book covers

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Take Me Away

Okay, remember the commercials for Calgon? Well, I guess Calgon took all the people away. You never see this ad on TV anymore. I thought I might try some, but we don't have a bathtub. So, I'm thinking of getting a box and sprinkling it on me then stepping into the shower. I just hope it takes me away ... someplace far, far away.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Brain Food

(reading time 1:44)

A few years back, I attended a lecture by a psychologist from the University of Arizona. The topic centered on keeping one’s brain vital and healthy.  It didn’t involve eating certain foods or anything like that. The bottom line from the lecture concerned engaging the brain by learning something new. It didn’t need to be rocket science or the study of ancient Mesopotamia. She stressed the importance of learning. The act of learning fires up the brain. That got me to thinking about the whole process of learning. I remember once someone saying to me that one of the important aspects of going to school is …to learn how to learn. Good teachers can instill that concept.

When we first start a new undertaking like knitting or woodcarving, there’s a certain amount of excitement and trepidation, but the brain seems to be energized either way. It’s ready to rock. Dig in and eat it up. As we progress in that new hobby or venture, we gain experience and enjoy the time. I bet those neurons are just firing away … happy as clams.

Every time we pick up a book or magazine and read, I believe the brain is heading down the learning road. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, we discover new places, new characters, and new situations. There go those neurons again, dashing to and fro building up strength, staying full of life.

As we get older, it is imperative to keep all the parts healthy and well oiled – like our arms and legs, etc.  And the brain is no exception. We can’t just retire it to the couch day in and day out. That old saying, “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” sure seems applicable.

As I said above you don’t have to study rocket science, but I am fascinated by astrophysics. Time to get back to reading Neil Degrasse Tyson’s new book, Welcome to the Universe.  My brain is eager to gobble it up. The neurons are ready.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


2017 and it’s the start of a new year. As I was out walking yesterday, I thought about time. It is one constant that is cold and unfeeling. It marches on a steady trek. It is a bitch and a bastard at times with no regard to our desires, our dreams. It can be a friend or a hated enemy.

From an early age, we learned the fickleness of time. It could go fast … it could go slow. Remember how we just couldn’t wait for Christmas morning? The month of December dragged like it had three times the number of days. Growing up, we had so many events to look forward to like birthdays, the last day of school, and summer vacation. Once we hit high school, we so looked forward to turning 16 to get that driver’s license, and it seemed like we couldn’t wait until the next milestone like the drinking age. After the big 21, birthdays were still celebrated, but the importance dwindled. Of course, the beginning of a new decade still became a landmark. After about 50, birthdays became more dreaded and wished to be ignored. Then, there was a long stretch until the next big milestones … retirement, Social Security and Medicare. After that, one realizes the only thing left was waiting for time to stop … permanently.

Even though time is rock steady without fluctuations, there are times when it gives the impression of going faster. Anytime one is engaged in a fun activity or on the return leg of a relaxing vacation, time sprints like gold medalist Usain Bolt. We exclaim, “Where did the time go?” One minute you’re shooting the rapids in the mountains, having the time of your life, then you blink and you’re back at work. And the opposite of time flying is true as well. This dark side of time, we despise. It is when time appears to drag on and barely move. We stare at the clock and the hands seem coated in sludge. We all have examples of that i.e. sitting in front of your boss for your yearly review, waiting in the dentist’s office, doing one’s taxes and so forth. Basically, things we just hate doing.

Another facet about time that is cruel and heartless concerns our body. A crisp twenty something with tight skin and silky locks doesn’t think too much of that one gray hair or a sore muscle.  Later on as the years pass, time does a number on us. We look at a picture of our self forty years in the past and gasp, “My hair was so much darker.” It’s always the hair that we comment on first! Then we look closer at the picture, “Wow, no wrinkles.” In retirement, we hear the expression – the golden years. That is so not true. There is nothing golden about those years. They are more like rust.

So, as we begin to unroll a new year, time pushes forward as we produce more gray hairs (if we still have hair), cultivate a new crop of wrinkles, and find new aching muscles. Oh sure, there’s always the new anti-aging cream to try, but that’s just temporary. At best it’s making us feel good inside. The wrinkles will still prevail.

Not much we can do about time and it’s relentless progression. We just have to go with the flow and take the journey. That reminds me, I need to get more liniment.