Dan and Hannah On Planting Seeds

Dealing with the current times can be overwhelming, sometimes scary, certainly threatening for some.  I feel I may have an undiagnosed low grade case of the blues ever since the presidential election of 2016.  With a self-proclaimed very stable genius of a chief executive, global climate deniers, terrorism, California wildfires and mudslides, it’s easy to get into a funk.

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The coastal California hills are alive with the sound of crackling fires

But what good does that do?  Curling up in a fetal position solves little.  Triangulating our complaints has little merit.  So, Hannah and I have some thoughts for you to consider.  Here goes.

My first reaction to the upheaval of the past year might be seen as not really very mature, but I think mildly effective.  You decide.  My knee jerk reaction to the presidential election of 2016 was for Hannah and me to give to organizations that the president had targeted for dismantling or compromising.  Ergo, we gave to Planned Parenthood, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Maine Public Radio, a Santa Barbara Muslim community for rebuilding it’s mosque, and the Nature Conservancy.  That’s fine, but hardly the proactive strategy we are looking for to address our hopes going forward.

seeds planned parenthood

As young marrieds in Tempe, Arizona in the 1970s, even then we knew we couldn’t save the world, but thanks to Hannah’s lead, we knew that we could give it a shot to make a difference in the lives of one person at a time.

seeds jj watt

Ellen DeGeneres donates a cool mil to the efforts of Houston Texan’s JJ Watt to raise money for hurricane victims in Houston

The Hurricanes of the late summer of 2017 gave us a starting point.  The trio of destruction, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, grabbed the nation’s and our attention, then shook it like a ragdoll, and for weeks and months turned the lives of so many upside down.  It was just the impetus for us to donate to family and friends in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico to have them find someone or sometwo who could use a small financial shot in the arm.  We were just getting started.

seeds prayer

Let me take a little side trip for a thought or two about praying, since politicians often speak that they are praying for the victims.  I am all for praying.  I pray.  But praying for victims of natural or man-made disasters is just a start for me.  Praying focuses my attention.  Then there is the companion need for action.  Where do the relief supplies, rebuilding, and ongoing support come from?  One place is for individuals moved by the reports of  the catastrophic damage.  Another significant player is the spiritual community, the churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques, that rally to support their/our communities.  They are all planting seeds!  For me, prayer and action go hand in hand.

seeds planting seeds

That leads us to the idea of a Planting Seeds.  Leaving the big programs of world health and access to education for all to Bill and Melinda Gates and others, we’ve begun with two recent efforts.

seeds support PR

Puerto Rico

First, at our kids’ suggestion, we all (New York and Maine Rothermels and Massachusetts Rawdings) are using our resources to support American citizens in Puerto Rico this holiday season.  Thanks to our friend Elsa whom we met through our longtime Virginia friend, Amelia, we learned of the good work of Puerto Rico United;  rather than giving Christmas presents, we gave the money to the ongoing relief effort in the Caribbean .

Elsa responded in part:   Thank you again to the whole family for being so thoughtful and generous to my island.  I hope one day you are all able to enjoy a hike in the only tropical rain forest in the US National Forest System (El Yunque National Forest).  It was devastated, but it is already coming back to its green beauty.  They are working very hard to rehabilitate the zone, so it can be open to the public again.

Second, Hannah and I have contacted ministers we know, here and away, to direct our donations to those in need.

Our note to them follows.

Dear (clergy),

Can you do us a favor?  Do you know a single mom, a single dad, a couple, or a family that could us some financial support this holiday season?    Love and peace, Dan and Hannah

One emails back, Hey, thanks for the check! I promise to put it to good use! That’s very kind and generous of you! There’s a family in our church that’s really struggling. House repairs piling up. The church just replaced their hot water heater after finding out they’ve been without hot water since the beginning of summer. Three children, two of whom are special needs. Real worker-bees with very kind hearts. Your gift will truly be a blessing to them!!! Thank You!!

Another checks in, Your wonderful generosity has finally found a grateful recipient.  Our Youth Director recently told me of a single Mom who attends from time to time that is in need of financial help.  She was so thrilled to hear of this gift and I just now put it into cash with a card to her.  Thank you so much, for reaching out across the miles to be a special blessing.  Namaste.

A third response, Thank you, so much, for the generous gift. There is a single woman with small kids that comes to me several times a year for help. She is just the person that came to mind, and so I will pass your gift on to her. Sometimes she comes for help for rent or utilities, but sometimes at Christmas she comes because she has nothing to give her kids. Lord have mercy!

