What Do Retired People Do All Day?

It's a favorite question from younger adults, about those who are retired from the workplace.

What do we old folks do with all that time once taken up with commuting and working? people wonder.

The cheeky answer, of course, is “Look for all those lost keys and eye glasses." But the question itself is disparaging assuming, as it does, that old people don't have the wit, curiosity and interests to fill the eight or 10 or more hours a day they once spent on the job.

When I wrote about this subject the first time, I was concerned that I had slacked off dramatically from the efficient morning and weekly routines I had maintained to keep body and soul together during my working years.

But now, nine years later, I don't care. Because I live alone, obviously no one else cares either but I find myself annoyed when I have an early appointment forcing me to rush through breakfast and the morning news.

I've come to fervently embrace the freedom of not being required to live on other people's schedules, and I particularly like long, lazy early mornings which I'll admit are mostly rote - coffee, email, news, politics, workout and breakfast - before settling down for the day's workload. But I change it up now and then - for the thrill that I can.

Mostly, however, that routine isn't much different from the half century I was someone's employee – well, if you don't count the short commute, just down the hall a few feet nowadays.

People whose work is central to their definition of themselves may have more trouble retiring than I had. I enjoyed the work I did all those years but I began this blog while I was still working and with an equal amount of enthusiasm, I just segued into Time Goes By as my full time job.

Surprise to me: I'm still doing it 15 years later.

Beyond that and aside from the joy of choosing when I do what, nothing much has changed. I study ageing and produce this blog. I have a small volunteer position that doesn't take much attention. I read a lot on a variety of subjects (so much to know, so little time).

I keep in touch with friends. I enjoy cooking. I follow news and politics closely and I keep up with the renaissance in children's books. I often think about taking a trip and then remember for the zillionth time that I long ago decided I won't do that again until someone makes airline travel less painful. Fat chance.

The internet is not much help in finding what retired people do with their time. There are not many stories that deal with the question and few have a dateline so there is no way to know when they were written (never trust information that is not dated).

A lot of others are sales pieces for retirement financial services disguised with a few facts about retirement activities that may or may not be reliable.

One claim that shows up on several sites about retirees' use of time is that old people sleep a lot more than younger ones – 10 or 11 hours a night, they say. That sounds suspicious to me and further checking shows it is – there's no telling where that data came from.

The few lists of how retired elders spend their time that include a dateine are mostly eight or 10 years old. During that time, the demands of baby boomers, who have been retiring at a rate of about 10,000 a day, have made active retirement more important than these lists show.

Here, based on unidentified 2015 data, is a list of the activities at which retirees said they spend most of their time - in order of average duration per day:

Sleep
Watching TV
Home maintenance
Part-time work
Preparing/eating meals
Shopping
Volunteering
Reading
Surfing the web
Relaxing
Exercising

Activity levels differ wildly for old people depending on health and although there is nothing wrong with that list, I don't see hobbies, passions, curiosity, sports, travel, studying, etc. - all the stuff we didn't have time for when we were working.

Years ago, I knew a man who was a world-class chef, well-read and widely traveled, knowledgeable about the world, engaged in politics and generally erudite.

He always said, in those days, that he was saving two things in particular for retirement when he would have more time to concentrate: learn pastry cooking (which is more science than art) and to understand the music of Richard Wagner.

I envied him back then for having those doable goals, and I still do. My list is way too long to be useful so my knowledge and understanding – aside from ageing - are miles wide and an inch deep.

Now it's your turn: How do you spend the extra time you have in retirement? What do you do all day?



Online Dating For Old Folks

IMPORTANT: On Sunday, my main computer crashed. Don't even ask how awful this is going to be for awhile. The low-end laptop I am working on until I am back to full capacity is slow and hard to use so answering email will be spotty if at all. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to post on the usual schedule but please understand if I don't always get it done.

* * *

A reader emailed asking if I would write about online dating for old people. Yikes. I'm completely ignorant of this corner of the internet and given that I profess to deal with all things elder on this blog, that needs some attention.

So, I checked around to see what is available in this regard for people who are older than 50 or 60 or 70 and beyond. With one exception I'll tell you about at the end, the pickings are dismal – even the big guys you've seen advertised on television.

There are two major reasons I could see:

First, none allow access to their website without registration so you cannot see the layout, ease (or not) of use, general sensibility, sample listings, what additional information they might have, or even how the website works without joining.

I am so insulted by this and so not in need of even more spam email that I did not register with any of them.

So I have no information about how the sites operate. (And don't tell me I could sign up with a new, free email account. That should be not necessary to see inside any reputable website.)

Second, all but a handful are free only for limited access and upgrades are pricey, ranging from about $30 a month to $70 a month, with discounts for paying a year in advance.

In fact, I can't even tell you what personal information safety precautions any given dating website uses because I didn't register with any of them. Apparently, however, I am not being paranoid to think about that: there is this warning from the Wikihow page about using online dating sites safely:

”Use paid online dating services. Free online dating services provide a greater opportunity for potentially dangerous individuals. They don't ever have to provide a credit card or other information that identifies them.

