Aug 23, 2017

2K17 Solar Eclipse Party: The Last Hurrah?

I had a friend that began every occasion with a declaration that it was her "last hurrah". Her name was Anna Mary. She was very old and yet she seemed so young mentally that it was hard to even recognize what she was enduring physically. She was a widow and lived alone. I think of her often these days. I remember telling her one day, "No it's not your "last hurrah" Anna are not even near to that time." 

We were invited to a Total Eclipse 2017 Party this weekend and as those few day unfolded I was reminded Anna Mary's eventual "last hurrah". I am drawing closer and closer.  Here is the story.

Total Eclipse 2017 hosts...Lee and Kristine (from their Facebook picture)
I was given the royal treatment...a ride up the hill! (from Lee and Kristine's Facebook picture.)
We have friends that are younger than we are...perhaps a lot younger although it is hard to tell. Almost all their children are graduated from high school and some from college. Still, most of our grandchildren are about that age so there is that.

I became acquainted with the women at the swimming pool when my grandchildren were in grade school and I was those children's stay at home babysitting Grandma. That was so many years ago. My grandchildren are 24 and 20 now. As it turned out my daughter shares these friends with me so that is wonderful.

Kristine was one of those women. Her husband Lee coached my
granddaughter's baseball team and I carried Elena around to practice once in awhile.

When it came time for Lee and Kristine's "Total Eclipse Party 2017" my husband and I were invited and our daughter/husband invited us to sleep in their camper. All of the guests pitched tents in the pasture of Kristine's country cottage located near Lyon's Oregon. Quite a crowd had gathered by Total Eclipse 2017 Eve. My husband and I were two of those people. 

The barn where we danced, ate and gathered. The trailers are where we slept. The pasture filled with tents the on eclipse eve.
It was a big party that lasted for several days. People hiked, talked, ate and danced in Kristine and Lee's barn. Music played until late in the night. We were all gathered and waiting for the eclipse.

As the sun came up on Monday morning, August 21, 2017, we all put our perfectly safe eclipse glasses on to watch a miracle unfold. With no camera capable of capturing it, we were forced to capture the images in our minds. As the sun disappeared from sight and only the corona around it glowed, we stood and cheered. The stars emerged and it became cold instantly. What we had all waited for was gone in such a short period of time I didn't get to notice everything I had planned on seeing. Within a few seconds the moment was gone, the air warmed, the stars disappeared and the pasture came back to life. It was almost a religious experience.

So here is the "last hurrah" part. I know that most of those people and their children will be alive to witness the next eclipse on April 24, 2024. That is only 7 years away. I am almost 76 and my husband will be 80 in February. I was tempted to repeat Anna Mary's "last hurrah" speech but, like her, we may be around to see a lot more than we can dream. Who knows how many "last hurrahs" will pass in years to come.

What a privilege the whole thing was. I took a hike a 3 mile hike with my daughter and my husband outdid me on the next day by going with her a lot further. I talked to a bright 9 year old (Lucas) who explained to me why he didn't like being in a mixed age classroom. Children that were in the classroom I volunteered in 15 years ago were there and I met a boyfriend of one (sweet Katie) that is rumored to like grandmas. We sat and talked with Kristine, Jill, Lucas, my family and Kathy and her husband Bret after everyone else had left. It is hard for me to find that one single moment that touched me the most. See, eclipses are wondrous but people just wonderful.

So, I need to thank them all:  9 year old Lucas and his mom Jill, Katie, daughter of Kristine and Lee, and her boyfriend, and Kristine and her wonderful husband Lee for making us feel so very welcome. I need to thank my daughter and her husband for consenting to take us along on that beautiful eclipse ride and granddaughter

Yes, I did say this and my darling sweet granddaughter posted
it on Facebook. But stop....I can explain!
Elena for not laughing at me too much. Thank you for the hugs and the talk and most of all the laughter. 