Finally, Thank you for your gift!!! We have so many people in this area – many in our church – who will be moved to tears with your gift.  Whether it goes for food or heat or gifts for their kids.  Your kindness will (and is!) so appreciated.

seeds mugs

Look closely at these mugs

It doesn’t have to be much, $5 is a start.  Let’s have coffee and explore what we can do together.  I’m buying.

Plant seeds.  We need more conversation than debate.



Dan and Hannah Rock 24 Hours with Owen and Max

You probably never met my grandmother (my mom’s mom) – Hazel Hilliard Archer.  Let me introduce you to her.  You see, Hazel started a tradition that Hannah and I carry on 70 years later.   Let me explain.

Hazel use this one

Our grandma, Hazel

Living on Breading Avenue up from the Ohio River in Ben Avon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Hazel and my grandfather (Harry) raised four kids; my mom being the second of the quartet.  When I was born during a 26” snowstorm in late 1947, my parents lived in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, some 400 miles from Hazel and Harry.

Hazel and Harry classic

Grandpa (Harry) and Grandma (Hazel)

At the time, mothers routinely spent two weeks in the hospital after delivering their child.  But that day, some two years after WW II ended, I, as a preemie, was making things a little more complicated.  After those two weeks, I still wasn’t gaining weight, in fact, losing it.  At that point, my parents and my grandmother (who had come to New Jersey for support) said we are taking Danny home.  Immediately I began to thrive.  Literally, Hazel saved my life.

Harry and Hazel in Radburn

Harry and Hazel in front of our childhood home on Bolton Place in Fair Lawn

Fast forward eight plus years, grandma came to our family home in Jersey to take care of my brother Richard, sister Patty, and me for six weeks while our parents took an ocean liner across the Pond and traveled throughout Europe.  I can’t imagine it was a piece of cake dealing with a three, six, and eight-year-old in someone else’s house for a triple fortnight, but Hazel came through in the clutch.

Harry Hazel Mom

Harry, Hazel, and Mom in our front yard

My mother (Jean Archer) followed in her mom’s footsteps.  Annually, she and Dad would take care of our three kids (Molly, Robyn, and Will) for a long weekend so Hannah and I could get away to Camden, Maine.  Those with young kids know there is no better gift than time alone with their spouse during the child rearing years.

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Tip and Molly, parents of Owen and Max

So, fast forward to 2017.  After a late November Saturday morning breakfast with the entire Family Rawding at our place, our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip leave for their day while Hannah and I have ourselves a golden 24 hours with Owen and Max.

In ways, Hannah and I are like Farmers Insurance – we have learned a thing or two in the five years we’ve been grandparents to preschoolers.  One is that we need breaks ourselves when we are the one-day de facto parents of our grandsons.  Two is that we are the grandparents of no naps.  We want these boys to fall asleep at 7P.  After 11 hours of togetherness, we need some Dan-and-Hannah-ness.  That means a glass of wine in front of our gas fireplace.

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Owen with his Omi cutting up honey dew melon

Just after Owen awakes (he’s our early bird), he and Hannah cut up honey dew melon.  Playing with our wooden train set and a variety of Hess trucks, Owen and Max have come to expect adventures when they come to Omi and Poppa’s.  While I take charge of the morning adventures, Hannah takes the afternoon.

Just before 10A, I get the boys in their car seats and head for adventure #1, the Kittery Community Center and its elevated track above the basketball court.

As we enter the town facility, Karate Kids are going through their moves as they progress towards the coveted Black Belt on the basketball court itself.  Watching intently, Owen and Max press themselves to the glass window, aware that their local cousins are also into ka-rah-tay.  I milk the karate watching for as long as possible, knowing every minute away gives Hannah more time on her own.

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Owen (in front) and Max running the track at the Kittery Community Center

Soon Owen asks to go up to the track where the two boys can’t get enough of running on the hard rubber oval.  After twenty minutes of steady Usain Bolt-ing it, Owen and Max are unaware that the KCC’s custodian has come over to me to say that the track is for walking, not running.  My bad.

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George with our grandsons Max (to the right) and Owen

Out the door, we head three miles north on coastal route 103 to the home of my ping pong buddy, George Derby for adventure #2.  Last summer, George invited us to his place so Owen and Max could find sea glass.  Looking for an excuse to extend our morning, I drive to George’s place to see if he is home so the boys can thank him for the sea glass they found.

24 geo helping boys find sea glass

Hunting for sea glass with George Derby

Upon arrival with George in his driveway, I roll down the car windows, which cues Owen and Max to bellow, THANK YOU FOR THE SEA GLASS.   With George’s encouragement, we return to the shoreline to look again for more sea glass this late fall day.  Thanks to the Seacoast’s top sea glass finder (George!), the boys hit the jackpot.

