Tag Archives: seniors

G’day Mate

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose 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

Now, on to my blog:

Koala.jpgWe all strive to survive and thrive. We depend on others to help us toward that end; we cannot do it alone. So, we too, must help others, and “others” includes the animals of the world.

Many years ago, I read about a penguin named “Pierre” that was part of a living exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California.  For an unknown reason, Pierre lost all of his feathers.  He was ostracized by the other penguins, and he couldn’t swim because it was too cold for him.  A staff member made Pierre a neoprene suit to protect him, and his feathers eventually grew back.  Pierre may not have weathered that trauma without his human benefactor.

Recently, the continent of Australia has been hit with massive wildfires.  Believed to be exacerbated by climate change, they are destroying everything in their path. This has included an estimated one billion animals, many unique to Australia. I recently heard about the Australia based “Animal Rescue Craft Guild” that is organizing sewers, knitters, crocheters, and other crafters from around the world to help with this tragedy by making mittens for animals with burnt paws and joey pouches for marsupial baby orphans including kangaroos, possums, koalas and wombats that cannot survive outside of their mother’s pouch. These simple, artificial pouches are crafted from material and protect the life of the undeveloped joey, the marsupial baby, enabling it to flourish until it can live on its own.

Joey in pouchHere’s a short primer on the kangaroo joey: when born at about 33 days, it is like an embryo: blind, hairless, and a few centimeters long–the size of a jelly bean.  It makes it way from the birth canal to the mother’s pouch by wiggling through her fur.  It remains inside the pouch suckling one of four teats which becomes enlarged to hold the joey in place. In about six months, the baby roo starts to make forays outside for short periods of time.  It leaves Mom’s comfy digs permanently between eight and eleven months.

If you have needlecrafting skills, how exciting and gratifying it might be to spend a little of your time making an item to enhance the welfare of Australia’s distinctive animals which have been injured and rendered homeless by the relentless fires of 2020. This could also be a fun project to do with your grandchildren, or for them to do on their own.  Google “instructions for marsupial pouches” or “instructions for mittens for koalas” to access YouTube videos to teach you how to make these items correctly. When you’re finished, google topics like “how to donate pouches and mittens for fire animal victims in Australia” or go to the Facebook page of “Animal Rescue Craft Guild” for information on where to send them.

If you’re not needlecraft talented yourself, do as I’m doing with this post and pass along the message to those in your sphere who are.  No matter your abilities or lack thereof, you too can be a link in the chain to make this happen

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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 1 credit : Janus Serendipity on Visualhunt / CC BY
Photo 2 credit: Aidan Jones on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

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Noise Pollution

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and purpose 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

Now, on to my blog:

Lighthouse & foghornsIs it me, or has the noise level in our environment risen sharply? To my mind, noise has reached pollution levels, like being enveloped in a constant foghorn. I can’t seem to walk into any establishment these days where I’m not hit broadside by the noise level inside.

To add to what might be a normal degree in a building filled with humans, the proprietors of many locations seem to feel that adding to the racket will help their business. So, they pipe in music which just increases the pollution. Then, to add insult to injury, they ramp up said chords to ridiculous decibels.

This first just occurred in restaurants and bars. Today when you frequent them, screaming to your tablemates just to be able to hear each other is now the norm.

This ambiance has segued to places like food markets, clothing stores, and other commercial businesses open to the public. I don’t know about most folks, but when I enter such a place, I’ll usually do a U-turn and exit from whence I came.

I’ve been known to ask employees to turn down the music. My request usually goes something like: “The music is too loud.  My first choice would be for you to turn it off;  my second choice to turn it down.”  This is usually met with strange stares and some form of resistance.  I’m sure that the owners regularly read their “Running a Successful (add any brick and mortar business category)” which tells them that piped in music helps bump up sales. But, putting your customers at the mercy of some radio station playing rap music turned up to assault their eardrums is not what it means, guys.

