Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tricks for Travelers

I've done a lot of business (and, some family-related) travel over the last 15 years. I've learned a lot about streamlining the process. Below are a few of the things that can make the experience better.

Air Travel:
  1. If you have a bag that is on the cusp of being too big to be a carry-on, DON'T check in at the gate. Instead, go through using your home-printed passes or phone app, and just get in line. IF it's too big, they will tell you to check it - but, generally, WON'T charge you for it. I didn't do this on a recent trip, and found a half dozen people with bags that were bigger than mine either being permitted to put it in the overhead, or just having it taken on the boarding ramp (again, no charge). The closer you are to your plane, the less likely they are to charge you.
  2. Ziplock bags are your friend. Use the Freezer type - they can make it through multiple trips without damage. Use for unmentionables, small electronics parts/cables, shampoo/conditioner/lotion, etc.
  3. Make copies of all ID and credit cards you will be carrying - if they are lost, it makes the job of notifying companies easier. Put those copies/list in a safe place.
  4. Even easier, use your cell phone to take pictures of those IDs and credit cards, store them online. Access to any computer will allow you to bring up the pictures. Don't forget to delete them from your phone.
  5. Keep a small amount of medication, hearing aid batteries, extra glasses, a change of clothes/underwear, a credit card, and ID in your carryon, just in case your luggage gets lost.
  6. If you sometimes need a cane or walker, take it. Invariably, if you don't, some body part will act up.
  7. Bring eye drops - pressurized cabins will dry you out.
Over the Road Travel:
  1. Spend time PLANNING your trip. What do/might you need? What can you either do without/buy along the way? Make a list and use it to pack containers - whether tubs or suitcases. If you add in something, add it to the list.
  2. Never forget to pack a swimsuit or shorts - really - even in the middle of winter. If you have to buy them, they will often be unavailable or at break-the-bank prices. Preparing for access to a pool/hot tub will allow you to take advantage of circumstances. There have been trips that were murder on these aging bodies, that were made bearable by our ability to benefit from soaking/swimming at the end of the day.
  3. Pack meds for twice the time you will be gone. Things happen, and you don't want to miss your meds - or, worse, have to pay full-price because it wasn't time for a refill at a discount.
  4. If you have asthma, pack your emergency meds or a Nebulizer - or both. It could save you having to make a trip to the emergency room.
  5. If you have ever been prescribed an Epi-Pen, get a fresh one, and make sure it's accessible.
  6. In fact, put all meds in a clearly labeled first aid container - except for 3 doses of daily meds (just in case your car is stolen/wrecked). Make sure that container is on top of all other luggage, in plain sight.
  7. Sunglasses, extra pair of eyeglasses, hat/visor, sunscreen, lotion. Muscle rub.
  8. Take breaks. Every time you stop, get out a cold drink - preferably water. Stretch. Stand. Walk around.
  9. Enjoy the journey - don't be hesitant to take side trips, extra stops for tourist attractions, festivals, or local celebrations. Have fun, take lots of pictures.
  10. When you do take pictures, make a note of the day/place/people in the picture - carry a small notebook for this, and write it down right away. Otherwise, you'll forget.
  11. Or, if you're the kind of person that Instagrams/Facebooks everything, just add a quick tag to the picture before you post.
  12. At the border of every state, stop at the Tourist Information Center, and pick up:
    1. Physical maps
    2. Information about events
    3. Coupons
    4. Park information
  13. If you already bought your Senior Lifetime Pass to our National Parks, congratulations! The price just went up - it's now $80/person. Still might be a good idea - check the places you can use it, and decide for yourself if you're likely to visit.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tuesday's Money Savers for Seniors

I've been working improving our financial situation, and have been looking at two major ways to do it:
  • Spend less
  • Save more
I've been doing a combination of the above. It's meant that I have been working to get the spread in what I bring in closer to what I take out. I'm not there yet, so have been dipping (lightly) into savings. I planned on using those savings over the next to keep us going until my writing income picks up, or until I get a part-time job that bridges the gap.

And, the Net is what is left over to PLAY with. I want a LOT of Net to play with.

So, on Tuesdays, I'll be passing along information that I've tracked down for spending/saving. Below are some of the first suggestions I've found:
More next Tuesday.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Something for the Kids/Grandkids

Many of us have kids or grandkids in the post-school ages. Very few of them are self-sufficient, and many of them are shell-shocked about it.

