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Dear Miss Nora: Please help me with this problem before I do something rash! My husband of decades is a kind and fun man. We are both retired now and have plenty of time to do
the things we love. We didn’t used to go to restaurants very often in the past. While we raised our children and had jobs, we didn’t have much time or money for such luxuries. But now with time on our hands and more money, we eat out at least once a week and the problem is becoming unbearable.

At the end of every meal, when the check comes, my husband scrutinizes it as if he’s auditing the restaurant’s books! He’ll even get out his calculator to go over the more problematic add-ons and extras.

I hate it. It’s offensive to me that my husband cares so little about how this looks and how embarrassed I am by his pettiness. I've repeatedly asked him not to do this but he won’t listen. Only two times in all the years we’ve eaten out has he come across a discrepancy and neither of them were substantial enough to warrant this act of meanness. Yet he recites those two incidences as proof that he needs to be this vigilant.

How do I make him stop? Because, if this can’t be resolved, I'm not going out to eat with him anymore! – Table for one? in Dallas
 

Dear Table for One: You do have a few options available to you. When the bill comes, excuse yourself from the table and inform your husband that you will wait for him in the car while he analyses the receipt. This doesn’t stop him from calculating every morsel of food but it does relieve you of having to watch the spectacle.

The other option is for you to pay the bill. Leave the table when you're both finished ordering and pay covertly before it’s brought to the table. If your husband complains let him know that it’s your way of managing his embarrassing behavior since politely asking him to stop has fallen on deaf ears.

Last, and this is a little naughty, refuse to sit with him at the restaurant. Request your own table and order at your leisure. If your husband complains, let him know that he can only sit with you if he promises not to scrutinize the bill when it comes. If he can’t (or wont) promise this, refuse to allow him to sit with you. Be assertive and possibly a little vociferous. Stick to your guns. Point out that your actions are no more embarrassing to him than his are to you. I'm confident he will see the error of his ways. 

 

Dear Miss Nora,: I'm struggling to keep my opinions to myself where my daughter is concerned. She just informed me that she is pregnant with her fifth child. I love all my grandchildren dearly, and she and her husband seem to be able to afford so many children, but I find it embarrassing to tell people that I am expecting another one. Surely this isn’t normal. How can I broach the subject of my daughter being more careful without hurting her feelings or causing a scene? — Overflowing with grandchildren in Seattle
 

Dear Overboard Overflowing: Every once in a while, I'm asked a question that defies belief. This is one such instance. Very simply put, your daughter’s choice to have a large family is none of your business. The ONLY time you should interfere and offer your opinion without being asked for it is if your daughter is unable to care for her children, unable to care for herself or unable to think of further names!

You don’t go into much detail about finances but I'm confident that your daughter and her husband have figured out that children aren’t free. Furthermore, I don’t know if your objection is that it’s too much for you to care for all of the grandchildren at once if you help babysit or have sleep overs. But if this is the case, ask to have two at a time instead of all at once.

However, what I do know is that if you voice your unsolicited opinion about something as personal as a woman’s choice to have the family she wants, you might end up not seeing any of them while your daughter recovers from your impertinence!

 

Nora will take requests for advice through email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Meet Miss Nora

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  • introduction

    Very simply put, your daughter’s choice to have a large family is none of your business. The ONLY time you should interfere and offer your opinion without being asked for it is if your daughter is unable to care for her children, unable to care for herself or unable to think of further names!

  • publish_date_month May
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Miss Nora
  • Column_Title Ask Miss Nora
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I recently read an article about the importance of  “stepping outside one’s comfort zone” by trying new things. The senior brain thrives on new experiences. It leads to the creation of neurons (commonly known as brain cells). This has a positive effect on cognition, from creative problem-solving to learning new skills. For instance, instead of knitting another scarf or baby booties, try a letter sweater — for your cat. Instead of ordering your standard cup of coffee, you might try a caffe mocha macchiato.

I confess to being resistant to new experiences. Nonetheless, I recently found myself ejected from my comfort zone and forced to deal with change. Last month, while stopped at a crosswalk, I was rear-ended by a Dodge Ram. Fortunately, I was not injured, although my Mini Cooper wagon was no match for the truck carrying a load of bricks and following too close while going too fast. My first thought was one of regret: Two days earlier I had paid an extra $4 at the car wash for an under-carriage rinse and wax.

At the crash scene, having given the police my information, I was allowed to drive the short distance home. Poor Monty (as I call my wagon) was in bad shape: Chunks of window glass and shards of tail light fell from the smashed-in rear doors. Inside, the dashboard lit up with symbols I’d never seen before. I really hoped the little guy could be saved.

For those who’ve been through the process, you know the drill: Call the insurance company, the body repair shop, the car rental agency. In one day I spoke to a dozen new people, some helpful, some not so much. The following day, a truck from the auto body garage arrived to take Monty away. Bobby the driver briefed me on rear-end crashes. Today it’s not the teenage drivers who are texting, he claimed; it’s adults. Today’s teens learn about the dangers of texting in drivers’ ed classes. Bobby said it's the middle-aged driver who’s guilty. These multi-tasking midlife motorists are not only texting while driving, they’re eating breakfast and applying make-up!

With Monty gone, I visited a local car rental. I told assistant manager Cecily what I didn’t want. I didn’t want all the electronic bells and whistles. I didn’t want a keyless vehicle whose sensors would sound an alarm if I got in without the appropriate gadget. I needed to keep it simple. “Something from the ‘50s,” I suggested. She led me outside. We stopped at an enormous white Jeep. “This is pretty basic,” Cecily said, opening the door so I could get in. I climbed up behind the wheel. After little Monty, it felt like boarding a school bus.

Cecily showed me the controls and gave me instructions on windows, lights, heat. Then she handed me a key and wished me luck. I bravely waved goodbye and turned on the ignition. The Jeep was parked on a hill and when I tried shifting into drive, it rolled downward. I tried again; it rolled more.

I pulled the emergency brake and raced back inside. Cecily had just sat down. “I’m rolling down the hill,” I gasped. Instead of rolling her eyes, she smiled kindly. I wondered what was in her coffee. We went back outside where she eased the Jeep down the hill. I took over while Cecily watched and waited, no doubt wondering what would happen next.

Miraculously, I drove away. What a novel feeling, sitting up high. Three days later I felt secure enough to turn on the radio. One month later (Monty had a lot of injuries) it was as if I’d always driven big rigs. The real challenge was in finding parking spaces.

Now Monty is back, mended like new. I think I’ve experienced my share of changes for awhile. Although I know my brain is the better for it, it’s nice to return to the familiar. When all is said and done, there’s nothing so comfortable as being inside your comfort zone.

 

Sharon Love Cook is the author of the Granite Cove Mysteries and the novel Phantom Baby, a “triple-A tale” of adultery, addiction and abduction. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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  • author_first Sharon
  • introduction

    Today’s teens learn about the dangers of texting in drivers’ ed classes. Bobby said it's the middle-aged driver who’s guilty. These multi-tasking midlife motorists are not only texting while driving, they’re eating breakfast and applying make-up!