I don’t know if folks are aware that prolonged exposure to intense noise causes irreversible hearing damage. Those young store clerks and restaurant workers are being harmed permanently! Also, if one goal is to cater to Baby Boomers and seniors (and it should be as we form a huge demographic which spends lots of money), businesspeople ought to be aware that there are more hearing issues and hearing aid use among us, and that the hearing challenged are quite sensitive to intense noise.

We need more quiet in our lives. So, in line with my philosophy that you can’t change other people, you can only change yourself, carry earplugs or earmuffs with you at all times and use them when you are overwhelmed by the ambient clatter.  Picture an influx of seniors in earmuffs.  That should send the message.

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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: Citizen 4474 on Visual hunt / CC BY

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Holiday Letters

This 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 Classis available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website:  http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

SnowmanThis time of year, I usually receive a plethora of holiday letters via email or snail mail from various family members, friends, or even acquaintances.  The contents usually follow a formula: recapping the sender’s year with snippets of what they and their loved ones have done during that time.  I don’t know how or when this practice started, but I don’t remember it in the first half of my life.

I usually hate those missives because, more often than not, they’re filled with fairy-tale wonderfulness making my life pale in comparison.   Everything seems to have a positive spin.  It might read: “Hyacinth is loving her new college.”  Of course, I know that Hyacinth was expelled from her old college for having drugs in her dorm room, and that she did a short stint in the local jail with some follow-up community service as a result.  Maybe it informs us:  “Maxwell finally fulfilled his longtime dream of leaving his old firm of Smith, Jones, and McGillicuddy and starting his own company.”  Unwritten is that Maxwell was booted out from SJ&M for shoddy work, and his new company headquarters  is located behind the house in a 6×8 metal shed furnished with a card table and cinder block bookcase.

We all have our ups and downs–our positives and negatives.  A full dose launched in our direction of just one or the other is a turnoff, no matter in what form it is delivered.  We all compare ourselves to each other, and when one constantly presents as wonderful, blessed, and fortunate, it becomes tiresome and boring.  Conversely, when one bemoans and whines about most things, it becomes tiresome and boring.

Those two extremes, everything is wonderful or everything is terrible, are usually performed with a hidden motive.  The former is a type of one-upmanship.  At its essence, it is bragging–mine is better than yours.  The latter is a form of victimhood to suck more than the practitioner’s share from the attention pool.

If you must send or email a holiday letter, tell us what really happened, not just the Pollyanna version, but be careful not to overload it with poor-me isms.  We can see through it all, and we may repay you in kind.

Remember to enjoy your holiday season like a guileless child without an agenda, and not use it as a tool to manipulate.  With that, I leave you with my holiday letter:

****LEE GALE’S  2019  HOLIDAY  LETTER****

Happy and Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Posadas Navidenas, Solstice, or (fill in the holiday of your choice.)  Just want to bring you up-to-speed on how wonderful, terrific, amazing, incredible, and (fill in any positive adjective) my life has been this past year. 

In January, I completed blah, blah, blah!

In February, my son was elected blah, blah, blah!

In March, my oldest grandchild started blah, blah, blah!

In April, my dog learned blah, blah, blah!

In May, I was awarded blah, blah, blah!

In June, my youngest grandchild was chosen blah, blah, blah!

In July, my daughter finished blah, blah, blah!

In August, I traveled to blah, blah, blah!

In September, my middle grandchild mastered blah, blah, blah!

In October, my friends threw me a blah, blah, blah!

In November, I bought a blah, blah, blah!

And this month, December, I’m finally able to tell you all about it and make you drool.

Have a stupendous holiday season, but not as good as mine, of course!

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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.

Lisa Zins on VisualHunt / CC BY

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The Day I Became Ma’am

This 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 have changed my banner photo on this blog website as I’m sure my regular followers have noticed.  For those of you who receive my blog in other forms, click here to see the new banner photo: LeeGaleGruen.wordpress.com.  It is now a picture of me at a book fair selling my memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class.  However, that is the only thing that has changed.  The blog and its theme are the same.

