Early this morning, sitting in The Retreat, pondering a day that would be filled with friends & capped with the wedding of two young folks who have been dear to my heart since they were in primary school (&, Kaitlyn, before!), the father of the groom a former 6th grade student of mine, whose grandparents I know & hold tenderly in my heart – – on THIS day of days, I spotted a tiny card fallen on the floor with just one word, lower caps:  believe.

If I were asked – as a pseudo-auntie of the young couple – to say a few words of wisdom, I’d share the four (4) legs of my life skills platform – believe, apply, complete, repeat.

It’s not enough to really & truly believe – we have to apply; it’s not enough to apply – we must complete – and – complete in a timely fashion; it’s not enough to do that process once – we must repeat & repeat & repeat.

Blake & Kaitlyn have great parents (& grandparents), who probably shared that message many eons ago, but I’ve found it bears repeating. (Sure took me a long time  to learn its truth.)

Been thinking a lot today about the importance of building strong life platforms that can double as rafts when the storms bear down on us.  They must be constructed for individual use -and- to interlock with others,  with a nod to both present & future, capable of restructuring as circumstances crop up, built from resilient materials that are both tender & tough.

Believe ~ Apply ~ Complete ~ Repeat might not sound high-fallutin’ or deep or soulful, but those four words are the best this pseudo-auntie can give the bride (“my” Class of ’11) & groom (“my” Class of 2010).

Kaitkyn & Blake are not related to me by blood or connected through deep friendship ties, but both have been in my heart since what feels like forever.  Blessings on them, on their families, always & forever!

ME is enough

The #1 thing that I learned at the IAGG World Congress is that I am enough.  That my perceptions of aging across the life span are more than enough to light a fire in putting down on paper the book inside of me.

No researching or even deep diving into other’s experiences with parental relationships.  Just write about my own, my experience of how my parents seemed to relate to their respective pater & mater, of my sibs’, of best & worst practice friends’ relations & interactions.  With lined pages at the end of the book for readers to lay down their experience with parents and/or other significant elders.

As I see it in my mind heart spirit, THAT YOUR DAYS MAY BE LONG… will start with a short-form listing of the Ten Commandments:

Hear O Israel!   You shall have no other god.  ~. ~ You shall not make idols of any kind. ~ ~ You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain. ~ ~ Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. ~ ~ HONOR YOUR FATHER & YOUR MOTHER, that your days may be long.  ~ ~  You shall not kill. ~ ~ You shall not commit adultery.  ~ ~ You shall not steal. ~ ~ You shall not bear false witness. ~ ~ You shall not covet.

What is meant by this “honoring” our parents that we are promised will lead US to drawing richness from all our days?  In my earlier years, I got the message that it meant “obey,” which never felt right.  At the ripe “young old” age of 65, I’ve come to understand it to be honoring our parents as fellow humans, as people, with histories influencing illuminating coloring  their judgement; as individuals & partners doing their best, given who they are – what they know the times in which they live(d); accepting frailties along with strengths, making tender allowance for poor judgement as well as valuing wise counsel.

To me, honoring my parents includes permission for them to be flawed humans rather than fallen gods.

It is allowing them to be the visible that I saw & experienced AND the unknown I can never know, to judge what I know of their actions, while always remembering their intentions are beyond my understanding, to strive for a combination of clarity compassion humility.  And to hold those same feelings for myself.

If it is enough to be me, it must be enough for my parents, too.





IMPROV’d Care Partners

Smiling, remembering my startled glee at finding a surprising number of sources the first time – many months ago – I did an online search of “improv & aging” & it was gone into at length at last week’s International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress, so I was not taken aback at seeing it was a presentation some weeks ago at the 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival.

What left me flabbergasted were two of the names associated with it – Adam Grant & Ai-Jen Poo, both revered book mentors of mine!  And a new name, now dear to my heart – KELLY LEONARD.

Kelly Leonard started his career at Chicago’s 2nd City improv troupe the way – he says – everyone does: as a dishwasher.  He worked his way up to key behind-the-scenes positions, including President of 2nd City Theatricals.  Today, he is the Executive Director of the company’s spanking new Insights & Applied Improvisation division.  It was in that position that his friend, Adam, connected Kelly with his friend, Ai-Jen. And the world shifted for the better.

“Three caregivers walk into a bar…”   is a must-listen podcast of the presentation Kelly, Ai-Jen & others gave less that six weeks ago as part of the Aspen Ideas Festival’s “Not Your Ordinary Health Conference” Spotlight.

