Thursday, December 10, 2009

We had the most enjoyable evening last night in Palm Springs. I am sure many of you have also enjoyed the Palm Springs Fabulous Follies (now in it's nineteenth year with over 3 million patrons). I have seen stories and read about the unique cast in the media. Since we are in Palm Desert for a week, we decided to take in the show.
What makes the Follies unique? The cast is comprised totally of senior citizens – mostly in the 70’s. There is the “baby” at 56, but the prize goes to Dorothy Dale Kloss who at the age of 86, is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the "Oldest 'Still Performing' Showgirl in the World." Yes, the picture at the right is current and looks just like her -I want her genes.
I knew the show would be good – just to marvel at the ability of the dancers and singers. But I was surprised at the beauty and grace of the cast. The ladies wore impressive, Las Vegas style, showgirl costumes that required a lot of strength - just to hold up the headpieces. The rest of of the costume took courage to wear even for a very young person.
What an uplifting experience. We laughed hard at the ventriloquist Brad Cummings and his prehistoric dinosaur "Rex. We enjoyed the music of guest star—Susan Anton, crowned Miss America the year I was born.
The Master of Ceremonies and co-founder, Riff Markowitz, was funny and kept the audience engaged and laughing between acts. If you would like to read more about the history of the Fabulous Follies, click Here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Finally... A Computer Designed For You, Not Your Grandchildren!"

Since I retired, my technology needs have changed. I now notice businesses that market to “Boomers and Beyond” for cell phones and computers.

I no longer want a phone that will replace my computer, camera, Ipod, Gameboy or GPS. I simply want a phone that has big enough buttons to use and a design that allows me to hear and be heard. The phone functions should be call and end call – period.

Enter the JitterBug phone. The first time I saw one was in an AARP magazine. Finally, I thought, a cell phone that is just a phone ! This phone is now a popular option for people who use a cell casually or for emergencies only.

Today, again advertised in AARP, was the new Go computer. The ad declares “ Finally…. A Computer Designed for You, Not your Grandchildren." Just plug it in and it is ready to use. It features a large keyboard, and a ‘never get lost – just click and Go’ menu. To turn on the computer, press Go, then select either Email, Games, Help, My Files, or The Web. That’s it.

Not inexpensive by today’s Netbook standards (under $500), the Go computer is just under $900 and requires a monthly access fee of $19.99. Still, for older seniors that have never had computer experience this might be a good solution to quickly get online without having to take classes or be intimadated by stacks of manuals.

It seems we have gone to cramming as many functions into a microchip as possible to going back to the basics and simplifying – at least for the senior population.

Disclaimer: this is by no means an endorsement of either product as I have no experience with products mentioned in this blog. The blog is simply my observation of marketing technology products to seniors.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My new neighborhood newletter

The other night, I was asked why I started I used the easy answer; I wanted a place where neighbors could share ideas, get to know one another and be involved in Glenbrooke.

While those reasons are certainly valid, I also needed a sense of purpose and the ability to feel I could still contribute.

When I left my last position, it was with a sense of new adventures, travel and consulting. Those plans dissipated several months later when I suffered a stroke.I have worked very hard both physically and cognitively to recover. I had to relearn many things - including the value of numbers, how to add and subtract. I spend 2-4 hours a day on cognitive exercises- hey card games count!

While I can use the computer keyboard, I still have trouble writing and making letters. Thank goodness for spell check in computers!

I was feeling lost - I was just a consumer in society and had nothing to offer. Then my best friend, Doni Greenberg, suggested I write a blog for her website I wrote everyday at first. As I wrote, I started to be more comfortable with my limitations. I finally felt I still might be able to do SOMETHING. Doni helped me find my voice again. Then we moved to Glenbrooke. It was very difficult to leave the community I love and the support I felt.

We didn’t know anyone in the area, let alone the neighborhood. But we quickly found people here are accepting and friendly and I now have a new community. I will always feel a connection to Redding.

The experience at gave me exposure to a tool that can help build a sense of community. It is something I CAN do - on a much smaller scale. I may have to do it in tiny increments and I need a lot of help correcting errors, typos, grammar and spelling. My new friend neighbor Vickie Glaser, graciously agreed to edit the newsletter. We quickly worked out a system to post weekly. Jim Gore is the technical support behind this website - without him, I would still be lost. Doni and all the writers at are so supportive. I know you will come to know and love them as much as I do as we have been given permission to reprint their articles.

Is this a business? No, it’s a productive hobby. There is no way I could deal the need for advertisers, structure, or pressure of a business at this stage in my life. is limited to our retirement neighborhood.

Will we charge a subscription? No, we paid the nominal fee for web hosting and no one gets paid for contributions - so there is no need for income.

Do we want to take over or be in competition with No, I needed a hobby not a job. The HOA website is just that, a HOA website for the business of HOA and is controlled by staff. Recently adopted policy limits resident’s participation and coverage of city or community events.

When Doni started we offered to help in anyway. I had no idea the tables were turned and it was me being helped all along. Thanks everyone.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fastest Growing population

I was surprised to read today that the fastest growing population in the United Sates is now the disabled. The article stated that disabled people surpassed Hispanics for the fastest growing segment of our population.

