Returning the 60 Blog

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It’s bad manners to keep a vacation waiting.

Six days.  1070 miles.  211 work emails.  Vacation.  Long-awaited and now over.  The next vacation will be in 79 days, which almost feels like an eternity.

Leslie and I headed out on our road trip on Wednesday and we made our first overnight stop in Bishop, California.  Bishop is a city outside of Mammoth, where those athletic types can ski in the spring and winter.  We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast (Joseph House) where we met travelers from all over the west and a couple from Germany.

One of the world-traveling couples we had breakfast with told us that they like to stay at the Joseph House every time they’re in this part of California and thought this might be the best B&B they’ve ever stayed at.

Leslie and I had limited experience with B&Bs.  About 25 years ago, we were on another road trip and stayed at a B&B around Monterey, California.  We were naive (no, stupid) and booked one room.  The room was beautiful and would have been ideal for a couple.  Instead, it was two sisters in a queen bed with no television, no radio, and it was pre-cell phone.  We didn’t even have a deck of cards between us!  So we stared at each other and tried to sleep during the one night reserved, and couldn’t wait to move on.

At the Joseph House, Leslie stayed in the Purple Room.  Green and purple linens and decor, perfectly suited for her.  I was assigned the Gold Room and enjoyed black and gold decor, with a beautiful Ralph Lauren comforter that I wanted to steal!  The grounds were gorgeously filled with trees turning autumn colors, and the common room was suitable for reading and drinking wine.  Two perfect afternoons spent there doing almost nothing.

We drove and drove, and saw all kinds of trees with gorgeous fall colors.  We people watched and drank coffee.  We played bingo and Leslie won $27.  We visited with our friend Dee, who retired up to Dayton, Nevada (right outside of Carson City).  She has a beautiful new home and two friendly cats.

The Kia Sorento drove like a champ.  Good gas mileage, no bumps or strange noises….except when the temperature got below 33 degrees.  We took a sightseeing drive up to Lake Sabrina.  Beautiful fall colors and windy roads.  And then, for the first time, we hear three loud chimes and a symbol lights up on the dashboard.  To me, the symbol looks like snowflakes (see number 12 above).  Leslie doesn’t find any information in the 200-page owner’s manual, and we carefully drive back the way we came.  The symbol does disappear after it gets a little warmer.

The same thing happened two nights later in Stagecoach, when the temperature got down to a balmy 30 degrees.  Once the temperature got back up over 39 degrees, the light disappeared.

I did finally find the answer to the nagging “what the hell is that light for?” question.  It means “frost warning.”  As if one needs your car to remind you that it’s cold outside.  I assume that Kia customizes this car model when it’s sold to an owner in the midwest or north.

And you know what?  I managed to unplug most of the time.  Checked emails once a day.  I got my news headlines from Twitter twice a day, and even started reading my book club book…due by this Sunday.  There is surely a lot of reading in the next few days.





Unplugging the 60 Blog


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Anne Lamott:  Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

When was the last time you took a vacation and unplugged?  Literally unplugged your devices and relied on the sky to tell you if it’s raining, or the front page of USA Today in the hotel lobby to give you the latest political news?

We’ve all sat around “on vacation” and listened to our cell phones chirp.  Emails and texts come in and you feel compelled to answer them right away.  And you can see how quickly connecting to the outside world shatters your calm.  It’s easy to work more efficiently, even during time off.  According to a 2014 TripAdvisor survey, 77 percent of Americans work while on vacation.  (That’s three years ago; I imagine the number has risen since then.)

Increasingly, people are starting to feel the need to disconnect.  In 2017, over 100,000 people participated in an event called National Day of Unplugging, sponsored by Reboot.  Since 2010, the group has encouraged people to turn off digital devices on the first Sabbath in March, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.  For more information and to sign up to receive a free cellphone sleeping bag, click here.  National Day of Unplugging 2018

Vacation is a perfect time to start on balancing your relationship with digital devices.  Leslie and I are leaving on vacation shortly, and I’m hoping to unplug for the next week.  Here are some ways we’re going to do that:

Designate someone at home to contact in an emergency.  Beth will be cat-sitting and she’ll be at our house watching football.  (Beth claims that Clooney, Leslie’s cat, likes football.  Whatever, my friend.)

