Showing posts with label Boomer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boomer. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Baby Boomer's Christmas Eve Memories

It's Christmas Eve and we are spending it alone. 

That's life, as my sister would say.

When you get old and your children have their own lives, this happens.

Growing up, Christmas Eve was always special. 

My family opened presents on Christmas Eve, Santa came the next day and we spent Christmas Day either at my grandparents house or they came to ours for the big Christmas feast.  I never realized we did it this way, because it's the way they do it in Scandinavia, Germany and other European countries.  Since my mother was Swedish, it makes sense.

So when I had my own family, I followed that same plan. When you start on Christmas Eve, it drags the holiday out in a delightful way. Why crowd Christmas day with all of the fun?

But now our children have their own families and will have their own traditions, and we are navigating that time of our lives when we need to get used to that.

But we have our happy memories.

My first Christmas.

My 5th Christmas.
(Animal fur didn't seem to be an issue in the 50's)
My 7th Christmas and Echo the Dog's first.
(Motorcycle jackets were big for 12 year old boys, I guess. I am surprised my mother let him wear it in the picture)

Childhood memories include the tree falling down every year, sleeping with my brother as we awaited the arrival of Santa (not sure how that hastened his arrival), homemade Parker House rolls, snow falling on Christmas Eve, worrying Santa would leave a lump of coal in my stocking (a threat my mother used) and my Mother's delicious pies.

Somewhere across the world in Turkey my Hubby-to-be was celebrating Christmas too.

My son's first Christmas.

My son's second Christmas.
(The tree was in the playpen for its own protection).

First Christmas with Hubby.

First Christmas for our daughter

The carol-playing bell-ringing Santa from Grammy that played carols and rang his bell over and over and over and gift for the son, not so much for the parents. 

He disappeared mysteriously.


All the grandchildren received Blaze the Horse from Granddaddy.

As they grew, so many more memories:

Visit from Aunt Posy (my sister) with Twinkle the cat.

Traditional Christmas Eve dinner:  Pizza

Traditional Christmas Eve activities:
  • Singing Christmas carols in the car while riding around looking at Christmas lights and the kids whining about when it would be over so we could open presents
  • Presents - 10 each and we all had to watch as each one was opened so it would go on and on
  • Reading about the birth of baby Jesus, followed by "Twas the Night Before Christmas."  Kids yawning.
  • Bedtime for the kids - never easy
  • Party time for the parents, thus making putting up basketball hoops and putting bicycles together all the harder.

Christmas Eve 2012

We are all older now and on different paths. 

But, hopefully, our happy memories hold us close.

Now us old folks are making some new happy memories!




Happy Holidays Everyone. 

See you Friday!

Thanks for reading!
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Retirement: Good Days and Bad Days and The Week in Reviews

[I review the movies "Philomena," "All is Bright," "Winter of Frozen Dreams," "Just Like a Woman" and Stacy Keach's memoir.]

But first

We all have good days and bad days.

Retirement is no different, except with all of that time on your hands, the bad days really hurt.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

Good Day:  Your adult child called just to say "I love you."
Bad Day:    Your adult child said, "I love you" after asking you for money to
                   bail him out of jail.

Good Day:  Your adult children are all home for Christmas.
Bad Day:    For your Christmas present, your adult children all chipped in for a
                  week's stay for you at the Rose of Sharon Retirement Home.

Good Day:   Your wine guzzling poodle jumps up on your lap for just a cuddle,
                    not wine.
Bad Day:      Forget that.  Ain't happenin'

Good Day:     You found a volunteer opportunity.
Bad Day:       It involves adult diapers.

Good Day:   You've been to the gym and are feeling a bit slimmer.
Bad Day:      Lane Bryant called.  You left your purchase on the counter.

Good Day:   The Christmas tree is up and you didn't get into a big fight with
                    Hubby over the lights.
Bad Day:      HUGE fight with Hubby over the lights.

