November 2013

12 articles in November 2013

Ffor the past few weeks I’ve been talking myself into not missing a single day on my new exercise bike. It seems that over the past decade or so my age wasn’t the only statistic that has been increasing.

Both my weight and waste-line have more than kept up with my increased years. What made my new-found stockiness even worse was that my wife decided to become involved with aerobic exercise. She lost all the weight that age was supposed to give her.

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Mmy present was filled with a little bit of my past the other day. Not that my past was bad, it was just a time that should have stayed where it was.

The day did not begin well. At about 2:30 in the morning I received a call from my brand new son-in-law Steve that my daughter Jessica was just admitted to Beth Israel in Boston for an appendectomy. Needless to say this shocked my wife and me to the point we were on our way to Boston about an hour later.

Everything went well. She was out of the recovery room at about 5:00 that afternoon. Steve did a fine job with his first emergency. In fact, he did a better job than I could have done because my daughter is not the easiest person to deal with. Clearly understand I love her dearly but she is what she is and the concept of high maintenance has nothing on her.

When she was finally taken to her room she told everyone she was extremely thirsty. She needed some apple juice as soon as possible. In other words, she needed the juice about a half hour earlier. Because the nurse did not have her orders yet she told my daughter she would have to wait a bit. Right after the nurse left she demanded something to drink because she was about to die. Her cousin Taylor was with us at the time and ran out of the room in order to get her some water.

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I discovered a new sport the other day; it had nothing to do with breaking records or winning titles. It had nothing to do with organized sport or the winning of large sums of money but it had everything to do with survival!

We’ve never seen this type of sport in Maine. In order for us to do what we have to do, to support our families, all we had to do was show up.

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Aas I was waiting in line at The Shop & Save Grocery Store, like I do almost every day of my life now, I noticed that the person in front of me was very nervous. At the time I did not think my appearance was that frightening. Of course, every now and then my wife reminds me that I should take some time to look in a mirror but since I was coming home from school I was sure that I looked basically human.

I wondered why this person seemed so uncomfortable. I then noticed that the reason the person in front of me looked itchy was that after she put her groceries on the belt she couldn’t find the plastic separation bar that determined the demarcation line where her groceries ended, and mine would begin.

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Tthere is a land near the top of the world where there is no horizon, no blue to colour the skies, no ground just hills and valleys of silver-white snow. But to this day, during the first week of the arctic spring, before the mountain ice begins its journey to the sea, a small group of seasoned fishermen paddle out in their sealskin umiaks to harpoon a ribbon seal to offer at the mouth of an ancient glacier to Sedna, Spirit of the Sea.

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Ii‘m walking along a dry riverbed in California and it’s a beautiful day. The future stretches out ahead, in the valley, hills and mountains that surround me. The past is there too, but today I prefer to walk forward: to live “in the now”, and truly see all the good things in the world. The air is warm and dry.
Fleecy clouds float high in the bright blue sky, and the sunlight glitters and shines off the houses and cars in the distance. People walk and ride bicycles on the bike path that follows the river.

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Iiwas waiting at the mall the other day while my wife bought a blouse that originally cost over $100.00. Because of all the coupons she had saved, and the fact that there was a 30 percent off sale, she had whittled the price down to around $1.95.

Then the clerk told her she was also entitled to a $10.00 gift certificate, which meant the store actually paid my wife $8.05 to buy the blouse. Needless to say, I am very impressed with the way my wife does her shopping. When my wife asked if it was all right if she did some more shopping I did not complain because I had visions of early retirement once Christmas was over. We decided she would go her way and I would go the opposite way because I had a tendency to make her nervous when she set up her deals.

We then set a time we would meet at a specific area in the mall and off we both went to do what we had to do. Except I did not have a clue what I was doing. If the expression `fish out of water’ ever needs an illustration just take a photo of me wandering the labyrinthine halls of any mall in the country. Since I had an hour and a half to kill before my wife had finished building up our fortune for the day I decided to check out some of the other stores in the mall to see if there was anything that I could possibly play with.

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Oone day last summer, a grandfather was sitting on a pier with his grandson fishing. It was a warm sunny day and several people were out and about, enjoying the fine weather. On a seat, near the grandson, an elderly woman was reading a book. When she had finished reading, the woman gathered her possessions and wandered away, leaving the book on the ground by the seat. The grandson, bored with not being able to catch a fish, strolled across, sat on the seat and picked up the book. He quickly flicked through the pages, decided that it was of no interest to him and proceeded to tear out the pages, one by one. When he had sufficient, he screwed them into balls and went to the water’s edge.

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Aabout an hour into a 6-hour drive, I have re-affirmed my talent as a world-class vocalist, (that is, alone in my car with the windows tightly rolled up and the music playing at near deafening levels).

I reach out and click off the radio and begin to contemplate: “Why am I on this mission? What am I in search of? What do I expect to find?” I have always held a special place in my heart for a small town, smack dab in the middle of Texas.

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Mmy wife tells me most every day the biggest problem I have in my quest to survive myself, is I rarely pay attention. I know she is right because every time I lose track of the reality around me I get myself into trouble.

Now I am not saying I am stupid. I teach chemistry and have worked with DNA bioinformatics. But, asking me who called on the phone ten minutes after the call was made is difficult. This lack of understanding some phone calls could be important drives my wife nuts. When she gets home she asks if anyone called. I usually say no only to figure out later her sister called to tell about some important arrangements about a holiday get-together I forgot was about to happen.

I don’t blame my wife for getting mad at me but I explain to her this is the way my mind is wired. Of course, she then reminds me about the concept of short circuits but by this time I find it better to hide. Forgetting phone calls is not the only thing I forget. I have a difficult time remembering names. This is very disconcerting to the person I am talking too especially if he or she thought they were good friends. I even forget my relative’s names. My wife saves me because every time there is a family get-together or party I stand near her when we enter and reviews who is there and what their names are.

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