A Day In The Life

I try to make my day a routine. I Get up around 7:30 and have breakfast an hour later. Mark or Doug usually join me, so the day begins with friendship. I am not alone—an excellent beginning to the day.

When they leave to begin their day, Mia and I cuddle on our couch with a blanket over us and nap. I think about Lenette, which makes me smile or sometimes cry.

At 11: 30, I exercise for about 45 minutes. I have not missed a day. It’s not a muscle-building workout, but it makes me feel better. So, at least, I maintain or think I am.

From noon until about 5, I do my writing. Sometimes, I know what I want to write, and it flows out of me. In this case, I may produce two or three papers. At other times, I struggle to find words. I enjoy both the flow and the struggle.

Breakfast is my big meal of the day, so I usually pass on lunch. I enjoy dinner and dessert and almost always invite people to join me for fun and good dialogue. Our restaurant is okay. The food they serve is acceptable—good, but not great.

During the day, visitors are frequent, often four or more at one time. So, the conversation is stimulating. When they leave, I return to the computer. Writing is my outlet, so I’m fine.

My dear friends, Todd and Mark visit frequently and we spend great times together. Ron, who handles my finances, visits about once a month. He tells me that I’m okay for about five years. That’s a long time for me—a long time for anyone.


Back To Writing

During the last three weeks, our lives have changed dramatically.  I’ll do my best to bring you up to date.  

While Lenette was doing a few mild exercises, she fell and broke her leg. Then, as I was waiting for her status report, I decided to go for a pizza. At the restaurant, Although I have no exact memory of this, I fell, hit my head, and fractured my right hip in almost the same place where Lenette broke her leg. Lenette was operated on the following morning. My injury did not require an operation.

We were both in the hospital for a week before being moved to a rehab center. While there, it was necessary to place Lenette in Hospice care. To receive the best care, we moved back to Summerset, the home we moved into about a month ago.

She is resting comfortably in a quiet state, and everything we can do is being done for her. The care she receives is soft and loving. The people who care for her are remarkable. I love them.

I sit with her for long periods. Sometimes, she knows I am there. She is a fighter and knows where she is at. For her, I will be okay. After seventy-plus years together, I think she knows me.   We always remember we are one, not two.

Now, it is only a matter of time, and we both know the inevitable. I am so grateful for a happening that had to be. We were here for each other. It was not chance but destined.  

It is not over, but it is close. She knows, and I know. How special is her life.

Why are we given life?—To be a gift to those we meet—What a gift is mine


Exceptional People

I want to write today about exceptional people. They are dramatically different from each other but so alike in their relationships with us. I rarely mention names and will not do so here, but they will know whom I speak.

We are old, and there are more things we can’t do than we can do. In fact, we are in need of so many things that feeling helpless is not unreasonable. Examples abound: Lenette uses a walker to go everywhere. I don’t and still walk on my own.

Thankfully, these special individuals step in to help us when and where needed. They go to the market for us. They take us to medical appointments. If necessary, they hear, see, and speak for us.

There is no tension between us. As for myself, I know I need help just meeting the demands of the moment.

They are there when I need them, and I am very appreciative. I accept that I’ve transitioned from being independent to becoming codependent.

Lenette struggles to keep her independence. Obviously, there is no “give in” with her, and she fights a continuing battle with her frailness. I Accept, more easily, my friends stepping in for me. My problems are less psychological than Lenette’s. 

I have my writing and poetry as an outlet. That my mind is such that I continue to have this available to me is a gift that I accept and value. This is how I feel towards my friends and caregivers because this is what they give and do for me.  In other words, I am able due to Lenette and my friends. I have been there for people. And now, they are there for me.

You give me my life—Today I am because of you—Thank you my dear friends



 When I was about 18 years old and left camp, I started to develop a tremor in my hand. It wasn’t very serious, so I ignored it. But as I got older, it became worse. My tremor got so bad that I couldn’t dress myself. In particular, I couldn’t button my shirts. Then I discovered that my younger sister, Cindy, who never went to Camp Shasta, had the same tremor.

