June 28, 2020

On the Wrong Side of History

Some ideas belong in the trash

Staying on the Titanic but determined to create as many bubbles as possible, all the way down.

Sometimes this is the feeling I get as I read the newspaper, check online sources, or just listen to some people talk. It is as if there are a bunch of folks, crowded together on the upper deck of that failed ship, denying reality as long as possible and then shouting defiance as the waves close over their heads, sending a last blast of bubbles as the only reminder of their presence.

Being on the wrong side of history is not difficult. Most of us have been so at one time or another. We thought Beta tapes were the way to go. Apple will never compete with Windows. No one needs a phone small enough for a pocket. The Beatles won't sell many records. 

Those are the normal human guesses about the direction of history or at least the small parts that intrude into our life. But, I have been thinking about a much more consequential misreading of history. This is the one that attempts to take society back, back to what we misremember as a gentler, more predictable time. This is the history that wraps itself in a gauzy sheen of forgetfulness, of never really noticing what was wrong. The real problem comes when this warped recall of the way things were is used to justify some horrible behavior now.

I suggest we are seeing the consequences of this attempt to rewrite, or "clean up" parts of our history. Take the controversies over various statues or flags, for example. The Confederacy was an attempt to not only break apart the union of states but to enshrine slavery as a permanent part of the culture. One must be pretty obtuse to not understand the Confederate symbols, flags, and statues are symbols of a hateful system built on the misery of other humans. To claim it is part of someone's heritage isn't something to be celebrated or perpetuated, it is something to discard in the trash heap of bad ideas. 

In a hard-to-miss insult, U.S. military installations are named after Confederate Generals, men whose purpose was to defeat the U.S. military. What possible sense does it make to name a place after someone who wanted everyone wearing that uniform to die? Why would the current president fight so hard to keep these names? The answer is politically obvious.

There is a statue (just removed) of Teddy Roosevelt in the lobby of a New York City museum. Our 26th president is astride a horse, while a black man and native American (Indian at that time) are walking alongside the horse. The message of white superiority, of the horror of Manifest Destinty upon those who were here well before us,  of the conquering hero, is unmistakable. 

Of course, the protests and focus on racism continue. After 155 years, we continue to find ourselves confronting those who hate, oppress, denigrate, or simply ignore the concept that the Constitution makes rather clear: all men are created equal. And, yes, I haven't overlooked the irony of the "all men" phrasing that was a product of a male-dominated culture that kept women from full rights until almost 100 years ago. Equal pay? Sexism? Still a fight that continues today.

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, as an older white male I can't possibly understand the fear and intimidation that those with different skin color than mine endure every single day. Black children must be taught how to react when stopped by a policeman, react in ways that would never be part of a similar set of instructions for white kids. Being ignored, attacked, or otherwise made to feel less than human? Part of their life.

Yet, I do believe that this time, the obliviousness of too many of us is changing. In a nation that claims to be Christian, why has it taken this long to understand that Jesus was a dark-skinned man, likely Arab, and not a white man? That he meant it when he said to love your neighbor, all your neighbors, not just the ones that look and think like you. If that wasn't his message, then he is not speaking to contemporary white America.

God demands the poor and marginalized people of any society deserve our full support, love, and help. Proclaiming oneself to be Christian yet treating blacks as inferior, is pretty damning evidence that you have missed the point.

Those who continue to insist it is their "right" to wave a flag of hate, to want to hold down a race of human beings who are a different color and to insist that things were better in the "good old days"  are on the wrong side of history. If you want us to go back to when everyone knew the rules, stayed in their place, and accepted things the way they were, your days are past.

But, apparently, you are not going down without a last blast of bubbles.

June 24, 2020

Play It Again, Sam

Do you like movies? Is your idea of a great night at home a favorite flick and a bowl of popcorn? Considering our stay-at-home status for the past three months, I hope that has been part of it. Word is movie theaters will start to open next month, but I won't be one of the first in line. Streaming or even a well-played DVD is the safest choice for Betty and me.

Are there movies you can watch again and again? I have dozens, but here is my shortlist to get you thinking about some of your favorites. 

Casablanca. I am immediately transported to a time of mystery, romance, and elegance. I want to find a club with a piano and the last plane leaving soon. Humphrey and Ingrid are the perfect couple in the perfect movie. And, who doesn't love the French Captain, playing both sides against each other. This is one of those movies I love in its original black and white. Truthfully, I just watched this again last week and fell in love all over again. And, yes, I know the blog title's words are not spoken in the movie, but the phrase has come to represent the film.

