Retirement, Approaching Eight Years

I am 76.5 years old and counting. I’m largely thriving in my anectdotage and that is without Kaiser Permanente.

I am about three weeks short of eight years in this state, living without a job and it’s attendant anxieties. That part approaches the heavenly.

I can follow an entire tennis tournament without fear of falling behind at work. I haven’t had an annual review in about nine years. I have had the anxiety of waiting for medical test results, but fortunately as with the annual reviews the vast majority have been good.

I will deteriorate with age. I am almost prepared to accept that as long as my mind and body are functional. Hopefully those changes are years away. Hopefully Covid-19 will either be survived or avoided.

To avoid rapid deterioration I am in prayer, I exercise , now at home with COVID-19, and I try to eat what my forebears ate, Mediterranean cuisine.

My joy overflows from my family, God’s Word as well as lots of reading and writing. Personal relationships can be challenging particularly with diminished, hearing.

However my spouse in particular is worth all I can muster in changing for the better by the grace of God. I thank Him that we were able to retire. It was and is a great blessing.

May God bless each of you in the winter of your years.

H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon memoirist, novelist and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? Please Save the Third Dance for Me and The Bloom is on the Rose, all available on Amazon.

Our Genome and Our Lives

Per Wikipedia, The genome of an organism is the whole of its hereditary information encoded in its DNA (or, for some viruses, RNA). A few years ago a portion of my own genome was checked out by I just spit a little bio-material in a small tube, screwed it shut and sent it off to Utah.

 “So about one thousand years ago all my forebears were Ashkenazi Jews per’s analysis. Some unspecified time before that they were middle-eastern Jews as best as I can gather.

They likely loved the sunsets in western Asia along the Mediterranean in their desert climate. I love the Pacific sunsets in southwestern North America in our desert climate. You know, there might be something to this.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon.


It was likely the fall of 1970. I was watching The Out-of-Towners. I was in the midst of a depression which seemed a part of my medical school experience. I haven’t had one since, thank God.

During its hour and forty one minutes, at least an hour was filled with my chuckles. This was a film that included Thalmus Raulala, Jon Korkes, and Pepe Hern. You remember Pepe. Jon Korkes?

My shrink pointed out, as I described the rare pleasure of my laughter, that, clearly, I was not as depressed as I thought, good news for my thought life.


It was 1977. Kristine and I were dating. We were seeing a new movie, Annie Hall. We had not an inkling it would be a multi-Academy Award winner that coming spring. I was laughing so hard Kris was a little concerned I would stop breathing. Nevertheless, later in the year we were wed.

Belly laughs feed the soul. The chuckles are a gift from God through life’s difficulties. They give us a chance to make light of life’s adversities. A sense of humor goes a long way in dealing with relationships in their trying moments. Humor drives the absurd edge of the envelope helping us to cope with the irrational.

On Christmas, a day that has been blessed with the power to stop many adversaries from shooting at each other, let us be thankful for all of God’s gifts. What would our lives be like without laughter?

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

Santa, Due Shortly

How did we ever get to the place that the season that honors the Savior’s birth is brimming with stress? And, I am retired.

How does Santa find a parking space on his trip, particularly with all those reindeer? Shouldn’t he be driving an electric vehicle? But then he’d have trouble finding charging stations and parking. By the way with that big belly and heavy sack isn’t he overdue for back surgery?

Try to have some cookies and milk out for that guy.

