Showing posts from January, 2012

Should you have to choose between eyeglasses or food??

Really, didn't you have to choose between a months worth of groceries or seeing the last time you went to purchase eyeglasses?  I know I did.  

After I went through cataract surgery last summer I still needed glasses.  The cost of that one pair of bifocals blew me away.  I did not feel I could afford the progressive lenses even though I had insurance. The idea of getting sunglasses and reading glasses were simply out of the question. There had to be a better way.

Then I began thinking about purchasing another pair of glasses online.  I remembered visiting a website called GlassesUSA so I visited their website again. They offered:

Cheap eyeglassesA website application that allow me to see how the glasses would look before I bought.Specific instructions on how to find the right fit.  Coupons and discount codes.A guarantee that I was getting the lowest price.But I wanted even more.  I wanted good customer service. To test the service I sent GlassesUSA.comcustomer service this question:

Games...a few choices for you.

HOW MANY DIFFERENT GAMES DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PLAY?  Why?  Well retirement is all about becomes a game. 
I, for example, I play with words.  The blog is my game board and words are the game tiles.  Still other love a game of golf or a game of bocce.  Card games, including Texas Hold em, are great favorites around here.  My friend played in a bocce tournament with us this morning and left immediately to play Bridge.
I am just pointing this out to you because I believe that games and puzzles are a wonderful way to keep our minds alive and allow us to socialize with others. 
Here in Rincon East RV Resort you will need to be fearless...this is your opportunity to learn new things in the company of people just like you. You can take that first yoga class with other people that are taking their first class.  You can play your first bocce game with beginners like you.  Age is not a factor...the leaders in our bocce ball tournament include people in their eighties and people much, m…

10 Things I Cannot Live Without...all available online!

I am inviting you to think about this...10 things that you could not live without.  I am retired, 69 and live in a small space.  If you were wanting to shop for my favorite things this is what you would look for:
My microroplane zester...I yearned for one of these for years but just could not make myself buy one.  I even used a rasp from my husband's shop for a while.The exfoliating gloves I use in my shower.  My Kindle reader...this device has made it possible for me to read again.My Apple iPad 2.Girly shoes.  I love shoes.The Pendleton blanket that belonged to my parents.My NeckPillow by Tempur-Pedic Apple iMac 7-Inch Desktop Dyson Vacuum Cleaner  Really, I will never own another brand.  It is the best.My iphone (4s is coming next)...I even take most of my pictures for this blog with it. There you have it.  If I were to go shopping for all your favorite things was would you suggest?


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What If You Get Sick-Travel Preparedness

Here is a problem that I have never talked about: How to be prepared when you are on the road and get a cold or worse yet the flu? Yikes! Now this does happen boys and girls.  As optimistic as I am you would think I would just not worry about this but I do.  It can be a big problem. While I don't have all the answers I do have a few steps you should take before you board a plane, set out on the road in a car or a motor home. Be prepared!  (PLEASE leave a comment if you have more or better ideas.  I will link to a blog post if you have written about this too.) 

We are going to make the assumption that you have insurance or are on Medicare.
Before you drive pack your bags be sure to contact your doctor and let them know what you are up to. I suggest that you go to the office and get a quick going over just to make sure you are good to go.  Get a flu shot far enough in advance that it is effective If you are leaving the country be sure to ask your doctor about any other needed immuni…

Stylish Simple Living...what should you keep!

Bob Lowry wrote a post the other day about living simply but not having a simple life. He spoke of people going over board with the "simple living" principal stripping their life of all those things that are not needed. I began to think about that idea.

We have just returned from a trip to Viet Nam where we visited a community in north Vietnam called Sapa. Here children played without shoes or even pants on days when I was wearing a coats and scarves. The people that lived in the countryside lived on the bare minimum. But, they still gathered things of beauty around them.  Native costumes with lively colors adorned the women and they spent their days weaving and embroidering things that they sold in markets. In fact, beauty surrounded them. On some level it was as though the difficulties of their life was made more bearable because of the colors that they embraced. I think that we can take a lesson from this. Not all the things in our life are disposable. There are things we…

I live with a cat....sigh!

Living with a cat has got to be one of the most frustrating experiences one will ever have.  I live with a cat and a husband.  The husband loves the cat.  As a result I do not have any control in my world at all.

We traveled with the cat in a cage this fall...well for a while.  Then the cat demanded to be let out so we did.  There was no choice.  The cat can be a little whiny and besides that he will scratch me if I don't obey his every command.  Not when I displease him but later in the the dark.  I don't like that at all.

Now he lives with us in our park model.  This cat was wild when we found him and still does not like to be in a small space.  We, however, live in a part of our RV park that does not allow pets outdoors...RV the Cat doesn't understand and escapes as often as possible.  I don't suppose he can help himself.  I don't think he knows that there are places in the RV resort where he could be on a lease outdoors yet. When he runs away, I will …

Frugal Travel....Vietnam might be the place!

