Are Boomers a Bunch of Old Farts – Literally?

Let’s lighten up things a bit and talk gas. And not the kind you put in your car. Yes, I’m in an ornery mood this morning and isn’t it time for us all to have a good laugh? So, let’s just go there. 

The question of the hour is this: do we actually fart more as we get older? And is all that extra unwanted gas harder to control? Sure seems that way, but is it actually true? Oh, come on, you know you’re curious.

Maybe you’ve heard the joke:

doctorA little old lady goes to the doctor and says, “I have this problem with gas, but it really doesn’t bother me too much. The farts never smell and are always silent. As a matter of fact, I’ve farted at least 20 times since I’ve been here, and I bet you didn’t even notice!”

The doctor says, “I see. Take these pills and come back next week.” The next week the lady goes back. “Doctor,” she says, “I don’t know what the you gave me, but now my farts – although still silent – stink terribly.”

The doctor says, “Good! Now that we’ve cleared up your sinuses, let’s work on your hearing.”

If you read my blog, you must know by now I have a wicked sense of humor. Besides, it’s kind of fun to talk about normal stuff that makes people squirm a bit – like my blog on snot or having to pee all the time as we get older. It brings everyone back to earth and we can all feel united.

I first tackled the subject of unwanted gas in a humorous article, Blast This Bloatiness, written for Hot Flash Daily.

Because, as I pointed out in the article, along with all the other goodies that menopause blesses us with is a bloated stomach that makes us look pregnant – except we’re too old for that. As a result, instead of patting our tummies, people give us puzzled looks while they discreetly try to figure out our age and determine if pregnancy is even a remote possibility.

Just one of the indignities of menopause! But menopause isn’t the only cause for more gas. Simply getting older does the trick too.

Yes, it’s true and give me a break. Don’t get hoity toity on me. If you’re older, you know what I’m talking about.

embarrass-faceAs we age, we have insane gas that can’t be blamed on the dog. Our gas with newfound super human powers would make a trucker blush. In addition to our newly acquired breaking the wind skills, we’re also blessed with the awesome ability to burp like a frat boy.

Bend down to pick something up or tie your shoe and look out! Climb stairs and amazingly you have enough gas stored to poot on each individual step. Lie on the floor at the  gym and lift your legs to exercise in a room full of people and prepare to die of embarrassment.

Not that flatulence and burping is a bad thing. In fact, it’s a normal, natural part of life and a sign that we’re healthy.

The National Institutes of Health tell us that the “average person passes intestinal gas 14 times a day.” How big is a single fart? According to one study, (oh, what fun being on that research team) a fart can range from the size of a bottle of nail polish for the daintiest of poots to a can of coke – the volume of a really big stinker.

Oh yes, that means you too are capable of producing a fart the size of a soda can. In fact, if you’re older, you can probably do better than that.

After all, the term “old fart” is around for good reason. Remember Golden Pond, when Ethel, played by Kathryn Hepburn, constantly calls her cantankerous old husband, Norman, played by Henry Fonda, “You old poop.”

I rest my case.

In case you’re wondering, there’s a logical reason why us older folk have more gas. Like everything else that slows down in our body, our digestion slows down too. That gives our intestinal bacteria more time to turn dinner into delightfully stinky gases that must be expelled at some point. On top of that, prescription drugs – like blood pressure medications and pain relievers – can also cause gas.

Worse yet, farts do not behave as discreetly as they used to when we were younger. As a result, there is a much higher potential for humiliation. This isn’t just your imagination – it’s a fact. As a medical expert succinctly said: “As we age, gas tends to build up in the lower colon before making a sometimes rapid and noisy escape,” says Karen Hall, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Michigan who specializes in geriatrics and gastroenterology. I kid you not, that is an actual quote.

Oh, isn’t getting old fun sometimes? Once again, referencing Golden Pond, Norman is asked, “How does it feel to turn 80?” “Twice as bad as it did turning forty,” he answered wryly.

So, it turns out that none of this extra farting is our fault. We can’t help it. Which brings me to my next gripe. Why do men get to let ‘em rip and burp with no embarrassment whatsoever? Have you ever noticed that burps and farts are offered up by the opposite sex with a sense of pride, joy, and blissful relief?

embarrassed-womanWe women, on the other hand, are expected to try and hold back what feels like the Hindenburg ready to explode. When we understandably and inevitably fail at the attempt, etiquette dictates that we shamefully leave the room turning five shades of red, hoping desperately and unrealistically that somehow, someway anyone who happened to be nearby didn’t hear the deafening detonation.

Despite popular belief, studies show that men do not have more farts than women, so that’s no excuse for men being more public about it while we women die trying to hold it in.

And did you know that constantly holding in gas can cause medical issues for your colon? Farting is actually good for you. But don’t count on a thumbs up for good health if you’re a woman and accidentally poot in an elevator. Sneeze and you get a polite “bless you,” but let a woman fart in public and oh my!

A man, however, just chuckles and all is forgiven. Worse yet, boys, and even grown men, brag about it. They ponder serious, thought-provoking, and deep questions like who is the best master blaster or who can create the deadliest Dutch oven. I’m a woman, but as a wife and mother of two sons and grandmother to one boy, I know this prank well. While lying in bed with someone, you pull the covers over his or her head while simultaneously letting a booty bomb explode, trapping the foul smell, so the other person suffers immensely. The stinkier and louder the better. The male species thinks this activity is endlessly entertaining.

Can you feel my eyeballs rolling? Men have it way too easy.

For example, they also seem to have a scratch-whatever-itches free card. Men shrug their shoulders and proudly snicker while contentedly relieving their itches. They remind me of animals at the zoo who obviously don’t worry about scratching questionably appropriate places in front of big crowds.

But society dictates that we women do not scratch certain things in public. The problem is they itch in public. And as we age, we feel even itchier. But we women have two choices. Either we try to discreetly sneak in a scratch when no one is looking – and prepare for looks of disgust if caught – or just grin and bear it.

Which isn’t fair, but fine. Whatever. I got off a bit on the subject.

Back to unwanted gas. Another super annoying thing is that men never think their own farts stink. “It’s not that bad,” they say as they efficiently clear the room. I guess we women don’t think our gas stinks either, but that’s besides the point.

Well, I have some good news for you. Turns out they have stylish fart filtering underwear to help with this smelly problem. Yes, I’m dead serious. These are the valuable things we can learn on the Internet. Look it up for yourself if you don’t believe me. The underwear doesn’t come with a muffler but they supposedly reduce the smell.

But come on people. Wouldn’t it be much easier if we all just accepted that women fart too and that we all have more flatulence as we age?

Why can’t we be more like some cultures that not only approve of letting them fly in public, but actually seem to enjoy it? The Yanomami tribe, one of the aboriginal people of Venezuela, fart as a greeting. In ancient Rome, Emperor Claudius, passed a law giving the people liberty to “vent” at a banquet table any “distension occasioned by flatulence” after hearing about a modest person restraining from breaking wind and almost dying. Honest, I’m not making this stuff up!

