Solitude

Posted September 11, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: love and marriage

Tags: , , ,

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you – Kahlil Gibran On Marriage in The Prophet

Occasionally, when I mention how long my wife and I have been together (over fifty years), someone asks, What is your secret?  The answer of course, is that there is no secret, except perhaps that the best of relationships take commitment and work.  I suppose that doesn’t qualify as a secret either because it’s mentioned in virtually every self-help book ever written on the fine art of marriage.   There are, however, many factors that contributed to our long run together and one of those is that we both need time alone and, because we both need our Solitude, we are both willing to give it to each other.  Oh, it’s not perfect.   If one of us is feeling needy or just in need of company and the other there can be hurt feelings or reluctant compromises, but what marriage doesn’t have those?  In our Solitude, we pursue interests of our own, some which require uninterrupted contemplation, and we consider with the perspective that only solitude can bring the decisions to made in our life.   It probably sounds enigmatic, but I believe that in part the divisiveness and misunderstanding that plagues our society these days stems in part from too little time spent alone in quiet contemplation and the lack of self-knowledge that results from continual engagement with others. Read the rest of this post »

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Older … Sadder … Wiser

Posted September 4, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: family

Tags: , , , ,

SWI am aboard a Southwest flight from Cleveland OH to Orange County, returning from funeral services for my sister-in-law, GeorgeAnn, who passed suddenly from a massive heart attack last Monday.  There was a viewing on Friday night and on Saturday, a brief memorial service at the funeral home and grave side, then a luncheon back at the funeral home.  Everything was beautiful and in keeping with GeorgeAnn’s personality, upbeat, a celebration of her life rather than an occasion for grieving.   Personally, I am a crier.  When I lose someone, I need to cry and I’d rather do it with loved ones than alone at night or in my car at the park.  I didn’t know GeorgeAnn as well as most of the people attending so I went with their lead and only teared up a few times.

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Tell Them … Again

Posted August 31, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: family

Tags: , , , ,

This week, my brother’s wife, GeorgeAnn, passed away from a heart attack.   Just over eight years ago,  my sister-in-law, Sandy, passed away after weeks of fighting to recover from cancer surgery.   One passing sudden, taking your breath away, the other slow, agonizing … but the shock is the same, a loved one taken too soon, at least from our perspective here on earth.  And in the case of GeorgeAnn and Sandy, two truly good people who brought love, light and care to the lives of family and friends.   Back in 2009, I wrote a short post titled Tell Them, wondering if Sandy knew how much we loved her, how special she was. The message of that post was this: Tell them. Tell the people you love just how much they mean to you and tell them how you think they’re special. Don’t wait. Don’t be wondering someday if they knew.

So, here I sit in mentor OH, waiting to attend GeorgeAnn’s viewing tonight, wondering if I’ve gotten any better at this business of letting those I love know how much I care.  George Ann was funny, quirky, outspoken and compassionate.  She was a natural caregiver who cared for friends and family during difficult times, including my sister, Pat, and she was the light of my brother’s life.  She literally saved both my sibling’s lives in the past few years.  Did I thank her enough?  Did she know how much I loved her?  Perhaps.  But I’ll pass on the same message: Tell them … again.  Tell the people you love just how much they mean to you and tell them how you think they’re special. Don’t wait. Don’t be wondering someday if they knew.

The Eclipse Curmudgeon

Posted August 22, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: curmudgeonly rants

