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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Aging Gratefully

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 12/7/2023
Posted: 3/6/2022
Page Views: 2032
Topics: #AgingGratefully
One man's experience of hitting his seventies.

Starting with my coming out of the closet, I've made my life an open book on these pages. It may seem self-serving, but that's not actually the reason I keep it up.

The first reason is to give my grandkids an insight into how it was to live and grow up in the 20th Century and the opening decades of the 21st. The second is to reach out to folks who may be going through some of the things I have, and who could benefit from reading that they aren't in this all alone, after all.

So, now that I've started into my seventies, and since I have concluded my Coronavirus blog, I've created this new section of web site, where I plan to complain about aches and pains but also about my triumphs and overcomings of my age-related health.

I grew up in a house full of, as my sister called them, "old people". My mom had me when she was 39 (not exactly a spring chicken); her elderly father and my step-grandmother also lived with us. We even had Great-Aunt Edna with us for awhile.

And yet, their generation was brought up to "not complain". As a kid, watching my grandfather lose his mobility in his late seventies, I had no context for what was happening to him; and, as a kid, it never occurred to me to ask for any. I wasn't frightened by what was happening; I simply accepted it, as I assume they did.

Now, at 71 myself, I wish I could have learned from them what this journey is all about. But with or without them, the journey is now mine. And if I can save anyone from fearing their aging years, or trying to fight them, by sharing my experiences with the general public—then it will have been well worth it.

Third Hyperbaric Session

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/17/2023
Page Views: 339
Topics: #Autobiography
Taking a deep dive into wellness, one oxygen bubble at a time!

My daughter bought three sessions in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. I previously wrote about my first visit. I timed the second for the day after my cataract surgery, and this one for a week after.

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Watching a Partial Eclipse with Dogs

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/14/2023
Page Views: 297
Topics: #Autobiography
An eclipse is best appreciated with friends who enjoy having you explain it to them.

According to a survey conducted by the National Science Foundation in 2014, about 26% of American humans did not know that an eclipse occurs when the moon blocks the sun. This means that about one in four Americans did not understand the basic mechanism of a solar eclipse. (I don't think it's a coincidence that this is the same percentage of Americans who still think the Orange Pustule won the 2020 election.)

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Morning Coffee

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/12/2023
Posted: 10/30/2023
Page Views: 366
Topics: #Autobiography
The best part of waking up is doggies and a cup.

After the blistering inferno that was Summer, 2023, finally we have a morning where the temperature is actually pleasant enough (70°F) to enjoy my morning coffee on the back porch. And, of course, where I goeth, the dogs goeth too.

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The Eyes Have It

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/11/2023
Page Views: 391
Topics: #Autobiography #Cataracts
And Baby Brown makes two…

So, yesterday I had the cataract surgery done to my other, left, eye. The surgery was performed by the same excellent opthamologist as did my right eye, Doctor Michael Scanameo of Desert Vista Eye Specialists. The surgery went well with the only downside being that it took so long to get to the second eye. But there was a reason for that.

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Verbing Nouns

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 10/6/2023
Page Views: 360
Topics: #Etymology #Linguistics
It's been said there isn't a noun in the English language that can't be verbed.

I love language and am an amateur linguist, more in the sense of how languages evolve than in actually being able to speak many. Or any, other than one. (When I've traveled to foreign countries, I make a point of learning Please, Thank you, Where's a restroom? and Excuse me!, which actually cover 90% of my interactions with locals.) But I've become fascinated by the idea of the same word doing double duty as a noun and a verb.

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Visiting John's Cats

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/5/2023
Posted: 10/30/2023
Page Views: 310
Topics: #Autobiography
Even his cats are sweet.

So my son, John, and his partner and their kids went to San Diego to visit her parents, and asked me to visit the cats for a day to just check up on them.

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The Amazing Illustrator

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 10/4/2023
Page Views: 374
Topics: #AIArt #BingImageCreator #Computers #Hotpot
Faster than an infinite number of monkeys…

I've been taking advantage of AI (Artificial Intelligence)-generated art tools for a year, now; and with the unveiling of Microsoft's AI version of it, Bing Image Creator, I thought it was time to demonstrate what can be done with these tools—and what, at least at present, can't.

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Hyperbaric Chamber

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/14/2023
Posted: 10/7/2023
Page Views: 434
Topics: #Autobiography
My latest entry in Aging Gratefully.

I live with my daughter, Jennifer, and one of the perks of that is when she decides to try some kind of advanced medical treatment that isn't (yet) covered by insurance; because she oftens brings me with her.

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Homo Improvements

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/5/2023
Page Views: 359
Topics: #Autobiography
Upgrades to my room, my car, and my nails.

I've been feeling so much more energetic now that I'm not in constant pain, that I was motivated to make my room a little more supportive, and then, carried away, even got my nails done!

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Sleep Study

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/23/2023
Posted: 10/7/2023
Page Views: 421
Topics: #Autobiography #CPAP #Insomnia #SleepStudy
You wouldn't think study was required to sleep well…but you'd be wrong.

