Jun 29, 2012

13 Added Thoughts on Satisfying Retirement: If I Had An Expiration Date

Satisfying Retirement: If I Had An Expiration Date....that has to be the best thought provoking "if" ever.  Back in the day when we were all thinking in terms of "memes" and "lists" this could have started a wildfire on the web.  The idea came from a blog post by Bob Lowry over at Satisfying Retirement.  His wildly popular blog always gets lots of attention and I am sure that this idea caught people's attention.

Bob threw the question out there...what if we had an expiration date?   Bob is a very pratictical man I think and he saw the expiration date as a challenge to finish the jobs he needed to complete...leave a lesson or two for his children, spend his time more productively and grow spiritually. He really covered all the important items.  For all of his list I say ditto.


But I need to add a few of my own:
  1. I would smile more.
  2. My cell phone minutes would all get used.
  3. Friends I have not talked to would hear from me.
  4. I would write more letters.
  5. Everyone I saw would get a hug...even if they didn't want one.
  6. There are things that puzzle me.  I would spend more time searching for answers.
  7. I would never hide my opinions again...if they are wrong or slanted then I need to work out in my own mind why.  A good argument or discussion never would hurt anyone.
  8. My family would be showered with gifts and love.
  9. Hopefully, the strength to keep my pain or fear to myself would come from somewhere.  Maybe that would be the spiritual depth Bob talked about.
  10. I would clean my closet and bathroom more often.  Not because I care but because I don't want my family to see my mess.   
  11. A tree would be planted and a child would be sent to summer camp if I could afford it.
  12. I have always wanted to leave a mark at my college...maybe some money could be donated for a chair.  I would like to do that.
  13. I would focus on my successes in my final days.  I have stewed over my many, many mistakes for way to long.
The list turned out to be longer than I thought it would be.  Maybe I should start working on it today.  After all, we DO have an expiration date and it is anybody's guess when that will be.

Just a thought.

b

Jun 28, 2012

How to Get Old

An email came in last week from a representative of a website called Get Old.  I know...that caught me by surprise too.  Talk about telling it like it is.  But the more I thought about it the more I liked it.  Let's get old and get real....not a bad idea actually.  The site is sponsored by Pfizer.  In their mission statement they express the desire to "...inspire and activate people of all ages to reconsider what it means to get old...."  When you visit the website you are asked to become a part of an ongoing survey about your attitude toward aging and then add to the conversation.  You can have your say in 1000 characters or less. 

I like the idea of changing the perception of aging in the eyes of those that see it as something very negative and dreaded.  Get Old has an Infographic that stopped me dead...oh my gosh...I have been singing to the choir.  I should have been talking to the 30 something set and not the boomers+ generation.  The survey done by Gallup and Robinson reveals a disturbing picture of dread and it is the young people that are the most apprehensive.  But as people get older they begin to grow less anxious.  In fact a whopping 51% of those between the are of 50 and 64 felt they looked younger than they really are.  It probably follows that a large percentage feel younger than they expected to. In my world, how we feel about our looks and life can overcome all the negatives.  

Last year I wrote a post entitled  Headline (paraphrase): "OLD PEOPLE STILL ABLE TO LEARN!" Successful Aging Survey.  The first paragraph went like this:
I am all about aging successfully. When I talk about "success" in this context, I am not talking about the absence of health problems or financial success. Successful aging, in my world, happens in the 6 inches between you ears. So when I came across an article telling us that indeed, old people are aging successfully, I thought it was wonderful.
The idea for the story came from a news story:  Researchers: Seniors can Learn New Skills Despite Growing Age told about a talk given by Dilip Jeste, MD, Director of the Institute for Research on Aging, University of California, San Diego.  Essentially he said that old people can learn new things.  I was astonished that the anyone would think that being old halted learning.  I can recount so many story of seniors starting a new business or hobby, learning, growing, and flourishing.  The fact that someone like Dilip Jeste, MD, needed to do a extended study to find that out seemed ridiculous. But there you have it...we can still learn even when we get to that mythical milestone called "old age".  Surprise!

