2019 Life Logs, Day 318: Achieving Optimal Memory

2019 Life Logs, Day 318: Achieving Optimal Memory
Date: Thursday, November 14, 2019
Weather: Mostly Cloudy; High 51, Low 37 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Kudos to my friends who head up the programming for the Falmouth Newcomers general meetings. Karen Baranowski and Midge Frieswyk are the Vice Presidents of Programming this year and so far their choice of speakers has been fantastic. Last month we heard from Greg Skomal on the white shark population in the waters of Cape Cod and today we heard from Aaron Nelson, author of the Harvard Medical School Guide to Achieving Optimal Memory. Dr. Nelson reinforced what I have learned over the past couple of years of study on this subject. Eat healthy, exercise, get quality sleep, manage stress, practice mindfulness, stay socially connected, and be a life-long learner. Play games, learn a new language, work puzzles, be a savvy user of technology, do anything to exercise your brain. My participation in Newcomers groups definitely helps me do these things. In January I get the chance to give back a bit by being the featured speaker. Two years ago, I spoke to the group about the Voyage of Windbird. This January I will continue that voyage, stopping in new places around the world.

My day went like this. I attended the morning Newcomers General Meeting, ran errands, came home to continue my self-paced course in Puppy Training, attended a monthly technology course, and then came home to continue the Puppy Training course and catch up on political news. Hopefully I will get through the rest of the Puppy Training course tomorrow and do a little shopping to get ready for my new house mate. The little guy arrives on Sunday and I want to be ready.

2019 Life Logs, Day 317: Lunch with Barbara Semple

2019 Life Logs, Day 317: Lunch with Barbara Semple
Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Weather: Sunny and Cold; High 35, Low 21 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

The high temperature yesterday was 62 degrees F. Today it was 35. And it is going to be another cold night with temps in the low 20’s. Then, thank goodness, it starts to warm up a bit. Last night I said that it didn’t snow here at The Cottage, but when I woke up this morning, I could see remnants of a dusting of snow in the back yard. When I looked out front, however, I saw no evidence of snow. How strange. So last night when I was only looking out front and saw nothing, it must have been an illusion. I will go on record as saying we had our first snow of the 2019-2020 winter on November 12. Way too early.
A week and half ago I went to Harwich to hear Barbara Semple’s talk on Women at Sea, the story of her aunt who sailed aboard her husband’s ship in the days of the China trade. Barbara attended my presentation to the Chatham Harwich Newcomers Club in April and came up to introduce herself to me afterwards. At that time, she invited me to her presentation. When I went to that presentation last week, we had to get to know one another a bit better and found that our lives have crossed paths. So today when she was making her presentation in Falmouth, I offered to take her out to lunch. I got up and watched the opening of Day One of the Impeachment Hearings and then headed downtown to meet Barbara. We had planned to walk Main Street, but it was a bit chilly for that today. Instead, I drove her along the water to Woods Hole and did a car tour of the village. I then drove her to Highfield Hall to see the Stix Works installation and then on to Main Street. She wanted to go to the French bakery to buy some things to take home and then we went to lunch at La Cucina Sur Mare. During lunch we learned of new connections in our lives. We both had our first child while living in the greater Washington, DC area. The world just gets smaller and smaller. Barbara and I will definitely continue getting together as we have so much in common and truly enjoy each other’s company.

I came home after having lunch with Barbara and caught a bit more of the first day of the Impeachment Hearings, but it was very little as I got a call from the heating and air conditioning guy I called on Monday to come check out the problem of gas leakage from the flue of my water heater. The company is called Cool It and Mark is the ‘cool’ guy. He took apart the flue system and used my shop vac to clean out more gunk than he anticipated. He thinks that might have been the problem, so I will call the National Grid technical team and have them come back and test. If this is not the solution, Mark says the next step is to spend $500 to make changes in the flue system that might solve the problem or spend about $3,000 for an updated water heater that vents horizontally out of the basement. That decision will be up to Shirley, my landlord, but at least we are getting closer to an answer to the problem. After Mark left, I watched a bit more of the Impeachment Hearings and was then off to pick Ollie up after school and deliver him to violin lessons.