For many, many years, I slept with a CPAP machine. I had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea; and a Continuous Positive Air Pressure machine makes up for that by forcing air past the saggy tissues doing the obstruction. At the time I weighed nearly a hundred pounds more than I do now, so that I needed a CPAP to sleep well shouldn't be a surprise. But then in 2011 when I spent six months in the hospital with necrotizing fasciitis, I lost that weight and no longer needed it. However, now, 12 years later, I'm older and saggier and need one again. Hence, I requested a sleep study.

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Dogs at Play

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/12/2023
Posted: 9/6/2023
Page Views: 459
Topics: #Autobiography
I love looking at videos and photos of my dogs, so I'm certain you do too.

With the arrival of puppy Finley, we now have three dogs and the older ones—especially Lilly—have found a new leash on life with a baby to play with.

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Final Spinal

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/9/2023
Posted: 9/6/2023
Page Views: 399
Topics: #Autobiography #Laminectomy #PhysicalTherapy
Finally out of Physical Therapy with a Limp and a Grin.

So, today I found myself sitting in the waiting room of my surgeon's office. Today marks the final follow-up after my lumbar laminectomy surgery as well as my final visit to the physical therapy department. Just a year ago, I sat on my porch dreading the agonizing chore of taking the dogs downstairs for their walk. I couldn't help but wonder if I'd make it to see another year, let alone experience a semblance of a normal life. It got so bad my daughter insisted I move in with her. (To be honest, I like that better but that isn't the point.) But now…here I am, live man walking!

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Oh, My Eye!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/2/2023
Page Views: 325
Topics: #Autobiography
In which I get a cataract removed from my right eye.

I was a lifeguard throughout my teens, which equaled spending my entire summers in the sunlight. And, when I was doing this (in the 1960s), the St. Johns County Lifeguard Corps rules didn't allow us to wear sunglasses (probably so we couldn't get away with napping behind them). Besides, I had to wear rather thick eyeglasses anyway, and prescription sunglasses were prohibitively expensive. And then, in later years, I began hiking and then I was again outdoors all the time. And I still didn't wear sunglasses. So…by 71 I had developed cataracts which weren't "ripe". But this year they were, finally, ripe enough to remove. My eye surgeon chose to start on my right eye, and the surgery went really well—much better than I had hoped, since I was kind of worried about having to endure watching someone come at my eye with a knife.

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Water Bottles

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 7/28/2023
Posted: 9/4/2023
Page Views: 428
Topics: #Autobiography
How I turned the lawn into a water bottle beacon.

Watch out, Water Bottle Guy! I've created a H2Olympics obstacle course on my lawn just for you—it's Bottles Gone Wild, and you're the main event!

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 7/24/2023
Posted: 9/4/2023
Page Views: 448
Topics: #Autobiography
I had high hopes for my new dentist, but now I'm drilling for another option.

At this point I am missing almost half the teeth from my upper jaw. And my previous dentist, who I loved, isn't on my new insurance. So I had to try a new one. And after this one, I am still looking. Pro tip: upselling isn't professional; just greedy.

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Last Trip to Shiprock

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 7/15/2023
Page Views: 249
Topics: #Autobiography
Driving the uncharted roads of unhappy endings.

I had a friend who is from Shiprock, New Mexico. We had an awesome relationship, until issues I won't go into came up and we could no longer be together. He asked me to drive him home and I agreed. This post isn't about him or our breakup; it's just an opportunity to post the photos I took along the way.

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What the hell, Netflix?

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 7/1/2023
Page Views: 265
Topics: #Autobiography
A sex room? Really?

So, it seems Netflix saves a list of series and movies I have previously watched, and presents it to me when I start the app. I appreciate this, as I've been watching series such as Perry Mason and Grand Tours of the Scottish Islands and this provides an easy way for me to pick up where I left off.

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The Vernon Room

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/26/2023
Posted: 9/6/2023
Page Views: 414
Topics: #Autobiography
In which I name my man cave after my grandfather.

When I was a toddler, my grandparents lived in an apartment in Bloomfield, NJ. However, since my grandfather was an optometrist and had money (mostly because he decided to never play the stock market, and thus was spared the horrors of the Depression), their apartment was upscale for the 1950s, with an extra bedroom they didn't need as such. So the room became dedicated to my grandfather, who used it as a study. This was my first exposure to the concept we now call a "man cave". But my grandmother called it the "Vernon Room." It was years before I learned that "Vernon" was my grandfather's name, not a kind of room like "living" or "bed".

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Physical Therapy

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/19/2023
Page Views: 265
Topics: #Autobiography
Continuing adventures post-spinal surgery.

When I underwent a lumbar laminectomy in April, I was hoping it would bring relief from the persistent lower back pain that had me all but crippled. Unfortunately, even after the surgery, the pain didn't seem to improve significantly. My surgeon, who is attached to the CORE Spine Center, referred me to CORE's Physical Therapy unit.

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Technically Speaking

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 5/9/2023
Page Views: 262
Topics: #Autobiography
Language evolves, and technology drives that evolution.

