Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Test of Time

I think my family is pretty wired. We only have two cell phones, but five computers for three people. When my grandchildren came to visit, they each brought their Nintendo Ds, a great babysitter on long trips.

So, it caught me as strange that the five of us (two grandparents, father, two children, ages 5 and 9) could sit down over two nights and play a game of Monopoly. At one point, my grandson had lots of houses, but very little cash and we laughed at how thoroughly modern he was.

As we close out the old year, I’ve been wondering about those cultural icons that survive the test of time. In some strange way, Lucy hangs in there. I wouldn’t necessarily turn to the Lucy show, but if I was bored and flipping channels, I might stop by for a thirty minute visit. She still is one of the best comic geniuses of all time. The same can be said for Carol Burnett.

I had to look up a recipe for cooking acorn squash this afternoon and of all the cookbooks I have, pulled out the Fannie Farmer one that was originally published in 1898. Mine was dated 1965, but it’s still my favorite for the basics.

As you’re celebrating the New Year, take a moment to share about the tried and true that hangs around year after year, offering comfort and joy.

Here’s to a wonderful New Year for everyone around the world.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Credit Card Trauma

I received a strange letter in the mail letter yesterday. It seems that a Chase credit card I’ve had since 1978 was cancelled because it hadn’t been used in a couple of years. It hadn’t been used because it had a lousy rate. I kept it because I’d had it a long time and wanted to show my credit history.

My first ‘professional’ job was working for a credit company. I used to watch women come in and try to buy furniture on credit, but they hadn’t established any in their own name and couldn’t qualify. I made a promise to always have credit in my own name. In fact, when I married my current husband, I was sent a new application to include my new husband on the card. I refused to fill it out. I called them up, explained I was the same person I had been before the name change, had never missed a payment and there was no reason to believe I couldn’t have the card solely in my name. They backed off.

Women today still don’t have credit in their own name. If they become single through a divorce or death, it’s like they don’t exist. It’s a shame.

I called up Chase this afternoon and worked my way up the chain of command until I talked to Steven. When I explained this was my credit history and begged a little bit, the card was reinstated.

I know this is has happened to others since I’ve been reading about it on blogs and forums today. My suggestion is to give them a call. I don’t know that you can get your card reinstated, but there’s no harm in trying.

I was assured my credit score wouldn’t be affected, but I’m not convinced. Your credit score is based, in part, on the ratio of credit available to you and your outstanding debt. If they cancel a credit card, that ratio could drop and change your score. In today’s world it’s not worth the risk.
For more information about cancelling a card card, read the following:
I just saw this article and want to pass it along to people who have had their credit cards cancelled.

Return to Quiet

First of all, let me say, I’ve been a reasonably functioning adult for many years. I raised two children, worked, went to school and was a contributing member of society.

So, why is that when my two grandchildren come to down, I’m barely able to function? Don’t get me wrong. I keep them fed, clothed, bathed and entertained. That’s the problem. When I was a parent 100% of the time, I didn’t feel the need or desire to entertain my children. Words like, “go watch TV,” might have been uttered from my lips. Now, as a grandparent, I am trying to come up with new and exciting things for us to do the whole time they are here. As a result, my work, and this blog all went by the wayside for a week. I’m not sorry.

They left last night and there a stillness that has nestled in the corners that I’m not yet used to. I’ll be back to normal. I miss the little voices, the smell of cleanly washed hair and the special energy that comes from having children in the house again.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Looking Back

I don't bake much anymore. The last time I made homemade bread, it got moldy before it was eaten. That took care of that.

I still like to make rolls for Christmas morning. Usually, it's sticky pecan rolls, but this year I decided cinnamon rolls. I've used the same recipe for almost thirty years, and it was fun to look at the ingredients through the splatters of time.

I don't have a mixer any more. I just couldn’t justify the cost when I bake so little. I don't have a sewing machine any more. Same reason. After making all my own clothes and home decorating, when the old machine died, I knew that phase of my life was over.

I usually think about the future. But, it's been interesting thinking back about times long gone. Not happy or sad, just interesting.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Solitaire Anyone?

There was report last week stating 63% of Americans play video games. Since we don't have a video game through our television, I assumed smugly, they weren't talking about me. Oops, that figure includes people who play solitaire.

If there's a twelve step program, I'm here to state I'm a solitaire addict. I'm making that declaration in the hope I can get on the solitaire abstinence wagon. It starts out innocently enough. I start my computer in the morning, and as I’m still taking my first sip of coffee, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I play a game of solitaire to wake up. I then read my email, and start about the day’s business.

The problem occurs later in the morning. I’ll sit down to start writing. And there it is, a bad case of writer’s block. The empty screen stares back at me. My mind goes blank. What do I write? Where do I start?

And then, before I even realize it’s happened, I’ve dragged down the menu, clicked on Solitaire and there I am, wasting my time. I will often play until I’ve won. Thank God, I win a lot. The problem is, my mind goes numb and it hasn’t helped my writer’s block at all.

Today, we’re working on changing things. I know the writer’s block looms around every period. Today, I have a plan. Instead of playing a game of solitaire to unblock, I’m going to paint. It may still be a drain on my writing time, but I’m hoping the shift to a creative outlet will help get the right side of my brain juices flowing. At the very least, I’ll have a painting to show for my effort.

Just curious if I’m the only junky in the bloggershere or if there are other closet gamers?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I wrote in my last blog about 100 extra calories a day adding ten pounds a year to your weight. As I’ve grappled with my own self-indulgence, I’ve been struck by how it relates to other articles I’ve read recently.

Did you know that over half of the world’s population exists on one bowl of rice a year? I read that last summer when gas and grain shot up. We forget as Americans how quickly we’ve shifted from surviving at near starvation levels to an absolute orgy of options. Choices abound, not only in food, but in other commodities.

Recently, there were reports of a band of parents writing to toy manufacturers to pull back on their advertising. They explained they couldn’t afford the toys their children wanted, had a very hard time saying ‘no,’ and wanted the toy people to help them by not thrusting tantalizing commercials for frequent viewing.

Haven’t the last few years been an exercise in indulgence? Whether we’re talking about food, homes, or toys, we’ve allowed ourselves to get caught up in a feeding frenzy of “I want, therefore I deserve.” Of course, we have an economic system that is based on feeding our constant desire to indulge at every whim. Americans work more hours per capita than any other group of people. We live in heightened state of stress to make money to feed the python of consumerism. We suffer from obesity and other lifestyle related ailments because we haven’t learned to say no.

Where do we go from here? One thing is clear, we can’t continue on this path. Our bodies are ill, children spoiled and our spirit is broken. We have an increased chasm between the haves and the have-nots, but everyone can be in debt to pretend they have it all. No one knows what the next couple of years are going to bring. One thing is for sure, we shouldn’t return to our old ways. We need to find another way of defining success, and what it means to be a proud people.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The 100 Calorie Dilemma

I read something earlier this week that has stayed with me. Basically it said that eating even 100 calories a day over your allotment can had up to 10 pounds a year.

Ouch! that hurt. I'm notorious for looking at a sweet or a treat and saying to myself, "It's only a hundred calories. What harm can it be?"

