Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Helpful Tip - Medicare Physician Search

Phone rings. I recognize the phone number, answer, and not one for lengthy conversations, I say,

“Hi, Mom. What’s going on?”

And mom, equally one to not mince words, says,

“I need to find a new gynecologist. I just got a letter from my old one saying that she no longer accepts Medicare assignments. It’s so frustrating. I guess the doctors are receiving less from the government and because of the considerable paperwork as well as the lower payments, some docs are opting out of Medicare.” She continues to grumble, “I don’t blame them. Everyone’s got to earn a living. But I’d rather be bowling, playing cards, or watching 'Everyone Loves Raymond' than figuring out what to do and where to go.”

I’m not ready for Medicare yet but I am familiar with the angst accompanying the search for a new doctor when I relocated to a new city just 4 years ago.

It would only make sense, I reasoned (even with my recurrent skepticism about government efficiency), for the U.S. government to supply an up-to-date directory of Medicare-accepting physicians. So to my surprise and dismay and delight and whatever, I discovered the Medicare Physician Search.

When I supplied my lovely 88-year old, computer-literate widowed (but currently available for friendships and dating) mother with this site, she called me brilliant, resourceful, and all kinds of good things (very ego-gratifying, I might add).

As our conversation came to a close, I moved on to a more favorable topic,
“Well, Mom, tell me again how magnificent your great-grandchildren are.”

Then we talk endlessly about how happy Jonah is, how big Asher is, how sweet-natured Nicole is, and how bright Haley is. Did I ever tell you how much I love to talk on the phone?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gold Fever: Golden Websites for 50+ers

When I was knee-high, I went to my best friend’s house to explore his backyard. When I returned home, my dad asked what I had in my bulging pockets.

“Gold. I found them in the hills behind Bobby’s house” I replied proudly as I l laid the rocks on our kitchen table, thinking of all the possibilities (most of which included toys) this could bring. Dad looked over my stash.

“Susie," he said, "The only gold in that backyard is Bobby.” My bubble burst wide open.

After more than ½ century of venting, I’ve returned to digging...but this time I hit the jackpot!

Check out a few of my favorite websites for baby boomers and seniors ("Golden Weblinks"):

  • provides clear and concise senior health information.

  • Fisher Products supplies ample specifics, often accompanied with photos, about many different sorts of home health care products.

  • At HOMEMODS.ORG you will find plenty of resources to help you create a safe environment at home.

  • shares 8 games loved by seniors which you can purchase at a discount.

Monday, December 17, 2007

When the Dog Eats Your Slippers...or worse!

1ST SCENARIO - You’re sitting in your recliner on a cold, winter day, watching Gone With the Wind, warmed by the old afghan and the burning embers in the fireplace. You have a craving for a cup of hot chocolate and lower your feet to the floor expecting to slip into your warm, fuzzy slippers. The right foot slips in easily but the left foot finds only the cold floor. You scan the room and notice Sadie with her back to you occupied on her new comfy Costco doggie bed. You stand to view the object of Sadie’s attention.

2ND SCENARIO - You wake up before dawn one morning. You’re dressed in your flannel pjs and sneak out of the house to retrieve your newspaper on the dewy lawn. Little did you know that the neighbor’s German Shepherd had already been there.

3RD SCENARIO - You’re hunting for your slippers, which were last seen under the kitchen table. You find them next to the twin grandkids’ toy box. You notice that Emily and Jacob had securely tucked their dripping sippy cups into each slipper.

THE SOLUTION: You flick on the computer and search for your next pair of slippers: Only Slippers has “Old Friend Step-ins”, 100% Australian sheepskin handcrafted slippers with an adjustable opening, ideal for indoor or outdoor use. Only slippers carries even hard-to-fit sizes.

Another great user-friendly website is Foot Smart, you find slippers, even for sensitive feet, by brand or by style. Check out the socks/hosiery, foot aids, and gifts.

Zappos sorts their footwear by popularity, brand, and price. In addition to being a member of the Better Business Bureau, they offer free shipping both ways, with a 110% price protection, and a 365-day return policy.

