Jul 31, 2014

Let's see if we can get Grandma on a carnival ride!

I know they invited me along just to get me on a ride and then hear me squeal like a pig. I didn't care. I went along anyway. Is there anything more fun than a county fair? 

While we loved the goats and pigs and sheep and the horses, in the end it was all about the children, carnival rides, cotton candy and laughing like a kid. What a wonderful day.

Snug as a bug...or a pig?

Food Coma...yes the pig on the left
fell asleep with it's snout in the straw! 
5 Wooly Sheep in blankets on
a hot summer day!

She always wondered what a pig snout looked like
up close.
I swear she could drive one of these
even though she has no idea what it is.

Pre-ride giggles!

Pretty enough to eat...

...and more!

Just pure fun...no rides for me though. I said I had some mythical ailment. I am just plain chicken!


Jul 29, 2014

Listening: Hello...Is Anyone at Home?

Don't you feel like yelling at people occasionally...is anyone living in that house or is the attic empty? I do but then I remember to "be nice". It is hard for me.

Really, it seems to me that listening must be the hardest task ever for most people. Being long winded or even mind numbingly boring may be my problem but I just can't imagine why it feels like no one with listen to what I have to say. Could the problem be with the listener and not the talker? Maybe so!

listening (Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)
In a post called at fifty::what I've learned so far written by Kim Tackett on a blog called Fifty/Fifty, the subject of listening came up. I have this article printed and it lays by my computer because it is one of the best pieces of writing I have seen in a long time. She talks about 8 things that she thinks are worth noting of all the things she has learned in  50 years. I loved #3...it was about listening.
"Everyone just wants to be heard. They don't need answers, and they sure don't need excuses. But they need to know that you care enough to listen to them, to see them. This one also works in reverse: I don't always need you to fix me, just to hear me."
In my experience, if they are listening, people will have an immediate solution for any issue I bring up. As Tackett says, most of us don't want you to fix our problem. We just want you to listen and make clucking sounds. Okay?

But, if you are not listening, you need to know, when you do that, it is hurtful.

Okay, so I go that off my chest. Were you listening?


Jul 27, 2014

Retirement: What are you striving to become?

Oh my gosh, I just discovered the YouTube video called Older Ladies .  Donnalou Stevens is the vocal artist and wrote the song. It is just hilarious. But more interesting yet is the story behind the woman that wrote this delightful little ditty.

I discovered the video on a website called called Boomerology Revealed TV and a segment called Viral Videos with Baby Boomers #18. The YouTube show is hosted by Shahar Boyayan, a professional speaker, author, business owner and show host. Steven had given an interview with Boyayan for the website.
Stevens had been in pain for 30 years of her life and it could consume her I think. Then she discovered that pain is a lot different from suffering. Pain is something we all have but many of us do not suffer from that pain. It was during that interview that she said something so wise and wonderful about writing music for her audience.
I never wanted to create art that perpetuated my pain. I always want it to be whimsical or poignance in some way, not only for me but the the people around me.  
I honestly believe that is true of any type of writing or art or even life...the creator can chose to perpetuate the pain of their situation or to talk about what they are striving to become.

So I invite you today to watch this video, have a good laugh and then create a vision or a poem or a song or a picture of what you are striving to become.

Just a thought!


Thank you Patrick Roden PH.D of Aging in Place for bringing my attention to this video. He can be found on twitter @aginginplace.com or on the web at Aging In Place.

4 Reason's Why You CANNOT Sleep? Or are you sleeping on the wrong side of the bed?

I was wrong...again.

I wrote this blog post in 2010 but I am updating it NOW. It turns out we were not right about sleeping on the wrong side of the bed. We were wrong about that new mattress we bought at Costco. See, those mattresses have only one sleepable side and the edges roll off on all sides. Once I measured the part we could actually sleep on I realized we lost a full 8 inches to a big slope. We returned the mattress, bought a king sized mattress. Now we both sleep a lot better no matter what side of the bed we are on. Anyway, here is that old article. The ideas here are still valid and ones that I have encorporated into my routine.
A place to relax and read before bedtime!

I write a blog about staying active as you age...remain flexible, I tell my readers, don't get stuck in a rut and refuse to try new things.  We should at least try to change our routines occasionally.  My thinking is that, just like our joints, our minds get stiff if we don't make it moving.

