Friday, October 25, 2019

Getting Involved with Our Age

I have been reading a blog written by a nurse about aging. She is 97 now I believe and has just written her 100th post. Her website's name is Engaging with Age. Here is a woman that wondered what we all wonder: is this the way it is with most people...am I developing in my old age at normal pace or not?

I am 78 years old and have writing about this subject
for many years.

She decided back in 2017 to start recording the markers of Age Related Changes (ARC). She was 95 at the time and really had not paid attention to her age up until that time. Then one day she got up on a birthday and realized she was 95 years old. She began to wonder about aging and what were normal age related changes. Curiosity sent her out to find books or articles that would tell her about what those changes would be and, I suppose, when those changes would be developmentally appropriate. I am finding it fascinating.


This summer I had occasion to visit with a doctor at OHSU about a cholesterol problem that has plagued me for 20 years or more. The medication that everyone else can take is the one that I cannot.
In the course of that visit the doctor visited with me while teaching a future doctor to understand the what and the why for medication.

It was the most interesting experience I have ever had...I always wondered what is going on inside the doctor's head. The conversation they had about the medication he was recommending turned to my age.

This is not the first time I have heard the discussion about my age. My dentist wondered about my teeth...should I get the cavities fixed and the crown put on given my age. I was very surprised because, really, I don't plan on dying soon and my teeth are very important.

The lipid specialist told the student that I might live until (hypothetically) 87 without any problems without the medication but, what if, I could live until 97! Thank you very much! I might live a very long time in spite of my issues and probably will.

The nurse that is writing the blog knows that there is decline and recognizing what we can and cannot change is so important. Engaging with our aging can be a learning experience. So obviously those of us that are living the aging life are the ones that know about it and should be writing about it. We truly are the experts.

The questions that often come to my mind are the ones that are related to the physical decline we all experience. True my lipid medication left me weak but after I stopped taking it, was my strength going to come back I asked myself. How physically strong, fast and even appealing we are is important to us all of our lives. Even kindergartners recognize that if they can climb high and run fast, they are good! That feeling of being physically strong is important when we are small and the need for it never goes away.

So I would ask:
  • Can we regain strength in our hands and legs forever with exercise and movement?
  • Does the ability to know where we are in our own space so we don't fall be retained late into life? What would we need to do to be stable on our feet?
  • Developmentally, when is it appropriate for us to lose muscle mass?
So, if you are an aging senior and you can offer some insight into what you are experiencing, I would love to hear about it. Pass the word on to AARP or whoever you think of. I want to know.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Big Question?

Are you having fun?
I talked to a newly retired couple on Sunday. We were tasting wine here in Portland and sat down next to them. We visited about everything...life, travel, wine (of course) and retirement.

I found myself asking the question that every retiree gets...What do you do all day?

During their married life they had lived in Japan so there was that. I am hoping that they will find that to be an inspiration for more...more of everything.

They had only been retired since April and admittedly they were just figuring it out. The newness hadn't worn off.

I had a friend that actually began couponing back in the day when it was a big deal. He and a friend would spend hours finding coupons and then redeeming them. It made them happy and it made us laugh. It was fun for them.

Now I regret not asking, "Are you having fun?" How YOU have fun is all that matters.

So remember please
  • Laugh
  • Have fun
  • Socialize
  • Talk
  • Learn new things
  • Travel a little
  • Try something new
  • Set a goal
  • Make life an adventure.
Have a wonderful day. What is your answer to "The Big Question?"

