The Death of a Spouse When You Are Old

The first few days, after the death of your spouse, may be the most devastating and wrenching you will ever experience. Nothing that happens later in life, you are convinced, can ever hurt this much. If you are old, and have been with your spouse for many years, the void that is left when your spouse is no longer there, can overwhelm you. Your feelings can be unimaginably painful and raw, as expressed here:

“I weep no tears because my husband has died. I do weep tears for the lost years. I weep tears for the young family members deprived of the opportunity to truly know him.

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Why You Should Think Twice Before Buying a New Car

If you’ve been out lately kicking tires, thinking of owning a shiny new car, chock full of the latest innovations like rear cameras, and voice activated commands—think again.

Buying a new car now, some say, would be worse than buying a new horse just as the first Fords drove off the assembly line, and worse by far than buying a three year old iphone.

Here’s why:

There is a huge cultural shift in all areas of the technological world, and it is led by the car. We know it is happening by the quickening of news and predictions about it, but we don’t know how fast, or in what form, the changes will come.

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The Secret Life of the Older Drinker

The older drinker, men and women who are over 65 and retired, have a ‘perfect storm’ of opportunity when it comes to abusing alcohol or prescription drugs, which are usually their drugs of choice.

Their social circle has shrunk, they are feeling loss of meaning in life, and they have less energy or will than younger people to overcome their challenges in life. The easiest thing in their lives is to reach for that bottle or pill, sometimes combining both.

After all, alcohol is legal, you can get it anywhere, even in some grocery stores. No one’s going to frown or report you if you pick up a couple of bottles or cases of beer. And prescriptions for drugs like Ativan or anti-depressants are readily available from your physician, who is concerned when you tell him about your depression or stress, and happy to steer you to legitimate medication rather than see you take over the counter pain pills.

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The Disturbing Attraction of the Dystopian Novel

I’m putting aside my novel writing for the summer. I’ve decided to concentrate on other blog themes, and catch up on things like gardening, home decorating, and of course, reading, an enduring summer pleasure.

With the new TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale  in the news, I headed down the stacks in the local library to pick it up, but instead found myself reaching for her newest book, The Heart Goes Last

“Why not?” I say, and add it to my take out pile. The truth is, I don’t have what it takes to read The Handmaid’s Tale again. I remember it as profoundly disturbing—a chillingly futuristic novel about Gilead, and how its female inhabitants are forced to have sex with powerful men and bear their children.

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Fergus Retires, Clare Has a Meltdown.

Clare was having a bad day. She spun her car around the corner of Quadra and McKenzie one more time. This was her second attempt at finding the entrance to the Lodge. She had driven past it a hundred times, why couldn’t she find it?

It was just her state of mind, Clare knew. She was stressed. This had been a harrowing few weeks. First, there was the excitement and buildup to Fergus’s retirement, the banquet, the phone calls, the well-wishers, the late-night conversations. Then there were the disastrous first two days as Fergus tried out a couple of his retirement ideas. Now the neighbors weren’t talking to her, the manager at Fairmart Center was giving her dirty looks, and Mrs. Pereira had quit her job cleaning their house.

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The Enduring Appeal of Reading

For me, reading is magical, and has been a part of my life since I was five years old, when I first started to make sense of the squiggles in the old comic strip, “Annie”

In a previous post, I quoted Alberto Manguel, whose words are so apt, that I will include them again:

“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning, and at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.”

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Fergus and the Retirement Gremlins

Fergus had gremlins in his head. Retirement gremlins. It was like having mice in the attic, or a monkey on his back. They wouldn’t leave him alone. They were the last things he thought of when he fell asleep at night, and the first things he thought of when he woke up. They never let up, even in his dreams.

“Remember how you could hardly wait to retire,” they gloated, “Remember all of the wonderful ideas you had? Where are they now?”

“Years from now,” Fergus worried, “I’ll still be doing this.” He imagined himself, a stooped old man, trudging along, saying, “What will I do when I retire?” It was not too far-fetched, he already had the stoop, and the trudge.

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Fergus Blecher Retires, A New Man

Fergus Blecher woke up on the morning of June 28, feeling like a new man. Instead of hunching over his oatmeal and gulping it down, like he did only yesterday, he took his coffee to the deck, shook the rain off one of the chairs, and sat down. He stayed there for a few minutes, peering through the layer of mist over the Finlayson Valley, and waited for reality to sink in.

It didn’t. It didn’t feel real. He felt anxious—like he should be somewhere else. Fergus started thinking about where he should really be this morning. By now, he would be rounding the corner of Cook Street, taking McKenzie Avenue to the Pat Bay Highway, sailing through the construction area of the interchange. After all, it was Wednesday. His turn to take morning playground supervision. Next period, gym. In June, he usually did a relay set-up, had the kids go over what they did in the track meet. Before he knew it, Fergus was rummaging in the hall closet, looking for his whistle.

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Are Print Books Doomed? Gone Like the Dodo Bird, the 8 Track Tape?

Is reading in danger? Are print books doomed? As a reader all of my life, I would be devastated if that was so.

I remember the exact moment I learned to make sense of the printed word, and I remember witnessing that moment in my students, but I could never put it better than Alberto Manguel:

“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning, and at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.”

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Three Sisters Read Anne of Green Gables

I am lying on the bed that I share with my sisters. June is on one side, and April is on the other. We are lying sideways in a row, on our stomachs, with our feet hanging over the side. We each have a book on the bed in front of us, turning the pages with a “whumph” as we read. I am reading ‘Anne of Green Gables’, and I’m just coming to an exciting part about the day Anne dyes her hair and it comes out green. I know it is coming, because June has already talked about it.

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A Grandmother Reflects on the ‘Miracle’ of 3D Printing

It would be easy for me, a grandmother with over 7 decades of living to my credit, to ignore 3D  printing and the Internet of Things (IoT), thinking I may be long gone by the time these revolutionary ideas really take hold.

But I’m not about to disregard one of the most compelling ideas to emerge in this era of change, considered by leading scientists to be the “Third Industrial Revolution”. After all, just by virtue of having access to the internet, and being able to type a few keywords into my browser, I can have a front row seat to what promises to be a thrilling journey.

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Our Emotions in Turmoil in a Tough Time

It’s been a tough year. Tough on the world, and tough on our emotions. Like me, you may have been waking up each morning, with an unsettled feeling that things are not quite right. The news is all around you—you know what has been going on and you can’t escape it. What can you do about it, you wonder—how can you help?

You might also be a bit resentful about it, thinking, “Haven’t I already contributed enough? Haven’t I done my share? Isn’t it time I could just sit back and enjoy my last years?”

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