Jun 29, 2013

Bad Memory? It's the doors fault!

Maybe you have seen this information before. If you have, go away or forget you were here. Just don't let the virtual door hit you on the bottom. According to some very big research, that will cause forgetfulness. I'm just saying! :)

In a study called Walking through doorways causes forgetting: Situation models and experienced space by GABRIEL A. RADVANSKY University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana and DAVID E. COPELAND University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi investigated how the mind retrieves information as a person enters and leaves rooms virtually. The opening paragraph for the research paper went like this:

We investigated the ability of people to retrieve information about objects as they moved through rooms in a virtual space. People were probed with object names that were either associated with the person (i.e., carried) or dissociated from the person (i.e., just set down). Also, people either did or did not shift spatial regions (i.e., go to a new room). Information about objects was less accessible when the objects were dissociated from the person. Furthermore, information about an object was also less available when there was a spatial shift. However, the spatial shift had a larger effect on memory for the currently associated object.(2010)
In other words, you don't recall things you see in a room (even virtually) unless you hold it in your hand. AND when you leave the room (even virtually) the door to the previous room closes and you are more apt to forget what you saw when you leave the room (spatial shift).

This accounts for the bizarre fact that we will walk from one room to the next on a quest and, once we cross the threshold, cannot for the life of us remember what we are doing in the next room. I personally have gone into the bedroom to find an object over and over only to turn around wondering what I was doing there. In my case, the door actually hits me on the bottom! Scientific American described the phenomena like this:
You're sitting at your desk in your office at home. Digging for something under a stack of papers, you find a dirty coffee mug that’s been there so long it’s eligible for carbon dating.  Better wash it. You pick up the mug, walk out the door of your office, and head toward the kitchen.  By the time you get to the kitchen, though, you've forgotten why you stood up in the first place, and you wander back to your office, feeling a little confused—until you look down and see the cup.
It is reassuring to know this because, as we age, it is a temptation to blame aging or some horrible disease. Nothing is wrong and it is the door's fault. Don't you just love research. Really!

Have a wonderful day.

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Resource:
Walking through doorways causes forgetting...., GABRIEL A. RADVANSKY University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana and DAVID E. COPELAND University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Scientific American,  Why walking through a doorway makes you forget.,

Jun 28, 2013

Retirement Doesn’t Mean Forget the Mirror

Style is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma.  Fashion is something that comes after style. – John Fairchild
 
Staying at home with small children was my first taste of a retirement-type of life away from the business world. I saw no reason to style my hair, put on makeup or care about my clothing every day…in fact, I rationalized away many efforts on the part of friends to get me to do otherwise. In my mind, each day was just a small segment of time…The only people who see me are babies and toddlers and they don’t care…

Guest Blogger Pam Lutrell of
Over 50 Feeling 40.
The small segments of time became weeks, months, years….until I completely lost myself and my self- esteem.  Looking in the mirror was discouraging at best. I understand the temptations of time spent at home.  I understand how we can believe there is really no reason to put the effort into our appearance. But, even if the person you see the most every day is only in the mirror…that is reason enough. We must do it for ourselves, because it does affect our confidence and our joy.

Now, I am not speaking about sitting at your kitchen table day after day dressed in Prada and wearing your Jimmy Choos. I have seen amazing women of a certain age who have gorgeous silver hair; a glowing complexion from well- cared- for skin; little makeup; jeans, a black tee shirt, and bare feet, and they looked better than some on the fashion scene.

But, they still put effort into skincare, exercise, healthy eating, a flattering hairstyle and clothes that fit their bodies.  It takes effort no matter your personal style. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind:

1.     Spend time each morning to look your best…even if your day only includes your home.

2.     Spend time each morning to look your best for running errands.  You will enjoy those errands more, meet new people, receive great service, and find yourself SMILING throughout the day.

3.     Spend time each morning to look your best to combat depression. We can achieve just about anything when we like ourselves inside and out.

4.     Spend time each morning to look your best for YOU. You are your best friend.  Spending time away from the career world becomes easier if you like the person you spend the majority of your time with.

5.     Spend time each morning to look your best so you face anything with CONFIDENCE and JOY.  You may be volunteering your time…vacationing…playing tennis…hosting an event. Anything goes better and is more enjoyable when we are confident.   


There is a huge temptation to give in and think retirement means we no longer have to care or try. Relax…who cares…no one will see you… Au contraire, ladies. Retirement can also mean empowerment if we continue to put our best foot forward and treat NUMBER 1 with respect and care.

Guest Blogger: Pam Lutrell, from Over 50 Feeling 40. Pam is a lifestyle/fashion blogger who writes about fashion for women over 50. (from Generation Fabulous)

Jun 27, 2013

The Weird World of Sleep-misbehaviour

Note: We are having our new (and hopefully better) mattress delivered today, just in time. I thought you would love this article written by Matthew Pink about bizarre sleep behavior. It made me laugh.

