Fringe Benefits of Old Brains

Fringe Benefits

Look, there has to be some fringe benefits to getting older. And now, research has shown it! How did they come to this conclusion?

By Watching A Movie?

Yes, researchers proved it by having their participants watch a surprising or suspenseful movie. Of course, we don’t know which one they saw.
They monitored the brains of young adults and older adults.


The young brains all “lit up” in the same way at the same time.

The old brains all had unique patterns of brain activity, Their brains “lit up” in different places a different times–they didn’t match their counterparts. According the article in Women’s World, this is a “sign of individualized thinking and better brain development.”


Without going through all the trouble of hooking peoples brains upContinue reading

Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Doctor!

Yes, I survived the accident! Thank goodness!

Even though was no blood, my body was traumatized. In simple terms, that means that my body hurt and it hurt EVERYWHERE!

Doctor and Pain Relief

So that means a trip to the doctor.

Pain is something you want to alleviate as soon as possible. The Doctor that my primary doctor recommended made a connection to me. Some people don’t like chiropractors, but when your muscles have been beaten to a pulp, that’s the person to see.

His South African accent soothes the brain while he grinds–yes grinds on your muscles. He uses a noisy contraption that sounds like a grinder–think shop class– type grinder, but it’s many and fast moving dull barbs break up the tension in your back and your backside. He is a holistic healer, so he doesn’t believe in pain killers, but he gives supplements.

Will It Ever End?

First, you visit four times a week, then, three times a week.

At That Lovely Age

Since I have reached that “certain age”, other medical issues are rearing their ugly pain. So, I have another doctor visit for my cataracts, then that leads to another one to get new glasses. Just to make life interesting, my vision in one eye was horrible. So again another doctor only to hear I have a hole in my retina. Yes, that was and is a bimonthly visit. My thyroid is acting up–ok, it is causing a whole of issues in the body–so now it off to another doctor. When you are dealing with doctors all the time, you start to wonder what is wrong with you. Yes, you guessed it. I went to another doctor for my mental health and she referred to a second mental health doctor.



People ask me how I like retirement. I love it, I reply, but I am busier than I was when I was working. Now I am “working” on my health and my new job is to constantly run to visit another doctor!

First. Hopefully, My Last.

There are a lot of firsts in life, some of them good, some of them bad, some peaceful, some painful.

Mine was bad and painful!

Last week was my first real car accident–it wasn’t my fault!


I was waiting at one of the very long stop lights in Encinitas. Actually, I was calmly waiting. Sometimes the long wait makes you crazy, but I was thinking of seeing my son at dinner. Moms don’t get too many dinner dates with their sons, so this was a special day.


Slam! 800 tons of metal had slammed into my car, or at least that is what it felt like. My whole body convulsed as if it was crashing against rocks below a cliff. I had no control over what was happening to my body. I hit the side of the car. My hands had a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel trying to give me a sense of control, but it didn’t stop me from jostling back and forth in my seat. And yes, I did have my seatbelt on. My brain had so sense of what had happened. Then I looked up and saw the car in front of me driving away and I had no idea what to do. I felt as if I was thinking through a haze. Surprisingly, I didn’t think about myself or if I was hurt. The first thought that popped into my head is that I wouldn’t see my son and I wanted to cry. My second thought was, “I’ve been hit and what do I do?”


I never want to inconvenience anyone. So, automatically, I drove away from the intersection wanting to go to the side of the road. I didn’t stop to look at my car, I just moved. I kept driving forward until the car in the next lane honked so I would move over.


My head was in a fuzzy, murky cloud. My body hurt–I ached everywhere–particularly my back. I knew I had to get out, but the traffic kept coming. I parked on the side, not knowing or caring if it was a no parking zone. A huge SUV loomed up behind me overshadowing my little car and parked behind me.


If I was unlucky enough to get in an accident, at least I was lucky enough to be hit by an honest gentleman. The first word out of his mouth was “It was all my fault.” Then he kept repeating to get out of the street. I managed to stumble onto the sidewalk and when I saw the back side of my car, I was shocked. The trunk was pushed in at least a foot. The lights were cracked and the red covering had completely fallen off one light. It was crumpled, puckered, crimpled and wrinkled. Then when I glanced at his giant SUV, there was absolutely no damage!


I know I have to exchange information and the only thing I had in the front seat was a bag from the pharmacy. When the man suggested I use another piece of paper, I glared at him and said “this is fine.”


Of course, my shaking hands and even shakier voice belied the fact that I was ok. When he saw how badly I was shaking, he offered to write his information down for me, but for some reason I needed to feel some sense of control, because at that point all other control was taken away from me. I told him I could write it.


He said he wondered if the trunk had been sprung. The trunk was closed tight. He had to check it. Why do men have to take things apart and then try to put them together again? Yes, the trunk was sprung. It popped up with a clunk. Then he tried to close it. He slammed and slammed and slammed and slammed, trying to close a trunk that had been tightly closed and in place before he opened it.


