May 29, 2014

Grandparenting: On Herding Cats

Wiggly Little People!
My beautiful grandson, Brycen, was in his end of school program today. He is four. It is so much fun to watch these little people in situations like this. They are just being who they are and they do not worry much about anything else. I have taught this age group and I will tell you right now it is a bit like herding cats.

When they walk onto the stage, their shirts are tucked in and every hair is in place. Before long the cowlick and the shirt tail has escaped and both shoes are untied. I don't know how or why but there you have it. 

When I looked around the room I could see that every mom, dad and grandparents was smiling.
His mom and dad are heros in Brycen's eyes!
My grandson told his teacher he wanted to be a paramedic when he grew up just like his mom and dad. That made we wonder when the little boy next to him wanted to be a superhero...do you suppose his parents are Batman and Wonder Woman? Maybe in his eyes they are.

This is one of the joys of being retired and can spend time close to your children and grandchildren. When people ask me what I do all day I always wonder if they could even guess. Life is good.

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May 28, 2014

Aging: On Cussing and Being a Total Fraud!

Cover of "Phooey!"
Cover of Phooey!

I have to admit it. I can swear but I try to keep it a secret. I am a total fraud and Google knows it. I found that out after I wrote this article.

I know, the word cussing is old fashioned but just work with me here. Cussing is what we called it back in the day. In fact, cussed (cuss-said) was a swear word back then. We would call mean old men those cussed old guys or a dog that bit that cussed dog.

I didn't hear many really bad words in my day. My mother said dang once in a while. But I must have heard some bad words somewhere. My mother claimed I said dammit over and over while I jumped up and down on the bed. I was in trouble for jumping and cussing. It was not a good day I don't think. Then I claimed that my Auntie Ardella said it all the time. My Auntie was a saint and I am sure she never used a bad word in her entire life. I probably was guilty of lying too. I don't remember doing any of that at all.

My father always cussed in the basement when he hit his thumb with a hammer or cut a board too short twice. However, he was out of earshot at least as far as understanding the words were concerned. I did hear him call his bosses SOBs a time or two but since I could not spell it didn't matter.

When I discovered that sometime things went wrong, I was frustrated. That was when I learned a few bad words...fiddle sticks, dog-gone-it, shoot, phooey and later what in the Sam Hill? 

I always felt a little guilty when I lost control but lose control I did! And my vocabulary became more colorful as time passed. I have spent a lifetime trying to overcome this very bad habit. As I grow older I have discovered that cussing makes me feel dumb so I save the really bad words for my private frustrations. But, occasionally, a bad word or phrase will slip out in normal everyday conversation. I am generally on the golf course. Dear me, I sound like a sailor or a person that was raised by wolves. That is not good.

But it is getting less stressful for me these days. My parents are gone, my children are not perfect, my husband never listens and I manage to remain a total fraud among my acquaintances. My close friends forgive me. I am grateful for that!

Unfortunately Google sees right through me. I was a little taken aback when I saw that they recommended f*__k in the labels. Really? Honestly, that is one word I have never used!

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Hot topics for retirement Patterns! Helping you arrive at peace sooner!

A Toast to Retirement!
I always check my traffic and why it is coming to my blog.  Here are 2 HOT TOPICS that seem to draw traffic consistently.   If you have not read these post before, I invite you to do that today.


This was written almost a year ago but all the truths remain the same.  Take a look!
In another post written several month earlier, I pointed out the patterns that snow-birds follow.  Those of us that seek a place in the sun during those month that are cold and dreary at home seem to take the same path and arrive at the same destination...but we each throw in a twist of our very own.
I hope you are having a wonderful week.  Stop back by one day soon.

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May 27, 2014

Senior Independent Living...7 stages of retirement "grief"!

