Saturday, December 29, 2012

Airstream goes Hipster + small space interiors

If you have ever been inside an Airstream trailer, you know they are built to last forever. The vintage models were finished in the finest paneling and furniture.  However, they were also small and in the words of a former owner I know "very chopped up".  I have always wondered what that space would be like if all the walls were removed. Now I know.

I am drawn to small spaces and I suppose I could live in my bedroom if the amenities were there. Give me a very small kitchen, a desk, a bath, a bed and I am happy.  All that is remaining of this vintage Airstream is the shell. All of those amenities are gone. The interior has been gutted, lined with shiny walls and retro fitted with a desk, a flat screen TV and a lounge. I don't think I could live in this. But boy could I work. I love this things.

Huffington Post shared these images via their Huff Post Home page. Trendy, mobile and logical...a foodcart-style real estate office may be in your neighborhood today. It's all yours San Francisco!
Source: via Barbara on Pinterest

If you live in a small space and want some ideas, just do a search using "small space interiors" in the google search.  It is almost like being a peeping-tom but not illegal. I like that part. Here are a couple I found on a website called 1KindDesign.  They featured 40 images that I think you would love..

Have a wonderful weekend.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Linking to Our Teens...when the grandparents are Cool!


Really, I had no idea why my 15 year old granddaughter kept on taking off with my stuff or admiring my clothes. I just thought she was really nice. It turns out she is an emerging Hipster. In fact, if she is any indication, young people today might be over the wow of having EVERYTHING new and digital. They are following the latest trend and that trend is everything old is new again!

Nats Park Rally CapNats Park Rally Cap (Photo credit: Kevin H.)
My husband and I are watching the second generation of young people in our family grow up. The oldest is 22 and the youngest is 6 months. They are a generation apart and the world the oldest grew up in has changed. When the oldest was a preschooler, the new computer was what everyone wanted. Everyone was trying to get that small child involved in a world the adults really didn't understand. Now all those things are old hat. Almost every child in the family has an ipad or smart pad, cell phone...of their very own! They are explaining it all to us!

So what do they yearn for? The 9 year old wants an old fashioned typewriter and a Polaroid camera. The boys are looking for the "vintage" baseball hats from know, the ones with the bills turned up. The granddaughter I have talked about before covets my sweaters and would take them all if I just gave them to her. She really wants my Toms shoes because I wear them and therefore they must be "vintage" too.

If you are a grandparent, you are now very cool. We all hoped it would happen one day and that day is now!

Just a thought.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

About My Age...don't label me please!

Looking UP by b+
I was reading an article the other day about what people should call themselves as they grow older. Are we in the Third Stage or Boomers or OAD (older than dirt)? According to a lot of people it seems we need an age group name or we are not valid as a part of the human race. Teens are called teens and we know what to expect when they come to visit. So when people my age come to visit, you need a label so you will know what to expect. It must be important...or not!

It occurred to me that I don't really fit into any mold. You should not assume anything about me. Honestly, I am what I am. In fact, probably for the first time in my life, that statement is absolutely true. I am no longer the dominant mother or wife or teacher. What I am is just....well me! It is a very good thing.

So I have decided that I am going to use a different way to define myself. To begin with these are the facts:
  1. I love to travel. The world is my home and I find myself visualizing myself staying forever in the the place where I sleep at night.
  2.  My closet if full of art supplies and my greatest joy is creating. 
  3. The friends I enjoy are of all ages. 
  4. The need for learning is burned deep into my soul and while I may read a lot of fluff, I am never happier than when I am digging for something that I don't understand. 
  5. I am the most comfortable inside the cover of a book and can remember the names and authors of books I read since I began reading. Those names clutter my mind but also give me a sense of place somehow.
  6. A day without a goal or a job of some type is not a very good day. I love to work physically very hard. Those days are my happiest. 
  7. A job well done gives me great pleasure. Writing is a job of sorts for me...or at least I look at it that way. 
  8. I am a woman that loves beautiful things, clothes shopping and a day getting my nails and hair done. 
  9. I have a room in our house called the garden room and we dine formally in that room.  It is my favorite place.
  10. Music fills my day...all kinds of music. I never get enough.
  11. I love TV...a lot. There is something about a story that is fascinating for me.
  12. Pinterest gives me a lot of pleasure because it just satisfies my need to see other peoples aesthetic.
  13. I am in love with my husband.
  14. My family is very important to me.
So can you put me in a box when you read this.  Pretend you did not read the title of this blog. Am I old or young, rich or not. See, when I look at myself this way, it does not matter. What is important is what I am NOW not the title of my age group or even the number of decades I have lived. Just take me for what I am and forget all the other stuff.