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Ultimate Beginner Blogger Simple Hints

Blog header I created. When I posted this image I clicked extra large so you could see it better.
There are just a few things that I think are worth remarking on. I see things on blogs that I really like to read that I think would make those blogs so much better. I hope you will find my ideas useful. Don't be afraid to play with your blog website...
  • Did you know that double spacing after the end of a sentence is NOT a good idea when blogging? You will notice that your next line if off one space if you double space at the end of each sentence.
  • Did you know that if you change your theme just for fun or out of necessity, all of your information moves forward with the change?
  • Did you know that if you go to your theme and click the orange customize  button you can change with width of your blog post space For example, if you chose the Awesome theme you can make the width of your sidebar and post space difference. You can then preview the blog page before you  make it permanent. It will make you blog look more professional while making it easier to read. Like so many my age, I need a bigger page and font be able to read.
  • You can create your own header using photoshop or even a simple photo editing app.
  • There are some very beautiful blog headers available online at no cost. Check them out.
  • Did you know that, if you are a photographer that would like to insert you own photograph in the header, you can do that. Just choose to put your picture behind the title. You are going to like the results.
  • You can also change the size of your fonts across the whole blog page in the customize area.
Can you add anything that is bothering you about this blog or any other? I am interesting.

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

When "The Big Dark" Comes To Town!

The Big Dark

I swore when my husband and I retired that we were not going to sit around for the rest of our lives talking about the weather...not me, not us, no way! Sigh!

Twenty-two years later the subject just keeps coming up over and over. Now it seems that all those things like weather-talk and having the newspaper read out loud to me have become a comfort zone of sorts. I did tell you that my husband likes to read out loud and I am the person that is suppose to be listening didn’t I? If I didn’t now you know.

So, this last week he noticed an article posted in the Seattle Times about "The Big Dark". He read it out loud to me so I know stuff. The Big Dark is that weather system that settles in over the Seattle each year about this time. Seattle is located on the Puget Sound waters and all their life Seattleites endure about 9 month of gray skies. That marine lawyer just will not go away!

Being the really nice guy that he is, he needed to share the news article with friends in the Seattle area and tease them a little about deciding to stay in the northwest until after Thanksgiving.

It worked because he Got Them...they have changed their plans and are coming to Arizona a month earlier. I may not listen to him but other people sure do!

Do you do Weather Talk?

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Snowbird Lifestyle: Is it more a Necessity than a Luxury?



Oregon in October

San Xavier Mission (s. Tucson AZ)
The weather report said:
  •  temp. 59, 
  • air quality good, 
  • wind 6 miles out of the southwest, 
  • next sun: NEVER! 
That, my friends, is why we are snowbirds. Even today we have people ask us why we leave beautiful Oregon. Yes it is beautiful but....

Here is where I reinforce the notion that for the aging senior, a few months in the warmer weather is not a luxury...it probably will improve the quality of you general health. It may be a necessity. You can move about more because your pain will be less. Cold weather can have a severe impact on your breathing and even mental health. The warmer you body the less your heart and lungs have to work.

In an article written for the Inspiyr website called 5 Reasons Warm Weather is Good for Your Health Sydney Epstein sited some interesting reasons why that is so. It seems that all the usual reasons applied. The sun is good and being physically active is so important. But the fact is that people in warmer climates benefit in other ways.

Our memories improve when your body is warm and your heart has to work less to keep you blood pressure under control. Epstein also pointed out the there is a safety issue involved. Usually it does not snow in warmer climates. Dry sidewalks are good...falling is bad!

And then, in my view, there is our mental health. Dementia is always a problem with people that are aging. Keeping that problem at bay is reason enough to stay active and involved.

In most cases snowbirds are very socially active. We all know loneliness among seniors is a problem. But even in the very inexpensive senior locations, social activities abound.

The author of this article has listed some very good references if you need more information.
Head on over to Inspiyr and see what you think.

Do you feel better in warm weather?

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Snowbird Lifestyle: They came to visit and didn't go home! Scary huh?

Arizona Park Model Interior

Some of the company might not go home! 


I have always thought that company and fish really stink after three days. My family is not company and neither are close friends. And if people are visiting and living in a separate house, that doesn't count either.

Maybe no one stinks in the end! It turns out I love company a lot. And it turns out many of those people came to visit and ended up staying for a very long time.