Are there seven stages to recovery from the shock of retirement?  Do we feel loss, pain, anger, depression and loneliness after which we turn upward, reconstruct our lives and then begin to live again?  It very well could be.  I do know that when I talk to newly retired people there seems to be a pattern of behavior that each person feels is uniquely theirs. The list below are the stages that I have observed. 
  1. Euphoria:  I remember saying that I was never getting up in the dark again.  The euphoria of knowing my retirement benefits would support us for the rest of our lives and we need not fear unemployment left me walking on airI think most people that retire feel this same emotion.
  2. Denial:  Most of the people will say they are going to travel/read/take up a hobby when they retire.  Even though they have never done any of these things before, it just sounds right to them.  I have always thought the "denial/escape" should be substituted for the word "travel/read/hobby" because that is what we are wanting to do.  The idea of no responsibility is so appealing but we know we do not want to sit down to die.    My husband and I have traveled around in the world since our retirement.  It did not take us long to realize that the new was wearing off and money had to be taken into consideration.  There was no escaping the fact that we were going to have to face a life spent in our home, day in and day out.  Travel was not going to fill the void left when we quit working.
  3. Pain of Uncertainty:  Now that the senior has learned there is no escaping their life the uncertainty settles in.  Should they move to a smaller house, maybe near the children?  (We did that.)  Or should they follow their dream and go to a foreign country or another part of the country to live? Could they find a way to own two homes so they can escape to warmer weather in the winter?  All of the freedom leaves them with a nagging feeling that they could be doing better if only they moved...or something! 
  4. Anger :  This part of the retirees response to retirement is a bit like a dog biting his leg off.  Spouses may turn on each other.  Husband will move the furniture and tell the wife how to cook.  The wife will watch her husbands every move, tell him what to wear or leave long lists of honey do's.  Living near the children can cause tension between the spouses and between the parents and their children.  Television station selection can even be a bone of contention.   I can't crawl in another person's skin but I do know what I hear and this part can happen early on or after a honeymoon period of the retirement.  They will feel angry and frustrated.  Boundaries will need to be set in order for everyone to live together in peace.
  5. Upheaval:  Many spouses have led separate lives but occupied the same space.  Other have spent a lot of time together during their leisure time.  This part of their lives can be a huge adjustment.  In the first group, the amount of time they are together is almost overwhelming.  In the second case the expectation that retirement will provide more together time can be a problem.  In both cases the man or woman's obsession with golfing, quilting, shopping etc. or the total lack of interest in anything can be a problem.  In one case he/she never goes away.  In the other he/she uses the hobby as a "job" replacement and even gathers up friends as though they are coworkers.  The spouse left behind can be resentful.  In my opinion some counseling may be necessary.  Both men and women can have unrealistic expectations of their partners.  
  6. Role Adjustment:  Retirement really does change our married life in every way.  Couple usually arrive at an unspoken agreement and their life goes on.  We eventually spread the work of life out between us.  My husband took over the household finances and began cooking more.  When he cooks, I clean up.  I suppose that in the end we just learned to work out what needed to be done.  It is so automatic now I never think about it.  
  7. Acceptance and Realization:  After months or even years most retirees have worked it all out.  A routine is established and their life can be a very happy one.  The day you realize that you would not have time to work even if you wanted is the best day of all.  You have managed to fill your life with "life"!  Congratulations.
Retirement Living TV is a television channel that offers information on those things that might interest the  50+ people.  One show that I watch occasionally is call "What Next".  This show approaches people entering retirement with the same "how to live the rest of your life" counseling ideas that a high school senior or a college graduate gets.  You might see if it is available in your area or check out the website for more information. 
Exuberant and no-nonsense best describe RV Captain and show host Sherry Parrish. With an extensive background in social work and 13 years of experience as Director of Resident Life at Charlestown, a 2,400 person Erickson Retirement Community, she is a professional problem solver. A wife and mother, viewers can easily relate to Sherry. Her sincere desire to help baby boomers transition gracefully into their freedom years is motivated by a tireless optimism and humanity that endears her to one and all.

Retirement is not easy.  It is much like a rebirth of sorts.   But, on the other hand, it can be the best part of your life...after all you have worked hard, raised families and now it is your turn to decide.  I am having more fun all the time.  Hopefully, you can come into this part of your life prepared both financial and emotionally...it will be so much easier that way.

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May 26, 2014

Patterns Snow Birds Follow...rent then buy!

RV parked in Mexico.
A friend that lives in Florida wrote me a note on my Facebook account today.  His comment was that people come to Florida for two or three month and repeat this pattern for a couple of years.  In the end they usually buy a park model or condo and come back to the same place every year. 

We see this same pattern in Arizona.  It would appear that snow birds are at home where ever they are land!  Here in Arizona those people that rent for two a three month and find they like the lifestyle will come back a second year, rent again and buy a park model during the second year.  Economics talk...it is simply cheaper to buy a park model in a RV resort and rent the lot than it is to rent a park model year after year.  If they are relatively wealthy they will buy a home or condo. Either way they can make themselves at home. There appears to be something for everyone.