With that in mind, I’m going to rebel right now and eat a humongous burrito, drink a couple of beers, and blissfully and unashamedly pretend I’m a man. I’ve duly warned my hubby so he can leave the room if he so desires. (Chicken!) OR, even better, maybe I’ll get really wild and run into an elevator full of people to do the deed and make the excellent point that we women have a right to fart too!

Yes, let’s start a movement to quit chastising farters – especially us women and older folk who can’t help it. Let’s all just give in and join the symphony! Are you with me? Toot, toot!

Images courtesy of (in order of appearance) iosphere, Graphics Mouse, and Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A Spa Day at Home for Granddaughters

Since a lot of you will be spending extra time with your grandchildren over the holidays, why not create a special spa day with your granddaughters right at home?

We did this with a Barbie theme over the Thanksgiving week that the kids had off school. My granddaughters, ages 9 and 5,  along with my niece and their friend, both 10, loved it!

My two granddaughters, niece, and friend before the Barbie spa party began.

My two granddaughters, niece, and friend before the Barbie spa party began.

Another perk: This idea works well if you’re on a budget. Many of the party decorations we used were purchased at the dollar store.

I have to confess, their Daddy did most of the planning and shopping for the party. And yes, my son is an amazing father and a good sport!

He took the girls to the dollar store where they purchased $3 pink fluffy robes that were super soft and cozy, very pink paper plates, plastic silverware, and napkins, a table cloth, balloons, and some gift wrapping. We decorated the table with those items along with some pink roses and cookies my sister provided for the event and special cupcakes a mother of one of the guests kindly brought.

Most the decorations for the table came from the dollar store.

Most the decorations for the table came from the dollar store.

spa-party-cupcakes

Cookies and cupcakes my sister and a mother of one of the guests provided.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children and their father created a photo booth from a cardboard box. They decorated it with wrapping paper, pink napkins, and free online printables. We added a basket full of funny party glasses, feather boas, princess crowns, and plastic jewelry the kids already had in a costume drawer and viola! The girls were ready to start posing.

My niece posing in the Barbie photo booth.

My niece posing in the Barbie photo booth.

The fluffy pink robes purchased for only $3 at the dollar store.

The fluffy pink robes purchased for only $3 at the dollar store.

After taking their photos, the girls strutted down the runway in a fashion show.

Then it was off to the “spa” we created in the entryway with the pink robes, pink balloons tied with black ribbons, a foot spa machine, plenty of nail polish, a pink stool from the girl’s bedroom, and a couple of white fluffy towels.

We also put a Barbie styling head doll the girls already owned on a table so they could have fun putting makeup and styling Barbie’s hair while they waited for their turn. Daddy happens to be a great manicurist, so he did the honors.

 

The girls decked out in their pink robes.

The girls decked out in their pink robes.

spa-party-barbie-headspa-party-manicures

We played some fun upbeat music and let the beauty fest begin! I brought out some of my makeup and they had fun putting it on each other as well as styling each other’s hair.

They even did my makeup. Grandpa didn’t get a manicure, but he made the girls laugh with a 70’s style dance.

 

After the pampering, the girls ate pizza and then it was movie time.

We provided the girls with popcorn and pink lemonade with fancy straws and black ribbons tied around the glasses.

The popcorn holders were super simple to make. I bought a large white cardboard sheet and cut it into five pieces. Then I twisted each one and stapled them at the bottom. We used some more free printables for decoration and added the girls’ names. My granddaughters had fun helping me make them.

The girls watched (what else?) a Barbie movie. A good time was had by all. If you want to have a Barbie spa party, check out this site where I got some of my ideas. If you want, you could add facials, masks, shoulder massages with aromatherapy oils, or even learn about reflexology together and practice on your feet.

The best part is being able to spend some quality time with your granddaughters. So try it out. Create a luxurious spa day at home and enjoy!

spa-party-popcorn

Showing Gratitude Every Single Day

Today, in the U.S. and Canada, many people are celebrating Thanksgiving. Although it is considered a day designated for “giving thanks,” the focus seems to have shifted to eating copious amounts of turkey and stuffing, watching football games, Black Friday shopping, and enjoying time off work at large family gatherings.

What if we treated every day as an opportunity to give thanks?

What if we treated every day as an opportunity to give thanks?

Some are more serious about expressing thanks on this holiday, but, here’s the real question. Why is there only one day out of the year elected as time to be grateful and give thanks? What if we treated every day as an opportunity to give thanks?

I know a lot of us try to take time each day to be grateful. Nonetheless, it’s all too easy to get lost in our busy lives as the other 364 days of the year zip by in a blur. If we’re not careful, we’ll collapse into bed at the end of the day without a single utterance of thanks.

Why not strive to feel appreciative for at least one thing, one person, or one experience each and every day?

As I asked in a previous blog, Savor the Day, how many days do you only notice the negative, stressful events in your life? Why not start taking note of what went right during the day. Did your husband give you a loving kiss before he left for work? Did a friend give you a sincere compliment? Did you experience a small victory at work or a small gesture of support? Savor those moments, appreciate each one, and express your gratitude – yes, each and every day.

Be like Piglet in Winnie the Pooh, who A.A. Milne noted: “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

Make it a goal to take a moment every single day to tell your spouse, children, and grandchildren how thankful you are to have them in your life. Mentally make a list of your blessings before praying and thank God each and every day. Call a friend and tell them how fortunate you are to have their support and love. Thank strangers for an act of kindness – not the automatic way we often do without thought, feeling, or real meaning – but with genuineness and sincerity.

For the next 364 days of the year, stop and notice the beauty in simple, ordinary moments that make a day special. Use all your senses to enjoy the beauty of a sunset, the laugh of a child, a hug from a friend, the sound of a bird singing, the smells after a rainstorm, or that first sip of coffee in the morning. Write down three things you are grateful for every day in a gratitude journal.

Imagine if we made every day a day of giving thanks. We will shift our perspective, draw closer to God, deepen our relationships, improve our lives, and make the world a better place to live.

As Zig Ziglar said, “Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life changing.”

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How to Control Stress Eating

As I’ve shared with you before in my blog, the last few years were stressful ones for me. As a result, for the first time in my life, I got into the habit of stress eating.

junk-foodI’m referring to the routine of emotional, mindless eating and snacking. Stuffing myself with junk food, not to fill my stomach, but because I’m bored, stressed from everyday life, overwhelmed, or exhausted.

To make matters worse, sometimes I’m eating without paying attention to the food or really enjoying it. Suddenly, I crave chocolate or chips or pizza and nothing else sounds good. So, I woof it down while watching TV, reading a book, or playing on my iPad. The need to eat isn’t coming from my stomach but from inside my head. I don’t eat until I’m full but until I’m uncomfortable.