There are a few things which happen as the numbers of miles on your body clock tick on.
Some things you have always needed, wanted, done anything for - now slip away into the shadows of unimportance. It's hard to explain.
 
Some things you never even dreamed of being interested in, having a taste for, or desiring - suddenly start to call to you like the sirens on the rocks. It's equally hard to explain. One thing that does seem to ebb away as the years tot up - is a need for long periods of shuteye.There seems to be a direct reverse correlation with age. We can all remember being a teen and being happy if we slept through until the early 'noon, shutting ourselves away in the daily hibernation and hormone-driven rituals of our adolescence. But not so later in life. Forty winks is quite sufficient thank you very much.
 
Funnily enough, sleep disorders are actually less common as you get older too, in the main that is, although of course there are some amusing exceptions to this. In a case documented by the University of California's Medical Department, one man in his late 70s was found to have quite astounding abilities in his sleep.'Abnormal behaviour' while asleep is known as parasomnia but this particular guy's story borders on the paranormal.

Harry Rosenthal is a serial somnambulist who claims to have been sleepwalking his way into strange situations since he was three years old. A journalist by trade, Harry enjoyed a fairly illustrious career covering some huge stories of national and international importance but acquired something of an infamous reputation among his colleagues for his night-time activities (and not the kind of nocturnal activities journalists are usually famed for).

One night Harry's wife awoke to find Harry, a classical music fanatic but not a great player of any instrument, sitting bolt upright in bed and conducting a full orchestra full bore. On top of his admirable ambition to manage and lead the playing of thirty to forty different non-existent instruments, Harry was also making the noise which defined each individual instrument.
Harry's wife did as any caring spouse would do - and got the kids in and filmed it.

Parasomnias are far more common in younger people however and boy, can people get up to some pretty weird stuff while asleep. Way back in 2005 a young London girl sleepwalked her way to a seat on a construction crane where she promptly nestled down for the evening to be awoken by the workmen when they arrived for their morning shift. You can imagine their surprise. (And the color of their language).

Another equally bizarre story from England (hmmm, maybe it's to do with their mattresses or something) involved a man with no discernible artistic talent whatsoever who just happened to be able to sketch minor-masterpieces in his sleep. These pictures are now collectors' items among those fascinated by sleep and hypnosis and what the human body is capable of while under those conditions.

Then there are of course the more common parasomnias like talking, grinding of the teeth and walking. Some have even used their propensity to sleep-eat as a get-out clause for breaking a strict dieting regime. (Suspicious!) Some have even used it as an excuse for a bit of sleep-adultery. (Doubly suspicious!) 

In a particularly bizarre case in India back in 2006, one unfortunate couple had to file for divorce because the husband, far far away in the land of nod, uttered the word 'talaq' three times in succession. His wife heard it and made the mistake of discussing it publically. When this story reached the local Muslim leaders, they quoted the Shariat to the beleaguered couple and warned them that they would become outcasts if they did not obey the Sharia law and separate.

Nowadays of course, with the proliferation of technology at our fingertips, the internet and its 24/7 schedule and the fact that so many of us are as now accustomed to tapping away on our keyboards, means that new sleep-activity dangers are rife. It is becoming increasingly common for people to pick up the phone resting on their bedside table and dash off a few surreally accurate messages, just as it is for sleep-walkers to get up to their PC and tap away an email in the early hours with no recollection of sending it or writing it.

So, you may want reconsider leaving that flashing LED on in the corner of your room and go tuck them away somewhere where your sleeping self cannot find them and undo decades of hard work establishing friendships.

Sweet dreams.

About the author:
Matthew Pink is a writer and editor working in digital publishing covering travel and culture. Originally from the Lake District in northwestern England, he also writes crime fiction which is set there. Scafell is his first novel.
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Jun 26, 2013

What’s the Right Time for a Village Holiday?



Note: I don't know about you but we take our holidays on the shoulder of the season. That is a time when most children are in school and resorts are very quiet. But there are other ideas for making your experience just as grown up during high season. Jo Petty points out some new travel trends for a holiday at the beach in England. b+


If you’re pondering your first getaway without the kids or simply tire of going on couples holidays where there are lots of young families around, a trip to an adults-only holiday village might be right up your street.

There are lots of different types of adults-only holidays and specially designed hotels on the market. However, holiday villages provide a community to stay in over the course of your holiday. Think the setting of Dirty Dancing, but with less teenagers, dancing and 1960s clothes.

Just what is a holiday village?
Holiday villages are purpose built and are usually set in grounds away from bustling city centres and towns. You can stay in a self-contained chalet or some villages offer hotel-type rooms to stay in too. Activities are put on daily and there are lots of things to do, from tea dances to bowls and snooker: nothing too strenuous, making it perfect if you simply want to take a nice relaxing holiday.