Here is a guide for how to get out of that rut they've found themselves in.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Putting the Love Back In

Long-term relationships sometimes can stall out, for lack of emotional warmth. It's not that the partners DIS-like each other, they just feel lukewarm towards their mate. Or, so says Dr. Finkel, author of the "All or Nothing Marriage".
Many people are looking to their partners to replace the companionship and emotional support once provided by extended families and local institutions like churches, bowling leagues, bridge groups, fraternal lodges and garden clubs. Meanwhile, though, many couples are so busy with their jobs and parenting that they’re actually spending less time together by themselves.
The post at the link above has some suggestions about how to turn up the fires - the ideas are called "Love Hacks". They seem to be based on some degree of evidence (although recent investigation of many social science research suggests that throwing darts at a target would produce similar results). They couldn't hurt, however, and might be useful.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

White Space - NO, It's NOT About Race

It's about using a portion of the broadband that is not currently in use, for the purposes of accessing faster speeds for Internet. It's probably most useful in rural communities, but, inner-city communities might find it useful, as well.

Why should seniors care? Many of us are located in relatively isolated parts of the country - rural areas, temporary housing, senior housing, etc. Having low-cost access to fast Internet could go a long way towards keeping us mentally active, connected to family/friends, and allowing us to receive information that could extend or enhance our lives.

Read about it, here.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Frugal Mindset

I've been putting off needed purchases for days, even weeks, since I retired. In some ways, that might be a good thing - many purchases are unnecessary, and delaying a purchase might result in deciding not to buy.

But, that's not what's happening here - these are purchases I've already thought about, decided were worth the cost, and had put on an order.

Only to hang there, in that online cart, for weeks. I'm finding infinite reasons to NOT make a decision to buy.

This type of behavior is new to me, since I've been retired. When I could count on an income twice a month coming from work, I didn't do this. I didn't hesitate to make immediate purchases. There was always a surplus in the account, and I felt free to dip into it.

What are other seniors doing? Put your best tips for managing money in the comments.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

3 Months into Retirement - How is it Going?


That's not me, but it expresses how I feel.

I've spent a lot of the past 3 months clearing up old tasks, unloading accumulated junk from my house, and enjoying NOT having to put off needed medical appointments because the time off wasn't convenient to my employer.

I've developed some good habits, like:

  • Making my bed every day. Of course, it helped that my husband leaves so early, but, he has also jumped on board with this during his summer break.
  • Keeping the kitchen spiffed up (Is that a phrase? My mother used it). I've been deep-cleaning and organizing (which, of course, makes it easier to keep it clean).
  • Walking - not every day, but most. Outside, if possible, otherwise, in the house. My FitBit is registering meeting goals every week.
  • Laundry - no longer with piles in front of the washer.
  • Writing - every day, something. The novel is not progressing as fast as I would like, but I am making progress. I'm starting to reach out to various markets with queries, and hope to get an assignment soon.
I'm not perfect - I find it easy to slide into endless meandering around on the web. It's hard to discipline myself to clean the bathroom, pick up Den's detritus, and perform all the other tasks that need to be done.

However - baby steps. Forward progress. Building habits.

I wanted to take a moment to write about something dear to my heart - our right to our own perceptions, and to express them, without penalty. Too many people want to limit our thoughts - to hem them in, lest we offend others.


We have the right to own our beliefs, thoughts, perceptions, and associations. One of the ways that people try to trick us into disowning our very selves is to use rhetorical tricks, like the KafkaTrap.

Keeping intact our essential self is needed, as - in some cases - there are people around us (family members, medical personnel, government, social workers) who would use their influence to persuade us to act in ways that are not in our own self-interest. That might involve:

  • Moving, if we are capable of managing our own living arrangements.
  • Giving up our control of health decisions, legal decisions, finances, or ability to live our lives as WE choose.
  • Relationships that others disapprove of.
  • Voting rights - if you are capable of using your right to the franchise, DON'T let others mark your ballot! Send in absentee ballots yourself - don't entrust them to others.
I'm assuming that you have not reached the point of senility that makes it necessary to give up some personal control. But, absent a diagnosis, too many people surrounding the elderly work to nudge them into decisions that are more for others than self.

Sunday, September 3, 2017


Due to the holiday weekend, I'm not posting my usual Sunday stuff. Instead, I'm co-posting a Sunday reflection I had written for Right As Usual.

Link here. It won't be available until 9 am, so I'll likewise schedule this post for then.

Should You Be Freaking Out About Your Investments?

Short answer - probably not. By retirement age, your investment portfolio should be more conservative, less speculative. Yes, the market i...