Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A first-grade teacher gave each child in her class the first half of a saying and asked them to finish the sentence. This is the result.
 Strike while the ....... bug is close.
It's always darkest before ....... daylight savings time.
Never underestimate the power of ....... termites.
Don't bite the hand that ....... looks dirty.
No news is ....... impossible.
A miss is as good as a ....... Mr.
You can't teach an old dog new ....... math.
If you lie down with dogs, you'll ....... stink in the morning.
Love all, trust ....... me.
The pen is mightier than the ....... pigs.
An idle mind is ....... the best way to relax.
Where there's smoke, there's ....... pollution.
Happy the bride ....... who gets all the presents.
A penny saved is ....... not much.
Two's company, three's ....... the Musketeers.
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Cry and have to blow your nose.
If at first you don't succeed ....... get new batteries.
You get out of something only what you ....... see in the picture on the box.
When the blind leadeth the blind ....... get out of the way.
Better late than ........ pregnant .

I’m taking a break from my blog for a few weeks; back
in January.  
Merry Christmas to all of you who follow my blog.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Size   is just a number

I don’t know about you, but in the past when I heard someone wore a size 0, I assumed it was a newborn. Not so today. Sizing has rebelled and the whole concept of numbers has been revamped.

          A woman no longer wears an average size 12. Today, the average size is more 8 it seems. And the “skinny bitches,” as Joy Behar calls models and Hollywood starlet types, now wear size 2 or size 0 depending on whether or not they’ve eaten in the last week.  This begs the question: Where are we headed? Will we soon find ourselves having to deal with minus sizes?

          Just like age is just a number, a dress size is after all just a number. Manufacturers have introduced what I consider ridiculous smaller sizes over the last couple of decades no doubt in an effort to make women believe they were slimmer than they really were so they would buy more outfits. A woman feels oh so good in a size 6 as opposed to a two-digit size, but it is after all just an illusion, isn’t it?

I’ve also noticed another sizing problem, somewhat the reverse. Looking for a new winter jacket, I visited several stores and tried on countless styles. Although I was trying on only those marked size large to make sure to have room for a bulky sweater. I found that many restricted the movement of my shoulders. When I pointed that out to a sales person, she simply said that the jacket I was trying on came from China. “Asian sizing” she called it.

Asian large is definitely not the large we’re used to. Many garments made in China come on the market with a smaller sizing (no matter what the label says) no doubt because manufacturers look at petite Chinese women for guidance.

 I ended up buying a jacket made in Italy where sizes appear to be more in line with what I consider normal.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

  People don’t always say or write what they really mean or hear what is really being said.
            Here are a few examples I’ve come across.
<           - Special cocktails for ladies with nuts.
<           - Your cat fell in the mud so I took it to the cleaners. (Hope she doesn’t wear it on her head!)
<           - The bride and broom left in the snow. (And they’ll be able to clear it!)
<           - Open 24/7. Hours of operation 7 am to midnight.
<           - Do you want a copy? Thanks. I don’t drink coffee.
<           - I think it’s important to have a pocket list. (Especially when you’re using a bucket.)
<           - Open seven days a week and on weekends.
<           - The doctor specializes in women and other diseases.
<           - People of different sex, for example, men and women. (???)
<           - Are you an adult who can’t read? Bring this coupon with you.
<           - People are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.
<           - Remark: Sir, your escalator is out of order. Reply: Madam, we only have stairs.
<           - Approval for a third breast implant has been granted.
<           - Our wines will leave you. (???)
<           - So, you were gone until you returned?
<           - If you don’t find your size, we’ll give it to you for free. (?)
<           - Did he kill you?
<           - A new carwash is going up on the next street. Good, I’ll be able to walk to it.
<           - Potluck dinner Saturday night. Prayer and medication to follow.
<           - Reservations required on arrival.
<           - Families welcomed. Children under 12 not admitted.
And so it goes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Keeping the Brain Healthy
We all want to age with a healthy brain and sharp memory, and while we’re pretty sure we know how to reach that objective, it’s nice to be reminded from time to time.
Experts agree that the road to follow to reap benefits includes keeping mentally active, meditating, avoiding stress, being positive and being social. But research also shows that good nutrition and exercise can outweigh less-than-perfect genetics when it comes to avoiding cognitive impairment as we age.
          The latest research shows that keeping the brain healthy starts with a proper weight. We should aim to have a BMI between 18.5 and 25. Those with a BMI over 25 are overweight. BMI charts are available on line so you can easily see where you stand.
          Proper nutrition has been shown to have a positive effect on the brain. Here are some suggestions.
<               - Avoid saturated fat and aim for 25% of your total calories from good fat such as olive oil, avocados, some nuts and fatty fish.
<               - Omega-3 fatty acids, such as in cold water fish, are essential for memory function and brain health. 
<               - Complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, should be about 40% of daily food intake.
<               - Avoiding high glycemic carbs such as sugars, processed cereals and salty snacks should be a priority.
<              - Eat whole foods (those with one ingredient), but if you eat convenience foods from time to time, choose items with the least ingredients.
<              - Get to know which foods are antioxydants (such as berries, onions, beans, to name but a few) because they have been proven great for mental function. 
<              - Everyone should stay away from processed foods.
Brain health should be a priority for boomers especially since age-related memory impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease are increasing at an alarming rate. Now 1 in 8 seniors are affected while the disease’s early onset, i.e. before the age of 65, is appearing more frequently.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

