Apr 30, 2012

Mothers Day is Coming...Shouldn't you be shopping?

Mothers Day is coming!  Here is a piece of advice...go buy a mother a gift.  If the mother is smart she will have already told you what she wants.  That is what I do and I have always told my children to tell their families what they want. How else are those poor clueless husbands, wives and children to know what to buy if someone doesn't give them a hint or push them out the door with directions to the nearest store? I know...it is just so obvious!

Shay...our newest Mother's Day Gift!
Here my list of things I need for Mother's Day 2012
  1. A Rose bush...a very healthy rose bush.
  2. Aveda Hand Relief  (I love their lotion but it is a big treat to have it.)
  3. A book...a really good Award Winning Books.  I just found one that has instructions on how to write a children's book.  I liked that a lot.
  4. Portable DVD Player...every grandma/mother wants one of these.  The kids have one so why can't we?
  5. Promise of a dinner or lunch at a nice restaurant...not on Mother's Day but later!
  6. A trip to the nail spa.
  7. A pair of Toms Shoes...size 8.
  8. Gift Card for Norstroms/Macys
  9. A day of shopping for my grandchildren...children can tell me what to buy.  I would like that.
  10. Roaring Brook Dairy Mozzarella Cheesemaking Kit  (I didn't know I wanted this until I went shopping online.  Wouldn't that be so much fun?
Click on any of these links to visit the website selling these items.  You can also wander around and find something else.  In many cases shipping is free.  Check that option out for sure.  

Can you do me a favor?  Click on the google+ badge below.  It helps a lot.  I also have an option to subscribe to the blog.  Do that if you want to get the latest posts.  

The Retire In Style Daily News is out...check it here

Have a great day.

Apr 29, 2012

What Two Broke Girls Sitcom and a POP UP boarding house have in common!

technorati tags: entertainment, communities
Recently I wrote about POP UP* communities and what the term has come to mean in the world at large. I find the whole concept fascinating.  In this economy people are being very creative in solving their financial problems.

Here in the area where I spend my summers a group of day laborers turn up on a corner near a community center every morning during the week and people drive up in their cars or pickups and hire someone to help them out with odd jobs.  I don't know if it is "legal" in the strictest sense of the word but it is a system that is working for everyone. It is a POP UP community that provided a service working outside of the regulations and ordinances. No harm no foul!  In POP UP community post I talked about other kinds of gatherings doing exactly the same thing.
A Pop Up Community is simply a temporary community of people that gather in an unexpected place.  It can involve an art show or just a patch of green turf and 8 lawn chairs set up in a parking lot [to point out the need for a park].  Out there in the world the idea may have sprung from the simple food trucks that inhabit communities across our nation.  
from Staying Smart.... Retire in Style Blog.
A TV show called Two Broke Girls had an episode using the POP UP business in the story line.  The show centered around the Two Broke Girls and their need for money because they couldn't pay their rent.  The girls opened a POP UP in the bathroom of a business to sell some very expensive purses they owned.  All they did was announce "pop store in restroom...purses for sale" in the elevator and women showed up to buy.  Problem solved!

Wow...wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all solve our housing woes that easily? But it isn't quite that simple especially if you are a senior that needs support to remain in your home. The idea of taking in a boarder has been around probably since the first widow was left with a house and no way to live without their husbands income.  I don't know about you but I have know women personally that did this very thing.  But there is a catch...it might be illegal!  There are laws and HOA regulations that regulate where and how we can run a business like a boarding house. 
Let's pretend that you have a house with spare bedrooms.  Your spouse left, died or simply grew too old to take care of the yard, etc. Do you have a choice about what you will do?  Is it imperative that you sell your home and move in a less desirable neighborhood or a small apartment?  Well maybe not.

The choices you make will depend on a number of things. The first will be how you are allowed to use the home you are living in. Do you live in a neighborhood that has HOA controls blocking subletting a room?  For example, my neighborhood does not allow young people to live with me for an extended period of time. In fact, there is a clause banning renting of any sort.  How about your city ordinances?  Do they tell you that you cannot rent a room or any space in your house while you are living there? Running a business out of your home is not condoned in most neighborhoods. These people are serious and do not take breaking their rules laying down. Neighbors will watch and report transgressions even if there is no harm.

That is where the "pop up" term appears. I have read about people that found "friends" that they have invited to stay with them. These people help with the lawn or garden, repair downspouts and gutters. They chip in on the groceries and make it possible for the owner of the house to remain where they are. Has the owner broken any laws because they have found a way to create a "pop up" solution for their problems? It all sounds so simple. It is just a group of people sharing a home, right?  But we must realize that for a person to do this sort of thing there must be a business arrangement or it could be a very bad situation. These "boarders" are more than casual roommates.  

