Monday, October 31, 2022

Music Monday - Halloween

Could there be a better song for Halloween?  I love this one! 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

The Sunday Five : Lost and Found

 1: What was the last thing you tossed in the trash? 

2: Have you ever pulled something out of the trash and kept it? 

3: Have ever lost both gloves? 

4: Have you ever had a hat blow away on the wind? 

5: Where do you leave something you want to be rid of, but hope someone else will want? 

My answers:

1: What was the last thing you tossed in the trash? A plastic envelope that a greeting card came in. 

2: Have you ever pulled something out of the trash and kept it? Yes, I won't say what. 

3: Have ever lost both gloves? No, gloves always seem to go one at a time. 

4: Have you ever had a hat blow away on the wind? No, but I seldom wear hats. 

5: Where do you leave something you want to be rid of, but hope someone else will want?  B-3 level of the garage, next to the recycling bins. I sometimes check back to see if something was given a new home. 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Saturday Morning Post: On Getting Older

Getting old is a pleasure denied to far too many. 

Ron in Delaware used to use the phrase, "more yesterdays than tomorrows."  Yes, I have reached that point in life.  There are a few adventures I want to enjoy, that I know I need to do sooner rather than later.  Google tells me that the average life expectancy for an male in the United States is 76.1, there is a 50% chance that I only have 12 years left to do everything I want to do.  Actually having lived this long, the internet tells me I can expect to live another 18.65 years.  That would put me in my early 80's, about as good as I can expect.  

I am enjoying being old. I have less hair, if I keep it cut, it is easier to tend to, less to fuss over. There are a few aches and pains, a little less flexibility than there was decades ago.  That gives me a great excuse to slow down, the pause for a rest, to not bend over to pick something up.  

I have no qualms about claiming the seats reserved for older and disabled passengers on the subway train.  Though I will get up and move if someone with greater needs boards.  Standing for my 30 minute ride would not be good.  I stay seated until the train stops, getting up or down when the train is starting or stopping puts me at greater risk of tumbling off me feet.  Safety first.  

I claim the "senior" discount on museum admissions, then turn around and make a donation.  

A friend posted on FB that he went to a high school football game recently and the person in the ticket booth asked "Senior?" and he responded 46 years ago. He did he math for her, yes he is old enough for the reduced price ticket.   

I see too many people who live as though they are going to live forever. Putting off until never what they really want to do today.  

I recently had a spell of not feeling well, it was something that passed quickly, but I had a moment when I thought, this could be the last day, and my mind went to the thought, if this was the last day, what would I want to do?  Probably not what I was doing. 

Retirement is on my mind.  From a rational perspective, I am at my earnings peak, I am at the helm and setting the course at work.  I should stay for a few more years.  There was a time when I would have said, you will find me decomposing at my desk someday.  But that time has passed. When I think of the balance between work and personal life, I am getting to the time in life when I need to spend time on me. There are things I want to do, that I can't do in the office.  Time to get them done.  I want to be in a position that when I think "oh this might be the last day." I think, this is exactly how I want to spend it.  

Friday, October 28, 2022

Fabulous Friday - Geyser

The word Geyser comes from Icelandic, the first documented geyser, was named Geyser and is in Iceland.  I have not been to Yellowstone, I saw my first geyser in Iceland last spring.  

Geyser rarely erupts, but the one next to it erupts every 8 to 15 minutes. Not quite set your watch by it, but often enough that you can stand around and watch.  We did.  I found it fabulous.  

There is an amazing hotel across the street from Geyser, the next time I want to stay there.  They have massive four wheel drive tundra tours from there, I want to ride one of those. They look amazing.  

There are many things left to see.  IcelandAir has first class, off season fares of $999 round trip.  I can't do it this fall, but spring will be here before we know it.   

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Thursday Ramble: Professional Conferences

I can remember the first few professional conferences I attended, scouring through the agenda and parsing out every minute, scurrying from session to session, wondering who I might meet, what I might learn.  And at first there was much to learn.  Actually at my first conference I went in early to attend a pre-conference intensive, that was entirely filled with political speculation about a possible change in the law, that 23 years later change still has not happened.  I felt cheated, my time and my money, and all I got was political speculation.  

As time went on, my office policy changed my behaviour at conferences.  If I was speaking, they would always find money for me to attend, if I was not speaking, I could get maybe one conference a year.  And I loved traveling, so I started putting in proposals to speak.  I have long been comfortable speaking.  I learned that in teaching I learned more than I did as an attendee.  At first I would max out the number of speaking opportunities, scurrying like a rat from session to session stressing out.  Then I figured out that one or two sessions, had the same impact as five.  

