It's August 2023. A theme is emerging out of my life experiences to date. The theme can be captured in two words: self care. My life as it is unfolding in 2023 is revolving around self care. I recognize there are types of self care. For me, it is physical self care having experienced three surgeries, two hospitalizations and COVID-19. Now I'm dealing with something called GERD (Gastrointestinal-Esophageal Reflux Disease). It is impacting my oral health. What self-care means for my summer celebrations (I'm discovering many) is that events I might have showed up for in-person I took a pass. Instead, I showed up in spirit.
Before I get to it let me ask, dear reader, what theme or themes are emerging out of your life experiences in 2023? Tell yourself, tell others or tell me via firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you have read this far you have taken the plunge into the river(flow) of life experiences which is Stories and Journeys. Now for a few more of my summer celebrations for which I have showed up in the flesh or in spirit.
HAPPY 58th BIRTHDAY 'ACTUAL MEDICARE'
A birthday bash was held a few weeks ago celebrating year 58 for Medicare at the Southdale Library. I call it 'Actual Medicare.' Some call it 'Original Medicare.' Others call it 'Traditional Medicare.' I call it 'Actual Medicare' in order to differentiate it from Medicare Advantage Plans. As far as I am concerned, these are insurance plans using the word Medicare to market themselves. I am concerned that roughly half of Medicare enrollees are signed up for these Advantage Plans. There is no way in the long run that this is good for Medicare. I need to move on. Before I do happy birthday, Social Security (88).
CELEBRATING ART ON THE EDGE, CHAKRAS CLASS
I am a second year student in Cindy Lehman's Psychic Development Beginning/Foundations class taught on-line. As such I qualified for her Chakras class. Sadly it met on the same day as the Art on the Edge Festival in Linden Hills. In the name of self care, I could not do both. I was at the festival last year. I left curious about many things. Maybe next year. To check out Cindy Lehman, go to www.cindylehman.com.
CELEBRATING MY FIRST KARAOKE EXPERIENCE
It was at Wabun Park. I showed up for the SEIU Healthcare for MN/IA Retiree Council annual picnic. I am a SEIU Healthcare for MN/IA retiree. There I discovered an activity called karaoke. I can sing – just not so good at reading music. I decided to give it try. I sang "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys. It went well enough that I decided I would do it again if the opportunity presented itself. Next time I'm thinking I'll sing something by the Bee Gees.
DISCOVERIES AT 80th BIRTHDAY BASH FOR DOWLING COMMUNITY GARDEN
I used to community garden at Dowling. I discovered some people I know. There was Joan, Steve, Bev and Union brother Joel. There was a table with several varieties of tomatoes. I sampled a tomato. I discovered a sign that said, Ask a Master Gardener! I asked a gardening question of a Master Gardener. It was 88 degrees and muggy. I discovered a tent with a chair and a table with cupcakes. I ate a cupcake. Nearby there was a person playing beautiful music on a harp. I could have had my face painted. I took a pass. Less heat and less muggy – I would have engaged more. I showed up. Dowling will turn 80 only once. To learn more about Dowling Community Garden, go to www.dowlingcommunitygarden.org
CELEBRATING MY BACKYARD HARVEST
In my backyard there are four double high raised beds thanks to a program called Chard Your Yard. This season, with help from my sister-in-law Carol and niece Crissy, two of those raised beds were revived. Seedlings, one sweet potato sprout and marigolds were planted. So far, we have harvested tomatoes and cucumbers. I'm looking forward to harvesting sweet potato. With help, I can still garden.
NEWS FROM ALL ELDERS UNITED FOR JUSTICE
Grant Stevensen's first day as Community Organizer is Sept.1. All Elders now has a web site: www.alleldersjusticemn.org/
ELDER VOICES (TELLING OUR STORIES/SHARING OUR JOURNEYS) TO MEET
Sept. 29 (10-11:30 a.m.) at Heathers, 5201-Chicago Ave. I will be sitting at a table with a sign that says Elder Voices. All elders are welcome.
In gratitude. Seeking to balance self-care and community engagement!
Donald L. Hammen is a longtime south Minneapolis resident, and serves on the All Elders United for Justice steering committee.