Monday, January 15, 2024

Avalanche Restriction

    Checked the news regarding Utah's Alta and Snowbird today.  My son and family regularly ski there. So I have a personal interest in the conditions.  I know at times the Canyon road to these areas is closed sometimes due to avalanche danger.  With 17 and 24 inch snowfalls in the last few days, apparently there have been restrictions on movement in the area.  As far as I know my son and family are safe.  However, I do know they will be blowing up the powder as soon as any restrictions are lifted.  I haven't visited them to ski in quite a few years.  In my senior years, making the trip seems beyond my stamina.  Also the big mountain now challenges my ability.

           Meanwhile, I do not have to worry about any avalanche danger in Central New York.   All I have to do is get my injured hand healed enough to hit the slopes after a long lay off.  I guess that is a substitute for an avalanche restriction.  Perhaps avalanche restriction is a metaphor for the vagaries of life.   Unexpected events that throw a monkey wrench into one's pleasures!

Friday, January 12, 2024

Playing it Safe

     In making critical and not so critical decisions, I have found myself struggling with playing it safe or taking a chance.   Today I am facing a decision whether to attempt to ski while my hand surgery is healing.  As my doctor says, if you take a fall and break open the wound you could face an ulcerative wound.  Not nice.  Therefore I am left with waiting for healing or enjoying some turns on the slopes.   It was quite a blow to have to face several more days away from a wonderful winter passion to be safe.  Before I started to write this blog, I did decide to postpone my immediate gratification and play it safe.  

    Thinking in a broader sense about what I just wrote above, I am reminded of decisions I have made on the ski slope that sometime pushed the boundaries of a safe ski run.   One of my weaknesses is to ski slopes and conditions beyond my ability.   Too often I have been tempted to ski in conditions that one playing it safe would not do.   However, most skiers are addicted to the rush the comes from conquering a Black Diamond or a field of moguls.   As a considerably senior skier, one has to weigh the benefits of rising to challenges versus playing it safe to be able to ski another day.   

    Beyond skiing, I also do some things that are not playing it safe.   E-Biking comes to mind.  I am balancing the pleasure of biking and mobility versus the potential hazards of bike riding.  I do my best to minimize the risks as a panacea to the danger.  

    The examples above are but a few of the daily decisions we make about playing it safe or taking risks.   More examples come to mind!   I'll confess that my diet does not always play it safe.   I love my fritter, deserts and fail to avoid too much salt.  Alas maybe all this angst ought to be put aside and go for it.  YOLO - you only live once!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Kindnesses Remembered

    I guess my forced absence from  the slopes as my hand heals has given me more time to reflect on past events and perhaps consider future activities.   I woke up this morning remembering kindnesses offered to me by colleagues, family and friends.  One might think I have a muse that prods me down interesting paths.   The early morning thought has stuck with me and drives me to share some of my experiences of kindnesses as well as to think of how I can be more active in expressing and doing kindnesses to others.

    On thing I remembered today was the appearance of one of my Cornell colleagues, J. Robert Cooke,  at the funeral of my mother so many, many years ago.  He made the effort to travel a significant distance to the funeral location and provide a representative support of my entire Cornell community.  In the vein of the Cornell connection, when I was struck with kidney cancer in 1995, President of Cornell University, Frank Rhodes sent me a most touching supportive letter while in the hospital! I was amazed by the kindness of a man taking the time to reach out in spite of his busy schedule.  

    In my geezer skier community I have also been the beneficiary of numerous kind gestures.   When injured by a serious fall several years ago, my friend Roger Pellerin (now passed on) stayed with me and offered needed assistance to mange my transition to hospital care.   Some years ago while going through a rough patch with a back injury and depression, good friend Pat Ryan, founder of the Tough Old Geezer Skiers, provided wonderful support for coping with my issues.  

    On a daily basis,  I know many others, receive both large and small kindnesses.  May I be reminded to reciprocate.  As I conclude, I will not speak of the kindnesses I have given to my colleagues, friends, family and fellow geezers, but I am somewhat comforted that they do come to my mind as satisfying good deeds.  In an ideal world, a proliferation of kindness would indeed be a blessing.  Maybe we should make that a priority for 2024 and beyond.

Friday, January 5, 2024


     Unfortunately, I have not been skiing for several days and will be out for several more as the surgery on my right hand heals.  Too much sun in my youth causing skin cancer.  I guess we should have known better.

      So the new year has been a bit of a bummer.  On top of no snow,  other issues have arisen.  After the first of January I have had a sequence of three doctor's  visits and one other postponed.  You certainly know you are a geezer by the size of the stable of doctor's you have tending to you.   While it is a nuisance to keep up with it all, there are surprising positives that come your.   In my visit with my opthalmologist I learned I am an outlier at my age for vision quality.  Cataract surgery still a few years away!   

    Yesterday I got wonderful news at a visit with my Urologist.  We have a close bond formed over nearly 29 years.  He essentially saved my life 29 years ago when he removed my cancerous kidney!  Over the years he has given me unusually excellent compassionate care. He is like a family member in a way.  In my visit with him yesterday I was surprised to find he will be retiring in the coming year and I had the gift of wishing him well.  I didn't want to challenge his dignity by calling him a geezer, but I hope he will become a geezer with grace some time in the future.  As he reviewed my chart and surveyed my status, I was stunned to hear from him that I no longer needed to follow up with his office unless I had an issue.   

     To put it bluntly, I had been dismissed!  Wow! And to top it all off, I also received a Bro hug!  Made my day and many to come.  It is amazing that we find blessings in unexpected as well as expected locations.   During this hiatus from skiing with my geezer pals, I look forward to getting back to the coffee session with Greek Peak's Tough Old Geezer Skiers.