Saturday, July 27, 2019

A Summer Day at the Beach

Summer, meaning the hot season of the year, made its presence known in the past few weeks in my neck of the woods. Or more accurately, my island by the sea. Characterized by hot weather, suffocatingly humid at times, hours of light, sunny days and some rain, accommodating busy beach days by arriving late afternoon and evening. The word got out about this year’s ideal beach weather and people rushed in. Tourists, family, second home owners, all converged. The result slow moving lines of cars along the two main streets in town, long lines at the ice cream parlor, packed restaurants. People everywhere. 

Family members graced our home this past week, and my granddaughter and I shot photos of a day at the beach. One day of fun and relaxation soaking up the sun, temporarily forgetting about the routine activities of everyday life waiting back at the house.
Soaking up the sun, sand, and sea.
Life guards and life boats prepared for an emergency.
The highlight of the day - the ice cream man and his cart of goodies!
Obligatory beach accessories. photo by Sami.
Our beach. photo by Sami.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Mad About Bait and Switch

Hamilton the show is coming to Philadelphia (yeah!). My niece secured four tickets, including two for hub and me. I found a YouTube video of the album with lyrics and have begun to listen to the fabulous soundtrack. I want to be prepared!

I thought it would be a good idea to stretch our Philadelphia visit and stay overnight, rather than take the train or drive home after the show. We could spend a couple of days visiting museums, restaurants, strolling city streets – as long as it is not 90+ degrees. Reasonably priced accommodations are the key to our mini-vacation.

I have used the website Travelzoo in the past to find hotel deals, sometimes successfully and at other times not so much.  Scanning the site a deal popped up for the Sheraton Society Hill. Perfect...

But things are not always as they seem.

Travelzoo directed me to the hotel website. I indicated the dates desired and keyed in the promo code. The following screen popped up:

I clicked on Select and this came up:

OK, I thought, problems occur. I tried again, same result. I closed the site. Temporarily. Hours later I tried again. Same message. The next day the error notice reappeared. 

Then I tried an experiment. I removed the promo code. Available rooms with prices showed up on the screen, but the prices displayed were very different than the Travelzoo numbers:

The quoted price was now twice as much as the Travelzoo advertised rate. I was curious whether or not I could follow through and book a room. Clicking on Select, the booking page immediately emerged. 

I doubt Travelzoo realizes what the hotel has done. Maybe the first one or two people who want a particular date are accommodated, but then the window closes. Initially excited to secure a hotel at a reasonable price for the date desired, my delight turned to frustration attempting to book a room and anger at the hotel.

Now I am back to a depressing exercise scanning websites for a Philly hotel. Deals are offered, but not for the night hub and I will be in town. But I keep trying...

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Boomers Discuss Big Issues Like Moving...and Small Annoying Things

Boomers on the move...
Many boomers decide to enjoy retirement in a new community. Folks contemplate relocating for a variety of reasons, seeking a better (usually warmer) climate, reasonable housing costs, a lower tax burden, first-rate medical facilities, and the list goes on. Rebecca Olkowski with had a recent guest post on her blog that may be interesting to Baby Boomers who are considering moving away for retirement. RentCafĂ© analyzed Census data in 250 of the largest cities in the U.S. and found the most popular zip codes that Boomers were living in. You’ll never guess which one is number 1.  Read What are the Best Places in the U.S. for Baby Boomers to Retire?
Lots of us venture outdoors this time of year to enjoy summer pastimes. On The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist, writes about how to remove ticks and how to prevent getting them, good information for summer activities in many areas.

Sometimes it is the small things in life that frustrate us...
This week Tom at Sighting Over Sixty vents his frustrations with some of the minor hurdles of modern appliances used every day. If you ever have trouble seeing the tiny buttons to set your clock, or manipulating the awkward switches to adjust your lights, or trying to figure out just how bright the new light bulb is, then you might want to check out Tom's post Why Do They Do it That Way? at Sightings Over Sixty. At least you'll know you're not the only one who sees the absurdity in modern life ... and not the only one to laugh about it.

In a related story...Laurie Stone of Musings, Rants & Scribbles writes about when her husband Randy did something so unexpected, so out of the blue, so sudden, so surprising, she gasped in sputtering disbelief. “Its for your own good,” he said, in her post, "The Shocking Day My Husband Intervened."  

Modern life is complicated, and ways to organize life proliferate. Jennifer of Unfold and Begin discusses a recent trend in this week’s post...Jennifer's current post is about planners and how we keep track of our time and daily activities.  Specifically, her post on Unfold and Begin is about the new trend for bullet journals.  In her post Is a Bullet Journal a Waste of Your Time, Jennifer looks at the new trend, shares how the trend started and discusses her version of daily planning that she calls the Un-Bullet Journal.

