Jun 27, 2016

The Big Move

From Mindfulness Mama blog!
One of the greatest joys in my blogging world is "meeting" someone that has the ability to make another feel important and wonderful. I think that Jennifer Landis is one of those people.

In an email she sent me recently she said:
Hi Barbara!

I hope you are having a fabulous day! 

My name's Jen - Hi! It's nice to e-meet you. 

I wanted to let you know that a recent Googling about green bananas lead me to your lovely blog and your post - "Lessons Learned from Green Bananas."  It really made me smile! I'd never thought about life that way! Also - I prefer to eat my bananas when they are nice and spotty - but I understand that's not what you were implying in your post :)

Anywho, I was hoping to return the smile favor by letting you know how much I've been enjoying reading through your blog! You certainly appear to have retired in style. :)  My husband's grandparents have recently retired and just moved from Texas to our home in PA so they can be closer to family and their great-granddaughter - and I think they'd enjoy your blog, too, so I plan to let them know about it!

....I'd love to write something for you if you're interested....
Regardless, I plan to continue enjoying your blog. And I hope you have a lovely day. 

All the best, 

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Jennifer E. Landis
Healthy Living Blogger at Mindfulness Mama
How could I turn such a beautiful proposal down? Here are her lovely words. Thank you Jennifer.
 The Big Move

My husband is a lucky man. In addition to getting to spend the rest of his life with me, at 29 he still has all four grandparents to shower our family with love. While, of course, I had Grandparents, I only grew up with a single living Grandmother who I loved dearly, and who passed soon after my 19th birthday. It’s for this reason that I am so thrilled, beyond blessed, and completely grateful that my husband’s family is such a delight and welcomed me into the family with open arms. They are beautiful, warm, nurturing, loving people who I am so very lucky to have in my life.  What’s even more exciting to me is how our little one gets to grow up with 5 grandparents and 4 great grandparents. She is a lucky little duckling.

My Mother-in-Law’s parents have a lovely story, having met in their youth on Staten Island where Frank built his own bicycles and Gloria loved to ride them. They spent the beginning of their marriage with family on Staten Island, moved to the suburbs of New Jersey when their children were in high school, and eventually settled in a small town in Texas outside of Dallas after the birth of their youngest grandchild there. Now that their grandchildren are grown and a new generation is in the works, they decided that they wanted to be a part of it.

With only three overnight stops and two replacement phone chargers, Frank and Gloria recently made the big move from Texas to Pennsylvania, where our family is. They knew they were outgrowing their space and have been weighing their options for quite some time now. First they considered a few Continuing Care Retirement Communities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that they were familiar with, knew, and loved. They are still active in their community, and really want a life that reflects that. They admit that they will miss their friends and the easy winters in Texas, but they know that they made the right choice moving closer to the next generation of family.  

The joy that you feel as a parent watching your child interact with generations of family is an incredible one. It’s not that long ago that it wasn’t uncommon for children to never even meet their grandparents, let alone their great grandparents. I was one of those children for the most part. I was thrilled to discover that by 2030, more than 70 percent of 8-year-olds will likely have a living great-grandparent. I was less thrilled to think that in 2030 I will be 42 and my daughter will be 16. Yikes. Ultimately, though, if living a long and happy life with as much family surrounding you as possible is the dream - then that’s what Frank and Gloria are living right now. And if my husband and I turn out to be half the people that they are, I will consider it a win for us, for my daughter, and for our future grandchildren and great grandchildren.

By: Jennifer Landis – Mindfulness Mama


Jun 24, 2016

The Backdoor Way Out

Galen Pearl is one of the most insightful bloggers around. She sees things that most of us miss. I tried to complete a "Course in Miracles" with her in recent years and failed. She has done that exercise in mindful living many times.

Recently she began a new blog called No Way Cafe. In her Welcome post she explained where she is coming from. Even that post is a lesson in life.


Recently she wrote about the concept of "trying". In the blog she talked about how we do not try to do things...we either do them or we don't. I had never really thought about that concept before. In fact, I use the word try far too much. That may be what I did when I began the Course in Miracles. The truth is I quit. I did not do it and it was a conscious decision. I was giving myself a backdoor way out to fail. Why would I do that?

I don't sit down here to "try" to write a blog post. I either do it or I don't. The outcome is not certain but but the words are very real and certain.