Like the survey done by Pfizer, the study done by Dilip Jeste hint that positive perceptions can overcome negatives.  The wise seniors knows from experience that successful aging happens as a result of our attitudes not as a result of some mythical physical standard.  Jeste told Medscape that speculations on aging is done without much information.  He used a study of 6000 women to develop some very interesting findings.

  • There is not much information on aging successfully. Most articles focus on all those negative maladies.  
  • Because of all the negative information promoted in most material, research writers and the new media have not focused on aging successfully.
  • People that see themselves as aging successfully do so because they are able to remain mentally active.
  • Illness does not affect their perception.
  • Not everyone is resilient and can recover from changes in their lives.  However, this is not necessarily because of good genes.  Good attitude and healthy life choices account for 50% of a persons ability to adapt to changes related to aging.
  • Studies have shown that the brain of old people continues to grown and develop.  Those that put their minds to good use age more successfully.
  • It turns out that exercise is good for the mind as well as our emotional well being.

I think that Jeste is telling us that the perception about aging is born of misinformation.  We will get old.  That is inevitable.  But how we feel about it could be shaped by the way aging is portrayed in our culture.  Even a teenager who really wants to be grown up might rethink their wishes if they were told on a daily basis that being grown up meant such a loss...no more jump ropes or slumber parties or whatever they loved about being a child.   What if we told them from the day that they were born that being grown up was dark and dingy and hopeless.  They very well could be a failure at being grown up.  They might be ugly or it will be really hard physically or they will want more money than they can make.  Then tell them that they have no choice in the matter...being grown up just sucks but it is going to happen no matter what!  Talk about depressing!  Well, that is what we are fed by the financial experts and media articles on aging.  I even think that the ads that show seniors riding mountain bikes flying over rocks and bushes and staying up all night rocking out are unrealistic enough to make someone that is approaching old age very uneasy.  Really people, most younger adults out grow that sort of thing and move on.  The truth is aging is another stage in our life and a very good one at that.  Moving on is as natural as anything a human will ever do.

So, I think I have been singing to the choir.  I have built this blog around the idea that I could share my thoughts with other seniors.  In fact, I should have been talking to much younger people.  They are the ones that need to see that life is not changed by the fact that they have another birthday or come to a crossroads in their career or must be careful about their money or even suffer some illness.  When they continue to learn and grow and take adventures and read and communicate, all the wrinkles become unimportant.  They will not miss what they cannot do anymore because they will be busy doing what interests them now.  It really is much like growing up...who really wants to be a teen ager again or forever.  Not me!

b

PS  Shelley pointed the trailer from Advanced Style in her comment. Copy and paste it into your address line to see it.  You are going to like it.






Jun 25, 2012

Aging: Does the Back of Your Head Match Your Face?

Do you own a "rear view mirror"? I am talking about a mirror that lets you see the back of your head. I do and I happen to think owning one is a very good thing.  I asked a friend lately if she owned a rear view hand mirror. "What for," she said. "I don't ever look at the back of my head." She did not share my concern.

Does that seem like something important to you? I personally try to remember to take a look at what is going on back there once in a while. Things like gray hairs, balding and the area I always miss when I comb my hair need to be checked almost every day.

Now it has come to my attention that the back of my head needs to match my face! I know! Who would have ever thought it. A young man said jokingly that it was not right what older women could do with their hair now. He had walked up to a very young looking head of hair and when the woman turned around she was "like 80 or something" he said. Imagine how shocked he must have been.





Advanced Style
 (book information here) Note

Kickstarter ad in my sidebar for
an Advanced Style Movie



It seems to me that this speaks to our endless pursuit of youth and all that it represents. We have, in many cases, forgotten how beautiful we can be even when we are "like 80 or something." I give you Advanced Style, the blog and the book written by Ari Seth Cohen. Women of an advanced age are portrayed as beautiful with little emphasis on their "youthful" appearance. I like that a lot. I think that his women have managed to make the back of their heads match their beautiful faces.  
Many of the boomer blogs have sections devoted to "anti-aging formulas" and foods to make them look younger. If it were possible, and we could actually turning back the clock, our faces would always match our hair. But it isn't...aging like growing up is inevitable. I was thinking...what if we could come up with a formula or even an attitude that was "pro-aging", something that left us feeling good in our own skin no matter our age. What if we could do that?