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Max and Owen with their Poppa and the buoy

Finding white and green sea glass for Owen and Max, George lets us know that blue is the rarest of sea glassi on the coast of Maine.  In addition, thanks to a recent 60 mph wind and rain storm, a lobster buoy washed up on his shore.  Generously, George gives it to the boys.

Already noon, we head for adventure #3, the York Public Library, where Owen and Max rush downstairs to the wooden train sets.   Later, with the boys snuggled up to me, I read A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems.  It’s a fun read for kids and adults alike.  (Also consider another Mo Willems book, I Really Like Slop, about the further adventures of Gerald, the elephant, and Piggy.)

Soon home to Chases Pond Road well after 1P, I have given Hannah 3+ hours and me the morning of my dreams.  After lunch, Owen and Max play with the Hess Trucks and with the miniatures in Hannah’s shadow box, but never, never a nap.

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Afternoon Frosty’s at Wendy’s

By 245P, Hannah is out for her adventures with the boys.  First, to Wendy’s in Portsmouth, NH for Frosty’s with gift certificates from the boys’ Auntie Robyn.  This trip is followed by an hour playing on the living room carpet at our friend Mandy’s place in Kittery.

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Mandy between Owen and Max

After dinner of meatballs, corn, and crunchy flakes in blackberry yogurt, we read to them, but only briefly because…the grandparents of no naps have done it again.  The boys are fried and asleep by 7P.  Hannah and I are living the dream having grandsons in the area.  That said, we are in bed by 815P!

Nota Bene – Thanks to my sister Patty and cousin Eileen for the pictures of Hazel and Harry



Since that November day, Hannah and I have had a December as well as a January 24 hours with Owen and Max.  I bring you pictures from those days together.

In December 2017:

24 Dec Ginger bread houses at HD

Building gingerbread houses at Home Depot

24 Dec Owen pottery

Owen apottery making at Ocean Fire Pottery in York, Maine

In January 2018:

24 Jan max at HD

Max pumped about his block calendar

24 Jan at HD block calendars

Back at Home Depot making block calendars

24 Jan at Wendy's

Who wouldn’t want Frosty’s at Wendy’s on a -18F wind chill January morning!

24 Jan Owen and Omi and Monster cookies

Owen and Omi making Monster Cookies






Dan and Hannah Are Thrown a Curve, Rebound to Hike Stone Mountain, Georgia

St map of sandy

Up at 4A on this Tuesday in late October 2017, Hannah and I are flying 900 miles southwest from Boston to Atlanta for Hannah’s stem cell injections; it’s an experimental procedure to see if stem cells will improve the quality of Hannah’s voice, diminished for the last 15 years with spasmodic dysphonia.  Hannah has a 1P appointment at Superior Healthcare in Sandy Springs, 25 miles north of Atlanta.

Our Delta flight from Logan Airport is delayed by federal regulations that require the flight attendants to have enough downtime between flights.  Our attendants arrived late last night, so our flight leaves 30 minutes late this morning.

Landing in the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Georgia’s capital later than we expect, Hannah calls Julie, the nurse practitioner at Superior, to let her know that we are on our way.  Hearing their conversation in the next seat, I gather that Houston, we have a problem.

St superior healthcare

It seems that earlier in the morning the UPS truck arrived at Superior Healthcare without Hannah’s own stem cells, which are frozen and stored in a stem cell bank in Florida.  Though ordered by Julie for today’s procedure, they are nowhere to be found.   The long and short of it is that Hannah will not be getting her stem cell injection today.  Julie apologizes and does her best to make things right.

Having already paid for a flight for each of us, our hotel room, and our rental car, Hannah and I have an angel looking out for us.  It’s Julie to the rescue as she reschedules Hannah’s appointment for next Thursday; the stem cell bank will pick up all our expenses for our return to Atlanta.

Even so, how is a guy and a gal to feel about this snafu 900 miles from home?  Clearly, it was not the outcome we wanted.  St anger

Angry?  What does that get us?  We all know that anger just poisons the angry one.

Disappointed?  Not even.  Life happens.  Punches are thrown.  This is a love tap.  A first world problem.  Today, we’ll rock and roll with this beautiful sunny day in Georgia!

No, the snafu turns out to be one helluva opportunity.  We have sunshine for our hike at Stone Mountain, to the east of Atlanta.  We always have a choice how to deal with the unexpected.

Stone Mountain has a checkered past.  It’s the site of the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan, the heinous racist organization that terrorized blacks, Jews, and gays in the South with lynchings and daily fear and dread.

St 4A Generals better

Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

Also, upon Stone Mountain is the bas relief of two prominent Confederate Civil War generals, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.  In his I Have a Dream Speech, Martin Luther King, jr. spoke of the importance to let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.  Clearly a pointed reference for those who passed 8th grade history class.

