Oct 1, 2014

Do Your Grown Children Answer their Phone?

We are all a little frustrated. Really, it is no one's fault...not a human anyway. We can blame it on the cell phone. That handy little device has managed to do away with communication all together.

Did we ever talk to each other?
We text a person and we can see if our message has been delivered within seconds. It doesn't matter if that person is in a meeting or is just not in the mood to answer right that instant. The very fact that they could get right back to us but usually don't leaves us feeling neglected and frustrated. As the senders of those text messages, we have no respect for working hours or even dinner hour so the chances that we will get a response shrink even more. The cell phone has made it so easy to communicate it is almost annoying.

I don't think young adults answer their phones ever. They know that if they don't pick up and that person really needs to talk, they will leave a message. Text messages are ignored. Children will write on Facebook "Mom, I have been trying to call you." or complain over a nice dinner that no one answered their phone and they needed a ride home from school. You will hear people say "I don't answer my phone/read my text messages/ listen to my voicemail." It seems to me that we may as well just give up trying to use those wonderful devices at a phone that is.

Do I have a solution? Well here is what I think may have to happen:
  1. If you an older person, put 911 on speed dial because there will not be anyone showing up to help soon.
  2. Get your grandchildren and friend's children's numbers. If you really want to talk to an one of your children, call a teen in the family. They usually will answer. That even puzzles me because teens are really not the most cooperative people in the world. I'll take it though...who am I to question what goes on in their minds. 
  3. You might get the grandparent's number too. They are usually pretty good about replying. They probably won't know anything either but at least you can talk to a real human. My granddaughter calls me because she knows I still answer my phone...when I can find it.
  4. Buy lots of stamps, envelopes, cards and stationary then just send a note through the mail. It may be your last hope of ever communicating with anyone again. They will receive it in a week to ten days which is probably a lot sooner than anyone will look at the messages on their phones. Who knows, they may even call or write a response...but I am not holding my breath.
  5. Last but not least, don't call, text or anything more often than necessary. We may be ignored because we have worn out our [phone call] welcome. It is a thought.

I'm so sorry I don't have anymore suggestions. If you can help add to the list, let me know...soon.


Sep 29, 2014

Blogging: Why Comments are SO Important or You Can't Get it Right Until You Get it Wrong

I was just reading an article written for a website called Medium. It was called I'm Saying Wrong Things on the Internet. The website is not important (although it was very enticing). The quote I bring to you today went like this:
You can’t get it right until you get it wrong.
The premise for the article was that doing is the best way to learn. The writer was a programmer that had tried using lessons provided by some very prestigious company. The lessons were incomprehensible so they decided to jump into the pool and just do it learning as they went along. Like inexperienced blogger or writer that has not put in their 10,000 hours, they made mistakes.

But here on the internet we all know that someone, somewhere will call us on a mistake or misstatement especially if they see their field threatened by some beginner. And that is what much more experienced programmers did. They pointed out the errors and the beginner learned.

Most bloggers are learning as they go along...after all what good is reading a book on writing going to do? You need to start somewhere. We blunder along trying this and that. But what we need is constructive criticism. However, here in our blogging world, people are more apt to say atta girl or boy. We need a lot more comments AND a lot more honestly when it come to subject matter. If what the blogger says doesn't agree with your take on things, then they should say so.  Even a troll serves a useful purpose. Somewhere in that persons words will be a small truth. Learn from it! That is why we are all here.

Comment away are important!


Sep 28, 2014

My 6 Secret Semi-important iPad Hints

My friend Jack just bought himself his very first Apple iPad. He is like an older brother to me so I need to make sure that he has the benefit of my advice. He has been a PC user up until now. He had to let us know because he had been holding out for about 6 years. I suppose that in some weird parallel universe we had won...we have never owned anything but an Apple computer. I did own a Nokia cell phone once but that doesn't count...the iPhone had not been invented yet. Apple is kind of a religion with us I suppose. Anyway...

