Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Two Weeks of Kid-Centered Summer Fun

It began with two granddaughters, swelled to what looked like a family reunion, 
And dwindled to hub, me, and our grandson.
We continue our kid-centered activity until the weekend, then collapse from exhaustion.

A quick look at family fun in the sun...
 
We visited the Zoo, always a kid favorite.
We rented bikes and rode to the library, along the boardwalk, and to our favorite bagel store.
 
Of course there was lots of beach time. Luckily the weather cooperated most days.
 
The newest member of our clan  visited along with her family, and cousins connected.
 
More family descended, and the entire family enjoyed dessert at our favorite ice cream place.
 
 
Three of us left the rest of the family Sunday morning and
Headed to The Assateague/Chincoteague area on the eastern shore of Virginia.
Hub, me, and Hayden are participating in a Road Scholar Intergenerational program.
Theme: Marine Science
There is beach time...
 
Boat time, testing water and trawling for marine life.
 
 
Marsh and wetlands walks, here checking for critters caught.
 
Even scientists need an ice cream fix.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Happy Father's Day, Dad


The following post first appeared June 19, 2011. 
I am re-posting in honor of Father's Day.
Dad’s birthday was June 14th, and Father’s Day is Sunday. He is not around anymore to celebrate with us, but his spirit is. He died a few years ago, in his 80s, and I believe he enjoyed his life – at least most of it. 
Dad’s father died when he was a toddler, and his Mom raised him and his sister. His Mom (my grandmother) never remarried. He formed a close-knit group of buddies in elementary school that remained friends throughout their lives. He grew up poor. Although so many suffered during the Depression, Dad knew he was worse off than his friends, but he never complained. He had a great disposition, looking at the positive side of things and shrugging off the problems. 
He started college but left to serve in World War II. He was a radioman in Europe and wounded. After the war he returned to New York City, went to work, married Mom, had two daughters, and completed college during the 1950s by attending City College night classes. Advertising his profession, he worked for several agencies, including for a short time his own.
Mom and Dad experienced money problems during the 1960s as inflation rampaged, but after my sister and I left the nest and graduated from college, they traveled, participated in Elderhostel programs, and took the grandchildren on trips. Between trips, volunteer activities and social events they fit us in and saw us once in a while.
Eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the last few years were difficult, especially for Mom. But it was COPD that got Dad in the end. His heart and lungs wore out, but it was a blessing compared to suffering the ravages of what Alzheimer’s does to its victims at the end.
Almost up to the very end Dad played blackjack; the few seconds it took to play was enough time for him to complete a hand, often successfully. But he frequently did not remember where he was. One time he went to the casino hotel desk and said he could not remember his room number. He was not staying at the hotel. 

Another time he wandered off and got lost in the parking garage (which a lot of us do occasionally, including me). He called us on the cell phone. We told him to hand the phone to anyone near him wearing a uniform. He found a security guard and we told the guard not to let Dad get away. 

Then there was the time – pre-9-11 – he drove a rental car through a metal fence and onto the runway at West Palm Beach Airport. He kept driving until he found the way out.
Dad was in and out of the hospital with COPD and related ailments for years. He and Mom were  celebrating their 50th anniversary and taking the whole family to Hawaii - except Dad needed gall bladder surgery and the doctor said there was no way he could go. He insisted the rest of us (except Mom) go. The kids and grandkids had a great time, and anytime on the island cruise passengers were asked, “Who is celebrating an anniversary?” we all yelled: "We are! We are!"

One year Mom threw him Dad a birthday bash, but he was in the hospital and the hospital would not release him. I think it was his 83rd birthday. Hub and Mom went to the hospital, checked him out and brought him home. (We figured, what was the worst that could happen?) He loved the celebration with all his friends and family. 

Happy Father's Day, Dad. We love you.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Best of Boomers Plunge into Summer While the Dog Has His Day

Summer craziness began at our house this weekend. We now have two granddaughters for a week, and additional family descends during the week. We love the chaos, but it is exhausting. A byproduct of the activity is no time to read the paper, listen to the news, catch up with the latest newsflash and social media chatter. Driving home from the airport with our charges, the horrendous events in Orlando filtered in over the radio. We immediately changed stations, not wanting to upset the little girls over horrors they cannot understand. Let them enjoy summer bike rides to the ice cream store and other simple childhood pleasures as long as possible…

We hosted adult guests during the week. The highlight of our get-together was a visit to a wildlife refuge. A laid-back summer bird-watching expedition turned into something quite different. Read about our experience in Marooned at the Refuge.

