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Every week it seems I get a number of email forwards from retired friends sharing all kinds of things from the past. Often they contain pictures or videos of old cars, planes, trains, movies, television shows, etc.  Very interesting stuff, but truth be told, I much prefer forwards that demonstrate new innovations or discoveries. While I still appreciate seeing images from my past, expecially my 1956 red chevy, I would not trade it for my current SUV. As seniors, we’ve often heard the phrase, “You can’t go home again.” It’s absolutely true.

This was clearly illustrated on a recent road trip I took with my wife Trisha. We traveled from northern California to southern Arizona visiting family and friends, and concluded the trip at her high school reunion weekend in Southern California. As always when we travel, we took time to do some sight-seeing along the way.

In my first example, let me first explain something. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I’ve always been a big Dodgers fan. In fact, our son Michael is a senior producer with Fox Sports Net and he produces the Dodger pre-game and post-game shows. (Here is a picture of Vin Scully the Dodger’s long-time Hall of Fame announcer talking to Mike, that’s the top of his head, as they flew home from their final road trip)

 My point is, I’m a devoted, but now disappointed fan. Here’s why. As Trisha and I drove through Arizona, we first decided to stop and visit the Dodger’s new spring training facility shared with the Chicago White Sox. Having visited the original Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida on several occasions, and getting a special behind-the-scenes tour on our last visit, we were anxious to see their new location. Ugh! What a complete let down. The first clue we got was the absence of signs on the highway leading to the camp. Finally, at the last exit, there was a sign proclaiming, “Glendale Baseball Complex.” Are you kidding me. One of the premier baseball franchises in baseball history and the sign doesn’t even mention them. When we arrived, once again no mention of the Dodgers. Here is a picture of Trisha at the main entrance to the camp. Do you notice anything missing?

  

Finally, as we snooped around the facility, we found one small sign on a gate that said “Dodger Clubhouse.” Big Whoop! This place was nothing more than a glorified civic recreation center, designed to be low-cost for the city of Glendale, and a field for rent for the Dodgers in the Spring. Gone are the traditional streets named after Dodger legends, gone are the historic living facilities that housed some of baseball’s most revered players, gone is any sense of pride and history. All sold out for the almighty buck. I’ve got an idea. Our local high school has a pretty good field. If Glendale Arizona can make a better deal renting their field to another team, maybe the Dodgers could come here in the Spring. All they have to do is take down that one small sign. By the way, if you see the Dodger owner, I’ve got a great place I’d like to put that sign.

I know, I’m supposed to be positive. I just hate to see such a great tradition become like every other team that moved to Arizona. It’s as though your favorite restaurant just became a McDonald’s.

In my second “you can’t go home” example, after a wonderful week of being wined and dined by great friends and relatives, we arrived in our old home town for the high school reunion. Trisha and I took one whole day to spend by ourselves visiting our old homes, neighborhoods, etc. Being the oldest, and a California native, we first went to my childhood home. Oops! It’s now a block of small commercial buildings. I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the time capsule the neighborhood kids and I buried a long time ago. It reminded me of that wonderful Lonestar song, Everything’s Changed. Remember the words, “they put up a plant where we used to park, the old drive-in is a new Walmart.” We did find a number of our former homes, but of course they seemed much smaller and a bit run down. In one case, a freeway now loomed above the street I used to call a playground. As I stopped my car to look at one of my former homes, a man came out and I explained I used to live there. He didn’t speak English very well, but did smile at this foreign traveler from long ago.

The good news is, we did run into our dear neighbors who lived next door to our last home before we left town twenty years ago. They were happy to see us and we had a nice visit. But can you truly go home again? Not really. Places change, we change, and the times change. It reinforced our philosophy of not dwelling too much on the past and consciously trying to value each new day while counting our many blessings. Interestingly, when the formal reunion started on Saturday night, the disc jockey began to play songs from the sixties. One of our friends sitting next to me turned and said, “No Bruno Mars?” I smiled and we did a fist bump. Of course, the rest of the night was filled with “The Twist,” “Runaround Sue,” etc. We had fun at the reunion and loved catching up with old friends, but I think in most ways we’ve all moved on. You really can’t go home again, but I can’t wait for the rest of today and look forward to tomorrow.

