May 31, 2011

The Best Homes are Accessible to All!

Cousin Aunt Mom Cousin
Family at it's best!
As graduation approaches for my grandson we are all doing a little reminiscing.  Our children and grandchildren are all beautiful wonderful individuals.  I could not help noticing a quote from a website called Apartment Therapy.  The author was doing a little reflecting about a teaching career.  Here is what he said:
By falling serendipitously into teaching...., I deeply learned the impact that an environment has on a person (particularly children). I saw, first hand, that the children who did best in the classroom came from the best homes, but this had nothing to do with any rich/poor divide, and all of the ingredients of the good homes that I witnessed were accessible to all. (quote from Apartment Therapy.)

I loved the "accessible to all"!  We need to keep the values that are key ingredients for a "good home" even in our retirement.  It actually has nothing to do with money.  Think about it!

b
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May 30, 2011

3 BEST FOR MONDAY! Wine, Technology, and Kitchen Tool

The Short Bucket List!
I did not think I would ever say this but it seems I am creating a bucket list!  It turns out there are things I want  but can't have right now.  The list only has one item on it at this time.  I think I'll just stick with the one for now.  It is a pretty big thing.  I want to go shopping for clothes with an obscene amount of money!


And Things I Want NOW!
There are things I want and I want them now!  But only the best please.
Apple's Magic Trackpad
  1. Today I saw the new Magic Trackpad for a desktop computer.  I want it so bad.  I have been using a wireless mouse for several years now and it is beginning to click and drag.  I love the trackpad on a laptop but never dreamed I could have one for my desktop. I think I may not only want it but I also NEED one of these toys.  What do you think?  
  2. I also need the best micro-plane there is and I need it now. Every contemporary condo kitchen needs beautiful and functional tools.  I have one of these utensils in our little doll house in the dessert but did not bring it home with me.  I did not know that I used it so much until I returned home to a drawer full of antique graters that my grandmother owned.  As an aspiring gourmet cook (giggle) I feel it must have a beautiful colored handle. I found one at Cookware.com for only $14.95 +shipping.  I need it now.
  3. I want 12 or more bottles of Brazin (B)Old Vine Zinfandel wine...and I want it tonight. I love old vine zins and as a taster of wines, most of them very cheap, this wine is like heaven.  We had this wine for our Valentines Dinner at the Arizona Inn last spring and have talked about it ever since.  This last weekend when we were at the beach we found a bottle at the local Safeway store of all places.  After drinking our second bottle, I knew we were hooked for sure. (A list of local vendors is available on their website.) This wine is just so tasty I cannot get over it.  They said and I agree:

Brazin scoffs at lesser wines. The first sip of this decadent treat demands another – it's so shameless, so irresistible, so Brazin!
Don't forget Father's Day is coming and this wine would be the perfect gift.

There you have it...my 3 best for Monday.  1-2-3...how easy it could be.  Shopping is so much fun even when I am only dreaming.

Have a wonderful day!

b

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May 29, 2011

10 (actually 11) Great Graduation Gifts for Young Men in 2011... even better than money!

My daughter pointed out to me that "money" may be easy but it doesn't show how much you really care.  I suppose that is true.  Money is easy and buying the perfect gift isn't. If I do go shopping,  I must care a lot to even try to find a gift another person will actually love. I think the male high school graduate is probably the most difficult of all.

This is the plan that I use. I find out what the giftee likes or plans to do.  Will they bum around, go to college, get a job, move away from home, join the military or are they undecided?  Then I will need to put myself in their shoes and select what I hope they will like. I always include a gift receipt so they can return the gift if someone else has the same brilliant idea.

New Designs from Splendid Vinyl
Loved this fork cable organizer from
Apartment Therapy
When I created the list below I have assumed that the graduate is getting a computer or has one. I am also assuming that they will go on to college or technical school. I am assuming the high school graduate is a young man.

Graduation Gift for the Young Man (High School)
  1. The perfect backpack/computer case. There are so many beautiful examples anymore I don't even know where to start. REI has some very cool techy ideas for backpack.
  2. A vinyl decal to protect a laptop computer.
  3. A cappuccino maker for the dorm room or apartment. 
  4. A Starbucks Card loaded for bear!
  5. Lego Architecture set...just because they look cool and guys like them.
  6. Luggage/travel accessories.  This old standby needs to be updated though.  Cool carry on or duffel bags with wheels and trendy details could be perfect.
  7. Computer extras...zip drives, cables, cable organizers (Ikea under $10)
  8. Kindle reader.  Some textbooks will be down loadable on the e-reader devices.
  9. Dorm room accessories...a great pillow or logo stadium blanket.
  10. Noise Canceling Headphones.
  11. Make that 11 great gifts.  Have you seen the gorilla tripod for the iphone!
    I am hoping I can use serveral of these idea as a gifts for my grandson.  He will be graduating next weekend.  We are all very excited.

    Have a wonderful week!

    b
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    May 28, 2011

    Renewing my GRANDPARENT License! Humor!