I found that the sessions I attended were often the same speakers, sometimes the same materials as the year before.  After a while I had heard all of their jokes.  And conferences were in nice places. I started slipping out and seeing the sights.  By skipping a couple of sessions in an afternoon and I could make a visit to a Smithsonian museum, or go touch the Liberty Bell (yes I did with permission from the ranger on duty.)  

So I progressed to going to conferences, focussing on the session I was speaking at, and seeing a little of this and a little of that. A little networking, often the conversations in the hallway are more important than what is said in the meeting room.  The location of the conference, became as important as the agenda.  

And so it has developed, I go, speak, spend as little time as is needed to network or put in an appearance, and maybe listen to a speaker or two that really interest me, and spend time in the venue.  Just a walk around the block can make a huge difference in understanding a place.  

Actually the best professional conferences to attend, are your partner or spouses.  I have been to a dozen of them, and classists sometimes have conferences in amazing places.  Then your days are free to explore, to see, to do.  I spent the better part of a week "In College" at Oxford, while sweetie bear was off hobnobbing with his fellow wizards, and I was free to explore the Oxford campus, complete with conference credentials the backstage pass to one of the worlds great Universities. Oh and there was the tea party with the Archbishop. I kind of miss those days.  These days he is going with me to my conferences.  Along with a sweet little flightless bird, who put in an appearance last week at the Montreal Congress (convention center.)   

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Wednesday W's : Back in the USA edition

Where have I been?  Montreal, Quebec, Canada - I sort of speak French.  I took a year of French in high school and have fiddled with it on and off since then.  I would give a hearty bonjour, and get a reply in rapid French that would leave me lost.  I was pleased at my ability to read, especially in context, signs, menus, simple instructions.  I managed a couple of minor transactions all in French.  Then there were words that I have never seen or heard in French - sort of French - Quebec French.  

Why was I there?  I was part of a panel discussing research into discriminatory treatment of LGBTQ+ patients in end of life health care at the McGill International Palliative Care Congress.  I was a consultant on the research and Gary needed a second speaker. 

What made me happy? Among other things being back to traveling a little again.  I will surpass 30 nights in hotels this year, I didn't do that the last couple of years.  I have a log book of all of the hotels I have stayed in back to 2005.  Only a handful have a note next to them, never again.  The hotel in Montreal, a newish Hampton Inn was very comfortable, very well located, very nice. 

What surprised me?  How easy it is to get back into the Country.  I signed up for every trusted traveler program I could.  I get the express lane and it is easy.  

What have I been eating?  Several really good things, oysters raw and baked, a melange of meats and seafood, a shellfish pasta, and a smoked meat poutine.  The pointine, was not pretty, but it was tasty, to quote Spo, "like some men."  

Where am I off to next? Boston for a couple of days, mostly work for me, a conference I helped plan and I am speaking at. 

What am I looking forward to? My sister will be in town for Thanksgiving weekend in November.  She is staying with her late husband's family.  We will get a chance to spend some time together. 

What did we see? Lots of pretty things, pretty trees, a spectacular church, the site of the 1967 World's Fair.  More photos will follow. 

What have I been reading? Better with Age, by Alan Costel - it was okay - I need to download more books to my Kindle. 

What is well worn, well loved? My Kindle, I have worn through the finish on the plastic case where I swipe to the next page. 

Who deserves an atta boy? VRE - the Virginia Railway Express, a commuter line - they have extended free rides where their route parallels the subway, as long as the subway is out of service for a new station being connected to the line.  We are about 5 weeks in, with a couple of weeks left to go. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Travel Tuesday : Sometimes You Just Need to Go Someplace


Reading Mathew McConaughey's bio-book, Greenlights, I was struck that several times in his career, he just took off to travel.  An early mentor told him to go explore and relax.  Another time a wet-dream inspired him go to the Amazon River.  

My adult life has largely been too structured to travel spontaneously. I have once or twice. When I was living in Florida I found myself unemployed one summer and hopped in the car and drove to Michigan on kind of a whim.  

When traveling with plans, we often encounter things that interrupt our carefully planned trip - a museum that is closed, or a road closed, or a sleepless night.  When that happens just change directions, go another way, do something unexpected.  

The sign above, was in the airport in Reykjavik, a trip that was originally planned for Boston, then we went right instead of left.  

