Friday, June 14, 2013

For my DAD!

As Father's Day approaches, I'd like to honor my dad with a few comments.

My dad was hard-working and always did whatever it took to support our family of 9 kids, born in less than 12 years: 5 boys - 4 girls.   There was always a baby around but he loved kids, so he was thrilled to be blessed with so many.   Money was scarce, but we were never on welfare--because like so many men of his generation he took pride in taking care of his family.

He was the baby of 6 children, born to Sicilian immigrants and did not even speak English until he was 9.   But unlike many of the immigrants of today who want everything handed to them and in many cases even refuse to learn and speak English, he fully recognized the importance of fitting into our society, to the point that he would not even allow us kids to learn Italian........which would have been so easy as we always lived near my Italian grandma Rosa.

My favorite piece of advice from him was:  
"Getting your education is like constructing a building.   You must have a solidly built foundation or the entire building will crumble."

From the first day I started school, no grade other than an A was acceptable.  I'm fortunate because  in the 1950s, he stressed education for his daughters an idea that was definitely ahead of its time because at that time, most women were getting married right out of high school.

Being the oldest, he pushed me so hard that by 27 I had a degree in Accounting and an MBA.  At that time, in 1976, I was somewhat of an oddity as there were not many women in the business world, but I was grateful as my strong educational background gave me a real advantage in finding a job.

There wasn't any problem he couldn't solve and he always had a helping hand for anyone -- family or friends -- who needed his assistance.  I also love that he taught me to always take in "strays" for the holidays.  So, no matter how many family members we might have at a holiday celebration (upwards of 50 with all my relatives), he wanted us to make sure our single friends had somewhere to go.

He was an incredible dancer and even met my mom in a nightclub!   I have many fond memories of our times on the dance floor -- whether in the living room, at a wedding or even in a nightclub.  He's the one who made me a concert junkie as he took me to see Bobby Darin when I was just 11 years old.   We had the most fun though going to see the Ike and Tina Turner Revue at Club Imperial in St. Louis.  We were regulars at the Nightclub.  This was was back in 1961 when I was just 13 and way before they were famous.

Check out this  Luther Vandross Video as it's one of my favorites and reminds me of the many times I danced with my dad.  For all of you who are missing your dad on Father's day, this one's for you!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Attacked by my Microwave!

There are numerous articles and statistics to support the theory that over 75% of accidents happen right in your home and I certainly have helped to prove that theory.
I’ve had a few accidents in my home and until this microwave incident; the oddest accident happened when I fell while trying to get out of my recliner and broke my right foot.   While it hurt a lot physically, I think more than anything it hurt my pride because I just felt so stupid and careless.   And since it happened in September (off ski season), I couldn’t even make up a good story, “like I was flying down a double-black diamond” when I lost control.

But nothing prepared me for the injury I suffered recently when I hit myself on the left side of my head while closing the microwave door.  Yes, I know, it’s hard to picture that happening, but my microwave is elevated above the stove and again while hurrying, I slammed the door into the left side of my head.  I didn’t think much about it until 2 days later when I suffered severe episodes of vertigo. 

After much research and talking to nurse Ginny (my sister), I discovered I was suffering from BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) which is caused by the crystals in your inner ear being knocked loose.  See

I had to go to a therapist for a canalith repositioning procedure during which I was rolled off the edge of a table to try and knock the crystals back in place.   It’s so dis-orienting, that I felt like I was being rolled around in a washing machine!  
While it’s not life-threatening, it’s devastating because before I experienced this, I hadn’t really thought much about how important balance it.   And as we get older one of our biggest fears is our loss of independence and I learned first-hand how your ability to stay balanced affects everything – walking, doing daily chores and especially driving.
So, learn from me and slow down because the therapist told me this is not an uncommon injury, especially for older people.    It's so hard for me to break those habits, as I've been a fast-paced, type A person my entire life.   Also, protect your balance by doing some strengthening exercises.  Check out

It's a good time of the year to check out your home for potential accident areas, so for additional home safety tips, go to:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow!

