Monday, June 26, 2017


From time to time I am able to sweet talk someone into submitting something for this blog. With very little arm twisting, a friend from my high school days shared some of her poetry with me. We are approaching a 60th class reunion, and some of us have reconnected after all these years. As we share our stories, we gain a renewed understanding of our friends from long ago. This is revealing of my friend's warm and loving personality. I am happy to have her as a friend.

The Art of Friendship
Martha Northington, 2002

"Friendship is human creativity: a dance, a painting, a violin concerto, a poem.
It must be practiced again and again, and it reveals new meanings with each performance.

The finding and holding of friends is a courtship of eyes and voices; of ideas and commonalities; of listening and understanding; and of both giving and receiving.

It is the gift of laughter and joy without derision or shaming. Honesty must have a place in the courtship--a compassionate honesty without hurt or annihilation.

A strong friend offers safety and trust, a place to flourish and to rest. The friend waits until the other gains strength to continue.

The nurturing of friendship allows no interruptions and is sustained by the sharing of happy events and private sorrows. The human spirit soars when good friends accompany and falls from the heights if left alone for too long.

Friends reach out to one another and give freely of themselves from their minds and hearts. 

Good friends become artists of life."

( any age)

If any of you watched television yesterday you may have heard it was 50 years ago that the Beatles introduced their song, All You Need is Love. We need this more today than we did 50 years ago. Friendship, love, and beautiful music will help heal our world. Don't you think so?

Until next time, may you have all the love you need,


Thursday, June 22, 2017


I have had a hard time finding time for this blog. I've been immersed, first, in genealogical research; and second, I've been helping former classmates update a mailing list prior to the 60th Class Reunion coming up this fall. In between, I post on our BHS Class of '57 blog. So much of the news I've had to share in recent months is, sadly enough, in the form of ill health, goodbyes, and obituaries. 

A former classmate I frequently correspond with, C. Denson Hill, PhD (affectionately known as Denny), is a professor of mathematics at Stony Brook University, but spends his off time in Warsaw, where he owns a couple of flats, and Berlin, where he is currently. When I sent him some recent updates on our former classmates, he questioned me about how many of the 1957 graduating class have died. I sent him the number, and this is his response:

"Almost exactly 50% are gone.

It is interesting, because I read somewhere about some research on life span in which there was the finding that people tend to die in two groups: the first group expires somewhere in their late 60's or early 70's. But if you make it past that, then you are in the second group, and have a good chance to get to 90 or more (I don't remember the exact numbers, but the point is that the deaths are not uniformly distributed, but have two quite distinct clumps, with significant spacing between them)."

I responded that I'm not certain I want to live to be in my 90s. Oddly enough, from my family research, there were a lot of my relatives who lived long lives until the 20th century. Since that time, those who have managed to live until their 80s and 90s, with a few exceptions, did so with waning mental capacities and very poor health. To me, that says that modern medical science (and easier lifestyles) have helped to increase life expectancy in the United States until this century. We now rank 26th, lower than most other higher income countries. South Korea is predicted to be the place to live when their life expectancy soars to age 90+ by 2030. (Of course, that's if North Korea doesn't start a war with them first.) They are currently the total opposite of the United States in life expectancy. 

"The research - undertaken by the World Health Organization and Imperial College London - described how the U.S. has the highest child and maternal mortality, homicide rate, and body-mass index of any high-income country.U.S. Life Expectancy

I believe that among the many reasons for the reversal we are seeing has a lot to do with pharmaceuticals focusing more on relieving pain in the form of opiods, and other high dollar drugs, such as the newer cancer treatment drugs that could save lives if one could afford the thousands of dollars a month they cost. Even the EpiPens, which are so essential for those with severe allergic reactions, were increased in price six fold by 2016. The big pharma not only charge outrageous prices, but also encourage doctors to prescribe them. I'm pretty sure the doctors get some kind of "compensation" for this practice. 
I had minor nerve surgery on my arm a few years back. The doctor prescribed "pain medication". It was a drug I had never heard of. (I'm strictly an aspirin kind of gal!). It was for 60 tablets of hydrocodone. That in itself scared me. How long did he expect me to be in pain? I took one tablet when my son brought me home from the day surgery. I lay on the sofa and dozed. I felt so disoriented when I awakened that I never took another tablet. The bottle stayed (hidden) in my bathroom until this past spring a friend took it and other old, outdated medicines, and turned them in for disposal. Some law enforcement agencies do this annually, as well as some Walgreen's. Of course, one must mark out the name, prescription number, and any other identifying information before doing so. Outdated drugs of any kind could be deadly if they fell into the wrong hands. And we certainly don't want them to get into our water supply by tossing them down the drain or in the garbage. If all doctors so freely prescribe such drugs for pain, it is no wonder we have such an opiod epidemic. That certainly contributes to the lower life expectancy rate.

The increasing income inequality, loss of jobs due to technology, and in particular the lack of insurance and quality healthcare, especially to the lower income class, has been responsible for not only a rise in poor health and death, but also for the rise in suicides in the U.S. 
Image result for miracles
If more people were made aware of what is happening to the health of our country, I believe there would be an outcry at the Congressional refusal to pass legislation for universal healthcare, or at least make the "new" affordable healthcare act they are supposedly working on, something that will not take away insurance to the number of the poor who now receive it. It may take a miracle.
On a lighter note, my son Matthew and his family have been on the Texas Gulf since last weekend. They went to North Padre Island for a golf tournament grandson Travis participated in. Deciding to stay a week for a family vacation, they have  been enjoying the beach and the water. 

Dad has shared some lovely photos of the Gulf, the beautiful sunsets, and of course, the kiddos, Travis and Kelly. But then, this morning I received the following photo.

I thought it was someone's puppy that had taken a dip in the water. He looked so pitiful. Then Matthew texted that they thought they were saving someone's dog when they fished it out of the bay with the net. Turns out it was a puppy all right... a coyote puppy! He said the poor little thing was so tired it couldn't even stand up. (Too much dog paddling I guess.) They took it to the shore, where they could see the mother coyote waiting for her babe.

It goes without saying, that this grandmother has been glued to the weather reports this week, and watching Tropical Storm Cindy as it approached the Texas coast. You can see from the skies in the photos above, taken the last couple of days, they have been having pretty good weather. And Cindy veered East! (I do believe in miracles.)

Peace, love, and sunny skies,