Sunday, September 19, 2010

Goodbye, Sophie (1997-2010)

Today the 1st Mate, Dr. Salomon, the Vet, and I concurred that it was time to let go of our 13 year old Maltese mix family member. Two weeks ago she stopped eating, started to stagger when she walked, started losing weight. We've been making daily visits to Dr. Salomon for the last week for injections, instructions, IVs, and prescriptions. Two days ago the infection moved into her lungs and that pretty much meant the end of the game.

Before her illness, sleeping on her favorite cushion.

When the sea breeze comes up this afternoon, we'll go out to the ranch where the Green Flash sits, and find a place to bury her mortal remains. Digging in the desert is hard, but when you live in a condo development there's no place near the house. The 1st Mate and I will take the air compressor and an air chisel along with the shovel to create Sophie's resting place. The desert doesn't yield easily.

Emotionally, I'm a wreck. And with almost 10 years without a drink, I want one now.
Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The 1,000 year old man (or woman) is alive and well

I've been thinking about a blog regarding aging and the science of aging for about a week now... I received a link in the mail about this very subject today, and that got me writing.

Life expectancy is:
White women: 81 years
African-American women: 76.9 years
White men: 76 years
African-American men: 70 years
(These numbers were published by the CDC in Feb., 2008)

Each year, new drugs, treatments and research extend our lives. Breakthroughs, like the one I'll reveal today, make it seem possible that the cures for what kills us will be there before we get sick, or at least, before we die from them. The thing about these numbers is that they include accidents, murder, war fatalities, drug and alcohol abuse/overdose, etc. If you are 60 now, your numbers are higher than the chart above... unless you have dangerous habits and have just been lucky so far.

We live in a time where it's possible that we could survive almost indefinitely.

From Gizmag:
A region of repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome called a telomere, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration, is thought to be the "clock of aging" contained within the human body. Many scientists believe that the limit on lifespan and decline in health is imposed by the gradual shortening of our telomeres that occurs with every cell division. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that a human cell that does not undergo telomere shortening will divide indefinitely and is, by all available measurements, immortal.
Now researchers at Sierra Sciences, in collaboration with colleagues at TA Sciences, Geron Corporation, PhysioAge, and the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), have discovered the first compound that activates telomerase – an enzyme that lengthens telomeres – in the human body, potentially opening the door to arresting or even reversing the aging process.
So there it is.
Take good care of yourselves and you may just get to live a lot longer than you thought possible; I suspect funeral directors look at this subject with mixed emotions.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stumbled onto Sadness

This is a beat up business card that was given to me by my friend Karl Karlsson. It was new when I got it, back in 1999, when Karl retired from the San Francisco Police Department and opened his office as a Private Investigator. He was serious about his work, but loved to play... he and I drank a lot together, back in the day. Superbowl parties were Karl's specialty and the booze and food was good and plentiful at his house on the Petaluma River, just south of Petaluma.

In late 1999, Karl and his wife Carol told me they were going to Puerto Vallarta to party for 10 days and watch the Superbowl and then fly home. I was headed to Mexico for the winter and it turned out I was in Vallarta on my boat BLISS in late January. I got their number and invited them out for a sail on Banderas Bay, so we did.

As we started back after the daily sea breeze died my diesel wouldn't start... so we sailed into the anchorage at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in the dark. Carl was steering, Carol was reading off the depths as we came in and I was on the bow ready to drop the anchor. After we succeeded in sailing in the hook, I gave them the vee berth and went to sleep in the quarter berth near the nav station.

The next morning, I got into the engine room and started the diesel by jumping across the starter motor with a screwdriver (lots of noise and sparks) and we motored back to my slip. I drove them to their hotel. Karl told me he wanted to spend their last day together alone in PV (Superbowl Sunday) so I bid them adieu and drove back to the marina.

The next day I watched the Superbowl at a pub somewhere and the following Monday Karl and Carol boarded Alaska Airlines flight 261 out of Puerto Vallarta for San Francisco and Seattle. A flight I had taken a number of times. But theirs never made it. They died with the 86 other passengers and crew when the plane slammed into the Pacific Ocean near Pt. Conception in California on January 31, 2000.

I was cleaning out some stuff when I came across Karl's card., and it all came back to me.
So I wrote it here.