The advantage of the huge SUV is that he is capable of keeping a huge garagae full of repair equipment in it. As I watched dumbfounded, he tried to push and pull and pick up pieces that fell from the trunk, then he grew more and more red-faced. “I think I have some twine to put this together.” He spent at least 10 minutes rummaging through his trunk trying to find the twine. He found a huge tangle of thin twine. I know twine and I was really concerned that it would never hold. He tried to find several places to attach the twine so he could tie it. Nothing! Finally, he tied one around one side of the license plate, and then he realized that would not work, so he had to fumble with the twine once again trying to untangle it. Yes, he managed to finally secure the trunk in place.


What do you say to the person who broke your car and then tried to fix it with twine? I mumbled a soft thank you. I am not a vicious person and my brain was still in a deep fog, so I got in the car and drove away–leaving him there to call his insurance.

Once I got home, I said what I wanted to say, but he didn’t hear it. Then I called my insurance, but that is another story.

No Pain, No Gain Chapter

Super Powers
Right now I wish I had a super power. I could use several of them, but maybe I have to rule out a few first. I wouldn’t be able to fly because I hate heights. I would like to have lasers coming FROM my eyes, rather than have lasers used on them to fix a messed up retina, but unfortunately, I don’t think my eyes are strong enough for that.

Alien “Empath”
I think I want to be an “Empath.” I am sure I saw it on the original Star Wars tv series. Being an “Empath” is both a super power and yet a little alien. Yes, that works for me. My siblings always believed that I came from another planet so I suppose being an “Empath” is my best option. I better explain to the non Trekkies. An “Empath” takes the pain away from another individual by absorbing the pain–feeling it for while and then pushing it away quickly.

Two Kinds of Pain
There is both physical pain where something in the body needs to be regenerated, and then there is emotional pain in which the heart and mind need to be mended and soothed.

When someone close to us is in pain, particularly emotional pain they can’t apply the adage, no pain, no gain. They want to give up. They can’t see a future. They can’t see that maybe this pain is actually better for them in the long run. They don’t see any advantage to it. In their minds, they are not gaining a thing from it.

Take It Away
Believe me, I am not a masochist. I do not like pain. Actually, I will try to avoid it at all costs. But if I could use my super alien powers today, I would take all the pain away from the people I love, bear it and push it away.

Now, I am not totally altruistic. I want to take the pain away, but I also want to be able to give it back full force to whoever hurt my loved ones. And then, forget that I am an “Empath.”

Maintenance 101 Chapter

I’m calling this Maintenance 101, but my level of maintenance is really about 10!

We are never too old to learn–at least somethings. So, I decided to see if I could learn how to do simple maintenance around the house. I mean, other than calling someone else to come and maintain it.

Start Simple

I needed to replace the tiny bulbs that are behind the faceplates along the steps. These are imbedded night lights so you don’t fall down the steps at night. First, you need to remove the two screws. It requires a Phillips head, so I managed to find one. I needed to get comfortable on the steps since I was “working.” I put the screwdriver on the screw head and turned–nothing happened. I guess I needed to change my position to get a better angle. That didn’t help either. I never knew removing a screw was going to be such a challenge. After a few whines and curses, I managed to twist my arm at a weird angle and remove the screw. I was sweating by this time and I still had three more to take out, remove and replace the bulb and put in the four screws again.

I am no longer sitting on the steps cursing, so you know I did remove all the screws. Do you know that it is almost as hard putting them in as it is to take them out? But I was successful. There is now light on the steps!

A Little More Complicated

Every time I opened the pantry door, it squeaked and creaked. Closing it was even louder. I guess I could have lived with it, but it makes it impossible to sneak a snack when the door shouts to the whole world that I am trying to find something to munch on. Besides, it drove me crazy when I was cooking.

How do you fix a creaky door? I had a few ideas that would not be productive, but might make me feel better, but I decided I didn’t have the strength of the Hulk at that moment.

A better option was to try WD-40. I have heard of its magical powers, but I have yet to use it. My first dilemma was trying to figure out what WD-40 meant. Google helped me with that. It means Water Displacement–Formula 40. I now know what the WD stands for and I know it works, but what is water displacement?

I grabbed the trusty blue can and I aimed the nozzle at the hinges in the front–just a little gunk dribbled down. I threw open the door and MAGIC–there was no sound! Number One insisted that I spray both sides of the hinges. I wasn’t sure why, but I did it. Just to let you know–it didn’t make it any quieter than it was.

As I jaunted down the hallway–so proud of myself,–I opened the garage door and CREEEEEEAAAAAK! I thought to myself that I had magic in my hand and I could solve two household maintenance issues in one day. I sprayed BOTH SIDES of the hinges, moved the door and only SILENCE ensued.


