Dan and Museum Artifacts – KGUA radio #17 (Hannah’s Fall)

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For the August 31, 2020 KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour, we are told that the museum wants to set up a permanent display case for each writer.  They want us each to pick three artifacts to showcase and free write about them in 200 to 250 words.

My artifacts would be a plate, a dime, and a boogie board.  Let me explain what happened last Saturday (August 22, 2020).

While I am driving to pick up our grandsons, Owen (8) and Max (6), for an overnight at our house, Hannah falls harshly from her bike, landing with no padding on our paved driveway.  She has abrasions on her shoulder, left side, and leg, a baseball-size bruise on her left knee, and throbbing pain in her bruised left elbow.

Omi mandy plate

Mandy’s plate (alternative spelling)

On our way to Urgent Care in town, I know we need a back-up for our grandsons while I tend to Hannah.  Immediately, I think of Mandy.  Without delay, Mandy meets us at Urgent Care and offers to watch the boys.  At home, we have a plate that was made by Mandy and a reminder of our friendship.

Omi Owen's dime

Owen’s dime

Hannah finishes up at the Urgent Care with a cast on her fractured elbow.  Off to the pharmacy at Hannaford’s, she needs her meds for the grimace-inducing spasms in her elbow.  For support, Owen eagerly goes with his Omi while I stay in the car with Max.  Protective, Owen leads Hannah to the pharmacy and signs for her meds since she cannot.  Owen finds a dime in the store on the way out.

 Despite all this, Hannah still wants, as planned, for us all to go the York Harbor Beach with pizza, boogie boarding, and digging moats and castles in the sand.  And we do.

 My museum artifacts celebrate an extraordinary summer afternoon on the coast of Maine.

Omi Max boogie


Omi Owen boogie


Words – 248


Omi at beach 2

Omi at twilight at the Harbor Beach with her grandson Owen at low low tide

One, I was not allowed to accompany Hannah into the York Hospital Urgent Care because of safety and health concerns from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two, her fractured elbow is clinically described as a closed nondisplaced fracture of the head of the left radius.

Three, three days after her fall, her brilliant orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eberhart of Atlantic Orthopedic cut off her bandage and cast.  To insure that her elbow doesn’t stiffen up, he instructs her that motion and more motion of her am is the key to her recovery.  She just may be playing pickleball next week.  You all know that motion is lotion.

Come September 23, 2020, her pickleball season will officially come to an end as she will have her left bunion surgically removed by the equally brilliant Dr. Juris of Portland Foot and Ankle.

Note bene – Consider commenting to this and every blog.  I respond to every comment, I mean every.  After a day, two, or three, look for my response beneath your comment.  It’ll be there.  You can take that to the bank.

Dan and Gratitude for KGUA radio #16

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For the August 24, 2020 KGUA radio Morning Writer’s Hour, we are asked to free write in 200 to 250 words about gratitude.

Oprah would be so proud of me!  You see, daily I write my gratitudes in my spiral notebook journal.  And now you can be proud of me, too.

Geo garage

Stretching beyond my family, I am grateful for my weekly ping pong buddy George.  In the mid-1980s, he and his contractor partner built a garage for us, and our friendship was born.  Over the years, George would continue to do jobs around our house like installing skylights, building a front deck, and recently remodeling our upstairs bathroom.

Geo front deck

Throughout these past 35 years we have played ping pong here and there.  But nine years ago when I retired from my teaching career, we got serious and began playing every week.  It’s funny, some years he would dominate me at the table and other times I held the upper hand.  Over the last year, we have played evenly, though periodically he administers a good ole fashion beat down.

Geo pp

After an hour and a half of play, we have a beer.  You see George is a rare individual who is both interesting and interested in me.  It’s not about him filling our time together telling his story; I have a voice in our conversations.  I feel seen, heard, and respected.  At 72, I know such individuals are rare and how fortunate and grateful I am to have such a good guy in my life on a regular basis.

Words – 233

Dan and Hannah and the Table by the Side of the Road

table garage sale sings

Hannah and I are so beyond having garage sales.  Spending the time setting up and having the crowds for a few more dollars when we could give the stuff away seems like such a waste of my time.

So, you ask, what do we do with our unwanted stuff?  Glad you asked.  Living on Chases Pond Road out in our rural-ness with its steady country morning and afternoon commuter traffic as well as our summertime vehicular flow, we have a ready market of clients passing by

Table university chair

Our damaged university chair looked like this but with the top brown back part broken off

Recently, we put out a broken university chair by the side of the road.  Though it took five days, a man stopped by and said he was going to use the parts to repair a similar chair that he had.  Hannah has more faith than I do that people will take free junk.  She earned a victory lap for this one.