    Coming home from Arizona is always a little bit of a shock.  We return from a life that is all about me-me-me-me-me-me to a life filled with family and a need in our bones for grandchildren.  We have chosen every year to renew our Grandparent License so we can spend time with the grandchildren.  The fee for this license is a boat load of good Grandmother behavior.  The family holds the power to issue the rights it implies.  I have a very hard time qualifying every year.  :-)

    The day we returned our grandson was playing in a Lacrosse game.  It was pouring rain and the temperature lingered at around 50 degrees.  It is those times that we wonder if we made the right choice by coming home.  Our daughter let us off the hook and said she didn't mind if we didn't come since we were "old" and "tired"!  I wondered when she would figure out that we are not that old and certainly not that tired. It was up to us she told us. So we did not go. I worry at times like that if we will qualify for the license again.

    photo by Fresh Look Photography by Kim
    Portland Metro Area
    Then we spent a great deal of time (4 complete days) with our small grandsons, Brayden (3) and Brycen (17 months).  I chases the little ones around while my husband did half the work and all the cooking.  I thought we were golden until the boys mom asked us to go to the children's museum.  Because I am a retired elementary teacher I flashed on recess duty immediately and turned the invitation down without a second thought.  After I came home I thought "Bad grandma!" and felt worried again about the license thing.    

    Am I a bad grandma or can I be forgiven because I have been at this "grandparent thing" for 19 years now?  I think that if I am not tired I really should be!  The jury is still out I guess.  I have never been a push over ever.  In fact I think I might be a little blunt and annoying.  Hopefully, my family knows my heart is in my chest and my brain is out to lunch.  Better yet I hope they will forgive me!

    Have a wonderful day.

    b
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    May 27, 2011

    Fab Over Fifty (or Sixty?)

    I am 69 years old...no lie!  In certain light I look every bit my age and then some.  In another I can almost find the young person I really am in my face.  Actually, I am not so in love with the mirror anymore. But if you give me beautiful clothes and a date with my husband to go dancing, the years fade away.  When I begin to feel down I remember what 69 looked like when my mother was that age and I am very content.  One of my favorite blogs called Fab Over Fifty published a post called What Fifty Used to Look Like.  Fifty now is what 25 used to be.  I guess it is all relative to how long we live.

    One of my new and exciting adventures includes inclusion in a group of women chosen as Gurus for the Fab Over Fifty website.  FOF is a place for experienced women to gather and learn how other women in their age bracket are living their lives.  I have gotten to feel very at home there.  In my roll as a Guru I am asked questions about the Portland area or just about anything that someone needs an answer for and I get to throw my two cents worth of advice in.  It is a lot of fun.

    I have a membership that I pay for each year.  In exchange I get to try the best beauty products and share my opinions about their effectiveness.  So far I have received a product for making the eye lashes grow called Lashfood Nano-Peptide Eyelash Conditioner and a filler by Clientele  designed to cover dark circles under the eye and act as a eyeshadow foundation.   I loved them both.  AND it has been so much fun to actually try those products.

    As a result of this experience,  I am taking a whole new look at my face and my age.  I am actually embracing who I am with a lot more enthusiasm.  Why?  Because I have found that beauty is not about age...in fact age is not about anything when it comes to our appearance.  I have always been what and who I am.  Whether I choose to feel good about that has always been my choice.  Fab Over Fifty has given me some new experiences that I would not have had if I had not been my age.  How cool is that.  I am doing what young people are not allowed to do!

    I feel fabulous and why not?  Get yourself on over to FOF and take a look.  It is a very interesting place to be.

    b
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    May 26, 2011

    10 Links for Family Friendly Seaside, Oregon Activities

    Note:  Be sure to click on the images for a full screen view.  See also 10 images of the Oregon Coast on my Hubpage link.
    Seaside, Oregon: Camera Buffs find perfect light for every shot!
    We just returned from a quick two day get away to Seaside, Oregon.  We own a timeshare with Wyndham Worldmark and were able to score a bonus time get away.  People in the Portland Metro area are accustomed to doing this type of thing.  The coast is only 40 minutes door to door.  We are retired so we can go any day of the week.  Portlanders just wait for a perfect day and scurry to family friendly Seaside year around to enjoy a day in the sun.  The waters of the Pacific Ocean keep temperatures very moderate both winter and summer.  It is warm when it is cold on the east side of the mountains in the winter.  The reverse is true in the hotter times of the year.

    The essence of Seaside, Oregon...
    kid friendly restaurants!
    Why Seaside you ask?  Well, this small community is a family friendly place...the most family friendly location I have ever been to.  We have been coming here since our children were small.  Let me give you an example.  We walked down the street to a restaurant called Dundee Bar and Grill yesterday morning and were greeted at the front door with a sign issued by the state of Oregon.  Minors Allowed...talk about your basic kid friendly eating establishment.  I don't believe I had ever seen this sign before.  When we walked in we were greeted by a bank of booths with TV screens hanging over each table.  Why?  The goal here, we were told by the manager, is to allow parents to eat even with small children by keeping the little wigglers entertained for an extra 20 or so minutes.  Sponge Bob will do that for you, he said.