What if we just erased that word from our vocabulary? Would our outlook on life be different?
The Grandsons!

I am tutoring a grandson this summer just so we can have fun together for a couple of days a week. I wonder how many times he will say "I can't" and I will reply "Just try!"?

So in the weeks to come I am going to replace that word with the famous Nike adword "JUST DO IT". The outcome may be good or mediocre or even bad. But in the end, it will be done. There is no "try" in this world!

What do you think?

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Jun 23, 2016

Snowbirds: Heads Up! Winter IS Just Around the Corner!

January-March in Arizona
My mother would say about this time of year every year, "Winter is just around the corner!" and we would laugh. But, if you want to be a snowbird, the truth is winter is a lot nearer than you think. The time to plan for that experience is NOW.

Here on the blog stats I am seeing that the traveling people are beginning to think about this winter or even some winter in the future. They are visiting blog posts about the snowbird lifestyle. 

How To Be a 12 Month Snowbird is being visited this morning. As more and more people are changing their lifestyle later in life, they are wondering what the possibilities are. This article explains how people have figured out a way to move from one location to another for 12 months out of the year. I met someone that actually is doing that. 

I have found that HOW TO BE A SNOWBIRD...answers and lists! is always popular. It could be that what stops most people in their tracks is not where to go but how to actually make that dream come true. This article is helpful I think.

Then there is that anxiety about what it is going to feel like to leave children and grandchildren behind for an extended period of time. How Does it FEEL to be a Snowbird? takes you inside my world. Everyone is different but I suppose that my husband and I are pretty average when it comes to the "seasonal life". 

If you click on the tags that include travel, snowbird lifestyle or anything related to that subject you will find a lot of articles about how it all works.  On the left top corner of the blog you will find a small box with a search function. Type in what you are looking for and see what comes up. Don't forget to check the link under the header SNOWBIRD LIFE. (This list is not a complete as I would like but still it can be a help.)

If you are planning on going south next winter, this is the time to make the decisions about that journey. It is not hard. You can do it on the cheap or fly high. That is up to you. In an article titled Patterns Snowbirds Follow you can learn from other snowbirds decisions.

If you have questions, be sure to make a comment and then check back. I will give you information or look for a place where that information is available.

Have a great day!

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What is your excuse? This grandmother practices Taekwondo!

I published this guest writer post back in 2013. Because Blogger begins deleting posts after so many years, I need to bring it forward. I think you might enjoy these words from Galen Pearl.

I asked followers on my blog and twitter to let me know if they would like to do a guest post. Imagine my surprise when I received a reply from a grandmother that earned her black belt in taekwando at the age of sixty. I loved this story. The idea that she was willing to undertake the art so she could bond with a daughter touched my heart. It also hit me right between the eyes...I have no excuse.  If I start something today or don't start something today, in 5 years I will still be 75. Galen Pearl did it so why can't I. I hope you enjoy this post by Galen Pearl.
The Nunchucks Nana

Nunchucks Nana, by Galan Pearl

When I tell people I have a black belt in taekwondo, they are, not surprisingly, surprised!  I just turned 60 and Im a grandmother twice over.  My hair is gray and my skin has seen better times.  And yet, there I am, out there kicking and yelling with people much less than half my age.  And loving it.

Not a grandmotherly hobby.  The joke in my family is that my grandchildren will not remember me baking cookies in the kitchen.  They will remember me heading out the door in my black belt uniform with my nunchucks.  (Nunchucks are martial arts weapons consisting of two sticks joined by a chain.)

How did this come about?  When I adopted my last child, she was already a teenager.  Its hard enough to bond with teens weve raised from infancy.  What could I do to connect with her?  She wanted to learn taekwondo.  Great, I said.  Lets do it together. 

And so we did.  Ironically, she soon lost interest and moved on to other things.  We bonded over Chinese movies instead.  But I was hooked.  I set a goal to get my black belt before I turned 60.  I worked hard for several years, and then last year I trained intensely for the black belt test in the fall.  I got my belt in November and turned 60 in January.  Whew!

Before starting taekwondo, I had spent years not being very active, other than taking the dog for long walks.  I never ran, never exercised, rarely broke a sweat.  But martial arts captured my interest and my loyalty.  I learned to kick and punch, to yell and jump.  And to sweat.  A lot. 