Prepare and inform your employer that you’re not available to be in touch.  We can start practicing with mini-unpluggings on weekends or evenings.

Anticipate the possible boredom and having to talk-to-one-another scenario.  Bring board games and puzzles along with you and be aware that your phones are on vacation too!

Be reasonable and agree to check-in online maybe once or twice a day.

These preparations should allow us to return from vacation more relaxed.  And to return to dozens and dozens of emails.



Gourding the 60 Blog

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Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.

What’s your opinion of pumpkin?  Pumpkin spice?  Do you spend the first two months of fall dreaming about lattes and pumpkin-spice-filled Oreos?

I don’t like pumpkin pie, and I tell myself it’s because of the consistency.  But, now that I think about it, that’s baloney.  Doesn’t it have the same texture as, say, chocolate cream pie?  And that’s delicious, right?  I’ve never eaten a slice of pumpkin pie, even though I can get a jumbo pie at Costco for like two dollars.  (By the way, did you know that Costco sold almost 1.75 million pies in the three days leading up to Thanksgiving last year?)

Give me some pumpkin cake, pumpkin soup, or other pumpkin-flavored goodies.  Me and Starbucks are good friends, but I’ll admit it…I’ve never tried a pumpkin spice latte.   Maybe this year.

Do you know the history of the pumpkin?  Cindy Ott, the author of Pumpkin:  The Curious History of an American Icon, tells us that pumpkin was “a food of last resort” among colonial settlers.  Because the crop was a new-world native, it was seen as primitive.  Things began to change when Americans flocked to cities from the farm land in the mid-19th century.  And the new settlers were nostalgic for pumpkins.  Pumpkins soon became known as a treat, especially after the 1844 poem “Over the River and Through the Wood,” which ends with a cheer for pumpkin pie.

Nostalgia saved the pumpkin’s reputation, and the reverse came true years later.  In the 20th century, small producers felt threatened by industrial farms and found they could set up roadside pumpkin stands and have pumpkin festivals, which drew customers to the country…which in turn made the pumpkin even more of a sign of the season.

The largest pumpkin pie ever, weighing a whopping 3,699 pounds and measuring 20 feet wide, was baked in 2010 by Ohio’s New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers.  The filling alone contained 187 cans of pumpkin, 2,796 eggs, 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 525 pounds of sugar, 14 1/2 pounds of cinnamon, 7 pounds of salt, and 3 pounds of pumpkin pie spice.  After letting it cool for two hours, bakers divided the confection into 5000 slices and fed the hungry crowd.

Last year, sales of pumpkin-flavored products generated a record-setting $400 million in sales.  Here is a short sampling of what’s out there:

  • Ghirardelli pumpkin-spice caramel chocolate squares
  • Einstein’s pumpkin bagel and shmear
  • Birch Benders pumpkin spice pancake mix
  • Bailey’s pumpkin spice Irish cream
  • Pumpkin Spice Special K cereal
  • Jet Puffed pumpkin spice-mallows
  • Ben & Jerry’s pumpkin cheesecake ice cream
  • Dunkin Donuts’ pumpkin spice macchiato
  • Jamba Juice’s pumpkin smash protein
  • Pepperidge Farm’s pumpkin spice Milanos and pumpkin swirl bread
  • Sprouts pumpkin spice salsa


And finally, the most intriguing product:  Simply Beyond’s pumpkin spice organic spray-on spice (“This edible spray gives you the chance to pumpkinize literally everything in sight”).  What will you buy this year?


Booking the 60 Blog

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E.B. White:  A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort.  A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered.

