Saturday, October 31, 2009
A few months ago my cable company made an offer I couldn't refuse. At first it sounded too good to be true but a friend of mine signed up and believe it or not there is no gimmick. The package includes HBO for less money than what I was paying without it. This special runs for two years.

What the company is counting on is that you get hooked and when the special is over you will sign up - and that is what will surely happen to me. I'm hooked!

One of my favorite shows is "Curb Your Enthusiasm" featuring Larry David. He and I seem to have a lot in common. He can't open things and neither can I.

In his most recent TV show he got into trouble because he took too many napkins at a fast food place and the owner yelled at him!

Well, that reminded me of an incident that took place in Florida in 2004. It was lunch time and I was shopping in a delicatessen, everything smelled so good, I was hungry and lo and behold there was a vendor selling hot dogs and drinks. Great, I thought "I'll "curb my appetite" and have my lunch than and there. I placed my order, got my dog, got my drink and took TWO STRAWS.

Well, the vendor yelled at me!! "You can only take ONE straw!!!

That's how I like it. Two Straws!

It looks like Larry and I have a lot in common. Tune in next week and see what other shared experiences we have. ;-)

Saturday, October 24, 2009
Do you have a folder, an envelope, or a drawer that you put things into that you don't know where else to put them? Well, I do.

I elected to stay home today and was in the mood to look through some of those odds and ends that I have had for years!

I found recipes that I'll never make, special thank you notes from family and friends, snapshots that need to be put away and newspaper clippings that I found interesting at the time.


I threw away lots of stuff but kept items that are still relevant and am not ready to part with yet.

Here is a "funny" that I have had for a long time. Maybe you have heard it before but I think it's worth repeating:
Four Jewish brothers left home for college, became doctors and prospered.

Some years later, chatting after a Hanukkah dinner, they discussed the gifts that they were able to give to their elderly mother.

The first said, "I had a big house build for Mama."

The second son said, "I had a hundred thousand dollar theater built in the house."

The third said, I had my Mercedes dealer deliver her an SL600 with a chauffeur."

The fourth said, "Listen to this. You know how Mama loves reading the Torah and you know she can't see very well. I sent her a parrot that can recite the entire Torah. It took twenty rabbis 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000 a year for twenty years but it was worth it. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot will recite it."

Soon thereafter, Mom sent out her thank you notes. She wrote:
"Milton, the house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Thanks so much."

"Marvin, I am to old to travel. I stay home, I have my groceries delivered, so I never use the Mercedes...and the driver is a Nazi. A million thanks."

Menachim, you gave me a theater with Dolby sound, it could hold 50 people, but all my friends are dead, I've lost my hearing and I'm nearly blind. Thanks anyway."

"Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift. Such a delicious chicken."
I still laugh when I read this one - not throwing this "goodie" out yet!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009
Last Friday I received a call from New England Cable News regarding a cover story that they were preparing about elderbloggers and wanted to know if I would be interested and available for the following Monday. Yes, I was interested and available!

After I hung up the phone I took a look in the mirror and saw that this ladies gray hair was showing, how could I be on TV and be "ah natural." I usually make an appointment every five weeks and make it mid-week when the shop is not busy but this was an emergency. I immediately called the shop, explained the situation and asked if I could come in the next day which was Saturday. " Yes, she said, but I'll be squeezing you in so prepare to spend some time here."

I don't get my nails or toe nails done but "getting color" makes me feel as young as an 84 year old can feel. Some women don't color their hair but are fortunate to have beautiful silver gray hair that flatters their appearance. I'm not one of them.

But all this is beside the point.

When I go mid-week I get taken care of quickly and am in and out before I know it. This time was different.

The Drying Space
"The Drying Spacee by HotsauceJane, on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND

I got to talking to a woman who looked to be in her late 80's, she looked frail and used a cane. What I found out was that she lived in the mid-west for most of her life and for the past two years has been living in the Boston area to be near her daughter and son-in-law.

She lives in an apartment building and even though she's been here for a length of time, has not made any friends. Her children encouraged her to move close to them because they were concerned for her welfare. In the meantime while talking to her she mentioned that they were away for the week-end.

Sure, they have their own lives and are doing their thing but in the meantime mama is in a strange city, doesn't know anyone other than her immediate family. She would love to get into a bridge game and when I suggested looking into the local senior center she expressed no interest.

She told me a lot about herself, I'm a good listener and just let her go on and on about her life. Naturally I don't know the deep down circumstances but it's a sad situation no matter how you slice it.

I doubt that I'll see her at the shop again - I would hope that she makes some connection along the way and finds something to look forward to, like a bridge game with some compatible ladies.