Now, get back to your movie. And if you’re anything like me, you wonder how Scarlett O’Hara could ever prefer Ashley Wilkes over Rhett Butler!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Who are "They" Anyway ?

Did you ever wonder about the “They’s” of this world, how they sit in judgment of everything we do, how it’s impossible to please a “they”?

“Well, dear, they’re all getting the new iPhone.”

“That’s what they’re saying.”

“They say you have to do it this way.”

“They say it’s a good movie.”

I, for one, have had it with the “They’s. What are we anyway--a bunch of lemmings following the “they’s” down the trail of ordinaryhood?

Whatever happened to logic, trusting in your own judgment, and chocolate chip cookies?(Everything sounds better with chocolate!)

Use your good old-fashioned common sense as a 50something, and know I'm working on compiling a resource to give boomers and seniors resources in one easy-to-use place (at —except chocolate chip cookies, of course. :)

Soon "they" will be "we" - WE will all be a part of the community!

I welcome any boomer resources and tips - please post your ideas!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

50something Book suggestions

After reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, I can’t imagine a better story than that. But Mom, the insatiable reader of West LA, the queen of dollar hardbacks, assures me that A Thousand Splendid Suns is EVEN BETTER.

I have little time to read these days. I squeeze in bits and pieces of chapters just before bedtime.

But it wasn’t that long ago when everything fell by the wayside when I got absorbed in a book. I’d stay up all night reading. I’d carry my book everywhere in the event that I’d have to kill time. Honestly, I’d be tempted to read even while I was having a phone conversation (but I won’t say with whom). And meals? Well, they could wait, couldn’t they?

I really like blood and guts mysteries—the Tess Gerritsen type. But I learned not to buy the 2 books-in-one volume because neither story is as good as her usual fine writing.

The Lovely Bones was one of those I-can’t-put-it-down books. How often do you get to see a story through the eyes of a dead person?

The Red Tent: A Novel made the biblical story of Leah, Rachael, and Jacob come alive. Growing up I never put a personality to each of these characters. Now I think of them as real people with real problems.

Hirsi Ali’s Infidel tells without restraint about her traditional Muslim childhood including female mutilation. This is a must-read nowadays.

Waking Up: Climbing Through the Darkness, memoirs by my cousin Terry Wise (names have been changed), should be required reading. You couldn’t begin to fathom what a brilliant wit Terry has (it makes me wish she and I shared the same DNA) by reading the book because the topic, suicide, is so tragic. She effortlessly writes from both sides of the psychologist’s desk, giving the reader both perspectives. And the best part of it is that we get to watch her transform into a brave and compassionate woman as she faces each of her demons.

Danielle Steele books? I stay away from them. Too predictable—woman is deeply, passionately in love with her soulmate. Something awful happens to soulmate, then a painfully lot of agony, and finally woman finds another soulmate. (Come on--can you really have more than one soulmate in a lifetime? I thought there was a moratorium against this. Maybe Danielle knows something I don’t.)

It is obvious that Philippa Gregory researches her subjects well before writing about them. The reader is instantly transported into another century. I’ve enjoyed every book but The Other Boleyn Girl has remained my favorite so far. That King Henry VIII had quite a harem. These days you could be facing the death penalty or worse (divorce) for all that he did under the guise of royalty. History would be so much more appreciated if it were taught in the form of historical fiction.

And finally, you’d have to be comatose if you couldn’t comprehend the hardships pioneer homesteaders endured or the despair rampant in Depression-era households by reading deceased author Barry Broadstreet’s collection of eye-witness stories. Rarely have I found tales so riveting.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Being "Good" to being a "Best" Boomer

I love mom and dad. Really I do. But I’ve always wondered about one thing: When they escaped the frigid prairies of Canada to settle in sunny California, why did they leave behind their perfectly respectable surname?

After all, is “Good” any better than their former “Finegood”? And if they’re going to shorten the name, why not use “Fine”? After all, “Fine” has significantly better connotations than just plain “Good.” Finally, if Dad’s upholstered furniture factory had been named “Fine Furniture,” instead of “Good Furniture,” couldn't he have been able to up his prices?

