BUSINESSES DON’T GET IT

Ok, so I am old, so my hearing and my eyesight is not what it once was. Yet every day, someone wants to sell me something, but they don’t know who I am. Businesses approach things from their point of view; even when trying to sell something to me. You would think that they would focus on me; not only their targeted customer, but for at least another 20 years, their customer who has the most money. In 20 years, old people will be broke; today many of us have money. Businesses catering to the old should realize this.

My wife bought a device for her mother that allows her mother to locate lost things; purse, glasses, keys, etc. It is a great idea; but, the only instructions are on the side of a 2 x 2 inch box in type so small that you can’t even read it with a magnifying glass. And, if your purse is lost, which it frequently is with old people; the device to locate the purse is usually in the purse. Go figure!

What is even worse; from an old person’s point-of-view, is that they have to ask someone for help thus admitting to old age.

Are there any geriatric tech writers? Look at the instructions that come with something you have bought. Were those instructions written with you in mind?

Don’t forget businesses that have receptionists who have such a low voice that you can’t hear them; or, more common, those that rattle off the information so fast, that you don’t get it.

How would you explain to your mirror how to put something together; or, how to operate something so that you could understand it? Even harder than explaining it to a mirror, is explaining it to a business. I especially like the low voice-tone and talking speed in audiologists’ offices. You would think an audiologist would realize that the only reason that you were there was because you were deaf. But they don’t seem to realize that when talking to you.

Restaurants forget, that while noise may increase turnover and profits, noisy places do not attract old people. Twice this week we have decided against restaurants because of their noise level. And, 50 % of restaurants fail in the first year and 75% in the first five years. Meanwhile, the number of old people is increasing. Restaurants that play music play it for the young help; they forget that two-thirds of their customers are over 65 and like to talk to each other, not listen to some loud off-putting music.

I could go on, and probably will, about services and products for old people being developed by people who are not old and who don’t understand old people.


BIKE/WALKING PATH IN ALBUQUERQUE!

Bike/walking path along Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, NM

Bike/walking path along Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, NM

100 yards from my home there is a walking/bike path, the Paseo del Bosque Trail, which runs for 18 miles without crossing a street. The asphalt part  has two lanes for bikes, runners and walkers. The gravel path next to it is ideal for walking. It is about 100 yards from the Rio Grande River and is the home of coyotes, owl, ducks, geese, beavers, and numerous birds.

It attracts balloons, bikers, walkers, runners, baby carriages and dogs on leashes. (A dog off the leash is a free lunch for a coyote, as are neighborhood chickens.)

A few miles down the path, you come to Tingley Beach where you can boat and fish. You also have the Albuquerque Zoo,  the Albuquerque Aquarium, and the Albuquerque Bio-park. Going in the other direction for a half a mile you come to the Nature Center and a small pond. There are walking paths leading to the Rio Grande River. There is limited access and no motor vehicles.

The Path joins other paths and will soon be part of a 50 mile bike path circling the city.

The Paseo del Bosque Trail is ideal for older people. You can walk, ride bikes or  push grandchildren. You can always meet a few people who you know if you are a regular. The open-space officers will point out nesting birds each spring; especially owls and hawks which are regulars. There are birders with their GPS devices locating various species of birds.

The balloons follow the path and the river; and sometimes land on  our street. They are a daily occurrence.

It is a valuable city asset.

 


DO YOU WANT TO BE YOUNGER? DO WHAT THE geezer DID!

 

geezer's age reducing clock

geezer’s age-reducing clock

When I was 73, I  bought an age reducing clock.  Now I am 71. You too can reduce your age. Buy an age reducing clock for yourself and be as young as the geezer.


WHY I LIKE SENIOR CENTERS!!! ALBUQUERQUE AS AN EXAMPLE!

North Valley Senior Center, Albuquerque, NM

North Valley Senior Center, Albuquerque, NM

Most people I know hate the idea of senior centers; even more than they hate the idea of growing old. I would agree with them if I could do anything about it. The best I can do is strive for a good old age; and, recognize the problems that come with this stage of life, just like I recognized and dealt with problems in earlier stages of life.

Which brings me to Senior Centers. There is one close to me. I joined for $15 per year. I can do ceramics, woodworking, sewing and most anything else I want. There are numerous classes in physical fitness, yoga, computer training. There are rooms for poker, pool and reading. There is a library of books that are free for the taking and a computer that you can use.