    But if you are a retired person and don't want wigglers next to you, a no minors allowed section greets you and a bartender with serve you a cold beer from a very large selection of beers on tap. It seems almost impossible but this restaurant has figured out how to keep every age group and life style happy.

    So Seaside has the total package for children of all ages.  I loved shopping at boutiques for clothes.  The streets are filled with senior citizens enjoying the Seaside atmosphere. Parents can ride bumper cars with children, play at the arcade, rent wheels for the beach, visit the aquarium or simply sit on the beach and enjoy the wonders of that beautiful Pacific Ocean. Kite flying is possible everyday of the year and kite shops sell every type of kite imaginable. The list goes on and on.  There is even a carousel inside a small shopping mall.  The souvenir shops do not over shadow all the other business yet they are available for those that want to take home a trinket or two.

    Links for Best of Seaside area:

    1. Restaurant:  Dundee Bar and Grill  Prices are right and families are welcome.
    2. Timeshare:  Worldmark by Wyndham
    3. New Inn:  Inn at the Prom by Seaside Lodging
    4. Drive:  North to Gearheart and Fort Clatsop National Memorial
    5. Shopping:  Seaside and Cannon Beach
    6. Iconic image:  Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach 
    7. Small Boutique in Seaside:  B Boutiques (beautiful clothes you won't see at Macy's)
    8. Golf Course:  Gearhart Golf Links (this authentic links style golf course has been located just off the beach in Gearhart since 1892)
    9. Kites:  Above All Kites
    10. Wheels:  Wheel Fun Rentals
    11. (an added thought!)  Romancing the Home located at the Gearhart exit.  This small business features an eclectic mixture of decorating objects both very old and very new.  I scored a West Elm decorative pot for $19.00.  It was the only thing I purchased on this get away.

    More information is available through sites put up for the Chamber of Commence and tourism websites for the State of Oregon.  I think this location just might be a dream come true for grandparents and families traveling to the state.  Keep it in mind!

    b
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    May 24, 2011

    Child Friendly Seaside, Oregon's newest....Inn at the Prom

    A quick get away to the beach!
    We are staying at the Wyndham World Mark Resort here in Seaside, Oregon.  We have owned in this company for more than 15 years and I have yet to score the "room with a view"! I don't know if they even have a room with a view for people like us that do not want nor need the big rooms.  But still...it would be nice to get one just once.  I told the girl at the desk this time to tell me I had a room with a view even if it was a lie.  Well, what I got was a room with a "side view" which mean is that if I lean over the balcony a little ways I can see an unobstructed look at the ocean.  Really, it is better than nothing! And the desk girl did not have to lie.  That is good too.

    I could not believe it when we arrived on a Monday afternoon in May to find this child friendly resort popping with families at play.  I don't know what I expected because Seaside is know for it appeal to young people of all ages.

    Inn at the Prom
    When we looked out our side view window, we could see a small inn just across the street.  As we went to bed last night the sign on the street said "NO Vacancy".  My curiosity got the better of me so I wandered across the street to see if they were indeed full on a Monday night.  I had a lovely conversation with one of the owners who admitted that "no, they were not totally full."  In fact they only opened last weekend.  They just turn on the no vacancy sign if there is no one in the office.  The small inn is located in a very old building that has been restored to it's former glory. A large building fronts onto the beach and a row of motel united sit directly behind that. It has been totally gutted and every room is absolutely gorgeous. How do I know?  Well, he gave a me tour.

    The rooms feature beautiful pillow top mattress, microwaves and sinks.  Six of the units have unobstructed ocean views and the whole inn is located directly on the Promenade that fronts the Pacific Ocean from north to south here in Seaside.  AND it sits just one block off of the main street that runs east to west.  This does not qualify as a "cheap" motel but I still thought the rates were reasonable for it's location and amenities.

    Believe it or not my family stayed in a room in this old house almost 35 years ago.  My children were small and the room was musty and dark.  But, we were on the beach and that was all we cared about.  I remember my oldest son getting up the first morning after our arrival and yelling "Mom, come look. The ocean is still waving!"

    Seaside, Oregon  
    Seaside is one of those charming little communities that line the Oregon coast. Tourism is a huge part of their income base and residents are friendly, helpful and very down to earth. I love the small shops that line the main street. In Oregon, access to the beach is unlimited. No motel or hotel can lay claim to the beach or block access to it. Almost all the street running east and west end with a trail to the beach.  Oregonians know that the weather here in Seaside can be cool but if a good day comes along it will be beautiful in Seaside. We were lucky enough this visit to have two beautiful warm (60 degrees) days.

    Better yet Seaside is a "kid" friendly resort destination.  Children are welcome and encouraged.  There is something for every age from the small children right up though the teens.  Restaurants are set up for big families and the motels cater to multi-generational gatherings.  That is so huge in this day and age.

