@Bethesda Trolley Trail

You can walk for miles…

It’s quiet and green in a suburban setting.

Who’s that dummy?

Lovers come out here too.

Some graffiti tells you there is still the big city of Washington, D.C. nearby.

A little surveillance—the “I’s” have it!

ADT security plus some colorful wind adornments in front of the houses. 

Park is good, but only until sunset. 


Watch out, “old people” crossing (saw a deer too).

 

The whole trail runs between Rockville and Bethesda–see the French International School, The National Institute of Health, Suburban Hospital, houses, shopping, parks, and more. 

Try not to get too lost in the fun of it all.  😉

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Advertisements

Aging Is A Process

Aging.jpeg

This guy was a hoot on the Metro in Washington, D.C. 


His shirt says:


“With age comes oldness.”


Ah, yeah!


When he was sitting, he had his arms crossed over his chest, and I thought it said:

“With age, comes baldness.”


That too!


Getting old is not easy.


Being young is not easy either. 


But it’s really how you handle yourself during every stage and turn in life that defines who you are and what you become as an person and a creation of G-d. 


You’ve got to get up and walk the dance through thick and thin…life bring old age and oldness…what’s the alternative. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Aging Yet (Hopefully) Always Helping Each Other

Aging

I just love this drawing of the parents and child. 


My daughter found it on Instagram and sent it to me. 


As a little kid, my wife and I used to hold her hands and swing her between us when walking (like in the above illustration)–she loved that!


Now as we get older, we still try to be good, helpful parents (not too intrusive or helicopter-like–well maybe a little), but we can certainly see a day down the line when the cycle of life goes full circle. 


My daughter used to joke (I think) about putting me in an old age home–she knew that after seeing what my mom went through there with Parkinson’s, that is truly the last place I would want to end up. 


Of course, sometimes there really is no choice when a person just needs so much care that it is beyond what the family can do any longer. 


Frankly, what I have learned is that the most important and precious thing that parents and children can give each other is…time!


So is that child in the bottom illustration helping his aging parents along or is he dragging them off to the nursing home?  Perhaps, we’ll never know until it’s too late. 😉


(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal from Instagram Unlimited Knowledge)

Mindful Treatment Of The Disabled

Brain

What great brain at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) came up with the idea to curb access to prosthetics for the disabled?

What is supposedly driving CMS?

It’s a half-wit effort to put a dent in fraud for lower-limb prosthetics –estimated at just $43 million relative to CMS’s annual budget of close to $1 trillion!

Uh, doesn’t CMS have anything better to do then pick on disabled people missing one or more legs?

The profound dumbness of the proposed CMS new rules would limit amputees from possible reimbursement for artificial limbs for example, “if they use assistive devices such as canes or crutches.”

But isn’t that precisely what someone who can’t walk and is missing a limb would use???

Here’s the next doozy…CMS would limit advanced prosthetics “if the device doesn’t enable them to walk with the appearance of a natural gait.”

OMG, this is too much!

People with disabilities who require help need it precisely because they are not “natural” in their mobility functions–that is what we are seeking to help them with. 

You’re going to penalize someone from getting artificial limbs because they still can’t walk completely normal with fake limbs like with real ones?

Moreover, if the Veteran’s Administration adopts these rules, this will also affect our wounded warfighters. 

G-d (and the Secretary of HHS) needs to put some sense back in the minds of the people who, in this case, instead of helping the disabled are misguidedly working against them. 😉

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Why Can’t We Just Stay As Superman?

Superman

So when we’re young, we think we’re Superman, Batman, or whatever superhero comes to mind. 


Our bodies are beautiful, supple, strong, and heal quickly. 


We are taught by our helicopter parents and philosophic teachers that “You can do anything you set your mind to!


In our fantasies, we surely can do amazing things–we lift unbelievable weight, fly around at the speed of light, do karate better than Bruce Lee, outthink Einstein, save the world, and then make off with the beautiful damsel to boot.


Kryptonite is no problem–we are (seemingly) invincible.


Then we hit middle age–40 something–and all of a sudden what do you know?


Oh, this doesn’t work right and that doesn’t feel right.


The Yiddish expression, “Oy vey” seems about it.


And off to the doctors we go.


After the exam and tests, doc says, “Mr. (or Ms.) [whatever], you have [fill in the blank].”


You respond, “Is that normal–at my age–already?”


Doc says, “Absolutely, this is what happens as you get older.”


I say, “Doc, does anything good happen when we get older.”


“Of course not”–we both laugh. 


This reminds me of when my dad used to sing this song in this funny mock Irish accent, “You’re not as young as you used to be you’re getting old and gray!” 


This week, a colleague was coming down with something–possibly something not good. 


I told him how I hoped this turns out well for him and how sorry I was for what he was going through.


Writing off the illness, he says to me, “We all end the same anyway” (i.e. we all end up dead!)–ah, another unhappy notion that is. 


I joked back, “But we all don’t end up in the same place.”


I got a few laughs at that too (some of my father in me). 


Well anyway, I thought about this after–about some of the special subhuman beings out there–and the very special place that I am certain G-d has in store for them:


– Serial murders and other violent criminals


– Rapists and child abusers


– Terrorists and their sponsors


– Megalomaniacs, bullies, and corrupt officials


– Thieves, cheats, and liars.


