Sep 29, 2012

iPad Case with Keyboard cheaper online? Very Cool!


Okay, I admit it.  I love the idea of shopping. I really don't need to leave the house to shop but don't tell my husband. He doesn't really know that yet...we have only been married 51 (almost 52) years!

For example, I need to tell you about a new iPad case with a keyboard I got this last week. I found it at a kiosk in the mall while I was dreaming of an iPhone 5. The kiosk featured all those cool accessories we need when we own the portable technology available today. My iPad case was not working like it should after a year of hard use so I began looking to see what was available. It is amazing how classy and functional the covers have become since the iPad came on the market.

The one that caught my eye was a iPad case with the keyboard integrated into the case. When I stand the device up, it becomes a laptop by linking the keyboard through a blue tooth. The one you see below is very similar to the one I found. Mine has a magnetic latch that shuts the screen off when it is closed. The keyboard is also attached magnetically so I can remove it and set the iPad a little further away. When I turn the keyboard off I can fold the case and hold it at the correct distance for reading my Kindle books. I had never had a keyboard. It turns out I wanted one and didn't know it. :)

But the deal is I could have stayed at home and gotten the same thing for less! When I looked at the adsense ads I was shocked when I realized that exactly the same thing and maybe better could be had for $30 less than I paid!  Darn!


.

We still don't have an iPhone 5 but my iPad now has a brand new life as a small portable computer. I love this new-old toy. Have a wonderful day.

b

Sep 28, 2012

Books: SEVEN THOUSAND WAYS TO LISTEN by Mark Nepo (NYT best selling author)

"I hope the journey of this book will enable readers to discover and enliven their own personal practice of staying close to the aliveness we are each born with, and so inhabit the durable and precious gift of life." Mark Nepo on his new book, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen.
Seven Thousand Ways to Listen
Staying Close to What Is Sacred
This edition: Hardcover, 288 pages

ISBN-10: 145167466X
ISBN-13: 9781451674668


When I review a book I normally read it because I am obligated. I am sent a copy before the book is released and I read...from cover to cover. So I began reading Mark Nepo's new book SEVEN THOUSAND WAYS TO LISTEN: Staying Close to What is Sacred in the evening because it was the time I could snatch from a busy day. My vision was blurred and the words began to swim. Then the sound of the words in my head stopped me dead. "Stop! Stop now! Listen" my heart said. I don't know why but my being was listening even if I wasn't.

Have your ever read a book with such beautiful prose that you wanted to cry? That is the way that Mark Nepo's words hit me. See I am an older person and my time is precious to me. I am not inclined to read bad books or watch awful movies. This book made me pause and...well...listen.

There are seven thousand or more languages on this earth he tells his readers in the first sentences of the book. Seven thousand ways to hear or experience the word listen. The title reflects that number but it is so much more. Nepo is renowned for his spiritual writings and was at the top of the New York Time best seller list with a earlier book called The Book of Awakening. He is a cancer survivor and suffers from a severe hearing loss as a result of chemo therapy. He says that it was when he began losing his hearing that he became aware that listening was not all about our ears. Even though the book was being formulated before he discovered how little he was hearing, I think the book was enriched by the disability. He says he wrote this book as a way to get a better understanding of the what was in his heart.

A fellow reviewer said it better that I ever could:
"Nepo has mastered a unique way of inviting the reader into a meditative state while reading his sublime wisdom about everyday life. I found his work a comfort--and that's a rare find these days.”
-- Caroline Myss, author of Entering the Castle and Defy Gravity
The words of Associate Publicist for Simon and Schuster, Kristin Matzen, struck at the core of why this book is not only inspiring but also relevant in today's political climate.
"In this elections season," she said, "now more than ever, listening takes on a vital importance.....With so much at stake at this time, we all have to and stop and listen more. As Nepo explains...listening is the first step to peace."
But in the end it struck me that this book does not have religious doctrinal boundaries. It is relevant in the Middle or Far East as much as it is here at home. No matter their religious stance, everyone could benefit from a book that guides us through the labyrinth of listening to the other's voices so that we might understand. After all isn't that the problem? We just don't understand the other's position because we have quit listening? We have even quit listening to our own inner voices and that is the one that Mark Nepo speaks to with such eloquence.

b

Note: This book is designed in such a way that it can be used as a pathway to meditation. You will find notes for reflection, topics for dinner conversations and guides to help you write about what you are thinking.

Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What Is Sacred will be available on Amazon
on October 9, 2012.  It will be available in hard back and on your Kindle.

Other places to find Mark Nepo:

Three Intentions Blog
Mark Nepo
Huffington Post: Mark Nepo 

Sep 26, 2012

An invitation to link: 5 Small Things To Do...Everyday

There are things that I think we should do everyday...not big things but small things, doable, and real.  Why? Because big elephants need to be eaten one bite at a time. When we look at the whole, we become discouraged and stuck. Think about these small things. This is an invitation to link to this post in the comments with your blog post about your 5 things:
  1. Savor waking up every morning.  Have you ever thought about the miracle of sleeping and waking every day of your life?  It is one of the most amazing things. Begin each day slowly, savoring the joy of being awake to greet the day.
  2. Walk fast for a little distance. Time is no problem because a short distance can take a matter of seconds. Who knows, if you begin with a very short fast walk, you may find yourself walking fast for a little longer each day. Don't pay attention to how long or far...just walk until you are done and then be done!
  3. Smile at someone. Is there a scientific reason we should smile?  I don't know nor do I care. I just know that it is something we need to do everyday. The more the better.
  4. Be a little grateful.  Not to much because I do know that too much forced gratitude will dilute the quality of your thoughts.  Focus.
  5. Make yourself shine...the very old saw cleanliness is next to godliness may be true. Take the time to wash and brush and reflect on the wonder of the vessel given to you that you may live another day.
Thoughts on my 5 things:
My Garden and Sanctuary
  • Savoring Morning sets the tone for the whole day, each and every day. I personally make myself sit up and hold a cup of hot liquid in my hand, sipping myself awake each and everyday. It is not a task to do or a time for prayer. It is savoring the time of day. I am more creative, happier and rested when I start the day. When I was working I would do this each morning for just ten minutes. By the time I climbed out of my bed I was ready to face the day with joy.
  • Walking Exercise is important. We all know that BUT when it becomes onerous and time consuming, it weighs on our minds and soul. But a short fast walk? We can all do that everyday. Exercise is like a good book in that we need to start at the beginning to appreciate and love it.
  • Smiling Human contact is one of those things we need to remain alive. When denied human love, babies actually die. Talking care of basic human needs will not keep them alive.  Smile at a human, talk to a human, be alive.
  • Gratitude The reason I think that a the focus for our gratitude is important has come to me over a long period of time. Have you noticed that when you say "thank you" to a friend for a kind deed, the thank you is more meaningful the first time than after you have said it 10 times?  Gratitude is like that.  One or two thoughts of gratitude are enough for one day...at least for me. Then I try to focus on those thoughts.
  • Cleanliness...it can help Clean teeth actually helps your mental functioning. Frequent hand washing keeps disease away and so on. I want to add to that list. I think that people that live long value their life and the body they are given. Beyond breathing and eating which are not choices in our daily life, up lifting daily habits result in a quality life. (Information from 17 Day Plan to Stop Aging (review here), Dr. Mike Moreno)
What are your 5 things?  I would love have you think about it and write a post.  I invite you to leave a link in a comment.

b

NoteThe 17 Day Plan to Stop Aging (available on Amazon)

I reviewed this book on Blog Critics recently. The book is jam packed with so much information. The book reinforced the daily habits listed above. I received the book as a gift from Free Press

There is a blog called 5 Things to do Today. I should give credit where credit is due...the writer of 5 Things to do Today inspired me!

Interesting pdf file (put text in Google search):  (Spirituality and health:  What we know, what we need to know Linda K George; David B Larsons; Harold G Koeing; Michael E McCullough
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology; Spring 2000; 19, 1; Psychology Module)




Sep 25, 2012

"Why are you getting old?" the two year old asked.

+I think I have told you before that my grandchildren do not know how old I am.  The little ones think I am just like them and the older ones think I am decrepit. I don't know why but there you have it!

The two little grandsons spent the night with us last night so we had fun walking, talking, reading, coloring, playing and sleeping. Going to bed is always hard but we manage to get the job done every time they come. I suppose children will sleep eventually no matter what we do. I really don't say much because I have learned sleep doesn't always appear at the door when I want it to.

