Wednesday, November 27, 2013

To Life!

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah.  This year both these celebrations coincide; the last time this happened was in 1888.

Despite troubling and uncertain times, remembering the special celebrations in our lives helps.  Weddings count as special celebrations.  A friend sent me this You Tube video, and just seeing it lifts your spirits.

How the people in the wedding party must have rehearsed these moments, and I must admit, I shed a few tears myself.

To Life!

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 1963 Where were you?

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination and yet I know that many reading this post were not born yet. It's hard to realize that 50 years have gone by and all that has happened since.

 I was a young mother working as a lab tech in a Hartford, Connecticut hospital.  My husband was an actuarial student at one of the insurance companies in Hartford and my little son was 7 years old.  At 12:30 PM, someone ran down in hall in our laboratory yelling, "the president has been shot."  At first, it was hard to comprehend the words as we gathered in small groups to try and make sense of what we heard.  We all went home early that Friday, and from that moment on until the funeral was over on Monday, our television set was on, black and white of course which made what we saw even more dramatic and poignant.

I think that day marked the end of innocence of our country, at least from our generations' point of view.  How could this happen here, we thought. And little did we know, more assassinations were to come, Martin Luther King on April 4th, 1968 and Robert Kennedy only two months later, June 5th, 1968.  

Assassinations are not new in history, but to a young country such as ours, they were.  Our immunity from the political turbulence of Europe somehow protected us, even though our country was involved in World War I and II, they were not fought on our soil,  and not-withstanding, Lincoln's assassination, with Kennedy, here was someone we knew, someone we saw on television, in magazines, someone whose voice we heard, whose family we admired, their youth was our youth, and our hopes for a bright future seemed somehow linked with theirs.

And then two more murders of political leaders, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy made our reality complete.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I'm Retired or ? What's in a name?

Cocktail party or any other gathering -- "What do you do?" is a question often asked here in the US, not so much in other countries as it is considered an intrusive question.

And the "R" word comes slipping from your lips.  What images are conjured in the questioners mind?  Nothing positive.  Here is the definition from The American Heritage Dictionary, "to withdraw as for rest, seclusion or shelter; to withdraw from business or public life," etc.  Not a pretty picture, especially the withdraw part.

I have been thinking about this question and I have come up with a different answer and word.  "What do you do?"  asks someone you have just met.  I am on "Sabbatical" will be my answer from now on.  The definition for sabbatical, and I am using the broader term: a period of time devoted to research, travel and rest."  This term usually refers to a university professor who applies for a sabbatical, traditionally every seven years.

But consider how "I am on sabbatical," sounds  compared to "I am retired."  "Research, travel and rest."  Research to find new interests, travel always interesting and a challenge, and rest, of course because you are busy doing the other things.

And of course, many of us are not the vigorous 20 somethings we were, but with the advent of the Internet, there are still many, many things we can do.  And if you answered that you are on a sabbatical, the questioner might say "But I thought sabbatical meant. . ." which would open another line of questioning, 'what's in a word?'

So, what am I doing?  Keeping in touch with grandchildren, friends, starting a new business, and painting, oh yes, writing this blog.  And many afternoons, I do need to take a nap, and of course there are those annoying health issues.

Time is all we have.  Ask me again -- "What is it you do?"  I am on sabbatical!