Observations on Jewelry


Yesterday, I went to a terrific show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called “Jewelry: The Body Transformed.”  The exhibit  has a stunning collection from Ancient times to the present of all sorts of headdresses, earrings and ear “ornaments,”  pins, necklaces, rings and belts.  It’s pretty amazing to explore how jewelry has been used to adorn the body, convey power, signal the divine, appease the gods, create surprise or even shock others.

It does get you wondering whether jewelry can be designed to reduce the aging process.  Or maybe it has already been designed with some of those jewel-encrusted masks on display.

The show is on until February 24, if you want to check it out.


Bathroom Mysteries!


Folks, this isn’t a challenge of aging in society today.  It’s bigger than that. It’s the mysteries we all encounter in bathrooms in restaurants, airports, theaters, stores or wherever there are sinks, faucets, soap and paper towel dispensers. There’s no uniform standard for how all of these work so we’re left on our own to figure it out, especially if there’s no one at an adjacent sink who’s figured it out and can give us advisories.

Otherwise, we stand in front of the sink waving our hands in all directions until we know exactly how everything works.  There are also the occasions when we think we’ll activate the faucet by hand waving only to find that it’s the old fashioned kind that actually needs to be turned on.  “Duh,” I usually say to myself.

Somebody will someday calculate the lost productivity hours caused by this bathroom confusion, unless some legislative body legislates uniform standards for faucets and soap and towel dispensers.  No doubt that will cause a revolt by all those who are the bathroom free spirits who like plumbing design diversity and don’t mind the challenges it poses.

Types of People on Tours


I just returned from a 10-day tour to a country in Europe.  I went with a friend I knew through my membership in The Transition Network, a terrific women’s organization in New York City (and in several other cities in the country) that is for women over 50 who are transitioning into retirement: thetransitionnetwork.org/chapters-new-york-city

Even in our relatively small tour group of 20, most of whom were retirees, there was a pattern I noticed that existed on other tours I’ve taken.   To a large extent, people socialized in somewhat predictable and socially comfortable patterns reminiscent of junior high school.  Three groups of married couples traveling independently nevertheless hung out together; one pack of of 5 travelers who all came on the tour together pretty much didn’t socialize with anyone else; 2 pairs of sisters also stayed together as did another pair of friends.  My friend and I were the only duo who tried to invite the one woman traveling solo to join us when we had free time.   In the interest of full disclosure, she was a challenging companion–with many distinct food and location preferences when we tried to pick a non-tour-sponsored restaurant.  She was, unquestionably, not an easy travel companion.

My friend said I didn’t have to sacrifice our enjoyment for hers but I couldn’t justify leaving her to her own devices unless she specifically asked to be alone, which sometimes she did.  During our last breakfast together, she sat across the table from me and confessed to “not having a very good time at all” and was “very eager for the trip to end to go home”.

This solo traveler, and her difficulties, inspired this nugget of touring wisdom:   try to go with a friend or acquaintance and not to travel alone if you can help it.  That way, you can always be sure of someone with whom you can pal around and don’t have to rely on the potential kindness of strangers.