  • publish_date_month May
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Love Cook
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By now, how many of us have already broken any and all new year’s resolutions? I’ve decided that I’m just going to live by these 18 precepts and forgo any more new resolutions. It seems to be working. What do you think?

  1. Life isn’t fair, get over it.
  2. When you make a resolution, new Year’s or otherwise, take baby steps instead of trying to change everything all at one.
  3. Holding hate and grudges against others, hurts you and not them. Forgive, but don’t be stupid, it’s ok not to forget.
  4. It’s better to be happy than it is to be right.
  5. Eat in moderation most days. If you love chocolate, eat it, just don’t eat a 5 lb. box (at least not all in the same day).
  6. It’s futile to envy others, you don’t know what they really have or don’t have.
  7. You can’t fairly judge others unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.
  8. Life is short, if you don’t like the book, don’t finish it.
  9. It’s ok to feel sorry for yourself, as long as it’s for a finite period of time. Then move on.
  10. If you do what you’ve always done, you will surely get what you’ve always had.
  11. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you want something, go get it. You are the only one stopping you.
  12. Others can make you unhappy, but only you can make yourself happy.
  13. Use the fine china. Wear the good jewelry. You can’t take it with you.
  14. Don’t wish away today assuming you’ll get to it when you’re old. If you want it, figure out how to do it now.
  15. Don’t forget the failures you’ve had for two reasons:  1) As you age, you’ll see how much smaller they were than you thought at the time, and  2) Each failure teaches you something, bringing you closer to success.
  16. If you’re not happy, change something.
  17. Ask for what you want, the worst they can do is say no Then you’re no worse off than before you asked…and they might just say yes.
  18. If you think you have nothing, be grateful for it anyway. There are plenty of people out there who would be grateful for what you don’t realize you do have.

 

Leslie is a 2015 Society of Newspaper Columnists award winner. She currently lives smack dab between Philadelphia and New York City with her husband, 3 dogs, a collection of fish, said husband's cockatoo which she's been trying to roast for dinner for the last 33 years, and a few occasional uninvited guests. LeslieGoesBoom.com.

Meet Leslie

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  • author_first Leslie
  • introduction

    13. Use the fine china. Wear the good jewelry. You can’t take it with you.

    14. Don’t wish away today assuming you’ll get to it when you’re old. If you want it, figure out how to do it now.

  • publish_date_month May
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Handler
  • Column_Title Leslie Goes Boom
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Where’s it written we have to look like a frump when we get to a certain age?  No, we can’t wear hair bows or spike heels, but darn if we can’t still look pretty good. Sure, the younger generation may be prettier and sprightlier, but we have maturity, grace and a great personality cultivated over the years. We can’t all be size 8 – and don’t have to be. Women are lovely in every shape and size. Personality is a plus, and well-thought-out fashion sense goes a long way in enhancing beauty.

Here’s where I upset a lot of ladies as I continue to rant about fashion for older ladies.  When did women begin to look like men? And why would a lady with healthy hips want to cram them into skin-tight jeans when a skirt flowing down those hips would hide a multitude of sins and be so flattering?

Yeah, yeah, I know pants are comfortable, but ask your husband. Bet you a chocolate sundae that he will tell you he likes you in dresses or suits with a pretty blouse or feminine jacket. He’ll also say he likes you in jeans and pants — once in a while. And if you don’t believe him or me just watch him as he checks out a lady in a pretty dress when she floats into his vision. He doesn’t take his eyes off her.

And for those spike heels that we have to forgo. There is a plethora of beautiful — and sexy — shoes with a modest heel that any of us can wear. And slides and wedge heels are “in” these days. While not the same as a pretty, sleek stiletto – which gives the leg a fabulous look –  a modest heel is still a viable option. A small heel is just as attractive to a lady’s leg and goes a long way in completing an outfit and showing off to perfection a flirty, floating hemline.

This spring, ruffles (at a minimum for us) and fabrics that float are in. And they are very feminine and look fabulous on our less than girlish figures. A pretty blouse with a bit of sparkle is okay, too.

As for those damn, unflattering pantsuits – how on earth does one manage in the ladies room (especially public restrooms that are often not as clean as they should be) without the hems dragging on an icky floor. Leave the pants to the male in your life and put on a dress.

I know a lovely lady who slipped into the “frump” stage when she reached a certain age. One day, several years after she had been widowed, she was attending a special event and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut another minute. I insisted she toss the plain beige, no-style dress she planned on wearing and wear something chic and elegant. She frowned.

I ignored her and we set off shopping. Even stopped by the lacy lingerie department. She frowned again. But I insisted she had to look just as nice on the inside as she did on the out. When she looked as if to defy me, I told her about my friend, Pat, who liked to shock folks with outrageous comments. She said, “My mother always said to wear nice underwear in case you are unlucky and get in an accident.” She’d grin and continue, “I say, wear pretty underwear in case you accidentally get lucky!”

The lady frowned at me, and my friend’s humor.

Anyway, I picked out this fabulous navy blue sheath dress — a silky, faintly slubbed fabric with a wide satin band around the waist that ended in two long satin ribbon-like pieces of fabric, shaped like the broad part of a necktie, that flowed down the side of the hip. It had a high enough neckline to flatter an older lady and long sleeves. It was perfect.

But she exclaimed, “I can’t wear that! It’s too fancy for me!” And she gave that satin flap a flip.

My turn to frown at her. “Remove that and you just have a plain navy dress. This adds pizzazz,” I said firmly. “It’s perfect. The inset satin band disguises any imperfections around your waist and the eye is drawn to that glamorous side sash.”

I won the battle of the elegantly chic dress — and  lingerie in a matching color!

Back home, we stood before a tall pier mirror. “Oh, my,” she breathed. “I can’t believe how I look.”

I couldn’t keep the smirk from my face, but I did refrain from crowing “Told you so!”

She paired that lovely dress with silver, strappy shoes with a small, slender heel, added her mother’s diamond earrings, and a necklace with silver and navy beads. I insisted she wear a diamond and sapphire ring that had been reposing in my jewelry box.  She looked fabulous. She even had her hair styled, ditching the look (at my insistence) she’d worn for 40 years.

That evening her date escorted her into the room and every head turned. What an entrance!  Her escort whispered, “Every man in the room just poked his fork in his eye because they were all looking at you!”

Older generation? This just proves you’re never too old to look lovely and to turn a few heads. Several ladies came over to speak to her and ask where she found the beautiful dress. Several of them had to give the swatch at her hip a little flip saying, “I just love this.” 

Oh, by the way, this lady was 80 years old. Which just proves, it doesn’t matter how old you are. A little fashion pizzazz and an attitude will carry you through any season.  

