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June 23rd, 2009

WATCHING

I know they are watching me. Call it paranoia if you wish, but I know they are watching. How do I know? Because I have been watching them.

It is quite likely that I am the oldest person among the 30-40 who attend morning mass at St. Joseph’s. There are several in their 80’s but I think I’m the oldest. A few years ago Bertha was the oldest but Bertha died at 88. Up until the end, she was a force to be reckoned with. I learned a lot from Bertha.

We watch each other because we know that sooner or later one of us is going to start failing. Anyone who reaches 86 has had some experience with loved ones failing and then dying. Mom and Dad, for starters. And, more recently, friends have left me behind. I watched as they underwent surgeries, falls, cancer, strokes. And died.

In the past week I’ve run into two women I hadn’t seen in perhaps 15-20 years. They came up to me and addressed me by name. I had no idea who they were. They said I hadn’t changed. (I know better–I have a mirror.) Once these women identified themselves, I could see they were right – they really were who they said they were. One had lost an amazing amount of weight; the other, always slim, seemed gaunt.

A week ago I went to a celebration of a friend’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. They are still a handsome couple, even in their 70’s. My profound observation as a result of my watching: Old people almost always walk funny. Most are round-shouldered, and seem cautious. They turn carefully and walk slowly. They tend to hold onto things. I know I am and do all of these things. In fact I have had to tell folks when I go places with them that they will have to slow down so I can keep up. Truly, it has come to this. I am reminded of a book by Eugene Geissler, The Best is Yet To Be: Life’s Meaning in the Aging Years, in which he describes the first time he went on an outing with his family and found he was not able to keep up the pace. Sooner or later, if we hang around long enough, we get to that place. Just a few nights ago I arrived early at a Seminar and tried to help arranging the chairs around the tables. I was worn out and short of breath in no time. Distressing.

I can think of only once exception. A lovely lady, just about my age, who stands straight and tall, and walks briskly. No flat shoes for her! She is always nicely coiffed and beautifully clothed. I am in awe and I ponder – is this the result of genes or lifestyle? I know it’s too late for me, but I’d like still to know.

One watcher says to me after mass, “How are ya, hon? You’re getting too skinny.” Which is exactly what I was thinking as I watched a man sitting up front. We are getting skinny together.

There’s a distinguished gentleman in a business suit whose story I’d like to know.  He often lights a votive candle before mass so I know he has a heart’s desire.   I add my prayer to his.

Not only do I watch the others, and they watch me, but I watch myself. Watching is something we old folks do well. Watch out.  We’re watching.

Or musing about watching.

~~~

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. — 2 Chronicles 16.9

January 7th, 2009

BLOGGERS A-MUSING

It’s amazing how many people are out there, just musing away.   When my son set up this blog for me so I could post some of my writings the blogosphere was, to me, an unknown territory.  Little did I know when I chose a title for it that the internet is rife with musers–everybody seems to think their musings are blogworthy .

Some of the more intriguing titles I’ve come across are: Musings of a Pediatric Oncologist, Dr. Rob’s Musings of a Distractible mind, Musings of a Middle-Aged Guy Waiting to See What He’ll Be When He Grows Up, Musings of a Mountain Man, Musings of a Sloth, Musings of a Highly Trained Monkey, Musings of a Housewife, and Conversion Diary (musings of a former atheist).

The pediatric oncologist, Dr. David Loeb, has a truly fascinating site. If you want to read about how cancer is not contagious but the Tasmanian Devil has a kind of cancer that is contagious visit Dr. David.    This is a site I want to revisit for informed medical blogging.

Dr. Rob, also  is a practicing physician, Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics,  who still finds time to blog, probably because he has, as he says, ADHD.

The closest I could come to finding the Musings of a Middle-Aged Guy Waiting…… was Musings of a Middle Aged Geek (foldedspace.org) who takes lovely pictures and really, really wants a 2009 Mini Cooper.  The meaning of folded space eludes me.

Mountain Man blogs from Australia and contemplates “the nature of nature.”  He makes available many eastern writings as well as “A Summary of the Bible by Jesus of Nazareth.”

I’m not at all sure I found the original sloth muser but one Jason F. Foster, a seminary graduate, talks much about Barth and has this to say about sloth: “For Barth, Christ is, among other things, humble and diligent. So for Barth, a good way to think about sin is in opposite concepts from what Christ is shown to be. Instead of humble, sin is defined by pride. Instead of diligence, sin is defined by sloth.”

The highly trained monkey is called “Monkey Girl” and seems to be  calling it quits.  She writes:

When I started out, it was a lot of fun.
Now it’s more like work.
And work sucks.
So I’m going to make like a shepherd and get the flock outta here.
In the words of Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Musings of a Housewife and Conversion Diary have turned out to be two of my favorite sites (see Blogroll).

We have musings by Melinda, Melissa, Sadie, Susan, Mike and Vern.  All in all, there are (at last count) 2346 domains with “musings” in the title and 300 domains which actually begin with the word “musings.”

Who knew?  After all, if we didn’t muse we would never know what what we think  – of even if we think.

Mortimer Adler says so.

~~~

You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.  M. J  Adler

June 24th, 2008

THANK YOU, WORDPRESS

Dear WordPress,

I’m sorry I missed your fifth birthday party but you’ll have to be a lot older than 5 for me to travel all the way to San Francisco to celebrate. Maybe you’ll come to my 85th birthday party next month? (I’ll admit I jumped the gun just a bit in naming my blog Musingsat85.com. Soon it will be official, God willing.)

Please accept my apologies for my criticisms of WordPress in my earliest blogs. I had expected to just have to type and found that I actually had to learn a thing or two in order to blog happily. It’s been three months now and presently I am in awe of WordPress’s capabilities — and I know practically nothing about it — except that anything I want to do seems possible, with a little help from my son.

Once again, thank you, WordPress. You’re the best. (But what do I know?)

Blogging greatgrandmother, and friend for life.

DV

April 23rd, 2008

LESSONS OF OLD AGE

I watch as their powers slip away. Their walking is slower and less secure. Shoulders are rounded, posture bent. Once in a while they search their memory for the names of people and places as they speak. They do not hear or see as well as they used to–and these are the well ones. Others have cancer or full-blown Alzheimer’s. Some are on dialysis or ten daily medications. Some we don’t see anymore as they are tucked away somewhere in a nursing home.

These are the old–and I am one of them. We watch each other, note the slipping of powers, thank God for what we have left and pray for the grace to accept the inevitable onslaught of advancing age.
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