On grieving
By the time we reach the half-century mark, we all have lost someone near and dear to us and have gone through the grieving process. The rituals of wakes and funerals do help us work through grief. It allows us to be open about the pain we feel and to share memories of the loved one so we can be on the road to the healing of spirit.
          Often, people who go to funerals to offer their sympathy to the relatives of the departed don’t exactly know what to say. They’re aware that they should say something deeply comforting, but when they see the tearful face of a grieving person, all words escape them. Anyone who is hurting will tell you that’s okay. You have already said a lot simply by making the effort to be on hand to share in the sorrow. All you need to do is hug the person. That will tell them you care, which is exactly what they need.
          But what about other grieving processes? What about the grieving a person has to work through while a loved one is still alive? That sort of grieving can be a lot more difficult to manage.
          I’m talking about the grieving you face when a loved one is slowly dying because of a devastating incurable disease, or is in a coma, or suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease which is ravaging a once alert and rich mind. That grief can be distressing because it is renewed every time you see your loved one. There is no closure, no final good-bye, no funeral to help heal wounds which remain raw, always near the surface.
          It is indeed a cruel time of life. You have to try to be optimistic while your loved one is slowly moving closer to the final exit. It is a lingering process when the beauty of life can be forgotten in the midst of painful confusion.
          Here again, friends and relatives often don’t know what to say so they simply stay away. What a terrible mistake! We all need someone with whom to share our pain, and that sharing need not be a tearful encounter. It can simply be sitting next to a friend, quietly being there in the moment.
          People grieving for loved ones still living can only survive if those around them support them. We should make time to call them on the phone, to visit them, to listen. It will mean the world to them, and could make the difference between total darkness and the strength to go on another day.
          As we age, we also must take the time to grieve our personal losses, the gradual ones, almost imperceptible at first, such as the loss of youthful skin, the loss of perfect vision, the loss of hair, the loss of pain-free joints, in short accumulated losses. If we don’t take the time to talk about these losses, even joke about them, we may end up depressed and unhappy.
          A few years back, I visited a favorite uncle who was hospitalized with heart disease. His life was becoming more and more constrained, yet he was always jovial. “I don’t waste time on what I can’t change,” he said, and then looked out the window. “See what a beautiful day this is!”
          Working through grief is accepting what we can’t change. I’m sure my uncle had some dark days, yet he made the effort to have a positive outlook despite his problems. I’m sure that’s the reasons everyone loved him.
          No matter the inevitable changes we all have to face, making a determined effort to concentrate on the other bountiful aspects of our lives may be the secret to replacing tears with a smile.   


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

You Might be a Boomer if .
If printed material keeps getting smaller.
If you remember when your mother gave you fifty cents and asked you to go get a loaf of bread at the corner store.
If you remember listening to your music on vinyl LPs.
If your hair stops growing where it used to and starts growing in all sorts of new places.
If you remember when long distance telephone calls were a luxury for most people.
If you remember that a meal in a good restaurant used to cost less than one at a fast-food place now costs.
If you remember when postage stamps cost 25 cents.
If you remember when car windshield wipers had only two settings.
If your grandmother did not wear shorts.
If you remember when kitchens did not have microwaves.
If you suffer from the empty nest syndrome.
If you wonder how your parents got so old.
If some of your childhood friends are dying.
If you understand that youve reached maturity.
If you know what AARP stands for.
If you know you no longer have all the answers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


The Art of Living – Part 11

Continuing the tenets of the little gem of a book I recently found in a second-hand bookstore, here are some more interesting ones.