I was reading the Frugal Traveler this morning.  Author of the column, Seth Kugel, writes for the New York Times and is the "guru" of cheap travel.  You remember him...he was the one that blasted this blog out of the water last spring.  The article today is about Portugal.  Now that really is a place I would like to visit. But.....

In my world the Far East (excluding China) is by far the best buy for the frugal traveler right now.  We just returned from a trip to China and Vietnam. We visited Sapa, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the island of Phú Quốc in Viet Nam and Shanghai in China. If I were looking for the most frugal of all adventures, Vietnam would be my choice right now...that is what I know so indulge me.

Flight: $1450 (from Tucson AZ)Rooms:  $20+ Sapa Boutique Hotel, $140 Grand Hotel Ho Chi Minh City, $20-$100 Hanoi, $150 Cassia Cottages Phú Quốc (included breakfast).  This is a resort so the price is higher but in this case I think it is probably a very good choice.Tr…

Stein Mart Coupons and ME!

Stein Mart here in Tucson (and maybe nationwide) is having a sale today (1/21/12).  Valentines day is coming.  We are going dancing next week end.  Did I mention...I love Stein Mart!  This is the store designed for women that like classic, beautiful, stylish, and inexpensive clothes.  It is a wonderful stop even if they are not having a sale.  Doesn't that describe you?  Really, this store is just perfect.  In fact, walking in the door will have your heart pumping.  At least that is what it does for me.

I love a good sale and I LOVE STEIN MART!  That is all I have today.

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How Old is Your Retirement Financial Advisor?

If I were a financial advisor I would really want to be near the age of the person I was advising or have dealt personally with the problems of a family member or friend that was retired!  The internet is filled with ads for people that want to tell others who are retiring how to invest their money and how much retirement income they will need.  But, unless they have been personally and emotionally involved in the finances of a senior, they probably know zip!

I was reading an article put out by a leading financial group the other day saying the same thing.  According to the person writing this article, the thing most advisors are forgetting is the emotional and financial cost of maintaining our bodies (health care).  The money figures they quoted were staggering.

According to the estimates in Figure 2, a man age 55 in 2009 would need between $144,000 and $290,000 by the time he reached age 65 in 2019 (depending upon his use of prescription drugs in retirement) to have a 50 percent chan…

You Don't need to be Bored in Retirement! Hobbies

Note:  I welcome you to become a follower, comment or even click the twitter button to share with your followers.  Thank you for stopping by. I heard from a Keith of Keith's Ramblings the other day.  He has just retired and commented on his own blog that he was already bored!  Being the helpful person I am, I suggested he become a clown.  He could join the circus!

Even though I was only joking, in some small way I was serious.  Have you ever dreamed of being a clown...or a writer or a pro-golfer?  Retirement is the time when you can pursue those dreams. The fact that you do not need the income frees you to do what you want without fear of starving!  All you have to do is start.  But being bored really should not be a choice.  You may have a little let down when you retire but before long you will begin thinking about what you will do next.  Retirement will last a long time so "next" is the key word here.

I always wanted to be a writer.  I woke up every morning for years …

How much do your children love you?

In an article written for the New York Times on their Sunday Review Opinions page, Hendrik Hartog, professor of history at Princeton wrote our current financial picture in relationship to the care elderly people are receiving now in comparison to the time before Social Security.  The article called Bargaining for a Child's Love is part of 10 years of research that Hartog did on the role families played in the caring for family members.

This story takes place sometime at the turn of the century.  As was common at that time a daughter had remained in the family home to care for the parents even after she married.  According to court records from New Jersey, in 1904 this daughter was finding it impossible to be the devoted daughter and a wife and mother.  She left the family home with her husband and daughter and moved into a house nearby.  It turned out the father suffered from syphilis and the mother was "crazy".  The father first ordered her to return and then tried to bu…

A Day in the Life of a Senior: Death

To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die. ~Thomas Campbell, "Hallowed Ground"

I just want you to know that not all of our days are wonderful.  But then isn't that true all of our lives? It is not whether or not something bad happens.  It is how we live with the bad.

My dear friend Phyllis's youngest son was killed in a snowmobile accident yesterday.  He was 44 years old and the youngest of 6 children.  I don't even know what to do about this but give her all my love.  She is very deeply religious and it is carrying her through for the time.  The loss will come later I suppose.

My only thought was, of all the people on the face of this earth that are ready to die, a great many live within earshot of my park model.  It seems so unfair.   What I pray for her is that she be given the strength to accept what she cannot change.


