Apr 30, 2013

Aging: Is your search engine working against you?

I was reading The Succulent Wife yesterday. It struck me that the advertising industry is so pervasive that there is no way to escape the images of ourself as somehow not good enough.  Every page we go to on our computer is loaded with ads for things we women need to make us look more youthful. The search engines know how old we are, where we live and what we like to do. They take that information and place ads on your Facebook page and maybe even on your email account. I even suspect that the ads on my blog are aimed at me specifically. Don't ask me how but it is a fact. Susan Keats contributed the article and this what she had to say:
What a relief it would be if I wasn’t continuously bombarded with reminders of my age, but was encouraged instead to prioritize other things: books, classes, ideas, travel, excitement! Why, with a mind focused on my wonderful life ahead, (which is full of possibilities) I’d actually be a really happy gal! 
Feeling like a teen is unbecoming to me as a grown woman. I am fully capable of having a better handle on things than certain advertisers would want me to believe I have. Life can be too short to waste on obsessing over appearance.  Read more: http://www.thesucculentwife.com/my-after-life-series-get-a-handle-on-it/#ixzz2RxpgVXRz
The burning question here is How would you feel about your life if you did not possess a mirror and you never saw any of these ads? Think about it. Would you be proud of your education or want to share the books you had read and the creative ideas you have? Could it be that your travels would make you shine from within? Would you feel happier with your lot? Would you make education or books or travel a priority?

I think if we could turn a blind eye to all of these ads and do what Keats is proposing, we would be transformed somehow. Today, do what she said...focus on your wonderful life and the endless possibilities. Use the mirror to apply a little make-up and comb your hair. Then turn away from it and get on with your life. Tick, tock!
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Apr 29, 2013

Blogging: Have you noticed the changes?

Many times things change so slowly that we barely notice. Weight gain, gray hairs, a small stoop or even lots of weeds in our garden can sneak up on us. Good things are like that too. In my world it is the small things that give me pleasure but sometimes I over look them.

Have you noticed that:
  • there are more comments on this blog?
  • that the link with google+ is allowed on my website now?
  • I am talking less about retirement?
  • guest posts are just getting better and better?
  • my writing skills are improving?
  • I have become a bit of an expert?
  • it is time for a new blog header picture (fall is over...really)?

  • Summer Header Picture?
    Comments
    I was asked to write for a website called GenFab recently.  It is aimed at middle aged women and I may be the oldest in the original group but still...there I am. I loved that small change in my life that turned out to be a very big thing. It not only is very interesting but I am also gaining more comments and support from the fabulous women.  That give me pleasure.

    Google+
    The income I make on this blog is not very much but it has grown at a steady pace beginning with the day I understood what I had created here on the web. I didn't even notice until I took a look at the figures. That gives me a lot of pleasure.

    Summer Header Picture?
    New Subjects
    The retirement subject is all worn out...not only by me but by the growth in "retirement" blogs since I began all those years ago. I don't write about the subject, at least not directly, anymore. I have reached a point where I don't see my lifestyle as a "retirement lifestyle". The third stage of my life is about a lot more than "not working". That was not a small change but one I made deliberately and I can't even remember the day I made that decision. It opened up a whole new world for me and that gives me pleasure.
    Summer Header Picture?
    Guest Post
    The contact I receive from professional freelance writers and marketing people is a lot of fun. This part of my blogging life has evolved so slowly I have to make myself notice the change. I have built a tiny store front where people can post their work with a link do their business and pay me a fee.  I control who posts and what they post about. Their information is wonderful and is directly related to all those subjects I have posted about. That gives me pleasure.
    Summer Header Picture?
    Skills
    Writing about things I find interesting gives me more pleasure than you can ever know. Learning new skill is a slow process but when I stop and become more aware I can see the metamorphosis. Being creative is a facet of my personality that I treasure.

    Expert
    I have noticed that friends come to me for help with their computer problems. I don't always have the answers but I love the contact. It is something we have in common and I have watched them grow in their skills. That gives the teacher in me a lot of pleasure.

