Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Art of Keeping in Touch

A blog post I recently read reminded me of a blog post from 2012, which I repeat today with a little updating.

I had recently visited Brooklyn (over Christmas) and had dinner with several relatives who live in the area.  The death of a couple of my spouse's relatives in November and December, and the serious illness of one of my relatives (whom I visited a couple of days ago), have made me think more and more about keeping in touch.

Recently, in decluttering, my spouse found a CD of letters from the Round Robin, which also brought back this memory:

The Round Robin and the Art of Keeping in Touch

I had blogged about the Month of Letters project I had heard about through a fellow blogger.

The idea was to write 24 letters (hard letters, though the mail) during the month of February.  Or, at least, mail something.

It was a good idea but I didn't sign up.  But it did bring back memories of a letter writing tradition my father's side of the family participated in for a number of years.  And why trying to start it up again several years ago just didn't work out.

This project was called The Round Robin.  My father, who would be (in 2019) 104 if he was still alive, was one of six children.  As adults, they went their separate ways.  My Dad and two siblings stayed in the New York City area (they grew up in Brooklyn). One moved to Albany, one moved to Tampa, Florida and one ended up first in Texas and later in Iowa and Illinois.  Only one of them, the youngest, is still alive now in 2019.

To stay in touch (as telephoning, even someone in another part of New York City, was so expensive back then), they wrote letters.  I don't know who in our family started The Round Robin but the point was:  You wrote a letter, put it in a big envelope with everyone else's letter. When the packet got to you, you replaced your old letter with a current letter, and then sent it on.  The Robin's route was always the same.

By the time I was a teenager, I had taken over from my Dad.  So it was me, writing to five aunts and uncles.  I looked forward to getting those letters and I loved responding for my Dad.  But each time, the Robin packet would take longer and longer to come.  Finally, the Robin stopped.  In the meantime, I had grown up and had better things to do.  Time passed....lots of time.

Around 2007, I thought it would be a really good idea to start up the Robin again.   My Dad and his five brothers/sisters had a total of 12 children between them. (I am an only child.)  I contacted my 11 first cousins and almost all of them were eager to join in on Robin 2.0..  The oldest cousins at that point were near 60, the youngest were in their 40's.  All of us were of the last letter writing generation.  In fact, several of my cousins have never felt comfortable with computers.  (Guess I didn't inherit those genes.  My spouse thinks my computer is grafted to my body.)

Another cousin, whose grandmother and my grandmother were sisters, joined our Robin group.

The last of my father's siblings, an uncle, wanted to join, too, but...guess what happened.  The first packet took a year to make the rounds.  The second packet never made it back to me.  He never had a chance to write a letter-one that I saw, anyway.

And what about the generation of our children?  Between the 12 of us, we have 11 children.  Many of them are young adults, including my son.  None of them were interested in the Robin.

I have finally decided the Robin is not viable.  Not dead, mind you.  Just busy sunning him or herself in Florida, or the French Riviera, or somewhere else more pleasant than upstate New York, while most of us keep in touch by email, text, or Facebook.

Know how my last living uncle, who is in his mid 90's as of 2019, communicates with his three children?  Skype and email is a large part of it.  And I guess that's the point of this blog post.

Yes.  Letter writing has died out because....dare I say it?  There are now better ways to communicate.  Sad but true.

I wish letter writing projects the best, but I wonder how many of those people will still write to each other when February fades into March.

What do you think?  Did any of you have a family letter  packet like the Round Robin?  Do any of you keep in touch with siblings or cousins by snail mail nowadays?

Day 19 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Friday, January 18, 2019

Brooklyn Moods #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

Brooklyn, New York, is part of New York City.  It's a part that was once neglected by tourists, but more and more are finding that Brooklyn is a place they should be checking out.

I grew up in New York City.  For the first time in my life, this past December, I found myself (with my spouse and son) in a hotel room in downtown Brooklyn.  I took this sunrise picture from my window.
Dec 23 sunset, showing that sunrise and sunset beauty can be found anywhere.

Coney Island Beach Christmas Eve - no more clear weather; the clouds have arrived.

