Monday, July 8, 2019

The Optimum A

    I read a New York Times article today touting the idea to strive for the good not the perfect.   It makes me think about my efforts to be a better skier.  Among our geezer skier group we often kick around ideas and suggestions to perfect our skiing.  One would think after all the years on the slopes we would give up on the idea of being perfect.   I guess not true.   Perhaps we need to back off on the idea of perfection,  forget about all those little adjustments of technique and enjoy being good at it.    That ought to be the goal.
     The article also reminded me of my graduate studies at Iowa State University in the 1960's.   Our group was always striving to be "perfect" in our studies.   That was the aim to ace every test and succeed at the highest level in all courses.  Ultimately we discovered we did not have the time or energy to ace everything.  The bottom line became getting the "Optimum A" in a course.   That was doing just enough to get an A grade and no more!  Except for one course I am happy to say it worked for me!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Cannon Fodder

I have been a long time fan of the game show Jeopardy.  The current champion's run while awesome in terms of success is disturbing.  His challengers are like cannon fodder to be mowed down by his radical strategy.  It is now no longer a contest on equal footing for all the participants.  As a long time participant in the New York State Senior Games I have had my share of ups and downs.  However, I never have felt like cannon fodder.  My opponents in my age category have similar credentials to mine and granted some are more skilled that others, it is a rare time that we have bageled scores for the losers.    If in the senior games we had retired pro tennis players in the mix, we would likely be crushed.  It would no longer be fun for anyone.  Both the winners and losers would be losers.   Of course no financial awards are involved.
     I guess we will see the current run will ever end before the show is ruined for me.  Somehow it feels like injustice.   Perhaps I have seen too much of good people being crushed by unusual circumstances.  Maybe this is evidence that I have gone soft on the reality in my geezerhood that bad things happen to good people.   I can always turn off the TV and ignore the show until sanity returns.
We shall see!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Another Sign Your Are a Geezer

       It is my birthday today.  I am well into geezerhood at 84 and enjoying the kind wishes from friends and family.   Of course there was a happy birthday from my membership in AARP too.
     As I reflected on my origins I was reminded of my birth story.  I was the second child born to my mother in her second marriage after being widowed at a an early age and then married to my father.  In the era of my birth in the mid 1930's home births were quite common.  Thus my mother gave birth to me in the rented farm house at the intersection of Preemption and Wayne Center Roads in Wayne County, New York.  The equivalent of a mid-wife was in attendance.  I was told it was Aunt Louise who must have been the sister of my grandmother Emma Tange.   
     Somehow my wife and I began conversing this morning about birth certificates.  I couldn't remember whether I had one in my possession. However as usual she went right to the appropriate file and showed me mine!  She was wondering what my birth weight might have been.  That information was not shown.  As one would expect the date of birth was shown along with the parent's names and my designated name.   However the date of the official registry was two years after I was born.  It wasn't until 1937 I was officially on the books.
      So what does this have to do with being another sign I am a geezer?   My guess is that almost all births in the United States post WWII  were hospital births.   So if I am trying to determine if someone is a geezer beyond observing them close up, I can ask them if they were born at home or in a hospital.  My guess is if they were born at home there is a high probability they qualify for geezerhood.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Routines and New Experiences

      During the ski season I have a great routine for my day.  For six days of the week I am up and about early enough to be at the ski slope by 9:00 AM for a 9:30 AM ride on the lift.  Unless there are purely horrible conditions I keep this schedule without fail.  Maybe in my geezerhood I am quite rigid about my schedule.   I also enjoy the routine of a morning coffee break with my fellow geezers followed by a few more runs often past noon or even until 1:00 PM.  I am subject to a certain amount of ribbing by my companions as I eat my daily apple fritter with my coffee.  Thank God I am not a diabetic as some of my contemporaries are.  The fritter routine is a year round habit!
       Many of my companions check out after coffee but several of us head out for additional exercise.  During the ski season beyond the joy of skiing the activity serves as appropriate exercise.  Post skiing volunteer work may be the next part of the day.  The gift of retirement is also an opportunity for an afternoon nap for recharging.
      Now that the season is over I am returning to a modified routine.  With an ailing back I have a year round exercise in the morning to iron out the kinks and get me into the day.  During the off season or non skiing days I spend up to an hour pedaling a recumbent stationary bike.  A good time to read the papers and catch up on e-mails.  The time goes by quickly and I hardly know I am working out.  The bike is nicely place in a glassed in sun-porch so I can watch neighbors walking by on the road as well as the birds flying about.   The rest of the day is taken up with a variety of activities and tasks.  I delight in solving each day at least two crossword puzzles.  My wife recognizes that I am probably a crossword puzzle solving addict.
       As a reader you may wonder why I have rambled on about my routines in this blog?   I am speculating whether other geezers are heavily locked into their routines?  I know some are fishermen, and others are avid golfers.  As an observer from afar I see many golfers who have specific regular days and tee times.   I know when my routine is disturbed I can find it troubling.  At other times I find a disturbance a welcome change of pace.  Bottom line.  Often oldsters can get real cranky if the routine is disturbed.  However, to stay young in spirit I hope that if my routine is disturbed I can still be flexible enough to adapt.  Meanwhile I will enjoy my routines and at the same time look forward to new experiences.

