Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nana Panders to Seniors

A week or so ago I wrote a post about adjusting to being a senior citizen.  I wrote the post using Windows Live Writer, a free program that I am just learning how to use.  I heard about it reading the blog of technogranny, one of the followers of this blog.   I thought that Live Writer might have enhanced capabilities and I'm sure I'll be dazzled as soon as I figure out all the features.  When I posted the piece to Blogspot the type was different from my usual postings and I couldn't seem to adjust the typeface.  I wound up just using the "Large" font size.  A reader commented that he enjoyed finding larger print on my blog. 

Light bulb moment....  

...if I'm writing a blog about adjusting to retirement and becoming a senior citizen, then maybe I should publish this little blog in a typeface that most of us of a certain age appreciate: LARGE PRINT!

And you younger readers, get used to it.  Trust me, there will come a time when you will really appreciate good lighting and large print.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nana's Money Saving Tip for Buying Books

My books had been boxed up in the garage for several months since we dismantled the old bookcase. I finally purchased new bookcases and hauled the boxes back in the house. Opening the boxes and shelving the books was like visiting with old friends. I love books. I have the hardest time getting rid of them. I even found myself debating about keeping copies of the 2008 Consumer Reports Buying Guide and  Investing for Dummies that was published in 2001.

Several months ago one of my blogging buddies, Linda over at Thoughts from a Bag Lady in Waiting, wrote a post about getting a book from  This website turned out to be the perfect solution to my book hoarding problem. I collected a pile of books that I was willing to part with and listed them on the website. For every book that I mail out to another member, I receive a credit that can be used to receive a book of my choice. The only cost to me is the postage to mail off my books to the members who request them.

Knowing that sending one of my books off will earn me a credit good for a new (to me) book,  has made it easier for me to let them go. Of course, the one flaw in this is that I’m not actually cutting down on the number of books I own, only retricting their multiplication. Well, maybe there are two flaws. No one has yet requested the Investing for Dummies book. There are just some books that have to be tossed!

I now have a comfortable credit bank for new books. I love shopping in all forms, and paging through the book lists has been a great way to feed my shopping addiction and not spend any money. As I adjust to retirement, it can’t be all senior meals at Denny’s and bus tours to the casinos. (And if you really believe that is what I've been doing with my time, you haven't been reading the blog!)  Seniors need creative ways to live on a fixed income and works for me.

If you decide to check it out, you need to register. Each household receives two free credits with a completed registration. On the registration there’s a place to list who referred you. Tell them MissNana sent you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WTF Wednesday: The Pepto Bismol House

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog.  It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!"  Well, that and I just like saying WTF.  I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore.  I'm not anyone's  role model.

I was driving in to town on my regular route, north on SW 11th and then east on Hermiston Avenue, when out of the corner of  my eye I catch a glimpse of this house and I think "WTF!"

Who in their right mind paints an entire house the color of pepto bismol?  Was there a sale on hideous paint colors that I didn't hear about?  I can understand mixing up one gallon of this color before realizing that it was day-glow PINK,  but they had to mix up gallons and gallons to paint this entire house.  This color does not come pre-mixed, you have to request this color be mixed!

When I took this picture there were three bright red cars parked in the driveway.  Did they purposefully decide to buy cars that clashed with their house?

I suppose there are positives to chosing this paint color.  It must be easy to give directions to visitors...They are the only pepto bismol house in all of Hermiston. 

"We're the pink house on the left.  You can't miss us." 

The pink probably cuts down on the cost of exterior lighting at night.  I'm sure it's radioactive and glows in the dark. 

"Just follow the glow on Hermiston Avenue.  You can't miss us."

...And as you approach the house, you'll find yourself saying "What the f**k!"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nana Adjusts to Being a Senior Citizen

My new AARP membership card came in the mail last week. This Saturday I will turn 60. Sixty! That’s three score! Where did the time go? It seems like it wasn’t so long ago that I wasn’t trusting anyone over thirty…and now I’m twice that age.

Sixty is a benchmark, the gateway to the senior years. The junk mail from the Scooter Store and flyers on low cost burials are filling my mailbox. I imagine that I’ll start getting coupons for Depends and Assure any day now. I am already enjoying some of the benefits of reaching my golden years, delicious meals in smaller sized portions at fine dining establishments like Denny’s and a 10% discount at Ross Dress for Less on Geezer Day (known to the younger set as Tuesday.)

