Monday, February 26, 2018


Nothing in the world can show as much diversity as when the Olympics, summer or winter are taking place. Some of the Olympian personal stories are so amazing that for most of us it is inconceivable of some of the hardships that these athletes lived through, and yet followed through to their dreams. 

The commentators did an extraordinary job of telling some of them. Many things came to life...these athletes are so dedicated and emotionally tied to their sports. Some of them have family support and others do not, yet this does not deter them for one moment. They find a way that works for them.

Another thing that I noticed is that no matter what country the athlete was from, you would have been very unwise to assume what the country was by the physical characteristics of the athlete. We all in this crazy world of ours have become increasingly more global. Parents get moved to other countries for their careers, which many times means the whole family goes. Some become citizens of their newly adopted country, even learning the language. 

Just from what I observed, the United States seemed to have many more diverse athletes, probably due to the size of the country. The host of these Winter Olympics, South Korea has been in a war with North Korea, yet they came together as a group of athletes. If there were any ugliness or bitterness, it was kept well out of the headlines and cameras (which is not an easy thing to do). I am willing to bet that there really was not too much of that going on when one has to be so focused on the skills required to win a medal; not to mention the years of training.

This year I even became interested in the sport of curling. Learning how to score and what all the yelling was about was quite an experience for me.

The one thing that did bother me somewhat was hearing negative talk about how The Olympics messed up the whole television schedule, even for other stations. Either don't watch it, go rent a movie or watch one on Netflix, just please don't spoil it for the rest of world.

My last note is that I have always loved Bob Costas as the Olympic commentator. He did a great job from 1992 up until now. This year NBC went with Mike Tirico. What a good choice! Even Bob Costas admitted that Mike was "killin' it." And yes, he did. Both correspondents made their job look easy, just as if they were sitting down with you one on one telling you what was going on. That is a skill in itself and one not to be taken lightly.

To end this blog I would like to quote John Williams who wrote the Olympic Opening music and even directed symphony orchestras in playing this and other music written specifically for the Games. 
"The Olympics are a wonderful metaphor for world cooperation, the kind of international competition that's wholesome and healthy, an interplay between countries that represents the best in all of us."

Monday, February 19, 2018

Waking Up To An Alarming Surprise

Waking up at 6:45 while being retired is bad enough. However, when I set my phone alarm, I usually just set that. I can turn it off right beside my bed. Steve got in the habit of setting the Bose CD/stereo to Van Morrison singing us awake when we were working, basically because at least it is something more pleasant to wake up to than alarm clock sounds or a rooster. For his birthday, I gave him a 2nd generation Echo (Alexa).  Of course it has all of the bells and whistles, however, I was thinking that he may like to have another Alexa in our home not only for music but for all of the other special things that she is capable of handling.

Really, we have only used the Bose ever since we purchased it at the outlet in Alabama. Except for appointments, we now only have to get up early on the days that our home is cleaned. Today being one of those Mondays. As much as I think getting up at this uncivilized time, I love that fact even more that we have a clean house. Both of us like things put away, smelling good and all done at one time.

For a gift, I gave Steve the 2nd generation Alexa because we both adore having good quality sounding music playing in our home all of the time. Plus we could ask Alexa what was the weather for the day, or just say, "Good Morning, Alexa."  She would come back with something that happened in history on this day or that it was National Hug a Friend Day. Lots of fun little tidbits. He got this Alexa set up in our bedroom and proceeded to set the alarm, then out of habit, he set the Bose and I set my phone alarm. 

Being in a deep state of sleep at 6:45, I was awakened in a very rude sort of way. I was pushing the button on my phone alarm to get that spa type of music off, while at the same time, telling Alexa to turn off the alarm that she was playing, which she seemed to have developed a hearing problem and just continued to play. I had to walk over to the Bose and turn that off manually because the battery in the remote has not been replaced. Finally, after trying to be nice to Alexa to no avail, I had to say, "Alexa, shut up." That worked! 

Silence! Almost! I say almost because I then heard waves and the surf sound that had stayed on all night to help us sleep. When my voice command took care of that, the dog (beast) next door started his barking. I truly was feeling that I was no longer in control. 

It was at this stage that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I needed a BIG cup of coffee. Probably more than one. This is just to prove to myself how important sleep has become to me. It is a must that I get the same number of hours of sleep each night. This usually requires a nap for me, when it is possible. I know how much better I feel when I get what my body needs. Once I retired, I could focus on this part of my health.

