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12 posts from April 2017

Baby-boomer guys: How comfortable are you with your grandkids?

Some special time with my youngest grandson


A question for guys in their late sixties and early seventies?  How would you feel about about spending a day watching your one-year-old grandson who crawls, goes up steps and is just starting to walk?

My wife and I did that yesterday while our daughter and family spent some time in the Detroit-area.  He's active and could compete competitively in crawling with anybody in his age group.  Throw in some incredibly strong inner motivation to walk and you have a really active little guy.  He moves fast.

His least active time seems to be right after he wakes up from a nap when he's willing to cuddle, talk and watch a little television.  And then he's off.

How'd my wife and I do?  I'd give us a B or B+ as l crawled on the floor with him, talked using my best short syllable baby words.  We did the stroller walk through our new neighborhood and Gladys read him books.

Would we do it again?  We can't wait.

Part two--My kids and grandkids played a vital role in my glaucoma surgery experience


My family minus one.
My youngest grandchild was napping when this was taken.



An important part of my support team as I walk through "The Glaucoma Experience" has been my family including my kids, their spouses and my grandkids.  I'm sharing this for anybody about to go through or who are experiencing a serious ongoing medical challenge.

I knew about my latest eye surgery for a couple of weeks.  In the latest on Monday, the glaucoma surgeon inserted a very small tube in my eye to help drain fluid with the goal of reducing pressure.  Left unattended, I was on a trajectory to lose all the optic nerve in my right eye which means loss of sight.

My family and friends have been tremendous in showing support and by praying for me.  My kids know that I love grandkid pictures, both still and video and I've been getting plenty.  There have been regular calls and texts asking how I was doing.

I know the glaucoma will be with me for the rest of my life.  But, I also know that Matt Redmond had it right when he sang about having 10,000 Reasons to praise the Lord.  I'm working way more than that.  And my family has played a major role in that.

One piece of advice for any baby-boomer fighting glaucoma or other eye diseases


The way the doctor explained it to me is that the glaucoma I've been living with for the past decade could bite me in the butt without any real warning.  Tests show that I've lost substantial optic nerve which is essential for vision.  Once you lose it you don't get it back.  My loss has been stable, but my eye pressure has not been.

My glaucoma specialist explained to me that with those two components, I could soon face a situation where I have continued high pressure and some additional optic nerve loss.  Experience shows, the doctor said, that when this starts, it can quite often lead to a quick loss of optic nerve and vision.

That's why I had a special surgery, yesterday, where my doctor inserted a tiny tube in my eye to help drain fluid with the hope of reducing pressure.  Research published online shows that it has had good results.

This has been one more piece in a litany of eye procedures and experiences.  Along the way, I've been pushed to the wall a couple of times.  What has made a difference to me?

My wife Gladys has been to all the appointments with me and has helped keep me straight on taking eyedrops.  She's my eyes and ears during appointments.  Ophthalmologists seems to all talk very softly.  She helps me listen.

Another help has been my FaceBook community who have been a great source of encouragement and prayer.  I especially felt this yesterday as the doctor cut into my eye.  I was conscious for the whole thing.  Before the surgery, I was fearful about itching my nose or having to pee.  I did it.  And now it's recovery. 

Our downsizing journey for a condo takes us to Holt, Michigan


Our storage container.
We emptied our storage container yesterday.

 We're moving to Holt, a bedroom community to Lansing.  As senior citizens and baby-boomers, we considered our situation carefully.  We are empty-nesters with two grown children who with their kids live in different states.  Our needs have changed and have become more simplified.

We settled on looking for a condominium where you have reduced maintenance responsibilities and more flexibility to visit kids and grandkids.  

Our mid-Michigan area is throbbing with baby-boomers who have either retired or are planning to retired and who are looking smaller housing.  So, the demand for livable and affordable condos is high.  

The best value for us seemed to be south of Lansing in Delta Township, Grand Ledge and Holt.

What will we learn from our experience about being senior citizens who sell their house and buy a new place that's smaller than the one where we raised our kids?

How about you?  Have you downsized your housing?  What was your experience?  Would you do it again?


We are saying goodbye to Lansing after living here for more than three-and-a-half decades of marriage

At the closing.
Our Realtor grabbed this picture yesterday after we closed on our condo.


How many of you baby-boomers  came to a point where you realized that it was time to downsize your home.  The kids are gone and you have more than enough space for the two of you.  And you realize that you want to spend more time visiting kids and grandkids.

We came to that point about two years ago and started planning to leave Lansing where I've lived for most of my adult life and where we've lived for more than 35-years of marriage.  We raised two kids here and have plenty of great memories. 

But the time has come to move on and to view the world from a different geographical perspective.

We are moving into a condo from a house that has four bedrooms and a full and finished basement.

We are happy, but still a little sad.  How did we get to this point and how did we make it happen?

For myself and for others who have done it before us and who are struggling with the decision, I will be writing more about that.

How did you spend election night on Nov. 3, 1964 when U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater got trounced by Lyndon Johnson

Election night 1964.
I'm second from the right in this picture. The guy standing up was the local prosecutor's son.

I was a senior at T.L. Handy High School in Bay City, Michigan and I was a young political activist excited about the candidacy of Barry Goldwater for president.  I had read his book, The Conscience of a Conservative, several times and was attracted by his political views which emphasized individual rights.  