-          Happiness is like perfume—you can’t spray it on others without getting some on yourself.

-          Happiness is found in the little things: a baby’s smile, a letter from a friend, the song of a bird, a light in the window.

-          Happiness comes upon us unawares while we are helping others.

-          Happiness comes from keeping busy; it is the key to happy leisure hours and retirement years.

-          Happiness does not depend upon a full pocketbook, but upon a mind full of rich thoughts and a heart full of rich emotions.

-          Happiness comes from giving gifts of the heart: love, kindness, joy, understanding, sympathy, tolerance, forgiveness.

-          Happiness comes from learning to love ourselves, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.

-          Happiness is guiding our lives instead of drifting.

-          Happiness is measured by the spirit in which we meet the problems of life.

Wise words indeed.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Art of Living – Part 1
 There’s a second-hand bookstore not too far from my house. I go in there from time to time to browse and see if I can uncover any gems. On a recent visit, I picked up a small book titled: The Art of Living which is essentially a depository of philosophical tenets to improve life. However, I have no idea who the writer and the publisher are since the page with that information is missing.
            In the book, I found the section Staying Young especially interesting, and I share some of it below.
<    - Stay young by remaining flexible, adaptable and open-minded. Do not permit your mental arteries to harden.
<    - Stay young by continuing to grow. You do not grow old, you become old by not growing.
<    - Stay young by keeping your mind alive and alert. Scientists have found that the ability to think does not decline with advancing age; the only difference may be a slight decrease in the speed of thinking.
<    - Stay young by forcing your mind out of old ruts. See new places, read new books, try new hobbies. Increase the depth of your life.
<    - Stay young by maintaining a cheerful attitude. Keep this verse from Proverbs in mind: A merry heart doeth good like medicine, but a broken spirit drieth up the bones.
      - Stay young by keeping constructively busy.
<    - Stay young by doing good. Work for worthy causes in your community.
<    - The art of staying young depends upon staying youthful on the inside, in mind, heart and spirit in defiance of gray hair on the outside. The Fountain of Youth is within us.
   Amen to that.                 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Darn Machine!
I think of myself as reasonably savvy when it comes to computers, however there are days when I want to scream. And I’m sure I’m not the only one! The screen freezes, the cursor doesn’t move, an on-screen picture disappears never to be seen again, or the printer tells me that I need a new ink cartridge although I replaced it a few days earlier, or so it seems. Computers may be able to do things we never imagined just a few years back, but they are machines, and as a truly computer savvy friend pointed out, “Machines break down. Period.”
Computers can have a mind of their own at times, and when I can’t solve the problem, I call a younger person, one born on the Internet as the saying goes, and I can usually find the answer.
Everything seems to be computerized these days from car engines to ovens while phones seem to be able to do everything but cook dinner! I still have a simple cell phone that I use for calling and texting when I’m away. I simply don’t feel the need, as most people seem to these days, to be connected to everything and everyone the moment I step out of my house. While it’s a simple unit, I still had been unable to set the time and date on it. When I told my grandson about it, it took him less than a minute to set everything by working some buttons. It amazed me. Of course, all the gadgets we have today are in no way mysterious for the young as they can sometimes be for the not-so-young.
To make our lives easier, we should all have a young child around to solve modern machine problems. Of course, children are not always patient with their elders, “Grandma, really? You don’t know how to do it?” And so it goes. Computers are second nature to them and are part of the school environment. In my day, way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I wrote essays by hand and studied Latin. A dead language is of little use to me today in my efforts to understand machines that may well take over the world!  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