There are other smart ways to keep yourself safe from predators, scams, etc. on dating sites and the Stitch website has the best guide I have found.

I'll tell you more about Stitch but first, here is some information and links to more than a dozen of those elder dating websites I know so little about:

Senior People Meet and OurTime are owned by the same company so they are likely to share listings.

eHarmony Seniors and eHarmony Over Sixty may be the same site even though they have slightly different URLs. These are paid websites.

Elite Singles, a paid-membership-only website, claims that 80 percent of their members are college graduates and beyond.

OKCupid, Cupid–Over 70 and Love Again dating sites are owned by the same company and as mentioned above, may share listings.

There are a whole lot more dating sites for old people. Just to be thorough, here are links to a few more of them:

50Plus Club
Just Senior Singles
Silver Singles
SeniorMatch
Plenty of Fish (all ages including elders)
Zoosk (all ages including elders)

And now to Stitch. Before I type another word, you should be aware that I know one of the founders, Marcie Rogo, and I wrote about Stitch three years ago. You'll find that here (scroll down halfway) and there is another story about Marcie here before she launched Stitch.

You're just going to have to take my word for it that even if I didn't know Marcie, I would still believe this is the best dating website for elders. Well, as she explains, it's not quite a dating site, although it can be. As I wrote of Stitch in 2015:

”Companionship is the main idea, finding like-minded people with whom to enjoy mutual interests.

“Maybe you could also find a nice person for a relationship. That is not out of the question but Stitch is first a companionship, not dating, service.”

You can choose the type of relationship you are looking for at registration: friendship or friendship+romance or romance. Here is a FAQ that gives a good overview of Stitch and this is what they say about information safety and privacy:

”No other community does more for the safety of its members than Stitch. Before communicating on Stitch, all our members must perform an identity verification check, which prevents scammers and con-artists from abusing our site or contacting our members.

“This also ensures that all our members are ages 50 and up, keeping the Stitch community peer-to-peer and safe.”

Now. What I would like to hear about from you are your experiences with online dating while old. If you haven't tried it, are your interested? What questions do you have about dating now and about dating websites?



ELDER MUSIC: Classical - Various 5

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

Here are some more interesting things (well, they are to me, I hope they are to you as well) I’ve been listening to lately.

GIOVANNI VIOTTI’s life rather paralleled that of Mozart, although Gio lived considerably longer.

Giovanni Viotti

He was a master of the violin and many of his compositions are for that instrument. He spent much of his life in England, eventually becoming a citizen, although not before being expelled because it was thought he favored the revolutionaries in France. This was a beat-up put around by his rivals and it took the king’s son to intervene on his behalf to get him back.

Gio was a good friend, and champion, of Haydn. Here is the first movement of the String Quartet Op 5 No 1 in E Flat.

♫ Viotti - String Quartet Op 5 No 1 in E Flat (1)


FERDINAND RIES was a pupil of Beethoven.

Ferdinand Ries

Ries later became a good friend of his and was employed as his secretary. He started out as a cello player, but eventually wrote a bunch of stuff for piano.

There were also symphonies, operas, a lot of string quartets and numerous other works. One of those is his Grand Septet, Opus 25. The first movement. The piano is pretty dominant in this one.

Ries - Grand Septet (1)


FRANTIŠEK JIRÁNEK was born in Bohemia in what’s now the Czech Republic.

Frantisek Jiránek

He got a job playing music for various counts, one of whom sent him to Venice to improve his trade. There he was instructed by Antonio Vivaldi (talk about getting the best). He eventually returned and later went to what’s now Germany where he lived for the rest of his life.

He lived long enough to change his style to the classical that had taken over from the Baroque. From his earlier period, here is the third movement of the Concerto for Oboe, Strings and Basso continuo in B flat major, Jk 17.

♫ Jiránek - Concerto for Oboe Strings and Basso continuo in B flat major Jk 17 (3)


ANTON REICHA was another Czech composer and another friend of Beethoven.

Anton Reicha

He was also a teacher of some note and some of his pupils were Liszt, Berlioz and Franck. He’s not very well known as he didn’t want to have his compositions published. Of course, some of them have seen the light of day, including his Wind Quintet in G major, Op.88 No.3. This is the third movement.

♫ Reicha - Quintet in G major Op.88 No.3 (3)


CARLO ZUCCARI pretty much spanned the 18th century.

Carlo Zuccari

So, from Bach and Vivaldi at one end, through Mozart and Haydn and ending up with Beethoven. There’s no evidence that he met any of these.

In spite of his living through the entire Classical period, his music is pretty much set in the Baroque. This is evident in the third movement of his Violin Sonata No.1 in D major.

♫ Zuccari - Sonata No.1 in D major (3)


JOHN FIELD was an Irish composer who went to Europe to further his career.

John Field

Chopin heard a couple of his compositions, particularly his nocturnes, and was blown away. “I could do that”, he said to himself (or something like that), and musical history was changed forever.

Brahms, Schumann and Liszt also took note of what he was doing. One of the things he was doing is his Nocturne No.3 in A Flat Major, H.26.