I read a blog written by a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia. She is at a juncture where she is facing huge changes in her life. She invites people to share her home and her expenses. Does guilt follow her around each day? Yes it does. Not only is she feeling guilty because of the emotional roller coaster she is riding each day while taking care of a partner that is no longer what he should be. She is also sharing her house with other people to help her remain in her home. That could be illegal. But the fact remains that this business provides the support she needs and ease a little of the financial burden now resting directly on HER shoulders.  

I really have to admire her creativity and courage in the face of her dilemma. Her POP UP is a temporary business arrangement that has emerged to help her in her time of need. It turns out that the Two Broke Girls could be old as easily as they are young!

Maybe you know someone else that has faces this problem and found a different way to deal with it.  I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let's keep the conversation going.

Be well.

Link:  More Women Living Together in their 60's
(More information:  Cohousing Association)
Could you do me a favor and click the google+ below.  It helps a lot!
*Definition:  A Pop Up Community is simply a temporary community of people that gather in an unexpected place to do business or make a public statement.  Like a Lemonade Stand, a Food Truck or Occupy Wall Street.

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Apr 26, 2012

Toms Shoes: Why every grandmother and granddaughter need a pair!

A while back I wrote an article for Blog Critics about ATT and their link with Toms Shoes.   ATT created an ad in 2009 that featured the Toms Shoes mission and their connection to ATT phone services. The story was about how Toms Shoes gives away one pair of shoes to children in developing countries for every one purchased. The cause started by Blake Mycoskie has come to be known as the One-for-One Movement.  The TV ad run by ATT was where many people learned about the concept for the first time. In 2006 Toms had sold 10,000 shoes.  By the end of 2010 they had sold their millionth pair.  The rest is history.

Toms Shoes website page
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers. from Tom's Shoes Movement

TOMS Shoes
TOMS Shoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love Toms Shoes. I have worn a pair of these shoes for years.  I bought them shortly after seeing the original ad in 2009.  I still wear them when I am in Arizona. They are wash and wear. I don't know how long they would last but I have gotten my money back many times over...and a child somewhere is doing the same. As a grandmother that has seen children without shoes in third world countries I take a lot of satisfaction from that.  I am well aware that disease and infection are a problem for children with no shoes. In fact, children are required to have shoes in order to attend school in many places.  Shoes are important!

Now, it turns out, Toms has become very trendy with the teen set.  My granddaughter came to visit last night.  She will be 15 next month.  My Toms shoes came up in the conversation immediately.  It turns out that they are the in thing at her high school now and all the girls on the dance team are buying them.  Cool doesn't even come close to describing a pair of pink or sparkly Toms on the feet of a girl from the dance team walking down the halls at Glenco High School in Hillsboro, Oregon.

My daughter mentioned that Sketchers have a knock off shoe that looks the same and you can buy them at Target for a lot less!  I don't know if Sketchers is donating a pair of shoes to a child for every one they sell or not.  I am thinking not.  I was a little angry when I realized what they were doing.  Wouldn't that be a bit like using a knock off for the Walk for the Cure to make money but not do any good?  I will not be buying them even if they are cheaper or even better.  It really is just wrong in my world.

This is what I think...you need to go shopping with your granddaughter and you both need a pair of Toms.  You will never regret it and it is the right thing to do!


Note:  Toms are available on Amazon, Toms Shoes, and upper end retail stores.

Links:  Sketchers vs. Toms:  How Sketcher shot themselves in the foot!

Apr 25, 2012

They didn't call HGTV's Yard Crashers!

Back Patio's Summertime Look

Technorati Tags:  lifestyle

Seriously, our front yard look like a neglected vacant lot when I arrived home from Arizona 2 weeks ago. I live in the Portland, Or. metro area.  Things grow here fast and well...even weeds. Six months with not one whit of care left our flower beds littered with leaves and a million sprouting maple seeds.  All I could think was that someone in the neighborhood could have called the HGTV Yard Crashers and tv cameras would appear.  The lady next door would tell the tv people how she could hardly wait for them to clean up the trash so she would have something beautiful to look at. I would be embarrassed.

If you are a snowbird that owns two places, you know what I am talking about. This is one of the dilemmas that faces us each year.  There is a need for us to keep our home's appearance up if for no other reason than to make it look as though someone is at home.  Nothing invites trouble more that a house that looks abandoned.

Timing is one solution that comes to mind right away.  Here in the northwest we can leave in late October and arrive back in late April.  The yard just sleeps while we are gone.  Even as bad as ours looked, the spring rains were keeping everyone else from doing more maintenance too.

Landscaping services really don't charge that much around here.  I have a neighbor that pays $60 a month to have her very small yard mowed and flowers trimmed or a tree shaped up once in a while.  That is something that would help a lot.

