Talking the 60 Blog

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If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.

Hump Day.  The day we must get through in order to see the weekend in our rearview mirror.

Fabulous called.  I answered.  How often do you feel fabulous?  When someone asks you how are you, do you usually answer “fine” or list a variety of ailments and problems?  The world would be a nicer place if we all answered the “how do you feel” question with “fabulous!”  “Couldn’t be better!”  “Just fantastic!”

Just saying those words out loud makes you feel better too, doesn’t it?  You can’t say “Fabulous!” without puffing our your chest a little bit and putting a smile on your face!

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Try saying “Fabulous!” in a hushed voice with bad posture.  Your companion would undoubtedly say “what did you say?” and not believe you when you gave your response again.

We must take charge of ourselves.  What we tell ourselves inside our head comes out in our actions and beliefs for the day.  “I feel like staying in bed today” or “I feel a cold coming on” translates to feeling sluggish and eager for the day to end, so you can get home and crawl under the covers.

So stop negative self-talk to reduce stress.  Positive thinking can even improve your health.  (Imagine telling yourself “I feel great and don’t feel like I have a cold coming on!”)  Do not underestimate the power of negative self-talk. If you are consistently reinforcing low opinions of yourself, you will start to believe them and act as if they are real. You may not even be aware of the full extent of your negative self-talk but when you’re armed with a little knowledge, you can make some really positive changes.

You may already have strongly ingrained destructive self-talk programmed in yourself, and turning them around may seem impossible.  A great way to start on the road to constructive self-talk?  Tell yourself that you can see yourself in a more positive light.  Nip the dysfunctional self-talk in the bud.  Once you get in the habit of observing your self-talk, noting whether or not it’s constructive, you’ll find it that much easier not only to inspire others, but also yourself.

We need to hear a message multiple times before we accept it. So, instead of the negative messages which you have been feeding yourself, choose a kinder, more supportive message which you can give to yourself. Whenever you find yourself being negative, take charge of your self-talk and deliver this message to yourself, repeatedly. Your inner dialogue will grow wiser with practice and your self-talk will gradually become kinder.

It’s true that we sometimes speak more harshly to ourselves than we would to anyone else. Instead, talk to yourself as though you were a loving friend. Seek to be truthful and supportive with yourself.

How are you feeling today?

 

 

 

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Boring the 60 Blog

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I’m bored of being bored because being bored is boring.

What do you do when you’re bored?  Do you mindlessly turn on the TV?  Do you read?  Do you do something physical?  Two out of three on this list work for me!

Being bored on a weekend is one thing.  You can always find something to do.  Call a friend.  See a movie.  Bake a cake.

But what if you’re bored on the job?  I don’t see how, for instance, a fast food worker would ever be bored.  There’s always someone pulling up to the drive-through window.  There are always fries to be fried.  If you work at a movie theater, there will always be patrons lining up for you to take their money.

But a desk job?  What can you do?  My office provides online computer training, and there is always another staff member who could use some assistance.  But what else can you do?

An acquaintance of mine shared a story about filling in at the reception desk on Monday.  She can easily surf the internet while she’s sitting at the desk, but she found yesterday to be especially rough. After viewing the pictures and videos of the eclipse, the rest of the day’s news stories were all about the eclipse.  Again and again.  Been there, done that.

What can you do at your job to stay busy?  Online training?  File folder labels for 2018?  Maybe start writing the great American novel?  Tell me what works for you.

 

Eclipsing the 60 Blog

Bonnie Tyler:  I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark.  We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks.  I really need you tonight.  

What more can I say about today’s eclipse that hasn’t already been said?  Here are some of the irreverent and inspired comments I read today:

Funny comments:

  • If you have trouble pronouncing “s” sounds today, you have an eclisp.
  • How does the man in the moon cut his hair?  Eclipse it.
  • What does one put on a retina burn?  Iloe.
  • CNN host talking to Bonnie Tyler (who sang her iconic song on a cruise ship today):  How does a total eclipse of the heart differ from a total eclipse of the sun?
  • Hostess has declared Golden Cupcakes the official snack cake of the eclipse?  What?  Not Moon Pies?
  • A woman on a news livestream just said “It’s so amazing that we live at the same time as the moon.”  #waitwhat
  • Huge congrats to the eclipse!
  • I totally need to hire whoever the publicist was for the eclipse.
  • I wanna stare at it so so so so bad.
  • Got tired of waiting for the solar eclipse, so I put a piece of baloney on the window.

