Fun with Retirement

Fun and Retirement are supposed to mean the same thing

Now for some Fun

 

Poems:

Permanent Vacation

Patrick M. Kennedy

You disappear from labor of years,
Everyone says 'hey hey', see yah some day,
Hooray hooray out loud as you jerk away,
Departing from the multitude of hidden tears
Monotonous work schedule is not here,
As you assemble yourself on a loafing sphere, your feet askew,
Easily placing working years in the proper place … behind you,
a
nd you resemble free air in the atmosphere
Clock is a radio, TV your paramount friend,
Coffee is tasted not wasted on the run,
Daylight hours and night time fun.
Make permanent vacation days end to end.
Cheers and beers grease the running time
That sprints by too darn fast
|
Should be as slow as a leg in a cast
The speed of it is a ceaseless crime
S
low down and think and plan
Forever is today and from now on
Staring at the sky your back on the lawn
Seeing yourself in the opportunities you scan


 

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Dog's Best Friend
By Patrick M. Kennedy

You see them leading and exercising their seniors on a leash all over town and in the parks. They make sure they walk fast and the path ahead of them is safe. They sniff every tree to make sure it isn't going to fall on them, or isn't emitting poisonous vapors that will cause dizziness, or worse, total awareness. They check the grass along the sidewalk for enemy creatures such as cockroaches, icky worms, or the worst, any wild pet cat that will steal food, or maybe a quick pet, and run home. Many dogs have been known to lift a leg and wet a fire hydrant to dampen any potential fire that may spring from it, or even a tree to make sure it getting enough hydration. "I looked up my family tree and found three dogs using it', said Rodney Dangerfield. This is good advice, making sure dogs aren't hydrating the leaves from above to make sure they all get wet.


And by chance if another senior on a leash happens to be coming from the opposite direction along the sidewalk or path, the dog will growl and make sure that other team alters its path and walks an encircling path around them, even into the street.


What is really exciting to watch is a dog at on Off-Leash Park. The dog turns the senior loose to sit on a bench and runs around in the grass like a World Cup soccer player looking for other players and an invisible ball that is always there to be nosed or tapped with a paw. Other dogs are there and they play the game like it has been totally organized. All the seniors ring the park sitting on benches, cheering and grunting, and waiting for their dog to return and take them home.


Home is where the scene changes. The senior takes charge and dictates where the dog will sit or lie, or not; what and when he will eat; and when he is allowed outside to lead the way for the senior. It is well known from many interactions with dogs that they are loved dearly by most seniors. They often tell of a beloved pooch from years gone by with a funny story. Dogs can help with the loneliness of a spouse that is gone for the remaining partner. They give a reason to get up in the morning and wonderfully provide someone to chat with throughout the day. The added perks are some exercise and reduced blood pressure, as well. "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself," Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw), a 19th century Mark Twain type humorist. He said it, but it is more truth than humor.


Now how does a dog choose a senior? It depends on the lifestyle it is looking for. But many times at first the role is reversed for a time and the senior does the choosing. After all, it's adding a new being into their lifestyle? Depending upon the age of a dog, their needs are similar to that of a new baby, a spouse or an elderly person. A dog needs food, shelter, exercise, grooming, health care and companionship. Some dogs need less, some dogs need more, but each and every dog requires at least these things from the new partner; this partnership a commitment in time and money. A new dog must remember this. A new senior is a long-term permanent choice for the dog.


Dogs find that seniors come in all sorts of ages, personalities, habits, quirks, and health idiosyncrasies that come in all shades of the monochrome x-ray. Of course, dogs also come in all sizes, hair colors and lengths, energy tempos, appetites, enthusiasms and whims of euphoria. Getting a friendly match is just a dice throw of luck; no bones about it.

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Past - Present - Future
By Patrick M. Kennedy


There were so many keen things in the past for today's seniors. The lowdown of this snazzy earlier period will be a wacky and juicy journey, and fun, and will open your blinkers to many past dreams and familiarities. The memories will blow your wig. The first thing that comes to mind is the Golden Age of Radio and all those dingy radio shows you used to listen to as a family while gathered around the old white-enamel radio sitting on the souvenir cabinet in the living room. Fibber Magee and Molly, The Shadow (Only the Shadow knows), Amos 'n' Andy, Adventures of the Thin Man, Abbott and Costello (Hey Abbott! or Who's on First?), Gunsmoke, and music by Artie Shaw, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Glen Miller and Louis Armstrong, to name only a few. Usually a half-an-hour at a time trip into another world, and your mind would forget all the problems around you.


