Apr 14, 2010

Two Thoughts on Aging

Thank you to the many people who shared their concern and well-wishes about my aunt's hospitalization on Sunday night.  Diagnosis: hairline fracture in the hip -- not enough for surgery, but enough for pain. After 48 hours she is back at her assisted living facility, which is good.  And yet -- without giving too much detail -- her risk for more falls and worse injuries continues and will likely increase as she ages further unless something like a Miracle occurs.

Some years ago, I heard (on the radio? among friends?) that "we think we need money for our old age, but what we really need is security." Security can come in many forms: family, friends and community can be the critical things that keep us safe and warmly held, if we build the kind of family, friends and community that would commit to doing that.  But these seem like harder things to build, and at the very least they require much more trust.  So instead, we look to money or government, both of which might keep us safe, but have a harder time keeping us warm.

In How Good Do We Have to Be? Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote:

The fifth of the Ten Commandments bids us honor our parents "that your days may be long upon the earth." ." I am not sure that people who honor their parents live longer than people who don't. Maybe what the Bible is suggesting is that, if we fashion a society in which the elderly are cherished and taken seriously, we will be able to look forward to growing old ourselves instead of dreading it. We will not have to lie about our ages, dye our hair, visit the plastic surgeon, because growing old is an embarrassment. We will not shun the elderly for fear of becoming like them. We will revere them for the living lesson they represent.

More on this, perhaps, in another post.  Meanwhile -- thank you all for any continued good wishes for my aunt and her care team, which includes my exceptional mother and father and many more folks who often try very hard.

12:22 AM in Misc. 2010, Quotables | Permalink | Comments (1)

Apr 07, 2010

What Message is the Universe Trying to Send Me?

Debit Card Last week I walked up to a Wachovia ATM that was still running with the prior customer's card inside.  I hit "return card" and turned around to see if "Susan Pearson" (not her real name) might still be in the parking lot.  I found her in her car, frantically going through her wallet.

Today I found another Wachovia debit card while I was sorting my mail at the post office.  I drove to the bank with hopes they could call "Scott Andrews" before he went through the trouble of cancelling his card.  (Unsigned -- shame on him.)  

At Wachovia, I gave the card to a friendly banker and mentioned that it was my second one of the week, then I headed back to my car.  But on the way out I spotted a set of keys on the counter by the door. Gave it to the same banker, who asked if I wanted a job.  Turns out that the keys belonged to someone's new Scion xB.  Dang -- I could use one of those right now.

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Image yoinked from CreditCardForum.com

Would it have been extra rude of me to check her balance before returning the card?  What if it had been billions of dollars?

12:46 AM in Misc. 2010 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Mar 04, 2010

A Good Fortune to Know You

Fortune cookie from fortunecookiestore.com  Last week I had a nice lunch with my friend Paul.  While we were sitting, my friend Tatiana happened by and stopped to say "hello".  I introduced them and mentioned their common interests, so they swapped business cards.  

As it turns out, Tatiana's boyfriend Eddie also knew Paul, and launched into spontaneous high praise when Tatiana mentioned meeting him.

Tatiana told me the story by email, adding, "I feel honored to now know him."

Privacy be damned.  I passed the compliments to Paul, who quickly wrote me back:.

"Gosh, I would have had no idea. Thanks so much for passing it along. I got a fortune cookie the other day which is on my desk.  It says 'A single kind word will keep one warm for years.' I believe it."

Privacy be damned once more, I had to share this story with you :-)

My Aunt Virgie shares this quote in her .sig file: 

"If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." -- attrib. William Penn.

Kind words are kind acts.  Let us happily pass them along.

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Names changed, of course.  Privacy isn't that damned around here.

Photo yoinked from fortunecookiestore.com

09:39 PM in Misc. 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feb 22, 2010

Where to Go for Reputable Environmental Decisionmaking Help?

The conusmers guide to effective environmental choices practical advice from the union of concerned scientists 7 70  I'm looking for a reliable resource for scientific opinions on environmental issues.  I remember being impressed by the Union of Concerned Scientists' 1999 book The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists because it differentiated between big deal environmental problems and less-of-a-big-deal problems so that we could allocate our efforts accordingly (e.g., meat vs. vegetables is a bigger deal than paper vs. plastic).  I often want a similar title, updated for 2010.  For example, to address one visible concern of the environmentally conscious person today: what's the relative impact of worrying about my tire pressure vs. whether I'm drinking bottled water?  Or should I spend my next $25k on buying a new Prius, or should I just keep my old car very carefully in tune, buy a solar water heating system and a new heat pump, and donate the rest to a nonprofit that weatherproofs older homes in poor neighborhoods?

I welcome suggestions on organizations and/or publications that can help.  FYI: I don't have a sense of where the UCS sits on the credibility meter.  But I did like the intention of their 1999 effort.

09:47 PM in Misc. 2010 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Feb 18, 2010

Your Childhood and Mine

Boulevard du Temple, Paris - Daguerreotype taken by Louis Daguerre.

Generational differentiator, diagnostic 1 -- your childhood photo was taken in which format:


a. digital
b. color
c. black and white
d. Daguerreotype

Diagnostic 2 -- television commercials in your childhood were:

a.  online
b.  louder than the TV show
c.  official show sponsors
d.  what television?

Diagnostic 3 -- childhood fruits and vegetables were:

a.  organic from the store
b.  from the store
c.  from the back yard
d.  organic from the back yard

Diagnostic 4 -- eggs were considered:

a.  good for you
b.  bad for you
c.  incredible, edible
d.  from the back yard

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Boulevard du Temple, Paris - Daguerreotype taken by Louis Daguerre.

08:29 PM in Misc. 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Feb 02, 2010

Durham ZipSled

Durham Zip Sled

Prince St. just west of Anderson.  A neighbor with a truck and chains packed the snow down on Saturday. I got my rides in on Monday afternoon while no one was around.  It was nice of folks to leave all the sleds out.

On Saturday night, my pal KG and her s.o. J did a combination walk/sled commute to get from Prince St. to Duke's Page Auditorium, where they locked up their sleds to make sure they didn't go wandering.  The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra got a kick out of seeing KG and J unlock their vehicles.

Related dialogue from Monday afternoon with mailman:

Me: We really impressed that you delivered the mail on Saturday
Mailman: Yeah, that sucked.
Me: We still appreciated it.
Mailman: Well that's what we do.

11:28 PM in Misc. 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)