It's just a thought.

b

Technorati:  Advanced Style, Anti-aging, Kickstarter




Jun 24, 2012

Technorati tags: Am I just naive? Bath Salts? Really?

See, I am the kind of person that drinks a glass of water when I feel bad.  Hydration is cool...right?  When I was looking at technorati this morning trying to find a tag I could hook on to I noticed "bath salts".  It occurred to me that I could talk about bath salts...you know...the kind you actually put in the bath to soak in and relax. It could be a way of hydrating in a tub of water. Holy cow grandma.  I forgot for just a nano second that nothing is what it seems.  Bath salts have an appeal beyond the bath water.

The first article under the Technorati tag bath salts was titled Is my child taking bath salts? What you need to know.  It crossed my mind that if your young child were taking a bath in salts you would be one that put them there.  But reality kicked in pretty quick and I realized that the mother that wrote on Technorati Women Parenting was referring to a teen or tween and that the phrase "taking bath salts" meant the child was eating or smoking (if that is possible) bath salts. That a whole different tag definition.

I am not sure where to go with this.  Gratitude came to mind immediately.  A lot of parents are raising their children in a world that is very dangerous. Although my grandchildren are not out of the woods yet, their parents spend a lot of time with them hoping to keep them out of harms way while also letting them grow up in the real world.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.

As a grandparent I am left with the task of watching it unfold.  A word here and there is all I really should add to the conversation.  It is hard not to chime in. But I can tell you this...on subjects like this I don't need to say a word.  My children, like more parents in this day and age, are mindful of the dangers.  Let's hope the universe in on their side!

I really need to get out more...bath salts...yikes!!!

Just a thought.

b


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Jun 22, 2012

The cat is dead...now can we have a hamster?

My son and his wife loved their cat...it had survived a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, a summer in the Saudi dessert and a week in a rat trap in China.  When it died a few weeks ago it had used all of it's nine lives.

Lester was a very useful cat.  When my granddaughter Amelia asked for a hamster she was told "No, because Lester would eat it!".  When she wanted a gerbil she was told "No, we can't have a gerbil or a rat or even a bird...Lester would eat them all!"  So Amelia was convinced that her life would alway be just about Lester.  But she is a very optimistic little girl so her cup was full to over flowing.

Amelia's Roller Skates, Christmas 2011
Then Lester the cat died. Amelia is only 4 so she barely sees the world at all...her little bubble includes a space about as big as her ams can reach.  Life went on and there were no reaction at all.  Until the other night. Amelia had crawled into bed between her mom and dad because of a bad dream and was happily dreaming when she started awake. "Dad, Dad, now that Lester is dead can we have a hamster?"

See this is the thing...when you are an optimist like Amelia the cup is always full. Life goes on even when the cat dies because there are hamsters and gerbils out there waiting to be adopted.

How is your day going? Is your cup half full or half empty?

b


Jun 21, 2012

Hoarding the Good Stuff...decorating with door knobs?

From Style at Home.com
Click image for source!
How do you describe a hoarder?  Is that the person that saves screws, hinges and drawer pulls?  Or are those okay and it is just the bank statements, margarine containers and pieces of paper in the drawers and on the floor that make you a hoarder?  There is a very fine line between what is thrifty, frugal and smart and what is weird. I suppose that somewhere inside of every person there is an urge to keep something that does not have any value and they don't even know why they might need it.  That is for the psychologists to figure out.

Getting Ready for the 4th of July!
As for me, I did saved a few door knobs and drawer pulls...through many moves!  Then we lived in a house that needed some pizzaz and I used the glass drawer pulls and cabinet knobs to dress it up.  Someone is living with my grandmother's knobs even now.  I don't think a hoarder would do that?  Do you?

