Conscious Aging: Back Home Again

Boston was 55 degrees when I flew out of Logan Airport on Wednesday morning, and Seattle was 33 degrees when I arrived. I’d brought a warm jacket to wear in Maine, and I took it out of my suitcase and put it on when I deplaned and went to get transportation home.

The week was very full — first reconnecting with Paul and Jeanne, and then going with them to the Camden Conference. The Conference did two important things: raised my sights from the daily tempestuousness that is the Trump presidency to higher and broader ways of thinking about the world. And, the Conference reminded me that really, really smart people who value competence and integrity and have a sense of mission continue to work on complex matters of foreign policy, totally aside from the venality and shallowness and self-dealing of the Trump administration. I’m reminded that history moves in waves, and if we are now in a period of self-inflicted chaos, this too shall pass. The speakers were properly and soberly concerned about the damage being done at the behest of the 35-40% of voters in this country who seem to have gone off the deep end. But the speakers, not all from the U.S., offered hope, cautiously, that one day intellectual honesty and decency will return to our national stage.

I got to visit with my sister in law Amy, and her husband Will. And, I was included in a lovely dinner party with Paul and Jeanne’s friends.

After the Conference we returned to Boston, where I saw my niece and her husband and met their small daughter. I got to go to my beloved Aquarium, and wound up at the home of my nephew and his wife and their kids for a mini-Klainer reunion.

All good. I’m here now for the next month, and then will go to San Diego with Matt and Amy and the kids for spring break.

Cruise season starts here in Seattle by May 15, and that for me is the official start of summer and great people-watching as the lines begin to form to board our regular cruise lines. Feels right around the corner. I was amused while away to read about a Carnival ship that had a knock-down-drag-out brawl between an unruly family and cruise staff. That followed last summer’s reports of a murder aboard another popular line. I know most cruises are not so high drama. I’m not a big fan of going on cruises, although I’ve been on a couple. I just like to watch the whole enterprise from afar — good plot material if I ever decide to write more fiction. 🙂

Thomas Perry’s Jane Whitefield

As I’ve written about before, I read a lot of both literary fiction and non-fiction that would fall into the category of political and historical writing, foreign affairs — reasonably dense material. Then, I buzz through some lighter fare. I’ve always loved mystery and crime writers, all the way back to Agatha Christie and her detectives Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. My love of the genre actually goes back farther than that. As a grade school reader I was enamored of Nancy Drew, whose creator Carolyn Keene called her young detective a “sleuth”. Now that’s a dated word.

On this most recent trip to Panama I discovered two books by Thomas Perry featuring his Seneca Indian heroine Jane Whitefield, and when I came home I downloaded the other six books onto my Kindle. I’m on book #6 now, with two more to go, and loving these well-plotted, fast moving stories. I spent the entire six hours on the plane back from Boston finishing one Jane Whitefield adventure and starting another. The books are a bit formulaic, which I think is common to the genre: Jane has dreams in which the ancestors bring her insight, she hides people who are being threatened in ways not easily resolvable in courts of law, she is endlessly resourceful about defeating the bad guys, she promises her husband that she is done with her salvaging of human lives only to be drawn in again. He loves her so he copes.

But the characters are well drawn and interesting, the plots terrifically engaging, and I love that the action originates in upstate New York, where I recognize a lot of the places where Jane goes.

If you like this kind of writing — if you’re a fan of Inspector Gamache or Gabriel Allon or Adam Dalgliesh — go for these Thomas Perry books and link up with Jane Whitefield. You won’t be sorry.

Pillows?

A week’s worth of mail was awaiting me when I returned to my apartment, including a pretty good sized mailer with two rolled up brand new pillows inside from that pillow guy who advertises on TV. MyPillow, it’s called.

I’m quite sure I didn’t order them, but they were addressed to me and here they are.  There was no card inside telling me who the pillows might be from. I’m completely mystified.

Downtown Boston

Paul and Jeanne and I had all day Tuesday in Boston. In addition to our morning trip to the Aquarium, we walked a bit along the harbor and through the Faneuil Hall market area. Once again, I was flooded with great memories. I like it here.

Boston Trip: Suites

I scored a suite upgrade at the Eliot, where I stayed in Boston proper, and at the airport hotel, the Hyatt Boston Harbor. Very chi chi. This is one of the benefits of traveling in a non-peak season. Hotel staff work hard to make you happy; they want winter travelers to come back 🙂

With Klainer Family: Reunion

On Tuesday evening Paul and Jeanne and I went to our nephew Peter’s home for dinner with the extended family. Peter and Erica are wonderful hosts, and in truth the whole family chipped in with the planning and providing of a wonderful meal. I haven’t been at a Klainer family gathering for four years, so this was a real treat. All the Boston family had to go to work the next day, so I am especially touched by their eagerness to get together.

Jerry’s sibs Paul and Sheila.

Nephew Pete and Ali.

Becca and mom Bryna.

Great nephews Max and Matt.

My nephew Scott.

With Klainer Family: My Friend Louise

My nephew Peter’s family are animal lovers: they have a cat, a rabbit, and a guinea pig named Louise. Louise and I met on my last visit, and we reconnected over dinner. We had to keep Tucker, Paul and Jeanne’s dog, well away from Louise. Tucker had far too much interest in the small squeaking rodent.