Dec 29, 2013

How to make life easier with a Zooka Wireless Speaker?

When you are a senior with a hearing loss, technology and social networking can help you stay in touch with the world. We find that the use of a Zoola wireless bluetooth speaker can help us communicate with our family thus keeping the social part of our life active.

When we spend months away from our family, Skype keeps us connected with their lives. For example, on Christmas Day we shared the opening of our gifts with our daughter and her family via Skype. We set the iPads so we could see the whole room but then, when we wanted a close-up or to move to another room, we just picked up the iPad and did a little walk around.

However, there are a few problems with that plan. First of all, most iPads or laptops don't have speakers that can put out enough volume so you can hear across a room and if you have your device connected to a large speaker system, it cannot move around with you. While we like to see the people, we also want to hear what they are saying and carry on a conversation with them.

Note: This is not a sponsored post...I just want you to know
about the Zooka Wireless Speaker. I do however sell it with
 my Amazon associate account. Just click on the 
link if you are interested.
Screen Shot ls.
That is when we reach for our Zooka Wireless Speaker.
This little Carbon Audio device is only about 10 inches long so we can store it in the end table drawer, easy enough we can enable it in just a few seconds and it is very, very portable. Now we can set the iPad or laptop across the room so everyone can be seen and heard. It is designed so the iPad can use it as a stand or we could put it on the top of a thin laptop screen. We can also set it next to us if necessary. Carbon Audio says:
Each Zooka comes with one removable metal stand which raises the iPad/iPhone to the perfect viewing angle for any movie or media experience.
Zooka has a built-in microphone that enhances the use of Skype, FaceTime, and is perfect for incoming and outgoing phone calls
We use this little device ALL THE TIME! In fact, when we set it up, our family will say "Oh I remember that. You brought it to the brewpub so we could listen to music when we were sitting outside!" We can connect it to our computers, our iPhones and our iPad! I can listen to music on my porch linking with the computer indoors. I absolutely love this little device. It comes in lots of colors too. I wish I had an orange one but until I wear out the one I have or give it away to someone, I am stuck with black!

Coming up soon: A list of my favorites for, books, opening paragraphs and more.  Keep watching.


If you buy this little sound bar be sure to read this post for instructions on how to set it up. If the company has not printed better instructions, you will be confused. It is not hard but they just don't use enough words.
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Dec 23, 2013

Christmas Good one is worried!

Arizona Christmas Table
Christmas Past (2012)
My Oregon Home
We are not going back to our home in Oregon this Christmas. It was a big decision for us because we miss our family. I personally don't want them to worry about me and I feel some hidden duty to supervise what is going on back there. Besides that we honestly have so much fun together. But if there are two things I learned this past year that are important to my family, they are:

  1. I am not in charge. 
  2. My family does not worry about my husband and I.

I know, it just doesn't seem possible that some of the things that I miss are the very things that caused me so much worry. It is strange. Really, worry is not a happy companion on my daily walks and that is what the need for control brought me. It took me a while to understand that a huge load had been lifted from my shoulders. Now I am very grateful for that piece of news. The realization that my children were not worried that we would be lost if we didn't come home left us free to enjoy what we were doing here in our winter home. I don't like for my children to be worried.

Being present at every family celebration really is a lot of fun. But after my husband and I retired, we began to travel and we have been at home less and less over the years. Christmas was the last special occasion we flew home to attend. So not going home is the breaking of a tradition in our lives.

How did we arrive at this place? Well, as with most benchmarks, the signs were all there. Our children all chose this year to make their children the priority. I actually liked the fact that they had arrived at a place where they were willing to branch out and become stand alone family units. It is a healthy thing for them.

But let there be no mistake...I will be urging my husband home for the holidays next year and we will be having a Christmas in the middle of the summer in 2014 too. We will all Skype on Christmas Day and we will open present together even though we are apart. Some things will never change...the love and ties we all have as a family will never go away. They all know I will always be in charge just a little bit.

Merry Christmas everyone...I love having you stop by so don't be a stranger!

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Dec 21, 2013

.@Apple TV and @Amazon Prime asks "Is Cable TV Obsolete?"

We are watching less and less cable TV. I can actually see the day when we don't pay that huge bill to our cable company anymore and simply get everything we want using our Apple TV and our Amazon Prime membership. We keep asking ourselves if it is all worth it.  

Amazon Prime Membership
Here is what we all do. We subscribe to cable tv because we want to watch sports/news/HGTV. We have a thousand channels we never even turn on and pay a huge bill for a bunch of stuff we really don't care about and never have. In fact all of our friends have memberships with Netflix or Hulu and many have a Amazon Prime membership too. All of our favorite shows both domestic and foreign are available night and day. Cable tv is only used during the football season and for the news. What a huge waste of our money. I think we will be finding a way to do without. Do you have any suggestions?

