Nov 29, 2014

How-to Create Christmas Gifts that Get Attention!

We created Christmas gifts with thrift store finds and some spray paint. Take a look!  These are all real attention getters! 
  1. Visit you thrift store looking for theme gifts like cocktails, young adult beer baskets, canning supplies, kitchen tools, cookie making, etc.
  2. Find containers for the gifts like baskets, trays, etc.
  3. Use spray paint to update containers. We used blackboard paint for the interior of the containers because it is so trendy right now.
  4. Wash, polish, remove price tags etc.
  5. Visit $1 Store to buy napkins, towels, snacks or any other accessory you may need.
We also bought Christmas ornaments and cookie tins at the thrift store. We filled the tins with ornaments so the young adults could take them home and use them. We filled one tin with cookie cutters for some small children. Here are some pictures so you can get an idea about what we did.


Before

First coat of paint.
Trays after blackboard paint was added.
Before
After blackboard paint was added on the inside of tray
and teal green was spray painted on the exterior. All of the
mixing tools, shaker, containers, nut dish and glasses were found at the
the thrift store. 
We bought 4 jars, lids and pectin to add to the canning basket which also included
a Foley Mill we found at the thrift store. Towels were new.

Nov 28, 2014

Christmas: 6 Rules for Buying ANOTHER #Book

English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade...
English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade, Newtown, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Note: Christmas is coming and what better gift could there ever by than a great book. Here is a place to start: 10 Best Books for 2014 (Amazon)

I don't know if you have been watching but my slideshow of books from Amazon that I display in the sidebar just keeps, growing and growing. I really want to own a paper version of everyone of those books but there are #rules you know...even when you buy a book.

Let me see if I can explain. My daughter has rules for napping on weekend. The nap can only be so long, outside of the covers, with the curtains open and so the list goes. That is the thing about buying books. If you don't have rules, you will have a house full of books and no place to sit and read them.
  1. Only buy a book if you think about it for a while and still want it.
  2. Always buy a book that is on your wish list and is then recommended by someone else.
  3. If you will go back to a book after you have read it to use a quote, it is ok to buy that book.
  4. Limit the number of unread books you have on your Kindle or in your book bag...10 or less is a good idea.
  5. If a book is a big prize winner (Pulitzer, Booker, etc.) buy it and treasure it.
  6. Don't buy books that the library can lend you if you really don't care about keeping it but still want to read.
Because books are so important to me, I don't have many rules. But the ones I have are written in stone. Do you have rules?

Nov 25, 2014

Aging: On Giving

Christmas gifts.
Christmas gifts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My husband and I have been absent from the family holidays gift giving tradition for quite a while. Oh, we have given gift certificates and money but no shopping or thinking was required. Actually, it wasn't even very much fun. I am one of those people that loves buying gifts and I have a hard time not giving the Christmas gift away long before Christmas if I buy it early. Why did I stop doing that?

But things are different this Christmas Season. It has been a lot of fun. We have come up with the idea that we might "re-gift" this year and, when we didn't do that, we searched at thrift stores for perfect gifts. Then we filled in with new things we found as we shopped at every store in the area. It wasn't easier but it was more interesting.

As we age we do seem to forget how to shop for gifts. I found myself surprised at the cost for some items and surprised again at how little others cost. In fact, it could be that my husband and I may have lost touch with what is going on in the market place. This is a new beginning for us. The joy of giving is not about money and gift cards. It is all about thinking of each person and reconnecting with what they are all about. The art of giving can be a forgotten talent if a person doesn't nurture it. I for one am going to try remember how to give.

Have a wonderful day!

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Nov 23, 2014

Aging and Memory: On Drawing a Blank

Moonrise in Tucson, AZ
Honestly, every time I talk to an age mate the same thing comes up...they can't find their keys or don't remember the name of the person that fixed the plumbing 5 years ago. When they do that, the worry is that aging may be taking their minds away and the dreaded Alzheimers disease is looming on the horizon. It is very sad I think.

Most don't talk about what they remembered when they were 50. If they did, they would know that life and their mind was not perfect then either. My contention is that we should never worry about that sort of thing. If we are living life to the fullest, continuing to learn as we age and remaining socially active, what more do we need? It seems to me that a lot of our mind problems might be a self fulling prophecy. We all draw a blank once in a while. It is perfectly normal.

I have a friend that has gone to a specialist to be tested for her IQ and goes back every several years s. I just don't see any point in it.

Last winter when I arrived in the desert I was thrown into my snowbird world I had left behind six month before and names did not want to come out of the drawers in my mind. I could actually feel my brain trying pry the containers open. We all started saying "remember that guy, you know the one that cuts hair on that road?" Of course we would remember at some point in the night, generally about 3 AM. Because of shared experiences we could fill in the blanks. It got to be just hilarious. No really, it was funny!

