Tag Archives: senior citizen

What’s in the Stroller?

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

Toy Dog in StrollerI was sitting on a metro train a few weeks ago  next to a woman with a Chihuahua in her lap. She kept stroking it and talking to it.  The lady seemed a bit deranged. She had a knitted cap pulled over her hair, no teeth, and her clothing seemed mismatched.  Parked in front of her was a baby stroller with a second Chihuahua in it.  I’m sure both dogs occupied the stroller together when the woman was out and about on her daily routine.

Periodically, the dog owner attempted to make eye contact with people nearby as she chatted about her dogs.  Most just ignored her or averted their gaze. A mother with a young child held it close to her, protectively, lest the child catch anything the woman might transmit such as a compromised mental state.

Over about a ten minute period as I watched from my perch while trying not to be obvious about it, the owner pulled out a plush toy from the stroller, which she snuggled against the face of first one of the dogs and then the other. She also pulled out food, and broke off little pieces which she fed to the dogs, occasionally popping a morsel into her own mouth.

After observing her for quite a while, I said “you certainly take very good care of your dogs.” Starved for conversation, she immediately began discussing the dogs with me. We chatted for the rest of the ride, about five minutes, on the subject of how much joy  the dogs have brought to her life.

I looked at the dog on her lap and addressed it by the name she had called it: Mister.  Mister immediately jumped into my lap and hunkered down. His owner was delighted, and loved sharing one of her most precious possessions with me as I scratched Mister  behind his ears.

When I departed the train, I again complemented my seat companion on what a good and caring owner she was.  She beamed a beautiful, toothless smile at me.

Can we be willing to reach out to others who are not so cool, not so trendy, maybe a little socially offensive? Can we take that moment to connect with another fragile human being, toothless or not, smartly dressed or not? That encounter did as much for me as it did for her.

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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: DocChewbacca on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

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The Entitled

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

Grabbing breadSome people seem to think that they are more entitled to the goodies of life than others. They’re the ones who fight to be first in selecting everything.  Here are a few examples:  they rush to the best seats, cut in line, cherry-pick the choicest portion of the food, maneuver themselves into the most advantageous spots, grab the…well, you get the idea.

These are the same folks who think they can buy or manipulate their way in or out of anything.  They may use different ploys to advance their agenda.  “I’m rich, so I should have a more luxurious (fill in the blank)”; I’m well-known, so I deserve a better (fill in the blank)”; “I’m sickly, so I merit a more advantageous (fill in the blank)”, I’m elderly, so I require a more comfortable (fill in the blank),” and on and on.  Everyone can find a reason in their life why they should be more entitled than you, me, him, her, them, or whomever.

I was on a tour years ago in some exotic location, and we went out daily in a Land Rover to navigate the rough terrain.  One woman always got there early and sat in the front passenger seat.  She told us all that she had a bad knee, and the extra leg-room allowed her to stretch out her leg.  Coincidentally, that also happened to be the best seat in the house, offering the choicest view out of the panoramic front window as well as a prime location next to the driver/tour guide so every morsel of his spiel could be captured.  One day, we arrived to see a man from our group in that coveted seat.  The aforementioned woman was forced to sit in another spot.  “Would you mind changing seats with me so I can stretch out my sore knee,” she said to him sweetly.  I loved his response which was no response at all.  He didn’t say a word and also didn’t budge.  It was wonderful to see our entitled member confronted in such a silent manner, as we were all pretty sick of her uncanny need to always require the most desirable of everything on that trip.

It’s a little unclear how these self-perceived, entitled beings got that way.  Perhaps mommy and daddy enabled it as they were growing up.  It could be a result of their  feelings of deprivation.  Maybe it’s an adaptation to the natural competition among the seven billion plus of us on this planet.  Of course, we all use our talents, skills, and abilities to get our “piece of the pie.” But, the entitled of the world take it to another level altogether.