However, I want to take control of the getting up part. It is not any easier than the going to sleep part but I am always hopeful.  See I am not an early riser...not even a little bit. I told the boys last night that I wanted them to stay in bed, sleep in, let grandma sleep as long as they could.

They looked at me in stunned silence and the two year old piped up the usual question.

"Why?"
"Grandma need to get her rest." I answered sounding very reasonable.
"Why?" came at me again.
"Grandma is getting old." I said using my ace in the hole card.
Unimpressed he looked me in the eyes and said once more, "Why?"

Why?
Now here is the thing.  How do you explain the why for getting old to children. I don't feel old and my grandchildren that are young don't think I am old so why am I acting old? Is it the fact that my life is spent with younger adults that worry about me getting old? Or, could it be that I am using old as an excuse for refusing to doing what I don't want. Am I to blame for people treating me like I am old because I use the old excuse as an easy way out?  I wonder.

b

Sep 23, 2012

Zen, Worry, and the Drive-thru Window at 7-Eleven

In my imaginary Zen world, I had come to believe that worry was something that could be conquered. I would say things like "Why worry about things that probably will never happen?  If bad things do happen, that is the time to worry." Even James Russell Lowell thought worry was for other people.
Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which will never happen.  ~James Russell Lowell
As I understand the teachings of the Zen, the goal is to not just to know but to become enlightened. Wikipedia says, "Zen emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment and the personal expression of direct insight in the Buddhist teachings."  In teaching we could call this internalizing the knowledge. Ah for the ability to truly become one with the knowledge we have attained throughout our life. So that brings me to the new drive through window at the local 7-Eleven convenience mart.  

When the latest granddaughter climbed behind the wheel of the family car I was all about peace and joy and the universe being on our side. She is #6 of the 12 to learn to drive. Only one other dented the car. She drove through the back wall of the garage. As a family, it was going pretty good. That was before #6 drove through the plate glass window at the 7-Eleven.  Now, I think I can worry. I know I have permission from all grandparents in the world to suck in my breath and suffer a little anxiety. I have to acknowledge that there is no bubble that surrounds the ones I love from mistakes.

No one was hurt, we have laughed a lot and my granddaughter is embarrassed. It is all good. 

Her friend called and invited her to come have breakfast the next morning. Her dad was taking them. The friend said "We are going to the 7-Eleven. I hear they have a new drive-through window! Wanna come?"  Really, you have to giggle a little bit don't you?

b

Note:  I need to confess that I totally blocked the wreck that the brother of #6 had.  A little old lade (like me) pulled out in front of him at an interesection. His mothers VW was totally.  I he did not get a ticket and no one was hurt.  Now that I think about it, this driving thing is not going as well as I thought it was.

Linked to: Grandma's Brief Grand Social

Sep 22, 2012

Children's Books: DAMIEN AND THE DRAGON KITE by Raymond Macalino

If I find something good when I am shopping, I can hardly wait to tell everyone I know.  Today I need  to tell you about Damien And The Dragon Kite (click on link to buy).
Damien And The Dragon Kite (Amazon)
My husband and I walked to Saturday Market here in Hillsboro this morning. Usually I buy vegetable but today I came home with a beautiful little book written by Raymond Macalino called Damien and the Dragon Kite. Macalino was reading the book aloud to a young family.  Of course you know I am but a child at heart so there I was, standing and listening. I loved the message and simplicity of the book.
The real Damien also sold a books at the market
 but he was sold out.  Darn!

Raymond Macalino showing
Damien And The Dragon Kiteto children at market!  He autographed a copy for me too. 
Macalino is from the Phillipines where a kite festivals are celebrated each year. Damien is his little boy and actually looks a lot like the illustrations in the book. It is beautifully illustrated by Andras Balogh so that Macalino's stories comes to life magically. I was a teacher of small children for many years so you need to trust me when I tell you...you are going to love this one!

b

Raymond Macalino can be found at www.facebook.com/DamienAndTheDragonKite

Note:  Children are the subject of many posts hear. Someday I will tell you about the new "drive through" window at the local 7-Eleven!  Sigh!

Sep 21, 2012

4 Perfect Gifts for Grandchildren from Creative Grandparents

Christmas is coming and finding just the right toy for your grandchildren, young and a little older, can be a trick.  Grandparents need to be creative, frugal and (best of all) fun.  Here are some ideas for you.

