere along the lines of an article I wrote on December 27, 2016: Don’t go there. Let’s face it, as a writer, I should be able to use an economy of words to get my point across to those who’ve chosen to follow me.
And one last thing: the header images you’ll see at the top of my blog (which will cycle through randomly) are from photos I took during a few of my hikes around the Pacific Northwest. Hiking is my passion, so I’m pleased to provide snapshots of views I have been privileged to see.
With that, I’ll sign off for now, so very glad to be a member of your team.
I miss getting high
It’s true. I haven’t experienced the high I get while hiking in the Pacific Northwest since our end of September hiking adventure. Shortly after that hike we traveled to Hawaii for a couple weeks and the two hikes we had planned to complete there were a bust.
On the Big Island of Hawaii the heat and humidity were the hike-spoilers for us. We’re not fair weather hikers – we’ve hiked in the rain and extremely cold temperatures before – but heat is a deal breaker for us. Even in Washington state we hike early in the day or not at all if temps on the trail will be 80 or above.
Then on the island of Maui – where temps near Haleakala crater were guaranteed to be in the 50s – we gathered our gear, climbed into our rental car, drove up eight miles of a single lane, severe hairpin-turn paved road, only to arrive at the dirt road that would lead us to the trailhead and find it was only traversable by 4-wheel drive vehicle. We’re veteran hikers so as I always do before a hike, I checked the trip reports and the State of Hawaii hike descriptions for any pertinent info we might need for that day’s adventure. There was no mention of the hazards requiring a 4-wheel drive vehicle and we sure as hell didn’t want to place our rental vehicle in jeopardy so we turned around.
Disappointing, but at least I knew the week after we returned from our vacation we’d be scheduling a hike that would once again expose us to the expansive beauty we’ve grown to appreciate during our weekly hiking adventures.
Fast forward to the morning after our late night return when yours truly missed the last stair as I ambled down to the first floor of our house and twisted my left ankle. Mind you, this is the same ankle that has managed to climb over rocks and boulders with nary an ankle tweak; an ankle that has even managed to jump off said boulders victorious and proud to be alive!
And let’s not forget THIS adventure where I conquered massive challenges and came out smelling like roses – or at least without any mangled body parts.
Alas, I accept my lot in life – knowing it’s only temporary – but not knowing how one might define “temporary” is a bit troubling for this Rocky Mountain High-kind of person.
Yep, I miss and crave the hiking high I’ve grown to love this past year, but there’s no need to feel sorry for me. My current situation has forced me to finalize the preparations leading up to writing my third novel in the 2016 NaNoWriMo month-long competition that begins November 1st.
I guess this is what was supposed to happen in order for me to write that bestseller over which publishers will surely clamber! If that’s the case I can be grateful that it will be awhile before I can satisfy my addictive cravings.
60 is the new 40 … kind of
I’m in my early 60s and I’ll be damned if I’ll use my age as an excuse to be inactive. Not on your life … certainly not on mine.
Since my husband retired late April of this year, we’ve managed to go hiking every week. (It’s such a luxury being able to do so on the less-crowded weekdays.) Prior to coming down with the hiking bug, we would look for a trail with an elevation gain FAR below 1000 feet. To be more honest, we only chose trails with a couple hundred feet elevation gain.
Elevation gain = degree of steepness of the trail
Now we choose trails with at least a 1300 foot elevation gain.
Our goal is to hike Mt. Si, 8 miles RT and 3150 elevation gain, by the end of September. That’s 1850 additional feet elevation gain than the hike we completed on July 1st.
The hike we completed with my husband’s daughters on July 3rd was difficult because of all the massive rocks and boulders we had to maneuver through…I got a good bruise on my leg when my maneuvering wasn’t all that successful. (See below for the terrain.)