    Locals recommend two child friendly restaurants ... Dooger's Seafood Grill or Norma's Ocean Diner just off Broadway.  We have never been disappointed.  The Inn on the Prom might be the perfect place for you but if not, the town is filled with bed and breakfasts or motels.  You will find the perfect fit for your needs.

    If you are staying in Portland, the Sunset Highway #26 drives right into the setting sun, hence the name.  It is a beautiful drive and the destination is everything you could ever want.

    We have made a couple of other wonder discoveries this time at the beach but those will have to wait for another day.

    Be well.

    b

    Tom McCall is the governor of Oregon 
    that is responsible for our
     wonder beach access laws.

    May 22, 2011

    Older Drivers, Wrecks and Keeping my Grandchildren Safe!

    Fort Buchanan's Golf Club Cart, July 4, 2006. ...Image via WikipediaMy grandson was in a wreck.  His mother's VW Jetta was totaled.  He is sore but not permanently damaged.  The other driver was at fault and was given a ticket.  My Grandson did not get a ticket.  He is 17 and the other driver is 86.  We can only hope that this lady had good insurance on her car.

    WHO SHOULD WE WORRY ABOUT
    This post is about two worlds colliding.  We all worry about our teens and how they will handle a world of speed, traffic and danger.  A child is so precious.  They do grow up and want to look grown up.  That is where cars come into play.  Other than sex, I suppose parents worry more about their teen driver than anything else.  A parent and grandparent's worst nightmare is having the child be in a wreck.  But, as this wreck leads us to believe, maybe it is not the teen driver we should be worrying about.  Maybe it is the grandparent driver.

    DO THE RULES APPLY TO YOU?
    If you are a senior driver, I think the rules of the road apply especially to you.  Drinking and driving is a BIG no no.  Good insurance is a must.  There is even senior citizen car insurance and AARP provides for part of your insurance needs.  Losing your abilities to drive safely and do all those things involved in driving means you will loose your right to drive.  That is not good.  But in so many cases it saves the world from accidents.

    GOLF CARTS?
    On The Sunday Morning show today they featured a story about The Villages in Florida. It seems seniors are turning to the reliable, safer golf cart when they are denied a driver's license.  Those people that live in retirement communities buy fancy carts and drive them on streets designed for golf carts.

    BOOMERS GETTING OLDER
    In the world of the boomer we are finding that an aging population is creating problems we have not even thought about. Golf carts are not allowed on city streets or freeways. Older drivers in high traffic areas with ever changing types of traffic signals and patterns are a danger to everyone.  The younger people in Florida have been talking about snowbirds for years. Retirees attached to oxygen tanks are peering through the steering wheel to see the road.  Younger people are frightened by the thought of what might happen if one of these retirees should wander into their lane of traffic.  My grandson is a testament to what can happen.

    WHAT ARE WE TO DO
     Getting old is bad enough. Slowing responses to emergency situations and limited mobility/vision/mental capacity can be a real problem.  But no car???? Talk about a shrinking world!  But there are things we can do:
    • Learn to use public transportation.
    • Budget for a taxi.
    • Learn about senior citizen buses.
    • Live in a place close to public transportation or in a community with services nearby.
    • Be social with neighbors...the need to be out on the road will be greatly reduced.
    • Walk...it's good for you.
    • If you must drive, do it earlier in the day when you are more alert.
    It is just a thought!

    b
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    May 20, 2011

    Retirement: Living a Social Life....link to 10 tips + Color

    I receive emails from people that share my interest in writing about retirement.  The other day I had a note from Mary Edwards regarding an article she had posted about getting to know your neighbors in a retirement community. This is what she had to say:

    We posted an article, "10 Tips for Building Relationships in Your Retirement Community(http://www.bestdatingsites.org/blog/2011/10-tips-for-building-relationships-in-your-retirement-community/), and I thought that you or your readers might find it interesting.
    I don't believe I had ever given a thought to ways that you might build relationship in a new setting.  I am the kind that walks out onto the street and just visits with who ever is handy.  But, if I were wanting to build some solid connections with those people that lived close by I think it would take a lot more than that.  I would need a list of 10 ways to connect with other people.  If I were single and wanted to get to know someone to dance with or go see a movie, it might be up to me to let others know I was open to that kind of thing.  Mary's website is for those people that are interested in dating.  

    I had a couple of favorites within her list.  The suggestion that we share our grandchildren by taking them out for a walk surely is a conversation starter.  I also like the idea of giving holiday cards and delivering them by hand...a little gift of candy or cookies is always a good accompaniment.  I would suggest that you wear an engraved name pin of some kind. I see that Amazon has a couple of different types.
    From Advanced Style...adding color to your life.


    Ari Cohen over at Advanced Style talked about a make-over one of his friends had received as a gift.  The lady had been avoiding color in her life and was suffering from the blahs!  I was thinking this morning how color is such a social thing.  A bright color or even a gorgeous scarf invites conversation and comments.  We might even think about how we dress when we are wanting to get to know our neighbors. Color is always a good thing!