By the time I got home, the Impeachment Hearings were over for today, but I watched a bit of recap. I have to say that I was so very impressed with the testimony I did hear from US Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and George Kent, State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. I would think that no matter what your political leanings, you couldn’t help but be impressed with these two men. Ambassador Taylor has served our country for over 50 years and Kent for 30 years. I agree with MSNBC news program host and political commentator Rachel Maddow that George Kent got today’s best quote: “You can’t promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people.” Not sure where these proceedings will lead, but I hope I get to ‘meet’ more high-minded people like Taylor and Kent.

2019 Life Logs, Day 316: First Book Club Meeting and First Snow

2019 Life Logs, Day 316: First Book Club Meeting and First Snow
Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Weather: Overcast, Wintry Mix in the Afternoon; High 62, Low 19 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Interesting weather day. This morning was a balmy 62 degrees, by noon the temperature started to drop, and not long after the rain began. It currently just below freezing outside and during the night the temperature will drop below 20 degrees F. And in parts of Falmouth, we had snow this evening. There was none here by the water, but just a mile away at Heather and Jed’s, there was snow.

I spent my late morning at my very first book club meeting ever. I was reluctant to join a book club as I wasn’t interested in having someone dictate what I read, but what I thought, today was a great experience. It is a great group of women with diverse interests and I think we can learn a lot from each other. We all made suggestions for future books and decisions were made that pleased all. Being the first organizational meeting, it went a little longer than expected. I got home just after 1 pm and it was pouring rain. I had planned to come home and get the last of the summer items put in the basement before the deep freeze tonight, but I saw that my neighbor and landlord Shirley was home, so I went over for a visit. She is currently living closer to Boston with her 101-year-old sister Doris but was in Falmouth today for doctor appointments. We had a great visit and by the time I headed back across the driveway, the rain had let up and I got those last summer items into the basement. I then spent a couple of hours doing paperwork. I can be an organization freak at times, and evidently, I was just that this summer. I was so organized that I filed unopened mail that I discovered today. Thankfully there was nothing that was time sensitive.

I spent time this evening talking to friends. Alan Kanegsberg is having his second knee replacement on Thursday, so I called to wish him luck. Actually I talked to Helaine and she relayed my good wishes to Alan. Later I talked to Lynne Kirwin in Michigan. They got 10 inches of snow yesterday and the temps there are in the single digits. Tomorrow is going to be a a freezy day here, but then it warms up a bit again. These wild weather swings can make one dizzy.

2019 Life Logs, Day 315: Veteran’s Day, Lots of Activity

2019 Life Logs, Day 315: Veteran’s Day, Lots of Activity
Date: Monday, November 11, 2019
Weather: Mix of Sun and Clouds; High 65, Low 53 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

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The weather this morning was beautiful and warm for the annual Falmouth Veteran’s Day observance. It begins with a parade where the the Boy Scouts participate, so I always go to see my three handsome grandsons.

Tonight when I looked through the pictures I took, unfortunately I caught Sam with his eyes closed, but he is still handsome! I had to leave the observance early to go back to Touchstone to make a decision on which puppy I want. What a dilemma. I absolutely love the little chocolate and white puppy, but he is hopelessly shy. I also love the bouncing little black and white female that we named Partigirl. But after watching them play together, I chose the black male. He is all black except for a little white on his chin. He is not bouncy like Partigirl, but he is also not shy like Snickerdoodles. I guess I could change my mind, but I have told Sam, Jonah, and Ollie and we are working on a name. Yesterday I suggested that we call him Jetta or Jetti and that led to Jedi and that led to Obi-wan. Obi would be a good name. But this evening, Ollie added Midnight to the list. We have until the weekend to decide, so I’ll keep you posted on that.

I got home from Veteran’s Day observance and puppy visit just in time to greet the technicians from RISE Engineering. I made the appointment to follow up on the energy assessment National Grid did last year. Unfortunately, today’s assessment matched last year’s. The hot water tank powered by natural gas leaks fumes when the furnace is not running to keep the exhaust system warm enough to draw properly. And National Grid will not do the insulation work on the Cottage until this problem is fixed. After they left, I called a heating and air conditioning company that will come next week to see what can be done.

