Wednesday, 19 June 2013
How Well Do You Smell?
My nose has been nearly useless for at least a decade – probably longer. It just doesn't work anymore.
Obviously, there can be dangers in having a smell deficit – being unaware of a gas leak, for example, or something burning. In the case of the latter, that's what smoke detectors are for but today, I'm more interested in the benign, although disappointing, ways my loss is manifested.
I can smell cantaloupe from half a block away but if I were not looking, I would have no idea half a dozen cloves of minced garlic are sauteeing in a pan. Onions too.
As much as I like the taste of coffee and can't imagine mornings without it, I haven't been able to smell it for many years – and it used to be such a good welcome-to-the-new-day aroma.
Toast is in that yum category too along with a freshly peeled orange. I would include bacon in what has turned into an unintentional breakfast list except that I haven't cooked it in many years so I don't know if I can still smell it.
For all my life, I have loved the fragrance of lilacs. In New York City, come that moment in spring when they were available at every corner flower stand, I would load up with about $100 dollars worth and for a week, the eight or 10 bouquets scattered about the apartment left me drunk with aromatic joy – my own personal aromatherapy.
Sometimes I would step outside the door for a couple of minutes even when I wasn't going anywhere just to be hit in the face anew with lilac fragrance when I went back inside.
Nowadays, alas, I need to stick my nose deep into the flowers to get a minor whiff of them. I miss that annual week of “scent-ual” bliss.
However, I have discovered that the very different fragrance of star lilies is almost as intoxicating to me and I can smell those more than lilacs although not as strongly as in the past.
For awhile I thought the upside of a broken nose was that it saved me from the stench of garbage under the sink or the litter box. It didn't take long to figure out other people's noses function perfectly well so now I'm fairly fanatical about keeping those containers pristine.
A long time ago, back in the days when my nose worked just fine, a terrible stink arose in my home. Not the garbage. Not the litter box and it was nothing anyone like those. It was much worse.
I tried to track down the source with my then well-functioning nose but could only locate it in the general vicinity of living room/office but no specific corner or space; it had permeated the entire room. I looked and looked, sniffing all the way. Nothing.
At last, I moved the sofa and under it was the fetid corpse of what was once a bird, too far decomposed to know what kind. Ick.
Undoubtedly, Beau Bennett of Bedford Street - my feline roommate then who, in the empty lot behind our tiny, Manhattan back yard, regularly hunted as fiercely as any African lion - had lost his catch.
Even with that, I miss having a working nose. Lately, it seems to be making a comeback in a small way but it would not be hard to convince me that it's only wishful thinking.
According to what I recall having read here and there over the years, olfactory decline can be attributed to years of cigarette smoking. Interestingly, there is no mention of that cause in a recent Medical News article about loss of sense of smell among elders.
”[A]bout 24 percent of Americans 55 years or older have a measurable problem with their sense of smell, according to data from the National Institute on Aging. That rises to about 30 percent for those ages 70 to 80, and to more than 60 percent for those over age 80.”
How about you?
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Herchel Newman: Let's Play Marbles
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Volunteering Linked to Reduced Risk of Hypertension
”New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that older adults who volunteer for at least 200 hours per year decrease their risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure, by 40 percent.
Hypertension is estimated to affect 65 million Americans. It leads to cardiovascular disease which is the number one killer in the United States. So this is fascinating news for elders who are physically able to contribute.
As reported at ScienceDaily, 1,164 adults age 51 to 91 from across the United States were interviewed in 2006 and 2010. All participants registered normal blood pressure levels in the first interview and each time, volunteering along with social and psychological factors were measured. (Emphasis is mine)
”...showed that those who reported at least 200 hours [per year] of volunteer work during the initial interview were 40 percent less likely to develop hypertension than those who did not volunteer when evaluated four years later.
“The specific type of volunteer activity was not a factor - only the amount of time spent volunteering led to increased protection from hypertension."
Isn't that the most terrific thing? Just helping others goes a long way to reducing the risk of high blood pressure. And the amount of time isn't much. There are approximately 250 business days per year which is equal to 2,000 hours. So only one-tenth of the time we spent employed, on average, is effective.
