Mar 31, 2014

Style: Help me find clothes that look wonderful....please!

I know! You think I am getting fat but it is not because I have gained weight.  Really it is not because of that.  I still wear the same size I have worn for many years.  But as my body ages I find that buying stylish and beautiful clothes is becoming more difficult. I don't want to wear bagging clothes or several layers. I don't want ruffles or gathers at the top of my blouse. My back is not fat so all that does is make a woman look bigger. Please don't expect me to buy those kind of clothes. Most importantly I was to look elegant...!
New Years Eve 2013.  We range in age from
ages 70 to 80. Posing is the key here.
I should not have stood at an angle to my
friend dressed in red. 

But please don't think that I can't afford to buy something that is stylish or even practical for everyday. But I just think that those stores we depend on for our knock about clothing could do better. As it is now,  I can find something that looks good on me but it is very expensive.

I want a knit top that has a slightly raised neckline at the back to cover the beginning of a dowager's hump. I have had these in the past and they are wonderful. I want my tops and sweaters to have some gathers at the side seam to give a loose top some fit.  I don't want a scoop neck that goes below the cleavage but I would like a little bit of a scoop.  I love long skirts. I don't want them at the ankle because it simply is not safe. I also want some choices in a skirt that is fitted and hits just at the mid-calf. A gray pencil skirt would be nice.


Dressing to show some shape in the winter
is hard. I may have pulled it off here but
I am not sure. Thoughts?

NOOOOO...all white is not good and the pose
is just not right! I need to practice more.
Dark colors seem to work best and
compliment my totally white hair.
I bought a Ralph Lauren dress that I absolutely love for New Years Eve. It was fitted but with gathers at the waist and a cowled neck.  I wore a cami that gave the dress a square line just above the cowl...this is a very good look for a woman of any age.  I wish the skirt had been slightly longer though. Oh, and I wish it had cost just a little less!

Doggone it, it is hard enough getting older but when the fashion world ignores anyone over 60, I don't think they are being smart.  Is the only way a woman my age can buy beautiful clothes to pay a fortune? The boomers are here and trust me, these women are not going to buy ugly and they are not going to spend more than they can afford!  There I said it!

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PS: If you are writing an advice blog about clothing, modeling or body shape, please include more pictures! I am a very visual person!
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Mar 30, 2014

Tucson, Arizona: When you are the host and not the traveler!

Traveling is one of the great joys of my life. But it is also a lot of fun to have visitors and be able to see the place where I live through someone else eyes.  That is what happened this week when my granddaughter (16 years old) and our daughter spent 6 days with us.

Before they arrived, my husband and I talked a great deal about how we would accommodate them and what we would do. Living in a small space is a challenge for visitors as well as the host. Where would they put their clothes, who would get to take a shower and when, where/what we would eat, etc? Most importantly, we talked about what we would do to provide them with a fun get away.

We had a list of things in our mind but we did not really care which our family chose. We liked to do it all.

Here in Tucson we have some things that are unique to our area. This city provided a different but wonderful desert vacation experience.
  1. The Arizona-Sonora Desert  Museum
  2. Saguaro National Parks
  3. Santa Catalina Mountains and the road to Mt. Lemmon
  4. Old Tucson Studios
  5. Unique eating experiences like Wisdom (Tubac,), Congress Hotel (downtown), El Charros original location (authentic Sonoran food located in the Presidio)
  6. University of Arizona campus.
  7. Sam Hughes neighborhood and Arizona Inn
  8. University of Arizona shopping area
  9. Tubac, AZ
  10. The Biosphere 2
  11. The Biosphere 2 (my daughter at the right)
  12. Tomacacori National Park
A simple Google search will give you information on each of these.

When our girls arrived, we asked them what they were looking forward to doing.  They had come from the Portland metro area. I think we mentioned all the things on our list. But they wanted to...
  1. Shop
  2. Stay in our RV resort and lay by the pool or simply walk. Surprise!
  3. Get their toe nails done. Summer sandals were coming out.
  4. Visit the Biosphere 2
  5. Shop more!
Of course there is always one more thing. Evidently, my granddaughter had eating at the In and Out fast food on her bucket list and we did not know it! I am busy creating a list for their next visit and we will be stopping at the In and Out on our way to our house from the airport. I just did not realize how important that was.

We had a wonderful week and my husband and I needed it to last longer. There was so much left to do. But then I suppose it is a good thing if they go home when the fun is not finished. Everyone goes home wanting more.

Have a wonderful day.

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Our RV Resort Pool


Night Blooming Cyrus
Cup Cafe at The Congress Hotel
Granddaughter and daughter in the downstairs dining room, El Charros Restaurant
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Mar 28, 2014

Travel Arizona: Biosphere 2

Young students study in a lab designed for just this purpose.
I never grow tired of going to Biosphere 2. I am always a little at a loss for words when I talk about it. Wikipedia says it is "the size of two and a half football fields, [and] it remains the largest closed system created. The glass facility is elevated 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above sea level at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, half an hour [north of] Tucson."  The physical description however cannot hint at the beauty of this man made creation or the wonder of the things that live and grow within. 