I posted a picture of a door knob from Style at Home.com on Pinterest this morning.  They had a list of summer decorating ideas and the sea shell inspired door knob turned out to be my favorite.  I like door knobs.  I have one from an old house that my family owned...I think it was my grandparents but who knows.  It is in a drawer of my china cabinet...I even displayed it once on the cabinet.  So my husband should not have been surprised when I was digging through a box of door knobs at an antique salvage store and found another one, in much worse condition than the one at home, and insisted that we buy it. I did not need it at all.
Welcome to my House!
When my daughter was going to throw her old screen door away, I my husband carted the broken old door home and we hung it on our front door.  Now my "new" old door knob has a home.  I think it is beautiful!

I don't see myself as a hoarder.  I think I am part archeologist...every box we go through when we move is like a dig and I love it.

Be well.

b

Jun 20, 2012

Do You Need A Dose of Optimism? The TED doctor is in!

I try to stay in touch with the news...really I do.  But here is the thing.  The news is really depressing.  The front page of the NYT always sends we into fits of worry and sighing.  And the fact is they do it on purpose.  Why?  Because that is what the human mind feeds on...we need to survive. Fear and blood are the life source of the newspaper industry.

On the other side of the coin we find people that refuse to believe that the world is in as much trouble as the media says it is.  Enter Peter Diamandis.  I invite you to watch this video from TED called Abundance is our Future.  Then I challenge you to spend some part of your newspaper reading focused on the positive. Good things are happening...like a weather man once said, "Sometimes you just need to look out the window.  We (the news media) don't know everything."
Peter Diamandis runs the X Prize Foundation, which offers large cash incentive prizes to inventors who can solve grand challenges like space flight, low-cost mobile medical diagnostics and oil spill cleanup. He is the chair of Singularity University, which teaches executives and grad students about exponentially growing technologies.


Be well and have a wonderful day.

b

Jun 19, 2012

Books...Travel to the Scene of the Crime (or love) Story

I met a man in an RV resort several years ago.  He was one of the people that worked on the Hubble Telescope...but that is not the story.  He was very old or it seemed to me that he was.  I was much younger then.  He and his wife were in Tucson buying a "new to them" used motor home so they could travel to Prince Edward Island.  Why?  Well, his wife wanted to visit the place where Anne of Green Gables By Lucy Maud Montgomery  was set.  I don't think I had ever had the idea that I might get to see such a place. Now I want to go there.


Have you ever wanted to see for yourself?  What does that place just East of Eden look like?  Did John Steinbeck do Salinas Ca. justice? How about Steinbeck's book Travels with Charlie or Sea of Cortez?  Would you consider following his path on land or sea?

Do you remember the tree that Jo and Amy and Beth sat under to read on a warm summer afternoon in Little Women.  Would Louisa May Alcott's description of the house near Concord, Massachusetts be beautiful in reality?  

It has occurred to me that travel might be a new adventure.  Maybe it could be about literature or movies instead of museums and natural wonders.  I really like the idea better the more I think about it.

Do you have a "bucket list" of story locations that you want to see? I know I do...but that will be for another day.

b

Jun 18, 2012

Travel Book Ideas

When I was reading Seth Kugel's article yesterday I came across a statement that truly expressed my feelings about some of the places I have traveled.
 ....I knew that it would take a doctoral dissertation to understand fully everything that had been going on around me.  Seth Kugel NYT
That very feeling has left me wondering what travel books I should read and when I should do the research...before I leave for a journey or when I return home.  I have found that I am very apt to believe what I read in travel guides so I will skip over things because the writer told me to stay away.  Regret can be a result of that choice.  But, if I don't read the books, there may be things that are missed simply because I didn't know what was around the next corner and stopped short.  There is no right or wrong answer. I find myself doing a little of both.

When my husband and I were in Spain several years ago I saw the Alhambra in Granada for the very first time.  The images of the Court of the Lions still are clear in my mind.  I read Rick Steves' Spain  as we followed the tour that day.  But it wasn't until I arrived home and read Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra that I began to understand who might have lived there and what I had seen.  The very old book was written in the early 1832 after Irving had lived in the Moorish palace for a period of time.  

