Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Holiday Message for All of Us

Thanks to Joan H., we have a beautiful holiday message.  Just hit on the link below and choose Presentation 2 (Presentation 1 is a slideshow of the same.) Our gratitude to Charles S. Patridge for this moving reminder of our blessings and to Greg O'Brien for the narration.

We all have much to appreciate this season.  Joan H and her entire family (including Dick, Erin, Zack, Eric, Christina, Rowan,  and I) are thankful that Len has returned from Iraq in time for Christmas and for good!  Marty's a new grandma-again;  Pearl's off to a great position with AACU and will be closer to her grandson;  Julie's daughter has graduated with her master's; Kim's moving into her new house;  Dick and I are waiting for our 3rd grandchild to arrive and loving our two who are excited about the holidays this year:  Zack and Rowan.  Claudia and Tom are back in FLA safe and sound. We're thankful again for the special angels who watch over us and those we love.

Your special thoughts at this time of year will be appreciated and posted.  Just email me at

See the  holiday message;  click on and choose Presentation 2.  Have a great holiday!

 Thanks,again,  Joan.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What is census information saying about us and our children?

Some of us qualify as 'baby boomers' since 60 is the cut -off age.  Others of us qualify because we have children who fit the demographic of 42-60.  We have nieces and nephews who are also at the younger end of the 'boomer' range.  Still others qualify because we are sure we feel and look much more like 'boomers' than people in our biological age group!  So for all of us, the information released just recently by the Census Bureau  applies.
  • For the first time in 13 years, the U.S. Census Bureau has released a collection of statistics on the Baby Boomer generation, those people ages 42-60 years old in the year 2006.
  • New population number: There were 77,980,296 Baby Boomers living in the US in 2006 (50.9% women). That number is projected to be 57,793,135 in the year 2030 (an estimated 54.9% will be women).
  • Where they live: The states with the highest number of people ages 42-60 years were California, Texas, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania. The states with the highest percentage-of-population of Boomers were Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Montana and Connecticut.
  • Heritage: Among the Boomers, 89.7% were non-Hispanic and 10.3% were Hispanic.
  • Education: An educated group, 29.8% were high school graduates, 28.9% had some college and 28.8% had a bachelor’s degree or higher. A much smaller number (12.5%) had less than a high school degree.
  • Employment: Most Baby Boomers (74.1%) were employed; 22.4% were not in the labor force. The remainder were in military service or unemployed. In the prior 12 months, household income came from earnings (91.8%), retirement income (11.3%), Social Security (10.4%) and food stamps (6.9%).
  • Housing: Two-thirds were homeowners living in their homes and 25% rented.
SOURCE: US Census Bureau (November 2009)

Sent to  us by

Friday, December 4, 2009

How did we survive! Children of the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's

Thanks to Joan who sent us this message by Jay Leno.  I think it covers all of us since it's addressed to all of us born in the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's.

Enjoy!  And keep them coming, Joan and everyone contributing to the blog. We appreciate it.

1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers
Who smoked and/or drank while they were
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing,
Tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles,
Locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode
Our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants and small children,
We would ride in cars with no car seats,
No booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.
Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day
Was always a special treat.

We drank water
From the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends,
From one bottle and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon.
We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.
And, we weren't overweight.


Because we were
Always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day,
As long as we were back when the
Streetlights came on.
No one was able
To reach us all day.. And, we were O..K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps
And then ride them down the hill, only to find out
We forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes
a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes.
There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable,
No video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's,
No cell phones,
No personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.


And we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth
And there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt,
And the worms did not live in us

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,
Made up games with sticks and tennis balls and,
Although we were told it would happen,
We did not put out very many eyes..

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and
Knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just
Walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't had to learn to deal
With disappointment.
Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law
Was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best
Risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.
The past 50 years
Have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility,
and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them?


You might want to share this with others
who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the
lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives
for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know
how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house
with scissors, doesn't it ?

Source:  Jay Leno

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Holiday Message

Barbara R. sent this message:

I received this beautiful message of thanks and wanted to pass it on! Hope you are all enjoying your day!
The Season of thanks and giving is upon us. We give thanks for family, for friends, for life’s gifts and simple pleasures. We give thanks for our country and our men and women in our Armed Forces. We give thanks for this year’s challenges and opportunities. We give thanks for the smells coming from the kitchen, for the love, the hugs and kisses, the football and the parades.

In giving thanks we are restored, renewed, and rededicated so we can go forward to do even greater things: Move Mountains, make peace, give our very best and sing the songs we were meant to sing.

So break bread, sit in awe of the season and be grateful for so much love and for our blessings. In these brief moments of Thanksgiving we can feel the Oneness of it all.

Thanks to Barb R. for sending us these beautiful thoughts!