How did we get to be so lucky.


Sweet Katie (left) and Marissa. 

Pano of everyone just after Kristine's beautiful prayer
and before a good old fashioned potluck. The crowd spilled out of the barn door into the field.
We were so ready for the event. This picture reminded me of the people
watching the a-bomb tests

Fabio has been following this group around for years.
He has been to Mexico, Las Vegas, anniversary parties, birthday parties and Jewel, Oregon ( the best place of all).
My daughter and I hiked to the falls. 
Our cute outhouse Lee constructed for the event.
Because we had to wait so late to go home to avoid traffic, we were left with our Mini Cooper. The giant dog, Moose, (a Rottweiler) helped my husband drive every mile of the way! My granddaughter Elena and her mother rode in the back seat with the giant dog. :)

See you all in 2024!!!! We will do it again!

Aug 18, 2017

Psychological Projection: How Many Straws Did It Take?

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.[1] For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.

So am I guilty of psychological projection?

I have spent the last couple of days venting my anger on Facebook and Twitter and I have aimed it at people I know that finally used up all their straws. The last straw was when I kept getting emails aimed at liberals. The last pointed out several Democrats calling them stupid...STUPID! These people may be a lot of things but the last thing they are is stupid. And the intent was to let me know how they feel about my views. By default, I was stupid too. It made me very mad!

So I know you have all heard of the last straw...the one that breaks the camel's back. It is that last tiny bit of weight a camel cannot carry for even one more minute. So much chipping away at my views of what is right and what is wrong has finally pushed me over the edge. The last straw after so many straws was just too much. I was outraged and offended!

I have always thought that when a person, even myself, called another human stupid, we did it because it made us feel better about ourselves. Flawed as we are, we have finally found someone even more flawed. When we feel bad about ourselves, we need that boost.

We see it in the humans that are living at the bottom...poor people hate even poorer people because at least those people might be less important than they are.

I have always known since I was in college that being put down did not have anything to do with me personally. It had to do with the person that was doing that feeling less important than me.

I receive the "last straw"  email stating the Hillary Clinton was a stupid liberal because she retold a story her mother had told her about her heritage and it turned out to be wrong. I could only think that the person that sent it to me felt inadequate and overshadowed. It was a family story for goodness sakes. We all tell those without a shred of evidence that they are true.

Could it be that ultra conservative men and women are afraid of powerful, smart people that do not look or act like themselves? I think it is so sad when women fall into that category in many people's mind. We can disagree but do we need to destroy those who are different to make ourselves appear more worthy?

I suppose in our environment today the same could be said for the Gay community. The Jewish people are still viewed with suspicion because they are very successful and of a different faith. Muslim, Mexican, Black...and a whole lot of others that I am not aware of are misunderstood and hated. The people that hate them are afraid of them. They may think that those people are taking something from them that they view as theirs and theirs alone or that they are taking part of their wealth because many are in need of support.

Here I need to admit that I do not like what our government is doing and I am in fact fearful that they will not protect us. I was thinking today as I drove down the road about something that was being done to a friend of mine and my first thought was that someone in government and in power could take care of that. Then the fear struck because I realized that the people I feared were the government right now. So I too have to fight the impulse to say things that I do not know as true about those people. The hard part for me is learning about them and even listening to their words. I feel a little sick as I get to know more and more.

I try to remain hopeful that in that conservative group of people there are honorable and good people. In the end what they do will matter more than what they say. Some will fall short but then don't we all?

It is just a thought! Am I guilty of psychological projection? Do you have any thoughts?


Aug 14, 2017

The More Things Change.....? An Interview with Bob Lowry

This our snow bird park model before we restored it to
it's former glory. I don't have the after pictures
right now but I will add them later.

