Saturday, February 26, 2022



Where Do You Fit?

This past week I came upon some interesting articles that put people into categories by age. We all know, or should know that people and life do not work precisely that way. It is 2022 and things are changing. Is it fair to blame the way things are going all on millennials? I find myself doing some things differently than I ever have before. Some of it is based on the pandemic. Some of it is simply convenience. I know that it is not a good thing that retail stores are closing while Amazon and other on-line outlets continue to grow at record numbers. And yes, a major part of it is the sheer convenience. Instead of getting in the car, searching for a parking spot and going into the store only to find out what you want is not there which means another trip to another store. 

Consumers today are much more savvy and use the internet to do most of their shopping, streaming what they watch rather than buying or renting them, as well as downloading music rather than buying CDs. Or go back to the good old days of vinyl which would require for most of us to purchase a record player/stereo.

This chart breaks it down and in my opinion I feel that I fit somewhere in each generation. The one thing that I do believe is that many times I have witnessed Millennials believing that they know more than the generations before them, especially the Boomers. Think about this though; didn't the Boomers think the same thing about their parents at different times? Believing them to be old-fashioned and just not with the times? It sort of is what goes around comes around eventually. 

Here are some facts and I dare say it is not all just about Millennials causing these changes.

  • Lottery tickets declining, however on line betting on sport teams is on the increase
  • Shoe fashion for women is not quite what it used to be. Yes, there are sometimes that a pair of stilettos just look best, however ALL ages are going for comfort. High heels are definitely not the mainstream any more. Boots and sneakers along with wedge or chunkier heels are more in fashion.

There is no longer any reason to not be comfortable, whatever footwear you choose. It does not have to be based on age. 

  • The same can be said in most professions, you rarely see business suits for males or females. It is much more business casual and sometimes even less than that. Again, I blame the pandemic and people working from home. As a rule, we are dressing more for comfort. That does not mean it has to be frumpy. There are stylish comfortable items of clothing.


  • If you look around when you go out, I can see many different ages using their Smart Phones. Unless you are expecting a very important call, these should be put in a pocket or face down while with others. Grandparents and parents are just as guilty as their children. It is fun to pass around pictures to friends but this is not an intrusion on conversations. I do know that my grandchildren know how to do more on the Smart Phones than I do. This does not need to be out at the dinner table when it is time to eat and carry on conversations. So in going back to Millennials, they probably do want the latest in technology. They definitely do not want landlines in their homes. They move from apartment to apartment or city to city too often. 

  • Electric cars and caring for the environment is high on Millennial lists. That means recycling, even when it is extremely not easy when you live in an area that does not pick up recyclables. Where do you store them to not cause a 'critter' problem and what if you do not have a car that can hold all of the containers or if you can't lift them up into your car? 
  • Most Millennials do use financial planners to help them prepare for retirement in the future. They are still paying for student loans which makes it hard to save or buy a house. Many prefer to lease cars instead of purchasing them. That way they get newer models more often.
  • Have you ever noticed recently how many males are sporting beards and tattoos along with piercings. Females are joining in with the tattoos and piercings. Some, in my opinion are tasteful while others I just pretend that duct tape is on my mouth. I wonder if some of these women (and men) stopped to think what that droopy tattoo will look like when they are 60 or 70 if they went overboard? Probably not. Again, not my body to worry about.
  • Foods, what you buy in the grocery stores, as well as in restaurants are also changing. It seems the word "organic" must be on the label or menu if a Millennial is going to purchase it. Vegan meals are also very popular. 
  • Many prefer to do on-line university courses instead of driving to a local college. It is much more convenient.
  • When we wanted to go on vacation, we used a planner or else called hotel ourselves. Now there are Airbnbs that take care of it for you.
  • Most Millennials prefer to live in metropolitan areas versus the rural. Many find themselves living paycheck to paycheck. Of course, this is not true of all and I definitely know Boomers that do the same thing.
  • Book sales are down. Not reading. Just purchasing a book is not for many of several generations. They opt for audio books or Kindles. Some people of all ages just want their perceived luxury of holding a hardback book. I like the convenience of having it on my small Kindle. Fits in my purse and off I go.
  • Instead of going out to eat or through a drive thru, there are more Uber Eats and Grub Hub. Food delivered right to your door. Casual dining seems to be on the decline. Places such as Applebee's or TGI Fridays are closing down even as they try to add menu items to appeal to certain clientele. 
  • Drinking habits also have changed. There are micro breweries calling in those beer drinkers and not so much the usual brands. Then there are wine bottles with screw tops to avoid using a corkscrew. 
Boomers could not wait to take the driving test to get their license. There has been a significant drop in getting driver licenses. Partly due to better public transportation, not only public buses but Uber and Lyft in some cities, and the use of rental scooter locations in areas where Millennials live. 