NOTE:  By the way, the picture is of the oakleaf hydrangea outside our front door.  Thanks to my better half for taking it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Never Underestimate an Old Broad

If you dance, you'll love this.  If you don't, you'll wonder how an older woman (92) can even do this!  You may be prompted to download (free) Microsoft Media Player II to play the video.  Thanks to Linda for sending this to Joan.

As always, Joan sends us good stuff!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What Do We Know about the Tea Party Patriots?

On November 16, 2009, Pennsylvanians saw another Tea Party Patriot demonstration. According to the Associated Press, the protest brought approximately 1500 to 2000 people-as estimated by police- to Harrisburg.

Since it's time I found out more about this organization-and since some of you have friends who have traveled as far as Washington, DC, to take part in the demonstrations- I went to the web for information. Normally, I don't rely on Wikipedia as a reference, but this time there is a comprehensive, documented article about the Tea Party Patriots, the debate as to whether it is a grass roots uprising or a manipulated PR campaign, the coverage by various media pundits, and -most importantly in my mind-the group's goals.  See

I can see myself joining in on protests about real estate taxes-a holdover from the Puritans living in New England in the 1600's-government spending, and the national debt that will be placed on the shoulders of my new grandbaby to be born next month.

Best of all, whatever we may think of this series of protests, the good thing is that people who have never joined a march of any kind for any goal are moving out of their comfort zone to voice their opinions.  I find that encouraging in a climate of too much apathy.

What do you think?  For it?  Against it?  If you've participated or know someone who has, please tell us about it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our Finances:The Fair Tax Grassroots Movement

I admit it.  I hadn't heard of an alternative tax plan since the days of Jack Kemp and his 'flat tax' proposal.  So when I read that Kathryn Nusbaum will speak at Penn State Behrend in Erie, PA, on Thursday, Nov. 12, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and that her topic is  "An Alternative to Stimulating the Economy," I was intrigued.

The Behrend School of Business Speaker Series gives a bio of Nusbaum, CPA, CFP, MBA  whose fee-only company, Managing Middle America, is based in Pittsburgh, PA,and includes a synopsis of her topic.  See the quote below.

           "The FairTax is a non-partisan, grassroots effort to replace our existing complex and convoluted   income tax code with a simple, fair and transparent national consumption tax. Kathryn Nusbaum, CPA, CFP® will walk you through the mechanics and benefits of the proposal. The mechanics include a national retail sales on new goods and services as well as a monthly rebate that will ensure that no American will pay taxes on basic necessities. The benefits include enormous tax compliance savings as well as setting the stage for a massive re-awakening American manufacturing – including jobs. Her discussion will include the impact from the perspective of poor, middle class as well as wealthy Americans. This will be an exciting discussion around the history of our convoluted income tax system and what we can do to dismantle the confusion while galvanizing the economy at the same time."

If the concept interests you, access or other sites listed on various search engines. Kathryn Nusbaum can also be reached at

Friday, November 6, 2009

We're Back! Thank you, Todd Benedict.

Have you noticed a few days of no blog activity ?  The computer was running very slowly (I was irritated, but I tolerated that.), but on Sunday, our video call to our granddaughter was garbled, with the camera coming on and then shutting off.  Now, that's really too much.  No one should come between a grandma and her grandkids, right?

Good follower that I am, I contacted my server rep(little success).  I contacted my local phone line(new upgraded line installed-a good thing, but no help for the probems).

I was forced to admit that a much bigger 'something' was not right about my laptop and called a local certified tech magician otherwise known as Todd Benedict.  He has all of those great letters following his name, but techno dummy that I am, I have no idea what they mean-I only know they are impressive certificates to have

His analysis was translated into non-techno terms:  Something akin to having a 17-lane stream of unwanted, bumper-to-bumper trucks  was moving slowly through my computer system.  That I can picture, and I did not like it! 

He cleaned, deleted, and upgraded everything so that all runs perfectly now.  And is it fast! My laptop's motherboard is smiling as I enter this posting.  I'm only sorry I waited so long before going local for help.

If you are in our area and need to give your computer a jolt of reinvigorating action or a metaphorical kick in the rear,  contact him at  He can also be reached at 814-734-5317.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Grandma Alert: Celebrate With Us

Great news!  On October 29th, a new baby girl came into the world.  For those of us who know her, Grandma Marty, is a very happy woman.

Both Mommy and Baby Girl are doing well.  Of course, Grandma and Grandpa couldn't be happier.