Back ever so many years ago Bob Lowry posted an interview with me called Being a Snowbird: Is It The Right Choice For You? The questions were all related to our snowbird lifestyle. That was when I discovered that being a snowbird is a total mystery to so many people and that surprised me. Even today almost 5 years later, I have people wondering about how they can do it and asking very good questions. Because we did not research "snowbird lifestyle" before we fell into it, I am amazed that people have so much foresight.

Retirement is almost symbolically connected with being a snow-bird in my world. My husband and I were both educators that retired before we were sixty. We were healthy and antsy! Like all retirees, it took many years before we settled in our retirement lifestyle. Each step brought us closer to being experts on a post retirement life.

I think our current way of life all began because we took up golfing a little while before we retired. It became clear that it was something we both loved to do and gave us a great outlet for our energy.

When we began to golf, we traveled a little to golf tournaments around our home town. The last year we worked we were invited to go to a tournament in Enterprise, Oregon. I remember meeting people at one of those tournaments that lived in Mexico on Lake Chapala for the winter months. It was 1995-6. At the time I did not know that people actually left their home and went someplace totally different for all of the winter.

This was back in the day before we owned a cell phone and the idea that people retired to live yet another life after retirement was totally foreign. I was around 50 years old. I leaned back in my chair at the post golf tournament dinner party and wrapping my mind around the idea that I might leave my house and family to travel for weeks or months. How could we do that?

My husband wanted a small trailer so we could hunt and fish in eastern Oregon. Our dreams were not big. Our children were just grown and we had no idea what they would do. We were very happy in our own little world.

It was the year we were in a motel at that tournament in Enterprise that the travel idea began to emerge. There was no coffee pot, no breakfast and no comfortable bed or pillow in that small town motel. I raised my head from my pillow and said to my husband that I wanted  my own stuff. I wanted my coffee in bed. It occurred to me that I wanted to go home or be able to take my home with me.

His eyes popped open and I could see the wheels was what he had been wanting and he was just waiting for me to come up with HIS idea. Before long we owned a fifth wheel and a new pickup. Shortly thereafter we retired. I am still a little stunned to think that we flipped from what was normal to us to something so foreign in such a little time. I guess the timing was just right. We could hunt and fish and stay in our state's campgrounds AND take our house with us...and I could have my coffee in bed! Life was good.

We invited our adult children to join us on a couple of outing near their home. The fifth wheel make cooking possible with ease. We all loved it.

The idea of leaving for an extended time began to seem more and more appealing. It was the beginning of the cell phone age. We could stay in touch all of the time.  My mother was in a nursing home near-by and we had very young grandchildren. The cell phone actually opened doors of possibilities for us.

We decided one day to travel across country. I think that was when we had traded the fifth wheel for a little Class C RV. We drove from Portland to Florida and back again in a little over 6 weeks. I was so anxious to get home after that trip I don't even think we stopped. We must have but I don't remember. It seemed like an eternity but WE DID IT! That was a big step in moving from a very small life to a life of travel.

But we did not arrive at the big moments for many years. Life is a lot more like eating an bite at a time. We did not swallow the whole thing. First we went to California for a few weeks. Then Tuscon and into Mexico. The we went to Texas, Palm Springs and finally we settled in Tucson AZ. Our son and his wife lived overseas so he invited us to come see him. The game was on and we were eating that elephant in bigger chunks all of the time. In the end, we have become fearless...almost. But we have arrived here after many years of learning and watching. That is our style!

Yes, we did learn a lot. Sometimes we learned the hard way; sometimes we actually talked to people that knew what they were doing. A few things come to mind right away. These were some of our "Holy Cow" moments:
  1. Our motor home slide out slid out on the freeway.
  2. Our 5th wheel brakes lock in the parking lot...we could not move.
  3. RV parks did not keep their promises.
  4. Our cat escaped in the resort that does not allow cats...we were yelled at.
  5. We became ensnared with another couple and could get free.
  6. We could not figure out how to take care of business on the road.
  7. We discovered that you need to be quiet in your motorhome when there is no space and no privacy.
Fortunately we never broke down or were in a wreck. We have only lost all of our luggage once when flying and we have never gotten sick while traveling. But, we are prepared and we are flexible! If things go wrong, and they will, we just hunker down and move forward.