It's rare, indeed, when a young person acknowledges a Boomer for their advice. Carol Cassara at Heart-Mind-Soul shows us a beautiful note she got from a 20-something nephew that did just that, and her response to it in Wisdom of Elders.

In a different but related piece, she asks how Boomer readers are harnessing the wisdom of age for those coming up behind us.

Bloggers at times spotlight a guest blogger on their site. This week Laura Lee says her pooch Rasta requested to provide a guest post on humans and their gadgets this week. We may love gadgets, but do our dogs?

I love the Remember Her/Him posts offered occasionally by Tom Sightings, although I admit to not recognizing many of the people until almost the end of the post. Tom Sightings offers one of his Remember Her? posts this week. She was an icon of the 1950s, who, had she lived, she would have turned 90 years old on June 1 -- the same age as Queen Elizabeth.So channel surf over to Sightings Over Sixty to see if you can guess who she was, to find out a few interesting things about her background ... and to check out some of Tom's other recent posts. 

On The Survive and ThriveBoomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer journalist, writes about two financial tips that could help you. If you co-sign for a loan with someone, such as an adult child, not only could it damage your relationship, it also could affect your credit score. And, if you’re going to rent a car this summer, be sure to check and see what coverage your credit card issuer will provide and if your auto insurance company also provides coverage. If neither one offers adequate coverage, it might be wise to accept the liability insurance and collision damage waiver offered by the car rental company. 

As we plunge into summer activities, take a couple of minutes to pause, remember and offer prayers for those slaughtered this weekend. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Marooned at the Refuge

The pristine wilderness of the wildlife refuge.
An afternoon in the Edwin B.Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge highlighted my week. Visiting friends are avid bird watchers and the park offers ideal sightings.

The sun sparkled as we left home, but the sky began clouding over as we entered the park. Weather.com noted the possibility of rain 60% in the late afternoon. It was around noon. 

The unpaved park road meanders about eight miles through the refuge. Short walking trails dot the park and we planned to hike a couple of trails observing flora and fauna close up. Our keen-eyed passengers spotted animal life and we stopped often for pictures. I felt we were unwanted intruders disturbing the solitude, lone visitors this weekday. Casino towers of Atlantic City loomed over ten miles away in one quadrant of our 360 vision, while along the horizon marsh and bay waters, stretching to the Atlantic Ocean, met gray sky, our view unmarred by cars or humans.
 
The sky clouds over 
As the wind picked up clouds drifting overhead became increasingly ominous. The sun retreated, the atmosphere more like twilight than high noon.

My phone beeped, indicating an incoming message. I read aloud:

“Alert. Code RED Weather Warning: The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm warning for your location from 12:37 PM until 1:15 PM.”

It was 12:38 P.M.

My phone and hub’s phone rang simultaneously, the same recorded Code RED message playing.

Why were we the recipients of these warnings? After Superstorm Sandy, our town advised residents to subscribe to National Weather Service alerts for our area as well as to our city’s automated phone service communicating warnings of storms, power outages, and other unusual occurrences.

Before the message ended, the wind started whistling and swirling around us. The temperature plunged and rain, initially a drizzle, swiftly increased in intensity and fierceness, battering the car’s roof and windshield.

We closed the windows, tightened our seat belts, and hub picked up speed.

No one said much, everyone too intent on the activity encircling us. Tension inside the car soared as the storm raged outside. We all thought: let’s get out of here. Now, our leisurely-paced tour of the wildlife refuge transformed into a strong desire to get out of the open as soon as possible, quickly but safely.

The landscape totally flat, the road barely a couple of feet above water, questions rolled around our brains, everyone too petrified to voice their fears: What happens if the waters begin rising? What do we do if waves wash over the road? The winds rattle our car? We love our Mazda, but it is not the sturdiest vehicle to withstand a storm.

News headlines flashed through my head: Black Mazda found in national park bay. Search continues for survivors…

We stared straight ahead, silently beckoning the woods ahead closer. We held our breath as the car forged ahead on the narrow dirt road separating two wildly choppy bodies of water, windshield wipers furiously shifting back and forth, the only sounds shattering rain and howling winds.

After an interminable amount of time, but probably only 15 minutes, we reached the woods. The park exit half a mile away, our fears subsided and tensions eased, thrilled we avoided a calamitous end.

