Jan 30, 2015

5 Things That Drive Me Nuts

Nuts (film)
Just because!
Pushes
I love my fun websites better than the average bear. BUT it seems that I have managed to sign up with a website (Polyvore) that sends me text messages DAY AND NIGHT. It is driving my nuts. I can not find a place to unsubscribe although I will continue looking. Did I mention that it is driving me nuts and I hate being "pushed" around. In case you don't know what a push is:
push:  In client/server applications, to send data to a client without the client requesting it.... Increasingly, companies are using the Internet to deliver information push-style. Probably the oldest and most widely used push technology is e-mail. This is a push technology because you receive mail whether you ask for it or not -- that is, the sender pushes the message to the receiver. (from Webopedia
This annoying practice is being used more and more.

Suggested Reading
Many of the women that I follow write for Huffington Post. It drives me nuts that Huff Post recommends such tacky, low to the ground stuff to me. Today, they were pointing me to why white guys marry black women and the most awkward couple in-the-world. Really?  I know that Huff doesn't pay their authors and writers are honored to have things published but when I see that kind of material, I find myself running in the other direction!

Repetitive News
About the news...I know that there has to be something interesting happening in this world but where is it. Here in Arizona they can beat a subject to death. The football issue for example...what am absolutely idiotic thing to impose on us. I wish that Arizona were the only state that does this but I know this is happening everywhere.

People Complaining about Paying Taxes
I read somewhere recently that even when people get old, they still care about what happens after they die. So why to people resent the taxes they pay for the education of our children. Don't they know that the future of the world depends on how we educate the young people? It drives me nuts.

Misc. Stuff
There are a lot of other things...my computer, dust, a wrinkled bed, people with very high voices and pain....

I don't complain very often so when I vent I usually get it over with. I'm done.

It time for my wine and an episode on Netflix...I will be fine. Really I will!

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Jan 29, 2015

How to Set Every Aging Senior Free

English: Audi A8 at Snetterton
English: Audi A8 at Snetterton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Let's just dream about the future for a minute. Because our population is aging faster than the speed of light, it would be so nice if technology and transportation would hurry up and set us free.

One of the worst nightmares that any aging person has is the loss of their driver's license wouldn't you say? Imagine being trapped in a house that works for you but is not near those things you need to survive...food, clothings, medical care or even just a drive in the country.

My daughter was talking about a totally autonomous car the other day..."I can hardly wait!" she said hopefully. She commutes a long distance everyday and could use at least part of that time to do phone calls (although that be illegal in some states). And you think she can hardly wait! What about my husband and I. Wouldn't that be the most wonderful thing in the world? We are 73 and 77 years old. Safety is a great concern for us and we hate to stay at home all the time.

On a website called Driverless Car Market Watch you can find the timeline for this wonderful invention to hit the market. The soonest we can expect to find such a car is an Audi A8 in 2017 while others are looking at 2025 or later. Reality tells me that only the rich and famous will be able to afford this but I suppose I can dream about the possibilities for my children and grandchildren.

Mobility and freedom are the two things we give up as we age. While doctors and science has given us extra years, the extended time is only as valuable as the quality of our life.

What do you think?

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Jan 28, 2015

HOW WE KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD (UPDATED)

I really don't see my city very clearly on a day spent out and about if I am alone. I am lost in my own thoughts. Visitors to the city view things that I see as perfectly normal in a different light.

Take, for example, the fact that young people dress up in costumes, get on our mass transit and go to Pioneer Courthouse Square as someone else. I see it as perfectly normal but if you are from another part the country or the world, you may see it as beyond weird.

This last week we had visitors from out of town and we took the Max Line downtown to see Saturday Market and shop at Nordstroms. Pioneer Courthouse Square was our stop on the Max Line so we waited for the next train there. An event sponsored by some big athletic company was being set up. Just at the edge of the stairs two young girls dressed as English school girls with faces painted white as though they were about to appear in a Johnny Depp movie were waiting for the action to begin.

My visiting friend turned to me and asked where the play was. When I told her there wasn't a play and that, in Portland, this was just what kids did, she found it very hard to believe. As I think about it I can see why. It is a bit unusual to say the least. When she wrote me a thank you note telling about their trip home, here is what she said:
"At one of the rest stops I saw a girl with full face makeup like a cat...I waited to see if the car had an Oregon plate but it was Washington."
I suspect those people were on their way to Portland or had just moved away.