With a massive eight foot wooden kitchen table and a full-length sofa with cushions and throw pillows to dispose of, Hannah and I set them strategically at the end of our driveway.

We knew the table would go quickly.  Within the hour, a man in a Honda stops by, examines the utilitarian work/kitchen table.  He is pleased to find a table that is perfect for his kids to use while studying during this current pandemic.

Smiling, he says, I didn’t want to take it if it was going to be a kid’s lemonade stand.  I respond, No, no.  Since we haven’t put the “Free” sign on the table, he asks, How much is it?  I smile back, It’s all yours; it’s free.  He responds, I’ll back in twenty minutes to pick it up.

True to his word, Tim returns within the half hour.  Our son Will, who is visiting with his family of five from New York, helps him load it into his SUV.  At the point, Tim slips Will a $20 bill, smiles, and thanks us all.

And this is where the win (us getting rid of the table) and another win (Tim and his family getting the table they can use), becomes a third win.

table 20 dollar bill

Will gives the $20 to his mother-in-law for gas money; she has come two hours north for the day to see our mutual two-month-old identical twin granddaughters.

By the way, it took just two days for the couch to be picked up.  Some guy tied it to the roof on his Hyundai and drove off.

And that was our fourth win.

Dan is Challenged: More Important?  Learning or Doing?  KGUA #15

For the August 17, 2020 KGUA Morning Writer’s Hour, writing master, Mark Gross, gives us all a new challenge to respond as we free write in 200 words or less:  What is more important? Learning or Doing?


Learning without the follow-up doing is a pointless academic exercise.  As well, doing without learning, without experience, without wisdom is just damn foolish.

Learning EE

My teaching life was based in experiential education.  That is, my students learned by having actual experiences.  They learned by doing, not by listening, regurgitating, and acing the test.

Learning, then doing go hand in hand.  Learning while doing informs future learning.

Let me take a minor example from my life as a modestly skilled, over-70 pickleball player.

Learning PB

Pickleball is a game I learned late in life.  I did have enough skills from my tennis playing past to play adequately, even win more than I lost, at the entry level.

But just doing, just maintaining at the entry level became so unsatisfying.  So I focused on my learning by playing pickleball’s soft game, its dinking, its strategy of covering the middle of the court when my partner slides right to cover the alley.

By doing, I was learning.  Hand in glove, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder.

Doing and learning are blood brothers and trusted sisters.

Words – 178

Dan and Hannah and Philip Galanes – Some Coronavirus Relief

Thanks to the coronavirus, have you been spending a lot more time with your spouse/family over the last five plus months?  Are you thinking about having one or two people over for socially distanced drinks and apps on your patio or deck?  If you are ready for someone new to spice up your life, let me introduce you to Philip Galanes!

Galanes him

Philip Galanes

Recently, with our dear local friend Karen, and later with our longtime friends, Donna and George, who were passing through on their way home to North Carolina, we took our conversation to the next level thanks to PG.

Galanes images

As an advice columnist for the New York Times, each Sunday Philip in his Social Q’s column tackles four relationship questions from readers.  Witty, real, and insightful in his analysis, he brings a light-hearted touch to awkward social situations.

Here’s the routine that we use.  I read aloud the first question in the column to Hannah (and/or our friend[s]).  Before reading Philip’s response, I set the column aside, and we all discuss what we think we would advise this person to do.

Here’s a recent example of a reader question titled “When the Lease is Up.”

I recently moved out of my apartment, parting ways with my roommate of one year.  She thinks we’re best friends and intends to remain close.  She is a kind person, and I wish her well, but I don’t consider her a friend.  She has many traits I find frustrating: She is too dependent on me, and we lack interests in common.  I was friendly while we lived together, but I no longer want her in my life.  New York is so big it would be easy to never see her again.  But part of me wants to express myself and tell her I don’t want to be friends with her.  What should I do?  Liz

These situations are opportunities for Hannah and me and our friends to share our insights, reveal our values, begin a conversation of depth, and learn from each other.  Often, we are pleased with Philip’s insights and good humor that we neglected to include in our conversation.

Galanes columns

For this above dilemma, we draw upon our own experiences.  I brought up, does Brene Brown’s advice in social situations that clear is kind apply?

