Showing posts with label senior citizens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label senior citizens. Show all posts

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!
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Friday, November 29, 2013

Gratitude and the Week in Reviews

[I review the movies "Dallas Buyers Club," "The Way Way Back," "Scenic Route," "The Internship," "And While You Were Here" and the book "House in the Sky."]

But first


It's the day after Thanksgiving and, except for the scream I let out that was like a banshee from hell when I stepped on the scale, I am full of gratitude.

And when I think of all that I am grateful for, happy and sometimes funny memories come flooding back.

So the first thing I am grateful for is all of the happy and funny memories I have.

So here is my list of what I am grateful for with some accompanying happy and sometimes funny memories.


We found each other over 30 years ago when we were both at loose ends, and over the last 30 years, we have tied those loose ends together and created a happy life.  He has been a good husband and father.

I am so grateful for that.

Happy, Funny Memory:  On our first date, late into the evening, we sang a boozy duet of "Endless Love" together (and I'm not talking about karaoke.  It was just the two of us).

I knew he was the one.

My son

He and I were all alone and I didn't know what the future would be until I met Hubby.  Now 33 years later, my son is a successful attorney and partner in a law firm.  But more importantly, he is a wonderful, kind man, husband and father.

I am so grateful for that.

Happy, funny memory: When he was about the age in the picture above, he told me he loved me "more than life itself."

I was so happy!  I couldn't believe it.  For one thing, what a mature thing to say, but even better, that he loved me that much.  It wasn't until later when he was watching Walt Disney's animated "Robin Hood" movie, which was a particular favorite of his, that I overheard "Robin" say to "Maid Marian," "I love you more than life itself."

So much for that. 

My daughter

My daughter was an amazing student, like her brother.  She was given the opportunity to go to Stanford and that has held her in good stead as she moves forward in her career.  But she is also a wonderful, kind woman who is happily married.

And I am grateful for that.

Happy, funny memory:  When my daughter was learning to speak she had trouble with her compound consonants such as "TR."  She would turn them into "F's."  She also used to like to point at things she would see as we were driving around and yell out what they were. 

Trucks were a favorite.

Well you get the picture.  My mother was not amused.

My parent's long lives

Since I wasn't born until my parents were 40, I am so grateful they both lived to be in their 80's and 90's.  When you think that my parents were 72 when my son was born, it was a miracle he and my daughter (they were 76 when she was born) knew their grandparents at all.  But even though they were young when they knew them, my parents are remembered by my children.  And it doesn't hurt to come from a family with longevity.

I am so grateful for that.

Happy, Funny Memory: My Dad playing and singing this on the piano.

A peanut sat
On a railway track
His heart was all a flutter
Around the bend came number ten
Choo! Choo! Peanut butter!!!
And then he would chuckle that deep so-satisfied-with-himself chuckle of his.

And this time of year especially, my mother's pies.


I know there is much to despair about with FB but being able to keep up with old friends and meet new ones has helped me immensely as I have moved to a new town, embarked upon retirement, and, dare I say it, old age?  I can keep up with my children, my friends, my relatives, my old friends from long ago...

I am grateful for that.

Happy Funny memory:  I am talking to and sharing with friends from 40 years ago which brings back all kinds of happy and funny memories.

Seattle Stair Walks

Walking is my favorite exercise.  Yes, I go to the gym, but long walks are my exercise of choice.  Add to the walk new neighborhoods and environments and I am in heaven.  When we first moved to Seattle we went through at least two "urban walks" type books and that helped immensely to get to know the place, but we have had the most fun with "Seattle Stairway Walks" by Jake and Cathy Jaramillo. Seattle is a town of hills and stairs to get up and down those hills.  Every walk includes beautiful residential areas, lush greenery and stairs and more stairs.

Happy Memory:  That my ass is smaller because of this book.


I am grateful that I have a pension from 30 years of work and can retire.  I know many people can't (like Hubby) or worry about how they will manage without a job.  Retirement enables me to spend time with myself, something I am finding very rewarding.

I am so grateful for that.

Happy Funny Memory:  Working on it.

My Nexus card

We would go to Canada and when crossing the border see this entrance to the border patrol called NEXUS.  It hardly ever had any cars in it.  I decided to investigate.  Hubby and I are now "trusted travelers" and we can not only use that fast line to get across the border to Canada, but we can use the TSA Pre-check line at the airport.  We can keep our shoes on, no need to pull out the Ipad or the cosmetics.  It's quick and easy.  Love it!

I am so grateful for that.

Happy, Funny Memory:  Thinking nah-nah-na-nah-nah as we whiz through security at the airport or across the border.  No, not really, that would be immature and mean.

The fact that tea isn't fattening

It seems like such a small thing, but let me tell you...anything that is not fattening is a blessing.

I am so grateful for that.

Happy Memory:  High tea at The Ritz in London.


With children and grandchildren living hundreds and thousands of miles away, Skype helps keep us connected.

I am so grateful for that.