Dec 23 holiday lights.

Join Yogi and the other bloggers who watch the sky each Friday on #SkywatchFriday.

Day 18 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Lessons of MLK and Mudcat Grant

It is sobering to realize that January 15, 2019 would have been the 90th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Of course, he was never allowed to live long enough to celebrate it.

I am a senior citizen, and I realize that fewer and fewer people alive today experienced the world that Martin Luther King, Jr. was born into.  I never did, because I am white.  But my father witnessed segregation (again, through the eyes of a white man who grew up in Brooklyn) when he was stationed in the Southern United States (Mississippi and Arkansas) for a part of his military service in World War II.  He would use news stories about the Civil Rights movement as "teachable moments" for me.

Years later, I had the opportunity to meet Mudcat Grant, a former major league pitcher (and a member of the 12 Black Aces - black pitchers who had won at least 20 games in a season - quite an accomplishment) who grew up in Florida in the days of segregation.  (He's 83 now).

He told a group of us the story of how a teenaged boy he knew as a young child was lynched because he had committed the crime of going in the front door of a white woman's house while delivering her groceries.

It wasn't just that lynching, but his mother's reaction that stuck with Mudcat the rest of his life.  The reaction basically was that this is the way life was for his people, and he'd better get used to it.

What impressed me the most about meeting Mudcat Grant was his gentle-manliness.  He was  softspoken and you never would have guessed what he had gone through in his early years.

Now, hatred is on the rise again - and it is more and more acceptable to express that hatred, to the point of a Senator making offensive comments for years before being formally rebuked.

This hatred must be fought, least it once again become acceptable in our United States.

It is not enough to name streets all over our country for Martin Luther King, Jr.  For what Mudcat Grant and others in our country went through, we must say "never again" to all hate.

Day 17 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Great Molasses Flood

It wasn't a joke.  It wasn't sweet.  And when I first heard about it several years ago, it was hard to believe.

On January 15, 1919, a tank of molasses located in the North End of Boston exploded, with 2.5 million gallons of sweet, sticky molasses bearing down on the neighborhood  like a gigantic wall at some 35 miles an hour.

Nothing could withstand the flood.  People were crushed and houses crumbled as the flood swept over the area.  21 people died - the youngest 10, the oldest 78.

Here are some photos of the aftermath, including a photo of what the neighborhood looks like today.

Area residents claimed you could smell the molasses every summer for decades after.

This song commemorates the event, which led to legislation designed to increase safety in industrial construction.

Not all that is sweet is desirable.

Day 16 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day January 2019

Welcome to the 15th of January.  It's time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Where I live in upstate New York, winter couldn't make up its mind if it wanted to come or not.  Snow,  warm, rain, snow, repeat.  But winter has closed in.

I don't have much blooming in my house. This African violet, which I purchased in early December, is still going strong.

Who knows if this primrose will make it to spring?

My reliable Thanksgiving cactus still blooming.
And finally, my geraniums struggle, but gave me one bloom.

It's bitterly cold today where I live in zone 5b near Binghamton, New York but we can still have our flowers.

Join Carol at May Dreams Gardens and other bloggers the 15th of each month for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.  What's blooming in your house or yard?

P.S. Today is the 100th anniversary of Boston's Great Molasses Flood.  More on that tomorrow.

Day 15 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Monday, January 14, 2019

Flowers #MusicMovesMe # blogboost

Welcome! It's Monday and time for another episode of Music Moves Me. And today, being a "Your Song Pick" week, I've decided to be inspired by - a parade!

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only on this music train, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice,  and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting  is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy .  And finally, there's me. 

> Every January 1 (except when it falls on a Sunday) the Tournament of Roses parade is held in Pasadena, California.  And wouldn't you know it - their theme this year was "The Melody of Life".

I'd like to bring you a little flavor of that parade. But first, some music.

Live performance of The Cowsills and The Rain, the Park, and Other Things.

Talking Heads - [Nothing But] Flowers.

Flowers on the Wall - Statler Brothers

You Don't Bring Me Flowers - a duet with Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.