French Kiss. Paris and love. A scoundrel with a heart of gold. A man, a woman, and a dream. No matter how many times I see this, I get misty when Kevin Kline sits next to Meg Ryan on the plane in the last scene.

Singing in the Rain. I'm still not sure how Donald O'Connor can pull off the dance moves he does, especially knowing he smoked four packs of cigarettes a day. Gene Kelly and Debby Reynolds are actually believable as a couple, even though there is a 20-year difference in their ages. Gene makes rain and getting wet the height of romance. 

Wizard of Oz. The transition from black and white to color when Dorothy arrives in Oz is still stunning after all these years of technological advances. The Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man are simply lovable. If you have been separated from your family over the past few months, the story must touch you. After all, don't we all want to go home again?

Mary Poppins  (the original). This brings back powerful memories of family nights when the kids were growing up. Singing all the songs, watching Dick Van Dyke do a chalk drawing and a bad English accent, or the proper English Dad getting so frustrated over his kids while loving them to death. This was the perfect family film at our house. The newer version is also a keeper, but I will need many more viewings to have it make this list.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. After seeing this, I grew a mustache and have never shaved it off. The first of the successful "buddy films" made Robert Redford a star. The shootout in Bolivia still brings chills, as does Katharine Ross, but for entirely different reasons.

The Quiet Man. I have been to the tiny Irish village of Kong where much of this movie was filmed. It is every bit as quaint and beautiful as it looks on film. Seeing it takes me back to a simpler (and definitely not PC)  time when "men were men and women were glad of it." I always refer to a hike as just a "good stretch of the legs." This is proof John Wayne could do much more than ride a horse.

Avatar. The story has been told many times before. The characters aren't very memorable. But, seeing this in 4K changed the way I will look at movies forever. The colors, the absolute breathtaking visuals, and the majesty of a magical world take me away. The picture leaps off a 2-dimensional screen like no other movie I have seen. The underlying narrative of the slaughter of native people for economic reasons seems very relevant today and every bit as disturbing.

Frozen. This must make my list because of the number of times I have seen it with the grandkids. Beautifully animated with a strong story. And, I am a lover of anything Olaf: several stuffed dolls, a face cloth, and an Olaf coffee cup. When the character sings about the joys of summer, I always join in.

Mamma Mia. My son-in-law rolls his eyes every time I mention this one. Sorry, I love the music and the scenery. I could live without Pierce Brosnan's singing, but sets are gorgeous, and everyone is so energetic. It doesn't hurt that Betty and I saw the stage show in London's West End 17 years ago. 

Those are 10 movies I can watch again and again. Now it is your turn. What movies are on your list, and why? Leave your comment, and maybe I'll just discover a flick I need to re-watch. Go ahead and give my choices a thumbs up or down. I can take it. 

Go ahead...Make my day.

June 20, 2020

When Is The Right Time To Move Into a CCRC?

Friendship Village, Tempe, AZ

OK, let's start with an important definition: what is a CCRC? This is the abbreviation for a Continuing Care Retirement Community, a type of retirement environment that provides living and health care through three stages of aging needs: independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care. If you'd like an excellent overview of how this type of community operates, costs, and what types of questions to ask of those you may be considering, click this link.

While all three styles of living arrangements can be found separately, a CCRC makes the transition from one stage to the next easier and prearranged. All sorts of places offer independent and assisted living. But, finding space in a well-run nursing home is not an easy task. There could be a lengthy waiting list or other limitations. The costs are quite substantial and few insurance options exist.

A reader has decided this three-stage community is best for him and his wife. One of the toughest decisions to make is when to move into a CCRC. Knowing that Betty and I plan on such a move at some point,  he asked me to provide a few guidelines and the factors I will be considering when we decide it is the time to proceed.

Like many of the important decisions in life, deciding when to move into a CCRC is not a simple one to make. There are several factors to consider. Let's see if I can identify the ones that might be giving you pause.

* I want to stay in my own home. Moving to any type of retirement community is not in the cards. This is common for many of us. Home is often where we raised a family, made memories, or have a space that welcomes and comforts us. Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous if the house isn't altered to be made safer as we age. And, at some point, our needs for nursing or daily health needs cannot be safely met in our own home. 

