Friday, December 16, 2011

Traveling? Read this first!

Susan Foster is all about traveling. For the past 30 years she has been the consummate traveler, learning as she went and always passing on her knowledge to others to make the friendly skies even friendlier.

As a gift for the holidays, Susan has written an updated, state-of-the-art, article on how you can avoid holiday travel mishaps and be as prepared as a Boy Scout on your way.

Visit my website,,  to read Susan's article.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trimmed for the Holidays

It's nice to see small towns dressed for the holiday season. This particular gazebo is in Chagrin Falls, OH, a quaint little town near Cleveland.

We had a chance to visit this town last month, remembering when we had been there years ago to shop. My husband and father-in-law dropped us ladies off at a parking lot in town and then they went to a Cleveland Indians game. They drove back to pick us up after the game. All of this done without cell phones! Imagine!

Hope your town is decked out this year. A nice change from the dreary skies we have been experiencing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November Beer Garden Outdoors

This photo wasn't taken in one of your Warm-in-The-Winter states, No sir, this was a scene in Harmony, PA, a small town north of Pittsburgh. Taken on Saturday, a bright, beautiful day, it shows that people can still enjoy the outdoors here even in November, to my mind the bleakest of months.

Of course it has been raining pretty much ever since but hey, we take what we can get.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall is Here

Now that Halloween has passed, there is no denying it: Fall is here. For some reason I am not as happy about fall and winter coming this year. Usually I don't mind as I am one of those odd people who actually likes winter, at least some of the time.

But this year, I keep wanting to hold onto the brighter colors of fall, the sunny days and the warmer temperatures. I can't do that, I know, but I still try.

Yesterday I walked at the county park, and with the November sunlight, it felt like I had been transported to another place. It was beautiful, but different from what I have seen there in the winter, spring, summer and early fall. There was an abundance of clear and bright light shining on the landscape and bare trees.

I didn't see much wildlife yesterday, but I was walking a little later in the day than usual. There were a lot of people walking, running and biking, and often we had to move out of each other's way. There were also several high school students running along the path, training for cross country meets I suppose.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good-bye to an Old Friend

End of an Era

We recently took down my first website, Teri's Serendipity (, from the web. There were so many updates that had to be made to the site that I decided it wasn't economically smart to keep it up and running. Since I still have as a place to post articles for Baby Boomers, I decided that one site was enough. I also have two blogs so I think my cyber footprint is big enough!

Before we eliminated the site, I had to go in and copy each and every article and newsletter that had been  posted there for the past nearly ten years so I could archive them. That took some time but as I saw headlines flashing by as I right-clicked over and over again, I decided that there had been some really good stuff there. I plan to go back and read over some articles to see if I can reuse them after tweaking them a bit, and also to see if the information has changed much in the past few years.

When you type in, you will be directed immediately to where I hope you will visit often.

I can't believe that the Serendipity site was up and running for that long. It brought me a lot of joy and inspiration. I think I will miss it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Free Retirement? One Woman Does It

A friend of mine directed Barbara M. Traynor my way and I'm glad she did. Barbara has found a way to volunteer in places where she really wants to be in exchange for free room and board. She is able to do this by living on her Social Security only, so this is something that we all my want to explore. An interesting option for Baby Boomers.

To learn more, visit Barbara's website at where you will also learn about her book: Second Career Volunteer: A Passionate, Penny-wise Approach to Retirement. Also, you can check out the article at written by Barbara.

Kudos to Barbara for coming up with such a creative way to handle retirement.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bought and Paid for

A phrase from my childhood found its way into my thoughts today. I was thinking about "mom" jeans and how they are being blacklisted by fashionistas in favor of the new slender ones.

If you are a mom, aren't all of your jeans "mom" jeans?

The childhood phrase came into play on playgrounds when we caught a glimpse of someone's underwear while she was jumping rope in the required skirt. The person being teased only had to say "So? They are clean and paid for" to stop the teasing in its tracks.

I feel the same way about the negative energy focused on other people's jeans: They are clean and paid for. Nothing wrong with that.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

War on Stink Bugs

Some of our stink bug tools!
I don't know where you live, but here at my home in Western PA, we are  inundated with stink bugs, or as one Pittsburgher calls them, little terrorists.

We have developed some means of getting rid of them outside, but they are still making their way into the house. Last night there was one at eye level to me on my nightgown when I reached for it. Another one inside the closet and still another one on the beam which runs across our ceiling. (I knocked this one down with my new extendable duster which has come in handy for many tasks!)

Talking with others, some say they have millions too, and others are seeing very few. My neighbor whose back yard woods runs into mine is someone who has had only a couple. We share the same woods so I don't get this at all. We do get more sun on our house, though, which is what the bugs like -- to be warm before they come inside for the winter.

Not looking forward to shaking all of my clothes out for 6 months before I put them on, which I have already started to do. June won't be here for a long while yet.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Great Time to Walk

Fall has arrived and it's a great time of year to get out and walk. The cooler temps make it pleasant to be out and about, spending time with friends and improving your health.