In some situations, a house sitter can be helpful.  The sitter can do some yard work as part of their sitting job.  I always dream I will come home to clean windows and maybe a house sitter would do that for me.  Golly, wouldn't that be nice.

So, HGTV has not shown up.  We have cleaned, raked, bagged leaves and planted 40 petunias.  It actually looks like someone lives here again.  Good for us!  As for the window, that remains for another time.

Have a lovely day.


Apr 22, 2012

Seniors Can Couch Surf Too...I'm told!

Nob Hill, San Francisco, California.
Nob Hill, San Francisco, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fellow blogger, Bag Lady in Waiting , has been posting about couch surfing.  She and her husband are busy people promoting a book they have written about his experiences in Vietnam and traveling.  But this last week they decided to do a little trip into the south and use the opportunity to find out about that couch surfing thing.

Couch Surfing has a website for those that love the adventure of getting to know new people.  The first time I read about it was back in 2009 so it has been around for a while.  The website is recommended by NYTs, Frugal Traveler, Time and NPR.  You will get information for places to stay based on your profile, activities in the city you will be visiting and even people that are doing things and want you to come along. The Bag Lady traveled with her husband and stayed several night with people along their route.  Some they could talk politics with and some they couldn't.  It was an adventure I think.  Now they are on their way to establishing a network of people that can refer them to others in the couch surfing community. They seemed to enjoy it but said that one or two nights in a row was enough...it could be very tiring.

I love the columns written about this experience.  I have found stories about everything from glowing reports to nightmare experience.  The one I liked the best was one written for The New Yorker.  The author talked about his experience trying to find someone that had a couch that appealed to him.  He said:
Among those to whom I did not write “couch requests” were “a travelling magician and professional fool” from New Mexico; a sixty-three-year-old gay semi-retired handyman in Pahoa, Hawaii, whose mission is “looking for more nudists” (there are plenty of “clothing optional” possibilities on CouchSurfing); another Hawaiian, this one describing himself as “just a guy who has three acres of land, living in a shipping container house”; a woman in Bozeman, Montana, who declared that her “home is oppression-free. Yay!” and also contains high-speed Wi-Fi; a thirty-one-year-old female “daydreamer” from Berkeley who loves pajamas; a Tarot-card reader in Marfa, Texas; a housewife in Charleston, South Carolina, who owns a pole-dancing studio called Dolphin Dance;

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/04/16/120416fa_fact_marx#ixzz1soy7qOx7
He ended up selecting people like the woman with a cat, a dog and an apartment on Nob Hill in San Francisco.  He said he lied about his age listing himself as in his forties instead of fifties.  Most couch surfers are younger than older.  In fact, the New Yorker guy pointed out that being old may limit your choices. There is actually a total of almost 4 million that belong to the network and only 793 are between the age of 80-90. Still the Bag Lady and her husband loved the experience so I am thinking it might be worth a shot.  See, I know now that a senior like me could couch surf too...if I wanted to.

Anyway, you should look into it.  Couch surfing may be your thing to do. I have never done it...I have a cat myself and a husband that snores. Oh and I am 70. That is a lot to overcome. I am going to think about it a bit more.  I will write the Bag Lady a note and see what she thinks!

Have a wonderful day.


Recommended articles:

Three Cushions and a Million Guests, Frugal Traveler
Staying with New Found Friends for a Fee, Frugal Traveler
40 Most Useful Travel Website...., Wise Bread
Your Welcome, couch surfing the globe!  The New Yorker

Apr 21, 2012

Can you practice living alone?

My husband and I in Spain!
I didn't make the bed today.  My husband and I have been spending some time apart.  I flew home for the birth of our last grandchild and he chose to remain in Arizona for a little more time. We do this occasionally...it is a practice session for being alone.  He will be home tonight or tomorrow.

So I don't make the bed sometimes when I am alone...shoot me if you like! Today I needed to change the bed so I just washed the sheets.  They are laying on the bed in a heap. The sheets were dirty. That is my first excuse.  Then I wanted to do some yard work. As I raked up the last leaf I realized I need to go and buy some more coffee.  As I was driving to the grocery I remembered that I wanted to have sushi and my husband doesn't jump at that suggestion.  I shopped and then drove to the sushi restaurant.  It is a beautiful day so I drove home at a leisurely pace.

I still haven't made the bed.  I've taken a nap, cleaned up the dishes and put the yard debris in the bin.  There was even a walk and a glass of wine.

It is good practice.  But,  I do know that I don't like being alone, even though I can march to my own drummer.  If that is coming down the pike, it will take a lot of getting used to.  Even with practice, it will never feel right.


Apr 20, 2012

Which is better for Grandparents? How-to books or a sense of humor!

