Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Birthday Blues

(Microsoft ClipArt)
We're very fortunate to have writers among our friends.  Barbara's memoirs resonate with us and inspire us to see our age in a positive light.

                              one woman's story.

 When I turned fifty I remember friends helped me celebrate and sing some silly tune
about turning old and gray. They gave me presents tied with black balloons. We laughed and enjoyed our birthday cake, wine and song. We were happy and never depressed; basically we were young and light-hearted. We thought we should pretend we were anxious but it was a ritual that was fun and far from serious or maudlin.

Our birthdays throughout our fifties and sixties were honest attempts to gather friends and family.

We noticed a difference in our collective behaviors in our late sixties and in the beginning of our early seventies. We were still full of laughter, yet there was a slight hint of serious statements by age seventy, like a shading of a painting in its final stages.

 One friend suggested gathering for lunch more often, and added, "you just never know."
Another friend said, "make hay while the sun shines, don't wait until tomorrow."
Our cadre of friends began to say "I love you," before ending a conversation.

 At Sunday mass we listened to the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians,
7:29-31: "...Time is running out." The reading rang loud like church bells. My husband
turned seventy-six.

 As I approached my seventy-fifth birthday I fell into an age-related nadir, a serious slide
into a preoccupation of limited time. The word " time" kept creeping into my mind, like a
worm in an apple, always uncomfortable, permeating my inner balance.

 How did I untie the knots of negative thoughts? I did what many do: I looked around at
others around me, listened to their conversation.

Then wham, that's when I saw Bobby Vinton, age eighty(his bio via a Google search), walking around in shorts with a bounce at the Venice ( Florida) airport without a cane.

 I had lighthearted inner talk with myself: Bobby V. is 80 and I'm five years younger also
without a cane. At that moment I remembered dancing to his Roses Are Red and Blue Velvet in 1962-63: happy hours, happy times.

 There will always be those who are younger in age and others older. If I am happy in my
own skin I will cherish my memories and look forward to each day with a song in my

 Thank you Bobby Vinton for being at the Venice airport on January 24, 2015. On that
day I was reminded that we can be sad or we can inspire others. I plan to send a letter to Bobby V., tell him how much I loved dancing to his songs.

Barbara Reese January 2015

(Our thanks to Barbara for sharing her memoir so that we, too, might share  in her wonderful outlook on life.)

The People in Our Lives

So many people deserve our thoughts on Valentine's Day-and every day.  Barb U has sent us this message so that we can do just that.

At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don't realize they vacated their seats.

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey.  Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train. -Author Unknown
(Our thanks to Barb U for sending this to us.   If anyone knows the author of this piece, please tell us so that we can post it. )


Taking Care with Connections on Valentine's Day

(Microsoft ClipArt)
Valentine's Day is a time to stop for a minute and let the people in our lives know that we love them.  Unfortunately, we also need to be aware that some messages might not be on the up-and-up. Karen B. has sent us the following:
                  Beware of Romance Scams

As we quickly approach Valentine’s Day, fraudsters use this holiday as yet another opportunity to make off with your hard-earned money or steal your personal information. Watch out for these not-so-sweet scenarios:

Online Dating Scams: With millions of Americans visiting
legitimate online dating websites every year hoping to find a companion or even a soul mate, chances are that even if you’re not visiting these sites, someone you know and care about may be. So we want to make sure everyone knows that criminals use these sites, too, looking to turn the lonely and vulnerable into fast money through online scams. These criminals also troll social media sites and chat rooms in search of victims.

Here are some warning signs that a “sweetheart” is really a scammer:
-Wants to leave the dating site immediately upon meeting and quickly asks for an e-mail address, phone number, or instant messaging username.
-Professes true love after just a few contacts.
-Has a profile that seems too good to be true, including a supermodel-worthy photo.
-Won’t answer basic questions about where they live and work. Or, claims that he or she is a U.S. citizen who is abroad, is wealthy, or is a person of important status.
-Asks for money, multiple times (and, usually through a wire transfer) to pay for travel, a child or other relative’s hospital bills, recovery from a temporary financial setback, or expenses while a big business deal comes through.
-Communicates in a more desperate, persistent, or angry way if you don’t send money immediately.

To protect yourself or your loved ones, follow this advice and share this message:
 -No one should send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone they don’t know.
-Everyone should be careful about what personal information they share online.
-Be sure to report suspected fraudsters to the dating website or chat room operator.
-Bogus E-card: Electronic greeting cards are popular year-round, but especially around Valentine’s Day. And, these e-cards are an easy way for scammers to infect your computer with malware that gives them remote access to your files, online banking accounts, and passwords, putting you at risk for identity theft. Or it can enlist your computer as a spam-sending “botnet.”
-Although there are many reputable e-card services, scammers count on you not paying attention when you receive an email with a subject line like, "Your friend just sent you an e-card." So, if you do receive an online greeting card:
-Don’t click on links, especially when they’re from an unnamed person or secret admirer.
-Steer clear of names and senders you don't recognize.
-Even if you recognize the sender’s name, go to the card company’s website to open the card; usually you’ll receive a confirmation code you can use to open the e-card.

Fake Flowers:
 -Valentine's Day is one of the busiest days of the year for florists, and, with many people ordering flowers online, these types of purchases are a common target for fraud. Scammers will sometimes pose as a local florist and then charge hidden or inflated fees. Or, you may get an e-mail from a supposed florist containing harmful links that lead to phony sites looking to steal personal and credit card information in exchange for huge discounts.

A few tips:
-Use a florist you trust and know; get referrals from friends and check for complaints with the
Better Business Bureau.
-Ask for a detailed receipt for any florist you use online and make sure that the fees for the florist who's actually fulfilling your order are fully disclosed—third parties are often used around holidays.
-Pay by credit card so if there's a problem you can dispute it with your card issuer.
-Don’t fall for and click on email links that could release malware onto your computer and put you at risk for identity theft.

-If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud, contact your local police or Attorney General ( And, if you believe any of these activities have resulted in identity theft:

Contact your financial institutions where the theft might have occurred (banks, credit card issuers)
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (; 1-877-ID-THEFT)This Valentine’s Day, be sure to protect your heart and your wallet from scam artists who can easily turn your day from sweet to sour.

Kristin Keckeisen
Fraud Watch Network
( Thanks to Karen B for reminding us that all Valentine's gifts might not be ones we want to receive.)

Great Valentine's Day Messages for All of Us to Enjoy

(Caroline Naoroji)
(Caroline Naoroji)
(Our thanks to Mel Perry for posting the bunnies and leading us to Caroline Naoroji's blog at