But as time went by, the other part of our lives that happens in Arizona warmed up our minds and the drawers opened easier and easier. The fact is that in our work lives, we did not have two lives with two totally different set of friends and circumstances. We did not have to shift gears twice a year and expect our brains to hold all those names, places, etc.

So, when you draw a blank and cannot remember your own name, cut yourself some slack. You are probably okay. Life goes on and so will you. Worry about whether your favorite ball team will win or if hamburger is going to be on sale this week...now those are things worth stewing over.

Have a wonderful day.

Nov 21, 2014

Twitter: Getting No Place with Hashtags

Free twitter badge
I am barbblogtwits...in case you are interested.
Free twitter badge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I really do want to be cool and hip and trendy and all that. Really I do. But I simply do not understand Twitter at all. In fact, when I started with the media, all the buzz was about followers. Then something changed and I just lost interest. But now I am see more information on hashtags (#). It all seemed much more interesting.

I think the trick is to find a hashtag that will help me be seen by a group of like minded bloggers. The group needs to be not too big and not too small. I want my tag to be inclusive but not too inclusive. You can see it might be a little tricky. The PAULA REED NANCARROW blog had a wonderful suggestion about using "meme" hastags. All of her hashtags and Twitter follow links save one, had the word "blog" in them. The one that was the simplest was #ArchiveDay used only on Saturdays. That worked for me. That is what I am online...a blogger. I think you should hop over to her blog to see what hashtags she suggests how she suggests you use them.

I can suggest #SundayScribblings, #3WordWednesday and #FridayFlash. You may know of other "meme" hashtags that can help you gain more traffic.

But like everything thing in this world, participating in Twitter as a tweeps with my twits means I must follow written and unwritten rules.  Thank you Paula Reed Nancarrow. You have started me thinking that there may be hope for me. I may become an authentic tweep after all. I am feeling hopeful.

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Note Mashable and WikiHow have some wonderful information too.

Nov 19, 2014

Aging: The Dentist and the Older Me

English: *Portrait of Pierre Fauchard's histor...
English: *Portrait of Pierre Fauchard's historical book Surgical dentist. The following artwork was obtained from The Library of French Medicine website available on http://www.bium.univ-paris5.fr/sfhad/vol1/art05/article.htm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I suppose I could write a book about how different my life is becoming as I age. I am a walking talking study in gerontology. I have written about the way youngers treat the older me and how I feel about my life experiences but I have never written about going to the dentist.

Like most people, my dental visits are not a favorite of mine even though dentists are very nice people and necessary to my health. Over the years I would say that my experiences have been pretty typical. Nothing really changed from the time I was 20 other than a few methods. But when I went to my new dentist this last week it was a totally different story. We talked about, gasp, my age!

The poor hygienist was saying that I didn't look my age and the dentist was saying that a woman "of my age" has to think about how long they need for their fillings to last and if we really need to have a procedure when our teeth would probably be okay until the day we die.

I just turned 73 a couple of weeks ago...seriously I had not even considered dying anytime soon. My teeth are not falling out and if they do I will get them fixed the right way. I'm just a little vain so I may be a little funny that way.

So, my question is "When do you consider quitting medications, abandoning dental care and throwing in the towel?" Anyone have an answer for me?

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Nov 18, 2014

The Funny Thing About Snowbirds (people)

The Santa Catalina Mountains just north of Tucson.
We are STILL in Oregon. Family you know. My husband and I are snowbirds so we go south when Fall season gets deep. Even though we call ourselves "snow" birds, we do NOT like the snow or even frost! I love being here in my home but my body doesn't like the Northwest temperatures as winter approaches.

 Our friends are in Tucson golfing and having cocktail hour. We look forward to joining them soon.

So now I am getting very ready to fly away for the winter. My husband and I don't think about Arizona until we are ready to go. But when we are ready, it is all we think about.

As for my body, it will wait a little while I suppose. The cold is not good but the warmth of our home, family and friends somehow makes it all okay.

Be well.

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Note: Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post for earlier stories about our snowbird lifestyle.
An evening with friends.

Our porch in the evening

Nov 17, 2014

Shopping at Goodwill for Christmas...oh my!

English: Christmas ornaments on a Christmas tr...
English: Christmas ornaments on a Christmas tree. Français : Décorations de l'arbre de Noël. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Christmas shopping at Goodwill was something totally new to me. In fact it never had occurred to me that it could be fun and that a person could gather such wonderful gift together by just scouring the shelves in that big used goods store.

It all started out about a month ago when my daughter suggested that we bake a cake for the adults on our Christmas list. Her thinking was that we would buy the baking pans at Goodwill and then wrap the cake in cellophane with a ribbon and a tag. Simple, inexpensive yet personal. We were very excited.