My school is a perfect match for me.  Everyone is welcome, which means that there are many levels of ability represented among the students.  We are expected to reach beyond our comfort zone and do our best in an atmosphere that is completely respectful and supportive, and allows for accommodations where necessary.  At my age, Im mindful of my knees and my neck especially, so I modify some exercises accordingly.  But I give it my best, and then some. 

When people find out I practice martial arts, they sometimes make a comment like, Oh, I wont mess with you.  I usually reply, Thats right.  If you stand very still and do exactly what I tell you to do, I can defend myself against you.  Its true that Im stronger and more fit than I used to be, but in truth, this isnt about self defense.  If I find myself in danger, I will still rely on running and screaming.  And yet, I do move through the world with more confidence.

Even more than that, however, for me martial arts is a spiritual practice.  It is meditation in motion.  When Im in class, Im completely focused.  My mind is not wandering.  When class is over, I might be physically exhausted, but I am mentally refreshed and centered.  The values and discipline of martial arts permeate my life, bringing alertness and courage to situations we all encounter.  Im so grateful for the ways it has enriched my life.

I practice several times a week.  Since getting my black belt, Ive branched out into other martial arts as well.  I already mentioned the nunchucks.  Im also studying tai chi.  I have no specific goals now other than to have fun.  And fun is good!

Note: Galen Pearl writes a very popular blog called 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place. She is a mother, pet lover and is living her life with intention while focusing on the positive. 



Jun 20, 2016

Playing by the rules!

Playing by the rules makes life nice for everyone!
In case you haven’t noticed, the rules begin very early in our lives. They are not necessarily the favorite part of our learning experience but they are very necessary if we are to live in a civilized society. I don’t know about you but that is where I want to live.
There are a lot of things written about where we will live in our retirement. The list begins with a new house on a beach. Then there is co-housing, retirement communities, intellectual communities, RV resorts and the list goes on forever. But the thing we need to realize is that, no matter where we choose to live, we want that place to speak to our culture and our sense of civility. What goes on inside our homes and relationships will be the same no matter where we live.
So when it comes to the rules, I am an expert of sorts. As my daughter points out frequently, I have seen a lot and therefore probably know too much. But there you have it…what is, is.
My days are filled with retirement matters and grandchildren. I am lucky in that I have two sons that married late in life and then began families. Those babies are now 4, 6, and 8. My oldest grandchild is 25. There are 12 of them all together so goodness knows I have seen a lot over my lifetime. The one lesson I have learned is that our lives need some rules or chaos would run rampant.
On top of that my husband and I have been retired for 20ish years. Being together 24/7 for 15 years has taught us a lot about retirement, marriage and the rules.
The thing that strikes me now is that those two set of rule, one for grandchildren and one for retirement, are not that much different. In a weird sort of way they run parallel to each other. They go like this:
  1. You must hug another person several times a day.
  2. Remember a “please” and “thank you” is always good.
  3. Come when you are called.
  4. When you are spoken to, please answer.
  5. Be nice.
  6. Don’t be bossy.
  7. Share.
  8. Cooperate.
  9. Look at a person when you are talking to them.
  10. The computer/TV must be turned off after a certain period of time. Go outside and play.
  11. Leave the light switches alone. The person that turned the light on wants the light on. They are not a playthings.
  12. Don’t hide other people’s stuff. That means do not rearrange the kitchen without talking it over or, in the case of children, do not hide your brother/sister's toys.
  13. Don’t touch other people’s computers. If you are a child, you will break it. If you are the husband or wife, the desktop is just fine and the person using that computer likes it that way.
  14. Tell someone where you are going if you leave the house or even the room.
  15. Don’t run in the house unless it is an emergency. Then you need to run fast. You don’t get to decide what an emergency is. If you are asked to leave fast, just do it.
  16. (For children and grandpa only) Do not break the baby.
 I always smile when I think about this list. A child knows that it is rude to leave a question unanswered but grown-up people will ignore each other for reasons only they understand.
A child should not sit in front of the TV or iPad all day. It is not good for their growth mentally or physically. They get up and move because they know the rule. The same should apply to retirees. And the list goes on and on.
Being bossy is probably the biggest problem for both children and retirees. No one wants a child to be bossy. It is still true when we are of retirement age. By the time we retire we are in charge of someone at work. That power does not carry over at home. I’m just saying!
Think about it. Maybe you have other more important rules at your house. We would love to have your input.