Where are some of the holiday villages located?
There are a range of different companies that have holiday villages specifically catered to the adults-only market and Richardson’s is popular as it has three different villages dotted about in England, with two up in Norfolk and one on the South Downs.

All of the holiday villages are situated near the seaside, meaning you can take in some of the sea air whilst in the company of other like-minded people. Plus, the location of the three Richardson’s parks make it perfect if you fancy doing a little sight-seeing, with the South Downs park situated near the cathedral city of Chichester, and the Norfolk Broads national park just a stone’s throw away from the other two parks.

Why should I go? Aren’t village holidays for old people?
Village holidays aren’t just for “old people!” Many people who go on adults-only village holidays are nearing retirement age or have just had children “fly the nest.” There’s also a mixture of senior groups who enjoy village holidays as everything is in one place.

One of the main benefits of a going to a holiday village is that there’s a lot to do in one place. Entertainment is put on daily, meals are provided in the dining room, and most importantly there are lots of friendly folk around who are like-minded and you’ll probably walk away with a few extra phone numbers in your address book!

When’s the best time to go?
According to Saga, the best day for over-50s to go on holiday is the first weekend in September after children go back to school. Even though the children may have left home, it seems we’re still dictated by their movements!

However, most holiday villages are open year round so you can go whenever you wish! Summer is popular because the weather is at its peak, however you can even spend Christmas at a holiday village if you’d like to do something a little different over the festive period.

What are the benefits of going to a holiday village over a traditional break?
As mentioned previously, holiday villages have everything in one place, meaning everything is on your chalet doorstep! In addition to this, a UK break is easier to arrange than a holiday abroad; you don’t have to remember passports, arrange airport parking or learn another language. Also, you simply have to navigate the UK’s familiar roads to get to your destination – no hanging around at an airport for hours on end!

The price tag for an adults-only village holiday can be a lot cheaper than an adults-only break abroad, as you often have to pay extra for the luxury of having an adults-only break.

So, if you’re deciding on where to take your next holiday, consider a break to a holiday village. You’ll be surprised by how much fun you’ll have and most importantly, you’ll get that relaxing break you deserve.

About the author

Jo Petty is a freelance writer and web editor. She’s previously worked in the travel industry and is interested in new tourism trends and developments.






Jun 25, 2013

Downsizing in Retirement? But where?

Downsizing is on everyone's mind. A recent article in Huffington Post talked about the stress people endure just because of a lifetime of clutter they have accumulated. Add that to the retirement dilemma and limited income and you have the perfect reasons for wanting to live in something much smaller.
Park Model in RV Resort

Once the decision has been made to move the question is where? People as asking themselves Should we sell our house here in the north and buy something smaller for much less in a warmer climate? It has occurred to me that we might need to rethink what we are doing.

It is a temptation to sell here in Portland, Oregon, for example, because a person can buy something in the Southwest USA for less and have disposable income left over to have MORE fun right now. When the weather is warm in the winter that person will be at home while all those snow birds are living in small resorts. Sound about right doesn't it?

RV Resort Bocci Ball Tournament
Then summer comes...it gets very hot in the southwest in the summer. Those people want to do the snowbird thing in reverse and fly north to find some cooler weather. BUT, it is very expensive and there is really not that much available in the way of short term rentals for vacationing people. A hotel or motel is not affordable at all. Most people spend a very short period of time in the north. Better than nothing I suppose.

Snowbird Friends
It might be that downsizing to a smaller place in some location that is perfect in the summer would be smarter. When you came back north you would be at home and probably near your families and friends. The spend less on your winter location. The southwest is ripe for the picking when it comes to snowbird living. There is so much available at a reasonable price, especially in RV resorts. Even purchasing a small park model like we own is possible for less (much less) than $15,000. You will have a more fun than you ever imagined but not be tied to so much responsibility.

It is just a thought. Downsize at home in the north and snowbirding small in the southwest has been our choice and I am so grateful that we have decided to do that. We live in a place that those coming north could not afford to visit for very long. Life is good!

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Note: I happen to think that Idaho has some of the best locations for downsizing. Check out McCall for your small home in the north. It is gorgeous.

 Summer







Jun 24, 2013

Las Vegas, the Ultimate Retiree Travel Destination!

Note: I know and you know that Las Vegas is fun. But fun for seniors...bring ID to prove that you are old enough to have fun fun? A fellow teacher wrote this one after he and his wife visited earlier this year. I'm going to check out all the hints here!