To encourage new walkers to get moving and stay healthy, many of the libraries in Alleheny County, Pennsylvania, are providing free ten-week Wise Walk Progranms beginning this month and next. The library's partners in this program are the Allegheny County Library Association, Highmark PALS and AARP. (Please check with your local organizations. Similar walking programs are being offered in other counties, states.)

Walkers over 50 can set their own goals and walk at their own pace using a complimentary walking guide provided to each walker by the local library. Supplies, walking materials such as pedomenters and healthy snacks and t-shirts are also provided for each participant through the program.

But beyond these supplies, this program gets boomers -- and seniors -- out walking with friends, enjoying nature, exercising as prescribed by their doctors, and a no-cost way to feel better. You just can't beat that.

For more information: please ontact Denise Hughes of Highmark at 412-544-7488 or Charity Leonette of the Allegheny County Library Association at 412-921-1123 ext. 304.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taking Care of Mom at Home

The Summer of the Ice Cream
By Guest Blogger: Henry Peter Gribbin

I am a home health care giver. I left my job and my life to take care of my 88 year old mother. She is riddled with arthritis and dementia, but she is a fighter, and over the course of these many months we have dodged many bullets. We are a team, and we manage.

Our main enemy is time. I try to fill in the hours the best I can. I try to overcome her sense of uselessness by devising little projects she can do. We also go for long rides whenever we can. For instance, every Sunday at 1 p.m. the two of us head out on the road. We started doing this in late spring of last year, and at the start we tried to go to the highest ground across the city trying to find the best views. As summer came on we changed our mission to find the best ice cream stand the city had to offer. I called our quest the "Summer of the Ice Cream."

But these little projects can only fill so much of the day. Like I said time, or too much time, is our enemy. We are lucky in that we have a big front porch. Our house sits atop a busy roadway so in the spring, summer and fall we utilize it to its full extent. Neighbors and family sometimes drop by to visit, not often enough for my liking (everybody is so busy these days, or so they say). But it is the winters that weigh down on us, and Pittsburgh winters can be long and hard. One can only do so many puzzles. One can only read so many books. But like I said, we are a team, and we manage. My only hope is that the next winter is a mild one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

After the Party

Following a fundraiser that featured polo matches, all that is left of the party at one of our local parks are white chairs and tables, waiting to be picked up. Gone are the ladies with their de riqueur garden hats, and the men in -- well, whatever it is that men wear to polo matches.

I walked by these party remnants today and thought they added a nice architecutral air to the otherwise rolling green hills at the park. I am guessing that as soon as these items are stored away that the county workers will begin installing the huge light displays for the annual light show at the park. Millions of lights will glow into the night from November to January to the delight of carloads of people. The holdiays seem like a long way away on this beautiful fall day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hangin' with My Buddies

These sea gulls look pretty relaxed as they each take a fence post to rest on at the beach. I have a feeling they are talking about how soon the warm weather will be gone and they will have to fight to keep themselves warm.

Our weather lately went from 95 and hot on Saturday to being in the 50s on Monday and Tuesday. Big change, but then big changes are coming. It's been raining off and on for four days with more to come. Can't help feeling that the last hot days are gone and we are headed into the cool part of the year at a runaway pace.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fall Can't Be Far Behind

First Fall Colors

Well, there's no denying it. Fall is on the horizon. I saw these vibrant leaves, the first of the season, at our local park this morning when I was walking.

I love fall, but it seems to me that it has come very quickly this year. We used to joke when our kids were in school that once school started, Halloween was just around the corner, followed immediately by Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whew. The only time of year that seems to go slowly is January and February, and I think I like them more all the time!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Colorful Spirit

Love the Many Brilliant Colors of Your Spirt  ~ Laurel Burch

I bought this Sun spirit tote bag this past weekend at the Shaker Woods Craft Festival, Columbiana, OH. We have gone to this festival for years, being that it is located just a little more than an hour from home.

My husband Larry actually spotted this gem and pointed it out to me. It was colorful and had this beautiful thought etched on it, the perfect size for lots of toting.

The bag was hand-crafted by Laurel Wagoner ((Down Home Leather, Mt. Vernon, OH), who loves the designs created by the designer who shared her first name.

Laurel Burch died about four years ago. But thanks to her prolific artistic history, her work will live on and on because of its beauty and message.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spotted Beautiful (but quick) Blue Herons

While walking today at a local park, I spotted three blue herons at the edge of the lake. There were also three fishermen near them, so I thought I could sneak up and shoot a photo. No such luck. So I borrowed this photo to show you how amazing they looked.

The regal birds flew away from me and off towards the boathouse, where I stopped on my way home but they were no longer there.

Soon, I hope to have my own photo of these beauties. Until then, enjoy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mums on Sale Already. Really?

Caught a quick shot of these mums on sale at a discount store today. Today being only August 11, and very warm, it doesn't seem right that these beauties are on sale already.

I was thinking of getting some to replace my dying annuals (there was an aphid attack, I swear) but couldn't bring myself to admit that it was time to plant mums.