I went to the mall today.  Here are a few that I spotted.  These are all available on Amazon or online at other places,  I have included links for your convenience:
  • iPad Protective Cover:  The one I saw had handles on the side that allowed the child to grasp the iPad and move it around.
 iGuy by Speck Products
Animals in Africa, 1000-Pieces Augmented Reality Puzzle by Ravensburg
  • Augmented Puzzle:  Parent magazine says this is one of the best toys for 2012. Your can download an app on an iPhone or and iPad that will bring the puzzle to life.   I am getting this for my family.
This groundbreaking new “augmented reality” line of interactive puzzles come to life with a free downloadable app that uses the camera function of your iPhone or iPad2 to animate the scene. 

  • Rocking Bowl:  If your grandchild is a toddler, we all know that keeping them active in the house can be a challenge.  Parent magazine also recommended this one.  The bowl is big enough for two toddlers to rock in and has rounded corners to cut down on injuries. One person that commented said that it rocks and soothes upset children too.   I liked this one too. 


WEPLAY ROCKING BOWL CLEAR
 by WePlay
  • BuckleyBoo:  My daughter-in-law was bemoaning the fact that so few of this type of toy is available.  It is all about manipulation.
Thoughts on toys for girls...the Goldie Blox Toy:
The girls toy aisle at Target is still all pink. Actually it kinda reminds me of Pepto Bismol.  I am the grandmother of 7 granddaughter so I know that girls are NOT all about pink princesses and curvy dolls.  At least in our family they aren't. When I counted the toys that were the best of 2012 in Parent Magazine, most of them were toys that boys would love but girls might not be that excited about.  I don't know what the unknown quality is but it is missing.

I suppose that is why I was so interested in the article I found online by Rebecca C. Rosen of The Atlantic. It was called Can a Kids' Toys Bring More Women Into Engineering? The article opened with this:
Bob the Builder. Jimmy Neutron. Lego Man. Sid the Science Kid. Handy Manny.
The science-loving, tower-building cartoon heroes popular among kids today are all boys, or -- I suppose, in the case of Lego Man -- men.(Can a Kids' Toy Bring More Women Into Engineering? - The Atlantic)
Did you know that all of the engineers...well at least 90%...are men.  So when Debbie Sterling became an engineering student at Stanford, she noticed that she was in the minority by a 9:1 ratio.  You can see why she began to wonder "why"?  Sterling thinks now that it may have to do with the fact that the majority of the toys that foster engineering intelligences are in the "blue" aisle at the toy store while the "pink" aisle is devoted to pink dolls and princesses.  So she designed and is now marketing her Goldie Blox toy on Kick Start. The color is pink but the purpose is clear. She wants to give girls the self image that allows them to be problem solvers and be able to find a toy that helps in the "pink" aisle. She almost has enough money to go into production. Here is a video from the Kick Start page.


But while we are waiting for this toy to become available, we need to be looking for other manipulative that inspire concepts in math, science and engineering, something that will influence girls to ask for the toy for Christmas. If you have any wonderful ideas, let me know.

Have a wonderful day!

b

Related articles

Sep 20, 2012

AARP: Healthy Living Trivia Sweepstakes, Prizes and Learning

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Yesterday I received a letter from a Melissa Summers, a Community Manager and Content Creator for B2B and Consumer Facing Brands.  She is promoting an AARP sponsored website called Healthy Living Sweepstakes.  The website is all about healthy lifestyle awareness and learning while playing a game of trivia.  The hook is a $20 credit toward a pedometer/radio or a 3-day vacation at a resort. 
Hi Barbara, 
I'm writing on behalf of AARP to let you know about their ongoing Healthy Living Sweepstakes. You can read more about it here: http://aarp.promo.eprize.com/health/#.UE9YL1Ew-7t 
As a non-profit organization with more than 37 million members, the AARP advocates a healthy lifestyle as part of its overall mission to support independence, choice and control in the lives of Americans 50 years old and older. Because your (extensive) content focuses on many aspects of living well after retirement and you recently shared some thoughts about the AARP remaining relevant (Is AARP Losing It's Grip on Seniors?) we thought you and your readers might be interested in hearing from AARP.... 

Screen Shot of Web Page
I need you to know that I have been inspired to begin walking 30+ minutes a day and am losing weight at about 2 lbs. a week. This letter came at just the right time. I was interested!