You’re retired and finally have some time to travel, why not head to Las Vegas? This fun city offers an impressive amount of senior citizen discounts for you to enjoy a fun getaway for less! By strategically planning to enjoy as many discounts as possible, you can take a trip to Las Vegas that will cost a lot less than you might think.
Don’t forget to bring your photo ID as you will need to show it to obtain most senior discounts. Many of the senior citizen discounts are advertised, but some you will need to ask about. Many of these discounts begin at age 50 and others cover ages 60 and up.
If you are looking for vacation ideas in Las Vegas, here are some tips for taking advantage of discounts on food, shows, casino discount days and more.

Getting Around

Seniors can enjoy cheaper public transit around the city of Las Vegas, which will save you quite a bit of money on your trip. For example, instead of having to pay the full price of $15 for a three-day ticket on the Deuce on the Strip bus that runs along Las Vegas Boulevard, seniors older than 62 will only have to pay $10. If you use the RTC transportation, you will enjoy reduced fares if you are 60 or older.

Affordable Eats

There are many options in Las Vegas when it comes to an affordable buffet meal that will allow you to enjoy all you can eat. Avoid The Wynn and Planet Hollywood, as they can be quite expensive. If you’re looking for good home-cooked meals at a great price rather than expensive exotic dishes such as sushi, head to The El Cortez and The Riviera. These hotels offer cheaper deals on their buffet meals, which are not as fancy but as still hearty, filling and delicious.
You could also visit the many cafes around the city where traditional dishes are offered at great prices, often with senior citizen discounts. Try the Cafe at Harrah’s, which is a great family-friendly restaurant with plenty of dishes to choose from. It is open 24 hours, so it makes a great place to stop in for an early morning breakfast or late-night bite.

Hotel Discounts

Your best bet for finding discounted accommodation in Las Vegas is to check with some of the major hotel chains. For example, the Marriot offers a 15 percent discount for guests who are 62 years of age or older. The Choice Hotel chain, which includes the Econo Lodge, Clarion and Comfort Inn, offers 10 percent off for guests who are over the age of 50 and 20 percent off for those over 60.

Gambling for Cheaper

Of course, one of the quintessential Las Vegas experiences is visiting a casino and trying your luck on the slot machines or the card games. However, with the cost of entrance fees and drinks as well as your gambling money, this can be a very expensive bit of fun!
Luckily, some of the casinos offer special days of the week where senior gamblers can enjoy discounts or multipliers on slot winnings. For example, at the Orleans Casino on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., you can take advantage of a 7x multiplier on your slot winnings. The night before that is Senior Monday at the Silverton Casino, where you will enjoy discounted prices on the buffet and prize drawings.

Entertainment for Less

Senior citizen or not, you will always find a cheaper deal when you check with the discount ticket brokers who sell last-minute passes on the day of the show. At this point, they are eager to sell the empty seats and will be happy to fill them at a discount.
If you search around you will find several shows that offer discounts for senior citizens. For example, the show “Remembering Red” at the Westin offers seniors a 50-percent discount when they book their tickets online.
These are just a few of the ways that being a senior citizen in Las Vegas will save you a lot of money on your trip. Have fun enjoying the pleasures of this great city!

 

About the Author: Marty Allan is a retired school teacher who likes to travel to a new destination every year. He took his wife to Vegas this spring and they had the best time

Jun 22, 2013

Contractors: Does begging work?

The conversation with the carpet installer was not what I had expected. I have remodeled many houses, built houses, dealt with construction workers and much much more. I have also been inside contractors offices and sheds. But, for some strange reason, I just assume that they will be more organized. What is wrong with me?

Living room full.
It had been exactly 2 weeks since we ordered the carpet and we were promises 10 working day so the carpet must be in....right? A call to the construction company that does that sort of thing revealed that the installation scheduler did not know if she had the carpet in the warehouse or not. Yes...no....yes! Oh my gosh... it was a miracle. The paper work had just been put on her desk as we were talking! How long would it have taken my file to make it to the top of the pile if I hadn't called? It turns out the average time between delivery and a call to schedule is 4 days.

I am not a proud woman and have been know to beg to get the service I need. When we began to schedule the work, she told me it would be 2 weeks before they could come. OH NO...2 WEEK????? PLEASE TELL ME IT CAN BE SOONER.
This room was cleared 2 weeks ago.

Then a ray of sunshine peeked out and she said she could put me on a list (the top of it I assumed) and she would call if there were a cancellation. Did that ever happen? Well, evidently, yes, because the carpet was installed yesterday, a whole week early.

 I am so good...I'm just saying!

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Note: I am still a little confused. Why would any company be working with out a computer system in this day and age? But I was sure I heard paper shuffling around.

The carpet installer was excellent and did a wonderful job. That is a very hard way to make a living.

The secretary was very nice and was doing a good job considering she was working for a company that installs carpets for Home Depot in the area. She was almost as excited as I was to get the job done for me. This was not an unpleasant experience at all. This is just the reality of getting things done during the summer. If you want to hear about unpleasant, just let me know.

