Aug 28, 2014

Aging: The Mailbox is Just Not any Fun Anymore!

We used to get things like offers for free vacations and catalogues from exotic companies in the mail box. Now we get some really strange stuff aimed at people that are old and bills of course. Seriously, the mail is just not what it used to be.

Did you know that you can actually buy a fake mailbag online...I mean isn't that illegal or something? Isn't there a law that only mailmen can carry the trusty bag? If there isn't, there should be...I'm just saying.

Speaking of mail, we did get some today. My Fitbit wristbands came and they are just as beautiful as I thought they would be.

Now if my Fitbit would just give me my 15,000 steps I earned today walking 18 holes of golf, I would be all set. My husband got them and they are equal to 7 miles or something. I want mine but NO...I only got 8000 even though I am much shorter than he is and I hit the ball a lot more times. I love the bands but the Fitbit is really making me mad!

Then there was the offer from the National Cremation Services...I they know something that I am not aware of?  Seriously, this was not good news. My husband thought it was contest and we might win a free one...cremation that is. I just reread the flyer and I don't think it is a contest. I think it is a warning of some future storm. I am going to do what Scarlet O'hara would have done and think about that tomorrow.

So there you have it from the virtual mail bag (I did not buy one...really) of b+.  Just in case you do want a mail bag,  here is a beauty featured on Amazon.....

Have a wonderful day.


Aug 26, 2014

4 Best for a Retiree's Summer

Best Summer Fun:
Celebrations: Son-in-law's Retirement with friends.

Gatherings: Nutty Family

Seeing children at work:
Son Getting Head Shots for New Job

Travel: Husband Photo Bomb

Grandchildren: A Walk with My Babies

More Grandchildren: Peaches and Peaches!

Best Funny Video: My Husband's Ice Bucket Challenge before the Craze Hit the News!

Best Book: My favorite book this summer.

Amazon Best Books for August (Click this Link to see them all.)

Aug 24, 2014

Blogging (and other stuff): On Messing with Perfection

You know the old saying "if it's ain't broke, don't fix it"? That is the way I feel about this blog of mine. The little old thing just keeps perking alone and, in spite of what I do...not because of what I do, it continues to draw people.

For example, today my readership was down markedly but my earnings were up. My last post about bean salad was not a winner exactly and the one before that about expats dogs did even worse. spite of my poor showing today, did I tell you that my earning were up. Strange but true!

When I look at what people were reading I found post on How to be a Snow Bird, How to Add "Reply" Function to the Comment Section, and a post with a List of Kindle Books. All of those post are quite old. The post on Happy Hour and Why Do We Reread Books I wrote last week also made the cut. I suppose an experienced blogger would say that those older posts were "evergreen" meaning that even after a period of time, people still want to find that information.

Although things go very well around here, sometimes things are not so perfect. A fellow blogger wanted to write about this blog but could not get the link to work. I have had this happen before. It seems that, with this blog at least, you have to add the www in the address. It will not work without it. I was disappointed that I had missed that opportunity but I suppose she might come back.

Arizona in the header maybe?
As for perfection, I still feel that urge to change the blog header as fall approaches. Before we leave for the desert in October, I will find a new beautiful picture to add. I love to design them and I always have to relearn how to do it so that is fun too. But I am not changing it until them.
We are going to Mexico in September and I need to get myself in good physical shape...which I am not. So I have begun wearing my Fitbit Flex again, I have it synced with my computer but the 15,000 steps I walked today show up for last Thurs. Darn. I walked 18 holes of golf, my husband's Fitbit shows 15,000+ and my read out shows just over 6,000. If my husband walked 15,000 steps I surely took 20,000...I have to take 2 steps for his one. I want my statistical reward and I want it now! I may need to meditate to get my "perfect" back!

So life is almost perfect. The blog is doing good and in spite of the small glitches, I am not messing with any of or the blog that is.

Have a great week!