Perhaps only a few can appreciate the difficulty I experienced in the essential function of getting dressed. Confronting this, my sister Cindy and I adapted different methods. She bought slip-over shirts. I sought a simple machine to help me with buttons and found one on Amazon. It takes a while, but now I can button my own shirts.

As we age, we can face intellectual and physical challenges. There are always ways of approaching them. For example, I was driving in Oakland a few weeks ago and found myself lost and in a lot of pain. I pulled over to the side of the road and addressed my pain with meditation. When I said, “Siri, take me home,” my phone guided me home (Android phones have a similar virtual assistant). What I’m suggesting is there are ways to solve the problems that may present themselves.

What does this have to do with camp?  Sy always brings up the incident when he cut down a tree that crashed onto my cabin, destroying the A-frame. Sy worked really hard to put the cabin in livable order before our group returned from our hike.  Sy always remembers this, yet I hardly do. It occurred to me that it disturbed Sy more than it bothered me.

 I wasn’t bothered because I felt safe. My group and I were determined to figure it out and knew we would be OK. Looking back, Sy felling that tree on my cabin was a good thing! It taught me that I could overcome just about anything. Sometimes, I might need help, but I can always find a way.

That was my short course on how to take lemons and make lemonade. It might take some problem-solving and the help of others, but for the most part, I’ve made it work. We can overcome many of the challenges we encounter at every stage of our lives. I suggest that we can all figure out ways to get past them. No matter how bad they appear in the moment, they’re not unlike all of the challenges we’ve faced before.

The Way It Ought To Be

I had a thought only a few minutes ago, yet now I’m trying to recall what I was thinking about. I believe I was thinking about the time that we healed ourselves. I had all kinds of accidents but few colds and no illness. I bounced back from accidents so quickly that I never had to quit any activity. That is until Lenette insisted that I quit and give my toys away. I was in my eighties.

Apparently, healing is for the young, or at least the young at heart. There is no healing any further.  We are slowly but surely deteriorating.  I see it, feel it, and know it. The sands are running out, which is how it should be.

So, as I sat in the sunshine, I thought about this and accepted it readily. It is the way it ought to be. We are each a book with a beginning and an end, hopefully with many exciting ups and downs on its many pages. Lenette and I lived this way and handled every up and every down as honestly and courageously as possible.

I often use the word “serendipitous” because I believe this is how we live. Throughout our lives, unexpected happenings with strange people often played huge and dramatic roles. 

I have told the stories probably a few times. We wonder at the many incidents that played enormous parts in our lives. And, as I have written, these were not only long-term events. Often, new chapters were written in mere minutes.

I am sure we are not unique in how “things” took place and played out. What we are is independent. We choose our way forward with its many responsibilities. It is what we wanted and fulfilled.



I’m feeling fine and relatively strong despite having trouble seeing and hearing. Who asked for this? Not me! I once thought it was simple: we get old, then we die—but it ain’t. And because sight and hearing are essential to me, I write about them, and my feelings come out.

I realize that I bring up certain issues and subjects too often in my writing. It is my problem, to be sure, although it becomes one for my readers, for which I apologize. That’s not what I want. I wish to write on subjects my readers might benefit from, so I again ask for your suggestions. 

I have always been a teacher and I know my subjects. If not, I do not teach or speak to them. I may voice my opinion, but that’s not knowing a subject. To know a subject, one must research. Research was a joy for me, and Lenette typed my notes until she insisted that I learn how to type. This helped me to become a better student. I also learned that if I connected to what I was reading, I felt as if I were there. When reading various histories, I was there. I was in the room; I sat at the table or rode the horse. There is much to learn from history, but only if we become committed students.