I took these pictures from my TV of the Rose Parade - one day I will get to see this parade in person but not this year.  First, Far Out Frequencies.

How about this Hep Cat?
The Power of Music.

Finally, check out those drums.  Keep in mind, when you view these floats, that the entire float and its contents must be covered in all natural materials - flowers, seeds, bark, spices, or something similar.

Join me again next Monday for another #MusicMovesMe, and while you are at it, why don't you check out other participants in this blog hop?

Day 14 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Hard Times in Johnson City New York #blogboost

For this day 13 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, let me tell you a little bit about the community in upstate New York I live near.

Johnson City was known at one time as the Home of the Square Deal, thanks to George F. Johnson and the Johnson family of Endicott-Johnson shoes.  But that was then and this is now.

Many of those shoe factories have been torn down.  The ones left are in ruins, inhabited by derelicts.  Downtown Johnson City, to be blunt, is depressed.  It may be slowly making its way back from ruin but it is not a place I would recommend to any out of town visitors.  I hope one day that will be different.

George F. Johnson would not have been happy.

Ironic that in 2009 I blogged about the possible dissolution of Johnson City.  The voters voted that November, and Johnson City remained in existence.

But now, Johnson City has appeared on a list of the 10 most dangerous cities in the state of New York.

I have met so many people who have lost jobs in the last year, or are in danger of losing jobs.  Just one example:  I know the mother of someone whose husband is currently looking for work.  Her daughter is a housewife with three children, the fourth one on the way.  It's not a good situation, to put it mildly.

Others try to cobble together part time jobs while going back to school.

And now, our mall, which has lost three of its four anchor stores in the past three years, wants its taxes reduced dramatically.  Who will take up the slack if they win?

We, the residents, will take up that slack.

These are not happy times for many.

Can Johnson City be saved?  Once again, the future is uncertain. And while I try to keep my optimism up, I have to admit that it is hard, sometimes, to keep the faith.

Recently, the State University of New York opened a pharmacy school in part of that depressed area.  We can only hope that will spark a revival.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Realizing How Fortunate I Am

In the past couple of weeks, I've had occasions where I have felt sorry for myself.

But, I am really one of the luckiest people on the face of the earth.  I get to view beautiful sunrises like this one from earlier in the week.  I sometimes get to travel.

Five days a week, I have the opportunity to get up, eat breakfast, and go to work. Then, in the late afternoon, I get to go home. 

On the other hand, not everyone has that privilege.

Yesterday, my spouse and I made a trip, probably to say goodbye to a relative.  She's younger than I, and has cancer.  Her prognosis is poor.  She knew we were there, but was too tired/sleepy to interact with us.  She is unable to get out of bed on her own. 

I want to use the time I have left, whether years or months, wisely.  I need to devote more thought to that than I have recently.

I need to remember how grateful I am for life.

Day 12 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Friday, January 11, 2019

January Fire #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

From January 4, a beautiful sunset outside of Binghamton, New York.

There is just something so magical about some January sunrises and sunsets - see the sunset reflected in the house windows on the lower middle?

But the best is yet to come.

Oh yes.  I could get lost in this.

Join Yogi and other bloggers who watch the sky on #SkywatchFriday. 

The Brooklyn photos I promised last week?  I am delaying them another week.  I couldn't resist sharing this sunset with you!

Day 11 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Winter Trees #ThursdayTreeLove #blogboost

Some of those who participate in #ThursdayTreeLove are from India or other warmer climes than the one I live in, and I sometimes feel I will disappoint if I don't grab a picture of trees and snow on winter Thursdays.

We haven't had much snow, though!  One major snow, which caused havoc - but since then, not much.

But on the last Saturday of December, I awoke to some light snow flurries.  We got what we call a dusting.

And this was the result.  You can even see some fall color remnants on the three to the left.

Although this isn't a tree, I thought you would also like to see some snow close up on my rhododendron. This plant stays green year round, but takes our harsh winters well.  The buds will open into lovely flowers come late May.

Winter is striking where I live, today - January will not be denied, and this morning ice and snow have struck, along with wind.  Not a good day to go out in!

