Tuesday, September 22, 2015

14+ Links Every Smart Snowbird Should Visit

Fall is here. The calendar Tells me so it must be. But even if it didn't, you would have known this morning. The air has that nip, a few of the sycamore trees are turning yellow and the birds are becoming restless.

The smart birds figure out what to do next before the flying day arrives. Geese are gathering as we speak in staging areas and even the hummingbirds that hitch a ride on those geese backs will be looking around for transportation. My feeder is emptying slower and slower.

Humans even have that urge to fly away south and those that are serious about it have already made reservations for the winter. But late comers are always welcome. As it turns out, there is always room for one more.

Over the years this writer and snowbird has posted thousands of words on the subject. Financial questions, retirement issues, locations to consider and even tips on locking up the house for the winter. I thought you probably would like a list to help you out. If I don't cover what you want to know, send me an email and I will answer you as quickly as possible.

  1. The Little Black Dot
  2. How to Choose the Right RV Park
  3. What No One Tells You about Retirement
  4. The Funny Thing About Being a Snowbird
  5. Affordable Housing for Snowbirds...Tucson
  6. Seeing Retirement in Black and White...or in Shades of Gray
  7. How To Be a Snowbird...Answers and Lists (this one has had 13,000 visitors...let me know what you think.)
  8. On Being a Snowbird: Is it the right choice for you? written for Satisfying Retirement
  9. Snowbird Season at a Glance
  10. 10 "How to be a Snowbird" Ideas
  11. 25 Questions to ask Yourself About Retirement
  12. 5 Ways We Travel Like We Are Rich
  13. You Might Be A Snowbird If...a nod to Jeff Foxworthy
  14. How to Experience Retirement before Retirement
And finally a post written about older people. Most of you that read this post will be much younger than a lot of the people you come in contact with in snowbird land. Just give everyone a chance. Who knows, you may even learn a thing or two. I know for sure you are going to be surprised to find out who these unlikely looking retirees really are!
There are many many more articles on this blog. Look at the tags and click on them to see what more you can find.

Have a wonderful day.


Monday, September 21, 2015

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...the Story of My Life!

My husband and I live the life of that famous children's book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I am sure you remember the book from childhood or from the childhood of a baby in your life. The story goes like this:
If you give a mouse a cookie, he is sure to want a glass of milk...
If you give the mouse a glass of milk he will want a straw...
The story is about how we get lost in our thoughts following streams of consciousness as we wander endlessly from one task to the next never completing anything.

And so it goes...

Only 7 years ago my grandchildren
and our children
 watched the swifts
go down the chimney of a school here
 in Portland. I had forgotten that
beautiful late summer evening.
My husband went to a local hardware store and bought a set of shelves so we could try to get organized...again. All of the crates that has been stacked against one wall in the garage were placed on the garage floor. I had not actually seen what was inside those boxes since we moved into this house 4 years ago.

The first box I opened had a small green box of pictures from all those years ago. And there were albums my mother had put together for my children when they were small. Those children are 49 and 52 now.

The temptation was more than I could handle and this mouse needed that glass of milk, a big chair and, of course, time. I was looking at old pictures and no one could stop me.

The garage revamp came to a halt for me and I was lost to the past.

The mind does funny thing and, as I went though the pictures, I realized that I had forgotten all those wonderful times...my children hugging each other, the view from the window of a house long since sold and forgotten. For some very strange reason all I could remember was the stress and the angst. That discovery of pictures from the past broke the spell.

It could be that picture albums are worth their weight in gold. Maybe I should let my inner mouse wander around more often. What do you think?


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When Our Little Grocery Store Closed

Our small town grocery store closed a few month past and we are still reeling. A local college (so rumor has it) made the owners an offer they could not refuse. That is a rumor too. But, if you believe money talks then you can see how it all seems to fit.

We miss that grocery store a lot. It had almost everything we needed and the best selection of beer in the region! What was not to love. But the final straw is the removal of a state owned liquor store (we live in Oregon you know) that is housed in the back of the same building. It has not moved but it will have to and probably soon. Everyone I know is sad and inconvenienced by the loss of the grocery store but the liquor store??? Oh my goodness. Not the liquor store.

We have laughed so hard about this.

So we are traveling further to a big box store to get our groceries. The beer selection is horrible AND there is no liquor store in the back where no one can see you go in and out. It is not a good thing.

I am just saying!!!


The saddest thing was that I could not find one photo of the original Hank's in Cornelius Oregon online. That is just sad! We don't value what we have until it is gone.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Is Better Better? Trending on Twitter

One of the thing that fascinates me about this whole blogging experience is the social media and its influence. So, when I saw  #DoesBetterMatter? trending on Twitter just now, I wondered, if I write a blog post using those words what would happen. Would it make any difference at all. We are about to see.

Do you suppose it would still run if it were in a car?
Or is there something much, much better?
Deutsches Museum   Munich, Germany

I am here to ask you, "Does better matter?"

See, I only started blogging all those years ago to start a conversation with my then 4th grade granddaughter. I was in China and she was going to school in a classroom crowded with almost 40 students. Technology was creeping into the schools but was still feared because it was so new. After all, it was a better way of communication. But did it matter? No not really.