    Not Autumn Yet
    Have you wondered why my blog header has remained stuck in the fall season? I have. This day might bring a change to my blogger header.  Season's change and, even though the header can be seen as symbolic of my stage in life, I am not ready to be all about autumn. I still have a lot of springs, summers and beautiful winters left in me. I love small changes still. That gives me pleasure.

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    Note: I have not found the perfect picture for the header yet. After editing, cropping and jazzing up any one of these above would be great. You just have to use your imagination. What do you think? 
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Apr 27, 2013

Teen clothing trends all grown up...for Grandmothers too?

My daughter and I went shopping on her birthday this last week.  We were wandering through the teen department of our big department store when I remembered the time when this very daughter was herself a teen.  The years have gone by and on that day we were talking about my granddaughter who will be turning 16 within the next week or so. How time does fly.

What hit me was how tempting it was to keep looking at those young looking clothes. Bright colors, trendy styles and youthful design will always appeal to my eye. But who among us wants to look like our teen daughter or granddaughters? Even if we wanted to, the shape of our bodies would not allow it generally.

I have often wondered why we see older woman clothing follow those teen-like trends within a few years but I suppose it is only natural. Teen style all grown up can be very beautiful.

The bright colors that we all love can still work their way into our wardrobes. An older woman may prefer a three quarter sleeve and a longer t-shirt but that doesn't mean they can't have all that luscious color. Even a shear blouse with a tank under is attractive, youthful looking but still conservative to suit even the most modest dresser. I loved the long sleeved linen shirts I saw at j.jill when we were shopping.  They were the perfect cross between bright colors and a mature woman's look.
j.jill Linen Shirts
(Other Spring Looks)

Fossil Austin Flap Handbag
I happen to love the Austin Flap Handbag (Google Affiliate Ad). The color is just perfect because it seems to go with almost anything and will carry a person through all the seasons. I am still hoping to find it at just the right price.  This google ad is the best I have seen so far.

Still, I really don't want to dress like someone I am not. I love black and white (very trendy this year I hear), crop pants or slacks and sleeves.  I put my body parts away one winter several years ago and just never got them out again.  I want people to think I look good all over but not really know the truth.
My teenaged granddaughter loves very short shorts and crop shirts. Her mother dresses like the professional she is but we did buy her a pair of orange high heeled sandals on her birthday...one always need a little color in their wardrobe. As for me, I am still wearing my orange tennis shoes.  They just make me feel good. W
hen I dress up I will put on my gray slacks, black shoes, a white shirt and a very bright yellow sweater or even one with beautiful flowers. I am what I am!

 

Have a wonderful day.

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Great links or fashion conscious women:
That's Not My Age
Second Lives Club
Live Better America
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Apr 26, 2013

Illumination Matters: Making Your Home More Pleasant by Upgrading Your Lighting

Whether you're completely remodeling your home or simply want to create a “homier,” more pleasant atmosphere, there is one easy way to make your space more inviting: upgrade your lighting. It might be the last thing you think about, but the way a room is lit has a profound impact on a person's mood. A bedroom that's too brightly lit can make it difficult to fall asleep, even after the lights are turned off. Conversely, reading in a poorly lit den can lead to eye strain and eventually the need for corrective lenses. If you're ready to completely change your mood or improve your sleep patterns, here are a few ways to make your experience at home even more pleasant by upgrading your lighting. 

Where Soft Light Is Best
Softer light works best in the rooms where you basically spend the majority of your time, including the living room, den and your bedrooms. The softer lighting allows you to relax and doesn't disrupt any activities that are taking place, including watching television or playing a game of solitaire on your laptop. Softer overhead lighting is the best idea because it allows you to flood the space with gentler illumination. However, there are instances when you will require brighter illumination, such as when reading or doing a crossword puzzle. In these instances, consider placing a desk or floor lamp near your bed or couch. You can enjoy your steamy romance novel or an epic adventure without disrupting anyone else.