Monday, October 24, 2022

You Tube Monday: MasterClass President Bill Clinton Teaches Inclusive Leadership

I love learning.  I have spent more years in a classroom than I can count, and I miss it.  I periodically think about going back.  When we lived in Kentucky I was in an old fashioned pension plan that if I stayed, I would have been able to retire by now, and the University system had a tuition free policy for people my age, I joked that I would try to get in Medical School as my retirement project.  I may still look at taking classes again, though being free from the academic calendar allows us to travel in the off season, and we like that.  

Delta Airlines, on their A320 fleet has seat-back entertainment, in all classes.  They have included MasterClass in the offerings.  Returning home from Michigan after the funeral I watched an hour of them.  My reaction, the pure lectures where kind of boring, a famous scholar and writer talking about writing the creative process without moving, was hard to watch.  Another scholar had lots of illustrations, easier.  An emerging chef teaching southern cooking, was much more engaging. Still I am tempted to spend the money, and subscribe, there is so much to learn, and I do miss being a student.  

Have you watched MasterClass?

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Sunday Five : Feeding The Bears

  1.  I remember the stream running through Ketchikan Alaska being so full of salmon it looked like you would walk across the stream, have you ever caught a fish? 
  2. Have you ever kept a pet turtle? 
  3. Roast duck or duck confit? 
  4. What would you do if you saw a bear in the wild? 
  5. What is a bears' favorite food?
My Answers:

  1.  I remember the stream running through Ketchikan Alaska being so full of salmon it looked like you would walk across the stream, have you ever caught a fish?  Yes, but it has been several decades. 
  2. Have you ever kept a pet turtle?  No
  3. Roast duck or duck confit? The first time I had confit, was at the Orsay Museum in Paris, it is amazing
  4. What would you do if you saw a bear in the wild? Stop, keep my distance and take photos.
  5. What is a bear's favorite food? Picnic baskets  
Please share your answers in the comments. Have fun!

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Saturday Morning Post - Ideas

I was reading something recently that asked how do we measure the dimensions of an idea? How much does it weight? What volume or space does it take up? How many molecules are in a thought? 

If an idea, is in writing, we can measure the letters, words, pages.  If it is printed the number of pages.  If it is electronic, how many electrons are needed to store it.  If we burn the printed pages, or scramble the electrons, does the idea go away? 

If the idea is in my brain, does the idea go away when my brain ceases to function.  

With the struggle to measure an idea, or thought, why should one idea or thought weigh more heavily on our brain, than another idea or thought? 

These are deep questions. Things to think about when I have nothing to think about.  

Why do we think about deep and unanswerable questions?  Sometimes these conversations with yourself lead to deeper understanding of self, or we draw parallels to other questions in our world.  

So what do you think? And how do we measure that thought? 

Friday, October 21, 2022

Foodie Friday - Apples

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Farmers Market on Saturday morning and one of my favorite vendors has nice looking apples out.  I bought a few.  

When I got home, someone asked, "what kind of apples" to which I responded good looking ones.  I made an apple tart for a dinner party we had been invited to, and someone asked, "what kind of apples?"  There was a sign on the box, but I just picked out what looked good. And the apples were good.  

Growing up there were three kinds of apples, front yard, honey house and dog pen apples.  

Front yard apples, were on a tree in the front of the old farm house that had to be 100 years old.  It was 50-75 feet tall, produced few apples, they were good when fresh, and early in the season.  

Honey house apples came from a free behind the honey house. This was the best tree. The tree was about 20 feet tall and nicely round.  The apples ripened in August, with a nice mixed red and yellow skin.  They were the best for eating, baking or making applesauce.  

The third kind were dog pen apples, so known because the tree was in the run that my grandfather kept his hunting dog in.  They were late season, often very firm, and tart.  They often never really turned red, they would turn yellow, then brown and drop off the tree.  Looking back they were probably an apple that was green when ripe, but no green apple was considered ripe when I was growing up.  

My grandfather didn't believe in spraying trees.  His reason was that he didn't want to deal with the mess, and by the time you paid for the spraying equipment and spray, it cost more than the apples were worth.  Maybe underneath it all, he was concerned about the impact of spraying on the bees, after all this was a honey bee farm.  We just trimmed around the worm holes and insect blemishes.  

Having grown up in that environment, I buy apples based on look, feel, smell.  It seldom fails me.   What kind of apples?  Good ones! 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Thursday Ramble - Getting Organized

We entirely moved out of the kitchen for the remodel, using paper plates and plastic flatware for three-four weeks.  Some of the pots and pans had to go, as they were incompatible with the new induction cooktop.  Several boxes of stuff went, things that we decided we were not using, or were duplicative, or we simply didn't have a reason to keep.  The toaster was dropped, and needed replacing, and I bought a new mid-size food processor to replace a tiny one and a jumbo one, with one mid-size that works well. One is easier to store and use than two. 