They serve breakfast and lunch. Coffee is 25 cents; a burrito is $1.50 with eggs, hash browns and bacon or sausage. You can just show up and eat it. You have to sign up for lunch a day in advance. If you are over 60, which I am, it is free with a suggested $2 donation. If you are under 60 it is $3.75. It is more than you can eat, so my wife and I can share a plate at $1 each, as a donation.

The best thing about the senior centers in Albuquerque is the trips that they offer. They provide transportation and lunch for a minimal charge. Today they  were advertising a backstage trip to the Santa Fe Opera $16 which includes transportation to Santa Fe and admission. On June 19, there is a tour of an Alpaca Ranch in Mora, NM. In the past we have gone to the Crown Point Rug Auction where several times a year Native Americans sell their hand-made rugs, to dealers and anyone else who wants to bid. The only problem with this tour is the meal; the bus driver gets sandwiches from Costco. It is much better to eat the fry bread and Indian Tacos at Crown Point. Since the Auction is not over until after 10 at night, you don’t want to make the several hour drive back to Albuquerque.

You can also get legal help, accounting help, tax help and estate planning. There are more jewelry making classes than you can count. And of course painting and art classes. It seems that every old person wants to become an artist; or, maybe just a blogger.

The computer lab is great; no one shows up, so you have the instructor all to yourself. Then, book clubs, card clubs, beading and music.

Some of the trips this half-year; were or will be: Forensic Science Center ($2 transportation); Left Turn Distilling Tour (50 cents transportation); Hispanic Cultural Center ($2 transportation, $2 admission); Harvey House Museum ($5 transportation to Belen); San Felipe Pueblo Feast Day ($3 transportation); Chaco Canyon; Dar Al Islam Mosque ($12 transportation); Santa Fe Opera House Tour ($8 transportation, $8 admission). And those are just the trips that interest me out of 79 available day trips during the first half of 2015.

Most towns have senior centers; so if you are traveling look them up in advance and see what they have to offer.

The only downside is that you are with a bunch of old people, but…..

You might be happier sitting at home and pretending that you are not old.

To check out Albuquerque, see: Senior Centers.

In any other town, Google “Senior Centers.”

 

 

 


AN UNUSUAL, HISTORIC, PUPPET THEATRE IN SICILY!

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Star of Teatro Dei Pupi Siciliani

Teatro del Pupi Siciliani

Teatro del Pupi Siciliani

In Syracuse, Sicily (Italy) I attended a performance at a small puppet theatre; about 30 seats. The performance lasted an hour and was interesting because of the work that went into making the puppets, the skills that the puppeteer need to manipulate the puppets, and the historic nature of the theatre.

It was a simple theatre; wooden seats; small stage; and, the puppeteer came out after the performance. It was in Italian, so my deafness was not a problem. It was one of those out-of-the-way things that makes trips interesting/

This was on a Rick Steves Tour of Sicily and was one of many events that I would not ordinarily come across.

The tour took all the seats. Each puppet was controlled by sticks and each had a person operating it. The puppets were about three feet tall.

If you have grandchildren and room in your bags, there is a shop:

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Shop at the puppet theatre.

There are only a few of these theaters left. If you get a chance, visit one.

For more on these theatres and other locations in Sicily see: Teatro Dei Pupi Siciliani.


PECOS BENEDICTINE MONASTERY – Pecos, NM

The Albuquerque Journal announced that the Pecos Benedictine Monastery was having an open house. I attended and discovered a quiet place to visit. It has about a dozen monks and numerous volunteers. They support themselves by holding retreats and by allowing private retreats. Look at their web page; pecosmonastery.org. Trappist monks bought the place in 1947. It has been transferred to several religious orders since then ending up as the Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey today.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey at Pecos, NM.

The Abbey is about 20 miles from Santa Fe, NM in the small town of Pecos. The Catholic Church in Pecos dates back to 1862. This is rural Northern, New Mexico, midway between Santa Fe and Las Vegas, NM.

There are numerous guest rooms, several chapels, a library and of course friendly monks. There is a common room with wi-fi and they have the necessary equipment  for retreats.

Double guest room with bath at Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey

Double guest room with bath at Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey

The bedrooms are simple, but fancier than what I imagined a monk’s cell to be like; having seen a few in Europe. They have private baths, a desk and a closet. No phones, no TV’s; just the simple basics. This is a monastic place.

The Abbey has 1000 acres; of which about 4o can be planted and used for buildings. That leaves about 960 acres along the Pecos River for contemplation.

Grounds at Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey.

Grounds at Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey.