Growing up with the “Good” name made me feel rather ordinary except when some people would, at my expense, mindlessly play on the words— “Are you really Good?” “How Good are you? “Shouldn’t your name be ‘Bea Good’?”

But I was one of those overachievers who always pushed herself to be better, just a pitbull-like tenacity that refused to quit. Sometimes I reached “Better” but rarely “Best.”
Until now.

I’ve researched nonstop to create the best senior and baby boomer directory, one that would surpass anything out there.“What gall,” you say? “She dares to enter that inner sanctum of ‘Best’? On her first try, she bypasses ‘Good’ and even ‘Better’?”

“Yup, the best so far,” I claim, "because this website will never be finished. I will constantly be adding, editing, and deleting.", the best senior and baby boomer website. Look no further. Soon you’ll know why.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ms. 50-something enters the blogosphere

Hello Boomers and Seniors! This is my first step into the web world and blogosphere and here's my story:

I remember redeeming my Blue Chip stamps for a ping-pong table.

I wish I had the exact recipe for my family's Blum’s coffee crunch cake.

I curled my hair to make it straight.

We took Sunday drives.

I loved strawberry flavor straws.

I went to Ohrbach’s and Woolworth’s.

Then I graduated high school, attended UCLA for a bachelors and graduate degree (and got married somewhere in-between), had a baby, worked as a librarian, operations manager, and office administrator, had another baby, greeted my baby’s baby, and eventually started to develop my own website,

I am building because I couldn't find all the information online that relates to me, my generation (and our wants/needs) in one great place.

When I got frustrated searching the web for resources and information with little luck in finding ONE great resource, my librarian skills kicked in and I started compiling data, LOTS of data for boomers and seniors. I started my 50-something blog to voice my stories, experiences and great boomer/senior tips during and after my website gets built (stay tuned as I blog about all the geek-speak I am learning while I build my website!)

Here's to being a fabulous 50something...and if anyone has a personal recipe for Blum’s coffee crunch cake, I'm all ears (correction - I'm online now...all eyes)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Super Grandma Day 11-18-07

5:00 Sunday morning. Haley pulls open the blinds and looks out.

“It’s morning, Grandma, can we watch a show?”

“Sure, Haley, which one do you want?” I reach down to the floor where I stashed the remote.

“Charlie and Lola.”

Ok. I figure that if I put it on and hide under the covers I can drown out the light and sound except that Haley is in the mood for some friendly conversation and activity.

I then have a bright idea (maybe Bob is up).

“Haley, why don’t you check to see if Grandpa is up?”

Ok. She heads towards the door to the living room and for some reason has trouble opening it. Oh please, Haley, I think to myself. Try harder. I’m still warm and cozy on my mattress on the floor.

She gets the door open and comes back to our room.

“Grandma, it’s spooky out there.”

“Oh” (trying to sound as if I’m not really there).

She goes back and turns on the light, searches the house, and reports that Grandpa isn’t there.

On goes Charlie and Lola.

Haley resumes (from the day before) her pattern of jumping from the bed onto MY mattress, climbs up the chair and crosses it to the dresser where she jumps onto MY mattress and flings her body onto the bed.

I figure that if I curl myself up into a Grandma-ball, I can evade the 1st plop and just squeeze by the second one, thereby sneaking in a few more Zzzz’s—a not totally relaxing rest but better than nothing.

“Grandma? Grandma. I’m hungry.” Knowing Bob is probably on his walk or headed out early to join Brent, our son, for their annual Thanksgiving dinner shopping, I reluctantly get up and prepare the ritual Cheerios, milk, and whipped cream.

“Grandma. Grandpa always puts a little extra whipped cream on my finger.”
“Ok,’ I tell Haley, in my half-comatose state, “Roll up your sleeve.” I start at the elbow and end the whipped cream at the tip of one little finger. Then I shuffle back to bed, hoping that Bob would miraculously appear.

