Wednesday, June 21, 2017


A while back my grandson’s iPod went through the wash cycle and no longer worked. Someone had told him that putting it in rice would fix the problem, so I buried the device in rice. Since his parents were not home, I thought it would be wise to put an explanatory note on the container.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t expect much. I mean, how could a grain as ancient as rice be of any help to such a modern device. But lo and behold, it was. A week later my grandson was proud to tell me that his device was again working properly. I find that totally amazing. Don’t you?

The creativity of mankind is as old as time. Modern gadgets result in modern problems, but somehow we are able to find adequate solutions. Perhaps that was the idea from the start. A “let’s see how long it takes them to figure it out” sort of approach by the Universe. I believe we have all the solutions. The trick is to be able to fit them to the right questions. And that’s what researchers are attempting to do all the time no matter their field of study.

Sometimes, answers and discoveries come up totally by accident, which is the case for some of the prescribed medications now available. Some doctors say that we don’t need any more drugs, that we have more than we require. They contend that what needs to be done is to tweak those we have already so each one can be appropriate for more than the one condition it targets. 

Make sense to me. If rice can be used to draw humidity from inside a modern electronic gadget and revive it, surely the same principle can be applied to countless elements in our world. All we need is to nurture our ability to be amazed.



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

All About Age

Recent statistics indicate that the number of people reaching 100 is ever increasing. What used to be a rare milestone is now not quite as exceptional. That indicates to me that we all have the capacity to live a century or more. Advances in medical treatments and care are certainly important components of this phenomenon, but there are other factors certainly.

The older I get, the more I see that a positive attitude seems to pay unmistakable dividends. A relative who was getting close to 102 commented that she never looked back. In her view, what’s past is past. No point thinking about it or wonder what could have been different, she said. She concentrated on making the best of today. Wise words. As Irving Berlin is reported to have said, “Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it.”

Of course, each stage along the road of life has its own challenges, but they don’t need to be taken too seriously. George Burns had the right idea when he said, “When I was young, the Dead Sea was still alive.” He always looked at age at something to be laughed at rather than a source of angst. Of course, if one’s age is cause of concern, the secret might be to simply disregard birthdays. Or lie about them as a friend has done much of her adult life. Now, at times, she truly forgets how old she really is. All I know is that she has been celebrating her 50th birthday for a number of years now!

For my part, I became keenly aware recently that we’re all in the same boat. When I saw a picture of an old colleague in the paper I was surprised to see that he seemed to be aging much more slowly than me although we’re the same age. Then, when I happened to see him at a social event, the black hair so apparent in the photo was now nearly white! It reminded me of a remark from the youngster who asked his grandmother why only grandfathers have grey hair, not grandmothers. The answer is simple. Grandfathers are simply not as friendly with color in a bottle!



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Thoughts and the Universe
We are certainly not alone in the Universe. I believe there is a force, a collective consciousness, that unites all of us. I find that such a force might become stronger as we age.
 Case in point: I had an unusual house plant that I had been enjoying for more than a decade. One morning as I got up I had a strong feeling that I should sell that plant. I dismissed the idea as simply the residue of a dream. However, as I went on with my day, the idea that I had to sell the plant came back into my mind several times, each time a little bit stronger. By noon, I gave in and advertised the plant online. I got an almost immediate reply and lo and behold one hour later a fellow was at my door so pleased at having finally found the plant he had been seeking.
            As he left with the plant I felt that somehow this was the way things had to unfold. He had no doubt put out a strong vibe as he searched for the plant, and somehow that vibe found me. Amazingly, I have not missed the plant.
            Many what might be termed unusual occurrences occur often, but I think that we simply dismiss them. For example, we don’t pay much attention to such things as that while thinking of someone, that person calls, or we know before picking up the phone who is calling – without having seen the name display. Some say that the reason is that we are all subconsciously aware of higher level vibrations. After all, we all know that not all communication is actually is heard or seen.
            A couple of years back, when I woke up one morning I knew I had to call an old aunt who was living in an assisted living environment. When I did I learned that she had passed in her sleep and that attendants had found her a short time earlier. I visited her as often as I could, and perhaps she put out a vibe to let me know right away that she was gone.
            I don’t think such things are just random occurrences. I believe that at our higher self we entwine through our thoughts with those around us especially those we care about. As long as we are open to it, of course.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