Now, on to my blog:

Policeman IISome events make an immediate and abrupt change in our lives.  When you have a baby, one moment you’re not the parent of (insert the long pondered name you gave your adorable offspring), and the next moment you are, and your life is never the same. When you’re involved in a major accident, one moment you don’t have four broken limbs and a fractured skull, and the next moment you do, and your life is never the same.

Most changes to our lives, however, come on minutely with the aging process. We don’t notice it as the progression is so gradual.  It’s only over months or more likely years that we clock the transformations.

Of course, you evolve from instant to instant.  But, what is the exact moment that you morphed from one major phase of your life to the next? I remember the day someone first called me ma’am. I was in my late teens and still felt like a kid. I was crossing a busy intersection directed by a police officer who was hurrying people along.

“Move it, ma’am,” he yelled in an irritated voice.

I didn’t even know who he was talking to, but I was sure it wasn’t me.  After all, I wasn’t old enough to be a ma’am. I glanced at him and saw that he was glaring at me impatiently as he waved his arms directing the traffic.  It shocked me; I’d never been called ma’am before. When did I go from being a miss to a ma’am?

I’m now asking that question in my senior years. When was the day, the hour, the minute, the second that I actually became a senior? I’m not sure? I look in the mirror and wonder who that is gazing back at me pondering the same question.

It’s hard passing through the stages of our lives.  However, we have no choice.  If we’re alive, we can only move forward toward the inescapable, like it or not.  The takeaway here is that our mental thoughts and emotional identity often lag behind our physical strength and appearance. What we think of ourselves is not necessarily how the world views us. We must be aware of the difference between the two.  That leaves the only consideration: how we deal with it.

Some rail against aging, trying as hard as they can to avoid it, reject it, disguise it.  You may convince yourself that you’ve done so, but it’s not true.  Others can see through your little guise even if you can’t or choose not to.

Being a ma’am didn’t make me any different than I was the day before.  It’s just a word, not a description of my character, personality, lifestyle, and beliefs.  I’m no longer the immature young woman I was then having transformed ever so slowly into the mature senior I am now.  That process was going to happen no matter my machinations along the journey.

So, one alternative is to accept and embrace your age whatever it might be at any moment.  Stop fighting the process and go with the flow as the kids say.  It will make your life easier, richer, and more enjoyable as you amble along that inevitable path.

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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: Björn Söderqvist via VisualHunt.com /  CC BY-SA

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Watson

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

Now, on to my blog:

Watson 1Life can be such an adventure.  Simple day-to-day activities can yield gold–unexpected finds and excitement.

I went to Home Depot a few weeks ago for the usual reasons people go there; it was just one of my chores for the day.  I was ambling around pushing one of their larger-than-I-am shopping carts when I turned down a random aisle.  In front of me was Watson, this beautiful English Setter as his owner informed me.  I had never met an English Setter before.

Watson was as sweet and gentle as he was beautiful.  He was also like flypaper, attracting practically every shopper who was lucky enough to turn down that enchanted aisle where he was holding court.  Watson brought strangers together as they oohed and awed over him, petted him, asked questions about him, and interacted with each other over their shared experience.

Watson’s owner, or should I say the fortunate person allowed to accompany him on the other end of the leash, told the gathering crowd that Watson was a therapy dog, visiting inhabitants at places such as senior homes and hospitals to bestow his calm and magnificence upon them.

Watson 2Watson accepted the adoration of all of us gathered around him in the Home Depot aisle that day without changing his demeanor in the slightest. He inhabited his purpose in life: bringing joy to those he encountered. He didn’t become puffed up with his own importance, demanding of rewards or social position, manipulative, or any of the other things humans in such a position might have done. No, Watson simply remained Watson–a uniter, not a divider.