The spouse and I took a cruise in September. The boat was filled with older people. It came as a shock to me when, in a brief moment of enlightenment, I realized that they weren't older people, they were my peer group. I am a senior.

After a year and a half I still haven’t fully adjusted to retirement. I’ve gotten used to checking “retired” on the employment box on forms and I no longer get out of bed in the morning when it’s still dark, but in the back of my mind I still feel like this is a temporary state,  an extended summer vacation.  I can’t really grasp the idea of never working again.  It’s not like I’m knocking on doors looking for work; I actually quite like not having any responsibility. But, I still read the want ads and I have a closet full of suits that I can’t bring myself to get rid of.

I recognize that I’m in the leading edge of the baby boomers. So many of us are moving into retirement and our senior years. Does everyone struggle with adjusting to the changes that come with age and retirement?

Sixty! One more year and I’ll have to change the name of this blog.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Writing Topics

I’ve been pondering writing topics, trying to get back into the routine of writing regularly. By pondering I mean sitting on the couch with my laptop and eating snacks. So far I’ve had two apple turnovers and a diet coke and no inspiration.

I thought that perhaps I should have a themed writing day on my blog. If every Monday I wrote on the same topic that might get me into a routine. Since it was Monday, I was inspired to start with Money Saving Monday. Every Monday I would write tips for retired folks on how to live well on a fixed income. Now that’s a blog I would read. Although  I’m pretty good at living cheaply, that's because I'm a recluse and rarely spend money.  That's my only tip...don't spend money. So, I wrote nothing but a catchy title.  Perhaps I need more snacks to help me figure out money saving tips.

I’ve noticed that all the themed writing posts on other blogs are alliterative. So I started making a list:

Tuesday Tips, Trash Talk Tuesday, Tuesday Travel

Wednesday Wonders, WTF Wednesday

Thursday …what goes with Thursday?

Friday Fun, Fashion Friday, Friday Fads, Friday Features

…and none of this is very inspiring. The things that I am an expert in, like grant writing and shopping, don’t really hold my interest any longer. What the F**k Wednesday is the most appealing topic and how pitiful is that?

It’s a good thing that I’m going to visit the grandchildren this week…they’re always good for some heart-warming blog stories.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sister Wives


I hate to admit it, but I love reality TV.  From The Real Housewives of New Jersey to Hoarders, I eagerly grab the opportunity to peer into the lives of other people. 

Last week Oprah had the cast of Sister Wives on her show.  Sister Wives chronicles the life of a polygamous family in Utah.  The father, Kody, has three wives and on the last episode he got engaged to his future forth wife, Robyn.  The family lives together in a sort of multi-plex house with all their children.  The fiance lives a few blocks away in a separate house with her children from a previous marriage.

I originally tuned in to Sister Wives because I was curious.  Sometimes I have a hard time just getting along with my one husband.  I couldn’t imagine having to deal with a husband and other wives, not to mention more than a dozen children.  What I saw in the episodes that I have watched is a family that is a lot like other families.  Everyone works, they take care of each other, and they squabble just like most families I know.  All that being said, there is still a weirdness factor…he has three (now four) wives!  He kisses one goodbye and then goes to bed with the woman in the next room. 

My fascination is with how the wives deal with their jealousies, and they quite openly discuss this, and how they manage to make it work.  And I still wonder if they are being truthful.  Are they really as content as they say they are?

Kody is being investigated for felony bigamy in the state of Utah.  If he were charged and convicted, he could face a jail sentence of five years. Oprah asked the wives and Kody what they would do if he went to prison.  They said they didn’t even want to think about it.

This makes interesting food for thought.  With all the focus recently on gay marriage, here’s another nontraditional marriage under fire.  Is it appropriate for the state to restrict the rights of adults?  I am a supporter of the right of gay couples to marry.  I don't believe that the state should interfere in decisions made by consenting adults, regardless of their genders.  Why isn't it then equally as intrusive for the state to outlaw polygamous marriages?  

