Monday, March 30, 2009

Snow Days

It's the second time in 5 days that I'm snowed in! With gale like winds that picture pretty well depicts what it's like outside right now. As a kid, I loved a snow day. We lived near several parks with gently rolling hills that were great for sledding.

Snow is a demon here in Denver but a savior in the mountains as prior to last week's dump they were hurting for snow.

Nowadays, I don't mind a snow day because being retired I don't have to worry about getting to work.

Just remember that snow can be deadly for Boomers because many think they can just run out and shovel their walks and driveways. Don't become a statistic! Instead, ask for help from a neighbor or services that help the elderly.

If you need assistance, investigate the volunteer services in your area. Volunteers of America is a nationwide organization that offers many services for retirees. Check them out at:

Today's a perfect day for me to finish my income taxes and hunker down with a good book!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Running on Empty?

At church this weekend the minister kept referring to how many people are"running on empty" which made me think about the Jackson Browne song.

The lyrics seem so appropriate for these hard economic times, especially......."Everywhere I go, Everyone I know, People need some reason to believe".

To me, "running on empty" doesn't refer only to the financial hard times many Boomers on fixed incomes face, but also to how many of us feel spiritually and emotionally depleted because we've lost faith in our Government and the politicians representing us.

We grew up with a Government that we believed in. Yet, with all that's happened in the past year, it's no wonder that we're all looking for something to believe in. As many economists predict, we still may be in a downward cycle this year.

So, if you feel emotionally and spiritually depleted too, suggest you consider getting recharged at your local church; talk to some friends or if you just can't seem to get out of that 'blue funk', then seek professional help.

The catchy lyrics sure remind me of the 60s. Check out a live Jackson Browne performance at:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Hey, can you believe it's that time of the year already?

I'm not talking about Spring, though I'm happy it's here and we've had some beautiful days!

It's TAX TIME - ugh!

So, have you filed your income taxes yet or are you like me -- procrastinating? Usually I'm done by this time of the year, but I just can't seem to get started on them.

I've even made appointments with myself on my calendar, but I just don't feel like doing them. Well, I've got a new self-imposed deadline of April 7th because I'm going back to St. Louis to visit my family for Easter.

How about you -- need some help? There's several ways Boomers can get free tax advice.
Here's a few:

As an ex-IRS agent, the best free advice I can give you is -- FILE YOUR TAXES on time. Even if you end up owing money and can't pay it immediately, you must file your return by April 15th. I've read several articles recently where the IRS is more than willing to work with taxpayers in setting up a payment plan due to these tough economic times.

The link for setting up a payment plan is:,,id=149373,00.html?portlet=2

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Active Adult Communities

Living in an Active Adult Community has become one of the most popular housing choices for retirees.

These communities often offer a small town atmosphere combined with the convenience of living near a large city. They provide social contacts galore through many of their activities -- book clubs, card groups, stock clubs -- just to name a few.

While most people wait until they're 55 to move into an Active Adult Community, one experimental guy, Steve Gurney, decided to give it a shot at 43!

For an interesting account of his adventures, check out his Blog at

You can also order a free copy of his Guide To Retirement Living Source Book which is a is a publication that helps you locate housing options, aging in place and expert resources . Each issue is packed with articles and real-life stories. Currently, it's published in DC Metro, Maryland, and Delaware Valley.

Help Make a Wish!

When planning your next trip, please check out "Hotels Combined" at
They have an ongoing Spread the Word for Charity project!
So also check out their site at

Depending on how you spread the word, they will donate up to $20 to your favorite charity. Mine is Make a Wish -- so I hope you'll visit their site, give a shout out about their website on your Blog, Facebook page or Twitter and then ask that the donation be made to make a wish!
Thanks so much!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hospital Bills?

As a retired Boomer on a fixed income any unexpected medical expenses sure blow my budget.

But when faced with a life-threatening medical emergency this past summer, the last thing on my mind was "how will I pay the bills?". Even with good insurance coverage, I still had to pay 15% of the hospital bills + a flat fee which totalled several thousand dollars.

The bills are still coming in from last July's hospital stay, so I decided to negotiate with the hospital on my bill. I've taken the attitude that with today's current economic crisis everything can be negotiated.

After several dead-end attempts in dealing with people in Billing I asked for a Patient Advocate. First, I explained my situation; then offered her a reduced amount in full settlement of the bill. Frankly, I was a little shocked when she offered to accept even less. She explained that the hospital would prefer to work with the patient in resolving the bill, rather than turn it over to a collection agency.

I know a lot of you may be faced with a similar financial problem due to unexpected medical expenses, so here's some tips:
  • Keep a list of procedures/tests done to you in the hospital, so you aren't overcharged.
  • Don't be embarrassed to explain your financial limitations.
  • Start with the Patient Advocate. That person is there to help you.
  • Never take "NO" for an answer, whether your negotiating with someone at your Insurance Company or Hospital.
  • Don't ignore the bill, because that will count against your credit rating.
  • If you aren't comfortable trying to negotiate, then find one of your friends who loves to argue.

You might not win, but then you're no worse off than before!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Many of us single Boomers have lived alone for years, while others have recently been widowed.