I can live with my weight where it is, but really don't want to add more. How do I now shift my desire away from my little 100 calorie treats?

I'm not sure what the answer, but it's definitely got me thinking.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Practice What You Preach

I’ve been very lucky have a source of steady income over the last twenty years. It’s allowed me to do a lot things I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise; get another degree and start three businesses, for example. Like so many other people around the country, I can no longer count on it to provide what I need to pay my bills. My private practice as a career counselor is slow because people can’t afford the price for individual coaching. I need to find additional sources of income. Last week I spent time thinking about what I’m really good at and where there is a need that I might be able to fill.

While people can’t afford to pay for individual counseling services, I can utilize the current technology to help people at either no cost to them or for a very small investment find work. While this blog is still devoted to retirement life, I want to broaden the scope of what that entails. I will now be talking more about creating income in this new economy. (I started to write “find a job”, but I think people need to throw the doors open to finding income anyway they can-legal and moral ways, of course.)

I read the following this morning. It’s an excerpt from an article that appeared in a silicon valley newspaper discussing the difficulties young people are having finding work right out of college.

"I feel like I put in all the work [in school] to not have a job,"said Jillian Crawford, 25, who's been looking for a marketing jobwith a tech company since she graduated with honors from San JoseState University in June.Ms. Crawford has applied to about 25 marketing jobs withoutreceiving much of a response. She remains committed to finding a jobin Silicon Valley and would be dismayed if she had to lookelsewhere.

This is a problem many college graduates are facing, along with their parents who are having to open their home back up, so these young people don’t end up on the street.

There are no easy answers to the economic and labor problems facing the country right now. I believe, as an individual, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can find work.

What else might Jillian do to find a job? The article discussed how companies in silicon valley are more apt to hire people with experience who can hit the ground running. This provides the first clue as to what Ms. Crawford needs to do. It will not help to go back to school to get a graduate degree and it will not benefit her to take a retail job with the hope of getting marketing work later on. What she needs to do is find a way to get experience anyway she can. If that means taking a part time job to pay the bills and volunteering time in marketing, then that what she should do.

Here a some suggestions for Jillian to get experience and exposure. First, she should contact the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. Speaking to the executive director, tell him/her she is a recent graduate with a degree in marketing and she would like to get involved in the organization. She could inquire if they have any programs for recent graduates, or if they have a mentoring program. She can ask for names of members who might provide advice. She can also join in online professional groups such as Linkedin to connect with people in the profession.

Jillian can contact the San Jose State Career Center to see how to get names of alumni. She should start developing a list of people who graduated with a degree in marketing. In addition, review the list of 25 companies she applied to, identify the ten she would most like to work for, and start to contact people from San Jose State who work for these companies.

Arranging for thirty minute meetings, Jillian can explain how she applied for a marketing job, and ask for their advise about becoming a better candidate. Ask them to review her resume. It sounds weak if she didn’t get interviews, and there may be things she can do to spice it up. She wants to talk to as many people as she can asking them for advice, information and referrals (AIR).

She also might contact the local chamber(s) of commerce. She can explain her situation and see if they have suggestions of people she can contact for volunteer or paid work. She can contact independent marketing consultants to see if they need an assistant.

Jillian may also try contacting non-profits in her area and see about volunteering in their marketing department. Organizations still need to get their message out. There will continue to be a need for people with good skills.

She needs to be willing to try other activities besides answering ads. If she is willing to get out, meet people in the profession, do volunteer work to get experience, she will eventually be able to find a job in her field.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Retirement, Six weeks and Counting

My husband and I have are invited to the party tomorrow of another retiring co-worker. Since my husband was the first of the group to leave, it gave me a moment to pause about the changes in our life since then.

Actually, sleeping in the same bed together has been nice after twenty-five years of sleeping alone. It hasn’t been the adjustment I thought it would be.

We used to eat dinner at 4:00 and have now pushed it back to 5:30. I’m absolutely famished at 4:00, have a snack, which I’m not crazy about.

I hate him sitting in the office during the day while I’m trying to work. BUT, if I haven’t run across him in a couple of hours, I wonder where he is and take off searching. I’ve decided a cute little bell around his neck might be nice. I can always know where he is by his little tinkle.

Oh, and I haven’t watch HGTV in a month. It was my time filler. You know, those moments when you don’t know what to do and you’re too lazy to find something, so it’s easy to sit down, turn on the TV and veg.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Yes, we finally got the phone back. It was a simple switch that needed to be changed at the back of our house. OMG, I can't believe all that hassle. I guess the new world of technology is difficult for all of us, even those who work in it.

If someone asked me if I had a good life, I would have to say yes. I'm not one of those people who walk outside looking for a brick to fall on my head. But, this is getting uncanny. Our six year old tv died yesterday. Notice what I said-six years old! It's not like it's even on all of the time. As you can see it's huge.I'm not sure what I hate more, paying for a new tv or putting this one in a landfill somewhere.

The repairman said it was a blown color tube and they can' be replaced. My husband found some on e-bay, but the repairman said it would cost $500 to install each of the three tubes.

This is ridiculous. I'm really not taking it too personally-really, but doesn't it bother you that a television that is six years old died, can't be fixed and has to be thrown in the junk heap? This wasn't a cheap television. It just seems to me that something has to change. I'm not sure where or how, but something has to change.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Can You Hear Me NOW?

Raise your hand if you still use a landline phone. I'm guessing the only people who raise their hand are those who are over thirty-five.

I was a late adopter of the cell phone. They caught me at an in-between phase. My children were out of the house, so I didn't need to keep track of them. I worked from home and I didn't do a lot of driving in the city. I finally got a cell phone two years ago. Rumor has it I was the last person in Southern California to actually own one.

I'm still not wired. I only give the cell number to family members and if I'm meeting someone for coffee. The number isn't on my business card and I'd rather leave it that way. I don't even have a camera on my cell. The worst part is I only have 450 minutes a month.

I have been without my landline phone for thirteen days. Ugh! I won't go into detail about how it happened. Suffice it to say, we were trying to streamline our operation, acquire fiber optics and eliminate a second phone line. Somehow there was a SNAFU and I'm in a desparate situation.

I've used up all my cell phone minutes and have spent at least two hours a day on the phone with Verizon trying to get it resolved. Tech support has been very pleasant, apologetic and unable to solve the problem. The worst thing about the whole situation is I can never talk to the same person twice. So every single time I call the toll-free number, I have to explain the situation all over again.

My husband admires my ability to stay cool and calm. I got emotional last Wednesday and the tech hung up on me. I've learned that they are the link to my getting a number and I'm nice or else.

Now, in the total horrors that is occurring in the world right now, I realize that being without a phone seems really petty. On the other hand, there are certain things we expect in life. A phone is one of them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What the Elderly Really Think

I had one final presentation scheduled, which was last night. I was a bit nervous about this one. It was promoted to baby boomers and their parents, but was held in an independent/assisted living facility. I knew most of the attendees were going to be older than the baby boomers I normally talk to.

What was I going to say? My normal words of wisdom seemed silly and trite to this group. As I was setting up and they were getting comfortable, I overheard one lady say, “I’d like to know the myths about retirement.”

“Ah, ha, that’s where I’ll start,” I concluded.