    I hope you are having a wonderful day.


    b

    May 19, 2011

    How Retirees Make Money Playing on their Computers at Home!

    My husband and I have been making a little income online for quite a while now.  I write a blog and use an sematic generated advertising service called Kontera.  My husband plays around answering questions.  We can spend as little or as much time as we want doing this.  A lot of retiree are doing the same thing.

    In a recent article AARP touted the wonderful possibilities of working from your own home. Retirees that have time on their hands and need an income are working from their bedrooms or offices for a third party internet service company that supplies customer services.  The service AARP talked about was Alpine Service.   They help enhance customer satisfaction for companies like Home Depot.   I was very impressed with the idea that age or even a disability does not need to stand in your way if you want to make some extra money.

    We spend part of our leisure time doing much the same thing.  We are not interested in a full time job or even the kind of retirement income that comes with signing up with a company like Alpine Service mentioned in the AARP article. We have taken a different approach to retirement income.


    Blogging and Advertising with Kontera To Help my Readers
    On this blog I have chosen to use two services that provide links for income to bloggers like me.  One of those services is related to Google and the other is Kontera.  I signed up with Kontera when the contextual advertising service came to my attention on HubPages. Kontera has turned out to be a win win for me. This service looks at the semantics of each article and then highlights the important keywords that they find.  Then they do what is called a "content link".   In the world of publishing online, keywords are the words that we bloggers use to make your search for our material easier.

    While I continue to do research to find what you will find interesting,  Kontera reinforces the validity of that research.  When the reader runs their cursor over the highlighted words in the articles, they are given a preview of the product linked to the article. They can then choose to take a look at the link or move on.

    Helping you find what you need!
    For example, in this blog about retirement I write about living stylishly. I featured article about the 10 Best Gifts for Senior Citizens at Christmas and pointed the way to items like hearing aids...very stylish hearing aids.  My Kontera service highlighted links featuring ads about this location because it fits with what I write. It works the same when I write about  holidays or special occasions, beauty for boomers, family, cooking or dining or smart shopping. I receive income when people look at the material and decide to learn more by following the link. It saves me time and it helps my readers become better consumers.

    What does this mean?  This means that by doing what I love to do, write, I can automatically earn extra income. It is as though I get to work at the candy store! 

    Online Questionnaires and Surveys
    My husband on the other hand has been answering online reward questionnaires and online reward surveys for quite sometime. Most of his time is spent at a website called E-Rewards.  He signed up to fill out the questionnaires online quite sometime ago and has been accumulating points. He received the "reward" when he cashed in his points at Best Buy for a Garmin GPS valued at over $200.  I was very impressed. He likes the process and keeping track of his points. I on the other hand, like the reward.  Getting lost is not a good thing.

    FYI
    I am here to tell you that there is no get rich quick scheme that is going to actually make you rich. You will only become part of the "scheme". I learned very long ago that an idea that promotes instant riches will raise your hopes but won't raise your income. What works is WORK....GOOD OLD FASHIONED WORK. In our retirement we are free to try new things...that is the beauty of this time in our lives.  But any outfit that wants money so you can earn money is just plain fishy!  Don't pay to sign up for anything.  Do your research and pay attention.  Scams just make me mad!

    I just thought you might want to know about earning money online, at home while having fun.  I do not recommend nor guarantee anything.  You must be your own keeper.

    b
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    May 15, 2011

    7 Best Books Links + How To Judge Best Books before You Read

    I am in the market for a list for summer reading.  Here is what I found.  Links for books that ranked in 2010:

    Best Books for 2010: Book Beast
    Oregon Live regional and national best sellers in 2010 

    New Article on Senior Citizens and ebook readers:  Will Senior Citizens Embrace E-book?

    Finding just the right book in this day and age is very difficult.  There are so many books on the market and I always think that perfect book is out there waiting on me.  But it is very hard to choose.  I have a tendency to love a certain kind of art on the cover.  But like a beautiful lady, the cover does not reflect was is inside. When I shop in a books store I have to be careful of the beautiful covers.  I instead try to be more selective.  I buy...
    • if a books has been recommended by two people I know, it is a winner. If a book has won prizes in categories I respect and enjoy.  The Pulitzer Prize winners are evergreen in that they are good no matter when they were written.
    • if a book is second hand and it is so worn it is almost falling apart.
    • if a book is written by an author I have enjoyed before.
    • if a book has been chosen as a featured book by the book sellers at my favorite book store.
    • if a book is one that has been read by other readers with like tastes in reading.  (I check on Amazon to see what other readers are reading.)
    • if a book appears on more than one best books list.

    b

    May 13, 2011

    How to stay young! Spend time with children.