We have been training for the Mt. Si hike by walking in our very hilly neighborhood. We’ve labeled each training walk in the following manner: The Wall, The Monster, The Broadhurst Monster, The Figure Eight Double Monster. We’re very pleased with our increased physical endurance and lung capacity as a result of said training walks. And of course, each and every hike we take, we increase the elevation gain and the length of the hike, all the while enjoying the beauty Pacific Northwest hiking destinations have to offer.
You may ask, “Why in the hell is Irene boring us with her husband’s and her hiking exploits? Sure sounds as though she’s bragging.”
Oh, I’m not bragging, not in the least. I’m celebrating my husband’s and my decision to push through the pain and discomfort and to stretch the boundaries of what we thought we were capable of doing. Speaking for myself, being 60-ish has brought a few health challenges, not the least of which is pretty severe arthritis in both feet, several ruptured discs and tears in my lumbar spine area, and an internal issue or two that sometimes chain me to my house.
But you wanna know something? I had a good teacher when I was growing up in the form of my mother who had severe rheumatoid arthritis. She was diagnosed with RA as a teenager.
Mom made the decision early on in her life to keep moving.
My mother declared that she would rather be active and hurt more, than stay at home and hurt slightly less.
And that’s what my husband and I are doing. Let’s face it – we’re not getting any younger and every day we waste can never be retrieved and lived over. As the old saying goes, “This ain’t no dress rehearsal, folks.”
I’d rather squeeze what I can from every day I’m given … and then apply the multitude of ice packs we have at home to our various body parts when we return home to celebrate our accomplishments. What can I say, it works for us and it makes us extraordinarily happy being able to do these activities together.
Lighten up Mondays
An Octogenarian who was an avid golfer moved to a new town and joined the local country club.
He went to the club for the first time to play but was told there wasn’t anyone with whom he could play because they were already out on the course. He repeated several times that he really wanted to play.
Finally, the Assistant Pro said he would play with him and asked how many strokes he wanted for a bet. The 80 year old said, “I really don’t need any strokes because I’ve been playing quite well. The only real problem I have is getting out of the sand traps.”
And he did play well. Coming to the par four 18th they were all even. The Pro had a nice drive and was able to get on the green and 2-putt for a par. The old man had a nice drive but his approach shot landed in a sand trap next to the green.
Playing from the bunker he hit a high ball which landed on the green and rolled into the hole. Birdie, match, and all the money!
The Pro walked over to the sand trap where his opponent was still standing in the trap. He said, “Nice shot, but I thought you said you have a problem getting out of sand traps?”
The old man said, “I do, can ya give me a hand?”
A call to cyclists
If you are a cyclist who rides his or her bike on paved or unpaved trails meant for both walkers and cyclists, please hear my plea:
Offering an “On your left!” when you pass me on the trail will go a long ways towards endearing you to me.
My husband and I took a six mile walk on the Sammamish River Trail from Redmond to Woodinville this morning. This paved trail is used by walkers, joggers, roller bladers, parents with strollers, cyclists, you name it. It’s there for all of us to enjoy. Please understand that as a walker, I can not hear you coming up behind me: your sophisticated bicycle doesn’t alert me to your imminent arrival until you’ve zoomed past me, sometimes causing me to lose my footing or at the very least, jump starting my heart to where it need not jump. This shock to the walker’s system can be avoided by a simple announcement on your part that you’re about to pass me on the left.
To those who did announce themselves, my husband and I yelled an equally as loud, “Thank you!”
To those who did not announce themselves, they heard us shout, “Warning please!”
How inconvenient or difficult is it for you to either ring your handlebar bell or shout “On the left!” as you approach our backsides?
Young or old, two thirds of those who passed us from behind did not announce themselves. And lest my readers think we were walking in the middle of the path so as to be a hindrance to cyclists, we were not. We always hug the right side of the path to allow for oncoming and upcoming cyclists. We’re all supposed to share the path – that’s what we do.
None of those to whom we shouted, “Warning please!” apologized for their rude oversight. A simple, “Sorry!” or “My bad!” would have sufficed.