After the technicians left, I made a run to the Hands in Hands Thrift Shop to drop off a carload of things from Heather and Jed’s basement. Later I made another run into town to do some grocery shopping, dropped some old electronics off at Heather’s so she can take it to work with her tomorrow. WCAI is having an electronics collection day and will get rid of the stuff for me. I talked with the boys about the puppy dilemma and told them my decision, went home to have dinner, and then was off to my Mah Jongg lesson. This is happening every Monday night for a few weeks. I’m not sure I really understand the game yet, but the teacher is doing such a good job that I won the game last week and won both games we played tonight. Honestly, it’s not my skill that is winning. It is luck and good coaching.

2019 Life Logs, Day 314: Meeting the Puppies

2019 Life Logs, Day 314: Meeting the Puppies
Date: Sunday, November 10, 2019
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 57, Low 40 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was ‘meet the puppies’ day. Heather, Sam, Jonah, Ollie, and I took off, all excited, to meet Snickerdoodles and his litter mates. But the meeting did not go as expected. The Touchstone kennel, breeders of Australian Labradoodles, is about 20 minutes from here. The breeder is named Sonja and she met us at the door and then brought Snickernoodles to meet us. Snickerdoodles is the name we had given to the puppy I had chosen online, a male parti, part chocolate and part white. Sonja had warned me that he might be shy with so many people, and that he was. She brought one of her Australian Cobberdog puppies out with him to help break the ice, but it didn’t help. Snickerdoodles also looked very small and as she brought out his litter mates, one by one, it became painfully evident that he was by far the smallest and shyest, but also sooooooo cute. He mostly hid behind my legs while we played with the other puppies and one little female litter mate became the life of the party. We immediately started calling her Partigirl. She is also a parti, part white and part black, cute as button with a bubbly personality . . . but maybe too bubbly for Jonah and Ollie. They like the calmer pups.

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But Sam fell head over heels for her while Ollie and Jonah stayed true to Snickerdoodles. Ugh. I had wanted this to be a special occasion for the boys, especially for Ollie who has wanted a puppy since he was old enough to talk. But it didn’t end up that way. What a dilemma. We had come to meet the one pup I had chosen, Snickerdoodles, but in doing so, we discovered that he has issues we were not aware of beforehand. Now I have to decide if I really want Snickers, or if I want to choose another pup from the litter, or if I want to wait for another litter that might have the just right puppy. Snickers is too shy, Partigirl might be too rambunctious, but there is a third puppy, a little black male, that might be just right. After the visit, I got a message from my friend Detta Porat in New Hampshire. She wanted to know how the visit went. I texted back the dilemma and then she called me with a wealth of information on choosing a pup. Her daughter Sarah got a Golden Retriever a couple of years ago and then Detta and Tom got one. She has had first-hand experience with a shy dog and her advice is to avoid it if possible as sometimes shy pups are picked on by other dogs. Plus, according to my research, they can get aggressive if other dogs or people wander into their space. Detta had so much information to share and she has crates and a puppy play pen I can use. And just talking through the situation with her made me feel so much better. Still there is so much to think about. I will sleep on this and go back to give the little black male a closer look. He was Heather’s favorite and the second favorite for all of the boys. So maybe he is ‘just right’. More research into shy puppies, a second meeting with the little black male, and then the decision.

2019 Life Logs, Day 313: Potty Training

2019 Life Logs, Day 313: Potty Training
Date: Saturday, November 9, 2019
Weather: Mostly Sunny; High 43, Low 34 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Getting a puppy is exciting, but it has reduced my free reading time to reading about potty training a puppy. I spent all morning reading the guide for an online class I am taking on this topic and tonight I am back at it again. Interesting life I lead.

I spent my afternoon at Heather’s working in the basement. Ollie joined me this afternoon to help remove some bulky wooden shelves with a rubber mallet and a crow bar. He was an amazing helper. Actually, he did most of the work, so I guess I was the helper. We accomplished our task and had a great time doing it. He is one of the best little workers I have ever seen. He stays on task, thinks of better ways to accomplish the task, makes sure he cleans up afterwards, and never complains about being asked to do more. And in addition to being a great co-worker, he invited me to dinner. I knew he and Heather were having a special night together as Jonah and Sam are both staying over with friends. Ollie had requested artichokes for dinner and luckily for me, Heather had thought ahead and bought artichokes for the three of us.

Tomorrow is the big day when we get to go meet the puppy. We have decided to name him Sir Snickerdoodles, King of The Cottage. And I am sure that he will be. We think we will call him Snickers or maybe Nick. We’ll decide what suits him, once we meet him tomorrow.