Really though, I believe that I needed to focus on it even more when I was in the work force. On days that I went to work on not enough sleep, I knew that I was not a productive worker. It also allowed my immune system to go haywire and would most definitely be the time that I would catch something going around work. 

Hind sight won't let me go back  to doing what I should have been doing. That has passed. If you still have time, then I most definitely encourage you to think long and hard about your sleeping patterns and exactly what you need for your own health. Everyone has different needs. 

"There is no hope for a civilization which starts each day to the sound of an alarm clock."
    -Unknown Author


Monday, February 12, 2018

Money, money, money,money! MONEY!

There has been a scary roller coaster ride lately in the stock market. The age old rule of what goes up, must come down is certainly proving itself to be true. Our financial advisors, have shown me how to go to our on-line Wealth Vault to see everything we have: the good, the bad and the ugly. (Lately, it has been so ugly that even the tide won't come in). I could ignore it and wait it out, except it is like the train wreck. I can't take my eyes off of it. Even when I know that I am not going to be happy when I see the numbers. As the money investors advised...ride it out.

This is good advice for us all, even those of us retired. My problem is that I can do that, however, I start to feel antsy and thinking of ways that I can save a penny here and there. Some of which, really don't make a whole lot of sense. Some ways that I already had in place seemed to be working out well, such as:

  • sticking to a pre-written shopping list or better yet using the "Click List" (even with the fee tagged on for using this service, the amount of money saved by not going in to the store is phenomenal.)
  • keeping the TV off when possible is like killing two birds with one stone - using less electricity and then the ads which can be very influential will not be exposing me to buy things that I really don't need until they show me all the reasons that I do need it
  • make good use of coupons - only using the ones that are products that I normally would use
  • buy on line - many times a product is in the store for a lot more money than it sells on line due to many outside factors
  • pack lunches for road trips (so many car trips can take you for 100 miles or more before you even see a place to eat - and then that place is questionable)
There are other ways that I am still trying to work out if it really would save me money such as:
  • being thrifty with homemade cleaning items (some of which I tried, however was sadly disappointed when I discovered they really don't clean that well)
  • make your own beer (who knows? this could lead on to your own distillery?)
  • eat on smaller plates (really?)
  • take shorter showers in cooler water (this is most definitely not for me)
  • take public transportation to work (if you are lucky enough to have a "working one")
  • cut your own hair (even hairdressers admit this is a tricky one for them)
  • sell unwanted stuff - as long as you have a body guard with you (wild things have happened to sellers using ebay or craigs list)
  • use the energy efficient light bulbs (you know, the ones that you must
  • turn on 15 minutes before you need them, just so that you can get dressed in light because they take that long to warm up)
  • wait 30 days before buying a big item (won't work when you are talking having no refrigerator or washer/dryer)
  • buy a time programmed thermostat
Some of these at the end may work for some people. They just don't work for our family. We do not have a set routine any more for a programmable thermostat. I know that I am way too impatient to flip on a light switch and have to wait for the bulb to warm up. Plus their selling pitch is that these bulbs last much longer than the old kind. Well, sista, I am here to tell you that I have had to replace some of these newer ones and to this day, have not replaced the old fashion kind.

Let me share some advice that I have found to date that is most definitely worth heeding:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Monday, February 5, 2018

What Exactly Defines You?

Just the other day, I saw a magazine headline on the cover that asked, "What Defines You?" I find that an interesting question. I would dare say that it definitely belongs as one of the interview questions for job candidates. Why? Because there really isn't a wrong answer. Well, almost...

For example: here are three pictures of Emma Stone. Each with a different color of hair. I am not talking physically defines you. 

I am talking about the real YOU! What you create as a person defines you. Everyone's creativeness is their own. Whether it is ideas, art, athleticism, children, own it. It is a part of your personality based on strength, values, actions, beliefs, which lead to your thoughts.

One day, I put the question out there for friends to answer what they thought defined them. It was fascinating to see how they all basically came together in their beliefs, even when they used different words. Let me use some of the words that I heard:

  • strength
  • music
  • my word
  • teaching
  • family
  • faith
  • interactions
  • morals
  • beliefs
  • pets

In my opinion, the world around us and how we respond brings out our uniqueness, which becomes our reality of how we have defined ourselves to others, as well as ourselves. Actions always speak louder than words.

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But, according to Thomas Szasz, a Hungarian-American psychiatrist, the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates. This is a good description, however, one of my favorite actors described defining yourself more on my level of understanding by saying, "You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself." 
 ~  Alan Alda