Friday, June 29, 2018


My knowledge of fashion and the latest fashion trends is very limited. I do not read fashion updates or eagerly await the arrival of new fashions at local women’s boutiques. My fashion expertise (or lack thereof) is tested in doctors’ offices where I peruse popular tabloids like People, lingering on the Who wears it better? page. I don’t always agree with the majority and sometimes don’t think either celebrity wore the outfit well.

But once in a while a fashion-related news story gets my attention, most recently an article about a jewelry fad – crotch charms. The account sparked my curiosity and led me to investigate additional jewelry produced for parts of the body women of the recent past (within my experience) never considered sporting, except perhaps for entertainers. 

Back to those crotch charms, called Beachtails by one company. Worn through the crotch of bikini bottoms, an ad announced, they can also be worn with panties, thongs/tangas and shorts.

The charms hang down on either side of the bikini bottoms between the thighs…How many women have slim enough, trim enough thighs that the charms are easily spotted? Sometimes they jangle when walking. How many women want attention drawn to that particular part of their body by the sound generated? A nice sound as opposed to an embarrassing one, but still… 

My research uncovered a sister item to Beachtails - the Ladies Clip - jewelry that goes inside the body. The crotch area. As opposed to Beachtails which remain outside the body. Should you want additional information on the Ladies Clip – I am woefully ignorant on details - check out Amazon. Yup, they are on sale at the one place you can find anything. The items ship from Japan. But you needn’t worry about the mail carrier, neighbors, friends or family finding out about your latest fashion craving. According to the ad, Shipping as "Fashion Straps" on customs declaration label. Brand name and logo…are invisible on envelope.

Another attention-grabbing piece of jewelry my investigation discovered are nipple nooses - matched pairs of jewelry for nipples. No piercing required. View examples hereDon’t want to attach the jewelry directly to your breasts? Then try a nipple ring bra! 

I am way past the age when I would consider this nonsense. However I never would have considered buying, trying, or adorning myself with any of these items. But reading about them and viewing charms for sale offered a diversion from real and fake news and household work, and provided lots of amusement. 

Our region is in the midst of a heat wave. I think I will walk down to the beach tomorrow, set up my beach chair and gaze at the scenery. You never know what I might see…

Do you think I have too much idle time on my hands?…

Saturday, June 23, 2018

An Age Appropriate Adventure

My birthday loomed and I contemplated what might be a good way to celebrate. Not a milestone this year, just a higher number checked off the calendar. Still, a celebration, muted as it might be, a way to mark the passing years, rejoice that I made it this far and hopefully have quite a few years left.

It is summer, the season for outdoor activities. Gardening comes to mind, but that sounds more like work than fun. Spending the day on a lounge chair in the back yard or the beach is a cop-out, enjoyable but not memorable. 
The view from my kayak.

Correspondence from Pinelands Adventures, a kayak/canoe tour company, got my attention. The arrival of the email was karma. Kayaking down tranquil waters on a sunlit day. An age appropriate adventure.

I booked a trip for two.

Mentioning our upcoming adventure to friends, they jumped on the idea and immediately made reservations.

Four of us met at Pinelands Adventures headquarters 9:00 a.m., eager to set out on the river. Handed lifejackets and a laminated sheet outlining the river route, we boarded a rickety, reincarnated school bus to our launch site. No loading and unloading hefty equipment for us seniors! We carried snacks from home (cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and carrots), water bottles, sunscreen and bug spray (not needed), and a cell phone (for pictures and to text when ready to be picked up).

The bumpy ride tracked a dirt road known in the 1700s as the Tuckerton Stage Route, a highway for goods unloaded at Tuckerton on the Jersey shore and transported by wagons to Camden and Philadelphia. No trace of stagecoach stops, inns and taverns remain, only a couple of abandoned wood buildings dating from the 1800s. 

We arrived at our starting point, a small clearing on the Batsto River in the Wharton State Forest (south Jersey. I know, who would think of pristine land in the midst of Jersey, but it exists!). 