 

Meet Fern

Additional Info

  • author_first Fern
  • introduction

    “My mother always said to wear nice underwear in case you are unlucky and get in an accident.” She’d grin and continue, “I say, wear pretty underwear in case you accidentally get lucky!”

  • publish_date_month May
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Smith-Brown
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I recently again experienced a possible option for punishment. It's commonly called back pain. I don't mean the typical aches and pains of sports or aging, but the knock-down, drag-out excruciating kind.

What fools these aging mortals could be. For example, I have been racewalking for exercise, and previously in competition for quite awhile. A number of years ago, my brilliance involved my trying four fast quarter-miles around the local high school track without properly stretching and doing flexibility exercises first. And this was the day before we were to leave for a Florida visit.

My misconceived motivation was a snap decision to determine if I was in good enough shape to compete in the New Jersey Senior Games as a last-minute entry – the track and field event being 15 days away.

The pain wasn't getting any better in Florida during a short visit to my wife's mother. Upon returning home, I knew it was time to see my orthopedist.

Since I have reversed the preferred process – by making a short story long, rather than making a long story short – let me conclude by noting that I had to arrive at the local hospital by ambulance rather than under my own steam. It wasn't herniated discs as I had suspected, but it was muscle spasms, and my doctor told me that it would heal slowly and fully, with physical therapy and time.

It was my second serious sports injury – the first one involving two herniated discs 10 years earlier after completing the New York City Marathon. The discs eventually healed and I resumed running until switching over to racewalking.

I am still racewalking, and one day while doing so, I started thinking that with persons living longer and healthier lives, you can frequently be sandwiched between care and concern for your children and care and concern for aging parents.

Unfortunately, there are situations in our society when you find parents not giving enough attention to their children and vice versa. You can get it from both sides – the needs of older children and the needs of aging parents.

I have been told that in some Asian cultures there aren't assisted-living facilities or nursing homes because it is considered an old and cultural obligation for children to take care of their aging or ill parents.

Humanity being a study in contrasts, there is also the old saying: "One mother can take care of nine children, but nine children can't take care of one mother."

In any event, the animal kingdom on this planet provides countless examples of the enormous, instinctive bond between animals and their offspring – as well as with human
beings, which also includes the element of love.

I recall an incident while I was in the Navy during the Korean War, in which our destroyer raced toward a Navy fighter pilot who had crashed in the ocean off the Korean coast. As we got near him, you could see that he was in agony and apparently delirious – and he was shouting periodically : "mom...mom...mom" before we got him on board.

The bond is never broken.

 

I can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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  • author_first Arnold
  • introduction

    I am still racewalking, and one day while doing so, I started thinking that with persons living longer and healthier lives, you can frequently be sandwiched between care and concern for your children and care and concern for aging parents.

  • publish_date_month April
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Bornstein
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While gazing into my closet full of black, beige, and gray, I realize how drab everything appears. The tulips out my window are regal in bright red, purple, and yellow adorning the earth with color. I should move them to my closet full of dull!

Yes, it is spring! Time to shoo the winter out of our minds and out of our closets! Spring is the time to breathe fresh air and experience renewal.

When I witness the dogwoods blossoming and azaleas turning pink, I often wonder why we can't rebloom in spring. Why am I getting older with each passing season instead of starting over with new hair and skin every April? Doesn't that seem a bit unfair?

Even though I am a mature woman doesn't mean my clothes need to reflect my age. Drab old blah needs to transform into colorful joy! The old oak tree whose branches spread over part of my window will soon turn gray dormancy into bold new green depicting vibrancy and youth. Yep, that tree is talking to me!

Could my black dress be cute for spring if I accompany it with a bright yellow sweater? Could I pair my jeans with a coral linen shirt? Perhaps I could update my beige slacks by adding a cute top with sassy jewelry to turn boring into spectacular! Should I splurge and buy a new pink outfit to wake up my youthfulness, buried under the snow spirit?”

I love when women and men evoke who they are through the clothes they wear. What we wear should be an extension of our actual personalities. Our clothes need to reflect our innate sense of comfort with ourselves making us more confident, to stand a bit taller, and our smiles brighter.

In our neighborhood are some extraordinary women who exemplify great style any time of the year. Their clothes are an extension of their ageless vibrant personalities. They continuously strive to stay young at heart.

Balancing the idea of youthful style with maturity is akin to walking a thin wire without a net over teeming alligators. Some women wear dowdy because someone somewhere told them they needed to dress according to their age. Some women believe they can wear cut-off blue jeans and a bikini top at 90. Some women need a brain and glasses.

However, let me introduce you to the perfect balance through four beautiful examples.

I telephoned four women friends and asked, “Will you do me a favor? I need you to go to your closet and find a spring outfit. Be sure you select one that reflects who you are. Do not buy anything. You have two days before we take your picture!”

Because they are all good pals and put up with my bossiness, they agreed.

I laughed as they came through the door – all clad in clothes that precisely echoed who they were. Their selection of what they chose to wear was no surprise at all.

Meet Ricki, age 72, a retired school counselor with a slew of grandchildren. I call her Miss Preppy with sass. Donning wedge shoes, ankle jeans, and a coral linen top with a matching
scarf. She is joyful, classy, beautiful and a friend to all. She tries to improve her life every day with a new idea, a renewed attitude or a lesson she has learned from the many books she reads.

Judy is the youngest at 66 and newly retired. She has faced some hardships in life including cancer, but you would never know by the broad smile she carries through her daily life. I believe she must wake up every day looking exactly as she did at the party the night before. Judy is always dressed in perfect style, with not a hair out of place while spreading an
abundance of cheer.

The pearls around Geri's neck are the perfect accessory for a gem of a lady. She is 74 and wears elegance as comfortably as I wear a pair of jeans. She, like Judy, is a cancer survivor, a pure Southern belle, and steel magnolia. Strong, vital and assured that age is just a state of mind. She learned such a pearl of wisdom from her 101-year-old, stylish, smart mother, Nadine, who lives a few miles away.

Deborah is 67, and I know her so well I could predict with accuracy what she would wear to our little photo shoot. Her tall frame can pull off a bold black and white check dress with ballet flats. The bright yellow sweater is precisely the color of her happy attitude. Family, kindness, and faith keep this beauty grounded in the belief that ones' clothes are an extension of our souls.

Beautiful clothes in vibrant colors will not cover a drab spirit. If we are fearful and consumed with our age, then we need to stay in the gray of winter and close the closet door.

This spring why not throw drab away, lift your youthful spirit and proudly let it show! Just like the oak tree, remember you are never too old to renew.

 

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a weekly columnist for a Georgia newspaper. She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Meet Lynn

Additional Info

  • author_first Lynn
  • introduction

     Some women wear dowdy because someone somewhere told them they needed to dress according to their age. Some women believe they can wear cut-off blue jeans and a bikini top at 90. Some women need a brain and glasses.