So, being the person with all the bright ideas, I suggested that my husband and I switch sides of the bed.  I would sleep on the right side and my husband on the left.  We needed to change things up...remain flexible...learn to love change!  It was the principle of the thing not the bad or good of it.  My husband is always up for a challenge so we did it...last October.  It was a nightmare.  He felt like he was falling off the bed and I slept with my knees in his face.  And we did it for three months.  Our sleep quality fell like a  boulder off a cliff but neither one of us would admit that it was a problem...for us.  It was his/my fault that the bed seemed really small and that we both wanted to sleep in the middle of the bed!  If the other person would just straighten up and sleep in the right place the problem would be solved.

Then I folded...we need to talk  I said.  I cannot go on like this.  Even though I know it was my idea, I was wrong.  Can I please, please, please have my side of the bed back?  My husband did not give in the first night but then, when I went to bed last night, there he was back on his own side of the bed.  We both slept like we had not slept for 3 months.  It was wonderful.

Changing the bedtime routine is not the only thing that can interfere with our sleep.  It turns out that there may be a relationship between our bedtime computer use and what our brains thinks about sleeping.  The light generated by the computer screen or the ipad can fool our brains into thinking that the sun is up and interfere with brain waves.  Researchers at Northwestern University are saying that computer use right before bedtime may "delay your ability to sleep".  Phyllis Zee, a neuroscience professor at Northwestern University and director of the school's Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology said:
"...it could also be sufficient to affect your circadian rhythm. This is the clock in your brain that determines when you sleep and when you wake up."  John D. Sutter, CNN
As we grow older, we have both the time and the inclination to want a nap...I love a good nap better than chocolate.  But the dilemma is whether this makes sleeping more difficult when we go to bed.  Like all the other wicked pleasures we enjoy, it turns out that too much of a good thing is not a good thing at all.  Sleeping all afternoon can lead to a bad nights sleep which leads to the need for a long nap...an so the cycle goes.  I personally find that I sleep more when I am inactive or even (dare I say it) bored!  The trick is to keep active and busy.  If I do these things I never think about a long nap.  If I do take a nap I try to set a mental alarm that only lets me sleep for a short while.  When all those things do not work I just try to do better the next day.

The thing we need to remember is what our body needs in the way of sleep to function at a high level.  A short nap during the day can actually help us stay active longer.  Slogging through the evening feeling exhausted is not productive and certainly not pleasant.  

I don't know if we can control what we think about or even talk about as we get older.  I would hope that if you find every conversation beginning with some ailment or tale of woe, you could somehow re-train yourself to not do that.  I know it gets much harder as we age.  Training ourselves not to obsess over small things like a little lost sleep is good.  We all know that obsessing over anything can be a problem.   I have also learned that a lost night's sleep is not really important...I don't feel much different either way.  So it seems that the trick is not obsessing about a good nights sleep or the lack of it.  What I do is simply never talk about it.  That works for me.

I don't remember if I told you this or not but I saw an article the other day that listed peanut butter as a sleep aid!  You heard me right...peanut butter.  It seem that peanut butter has a chemical in it that promotes sleep.  Here is the funny thing...I eat a tablespoon of peanut butter when I could not fall asleep and have done so for several years.  I was actually surprised that there was a scientific reason it worked...I thought it was just a trick I played on my mind!

So I have come to these four conclusions regarding sleep and me:
  1. I probably have always slept on the same side of the bed from the time I was a child.  I should not try to change that now.
  2. A good book is probably better before I go to sleep than spending time on the computer.
  3. All naps are good...if they are kept short. I feel better in the evening
  4. Obsessing and talking about how I sleep may keep me awake at night. And I know that no one is really interesting in hearing me talk about it.
I am interested in what your idea might be for restful sleep....leave a comment with your ideas.

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Jul 26, 2014

Retirement: Do you get so rested that you cannot sleep?

I have had so much fun this week reading other people's blogs. They have inspired me to talk about things I have on my mind all of the time. This morning Eileen Hopkins of Boomer Pot of Gold woke up very early (3 am) and wrote a post about the beautiful sunrise and birdsong. I could see her world in my minds eye.

Eileen is newly retired and just beginning the journey called retirement. Her days are filled with relief from the worry of a job that filled her day from dawn to dusk. I know how she feels. Even the part about waking in the middle of the night rings a very clear and nagging signal of what retirement holds for me. I suspect that most people have had the nagging experience.

The fact is a job just keeps our minds and bodies so busy that exhaustion set in and sleep is the only respite we have from that world. I know people that fall into bed each night and are asleep immediately. They will even nap on weekends. Sleep is a treasure to be pulled out when the world simply gets too hectic.