♫ Field - Nocturne No.3 in A Flat Major H.26


ÉLISABETH JACQUET was born in Paris with a lot more names than that, as was the style at the time.

Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

All the members of her family were musicians and/or instrument makers, so she pretty much had to go into the family biz. It was recognized very early that she was a child prodigy and she performed for all the bigwigs, including the biggest wig of them all Louis XIV (the sun king, and all that).

Alas, later when she became famous, most of her family died of various diseases, including her husband, son, mother, father and brother. She continued to write and perform music, mostly for keyboard instruments, but also others as well. That is well demonstrated in her Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major, the second and third movements.

♫ Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre - Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major (2 & 3)


JOHANN PISENDEL would have had a hard time at school if he’d attended one in Australia or America.

Johann Pisendel

Fortunately for him he was from Nuremburg and he spanned the period from the late Baroque into the early Classical. That’s reflected in his music which is difficult to categorise, a good thing from my point of view.

Make up your own mind about his Concerto in D for solo violin, two horns, two oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo, the third movement. My ears suggest it’s closer to Baroque than Classical.

♫ Pisendel - Concerto in D Vl solo 2 Cor 2 Ob Fag 2 Vl Va und Bc (3)


CLARA DENT is an oboe player who has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras.

Clara Dent

She was born in Berlin and learned her craft in Salzburg. Besides the usual repertoire for her instrument Clara arranges already famous works; she’s particularly fond of operas in this regard.

Here she grabs something of Giuseppe Verdi, Les Vêpres Siciliennes (the Sicilian Vespers), in particular “Mercè dilette amiche.”

♫ Verdi - Les vêpres siciliennes Mercè dilette amiche (Arr. for Oboe)



INTERESTING STUFF – 14 July 2018

PETRA – ONE OF THE GREAT MYSTERIES OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

The ancient city of Petra has fascinated me for decades and although I've been to Jordan, been to Israel nearby, I've never visited and doubt I will now.

But here is a new video of the interiors of some of the buildings I've never seen before. I don't know that I believe this video narrator's speculations but they are no worse than anyone else's and I like seeing the inside of the rooms.

BEST LEVI'S COMMERCIAL

At least that's what TGB reader and my friend Darlene Costner says and certainly she's not far off.

The latest Emmy Award nominations were published this week but television commercials are every much an art form (they have their own award, the Cleo). This is a fine example from 2011.

TRUMP WANTS A NEW AIR FORCE ONE PAINT JOB

In a Thursday morning scoop, here is what Axios imagines he wants it to look like:

Air Force 1

Axios reports that

”...Trump had one specification for the plane that could cause tension with the Air Force and surprise around the world...

“We’re told that Trump wants a color scheme that "looks more American" and isn’t a "Jackie Kennedy color." He doesn’t think the current blue (technically "luminous ultramarine") represents the USA. The president's preferred design is believed to include red, white and blue.

"'He can do it,' said a source familiar with the negotiations, when asked about whether Trump can make the change. But the change could cause friction with the Air Force. We're told some top officers like the current look, which they point out is 'known around the world.'"

By Friday, the internet had run with Trump's idea, posting their own ideas of a Trump Air Force One paint job. Here is one of the more polite ones:

HairForceOne

There are more of the web's paint job ideas at Huffpost. And you can read more at Axios.

SPIDERS CAN TRAVEL ACROSS OCEANS

Did you know that? I sure didn't. Here's our science lesson for the day from, in this video, The New York Times:

You can read more about spiders' travel at The New York Times and at PBS.org.

GLASS GEM CORN - WOW

Take a look at this – and yes, it's real corn:

Glass gem corn

As Atlas Obscura tells us:

”Carl Barnes, a part-Cherokee farmer from Oklahoma, liked to experiment with ancestral corn varieties. After breeding several varieties together, the result was vibrantly-colored corn...

“The fresher the corn is, the shinier its kernels. But since it’s flint corn and not sweet corn, it’s not too tasty when it’s fresh. However, it can be made into cornmeal, and is just fine as popcorn.”

Available at your favorite online giant retailers.

DAD ADOPTS FOUR KIDS AT ONCE TO GIVE THEM THE LIFE HE NEVER HAD

After all the ongoing, horrible stories of how the U.S. government treats small children, we can use this story of love and selflessness. Take a look:

My friend Jim Stone sent this and your can read more here. You can donate to Comfort Cases here.

FOREIGN MILITARY RECRUITS BEING DEPORTED

Just when you think the U.S. federal government couldn't possibly behave worse in regard to immigrants, they prove you wrong. As the AP reports:

”Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged...”

NPR follows up:

”The immigrants who were recently discharged had all signed up as part of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, or MAVNI, program. It was established in 2009 to create an opportunity for the military to enlist people with specialized knowledge, including highly sought-after language and medical skills.”

Margaret Stock, in the AP video below, is an Alaska-based immigration attorney and a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who helped create the immigrant recruitment program, said she's been inundated over the past several days by recruits who have been abruptly discharged:

Read more at the AP YouTube page and New York Times.