  • publish_date_month April
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Walker Gendusa
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A vase of flowers is a joy. Whether a huge bouquet or one tiny blossom, cut flowers make us happy. It's true –  a few seconds spent contemplating flowers during a busy day will lift your spirits. And that's something everyone can use.

There's nothing like cutting and arranging your own vase of flowers. If growing and arranging flowers sounds scary, your worries are over. You don't have to be especially creative to grow a cutting garden and arrange your colorful harvest like a pro.

Where to grow your cutting garden? That's easy – anywhere. You can use containers of any sort that suits your space needs, or any plot of ground whether in sun or part shade. Just check the light requirements of the plants you choose to grow. You can find that information on the plant tag or seed packet. Make sure your flowers get good, fertile soil. Mixing in some compost is a great way to amend any soil.

Which flowers are grown specifically for cutting? The list is almost limitless, however there are some flowers that have a longer vase life than others, and some that lend themselves better to cutting than others. Annuals, perennials, everlastings, bulbs, and even plants grown only for their leaves can be destined for the vase.

Annuals are flowers that grow, bloom, and die in one growing season. Many annuals that are good for cutting can be grown from seed, such as cosmos, larkspur and zinnias. They sprout quickly, they grow easily, and they come in a rainbow of colors –  zinnias even come in green.

Perennials are plants that die back each winter and (sometimes) return fresh in the spring. These are best suited to a plot of ground instead of a container. Reliable, easy-care choices for spring flowers are iris and peonies. Summer blooms like Shasta daisy and purple coneflower are lovely in the vase.

Everlastings, like statice, baby's breath and globe amaranth are easy to dry and they should last, well, forever. They give an interesting texture and subtle color to dried or fresh arrangements. Statice and baby's breath make lovely, airy fillers for cut flower arrangements. Globe amaranth, has pompom flowers that are lovely in the garden as well as in dried bouquets.

Spring and summer blooming bulbs make great cut flowers. Tulips, daffodils and alliums last a long time in the vase, and cheer us out of the winter blues. Lilies, gladiolas, and dahlias provide unique colors and shapes, whether you choose a single blossom or create a one-of-a-kind floral masterpiece.

Don't limit your bouquets to just flowers. Any arrangement, even a simple store-bought bouquet, can be fleshed out with branches of forsythia, evergreens, or even autumn leaves. Ferns, ivy and ornamental grasses are also perennials, and will add grace and texture to both the garden and the vase.

When and how to cut? Theodore James, Jr., author of the comprehensive book The Cut-Flower Garden, suggests cutting flowers early in the day when the stems are firm and filled with water. Use sharp shears or a knife to prevent injury to the growing plant.

When you get the flowers inside, cut each stem at a 45-degree angle under water so air is not absorbed into the stem. The angle allows water into the stem while a flat cut will cause the stem to clog as it rests flat on the bottom of the vase. Remove all leaves that will be below the water line of the vase.

For flowers or branches with woody stems (lilacs, dogwoods, azaleas, roses and also chrysanthemums), smash the bottom inch with a hammer, or cut a slit about 1/3 of the way up the bottom. Flowers with hollow stems (daffodils, zinnias, Shasta daisies, lupines, dahlias, poppies) need the sap that leaks out the bottom or they will wilt quickly. Prevent leaking by searing the bottom of the stem with a match or candle flame.

When the flowers are ready for the vase, add two drops of bleach and one teaspoon of sugar to each quart of water to keep the flowers fresh and well-fed.

Your time, effort, inspiration, and creativity will be richly rewarded with the knowledge that you can create vase after vase of beautiful bouquets.

 

Lori Rose, the Midnight Gardener, has gardened since childhood and is a Temple University Certified Master Home Gardener and member of the Association for Garden Communicators (GWA).

Meet Lori

Additional Info

  • author_first Lori
  • introduction

    When the flowers are ready for the vase, add two drops of bleach and one teaspoon of sugar to each quart of water to keep the flowers fresh and well-fed.

  • publish_date_month April
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Rose
  • Column_Title The Midnight Gardener
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In this 2018 spring fashion report for ladies-of-a-certain-age (www.ladiesofacertainage.com, a blog for invisible, powerful, dynamic women) I am sharing my research findings of latest fashion trends and colors.

 

What Older Women Report

Comfort is the number one consideration for buying a piece of clothing.

Women our age want to wear what they buy for more than one season.

Color is key, they told me. I was surprised with how many women knew their color “season.”

Also, I was impressed that their fashion personality type played such a key role in their buying decisions.  (All fashion types were represented in my survey.)

Hard to find clothes that fit was a universal lament of the group.

They love to shop consignment stores, Good Will, hospice and other nonprofit shops.

Surprisingly, almost all of the women told me they were doing more online shopping; however, they stated finding the right fit and returns were challenging.

Many mourned the loss of favorite retailers and were concerned others would soon close their doors.

One woman asked, “Do you think it is appropriate for women our age not to dress their age?” “No,” was the resounding answer.

 

Brief List of Latest Fashion Trends and Colors

Romance (ruffles, and fabrics that seem to float).

Lavender!

Sparkle (my hair stylist will love this).

White shirts.

Trumpet sleeves (watch out if you have a gas stove).

Pant suits (I loved them in the past – now, that I make so many trips to the loo, I don’t think so).

Trench coat look.

Checks.

Fringe continues its appeal.

Asymmetrical neckline.

Black and white dots.

Square neckline.

Backpacks for a purse.

Shoes – good news – sneakers, mules, flats still stylish in case you do not want to wear stilettos. (How do House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, 77, and PBS NewsHour Anchor Judy Woodruff, 71, do it?)

Additional Info

  • author_first Elizabeth
  • introduction

    One woman asked, “Do you think it is appropriate for women our age not to dress their age?” “No,” was the resounding answer.

  • publish_date_month April
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Wheeler
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How many of us used to look forward to the nightly news, because back in the day, terrorist attacks, massacres and school shootings were unfathomable? And now before going to bed aren't you tempted to put the hospital's emergency number on speed dial for “just in case?” Like maybe you'll suffer a stress-induced stroke?

But wait, there's hope! My three aging sisters and I recently discovered an outlet for national news anxiety and a panacea for depression brought on by dwelling on what's all wrong with this wacky world. Great news! I can tell you what's RIGHT with it. Stay with me here and I promise you'll feel wildly light, invigorated and enthusiastic to share with other seniors your newly found freedom — IF you live to tell about it! C'mon, at our advancing ages, is it such a big deal to be toying with the idea of landing "from here to eternity" in just one swipe?

First, in preparation you must disregard those aggravating aches and pains that keep you chained to your couch; also that crippling idea that you're too old to try what you might have been too scared to do at age 10? Forget the words “I can't.” I have found now at 70-something, that the words “I can” have a therapeutic connotation – and we four sisters have taken it to the limit, literally, and we want more, more!