And guess what about these schmendricks–they get old too, they go to the doctor too, and then they are going somewhere warm, very warm, and it’s not to the Caribbean. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Helpless And Helping

Feet

The following is all true.


So I dreamed last night a scary dream…


I was lying prone in a horizontal but bent position.


My clothes were tattered rags and my legs bare.


I could see my legs, but could not move them–at all. 


The bottom of the legs by the ankles were completely skinny, diseased and bright sore red (like burnt), and the skin was falling off them.


I knew I was in immense pain, but could not feel anything.


My legs completely useless, in hopelessness, I looked upward and called out:


“Father! Father! Father!” 


I was looking for my dad, and hoping for him to come and help me somehow. 


Then, my voice turned and called:


“Father that art in heaven” and repeated this again. 


I was turning to G-d as the only one who could help me when everything else was stripped away. 


Then I awoke, and I was very afraid and yet somehow comforted–I had turned heavenward and found G-d. 


Later this morning, I went to the pool for a swim and as part of my post surgery rehabilitation. 


As I was swimming, I saw an old somewhat hunchback lady come to the pool.


I recognized her from other days when she does a little self-defined exercise routine against the side of the pool. 


But today, her lane at the sides were taken. 


Seeing that she was upset and couldn’t do her exercise in the center of the pool, I stopped swimming and went over to her.


I said, “Why don’t you share with me (there is plenty of room)?”


She hesitated and I could see maybe she needed help getting under the swim rope that divides the lanes, so I lifted it for her and told her reassuringly, “It’s no problem.”


And then she went under and did her exercise thing–and we shared.


It was such a small thing for me, but yet I could see it was a big deal for her–she was old and I could tell that she needed her routine.

The following is all true.


So I dreamed last night a scary dream…


I was lying prone in a horizontal but bent position.


My clothes were tattered rags and my legs bare.


I could see my legs, but could not move them–at all. 


The bottom of the legs by the ankles were completely skinny, diseased and bright sore red (like burnt), and the skin was falling off them.


I knew I was in immense pain, but could not feel anything.


My legs completely useless, in hopelessness, I looked upward and called out:


“Father! Father! Father!” 


I was looking for my dad (who I know deeply loved me and vice versa), and hoping for him to come and help me somehow. 


Then, my voice turned and called:


“Father that art in heaven” and repeated this again. 


I was turning to G-d as the only one who could help me when everything else was stripped away. 


Then I awoke, and I was very afraid and yet somehow comforted–I had turned heavenward and found G-d. 


Later this morning, I went to the pool for a swim and as part of my post surgery rehabilitation. 


As I was swimming, I saw an old somewhat hunchback lady come to the pool.


I recognized her from other days when she does a little self-defined exercise routine against the side of the pool. 


But today, her lane at the sides were taken. 


Seeing that she was upset and couldn’t do her exercise in the center of the pool, I stopped swimming and went over to her.


I said, “Why don’t you share with me (there is plenty of room)?”


She hesitated and I could see maybe she needed help getting under the swim rope that divides the lanes, so I lifted it for her and told her reassuringly, “It’s no problem.”


And then she went under and did her exercise thing–and we shared.


It was such a small thing for me, but yet I could see it was a big deal for her–she was old and I could tell that she needed her routine.


Sort of funny but, when I offered to help, I could practically here the angels of heaven let out a little song of joy–seriously, I did. 


And I thought to myself…Andy, you can learn!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


Sort of funny but, when I offered to help, I could practically here the angels of heaven let out a little song of joy–seriously, I did. 


And I thought to myself…Andy, you can learn!  😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Freak Accidents, Illnesses, And Events

Treadmill

Dave Goldberg, the CEO of Survey Monkey (and the husband of Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook), died suddenly in a freakish accident falling off a treadmill and hitting his head. 


Poof…dead at age 47!


Unfortunately, we hear all the time about these type of tragic occurrences to people.


And of course tragedy knows no bounds–so while sh*t happens everyday to people from all walks of life, we tend to pay more attention when it’s someone we know and love or when it’s splashed wildly in the news about fabulously successful people we admire and follow. 


– Entertainer, Michael Jackson (50) dead from drug intoxication after suffering cardiac arrest.


– Actor, Robin Williams (63) dead by hanging suicide. 


– Singer, John Lennon (40) shot in the back by someone he had autographed an album for.


– Martial Artist, Bruce Lee (33) died on a movie set from a cerebral edema.


– Model, Marilyn Monroe (33) dead by drug overdose.


– President, John F. Kennedy (46) dead by assassination.


Whether by a plane crash or car accident, drowning or fire, poison or electrocution, a criminal or animal attackterrorism, war, or natural disaster, a heart attack, stroke, or cancer, through suicide, punishment, or mercy killing…regardless of the probabilities and statistics, many people never make it all the way to “a ripe old age.” 


We feel bad, shake our heads, say a few words of sympathy perhaps, when we hear of these lives cut short.


But like the TV shows, Six Feet Under (HBO) or 1000 Ways To Die (Spike)–there are a near endless number of horrible ways to go–and they can take you at literally any time.


While we can’t stop living and just sit around worrying all the time about all the bad things that can happen, we do need to remember that anything can happen at any time (and these things are not so freakish after all)–no one is beyond the Angel of Death, no one should be arrogant, and we should make the most of every single moment that G-d lovingly grants to us.  😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Military Health)