Here's to new beginnings!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

When Christmas Dust Settles Just Stop and Dust the Furniture

Christmas Dinner by Candle Light!
I wonder if I even looked around me for a month. I know you have done the same thing. Shopping, cooking, family gatherings and all that decorating kept us busy. But then, as suddenly as it began, it is all over. Christmas has come and gone. We wake up the day after, walk across the floor in our bare feet and realize how long it has been since we vacuumed, dusted, mopped and washed a load of clothes.

That is the way I woke up this morning. Yuck!  My first question for my daughter who had been a part of the crowd around our table last night was Did you notice how dirty my house was? I was glad when she said No! But I can honestly say it was not important. I have had more fun than I can even describe. Boy am I happy!

As we sat down for dinner last night we said grace for our meal. I gave the standard gratitude, bless the good, amen kind of prayer. But in the middle of the night I heard the perfect prayer in my mind:
Dear God,
We don't ask for much. All we really want is for everyone to work hard and be the best they can be. If we were to ask for anything extra it would be that we could find the strength to eat less and exercise more.
We are grateful for the good that we receive and know that you will give us the courage to deal with the bad. Each day is a gift and we realize our good fortune.
We will try to help you in way that we possibly can. 
Be with us each and every day.
So I cleaned my house a lot, programed my new FitBit fitness tracker, took a nap and washed everything we owned.

And so it goes...hope the world is treating you right.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I'm almost done with (writing about) retirement! What's next?

No, I am not going to quit writing but I am almost through talking about retirement! I have been retired for 15 years now and I just don't want to talk about it. I quit talking about the weather three weeks after we retired and have never been very willing to discuss my aches and pains ever. I am thinking I will add retirement to my list of things that I don't talk about anymore.

During the past 5 years of blogging I have discussed everything from the typical day in a retirees life to how to live on your income even if it is small. In fact I think the count of posts I have written number over 800 now. I have had almost 180,000 hits on the blog. Now I want to talk more about small houses and stylish living and books and travel and family and people and shopping and learning. But my "retirement related life" cannot interest you because it does not interest me. Not anymore. So there you have it.

The only change you will see is a + added after the blog title:  Retire In Style Blog+. The changes will be in the subject matter and no almost no very little only a passing mention of retirement and then probably only by guest bloggers.

Time to Celebrate
To celebrate my new found purpose in life I went with the adults in my family to a small distillery and tasted 7 different kinds of rum and a potato vodka in teeny tiny cups! There is nothing like 7 rums and a potato vodka in communion cups to give yourself a big send off on a new least that is what I think.

Note:  Eastside Distillers here in Portland have a tiny little store front/distillery just on the east side of the Willamette River. The creator of the wonderful spirits is the lady you see in the picture. When every one was asking her about the particulars of her work all I wanted to know was where she got those boots. You have to admit she has a style all her own. My children told me the boots are Doc Martins and the Doc Martin store is located on Burnside. Maybe I need to find myself a pair to celebrate a new day on the Retire In Style Blog+. What do you think?

Incidentally, we were invited into the back room where we saw her distilling equipment. Her still is about the size of my Dyson vacuum cleaner...why don't we have one of those?  It was all copper with brass trim and very pretty. I didn't bring my camera and boy did I regret that.

Be well. We are still celebrating the holidays around here. Don't expect anything very serious!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nothing Says Christmas Like....

Nothing says Christmas like....
A Gingerbread House made with Grandpa
Stockings Hung by the Chimney
Dolls for Little Girls
The Christmas Tree Farm

500 Plastic Snowmen and Friends
and the electric bill! (Not my goodness no!)
Merry Christmas from my house to yours.  We send our love!

b+ and family!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hummingbirds On Welfare

What have we done? Really, it was not our intention to create needy birds that would not fly south. All we wanted to do was watch them and enjoy our back yard bird sanctuary.

The hummingbirds are beautiful here in Oregon and actually they may stay here year around and we just don't know about it. It doesn't matter either way. The truth is our hummingbirds have gone on welfare. The truth is it is a lot easier to put them on the dole than it is to get them off.