It is very easy to make friends...activities in the resorts are so diverse that is you will find something that interests you.  Regional parties for those from the mid west or Canada, for example, give new comers an opportunity to find like minded people.  Pickle ball and bocci is very "age" friendly and a huge group of people participate.  These activities are great ice breakers.   And I believe that the pattern is repeated in every snow bird landing spot in America.  As my friend pointed out, geographical location does not change the course people will take during retirement. 

In our case we had traveled for nearly 9 years before we were ready to settle into one place.  But, in the end, we did what most snow birds do...we stayed in one place for two years, bought a park model, sold our RV and are spending 6 month of the year in Arizona.  We love it.

We are located in Rincon Country East RV Resort in Tucson, AZ.

It is all very interesting...the study of human nature.

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May 25, 2014

Would Seeing an Image of Your Aging Self Change What You Do Today? Harvard Business Review

As I grow older, I know that time is not on my side. It would seem that I need to make the most of the time I will be on this earth. It is all but impossible to imagine what the next 10-20 years will bring but I know that, if I am alive, I want to be ALIVE! I began to wonder, would seeing my "future self" in a digitally altered image or writing a letter to my "future self" about what I will do today change the quality of my life in the future?  Maybe so. And why would that be?

I began this line of thought after reading an article in the Harvard Business Review. The article called Would You Make Better Decisions if You Could See Yourself in the Future? told about a study by New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business assistant professor Hal Hershfield on the effect looking into the future might have on decisions made today. The gist of the article was stated in one of the opening paragraphs:
Many people feel disconnected from the individuals they’ll be in the future and, as a result, discount rewards that would later benefit them. But brief exposure to aged images of the self can change that behavior. Harvard Business Review: Would You Make Better Decisions if You Could See Yourself in the Future
I was surprised at how this study revealed a certain detachment by people about their future until they actually saw an image of themselves altered to reflect what they would look like in 10 or 20 years. In a continuation of this study, a test group of young people were asked to write a letter to their future selves.

The researchers found that the subjects made better decisions about money after they saw how they looked in the future. In the letter writing part of the study they found that the letter writing group were less likely than a others to take a chance that might come back and haunt them at some future time.

Even at my age I am ambivalent about skin cancer or being overweight and how it might affect my future health. So I was struck by how this study might apply to my life as I age. See, I think I am going to live a very long time. I had better take care of my "today self" so my "future self" has a chance. Would I be more aware of my choices if, for example, I were to see an image of myself altered digitally to make me look as though I were 10, 15, or even 20 years older? Would I change something I was doing today? And how about that letter writing idea?

So I wrote a very private letter to myself and printed it. Here is part of it.  I began....
Dear Future Self, 
I decided to take the time to remind you of the past and while I am doing that, take a peek at the future. So I am writing you a letter. It has been a long time since you were in the place I am today but the way you are feeling is a result of what I did back when you were your younger self.....
.....My mind is on my mind a lot now. I don't want to live to be you if my mind is not good. So I read and talk with my husband, neighbors or friends as much as possible.....
 I still write my blog in 2014. I should publish anything that I think you might like. I have not done that but maybe today is a good day to start. You might find this letter in a notebook or even published one day and we will laugh together.....
I almost didn't use this image...
I can see my double chin.
But this post is all about HONESTY and if
I am not honest with myself, who will I be

honest with.
Oh, and I visited with my "future self" yesterday. I know you remember Clementine next door. Remember she was ninety in 2014 and still walked every morning and moved as lithely as I want to when we are her age. I think she is a reminder that less is more.When I grow up I want to be her. I am working on it. 
So, Future Self, did I make the grade? How are things going for you? If they are not good and it is my fault, I am sorry. I did the my very best. 
Much love
Me
I did not include all my thoughts here in the blog...somethings are just between me, myself and I. I was amazed at what I could tell myself that I could never tell anyone else. I am very glad I took the time to write the letter. And I do think it will make a difference.

Why don't you give it a try and come back to let me know how it went. I don't think you will regret it.

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Note: I would still like to do the digitally altered picture but I will have to figure out how to do that tomorrow.


Idea from:

You Make Better Decision if you See Your Future Self (Harvard Business Review)
How Would You Live Today If You Could See Yourself In 20 Years? | Riskology.co http://riskology.co/future-self/
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HOW TO BE A SNOW BIRD...answers and lists!

I published this article 4 years ago but most of it is still relevant. I hope it is helpful.
I love being a snow bird. But I wish someone had told me all the tricks before I began. There probably was a book I forgot to read or maybe that book simply did not exist when I started my snow bird adventure. That is why I am here today. Here is the scoop on insurance, financial matters, utilities precautions and travel.

