INVEST IN INDEX FUNDS – the Oracle of Omaha’s sage advice!

Warren Buffett says that 90 % of  his estate will be  invested in index funds.

There is no more to be said; especially if you are old.

What makes me think that I, at 78, can invest in the stock market? At 78, for me, it is time to get real.

THINK OLD!

 


HOBBIES FOR OLD PEOPLE! Getting Started? – Try Wood Carving!

Old People need something to do. Hobbies and crafts are the lifeblood of old people. Think of all the crafts classes at the senior centers and  on cruise ships. Some of us even take up blogging. Look at the classes listed in magazines for seniors.

Try a test drive. I have picked out wood carving, but any hobby that interests you will do.

I went with my son to a store selling hardwoods in North Carolina, and while there he purchased a small $6 block of wood and a starter set of carving knives. He announced that he was going to start carving at the young age of 50. It got me to thinking about how one would start a hobby.

The first thing is to decide which hobby. Blogging required several on-line courses, a couple of community college courses, a meet-up group, and a lot of time. Wood carving seems much simpler; but,  I am not about to try it. Will just use it as an example.

Wood carving starts with the block of wood and the knives. Then you need to know what to do! At my age, if I was going to be a wood carver, I would go back 65 years to a time when I could learn anything. I would then read the Boy Scout Merit Badge Pamphlet on Wood Carving; or, buy it on Amazon.

 

Having mastered wood carving with the Boy Scouts, I would then look around for more help and would of course resort to Google.

Google the following if you are interested in learning wood carving in Albuquerque at a senior center: Albuquerque + Senior center + wood carving

Try the following in your area for wood carving lessons and/or information:

YouTube

Local community college.

Meetup.com

Senior Center

Lumber center.

WikiHow

The bottom line is that there are unlimited hobby resources available; you just have to look for them and try them out.

And, of course, if you want to spend a week learning to carve, try Arrowmont, a first class art school in Tennessee. “Birds, Bugs and Beasts: Carving the Natural”  will teach you the basics of carving for $595 and $415 for a shared double room with three meals a day.

You should consider carving old people!

THINK OLD!


DUMMIES BOOKS, SOURCES FOR SENIORS!

Old people need to learn new things. And, at your age, all your mentors are dead. The problem is finding someone to teach you and having the guts to go and learn something. It is an uphill battle to admit at 78 that you are ignorant and don’t know everything. Old people are afraid of being wrong, stupid or foolish.

I suggest that if you want to learn something new that you start with a “Dummies” book. There are hundred of them and they cover everything from Dating after Age 50 to Beekeeping. Some of them are 20 years old, but most basic knowledge is also old and you can use a Dummies book as a starting point.

At least you won’t feel quite as foolish after you have looked through a “Dummies” book.

Note that there are a number of Dummies Books directed at Seniors, or of topics of interest to seniors; even  topics that you might not want anyone to know you are interested in, such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia for Dummies, which you  can order on Amazon.com. Get the Kindle edition, as you don’t want to leave it laying around, and it is cheaper.

When you are ready to buy, go to Amazon, which sells hundreds of “Dummies” books. Just search “Dummies + topic” and see what you get; or do the same thing at your local library.

Amazon should be your starting point. It is better than a card catalog, or the electronic equivalent. Then check your library; or if on vacation, the library in the town you are visiting. They usually have a  good supply and it is free. Besides, going to the library is interesting anyway as they have numerous magazines, programs, cafes, etc. They also are frequently the location for the local genealogy society, and other interest groups.

For example, we go to Indian Rocks Beach, Florida each year. Except for White Sands, New Mexico has a shortage of beaches. We like the Largo Public Library in Largo, Florida which provides us with a book store, a cafe, genealogy courses, genealogy library and dozens of magazines in addition to a huge number of books for “Dummies.”

Some of the Dummies Books I found at the Largo Public Library of interest to old people, deal with laptops, tablets and smart phones, Facebook, fit over 40, social security, estate planning, genealogy, personal finance, dating after 50, and dementia.

Of special interest to those of you who are downsizing, maybe in anticipation of a move to “The Home” is: e-Bay for DummiesOr, you might just want to buy a copy for your kids. Time to sell off all that junk, which no one in your family really wants.

You might be interested in:

And, of course, if you are an old blogger, there is always:

At my age, nothing could be more interesting than the 4th Edition of Beekeeping for Dummies.

THINK OLD!


GATHERING OF NATIONS – 3000 Indian Dancers

The 36th annual Gathering of Nations.

This event, bringing together thousands of Indians from 750  American and Canadian tribes was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 25, 26 and 27, 2019.

The annual event was held in Tingley Colosseum on the NM State Fair Grounds. All 11,571 seats were filled on the day I went. It included the  Miss. Indian America Contest as well as several days of competitive dancing.

The costumes, made by the 3000 singers and dancers, are the highlight of the event. Dancing is a traditional part of the Indian Culture and not to be missed.