Now Christmas is here and we are beginning to think about going south ourselves. But the hummingbirds still come to the feeder every day. They sit on the feeder and guzzle sugar water as though there were no tomorrow.

So I am worried. I talked to the neighbor about the possibility that she might keep her feeder out all winter. I suppose it may work. Maybe a bird on welfare doesn't really care where the food is coming from as long as there is a donor. I don't know!

Just a thought!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Enjoy Your much help will you need?

English: Suburban serenity. Years of creative ...
English: Suburban serenity.
Years of creative commitment to the gardens
of Garforth result in peaceful havens
where so many pensioners enjoy
their retirement. (Photo credit: 

The holiday season is that time of year when children spend more time with their parents. This is the perfect time for the family to have some conversations regarding the future and how the responsibility involved with caring for each other will evolve. Here is an guest post submitted by a nursing home facility that could be an icebreaker for that delicate subject. I hope it is helpful.

Enjoy Your Retirement
After working long and hard throughout your life, it is great to be able to look forward to enjoying a long and relaxing retirement. Whether you'd like to spend your time surrounded by friends and family, take up a hobby - such as gardening or painting - or just take it easy and see what each day brings, retirement will give you the extra time you need to pursue these things.

Some people, however, might worry that they can't enjoy their retirement to the fullest because they require care. Nowadays there are several good options for you if you’re in need of nursing and other assistance. Getting nursing in your own home is one way to go about it. A qualified nurse can come to your house to look after you and help you out in whatever ways are necessary. That way you can still enjoy your retirement years within your own home while still getting the help you need. You can choose to have as much or as little time with your nurse or nurses as you need, this might be one or two visits a day, or around the clock care.

If you don't feel like having a nurse come to look after you in your place of residence is the right choice for you, you could always think about moving to a nursing home or a retirement home. This way, any nursing costs will be included in the amount you pay to stay in the retirement home, and there will be professionals on staff all throughout the day and night to give you the attention you need. Another bonus about moving to a nursing home is that people in a similar situation to you will surround you so you will make lots of new friends. Most retirement facilities will also organise activities, and even days out, for their residents so there will be lots going on. The nurses in these places will be highly trained and sympathetic to your needs, so that is one less thing to think about.

So, however you want to spend your retirement, you can have lots of fun, regardless of whether or not you also need nursing care. If you decide to go into a nursing home, think about your options. There are plenty of excellent retirement homes in Tyne & Wear ( as well as in other locations around the country, so pick the right one to suit you.

Teen girls and their Grandmothers love Target Sweater

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain
(Photo credit: 

This the gift that will really surprise you. If you are wearing a cardigan from Target, your granddaughter will steal it right off your back!  I know because it happens to me all the time. Those sweaters are all over the place in the store...short sleeved, long sleeved, short length, long length, big, little and in some very cool graphic designs. I have a closet full of them. And you can 

Target Store Brand Clothing for both Grandmother and Teens (and maybe Mom too)

Target Pull-over

How do you spend the money you've saved for Christmas?

Merry Christmas from our house to yours.
by b+
I am assuming that you save a little back for Christmas gifts. If you are like us, you don't go into debt this time of year. Saving for Christmas gifts seems to me to  be a very good idea. We used to have special little Christmas savings accounts at the bank that we could deposit our money in so it would be there when the holiday season arrived...$5 or $10 a month. Each member of the family received a small gift that was selected with a lot of love.

So the question is "If you only have $10 to spend on each person, how do you spend it?"

My husband and I tried to be a little more conscious of how the amount we had set aside was being spent this year. We focused on the gift...period. I used every bit that we had accumulated on the gifts.

What else is there? Well, how much do you spend on wrapping paper, ribbon, cards, Christmas Ornaments, etc. Think about that and then add it to the money for presents and you will be surprised how much more you have.

So I made my own gift card holders this year. I vowed to make the wrapping paper we have been accumulating for years look good even if it was old. I dug through the box of labels and copied them on the printer. Not one penny did we spend on the frills. We have 12 grandchildren and six adults that we buy for. I send cards to friends. I regift books I love to people that I know will love them too. We will see how it goes. It is all a learning experience.

Our tree is beautiful as are all our children's trees. We will gather together three times in the next week. Somehow I think this is going to be memorable and beautiful Christmas for us all.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

You can always depend on Mr. Roger!