Congratulations to the whole family.  Such a wonderful gift!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Finally, Time to Read: Anita Diamant's THE RED TENT and an invitation to attend

Anita Diamant's THE RED TENT has been reviewed as well worth reading. lists several reviews and also gives an excerpt from the book.  Among the reviews are the following:

Kirkus Reviews
With stirring scenery and a narrative of force and color, a readable tale marked by hortatory fulminations and voluptuous lamentations. For a liberal Bible audience with a possible spillover to the Bradley relationship.

The Los Angeles Times
By giving a voice to Dinah...the novel has struck a chord with women who may have felt left out of biblical history.

Philadelphia Inquirer
A novel well worth reading!...very rich and fulfilling.
(as listed in

This is the selection for the book club meeting at Baron-Forness Library on the Edinboro University of PA campus on November 10.  If the selection intrigues you, please join the group.

Pearl has sent us Catherine's notes on the last book club meeting with specifics on the November 10 discussion.  Everyone is encouraged to join.  If you are local, someone you know will be there ! If not, everyone will welcome you as one of the group.

Of the October book club chat, Catherine says "Last night the EUP Book Club met in Baron-Forness Library room 715 and discussed Alice Hoffman's novel, PRACTICAL MAGIC, and welcomed newcomer Anne, who was brought into the fold by Ruth. We munched on cupcakes, pretzels, and sipped apple cider as we chatted. Participants enjoyed the novel's magical realism and debated over the import of the title. The group was relieved to discuss a book with a happy ending for once--that alone was practically magical.

We will next meet on Tuesday, November 10th, at 6:45 p.m., again in Baron-Forness Library room 715. At this meeting we will discuss Anita Diamant's novel, THE RED TENT, which depicts biblical stories from the
points-of-view of the women involved.

We welcome new members to the group; please come and bring friends! The more the merrier, indeed."

Thanks, Catherine, for the notes from the club's October meeting, and to Pearl for forwarding them to us.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Visit from the Census Worker: When to Exercise Caution

The Better Business Bureau has listed cautions about the 2010 Census, and Susan Johnson of News Blaze, an internet news service, reviewed those points on October 16, 2009. 

We know that US Government Census workers will be canvassing our neighborhoods and asking legitimate questions.  If we aren't available, they may call us or send a mailed survey. 

If an email arrives, do not respond since the Census Bureau will not contact you that way. Do not open a link on that email or open any attachment.   Anyone who pretends to be a census worker and who contacts you through email is reallly running a scam.

So if a Census worker knocks on the door, how do we know that person is a legitimate representative of the Census Bureau?    Johnson reports that a legitimate Census taker will have identification, "a badge,  a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice."  Even so, don't invite anyone to enter your home. 

Basically, you have to report how many occupants live at your address.  Other legitimate questions will be about "name, age, gender, race."  They may ask other pertinent questions such as salary or finances in general, but you aren't required to answer those.

They should not ask you the following:  financial account information, social security ID or credit card numbers.  Such questions are a definite red flag that the person at your door is not a legitimate representative of the Census Bureau.

Since the Census Bureau has opted not to work with ACORN to gather census data, you shouldn't respond to questions on the census if contacted by an ACORN representative.

My only question is this:  If a Census worker contacts me by phone, how do I verify identification or any of the identifying materials?  Without knowing that answer, I would choose to not give any information.  If you know how to verify phone calls or mailings, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks to Susan Johnson for writing the article based on the BBB alerts in News Blaze.  Thanks also to Barb in Florida for sending us the information.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our Health: Boomeritis

Oh, good!  Now I know why I'm stiff after two hours of driving, sore after those step exercises, feeling that shoulder pain with my modified push-ups, and aching after too much downward- facing dog. 

It's really "Boomeritis," a term coined by Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, a Havertown, PA, orthopedic surgeon.  He is quoted as pointing out that " 'Baby boomers are the first generation in droves trying to stay active in an aging frame' "(L. S. Kadaba,"Boomers Pay Price for Active Lifestyles, "The Philadelphia Inquirer, as reprinted in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sept. 27, 2009, 12A).

It seems that physicians, surgeons and emergency rooms are treating Boomers (and those of us  older than the 64-year-old cut off for this generation) for injuries that were seen 10 years ago in much younger patients.  We all know people in our age group who have taken bicycle spills, ending up with broken clavicles, fractured bones, and torn shoulder muscles.  Or friends who have tripped while on the treadmill or out running the woodland trails. (Let's not mention those silly aging softball players who really should take up another sport!)

According to data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, emergency rooms "treated 282,476 injuries among baby boomers...who suffered all sorts of sports-and exercise-related misfortune, a 47 percent inrease from an decade earlier"(12A).