I am not here to burst your bubble but there are a few reality checks that need to be considered. I know...traveling off to warm weather in the winter, having two sets of friends and maybe a second home, sounds very luxurious. Golfing while your friends are mucking around on snow and ice would be soooooo dreamy. I want you to stop and think about what you might be doing.  There are choices to be made and even financial sacrifices. I have been doing this on and off since I was 55. If over 15 years of experience makes me an expert, then that is what I am!
    Arizona at it's finest...Sedona, Arizona
    You have always dreamed of that retirement life...you know, the one where you get up in the morning and you do just what you want.  Every day, day in and day out, for the rest of your life. When you think about it, the first choice you make is "Can I afford to retire both financially and emotionally?"  Be very clear in your mind about this before you even start down that road. (Link:  Seven Stages of Retirement Grief)
      Should I do the Snowbird Thing?
      Being a snowbird requires some doing. I suppose the first consideration is money. Inexpensive second homes can be had but you need to be careful before you leap. (Link: Rental information)  Areas that cater to snowbirds both in the southwest and southeast do provide opportunities to rent fully furnished apartments or park models in RV resorts. You will need to do some research online or even call a rental agent in the place you have chosen to visit. It is all very doable. ( Inexpensive Retirement Information) RV resorts offer a lot of activities and that is a real consideration when you have free time on your hands. You can rent park models* in these places. This is another choice that might replace living in an apartment.

      Will I Miss my Grandchildren?
      I think the answer for this one is obvious. Yes, you might miss your family. It is a given. But on the upside, your family dynamic may be better when you are gone for a while. When we started this life my children actually needed for me to be out of town for part of the year. I got a break from babies, my children became more independent and we enjoyed each others company more when we got back together. In fact, they now see us coming home as a vacation of sorts for themselves. If you have children that live in a warm place, you can choose to live part of your year close to one child and part of the year near the other. If you get lonesome for them, you can talk on Skype. We love doing this. (Link:  Keeping Retirees Connected)

      Where should I go?
      This is such a personal thing...we chose a human comfort zone. Really the geographic location is not as important.  For example, if I won the lottery, I would not be comfortable living in a high roller apartment in Las Vegas. That is not who I am. While this is an outrageous example, it is absolutely the truth. If you are a very educated person that loves the opera and expensive restaurants, you need to find a place where those people that live around you love the same things. (Link:  Like Minded People)

