Frank’s may be out of your comfort zone, but that will change, once you eat there. From the stools at the counter to the breakfast specials, it could be any small town in the mid-west or SouthWest. $1.75 for two eggs, hash browns and toast any week-day morning; and all the coffee you can drink for $1.85. The only place I have been where the coffee is more than the breakfast, but still reasonable, so leave a nice tip.
It is clean, but old and friendly, just like me. Don’t miss it. You can always go to the chains. Look at the photos on the web site and you will see what I mean. And, check out the menu.
3843 E. Pima St
Tucson, AZ 85716
The New York Times article by a doctor with a terminal illness caught my eye. He built his own coffin. It may seem morbid to some, but if you have a terminal illness or are old, death is one of the things you think about.
Building your own coffin adds a human touch to death that seems to be missing today. Death has become mechanical and hidden; just a process that you hire done and which is kept out of sight. I remember when my grandfather died in a small town in Nebraska. An open coffin, supported by two chairs in the dining room, was there overnight. Someone was always sitting next to it, including me at age 8. There were constant visitors, food and much talking.
Terminal illness and old age seem to drain one’s life of purpose; coffin building may add meaning and comfort. It will surely get people talking.
The problem is that people facing death, whether through old age or disease, look at death differently. They come to accept that everyone dies; a concept unfamiliar to younger people. A purpose is important.
Coffin plans if you are interested.
I had never heard of “Orphan Trains” until a few weeks ago when I came across a notice in the Tucson Weekly, a weekly free alternative newspaper. (Wherever you go, pick up a copy of the free alternative papers for the most comprehensive, and unique, happenings in the town you are visiting.)
Orphan Trains operated between 1854 and 1929 and transported over 200,000 homeless children in New York, NY to every state in the continental United States. The children were often street children, but many were turned over by parents and orphanages. Remember that this was initially a few years after the Irish potato famine and many children hit New York without parents.
The children were loaded onto trains, frequently in the last car, with a woman who supervised them and arranged for their disbursement along the way. Their ages ranged from infancy to about 14; no girls over 12 for fear of sexual exploitation. They had no documentation, not birth certificates and virtually no chance of adoption.
When the trains stopped, locals appeared, either by pre-arrangement or by chance, and selected the child they wanted. They often broke up families.They were necessary to the development of the West and the railroads carried them for free or at a reduced fare.
Alison Moore has documented this in her book Riders On the Orphan Train. She and her husband appeared on February 16, 2014 at the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum in a multi-media show. Something none of us knew about.
Moore puts on shows all across the country. To find out when and where go to: http://www.ridersontheorphantrain.org/
It is worth it, free and will open your eyes to something you had no idea existed. You can also visit the Orphan Train Depot in Concordia, Kansas.
Keep looking for things that might interest you and that are out of your comfort zone.
An article on “Orphan Trains” that might interest you is found in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
New Mexico in the next few months is full of interesting things to do that you might not otherwise consider; and, which may be out of your comfort zone.
The geezer will hit:
The Gathering of Nations on April 24-26 in Albuquerque. “North America’s Biggest Pow-Wow.”
The Dutch Oven Cook-off in Glenwood, NM on April 5, 2014. I haven’t cooked in a dutch oven in 60 years; besides, Silver City has some great restaurants, art galleries and hotels; not to mention Silver City history and the near-by open-pit mines.
In the late summer you don’t want to miss:
The annual Deming Duck Race on August 22-25. 2014;
and 50 miles away on August 31 to September 1, 2014, The Hatch Chile Festival. Remember, if you are not used to it, Hatch Chile can be very hot.
And, between Hatch, NM and Deming, NM you can see large dairies that have immigrated from Wisconsin and other places plus a big wind farm and a solar farm; both generating electricity for thousands of homes. Around Deming you will find vineyards and wineries not to mention several Border Patrol check-points where they will stop you and take a quick look in your car. Remember we are only a few miles from the Mexican-US Border.
If you can’t make it this year, calendar the dates and web sites. These events will be going for a long time.
BUT, don’t just look at this. Subscribe to the Tourist e-mails for each state that you are going through. And don’t be afraid to participate; and, do find a place to stay in advance.