When we arrived home I savored the travel experience by reading several other books. One called Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain was written by a former rock musician from England turned expat. He decided to relocate his family to the Spanish countryside far from civilization. It was hilarious and yet so beautifully honest. I remember thinking about how grumpy the Spaniards were when we were there...Was it my fault? I wondered. I was reassured after reading the book.

But I will admit that reading a travel book before the imagined journey is good too. I like to read books about places I would love to visit but may never get to. I read Francis Mayes books about Italy for that reason. William Least Heat Moon also wrote several books about travel in the United States that I loved even though I may never take his journeys.  Books like South: The story of Shackleton's 1914-1917 expedition (to Anartica) take me to places that are inaccessible to the rest of the world.

I was reading in article The Browser this morning. They had an interview with a travel writer named Paul Theroux.  He was talking about his favorite travel books and Christ Stopped At Eboli - The Story Of A Year caught my interest. I added it to my Amazon Kindle to be read sometime in the future. Theroux said:
I chose this book because not many people know it – it’s hardly on every bookshelf. Carlo Levi was an Italian Jew from Florence, banished in the 1930s by the Mussolini government for criticising the war in Ethiopia. He is sent to the ends of the earth, and it happens that the ends of the earth in Italy is southern Italy – a hermetic hilltown village called Aliano which at the time was the edge of civilisation. It’s not Eboli – the point is that Christ stopped at Eboli, and Eboli is some distance away. He never got as far as Aliano. see more
I looked inside the book on Amazon and I was hooked after the first two paragraphs.

So, when do you read travel books or do you read them at all? I am just wondering.

b



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Jun 16, 2012

Is it Possible to Find a Place on Earth that is Untouched?

Sapa Market...Sue Mae (oldest sister) and me (no bath, no hot water, no makeup)
There really are places you can go see the past. There may not be a McDonalds so you might not be able to get a burger. I am sure you will survive. But it is tricky. Did you see that 1000 people were lined up at base camp to climb Mt. Everest in the last few days of the climbing season? One thousand people dropping oxygen bottles and trash on the highest most remote mountain in the world! What was an adventure enjoyed by only a few has now become a tourist destination! It is getting hard to find places where the McDonalds culture has not evaded. But it can be done.


The New York Times featured at article in the Art and Design section about a region near Oaxaca, Mexico. A village close by has remained untouched by the modern world. The article was aptly titled The Past Has a Presence Here.
The past is visible in the landscape. The past casts a sharp shadow here, wherever you look. You see it on mountaintop plateaus, where the ruins of ancient pyramidal staircases and capital-I-shaped ball fields hint at mysterious rituals that disappeared over a millennium ago.
When you stand on a flattened hilltop above the village of Atzompa, some seven miles outside of Oaxaca, and look over at a nearby peak, you can glimpse the immense ruins of Monte Alb├ín, a pre-Columbian plaza of breathtaking expanse used for ceremonies and games. Below those ruins, where perhaps 25,000 people lived in the early part of the first millennium, you can make out faint remnants of terraced farming on the hillside. New York Times, June 15, 2012
The Times article pointed out that even in this place the stalls in the market feature Sponge Bob Square Pants t-shirts. And yes, McDonalds came to Oaxaca in 2002. In this case, you must travel the 7 miles from Oazaca to Atzompa to escape the omni-present fast food business. The truth is, in order for a person to get a glimpse of what was, most humans must be left behind...a distant hill or village has to be the destination.

H'mong woman




When my husband and I visited Sapa, Vietnam this last winter, we could not believe our good fortune. The food was authentic and the only tourists we saw were trekkers. There was not a McDonalds in sight. We shopped in markets run by H'mong people that did not call Vietnam nor China home. They belonged to a culture of their own.  The H'mong women that were sent to town each week for a few days followed us relentlessly asking us to buy their trinkets. I was adopted by a woman named Jan. She trailed behind us like a puppy for a whole day. She could not read nor write. Western culture had not ruined her true nature. The face she showed us was one of a childlike innocence. She let us know that all the women talked about our family. My husband and I were a rarity because of our age.