I'll go back when the weather cools a little more, and the NFL starts playing again. Wait, that's tonight!

I'm not going to let mum-sellers and sports media rush the seasons for me. How 'bout you?

For more on enjoying these great remaining days of summer, visit my Yeasty blog.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer's Best Boomer Tunes

Summer listening/party CDs for Boomers (See iTunes):

• Dick Dale and his Del-Tones “Greatest Hits”

• Beach Boys “Endless Summer”

• The Ventures “Surfing”

• Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass “The Lonely Bull”

• Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz “Getz/Gilberto"

• Martha Reeves “Dancing in the Streets”

• Lovin’ Spoonful “Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful?”

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stay Cool, My Friends

As the country wilts from the intense heat and humidity, we are all trying to find ways to keep cool.

Today, I noticed that the fan in our attic designed to come on when the temperature up there gets to be around 90 degrees came on before 8 a.m. That's not good. Usually it doesn't turn on till lunchtime or afternoon when the heat has had time to rise. If it's already that high this morning, good grief.

Our local paper ran an article yesterday, presumably the worst day of the week, telling those " over 65" to stay indoors and not exercise outside as they normally would. The reporter commented, however, that those who are 65 don't think of themselves as old and therefore wouldn't heed the warning. Darn straight! But in this instance, heeding the warnings is the smart thing to do.

If you are in your 60s, you know that this too will pass, having experienced it all before, many times. As we all know, snow will be flying before we know it. Seasons pass much too quickly, so let's enjoy them, even if that means spending a little more time indoors.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Honor at Appomattox

Hope you had a good Fourth of July holiday. We spent the Fourth driving back from Virginia, after a stop in Appomattox the day before.

No battle was fought in Appomattox during the Civil War, but the place is held in high regard in American history because it is the stie where General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant and ended the American conflict.

The events took place in a small farm house that has been reproduced on the original site, based on actual photos of the home. Treating each other with honor was the goal of both sides that Palm Sundy in 1865, and in that they succeeded.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Geese on the Lake

While walking around the newly cleaned up North Park Lake (Allegheny County, PA) today, I spotted this group of Canadian geese. There were more than 40 of them, sitting along side the shore until one of them decided to go back out on the lake and the others followed.

This lake was closed for a long time while workers scraped silt and muck off the bottom of it. After cleaning it out, they allowed it to fill with water and become an asset again to the county park. The water capacity is not at its peak yet, allowing only small craft to float on it. Today's rain may help the cause.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Twyla Tharp at the Dollar Store

I've always wanted to write a book. I have probably written a thousand times as many words as I would need for one volume over the past 35 years or so, but an actual, physical book I have not done.

So much goes into a book. It is a huge project and takes tons of dedication and care, often with no outlet once you are ready to release it into the universe. But these days, with ebooks and self-publishing, publishing a book is easier than ever.

With most large publishers tied up with with the written words of stars and celebrities, it would be easy to just publish one on my own. I'm not sure that would fulfill the dream, but it would come close.

Today I was at the local dollar store shopping. I don't go often, but when I need a couple of items (toothbrushes: $1! Liquid Soap: $1!) that's where I go to look. I spent a few minutes walking around to see what else I might add to a future shopping list when I came across a book by Twyla Tharp, the famous dancer and choreographer. I own a copy of her book, The Creative Habit, and here was a copy of her sequel: The Collaborative Habit. Amazingly enough, it was on sale for the same price as my toothbrushes and soap (Book: $1!).

All that work she put into the book and it was on sale for a buck. It made me wonder what she would think about that. Would she be upset that her work was being sold so cheaply or would she just be happy that her ideas were out there for anyone to share.

I don't know about Twyla, but I think I still would have wanted to have written that book. On sale at the dollar store? I could live with that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tips for Healthy Boomer Eating

Guest Blogger Gloria Troyer:

Eating healthy when you are a boomer is particularly important. When we age our appetite decreases and our nutritional needs change. Even our sense of taste or smell can be altered. Older adults don’t need as many calories per day. They must be diligent, though, to make sure that they are getting enough nutrients.

Research has shown that people over 50 need more calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B6. Bone care is extremely important. The following tips will help keep you on track to maximize the health benefits from the foods that you eat:

Vegetables and Fruit
Make sure that you choose more vegetables and fruits. Foods that have a brighter color have more nutrients. Be adventuresome and try something you have never eaten before. You might find a new favorite.

Milk and Alternatives
Calcium and vitamin D are very important for bone health. Dairy and dairy products are ideal if you do not have an allergy, food sensitivity or personal belief regarding animal foodstuffs. There are many alternatives made from soy or almonds. Find products that you like. Make sure that you check their sugar content and that they are fortified with vitamin D and other vitamins.

Meat and Alternatives
If you eat meat, choose leaner cuts and include poultry and fish. Consider adding more beans, lentils and dried peas into your day to day meal plan.