St 1 h at sign

Stone Mountain Park has its own exit off four lane Route 78.  For $15, we have the run of the park to hike on a gorgeous southern afternoon.  Parking near the trailheads is plentiful as we boot up for the one mile Walk Up Trail to the top of Stone Mountain.  Though three hundred yards of paved road begin the trail, we soon turn 90 degrees left to climb bare stone to the top.

St 1B D on stony slab up

Stepping up and over stone ledges, I have never seen a trail like this one – a rising all-stone path to the top of the mountain.  Even on this mid-week day, the trail is happy with people but not swarming as it must be on spring and fall weekends.

Climbing steadily, we have a workout that most can do; that said, it’s no walk in the park.  Near the top there is a double railing for climbing a particularly steep section of the trail.  Welcoming the assistance, we see twenty-something athletes using the trail for an afternoon workout.

St 2 H near hand rails

The double railing above Hannah on the way to the top of Stone Mountain of Georgia

Atop Stone Mountain, the wind picks up, but the sunshine and joy of the climb warms us up and down.  Spotting the Sky Tram that floats visitors to the summit, we make a pit stop at the lodge’s rest rooms; across the lobby, there’s a snack shop, worthy of any Regal Cinema in America, selling sugar products; and then even more sugar if you like.

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The white blaze of the Cherokee Trail

After a half hour of climbing to the top, the descent is easy-peezy.

Arriving back at the trailhead an hour after our start, we turn right for the orange blaze Connecting Trail that soon hooks us up with the Cherokee Trail that circles the mountain.  It’s a delightful dirt trail within hailing distance of an active railroad under the canopy of deciduous trees.

St 4B H with Generals good too

Confederate Memorial carvings, 400′ above the ground and nearly 200′ wide  (A Confederate Mount Rushmore?)

Within twenty minutes, we are at the base of the Confederate Heroes in all their glory on the flat vertical side of Stone Mountain.  What’s a Yankee to make of all this?

I don’t doubt the sincerity of these men, but I can’t but wonder how misguided was their defense of slavery (euphemistically referred to as the Peculiar Institution); it seems so transparently bogus to claim that the South was fighting for states’ rights in the Civil War.

Were the Southernors rebels or traitors?   Inflammatory nouns serve little purpose.  They divide rather than unite in this time when bullying and name-calling are the order of the day from the Oval Office.

So how do we unite?  One possibility is that we start by not seeing the other side as the devil.  We do the Stephen Covey thing (the author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

We listen.  We approach them with love in our hearts, not retaliatory invective.   We believe that good will win out.  And we don’t lose faith.

Later, over wine and cheese and crackers at our Comfort Inn and Suites near the Atlanta airport, Hannah and I toast our unexpected glorious day and thank the turn of events for making it so.

Dan and Hannah and 93 Words for 2017

This year, mend a quarrel.

Seek out a forgotten friend.

Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.

Write a letter.


Give a soft answer.

Encourage youth.

Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.

Keep a promise.


Forgo a grudge.

Forgive an enemy.


Try to understand.


Examine your demands on others.

Think first of someone else.

Be kind.

Be gentle.

Laugh a little more.

Express your gratitude.

Welcome a stranger.

Gladden the heart of a child.

Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.

Speak your love and then speak it again.


Howard W. Hunter


Dan and Hannah at the Nolan and Kara Wedding

Mainers like Nolan are the reason people move to the Pine Tree State and spend their lives here, as Hannah and I have done for the past 35 years.  When our friend George Derby got his van stuck in the mud of our side yard on a ping pong Thursday, I called Nolan to see if he could help us out.  Fifteen minutes later, (15 minutes!) Nolan hooked up a heavy metal chain from his truck and pulled the van out.

kn d and h with dontal and dorant

Good guys (Donal and Dorant) sought us out during the wedding reception

When I asked Nolan how to best get rid of poison ivy along the road by our house, Nolan sent two of his Patten Ground Care employees to pull out the poison ivy for us.  By the way, the two are Jamaicans (Donal and Dorant) who thanks to their body chemistry do not develop rashes from contact with poison ivy.

When Will was off at St. Michael’s College near Burlington, VT, Hannah and I bought a heavy-duty ping pong table from Dick’s Sporting Goods in Portsmouth.  Having no way to get it to home and in need of some serious muscle, we called on Nolan who used his truck to transport it back to our place on Chases Pond Road and help me set it up.

kn snow in driveway

And now with winter coming, Nolan is the first one on the scene when the big snows fall.  Nolan makes it a priority to plow our 150’ driveway, shovel out the garage doors, shovel a 70’ path to our generator, and dig a path to the propane exhaust vent (which if not done, shuts down the heating to our house which causes our water pipes to freeze).  He’s done this time and again when winter nor’easters come to York.