Consider Bright Light 
There are two rooms, however, where it's generally best to illuminate the space more brightly: the kitchen and bathroom. The reason is quite simple: You'll need adequate light to safely perform any necessary duties. For instance, have you ever tried to peel a carrot or expertly slice bok choy in a poorly lit kitchen? What happened the last time you tried to shave in a bathroom in softer lighting? Chances are the outcome of both these scenarios wasn't good, which is why it's always the best option to choose bright overhead illumination in both the kitchen and bathroom. 

Create a Lighting Plan 
Now that you've determined the ideal amount of illumination for each room of your home, it' time to construct a lighting plan. Basically, a lighting plan helps you determine where to install fixtures or place lamps based upon the room's layout. For example, let's say your living room is quite large. You've determined one end of the room is strictly for watching television, while the other end is ideal for playing boardgames or curling up with a great novel. In this instance, softer overhead lighting throughout the room allows everyone to comfortably enjoy whatever they're doing. Providing additional illumination through floor or desk lamps, however, allows individuals on one end of the room to enjoy a book or play a game of cards without disrupting others engrossed in their favorite television show. 

Nightlights Aren't Just for Kids Anymore 
Fear of the dark isn't a new phenomenon, which is why so many parents install trusty nightlights in their children’s bedrooms. You might have conquered that particular fear years ago, but this doesn't mean you still wouldn't benefit from subtle illumination throughout the home. Installing nightlights in the bathroom, hallways and the master bedroom allows you to safely walk through the home without disrupting anyone by flipping on a stark overhead light or lamp. 

Outdoor Lighting 
Outdoor lighting serves two basic purposes: increasing your home's aesthetic appeal while warding off potential vandals or burglars. If you're concerned with your home's safety, consider installing motion sensing lights around your yard's perimeter. Uplighting also helps illuminate and draw attention to the striking architectural features of your home's exterior. Whatever you choose, just remember to position the lights thoughtfully to avoid accidentally lighting up your neighbor's bedroom in the middle of the night. 

From installing the ideal bathroom lighting to making sure your home is safe and protected, proper illumination can and will make your life much easier. In the end, just remember that the bathroom and kitchen need to remain well-lit, while the lighting in the bedrooms and living room should remain more subtle. 

About the Author: Heather Richards is a columnist and interior designer. Heather recently installed antique light fixtures throughout her home and is using them to illuminate every room properly.
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Apr 25, 2013

Road Trip: Las Vegas to Portland

Doris Montgomery Pass Nevada Highway 374
Doris Montgomery Pass Nevada Highway 374 (Photo credit: D'oh Boy (Mark Holloway))
It has taken me about 47 years to actually appreciate a trip through Nevada. This is a place unlike any other. In prehistoric times much of the land was cover by a very large lake bed surrounded by mountains. The land is flat and the roads are as straight as an arrow.  We traveled down roads that went as far as the eye can see.  The land is covered by gray green sage brush and very little else grows in between.
The occasional "Brothel" along the road north of Las Vegas
breaks the monotony! This business also features aliens and gas.










The thing that is so remarkable about the area is that the water does not drain into an ocean.  That explains the alkalinity of the lakes and the collection of salt in many bodies of water. Even though agriculture does prosper in many places, the battle against the build up of minerals in the soil is ongoing.
Austin, NV Cemetery
I think it is the endlessness of the vista that is almost frightening. But beautiful it is.
Alkali lake bed.  