         I have always loved being a grandmother...well most of the time.  I didn't like to be in trouble with my daughter-in-law or my children.  I didn't like it when my grandchildren tested my powers or brought me to my knees with crying shrieks.  Still, when I look back to the beginning, I think I always loved it.  Now 19 years later my second grandchild will be graduating from high school.  How can that be.  When this child was born I felt very young, like a parent myself.  I thought of my children as my peers and I moved with the same energy they had.  I have come to believe that I feel as youthful today as I did then.  Maybe, just maybe the grandchildren are the reason.  I know they say laughter keeps us young.  If that is true, I will never grow old.
         This grandchild is the one that wanted to know when his grandfather and I were going to get real jobs like his mom and dad.  We were retired and he was worried we were lazy. Following this line of reasoning he decided one day that I could get a job at the "untying store" because I had managed to untangles a very long string that was connected to his lego set.  He was thinking there was hope for me after all.
          This is the grandson that would hang onto the timeout chair with all his life.  It was as though he thought it would fly away if he didn't.  He flew around himself and had only his own actions to judge the chair by.
          This is the grandchild that knew the value of a dollar.  I sent him to the dollar store one time while I shopped for fabric.  He bought three rolls of electrical tape.  He knew the power of electrical tape and called his mom to tell her about the good deal he had made.
          This is the grandson that bought me a water tight box for my ipod just in case I ever fell out of a canoe.  He valued my ipod a lot.  I have never been in a canoe and don't plan to be.  But just in case....
          This is the grandson that was sent home from the baby sitters because he wanted to share his new big boy underwear with superman on it. The sitter was upset when he pulled down his pants in the back yard.  Several years later he discovered the pee hole in his underwear and wondered if grandpa knew about that hole in big boy underwear.  It was the most convenient thing he had ever discovered.
          I took this boy to watch houses being built and made his grandfather stop so he could get a good look at big trucks and construction equipment.  I thought it was funny that he thought I was the one that would love seeing the houses and went along willingly.
          He and his sister stayed at home for several summers in a row with me and I drove him to the velodrome so he could ride bicycles there.  I watched him develop courage at speeds that blew me away.  I am very grateful I was the one that was allowed to observe him on that course.
          So you tell me.  Where did the time go?  He is 18 and I still feel very young.  Is it possible that we will enjoy adulthood together?  Grown up people living in the same world?  I am willing if he is.
          So my grandson E-man,  Congratulations!  I hope you have loved being with me as much as I have with you.  Thanks for the memories.

    I love you,
    Grandma b
         
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    May 10, 2011

    Independent (Mom/Pop) Motels on the Oregon Coast

    Newport Bay, Oregon
         Mom/Pop motels have been on my mind.  I had not even thought about that mid-century way of travel for years. Back in the day when a two laned Route 66 wound across the southern part of our country the motel was not a luxury in any sense of the word.  Rooms were small and children slept on the floor or in a roll away bed.  The car might have been parked in a small garage or carport next to the room and there was not TV or even a radio.  But you would find them just in the nick of time before the whole family collapsed in a heap beside the road.  The sign would say "Cabin's" and a big vacancy sign would tell you that you had survived another day.  Ah, the road trips of old!  Old Route 66 is mostly gone now.  There are a few stretches of the road that are still in use but the freeway that replaced it has killed any businesses that existed back in the early days.
         Independent (Mom/Pop) hotels/motels are usually very affordable.  For those of us that want to travel in luxury but don't want to pay the big price they can be the answer.  I have never regretting the adventure.
         Here in the northwest we had our wonderful Highway 30 and there were cabins nestled in small valleys or tiny towns with one cafe.  Most of those small places are gone.  Highway 30 has been replace by I-84 and access to small towns is invisible.  But, if you are interested in the experiencing the motels that were new in the 1950's or 1960's, you can still do that.  Oregon coast Highway 101 is still has only 2 lanes most of the way down the Oregon coast.  As a result these small motels have managed to survive.
        Last summer when we were in Newport, Oregon for a family gathering, my husband and I explored this jewel on the Oregon Coast.  Our walk took us to a very old hotel named for the beach it overlooked.  The Sylvia Beach Hotel is a refuge for readers.  The hotel features rooms decorated to suit the taste of a particular author.  Mark Twain and Agathe Christie rooms are available.  It is the perfect place to stay if you are a reader.  If you aren't a reader,  stay there anyway.  I don't think you will regret it.  The Sylvia is much older than that 1950's midcentury type of motel but in Oregon these very old hotels are not that unusual.
    Sylvia Beach Hotel
    image by Barbara
    This is truly a hotel for book lovers. There are no tv's, radios, or telephones in the rooms and no wi-fi.  It is a quiet place on most days.  Except for the glorious storms. Then the wind howls, the building shakes, and the rain pounds down. Some days it's warm and sunny and the sky is bright blue. Some days there's morning fog. Some days the wind makes you stay inside and read! Some days are rainbow days, the weather just can't decide. The ocean is always present. (The hotel is on a 45 foot bluff right above the surf.) You move into the rhythm of the sea. Perhaps that's why time seems to slow way down, almost to a standstill.
          During high season motels fill up very quickly on the Oregon coast.  Driving down the coast searching for a motel can be risky at best.  If you are one of those people that love the adventure of just driving until you are tired, you can take a chance.  But if you do, you are probably going to be left with fewer choices.  So the trick is not to be stuck in a filthy, bedbug infested room.  In the old days we would ask to see the room.  Today I would do exactly the same thing.  Why do I think that if you demand to see the room before you actually exchange money, the owner will show you the cleanest unit they have.
          Up and down the coast independent motels and hotels abound.  They are rated at * or ** and are very affordable.  By going to Oregon Coast Motels you will find a list of independently owed businesses that might meet your needs.  The one that caught my eye was called Ocean Cove Inn located in Yachats Village. Yachats is about halfway between Newport and Florence. Rates are very reasonable and the reviews seem to be very good.
          The central Oregon coast is known for it number of beach access points and charming villages set on the coastline. On the Pacific Ocean in the United States beach access is a rare thing.  But Oregon has set aside it's beaches for the public so everyone owns the beaches and access to those beaches can not denied.
          So, if you are the adventurous type, travel until you are tired, find a place with a vacancy, ask to see the room first and check in or not.  If you aren't the adventurous type, go to independent motels on your google search and find out all you can before you check in.  I personally would prefer a very small motel because I like to get to know my host/hostess.  Usually people running these kinds of businesses are willing to go the extra mile to make you comfortable.  I alway carry my own pillows when I travel.  Bedspreads are thrown on the floor and I make sure the sheets are covering the blanket.  I find that a motel that gives me the creeps is not a good thing.  By doing the basic things to make myself feel comfortable I sleep better and have a wonderful time.