Certainly, regular TGB readers know how I bash on from time to time about how blogging – writing or reading – helps reduce isolation and loneliness at a time in life when we no longer have the camaraderie of the workplace and some other means of social interaction. That appears to also be true for volunteering.
The lead author of this research, Rodlescia S. Sneed, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology in [Carnegie Mellon's] Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Science suggests that this is what is at work in the reduced hypertension risk with volunteering:
"As people get older, social transitions like retirement, bereavement and the departure of children from the home often leave older adults with fewer natural opportunities for social interaction. Participating in volunteer activities may provide older adults with social connections that they might not have otherwise.”
Exercise is good for reducing blood pressure. So is maintaining a reasonable body weight, they tell us, along with eating a healthy diet and cutting back on sodium intake.
Now we know that something as fulfilling as helping out others can give a big boost to our health. It's something anyone can do - even if you cannot get out and about easily, there is plenty of need for people who can contribute via telephone and computer.
In reporting on this research WebMD warns to keep in mind that the study "found an association between time spent volunteering and blood pressure levels, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.”
Okay. But there is at least one other study that seems to agree. Earlier this year, EverydayHealth reported on similar results with volunteer adolescents:
”After ten weeks, researchers found that the students who volunteered had decreased cholesterol, BMI, and inflammation when compared to those who did not get the opportunity to volunteer.
"'The volunteers who reported the greatest increases in empathy, altruistic behaviour and mental health were the ones who also saw the greatest improvements in their cardiovascular health,' study author Hannah Schreier, PhD, said in a press release.”
This news – for young and old - seems to me to be the sort that if you'd ever given it serious thought, you might have deduced it for yourself. It feels intuitively right, don't you think, that doing things that make you feel good, especially while helping others, would be a health-giving activity?
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: My Writing History
Monday, 17 June 2013
18th Century Guide to Old Men's Health
”Of all passions let the old man avoid a foolish fondness for women. This never will solicit him, for nature knows her own time...and he will be only making himself the ridicule of those who seem to favour his vain and ineffectual desires."
That is polite 18th century-speak advising old men to refrain from sex as it will shorten their lives, not to mention that they probably can't get it up anyway. It is contained in a fascinating little book originally published in 1790, that has been amusing me over the weekend.
The Old Man's Guide to Health & Longer Life was written by John Hill, described as a physician and actor in England “who published prolifically on the natural sciences.” The subtitle is lengthy: ”with Rules for Diet, Exercise & Physick for Preserving and Preventing Disorders in a Bad One.”
Hill writes about the health of old men with occasional references to “people” but there is nothing specific addressing women which may or may not reflect their status in relation to men 220-odd years ago.
But it is never fair or good to judge an older society by current standards so we will not do that today.
Medicine in the 18th (and most of the 19th) century still operated on the four humours theory of health handed down from ancient Greece and Rome (or, some say, Egypt). Like Hippocrates and Galen long before him, Dr. Hill sought health for his patients in the balance of the four bodily fluids: blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm.
So throughout his little book (this cute, new British Library edition IS small, measuring about four inches by six-and-a-half), Hill prescribes behavior, attitudes and practices that will lead a man to healthy and long life.
He covers the same issues a modern-day physician would do: diet, exercise, rest, sleep along with what we would call stress and Hill refers to as the regulation of temper including passions (see first quotation above).
Hill's goal is not to cure but to maintain the health of “the hale and hearty old man.” Undoubtedly a good choice for such a book in 1790 as there wasn't much help in those days for disease.
What is amazing is that among the humours theory, bleeding and an apparent belief that even mild physical exertion was dangerous, Hill's advice wasn't that far off from today's.
He prescribed mostly light meals – sometimes only two a day - with less meat than when men were young but more milk, especially ass's milk which, says Hill, is lighter and therefore easier on the stomach than cow's milk.
There were many foods “hurtful to persons of advanced age” especially butter (“nothing worse”) along with heavy cheese and some vegetables, especially carrots, raw “sallads,” cucumbers, cabbage and all fruits but especially pears and
”The pine-apple, the most pleasant of all fruit, is the most dangerous. Its sharpness flays the mouth” writes Hill, “and 'tis easy to know what effect such a thing must have upon the stomach and bowels of persons weakened by age. I have known it bring on bloody fluxes, which have been fatal.”
