Friday, December 23, 2005

Upon Turning 50
A Sonnet for a Fiftieth Birthday
by Deborah Meister (Dec. 23, 1955 -- )

So, I am fifty, but what the hell.
I can trust you! You won't tell.
Life goes on, day after day.
Does age really matter? Who can say?

I can walk, talk, and plan, as much as I am able.
I can still feed myself and sit at the table.

A tree counts its age by its numbers of rings.
We measure our age against many things.

Wisdom and love, above all, top the list.
And friendships, if missing, would surely be missed.
In abundance these things don't make you old,
But rich beyond count as if they are gold.

Fifty is fifty, with the best years ahead.
Beats the alternative, which is being dead.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I've noticed lately that quite a few of my friends, ranging in ages from 30-something to 60-something, forget with alarming frequency things I've told them, in some cases just the day before. Remember, I cue them, I told you Thursday at lunch or in an email. Nope. Nada, they have no memory of my telling them. My memory, too, is not so good, and truth be told I really can't be sure I actually told that particular person --maybe I told someone else instead. Or maybe I just thought I told them. Memory can be fuzzy sometimes.

We are all losing our memories, studies show, and the loss of memory per capita is rising. In fact, Reuters reports that "[LONDON] The number of people suffering from dementia is expected to double every 20 years and could reach more than 81 million worldwide by 2040, health experts predicted on Friday....
A team of scientists from Alzheimer’s Disease International estimate 24.3 million people currently suffer from dementia. Cases are rising by 4.6 million a year or one every 7 seconds....Without prevention, the number will hit 42 million in 20 years and nearly double again by 2040 with the bulk of the increase in India, China, south Asia and the western Pacific."

Will we one day be a world of strangers, with vague memories, greeting one another with "Say, don't I know you?" And the number of new jokes is sure to decline when we will have forgotten the punch lines to the jokes we heard last week or even yesterday. Maybe we will even forget the harm that was done to us by our neighbor, giving new meaning to the axiom "forgive and forget."

Oh, brave new world!

The link above takes you to the Reuters article and in the side bar you'll see memory tests and skill boosters. Test taker beware! Your results may be fireghtening. But don't worry, you'll have forgotten by tomorrow and you can take them again.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


For information on being the caregiver for elderly parents, Aging Parents is a great online source for support.

As the medical field finds more and more ways of curing various illnesses, people live much longer, but the quality of life can decline when their bodies just can't muster the strength to heal properly. Mental functions due to RX interactions and poor blood circulation decline significantly, allowing for dangerous situations at home. Many adult "children" of aging parents find themselves sandwiched between their own young adult children's needs and the critical care needs of their parents. Financial, medical, and emotional care is filled with complexities that require specific solutions, and information beyond the scope of the average person.

Aging Parents online support site offers a wealth of sources and even a support group where people share experiences. One's own situation seems intolerable, until held up against the problems that others are facing. In addition, the task of elder care does not seem as daunting knowing that so many others worldwide are living through similar experiences.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


After you run two miles while watching taped Oprah shows in a newly cleaned basement, you can take perfectly worthless internet "tests" which offer results like this one
Your Brain's Pattern

Your brain is always looking for the connections in life.
You always amaze your friends by figuring out things first.
You're also good at connecting people - and often play match maker.
You see the world in fluid, flexible terms. Nothing is black or white.
What Pattern Is Your Brain?


And here is Bill's brain:
Your Brain's Pattern

Structured and organized, you have a knack for thinking clearly.
You are very logical - and you don't let your thoughts get polluted with emotions.
And while your thoughts are pretty serious, they're anything from boring.
It's minds like yours that have built the great cities of the world!
What Pattern Is Your Brain?

Now, that's an accurate test if I've ever seen one!!

Friday, December 02, 2005


I've been informed that my WISH LIST is a little weak. Evidently, only someone suffering from "insomnia" would actually request gifts on my list. Geez! I AM 50, give me a break. In an effort to look and feel younger, in addition to acquiring a taste for Wild Turkey or Jack Daniels (vs. Scotch), I am reviewing amazon.com's wealth of goodies to upgrade my gift list!

The link is to the right--you can check from time to time until December 23.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Pia Catton [food editor and cook, evidently] attacks rather harshly, at first, women who haven't felt the need to cook--supposing they just don't know how. She begins with: "How was your holiday? For thousands of would-be cooks from the famous Generation X (or Y and maybe Z), it might well have been a disaster without the help of a nearby gourmet market, ready to deliver a "home cooked" Thanksgiving meal (assuming that Mom didn't save the day). Yes, these young women can make sense of elaborate spreadsheets, quote Shakespeare, and tone discrete muscle groups--all at the same multitasking moment. But put poultry in front of them and panic sets in. To achieve the fabled charm of a Thanksgiving dinner--and of course there is a lot more to worry about than just the turkey--you have to be a confident, if not experienced, cook. And cooking is the one thing that mothers don't bother teach their daughters anymore."

Or their sons, but why mention that, Pia? What is sooo hard about a turkey? She isn't blaming the non-cooking women; lest we misunderstand, she expalins: "If women in their 20s and 30s don't know how to cook, it's not really their fault. When were lessons on domestic arts supposed to be squeezed in? High school was devoted to studies, activities that impress colleges, and efforts to keep parents at arm's length. College was spent away from home, with meals coming from the cafeteria, the pizza place or a Ramen noodle container. Joining the work force precluded any sustained attention to home life too. Even getting married doesn't seem to force women to take out the food processor they registered for. The idea that a guy would expect a gal to know how to cook is practically prehistoric: Gender roles are so last millennium."

Oh! Please, spare me. The kitchen is not like a nuclear reactor. If they wanted to cook, maybe they WOULD cook? Nah, that's too simple. I'm thinking if they can figure there way through computer programs, spreadsheets, and phsycis, they can follow a recipe. Sure, there's an art to it, like anything. But not every man or woman plays like Chopin or paints like Picasso. But people can paint and whistle a tune. Yet, Pia finds young women today resentful of their lost kitchen time. She says, "...American women do heed the call of the kitchen. Priorities change, and the notion of being able to craft an edible portion of a dinner--or the entire thing--becomes a worthy ambition." Who is she talking about here? Ever tried to get a table at a restaurant any night of the week? There's always a wait. No one cooks.

Pia thinks we should all want to cook, and we should want to be darned good at it, too. Eating well at home demands the art of cooking, Pia decalres in her last line. She's probably one of the Rachel Ray attackers. Pia may not think cooking in thirty mins. is really cooking. Good meals are not difficult to throw together. Even so, some people do not like cooking. They do not like washing dishes. I appreciate the fact that many of these folks like to do math and are darned good at nursing. I could care less if they can cook. If they want to eat well in their own homes they can call out for delivery. Don't take them away from their labs, data, and cockpits to learn to cook.

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