      How to Snowbird
      We are leaving for Tucson within the next 10 days...here is where we get down to the nitty gritty of being a part time person in two locations. Think about:
      1. How long to stay gone?  We are living about 6 months in both of our homes. That is a personal choice and one we have settled on after all these years. We began by traveling in a motor home and now own a park model in a resort in Tucson, AZ.  We live in the Portland Oregon metro area and have been Oregonians all our lives. It rains a lot here and we like to avoid as much of that as we can and still enjoy our beautiful location.
      2.  Should I fly or drive? After people have done this for many years they usually buy a clunker car and simply fly to their winter home. Really this depends on whether you are coming to Arizona from Nova Scotia or from Oregon. Some drives are just not worth the time and expense. Our friends put the car on blocks, disconnect the battery, find a spot in the shade for the vehicle and leave it behind. The worse that can happen is it is stolen or the rats gnaw on the electrical wires! But if it is an insured clunker, you are fine. (Rats are another thing entirely but still you need to be aware of any varmits that lurk about...FYI.)
      3. Should I rent out my home while I am gone?  Well let me tell you if this is possible and you can find someone you trust, do this.  Most of your other dilemmas don't exist when you do this. We have had students live in our house and rented it out. In both cases it was a win/win situation. The extra cash in the case of renting can pay for your time in the south! The minor clean ups and damage were nothing compared to what we need to do when no one is in the house.
      How do I switch from one life to another?  There is an extensive list of to-dos when you close your house down and switch to a different life. This is a list worth copying:
      1. Mail...the post office with forward mail with a beginning and ending date. If you are in one location, this works perfectly. If you are on the road you can have a family member forward you mail occasionally or you can have your mail forwarded to a service and they will take care of this for you.
      2. Turning off the water if possible...I know, you think this is a no brainer.  You need to consider that if you turn off your water you also need to turn off your water heater. The tank could burn up without water. Some heating system is dependent on the water. Can you turn your heat off and not have big problems? Draining pipes might be necessary if you are from the frozen north!  But, no matter what keep in mind what water can do. If you cannot turn it off, have someone check you home frequently. Water damage is a horrible thing and it happens a lot!
      3. Have the insurance for you second car changed...this can save you a lot of money. The insurance company will reduce the cost for you if you have the car in storage. Cutting the cost for car insurance for six months out of the year saves you money. In my world this is huge.
      4. Keeping the bad guys out...I know people that turned on an alarm system and walked away feeling very secure. When their house was broken into, the response from both the police and the system operators was less than wonderful. They came home to a real mess. Be very careful. We have someone check in occasionally and ask neighbors to be watchful too. We leave our phone number as well as our local family's number with them.
      5. Make your home look lived in when it is not...(see keeping the bad guys out). Be sure that some delivery person is not leaving unwanted ads at your front door. Piled up newspaper ads are an invitation to trouble. I suggest that you have a neighbor clear these away. I hate those things anyway but it happens. The local pizza parlor has to advertise somehow I guess. Leave the blinds partially cracked and leave a plant by the front door that will survive through the winter. You can even hang a generic wreath on the front door that looks welcoming. All these things make your house look lived in. I don't recommend the timers for lights...I understand they can be a fire hazard.  
      6. Make choices about turning off garbage, TV, internet, phone service, etc.  Most of these services have a "vacation/hibernation" setting.  That means that they don't disconnect you entirely and all you need to do when you return is give them a call and they turn your service back on. Your garbage can, TV cable box and your modem for internet hook-up can remain in place. You might have to pay a small fee but it could be cheaper that paying to have services reconnected. This also gives you the option of coming home for a short period of time or letting a friend/relative use the home and having the services needed. We come home at Christmas and have our internet, garbage and TV turned back on for that short period of time.  You make the choice.
      7. Decide on a wardrobe.  It has taken me years to learn what to take with me and what to leave behind. If you are a total newbie, check on the temperatures during the months you are going to be in a locality. Arizona is NOT hot in the winter. Locals and experienced snowbirds do not dress like it is 90 degree when the temperature rises to the mid 60's during the day. You will need sweaters, longer pants and a jacket in the evening hours. Pay attention to this sort of thing when you pack for your trip. I know we all dream of warm winter days but in this case it is all relative. Warm in the winter is 65 degrees but compared to say Iowa that is really warm.  See what I mean?
      8. If you leave the electricity on, UNPLUG EVERYTHING that can be disconnected...the vampires appliances can cost a lot!!! 
      9. Then there is the cat!!!  Our cat is a very real part of our life...however, the RV resort where we spend our winters will not allow a cat outside the park model. (See making snowbird location choices.)  Because our cat was a feral cat when we found him in Texas, he will NOT stay indoors all the time. In fact, like my children when they were young, he would actually prefer to live and eat at the neighbors and eat again at home! We have opted to let him live with a family member while we are gone. If the neighbors are free to keep him, we let them enjoy his company full time. We supply the food.  This is a hard choice but we decided years ago to make our life about humans and not our cat. He makes the sacrifice for us. We love him for that.
      So, there you have it. Actually, when you think about it, the benefits far outweigh the problems.  I hope this reality check helped you make the decision that will work best for you.  If you have any further question or ideas, feel free to comment and I will get back to you. I love comments and I am sure you love answers!!

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      *A park model is a small trailer with all the same amenities as a trailer. Ours is about 12' wide and 34' long. We have added a room to the side that we call an "Arizona Room". That space provides storage and utility space. We also have a shed where our washer and dryer is stored as well as my husband's work bench.

      May 21, 2014

      Travel: Don't Dress Like a Clown

      I must be getting a little bunchy...I am beginning to think about travel even though I have no plans to go anywhere for months. I am having too much fun here at home. Yet, in the night, I wake up thinking about our adventures.

      I talk with my family and friends about travel quite a bit. My husband tells me they don't care but I don't care whether they care or not. I like to talk about it so I do. The story that came to my mind last night was the one about us traveling home from Spain just after the war on Iraq had started. The security was very high, the Spanish people were furious with the American president so we had to pass ourselves off as Canadian.

      We had witnessed the Palm Sunday procession that morning, lay on the beach in the afternoon and changed quickly before we headed to the airport. I was dressed in my 501's with a light linen jacket, a big straw hat I had worn on the beach, sensible shoes and I carried my beach bag with my swimming suit inside.

