Sunday, January 30, 2022


When you were still in the working world, did you ever wonder what your life would be like when you were older or after you retired?

Did you ever think after you retired you might take up a long-desired interest you simply did not have time to thoroughly explore during your regular wage-earning professional career?  

Have you pursued such an interest, maybe engaged in something else, or might in the future?   

Perhaps there's an interest which you wish you could take up but seems unlikely you"ll ever be able to do so?

I don't know if the person described here thought about those questions, but when he retired, he was motivated to pursue further his deferred interest in playing the drums.

Harvey Leff,   aka "Styx", and others in the Physics Department at California State Polytechnic University - Pomona, near where I live, came together while still working and formed a musical group -- Out-Laws of Physics (audio recordings on the link).   They performed just for fun for their colleagues, then commemorated another with original Styx lyrics and raised scholarship funds.  Amazingly to this Physics professor and his department cohorts, their music was greeted with appreciative enthusiasm.  They were a resounding success asked to perform more on occasion.

Eventually, Harvey retired; was thoughtfully gifted by his wife,  Ellen, with a drum set.  He continued practicing and playing, taking some drumming lessons from a professional drummer jazz musician in the ZZAJ group I've enjoyed and written about.  Harvey's university musical group and he had evolved --  to paying jobs playing country, folk, pop, jazz and all sorts of music entertaining a growing number of fans.  

I met Harvey and his wife, Ellen, interesting and fun-loving people, at the free Sunday afternoon jazz concerts I started attending after my husband's death years ago.  Later, I enjoyed attending his group's appearance at a popular local restaurant that regularly features live music.

This delightful and personable couple eventually moved to a Portland, Oregon retirement community offering all levels of care to be closer to their twin sons and families.  They've become very active in their community.  Ellen chairs the movie scheduling group, also line and folk dances while Harvey and their sons have formed a musical group, the Leff Trio.  He also drums regularly with a local Portland jazz sextet.  He seems to have plenty of gigs, in that music world terminology, to keep him busy.

"Sing, Sing, Sing" -- Leff Trio.              
  (One of their numerous tunes listed on the right side bar of this You Tube link).

Here's another video of the Leff Trio performing "As Time Goes By":

Even if we are unable to fulfill long held dreams, much less don't achieve the recognition from enjoyment Harvey has given others, I think he would be the first to say the satisfaction, pleasure, fun he has been having is worth all his efforts.  He might also say that what has unexpectedly developed musically for him is simply the icing on life's cake!

Some of us may not explore our life's dream ventures in our older years for a variety of reasons, including due to complicating circumstances in our lives.  Still, anything can be possible for many!  We never know what may develop whatever our situation unless we investigate and experiment with what gives us joy.

Monday, January 24, 2022


Interesting times living in place as we age .....  as if the pandemic isn't enough .....

My house at long last welcomed receiving electric power again a short time ago this Sunday night as I write this following a sudden outage Friday night.    We had some pretty strong winds sweep through Friday all night long.  They had such a strong force for only the second time in our area of town that I've experienced in the almost fifty years I've lived here.   

I opened my door early Friday evening once to check for delivery of an expected package which I learned later had been delayed but finally came today, Sunday.   The wind was so strong I could hardly push the door shut again.   As the night wore on I realized the power was not coming back on so I headed into bed.

As the winds howled and whistled I could hear my small empty trash container, half the size of a full size bin, banging and thumping around from the sheltered corner area of my covered front entry where I had placed it in anticipation of easily filling it the next day.  I'm so glad I hadn't yet put anything in the bin as light content weight would likely not have prevented it being upset. 

The next day I found the bin, open, laying on it's side up against my car.  Any contents would have been spread all over -- what a mess it would have been to clean up.   I'm not sure if a few small hard pieces of material I found in my drive are from my house as I will have my gardener coming later this week double-check to see if any others in the yard, though I haven't seen any shingles as I surveyed through my windows, but then I can determine if there is any roof concern.  

We knew there would be winds as there often can be every year with other communities generally receiving the worst and only minor issues in other parts of our town but not on our street.  In fact, this is only the second time in the almost fifty years I've lived here our street has been even remotely close to having such a destructive wind.   

Saturday when I drove out to get some hot food as I drove only a block into an adjoining small town, then others, they all seem to have some power.   I didn't see any trees down on our street, but elsewhere traffic lights were out, major boulevards closed to traffic blocked by fallen trees.   

We received varied reports of when we would have power again.  First it wasn't known yet, then we would have power 3:30 a.m. Saturday, then back to not determined again, later some misinformation, and finally to be 9 p.m. Sunday, but the power didn't come on so they weren't predicting again.   Happily an hour or so later we had electric.  Certainly as winds go these were not comparable to what those having gone through tornados and hurricanes experience, but everything is relative and what anyone experiences brings its own challenges.

I kept warm but it was SoCal cold here, meaning 40 to 60 degree temperatures and I'm glad to have an interior warm house again.   My body has long since acclimated to our climate so I reminded myself that where I once lived we would have thought of temperatures like these as nice winter days -- but this ol' bod just isn't impressed with my effort to influence mind over matter so I was aware of cold air.