No TV in the real old days, but oh the movies that drew you downtown to the movie house. Lust for Life; The Treasure of Sierra Madre; Arsenic and Old Lace; musicals like Show Boat, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Singing in the Rain; The Mummy; Anne Frank; A Bridge Too Far; and stars Clark Gable, John Wayne, James Stewart, Boris Karloff, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Debra Kerr, Ava Gardner, and the young and older Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney - and all if it came with popcorn you could afford without taking out a second mortgage on the home. And the drive-ins! What fun! Oh, the rummaging through nostalgia is nice, but what Ralph Waldo Emerson said leads us to the next exploration, "With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now,"


The present is so much easier for seniors to deal with because it is right there where you can reach out and touch it and deal with it. At least most of it, except the wishes and what-ifs and the woulda, coulda, shoulda factors. You woulda changed your life if you coulda known what you shoulda done differently. You won't know now anyhow. So you might as well enjoy what you have, and try not to get stuck on the treadmill to nowhere. Or, you wish you could lose some weight. Well, you can, it still is now and not then and tomorrow you could be thinner. Or, you wish you had more money. Well, you can if you want to work for it, but that sounds like work and not retirement. What if we had moved to warmer climate after retirement? Maybe you still can, if you have that extra money you may have to work for.


Movies are still around in all the Cineplex's with seating for hundreds at six to sixteen shows in one building and some open 24-hours each day. The movies are in Cinemascope, Cinerama, about Sin-Sin and Action-Action, in 3D that attacks you in your seat, with dozens of actors you've never heard of before but will see over and over again, and popcorn and soda and unknown candy assortments that cost much more than the ticket. They are a fun trip and worth it to keep your blood flowing and almost better than TV.


TV these days will entertain you 24-hours a day. There's no test pattern at midnight, and hundreds of channels are available traveling to you through cables and satellites for the price of monthly admission called a bill. Movies from all the ages as well as new ones just out of the theaters; games shows for every age and education level; regular programming of comedies, mysteries, crimes, documentaries, sports, and 24-hours news. But you know all this because it is just a few feet in front of your lounge chair. Of course, you could follow the advice of Groucho Marx who had a long running show of his own, "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."


The future is a mystery that will never be reached and never solved. It is always there in front of you. You can make plans for it, make lists of things to do today, layout vacation plans and make reservations at a nice resort, then your plans could change because the car won't start, or you stub your toe and have to go to the clinic. The future is kind of hidden a door between now and then that you can't open to reveal its true identity. It's only manifested in the dreams we have about how it will be. "The future ain't what it used to be," said everyman's philosopher, Yogi Berra. And for many seniors that is very true. It used to be thoughts of relaxation and coming down from a life of stress and work and money worries. The only answer is to lay back and keep the dream alive, however possible. That sounds like work, but the reward is bliss. But one psychologist, Wayne Dyer, said, "Go for it now. The future is promised to no one."

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The Arithmetic of Retirement
By Patrick M. Kennedy


One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, well, there goes another week. Whoops, wrong math! Time is endless and stretched before you, why count, there is no final answer. So the best answer is to enjoy it while you have it. The real crisis at hand is to resolve the problem, 'how much money do you really need to retire?' Some say you must have saved a $million dollars to retire on. Boy, you think, they must drink a lot of beer and eat platters of Nachos. And some say a few $hundred dollars each month over your Social Security check is enough to get by on and just relax and let that time go by. Those are the seniors who laze in their lounge chair all day and can subtract two years they have to pay for in their life expectancy for being so idle and listless. Those other seniors who have a monthly pension from their old job are a little better off, but not much, and certainly not millionaires.


In reality, how much cash is needed to retire comfortably? In the first place, reality is a hard term to define. Each person has a different idea and attitude about what it is. One definition is the state of things as they are or appear to be, rather than as one might wish them to be. Definitely a person-to-person thing … to each his/her own.


Of course, budgets are only for those on the borderline between surviving or not, and on the other hand, if you have that million in the bank, spend it while you still can. Who knows, those lavish meals may catch up with you. And the budget involves a lot of arithmetic. And arithmetic involves a lot of special signs, for instance, the + (plus) sign: Rent/Mortgage + Utilities + Food = a Lot of Cash each Month. And the - (minus) Sign; Money in the Bank - a Lot of Cash each Month = Less Cash for Retirement. "I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something," said Jackie Mason. And that's one of those one-liner jokes that makes some sense.


And the final question is again 'how much do I need to retire?' Most experts say to start saving early in life. But most seniors probably start too late. Just remember what that Unknown Author said, "By the time I have money to burn, my fire will have burnt out." There are dozens if not a gazillion experts who can guide you through the process of money management. There are retirement calculators online that tell you how much should have saved at a certain age; retirement plans and checklists for travel, living quarters, and health options; and the choices of how you should get started in life. What?


