Category Archives: Like Life
@mkramer likes to post lists of tasks that she has completed, large and small, required and optional. In that spirit, here’s what I accomplished over my holiday break:
- Scrubbed coffee stains from my breakfast cup set.
- Registered as a prospective host for my university’s externship program.
- Snacked on a tasty (store-brought) Christmas stollen.
- Updated my medical emergency/end-of-life instructions.
- Replaced the battery in one device. (Thought there would be more.)
- Cleaned out file folders of 20-year-old travel brochures and directions to birding hot spots.
- Made some birthday arrangements for Leta.
- Received a judgment: “Not eating at home brings good fortune.”
- Restocked the food and water in my Go Box.
- Cleaned out the closet of linens/bathroom stuff.
- Tightened the buttons on one of my comfy shirts.
- Remounted a wobbly toilet roll holder.
- Straightened up the basement after October’s mini-flood.
- Set up my script for my next show; set up my 2016 notebooks.
- Watched two movies, in cinemas, like a grownup.
- Mislaid the power adapter for my music keyboard. Again.
- Cleaned up the cabinet of PC gear; organized the hall hat rack and closet.
- Vinegared the coffeemaker.
- Played Scrabble with Leta.
- Went for a walk in Huntley Meadows Park.
Since I usually finish a bout of to-do checkoffs with more to-dos than I started, it’s nice to look back on what got done.
charity I work for-contribute to/conference organizer,
Mucho travel this year, even a trip for my job. Overnight stays in 2015:
- Lexington Park, St. Mary’s County, Maryland
- La Plata, Charles County, Maryland
- Oregon, Lucas County, Ohio
- Martinsburg, Berkeley County, West Virginia (3 visits) (Thanks, Charlie, as always!)
- Vineland, Cumberland County, New Jersey
- Staunton, Virginia (and)
- Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana (road trip)
- Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee
- Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee
- Boston, Massachusetts
Didn’t get around much this year, but I did visit one performance space that is no more.
A couple of quick snaps from a short trip to Boston for training and meetings, with a visit to our Digital Services unit.
The building for NPR Digital Services, in the old warehouse district of South Boston (we’re on the fifth floor), on the singularly-named Wormwood Street. A tech-rich environment here: an old smokestack bristles with comms gear.
Ezekiel J. Emanuel has written the truly provocative “Why I Hope to Die at 75.” His thesis, to chop the article down to an elevator speech, is that he’s rather certain that when he reaches that age he will no longer be a creative, contributing member of society, but only a consumer of health care services.
… over the past 50 years, health care hasn’t slowed the aging process so much as it has slowed the dying process.
And for Emanuel, what seems ethical for him to do at that point is to refuse major treatments and let nature take its short, brutal course.
I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop.
I find a certain affinity with Emanuel. Like him, I fear the loss of faculties; for me, to be bed-ridden and watching endless daytime TV would be miserable. I think we differ on the milestone. Eighty sounds like a nice round number, but let me get back to you as that time post looms.
On the other hand, consider what Fred Jones (88 years old) has to say. He’s one of a half dozen elderly New Yorkers that John Leland has been talking to. Jones is one of the unlucky folks who has too much income to qualify for government subsidies, but not quite enough to afford services that would make his life more comfortable. He’s sort of trapped in a rent-controlled $300-a-month Crown Heights walkup; if he were to move, he’d be priced out of the market. Nevertheless,
Mr. Jones was not dismayed. He never is. “Oh no, I don’t have any money worries, thank God,” he said. “I have none. My only money worries are, keep the ladies away from it.”
* * *
I asked him when in his life he was happiest.
“Right now,” he said without hesitation. “I have health problems, but it’s been going on a long time, so it’s secondary. But I think happiness really is what’s going on at a particular time. I used to think happiness was something that somebody brought to you. But happiness, as opposed to enjoyment, is when you are doing something and you are elated.”
I am taking a moment to enjoy my new windows (right). No more cracked-glass, peeling paint windows (left) that don’t open, don’t close, and don’t seal out the cold air and dust.
And the scary kitchen window with the busted sash that needed a stick in the track and a shim under the lock to stay closed and secure? Gone!
Leta and I patched together a road trip of several places that we’d never visited before. Much driving, many quick stops, unmanaged time zone changes, and an emergency trip to the phone repair shop, but a good trip nonetheless.
In downstate Indiana, we visited Leta’s colleagues at their offices in Bloomington as well as our theater friend Erika in nearby Nashville. The street name signs in this town with artist colony roots are quite nice.
Also a quick afternoon in Columbus (this part of Indiana is full of cities that share names with much bigger burgs) for a gawp at the architecture. I found much more to see than we’d planned for, so we’ll have to come back (and schedule a Miller House tour in advance). But we did find the Robert N. Stewart Bridge (J. Muller International, 1999), which is very fine. And we wandered as far as the Cummins Inc. Plant One—perhaps less noteworthy architecturally, but it’s a reminder of my B-school days and many, many case studies.
The next day we moved on to Olney, Illinois, resting place of Robert Ridgway and his family, where I made one photo to contribute to the Commons. The historical marker on U.S. 50 is easy to see, but Bird Haven is a little trickier to find—unless you listen to Leta and look for the big blue sign. We lunched at the Roll with It Bakery on Main Street, justifiably known for its “loaded” cinnamon rolls.
Relentlessly, we headed south for Memphis: Beale Street, the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, Wapanocca NWR across the river in Arkansas. We both enjoyed dinner at South of Beale. An unexpected find to add to my collection was this fallout shelter sign downtown on Court Avenue.
After breakfast at Brother Juniper’s in the university district, we pushed on to the bigger Nashville to see Reid (Leta’s cousin) and Jocelyn. Jocelyn gave us a tech tour of Nashville Ballet’s costume shop. We paid homage to the closing sequence of Robert Altman’s Nashville with a visit to the Parthenon in Centennial Park.
CBS This Morning finally ran its feature about Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson’s Tiny Desk Concerts. They were there to film on a couple-three occasions many weeks ago, including February’s awesome Mucca Pazza show. Apparently the producers felt that my colleagues made for more interesting audience shots than me, but you can see my chin and my wristwatch starting at 3:59.