A walk with grandchild is
the perfect exercise. I do sleep
like a log after a day of
Then we retire and slow down. For a while sleep is our friend...something we just never got enough of when we worked. Then slowly and surely sleep will come at odd hours...in the afternoon, for two hours at bedtime or maybe not at all. It ceases to be a respite and becomes a problem. Why? Well, the fact of the matter is we do need to work to stay healthy. Surprise!

Now, I am not talking about a 9-5 jobs. I am simply talking about moving, exercising getting up out of the chair and not setting back down until one feels a real need. It is a trade off in my world. If I want to sleep sound without any trouble I really just need to "work" at something that requires me to move about.

I am not an expert on sleep. There are studies and clinics and medications. As for me I find that when I am inactive, my mind has too much time to get busy thinking about stuff, I cannot sleep. Once the whirling begins inside my head it is very hard to it turn off.

I loved that Eileen enjoyed the sunrise...it truly is a gift each and every day. But as for me, I prefer to let it pass most days. Sleep is my friend.

Now I am going for a walk.

Just a thought!


You might also enjoy a post I wrote in 2012: Why Are You Getting Old The Two Year Old Asked!

Jul 24, 2014

Travel: So What's the Point of Travel Anyway?

Nation (novel)
Available on Amazon: Nation
(photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was reading a blog this morning written by Tam Warner Minton called Travels with Tam. Tam is a scuba diver that loves to travel. Her post was called 5 Reasons to Adventure Travel. I loved this post but then you don't need to poke me in the ribs to get me going when it comes to travel. She quoted Terry Pratchett, that very funny and much quoted English writer saying:
Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” Terry Pratchett
I liked that a lot. I recall my son asking me once about taking a walk. His father and I walked a lot to explore our little world so this son was familiar with the routine. He had been on many a walk. But as he grew older he became a little suspicious of the habit. Did he want to go for a walk? He wanted to know where we would be when we finished with the walk. When I told him we would be back home, his thought was that there really was no point in talking the walk if we were just coming back to where we started.

Travel is like that I think. There are people that never leave because they don't see the point in the whole exercise. Travel is hard and, in their view, not worth the effort. After all, they will just come back home.

Then there are people that travel and never want to come back home. They love the escape and think that by not going back they can shed all their worries and cares.

And then there are people like my husband and I that feel at home no matter where we are. We settle into the landscape and watch life like a fly on the wall. Because our home is within us, we know that moving to another place would honestly never change our life. What changes us is the adventure and the experience. We find it is hard to be judgmental after we see first hand what is going on in the world. As Terry Pratchett so wisely said, "Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving."

So, if I could answer my son today when he asked what the point was, I would have to say the point is you will learn something or feel something that you cannot know if you never go for a walk. 

Have a wonderful day.


Jul 23, 2014

Aging: Are They Afraid They Will Look Like You?

I read a blog called Pearl, Why You Little... The author makes me laugh and I am all about a good laugh. In an article she posted today called Well I Can See I'm Going to Take Back a Lot of What I've Said she talked about making fun of people when she was young. As a young girl she and her friends would lay on a beach towel and whisper about people that were old or fat or suffering from extreme cellulite of the bottom. Now as she is getting older she said this about her body as she tried to remain positive:
Me, I am pleased to report that my ankles continue to be identifiable as separate from my calves and that I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.
No swimming suit here!
She was writing tongue-in-cheek and I liked the article a lot. But I couldn't help thinking that there was dark side to that story. More of us were guilty of being smug when we were young than we would ever care to admit. I have been guilty of being derisive of the outward appearance of aging. Why would I do that? Now that the day has come that I am the older person laying on the beach towel I am aware that a younger person might not be thrilled to think that my body is the one they will have someday.

Then it occurred to me that Pearl had hit on a primal emotion....fear! See, while we don't want to be unattractive we all know that there are things that we just cannot control. We are afraid of what we ridicule. It is as simple as that.

I belonged to a website called Fab Over Fifty for a period of time a couple of years ago. It was all about fashion and makeup and how not to look ones age. The editor would post a picture of some hapless person with their face blocked out and ask subscribers to say what they thought about the style or body shape or whatever of the person. 