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Even before I retired, I began to watch and listen to less news. One of my strict “retired-life rules” is absolutely no news before bedtime. In this era of instant information, we are bombarded with daily stories and images of human tragedy. It often appears the entire world has gone completely mad. While I resist the temptation to panic, as responsible people we should ask ourselves the question, “What would you do in an emergency?”   

First of all, let me suggest a “go bag.” In our book, Trisha and I wrote about the usefulness of having a small travel bag already packed with versatile clothing such as nylon pants and jacket, sweat shirt or sweater, an extra pair of shoes, etc. In addition, it should have toiletries and a two-week supply of medications. This type of bag would be very useful in case of fire, flood, or other emergency in which you would need to evacuate. Having lived in the hillsides of southern California for much of my life, when those fires begin, you don’t have much time to get out.

Of course, if you really want to do it right, a flashlight, first-aid kit, emergency blanket, a multi-purpose tool, and a portable crank-style radio would be advisable. Additionally, include copies of your contact information, maps, and extra cash. A flash drive with all your personal information would be invaluable if a disaster forced you from your home for a long period of time.

If something terrible happened that would keep you in your home for an extended period, make sure you have plenty of water and extra food. This would not be a problem for us. Our neighbors have all decided they will gather at our home if an emergency takes place. The way Trisha has our pantry stocked, it resembles a small convenience store.

Of course, it’s natural to have the attitude “that will never happen to me.” Unfortunately, bad things can and do happen. The wise person is prepared. 

Bucket List

I’m glad so many of you liked my blog concerning “bucket lists.”  One of the people I heard from was Annette Renee White who has a bucket list website you might enjoy visiting. Give it a look.

Bucket List Journey » ABOUT

 

 

 

 

 

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

Announcement

On our website, www.TheBestofOurLives.com, there is a page called Trisha’s Dishes. This is a page where my wife Trisha offered her favorite recipies. The problem has been that Trisha had to go through our publisher every time she wanted to include a new recipe. Well, good news. Trisha now has her own site where she will be providing her favorite recipies and a forum for others to share their favorites on a weekly basis.

Do yourself and your taste buds a favor and visit her new site.

Simply go to our homepage www.TheBestofOurLives.com and click on Trisha’s Dishes or click on the link below.

               

My Family’s Favorite Dessert « Trisha’s Dishes

Seniors and a Stree-free Environment 

After coming off a long travel adventure, it has taken a while to get unpacked, organized, and acclimated to our own home. As we were going through this process, I came across an online article that provided suggestions for creating a healthy and happy home. It reminded me of something my wife Trisha and I have been working on since we retired. In our book, The Best of Our Lives: Sharing the Secrets of a Healthy and Happy Retired Life, we referred to it as creating a stress-free environment. Reducing stress is key to maintaining both mental and physical health, especially as we get older.

Have you ever visited someone who has been retired for many years and noticed their living environment had not changed in years? That in itself may not be a bad thing, but the fact is as we get older we need to pay attention to our environment and make sure we create one that is stree-free, promotes good health, and meets our need for safety.

Here are a few suggestions for creating a stress-free and healthy environment:

1. Reduce clutter – This is my personal favorite because I’m claustrophobic and clutter makes me very stressed. Clutter also increases your chances of tripping and falling (see my last blog). Now University of Chicago researchers have found that living with clutter actually makes you more tired and that fatigue creates a hormone called cortisol within your body that can cause you to eat from 200 to 1,000 more calories per day. I was just going to use the “big bones” excuse.

