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.   

    

Friday, April 8, 2022

Walking The Dog

    I don't have a dog at this time in my life.   However I do have fun observing my neighbors dogs as they walk them past my house.  (Thankfully we live in a neighborhood with folks who clean up after their dogs.)    

    This morning as I was riding my recumbent bike in our sun room I was struck by the sight of a somewhat senior gentleman walking his very senior dog.   They were mostly ambling along at a snail's pace.  I couldn't tell whether the dog wanted to go slower or the man!  Each would take a few paces and stop to gaze at their surroundings.  Mostly the dog was setting the pace.  I think the leash was just for show since I expect the running days for both were past.  

    I think dog walking in this case is a metaphor for relationships that have lasted a long time.   We seniors often have relationships that have endured many companionable years.   The pace in those relationships has slowed down over the years.  Early on we engage in mad dashes of activity sometimes lasting over days. Connections are tight and sometimes like a leash restraining.  Later on we loosen the reins and participate together with less restrictions.  And in the later years expectations wane to the point where we sit back and spend more time in contemplation rather than activity.    I guess the dog and man in my illustration today have found a comforting pace providing time to stop and "smell the roses'.   No need to rush through the necessities of the day, 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A World View

    A few days ago I was amused by a comic where the main character was negotiating with a travel agent for a world trip.  The upshot of the panel was that the only possibility for her budget was to buy a subscription to National Geographic!  This really struck home with me.  Although I have made a few international trips in my lifetime, I have not been much of a world traveler.  Even though I have the means, I never was a comfortable traveler either internationally or domestically.  However I have been an avid reader of the National Geographic from childhood.  In childhood my parents did not provide the National Geographic but our neighbors did subscribe and loaned the magazine to me.   

    I think I got a great education over the years in forming my world view via this magazine.   However things can change.  I have changed and National Geographic has also changed.   After all these years I have abandoned receiving the printed copy.   I will no longer read the monthly magazine cover to cover.   It will not be total abandonment of this classic magazine but I will continue with a digital version where I can select the articles of interest and almost daily scan the highlights.  A new era.   Also the magazine has gone to such small print both for the articles and picture captions,  I find it difficult to read it with comfort.   Obviously they must be aiming at the younger reader.

    So  here with the end of the ski season, I will change from a world view focus on daily ski fixes, raise my head and look more widely at the world around me, both locally and beyond.  What I see internationally is quite disturbing.   In my comfort in America I still feel united with the people of Ukraine as a human being exposed to injustices of the world.   Although I will never visit Ukraine, in my world view people of the world wherever they are need to respond with at least empathy and recognize that Ukraine's  tragedy is our tragedy.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Value of Slowing Down

 "Leisure

by William Henry Davies

What is this life is, full of care
We have no time to stand and stare."





   The above are  the opening lines of a poem the poem entitled Leisure.  The theme centers around taking  time to observe your surroundings.   How true it is that we become so engaged in our daily routine and cares of our lives that we just don't see our environment.   When I read the poem a couple of days ago, I vowed to take his observations to heart and really focus on what I could see around me.    

   On that day of skiing I was especially drawn to staring at the trees, slopes and people in my view.  I tried to stare a bit to drink in the detail of the geometric and natural forms of the terrain and flora.   I tried to slow down my activity to appreciate the hum and buzz of the conversations around me.   

    I would naturally enjoy riding the lift with my ski companions but sometimes it is nice to ride solo and enjoy the quieter pace with your thoughts unleashed to wander where they will.   Many folks practice meditation.   That certainly is a form of slowing down with a purpose.  I would consider it a form of slowing down to simply stare with your mind.   

    I conclude it would be  healthy to become disciplined enough to take at least a few moments each day for  consciously slowing  down to drink in ones existence.   Slow down and savor the precious moments of this short life we have and revel in this wonderful physical universe as well the precious relationships we have with others.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Good and Evil Men (Humans)

    I know in this blog I am straying from a connection to skiing but certainly commenting from the perspective of a geezer that has seen too much of good and evil for more than eight decades.  

    From a newsletter that I read produced in the Writer's Almanac here is a quote for today.  March 9, 2022.

"t was on this day in 1933 that newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt called a special session of Congress and began the first hundred days of enacting his New Deal legislation. For the next several months, bills were passed almost daily, beginning with the Emergency Banking Act, followed by federal programs such as the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation."

This item struck a chord in my soul.   Whatever you might think of Roosevelt  I hope you can recognize he was a man for his time to bring our country of the United State of America out of the depression and leave enduring legacies we appreciate daily in our lives.    How thankful we  should be that there was a person to lead the way for good in the world.   For the most part he wielded his immense influence and power for the good of our world.  It is a striking testimony that a good person with immense power can combat evils.