We did not stay overnight; however, if you want to and if you take the AARP discount, it is $67.50 per night and that includes three meals and all the quiet you want. There are common areas with WiFi and each room has a desk. It will be a great place to get caught up on a blog.

It is not for everyone; however, if you are the geezer’s age, overwhelmed by this electronic society, and looking for a new social setting, there is something relaxing about the place.

I couldn’t help but compare it to long-term care facilities that I have visited; and, at some future point, if they would have me, I would much prefer to live at the Abbey, rather than an in-town assisted living  facility. There is plenty to do and it might give some purpose and meaning to the end of life.

Anyway,  you might want to try it; or any monastery. Most take guests, even in Europe, and they are all over, need the money and certainly need volunteers.

 

 

 


HUNTINGTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY – Special Event

Small communities are show cases for history, genealogy and crafts. Huntington, NY is no exception. On a recent visit, I attended a “Sheep to Shawl Festival” in Huntington offered by the Huntington Historical Society. This was on a Sunday afternoon in May and held at one of the Society’s properties, the 1795 Dr Daniel W Kissam House. Dr. Kissam had a stroke; so, he had the room next to his examining room converted into a bedroom and apparently continued to treat patients as he was able. This was around 1800.

The volunteers are full of stories about their ancestors; and, of course, they dress the part.

There was a free tour of the house, barn and other outbuildings. The Society had tables for crafts; staffed by a large number of talented quilters and artists who  made things as they did 200 years ago. It was fascinating; especially when you consider that old people are fascinated with their past and with the things people made on their own.

There was a sewing machine that a young boy made; simple and pedal operated but it still worked. There was a lady shearing sheep; people weaving; and, a man who was into wood carving making small, simple whistles.

The society has numerous events over the year and several properties that you can visit. It also sponsors  a genealogy workshop that includes and annual trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

The point is that I spent an interesting and educational Sunday afternoon.

I learned how simply people lived two hundred years ago and met people who were recreating history. There was even a revolutionary war contingent that had set up camp across the street; cooking in a dutch oven and firing their muskets, much to the delight of children.

You can find these Exhibits and programs in towns all across the US; and, they are worthy of a visit. They are local and done with a passion that you don’t find elsewhere.

You could travel across the US on your own mobile American History Course; and, with a little work, could make it reflect your ancestors and their place in American History. You can even start at Ellis Island.

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Old Tools in Huntington, NY

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Sheep Shearing at the Sheep to Shawl Festival on May 3, 2015 in Huntington, NY.


LEARNING WHEN OLD – a lesson from the young for the Boy Scout in all of us!

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Like many old people, I am interested in learning something new; in my case genealogy, but also hiking and perhaps something totally new like wood carving. Almost every active old person is trying for a new hobby. Painting, pottery, writing a blog, hiking, etc. I have one friend who makes pottery and is good enough that she spent time on a cruise ship teaching pottery to other  old people. An interesting and unusual experience.

Community colleges are full of courses that will teach you something. As are senior centers. The problem is that the materials that they use are frequently too complicated, too advanced or too long for old people.

While sitting in the Smithtown Public Library, I got to thinking about this; and, about some sort of handbook for old people. This naturally led me to think about how I  learned when I was young. A tremendous influence on me was the Boy Scouts. So I checked the card catalog for the Boy Scout Handbook; it was at another branch. But, I did find the Boy Scout Merit Badge Series.

This was just what I needed. There are 132 of them. I checked the ones on genealogy, hiking, and wood carving. Each provided the basics for the topic selected and a list of resources; not to mention the tools that you need and how to use and care for them. Each provided several hours of interesting reading and was thought-provoking. Thought-provoking is good for the old.

Each provided something that we didn’t have 60 years ago, such as discussing GPS receivers; but, reminding you, that if the battery died, you were back to “navigating the backcountry with traditional tools.” Tradition, I know; GPS is a bit more difficult and dead batteries haunt me all the time, from hearing aids to cell phones.

I may order some; or check out my library at home. Travel should be enlightening, even if you are only in a strange library.

For more information go to: www.scoutstuff.org. The merit badge pamphlets are $4.99 each. You can probably afford a dozen. While at the site, take a look at the packs, etc. They have a lot more stuff than they did 60 years ago when I was paying 25 cents for a Merit Badge Pamphlet.

My wife is taking painting, so I may have to get her the Painting Merit Badge Pamphlet. 

You might also try Amazon.com and get a $4.95 Merit Badge Pamphlet for your Kindle.

You are never too old to learn from the young.