TWO (Traveling While Old) requires food. I don’t eat in fancy restaurants; and, I am cheap and dress “old.” McDonald’s is good for the “senior coffee” and the free Wi-Fi.
Off-the-wall alternatives are available. Here are ten to consider. Use the internet to find times and locations.
1. Hospitals: Long hours, usually healthful food, but almost always a fried option. In Albuquerque try University of New Mexico Hospitals, cafeteria.
2. Universities: They have to feed students, faculty and staff and have a variety of food and long hours. The prices are reasonable and it is fun to see what you looked like fifty years ago. You can also find cheap movies, lectures and other activities. Parking is a pain, consider the bus; many have free shuttles to free parking. Certainly out of your comfort zone.
3. Museums: The US is catching up to Europe with museum cafes and restaurants. Visit exhibits and discover special events. When you search for the museum, check for cafes and menus. Plan a meal there; and, look for unique menus and specials tied to art. It may surprise you. And, frequently they have wine.
4. Cooking Schools: Every large town has a cooking school; attend, learn something and eat what you cook. I took my 14- year-old granddaughter to Paris and the thing she seemed to like best was the cooking school. She learned to make macaroons and received a box to take home to her parents. In Paris, sign up in advance.
5. Food Trucks: You can spot them parked on vacant lots, along the street, or at shopping centers. They are fancier than the usual hot dog carts found in downtown areas. Web pages list food trucks and give you a location and time. In Albuquerque on Wednesday noon they gather at the Talin Market, in the International Zone. The market is worth a visit just to see the variety of foods. Don’t be afraid. Move outside your comfort zone. Food trucks offer a variety of foods, often cooked by creative new chefs who can’t afford a fixed site.
7. Senior Centers: All towns have Senior Centers. You can usually find a cup of coffee, breakfast and lunch, although you may have to order lunch a day in advance. You can eat cheap food with other old people. There is usually a bulletin board that lists things to do; day trips, computer help, etc. You may have to join, but that is usually cheap. I have never had any problem just walking in and looking around; having a twenty cent cup of coffee and a twenty-five cent box of popcorn. I have also discovered cheap trips where I don’t have to do the driving. Think Crown Point rug auction.
8. Whole Foods: Groceries, but also – sandwiches – salad bar – prepared foods and a place to sit and eat. The food is good, varied and available all day. Good for a coffee and a bagel in the morning; sandwiches for lunch, salad bar, and a whole variety of food for dinner, to eat in or take back to your motel room, along with a bottle of wine in Albuquerque and Tucson. At 73 you don’t want to be picked up for DWI after a few glasses of wine at a restaurant. Watching a movie in your hotel room with a good bottle of wine, and a variety of food from the deli is not all bad; besides they have nice deserts. Most motel rooms are quieter than restaurants.
9. Diners, Drive Ins and Dives: This show on the Food Network takes you to places all over the country. Interesting to visit, a mini-goal for your trip, and, you can always check them out on-line. I have enjoyed the ones that I have visited, both in Albuquerque and Florida.
10. Costco: If you have a card, you can’t beat the hot dog and drink for $1.50.
Look beyond the restaurants in the guide books. Experience the community and learn something new while getting interesting food at a fraction of the cost of a fancy restaurant. Besides, all of the above places are usually fairly quiet, have no music playing, and are convenient. Important if, geezer, you are old and deaf.
A final, tongue-in-cheek idea. Large Assisted Living facilities will usually give you a free meal if you listen to the sales pitch and take the tour. You should really take a look at a few of these as they are closer than you think.
Above all, consider sharing a plate; even if it costs you $3.
In last Sunday’s New York Times there was an article entitled “Fields of Study Creativity.” Dr. Cyndi Burnett had each student in her “Introduction to Creative Studies” Class at Buffalo State College write down 100 things that bothered them. She then had them come up with solutions.
I have attended three, week-long workshops put on by the Creative Problem Solving Institute at SUNY Buffalo State College, albeit, almost 30 years ago. Needless to say, I was much younger, but Dr. Burnett’s article got me to thinking about being old, creativity, and the difference 50 years might make.