I bought drawer organizers, new trays for flatware, an organizer for a drawer full of plates and bowls, and two in drawer knife blocks, to eliminate the countertop knife block.  

One of our desires was to free up counter space. 

We have been moving things around.  We didn't have a precise plan for what was going where.  I am not sure that we really knew everything that we have.  Drawers under the cooktop are proving invaluable.  We didn't put the pot rack back up.  (And I had bought a new one that is under my bed.) 

There are still a few areas that can be rationalized.  But it is so much more organized than before.  

Has your kitchen been reorganized recently?    

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Wednesday Ws - What is that?

Well it has been a long week. 

What have I been up to? Mostly work. One of my colleagues has found a great job and is leaving.  So I had to get approval for posting the job, my first time doing that as director.  A funding renewal came in resulting in an extended exchange with our budget people, that in the end, landed right where it started with only one sleepless night wondering if I knew what I was doing. 

What have I been reading?  I finished reading "Talking to Crazy," the same day my motivation for reading it . . . oh well it was helpful. 

What was my Saturday like? An early run to the farmers market, then the rest of the day as an observer on a Uniform Law Commission drafting committee. A rare Saturday of work. I did get a couple of words changed. And I explained a fine line difference - that no one else seemed to get - maybe the reason I was invited to have a seat at the table.  

What have I been thinking about? Planning travel for the rest of the year, and thinking beyond. I have been invited to speak in Arizona in January, I need to get that booked.  We will get a chance to see a couple of Bloggers.  

Who has made me smile?  I had a call last Friday, about a report that I wrote a few months ago, the caller described the report as having "personality" and said it was one of the easiest ones to read. Mission accomplished. 

What did I do unexpectedly? Just as I was finishing a Zoom meeting, the home network went dead, internet, tv, and phone all dead.  A call to the provider said there was a wide area outage, that was going to take hours to restore.  On the spur of the moment, I took my little car to be washed and had the windows cleaned inside and out.  It looks so much better.  

Who deserves an atta-girl? Ginger, she will know why. THANK YOU!  

Who deserves a slap? Continuing as a no slap zone, but I have my breaking point for anyone who fails to vote in the upcoming election.  

What have I been eating? A couple of nice hearty soups, leek-potato-veal, J made a nice chili. I get bored with my own cooking. 

Where am I going?  Montreal, I have never been there, it is work, but not a lot of work. 

What am I looking forward to? Lots of adventures. 

What is in the cage? A rat, a plastic rat, but still why did it have to be a rat. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Travel Tuesday: Food Travel

One of the fun parts of travel, is eating out, and eating with relish.  On the most recent trip, we had great smoked barbecue, wonderful Italian food, classic American food, Detroit style pizza, roast pork, fried perch, then I dropped off into road food.  

I always try to find good red sauce Italian food when we travel, I seldom cook it at home, due to someone's touchy digestion - the joys of getting old.  

I have had some memorable food when traveling.  A Michelin starred restaurant in Ireland, Snails in Paris, Limoncello on a roof top in Rome, the most amazing meatballs in the shadow of the Acropolis in Athens, Pacific Oysters on the half shell - with a view of Pacific Ocean in California and Seattle.  

Doc Spo, is forever talking about eating with relish, so when I saw a sign for a restaurant by that name, I couldn't resist.  

Monday, October 17, 2022

Music Monday - 30 Years of Silly Love Songs

October 17, 1992 we formed a family.  It was 23 years before marriage laws caught up with us, we were married on October 17, 2015.  So this is either our 30th or 7th anniversary.  We have grown, together, in commitment, in understanding, in Love, and we have a lot of adventures left to experience.  

How did we last 30 years? Kindness, understanding, putting love ahead of ego, spending quality time together, allowing one another alone time.  I think we both know what the other's emotional soft spots are, and we avoid them.  We know what to say that would hurt the other person, and we never say it.  We do little things for one another, just because we can, and doing it makes the other person feel good.  Seperate bathrooms have probably helped, I am a slob, and he is not. We have always each had private or personal space at home, privacy and trust as simple as that.  

If we live as long as our mothers did, we will make it to 50 years.  Looking forward to the adventure.  

Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Sunday Five: What to ask?