One day, some 20 years ago, I came home from work to find my mother in a state of annoyance. "What's wrong?" I asked her, worried that something serious had happened. "The lady from the bank was so rude!" she exclaimed, clearly upset.

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Two Weeks Post-Laminectomy

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 5/6/2023
Page Views: 290
Topics: #Autobiography
It's been 2 weeks and 2 days since my spinal surgery, and my back still hurts.

Two weeks and two days ago, I went "under the knife" in an effort to quell the pain of my lumbar spinal stenosis. I was kind of hoping to have felt results by now, but not really.

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Oh, My Spine

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/21/2023
Page Views: 407
Topics: #Autobiography #Laminectomy #LumbarStenosis #Surgery
Surgery finally okayed and done..

So, yesterday was the surgery on my spine. More specifically, the surgeon performed a lumber laminectomy on L2 and L3, and I couldn't be happier with him and it, or less happy with the hospital in which it was performed.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/18/2023
Page Views: 348
Topics: #Matrix #Philosophy #SimulatedUniverse
Are we living in a Matrix? The surprising truth sbout our so-called reality.

The simulation theory is a concept that has been explored in various forms throughout history. One of the earliest appearances of the simulation theory can be traced back to ancient philosophy, particularly in the works of Plato. In his famous allegory of the cave, Plato presents the idea that what we perceive as reality is actually a shadow of true reality, and that true reality can only be apprehended through philosophical contemplation.

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Willie's 6th Birthday

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/16/2023
Page Views: 268
Topics: #Autobiography #Willie
My step-grandson Willie turned 6 today!

This is the home of my son, John. and his partner, Adrienne and her kids, Kyla and Willie. Today is Willie's 6th birthday, and my other grandkids, Gianna and Dominic, and I, were his guests, along with my daughter, Jenny, and my ex-husband, Michael (who is an active grandparent).

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Easter at Jimmy's

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/9/2023
Page Views: 268
Topics: #Autobiography #Dominic #Gianna
I so love these days when everyone gets together.

This year Easter was held at and hosted by Jimmy, the kids' father. Jimmy has an exquisite home that definitely lends itself to family get-togethers.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/8/2023
Page Views: 361
Topics: #Autobiography
So, I'm old, but I'm, like, COOL old.

As I've always said, life is like a roller coaster ride. When you get on you hope it will be fun, but you don't really know. And don't we always underestimate the thrill of a roller coaster ride? Anyway, you know there's going to be that big drop at the end and then it'll be over. If knowing that didn't keep us from getting on the roller coaster to begin with, well, we can't really get off before the ride is over, can we?

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The Fact of Difference

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 6/7/2006
Updated: 4/5/2023
Page Views: 347
Topics: #Autobiography #CivilRights #GayRights
Recollections of my personal journey through the minefield of bigotry.

I saw Black people for the very first time when I was about five years old. We lived in New Jersey, and once every few months my parents would go shopping at a department store called "Two Guys." I say my parents went shopping, because they always left my sisters and me in the car for the hour or two they spent inside.

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A New Ride

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/2/2023
Page Views: 247
Topics: #Arizona #Autobiography #CanyonLake #SuperstitionMountains
I just got a new Tesla Model 3.

I got a new Tesla Model 3 a week or so ago, and it inspired me to go riding around the Valley more than I usually do. I'm impressed by how smoothly the car drives and how responsive it is. The handling is exceptional, and it's a joy to navigate through the winding roads and hillsides of the Superstition Mountains near my home.

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No Laminectomy Today

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 3/30/2023
Page Views: 405
Topics: #Autobiography #Laminectomy
Damn insurance companies. THIS is why we need Medicare For All.

I was supposed to have my spine operated on today. Unfortunately, that didn't come to pass. At 6:30 AM of the day I was supposed to be in the hospital at 9 AM for an 11 AM surgery, I received a phone call telling me that Banner Prime Medicare Advantage had not yet sent in approval for my laminectomy.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 3/28/2023
Page Views: 441
Topics: #Autobiography #Laminectomy
Going gracefully under the knife.

As I prepare for my upcoming laminectomy on Thursday, I cannot help but reflect on the journey that has brought me to this point. For the past two years, I have suffered from back pain that has gradually worsened over time. Despite various treatments and therapies, the pain has persisted, impacting my daily life and preventing me from enjoying the activities that I once loved. Finally, after consulting with my doctor, we have decided that a laminectomy is the best course of action to alleviate my symptoms and improve my quality of life. I am not nervous about the procedure, I am just hopeful that it will bring me the relief from this constant pain in my lower back I've had for at least two years.

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It's a Dog's Yard

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 3/27/2023
Page Views: 336
Topics: #Autobiography #Ella #Lilly
My dogs, Ella and Lilly, seem happy.

My daughter, Jenny, has really gone all out to not only make me feel welcome but the dogs, Ella and Lily, as well. Jenny already had four cats when I moved in; so she got a length of portable fencing to give the dogs a straight shot from our room, through the dining area, to the back yard. They even get use of the pool!