Happy Funny Memory:  Watching "Cars," the movie with my grandson.  He is obsessed


When we first got TIVO, I thought this would change my life - well, my TV viewing habits anyway.  No more would I be a captive to the TV.  I could set up automatic recording for shows I liked and then watch them when it was convenient.  Well, that was the idea. 

The reality is it affords me the opportunity to watch way more TV than I ever could have without it. And that's not a good thing.  I find myself setting up Season Passes (this is an action that will automatically record an entire series of a program) for shows I probably never would have watched. 

Not so happy, but funny memory:  I fell to a new low when I actually watched an episode of "Buying Naked."


Hubby gave this to me for Christmas last year.  It works with TIVO and allows you to watch everything on your TV remotely from an IPAD or another device as if you were in real time at home.  It is very cool when you are traveling, especially in other countries where the TV is in a different language.  Not that I spend much time watching TV when I am traveling. Really, I don't.

Strange, funny memory: Here is what I have used it for.  When I am traveling, I turn it on and if I can access my TV from my IPad, I know my TV is still there and we haven't been robbed!


I am grateful for libraries, not just because they sustained my career, but because libraries represent what this country is all about:  freedom - the freedom to read, the freedom to access information, the freedom to view and it's a place for people to gather to exchange ideas.

I am grateful for that.

Happy Funny Memory:  All of the wonderful people I have worked with and met, some very funny.


No elaboration needed here. 

And there is someone else who is grateful for that who will remain nameless, but his initials are W.G.P.

He is so grateful for that.

Speaking of which, my list would not be complete without my gratitude to the Wine Guzzling Poodle and his two cohorts.  They have given us too many happy, funny memories to recount.

This actually is not a complete list. 

I think of things I am grateful for every day.
I am grateful for that!

What are you grateful for?


Now on with the Week in Reviews. 

Take a break from holiday madness, do something nice for yourself, and lose yourself in a film or a book.



Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Matthew McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a hard living homophobe who finds himself with the AIDS virus.  It's 1985 and he can't get the drugs he feels he needs to save himself.  So he sets up a "buyer's club" to help himself and other AIDS sufferers get the drugs they need from Mexico and other countries and the FDA tries to stop him.

Much was made of McConaughey's weight loss and his transformation is amazing.  But Jared Leto must also be recognized.  Looks like he did the same thing.  You would never recognize him from teen heartthrob days, though he makes a beautiful woman.  Both will no doubt be recognized by the Academy come Oscar time. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you liked Silkwood or Erin Brockovich, you will like this film.  But it's the acting that stands out here.

Movies You Might Have Missed
And some you will be glad you did!

(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)
Duncan is 14 and on vacation with his mother and her new overbearing boyfriend.
An unflattering picture of adults at play through the eyes of children.
It's interesting to see Steve Carell in an unsympathetic role, but Allison Janney is the one who steals the show in the role of the ditzy, drunken next door neighbor with a heart of gold.  You don't often see her play these types of roles.  I am thinking - Academy Award nomination?  Also Liam James is a fine young actor who can convey his character's transformation just through the use of his shoulders.
Rosy the Reviewer says...a sweet coming of age story that shows how the sins of the parents can rain down on the children. 
Highly recommended.

Scenic Route (2013)
Two lifelong friends are on a road trip through Death Valley and their truck breaks down.  Bad stuff happens. 
I enjoy the occasional horror film and that's what I thought this was going to be, but actually, it was more of a character study about what happens when you are stranded and broken down into your barest most base self and secrets and regrets are revealed - a kind of demented, violent "My Dinner with Andre."
Rosy the Reviewer says...It's one of those "will they or won't they" get rescued movies with an ending that will likely spark discussion. I liked it but, Josh, you are too handsome for a Mohawk and romantic comedies miss you!
Two salesmen (of the worst kind) find themselves jobless so talk their way into an internship at Google.
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are both funny guys and this was a cute premise, but this film misses the mark.
Rosy the Reviewer says...This is no Wedding Crashers.  
It's predictable and I didn't laugh.
Unhappy married woman in Naples meets and falls for a young boy.
The lush Naples backdrop is the star here.  Otherwise, a rather vapid story with vapid characters.  Jamie Blackley, the young love interest, is worth watching.
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like travelogues, you might enjoy this.  And can Kate Bosworth be any skinnier?

***Book of the Week***

A House in the Sky (2013) by Amanda Lindhout
An adventurous young woman travels to dangerous destinations and finds herself a kidnap victim in Somalia.

For 460 days, Canadian Amanda Lindhout endured all kinds of deprivation and sexual abuse at the hands of her captors, resorting to converting to Islam in hopes of finding compassion in her captors. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...a harrowing read.  If you liked "A Mighty Heart" or "American Hostage," you might like this.

Try your local library for DVDs and books listed.

That's it for this week.


See you next Tuesday
where I will share my travel tips for seniors
(and others too)!

Thanks for reading! 
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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!
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