Our kayaks ready to go!
Wiggling into kayaks we paddled calm waters, the river narrow, widening miles later as it entered a lake. Stumps and fallen trees created obstacles smoothly (usually) maneuvered around. The path was rarely straight, rather a series of S-twists. Low-hanging branches kept us bowing low to avoid being hit. Mostly cloudy in the 70s, a perfect day for low-impact water activity.

Taking a water break, checking the map.
Surrounded by trees that prevented the sun (when peeking out between clouds) from baking us, we meandered gently down river, silence broken only by birds chirping and an occasional, “Did you see that large turtle? And the babies?..I see the mile marker!” The entire 4+ hours on the water only two other kayakers passed by. The dark waters prevented viewing fish, but bubbles and ripples demonstrated their presence.

There were not many places to beach the kayaks for a break but we came across two clearings. The first stopover the guys peed. At the second rest stop we unpacked snacks and refueled our bodies.
The river widens, the kayakers tire, clouds darken
and threaten rain. 
The last mile clouds darkened and raindrops plopped into the water and onto our bodies. But it never became a torrent, and by the time we arrived at the end of our journey the rain ceased.

The ride back to company headquarters travelled paved roads through forest, the town of Hammonton, and the pine barrens– the blueberry capital of the world, passing fields covered with ripening blueberry bushes. Migrant laborers worked the fields, harvesting berries by hand. A stark contrast – Haitian workers toiling the fields, American retirees returning from a recreational outing on the river.

 I am fortunate, but sometimes forget how blessed my life is.

Sometimes we must look outside our own backyards 
to realize how big the world is and how blessed we are.
-       Eugene Nathaniel Butler

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Another Year Another Birthday

Today you are you! That is truer than true! 
There is no one alive who is you-er than you! 
Dr. Seuss

Birthdays change as we age. Actually birthdays don’t change – we do. The date closes in on us every year, challenging us, congratulating us, warning us. 

A child’s excitement wanes over the years. There is a specialness to turning 18, 21, maybe 30 – but eventually the years seem not so special anymore. Should we celebrate turning 65? Certainly the government is not delighted about the milestone. We become Medicare recipients and part of the 47% of Americans Mitt Romney derided as “dependent on government”. Well, yes, but we spent decades working and contributing…

It is an achievement to turn over the years as we enter our 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and more people every day turn 100+. But it’s not a new occurrence for people to live a very long time. The Bible tells us a number of men lived hundreds of years – Methusaleh being the longest-lived, passing at the ripe old age of 969.

I don’t think any of us will live close to 900+ years. Too much food, salt, sugar, too little exercise, and don’t forget those chemicals coursing through our body from foods and the air we breathe. But people haven’t lived close to 1,000 years in centuries – if they ever did, which I strongly doubt.

What about the oldest woman? For some unknown reason (probably because men were in charge of Bible stories), the age of only one woman is given in the Bible – Sarah, who died at 127. She gave birth to Isaac at the age of 90. Abraham was 100 when his son was born. No comment…

Children can’t wait for birthday parties, presents, cake and ice cream. Except for presents, I can pass on the other celebratory events. But birthdays for mature folks are a mark of achievement. We managed to survive the decades and want to acknowledge the feat. 

Birthdays are also an excuse to consume (a favorite American pastime). And party. Not every birthday, but once in a while.

People have recognized the special day of rulers, kings, gods and goddesses for eons. The Romans were probably the first to celebrate the common man’s birthday, and honored a man’s 50th  birthday with a special cake. 

Early Christians considered birthday celebrations a pagan ritual and forbid them. But people wanted their special day. The Church began celebrating Jesus’ birthday (Christmas) in the 4thcentury, and eventually the common folk adopted the birthday tradition.

Women’s birthdays were not an occasion for festivities until the 12th century.

This year I will spend my day performing my civic duty serving on a grand jury, and will probably be too tired to go out to dinner afterwards. Years ago a day of work would not preclude a night out, but nowadays…

Pondering birthdays, I think the occasion is perfect for doing something special or different, something memorable. I will report on my memorable experience next post.
How old am I? Age is a number…and mine is unlisted.