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Scents and Sensibility

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 3/27/2023
Page Views: 306
Topics: #Dogs #Ella #Lilly
How dogs see with their noses.

Comparing dog brains and human brains, the percentages devoted to smell and vision are reversed in each species. In humans, we rely on our vision for nearly all our information about the external world, with smell the least important. A human can lose their sense of smell and often not even notice it.

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MRIs and Other Modern Miracles

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 3/23/2023
Posted: 4/3/2023
Page Views: 462
Topics: #Autobiography #LumbarSpinalStenosis #MRI
Here's a sentence no would have understood 40 years ago: The insurance company wants selfies.

As a kid in the 1960s, I wanted more than anything to visit another planet where everything was different. (That yearning largely contributed to my becoming a writer.) Well, I may not have traveled to another planet, but I can't help feeling like I'm living in a completely different world than the one I grew up in. Technology has advanced at an astonishing pace, and the way we live our daily lives has been transformed in countless ways, including the lengthening of them, via devices such as MRIs (pictures from magnetic resonance imaging), which I had today.

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Artists as Tool Users

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 3/21/2023
Page Views: 320
Topics: #Autobiography
Throughout history, artists have used tools, assistants, and modern technologies like ChatGPT to assist in the creative process, resulting in more accurate, efficient, and detailed works, while sparking debates about the role of the artist and the authenticity of their work.

Throughout history, artists have always relied on tools, assistants, secretaries, and amanuenses to create their art. These aids helped artists to produce works that were more accurate, efficient, and detailed. In this essay, I will explore the different types of tools and aids that artists have used throughout history, from Vermeer's Camera Obscura to modern-day spell and grammar checkers, and how ChatGPT can assist writers.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 3/20/2023
Page Views: 286
Topics: #Autobiography
My AI assistant just wrote a story for me.

Some 40 years ago I had an idea for a humorous short short story ("short short" is actutally a technical writing term) but to do it properly would have required I learn the proper use of a lot of jargon from different disciplines and I've just never had the time to do it justice. But now we have ChatGPT to help with the heavy lifting. I decided to feed it a description of the story I wanted to write and see if it couldn't do the research I was too lazy busy to do. And I have to say I was beyond pleasantly surprised.

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A Chat with ChatGPT

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 3/18/2023
Page Views: 395
Topics: #ArtificialIntelligence #Autobiography #ChatGPT #Computers
It passes the Turning Test. But is it sentient?

I felt experimental this evening and decided to really try out one of those new AI-powered chat bots that claim to be able to write anything you want, from a sonnet to a computer program to a college thesis. So I picked ChatGPT, created a login for it, and hunted for where I was supposed to type, as it's about time for me to get a new pair of glasses. But I found it, and said hello.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 3/12/2023
Posted: 4/3/2023
Page Views: 309
Topics: #Autobiography
A bottle of hyaluronic shower gel fell from its cubby in the shower

While my daughter and her kids were visiting the Bahamas and I was home alone, I heard a crash from near my room, though both dogs were with me. When I checked, I discovered that my bottle of hyuralonic shower gel had leapt from it's cubby to the floor of the shower.

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Karen's Visit

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 2/24/2023
Posted: 4/19/2023
Page Views: 304
Topics: #Autobiography #Karen
My second-eldest daughter comes by!

My daughter, Karen, lives in Virginia so I wouldn't get to see her very often, if at all, if she didn't visit. It's not exactly a vacation for her, as she "works from home" even if she's in Arizona. Anyway, I'm glad I got to see her!

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Who Domesticated Whom?

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 2/16/2023
Page Views: 474
Topics: #Autobiography #Ella #Lilly
Humans give themselves too much credit for being the reason for everything.

The scientific evidence that dogs domesticated humans (rather than the other way 'round) comes from the Paleolithic era, as early as 10,000 BCE. The relationship between wolves and humans is well-represented in the fossil record. During this time, wolves, which are as happy scavenging as they are hunting, would have been a natural part of the human environment; and evidence suggests that humans used wolves for a variety of tasks, such as hunting, herding, and protection. This evidence is supported by archaeological discoveries that suggest that wolves were kept in human settlements and were treated as part of the human family.

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Goodbye, Apartment

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 1/30/2023
Page Views: 314
Topics: #Autobiography
I've moved into my daughter's place.

So now that all my personal stuff has been removed from my apartment, my daughter is hoping to rent out the apartment on AirBNB. This is what it looks like.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 1/26/2023
Page Views: 329
Topics: #Autobiography #Dogs
Fixing up the dog yard.

My daughter's original idea of where to create an outdoor space for the dogs to go to the bathroom, was to use the side yard just outside my room. There's an entrance to it just a short run through the garage, which is also next to my room. However, the rocks covering the ground weren't too amenable to releasing dog poop. So Jenny ordered a finer gravel to cover it.

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Red Light Therapy

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 1/23/2023
Page Views: 326
Topics: #Autobiography #Health #RedLightTherapy
Time to get that glow on.