My son lived in Shanghai and my husband and I were taking advantage of him so we could see a part of the world not usually seen back those few years ago. We had pictures of the Great Wall and Dong Tai Lu in the middle of the city. We wandered through the city and seldom saw a foreigner. We were experiencing something so wonderful. We wanted to share.

But we were soon to realize the even though I wanted to share and send a blog post over the internet directly to my granddaughter's classroom, no one would open it up. They were afraid and had built a security wall around their world. It was so sad.

So, now I am asking myself about all of the advances in technology that has happened since my computer, iphone and ipad were purchased. Should I get or try something bigger. Would better matter in my world? Would I regret spending the money on something that is simply better because it is faster and the screen is bigger? See, in the beginning the blog sent from China to my granddaughter was not that much different than a post card. It was faster but was it all that much different? Not really. And, in the end, would it really matter if it was?

As I grow older I find myself asking the same question. Should what I own, is paid for and works just fine be replace just because it is shinier? I don't know. We will see. Better may be better but I am going for different-better. So it simply doesn't matter to me. See what I mean?


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How is Brainwashing Changing Your Mind?

According to Cambridge dictionary brainwashing is a method of altering your way of thinking. Is it good? I am beginning to think it is...sometimes. 

Portland, Oregon has joined The Joy Team sign company and is putting up billboards with a positive and, according to the news, effective way to influence people's state of mind. One sign here in PDX is located on Sandy Boulevard. It says, "You are freaking awesome!"  I love that one so much.

The Joy Team uses this one on their website.
Seeing this sign every morning on a commute to work would have to make you smile and feel good about yourself, even if you didn't know why.

I took this picture of a cigarette display as I was walking through the airport in Denmark this spring. It stopped me in my tracks. EVERY package across that country has a warning like this. The user is prevented from seeing a different massage no matter where they go. That my friends is the definition of a brainwash. In this case, I think it is a good use of the practice.
Incidentally I took this photo in Denmark airport this last spring.
I liked that their warning was bigger than the logo on the package. Not only do cigarettes kill, they damage your sperm, ruin your skin and kill the people around you. If you were a smoker, those warning have to make an impression.

Are there bad or even evil uses for brainwashing? You can bet your life. News networks get inside our heads. We need to be very careful to watch all the viewpoints. The advertising industry has figured it out I think. But sometimes I need to say "yes" to a campaign or sign. How about you?

Have a wonderful day.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Blogging Secrets: What Do I Know About YOU?

I began blogging back in 2006 (I think). In the beginning I wrote but the world didn't rush to me door. I was a good thing for me because that silence gave me years to practice writing and to also work out some things in my life that needed resolving. Since those early years a lot has changed. I have moved on in my blogging life and so has everyone else...well almost.

What amazed me as I began this blog post was how much I thought I knew about each person. See people reveal themselves over a period of time without even realizing it. Honestly, reading a blog faithfully is a bit like being a peeping tom or a stalker. If there are people that have that type of personality, that might be where they hang out. I suppose we should all be a little careful.

But what I loved about this world is the connections with such interesting people. In the beginning I worked from prompts for writing stories or observations. One such site as called Sunday Scribblings. The two women that founded the site posted hundreds of prompts over the years. One of founder of that page was Laini Taylor. I loved following her because she was young and so very talented. Her artfully created Laini's Ladies are beautiful little jewel ornaments. One hangs on my wall right now.

Laini lives here in the Portland area with her artist husband and a daughter named Clementine Pie. She is the author of many fantasy books and was nominated for the National Book Award a few years ago. Her books are aimed at young adults and at one time she gave workshops in schools.  She has dyed her hair pink for many years and I am always hoping I will run into her in a Fred Meyer store or on the street. She continues to amaze me with her success.

Pia Savage writes on Courting Destiny . She and Laini are two of the few that I have know since the beginning that still blog. Pia has been at it since the early 2000. She is a native New York City girl that now live in Sorth Carolina. She was adopted, single and told me recently in a comment that she worked with the elderly. Her major in college was Social Services. She also writes regularly for Psychology Today about her Non-Verbal Learning Disorder and can be found on Facebook.

But it that is not all. Pia is a writer, not a blogger but a writer extraordinaire. When she writes on her blog it is very difficult to figure out what is true and what is mere fiction. That takes a lot of talent in and of itself. But it is the stories she tell about NYC back when she was young, a little wild and free that I love to read. In a recent story she wrote called Sleeping Beauties about the murder of someone she knew had me wondering if it was true or not. I love a good mystery and Pia has the gift for making me want more.

All the rest of the women I tell about here do not blog anymore. But, because the Internet is so wonderful, I found all but one of them at their old blog addresses. Most quit in 2013 for some reason. That was the year that the prompt site called Sunday Scribblings went away. That may be the link...who knows.

A prompt on Sunday Scribblings is where I discovered Jodi Herman. Jodi wrote at a blog she owned called Why Paisley? The domain is currently for sale I see so I am assuming Jody is gone, maybe forever. Jodi was wild child in a former life and always seemed a little adrift. But could she write poetry and short stories? You bet she could. She was book worthy from the get go but she just could never find the perfect sponsor for all her work.