Are you among the always entitled, or do you know someone like that?  Folks of such an attitude, position, outlook are completely off-putting to everyone else.  We are all human beings, and we live in close proximity to each other, jostling around like nervous atoms trying to get comfortable and find our place. One person is not more special or important than anyone else, although he/she would like to be.

Let’s be grown up and fair about this.  Let everybody in your sphere have a chance for the best this or the finest that. When it’s always about you, you may find that you’re no longer in competition because you no longer have anyone who is willing to be involved with you in any way.  You will be left to enjoy your best this or finest that all by your best and finest lonesome self.

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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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Clowny

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, 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, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  I will be giving free public lectures on the following dates, times, and locations:

September 9, 2018, 3:15pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement,” THRIVE Expo –  sponsored by The Gazette newspaper, Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 (No RSVP Required)

October 16, 2018, 1:00pm, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” The Holmstad Retirement Community, 700 W. Fabyan Pkwy, Batavia, IL 60510, (630) 239-1133, www.theholmstad.org  (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 17, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Windsor Park Retirement Community, 124 Windsor Park Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188, (331) 218-3637, www.windsorparkillinois.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

October 19, 2018, 10:30am, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years,” Covenant Village of Northbrook, 2625 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062, (224) 412-8421, www.covenantnorthbrook.org (RSVP REQUIRED)

Now, on to my blog:

ClownyI’m guessing that most people have experienced a devastating incident or many during the difficult time of growing up.  Dragging childhood pain through the decades shapes our adulthood. The memory of one in my life remains fresh and clear sixty-two years later.

I was about fourteen, shy, scrawny, and very concerned about what others thought of me. Girls were just starting to wear lipstick, and I coveted jumping into the adult world with such a daring step.

At that time, there was a company called Ponds which featured as its main product a cold cream, the equivalent of today’s facial moisturizer; the company is still in business. Ponds was testing a possible expansion into the makeup field, and was giving out free samples of lipstick in tiny tubes. My mother acquired a few, and gave me one to inaugurate my foray into being a real woman.

I practiced applying my Ponds lipstick sampler until I got it just right. D-Day arrived for my first appearance at school as the new and sophisticated me.  I’ve never forgotten that day so many decades ago because of one word.

I walked into my first period class which was girls’ gym. The locker room was filled with my female classmates changing into their gym clothes. They all turned as I entered.  One girl (I still remember her name) took a look at my bright, red lips contrasted with my remaining washed out complexion, and pronounced, “You look like a clown. We should call you Clowny.” Everyone laughed and immediately took up the chant: “Clowny, Clowny, Clowny.”

My goal in life was to not call attention to myself, but I had managed to achieve the polar opposite only because I wanted to act grown-up like the rest of the girls. I was humiliated! Trying not to cry in front of my harassers, I ran to the bathroom, grabbed some toilet paper, and wiped off that stupid Ponds lipstick, not to be attempted again for at least two years.

That didn’t stop the fun the others were having. Clowny remarks followed me for the next few weeks not only in the gym, but in other classes I shared with some of them.

Memories such as these mold our grown-up selves. Some use such experiences to become compassionate adults, remembering the cruel rites of passage they encountered themselves.  Others do the opposite by seeking victims to extract the revenge they were unable to mete out to their original tormentors. If your aim is to assuage your pain, choose the compassionate path as it will yield you a much higher return.

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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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Decompressing in a Compression Age

Adv with Dad  Thumbnail IIFirst, before my blog below, I want to tell you that I’m going to be on television tomorrow night, March 1, 10:00PM, IFC cable channel (if I don’t end up on the cutting room floor). I will be in a comedy video clip playing the mother of the host, Patton Oswalt.  I hope you can watch.  Here’s my photo so you’ll know what I look like.