Great Basin
Leg #1:  Las Vegas to Winnemuca (Travel Math)
Leg #2: Winnemuca to Lakeview (Travel Math)
Leg #3: Lakeview to Portland (Travel Math)

Rim bordering flat dry lake bed just north of Lakeview, Oregon.
Miles of nothing gave me a chance to play with my iPhone apps.
(Zoom Photography and Snapseed)
 Note: All of the photographs here were taken with my iPhone as we raced down the road at 75 miles per hour...quality it not guaranteed. :)

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Apr 18, 2013

Vintage Retro Hotels: Road Trips with a Twist

Tablet Hotels



We are packing to go home to Oregon. We have made this same trip for many years so you can understand how we are always looking for something unique to make the journey more interesting. Even though there are a lot of routes we can take we are beginning to find the long drive boring. When I saw Tablet Hotels list of 11 revamped hotel across the United States this morning, I had the aha moment. This might be the way we can keep a very long drive interesting. We could plan our trip around retro motels in the places we pass through. I have a collection of retro motel signs I have photographed during our travels. This would be great opportunity to add to them.

The only thing we would need to keep in mind when we are planning to do this is that most of these motels are not on the freeway. A back road or a slight detour is usually required. I would check ratings on Trip Adviser. I happen to think that the ratings on this website are spot-on. We will look for Retro Motels Trip Adviser or Vintage Motels Trip Adviser in the Google search line when we make our plans and reservations online. It is not enough to find an old motel. We want to be sure it is hip, clean and bedbug free (sorta).

The thing I love about these places most is the cost. Even in San Diego (La Jolla) where everything is California'd to the enth degree the retro hotel listed (The Pearl) has had specials at around $76 lately. In Portland (home town) The Juniper is a favorite of the locals as well as tourist. Tablet says it is
"deeply casual, effortlessly hip and impossibly inexpensive."
Yes, I think this might the perfect way to make the long trip home a little more fun. It could be a real adventure.

Have fun.

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More Links:
Vintage Roadmap
10 Places to Stay at Vintage Motels (USA Today)
Hip and Vintage Motels and Trailers
Roadside Peek
Roadside Motels (NYT Frugal Traveler)

Apr 17, 2013

2013 Best of Tucson AZ: Retire In Style Blog Recommendations

This is the "I did this and I recommend it" list for 2013 snowbird season.  My husband and I have visited each one of these locations plus a lot more.  I hope that you will give each one a try and let me know what you think.

Best of 2013, Tucson AZ 

Restaurants
Old Town Artisan Entrance
Best Golf Experience
Best Arizona Folk Art
Best Band for Dancing



Del Lago at sunset
El Charro Restaurant (Original location)
Haven Golf Course

Tubac Golf Resort and Spa



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Apr 16, 2013

Travel: Why the Snowbird Life?

 I am a snowbird and spend up to 6 month a year in Tucson every year. My home is in Hillsboro Oregon. It rains there a lot. I suppose that is one of the reasons my husband and I feel the need to travel south for a while. We want to escape the rain and the dark weather. But life is not perfect even when you get to travel south for the winter. Why? Well, the weather has not been good this winter.
Del Lago Golf Course
Vail, Arizona
Arizona Sunset
Tubac Resort Golf Course
Golfing with friends!
Bocce Ball Court
It has frozen, snowed, rained and the wind blew 50+ miles an hour last week. When it has not been cool it has been hot. The elements are not particularly favorable for a snowbird like me. But, would I stay at home in Oregon even if it was never warm here in Arizona? I really don't think so.

The truth of the matter is I do not come here for the weather...not entirely. I come here because I like the people and it is just so much fun. My daughter compared this RV resort to a college campus in the fall and I think she is right. We are friends that have not seen each other for several month and have lots to say and do so we can make up for lost time.

A friend called the other day and told me how sorry she was that we hadn't had a warm winter season. She thought our time here had been ruined. Do we need any sympathy? The answer is no.  The weather really doesn't matter. The people do.

Just a thought.

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Apr 15, 2013

Staying Safe on the Go: Online Security Advice for Travelling Seniors

In this digital age of hackers, spammers and identify theft, seniors now need to add online safety to their list of concerns about modern threats.

Times have changed. It’s becoming more and more common for the over-60s to use the web to find out the latest news, do their banking, buy their weekly shopping, book trips abroad and keep
up-to-date with their families on social networks.  