That “more” is something we've heard about from those 60 years younger than ourselves –  the winter sport of tubing. And yes, we did feel silly and self-conscious about our ages standing amongst those “babies.” So that's what prompted me to ask George, a worker at Holiday Valley, if anybody older than us went tubing.

"We got one 91-year-old regular who comes here with his 75-year-old 'kid.'" And then to
rattle us up, he adds that the son just asked his dad to up his life insurance — double indemnity if there's an accident. " Naw, just fooling ya guys about the dad's insurance, but I'm right on about their ages."

With George's assistance I manage to plop myself into the seat of the big, round, rubbertube. He hooks the cord hanging from the side of it to a pulley that starts jerking me up over the icy jagged terrain, and our ascent begins up the hill. Hill, heck! It looks more like a mountain!

"Brace yourself up on the tube's sides with your arms, and raise your bum up from the seat's bottom, so it doesn't hurt like hell!" he yells out to me.

I'm the first sister to reach the summit, followed by sister two, three, and four. We used to refer to ourselves as the Little Women, now it's more like the Big Bruisers since we're all decked out in one-piece snowmobile outfits that belong to four husky men. And darn if mine doesn't fit perfectly. I ask you, where is the justice?

The steep hill before us appears so long, and we all suddenly feel so short on guts.

"Look, what do we have to lose?" quiver's Mary's voice.

"Only our lives," trembles Beth.

"Hey, did you notice at the end of this monstrosity that mound of snow that's supposed to stop our tubes?" nervously asks Joyce. "What happens if we go over it?"

"According to George, we die!" Don't think that I didn't think to ask that joker that question beforehand and, luckily, he had that mischievous glint in his eyes. But really with my wearing thick safety glasses, could I be sure of anything I saw?

"There's only one-way down, Karen, and because you're the oldest, and you're always wanting us to defer to you first — HERE YOU GO!"

One push and I'm sailing through the air, my frozen strands of hair whipping my elderly, weather-beaten face, and it feels like I'm being attacked by razor blades, and yet I feel so free
and alive! Absolutely no time to think about the world's problems, only the inconvenience that my nose is running and I don't want to use somebody else's sleeve. Oh, what the hell!

My speed-breaking flying tube hits the snow mound and swings me around like a mini merry-go-round. Oh, to feel like one is back on the playground again! As I turn to see my first sister whizzing down this runway, I can tell that my playmate is having the time of her life! Never mind that her expression of horror resembles someone who's maybe just been informed she's going to be working in Trump's cabinet.

Look, it's so hard not to revert back to thinking about the national news. But the four of us are really trying. In less than two weeks we've gone tubing three times. How crazy is that? A delightful crazy, I might add. More sane than working with you-know-who, in you-know-where.

 

Meet Karen

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  • author_first Karen
  • introduction

    One push and I'm sailing through the air, my frozen strands of hair whipping my elderly, weather-beaten face, and it feels like I'm being attacked by razor blades, and yet I feel so free
    and alive!

  • publish_date_month April
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last White-Walker
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Keeping track of the latest scams is a lot like playing whack-a-mole. Even as we learn what to watch out for regarding one scam, the scoundrels are busy developing several more ways to steal from you. Often, the people in the crosshairs of thieves are among the most vulnerable, that is, seniors. Here are just a few.

 

New Medicare Cards: They’re Real but Beware the Scam

Across the country, Medicare and Social Security recipients will soon begin receiving new Medicare cards in the mail. That’s true. But there’s also a scam you need to watch for. If the phone rings and the caller claims to represent Medicare or Social Security, beware. The caller may tell you your file must be updated before the card can be issued and they may add that your benefits are in jeopardy if you don’t cooperate. Then the caller asks you to verify or provide personal banking information and possibly more. That information hands them the ability to drain your assets.

Callers may be aggressive, calling several times a day, possibly threatening you with adverse action. The hope, of course, is to wear you down.

Another version of the scam is that the caller will tell you are due for an upgrade of your benefits, if you allow the caller to update your file. And yet another scam includes telling you there is a fee for your new card.

The Social Security Administration and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services want to assure you, they will not call you with a request for personal information. If you get such a call, hang up immediately. Don’t engage callers in conversation. It will be tempting to berate them for attempted theft, but just hang up.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

7500 Security Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21244

www.cms.gov

 

Social Security Administration

Office of Public Inquiries

1100 West High Rise

6401 Security Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21235

(800) 772-1213

www.ssa.gov

 

The operators of this scam are engaged in criminal activity. Citizens who receive such calls are also encouraged to report them to the FBI as follows:

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Minneapolis Office

1501 Freeway Boulevard

Brooklyn Center, MN 55430

(763) 569-8000

www.fbi.gov

To find out when your new card is likely to arrive, here’s a list from Medicare.gov

https://clark.com/health-health-care/new-medicare-cards-mailed-dates/

 

Online Prescription Drug Deals

Ordering medications online can be a good, legitimate way to pay less for prescription drugs. But it can also be a scam. Sites that offer significantly “better prices” may not only be fake, but the drugs you receive from them may be harmful. One pharmacist, Ira Katz, says that by definition, prescription drugs are dangerous, which is why they’re controlled. When you buy drugs online from unknown sources, they may not have the same strength you have been prescribed. Or the medication may be outdated, or worse, a placebo, according to Katz.

That’s not to say that all online drug sites are bad. Here are some sites where you should be able to buy Rx drugs online with confidence. Some require membership, such as AAA.com. And some have income limits.

Publix.com – 14 day supply of select antibiotics for FREE.

Walmart.com – 30-day supply of select generic drugs for $4 or a 90-day supply for $10.

Target.com – 30-day supply of select generic drugs for $4 or a 90-day supply for $10 .

NeedyMeds.org – Free drug discount card accepted at over 60,000 pharmacies.

Eli Lilly – Seniors with income of less than $18,000 a year as singles or $24,000 as couples may qualify for a LillyAnswers discount card, and a 30 day supply of certain drugs. You can use the card at CVS, Longs and Wal-Mart pharmacies. Call 1-877-RX-LILLY to apply.

The Medicine Program – This is for people having below $60,000 of income, and no health insurance. Call 573-996-7300 and ask for an application. Or, check the Phrma Web site Phrma.org for a list of drug companies.

TheAssistanceFund.org – This program non-profit can help you pay for medication in
dire situations, whether or not you have insurance.

 

Funeral and Cemetery Scams

Here are two separate scams that the FBI is warning seniors about.

  1. Criminals scour obituaries and call or attend the funeral services for people they don’t know, with the goal of taking advantage of the grieving parties. The scammer will claim to have an outstanding debt owed to them by the deceased, in an effort to get relatives of the deceased to settle the fake debt. Of course it’s entirely possible that your loved ones who pass away leave unsettled debts and some may not be recorded anywhere. But thieves are counting on your vulnerability. If the “creditor” has no proof and there’s no reason to believe they are telling the truth, you need to ignore them. If they become a problem, refer them to your attorney.

