If you are old, the Kindle, or a similar e-reader, is the “book” for you. It is cheap and small. You can take it with you on trips. Get an adapter if you go overseas, but it works fine. Just go to Amazon.com.
For old people, like me, the best thing is that I can adjust the print size. Have you tried to read a paperback recently with your eyes?
I was flying back from Kosovo a couple of years ago and stuck my Kindle in the pocket of my soft-sided suitcase, which I then checked. Wrong move! My Kindle got smashed and was unusable. I had to buy a new one, but I was able to download everything I had purchased from Amazon.com onto the new one at no charge. Then a few years later I was able to download everything on my I-Pad, again at no charge. However, I still use the Kindle with its large print capabilities.
Kindle books are cheaper that hardbacks. And, you can get free books and cheap books from Amazon.com.
In Albuquerque you can check out Kindle, and other e-books, for two weeks for free. I presume that most libraries have this program. And, old people whom I know frequent libraries, so…..
It is small. See my post on geezer’s clothes for life. My kindle fits in the bag along with all those clothes.
Finally, the Kindle holds a huge number of books, both in the Cloud and on the Kindle. I keep travel books, especially about a dozen Rick Steves’ books, along with books I reread, such as Walden. My Kindle has over 500 books, including mysteries, the Complete Works of Shakespeare, Thoreau and Emerson; not to mention a half-dozen books on how to blog when you are old.
I am trying to reduce the geezer to his essence. Pretty soon I will be able to travel by Wi-Fi and my grandkids can just download me whenever they want to see me; otherwise I will exist as some sort of permalink.
Most old people don’t have a clue about long-term care facilities. They don’t have any idea what they want or where they want to be. They don’t want to think about it. As a result, their children or spouse has to made an ignorant last-minute decision. And, you are the one, who at an old age, with physical and/or mental problems, find yourself stuck in a new and scary environment.
Just because you are old doesn’t mean that you can’t find out what long-term care facilities are like.
No one wants to look for an assisted living facility or nursing home if they don’t have to.
What you should do now is volunteer as an Ombudsman. Every state is required by law to have an Ombudsman program. Basically you as a volunteer are trained and then assigned to one or more facilities which you visit on a regular basis. You talk to the owners, caregivers, family and residents.
You provide an official presence, which helps to keep the facilities on their toes. You report any complaints, abuses or problems that the residents have. You may be the only person who visits them.
The benefit to you, besides doing something good and worthwhile, is that you get a first-hand look at a variety of places. You learn the level of care; you see the problems; and, you can compare large and small facilities. You are prepared to make a decision.
Interested? Check the Ombudsman website for a list of ombudsmen by state and a description of what an ombudsman does. Call them and tell them you want to volunteer. You can be any age, even though most of them seem to be about my age, or older. You can set your own schedule.
You are old, not stupid. Take charge of your life.
You need to know; and, you need to help.
When you end up in the “home,” you want to make friends with your Ombudsman.
I am 73. I need clothing that I can wear everyday and everywhere, that is cheap, that is always acceptable and that can be washed. I do not want to check it when flying. I want to hoist it into an overhead bin by myself. I don’t want to worry about theft.
I have chosen black walking shoes, sandals, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 turtle-necks, 2 shirts, 7 socks, underpants t-shirts and handkerchiefs. I have one blazer and one hooded rain jacket. All, except for the blazer can be washed together, in one load. Everything is black. There is room for miscellaneous items.
It all fits on me and in the 14″x18″x12″ bag in the picture. I can go on an archeological dig, eat at a four-star restaurant, attend a wedding or a funeral, attend a concert and live out the rest of my life in a long-care facility with nothing more than what is on me and in the bag.
It is cheap, universal and requires no thought. It is easily replaced. It gives me a unique, but acceptable, appearance, and not an offensive one.
The New York Times had an article that got me to thinking about old age and the “next frontier:” Polygamy for old people. The article involved a law suit in Las Vegas that approved cohabitation that seems to amount to polygamy; one man, four women and 17 children. Maybe that is the answer to old age.
There are many more women over 70 than men. And, it gets “better,” or “worse” as you grow older. However, perhaps we should thing about it for a bit.
It would be cheaper. Most of us live in homes too big for us. One home for five people would cut down on housing expenses.
There would always be someone to look after you, hopefully.
Think of up to 10 children and 30+ grandchildren moving back into the next.
Think of the inheritance problems.
Hopefully, one of the wives would be young and could still drive.
How would you divide up the chores?
If one dies, could you bring in a new “spouse?”
Could you get a long-term care policy with four wives?
Would you have to be licensed as a long-term care facility?
What about zoning ordinances for single family residences?
Any chance of four marriage licenses?
What benefits could you tap?
A discount from Meals on Wheels?
If you spaced the wives correctly, there could always be a designated “care giver.”
Anyway, since this is an irreverent guide to aging, I thought I would bring it up as an alternative. Something is going to have to happen with 10,000 people a day turning 65. And, with the next generation not being financially prepared for old age, we might be back to communes, which we all remember.
If the 60’s could give us communes; and, if all the flower children are in their 70’s…. One thing about us, is we haven’t forgotten our youth. Imagine Hog Farm for seniors! I need to revisit Llano, New Mexico. It’s been 50 years.
My wife is not interested.
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.