TIMES SQUARE MAGICIAN – GREAT CARD TRICK

From Darlene again. Enjoy:

CATS CRADLE

Bruce and Terry Jenkins take in dozens of older cats who have been abandoned due to death or sickness of a previous owner. As the YouTube page notes:

“'The cats come with different neuroses from where they were before…it’s very gratifying to see the transition from what they were when they came here to what they become,' says Bruce.

“'It’s like they bloom,' adds Terry. 'They get to be what they’re meant to be.'”

You can read more at The Atlantic and you can visit the Cat's Cradle website here.

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog.



Anorexia of Ageing: How Growing Old Affects Appetite

Some medical professionals call the loss of appetite in old people the “anorexia of ageing.”

Up until a year ago, if anyone had told me I would one day need to work at maintaining or gaining weight, I would have collapsed laughing. The opposite had always been my problem and I've always loved to eat - just about anything.

Then, even after recovering from the extensive Whipple surgery 13 months ago, I wasn't hungry much of the time.

As happened to with me, serious diseases and conditions can reduce appetite in elders but it is not uncommon for a remarkably long list of other reasons too. Here are some of both kinds:

Any acute illness such as:
Cardiac disease
COPD
Renal failure
Liver disease
Parkinson's disease
Cancer
Alzheimer's disease

Other difficulties such as:
Dental conditions or denture problems
Reduced saliva production
Swallowing problems
Constipation
Impaired senses of smell and taste
Medication side effects
Depression
Loneliness
Lack of energy to cook

And that's just a partial list from which, I suppose, it can be extrapolated that pretty much every old person has an appetite problem at one time or another.

The BBC website tell us that changes to appetite happen throughout our lives but become more common in old age:

“After the age of 50, we begin to suffer a gradual loss of muscle mass, at between 0.5-1% per year. This is called sarcopenia, and lessened physical activity, consuming too little protein, and menopause in women will accelerate the decline in muscle mass.”
At age 60 and beyond, the BBC continues, old age and lack of hunger can lead “to unintentional weight loss and greater frailty,” and frailty is nothing to fool around with. The opening paragraph of Wikipedia's entry about it is worth quoting if just for the literary reference that amuses me:

”Frailty is a condition associated with ageing, and it has been recognized for centuries. As described by Shakespeare in As You Like It, 'the sixth age shifts into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon, with spectacles on nose and pouch on side, his youthful hose well sav’d, a world too wide, for his shrunk shank…'

“The shrunk shank is a result of loss of muscle with aging. It is also a marker of a more widespread syndrome of frailty, with associated weakness, slowing, decreased energy, lower activity, and, when severe, unintended weight loss.”

Unintended weight loss is serious business that is difficult to reverse in elders. A good-sized 2017 study about appetite in elders discovered that

”...older adults with poor appetites ate much less protein and dietary fiber. They also ate fewer solid foods, protein-rich foods, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

“However, people with poor appetite did eat/drink more dairy foods, fats, oils, sweets, and sodas compared to older adults who reported having very good appetites...

“The team concluded that identifying the specific food preferences of older adults with poor appetites could be helpful for learning how to help improve their appetite and the quality of their diets.”

Directly following my surgery, I was told to eat six small meals a day. I was lucky to be able to get down four before anything more that day threatened to cause me to vomit. But the nurses were terrific in helping me figure out how to increase the high daily calorie count I needed to prevent more weight loss.

Little things, they said, like adding grated cheese to scrambled eggs, switching to whole milk for cereal, eating as much of my two favorite foods – ice cream and cheese – as I wanted, also peanut butter, lots of high protein foods including red meat.

They also recommended that old folks' staple, protein drinks. I won't mention brand names because I dislike all the supermarket brands – it's like trying to drink glue to get them down.

(I go out of my way to not mention product names here and I tell you this one for information purposes: I finally discovered a brand of protein drink that actually tastes good: Odwalla. They make other kinds of drinks so if more protein is your goal, be sure to use the bottles labeled “Protein.” on the front. Of course, everyone's tastes differ.)

For the first three or four months, I wasn't allowed most vegetables and no fresh fruit with small seeds. When I said I was concerned about my health with such a high fat, high protein diet, one nurse said, “Ronni, cancer will kill you long before this diet will,” so I stopped complaining and followed instructions.

As much as the point was to keep up my weight, it was also to accommodate the radical surgery that removed quite a few pieces of my digestive system – something that would not apply to the diet of those who haven't had this kind of surgery.

Nowadays, just over a year since the surgery, I eat a normal three meals a day, am back on lots of salads, fish and fruit but I've hung on to red meat once or twice a week and I drink Odwalla (average 300 calories per 15 ounce container) several times a week.

Plus, I weigh myself every morning and keep a chart. Mostly my weight is stable but if it drops more two pounds within a week, I up the calorie intake for awhile.

And now, after nearly a year off, I am back to my workout four times a week. I've lost a lot of muscle mass and doubt I'll get much of it back, but I can work at strengthning the muscles I've got.

The point is to fight back against loss of appetite – it will go a long way to keeping us healthy and active. WebMD has a good list of strategies to help overcome lack of hunger.

What's your experience with anexoria of ageing?



