I was going to call it "Exotic Orchid or Decrepit Cat." When last year's calendar was filling with visits to one health practitioner after another--you know, for the B12 shots, trigger-point massage sessions, tinctures and herbals, acupuncture fixes, various test results--I got the following e-mail:
Bonjour. Hope you are feeling better today. I was listening to an interesting program recently that was saying how studies show that "seniors" (not their word, but easier as description) who have something else to take care of, like a pet or even a plant, have fewer physical problems than those who don't. I was wondering if maybe you got a decrepit cat, perhaps with dental problems or something, that it might be good for YOUR health. Or perhaps an exotic orchid that requires special drops and misting and attention--that might be more your style. Otherwise one's system starts to turn on itself if it doesn't have an outside thing to worry about and nurture.When the e-mailer later suggested that I might start a blog (not for my health but because she kept one and enjoyed it and because I was always writing about something or other), I hit on the name "Exotic Orchid or Decrepit Cat" and considered using one of my orchid photos from Hawaii as a background shot. But then "Door Number 8" came to mind. It was, after all, where I was in my life. And keeping a blog seemed a good way to put down those very interests, concerns, opinions, appreciations that reflected this process of watching the once-was evolve into the now-is. (So, instead, I used my photo of the two Adirondack chairs, as if they're ready for you and me to sit down for a good conversation.)
The "Door Number 8" name, you see, stands for this, my 8th, decade which I entered when I turned 70 two-plus years ago. And so this blog reflects the life of one septuagenarian. Me.
And one thing I've noticed lately in this getting older process is that I tend to slide over things I read or hear. A bit like grazing: I anticipate the text as I immediately go on to what's next. Only to realize I've misread or misheard. For instance:
- A New Yorker article wrote about a girl "emaciated from foster care." Looking again, I saw it said, "emancipated from foster care."
- At Google news, I saw a headline that read, "Antibiotics for Middle East Infection." (If it were only so easy.) Then I realized it said "Middle Ear."
- Listening to a program about people going off to Greece, I heard "agri-terrorism" when it was really "agri-tourism."
- When my tour bus pulled into the Hilton Hawaiian Village, I heard the driver call out the jolly-sounding, Hilton Wine Village.
- Then there was the time, car keys in hand, I said to myself: "I'll go to the gas and then get some post office."
Well, after that initial e-mail, I did buy my first orchid, a white phalaenopsis, which elicited this reply:
Hooray for the orchid! Your new pet and delicate creature to nurture and love! I hope you invest in lots of arcane equipment (antique misters?) and chemicals (special fertilizer? I really have no idea what's involved) so that you can transfer your mindfulness its way! ... I'm excited to meet your orchid! I hope that you talk to it, maybe even give it a name!? I think it is a cool thing to do.
I didn't name the orchid. But I did name this blog. For me, at least, this is what an 8th decade is like.
What makes June June (around here, at least)
Good weather at last
But then yucky weather (chilly, wet, gloomy) almost daily
Green, green everywhere
Lots of trips to the garden center
Renovation and fix-it time
Local strawberries for sale
Bicyclists on the road
Cars with kayaks on the roof