Try answering the above dilemma with a spouse or friend before you look at Philip’s response below.

Here’s one more dilemma from Social Q’s titled “Gotta Get My Keto.”

I am a 60-year-old man in great shape with a lean and muscular body.  I have been sheltering in place with my younger girlfriend since March.  We get along great.  Since we’ve been together, she has adopted my ketogenic diet.  The good news: She has gotten much leaner and looks amazing!  The bad news: It’s getting harder to find enough keto friendly, grass-fed beef, kimchi, macadamia nuts, pasture-raised eggs, organic greens, and avocado oil at the supermarket.  Because of Covid-19, I only shop once a week.  How should I approach her about not finding enough keto food for two?  Jonathon

Consider discussing this one before you see Philip’s response below.


Philip’s response to Dilemma #1 – I get your impulse to speak out.  It seems to be tangled with some pent-up annoyance at your ex-roommate.  But it would be cruel to tell her pre-emptively that you don’t want to be friends.  She hasn’t asked you for anything yet!  Take a break.  Tell her you’re settling into your new place when she asks to hang out. (New Yorkers have the best excuse in the world right now: social distancing.)  You may be surprised, though.  After a healthy absence, a kind person who cares about you may sound pretty good.

Philip’s response to Dilemma #2 – Your gratuitous bragging – about your foxy body and younger girlfriend – and even longer shopping list do not make me terribly sympathetic with your plight (Surprise!)  Consider modesty the next time.  Level with her.  Perhaps she can shop on a different day than you, after the market has been restocked, or she explore shopping online.  I hear young people are great with computers!

Philip is our guy.  If you have found these two social dilemmas and his responses intriguing, google “Philip Galanes – Social Q’s” to find more of them to deepen the conversation you have with your spouse and/or friends.

Exploring Utah with Owen and Max – KGUA radio #14

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For broadcast on August 10, 2020, KGUA radio (Gualala, California) asks writers to free write about in 200 words or less: What is something in front of you that you want to go after, experience, or explore?  What (who) is behind you stopping you from going forward?

Exploring Utah with Owen and Max

Utah map

Moab is near Arches NP

Our grandsons are six and eight.  Hannah and I had big plans to take Max and his older brother Owen to Utah this past April (2020).  In one week’s time, we’d visit four of Utah’s five national parks – Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Bryce Canyon.  The boys are at an age where they can hike the trails and enjoy the high desert world so different from their home in New England.

We had rented a condo in Moab with a pool and would have the good company of their parents, our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip;  he just so happens to have the grilling gene that I was born without.

But out of the blue in March (2020), the coronavirus turned our world and theirs upside down.  There was so much unknown about the exploding pandemic.  So many questions with few palatable answers.  Ergo, we postponed our adventure.

It’s now August.  Time to make plans for April 2021.  But the questions and wonderings remain, answers remain elusive.

Who knows what the world will be like in nine months.  So April 2022 is on the table as a possible year for our adventure.  Hell, they’ll be eight and ten and be able to do even more.

Words – 200

Utah five grandkids

The featured picture has Owen in the red Pi shirt with his brother to his right and his cousins, Brooks in blue and six week old Reese (to Owen’s right) and Charlotte looking on in amazement.

Dan and Hannah Give Blood and Have a Covid Test – the Results

The results from the American Red Cross after Hannah and I gave blood in Kittery, Maine ten days ago (July 24, 2020).

COVID-19 Antibody Test Result*: Negative


A negative test result means that you probably have not been exposed to COVID-19 and therefore have not developed antibodies to the virus. It also could indicate that antibodies are present but at levels below the test’s threshold for detection, or that the test did not recognize those antibodies. It is possible that you can still contract the virus, if exposed. It takes one to three weeks after an infection for antibodies to be present.

We both are not surprised.  We take seriously the big three: social distancing, wearing masks around others, and avoid going inside unless we absolutely must (i.e. grocery shopping and very little else).

Thanks to our Governor Janet Mills and the many responsible citizens of Maine, we as a state are doing well to date.  When you consider all the out-of-state visitors to our beaches in southern Maine, it’s surprising how well the Pine Tree State is doing.

Covid map to ogunquit

Last weekend at noon, Hannah and I biked to the main beach in Ogunquit from our home in York.  We rode up and down the massive parking lot and saw two Maine license plates out of seventy.  Clearly, Mainers are staying away from the beaches at crunch time.