Sometimes I start off with good intentions and eat something healthy like veggies but I still can’t get those darn chips off my brain. Not satisfied, I eat a huge bowl of popcorn thinking that will do the trick. I’m full, but I can’t quit thinking about those nachos I wanted in the first place. So I end up eating the veggies, popcorn, AND the nachos. My stomach is so full and bloated, I end up feeling downright miserable. In my twisted mind, I convince myself I should just go for the nachos next time instead of all those extra calories I ate before eating what I really craved. So that’s what I do.

Briefly, I feel better, but then I feel disgusted with myself.

Sound familiar?

If you’re 50-plus like me, you’re particularly susceptible to emotional eating since during this time of life we’re often facing stressful events and changes in our lives. Empty nest syndrome, aging parents, death of a loved one, menopause, worrying about retirement, or declining health may be troubling us. Since weight gain is often related to aging and menopause, stress eating is the last thing we need!

As I’ve shared with you in a previous blog, I found a diet that works for me and lost seven out of the 10 pounds I needed to lose. But because of stress eating, I’ve already gained a few pounds back.

So what can we all do to stop stress eating and avoid the dreaded unwanted weight gain that usually results? Here are some simple tips I plan on using:

Identify Emotions and Triggers

junk-food-pizzaTake comfort, stress eating isn’t all your fault and actually has a logical reason behind it.

When you feel stressed out, your body produces high levels of the hormone, cortisol. Cortisol increases your appetite and triggers cravings for salty, high-carb, sweet, and high-fat foods. These foods give you a burst of energy and pleasure by increasing the brain’s feel-good dopamine response. Over time, your brain may start to rely on these comfort foods to calm down and feel better.

In addition, if you’re not sleeping at night because you’re anxious, that only makes the problem worse. And if your life feels unfulfilled and empty, food may fill a void.

So, the first step is to figure out what is making you reach for that bag of chips. Does your life feel out of control? Are you frustrated? Overwhelmed? Mad? Anxious?

Focus on the real issues at hand and you’ll be ready for the next step.

Learn to Accept Your Feelings

Often we eat to avoid feelings that make us uncomfortable. Food is a nice distraction sometimes.

If you’re stressed out about your job or financial pressures, worried about an upcoming event, or stewing over an argument you had with a loved one, it’s usually easier to focus on eating comfort foods instead of dealing with the painful situation.

The emotions won’t go away, however. If you stress eat, you’ll also add the burden of guilt for sabotaging your weight loss goals. This starts a whole cycle – and not a good one. Your emotions trigger you to overeat, you beat yourself up for ruining your diet , you gain weight, feel even more guilty, and then overeat again to try and make yourself feel better.

So, give yourself permission to feel angry, fearful, anxious, guilty, or exhausted. Invite those negative feelings in and accept them with kindness. Eventually, your body will come to understand that it no longer needs to comfort itself with food to protect you from your own emotions.

The truth is when you don’t try and suppress your feelings – even if they are painful – it will help you quit obsessing over your negative emotions. Your feelings will lose their power over you. You’ll learn to control your anxiety and deal with emotional problems in more constructive ways.

When you listen to and accept your feelings, you’ll discover what it is you truly need and then make necessary changes in your life.

Pause for a Moment

Take a moment to stop and reflect on why you want to eat. Tell yourself that you’ll put off eating for just five minutes. During that time, you’ll give yourself an opportunity to make a different choice than reaching for that bowl of ice cream.

Ask yourself how you’re feeling emotionally. Understand what is driving your need to eat and see if there is a better way to address your feelings. (See the section below for some ideas on positive ways to deal with negative emotions.)

However, if you still really, really want that bowl of ice cream, it may be better to indulge in moderation. As I learned from my experience as related in the beginning of this article, eating a bunch of veggies and rice cakes when you really want some chips or chocolate won’t work in the long run.

“Reach for something you don’t really want, and you’re likely to eat more of it because it isn’t satisfying,” explains Michelle May, MD, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. So, go ahead and indulge, but step away from that laptop, TV, or iPad, so you can focus fully on the treat you want to eat. Why? If you don’t take a moment to enjoy everything about it, “then the real reason you’re eating it won’t be served,” she says, and you’ll be more likely to give in to other high-calorie foods—not to mention more of them.

Even if you give into temptation and eat more than you should, you’ll understand better why you are turning to food and perhaps can respond differently the next time cravings hit.

Find Alternatives

junk-food-refuseOnce you understand the cycle of stress eating and some of your triggers, find other ways to fulfill yourself emotionally.

If you’re stressed out, turn on some favorite music and dance around the house. Take a brisk walk. Write in a journal. Do something creative like painting or scrapbooking. Practice deep breathing until you feel calm. Get outside and enjoy nature.

If you’re feeling depressed or lonely, call a good friend or family member, pet your dog or cat, or look through an old photo album. If you’re angry, practice the healing art of forgiveness. If you’re bored, plan your next trip or start filling your calendar with exciting events. If you’re exhausted, treat yourself to a soothing cup of tea or a long bath with scented candles.

It also helps to take positive steps to tackle issues that may be bothering you. For example, if financial problems are weighing you down, start implementing constructive strategies toward paying down debt or saving for retirement.

Keep in mind, negative emotions don’t typically last forever. Just because you are unhappy today doesn’t mean you’ll be unhappy tomorrow. But in the meantime, find alternative healthy and positive ways to deal with your feelings.

Pay Attention to What You Eat

Stay away from mindless eating and really appreciate your food.

In the grocery store, keep in mind the nutritional value of the food you’re buying and how it can help your body. Try some new healthy recipes. On Facebook, I discovered Skinnytaste and have been admiring all the great looking videos this woman posts. I definitely plan on trying out some of her recipes.

When you’re cooking, use all your senses to appreciate the aroma, texture, color, and even different sounds of the food as you cook them.

And when it’s time to eat, take time to enjoy your food fully. Take small bites, chew slowly and thoroughly, and appreciate all the ingredients and seasonings. You’ll be surprised at all the flavors that are released when you do so.

Start Each Day Anew

Finally, be kind to yourself. If you have a setback and indulge in emotional eating, start fresh the next day. Learn from your experience and plan on how you can prevent it from happening again. Focus on the constructive changes you’re making in your eating habits that will lead to better health.

And go ahead and indulge every once in a while. Just take the time to truly savor it.

So, there you go. Next time, I get the urge to stress eat, I’m following the steps I’ve outlined above. I’ll let you know how it goes. Today, I’m cleaning out my refrigerator and going to the grocery store for some satisfying healthy foods as a first step.

How about you? Join me and we can combat stress eating together!

Images courtesy of (in order of appearance) stockimages, Witthaya Phonsawat, and iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Election Stress: Faith Soothes the Soul

As I write my blog this morning after the election results, many people are anxious, confused, in an uproar, fearful of the future, and more divided than ever. The stock market is jumping around, people are protesting and venting all over social media, and the non-stop coverage is overwhelming.

As the Washington Post pointed out, “By now it has been well documented that this presidential election cycle has had a particularly negative effect on Americans’ mental health.” Feelings of discontent are consistent regardless of political party affiliation or ideology, the article added. Heated arguments between family and friends continue as people debate, celebrate, or mourn the election results.