The best choice for energy and fiber are whole grains and enriched grain products. Check with a nutritionist, dietician or your family doctor to find out what and how much you need to eat from a dietary perspective. Reduced activity and extra servings of grains can lead to weight gain.

A good place to check for valuable information related to food and aging is at Canada’s Food Guide and USDA’s My Plate . Both sites offer valuable information regarding the dietary needs of boomers.

Gloria Troyer is an award winning freelance writer, broadcaster and author. Her writing career has branched out into many areas. She is keenly interested in the education of elementary students especially when it comes to food and diet. She also writes about health issues. She is a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. You can read more about her at or

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hello, hummingbird

Well, I finally got a photo of a little hummingbird at a feeder. But it wasn't at mine.

This little guy frequents my friend's feeder and was a little disturbed I think by the camera but I was able to catch him in flight after several attempts. (He is in the upper right hand corner of the photo if you are having trouble seeing him).

I told him to tell his friends to fly as fast as they can over to my house and eat from my feeder too sometime. He said he would get the word out. Now I just have to wait.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hummingbirds Wanted

Mini HummZinger Hummingbird Feeder
I finally gave up on my leaking hummingbird feeder since there was more nectar on the deck than in any hummingbirds (and it was seriously leaving a stain on the wood).

After doing some research, I learned that the HummZinger brand of feeders is "the best" for feeding the little guys. So I ordered one and installed it this week. I also made my own nectar this time (spurred on by friends and my research which said that this homemade nectar is better for the hummies than the popular red nectar you can buy. And it's thriftier!)

So far I have seen one beautiful hummingbird fly by, pausing briefly to eye the new feeder before he flew away. I have actually seen more birds when I didn't have a feeder hanging from my deck than I have since I have been trying to lure them.

Smart birds that they are, it seems they just want to scope out the place before they commit to adding my feeder to their feeding schedule. Or maybe they have seen me poised in the kitchen behind my glass door waiting to shoot a picture of them as they nosh.That would scare anything away.

Either way I hope they will come to visit often this summer. What a treat!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer's Messiest Job

Along with all the joys I have been sharing about flowers and summer, there are some unpleasant household chores that can usually only be done in the warmer weather.
So on Sunday I tackled the job of cleaning out the grill, not my favorite way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Our grill is attached to our deck which is right outside the sliding glass doors from the kitchen. Since it is so handy, we use the grill all year long except when the snow and ice is piled so high on it that it's not worth trying to clear it. That's when I fry burgers on the stove.

We clean the grill after each time we use it, but once a year at least it needs a thorough cleaning.

It's a process to clean the grill. I have to remove the charcoal grates and grill racks and set them aside, pull out all of the little round briquettes and scrub each off, and remove all of the burned up stuff that accumulates in the bottom of the grill base.

After that, I have to soak and scrub the grates using my wire brush and a lot of elbow (in this instance) grease.

I wore my surgical gloves to do this project (having found out the hard way just how much grease can stain). I guess it really was sort of a surgical strike on my part, and I was glad when the job was done and the grill was ready for the next BBQ.

Now, onto scrubbing out the garbage cans and the recyclable bins.
Ah, summertime, sweet summertime. . .

Friday, May 27, 2011

Have a Better Spring: Use These Feng Shui Tips

Guest Blogger Yvonne Phillips:

Ah, beautiful spring; sunshine, blossoms and flowering plants. How can this season be anything but positive energy?

But for so many of us, spring is allergy season, presenting a catch-22 situation of wanting to be outdoors more, but suffering for it. From pollen, cut grass and ragweed, what can we possibly do to keep the allergies away? Besides offering a medical solution or the stand-by nasal spray, I would like to suggest a pro-active and natural way you can boost your overall health by working with your surroundings.

Utilizing the art and wisdom of Feng Shui, our homes can support us with our quest for good health.

The map of Feng Shui is called the Bagua, and the center area where the tai chi symbol is located is the Health area. Transferring this map to your living space; the center of your house and each individual room is the Health area, and deserves special consideration and attention, especially during allergy season. In analyzing the Health area of your home, or each room, you are working the center of that space, and consider the following for proper Feng Shui:

• Clear the clutter from the area and spring-clean with the art of Feng Shui in mind. You are in essence moving out the old energy and shifting into a new and vibrant one. This will assist with the goal of everyone being healthy in your home.

• If it’s an area that can be painted or have more color, choose an earth tone or yellow to support good energy for health.

• Add your intentions to this space by writing it down on an earth tone colored paper. Be specific and grateful, extending your wishes for vibrant health to everyone in your home; not just for yourself. For example; “I am so grateful that my whole family is happy and healthy”. Place this written intention in your center Health area, by either tucking it away in a book, behind a photo or plant, or simply placing it on the floor when no one will walk over it.

With the center Health area looked after, you can work with Feng Shui throughout the rest of the house for better health and well being:

• Keep the air in your home clear of dust and pollen by regular cleaning and using an air filter or ionizer.

• Healthy potted plants or wind chimes around your home will disperse negative chi, as well as playing soft and uplifting music.