“Uh-oh, I can’t believe it,” hub’s voice broke the silence.

Staring straight ahead, our eyes widened at the sight of a tree across the road directly in front of us, a massive, unmovable trunk with no way around it.

Headlines: Tree falls in wildlife refuge and four tourists hear it. Unfortunately it was the last thing they heard…

I grabbed the park brochure on the seat next to me and dialed the park number.

“Hello, Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge,” a woman’s cheery voice announced.

“We are on the road through the park, about a half mile from the end, and there is a tree in the road. We can’t pass.”

“You are in the woods?”

“Yes.”

“OK, I will contact the park rangers and they will be there shortly.”
Hub and I attempting to move the tree off the road.
Suddenly giddy and laughing about our plight, marooned in the wilderness, we grabbed our cameras and phones and took pictures.

Twenty minutes passed. A white pickup truck with lights on drove towards us, barely visible through the limbs and leaves of the fallen tree.

A ranger got out and walked over to us.

“The weather is gnarly. Can’t remove the tree until the weather improves. Turn around and drive back along the road. You’ll make it.”

“Gnarly?” I repeated to my three companions.

“Really bad,” Jane explains.

Headline: Gnarly Weather Blamed as Four Tourists Perish in Sudden Storm.

On the return trip through the park we noticed this fellow
surviving the storm by sheltering in place.
With sighs of resignation and stomachs starting to growl, we turned around and retraced our drive.

The remainder of the trip proved blissfully uneventful. The rain slowed to a trickle and the sinister clouds dissipated. In the distance blue slivers pierced the sky and a couple of rays of sun shone through.

Reaching the end of the park road, we breathed a collective sigh of relief and imparted loud shouts of joy. All four of us experienced enough pristine, solitary wilderness for one day. Actually for the entire summer.

But we got some great pictures. And memories.
After the storm we enjoyed lunch at a bar on the bay. I was so cold I bought a sweatshirt.
Storm over but winds still strong.

Monday, June 6, 2016

One (of many) Expensive Items I Will Never Buy

Our dishwasher is in hospice mode. It lived a long, low-maintenance life, and although we will be sorry to see it go, it is time. A small mat underneath the door catches dripping water, and the machine groans, "Another wash, you filling me up again? Enough! I am ready for the appliance graveyard. Take me there. Please..."

I am honoring my dishwasher's wishes.

The dishwasher was the reason hub and I found ourselves in an appliance store one afternoon. We are not finicky shoppers and do not want or need lots of bells and whistles we will not use. It is just hub and I at home. Company descends occasionally. We can handle the influx with less-than-top-of-the-line appliances.

It did not take long to choose a dishwasher. And an oven.

Did I mention we also need an oven? Not in appliance hospice yet, the oven is in the assisted-living phase. Peeling enamel, inoperative self-cleaning mechanism…Signs for sales on certain items greeted our entrance into the store. My first choice dishwasher displayed a price beyond our budget, but the sale price placed it within range. Only one oven model met our requirements. We bought it.

Hub and I made our way to the sales desk to complete paperwork. Next to the counter a display of shiny new small appliances caught my eye. I wandered over to the sleek, stainless steel toasters, one a two slicer and another a four-slice model.

I carefully examined one of the models, but could not find a price. Curious I asked the salesman. He looked at me and said, "two ninety nine and three ninety nine."

I stared at him a few seconds and muttered, "You mean three hundred and four hundred dollars?"

"Yes."

Who pays that kind of money for a toaster? What unique accouterments could a toaster possess that would command such a price?

Hub purchased our current toaster at our neighborhood Rite Aid. He walked down the street and returned a few minutes later with a $7.99 white toaster.

“Couldn't find anything plainer or cheaper?” I asked somewhat sarcastically.

But it works.

I realize some people have an incredible amount of money, but...My six-plus decades of prudent living cannot bring myself to pay that amount of money for a toaster. Call me cheap, thrifty, miserly, whatever. Cannot do it, no matter how much money I might have. Even if I win the lottery, a $300 toaster will not be on my wish list.

A few days later our new purchases arrived. Two repairmen removed the old appliances and installed the new oven. Then they unpacked the dishwasher.

Uh oh. The machine was damaged, and the installer immediately agreed to return it. Unfortunately the local warehouse did not have a replacement in stock.