Fleetwood Mac, one of the biggest bands of the ‘70s, was quickly becoming nothing more than a footnote in Rock History until Bill Clinton decided to use their  anthem “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow” as his theme song for his 1992 campaign.  

That song, combined with his playing the sax, connected with the younger generation and helped get him elected.  And when President Clinton requested they perform that song at his first inaugural ball; band members (who had not performed together in 10 years), put their egos aside and gave a rousing rendition.

Being the “concert junkie” that I am, I just don’t know how I missed seeing them back in the ‘70s; so I was thrilled to hear that all the original members except  Christine McVie had reunited for a tour this year and would be here in Denver at the Pepsi Center.  Tickets were hard to get, but for a 23% premium, I managed to score some on the secondary market – Flash Seats.  
Time apart didn’t diminish their onstage chemistry and during that high energy concert, lasting more than 2 hours, they covered most of their big hits.  It was an exciting, nostalgic show, complete with a psychedelic light/slide show reminiscent of the ‘70s concert scene.   They rewarded our enthusiastic audience with 3 encores ending with “Say Goodbye”, a heart-tugging song of lost love.  (Fleetwood Mac fans all know the story of the Nicks/Buckingham breakup…..put to music here.) 

I love the song “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow”  because it’s a song of hope and optimism.
It should be our Baby Boomer’s anthem because that attitude of thinking about tomorrow, planning for the future and not living in our past--no matter how exciting and rewarding it might have been—will keep us young.     Take a few minutes – enjoy the video and read the lyrics.   I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.
2013 Fleetwood Mac touring members

Are you having FUN?

Since I'd last written in February about losing a friend, I have suffered the loss of 3 more friends and 1 cousin in just 4 months!    It's definitely had an impact on me as one of the hardest things I'm dealing with as I get older is "acceptance". 

I just don't want to accept the fact that as I age:
  •  time really does seem to move faster (it's already JUNE).
  •  I have to deal with even more unexpected medical issues.
  •  I can't do things as fast as I did before.
  •  I have to deal more frequently with the death of family and friends.
Every time I hear of another death, it's like a cold, hard slap of reality hitting me across the face, reminding me that life really is so short that all I want to do is have more fun before I'm too tired or it's too late.

Only you can define "what's fun" or what activities put a smile on your face -- but I sincerely encourage you to follow Nike's famous slogan and "JUST DO IT".     Don't be sitting in your rocking chair at 80, saying "I wish I had" when you still have the time to build new, exciting memories.

So, STOP right now and plan a fun activity - be it a hike, movie or concert - something you can look forward to!

Single? Retired? Need Money?

You've all seen those ads offering you ways to make more money in retirement doing everything from addressing envelopes to phone soliciting.  99% of them are schemes and you actually spend more money than you'll make.

But you might be able to increase your monthly retirement income just by reviewing your Social Security (SS) Benefits!   That simple -- YES!!

As I talk with divorced and widowed retirees (especially single women), I'm finding out that many of them are not getting the maximum SS benefit that they could receive in retirement because they have had to take their SS payment at the earliest eligibility date rather than wait until age 70.

What they are unaware of is that they "might" be eligible to claim benefits from their former or deceased spouse instead when they reach the minimum eligibility age, and hold off collecting under their own work record.   I stress "might" because each case is different and there are certain criteria that have to be met.   The exact wording from the SSA website:

"If you qualify for benefits as a widow, widower or surviving divorced spouse on another record, you may choose to apply for survivors benefits now and delay your retirement benefit until later."

In cases of divorce, your EX must be retirement age eligible, BUT the EX does not have to be retired.

To apply you must have a copy of your marriage certificate, divorce papers or proof of death and that other person's SS number.  You can easily start your research online, but I highly recommend you go in person to a SS office for a final determination of your benefits.

Why not take a few minutes and explore the SS website?  Who knows, you just might be one of the lucky ones and find hundreds of dollars in unclaimed benefits waiting for you!