Oct 31, 2014

The Sound of Our Words...Are You Following Me?

This thought has just been wandering around in my mind for a while. How can we be sure that our readers hear the sound of our written words.

After my rant about the blog post I had read making fun of old people the other day, the author and I carried on a comment conversation concerning the sound of our words. The fact was, not knowing that person's writing style, I did not understand exactly what she was saying. It is one of the glitches that bloggers encounter every day. I suppose that is why we use all those smiley faces and parenthesis enclosed stage prompts to make sure that our readers understand. (Smile now.)

"Are you following me?" is one of those phrases that can be read a number of ways. For example, are you clicking the follow button in the sidebar or liking me on Facebook? (I like that a lot.) OR are you interested in my aging ideas and want to read more OR do you understand my message OR are you just a stalker that might figure out where I live and show up at my front door? Which is it? See, I cannot tell from the words you write unless you are very, very clear.

Once several years ago I responded to a Twitter message from TedInJest. He misread my tone of voice and thought I was being mean. I went back and reread what I had posted. It was a very innocent all be it silly remark but it did not come into his mind the same way it came out of mine.

English: A motel office in Key West, FL. Franç...
English: A motel office in Key West,
 FL. Français : Le bureau d'un motel à Key West,
en Floride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had the Frugal Traveler go off on me in a blog post of all things...in-the-New-York-Times online version. He had written about staying in a motel in Florida on the cheap. I looked online to see if I could find the motel and was not impressed. I responded to a Tweet of his asking how clean the motel was. Boy did I make him mad. He wrote a post saying that I was blogging amateur and implied that I had no right to question him at all. I am a nobody and he is very important. It was not a good thing. If he had seen my face or heard the tone of my voice, he would have known that I am a road trip traveler and like to stay in MOM and POP motels. He should have also known that I was a fan of his. All I needed was a little reassuring.

So, be careful to put a disclaimer on your posts somewhere. Don't take for granted that people can hear the tone of your voice in your words.

Has this ever happened to you?


Oct 29, 2014

Excuse me...did I really say that?

I have been posting my opinions and thoughts on this blog for what seems like a very long time. Discussions, trends and rants have come and gone. There have been elections and best sellers and, of course, a lot of stupidity (some of it others and some of it mine). I often go back and read what I have said about one thing or another to only wonder "Did I really say that?"

Here are a few examples:

Paper news...you know, news that is printed on a piece of paper. I thought in my stupidity that no one would care about the paper newspaper after they had experienced the delights of reading their news online. Boy was I wrong about that one. The things to miss are many and the way it has played out surprises me.

I miss the newspaper a lot even though I did not read the front page (it always made me mad). I loved the style section, the comics and best of all sitting beside my husband sharing a crossword puzzle. I also loved that fact that I could line the garbage can with it or do a small painting project using the newspaper as a drop cloth.

We have a friend that put a large screen TV over the hutch in the dining room because he missed the morning newspaper so much. The dining room will never be the same and I really don't think the TV has solved the empty feeling the man has while he is drinking his morning coffee.

You should have seen the comments I received on an article I wrote referring to Apartment Therapy's suggestion that we get rid of all the paper in our houses. It was hilarious. It all started like this:
Re-nest over at Apartment Therapy posted an article called 10 Ways to Kick the Paper Habit. The suggestions were for those of you that are drowning in a sea of files gone wild and articles about a trip you planned on taking 20 years ago. (The rest of the story here.)
The truth is I want our paper newspaper back.

Elections rants...Honestly, I believed that our political leaders were open minded enough to at least talk to each other. I voted just like everyone else but I did not fear that a party would hold me hostage for almost 8 years just in order to prove that they were right. I talked about being nice and believing in the system. I think I was wrong, wrong, wrong. That one is hard.
But those reasonableeducated and experienced men and women in the political arena usually meet each other and debate with civility. I think there was a time when they could even sit down and compromise. I often wondered how they did that. Could it be that they had gone past tolerance to acceptance? Maybe they can discuss, disagree and know that the other person will give a little but will not change their mind. (from How Tolerant Are You, 2012)
New authors...I have often talked about there being too many books and too little time. I limited myself to prize winners and challenging books. I wrote about it A LOT! What a mistake that turned out to be. 