2. Keep it light – Scientests have shown that keeping your home environment filled with natural light is good for both your mental and physical fitness. There are some studies that now contend an abundance of natural light in our environment can even help prevent disease. I’m always intriqued when I walk into a person’s home that has closed blinds or heavy window covers that prevent light. I’m sure it has something to do with privacy, but keeping our living environment filled with natural light is very important.

3. Keep it simple and spacious – This doesn’t mean you have to have a large home, it simply means don’t over fill your living space with furniture, plants, etc. When my wife and I bought our first home (sometime back in the last century), I could not wait to get one of those big sectional couches. Well, I got my wish. Of course, even the kids had a hard time walking around in our living room. As my old baseball coach used to say, “You have to learn from losing.” Allow yourself plenty of space and wide walking paths.

4. Keep it personal and upbeat – Have you ever watched one of those television shows where exerts come into someone’s home and help them redecorate (o.k. guys, now you know I do watch some of those shows)? They will often look at the paint color or some art object and ask why it’s there. The person typically responds, “It’s been there since we moved in.” Yikes! How much does two gallons of paint cost. Why are you hanging on to grandma’s old quilt hanging on the wall? If you are retired, it’s definitely time to make your living environment your own. Look through some magazines, watch some of the decorating shows, and create the kind of living space would make you happy.

5. Enjoy your space – Once you have created the perfect space for your retired life, make sure you enjoy it. My wife Trisha and I have added a mid-afternoon break to our schedules. When we are home, around 4:00 or so, we stop what we’re doing and sit down for some hot or iced tea, sometimes a snack, and just relax. Sounds very English doesn’t it. It just seemed that around that time we are usually still going strong on various projects and a nice peaceful break would be beneficial for us. Our stress-free environment is the perfect location.

See you next time and don’t forget to share this site with your friends and family.

 

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

Don’t Forget to Vote

November 2, 2010

 

Personal Note: Thank you to the growing number of people who visit our website and read this blog. I promise to make it more informative and entertaining with each edition. Please continue to make comments and give me feedback, and I would ask you to share the site information with others in your email list. As with any of the social media, the more people who participate, the better. Thanks.

Falling is a Serious Problem

In our book, The Best of Our Lives: Sharing the Secrets of a Healthy and Happy Retired Life, my wife Trisha and I were stunned by the statistics we discovered concerning seniors and falling. Simply put, one-third of women sixty five and older and half of all women eighty-five and older will be injured in a fall. The statistics for men are only slightly less. The National Institute on Aging reports that 1.6 million seniors are treated at hospitals each year for injuries due to falls, half of which occur at home. Among age groups, seniors have the highest mortality rate due to accidents, half of these deaths are due to falls.

If you are telling yourself, “Well, I’m very careful and this really isn’t that important for me,” please think again. Falling is the leading cause of injury deaths for seniors. Each day, nearly two seniors die per hour due to falling. Sadly, these statistics are growing for reasons still being investigated.

If you are a senior, or you have interactions with seniors, here are some suggestions to help prevent serious falls at home:

* Arrange furniture to allow for wide walking paths

* Make your home as clutter-free as possible

* Reconsider low tables, plants and other possible hazards

* Secure area rugs with slip-resistant backing

* Reposition electrical and telephone cords

* Install grab bars in toilet and shower areas

* Insure adequate lighting for nighttime activity

* Rearrange items on shelves for easier access

* (See a complete list for securing your home in The Best of Our Lives)

More Pictures from Our Recent Travel Adventure

As I promised in the last blog, here are a few more pictures from our recent adventure. There is one from Russia and a few more from Japan.

 

 

 

 

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Years ago before my wife and I had children, I read the results of a research study conducted at UCLA. The researchers were trying to determine why some families were successful at maintaining close relationships, and why others were not. The results of this study, like much academic research, seemed so obvious. The primary reason was that the successful families all had a common interest. In the United States, the number one common interest was an interest in sports.