The owner of the blog even wrote an article telling how she planned on never getting old because she went to pilates and stayed out of the sun. The article included pictures of ugly (?) old people with warts and wrinkles. I was not only appalled...I was in fact a little offended. I could only wonder if people that were middle aged would be afraid for their future when they ran into me in the mall. I don't participate that website anymore.

There is a lesson to be learned here but I am not sure what it is. Fear is a hard thing to overcome. Of course we don't want to be ugly or scarred...why would we? On the other hand, a little fear and stress are motivators to make us more aware of what we might avoid thinking about. 

Maybe the lesson is that we should be grateful for what we do possess and nonjudgmental of what we see in others. After all, the old saying goes "Judge not. There, but for the grace of God, go I". It does take a great depth of character to see the beauty inside other people and I for one would like to arrive at that place one day soon. 

It is just a thought!

Book by Pearl Vork-Zambory 
owner of blog Pearl, Why You Little....

Jul 21, 2014

Oregon Vacation: Traveling is not for Wimps!

I am trying to think of the last time my husband and I traveled that everything went perfect. You know, the food was wonderful, no one was ill and no drama invaded the story. When was that again? But we always have so much fun and life without adventure is not much of a life at all is it?

But this last week in Central Oregon we came as close as we ever will. The good was perfect because we prepared it ourselves. The wine was perfect because my son went to the winery and bought it after tasting. And the company just made me smile the whole time.

We don't travel in a RV anymore but there was the time when we would have had our whole life on wheel to pull along. I loved that part of our life when we were doing it but, now that it is over, I am glad that I don't do that anymore. The packing and unpacking was a bit like moving over and over. Now we come home and bring the suitcase inside. What a difference.

But, if we were wimps, we could have found a lot to complain about. The house was NOT air conditioned and the temp was very hot when we arrived. The deck furniture was sorta broken and we had to walk about 1/4 of a mile to the pool. The house was not new and it had been a while since anyone sweep a deck or walk. The outside light was on a motion detector so that came on outside our bedroom window when the deer walked by all night. The list goes on...blah, blah, blah!

But I will have to say that I had to think a minute to even remember those things. In fact, we had a lot of fun discussing what we would do to the house if we bought it! It was like pretend "Rehab Addict" on vacation.

I am always at home no matter where I am. I even travel with a plant or two sometimes. It is what I like to do. Life is good. That might be because I am not a wimp! Not even a little bit.


Note: I still push using all those wonderful mobile apps. They make the trip a breeze and can actually be a money saver in some cases. Here is a blog post I wrote a while ago with some suggestions.

Jul 19, 2014

Kicking Back an Expensive Resort....perfectly affordable!

Now I know you will say that this lifestyle is very expensive...resorts like the Black Butte Ranch here in Central Oregon come with a pretty big price tag. But...most of the houses here are really large, equipped with beautiful kitchens, deck and lots of outdoor living. The trick is to find someone to share the house with you.

We are staying in a house that will sleep 10 and this is not a big house at all. If we were to share this house it would cost us about $400 each for 3 couples. We are here for 4 nights and three days. We have not eaten out, the large resort pool is free and a bicycle rental comes in at around $20 a day for the basic model. Oh my gosh...this is absolutely wonderful.

Of course here in Central Oregon it is all about the scenery. We have wonderful views of the The Three Sisters Mountain, Faith, Hope and Charity and meadows. Then there is shopping and a wonderful gin making industry. (There are lots of juniper trees around.)

We are having a blast:

My beautiful family before....

...the circus came to town!

Jul 17, 2014

Travel: From "off the double nickle" to Central Oregon

I was sitting with my daughter-in-law last night gazing at the perfect night sky and talking about camping when we were children. We are in Central Oregon staying in a house located in the Black Butte Resort. This is about as near to camping, as we will ever be again.

Staying here is a few dozen steps above “glamping” and a little below staying in a beautiful hotel. I like it a lot.

But getting back to our stories…DIL told me about her 4H leader that took her group camping in Illinois. It was suppose to be a wonderful experience so the girls could experience the outdoors. I suppose there was a tendency for the girls to escape to places the leader could not see them so the leader told them there were bears in the woods and scared them half to death.

“I even knew where she lived and didn’t like her very much. Where was that? Oh, she lived off the double nickel south of Bloomington.”

The double nickel and bears…how does someone like me not store that away for some future story? In fact, this whole experience of talking with our family that lives very far away and getting to vacation in beautiful Oregon just begs to be written about.

