Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Get Financial Help With AARP's Money Tools

Someone at AARP is really on his/her toes. AARP has provided everyone (even those kids under 50) with the best financial calculators I've seen this side of the Rocky Mountains.

There are the budgeting and spending calculators: Home budget calculator and Credit card payoff calculator.

The retirement calculators include: Retirement calculator, Pension plan retirement options calculator and Required minimum distributions calculator.

Check out the housing calculators that include: Mortgage payoff calculator, Reverse mortgage calculator, Mortgage refinance calculator and Rent vs. buy home calculator.

For investing, go no further than: Compare investment fees calculator, Investment return calculator and Fixed annuity calculator.

Finally, for insurance, see the: Life insurance calculator, Disability insurance calculator and the HSA vs. Traditional health plan calculator.

For more on money check out 50somethinginfo.com directory listing on Money. Here you'll find listings for:
Banks and Banking
Public and Private Benefits
Financial Planning
Money Management
Personal Finance
Retirement Accounts

Saturday, June 27, 2009

American Art

Eye Level, the blog by members of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, covers American art and the ways it reflects American history and culture.

Just recently one blogger commented on a current exhibition at the Smithsonian entitled "1934: A New Deal for Artists" (see the slide show of the exhibit). He connected the subject of a painting on the New York subway (particularly a woman applying lipstick) to dancer and choreographer Martha Graham's depiction of her life in New York where she inwardly debated daily whether to buy lunch or take public transportation home (her money granted her one wish).

The painting of the barber shop reminds me of the other day when I took my World War II veteran friend, Richard, downtown for the day. We visited a barber shop not unlike the one in the painting.

I guess some things don't change much. Thank goodness.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Hero, the Pomegranate

No, I'm not a nutritionist or even a dietitian. Not even close. As a matter of fact, I've abused my body by eating crap for as long as I can remember. But I'm getting older and perhaps a wee bit wiser so I'm tuning into everything that can promote health rather than sabotage it.

Take the all-purpose pomegranate, for instance.

The pomegranate has been used medicinally since ancient times. Researchers have found that this delicious fruit has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

This means that the fruit helps fight cancer cells, lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar levels.

Excuse me while I head to the grocer.

For more on diet and nutrition and everything for 50+ persons (there are a LOT of us!), check out this site.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Guess Who's in the Blogging Business? The U.S. Government!

Everyone is blogging these days, right? After all, little ole me got on the bandwagon, so how about the rest of you? By responding to most of the blogs listed below, your voice may be heard as far as our nation's capital.

How, you ask? Drum roll...........The U.S. government is getting into blogging. Big time.

The ASY (American Supports You) Live Blog, an extension of the Department of Defense, highlights citizen and corporate support of our troops.

The Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blogs about injury and violence prevention.

Discuss U.S. foreign policy with senior State Department officials on Dipnote.

Learn about energy efficiency and renewable technologies at home, on the road and in the workplace at Energy Savers.

Gov Gab's 7 bloggers share practical, useful tips and information to help you make life a little simpler. Learn about saving gas, smart shopping, checking your credit report, etc.

The Middle Class Task Force works with federal agencies to study key issues facing the middle class (the under-represented class, asserts Car-Man).

Have something to say about our cherished land? Check into National Parks or Take Pride in America.

Learn from and dialog with Peace Corps volunteers.

Finally, if you want to converse with the White House, go not further than the White House Blog. Lend your insights, experience and expertise to improve the government and strengthen democracy by visiting White House Open Government Blog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Breakfast Advice Again

It's the mom in me rearing its logical head again.

Evidence continues to prove that if you eat early in the day, the number of calories you consume overall are fewer during the remaining hours.

Eating carbohydrates and protein for breakfast helps you lose weight and/or keep the weight off. You're less likely not only to be hungry before lunch but also to crave those less healthy carbohydrates elsewhere.

Protein, studies have found, creates a feeling of being full throughout the day.

So if you're looking for ways to get back to your slimmer figure, pick up one of these at breakfast time:

Whole grain cereal with low-fat milk and fruit
Whole grain bread with peanut or almond butter
Hard-boiled egg and fruit
Light yogurt and fruit
Turkey, hummus or low-fat cheese sandwich on whole grain bread
Leftovers from last night's dinner if it included lean protein, veggies and whole grain starch.

Then watch the pounds come off.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Getting enough sleep is more difficult as you age and wreaking havoc on your health. Real Age asserts that poor sleep has been linked to accidents, falls, depression and even heart disease. Take their Sleep Health Assessment to find out what's preventing your getting the right number of zzzz's.

How can you get a more restful sleep? Below are some of their suggestions:

1. Think about things positive and quiet like a warm, quiet, sunny beach.

2. Jot down your worries or how you're feeling.

3. Warm those feet by doing toe curls or donning a pair of socks.

4. Practice relaxation.

5. No caffeine after lunch.

6. No alcohol within 6 hours of bedtime.

7. Don't watch tv before going to bed.

8. Don't go to be hungry or after a big meal.

9. Don't go to bed before you are sleepy.

10. Don't exercise too close to bedtime.

Check out what 50somethinginfo.com has to recommend. You'll find out how sleep changes in older adults and the foods that help you sleep. You'll be able to watch sleep videos or even ask a sleep doctor about your particular situation.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

D-Day: Real Heroes

I wandered onto Cabrillo Boulevard opposite the ocean hoping to get a glimpse of the D-Day activities at the Veterans Memorial Building.  

Parked in front were a World War II-vintage jeep, truck and tank.  I photographed them all including some awestruck onlookers who questioned the 2 military posted on the tank.

I noticed a gentleman wearing his WWII veteran baseball cap and while I asked him about his experiences (in the Pacific), we were interrupted with an announcement that the program and luncheon would about to begin.  

Richard L. Long asked if I was attending and when I said that I didn't have reservations, he took my arm and said as we headed up the stairs, "Well, you're going now!"

Representatives of consulates for Great Britain, Canada, and France spoke.  Mr. John Blankenship, Retired U.S. Major Robert Forties, David Gonzales, and the Reverend Dr. Charles C. Griffin recognized D-Day participants and all other World War II military and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, Allied national anthems, and an invocation.

I was both touched and honored to be in the company of such heroic men.    I felt an urgency that the stories these men shared should be experienced and cherished by more than the couple hundred people present.  

We watched an emotional D-Day film which incorporated parts of the "The Longest Day" and "Saving Private Ryan."   

Finally, the entire auditorium assembled at the front of the building to observe a fly over by vintage aircraft.  

Thank you, Mr. Long, for sweeping me into one of the most beautiful and powerful experiences of my life.   I suspect we have a many stories ahead of us.   

For more on veterans benefits and to find out everything essential to over-50 year olds, check out 50somethinginfo.com.  

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Low Back Pain: Almost a Universal Problem

Low back pain is almost a universal problem which usually disappears after a few days.  The causes of nonspecific back pain are basically unknown but it is agreed that you are more likely to suffer from it as you get older.

Weak back and abdomen muscles combined with a lack of exercise contribute to the aches and pains. But so does depression and stress.  According to the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter (May, 2009), "...depression, money problems, and high-stress jobs are risk factors for back pain, along with being laid off and such crises as divorce or illness in the family."

What you can do:
1. Try ice or heat or both.
2. Try over-the counter pain relievers.
3. Bed rest for only 1-2 days.  Then resume walking and other activities.
4. Stay on your side with a pillow between your knees when lying down.
5. Exercise regularly.
6. Try movement therapies and a professional massage.

Call your doctor if you think you have injured your back.  For more information, see 50somethinginfo.com.