My friend, Michael, asked me to review a book on Red Light Therapy for him. It was pretty fascinating, and seemed to address specific issues I've been having, particularly with the condition of my skin, especially on my arms, as I mentioned a few weeks ago.

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Settling In

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 1/16/2023
Page Views: 315
Topics: #Autobiography
Making a new home.

So, since my apartment is unlivable because the fire alarm keeps going off at random times, even though the lease isn't up until March, I've started sleeping at my daughter's rather than be rudely awakened at 3:30 AM. And I'm moving my personal items there as well.

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Still Alarmed

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 1/12/2023
Page Views: 317
Topics: #Autobiography
The fire alarm goes off several times in a few days.

The fire alarm went off again a couple of nights ago. Just for a moment, and I vowed to go bak to my daughter's if it happened again, and eventually I fell asleep. It happened again yesterday, and then this afternoon it started and wouldn't stop. So, once again, I had to pack up the dogs and drive over. (Yes, I put in another maintenance request.)

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Don't Be Alarmed

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 1/5/2023
Page Views: 322
Topics: #Autobiography
Adventures with fire alarms.

What's worse than being awakened in the middle of the night by a fire alarm? Being awakened in the middle of the night by the fire alarm when there's no fire!

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It's The Bee's Knees!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 1/4/2023
Page Views: 309
Topics: #Language
Language is far from static, and older terms often end up misunderstood.

One of my favorite tales of linguistics begins with early Roman explorers who sailed south along Africa's west coast. Around the Congo River they encountered an animal they'd never seen before. It was four-legged, boxy like a horse, but it had a single horn growing out of its head. Since most horned animals have a matching pair of horns, the captain of the expedition named the new creature after its most unique feature: its single horn. The Latin word for "one-horn" happens to be unicorn.

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Christmas Shirt

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/26/2022
Posted: 4/6/2023
Page Views: 364
Topics: #Autobiography
Don't you hate wearing out that favorite T-shirt?

Most of my T-shirts have logos or messages on them; most of the designs have to do with favorite places in the world that I've actually visited and loved. So, in a sense, the shirts double as souveniers. I love wearing them for the memories, but hate wearing them because the more I wear one, the faster it wears out, eventually becoming unwearable.

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Kenny and the Messengers

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/16/2022
Posted: 1/29/2023
Page Views: 435
Topics: #Autobiography
There's nothing like a little live music!

My ex, Michael, invited me to come along to the Nutown, a more-or-less gay bar in Phoenix where his friend, Elias Armendiaz, would be playing bass in a band called Kenny and the Messengers.

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Thanksgiving at Jimmy's

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/24/2022
Posted: 12/17/2022
Page Views: 472
Topics: #Autobiography
It's my ex-son-in-law's turn to do Thanksgiving.

As do most divorced parents, my daughter Jenny and her ex-husband, Jimmy, take turns hosting the major holidays. This year was Jimmy's turn to do Thanksgiving. Here are the photos.

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Dog Food

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/16/2022
Posted: 12/17/2022
Page Views: 425
Topics: #Autobiography
The furbabies gotta eat.

Each month, Ella and Lilly go through about 40-50 pounds of dog food. I've tried really expensive dog food (by expensive, I mean, it costs more than my foog) and cheap; and they seem to do best with the cheaper brand.

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Partying With The Band

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/12/2022
Posted: 12/31/2022
Page Views: 417
Topics: #Autobiography #EagleJamesBand #Music

My ex, Michael, has a friend who plays bass in not one, but two bands! And one of them, the Eagle James Band, had a backyard concert for their neighborhood, and I was delighted.

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Visiting the Grandkids

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/4/2022
Posted: 11/25/2022
Page Views: 409
Topics: #Autobiography
Grandkids are the Universe's reward for hanging out long enough to get old.

Since my daughter Jenny and her kids live just a couple of miles from me, I can visit often, though I usually wait for weekends when the kids are around to watch and visit with. That's what I did today.

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Ripped Hand

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/1/2022
Posted: 1/24/2023
Page Views: 396
Topics: #Autobiography
My skin is like parchment.

Possibly the first sign of again I noticed, when I was young, was when my grandmother walked along an old wooden railing and brushed her hand, ever so lightly, against the wood. The skin of her hand simply peeled away where it touched the wood. I am now about the age she was then, and have the same problem.

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Dog Hotel

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/30/2022
Posted: 12/17/2022
Page Views: 477
Topics: #Autobiography #Ella #Lilly
It's nice to know they have a home-away-from-home.

My lower back had really flared up, to the point where I couldn't take the dogs downstairs from my apartment. So my daughter, Jenny, offered to have me stay downstairs at her house until my back got better. But she doesn't want the dogs, especially hairy Ella, shedding inside the house. So she fixed her seldom-used side porch into a doggie hotel!

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Kids' Bounce House

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/29/2022
Posted: 1/17/2023
Page Views: 401
Topics: #Adrienne #Autobiography #John #Kyla #Willy
My son lives about 20 minutes from me so visits can be frquent!