      2003 In Toledo Train Station...what was that
      book I was reading?
      I didn't really think much about how cranky the Spanish ticket people at the airport were because, in my experience, the Spanish men can be a little cranky on a very good day. The flight went as expected. Nothing unusual happened until we arrived in Vancouver and got ready to re board the plane for Portland.

      It was very cold in Canada and we had a 3 hour layover. When I began to shiver I found a
      2000 at the Generalife in the Alhambra,
      Granada, Spain
      newsstand inside the area where we were allowed to wait and bought a big Vancouver sweatshirt to put on over my jacket. Now I was dressed in my 501 jeans, wore a big straw hat, a Vancouver sweatshirt over a long linen jacket, sensible shoes and was carrying a beach bag.

      I just pushed the security people over the edge! My husband zoomed through, found a seat on the aisle and waited as I was searched, required to take off my sensible shoes as well as my big straw hat and patted down by a woman. They also looked inside my beach bag. I don't know what the criteria was in 2003 but I am thinking that dressing like a clown with a beach bag did not work for airport security then.

      I didn't giggle until I was safely seated and then hysteria shook my body. It was a tense time in the world...thankfully we kept our sense of humor. We had known that, after 9/11, our travel life would never be the same.

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      You might also like:
      Travel to Spain: Lonely Planet Suggestions
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      May 18, 2014

      Great Beach Read Book: The Last Day for Rob Rhino By Kathleen O'Donnell

      It has come to my attention that I need to pay better attention. See, I love a Pulitzer Prize winning book or a book that gains attention for it meaty content or a book written about or by someone I admire. The Last Day for Rob Rhino by Kathleen O'Donnell fits into no category of mine so I didn't notice it at all. (Now I find that it was an Indy Book of the Year Finalist.)


      I first noticed the book when I was reading Kathleen O'Donnell's blog on her website that carries her name. The blog page is called Bald Spots. I read a post she had written recently about her stepfather. She did not particularly like him, his alcoholic lifestyle or even the way he treated her mother. But she held a grudging respect for the effort he put into trying to be the father he knew she needed. He fell far short and she could not grieve his death because her memories were clouded by his abusive behavior. It is not a happy story but the way she wrote it was just beautiful honest and even poignantly funny. 


      Kathleen O'Donnell

      When I saw that she had written a book, I went to Amazon and bought the Kindle version. That was day before yesterday. I finished the book late last night. 

      O'Donnell's byline for her blog is "There is nothing scarier than normal people." It gives a hint that she is able to look behind the mask and see something interesting even in the least likely people.  

      She gathered a list of character that might be on a list of people least likely to ever meet...ever. I found an angry, rich and drug addicted bald widow, a outrageous old porn star, a slimey manager for the star, a liberal arts college with a cemetery open to only the trustees and a dead husband in a cremation box with a whole gaggle of crazy relatives. In a lot of cases, these people are not who they appear to be in the beginning. Somehow O'Donnell manages to bring them all together in a mysterious set of circumstances that keeps the reader reading long after their eyes have gone to bed.

      Even though there is a porn star and his quirky friends, there is no sex. There is just one small murder with tiny hints of more. I am only telling you this because I thought you would want to know.

      So, if you are looking for the perfect read for the beach or a rainy afternoon snuggled in a chair with a cup of tea, this is it.  Put it on your list. You will not regret it.

       Available on Amazon: The Last Day for Rob Rhino  

      By Kathleen O'Donnell, ( Author ) [ 2013 ) [ Paperback 

      Indy Book of the Year Finalist


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      May 17, 2014

      6 Free Anti-aging Solutions

      Was thinking about all the things we can do to make us look and feel younger today and not one thing that came to mind cost a dime. How perfect is that?

      My reward for hard work!
      I was reading a post over at Sightings over Sixty the other day...I seem to be getting some ideas from Tom these days. He was talking about bowling but the post ended with an insight about aging. A fellow bowler pointed out that we are not old until we say it outloud...or at least that was the way I read it. He made me wonder about people that never seem to age. What do they do that keeps them looking and feel much younger than they are? Here is a list of things that I think are important.

      1. Never, never say you are old. It will age you right on the spot without your even getting out of your chair.
      2. Read and talk...everyone can talk about something they have read and age is no boundary. Talking to someone else everyday is so important and now you have something to talk about. Beside that reading is wonderful exercise for your mind!
      3. Smile. It is common knowledge that we smile when we are happy. But could it be that we might feel happy because we smile. I hope so because we all know that smiling is a youthful expression.
      4. Work...hard. Muscles will forget how to move in a nano second! Use your muscles so you can move with ease and comfort.
      5. Wash yourself with vigor. Personal appearance and best of all cleanliness keeps us mindful of our well being. A little lotion or make-up helps but there is nothing like clean hair and skin to make us feel good.
      6. Stand tall...I even sleep on my back for a while every night. My posture is more important that anything. It contributes to my sense of balance as well. 
      I am sure there are many more. What do you do that you feel is important to your well being?