After a wonderful introduction, I asked, “What are the myths about retirement and aging?” What followed was a lively discussion of the misperception and irritations that are felt by the over 50 and 75 crowd. Ultimately, the myths that life is either a ‘happy ever after’ stroll on the beach or a immediate collapse into physical decline are both inaccurate. We all agreed with the frustration that advertisers and manufactures have written us off unless it is for drugs or medical related items.

We concluded that life after work and raising a family is neither better nor worse than it had been before. It is different. What surprised me was the amount of passion they displayed. There was a desire these people had to let the world know they have thoughts, feelings and lives as profound as younger people.

I have created a model for meaningful aging. We spent the rest of our time discussing the model. I asked for their opinions about what I had researched. They agreed with the concepts I presented. They also provided some additional thoughts, I hadn’t considered.

For example, I discuss how staying connected is so important as we get older. The youngster of the group, a 62 year old who is recovering from a stroke, shared how being connected can be a detriment. She has been welcomed into the community, but is much younger than the other residents. She feels a need to push herself, get back to work, develop new relationships and take risks. She confided how the residents had embraced her and provided a wonderfully safe place to be and how hard it was to leave that environment to go back into the world.

My grandparents had all died before I was born, so I didn’t grow up around elderly people. As a result, I always felt slightly uncomfortable in their presence. In the last couple of years, in part because of my work, I’ve been around more people who are in their eighties and above. Guess what? They’re just like us. They have charm, wit, humor, and insight. They want to be valued and acknowledged.

While I started off feeling a bit nervous, the night proved to be delightful. We all shared and participated. It was a wonderful experience.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back from the...

After two weeks of presentations and conferences, life is returning to normal. Or not.

One of the things I encourage new retirees to do is establish a routine. If you want to sleep until 9:00, read the paper over a leisurely breakfast, that’s fine. Be consistent. A routine brings order and makes it easier to explore and create a new life.

My husband is establishing somewhat of a routine. After twenty-five years of working nights, I was concerned he would get up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, be up for a few hours and then back to bed for another few hours. That was normal when he had a vacation.

As soon as he retired, he forced himself to stay in bed and sleep through the night. He’s avoided the temptation of taking naps in the day, which would make the previous scenario harder to do.

I wasn’t expecting my own routine to be so disrupted. It’s totally thrown me in a tailspin. I normally wake at 6:00 am and changing from daylight savings time hasn’t helped, since I now wake at 4:00, 4:30 or 5:00. The plan is to fix a cup of coffee, go in the office, read emails, take quiet time to journal, mediate and read inspirational books. This is followed by thirty minutes of yoga, and then breakfast spent reading the paper. All of this occurred before my husband arrived home from work.

I struggle with my morning now. I’m not fitting my quiet or yoga time into the schedule. We take a walk every morning, so that helps, but I’m still not in the flow.

I knew our evening habits would change. We’ve gone from eating dinner at 4:00 to 5:30-6:00. Of course, that has affected my working after dinner.

None of this is my husband’s fault. It’s not that he demands I cook him breakfast or anything like that. In fact, he’s just a dream, for the most part. He’s doing most of the cleaning, laundry and a lot of cooking. He keeps himself busy and doesn’t try to take me away from my activities. But, he’s around, when he wasn’t before. That presence has changed things.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Times, They are 'a Changin'

I just read about a man who was recently laid off after working for a food company as a salesman for twenty-four years at The Boomer Chronicles.

The first time I was confronted, as a career counselor, with this type of situation, was in the early 90’s. I was called in to speak to a group of laid off aerospace workers who had lost their jobs during the post cold war defense downsizing. They were all men, mostly professionals, engineers, accountants and managers. The loss they felt was inconsolable.

It was the beginning of trend that continues today. Prior to that time, it was common for blue collar workers to be laid off. That marked the beginning of lay offs of professions. A trend that continues to this day.

A few years later, I went through a similar situation. With a partner, I started a career center. I had arrived. I had become who I wanted to become. Then one day, she proclaimed she wanted to dissolve the partnership. I was devastated.

People don’t understand. Yes, you lose you livelihood and that’s scary as can be. Many people also lose their sense of identity. We are a society that defines ourselves by our work and as wage earners. If you take that away, there is a complete lose of self.

It’s hard to recover, but people do. People can move to the other side and discover a whole new way of being. They do find other jobs and move on. It’s not easy. It can be incredibly painful.

I fell into a depression that lasted eighteen months. Slowly, I learned about a process I now teach to help people heal and become whole again.

The next few years are going to test the resiliency of a lot of people. Dreams and expectations are going to be challenged. Ultimately, we’re going to have to learn how to function with less than we imagined.

In all of this, there is still opportunity. There is opportunity to come together as families and communities. There is opportunity to reevaluate what is truly important to individuals and to our country. There is an opportunity to redefine work and its role in our lives. I’m hoping there is also an opportunity for companies to redefine what they are all about. Is there something beyond the bottom line? Stay tuned.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Half Full Glass

I just finished sweeping the chards of glass off the floor. My beloved gallon jar used for making sun tea slipped from my fingers as I reached to take it out of the refrigerator. Of course, my first reaction was, “Oh, sh..!”

As my husband arrived with the vacuum to retrieve the slivers, I commented, “At least it wasn’t full of tea.”

He then responded in his sardonic voice, “There you go again seeing the glass (in this case jar) is always half full.”

I am a half-full kind of gal. I write this as I sit with a sewer system that is backed up since yesterday, waiting for the beloved “Joe the Plummer” to come replace the fifty year old sewer pipes. My husband cleared the hillside they have dig up early this week. We’re intending to replant with drought tolerant plants. The good news is we haven’t planted yet, so they aren’t going to have to distroy new bushes and shrubs.

Last year we our flight to Lisbon was cancelled. We didn’t get a new flight for twelve hours. As a result, we arrived in Lisbon at 10:00 in the morning instead of 4:00 in the afternoon. Had we arrived at 4:00, we would have had to try to find our hotel in Evora, fifty miles away in the dark. Initial disappointment turned into a godsend.

Psychologists now think people are either born with an optimistic or pessimistic disposition. I have long given up trying to figure what part of our personality is choice or predetermined by genetics. I feel blessed that no matter how bad the circumstance, I’m ultimately able to find the silver lining.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Successful Aging

What does aging successfully look like? For me, it means being able to stay active, engaged and healthy until the end. Fantasy? Impossible? High unlikely, you say?

Actually, according to a massive multi-disciplined study sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, it’s not far-fetched. John W. Rowe, M.D. and Robert L. Kahn, Ph.D. document the study and results in the book Successful Aging. This is easy reading and very informational, designed to change our ideas about what aging is all about.

The primary conclusions are the older we get, the less genetics plays a role and the more environment and lifestyle choices matter. That’s the good and bad news. You can’t just blame your parents any more. I think we have to tread carefully not to blame the victim, but we have control over our aging.

Another important finding is the body starts to repair itself immediately from poor choices. I was a smoker most of my adult life. In the ten years since I quit smoking, my chances of getting heard disease and stroke have diminished to the same as someone who never smoked. If I survive another five years of not getting lung cancer, my chances of getting it the future are the same as someone who never smoked.