When we were in Hanoi, the real Vietnam was still very much in evidence. Vendors began crowding the street to set up stalls at 5:30 a.m. so people that lived in that neighborhood could do their daily shopping. They brought the produce on their shoulders to the street balanced like a scale while riding bicycles. A loud speaker outside our bedroom window woke the neighborhood at 7:00 am with daily announcements. (Shades of Good Morning Vietnam with Robin Williams)
French Villa style setting.
Here again, the difficulty of getting to the place determined how authentic the places would be. We flew into Hanoi from Shanghai on a Vietnamese airline that was actually held together with duct tape on the interior.  The trip to Sapa required an overnight train ride and a bus ride north to a place at the foot of the Himalayas 40 kilometers from the Chinese border.  


Night Train...open windows?  WOW!
Cat Cat Village, Vietnam

A few French villas left from the times of the French colonization dotted the hillsides. The people in the country side lived as they has been living since heaven knows when.  But, in order for us to see that, we walked down stairs and paths that made the adrenaline rush as the thought that, if you fell, you would die flashed through the mind.  It was only then that we saw the H'mong people  living much like generations before.  


I suppose the lesson here is that the real cultures of the world are disappearing at the speed of light and, if we want to see something authentic, we need to dress in suitable clothes, bring a helmet in case you fall and wear good walking shoes.  It is not physically easy.


b


I recommend you read Seth Kugel, of the NYT.  I especially recommend this article he wrote about Mexico.  

Picking a Spot, Any (Undiscovered) Spot, in Mexico




Jun 14, 2012

TV Commercials: Who are those people anyway?

I would go see Rodolph Valentine
See, I never do this. I am not a person that wishes for the old days or even thinks about them.  But I want the old movie posters back. I have begun to notice that I don't know what name belongs to what famous people. I used to know everyone. Now I remember the face but have not name to go with it.  Has that happened to you?  Remember when the poster for a new movie appeared in theaters, the names of the stars and co-stars were featured at the top. Starring Jimmy Stewart and Sophia Loren it would way. I liked that...I decided to see the movie or not based on the star power of the people on the poster because I knew who they were.  Now, I cannot even figure out who is in the movie and suspect that the company releasing the film is hiding something.  I guess I am just suspicious.   Please, just tell me their name, preferably in large print.

Being of an age (70 years old) that young people would call old is bad enough.  But now I don't know who that guy is in the McDonald's commercial...the one standing behind the young man telling him to buy the nugget basket to share with the pretty girl across the room.   If I were getting the right information I would know who everyone was.   It could be that I should be focusing on the young man and the girl and the chicken nuggets but all I can think about is the older guy giving the advice.  Is he famous?  Do I know him?

Really, people, I do realize that face recognition is important but should it be a test?  Please don't make me guess about who is who and why I should know them. Make them wear name tags or something.

While we're on it, if you are going to play a beautiful song with a commercial, one I recognize but cannot name, tell me that too.  It is getting so I need to do an internet search to even watch car commercials.

So there you have it...let me recap:

  • List the stars in movies on the advertising in large print.
  • Tell me who the famous people are in the commercials...I missed the memo and need to know.
  • Put the name of the song and the person performing it in small large print at the bottom of the commercial.
Have a wonderful day.

b



Jun 12, 2012

How old will you be when you quit climbing trees?

How old will you be when you quit doing dangerous things?  I ask because a friend told me the other day that she would not get up off the floor without help.  She is in her 50's.  I scolded her a little! I think the inability to help ourselves is as dangerous as climbing trees. And I know that you can get up off the floor when you are very old.  The trouble is not that you can't do it but that you forget how.  We will forget how to turn over in bed or how to look under the bed for monters.  Although all those are easy tasks if you stay in practice, even riding a bicycle can be a challenge if you haven't actually been on one for several years.  I am staying in practice because I personally don't like monsters under my bed.