Baby Shay at 7 days old!
This is the last one!  As grandchildren go, she is just about the best last grandchild any grandmother could ever ask for.  She is relaxed, cute cuddly and 9 days old.  What could there possible be to worry about?  I can't think of one thing and I am not going to tempt the fates by reading any advice columns or books.  I may just shut myself in the house and not even talk to anyone.  It turns out that everyone book has a horror story and all grandparents are so proud of their offspring's offspring that I can never top their stories. I don't like advise books and other people's grandchildren if they are better than mine.  No, I am thinking about becoming a recluse!

I was reading a blog post from the Huffington Post today called New Grandparenting Books Offer Advice From Two Perspectives by Dr. Georgia Witkin's.  The blog author, Karin Kasdin, talked about how little time she had , how little patience she had with the how-to books and how she just didn't want to follow anyone's advice.  She likened the book to the daily news.  Every broadcast begins by wishing you a good evening and then proceeds to tell you why it's not.  I am with her.  I cannot even figure out why anyone would write such a book...all I have been doing for 20 years is what my children wanted me to do.  They are the responsible ones and I am the one that plays, makes cookies and giggles when my grandchildren poke me with their toes when we try to take a nap (which I need more than they do obviously.)

The only advice book I have looked at about being a good grandparent is the one written by Bryna Paston called How to Be the Perfect Grandma.  (I know, I have talked about this before.) Actually it is not so much a book full of advice as it is about the comedy of errors...she makes me laugh. Her advice is tongue in cheek but still lingers very near the truth.  For example, she advises that if things don't go right and the child gets a boo boo while you were perhaps taking a peek at your email, don't tell the truth. Blame it on the cat.  Lie a little.  If you tell the truth you will be sent directly to Grandmother prison and your children will whisper behind you back at family dinners.  Most boo boos cannot be seen anyway and a bandage is all that is needed in most cases.  In Paston's words "Never, ever, ever let anything bad happen to the kids on your watch.  If it does lie!"  Don't question her advice...just follow it.

So now I am grandmother to 12.  Our new granddaughter is a wonderful little soul.  Shay is what we call her.  Her brothers are  loving her so much but craving the attention of anyone that admires their baby sister.  It works for me.  They are spending time at my house drawing and making a mess.  The 4 years old drew his first picture of himself for me today and his little 2 year old brother wants to do the same.  Before long they will be telling me about the "pee hole in their underwear" and playing tricks on the kids at daycare...the same tricks their grandfather taught them.  They may even be sent home for playing grandpa's tricks.  We will laugh, not admit it is our fault and enjoy as many years as we can with these last grandchildren.

So given my choice I would have to say that having a sense of humor is by far the better than reading some psychiatrists serious humorless advice on grandparents and child rearing.  Laughter is the best medicine.  Please, just pay attention.  Your children, the parents of the children, will tell you how to do it.  Trust me!  I know!

Have a wonderful day.  And don't tell the truth unless someone has broken the law.  It just hurts people's feelings or gets you in trouble and why would we want do that?

Apr 19, 2012

Daily News, Twitter, paper.li and big bad liberal Gawker!

Retire In Style Daily News...front page!

Oh my gosh!  I just read Gawker so I cannot be held responsible for what I might do.  That blog just blows my sock off almost every day.  I don't know if you should read it or not.  It is just a tad big bad liberal talk...but there is always a lot of unvarnished truth.  I follow Gawker on twitter...that is important for you to know right up front.

I started an online daily newspaper with an application called paper.li.  It is free to all my readers, their friends and...well...everyone.  It is called Retire In Style Daily News.  I don't know how paper.li works but I love who ever designed it.  They are beyond good.  In a simple explanation (no technical talk here) they said:

Paper.li is a content curation service.

  • It enables people to publish newspapers based on topics they like and treat their readers to fresh news, daily. 
  • We believe that people (and not machines) are the ones qualified to curate the content that matters most. 
  • We also think that these same people can greatly help their own communities to find their way through this “massive content world” we live in. We’re here to help!

Every day, around the world, millions of articles are featured on Paper.lis, benefiting millions of readers. We are just at the beginning of an exciting new adventure and we think we’re on to something good.
We love the semantic web, we respect our content creators, we strive for simplicity, and we thrive on feedback.
They take the content from my twitter account and compile a newspaper for me.  I name the paper, rearrange a few elements and the rest happens without much ado.
Just be warned, a Gawker gossip article may appear and I cannot be held responsible for their take on life.  Remember, it is good to read things you do not agree with...I said hesitantly.
Like I said, it is simply magic of the internet kind.  I hope you take a look and then follow.  I have selected content that should interests bloggers, retirees and writers.
Note:  The free online newspaper is published once a day so content is always kept current.    I hope that is not too much. I can also do it weekly.   We will see. What do you think? Leave a comment or fire me an email (retireinstyleblog@gmail.com)

Apr 17, 2012

Over the falls? Think about it!