Water droplet Screen Saver
He is not the first of our friends to relent and every time someone buys one they beat a hot little path to our door. It just seems so confusing to them. But I will have to admit that the iPad is a bit of a mystery to me too. I haven't ever really taken full advantage of what it can do for me. I learn something new all the time, especially when I am teaching them. There are a few simple things that I need to point out to Jack so I thought I would make a small list right here on my blog.

  1. Remember your iPad comes with a screen saver. It used to be droplets of water and they looked very real. Do not take the iPad to the Apple store and ask for a refund. There is no water and your iPad is not broken. It is all a mirage.
  2. Your iPad can be used for mail, texting, skype and even taking pictures. It will not however add your contact list by magic. You will have to do that yourself. While computers are very cool they cannot really talk to each other unless you help them out.
  3. Email and text messaging is wonderful even though young people do disdain it. You can talk to your iPad by touching the microphone on the keyboard. However, it does not make grammatical corrections and will often add goobledy gook when you want grandma's gone. It does not read your mind. You will have to make corrections. Read the directions telling you how to drag the cursor around in the text using your finger.
  4. I love the new system 8 that allows you to send a voice text message. I don't know how to screw that up yet...I will let you know.
  5. Don't get rid of your computer until you have figured out how to set up your email. I am still fuzzy about ip addresses and that kind of stuff but I do know it is on your computer somewhere...I wish that magic could happen there too but it just doesn't.
  6. While your iPad is very cool it is always necessary to write your passwords down someplace with a pencil on a piece of paper, especially your Apple ID. You will use your email address as your user name and then a password that is yours alone. If you cannot remember your password please try to remember your address...both your home and email. It is sorta important. Refer back to the "magic" advice.
Welcome to the land of oz Jack. You know that Earl got his very own iPhone last year...I have not heard from him since. Talk to you soon.


Sep 27, 2014

Aging in 2014: Fitting In with the Kids

Note: Feeling old? You have to read or reread this blog post called Don't Act Old. I even laughed at it and I wrote it.

When I received a comment from Mary on yesterday's post about the Peter Pan Syndrome and the need to remain young forever, I stopped in my tracks. Here is what she said:
If you are going to be a dino
at least be scarey!
This was a great post. I just retired last year, but I am just the opposite of the retiree who wants to stay forever young. It was actually retirement that brought me to the point where I could face the aging process head on and become who I really wanted to be. It was while I was still working that I did 'all the right things' to stay young. I can sit back now and see how hard it was on me. My oldest co-worker was 20 years my junior. I was of another generation than everyone else, and I worked so hard to fit in that I forgot about who I am. Today I am comfortable with me. 
She took me back to a blog post I wrote back in 2009 referencing an article in More magazine regarding fitting in the work place. In that blog post I talked about several things the writer thought made an older worker appear to be well... very not cool. Here were some of the things she mentioned in her rave against acting old that I thought I was guilty of:
We all tend to do this once in a while, rave that is...even those of us that are guilty of some of the sins she described. We don't "keep going" at the grocery store and tend to block the aisles while we try to find the right hair dye color, we don't text with our thumbs and well, we probably all still leave voice mails. Most of us wear watches and if we leave it at home, aren't smart enough to just check our cell phones for the time. Many of us are walking office or cocktail hour "archives", spouting more information than anyone ever wants. The author from More was just plain irritated by all these things and thought that, if you were still working, you should avoid doing these things...especially in front of your co-workers. In her mind, they just made you appear older than you really were. (Or could it be it made them appear the age you really are.)
Note: When I wrote this post I had not broke myself of the habit of double spacing after the end of a sentence. My posts had many uneven margins as a result...another hint that I am not as young as I could be. 
Have things changed in the last almost 6 years? Do workers like Mary have a whole new list of "fitting-in" requirements? I know it must be very hard to fit in with workers that are 20 years younger. We all can remember when we were 20 or 35 or 42 and it really wasn't THAT long ago. When I see comments like Mary's, I become very grateful for retirement and even for being old. I think she is like me in that she is very lucky to not have to worry about fitting into a world that disregards your knowledge or experience. Being young must be such a burden...all those old people around and everything.