Aug 23, 2014

Food: Best Green Bean Salad Ever courtesy of Jamie Deen

Okay, my husband is done with green beans for a while. I have tried giving them away to the neighbors but they are not biting. They were picked and in my huge Tupperware bread bowl...what to do now. 

The darn beans were going to be used or I am going to die trying. 

And to think I was begging the plants to give me some vegetable just a short while ago. Darn! make a long story short...we had our neighborhood party today and I figures I would feed them to people I don't see all that often. They have to eat a little bit of everything at a potluck whether they like it or not. 
I chose the Jamie Deen Green Bean Salad Recipe from Food Network. It was just perfect and I had every ingredient in my fridge or in my garden! The wine vinegar was homemade from our own stash. No special shopping.


Kosher salt
1 pound slender green beans, ends trimmed
1 cup feta cheese crumbles
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 large clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper

Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the green beans and cook until tender crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spider to remove to a bowl of ice water. Drain well, pat dry and place the beans in a large bowl. Combine with the feta cheese, tomatoes and red onions.

Toast the almonds in a small skillet, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, garlic and some salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the green beans and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving. 
Recipe courtesy Jamie Deen 
SHOW: Home for Dinner with Jamie Deen 
EPISODE: Dinner for Two
Read more at: Food Network
I served the salad on a bed of greens garnished with Nasturtium blossoms and olives. It was very beautiful to look at. But better yet, it was delicious.

I will be making that dish again soon...when we have company. Did I mention that my husband is done eating green beans for a while?

I did not use all the blanched beans so I put them in a freezer bag and froze them to be used in soup later. I am getting to be such a pioneer woman...again!

Oh by the way, Jamie Deen has done his mother Paula Deen one better and his show is all about healthy deep frying for him!


Aug 22, 2014

Links: How Expats Move with Their Cat or Dog

A cat and dog, the two most popular animals ke...
A cat and dog, the two most popular animals kept as pets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My son and his family just moved from Shanghai, China to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and not only did the children and wife come did two dogs! Only a few years ago I would have thought it was impossible to move the dog from the house to the back yard. It had never occurred to me that animals could follow a family half way around the world.

In the case of my son and his wife, the moving of pets just did not seem to be a problem. When they left the Middle East 8 years ago, they brought a cat named Lester and a dog named Jake with them. The dog was a given I suppose but the cat was...well just a cat. (I'm sorry RV, my cat, and all the other cats in the world. That is just mean I suppose.)

But, you see, Lester was an Arabian cat that had gone through a terrorist attack on their compound in Saudi Arabia. He got himself locked out of the compound for several months and turned up one afternoon sunburned, bald and generally unrecognizable. The thinking was that any cat that was that brave needed to be taken care of for the rest of his life. He was not "just a cat". Not at all.

While there are many websites that offer information, I thought that Mary Richardson over at Matador Network had the best information I had seen. She said:
Moving abroad can take a lot of preparation and planning ahead, especially if you hope to bring your pet with you.
She decided to leave her cat behind when she moved to Japan...a choice she regretted. In the list below her's is the 7 Tips for Moving Overseas with Pets.

So, want to take the cat/dog with you when you leave the states or even fly across country? It requires some jumping through hoops and not a little expense is involved. There are vets, consulates, and airlines to be dealt with. Start a long time ahead to get all the information you need. Here are a few websites that will help you:

We plan on flying with our cat when we do not take our car to Arizona anymore. He is a stinker so I suppose I will need to do a little reading and make a visit to the vet for tranquilizers for him and my doctor for tranquilizers for me.

Have a wonderful day.


Aug 20, 2014

Happy Hour: Enough Already...I want french fries!

The Happy Hour Couple!
Supper time was approaching and I had a pork loin with trimming ready to be prepared. I had tomatoes, greens, cucumbers and apples ready to go. Our garden is a bounty right now and I am working on using every bit of it and have been for 6 weeks or so. It was just as I put on my apron that my husband expressed the desire to go out for "Happy Hour". I was excited. I like going out even if it is just to Home Depot. I am a very cheap date.