According to sociologist BJ Gallagher who studies this age group, our aches and pains are not surprising. She indicates that we try to keep aging at bay by engaging in all sorts of physical exercise and sports. Kadaba quotes her as saying, " 'Not only do we defy authority, we're going to defy Mother Nature...We're really arrogant. We're going to play tennis. We're going to swim. We're going to run marathons' "(12A).  And, by the way, if we live in the western states, we're more likely to suffer 'Boomeritis' since "77 percent of older adults in the West say they exercise daily,compared with 69 percent in other regions"(M. Tucker, "Looking Westward," AARP Bulletin, October, 2009,10).

Personally, I know really fit older women who work out at home or have personal trainers and, yes, look much younger than their years. So, even with the data on our injuries and the expert opinion labeling us as 'arrogant', we could just be the first generation to be active, lucid, and smiling at age 100.  In which case, who cares about the labels! We're doing all we can to be healthy and productive.  We're working out  the aches and pains as we maintain active lifestyles. 

So as Yoda might say,  "Strong and healthy you are, Boomers; remain so."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Finally !Time to Read: Dan Brown's THE LOST SYMBOL

THE LOST SYMBOL is another hit for Dan Brown.  Ranking it with his other books, I would place it third behind THE DA VINCI CODE, and ANGELS AND DEMONS-but that takes nothing away from Brown's most recent work.  I found the book to be fast-paced, complex, compelling, and with the same gift of "brain candy"-an earlier  Chicago Tribune label for Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE.

As Robert Langdon works frantically with Katherine Solomon to find her brother, he must solve codes that stretch back into history and forward to the present day.  They are pitted against an uncannily strong, tattooed man linked to the Solomon family's past. He is fanatically dedicated to finding the lost symbol and with it the power of darkness.  Katherine's research facility, revealing the power of noetics, stands as the direst of threats to his quest;  he strives to  destroy it  and to permanently damage the Masonic Order led by Peter Solomon.

Now to the ChicagoTribune's "brain candy."  Since the story takes place in Washington, DC, the reader learns about the city's planning, the famous historical figures involved in its creation, the artwork in the Rotunda of the Capitol, and the construction of various important landmarks, notably the Washington Monument.  One of Brown's great talents is his ability to connect the significance of Washington's layout, planning and construction with many other more ancient symbols that cross all religions and cultures.

I was intrigued by Katherine's research interest:  Noetics.  Only after you finish the book, should you delve into any of the science described within.  Otherwise, you may lessen the book's effect.  However, if the book prompts your interest in the power of consciousness and the collective unconscious as it did mine, you will find great explanations of this branch of science at the Institute of Noetic Sciences website,   You can read, among other research,  about experiments linking the "power of the mind to health outcomes"(website homepage) and also a section on Dan Brown's THE LOST SYMBOL.  The website invites us to explore the science  behind the book.  I 'd love to know what you think of noetics and the Institute's site.

Noetics was not to be outdone by Brown's description of the experimental medical procedure called Total Liquid Ventilation with oxygenated perfluorocarbons.  Not to give away any of the plot, let me just say that you can find out about the process by accessing in in the search box of PubMed online.  Many articles on the subect are indexed on this website,  Again, please do so only after reading the book.

Of course, sacred numbers play a part in Brown's books with the number 33 explained as to its significance within theMasonic Order and its history across cultures and religions.  And let's not forget 8 Franklin Square!

I thought THE LOST SYMBOL was a great read.  Tell me what you think.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Our Health: A Valuable Resource

Who can argue with a friend who has a doctorate in nursing when it comes to advice on our health?  Certainly not I. 

She has asked me to alert everyone about a great publication that is also free.  What could be  better than that!

Herbs at a Glance: A Quick Guide to Herbal Supplements (2009) is a FREE book published by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The website that will let you order the book or look up any herb of your choosing is: There also many other websites in the book for even more specific or general herbal infromation. it is written for the lay public.

Our thanks to her for directing us to this resource.

Grandma Alert: Bonding With the Little Ones Long Distance through Technology

Are you three states away from your grandchildren or oceans away?  Are you looking for a way to make closer connections with them?  Do you want them to recognize you when the opportunity arises to visit?  If your answer is a resounding "Yes!", you might want to venture into the scary land of video calling.

I use the word 'scary' because so many of us have had to use computers and email for our work that we can, at the very least, email our closest family and friends.  But to go beyond email and word processing skills is to go into a shadowy area where all forms of unknown technology threaten our technologically shaky self esteem.

But I'm experiencing a great way to keep in touch with my soon-to-be one -year- old granddaughter.  She is a 9-hour car trip away so she has to become reacquainted with us each time we see her.  With the family's venture into video calling, she not only recognizes us but also seems happy to see us.  She becomes very excited when she hears the computer sound indicating a video call coming in;  she moves quickly to the computer to see what happens.  How's that for a tug at the heart!

We're able to talk to her, show her pictures, play pat-a-cake, sing the Seven Little Monkeys song, and watch her clap her hands in delight.  What a treat!