Good Day:   You have three darling dogs whose cavorting amuses you.
Bad Day:     Three dogs are a pack and their cavorting knocked you down the

This is what a pack of dogs looks like.
What constitutes a good or a bad day for you? 
Well, sometimes we can't control how the day is going to go. 
But here is something you can count on. 
Rosy the Reviewer's
Week in Reviews.
***In Theatres Now***
The true story of an Irish woman, who as a young girl became pregnant, gave birth in a convent and was forced to give up her son.  Fifty years later, with the help of a disgraced journalist, she goes in search of him.
Steve Coogan is not that well-known in the U.S. but is a huge star in the UK, known mostly for his comedic work.  Here he wrote the screenplay (based on a true story) and plays it mostly straight. 
But this is Dame Judy's show.  Supposedly Dame Judy's eyesight is failing and she has to have her scripts read to her.  Whatever is going on with her eyes, it doesn't affect what she can do with them to rip at your heart strings. If you can keep from crying, especially if you are a mother, you have it over me. Have your hankies handy.  Loved it!
Rosy the Reviewer says...Ring!  Ring!  Dame Judy.  Oscar calling. 
Movies You Might Have Missed
And some you will be glad you did!
(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)
Dennis is out on parole and bands together with old friend Rene to sell Christmas trees so he can buy his estranged daughter a piano.
A small film that didn't have much impact on me, probably because I am not a big Paul Giamatti fan.  Hubby liked it better than I did.
Rosy the Reviewer says...I give it just a couple of Christmas trees.
A college girl turns to prostitution and things don't go well.
A low-budget Thora Birch vehicle (remember her from American Beauty?") that is all very frozen and dreamy and a step way down for Birch from "American Beauty."  It proves once again, I must not put films in my DVD queue based on a preview.  Repeat after me.  "I must not put films in my DVD queue based on a preview."
Rosy the Reviewer says...I usually like films about the underbelly of life but as Charles Barkley used to say, this one is "Turible, Turible, Turible."
Marilyn (Sienna Miller) loses her job and comes home to a cheating husband so decides to hit the road and enter a belly dancing contest in Santa Fe.  She is joined by her friend, Mona, who has a secret.
Think of this as a belly-dancing "Thelma and Louise," without the suicide at the end (and if I just spoiled "Thelma and Louise" for you, where have you been?)

And for every woman who thinks her mother-in-law is a dragon, get a load of this one. 
I couldn't help but wonder how Sienna Miller avoided becoming a big star like Julia Roberts.  She has the looks and the acting chops.  I also couldn't help but remember that her then boyfriend Jude Law cheated on her with the babysitter.  Jude, you idiot!
Rosy the Reviewer says...a fun diversion especially if you like belly dancing. 
***Book of the Week***

All in All:  An Actor's Life On and Off the Stage by Stacy Keach (2013)
This acting memoir begins with Keach's arrest for cocaine possession and then backtracks to his early life and career.
Though Keach has had acting success in films such as "Fat City" and "American History X" and as Mike Hammer in the TV series of the same name, he never attained superstardom.  He clearly preferred the stage and dreamed of being the next Olivier.  He is candid about his drug addiction, which could perhaps explain why his career didn't reach the heights but the book is surprisingly dry.
Rosy the Reviewer of Keach might enjoy this, but acting students should take note.  He has a whole chapter on acting techniques at the end of the book.


Hooray, hooray.  "Come Dine With Me" has come to the U.S!
Come Dine With Me is a British competition TV program where 4 or 5 strangers get together at each other's houses to cook each other a full meal - appetizer, main course and dessert.  After the meal, the visitors rate the meal on a scale of 1-10.  Naturally the groups of people are disparate and often over the top, lots of alcohol is consumed and sometimes there are costumes which is all part of the fun, and the voice over commentary by Dave Lamb is hilarious.
Now Lifetime is offering its version, which if the first episode is any indication is a Canadian import.  It mirrors the British version down to the theme music, but I miss Dave Lamb's commentary.  Also the British version is usually 30 minute segments over five nights and here we have all five nights wrapped into one hour.  One thing on the positive side, it moves quickly.  On the negative side, there is not as much coverage of the actual cooking as we see in the British version.
Rosy the Reviewer says...Foodies and fans of humorous reality TV will love this! 

That's it for this week.
See you Tuesday!