So now there is a hole in my kitchen. I wash dishes the old fashioned way. By hand. In the sink. And plan meals using as few utensils, pots, etc. as possible.

Delivery and installation is scheduled for next week. I could call the store and ask to add a toaster to my order, since the truck is returning to my house anyway. (Armed guards might be necessary so no one steals the precious item.) It would be a conversation piece if situated on my kitchen counter. I know relatives and friends would think me nuts.

There are a lot of things I will never buy, even if money was not an issue. I guess a toaster tops my list, just one of many expensive items I can easily live without. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

I Am History

Last week I attended a granddaughter’s graduation from preschool at a community center.

Kindergarten here she comes!

After the ceremony everyone adjourned to a large room for snacks, pictures, and goodie bags filled with a school T-shirt, yearbook, and months worth of schoolwork.

I wandered around, looking at bulletin boards announcing events for members of the community center.

One particular item caught my eye. 

 Suddenly I am history.

My entire generation is history. People – historians, sociologists, psychologists and others - study us.

I speculated about the instructor. An old geezer like myself? Or a fledgling historian with no idea what it was like living through the 60s, aging from a generation of innocent kids and a nation recovering from war, lulled by increasing economic prosperity and the relative calm of the 1950s, to a nation by the end of the 60s weary of an Asian war and transforming politically, economically, socially, culturally.

I started the decade as a kid attempting to live with such difficulties as one hard-wired wall phone in a house of four people…one black and white TV, no cable, 7 channels…one bathroom…no dishwasher (or microwave or computer or cell phone or DVDs).

We could tell stories -

About President Kennedy’s Cuban missile crisis speech. Unfortunately I was gossiping on the phone with a girlfriend …

About the music. Almost everyone of every age is familiar with Beatles songs, but I could describe taking the train along with girlfriends to Shea Stadium, witnessing the group perform amidst a mob of screaming teenagers.

About the assassination of President Kennedy and an eighth grade science class listening in disbelief as the school principal announced the tragedy over the school’s PA system.

About the first men on the moon, raging inflation, the escalation of a war baby boomers did not understand, how wardrobes changed when my high school dress code no longer required girls to wear skirts or dresses.

Staring at the sign I felt old. In the minds of the kids and parents milling around, celebrating four- and five-year-olds, the 1960s are the Stone Age, an era before Amazon, Google, Netflix, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, Instagram, Starbucks and Nutella.

And I am a relic of that primitive era.

A couple of days later I took my nine-year-old granddaughter Hailey clothing shopping for her ninth birthday. We shopped at her favorite store, Justice, catering to kids and young teens. We then walked around the mall and wandered into Chico’s, a favorite clothing store of mine.

Afterward Hailey announced to the grown-ups – her parents – that I shop at an old lady’s store, fuddy-duddy one of the eloquent terms she used.

OK, I accept the description, but my outfits are very different from the housedresses my grandmother wore or my Mom’s clothes. I don’t think Mom ever wore jeans.

The 1960s are history, occurring over half a century ago, and I am older than half a century. It is therefore time to, as the humorist Erma Bombeck stated, to “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart.”

And just in case this post got you a little down, I conclude with a couple of cartoons that hopefully will put a smile on your face –

Thursday, May 26, 2016

To Market, the Stock Market, to Grow a Nest Egg

May 26, 2016 is an anniversary of sorts. On this day 120 years ago (in 1896, you do not have to do the math!) the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) made its first appearance. The DJIA, a number representing a price-weighted average of stocks, allows investors to track whether the stock market is up or down over a specific time period. The DJIA initially listed 12 company stocks.

Americans today have a stake in the market. Whether individual stocks and mutual funds are invested in personal accounts, or money invested by an employer or insurance company for the employee’s future use, we count on long-term investments to fund vacations and college educations, rainy day events and retirement.

Although the financial markets received negative publicity, much of it deserved, following the dot-com bust and the Great Recession earlier this century, stock ownership provided a path to prosperity for individuals for generations, and not just in the United States. The Venetians began trading securities in the 1300s, and in the following centuries a number of European cities established exchanges. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange, established 1790, began the United States’ involvement in equity trading.

One example of a 20th century investor who believed the market a path to future security and prosperity was my Aunt Nettie.

A century ago – in the roaring 1920s - Aunt Nettie invested in AT&T stock. She was young, single, independent, hard working and smart. A lot of Americans invested in the stock market in the 1920s, many losing fortunes when the market tanked in 1929.

