Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You should live so long

Photos of the Day

Other than the fact that I snapped her photo as part of an interview in her apartment last Friday afternoon, the lady pictured here is of no relation to me.
And yet, as I processed her photos the other day and study them now more closely, I see how easily she could be my own grandmother. Her smile, her laugh, the sparkle still in her eyes, her spry little body, her energy, the way she carried herself, the natural instinct she had to hug and kiss me goodbye, all reminds me how long it’s been since I sat in an apartment chatting with my own mom, and my grandmother before her . . . how the years just melt away, as we live so long. 

I’m reminded, first with a jolt, then a laugh:  I’m on my own path, now a grandma, myself. 
Were she still alive, my grandmother Sarah would be 114 - give or take a year, as she never quite divulged her exact age to us. 
The woman in the photo is Mary Kantor, remarkable in her own way at the age of 102. A resident of “Jewish Apartments” - an assisted living campus in Oak Park, a suburb of Detroit -  Mary has lived in those apartments “aging in place,” as the industry is given to  saying, for more than 20 years. 
When asked how many grandchildren she has, Mary needs to stop and think.  Six grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren?  Or is it the other way around, sixteen grandchildren and. . . no matter, Mary has a lot of descendents, as she enumerates with her own daughter, sitting beside her on the couch. It’s Mary’s daughter who uses the walker we find parked next to the couch in the living room. Mary’s daughter is visiting - from another “senior apartment” where she lives nearby. 
“You should live so long.”

The expression is Yiddish in origin.  “You should live so long,” is generally used to convey nuances of skepticism - sarcasm, affectionate ridicule. . . 
Excuse the expression (another Yiddism) but you should live so long means. . . don’t wait forever, because it will never happen. 
And yet, here’s Mary, alive and living well enough, living through a century of life. We ask what’s “the secret” of her longevity.  A loving family, a caring social network?  Good health, good meds?  Yogurt, wheat bran, a daily walk in the garden, meditation, faith?  No.  Mary answers that she keeps no secrets.  I’ve lived a normal life,” she says, “Who knows, I guess I’m just blessed.”
Come May, the Jewish Apartments supported by caring families and the philanthropic dollars of the Detroit Jewish community will celebrate “Older Adults Month.” There will be a luncheon in honor of those “most senior” among us, ranging in age from 95 years (the “youngsters” of the group) to 108, or whomever remembers the count this year.  Each year the party gets a little bigger, a little giddier as the number of invitees and their offspring keep growing. Older and older.  

It is estimated that by the year 2050, (we should all live so long!) the number of centenarians worldwide will reach nearly 6 million.  Some say that half the babies born in the U.S. today will live into the 22nd Century. 
Imagine. The miracles of science and medicine. The advancement of industry and the workplace. The world a better place? With more to life?  Or just more living in apartments for the “aged.”  With more discrepancies. More decrepitudes and imbalances. More social insecurities.
Most everybody wants a good long life, or to live for as long as possible.  Given the strides made in medicine and the healthcare during the past 150 years, our life expectancy at birth has nearly doubled: from 40 years to 75. With the oldest among us living well past 100 years, some reaching 115 and onward (or so we’re told) it’s not surprising that we’re starting to believe in our own invincibility, that we too can be. . .curiously, deliciously, wonderously, insufferably long-lived.  

May we all.  Live.  So long. 

Photos: VHenoch
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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Screeching to a halt: state of the blog

 rrrrrr...arrrhhh, crunchhhhh 

Not hits, no runs, no posts . . . no excuses, but it’s been something of a dry spell, here. Crossing the road on Blogger and Open Salon. 
I’m reminded of the words I first put under the banner of  the blog I started here two years and nearly 150 posts ago. . . 
It's still is a wild turtle crossing. My wildturtlecrossing. 
Writers in the blogosphere now travel in unfathomable numbers. We are told  -but who’s counting - that there are an estimated 450 million active English language blog sites today. How many blogs are there really?  How many are long abandoned empty shells? The numbers vary wildly according to marketing sources, no doubt in favor of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Pinterest and so forth and so on and on. 

The thing about social media is that you dare not stop, lest you loseyour face on Facebookyour feed on Twitteryour interest on Pinterestyour links on LinkedInyour circle of readers on Blogger, Word Press, Open Salon
No matter how tight or small, that circle closes the moment you stopyour fidgeting at the keyboard,your commentaryyour responsesyour writing, no matter how trivial or profound, 
It all comes down to getting down to it every day. Write.
Hit “publish”  or perish. 
And so . . here we are.  Here we go.  Such mind-boggling traffic. So many speeding tires. So many turtles. Why follow? And where to? 


"All the turtles are free.
As turtles, and, maybe,
All creatures should be."
-Dr. Seuss
Do you believe it? I can't verify the stats below (nor their date of entry), but I find them of relative interest: their source?
  1. One in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook ( This number is calculated by dividing the planets 6.94 billion people by Facebook’s 750 million users)
  1. People spend 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  1. Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site
  1. More than 250 million people access Facebook through their mobile devices
  1. More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook
  1. 30 billion pieces of content is shared on Facebook each month
  1. 300,000 users helped translate Facebook into 70 languages
  1. People on Facebook install 20 million “Apps” every day
  1. YouTube has 490 million unique users who visit every month (as of February 2011)
  1. YouTube generates 92 billion page views per month (These YouTube stats don’t include videos viewed on phones and embedded in websites)
  1. Users on YouTube spend a total of 2.9 billion hours per month (326,294 years)
  1. Wikipedia hosts 17 million articles
  1. Wikipedia authors total over 91,000 contributors
  1. People upload 3,000 images to Flickr (the photo sharing social media site) every minute
  1. Flickr hosts over 5 billion images
  1. 190 million average  Tweets per day occur on Twitter (May 2011)
  1. Twitter is handling 1.6 billion queries per day
  1. Twitter is adding nearly 500,000 users a day
  1. Google+ has more than 25 million users
  1. Google+ was the fastest social network to reach 10 million users at 16 days (Twitter took 780 days and Facebook 852 days)

Photos: Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss,
Random House, 1950 

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