But I am not a beginner in this business of marriage. I know that the phrase, "Happy Hour", has two very different meanings. It depends on if you are a female or a male. Here is the way it went:
I was thinking wine and a green salad. 
My husband was thinking beer, sliders and fries. 
I slipped on a slinky long skirt, put on some makeup and jewelry...I was going out on a date.  
My husband got up out of the chair and walked to the his t-shirt and shorts...he was going out to get some real food. Enough with the vegetable already!
He took me to a beautiful restaurant with outdoor seating (good on him). I was impresses. He had managed in some magical way to make us both very happy. I love Happy Hour! Oh, and I love my husband too.


Note: Stanfords here in Portland now serves the Happy Hour menu on the outside patio. The selection very large, the happy hour wine is great and they do have very good sliders. (I'm just saying!)

Aug 18, 2014

Books: Why Do We Reread Books

My grandchildren just amaze me. I learn something from them every time we talk. For example, I learned just a couple of weeks ago why children will reread a book that they love over and over. After all there are so many wonderful things to read it seems a waste to reread anything doen't it?Maddie explained it to me first.

"When the book is done I miss the characters." she said. "I don't want the book to be over." 

Is it as though they have become friends and are a part of her life. Of course she misses them. Why didn't I know that? I have done that over and over. There is a book called The Last Convertible I have reread several times. The character, era and setting appeal to my idea of what a romantic life would be like. Even though the book made me sad, I still keep going back.

Maddie expressed the same feeling. She told about a book she was reading but had stopped. "It makes me sad," she said. "The little girl just woke up one morning and her mom and dad were gone. Can you imagine?" 

Well, yes I can. I listened as her mother talked her through it and I suspect that the book will be finished. I hope so. There are important lessons in life, courage and moving on in books like that and Maddie is just beginning the journey.

My teen granddaughter and I talked about the subject last week. Elena is 17 and she does the same thing as Maddie. She found a book called The Fault in Our Stars and loved it so much she just keeps rereading it. Why? She told me that she just wanted to crawl into the pages she loved the book so much. She did take Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children) home
so hopeful she will move on to something else.
I have thought that I would like to reread Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West. Not because it is educational or I need to remember the facts. I just want that journey and those people to become real to me again. I would add The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand to a list if I would making one. And this is just a few of my favorite books.

So the question is...What books would you reread if you could?


Aug 14, 2014

Off My Chest: On Jealousy and Keeping Score

I would like to say that getting older gives one the grace to avoid keeping score in life. You would think that our minds would explode with all that tallying and counting and feeling neglected or hurt or smug. But never really goes away for many people. I try very hard to avoid going down that path.

On taking paths, I need to have you look at a blog post I read this morning written by a mother that is sending her child off to college. Beginning a new life usually requires some help from someone you love and this mother had some of the best advice I have ever seen...we could all use it no matter our age. A new beginning needs a new attitude and some gumptious courage. In The 12 Things Fangette Needs for College inspired me to rethink the qualities I need to embrace in my life that is continually changing.

During my retirement life I have moved several times and entered into new communities of people both here in Portland and in Tucson, AZ. The life in our Arizona RV resort has been compared to a college campus like place because even though we all have other lives, we come together each year in a new beginning of sorts.

In her article Jacqueline Tierney DeMuro talked about fearlessness, courage, selfishness (in a good way), humor, common sense and a moral compass. The dialogue she included after each headers is beautiful. The one I like the most was "Put on you big girl pants!" She said, "Put them on every day and go out into the world and behave like an adult." That is where the keeping score come into play.

See, even grown up retired wise older people can to hold onto a piece of their child like behavior. They go out into the world every day and expect the world to treat them as though they are very special. While they are grumbling and complaining to their children or on the golf course, they forget that what they say or how they behave sends ripples out into the water of life. But that is not all. They are unhappy with what is happening to them AND they are jealous if someone else is not unhappy. What they do not only alters the course they are taking but it also affects everyone around them. Behaving like an adult is very hard even as we get older.