All of us experience pain during our lives, and nowadays it seems that chronic pain is everywhere, and it's one reason we have an opioid crisis in this country. But, as Carol Cassara at A Healing Spirit points out at Should You Just Take A Pill?, there are safer ways to manage pain that can be just as effective, and she and her husband have both used them successfully. So have many others.

And close to home...
The warm weather finds my street alive with folks walking their dogs, children playing, cyclists riding past, and it seems almost everyone hangs out on their front porch enjoying the view - most homes on our block do not have back yards. An interesting incident this week brought to mind an event that happened centuries ago. Read and enjoy.

Have a great week...and spend a few minutes with our boomers. We love to hear from you!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Lady Godiva of Yesteryear and the Mischief-maker of Today

It was early evening following a short thunderstorm. Hub went outside to walk our houseguest, Oliver, both glad to breathe in cool fresh air, and Oliver eager to take a leak.

Hub walked a short distance before noticing an object in the street. Moving closer, he recognized the figure. One of our neighbors, a toddler, was sitting naked in a puddle in the middle of our street. 

Hub crossed the road and knocked on our neighbor’s door. Mom quickly answered, a moment earlier realizing her daughter had escaped the house.

At the same time a couple renting a house on the block– and not acquainted with the neighbors - walked outside and, seeing a little girl alone on the pavement, called the police.

Hub, the mother, her husband, the little girl and a couple of siblings congregated on the sidewalk. Suddenly two police cars pull up, park their car, and two patrolmen approach the group. As one policeman took notes, the embarrassed parents explained their daughter ran out of the house before they could catch her...

It is curious sometimes how our mind makes connections. The episode of the naked tot brought to my mind the story of Lady Godiva, the woman who supposedly rode au naturel through town.

Lady Godiva, born in 990, was a real person. She married a man named Leofric, a nobleman, Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry. Lady Godiva was known as a kind and generous woman, especially to her church. She started a Benedictine monastery, and was one of only a small number of women landowners at the time.

Her husband was not as kind as his wife. He taxed his tenants harshly, so much so that his wife got angry and urged him to lower the taxes. He scoffed at her and said something like, “I’ll lower the taxes when you ride naked through the village.”

Although knowing her husband was taunting her, Lady Godiva rose to the challenge. Her long hair covering part of her naked body, she prepared to ride horseback through town. Before starting she sent word that the villagers should stay inside their homes and not look out the window. All of them complied – except one man named Tom. He peeked.

Thus the term ‘peeping Tom’ entered our vocabulary.

The legend concludes with Leofric holding up his end of the bargain and reducing taxes on his tenants.

A good story, but mostly untrue. Lady Godiva was a real person. The story of her riding naked through the streets and the anecdote about peeping Tom, most likely a myth popularized in a poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson in 1840, “Godiva.”

The story of Lady Godiva gave us a poem, a song by Peter & Gordon, and delicious chocolates. Joseph Draps sought a name for his chocolates that spoke of "timeless values and modern boldness"  - and Lady Godiva tempts us today.

Maybe one day someone will write a song about the toddler mischief-maker of my neighborhood, or name a delicious delicacy after her.

Until then enjoy ‘Lady Godiva’ by Peter & Gordon

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Celebrating Independence Day

The word that best describes my Fourth of July celebration is low-key.  Hub, me and our
houseguest, Oliver, a cavalier/King Charles 13-year-old canine, enjoyed the holiday at home. The equivalent of 91, Oliver, like most nonagenarians, has medical issues - trouble walking, arthritis, gastrointestinal problems, and takes pills morning and night. But like hub and me he is happy to spend hot July days basking in central air and napping.

But the Fourth of July is a holiday and demands something special to commemorate the day. And what is more American than consuming? As in buying stuff. Which is what we did yesterday (I’ll dub it Independence Day-eve).

NOT our new car.
We bought a car. 

Our new car is not red, white, or blue, but silver, signifying glamour, grace, sophistication, elegance, and – like gold – riches and wealth. Which, after buying the car, we do not possess. We do not boast the other attributes either, but maybe behind the wheel we will exude a false sense of these qualities. 

I might tie red, white and blue streamers to the vehicle when we drive it home tomorrow.

We shopped for a shiny new machine months ago but the sales schticks and follow-up calls drove hub nuts. So we dropped our pursuit of new wheels. But time passed and our trusty seven-year-old car’s odometer registered additional miles, its body acquired new dents (mysteriously appearing after an afternoon in a valet-parked garage), repairs depleted our pocketbook, and the interior and exterior amassed fresh layers of grime. 

We fulfilled our patriotic duty and spent money. 

The Fourth dawned sunny and sultry. We rode bikes to the farmer’s market and by the time we returned home the heat propelled us indoors. We lounged under a ceiling fan and AC until evening. As the sun receded, we ventured outdoors for burgers on the grill, followed by a stroll for dessert at our favorite ice cream shop and a walk to the beach, settling in the sand to watch fireworks. A low-key Fourth of July celebration. Perfect!

Happy Independence Day Everyone!