Which makes this the perfect time to embrace your spiritual side.

believeAll the turmoil from this election year makes me more grateful than ever for my faith. I am thankful that my hope and trust rests – not on politics or election results – but on God and his wonderful promises for the future.

While others are suffering from “election stress disorder,” I am at peace.

As I wrote in a previous blog, the vast majority of studies show that spiritual people report higher levels of happiness and mental well-being. Why is that the case?

Faith consoles and comforts, promises positive outcomes during difficult times, and makes sense of a troubled world. By believing in something greater than themselves, spiritual people can stay positive in times of stress and foster resilience.

While I realize that not all of my readers may be Christian, for those of you searching for some soothing words during what has been a dismal year in politics, I would like to share a couple of my favorite Scriptures with those of you so inclined on this beautiful November morning:

“Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be anxious, for I am your God. I will fortify you, yes, I will help you, I will really hold on to you with my right hand of righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10

If you are looking for answers along with comfort and hope, if you so choose, you can click here to view a brief video, Why Study the Bible? for food for thought.

In addition to embracing your spiritual side, meditating, and praying, take some time for yourself. Don’t let fears and uncertainties rule your life. Take a walk, spend time with loved ones, take a deep breath, focus on positive thoughts, do something kind for someone.

And, yes, have faith.

Image courtesy of BJWOK at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The Ten Best and Worst States to Retire

My childhood friend was visiting me last month when she asked me, “Where do you want to retire?”

retirementWe both turn 56 this month, an age where boomers typically start dreaming about where they’d like to retire. Interestingly, we both reside in places known to be pretty popular for retirees.

My friend is from Asheville, North Carolina. She enjoys mountain biking in the scenic Great Smoky Mountains, the robust arts community – and since her late husband was a musician – she loves the live music scene that ranges from bluegrass to classical. Asheville consistently receives great rankings as a great place to retire for those reasons as well as its typically mild weather (with the exception of this year!) and unique art deco architecture. In fact, recently US News & World Report named Asheville one of “10 Best Places to Retire.”

My friend is currently retired and active in her volunteer work and she likes living in Asheville. However, she is considering whether that’s the spot she wants to settle in for good.

Me – I’m from the Palm Springs, California area, which has long been one of the most famous retirement communities. Snowbirds love this place with over 300 days of sunshine a year. Golfing, casinos, hiking, and cycling are popular activities. Places to shop and dine abound. In addition, a fairly strong economy and low unemployment rate make the Palm Springs area a popular destination for baby boomers and retirees.

But do I want to retire here? Not especially. Some people love the heat, but I’m not a fan of the long, hot summers with temperatures that exceed 115 degrees. However, I have time to consider my options. Like many boomers, retirement is nowhere in sight for me at the time being.

But of course, a girl can dream, right?

That’s why I found Bankrate.com’s survey interesting. It used six criteria to determine which states are the best and worst for retirees that included cost of living, taxes, health care, weather, crime, and residents’ overall well-being.

The results were surprising. Traditional retirement spots like Florida and California didn’t make the top 10 while other states, not usually considered as premier places to retire, like South Dakota and Wyoming, made the top five.

So, exactly what are the ten best and worst places to retire according to the survey and why?

The Ten Best States

Colorado came in at #3 as one of the best states to retire.

Colorado came in at #3 as one of the best states to retire.

Wyoming: Low taxes, a low cost of living, and a low crime rate puts this state in the top ten. The sheer beauty of this state is appealing with seven national parks, including the famous Yellowstone National Park, and plenty of expansive land to roam. In fact, Wyoming is the least populated state in the nation. Maybe that’s why this state scores so high in the well-being of its residents and is considered a “happy” place to retire.

South Dakota: This state scores high for its low taxes, living costs, unemployment rates, and crime rates. South Dakota offers a rugged retirement destination to those looking for new adventures, affordable housing, and a sense of seclusion. Nonetheless, South Dakota scored low for the well-being of its residents. Perhaps that’s, in part, because of its typically brutal winters and hot summers.

Colorado: What’s not to love? Gorgeous scenery with low taxes and living costs. Compared to the two states above, Colorado has fairly mild weather with few rainy days that is conducive to lots of outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and skiing. In fact, the latest U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Denver as the best place to live in the country. Colorado Springs ranked fifth.

Utah: This state made the list with its pleasant weather and abundance of natural attractions and activities for outdoor lovers. Housing costs, however, are higher in Utah than the national average as is the state’s overall tax rate. Utah has recently began  attracting retirees, mostly in the St. George and Park City areas.

Virginia: This state rated highest east of the Mississippi. A vibrant economy and plenty of historic destinations put it on Bankrate’s top five list. According to their study, Arlington is the best place to retire in the state and nearby Alexandria came in second.

These five states were followed by Montana for its temperate weather that ranks above the national average and residents reporting being happy with their gorgeous surroundings, 
Idaho
 for its affordable housing, low crime rate, and many natural treasures, Iowa for its quality health care system and low crime rates, Arizona for its great weather and high scores in well-being, and Nebraska with its relatively low cost of living and low crime rates.

It should be noted some of these states (South Dakota, Idaho, Arizona, and Utah) made the top 10 Kiplinger list which also included the states of Florida, Washington, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia on its top ten list of places to retire.

The Ten Worst States

New York was the worst state to retire in, according to Bankrate.com.

New York was the worst state to retire in, according to Bankrate.com.

New York: Known for its high cost of living and high taxes, this state also had the lowest well-being scores in the nation, especially on feeling a sense of satisfaction with their lives and where they live, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

West Virginia: While the state offers a low cost of living, natural beauty, and lots of activities, for the 6th straight year, West Virginia received the worst scores in the country for personal well-being by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. In addition, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality gave West Virginia its 7th lowest rating in the country for its high rates of hospitalizations for conditions such as hypertension, asthma and diabetes, as well as potentially avoidable hospitalizations for acute conditions.

Oregon: The state’s high cost of living and high taxes along with its stormy weather put this state as one of the worst places to retire according to Bankrate.com. However, it’s interesting to note that Portland, Oregon often tops lists of great places to retire with its beauty, ocean access, great food and wine, and lack of sales tax.

Arkansas: Arkansas received below-average marks for crime, health care and overall well-being. Arkansas has the 9th highest violent crime rate in the nation and the 6th lowest score for health care quality. The state struggles with hospital admissions for hypertension and diabetes, among other issues. Arkansas also received the 7th lowest happiness score in the nation among seniors, with especially low overall scores for physical and social health.

Louisiana: Unfortunately, one of the major problems with Louisiana, which also made last year’s list, is crime. The state recorded the 5th highest violent crime rate in the country in 2015, according to the FBI, and had a murder rate double the national average in 2014. In addition, The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality gave Louisiana the 2nd lowest score in the nation for health care quality.

