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Cheshire coxing her senior boat last weekend

The week’s notes. Morning. I live on a quiet street although . . . contractors are always working on someone’s home. Today, power saw, power staplers (nailers?) and hammer blows—re-shingling, I think. And there is the sound of traffic from a few streets over.  And the garbage men.

I am studying the light in my rooms at various times of the day.  My bedroom is very dark at night which is much appreciated.  The Madison house, on the corner, had a street light that shined into my bedroom.  Julia’s room, less dark here, needs some heavy curtains. I put up blinds for her which help a bit. I don’t like blinds.  I used to say I hated blinds, but I’m getting used to them here. I remind myself that this is a rental and will never conform completely to my wishes.  

I can live with that.

I successfully found a place for car care. My 2006 Civic is running well. I dented a front fender trying to turn into my drive way between too many parked cars. I gotta’ see if it can be banged out a bit.  

I was less successful finding a hair cut. I miss Lindsey from Bang in Madison. I had a recommendation for a salon near me and the woman who cut was very nice, but she gave me a completely conventional short hair cut. I tried to describe what I wanted. I know my description was faulty, but I also saw her not listening. I let her cut and at the end asked for spikier bangs. She said no!  It looked good the way it was.  At that point, I stoped talking. I’ll let it grow for a month, already it doesn’t please me, and look again.  

This week would have been David’s 65th birthday. David at 65. That is something I would have like to have seen. Would he have retired or worked until he was 70? Would retirement mean doubling down on writing or something completely different? Would he have moved like I have or stayed put—our original Madison mortgage would have been almost paid off by now and he was crazy about living mortgage free. It has become difficult to conjure that alternative life.

With this remembrance, I realized that everyone with whom I imagined spending  my elder years is no longer with me, not all due to death but most. The thought was not surprising, just painful and then, gratitude flooded in for two Madison friends who have become penpals. And Julia and I went to a regatta that Cheshire participated in last, gloriously-weathered  weekend.  And a Facetime phone call with another friend, a first meeting group at the new church, and the discovery of kayaking.  Doors close, windows open as long as I remain somewhat plucky. 

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Plucky moment: I had an admissions interview for the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement. I was happy to fill out the rather long application, complete with personal essay, but very ambivalent going into the interview.  I have a history of bad interviewing; however, reminding myself that this being open to new possibilities is about moving beyond comfort zones and facing old demons head on, I went.

It was a serious interview—two interviewers sitting across a table on hard chairs with prepared questioned based on my application, no coffee/tea/water offered.  At times I felt like a shoe-in—when we talked facilities and parking, the overarching theme of intellectual curiosity and car pooling from Newton.  At times, not so much—when the guy interviewer told me that he wasn’t interested in any of the classes that I suggested leading in my application. I was glad I had prepared but honestly, they knew no one and nothing about my worlds, so my specifics did not make for connections. I am not sorry to have done it. I can wryly smile that I joins the many thousands of high school seniors waiting for their rejections from Harvard. And at my age!  Truly, never say never. Letters at the end of November.

Our doctor may be too far away.  Newton to Malden was almost two hours in traffic after 4 pm yesterday in the rain.  For a flu shot.

Yesterday, Julia had a half day and so we went to the DMV to get her a MA ID card (which can substitute for identification where most of us use our driver’s license) and to register my car for new plates.  We walked out with neither—we don’t have enough proof that she lives here (She doesn’t get bills, has no bank account and all our correspondence from Mass Health and her insurance cards don’t count) and I had the wrong proof of car insurance.

And finally, I unfollowed an old friend on Facebook. She reposts far right political messages that sicken me and weaken my resolve never to reply to political messages.  I want to hear what others think but what she reposts is full of lies, gun rights and name calling.  My reply–I couldn’t help it!– was met with name calling and the urge to keep the argument going.  Ugh! I’m not going to change them and, since they are wrong (I’m smiling) they will never change me. A live and let live  position is a harder and harder stance to pull off these days. Following a path of kindness mixed with a bit of common sense, the only thing to do was unfollow.