Today I was invited to visit my son with his partner, Adrienne, and their kids Kyla and Willy. It was low-key, which means it was delightful without much emphasis on the photo op.

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Dog Park Memorial

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/26/2022
Posted: 11/25/2022
Page Views: 442
Topics: #Autobiography
This end of the Rainbow Bridge.

The park I usually take the dogs to is Cosmo, the one with the lake they can swim in. However, today was a little too chilly for swimming; so I decided to try another park. It's called Crossroads, and is just a half-mile from Cosmo. So, having found it on Google Maps, I decided to give it a shot.

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Hiking with Grandchildren

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/23/2022
Posted: 11/1/2022
Page Views: 391
Topics: #Autobiography #Dominic #Ella #Giamma.Zachary #Lilly
A beautiful walk in the Superstitions with beautiful youngsters.

My arthritis has kept me from hiking as much as I used to. But there was no way I would turn down an easy hike with the grandkids!

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My Second Medial Branch Block

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/3/2022
Page Views: 293
Topics: #Arthritis #Health #LumbarSpinalStenosis #MedialBranchBlock
The placebo effect can go either way.

On the 18th (two days ago) I had my second medial branch block. This went much better than the first, primarily because I didn't have a migraine for this one.

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Photos of Cats

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/16/2022
Posted: 11/1/2022
Page Views: 409
Topics: #Autobiography
Who doesn't like to look at photos of strangers' cats?

Recently two of my offspring, my son, John, and my daughter, Jenny, went on (separate) vacations and asked me to look in on their cats. John has two, and Jenny has a varying number. In any case, I usually take photos of their furbabies to sent to their owners, to let them know they're all right.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/12/2022
Posted: 11/1/2022
Page Views: 416
Topics: #Autobiography
Getting enough exercise is tough when you have arthritis.

My apartment comes with a nicely-equipped and never-crowded gym. I've been wanting to make use of it for some time. Finally, I did. Here's photographic proof!

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My First Medial Branch Block Pain Diary

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 10/3/2022
Page Views: 588
Topics: #Arthritis #Health #LumbarSpinalStenosis #MedialBranchBlock
Hey, who needs those nerves anyway?

Today was not the best day for me to have the first of my medial branch block tests. I had a lovely weekend road trip with friends, but didn't pay proper attention to my hydration and so, this morning about 4 AM, I awoke with a nasty migraine headache. (Are there any migraines that aren'tnasty?) Still, this test has already been postponed (some of their equipment had broken down or somwething) and I didn't want to put it off any further. After all, the longer I wait for the tests, the longer I'll have to tolerate this back pain, regardless of how the test turns out.

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Dog Potty

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/19/2022
Posted: 1/23/2023
Page Views: 385
Topics: #Autobiography
When they gotta go, they gotta go.

I love my apartment and I love the view from my balcony. I also seriously need whatever exercise I can get, despite the pain in my lower back. But there have been times when my back was really too stiff to take the dogs, one at a time, downstairs to do their business. So my daughter got a "doggy potty" for them.

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State of the Lumbar

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/7/2022
Page Views: 454
Topics: #Arthritis #Epidural #Health #LumbarSpinalStenosis
There's nothing so annoying as a pain in the back.

Today was the follow-up appointment for last month's epidural injections. The purpose of this was for the doctor, and the insurance company, know whether those injections worked.

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State of the Prostate

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/6/2022
Page Views: 410
Topics: #Cancer #Health #ProstateCancer
Unlike Marie Curie, I shall not become radioactive…yet.

Today I had scheduled a phone visit from Dr. Chowdhury, the oncologist to whom I was referred for prostate cancer after a routine prostate exam turned up a "nodule" with just a "little bit of cancer" in it. The phone visit was scheduled for 11 AM, but at 9:40 I received a call from his accounting office, telling me that something about my health insurance policy had changed, and I was no longer covered!

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Layers of Reality

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 8/25/2022
Page Views: 428
Topics: #Metaphysics #QuantumEntanglement #Science
Galaxies and atoms follow the same natural laws, but not in the same ways.

Today's topic is one I've been wanting to cover for a number of months, now. It requires the reader to willingly view things from a different perspective, yes, even different from what you think of when you think, "different perspective". In fact, we're going to try on several different perspectives. But first, I must ask you to spend 9 minutes watching this short film, which I first viewed in the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. Trust me, it'll save a whole separate pre-essay on the topic of very large and very small, all by itself.

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Dogma vs. Science

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 8/24/2022
Page Views: 480
Topics: #Metaphysics #Science
Like parachutes, minds function best when open.

As a kid in Catholic school, attending catechism class, I first encountered the dichotomy of dogma versus open-mindedness, in that some teachers taught dogma—that these are things we must believe, or go to Hell—while others taught us to think for ourselves, albeit within the constraints of the approved belief structure. The problem with that approach, of course; is that the constraints are soon seen for what they are: artificial blocks to being truly open to wherever the pursuit of knowledge might take us. Thus, I left the Catholic Church at 19, and Christianity shortly after that.