The Albuquerque Journal in its “Coming Together” story describes the event in detail with pictures.

The cost in 2019 was $19 per person and $10 to park. At noon, when the dancing starts, there are long lines and they only accept cash. You are better off getting you tickets on-line. Just go to gatheringof nations.com.

REMEMBER, if you are old, take care as there are dirt paths, and once inside Tingley Colesseum, huge crowds, subdued lighting and the possibility of a fall is always present.

It is worth it just to see the costumes and the Indian Families. The 2020 dates are April 23, 24 & 25.

You can buy Indian jewelry and crafts from hundreds of native craftsmen and women.

You can also buy food, some traditional, and some from the usual assortment of State Fair type vendors.

If you do eat, try the fry bread and the Indian Tacos.

 

While the fry bread was good, it doesn’t compare to the fry bread that you buy on the side of the road in NorthWestern New Mexico.

THINK OLD!


BLIND SPOT MIRROR – SAFETY DEVICE FOR OLD DRIVERS!

 

I still drive and around the city it is not too bad. I use a a few tricks, such as turning right as much as possible, but when I get on freeways, which is about the only way to get from city to city any more, I am faced with drivers coming up on my left and getting in my blind spot.

For $10, I fixed that thanks to a few rental cars and
Amazon.com. You affix a blind spot mirror to the driver and passenger side mirrors and you can see the cars right next to you.

It is hard to turn an old neck to look without the mirror and it is also a distraction.

Blind Spot Mirror

THINK OLD!


“SENIOR BUTTON” FOR THE GEEZER’S COMPUTER

I need a large “senior button” on my computer keyboard to take it into senior mode.

Pressing the button would disable everything I didn’t need including, without limitation, ads, spam, e-mails and anything except what I had specifically included.

The senior button has to be large, clearly marked and perhaps even a toggle switch or a button like the illustration that signals a bus driver that an old person wants off. I need to signal the computer that it needs to stop and let me off.

Pressing the senior button will disengage all the software and hardware, except for the following which would be in large print:

  1. E-mail from people I select.
  2. Skype in case my grandkids call.
  3. The obituary page of the local paper.
  4. Stock market update.
  5. geezer2go.com
  6. Select telephone numbers that by clicking would dial select friends and family members.
  7. E-mail addresses with a picture of the recipient.
  8. Printer.
  9. An onscreen volume control so I can hear.
  10. Daily menu at the local senior center.

When the button was pressed a second time, it would re-enable the computer so that my grandkids could fix things.

This would be simple.

Think about it. old people suffer from too much, not too little; and not just in computers. Think about the world you occupy. There are too many choices that require too much time to learn.

 

THINK OLD!

 

 

 

 


A PUZZLE FOR SENIORS ON VACATION!!

Let’s face it. Anytime you take a trip, your schedule changes; and,  old people love schedules.

With family, you need something everyone can concentrate on and do together; without controversy.

Thus, I suggest a puzzle. In addition to the puzzle, you need a grandchild who will be an expert at identifying pieces and patterns.

The practicalities. Get your puzzle at a thrift store. It is better to pay a dollar, than $30. Check the bookcase. People frequently leave puzzles.

You need a place to put the puzzle together. Most vacation rentals don’t have puzzle space; and, if you use the dining table you run into meal problems – which will stress some out.

The solution is simple. Go to Home Depot or Lowes and look for a sheet of plywood or styrofoam a bit larger than the puzzle. Look on the cover of the puzzle box for final dimensions.

Then you can put the puzzle together on the sheet on a coffee table, dining table, or two chairs, etc. You can move it for meals or other events.

Remember to tell your grandchild that he/she can not stay up all night working on the puzzle.

Leave the puzzle and the board for the next renter.

THINK OLD!


SHEEP HERDING IN IRELAND AND NEW MEXICO

 

 

On a Rick Steves’ tour to Ireland a few years ago, we visited a working sheep ranch and watched the dogs herd flocks of sheep following whistled commands from the sheep herder.

The Kissane Sheep Farm  is located in Moll’s Gap, Kenmare, County Ireland, Ireland. It is 7 Euros for an adult to watch the dogs and the shearers in action. You can also adopt a sheep, but if you want to take it home, you have to buy it and put up with an enormous amount of red tape. Better to adopt one in the name of a grandchild.

In addition we were able to watch expert shearers shear one of the sheep:

I like Rick Steves’ tours because they always include something new; something beyond museums and restaurants; and, something that I know nothing about.  I wanted to replicate the experience when I returned to New Mexico.

Searching in my own backyard, I discovered the New Mexico Herding Dog Association and on Saturday, May 13, 2017 we went to one of its events on the New Mexico State Fair Grounds.

This was the herding instinct test in which herding dogs, as classified by the American Kennel Club, and which have no experience with sheep, are tested to see if they like sheep, with three sheep. Mixed results. A fascinating new sub-culture to me, and one close to home.