In our time in recent years, nutritionists have extolled the virtues of green tea and look at this from Dr. Hill:
””Let him use the plain green tea of sixteen shillings a pound, and make it well: taking care the water boils, and allowing so much tea that it may be of sufficient strength without standing too long upon the leaves.
“This way we have the spirit, flavour, and virtue of the plant; whereas weak, half cold, bad tea has just the contrary qualities.
“Let the old man drink three moderate cups of this tea, with a little sugar and good deal of milk; and swallow it neither too hot, nor mawkishly cool. Let him eat with it a thin slice or two of good bread, with a little butter; and he will find it nourishing and excellent.”
Sounds like good advice to me.
Dr. Hill believed that nothing contributes more to health and long life than being out in “pure and good air” but then notes
”It is strange that many live to a great age in London, where the air has neither of these characters: where we breathe smoak, and the mixt stench of a thousand putrifying substances...”
The more things change, etc. Nevertheless, wrote Hill,
”The air of early morning and of late evening is cold and unwholesome: but some hours at the first part of the day passed constantly on such a walk will add many years to life and what is much better it will give health with them.”
For men who were not weak or frail, Hill also approved of gardening for exercise but with nothing more strenuous that bowling even for the healthiest of old men.
For those old men too weak for any exercise at all, writes Hill,
”...the best relief is a flesh-brush; and its effect are more than can be imagined."
"We know what we expect from exercise; and in old men, the greatest of advantages is the assisting circulation. The flesh-brush does this nearly in as great a degree...but to have the full benefit, it must be constantly and frequently repeated.”
Dr. Hill's guide to health and longevity is a fascinating look into life in the late 18th century but I'm certainly happy to be old in the early 21st century. The remedy in 1790 for pain was bleeding.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Ralph Lymburner: The Paper Boy
Sunday, 16 June 2013
ELDER MUSIC: Banned by the BBC
This 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.
This column was inspired by a program on (Australia’s) ABC about songs that have been banned by the BBC over the years. They only played a few songs so I thought I'd investigate further.
Now the BBC isn't alone in banning songs but as it's one of the most respected broadcasters, it's interesting to see what they did in this regard. Some of the reasons may be understandable (although I'd disagree with them) but others you just shake your head and say "What the....?" (I'll let you finish that sentence).
Today we'll lean towards the "What the" end of the spectrum.
I'll start with BING CROSBY.
Yep, Der Bingle was banned by the BBC during World War II. The particular song was Deep in the Heart of Texas.
Now, like me, you may be going "Huh?" That might be your reaction quite often today.
Well, the reason is (and I'm not making this up) that because it had such an infectious melody, the song might cause wartime factory hands to bang their tools in time with the song instead of working. Get your tools ready, here it is.
THE KINKS make the grade because of probably their most famous song, Lola.
Okay, if you listen to the words you can sort of understand it as it's about a love affair with a transgender person way back in 1970. But that's not the reason. Oh no.
It was because Coca Cola was mentioned in the song. Can’t have advertising on the BBC. When they rerecorded the song with cherry cola instead, the Beeb allowed it to go to air. Here is that naughty original version.
Another interesting reason to ban tunes was if they happened to pinch the melody from a classical music piece. Thus the entire score of “Kismet” got the chop as the whole thing was pretty much stolen from various works by Borodin.
PERRY COMO was another who was banned with his song I'm Always Chasing Rainbows.
It seems they thought that this was a rendition of Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu in C sharp minor. The memo snarled, "This is a bad perversion of a Chopin melody and should be barred from broadcast.”
Anyone who can get Chopin out of this song is a better man than I am, Gunga Din.
Now this is where it gets really silly (well, even sillier). We're harking back to “Kismet” (and Borodin). It seems that the Beeb had no trouble with Tony Bennett singing Stranger in Paradise in spite of the previous proclamation, because they considered it tasteful.
However, THE FOUR ACES had a version of the song as well and it was forbidden. I guess it wasn't tasteful enough for them. Just goes to show how screwy censorship can be.
I would like to have played Tony as it really is a better version but as he was allowed on the radio, I'm going with the Aces, who weren't.
FRANKIE LAINE managed to inspire their wrath even though his song made number 1 on the charts. Maybe because of that.
