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Famous Friendly and Committed

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One part of my radio job is interviewing people connected to non-profit organizations. Sometimes those people are famous.

I recently interviewed Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics International. Boomers like me know the Shriver name, even if we don’t always remember the details.

Here are some details. Tim Shriver is the son of Sargent Shriver, a Vice Presidential candidate in 1972, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of John, Robert and Ted Kennedy. That means those Kennedy’s were his uncles. Maria Shriver is his sister. His mother Eunice founded Special Olympics fifty years ago this month.

Before I pressed ‘record’ that day, I did mention that I’ve followed his family for decades. I remember exactly where I was at lunch time on November 22,1963. I also told him I am impressed by his family’s dedication to public service.

People of wealth, fame and power could certainly live selfish, luxurious lives and care only for themselves. Our current president is a good example of th…

Health Aging Retirement and Other Random Observations

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A study connecting drinking coffee with longevity was released last week. I read about that as I sat down to drink my morning coffee. Odd personal fact: the last time I missed my morning coffee was in June of 1991. Really. I had switched to decaf for a few months after a hospital stay that year. The office ran out of decaf one day and I thought one cup of regular would be ok. My caffeine addiction returned immediately and I haven’t missed a day since.

As I began to write this while sipping coffee at my neighborhood Panera, a 65-year-old friend walked by. He retired two weeks ago and Panera and Starbucks are among his new daily rituals, replacing the stressful traffic-filled commute on the Capitol Beltway from his home in Maryland to his job in Virginia. He is a young, healthy 65. He liked parts of his job but doesn’t really miss the rest or the commute.

I saw this same friend last night at a neighborhood wine bar. There are many studies touting the health benefits of wine. I have a…

Staycations

Taking time off can be a powerful method to recharge, both physically and emotionally. Visiting a new place, revisiting a favorite destination or embarking on an adventure filled with settings and activities that are out of your normal patterns or comfort zones can be exhilarating.

The point of vacations is to disconnect from your daily work routines, with the goal of appreciating your job more, or at least taking a break. Which means NOT going anywhere during time off from work can have similar benefits.

The Independence Day holiday is on a Wednesday this year, so I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off, which means I am in a 5-day weekend. Where am I going? Nowhere. A "Staycation".

We Americans work too much. Some research indicates we only take a week off in addition to a few holidays on which our workplaces are closed, even if company policy allows for more. Workers in many countries get a whole month off. In some countries that vacation is mandatory.

I’ve worked a…

Feeling Sorry for Myself

Ok, I admit right up front that this a whiney post. I’m usually a positive, optimistic person, so I might figure out a way to feel better by the end of this.

My occasional depression seems to be visiting me this June; uninvited, of course. This visitor is partly dressed in MS and partly in aging. I usually try to focus on things I CAN do rather than things I can’t, but then I grab my cane as I get up from a fatigue-fighting midday nap and limp across the room to get some water. I remember when I was a fast walker, all of three or four years ago. I remember I had a personal trainer who helped me build strength, stamina, a flat stomach and plenty of confidence, four characteristics I lack at the moment.

I try to remind myself, in my usual “half full not half empty” way, that MS slows me down but doesn’t stop me; then I sit down again, too tired to do anything.

As all of this negativity and whining washes over me, I start thinking about retirement. I should be ecstatic that I am old e…

Him Too

Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors. Wide range, emotional variety, voice of God. Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy.

And he is now on the list of famous male to be accused of sexually inappropriate behavior.

As of this writing, the behavior in question is mostly verbal, sprinkled with a stray back rub or neck touch. No sex. Yet.

Is there a distinction in seriousness between talking and non-genital touching and actual
unwanted sex?  Does a leering 80-year-old ‘creepy uncle’ type of man get a pass from the Me Too movement? 

I think those are difficult questions.

Boomers will remember a time when leering, cat calls and other verbal behaviors that are now considered derogatory were “acceptable”. They were never a good thing but it happened a lot and women didn’t push back all that much.  Women’s rights movements slowly changed attitudes but the change was glacial and apparently incomplete.

There has never been justification for women to be treated as subhuman sex obj…

Tradition

For better or worse, boomers are the generation that made divorce acceptable. I’ve been through a couple of them myself, so you can understand that I often have a cynical attitude about weddings.

Yet here I was, up since 6:30 that morning, watching the Royal Wedding on television. And actually enjoying it.

The incredible combination of tradition and modernity, monarchy and celebrity, England and America.  The African-American Episcopal Bishop’s sermon about love, a choir singing “Stand By Me”, the flawless performance by a 19-year-old cellist, the look on Meghan’s Mother’s face, the look in the eyes of the bride and groom, the tens of thousands of spectators along the ceremonial route. Elton John, George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey in the church. Clear blue skies, a rarity in England. And hour and a half of the Today Show with no commercials.

Wedding vows spoken with British and American accents.

Watching something like this can restore belief in marriage, love and international an…

Boomer Tools

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Whether it’s true or not, boomers like me think we still rule the world.

Here is a compilation of devices and strategies that can help us fend off the millennials who are trying to take over, because they will have no idea what these are or how to use them.

Our secret code (cursive writing)



Our special communication device that they don’t know how to use


Our instant photo device


Our own special language (complete, grammatically correct sentences)

Using cash to buy things (and we can count change without using the register or a calculator)

An analog clock to tell each other the time of our secret missions (when the big hand is on 4 and the little hand is on 8)


And they’ll never figure out how to drive our cars because of this special anti-theft device 


Wait your turn, millennials, we ain’t dead yet. When it IS your turn, learn from us. Emulate our successes and try to not make our mistakes.

And learn how to drive a stick shift car in case you need to take us to a doctor appointme…