Her advice regarding selfishness seems to follow. "keep in mind that your time and your energies will be important.... Keep your guard up for people who will look to squander those things." We all know that the people that don't own a pair of big girl pants (let alone 2 pairs like DeMuro recommends) will suck the life out of those that are willing to pour effort into their deep hole of need. I had this happen in my new life in Arizona. There was not enough time or even money to fill the pit I found in that person's life.

Don't take my word for it. Read this article, send it to a college bound student or even someone just retired starting a new life. It is amazing how similar those two stages in life are.

Thank you Jacqueline Tierney DeMuro for a great blog post.

Be well and have a great day.


Aug 13, 2014

Dining Out: Let's NOT Talk About Money! Let's Have Some Dessert!

I think it is very interesting how we older people are willing to talk about money in front of our friends. We will actually say things out loud that we thought we were only thinking. Bless our wee cotton socks...did we just say that?

For example, we will take one look at the bill after dinner and grumble about how much the coffee or dessert costs. When we take a look at the menu, the first thing that comes out of our mouth is "this is a lot more expensive that the place up the street"...out the waiter and other patrons can hear. Forget about the lovely possibilities for food...just tell me how much that cup of soup is please!

English: A dessert with pudding, fruits and ch...
Expensive dessert or a money pit? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sometimes I beg people to leave the subject alone but all I get is "oh Barbara!" and to think that I even say "please". Then I find myself doing the same thing.

See, I was taught that money was a very poor topic of conversation. We didn't talk about it even though it was on our mind. My poor father bit his tongue and paid the bill. He was very good about that...and so is my husband. I, on the other hand, may spill the beans and mention how much things cost. It is not good.

This is how we should handle case you are interested. We could pick a restaurant based on the food and how many $$$$ the rating tell us it might be. Then, we could order what we can afford. We should revel in the experience and make the most of the occasion. Once we pick the restaurant and are seated, no mention should ever be made of the price tag.

I cannot tell you how many times we have celebrated with our family (college graduation, rehearsal dinner, vacation, anniversaries etc.) and went home to think about what piece of furniture we could have purchased with the money we just spend on a meal! But would we have changed anything...I don't know. I am the one to complain. Still, once in a while, not every time, but just occasionally it feels good to just enjoy without using a coupon. I need to get over it.

I am just saying. So does money come up in the conversation on a date or a special occasion in your family? How do you handle it?

Have a wonderful day.


Aug 12, 2014

Travel: Victoria...getting there is easy!

Victoria, BC is one of those beautiful little cities located on the water that seems to call you back again and again. I am not sure if there are any first time visitors left on the west coast because there certainly weren't any on the ferry that took us from Seattle through the Puget Sound to the southern tip of Vancouver Island. 

In order for us to get there we chose to ride Amtrak from Portland to Seattle. It was one of the easiest trips we have taken in quite a while. No car or driving to worry about. There were lots of taxis to take us from the King Street Amtrak Station to the ferry terminal and the ferry ride was very reasonable.  Here are a few of the pictures I took on this trip. I hope you like them.
Victoria brags about it's 30+ floating
houses located on their Fisherman's Wharf. 
The tiny water taxis take visitors from the
down town across the bay to the wharf. 
We are never far from our first love...Mexican food.
In Victoria a floating house
is home to the family that operates the restaurant dock side.
Sammy the seal is treated to so many fish that he
refuses to surface every time a
 visitor buys a fish to feed him.
The food is excellent and shopping is great...but there is so much more. Butchart Gardens, a bus that becomes a boat, a beautiful museum, butterfly gardens and the wonderful crown jewel, the Fairmont
Fairmont Empress Hotel gardens.
Empress Hotel.

We stayed in the Chateau Victoria Hotel and Suites and thought it was wonderful. It is located a couple of blocks from the water and in the heart of downtown. The hotel has a beautiful top floor restaurant with a fabulous view. We ate at 10 Acres Bistro.

I'll be going back soon. Victoria is just too close not to enjoy as much a possible.


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