Saturday, February 27, 2016


Today is my birthday. It's a big one. Today, I'm turning 65 and that means I must register for Medicare. At least for Part A. I don't have to sign up for Part B only because I am still working and have insurance there. But if I didn't, I'd need to register for Medicare Part B, too.

But beside that, 65 doesn't seem any different than 64 and that hasn't seemed any different than the last 5 or 6 birthdays. In many ways, I feel better than I have in years. It takes me a little longer to stand up when I've been sitting for a while and I can't reach as many places on my body as I used to and I don't hear things as clearly in my left ear (and the ringing, or tinnitus, is pretty bad in that ear, too). But other than that, I'd don't feel that bad. I'm not taking any pills other than a multivitamin. My heart is in good shape and I can still walk for miles and lift things without hurting myself.

This year, I got some nice books, a very nice movie on DVD, some nice coffee and some money. The movie I got is From Up on Poppy Hill. It is an animated movie from Studio Ghibli in Japan. Our family has loved the Studio Ghibli movies since we first saw My Neighbor Totoro. From Up on Poppy Hill is now one of our favorites. It's a wonderful story of two high school students who meet and fall in love only to find out that they may not be able to express their love as they would have hoped. But there is even more to appreciate about this movie with it's interesting situations and eccentric characters. It's lovingly drawn images of Yokohama as it existed in 1963 make me wish I could have visited Japan at that time. It also mixes in a theme that we can relate to now with worries about balancing progress with preserving the past.

The first book I got is The Finest Hours. You may have seen my earlier review of the movie The Finest Hours. It was seeing that movie that made me want to read the book so I asked for it for my birthday. It goes into finer detail and covers more aspects of the amazing story of the Coast Guard rescue of the men from two ships caught in a terrible storm in 1952 off the coast of Cape Cod. As books can, this one covers more of the back story of the characters in these events and gives more details about what happened and who these people really were. Now that I've seen the movie, I'm sure those images will be running through my mind as I read.

The other book, I know much less about. I've been hearing about it for years and have A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is about a young man taking over the raising of his younger brother (with help from his sister and some friends) when their parents both die within a month of each other. I can't tell you much more about this book (unless I just parrot back other reviews) because I haven't read much of it yet. But just reading the section titled "Rules and Suggestions for Enjoyment of This Book" and the Preface has been excited about what lies ahead.
meant to buy it myself but when you have a birthday coming up, why not get someone else to buy it for you?

The coffee I got is from our favorite coffee roaster, Green Mountain Coffee.  Unfortunately, Green Mountain Coffee bought the Keurig single-serving coffee makers and most of their website is devoted to those. I guess you can make more profit from a device instead of the actual coffee so I can't make too much of a fuss about that. But if you want to get to the real coffee (ground coffee or whole beans instead of the pods used in the Keurig coffee makers), you can go to this page. The two I got are Mocha Nut Fudge (pictured on the left which I've never tried before) and French Vanilla flavored coffee. I've had their French Vanilla (and hazelnut and many other varieties) and love them all. I've loved Green Mountain coffee since I had it in the inn my wife and I stayed in for our honeymoon. Whenever I have Green Mountain coffee, it reminds me of those wonderful days - 22 years ago.

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