The married individuals in Sister Wives  are all adults.  Unlike the families who were prosecuted in Texas, there is no question of children forced into marriage or of sexual abuse.  The family is self-supporting.  What is the interest to society and to the state to limit the rights of these adult individuals to live and love whoever they please?

It's not for me.  I don't think I could ever accept a plural marriage...and I hope my children and grandchildren don't make that choice either.  But, it is their choice.  It is time for the state to leave these very personal decisions up to individual citizens.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nana Substitutes in Spanish Class

Today I substituted  at the high school.  I like to substitute in Spanish because it gives me an opportunity to practice speaking Spanish.  Today was something of a challenge because the teacher left a note on the electronic sub notification that said “Use yesterday’s lesson plan.  The classes are the same.”  The high school is on an every other day class schedule.  The problem was that the previous day’s sub didn’t leave the lesson plan.  Another Spanish teacher across the hall found a copy of the lesson plan that the teacher had emailed her…whew, saved. 

The relief at having a lesson plan in hand was short lived.  The lesson plan called for watching a movie about the Incas and a worksheet.  The first period bell rang and I still hadn’t located the video.  The students were very helpful.  They wanted a video.  They had visions of getting an extra hour of sleep in a darkened classroom.  We finally located the tape in another classroom.  I never did find the worksheet. 

I put the tape in the VCR and pushed the play button…that gives you an idea of how old this movie was.  Can you even still buy a VHS movie?  I flipped off the lights and for the next hour we were enveloped in darkness as the tape droned on about the Incas.  The scenes of “modern day Peru”  showed streets filled with cars from the 1970’s. I don’t know for sure because I couldn’t see in the dark, but I guess that at least half of the class was probably asleep before the introduction was over. 

During the prep period I ran out to pick up a sandwich for lunch and some teaching supplies.

I watched that movie three times today.

Here are two notes that students left me:

sub letter 001
sub letter 003

Now this could be a heart warming story of bonding with students and successful teaching, but I know the truth.  The “lesson” was horrid.  Oh, those “teaching supplies” that I picked up on my prep…tootsie pops.  You’ve got to have snacks for a movie.  And that’s how Nana became a favorite sub.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nana Confesses

The Portland evening news is reporting that a high school in the valley has banned swearing. Students who use profanity face suspension. The newscast is asking viewers to vote in a poll if students should receive a suspension for swearing at school. I’ll have to tune in at 11:00 and see how viewers are voting.
Have these people not been around a teenager lately? Have they not listened to music that wasn't purchased at and censored by Walmart?

I have to admit that I use an occasional profanity myself. Okay, I’m waiting for the gasps to die down. Yes, Nana swears. I’ve even been known to use the “F” word. Sometimes there’s nothing that does the job better than a carefully chosen profanity. That was one thing that I really enjoyed when I first retired…I was no longer under any expectation to mind my mouth in public. I enjoyed being able to call bulls**t, bulls**t. And restraint was one of the things I had to relearn when I started occasionally substituting at the high school.

If you’ve been around teenagers, you know that they don’t always monitor their use of vocabulary. Some kids liberally use profanity when talking to each other. When I was a kid my mother would chastise us for using “shut up.” She cringed when we used “bitchin.” As in, “Wow, that’s a bitchin pair of madras shorts you’re wearing.”

Perhaps the difference now is that some students, and in some cases their parents, don’t see the line between using profanity in a casual conversation with friends and in using it in a more formal environment such as a classroom. When I was an assistant principal I had parents in my office say things like:

“What the f**k is wrong with that bi*ch teacher? Why is she picking on my kid?”

“Why did I have to come down to this f**king school?”

“What’s the f**king problem now?”

…and we wonder why their kids have problems understanding the boundaries. 

I don’t get the vapors when I hear a kid use profanity in my classroom. I do remind them that using profanity in the classroom isn’t appropriate and for most kids that’s enough. The kids who push it are the ones that are looking for a fight. They’re testing to see if I’ll enforce the rules. I will.

I’ll be thinking “Shut  up you little as*wipe.” But, instead I’ll just give them the golden ticket to the office. It what they wanted anyway.

I’ve had conversations with kids about how disrespectful it is to call each other bitch. They don’t get it. They will; they’re young. It’s another reason why public education is so important. So many kids aren’t learning these lessons at home. I’m their role model…it’s why I don’t use profanity at school!
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