Last Memorial Day, my husband, Mac and I went to Yosemite (one location in CA, despite much travel and having been here longer than anywhere else, I had never been) and then on to Lake Tahoe. Timing wasn't the best. Mac had just had foot surgery, was in a cast and had a scooter to get around. It rained, sleet and snowed. I came down from something like 8000 feet on narrow roads with near whiteout snow conditions, cautiously sliding my way to the bottom. I spent much of my early driving years in such conditions. It is one of the many reasons I have lived in Southern CA for so long. Mac in the back seat expressing his worry wasn't helpful. But, we made it to Tahoe.
Yosemite is beautiful. Sometime, without snow and Mac walking, we shall return. We have always loved Tahoe and been multiple times, though I prefer it without weather where I can't see across the lake.
One morning, I went out and sought out a hair cut. I went to a small salon in a strip mall. The woman that cut my hair was the owner and had the business for about 2 years. She has 2 teenage children. Her husband manages an arcade. She is quite concerned about whether her children will be prepared for college. She recited a recent experience her husband had hiring high school Seniors. He was worried about their ability to calculate and asked some what should be insulting questions, like "how many quarters in a dollar?" Something like 2 out of 6 could answer correctly. "How many nickels in a dollar?" was even more frightening. Hearing this issue in a small, an albeit rural, also affluent school system (at least it's tax base) made me even more alarmed. Wow, we in CA (and yes, she lived in CA) have destroyed our master plan. What made us really could a part of the ultimate demise of the CA Dream.
En route home, we diverted and went to San Francisco. We met up with 3 close friends for dinner. We discussed Mac's surgery. We discussed our one friend's upcoming 2nd knee surgery. We discussed our other friend's earlier knee surgery. Neither of these people are heavy or otherwise unhealthy, just bad knees. Around this dialogue, while trying to read menus, we all discussed our vision, need for glasses, and how it has changed. Mac was the oldest person at this table about to turn 50. The rest of us between 40 and 45. I stopped, looked and said "Really? This is what it has gotten to? We are spending dinner together talking about our ailments and how we deal?" It caused pause. It caused a laugh. But, the ultimate consensus was "yup, that is our lives now." Nobody was defeated, in fact all were determined to prevail despite their obstacles. But, it was also clear that life with people whom, in some cases I have known for over 20 years, was changing. In a couple of the friends, they are among my wilder earlier memories. We know now we have limits. We drink less, in one case, doesn't drink at all any more, which so sucks since a huge part of our relationship revolved around wine and food pairing, wine tasting, etc. Mac and I are going to Napa for the New Year and it would be now nasty and torture to invite him to join us, whereas it would have been great fun before. I am not minimizing, nor am I going to be prolific on the details of his scenario, but knowing that his quitting drinking had much to do with other issues and a lot being legal, I just wish I had not lost one of my best wine buds.
This June, we went to Provincetown, MA with a visit to Boston. We have 2 friends in Boston. They have both battled issues with cancer. They are both in their 40's. It is isn't their environment or drinking water (they don't live in the same area, nor were raised nearby each other, albeit both from New England), it is just another reminder that things happen that have no explanation. Not about smoking. Not about anything in particular. Just happened. Luckily, both are doing fine.
This whole post and the commencement of this blog started because of visiting a Facebook page of a former classmate of mine at Morristown High School (NJ). She died 2 years ago this last September. She had cancer. She was married and had 2 young children. This isn't right for anyone; certainly sucks when you have any memory of a fun and engaging young woman when she was in high school and the hardship those 2 girls will face throughout their childhood forward. I find it weird, yet engaging, that the page remains.
I had a recent scare event. I was taken away in an ambulance and hospitalized for near 5 days just 2 weeks ago. I will be OK, but a long recovery. But, that is another blog post.