10 Small Gifts for Her ...Tuesday Gifts!

Let me explain...a Tuesday gift is one you give for no reason at all and in my world it is a "small gift for her".  It can be a chocolate or a piece of silver.  The gift is not what matters.  The thought that someone thinks of you for no reason but that they like you does.  Here is a list of my favorite Tuesday gifts:

Packet of certificates for a car washes.  I received this as a gift.  I actually keep them in my glove compartment and when one of my older grandchildren stop by I give them one.  They really like that.  It is the gift that keeps giving.Book Marks.  I have magnetic book marks, ones that have been given to me as gifts by merchants, ones I have made or even bought.  I include them in a thank you card or a book I am lending for the person to keep.Packets of blank cards.  These are so handy.  If a stamp is on the envelop so much the better.Seeds.  All my friends garden in pots or small beds.  It is so fun to pop them into the ground and have the gift show up weeks …

Seniors: How do your choices affect others?

I think one of the universal truths is that "it is never all about me".  In this world every decision we make plays out not only in our own life but in the lives of those around us.  This applies to all that we do everyday.

This bird came home to rest when we were in Sapa, Vietnam.  My husband and I were invited to walk with our family and a tour guide down the mountain to Cat Cat Village.  The walk began with a descent  into the valley below first on a rocky road that soon turned into a long secession of felt like 2 kilometers down and as many back.  The information we were given said it was an "easy" walk of only 2 kilometers.  I learned a very good lesson. Be sure what you are doing before you begin.  I could have fallen and did stumble several times.  I could have been unable to complete the walk.  Neither happened but I did slow the group down considerable.  I really did want to go on that walk so I made a childish decision.  My pride did not allow…

Saying Goodbye to China!

Aging has not changed me that much.  I have always loved to come home after a vacation.  My own bed, bathroom, soap and night lite give me comfort after living away.  For me it has always been so.  But this time away was different somehow.  For the first time in this lifetime of travel I have seen beneath the surface and it has left me grateful for what I have.

We returned to Tucson last night around midnight after 17 hours between Shanghai and Arizona.  Seventeen hours is not that long but time really has no meaning when we are talking about two cultures born of different history.  I have a hard time making my mind jump the gap.

I love China and all it has to offer.  I love the juxtaposition of old with the new.  They are in so many ways ahead of the United States and centuries behind at the same time.  The lack of freedom to communicate with the outside world for most Chinese is screaming to be remedied while their ability to construct freeways, buildings and in fact whole communit…

Life in Shanghai...I wish I had a paper map! 2012

Here is just a thought...why don't I have a paper map of Shanghai, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City?  Really, I know I am a technology geek and like to to get my gadgets out but this is just silly.

Yesterday we went into the city to buy pearls at a market located in Pu Xi.  I would love to tell you where that is but I really do not know.  Back in the day I would have had my nose in a map located us and even telling the person that live here year around how to get where we are going.  But now?  My goodness do you think I threw out the baby with the bath water?

We wondered what we were doing out yesterday at all really.  The girls asthma is acting up and the air quality was so bad you could have cut it with a knife.  After a drive across the city, lunch at Blue Frog and a walk to the market to buy a scarf ($12 today) I commented that it was the perfect day.  Lunch, shopping and fresh air.  My daughter-in-law was hysterical at the "fresh air" part.  Really, when you looked out t…

A Month in China...China then and Now!

I am always telling you that I am not an expert on financial matters.  What I know is what I see and read in the papers.  Believe me this is not a accurate way of accessing the situations.  Especially in China.

My husband and I have been here in the Far East for a month now.  We have driven up and down country roads, used the subway,  ridden on small planes and marginal trains to remote areas in Vietnam.  I have shopped in Hanoi, Saigon and Shanghai.  What I see leaves me wondering what is really going on.

Vietnam is at the place where China was when we were here 5 years ago.  Shopping is fun and goods are affordable for tourists.  The people in the cities live much like they did in the villages they came from.  Vendors show up on the street very early in the morning as businesses begin to open and disappear as quickly as they appeared.

When we visited Chinese in 2007, the Chinese people were doing fine but the evidence of extreme wealth was not evident.  Expats hung out at classy h…

A Letter from China!

Hi everyone.  It is New Years Day in China.  Believe it or not we are sitting around watching football. 

We celebrating New Years Eve at a place called "The Brew" last night with a Chinese rock band singing Justin Beiber songs.  Earl was giving a special brew master's tour of the facilities  and we ate risotto truffles, blue cheese and barbecued ribs.  I had a meringue with a strawberry filling.  Nothing primitive about the expat lifestyle.

I cannot write online using Earl's computer because the Chinese have blocked Blogger.  It is very frustrating for me.  I did have a VPN but they have also blocked that service.  I will wait to use a computer somewhere else or back at home.  I guess there is no way for them to sort the good people out from the bad. 

Air quality has been very bad but the wind is blowing off the China sea today so I guess the muck will be circulating the earth before long.  It has not rained since we arrived and every leaf on every plant h…