I went to the website and gave the trivia game a try. Darn, I did not know all the answers and I did not win
But it was fun! I like this sort of thing because I can play and learn at the same time. You get more chances to win if you answer a lot of questions. Three questions will get you in so it just depends on how much time you want to spend.  Each question will give you a hint for the answer with a link to information about the question. That was interesting for me. Honestly, I need to pay attention to obesity and BMI (body mass index) and arthritis, etc. Even if I don't want to.

So, if you just want to play around with the chance that you might win something cool, this trivia game may be for you.

Have fun.


b

Related Links: 
Book Review: The 17 Day Plan to Stop Aging by Dr. Mike Moreno (Barbara Torris, Blog Critics)
Did the Invitation Get Lost in the Mail?  (Retire in Style Blog)
AARP And Me (Retire in Style Blog)
AARP: The 48 yr. Old Guy is Passing...For Now! (guest post on Retire In Style Blog)

Sep 19, 2012

Lonely Planet: "No, I'm not a 'twitcher'!"

I saw the item in my paper.li website (Retire in Style Daily News).  The Top 10 Destination for Twitchers. Was that something I should know about?  Am I a twitcher?  I know that there is a term "curtain twitcher" for people that peek through their curtains so they can keep an eye on the neighbors.  I knew that I was not one of them. If I want to know what the neighbors are doing, I go out in the front yard and ask. I was fairly sure Lonely Planet was not talking about that variety of twitcher.



It turns out a twitcher is a bird watcher of the rare variety. They travel around the world looking for rare birds and adding the name to their list of said rare birds seen.  It is a kind of rare competition I think.  The article in Lonely Planet had some comments from people that I wouldn't want to meet...sort of mean and cross.  Evidently LP offended them in some way! Bird watcher really need for those of us that don't (watch birds) to straighten up.

However, since I live with a Dr. Doolittle that loves birds, I have had some pretty unusual experiences with our feathered friends.  See, my husband is the kind of guy that can get a bird to sit on his finger if he wants.  When we sit in the back yard he calls the hummingbirds and they come to the feeder to drink as we watch them. Their clicking can be heard as soon as we open the door. They will come in our park model living room in Arizona. If our bedroom window is open they will fly to the window to look at us.

We had a mourning dove come sit on our front porch in Arizona after a Road Runner had eaten her babies. We had chased the carnivorous bird away from the nest several times. She was sure my husband could get them back I think. It broke my heart.
Source: google.com via Barbara on Pinterest




On the other hand, we would never travel anywhere to find a bird. I don't think either one of us actually believes that we could find the birds.  Besides, why would be do that when the birds come to us? And, honestly, bird watchers that are very serious scare me a little bit. Especially if they are a twitcher.

b

Sep 17, 2012

Magazines on iPad...some for free! Goody Goody!

I am loving my iPad more now that when I first was given it as a gift. This is my latest discovery...magazines for my iPad! We only have one TV and it is football season. My husband loves football. I love it in small doses. I cannot write or work all of the time. I need my iPad magazines so I can pass the ever darkening evenings that come with Fall. It turns out that it is true:  Necessity is the mother of invention (or discovery in my case). Here is what I have learned...iPad has MAGAZINES...LOTS OF MAGAZINES!

The iPad allows me the option of reading and storing my magazines. Paper is kind of precious or that is what I think. Now I can read my magazines and not have piles under the table and on the table and in the drawer of the table. It is all good.

However, there are a few things I have noticed. While there are many magazines that can be downloaded using the magazine App, not all the magazine for the iPad are created equal.
  • Take Country Living for example. This magazine has been one of my favorites for many years. I love the pictures and inspiration for country decor. However......this App gives you just a magazine and nothing more. You can turn the pages, enlarge the pictures to a point but that is about all.  There is no scrolling the print down at all. If you enlarge a picture, you cannot see the print because it is not in a separate sidebar type of location.  I had this experience with Oprah on my computer.
  • On the other hand, I downloaded Real Simple Magazine this morning and I was delighted. The ability to see menus from each section of the magazine and pick which pages I wanted to actually view just blew me away. I know I am behind the curve here but still, I was impressed.
Be aware that, while the App is free, most magazines are not. You can get each issue separately or you can subscribe for a year. The cost is considerably less and if you buy a particular magazine every month you might want to go that way. I suggest you look at each magazine before you purchase a years worth. Don't waste your money. The iPad version may not live up to the real magazine experience.