Celebrity comments:

  • (Ellen DeGeneres)  I just invested in an eclipse sunglass company.  Does anyone know when the next one is?
  • (Steve Martin)  Now working on my new single “Cloud Cover” for release in 2024.
  • (Rainbow Rowell) I’m at an eclipse viewing/minor league baseball game and the music has been excellent.  The organ’s playing “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.”
  • (Madeleine Albright)  Enjoyed watching #Eclipse2017.  A great reminder that all darkness is temporary.

And finally, regional comments:

  • (Oregon)  I was a little bummed I didn’t go for totality. Beforehand, I didn’t think it could make that much difference.  It definitely did.  The silence of the birds was the most striking thing!
  • (Georgia) I will have to live vicariously through everyone’s eclipse posts.  No viewing glasses for me.  I think I will survive though.
  • (Wisconsin) Nice surprise when I got back from lunch today:  Sun Chips and Eclipse cookies.
  • (California) It didn’t get very dark here at the office, but people on our garage roof had boxes on their heads!
  • (West Virginia) Amazing moon shadows.  Whoa….Cat Stevens!
  • (Tennessee) Come on totality!
  • (Oklahoma) Nikon through the cheap glasses turned out okay!
  • (California) Don’t miss it!  Don’t look at it!  Don’t miss it!  Don’t look at it!  Don’t miss it!  Don’t look at it!
  • (Kansas) Today’s the day all your pets go blind and also the magical eclipse rays will get up in your business and do terrible things to your faces.  Good luck!
  • (Washington)  Sun Chips and moon pies!
  • (Nevada) Of all the days for it to be cloudy in Las Vegas.  Why today?
  • (South Carolina) The clouds blocked most of our experience but we did get to see the “end of it.”  Just a sign to me that we need to plan for the next one in 2024.
  • (Washington, D.C.)  Confession:  I looked.  (Hint:  Not President Trump.)
  • (Tennessee)  Nobody told me a total solar eclipse could make my neck hurt.
  • (Florida) So, the crickets in my hard are confused.  Well played, Solar Eclipse.

So get your glasses ready.  Another total solar eclipse will take place in the United States on April 8, 2024.  The next eclipse will travel a different path and will be visible in a diagonal path crossing from Texas to Maine.  Cities in Texas (Austin, Dallas), Arkansas (Little Rock), New York (Rochester, Buffalo) and Ohio (Cleveland, Toledo, Akron) will be in the path of totality.  Start making your travel arrangements now!

 

Recapping the 60 Blog

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Nanea Hoffman:  I don’t think I say it enough but I’m really grateful for my friends who live in my computer.  I love that we can bond and be weird together and not even have to leave our houses.  Or make ourselves socially presentable.

In case you missed any of my pearls of wisdom this past week, here are links to each day’s posts.

Monday: Grandmothering the 60 Blog

Tuesday: Slicing the 60 Blog

Wednesday:  Europeanizing the 60 Blog

Thursday:  Protesting the 60 Blog

Friday:  Paying the 60 Blog

Saturday:  Earning the 60 Blog

 

Earning the 60 Blog

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Dwight D. Eisenhower (November 8, 1954):  Should any political party try attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.  There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things.  Among them are Texas millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man, and they are stupid.

I recently checked my Social Security statement online (ssa.gov).  I think you’re supposed to check it every six months to make sure that your earnings are listed correctly, and to figure out what your prospective retirement sum will be at that magic age.

Looking at my statement, I’m reminded that I’ve been in the work force since 1976.    In that year, I made $702.  Yes, I was raking in the dough at 20 years old.  Granted, I was still living at home and just about to get my college degree, and I don’t recall ever feeling that I didn’t have spending money.  Because, at the time, what did a 20-year old New Yorker really need?  I didn’t own or need a car, so no gas or insurance costs.  I took a bus to school and work, and the bus pass was likely a few bucks a month.

