Thursday, November 10, 2022

Growing Up

    Today marks the 53rd  anniversary of Sesame Street on public television.   It was inaugurated in 1969  to counter a previous decade of ugly cartoon television programming that featured extensive violence.  Children were averaging 27 hours a week soaking up inappropriate behavior.  Sesame Street offered on public television was structured to teach children basics of behavior as well as simple language and math skills.  In the context of my family I had children born in the 1960's who did not have the benefit of this show.   My son was especially behaviorally influenced by the cartoon.  I remember that Popeye stoked him up so much that I was concerned about how much of that roughhousing would rub off on him in his interaction with other children.

    All of this leads me to thinking about the environmental changes for each generation of children.  I grew up  in the early 40's in the radio era.  We had comic books and adventurous radio serials.  With radio being the dominant entertainment we were left to our own imagination rather than graphic visuals.  Movies filled the role of television.  

    Generation by generation children will have different technologies to influence their behavior.  In the era of cell phones and computers my grandchildren are being exposed to great wonders and great dangers.   There will always be challenging parental management of their screen time and content.  I hope that we as a society will seek the best for the young minds we are entrusted with.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Reset

     I am participating in a book study regarding the Ten Commandments that has inspired some interesting thoughts.   The latest discussion was about honoring the Sabbath.   Frankly, I had not previously spent much time musing on the meaning of sabbath.  However the study did spark a surprising reaction.   The upshot is that I have begun to see sabbath as engaging in reset. By the term reset,  I mean to pause and rethink where I am going in life and relationships.

    It has been refreshing as sabbath should be, to see things with new eyes.   I have always moved merrily along for years without analyzing whether I am on the right path.   Here I am in my late eighties now recognizing that I have lived almost my entire life always engaged in striving to be productive whether at work or in volunteering.   I have concluded that I need to back off some things and take on fresh adventures at lower stress levels than in the past.  To that end I have already resigned from one activity and taken on a new one that gives me more comfortable socialization.

    Of course in this blog I feel obligated to comment on my skiing aspirations.   The new season is coming in a month or so.  My body is beginning to show the challenges of aging.   I made it to the slopes last season for 80 days.  In my reset mode, I am not sure I am up to that much activity this year.   I guess I will have to reset my goals and be less obsessed with numerical records and simply see skiing as an opportunity to refresh as needed.  

    I think that everyone whether they are religious or not or young or old, could benefit from interpreting sabbath as reset.    Seeing things through new eyes can reinvigorate and heal body and soul.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Shrinking Fritter

     My regular season ski companions often chide me for eating my apple fritter at coffee break.  I am known to consume a fritter on a daily basis without fail.  They usually remark on the size of the fritter!  For years my supplier has baked the fritters in house at the store and they were huge.   Not so anymore.   With the rise in inflation in the economy there is a trend to keep the price of food item the same but reduce the amount in a package without changing the price.  

   My fritter has succumbed to the change.  Now my fritters are shipped into the store from a central bakery supplier.   The size is so dinky compared to the originals that even the clerk at checkout noticed and sympathized.   Alas, I will have to adapt to this new era.  Perhaps it will be a good change to reduce my calorie consumption.  It makes me appreciate each bite I take with my coffee.  I now slow down and savor each morsel.

    In the bigger picture of the effect of inflation on maintaining our diet this is  a metaphor for the pain many families suffer.   Higher prices reducing buying power for many families increases the struggle to provide nutritious food.   For me the shrink is merely an inconvenience.   However, for many it can be hunger pains at the end of the month.   I have consistently provided food banks with monthly support out of my abundance.   Readers out of your abundance I would encourage you to do likewise!


Current Size Fritter - Previous was 50% Larger

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Blind Spots

    A few days ago I was observing a conversation that had some disturbing elements to it.  A group of acquaintances was discussing the havoc to their second homes in Florida.  The range of damage ranged from minor to significant.   During the conversation I heard little sympathy for the permanent Florida residents that had lost everything and were homeless.   They all seemed completely focused on their losses.   I guess that is to be expected.  However it got me to thinking of how blind we who have comfortable means can be about those who struggle.  I know that I am no paragon of virtue in helping people, but I do hope that I have an awareness that will prod me to do some good.   Maybe if I had lost a second home I would be more sympathetic to the vacationers!

    In that same conversation I must say  I was appalled to hear remarks to the effect that brown and black skinned folks were  getting an unusual amount of help and relief.   The implication was that they were especially privileged.   A colleague remarked afterwards, that if that was the case were these folks ready to swap places.  The same group also were vehement climate change deniers.    I could not be silent on that and tried to point to the data to the contrary.   Sadly it made no dent in their convictions.   I guess I have to accept that sometimes people will believe what they want to believe and remain blind to the obvious.  However, when we cannot mutually accept truth in data I have to object.