Several years ago an author approached me about reading his book. It was called Scafell and was written by a Brit named Matthew Pink. Pink had written the book, edited it on his own and then published it on Amazon in a ebook format. I bought the book and read it. While dusting off my speed reading skills, I also found a wonderful story with some breathtaking words. I thought book needed some polishing but it gave me the experience of reading a talented writer before they became famous. There were no prizes but the book was a wonderful read. That was lesson one.

Then I joined a group of women online and on Facebook that were mid-life professionals and boomers. Among those women were some accomplished published writers. Kathleen O'Donnell The Last Day for Rob Rhino) and Clair Cook (Best Staged Plans, Seven Year Itch + several more) came to my attention and I learned to love a good "beach read" again. I laughed and cried with their characters. I pictured the stories made into movies. My reading life came back to me and I had to admit I was wrong. Not every book has to be a big scholarly book. Sometimes I am allowed to read just for fun.

Motherhood/mother-in-laws/children...I am just a big bag of wind sometimes. Okay, I said it. If I was EVER right, which I doubt very much, I am grateful.  I do like this one though. 10 Ways To Be a Good Mother-in-law (2010) talked about the hard truths. It's too bad that all that wisdom came much too late for me. I still like that blog post.

Looking young...One thing I did say recently that I think is probably right...there is no cream or exercise that can halt the passing of time. I know I am getting old and there it is.

But I have been know to talk about neck exercises and plastic surgery and even laser treatments...none of which I actually did. I probably should have kept my big mouth shut but being a Cliff Claven is hard. I have no idea if I was right or wrong about that stuff...probably not. Here is a quote from Aging: Does the Back of Your Head Match Your Face?
Many of the boomer blogs have sections devoted to "anti-aging formulas" and foods to make them look younger. If it were possible, and we could actually turning back the clock, our faces would always match our hair. 
Retirement...Now this is a subject I can talk about with authority because I have lived the life for many, many years. I know that you need to be happy with what you have, smart about money and keep your mind working even when your body can't. I WAS NOT WRONG about any of that. However, if I ever said that it was all going to be fun and games or that living this stage of a life is easy, I was very, very wrong. I love my life but retirement is not for everyone. 

When I first started this part of my life journey, I could not understand why people didn't like being retired. I scoffed at them (in private). I was wrong, wrong, wrong! Now I know that many people are just not cut out for finding their own way. They need the purpose that work or big volunteering jobs brings to their life.

When was I right? Well, I still think that exercise is better than a sleeping pill, a short fast walk is better than no walk at all, a social life is very important to mental health and that a person should be nice even when they don't feel like it. I still love big hefty books with lots of pages and deep reading required. I will always believe that everyone could benefit from reading books like Cleopatra: A Lifethat requires a sharp mind and a dictionary. Hobbies are important. My garden is my refuge and one of my favorite hobbies. And the list goes on.

Stick with me. The fun has only begun...my birthday is next week and I will be 73 years old. If is don't turn up one day, don't worry...I am only out shopping. :)


Oct 27, 2014

"Old People"...thoughts on Penn and Teller "Bullshit" TV Show

en: Penn & Teller, during the 40th Emmy Awards...
en: Penn & Teller, during the 40th Emmy Awards pt: A dupla de ilusionistas e comediantes Penn & Teller, durante o 40 a edição do Emmy Awards, em Agosto de 1988. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you are one of the millions of people that have faithfully watched Penn and Teller's show on Showtime called "Bullshit", you probably didn't miss the episode they ran called "Old People" (Season 8, Episode 8). I just watched it this morning and laughed my "old person" head off. The very fact that they even thought to disprove all those myths about my people just tickled me to death. Even though I am 73 (almost) I wondered if it were possible to prove younger people wrong about us. We can be a little annoying I know.

On sex for example, Penn and Teller managed to find a group of people from Florida that were actually willing to talk about sex. That surprised me a lot...I am not talking and you cannot make me! But good for those Floridians that were willing to disprove the idea the old people aren't up to or don't like a little hanky panky with their husbands/wives or whoever. I applaud them for making the rest of us look alive.