We’re a Changin’
It’s no secret that as we age, changes occur. I’m not talking about physical changes, but rather about the way we react to life. 
For one thing, we no longer worry, or even think, about how other people are judging us. That happens when we come to realize that people have their own worries so they have little time to think about what we may be doing or not doing. There are always exceptions, of course. Case in point, those who sit on their verandas and balconies trying to decipher what neighbors and passersby might be into. Or comment on what they are wearing. I’ve always failed to understand such an amazing disinterest in more meaningful life interests.
Clothes are important to women throughout their lives. It is said that women dress for men or other women, not for themselves. Perhaps it’s true, but one thing is certain, there comes a time in every woman’s life when she gives up trying to impress and chooses comfort. For example, she realizes that wearing four- or five- inch heels (even three-inch ones for that matter) doesn’t impress anyone while it is a serious danger to the health of her back. A bright smile is a much better way to impress someone. And from there things change gradually.
We women, and men too, cease to see the need to wear tight belts when apparel manufacturers have been kind enough to make elastic waistbands. We take to wearing comfy sports shoes when we go walking or shopping instead of the regular shoes—that we now wear only when it’s an absolute must—because we realize that no one ever looks at our feet, just like we rarely notice what type of shoes others are wearing. And because age appreciates comfort wherever it can find it.
Those who went camping over the years, give it up with age—not necessarily old age— for the more pleasurable comfort of sleeping on a proper mattress. We appreciate the comfort of having more leisurely meals now that the kids are out carving their way into the world. And we appreciate doing our own thing.
A grandmother in her eighties wrote to an advice column because her daughter had told her that wearing a long dress to her granddaughter’s wedding was inappropriate for an afternoon wedding. The grandmother said she liked the dress very much and didn’t want to splurge on something new. The columnist replied simply: Wear the dress. You have earned that right.
That’s how I feel. We, of a certain age, have earned the right to do what makes us feel good and comfortable. Let the others think what they want if they have nothing better to do with their time!   

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Food for Thought
For the last few years I have been suffering from early spring allergies, with this season seemingly worse. When chatting with some people I know who also suffer they all agreed that this season is worse for them as well. Then, a few days ago I saw a doctor being interviewed about allergies who confirmed that this year, sufferers are more affected than in the past and that it is bound to get worse.
            Great! was my reaction. The good doctor said that one of the main reasons was climate change which is affecting vegetation.  So, if humanity does not wake up to the fact that we are in trouble what will happen to the young people now facing many decades of allergies ahead of them? And all the other problems that will continue to creep up?
            I find it rather amazing that some people still believe that all the talk about climate change is simply not true. Some governments are even deciding to reverse on-going policies and actions that are helping our ecosystem get healthier. I simply don’t understand why these decisions makers feel that it will be beneficial for the world, including their own children and grandchildren. Don’t they see that the price we are already paying today will gradually get more and more exorbitant? Some experts are predicting that the floods and hurricanes we are seeing now are nothing compared to what we can expect in the future if we don’t shape up.  It’s more than time to speak up and let our elected officials know what we really want and really need.
            I have not loss all hope, however. I see how the younger generation is seriously involved in doing their part to improve our future.  All five of my grandchildren are avid proponents of the three Rs, much to my delight.  Two of them are vegetarians.  Even as teens, they decided that red meat was not only a poor food choice, but that it contributed greatly to global warming because of the methane cattle emit.  According to experts methane is twenty times more potent at trapping heat from the sun than carbon dioxide.  By unit, it is the most destructive of the greenhouse gases. To me that means that curbing our taste for red meat would help stop climate change.
I am also among those who deplore the fact that fields used to feed cows could be used to grow real food. A lot of “food” for thought here, don’t you think?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spring is Springing
Every year I find it quite amazing how fast spring springs. Just a few weeks ago we had snow that, fortunately, quickly melted. That gave way to what I call the brown season, the dull almost lifeless look of nature before the sun has a chance to warm things up. That was certainly the case last week as I drove in the country with my granddaughter. She remarked that she couldn’t wait to see green. She got her wish this week as, almost overnight, lawns were once again revived and showing off their green blades. Close to my house the dark red shoots of the peonies are seemingly growing an inch a day as they rush to be able to show off their large blooms. And the buds on the trees are bursting at the seam.
All that newness entices us to spring into action. We have a need to take stock, to change, to once again put our best foot forward. As with most people, at this time of year I clean out my closets. The main idea, of course, is to put warmer things in the back and bring lighter clothes to the front, but it’s also decision time. Because most of us keep buying new clothes every year, spring is a good time to thin the herd as it were—but what to keep and what to recycle? I don’t know about you, but I always have problems deciding what to eliminate. Some little devil somewhere inside me says things like: Keep that; it still looks good. Or: Don’t get rid of that; styles do come back. Or: You’ve got to keep that jacket; remember how much you paid for it?
The problem with listening to your little devil is that you end up with too much. Yesterday I tried on a skirt I purchased some ten years ago. It still fits because my weight hasn’t varied much in that time, but I soon realized that the cut dates it even if I feel comfortable in it. It was difficult, but I faced my little devil and the skirt went into the recycle pile. And the pile grew as I found many things I haven’t worn for a couple of years for one reason or another.
It is said that if you have clothes you haven’t worn in more than a year, you should get rid of it. I suppose that’s a good habit to take, but like everything else in life there are exceptions to every rule. Take a dressy top I bought in Hong Kong ages ago that I only wear on special occasions. When I see it I agree with my little devil that I should definitely keep it, no matter its age. The cut is classic and I can enjoy wearing for many more years.  No one needs to know its real age. Nor mine for that matter!
Have a great spring!