My laptop has no webcam(the next one will, I swear!).  So our son gave me a Logitech webcam for Mother's Day.  I went to to download free software, and so did he.  Also our daughter, who lives closer and who gives us lots of face time with our grandson, uses Skype as well.   It's nice to hear about his latest escapade and watch him telling us about it  on screen when we can't be there.

My server won't accept a Skype download.  I'm thinking that it is because the server has a video calling application of its own. Remember that I don't know much about the technology that I attempt to use-so realize this is just a possibility, not a basic truth.   But Skype is free, and the video calls are free as well.  So I called the help desk for my server, and a technician was kind enough to load Skype through Firefox for me.

The little Skype symbol is green when it comes on-and it does so automatically when I log onto my server.  If I click on it, the Skype screen appears. I can easily add people to my contact list, and I see who is online at the same time.  As dim as I am, I had a little trouble when the video went blank on me, but the tools, the welcome screen, and a right-click on the video screen itself gave me ways to fix that-in simple, non-techno terms.  Now a video call with our little grandbaby comes in every Sunday night .

I have a friend whose grandchildren are small and live VERY far away-in another country.  She skypes at lunchtime when they are eating lunch, and so is she.  The family are all visible, and so is Grandma.  She sees them once a year so bonding long distance is a gift.

For our older grandchildren who text all day and can read email, skyping may take up too much of their time.  I have ideas to close that generational gap between grandparents and teen grandchildren as well, but I'll leave those for next time.

Skype doesn't provide three-way video calls yet.  I know other services do.  I'm waiting for that, though, so that our adult children and their toddlers can keep in close touch as a larger group.  Are you using video calls to keep in touch with grandchildren?  I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Until then, I remain a happy woman because my grandchildren recognize me even though they're far too far away.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Watch Your Finances Carefully: Negative Option Marketing

I'm hoping my household is the only one among us to be hit by the 'negative option' marketing technique.

Some time ago, we noticed a $10 charge on our credit card that we couldn't account for.  When we called the number that our credit card company listed for the originator of the charge, we were told that an ad had been sent to us through the mail-and since we didn't respond that we were uninterested in the product, -it was immediately charged to our credit card account.

My first question is this:  How do these people get our credit card account in the first place?  I have to assume that we had purchased something earlier from this company or one owned by the same overseeing group of companies-somewhat like the unrequested catalogues that come in the mail because a connected catalogue company to which we do subscribe has shared our info.

My second question is this:  Can this 'negative option' marketing practice be legal?  According to the AARP Bulletin, Sept. 2009, the answer is yes!  If the offer contains all of the legal language required by law.

The article in the AARP Bulletin, "Taking No for an Answer" (22) by Sid Kirchheimer  indicates that you have a certain amount of time to respond with a resounding "No, I do not want this product!" or charges start accruing on your bank statement or on your credit card.

The article concentrates on insurance policies offered by banks;  these policies are sold by "third-party vendors" over the phone or by mail. That might explain the way these merchants gain access to credit card info.

We had to cancel our non-purchase in order to have it taken off of our credit card debits.  AARP suggests the following: 
  1. Review bank statements. You have 60 days to dispute charges on mailed statements.
  2. Beware of free trial offers.  They are often negative option programs.
  3. Request a contract.  In some states, an offer...cannot be legally accpted 'by the silence' of the customer.
  4. Send certified letters, with return receipt notifications, asking companies not to send you information about company-branded programs.
And my favorites among the suggestions!  Contact your state attorney general and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at or call 1-877-382-4357.  (AARP Bulletin, Sept. 2009,22)

We learned the 'watch your finances carefully' lesson and hope you won't have to go through the cancellation of goods and / or services you didn't order in the first place!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Grandma Alert

You may recall advice given to us about the fair-trade, organic, ecofriendly company called Fair Indigo.  I received the catalogue and have to tell you that the pages listing children's items are fantastic.

The handcrafted toys, sweaters, blankets and "Joobles Blankies" look great.  And the sweaters with hats, mittens and toy to match are just what I've been looking for.  I think my first order, however, will be the fleece baby bunting in cranberry.  After all, a new baby girl is coming our way at Christmastime!

Thanks for the tip!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Over 60 Women Make the News: You go, Girl!

Want to rob someone? Don't pick 71-year-old Dawn Fraser as your target! That's the message she gave to a teenager who tried to attack her at her home in Australia.

Dawn is a 4-gold-medal winner and a winner of 8 medals for Australia between 1956 and 1964. She grabbed the attacker's ear, kicked him in the groin, and then grabbed both ear and hair. The attacker found an over-60-woman who could give better than he had planned her to get.

You can read the entire account published by Associated Press by accessing Yahoo Sports.