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Our generator is in the distance

Nolan has looked after his best friend’s parents for a long, long time.

Friends since second grade, Nolan and our son Will played indoor soccer and youth basketball during their elementary school years.  Will still thinks of the basketball coaching he got from Nolan’s dad John in sixth grade as the foundation for his success as a high school and college player.

Working side by side with Nolan, Will got his first full time summer job as a landscaper for Patten Ground Care, which lasted for eight years.

H and Nolan at VCU

Nolan with Hannah at Will and Laurel’s rehearsal dinner reception at VCU in 2015

Years later in Virginia, Will asked Nolan to be his best man at his wedding to Laurel Ann near Richmond, Virginia.  Months ago, Nolan returned the favor in kind by asking Will to be the officiant at his wedding to Kara on a late November Wednesday.

Though Will speaks regularly to groups of athletes and alums in his position in the Athletic Department at Ithaca College in central New York state, he has had no more important speaking engagement than for today’s Kara and Nolan Nuptials.

kn kilgores 3 with w and l and us

At the reception with Will and Nolan’s York High School classmates, Adam and Zack Kilgore (Will, Laurel, Adam, Zack, Camille (Adam’s wife), Hannah and Dan

Pleased that Will asked for Hannah’s and my feedback on his speaking plan for the wedding, we are further gratified that his words are to keep the focus on Kara and Nolan, not on him, the officiant.   We have been to weddings where the minister sadly makes it all about himself with his clever word play and dominating presence.  Will gets it.  It’s Kara and Nolan’s Day!

Owen and Max Fosters 2

Three days after the Nolan and Kara Wedding, we took Owen and Max to Fosters to use the tickets Kara and Nolan gave everyone attending the wedding for the chance to win a special Christmas tree

As the localest of local boys, Nolan (and Kara) have chosen the Foster’s Downeast Clambake in York Harbor as wedding venue.  The Wednesday wedding is timed nicely for the kickoff of the Festival of Fostering Trees.  Foster’s raises money to help kids who have not been adopted and have aged out of the system.  In lieu of presents, Kara and Nolan have asked guests to donate to the Foster’s program.

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Kara with her dad coming down the aisle at Foster’s Downeast Clambake

Come 530P on November 29, 2017, with Will and Nolan waiting at the front of the hall, Kara and her dad come down the aisle.  A hundred plus have gathered on the benches at Foster’s to hear Nolan and Kara’s story of finally making it to the altar after 16 years.

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Kara and Nolan with Will officiating and Nolan’s brother Travis as the best man

Eloquent and brief, Will sets the stage.

The purpose of a partnership is to create something greater than we can create alone. Not because of any deficiency or incompleteness, but because each of us is unique, with our own talents and abilities.  In partnership, we improve the opportunity for creating something meaningful together. 

With Kara’s sister Bethany reading an email Nolan wrote to Kara and then Nolan’s brother Travis reading an email that Kara later wrote to Nolan, the ceremony is touching and personal.  Standing in front of Nolan and Kara, Will ends with some of my favorite lines ever to conclude a wedding service.

Before we send you on your way, I would first like you both to savor this moment. Not just the feeling of immense love for one another, but the feeling of love and support from those gathered here today. It is a true testament to what you mean to the people in your lives.

NK six at wedding

Will, Laurel, Kara, Nolan, Hannah, and Dan

Kara … Nolan—I could not be more excited for you to write this next chapter of your lives together.  And with that, it is a distinct honor to pronounce you husband and wife.

And it’s all a wrap in 15 minutes.  Is that a crowd favorite or what!

kn k and n dancing

Quite the couple!

The reception right here at Foster’s is equally cool with lobster rolls, clam chowder, fruit, cheese and crackers all washed down by champagne, wine, or beer.  Though there are tables for sitting, this reception is not a sit-down affair served by wait staff.  People can move around easily to connect and reconnect with old friends.  It’s relaxed and comfortable and so fits who Kara and Nolan are.

The best of it all for Hannah and me is to see the genuine love and affection Nolan and Kara show to each other throughout the evening.  Smiles, holding hands, looking at each other and listening when the other is talking.   This evening Hannah and I see the embodiment of love in Kara and Nolan.

Dan and Hannah and the Simple Things in a Marriage

One Sunday after attending the morning service at Unity on the River in Amesbury, MA, Hannah and I stayed after for a two-hour workshop on improving relationships.  The counselor, Jim Goldstein of Powerful Partnerships, offered some good reminders for us.