We had company coming and we had just purchased a patio set and of course, the chairs needed to be assembled. So, rubbing my very arthritic hands, I grabbed a new tool. The Allen wrench. This torture tool is also called a hex key–I think the reason they call it that is because it hexes your hands and makes them hurt even more. How do you really hold the Allen wrench. It is L shaped. Do you hold it by the short end or the long end? Both ends have the shape that will fit. Now, when you put the chair together, there are 4 bolts that need to line up. So, just because you have two that line up, it doesn’t mean the other two will line up. Again, the hardest part is getting into the comfortable position so you can work. Do you kneel? Ouch–that is a no. Sit? Maybe–but only on a rug. Stand–man that hurts the back! So, I did manage between sitting and standing, cussing and crying to put FOUR screws into SIX chairs with ONE lousy Allen Wrench. They look good.

Just remember to sit carefully when you come and visit because now you know who assembled them.

And there was light!

And there was light!

Sturdy as .....????

Sturdy as …..????

“Wongkee” Eye Chapter

This chapter will not make any sense unless you read Eyeballing It first.

Morning Came Too Soon

I went to sleep on the couch and suddenly my alarm was singing merrily that it is time to wake up and go back to the doctor. Like I said, doctors are the people we visit the most.

Couldn’t Do it

The bandage was still covering my eye and I could not take it off–I was a little too nervous. Number One gently pulled off the tape–my eyebrows are thinner now–and the light was very bright. I glanced around. I could see!!! Thank goodness. I felt like I was looking through water or a gel-like water. I could see the backyard furniture through the window without my glasses!


The surgery did not give me a headache, the vision of the two eyes now is so very different that my brain cannot make the two eyes work together. So my brain hurts from trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Making two very different eyes work together just isn’t possible without a little pain.

Double Vision

My daughter drove me to the doctor because I was seeing doubles of everything from cars to street signs to white lines on the road. Once inside the office, the staff removed the lens from my glasses that I no longer need. I hoped that having my right eye corrected would help my vision. No! My brain still loved the doubles! Later that morning, I donned my “one” contact. It felt very strange only putting on one contact. The double vision wasn’t any better when I wore the contact.

As the day wore on, the double vision dissipated to an extent. I have to wear reading glasses to see anything up close. Reading the texts on my phone is impossible without reading glasses.

It is now day 2 after surgery and my eye still aches. When I let my eyes gaze far into the distance, they work very well together. It is just when I try to focus on things that are nearer to me, they double in quantity.

I have a check up in a week.

Now, if only I was finished with surgery on this eye. More to come. Stay tuned.

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Eyeballing It Chapter

Remember, this blog is all about the little things and big things that happen in life. As we age, the people we spend the most time with, is not our families–it is with the doctors!

Many Many Parts

I didn’t know I had so many parts that could simply breakdown after years of use. I guess we can compare ourselves to used cars–things can go wrong and break in a blink of the eye.

Well, that happened to me, literally. I was happily reading my books, when out of the blue, there was a fuzzy hole in my vision. I hadn’t seen that before so I knew something was up or breaking down. I was right. The doctor told me that I have a “macula hole” in my left eye. Long story short, to get it fixed, you first must remove the cataract from the eye so the cataract surgery doesn’t mess with the macula surgery.

Cataract surgery is common–except to me

I know that cataract surgery is done daily for thousands of people. But rarely do you hear about the experience. I had no idea, that I was going to be awake. I think I was asleep when they stuck the needle in my eye to numb it. (I was very thankful for that!!) They hold your eye open with the clamp that you probably have seen in torture movies. This contraption prevents people from closing their eye. Yes, you see the odd shapes of things heading toward your eye, and you hear the sound of a vacuum cleaner taking out the old lens. The doctor assured me that it wasn’t a Hoover vacuum, it was much more expensive–so I assumed it was a Dyson.

No Pain

I have admit, that during the surgery there wasn’t any pain. It doesn’t take very long for the numbing agent to wear off and then it aches like a minor toothache. The nurses are good people and they make you feel better by giving you cookies and juice–they are the good cookies, but the juice is too healthy. You have a huge bandage on your eye and you walk out hoping that when you take the gauze off, you will see out of that eye.


I am blessed with wonderful friends. For some odd reason the doctor will not let you drive home after all the meds they pump into your body. My dear friend and her husband picked me up–he drove my car home. As soon as I wobbled out to their car, they rewarded me for not crying and throwing a temper tantrum. Yes, she gave me a can of Diet Coke AND THREE miniature Hershey bars. I love her. She knows what will make me feel better. She took me to her house and she even fed me dinner. (I told you, I have the bestest friends.)