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A variety of breeds tried to maneuver three sheep while their owners urged them on. At first the dogs didn’t do much, but after watching the owners race about herding the sheep, the dogs got the idea,  and tried it themselves.

About 40 sheep were kept in pens and were maneuvered about by a trained sheep dog which efficiently moved them from pen to pen and then into the arena where the test took place. The trained dog then sat quietly and watched from an adjoining arena.

The next step is to visit the FTB Ranch in Mountainair, NM and watch more events.

If interested you can search for events in your state on Google.

Search terms: State+herding dogs

ie Utah+herding dogs

THINK OLD!

 

 


DINNER WITH 96 YEAR OLD QUAKER IS HIGHLIGHT OF COSTA RICA TRIP!

 

Marvin Rockwell and his wife at their home in the Monteverde Quaker Community described in Wikipedia.

In December, 2018, while on a Road Scholar trip to Costa Rica, we  visited the home of Marvin Rockwell, age 96, for a typical Costa Rican dinner and a Power Point talk on how he came to lead a group of Quakers to Costa Rica in the late 1950’s. The talk included pictures of his adventures.Click for a podcast of pictures that Marvin showed us.

The family style dinner consisted of tamales, vegetables, tortillas, tomatoes,carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, chocolate cake  and the ever-present Pinto Gallo.(Black beans and rice served with every meal in every setting in Costa Rica.) There was no booze since this was a Quaker home.

We ate at a long table on the open porch of Marvin’s  home in the highlands of Costa Rica, where Rockwell has lived since the early 50’s.

Marvin’s story, illustrated by his Powerpoint presentation, consisted of photos of his move to Costa Rica in the 50’s and his adventures since.

Marvin is a Quaker, originally from Fairhope, Alabama. In WW II, he served as a surgical teck in the US Army. In 1948, the US passed a draft law and Marvin, as a Quaker, refused to register. Even though he had already served in WW II, he was convicted of failing to register and sent to prison for a year and a day.

Since I originally wrote this, Fairhope, Alabama has been featured in the Travel Section of the New York Times. It seem Fairhope has a history consistent with what Marvin did in moving to Costa Rica. In 1894 “populist reformers” moved there from the North to establish an “…experimental, utopian community…”  Traveling while old continues to be fascinating. I may have to visit Fairhope.

When he was released, he and his friends, searched for a new place to live and settled on Costa Rica which had just outlawed the military. They purchased a tract of land in the central part, away from the mosquitos of the coast, and 41 of them proceeded to move there. The move, in an old jeep and pick-up truck took 3 months, as  Costa rica had little in the way of roads, and due to border technicalities .

They arrived, bought the land, compensated the Costa Rican squatters, and established a Quaker Colony which exists to this day. Five of the original 41, including Martin, are still alive.

They rebuilt the houses of the squatters and established s cheese factory with Martin in charge. They used metal Quaker Oats cans as cheese forms. The factory, still operating, now produces 8000 pounds of cheese a day.

Marvin, a bachelor, adopted a child abandoned by the child’s single mother. He then married a Costa Rican woman, and they had 4 more children.

Martin took pilot lessons, bought a  piper airplane and started to build runway in Monteverdi.   They cleared the land except for stumps. Then, while flying over the proposed runway almost crashed because of wind currents. They abandoned the airport idea, even though the approved runway was listed on aviation maps until recently when it was changed to abandoned.

Marvin wanted his children to be bilingual, so  he moved to the US and became a chocolate salesman in Ohio ?? for 8 years so that his children, and his wife, became fluent in both English and Spanish. He then moved back to his home in Costa Rica, and except for  trips to Africa in his 80’s, to see the animals, has lived in Costa Rica ever since.

He established a small hotel, which he has now closed.

He offers Powerpoint talks and dinners to various groups. He left our dinner at 7:30 as he had to give another talk that night.

THINK OLD!


VISIT THE “OLD MAIN” NEW MEXICO PRISON – Scene of 1980 Prison Riot

In 1980 there was a prison riot in Santa Fe, New Mexico that resulted in the deaths of 33 inmates and the destruction of the New Mexico State Penitentiary. Since then a new prison has been built next to the remains of “Old Main.”
The New Mexico Department of Corrections conducts tours of Old Main at the New Mexico Prison in Santa Fe. I took the tour in 2012. The tour took about two hours.
“Old Main” was virtually destroyed and 33 inmates were murdered.
Tours are conducted for part of the year. The goal is to raise money for a museum; however, nothing seems to have happened in the last five years.
If you want tickets for the  Tour, click here; however, as of the date of posting this post, no tours are being offered. They may be offered again in 2019.
If you still want to visit a prison, try Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia; or read about it in the New York Times.
If you want to read about the 1980 prison riot in New Mexico, click here.
This is out of my comfort zone; but something we should be aware of.

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THINK OLD!