Everybody Loves Somebody

Karla Souza plays the lead

For me, it is “easy” to be with Hannah.  It’s just easy to chill with her, hang out with her, whether we are hiking or pickleballing or just in different parts of our house.   “Easy” is one part why our marriage seems to work.  Check out an excellent movie, Everybody Loves Somebody (2016), to see the importance of most of the time it being easy with your spouse.  Click here to see a two-minute trailer of the film.

Love between parents

I believe raising a healthy family is like the instructions delivered by the flight attendant.  “Put the mask on yourself first before you assist others.”   Throughout our years together, I made a priority of my relationship with Hannah; that became the foundation for giving it our best shot to raise healthy, happy, appreciative, engaged, and loving kids.  By the way, I believe the best thing a dad or a mom can do for their kids, is to love their spouse.

So, I leave you with six simple things from the workshop that we don’t always do, but that we sure as hell want to do.

  1. Have rituals that we do together (e.g. evening wine on our front deck or in front of the fireplace)
  2. Have date nights (e.g. Ruby’s in town for half-priced margaritas and nachos)
  3. Do nice things for each other (e.g. simple stuff, without being asked, like Hannah’s meal making and my dishwashing and laundry doing)
  4. Focus on what you like about the other one (e.g. for me, how she gives things a shot. For Hannah, how I encourage people)
  5. Touch a lot (we do every time just one of us leaves the house)
  6. Talk about real things, not just the business of getting through the day. (e.g. our relationship, our friends, our family, what’s ahead)

Simple, but not always so simple.

Dan and Hannah and Roger Federer

For a long time, I’ve been a big fan of Roger Federer, the tennis champion.  You may be thinking, well that certainly fits, Dan; you are the classic front runner.

You got me there.  I do love me my Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and Thousand Time NCAA Champion UConn Women’s Basketball.   Oh yeah, all the way across the country, I am all in on Steph Curry and the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.  Obviously, I have no shame.  Jordan Spieth is my favorite golfer, now that my fellow Sun Devil alum, Phil Mickelsen, has driven off into the sunset.

RF Roger 1

Roger Federer

Roger said something that rang very true when he was interviewed after winning Wimbledon this past July.  I’ll get to that in due time, but let me tease his quote by saying that I’m reminded of the dangers of taking things for granted.  Mea culpa.

Consider, we live on the coast of Maine, two miles from the Atlantic Ocean.   We go months without seeing the rocky shores and walking its beaches.  Mea bad.

RF Radburn

Back to Roger.  Well, really back to Dan.  Tennis was my game of choice growing up in the 1960s in northern Jersey.   Living just two streets from the Radburn Tennis Courts, I played much of the day throughout the summer.  I played some for the high school team and a little in college.

RF Wooster

Fact is, Hannah and I started courting (you see what I just did!) on the tennis courts at the College of Wooster in Ohio in 1967.  I was hoping my game (in the larger sense) would find its way into her heart.

Something worked, we married, life was very good, but tennis fell to the wayside.  We moved on to running, and later I added golf to my sporting life.  As seniors, Hannah and I have found a hybrid tennis alternative – pickleball – to our immense pleasure.  Being a racket sport, pickleball fit nicely with our tennis-playing past.

RF Brady


But back to Roger. As Michael Jordan is to basketball and Tom Brady to football, Roger from tiny Switzerland is the GOAT in tennis!   As in the Greatest of All Time!  He glides around the court, making shots mere mortals can only dream of.  He’s the people’s champion, beloved around the world.  Fluent in English, French, German, and Swiss-German, he is gracious and articulate, no matter the continent, whether in victory or defeat.

RF Wimbledon

Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2017

Well, back to my tease in the opening paragraph.  As Roger was being interviewed, he was asked about what is the best part of winning this major championship.  Was it that he won his 8th Wimbledon title, the most in history?  Was it racking up his 19th major championship, four more than second place Rafael Nadal (now three since Rafa won the US Open).   Nooooooo.

He said I’m healthy againIt’s all about my health. (The previous year Roger had taken six months away from tennis to heal after knee surgery.)

How quickly those of us who have been blessed with a lifetime of good health can take it for granted.  I have been one such person with remarkably good health for my first seven decades.

RF pickleball

Pickleball sweethearts

But it’s been a rougher go over the last two years.   Nothing big, but my vulnerability is showing.  I’ve had a nasty four day stiff neck and strained shoulders from lifting our grandsons, an aching Achilles from playing ping pong in bare feet, as well as over-enthusiasm pickleball injuries (right elbow and left knee tendinitis, a groin pull).   And then a recent four-hour bolt out of the blue – Transient Global Amnesia – when I couldn’t remember or speak coherently that has me on meds for the coming year.