    I know that I have been pointing fingers and feel that I will have to be more introspective on my own blind spots.   I trust I will be able to hear and absorb other points of view.   

   

Friday, September 23, 2022

Rapid Change - The Equinox

   Never get too complacent!  In a flash things can change! My wife and I thought we would escape the Covid virus since we were well vaccinated and quite careful about out exposure in public.  Last week that changed with Nancy coming down with Covid first followed by myself a few days later.   Gratefully we are both nearly 100% recovered.    It was a change in our routine we didn't anticipate.

    Today, however there is a change in the seasons that is predictable.  It is the Autumn equinox.   Equal day and night length.    At this juncture we will be sliding into shorter days.   Leading up to this time and beyond for a while, we are in the period of most rapid changes in the day length.   For Math geeks it is a matter of maximum slope on a sine wave!     Beyond math I alway notice the change of seasons by the change of the angle of the sun filling my windows each morning.  Perhaps growing up on a farm where weather was a big factor in our success raised my sensitivity to my environment.  

    I know that there is a stereotypical view that senior folks are opposed to change.   I have no desire to be labelled that way.   That said, I do like certain routines but there is nothing wrong with tweaking or even abruptly changing things to bring a refreshing view to ones world.   Looking forward to an Autumn of brilliant colors, crisp morning air and the transition to ski season in December.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Right to Vote For Women

   Today is the anniversary of the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote in the United States.  I am stunned and reminded that it took so long to grant this right to women.   My mother was born in 1906 and by 1920 she was a teenager.   I wonder what her thoughts were when this landmark event occurred?  Or did she even hear about it?   Thankfully as an adult she did have the right to express her opinion at the polls.   All this makes me wonder about the blind spots in our nation today where we perpetrated injustice against certain groups.   In the turmoil of today's corrupt attempts to manipulated the electoral process I sense that we as nation may succumb to the kind of thinking that potentially could have denied my mother the right to vote!  

    In our last presidential election we suffered the inane claims of voter fraud by election results deniers.   Today we are still dealing with fraudulent claims of misdeeds.  Worse than that we see an orchestrated effort by one party to take over the mechanisms to verify the vote by electing officials they can control.   I feel that I am in peril of losing my country to fascist factions that will negate the will of the people.  I hope I am wrong.  I pray that the precious right that my mother was able to exercise in her lifetime will not be abrogated by a minority faction.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Mountaintop Wedding

    How appropriate for a geezer skier that a granddaughter choses a mountaintop for her wedding!   Granddaughter Jenny wedded Scotty at the top of Sugarbush this past weekend.  One hundred and eighty family and friends were ferried by lift to the wedding venue setting in a lovely green meadow.   Some non-skiers had trepidations about riding the lift.   However, the lift crew was excellent and allayed any fears one might have.   There were two guests that got the VIP treatment with a truck ride up via an access road.  Both were gimped a bit.  One by age and another in recovery from a fractured leg skiing in Utah this last season.  Although I have ridden a lift thousands of times, I can't remember every riding one down the mountain!  Even for me that was a unique experience.  

    Jenny's extended family is dominated by the skiing virus so it couldn't be more appropriate to have the wedding at a ski resort.   

    It was quite a hot day but as soon as the ceremony was completed the men were quick to shed their coats.   The ladies had the advantage of summery dresses which were much cooler.    The ceremony was custom made by the bride and the officiants.  The officiants were friends of the bride and groom who had introduced them several years ago.  They wrote their own vows which were touching and meaningful. 

    The reception and dinner afterward was a complete blast.   One of my favorite moments was when we danced the Hora!  In the Jewish tradition this dance is joyful celebration with great enthusiasm.  The bride, the groom and both parents of the bride and groom get to be lifted aloft in a chair by the groomsmen and other stalwart guys.  There was a breathtaking highlight when Ron, the  father of the groom not only got lifted while seated in the chair but also was agile enough to even stand up on the chair, as if he was surfing.   It was the highlight of the Hora!  

    All in all it was a most remarkable time.   Nancy and I knew enough to retire relatively early from the festivities.  The next day I learned that some were up til the wee hours.  This geezer is beyond that amount of celebration. 

    Father of the bride Colin said to me before the wedding that he was looking forward to assembling the whole family in joyful harmony for this occasion.   He and wife Abby along with the bride and groom and others  certainly accomplished their goal.    I am so grateful to survive long enough to see the next generation move on in their lives.

The Ride Down

Ceremony

Lift Mates on the Ride Up. 
Left to right.  Matt (Son-in-law), Daughter, Viki, Wife, Nancy