The next year, I made almost $5,500.  Still living at home, still not owning a car, and I must have thought I was rich at the time.  1977 was the year I spent a month traveling through Europe, so I must have used my earnings to pay for the trip ($1,000 total).   Young and stupid, before I had a credit card in my name.

Over the years, my salary has steadily increased, thankfully.  Last year, however, being unemployed for six months, made a dent in my earnings and contributions, but I’m okay with that.

My full retirement age is 66 and 4 months.  Or I could work until 70 and get the big money.  At age 62, it’s a smaller sum of money, but one that looks attractive to me at the moment.

What do you think?  Will you work until 70?  What did you earn during your first year of “official” employment?

 

 

 

 

Paying the 60 Blog

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I don’t even live paycheck to paycheck.  I live paycheck to four days before paycheck.

For most of my working career, I got paid on the 15th and last day of the month.  When Leslie and I bought our condo (25 years ago last week!), it took a while for us to find a pattern of paying bills to fit with our paycheck schedules.  Now, at my new job, I get paid every-other Friday.  Like clockwork.  Friday morning, check my bank balance and there’s money in my account!

If you have ever been on the every-other-week schedule, you realize that once or twice a year, you get three checks.  And those checks, to me anyway, are like “free” money.  Oh, I know, of course I’ve worked for it and all, but getting an “extra” check helps.

For instance, when I got paid on 8/11, that money paid the bills on 8/15.  So the money received on 8/18 18 is “free.”  I’ll get paid next on 9/1 and that money will be used to pay the bills on 8/31-9/1.  And the rest of the year falls out on a regular schedule. Money in close the 15th, and then out on the 15th.  In at the end of the month, out at the end of the month.

So what to do with my “free” money?  Spend it frivolously?  Absolutely not.  I can’t think of anything I need, except maybe a new curling iron, and I’ll find the twenty bucks for that on a regular day.  Put a big chuck toward my credit card?  Yessir!  And more in savings, so that I can dip into it in October to pay off our January 2018 cruise.

What would you do?

 

Protesting the 60 Blog

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The older you get you realize, more and more, there truly are two sides to every story…and the version you heard was probably the least accurate.  Whether you want to believe that or not. 

Do you read Twitter?  Do you get your news from Facebook?  Or watch the 6:00 or 11:00 news to find out what’s happening?

I’ve discussed this before.  I follow certain news organizations, writers and pundits on Twitter.  Most of us, I’m sure, read or follow news outlets that align with our beliefs and ideals.  Some will follow Fox News, some will follow MSNBC, some will follow the Daily Stormer (the news source for the neo-Nazi movement).  I’m not judging you if you follow the news from an organization other than what I follow, but we mustn’t get into a pissing match about which source is better.  You do you.

I believe most of the news I read and hear is unbiased.  Discussion will be held about both sides of an argument and I make up my mind as to which side to agree with.

I don’t want to get political and discuss who I think is right and who is wrong.  But when our president, for instance, calls out both sides of the protests in Charlottesville over the weekend, I must disagree.  I keep repeating the phrase in my mind:  “There are three sides to every argument:  yours, mine, and the truth.”

An argument with a spouse or coworker is usually not earth-altering, and both sides likely will agree to disagree at the end of the day.  But when the president calls both the protesters and the counter-protesters wrong for being at the rally this past Saturday, I call bullshit.  One side showed up with weapons, torches, slogans, and ready-to-fight and take-no-prisoner attitudes.  The other side showed up to try and drown out the rhetoric and try to make everyone get along.  Early in the day, I saw photos of the counter-protesters singing hymns.

I know, rose-colored-glasses aren’t weapons against cars and torches, but the “nice” side appears to have been trying to metaphorically disarm the protesters.  It obviously didn’t work and there were lives lost and people and businesses were irreparably damaged.

Damage on both sides, to be sure.  Pictures of the protesters were online in minutes and those who were employed soon found themselves without a job.  Employers don’t want to be known as the company employing neo-Nazis.  People who live in Charlottesville just want their city back and now it will forever be known as the location of the latest neo-Nazi rally.  I’m not sure if tourism was a Charlottesville staple, but I think now people will be visiting the place where the car mowed down an innocent woman.  Who wants their city to be famous for that?