I am, once again, joining Parul and other bloggers who love trees at #ThursdayTreeLove.  Why not join us every second and fourth Thursday of the month?  Trees make me happy - do they make you happy?

See you next time!

Day 10 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

It's Delurking Time!

Are you a blog lurker?  I am, at times.  I admit it.  How about you?

What is a lurker? You like a blog, and you may even read it regularly, but you rarely (or ever) comment.

Maybe you want to admire the blog post from afar. You feel you have nothing to add to the discussion.  I can feel that way.

Maybe you've taken a vow of Internet silence.  Maybe you are shy.  I understand. I'm shy, too.

This week, the blogging community asks you to break your silence.    It's International Blog Delurking Week and it lasts until January 13.

This year, a blog I like to read (Happiness and Food), has taken over from the originator of this meme, Melissa Ford of Stirrup Queens.

The badge?  Go to Happiness and Food, get it and comment there, too.

Parul, the blogger at Happiness and Food, won't bite. She loves trees. In fact, I can tell you she loves trees, because the second and fourth Friday of the month, she hosts a meme called Thursday Tree Love.  In fact, if you love trees, I invite you to come back to Happiness and Food tomorrow with your tree loving post.

I don't bite, either (unless you are made out of chocolate).  I'd love to see you comment.

You can just comment below, where it says "Post a Comment", and say "I'm here!" (unless, of course, you're a spammer.  If you are, go away.)

I know, Blogger blogs can be difficult to comment on.  But, at least today, won't you try?

You can tell me where you live.  You can ask me questions.  You can suggest topics you would like me to blog about.  You can talk about the weather, food, or chocolate.  You can follow me on Twitter or Pinterest (see right sidebar), too.

I am honored by everyone who comes by to read my posts.  Thank you, if you have commented before.  And thank you for commenting today, if this post moves you. (And thank you if you have delurked on your own!)

Commenting to bloggers is like chocolate for many of us.

I look forward to hearing from you today, but, most of all, if there are other blogs you like where you won't you comment on them today, too?  A new blogger, especially, gives up if he or she blogs in silence.  Won't you make a blogger's day today and comment?

Day nine of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Dying Breed

Do you ever think your life has turned into a museum exhibit?

On December 23-26 my spouse, son and I spent time in Brooklyn, one of the boroughs of New York City.  I have never lived in Brooklyn (I was born in Queens and grew up in The Bronx, two other boroughs), but my father was a native of Brooklyn and I still have some family there.

What I was doing in Brooklyn during Christmastime is a long story.  I am debating whether to tell it now, or wait for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

For now, I am going to tease you with this picture taken at Coney Island.  I took this picture on Christmas Eve.  It's a picture of a dying breed.

The pay phone.  Perhaps almost the last of a dying breed.  Years ago, they were everywhere.

Now, they aren't.  More often or not I'll find the housing but not the phone.  These had phones.  And, wonder of wonders:  These actually worked.

I was unable to find out how many pay phones are left in Brooklyn, but I have to think "not too many".

Pay phones were a staple of my childhood, growing up in the 50's and 60's.  In those days, we had phone booths where you could take refuge from the weather, and where Superman could change into his superhero clothes. 

Now, so many of us have cell phones, I'm surprised there are any pay phones left at all.

When is the last time you used a pay phone?  For me, it's so long ago I can't even remember.

Day 8 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Monday, January 7, 2019

1969 - #MusicMovesMe #Blogboost

Welcome! It's Monday and time for another episode of Music Moves Me.  And it's also the first Music Moves Me for 2019.  As our head, Xmas Dolly, would say:  Applause!!

Who are the #MusicMovesMe bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only on this music train, please!)   First, there is XmasDolly,   Her co-conductors are:  Callie of JAmerican Spice,  and ♥Stacy of Stacy Uncorked♥   Also, co-conducting  is  Cathy from Curious as a Cathy .  And finally, there's me. 

The person setting the themes for January has elected to remain anonymous, so there is no one to credit - or blame! (ONLY KIDDING).  The theme for today has to do with Elvis, whose birthday would have been tomorrow.  So, we are invited to start with an Elvis tune, but then switch to other tunes of his era.

