Sunday, June 9, 2024

Learning From Your Older Friends


 Since I was young, I have always enjoyed being around older people.  Many of my  friends  were decades older than me.  Now, a number of these people are experiencing falls, strokes, and health issues.  I listen to their challenges, observe their recoveries, and imagine what it is like to be in their shoes.    Sometimes what seems to me to be a solution is something they won’t consider.


We can learn from our parents as we watch how they age.  My mother stayed home with her dogs and enjoyed her house.  She was a very solitary individual..my father, on the other hand, had a wide social network.    He drove his friends to the bridge club every day, and regularly went out for drinks and meals with them.  He was very popular and well liked.  Both my parents were avid readers, and they enjoyed watching movies each night together.


The one area I really see that affects us as we age is self care.  Those who live a life of hard drinking, taking drugs, and engaging in high risk behavior often end up angry, and unpredictable socially.  They lash out at others for no apparent reason, become suspicious and paranoid,  and often die young. So much of it has to do with the personality.  Grandparents are often very aware of this; so are teachers.  

Whatever we do to our bodies over time accumulates.  Life takes a lot of self discipline and focus.  Daily habits become ingrained and solidify into our future.  The more in tune we are with our inner talents and life path, the better choices we can make in our relationships and career.  Not using our talents can cause extreme envy, rage and frustration.  Our gifts do not go away…our natural abilities are energy that needs to be used and expressed.  Otherwise we become tortured souls.

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Saturday, June 1, 2024

The importance of Wise Adults in Children’s Lives

 


Recently I have been realizing how important it is for children to be exposed to adults who set an example of integrity, honesty, maturity  and happiness.   Ideally, this will be modeled by the parents, but that is not always the case, especially in today’s society.



When I first moved to LA, I was trained by dance teachers who were worldly, disciplined, artistic, sensitive and caring.  This had such a powerful influence on me.  We watched foreign films, listened to classical music and admired the ice skaters on PBS.  We cooked and ate together, and had meaningful conversations.  I knew I could trust them and depend on them.  They were consistent and kind.


I worry with the extreme trends in home schooling, living in remote areas, and protecting kids from the dangers of society that they may be far from the support they need to realize their potential.  Some children that  I know seem desperate for connection, especially with adult women.  I was fortunate to have many sources of feminine wisdom growing up: my Aunt Mary, my dance teachers, schoolteachers, friends’ moms, and neighbors.

Who were the wise adults in your life as you matured into a young adult?

Our family read a lot of books, and that exposed me to other cultures, people’s feelings, and ideas.  It was inspiring, entertaining, and developed our imaginations and vocabulary.  

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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Made My First Stock Sale on Schwab

 


On Friday, I took out my required minimum distribution from my Stretch IRA account.  Charles Schwab has a 24 hour hotline, and they will walk you through any sales or purchases you want to make.  The operators are very helpful and knowledgeable.  I love not having to pay any fees.  They are often hidden when you use a broker. 

I contacted the woman who helped me set up my retirement account there.  It was very easy.  We used an online calculator to give us the numbers.  With her guidance, I set up the sale and transfer.  It’s important to remember that it takes time for the money to reach your bank or credit union.  

I expected the money to arrive in my account on Monday, but it was already sitting in the account by Saturday.  I was also able to have the taxes taken out, so I don’t get hit with an unexpected tax bill next year.

It takes discipline and attention to detail to get your taxes paid on time.  Having it all written on a calendar or in a datebook is helpful.  If your stocks have done well, you may have enough to pay for a nice trip!

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Friday, May 24, 2024

Recent Live Performances

 


Last Saturday I attended Westside Ballet’s Spring Gala in Santa Monica.  I met up with several old friends.   We all studied ballet together with Yvonne Mounsey and Rosemary Valaire.  The dancers onstage were phenomenal!  The crowd went wild.  It was thrilling.  There were numerous guest artists who made the evening absolutely magical.  Their performances were sponsored by several generous donors.


Cocktails and delicious snacks were served before the ballet.  The performance flew by, and then they presented  dinner and awards.  As you can see, we all were decked out in our best outfits.  The Broad Stage is a convenient commute for me.  The parking is easy,  close to the entrance, and free.


I greatly enjoyed Kenny James show and band on The Regatta.  Kenny was the Grand Champion for Star Search in the eighties.  He was on the show after Sam Harris won.    He really rocked the house with his Motown hits and sensational dancing.  He just emanates charisma!

Have you seen any live performances lately?

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Making Friends on an Oceania Cruise

 


My recent coastal cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver was the first time I was onboard on the Oceania line.  It will certainly will not be my last, I loved it! The are known for their fine cuisine, and I was thoroughly impressed.  There were only five hundred people on the Regatta, our gorgeous vessel.