Ironically, earlier Friday I had allowed my new iPhone to run very low before plugging in, thought it had fully charged but hadn't actually yet checked it had charged when I unplugged it.    I'll always check immediately now as I discovered the phone hadn't charged, perhaps the plug had been loose.   Such was also the case with my computer.  So, here I was poorly prepared technologically to effectively cope with any long power outage emergency.  

Once again having my landline telephone kept me connected to the rest of the world  with the ability to track my electric company's progress, contact my family, and have the capability to summon emergency help should I need to do so.  

Another learning experience for me in this grand experiment of living in place as I age.   I have decided to finally purchase a solar charger which I first considered doing a few years ago but had not done so.   I must do better emergency preparedness.  

Without the ability to access the internet, publish a blog post early Sunday,  see and hear the news, I did a lot more reading, completing one book and starting a second.  I hadn't been in the mood for reading books for a while as periodically occurs for me, so maybe that spell is broken.

I've learned a family member who has been so very careful has somehow been caught by covid but with only mild symptoms, lots of fatigue.  

Hope all of you continue to be well,  Also, that your emergency plans and preparedness kits are in good order.


Sunday, January 16, 2022


Did you ever view a TV series you really liked only to have the program discontinued?  Some viewers contact the broadcast source pleading to save the show.  Others unhappy, simply complain.  On the other hand, praise for most shows is seldom given directly to those broadcasters as I learned from time working in a television station's program department.   Media professionals gave critiques, of course.    I think that now there may be more viewer like and dislike expressions known, but primarily only in comments written on the various internet social network sites.   

Program choices have certainly expanded from television network stations beginning offerings once cable came into existence, increasing even more later when they began broadcasting some of their own shows.   Subsequent addition of the internet seems to have added exponentially to the number of viewing options with so much programming now competing for our attention and viewing time.  I've long since been challenged trying to view all of these frequently changing increasing viewing options to determine which one(s) are best that I would most want to see.  

I've never really geared my program viewing choices to those said to be the most popular or having garnered the highest ratings reported by companies who measure viewer numbers since I don't always necessarily agree.   The multitude of programs finally over-whelmed me to a degree I couldn't know them all, so I finally had to accept selective sampling.  If I missed viewing what I might have considered as best, that was today's world.

Contributing to what is often advertised as being best, due to having the most viewers (according to rating companies numbers measured and reported), has generally dictated which TV programs survived to be broadcast despite some viewers opposition.  The primary rating company in years past and now is Nielsen, but ARB was once given some competitive credence in that area.

I recall after I ceased working in television when we moved to a small college town, being randomly selected by ARB to be a household to document in writing all we viewed for a designated period of time which I did.  Through the years I've never known of anyone who has been asked to provide data or documented their viewing habits to the Nielsen company whose rating numbers have such influence.  

Recently someone I know on the east coast described to me having declined the Nielsen rating company's request to participate as a rating family.   That person reported becoming quite annoyed with the escalating pressure on them to participate by allowing recording of their family television viewing habits.   Even after the person had declined, multiple contact efforts kept being made by Nielsen though this family member had ceased to respond.  The person being persistently solicited reported feeling really badgered to put it mildly, especially when one phone call came as late as almost 10 p.m.  Again, they didn't answer the call trying to recruit their participation in household ratings, but that seems to have finally ended the company representative's contact efforts.   Nielsen tactics seemed to be a strange way to gain potential participants cooperation.  

A recent Forbes magazine report describes the current state of such rating services.  New rating companies continue to form in the effort to consolidate numbers purported to reveal the viewing habits of millions of us from the multiple program sources available today, well beyond more traditional television stations in the past.  Nielsen is the company that continues to dominate. 

Viewers are moving to newer video sources challenging efforts to measure audiences Forbes reports.

"Beginning in fourth quarter 2022, Nielsen will launch the Nielsen ONE platform to provide clients with parallel cross-platform ratings -- including live and on-demand television -- for individual ads and video content." ..... "The goal is to have the industry change to cross-media metrics by the Fall of 2024". 

This change will likely be of interest to politicians during our Presidential election year.  Forbes also reports Nielsen will be "expanding their Streaming Meter from 800 households to 14,000 households ... all homes whether or not they subscribe to cable TV,  have a broadband connection or stream videos are included."

At present, linear TV meaning traditional viewing via satellite and cable tends to skew toward an older audience, although there is evidence, that during the pandemic older age groups have been watching more streaming video.  I wonder if traditional incudes antenna TV which is what I have?   Forbes reports Nielsen's Total Audience Report will enable users to track any shifts in viewing by demographics.  

Rating figures have a bearing on what we see on TV -- our programs, the ads, including political ones.  I continue to wonder just how well the sample households, wherever they are, viewing habits can be extended to infer they represent those of our whole country, but Nielsen's rating have continued to be accepted by many.

I'd be interested in reading whether you or anyone you have known ever participated in recording/reporting television viewing habits to a rating company?  What do you think about ratings?

Have there been any programs cancelled you thought shouldn't have been?