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, September 28, 2016

The Casual Look
A friend recently invited me to the opera. We both enjoyed it immensely, but one thing that caught my eye was how people were dressed. It ran the gamut from a lady wearing a long sequined dress to a man showing up in shorts and a t-shirt. It seems to me that the proper attire should have been something at a mid-point like my friend and I were wearing: stylish suits.
            Styles have evolved over the years, and the casual look is certainly front and center these days. That’s a good thing otherwise we women would still be lacing up heavy corsets held up by whalebone under long bulky dresses. 
           People of a certain age remember when denim was used solely to provide overalls to farmers and jeans to cowboys. Today, men and women of all ages wear denim for play, for work or even as evening wear with the proper accessories.
          A while back, in an effort to outsmart the competition I suppose some jeans manufacturers began selling jeans with holes down the thighs with a bigger hole at the knee. Between you and me who in the world foresaw that it would become a hit among a certain portion of the population? The designer understood that some people need to stand out. What better way to do that than by wearing expensive jeans that look as though they had been mauled by a tiger! Nevertheless, that fad is still part of the fashion scene.
            Nothing is stagnant when it comes to fashion taste. That’s the way it should be because attitudes change. A few decades back, if a teenager had been seen wearing  jeans with holes, kind neighbors would have gotten together to buy the poor kid a pair of decent pants. Today, with the casual look very much ingrained in society, anything goes and no one seems to notice anymore.
            Perhaps it frees all of us, no matter our age. I certainly do blend in when I wear my warm comfy cotton top displaying paint stains of various colors! My grandmother would have made certain that top would be thrown out, but who knows I might start a new trend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Making a Statement
My retired neighbors are both in their early 60s. He has long gray hair and a white bear, always neatly trimmed. He used to have a gold stud in one ear, but now sports a diamond in each lobe. Of course, I am not sure that they are real diamonds, but they do shine. In any event, I assume he is trying to make a statement: Look at me, I may be aging but I can still look cool!
            Women make statements all the time with their jewelry, their hairstyles and the clothes they chose to wear. I think it’s about time men did the same. Of course, I don’t know that all men of a certain age would be comfortable with wearing jewelry in their ears! Nor would all men over 50 be willing to let their gray hair grow and then tie it in a pony tail. Yet, it is interesting that some of them want to make a statement which attests to the fact that they don’t see the need to follow the crowd.
            A nice young man of my acquaintance, i.e. my gorgeous grandson (of course, I’m not prejudiced!) had nice shoulder length blond hair. One day he decided to make a statement by shaving his head to donate the hair for a wig for a cancer patient. When I asked him what had prompted him to do that, he said that he knew a girl who was diagnosed with cancer and, although she was not in his school, he wanted to show that he cared. Now, that’s what I call making an impressive statement.
            I’ve always admired people who don’t follow the crowd, who are happy doing their own thing. A woman I know who just marked her 86th birthday celebrated by buying a new car. I love driving, she said, never had an accident and I don’t have any physical problem preventing me from having a driver’s license, so why not? Why not, indeed. She made a statement that age is not a reason to stop living.
            That should be everyone’s mantra!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Brave New World
In the last couple of decades, the world has changed drastically. One of the major new ways of the world is that devices of all sorts, i.e. machines, have invaded our lives. They have replaced humans in all spheres of daily living.
            Machines certainly make banking easier. They are a marvel when you travel and can access a machine to withdraw money from your bank account and receive it in the currency of the country in which you find yourself. No need to talk to a human teller. The machine is the teller.  
            Machines have also invading neighborhood grocery stores, not only by keeping track of inventories as items are sold but also by encouraging customers to scan their own purchases. Right now, there are only a few check-out points in each store for customers to add up their own purchases, but how long before there are no employees in grocery stores and we have to do everything ourselves? Or maybe grocery store clerks will soon be robots. One advantage, I guess, is that they don’t go on strike and they are not offended when people criticize them.
            Robots are already very much part of our lives, even if we do not necessarily see them. When you renew a prescription by phone, a robot rather than a human notes your request for the pharmacist. And I’m sure we’ve all received phone calls from robots. They’re used by stores to call customers to let them know that ordered items are now ready to be picked up. They have replaced humans in companies of all sorts, such as credit card issuers, as they try to sell you insurance or other products. One advantage for those who receive such calls is that you can simply hang up without hurting anyone’s feeling, something many people were reluctant to do when an actual person made sales calls. Of course, some still do.
            But my question is: how long before we have robots that can engage an actual human in a heated debate? Or have robots with the emotional dimension of humans? Boggle the mind, does it not? One thing is certain machines are taking over our lives little by little and will continue to do so at an even faster rate. 
            I find it all scary. When humans ruled the world, our private information was reasonably secure. Today, machines control information, communicate with each other, and never delete or update data. Case in point, after doing research on the Internet, your computer will be bombarded at nauseam by ads from the visited websites. Annoying to say the least.
            Of course, we still do have some measure of control. When we fill out some forms on the Internet, to prevent robots from accessing e-mail addresses, we have to prove we are not robots by inputting a series of numbers or letters that look fuzzy. While it’s not always easy to read those and we may need good eyeglasses, at least some information will not be broadcast.
            That is, of course, until robots can read through the fuzz. I’m sure someone somewhere is working on such a machine!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Looking around at today’s grandmothers, one can’t help but see how the passage of years has altered things. I mean, they don’t make grandmas like they used to. In my days, grandmas stayed at home and seemed to cook all day. By comparison, today’s grandma is out there in the world doing her own thing, from running a large corporation to doing open heart surgery and even running for President.
Yesterday’s grandma seemed to be forever wearing the “house dress” while today’s grandma blends in with the rest of the crowd in her silk suit or her jogging outfit. Yesterday’s grandma wore glasses. Chances are that today’s grandma wears contact lenses while her children get used to reading glasses.
While yesterday’s grandma had white hair, today’s grandma runs to her colorist as soon as grey roots begin to show. And that’s not the only time she runs. Keeping in shape by walking, jogging, cycling or swimming is a must for most of today’s grandmas. In comparison yesterday’s grandmas were too busy keeping in shape doing housework without the help of today’s many labor-saving devices and taking care of the yard and garden to ever consider  the idea of a gym.
And that’s the big difference between today and yesterday. Housework can be accomplished so much faster and efficiently today than in the past, and is generally more shared with the man of the house that in the past. At least, it seems to me.
That’s a good thing because it frees grandma to continue her work outside the home beyond the normal retirement age which will help her live longer. Research is indeed showing a strong association between continuing to work and health. Why? Because work gives everyone a purpose and a strong social network. Of course, doing volunteer work produces similar benefits and it is something in which every retiree can become involved. Grandmas and grandpas.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Marvel of Grandchildren                             
I was visiting my son and his family when I had a fall with my face coming in direct contact with the hardwood floor. There was a lot of blood and a bump quickly appeared just above my nose, however an emergency room visit confirmed that there was no damage, except in my appearance. The big problem was that I soon looked like a racoon on a bender.
          I was having breakfast with my son the next morning when my grandson appeared. He took one look at me and started to laugh. He had never seen two very black eyes on anyone before, and it tickled his fancy.
          The boy had simply reacted to the reality before him: I did look funny. That’s the marvel of children, isn’t it? They say it like it is. No sugar coating, just the truth as they see it. We all need them in our lives.
To stay young we have to surround ourselves with our grandchildren as often as we can manage it. They see things simply, laugh easily, even at their grandparents, and don’t complicate things as we adults often do. It has been my experience that grandchildren make you smile and laugh, warm your heart and force you to be young, to sing, to be silly without any need to apologize. And grandchildren are nurtured by the love and attention of grandparents. People always remember fondly the time spent with their grandparents as they were maturing. Two generations that complement each other perfectly.
As Sam Levenson said: The simplest toy, one which even the youngest can operate is called a grandparent.
           Don’t forget that this year Grandparents Day is September 11. (It’s always the first Sunday following Labor Day.) It honors grandparents for their contribution to our lives, and  gives grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children. Let’s celebrate.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