On the other side of the coin I am also aware that we older people really do need to be aware of our public demeanor...even though I sometimes just don't want to think about it. People don't treat me right when I let myself go for example. I don't want to dress younger, I just want to look like a person a younger person would treat with respect. Here is another balancing act. After my blog post yesterday I thought I would tip over because I knew there was much more to that story on no worrying about aging anymore.

Let go back to a post I wrote back in 2011 called 7 Restaurant Behaviors. I suppose it was a bit of a rant that was prompted by something that had happened to me. As I reread it today, I saw that I seem to keep coming back to the subjects mentioned in that post. Evidently I am still bothered by people that complain about the price of a meal when we are in a restaurant, share a meal at a five star establishment, don't tip enough and spend the whole meal talking about their ailments.

I saw this in Mexico when we were there last week. A group of 8 expat retirees came into a 5 star restaurant, sat in the main dining area and ordered 3 appetizers or desserts to share. I thought the waiters were going to fall over laughing. It was kinda cute but it also was kind of silly. Remember, there was a bar with seating that served small bites and that is where they should have been. I wanted to go home, dye my hair black and pretend I was 55.

I think the point here is that the social part of our lives does not change that much as we age. While we may not be chasing the evil wrinkles away or putting on makeup just in case someone sees us, when we are in public, our life is not all about us. It never has been and it never will be.

Any thought?


Sep 26, 2014

Stages of Aging: From Neverland to Reality

illustration of Lost Boys, Wendy, Peter Pan
illustration of Lost Boys, Wendy, Peter Pan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was tempted to see if anyone else has had this thought before I began writing but I decided that it didn't really matter. I need to talk about this with you. The question is Do all new retirees and boomers becoming obsessed with the idea that they might remain young forever? Are they, in fact, wanting to return to Neverland and live like Peter Pan and the Lost Boys?

I went through that phase when I retired and moved to our winter home in Arizona for six months of every year. It seemed that living in a cloistered world with other retirees, most of them much older than myself, gave me the freedom to be young my case it may be that I was actually young for the first time. Who knows? What I do know is that I felt like I had found Neverland. I even talked about the "pods" in the pool that those people in the movie Cocoon swam with. Remember, those alien pods were like the fountain of youth.

Years went by and I began to grow up may be that boomers/retirees will all go through this when they are free to do just what they want without worry about a job or even the care of children. Aging may have a youth, middle age and old age all it's own. It is something to think about.

In the youthful part of my old age I belonged to a group of women online called Fab Over Fifty. Geri, the owner of the website, was a beacon for women that were growing older. She promoted the idea that young was something we could have if we just played our cards right. Beauty products, clothing choices and just a little bit of ridicule for women that did not have that special sense of style filled the website. I stayed with the group for a while then...

Geri wrote a blog post about getting old. She talked about Pilates and baldness and night creams. She worked hard at doing all the right stuff so her thinking was that she was not going to get old. She could not understand why everyone was not like her. Then she posted pictures of old people with big moles. At the time I was about 69 I think. You can imagine that I was just a little offended and a lot angry. I was beginning to become more mature in that stage in my life. I became aware of the realities of aging. I could not wrap my mind around the mindset of a group of women like that.

See, it doesn't matter if you do all the right are going to get old just like everyone else. It is one of the givens in life.

I just returned from a place in Mexico, a haven for artists and expats. I was not aware that this place existed and I don't think that a lot of retirees are. But, for those people living there, there is a quality to the air, a inexpensive lifestyle and a unspoken hope that youth may be forever available. It is one of the many possible Neverlands people are seeking.

As I was driving down a back road near Leon, Mexico, it occurred to me that staying young forever is not what I want...not really. The idea that I would forever have to walk endless miles to keep fit or eat just the perfect healthy food or even maintain the regimen of beauty creams and makeup began to feel like a burden. I don't even want to begin with how to dress!  Sometimes I just want to sit and read in my housecoat. I want to get up in the morning, wash my face and hair, get dressed and nothing else. Sometimes I just want to sleep. In a word, I just want to be who I am at the age I am. Isn't that perfect?

So, Peter Pan, you can have your forever youthful life. Getting old is not bad, not at all. In fact, when it comes down to it, life just gets better and better. That is what I think.

Have a wonderful day!