Listening to it, realized for the first time that Mom’s final years went so remarkably well because the three of us – John, Mom, moi – worked together as an improv ensemble, with guest appearances by her best health care partners & my other sibs.  It’s how Anne Hyatt & her children interacted – an unaware yet inspired repertoire group.  We/they rolled with presenting circumstances, focused (without knowing it) on our “and, but” repartee, and always always always had each other’s backs.

Great listen, great things ahead!


Also check out – –  &  &


From my first National Center for  Creative Aging Conference & Leadership Exchange, back in 2014, whenever I’ve taken a workshop at Rowe or Omega ~ or ~ attended a conference, from the NCCA to Leading to Well-Being to Positive Aging, I’ve come home feeling significantly changed.

That did not happen after last week’s International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics 21st (quadrennial) World Congress.  I do not feel changed, transformed or freshly morphed in any way.

I feel affirmed.  I feel complete within my skin.  I am me.

If you understand what I mean, then you get it.  If you don’t, then there is no way to explain it.  I am.

NOW the serious work begins;  there is no excuse for less.  I am ready, responsible for what is & isn’t done.  Be still & know.  Be affirmed – and get crackin’, ’cause time’s a wastin’!

Walking On Air

Day 2 of the IAGG World Congress & it has already eclipsed my highest hopes for substance inspiration growth.

This is the first time the quadrennial event has featured the Age Stage & its presentations are being praised for for surpassing mere entertainment – the specialists researchers clinicians seem happily startled by how much the performances & presentations enrich deepen  expand their conference experience & have them considering how to incorporate aspects into their work & patient care.

It is a pity John Isn’t here.  He’d process the presentations & programs in his distinctive, “I (me) never would have thought of that” style that leaves me gazing at him in rapt wonder.

The two cats at my Airbnb are charmers, one boldly greeting me on arrival, the other finally letting me stroke his fur at breakfast.  My bed is a huge 4-poster that requires I hoist myself up with a mighty heave or use the wooden stool next to the bed.  Full kitchen privileges, a sun room that overlooks the San Francisco hills that’s all mine (and the cats) & the R14 whisks me to the Moscone Center (event site), practically door to door.

Not doing much about hitting SF’s restaurant scene;  is it gasrronomic sacrilege that Mel’s Original has been my local over the past three days?

Mim trained me at an early age to take full advantage of deluxe hotels, so I settle into On of the Marriott’s super comfy couches when I have some free time.

The wonderful thing about taking the bus instead of BART s being able to SEE everything.  $42 for a 7-day pass, I get to seethe city, plus way less wear & tear on my poor mega-walked feet.

Back to the Moscone – more later!


VERY full morning & afternoon.  Started in the most delightfully unexpected way – having breakfast around the corner from the Moscone Center (home of the event), was eating & reading when I heard, “DEEV!” ring out.  It was Claire Panke, a film maker I first met around this time last year at Book Culture in NYC, where Ashton gave a talk on THIS CHAIR ROCKS.

Claire is a change agent in my life – it was Claire who clued me into last year’s Positive Aging conference in DC, which sent me deeper into my truest of True North life work.

Had a few words with Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP president &  the alliance-forming Ben Franklin of the elder care revolution to Ashton Applewhite’s rally-the-troops Tom Paine.

Basked in a performance by the always magical Anthony Hyatt, fiddler extraordinaire.

And I really & truly had a brief exchange with one of my top transformational “book mentors,” come off my shelves & standing before me in real life ~ ~ WENDY  LUSTBADER!!

IAGG ~ let the play begin!

Deep breath – the Inernational Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics quadrennial 21st World Congress kicked off with registration today, with the full-blown program from tomorrow through Thursday.  In San Francisco!!

Blessings on the small but mighty circle of supporters whose big & small contribution$$ got me here & for the side trip to Auburn to visit my brave cousin, Bob Ripley, who’s doing all he can to have all the time he can with family & friends.  The short trip made a BIG difference I never tightening broadening deepening family relationships at a time when they matter most.

Mega thanks to the many whose best wishes, blessings & “You go, girl”!! encouragement helped power the AWEsome forces that got me here.  Never underestimate the POWer of invisible but mighty positive energies.

Put in a lot of walking today to spots that hold great memories of trips with Scott & Mom, with just Mom, solo.  Photo shoots with Sissy, Stephie & Sissette at Aquatic Park, breakfast at the Buena Vista, drinks at The Fairmont’s Tonga Room, dinner on Tiburon.  I don’t have the spare $ to indulge, but oh I can recall the playful times & the ab fab memories that helped Mom stay power-ful to the last moment of her life in this playground.

Let the mega moments that are sure to fill the IAGG begin!!