* Those places are expensive. I can't afford such a choice. There is no argument: CCRCs are expensive. Most require a "buying" fee, an amount of money that allows you to move into the community. That charge guarantees your space in all levels of care when appropriate for you and helps pay to maintain the facilities. Usually in the range of $200-400,000, this initial charge is either refundable to your estate upon death, or a one time fee that you cannot recover.  If you choose the returnable option, this one time charge will be higher. 
Also, expect to pay a monthly rental fee of $2,500-$4,500. This fee normally does not change as you move from independent to assisted to nursing center living. It covers maintenance and repair of where you live, meals, and facility use. Think of it as what you would pay for an upscale apartment.

* I'm too young. Most CCRC's require at least one member of a couple to be over 55. Adult or grandchildren are not allowed to live with you permanently. If you are younger than 55 and aren't ready to live with only older folks, you are probably too young (either physically or mentally) for such a choice. Of course, if you have just turned 55. 

* I'm too old. This is the risk you might face if you wait too long to move to a CCRC. Most have requirements that you must be able to perform at least a few of the basic functions of daily care on your own. You can move directly into an assisted living environment, but not directly to a nursing care facility. Wait too long and you may be denied entry. For Betty and me, when I turn 80 is probably the time when such a move is best.

* What happens if it goes bankrupt or out of business after I move in? This risk is one that is faced by all of us who must depend on someone or some service. An insurance company can decide it can't continue to pay your monthly annuity. A nursing home may default on a loan or the owners decide to close the business. A CCRC can fail. It is up to you to perform basic due diligence before agreeing to sign on the dotted line. How many years have they been in business? Has ownership changed often, or recently? Why? Tour the facility, all of it, and ask questions of residents.

* What are CCRC's like? I don't want a warehouse for old people or something with constant activities and meetings. I can only speak with some authority about the one I know best: my parents lived in one for ten years, until their deaths. I visited them often, ate in the restaurants, buffets, and cafes, saw the facilities, and was able to experience, firsthand, the hands-on, caring quality of care from the nurses.

There was a mix of those who were active and those who preferred a quiet lifestyle. There were plenty of clubs and groups if one was so inclined. A nearby University held classes at the community center for lifetime learners. A well-stocked library, bank branch, space for a weekly church service, pool, fitness center, an on-site small grocery store, beauty salon, and barbershop were available.

Frequent shuttles to doctors' offices, pharmacies, or off-site restaurants and shopping made life easy for those without a car or family nearby. A full-service hospital was next door. Located in the suburb of a major city, the ability to go to concerts, museums, plays, and sporting events was there for those who wanted to partake.

OK, now to answer the reader's specific question about knowing when it is time to move into a CCRC, the answer depends:

  • On finding a place you can spend the rest of your life,
  • that you can afford, 
  • that includes the services and amenities that are important to you and,
  • that is financially stable and has a solid history

Do your homework, decide what will make you feel happy, safe, and taken care of, and then go for it.

June 16, 2020

The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,... it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."

Written 140 years ago, Charles Dickens could be summarizing how we feel at the moment. There is a sense we are starting to come out of the worst of the initial impact the virus has had on our lives, our economy, even our feeling of hopelessness.

Many argue that being too aggressive in attempting to return to the way it was will only allow Covid-19 to mount a fresh assault on all of us. Several states, including mine, are showing noticeable upticks in infections and deaths. Cooler weather this fall might reignite the spread of the disease, too. But, positive signs are what we cling to. Some of the normal pieces of life are beginning to fit together. 

At the same moment, just when we have hope that one type of terror is receeding, we are experiencing another: an explosion of anger and rage at something that has never gone away, but just kept bubbling beneath the surface. Riots, marches, and protests that surpass anything I remember from the the 1960s are happening in cities and towns all over the country.

Charges of police brutality and excessive violence are gaining strength, enough to prompt some calls for the defunding or reigning in the power of those who are charged with keeping us safe. This will not be an easy task. Police protection is an esential part of maintaining a civilized society. There are laws that must be enforced. No police is an unworkable option. But, how to balance enforcement with an even hand is the crux of the issue.

Images that are impossible to unsee of black men killed before our eyes, of citizens of all races, ages, and genders being tear-gassed, beaten to the ground, forced to clear a path for a disgusting  photo op, of the White House being surrounded by high fences and battle ready troops.....sights in my 71 years that I never expected to see in my country.

All of this while a political season that promises to be more vitriolic, divisive, and monumental for the fate of the nation's course begins to generate its own heat, fear, and uncertainty.

Truly, the best of times and the worst of times.