  1. What could Santa bring you for Christmas this year? 
  2. Have you been a good girl or boy this year? 
  3. Have you started your holiday shopping? 
  4. Is there anything you don't want as a gift? 
  5. Is it the thought, or the gift that counts? 
My answers,

  1. What could Santa bring you for Christmas this year? Another good year. 
  2. Have you been a good girl or boy this year? Good yes, girl or boy - only one of the above. 
  3. Have you started your holiday shopping? Started. 
  4. Is there anything you don't want as a gift? Socks and underwear.
  5. Is it the thought, or the gift that counts? The thought, I don't keep score any longer.  
Please share your answers in the comments.  

Saturday, October 15, 2022

The Saturday Morning Post - Distilled

My grandfathers died in the fall of 1976.  The following spring I flew to Florida, my first airline flight, to drive one of my grandmothers back to Michigan.  The following fall I started driving her to Florida in the fall and back to Michigan in the spring.  We did that for about 4 years.  

She and my grandfather had wintered in Florida for about 20 years, driving the most direct route to and from, stopping only to eat, sleep and get gas.  She said, you know there are places I would love to see, if you have a few extra days, let's explore the country between here and there.  And we did. 

We were making our way across Tennessee one fall.  She was tired, I was feeling kind of off, we needed a quiet day.  And that is how we ended up at the first distillery either of had ever seen, we went to see the Jack Daniels distillery.  We enjoyed the tour, all you could get was a good sniff, it was a dry county.  Refreshed by the quiet day we moved along on our journey.  I remember we stayed a  Holiday Inn, and the charge never showed up on her credit card.  She worried about it, called the hotel to inquire, and was told to not worry about it, it happened sometimes in the days of manual processing.  She worried about it for months.  

Having lived in Bourbon country for a decade, I have seen a lot of distilleries.  The one above is Journeyman in Michigan,  on the left is a pot-still, to the right of that two column or continuous stills, and on the far right a doubler. I am amazed that I can identify the distilling hardware. I shouldn't be, the parking lot at the law school was next to the Vendome copper works, where many of these are made.  

We were driving across Kentucky and Indiana last month, and making jokes about "oh look more corn fields."  Corn fields are a common sight.  I remarked about the corn being bourbon seed. The core of bourbon is dry hard field corn.   Ground to meal, boiled to activate the sugars, then fermented with yeast, then distilled, aged (sometimes to perfection) and bottled.  That is a very distilled summary of whisky making. 

If you ever want to go exploring distilleries, let me know.  I hear there are some great ones in Scotland, I have not been there yet. 

Friday, October 14, 2022

Fabulous Friday - The Painting On the Wall

This image has been around for a while, this is a post that has been in the drafts folder since 2019, the paining on the wall has probably been there for 2,000 years.  The photo was taken in the forum in Rome.  In a chapel that had been buried in debris for 1,500 years or so.  

The desire to decorate our surroundings, is as old as mankind.  The ability to tell a story with images, likely as old.  This does a bit of both. 

And how fabulous that here we are, a thousand or two years later, enjoying the image, perhaps understanding the message.  

May we all do something in our lifetime, that will be seen, heard, or read 2,000 years from now. 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Thursday Ramble : My Day Job


My day-job is as Director of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging. 

My interest in issues in aging started, as a family caregiver for a grandfather with dementia, during my last couple of years of high school.  And I have been out of high school a lot of decades.  

I went to law school planning to do planning, zoning, land use, and construction defects law.  The summer between my first and second years of law school I volunteered at a local legal aid office.  The staff attorney who focused on helping older clients, took me under her wing and I fell in love with helping older clients.  That volunteer time, changed the course of my life.  After law school I managed a senior focused legal aid program for a decade, I was a contract trainer for AARP on legal issues and older adults, and that led to my day job.  

For nearly 14 years I have been a member of the staff of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging (COLA.) We do interdisciplinary research on complex issues in law and aging, with a focus on improving the quality of life and quality of care of adults as they age.  We provide training to professionals in law and aging, this year our training has reached over 9,000 participants.  We publish widely, on average our staff publishes 25 articles per year.  I write my share of those.  

Being a part of the American Bar Association gives us great strength, many of the best lawyers in the world, are members of the ABA.  But it does not give us great financial support, only 12% of our budget is from the ABA, 88% of our budget is from outside sources.  

An important part of the 88% is support by individual donors, people like you, who think protecting the rights, of older adults, fighting abuse, reforming guardianship and promoting personal autonomy in health care decision making is important. 

Last January, having outlasted or outlived my colleagues, I took on responsibility as Director of the Commission on Law and Aging.  A part of my responsibility, is asking for support.  