Curves has a program for exercise that will wake up you muscles...or at least that is what happened for me.  I suppose yoga or any exercise will do the same.  Then get down on the floor and figure it out.  I am including a YouTube video that shows not only how to get up off the floor but also how to roll over.  Simple?  Well, that is up to you.  I personally don't want to be part of a commercial talking about how I could not get up off the floor.  How about you?

Oh, and about climbing tree...just don't do that please.  You could get hurt...I'm just saying!  :)

Be well.

b


Jun 11, 2012

Moving On...Looking back and taking a rest!

Now is the time to move on.  Monday is as good a day as any to take a deep breath and look outside at the sunshine.  I know that even retirees need a day of rest if for no other reason than an older body can hurt if you don't give it time to recover from hard work.

Read about China
Today I am giving my mind a rest...at least for a short bit. I am allowed right? So go back in the blog read about cats or how-to make couponing fun or hobbies or even a mid-century trailer we owned at one time. I will let my mind rest and work my body.  Have a wonderful day.

b

Jun 9, 2012

Circle of Life: Hospice, Babies, and Graduation

Baby Shay...the beginning of a circle!
The tag "it's the journey" is attached to many stories on my blogs.  Growing older creates many challenges for my husband and I.  I am sure you have all had these experiences. So some days are joyous and some days bring grief.  The days that are remarkable are the ones that bring both and we are able to embrace the joy and put the grief in perspective.

When a death and a new beginning come at the exact same moment you take time to ponder the circle of life that surrounds us all.  In our particular case a dear friend and my daughter's mother-in-law, age 84, passed away at the very time that our granddaughter was receiving her graduation diploma.  I was holding the graduate's baby sister and we were cheering and stomping our feet in celebration of life both at it's beginnings and at it's end.  It was tearful yet joyous all at the same time.

Life is good...in it's own way.  Be well.

b


Label:  It's The Journey...musings on my life! from It Crossed My Mind Blog by b

Jun 6, 2012

Finding a Kindred Spirit...on being broad minded

Remember Thoreau taught us:
All men are children, and of one family.
The same tale sends them all to bed,
and wakes them in the morning.

Read more


I suppose you know more about me than you even care to...I wear my heart on my sleeve. As I grow older I am trying to hide out a little more. It can be hard to make friends when you march to a different drummer. On a day when I am wandering around on the web, not doing much but just learning, it is wonderful to read a post and simply say "yes, I understand". That is what I did when I read RJ's Corner and a post called Being Broad Minded. You can learn more about me by reading his words.


Incidentally RJ describes himself as a non-violent activist, a child of the 60's and a lover of barns.  How could you not love that.

Be well,

b

Jun 5, 2012

Permission Granted: You Are Allowed to Guard Retirement Money


You are hereby granted permission to guard your financial wealth...even from your family. While generosity is wonderful, be sure that your family, both old and young, understand the consequences of giving more to them than you can afford. It is possible that bailing out a family member would actually ruin your retirement. Sobering thought isn't it?

My journey around the web today took me from Boomer Girl's Guide to Buck$ome Boomer and an article called The Power of Saying "NO" to Preserve Your Retirement. The author, Kay Lynn Akers, is a boomer sharing her thoughts on the financial side of getting ready for retirement. Her post today revolved around the problem that parents have in saying no to their children when they are in need or even just want more than they can afford. I could relate to what she had to say...we all want our family to be happy. But.....

The fact is, we need to guard that part of our financial wealth that takes care of us in our retirement years. If we don't do that, our children will be left with the responsibility of helping us at that time. Will your children be able to do that? One of the comments left on The Power of Saying "NO"...suggested one guideline we might be able to use:

I think the key is to never raid one’s retirement funds.... But I do help out (and sometimes bail out) my children from time to time....(Grace from Graceful Retirement)
There is no one size fits all answer for this dilemma. But when it comes to our retirement funds, the funds that will pay our bills when we retire, the answer is alway "no". That money should be kept separate from other money...untouchable probably. It may be easier to say that you don't have it than to give a flat out NO!

This is another one of those conversation I think you need to have with your children and probably when they are very young. Like you, they need to realize that all the money you make is not for spending now. Part of that money will be needed to buy groceries and medical care somewhere on down the road. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we never started to raise their expectation to begin with?