Apple TV
Here are links for the Apple TV and Amazon Prime.  Please take a look and see if you don't agree.  I think you might even be able to get a 30 Day Free Trial for Amazon Prime Membership. What I  like about the Amazon Prime membership is that it is only $79 and years and I get 2 day free shipping, unlimited free streaming of video and a hold bunch of Kindle titles free. It is one of the best values around. Plus it really does work! Amazing!

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Dec 20, 2013

How much is a PLEASE worth?

In the year 2013 I discovered that there is no single reason for blogging.  The lines are blurred between good rants, efforts to sell a little of this or that and making money by providing a blog space. And of course there is the fact that I am retired and don't need any of the above to survive. The real reason I do this is because I like to write about my life as a retiree and I love to have other's opinions made visible here. In other words I do it all for fun! It is a wonderful hobbie.

All of the sponsored posts here are published for a fee.  What is the fee? Well, in most cases I am paid according to an agreement I make with a business. But, because I can, I occasionally don't take a fee or take a reduced fee.  Why? Because the person comes back to me with a reason I should give them a chance AND they say "please".

The nuts of bolts of this blogging thing can be complicated but in most cases it is very simple. People that need my services are very nice and usually will start every letter with a compliment. Although I know it is their job and they may not have even read the blog, I still like it.  I treat them with respect and I am always grateful for their contact. A little civility goes a very long ways.

So, how much is a "please" worth? In many cases, it is priceless.

Have a wonderful day.


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Dec 18, 2013

10 Rewarding Hobbies to Pursue During Retirement

Retirement is something many adults look forward to after years of working hard to provide for their families. Retiring from the workforce should be a happy time in a person’s life; however, an impending retirement is often a source of tremendous anxiety and uncertainty. Going from full-time work to retirement is a big adjustment, and many wonder how they 
Golfing with friends...part of the joy of retirement!
will fill the extra time that will suddenly be on their hands. 

It is important for retired adults to continue experiencing a fulfilling life well into their retired years. If you are looking for ways to continue a meaningful and self-sufficient life after retirement, consider pursuing one or more of the following 10 hobbies.

Join Senior Groups and Organizations
Seniors and retirees who remain socially active throughout their later years can actually slow the aging process. Older people who become more withdrawn and antisocial over time have a faster progression of health decline and are at an increased risk for developing anxiety and depression. Spend time among other retirees and explore independent senior living in Boca Raton, Florida. Many retirees find a wonderful community of seniors in warmer states, and top- of-the-line facilities provide many opportunities for joining clubs and organizations.

Teach or Tutor
The less-than-ideal state of the economy has left many schools without funds to hire much- needed tutors. This has led to an increase of retired workers volunteering their time as tutors and teachers. Retirees are proving to be exceptional mentors, as we have gained extensive knowledge through years of job experience. Tutoring underprivileged and at-risk children is not just rewarding for the children receiving help. Retirees are finding a tremendous amount satisfaction from reaching out to students in need by volunteering their time.

Dabble in Another Career
According to USA Today, a growing number of retired baby boomers are deciding to take another stab at employment, turning to new and interesting career options such as writing, acting and entrepreneurship. While some continue working out of necessity, many realize that we want to use the next 20 years of their lives as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves. People in the U.S. are living longer than ever, and retirees are finding that starting a new career can be a rewarding way to spend these additional years.

Pursue Artistic or Musical Interests
Retirement is a wonderful opportunity to dive into that one hobby you never had the time to pursue while in the workforce. Perhaps you find watercolor painting intriguing or have always had a knack for photography. Whatever your interests, now is the time to dabble in the artistic hobbies you’ve always admired.

Spend Time With Family
Americans frequently pride themselves on staying busy and throwing themselves into their work. While this can lead to great career and financial success, once workers reach retirement, we are more than ready to spend quality time with our children, spouses, and grandchildren.

The New York Times reports many companies have started volunteer programs in an effort to provide retirees with the opportunity to use their years of expertise to reach out to those in need. These companies are recognizing that the tremendous amount of knowledge former teachers, engineers and technicians have accumulated over the years is invaluable to many volunteer projects. In return, retirees get to experience the satisfaction of knowing they are using their talents to improve their communities.

Now that every day is a potential vacation day, you have the freedom to go on trips whenever and wherever you want. Now is the time to go places you couldn’t before or to revisit the places you would like to spend more time exploring.

Learn New Things
Research shows staying mentally sharp is extremely important for aging adults, as it decreases the chances of developing dementia and allows us to actively continue participating in life for years to come. There are many opportunities available for learning new things that will improve your cognitive skills. If you are feeling particularly ambitious, consider taking a foreign language course to prepare for a trip to another country. This is also a great time to read books on topics you have not previously had the opportunity to explore.