The lesson here is that you need to be proactive if you want your job to get done in a timely manner.  Every time you call your file comes to the top of the pile or, if you are dealing with a more modern set-up, onto the computer screen.


Laundry Room Full

Jun 21, 2013

Summer...at last!

A hammock full of babies.
I don't know why I would say that...summer is a way of life for me.  When the air begins to cool in the Fall, my husband and I fly away to a warmer place. Yet there is something about summer in a place with four seasons don't you think? I always thought it was that time of year we learn to fall in love with love. Lazy days, warm night, books and candles in the moon light.

Fun in the fountain.
In a recent post Carol Cassara wrote about Lazy Summer Days Ahead. She asked what her reader's favorite summer memory was. Isn't it interesting that even at my age the images that flash to my mind are those of childhood. Carol talked about her small town and how in her memories of things remain the same. It is that way for me too.

My friend had a sleeping porch on her little foundationless house. We shared a single bed with a creaking wire frame. Our feet fought for space in the middle as our heads pressed against the frame at each end. It was not comfortable but the sound of the wind in a cottonwood tree and crickets in the bushes lulled us to sleep. Even now after 60 years I think of that time and place when I cannot sleep. It is such a sweet memory.


Their very own strawberry jam.



Evening walks.




But now there are new memories... grandchildren, fountains in the town square, Saturday markets full of produce and happy people. My garden over flows with flowers and even this early I am picking green peppers and looking at my single cucumber growing bigger by the day.

We walked last night near a creek with evening animals beginning to stir. Ducks were swimming close and the smell of evening came away with me as we wandered back home.

Each summer is different. Age, location, weather and family make things beautiful in my mind. While memories are important, the reality is much much better.

What is your favorite summer memory?

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Jun 19, 2013

5 Things You Need to Know About Retiree Coverage


Once upon a time, people worked for the same company for most of their careers, and when they retired after 30 or 40 years, they qualified for a pension and health care coverage supplied by their employer. They entered their golden years secure in the knowledge that their medical needs would be covered, and their costs would remain steady.

These days, such arrangements are few and far between, but some companies do still offer retiree medical coverage. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, only about 30 percent of firms with more than 200 employees offer full retiree medical benefits. Working for an employer that offers retiree benefits puts you in a good position to manage your health care, but it doesn’t mean that you are completely covered forever or that things cannot change. Before you make a decision about which type of health care coverage to carry, consider these five facts.
 
Retiree Coverage Can Change
You retire with excellent coverage, but a few years later, the premiums go up, the network changes and suddenly the services that were accessible just a short time earlier are now not covered or covered at a lower level. What happened?

If you opt to enroll in your employer’s retiree health plan, know that the plan can — and probably will — change. The only way that your coverage will stay exactly the same is if the carrier or your employer tells you, in writing, that it will not. Few policies promise to stay exactly the same in perpetuity, so you should expect an increase in premiums and other changes going forward — changes that could make your retiree coverage cost prohibitive or inadequate for your needs. Carefully read your plan’s Summary Plan Description to determine how your policy works, and whether the plan reserves the right to make changes.
Retiree Coverage Impacts Medicare

When they turn 65, most Americans enroll in Medicare, the federally operated health insurance program. However, in many cases, Medicare does not provide enough coverage, and co-pay costs can be high. For that reason, many beneficiaries opt to purchase supplemental coverage to provide access to additional services and lower out-of-pocket costs.

If you have a retiree health insurance plan, read the materials carefully to ensure that you follow the proper procedures regarding Medicare. Some plans require beneficiaries to enroll in Medicare Part A and B when they turn 65, and will only pay for services after Medicare has covered its portion. In rare cases, your policy may supersede Medicare, and you won’t need to enroll right away.
 
Your Coverage Can End
It’s not uncommon for retiree health plans to only cover former employees until they are eligible for Medicare. In other cases, coverage ends due to financial issues within the company, company policy changes or even the dissolution of the company. It’s important to understand that your retiree coverage can end, except in the very unlikely event that your employer promised in writing that you would be covered regardless of circumstances.

If your coverage ends, you generally have several options. If you are over age 65, you can enroll in Medicare or purchase a supplement to replace the coverage; if you’re seeking new coverage because your retiree plan ended, you do not have to wait until the annual open enrollment period to do so. If you are under age 65 and retired early, you can usually get insurance via COBRA, a private health insurance plan or your spouse’s employer until you turn 65.

Your Spouse Isn’t Necessarily Covered
Speaking of your spouse, before enrolling in your company’s retiree plan, confirm whether he or she is covered or not. Even if he or she was covered under your employer plan, that coverage may not continue after you retire. If you are both over age 65, Medicare is an option; for anyone under age 65, you may need to explore other coverage options.
Early Retirement Can Cost You More

If your company offers retiree health benefits and you choose to retire early — before age 65 — read the plan documents carefully to determine whether there are any limitations or restrictions that could impact your coverage. For example, the policy may have a time limit, reducing how long you can be covered under the plan. If you retire early, you could cut into the amount of time you’ll have coverage, meaning that you will need to plan for later on.