That is what is important.

At the top of the sidebar on this blog you see a quote asking if you are living life by design or by default. If I were to answer that question about my husband and myself, I would have to say that we live right in the middle of those two. We travel the road of life, stop a each intersection and decide what to do. We do not plan for what we do not see. Does that make sense. 

Life presents a lot of surprises and we are forced to make choices by default, but I suppose the overriding design for us is to make a change when the time feels right. Then we just go out and find a way to continue the adventure.

Please go over to Lowry's blog and read Being a Snowbird: Is It the Right Choice for You?  Even though the post is several years old, not much has changed. You will find a wealth of information. 

Have a wonderful day...may the adventure live on!

What is your dream?


Aug 12, 2017

When A Picture replaces a 1000 Words!

Summers are all about family, baseball, grandchildren and so much more. Ours has been so full that I think I need to post it in installments. 

My husband and I laugh a lot. If I could remember
where this was taken we would go back!

Baseball has been so much fun this year.
We have a local team that has turned out to
be winners. Wowza!

When coloring turns into a race
but they are competitive or anything!
My beautiful greatgranddaughter!
Sweet Embrey

My husband HAD to build a was 97 degrees outside.
My family went whitewater rafting. I am
on shore with the giant dog.
Dog sitting for the granddog is
part of the summer fun. This
little block of a dog is so much fun!

Getting the picture is hard
when the picturees are
not cooperating.
It's all about the hats!
What the heck?

Then, when it is all done, we call in the street
sweepers to clean up.

 I hope you summer is going perfectly. If you have a post about summer, leave a link in comments!


Aug 11, 2017

Book: The Crow Trap by Anne Cleeve...I wouldn't change a word!

I have been on a reading binge this summer and I am beginning to see myself as quite the expert on what is good and what is bad. That is not a good thing but it is a true thing.

I just finished reading The Crow Trap by Anne Cleeve. It is the first of the Vera Stanhope series that Cleeve wrote. It was first published back in 1999. She is a master storyteller and has such a unique way of writing a mystery that is centered around one character. It took me a while to catch what she was doing.

In this novel and in the Shetland Island book, Dead Water I read earlier in the summer, the main character came it more than halfway through book. Cleeves set the stage, leaving smoking guns all over the place and then gave you the detective almost unwillingly. It made me think and wonder about what she was up to...but in the end it made the book just perfect.

Vera has since become a popular ITV series seen here in the United States on PBS. The Crow Trap is the third episode in the ITV series but the first in the series of Vera Stanhope books. When I began watching those ITV shows, I had no idea the the books could be even better than the tv series. That may be the reason I began watching shows streaming from my computer. Netflix, Amazon Prime and now Acorn are my go to tv viewing entertainment.

The writers of the tv script, unlike me, felt free to change almost all the words. Watching the show would not have ruined the book for me and the book did not ruin the show when I watched it the second time. I liked them both.

If you are a mystery lover and demand perfect words, these books might be for you.

They are available on Amazon. If you go to your local Amazon store or go online and have a prime membership, you will get The Crow Trap for $11.55. The price on the back of the book is $16.99.

The Prime Membership just makes more and more sense to me all the time.

What are you reading this summer?


Aug 6, 2017

15 HINTS TO MAKE TRAVEL SAFE AROUND THE WORLD or The gypsy baby stole what?

Notes about travel: I know it is a lot but take your time, think it through and see if any of this information may be of some help.You really shouldn't be paranoid. Bad stuff can and will happen. Being informed makes life a lot easier.

2003 Plaza Major in Madrid.
Purse was stole within minutes 
after this was taken.
Were we talking about travel? I can't remember but I do know it has been on my mind recently. I was looking at one of my favorite websites published by midlife women on Midlife Boulevard. The travel section caught my eye. Traveling vicariously is almost as much fun as really going.