4 Free Magazine 
Fat Wallet listed a few free iPad app magazines you may be interested in. I am downloading all of these.
  • Slate  Slate is a news provider of the sorts. It is not liberal or conservative...it is contrarian! That might be fun. 
  • Flipboard  News feed
  • Discover for Ipad A wiki magazine that could come in handy
  • Website Magazine for Ipad If you are a techie or are in a small online business, this is may be what you need.
  • Net-a-Porter  Free magazine about style + shopping. (I like this one.)
  • More...MacRumors forum has a wonderful list of free magazines you might check out.
Honestly speaking, I have struggled with my iPad. It did not seem to me that it was very useful for anything but going online with a bigger screen than my iphone gave me. My father taught me that if all else fails, read the directions. I need to apologize to the iPad makers. Reading the directions would have been useful. But I am now beginning to understand how the device works! I still haven't read the directions...for that I am sorry. I will do that soon...I promise. Oh and my piece of advice is don't always follow your father's advice!

I thought if I was expanding my horizons, you might as well join in.  What do you know about my iPad that I should know?

b

Sep 16, 2012

PERFECT FOR GRANDPARENTS: 7 Ideas for a Custom Made Gifts...Christmas is coming (I'm sorry)!

Note: Become a follower...I would like that!

Do the marketing genius people have us conditioned?  It is not even Halloween yet and I am beginning to think about shopping for the Christmas Holiday season.  It is just sick!

Custom Made
This year I am trying to think "custom made" for some people on my small list.  Over on the Grandparents.com Facebook account a website for custom made toys created using a child's artwork caught my eye. I love the idea of giving a piece of artwork to parents or the grandchildren that holds wonderful memories. Here are some of the websites I found:
custom soft toys
  • Totally Out of Hand is a website devoted to creating children's artwork  using a child's artwork.
  • Child's Own Studio recreates the artwork into custom soft toys for children
  • Dog Magic Studio has formed a partnership with the National Autism Foundation to recreate jewelry using the child's hand print or thumb print.
  • Kid Doodle will do the same. The artist is a mom working out of her home and exhibiting art in the Outer Banks area.

Adding your personal touch:
I think we will get this
one for Christmas this year.
(Amazon)
  • Read aloud stories were a huge success with our grandchildren.  We read Good Night Moon and gave the book as a gift last winter. There are many choices.
  • Custom made rubber stamps are wonderful.  You can select the working and have it made. They too can use your child's artwork. I found an etsy shop that will do that for you.
  • Retirees love business cards...especially when they travel.  Have you ever thought of having some made of them or even creating them yourself on the computer at home and giving them as a gift.  I would think that college students might even like them. I just order a box of them from VistaPrint.com.
I am not saying you need to start shopping now....but if you want custom made it may take a while! I'm just saying.

b

Note:  Most of the websites listed above are just found and I have no financial interest.  The book picture is from Amazon.

If anyone knows where a person can buy a blank read aloud book let me know.  I think it would be fun to tell a story about a time spent with the children and include pictures.


Sep 15, 2012

Will you just RETIRE already? There is a line waiting!

Since when did retirement get to be such a big deal? I mean, really folks, when the time come, be prepared and, as Nike would say, just do it. It is not rocket science.

Because I am old, I remember when people worked their required 30+ years and then they retired to do what retirees do. They went fishing, took care of the grandchildren, bought groceries and worked at what ever they wanted to work at.  It was natural and right!

Now there seems to be a trend toward working forever and staying young forever. People live beyond their means so retirement becomes a race to make enough money so they can keep on living beyond their means. Heaven help us all! Halting the passage of time forever is about as possible as a 20 month pregnancy or putting a rock on you child's head so he will never grow up. Some things CAN not be changed. We should grow up, do what ever grown ups do, let our children do the same and get on with our lives.

This is what I do in retirement...the picture is what I make it!
Have you ever thought that retiring as we grow older is a natural progression in our lives? It is a part of the cycle of life and as we grow old, we move over to give some space to our children or grandchildren. I often wonder if the unemployment problems we are in today are a result of the boomers thinking that, if they just keep working, they will not have to face themselves or even their home life. They are a little afraid of the next step and they take the cowardly way out. They keep going to work everyday while young people go without jobs.