Congratulations, Dawn. You're an inspiration to all of us!

Why Travel?? For Relaxation and Unexpected Rewards!

So where has this area been all my life? Our family just returned from a week in Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks. Such a beautiful place!

Traveling north to Corolla Lighthouse provided a totally different landscape, greener with lush trees and more ground cover, but-too bad-not many restaurants. Restaurants are a must in my travel plans. Many vacationing families enjoy cooking family meals together. I might like that if I ever try it, but for now good restaurants are in my everyday itinerary.

The Wright Brothers National Monument in Kill Devil Hills is very impressive, and going south, the Cape Hattaras Lighthouse is worth the trip. Again, this landscape is distinct-more dunes, less greenery, the long, water-spanning bridge-all worth the trip.

Several of my friends have been to the Outer Banks or to other great places from Maine to Florida on the Eastern Shore. I'd love to hear about other locations, now that I've finally found that an East Coast vacation is a great adventure.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Health

Talk about 'finally'! Here's another 'finally'. In the September issue of HEALTH, Laurie Tarkan reveals "Secrets of Women with Healthy Hearts" AND she includes a 70-year-old retired registered nurse among the profiles of the 30 and 40- something women.

Barbara Lesperance, grandmother and retiree says, "I think I'm healthier now than I've ever been." She credits strength-training, golf, walking with her husband, and her choice of foods.

Each profile includes age, weight, BMI, cholesterol levels and general health as well as an analysis by Dr. Nieca Goldberg, Director, NYU Women's Heart Program.

Interesting stuff and on target with our needs. Thanks to Laurie Tarkan for including an 'over 60 woman' in her very interesting article. She gives us all a model to look up to and to try to match.

The same issue also addresses bladder pain. Since we were discussing UTI's earlier this summer, you might want to check this out. What we said about cranberry juice being a great preventative before an infection has a chance to develop is repeated here as well as the bad part: drinking it during the UTI just makes the problem worse!

Tarkan hasn't forgotten the invisible 'Over 60 Women'. Thanks!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Finally Time to Read: A novel for you, all adults, and late teens

TESTIMONY byAnita Shreve has been recommended for all of us plus any of those late teens we know and love.

The novel is written from the viewpoint of the people involved in a teen ( she is 14) /young adult ( 2 boys are 18; one is 19) sexual encounter at a private school which is taped and put online.

Another book club attended by our "over 60 women" just finished the book. As related to us, "We discussed the book at length. All club members are 60+ women, and only one does not have children. Several of us are retired public school educators. Where to place responsibility for the ruined lives in this book resulted in quite a bit of debate. If it were not for the explicit sex, this is a book I think all teens should read. So should adults. We all need to be reminded that our actions have ripple effects. "

I'm going to read it next and hope you do, too.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Talking about Books: Book Club Info.

For those of us in the NW PA area, the Edinboro University Book Club has announced its September, 2009, meeting and the book choice.

As written by one of the organizing members," We decided to choose a lighter sort of book for our next meeting. We chose *The Kingdon of Absurdities* by Bruce Gatenby, a book which claims to be an academic satire of contemporary academic life. We will meet in Baron-Forness Library, Room 715, on Tuesday, September 8th, at6:45. Please come and bring your friends!"

Thanks for the information!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finally! Time to Read Non-Fiction: OUTLIERS

This weekend I was able to read OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS(Little Brown & Co., 2008) by Malcolm Gladwell. Previously I had read with interest his publications BLINK: THE POWER OF THINKING WITHOUT THINKING and THE TIPPING POINT: HOW LITTLE THINGS CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.

OUTLIERS is one book I would advise anyone with grandchildren, children, nieces and nephews to read.
Success is not necessarily defined as having a genius-level IQ, but having intellectual ability that is 'smart enough'. Gladwell reviews such successful figures as Mozart,Robert Oppenheimer, Bill Gates, and others who have been 'smart enough'-some prodigies and some not; but all having been nurtured to a level of comfort with their culture, who have spent at least 10,000 hours practicing their passion, who happened to have been born in the right decade and even for some outstanding people, in the right months. He delves into the fields of sports, fine arts, technology, engineering, law, business, and education. I had never seen an explanation of math prowess among Asians versus American students based on an analysis of the languages of each, the culture of effort, and dignity of work. He even discusses the selection process of Harvard's freshman class. So many concepts making so much sense!

In addition to being an important contribution to our understanding (and misunderstanding) of success, OUTLIERS is an interesting read with great examples, easily-understood research stats, and a broader understanding of the accomplishments of successful people. Since we're interested in strong women who influence those in their lives, Gladwell's "Epilogue: A Jamaican Story" is not to be missed. He describes his grandmother and his mother, both strong, admirable women who have greatly influenced the man he is.