At the work place, whether you are still working from home and on Zoom meetings or going in to an office, the one thing for sure is that we all need to work together. From the traditional workers all the way to Boomers, and the XYZers or whatever label is put on certain ages, we all need to come together and listen to one another. There is something to be said about experience, just as there is something to be said about trying something new. 

The one thing that I have noticed is that Millennials seem to value their time and are willing to pay extra for conveniences that will make their lives a bit easier. l am with them all the way on that.

Just like the song from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young,"Teach Your Children Well," let's not forget the line teach your parents well. We can all learn from one another.   

Sunday, February 20, 2022



"Friendship is the icing on the cake of life."

Mary Engelbreit

The word friendship is really tossed around an awful lot but how many people actually take the time to think about why friendships are so important in our lives? When I hear the word friendships I think of it in many different ways. Friends can be older, younger, a different gender, a co-worker, a neighbor, a spouse even. Once children become a certain age, they can become friends. It simply means they are someone you can relate to, rely on, use each other as a sounding board - throwing out all judgmental calls. Friends have each others' backs.

Most definitely, they are someone that I know I can depend on. I know that I never want to take friends for granted. A simple thank you always is a kind gesture that let's a person know that you appreciate what they do for you. 

Are there different degrees of friendship? Yes, in my mind there are. It is just that in some way, they have become important in my life. For example:

  • Friends can help improve my social skills and help me become more confident - I call and talk about good news, bad news or no news at all, just a check in! They provide me with working on good listening and cooperation skills.
  • Friends can act as natural stress relievers by providing mental and emotional help.
  • Friends provide security and keep us in check.
  • Friends often keep us active, both mentally and physically.
Life is always full of ups and downs. Good friends become our cheerleaders, just as we cheer for them.
To me it is simple. There is no magic formula for making friendships work. It just happens, sort of like a secret vow. You just can't beat the support and encouragement of a friend.

The normal meet up for lunches or dinner dates were hard to cope with when we could get together due to Covid. Restaurants were closing down. We sort of learned new techniques in order to communicate and share our lives. Zoom meetings, FaceTime, lots of texting and calling had to take the place of going out together and giving hugs. 

Some creative restaurants made outside patios when they could open up. The protocol changed to no masks need to be worn if outside. Of course, the vaccines and boosters helped even more. It is still a tricky variant going around and we can't let our guards down too quickly. 

Beautiful friends make life so much sweeter. I know that I could not have made it this far in life without each and every one of my friendships. My relationship with each one of them is unique, however my commitment to them is not! You can't beat the support and encouragement of a friend.

As the singer/songwriter, Harry Nielsen said, "You've got a friend in me."

Saturday, February 12, 2022



Happy Birthday is all in the way you look at it. As children, we all can't wait for the next one and the next one; especially the milestone ones. A teenager, sweet sixteen, twenty-one, all important, so my question that I have been mulling over in my head is when did it not become (for some of us) NOT such a Happy Birthday. 

It is definitely a personal issue. I will share that I believe it was when I was ready to turn 40. Birthdays after that specific one seemed to be more depressing in my mind. The people around me tried to work on my mindset and show me the love. FINALLY, I learned that it is up to me to take charge of how I feel about it. I love sharing and celebrating with my family and friends. (Although with COVID, it has been challenging.) I also still love playing the age game that I learned from my grandmother. I am not quite sure how she managed to hide her true age from my grandfather for so many years, but she did. (Until her passport arrived and he saw the true number.) I like to believe that the DNA fell in line on my female side of the family. It seems we can all get away with taking about 10 years off our true age. It is fun, however, it is also a great feeling that friends are not real sure of my true age and that I can easily know now that there is so much joy and happiness and hopefulness for what is to come than a sorrow of the sense of losing my youth.