Tried to party

I love lively conversation and laugher, but my mind was too doped to say much and I think I was really awful and nodded off at dinner. They sent me home with Number One and I fell asleep,

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Little Confession Chapter

My Confession
Before I begin, I must confess that I did not do what I promised to do in December. I did NOT set up a routine or schedule.


It is not that I purposely ignored my intentions, but somehow everything and everyone else’s schedule was one that I was following and I did not follow through with my plans. This does not mean that I did not have fun during the holidays or on our trip to Hawaii and Germany, or with my daughter and granddaughter when they visited, it just means that I did not set up a schedule because so much was happening. It means that I made all those other things a priority for me.

I did not need a schedule or routine because I was so busy just managing the days. But I am hoping now that I will have a couple of months of “downtime” to do things that I want to do–like writing.


Writing is hard work, but I want to write. Do I procrastinate because I am overwhelmed with the prospect of writing. I don’t know, and if I try to psychoanalyze myself, I won’t get any writing done.


So, a bit of a schedule will be to promise to write for one hour a day for a minimum of 5 days a week.

Better Call Your Bookie

Who is taking bets whether I will be able to meet my goal?

Family Chapter

Family get togethers usually happen around the holidays, but not always, and those unplanned, no expectation gatherings, make the time spent together all the more heartwarming.


Both Number One and I are blessed with fun loving siblings. When both sides of the family come together there is not a dull moment for any of us.

Retired, but didn’t downsize

Most people, when they retire and move away from the home where they raised their children, find a smaller home with fewer bedrooms and smaller kitchens. No, not us. Number One thought that was what we should do, but I wanted to have my kids and siblings visit us without having to tell them to find a hotel.
We still have a five bedroom home with a supersized kitchen where everyone seems to gather. If you think about it, it makes absolute sense. The kitchen is filled with food and when people get together, they want to eat and celebrate.

Maxed at 17, plus 2 dogs and 1 cat!

Over the course of three weeks, we had 15 people stay with us, not including the four we had over for tea. Surprisingly, it worked like a well-oiled machine. Everyone pitched in, made things happen and were happy with simple cuisine and a few leftovers. Oh, thank goodness for Costco snacks and desserts.

Laughter filled the house

Yes, there were a lot of people, but what filled the house to the rafters was the sound of laughter echoing through it. Upstairs and down, we reminisced and chuckled over our childhood pranks. Inside and outside, we giggled, chortled and snickered and just purely enjoyed each other’s company.

Let’s do it again

I admit that I was tired, but it was the kind of tired you want to have again and again, because it was so much fun. My advice, don’t make plans, just make it happen. Call or email and let your family know you will be in the area and you want to see them. I was really glad mine did and I hope we do it again, soon.

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Pristine Waters With a Kick Chapter

Sailing on an endless sea

Sailing on an endless sea

New Year and Even More New Experiences

Being on an island, you are surrounded by water, obviously. But, as the ancient and current Hawaiians know, the water has many personalities and characteristics.

The view from our room was spectacular. The verdant grass and trees, the coal black lava and the turquoise and deep blue of the ocean were our constant companions. The water in the morning gently lapped against the hard lava, but later in the day, it slammed against the jagged rock spewing white, churning water high in the air, dousing anyone who was a little too close to the water.

The water in the open sea seemed endless, with no land in sight. It was exhilarating as we glided and gently bumped across the waves. In the distance we saw two juvenile whales frolicking and breaching in the water.

Imagine yourself floating and drifting in the calm, shallow waters of the cove surrounded by thousands of fish of all sizes and colors. It is a surreal feeling. You are very buoyant because of the salt in the water and it holds you up while your face is lapped by the cool sea. The coral reef below is a refuge and home to these undulating creatures of the sea. Some are so colorful that you can’t turn away from their beauty. A sea snake has the same jarring, backpedaling effect on you in the water, as a snake on the land. They are fascinating to watch, but frightening at the same time. Creatures with sharp red spikes are hidden within the corral and black squishy sea cucumbers bury themselves under the rocks.

Hidden coves and warm sandy beaches.

Hidden coves and warm sandy beaches.

Of course, we cannot visit the islands without a dip in the warm waters off the shore. The sea is a fickle creature whose waves taunt and tease you. Not being the strongest swimmer in the group, I had to hang onto Number One. He grew up swimming in the Mediterranean and could be related to some fish in the water. He knows how to play with the waves. When a high wave comes, he dives through it. I see the huge wave, literally freeze, face it and try to jump higher than the wave so my face will not be in the water. Well, I lose that battle almost every time. Some waves were kind and did not knock me over too hard, some were beastly and sent me reeling in the water. I was tossed and turned as if I was in a washing machine. I lost my goggles–they were ripped off my face by the nasty wave and Number One and I slammed against each others leg, fearing that both were broken. Yes, the water has a kick and we have to respect it and realize when we need to get out and watch it from the warm, white sand.

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