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Bro Mask

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/18/2022
Page Views: 437
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
If I could turn back time…

I'm actually not the vainest person who ever lived. I barely get haircuts, much less indulge in the use of all those products so many other gay guys seem to rely on. Still, now that I'm a 71-year-old former lifeguard and hiker with sun-damaged skin, I decided to see what the shooting was all about and got a box of rejuvenating face masks and an at-home chemical peel set…that I finally put to the test today.

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Oh, My Brain!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/15/2022
Page Views: 488
Topics: #Aging #Amnesia #EEG
Apparently I had amnesia, though I don't remember it.

About 11 years ago, a spider bite led to a two-day coma, multiple surgeries, and a six-month hospitalization with necrotizing fasciitis. While there I was, understandably, traumatized and in great pain, dimmed only slightly by the morphine and other pain killers I received intravenously. To try to dull the anxiety, they gave me large doses of an anti-anxiety drug called Ativan. I didn't know it at the time, but on its list of side effects, Ativan reports users suffering from memory problems after extended use.

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Back Injection Report #1

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/12/2022
Page Views: 421
Topics: #Aging #Epidural #LumbarSpinalStenosis #SpinalStenosis
Results so far from lumbar epidural for a pain in the back.

This past Monday I had epidural injections done in an attempt to alleviate my constant back pain due to lumbar spinal stenosis. This is simply my take on how I've felt since.

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Do Not Get A Lone Little Doggie

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/9/2022
Page Views: 458
Topics: #Pets
If your house will be empty for more than an hour or two at a time, do not leave your dog alone.

The poignancy is presented by this poor dog who has, presumably, been sitting at the door for 8 or 9 hours, waiting for its human to return. The cruelty is that this is completely unneccessary. Please allow me to consolidate the rules for having a relationship with dogs.

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Oh, My Back!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/8/2022
Page Views: 614
Topics: #Aging #Epidural #LumbarSpinalStenosis #SpinalStenosis
In which I get a lumbar epidural for a pain in the back.

This past April, I learned that I had lumbar spinal stenosis. Today, four months later, my insurance finally came through for a procedure that may help relieve the pain. The procedure is called a lumbar epidural, and it is a shot (or, in my case, a pair of shots) that place a steroid into a space in the spine. The injection is named an epidural steroid injection because it involves injecting a local anesthetic and a steroid medication directly into the epidural space that surrounds the spinal cord and nerve roots.

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Dinner at John and Adrienne's

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/7/2022
Page Views: 419
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
So nice to be invited for dinner by one's offspring.

My son, John, lives with his partner and children about 20 minutes' drive from my apartment. Today I was invited to come by for dinner. It was lovely spending time with their Littles, who are the same age as my daughter's two youngest (5 and 7). Nothing exciting; just an excuse to share some photos.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 7/29/2022
Page Views: 439
Topics: #Aging
I may find myself in a beautiful house.

I finally got some art on the walls. They are canvas prints made from some of my favorite photos from Maui. So here's what my apartment looks like now, starting with the inside of the front door.

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Cosmo Again

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 7/27/2022
Page Views: 446
Topics: #CosmoDogPark #Ella #Lilly
Back to the dog park with the lake.

I try to bring the dogs to the lake park at least every other day. They need the exercise! But it's been very hot here lately, so I have to bring them early in the day before the temperature exceeds 100°.

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River Float with the Rizzos

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 7/24/2022
Page Views: 529
Topics: #Dominic #Gianna #SaltRiver #Zach
I go down the river with my grandkids.

I haven't made a visit to the Salt River since before I moved to Maui. It's not that I haven't thought about it; but with my weakened ankles I wasn't confident in my ability to navigate the rocky trails. So I didn't try; but today I was invited to go with my daughter Jenny and her family and I was very grateful to go!

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Pooltime with the Littles

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 7/20/2022
Page Views: 455
Topics: #Dominic #Gianna
I love hanging out with my youngest grandkids.

I dropped by to hang out with my littlest grandchildren. At first, it was just the very youngest, Dominic.

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Father's Day

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/19/2022
Page Views: 482
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
Dinner AND a shirt!

Having just returned from a pre-Father's Day vacation in Costa Rica compliments of my daughter, Jenny.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 6/10/2022
Page Views: 471
Topics: #Dogs #Ella #Lilly
More photos of my dogs. Yeah.

I live with two dogs, Ella (a Golden Retriever) and Lilly (a cattle dog). They are so sweet that I take far too many photos of them. Here are a few.

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Cosmo Dog Park

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/28/2022
Page Views: 474
Topics: #CosmoPark
Living their best life.

One of the things I miss about living on Maui is on behalf of my dogs, Ella and Lilly. On our property, they had free run. The cabin door was always open, so they "walked" themselves when they wanted. Here in Arizona, they must stay on-leash outside. Luckily there's a really nice dog park with a lake for them to swim in.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/23/2022
Page Views: 520
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
Sleep: I'm in favor of it.

A few weeks ago, my daughter Jennifer got me one of those smart watches. And it may have already saved my life.

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No More Pool

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/2/2022
Page Views: 481
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
Ella loves to swim. She also sheds…a LOT.

