Alaska


 

Senior-Care 2011

MetLife Mature Market Institute recently released the results of their annual survey. It reports the cost of senior care has once again gone up in 2011. Surprised? Of course not. The way this economy has been mishandled by virtually every player is quite obvious.  

As seniors, we appear to be on a collision course with such high costs for care, it puts into jeopardy our future financial security as well as that of our loved ones. For example, the average private nursing home room currently costs $229 a day. That totals $87,235 a year, up 4.4 per cent. The average assisted living cost is $3,477 a month. That totals $41,724 a year, up 5.6 per cent. Even adult day-care currently costs an average of $79 a day, up 4.5 per cent.

If you are looking for a bargain in senior-care, you might consider rural Louisiana. The cost of  living in a nursing home there is a mere $141 per day. If you have money to burn on your senior-care, head to Alaska. The cost of living in a nursing home there is currently $655 per day. I’m sure that includes all the salmon you can eat.

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

 www.TheBestofOurLives.com

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Let me begin by saying I’m probably one of the most patriotic people you will ever meet. My father served in WWII and his father in WWI. I served four years in the U.S. Air Force during the Viet Nam war. I also consider every first responder and all civilians who gave assistance on 9-11 to be true heroes. Additionally, I was and still am heart-sick for our country and everyone who suffered the loss of a loved one in the cowardly attack on innocent life. I didn’t, however, participate in the cultural and media-created grief-fest over the last month.

As a typical young man growing up in this country, I took my share of blows. As a skinny 7th grader, I was punched by the biggest 9th grader in school when I accidentally stepped on his foot. Pretty sure I broke some ribs but I never told anyone about it. Later on as a high school senior, I took out the catcher while scoring the winning run that gave my baseball team the league championship. Guess which one I choose to celebrate? What has happened to our culture when we create a spectacle to remember taking a horrible cheap shot from a bunch of lunatic fanatics? And why have we spent so much time building a monument to, lets face it, our biggest defense failure?

I can predict some of the answers. One would be we are doing this to honor the victims. Yes, I’m sure that’s part of it. But we won’t forget those people. They were the murder victims of heartless criminals. What I believe we should have done was build a new set of buildings twice as high on that site. What has happened to our can-do spirit in this country? We cry and moan over every mishap and wallow in collective grief. Remember when Princess Diana was killed in a car accident? For days the media brought us images of people around the world gathered in mass laying down flowers and crying. I felt bad for her and her family, but to be honest, I had never met her. I certainly didn’t break down or have a desire to gather with my neighbors to grieve. We all suffer the loss of loved ones. It’s the most difficult and emotional aspect of life. But if something happens to me on the highway, I sure don’t want my family to gather at the place of my demise and build a roadside memorial to visit each year.

When 9-11 occurred, I was so proud of our nation’s great resilience and defiance despite suffering such a horrifying attack. Now I feel we have been shown to be a nation of weak and powerless wimps, wallowing in a collective sea of pity and self indulgence. I truly honor those who lost their lives on 9-11, but seriously worry our culture has lost much of its grit and spirit.

North to Alaska 

 

Last week my wife Trisha and I, along with my mother Marty, sister Sharon , and good friends Madelynn and Juan, had the good fortune to explore the great state of Alaska. It was our third visit, and for those of you who have traveled to this scenic wonder, you already know its indescribable beauty. Fortunately for us, the weather proved to be just cold enough at the glaciers to meet expectations, offered a few brief showers in some locations, and provided the most glorious days even the locals and our ship’s crew described as the best weather they had ever seen. 

 If you’ve never been to Alaska, do yourself a favor and make plans to see one of the most spectacular places on earth. Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos we took on our plane, train, and ship travel adventure:

  

 

  www.TheBestofOurLives.com                                          

When I was 15 years old my mother took my sister and I on a train trip to visit our grandmother in Iowa. It was early in the morning when the train made a prolonged stop in Omaha, Nebraska. Being from southern California, I was used to warm weather, lots of cars, buildings, brown hillsides, and smog. When my mother gave me permission to get off the train and explore for a while, I raced to a bridge above the train station and gazed out at the river below, the blue sky, and the greenery for as far as the eye could see. I was in a different world and have never forgotten that feeling of excitement in discovering someplace new. I also met  a number of characters on that train who were completely different from others in my limited experience. Ever since that time I have always been thrilled to see a new place or meet some interesting person. It can be around the corner or around the world, the thrill is still there.

Now that we have retired, my wife Trisha and I have more time to devote to this passion for meeting new people and visiting new places. We have just returned from a wonderful four week travel adventure which took us to many new and beautiful locations in Alaska, Russia, Japan, and numerous cities and historic sites  in China.

We would have to write another book to fully describe all the  wonderful people we met and incredible places we visited. Rather than do that, let me share a few of the nearly 1,300 photos taken by Trisha with her new camera. In future blogs I will share more of our adventure, but here is a small sample.

In Dutch Harbor with new friend and fellow traveler Jean Michel Cousteau

Catherderal of the Holy Life-Giving Trinity in Petropavlavsk, Russia

  

In Hakodate, Japan after cable car ride to top of Mount Hakodate.

Trisha taking in the beauty of the ancient Shinto Temple in Sendai, Japan

Standing on glass platform of the Tokyo Tower, 1091 feet tall.

The Great Buddha of Kamakura

Trisha in beautiful Nagoya, Japan

Riding the cable car to the top of Mt. Rocco in Kobe, Japan

Making new friends aboard ship.

Making friends at the Nagoya Castle.

With new friends Vicky and Bob in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

Trisha in the Forbidden City.

Overlooking "Birdsnest" site of the summer Olympics in Beijing.

Terra Cotta warrior in Xian China.

Beautiful performance at the Xian Opera House

Aboard the 220 MPH Bullet Train in Shanghai

Loved this train.

Enjoying a beautiful garden in Suzhou, China.

Boat ride through the canals of Suzhou.

Enjoying a traditional tea ceremony in Shanghai.

Incredible Shanghai