No matter what you’ve done, you get a second chance. That’s certainly not permission to make poor choices, just because you can reverse the effects. However, since most of us have eaten poorly, and over indulged in many substances through the years, it’s nice to know you can start right now to make positive changes.

The most important thing you can do, besides quitting smoking if you still do, is to get off the couch and start moving, according to the study. It’s more important to get exercise than what you eat, or drink. Physical activity helps your body, your mental functioning, and you emotional well-being. You can start small and whatever changes you make, will have a positive impact on your life.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who is making the transition into elderhood, however you define it. I guarantee you’ll learn something that you can easily implement into you life to enhance you aging successfully.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Night on the Town

I went to see Ed Bagley Jr. last night. It was actually a monumental event. For twenty-five years, if I wanted to do something in the evening, I had to go alone or call a girl friend. It was the first time my husband and I did something together in the evening on a weekday. That was nice.

Ed Bagley Jr you're asking. Both my husband and I are interested in environmental issues. We are certainly not hard-core environmentalist, as I've mentioned before. The talk was sponsored by the Discovery Center which promotes the love of science.

I was a bit concerned Ed Bagley Jr had become a caricature of himself. The green geek riding along the Los Angeles roads on his bicycle oblivious to the realities of city living. I actually found him to be passionate, which I knew, incredibly informed on all aspects of the environmental world and surprisingly apolitical.

This man has been in the environmental game for a long time and has learned to handle himself deftly in a crowd. He was speaking to the choir, but I got the feeling he would have been equally adept with group of coal burning utility owners.

For example, he didn't spend a lot of time talking about the climate change. Instead, he focused on the age-old concerns of water and air pollution. Remember those.

He wasn't all doom and gloom. He stated we were making lots of headway in these areas. For example, Los Angeles has four times as many cars on the road as it did in the 1970's, but one-half the pollution. That's progress. He also discussed the rivers that have been cleaned up in the twenty-five years, without negating the work that still needs to be done.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Morro Bay

My husband and I returned from a few days at Morro Bay on the central California Coast. It was perfect. The weather was mild. We spend most of our time looking at birds; pelicans, heron, egrets and of course, sea gulls. Sea lions entertained tourists and annoyed the locals. At least six otters guarded the entry to the bay. We took hundreds of photos. I love digital cameras!!!!

We didn’t watch the news once, but did peak at the newspaper that was delivered everyday to our doorstep. There is something so amazing about being in nature. Whether it’s walking in a forest or sitting by the beach, it’s so much harder to be anxious, angry or fearful. Nature is like taking a tranquilizer. Whether it helps put everything in perspective, or the sounds and sights calm the nervous system, it’s easier to be in the moment and not fret about what’s going on.

We know one thing for sure. The current financial situation isn’t going to be over this week or next. If you find yourself feeling more stressed than normal, find the time to take a walk in nature.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finance as Entertainment Doesn't Work

My friend picked me up this morning to go paint. She announced the long deserved trip she was planning with her husband up to Napa was put on hold. He's freaking out about the markets. Later, in class she mentioned the first thing she does when she gets up in the morning is turn on the tv to see what is happening on the markets. Turn it OFF!

We're all scared. And yes, it is a bit like watching a wreck. It becomes hypnotizing. Just because it's compelling, doesn't mean it's healthy and we need to do it.

I worked through three or four major recessions as a career counselor. In fact, my husband was unemployed during the recession of 1982. I used to tell clients to not open the paper. In those days, one needed the paper to look at the want ads. Our little brains just love to buy into the concept of 'the sky is falling.'

The sky may be falling. Our job is to stay calm. Let it run it's course and then figure out what to do. Allowing yourself to get crazy doesn't help you and it doesn't help the country.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Retirement Begins

I started this blog as a way to share my own journey as my husband makes the transition into retirement. At the same time, I wanted to share whatever words of wisdom I have about this process. It’s an interesting tightrope to walk between sharing who you are and what you know.

On Monday, the stock market took and nose dive. Tuesday was my husband’s last day of work-as we know it. It’s a little intimidating to start this transition at the same time as the financial world seems to be in a tailspin. Realistically, if he and I are to live to the ripe old ages we plan, this was going to happen eventually.

Neither one of us have looked at our 401K’s. We’re not nervous. More pensive. Just trying to take it all in.

I wish people wouldn’t ask me how I like him being retired. It’s been one week. For 25 years, he’s taken at least one vacation a year where he’s hung out and did fix-it around the house. It still feels like he’s on vacation.

I’ll let you know how I like him being retired in six months.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Warren Buffet Quote

There is a new biography being released about Warren Buffet. There are numerous stories about how he has chosen not to leave his children any inheritance. This is not quite accurate. In his wife's will, the children were given $10 million dollars each and Warren gives them $1 million every five years. He is quoted as saying (I love this), "I wanted to leave my children enough money so they could do anything, but not so much as they could do nothing."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Meet Linda

As I search for a sense of the direction with this blog, one thing stands out that I want accomplish. Many people refuse to view aging as an indictment. They’re stepping up to the plate, taking on huge personal challenges and making a difference in the world. We’re going highlight to these individuals because they deserve it, but also to inspire and motivate the rest of us to do something.

I’m starting with someone who is taking on a challenge only a few of us would even fantasize about. Part of the reason I want to showcase her is our dreams are often too small. It’s important to step the dreams up a notch and pick something that is worth doing.

Linda has definitely done that. She is my daughter in-law’s aunt and I only recently learned of her quest. It certainly is worth knowing about and supporting. Linda has committed to run 7 marathons on 7 continents in one year. The audacity of this boggles my mind. I’m also intrigued and excited for her.

Linda has already run five of the seven marathons. Visit her website and let her know you’re rooting for her.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More Insight

After I posted the blog yesterday, I had another insight of why I was feeling overwhelmed. I struggle at a lot of things, but personal insight isn't one of them.

I'm new to blogging. I started because I want to share my journey, connect to others, share the concepts of Retirment Life Matters, and realistically use it as a marketing tool. Blogging is just one small piece of the overall pie for me.

As I started reading other blogs, I was amazed by the content, both the quality and the frequency, the traffic, and the business aspect of it. The blogs I hold especially in esteem are
WomenBloom-I just met Allison, but she finds time to write about the hurricane that is coming. And then there is The Boomer Chronicles . She must have a 100 blogs on her blogroll. Of course, there are many more I've run across over the last three months, but my favorite is Fat Fighter TV. Not only does she add incredible content every day, she is very focused on her mission and finds time to comment on most of my entries.

There was a shift that occurred in me. Instead of using these other blogs as inspiration, I started using them as my standard. When my shifted my focus from my own intent to trying to be as good as them, I lost myself and became overwhelmed.

Once I realized what I was doing, I could shift back to my own internal compass. I want to share my own journey, the growth or RLM and hopefully spotlight boomers who are making a difference in the world. I'm going to stop being concerned about having to post every day and all the other things that were driving me crazy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Honoring the Day

I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed the last couple of weeks. Hence, the reason I haven’t been writing in the blog. There are a couple of reasons for this.