For those who were married for decades, the shock of living alone may cover them with veil of depression and isolation. Don’t let that happen to you!! Some tips for learning to live alone:

......Prepare a list of things to do outside your home on days you feel bad…..and you will have those days.

......Get out of the house and socialize. Play cards, take line dancing….anything that allows you to interact with others.

......Nurture your spirit by journaling, mediating or listening to relaxing music. (Personally, I love Yanni)

......Get a pet. Just taking care of one often will give you a sense of purpose and walking your dog daily is great exercise.

......Try something new like signing up for a foreign language class.

......Find a close friend or someone in a support group who you can freely talk to.

The most important thing is YOU! You have to take action to build a new life for yourself and the most exciting thing is once you get out there, you’ll be amazed at the new friends you’ll make and fun things to do.

If you feel you just can't shake that down feeling, perhaps you need professional help. If so, review the info at:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Screwed Again!

I am so sick of it -- aren't you!
I just couldn't believe it today when I heard that some AIG executives received $165 million in bonuses which obviously came from the billions that our Government gave them.

How disgusting!
But it's no surprise because if they were ethical to start with, then they would not have contributed to this financial mess we're in.

Just think's the same executives that created or sold the derivatives that are receiving the bonuses.
What really made me mad though was when Isaw on CNN that the Government may not pursue an investigation or prosecution because it would probably end up costing just as much money as the bonuses.

What a joke! What kind of a message does that send to us taxpayers who are footing the bill? I just hope that New York's Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, follows through and actually subpoenas AIG executives.

Want to do something about?
Then write your Congressman and demand that your Government make AIG fully accountable for the billons given to them and that all bonuses be
cancelled. You can find out how to contact them at:

Magic Moments

What a great name for a dance troupe !

That's exactly what I experienced when watching this year's production of "This Just In". The show was fast-paced and so heart warming. I just loved it!

Music director, Donna Debreceni, put her special twist on golden oldies such favorites as Don’t Be Cruel, Thriller, and Walking on Sunshine. The dance numbers were well-choreographed and the kids were obviously having the time of their lives. It was so touching to see how excited they were.

Magic Moments, Inc. is a non-profit theatre production group founded in 1983 in the Denver area that promotes the abilities of all performers, especially those with physical or developmental disabilities. Through their annual musical productions, they want to raise awareness and to provide the diverse range of cast members an opportunity to give back to their own community through theatrical performance.

For more info including how to donate to this very worthwhile non-profit, go to:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Have you backed-up lately?

Have you seen the “Sex and the City” episode where Carrie loses her hard drive? She panics! She hadn’t backed-up……she wasn't even sure what that meant!

I feel pretty computer savvy for a Boomer Babe, yet when my computer crashed in September 2007 I was just as guilty – no backups. You'd think I would have learned from the first time my computer crashed in 2004!

In 2007 at least I had a few files on discs but I was physically ill as I had lost several important files. Then it took me months to recreate what files I could, so once I got my new laptop, I swore I would always back-up.

This morning when I turned on my laptop, instead of the Microsoft Welcome tune, I saw a very weird message against a black screen and it seemed locked in a loop. Immediately, I felt a catch in my throat and thought “oh no, not again”. That would have been the 3rd time I lost my hard drive.

But, I was safe, rather than sorry! I had purchased an external hard drive when I got my new laptop. What a great invention! An external hard drive lets you backup important information separate from the main internal hard drive. You can store important files, DVD images and even a backup of the contents of your main internal hard drive.

How about you – are you like Carrie, just one crash away from losing all your files?
If so, then check out the top 10 external hard drives at:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Wrestler

"The Wrestler" with Mickey Rourke is an attention-getting, inspirational movie. I enjoyed seeing a picture with a good story line where they hadn't spent millions on special effects or action scenes.
Undoubtedly, Rourke proved that he can still carry a movie as he gave the performance of a lifetime. It's easy to see why he won several awards for portraying "Randy, the Ram". For me, especially moving were the Ram's attempts at reconciling with his daughter in the twilight of his life.

As his fans already know, the story line closely parallels Rourke's real life as he was a hot, rising star in the 80s who fell out of favor with Hollywood due to his wild antics and reputation for being difficult to work with.

I saw "The Wrestler" with a few friends who had never seen a Mickey Rourke movie. They had no idea of his screen presence as a young star -- so we immediately rented "9 1/2 weeks", the film that catapulted him to fame.
Note that there is quite a bit of violence in this movie.

The Gift of Time

Everyone loves to get a gift.........but the most precious gift of all is someone's time!

Think about -- one size fits all, it's always the right color, and it's something that everyone can use.

As we age, we usually need more help especially with some of our daily activities. If you're like me and live away from your family, it's wonderful to have friends who generously give you their time. My friend, Carole, is always there for me and I really appreciate that. She spent several hours with me yesterday as I couldn't drive home after a test at the doctor's office.

We're all given the same amount of time every day -- 1440 minutes. Unlike other resources that are continually diminishing, each day our time bank is replenished with another 1440 minutes. It's how you use those minutes that counts!