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      May 15, 2014

      6 Idea for Building Affiliate Marketing

      One of the things we miss most when we are not working or retired is the validation that working for an income provides. Someone thinks we are worthy and pays us to do what we do. I don't know about you but we missed that part of our careers. So, the question is, "How do you find validation and a little income when you are retired or a blogger?" That is where Adsense and Amazon come in if you are a blogger like me.

      I'm restoring my water fountain
      in my front yard and so I am
      shopping for a pump. I
      just thought you would want to know!

      Tom over at Sightings Over Sixty left a comment and asked me the other day how I made any money using those sources that are allowed on Google Blogger. He said that he had tried Amazon and found that it just didn't provide the validation he wanted. It is tricky to say the very least. There are some ingredients I think you need to make it a worthwhile endeavor.
      1. Time is what you have the most of in retirement or a freelance blogger...time that you can do what YOU want and time is what it takes to make any money online.
      2. Products that you can write about consistently and truly want to promote.
      3. The ability to promote your affiliate position without putting off family and friends.
      4. Enthusiasm for following other people and connecting with them. 
      5. A Facebook account and a group of like minded people that are active in that media. I belong to several groups of women online that support each other. It has worked for me.
      6. Remain realistic in your expectations.
      Yesterday I wrote about patience and how it can be such a positive thing. That is what affiliate marketing is all about for me. I suggest that you bookmark my Amazon page on your computer if you shop at Amazon. But I don't bombast you with emails that make you feel you are being stalked. I take my time and am not impatient if I don't see results. I have been doing this for several years. 

      In my case, books are my go-to subject. But there are other things I buy. I use Amazon Prime so I usually get free shipping and I can send gifts to grandchildren without worrying that the postage will cost more than the gift. Anytime I buy something on Amazon, I post it on my Facebook account and talk about it on my blog. I write about products that I can promote sincerely. If I don't love the experience why would I try to sell it?

      Amazon will also pay me a fee if I refer you to their program.

      I love to shop so I visit those website that carry a product that I love and follow their links to find really good stuff that I actually would like to have. For me it is clothes and beautiful things for my home or garden and gifts for my family/friends. It may be boating or financial interests or even underwear for you. (Remind me to tell you about my pantelones underwear online order one day soon.) Then I write about it on my blog. ADSENSE will add links in my sidebar ads that fit what I write about. If people click on those (as I hope they willI receive some income. I get several checks a year from them...sometimes more and sometimes less.

      Word of mouth is my best connection. I have spoken to those people in my family that shop at Amazon and asked them to bookmark my Amazon link. They all told their friends and hopefully the word will get out more and more. I also have asked my friends to do the same...once. I have mentioned my account on my Facebook page and in the groups like Midlife Boulevard to which I belong on that social media website.

      The key here is you realize this is not easy money. It is something much, much more. It is a small way of validating what we do for fun. Seeking out readers, telling them what you like and spending time being a reader/follower can pay off for you but it will not come fast. I personally think that small income and building an affiliate presence can make a big difference in your life.

      I would be interested in hearing any other idea you have.  Just leave a comment with a link to your blog.

      Be well.

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      Note: I only get a fee if you buy something on Amazon or Adsense. The links above are for your convenience. I hope you found the information helpful.



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      May 14, 2014

      Retirement: The Art of Waiting

      My garden has taught me more lessons than any text book or experts advice. I was reminded of this one more time as I wandered past a beautiful clump of lupine that appeared in the east most spot at the far corner.

      Lupine has always seemed to be one of those elusive plants that appear in mountain meadows. I had never imagined that I could tame them to grow near to my front door. When my husband plucked a dry pod from a neighbor's dying plant a couple of years ago, he planted it in our very new flower garden. I did not think that we would ever see a bloom. In the garden that day my husband said, "Wait."

      I have never been a particularly patient person but I am learning that new art form as I grow older. In retirement our budget dictates what we do and what we buy. However, we do not give up anything we  want or need. We simply wait. At some later time what we desire will be financially available or emotionally possible. It is wonderful. So it was with the lupine. 