• Place a mirror directly opposite a window that looks out onto trees and the sky, which expands and magnifies the positive healthy energy coming through the window.

Incorporate the five elements of Feng Shui into your environment to promote balance:

• Earth – Stones, plants and healthy soil to enhance the grounding balance of the earth element. Colors representing earth include brown or yellow.

• Wood – Wooden planting boxes, or decorative wooden pieces such as a carving, bench or bamboo pieces. The color representing wood is green.

• Metal - Wind chimes, planters or copper decorative pieces. Colors representing metal are white, gold or silver.

• Water - Still or slow flowing water such as a fountain, bird bath, pond or pooled water from a stream. Colors representing water are black or blue.

• Fire – Candles, lanterns, fireplaces or an outdoor fire pit. The color red represents fire.

By intentionally practicing the healing art of Feng Shui, you can uplift the energy flow in your surroundings, creating a calm, supportive and healthy environment for you and your family this spring.

Yvonne Phillips is a National Feng Shui Practitioner, Author and Speaker with over 20 years of experience. Yvonne is certified with Feng Shui Institute International and has trained with world famous Feng Shui GrandMaster Lillian Too. As owner of Creative Color & Design, she incorporates Feng Shui principles into both residences and businesses,from small businesses to large corporations. Please visit  her website for more information on a class of Feng Shui to Go to learn how to do your own Feng Shui.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Are You An Optimist or Pessimist?

There are differences between optimists and pessimists, of course, but basically it comes down to this, according to Dr. Michele Reiss: Optimists believe that good things will happen, and that whatever does happen, things will be OK. Pessimists believe that bad things will happen and they will never be able to handle them.

She mentions Weather Channel interviews with victims of natural disasters. Some of those interviewed feel lucky and blessed, while others say they are completely devastated. "The reality is a little of both," Michele says, and people can decide whether to focus on what they have lost -- or what they have left.

Most of us live somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, she says.

She mentions her brother who has a serious illness, but chooses not to dwell on the things he has lost; the things he can no longer do. She calls this "positive coping" and we can all learn lessons from those who embrace this attitude.

"Life gets hard, it's inevitable", she adds. We will lose people we love, we will encounter serious illnesses. Michele says we can visit  "woe is me!" but we shouldn't live there. And we can make a choice to celebrate what we have right now.

Dr. Michele Reiss is the author of the book, Lessons in Loss and Living. For more information on her, visit this article at

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Remembering Madras Days

Spotted this skirt today while I was walking through a Big Box store. It brought me back to my middle school years when Madras was all the rage.

This was one fabric that was supposed to bleed when it was washed, and boy, did it ever. It also turned into a total dishrag when it was wet. I can recall stylin', in my Madras shirt and white shorts, at Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh during our eighth grade picnic.

I liked the plaids so much that my cafe curtains and bedspread were made of a plaid just like the one above even when I got older.

Funny, but today I don't own anything plaid.

Remember any of your own tales of  Madras Days?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thousands walk, run Race for the Cure

Even though I talk about doing them every year, we did our first community walk on Sunday, and I was glad that our first one was such an inspiration. More than 30,000 -- and by some counts 40,000 -- people turned out on a nice spring Mother's Day to walk and run the Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh Race for the Cure for breast cancer awareness.

We ended up walking a total of six miles rather than the 3.1 of the 5K, which included steps from the parking lot and around the exhibitions, but it went by painlessly. Since a cancer diagnosis can be so isolating, it was heartwarming to spend more time with so many others who had been touched in some way by breast cancer.

There was definitely a party-atmosphere during the event, and this made it even more fun, as people remembered and celebrated. There were sad moments, too, when you could see an "in memory of" plaque on a young person's back, listing her Mom as her inspiration for entering the walk.

My mother died almost 37 years ago of breast cancer. Those were early days, I remember, in the fight. I didn't wear her name on my pinney Sunday, but she was definitely on my mind most of the day and would have been thrilled to see so many people supporting the cause.

Walking with a friend who is a survivor made me even happier.

Here's to a cure for all cancers that take moms, dads, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, friends away too soon.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today's World of Grocery Store Shopping

Yesterday, I visited one of the new mega grocery stores in the Pittsburgh area for the first time and was very impressed. The Giant Eagle Market District at Settlers Ridge is gigantic,with amenities I had never seen before in a store.

I live in the North Hills of Pittsburgh so rarely does my car find itself on the south end of the city, something we all laugh about but it's true. I saw a lot of neighborhoods for the very first time -- and I have lived here for a long time -- solely because of my sons' athletics. So for me to drive to this store in the southwestern section of Pittsburgh was a big deal.

But it was totally worth it. My friend and I spent several hours exploring the store, enjoying salads at the food court, and gelato for dessert on our way out. I had a short grocery list since I had been to the store earlier in the week, so we were free to mostly just look around, and drool.

I think these stores are fun and interesting, but I probably wouldn't want to do my regular food shopping there. Just too many choices. Sometimes -- most of the time, I like to run into a store and get back out as soon as possible, the quicker the better. So this excursion was more of an adventure than a necessity.

