Archive for the ‘feeling older’ category

The Portal

January 13, 2023

medicalIf you are a college football fan, you probably think this post is about the NCAA Football transfer portal, which allows players enrolled at one school to transfer at any time as long as they have remaining eligibility.   It’s not.  This post is about the online Health Portal which comes with my health plan here in Utah.  By signing on to The Portal, I can make appointments with my doctors, request refills of prescriptions, check the dates of previous visits and review the results of those visits.   For person who doesn’t like using the phone, isn’t good with dates and doesn’t maintain a personal calendar recording everything I do (as my wife does), it is a Godsend for monitoring my health care.   Another feature is that results of tests, from simple blood work to MRIs, show up quickly in The Portal, often a day or two before the doctor gats back to you with the results.  That is a feature on which my wife and I have a difference of opinion.  She waits to hear what her doctor says about the results and I look as soon as the results appear in The Portal. (more…)

Political Fundraising

November 22, 2022

donationsFor a few years, I posted every day.  It was work, coming up with a topic and writing every day.  I am now retired, and I post when I am so inclined, which seems to be once or twice a week.   Sometimes, it is because I am inspired.   Sometimes, it is because a topic appears in this old brain and will keep me awake nights until I write it.   And sometimes, it is because something bugs the crap out of me and I have to get it off my chest. Today’s post is the latter.

I consider myself a good citizen.   I follow what is going on in our various levels of government, try to evaluate election candidates carefully and I always vote.  At this point in my life, I am a moderate which means it is hard to find a home in either party.  I have never been inclined to donate to political causes or candidates.  Until 2020.   When Donald Trump turned out to be far worse than my initial opinion of him (which was a pretty low bar in the first place) and seemed to me to be a threat to the country I love, I contributed substantially to the Democratic Party and was overjoyed when Joe Biden won.  Of course, by contributing regularly, I placed myself on every Democratic fundraiser in the country.  And so, as this year’s midterms rolled around, I found my text inbox littered with requests for contributions to election campaigns all over the country.  While that is indeed a nuisance, it is not the number of solicitations that drive me crazy, it is their nature.  Here are a few examples from my inbox in the last few days; (more…)

Seventy-Eight and Sick

October 31, 2022

sickIn my seventy-eight years, I have had most of the common ailments of life, fortunately none very serious (I can hear my wife, my mother, even my grandmother … saying, Knock on wood).  Yes, knock on wood.  I’ve had mumps. measles, chicken pox, and an assortment of flus, including COVID.  When did we start naming our flus?   I’ve had a few minor surgeries and spent a few nights in the hospital.  I am hypertensive and diabetic, thankfully both under control with the help of modern medicines.  My old friend, Don, when I used to complain about one of these maladies, used to say, That would have killed you fifty years ago.  Don was a mensch.   Luckily I have avoided the awful illnesses that appear on the return address bar of solicitations we receive requesting donations for research … Parkinsons Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s, Arthritis … the list goes on and on … and of course, the Big C, Cancer.   But I have watched friends and families deal with these diseases, some losing their lives.  After 78 years of life, I sometimes wonder when number will come up.  It may even have begun … I’ve developed arthritis in my lower spine which limits my walking unless kept at bay with a spinal steroid epidural. (more…)

All That Jazz

September 2, 2022

This is this week’s Playing Favorites, in disguise with a different title.

music notesLast year, we watched the Super Bowl at my daughter’s house.  Not likely this year since theyve moved to Texas.   Anyway, the halftime show included an assortment of hiphop-rap-whatever performers and when it was (blessedly) over, I said, that was awful.   My daughter turned to me and said, What do YOU want for a halftime? Jazz?  Not likely.  It seems to me jazz has fallen hard times, at least as far as getting any airtime, except perhaps on streaming services’ specialty stations.  It wasn’t too long ago that groups like Steely Dan added flashes of jazz to their top-twenty hits and, occasionally, a jazz number would make the pop music charts, like Chuck Mangione’s Feel So Good in 1970 which reached number 4 on the pop music charts. (more…)

An Old Man Back

August 2, 2022

mareIn my mother’s later years, one of her favorite sayings was, The old gray mare ain’t what she used to be.  She certainly had more than her share of maladies to deal with as she aged.  To my mind, it is proof that God or nature (depending on your stance on spiritual matters) doesn’t dole out maladies according to virtue of the recipient, otherwise she would have had a much easier time of it.  On the other hand, I had reached 77 with virtually no major maladies.  That may prove the same premise because although I have tried my best to be a good man, I am not the saint that my medical history would seem to indicate.  (more…)