Monday, April 1, 2019


    Yesterday my local ski area closed for the season.  Pond skimming in the afternoon was entertaining as most participants took a cold bath and were fished out by the Ski Patrol!   At least on person made it all the way across the pond on telemark skis.  It was a lady in a fluorescent green onesie!  Some of the brave ones made two runs!  Not a geezer in the bunch of pond skimmers!
     I am now in transition mode for my daily activities.  After 90 days of skiing I am adjusting to a different schedule.  I certainly will have more time for writing this blog. I have been remiss in being creative in commenting on geezer activities both for skiing and other venues.
      The transition today was particularly hard since I awoke to at least four inches of fresh snow glistening at the moment in a warming sun.  What a tragedy the ski area is closed.  Of course it has to be a business decision.  Except for a few die hard skiers the ski area has little clientele.  Obviously they are operating at a loss in these waning days.  The main reason to stay open is to encourage more people to buy season passes.
       In my transition to the off season there are a number of chores to make it more palatable.   All the gear has to be cleaned and stored.  I'll put a preserving wax on the skis after I clean them.  Boots will be thoroughly dried and hung on the basement wall.   Since my trusty boot bag has seen better days,  I just ordered a new one on-line.    My wife has also been kind enough to special wash all my ski clothing.   Now is the time for me to get at my Honey-Do list that she has been so tolerantly delayed my completion. 
      In reflection on the 2018-19 season I note it was a season of highs relative to ski conditions and Bluebird days.   However it was a sad season relative to departure of several of my geezer friends from the slopes due to health issues.  Makes me appreciate what I can still do on the slopes and that each day is a gift.
Meanwhile as some of us geezers age out we are finding a few that are geezer skiers  in training.   It the new generation of geezers in their 60's and early 70's.   Good to know our legacy of geezer skiing will have a new generation.  Isn't that appropriate?  Yes, we all are in transition regardless of our age.
        Looking forward to a great summer on the tennis court with my wife Nancy and keeping fit for the 2019-20 ski season.  The season pass is purchased and waiting to be used.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Unsung Heroes - Lift Attendants

      As a geezer skier I find myself often most vulnerable on the ski slope when I am launched on the ski lift.  I can relate to many of my companions who have suffered disasters getting on the lift and getting injuries.   In some cases the injuries have required surgery of rehabilitation.    Therefore the quality of support by the lift attendants as they load the chairs is often a subject of conversation at our geezer coffee breaks.
      All the above said I must note that lift attendants for the most part are the unsung heroes of ski area operations.  There is not much glamour in time after time loading a chair or time after time observing skiers departing from the chairs safely at the top.  It can be a terribly boring job at minimum wage.  As skiers we often complain about the cold wind and the biting temperature.  Just imagine however,  spending hours in a stationary position loading the chair.
        So how are lift attendants unsung heroes.  At my home ski area of Greek Peak I have had years of observing the best of the best in this category of jobs.  Way back I can remember Harold who would load the T-Bar.  He made the loading an art.  This was true even when I was skiing with a 5 year old daughter with the T-Bar down near my ankles.  Over the years there have been many returning attendants  attending to us in a courteous and cheerful way.  Speaking of an art form of chair loading I observed one of the most graceful loaders at Gore Mountain several years ago.  He made the loading a ballet of swinging the chair just right so our launch was smooth and graceful.
         This year, the Tough Old Geezer Skiers of Greek  Peak are having our Annual Awards and End of The Year Luncheon next week.  Over the years we have given awards of appreciation to employees of the ski area who have served us well with excellent service, great grooming and comfortable launches on the lifts.  We are looking forward to acknowledging the cheerful and superb support of one of those lift attendants.   She knows most of the geezers by name and her bubbly personality makes us smile even more than having a great powder day.

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Seven Minute Interview

     During the week I am mostly skiing with my geezer pals and riding the lift with them.  We swap stories and entertain ourselves with various observations about the weather, the news, the ski conditions, new equipment, and so on. The approximately seven minute lift ride goes by a bit faster that way. 
      My weekend skiing gives me an opportunity to meet a variety of people as companions on the lift ride.  It can be an eclectic mix of characters and individuals.  Sometimes my seat mates can be totally silent and completely engaged with their own thoughts.   Because I enjoy hearing other peoples stories, I have adopted a plan to engage my companions with my own informal interview.   There are all kinds of opener comments or questions to get the ball rolling.   I try to gauge what to say by the age and gender of those with me.   Most of the time we have a grand conversation.  Often in the seven minute ride I can determine where they are from,  where they grew up, what they do for a living, if they are retired, and something about their ski experiences and their family.
          I think that as a geezer they consider me to be non threatening and they are likely to open up to me.  Likewise, I have reached a certain maturity that allows me to freely express my life experiences as a way of connecting to the humanity around me.  Finally, I am amazed at how much ground can be covered in a seven minute ride of the ski lift.  It's a tremendous benefit along with the downhill ride on the skis.