It is said that retirement is the best.  And I am one of the fortunate ones who has two of the necessary ingredients for retirement – financial means and good health.

There is one caveat.  By being grateful for my good health, I’m only half way there.  The equally important second half is my commitment to sufficient sleep, eating well, surrounding myself with loved ones, meditating, and an hour of daily stretching forever, so I can stay in the game.

Dan and Hannah and the Ways of Our Love

It’s the first week of August, Hannah and I have come to Sandy Springs, Georgia (Atlanta Metro Area) for Hannah’s second experimental stem cell injection; we’ve hopes that stem cells just might hold a key to improving her voice, which has been softened and limited for the past 15 years.

SH 1 Julie and Dr T with H

NP Julie and Dr. Tan prepping Hannah

Injected into her spine (to pass the blood/brain barrier), the stem cells will also be infused into her blood system for improved joint health as well.  We have been encouraged by the positive stem cell results by many pickleballers that we have met from the Yonah Mountain area (north Georgia).

SH 1B J to infuse H

Julie prepping to infuse Hannah with stem cells

Up by 2A in York, Maine for our 6A flight to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, we arrive in the Peach Tree State before 9A; drive 25 miles north to Sandy Springs for Hannah’s treatments.  Dr. Tan administers the stem cell injection; later Nurse Practitioner Julie Thorne infuses the stem cells into her blood system.

SH 2 Anne Frank


Hannah comes out of the 90-minute procedure smiling, without any pain, but…

…we are both weary beyond belief from our just after midnight wake up call on this 90F afternoon.

Unsuccessful in our attempt to check in the early afternoon at our Comfort Suites motel, we take the opportunity to visit the Anne Frank in the World Center in Sandy Springs!  Who knew that the heart of Dixie would have such a treasure!  Click here for more information about this much-needed telling of her story, especially in light of the August events in Charlottesville and the dangerous equivocating of the President.

Finally checked into the Comfort Suites, we lunch on our Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki subs, sort of nap, later walk to the local grocery store for our dinner, and then, toast the success of Hannah’s stem cell surgery with a fine Cabernet in our suite.

Fried, though Hannah’s feeling no pain, we are in bed by 8P.  That’s when our love kicks in.

Unbeknownst to me in my deep slumber of exhaustion, Hannah soon develops back pain pushing past 12 – on a scale of one to ten.  She can’t sleep.  I mean can’t sleep at all.  She showers; she walks the corridor of the motel’s second floor; she takes a bath; she lies in bed hoping to fall asleep.  Nothing works.  Her back hurts big time.

SH D and NR

Dan and Nancy Rose over brunch at the Summerland Cafe, south of Santa Barbara

And this is where Hannah calls on the wisdom of our Santa Barbara and Unity friend Nancy Rose.   Earlier in the evening, Nancy Rose had emailed Hannah

Dear Hannah,

Just getting around to reading my emails.  I love your friend’s saying- “what soap does for the body, tears do for the soul” -beautiful.  You are good for my soul too, Hannah.  Take good care down there in Georgia.  You are in the best hands, and you know whose they are. 

Later, Hannah emails Nancy Rose.

SH Four of us D H NR Duncan

Dan, Hannah, Nancy, and Duncan earlier this year in Summerland, California

dear Nancy  

            Your latest email helped more than I can say….in the middle of the night last night (after my stem cell injections yesterday) I couldn’t sleep, was feeling aches down to my bones (lower back and back of my thighs), tossed and turned – and thought of your words: “You are in the best hands and you know whose they are.” Because of that sharing from you, I woke Dan up and let him be “God’s hands” in the middle of the night.

      I am so blessed. And I am so grateful for you, dear Nancy. And, for my Danny Boy.  my love – to you and your Duncan.


As often in our 50 years together, I am the regular recipient of Hannah’s love, and tonight was another such case.   Hannah wakes me and we cuddle as she tells me of her incessant back pain and inability to sleep.   For me, I am so damn pleased she woke me; I hold her snugly until she is ready to give sleeping another shot.

A few hours later, she wakes me again, still unable to sleep or get comfortable.   We walk the motel corridors together before dawn while everyone else, except us two, sleeps.

And that, my friends, Hannah waking me in the middle of the night is one way of our love…

PS Oh yeah, we’ll remember the Tylenol next time.

Dan with Hannah Makes a Comeback

When I last posted about my late June episode of temporary amnesia (Part 6 of Dan Loses His Mind as His World is Shaken, Rattled, and Rolled), I concluded that blog with my appointment with Dr. Maslinski, a local neurologist.   Click here for the link to that blog.