Bunco

July 9, 2022

buncoOn Tuesdays here in Springhouse Village, it’s Bunco night.  You know.  Bunco.  That mindless little dice game designed as much to socialize as to amuse.  No … you don’t know it?   It is played with three dice.  You score points by trying to roll a particular number with the number progressing through 1 to 6 with each round.  Let’s say the number is 1.  You get one point for each 1 you roll and you get to keep rolling as long as you are scoring points.   If all three dice come up as the number, that is a Bunco and you score 21 points.   If all three dice come up any other number, that is a Funco and you get five points.  It is played with 2 two person teams at each table where the number of tables is determined by how many players turn up each week.  Now, the social part.  After each round, the winning team moves to another table … BUT you can’t stay partners with the same person.  So, in the course of an evening (we play three rounds, with the number going from 1 to 6 in each round), you get to spend some time with lots of different people.  Wikipedia says that the skills required to play Bunco are counting and simple mathematics.  Indeed. (more…)

Playing Favorites 6/24/2022

June 24, 2022

turnIt has been 5 weeks since my birthday.   It was a wonderful birthday … followed by what can best be described as a shit-storm.   Sorry if my choice of words offends you.   On the evening of my birthday, our son texted me with some legal issues he needed help with.  Never good.  The next day, my daughter told me they are moving to Texas, which is really hard to take, since to my recollection their promise not to leave Utah was one of the reasons we moved here.  The sense of betrayal that brings has been keeping me awake nights.  Then, we both came down with COVID.   A trip last weekend to Virginia to attend the Bar Mitvah of the son of our dearest friends left us exhausted but probably kept me sane.   It was a joyful occasion but seeing them surrounded by their kids and grandkids was also a reminder that ours would be moving away.  So, the last time I posted Playing Favorites, the song of the day was the saddest song I know, Shattered by Linda Ronstadt. (more…)

The COVID Club

June 6, 2022

Clipboard01Wednesday I woke up with an annoyingly persistent cough, the kind of cough I’d probably had hundreds of times in my 78 years and thought, Shoot, I must be getting a cold.   But that was before the arrival of COVID 19.  As a senior with several medical issues, I tested myself one of the COVID self-test kits President Biden sent (for free, imagine that).  In case you haven’t seen one of these, it looks like a pregnancy test.  I was neither infected with COVID or pregnant.  After 24 hours of worsening symptoms, I tried again and tested solid positive.  Welcome to The COVID Club.  I received a club T-shirt in the mail from Biden and a card from Trump that said, See? I told you it wouldn’t kill you!  DONATE NOW TO STOP THE STEAL! (more…)

Playing Favorites 5/27/2022

May 27, 2022

greyghostIt has been a long week, a descent from a very happy birthday through the news that my daughter’s family will be moving away to my own futile attempt to avoid the sadness through denial, anger and bargaining (see Navigating Grief).  Last night I sent my son-in-law and daughter a note, telling them I was trying to accept their decision.   The very act of doing so stoked my anger again but this morning, I feel different.   I think am ready for the Grey Ghost of depression to wring the tears out of me and guide me to acceptance.

If you knew me personally, it wouldn’t surprise that I carry on my music devices a Heartbreakers playlist of sad songs to help this reluctant crier bring the tears.  All beautiful sad songs.   But which one gets to be the Favorite played today.  Easy.  Shattered  Beautiful melody written by Jimmy Webb.   It is remarkable how many songs by Webb grace my music files.  The most perfect pop female voice in my generation (perhaps any), Linda Ronstadt.   And the lyrics …

Shattered
Like a windowpane
Broken by a stone
Each tiny piece of me lies alone

They would rip the heart out of the Gray Ghost himself, if he had one.

Enjoy … or have a good cry … whichever suits your day.

Navigating Grief

May 24, 2022

griefMany people think grief means deep sadness, particularly due to the death of a loved one.   But grief is more than that, it is a process we as humans must go through to come to acceptance with any loss, from the death of a loved one to the end of a relationship or the end of a dream or a life phase.  According to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss American psychiatrist, there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  What makes this path hard to navigate is the fact that after working though each of the first four stages, all of which are painful, all you get is acceptance.   Not happiness.  Not peace.   The sadness continues to echo in your life as one of those things you cannot change mentioned in the Serenity Prayer, but at least you accept it. (more…)