And his era was a long one indeed.  When my son, who is now in his late 20's, was growing up, our neighbor across the street had a son a year older than our son. And that young man loved Elvis.  Elvis transcends generation gaps - his music spanned three decades, and is still enjoyed today.

Which is why I am going to start with my favorite Elvis song.  No, it's not from the 50's, or even from the 1960's.  Rather, it is from 1969.

Please enjoy Elvis singing "Suspicious Minds".

In 1969, Elvis also came out with "In the Ghetto". This live version dates from the early 1970's.

In general, 1969 was (in my humble opinion) a fantastic year for music, and it's so hard for me to believe that 50 years have now passed since these songs were hits.

But first, a small tribute to Daryl Dragon, better known as the "Captain" of the Captain and Tennille, who died earlier this week at the age of 76 from renal failure.  Toni Tennille, his ex-wife, was by his side.

They weren't together in 1969 - oh how I wish they had been.  Instead, I will offer a song from 1976 - Muskrat Love.

So, back to 1969 and songs from that year:  I'll just pick two.  The first one, from the Fifth Dimension, Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In.

And, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fortunate Son.

Join me again next week for another edition of #MusicMovesMe.

Day seven of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Case of the January Greens

No, I'm not talking leftover Christmas trees.

Every year, it seems we are having a stranger and stranger January. (And February.  And March....)

I thought winter had come on Black Friday, when we got down to four above zero F (-15.5 C).  Or that we had a large snowstorm.

Then we had one of the most cloudy stretches I can remember.  However, on Friday and Saturday, the sun actually came out and I got to remember what the sun looks like.
Never used to be like this on January 5 near Binghamton, New York
This is what things looked like yesterday where I sometimes exercise walk.  Yes, that's green grass.  And sunshine.

Today, we are having strong winds and blowing snow (which isn't sticking).  At least the temperature is above freezing.

Yes, it could be worse.  Just about a year ago, we went down to -2 F (-19 C).  Thank heavens that wasn't today.

And we had ice sculptures in downtown Binghamton.  Not this year, though.

The snow will come soon enough - I hope, though, that it doesn't come in April, like last year.

I remember when we started having this kind of weather about six years ago.  Before that, it was a given that snow covered our ground from November through March with little break. You knew February, in particular, would be brutal.  Now, things are all over the place. Warm in January.  Snow in April.  That kind of thing.

Even the clouds look different.

Does the weather ever frighten you?

Day six of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Local Saturday - Charity Begins with Crochet

This morning, I read a fellow blogger's post on her 365 day crochet project for charity.

That struck a chord in me.  I've crocheted for nearly 50 years.  I'm mostly self taught.

I've done a little bit of crocheting for charity on and off during my life - I must admit, a lot more of it was "off" than "on".

But I could do something about that.  

I was starting work on a lap blanket for my mother in law.  I worked on it during a short vacation I was able to take in September.  Alas, when the vacation ended, so did my work on it.

My mother in law, as my regular readers know, passed away the day after Thanksgiving.  I've worked on the blanket, a little here and there, including on my recent travels to Brooklyn.  It's thick, and soft, as I hope you can see from the picture.(I included the hook for a little scale).

I think she would be very happy to see it donated to someone. 

And actually, I know three people right now who are battling cancer.   I know someone else whose spouse has serious heart issues, being treated at the University of Rochester in New York State.

There is so much need out there.

Charity can begin with crochet.  I don't know how many people in this country crochet items for vets, for people battling cancer, for the homeless, and for other causes.  It must number in the thousands.  My late childhood best friend crocheted her way through her cancer and her spouse's, before she was no longer able to, also for charity.

Can I do less?

It's time for me to shed some grief and get back in the game.  I'll share what happens with this blanket with you, my dear reader, which will make me accountable.  I'm sure my closet, which has too many works in progress (WIPS), will thank me, too.

And I'll wish Alice, the blogger in another part of New York State, the best of luck with her decision to crochet a square a day so she can donate crochet for the comfort of cancer patients.