I stopped by my favorite Alpaca store in Juneau, Alaska.  I splurged on a red alpaca cape, and a white alpaca hat.  I wear the grey cape and rust hat that I purchased there in 2022 every day up in the mountains of Wrightwood..  I love the quality and style of these pieces.  They remind me of Old Hollywood.  The women who work there are very sweet and helpful.  


Catherine and I met on day one, and we hit it off immediately.  We enjoyed sitting together with her mom at some of our meals, played ping pong on the deck, and had several long, intimate conversations.  There was definitely a soul connection.  We have kept in touch, and plan to travel together again someday. 


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Thursday, May 16, 2024

Back Home From Alaska

 


Hello again!  I returned from a gorgeous coastal cruise on Oceania’s Regatta earlier this week.  We embarked in LA,  headed up the coast through Oregon, and finished in Vancouver, BC.


Cruising under the Golden Gate Bridge was a highlight of the trip.  I woke up early, at 5:00 a.m., so that I wouldn’t miss it.  I took a tour of the city, and saw sights that I had never seen, although I grew up twenty miles from there.  


Alaska, as always, was a gem.  The views and atmosphere were  spectacular.  There is such a nurturing and special feeling in the air; it feels untouched by civilization.  I enjoyed a couple of kayaking expeditions with my fellow travelers.  Each day was exciting and new.  The food on Oceania was superb.

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Sunday, April 28, 2024

Making Your Golden Years Golden

 



I  recently read a thread on Reddit discussing what happens to older people who didn’t save for retirement?  Unfortunately, many of them end up in neglectful nursing homes that are depressing and understaffed.  The conditions are dreadful.  As the saying goes, “Fail to plan and you plan to fail. “ Some of these retirees have to live in a run down mobile home in a relative’s backyard.  It’s a strain on everybody.

Earning a low income as a dance and yoga teacher motivated me to study personal finance.  I poured over books, and listened to financial podcasts and YouTube videos.  At that time, I didn’t really have more areas where I could cut expenses, what I needed to do was to increase my income.  Many women have no interest in learning about money or investing, and that hurts them when they are older. 

Any windfall I received I invested.  I read up on dividend paying stocks, and purchased them when they were on sale.  All of the dividends were automatically reinvested.  Creating a long term plan helped me to visualize the eighty or ninety year old lady I would someday become.

Sticking to frugal habits for decades, whether or not I had extra money, made all the difference.  Not getting hooked into addictions like gambling, drinking, or drugs kept my body lean and healthy. It also kept  expenses low.

Most important is to have a Can do attitude.  Being self motivated, organized, and disciplined means that you will find creative ways to make your retirement a happy, fulfilling, and nurturing time of your life.  

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Monday, April 22, 2024

Suggestions for Seniors Traveling and Staying in a Hotel

 


On my recent trip to Las Vegas, I had a reservation at The Tahiti Village Resort.  I had purposely chosen a hotel on the south side of town to avoid traffic on I15 returning home to Los Angeles.  On a previous trip for a friend's birthday party, I sat in bumper to bumper traffic all the way from Mount Charleston to my home.  It took me almost six hours.  I didn't want to repeat this mistake.  

After meeting my friends for lunch, I filled up my gas tank, and arrived at the hotel.  They had sent me a text saying that my check in time was 4:30 p.m.  I checked in right on time, then followed the map to find the building my room was in, and a parking space.  

I couldn't find a parking spot.  The available ones were all handicapped.  It was packed, being a convention weekend.  I  had asked if someone at the reservation counter could help me, and the man there said that he couldn't leave his desk.  My ticket was for a 6:30 p.m. performance of Follies at the Aliante, which was fifty miles north of the hotel.

Realizing that things were not working out, I reversed the car, and  headed back home to my cabin in Wrightwood.  I made arrangements to text my girlfriend when I arrived home safely.  The next morning, I phoned the Tahiti Village Resort, and explained what had happened.  A supervisor named Linda phoned me back, and assured me that she would issue me a refund.  "Next time you stay here, ask for a room near the front desk or the elevator," she advised.  She also said to call Expedia and have them contact the supervisor, so she could verify that my story was true.  They would issue the refund, since it was a third-party reservation.  

A few days later, I received a credit for my resort fee, tax, and room.  It amounted to a large sum of money, and I really appreciated their suggestion for the future room location and their understanding.

I had been hoping to take a bath, get made up, and maybe swim at the pool in the afternoon.  Some hotels will allow you to check in early, if the room is ready.  It's worth asking.  Others will let you store your bags behind the desk while you use the facilities.  

Things take longer as we get older, and it's a good idea to allow a few extra hours of time, in case there is an issue, an accident, or something unexpected.  I missed the show, but got to see my friends.