Planning for your health care coverage after retirement is an important piece of the financial puzzle, and having insurance through your former employer can certainly ease the burden. However, you must understand exactly how the coverage works and its impact on your finances and future coverage — or face some unpleasant surprises.


About the Author: Wiley Long is the President of Medigap Advisors (www.medigapadvisors.com). He writes extensively on ways to intelligently plan for your financial and health care future.

Jun 18, 2013

Life

I do have an actual life...really.  It comes and knocks on my door once in a while demanding my attention.  My blogging life must wait. Let me tell you right now my blogging life does not like being neglected at all. Readership goes down to nothing!

Life has been all about grandchildren this week. My oldest son is in Beirut Lebanon with his wife on business. They had just flown in from China. So we took over the job of getting the girls on American time...jet lagging can be a problem with younger people too.

Because they come from China in one day, they are not only turning night into day, they are also changing what day it is. If you have never seen a 5 year old about fall asleep in her pizza at 1 in the afternoon, it will be hard for you to visualize. But it does happen!

We are having a wonderful time.  I love this part of my real "life".  What is your favorite part?

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In order to find a picture of the girls from last summer I had to backtrack through all my photos for a year. Back through the year I found pictures of:
  • Grandson graduating from Marine Corp Recruit Training
  • Granddaughter Graduating from High School
  • Sea World
  • San Diego
  • Son graduating with Masters Degree
  • Arizona
  • Golfing with friends
  • Family gatherings
  • Christmas
  • Cancun, Mexico 
  • Class reunion
  • Berry patches
  • Wineries
  • Blogging Friends
  • New born grandchild
Wow...I did not realize so much had happened in the last 12 month. And that is not even the tip of the iceberg.

Jun 14, 2013

Meme: Do you know me? Probably not....b+

b+
We try to learn about each other but it is hard. Someone asked me the other day what b+ was. Is my name Bee or does the b+ stand for something deeper and less visible? Could it be that I am hiding out on the Internet, using a pseudonym so that a troll or a stalker cannot find me? What does b+ stand for anyway?

It occurred to me that we really don't know each other at all. In fact getting to know each other online is tricky at best. So I decided to share a few things about myself that you may not know.
  1. I'm Lazy First of all, the b is the first initial in my first name, Barbara. But the + tells you that that I am so much more than just a name. I started using it because I got tired of typing my whole name.  
  2. I am optimistic to a fault. It surprises me when it rains on my parade.
  3. I am in awe of intellect. 
  4. I am opinionated. 
  5. I am bashful AND brash.
  6. I think I was almost a perfect mother. My children may not agree.
  7. I am a liberal.
  8. I am a reading snob. 
  9. I have always been forgetful. I am a little face blind and cannot remember people's names until I have been introduced to them over and over. I lose things but always seem to find them.
Can you tell me one thing about yourself that know one knows?

Be well and have a wonderful day.

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Jun 12, 2013

Downsizing During Retirement: How to Make Fewer, Smaller Bathrooms Work

Note: I think downsizing is a smart financial move for a retiree. But it is an adjustment because it means fewer rooms and smaller spaces. The bathroom is a prime example. Chet Jenkins sent me this article. I hope you like it.

Downsizing to a smaller home during retirement makes so much sense for the single person or couple on a budget. The benefits include fewer expenditures and less maintenance. However, among the downsides of the decision is dealing with smaller or fewer bathrooms than you might be used to. Making do with cramped bathrooms or one bathroom is easier than you may think.

Maximize Storage Space Take advantage of any area with out-of-the-way storage potential. For example, under the sink or behind the mirror — that’s why you should start with the vanity — or in bathroom corners. You can even store some items, like spare toilet paper rolls, behind the toilet. Add shelves behind the door or on the wall. Just because you’ve downsized doesn’t mean you can’t remodel — and start with a storage-friendly vanity. Put some of the money you’ve made by selling a bigger home into revamping the bathroom to maximize storage space however you can. Even if you’re renting and can’t make big improvements, you can add storage-friendly cabinets and bins that won’t require tearing anything down.


Schedule Bathroom Use (to a Point)
If you share a cramped bathroom with one or more other people, you won’t have the freedom of using the bathroom whenever you want anymore. However, there’s a simple way to reduce those incidences of everyone wanting to use the bathroom at once: Make a bathroom schedule.

Unplanned toilet visits excepting, you can easily schedule whose turn it is to shower, bathe or get ready in the morning. Decide who gets to go first each day or rotate from one day to the next.