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I wrote this article for Surviving Your Husband's Retirement several years ago. Nothing has changed even after all these years! :)

Jun 18, 2016

We Like New Stuff....

iRobot Roomba 650 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
I had a friend ask me once why we bought our car "new". Honestly, I had never thought about it before. We never buy "new" "new" cars. They are usually last years model or even the year before. For one reason or another they have not been bought so we do. They are new to us.

But I will have to admit we do like new stuff. But I am not talking new as in this year's model, I am talking new as in only just invented. My husband just loves gadgets and his friends even buy him strange food for his birthday because they know he likes new and trendy.

We had the first Apple computer, electric knife, blender, food processor...and the list goes on and on. I even have a portable inductions burner unit because my husband thought it would be cool and we had never seen one like it!

So, you should not be surprised that we now are the proud owners of an iRobot vacuum. I can iron AND vacuum at the same time.

This little gadget may be my favorite of 55 years of the latest and greatest. I just love it but not for the reason you would imagine. I love it because is has so much personality.

The little thing has a name because I thought she needed one...Elsa has been with us for several weeks now and she seems to have a mind of her own. I talk to her when she get distracted and wanders off into a room that I had not planned on cleaning. You will find me chasing her down the hall. "Stop, stop! Where do you think you are going?"

She loves my dining room and when I set her to clean the kitchen, she will sneak around the corner and I will hear her bumping into chairs and exploring under the china hutch.

I have not told my friend about her yet. It takes a special person to understand my foibles. But, you can bet that her name will be coming up in the conversation. She just makes me laugh.

That is a very good thing!

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Jun 14, 2016

Did You Notice...?

I love change a lot. Moving is not easy yet I dream of a new room to decorate or wall to take down. That is why I watch television shows. It is a vicarious way of experiencing what I enjoy. I talk to the tv..."no no no, don't do that or that is just beautiful."

My other place of changing is here on this blog. I changed my header last week. I have had many over the years, each created using my Photoshop program. I get a little better each time I do it. I love that blogger saves them for me in Picasa. Here are some of the ones I have made.







While I was at it I added back my Flickr to the sidebar. I don't know if anyone notices but I like it a lot. 

Did you notice? 

Jun 13, 2016

Aging: On ACCEPTING an Act of Kindness

It seems that as we age, we begin to see acts of kindness as a negative thing. Capability we see in ourselves makes us unappreciative of those people that reach out a hand or voice to help us in some way.

I attended a grandchild's graduation from college at Oregon State University this last Saturday. A stadium designed to seat more than 45,000 spectators was more than half filled. 3600 of the 5000+ students that graduated on that day were in attendance. It was an awesome thing to see.

Of course there were elderly grandparents in attendance, many walking with canes or walker. Wheelchair seating was available. And then there was my husband and myself.

We both walk fast and usually know where we are going. But Reser Stadium is huge and the escalators are narrow. Everyone needed to stay on the more or we were going to be like the crowd in a Shanghai subway when someone stumbles...down and out.

We had started up the escalator when I hesitated at the first landing and my husband went on before me. I wasn't sure if he was right so I didn't rush to follow.

That was when a hand took hold of mine and a voice said "he wants you to follow" and I was guided up and on the moving steps. At the top the younger woman told me that she hoped I didn't mind her taking my hand.

What a lovely thing that was. An act of kindness in a place where there was a lot of rushing and pushing.

I am learning. Getting older is not easy because I am still very capable and strong willed. But I think that accepting an act of kindness is an act of kindness in and of itself. I hope I can remember to be grateful for people that stop to help or want to help me with decisions because they think that an elderly person cannot decide. There is no malice...only kindness given from one person to another.

What do you think?

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Jun 9, 2016

Need a Laugh?


It's Thursday, I need groceries. I think I will take a look at my Flickr account instead! :)


Shay_edited-2

Have a wonderful day!

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Jun 8, 2016

Thinking of a Snow Bird Lifestyle?