So we make a trip to Goodwill (the first time for me) looking for the baking dishes. I was amazed at all the stuff they had. My eyes dilated as I raced to the glass wear aisle and we were off to the races. We had a stopping cart and a mission.

Somewhere along the line we lost our focus and changed direction. The gift idea exploded in our brains and Goodwill employees were liking us more and more. Other shoppers gathered around to watch us and the Christmas Spirit filled our hearts...I think that is the way it was.

This is just a short list of the things we came home with:
  1. 2 antique aluminum trays
  2. 6 glass pie pans, one antique
  3. antique china platter and bowl
  4. cocktail shaker
  5. cocktail tools
  6. 7 sauce bowls
  7. 7 cocktail rings
  8. cookie cutters
  9. glass candy dishes
  10. glass small relish plates
  11. 2 boxes of Ridel martini glasses (labels still on)
  12. flour sifter
  13. 3 wooden trays ( painted with metalic paint)
  14. metal tray for martini set up (now painted teal green)
  15. blue Emile Henry bowl
  16. tin boxes (about 10)
  17. Christmas ornaments
  18. silver music box angel
  19. one compost container for my counter top
  20. AND an Ikea chair we scored for $30...parts still wrapped in plastic
I think there is a lesson in life here somewhere but I am not sure what it is. All I know is I am not going to Goodwill again for a while...I can't afford to save that much money! (Pictures later.)

Nov 16, 2014

Handwriting Recognition...the old fashioned way.

You know that there are computer programs out there that can turn a handwritten document into a computer document. It is just amazing that my computer can do that yet I do not even know what my grandchildren's handwriting looks like. When did computers get to be so smart? After all handwriting is a very personal and individual thing and I think I know my grandchildren pretty well. A person's writing is almost as telling as a photograph. Sadly, it is one of the ways of knowing a person that is going the way of the dodo bird.

When I was an educator I learned that there are many ways of knowing about things. There is the auditory way of knowing, tactile, smell and even a musical way of knowing. A family is much the same way. We recognize our family in many different ways.

When my children were at home I learned to recognize their voice, the fall of their feet and even their handwriting. I could pick their figure out from a group of 100 even when they were facing the other way. Knowing their moods and whims and signs of emotion were just a part of knowing the whole child.

Then they grew up, married, had children and moved on to develop a different way of standing. Eventually I could not tell if it was them or their children on the phone because voices began to sound the same. I can still recognize their handwriting and I know the look on their faces when thing are good or not so good. The ways of knowing them is shrinking as the years pass.

But the thing that surprises me now is that I do not recognize or have never seen the handwriting of my grandchildren. It is all about the text and email today. In fact, last summer I saw my daughter-in-law's handwriting for the first time. She and my son have been married for over 10 years. It hit me this weekend that seeing the handwriting of a child or a friend is like seeing their face. I like that a lot.

When I wrote earlier this year about young people not being able to read a handwritten note, it did not occur to me that they maybe had never seen my handwriting...or at least not enough of it to know it when they saw it. I know I have a letter from my high school friend when I look at the envelop but I would not know a grandchild's letter by the writing on the envelop!

Have you had the same experience? It is very odd I think!

Just a Sunday thought.

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Nov 12, 2014

Christmas Gifts: What do Facebook Women REALLY Want?

Have you ever wondered what women REALLY want for Christmas? Here is what women told me without anyone watching or listening.

I saw a post the other day about joy...you know, that kind of joy that you can feel right down to your toes. I think it was over on Alphabet Salad but I could be wrong. Anyway, the person was not having a good day and then they remembered something that made them happy beyond reason. It was like receiving or giving the perfect Christmas present!

So, that brings me to the question I asked the group of women on Facebook that provide the articles for the very popular Midlife Boulevard website. I was wondering if anyone could tell me something that they really wanted for Christmas...the perfect gift they dreamed of opening. I could see smiles on the faces of both the giver and the recipient. Because I had just finished writing a post about cool Christmas gifts for women, I was looking for some very good gift ideas to use in a future article. And that is what I received. Better yet, I discovered that perfect gifts for a woman in 2014 may come in all sizes and may not be wrappable. These are the answers I received:

 MacBook Air
I did not expect people to want world peace as their only Christmas gift nor did it occur to me that someone would be waiting for furniture they ordered in the summer to be delivered. I loved the honesty that some brought to the conversation...jewelry and whirled peas were my idea of the perfect request. Oh and I could use a new Mac Book Air and the Cartier watch...I'm just saying! The generous request of gifts to charity or even just seeing college aged children touched me. 

This was a lot of fun for me. Thank you ladies for helping out!

So, what do you want for Christmas...other than World Peace that is!


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