You will be surprised how less clutter will make things simpler.
You will need just half the space you are using now.
The best way to maximize space in a cramped bathroom is to keep clutter out of the way. This is especially true if you’re sharing a bathroom. Don’t clutter the sink or shower with bottles. Stick with the basics that everyone uses, such as soap and shampoo. Store your personal items, like toothbrushes, behind the mirror or under the sink whenever you’re not using them. If the space there is limited, create a toiletries basket for everyone in the home. Fill it with those personal items you don’t share and bring it in and out of the bathroom as needed.

Look on the Bright Side
Less space seems like a downside to living in a smaller home, but it really could be a positive. Spending less — or nothing — on your mortgage or spending less on rent is the most obvious advantage. When it comes to your smaller bathroom, you’ll:

  • Spend less time cleaning. This is especially true if you have fewer bathrooms than before.
  • Spend less on maintenance. Imagine: fewer drains to get clogged, fewer toilets to overflow or never stop running.
  • Be more likely to keep it free of mold and mildew. Dirt is more obvious in a cramped bathroom, so you’ll need to keep countertops clear and clean so you can share the bathroom.
  • Less to spend to make it more accessible. It’s a good idea for anyone, but especially for retired people, to think about making bathrooms more accessible in the event of injury or illness. A walk-in shower and hand rails to help you get off the toilet or enter the tub is a big expense and a hassle in multiple, large bathrooms. However, it’s an easier task to undertake in a small or single bathroom.Reflect to other times in your life where you might have shared small bathrooms before, such as when growing up or in college. You dealt with it then and you can definitely cope now.

It may take some getting used to at first, but you can happily live with one cramped bathroom during retirement. The kids are gone, so it’s just you and maybe a spouse, significant other or roommate to share the bathroom with. When grandkids and other guests drop by, introduce them to your toiletries basket and scheduled bathroom visit system. Everyone will get along just fine.

About the Author: Chet Jenkins is a contributing writer and retirement blogger. His articles on retirement living have appeared across the Web and in local publications.



Jun 11, 2013

Spirit Airlines: We Paid The Price for Cheap

Is Spirit Airlines so cheap it is cutting corners on safety? Why do I ask? Well the experience we had with this airline makes us wonder. We are learning the hard way that traveling cheap is not only uncomfortable but also scary. There is a price to be paid.

Last week we traveled to San Diego for our grandson's Marine basic training graduation. We were looking for affordable tickets and decided on Spirit because the price was right. Boy were we in for a surprise. You definitely cannot get something for nothing, not even on Spirit.

If you plan on taking clothes with you, you are going to pay. Nothing on Spirit is free. In fact, overhead storage in the cabin costs more than checking your luggage at the ticket counter. There is no food or drinks, not even a glass of water and the seats are so close that the seat back recline a total of 5 inches (or less).

But that was not the bad part. The pilots may not be as good as they should be. When we boarded the plane in San Diego to come home, the pilot seemed a bit distracted even before we were in the air and the cabin crew was burned out. On the tarmac as we were getting ready to take off, the pilot was having a hard time driving in a straight line. He/she turned corners like a beginning driver and swerved as though avoiding some obstacle. When we got into the air it appeared we were on auto pilot even when the flight was rough. We have experienced turbulence on other airlines but the pilot immediately found air that didn't bounce us around. Not on this flight. This pilot was hanging tough. No changing altitude for him.

When we approached Portland it seemed that the pilot could not find the airport. We turned left then right and even when we landed, the plane veered all over everything. It was very frightening.

So, will I fly Spirit again? Never. Cut rate prices should not mean terrifying! Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Just thought you needed to know.

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Oh by the way Spirit said their sales went up when they started charging more for carry on luggage.  If you are a greedy traveler trying avoid checking luggage, your fellow travelers do not like you all that much. It is just bad manners!
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Jun 10, 2013

Central Oregon Vacation

This is a re-post. This had to be my favorite vacation with our motor home (sold). The baby here is 5 now and her big sister will be 10 in August.



Tadpole Pond
Lovingly named Lake Susan
after my daughter. She is
standing in the water with Amelia and Maddie.


This picture was snapped with my iphone. It is an image of Mt. Hood (called Mountain Hood by grandchildren), Oregon as we traveled down the beautiful road that lies at it's foot. Heading east on Highway 26 from Portland, Oregon to Central Oregon, we travels south of Bend to East/Pauline Lakes (East Lake Camp Ground) on the east side of La Pine. We traveled in out 35' Motor Home (for sale orencoopinions@gmail.com) and stayed in the East Lake Resort facilities.

The lakes are the result of volcanic activity and hot springs can be found in the area. Hikes include the opportunity to look in a volcanic caldera that is inactive at this time. Many of the mountains in this part of the world are still active and Mt St Helen's erupted late in the last century.