On Being Positive
People who must use walkers in their daily activities are often seen shopping, and they do it without problems. They have a bag at the front of the walker in which to deposit their purchases and thus can remain independent.
          A few days ago as I was grocery shopping, I saw a lady pushing a walker down an aisle while also pulling a shopping cart. She had already deposited several items in the cart and was adding to her purchases. As it was a lot work for her, I offered to help. She smiled and replied: “Thank you, dear. You have your own shopping to do. I can manage. Do it all the time.”
          I was really impressed by her positive attitude. I did the rest of my shopping slowly while keeping an eye on the woman. She managed well despite some physical limitation and has obviously learned to make the best of her situation to remain independent.
          At the cash, the bag boy who knew her by name helped her to empty her cart, then carried her purchases to a waiting taxi. I wondered if someone would be waiting at home to help her with the groceries. No doubt the cabbie, who also seemed to know her, would do just that.
          What I found nice was that through it all, she was pleasant and grateful. So much better than some people with mobility issues who seem to be always cursing their fate while complaining. Makes life so much less enjoyable for everyone.
          A nurse I know told me recently that she takes grumpy patients to task for their attitude. She says that a positive outlook can have a positive effect on health, something she tries to instill in the patients who are rude.
          And the amazing thing is that a smile costs nothing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back in the Day
Adults have a reputation for boring kids with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were back in the day. What with walking twenty-five miles to school every day...uphill... barefoot...yadda, yadda, yaddaHowever, now it is hard to not notice how the youth of today has it easy compared to when we were growing up! I wonder if they appreciate it.
= We grew up without the Internet.  If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up, in the card catalog!! 
= There was no email!!  We had to actually write somebody a letter with a pen! Then had to walk all the way to the corner to put it in the mailbox!  Stamps were 10 cents!
= There were no MP3's or iTunes!  If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio. There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our cars to play our favorite songs, and when ejected the tape would come undone rendering it useless.
= We didn't have cell phones. If you left the house, you just didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". Think of the horror of not being in touch with someone 24/7!  And we didn't have Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was!  It could be your school, your boss, your bookie, the collection agent ... You had to pick it up to find out!
 = We didn't have any fancy video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics!  We had the Atari 2600!  With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'.  Your screen guy was a little square!  You actually had to use your imagination. 
= You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! When it came to channel surfing you had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel.
=There was no Cartoon Network! You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning.  Unlike today’s spoiled kids we had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons.
 = And we didn't have microwaves.  If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! 
=And our parents told us to stay outside and play all day long.  No electronics to soothe and comfort.  And if you came back inside you were doing chores!
As for car seats, mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on.  If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place! 
            The question then is: How long would today’s kids last in the “back then” world?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Beware of Cons