Over the falls from Tumblr.

My husband sent me an email with this photo attached.  Do you get it?  ...some days are  like looking over the fall.  It may be that you could skip this part of life and move back a little.  What do you think!

Apr 15, 2012

Love in the New York Times, Bumble Bees and Clementine

Once in a while it all falls into place like poetry.  A day that starts with flowers for my yard can emerge as perfectly versed in every way.  That is what has happened to me on this day.  It is a day for the NYT's, Bumble Bees and Clementine.

Love in the New York Times
With this Cottage... appeared in the times this week and was revisited this morning in a corrected version.  The charming story is about two people, one an artist with tourettes and a man that fell madly in love with her.  He is very neat, she lives like a rock star, trashing the world around her with artistic furor.  They cannot live together and they cannot live apart.  So they own two houses, side by side and co-habitate both together and separately.  I loved the story of two people that are so different finding a way to love each other.

When I opened the Times this morning and saw this story again, I smiled.  Yes the NYT's does publish stories about good people but better yet, they also make mistakes that need correcting.  My day is complete.

Bumble Bees
Did you know that only the queen bumble bees survive the winters here in the northwest?  I didn't.  Not until I looked up from my flower bed to be greeted by a man carrying an empty pill bottle and a small plastic box.  It was a sunny day and we were both smiling.

Do you mind he asked if I look in your yard for bumble bees? The heather is in bloom and they love the blooms.

He went on to tell me about the habits of bumble bees, a lesson he had learned from a young student from Oregon State University and his tulip farm.  He had farmed the piece of land my home sits on when he was a young man and his uncle lived in a house that still stands on the corner.  He told me the scientific name for the bumble bees and how they are propagated.  He walked away with a single bumble bee in his plastic box and we were both still smiling.  A man searching for bumble bees...how lovely is that!

and Clementine
Clementine was washing her car.  I had not seen her since my return from Arizona but it was as though no time had passed when we greeted each other.  She fill me in on her family, her husband and how she was doing.  I love talking to her.

When my husband and I moved into our new house last summer we met Clementine and Clarence.  He turned ninety a few weeks after we moved in.  I had never in my whole life dreamed that I would meet a friend like Clementine.  She walks each morning and drinks bourbon and water at cocktail hour.  She has a large family of children and grandchildren. She and Clarence came back to live close to their children a few month before we moved next door.  The family is devoted to the couple and I think they all wanted their parents close-by because they loved spending time with them.  What a joy it is to see a family like this.

And best of all we get to live next to Clementine and Clarence...it is as though our prayers have been answered too.  Life is good!

So there you have it...Love in the New York Times, Bumble Bees and Clementine!  Have a wonderful day.


Apr 12, 2012

Should you "friend" your children on Facebook? There are rules you know!

The letter style post on Crazy Baby Momma's Blog was like a glass of ice water on the face! The blog post was called Six Rules You Need to Lay Down Before You Friend Your Parents on Facebook. Obviously her parents were under the illusion that Facebook was their private space and they could just comment on their daughter's love life and complexion without a worry.  The daughter didn't like her baby picture on a bear rug being posted for all her friends to see so she asked Mom and Dad to stop.  The parents were on the edge of being unfriended and removed from the Facebook account unless they cleaned their act up. The list of no-nos included some of the following:
  • Everything is PUBLIC on Facebook...absolutely everything!
  • Please quit trying to play match maker...it is embarrassing.
  • There really is no need to comment on everything.
  • If the daughter removed a comment or note it means they didn't want the world to see said comment or note.  Please Mom and Dad, she said, don't add it back in case I missed it. I removed it for a reason.
  • There is no need to submit a written evaluation of every photo.  Yes there may be a weight gain but you don't need to point it out.
I think there was more but you get the idea. Soooooo, the question is should you friend your children on Facebook? Showing your children how techno-savvy you are is one thing...hanging out on their Facebook account is another. I think the trick might be to take a look to see what is going on but don't let them know you have been there. What they don't know can't set them off.
Just a thought!


Apr 7, 2012

It said on her tombstone, "I told you I was sick!"

Quote:  It said on the tombstone "I told you I was ill!"

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dear Mary and Carole,

I am fine...really I am. It is true I have been a little ill, ran a fever, went to the doctor, spend the week trying to live through the day and have not eaten. But I am fine...really I am. No, I did not call you because I thought it would be tacky. Don't think I didn't want to. If I had, I would have said, "Carole, Mary get yourself over here. I am really sick and I need for you to come fix me." But being the lady that I am I didn't do that. Please don't be mad. It doesn't mean I don't need you guys.  Because I do.