Bend is a resort community and short drives lead vacationers to beautiful lakes, skiing, white water rafting and camping. Oregon State Parks are some of the best appointed in the nation with large camp sites and small yurts or cabins. Reservation can be made online. Some spots are so popular that reservation need to be made far in advance. When you check those parks that are used the most you will find a winner for a vacation spot. National Park campgrounds are equally as beautiful and affordable. When traveling in a RV you will need to check on vehicle length requirements at the state and federal campgrounds and what services are available. There are a lot of RV resorts available throughout the state.

We have lived in this state all of our lives. I never quit taking picture of Mt. Hood and the central Oregon mountains. The resorts are beautiful, golfing is the best anywhere and families are welcome!

We would love to have you come and visit.

The ListAlign Center

Center of the Storm

Grandchildren
Ages 22 month to 16 years
1 boy
5 girls
4 families
6 Adults
One motor home
Three tents.




30 degree temperatures
Beautiful lake
East Lake Resort, near La Pine
8000 ft. Elevation
Thin air
No sewer hook up
Dumped 3 times
(12 people pottying)
5.5 Hour Drive from Hillsboro, Oregon
7 People in RV
1 on a motorcycle
4 in a van
Twelve People
Food, Food, Food ($500+)


Sunset
East Lake
Water temperature 60 degree
120 ft deep
Volcanic Soil
High Mercury Content
La Pine, Oregon
Lots of Food
Grandpa
Grandma
Daughter,
Son,
Son-in-law
Daughter-in-law
Baby running
Children playing cards
Daughter/nieces hiking
Party barge boat ride
Sandy Beach
Happy Children
Busy Adults
Camp fires all day
(Very cold)
Sawing wood
Sparks and coals
Marshmallows
Fishing
Sunset
Love
Joy
Boat Ride
4 nights
Great Vacation
At the center of the storm.


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Jun 9, 2013

The Marine Corp: My Grandson's Journey Begins

I don't know where to begin. This has been an amazing week for my husband and I and my daughter's family. My grandson finished his Marine Corp basic training and we attended the celebration attached to that mile stone. Honestly, I did not know what to expect. I knew I was about to experience the Marine Corp as it opened the doors a crack so the families of those men that finish their recruit school could get a glimpse of their life. They had been in training for 3 month and had not heard any music save taps I suppose. Contact with their families was only what they received in letters and they did not have snack bars or a leisurely moment to themselves during that period of time.  In the Marine Corp the Drill Instructors spend that 24/7 with the men for that 12 week period.

I am sure that many of you have either been in the military or had a member of you family decide to devote a part of their life to their country. My husband was in the Navy. But I was not prepared for the Marine experience in anyway.

Men join the Navy to "See the World" or at least that is the recruiters tag line when they entice young men to join. But what I heard from the Drill Instructor on Family Day was that the Marines join to fight wars and their service is all about keeping our country safe with weapons in their hands. "Every recruit is first and foremost aware that they are expected to carry a weapon."

The video we were shown was all about the battles these men had fought in past wars beginning very early in our country's history. As a grandmother I fought back tears because I remember my generation's war.

But my grandson has had his eyes on this adventure for a very long time.  He will turn 20 next Friday. He is a self taught expert on weapons and actually helped the rest of his company when they had problems. He survived The Crucible, a final push in the training that required extreme physical effort, hunger and extended periods without sleep. It is a shared experience he will never forget.

We sat with his bunk mate for lunch on family day and they talked about that Crusible experience. The memory of seeing nothing but brown uniforms covered with dirt while feeling extreme fatigue and hunger was burned in their mind.  When they were given a clean shining orange, they marveled at the color of the beautiful fruit they held in their hand. Not only was it food for their bodies but it brought their minds to life again.

A proud family with their beautiful Marine.
First picture as a vested Marine...the beginning 12 week completed.
The smiling man is my grandson.


They talked about those that were willing to own up to their mistakes and those that would never admit to an error even if the whole company suffered. It is in fact not only a test of physical endurance but a test of moral integrity.

My grandson made me very proud when he told about how he had owned up to a mistake. No one would have told but he did not want the whole company to suffer for something he had done without thinking. He was given a little more "training" than the rest. The truth goes a long way. He just smiled because he understood what he had done and thought it was fair.

I will never forget the grin on his face when he spotted his mother and father in the crowd on family day or how he could not eat slowly.  I could feel his hunger for music and a talk with his girl friend.

His grandfather, Grandpa Earl, gave him the hunting rifle he had bought with money earned working on a ranch when his was 14-15 years old. The rifle provided food for our family in the early years of our marriage. It is still beautiful but an antique now. It was not new when my husband first held it in his hand in 1952.

I am home now. My flowers are in bloom and the sun is shining. But I am not the same and never will be again. This is a stage of life. I watch. I worry. I pray. But most of all I embrace my grandson's choice. We all have to live life our own way. His is an honorable choice.

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