A friend that lives in Florida wrote me a note on my Facebook account today.  His comment was that people come to Florida for two or three month and repeat this pattern for a couple of years. In the end they usually buy a park model or condo and come back to the same place every year. 

We see this same pattern in Arizona. It would appear that snow birds are at home where ever they land! Here in Arizona those people that rent for two a three month and find they like the lifestyle will come back a second year, rent again and buy a park model during the second year. Economics talk...it is simply cheaper to buy a park model in a RV resort and rent the lot than it is to rent a park model year after year.  If they are relatively wealthy they will buy a home or condo. Either way they can make themselves at home. There appears to be something for everyone.

It is very easy to make friends...activities in the resorts are so diverse that is you will find something that interests you. Regional parties for those from the mid west or Canada, for example, give new comers an opportunity to find like minded people. Pickle ball and bocci is very "age" friendly and a huge group of people participate. These activities are great ice breakers. And I believe that the pattern is repeated in every snow bird landing spot in America. As my friend pointed out, geographical location does not change the course people will take during retirement.  

In our case we had traveled for nearly 9 years before we were ready to settle into one place. But, in the end, we did what most snow birds do...we stayed in one place for two years living in our Motor Home, bought a park model, sold our RV and are spending 6 month of the year in Arizona. We love it.

It is all very interesting...the study of human nature.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

20 Awkward Steps to Our Happy Retirement or There Was Not a Guidebook

I first published this article back in June of 2014. A lot has changed.
  • Two grandchildren are married and we have 2 great-grandchildren (both girls). 
  • The cat disappeared on Halloween one year and we are not getting another. 
  • We sold our park model in Tucson and moved into a townhouse last fall. 
  • We bought a dream car...Mini Cooper is now in the Oregon house garage.
  • We have two cars again and fly to Arizona in the fall and back to Oregon in the spring.
  • We both still golf with friends and we joined a club in Tucson that we love. 
  • I still blog but not as much as I did. My husband gets a little more of my attention. He had his 80 birthday last winter.  
The message is the same...change has kept us mentally young and healthy. Life is good!
Arizona Townhouse

Hillsboro Home

Remember that very first child...the one they let you take home without a guidebook or a test drive? Retirement is a bit like that. One day they just say "Good bye, good luck and let us know how that works out for you." It is probably one of the most challenging things you will ever do. Even enough money does not make it any easier.

Don't get me wrong, I love being retired but it has taken my husband and I 17 years to find smooth sailing. In that period of time we have invented and reinvented our lives so many times I have lost count. We love the adventure and I suppose that is why we have found ourselves changing direction so many times. If you just want to stay where you are and do what you have done all of your lives, it may be easier. I don't know how to talk about that. (Leave a comment to let me know.)

It seems to me the thing that has given us so much joy is the fact that we have never ever thought we had arrived at our "forever" place. We are a lot closer now but even so, we keep our options open. Here are the things we have done or considered doing:
  1. We moved from rural Eastern Oregon to Portland a year after my husband and I retired. 
  2. We bought a 4 bedroom home because we didn't know how to live in a smaller space.
  3. We joined a country club and learned to play golf a little better. 
  4. We moved from the 4 bedroom house with a big yard to a 2 bedroom condo with no yard and our youngest son moved back home.
  5. I took up multi-media art and spend several years immersed in that form of creative projects.
  6. We bought an RV and began to travel. Our youngest son took care of the condo and the cat.
  7. Our youngest son married.
  8. We made plans to sell our Oregon home and moving to the Southwest. The only thing that stopped us was the recession.
  9. My husband and I played golf together when we traveled.
  10. My husband found a mens group to golf with and I began spending more time at home.
  11. I became the summer nanny for 2 of my grandchildren.
  12. I began blogging and abandoned the art.
  13. We traveled for 3 months to begin with and later stayed away for 4-5 months.
  14. We sold and bought several RVs.
  15. We bought a park model in Tucson and moved into it for the winters. The RV was gone forever (maybe).
  16. We sold that park model and moved to a better location in the same RV resort.
  17. We moved from our condo in Oregon into a 55+ community near our daughter. We had a yard again.
  18. We became a one car family.
  19. We plan to fly back and forth to Arizona one year soon.
  20. Now we stay 6 months in Oregon and 6 in Arizona. The cat travels with us.
We love the lifestyle we have now. My husband still golfs with the guys. Five of our 12 grandchildren are grown. One granddaughters will marry in September. I have a beautiful flower garden that gives me great joy. Blogging gives me an outlet and I still have a wonderful time doing artwork with my younger grandchildren.