This year, the Commission on Law and Aging was included ABA Giving Day.  This day marks a national recognition of Pro Bono service by attorneys.  Our goal is to raise $10,000 in gifts.

There are two ways you can help me with the effort:

    Share this post on your social media or with your network

    Make a donation, in any amount that is comfortable for you. 

    To support our work use this link, and scroll down the feature box     for the Commission on Law and Aging with the image that is             above.

There are three measures of success, meeting our goal of raising $10,000, the number of individual donations, the number of new donors. Every gift gift makes a difference.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Wednesday W's - We Made It

What have I been up to? Mostly work, with occasional weekends. I realized Friday evening, that I hadn't left the house since I came home on Tuesday evening, working from home tends to keep me home too much.  

What have I been reading? "Talking to Crazy" and a book that purports to explain theories of philosophy in a page or two each.  I haven't take a philosophy class,  maybe I should. 

What has pleased me? Cooler autumnal weather,  Saturday morning it was 53 degrees F, and bright and clear.  I put the top down on the little car when I went to the farmers market.  

What have I been cooking?  I baked my holiday fruitcake, one large 3-pounder.  I made ham and bean soup on a recent cool rainy day. I have made a couple of apple tarts. I am very much enjoying the new kitchen.  I still have not mastered the upper oven.  

Where am I going? Montreal and Boston later this month, both are work, but to great places.  I will report on the adventures. 

What are my longer term plans?  All of the reservations are in place for going to Spain in December.  We will see Mitchell and hopefully meet the Saint.  

What have I seen? A Bald Eagle on my way home from the farmers market last Saturday.  I always want to stop and point, and shout a the passing drivers to look up and see what is around them.  

Who deserves an atta-boy? My colleagues in the office, I recently led my first major board meeting, and my colleagues helped me do virtual brainstorming, something we had read about but not seen done.  It worked. 

Who deserves a slap? Once again I am in a forgiving mood, be kind to others. Well there was the driver ahead of me leaving the parking garage, that if they drove any slower, they would have been parked. Maybe they were driving to the best of their ability, benefit of the doubt, no slaps. 

What surprised me?  I rode to the funeral with my two nephews.  At the cemetary one of them was describing who was buried there, and he didn't identify the marker for his great grandparents.  They were such a part of my life, it is hard to think that in a couple of generations, their identity and connection is forgotten.  Makes me glad I searched out great grandparents final resting places - well half of them, I have no idea where my mother's grandparents are.  

What worries me? A couple of friends who seem to be struggling with depression, and seem to lack a support system.  

What should I do? Should I invite family for Thanksgiving? I don't know if they would come, and travel would be a hardship, but I think about it.  

What craziness are we considering? My Sweet Bear's family holds a winter picnic in Cleveland Ohio, we went once, we are seriously thinking about going this year, in February.  Cleveland in February, we must be crazy.  


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Travel Tuesday : The Bridge

The new Woodrow Wilson Bridge crosses the Potomac River near where we live.  This was a replacement for an older bridge that was always congested, any minor traffic issue would back traffic up for miles.  An accident could close the main highway around the DC area for hours.  The new bridge was built in the early 2000's, opening around 2009.  

It is a drawbridge.  In theory to allow tall ships to pass, though few do.  We joke it is a drawbridge so Virginia can stop the invasion from Maryland. 

Bridges are wonderfully symbolic.  Bridges are connections, in this case connecting two states, and completing the circle route around the Capital city.  Drawbridges open to allow traffic, and at the same time break that connection - at least temporarily.  

This bridge is a marvel of engineering, and Jones Point Park provides a wonderful view of the underside, as traffic speeds by overhead.  We were married in that park. 

Sunday, October 09, 2022

The Sunday Five: What Next

  1. What are you celebrating next? 
  2. What was the last thing that made you sad? 
  3. What are you looking forward to in 2023? 
  4. What would make you glad?
  5. What do you want me to write about or ask next? 
My answers: 

  1. What are you celebrating next? Our anniversary is coming up soon, 7 or 30 year depending on how you count the start date. 
  2. What was the last thing that made you sad? Hearing of the death of a friends pet. 
  3. What are you looking forward to in 2023? New adventures, I see more travel coming up. 
  4. What would make you glad? Congress turning Blue. 
  5. What do you want me to write about or ask next? Things that make my readers look forward to what I say next. 

Please share your answers in the comments.  