The song is Answer Me. The reason is because it was considered a "sentimental mockery of Christian prayer.” Hmm.
Another song that made number 1, and indeed the banning probably helped it get there, was one by JOHNNIE RAY. The reason is because of its apparent naughtiness.
A letter to the editor of some newspaper at the time said, “It is a well-known fact that the public rushed to buy Such a Night on hearing of its ban. I know several people who bought it for that reason alone!”
The BBC was unmoved. Here is Such a Night.
Religion rears its ugly head again for an excuse for banning one of the finest songs ever written. This time it was the great BILLIE HOLIDAY and God Bless The Child, a song that Billie wrote with Arthur Herzog.
It was thought to be unsuitable for broadcast because of its title – prayers in popular music were not allowed.
Another to get the chop during World War II was the song Paper Doll by THE MILLS BROTHERS.
The powers that be at the Beeb thought that the song gave the wrong message - that the story of faithless women might imperil the morale of the troops. See what you think.
Mathematician and songwriter TOM LEHRER did really well having 10 of the 12 songs on his "Songs by Tom Lehrer" album banned. He was probably really proud of that.
I might as well go all the way with this one and include The Old Dope Peddler, a song definitely beyond the pale.
THE BYRDS are represented by their song Eight Miles High.
Ah, drug references was the reason - there was plenty of that going on around that time. They didn't take any notice of Gene Clark, who wrote the song, saying it was about his fear of flying and he wrote it on the plane between Britain and America in an attempt to overcome that.
The BBC weren't the only ones who banned this song.
Saturday, 15 June 2013
INTERESTING STUFF – 15 June 2013
JOHN OLIVER'S DOING GREAT -
- on The Daily Show while Jon Stewart is off for the summer directing a movie in the Middle East. I watched all four shows this week and was not disappointed in the least.
Of course, Oliver has all the same writers Stewart has plus, he's one of the writers himself so the difference is performance and personality. Oliver is just as funny in his own way and I'm so happy not to give up The Daily Show until Stewart returns.
Here is the opening segment to Oliver's first show as host:
AMERICAN DIALECT MAPS
Depending on where you grew up or currently live in the U.S., a can of flavored fizzy water is called soda, pop or, sometimes, coke even when it's not Coca Cola. There are regional differences in the use of icing or frosting and between lightning bug and firefly.
Here is the geographical distribution on whether you stand IN line or stand ON line.
Hmmph. I guess I lived in New York too long; IN line sounds just wrong to me. There are 121 more dialect maps to explore here.
REMEMBER BIOSPHERE 2?
When, in a two-year experiment, eight men and women sealed themselves in a supposedly self-sustaining closed environment called Biosphere 22 years ago, there was a lot of controversy and suspicion surrounding it.
Last week, The New York Times reported on what happened back then and what has happened to complex of buildings since that time. Take a look:
You can read the related story here.
Like all hawks, goshawks are birds of prey and it is crucial to successful hunting that they be able to squeeze through tight spaces among trees and branches in the forest while in flight.
This amazing slow motion BBC2 video shows how they do that and how excellent they are at it.
GOOGLE'S REMEMBRANCE OF MAURICE SENDAK
Certainly you are familiar with Google Doodles – how the search engine dresses up its logo to celebrate holidays. For what would have been the 85th birthday of the late children's book author, Maurice Sendak, they got more elaborate than usual with an entire video.
It's gorgeous and we can thank Jan Adams of Can It Happen Here? for being sure we see it.
After Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima, it would seem nuclear power's days are numbered. But what if we've got that wrong?
A new documentary titled Pandora's Promise first screened at the Sundance Film Festival this year posits that nuclear power could be the savior for our planet in the face of climate catastrophe. Here is the trailer:
You can read more about the film and its point of view here and find screening dates in your area.
TO LIGHT A FIRE
That headline is taken from a Victor Hugo quotation:
To learn to read is to light a fire;
every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
“To light a fire” is also the headline of a post at Steve McCurry's blog – a simple idea that becomes powerful in its execution: a string of photos of people from around the world all doing the same thing: reading. One from Burma:
Another from Italy:
HOW CAN THIS BE TRUE?
Last week, a part-time officer with the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shot and killed five feral kittens.