Goldwater stood out with his honesty and boldness.  He was influential in persuading Richard Nixon to resign the presidency during the Watergate days.

As a high schooler, I got involved in his local campaign which was centered out of the Bay County Republican headquarters in a storefront on Washington Street.

This picture taken by the Bay City Times shows several of us younger ones on election night watching results on television.  Goldwater had a historic loss.


My morning almost 40 years ago with President Carter's press secretary Jody Powell


I would bet that President Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer would have high name recognition right now.  He's constantly in the news.  

Back 40 years ago, President Jimmy Carter had Jody Powell as press secretary who developed a similar visibility.  He was young, articulate, spoke with a deep Georgia accent and worked for a controversial president.  

During that time he came to the State Capitol Press Room where I helped manage the flow of information.  I forget why he was there, but I remember that his visit sure caused a commotion in my part of the building.  The press conference room in my suite of rooms was packed beyond safe levels.  Everybody wanted to see him, both reporters and legislative employees.  

It was a real hubbub with watchers climbing on top of file cabinets.  In my memory in the pressroom, only a handful of presenters attracted that kind of attention, Jack Kemp who ran for president and who had been a Buffalo Bills quarterback and Jerry Ford when he was president.

After Powell's visit, he sent me the above note.  As part of our downsizing at home, I found it a few day's ago.

Do you still have pictures of when you served in the military?


Me on the right.
Yup, that's a beardless me on the right.

 I'm still going through old photos as we continue downsizing our household and found this one of me standing in formation during a meeting of the 5032 USAR School in Livonia.  Before classes started for the evening, we had to participate in a formation where you had to stand at attention and do whatever.

I still have a few pictures of those days in Livonia and at a similar school in Lansing that I was assigned to.  And I have a handful of photos from my stints on Active Duty.  

The only part of my U.S. Army uniforms that I saved was old fatigue shirts.  I gave one away and still have one in my closet.  And I have my dog tags in a drawer.

Did you save your old uniforms?  Still fit?

Have you shopped for a new couch lately?


New couches
Have you shopped for a new couch lately?

 Have you been couch shopping lately?

We wanted a new couch to replace our aging Lazy Boy couch that reclines on each side and has a center piece that comes down and serves as a table.  This is where we've eaten most of our meals since our kids left the nest more than a decade ago.

The couch is coming up on its eighteenth birthday in our house and we thought it might be time for a change.  We started our search at our local Art Van.  We also looked at matching recliners.

The set that caught our eye has a recliner on both sides of the couch.  It's operated by an electric motor that's controlled on each side.  It's easy to get the exact amount of recline that you want.

Sifting through the numbers on the price tag, I had trouble figuring out a final price.  The salesman was nice, but it seemed that the longer we circled the above set, the more he'd take off the price if we bought then.

It wasn't high pressure, but showed how elastic the list prices are.

Would Abraham Lincoln be the people's choice in today's partisan political environment?

Abraham Lincoln
In this office staff picture in Sen. Doug Carl's office, Abe Lincoln dominates.

I worked for the late State Sen. Doug Carl for about three years and during that whole time he had a dominant political hero and role model, Abraham Lincoln.  That's why he had a huge and compelling photo of this iconic president hung in a dominant spot in his State Capitol office.

There was definitely partisan politics when Sen. Carl served in the Michigan Legislature,  both parties had their problems with each other and they weren't always kind when talking about others.

But, in today's political environment where political poison flows easily wherever you go, one has to wonder if Abraham Lincoln ran for president now, could he win?  Was he a name-caller?  Did he lie? Could he get opponents to work with him and each other?

Our country seems too split to come back together.  Do people really want to resolve differences?  

Would you vote for Abraham Lincoln for president?

Do you remember your childhood sandbox?


My sandbox.
This was my sandbox when I was a young boy.



I probably started playing in my sandbox on Marquette Street in Bay City in the early 1950s.  I was the only child in a single-parent family which meant that everyday life was filled with pressures that come from trying to survive.

The sandbox was an escape, my own kingdom where I was only limited by my imagination.  I had a bright yellow cast iron Shell Oil truck, a few plastic soldiers, a rubber ball or two and a whole bunch of sticks of every size.  That's all I needed.

My kids had a sandbox.  It was a small plastic swimming pool filled with a couple of bags of sand from Toys R US.  

I wonder if President Trump ever had a sandbox.  Probably not.

MEMORY: My reporting of the expected resignation of Michigan Gov. George Romney

Romney 3

I had several big boxes of old tear sheets of newspaper stories I had written.  There were hundreds from the various newspapers I worked at and others where I had been published.  It was a habit that I started while a student at the Michigan State University School of Journalism.

Because of downsizing, I whittled this collection down to 20-30 stories where I had a byline like this one from the Michigan State University News which at the time was known as our state's second largest morning newspaper.

Part of my beat was the governor's office held by Romney.  This story was about how he was expected to resign to join Richard Nixon's Cabinet.  

I'm saving this on my blog for my grandkids so they know that I had been a journalist was proud of it.  Back in the sixties, seventies and eighties, it was a role dominated by newspapers.  

Because of the current political climate, many equate being a reporter to being a criminal.