Then there was was the part about "smelling musty"...you remember I wrote about that subject here last week. When an actual scientific test was done on a mixed group of old and young people with young people smelling the armpits of the test group, it turned out that people are people. Some are musty and some are not...age has nothing to do with it.

But best of all I loved Penn and Teller's take on "old people driving". They pointed out that statistics show that old people are a lot safer drivers with fewer accident and fatalities on the road. They said that "not killing people with their cars was a good thing and that worked for them". You have to love it!

So there...I am not a bad person...Penn and Teller said so! Maybe a little annoying but just get over it!


Oct 25, 2014

The Unique Birthday Gift...beauty and a social conscience all in one!

It is almost my birthday. I don't know about you but I-love-my-birthday. Age has nothing to do with it at all. It is all about the gifts and attention. I like gifts and attention lot. If I play my cards right, I can make my birthday last until Christmas.

My family knows all about my fondness for great food and a beautiful kitchen full of people so they try to make my dreams come true. They also know how strongly I feel about social issues and making my money go to work when I shop.

Oven to Table Entertainment Platter
Click here for more Christmas Gift ideas.
So when my beautiful Oven to Table Entertainment Platter came from UncommonGoods the other day, I was delighted. This is something my family would have chosen for me. It is the perfect combination of all those things I love…kitchen tools, entertaining and and buying from a company with a with a social conscience. Plus, it is the ideal gift for a women like me (click here for more ideas). It just does not get any better.

The platter is soapstone so it can be either chilled in the refrigerator or heated in the oven. I can then place it on the handmade wooden rack and use it to serve appetizers or dinner items. It will keep the food either hot or cold, depending on my needs. On top of that, it is absolutely beautiful. I am leaving it out on display in my kitchen.

As for the social conscience piece of the gift puzzle, I think UncommonGoods is one of the online shopping sources that will make my Christmas or birthday gift money keep on giving even after the big day has passed. They describe themselves like this:
...UncommonGoods is a privately-owned retailer that endeavors to feature unique designs and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people... the lowest-paid seasonal worker starts at 50% above the minimum wage. 
Fully one third of their items are recycled or upcycled products and they sell made in the USA items whenever possible.

For me, buying from this group is a no-brainer.

Have a wonderful day.


Oct 20, 2014

The Rugrats Cartoon, Responsible TV Viewing and Bitchy Barbara

I remember watching TV with my granddaughter back when The Rugrats were very popular. You remember...that was the TV show with the darling babies that lived in a playpen, a self-centered girl named Angelica that messed with their life and a dozing oblivious grandpa that was in charge a lot of time. I thought at the time that Angelica was seen by my granddaughter as a bad little girl that made life miserable for everyone around her. But as I watched my granddaughter more, I came to realize that Angelica was becoming a heroine of sorts. Angelica always got her own way and never took any sas from anyone. We quit watching The Rugrats and my granddaughter moved on.

Flash forward 13 years to 2014. Now it is me that needs to be careful what I watch on TV. One of my friends was describing a show she liked that had a very strong woman lead...a little edgy and very in your face kind of show. I had to stop and think about whether that was a good idea for me...probably not. The spill over from watching certain shows will inspire me to be more opinionated that I already am. I am not even a good TV news viewer. My inner feminist will emerge immediately.

See being an angry feminist is not a good thing and when I watch a show that stars a woman that is being challenged because she is female or hear about a women's issue on the news, I get very ticked at the world. Where is the justice in that? The feeling will take a while to go away and in the mean time, the people in my world have to put up with a Bitchy Barbara.

So I try to be a responsible TV viewer. The world does not need another Angelica of any age. Especially mine.

Just a thought.


Oct 18, 2014

Humor: How Many Things Are You an Expert In? I am up to 9!

Not very long ago I wrote about the 10,000 hours it took for the Beatles to become the rock stars that they were. My friend Bob Lowry over at Satisfying Retirement put a comment on the blog post telling how many years he and his wife had been married and how many hours they had spent together. He was wondering why he wasn't a better husband if it only took 10,000 hours to perfect a skill.  When I read his words I could only think that it must be a lot harder to be a husband that it was to be a Beatle.