To think of the losses that so many of us have been grieving about due to the pandemic, or how it used to be to travel or to go to concerts, plays at venues; understanding grief and getting to this point is allowing myself to see that I am becoming more comfortable with the understanding that grief is a part of life, especially as we get older.

It is a mindset and I feel will help me survive. You see, I believe that my best days are still ahead of me. Losses allow me to see that I can come out of a loss as a stronger person.

Two terms come to my mind: Pro-aging and Anti-aging. My question to you then is do you wish to buy into how we need to "fix" ourselves up more and do all within our power to look the way we did when we were in our 20's, 30's or 40's? First of all if we are dressing that way or styling our hair that way, along with using the same makeup techniques then I would have to totally disagree. In fact, it makes a woman look older. I have decided to kick that term out of my vocabulary. If I must use one term vs the other then I would have to go with pro-aging. Not that I want to wear a neon sign over my head announcing my age. What I do want to do is to age gracefully. I still want to look my best. Paying attention to my skin, eating the right foods and picking out clothes that make me feel comfortable and awesome.

As time progressed in my career, I changed not only states that I taught school in, but also schools within those said states. I knew for me, I needed to change positions. From Pre-K to 8th grade, to Athletic Director, to Assistant Principal and also the District Reading Advisor...I tried many whenever the opportunity came my way. It was my way of learning. Not once did I believe that I was working toward retirement. I just knew when it would be time for me to start a new chapter. 

If one retires with nothing as their next plan then they have truly lost themselves (just my opinion). It may not be a specific job that you receive compensation for. Or it could be. It is in each individual's own hands. I am liking the fact that I am working on painting, writing a weekly blog and continue to write my novel (with other ideas for next books listed out already.)

I now know how to use more of this time to make the most of my time. Everything is as wide open as I want to make it. Taking small steps along the way keeps me on track. It helps me to improve my health span and not just my life span. To keep my good health, I know there are things on my list to take care of, such as my physical therapy. Watching the carbs and foods that can cause inflammatory conditions does not feel like a punishment. It is a positive impact on how I want to age.

No one knows how long we will be on this Earth. What we do have is the power to take steps to help how we feel while we are here. So really aging is a gift. Definitely not something to fear. It is important to always have curiosity. Sharing it with our children, grandchildren and friends is so important. Meditating and working on our spiritual health rounds out the circle of aging. 


Sunday, February 6, 2022



This quote is exactly where I had to take myself when an Ice Storm came through our city and knocked out power to over 145,000 homes. Not snow, but heavy ice hanging onto trunks, limbs, twigs, leaves, gutters, telephone and electrical wires...I think I have given my readers the picture I am painting. 

At first, all is ok. We have not experienced living without electricity for any extended period of time. Lucky, I suppose. We survived what is 'fondly' called "Hurricane Elvis" of 2003. Some people in our city lived for weeks with no power. This was in the heat of the summer, no ice and cold; heat and humidity. Pick your poison! Is one worse than the other? Plus this hurricane had 108 mph straight line winds that came through which ranked Memphis as having a category 2 hurricane. Our townhouse at the time was on the same power grid as a large hospital so we had power back very quickly. The winds blew trees down across major roads and power lines. It was dangerous to be out and about, even if you could navigate the destruction that was blocking roadways. 

This Ice Storm hit around 9ish on Wednesday morning. Basically, the whole city was close to a shut down. As the day went on 20,000 homes went to 145,000 homes as trees were coming down on power lines. In our neighborhood, we do not have power lines above ground. All are underground, so I just had to assume our "grid" was based somewhere that did affect us. 

In my upbeat mode, I figured we would get back power sooner rather than later. NOT! As darkness was coming on, we found ourselves adding another layer of clothing. The gas fireplace was at least some heat, but the only heat that was in the house. Having an open concept home did not help, in that we did not have doors to close off downstairs to hold the heat in the room we were in. 