Now, on to my blog:

In my last blog, I wrote about the benefits of solitude.  This post piggybacks on those thoughts.  Life is so tumultuous and becomes more so with each so-called advance.  What looks like something that will benefit mankind often turns out to just put more stress on we humble humans that fill it.  For example, the automobile has proliferated to the point of almost constant gridlock.  Our commute by car now seems as long as by the horse carriage it replaced.  Today’s modern technology makes us more connected, able to work 24/7, able to access more and more data, and on and on.  What happens to our slower evolving bodies in the meantime?  I like the saying, “take care of your body, it’s the only home you have.”  So, what do we do with everything bombarding us for our valuable and finite time and attention.  We decompress!  We must put up a mental gate–a barrier to protect ourselves from the ravages of that bombardment campaign.  It’s hard to do; it takes willpower.  How do we turn off that cell phone, computer, or TV which have become addictive and so much a part of our lives?  Here are a few ideas:  You can make a schedule and allot some quiet time during the day.  You can take a vacation to a place off the grid.  There aren’t many anymore, but seek them out and remember to leave your technology toys behind.  I have a friend who refuses to get a cell phone or computer as she wants to enjoy life without the barrage of technology–smart woman.  Do we really need hundreds of virtual friends on Facebook?  Can we give ourselves permission to stop and smell the proverbial roses?  Maybe.               NOTE:  Please forward this blog to anyone who might be interested.  To read my previous blogs, click on the entries under “Recent Posts” and “Archives” on the right side of this page.  If you’d like to be notified of my future blog postings or contribute a guest blog, you can click here on my book website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com and leave a message under the “Contacts & Links” tab.

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The Benefits of Solitude

First, I want to remind you that I will be giving an author talk/book signing about my memoir:  Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class.  It will be this Saturday, February 22, 2014, 2:00pm at the Los Angeles City Public Library, Central (Downtown) Branch, Meeting Room A, 630 W. 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071.  I hope to see you there.

Now, onto my blog:  In great quantities, solitude can be isolating and destructive.  However, in small quantities, solitude can be comforting and cleansing.  I always used to fear solitude.  It left me alone with my thoughts.  It meant that I didn’t have anything to do.  It meant that no one wanted to be with me.  Now, I find that it replenishes me.  It gives me space from the demands of the world–down time.  Solitude enables my creativity.  When I’m alone, my mind is free to wander.  That’s when I come up with some of my best thoughts.  Sometimes, solitude helps when life becomes too overwhelming.  During that time, I give myself permission to take a mental vacation.  I try hard not to make any big decisions, not to have any conflicts, engage only in non-demanding activities, and  just let my mind drift.  Solitude in limited amounts can be refreshing, like sleep.  It can help you pace yourself, stop your hectic running, get off the merry-go-round for awhile.  Don’t fear solitude.  In controlled amounts, it can be your friend.   NOTE:  Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested.  To read my previous blogs, click on the entries under “Archives” on the lower right side of this page.  If you’d like to be notified of my future blog postings or contribute a guest blog, you can contact me at my book website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com under the “Contacts & Links” tab.

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We Don’t Have Time for Negativity!