The first and most obvious is I’m not living in the present. In this present moment, my life is serene. I don’t want to sound absurd, but it is. It’s 6:20 am, light is just starting to creep over the horizon. I’m sitting at my desk, with a warm cup coffee, David Arkenstone plays in the background and the world is right.

If I take my eye off the moment, and survey the future, the to-do list, I realize I can’t do all the things I want to do, all the things I say I need to do. At that moment, the serenity is lost, and I start to panic.

When I decided to share this feeling in the blog, I was reminded today is the anniversary of 9/11. One the results of that tragic day were people took a breath, gathered with their loved ones and questioned what is important.

As I sit here in the still of the morning, I think it’s important for me, to ask the same question. My work is very important me, but what is the vision of what I want to do? It’s not about this blog, or a newsletter or setting up a presentation to conduct a workshop.

It is about all of us finding and living from our own personal vision of who we want to be in the world. What we do should really come from that vision.

Today, as you go about your business, don’t just think about the tragedy of this day. Think about the lesson and the opportunity that came from the horror to reconnect to our loved ones and commit to what is truly important.

Monday, September 8, 2008

21 Days and counting

We had a retirement test run last week. My husband was on vacation, but we didn’t do anything. I had a lot of work to do and we’re waiting to travel until the end of the year.

We have twenty-one days until his retirement. I know it will be fine, but I don’t have any illusions that it’s going to be happy ever after. I’m the ultimate optimist, but I’m also a pragmatist.

He’s taking on more of the cooking and washing dishes-yes. He’s done most of the laundry for years. I can thank the Denver Broncos for that, since Sunday is laundry day. He’ll help with the cleaning, but I don’t thing we’ll have that meticulous Better Homes and Garden house.

In return, I have someone to sleep with every night for the first time in many years. I kind of looking forward to it and not. I have to give up the remote-I think I complained about that before.
Even though I help others go through this transition, the fact is, I love my life the way it is right now. I’m reasonably sure, I will love the next phase also, but it’s true, we get to a stage of life, where we get comfortable and don’t seek change for the fun of it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You're Invited to an Artist Reception

If you live in Southern California, you're invited to an artist reception on Friday, September 5, 2008 at the Thousand Oaks Community Gallery 2331 Borchard Rd., Newbury Park, CA.
My painting entitled 'Memories of the Rainforest' will be on display along with 30 other artists who study with Phyl Doyon. I have a special offer for 'Memories of the Rainforest'. The painting is 27" X 33" Framed. It is for sale at $500.00. The net proceeds of $400.00 will be donated in YOUR name to the World Wildlife Fund. You get the painting and the deduction. Email me if you're interested in the painting.
I hope to see your there.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Phyllis Chase

Last Thursday night I went to a Ladies Who Launch presentation featuring Gina Ratliffe who talked about building an Online Empire. Great stuff!!! Later, at home I looked at the websites of the people who had written testimonials about Gina. I left the page open to Phyllis Chase, Marriage & Family Therapist and talk show host.

The next morning, I was reading an email from Chellie Campbell, another awesome lady who talks about Financial Stress Reduction. At the bottom of her email were testimonials and another one from Phyllis Chase. “Hmmmm,” I thought, “That’s interesting.” I’ve lived long enough in this area of 9 million people to know that it is a small town. But, this was too weird.

I sent Phyllis an email, told her the story and a little bit about me and Retirement Life Matters. She wrote back, and asked if I would be a guest on her radio show that taped this morning (Monday A.M.).

I just got home a few minutes ago. We had a ball. She was delightful and put me completely at ease, since it was my first radio interview.

Opportunities surround us everyday. The key is to open our eyes to them and then follow-through.

Have you had a crazy coincidence and took advantage of it?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Talking of Death

I was looking for inspiration today, so I went to Boomer Chronicles and read a post about funerals-check it out.

I think we need to have more stories about death. Sometimes it’s tragic and horrible, but it’s always a part of life. We just can’t get away from it.

My dad struggled with cancer for 10 years. It was amazing, because he was able to function right up to the end. He wanted to die in his own bed, no tubes and all of that stuff.

He called my mom home from her work on Thursday. They sat peacefully on the couch all afternoon holding hands. They were sleeping is separate rooms and the next morning my mom went to check on him. This sounds gruesome, but she didn’t know if he was alive or dead.

Her worst fear was to call the EMT’s, have them come and try reviving him. So, she called the local funeral home to ask them how to tell if someone was dead. They replied with, “Hey, lady, by the time we get them, there’s no question.” Ultimately, she was able to determine that he was gone.

I was so proud. He struggled for so many years, but ultimately was able to die on his terms.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Are you Present?

This is a bit complicated, but stay with the story. I participated in “The New Earth” class with Eckhart Tolle on the Oprah Website earlier in the year. The were a number of things I took from the series. I’ve tried to incorporate one in my life, which is the concept of being present. Most us have very active minds that are either focused on the past; what happened, what didn’t happened, old wounds, what coulda’, shoulda’ been or the future; what we need to do, our dreams, how our life is going to be better when such and such happens, etc.

Tolle says that all we really have is the present and if you want joy in your life, you’re only going to find in the present moment. Actually, he is not only one to say it, but he says it in a wonderful way and has Oprah to help him.

So, I’m trying to be present. I’m one of those people with an over active mind. I gave up trying to meditate over thirty years ago. When Tolle instructed that to be present all I had to do was focus on one breath, I decided I could do that. Throughout my day, I focus on my breath and become present. This occurs about 12 times a day. So, for about 12 minutes a day, I'm absolutely present in the moment. The rest of the time my brain is going a million miles an hour, forward, backwards and to parts unknown.

The second part of the story is we have a spa in our backyard. My husband, who works the night shift, likes to come home and go into the spa. We decided a few weeks ago to shut the spa off when it’s not in use to cut back on energy usage. It takes about one hour to heat up.

All I have to do is get up in the morning and turn on the spa. Do you think I can remember to do that? I took a post it with ‘SPA’ written on it. Originally, I stuck it on the sliding glass door because I have my morning cup of coffee on the patio. That worked one day and then my mind was busy with other things, and I didn’t see the note. Next, I placed it on the Tolle book. That certainly would work, don't you think? Actually, it worked for two days and then I didn’t notice it. Now, the note is the microwave where I heat the water for coffee. I’ve succeeded two days in row. So much for the quest of being present. I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday Web Watch

I’m a bit of a Pollyanna. Let me qualify that. Last year my husband and I saw a report about a church that encourages people to go 21 days without complaining. We couldn’t do it. In fact, neither on of us could make it 20 minutes. It was very quiet around the house while we were trying.

With that said, I would much rather surround myself with positive versus negative energy. I would rather be around people who are trying to improve the world rather than just talk about how bad it is. Do I measure up to my own expectations? Not at all. That doesn’t mean I don’t keep trying.

I love the idea spreading good news. CBS Sunday Morning is my favorite television program for that very reason. Daryn Kagan is committed to spreading good news wherever she finds it. The site is uplifting, inspiring and motivating. Daryn was a reporter who got tired of the news concept of “if it bleeds, it leads”. The Internet allows her to share the good news of the world.

Share web sites that make you feel good, inspire or motivate.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back from War

My son moved back home last week. He arrived in the states from Iraq in May and is now discharging from the Army. He was in the service for six and a half years.