    b

    May 9, 2011

    Portland Metro Condo for Sale...Ghosts not Included!

    At Home with my Ghost
         I don't know if the old stinky farmer is really a ghost or not.  All I know is that once his odor appeared in a farm house he has never been out of our life. In fact he has followed us each time we moved.
         He became a part of our lives when my husband and I were young.   My husband was hired as a high school principal in Ontario Oregon and we bought an hundred year old Victorian house that was located at the back of the high school.  It had sat in the middle of an orchard at one time. Three of the bedrooms were upstairs and one down. We all chose to sleep up because my children were still more comfortable with us nearby.  
        My daughter occupied the back corner room. It was a charming room with wispy curtains and flowered wall paper.  Woodpeckers lived inside the walls because they liked that the house was made of cedar.  And a ghost shared the room with her. You have to understand that my daughter did not want to be alone and was the spookiest child ever born. But she did not mind the ghost. In fact she was comforted by the smell of sweat.  I, on the other hand, did not care for the smell so I crawled on my hands and knees sniffing the carpet as I went about the room.  I could not find a source for the stink.  We finally just accepted it along with the 20 layers of wall paper and wind blowing through the cracks around the windows.  
        When we sold the house several years later the ghost was quite upset.  The new owner found the pipes leaking from the upstairs bathroom into the basement skipping the kitchen located just beneath it altogether. Every pipe in that old basement was dripping water as though it were raining.  About a week later the trap under one sink in the downstairs bathroom exploded as though a bomb had been placed in it.  There was no explanation for any of the events. I finally lost my patience and yelled at the farmer (in front of the buyer unfortunately) telling him that he was getting really nice people to live with him and I wanted him to quit!  He left the house alone and decided to move with us into the new house close by.  The buyers moved into the old house soon thereafter.
         He stuck with us through two more moves his odor appearing in rooms without any reason.  But as the years passed and my children left home, we thought he had finally found a new family and  forgotten about us.  
         We now live in a condo in Portland Metro area and are trying very hard to sell. We are growing old. A sign is posted in front and we have cleaned from top to bottom.  We talk about moving quite a bit. I think he must still be with us and has become uneasy. Why?  Well this is what happened. Night before last we were sound asleep when the bedroom light over our bed came on. We tried everything to get them turned off.  I flicked the wall switch and finally climbed up on the bed so I could pull the string on the fan where the light was located.  It took several tugs before the light finally dimmed.
    Our Friendly Ghost has Payed a Call
    Condo for Sale (we will take the
    Ghost with us!)
          The next morning we got up and there was no water in the toilet.  I sat up in bed trying to figure out what was going on. All I could think was that our ghost was back. I really don't know but I had a visit with that other worldly presence in our life just in case...we are going to move and I promise we will sell to nice people, I said.  But, if you don't like them, you can always come with us.  Then I waited.  
          My grandchildren have asked if the ghost is a nice ghost.  Yes he is, I answered without hesitation.  Their parents just smiled and nodded.  Isn't it nice when even the ghosts become treasures that can be passed from one generation to the next.
          Our condo is for sale.  We need to sell badly.  The stories are included but I can tell you right now that ghost will be coming with us.  I can guarantee it!

    b

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    May 7, 2011

    Frugal Traveler of NYTimes smacked me down! Sigh!

