Looking over the hill

Aging has been on my mind for the past couple of years: Dad’s passing; Mom’s ongoing health issues (culminating with breast cancer and ultimate death from stroke); Liz’s decline and transition to assisted living; and my own body afflicted with more aches and pain, diminished strength and slower healing, even my vision with accelerated presbyopia and my optometrist recently informing me of my cataracts (granted: a level 1 on a scale of 10, so very early stage).

I see advancing age everywhere. We recently bought a Google Nest Hub smart home device which displays random photos from years past, and I notice how much younger we all seem in the pictures. Especially me… I see a far more youthful self in photos just a few years old. And I see Paul aging in pictures too. With his retirement in the past months I see behavioral changes in his daily habits, routines and schedules.. even attitude.

50 was my crossover point. At that age everything started to look and feel differently for me. I’m now 52 years old and have always felt younger than I actually am… and I still do. Just looking at the number “52” doesn’t seem applicable to me. And that’s a good thing: I do want to have energy, health and a generally positive outlook no matter my age.

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Desert Stories, Desert Stones

Writing Prompt (Natural Abundance): Find five pretty or interesting rocks.

Last month we visited Ray at his home at Sun City in Palm Desert, CA. It was really nice to see him after a year of pandemic-mandated distance — and the last time I saw him was the day Mom passed away. So it was a relief to reacquaint under more normal circumstances, even though we social distanced responsibly with masks and an outside patio visit.

Last June, Paul and I were guests at our friend Scotty’s family cottage on the Isle of Springs — a perfect place to get away from the world’s craziness. We cooked, kayaked, walked through the island woodlands, sipped cocktails, scouted the beaches for sea glass and dug for littleneck clams, listened to music, played card games, put together jigsaw puzzles, and enjoyed fine sunset views over the Sheepscot river to the mainland.

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Activismo sin fronteras: OWS–San Miguel

Occupy Wall Street - San Miguel de Allende

I’m super proud of Mom and Ray.  They’ve been actively involved in the local Occupy Wall Street movement in San Miguel since they arrived last fall.  They’ve attended countless meetings, spent hours working on brochures, event planning and researching topics.  During my visit I was eager to attend their presentations, Mom on the state of education and Ray on the need for campaign finance reform.

Both have expressed their frustration with the Occupy movement, despite their firm belief in the need to fundamentally change the status quo in the United States.  The loose organization and its commitment to the principle of consensus present some structural and procedural challenges.  After three months of considerable time and energy committing to the movement’s objectives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, both Mom and Ray expressed weariness and impatience with the (lack of) progress.  As with the groups in the United States, the OWS San Miguel is comprised of disparate personalities with contending interests and priorities, resulting in slow momentum and seemingly endless discussions with no tangible results.

But what I saw in San Miguel was superb – an informed, impassioned and articulate team from the working groups presenting on a wide range of topics.  Forums were well attended, organized and open for free discussion.  Dissenting or questioning voices were welcomed and encouraged.   Both Mom and Ray each spoke for nearly 20 minutes and were well armed with clear arguments, substantiated with facts.  They fielded the follow-up questions and with knowledge and calm.  It was a treat for me to witness how hard they both researched the presentations, and I was extremely pleased to witness all this in person.

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Springtime Scenes

An uneventful spring, busy with work as usual but I did find time to spend with family and loved ones.  Here’s a collection of random pictures from my post-winter goings on.

I enjoyed an early spring visit from Mom and Ray, freshly returned from hot Mexico only to face the April chills of New England:

Mom and Ray walking at Fort Foster overlooking Whaleback Light and the Isles of Shoals
Mom and Ray at Fort Foster overlooking Whaleback Light and the Isles of Shoals

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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2004

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Just before starting a new job, I headed south of the border for my first trip to Mexico, and it was love at first sight.  It was a delight to be with my Mom and Ray in such a beautiful, friendly and accessible town.

Set in the mountains of Guanajuato state about 4 hours north of Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende was strategically important during the Spanish colonial period serving as a military and commercial stronghold on the silver trail connecting the mines of Zacatecas.  Two of San Miguel’s favorite sons, Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, played critical roles during the War for Independence from Spain.

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