Children moving back home is a hot topic among people nearing or in retirement. My husband and I always knew we wanted to him to move back home. It’s a tremendous transition to go from the military to being a civilian. I wanted him to know he had a soft place to land.

As we learn to live together, parents and adult child, I’ll write more.

For right now, I want to say thank you to my son who went war. I want to say thank you to all the other sons and daughters who have gone to war.

I had hoped that by this time in our evolution, humans would find a better way to resolve conflict. Maybe we never will.

Until we do, thank you to all those who do what needs to be done.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Is there something wrong with me? I was scrolling through my email yesterday when I saw in the subject line, “Relive Woodstock”. I gotta tell you reliving the sixties is not the end all of my life.

I didn’t go to Woodstock, but I do appreciate the event. I used to listen to the album, but I sure hope the next thirty years has more to offer Baby Boomers besides looking back at Woodstock and the sixties.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Internet Public Library

Web Wednesday

Yesterday, I told you about Mark who is exploring what he wants to do next. Most of the recent books about retirement extol the need for new retirees to find a passion. It’s easy to find a passion if you know what it is. If you don’t have a clue, finding new interests can be quite challenging. For people who have been devoted to work and family, knowing where to start looking for new activities can feel daunting.

The key is to try new things. Don’t just look at something and say, “Is this my passion?” You need to experience new activities.

A great place to research volunteer, hobbies, and work activities is the Internet Public Library. The categories are organized well and easy to scroll down. Under Arts and Humanities, there are fifteen sub-headings that range from Classics to Philosophy to Language.

In the History Sub-Heading, a quick scroll took us to The George C. Marshall Foundation. “Biographical information, interviews, essays and research materials about General George C. Marshall and World War I." Obviously, this isn't for everyone, but an indication of the breadth of resources available.
Take a look at the site, what is has to offer and start exploring what you want to do next.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The New Retirement

The company my husband works for is undergoing a reorganization. We are very lucky as he intended to retire July 1, but has postponed his date to see the details of the new retirement package. For those individuals’ who had not intended to retire this year, there has been a lot of evaluation as to whether or not it is wise for them to leave. Many still have children at home or in school. The offer was made to those who will be at least 55 years old by December 31, 2008. The single biggest question they are asking is, “Can I live the rest of my life with the amount of money that is being offered?”

We are bombarded with news about how poorly the Baby Boomers have planned for retirement. Granted the United States has one of the poorest saving rates in the world, but is it realistic to expect to work for thirty years to fund another thirty years of not working?

The definition of retirement needs to change. When Social Security was established in 1933, the life expectancy was 65. If you were lucky enough to live to 65, the government was going to help you with a financial stipend for the rest of your life. It was never intended to be an entitlement for one third of your life.

Mark is a great example of the New Retirement. He retired from the entertainment industry at 51. This is a similar to the retirement age of police, fire and military. Mark wanted to be involved in raising his son, so he started a business he could run out of the house. This has served him well, but his son is now graduating from high school and Mark is ready for a new challenge.

He is looking for work where he is challenged, but more important he wants to feel like he’s contributing to society. He still needs to earn income, but that is the secondary focus.

This is the opportunity for the New Retirement. No longer should the sole question be of the 65 year old, let alone someone at 55, “Can I live for the rest of my life on this fixed amount? But, what opportunities are available to me now?”

Baby Boomers have the opportunity to reinvent themselves in many different ways. The days of existing on the golf course are shifting for many. They are looking for new challenges, and interesting ways to create a more fulfilling life.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Vibrant Life: Yoga in the Middle years and Beyond

Book Review

Unlike other forms of keeping fit, Yoga has multiple layers. Some view yoga as a spiritual as well as an exercise practice. I use it mostly as a way to stretch and strengthen muscles. I try to stay focused on my breathing when I’m involved in a routine, but my wicked brain often journeys to the day’s tasks and paintings I’m working on. I always feel better when I do my daily yoga, and miss it if I don’t. I’ve been doing yoga, either at home or in classes for over ten years.

I was intrigued when I started to read A Vibrant Life : Yoga in the Middle Years and Beyond by what I know, but also what I don’t. Felice Rhiannon does a wonderful job of explaining the elements of yoga that will inform the beginner, but also enhance the knowledge for the more experienced practitioner.

Felice Rhiannon shares her story about being bed ridden for a year. Barely able to move, she started practicing postures in bed, followed by floor and then chair exercises. She believes yoga was instrumental in her healing process.

Felice wrote the book for the individual who is out of shape, older, or intimidated by classes. Felice goes into focused detail about yoga without the burden of extraneous explanations. The purpose of the book is to engage people, whether they can get up or not.

The book is loaded with pictures of Felice doing poses with explanations of the pose, how to go in and out of it, as well as cautions and benefits. The book also contains a section of chair poses for those who have mobility issues.

Felice makes you believe you can do yoga. There is a calm and reassuring presence in the book. You can tell Felice cares about not only yoga, but also helping others to learn and grow with this wonderful practice.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What Do You Rant and Rave About?

Web Wednesday

How would you answer the above question? I first heard the question when I took a speech class. I wrote down, ‘ injustice, cruelty-things being out of balance, stupidity, selfishness’. Then, I wrote down ‘waste’. That was it! Yes, I hate all the things I wrote initially, but ‘waste’ gets my heart pumping and blood boiling.

I’m a career counselor because I hate to see people waste their talents and potential. I’m an environmentalist because I hate the way we’ve squandered the resources on this planet.

What gets you excited, passionate and revved up?

The next question is, “What are you going to do about it?”

If you’re not sure where to start, visit Global:Ideas:Bank. It’s part suggestion box, networking group, forum and inspired entertainment. People share ideas, sometimes crazy, about how to solve the problems of the world.

Individuals submit suggestions which are catorgorized, then others vote on the feasibility, originality and humor of the idea. Some submissions are whacky, but others make a lot of sense.

It's a great way to connect with others around things you're passionate about and see how we can maybe solve some of the challenges we face.

Share sites/blogs that inspire and motivate you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Age is No Longer an Indictment

My inbox today contained an email from Boomer Chronicles about the oldest athletes participating in the Olympics this year. There are two equestrians in their 60’s, six in their fifties, including the oldest American and three in their 40’s.

I saw this sight yesterday on a Santa Barbara Beach. It’s hard to tell his exact age, but the gray hair and the way he walked told me he was past our image of the typical surfer.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Permanent Passenger

Book Review

Reading much like the cruise ship version of the British drama Upstairs, Downstairs, Micha Berman takes the reader behind the scenes of his life as an assistant cruise director in Permanent Passenger: My Life on a Cruise Ship.

While finishing his last year of college, Micha began a quest to find a career that was "nontraditional in a creative atmosphere, providing opportunities to speak to crowds, be with young people and included travel". He remembered watching Love Boat as a child and decided the job Julie McCoy had was the one for him. He set off on a one-man campaign to get a position as an assistant cruise director. His description of how he organized and conducted his job search would make any career counselor beam.

Securing his dream job with Carnival Cruise Line, Micha embarked on an eleven-month ride on the M.S. Ecstasy. This behind the scenes tale provides information to anyone interested in a career at sea. Micha describes the different occupations of the 800-member crew on the ship. He also describes the hierarchy, behind the scene intrigue, loves and fights that occur unbeknownst to the thousands of passengers.