But, I have a strangely optimistic take on all this. Not just the the slow movement back toward a functioning economy. Millions will struggle to find meaningful work in a permanently changed environment and that is heartbreaking. But, we couldn't continue with virtually everything on hold.

More meaningful is the spotlight that is shining on problems that have remained in the shadows for too long. Racism, inequality in so many areas, policing powers that must be controlled while re-establishing trust in local neighborhoods, a better use of economic resources to strengthen education, medical and mental health care are having a bright light shone on them.

This reality has been with us since the country was founded with slavery as part of the economy and way of life. Over time, as a society, we have addressed them with various levels of engagement and varying degrees of success. But, for some reason, this time things feel different. 

Maybe it is the fact that the protests are country-wide. Or, that they weren't just a one or two day expression of anger and frustration; the demand for real reform isn't going away this time nor fading back into the shadow. A just completed poll by ABC news shows that more than 70% of Americans see George Floyd's death as part of a much larger problem..  

With the virus debacle, the resulting economic shutdown, terrifying level of unemployment, even rent strikes and increased homelessness, there would seem to be enough reasons keep us occupied.

Yet, the very public killing of yet another black man was the final straw for so many. His death at the hands of men charged with protecting us wasn't a isolated occurrence. In fact, in the week since I wrote this posts, two more black men have died at the hands of the police. The death of many African-Americans has become so frequent that we had become numb to it. An incidence makes its way into the news and then disappears to be replaced by something else.

White supremacists, a lone mad man consumed with irrational hate, or people who are given power that can sometimes go unchecked and without consequences, pull the figurative, or literal, trigger. Collectively, however, by allowing this to occur with little more than a shake of our head, it makes us complicit in this deadly stain.

I may be naive, or just overly hopeful. But, this time, this focus on inequality and racism seems to have real staying power. There seems to be an awakening that says it isn't going away quietly. There is not only a possibility, but I would argue, an absolute necessity that there will be lasting change. The core issue of the way we treat our fellow citizens, who enforces the law and how, and the belief that every one one of us must be treated equally is one that must be fully faced and dealt with.

I wouldn't have said this even three weeks ago, but I am predicting that George Floyd's death will become the spark that lights the fire that helps define the upcoming election. Past efforts to change this type of egregious behavior seemed to peter out after a few weeks. Today, the determination to see it result in measurable change feels real. This time, there are too many people pushing for change to watch the effort fade away.

If I am right, then we will have moved from the worst of times, to the best of times. It will usher in a season of light and a time of hope.

June 13, 2020

If It Worked For Our Parents

A walk in the country; not a video game in sight
I've heard more than one person say they feel like we are back in the 1950s. Extra time at home, fewer distractions, not nearly as many cars on the road, simpler pleasures and comfort food meals does sort of remind me of Leave it To Beaver. Of course technology was not part of our daily life back then. Three black & white TV channels, AM radio, and landline phones was as far as we had advanced. Streaming services, cell phones, and computers were still decades in the future. Yet, we somehow survived being so deprived. 

The 1950s were not the idyllic time we tend to remember: racism, sexism, homophobic thinking.....there were dark sides to the suburban dream that continue today. But, I can certainly understand the comments. The pandemic has pared our lives back to a more basic level. 

Can we draw any parallels between our lifestyle now and what our parents endured during the last time such a disruption to the norm existed: The Great Depression? Probably not. Even with a safety net as full of holes as what we have today, the plight of the 20% of Americans who were unemployed then was much bleaker than today. 

I was thinking about stories my dad has told me about being a young teen during the 1930's and how tight everything really was: a chicken for dinner a few times a year, having to hunt rabbits and deer for many meals, fruit as a special treat....it is hard for us to imagine. If we could, maybe there would be a little less complaining about how "bad" things are now.

In any case, I was hunting around the Internet for approaches to life that folks used to help them through the depression and phrases or idioms to describe their experiences. That brought to mind some of those expressions  that might help us today. See if any of these resonate with you:

Waste Not, Want Not. The terms minimalist or voluntary simplicity didn't exit. Many people were living that lifestyle, though not necessarily by choice. But, they did learn to make the most of everything they had. Things were used up, re-purposed, or done without. Food was not thrown away. Clothes were hand-me-downs.

Today the average American family throws away 250 pounds of food every year - food that sits unused in a refrigerator or on a shelf until it is no longer edible. I know how easy this is: Betty and I throw away $10-$15 worth of produce each week. Even during this time of shortages we have plans to use everything, then something changes and we end up tossing stuff before shopping again. It galls me and we are better than we used to be. But still.....