Thank you for the card and the candied pecans. I felt better immediately. What would I ever do without you?

So here it is...I am sorry. I will never do that again.



Apr 6, 2012

How tolerant are you?

My son and I were having a conversation the other evening about the difference between tolerance and acceptance. It was something I had never given a thought to. My goal has always been to get through the day or situation without hurting anyones feelings. In fact, the older I get the harder it has become.  Tolerating people or viewpoints that I disagree with can be very difficult but we are all grown up right? So we can get through a cocktail hour without a knock down and drag out. I know we can. We can tolerate each other for a little while.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, 

people will forget what you did,  
but people will never
 forget how you made them feel.
Still, the concept of acceptance is totally different. It closes the door on the effort to change another's opinions. There is no right and wrong. There is only an accepted contrast of opinions. Have you ever thought about that?  It can also help us grow and learn.  Accepting our short coming or age or even how successful we are can help us move on and become better...just plain better.

In a political year with incidents like Trayvon Martin's murder looming over our country and political parties biting at each other's heals, it is hard for those of us that stand on the sideline to understand how there is ever going to be a meeting of the minds.  Images on the internet and news push us to agree with this one or that one.  We are incited to rhetoric that is offensive and mean. But those reasonable, educated and experienced men and women in the political arena usually meet each other and debate with civility. I think there was a time when they could even sit down and compromise.  I often wondered how they did that.  Could it be that they had gone past tolerance to acceptance?  Maybe they can discuss, disagree and but know that the other person will give a little but will not change their mind.

Different personalities, age, religion, politics, gender, race or even style of dress should never be a stumbling block to civility and even friendship. We all know that diversity is what makes this country tick. Without acceptance it would have never worked. So, it seems to me that tolerance is not enough...acceptance should be our goal. What do you think?

Just a thought


Tags: tolerance, diversity, intolerance

Apr 5, 2012

AARP: The 48 yr. Old Guy is Passing...For Now!

JDH doesn't tell much about himself...he just writes a great blog called Blue Orchid of Texas. I found him via a website for people over the age of 30.  Google describes his blog as "wildly popular".  He is funny and irreverent but I suspect that under that blogs exterior hides a writer with a big heart and a worthy calling.  Best of all he makes me laugh.  I like that a lot. Here is a blog he wrote for me telling about the day he received his AARP card.  We can all relate to this one! 

AARP card + a FREE insulated bag...wow!
“All Hands On Deck” by Blue Orchid of Texas

I could tell right away when the sunlight hit the envelope that it was not your typical junk mail piece. I could see that as I turned it over in my hand and closed the mailbox door with my other, that this was a quality piece of messaging. I confess that at first glance I thought it was a piece from the American Automobile Association (AAA) as I get one or two offers to join per month from them. In fact, as much as I travel throughout the state of Texas I really should take them up on their kind offer of roadside assistance plans. But no, I continue to live life on the edge as I travel, awaiting for the potential automobile malfunction and then my having to stand by the side of the highway as a steady stream of attractive and sultry women pull over to offer me a lift to the next town. When I made it into the house and lightly tossed the small stack of mailbox goodies on the bar in the kitchen the piece caught my eye again. Examining it more closely as I tore it open – which I’m sure is pretty much what they wanted me to do – I noticed the AARP logo on the return area and not AAA. AARP? Why did that have a slightly familiar ring to it? Didn’t I see an AARP newsletter piece or a magazine from them in my Grandparent’s house some years ago?

The snappy looking letter inside with the attached high-quality membership card obviously captured my attention but I still didn’t know what this was all about. Right off though I did see that by joining whatever-this-was I would receive “your Insulated Travel Bag – FREE. By the way, I love it when copy writers make the word “free” boldfaced and all capital letters. Because if they didn’t I would know that there’s some kind of catch to this whole thing, some hidden agenda perhaps. But seeing the boldfaced lettering gave me an instant assurance and peace about the whole matter. As I read down a bit further to see what all I would get for ONLY $16, I saw that I would be supporting the nation’s largest non-profit organization that fights for the rights of all people over 50. As they stated, that of course is whether you are retired or just retired and working at Walmart as a greeter. Either way, I also enjoyed seeing their pledge that they preserver to be the outfit that “fights for the rights” of older Americans which immediately stirred my blood and reminded me of a rock and roll song I saw on MTV that said, “you’ve got to fight for your right to party”. But I suspect this is not so much about partying as it is about getting stuff you need to keep on keeping on. Of course for some it may be all about keeping the party going and having a seriously good time at it too.

