Walk a Mile in My Shoes

I grew up living in an apartment in Harlem. When I moved to L.A. I lived in an apartment there. It wasn’t my desire to have a house though after experiencing rents that went up without explanation, downstairs neighbors that harassed my child when she walked across the floor or a landlord who was reluctant to fix a leaky toilet or replace a blown out light bulb on the stairs, I began to seriously think about buying a house. Home ownership in my chosen area was beyond my meager salary; however, after much searching, I finally found a house I could afford though it was many miles away from my job. That was years ago before the catastrophe in the housing industry. But when I hear people say, “Not all people should have a house. They should be content to live in an apartment,” I wince. Not because what they are saying is true in some instances, but because it implies only certain people should have a house. I wonder if those who say this ever lived in an apartment where rents climbed and th

in-Between Spaces

Deborah Ladd, Guest Blogger I heard a someone say that, "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union..." must come together. How many ways can we do this in a seemingly graceless time? Sometimes it’s in the work place.  On the very last day I walked towards  the final closing of the door behind me. I was moving more towards my future in front of me, rather than the memories behind me. But I was holding on in that moment. Then I realized that I would miss the more perfect “unions” of the people and their lives …bittersweet. Maya Angelou once said that, ”…you remember the way people make you feel.” Yes, you see I remembered how I felt  right at the intersection of those in between moments I guess you can call it a “union”. We unite in those in between spaces,  that fall in and out if time. It was in the stories told about the weekends and vacations. It was in the soft wave of a hello or in a simple sm

Expect Changes

Al Turnbull  Guest Blogger                                       (An Old Man's Guide to Advan ced Age)   You are old Father William and your hair has become very white... Lewis Carroll We are constantly told in the daily news reports that our population is aging.  An advertisement in a popular magazine proclaims that 10,000 people turn 65 every day.  They don't cite their research, but anyhow, it is evident that there are a lot of children and a lot of old people around; also, there is evidence when you read obituaries in the newspaper that many people are living long lives.  As one of the elder eldest (I am 89), I feel that I am in a position to expound on old age as an expert on how to exist in a hostile environment.  At least I have some ideas and suggestions to those of you who are in your middle seventies and are going to have to be canny and realize that you are going to have to re-learn many things as time rushes by, and you become among the old older.

Catching up with Technology

I have collected cookbooks for years. I've even created my own cookbook cutting out interesting and unique recipes from newspaper and magazines.   One evening, I decided to make spinach quiche for dinner and began searching through my collection to find one without too many ingredients and not too difficult to make.   While going through my cookbooks, my head buried behind the pile, my niece walked into the room. "Auntie, what are you doing?"   I looked up at her and down at her hand in which she held her cellphone. an appendage attached to her hand as she seldom puts it down.   When I told her, she said simply, "Why don't you just goggle it." "Google it?" I asked. She peered down at her phone while tapping on the screen. Within seconds, she pulled up several recipes for spinach quiche and showed them to me.   I was impressed.   In response to many questions I have about anything and everything, her response is always "just goggle it.&qu

Living in the Present

 Anna Chase   Guest Blogger  Living in the now and being fully present and mindful of each and every moment sounds like a great idea – it’s so Zen!   But have you ever really tried it?   How can something so basic be so hard?     I don’t dwell much on the past but I do a lot of thinking and sometimes worrying about the future.   A certain amount of planning is necessary, but worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet is a waste of time and energy. If you think about it, our feelings of love, spirituality and true joy are “in the moment” feelings.   Yet, how to achieve this state all the time seems impossible.    When I try to concentrate on the here and now, my mind always wonders.   For example, when I’m taking a walk I’m usually timing myself to be sure I do at least 30 minutes, and all the while I’m thinking about what I’m going to do next, when I should be soaking up my surroundings and just appreciating what is right in fr

Studying Other Writers

  I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing. I try to write every day, I keep a journal. Whenever I read a particularly good book, I write a review for myself. Sometimes I’m so impressed with the author’s writing style, the seamless way in which a story is told combining all the right elements, in the right proportion, I study the author’s technique; not for the purpose of imitating his/or her style, but to understand what makes one author’s writing stand out from another’s.   In most novels the following elements are present in one form or another - protagonist, antagonist, conflict(s), setting, dialogue, exposition, theme, minor characters, storyline, plotting. But it is the way those elements are put together that distinguishes good writing from bad. I recently read a novel that contained all the above elements; however, as I read I was aware of the author’s missteps and rather than losing myself in the world the author had created, I found myself noticing the proble

You're Not Too Old

“I’m too old,” a friend said to me when I asked her to go with me to the (gym).   “What do you mean you’re too old?” I asked.   “I’m almost 73," she said,   "and when you get to be my age, you can’t do the things you use to do.” I’ve heard that mantra from people younger than me, “I’m old.”   They talk almost obsessively about their age.   I wonder if it’s an excuse not to try anything new.   When one says one is old, what exactly does that mean?   “I'm old. I’d just rather sit in front of the TV, and watch the world go by, content in my suffering."   Satisfied to live vicariously? Does it mean one is ready to give up on life, sit down and wait for death?   Have they stopped living? Not interested in exploring new areas? Close minded, stuck in the past; unable to accept changes? Does that mean all the aches and pains remind one of ones age.   And prevents them from trying something new? “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” one friend sai