I invite you to visit Boomer Girl's Guide and Buck$some Boomer. They are both very popular blogs.

Just a thought.

b

Related articles

How To Calculate Retirement NeedsPlan your retirement marathon... 10 years at a timeStudy: Boomers Give Up Savings to Help Parents, KidsFamily vs Retirement Tradeoff for Baby Boomers?
Bare Bones Budget from Nanny's Place 


Jun 4, 2012

Do you ever want to "act" like your Grandma?

See, the thing is I like to shop and work on two blogs and have a beautiful house/yard. I like to be trendy.   But today...today I just want to look like my grandma.  I want to wear sensible shoes and do crochet.  I want to put a beautiful hat on my head when I leave the house.   I want to pray a little.    

Not my Grandmother...just me!
On these days when I don't care about living a long time or coloring my hair, I think about how simple it was when women weren't expected to be young forever.  It would be nice, just once in a while, to be more like my grandmother...happy in my own skin.

Just a thought.

b

But here is reality...new items on Gift Blogger but these will go fast so check it out soon!

Jun 3, 2012

On Raising Daughters...Where Do Grandparents Fit In?

I just finished reading and article my son wrote for the organization he works for in China...he is a school administrator.  The words revolved around raising girls and what a daunting task that is. Even in this day and age it is assumed that boys will be fine but girls...well they will have to work harder and longer to arrive at the same place.

The article began with this paragraph:
From the moment our children are born till the day they leave the house and strike out on their own, it is amazing to observe how they grow, learn, and develop into adults. As a father of two daughters this process scares me to death, but I do want to have strong, independent, and creative daughters! A Father's Role in Raising Amazing Daughter
I loved that turn of phrase strong, independent and creative daughters! Isn't that what we all wish for our children both boys and girls?  But that is not the point...the point is how we go about doing that.  How do parents raise daughter and sons that believe in themselves and believe that nothing is impossible.  Can we help them believe that somethings are harder than other but nothing is impossible?  That the impossible just takes a little longer? 


This article cites Michael Mitchell and a piece he wrote called  “50 Rules for Dads of Daughters”. We as grandparents and parents can learn so much from both of these men.  I know we are suppose to be leaning toward a genderless society but sometimes it is worth our time to think about our children as individuals and as boys or girls.  That is what I am asking you to do today.  It does take a village to raise our children and the whole family can be involved and influential.


Andrew and Amelia, age 4, getting ready
to snorkel in the Viet Nam...a little afraid but prepared!
That is where we as grandparents come into the picture.  My son mentioned me telling stories about my mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Each of these women were strong but in different ways.  The way they were all the same though was that they all did the "impossible" and did it with grace and style.  I know that their influence in my life was profound and I never stopped talking about them.  They were held up as an example for my children and now, they are still doing their magic for my grandchildren.


In parallel to these stories about the women were stories about the men, equally as amazing and heroic.  These people too inspired through their honesty, courage and tenacity.  


Think if I had never told my children the stories of their heritage...wouldn't that have been a shame. In the article he talks about how he "was brought up to both admire and respect the powerful role that women have had in my life and in the history of my family. It is that powerful and important presence that I wish to build up in my own daughters."  


So, grandparents or aunts/uncles, tell your family stories.  Tell about how individuals fixed what could not be fixed or had the courage to admit failure when the impossible turned out to be just that. Find ways to convey to your family how they can  make their lives work in the face of loss or financial difficulty.  Do it with stories that set an example.  I don't think that my family was extraordinary in anyway.  Everyone has stories to share and marvel at.


Strong parents do raise strong children.  In the case of my granddaughters, I think that is very cool that they have grandmothers and aunts on both sides of their family to emulate.  At the days end it will make them better people.


Be sure to read the article written by Andrew Torris and Michael Mitchell for some wonderful guidance on the role of a father in a daughter's life.  We can all learn a lot from them.


Be well.


b


Related website:  Retire in Style Daily News
Twitter: barbblogtwits