Many of my closest friends are retired teachers. They shared my love of children and are probably a lot like me in their beliefs. We look children directly in the eye and smile. Our lives were all about knowing that a small child has a very big life inside them.

My friend Meredith posted this quote on her facebook account. I don't think she would mind it if I share it with you:
From the album: Timeline Photos
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news. my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world." - Mr. Rogers.

I think we are all looking to the "helper" to find a way to take care of those that are afraid and in need of comfort. Take care that you are a helper. I will do the same.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Book "worth having children for"? The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip

I saw a review for a book today. It said, [this book is] worth having children for! Now that is a review that gets my attention. The name of the book was The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip.  Amazon had a beautiful review that was fun to read all by itself.  They said:
 The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip.  
Three families live in the seaside village of Frip — the Romos, the Ronsens, and a little girl named Capable and her widowed father. The townspeople of Frip make their living raising goats, but they must fight off a daily invasion of gappers, bright orange, many-eyed creatures that cover goats and stop them from giving milk. When the gappers target Capable's goats, the Romos and the Ronsens turn their backs on the gapper-ridden Capable. What will Capable do about her gapper plague?
But the review I liked the best of all was the one published by McSweeney's Internet Tender (for sale here at $10.00. His review of the book quoted more of the Amazon review:
 An imaginative tale accented with haunting illustrations, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip is an adult story for children, a children’s story for adults, an oceanside fable for the irremediably landlocked, a fish story for loaves, and a fable about the true meaning of community.
Then they added:
I sincerely hope someday some child in my care gets addicted to this book and insists on hearing it every night for years, because I will never get bored of reading it.... Worth having a child for.
George Saunders writes for The New Yorker, was once a technical writer and worked with an oil exploration crew in Sumatra. I can only imagine what that background brings to his work. More recently he has worked at Syracuse University and is the winner of several fellowship grants. I encourage you read one or two the 122 Saunders articles in The New Yorker.

The book was illustrated by Lane Smith. If you recall Smith also illustrated the James and the Giant Peach and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. You really should go to her website Curious Pages, Inappropriate Books for Kids. I loved that one!

Do you ever buy a book written for children just for yourself? Well you are on the right track when you look at anything written by George Saunders or Lane Smith. They would be perfect.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Internet Tendency: This is what Perfect Blog Posts looks like.

Poor man was having a bad day!
note: A special thanks goes out to Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency...really funny stuff!
I read about a guy today that had just bought a new iPad and wondered why he was not happy, content and filled with the Christmas Spirit. Actually he kinda hated his life! Poor man.

His name was Sam Weiner and the article title was Something is wrong with my iPad. I still hate my life. Now I wish I had thought of that title yesterday when I was writing the daily blog post. I have a long way to go before I actually know what I am doing. When I read Weiner's article, I knew that in the writing business there are some people that simply shine.

I stumbled on the website at StumbleUpon. Someone had recommended The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better.

So, if you want to see what REAL writers have to say go Internet Tendency. Bookmark the link and start learning!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

How to set up your Zooka (wireless speakers)...the puzzle is solved!

Note: Make this little device work for you...see this information!
Zooka Wireless Speaker for iPad and Bluetooth Devices (Black)
(or pink if you prefer)
I wrote yesterday about my friend Jo. She doesn't own a computer and uses the good old fashioned mail to communicate with her friends. I love that she does what she does.

I, on the other hand, will never be going back to the old fashioned way of doing things. My dad taught me very early on that life and creativity is very exiting. We talked about the newest inventions and could hardly wait to see what it would be like when we could actually hold it in our hands. TV, transistor radios, satellites in space and rocket ships to the moon filled our heads.
I only regret that he did not see the computer age. Oh how he would have loved that.

Now I am trying not the the "gadget of the week" kind of person but it is really hard. I love to try things out. I decided I wanted a wireless speaker for my iPad and Zooka was calling my name. It is just the kind of minor toy that happens to make me very happy.

The little egg shaped bar is produced by Carbon Audio. I found it online and ordered it from Amazon.  The advertisement talked about how easy and wonderful it was. According to them, you might be able to just open the package and have tunes right away.

I love a puzzle better than the average bear. But when I opened the  little box there was only the speaker, a cord and a little card with a few pictures.  No words, no verbal instruction in any language. No information on a link to look for more information. They had taken the "quick start" method to extremes.