Biosphere 1 is our planet of course. Inside the Biosphere 2 some of the most common features of the Biosphere 1 are recreated. We were guided through a rainforest, past an ocean into a savannah and desert. We saw the interior mechanical parts that help run the recreation of earth and were allowed to see the place where the original Biospherians lived sealed in the structure for 3 years in the mid-eighties.

A young child walking  behind me was in wonder and told their father what fun it would be to be a "real" scientist and be able to go way into the forest or nearer the ocean and be able to see all of the things behind those closed doors. I could just feel how that might be.

I love that place.
Researchers were working in the "rainforest"
Cactus in bloom in the "ocean" desert.
The "lungs" of the Biosphere II looks very like a spaceship.
This apparatus controlled the air pressure inside the Biosphere
The panorama of the location shows the Catalina Mountains and the desert.
The interior reveals a miracle structure.

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Mar 23, 2014

Downsizing and Boomerang Children: How small does it need to be?

Okay, here is the deal...boomerang children can just keep bonging back! And it might keep happening until you move into a tent. Is that okay?

My friend and I were talking about our children and how things can go very wrong for them. What would we do if our children needed to move back home? I think we both had mixed feelings about the situation.

The conversation did not include any anger or resentment or even ways to get out of it if we were faced with the dilemma. We focused on the positive things that happen when adult children come home for a little while. It is good when there is a reconnection with the parent's lives and grandchildren can benefit from spending more time with Grandma and Grandpa.

Our sunset years?
We all know that there are families that share lives with all of the family in a very small setting but most retired people are not planning on this type of thing happening. Once we are in our 70's we figure we are in the clear. Still, we are always parents...at least until the child finds themselves responsible for the parents.

As we closed our conversation, my friend and I laughed as we posed the question "How much do I need to downsize?" What ever that is, I am never going down that road. Even if I lived in a tent, I would find a way to help. Our family can only survive if we are all supporting each other. I know my friend feels the same.

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Mar 21, 2014

Small Space Living: Life on the "Movie Set"

I don't know if you have ever visited a place like Old Tucson Studios where many famous western movies were shot. If you have you will understand what I am talking about now. I live in a make-believe world too.

When you look behind the doors or inside the cabinets it is all just pretend.  Oh, I live here and put things in cupboards. I scrub and clean and hang pictures on the wall. But all the while I know I am putting lipstick on a pig! It is all very temporary.

My daughter and granddaughter are coming to visit next week so I have prepared a space for my granddaughter to sleep on a small twin bed. I put a TV tray by her bed and paper flowers are in a tin can. The wall was destroyed when we put our porch on last year. You can see styrofoam insulation and aluminum siding on the insidew. I put a screw in a small hole in a metal support so I could hang a string of made believe water jugs on it. A very old desk lamp will light her space.

Honestly, it doesn't look too bad! In fact, it is about as good as it gets.  When you live in a very small tin can that still has the wheels on underneath, living in a pretend movie world become the everyday reality.  And, believe it or not, I love it!

Have a wonderful day.

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Mar 14, 2014

Just a Minute...I'm Busy!

One of our favorite things to say (or think in my husband's case) is "Just a minute...I'm busy!" Most of the time we are on the computer staring at something, wondering if what we are seeing could be true. When I saw this cartoon in the NYTs Bit's Blog
today I laughed.  Isn't it the truth?

Be sure to read about how techie's favorite cartoonist, Randall Munroe came to have an asteroid named after him. 4942 Munroe may be his legacy. He is also published author:  What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions and

Have a wonderful day.

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Mar 8, 2014

Retirement: Travel Now (with Bob Lowry) and Then (with me)

You really must connect with Bob Lowry on his blog, Satisfying Retirement.  He and his wife, Betty, retired when they were young but they are just now on the cusp of beginning to live "the life". They have purchased an RV and plan to take an extended trip one day soon. Every time I read his blog I can only think how things have changed since we began our adventure over 16 years ago. Traveling is only one of the life changing choices for a new retiree but I think it is one of the most important. It broadens a person's horizons in so many ways. And that is what Betty and Bob are about to do.

I thought it would be fun to compare what he is talking about being able to do and what we did when we traveled across the United States in our little Winnebago Class C. Our lives back then were very much the same as the Lowrys today. Grandchildren, children and an aging parent are always on their mind and of course cost is a big factor in deciding where to go and what to do.

When we began our journey, my mother was in a nursing home. I bought our first ever cell phone and spend over $600 tracking her care while we were on the road. We all know the cost of keeping in contact has been reduced to almost nothing compared to what we spent back when we began RV travel.

Now Bob and Betty can visit on Skype and see their grandchildren's faces. Email or Facebook can be used to communicate. Bob will be blogging as he goes too. I sent postcards and drew pictures of oil well pumps and rockets going into space. (We saw John Glenn's second blast off into space that trip).