After reading that, my mind starts racing with random thoughts:
  • You can't believe everything you read - I need to do some research.
  • It must be good, disabled are living longer, better medically managed lives.
  • It could be really bad as it means there are thousands of newly disabled veterans.
  • The baby boomer population is huge and a large percentage of us are disabled in some way.
  • Disabled are no longer ''hidden" or staying home.
  • ADA has made a tremendous difference is accessibility and working environments.
  • Once people are no longer marginalized, the motivation for living life to the fullest increases.
  • What opportunities this presents for many other businesses; retail, specialized products, home builders, automobile makers, etc.
  • Special equipment rental/sales - such as the disabled scooter pictured above from China see more at

Okay, I better stop thre or I will find half my day gone researching and pondering the opportunities.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Warning Frustration Ahead

We're back from our 10-day Alaska cruise. We really did have a great time. There was one day at sea that was challenging for many people due to the winds and high seas. There were several broken bones as a result of falls, one helicopter evacuation, and many seasick passengers.

I am proud to say, Baileymy service dog, did just fine. But she was VERY tired of people by the last day. I even kept her on my lap, covered with a light blanket so she could get a break.
I had to wipe lipstick off her head at night from women kissing her. I know people think they are being friendly and are curious, but it is so frustrating to answer the same questions - hundreds of times of day. Bailey gets overstimulated when constantly being petted, called to, and get this, barked at. Honestly, one server would always bark at her when he saw her - even from the other side of the room. There were very few children on the ship but they all knew how to behave - it was the ADULTS that were a pain.

While people are told to ask before petting a service dog, many don't and it is hard to say no to nice people just wanting a 'dog fix' because they miss their own pets- especially if we are just sitting down relaxing.

We understood that, but none of us understood the big attraction of a dog going to the bathroom. Bailey had a relief box on the promenade deck - the outdoor deck that circles the ship . While in her little corner using the potty box, she would draw a crowd. She would then stop what she was suppose to be doing and stare back at the people. We would have to ask them to move along as it made her nervous to have a crowd. Seriously, it got where I would park the scooter to block the 'view' and Jim, Jeff and I would stand with our backs to Bailey, face out, like a police line protecting her. This would be too funny if it wasn't so disruptive to taking care of business - especially with rough seas!
There was even one time when Jim was taking Bailey to the relief area before bedtime. They were in a hurry and a lady asked if she could take a picture. Jim said not now and picked up the pace. The lady ran after him snapping pictures.

Can you imagine asking a stranger, “What is wrong with you?” Me neither, but when going from the cabin to the dining room it happened numerous times. I explained Bailey is a medical alert dog, and helps me with my disability. That is good enough 80% of the time. If someone kept asking personal questions, I would finally say, “Gosh, I don’t feel comfortable discussing my personal medical issues with strangers.” It is a good thing I have improved my impulse control and ability to filter words a little or I would have exploded dozens of times a day and killed several idiots. Especially when people would barge right into our personal conversations and disrupt our family's vacation time. Thank you Jim, Laura, Jeff, Patti, John, and everyone else who was patient and didn't sign on for the attention.

There were several times people distracting Bailey was dangerous. Exiting a crowded elevator, backwards on a scooter, with a service dog, takes concentration- especially for a stroke survivor. Once, I gave her the command ‘back’ and she was going out of the elevator while I was backing the scooter. Most people were great and cleared a space, but one woman stopped Bailey - she literally blocked our path. I almost ran over Bailey, then the doors closed - squeezing my hand against the scooter before they re-opened. The scooter does not stop on a dime and I need time to react. I said “oh, please don’t distract her while she is working” and the lady said, "but she is so cute!" The other passengers waiting to get in the elevator appeared frustrated too –they had to wait while we could get clear for them to enter and be on their way. I was nearly in tears by the time I made it through the crowds and was safe.

While I feel so grateful to have Bailey, and be able to travel because of, I feel I needed to vent about this 'other aspect' of having a service dog. I fantasize about a day when people think nothing of a service dog and go about their own business.

It really isn't the individual questions or actions of well meaning people that cause additional stress and hardship, but rather the cumulative effect many - whether we are just trying to grocery shop or enjoy vacation.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cruising with a Service Dog

This Alaska cruise is Bailey’s second cruise as my service dog. By far, the number one question other passengers ask is "where does she go to the bathroom?"

No, we don't make Bailey wait until the next port. The cruise line sets up a 4x4 relief box, filled with wood shavings, usually in an area only accessible by crew members.

The second most frequent comment, "boy I wish I could take my pet on the cruise!'
Trust me you don't. First, if you need a service dog, that means you are disabled - even if your disabilities are not visually apparent (think about disabled parking - not everyone that needs it is in a wheelchair). It is much nicer to take a cruise/live as an independent, able bodied person.

In order to bring a service dog onboard, there is a ton of paperwork to complete for the cruise line. This includes very personal medical information, the dogs training documentation, copies of registrations, license/certifications and the dog’s international health certificate.

In addition, you must pack everything the dog will need including enough food and water for the entire cruise.
I wrote about Bailey as my service dog and common questions about her for about a year ago. You can read the full story HERE.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fun Website

My picks for fun and interesting web sites:

Are you an intern, reporter or editor? Test you knowledge of current events here: