Blog Archives

Ever make out a “living will?”

My daughter, wife, son and daughter-in-law are all participating in making out the details for a “living will“… I guess they are worried about what to do with my books and check-protector collection and fat-man clothes and other stuff.

They need to know if I’ll allow an autopsey, or whether I want to be cremated or buried or stuffed and distributed on a timely basis to decorate the homes of family members. They need to know if I want to stay alive in a vegetative state. Nothing I’ve really thought about before.

They are doing all this by following instructions in a book (“In the Checklist of Life“) by Elly and my old friend and former employee Lynn McPhelimy who developed this stuff thirty years ago.

This has been helpful to many people in our family… Elly gave many of them copies of Lynn’s book as holiday gifts one year. You can get it, too… just go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/In-Checklist-Life-Working-Leave/dp/0965784355b   where it costs under $20.00.

If you are planning last days of any family member, or yourself, you may want to consider one of the many five-star reviews that have appeared on Amazon:

This is an excellent book. Everyone needs to have one of these. I have filled out every page that applies. I told my whole family where it is located should my untimely death occur. I have had to plan and attend many funerals and when there is no plan it can make things difficult and stressful. It you take the time to fill out these pages, even some of them, it will help your family in a time of sorrow and confusion. This book is best for the division of property and sentimental items. It is also a good idea to have a living will and trust. Anyone who’s ever had to go through probate or a difficult family situation can relate. For those who haven’t, just know that death can often do strange things to people and even the most loving of families can be divided over who gets what. Get this book as a great start to planning an inevitable part of life.

…or this one:

“In the Checklist of Life” was a book that I found to be indispensable. In retrospect, after losing someone close to you, you realize how important this book really is. I have always joked with my family about writing my own obituary, and here is my very own chapter in which to do just that. The chapter about your pets is one that should not be missed for all pet lovers. This book is smart, it’s funny, it makes you think, it makes you cry. Be kind to your family and fill in the pages of this wonderful book. They will forever be thankful.

As I think about what might go wrong with the surgery I’m having next Friday, this will keep most of my family feeling much more secure.  Thanks, Lynn.

 

It’s Mothers Day… and I wish a happy one to all you Mothers out there…

Mother's Day card

Elly (who is waiting to see if our son calls her from Milwaukee with a Happy Mothers Day) and I are riding down to Manassas  to take my mom to lunch in celebration.

Although I think this was a holiday created by the greeting card companies in association with florists everywhere, it’s good to remember how much our mothers mean to us. Our personalities were formed under her auspices as we grew up. She was our first supporter and encouraged us as we headed into the future. She was the true person we could turn to if we were in trouble. Is there anyone more important than a mother.

So here’s a bit on the history of Mothers Day:

Have a nice one.

Here’s to everyone’s families on Thanksgiving Eve…

Tomorrow, families everywhere will be getting together to enjoy Thanksgiving, and I think it is Families we should be most thankful for.

Locally, Elly and I are going over to my daughter Penny’s to have delicious locally raised heirloom turkey with her and her three boys. Not all of our family will be there… but we all got together last Saturday (from as far away as Wisconsin and Connecticut and Virginia) for Elly’s surprise birthday party over at the Entler Hotel (one of our historic sites) in Shepherdstown. So many came in that they couldn’t all afford to get here tomorrow… but we did get to see everyone during the week.

So enjoy your family tomorrow and be good to each other.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Remembering My Father…

My father didn’t make it into his sixties as I have, so I don’t know how he would have approached the requirements of age. I know he tried for an early retirement a number of years before he died… selling the Bristol Pharmacy which he had developed and built into a thriving business that put my sister and me through prep school and college. He moved down to Saint Pete with my mother and tried to enjoy the good life. One day he left the house and didn’t come home all day. My worried mother asked him where he had been all day and found out he had taken a pharmacist job in a drugstore. My Dad just couldn’t stop working… he was bored if he couldn’t work.

When the guy he had sold the Bristol Pharmacy let the business almost go bust, my Dad went back to Connecticut, called in his notes on the detail, and took over the store. It took a couple of years, but he built it back to where it had been.

It was hard to do “spare time” things with my father. The one thing he really liked was flying small planes (at different times he owned two classic Stinsons), something my mother found hard to deal with. When he was flying back from our summer house that we had on Cape Cod for three years, he had to make a forced landing due to weather near Willimantic, CT, and rolled down a hill on a small farm ending up crashing into a barbed wire fence that got the propeller all wrapped in sharp-pointed wire. He had to have the plane towed out and repaired and soon thereafter he sold it and never flew planes again.

When I was somewhat younger and, for a few months, took up golf, I went out golfing with my Dad late in the afternoon (don’t gt we wrong… he hardly ever played, but this was something we were attempting to do together.) There was a water hazard on the approach to the first hole and his ball plopped into it. Instead of pulling out another ball, he waded into the small pond and found the ball… and discovered there were lots of others there.  So he decided to recover as may as he could… after all, golf balls cost money. He picked balls until it got dark, and that was the end of our first…and last… golf outing.

There is no one I have missed more than my father over the past 35 or so years, and I am fortunate to have many fond memories.

Toy Of The Year :)

clipped from www.dailymail.co.uk

Parents’ fury as ‘totally inappropriate’ breastfeeding doll for young girls goes on sale in the U.S.

The toy market is constantly innovating when it comes to baby dolls. But a new product designed to simulate breastfeeding has sparked widespread anger among parents.

Makers of The Breast Milk Baby claim that their new doll allows children to experience the ‘magic of motherhood’.

But parents have spoken out in anger over the toy, which they have slammed as ‘totally inappropriate’.

Controversial: Spanish toy makers have launched The Breast Milk Baby on the U.S. market claiming that it lets young girls experience the ‘magic of motherhood’
The doll comes with a bib for the child to wear, with pink flowers indicating the nipple area.

When held to the breast the doll makes suckling noises, and start crying if it is not burped afterwards.

Dennis Lewis, U.S. spokesman for Berjuan Toys states:

‘The whole purpose of The Breast Milk Baby is to teach children the nurturing skills they’ll need to raise their own healthy babies in the future.

‘We really don’t understand why this has created such controversy.’

And though the overwhelming response has been negative, there are some parents that believe the Breast Milk Baby is harmless and fun.

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“These are the times that try men’s souls.”
- Tom Paine

Another seizure last week…and I wait every day for another.

This is getting scary.

The other night while looking up an e-mail address I felt a little snap in my head and the next thing I knew my wife was asking me questions. They were the usual… my daughters’ names, my dogs’ names… and, as usual in one of these, I couldn’t remember them.

To me it took about 20 minutes to snap out of it and start remembering names. Elly says it was more like fifty minutes and I spent a long time just staring straight ahead until I started speaking again. I do not remember this.

Now, for the last couple of days, I sit in fear that this will happen again while Elly is at work and I won’t remember any of it. Or, it will happen and I won’t snap out of it at all.

A week from this Saturday they’ve scheduled me for more tests. It’s a long time to wait.

It was Grandparent’s Day at John and Jason’s school…

I spent the morning over in Williamsport where it was Grandparent’s day in my grandsons’ (John and Jason)

John Cantor, my oldest grandson

school. This is an experience I’ve enjoyd for the last couple of years and I get to spend about an hour with each boy in class.

John got to show me the little computers they are working with and we participated in an exercise comparing the current world to the world of the sixties.

Jason Cantor, my third oldest grandson

In Jason’s class I had a story read to me (about a tap dancing grandfather with a pastvaudeville career) and played “Grandparent’s Bingo”.

I guess pretty soon I’ll be going to Grandparent’s Day for Jacob, the youngest. I only wish I could attend the same kind of program for Milo in Connecticut.

Merry Christmas

Elly and I are enjoying our Xmas morning, having slept late and now finishing our favorite holiday breakfast (adapted to our new Vegan status) of potatoes and “sausage”… and we are watching C-Span discuss favorite non-fiction books of the year with the call-in audience.

As usual during a holiday, there is no real political activity going on… at least not on television… but we will undoubtedly return to the lively discussion of the merger of the House and Senate bills and the extremes the Republicans will go to in order to (try to) kill it altogether.

We took most of yesterday visiting my Mother in Virginia and my daughter Penny and her sons in Maryland, and came home to our dogs who were VERY upset that they had spent the day without us. Today we spend a lot of time paying attention to them.

I hope all of you have a nice holiday. and drop in again. I don’t know what else I’ll be listing or discussing today, but there is likely to be something. Peace.

-BT

My Son In Law has had an accident…

…riding on my daughter’s Vespa in Connecticut. Serious broken leg requiring surgery tomorrow. Cassandra reached me on iChat and I called her back on the (dare I say it) old technology (phone.) Below is a picture of Matthew being brought in on a stretcher…

matthew on a stretcher

I hope you feel better soon Matthew. Family and friends can get all details on Cassandra’s Facebook page.

Fought Traffic for forty minutes just getting out of the park…

Maryland Symphony

…but now an hour and a quarter after they ended, Elly and I are back at home with the Antietam Fireworks and Maryland Symphony Concert over again for another year.

And, as last year, I say “never again.”

The concert was nice. The fireworks were great (although I don’t know why they don’t play music with the fireworks… either live or recorded… like the big city shows.) We spent a couple of hours picnicking with family and extended friends… with the grandsons running all over the place… on two extended blanket layouts that Penny must have put down in the afternoon.

There were 30,000 people in attendance, on roads that are meant to service about 5% of that number at a time, I’m so nervous and shaken getting in and out of the park… not to  mention having to walk at least a quarter of a mile from the closest parking spot and down a steep hill carrying everything (and up it, in a shoulder to shoulder crowd while trying to get back to the car.)

At least it didn’t rain this year, as it did while we were escaping last year.

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