I asked "what's up?" when the girl boarded in the orange costume at the Pioneer Max stop. She was puzzled until she realized I was asking why she was dressed like that. She said the Elmo-like costume symbolized the Don't Hug Me...I'm Scared song lyrics and that she did it for fun. Interestingly enough people all around me got out their cell phones and took pictures. They were wondering too. Lyrics from the YouTube video go like this:



Now when you look at this orange,
tell me please, what do you see?
It's just a boring old orange!
Maybe to you, but not to me. 
I see a silly face! (wow!)
Walking around and smiling at me.
I don't see what you mean.
'Cause you're not thinking creatively!

videos produced by Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling

I don't know how "normal" this is but I do know that I think I know why these young people do this. Wouldn't we all like to hide behind a mask sometimes. Considering the angst and misgiving teens live with, I suspect that they feel somehow braver and strong when they go out in disguise. The song video, Don't Hug Me..I'm Scared that the teen loved promotes creativeness but I think the title says it all.

I like that young people do this. It brings the creative vibe that this city possesses alive. It is very alluring.

Anyway, Portland rocks. Keeping this beautiful city weird makes us more tolerant of all cultures and lifestyles. In fact, it may keep the city young and vibrant. Isn't that wonderful.

Have a wonderful day.

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Jan 27, 2015

The Complete Guide to a Great Party

When I was young I thought a party was about great food and drinks. I thought the decorations needed to be perfect and everyone catered to at every turn. It turns out I was so very wrong. A great party is about people that are willing to laugh and make their own fun.

My husband and I hosted a party for over 100 people this last week. We invited anyone that was willing to make the effort to go to our parks activity office and pick up a ticket up. All we asked was that they bring a donation for a local food bank. Interestingly, enough people did not come early because they didn't think there would be that much demand and missed the chance to attend.


The Birthday Boy

Husband, friend, daughter and me


We hired a wonderful band that played 60's music and we bought sheet cakes that could be cut into very small pieces. We bought a keg of beer and cups.  I decorated the tables with minimal funds and then we waited to see what would happen.

It is amazing what can go right and what can go wrong. But in the end what went right outweighed what went wrong by a ton.
The thank you card from Connie commented
that it was a miracle we could get up in the morning!

  • Over 150 people had tickets while many were turned away because the ticket were gone yet many that had them did not turn up. That was too bad.
  • The keg of beer was sold with the wrong tap so we had the beer but we could not give it away. It was a promise that sounded good but we could not fulfill.
If there were other problems no one told me so I am happy. 

What went right?
  • Over 100 hundred people came, many with birthday cards.
  • The band was sensational and received ovations all night long.
  • The dance floor filled immediately and stayed that way for 3 hours.
  • The cake was delicious.
  • Everyone toast my husband with much love and friendship. 
  • Everyone brought their own drinks and snacks AND did not complain when we served the small pieces of cake on a napkin without a fork. Silly right? It worked like a charm.
  • My daughter was able to attend and danced the night away with her father and our friends.
  • We collected several clothes baskets full of food. The St. Pius food bank thought the gift came from heaven...their cupboards were bare.
Fellow Blogger Bob Lowry from Satisfying Retirement
All in all, what didn't go right was so minimal and kinda funny. We returned the beer and got a refund. I told the audience that we did buy the beer but they could not have any! It got a laugh! 

I did not know that so many people would come but I guess that goes to show you that beer (you cannot drink), popcorn and cake with no plate works. It is all about the people!

Have a wonderful day.

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Jan 19, 2015

Are You A Technophobe? Shame on You

Twitter
Twitter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was blown away when I read an article posted in the NYT's this weekend called Older Job Seekers Find Ways to Avoid Age Bias. The Times writer wrote about people approaching retirement that were still seeking supplemental income. We all know the trouble that age group has finding fulfilling work. It seems that those very workers cannot find employment in part because they are perceived as "technophobic". Yikes! This is what the article said that caught my interest:
A lack of technology aptitude is a common worry. “People over 60 are often perceived as technophobes,” said Nancy Collamer, a career coach and author of “Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement.” To overcome age bias, demonstrate comfort with technology and social media, Ms. Collamer said. “Include your LinkedIn URL on your résumé, or mention an interesting article you found on the employer’s Twitter feed during an interview.”
I know that there are younger people that are not keeping up with the technology available today. In this day and age you cannot even belong to a church group without having an email address so how they manage to lag behind I have no idea. The Times article is a wonderful source of information for people seeking a new job interest at an age when it all seems very hard. They pointed out that more education or training may be necessary and that volunteer work can lead to a paying job. But being or claiming to be a "technophope" is not cool and in the end may be a persons undoing.