Is there a guide book for any of this? I would never have dreamed that we would have changed our directions that many times. I don't think any book could have guided us through all those changes. I could write a great book that gave the reader a general idea of what they were in for but I could not lead them. One of the central issues in the retirement like mine is actually living full time with your spouse and finding a way to compromise your way through life. Compromise the the key. The "how" is entirely up to you.

I would be interested in having you add your thought about your retirement list in the comments. How is it working out for you?

Oh, and do stay tuned...it is not over yet!

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Bloggers Dilemma: Are we driven to the edge of controversy?

b+ (Retire in Style Blog)

Aging in the fast lane with dancing and swearing may bring people get someone's attention. But the problem is I don't dance that much and honestly I try very hard not to swear. 

Blogging is what I do when I need to unwind or rant or share a notion. Traffic really doesn't matter I know. In spite of knowing we don't care a lot, people like me want to know if anyone listening!

I have learned that as a lady of a certain age that I need to stand up and be noticeable before anyone will listen to me. I seem to have become a little invisible...not completely but still.

Aging in the fast lane with dancing and swearing may bring people get someone's attention. But the problem is I don't dance that much and honestly I try very hard not to swear. Having a glass of wine is just not that uncommon anymore. A little self examination is good for me but, honestly, who really cares? Do I need a little controversy to let people know that I am still here? Maybe.

SOOO...three guesses where I went for new attention getting ideas? Pinterest! Pinterest is about a lot more things than pictures of beautiful design. There are pages and pages of ideas from young bloggers about how to make money, how to start a blog and, best of all, things to write about.

Today I found out how to make $6000 with one big writing job. Did you know you could do that? I really don't want to go out and sell myself to the devil but still, wouldn't that be cool?

I found several that had lists of mistakes blogger make, reason's why a blogger started blogging (written by a 23 year old) and better yet how to make yourself look more professional in the blogging world.

But the best website was one with lists of blogging ideas. 250+ ideas. Hmmmm!

I may be an old dog but I can still learn a new trick or two. So, here I go...see you soon.

What new ideas have you had!

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Should Senior Citizens Trust Online Offers? Are We Gullible?

The lure of the Internet is always there. The web knows what I shop for, where I shop for it and how to get my attention.

I personally think that Facebook has the most enticing sidebar but even my gmail inbox is filled with "promotions" and "updates" too. Almost every senior that I know is on Facebook A LOT! It is sometimes hard for people like me to figure out what is true and what is not.

All of that plays into the Amazon business model. If I am not sure, I always check on Amazon to see if the offer is a good price and if I can have it delivered tomorrow. Should I be doing that?

Now, I have found that Amazon offers their own coffee pods at such a low price that it not even smart to buy anything else.

In all of this I am reminded of Ma Bell (AT&T), you know that phone company that had a monopoly on all things telephone. The phones were sacred property, never belonged to you and if the repair man came and saw that the phone had been opened, you would be in big trouble. The grip they had on our life was not good and turned out to be illegal. They were prosecuted for being a monopoly!

Amazon is almost there...our groceries, clothing, even the rock wool for the gas fireplace are all being ordered through them. We feel safe from those scammers that are in the sidebar of Facebook when we use Amazon.