Betty is a photographer and she can edit pictures using their wonderful laptop computer. They can post those pictures wherever they want online. I took many pictures and my son bought us a scrapbook as a going away present.  I can remember taking the film to the drugstore to have it developed and I built the scrapbook as we went along.

A map has been purchased by the Lowrys for the grandchildren so they had check on their grandparent's progress. I wish I had thought to do that. Because they can remain so connected while they are gone, children and grandchildren will see them in a totally different light after they return home.


We traveled in this motor home for many years...to Mexico,
Texas gulf coast and all over California, Oregon and Washington.

This was parked down the street from us in a
Las Vegas trailer park. This park no long exists.
We were parked very near this
trailer in Las Vegas.
A GPS makes it very easy to find your way around. Bob will use one of those I know. We had a map! 

RV parks are readily available now and are rated by Good Sam so you do know what you are in for when you travel. Our RV parks were generally by the railroad tracks and on many occasions we stayed in trailer parks that were very sketchy...nice people but not nice facilities. The ratings were also not always as up to date as we would have liked. I remember getting lost on the gulf coast trying to find a 10-10-10 park and when we did find it, the Good Sam rating had gone away when the owners sold.

Boomers like Bob and Betty are so visible now. I see them in our RV resort in increasing numbers all the time. Because of the boomer phenomena, traveling for the Lowrys will be not only an adventure it will also be a way of connecting with people that are their own age. I know they will meet so many people that they will never forget. I almost wish we could do it all again!

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All of Satisfying Retirements RV labeled posts can be found here.
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Mar 7, 2014

Retirement and Aging: You Might be a Snowbird if......!

Snowbird Lifestyle:
Celebrating my husband's 76th birthday in Mexico!
Jeff Foxworthy is a very funny guy. His "You Might Be a Redneck If...routines are hilarious. I know I might be a redneck sometimes and I know that because I have watched his routines. That is where this blog is coming from today. Thank you Mr. Foxworthy for making me think. 

Snowbird season is in full swing right now here in Tucson, Arizona. Our RV resort is filled to the brim with people ages 55-90+. Most everyone will be gone within a month but for now the landing area for people escaping the snow is very busy.

I was watching our Bocce Ball tournament yesterday and it occurred to me that we snowbirds are an odd breed. We are not old and yet we are not young. When we enter the gates of the park, our ages change in subtle ways. We learn lessons, sometimes the hard way, that people are often not what they seem and living near those people can be wonderfully strange. Personally, I love everyday I am here.

If you don't respect people that are older than you or don't have as much education or are even a bit quirky, please don't come here. Entrance into our world makes everyone equal. You will not be happy when you find that people you had thought odd or old will beat you at Bocce or cards. If you are annoyed by people acting silly and that don't take games seriously, you won't like it here.

In the end you will be a very jealous of the lobster fishermen. In fact, people that love a simple life come from every occupation and area in the world. You will be very surprised! After you retire and you don't have a "job" or "salary" to define yourself, you are going to find out who you really are.

You might want to be a snowbird if....
  1. You love to meet new people.
  2. You are a lifelong learner.
  3. Adventure is part of your life.
  4. Judgement of a different culture is not part of your nature.
  5. You respect people that do not share your lifestyle.
  6. You love to play tennis, hike, play pickle ball, bocce or cards.
  7. You need or want to live a frugal yet full life.
  8. You have always dreamed of sunny days in the winter.
  9. Travel is in your blood.
  10. You are not afraid of new things or places.
  11. You expect to live a very long time and live your life so that you can enjoy it.
Granddaughters very exciting visit to the car wash!
We do poke fun at ourselves. As Jeff Foxworthy would say "You might be a snowbird if..."
  1. Changes in the weather tells you when to fly south.
  2. You discover that you can live in less than 400 square feet.and have everything you need but have a 4 bedroom house waiting in the north.
  3. You get beat at Bocce by someone 80+ and you are not surprised.
  4. You forget that it is Monday.
  5. Fishfry becomes a part of your weekly routine.
  6. The whole day can revolve around a dance or a chili feed.
  7. You have friends from around the world that come back to your landing area just to see you.
  8. For the first time in your life all the young people back home want to live like you.
  9. You wear your pajamas to visit in the street.
  10. You eat dinner at 4 pm and have breakfast right before you go to bed.
  11. You lay your pajamas out on the end of the bed at 5 so you can get to bed faster.
  12. Happy Hour is VERY important.
  13. You walk around in circles in the park and call it exercise.
  14. The high point of your day is adding 5 pieces to the park jigsaw puzzle.
  15. You show up at least an hour early for every event so you can get "your spot" in the room.
  16. The people around you know all of your stories...sigh!
  17. Jack is over 90 and the best Bocce player I have ever seen.
  18. When it is time to go home, you don't want to leave because it is not nearly as much fun back there.
I would love to see you here in Rincon Country East RV Resort in Tucson AZ. Look me up. I live in Space #74.

You will recognize the place...I am the one with the beautiful flowers! My name is Barbara.

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The Saguaro Cactus is gone...it tipped over
in a summer storm several years ago.

















 Older post from 2010, How to be a snowbird!
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