As I rushed around picking lemons, editing my subscription entries to StoryWorth to meet a deadline to print, washing and folding clothes, preparing for two interviews, I thought about my dermatitis appointment that morning. While my health is fairly good, my lifelong worrisome problem has always been skin issues, which blossomed to severe a few years ago. The heavy duty pill I take twice a day has been a miracle cure, but lately rashes and spots that fail to respond quickly to salve are a concern, thus the appointment.

One of the questions she asked after examining my rash was “Do you have any stress?” I have been told numerous times that stress can trigger outbreaks, but who doesn’t have stress? Lately, however, I have become aware of less time to visit friends, read fun novels, journal, indulge in phone chats with distant friends, bake, and pull weeds. The latter is one of my favorite relaxing periods, when only the birds and an occasional airplane interrupt the quiet. Recently I mentioned to someone that I had thought I would have more time when I retired from teaching, but no. I am busy with a full schedule each day. The problem is I like my full schedule. I am so grateful for the opportunity to write for the Coronado Eagle and Journal with such a congenial and considerate staff. My daily calendar time slots are filled with activities I enjoy. When I said that to my dermatologist, she said, “That’s what keeps you so healthy.” She didn’t add “for your age.” So to stay healthy, I have stress and endure the rashes?

At the moment, I am prepping the house, sorting through piles of magazines and papers, storing things out of sight, to make the guest bedrooms presentable for my daughter Jill, her friend Michelle, and my cousin Derith to arrive in a few days from Florida. Hopefully, we can have a family meal to include my other daughter and her family, so menus must be considered. Add today’s list of laundry, two interviews, staff meeting, prescription refill, editing, and dinner preparation. Another full day with no yard or reading time, but I welcome company, so hosting them is worth the preparation.

I am not complaining about my packed days. In truth, I would not have it any other way, but when I get away for a short trip or the entire month of July with family and friends on the East Coast, the relaxing change is refreshing. Sometimes I meet someone with an interesting story or a comment that will trigger an issue for me to explore.

When Jill and Michelle leave, Derith and I will head to San Francisco to spend a night in East Brother Light House. I have had the opportunity to join Derith for several of her lighthouse jaunts, and they are always fun. She is easy going, laughs often, and has interesting conversation starters including genealogy stories of our relatives. Once she invited me to go to Nova Scotia on a tour she won, and we’ve visited many California, Oregon, and Washington light houses together. She was even on the board of Heceta Head Light House in Oregon, one of the most beautiful settings for a lighthouse Bed and Breakfast.

I have many friends my age who have health problems, and their mobility or sight loss is extensive. They are severely limited in their routines each day, which means they sometimes have too much time in a day. One of my best friends from high school was a voracious reader and one of our RoRah annual traveling girls’ group. While she is not completely blind, her eyesight prevents reading, writing, and computer time, so when I casually ask what she has been doing, her reply has become the same, “Just watching television.” We past-old octogenarians reflect on our “borrowed time” and know the uncontrollable future is uncertain.

I once told a student, “Live your life so that when you are my age you have few regrets.” I often think of that, and that is why I grab every opportunity to have a new experience or meet with a cherished friend or travel to a new site. After our North Carolina beach week with thirty family members, Paul and I have the remaining July days mapped out. First is a visit to my school friend in Virginia who has a fatal cancer. While doctors caution her about staying in seclusion, she has decided to venture out a little to church, Bible study, or a restaurant, and to welcome company. Her decision to cautiously live the rest of her life outside of the house walls and visit with friends was a major one, but living in isolation for years is not living.

From there we head to Connecticut to visit one of Paul’s high school friends. During our five days in New Haven, we will have dinners with Pat’s girls and grandchildren, ride through the nearby small towns admiring the vintage houses and public buildings, drive to Boston to visit the Kennedy Presidential Library, join our grandson Joe and meet his girlfriend for dinner, and in leisure times discuss a myriad of interesting topics with our hosts who might not always agree with our viewpoint.

The remainder of our East Coast trek will be in Florida with our middle daughter and son and their families. I enjoy being home and reveling in the comforts of our usual schedule and local happenings; however, a significant break in our day-to-day routine with different surroundings, experiences, and people adds a sparkling joy to life. We collect additional conversation starters for the home front.

Each day is a new slate to fill with a few platinum memories. Breaking our daily pattern for an hour, a day, or a week stimulates the desire to seek more adventures to record in the account of our life.

VOL. 112, NO. 30 - July 27, 2022

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