Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A poem

We have had a very miserable spring, breaking all records for days without sunshine, rain measurements and cranky Northwesterners.  The flowers and flowering trees are gorgeous, thanks to all that rain, but behind schedule for blooming.  Check out this poem by one of my favorite writers, Jim Schmotzer, called "It rains all the time, doesn't it?"

This managed to cheer me up somewhat on this, another gloomy day, with many more in the forecast!  (We did, however, get a glorious reprieve over the Easter weekend, lest you think I didn't notice and appreciate that brief interlude.)

(Photo by solidether, shared via Flickr)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sales Pitch Fail

My husband and I watch almost no television.  Now don't get me wrong, we're not bragging.  We watch a ton of Netflix movies and television series via Netflix, Hulu, Roku -- we just like not having the ads or the hassles of watching at a time the networks think we should watch.  So I recently decided that it was time to get our cable bill under control.  I have a habit of calling the cable company every 6 months and getting my bill reduced to "keep me as a loyal customer."  That recently stopped working and I've watched the bill climb higher and higher.  I realized that the only reason I was getting more than just the limited basic cable channels was so that I could watch baseball games. 

So, armed with determination, and having spent a very long time on the telephone with an idiotic salesperson, I went into the Comcast offices to see what I could do.  I wanted to lower our rate, bottom line.  When I walked out the door, I had a huge bag full of new equipment, a larger modem for our high-speed internet, 2 complex remotes, a new box to attach to my television, and was the proud owner of more television channels than one could imagine.  Oh, and now I could order (and pay) for movies that I now receive free from Netflix.  Oh, and my phone would be "ported" over to Comcast, allowing me to keep the same phone number and save the money on the phone line.

Upon arriving home, I began to feel overwhelmed and burdened by my new collection of unused television channels.  If I wasn't using the 100 I had before, how would adding another couple hundred inane channels make me any happier?  The small savings for changing my telephone service did not warrant the pain and suffering we were going to go through to learn a new system and change all of our connections. 

Today I went back with my untouched bag of equipment and not only reversed the changes I had made, but downgraded to limited basic.  Gone is my ability to watch my baseball games, but I cut our bill 50%!  I find that I can pay to watch my games online (during just the baseball season rather than paying all year) or I can listen on the radio and save even more.  (My team isn't much fun to watch this year anyway). 

But my point?  I was surprised that even I was susceptible to this slick presentation by a very nice salesman who convinced me that, in order to save a total of about $20, all of this grief was worthwhile -- and wonderful, in his opinion.  He kept emphasizing the long list of cable channels I would now have, not really hearing me when I said I don't watch any channels now (except baseball).  His instructions for hookup were making my head spin; I was caught up in the small savings yet big upgrade improvement! 

We live in a country where we are spoiled by the options.  I'm feeling quite noble for bucking the system -- in my own small way! 

(Photo by doegox, shared via Flickr)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Myth of Aging Gracefully

THIS is an interesting article about the myth of aging gracefully.  It's a little depressing, but oh so true.  We can talk a lot about aging gracefully, but if our bodies or our minds don't cooperate, we may not have a choice. 
Here is a quote from the article:
Who wants to live to 100? Just about everyone, if old age fulfills the fantasy that we can sail through our 90s with vigorous bodies and minds and die instantly of a heart attack, preferably while making love or running the last of many marathons....The truth is that we are all capable of aging successfully—until we aren’t.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I have written before about shingles and the need for all of us to have the vaccination, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to write about it again.  A friend of mine posted this picture on Facebook and gave me permission to use it to warn everyone over the age of 60 to get the shot.  I hadn't heard of shingles appearing on someone's face before.  If this doesn't convince you to get the vaccination, nothing will!  

According to WebMD:
Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox starts up again in your body. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus "sleeps" (is dormant) in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus "wakes up" when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system. It is not clear why this happens. But after the virus becomes active again, it can only cause shingles, not chickenpox.

You can't catch shingles from someone else who has shingles....While you have shingles, you can spread chickenpox to people who have never had chickenpox.
The shingles vaccine is newly available and is known as Zostavax and is recommended for adults 60 and older, whether or not they've had shingles before. There is information about the vaccine from the Center for Disease Control. The vaccine has only been tested in people over 60 years of age at this point. I heard about it and was interested because both my mother and my sister have had painful bouts of shingles. There are pros and cons for any type of vaccine, of course, but the pain and suffering that occurs from a case of shingles is a good reason to consider getting the vaccine.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The AGNES Suit

In case you were wondering what it feels like to be old, check out this video about the AGNES suit, designed by MIT to simulate old age and foster empathy in those who haven't yet experienced the joys of aging.  As well as encouraging empathy, for those of us fast approaching what is now considered "old" it can be pretty depressing.  On the other hand, maybe it will also encourage us to keep up exercise as long as physically possible in order to stay fit!  AGNES stands for Age Gain Now Empathy Suit.  (10 second ad must be watched before video starts.)