Category Archives: health and wellness

Mackinac

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Mackinac Island 1 - June 2017Clop, clop, clop—the sound of the horses’ hooves as they pulled the wagon taxi  carrying me around Mackinac Island, Michigan last week.  It was the time of the Lilac Festival during which all of the lilac bushes covering the island in their various colors and hues perform for the tourists. It seemed that every hotel, restaurant, park, private home and anywhere else something could be planted had its own lilac bushes for passersby to admire, sniff, and use as a backdrop to pose for photos.

The island is supported by tourism. However, despite the thousands who descend each year, it has been kept pristine and is a little step back in history.Mackinac Island 2 - June 2017 No cars are allowed. All transportation is accomplished by horse drawn carriages and drays, bicycles, and good old-fashioned walking. Humans with pooper scoopers as well as machines pulled by draft horses, Belgians and Percherons mostly, ply the roads gathering the equine droppings. They are then composted and spread throughout the island to assist in the growth of those magnificent lilacs as well as other flora.

Here’s another fact that grabbed my interest. The three-mile-long body of water to the closest mainland freezes shortly after Christmas forming what the locals call the “ice bridge.” The full-time residents have created a folk remedy of sorts to delineate the path as they traverse it atop their snowmobiles. People simply save their Christmas trees which are then set up on the ice to mark the route.

Yes, the five-hundred full-time islanders certainly do enjoy modern lifestyles that technology has brought to all of us.  However, they seem to have found some simple solutions to their unique challenges.  My little peek through their keyhole tells me that they have a less stressful, less emotionally demanding cadence to their lives than we in the big cities experience.

My auditory sense relaxed in the replacement of engine noises with the resonance of the horses’ hooves as they went about their duties. I like that their emissions help the life cycle unlike that of automobiles that only contribute their noxious gases to the destruction of our planet. Is progress really all it’s touted to be? Can we learn from Mackinac Island residents?  Might a return to simpler times and simpler ways be the answer to our angst?

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Generational Differences

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Earlobe spacer 1It is often so hard for distant generations to understand and accept each other and to even communicate.  Differences are greater as the years between generations increase. Behavioral and linguistic disparities between parents and children are hard enough, but it becomes more extreme between age spans separating grandparents and grandchildren or great grandchildren.  This, of course, can be extrapolated to anyone, not just family members.  However, if we are going to live together and benefit from each other, we must adapt and cope, as hard and confusing as it may be.

A few weeks ago, I had a young workman approximately age twenty fixing some damage to my wall.  He arrived with tools in his hands which were attached to fully tattooed arms.  This contrasted sharply with my tattooless ones.  In his earlobes were hole stretch earrings (also called gauges as Google informed me) which expanded those lobe holes to about a three quarter inch diameter.  My own lobe holes are pinhead width, my norm for voluntary body mutilations.

Click on this link for a how-to primer on ear lobe stretching for those so inclined:  http://www.wikihow.com/Stretch-an-Ear-Lobe-Piercing  As you can see, it’s not an easy thing to become a practitioner.  If, despite that, you are determined to stretch your lobes, here are Amazon’s offers of do-it-yourself kits: https://tinyurl.com/y8vupuq9

Despite our stylistic differences, the young workman was a sweetheart.  He set to his task with diligence.  About an hour later, YW appeared at my office door and announced that he was finished.

“I’m sorry it took me so long,” he said.  “I had a brain fart and cut the wood too short, so I had to do it again.”

“What?”

“I had a brain fart and cut the wood too short.  The reason I didn’t finish earlier is because I had to do it over.”

Yes, I had heard him correctly.  A brain fart.

I swallowed and just responded, “Oh.”

He had used that compound noun twice in his explanation with no sign of jest, sarcasm, or a goal to shock.  It was simply part of his natural speech, and he never even thought that it might be offensive to someone else.

Stretched ear lobes

I was not exactly offended—more surprised and amazed.  In my lifetime, I’ve experienced confusion, distraction, misunderstanding, mistakes, but never a brain fart.  Or, maybe I had but just didn’t know it. “A word is a word is a word,” as I’ve heard it said.