As I was happily doing a bit of shopping in the cool air at my local mall recently a man approached me to ask for money. I assumed the man to be in his late fifties, early sixties. He was well dressed, well groomed and appeared to be in fine shape. His graying hair gave him a sophisticated look. He told me someone had stolen his wallet and that he had absolutely no money to get back home on the bus.

Being at an age that leads me to be somewhat weary of strangers wanting money—any amount—I told him that unfortunately I was broke myself. He then boldly suggested that we might go to an ATM where I could get cash so I could give him some money. I firmly told him no and walked away, but I did keep an eye out. Women of varying ages seemed to be giving him $5 and $10. He was after all a poor boomer who had been victimized by a thief. Who could say no!

A bit later as I approached the ATM at one end of the mall, I saw an older woman, no doubt well into her eighties, trying to get money while the well groomed con man stood close by keeping an eye on her bank card and certainly her PIN. Using my cell phone I dialed 911.

Luckily a patrol car must have been around the corner because two large policemen quickly accosted the man. After some verbal exchange they took him away. I later learned that the man had been sought by authorities for milking older women of money. Just goes to show you that con men come in every age group.

I am firm in not believing every sad story. I let my instincts guide me and I am rarely wrong. Of course, for me the best way to help others is to give to recognized charities. That way I’m sure the money goes to help those who really need it. Not con men.



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Dog Days
The stores may be full of reminders that the start of school is not far away, for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere there is still a lot of summer left as we bask in the dog days. Typically, the dog days are mid-July to September 2, the hottest time of the year. Some believe the term dog days originated with the Romans who were convinced it was a period of the year when dogs became mad and wine turned sour, a time when man was plagued with disease and discomfort.
         Mankind is still plagued with the discomfort of heat and humidity during the dog days of summer even more so now with global warming, just ask those who work outside. However, not everyone is complaining. Some people just love the summer heat, the higher the thermometer reading the better. Those people are easy to spot: during the dog days they vacation in Florida or they don a sweater when the temperature drops a few degrees; the latter is especially true of older individuals. Although I’m not as young as I used to be, this definitely is not for me. Yet.
        Those of us who endure the dog days of summer more or less graciously have a tendency to forget that in a few short months, the temperature will dip to an indecent level. When reminded of that fact, we quickly realize that this is the time to make the most of summer.
         But the dog days are brief indeed and we’ll get to welcome fall before we know it. I personally like experiencing different seasons, but it’s not something all countries get to see. I recently read a comment by an African woman who cannot understand how people can survive in snow and ice. We all get used to our own world, don’t we?
          When I get older I may need to wear a sweater during the dog days as an older relative had on when I visited her recently, but in the meantime if I could spend the dog days in a swimsuit I would. Some people do, of course, but they have the shape for it. In my case it might well make people think that the dog days do indeed bring discomfort to mankind!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Life as Knitting

Recently I came across this poem by the famous poet, Anonymous. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a nice metaphor for life. After all, just like knitting, our lives are constantly changing and evolving, and this relentless motion colors our moods and emotions. We don’t know what the final piece will be, but one thing is certain, no matter who we are, it will be worth being on display for all to see.