Susan Fluhr wrote a story about her trip to Masada in Israel and the photos were beautiful. The best travel articles, I think, are those that bring back wonderful memories of vacations past. We visited Jordan last December. Israel is on the west side of the Dead Sea, Jordon on the East. The wheels began turning.

Then I received an email from a cyber security company concerning traveling safely. The timing was perfect.

The mention of safety and risks in travel struck a chord with me because most of the places we have visited in recent years have not been what most people would consider "safe". I cannot tell you how many times friends have told my husband and I that they would never go to the places we like to go.

Where have you traveled?
We have been to China, Vietnam, the Philippines, the Middle East (Dubai and Jordan). Most people find that just plain crazy especially since we do not travel with a tour group. Even Mexico is frightening to most of those people that do not travel without fear. Yet the worst things that have happened to us was in Spain where a Romani (Gypsy) woman carrying a baby stole my wallet.

Could I ever change any one's mind about travel safety? Probably not. So for those adventurous people new to this world of travel, I have a few thing that might be of interest.
2003 The storm on the Mediterranean the day before the war in Iraq began.

Demonstrations in the street of Malaga in 2003 right before the war in Iraq

Look closely at the armament attach to the truck under the camouflage. This was a check point along the Dead Sea.
Our Jordanian taxi drivers took us from Amman to Petra by the scenic route.
The Dead Sea is very large yet no boats are ever allowed on it according some agreement between Jordan and Israel. No one could ever be safe if it were allowed.
(from Marriott Hotel room balcony)

The Middle East
Staying safe in places like Jordan is a little iffy. Our government did not recommend travel there when we went. Jordan is at war. I am not sure that even they know who the enemy is but their security is very tight. When they talked about "the war" we were not sure which one they had in mind. We hired local taxi drivers recommended by Lonely Planet Guide. Those drivers were associated with the US Embassy so we felt relatively safe.

We traveled with our son, his wife and our two granddaughters. We payed attention to where we were and who was around. Hotels practiced the same security but even tighter than our western airports. Wandering into a busy market place in a bad neighborhood would make me nervous. But visiting with a local merchant would not. We would walk any place that was close enough. The truth is we have an attitude that being safe anywhere is not possible!

Note: If you have been in Israel you cannot go into Muslim countries as a rule. I am told that Israel does not stamp the passport itself. The reverse is also true. I don't know if Dubai, for example, would do the same thing.

Communist Countries
I know this is not what people believe but most countries that do not allow a lot of freedom are much safer than those that are liberal. A communist country is a prime example.

We flew from Shanghai to Hanoi, Vietnam and then traveled north on a night train to a community at the base of the mountains. From there we took a private van to Sapa. Sapa sits in the Hoàng Liên Son Mts. and is about 15 kilometers from the China border. It is a "trekkers" paradise. The Viet, H'Mong and Chinese mingle but not with ease. There is a lot of distrust.

But visitors from Europe/America are welcomed with open arms everywhere we visited in Vietnam. They liked our money. We never felt fearful at all...ever!

We stood on the parade grounds where the communist party would hold rallies in Sapa.

In Hanoi we slept in a hotel in the very old part of town. We were woken in the morning by the loud speakers announcing the activities or news for the day at 7 AM. It was time for that country to get to work.

In Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) we saw bunkers remains at the airport and went past the museum the communist had erected to commemorate the fall of Saigon. We saw prison camps as we traveled south to a port on Pho Quoc Island.

We flew from Saigon over the Mekong Delta to the island where we stayed in a resort. That was where we took a boat to see the people living on boats/fish farms. We were never afraid of anything but food poisoning and crossing the street! We were in fact safer there than we would have been in Tucson AZ.