  2. Also, though most funeral homes are honorable, some prey on grieving families, attempting to capitalize on the fact that many people aren’t familiar with the cost of funeral services. The scam occurs when someone at the funeral home adds unnecessary charges by insisting on extra features or services that aren’t required, or by trying to “guilt” family members into buying an expensive casket.

    You can avoid this scam by doing some research before agreeing to what is suggested by the funeral home. There is an abundance of information online about average costs. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides an extensive checklist: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0301-funeral-costs-and-pricing-checklist

 

Anti-Aging Products

The late night TV shows that many older people watch feature ads that promise solutions to signs of aging and other physical problems. The National Council on Aging states that many elderly who are lonely and bored fall victim to such scams advertised on TV and online, such as on Facebook. Some include expensive treatments that can be harmful, and others that, while still expensive, have no effect at all other than draining your bank account.

Some of these scams offer free trial offers of products, such as anti-wrinkle creams. You’re probably familiar with the “free offers” that require you to sign up to get the freebie, and they assure you, you can cancel anytime. But let’s face it. Most of us forget to cancel, or find it very hard to do.

Avoid this scam by remembering what you tell your kids… if it sounds too good to be true, it surely is. You can read more about this type of scam on a site called Clark.com, or by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2EAihjE

 

Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

Meet Teresa

Additional Info

  • author_first Teresa
  • introduction

    The Social Security Administration and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services want to assure you, they will not call you with a request for personal information. If you get such a call, hang up immediately. Don’t engage callers in conversation. It will be tempting to berate them for attempted theft, but just hang up.

  • publish_date_month March
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Ambord
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Elder housing isn’t what it once was, and thank goodness for that. Between high school and college I’d trained to be a nurse’s aide at our tiny rural hospital, which included a few convalescent beds where the patients were treated like precious commodities. But when I moved to the city for college, I worked part-time in a real convalescent hospital, and it was a nightmare.

Walk in the front door of that nursing home and the first thing that hit you was the smell of urine. Too many patients and too few staff to adequately care for them meant the residents were miserable much of the time. It was dreadful for all concerned, but mostly for the patients who were so dependent on us.

These days, elder care has become a booming industry and senior facilities have stepped up to meet the demand, in most cases, with excellent care. The older I get, the more friends and family members I have that need the various levels of senior care, from temporary stays in rehab hospitals, to independent living, to full nursing care. And in each facility or level of care, I’ve been wowed at how good the care is.

Now, if anything the choices may be too many. If you foresee that you or a loved one will soon be needing some degree of long-term care, it might be a good idea to start looking at the options.

 

First: What Level of Care are You Considering?

Here’s a breakdown of the major types of facilities.

  1. Independent living. These are best for people who can live on their own, don’t have specific medical care needs, but want convenience. Independent living communities offer such
    niceties as meal preparation, housekeeping, housekeeping, security, and may have on-site beauty parlors and barbers, clubs, church services, buses to take them shopping and transportation to appointments.  Residents can make use of all or none of those things.
  2. Assisted living facilities. These are for people who need some medical care. They include everything offered by an independent living facility, but also provide help with managing
    medications when needed, and with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming. Some assisted living homes are apartment-like settings, and others are more institutional.
  3. Nursing homes. These are homes for people who need round the clock nursing care, and other support services. If this is the level of home you are considering, it’s important to
    inquire about how emergency care is provided. How available are physicians? Are staff members certified in CPR? What are the qualifications of nurses that provide direct patient care? How does the nursing home deal with family visits? Are visits restricted? How are patients with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s cared for?

This information should be available from the local Area Agency on Aging. Also, ask the patient’s doctor, nurses, therapists if they would recommend a particular place. You may be able to ask your own doctor, as news of substandard care travels fast in the medical community. Doctors may be reluctant to actually criticize a facility, so you may have to judge by the doctor’s hesitation to recommend that facility. Also ask social workers and relatives and friends.

 

Keep the Patient Involved in the Decision-Making Process if Possible

I have a friend whose husband is inching towards what seems to be inevitable dementia. While he can still participate in the decision, the two of them are visiting a wide variety of facilities. In fact, when the time comes, they might both move into a facility where she can live with him, perhaps an assisted living home, until he needs a great deal more care.

If your – or a loved one’s – need for a care facility is still off in the future, you might consider doing the same. That is, let the future patient participate in the decision of where they will eventually live.

 

What to Consider

If you go “facility shopping,” here are a few points to give special attention to:

  • Cleanliness. To the extent possible, observe hygiene. It shouldn’t be hard to notice if residents are being neglected.
  • Staff. Does the number of staff seem adequate to manage the number of patients? That’s not to say that employees aren’t hopping busy, but the staff-to-patient ratio should be such that all patients get bathed and receive other personal attention they need. The same is true not just for nursing care, but also general maintenance and kitchen staff.
  • Services. What are the patient’s special needs? Be sure the facility provides for those needs. For example, a patient may require the use of a lift machine to get in and out of bed. Many will need physical therapy and/or a gym where they can go to strengthen their limbs. How are supplies paid for? If supply costs are added to the patient’s bill, are the costs reasonable? Are there regular increases in costs? Hidden charges? Obviously meals are a key service. If you’re considering a facility you should visit it during a meal time and observe if meals are served in a relaxed manner and if plenty of food is available.

 

Get the Unseen Story

Don’t accept any facility without first checking its financially stability, record of legal compliance, and quality of management. Facilities aren’t likely to be perfect, but significant problems in any of these areas may lead to trouble finding sufficient staff of qualified health professionals.

Find out if the facility has current valid state and local licenses, and liability and malpractice insurance.

Ask to review state inspection reports and investigate whether they have lawsuits pending.

 

Sidebar: What Would I Have to Pay for Long-Term Care?

Every year, Genworth Financial does a “Cost of Care Survey” that measures the average costs for most levels of care for seniors or other people who need a little help, or a lot of help. Here are the results of the 2017 survey. Costs, says Genworth, rose an average of 4.5% between 2016 and 2017. The biggest increase was seen in the cost of home health aide care.

Here are the average costs in the nation, and the percentage of increase from the prior year:

  • Home health aide services, $21.50 per hour (up 6.17%)
  • Homemaker services, $21/hour (up 4.75%)
  • Adult day health care services, $70/day (up 2.94%) 
  • Assisted living facilities, $123/day or $3,750/month (up 3.36%)
  • Semi-private room nursing home care, $235/day or $7,148/month (up 4.44%)
  • Private room nursing home care, $267/day or $8,121/month (up 5.50%).

Why do this study every year? David O’Leary, the CEO of Genworth’s US Life Division says it’s to raise awareness about the cost of aging and help start the conversation about planning for long term care.” He points out that with most people preferring to remain at home as long as possible, “the good news is that home care is still more affordable than nursing home care."