We did have fun though, and got a laugh out of the fact that of the short list of items I had with me to buy, the store was out of bags of shredded lettuce. A clerk checked in the back for me and found none. There must have been hundreds of other bags of lettuce around, but not the ones I wanted for today's Cinco de Mayo's Taco Night at our house.

Guess you can't have everything!

Note: For the first time ever, I saw Brussels sprouts growing on a stalk. I never really thought about how these little green orbs grew since I don't like them much, but it was neat to see where they came from. Love seeing new things!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring = New Life

Spring is all around us. I picked up these growing plants from a friend who had planted too many. I know the feeling when it comes to plants. As these little seedlings stretch their necks to bask in more sunshine, a rare occurrence these days, I know I will be enjoying my own home-grown basil and cilantro soon. Yum.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Royal Wedding This Week? Who Knew?

There's probaly no one alive in this country who hasn't heard about The Wedding taking place this Friday. Prince William will wed Kate Middleton in a ceremony guaranteed to bring back recollections of his mother's wedding almost thirty years ago.

Kate, a commoner, would become Queen of England if William ever serves as King. Quite a lot to put on the plate of a young woman. She seems up to the task, and really, has been hanging out with royalty for years now. So she has to know what she is getting into, but I'm not sure it's something any of us would wish on our daugthers. Maybe I am wrong about that.

There are plans afoot to get up EARLY and watch the Royal Wedding, even though it will be telecast live starting at around 4 a.m. (EST) this Friday. But the lure of scones and clotted cream and pastries may be just enough to get some of us up and out that early so we can get situated in front of a big screen TV, endless coffee cup in hand.

I had the honor of making favors for this event and will be posting them this week at my Yeasty blog. Stop by and take a look. Directions will be forthcoming, too, if you are interested.

Send me a note and let me know what your plans are for the wedding. Oh, you weren't invited? They have no idea what they are missing without us there. Talk about the event of the century. . .

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wise Boomers Walk This Spring

Rain aside, spring is a great time to start a healthy walking program. By summer, you will be a walking expert and able to withstand the higher temperatures.

To encourage new walkers to get moving and stay healthy, many of the libraries in Alleheny County, Pennsylvania, are providing free ten-week Wise Walk Progranms beginning this month and next. The library's partners in this program are the Allegheny Library Association, Highmark PALS and AARP. (Please check with your local organizations. Similar walking programs are being offered in other counties, states.)

Walkers over 50 can set their own goals and walk at their own pace using a complimentary walking guide provided to each walker by the local library. Supplies, walking materials such as pedomenters and healthy snacks and t-shirts are also provided for each participant through the program.

But beyond these supplies, this program gets boomers -- and seniors -- out walking with friends, enjoying nature, exercising as prescribed by their doctors, and a no-cost way to feel better. You just can't beat that.

For more information:

ACLA Wise Walk
AARP's Create the Good program

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Avoiding worry where possible

I had to have a yearly physical this week, which actually was a 15 month one, since I put these things off as long as I can. Sound familiar?

Part and parcel of the checkup is the requisite blood test with the (gulp) 14 hour fast. As in most things, tell me I can't have something and I want it all the more. That's human nature. So when I have to have these blood tests done, I usually spend a lot of time figuring out when the absolute best, easiest time to do it would be. This can take several days if not weeks. So this time, I decided to heed some advice I read in a book on worrying. Do the difficult things right away, and save yourself all of that energy you would have spent worrying about them by getting them over with.

So that's what I did. I got the script yesterday and the ink was barely dry when I took it to the lab today for the blood work. The tech there is very good, and had no problems with my Vanishing Veins, which have discombobulated many other techs in the past.

Now the tests are done and I don't have to think about it for another 12, er...., 15 months.

I am going to try this get-it-over-quick technique again, sort of the yank-the-band-aid-off-in-one-quick-pull school of thought, but for today, I am resting on my laurels and feeling pretty good that I outsmarted myself.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Searching for Eagles, Friends

Photo taken at National Aviary, Pittsburgh, PA
We took a drive to a park in the next county north on Saturday to see if we could find any eagles which are rumored to be nesting there. Standing at the edge of Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park, watching some high schoolers rowing their crew boats, we noticed four really large birds flying overhead, back and forth.

It didn't take much of a jump for us to think that here were the wild and wonderful eagles we had heard about. We stood for a while longer, but then lost track of the big birds. Since we have been going to this park for years and years, and we always seem to drive the same, short loop, we were interested in expanding our visit, so we stopped at the ranger office to get a map of the park.

When we told one of the rangers, who was working his first day in the park, that we thought we had maybe -- sort-of -- kind of seen eagles, he said, politely I thought, probably not. What you probably saw, he went on, were ospreys or turkey vultures, which burst our birding bubble for sure. These two birds are also large,of course, and are easier to spot in the park.