Sapa, Vietnam...A famous vendor in the market. 
14 Safety Hints
Having said all this, you need to know that we are careful, very, very careful. These are the precautions we take because we do not want to travel with a tour. We see and experience a lot more on our own.

  1. Let your financial institutions and credit card companies know you will be traveling.
  2. Keep your passport in the hotel safe. I cannot say this often enough.
  3. Bring duplicates of all your papers.
  4. Keep original and copies of all travel documents plus valuables like jewelry, computers, even cell phones in a safe. Keep your passport in the safe in your room or at the desk.
  5. Take one credit card with you when you venture out, leave another in the safe. Keep help numbers for those cards in a safe place. If by chance your credit card is stolen, you will find that the card company will stop credit and issue you a new one, even delivering it to your hotel in very short order.
  6. Do not strut your stuff...looking wealthy is not a good idea. You just set yourself up for trouble.
  7. Always be courteous even when you are frustrated. 
  8. Being an ugly American is not a good thing. Remember "When in Rome do as the Romans do."
  9. Use the concierge in your hotel. Carry business cards from the hotel you are staying at. It will be a huge help when it comes to using taxis.
  10. If you can afford it and are not experienced, hire a guide. You will be surprised that it does not cost that much.
  11. Keep meds close at hand. Any chronic illness that might flare up requires a plan. Travel with sunscreen, bug spray, Imodium. Check to see if you need any shots. We have had all those shots many years ago. (A trip to Thailand for example requires some precautions.)
  12. Do not be taken in by con-men. Be wary of people approaching you with help on the street particularly in Thailand and perhaps anywhere in that region. Even in  Mexico or Morocco I recommend that you just not making eye contact. (That is very hard for American in particular.) You will save yourself a lot of grief by simply not acknowledging or simply saying no (or neine in Vietnam might work better).
  13. If you decide to go on an adventure even with a guide, let someone know where you will be and when to expect you back. 
  14. We all know that the Romani (Gypsy people) in Europe will steal anything that is not taped or nailed down. Just avoid them and keep your purse/wallet close. Don't carry anything of value. Leave the passport in the safe!
  15. Avoid back alleys and shortcuts. Mainstreets are much safer. I have a story for that one but it can wait. 
  16. If you travel in a time of war, be very low key. Usually blending in is a good idea. We were in Spain when the war in Iraq began and the people took to the streets in protest. We actually feel safer alone than on a tour because we dress like the locals when we can. No one knows we are American.
I know it is a lot but take your time, think it through and see if any of this information may be of some help.You really shouldn't be paranoid. Bad stuff can and will happen. You need to be calm, embrace the adventure and learn to think of each day you make it through as giving you bragging rights. You will have a wonderful time.

Questions anyone? 


Aug 3, 2017

Living in the State of Denial

You have probably been to the State of know the one that is just south of Oblivious and on the road to Stupid! Yes, that is the one. Well that is where my husband and I live. When we are at home in that place, please do not come and visit.

Living in the State of Denial has its own problems...problems that come around and bite you on the behind. Even though you don't live in Stupid you will feel that way.

We are both so healthy and active that when we tip over for example, we decide that it is not our fault, go to bed for a little while and drink a gallon of water. We figure we are going to live forever and a nap will fix all problems.

Then one day one of us tips over in public and a big drama ensues. The people that know what they are talking about (paramedics) want us to take a trip to the hospital but we, in our infinite wisdom, decline as graciously as we can and go home. Now we have scared our family, undermined their confidence in our ability to make decisions and are about to face a big inconvenience. Darn.

The next day finds us sitting of hours in the ER at our local hospital, visiting the doctor within the next couple of day and being grounded by that same doctor. I hate when that happens...don't you?

So today we get to have a stress test...! Could all of this been avoided if we had just not been living in the State of Denial? I am thinking yes. Because now the doctors are trying to recreate what happened! Enduring that once was quite enough thank you.

Where do you live?


Note: The test reveals a healthy!