A golfing partner and a good friend
in Green Valley AZ.
I was clothes shopping this morning and ran into a woman at JJills. As I dug through the sale racks, we began to visit about this and that. As it turned out, she and her husband live in a neighborhood my husband and I lived in for 10 years. She came here from Ohio to be near to children.

Other than the fact that I am a native Oregonian, we could be lifestyle twins. She taught 2nd grade for 22 years and I taught in the elementary level off and on for over 30. We both live in the PDX area because we want to be close to our families.

After we had talked for a while she revealed that she and her husband were going to vacation in Phoenix for 2 month this winter. They found a place in Sun City. It was the first time they had considered being snowbirds.

Oh my gosh, is she in for a fun time or what! I could not contain my enthusiasm for her and the experience that is opening up for her.

Although I am somewhat of an expert on the snowbird lifestyle and know in detail about practical ins and outs, the first thing that always comes out of my mouth when I meet someone new to my world is how much they are going to enjoy the people! There is nothing quite like spending time with age mates. It is freeing like nothing else.

The inside of our park model doll house!
Then we began talking about the cost. She said she couldn't imagine doing it for six month like my husband and me. The cost just blew her mind. They are paying $3000 a month for their rental.

When I explained the cost of a park model, the rent and how it worked I could see her thinking about the possibility. If they were to rent for six months at that rate it would cost them $18,000 a year! WOW!
Visiting Grandchildren
So, are you thinking about being a snowbird?

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Here is some information from previous posts.

Snowbird Lifestyle (a collection of all the posts with that label)

Should You Be a Snowbird
Experiencing Retirement Before You Retire
14 Links Every Smart Snowbird Should Visit
How to be a Snowbird...answers and lists! (my most visited post)

Jun 7, 2016

If all else fails, read the directions!

:)
You need to know two things about me:
  1. I think I am pretty good with technology.
  2. I am a bottom line kind of person. (I have heard that is a quality of a Scorpio...who knows but the stars may be to blame.)
Today I discovered that things work out better if I just do what I do without listening to anyone else. I learned at my father's knee that one should never read the instruction unless all else fails! Skip to the bottom line and just do it he said. Strange but true.

Here is what happened:

My husband and I bought a second car yesterday and the salesman was trying to showing us all the cool stuff it would do. Finally he arrived at pairing our phones to the car. He had lessons so I figured he would know what to do. But no matter what he did, it just did not work. I was sure I could do it in a flash so I tried and failed. Then my husband tried and failed. Now I don't know what their problem was but I knew couldn't have possible been me! It had to be the car or the phone.

All else had failed so I read the directions carefully, looked up the number of the tech person at Apple and Mini and returned to the car. I reread the printed instructions (kind of, because I am good with tech stuff you know) and tried again...5 times. Evidently even reading the direction if all else fails does not work. Still no luck. Now I was sure it was not my fault.

I made a cup of coffee, played on the computer and returned to the car. I turned on the car and the phone and scrolled ALL THE WAY TO THE "BOTTOM LINE" on the screen on the dash of the car. No reading just scrolling. That was when I saw the very important last word...OK.

And you guessed it...all I really needed to do was click OK once. ( Really, I am pretty sure there was nothing in the instruction about clicking "OK".)

So Daddy, if you're up there listening, I am going to do what you taught me the next time. I am going to skip to the "bottom line". Directions be hanged!

Thank you for reading.

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Jun 5, 2016

It Takes a Village...

In my world of 55+ RV resorts and a 55+ community here in Oregon I have come to realize that it does take a village to remain secure in our old age.

In Arizona where we spend our winters, we have a gated entry and a fence that surrounds the property. We know people that need watching and are very aware of what is going on. For those people that can wander occasionally, the village provides some security. But we only have a handful that have remained when that time came. It is a vacation spot boomers mostly.

But here in Oregon, the houses are set on a round street with some along the edge and some in the middle. A small gazebo is our public "park" of sorts. We do have some very elderly people in our neighborhood right now and several have left within the last year. We are a village where those of us that are younger watch out for those that are older.

My neighbor knows about everyone and we depend on her for a detailed description of the ails and woes. I see it as a good thing because I do not want to go door to door to find out the news. She walks everyday and stops to visit with anyone that is outside. She is over 80.