You can check the average costs in your state on this site: https://www.genworth.com/about-us/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html

 

Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

Meet Teresa

Additional Info

  • author_first Teresa
  • introduction

    The older I get, the more friends and family members I have that need the various levels of senior care, from temporary stays in rehab hospitals, to independent living, to full nursing care. And in each facility or level of care, I’ve been wowed at how good the care is.

  • publish_date_month March
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Ambord
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Harold was an “Old Goat.” He was in his late 80s and had served as a sailor aboard an aircraft carrier sunk by the Japanese during World War II. He and his wife Betty were both well-liked in their home town of Stephenville, Texas. They were friendly, personable and upbeat people.

However, Harold was well known around town as a practical joker. He was a member of a group of elderly gentlemen who met six days a week for morning coffee. They called themselves “The Old Goats.” The other individuals of this group were frequent victims of Harold’s trickery. The group was made up of physicians, educators, a minister, farmers, ranchers, and even one chicken-sexer.

So, one morning as he entered the Dairy Queen (the Old Goat’s meeting place) he was greeted by a woman in a short-skirted, low-cut, scarlet dress with flounces, a wildly floral hat, and spiked heels.

Between smacks of her bubble gum she chirped through her heavily applied make-up, “Hiya, Big Boy. Y’lookin’ for company this morning?”

Harold was undone. He was completely discombobulated to the delight of his wife and the other Old Goats who had assembled for the fun.

That was the beginning of my association with the Old Goats. I was the woman who had greeted him that morning with the connivance of the store manager, a couple of the group, and Betty.

The members were so gleeful over the trickster being tricked, they unanimously voted me into the Old Goats, the first and only female member, and designated me as “Chief Nanny.”

As one of my hobbies was the collection of period costumes, two other characters emerged from my alter-persona: Sarah Palin and an angel. The Palin character would show up on election days or holidays always carrying Trig in the form of a baby doll.

The angel appeared to any Old Goat when he was hospitalized. One awoke from a nap to find the “angel” at the foot of his bed and declared to all that he had died and visited heaven.

Whatever the occasion, the Old Goats always seemed to enjoy and be uplifted by these characters. This, of course, made me feel better – a clear case of a double winner.

The editor of the local paper was a close friend of several of the Old Goats, so that made it easy to get press coverage for our antics. An example was the time a 93-year-old member got engaged. I brought out my convertible and carried the man and his bride-to-be around town to show off the newly engaged couple. Only in a small town with an obliging editor would this be possible.

At Christmas, the annual Christmas brunches were among my favorite times with the Goats. Each had its own theme. The last one was “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” Each was asked to bring a personal photo to be included in the display. Since most of the group were veterans of World War II, their photos brought to tie in with the “Home for Christmas” theme were especially poignant.  One to submit a photo was Mike, a Japanese-American who served in the U.S. Army. He was so touched that his photo was received along with the others that he broke down and wept. He then revealed that his brother had also served in the war – but with the Japanese military.

Over the years we lost members due to old age and its complications. So, I painted a picture of an Old Goat gone on to greener pastures. The picture was placed in their meeting room along with a plaque bearing the names of those who had gone on before. Today, the plaque has grown larger, and there are only a few of the original membership still around. But, memories remain strong, bright and vital.

My husband and I have moved from Stephenville to be closer to our family. I know that, over the years, I gained more from the Old Goats than I gave, and I miss them all. Their memories stay strong on my mind and are deeply treasured. They were all true gentlemen-of-the-old-school. During my recent bout with cancer, they flooded me with activities, well-wishes and prayers.

Thank you, Old Goats, for the friendship and fellowship which is such a large part of the small town living experience.

Additional Info

  • author_first Jan
  • introduction

    The members were so gleeful over the trickster being tricked, they unanimously voted me into the Old Goats, the first and only female member, and designated me as “Chief Nanny.”

  • publish_date_month March
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Johnson
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We have the best of both worlds.

Billy and I often leave the U.S. for months at a time to visit exotic locations. We set up a home base on the other side of the globe and settle into the local community. Then, due to visa restrictions or a desire to see family and friends once again, we return home to America’s stunning Southwest.

We are able to live this footloose life with comfort and ease, and without breaking the bank. Although our choice may not fit everyone’s idea of The Perfect Domicile, it works spectacularly well for us.

We live in an active adult community. Sometimes they are called master planned communities, active resort living, or even age-qualified villages. These culturally-rich, low-maintenance enclaves are springing up all over our nation as well as in exotic locations such as Panama, Mexico and Thailand. With baby boomers turning their attention towards retirement, building these villages has become quite a lucrative business, with fierce competition for our domicile dollar.

There are many reasons why we choose this style of living.

  • Value for money spent.
  • Lots of activities, amenities and neighborhood involvement.
  • Clean environment, manicured gardens.
  • Release from the burden of high property taxes.
  • Savings on home owners insurance.
  • Savings on transportation
  • >Reasonable maintenance costs.
  • Safety.

Perhaps one or more of these points appeal to you.

 

Value for Money Spent

I realize that some people feel that manufactured housing aren't real homes, that they are like toys, or somehow, inferior places to live. These types of houses have improved greatly over the years, and the attractiveness of their affordability has been proven by their rise in sales.

Our home is paid for so we don't carry a mortgage with the financial weight that this brings to any lifestyle. It is a very attractive arrangement and it frees us up to roam the world, renting apartments or hotel rooms without thought of draining our finances in the housing category of our budget.

However, there are lots of options in these communities. You can spend a few thousand dollars for a place – or millions. You can choose to lease the property or buy the lot and build from the ground up. It all depends on your personal needs for freedom or security.

Some places offer memberships to country clubs and championship golf courses, and most usually have a long list of amenities such as full-time lifestyle directors, organized social
clubs, dinners, and ballrooms for dancing, computer center with free Wi-Fi, and state-of-the-art fitness rooms and spas, swimming pools, tennis courts. Plus lapidaries, billiard halls, card rooms, athletic pro shops, sewing rooms, libraries, softball fields, language and lecture halls, travel offices and theaters. To join all these organizations independently or to pay for the real estate to house rooms for your own private equipment adds up quickly. Our full access to these outstanding options and all the apparatus needed is covered in our lifestyle fees.

We live close to both college and professional sports arenas, have world-class shopping nearby, and an international airport for quick getaways. Living in a breathtaking residential environment gives us extraordinary value.

 

Tax and Insurance Relief

In our location we have chosen to lease the land on which our home stands –  a common option that many retirees prefer. However, some readers have challenged us directly asking, "How can you not own the property itself? Don't you feel at the mercy of rent rising without your control? Property values always go up, and aren't you being foolhardy?"

These are excellent questions. However, many people don’t realize how expensive owning a home is. So much of the costs seem hidden or taken for granted. The maintenance required and rising property taxes are expenses that cannot be ignored. We have lived here since the early 1990s, and our lifestyle fees are less than most homeowner's property tax bill. During these many years, our lease has increased, but it is still a value for all of the amenities included. Another benefit is that our home owners insurance has not doubled as it has in other locations in the country due to being in the path of a natural disaster.

