First of many

It happened at Twin Rivers Community Park yesterday at 4:00 p.m.  I arrived at the Park with my lawn chair, hat and camera in tow.  As I came around field #2, I heard my daughter yell, “Nanni.”  I turned and saw my daughter and her two small sons eagerly awaiting my granddaughter’s first t-ball game.

first of many
First game! (photo by slc)

We secured our spot just to the right of the first base dugout in the shade of a small tree.  The boys were busy digging in the dirt with a stick they had found.  My granddaughter, donned in a bright yellow ball cap, was sitting patiently on the bench in the dugout with her 11 member “Atlanta Braves” team.  In an effort to organize the little ball players, her dad assisted the coach by getting batting helmets on the players and a bat in hand.  The 4-5 year olds now looked like small bobble-head dolls as they walked out to the plate barely able to see under the helmet.

Weeks before the game, her mom told me it took awhile for Jovie (age 5) to pick out a pink and black ball glove.  You see, Jovie is left-handed therefore she bats left-handed, but she throws right-handed.

At the game, she was a natural.  She focused on her throwing, fielding, running and batting.  We were all so very proud.

first of many
Brother Waving to Sis on the Field (photo by slc)

Jovie’s mom and dad played t-ball as youngsters and it is great fun watching this new generation grow up with sports in their lives.  Playing sports brings families together and creates wonderful memories.

I am truly a blessed “Nanni” (grandma) and I treasure the memory of being at the first of many games to come.

My first major retirement/remodeling project…

Retirement/Remodeling Project–You Can Do This!

When I purchased my home in 2013 I did so knowing I would have some remodeling projects to do.  My first major retirement/remodeling projects was changing the 1977 fireplace surround and popcorn ceiling in my family room. Below is the before picture taken by the seller’s realtor…

retirement/remodeling project

My son-in-law who lives about 25 miles away and I removed the painted tile fireplace surround and the painted cedar wood slats above it right after I moved in.  We, or should I say he, removed the side box for wood storage and the drywall above it (with my permission). Then it stayed that way, open studs and all, for about two years.

I began the remodeling project by stripping the paint off of the wooden beams on the ceiling.  This took a bit of time and elbow grease.  A lot of the white paint was embedded in the grain of the wood.  After several coats of Citristrip stripping gel, a scraper and a nail, it was ready to be stained the original dark walnut color.  I filled the beam joints next to the walls with sealant (I used brown DAP window, door and trim sealant).

Next, my son-in-law hung some drywall and cement board for me.  We only had to add a bit of framing as we kept the original fireplace framing.  Then I taped, mudded and textured the new drywall with all-purpose joint compound and a spray can of knockdown.  I had used knockdown in the past to help a friend patch some of his walls.  Easy enough. Painting was next…I’ve had lots of experience with painting and I enjoy it.  It makes such a difference right away.

Read moreMy first major retirement/remodeling project…

Supporting your grown children financially?

supporting grown children

Are you putting your retirement at risk by supporting grown children?

By Michelle Singletary, The Washington Post

June 5, 2017

“As the parent of three children — and two college students — I understand that many parents feel responsible to come to the rescue when their grown kids face tough financial times.

Your daughter graduated with a lot of student loans, so you might be inclined to offer to pay some or all of her monthly payments for a while. Your son’s car breaks down so you dip into your savings to help him fix it so he can get to his job.

Or maybe your adult child is just trifling with money. But rather than see him or her go without, you still step in with a bailout.

Recent findings from a Wells Fargo/Gallup survey found that a third of investors are helping an adult child, parent or both. What concerns me is that 61 percent of those who provide financial assistance said their support is affecting their retirement savings.”

Obituaries are important – should you write your own?


In Loving Memory

Fredrick Dean Howard

October 10, 1957 – May 12, 2017

What do I do with this tremendous sense of loss?  Last week, I learned through a Facebook message from a “non-friend” that Fred, a good friend and former significant other, was killed in a terrible motorcycle accident on May 12th not far from my home. The local paper reported the accident but did not name the rider and no follow-up story was done. The “non-friend” sent me the message on May 18th but it didn’t show up in my Facebook Messenger folder until June 8th.  I am grateful to her for trying to contact me and we have since spoken.

Read moreObituaries are important – should you write your own?

Enjoying happy memories


A truck full of memories

By Valerie McCullough, Loveland Reporter-Herald

May 4, 2017

“Once a week I make sure I turn on the ignition of Bill’s 1996 Dodge Dakota truck.

Often, I take it for a run to Safeway or King Soopers. I don’t want to let the battery die.

‘Don’t put much money into that truck. It’s old,’ a friend advises.

‘Sure, it’s old,’ I thought. ‘But it holds two decades of memories, the smell of Bill — freshly cut pine, sunscreen, chain-saw gas.’

Always reluctant to spend money on himself, Bill bought the truck only after much cajoling by family members.

The need for the truck came about when western Colorado’s mountains were being devastated by pine beetles. During the 1990s, green trees became spires of rusted iron.

An Illinois friend of Bill’s owned some raw land near Granby, Colorado — an area hit hard by beetles — but not yet decimated.

Surgical strikes in a few areas would take out the diseased trees, but distance made this task difficult for our Illinois friend.

Forests and mountains have always had a gravitational pull on Bill, so it didn’t surprise me when he jumped at the chance to tackle the beetle problem — one tree at a time.”

Read more

Starting the conversation

starting the conversationHow to talk about care options with aging parents

By Cathy Molitoris, Lancaster Online

May 23, 2017

“You know the time has come. Maybe Mom is having difficulty navigating the stairs, or Dad is unable to keep track of his medication easily. It’s time to have The Talk. It’s time to discuss care options for your aging parents.

Adult children may find it difficult to bring up the subject of in-home help with their parents, or suggest the idea of moving to a care facility, but it’s important, says Ray Landis, advocacy manager of AARP in Harrisburg.

There are many signs it’s time to have this talk, he says.

‘Mobility is really the key factor for older people in maintaining their independence,’ he notes. ‘One of the biggest things that adult children of older individuals should be looking for is any problem with mobility.’

For example, are your parents having difficulty going up and down the steps? Have they slipped and fallen?

‘Do an evaluation of where they’re living,” Landis says. “Are there hand grips in the shower or bath?’

Lynn McCabe, information and referral supervisor for the Lancaster County Office of Aging, says increased difficulty in managing activities of daily living — from bathing and dressing, to paying bills, cooking or doing laundry — should be a sign that it’s time to talk about options.”

When it’s time to have the talk, McCabe says unless there’s an immediate crisis, the subject should be approached carefully, respectfully and in gradual increments.

Read more for detailed information on starting the conversation

Patient-Driven Advance Care Planning

Have you made your advance directives?  The following article is a great place to start.  The PREPARE For Your Care website is an informative and easy to use resource to assist in making medical decisions for yourself and others.  The advance directive form on the site is currently only for California residents.

User-Friendly Decision-Making Tools Help Older Adults Make Choices for Future Medical Care

advance care planning
Click on image to read this free pamphlet

UCSF Study Shows Promise for Patient-Driven Advance Care Planning

By Scott Maier, UCSF

May 18, 2017

“A user-friendly website and advance directive form given directly to patients can be highly effective in empowering older adults to plan for their future medical care without the need for significant health system resources, according to a new study from UC San Francisco.

Researchers found that between 25 and 35 percent of older adult patients had evidence of advance care planning in their medical records after receiving simple decision-making tools. In the study, one group was given an easy-to-read advance directive, a legal document that allows patients to record their wishes for future medical care. This group had a 25 percent increase in advanced care planning. A second group received the advance directive plus a user-friendly website called PREPARE For Your Care, producing a 35 percent increase. Neither intervention required any clinician involvement, training or education.

Patients who received the PREPARE website also reported significantly more engagement in advance care planning, such as having discussions with family, friends and clinicians, and feeling more confident and ready to have these conversations.

The study, which appears online May 18, 2017, in JAMA Internal Medicine, shows promise for efforts to increase advance care planning among older adults, revealing that patient-driven initiatives can empower people to make decisions about their care.”

Read more about advance care planning website

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