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Baby Boomer Travel Tips

Though I wouldn't pretend to be a world traveler, I have traveled to Europe many times, as well as taking many little hops, skips and jumps domestically.  But as a Baby Boomer, I have been around the block a time or two, so I know some things about life and travel, so I thought I would share some of my travel tips that might help those of you who are "of a certain age" and those you love.

Burford, England

Nexus card

I mentioned this in my last blog. 

Having a Nexus card not only allows you to get across the Canadian or Mexican borders more easily, but it qualifies you for the TSA Pre-check at the airport.  I can't tell you what a relief it is to avoid long lines, not have to take off my usually inappropriate shoes, pull out the cosmetics and liquids or my computer or remove my coat.  It's just a hop, skip and a jump and you are through security. This doesn't mean you won't get spot checked from time to time and get sent into the regular line.  This has happened to Hubby the last two times we flew. 

He must look like a terrorist.

Victoria, B.C.

Grab & Go Bag

I have one dedicated bag that contains my phone and IPad chargers, arm band for my phone when exercising, ear buds, book holder for exercise equipment, curlers, reading lights, adaptors, wine bottle opener, all of those things you might forget to pack.  I don't have to think about what to take. I keep it current and then all I have to do is grab it, stash it in my worries.  I won't find myself at my destination without those essentials.  Likewise, I have my airplane ready bag of acceptable toiletries that I keep refilled. 

I grab them and go.

Sienna, Italy

Content for your IPad or other Mobile Device

I make sure my IPad is full of content for that long airplane ride.

I download magazines, Ebooks and Talking Books from my library's website (many libraries subscribe to Zinio, which supplies full-text popular magazines and Overdrive and/or 3M for Ebooks and talking books).  I also have HBO To GO and other downloaded TV and movie content (though maddeningly HBO To GO does not work in other countries nor does Netflix).  I can keep myself occupied for practically the entire flight this way and I do. 

Hubby gets lonely and bored because he doesn't do this.  He is forced to read the airline magazine...more than once.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Take only a carry-on

Yes, if you are able bodied, you can do it. 

I have gone to Europe for almost three weeks with just my airplane size carry-on.  The trick is to wear the heavy stuff such as a jacket and boots onto the plane and pack lightweight items.  I am as big a clothes horse as anyone, but I can manage with a few pairs of slacks and then change them up with several very lightweight tops that don't take up much room in my suitcase and a dress

Of course, my other "personal item" is a humongous purse that can practically hold another purse, and sometimes does.  I carry my toiletries, IPad and that grab & go bag I mentioned which leaves as much room as possible for my clothes in my carry-on.  Another reason to take just a carry-on is having to schlepp it all over - up and down escalators (and they move fast in Europe), up onto trains, in the subway...I once had a guy yell "Andiamo" at me as I tried to drag my bag onto the vaporetto in Venice.  You don't want that! 

I recommend Rick Steves' bags.  I have used mine for years.

And speaking of Venice, it's romantic to think of having a room on the Grand Canal.  Just remember, the Grand Canal is the "main drag" in Venice and it all starts at 4am!

Take a coat no matter where or when you are going

Last year we went to Europe in late May. 

Who could possibly think it would rain THE ENTIRE TIME and be COLD?  I froze.  Then and there I swore I would take a coat with me on my next trip even if I was going to Tahiti in the hot season.  If worse comes to worst, you can always use it as a blanket on the plane since those are becoming as scarce as hen's teeth and the plane is always cold.

I had to wear this outfit practically every day because it was the only one warm enough.  Not  easy when you are in Paris and you want to be tres chic!
Note the hair:  rain!

Get to the airport early

They are not kidding you when they say arrive at least an hour before a domestic flight and two hours before an International.  I would get there even earlier.  One time we arrived almost an hour earlier only to discover only one TSA was checking ID's.  We missed our flight by a hair when they changed gates at the last minute.  Planes wait for no one!  However, now with my Nexus card...

Dress Nicely

This use to be the norm in the early days of airline travel. 

Flying was an event and people dressed up for it.  Nowadays, planes are full, the food is terrible (and costly) and there are few amenities, but do you really have to wear pajama bottoms and flip flops to fly?   If you want an upgrade and don't we all?  I suggest putting on those cool, but comfortable, designer duds you have and swan about the airport a bit.  If you look nice, you might get it.  Those people at the gate do have the power.