Saturday, October 08, 2022

The Saturday Morning Post; Going to the Dogs Again

The dog's name is Robicheaux, and his owners name is Ronna. He is an enthusiastic jumper. Absolutely full of fun, full of life, capable of being calm, and sweet, and affectionate one minute and jumping head high the next.  I saw them coming down the sidewalk, with the dog periodically jumping.  I started following with my camera and when they crossed the street he put on a spectacular display.  Ronna stopped to ask if I had any good photos of him fully in the air. I showed her a couple, and she sent me an email so I could send them to her.  I shared half a dozen.  

There is a meme that makes the rounds from time to time, of a dog rushing out of a gate and down the street, with the caption, live like someone left the gate open.  A good philosophy.  Most of the restrictions in our lives are self imposed.  Robicheaux even on his lead, jumps for joy.  I am going to remember to do that this week.  


Friday, October 07, 2022

Fabulous Friday - Hotel Elkhart

When we were on the road, I mentioned the great customer service at the Hotel Elkhart, in Elkhart Indiana in my Wednesday Ws, they fixed my potentially expensive mistake.  

Not only that, the hotel was fabulous.  Parking is easy, with a city garage immediately behind the hotel with a door on that side into the lobby. Check in was efficient and polite.  And the room was huge.  There is just no other way to describe it, you could move around without bumping into things.  And very comfortable.  

It is part the Hilton Curio Collection, not cheap, but really not that much more than the hamster inn out by the expressway.  It is right on Main Street downtown.  Only a mile or so from where friends of ours live.  

I still come back the size of the room, everybody loves a big one.  


Thursday, October 06, 2022

Thursday Ramble - Empty Shoes

Get Out There And Vote Like Your Life 

Depends On It, Someone's Life Does.

John at Going Gently wrote recently about voluntary aid in dying. In the US we call it physician aid in dying. Ten states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a terminally ill patient, who knowingly and with capacity requests it, twice, with a minimum waiting period between the two requests. The medication must be self administered. 

Some will argue that no person should control death.  For those persons this is not a good option.  For others whose belief system is that this is a personal choice, not controlled by some outside force, it may be a viable option.  

I have watched people suffer, wither, and die long and painful deaths.  I can understand the pain of living, being greater than that of death.  

I had a law student one summer do a deep dive into this.  There are two major limitation of the laws in the US. The person must be able to self administer, and the person must be mentally competent to request the medication.  

There are persons who are fully cognitively intact, but physically unable swallow or otherwise ingest the lethal medication.  It seems unfair that a person whose mind is trapped in an inoperable body is forced to suffer. But shifting the administration to another person increases the risk of abuse, or murder.  It also places an emotional and ethical burden on the person who administers the lethal dose. As much as I feel for the person trapped in this position, my concerns about abuse and placing the burden on another outweigh that for me.  

The deep dive that summer was brought on by a request for "why can't a person write into an advance health care directive that when certain conditions are met, if they are unable to make the request, they want their agent to make the request for them."  The ethical concerns here are even higher, how do we know that the person who has lost cognitive ability has not changed their mind? How do we assure that the person making the decision is not committing an act of abuse or murder? What about the emotional and ethical burden on the person the decision is delegated to?  

We concluded that state laws with these restrictions would most likely be found to be Constitutional in the United States.  The states have a compelling interest in preventing murder, making the challenge to these laws subject to a very high level of scrutiny.  

Further is help was allowed, I worry about the long term emotional and ethical burden on the person who makes the request, or sticks the pills into the mouth of a family member or friend. I have know people who have been involved in the accidental death of another person, in a car accident, and they carry a tremendous burden.  I have to think that for many the burden for an intentional death is even higher. And I really don't want someone who feels no remorse about killing, making life and death decisions for others.  

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Wednesday Ws : October already?


How did this happen?  It is October already?  It seems like just yesterday was Valentines day.  The weather has noticeably cooled off here, lows in the 50s F, highs in the 60's F some days.  

What is happening? There is an election in a month.  No real contested races where I live, but it is still important to get out and vote.  I skipped an election once, an idiot was elected governor, and spent 4 years thinking, I can't complain because I didn't vote against, or for the idiot.  Every election counts. 

What have I been doing about it?  Over the summer and into the fall I had a very bright undergrad student on an independent research project, looking at a pet project of mine.  Assistance available to voters who need assistance with voting.  He researched all 50 states, and this past week we published his results. This was inspired by Ron, a friend of mine who lives in Pennsylvania.  He is living with dementia, when he voted in the primary one year he had difficulty operating the computerized voting machine. The next time he went to vote he asked the poll workers to allow his wife to help him operate the machine, he knew who he wanted to vote for, he just needed help pushing the right buttons.  He was denied help.  If he had known beforehand what his rights were, he could have called the secretary of state's voter assistance line and they would have instructed the local poll workers what they could allow.  He had tears in his eyes when he said, "I still don't know if my vote was properly cast when I left the machine."  