My aunt did not panic. She kept her stock, putting the certificates in a drawer and, for all practical purposes, forgetting about them. She reinvested dividends in additional shares.

Decades passed. Nettie married, returned to school, and always worked, eventually becoming nursing administrator of a New York City hospital.

Meanwhile AT&T survived the Depression and World War II. The company prospered as a growing middle class participated in a consumer-oriented society becoming addicted to the latest products and technological innovations.

AT&T did so well it caught the attention of federal trustbusters, forcing the company to split into smaller entities. The 1984 divestiture resulted in seven regional telephone companies dubbed baby bells, and an AT&T focused on long distance telephone service, manufacturing, and research and development.

Aunt Nettie received stock in all the new companies.

AT&T was not one of the original 12 DJIA companies (it was not publicly traded in 1896), but included in 1916 when the index expanded to 20 companies. Over the years other corporations were added, some removed, and currently the DJIA  comprises 30 companies . Other indices proliferate today, providing more financial information while at the same time confusing investors.

My aunt was one of millions of Americans willing to take a chance and invest in his/her future, and the country’s future, by buying stock in publicly held companies. Aunt Nettie left a legacy of confidence in a secure future while accepting the responsibility of planning for that future, ideas too many people do not adopt and practice today.

Happy anniversary DJIA!

FYI – General Electric is the only company of the original DJIA 12 still in existence trading under its original name.

Here are the rest of the original 12 DJIA companies and their status today:

American Cotton Oil Company - part of Unilever
American Sugar Company - became Amstar in 1970, then Domino Foods..
American Tobacco Company - Broken up in 1911.
Chicago Gas Company - part of Integrys Energy Group, Inc.
Distilling & Cattle Feeding Company - part of Lyondell Chemical Company
Laclede Gas Light Company - still in operation as The Laclede Group
National Lead Company – name changed to NL Industries 1971
North American Company - Broken Up in 1946 (not in the DJIA from 1896-1946; only in the index in 1896 and again 1928-30).
Tennessee Coal – merged with U.S. Steel 1907.
U.S. Leather Company – bankrupt in 1952.
United States Rubber Company – name changed to Uniroyal, acquired by Michelin 1990.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Women and the Men Who Insult Them

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.
~Khalil Gibran

Verbal attacks on women proliferate these days and are especially cruel to women deemed ugly by public figures. The insults are thrown at women not because of their physical appearance, but as a result of displeasing the pontificator, usually by disagreeing with a political point of view.

Physical chemistry is a funny thing, and everyone does not agree on who is stunning and beautiful, cute and good-looking, or unappealing and unsightly. Ugly in these public oratorical free-for-alls is defined as individuals men find unattractive because the women do not kowtow to the male VIP. Recently certain male public figures, such as the Republican presumptive Presidential candidate, have elevated insulting, mocking and denigrating adversaries to an art form.

Why is it so difficult for some men to view women as real people?

And why do some women ignore all the negativity unleashed on women and support and defend misogynists, defined by dictionary.com as a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women?

I can understand Trump’s family, and specifically his wife and daughter, defending the man. A supportive family is important to a politician vying for President. Not that Trump considers himself a ‘real politician’. But being a faithful, if sometimes untruthful, supporter is one of the requirements of a Presidential candidate’s family.

But what about all those other women?

What about the Anne Coulters of the world?

I realize some women want to be taken care of, their goal in life to hook a rich husband. But if that is not possible – most of us are too old and/or flawed to be considered for Donald’s wife #4 – why lavish attention on the man and ignore his insolence and incivility?

Trump is not the only man to disparage women, recently or in the past. Ex-Pa. Governor Rendell predicted Trump would lose the Presidential election because of the votes of "ugly women." He recanted and apologized, but the negativity continues…

Today anti-women diatribes are accepted by a segment of the population, many relishing the innuendoes and attacks by politicians and trash talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. Over two decades ago Rush stated, “I think this reason why girls don’t do well on multiple choice tests goes all the way back to the Bible, all the way back to Genesis, Adam and Eve. God said, All right, Eve, multiple choice or multiple orgasms, what’s it going to be? We all know what was chosen.”  Rush has a legacy of anti-women (and other bigoted) speechifying. Trump has elevated the anti-woman and anti-a-lot-of-other-things oratory of Rush and his cohorts, playing to a constituency used to the harsh rhetoric.

