It sneaks up on you and even if you didnt mean to do it, a life well lived leaves some evidence. Tracey Bowman's career as a nurse midwife has produced a wealth of good beginnings for the countless babys she has welcomed into the world as well as the new midwives she has trained and inspired. This January 25th, Tracey Bowman celebrates thirty years as a nurse midwife. It has been my pleasure and an honor to be Tracey's friend and co-author, meeting the seemingly endless stream of mothers, fathers and children who have been blessed by her expert presence at the beginning of life. Please come to celebrate Tracey's retirement at a Potluck in her honor on Saturday, January 25th from noon to five o'colck at the Monadnock Country Club, 49 High Street, Peterborough, NH. Please RSVP -603-673-6010 or email info@BirthCottage.com.Read More
Today is the day. Ninety years ago today my mother, Iris Virginia Muir Chambers (as the D.A.R. addresses her mail) was born in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Soon she and her family moved to Washington DC where Mom grew up. The streets around the Capitol and the Mall were her playground and she and her two sisters, brother and parents made a great life there.
The world was a different place then, as we can all imagine, but it is amazing to note just how different. This was the world before the Great Depression and Washington DC was a prosperous and exciting place to be. For fun, people bought sheet music and gathered around the piano to make their own sound track. Soon radios became the standard in every living room and Mom eagerly awaited her favorite shows-Inner Sanctum and The Shadow. Baseball games began to be broadcast by Arch MacDonald and Babe Ruth dominated the game.
This was the decade when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. He had to take a boat home as fighting the jet stream for a west to east flight was too taxing for airplanes of the day. Commercial flights were far in the future.
Mom was born before prohibition made the liquor flow freely in the speakeasies and back rooms all over the nation. Before refrigerators were a common household appliance and even before most families had indoor plumbing-which, I am assured, mom's home did have.
King Tut's tomb was discovered and became a sensation in 1922, the year before mom was born. The Hollywood (land) sign went up in LA. Talkies were the sensation in movies, replacing the silent films. Rudolph Valentino was out and Clark Gable was in.
Mom's future boss-J Edgar Hoover was busy founding the FBI where Mom would become part of the first team of women fingerprint experts during wartime.
And for you kids out there-think of this-no TV, no computers, no Internet, no cell phones. We had a big black phone with a dial, tethered to the wall and shared with a neighbor on a party line. If you had to make a call, it was carefully timed with the egg timer so the long distance charges did not break the budget. And-naturally, no texting and no Facebook.
The world is a different place today, but one thing is certain-it is a far better place for having our Mom-Iris Virginia Muir Chambers in it. (Without her I would not be here, so really important to me) We love you Mom! We love you for all the love and care, the cookies and concern, the happy childhood memories and the hours and hours of your time you have spent working to make all our lives richer, happier, and more full of love. Happy Birthday Mom!
Now that July is here we finally have some hot summer days to enjoy swimming, boating, biking, hiking and walking. Let's not forget to stay cool and hydrated while we are out and about on these hot, humid, sultry days.
I call my father, now 88, frequently and grill him…something like this: "Have you been drinking enough water? How much have you had today?" or I say "Did you ahve breakfast? What did you have?" He has always been health conscious so he always replies with a big "oh, yes."
Then I have to make sure he has his air conditioners turned on because he turns them off and on all the time so the heat in the house can rise quickly and then he gets overheated. Again, I ask him. "Did you drink enough water today?" Ending the converstaion with "stay cool!"
Having been through one episode with him three summers ago where he got dehydrated and then malnourished because he was developing a cellulitis (or which came first?) I do not want to repeat that again. Even though sometimes he asks me "Why do you ask?" Dare I answer "because you're old!"
But then I remember the statistics: people over the age of 65 are commonly in trouble with dehydration, not just those in their 80's.
If you want to read more info from our book about this go to our 'Bits of the Book' page here.
So drink up, stay cool, enjoy the balmy evenings and cool mornings of summertime!Read More
Out for a morning walk is usually a time for reflection, observation, and quiet thoughts. These last few weeks of late spring and early summer have been full of growth and change in the natural world. The weather was cool, clear, crisp, now it is hot, sultry and unpredictable, rain comes daily and the sun beats down when it peaks out. These changes are reflected back to my inner world and have helped my mind, heart, and body change and heal as well.
Working hard at trying to be strong again after major spinal surgery has proven to be one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Starting with a week of rest (thank you sister for taking care of me while I wallowed in self pity and drug induced hallucinations) followed by a week of walking around the block-just barely, then weeks with a ten pound weight lifting restriction, then weeks of a thirty pound weight limit and walking only one mile. After eight weeks I am finally able to walk as much as I want and lift whatever I want.
Plus, I am back to stand up paddle boarding, SUP as it is known in the outdoor water world, after a year away from this new sport. It brings me such pleasure to be out on the water and pulling is what my physical therapist wants me to do as opposed to lifting. She also insists that I have a regular program of muscle strengthening, not building, just strength training. She advised me to stop stretching so much as that is stressing my joints since the muscles aren’t big enough to stretch to their fullest. She claims it is a common problem in older people. You stretch because you are sore, and then you get sore, so you stretch some more and then you are sore so you stretch more and all you are doing is injuring, or tearing, muscles and stressing joints. Makes sense to me because that is what I have been doing all year as I was fighting chronic, severe neck pain. And found my body more sore and uncomfortable. Now I do actually feel less sore after only two weeks of muscle strengthening exercises.
Back to my daily walks outside where I am out in the natural world seeing the plants and animals, reptiles, amphibians and insect world surviving despite all the odds.
I have rescued a few turtles from the middle of the road sent them on their way to the side where they were headed. Yesterday I rescued a long earthworm, it seemed to be struggling to get to the woods, who knows if I made it happy or not, or helped it at all. Do worms need my help? A silly thought to contemplate.
Walking on a wooded trail I came upon a large bull frog happily sitting in the middle of the path. It sat still while I took pictures and did not mind me getting quite close. I decided to touch it to see what it would do and get it off the path because there were kids, bikes, and dogs coming in the distance. Sure enough it was free to do a long jump away from me safely off the trail.
Encountering two legged species (humans) on my walks is rare up here in NH but yesterday I met a new neighbor and we walked and talked together for while. She introduced herself exclaiming how much she loves my book, [Hope I Don't Die Before I Get Old] has bought a second copy for a friend, and uses it as a reference, marking the pages with notes and a highlighter. Finding the advise on long term care insurance invaluable, she has even copied a page or two to send to friends planning surgery for their recovery.
Her parents are now in their 80's and luckily they bought LTC insurance in their 60's because now her father has Alzheimer disease and they will surely need full time help sooner or later.
This is why we wrote our book, to help others in their journey along this path of life that has so many twists and turns you never know what the road ahead will bring your way or what will cross your path. Caring for your elders and growing old is a complex adventure in humility and grace.
Back to my daily walk, I have to get out there and move…Read More