Day five of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Friday, January 4, 2019

Skylines #SkywatchFriday #blogboost

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day in Brooklyn, part of New York City.  Parts of Brooklyn offer a wonderful view of the Manhattan skyline.

These pictures were taken from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and (possibly, not sure) Brooklyn Bridge Park on December 25.

What a wonderful way to spend an early winter morning.  No snow!  Sunshine!

My son helped me take this panorama with my iPhone SE.  I love how it stretched the clouds.  The Brooklyn Bridge (on the right) adds even more beauty to the picture, from far away.
A more "common" view of some docks.

I loved seeing the blue sky, coming from upstate New York where it has rarely shone since October.
Another view of the  iconic Brooklyn Bridge in the distance.  You can also see (just about in the middle, in the distance) the Empire State Building.

Next week, I hope to show you some more parts of Brooklyn.

Join Yogi and the bloggers who watch the sky at #SkywatchFriday.

Day four of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Do You Fear Falling?

As much as the Stepping On program falls prevention program I participated in during 2015 taught me, there is something that they never touched on.  Not directly, anyway.  My guess is, it isn't part of the official curriculum they must follow.  I think falling education has to face something head-on.

That issue is fear.

Fear of falling.

At one of the first classes I took, the two instructors asked us "How many of you don't go out during the winter unless you absolutely have to?"  More than half raised their hands.  In upstate New York, winters are cold and harsh, with lots of ice and snow.  We can get over 100 inches of snow (254 cm) in a year.  If you don't go out, you are isolated.

But if you have to go out, there are icy sidewalks to deal with.  We've all fallen on them.

I'm only in my mid 60's, and I am increasingly afraid of winter.  Now that my spouse has retired, I have someone to take me to work if the weather is bad.  But how many people live alone, or with spouses or partners who suffer physical or health issues?

Stepping On teaches strategies, with videos and discussions, of how to deal with various situations that result in balance challenges, and that is all good.

I refuse to accept that becoming fearful is a normal part of aging.  But falling seems to be all around me.  A co worker's father fell and hit his head last year. His injury may impact the rest of his life.

My spouse fell in October of 2017 and broke his nose, among other injuries.  He needed months of physical therapy.  He was lucky.

My mother in law, who passed away last November, fell a number of times, starting in her 60's.  Eventually, the cumulative injuries led to her loss of independence.

I think we all have stories - ourselves, loved ones, friends.

It shouldn't have to be like this, in your final years.

Experts tell us that fear of falling actually leads to an increased risk of falling.  It doesn't sound right, but it does make sense.  

Now, at times, I could wish for a third leg.  Seniors do have something like that available to them - it's called a cane.  But too many seniors shy away (we learned this in the falling classes) from using a cane, or even a walker, out of shame, or fear of being stared at.  Fear of knowing they are growing old factors into it, too. (And we were also taught that many seniors use a cane that isn't the right length.  How many of them are fitted for a cane? I wonder.)

So how do you deal with the fear?

It's great that our part of upstate New York has programs to help seniors with balance.  Falling has become a major concentration of the medical community here, as we have a high population of seniors in our area.  When I go to the doctor now, I am asked if I had fallen any since my last exam.  That question was never part of the normal pre-exam workup.

But, I feel, it won't do much good without touching on the psychological issues. What good is teaching balance if people have already developed the fear?  How about a class on dealing with that fear and learning to find ways to make it better?

Is there something like that in your community?  I wonder if fear education works.

Day three of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Flowers on Parade #WordlessWednesday #blogboost

We have a New Years Day tradition, here in the United States, that has happened for over 100 years.  It is called the Rose Parade.  

People will line up the night before and camp out just to watch this parade filled with floats, marching bands, and people on horseback.  Each year there is a theme.

What is special about this parade is that the decorated floats must be totally covered in natural materials: flowers, bark, spices, and so forth.

Here are a couple of examples of the beauty of this parade.

No, I wasn't there (Pasadena, California) but this parade is on my bucket list.  These pictures were taken off my TV screen.