All I’m asking is that cyclists extend the courtesy of letting walkers know they’re about to whiz past them so they can be sure to get even further out of their way. Each and every time a rider alerted us to their presence, my husband and I thanked them and moved more to the right, to which the cyclists said, “Thank you!” What a delightful and courteous exchange, don’t you think?
A collision between cyclist and rider would most certainly cause severe harm to both.
That’s sure to ruin both our days, don’t you think?
Life on the sidelines vs actively engaged
My husband and I have the privilege of being able to hike during the work week because he’s now retired and we’re not reliant on the weekends to do fun stuff any more. So I took my early 60s body on a hike the other day and let me tell you, it was a doozy.
Now some of you may think that an elevation gain of 1100 feet isn’t all that difficult but my body says otherwise. The incline up the mountain was a looooong one so you’re constantly climbing up, up, up, and your hamstrings are spouting off swear words you never thought you’d hear coming from such a close member of your body.
Added to that, your heart is accustomed to brisk walks through the hills of your neighborhood as well as high-resistance recumbent bike riding both of which should have prepared it for the heart-pumping action required for a mountain hike. Right?
Not so much.
We had never hiked Rattlesnake Ledge before so we had yet to memorize every twist and turn of the trail. We also weren’t intimately acquainted with the 1000s of evergreens along the way so we had no way of answering the question, “Are we there yet?”
Just about the time I spouted off that question what did I see ahead of me but a fellow hiker in his late 80s to early 90s coming down off the mountain…with a smile on his face…carrying a hefty backpack on his somewhat stooped over back. I turned to my husband and said, “Shit! If he can do it, I can do it!” We spoke briefly with the elderly hiker and then we huffed our way up the trail, eventually making it to the top for a picnic lunch.
We caught up with him on the way down the mountain – at his age he certainly takes a wee bit longer to ascend and descend the trail – and being who I am, I started a conversation with him. Come to find out, not only has Ray hiked Rattlesnake Ledge numerous times, but decades ago, he hiked Mount Rainier several times.
“That was decades ago. I certainly couldn’t do that now.” To which I responded, “Look, Ray, you’ve accomplished that feat and we haven’t. And not only have we not accomplished that feat but we have no aspirations of ever doing so.”
Because I tell just about everyone my hubby and I come in contact with that my husband is retired, I told Ray that Jerry had just retired from Boeing after 38 years of service at the company. Ray replied, “I’ve been retired for 30 years now and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
So this is what I’ve concluded: Ray knows how to enjoy life, but not only how to do that but how to really and truly occupy his life. His current life is not just a placemaker until better things come along. NO, he’s making things happen while he still can rather than waiting on the sidelines where nothing ever happens.
As my husband and I were about to continue down the trail ahead of Ray I said, “Glad to know your name Ray, that way when I see you again, I’ll know what to call you.”
“Well, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to keep up this pace. I may not be on this trail again.”
To which I responded, “Ray, that could be said of everyone on this mountain, myself included, but something tells me we’ll be running into each other some day soon.”
So I learned lots of stuff from my hike the other day. Just because the hike was somewhat uncomfortable – okay, a lot uncomfortable – doesn’t mean I wasn’t supposed to do it. I have to say, once I got home and showered I was astonished to hear myself thinking, “I’d be willing to do that hike again, and one even more difficult than that.”
We look back on difficulties/mountains in our life that at the time seemed insurmountable but when we consider where we’ve been and where we are now we can say not only did we get through it but we’re feeling far more competent to take on even more as a result.
We don’t have to perfect every new endeavor the first time out. Perfection isn’t our goal, is it? I tend to believe that if perfection were our goal, we’d just stay put and never venture out to discover what we’re capable of.