“'He informed [the homeowner] that shelters were full and that these cats would be going to kitty heaven,' [SPCA director Teresa] Landon said of Accorti. 'She assumed he would be trapping them or something and taking them to a shelter and they would be humanely euthanized if they were not adopted.
“'Instead, he went to his truck and got a gun, which she thought was a tranquilizer gun, and walked around to the back of the house and approximately 15 feet from her back door shot and killed the 8- to 10-week-old kittens...
“'She was very distraught when this happened. He started shooting them right in front of her. Her children were upstairs in view of the windows. They started screaming and crying because they heard the gunshots. They started screaming, ‘Mommy, he’s killing the kittens,’ Landon said.”
MUCH NEEDED ANTIDOTE TO THE KITTEN STORY
”I just saved a very little baby deer!
“Our neighbors dog (very Big Black wolf) was off his leash, I could hear him being called.
“I ran outside, yelling at the dog (I thought that he was going after the chickens again) and I was so surprised. The dog was going after the baby deer. I yelled to the dog to go away! then to my surprise, the baby deer ran to me!!! The dog ran off.
“I scooped her up, she was saying, 'MaaaMaaa.' I wish I could have taken a photo and video.
“I ran to my house and got Finn. We both got to hold the baby! She was sooo sweet. We checked her out, the dog did not bite her!
“We walked to the back yard to see if MaaMaa was still around.
“She was, they ran to each other, then took off into the woods.”
A TEENY TINY MONKEY EATING MACARONI
It's a pygmy marmoset, native to the rain forests of the Amazon basin and one of the world's smallest primates. It measures about 4.6 to 6 inches not including its tail. That's quite a hair style he's (she?) got, too. (Hat tip to Laura Gordon Giannozzi)
If you're curious, you can read about pygmy marmosets at Wikipedia.
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” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably 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 have one.
Friday, 14 June 2013
World Elder Abuse Day
Sponsored annually by the United Nations, World Elder Abuse Day is tomorrow, 15 June, which probably explains why there has been a noticeable uptick this week in media stories about elder abuse, most particularly this time, money scams.
We have discussed this at length before, most recently in March but I am bringing it up again due to an investigative story earlier this week in The New York Times showing how banks – reputable banks, big names and small - aid and abet financial swindles aimed at elders while raking in a fortune.
An elder “mark” explained to The Times what happened to him:
”Mr. Koch, a retired teacher, said that he was usually skeptical of telemarketers. But when his phone rang one afternoon in November 2007, he recalled, he listened as the caller identified himself as a Medicare official and suggested that Mr. Koch update his health insurance card. Mr. Koch, as requested, supplied his bank information.
“But instead of a new insurance card he received notice that he had been enrolled in National Health Net Online’s discount health plan. The company had withdrawn $299.95 from his bank account as payment, according to records reviewed by The Times.”
The quote that follows is rather lengthy but it explains clearly how banks are complicit in ripping off their own customers:
”Zions [one of the banks discussed in the story] did not interact directly with the company that called Mr. Koch, National Health Net Online. What the bank did was establish a banking relationship with an intermediary, Modern Payments, that handled payments for National Health.
“Mr. Koch’s account at a small Virginia bank was debited by National Health, which in turn paid Modern Payments for processing the transaction. Modern Payments gave its bank, Zions, a cut of its fee.
“In all, Zions in effect let roughly $39 million be withdrawn from hundreds of thousands of accounts from 2007 to 2009. Much of that money was ultimately transferred to bank accounts in Canada, India and the Caribbean, according to a Times review of court records.
“Many of the Internet merchants’ customers were older people and others on shaky financial footing. But that, too, worked in banks’ favor: the withdrawals set off a cascade of insufficient fund fees — more than $20 million in all, court records show.”
Now here is the is the part that makes you sick to to your stomach. The banks knew something was terribly amiss because the number of returns for insufficient funds was, as a bank employee characterized it, “staggering.” But they allowed it continue.
”Reviewing complaints about one Internet merchant, a Zions vice president wrote, 'Every red flag possible went off in my head.'
“And yet the bank kept handling the transactions, court records show. Why? One payment processor executive suggested an answer: the business was a gold mine.”