But it seems to me that Amazon's reach might not be such a good thing either. Putting everyone out of business does not feel right and letting one online website take everything over is equally as scary.

 I really do like to have bricks and mortar stores in my neighborhood. The landscape without them would be very barren. But even some of the bigger stores are struggling to keep ahead of Amazon and their online buddies.

It could be that because seniors are not as suspicious as they could be they get caught up in what appears to be perfectly safe. The big warning sign that appears on your computer saying you have been hacked, the call from the people impersonating Social Security telling you that your account has been closed, the email from a friend in the Ukraine asking you to send money because they are in jail...it is all so confusing and easy to believe.

I have had all those things happen to me. I am so skeptical I do not bite. In fact, I probably have passed up some very good offers. I have always been a skeptic.

Now, I do not know if Amazon is safe but until you write me telling about the big scam, I am going to give them a little bit of my trust.

How about you...what has happened to you lately that scared you because you trusted the wrong person? Oh and believe me you are not alone.

I would like to hear from you.

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Note:
I might add that I think that our political situation could even be laid at Facebook's door.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Retirement: The Professional Woman's Approach vs the Rest of Us

Mt. St Helens blew up...don't let your retirement do that!

I have friends that were professional women all of their adult life. Some took only the minimal time when their children were born and others took some real time off. But all of those women out of necessity or by design went back to work very soon. It was the choice they and their families made.

My world did not go that way. I was a stay at home mom that worked just enough to get us through those time when we needed extra money. My life was what a lot of women see as a lifetime of retirement. Even though I "worked" very hard at the job of life I was not in the workplace with small vacations and very little down time.

Today I was reading a blog post that Kathy over at Smart Living 365 titled Navigating Transitions Before, During or in Retirement. The title lets you know that Kathy has some serious subject matter to cover.

A book she had read prompting her to write a review was called Retirement Transition—An Innovation Approach written by Patricia West Doyle. I thought as I read the article that I could have used something like this when we retired over 20 years ago. Like with the babies we brought home when we were young, there was no instruction manual. Either you figured it out...well you had to figure it out because there was no choice.

I have written several posts about retirement "how-to's" because I am living the life on the sunset side of retirement. You talk about it, I know what you are saying from experience. One that has gotten over 4000 hits is called How to be a Snowbird...answers and lists! Another that has been read to death is The Seven Stages of Retirement Grief. Those articles are for those of us that just didn't know what was going to happen and what to do with our lives when there was no job. We could have used a little retirement transition information.

In her article Kathy talked about doing some self examination. I personally loved the part about achievement. Her thought was that it was accomplishment that filled her with satisfaction. Finishing the job, or for me vacuuming or writing or even a walk around the blog fills me with a sense of satisfaction. Knowing that about myself and getting it down someplace would have been very valuable for me. I now see very clearly that a life without propose is no life at all. Knowing that is very important. Thank you Kathy for just that small part.

But there is so much more. I think you should go over to Smart Living 365 and read what she as to say. All of the blog posts are full of wonderful information and surprises.

Now I wonder...WHAT SURPRISED YOU ABOUT RETIREMENT or LIFE?

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What is that niggling thought that only is clear in the middle of the night?

From my garden.
Something is niggling around in the back of my mind but I just cannot put my finger on it. There is something I need to tell you. What is it?

Is it about the newspaper that arrives on my driveway only on Sunday for no reason at all? I didn't request it nor do I pay for it.

Or is it something about aging or being a snowbird that is turning over in my mind at night?

Or could it be about my garden...do I have some advice? Or maybe a recipe that I think you need to know?
One of my favorites...Spicy Cucumber Salad
Maybe I have some thoughts on Alzheimer's because a neighbor wandered away this weekend and had to be found by the police?

Is it a positive or a negative?
??? Only Bob Lowry will know what this is!

What is it?

What is niggling at you?

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ps: I wrote this yesterday but it has not come to me yet. HELP!!! :)


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