The Toilet of Modern Art, Vienna, Austria
And I used the toilet!

Be Nice to the Flight Attendants

Just think about it.  These folks are really on the plane to help save your life should an emergency occur.  But they also have to serve you drinks, answer your buzzer and put up with bad behavior on those packed flights.  I always greet the flight attendants with a smile as I enter the plane, I look them in the eye when they are serving me drinks (and compliment them if appropriate) and thank them when I exit.  This has resulted in free drinks on domestic flights, and once, even a whole bottle of champagne to take home. 

Just in general, it never hurts to acknowledge people and be nice.

Take extra contact lenses

If I lost or injured my contact lenses and had to wear my glasses, that would literally ruin my vacation. No way am I wearing my damn glasses. Sorry, I know, but I admit it.  I am vain, even at my age.

And here is another tip.  Keep you contacts case with a little contact solution in your glasses case.  Makes it easy to switch back and forth when needed.

Bruges, Belgium

Travel in Spring or Fall

We went to Paris for Christmas one year thinking, "Who goes to Paris for Christmas?" 

Everyone, apparently.  It was packed, especially with families.  I guess I am alone in thinking people like to stay home with their families for Christmas.  No, they like to travel with their families for Christmas.  And don't even think about Europe in the summer.  It's a zoo!

People everywhere

Avoid hotel rooms near the elevator, ice machine or maid's storage area

Someone has to get those rooms, but it's not going to be me!

If you are a light sleeper or like to sleep in, you do NOT want to hear people getting on and off the elevator.  Even worse is if your room is NEXT to the elevator and you can hear it going up and down.  Likewise, ice machines and snack areas are noisy gathering spots as are where the maids go to get ready to clean rooms in the morning.  Some travel maven once said, I always ask the clerk at the hotel for his third best room, meaning she knows it's going to take three tries to get it right.  Jacob Tomsky in Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles and So-called Hospitality, suggests, to get the best room, tip the person checking you in, partly because no one ever thinks to tip them.  I would, but I haven't figured out a way to do it with finesse.  What do you do?  Slap a twenty down and go wink, wink?

Don't be a lame American tourist

Do your homework and observe your surroundings.  Try to be a local. This keeps you from becoming a lame, American tourist which just perpetuates the stereotype and we don't want that. The Europeans already think we are lame enough.

What are your travel tips?

See you Friday
for the Week in Reviews.

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Passing the Baton

My daughter graduated from library school in June.  I retired from my 40 year career as a librarian in July.

Just as I left the profession, my daughter began job hunting for her first professional library position.

She just called to say she had accepted a very good job offer.

I am so proud of her and happy that she has chosen the profession that sustained me for 40 years.

My daughter's and my lives have had many parallels, 37 years apart. 

We both moved thousands of miles away from our families, we both wanted to be actresses and we both became librarians.

We were born

"Welcome to the world!"

      1948                                                                                  1985                                                                                                     



We grew up in loving families.


We Graduated from High School

                 1966                                                                                                        2003                                                                                                                                                                                                      


We Graduated from College

We Got Married


                                  1984                                                                    2010
We Were Actresses and Performers

Then we became librarians.
Welcome to the world of libraries!
     My first job -  1974                                                   Her first job - 2013
A picture is worth a thousand words!
My mother got a real kick out of my daughter. 
Once, when my mother was particularly complimentary about her, I said, "Just like me, huh, Mom?" 
To which she replied, "Yes, only better!" 
But she was right.  Don't we wish our children to be better than we were, to do better than we did?
And now my daughter has parlayed her education and three years managing a retail store (while her husband finished up his Ph.D) into a library management position as her first job, something it took me three years into the profession to attain.
As the conductor of my own life, I have chosen to retire from the symphony I conducted for the last 40 years, pass my baton and bow to the next generation.
I know some of what lies ahead for her. May she enjoy it as I have.
Now I am on to my next symphony!
Have you passed your baton to someone?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
See you Friday for a Thanksgiving Wrap-up!
                                                         Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.