Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Liars Club and Skype

One of the fun things about being retired is watching the "old" men solve the problems of the world. Whether it is the Romeo Club, retired old men eating out, or the Liars Club as our group at McDonald's calls themselves, you can go in any restaurant for breakfast and see them! Our bunch averages 8-20 each morning including both men and women arriving and leaving at different times. Woody and I are in the late bunch that arrives about 9:30AM...we don't like to get up early! I can remember my dad taking Woody to his club at Gigi's in Jackson...girls weren't allowed!! While there are multiple social outlets for seniors, a breakfast bunch is more engaged with each other. When one gets sick or has problems, the group rallies around and helps. It's almost like an office without the work...but yes, there are still tiffs and politics just like in any work or social setting. I tend to observe more than participate...not sure why, but I think it reminds me a little too much of high school plus I still have to work a day or two here and there so I'm not consistent with attendance.  Ed, Woody, Bill and Ron are the core of my main men...not sure who the gentleman in the back is! This 4-some runs and plays when the wives let them...exciting trips to the tool store, the KFC buffet, and to buy tomato plants on Dickerson Road...wink, wink...inside joke!

The nice thing about retirement is you can sit and chat without time constraints and really engage with your friends who are also retired...Jane and I debrief when we both show up at the same time! We send the boys off to their own table and then we talk about them. The bad thing about retirement is that your friends who aren't retired yet don't have as much time to just talk. You need to make an effort in this time of email and instant messaging to talk. We get so busy that we don't just sit down and chat about everything and nothing. This is what our grandparents used to do on the porch with a glass of tea as the neighbors stopped we do good to connect via facebook and email. Our generation is losing connections that our parents and grandparents took for granted. HOWEVER...thank goodness for Skype.

I finally had to break down and buy a new computer and I made sure that it had a built-in webcam.  Then I signed up for Skype and was able to chat with my kiddos and grandkiddo while seeing them. For grandparents with grandchildren out of town, it is absolutely wonderful. And of course, it is free! You can also add a web camera to your existing computer set up. The one thing I haven't quite figured out is just how good I have to look before I accept a call! You can also schedule time to chat but that takes away the spontaneous "look at my new whatever Mimi"! I guess our kids love us regardless of no makeup and flat hair. It is so easy to Skype, but my friends at the Geek Squad can help you if you need it!

And for those of you complaining that I don't update enough...just deal with it! I have a life outside the box! Retired and loving it! Have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend...and your assignment? Talk to someone for longer than a nanosecond! Hugs!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Give me strength!

As you know, I try to avoid politics, but as a retiree, I need to stay on top of what the government is trying to "do" to me! I blog a lot and recently posted this on an MSNBC site...I'm sharing it here for you to think about and to encourage you to get active in the political party that is closest to your beliefs. If you aren't actively working to get Washington's attention, we are doomed to take whatever is voted on and dished out to the masses! So pardon my rant...but think about it.  Your health could depend on it.

"Let's see if I have this right...I will get a voucher to buy insurance from an insurance company that refuses to insure older adults with pre-exisiting conditions because the Repubicans are trying to repeal the President's healthcare law that mandates that I am insurable regardless and I probably can't afford it anyway because my Social Security is in jeopardy and corporations don't provide pensions anymore so I have to save money from my poorly paid job if I have one while trying to put food on the table and shelter and clothe my family. Corporations no longer offer pensions or retiree health plans because they are too expensive a benefit and unions can't negotiate on their members' behalf. If corporations do offer retiree health benefits, the cost is exhorbitant...mine is $900 a month for basic coverage. If I go to the hospital through the emergency department, they must treat me whether I have insurance or not. When hospitals don't get paid, they raise rates on everyone to cost-shift unreimbursed expenses to those with money and insurance. And, corporations are getting a tax break, the wealthy are getting a tax break, and the middle class and poor are paying a greater percentage of their income for necessities and taxes at a time when corporations and state governments are 1) not providing even cost of living raises but are giving huge bonuses to executives who have performed poorly and perhaps illegally, and 2) are still laying off or not hiring to squeeze more productivity out of the few employees too afraid to complain or are in a union that has no bargaining rights.