Thursday, October 15, 2009
NECN Report: Elder bloggers dispel myths about who's online

Ally Donnelly from NECN produced ths great report: Elder bloggers dispel myths about who's online
(NECN: Ally Donnelly) - BRB, LOL, TTYL. Many of us consider this the language of the young.

But more and more senior citizens are becoming just as tech savvy as the so-called kids these days.

In tonight's cover story, Ally Donnelly introduces us to elder blogger and Facebooking grandma who are dispelling myths about who's online, in an online community.

Millie Garfield's microwave is on the fritz --- and while many sons might grab their tool belt, Steve Garfield grabs his camera.

84-year-old Garfield is a blogger --- the Swampscott, Massachusetts woman weaving her way onto the world wide web about 6 years ago, after she read about blogging in the newspaper.

Garfield: I had never heard of it. Sounded interesting and I said, gee, sounds good.

Garfield didn't even have a computer, but with the help of her son she started her own blog.

It's called "My Mom's Blog - by thoroughly modern Millie." It started with just a few tentative posts.
Continue reading the full text of the report.

Here's the video we made about Larry David not being able to open packages, A Special Message to Larry David from Millie Garfield:

Sunday, October 11, 2009
This morning I had a "big out loud laugh." Jeff Jacoby who writes for the Boston Globe had an article entitled "Time to make the column" which struck home to me.

Jacoby starts out writing about William F. Buckley Jr. who I have always admired. Most of the time I didn't understand what he was saying but was fascinated by his accent, the tone of his voice, the words that he used and his appearance. Oh, and I always thought he sounded like he had a hot potato in his mouth!

Jacoby writes about an interview that Gene Shalit had with Buckley - Buckley once recalled, he was asked how he came up with topics to write about in his newspaper column.
"Gene, when you have been at the profession for long enough, "Buckley imprudently replied, "you can, if in a bind, close your eyes and point to the front page of The New York Times, and whatever story you are fingering when you open your eyes - you can write a column on that story."

Shalit didn't miss a beat. "Yes," he said, "I think I remember that story."
Jacoby goes on to explain how there are times it can be difficult to come up with an idea for a column and proceeds to give some examples. Funny!

Mom Goes to Florida

Now, as you have been reading this post you can see what I am getting at. There are times when I just don't know what I am going to write about and THEN I read something in the Globe and say, aha - that's a good one - (that has made my day many times)

For example just Last Sunday I made a post entitled "Name Change." The Globe had a piece about Elderhostel changing their name to Exploritas and I thought that would make an interesting post. It jogged my memory and I had the opportunity to write about some of my experiences at Elderhostels.

Now you know what I do during the week, I read The Globe and keep my eyes open - maybe I'll read something that I can use for my next post!!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The other day the Boston Globe had a write-up about a name change that was taking place.

Elderhostel was founded in 1975 to give seniors 60 and over an opportunity for a reasonable educational expereience. It will now be known as Exploritas, avaiable to anyone 21 and over.

Over the years my husband and I went to many of the colleges that offered a five or six day program. The most difficult part of planning for this "away from home experience" was looking through the huge catalog and deciding where to go.

This was our approach:
First: How far did we want to travel
Second: What classes interested us
Third: What type of accommodation would we have
Fourth: After the sessions were over, where could we go to extend our time in that area.
Sometimes our priorities changed: If we really wanted to go to a certain area and were not particularly interested in the classes that were offered, we went anyway. The surprising thing about that was, many times the class we were looking forward to turned out to be a dud and the class that held no interest for us turned out to be outstanding. It was the instructor who made the difference!

When we first started going to Elderhostel we relied on the catalog to give us some idea about the accommodations. Once we got acquainted with other attendees we learned about the pluses and minuses of other colleges.

Sometimes even with this knowledge we would wind up in a dorm where the bathroom was shared by both sexes or the time we were on the second floor and the ladies room was on the third floor. I was not a happy camper!

There were other times when we had a suite of rooms, private bath and a kitchen area.
One summer we were at a college where there was a lake right outside our dorm. (I skipped a few classes)

One summer we attended Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts in Rhode Island. We had HOTEL accommodations, maid service, health club and swimming pool.

The classes were held in a lecture hall, the chief conducted the class and once the entree was finished we were invited to taste and THEN we had to go to lunch!

In the meantime pastry chiefs were making all kinds of goodies which we HAD to sample after we had our dinner!!

We were not graded on these classes but if I were graded I would have received an A for my cooperation!!

We went to many different colleges, each one was unique in it's way but one thing was consistent: we always met wonderful people.

It seems to me that changing the name and lowering the age to 21 will change the whole idea of what Elderhostel set out to do in the first place.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has had the good fortune to have experienced an Elderhostel getaway.

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