Will Trump’s comments hurt him? In his own words from a 1991 Esquire interview: “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

How often do you hear women denigrating the appearance of male rivals? I tried finding comments by women about men’s unattractiveness. I unearthed lots of quotes about ugly women, but almost none about unattractive men. If anyone knows any quotes about ugly men (not X-rated please), send the quote my way. Thanks!

I will end on a high note with this line by Confucius:
 Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Organized Life, Organized Body, Organized Mind?

 I possess none of the above.

Throughout my life I have tried to be neat and organized, to declutter and simplify. I make some progress, but quickly regress.

I clean closets, but they transform almost immediately into messy, clutter-filled space.

I shred papers, file documents, and order reigns. Unfortunately I blink and piles reappear all around me.

Is disorderliness a bad thing?

There are competing theories about organization vs. disorganization, clutter vs. declutter.

One school of thought declares disorganization, clutter, and general messiness leads to a muddled and chaotic life, and therefore nothing gets done.

Another school of thought states messiness suggests activity and creativity.

Obviously I am partial to the latter theory because I am not an organized, orderly person. I lean chaotic, the gene probably imbedded in my DNA.

I am not alone. Minds far wiser and brainier than mine are partial to the belief that from disarray arise good things. Albert Einstein, for one, is on my side:

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, 
of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?  - Albert Einstein

Other famous individuals successful in a messy environment include Mark Twain, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg.

I am not making excuses. Science backs up the thesis that messiness encourages creativity. Psychologists tested peoples’ responses in a neat atmosphere and a disheveled room. The untidy place produced more creative reactions than the neat space.

An emphasis on order may be misdirected and overrated.

On the other hand studies have shown that people endowed with ‘innate conscientiousness’, defined as organized and conventional, usually eat better and live longer than people who are sloppy. They also tend to have immaculate offices, and by extension neat homes, unless they live with a messy person and can tolerate the disorder.

So what does all this mean?

I have decided to accept my messiness and my procrastination when it comes to decluttering and organizing – files, closets, kitchen cabinets, etc. I will in the future revel in my chaos and confusion and not be frustrated when unable to locate whatever it is I am looking for. Who knows what creative masterpieces may flow forth from my mind. I would never want to inhibit my imagination or productivity.

My disorder, however, does not extend to cleaning. I have a habit of putting off cleaning my house, but at some point take a deep breath and dig in (metaphorically speaking).

My mess is a dustless mess.

Just don’t look under the furniture. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

This Week Boomers Consider Rallies, Regrets, Travels, and Purchases

Mid-May suggests pursuit of spring pastimes. The weather is supposedly perfect – not too hot, not too cold. Unfortunately this year the weather did not cooperate. Yet rituals endure, and this afternoon our town celebrated spring with Chef’s Night Out. Progressing from one restaurant to another, enjoying a taste at each, the event is four hours of food indulgence. Many participants – including me – rode bikes, not using all calories consumed, but feeling less guilty than participants driving around town.

I started the week feeling the bern. New Jersey’s primary is June 7, and Bernie supporters sponsored a get-out-the-vote rally. Read about my experience in Witness to Feel the Bern.

This week fellow boomers were on the road. Laura Lee of Adventures of the New Old Farts has been traveling lately, and not just in her car! She hiked down a very steep slope to see where her homeless brother lives, north of Sedona Arizona last week.

Carol Cassara of Heart-Mind-Soul also spent this week on the road. Thinking about the past and forging good intentions in the future, she suggests we forget resolutions, since their success rate is so low. Instead, she offers a single test for anything we might do.  

Who among us hasn't had regret over something? Carol has learned that regret is not useful and gives us another way to look at life

By now all of us baby boomers have smartphones, right? Not so fast, says Tom Sightings, who is quick to tell us he has owned a smartphone for several years now. In Does a Smartphone Make Us Smart? he offers an amusing tale of how his life partner just acquired her first smartphone...and how she's already showing him up.

On The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer journalist, writes about a survey that shows most consumers are confused about the term “natural” on food labels. The majority of consumers surveyed said they expect processed foods labeled “natural” to contain no artificial ingredients or processing aids, no toxic pesticides, or no GMOs. Those are not required. The term natural on food labels does not have a clear meaning. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working on a definition.

Stop by the boomers this week and say hi! The weather is supposed 
to warm and the sun break out, so may warm sunny skies brighten 
your week wherever you may be.