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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Baking Cream Scones

 

Today I tried a King Arthur recipe for cream scones.  It was a much easier one to make, than others I’ve sampled. Theresults were fantastic!  You don’t need to cut in butter, mix eggs with cream, or any of the other American techniques. (that I found in Martha Stewart’s recipes.)


This version makes twelve scones, so I plan to roll out the second half of the dough and store the triangles in the fridge.  First I will brush them with heavy cream and then sprinkle them with sugar.  They baked up nicely in my vintage toaster oven.  I served the, with strawberry rhubarb jam.  Heaven!

As a child I thought I didn’t like scones.  The ones that our San Mateo bakery sold were huge, dry, crumbly, and stale. 

I finally tasted scrumptious scones after fifty at The Simpson House Inn, and then again at Hotel  41 in London.  Enjoying them at the cottage, out on the front porch makes me feel like I am on vacation.  What are you baking?



Saturday, April 13, 2024

A Quick Trip to Las Vegas

 


Last Thursday I drove up to Las Vegas and met up with two friends I danced with at the MGM Grand Hotel in Reno, Nevada.  We were all in the show together in 1984.  Carol Channing was the headliner.  We had lunch, tea, and dessert at The Lemon Tree Cafe.

I didn’t realize how different Las Vegas is now.  I was very disoriented and had culture shock.  The amount of development was just amazing. 


The photo above  is from one of our backstage birthday parties.  I turned twenty-one there, and the dancers always made a big deal for our birthdays.  It was such a fun and social environment backstage.  We were always celebrating something.  

It was wonderful to see old friends, but I was also very relieved to return to my cabin in the mountains, sit by the fire, and to enjoy this peaceful spot in nature.  The dogs had a terrific time at dog camp, and came barreling down the hillside when I arrived to take them home.

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Sunday, April 7, 2024

The Healing Power of Live Music

Yesterday afternoon I noticed a flyer on social media advertising  a concert in Wrightwood by some local musicians.  It started in ten minutes!  I hurriedly counted out twenty-five dollars from my wallet and jumped into my car.

I arrived in plenty of time, said hello to a few people I recognized, and found a seat on the aisle.  The band was seasoned and well rehearsed.  I knew some of artists from previous performances that I had attended.  It was exciting to see them onstage playing with such ease and enjoyment.  All the years of training, practice, and persistence were evident.  I love being in the presence of master energy.

I stayed afterward and chatted with each of the men from the cast,  complimenting them on their performances.  It was still light outside when I arrived back at the cabin. Inspired, I sang through my songs and worked on some choreography in the living room.  I was so jazzed from the music!  I couldn’t sleep.  Normally I wind down slowly before bed with yoga.  It is getting to the point that when I am at a concert, I feel like I AM the music.  It is an amazing and spiritual sensation.

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Monday, April 1, 2024

A Snowy Easter in California

 


We woke up Easter morning to a blanket of fresh snow.  “A White Easter,” I thought to myself.  Not exactly what you would expect in California.  It was elegant and beautiful, though.



The snow plow came through and I spent the holiday shoveling my deck, parking spaces, and driveway.  It was tiring, but an excellent workout.  After clearing the powder off the cars and their windows, I took a sauna and cold plunge to relieve my aching muscles.  

I love the rainbow shades of pink, peach, and yellow daffodils and tulips that I bought from Moonstruck Farms.  They are arranged in a crystal vase on my kitchen table.  What a contrast against the clean, white, cold snow.  


How was your Easter?

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Monday, March 25, 2024

Why I Don’t Want to Live Off Grid


 Recently I have been watching shows  like Homestead Rescue, and YouTube videos of people attempting and struggling with their dream of grid living.  What most of them don’t realize is how expensive and exhausting it is.  I personally greatly appreciate having electricity, snow plow services, Internet, septic,  gas and water.  

These conveniences make it much easier to do chores, cook, and keep your food from spoiling.  They also provide safety, space, organization, and cleanliness.  Personally, I think many of these back to the land people are simply drawn  to the pull of nature and a majestic mountain view.  When I moved into my cottage, a yoga student described the yards here as “having just dirt and rocks, and nothing growing.”  As you can see in the above photo, I planted a front garden, and now have an inspiring cocoon.

After seeing my backyard orchard, some of the neighbors planted their own fruit trees.  They look stunning, especially when they are in bloom.  The trees have room to reach upwards and stretch. The couple who live behind that white fence bought their home and land, improved and remodeled the house, and turned the acreage into an alpaca farm!  My neighbor and I get to enjoy watching the peaceful animals while eating meals and drinking coffee on our front porches.

We can hang our clothes to dry in the sun, cook and bake from scratch, and enjoy a hot bath before bed without transporting ourselves to a remote location with no amenities.  Sometimes it is better to keep what you have and improve it.

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