Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Don't Buy Green Bananas

My oldest son sent me a list of humorous sayings about growing old.  “I’m retired-I was tired yesterday and I am tired again today.”  “I’m not old, I’m chronologically gifted.” Or my personal favorite: “I’m so old I don’t buy green bananas anymore.” 
High school students were challenged to dress as senior adults.  Of course, they came to school in hospital gowns, on walkers, and in wheelchairs. Unfortunately, for some senior adults with failing health that is the reality. For many with relatively good health the post retirement years can be the best years of all. I like to call those of us who fit that category: Semi-Seniors.

With more people than ever living to see their 90th birthday, what do we do with the extra 25 years we have been given post retirement?  Some may choose a new hobby or volunteer activity.  Others decide to take a risk and embark on a second career. At age 65, my late bloomer husband, Charles, and I formed our company, Consulting Aviation Services. He patented two inventions to change the flying characteristics of aircraft and during the past ten years, we have been testing those devices in wind tunnels and on various airplanes.  Before the summer is over, we will travel to California to visit the Mojave Desert for an Air Force flight test and back to Maryland for more wind tunnel testing. I often ask myself what else could we be doing with these later years of our lives? 

Aerospace engineering is Charles life’s work.  His story of success and failure and perseverance in spite of challenging circumstances and motivated by his faith in God needs to be told. My interest in writing and his life’s work are about to merge as I start writing his memoir with the working title “Reaching for the Sky.” I will start the first draft of his book in a nice cool hotel room while he is hard at work in the desert heat at the Air Force base. His story will be a good companion to my memoir, “Born Three Times.”
Oliver Wendall Holmes is attributed with the quote: “Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us.”  It is a balancing act to grow old gracefully, but not fall into the stereotypes that others—even our own children—ascribe to us.  It is much more difficult to challenge ourselves to take bold steps to make the last years of our lives the most interesting and meaningful of all. 




Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Dawg Daze of Summer

The dawg daze of summer are barking at my door. The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional period of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3rd and ending August 11, which coincides with the rising of the constellation, Sirius the Dog, in the summer sky. These are the days when the hot weather takes a toll on my energy and lethargy sets in.  My usually productive persona wants to put the brain in neutral and my body says its time to take a vacation.
While scrolling online through several news sites, I discovered that dogs are not lazy and lethargic during the hot summer months after all. Our canine friends are much busier and productive than I am. 

One story from MSN written by Matt Cantor (Newser Staff) tells about a dog that found a baby in a plastic bag in a trash dump in Thailand. The dog, named Pui, carried the plastic bag in its mouth to its owner and barked until the owner came to find the infant girl. The baby is recovering in the hospital and the amazing dog earned a medal, a new dog collar, and a monetary award.

It seems that dogs are posing as models and entering beauty contests as well. All sorts of canines are modeling Doggles - the latest doggy fashion for the summer. This protective eyewear for dogs is a crossover between swim goggles and a pair of Foster Grants and will keep their peepers safe during all sorts of summer activities. Maybe Doggles were worn at the annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest held in California on June 25th. The ugliest winner took home prize money and received celebrity treatment on national TV early morning shows. 
A friend of mine has trained his dog to be a therapy dog through an organization called  Happy Tails. Joe and his dog, Onyx, visit nursing homes and hospitals to bring cheer to the elderly and children who are recuperating from serious illnesses.

I am put to shame by the activities of my furry friends.  Today I will put on my sunglasses, send a card to a friend in a nursing home, call someone on my prayer list, and look for other meaningful ways to help someone in need. Even though the dog days are here, I will not use them as an excuse to sit around and do nothing.  Maybe you can teach this old dog new tricks after all.