I liked a post that Satisfying Retirement put up yesterday describing How to Retire. As Bob Lowry says, retirement is not simple. He points out that it is complicated and even hard. I agree. There is a sense of grief because of the loss the retiree may experience. Living with your spouse can be a trial that would drive a saint wild. The list goes on. But, my friends, take heart. You are tough and smart.  You can do this. You left your home when you grew up and it was hard. You probably are a parent and maybe you had problems. That was hard. You may have lost your parents or a sibling. That was hard.  You are aging and your body is doing what a body does as it gets some miles on it. That is hard. So what makes you think that retirement is going to bring you to your knees?

Life is a sequence of ages and stages. While we would all like to skip some of those stages, it is not going to happen. As those of us that blog from the experience of retirement will tell you, it is not about what life hands you, it is how you see what life hands you! This latter stage of your life can and should be one of the best. It allows you to make choices and live out some dreams...and it is not about money. Really, the simplest things are the most fun.

There, I said it!

b

Sep 14, 2012

Keeping Life Fair: Wear Hearing Aids and other good stuff!

Just Because...Seaside, Oregon
LET'S PLAY FAIR
Do you have a hard time hearing but, according to you, are doing just fine?  How many times a day do you say "Huh?" After all, if the you are able to get most of the important stuff, can turn the TV up on the 12 setting and don't have to listen to a lot of small talk, why should you pay all that money for the stupid things?  Right?

Well, here is the deal. You do not live in a bubble. You share your life with other people. Taking those people into account would lead most people to reconsider their decision to pass up the hearing aids. How about you? Remember, you need to be fair to the humans and the whining dog that needs to go out.

Oh by the way, my husband has worn hearing aids for years so I am not talking about him or anyone in particular!:) I'm just saying.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
I came across a couple of blogs I think you should read.
  • Frikos World: Friko is a middle aged German woman living in England who can be funny while quoting Shakespeare.  It doesn't get much better than that. 
  • Where's My Effing Pony: Funny, insightful, English.  
  • Why You Little.....: This is a light hearted blog is written by a ve-e-e-ery talented writer.  I love this  genre. When the cat drives a car I want to hear about it! Take a look.
That's all for today. 

b

Sep 8, 2012

Travel PDX: Dan and Louis Oyster Bar...WWII Flying Tigers and more!


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Portland is a magnet for people from around the world. I think that is one of the things I love about this city.  It is not uncommon for me to visit with a tourist from Switzerland with a beautiful big camera and within a few minutes be talking to one of the oldest living survivors of the veterans of the all-Chinese American Flying Tigers.  Honestly, I don't know how that can be but it happens to me here all the time. The only thing that changes is the cast of characters.


Visitors from Switzerland

We were eating dinner at the Oyster Bar* located on Ankenny Alley in Old Town near Burnside. We had taken a seat inside near a window and ordered a drink when a couple wandered up to one of the picnic table outside.  The man had a beautiful big camera he put down on the table. Not 10 feet away a far bigger camera was being used by a far younger man. I could not resist the temptation to compare the cameras. The encounter resulted in a conversation with a gentleman from Switzerland. He and his wife were here for the second time and traveling around the area in a rented Cruise American RV.  It really was so much fun to just stop, chat a bit and welcome them to our beautiful city.

Interior of Oyster Bar
After our drink we asked the waitress if we could be seated in the dining room. We love to sit in there because the pictures on the wall are all about Portland maritime history and how it related to what we are today.  But the answer was no.  She was very sorry but the dining room was being used by the WWII veteran group of Chinese Americans that had been the ground support crew for the Flying Tigers. The unit of the WWII Fourteenth Air Service Group/ Fourteenth Air Force just happened to be in Portland for their 2012 reunion. Now that did stop me in my tracks. This group was formed prior to Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the pilots flew their first misson just 12 days after the attack.  That has been almost 71 years ago.  These survivors are becoming very old.


97 and counting
Flying Tiger ground support crew, WWII
I wandered into the dining room after they arrived and stopped at the first table in the room.  Heaven knows I did not belong there and I had no idea what to say but I wanted to talk to just one of those men.  Warren Lee was sitting with his 3 companions quietly waiting for his food to arrive. It turned out that Warren was the oldest man in the room.  He is going to be 98 on his next birthday. He graciously allowed me to take his picture and smiled politely as I blathered on. Seeing him was the highlight of my day. 