A simple 2017 Holter Monitor

At that July 5 appointment, the good doctor wanted me to wear a Holter monitor for 48 hours to check out the electrical activity of my heart (EKG); basically to see if my episode was a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) that caused my symptoms.  To lay folk, a TIA is often thought of as a benign mini-stroke.

A TIA is a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain that doesn’t cause permanent damage.  That said, ignoring it can be a big mistake since a TIA may signal that a full-blown stroke is coming down the pike.


One pale dude who knows no shame sporting a Holter Monitor on his right hip

July 24 is Holter Monitor Installation Day.  At the cardiac unit of York (Maine) Hospital, a cardiologist technician attaches five electrodes to my chest, each with a wire to the Holter Monitor; a device that is no more than 1.5” x 2.5” that fits neatly in a plastic holster on my waist.  Installed in less than ten minutes, the monitor has one non-negotiable – no showers for the next 48 hours.

During the day, whether playing pickleball, working out at the gym, playing ping pong, or chilling at home, the monitor is so non-obtrusive that I don’t even know it’s there.

Nighttime?  Sleep is not restful as I reposition the monitor as I inevitably move in bed.  Even so, the Holter monitor is a minor inconvenience over two days.

Eight days later on August 4, I have my second appointment with Dr. Maslinski to go over the results of the electrocardiogram (EKG) from the Holter monitor.

As when meeting with medical professionals, I come with my hopes and my unwarranted expectations.

CB Hope 2

Hope #1The Holter Monitor will identify whether I had a TIA.  The EKG indicated that my heart is basically normal, one any 69-year-old would be proud to call his own.  What happened to me was not likely a TIA.  Still, I am on baby aspirin for the foreseeable future since something heart-related can’t be ruled out.

Hope #2The neurologist would have an idea what did happen.  He does.  He thinks it’s a TGA.  Transient Global Amnesia is a sudden, temporary episode when recall of recent events simply vanishes.  Although a TGA isn’t harmful, there’s no easy way to distinguish the condition from the life-threatening illnesses that can also cause sudden memory loss.

Hope #3He will know why it happened to me specifically.  No dice.  While there is a name for what happened, why it happened remains a mystery, as it did 15 years ago during my first such episode.  He is leaning toward something epileptic (hence putting me on the anti-seizure medication Keppra).

Hope #4 – I’d be able to stop taking the twice daily Keppra medication (for seizures) that I’ve been on for the last month.   That’s not happening any time soon.  Since I had a previous incident, albeit fifteen years ago, he cannot rule out that a seizure is at play.  Hence, Keppra for the coming year.  That we don’t have to meet til late next June suggests to me that the doctor is not overly concerned about my condition.  I put that in the plus column.

Hope #5 – I’ll be able to drive three months after the episode!  And that I will be able to do, if I have no repeat episodes.  And another incident, in my mind, is not likely as I am on anti-seizure Keppra; and it’s been 15 years since my last episode.  He did say that he did not inform the Department of Motor Vehicles of my status because he believed I would follow the law.  It’s not tough sizing me up as a first child, rule-follower.   He did say, he does inform DMV if someone presents as “non-compliant.”

Many people wonder if not driving is a big deal.  It hasn’t been.  Largely due to Hannah’s sweetness and that we are retired.    She and I balance our schedules and make trips happen without too much grief.

To me, Dr. Maslinski’s caution seems reasonable, especially considering this being my second episode.

Could dehydration have triggered this event?

Fact #1 – Without fail for the 2+ months since my episode, I continue daily to drink my 40 ounces of water throughout the morning.

Fact #2 – I have not had a repeat episode.

Fact #3 – Two plus two is four.

Fact #4 – I am not sure I really understand syllogisms any better now than I did when I barely earned a C in a Logic course at the College of Wooster.

Fact #5 – No doctor has suggested a connection between dehydration and a TGA.

CB hospital costs

So, what does something like this cost in 2017?  I had no idea a CAT Scan costs $1,053; an echocardiogram sets one back $1,454; an MRI goes for a cool $2,069; the charge for a carotid artery test is $652; an electroencephalography (EEG) is a mere $561.

In my six pages of detailed charges from York Hospital, I can’t find the cost of my hospital room for the night.  But considering that to date, the total charges are $12,822.93, my overnight stay couldn’t have been cheap.

I am a fortunate dude.

Dan and Hannah and Sharing Our Good Fortune (Part Deux)

Molly July

Re: treating another

The day before we are to meet at the golf course, I email Molly and say, I want to treat you to golf and breakfast tomorrow.  And then I add, Sometime down the road, consider paying it forward when you happen to be out with someone else.

How cool is that!  Oui?

So, what do you think?  What do you do in these situations?  Post your comments beneath the blog or let’s talk more on this subject the next time we get together.