The most we could do was to keep everything upstairs closed off and to close our Master bedroom on the other side of the house closed, as well as our Powder Room and Laundry Room on the other side of the house closed. When we went into the Powder Room there was a huge difference in temperature. Take care of business and get out fast. Then we started thinking about what we would have to eat. Wanting to preserve the cold in the fridge and freezer, that pretty much left us with snacky type foods. First things first! Open the door quickly and get out the wine and olives and just leave them out. Alcohol may help to warm us up. 

For me? I opted to munch on some Honey Nut Cheerios. Steve chose some cheese pretzels. So we did just light candles and had a quiet evening of conversation. It was rather romantic for a while. 

Once we realized we would be sleeping in the Reading Room with the two goldendoodles, not so romantic.

Steve was as comfortable as he could get with feet on an ottoman covered with a blanket right beside the fireplace. With the dogs, the candles had to be blown out and I pulled the blanket over my ears and kept 4 layers on, two of which were wool and had to go with the flashlight to get gloves, hat and a scarf for around my neck. As long as I was on my side both dogs could cuddle in and when they did, they helped with the warmth. 

Really, I was hoping that I would wake on Thursday morning and have power. That was not to be. With the temps in single digits and not getting higher than the teens, at this stage I was thinking we would not make it another night to sleep like this. Guess what? My attitude needed readjusting because if that is what we had to do then so be it. I went in to get my heavy duty vest. Surprised it fit over all of the clothes that I was wearing. 

With paper and pen in hand, I started to make a list of all the things that I am grateful for. It was not doing anybody any good for me to say, "Bloody Hell" to everything happening around me. So what was I grateful for. Grateful that there is not a tree that has fallen into our house. Plenty of that happening the few times I used my cell for a minute or two of news. Also, trees on top of cars. Ours were safe in the electric garage. If we had to get out we could. But why? Where would we go?

We heard that there were no hotel rooms for miles around the city. They have generators. So they are open. We have two precious pups that need us. Davis tends to pace when he is worried, stopping only for a quick cuddle or a light massage. Maggie Mae just wants to cuddle. So we read our books with our backs to the sunlight coming in the shutters. It was starting to get darker, so our reading would be limited. I asked Steve if he thought about what we could have for dinner. We decided to try a pizza delivery. The roads were not icy. It just meant finding a place that had power on. AHA! Found one! Plus, minutes before, on two separate nights, our sweet neighbors offered to bring some hot take out food to us from a nearby Italian restaurant. 

Was I grateful for that pizza?  YES, YES, and YES. But not quite as grateful for when the power came back on. It was on and all four of us froze in our tracks. No one spoke for a moment for fear of jinxing it. Our bedroom thermometer was 41 degrees so we had a while for things to heat up. That was ok with me. We would be in our bed. Warm and comfy. 

The next day we had groceries to pick up at 10:00 AM. On our way through the neighborhood we took a few pictures. Only one very large tree down blocking a road partially. Others were down, one even on the little frozen pond. The sun shining down on the ice covered trees was beautiful. Let's remember just how deadly this can be. 

There are things that I realize after just two days of living without electricity. It does not matter how many times I go to the Laundry Room or Powder Room or any room...the lights are not going to come on when I flip the switch. DUH! But I do it. Most people, me included just don't realize some of the luxuries that we take for granted. Climate control is a huge take-away. Always have extra batteries for flashlights. Glow sticks may help some at night. Keep lots of candles handy. There is such a thing as a solar powered cell phone charger. (Looking into that one.)Except for opening the freezer door, we could have grabbed something to put on the grill. Just my thought on that subject. When it is single digits, grilling out sort of takes my appetite away. 

When a large number of homes and businesses were without power for two weeks in the heat of the Summer, neighbors came together to help each other out. They grilled, shared food, coolers to keep food safe, lawn chairs, shady porches and hoses to spray at each other. In other words: they came together. That is all a part of the human spirit.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. We may have all come on different ships, but when we're in the same boat, there is no act too small, no act too bold.