Of course. Families who play together stay together. Isn’t that the old saying? I was reminded of this study during the weekend. With baseball winding down to the playoffs and football just getting underway, our family communication, even though our “kids” are all adults, seemed to center on the sports scene.

I was reminded further when I received these photos of our youngest grandson Liam taken at a Charlotte sports restaurant. He is only 11 months, but already an avid Dolphin fan.

Of course, the topic of interest isn’t as important as the fact that each family needs some common focus. As retired persons, this is something we all probably learned along the way. It’s nice to know that younger folks, in this case Mama Michelle and Daddy David, already employ the principle in several areas of family life. Whether it’s church, books, school, etc., the future bodes well. And I can’t wait to take Liam to a Dolphin game.

In Memoriam

We lost a dear friend this last week. Dougie Trierweiler, beloved wife of Jim, passed away suddenly. Our love and prayers go to Jim and the Trierweiler family. Dougie was a wonderful wife, mother, and friend. She will be missed.

Fund Raiser

Yesterday, my wife Trisha and our good friends Lyn and Herb Schub, participated in a fund raising 5K run/walk to help research for the purpose of defeating lung cancer. Our team, Team Frank, led by Larree Renda was dedicated to her late husband Frank Renda who recently passed away due to this horrible disease. Our team was joined by the entire Cal baseball team and coaches. Several thousands from other teams participated in this wonderful event which took place shortly before sunset as the San Francisco fog rolled in. Larree said our team took in over $54,000 dollars. Bravo to all of those who participated and/or contributed.

Update

This will be the last blog for a while. Trisha and I are ready to embark on a long-planned travel adventure. Bon Voyage

by John Parker

Whether you decide to stay in your current home, remodel, or downsize, it’s imperative you make  your home safe and secure for your retirement years. Our generation is supposed to live, on average, much longer than previous generations, so it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to take care of ourselves.

As I wrote in a recent blog, a few months ago my best friend had an accident in which a ladder slipped and he took a terrible fall. He actually came very close to losing his life. Unfortunately, seniors have the highest mortality rate due to injury. Among those deaths, 50 per cent are due to falling. One-third of women eighty-five and older will be injured in a fall. For men, the statistics are only slightly less. The bottom line is: 1.6 million seniors are treated at hospitals each year due to falls. Half of those falls occur at home.

As my wife and I wrote in our book, The Best of Our Lives,  over the last few years we have gradually prepared our home for retired life. As somewhat recent retirees, we probably didn’t have to make every change so early in our retired life, but have been pleasantly surprised at how these changes have made  life much easier and more convenient.

While our book has a very complete list, here are some of the most important safety and security issues:

1. Get rid of clutter. Both the inside and outside of your house should to be cleared  of small objects that  might cause you to trip. Reconsider placement of low tables, plants, and other possible hazards. Keep your walking paths clear and reposition electrical and phone cords.

2. Inspect your living space and eliminate safety hazards. Remove or install slip-resistant backing on area rugs. Identify and repair cracks in flooring and find solutions for slippery tile. Eliminate sharp edges on furnishing and decorations.  

3. Inventory and update your kitchen. Consider replacing old cooking utensils with easy-grip types and one-touch bottle and can openers. Reorganize storage and place most frequently used items such as dishes at levels easy to reach. Always keep an updated fire extinguisher in a handy place.

4. Safety-proof your home and be prepared for emergencies. Install a security system and consider adding a “panic button” for emergencies. Keep flashlights and battery operated lanterns handy. Install motion lights, smoke alarms and nightlights. Keep a supply of water and canned food on hand as a backup. Strategically place telephones around your home and always have one next to your bed.  

Depending on your age, you may not need to make all of these changes right away. But over time, they will become more necessary for your safety and security. Some health care providers offer a service in which they will come to your home and help you with your safety and security issues.

Be safe, secure, healthy and happy.