And a last note on this subject: as my husband and I were gleefully hiking down the mountain we came across numerous people huffing and puffing their way up the trail. One or two groups stopped us to ask how much longer it was to the top. We couldn’t lie to them, that wouldn’t be fair, so when this one group of girls in their late teens asked, “Are we there yet?” we had to inform them that they were just over a quarter way up. Oh, the groans coming from them were hilarious but we didn’t laugh at them, my husband simply said, “You can do it!”
To which I’m sure they said – out of our earshot – “If those geezers can do it, we can do it!”
Introducing: Lainey Piland, environmental writer/advocate and photographer
In the past, I’ve written posts spotlighting an artist who uses paints, brushes and charcoal for her creations: Mary Riesche: artist and sister extraordinaire, and Art worth viewing: spotlight on Mary Riesche.
Today’s focus is on an artist who uses words, sentences, and photographs as the canvas for her creations.
Lainey Piland happens to be one of my stepdaughters, so with that matter disclosed, I can now continue to rave about her talents without any masked conflict of interest. When you check out her blog, A Day Without Rain, you’ll rave about her abilities as well.
I don’t think Lainey would mind my saying that as a youngster she was far from enamored with hiking in any shape or form. (This is a fact admitted by the artist herself and her father, my husband.) But in the past several years, hiking has indeed become a passion of hers. Her husband, TJ, benefits from her hiking passion and gifts her with acceptance and total lack of complaining when called upon to accompany her on her many jaunts throughout the Pacific Northwest. Read the rest of this entry »
It takes courage to be passionate
David Brooks’ article, Lady Gaga and the life of passion, speaks of putting ourselves out there for something for which we are passionate.
All that is needed for a person to conclude that Lady Gaga puts herself out there is to watch just one of her performances or appearances at awards shows. She wore a meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Outsiders like ourselves look at such a display and might think unkind thoughts about a person who is extremely passionate about her craft.
For most of us, putting ourselves out there means singing at the top of our lungs in the shower or car where no one can hear us. Or perhaps our definition of being out there means matching a floral print top with checked shorts when on vacation where no one knows us.
David Brooks’ article covers the passion involved when we’re courageous enough to follow our dreams, dreams portrayed in this manner by Lady Gaga:
I suppose that I didn’t know what I would become, but I always wanted to be extremely brave and I wanted to be a constant reminder to the universe of what passion looks like. What it sounds like. What it feels like.
Given that description, us aforementioned outsiders might feel differently about how this extraordinarily talented singer/performer expresses herself.
So what does it mean to live a life of passion? Read the rest of this entry »
Tips for helping a caregiver
The latest AARP Magazine had a fabulous article providing helpful ways in which to make a caregiver’s life just a wee bit – or quite a bit – better. Here are a few tips for you to adopt in your life.
- Bring her a low-maintenance houseplant
- Take in his mail
- Do yard upkeep, whether raking leaves, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow
- When you’re heading out to buy groceries, ask him if you can pick some things up for him
- Take her kids or grandkids to the park or to a movie
- Stop by with a board game or a movie to watch – a perfect way to get his mind off things
- Visit her with a pet that has a sweet disposition
- Take his dog on a walk – maybe on a daily or weekly basis
- Do some light housework or repairs: dishes, vacuuming, dusting, ironing, smoke alarm battery and light bulb changing, fixing a leaky faucet
- Return her library books
- Volunteer to stay at home to wait for the cable technician, repairman, etc. while he attends to other more pressing needs
- Bring him a week’s worth of meals in freezable containers
- Send her a greeting card on an ongoing basis. Who doesn’t love to receive real postal mail?
- When visiting, let the person vent, without passing verbal judgment on what they may say
- Do an item or two on her To-Do list – I promise you, her list is extraordinarily long
- Offer to make a photo album with him, using photos that mean a lot to him and the rest of the family
- Give him a gift card to a restaurant he may enjoy, or better yet, take him out to dinner
- Help him decorate for the holidays
- Drop off or pick up a prescription
- Keep in touch with her, even after her loved one passes. Too often, the grieving one has more attention than she can handle immediately after someone dies, then when she could really use some TLC, no one can be found.
