The Things I Didn’t Do

When Shannon was little and I was a single parent, I often wished that I had more time to cuddle and coddle her. She was an adorable and agreeable little girl and eager to please; she often took on adult tasks at an early age. She could read maps and acted as my navigator in the car almost as soon as she could read. She bought her own clothes within a very limited budget by the time she was in middle school. When Rosemary and I started living together and I wanted her daughter, Talmadge, to take on more household tasks, I would tell them how Shannon had assumed those responsibilities at a much earlier age. Rosemary and her daughter still tease me, "We know, we know, Shannon did her laundry when she was in the womb." [To read the whole post, click on the title]

The Only Day We Have

As a child, I looked at my beloved Nanna and wondered, “What does it feel like to be so old?” I tried to imagine how my grandmother could get through her days, knowing she was so close to death. (My grandmother was younger then, than I am now!) For me, now that I am Nanna, I have to say, I don’t think about death that often. Mostly, I think about my tasks for the day, whatever I am writing about, how my family and friends are doing, the state of the world, or what I will cook for dinner. On the other hand, I do think about dying more now than I did when I was my daughter’s age. But mostly, it feels like death is some distant future that I will pay more attention to later. I often visualize myself as being at a much younger age than my sometimes hesitant steps and banister-grasping hands give witness to. I go through my days as if I am immortal, imagining endless futures. [Click on the Title to read the rest of the post.]

Alpha Prime and Me

I hate the Newark Airport. Well, I kind of hate all airports. Airports are places designed, I am convinced, to remind me of my obsolescence.  We stop for breakfast at a restaurant on the way to our gate. I hesitate. The last time I ate in this restaurant, I left in tears because of what I saw as the dehumanization of society. There aren’t many options for better eating. We go in and sit down. After getting some help submitting our breakfast requests on the IPad, we face each other across the table. But all I can see of Rosemary is the top of her head. The IPad on which we place our orders flashes ads, opportunities for reading different papers, watching trailers for movies, playing games, and ordering more food. It is too distracting for me, and I try to shut it off, but all I can get is a screen that shows my own eyes staring back at me. I peer around the screen to see Rosemary. “What did you order?” I ask, since I can not see her plate. [Click on title to read the rest of the post.]

Cancer Redux

Rosemary’s cancer has recurred and is in her lymph nodes. We learned of the diagnosis on our second day of vacation in Maine. We returned immediately to the city for three weeks of doctor appointments, tests, and--even more stressful—waiting for test results. We cry, we laugh, we hold each other, we anguish at what lies ahead. She did everything right the first time; this is not fair. With each test result, we exult or sink into despair. With each doctor’s visit, we hope for a plan, a strategy as to how our lives will proceed for the next year. But the oncologist needs more data, more MRIs, ultrasounds, and biopsies. We wait. We wait. [Click on title to read the rest of the post.]

Turkeys and Loons

I'm awakened by the sound of a rowboat, hitting against the dock. I try to make sense of it, but I am not sure where I am. Our rowboat is up on dry land; it rarely goes in the water. It came with the house, aluminum, upside down, locked to a tree. Dan used it once when he came to visit. Dan is a tall man and the kayaks we have are more easily used by shorter people. He found the oars in the basement, turned it over, and took the rowboat out. We had never had it in the water and I wasn't sure if it really floated. Maybe there were holes in it. Once he got it out on the water, he looked like he belonged in it–a rugged lobsterman, rowing out to his traps.[Click on title to read full post.]

Vacationing as Brynna

For much of my early adult life–twenty years or more–vacation meant leaving the crazy-busy work world and driving seven hours north to a three-acre island on Moosehead Lake in Northern Maine, where we cooked meals over an open campfire, survived without electricity, carried drinking water, swam nude, and– since it was the days before cell phones–lost track of the outside world. [To continue reading, click on the title.]

Summer in the City

The saxophone player isn’t there today. He usually comes around this time in the afternoon. When he plays, I can hear the music in our apartment, although the corner on which he stands is seven stories down, half a block away, and across the street, in front of the bank. Whenever I hear his notes, I run down and put a few dollars in his case. [Click on title to read the full post.]

Paddles and Pens

When I take the car out of the garage, I see our kayaks, canoe, and paddles hanging neatly on the walls. Because of my difficulties with RA (rheumatoid arthritis), it is not likely that I will again be able to get into or out of the kayaks. Last summer, when I managed (with difficulty) to get into the kayak, I couldn’t get out. I had to have someone tip the kayak over near the beach, so that I could roll out into the knee-deep water and crawl to the shore to find something to lean on in order to pull myself to my feet. Pretty inelegant! I could do that on our own, private beach, but, now that we no longer have our house in Maine, I would be forced to enact this lovely procedure on a public beach, and that just isn’t going to happen. [Click on the title to read the rest of the post.}

Downsizing: Seeing the World with New Eyes

When the doctor took the patch off my left eye, I was flummoxed. The world I encountered was not the one I usually see upon opening my eyes; this new world was dazzling, intense, lustrous. My eyes were still dilated and my vision cloudy from the surgery. Nevertheless, the difference between the vision in my two eyes was spectacular. I spent the next several days, covering first one eye and then the other, trying to make sense of the bright reality of the left eye compared to the duller, yellow-green world of the right eye, the world I had been living in for some time. [Click on title to read the whole post.]

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