We should be grateful if the younger generation beings in our lives are loving, giving, goal oriented, etc.  Mild rebellions such as tattoos, shaved heads, trendy words and phrases, bodily piercings of various types, rainbow colored hair, etc. are tolerable and non-destructive—so much better than drug experimentation, criminal acts and the like which some use to rebel.  So, get in sync with the young people in your life; go ahead and stretch your earlobes.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Bottom Photo: Photo credit: Rod Waddington via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA


			

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Don’t Be a Crappee

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Statue & SeagullWhile on a trip to Scotland last month, I was taking a tour of Edinburgh, the capital.  As the guide was waxing on about all the attractions, I noticed this duo: a statue of Dr. David Livingstone, the nineteenth century Scottish medical missionary and African explorer of “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” fame, topped by an uninvited seagull. The statue graces a park in the center of the city.  As you can see, the foul fowl has assumed the role of crappor with poor Livingstone as the crappee.  I wonder how the renown doctor would have felt about that scenario if he were still alive.

How can we avoid being the crappee? I’ve written about this subject in previous blog posts, but it bears revisiting as it’s so important to our emotional well-being.  The answer is: it’s not always easy with the various roles we play in our lives.  We may be a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, an employee, a student, etc, or a combination of these at the same time.  Many of our roles are hierarchal in nature, and it’s particularly hard to avoid being dumped on by someone who has  power or authority over you.

So, what can you do?  There are several tactics you can employ when another is castigating you.  You can choose to verbally stand up for yourself and suffer the possible consequences.  Be aware that they can be serious such as being fired from a job; losing a spouse or significant other; becoming estranged from a parent or child; being expelled from a school, club, or organization, etc.  You must decide if such a  potential outcome is worth it.

You can mentally turn off your receptors, choosing not to receive what the crappor is sending.  To avoid extreme results, tune out but behave as though you are attendant.  It’s a hard art to master, but with some practice, you can become adept.

You might try deflection.  Interject something into the diatribe to turn your adversary’s attention in another direction. Example: “Oh, (insert crappor’s name), I heard that the (insert something significant to crappor) just got (insert negative outcome).”  That should send him/her in another direction mentally or physically, long enough for you to regroup and escape, at least for the moment.

You can physically remove yourself from the field of battle.  Create an emergency that requires you to exit immediately.  It can be something like a just-remembered appointment, a bathroom call, a pot on the stove ready to boil over, whatever.  You might even think of some excuses in advance to use when the situation requires it.

Don’t be a statue with bird droppings dripping down your face.  Plan and execute tactical moves to protect yourself from the onslaught of others.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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The Perils of Communication

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  My Upcoming Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” is on May 12, 2017, 1-3pm, Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill Campus), 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, (925) 685-1230 (NOTE: advance reservation required)

Now, on to my blog:

Talking on Telephone 1

Being an effective communicator requires talent.  Engaging others with our message and receiving theirs is fraught with danger: misunderstandings, mixed signals, confusion, and all sorts of other roadblocks from differences in age, sex, culture, language, education, etc.  However, communicate we must if we’re going to interact with other humans and depend on each other to get along.  So, how do we do it effectively?

That is a massive task, but with practice, we can all master it. First, let’s discuss what communication is. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary offers this definition:  “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.”

Communication methods can be verbal such as words, grunts, and other sounds; visual such as body language and facial expressions; tactile such as a hand brushing an arm or grabbing a shoulder, a handshake, etc. Babies make their needs known by communicating with cries, smiles, etc.  We become more sophisticated in our communication methods as we age.

There are many subtleties to communication.  It can be controlling, manipulative, friendly, warm, cold, straight forward, duplicitous, honest, conniving, and on and on.  Different styles and personalities dictate the tone of the communication.

Remember, communication is not all about you.  It is not just a one-sided “sending” of information significant to the sender.  It also involves “receiving” of information significant to the other person in the interaction.  Finally, a switching of roles occurs with the original sender becoming the receiver and the original receiver becoming the sender. This reversal occurs over and over throughout the exchange at a rapid speed.