Just released! The 50 State Listing of Available Voter Assistance is a state-by-state guide that will assist voters to be able to fully participate in the electoral process. A free resource from the ABA Commission on Law and Aging. Download here:

(Oh my, there is a hint what I do in my day job.)

Where have I been?  The grocery store, the farmers market, the office.  After the road trip and diversion I am home for a couple of weeks.  

Who have I seen?  My sweet bear, my colleagues . . . kinda quiet. Actually a party hosted by our past director, with many of my colleagues and a past colleague. 

Where am I going? Into the office three times this week, I have a board meeting on Friday.  Later this month, Montreal and Boston. 

What have I been reading? Greenlights by Mathew McConaughey - he is at least a little crazy, but also seems to know how to get himself grounded.  

What am I enjoying? Baking, cooking, and the cooler weather.  I made an apple tart and my holiday fruitcake. 

What have I been thinking?  I really enjoyed the week away, and the last day of it I spent totally disconnected from the office. I need to do that more.  It helps me look forward to retirement. 

Who deserves an atta-boy?   Noah Austin for finishing the voting access chart.  

Who deserves a slap?  Vendors who guilt trip you into leaving a positive online review, even if you really are just happy, not thrilled.  1 out of 5, maybe 2 out of 5. 

What am I watching?  Gold Rush, and YouTube.  

What made me smile? A flattering message from a friendly blogger.  

How have I been feeling?  I came home with a bit of an upper respiratory thing.  Emotionally, pretty good.  I am responding well the craziness that can be life and work.  

What am I writing? Mostly stuff for work, a defense handbook, and a couple of program outlines for my friend in Hawaii who is plotting to get me back there for a couple of days of work. (Five days back in early 2015.) And of course, blog posts.  

What am I looking forward to? The adventures planned for this fall, and to reading your comments and blogs.  


Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Travel Tuesday: Buy the Funny Hat

Okay, I didn't take this one, my sweet bear did.  We had a couple of wonderful days in Venice.  Venice is crowded, and a little messy, and easy to get lost in, and when you have the chance you really should go get lost in it. 

I saw children wearing the funny hats, I envied them.  Then one of the vendors had them in adult sizes, how could I not?  I have to admit I didn't wear that one much after the trip.  I have local old man's hats that I bought in Italy and France, simple wool caps, that I do wear every winter.  

When I see this photo my mind flashes back to a day filled with fun, awe and wonder.  The hat adds connections to not caring what others think, we need days like that, we need a life of caring less what others think. Some will always like you, love you, find you fun and funny, some will always disapprove, you can't change what the haters think, so why try. 

Sunday, October 02, 2022

The Sunday Five: Accidents

 1: Have you ever stepped in wet concrete by accident? 

2: Have you painted a room? 

3: Have you ever fallen off a ladder? 

4: Have you ever broken a bone? 

5: Is this photo art or an accident? 

My answers: 

1: Have you ever stepped in wet concrete by accident? Only once, sunk in up to my ankles wearing suede shoes. 

2: Have you painted a room? Many times, but probably never again.

3: Have you ever fallen off a ladder? No, luckily 

4: Have you ever broken a bone? No, I'd like to keep it that way 

5: Is this photo art or an accident? If I told you, you would know. 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, October 01, 2022

The Saturday Morning Post: Good Dogs

There is a tiny little dog that lives with a young woman down the hall. The dog backs up against the wall, snarls and barks when he/she passes another person in the hallway.  The owner does nothing, but grimace and say sorry.  She makes no effort to comfort or control the dog. 

The dog does not seem aggressive,  the dog seems terrified.  I have no doubt if threatened the dog would bite, but it seems to be trying to scare away anything that might be a threat.  It makes me wonder what the dog finds threatening, why the dog is terrified.  

It could be a history of abuse.  It could be that the dog is tiny and feels threatened by anything larger, and anything bigger than a rat would be larger.  It could be that the dog has never been socialized to people.  

People who are fearful, often act aggressive. People who are not use to other people, or people who are different, often perceive the unknown as a threat. People who are terrified, act in strange ways.  

The owner has not trained the dog, and the dog has not trained the owner.  Some of us are not able to be good dog owners.  

There is a trainer on TV who says there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.  Fix the owner, fix the dog.