Why not take a few minutes today and think about who in your family or circle of friends might need some help? Give them a call now and offer a few hours of your time. You'll feel good about it and the offer of your time will definitely brighten their day!

If you're retired, you might have more time than money, so please consider volunteering with the Senior Services in your area. Whether you need help or want to volunteer, you can find out about Senior Services offered in your State on Google.

Just type in: Senior Services + your state For example: Senior Services + Colorado (which gave me the following link)

There I found numerous links on everything from recreation services to health care.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Is Vail #1?

It was in 1957 that Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton, two enterprising skiers, first discovered the majestic mountain location that became Vail.

Since the Vail Resort opened in December 1962, it has continually set the 'gold' standard for terrain, luxury accommodations, apres-ski activities and a base village that offers every imaginable amenity.

The front face of the mountain alone is bigger than many other Colorado resorts. Add to that the expansive back bowls and at over 5,000 acres, Vail offers a winter wonderland for all levels of skiers!

But, at 97 bucks a day lift tickets are outrageously expensive! No problem for us though as we had the Colorado Pass, which gave us 10 days of skiing at either Vail or Beaver Creek. It was so much fun to ski Vail as my sister Paula had never been there before. She loved the wide open trails!

While there are some very expensive restaurants in Vail Village, we found a reasonably priced one on the mountain. Located at 11,000 feet at the top of Chairs 3 and 7 is the Wildwood Smokehouse which offers luncheon fare ranging from chicken and wild rice soup to barbecue pork along with breathtaking views of the Gore Range.

So, is Vail #1? Well, that depends on who you ask since some surveys rank it as #1 while others rate Deer Valley in Utah as #1.

It doesn't really matter, because if you get to ski either one you'll have a memorable vacation experience!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

At the Spa

Would you like a massage?

For most Boomers, the word "massage" usually meant a polite word for another activity. Most ladies I know have never even experienced one because they just can't get rid of that image of a sleazy massage parlor.

But nowadays, a massage given by a certified therapist at a professional Spa is a blissful experience! I always find it so relaxing and peaceful. And, after being so stressed out over the bailout mess, I definitely needed one.

So today, instead of hitting the slopes, I visited the Serenity Spa in Keystone, CO. I opted for a facial and mini-massage -- 90 minutes of pure relaxation and I loved it!

If you've never visited a Spa, why not spoil yourself for a day?

We Boomer women have always worked so hard, doing everything for everyone else but ourselves -- so, don't you think it's about time to pamper yourself, too?

For a listing of day Spas in your area, check out:
And, don't forget to ask them for a discount! Most spas will give you at least a 20% discount if you get the service within 48 hours of making the reservation.

Bailout Blues

No matter how much I try to forget about it, daily I get mad about the bailout -- don't you??

I want to know where Uncle Sugar-Daddy was when I needed him! I lost about 75% of my life savings in the stock market crash of 2000/2001. I sure needed Uncle Sugar-Daddy then to save my butt financially, but I didn't get a dime!

So here I am at 61, still making house payments after just having refinanced my home at 5%. Yet, I can't qualify for any help whatsoever because I have been faithfully paying my mortgage. It sure makes me feel like I should default on my loan just so I can qualify for one of those 2% loans.

How about you -- are any of you Boomers qualifying for housing help under the Economic Stimulus Package?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tennessee Pass Cookhouse

It's hard to believe that we've already spent 4 weeks here in the mountains. Overall, it's been great, but we missed several days of skiing due to bad weather. So, with just 5 days left, we plan to ski every day!

Today though was just gorgeous
- high temps and sunny - so we drove again to the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse (commonly known as the Yurt) for lunch. The scenery from the deck of the Yurt is just breathtaking. As mentioned earlier in my BLOG, the food there is scrumptious.

What I loved about it today was that the food was just as good as the first time. It's hard for a restaurant to provide consistently good fare, but they met the challenge. There were 8 of us and everyone loved the food ranging from buffalo burgers to salmon croissants to Roxanne's famous cookies.

They also offer a experience a unique dining adventure for $75.00 which include a four-course gourmet dinner. There's only one seating daily starting with the group meeting at the Nordic Center (base of Ski Cooper in Leadville) at 5:30pm. All entrees must be ordered ahead of time. See their website for the menu:

Owners Roxanne and Ty are multi-talented, very personable and make you feel welcome from the minute you check in. For a unique, memorable dining experience, you must try the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse!

Night Skiing at Keystone

The Keystone Ski Resort is the home to Colorado's largest night time skiing experience.
You can enjoy the long groomed runs on Dercum Mountain and the Terrain Park until 8:30 pm.
My sister Paula and her husband, Ken, tried it one night last week and while they found it to be a unique, fun experience, it's also dangerous. It's very hard to see with the shadows cast from the floodlights and the skiers have to dodge the large number of boarders jumping several feet in the air.
The best part of night skiing -- you can use your same day ticket to ski at night. Currently, night skiing is available from Wednesday to Sunday; but check the website as the days will change closer to the end of the season!
Paula came up with a great idea -- if you plan to try night skiing, wear a reflective, fluorescent vest so the other skiers can clearly see you.