The secret to staying young is to live honestly,
eat slowly and lie about your age.
- Lucille Ball

Monday, June 11, 2018

Twelve Reasons My Town is a Great Retirement Town

Where to retire lists never rank New Jersey high. Often the opposite. New Jersey appears on lists of places NOT to retire. But lists do not tell the whole story. 

Hub and I live in a corner of South Jersey that is an oasis in the let’s-make-fun-of-Jersey desert. It is a great place to live year-round and an appealing retirement locale. About 50% of the town’s properties are owned by shoobies, folks descending Memorial Day weekend then disappearing after Labor Day, often showing up weekends only. A segment of the population, however, are full-timers or snow birds. 

Here are twelve reasons why, despite expensive housing, exorbitant property taxes, high income taxes (although there is some relief for retirees), and the state’s lousy reputation, the Jersey coast can be a wonderful retirement alternative:

1. It is topographically flat and a walkable community, with a boardwalk through two towns (about 6 miles long), and bike lanes. The flat terrain is easy on old folks’ bones and stamina! Our community recently received a grant to increase bike lanes and install additional bike racks. 

Bike racks for a popular mode of transportation on the island.

2. And speaking of transportation, a number of possibilities exist. Stores, restaurants and services are within walking or biking distance. The bus (75 cents for seniors) travels the length of the island. Uber and Lyft are on call. A car is an option, and local traffic rarely stresses.

3. The weather is not too cold (usually) and not too hot (most of the time). Very cold or hot spells last a few days then moderate. The few inches of winter white stuff look beautiful and disappears quickly. Snowstorms are rare, although every few years a major one socks the island. On the other hand storms, like Superstorm Sandy in 2012, can wreak havoc. But most places nowadays are prone to some weather calamity.

4. The Atlantic Ocean and intercoastal waterways offer impressive scenery, and state and national recreational areas are a short drive away. 

5. Continuing education courses, special events and on-going activities proliferate year-round. Canasta, mah jongg, bridge – whatever your game, groups welcome new participants. Outdoorsy folks, besides walking, running and biking, can swim, surf, cruise the waters (in motor-powered as well as man-powered kayaks, canoes, sailboats and paddle boards). And we are dog-friendly.

6. First-class entertainment is a few minutes away in Atlantic City. Because this is a tourist mecca numerous bars and restaurants offer great food and music. Shows are scheduled throughout the year and local groups perform in community theaters.

7. The sprawling, sandy beach extends the 8-mile length of the island. Need I say more! 

8. The job market tanked following the Great Recession, but the local economy is improving. Two new hotel casinos open the end of June, each hiring 3,000+ employees. The hotels had difficulty filling all positions. Full and part-time jobs (senior jobseekers welcome!) are, if not plentiful, available.

9. Social life. People are, for the most part (malcontents live everywhere), friendly and welcoming. It is not difficult to ‘find your niche’, make friends and get involved.

10. City life (Philadelphia and New York City) is a budget-priced bus or train ride away (1½ hours to Philadelphia, 2½ hours to NYC). You can drive, but traffic, tolls and parking can be challenging. 

11. Want to travel further? Catch a Spirit Air flight from Atlantic City Airport. Not quite comfy, but nowadays service and accommodations on most airlines are far from luxurious. Going overseas? Philadelphia International Airport is a little over an hour drive.

12. Need home assistance temporarily or permanently? Organizations provide meals, home health support, companionship and other services. A senior transportation system delivers to area activities.

There are additional reasons our area is a good retirement alternative – first-rate medical facilities and medical professionals…higher education opportunities…lots of retirees…retirement communities (off island)…

Will hub and I remain in South Jersey? We like our life today, but do not know what will happen tomorrow. If the future includes a higher tax burden, we might flee. But where?

Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Primary Election Day Follow-Up and Do I Really Care?

I used to be a little bit smart. I kept up with current events and made an effort to be informed on the issues of the day. I knew the names of my senators, congressman, mayor and governor. I knew the location of obscure places in the news (how many people know where Niger is?) and the names of the leaders of lots of countries.

No more.

Chalk it up to age, loss of interest, the increased complexity of the world and issues today, and perhaps most of all my disgust and exhaustion concerning politics in our country today.