I seem to be annoyed by a lot of things in the course of a day; and, the usual result it that I am annoyed, period. Perhaps if I came up with 100 things that annoyed me, Dr. Burnett’s class would take a look at them and come up with creative, or at least off-the-wall solutions. Imagine a 19-year-old thinking about what irritates a 73-year-old. Maybe I don’t want to hear the solutions. Then, again, maybe I should think outside this 73-year-old box myself.
To the students in Dr. Burnett’s class: This is not so off the wall as you might think; ten thousand of us turn 65 every day and we are going to live for a long time and be annoyed a lot. Think about it! Am I an opportunity lurking out there.
I looked in the mirror and checked the calendar: I need to think outside the box.
Have you ever gone to a lecture where the speaker takes questions from the audience? Usually the speaker has a mike; and, usually the questioner does not. So, if you are old and deaf, like me, you get the answer, but not the question. There you are floundering about in the netherworld of the hearing impaired.
Why aren’t public speakers aware of their audience? I can understand if they are speaking to a general audience, but if the audience is made up mostly of people my age, why can’t they repeat the question; or, at least summarize it?
Speed dial numbers that you should have on your smart phone while travelling. It wouldn’t hurt to have them there all the time.
1. ICE (in case of emergency numbers) ICE-1 Spouse; ICE-2 Child; etc.
2. Airline rebooking/travel agent (If the flight is cancelled, you don’t want to stand in line.)
3. Your children
4. Personal physician
5. Travel insurance provider
8. Person caring for you pet
10. Tour guide/director
11. American Embassy
Maybe you don’t need these on speed dial, but at least you should have the numbers. Since you may have to rebook a cancelled flight, lose your medicine, forget to do something at home, etc. Have one of your grand-kids program your smart phone and then tape it to the back of your phone. The kid can also show you how to access the speed dial.
You are too old to try to figure out what to do and where to get numbers in a crowded airport; when you have had your possessions stolen, or when you have just discovered that you forgot to bring some pill that you “must have,” probably the Viagra.
You might even want to add a few more numbers, but don’t add too many; you will only get confused.
Make sure that your phone works in the country you are going to. Most of the services provide for access for a few weeks wherever you are. Call them and ask.
I am 73. I track my “real age” on realage.com, which has now become sharecare.com. The factors considered are the same ones that my doctor looks at. Even if there are questions, I do not see how you can go wrong by not smoking, losing weight, and doing things in moderation. I am not interested in living longer; but am interested in living better. I want to minimize today’s pains and problems.
Today at 73, I went onto sharecare.com and based on my answers to the questionnaire have a real age of 66.2 years.
While I feel good about this, what is more important is that on sharecare.com I can change my answers to determine if there is a benefit to making life style changes. My actual weight is 207, which resulted in a “real age” of 66.2 years. I changed the weight to 180 pounds, and came up with a “real age” of 65.7. The difference may be small but I will feel better. And, my doctor told me yesterday that I needed to lose a “few” pounds.
You can change the input and see what you need to do for a better “real age.” Try it with eating habits, smoking, drinking, etc.
I may try to update this each month which may give me incentive to go from 207 to 180.
In Albuquerque, NM I visited the 2926 Restoration Project. The New Mexico Steam locomotive and Railroad Historical Society is restoring a steam engine that hit the tracks on May 17, 1944. It travelled 1,090,539 miles. It is being completely restored by volunteers and will be put back into service for excursions in 2015.
You can visit the restoration project on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1833 8th NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico. One of the members will give you a tour and explain what the restoration.
It is close to Old Town and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Try Cafe Azul for the best huevos rancheros with Hatch green chile – get the papitas, not the hash browns. BUT: the hot Hatch green chile may take you way out of your comfort zone. Remember you can always have it on the side.
It is worth a visit; especially on May 8, 2014, National Railroad Day. In September there is always the model railroad exhibit at the state Fair. If you like New Mexico trains, ride the Amtrak, the Railrunner, and the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gage.
You can see a video showing the history and restoration of 2926 on You Tube.