Right about now I could appreciate a good dose of some of the long ago-ended comedy shows.  Some of these older series are being replayed on  variety of program sources that can be found by an internet search engine.   Here's a favorite skit that always makes me laugh.

I Love Lucy:  A Colorized Celebration -- "Job Switching" 

Lucy and Ethel go to work in our California's Sees Candy factory.

Some of my other favorite comedies, though I don't know their ratings:
"The Carol Burnett Show", "Sid Caesar Show of Shows", "Laugh-In", "Seinfeld", "Golden Girls" to name just a few older programs to add to more current shows I haven't named.

"Keeping Up Appearances", "As Time Goes By", "Faulty Towers", "Monty Python's Flying Circus" are a few older BBC comedies that come to mind.  There are probably new shows that haven't come to the U.S. 

(Lily Tomlin's one-woman stage show "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" would be a feature I would welcome viewing again in the future.)

Are there comedy shows you miss seeing and/or new ones you currently enjoy?

Sunday, January 09, 2022


A new year presents many unknowns.  Probably we'll all be well-advised to focus on living in the present, day-to-day, wise to do at any age, but especially in our older years.  Making future plans can be complicated given the circumstances of each of our own lives coupled with uncertainties created in recent years by the pandemic.

Traveling life's road probably many of us have taken special notice of the years when as youngsters we just couldn't wait until we were older.  Then, we reached each succeeding decade -- 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, etc.  I was aware of turning 30 but gave little thought to that change.  When I reached 40 years I recall taking a bit more notice.  When age 50 rolled around I thought of that age as being a half-way mark in my life, optimistically assuming I'd live at least until I was age 100.

Having reached that fifth decade, years numbers after that seemed hard for me to believe I was really that age since in my mind I didn't feel that old.  Certainly, age 65 was a marker year, but 70 years -- really?  After that I began to lose track as my age no longer seemed important.  So much so that this year my daughter called to my attention I was actually a year younger than what I had been saying I was.  Oh, well!

Once I had some experience with unexpected aches and pains, I did begin to think in terms of the fact my body probably was reflecting some of the wear and tear of living all those years even if my mind did not -- or at least I thought my mind was intact.  That's what all those whose minds have flitted about a bit think, too.  I understand, so maybe I'm not as sharp as I think I am.  I confess, somewhere along the line I did begin to find writing down important dates, other matters have become more necessary to insure I don't forget, but I keep challenging myself.

I began to notice news stories of a few individuals my age and older engaged in physical events I was now less able to perform -- running marathons, playing team basketball games, weightlifting (none of which I did before, anyway).  Some had not taken up those sports unti their older years, but not an option for me now.

I don't really embrace the idea older people should aspire to engaging in activities to which younger bodies are most able which seems to be what attracts media attention in our youth-oriented society.  Still the search by some for eternal life goes on though no other animals seem to be capable of living forever either.

What is fascinating to me is how we all age differently, a fact of which I'm reminded when I'm tempted to compare myself to others featured in the media engaging in amazing activities.  I don't fret about all that and instead focus on what I can do, what gives me joy and pleasure.  I think most, if not all the bloggers I've encountered here, seem to be leading generally happy lives through their aging, older years, doing much the same.

The pleasurable experience of living is often revealed in the writings of numerous older authors I've read, also in how so many of even my now mostly deceased family members and friends chose to live their lives.

"Songs to Aging Children Come" Song Cover

Written by Joni Mitchel in 1969; featured on her album "Clouds".                                                    (This recording is reported on YouTube site as being sung by M. A. Ludwig)


Noting the happiness of aging children I recently noticed is Katharine Esty, who surveyed some of her contemporaries in the retirement community where she lives.  I wholeheartedly agree with her blog's concluding findings:

"I learned that one's attitude is almost as important as one's circumstances.  I also saw possibilities for a whole new vision for old age, a vision far larger than eldercare or geriatrics."

"Eightysomethings" written by Katharine Esty, PhD -- Expert On Aging Well and Family Dynamics is a book described as "A Practical Guide to Letting Go, Aging Well, and Finding unexpected Happiness", though I have not read it.  She notes: 

"People in their eighties have not gotten much attention from the media.  Baby Boomers and GenXers -- the adult children of people my age -- get lots of attention, but not the cohort of people over eighty, even though this crowd is growing faster than any other older group."

Esty shares 10 Questions with her responses of interest to individuals and their adult children or others wanting to understand the aging experience.  One question refers to the five coping skills she learned "...most eightysomethings use when it comes to having unpleasant health issues."   She perceives   individuals as being either Deniers, Stoics, Complainers, Worriers, or Realists describing their behaviors.  

Sooner or later all ages who survive will become "eighty something" or maybe even older.

Your thoughts and attitude about ageing through the years are welcome whatever your current age.

Saturday, January 01, 2022


                      H A P P Y      

                                    N E W        

                                                  Y E A R   ! 

Hope 2022 will bring you each a healthy, happy and prosperous year. 

May voting rights for all citizens, our democratic republic be preserved.




(Live at Stirling Castle -- Scotland