Hawaii made number six. A lovely place to live except for the high cost of living. Honolulu is the 2nd most expensive place to live, ranking 2nd to New York City, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. Residents of Hawaii pay an individual income tax rate of 11% — the 2nd highest in the U.S. If you can afford it, however, this state ranks high for happiness and personal well-being.

That state was followed by Oklahoma whose state’s health care system ranked as the worst in the country, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Add a high crime rate and a low rating on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index. Alaska made the list for it’s a high cost of living, frigid temperatures in much of the state, and high crime rate. Connecticut ranked number nine due to its state’s income tax rate and property tax rate which are both 2nd highest in the country. Maryland rounded out the 10 worst states for retirement for its high cost of living and lofty tax rate which makes it hard for retirees living on a fixed income.

Where Should You Retire?

Where to retire is a deeply personal decision and you may not agree with this list. There are many things to consider.

For most people, retirement means less income, but more time to do what they enjoy. That means typically they are looking for a place with lower housing and living costs, good weather, opportunities for outdoor physical activities, cultural offerings, and volunteer work.

But there are other factors to consider too, for example, nearly a quarter said in the survey that being close to family is the most important factor in deciding where to retire. Other interesting findings from the Bankrate survey:

  • Three in five Americans want to spend their golden years in another city or state, but the desire to move away from home fades with age.
  • Women value a cheap cost of living more highly than men (59% vs. 43%).
  • Four in 10 Americans say locales with access to mountains, rivers and other outdoor recreation would be most appealing, while 25% prefer living near a beach.

In the end, you’ll have to consider all those factors before you put down roots. As Bankrate.com research and statistics analyst Chris Kahn said: “Warm weather may be an initial draw, but all the sunny days in the world won’t make you happy if you’re constantly stretching your budget or don’t have access to quality health care.”

True, true. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about retiring somewhere near an ocean with our sailboat docked in a marina. Or maybe some exotic land or a Caribbean island which are dancing around in my head. Why not? Like I said before, a girl can dream, right? And who knows where I’ll land? Only time will tell!

Where would you love to retire? Please share your dreams in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, J Frasse, and Troy Faulder at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

CURRENTLY Fall 2016 Blog Hop: How I’m Finding My Bliss

Back by popular demand: a new CURRENTLY Fall 2016 Blog Hop.

Along with some blogger friends, I’m sharing where I am currently in life, what I’m reading and watching and what I’m loving and dreaming about this fall.

Sit back, have a read, and check out some of my recommendations if you’d like. Then visit the other #Gr8Blogs listed at the end of this post for more Fall 2016 CURRENTLY inspiration.

*Reading…

book-glassesThe last book I read was All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. The novel caught my eye because of the unusual way it is told in reverse, going backwards in time.

As the book begins, the reader learns about Nicolette’s current life. She’s from a small town in North Carolina and escaped to Philadelphia, but returns home to take care of some family business. Nicolette is quickly pulled back into the mysterious disappearance of her best friend a decade before. Only days after her return, another girl goes missing. The plot thickens.

The novel was a bit confusing, but the story definitely kept my interest. My perspective and suspicions shifted drastically as I moved backwards in time. Not to brag, but I did guess the ending about a quarter way through the book, but maybe because I’m a writer who looks at plot lines very closely. Everyone I know who read this book was surprised by “who done it.” I’d give it four out of five stars.

*Watching…

Just finished Season Five of Longmire. If you haven’t seen this series, you’re missing out. Check it out on Netflix. I love, love it. Robert Taylor plays the charismatic sheriff and is supported by Katee Sackhoff (from Battlestar Galactica) and Lou Diamond Philips, who so marvelously plays my favorite character, Henry Standing Bear.

My husband and I also recently watched the Ron Howard documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, which covers their touring years from 1963 to 1966.

If you’re a baby boomer like me (or even if you’re not!), you’ll love the great footage of the Fab Four’s earliest – and most joyful and optimistic – performances. Howard provides a real feel for these four extremely close young friends on their exhilarating and crazy journey as Beatlemania kicked in and how it affected them.

beatlesThe first wave of baby boomers were reaching their teens and, as the documentary points out, there were more teenagers in the world during that time than any other age group. As you watch the footage, once again, you’ll be amazed by and wonder exactly what inspired such hysterical pandemonium – the massive shrill screaming, fainting, and weeping of completely obsessed girls. Not even The Beatles themselves could figure it out.

The four, only teens themselves when they were starting out, formed a special tight camaraderie. As the documentary shows, they lovingly looked out for each other, as the only ones on earth who truly knew what it was like to experience the insanity that ensued. In fact, The Beatles were so close that decisions had to be unanimous, Paul McCartney explained. That included their brave refusal to perform if the audience was segregated as was typically the case in the Deep South during the 60’s.

The documentary demonstrates brilliantly how the fame and chaos sadly took away The Beatles’ pure and innocent joy of performing their music. And no wonder. Suddenly it took hours to restore a semblance of order at their concerts, people were injured, and the band received death threats as a result of John Lennon’s remarks comparing the group’s popularity to Jesus. The lyrics from their song, “Help!” takes on new meaning in light of these events: “When I was younger, so much younger than today…And now my life has changed in oh so many ways.”

The Beatles swore off touring and went into the studio to experiment with their music a few days after they were forced to perform during a torrential rainstorm in an open-air stadium. Tour roadie Ed Freeman confesses in the documentary: “My job was to sit backstage with my hand on the plug and the instructions were: If anyone fell down, knocked out by the shock, then I would pull the plug and that would stop the show. It was a joke.”

I saw this documentary after attending Desert Trip which featured McCartney. Considering all the challenges this band faced in the past, it was good to see that he has rediscovered the joy of performing in front of a large audience once again.

A nostalgic must-see. The documentary is currently available on Hulu.

*Thinking About…

book-light-bulbMy next book.

As a professional writer, many people encouraged me to share my experiences as a full-time caregiver for my Mom who suffered from Lewy Body dementia (a cruel combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) to help other caregivers and family members with loved ones who have this debilitating disease.

At first, I couldn’t do it. The heartbreaking experience of watching my Mom rapidly deteriorate both physically and mentally before my eyes, the difficulty of taking care of her at the end when she began to lose all bodily functions, as well as her death were all too painful to relive.

Although it still won’t be easy, after a year and a half, I’m ready to tell my story and put all my feelings into words in honor of my dear mother who I loved more than life itself. She faced her disease courageously.

It is my hope that my experiences, my successes, and my mistakes can help other caregivers and all of those who are losing their loved one a little bit at a time like I did. I want to help them cope with the challenges, learn how to take care of themselves during this challenging time, and succeed with their noble and important role as a caregiver.

*Loving…

My God and my refuge, who saw me through the last few challenging years and continues to bless me in so many ways. My loving husband who has supported and loved me for more than 38 years. My children and grandchildren who bring me such joy.

family-visiting-chrisThe above photo of our family was taken at breakfast while visiting my youngest son and his wife who live up near Sequoia National Park. Later, we all visited Kings National Park – my first time there and it was gorgeous. Loved that quick weekend trip too!

