Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ah, Birthdays!
Birthdays are great when you’re young, but they become really pushy later on. We don’t necessarily want to age, but birthdays are there to remind us that we can’t escape the march of time.
            On days when I feel sorry for myself because of my age, I force myself to take the time to consider all the people I have known who have left this world at a much earlier age than I am right now. And I am aware of so many because the older we get, the more people we know who pass away. The trick is to be grateful for whatever birthday is just ahead.
            I have latched on to a habit so that an approaching birthday will not take me by surprise. A couple of months before the dreaded date, I force myself to think that I am already that age. And then when the date finally arrives, I am already acclimatized so it’s not really that bad.
            When I turned 65, I remember my aunt telling me: You’re so young! Of course everything is relative, but now that I look back I realize that I was indeed young, or at least younger. The way to deal with birthdays, especially the big ones---you know the ones I mean--- is to try to find the humor in all of it.
            For my latest recent birthday, one of my sons who has a novel way of looking at life presented me with a card on which a lady in front of a computer is using white-out (you know the white stuff in little bottles we all used for corrections on paper) to correct the text on the screen. The inside caption: white out a few years and have a great day. We don’t always remember the cards we get for birthdays, but I can assure you I will remember that one. 
            I think I will spend the rest of my life whiting out a few years here and there!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Choice for Fun
It used to be people retired and did little—little planning, little exercising, little smiling. Things have improved, thank God. It used to be you were old at sixty while now seventy is the new fifty. Baby boomers are more active than ever and, because of advances in health care and wide information dissemination, can look forward to a long retirement. In fact, it is predicted that most of today’s boomers will live well into their nineties. That’s a lot of years to do little.
I firmly believe that, like any other stage of life, retirement has to be planned to some extent. We certainly cannot plan every minute of every day, but there should be a guiding desire toward a goal. We are all different so goals will be different for everyone. But I don’t know that I have goals, Bob told me recently. He is about to retire and has not planned anything beyond playing golf as much as he can. That’s certainly a nice enjoyable goal, but there has to be more to fill all that free time.
Just as we chose careers that appealed to us, that fit our personalities, our choice of activities in retirement should be based on what moves us, makes us feel good, not what friends or family feel we should be doing. I know a man who turned to photography in retirement and is having a grand old time. He was a chef all his life so his children thought he would spend his retirement preparing meals for them. But he wanted out of the kitchen to embrace a new passion. He’s the perfect example of a fulfilled retiree. 
Good for him, I say. A retiree’s mantra should be change for the new, the fun.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Healthy Silliness
I got an interesting e-mail the other day that I’ve decided to share with you. See if you don’t agree that being silly can be fun.
<                  - At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer to passing cars. Watch them slow down!
<                   - In the memo space on the front of your cheques, write weed or pot.
<                   - When you’re at a fancy restaurant, order diet water.
<                   - When there are other people behind you at an ATM as the money comes out scream: I won! I won!
<                   - Pick up a box of condoms at the pharmacy, go to the counter and ask where the fitting room is.
<                   - In a large department store’s change room, drop your pants and yell out: There’s no paper in here!
<                    - Sing along at the opera.

And then there is the cartoon caption that I like. One woman is telling her friend: I never thought I would get remarried at my age, but how could I refuse. He said: come and grow old with me. I’ve got lots of life insurance.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I am sharing something I came across recently.

Golden Rule for Living
<  1.      If you open it, close it.
2.      If you turn it on, turn it off.
<  3.      If you unlock it, lock it up.
4.      If you break it, admit it.
5.      If you can’t fix it, call someone who can.
<  6.      If you borrow it, return it.
7.      If you value it, take care of it.
<  8.      If you make a mess, clean it up.
9.      If you move it, put it back.
10.  If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it.
11.   If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
<  12.  If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.
                 Miriam Hamilton Keare

Life is not a race, but indeed a journey. Be honest. Work hard. Be choosy. Say “thank you”, “I love you” and “great job” to someone every day. Take time for prayer. Love your life and what you’ve been given. It is not accidental; search for your purpose and do it as best you can. Dream; it allows you to become that which you aspire to be. Laugh often. Appreciate the little things in life. Some of the best things are indeed free. Do not worry. Forgive, it frees the soul. Recognize the special people you’ve been blessed to know.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Laughter is definitely the best medicine, but especially when things are tough. The bad weather of late has been a source of problems and frustration for many people, but some simply took it in stride. A man who, I suppose, did not own warm headgear stepped outside during a cold snap wearing the horse head of a party costume. I wonder how many people gave him a double take wondering for a moment what specie was taking over the world. I’m sure he had a good laugh.
             As we add years to our years we face new situations that may make us nervous or uncomfortable. Getting a colonoscopy is certainly one of those, but it helps to have a sense of humor about it all. A physician has claimed that the following are actual comments from male patients while undergoing colonoscopies.
     Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
<    You know, in Arkansas, we’re now legally married.
<     Now I know how a Muppet feels!
<     Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.
        You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t you?
<      Could you write a note for my wife to say that my head is not up there.
<      Take it easy, Doc. You’re boldly going where no man has gone before.

