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


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

Thursday, June 16, 2022

What Are You Doing This Summer?

     Recently I have had a number of people quiz me about what I am doing this summer.   I am somewhat puzzled by these inquiries.  It seems that many of my acquaintances who know I ski a lot think I have no other interests to keep me occupied.   It reminds me of the year I retired and everyone was asking me what was I going to do in retirement.  I had really planned for that and had a number of family and volunteer adventures lined up.   I certainly was occupied being a stay at home dad with a 10 year old daughter at the time.  To satisfy the inquiries in my initial retirement I made up a business card with a list of my activities.   Perhaps I need to do that again!   I like to market myself as a Professional Retiree!   

    Along the line of doing in retirement one has to keep reinventing yourself.   Aging has a way of restricting some physical activities.   I participated in the New York State Senior Games in tennis this week.  Only three of us in my age bracket and I hadn't done much training leading up to the event and didn't make much of a showing.  Happy to say though that I am still participating.  Showing up is a win!

    Changes keep happening in the volunteer activities too.   I have been a Blood Transport Specialist for the Red Cross for  a number of years driving about 800 miles a month delivering blood from the drives to the lab.  Yesterday I heard of a change in the protocol for handling blood for the most part will  phase out that opportunity.   

    I guess I am not too worried about finding things to do.  As each day rolls around there are numerous spontaneous things that pop up.   There is always some landscaping and gardening around our home.   Home maintenance items are more frequently showing up after 15 years too.   E-biking, hiking and day trips will become more frequent.   I also have a significant writing project that needs attention as I document dairy silos in Cortland County and their relation to transitions in over a century of dairy farming.   A history project!

    In conclusion, perhaps we all should pause from worrying about what we are doing and kick back and just be.   Be aware of the joy of living,  Be aware of our relationships.  Be aware of what amuses and motivates us.  And savor each day as God's gift of existence.


Monday, May 30, 2022

Tiny Soft Hands

     On this Memorial Day weekend we were entertained by the visit of two grandsons and their parents.  A wonderful time to gather and engage in some family activities.   Grandsons aged two and six enjoyed an outing at the Ithaca, New York ScienceCenter escorted by Poppa (me) and father Matt.  There were a plethora of creative play choices centered around science and engineering!   Fascinating for me as well as them.

    On the next day we had ample opportunity to bike ride together and use a lot of sidewalk chalk on the driveway and our basement concrete floor.  

    Today we enjoyed a tennis outing combined with a bit of exploring the SUNY Cortland athletic facilities on a walk.  Around all of this there were additional  trips for mini golf and ice cream.

    Here is what I am leading up to.   While walking on the SUNY Cortland campus, I had the opportunity to be hand in hand with two year old Finnian!  Any time this happens with a very independent child is a gift.  Holding his hand I was deeply moved by this tiny soft hand.   It is amazing how touch is such a vital part of our life.   Also this experience moves one to consider how both vulnerable and trusting our children and grandchildren are.

    On a sadder note Memorial Day reminds me of the horrible losses that have occurred by shootings these past few weeks.    The anguish of the parents that have lost their children wrenches my heart and soul.  As my youngest grandchildren grow and continue their schooling, I fear that this nation will continue on a path to destruction of norms that my childhood upheld.    When will this insanity end?

Wexford's Creation

Fluid Dynamics for Kids
Watching the Ducks go Down the Flume

Finnian's Water Wake

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Weird April

     Yesterday April 20th I rolled out my snowblower to clear eight inches of snow from my driveway.   That's weird after a ski season of meager snowfalls.  And now a big dump in April after our local ski area has been closed for over two weeks.  Ironically Greek Peak reported the highest and perhaps a record snowfall for the day of 12 inches.   I pulled out some winter clothing that I already had in storage to be comfortable  with my snow removal chore.

    A few days before I was inspecting my yard and noticed that the grass was getting long and it reminded me to have my mower ready to go.   On this inspection tour I glanced across the road at my neighbors lawn and was amazed to see he had mowed it for the first time this year.   Oops!  A few days later it is still covered with snow from our freak April dump.   I contemplated clearing his driveway as a neighborly gesture but now a day later the driveway seems to have melted off.  

    Although this seems to be a very unusual April storm for out area we have had similar events in April.  (However, they don't seem to have been this late in the month.)   On my son's April 9th  14th birthday 49 years ago we skied at Greek Peak in perfect winter conditions.  Forty nine years late he gets to ski at Alta in Utah on his 63rd birthday.  He is fortunate to live in Utah for much of the year and his April is weird only if he doesn't get a daily shot of new powder.

    For now my weird April  is likely to change to a more normal climate.  Maybe I can re mothball my snowblower and focus on the grass, restore the winter clothes,  breakout of the tennis gear and charge the e-bikes.