Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Organic, The Way To Go

Sustainability: Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs

If you and I patronize the companies and farmers who practice sustainability, we are sending them a powerful message: we don't want to buy products that come at too high a cost to the earth.

When you grow or buy organically, you are preserving farming the way it was done for thousands of years--without man-made chemicals or genetic tampering.

Buying for sustainability doesn't have to have a major impact on your finances. You can make your own cleaning agents inexpensively rather than buying name-brands. You might have to be more selective but you can purchase local fruits and vegetables that are healthier and may last longer in your refrigerator. Buying locally also means that you are reducing pollution caused by packaging and transportation.

Paper or plastic? Plastic not only consumes more energy to produce, it also creates pollution--so paper is the better choice. Nowadays more and more people are opting for hemp or cotton reusable bags, the BEST choice.

By implementing a few simple changes to your shopping habits, you can leave a healthy legacy and be a part of the burgeoning organic movement.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Giving Back Can Be Loads Of Fun!

There are other ways to give back:

1. Send upbeat letters or packages (homemade cookies and beef jerky are sure hits)

2. Help a national park by volunteering hours for various projects, including lecturing and leading tours.

3. Teach low-income parents how to cook nutritiously and economically.

4. Volunteer in schools to inspire students looking for career paths.

5. Join Peace Corps 50+.

Feel free to share your ideas with our readers!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Retirees Give Back

Now that many of us are retired, we have the chance to give back. That's what U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Richard D. Moody (Danvers, MA, VFW Troop 2359) and his wife Christine did.

When they heard from their deployed daughter that soldiers stationed overseas had to make-do without many personal items, they jumped right in to help by founding Operation Troop Support in 2003.

Before long they weren't alone. Volunteers from Boston's North Shore also wanted to show their gratitude to the young men and women in service. Together, they have sent hundreds of thousands of individually-wrapped care packages consisting of such items as toiletries, magazines, books, socks, phone cards, disposable cameras, pens, stationery and stamps each week.

As a grassroots non-profit organization, Operation Troop Support has expanded its services to families of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dick, Christine and their cadre of dedicated volunteers welcome and would be mightily grateful for any support in the form of donations of goods or money.

Now is your time to get involved.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Santa Barbara At Its Best?

When you live in a beautiful place, you never know if your guests are coming more for you or for the location! I suspect, however, it's more for the latter than the former.

One set of cousins arrived last week and I gave them a thorough dousing of our grand city and the environs. We ate or nibbled at my favorite haunts. We visited local honeymoon spots and saw the miniature donkeys. We even braved the Los Angeles highways to increase their experience.

One thing was not on the itinerary and, I fear, will be the most remembered.

We were in a ritzy area of our town. The mansions, the greenery, the boutiques filled our senses. Then out of the blue there was a older model Jaguar convertible at a stop sign to our left. The driver and passenger were soaking up the sun and the two large dogs in the back seat seemed to be in their own heaven.

Barbara said, "Look at those dogs. I think they are Mountain dogs."

We stared at the objects of her attention when she continued, "Oh, I think they really are mountin' dogs!!"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

Remember the old "chicken" jokes that made you groan (but secretly you liked them)? Well, I won a book full of them and at 62, I still have the same reaction. The old-timer who compiled them must have the same corny humor as yours truly.

Here's one for you: Why did the chicken double-cross the road?
A. She was searching for a public roost-room.
B. The road turned against her.
C. Nostalgia--she wanted to re-trace her steps.
D. It was an "double her pleasure."
E. All of the above.

Obviously, it's "E" but I particularly favor "A" on days I don't practice the Kegel exercise (I didn't have to think about THAT when I last heard the jokes). Oh, well!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mexico As A Retirement Option

It was estimated in 2004 that 500, to 600,000 Americans have chosen to retire in Mexico. And that number is likely to increase (Kathleen Kirkwood, McClatchy News Service).

$1,000/month can provide a comfortable and attractive lifestyle south of the border since the cost of living is low.

Expatiates claim that there is plenty to do there and in nearby San Diego. They enjoy the culture, the mercados and the boulevards.

And in spite of travel warnings often due to narcotic-driven violence, many Americans feel as safe or safer than where they lived before in the States.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Car Pickings

We can only fool Mother Nature for so long. Then our mental sharpness, multi-tasking and reaction times begin to look for new occupants.

Ailments associated with aging such as arthritis, stroke and diabetes further compound the effects of the aging process. We are challenged with changes in flexibility, vision, strength and range of motion. So when we are selecting a car, we might want to pay close attention to these options (so sayeth Peter Bohr of the AAA magazine):

1. Active head restraints cushion the head in a rear-ender.

2. Adjustable pedals for shorter drivers keep them at a safe distance from the steering wheel if air bags deploy.

3. Power-operated seats provide easy adjustment.

4. Larger audio and climate control knobs help find them faster and easier.

5. Large/wide-angle mirrors provides wider viewing (without having to turn heads as far).

6. Lower step-in height makes access easier.

7. Tilting steering wheels put less strain on the body.

8. Brake assist makes braking easier.

9. Low trunk height makes loading more convenient.

10. Dual-stage/dual-threshold air bags are suggested for obvious safety reasons.

For more on cars and driving, visit

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sucker For Savings

Okay. So I'm a sucker for savings. When I found "Penny Pinching: Advice for the Tightwads," I knew the article by Sandra McElwaine was speaking to me. Some of the ideas were obvious like "walk or take the bus to work" and some were a wee bit more inventive, "split your used Christmas cards and send them the next year as postcards!"

Here are a few of the more novel ideas:

1. Put money aside each time you shower, run the dishwasher or wash and dry your clothes.

2. Buy unisex clothes for your kids.

3. Exchange clothes at a "potluck" party.

4. Wear panty-hose only when you have to.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Smelly Pouches and Cobwebs

Mr. Herbert Johnson, 73, interviews senior citizens in order to compile their stories and link recipes from their childhoods. His subjects frequently reflect on home-made remedies for childhood ailments which, some doctors profess, were merely placebos and not scientifically corroborated.
However, these "cures" often brought the desired effects.
Mr. Johnson himself remembers when his grandma parted his hair into sections, sprinkled his scalp with salt and tied brown paper to the ends of his hair to relieve his headache.
Heated lamb's grease applied to a sick child's chest and allowed to cool might cure a cold.
Mamas treated ringworm by hanging a smelly pouch around a child's neck.
Others applied cobwebs to the inside of a cut and stitched it up with thread to hasten healing.
Did any of your older relatives treat your ailments in unorthodox ways?