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August 27, 2014
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River Muse

Activities of daily living

My uncle’s home health aide is there to assist him with “ADL”—activities of daily living. It was a term I was blithely ignorant of before my aunt had a stroke earlier this month. He is in his mid-80s with multiple health problems. She is younger and not the one we were worried about. But the toll of caring for an older spouse—or a younger one who is infirm—is dear. She lost 60 pounds in a year and a half, and she never was a candidate for one of those reality shows about obesity.  Read more

A grateful Cassandra

Some people experience emotion more deeply than others. When our daughter was four, she would often collapse in a fit of discomfort because her socks didn’t “feel right.” I’m happy to report that, as a college senior, she has the sock issue under control. But a slant word of criticism from an older brother can still send her reeling with self-doubt.  Read more

Future forward

Christmas is over. The welcome gifts are already in use—earrings, a museum membership, electric teakettle. A bag of paper awaits recycling. Books are piled high awaiting free time and curious minds. The tree lights still twinkle. There is no snow.  Read more

Coping in the new economy

In this flailing economy, I have been searching for a semi-solid investment—something to see me through my semi-retirement years. I think I found it.

It has easily sourced raw materials, bio-degradable packaging and multiple applications. And so far, it’s legal.  Read more

Turning 21

Our last child has come of age. With our guidance, and without it, she learned to walk and to read, to cook and sew and ride a bike and drive a car. Singing seemed to be divinely granted. There were piano lessons and Girl Scouts and summer camp and basketball league. She was an easy learner and an eager one. She spurned my attempts to guide her sartorial style, developing her own at 18 months when she insisted on dressing herself—many times a day.  Read more

Going local

The feeling had been creeping up on me for some time, but it wasn’t until we sat down to brunch recently at a favorite local bistro in our Manhattan neighborhood that I could identify it. I was a tourist in my own home town. The hostess did not recognize us. She sat us at a table for two in the netherlands of the middle dining room.  Read more

The ‘Freedom’ Towers

“Now things will have to change,” was my first cogent thought after witnessing the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. It didn’t take long for me to make the connection between these horrific acts and the desperation engendered in the world by a corporate system run amok. Before the TV anchors had figured out that the two planes weren’t a fluke, I knew that much. But what a fool I was.  Read more

Summer food

The joys of weeding have eluded me this summer. I’ve been tending the algae growing in my pool instead. I treated it with chemicals, vacuumed, brushed, said daily novenas to the Virgin. Did you know there are different algaes? Green, of course, but also mustard and black. It was some small consolation when the pool clerk said “everybody’s growin’ it this summer.” It must have been a July thing. When August came, it went.  Read more

Lessons of the open road

An astronaut recently returned from space travel with the observation that “everything seems smaller now.” I know what he means. It was precisely my experience returning home from a 9,000 mile road trip across America. “Smaller” as in more achievable, less daunting rather than insignificant. Imagination often has its own agenda. When I imagined this journey, as I did many times over decades, I worried about the long flat stretches of the Great Plains, the heat and desolation of the deserts, the rough inclines of the mountains.  Read more

Wanderlusting

There has always been a wanderlust in me, seeking escape from the known to the unknown. A train whistle in the night excites my senses. I yearn for the freedom of an open road. So it was not a hard sell, this road trip from New York to California with my daughter promising to share the wheel, her newly minted driver’s license in hand. The moment the idea loosened from her lips, I seized it, imagining nights around a campfire and days exploring small towns and grand vistas.  Read more

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