Let Go by Frederick Buechner

Let Go       Buechner is discussing a support group for adult children of alcoholics:    THEY COULD HARDLY be a more ill-assorted lot. Some are educated, and some never finished grade school. Some are on welfare, and some of them have hit the jackpot. Some are straight, and some are gay. There are senior citizens among them and also twenty-year-olds. Some groups are composed of alcoholics and some, like the ones I found my way to, of people who have no alcoholic problem themselves but come from families who did. The one thing they have in common can be easily stated. It is just that they all believe that they cannot live fully human lives without each other and without what they call their Higher Power. They avoid using the word God because some of them do not believe in God. What they all do believe in, or are searching for, is a power higher than their own which will make them well. Some of them would simply say that it is the power of the group itself.    They are apt to begin their meetings with a prayer written by my old seminary professor Reinhold Niebuhr: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” They are apt to end with the Lord’s Prayer: “thy will be done . . . give us this day our daily bread . . . forgive us as we forgive . . . deliver us.” “To lend each other a hand when we’re falling,” Brendan said. “Perhaps that’s the only work that matters in the end.” As they live their lives, they try to follow a kind of spiritual rule, which consists basically not only of uncovering their own deep secrets but of making peace with the people they have hurt and been hurt by. Through prayer and meditation, through seeking help from each other and from helpful books, they try to draw near any way they can to God or to whatever they call what they have instead of God. They sometimes make serious slips. They sometimes make miraculous gains. They laugh a lot. Once in a while they cry. When the meeting is over, some of them embrace. Sometimes one of them will take special responsibility for another, agreeing to be available at any hour of day or night if the need should arise.    They also have slogans, which you can either dismiss as hopelessly simplistic or cling on to like driftwood in a stormy sea. One of them is “Let go and let God”—which is so easy to say and for people like me so far from easy to follow. Let go of the dark, which you wrap yourself in like a straitjacket, and let in the light. Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge, to manage the lives around you—your children’s lives, the lives of your husband, your wife, your friends—because that is just what you are powerless to do. Remember that the lives of other people are not your business. They are their business. They are God’s business because they all have God whether they use the word God or not. Even your own life is not your business. It also is God’s business. Leave it to God. It is an astonishing thought. It can become a life-transforming thought.”      -Originally published in Telling Secrets.” Here it is from Frederick Buechner Quote of the Day, online    

Did You Hear That?

It was seven years ago. My otolaryngologist after my hearing test told me one ear was losing the higher tones. He told me if I failed to buy an excellent, digital hearing aid it would be, “Use it or lose it.” In other words I would gradually have a brain that just didn’t get certain words even if spoken loudly. Let’s face it. It was a bad idea to forgo buying this new fangled gismo.

It cost me about 3500 dollars more than I wanted to pay. It really didn’t help me hear in crowded restaurants because to noise cancel nuanced is to miss fire alarms, etc. Five years later l bought a like product for my other ear.

My 74 years came together actually over a delightful meal last night. I ordered ciopino and the waitrees asked if I wanted a bib. One does lose fine motor movement with age. Much of the inherited clothing in our family from our parents has spots of unrelished food. As I have gotten older these spots have plagued me as well. But alas she had suggested a bib because the ciopino was hard to eat for 25 year olds.

There are hearing aids that fit in the ear canal disappearing. But as the fine motor movement diminishes so does the ability to get them out and change the batteries, something fit for a young neurosurgeon.

Hey, ears and all, I am glad to be alive. Life is precious and I can quietly read the greatest books ever written. I can communicate with my wife face to her lovely face, up close without a hitch. Thank God for large favors.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

We each live to some extent in eternity. The other night my spouse, Kristine, and I cared for a 102 year old woman. We have known Naomi for several years.

She will be 103 in January. Naomi’s bright and seems to have all her mental faculties. She has a quick smile and a great deal of warmth. Naomi frequently asks why the good Lord has kept her around. Anyone who knows her knows why. This loving woman has something to teach us all about living.

As I asked her about what life was like in the Thirties and during WWII, I was transformed into those decades. The ability to get firsthand knowledge of a period that predates my existence, even at 74, is a lovely thing.

In a sense we all live in eternity. We are impacted by our history in our family of origin as well as the family of man. Particularly when mindful, we live in the present. Our plans and anxieties about the future are only a subconscious away.

To those of us who believe in eternal life this living in three phases follows as night follows day. It is a grand gift, eternal life, for which we are ever so grateful.

God bless ye everyone in this glorious time of year, this time of gratefulness

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

The Secret History of Christianity by Mark Vernon, a Review

The author to some extent looked at Owen Barfield’s (CS Lewis’ fellow Inkling) view of the revolutionary social change Christianity brought to  humanity. The transition the author describes is the transition from a tribal culture such as the Jews to a deeper state as individuals and their thought life.

For example, in the tribal culture the Hebrews were commanded to kill one enemy’s entire population. On the other hand in the Sermon on the Mount spoken to his fellow Jews Christ repeatedly describes the thinking of the individual. He notes to hate is to kill with the mind. The revolutionary changes include the individual reading his/her own Bible in the Reformation as opposed to reliance on the priest.

This is a fascinating read from this man who transitioned from an atheist, to an Anglican priest and, finally, to a Christian psychotherapist.