*Anticipating…

I live in the California desert where we have long, long hot summers. November is the first month we’ll have temperatures that hopefully are no longer 90 degrees-plus. We planted our fall garden with the grandchildren last weekend. I’m looking forward to many pleasant evenings on the patio with a roaring fire, a good book, and a glass of wine. Also anticipating some relaxing time on our sailboat as the summer crowds at the beach die down and we enjoy our new slip in a quieter area.

*Wishing…

Still wishing for that trip to Africa and it looks like my lifelong dream may become a reality in the next year or so…stay tuned.

*Making Me Happy…

That I am privileged to live another day.

So there you go. Thanks for stopping by and sharing a bit of my life with me. For more Currently Fall 2016 inspiration, visit the #Gr8blogs below.

CURRENTLY Fall 2016 Blog Hop: Finding My Bliss

By Sondra Robbins Rymer

CURRENTLY Fall Blog Hop: Find Your Autumn Inspiration

By Cat Michaels

CURRENTLY Fall 2016 Blog Hop: Autumn Inspirations and Obsessions

By Auden Johnson

CURRENTLY Fall Bog Hop: Autumn Bliss

By Carmela Dutra

CURRENTLY Fall Blog Hop

By Corrina Holyoake

If you are so inclined, please share some of what’s inspiring you these days in the comments below.

Image courtesy of [in order of appearance] everydayplus, artur84, and Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Leisure Time at Home Makes Grandchildren Happy

Can’t afford that pricey vacation to Disney World with the children or grandchildren?

family-vacationA new study from Baylor University points out that family happiness is often found right at home.

If you’re a baby boomer like me, as a kid, you probably spent a lot of time at home eating family dinners, playing board games, and watching “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and “Wonderful World of Disney” every Sunday night.

But have you noticed that today’s exhausted families seem to be constantly on the run dashing from one destination to another?

Turns out our parents may have been on to something back in the day. Sure, it’s fun and exciting to go new places and create memories. But simply hanging around the house enjoying familiar activities also has its benefits.

In fact, this new study points out that leisure time spent at home may actually be a more effective way to foster true, long-lasting happiness.

“When the brain is focused on processing new information—such as taking part in an unfamiliar activity with unfamiliar people in a new location—less ‘brain power’ is available to focus on the family relationships,” lead author Karen K. Melton, PhD., assistant professor of child and family studies, said in a press release.

family-home-drawingIn other words, a quiet evening spent together participating in familiar activities inside the home – while reducing distractions such as cell phones – makes it easier to reap the emotional benefits of quality time together.

There’s another benefit too.

Family members can feel free to “express stress and conflict as well as pleasure during leisure time” if they’re at home, Melton added. This necessary and natural process of blowing off steam that can lead to solving family issues is something that probably won’t happen in public places where people are watching.

Although many experts recommend eating together and discourage watching TV, Melton said there is not a one-size-fits-all schedule for leisure activities that guarantees happiness.

“For some families, quality togetherness is having dinner together or playing games; for others, it may be hobbies, videos or TV, music,” she said. “At the end of the day, what matters is that we are social beings who crave a sense of belonging and connectivity.”

This idea also fits into studies that show children do well with regular, predictable, and consistent routines at home.

That’s good news both for parents and grandparents limited on time and resources.

If you’re a grandparent like me, that means when the grandchildren come to visit, you don’t have to feel the need to run out and do something new and exciting every day. Quit trying so hard, slow down, and enjoy simple activities at home with the children.

Want a few ideas of activities you can try out with your children or grandchildren at your house? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Read a favorite book and have your child or grandchild add his own twist for a unique ending.
  • Have some old-fashioned fun in the backyard. My grandchildren love to play “Eat it or Wear It” with various foods. Want something tamer and less gross? Try good ol’ Freeze Tag, Kick the Can, or Red Light Green Light. They’ll love it! Make an obstacle course. Or pick up a piece of rain gutter at the hardware store, add water and a soap “boat” and voila! You have a race track.
  • Grandma and Grandpa, show the kids some of your groovy moves during the disco era. Dim the lights and give each child a flashlight to turn on and off for that full disco effect. Break out your old Bee Gee, ABBA, and KC and the Sunshine Band albums. Or younger parents, share your favorite dance moves like the Sprinkler, The Macarena, or the Robot with MC Hammer or New Kids on the Block playing in the background. Or choreograph a dance routine to your kids’ current favorite songs.
  • Ready for some quiet time? Lie on a blanket outside and do some star gazing. Do a puzzle together. Make a shoe box dollhouse using cardboard, matchboxes, toilet paper rolls, and scrapbook paper (I spent countless hours doing this as a kid!). Remember string art and play dough? They still work like magic!
  • Kids love to perform. Hold a family karaoke night. Give out “awards” for the silliest performance, best duo, most dramatic voice, or best outfit. Make a “runway” out of folded blankets, play some music, and have a fashion show with exaggerated catwalks and poses. Try a comedy show complete with corny kids jokes, a puppet show based on the children’s favorite story, or a magic show displaying their favorite card tricks.

Save money and take the time to veg out at home. In the long run, your children or grandchildren may be happier!

Images courtesy of digital art and graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Desert Trip Rocks with The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney!

Talk about baby boomer bliss! “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” certainly did not apply to Desert Trip – a music extravaganza with rock legends The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters, and The Who.

desert-trip-paul-mcartney

The iconic festival was held this last weekend, October 7, 8, and 9, 2016, at the Empire Polo Club in Indio and I was thanking my lucky stars to be in the audience.

Oldchella

The Empire Polo Club in Indio Friday afternoon before the event began.

The massive grounds where the epic concert was held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Friday afternoon before the event began.

The lineup was every baby boomer’s dream team. Yeah, they made fun of us, dubbing the festival held on the same grounds as Coachella, “Oldchella.” Who cares? We baby boomers are embracing the title. This was a historical moment that has never happened before and may never be repeated again. It’s certainly a weekend I won’t ever forget.

Call it whatever you want. I blissfully and joyfully sang “Hey Jude” with Paul McCartney, as he took the lead cheerfully oozing charisma, with 75,000 other fellow humans in a massive chorus, waving our arms in unison. It was a magical awe-inspiring moment. (See the video under the Paul McCartney subheading below to get a glimpse of what that was like.)

Completely awe struck that I was actually listening and watching Sir Paul, the profound moment reminded me of the Beatles legacy of joy, hopefulness, peace and optimism that we all found so addictive when we were young – and still do during a turbulent time in the world.

Besides, some of the humor about Oldchella is downright funny. Ellen DeGeneres, a baby boomer herself at the age of 58, says, “It’s like Woodstock, but with prescription drugs.” 20161009_180415In a hilarious segment , she shows a chart comparing the Coachella with Oldchella:  “Coachella: You go because you’re excited to see your favorite band live. Old-chella: You go because you’re excited to see that your favorite band is alive.” Funny stuff.