I am just saying!
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Jan 14, 2015

Let's Celebrate Now!

Well, did you know that former pro football player
Ickey Woods will celebrate almost anything?”
Are you a lover of parties and people and celebrations? I am! I am like Icky Woods, the NFL football player they feature in the Geico ad. He is the one that loves to celebrate and will do a happy dance when his number comes up at the deli counter. I am like that.

So we are going to celebrate my husband's 80th birthday next week...don't get me wrong...my husband ISN'T actually 80. I decided that some celebrations should not be delayed, not for any reason. So we are going to just do it...now.

I have hired a wonderful band from here in Tucson and invited everyone in our park to attend. We will give them a little popcorn and a can of beer. We will dance until late at night or 9:30 p.m. whichever comes first .  We are going to do the happy dance just because we can.

So Icky Woods wherever you are, my hat is off to you. Celebrate the small stuff...life is all about joy and a celebration is the best way of demonstrating it.

What will you celebrate today?

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Note: Woods was a pioneer in touchdown celebrations when he unleashed the "Ickey Shuffle" during his rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1988. The Shuffle, which went on to be imitated by countless touchdown scorers, consists of three hops to the left, three to the right, three hops back, a spike of the ball, and a finger twirl.


Jan 13, 2015

On Being an Oregon Duck

2006 Oregon Ducks football team
2006 Oregon Ducks football team (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We watched our Oregon Ducks go down to defeat last night. I don't care who you are in our state, that is a hard pill to swallow. Our college athletic teams are living breathing symbols of the state. All those true fans of the game lived and died with their team.

We know all about our team jerseys and the Nike connection to Oregon. The fact that the TEAM does not plasters stars all over the helmets could be a way of telling the world that one man's success only contributes to the whole. The wing symbols on the helmets and shoulders of the uniforms are the eye candy that make the team look so elegant I think.  In many ways the state has Phil Knight to thank.  He is the benefactor that has brought so many wonderful changes to the University and all that it offers.

The game reminded me how proud each of us are of our local culture. Oregonians are no different. Those of us that have lived their whole life in the state take great pride in the way we live. I have even been know to brag just a little. In our hearts our children are more beautiful, our neighbors more helpful and our lifestyle more worthy. I know, it cannot all be true but unreasonable pride just swells in our breast when we talk about our state.

Our friends that live down the street from us here in our winter Arizona home are from Ohio. They are loyal Ohio State fans that follow their team unquestioningly. We had a long conversation this morning about the players from that team. They told me about the high school coaches for some of those young men and what adversity had taught them. They were very proud not only of their football skills but also of their ethics. I could see that Ohio State had earned the loyalty of the fans. I congratulated them on their team's success..

There was no need to put down the opposing team to make this fan feel better. Oregon and Ohio State brought us a wonderful evening of football finesse and, in Ohio State's case, brute strength that was impossible to overcome. On the other hand Oregon showed that, given a few less mistakes, they could have come out the winner. What a football season this has been.

There is always another year. But when you have a Heisman Trophy winner as a quarterback and he has already graduated so he won't be back, the chances that lightning will strike in Oregon again for a while is very small. We will keep our fingers crossed.

Jan 11, 2015

How Do We Live with the "Drip, Drip, Drip of Existence?"

Do you watch Elementary? Does the American version of Sherlock Holmes hold any appeal for you? I am a great fan of this show. I love that it is smart and above all quotable.

In the segment I watch this last week called The Eternity Injection, Holmes was in a big black funk. He is a recovering addict with 2 years of AA meetings under his belt and now he realizes that this is his life...forever. Day after day, week after week he will be a recovering addict....no more, no less. I loved the line he used as he talked to Watson about his feelings:
Now I think if I were to use drugs again, it would, in fact, be an anticlimax. It would be a surrender to the drip, drip, drip of existence.
It is a very depressing thought isn't it...the drip, drip, drip of existence? I think that we have all faced that feeling at one time or another. It is the mundane act of living after we have reached our goal and must now live without that tantalizingly need to conquer what stands in our way.

It has occurred to me that the very fact that we do live lives that are essential the same day after day makes it more and more important that we continue to find new challenges.