Covid pickleball

Hannah and I are able to stay active and are not cloistered.  We do play outdoor pickleball in selected groups of four or five and go masked to our gym surrounded by heavy plastic on three sides (though currently we are on haitus).  We don’t do restaurants, but get chicken burritos take-out at Loco Coco’s in Kittery.  We have a friend or two for social distancing drinks and apps on our front deck.  I play ping pong in a trusted friend’s basement once a week.  We see our grandsons for 24 hours at our home.

All we do is simple enough because of the warm weather.  November is still three months away.  Then we’ll go into Phase Two (for us), whatever that might be.

It’s not rocket science to give ourselves the best shot at being Covid-free.  We are just trying to live the two R’s: being reasonable and responsible.

Dan and Hannah Try to Donate Blood and a Surprise Awaits

While working out early on the elliptical at the Coastal Fitness gym, Hannah gets a call that her noon blood donation appointment is cancelled; an appointment, I might add, that was set up two months ago.  The rep from the American Red Cross leaves a message that they overbooked and he will help her schedule a new appointment.  What!  Overbooked!  Bummed, I jump into action for my lady.


Since Hannah’s spasmodic dysphonia makes it difficult to be heard on the phone, I call to found out what the hell! and am ready to cancel my appointment, since we give blood together every eight weeks.  When I get the ARC staffer on the phone who had cancelled Hannah’s appointment, he tells me that one worker called in sick.  Now, that is totally understandable and a good reason to cancel an appointment.  Just tell us the truth.  We can handle the truth (in most cases).

When I mention that my appointment wasn’t cancelled, he seems surprised since he responds that he tries to cancel couples at the same time; he just didn’t notice my name.  Really!  Hannah and I both had 12 noon appointments and we both share the uncommon last name of Rothermel.

Possibly because my tone was insistent, not belligerent or snarky, he adds that he usually gives himself the leeway of an extra appointment slot.  So, he gives Hannah back her original appointment.

Blood Special K

For that, I thank him.  I’m a helluva guy, oui?

You see, I prep for our blood donations like a ninja warrior.  I feast on Hannah’s kale casseroles, pop dried apricots, breakfast on fortified with iron Special K cereal swimming in almond milk, and spread raisins in my oatmeal, all rich in iron.  As not a hard meat eater (i.e. no steak, prime rib, or roast beef), I need all the help I can get to reach the necessary hemoglobin level (iron) to qualify to give blood.

Required to wear masks, we arrive at Kittery Community Center to have our temperatures taken.  We both pass with 98.4.

Blood KCC

ARC setting up for business at the Kittery Community Center; it turns out it is where Hannah and I learned to play pickleball

Having answered the required 40 questions online earlier in the morning, we are ready for further medical checks.  I pass the first two tests as my blood pressure is 110/64 and my pulse at 68.  Now for the always dicey hemoglobin test.

The phlebotomist pricks the middle finger on my right hand, puts the blood in a slide, and sets it in her machine.  Males need 13.0 while females need 12.5.  Intently watching the machine, I am stunned, nay floored, that I come up with a 12.0.  All that prep for naught.


Blood Hemo 2


But the ARC does allow a second hemoglobin test.  As I wait the ten seconds after blood is taken from my left hand, I see… wait for it… Boom 13.9!   What explains the variability of blood taken from different hands?  Why is the blood on my left side iron-laden while the right is anemic?

In any event, I am approved and whisked to the table to offer up some of my finest A+ blood.  All the while, Hannah flies through her medical questions without a hiccup.  And does the ARC ever love Hannah!  For she is O+, the universal donor.  Everyone in need of a blood transfusion can use her blood.

Blood Han

110 Woman!

After five minutes of flow, the needle is removed from my right arm.  It’s my 29th pint.  Hannah, a grizzled veteran and rock star in the blood giving game, comes in with, what I am guessing is a York County record of 110 pints!

The phlebotomist encourages me to double up on my fluids and do no heavy lifting for the next four to five hours.  She adds that my blood will be tested for Covid antibodies.

Whoa!  I had no idea that I’d get a test for the coronavirus.  How cool is that!  I’ll know the results in seven to ten days.

Blood anti 2

With no symptoms for the past seven months since the coronavirus came to America in January 2020, I am guessing I will have no Covid antibodies.  But what if I did!

That would mean I had the coronavirus and was asymptomatic throughout.  Am I immune to further Covid infection and of transmitting the virus?

Stay tuned. I’ll post my Covid antibodies results Monday.