Not only must the parties involved be able to switch from send mode to receive mode quickly, they must also be able to interpret meaning. We practice this as children and hopefully perfect it by adulthood.  However, not everyone masters the lessons so well.  If you fall into that category, watch how effective communicators do it and try out their techniques.  They may feel strange at first, but it will get easier with practice.

Effective communication requires an awareness of goals–what the parties want from the interchange. Do you strive to win favor; do you want an extension of good will; do you simply want to experience the good feelings you get from talking to a friend?  Be careful that your approach matches what you hope to gain.  If not, then you are wasting your time and effort.

An acquaintance and I recently discussed how valuable laughter is in communication.  Including humor and creating an opportunity for laughter usually yields much more than aggression does.  There’s an old proverb to the point: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  When attempting to communicate, lighten up and make the exchange pleasant and even fun, no matter the subject matter.  It can be done and is often significantly more effective.  Just give it a try.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images via Visual Hunt /  No known copyright restrictions

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Memory, that Wily Beast

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (Click here for website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

LEE GALE GRUEN’S UPCOMING APPEARANCES:
June 13, 2015, 2:00pm, Author Talk & Book Signing, Crown Books, 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
September 18, 2015, 2:30pm: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Mira Costa College LIFE Program (Learning is for Everyone), 1 Barnard Dr., Oceanside, CA 92056

From time to time, I host a guest blogger on a topic relevant to my blog.  Today, Alan Levine, a former acting partner in one of my senior acting classes, has submitted a guest blog.  Alan refers to me in the blog by various names, so here is an explanation of my name:  Lee Gale Gruen.  “Lee Gale” is my first name.  “It’s too confusing,” I hear you complain.  Well hey, if you can remember Beyoncé, you can remember Lee Gale.  I never go by the first name “Lee,” although Alan uses it a few times in his blog.  Alan also calls me LGG which comes from the initials of my entire name.  Some people call me LG or Legal, both of which are okay with me.

Now, on to the guest blog:

ElephantMemories
by:  Alan Levine

So there I was standing in front of a community theatre when I was tapped on the shoulder and greeted with “hello Alan, nice to see you here.” “Hello, I said back to a familiar face, I love this theatre.”

She excused herself and headed for the restroom prior to the curtain call. I continued into the theatre with my wife and friends. “I can’t believe it I said, I can’t remember her name.” “That’s Lee,” my wife said. Oh my I thought. Here’s someone with whom I had worked on stage in a workshop performance of “Fatal Attraction” just four years ago, and her name popped right out of my head.

I avoided further embarrassment by walking up and engaging in conversation. “Lee Gale” I said, “how nice to see you,” and then proceeded to have a conversation with her and her friends about theatre and remembering lines and how difficult it has become. She told me that she was about to audition for a show and only had to remember one line. Actually Lee smiled and said “it was only one word.” I kept thinking, what has happened to our memory. Why does it jump back and forth? Why is it we can remember chapter and verse of something we learned fifty years ago, but struggle to name the last movie we went to?

Oh I know, there have been hundreds of studies one can read about how the brain slowly loses its ability to absorb more information and the recall buttons begin to lose their ability to function. But that won’t happen to me I thought. With enough effort my brain will continue to function as it always has, and my ability to remember people, places and things will get me through life as it’s always done.

Ah, but who am I kidding? So like most of the readers of this column, I suspect that like you, my memory mechanisms are not as sharp as they once were and that I will have to resort to all the tricks I keep reading about. Try new things we’re told, play games, do crosswords and Sudoku puzzles and keep your mind active. Use tricks to help remember names, takes memory classes. After all since all the improvements in medical science are letting us live longer and stay productive, we should know what we are talking about, where we are and where we’ve been. And most importantly remember the people who have made an impact in our lives.  Thank you LGG, at least I finally remembered to send you this piece.

Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at: gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, just reply to sender, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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