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Clipboard01When I was a boy, I saved up my money and bought a 3 inch reflector telescope from Edmund Scientific.  I believe it cost $29.95, which tells you how long ago it was, in the 1950s.  I don’t remember how old I was … I would guess twelvish.  With this telescope, from the hay field behind our house I could see the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, some of the larger nebulae, double stars and of course, incredible detail of the surface of the moon.   Nobody ever told me not to point my telescope at the sun.  Nobody had to.  I was a smart kid.  But when I learned about sunspots and heard a report of exceptional sunspot activity, I certainly wanted to.   I don’t know where I found the piece of green plexiglass that became my solar filter.  To the eye, it was opaque but if I held it up to the sun, I could see the sun through itplexiglass … which gave me an idea.  Using my Dad’s jigsaw, I cut a circular piece the size of my telescope tube and taped it over the open end.   Wallah.  Sunspots at 60X power.   I seem to remember watching a partial eclipse using my improvised solar filter, too.  Those was the good old days … or the bad old days, depending on your point of view.  No one checked the transmittance of my plexiglass disc, checked if it was compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.   Was my tape job sufficiently secure to assure the filter wouldn’t fall off, vaporizing my eyeball?  Yep, it was.  I still have two working Older Eyes.

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Biased

Posted August 12, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: opinion

Tags: , , , , ,

I posted this on my other blog, Both Sides Now, but I’m posting it here because it’s relevant to the purpose of both blogs.   It’s also think it’s a good post and gives me an opportunity to promote my new blog to readers of Older Eyes.  If you are one of the few who already subscribe to both, I apologize.

biasI like to begin my day with a cup of coffee at my side and my tablet in front of me, seeing what is going on in the world from the various news outlets. I have searched for years for a source of unbiased news (a phrase that should be a truism but turns out to be an oxymoron) but have finally settled on reading biased news from a variety of sources, then drawing my own conclusion. Over in the blogosphere or on social media, it is worse. Opinions masquerading as facts may not win the day but they dominate it. It is as if we are pre-programmed to be biased, which we are. The culprit is not some brain-hacker out of The Matrix but a fundamental characteristic of our species known as Confirmation Bias. Our Creator (or Evolution, you choose) has endowed us with a very strong tendency to sort through the array of information available to us at any instant and choose that which supports our currenttiger2 opinions, thus strengthening our belief. Some scientists explain that for our ancestors, dealing with simpler (but more critical) situations (like Is that a Sabre-Toothed Tiger and is it likely to eat me?), reaching a quick decision in the face of sensory overload was a matter of life or death. If this is the case, then Confirmation Bias is strongly linked to our Flight or Fight Response, becoming strongest when the situation seems threatening.

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The Light Touch

Posted August 12, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: feeling older

laughing catMost people think I’m funny.  I am given to wisecracking and awful puns and humorous observations on life, even in business meetings.  Not everyone laughs at my jokes … that is the nature of comedy … but I’d guess that 70-80% of the people I encounter do.  I won’t even attempt to guess the percentage of those that are laughing to be polite. There are people that like to sit near me at dinner because I make them laugh and I even have a friend who says I’m like Robin Williams.   I’d suppose I’d rather be compared to Billy Crystal given the sad end to Robin’s life but we take our good reviews as we can get them, don’t we?   My lovely wife, Muri, sometimes gets tired of my continual puns and wisecracks but that’s OK … she gets to hear more of them than anyone.  She probably checks in at 35% headshakes, 25% polite chuckles and 30% real laughs.  10% of the time she just ignores me.  My sister-in-law, GeorgeAnn reports similar statistics with my wisecracking brother, Glenn.

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Can You Believe … 49?

Posted August 11, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: love and marriage

Tags: , , , ,

marriedWe have a group of four couples that we go out for dinner with for Christmas.  They are all friends we made when we moved into our first house in 1972.  We see each other sporadically during the year but Christmas is the only time we go out as a group.   One of the remarkable things about this group is that we have almost 200 years of marriage between us.   My wife, Muri, and I are doing our part with our 49th anniversary today.  Given our fairly long courtship at the University of Connecticut, we have known each other for 53 years.  Looking back at the immature, arrogant young man I was at 21, I have to believe I had some guidance in choosing her to be my wife.  Perhaps there’s some truth to the Jewish notion of a Basheert,  the name of the woman a man will marry announced by a voice from heaven 40 days he is born – literally a match made in heaven. Read the rest of this post »