Anyway that got me to thinking about being an expert. I know how long it takes because I have done the math. The chances of me being an expert on anything that I am not proficient at now are slim to none.

If it really does take 10,000 hours of doing something to become an expert what does that mean. I know the Beatles played for eight hours a day at a gig in Hamburg and they did it long enough to become THE BEATLES. The only thing I can think that I might be an expert at is cleaning and raising children. I suppose that is enough.

But surely there is more. At my age I must have a lot to show for just being alive for 73 years. So I began a list:
Be nice boys!
  1. Giving advice...I have made sure to practice that skill to be the point of being banned from cocktail parties and family gatherings.
  2. Making spaghetti with meat sauce. My family doesn't say "oh goody, spaghetti!" they say "spaghetti again?" They started saying that very early in our marriage. We eat spaghetti a lot...maybe a few kabillion times in my 54 year marriage.
  3. Blowing problems off...my favorite response to a big problem is "You will be JUST fine!" I may have said that 10,000 time during my lifetime.
  4. Procrastinating...I never go to the dryer when it buzzes. I wait until the clothes are really wrinkled in, say, a day or two before I fold them. I also put off ironing, grocery shopping, clearing out the refrigerator and getting my junk and gum wrappers out of the car. There is more but you get what I mean.
  5. Not putting gas in the car. I can run on fumes longer than anyone I know. I am almost 73 and started driving when I was 16. You add up how many tanks of gas I have NOT filled. It is a lot.
  6. Saying "Be nice." I never talk things over with the small children in a reasonable voice like their parents do...my go to admonition is simply "Be nice." I even say it on this blog occasionally. Want to guess how many times I have said that? I only continue because it seems to work...heaven only knows why. 
  7. Sitting...a lifetime of practice has made me the world leading expert on sitting. I sit at the computer, on the couch, at parties, on curbs and park benches. If it can be sat on I have sat on it... Next to standing I like sitting the best of anything, right after...
  8. ...sleeping. I don't sleep like I did when I was younger but I wish I could. I suppose that we are only allowed 10,000 hours of sleep in a lifetime and I have already used mine all up. But ask me about sleeping and I can give you a lot of information.
  9. Reading...thousands of hours of reading is a good thing. However, in my case the house could burn down, my husband divorce me and the dog pee on my leg. I would not notice. Fortunately, none of those things have happened in my many hours with my nose in a book.
What are you an expert at?


Links to Humor on this blog.

Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 Hours to Succeed and an Aging Writer

Oct 16, 2014

Ageism or Agism: On Smelling Musty

  1. Ageism (also spelled "agism") is stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. This may be casual or systematic. The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors, and patterned on sexism and racism.
Have I said this before, "Just shoot me now and get it over with!"? Honestly, it is getting so I am almost afraid to go out in public looking and smelling like myself. See, the thing is I am getting old. That "getting old" is just plain annoying to most people that are not old yet. It is a problem.

Image from genfringe.com
Take the blog post I read yesterday about old people going to the grocery store. Wednesday With the Old Folks was written tongue in cheek and I think the author was just being funny. But it hit way too close to home.

I have heard almost every complaint about the grocery store already ...old people are slow walking down the aisles. Old people want to buy things at the deli counter and the young people want to take them out for doing just that. Old people go shopping on the wrong day, a young person's private day evidently. Then there is the complaint about old people writing checks (something I have actually thought about starting to do again because of credit card problems). It seems NO ONE does that anymore. Old women go out in public with flat hair in the back...I know isn't that horrible? And the list goes on.

But Wednesday With the Old Folks pointed out a problem with old people in the grocery store I had never heard of before...it turns out they smell musty! You heard me right. When there are a certain number of old people in a store, say on senior discount day, the store smells funny...musty it seems. I suppose the smell might be like the smell of old books...I don't know for sure. (See link for Why do Old Books Smell below) Now I think I have heard and seen it all but I am sure that being old and in the way will bring up something new before I post this article.

So, I repeat, just shoot me now!  Or.....