Pull Yourself Up by Your own Bootstraps and Keep your Nose to the Grindstone. These phrases speaks to personal responsibility. Obviously, there are situations when outside help is needed. Hopefully we are still a society that takes care of those that need aid. But, during the GD, those who could did what they had to do to provide for their families and themselves. They found a way. They worked several jobs. The moved in together. My dad raised vegetables to sell and peddled magazine subscriptions door-to-door to raise money for college. People sold their own furniture or crafts they had created.

In some respects we have lost this attitude. Too often we hear, "It's their fault," or "I don't want to work that hard." Covid-19 has forced many of us to solve more problems on our own. The inventiveness is obvious if you look at all the things people are making or re-purposing for others. But, when things go back to whatever the new normal is, will we return to the habit of outsourcing many things in our lives?

A penny saved is a penny earned. This idiom would have to be updated a bit. In the U.S. it costs 1.7 cents to produce a 1 cent coin.

But, the point is clear: what you don't spend you have saved. Contrary to the advertisements that claim "the more you spend the more you save," not spending is the best savings plan there is. Our parents and grandparents understood the difference between a want and a need. Too often, today we think those words mean the same thing.

I know the pandemic has had a very positive effect on my overall discretionary budget. Money spent on gas, dining out, movies, or other out-of-home entertainment is way down. My auto insurance company is giving me a bit of a rebate on my premium since I am driving much less. Two expensive vacations scheduled for this year have been cancelled. Food costs are up, but we are still ahead of the game.

Don't borrow or lend. This is another phrase that would have to be adjusted. It is quite difficult to be part of our society without borrowing money for housing or cars, educations, or even health care emergencies. But, like the "penny saved" idea, borrowing to go on vacation or for the 60" TV is just plain silly. And, we all have heard horror stories of those who lent money to a friend and never see either again.

Of course, lending things to help a family member or friend is to be encouraged. If someone in your family has lost a job and is struggling, lending (or outright gifting) them money to get them through this emergency is not what the expression means. 

Keep your nose out of other's business. Obviously, this was well before the media and people became obsessed with the lives of the "rich and famous" and seemingly everyone else. Is it right to gossip about others' misfortunes? Does it make our life better to know private, hurtful stuff about others? Don't we have enough of our own problems to worry about?

Don't Cry Over Split Milk. The past is past. Complaining or looking for someone to blame doesn't solve a problem or provide a solution. Correct what you can, repair the damage to the best of your abilities, change your attitude and move on. We spend much too much time and energy rehashing what went wrong or who messed up. It is better to analyze what went wrong and try to prevent it from happening again. Then, move on. 

I will add one caveat to this saying: it is quite important that we analyze what has been done poorly (and well) in our response to the virus and everything it has affected. To ignore history is to repeat it...another saying that might might fir our current dilemma. 

I am quite sure no one wants to relive the Great Depression type lifestyle. But, like all of history, there are lessons to be learned. Some can come from simple phrases or idioms, like those above. 

June 9, 2020

Groundhog Day

In early March I began keeping a daily journal, not of emotions, or plans, or working toward goals. Rather, I was beginning to feel that every day had begun to unfold just like the day before: the same chores, practicing of guitar and painting, working on various projects, going to the gym...pretty much routine. I thought if I kept a record of what I did I would realize how varied each day really is.

Well, guess how that has worked out for the last several months. I imagine you have seen the movie, Groundhog Day. Bill Murray plays a reporter who is doomed to repeat the same day over and over and over. Each morning, at 6:00 AM, his alarm rings and he begins again, stuck in an endless loop. As his character said, "Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today."

I can appreciate how he must have felt. 

I decided to continue the daily list as various parts of my life shut down, and everything outside my door went quiet. Having never experienced anything quite like the pandemic lockdown, I figured it would be instructive to look back at what days were like when the outside world I knew had ceased to exist. What kept me busy and engaged? 

After 6 weeks of dutifully making note of what i did on that particular day, I stopped. There seemed to be no point in writing down the same five or six things every day. The turn of a page just brought more of the same. Frankly, I was getting bummed out just keeping track. Groundhog Day had me in its grasp.

As things slowly begin to normalize, I have made journal entries of the baby steps back to a regular existence: curbside pickup at a sushi place, the opening of the gym near my home, the library allowing pickup of books on hold, then opening up the main building for wandering the stacks (one way only). The grocery store not stripped bare, but being close to fully stocked again. 

