The moment the light turned green, I was blasted by the horn of the car behind me.
An impatient driver could not give me even a second to make sure no one was running the red light, which, unfortunately, happens all too often.
On Labor Day, as my husband and I walked through a quiet cemetery where we clean up litter a few times a week, we were startled and confused to hear the peaceful silence shattered by what sounded like a horn that had become stuck in some unseen vehicle.
No such luck. It was the horn of a pickup truck stopped behind our car on the dirt road.
Eva Buck, benefits check-up coordinator for Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley, a social services agency in Allentown, theoretically is a part-time employee.
But the woman described by her boss, Debbie Zoller, the agency's executive director, as a "go-getter" usually works close to a full-time schedule.
This is Buck's choice.
"Our goal is to help people in the community function better," she says, by identifying benefits older adults and disabled individuals with limited incomes qualify for.
Only weeks after my brother suggested I not go alone to visit our mother's memorial tree, planted along a lovely, peaceful rail trail, we learned a lone male hiker was robbed in that area by three men on a weekend afternoon.
One of my sisters had gone to the tree by herself a week earlier and said she felt wary and uncomfortable.
"I was the only person in the woods and the only car in the parking lot," she said.
She decided then and there not to go alone again. Smart decision.
She recognized the risks and chose to remove the opportunities for crime.
Why do we so often want what is unattainable?
Young kids strive to look and act like adults; older folks try to recapture their youth.
This thought occurred to me after several unrelated conversations recently.
One friend was complaining on the phone about her 11-year-old granddaughter.
"She wears too much black makeup around her eyes and bright red lipstick. Her clothing is too short, too low-cut and too tight for someone that age."
An acquaintance was lamenting his 16-year-old daughter's obsession with fashion and beauty magazines.
It just doesn't feel right. For the first time in my life, I wasn't rushing to make or buy a Mother's Day card.
The chocolates, flowers and gifts await someone else's mom.
Seeing all the ads for Mother's Day promotions only makes me sad, and I'm sure I am far from alone.
To those of us who lost our beloved mothers recently, the Mother's Day hoopla just makes us miss our moms even more.
Well into her 80s, as my mother pulled out a notebook and jotted down random memories of her long life, she told of still missing her mother.
My back is getting old, and the problems it is causing have become, quite literally, a pain in the backside.
Until pain manifests itself, most people probably don't give much thought to their backs and the role this body part plays in every aspect of our lives.
For months I ignored the lower back aches and severe cramps down my legs whenever I am upright. Only bending over or sitting seem to diminish the pain.
When Ibuprofen and Tylenol, even taken together, failed to provide relief, I knew it was time to do some research and visit a doctor.
As I celebrated my birthday recently, age became the topic of the moment among family members and friends.
We all laughed when I recalled an elderly neighbor once telling me, "Don't ever get old."
I had a quick reply for her: "So you want me to die young?"
We don't get too many choices. We grow old (at least chronologically) or we leave this earth before we have a chance to experience old age.
I choose getting old. Our golden years may not always be so golden, but it's nice to hang around a bit longer.
Experiencing grief when a loved one dies is natural. It is expected.
However, the grief should come from sadness and loss, not from the financial institutions and businesses the survivors have to deal with following the death of someone dear.
My siblings and I, mourning the unexpected passing of our mother recently, were "educated" quickly when we tried to settle her financial affairs.
My sister's attempts to redeem our mother's small life insurance policy (payable to this sister) initially were futile.
The first thing I noticed when I visited an older friend's apartment were the large colorful dots.
Was this a new, funky style of decorating?
No, she said, just a creative, adaptive aid to help her navigate her personal terrain more easily, despite diminished vision.
She, or perhaps a helpful friend or relative, had placed the raised dots on the stove and microwave and toaster to mark important temperature settings.
Different color dots also marked various light switches on the apartment walls.
Some people define themselves and chart their life's course early in their youth.
Darlene Brosky of Zionsville was one of them.
"My parents were big on giving back to the community," she explains, adding, "It rubbed off on me."
Something else rubbed off on her, as well.
"I was always an outdoor kid. My parents had large gardens and my grandfather in Palm had a farm and an orchard. I worked in all of them," she says.
Brosky, the youngest of seven children, recalls she liked to plant peppers, carrots and corn in her childhood garden.