Life is like knitting

God gives us the wool and the needles saying:

“Knit as best you can, one stitch at a time”

A stitch is one day on the clock of time

As you go, you knit one, you purl one

When stitches are dropped, they are worked back up

The wool we have been given is multicolored

Pink for our joys; black for our sorrows;

Gray for our doubts; green for our hopes;

Red for our love; blue for our desires;

And white for our faith.

How many stitches will we knit? Only God knows.


Summer is here, so I’m taking a few weeks off to enjoy it all. I’ll be back in August.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What’s your Yardstick?
In my view, the only way to deal with age is to lie about it. Of course, you can’t fool relatives or friends who know you well. So every year they send a cardeither an e-card or a traditional one sent by mailpraising the fact that you’ve reached another milestone and make it a point to display the correct number in as big a font as possible. I suspect that they simply want to point out that they are not there yet.
            We all age no matter how we feel (or lie) about it. Would we want to be younger? I suppose most of us feel that it’d be a good thing.
            The mother of a friend just celebrated her 90th birthday, and someone asked her that exact question: Would you want to be younger? In her wisdom she answered: Not especially. Of course, she would prefer that her body not be on its decline, but she said that she was proud of what she had done and had seen. It had been her life, her time. “Younger folks will see other things, live in a world quite different from mine, I’m sure,” she said, “but the important thing to consider is whether they will be happy. I was happy. That’s my yardstick.”
            Wonderful perspective, don’t you think? We should spend less time worrying about the number marking the years we have lived and more time making the most of our lives at this point in time. Sure, aging is not always easy, but to me it’s a time when it’s easier to accept what may not be perfect in our lives so that we can concentrate on the reasons we should feel blessed.
            Counting blessings instead of birthdays is a nice yardstick, don’t you think??

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

We are all aware of the many health benefits of physical exercise, but what about weightlifting? Is it dangerous as we get older?
          The American College of Sports Medicine is recommending that adults aged 50 and up include strength training as part of their exercise routine because it can help prevent osteoporosis, increase bone density and improve cognitive functions.
          As it builds balance and flexibility, regular exercise is linked to the prevention of aging-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, back pain, joint pain and cardiovascular disease. But while weightlifting (strength training) improves muscle strength thus lessening the risk of hip fractures, it has its own unique benefits in that it can prevent falls and make it easier to engage in daily activities as we age.
          A University of Vermont study found that after 12 weeks of weightlifting, a group of healthy seniors aged 65 to 79 were able to walk almost 40% farther. After just eight weeks of weightlifting, a group of seniors ages 87 to 96 improved their muscle strength by nearly 180%.
          If you have never engaged in strength training, you should make certain that you know how to go about it so you don’t end up injuring yourself. It is a good idea to start by seeking the advice of a professional to learn the correct techniques. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Identity Theft
While new technology is increasingly part of our lives, hackers seem to be more and more devious. The result: identify theft is becoming more and more common. In 2014 alone, some 12.7 million Americans had their identities stolen.
            Gaining back your life after being victimized by identity thieves is extremely difficult, says Robert Elder, the CEO of Elder Insurance Services. He advises that prevention is key. Here are some of his suggestions for minimizing your risks:
<          - Only carry essential documents with you. Leave extra credit cards, birth certificate or passport at home while on daily outings.
<           - Be careful when giving out personal information over the phone. Identity thieves pose as bank personnel or government agencies to try and get information. Elderly people are especially vulnerable to these types of scams. Discuss it with the older people in your life.
<           - Your trash is their treasure. Be sure to shred receipts, credit card offers, bank statements, cancelled checks or any other sensitive information before throwing it away.
<           - Keep a list of credit card numbers as well as telephone numbers in a safe place at home so that if your wallet is lost or stolen you can quickly contact the issuers.
<           - Passwords and PINs should be a random mix of letters and numbers so that they are harder to figure out. 
<            - Get coverage. Many insurance companies now offer protection should you fall victim to identity theft.
               - Keep new checks out of the mail. After ordering them, it is best to pick them up at the bank instead of having them mailed to your home. It prevents them from being stolen, altered and cashed by identity thieves.
           Great advice indeed!