             It also helps to laugh at other situations we face as we age. One middle-aged man who began to have digestive challenges that resulted in excessive flatulence kept his cool even when others around him made a point of not approaching too closely in case a “bomb” was released. ”So I cut cheese, nothing unusual or lethal about it,” he told a colleague. “Just a burp deciding that travel could be fun.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Empty Nesting
The last child has left the nest, what’s next?
          Raising a family is not an easy task, but like most things in life the many sacrifices we make are balanced with wonderful joys. We change diapers, but rejoice in those first unsteady steps. We help with homework, but applaud our children’s good grades. Higher education is costly, but we sing from the rooftops at the sight of the beautiful calligraphy on an offspring’s certificate.         
          We spend many years in our role as parents so it’s no wonder that we find it difficult to let go. If we have not prepared, there can be an overwhelming sense of emptiness, especially for the mother who has devoted so much time to nurturing.
          As we face the empty nests that our homes suddenly become, we may be tempted to forget that there is a whole brand new life ahead of us—we can redefine that nest and what goes on within its walls. We can now do the many things that family obligations prevented us from even thinking about planning in the past. Free from family responsibilities, we can forge our own future and have time to think of ourselves. No one will ask to borrow your car, and the laundry pile will melt away. There’s more time for friends, travel without worrying about the kids at home, time to take courses, devote more time to a hobby, set periods of time aside to pursue physical activities to counteract the effects of a slower metabolism, put in a hot tub in a now-empty bedroom, fly a kite, play the guitar, paint a beautiful sunset or simply smell the flowers along the way.
          But be forewarned, however, that doing your own thing as an empty nester may not always sit well with your children. No matter their age, they will remain intricately woven into the fabric of your life, and although they may praise your efforts to live life to the fullest, they expect you to be at home, with a home cooked meal being kept warm when they need your help or advice.
          And they want you around even more when the grandchildren begin arriving. Of course, by then you wonder what good deed you did to deserve such bounty. And, funny thing, before you know it your role as an empty nester changes without much warning. It just sort of happens. You find yourself accommodating the unfolding of life. You start looking for a second-hand crib for overnight visits and shop for diapers.
          And the cycle begins again. However, there’s no longer a need to rush. It’s now time to make time for the best of life, because the best is at hand.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Development of self-driving or autonomous cars is at a point where vehicle testing is now taking place on public road. My question is why? What real purpose will such cars serve?
            Let’s say you have such a car that drives you to work or to visit your mother-in-law, what is the advantage for you as you sit in the passenger seat and watch your car navigate the traffic? Will your car engage in conversation? And what about when it waits for you? What if it’s tempted to visit with a new model a couple of blocks over? Will your car return?
These are all questions that to me need answers because I believe that all artificial intelligence faces flaws at one point or another. Just take your computer, for example. Some days it simply decides to shut off and you have no idea why. Imagine if self-driving cars at some points decide to all stop working. Now, that would be the traffic jam from hell, would it not? And what about if someone finds a way of hacking your self-driving car’s program?  You may never find it again as you have to walk.
Of course, the worse scenario would be if self-driving cars killed people as it happened in Arizona recently. The poor woman was simply walking her bicycle across the street when the robot car hit and killed her. If, as proponents say, the purpose of autonomous driving is to make the operation of vehicles safer, an awful lot more work is required.
Cars have various degrees of automation. On a scale of 0 to 5, 0 is essentially cars as we know them where humans make the operating decisions, at 2 and 3 humans are helped by automatic components in the cars, i.e. automatic stopping in case of danger, while at 5 it  is totally autonomous, i.e. requiring no human involvement in the driving process.
While we don’t know how such technology would affect us, it is certain that there could be advantages for people with mobility problems or who are disabled. Self-driving cars would open up a whole new world of freedom for them. Certainly nobody could object to that.
 But until these cars become a reality, there are many questions that beg for answers.  One that comes to mind: would you trust your self-driving car to drive your young grandchild to a relative without anyone else in the car?
Perhaps that’s the first question we all need to ask.