In our current situation with the invasion of Ukraine by a power mad authoritarian Putin there is the illustration of how power invested in an evil man can wreak havoc, mayhem and death on so many innocent  people.   I have read that power has the ability to corrupt and absolute power can lead to total corruption.   What a tragedy it is when the citizens of any country fail in their responsibility to curb evil authoritarians.  I weep for the world may be leaving to my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  

Wake up world!  I fear the stupidity of the human race may send us to extinction!

Monday, March 7, 2022

Complexity!

     I have had my new car for three months and I am still confused about the multitude of options available for operating the vehicle.  I've got the basics down but there are a host of options that I have yet to figure out.  Recently I did an inventory of the the dials, switches, buttons and controls.   Would you believe I counted seventy two (72) possibilities!  Incredible!   When receiving a new vehicle they recommend reading the Owners Manual.  Guess what?  My manuals add up to two inches of reading. The Getting Started Guide totals 151 pages.   The complete Owners Manual totals a whopping 556 pages!   The entertainment system manual throws in another 255 pages of dense and complex reading.    And a safety equipment manual adds 176 pages to peruse.   Finally there is another safety and security manual for 49 pages.  I needed a calculator to get the total of 1187 pages.   Isn't that incredible?

    Needless to say I have only read a small portion of the information provided.  Hopefully this vehicle is probably the last vehicle I will be driving in my lifetime.  There will be a day within the next ten years when I will need to leave the driving to others.  So I hope this vehicle will last that long.

    One can understand from this example that seniors who once only had to find the on off switch for the car radio and the buttons and latches for doors and windows on their cars now are struggling to digest all the alternatives available.  Yes we are safer with some of the bells and whistles added to modern cars.  Some are really fundamentally very helpful for our safety.  Back up cameras, emergency braking, ABS and blind side detection are among some that are really useful.  Adaptive speed control can also be added to the list.  However,  are the multitude of display options necessary?  My thought is that we need manual writers to have some user consultants to edit their writing to simplify where possible  and to minimize verbiage.  

    Although my focus today has been on the complexity of the auto system my pet peeve on complexity extends to other aspects of modern life.    We have over a half dozen different remotes for operating our entertainment devices in the home.  These devices have so many buttons that one can inadvertently hit one and stray off into unknown territory.   I continue longing  for simplification of controls.  Make them intuitive!

    Finally even my ski world has become more complex this year.  RFI (Radio Frequency Identification)  has been added at my ski area.  Ostensibly this should simplify verification of a skier's access to the lift.  Regrettably the system does become a bit glitchy and often refuses legitimate access to the lift.   In the good old days a tag hanging on the outside of our coat was a low tech simple verification system.  I hope that this screed does not label me as a Luddite!  Perhaps I should leave it there and maybe the rain out at my ski area has put me out of sorts.




Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Habits For Aging

     Aging is an inevitable part of life regardless how long you have to live.  In my senior years I have pause to ponder what my behaviors will be to bring happiness and contentment to my days.    Habits of doing and being seem to be two branches of behavior to consider. 

    Each day needs some meaningful physical, mental and social activity.  Waking with a plan for the day is helpful  to set the stage for rewarding activity.   However spice is added to life when one can also adopt to a changing landscape.  Today for me was a day of adapting to changing conditions.  I fully expected to spend at least a few hours on the ski slopes even the weather forecast was iffy with high temperatures and rain later.  Upon arriving at my ski area it was clear the conditions were too treacherous for this geezer.  A friend I met in the locker room was just returning from a single run to describe ice patches and variability in the surface so unpredictable that she was leaving.   Thus my day suddenly changed.  Rather than being discontented by the change, I welcomed the opportunity to use some creative energy to write this blog.

    Mental stimulation is always satisfying.  As long as one maintains basic mental facilities there are millions of unread books to pursue.  If one likes puzzles there is an abundance of options.   Perhaps one can carry the puzzle thing too far!  (According to my wife).   My personal addiction of crossword puzzles is almost an obsession.  Wordle has entered our home with my wife embracing this new fad.  I get to assist on occasion.  

    One of the greatest satisfactions in old age can be more time to give back.  I am fully convinced a vigorous personal volunteer program is one the most healthy aspects of successful aging.   Along with the satisfaction of helping out comes a social network so vital to combating isolation and getting stimulation.

    I am sure there are millions of therapists who have a myriad of suggestions for successful aging.  These are but a few of my thoughts for what it is worth.   May all your days spin out as a great adventure of living a satisfying life both for you and those around.  Find your habits for embracing aging as just another adventure!