There was even a pick-up and drop-off parking lot, an actual spot where middle-aged kids could drop off their gray-haired parents ready to boogie down til midnight and pretend they were back in the day.

Surprisingly – although there were tons of AARP eligible fans like me crossing off bucket lists – there were plenty of people in their 20s and 30s too. Even teens attended in their fringed and tie dyed shirts enjoying the hippy vibe. It was fun to see them experience the glory days of rock ‘n’ roll with such abandonment and enthusiasm – arms in the air and rocking out right along with us.

Second Weekend Tickets

The event repeats this weekend starting Friday, October 14, 15 & 16 and there are tickets available at reduced prices. I’ve seen prices on StubHub ranging from $139 for a one night pass and three-day passes for $225 in the grand stands.

desert-trip-lawnThis is quite a deal since prices for three day passes originally ranged from $399 for bringing chairs and sitting in the grassy area to $1,599 for the standing pit area directly in front of the stage. Thankfully the epic concert was held in my own backyard and I saved money on travel expenses and shuttles.

According to Billboard. Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones with their kids, Rob Lowe, Cindy Crawford, and James Spader were some of the big names that could be found in cushy areas in the grandstands and  in the mosh pit .

desert-trip-audience

Where the action was!

The elite crowd was not to be seen in the cheap seats where I sat with my family in the lawn area. In my opinion, it wasn’t a bad place to be with everyone on their feet singing, dancing, and whooping it up the entire time.

Attend the Concert Vicariously

If you’re unable to attend, I’m happy to share my incredible weekend with you including lots of photos and videos so you can live vicariously through my once-in-a-lifetime experience. Enjoy!

NIGHT ONE:

Bob Dylan

desert-trip-bob-dylanCall me unsophisticated, and some of you will be appalled, but I was never that into Bob Dylan. I respect the icon – he was just awarded the Nobel Prize in literature today. He is an iconic singer/songwriter, a spokesman for the baby boomer generation, culturally significant with his political, social, philosophical, and literary influence.

I enjoyed chilling to some of this influential musician’s songs with a few classics that included “Rainy Day Women.” The way he sang “Everybody Must Get Stoned” with a smirk at the age of 75 cracked me up.

But exciting, he was not.

desert-trip-scott-and-julie-nightFamous for being reclusive and, as a rule, refusing to be photographed, at first, he allowed his image to be displayed on the gigantic screens as he was seated at a piano so everyone could see him. But after a few songs, only black and white historic scenes played on the screens. (There was a rumor that this was due to a glitch, which is possible.)

Perhaps not surprising, there was no stage banter whatsoever. I can’t remember him saying anything to the crowds, in fact.

Nonetheless, when the Rolling Stones took the stage after Dylan, both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards called him their “opening act,” I gasped with the rest of the audience.

The Rolling Stones

rolling-stone-collageI was up on my feet singing and dancing when the crowd-pleasing Rolling Stones literally roared onto the stage with the energetic and fun “Start Me Up.”

Mick Jagger, not about to act his age, rooster strutted down the catwalk and gesticulated all over the stage with seemingly endless energy and stamina. Keep in mind this 73-year-old is still producing children.

His powerful voice led the way as Keith Richards with his blaze of white hair dangled a cigarette and played alongside with obvious joy and abandonment.

Don't say good-bye! Can't we start over and do it again?

Don’t say good-bye! Can’t we start over and do it again?

Their nonstop hits included “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (but I Like It)”, “Honky Tonk Women,” “Brown Sugar” and even the Beatle’s “Come Together. In honor of a forthcoming blues album, they treated us to one of the great songs, “Ride ‘Em Down.”

Unlike Dylan, Jagger chatted it up with the crowd and we were thrilled. At one point, he raised a guitar into the air and danced toward crowd: “If you know how to party, say, ‘Oh, yeah!'” We were more than pleased to comply.

Before I knew it, they were playing an encore of “Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Best concert ever!

Here’s a video of their opening song, “Start Me Up.”

NIGHT TWO

Neil Young

desert-trip-neil-youngPerhaps best known for his number one hit, “Heart of Gold,” Neil Young’s stage setup was unique with tepees and two women in plaid shirts and overalls walking the stage throwing seeds on the floor.

Songs included “Mother Earth” which included three men in hazmat suits acting as if they were spraying the grounds.

Neil Young is known for his explosive guitar skills, and “Down by the River” lasted about 20 minutes. Personally, the intense, loud, overpowering guitar lasted too long for my ears which literally hurt from the crashing sounds as Young shredded his well-worn guitar.

Maybe I am getting old.

Here’s Young’s famous Heart of Gold:

Paul McCartney

The rock legend was as warm, funny, personable, and delightfully enchanting as you would expect. I couldn’t quit thinking in disbelief – I get to see a Beatle! How lucky am I?

desert-trip-paul-and-neil-duoHe fired up the crowd with the classics “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Jet” and “Can’t Buy me Love.”

Then he took a moment to look out at the massive stadium with people as far as the eye could see. “This is cool to be here, right?” the 74-year-old star asked. “I’m going to take a moment here to drink this all in for myself.”

Although McCartney treated us with many of the classic Beatle songs, he also included the newer “My Valentine” he dedicated to his wife, Nancy. It was their anniversary the next day, he said. A little oddly, but sweet at the same, he next performed “Maybe I’m Amazed,” and dedicated it to his late first wife, Linda.

McCartney shared interesting and funny stories for our entertainment. For example, he explained that “Blackbird” was inspired by the civil rights movement – something I never knew. The funniest moment was when McCartney told us he knew which songs we liked because the masses raised their cell phones when he played classic Beatle songs. “When we play one you don’t know it’s like a black hole,” he said.

desert-trip-fireworksMcCartney brought Neil Young back on stage for three duos, including the raucous, bluesy  “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” According to legend, the song was written after McCartney saw two monkeys doing the deed on a road in India,  The song fit perfectly with Young’s rowdy guitar.

Oh, how I hate to say this, but McCartney’s voice did quiver just a bit during a few of the slower songs at the top of his tenor range, You’ll have to believe me that It didn’t matter one bit. McCartney still rocked the concert, made his sophisticated melodies seem easy, and his falsetto was pure as ever.

Before we knew it, “Live and Let Die” was accompanied by a spectacular explosion of flames, lasers, and fireworks as McCartney pounded the keyboard. Then the magical moment of Hey Jude (don’t miss the video below for both those numbers that gave me goosebumps!) Graciously, he performed three encore songs, staying on the stage for almost three hours. We loved every minute.

As promised, here’s the video of the magical moments – Live and Let Die is followed by Hey Jude:

NIGHT THREE

The Who

Pete Townshend’s signature windmill move as he strums the guitar and Roger Daltrey’s famous microphone cord swing were still intact as they sang their famous hits like “My desert-trip-the-whoGeneration,” “You Bet,” “Who Are You?” and “Pinball Wizard.”

Looking back on the band’s American breakthrough with “I Can See for Miles,” Townshend said, “Roger and I are so glad to be out here at our age.”