Reducing Elder Pedestrian Fatalities And the Alex and Ronni Show

It's no secret that people often walk more slowly as they grow old. Some use canes or walkers, and wheel chairs too that can further impede their speed, and this happens at a time in life when, in some cases, driving is no longer a choice.

The result is serious injury and, too often, death in crosswalks where walk/wait signs don't take older, slower pedestrians into account. Cyclists of all ages are also at high risk.

Recently, my friend and elderlaw/consumer attorney, John Gear of Salem, Oregon, forwarded a story about all this from The Guardian:

”...the tragic rise of cycling and pedestrian deaths in a city such as Toronto, the biggest city in one of the world’s most progressive countries, demonstrates that we are caught in the transition.

“We are adding density and pedestrians and cyclists without transforming the design of our streets, and in many cases refusing even to lower speeds limits, which tends to reduce deaths dramatically.”

The Toronto Police department maintains a “Killed or seriously injured” data page online. Numbers for the year 2017 show that 52 percent of pedestrian fatalities involving vehicles were people 55 and older (23 deaths in 44 collisions).

Counting all traffic fatalities in 2017, involving pedestrians of all ages, those 55 and older made up 23% of the total (36 deaths in 151).

The number of fatalties in 2017 in Toronto was down from 2016, when a five-year project, Vision Zero, was created to decrease traffic fatalities to zero. But recent numbers are not encouraging:

”...the rate of deaths on city streets is not declining,” The Star reported in May this year. “Including Wednesday’s fatal accident 18 pedestrians or cyclists have been killed in Toronto so far this year, according to data compiled by Toronto Police and the Star.

“That pace exceeds the number killed by May 16 in both 2013 and 2016, the two worst years in the data, which goes back to 2007.”

The demographics of cities everywhere are changing and, writes Jennifer Keesmaat in The Guardian story, that means streets, originally planned to be auto-friendly, must become more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly:

”In the old model, if driving is the key to freedom, then cyclists and pedestrians need to get out of the way. They are audacious, misplaced and – even worse – entitled. Who and what are streets for, anyway? They are places to get through, and fast. Lowering speed limits to ensure pedestrians are safe makes no sense...

“In the new model, however, streets aren’t just for getting through – they are places in their own right, designed for people, commerce, lingering and life. It’s the people, the human activity, that should come first.

“Cycling isn’t just for radicals and recreation, and lower speed limits make sense: they protect and enhance quality of city life. In Oslo, for example, where cars move slowly, an easy sharing of space takes place.”

New York City began a Vision Zero project four years ago to positive results:

”Traffic fatalities in New York, which launched its Vision Zero program in 2014, fell for three successive years through 2016,” reports The Star. “Traffic deaths in that period declined 23 per cent (this includes all traffic deaths, not just pedestrians.)

“That decrease came with a considerably larger investment than in Toronto.”

It is clear that slower speed limits, bike lanes, extending pedestrian crossing times, safety zones and, I would add, enforcing statutes against distracted driving (read smart phone use while driving) would go a long way toward reducing the number of traffic deaths.

Some years ago, my block association in Manhattan petitioned the city to extend the crosswalk time at one of the corners in our area because there were a lot of old people in the neighborhood who could not make it across the busy avenue in the time allotted.

It took us more than a year of petitions, meeting with city council representatives, phone calls, followups and more but we kept at it and eventually the city increased the crosswalk time.

You can do this too. We have an election coming up in November that beyond votes for federal senators and representatives, local offices are on ballots.

Between now and then, you could contact local officials and candidates with your suggestions for making the streets safer for old people in your community. Start a petition. Get neighbors involved. Make phone calls. Attend town halls. Make a calendar of activities to campaign for safer streets and stick to it.

And remember, one of the strongest arguments you have is that anything good for old people in a community is always good for everyone else too.

* * *

Here is latest episode of The Alex and Ronni Show.

If you would like to see Alex's entire two-hour show with other guests after me, you can do that at Facebook or Gabnet on Facebook or on YouTube.



The Danger of Extreme Heat on Elders

Given the rat-a-tat-tat of outrageous and even depraved behavior that pours forth daily from upper levels of the U.S. federal government, it is hard for other news to break through.

But we need to seek out important information and at this time of year, the weather headlines from around North America are a reminder that we must be careful to take precautions in our over-heated climate. Last week's weather was a killer:

Death Toll in Canada (Quebec) Heat Wave Jumps to 34

Death toll at 3 from Vermont heat wave

Southern California heat wave breaks records

Here are some of the temperatures (Fahrenheit) for the Los Angeles area last Friday:

Hollywood Burbank Airport - 114 degrees
Van Nuys Airport - 117 degrees
Ramona - 117 degrees
Santa Ana - 114 degrees
Riverside - 118 degrees

Once upon a time in my life, numbers like that showed up in the U.S. only in Death Valley.

With temperatures hitting three figures all too often – it's only 9 July and there is a lot more summer to get through – it is time for the annual TGB reminder that although everyone suffers, extreme heat is more often deadly for elders than younger people.

In France in August of 2003, during an extreme heat wave, 14,802 heat-related deaths occurred, most of them elders. In the U.S., it is estimated that about 370 deaths a year are attributable to heat, half of them elders. Do not take extreme heat lightly.