To try and find some real eagles, we took his advice and drove onto Rt. 528 till we got to the bridge he had pointed out to us. Pull into that boat launch under the "528 bridge", and look to the opposite side of the lake. That's conservation land and that's where the eagles actually are nesting, he told us.

We stood there for awhile, but saw no more avian activitiy, just some boats being put into the water.

Undaunted though, we plan to go back to the right spot this time and see if we can find some of the magnificent creatures. It is so reassuring to know that these birds are healthy and living right here in Pennsylvania again.

To find the eagles, look at this map of the park. Locate Rt. 528 on the map, and look for the bridge which has a boat launch symbol next to it as well as a restroom sign. There is a sign along that highway for "528 Boat Launch" and this is where you turn.

We also found the Waterfowl Observation Area deck off Old Rt. 422 (noted on the map) and saw a couple of Great Egrets, which are very cool looking, and of course, we saw a lot of other waterfowl.

This spring and summer, I hope you have time to explore this park or any of the others located near you. The kdis would love it (we did.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Paper Cranes Help Japanese Children

This is the paper crane I made out of origami paper to help Japanese children. OshKosh B'gosh has offered to send one article of children's clothing for every crane that is made during this campaign before April 25. For more information, visit Cranes for Kids. Such a simple thing to do for such a good cause.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Birds: Big, Small and Cassowaries

Photo taken with cell phone
 I thoroughly enjoyed reading Birdology by Sy Montgomery. I learned a lot about birds, and she made it all seem fascinating.

One of the most intriguing birds she wrote about were the cassowaries, large creatures which can be as tall as 5 ft. and are descended from dinosaurs.

The author mentions that she had traveled to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh specifically to see the remains of one of these often-dangerous birds. Well, since the museum is just down the street a ways we visited and found this stuffed version of a cassowary on display with other bird species. Cassowaries can be found these days in Australia and New Guinea.

But in the Museum's new Dinosaur in Their Time exhibit, we saw the skeletal remains of this bird's predecessor, which is a lot longer, taller and even more mean-looking if that's possible.

If you like birds, take a look at Birdology. It's a fun read.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Introducing the Boom This! Boomeys

You may have noticed that within the past couple of days the header for this blog changed. We added the "little people" as I like to call them which have enhanced my website at for a few years. We worked hard at that time to find just the right little people for each of the pages on the site.

Since we had moved them over to this blog and they are even more front-and-center than before, I began to search for a name for them. Last night we were out with a group of friends and on the wine bottle's label we ordered was the answer to my quest:  Little Boomey. The wine, from Australia, has a little boomerang on the label, hence the name.

So from now on the clever little characters will be called Boomeys! Perfect.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Will this bother you or not?

Walking last week at a local park, I realized that the huge light displays which are part of a multi-million light show at the park every winter are still in place. It's the first of April today, and I know that the county workers usually begin putting the metal scafolding and strings of lights up as early as September for the holiday show. That doesn't leave much time from now till the fall to take the lights down and have them in place again next November for the thousands of cars which will make a donation to drive through the park.

I wondered how I felt about this. The lights do look a little out of place now, but they will really be noticeable in the summer when free outdoor concerts are held every Sunday evening, drawing thousands to sit on the grass and party.

It's common knowledge that the previous sponsors of this light extravaganza backed out because of the hgh cost of maintaining the show. The county stepped in to save the annual event, but had no way to make up the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed.

So it could be that the county will just leave things status quo until it comes time to light the ligths again in November and voila! There will be a light show.

What do you think? Would seeing giant unlighted holiday ornaments all year round bother you? Or could you learn to ignore them and be glad that your taxes haven't gone up to cover the cost of dismantling the show again this year?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Wedding Season Upon Us

At this time of year, thoughts turn to weddings. We spent some time at our last book club meeting talking about weddings, something women never get enough of it seems.

This year is extra special because there will be a Royal Wedding next month. Wedding afficionados will hopefully get their fill of romance and pageantry with the wedding of William and Kate.

We hope they or their planners are reading this blog, because we are offering information that will come in quite handy for them -- and any of the rest of you who are planning a marital event.

Yvonne Phillips. a Feng Shui master, provides some helpful tips to keep any wedding balanced and harmonious. To learn more,  read this article at

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Success Finally!

I have finally been able to arrange for my blog readers to get an email when I post a new entry on one of the blogs. This had turned out to be way more complicated than it needed to be. Which is why Google/ figured out a very slick, easy way to accomplish what had been so difficult.

I love my readers and know they really try to keep up with all of my thoughts and jottings and for that I am very grateful. But now it will be easier than ever to stay in touch.

And for that I am glad!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shake Things Up

Have you taken your daily vitamin and then not remembered if you did or not? Brushed your teeth and then done it again? Driving around, do you have to stop and think about where you are and how you got there?

We all tend to zone out when it comes to doing our routine tasks, but what's the fun in that? To stay more alert to what you are doing in each moment, try some of the following tips:
  • Put your pants on with the left leg first.
  • Park in different spots so you have to pay attention to where your car is.
  • Make a new recipe for dinner.
  • Switch the contents of your drawers: Put your socks where your undergarments are and vice versa.
  • Read a book about a subject you haven't been interested in before.
  • Take a walk in a different location.
Shake things up a little. No more auto pilot!