Then it hit me. Why the hell would I be getting this invitation to join them when I’m only forty-eight and not fifty? And to top it off, people tell me I look like forty anyway. Can’t they see that? I even got asked for my ID card at a grocery store a few months ago precisely because I look so vibrant and youthful that I could easily be mistaken for a seventeen-year old boy trying to buy a bottle of Pinot Grigio. Maybe it’s like that scary accurate demographics research that they are using today, you know where you buy certain products and this secretive bunch of folks in top secret corporate bunkers feeds all your purchasing patterns into a supercomputer and then they know everything about you based on the kind of toothpaste you are buying. Oh hell, am I already buying old folks toothpaste? My deodorant, or socks or Scotch – what could it be? Well, anyway obviously this was just a glitch in the system somewhere because I’m of course nowhere near fifty years of age and I certainly don’t need a membership in the AARP organization for a long time yet. Right? No really, I mean it.

Ernest Hemingway once said that death crosses paths with a man at some point in his life, takes measure of him and then moves on. But the meeting is sealed and of course will eventually come around again. Trust me, I’m not trying to be dark or morbid in some way here but honestly it could be that my getting that horribly mistaken mailing was in some way a road sign for me. Maybe it was one just letting me know that old age is not only coming for me but is now speaking in a calm but clear voice to me and telling me that I’ll need to come up on deck soon. One of my friends, my editor in fact, mentioned in a conversation about her ailing parents that “our time is just about here and it’s time for us to be on the deck”. That stuck with me and I found that it was stirred again by the AARP invitation letter. It was an apt description and in the days since it was spoken I’ve thought more about it. If our lives are like sailing on a big sailboat then when we are born and young we are on the lower decks. Life is good but we only get glimpses of the majesty, mystery and power of the sea when we glance out of the port windows. Later we may find ourselves at the helm and our hands are wrapped around the wooden handle grips of the steering wheel. Maybe we are married or single, CEO’s or dishwashers or maybe just content to wander the galley but whatever we are doing, we are still not on deck. But that summons will come one day if we live long enough to hear it and I think that’s when we need to loosen our grip on the main wheel and let others take our place. It’s as it should be. We all will get the call to come up  and when the call comes I think we should go. If we don’t – if we try to ignore the voice then our lives will only be an ever increasing struggle in the wheelhouse of life for control of a vessel that is better left to youth. I think that maybe not today but soon, my call to come up on deck is going to be spoken. While I could ignore it I don’t think that I will. It seems to me that the view is probably great from the top deck and the air will be fresh and clean. Sure you still have storms and the wind and rain may occasionally sting your skin but there has to be a freedom, a sweetness even in no longer gripping the wheel below.

I remember something my Dad said after the passing of the last of my Grandparents a few years ago. He said to my Mom, “now we are the old folks.” And although my own parents are still hopefully a few decades away from clearing the deck of life, I know that I will inevitably one day be one of the old folks too and yet I’m pretty sure that I’ll enjoy my own time on the deck as well. For those of you that are already there, I hope the journey may be a smooth one for you and not complicated too much by the mucking about by the younger crewmen below decks. I’ll be waiting for your call and for you to hand off the ropes to me one day as you prepare for your time to disembark. Even more I hope for peace for you and long days and nights to enjoy the view. And if you are ever at the AARP headquarters, please tell them the forty-something guy down in Texas says hello and I’ll see you soon enough.

Apr 3, 2012

Be my guest (blogger)...really!

Can you write about travel?
I would love to hear from you if you are a fellow blogger. I have found that a variety of voices add so much to the blog.  I am not sure how to go about this so here I am inviting you & you & you.

I am prompted to this because I attended a class/presentation by a retired professor at a major university in the midwest.  She and her husband, also a retired professor, talked about the history of Russian women.  It was absolutely fascinating.  The topic on that afternoon was the Stalin era.  The gentleman gave a history leading up to Stalin's time and she lead a discussion on how women fit into to the picture during WWII.  We all walked away with something new to discuss and think about.

I have heard a lot of young people talk about past conversations with parents or aunts/uncles. They will say, "It was the same list of litanies of complaints over and over."  I think we have all been there at one time or another.  Adding to the conversation is one of the most important things that people like us can do.  We will go in circles on topics forever unless we learn something new that we can share and talk about.  Aging can be a time of decreasing rings of interest.  It doesn't have to be but it can be.

Hobbies?  Mine is creating altered photos.
Shrine, Hanoi, Vietnam,
So there you have it.  Do you have something you would like to share with me and my readers?  Can you add to the conversation?  I would love to have you come on down...I would even exchange posts if you would like that.

That's all.


Possible Topics:
Aging/agism, aging in place
Small House Design
A Day in the Life of a Retiree
Men/Women in Retirement
55+ Communities
Hobbies (unusual one are wonderful)
Or something you have on your mind!

Disclaimer:  Bloggers, I will include a link to your blog. If you are a business person I welcome your posts too.  If you want to link to the business, there will be a small charge.  That is just the way it is around here.