HMMMMMM! Common sense told me that all I needed to do was plug it in and wait. I know that my iPhone said that I needed to charge it before I could use it. But the card didn't say that and did not have a picture of my Zooka plugged in. There was a picture of the sound bar with a little rod that would support the Zooka but the rod was not in the box. I was a little miffed. I thought they had forgotten my stand. What was up with that? And what was that little piece of metal sticking out of the end? Darn.

I slept on it...well didn't sleep exactly...but I thought about it all night. I wanted to figure this out on my own because I had learned at my father's knee was that it was more fun to put something together without the directions. We did laugh a lot but in this particular case, I was not laughing though. Now was the time to get smart.

I turned on my computer and found PC Magazine had posted an article about the device. They said it is a "Treasure Hunt" to set it up. This is what was is NOT on the card:
  1. Hold the power button in for about a second.
  2. Hold the Bluetooth button in for three seconds to activate it. Zooka will emit a tone at the end of that time to confirm Bluetooth activation.
  3. The passcode needed to pair Zooka with a Bluetooth device. It's 0000. (I do not need with with my apple devices.)
  4. The information missing from the card can be found in an excellent quick start guide for the device prepared by Carbon Audio. All you have to do is go online and get it, not a route taken by many enthusiastic purchasers until forced to resort to it. (I wasn't the only one!)
  5. Oh, and that little metal piece sticking out the end is the rod that serves as the stand. I gave it a little tug and there it was. All I needed to do was screw it in the back of the sound bar.
I do check my iPad, iPhone or computer to make sure it is paired with Zooka when I want to use it. If you are like us you will have three or four bluetooth devices in the same room. I don't know if it is necessary but I turn bluetooth off on the ones I am not using. 

Oh by the way, Zooka was funded using KickStarter. The developer lives right here in Portland, Oregon. That is a good story all by itself. Take a look at their KickStarter website.

Rating: I love this Zooka thing. It does just what I want it to do. It is not surround sound but I do not want that. I wanted portable, small, easy to use and black. I got all of those and more...the box contained an invisible story!

Have a wonderful day.


Note: Be sure to notice the Amazon Store at the top left hand corner under the header. That is my new store. If you don't find what you want there, go to the Amazon search on the left sidebar:).
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

paper, stamps, and the address book...doing Christmas Jo's Way! @blogher # NaBloPoMo

Jo: front row 3rd from the left. 5th-6th grade
Huntington Oregon, 1951
The dog belonged to Jo too.
I thought that the latest and greatest was the best way of doing things.  My friends know that I love technology and the gadgets. It has been that way for the better part of my life. Then Jo came back into my life this last summer.
Jo 2nd from the right

See, the thing is, Jo does not have a computer. She lives on a farm, raises berries to sell at the local market and just now did get her very first cell phone. Life at her house is about cutting out of the newspaper, pasting in a scrap book, scrubbing her floors on her hands and knees and being kind and loving. That is what my best friend since we were in grade school is like. I love her as much now as I did then.

When my class was reunited this summer after a very long time...53 years for some of us...Jo and I talked on the phone. She sounded the same as always. I wanted her email address so I could send some pictures. No! I don't have one, she told me.  I was just stunned. I don't believe I know anyone else that does not use the computer!

That was when I rediscovered the joy of writing on real paper, finding a stamp (in with my collection of business cards) and walking to the mailbox with a real letter. It was the first in I don't know how many years. When her letter came in answer to mine, I recognized her handwriting before I even opened the envelope. Time had not changed it at all.

Now it is Christmas and I decided to do my cards Jo's way. I gathered addresses, called or emailed people (I am ashamed to say) if I did not have them. Yesterday I sat down and wrote a note to each person on a Christmas card I found at the bottom of a very old box. We dug up a few stamps and I carried them with love to my mailbox.

I cannot tell you how calm and relaxed I felt at the end of the day.  Sometime, doing things Jo's way is perfect.

Why is it we are in such a hurry anyway?

Be well.


Monday, December 10, 2012

What do teens REALLY want for Xmas...besides money!

Note:  Be sure to check out the new page link just under the blog header for my new Gift Boomer Store.

Here is a BIG hint for grandparents...directly from a 15 year old. If you go to a website called Wanelo you will find all that stuff your teen wants! We went through the website yesterday and she pointed out some items she loved.
Head Bands Etsy

Scalpmaster Ceramic Thermal Hair Straightener

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