...if you want to solve the problem ask the old person in front of you to excuse you when they are in the aisle. They will move over. Try smiling as you go by them. If you are in a hurry to buy something at the deli counter go find another person to wait on you. If the old person in front of you is having trouble writing a check, offer to help. If there is a little musty smell, get over it. Sometimes being old is very hard.

Honestly, be nice people! It will help another human out and it will make you feel better.

Ageism is not nice, it hurts not only the person that practices it but also their parents and grandparents. There, I said it!


Oct 15, 2014

Retirement: Wednesday...that in-between day!

I have a friend that loves Tuesday gifts...they are given for no articular reason. It is not a birthday or a holiday. It is just Tuesday. She loves that day.

I love quiet Wednesday a lot. Is that in-between time that Dee Martin wrote about in a poem called It's My Birthday and I'll Write if I Want To. She talked about dawn and dusk...not day and or night but the time between the cracks of time that pass unnoticed and very quickly.

For me quiet Wednesday...a whole day of peace uninterrupted...is like that. It isn't close to the weekend on either side. Quiet Wednesday is very muted and restful for me. I can just be. I know it will pass quickly so I need to take time to look and feel. I like that a lot. A good book or even a very long movie is waiting. Soup, coffee at a coffee shop or maybe a little drive so I can take a picture might be my choice.

Yes, Wednesday is a favorite day for me...especially since that is today and I am here to share it with you.


My Memory Art

Oct 12, 2014

Travel: 7 Suggestions for Deciding How Much Luggage You Need

My husband keeps reading me these travel articles about how to pack for a vacation and not bring everything with us including the kitchen sink. His idea of smart packing involves enough underwear to last the vacation, the exact number of changes of clothes and no checked luggage. My idea of packing involves my big orange suitcase, enough combination of clothing for a change twice a day and a pillow. I don't like to arrive and wish I had brought that white blouse!  I check my luggage.

Suites Casa Mia, San Miguel de Allende, Mx.
We were on the third floor. They carried our luggage
up the stairs!
We just do not see eye to eye on everything and travel packing is one of them. I am all about being comfortable, looking as good as possible and taking my pillow. My husband is all about bragging rights! He is a model packer according to the experts. I am just a bad traveler it seems.

But there is some method to my madness...really there is! I know how we function when we travel...well I function. I buy stuff to bring back. I spill a lot. I need good walking shoes and dress shoes.

So here are a few questions I think you should ask yourself so you can decide how much luggage you really need:

  1. Think about your style of travel: Do you eat out, ride in taxis, dress for dinner or spend your time at the pool not sight seeing?
  2. What are the items that you need to be truly comfortable? Vacations are not fun if your are uncomfortable.
  3. What are the things that you need that are not clothing items? For example, do you travel with books, a computer, ipad or even a drawing pad. Be realistic about how much space those they take up.
  4. Do you NEED several pairs of shoes to fill several needs, i.e. walking shoes, slippers, dress shoes?
  5. How much space will you need for bathroom and grooming items? Be realistic about what size shampoo or lotion you take and what is in the hotel/condo.
  6. Will you need extra space when you return home because you may buy a rug or a piece of art?
  7. Will there be a lift in your hotel or condo? If not, will there be someone to help you.
I like to sleep good and be clean. I don't want blisters on my feet but at the same time I do not want to wear sensible, clunky shoes when I dress for dinner. 

In my case two lighter pieces of luggage are better than one piece that weighs the allowed 40+ pounds. So if the luggage is filled to the explosion level when we leave and I cannot even manage to tip my bag upright, that is not good. If I am packing my precious stuff (computer, jewelry) in a flimsy shopping bag, that is not good. I have found what size of luggage I need and that is what I take.

I think that a smart traveler is willing to endure the trouble to stand at the luggage carousel after a flight, pull a sturdy carry-on to the taxi and arrive with what they need for their vacation. But, again, that is just me.

I don't think smart packing is about packing less that you need...not at all.


Oct 10, 2014

Shopping: On Letting My Inner Teenager Dress Me

Dressing myself is just SOOOOO hard. When I look in the mirror I know who I am and that some clothes will make me look lumpy but it doesn't matter. Inside my head I still looking for that perfect outfit. The trouble is most designers do not see the need to provide clothes for the boomer set...not yet. So what needs to be done is find a look, deconstruct it and put it back together only this time the right way...my way.

This pair of Tom's will work better for me.

Take these high top shoes...not that I think they would be comfortable on my ankle or anything. A teen might be able to wear them. But still, I have been looking for a pair of shoes in blue and those shoes on the right would be perfect. I think the Tom's shoes might be a better choice. I just cannot see this grandma running around in hightop tennis shoes...I would look like a bag lady!

From ModaCapital on Instagram
I love this color combination and the jacket is perfect but...I could not wear the shoes in that height. I would need lower heels and of course, a longer skirt...much longer. But other than that this outfit is perfect for me. It just needs a little change here and there. I might be able to make it work...here is what I think:

LeggingsQueen High Waist Stretch Basic Pencil Skirt
But there is hope...I found this longer red skirt on Amazon for a sweet $19.99-$23.00.  I like it a lot!
niceeshop(TM) Women's Double Lapel Zipper Short PU Leather Jackets Coat
Then the black jacket (how beautiful is that?) is a PU leather (whatever that is) that can be purchased on Amazon too. It comes in at about $21.00. There was also a Calvin Klein 
that was about $119. I liked it too.
I found these shoes on witchery here but they have sold out..they are the perfect wedge for me but still have the same look as the higher wedge version. I will keep looking. I love those shoes.

Grey T-shirts are a dime a dozen. Here is a very inexpensive one that I found online.

So there you have it...maybe my inner teenager knows what she is talking about after all!


Oct 9, 2014

Stages of Aging: The Adolescent Oldster

Bob Lowry over at Satisfying Retirement wrote a post the other day about the approaching decay of an aging body. It is a subject most of us that are growing older don't want to face but is always on our minds. Like our teenage grandchildren we are worried about how our bodies and the rest of our life will turn out. In many ways we are experiencing our adolescence for a second time.

Women will invest a fortune is creams, procedures and the gym so what is true can be denied. I honestly do not know what is in a man's mind...my husband just keeps going like the Energizer Bunny that he is. I have never hear him talk about wrinkles ever. Isn't that wonderful? However, he is not willing to give up that younger self that could lift the couch and dig a trench. For him, it is very important. I have a hard time keeping that little boy in a grandpa's body out of trees in the spring. He still likes to trim the highest branch while perched on a limb when I am not looking.
Vintage Barbara

So it may be a fact that, like our teenage self or even our kindergarten self, we value our physical appearance and performance more than anything else. In the adolescent stage of our old age, we women will do almost anything to put off the day when we see what our body knows is a fact. Time will take it's toll no matter what. Like a budding teen, we study our bodies and faces looking for some sign that it is all going to turn out alright.

I have talked about exercise a lot over the years. When I was a small child all I really wanted to do was run fast and jump high. I still have that child inside me somewhere. Touting exercise and activities seemed to me to be the best way to keep the clock running at a slower pace. I have promoted walking fast, even if it was just to the corner. Movement seems so important. Well it really is...I have found in just the last couple of month that I can regain mobility I thought might be gone forever. But the fact is I will never run fast or jump high again.

In the end, it is not a bottle of cream or even a new pair of tennis shoes that will save me. It will be what goes on in that 6 inches between my ears. You can see a person's attitude in their eyes and in their smile. That is where our younger self is hiding. I will not quit walking fast or even putting on moisture cream and make-up but I do it more and more just to remain acceptably fit and groomed so I don't scare my grandchildren or the clerk at the store. I still get joy from what is beautiful in my life. The onset of old age is becoming a welcome friend these day. I like that a lot.

It's just a thought.


I urge you to read The Art of Transcendence in Psychology Today written by Mindy Greenstein. It is wonderful.

Oct 5, 2014

Dear Delta Airlines: Why Do You Board First Class First?

We have decided we like flying Delta. They are early to their destinations, the planes are beautiful and it all works for me.

But I have a question. Why do you board First Class passengers first. Where is the advantage for the passenger in that? Even if you are in row 10-18 where is the advantage to boarding before those further back? Who wants to sit on an airplane any longer than they actually have to? Why don't they give 1st class and boarding area 2 the option of staying in the bar or restaurant for 20 minutes longer? Why?