She finishes her whipped cream and comes back into the bedroom for more jumping.

I guess rest is something that’ll just have to wait.

Some more Charlie and Lola, some “The Little Princess,” some discussion about mean Miss Minchin, some argument about Lotte, Emily, and Lavinia, some more talk about Sara’s dad, the war, the bandages on his face, and what happened to Miss Minchin at the end.

“Haley, would you like to see ‘Bee Movie’?”

“Yes, grandma, when?”

“Well, if we hurry, we can make the 12 o’clock showing.”

Haley puts on her clothes OVER her pjs and is ready in a jiffy. Grandma slips into jeans, Uggs, and a sweatshirt, washes face, brushes teeth, combs hair, and we are off.

At the shopping center, Haley decides she really doesn’t want to walk so Grandma carries Haley, an extra jacket, and what-the-heck—blankie too (probably her first movie so she deserves a chance).

Pulling out my credit card and ID plus signing the receipt one-handed was an interesting but achievable predicament.

Then inside, there’s the refreshment counter. Haley spies the popcorn. “Grandma, can we have popcorn?”

“Sure.” Another contortion, the money’s out and the popcorn’s in hand. Then I put Haley down (big mistake). Haley is now at eye-level with the candy.

“Grandma, can we have some of this?”

“No, Haley, maybe later.”

Hand-in-hand I walk and Haley skips to the ticket-taker, who is indifferent to us as he’s sketching a car at his podium. He takes our tickets and instructs us to go past all the M&M and other candy machines (yeah, right) to the last theater.

We go in. It’s dark. The trailers are on. We get to a row we can
both agree on. Haley doesn’t like the trailers. “Too spooky,” she
says as she squats to the ground.

When the movie begins, Haley sits for maybe half a second taking blankie and putting her 2 seats over (I imagine the scene when we get home and have forgotten blankie.) I eye blankie all the time until Haley is distracted and I can put blankie next to me. A few
moments later, “Where’s blankie? I lost blankie.”

“No, Haley, I have blankie here.” She takes blankie and puts it 2 seats away again.

The popcorn was safely between my legs. We were both grabbing handfuls and stuffing it into our mouths. Then Haley wants to hold the popcorn. She only spilled once but I retrieved the bag mostly in tact. Haley watched the movie briefly as she generously gave me handfuls of popcorn.

As the movie was getting more exciting (about 3 minutes into it), she started kicking the seat in front of her occupied by a little kid. I whispered, “Haley, you can’t do that.” She stopped. But then she decided to see what may be interesting towards the end of the row, walking back and forth. Ah, an old (probably 25 or so) lady to hang over. She munched her popcorn and leaned on the lady’s seat. I squatted down and retrieved her and tried to explain theater
etiquette to deaf ears. I added the “the rules of the theater are” to sound more ominous.

We moved our seats two more times, Haley pacing back and forth along the row and me motioning to her to come back.

“Grandma, I have to go.”

I knew it was useless to make her wait so with Haley in hand along with blankie, extra jacket, and unfinished popcorn, we went down the long hallway (past the M&Ms) to the front of the theater where the bathroom was. Haley took a small stall.

“Oh, no, Haley, let Grandma help you.”

“But I can do it myself.”

“Let’s go to a bigger stall so Grandma can help you.” A little more convincing and we were in the handicapped stall, I was adjusting the paper seat cover (why do we need that?), and lifting Haley onto the seat. Finally, a quick wipe (always up, I say) and off to the too-high sink. I wash my hands, wipe them and then lift Haley up for her to do the same. She finds the paper towels and dries her hands and then it’s the trek back to the theater.

I cleverly direct Haley to the 2nd to last row where no one is in front of us. Haley resumes her pacing and ends up in an aisle (yes, an aisle!) at the middle of the theater. There she stands to watch the movie only this time she is standing in front of and blocking the view of a mommy who has a kid on her lap.

Leaving precious blankier, I make my way over to Haley and guide her back to our seats.

“Haley, would you like to go?”

“Yes, Grandma.”

So after about 45 minutes into the movie, we are making our way back home.