Given what we have learned about U.S. banks and bankers since 2008, none of this information is surprising which doesn't make it any less awful.
By the time I was writing this post on Thursday, the comments had reached nearly 400. Quite a few blamed elders for being stupid and dense until a lot of other, better informed, people explained all the things that can contribute to some old people being less vigilant and more trusting than they should be.
There are a number of horror stories from adult children about criminal fraud and, sometimes, friends and neighbors taking advantage of their parents.
In addition, there is plenty of advice – most of it good – about never giving out financial or personal information of any kind on the telephone or via the internet. True. Definitely important advice. But I think all this is also a bit too much like blaming the victim.
The Times Story reports that the Department of Justice is “taking aim” at banks who cooperate in such scams and is “considering civil and criminal actions against a number of banks...”?
CONSIDERING? Do they mean like this, also reported in The Times story?
”Last November, First Delaware [Bank] reached a $15 million settlement with the Department of Justice after the bank was accused of allowing merchants to illegally debit accounts more than two million times and siphon more than $100 million.”
Huh? So when the DOJ catches a bank scamming old people out of $100 million, they impose what amounts to a 15 percent “tax” and oh, by the way, no need to bother with restitution for the victims? At that price, why wouldn't the banks just keep doing it?
What good is the Justice Department if this if this is their idea of justice? What good is World Elder Abuse Day with its bland resolution about how the "issue deserves attention?"
I'll tell you what good it is: No good. No good at all until bankers are sentenced to prison.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Sharon Ostrow: Invisible Scare, Broken Lives, No Turning Back
Thursday, 13 June 2013
A TGB Classic: Recurring Pleasures
EDITORIAL NOTE: For no good reason than whim, I took a day off yesterday from blogging. This then is a TGB Classic - a post from exactly five years ago, 13 June 2008, when I was living in Maine. The Elder Storytelling link at the end, however, goes to a new 2013 story.
Sitting at my computer yesterday morning, some movement in the sky drew my attention and I had a revelation: I have always stopped what I’m doing to watch seagulls when they appear.
Yes, I know they are scavengers, rats with wings. But they are also, like eggs, among nature’s more perfect shapes. Particularly when they are soaring, the proportion of canted wings to their body is as esthetically pleasing as a fine piece of music.
For as long as I can remember, for most of my 67 years, seagulls have evoked in me a deep, personal satisfaction, and I wondered what else I may have enjoyed all my life, perhaps without appreciating the regular, reliable pleasure they supply even or, perhaps particularly, when life is not going well.
Don’t laugh, but peanut butter sandwiches come immediately to mind. Slathered on bread that is about halfway between Wonderbread and heavy, seven-grain organic, with (this part disgusts some people) mayonnaise – always Hellman’s (Best Foods to those of you on the west coast), it may be my favorite food. Sometimes, slices of cucumber cold from the refrigerator are a nice, crunchy addition, a counterpoint to the peanut butter’s sticky-sweet smoothness.
Silk undies. There was a rumor, back in 1987, that Robert DeNiro, in preparing for his role as Al Capone in The Untouchables, wore the same silk underwear the real-life Capone had specially made for himself. I understood.
My first pair were a gift when I was about 20 years old, and I swore after the first wearing that I would forevermore own only silk panties. Well, that was never in my budget; they are wildly expensive. But there is usually one pair in the drawer awaiting my pleasure on the next wearing.
Here’s another “don’t laugh”: the monthly satisfaction after having just paid all the bills. Twelve times a year, I get to feel renewed, up to date and balanced with the world. Even when it cleans out the bank account, there is nothing hanging over my head for awhile, and I feel unburdened.
And the cat. All cats. Big ones, little ones, wild ones and tame – if any cat can be called tame. Like seagulls and eggs, they are near perfect, not so much in shape, perhaps, as in their utter self-assurance, certain of their importance and place in the world, oblivious to others’ judgment or even interest. That they are soft and cuddly (when they are in the mood) doesn’t hurt.
It is easy to take pleasure in the bigger events – marriage, a new job, an award maybe, a birthday party, a grandchild. But it felt good to make a list of the less exciting but recurring satisfactions that I never tire of and provide a continuity through the decades. What about you?
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Henry Lowenstern: Mail Call