So my daughter, Jenny, lives just a mile from me, and she has a lovely back yard with a beautiful pool. Since Ella, the Golden, sheds a lot, she isn't allowed inside Jenny's house. But Jenny fixed up the yard so I could let the dogs into it without going inside. And then Ella immediately jumps into the pool, and spends her entire visit just swimming, back and forth.

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Life Inside My Apartment

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/1/2022
Page Views: 509
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
It's nice to be able to go out, but it's also nice not to have to.

I moved into this apartment about 3 and a half months ago, and have definitely taken my time in arrnaging it to my liking. But I've pretty much done so by now.

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Dog Days

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/30/2022
Page Views: 494
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
You can't really be lonely if you live with dogs.

You'd think my dogs, Ella and Lilly, would miss Maui. But no; as long as they're near me, they seem to be happy as clams.

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Swimming Cosmo

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/28/2022
Posted: 10/7/2023
Page Views: 381
Topics: #Autobiography
A dog park with a lake they can swim in!

Cosmo Dog Park, located in Gilbert, Arizona, is a beloved spot for local dog owners and their furry friends. The park opened in July 2006 and quickly gained recognition for its unique features. In fact, just a year after its opening, Cosmo Dog Park was named Dog Park of the Year for 2007 by DOG FANCY. To be honest, I stumbled on it while looking up dog parks in Google Maps. They love it, but because it's a bit of a walk from the car, I don't like to take them when the temperature exceeds 100°F since the ground gets too hot for them to walk on.

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Research Scam

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/24/2022
Page Views: 449
Topics: #BigPharma
Con artists approach from every direction.

Most of us want to be good citizens. And if we understand science and modern medicine, it can be very tempting to volunteer for a vaccine or other medicinal study. And to sweeten the pot, it's normal to pay study participants. After all, if the new medicine turns out to be effective, the pharmeceutical firm stands to make billions of dollars; and they can't make a penny if sufficient volunteers cannot be found. I've done a couple myself.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/23/2022
Page Views: 466
Topics: #Recipe
We are what we eat. And drink.

A lot of people have noted marked improvements to their health following adding green juices or smoothies to one's diet. Thanks to my personal blender, it's become pretty easy for me to make these. And they're delicious!

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Basketball for Easter

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/17/2022
Page Views: 462
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
Easter eggs give way to sports balls.

Today is Easter, and my daughter Jenny invited me to spend the day with her and the Littles. By the time I arrived, Gianna had already found her eggs and run next door to play with her friend, Brinkley. I did get to catch Dominic's booty, though.

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A Leap of Faith, A New Dog Park, and Spinal Surgery

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/13/2022
Page Views: 564
Topics: #LumbarSpinalStenosis
A quarter-century-old mistake comes back to bite me in the spine. Also, dog photos.

Many of the health issues aging has brought me are of unknown origin. For example, I have no idea why my Achilles tendons suddenly became so inflamed when I was living on Maui. However, I just found out I have Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, and, as it happens, I know exactly when and where my own actions caused it.

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Mushroom Rice

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/12/2022
Page Views: 477
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
Here's how lazy single people manage to eat well.

As Richard Nixon once said, "I am not a cook." Or maybe it was Melania Trump. Either way, neither am I. But I do like to eat. Hence, I have become quite expert in preparing delicious, fresh-tasting meals out of frozen and pre-packaged ingredients. Tonight I'm just having chicken nuggets, but the "side dish" is what you'd want to write a blog page about: whole grain rice infused with sauteed mushrooms, minced garlic, and black olives. (To be honest, the nuggets are almost unneccessary.)

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My Birthday

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 4/8/2022
Page Views: 449
Topics: #Birthday
Somehow, I turned 71.

Of my four kids, only two live near me in Arizona. Dorothy and Karen, the other two, called me for my birthday, of course. Jenny and John had me come to a restaurant birthday dinner!

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A Little Like A Dog Park

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 3/28/2022
Page Views: 483
Topics: #AceroatColleyStation #Dogs #Ella #Lilly
The dogs teach a lesson in making the most of things.

My apartment complex, Acero at Cooley Station, boasts as one of its amenities, a dog park. So I've been meaning to check it out, but hadn't gotten around to it until today. But my goodness…could they spare the space? It's basically about the size of my living room.

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Sultry Skies of March

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 3/10/2022
Page Views: 460
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
Postcards from the ledge.

Part of aging gratefully is having time and opportunity to enjoy the sunsets. I get to sit on my 2nd floor balcony in the afternoons and enjoy the show Nature puts on here most every night.

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Movie with the Littles

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 2/12/2022
Page Views: 497
Topics: #Coronavirus #Maui
My Spidey-sense tells me there's fun ahead!

My daughter, Jennifer, invited me to see a movie with her two little ones (whom we call "The Littles"). I'd have gone, anyway; but the movie turned out to be Spider-Man: No Way Home. I know it was all over the Littles' heads, but it was funny and there was lots of action and no super scary moments; so they enjoyed it.

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