Empathizing with those who aren’t able-bodied

People who live with chronic pain and permanent disability have my sympathy and regard. It’s been only five days since an injury and I am frustrated and impatient. My current condition is the result of a fall from the upper rung of a two-step ladder. I landed on my rear end and hit my back... Read more »

If you tune out Trump, make it temporary

I really didn’t want to keep writing about Donald Trump, but here I go again. After the election, I commented to a number of friends, “It’s going to be an uninformed four years for me. I can’t stand hearing his voice, seeing his face, or reading about him.” More than one person replied that she... Read more »

Helping a student find college scholarships

A post about college applications in a blog with “retired” in the title? According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, grandparents and parents make up the fastest-growing segment of student loan borrowers. Three-quarters of these borrowers are helping out children and grandchildren, and the other quarter are borrowing for their own or spouses’ studies. If... Read more »

After the march

After the march
What an exhilarating day Saturday was. After 10½ weeks of postelection shock, sadness, and despair, the Women’s March on Chicago left me feeling hopeful again. Grant Park was so jammed my five friends and I, perched on Columbus Drive just north of Congress, never figured out where the speakers’ platform was. I couldn’t hear every... Read more »

Dear Donald

Dear Donald, My supporters on the left think I’ve been foolish to be gracious during the transition. They say it’s naive to give you the benefit of the doubt. Since the election I too have wondered whether I’m naive. Do you remember that after we met at the White House, I said: “However you campaigned, once... Read more »

Lessons in friendship for adults

Googling “lessons in friendship” returns a lot of advice about teaching children how to be friends. Seems we’re supposed to have friendship figured out by the time we’re adults — certainly by my age. I realized I’m still learning when two of my long-time friendships recently experienced rough patches. One friend and I are back... Read more »

Barbara Pym, the writer most like Jane Austen

Jane Austen would have appreciated an acerbic comment I remember reading, something along the lines of “Any woman who can write grammatically is compared with Jane Austen.” Most Janeites would agree that there really isn’t anyone who writes like Jane Austen. But nevertheless we keep searching because there are only so many times we can reread... Read more »

Learning from the laid-back example of a long-ago friend

“You sound the same,” a friend I haven’t seen or spoken with in a quarter of a century said. “You, too,” I replied. We’ve exchanged Christmas greetings and occasional emails during that time, but no more. Instead of enclosing a letter in this year’s Christmas card, John wrote, “I want to call you. Let’s set... Read more »

What we do for our pets

What we do for our pets
The bathroom is disproportionately large in my 900-square-foot condo. I’ve wondered why the builders thought a 9- by 10-foot bathroom a better use of space than, say, a smaller bathroom with more storage. Now I know why the bathroom is big. It’s so that I can fit a lawn chair in it. Let me explain.... Read more »

Practicing talking to strangers

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the difficulty of finding meaningful personal interaction every day — one of the three essentials, along with exercise and mental stimulation, that a speaker prescribed for a happy retirement. Not long after that I heard about a book, When Strangers Meet: How People You Don’t Know... Read more »