What part of really messed up doesn't Congress understand? Oh wait...they get paid regardless of their productivity, they can vote themselves a raise, they take money from the corporations that subsidize their campaigns (conflict of interest anyone?), they have really good health insurance, they are only worried about themselves and the constituents that voted for them, and they have no interest in representing "we the people" unless we can do something for them.

I wonder just who can manipulate us best in 2012? Promises, promises, and no follow-through. Give me strength!"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Politics as Usual?

I wish I could just quit reading about politics! The latest vitriol about the government shut down is almost comical. We encourage our children to plan their retirement without depending on social security, but what about those of us without the time to make other plans? With companies doing away with pensions, Wall Street killing our 401(k)s with market manipulations, the loss of thousands of dollars in equity in our homes...what ever are we to do? I think the thing to do is to become politically active in our old age. Sometimes we sit back and don't get involved, assuming that someone else will vote or work to elect the right politician or lobby in our best interest. While I love AARP, I am not quite willing to turn over all my decision making to someone else. I think we've seen that the Tea Party has mobilized to take over the direction of our country and the Republicans are following quietly along with their ideas that are not in the best interest of everyone.

Yes there is waste in government and pork in every bill is not unique to the Democrats or the Republicans...or even the Tea Party! The mood in Washington is to cut as long as it doesn't affect me. When a politician is elected, he or she is elected to serve all the people not just the people who voted for that particular candidate. I think we need to do a little inservice for the House and the Senate.  Our members of Congress must serve all the people, not just the special interests or the rich. They must serve the underprivileged and the wealthy equally. And if they don't, then they must not serve.

Here's what I recommend.  For every day that Congress can not agree on a budget, they don't get paid. If they shut down the government then they are not doing their job and when I don't work, I don't get paid. Duh...several weeks without a paycheck might improve their ability to reach consensus. Congress is willing to make the elderly, the military, public servants, children and others suffer by not being paid...shouldn't that also be applied to those that caused the problem with their political gamesmanship?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Take care of your health!

We've had a rough week! One of our dear friends has been in and out of the hospital with a variety of problems. Hopefully he is on the mend now. It's a reminder that you need to take care of your health. Start with annual visits to your really good primary care doctor. Ours is Dr. Lewis Johnson at the Frist Clinic. We just went this week and got a great report including the fact that we've both lost a little weight! Be sure that you do your routine screenings including mammography, colonoscopy, prostate exam and PSA, and Pap smear as appropriate. You can't enjoy retirement unless you have your health!
Woody and I also swear by supplements. Now I can't tell you what to take, but I can share with you what we take. And never start supplements without talking to your doctor. A good multivitamin for old people is important! We use Centrum Silver. We take Osteo Bi-flex or its generic for joint health and collagen support (helps with my tennis knees!), Noni (which the Hawaiians think cures everything), an 81 mg Aspirin, fish oil capsules and red rice yeast capsules for our cholesterol levels, and Woody also takes acidophilous (a probiotic) for his allergies and saw palmetto for prostate health. We also love V-8 juice because it has lycopene and watercress which Dr.Oz says cures everything! We occasionally add watercress to salads and some sauces. I would certainly encourage you to research supplements online or at your public library. Barnes and Noble and Books a Million bookstores both have great reference sections on maintaining your health, including the use of supplements and homeopathic remedies.

Now you know I can't talk about health without talking about exercise....and I have no room to talk! I chase my granddaughter, work in the yard, clean the house, and Woody and I swear by urban hiking. But we don't "work out" in the truest sense. Oh by the way, urban hiking involves mall walking, WalMart walking and sometimes just meandering. At WalMart make your list and then go back and forth from one side of the store to the other. It takes a while to shop that way, but you get exercise and you're retired so you don't have anything else to do anyway!! And believe it or not, we still love to hike and Woody loves ziplining...yes at 65 he did the longest zipline in North America on our Alaska cruise! So get off the couch and do something...even if it's just walking around the neighborhood and spying on your neighbors! When you are old you gossip about your neighbors and this might provide new fodder for the discussion! Just kidding. 

Take care of yourself and stay healthy...and Bill you get better...Woody and Ed are depending on you to go on you for boys day out trips! The three musketeers must continue on their quest for the perfect buffet!