Restaurants are now allowed to offer inside dining, but bars, movie theaters, and larger public gathering remain closed in Arizona, and that is fine with me. Our church is opening, at half capacity, but we will not attend. I would not feel comfortable going to any of these places now. 

Local park facilities have reopened, which makes our dog happy. There is a section of one of them that she loves to roam, smell, do her business, and hunt for lizards. Most of the park restrooms remain closed, so a little foresight on her humans' part is required. Otherwise, we see plenty of joggers, folks on bikes, and dogs being walked, but social distancing is being followed by everyone we have seen.

The number of Covid-19 cases has increased in Arizona since things began to open up. If that trend continues the Governor might have to move back to a more restrictive situation.The possibility of a second virus wave caused by a too-quick return to more normal conditions concerns us and will keep us cautious probably through summer and early fall.  One of the blessings of being retired at this time, is there are very few places we must go. Our house is our safe place and we have control over our environment. 

How about you? Are you staying busy and loving all the time without pressures? Or, are you rewatching Groundhog Day, at least metaphorically, and wishing that you could snap your fingers and return to whatever the real world will look like?

Have you begun to step back into the world? If so, how far are you venturing past your front door?

June 4, 2020

Disposable Razors

First published seven years ago, this post still resonates today...maybe even more so in our present situation.

This is not a post about personal grooming. It is about adjusting your viewpoint. 

This is not a post about our throwaway society. It is about being open to something new.

On one of our RV trips I brought an electric shaver. It is OK most of the time. It is convenient, holds a charge for weeks, and gets close enough for most occasions (especially a vacation). But, once every three weeks or so I like to use shaving cream and a razor to give myself a real shave. Unfortunately I forgot to pack any blades on this trip so I stopped at Walgreens to buy some.

As most of us are aware, razor companies pretty much give away the handle to make their money on the blades. With dozens of different styles, once you have committed to a handle, you have committed to a certain blade. They are not interchangeable. Just like office printers where the ink costs more than the printer after a year or so, blades are expensive. For men, Gillette keeps adding blades to each saving head; I think they are up to five per razor blade now. 

My handle is probably 15 years old and uses a two strip blade. Imagine, only 2 shaving surfaces! How primitive  As you might imagine finding that type of blade after all these years is very difficult but I persisted, until Betty offered a solution that had never occurred to me: disposable razors.

I kid you not. I knew such things existed but I think of these cheap, flimsy, handles with poor quality blades that nick and slice someone's face when disposable razors are mentioned. Guess what? Disposable razors aren't garbage anymore. Companies has figured out how to manufacture a decent, reasonably priced, disposable handle/blade. Who knew?

Betty looked at me like I had my lights on but no one was home. "You didn't know about good quality disposables?" I think she was wondering who she had married. My excitement at finding a workable solution to my shaving blade problem energized me all evening. I even shaved after dinner just to try it out. It worked! And, I smelled good! 

My point is larger than the fact than I have missed a rather common development in the world of personal grooming. It is all about being open to new ideas. 

For well over a decade I have continued to invest increasingly large sums of money in an increasingly futile search for something that has swerved me well in the past, and therefore is just fine for today....even when it isn't.

What other actions and decisions do I stick with out of loyalty, habit, or lack of perceived alternatives? What else is part of my life even when its usefulness is over? Actually, our RV trip opened my eyes to several ways I live that may need some examination:

* A simple dinner is just as satisfying as one that takes lots of prep time or dirties too many dishes. Plastic plates and cups are sometimes a great choice.

* A nap when needed is a true blessing, but when it becomes a habit there is a need to reassess. I have taken fewer post-lunch naps on this vacation and haven't missed them. In fact, I notice the "extra" time Betty and i have to do something more fun or productive.

* I need to do a better job of controlling my computer/Internet time. Is the lack of a solid WiFi signal important enough to ruin my day? Seriously?

* Habitually I have four cups of coffee a day, though I really enjoy only two of them. On this trip I have had just two cups each day. So, I just have to stop going through the motions at home.

All of this from a disposable razor! 

An added thought: what we are going through right now, in June 2020, really is another example of the need to be open to new ways of doing things, of deciding what is important. We are at that perfect historical junction when we can decide if our past actions and decisions still work. 

And, yes, I now have a stock of disposable razors under my sink for use as needed.