Conscious Aging: My 74th Birthday

Family and friends came over on Saturday late afternoon for my birthday bbq. Matt did the cooking. Ben and Sara brought German brats, sauerkraut, and some enhancements for my bar: two kinds of rum, a local small batch gin, tonic, mixers. My friend Jane, who is here from San Fran, brought chocolates and a piece of jewelry that she made. Friend Connie brought lovely chocolates as well, and a bottle of bubbly. Louise brought three beautiful flowering heather plants for my garden. Nicki and John were here; Nicki was in my yard on Friday to do my outdoor pots.

Most of the pics have the grandkids in them so will be password protected. But here’s the fine rum — for sipping, not mixing — that Ben and Sara brought. Tasted every bit as good as the bottle looks.

Conscious Aging: Day Before My Birthday

My birthday weekend got off to a good start, with texts and cards and a friend surprising me early Saturday morning with birthday balloons and roses. I missed her at the door, but found these a few minutes later. 🙂

Sara and Ben and I are off to breakfast shortly, and then my friend arrives. Later this afternoon the rest of the family and a few friends are coming for a cook-out.

Life doesn’t get better than this. 🙂

Family Birthdays

Sara and Ben have been in Sedona with Ben’s dad Jurgen and his wife Midge, and Ben’s brother Philip and his lady love, celebrating Ben’s 40th birthday and Jerry’s 75th. Midge very kindly sent me the pic. I haven’t yet met Philip or his girlfriend, but I have come to know Midge and Jerry and we all get on very well. Ben and Philip’s mom Heidi died some years ago.

This was a happy day for the Stolt family, and another happy day awaits the east coast Stolts and Klainer East and West as Ben and Sara plan for their spring wedding. Seeing the circle of people who love Sara get larger gives me great joy, and becoming in-laws with the Stolt family has already made my life richer.

Happy times, here, with more to come.

Panama 2018: Birthday Party on the Hemodialysis Unit

You may recall that I said how Minga is very social, and she makes community wherever she goes. When I sat with her on the hard plastic chairs along that long narrow corridor of the hemodialysis unit at the Hospital Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid in Panama City, I was touched to see her go up and down the line, checking on people who were part of the same group as she. Some of the others, mostly older women, did a similar thing. They shared tips on where to get big cans of powdered Ensure at the lowest price. They discussed symptoms. They offered each other encouragement. They talked about the rain, the crowded busses, the latest actions of their president. In short, they were neighborly… neighbors in treatment.

Now, Lily tells me, they planned a party for fellow hemodialysis patients celebrating birthdays in November, which includes Minga. The patients brought all the decorations and food. Minga brought a cake.

I’m not happy to see her still in that wheel chair — she needs to get back on her feet and walking or she’ll lose muscle strength to do so — but I love the look of joyful contentment on her face. That’s her daughter Ana, behind over Minga’s right shoulder. The others in the pic are patients, or family members. There are some quite young people who get dialysis. Their prospects are grim. You can’t live on dialysis forever, and the transplant list has thousands of names on it.