We had an elegant book club celebration yesterday.  Our book, The Night She Won Miss America, was chosen by our hostess, Heidi, and everyone finished it.  (That might be a first!)  Most of us liked the book and the discussion didn’t even veer into the “are pageants necessary any longer?” territory.

Our book club was very different than we’ve ever had before.  Heidi invited several extra friends and we had lunch at Seasons 52, “a wine bar & grill that offers fresh, seasonal restaurant dishes served in a casual and sophisticated atmosphere.”  They have about 50 locations around the country.  The parent company also owns Olive Garden, Yard House, Capital Grille, and Bahama Breeze, among others.   The menu is incredible and everything is clean and pretty low-cal.  We loved it!

We then wandered over to Kate Spade (yes, the store!) and had dessert there.  We all competed in a “What’s In Your Purse?” contest and Leslie won a prize–a Kate Spade handbag!  I was one entry away from winning the purse myself.  I forgot to give myself points for the tissues I had in my purse!  This is my official request to Leslie:  Please let me borrow your new purse some day!  ;-0

Could you win this contest?  Points were given for each item.  Here’s a partial list of the items we needed to have.  How many of these items are in your purse right now?

□ flash drive □ nail file □ socks □ mints □ pen □ tweezers □ checkbook □ hand lotion
□ hair dryer □ tissues □ paper clip □ lipstick □ snack □ $50 bill □ band aid □ pencil

Heidi is Leslie’s boss and she loves being in the book club.  She doesn’t always attend our luncheons because she travels a lot, but she is an incredibly generous hostess.  Heidi’s personal assistant, Rheanna, wrangled the 15 of us like a pro, and the day was just spectacular.  I hope our future book club hostesses don’t worry about out-doing Heidi.

Heidi just loves throwing parties and we all are privileged to be in her book club circle.


Renaming the 60 Blog

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Katherine Hepburn:  As for me, prizes are nothing.  My prize is my work.

There are only 100 days until Christmas and I fear that the stores are already stocking Christmas trees and decorations.  Has CVS put their Halloween candy on sale yet?

Where does the time go?  It’s only 55 days until my birthday, and it’s become evident that I’ll need to change the name of this blog.  Any suggestions?  Dare I run a contest to see how many creative souls are reading this blog?  How many care what it’s called?  Who will notice if I stop writing it?

I started writing this blog, anticipating that dozens (and dozens) of readers would comment and we’d have an ongoing discussion of aging, working after 60, cooking (or, more to the point, not cooking), family and friends, and other topics.  I had lofty goals, to be sure, and I’m not disappointed.  This project just turned into something different.

My blogging mentor suggested we could add all kinds of Google Analytics tools to this blog, once we reached a certain number of page views per day, for an extended period of time.  I haven’t yet reached that number, but I am quite impressed that I have readers and followers from countries such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Italy, Philippines, India, United Kingdom, Australia, and Thailand.  I don’t personally know anyone in those countries, and I often wonder what those readers see in my writing.  What resonates with them?   What can they relate to?

Readers, the time has come for me to decide whether I will continue writing my pearls of wisdom.   I didn’t accomplish what I first set out to do, but who cares?  I enjoy it, and it appears that some from other countries do too, and I can count on a few steadfast readers and a sister (who has no choice).

Contest time!  We need to rename this blog.  Come up with a catchy name for this almost-daily blog since I can’t continue using XXXing the 60 Blog after my birthday.  I won’t be 60 any longer, and it’ll be like false advertising.   In the next two months, my blogging mentor will help me transition this blog to a new platform, and I’ll add some news bells and whistles.  What better time to start fresh with a new name?

Please comment below or leave a message on my Facebook page with your suggested new names.  An independent panel of judges will choose the winner from the expected stack of responses.  The deadline for your suggestions is Monday, October 2 and there will be prizes!

Be creative.  Don’t be shy.  I want to hear from everyone!



Reliving the 60 Blog

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Michael Landon:  Sometimes I wonder if we live life by reliving life, rather than by living life.

As I was engrossed in hurricane coverage on TV, and as my computer ran out of battery power on Sunday (not at all comparing myself to those without electricity in Florida), I didn’t get to post my Sunday recap.  In case you missed my daily posts, here’s a handy way to catch up on what’s been happening.  Please share with your friends and enemies.

Sunday: Rewinding the 60 Blog

Monday:  Affiliating the 60 Blog

Tuesday:  Returning the 60 Blog

Wednesday:  Humanizing the 60 Blog

Thursday:  Naming the 60 Blog

Friday:  Globetrotting the 60 Blog

Next week, you won’t want to miss my posts on noise, prioritizing, sleep, and other surprises.



Globetrotting the 60 Blog

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Socrates:  Why do you wonder that globetrotting does not help you, seeing that you always take yourself with you?  The reason that set you wandering is always at your heels.

I belong to a professional organization made up of legal secretaries, legal assistants, paralegals, and other support personnel in the legal field.  For more than 20 years, I was active on the chapter, state and national level, and held many leadership positions.  Our local chapter dissolved a couple of years ago due to lack of attendance at meetings, and lack of interest from future leaders (those darned millennials!).

Since our local chapter folded, I’ve been less involved on the national level as well.  The last few national conferences were held on the east coast, and next month, the meeting will be held in Norfolk, Virginia.  Next year, I understand it will be held in Phoenix, and I will even drag Leslie with me!

At the start of my career here in California, I met several wonderful legal personnel who turned out to be great mentors to me and others.  At the time, they were about the age I am now, and I remember thinking, “Wow, good for them!  Still working and kicking ass at 60!”  I learned a tremendous amount from each of them:  Darlene, Shirley (two of them!), Carol, Lyla, Jeannie, Ginger, Lyn, Lynn, and many more.

Of course, we’re now all spread out around the state and country, so I don’t see these women as often as I’d like.  But my favorite Shirley called me yesterday.  She tracked me down to ask about a local meeting place (it’s all about the networking!) and we chatted about our current statuses.

I’m not sure how old Shirley is, but I’ll guess she’s in her mid-70s. She is currently working one day a week in the office for her long-time boss, and does some other work at home.  She is saving money to pay for her January trip to Africa.  And next year, when she saves up the rest of the money (she’ll need $12,000!), she’s going to Antarctica.  After next year’s trip, she will have visited all seven continents.  Currently, she brags that she has visited 42 countries.

For as long as I can remember, Shirley has been a go-getter and a certification lover–just like me!  My professional signature contains four certifications (professional legal secretary, professional paralegal, professional secretary, and administrative professional).  Shirley was the only person I knew who had more initials after her name than me, including certified parliamentarian and others than I can’t even remember.  Anyone who can share their parliamentary procedure knowledge is a winner in my book!

Does Shirley make anyone else feel like a giant slacker, besides me?



Lugging the 60 Blog

Head Case


Admit it.  Traveling is stressful.  And the last thing you want to do is lose your luggage.  Searching for and losing your bag at the luggage carousel can be one of the worst parts of your vacation experience.  Now there’s a product that can help you keep your luggage, and your fellow passengers will laugh while you’re doing so.

Did you see the new luggage that can never be mistaken for anyone else’s luggage?  There is now a product that lets you plaster your entire face on both sides of your luggage.  This guarantees that no one will accidentally or intentionally steal your bags.   All you have to do is upload a high-quality photo of your face to Firebox.  The retailer will create a custom-made, double polyester spandex cover to slide over your suitcase.  Available in small, medium and large, the cover can be fastened over your luggage and, like magic, there’s your face bumping around the luggage carousel and the airport.

Ranging from $26 to $39, the Head Case covers are affordable and it seems like a small price to pay for some sanity while traveling.

What do you think?  What would you say the first time you see someone wheeling this luggage around the airport?  Would you instead consider adding a picture of your dog or cat?  Or your Paris vacation home?

I think they’re a bit scary looking.  But if you want to check it out, click here Firebox Head Case.






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.