I’ll be away from my blog for the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Earth is Mad

On April 22 the world marked Earth Day. Most of us did something to show that we care that the earth is in trouble. We may feel that our actions are of little consequence, but if everyone did something, the results could be significant. 

Earth Day had a modest beginning in 1970 when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin invited students to implement projects to sensitize their communities to the needs of the environment. Since then, the warnings from scientists have become more dire as our actions have brought us closer to a point of irreversibility. But there is reason to be optimistic because we are changing our ways and becoming more engaged in our efforts to heal the earth. I can certainly see that in my grandchildren. Being green is now second nature to them.

However, when you make that comment to older folks, they are proud to point out that they were green before it became a fashionable modern-day virtue. I remember that my mother who sewed a lot of our clothes kept all the remnants and when there was enough she would braid them and make beautiful rugs displaying an array of gorgeous colors. Braided rugs are still available of course, but they are now made by machine and the yarns dyed to make symmetric patterns. I don’t think they have the same soul!

In the old days, little was thrown away. However, with after-war posterity life changed. Like most of you, I remember a time when cars were long and pink and gas was selling for about 35 cents a gallon. So we fell in love with automobiles not thinking about their growing impact on the air we breathe. Fortunately, we are getting back to basics after decades of spending our resources without much thought to how it was affecting the environment, but a lot remains to be done. 

Each of us should get involved in “greening” our world beyond the weekly recycling of household trash. We should be involved in our respective communities and putting pressure on decision makers so that economic development does not come before environmental protection. There certainly is no doubt that climate change is now a reality. Floods, hurricanes, drought and earthquakes seem to be the norm everywhere. We’ve always had those, of course, but now it seems that they occur more often because the earth is rebelling, or as my grandson puts it: “The earth is mad?”

The earth is not only mad, it is fuming. We have abused it and it is rebelling and telling us to clean up our act. Yet there are still people who believe the whole climate change is just a sham made up by scientists. But what is most upsetting to me is that some elected officials are rolling back ecological standards. Everyone should be up in arms about this and let it be known that voters are ready to rebel to save our poor planet. 

People like my grandmother and my mother did so much for the earth as a matter of course. Nature was respected and little was thrown away. For those who lived through the Great Depression reusing and recycling was second nature. Clothing was mended and hung on a line outside to dry, appliances repaired, not discarded like they are today in our throw-away society. Families had one car, not two. How things have changed! We may have a better lifestyle overall but at a cost.

It seems to me that if everyone was an environmentalist and did their share, the world could be a better place for our grandchildren who may have to pay a high price if we continue to ignore the earth’s message. If we don’t, I fear that the earth will remain “mad” and the future may indeed be bleak for them. Every day should Earth Day.