So were we!

He went on to express appreciation for all the young fans in front of him. “You young ones, we love you for coming to see us,” he said. “It must be pretty tough out there for the old ones. Why don’t you make a little chair for them, and they can sit down and rest.”

I’d be offended, except for the fact that Townshend is 15 years older than I am!

In their finale, their 1970s anthem, “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” Daltrey nailed his famous big scream, to bring their set to a rousing close. Enjoy the video!

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd

deesert-trip-roger-watersThe night turned political when Roger Waters took the stage using it as a pulpit to express his feelings about the election, Trump, and Israel’s occupation in Palestine.

During his performance of “Another Brick in the Wall,” school-age children came onstage wearing T-shirts that read, “Derriba el muro” — Spanish for “Take down the wall.”

20161009_233100His set included classics like “Money,” Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” and “Wish You Were Here.”

He closed out the festival with his famous inflatable pig floating above the audience. This one had Trump’s face painted on the side with the words “ignorant, lying, racist, sexist pig.” Just in case you somehow failed to make the connection, the big screens flashed “Trump is a pig.”

Helpful Hints:

If you’re lucky enough to attend the second weekend here are a few tips:

Slightly excited to be there!

Slightly excited to be there!

  • Don’t come too early. It is still hot here in the California desert. The first day, my husband, my sister and I got there when the gates opened at 2:00 p.m. to stake out our seats. It was 98 degrees and the mile hike from day parking made me sick. Hardly anyone was there – and there wasn’t a huge difference in the grass section. However, don’t come too late either – the traffic and lines to get in can become annoying. About 4:00 is a good enough time to arrive in my opinion. If you do get there early, the photography exhibition has air conditioning and couches.
  • Again, it’s hot here. Use sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and put a wet bandanna around your neck to stay cool.
  • The combination of cigarette smoke, pot fumes, dust, and grass was not pleasant. Some people wore a paint mask, scarf or bandanna over their face. Not a bad idea, especially if you have any respiratory issues.
  • Thankfully, my son who has attended Coachella, warned me not to tighten your wristband too tight, because you can’t loosen it afterwards.
  • The lines for food and drinks in the grandstand areas on the side were longer and the staff unorganized. Eat and drink in the rear in the Twelve Peaks/General Admission area where the food is better and the lines shorter.
  • Some of the bathrooms were air conditioned, some not. Look for the AC ones – whatever you do, do not use the outhouses! (Unlike Coachella, we have this option. Catering to us older folks, I guess!)

Let’s Do It Again!

Three nights getting home around 2:00 a.m. is killing me this week. I don’t consider myself old at 55, but I ain’t exactly 20 anymore either. There’s definitely some recoup time involved.

Still worth it!

We baby boomers are a hardy bunch. There was a lot of discussion about the possibility of another event and who could perform.

My top choices: Elton John, Billy Joel, the Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac. Who would your dream team be? Please share in the comments below!

Posing in front of the Rolling Stones poster after the concert sadly ended.

Posing in front of the Rolling Stones poster after the concert sadly ended.

A big thanks to my husband, Scott Gorges, my son, Jonathan Gorges, and my sister, Joanie Hacker, who contributed photos and videos to make this post awesome!

Spreading Joy with Inspirational Messages

Are you tired of all the bad news lately? Seems like every time I turn on the TV there is another mass shooting. Then there’s the upcoming election news with all the nasty insults flying and disheartening debates.

Looking for the perfect uplifting anecdote? I read about a fun trend that is SkyROCKeting (hint,hint) across the country.

I found out about this motivational movement in an article about Hannah Barnes. She is 19 years old, lives in Texas, and is battling stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She endured six rounds of chemotherapy.

rocks-laughingBarnes and her cousin were on vacation in Houston and heard about a rock painting trend. People were hand painting stones with inspirational messages and hiding them in public places. Those lucky enough to find the painted rocks either relocated them or made their own to replace it.

They decided to start the tradition in their own community with a “Wilbarger County Rocks” Facebook page. Members post pictures of rocks they’ve found or plan to hide for others to locate.

The two young women claim that the creative act of painting a rock with an inspirational message and hiding it for someone else to find is downright therapeutic. The process took their mind off of negative things as they envisioned the looks of delight as their rocks were discovered.

The good news is that Barnes recently found out she is cancer free.

This idea is marvelously simple and some of the stories behind the movement are touching. The goal is to brighten someone’s day and spread a little happiness, love, and inspiration. Those that participate say the small gesture can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

painted-rocksThink of a less dangerous and more artistic version of Pokémon Go. Or a less complicated type of geocaching. The trend connects people and encourages them to explore their communities without a Smartphone. More like a treasure hunt.

A similar Facebook group was created by Cathy Tomko and Connie Quatermass in Kitsap County, Washington. Quatermass tells the story of how a man with cancer was on his way to a cardiologist appointment when he found a rock painted with a heart. The man was on his way to get his heart checked before beginning treatment. He received good news about his heart and says he’ll be carrying the rock in his pocket during his treatments.

Love it.

Ironically, it seems the rock painting trend began with a tragedy in Oregon. Susan Dieter-Robinson and Tom Robinson got married and their daughters, Anna Dieter-Eckerdt and Abigail Robinson, glued fabric in the shapes of hearts to rocks as decorations for the wedding. Tragically, the two girls were later killed in a hit-and-run crash. Their parents began painting and distributing similar rocks to honor the girls’ memory. In 2014, they launched the Love Rocks Facebook page.

So began a tradition that began spreading to other communities across the country.

Of course, many of these groups have some simple rules. That includes keeping artwork and comments positive and G-rated so children can participate and being respectful of private property, national and state parks, cemeteries, and businesses.

If you want to give this trend a try, you can use acrylic paint found in craft stores or Sharpies. Spray your rocks with a clear gloss spray paint to protect paint from the weather. Community rock groups are easily set up on Facebook if you’re so inclined.

good-job-stickerMessages can be short and simple: Don’t give up. You’re Amazing. Unleash Your Silly. You Are Brave. Live Your Dreams. Take a Moment and Breathe. Create. You Rock. Imagine. Forgive. Thrive. Stop and Smile. Pray. Dance in the Rain. Nurture Hope. Stay Curious. Believe. Be Fearless. Find Joy. Give Freely. Live in the Moment. Laugh Loudly. You Are Enough. Be Blissful. Seek Adventure. Take the Next Step. Let it Go. Relax. Try Something New. You’ve Got This. Have a Grateful Heart. Give Someone a Hug. Take a Chance.

If painting rocks isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other simple ways to brighten someone’s day.

Write down positive quotes and place them in library books for someone to find. Leave a workmate a compliment on a sticky note. Write a love note on the shower door for your spouse to discover. Etch a positive message in the sand. Put a love note in a lunch box for your child to read at school.

I’m sure you can come up with some ideas of your own. Just brighten up someone’s day!

Images, in order of appearance, courtesy of suphakit73, BJWOK, and David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.