If you choose one non-fiction read this summer, consider OUTLIERS-you won't regret it. You can find Gladwell's most recent work and commentary on many areas by accessing his blog:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In Fashion or Not! Our Conversation

A group of us talked recently about clothes, why we can't find outfits that fit and are still professional and in fashion. In our 60's and 70's, we aren't finding much between the skimpy mini skirts/crop top lines and the very matronly styles. Thanks to all of the smart and sassy women taking part in our conversation!

With all of the baby boomers ready to look for nice, flattering clothes, we did acknowledge the value of the Chico's catalogue offerings. You can browse Chico's at

With the advent of the sleeveless sheath worn by Michelle Obama, readers of MORE magazine asked where to find sheaths with sleeves( Thank you! Thank you!), noting that sleeves are better than 'arm spanx' (Yikes!) Editors gave some suggestions that we can access on the web:

Jones New york at
(MORE, April, 2009, 18).

With the demise of some of my favorite stores, I've gone to the web to search out and purchase many items, including clothes. Hopefully, these websites will let us search the possibilities and order online--or find items we like before the 2-hour trip to the stores listed above.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Finally! Time to Read

Two (fiction and non-fiction }books have been suggested as well worth the read. I haven't read either but can summarize a little based on my sister's recommendations.

The first is an epistolary novel, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Shaffer and Barrows. The authors used letters written by people living on the Isle of Guernsey during the Nazi occupation of WWII to describe the ways in which the inhabitants met covertly to plan strategies for getting around the occupation mandates. Even though many of the members couldn't even read, they all attended the 'literary society' meetings to plot their strategies under the noses of the German soldiers.

The second is STILL ALICE, another true story. A woman who has been a well-known published professor falls victim to early-onset Alzheimer's. The story is told by her daughter who, along with the rest of the family, has to decide whether to be tested for the early-onset gene or not. Considering the rise of the relatively new profession of genetic counseling, the struggles of this mother and her family are in the forefront of issues that swirl around this devastating disease.

Why Travel?? For Relaxation and Unexpected Rewards!

My sister traveled to Florida with her friend recently. While waiting for the play, WICKED, to begin, they sat in a small park on the Edison College campus. As purple blossoms from an overhanging tree fluttered all around them, my sister mentioned that they looked like purple butterflies.

Her sharp-as-a-tack friend then recited a poem she learned in high school! (Wish I could do that!) The anonymous author likened the morphing of caterpillar into butterfly to a sign of immortality. Below is the last stanza of the poem. If you'd like the entire poem, email

"Low Spring comes forth with all her warmth and love
She brings sweet justice from the realms above
She breaks the chrysalis and resurrects the dead
Two butterflies arise encircling her head
And so this emblem shall forever be
A sign of immortality."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Good Read But with More Complexity

If you want depth in a mystery novel, try Elizabeth George's CARELESS IN RED(Harper Collins, 2008).Even with its 720 pages, this is a relatively quick read because the reader's interest shifts constantly among three families whose in-depth lives touch the murder victim and intersect with Thomas Linley (Scotland Yard-now bereft because of the murder of his pregnant wife) and the mysterious Daidre Trahair(sometimes visitor to Polcare Cove, veterinarian, and secretive woman intent on hiding her past from the investigation). This is a mystery that you will try to solve from the beginning with your suspicions moving from one character to the other until, at 600+ pages, you begin to see what's really happening.If you read the book, enjoy it(or not), and want to comment here,I'd love to hear your take on this.. If you want to contact Elizabeth George,her website is

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Over 60 Women Make the News

Kathryn Winkfein, 72, was speeding along in Travis County, Texas, on May 11. As reported in many sources, she was pulled over by a policeman, became contrary, and was tasered.

You can see the 'unedited dash cam footage' on and judge for yourself if she should have been tased or handled differently.
I think I'll slow down a little, though, when cruising the open road!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Finally! Time to Read

In my whole working life, I never had time to read-other than work-related tons of student writing!

Now, I'm really enjoying the time I have to read. For pure fun and enjoyment, I'm reading the Janet Evanovich series featuring Stephanie Plum, the bail-bond enforcer in New Jersey. Her escapades with her plus+plus+plus partner are always funny since the perps fleeing bail are usually neighborhood kooks. In this case an 80+ man who refuses to wear pants and doesn't show for his bail hearing.

The best character (other than Ranger) has to be Grandma Mazur. In FEARLESS FOURTEEN, she meets a teen who is battling evil with his video game. Grandma becomes "Scorch" entering the game with her two older friends-complete with black outfits (spandex, of course). It's Grandma Mazur's antics that make me laugh outloud. I haven't read the fifteenth in the series, FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN (She allows readers to title her books.)