She wrote about living in the hills of northern California near the coast. Her stories included one telling about a childhood with parents that belonged to the Jehovah's Witness group and how she was shunned by the church when she was in middle school. I didn't think that part of her story was true but she made it so real I was angry when I finished. She wrote about a guy named ED and raccoons in the hen house and her dog. Was any of it true? I don't know. I learned from her that bloggers can be anonymous when they sit at their computer. Who would be the wiser?

I discovered yesterday that Jodi had cancer and refused treatment. I cannot find her anywhere so if anyone know if she is living or not I would be delighted to hear from you.

Granny Smith aka Phyllis Sterling Smith is a limerick writer. I loved to read her little ditties because they made me laugh. She is a very elderly woman now but back when I started reading her work she and her husband lived in Berkeley California. Her husband was a professor emeritus and was on his way to work one winter when he slipped on the ice and hit his head. Phyllis was and is a remarkable woman. Her husband Otto's death did not slow her down. She moved forward and now lives in Washington state near her family.
Tammy Brierly wrote at The Daily Warrior. She has lived with ALS since 1988. These day she uses a wheelchair and she has given up blogging in favor of Facebook where she posts almost daily. Tammy has learned to use the computer with a device that reads her eye movements.

At one time she had a swimming pool in her garage which just made me smile. It was so typical of her to describe their surprise when the humidity became a problem with a swimming pool inside the house in that humorous way she has of telling a story. Her battle with ALS has not diminished her sense of humor or her passions for her family. Dave, her husband, is now retired and takes care of her needs. She is a lovely person I think and one that I admire a great deal.

Originally I found Tammy on a blog prompt website similar to Sunday Scribblings.

Then there is Whitney Johnson. I am sure that Whitney posted on the prompt pages too. She has managed to built a blog named Dare to Dream into a book of the same name. She graduated from BYU, was a cheerleader, was a successful Wall Street broker.

Now she has a new book out called Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work. I also read a blog her daughter wrote for a little while and loved to see that girls words on the page. Whitney is someone that has followed her own advice and made her dreams come true. I think that is remarkable.
Then there is Kristen Taylor Yarranton formerly of Taylor Made Designs. When I read Kristen's blog she was promoting her graphic art creations. Tags for wine bottles, small notebooks and even binding tape for garments and bags could be ordered from her etsy shop. I don't know if she still makes those things or not. I own one of the notebooks and still use it often.

She lives in the Boston area I think and is the mother of two of the cutest kids you could ever hope to see. I loved her beautiful photography and creative ideas. Kristen too quit in 2013 saying she had simply lost her "blogging mojo". I am sure you all understand.

If I read your blog, I know about you too. I guess it is part of becoming connected online. What do you know about me?


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Books: Faceless Killer by Henning Menkell

Resource here: Faceless Killers: A Mystery (Kurt Wallander Mystery Book 1)

Henning Mankell in Bethlehem
Henning Mankell in Bethlehem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The New York Times is all about the migrant crisis in Germany right now. Families seeking asylum from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are fleeing war and poverty. Germany is struggling with the question of what is humane and possible. While it is big news it is not new news. Books like the mystery written back in 1991 by Swedish author Henning Mankell called Faceless Killers tells about the beginning of the refugee problem in Sweden.

The Faceless Killers was the first of the best seller Wallander series and a blockbuster TV series of the same name featured on Netflix. I am a great fan and have watched all of the episodes that were filmed both by the British and in Sweden. Now I have begun reading the books. I finished the first book this morning.

Reading Faceless Killers against the backdrop of the news events made it take on a meaning I was not looking for. The story is set in Ystad, Sweden located on the Baltic Sea. Denmark is to the west and Latvia is across the sea to the east. Migrant camps are set up in the country for emigrants from every direction and at that time there was no supervision that was evident for tracking people applying for asylum. The problem is central to the murder mystery within which our character Kurt Wallender finds himself tangled. 

The murder was grisly and to make it worse it is leaked that the guilty may lie among the "foreigners" that live in refugee camps. Like many places around the world, the people of color are hated for reasons only those haters know. So the mystery takes on two facets beautifully entwined by Menkell's storytelling skills. We have the murder of an elderly couple and a witch hunt by locals for foreigners.

Best of all the book teaches a lesson about the way the fugitive crisis changed the culture of a country. The problem has not decreased since the book was written back in 1991. Mystery stories that resound so effectively in our current world are wonderful. 

I loved the way the book was written. It set a stage that let the reader feel the passing of time and how difficult it is to REALLY find the answers to the questions. There was no hocus pocus here and I loved that I did not need the "willing suspension of reality" that is required in so many books of this type. There were no holes in the story line.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Travel As Far As You Can....


As much as you can.

As far as you can. 

As long as you can. 

Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.
Gentleman’s Wisdom

Arno River, Florence Italy

Dubai, UEA

Dubai, UAE

The Bavarian Alps, Italy/Germany

Deutsche Museum, Munich Germany 
When you think you've seen it all or you are full, 

rest and do it all again in a different place.


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