Seniors are also using the internet more when they travel, too. But unfortunately, cybercriminals know how important online communication is to travellers, which is why they often target them through internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots.


A naïve - or careless - senior traveller could find their computer or phone infected with a virus, email hacked into, even much-needed money lost through malicious software programmes.

The good news is that there are a number of simple steps you can take to protect your computer when you travel.

Before you go

  1. Run a free virus scan on your computer to make sure it’s clean, and install the most up-to-date anti-virus software on it.
  2. Install a firewall on their computer, and make sure it’s enabled.
  3. Save a portable internet browser – like Firefox Portable or Google Chrome Portable – onto a USB drive/memory stick and tell them to only use this when accessing the web on a public computer.
  4. Back up your data onto a hard drive so you won’t lose everything if their computer does get infected.
  5. Remove any important, sensitive information from their computer and phone – like banking details, credit/debit card numbers, login information, passwords, etc.
  6. Ensure they password protect all of their electronic devices with different, strong passwords that use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
While you’re travelling – public computers
The popularity of internet cafes makes them the most obvious risk for cyber viruses. In addition to malicious viruses, a known tactic on public computers is the installation of key logging software. Through these programmes, everything that’s typed in is recorded – potentially providing hackers with email/Facebook logins and passwords and even credit card numbers.
Avoiding the public computer’s browser through the use of a portable internet browser will side step many risks, but if you have to use a public computer make sure you follow these steps:
    • Confirm with the owner that the computers have the most up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spam software
    • Never enter any sensitive, personal information – and don’t do online banking
    • Open a new browser to go online – don’t use one that’s already opened
    • Use Gmail for your email, as all the information is encrypted
    • Make sure you sign out of every secure website manually, and clear the browser’s history menu, cache and cookies when you’ve finished your session.
While you’re travelling - using your own computer
While using your own computer is safer than public computers, it’s still not without risks.
    • Using Wi-Fi connections – before logging in you should double check the Wi-Fi account name with the manager and ensure that the network is encrypted. Cybercriminals are known to set up fake Wi-Fi accounts that can provide them with easy access to a device’s information, even credit card details if they’re asked to pay for the Wi-Fi connection.
    • The danger of pop-ups – many hotels have had their guests targeted when they try to connect to the internet. A pop-up window appears claiming that they need to update a well-known software programme. If they click on this, malicious software is installed that can monitor everything that’s done on the computer, including even activating the webcam. You shouldn’t ever click on a pop-up, even to close it – instead they should force quit the browser.
    • You should never allow anyone to use your computer/electronic device or connect to your devices with a USB or portable device – scammers have been known to install viruses and other malicious software when given this opportunity.
    • You should routinely check for viruses during your trip.
    • Don’t forget your phone – you should set up your phone’s security by using anti-virus apps.
When you get back home
The safest thing to do on your return is to assume that your computer could be harbouring a virus or other malicious software. You should run a check on your computer – as well as your USB drive, iPod, phones, etc – to make sure they’re safe before using them at home.
It might seem that there are many risks to using electronic devices while travelling, but it all really comes down to taking a few simple precautions and using common sense online to help ensure your digital security while you’re on the go.

Note: 
Andrew Tipp is a writer, blogger and editor. He writes about tech and pop culture, and is interested in geeky news, web trends, social networks, sci-fi films and graphic novels.

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Apr 12, 2013

Grumpy Old Men: Ladies, it is not your fault!

Generation Fabulous
Front Page on
Generation Fabulous
 Have you ever wondered if you should pamper your husband? After all, he is working hard and under a lot of pressure.  When the husband turns that certain age when he begins to wonder where his youth had gone, the changes in his life may have his wife wonder what she could do to make him happier. Women will even morph themselves into something they are not just to keep the marriage together. They will take up hobbies they have no interest in learning because they can see that, if they don't participate in his life, some other woman will. 