If you like Evanovich, read the interview in TIME, June 22, 2009, in which she talks about writing, her newest book, and her aim to entertain, not as she says to "put my political agenda in your face."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Retirement...or Not

I love retirement-so far, that is. But some of my friends who are older than I and who have retired once or twice only to return to the world of work do not-I repeat-do not want to retire. They're vibrant, contributing women who are important in their chosen field.

That doesn't stop people from asking over and over when these work-loving women over 60 are opting out. Paraphrasing Jeanne Phillips of "Dear Abby," those who are tired of the retirement question could just say that retirement is a dirty word. And please don't use it around us!

You go, Girl!

We hear stories too frequently of women having purses snatched in parking lots, but this time the thief was in for a surprise.

Jean Hirst, 72, ran after the female purse snatcher so quickly that the robber tossed the purse back to her. Now I couldn't do this, but Jean was an award-winning high school runner some 56 years ago, and she was able to catch up to the teenager with no problem (as reported in MORE, June, 2009).

You make us all proud. Way to go, Jean!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Time to be Outside in the Sunshine

Sunshine and blooming flowers! The best of all seasons. I'm not anywhere near a master gardener, but my parents were at first skeptical and then very impressed that my urban husband turned out to have a very, very green thumb.
What are some of your best strategies for adding summer beauty to your house, apartment, condo, campground-wherever you like to relax during this special time?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Top This for Hero(ine)s

I know lots of women who have battled more adversity than I've yet to experience, but let me tell you about another kind of heroine.

A professional woman, a widow, mother, a grandmother, and a cancer survivor, she retired last year. What makes her a heroine? She sold her house, bought a huge truck(one of those with the electric side mirrors extending past the camper housed on the back), outfitted a camper with a plasma tv, placed the Wheaties box with her husband's picture in a camper-place of honor, included a case of almond milk(which is to drink and not, as I guessed, to use as a hand lotion) and headed out for her first volunteer job with the national parks.

If you're like me, you close your eyes (someone else is driving, of course) when you go around curves, even on interstates, and hate those concrete barriers erected for highway improvement, and are very, very afraid to look over the edge of a road high in the mountains.

She plastered a bumper sticker on that monster truck: "This isn't my boyfriend's truck!" and crossed the country by herself. Heart-stopping mountain passes, wind tunnels, and miles of construction later, she arrived in one of the southwestern states at her first assignment: helping tourists, yes, but also shoveling manure from the horse/cow whatever barn, and winding two hours back down the mountain for a latte. Now, that's a heroine!

Try to top that.

In Fashion or Not!

What about those jeans that are described as 'low rise' or 'just below the waist' ? I can't wear those without a huge belt that adds to my 'muffin top', makes me look fatter than I am, and rides even further down every time I bend just a little. Let's be real. How many younger women do you know who can wear those and still look good. The term 'muffin top' didn't come about from observation of us 60+'s, right?

I'm not psychologically ready for all-elastic waist jeans, do like ones that fit, and want to wear a belt that looks good, doesn't feel like a tourniquet around my hips. But I rebel against buying jeans that cost $100+(Talk about +'s!).

Any ideas?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We've disappeared!

With my gigantic ego, I never thought about women over 60 as not represented much at all in the tons of magazines that I read. Why should the media focus on the older gals?

But I had just turned 60 when I met 2 special women in their 70's. One the CEO of a major corporation and the other a well-known volunteer and philanthropist in our state. Both were more attractive, better dressed, and much sharper than I was at 60! As I listened to them interacting with the men on this panel, questioning and probing financial issues, I began to wonder why I never noticed women of this age before.
True, I've notices older women:
  • My own grandmother, yes.
  • My own mother, yes.
  • As the woman in the hair salon waiting for my dye job to be done.

But as individual, vibrant women , both in retirement and working, contributing to their families,to their communities and churches , to the political scene...well, no. Thinking of them on these levels didn't occur to me much.

Once the situation settled in my brain for awhile, I started looking closely at whatever I read.

Did you know that women are given advice according to their present decade on the planet? Those in their 20's, 30's, 40's and , oh yes, the 50's+. I fall directly into the 'plus'. 'Plus' is a big category, so it seems, since 4 decades of women fall into it. I hope to be in the 'plus' area for a long time to come.

Where have I found a focus on women over 60? In blogs! Enter 'women over 60' as a search, and you'll find tons of blogs-some great, many just a cover for selling books, orthopedic devices or blue rinses. But more conversation goes on through blogs than anywhere else I've found.

Check out this one. As you know, vanity is one of my very strong points so I found the info on products useful. Also the other blogs listed on this site look interesting:

and the website for MORE Magazine at

What is foremost in your mind right now? What useful blogs or sites have you found?

Waiting to hear from you!