We need more human Watsons in the world who will bring people together and unite them. We need less division and derision.  We need more calm, gentleness—more Watson-ness. Are we humans fated to encounter that only in other animal forms?

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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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Fragile

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

Now, onto my blog:

Broken BottleThroughout my life, I’ve encountered people who are described as “fragile” both by themselves and by others.  These people have been co-workers, family members, friends, acquaintances, and more.  Fragile seems to mean that they can’t tolerate too much pressure, stress, responsibility, expectations, etc., or they “fall apart.”

I’m not the fragile type.  I come across as responsible, capable, reliable, tough.  Therefore, others have high expectations of me, and are upset if I fail to live up to them.  I am expected to show up on time, not complain, do the job assigned to me, and produce results, not excuses.  However, fragile people are not held to this standard.  They are given a pass because, after all, they are fragile.

I’ve never been sure if fragility is actual or a successful protective shield which is carefully honed during a lifetime.  Certainly, it yields high payoffs to some practitioners.  A co-worker years ago earned the same salary as I and had the same job description, but expectations for her were far less than for me.  When extra work needed to be done, it was usually me who was tapped.  And my reward?  More work, of course.  When I was lamenting the situation to another co-worker, his response was, “Well, she’s fragile.”  That was my introduction to that descriptor of ineptitude, a very manipulative behavior in this case.

I’ve pondered over the years how to jump on the fragile train.  I’m not a natural at it, and it doesn’t fit my personality.  However, I’ve tried to acquire the skill.  Usually,  however, my true nature shows through, and others don’t let me get away with it.

So, I’m putting it out to the world.  I want to be fragile.  If you encounter me or deal with me, take your expectations elsewhere and let me screw up over and over with minimal consequences, at the same salary, of course.

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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 on Visualhunt

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Hiding

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

Now, on to my blog:

Turkeys HidingWe all hide in one way or another.  It can be deliberately or subconsciously.  We hide the traits, aspects, details of ourselves that we think are undesirable or a turnoff to others.

Hiding can take the form of outright lying or simply omission.  Hiding can involve deception from small, socially acceptable behavior to a major ruse.

Commerce encourages us to hide our appearance and age by hawking products such as hair dye, wigs, cosmetics, plastic surgery, and the rest of that ilk.  They couple that with propaganda which convinces us that our altered presentation to the world is okay, appropriate, no big deal, “everyone does it.”  Entertainment idols help sell that lie by partaking and flaunting it to the public.  Seventy-something actresses look forty, parading their deception and bragging about it.  Ordinary folks seeing this in the media comment on “how wonderful she looked on TV the other night.”

There was a time when women who wore makeup were considered “painted ladies,” and scorned by polite society.  Now, it’s just the opposite.  Both sexes spend multi-billions of dollars worldwide on cosmetics, procedures, and the like to alter their appearances to something they think will be more pleasing to others.  They put their health and even their life in danger with elective surgical procedures, again to try to present a different self to the world than what they consider the ugly one they wear naturally.

Behaviors such as anorexia and bulimia have to do with poor body image.  Where does that come from?  Why are we telling people that “you can never be too rich or too thin.” Why don’t fashion models look like the majority of people?

We teach this self-assessment to our children who want to emulate what they consider “grown-up” behavior.  They quickly learn by their teenage years which of their bodily attributes are unattractive: nose, hair, height, weight, voice, skin color, and on and on.  Too many obsess about it.  Commerce, always on the lookout for new grist for their ever churning mills, panders to this market, too.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to look nice.  However, when it impacts your view of yourself and the world, and tends toward the pathological, dangerous, or even life threatening, it is a major problem.

Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” fame used to make his young TV listeners feel special by telling them, “I like you just the way you are.”  Where are the Mr. Rogers of today?  Who is telling our children now?  Who is telling our grandchildren?  Who is telling us?

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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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