Don't you just love it when a plan you didn't even make comes together?  WOW!

b

*Dan and Louis Oyster Bar, well-known locally and around the world, celebrates over 100 years of serving the public its signature seafood dishes. Since Louis C. Wachsmuth opened the doors in 1907, five generations have been involved in carrying on the family tradition. A century later, and an Old Town landmark, the Wachsmuth family invites you to share a Portland favorite. (from http://www.danandlouis.com/#)

Incidentally, the Ankenny street locations is also home to Voodoo Doughnuts and several other restaurants.  The street has been vacated and is now lined with picnic tables and lights are strung across the narrow alley.  It is very charming especially on a beautiful late summer evening. 


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Sep 7, 2012

Book: Why read "Monkey Mind, a Memoir of Anxiety"?


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Monkey Mind*: A Memoir of Anxiety was written by Daniel Smith, son of a psychotherapist and brother of a hypochondriac. His whole life experience it turns out was lived with very anxious people. It was only natural that he should suffer from something and anxiety seemed only natural. When he explained what he had come to understand as the underlying cause for his affliction he said:
...[my brother's] admonition is that I never realized how influential our upbringing must have been....
In his early 40s, my father had a series of panic attacks that sent him packing to the behavioral ward. My mother, meanwhile, was struggling to make it through P.T.A. meetings without hyperventilating herself into unconsciousness. (NYT 4/2012)
So Smith did something I thought such an monkey minded person could never do...he wrote a book. It turns out it is a wonderful read. If this book doesn't become a movie, I will be very disappointed. Woody Allen would be the perfect star. Daniel Smith's choice to write about his life would terrified most of us...he wrote about what is going on inside his head. Ironically it was fall on the floor funny. Usually anxiety does not make me laugh. The Amazon review echoed my feelings about the book.


Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety




Neurologist and bestselling writer Oliver Sacks says, “I read Monkey Mind with admiration for its bravery and clarity. . . . I broke out into explosive laughter again and again.”
I chose this book because of an article titled The Manic in Me  published in the New York Times last April. The short piece written by Smith was humorous and interesting. So interesting I actually reread every word. Believe me I don't do that very often.

Here is the thing...I cannot tell you why you should read this but I do know you should. Maybe because it is one of the best pieces of writing I have come across in a long time. Or it could be that we are all anxious at least part of time and Smith insights are very helpful. Of course wandering around inside another person's head can be a lot of fun AND very therapeutic. It is a known fact that laughter is the best medicine. At least it was for me!

b

On a political note:  Daniel Smith was a "fact checker" for The Atlantic...a job that drove him nuts. Really. He is currently a writer but maybe he could work on the side for CNN...I'm just saying. 
Daniel Smith
Source: nytimes.com via Barbara on Pinterest


*Mind monkey or Monkey mind: from Chinese xinyuan and Sino-Japanese shin'en 心猿 [lit. "heart-/mind-monkey"], is a Buddhist term meaning "unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable".

Sep 5, 2012

Being "honest" in politics must be very hard! Photograph to prove it!

Being honest can get you in trouble. The fact might be that telling the truth is very rarely a good thing for the truth teller.

I received a text message the other day with the message, "At least they were being honest."  Here was the picture included.  The sign said:

Taken Saturday on the Oregon coast highway.
Get us drunk  420  
("420" means for a $20.)

Luckily there was a Safeway just up the road so these guys could stagger over and buy some beer if someone actually gave them money. Imagine if these truth tellers were Republicans or Democrats raising funds!

With political season heating up and claims begin thrown around by both parties, the probability of anyone being totally honesty is very small. Anyone that has taken a statistics class knows that numbers can say anything. It is all about how you spin the message. I know what I think is true but unless I employ an honest to goodness "fact finder"*, the type the high class magazines like The Atlantic use, who knows what is true and what is not.

The reality is, as we can see from the picture above, telling the truth just doesn't work sometimes. Being in politics must be very hard.

Just a thought!

b

Fact-finding is the only way to verify sources and ensure the validity of a topic. Newspapers, magazines and book publishers use fact-finders to verify information provided by the writer. On-site fact-finders look at the sources provided by the writer to double-check the information. 
Read more: The Advantages of Fact-Finding | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_8649554_advantages-factfinding.html#ixzz25dPHs9Qk