Remember:  You don’t win an argument simply by being right and proving that you are.  You only really win if you sway others to want to consider your point of view and see the merits of it.  That happens through being civil, through being a good listener, and through being friendly and kind.

 

 

Europeanizing the 60 Blog

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How is it that we put a man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Forty years ago this month, after graduating college in June, I went to Europe along with two other college friends.  Jody, Robin and I spent a month in Europe, sightseeing in England, France, Italy and Switzerland.

To take you back in time, this was before luggage had wheels.  (FYI:  Rolling luggage started in the late 80s as a back-saving means to get your luggage through the airport.)  Before 9/11.  Before cell phones.  We packed air-mail stamps so we could send postcards back home.

It was the first time I would be away from home for a long period of time.  I remember being so excited to plan this trip with my friends.  We had all the Arthur Frommer travel guides, we knew we wanted to leave coins in the Trevi Fountain (to ensure that we would return someday), and we hoped we could buy some leather in Venice, Italy.  We were 20-year olds with some graduation money in our pockets and we were ready to be international travelers!

All these years later, I find myself wanting to rifle through my old photos to find our memories.  Only bits and pieces are easily remembered.  (Robin and Jody probably remember much more than me!)  Robin was sick for a few days in Italy.  We were exhausted carrying our luggage everywhere.  I do remember attempting to carry my blue and yellow soft-sided suitcase (the 70s!) on my back like a backpack.  The handles were on my back and the suitcase stuck out two feet when I walked.  Not flat like a backpack, but like a suitcase.  I also carried the ubiquitous Samsonite makeup case.

Throughout most of the trip, we stayed in youth hostels.  We would spend our graduation money on frivolous, crazy things…not sleeping accommodations.  We were young and willing to share a bathroom with an entire floor of other students.  We didn’t know any better!  We didn’t care!

We saw all the tourist attractions, museums and churches.  We ate pizza in Italy and fish and chips in England, and we saw Anne Frank’s house in Switzerland.  The most prominent memory, however, is sitting on the floor of a train station in Switzerland and hearing that Elvis Presley had died (forty years ago today).  8/16.  I was not the biggest Elvis fan (although he shared my mother’s birthday) but that news was shocking to us.  He gave his last concert on June 26, 1977, and a short time after returning home from Europe, I heard about my friend Marcy having tickets to see Elvis a few weeks after his death.  Holy cow.

And remember, this was pre-internet.  Pre-instant news.  We didn’t hear about Elvis as it happened.  We probably saw it in the afternoon newspaper at the train station, or someone heard it on the radio.  The news might have been hours old, but at the time, it was almost as important as hearing about JFK being shot.  (I was seven when that happened, and my memories consist mostly of still photos of the television.)

All in all, we had a great time on this month-long adventure.  The whole trip, from start-to-finish, cost us each a thousand dollars.  At the time, I told myself I’d visit Europe again, and I’m still trying to fulfill that promise.

 

Slicing the 60 Blog

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Why do we put round pizza in a square box and eat it in triangles?

Is it because square boxes are more stable during transport and triangles are the easiest way to cut a circle in equivalent sized pieces?  Or can we argue that pizza slices aren’t exactly triangles, but instead are wedges?

Most pizza places use a square box as it’s simple, cheap, hard to copyright design, and little waste of cardboard.  Round cardboard boxes are more expensive to make, would waste a good deal more paper, and do not have the corners to be utilized for any sides (garlic sauce, pepperoncini peppers, seasoning packets).  Also, a round box would be harder to fold (square boxes are shipped flat and are folded at the store by the drivers when they aren’t doing anything else).

Round pizza as a round ball of dough rolls to a round shape easier/faster. Round dough rises in a round shape consistently. Also as cheese melts it spreads out, round helps with that. A spoon of sauce, easier to spread out sauce while holding the spoon and spinning the pan.

If you want to avoid all of these silly questions, go to New Haven, CT.  None of the really good pizza places are concerned about shapes resembling anything you learned in math class.  Home pizza, like a lot of food,is about shared experiences, friends, and family. Tradition extends from these shared experiences.  Commercial pizza is about volume. Volume business relies on economy of process. Keep it simple.  You don’t have to have your pizza cut into triangular slices. They’ll slice it any way you like.

Every pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard and believe in yourself.