It is also fascinating reading for the cruise ship enthusiast who would like to learn more about what happens below deck. Most of the crew is invisible to the guests. They come from a wide array of countries and live almost in a caste system based on their country of origin and occupation. You will learn the most dreaded position on the ship. It may surprise you. While the crew may be virtually invisible to the passengers they serve, they are people who share in the joys and challenges of living in close quarters at sea.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Wednesday Web Watch

An important ingredient for a satisfying retirement is to keep mentally stimulated. Keep your mind alert, willing to explore, discover and learn new things.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) hosts a catalog of speeches, usually 20 minutes or less) of the greatest thinkers in the world today. The speeches are well organized. Some are very technical, others less so, but always stimulating.

I first heard about TED when an email was circulating the talk by Jan Bolte Taylor discussing her stroke. If you don’t do anything else, take 20 minutes to listen to this address. It is the best speech I’ve ever heard.

I always leave the site amazed and thrilled to be living on the planet at this period in time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Did You Know?

The worst fear of any retiree is running out of money. We all know the stories of little old ladies who eat cat food because they can't afford food.

Did you know the number of people 65 and older who live in poverty has declined significantly in the last fifty years. In 1959, as many as 35 percent of seniors lived in poverty. In 2003, that number dropped to 10 percent.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Farewell to Randy Pausch

There is an elephant in the room. Did you know as many as eighty percent of people do not have a will? Making a will forces you to think about your death. Maybe not a pleasant thought, but ultimately inevitable. Not thinking about it, doesn’t change reality.

I mention this as we learn that Randy Pausch passed away on Friday. He was a professor a Carnegie Mellon University who was diagnosed with pancreatic in September of 2006. He gave an inspiring speech about living your dreams now viewed by millions on You Tube that led to the book, The Last Lecture. I mention Dr. Pausch to honor his legacy and encourage you to listen to his talks again or for the first time.

Dr. Pausch’s message is important for all us regardless of what stage or age we are experiencing. There seems to be a correlation between living in denial about death and not choosing to live to the fullest. It’s somewhat ironic, but the people who are reluctant to face their own mortality are equally hesitant to live life completely. It is in the act of embracing your demise that you can break free to live totally.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Share Resources

While there is an air of uncertainty as the economy zigzags across the landscape, it’s wonderful to see people adapt, as humans do, to make the most of a difficult situation. The motivation may start from not being able to afford the lifestyle we once could, but there is a positive result as people are rethinking how they do things. Whether we want to admit it or not, Americans consume too many resources. Cutting back, out of financial necessity, has allowed us to evaluate what is important in our lives.

My neighbor just purchased an outside hanger for drying clothes. In Los Angeles, there are fewer traffic jams as people explore alternative ways to get around town.

Several years ago, my neighbor and I started an exchange program. They have subscriptions to Newsweek and Time. I take the local newspaper. We swap when we’re done reading our respective periodicals. It saves money, natural resources and I get the added health benefit of walking as I take the paper to her every morning.

What are you doing in respect to the economic downturn that is having a positive effect on your life and others?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dr. Oz On Oprah

Web Wednesday
As a rule, I don’t watch daytime television. Yesterday, I walked into the house and my husband was watching Oprah with Dr. Mehmet Oz discussing his book You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty (You)

The Oprah website, specifically the Aging Quiz is our Web Wednesday selection. I took the quiz with the results between 70 and 79. It said that was an average score, which was great for a second grade spelling test, but not when talking about my body.

I started thinking and later, when my husband and I took a walk, I asked him the following, “On a continuum between 1 and 10, where would you like to be? One is a mindset of ‘live, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we all die’. I’m not going to worry about wellness and just hope modern medicine will do its thing. Ten is, ‘my body is my temple and I’m going to focus on doing absolutely everything I can to live a healthy life.’”

I husband reported he is currently at a four or five (I think he’s at a three, at best). However, he also stated he would like to be more at an eight. I think I’m at six, but realistically, am probably a five, based on his over calculation.

He’s retiring in two months and we would like to put more focus on living healthier. We started talking, as we walked, about what we want to start doing to improving number.

More later…

Reiki Training

I’ve always walked a fine line between my training in a traditional psychological environment and practices in the mind, body, spirit connection. I blend both in my work, but don’t overtly publicize it.

When I was twenty, I was sure I had a good sense of how the world worked. I was open to telling anyone what I thought. As I’ve grown older, I’m much less sure of how the world works. I choose certain beliefs because they make sense to me. I don’t belong to any religious organization, but try to live a spiritual life that draws from the teachings of all the major religions. This means I don't get too bogged down in dogma.

It makes sense there is a unifying universal force we can tap into and use. Beyond that, I don’t make many other claims.

I have a couple of chronic bodily issues that are a minor source of frustration. I acquired asthma ten years ago. I’m lucky it is manageable with steroids. It was through the acquisition of asthma I quit smoking and for that, I’m very thankful. I am no longer concerned about smoking again. I manage the asthma with medication, but modern medicine can’t cure it.

I have a cat that licks her fur to the point of bald spots. Shots and medicine that worked initially are no longer effective.

When the opportunity arose to get involved in Reiki training, I decided to take advantage of it. Reiki comes from Japan. The basic idea is there are different levels of energy around us and through this training, a practitioner can access healing energy and channel it through their hands to affected body parts.

A nurse, who comes from the very traditional western medical model, trained me. She incorporates both western and eastern or alternatives medicine in her work. (She’s no longer in connected to a medical institution.)

I’m curious and enjoy the experience of Reiki. At this moment, I have no desire to share Reiki beyond healing myself and those very close to me, but am intrigued with the idea.

While I’ll never be able to provide more than anecdotal evidence, I’ll let you know what I think when I complete my committed 21 days of self-healing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Exercise for Your Brain

There’s been a lot of research in the news recently about the need to keep the mind stimulated and challenged to keep it healthy. Now, there is evidence that physical activity also is good for the brain. A review of research from the U.S., France and Sweden indicate exercise that increases the cardio-respiratory fitness also improves brain function. The increased blood flow to the brain stimulates the production neurotransmitters. Of interesting note, it doesn’t have to be sustained exercise. As little as 60 seconds at a time that gets the heart pumping can improve the brain's function.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fat Fighter TV

Wednesday Web Watch
Wednesday is the day to highlight a website you should check out. I recently was introduced to Fat Fighter TV, which does exactly what it says in a fun, funky, frantic sort of way. While not geared specifically to the older crowd, we all have to shop, read labels and yes, eat. Steps to change your life to a healthy lifestyle is a tagline can apply to every one.