Staying physically active is an important way for retirees to lead happy and fulfilling lives. Physical fitness promotes cardiovascular health, muscle strength and mental stability. Consider joining a water aerobics or yoga class in your independent living community for low-impact exercise that will improve your overall health.

Retirement is the perfect time to pull out your bucket list and reflect on the things you have always wanted to do, see or buy. You’ve worked hard to be able to retire, so go ahead and go skydiving, put in a swimming pool or buy that motorcycle you’ve always wanted.

As your retirement date approaches, reduce your anxiety by keeping these 10 ideas in mind. There are many great opportunities available for making your retirement an exciting and rewarding time in your life.

About the Author: Sharon Ryan is a contributing author who is surviving and thriving in her fifth year of retirement. 
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Dec 15, 2013

5 Techie Gift Ideas for College Age Student

iClover - Bundle of 9 PCS SHORT Colorful Stylus Pen Set 

It has occurred to me that we need to talk to our older grandchildren more.  They really are very nice people. And when it comes to gift giving they know what they want...that is a good thing.

One of my teen grandsons asked for a longer cord for his iPad...who knew there even was such a thing.  That made me realize that maybe I was missing out by not just asking.  What do you think?

Here are a few ideas that my conversation with Sam sparked:

(1) 10 ft. iPad Charger Cable

(2) iPad Cover

  1. 10 foot charger cords for iPhone and iPad
  2. Updated ipad covers
  3. Design Your Own Cell Phone Cases
  4. Stylus Pen Bundle - Three 3 in 1 Laser Pointer, LED Flashlight, and Stylus Pens - Compatible with All Touchscreen Devices including iPhone, iPad, Android Phones and Tablets / plus 1 ECO-FUSED Microfiber Cleaning Cloth (Black, Red and Silver)
  5. Anker Astro Mini 3000mAh Ultra-Compact Portable Charger Lipstick-Sized External Battery Power Bank Pack for most Smartphones and other USB-charged devices (Apple Adapters- 30 pin and Lightning, NOT Included) - Black

  6. Portable Charge Stick 

    (3) Design Your Own Cell Phone Cases...I have done this and it is easy,
    fun and functional. No one has one just like it!
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Dec 14, 2013

Learning: Google and Tumblr Keeping Life Interesting

I have had a very slow day...or maybe I should say I am very slow today. I cannot seem to get awake.  Why do I do that?

It may be that I am bored  or it could be that I am just tired. I am hoping it is the latter because it is my belief that boredom is only for people too lazy to think about something to do and then get up and do it.  That is where you find me right now...doing something!
Tumblr is beginning to interest me more and more so I decided that I would give it a try.  It gives me a chance to post pictures with a little "flash" writing on a page of my own design.  Today I set up my page and gave it a name I think is perfect.  It all began when a search was made for the synonym for record.  One of the phrases Google gave me was "converting an event for future viewing". I liked that so I decided to call the page Converting Life.  It should be fun to keep a log of pictures taken each day as I record/convert life for another day.

Take a look!

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Dec 13, 2013

Small Parties for Small Spaces: Chocolate Martinis

We had a beautiful party last night. There were eight of us in my tiny park model living room but it was still very comfortable.

I actually have everything I need for a party stashed away in items we use for other things. Everything in this small space must serve two purposes. My table is my desk most days. Our small Ottoman has a lid that opens for storage for wine glasses, chargers and other party supplies. The end tables serves as storage too. And the list goes on.

Cocktail hours are very popular here in the park and most people like cheese, cracker, dips, etc.  I decided that we needed a change so I invite our friends to come for a chocolate martini and a small piece of cake between dinner hour and a dance we were having in the park. I decided to use Giada's Chocolate Espresso Martini recipe....kinda. When you live in a small space and want to have a party without breaking the bank, you use what you have and hope for the best! This party was not any different. I own 4 martini glasses and used wine glasses for the other 4 people. I think the napkins say it all!

from Food Network
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I bought Ghirardelli Intense Dark 72%)
2/3 cup brewed espresso, chilled
2/3 cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua (we used non-alcoholic chocolate martini mixer).

2/3 cup vanilla-flavored vodka (we did not have vanilla-flavored so we just use regular vodka)
Amazon link: Ingrid 6 Pc Martini Set 

Special equipment: cocktail shaker

Combine the chocolate and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth, 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Dip the rims of 4 martini glasses into the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Chill the glasses in the freezer for 10 minutes. (We chilled the glasses in the freezer before dipping the glasses. The chocolate hardened immediately. We left the glasses in the freezer until we were ready to serve the drinks.)

In a pitcher, mix together the espresso, coffee liqueur and vodka. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. In batches, add the vodka mixture and shake for 10 seconds. Strain the mixture into the prepared glasses and serve.

Note: By replacing the Kahlua lacquer with a non-alcoholic mixer we managed to keep the alcohol content down.  Remember, we were going dancing afterwards!

Thank you Giada for the wonderful recipe!


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