Apr 2, 2012

What does you child's spouse REALLY thinks of you?

Have you ever wondered what you child's spouse really thinks of you?  I tell my family that I know they talk about me when I go home and I don't like that.  The truth is I know when my foot is in my mouth because it hurts and tastes bad.  Let's not talk about it ok. I don't like to sit in the corner and be quiet so I have to guard my mouth to the point of being in pain.  I always thought it was really hard for me.  But after reading a blog written on a blog called Blue Orchid I realized what pain the children can be in.  The poor dears suffer beyond belief!

The blog called Dirty Dancing with the Blob is about a weekend visit from the in-laws. The poor man does not think there is enough whiskey or Junior Mints in the house to see him through.  He details those things that drive him crazy when his in-laws visit:

In-law lunch: Wine and Styrofoam container with left-overs.texture of the food...too much whole wheat maybe
  • Complaints about spicy food
  • Creeping diseases  
  • Pills for diseases
  • Wild grandchildren making in-laws nervous
  • More pills to help tolerate grandchildren
  • Beer consumption by the father-in-law
  • Big talk as the result of drinking too much beer
  • Etc.
I know the writer was taking poetic license and exaggerating ... or not.  Still it reminds me why TV commercials featuring old people makes us look so bad.  This man probably is writing them.  Sigh!  Oh by the way, he made me laugh and I liked that a lot.  I will go back for more even if it does remind me to be very quiet when I visit my children.  I'm tough, I can handle it! ")


Apr 1, 2012

Dumb people at the Gas Pump are ALL Women?

Moral of this story:  Laugh at the idiots scammers...they can't help themselves.

The email was forwarded to me...you know, the email warning about safety at the gas pump.  It seems that women and cell phones and the filling stations just sets people off.  So an idiot someone had the brilliant idea to embellish a safety warning put out by the Petroleum Equipment Industry pertaining to gas pump fires. (In case you are wondering, the key to getting an email like this to go viral is to include just enough truth and include some hate or prejudice.) If the sender of the email had read the message closely, they would have seen that it was written to offend women.  In the case of this woman, she was not offended.  It made her laugh until she was crying.  Honestly!

We have become so comfortable around gas stations that we forget just how deadly gasoline can be and how easy it is to ignite....
Shell Oil Safety Alert!

Four Rules for Safe Refueling:
  1. Don't smoke
  2. Turn off the engine
  3. Don't use your cell phone - leave it inside the vehicle or turn it off (the false part of the email.)
  4. Don't re-enter your vehicle during fueling.
 Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of 'static electricity' at gas pumps. His company has researched 150 cases of these fires. His results were very surprising: 
  • Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women. (Not in the original warning) 
  • Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started, as a result of static. (This may be true.)
  • Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
  • Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. (The PEI did not say this.) This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires....
That is where I quit reading because I was laughing so hard!  I might add they mentioned dribbling gas too. Sigh!

This is the reply published by PEI in response to the email scam. You can read the original report from Bob Renkes. Notice there is NO mention of women being the problem. This is a copy of the whole PEI page along with references replying to the scam...no attempt to mislead here:

Three Rules for Safe Refueling
1. Turn off engine.
2. Don't smoke.
3. Never re-enter your vehicle while refueling.
Are Cell Phones Responsible?No. We have not documented a single incident that was caused by a cellular telephone. Cell phones continue to be cited as causing fires at the pump in e-mails circulating on the Internet. So far, we have been unable to document any incidents that were sparked by a cellular telephone. In fact, many researchers have tried to ignite fuel vapors with a cell phone and failed.  
PEI still advises against using any electronic device that might distract the motorist during the refueling process.
More Information:  The following links offer more information on static electrical discharge— the fact and the fiction.
Snopes.com: Analysis of infamous warning e-mails circulating
Mythbusters: Season One of The Discovery Channel television series includes an episode on the cell phone myth and features our own Robert Renkes
University of Oklahoma: Report on wireless phones at gas stations
ESD Journal: More static-related incidents and safety tips
About.com: Detailing the truth of the urban legend
PEI Forum: Safe refueling questions and answers
Download the video of an actual refueling fire incident: WMV | AVI | MOV                      courtesty of www.PEI.org 
Static electricity yes, cell phones NO!  And silly women...not at all!

As for girls being girls...I will have to admit that in Oregon where I live 6 month a year we do NOT pump our own gas.  I have had to have someone help me here in Arizona more than once...the gas pump mystery confounds me. Even when I am confounded I will not be getting back inside my car while I am pumping the gas and I would urge all men to follow my lead.  I don't like gas pump fires!

Have a wonderful day and laugh at the idiots that fool us all...really, I guess they just can't help it.


Technorati tag:  email scams, scams, snopes, email fraud

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