Take a special look at Big, Fat Lies. You’ll probably know some of the lies. But, I’ll bet one or two will surprise you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Looking for Authors

I have a new website that will premiere the first of August. Retirement Life Matters celebrates the opportunities of life after 50 by providing tools, resources, and guidance to help people create a life filled with passion and purpose. I’m looking for people who have written a book and are looking for a way to publicize it. Topics include, but are not limited to:
Decluttering your home
Feng Shui
Finding the ideal retirement place to live
Purchasing a second home
Living abroad
Writing your autobiography or life story
Hobbies/Interests/activities in retirement
Financial concerns in retirement
Psychological aspects of money
Starting a business in retirement
Starting a home-based business in retirement
Social Entrepreneurship
Work in retirement
Volunteering in retirement
Making a contribution
Travel abroad and at home
Solo Travel
Couples transitioning into retirement
Relationships with adult children
Relationships with grandchildren
Enjoying retirement as a single
Anything connected to wellness, personal growth, spirituality
Learning/mental stimulation
I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in topics concerning caregiving, death, dying and diseases. While important topics, not the focus of this website.

There are tremendous opportunities to get exposure on the RLM website. This is an opportunity for authors who want to get the word out to retiring Baby Boomers, but either don’t have the technical expertise or desire to do all the work on their own. We will provide a review of the book on this blog: with a link to purchase the book. The author will then be asked a series of questions about the book, which will appear on the website. Authors will have the opportunity to write articles, complete a profile page with links to their book and website. Authors will have the opportunity of moderating a forum in their topic area and we will have podcasts starting in the fall for authors to participate. Additional products and services, such a e-books, seminars can be showcased on the website, and also through the RLM Newsletter and blog.

Interested parties should contact me at

Monday, July 14, 2008

Date Revisited

Yes, we had our date on Friday night. No, I’m not going to replay the evening. Other than to say, I liked the movie Hancock. I understand why critics were less than kind. There is an interesting twist that could have been executed better, but I still was intrigued by the concept of the reluctant super hero. As always, Will Smith is a delight, even as an obnoxious drunk.

It occurred to me that I didn't explain the concept of ‘date’ in my last post. I stated my husband and I were in therapy many years ago and she suggested we go on a date at least once a month. We had gone out to dinner and movies before meeting with the therapist. In the early years of our marriage, when children were still young and money was tighter, we spent free evenings renting a movie and staying at home. Initially, the idea of a date may have been to get out of house, but as time as changed, the children left and there was a bit of spare change, going on a date was as much a mental shift as it was a specific activity.

Anyone can go grab a bite to eat. Going on a date requires taking a shower, putting on make-up, and getting dressed up a bit, even if it’s only a pair of clean shorts. The attitude and the mood shift ever so slightly. While we may still talk about work, the focus is more on the two of us than on the topic. It’s a time focused on being together for the sake of enjoying each other’s presence. Where we go and what we do, is secondary. We hold hands in the theater. I don’t know if I gaze longingly into his eyes, but the conversation is lighter. We laugh and we enjoy one another.

After twenty-nine years, six months and 12 days of marriage, that is a great thing.
P.S. Please note the 'senior' ticket. This is the first time I got the senior discount and I didn't even ask for it. How do I feel about that? Glad for discount-my how ticket prices have gone up. But, certainly not thrilled I can get a senior discount without showing my i.d.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Date Night

Many years ago, my husband and I were in therapy. I do not remember why we went into it or how long we worked with the therapist. We are still together, so, I guess that means, it was successful.

I do remember she suggested we have date nights. Wow, what an idea! We had been married for at least ten years at the time and the thought of going on a date seemed revolutionary. It was such a simple solution, but we have continued ever since. We both work many weekends and since my husband works nights, we don’t spend many evenings together.

We do try to have a date at least once a month. Tonight is date night. We actually have not had a date since we were in Texas in May. Between company and work, we couldn’t fit it in.

Sometime we wrangle over what to do and where to go. We are not terribly clever with our ideas. Dates usually involve eating out. We have our special places we frequent and every now and then, I suggest a new place to try. He agrees reluctantly.

Tonight I want to see a movie. I love to see movies in the theater and have been too busy to fit that in my schedule. We are going to see Hancock. The reviews have not been great, but I love the idea of the reluctant hero. There’s a new restaurant across the courtyard from the theater to try.

I’m excited. I have a date with my honey!

Back to Basics

In my quest to find an exercise program that I would stick with, I experimented through the years with different types of workouts. I have always enjoyed walking and still do that on a regular basis. I have joined gyms a number of times. I actually joined gyms, went once or twice and never returned. We have a wonderful Park and Recreation organization, and I have taken jazzercise, step and yoga with them. It is good to experiment and actually good to try different forms of exercise. Ultimately, I decided I love Yoga and wanted that to be the staple exercise. While I enjoy classes, I found Yoga television show to work best with my schedule. With the advent of TIVO, I found I was able to record shows and then exercise when it was convenient for me.

Developing a routine has been important to my success. I get up an alarm everyday at 6:15, have a one cup of coffee, read something inspirational, check e-mails and then do 30 minutes of yoga starting at 7:30. I have had this routine for a couple of years. If you are groaning at the thought of the self-imposed ritual, I can say I am by nature not very organized. Developing a routine I like has made all the difference in creating a meaningful life, and being able to do all the things I want to do.

I love my morning routine. I find whenever I break the routine, by traveling, or having my grandchildren here for a month, for example, I have to start all over again in creating the habit. Experts say you can create a habit seven days. I’m not so sure, but it may require perseverance.

After two months of travel and company, I got out of the routine of yoga every morning. This is the first week with a return to normal and I’ve struggled to get in there and stick to doing 30 minutes of exercise every day. I have decided the goal is to make the effort, try to extend the time and get back into the flow within a couple of weeks.

I love my Yoga. It can be difficult sometimes to even do the things we love. The key is to not to give up. Be gentle with yourself when you are trying to establish a habit. If you can’t get a routine you feel comfortable with, be willing to experiment with other alternatives.

Global versus Local Charity

I attended a World Affairs Council luncheon yesterday. World Affairs is an educational non-profit organization with local groups that bring in speakers to discuss international issues. It’s non-partisan, so wonderful for members of the community to come together to discuss issues that are affecting the world. It helps to increase our understanding of being part of a global community. What is going on in Asia, Africa and Europe may have a direct impact on our lives locally.

The speaker at the meeting was Muhammad Yunus, a founding board member of the Grameen Foundation and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, which revolutionized banking in developing countries. The Grameen model lends small amounts of capital to the poorest of the poor, women, without collateral to start small businesses. He reported they had given loans to 130 million people since the late 1980’s, of those 80 million were to their target market. They have a 97% repayment rate. The women are required to form support groups, limit the number of children they have and those children need to go to school. If the children complete their primary education, the Grameen Foundation will pay all of their tuition and expenses to go to college or university.

Banks around the world now use the Grameen model. There were two interesting points Yunus made, which are worth repeating. He said where ever he goes people talk about managing the environment. He responds by saying the environment will take care of itself. What we need to do is manage people. We have created such environmental havoc in the world, it may require some human intervention to heal. For the most part, if left to its own devices, the environment can and will heal itself. The challenge is to minimize human impact, which is a much more complicated challenge.

The other point he made was the only way to solve global issues was at a local level. Certainly, Grameen has found a way to do this. They go into the poorest villages and by helping women start small cottage industries are able to turn around the economic well-being for the whole community.

I am one of these people who fancies herself flying off to all corners of the world to help others, when I should be asking myself, “What can I do here at home to make a difference?” Every one of us should be asking that question on a continual basis.