HOW TO STAY COOL AND SAFE IN HOT WEATHER
Here are the best suggestions for staying cool and safe during extreme hot weather. Yes, I've published these before – pretty much every year - but it's good to review them again.

Even if, like me, you dislike air conditioned air, when temperatures hit 80F, it's time to pump up the volume of that appliance. Fans, say experts, don't protect against heat-related illness when temperatures are above 90 degrees; they just push hot air around.

If you don't have an air conditioner, plan for the hottest part of the day by going to a mall or a movie or the library or visit a friend who has air conditioning.

If you have air conditioning and have elder friends or neighbors who don't, invite them for a visit in the afternoon. Some other important hot weather tips:

Wear light-colored, loose clothing.

Drink plenty of liquids and make reminders to yourself to do so. Elders sometimes don't feel thirst (another thing that stops working well with age). One way to know if you are drinking enough water is to check the color of your urine. Light-colored is good; dark indicates dehydration.

Do not drink caffeinated and alcoholic beverages; they are dehydrating.

Plan trips out of the house and exercise for the early morning hours.

Eat light meals that don't need to be cooked. High-water-content foods are good: cantaloupe, watermelon, apples, for example.

Keep a spray bottle of cold water to help you cool down. Or use a damp, cool towel around your neck.

Close doors to rooms you are not using to keep cool air from dissipating.

Medications for high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions can inhibit the body's ability to cool itself, so it might be a good idea to ask your physician if you can cut back during hot weather.

Pull down the shades or close curtains during the hottest times of day.

In that regard, I have been quite successful in keeping my home cool during hot weather without the air conditioner. In the morning, when the temperature here in Portland, Oregon is typically in the mid- or high 50s, I open all the windows.

I keep my eye on thermometer and when the outside temperature reaches 65F or 70F – usually by late morning - I close the windows and the shades. After several years of practice with this method, I only rarely need the air conditioner even on 90-plus degree days. It saves a lot of money, too, not using the air conditioner. But to repeat: turn it on when it is necessary.

SERIOUS HEAT-RELATED CONDITIONS
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body gets too hot. Symptoms are thirst, weakness, dizziness, profuse sweating, cold and clammy skin, normal or slightly elevated body temperature.

Move yourself or someone experiencing this to a cool place, drink cool liquids, take a cool bath or shower and rest.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It can cause brain damage so get thee or the affected person to a hospital. It occurs when body temperature reaches 104 or 105 in a matter of minutes. Other symptoms include confusion; faintness; strong, rapid pulse; lack of sweating and bizarre behavior.

Don't fool around with heat stroke.

There now. That's pretty much the best of health experts' recommendations about protecting ourselves and others during extreme hot weather. If you have additional suggestions, please add them in the comments.



ELDER MUSIC: 1944 Again

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

Well, it’s 1944 and it seems that the entertainment industry is hell-bent on trying to get us to forget about the obvious. That seems to be the tenor of the songs today, except for the last one. So, on with the motley…

JUDY GARLAND was a pretty big star by now and one of her most famous films was “Meet Me in St Louis”.

Judy Garland

The film had 15 songs in it but the one that’s most remembered today is The Trolley Song.

♫ Judy Garland - The Trolley Song


Here is one of the best trios in popular music, the NAT KING COLE TRIO. I only say “one of” so I don’t get some readers off side, although not many, I expect.

Nat King Cole Trio

Here they are with Nat singing, which he didn’t always do on the trio records, with one of their most famous songs It's Only a Paper Moon.

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - It's Only A Paper Moon


I remember from the fifties Dinah Washington having a hit with the song What a Difference a Day Makes. This wasn't the first time the song made the charts. Here in 1944, ANDY RUSSELL did the same with What a Difference a Day Made.

Andy Russell

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the songs have slightly different names, but it's the same one nonetheless.

♫ Andy Russell - What A Difference A Day Made


Speaking of DINAH WASHINGTON, here she is.

Dinah Washington1

Dinah was always a bit “out there”, as it were. It seems she has so many men she doesn’t know what to do. Apparently, the song parallels her own life. Evil Gal Blues.

♫ Dinah Washington - Evil Gal Blues


RUSS MORGAN fronted a very successful band from the twenties right through to the end of the sixties. His band still continues to this day fronted by his son Jack.

Russ Morgan

His first bands included such names as Bix Beiderbecke, Eddie Lang, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and many other now famous players. From 1944, with Al Jennings singing, is Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking).

♫ Russ Morgan (Al Jennings voc) - Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking)


It seems to me that back in this year many artists were happy to collaborate on the music they produced. That’s obvious from the next two tracks. First up we have ELLA FITZGERALD and the INK SPOTS.

Ella Fitzgerald & The Inkspots

The song they chose is a rhythm & blues staple (and later rock & roll and blues), Cow-Cow Boogie. It’s not a song I associate with either of those performers, but I’m happy to hear what they do with it. Cow-Cow Boogie. It’s an interesting amalgam of jazz and country.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald & Ink Spots - Cow-Cow Boogie


Another fairly obvious pairing is BING CROSBY and the ANDREWS SISTERS.

Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters

This isn’t the only time they recorded together, but it’s possibly the most famous of their collaborations, Don't Fence Me In.

♫ Bing Crosby & Andrews Sisters - Don't Fence Me In


We’ll continue with the MERRY MACS.

the Merry Macs

If you’ve forgotten about the Macs, when I tell you the song, you’ll probably remember (the song anyway). It is Mairzy Doats. Theirs wasn’t the first version, surprisingly, but they were the ones who took it to the top of the charts this year. And our parents carried on about silly rock & roll songs.

♫ Merry Macs - Mairzy Doats


We have FRANK SINATRA to bring us back to sanity.

Frank Sinatra

This is one of his very many famous songs, Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week).

♫ Frank Sinatra - Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)


Back in 1915, a school teacher named Hans Leip, who had been conscripted into the Imperial German Army, wrote a poem called "Das Lied eines jungen Soldaten auf der Wacht" ("The Song of a Young Soldier on Watch").

Fast forward to 1938, and we find that Norbert Schultze set it to music. It was first recorded by LALE ANDERSEN.

Lale Andersen

She later recorded an English version of the song. It became a huge hit during World War II, both with the German soldiers and the allies as well. So much so that many other versions were released, the most notable of which was by Marlene Dietrich, but there were others – Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Vera Lynn, and later Hank Lochlin, Connie Francis and many others.

The song was originally called Lili Marleen, but it’s better known as Lili Marlene. This is the original version by Lale.

♫ Lale Andersen - Lili Marlene



INTERESTING STUFF – 7 July 2018

PERSONAL NOTE: Regarding the biopsy of the big-ass lump on the side of my neck that I mentioned in yesterday's post, I finally received the test results yesterday afternoon: BENIGN. What a relief. It's even got a name: Warthin's Tumor.

* * *

STRIP POKER

The is an old video, maybe about 10 years and I posted it a long time ago. When I ran across it for the first time in years recently, I had a good laugh. Maybe you will too.

ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE – ITS HISTORY AND SCOPE

Although it has been out of the news for a couple of days, the doctrine of attorney-client privilege has been in the news lately due to the rumors that former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, may “flip” on the president.

In all the discussion, there has been a lot of misinformation. The Washington Post published a good video explanation of how it works.

VAN GOGH: MADE IN CHINA

Chinese copy artist Zhao Xiaoyong spent 20 years painting more than tens of thousands of copies of Van Gogh reproductions. Just Van Gogh, no other artists. He longed to visit the Netherlands to see the originals and finally got to do so. Watch what happens:

My friend Jim Stone sent me this video pointing out that the vendor, who has made hundreds of thousand of euros over decades selling Zhao's paintings wouldn't even pay for his flight from the Netherlands to China and back.

LAST SATURDAY'S MARCH IN NEW YORK CITY

Jim Stone (again) send me this note about his trip from the Boston area to New York City last weekend to participate in the march there:

"Hotter than blazes. The crowd slow-walked over the Brooklyn Bridge for four straight hours. I stayed until the end of that, then headed up to New York Port Authority and caught a bus home.

“I'd been feeling a wee under the weather for a day or two, and the heat didn't do that any favors, but I felt it was important to be there. It did an old hippie's heart a world of good to see such a turnout - young and old, all colors and creeds, with one uniting commonality: disgust at the inhumanity of our idiot-in-chief, and a desire for embrace of human decency.

“Nary a discouraging word was heard by me, no skirmishes in this sodom of liberal democracy. All was peace and love overlaid with loud and frequent chanting, none of which was particularly complimentary of the current administration.”

Did any of you attend a march?

JOHN OLIVER ON GENE EDITING

Now don't go thinking this is boring. John Oliver never is and the subject, as Oliver shows us, is important. From last Sunday's HBO program, Last Week Tonight. The usual language warnings apply.

TWO PLUS TWO EQUALS – UH, 22?

As the YouTube page puts it:

”A well meaning math teacher finds herself trumped by a post-fact America in this excellent short film that will make you laugh and make you cry all at once.”

RICK'S CAFE IN CASABLANCA

Do you think there anyone – at least of our generations – who doesn't know Rick's Cafe from the beloved classic film, Casablanca?

Of course, it is fictional but since March 2004, there has been a Rick's Cafe in Casablanca, Morocco which is designed to look as much as possible like the movie version. It was conceived and is owned by former American diplomat, Kathy Kriger.

Recently, The New York Times published a feature story about the restaurant and its 72-year-old owner who, after the 9/11 attacks wanted to fight the backlash against Muslims in the U.S.

”She decided that a good way would be to show that an American woman, operating alone in a Muslim society, could start a business like Rick’s Café, to act as an exemplar of tolerance, a refuge in a troubled world.

“Ms. Kriger cashed in her 401(k) plan and found a wreck of an old stately home in the Ancienne Medina, the old city of Casablanca, which was then and is still a shabby, litter-strewn place.”

Like Rick's Cafe in the movie, Ms. Kriger's version is a success, drawing customers from all over the world.