Friday, March 18, 2011

First Moments of Spring

Spring flowers appearing in San Francisco, soon to be here!
 It's 72 degrees here and I am sitting outside on the deck. There is not much green to be seen in my view, and a pretty heady wind is blowing. But there is no denying that it feels like spring. Hallelujah!

Last night was the first night I could crank open the window above my sink and feel the warm sweet air filling the kitchen. I always relish that first day when the house is too warm and I can cool it down by cracking the window for a short while. Since it is still mid-March, the outside air eventually got too cold and I had to close the window. But this is a true harbinger of spring for me.

I don't know what your first impressions of spring are, but I hope you enjoy them. The full-fledged season of rebirth and all of its beauty will be here soon. Can't wait.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

If You Can Make it Here. . .

We are back from our whirlwind trip to New York City. We had a good time, saw a lot of sights (and people), a show (Memphis which was great) and a lot of basketball (Big East Tournament).

We planned to take one of the city bus tours one day that would drive us around for a couple of hours and from which you can jump off to spend more time at a particular place. You don't  have to search for these tours: they find you. Spend a few moments in Times Square and several vendors will approach you to sell you tickets for tour buses. We only wondered for a few moments about how they knew we were out-of-towners. I'm sure our dress and body language gave us away.

But on the last day we were there, a man came up to us and asked us, as he pointed, if that was the Chrysler Building in the distance. We said yes, we thought so and he looked surprised: "You mean you aren't New Yorkers?" he asked. Guess we had finallly made it. And as the song says, if we can make it there, we can make it anywhere. Felt like we were on top of the heap!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The City That Never Sleeps

New York City is one of a kind. You can find anything here, at any time of the day.

The people here seem to be in a hurry at all times. Women, especially, are hard-charging in heels, which is a talent I will never master, even on my best day. They are well-dressed at all times, wearing the latest fashion -- boots, skinny jeans or leggings and little ruffly skirts.

Black still rules fashion here, but the clothing stores are showing color in all the windows for summer. Wonder who will wear them?

We saw Memphis on Broadway. Great show. Such talent performers have.

So many people everywhere you look. Amazing. But not enough green spaces.

Saw a brownstone for sale and wondered how much it was going for. Probably 2 or 3 million, AND it needs work. Only in New York.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What's Your Real Age?

With another birthday looming, I got to thinking about what an age actually means. People always say that you are only as old as you feel, which on somedays is an adage to avoid. But really: How OLD are we?

I used to get updates from the Real Age website, where you can take a test and see what your Real Age is, they say. I also took a similar test on our Wii Fit Plus program, and that didn't turn out so well. I was ready to send all of those  mini Miis packing when they told me I had the body of someone in their 70s. And just because I couldn't balance on one leg, which I don't think I have ever been able to do!

I know that when I had a stress test more than ten years ago they said I had a great heart for someone my age, which I credit to genetics, and when I had my hearing test I was told I had the hearing of a ten year old.

So from all of this I gather that no one has a clue how old we really are, least of all us. But that doesn't keep us from getting a little down when we see just how many candles are on this year's cake, which is plain old  poppycock, (a word I have always wanted to use in an article.)

How old am I? Well, I think I will go with that other adage that says Age Is Just a Number --  one we can control or let control us.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spring Cleanup Begins

Now that the large snow mounds have finally melted here, we can see what they have been hiding for the past few weeks -- a lot of trash. Driving down my everday roads I have noticed milk cartons, water bottles, newspapers and other trashy things lying along the roadways.

I saw one man, wearing a blaze orange safety vest, collecting these items yesterday, hopefully disposing of them in the right manner. Kudos to him.

When my sons were young, I would always send them out with a bag in hand on a spring day -- after some of the mud had dried up -- to gather up all of the trash that had blown into the yard and down over the hill throughout the winter. We also usually found a lot of balls that had never made their way into the garage after being played with.

Guess I will have to don my mud boots and get out there and start picking trash up, along with the dead branches that have fallen from the oak trees. I don't think this is what anyone means by "spring cleaning," but it qualifies.

Ah, spring. Wonderful.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Birds of a Feather

Watching birds this morning at my feeders I thought about how much we are like them. Each of the birds hangs out in the tree tops for awhile, checking out the feeders and making sure no predators are nearby. They eventuallly fly to tree limbs that are closer and then closer still, their heads moving constantly to see what and who's about them.

Finally, they make that last flight onto the feeders and peck away at the suet, still swiveling their heads constantly. If they feel or see the slightest thing that scares them, like someone walking inside the house or a change in the light, they will fly away quickly to their farthest perch and then begin the bird ballet again.

We are a lot like that. We are wary of new situations, even at our age, when we have lived through most. It's OK to be wary and to be careful, but it shouldn't keep us away from the prize -- suet for the birds, joy for us.