It seems to me that they should load group 4 first, let them fritter around and get organized forever. Who cares. We don't have to walk by them and they are out of the way. Then 3, then 2, and then last but not least, First Class.

Does that make sense to you?  I'm just saying!


Oct 2, 2014

Help: You'll Never Know If You Don't Ask

What have you got to lose? Really, if you ask and the answer is yes you have what you need. If you ask and the answer is no, so be it! I seem to be having this conversation a lot lately. It is amazing to me that those that need the most are the ones that never ask. I, on the other hand, just ask and smile. For example:

Who could resist this pair?
  • A family member was flying from one place to the other. The flight took 4 hours. The husband and wife were traveling with an older son that has some special needs. Flying makes him very anxious and talkative. When they got their seating assignment they were seated separately. Because they had raised the son to be very self sufficient, they had never asked for any special treatment. But surprise of all surprises...when they explained their situation to the boarding agent they received a seat that not only worked for them but also for all of those people around them. All they had to do was ask!
  • We are having some remodeling done. Twice in this process simply asking for what we needed worked because we made good sense. In the first case, I asked a plumber to please not play the bidding game and just do the right thing. He did and he had a job. In the second case I asked for a review of a charge for installation of a stove. The price was reduced by $90. All I had to do was ask!
  • We flew to Mexico a couple of weeks ago. We are seniors but very strong and capable so my husband asked to be seated in Row 18, the emergency exit row so we could have more leg room. We were given those seats going and coming. All we had to do was ask! (On a side note the agents in Mexico discussed our age in Spanish...I understand more Spanish than most people give me credit for. My husband laughed when I said "They are talking about how old we are." He pumped up his muscles...we got the seats!)
So what do you need but are afraid to ask for? Are you afraid to play the AARP or handicapped card. Ask because the worst that can happen is you will get a no. I don't know about you but I can handle that.


Here is what Delta will do for you if you have special travel needs. Link

Oct 1, 2014

Do Your Grown Children Answer their Phone?

We are all a little frustrated. Really, it is no one's fault...not a human anyway. We can blame it on the cell phone. That handy little device has managed to do away with communication all together.

Did we ever talk to each other?
We text a person and we can see if our message has been delivered within seconds. It doesn't matter if that person is in a meeting or is just not in the mood to answer right that instant. The very fact that they could get right back to us but usually don't leaves us feeling neglected and frustrated. As the senders of those text messages, we have no respect for working hours or even dinner hour so the chances that we will get a response shrink even more. The cell phone has made it so easy to communicate it is almost annoying.

I don't think young adults answer their phones ever. They know that if they don't pick up and that person really needs to talk, they will leave a message. Text messages are ignored. Children will write on Facebook "Mom, I have been trying to call you." or complain over a nice dinner that no one answered their phone and they needed a ride home from school. You will hear people say "I don't answer my phone/read my text messages/ listen to my voicemail." It seems to me that we may as well just give up trying to use those wonderful devices at all...as a phone that is.

Do I have a solution? Well here is what I think may have to happen:
  1. If you an older person, put 911 on speed dial because there will not be anyone showing up to help soon.
  2. Get your grandchildren and friend's children's numbers. If you really want to talk to an one of your children, call a teen in the family. They usually will answer. That even puzzles me because teens are really not the most cooperative people in the world. I'll take it though...who am I to question what goes on in their minds. 
  3. You might get the grandparent's number too. They are usually pretty good about replying. They probably won't know anything either but at least you can talk to a real human. My granddaughter calls me because she knows I still answer my phone...when I can find it.
  4. Buy lots of stamps, envelopes, cards and stationary then just send a note through the mail. It may be your last hope of ever communicating with anyone again. They will receive it in a week to ten days which is probably a lot sooner than anyone will look at the messages on their phones. Who knows, they may even call or write a response...but I am not holding my breath.
  5. Last but not least, don't call, text or anything more often than necessary. We may be ignored because we have worn out our [phone call] welcome. It is a thought.

I'm so sorry I don't have anymore suggestions. If you can help add to the list, let me know...soon.


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