My plea for print news media
I love, love, love to read my local print newspaper, The Seattle Times, each morning.
If a daily edition is late due to inclement weather, I will read the paper on my tablet, but only if I’m quite certain the print edition won’t arrive, e.g., snow, power lines across the roads, the end of the world as we know it, etc.
But I don’t want to read the paper on my tablet – or sitting at my computer – as my only option.
The other local area newspaper, Seattle Post Intelligencer, switched to online-only several years ago. I’m thrilled that the Seattle PI is still available to readers but I fear the remaining local newspaper will end up with the same fate.
Why do I think so? Read the rest of this entry »
Art worth viewing: spotlight on Mary Riesche
There’s an artist in Vacaville, California, Mary Riesche, who paints in such a way that what she sees – and the way she sees it – comes alive on every canvas she fills.
Ms. Riesche is a Baby Boomer, like myself, and many of you. She has painted since she could hold a crayon and hasn’t stopped. Her retirement consists of capturing the beauty she sees in her travels, and sharing them with the public at very reasonable prices.
Mary Riesche Studios, her virtual art studio, is a great place to look for extremely well-priced pieces.
She currently has a spotlight show at the Vacaville Art League and Gallery that consists of some of her smaller, mixed media selections. This particular show only runs through October 3, 2015 so if you live in the northern California area, you must have a look-see of some of her paintings.
Additionally, her entire inventory of paintings can be found on her Mary Riesche Studios website and unless otherwise noted, are available for sale.
Getting There – the road to success
This post celebrates my sister, Mary Riesche, of Mary Riesche Studios.
In current society where instant everything is perhaps more coveted than endurance and consistency, it’s a joy to write about success that comes only after many years of hard work and relentless effort.
When you know what turns you on and gives your life purpose, you’ll stop at nothing to fulfill that purpose.
My sister has drawn or painted since she could hold a crayon. She’s just a wee bit older than me so those of you who know how old I am can surmise that my sister has stuck with her artistic endeavors for quite some time.
Perhaps at first, neither Mary nor our parents figured the early talent she exhibited would be more than a passing fancy. (Let’s face it, children change what they want to be when they grow up just about as often as they change their underwear … maybe more frequently.) Once Mary started to dig in, however, and was enrolled in classes at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, it was obvious to all of us that she was in it for the long haul, in it to win it, full speed ahead … you get the idea.
I’m currently reading a fabulous book, Getting There, by Gillian Zoe Segal, that follows the sometimes hard luck but always rewarding success stories of several business and entertainment professionals. Matthew Weiner, Mad Men creator, didn’t become a successful writer with his very first story idea – that would be way too convenient and certainly not a very interesting read. Getting There spotlights the various roads to success on which men and women have traveled, roads that contained many rejection speed bumps along the way. He had this to say about overnight success, and I quote verbatim from the book, Read the rest of this entry »
Test your ice cream knowledge
With summer upon us, we’re sure to stock our freezers with some sort of frozen confection: ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, ice cream bars. My oh my, the possibilities are absolutely astonishing! The latest issue of Food Network Magazine provides some tasty statistics for your educational entertainment. The next time you have a family gathering, test your guests’ preferences; see how close they come to the Food Network fans’ tastes:
Casual vs addictive ice cream eater: 74% have at least one carton of ice cream in their freezer right now … 6% have at least four!
Favorite toppings: fudge at 57%; caramel at 20%; other (?) at 18%; and butterscotch at 5%.
Types & cones: scooped ice cream 74% and soft-serve 26%; waffle cone 61%, sugar cone 28%, and cake cone 11%.
Plain or fancy: 55% prefer ice cream with stuff in it (like chocolate chips); 45% like it unadulterated. Read the rest of this entry »