Really, there is nothing wrong with being aware and making an effort to be a part of the husbands life.  Sometimes we get too comfortable in our relationship with our husbands and blow them off when they want to do something we think is silly. But there is a much deeper issue here. The question might be how responsible is a wife for her husbands happiness? What if the husband that was dealing with midlife issues didn't want to take up a new hobby but was so irritable that he was impossible to live with?

There was an article published on eHow several years ago entitled How to Deal with Grumpy Old Men (the original is not available but here is a similar one.) I could not believe what I had read. The female author was promoting the idea that, when her husband treated her badly, it was because she was doing something wrong. She believed that he would be happy if she just gave him a relaxing back rub or worked harder at not irritating him. 

It all seemed so 1950s to me. But it must not be. When younger women bloggers are giving other women advise on what changes are needed to make their husband happier, there may be a lack of knowledge concerning a deeper problem. I think that if women are doing this, they are doing their husband a real disservice. The husband may not be suffering emotional issues. There may be problem physically.


Grumpy Old Men (film)
Grumpy Old Men (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have you ever heard of andropause. It is a midlife crisis similar to the menopause women endure.  The condition or syndrome is related to the drop in male hormones. The drop begins at the age of 30 and continues at the normal rate of about 10% per decade. The drop is believed to be related to the upswing in the number of grumpy men past the age of 40.

We all know that this is the problem so many married women encounter when their husbands pass middle age. Women are suffering from menopause and begin taking hormones to get through the crisis if it is necessary. They take blame for their husband's behavior because they are so menopausal and unreasonable themselves. But men, unaccustomed to even hearing about their hormone level, are in denial and making everyone miserable both at home and maybe even at work.


A book called The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes of Depression and Aggression by Jed Diamond is a one that is referenced quite often. The author is a psychotherapist practicing in Northern California.  In an interview written for the San Francisco Chronicle he  said,
"The chief response with men is denial," Diamond said in a phone interview from his home. "They say, 'No, I'm not irritable!' to their wife at the dinner table, or, 'Of course I'm irritable! My wife makes me irritable. If she wouldn't do those annoying things, I wouldn't be irritable!' 

I think that women really do believed that if they didn't do those annoying things their husband would be less irritable.  In an article written within the last year for eHow, this was a contributor's  advise for dealing with a cranky husband:
Watch what you say and do, because getting mad or offending him is not a good way to deal with a cranky husband. And remember, he isn't perfect, and neither are you. Have patience, because we all go through cranky spells. He is your husband, your lover and your best friend, so a little patience will go a long way in dealing with his moods.

Read more: How to Deal With a Cranky Husband | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2122855_deal-cranky-husband.html#ixzz2QBTxv2os
Trust me, when a man suffers from this drop in male hormones, there are not enough back rubs or patience in the world to help! I might add that if either party is displaying abusive behavior, there is something very wrong.

But what is this all about? Does the problem just creep up on the couple at such a slow pace that no one realizes what is going on?  I think so. There are physical signs that go unrecognized because the syndrome is not all that simple. In a news item from Canada.com they pointed out that depression was not the only symptom. They also mentioned loss of sex drive, lack of energy, increased body fat, loss of strength and body mass and hot flashes. 

Recognizing the symptoms, seeking either the medical help or counseling needed and facing the fact that abusive behavior is a symptom of a deeper problem is key. Even having the discussion about what the problem might be may help. As a woman that has been married for 52 years I can tell you that the work that goes into keeping it all together never goes away. This issue is one that needs to be faced head on or the misery could last a life time.

"If she wouldn't do those annoying things, I wouldn't be irritable!" is not even rational and never has been! The man that said that didn't really mean it...I can't believe that he even heard his own voice. 

It is just a thought!


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Note: My husband and I traveled in our RV with an older couple for several years. This lovely man was the most unreasonable, irritable human that ever lived.  His wife suffered his abuse and even tried to change her behavior to keep him happy. This experience made me wonder what was going on. The research I did here was a result of that experience.

I might also add that I am not going to eHow for advice.  It is not reliable...or at least I don't think it is.

Life Extension Article on Testosterone Treatment
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