For example, the average person that leaves a job or sees a child grown or even gets that up level college degree faces a life empty of the challenge those things brought. If they don't love new challenges I can imagine that days and weeks must seem like eternities.

Can we change the way we approach life and make ourselves interested in learning or being creative or seeing every movie or even reading all the Nance Drew Mysteries? I don't know. But if we can, it would be a very good idea. Otherwise the "drip, drip, drip of existence" will take it's toll. We may not live forever but it will certainly feel that way.

Jan 9, 2015

How to Get Rid of Viewers....ask HGTV





Back in 2013...July I think it was...I began to wonder about Kitty Bartholomew. You remember, she was the delightful lady that hosted a show on HGTV for many years. She showed us how to make what we have sing...there was no demands for granite or demolishing outdated kitchens. It was all about creativity, paint and comfort. That post was called Kitty Bartholomew Where Have You Gone?  If you do a Google search for Kitty Bartholomew you may see it down the page a couple of places. I ended with the words:
Kitty Bartholomew wherever you are, thank you for making it okay to "live" in my little house with a cat that sheds and a husband that nests.
Even today I receive comments on this article because, back in the day, HGTV resonated with a whole generation of women that loved to create. The industry of scrapbooking and craft supply stores sprang up around these shows. Then, one day, they were all gone. Carol Duval vanished from the face of the earth and Kitty disappeared from our lives. Maybe it was just too much of a good thing. HGTV does tend be over zealous with a few shows.

Why is it that there can't be a trend that is not ground into the dirt? Now HGTV is running House Hunters all day. If I hear "I just love this space but we will have to replace all the kitchen cabinets before I can move in" one more time I will scream out loud.

While interior design is a wonderful calling and realtors are nice, there are only so many ways you can talk about a house and still be original. Either HGTV doesn't have deep enough pockets to provide a variety of shows or it is stuck in being simply a real estate channel.

So HGTV, here goes. Before you drive away yet another generation of viewers by getting stuck in a rut, consider this...why can't you introduce a show once in a while that might be about being creative...maybe even rerun vintage HGTV just for the fun of it. I bet viewers would love it. While I don't want anything all of the time, even Kitty, I would love to be able to go to your network and see something different.

I invite you to go back, read that original post and take a look at the comments. It is very interesting that even after all these years people still love Kitty Bartholomew!

I'm just saying.

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Jan 8, 2015

5 Amazing Books...In My Humble Opinion

Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could amaze and delight you everytime I wrote a post? I mean the kind of stuff that makes you go WOW, she is really good! All I have to offer you today are some very good books I read in 2014 with just a short description of each. Take a quick peek at them and then tell me what you have been reading.

This past summer I read Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. Cleopatra was such an elusive subject that Schiff had to depend on history written several hundred years after she had died. No painted image of her remains nor does any of her words. And yet the author managed to capture a queen that could have been alive during the time of Christ, the richest and most powerful ruler of her time even though she is hidden from view.

Now I am in the process of reading No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This is no an ordinary book in anyway shape or form. Goodwin relates the story of the Roosevelt relationship in all it folds with such detail that I feel as though I am living through that period of time myself. I went to bed last night so angry because I had just read about how an anti-Semitic official in Washington during WWII made it all but impossible for the Jewish people to escape Europe and come to the USA. Isn't it interesting that we see the answers perfectly in hindsight. The discussion of social issues prompted by a book like this can be nothing but a good thing.

But I also read a book called The Power of the Dog : A Novel by Thomas Savage. I can't remember how I found this book but it is a jewel. As I remember it was written back in 1967 before the homosexuality was widely discussed. Even though it received rave reviews it did not sell at that time. It was re-released in 2001 and Annie Proulx wrote the Forward for the later edition. I was reminded of a Pulitzer Prize winning book by Allen Drury called Advice and Consent. Released in 1959 I am sure it too caused quite an uproar.

My granddaughter insisted I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was a delightfully written sad and telling book about how teenager's continue to live and love even though they are dying with terminal illness. Teen books have emerged as a very interesting genre of books I think. I remember hating the dummy down books we were fed and went directly to the grown-up section of any book store I was ever privileged to enter. Green told this story with such good taste and sympathy.

So what have you been reading?

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Jan 7, 2015

10 Favorite Netflix or Amazon Shows

Back in 2013 I wrote a blog post that posed the question "Is Cable TV Obsolete?" Now we see that that possibility may become a reality. So I have another question. When our cable and possible network TV goes under, where will all the movies and shows we watch now come from? I am beginning to think that, like nature, TV viewers do not like a vacuum and streaming TV companies like Netflix will rush in to fix that problem. Or it could be that cable companies will morph into a leaner and more functional business using computer streaming too. If not, will we be left with nothing? Well, maybe not...what about TV from the rest of the world?