Be student, teacher—Experience teaches both—To live is to learn


Slowing The Process

As the population grows older, institutions should adapt to better serve the elderly’s needs, which are many and complex. Part of the complexity is due to the aging person being woefully unprepared for the changes.

Depending on the individual, these cognitive and physical changes occur simultaneously or one after the other. Regardless, most of the aging need to prepare for the changes that are happening to them.

There is no question that we can slow the process by taking good care of ourselves. Proper exercise, staying physically and mentally active, along with wise choices of food, drink, and rest all contribute to this. 

Still, the self needs plenty of help to age well. And society at large needs to play a larger and more significant part in this. Essential businesses, such as financial institutions, need to make banking and related services as easy as possible. The same goes for shopping for food, clothing, and other necessities.  

Making the life of the aging as simple as possible means changes that are well thought out, researched, and tested on the elderly population. The “elder” market is enormous and growing, so it is smart for businesses to do everything in their power to accommodate the aging adult.

Being old a fact—Treated as dumb is so sad—Being old not bad


Understanding Aging

Aging needs to be more fully understood. Simply put, it is not a happy time for those going through it, nor is it an easy time for their loved ones and friends. 

The older I get, the more needy and helpless I’ve become. I have written about my macular degeneration—a slow and irreversible condition. My hearing aids work well as long as I am in a small room and only a few people are talking. In a large room with many others, I hear nothing.

As I’ve stated countless times, aging sucks. Yet, there are some bright points. From our experiences dealing with our local “caregivers,” hospitals, and insurance, we are covered like a blanket! Outstanding care is given to us, for which we are grateful. The people and organizations we relate to and need at our age take exceptional care of our needs. They authentically understand us.

On the other hand, the world at large does not appear to fully comprehend what aging entails. Only when they reach a place where they realize they are not who or what they were Yesterday does their mindset begin to change. Many, of course, can hold on to their youthful ways well into their 70s as we did, never thinking we were “old.” But it eventually hit us, and we were shocked at our changes. 

Aging, I lose it—What I gain is nothing to like—Me, my opinion


A Poetic Moment

I love words and seek out the “right” one.

The word that fits, that is it, and does not weigh a ton. 

By this, I mean the word that says what is right.

Words that fit the thought, the word that fits tight.

I love the challenge of finding a “word” that speaks with strength.

So, there is no question of what I write is meant.

Words are my way to express who I am and what I think.

To my body and mind, it is a significant link.

Always a challenge I sought in the past.

Challenges I thought had the power to last.

All gone, but for wonderful memories of lives lived too fast.  

Thoughts On Keeping In Touch

As I have previously written, my hearing and eyesight are worsening, and generally speaking, my ability to care for myself and Lenette is also declining. At this point, she needs more care than I can provide.

Thankfully, our adopted family members have come forward to assist us in making our days work. Grateful is too weak a word to describe our feelings toward them. We are blessed to have the love and care they give us.

I know many have tried to reach us since we’ve moved. My mobile phone number is: (seven-seven-five)-five-five-eight-nine-four-zero-one*. It’s an old flip phone that sometimes rings through and sometimes doesn’t. I intend to get myself a new phone that I can see and that works all the time.  In any case, if you wish to reach me, keep trying to get through.

I must add that while convenient, text messages, in my opinion, are not the best way to communicate. Being from the “face-to-face” communication era, I know its value. Eye contact was (and remains) an important component in gauging the general composure of the person we were communicating with. 

When speaking face-to-face, we enjoyed a complete picture of who we were communicating with. As a result, we heard, listened, and understood. I have always felt this was the best way to share and discuss things, and in my dealings with others, communicating effectively was the foundation of my philosophy.

I question whether anything like this is possible with texting. Texts must be brief, to the point, and mostly without confirmation, something which I believe is essential to authentic dialogue. While we may feel connected, are we? 


*I see no reason to make it easier for bots to scrub the web for random phone#s (Ed).