Mauerpark - Berlin - May, 2018
Berlin, March 2018
Moments ago, Bill just left for a few days and I am in here in Berlin with a bum knee and four days of German class I didn’t want to skip. About my knee – I was working out with weights in the small gym on the third floor of the apartment complex. After finishing with my arms, I was holding in each hand a twenty-five pound weight when I tripped over a barbell. It sounded bad. The weights made a huge clanging crash and there was the matter of my knee and hip. I stood up and rotated shoulders, wrists, lifted each knee, massaged my right hip and diagnosed nothing serious. Only later after walking to the shops and climbing up the four flights to the apartment did the swelling begin and pain took hold. That was last week and now my knee is improving.
I decided I would go to Mauer Park today. It is a huge flea market set up where East and West Berlin butted up against each other at the wall – mauer means wall in German.
Night at the Opera
I woke up last night – not unusual – I wake up many nights at two or three regardless of wine or coffee – I’ve heard that sleep is disrupted at my age – people joke about it, although it’s not so amusing when it’s dark and one’s mind churns. I try to remember my German lessons, which article, das, der, die – which one adheres to which noun. Then a name becomes stuck. I can’t remember someone’s name a name that would have at one point in the past tripped off my tongue but now it unglues itself and only hours or days later will it pop unbidden into my head and I think I’m coming down with my heritable brand of cognitive decline.
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
What’s on YOUR list? Please, you know the list I mean. . .
I can’t bear to write the word because it’s such a cliché, but it’s that list of things you’d like to do before you bite the big one, push up daisies, take a dirt nap. . . Oh, fuckit, THAT list and La Bohème at the Met in NYC is on mine.
On Friday, October 6, 2017 I took myself to Puccini’s romantic masterwork at 8:00 p.m. at the Metropolitan Opera House. My son Simon gamely offered to attend with me but I spared him, certainly, and me too, actually, from having to sit next to someone who’d much rather be at a Phish concert.
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
We visited monuments last Sunday. It was hot in the D.C. sun. In the wake of bruising social discord and the demoralization that comes when our leaders fail to inspire our better angels, we came to read the chiseled words. Read them all.
Days after my family lost two of our own, I read a tip on How to Lament by Malia Wollan in the New York Times Magazine. It begins:
“‘‘You must have visible tears,’’ says James M. Wilce, an anthropology professor at Northern Arizona University who studies lamentation, or what he calls ‘‘melodic wailing’’ with words. Wet cheeks are the minimum: In some places, funeral keeners throw themselves to the ground, sway their bodies or beat at their chests.””
These are my tips:
Reflections on David Andreatta’s article in the Rochester, NY, Democrat and Chronicle: “Don’t call these women ‘elderly’ – Sunday, July 9, 2017
David Andreatta, the hunky journalist who is even better-looking-than-his-picture (I saw him one time at GEVA Theater) writes about two women who are linked by friendship, a love of fitness and their rigorous walking schedule. Mary Mort (63) and Becky Kehoe (72) were training for a half-marathon back in February when they were struck by a car whose driver veered from the road and smacked into both of them. Mary and Becky suffered massive, life threatening injuries. Recently, they contacted Andreatta about what truly pissed them off, and it wasn’t just the “rehab and the nightmares and the medical bills throughout the ordeal,” not even - it was that the newspaper account of the accident didn’t even mention their names. They were referred to as two elderly women.
The First Monday in June 2017
Yesterday. The weather: beautiful. The place: leafy, green suburban neighborhood. My grandson was sleeping upstairs in the crib we now keep for him in our daughter’s old bedroom and I saw from the front window parked in front of our house a police car (K-9 unit) and a sheriff’s vehicle. Soon a maroon SUV drove up and parked in front of the sheriff’s car. My across-the-street-neighbor, only days before the birth of a second child, came over to see if everything was okay with us, if my husband was alright. I told her he was at work. My grandson napping. She said a swarm of cars converged in front of the house four doors down.
1. I get up after reading (in bed) (for an hour and a half) (64% completed – huge -500 print pages) Paul Theroux’s Mother Land.
2. Come downstairs to look up Steven King’s review of it in May 8, 2017 NYT Book Review article. Definitely autobiographical. Ew.
Musings about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
First, a story about tidying and neatness. Years ago, a pillar of the church in which I grew up, died suddenly after being hit by a car. She was beautiful, wealthy, gracious in that southern way, and had a gorgeous singing voice. After her death, I heard my mother exclaiming to a friend, “My goodness, on the morning she died, it was shocking, so unexpected, but her kitchen counters were absolutely spotless, not a thing on them.” What the fuck?! I realized right then, that no, death is not the end. No, we, and I really mean, women, have to worry about our remains of the day and who’s left to be rooting around in pantries, bedside tables, our dresser drawers. And making comments.
Sleep and its opposite, insomnia, are much in the news these days. About sleep –Americans are not getting enough of it (frankly, how could we these days?) And insomnia – well, many of us have nights when sleep just won’t come at all or we simply cannot navigate ourselves back upon gentle lapping Lethian waves.
In an effort to spare you fruitless attempts to beat back insomnia – the kind that wakes you out of a soundish sleep at 2:45 in the morning – the following things DO NOT WORK:
From yesterday’s (Sunday, May 7, 2017) NYT Style Section “No Grandma, You Are Not LOL,” Future Tense
Again, am I the only one who is terrified? No, not of Alzheimer’s. I’m talking about not trying hard enough (at all) to prevent it. I cringe when I hear those ads for Lumosity - you know, the online site for brain games designed to insulate your gray matter against the ravages of various dementias. According to a commercial on my supposedly ad-free NPR affiliate, all I have to do is take a quiz, and then see how my intelligence aligns with everyone else’s in the world. . .
I can’t be the only one . . .
From yesterday’s (Sunday, May 7, 2017) NYT Style Section “No Grandma, You Are Not LOL,” Future Tense – Teddy Wayne
1. I’m reading the newspaper – emphasis on ‘paper’ so that automatically lets you know I am of a certain age. Then I see three pictures accompanying above article –septuagenarians all, Larry King, Cher, and the Donald – I’m not quite there yet, but habitual obituary reading (and a shout out to obit writers everywhere who include the decedent’s age) and seeing that the newly departed was, oh say, between 61 (my age) and 80 and my first response is, “Holy Crap! Cut down in the very prime of life. Much too young!”
I can’t be the only one. . .
For many of us these days, healthful, mindful, proper mental hygiene habits have been jettisoned in favor of:
CNN, NBC, ABC, NPR - I get it, I know your demographic. I am your demographic, but until I retired last June from a busy career as an English teacher, I did not measure out my days tuning in, periodically during daylight hours, to catch up on the latest dispatches from the Trump administration’s current circle of hell. Seriously, last June, the words Trump administration weren’t used together except as a late-night laugh line.