Owning less and being lighter also allows you to insure for less. It is common now for
developers to attract residents by touting their tax-friendly state; not owning the property itself loosens up thousands of dollars a year for other activities such as travel, gifts for the grandchildren, or pursuing hobbies.

 

Savings on Transportation and Maintenance Costs

Having entertainment and dining options nearby or within walking distance saves a surprising amount on transportation costs. Granted, we do travel the world, but Billy and I did the math, and our average miles driven per year had been 1,200. This is a huge cutback on gasoline charges, and wear and tear on our vehicle. We even received an insurance discount based on the few miles that we drove per year. Eventually, we became car-free.

We like to bike or walk to many locations and this helps us keep fit and active. Many of our neighbors utilize their golf carts or motorbikes to run their errands. Of course we drove to the grocery store when we needed to stock up, but when we only wanted a few items, we'd grab a daypack, walk to the nearest upscale grocery store in our neighborhood and load up our pack.

Although we are responsible for the maintenance of our home and personal gardens, the responsibility for maintaining the whole resort does not belong to us. We don't worry if the pool heater breaks down, if a piece of equipment in the fitness room needs replacing or when to update the lounge chairs, tables and umbrellas by the pool. We don't resurface our tennis courts or re-felt the billiard tables, and we don't trim the hundreds of palm trees or re-coat and maintain the roads in our village. It's all taken care of – yes, paid for in our lifestyle fees.

 

Safety

I don't fret about my personal safety here in our resort. For instance, recently Billy took off for a trip to Mexico. I chose to stay at home and enjoy the awesome autumn weather we get here at this time of year and to catch up on some projects.

One morning I found myself awake at 3:30 a.m. At 4, I decided to take an early morning walk. I felt completely safe, and it never crossed my mind to feel otherwise. In fact, I met other neighbors who were walking their dogs waiting to catch the sunrise. Being anxiety-free walking my neighborhood alone, in the dark, at this time of morning is a rare feeling when Billy and I visit in many cities and towns across the globe.

For the numerous singles here in our community, having the familiarity of neighbors close by is comforting.

Why not open your mind to the options that are available to you at this time in your life? You may just find that a lighter financial weight appeals to you in more ways than you imagined. Or if you still prefer a traditional home, the communities to choose from will certainly expand your social horizons.  

 

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. Their books, "The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement" and "Your Retirement Dream IS Possible" are available on their website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com or on Amazon.com.    

Additional Info

  • author_first Billy and Akaisha
  • introduction

    Although we are responsible for the maintenance of our home and personal gardens, the responsibility for maintaining the whole resort does not belong to us. We don't worry if the pool heater breaks down, if a piece of equipment in the fitness room needs replacing or when to update the lounge chairs, tables and umbrellas by the pool.

  • publish_date_month March
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Kaderli
  • Column_Title Passport Perspectives
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Vacation photos are extraordinary. You can gaze upon your family’s smiling faces in Kodak-moment locations, while the lost luggage, the overpriced dinner, the underwhelming hotel, or the rude taxi driver fade into memory. No matter how perfectly planned and executed are your special times, perfect moments are rarely as perfect as we imagined they would be. Contrarily, ordinary moments can be sublime.One day I sat out on my patio for lunch. Suddenly I felt so peaceful that I wanted to clutch the air. A pair of squirrels raced noisily through the dry leaves. I heard woodpeckers’ harsh calls from the oaks while

What’s remarkable is that this occurred on the heels of a terrible time. It was less than two months the largest wildfire in California history, a fire that forced my husband and me to evacuate for 12 days,and came within a mile of our home.

It was less than a month since our son had suffered a long hospitalization due to a chronic illness. We had spent Christmas Day through January 2 dealing with the emergency room, testing, insurance, doctors, and providing games and New Year’s Eve decorations to lighten the mood.

It was less than two weeks since a half-inch of rain fell in five minutes on the scarred slopes of the mountains behind the community, triggering a mudslide that killed 23 and left hundreds homeless, several of them close friends.

After weeks of dark clouds, I experienced this moment, like I was taking my first deep breaths, like a newborn. I recognized this feeling – it’s like the day after a vicious migraine. I am totally spent but simultaneously euphoric. These didn’t beat me. I am still alive.

I can only be grateful for this out-of-the-blue intense emotion. My joy de vivre was no more deserved that the previous weeks’ events were undeserved. But it helped me remember that perfect happiness can’t be bought or even earned. It can only be recognized, upheld, and cherished for as long as it lasts.

I can think of other sublime ordinary times. There is the satisfaction of concentrated writing or working intensely on a client’s financial plan. Time flies or floats until I wake from a near trance. My thoughts have imprinted directly on the page seemingly without having to transpose through imperfect typing fingers or imprecise translation to words.

Physical work can be equally satisfying. My husband and I dismantled our woodpile not long ago, moving it to further from the house in our fire-prone neighborhood. I donned my work-worn gloves, and we toiled together.

The satisfying clack of kindling sticks hitting each other reminded me of a game from half a century ago. Two kids would hold either end of two long sticks close to the ground, clapping them together and apart while a third hopped among them.

I love discovering one of these long-buried pleasant memories. Perhaps it’s not sublime, but a more reliable source of happiness than my younger self’s need for thrill and adventure.

I hope this is what Heaven will be like: a oneness with the universe that doesn’t ignore life’s difficulties but is at peace with them. The peace that surpasses all understanding that is promised in the New Testament’s Philippians. The feeling that I can meet the challenges, and then rest on the seventh day.

This is my seventh day and I am resting with tears of sadness and joy. The sadness is for the tragedy and illness that has happened not just on the news but in my community, to my friends and my family. The joy is that, as long as I am alive there can be deep satisfaction alongside the deep sadness

I’m reaching for perfect moments in the kind words of strangers, the touch of a friend, and even the optometrist who provides discounted glasses for the ones that disappeared over the course of the evacuation madness.

I found perfect moments in a tearful meal for a book club member who lost her home but was spared her life. The gathering reinforced my appreciation for the intrinsic humanity of people within the intrinsic power of nature.

Once in a while, when you have no expectation but great need, you may have such a Kodak moment: a rainbow in time. Between storms, grab a rainbow.

 

Karen Telleen-Lawton is grateful to serve seniors  and pre-seniors as the Principal of Decisive Path Fee-Only Financial Advisory in Santa Barbara, California (http://www.DecisivePath.com). You can reach her with your financial planning questions or Gratitudes comments at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Meet Karen

Additional Info

  • author_first Karen
  • introduction

    What’s remarkable is that this occurred on the heels of a terrible
    time. It was less than two months the largest wildfire in California
    history, a fire that forced my husband and me to evacuate for 12 days,and came within a mile of our home.

  • publish_date_month March
  • publish_date_year 2018
  • author_last Telleen-Lawton
  • Column_Title Financial Fortitude
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