I am becoming ignorant.

I should care, but (sigh) don’t.

My tolerance for the constant barrage of nothingness pounding my brain 24/7 expired. It is unhealthy – my blood pressure rises, breathing increases, my hands begin to sweat, my heart pulsates rapidly, and since I cannot throw a pie in the face of anyone or scream at the top of my lungs – these actions will do no good - I am severely limiting my political and current events reading, listening and discussion time. I do not want to burrow my head in the sand never to come up for air, but don’t ask my opinion about what’s going on in the world…

 I do browse newspapers online. I read about discoveries illuminating life thousands of years ago, check out book reviews, travel ideas, skim the arts pages, and keep up with the markets, a routine acquired after working years in the financial industry. 

Guilt made me go to the polls, however, on Primary Election Day. Voting is a deeply engrained habit I do not want to end. One day the state of affairs pervading today’s political scene will pass because everyone did not throw up their hands, succumb to the madness and walk away.

My local Congressional seat is up for grabs – the 24-year incumbent is retiring – and the district is considered a swing district. But I am disappointed in the election results. The Republican winner is a solid Trump supporter, and so will never receive my vote. The Democrat (Jeff van Drew), on the other hand, is too conservative for me. As a New Jersey state legislator he voted against requiring Presidential candidates to disclose tax returns, against requiring increased use of alternative energy, against increasing the minimum wage, against legalizing same sex marriage…was awarded an A by the NRA for his pro-gun voting record and 22% from Clean Water Action, the lowest score for any NJ state senator. 

I do not understand why the local Democratic machine organization endorsed his candidacy. (I voted for one of the three people running against him in the primary).

My November vote will be a disheartening one – I will not vote for a Trump supporter (the Republican candidate), so will reluctantly cast my vote for the Democrat. A third party candidate might throw their hat in the ring but would (most likely) not have a chance of winning.

Maybe things will change in two years.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Boomers Enter June With Food, Travel, and the Comforts of Home

Pictures from our community Facebook page
 The month of June begins the best season of the year – Farmer’s Market Season. Weekly markets are a short drive away on Thursday morning, Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday. I walk to our local Friday morning market, greet neighbors, meander slowly from stand to stand and fill my (reusable, recyclable) bags.  Nothing in stores compares with the delicious flavor of fresh-picked fruits and vegetables. Asparagus and strawberries displayed Friday morning were handpicked Thursday evening. 

While on the subject of food (a favorite topic!) on The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer journalist, writes about how calorie counts are now required on menus and menu boards, and for food on display in chain restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, and movie theaters. One study found that menu labeling helps people reduce their calories by about 50 calories per meal, on average. Another positive result: Some restaurants have reduced the calories in their foods after menu labeling was required.

While I drooled over farmer’s market produce, fellow boomer bloggers also embraced the season with new endeavors and travel.

Stepping out of our comfort zone is never easy, so Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond has taken up the challenge of trying new things each month.  Sometimes they might be small achievements, others might really test her metal, but it keeps life interesting and proves we can all do anything if we want it badly enough.  Read what she did in May to Step out of her Comfort Zone.

Tom Sightings continues to fulfill one of the items on his Bucket List by tracing the steps of the emigrants on the Oregon Trail. For his latest adventure trek on over to Ruts and Ridges, Ridges and Bridges -- and see some great photos too!

Some of us don’t like to travel, or can’t travel, or may have travelled a lot and now enjoy time spent home, snuggled in a comfy chair in front of the TV watching old favorites or new ones­. With numerous offerings available, how do we know what to watch? Rebecca Olkowski with has been a party animal for the last couple weeks going to Emmy For Your Consideration screenings and parties. There are so many great television shows right now, particularly on cable. What are some of your favorites?

Writer Laura Lee Carter wrote about her two favorite pastimes this week, the joys of writing and xeric gardening! These are the two activities that help to keep her happy and sane. It's a crazy world out there....

I admit ignorance and looked up the word xeric. It refers to an environment or habitat requiring a small amount of moisture.

Have a great week and spend a few minutes visiting my fellow bloggers. They love to hear from you!