      Now it is in bloom. The purple color it displays is beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. It was worth the wait.

      Have a wonderful day.

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      May 10, 2014

      Mother's Day is My Day to Laugh...How men peel apples from Facebook!

      If you have seen this and haven't shared it with me, shame on you! This is just hilarious. I want to try it. I do not like to peel apples.


      May 9, 2014

      On Being the Mother of My Own Story



      My Beautiful Brycen (and me).
      Watching my Daughter Mother 
      is one of the great joys in my life.
      When our beautiful mothers and grandmothers are gone, we become the Mother of our own story. Our lives go on but something very pivotal changes without us even realizing it. My mother was a wonderful oral storyteller and when she was gone I become the storyteller in our family. Images she had created for me of our families history or even just life as I grew older became mine to tell.  If I didn't do that for my children they would be gone forever. I need for you to learn from me.

      I regret not asking more questions. My mother was not a very positive person and the things I knew about my father's parents were not what they seemed. When my husband began dabbling in genealogy, we discovered wonderful things about them that I would never have dreamed.  I think I was a little afraid to ask or to even do any searching for fear of what I would find.

      After my mother was gone I had to find a way to see the world through my own eyes. When I did that, I found that I was surprised at who the people I knew really were. I really do try to make the stories I tell my children and grandchildren as honest as possible without the editorial comments. I want to leave them with the feeling that those that have gone before are part of who they are and give them the sense that it is a very good thing.

      The decision to become the Mother of my own story has changed my life and the lives of those around me. What is cannot be changed and no amount of editing can rewrite history or even this very day. As the teller of this story it is my quest to become a shining light. Sometimes my candle grows short but I have found that those around me bring another and I can keep writing and telling the stories they so love.

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      May 8, 2014

      Retirement: Thoughts on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry



      The book called The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel by Rachel Joyce is such a wonder...it tells the story of a retired man that relives the journey of his past as he becomes an unsuspecting and surprised pilgrim. This story takes a look at how the retirement journey can change not only our lives but our very being. While we take our past with us we can also grow out of it and become what we have want to be. But, as Harold Fry discovered, it is not an easy journey. It takes time and effort to get to a place where a person feels comfortable in their skin once again.

      Harold has lived for 20 years with a life that is not happy or complete. His wife is very angry with him, his son never really connected with him and his job did not give him any satisfaction or joy. There was only one person that seemed to bring a sense of calm to him and she disappeared as quickly as she had arrived. Her name was Queenie. She was plain and quiet but solid. Harold had a great deal of respect for her courage.

      Soon after Harold retired, he received a simple letter from Queenie letting him know that she was dying in hospice care on the far side of England. She just wanted to tell him goodbye. So Harold wrote a letter telling her he was sorry, placed a stamp on it and set out to mail it...and simply did not go home. He began a walk across England with no cell phone or wallet while wearing a pair of yachting shoes.

      Without realizing what he was doing, he began a trek that changed his life. He started out out to mail a letter and kept going because a young girl at a gas station told him that if he believed enough, Queenie would not die. The girl knew because she had done that for her aunt. So he decided he would deliver the letter in person.

      Harold not only needed to see Queenie...he also needed time and quiet and space to think his own thoughts.

      He only found the peace he needed after he had faced all the demons that had haunted him for 20 years. The people from the past took on real form as he talked with people along the road and then as a group of people wanting to be pilgrims joined him. I think that each of those people symbolized someone from his past.

      With him gone, his wife faced her own issues and came back from the dark place she had been living in for so many years.

      Seeing Queenie one last time, as it turned out, was not what he needed. It may have been that it wasn't the destination after all. But then that is the rest of the story and you really do need to read this one.

      As I reflected on the book after I finished reading, I could see how a lot of people might want to do what Harold did. Instead of facing their relationship issues or past mistakes they might just walk out the door and keep going. But I think that anyone that did that would face the same thing Harold did and find that they don't ever leave anything behind.

      The retirement stage of our life leaves us with our naked being, no job to protect or validate us, a past that needs to be put in perspective and a blank slate to be filled with the rest of our life. The journey is not over. In fact, the pilgrimage is what it is all about. Even if there is no Queenie in our lives there might be a regret or a problem or even a relationship that needs to be tended too. The pilgrimage the retiree (or anyone for that matter) sets out on will be what it is because they have faced the past and can then move into the future.

      This is of course a wonderful book.  It has won the acclaim that it deserves. Reading it is a journey in itself!

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