Again, think of the hundreds of hours of work it takes to decorate one of these floats, and be amazed.

I'll show more of these pictures on Monday, along with my Music Moves Me weekly post.

Join Esha and other bloggers for #WordlessWednesday.

Day two of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Conducting a Year Beginning Review

Welcome to the year 2019 and to another Ultimate Blog Challenge.

A year of caregiving for a 90 year old mother in law (who passed away on Black Friday) taught me a lot about all those things you put off, until you reach the day when you realize you have waited too long.

Learn from my mistakes.

How about conducting a year beginning review today?  My spouse and I are slowly doing this.

These suggestions are just from hard won experience - I am not a financial planner, a tax professional, or a legal professional, or anyone similar to these experts.  You may want to consult one or more such professionals to help you.

This is what I found and/or learned, and where I am as of today - still a long way to go.

1.  Do you have a will?  I do, but in consulting a lawyer during a free legal senior event last year, I found out it was sadly outdated.  Ditto for spouse.    ACTION NEEDED:  I need to get it updated.  And, oh yes, that person you named as executor?  Is that your current wish?  Does that person even know you've done it?

2  Health Care Proxy?  DNR (do not resuscitate) order (if desired)?  Anything similar available in your state?

The important thing is:  Does someone know your end of life wishes?  Does any document you have right now reflect your CURRENT wishes (watching what my mother in law experienced gave me some different insight into DNR, for whatever that is worth.).   Do you still want the person you named (if you have a health care proxy) making those life and death decisions for you?  My spouse was his mother's health care proxy and trust me, those decisions were heart-rending.
ACTION NEEDED:  I need to get my documents updated.  Much easier said than done, but necessary.

3.  Power of Attorney?  This is such an important document; I implore you to find out about it and discuss with your loved ones and a lawyer.  Enough said, as I am not a lawyer.

4.  Funeral arrangements:   yes, it's nothing that we want to think of.  But I look at everything we (and by "we", I mean my spouse and his siblings) went through with his mother, and shudder.  We knew the religion she followed but didn't know her funeral wishes.  By the time we realized the discussion was needed, she was retreating into dementia.  As for me, I'm an only child, so no siblings to discuss with.  Do I really want to burden my one child with these decisions? 

ACTION NEEDED:  preplan. Know how much it will cost and how I will pay for it.  Unless you've done it recently, you have no idea how many decisions you have to make.

My son has implored my spouse and I not to wait, but to do this planning now.  He's right.

5.  Are you paying for services you no longer need?  You may want to laugh, but I've kept a YMCA membership active for over four years - I used to go several times a week but stopped after a dental surgery I had in 2014 (it was complex, and it took me a while to recover - by then, I decided to stop that particular exercise program). But I never froze the membership.  As a senior, I can do that now, and not pay a monthly fee.  Why didn't I do that before?  ACTION NEEDED:  do that.

And then there was the device on our cell phone service that we haven't needed since May, when we needed a new car.  We called our provider and got it deactivated. today.

Cutting the cord?  We will have to think about that soon, now that my spouse has retired.

6.  What about your social media presence?  My mother in law was on Facebook.  Her account sits, although we do know her password (after she was hacked, another relative helped us reset it).  I am not sure what to do next, but this is going to be part of my year beginning review.

So, as for me:  I am on Facebook, Twitter (@RamblinGarden), and Pinterest. (Shameless self-promotion - see sidebar on right and follow me!)  What happens to these accounts if something happens to me?  ACTION NEEDED:  find these things out and do something about it.

7.  If you have an Apple product, does someone know your Apple ID and password? My mother in law's phone was on our plan (we paid for it and its monthly service, in fact).  Fortunately, my son had set these all up. When she developed dementia, we knew her password and apple ID and were able to help her use her phone. And now, the phone can go to another family member.

But without knowing this information, her phone would have been useless to anyone, to the best of my knowledge.  So, what about you? (I would be curious to know if anyone else has been through this process.)

So, to all my readers old and new, I hope you had a HAPPY NEW YEAR. 

Will you do a year beginning review, or something else, to mark the new year?

Day 1 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost