Do you enjoy traveling alone?

While the author of the following article isn’t a retired, she does paint a positive picture of the world of traveling alone:traveling alone

The unexpected benefits of traveling alone

By Andrea Sachs, The Washington Post

June 25, 2017

“On a May vacation in Nicaragua, Alison Peters often visited several panaderias after dinner, sampling not one but many desserts. She spent days wearing the same bathing suit coverup. And near the town of Granada, she lingered at Masaya, snapping selfie after selfie with the active volcano.

During her two-week journey abroad, she never once had to defend her decisions or discuss her choices. Because what the solo traveler wants, the solo traveler gets.

‘Traveling alone is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself,’ said the Washington-area law student. ‘You don’t have to be rational when you’re by yourself.’

Call it the All About Me trip.

These days, more travelers are venturing out into the world alone. According to the Visa Travel Intentions Study, which surveyed 13,603 adults in 25 countries, the number of people traveling solo doubled between 2013 and 2015.”

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Protect your retirement annuity

Companies Offering To Buy Your Annuity, Be careful!


“Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has recently learned of an aggressive marketing push targeting Federal annuitants. Companies are offering a cash payment in exchange for a portion, or all, of your future annuity payments generally much less than their long-term worth, and typically charging high interest rates and fees. We have specifically received numerous phone calls from one company in particular asking us to not just verify annuity amounts, but also banking information, including routing numbers and account numbers. Our suspicions were confirmed by our Inspector General’s office who discovered this company is currently under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

CFPB lists three things you can do to protect your retirement annuity:

  1. Avoid loans with high fees and interest. Pension advance companies may not always advertise their fees and interest rates, but you will certainly feel them in your bottom line. Before you sign anything, learn what you are getting and how much you are giving up.
  2. Don’t sign over control of your benefits. Companies sometimes arrange for monthly payments to be automatically deposited in a newly created bank account so the company can withdraw payments, fees and interest charges from the account. This leaves you with little control.
  3. Don’t buy life insurance that you don’t want or need. Pension advance companies sometimes require consumers to sign up for life insurance with the company as the consumer’s beneficiary. If you sign up for life insurance with the pension advance company as your beneficiary, you could end up footing the bill, whether you know it or not. Go to for more information.”

For where to report a possible scam or to file a complaint

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.

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.

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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.”

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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

Caregivers having the guts to do so, find a balance

How Do We Balance Autonomy and Risk for Older Adults?

Finding that balance takes guts, as caregivers often learn

“Georgia Dyson of St. Paul, Minn., died in March after suffering the gradual shrinkage of her world. Through it all, ‘she always relished her independence,’ her daughter Christine Dyson Dahn said.

Over Dyson’s 84 years, her spine twisted in two directions from degenerative scoliosis. She had cataracts, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. She endured a double bypass heart operation, a mitral valve repair, a pacemaker, two hip replacements, a catheter, a hearing aid, dentures and, as you can imagine, periodic depression.

Linda Irgens has advocated for more independence, even though it brings risk for her father, Richard “Papa Dick” Irgens. (Photo by D. Browning)

Despite all of that — and despite some misgivings about Dyson’s safety — family members did whatever they could to support her, insisting at each crossroads that she be allowed to get back to her routines.

‘We wanted to respect that fire in her, but we worried about her,’ Dahn said. ‘What if she went out in her wheelchair and got hit by a car?’

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