First, I want to tell you that I was interviewed by an entrepreneur website about how I wrote and now promote my memoir.  You can read it at: http://ideamensch.com/lee-gale-gruen.  Also, I’ll be giving an author talk/book signing on February 22, 2014, 2:00pm, at the Los Angeles City Public Library, Central (Downtown) Branch, Meeting Room A, 630 W. 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071.  Now, onto my blog:  Do you know, or are you someone who is often negative or complains a lot?  Now that we’re Baby Boomers or seniors, we don’t have that much time left.  Do we really want to spend it mired in negativity or complaining?  If that’s been a lifestyle, it’s hard to change.  But, being conscious that you’re like that and morphing into a more positive person can pay dividends.  I have a relative who has raised complaining to an art form.  It comes so naturally to her, I’m sure she doesn’t even realize how much she does it and has no idea why people avoid her.  It’s sad.  She’d love to have more friends, but she’s such a turn-off.  Conversely, I had a close friend who had terminal cancer.  She rarely complained about it and tried to live her life to the fullest of her ability.  She even accompanied me and another friend on a cruise just four months before she died.  She worked it in between chemotherapy treatments.  I have another friend who has a debilitating disease.  She calls me to tell me about a wonderful book she’s reading or a good movie she saw on her iPad.  I love talking to her.  These two women are my role models.  Why does negativity come so easily to some?  I suspect that people who fall into this category learned at a very early age that doing their “poor me” routine yielded a big payoff–attention.  We all crave attention.  We engage in all sorts to behaviors, tricks, pursuits to get it.  Being negative or complaining excessively does work for awhile until the receiver has had enough and realizes they’re ineffective in helping you overcome your problems and that all their relationship with you does is bring them down.  If you’ve had a history of a lot of short-term friendships which seem to fizzle out, maybe you’re driving your friends away with negativity or complaining.  We all complain or are negative sometimes.  I’m talking about those who are compulsive about it.  You have a choice in the matter.  Negative, upsetting, bad things don’t just happen to you.  They happen to all of us.  But, conversely, we all have positive, good experiences.  Maybe they’re not earth-shaking, but we can let even small, positive experiences drive our lives if we choose.  Did someone smile at you?  Did someone give you a compliment?  Talk to your friends about those incidents, or maybe a good book you just finished.        NOTE:  Please forward my blog to anyone you think might be interested.  To read my previous blogs, check out “Archives” on the right side of this page.  If you’d like to contact me or be added to my email list to be notified of my future blog postings, send me a personal message by going to my book website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com and then clicking on the “Contacts and Links” tab.

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The Therapy of Pets

I’m still hobbling around after my bunion/arthritis surgery, but my toe is healing.  I have great hopes of being able to resume my former activities involving feet:-)  On to today’s blog topic.  I love animals; a lot of people do.  We’ve all heard how therapeutic animals can be for us.  Why is that?  Here are some words/phrases to describe animals as a general rule: content, calm, hang-loose, loving, go-with-the-flow, devoted, live in the moment.  They embody so many of the things that so many of us humans lack or have in short supply.  When we need a friend, our pet or someone else’s pet or some horses at a stable or some wild birds are there for us.  I was in a park the other day and chose to sit on the lawn near some migrating geese.  I felt calm just watching them as they watched me.  Years ago I hung out with some gentle cows in a field in England.  Their curiosity overcame them, and they walked slowly toward me–boxcars on legs.  It was special; I still remember it vividly.  I used to be one half of a pet-therapy team with my dog at a local hospital.  We’d visit patients who requested a dog visit.  I’d put Fergie on their bed so they could pet her.  They usually forgot for those few moments about their illnesses or medical conditions, often launching into a discussion about their pet at home which they missed.  It was a beautiful five or ten minutes.  Once, there was a big, burly patient who looked terrified when he saw Fergie.  When I questioned him thinking I had the wrong room, he explained that he’d always been frightened of dogs ever since he was a child and witnessed his best friend being mauled by a dog.  He was amazed when Fergie started licking his hand. “Oh my God, a dog is licking my hand,” was all he could say over and over.  Fergie and I visited him a few more times over the next several weeks.  Just before he was to be released, he told me he was planning on getting his own dog.  Even if you’re not a pet person, maybe a bird or a tank of fish could bring you some joy.  Try it out.
My next author talk/book signing for my memoir: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, will be on February 22, 2014, 2:00pm at the Los Angeles City Library, Central (Downtown) Branch, Meeting Room A, 630 W. 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071.  Join me there if you can, and be sure to come up and introduce yourself.
NOTE: Please forward my blog to anyone you think might be interested.  It’s easy to read my previous blogs.  Just scroll down a bit and you will see “Archives” on the right side of the page.  Click on those entries and there they are!  If you’d like to contact me or be added to my email list to be notified of my future blog postings, send me a personal message by going to my book website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com and then clicking on the “Contacts and Links” tab.

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