         "Never pick a fight with someone that buys ink by the barrel." I know this is one of life's important truths. Now I find myself being quoted by, of all people, Seth Kugel's Frugal Traveler Blog published by the New York Times...and not in a good way!  
         This is what happened.  Recently he twitted about a motel he had stayed at in Florida on one of his road trips. The motel had a full parking lot, it was late in the day and he was proving that travel was possible even if you are not rich so he could write an article for his blog.  The motel owner and his tenants were very friendly and helpful.  He twitted saying that the motel was the friendliest place ever. After I read his twit I was curious to see what the motel looked like.  What I found on google was a picture of the backside of a rundown motel.  I wondered if this was the same motel Mr. Kugel was talking about. I had a question. So I sent a twit reply to Seth asking him to tell me if the place was actually clean.  He mentioned the nice people but did not rate the motel in the twit.  I was wondering.  This is what he wrote about the exchange in the blog he posted last weekend.
    “Ocean Mist Motel in Ormond Beach, Fla: friendliest place ever?” I tweeted as I left.
    Back shot @barbblogtwits: “I took a look at this on Google. Are you sure this is clean? I would not go there on purpose and I’m not picky!” To me, that was pure anti-motel bias compounded by an amateurish Web site.
         Ouch!  I had to ask myself am I "anti-motel"?  I know I am an amateur but "anti-motel"?  I don't own anything nor am I employed by anyone. I just write about what I see and hear.  AND I stay in motels, both bad and good all the time.  Like the Frugal Traveler I think the best part of any stay is the people, their generosity and love for life.  It was just a simple question. Right?  Evidently I hit a nerve.
          This morning I returned to the search for this little motel and found wonderful reviews and pictures to back them up.  The picture I saw originally was nowhere to be found. It turns out I should not have been worried. All the Trip Adviser reviews for the motel went like this:

    Date of review: Mar 10, 2011 
    My wife and I have stayed with Chuck twice - once at the end of bike week last year and again during bike week this year. I love the place. It's the "Mom and Pop" type of motel that I love to find when traveling. It appears that Chuck (owner) is constantly fixing the place up and our rooms have been clean on both occasions (believe me, it would have only been one stay if my wife had walked into a less than desirable room). Chuck makes you feel like you're staying at a friend's house. I love the quiet atmosphere (even during bike week) and will certainly be going back. By the way, there's a great diner within walking distance called Alfie's. Don't miss it! Great food at reasonable prices - morning, noon, and night. See you next time Chuck...
     So here is what I have learned:
    1. Never question a man that buys ink by the barrel.  
    2. Don't mess with the Frugal Traveler or ask him for more information
    3. Don't believe what you see on Google...the search can be flawed in so many ways.
    4. I don't want to be a professional.  I prefer my "amateurish" status.  Thank you very much!
    5. If I am ever in Florida at Ormond Beach I will try to book a room at the Ocean Mist Motel!
    6. Dirty motels are creepy.  Seth Kugel said, "And nothing makes getting out of bed easier than waking up in a place that gives you the willies."
    7. I still don't want to book a motel unless I am fairly sure it is going to be clean...no matter how nice the owners are.
         So there you have it.  My 3 seconds of fame!  I am so glad I got that over with.  Now I will be moving on. I just needed to get it off my chest.


    b
       
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    May 6, 2011

    10 Best Road-Trip Gadgets Gifts....Great 2011 Links+ Images

         I love technology, gadgets and travel.  Those are the things that light my fire.  While I can do without a lot of things, there are things that I think I would like to have.  Keep in mind that my husband and I do not travel "top drawer" nor do we travel "slumming it".  In this particular case we follow the middle of the road. The things we do not have but would like could fill a lot of pages but not much room in our luggage.
        We have just returned from a trip that took us 5 days on the road.  The motels we stayed in were equipped with the basic needs like a hairdryer and a small coffee pot.  Even though most provided shampoo and lotion we save those items for homeless shelters or abused women shelters.  A fancy shopping bag holds the essentials like toiletries and pills  But there are extra things that could make our life a lot easier. Here is my "dream list" of travel gifts.
    PowerCurl

    Switch from Quirky
    Gorrillapod from Joby
      Ecoflo Stainless Steel Water Filter Blue Bottle - 27 oz - Bottle
    1. The perfect pocket tool called simply Switch.
    2. Power Curls for all my cords.
    3. Kindle and clip on Light for Kindle
    4. EcoFlow Stainless Steel Water Bottle/filter. Water in the car saves my body a lot of grief.
    5. DigiDude Tripod for my camera. (functions as a keychain too!)  I also liked the Gorillapod.
    6. First Aid Travel Kit
    7. Travel Pill Dispenser (I really want two of these...pills drive us nuts!)
    8. Large Duffle bags (they would take up less room than our hard sided luggage).
    9. Digi Dude
    10. Audio books down loaded on our smart phone to be listened to on those boring stretches of roads.  I read Water for Elephants and it would be perfect!  A gift card for my Kindle would be nice now. (a gift card for this would be very nice!)
    11. Pillows...really nice pillows.
    Maybe you can add some ideas for me..  If you are buying for me, keep in mind that I will be going to China one day soon.  Hint! Hint!

    b