”Ms. Kriger, 72 and divorced, said she planned to spend the rest of her days in Rick’s Café, holding up her corner of the bar when she is not mingling with customers. 'This is my assisted living center,' she quipped. Or as Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine, put it in the movie: 'I’m going to die in Casablanca. It’s a good place for it.'”

There isn't much good video of the Cafe. Here is a short one I found that gives a sense of it.

The Times story is worth the read.

SEPSIS IS THE THIRD LEADING KILLER IN THE U.S.

Did you know that? I sure didn't and I've spent a lot of time in hospital in the past year. I didn't even know what it is. According to STAT, it is a blood infection that

”...can lead to organ failure and even death...Sepsis kills over 250,000 people a year in the United States — more than any cause other than cancer and heart disease. But still, many people have never heard of it. And hospitals often fail to notice the warning signs when a patient is spiraling downward.”

There may soon be a better test that could help save more lives:

”Last month, for instance, the Food and Drug Administration gave market clearance to a new test that will more rapidly identify the bug triggering a patient’s infection, potentially allowing doctors to give more targeted antibiotics.”

Here is a video from STAT explaining what sepsis is:

You can read more at STAT.

BABY BURROWING OWLS

Nothing much happens beyond cuteness but it is a calming, relaxing video, a respite from politics.

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.



Caregiver Friends

As I write this on Thursday, it is late morning. I have just returned from the Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) campus on the banks of the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.

While there, I was given the last of five, weekly, liquid-iron infusions meant to knock out the anemia that has slowed me down for several months.

It will be a month before there are blood tests to assess the outcome but meanwhile, I have felt a big change in my energy level.

When the anemia was diagnosed, I was lucky to vacuum one room without breathing heavily and needing to sit down for half an hour. About three days ago, I vacuumed the entire house in one go, hardly noticing any exertion.

These infusions took place at the same clinic where, for three months last year, I was treated weekly with chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer. That, combined with the internal bleed that took several months to fix, are what led to the anemia.

One more recent item: Last Monday, at the Marquam Hill campus of OHSU, I underwent an FNA - medical jargon for Fine Needle Aspiration: that is, a biopsy of a lump on my neck.

The lump has been there for a long time – more than a decade. It was small and didn't bother me so I ignored it all that time. Then, in the past few weeks it has changed, enlarging a great deal during the day but returning to its small size overnight.

Whatever the diagnosis from the aspiration, there will undoubtedly be a visit with the physician who ordered the FNA along with a few already-booked appointments over the rest of the year with other doctors who track this and that resulting from the cancer and surgeries.

Overall, since the pancreatic cancer was diagnosed in June 2017, I've met with about two dozen doctors along with many more nurses and other health care aides during uncounted office appointments and 25 days – give or take - in hospital over the past year.

If you have read this far (who can blame anyone who hasn't), let me tell you the reason I have recounted all this. In so much time together, some of these medical people have become friends in a certain kind of way with which I have no experience. They make a big difference in my life; the reason for an appointment aside, I always look forward to our visits, to chatting with them, to getting to know them a bit better each time.

Now, unless or until something goes terribly wrong with my health again, I will be seeing them far less frequently and it struck me hard this morning how much I will miss them.

“Good morning, Ronni,” said the woman who checks me into that infusion lab every time I'm there. “Full name and birthdate?” (She have their rules.)

“Hey, Ronni, it's been awhile,” said the CNA who checked my vitals. “Did you have a good holiday?”

“Yes,” said I, “and how did that cute daughter of yours like the fireworks?” I asked. He had shown me photos of her in the past.

“What's all this bruising on your neck, Ronni?” asked the RN who was hooking the infusion line to the port embedded in my upper chest. I explained about the FNA and she said such lumps are often not important.

Another CNA and a couple of other RNs waved and said “Hi, Ronni,” as they passed by my chair on their way to their patients.

These professionals who have helped and attended me this past year have become as familiar and important to me as the employees I know at the supermarket, the pharmacy, several restaurants I patronize regularly and even the FedEx delivery guy. Part of the rhythm of my days.

It seems to me there are concentric circles of important people in our immediate lives. Most broadly, they start with family and closest confidants; continue to good friends far and near; some neighbors; followed by the merchants and service people we see in our regular rounds who are part of our communities.

(Somewhere in the mix are co-workers but that diminishes a good deal when we retire.)

Because I had the great, good fortune to be so remarkably healthy for 76 years, I hardly ever saw medical professionals and then, not frequently enough to know about their families, children, books and movies, other interests, etc.

So this is a whole new set of people I know and like and with whom I have more personal conversations than I ever will with my closest friends.

I mean, I don't get naked with friends. I don't have detailed conversations with them about the nature of my bowel movements which my OHSU helpers have taught me to do as easily as I discuss the weather with anyone else.

And with a couple of important exceptions whom I cherish, I don't laugh as loudly or as long with friends about the ironies of my newly intimate association with my own death as I do with OHSU companions.

In a manner similar to friends and neighbors but different too, I look forward to seeing them each time. I had no idea this would happen and as my visits to OHSU become fewer (god willing), I will miss them.

Talk about ironies...