But what about a community that only houses dementia patients? There has been one in Holland for many years. It has been dubbed "The Truman Story" village.
...[it] is [a] place with no locks at all, no gates or fences, in the land of smiles where demented are deposited by their European families, freely living in the moment until they take their last breath. (from a documentary called "The Unspooling Mind")
Since 2010 or maybe even before villages like this have been springing up around the world. The people that live there wander at will and remain safe. But, what if they could do that in a community of mixed age people?

In recent years, I read about a Japanese women that wandered throughout her village, entered shops and homes, sat in chairs and left when she was ready. Her daughter had tried to keep her locked in but it didn't work and upset the Alzheimer's patient beyond reason. The people in the businesses and the neighborhood were willing to let her wander and watched out for her when she was out of her daughter's sight.

Those of us in this neighborhood may come to that one day. I don't know. We do have a busy street nearby so that is a problem. And, I don't know about someone just opening my door and coming in. When I think of how that might be I don't know if I would be willing to do that. I suppose I would have to keep my house locked all of the time.

Thinking outside what is "normal" as we age is very interesting. Nursing homes are so expensive and the joke about the little old lady that decided to live on  a cruise ship instead of going to one is sounding more and more reasonable. It would cost just about half as much.

So, just think about it. What have you seen lately that is a new innovation for caring for our elderly? I am interested.

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Jun 4, 2016

Lessons Learned from Green Bananas

Green bananas are a symbol that people use for how old they are. If they are still buying the green ones, they plan on living until the end of the week. If they only buy yellow one, their future does not seem that safe.

I do still buy green bananas. But...I also know the clock is ticking. If something is not coming to fruition in the near future, I do stop and think about whether I want to do that or not.
Backyard today!
I suppose the my garden is the place that I am insistent upon getting the mature and ripe fruit. The clock is ticking and I am never going to see a seedling tree grow to maturity. I honestly want to get a full grown one. That applies to shrubs too. There cannot not be any waiting for ten years or more to enjoy what we have planted.

When we moved into our current house the backyard was lined along the back with scraggly juniper shrubs. Before my husband could get control of the situation, my son and I managed to remove a couple. Then the rest remained in place and we worked to make the rest OK. Now they are beautiful and we enjoy them...but that was 5 years ago this summer.

Front Yard the first year (2012)!
Front Yard this year!
My husband likes to wait for the seedling and the dead plant to come to life. He will salvage a tiny tree seedling even though we will not see it grow. Someone out there in the world may need it. I love his optimism and youthful spirit. 

We balance each other perfectly most of the time. Our life is good. There is a spot between green bananas and ripe ones that suits us both.

Have a wonderful day.

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Jun 2, 2016

Can You Hear Me Now?

2004 Ad  
I think it was Verizon that aired the commercial using the catchphrase "Can you hear me now?" It was very popular back in the day. 

I remember trying to call Tucson, AZ from a spot in southwest AZ called Why. I was standing outside so I could get a better signal. The traffic was bad at the corner and my reception was little to none. I needed to reserve a spot in a RV park for the night. The conversation was centered around "Can you hear me now?" as I moved from one location next to the road. We did finally find a connection and a place for the night but it was not easy. That was back in 2004.

We are back to using that phrase here in my house once again. My husband has just gotten his new hearing devices and it includes a microphone that I wear clipped to my collar. I ask him several times a day if he can hear me. And he can. He can hear what I am saying clearly even when I wish he couldn't. No more mumbling my rants out loud!

Hearing loss is one of the most frustrating and disabling things that can happen to a person. Social interaction is very hard and tasks like buying at the store or talking to the stockbroker can require help from someone else. This device even has a bluetooth connection to his iPhone because talking on the phone is a problem. Before, I was my husband's walking, talking, phone calling microphone.

I think the worst thing of all is the hit to the ego. Most of us don't want to admit that we simply cannot hear what another person is saying. After a while, asking to have everything repeated gets very old. I know I cannot hear when people are "low talkers". I have begun wearing my hearing aids all of the time.

I admire my husband for having the courage to admit his need for help. It was not easy.

So, watch out everybody because we can hear you now!

Verizon...eat your heart out.

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Jun 1, 2016

PDX Oregon At It's Best!


The Woods are Dark and Deep....
Rock Creek

McMenamin's Octagonal Barn
It's Morning at Home!
Wind Mills