I love Amazon Prime and Netflix more that the average person. Google Play is also available but I haven't accessed that yet . Those computer streaming instant video options have opened a world to me that I had not seen before. I can watch BBC and foreign films that are wonderful. Who knew that the rest of the world might be far more talented and creative that the film industry in the United States. The quality of most of things I watch is outstanding. The very fact that the BBC series Vera sells for almost $8.00 an episode on Amazon and $4.99 on Google Play says a lot for it's popularity. Doc Martin can be had for $1.99 but PBS is showing it too.

I suppose those of us that live in the United States only have one hope and that is that the foreign TV industry will keep cranking good shows out.

My 10 favorites on NetFlix or Amazon Prime:
  1. Wallander (BBC and foreign film)
  2. Vera (if still available)
  3. Doc Martin
  4. Whitechapel
  5. Spiral (French)
  6. Endeavor
  7. Sherlock (BBC)
  8. Call the Midwife
  9. Inspector Lewis
  10. Foyles War
I also loved the movie The Untouchables, a French comedy about a paraplegic and his ex-con caregiver. Any movie that makes me laugh needs to be recommended. There is not enough laughter these day.

I need some good (smart) viewing and would love for you to share what you are watching.

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Jan 5, 2015

What Catching a Cold Can Teach Us

English: Color lithograph advertising poster. ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have a cold. It is my first sick spell in years. I actually have forgotten how to be under the weather. My moaning skills and cranky side is so out of practice that I think my husband is wondering if I am really sick! He keeps asking me if he can get me something! WOW!

There are lessons to be learned from a bout with a cold. If we don't learn something from every miserable situation we are missing an opportunity.

Here is a little list I came up with as I was coughing my head off. I realized being sick is not good when you are out of practice. Here's we go:

  1. NEVER drink out of a friends martini glass...even that much alcohol does not kill germs.
  2. Wash you hands ten times more than you do...really.
  3. Avoid hugging everyone in the room. I know, that is hard but just kinda pat them on the arm.
  4. Get a grip on what is available in the way of meds. Really, that old stuff in the medicine cabinet is out of date and may even be dangerous.
  5. Take care of your spouse when they are sick even if you don't want to. The day will come when you need some help and you need to bank some payback assistance.
  6. Get up and move (unless you are REALLY sick) You will feel better. I had forgotten that one.
  7. Take a nap and a shower. I swear that those thing were invented just for those of us that are sick. A clean bed and jammies can cure almost anything!
I am sure there are many, many more things to remember but I have a cold and I feel miserable! Please forgive me.

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Jan 3, 2015

Back When I Was Old!

Photograph by Artistic Bliss Photography
Hillsboro, Oregon
I remember telling people 17 years ago that I was old and I had been around the block a lot of time. It gave me a sense of superiority over all those youngsters trying to tell me about stuff I knew and had forgotten 40 years before. That was back when I was very old and wise. Those were the days.

But now I have come out on the other end of the tunnel of self-proclaimed aging and am now embracing just being me! You know the person that exercises to get over stiffness and even runs a little when I am walking. My new mantra is Do it now and get it over with! The truth is old is vastly over rated and the old age card has been played by people of adult status to the point that it has no meaning what-so-ever.

My plan is to never ever, ever say it again. I am just tired to death of the conversation. I am done.

I'm just saying. How about you?

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Jan 2, 2015

How To Completely Change...Nothing

I learned to watermark my photography in 2014...what now?
WORD FOR 2015: 
an·tic·i·pa·tion
anˌtisəˈpāSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. the action of anticipating something; expectation or prediction.
    "her eyes sparkled with anticipation"

I know...you are making New Years Resolutions like mad! Good for you. I applaud your determination and resolve.

Pardon me if I don't join the resolution movement for 2015! I like my life so much that I am not going to mess with anything. I'm not broken so I am not going to fix me!

Still I am very excited about the New Year because I know all the possibilities that lay before me. New books, travel, the wonders of watching my family grow and the adventure of learning. I love that while I don't plan to change and am very satisfies with everything, life just happens to me. I could only wish the same for you.

My word for 2015: Anticipation!

What will we do or see or learn or influence? I am smiling now and you should be too.

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