I have been a life long resident of Oregon and Central Oregon is just another part of my hometown. We are near Sisters where one the largest quilt shows ever is held in the summer. The Three Sisters Mountains loom in the distance and huge yellow pines surround this house where we are staying.

Cascade Mountains, Mt. Hood in the distance. This is the beautiful
drive between Portland and Central Oregon.

If you saw the picture of the bride being married with the forest fire looming in the background that went viral on the Internet earlier this summer, you can picture where we are. Golf courses, pools, tennis courts and walking trails surround us. The house we are renting was $1300 for 4 nights but there are many others around. AIRBNB and For Rent by Owner are sources for that sort of thing here.
Dropping down on the eastside of the Cascades into Central Oregon.
The air is thick with smoke from a distant forest fire.
I will buy a new swimsuit here and spend the day swimming and walking. My granddaughters are keeping me company. The rest of the family is golfing. Tonight we will barbecue, drink a little wine and watch the night sky filled with satellites and shooting stars. Don’t try to tell me life is not good…you would be very wrong.

Have a wonderful day.


Jul 11, 2014

9 Steps to a Perfect Day with Grandma!

I know that no one is actually really interested in my grandchildren. There has to be more to the story they than "Aren't they just darling?" I suppose that it goes without saying. But planning a successful day of fun with little people can be tricky. I have been doing it for so long that I suppose I should share what I have learned. After a while it becomes easy as pie. A day like mine does not leave you exhausted and a basket case. Here are steps 1-9:
  1. Eat. At our house very visit starts with snow toast...it doesn't matter what time they come or if they have had breakfast. It is just a part of the routine and they love it.
  2. Play with toys...clean up toys (set the timer or something so they are motivated.)
  3. Talk a little.
  4. Draw and color. My grandchildren know where these supplies are kept. I give the oldest a clip board because he is the big boy. The others will get one as they grow up more. They draw and color and I stand with them a watch. I would not need to do that but it is just fun.
  5. Play outside We walk and in the summer they play in the dirt or the water. I sit and watch.
  6. Eat...again! It is time now for lunch or a snack.
  7. Read. If they are staying for naptime it is just a given that they need a book before they go done.
  8. Nap (for them and grandma too).
  9. Send them home...keep something like a piece of candy or a small treat to send them home with. Otherwise they will not want to go home...and you really don't want them to come and live at your house do you?

The dirt is the best of all. I picked up gloves and even
small trowels so they have their own stuff.
Last time they stayed for 4 hours. It was perfect. Being a grandparent is wonderful. The 2 best parts of the experience are when they arrive and then they go home. I'm just saying.


Jul 9, 2014

Murphy's Law and The Positive Side Ignorance

Murphy's Law:   Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

I have always loved the Murphy's Law part of life...for some reason the whole idea just makes me laugh. It is a given that things will go wrong at the most inopportune time. We have all had those frustrating experiences. So it is not whether they will happen, it is how we handle it when they do.

Remember the presentation that went perfectly in the dry run that failed a few minutes later because the computer knew how you were nervous and sensed your insecurity? In fact, according to Murphy's Law the likelihood that the computer will fail is directly proportionate to the importance of the presentation.

Others have followed in Murphy's footsteps with laws of their own. LBJ even has one attributed to him. One of those laws is proof that it is our attitude that counts. That one is the Law of Logical Argument. It goes like this:
  • Anything is possible IF you don't know what you are talking about.
It is speaking about the ignorance of those arguing a question. Yes, I recognize that some things that people believe are possible seem and are very nearly impossible. But on the other hand who is to say what is and isn't likely.  It was Thomas Edison that said "Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.What you don't know may be harmful but on the other hand what we don't know can lead us to discover a way to do the impossible.

I probably have a pair of glasses
just this color!
I had a carpenter working for me years ago. I wanted an interior wall opened up and a french door installed...sounds very HGTVish doesn't it. I had my heart set on it and I was hoping that nothing would go wrong. Imagine my disappointment when his immediate reaction was that it could not be done. There was water and electricity in the way. He was the carpenter so I probably could have agreed and given up the idea. But my mind just doesn't work that way. I stood in stunned silence for a minute mulling that over. Then I remember looking at him and saying nothing is impossible...some things just take a little longer. I enjoyed that door for many years to come.

So Murphy, while I agree that things can and will go wrong, I still laugh when they do. I probably blundered into the situation because I didn't know what I was doing and when I don't know what I'm doing, I generally succeed in spite of Murphy's Law. But then that is just me.

Have a wonderful day.


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