It's plain old 3rd grade arithmetic. You take the total savings you have accrued for your retirement fund; divide by the amount you wish to withdraw each month; then divide that answer by 12 and the answer will be the total years you can last on those funds. If it isn't long enough you can add to the fund, lower the monthly withdrawal, or if that still doesn't do it there is another plan. Get a library card, subscribe to some magazines, get a good TV cable, and sit at home a lot, and when you travel make it a walk around the block, along the river, or beside the lake. Or heed the Peter's Almanac, "Early to bed and early to rise - till you get enough money to do otherwise." This arithmetic method of dictating our retirement is a sometimes rewarding and sometimes a cruel and painstaking master. Oh well, one, two, three …

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The Work/Retirement Crossroads

Patrick M. Kennedy


"Oh, No!" some of you are moaning to yourselves. "The economy is in the dumpster, and the cost of living is growing like a prickly cactus, as are my monthly bills! Do I have to go back to work?" or in the case of some of you on the other side of easy street, "Do I have to work longer before I can pass my life into those retirement years?" Neither situation sounds like much fun in retirement. Work and retirement are the two opposite poles for seniors. The cold, cold North Pole of work or the fancy striped Barber Pole of sitting around in retirement chatting and visiting with friends at your own leisure, not around the water cooler. And besides, work is a 4-letter word that shouldn't be spoken in the mixed company of … retirees.


Oh the decisions. As the famous unknown author sorta said, probably about the government and our social environment, "Our job is not to make up anybody's mind, but to open minds and to make the agony of the decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking," and thinking and making decisions sounds like work already. What Ogden Nash said doesn't solve the problem either, "If you don't want to work you have to work to earn enough money so that you won't have to work." That sounds like a circle where a senior citizen can get very dizzy … work so you don't have to work?


The second choice, staying at work, is a little easier to deal with. You, after much contemplation and selling your soul to the devil, you come to the decision to stay on for a little longer. You just have to report to the same old polyester, canvas, foam rubber walls of your cubical, sit at the desk in front of a computer screen, and bounce off the walls until they become so stained you have to leave it to the next sucker (worker). Or in other cases, you may have to keep punching that clock, punching that clock and keep punching it until your fist becomes too sore to work. Then you quit. Because, "Nothing is work unless you'd rather be doing something else," said Coach George Halas.


On the other hand, looking for a job after retirement is a job in itself, especially if you haven't done it for a while, or even worked for a while. The best place to start is with a Temp agency because they normally don't care about your age and more concerned about your skills so they can place you. You just have to give them a copy or your resume. Resume? That sound like a chore before getting work: what did you do before; how did you do it; who did you do it for; when did you do it; what tools and techniques did you use; and what are your references? It sounds like you will need some help in this area by a professional or a habitually unemployed friend.


The resume can be dropped off or mailed or e-mailed to potential hirers, or posted on the internet at specialized sites while looking for permanent, or even temporary jobs, and also dropping it off at job sites while you are searching for jobs on the internet looking to get an interview. Interview? Now comes that time when you will have to talk to yourself with a purpose … that is, imagining what they will ask and what you will answer, if the opportunity arises.


Other things to consider are barnstorming with your friends and networking with old pals at your former workplace; going back to school to learn a new trade or update your present skills; or maybe even changing employment directions completely like teaching what you know to others. After all this, and you don't have a job yet, you heed what Alan Ladd said, "I'm working myself to death,' and you don't even have a job yet. Nobody said either choice was easy, if you have to make it in the first place. Think about it: Work? Retirement? Work? Retirement? Or better yet: Hobby? Hobby? Which sounds better?

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This is Your Life
By Patrick M. Kennedy


This Is Your Life was an American television series originally hosted by its producer, Ralph Edwards from 1952 to 1961. In the show the host surprises a guest, and proceeds to take him or her through their life in front of an audience, including friends and family who would ohh and ahh and laugh at what you did. These days as a senior you don't get that surprise attack and audience and the glamour of being on TV. You just have that camera called a brain that reruns and replays past scenes on the screens of dreams and daydreams. Or you get to roam through the old photo album or a box of snapshots from the closet. Who are all those people, but you must have known them because you clicked photos and Polaroids of them … real flashes from the past.


You are probably sitting in your favorite spot in the living room staring at the cloud formations in the ceiling, or on the deck in the sun looking at real clouds, reminiscing about the good old days and how you got to this spot in life. In some cultures of life it may be called memories. But here we call it thinking about the building blocks that got you here. "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." said George Bernard Shaw.


Mistakes are made by everyone, and getting past them built your character as a senior: either you are a mean old fart; cranky old lady; or a rather jolly person nice to be around. Thin or a little over weight; healthy or not; bald or not; wrinkled or not'. Whatever you are or how you got here, this is what you are and you have to deal with it because it's too late to call time out like when playing tag as a kid. Said John Lennon, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." I was happy then, but Whoops, I didn't notice I was getting overweight, you may say now.


Life is defined as the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body, or the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual. And it can be further added that life progresses day by day. "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough," said Mae West, so doing it right is important to life's satisfaction. And where you are now and tomorrow are more important than the past, although the past can't be forgotten, it can't dictate the future.


The past leads to the present, elderly age, maybe retirement, marginal health, and those other small things people joke about: kidnappers are not very interested in you; in a hostage situation you are likely to be released first; no one expects you to run into a burning building; and there's nothing left to learn the hard way. It also leads to the comfort and satisfaction of knowing you have been there and all is good. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened," said Dr. Seuss. "Life is good" is a quote by many unknown contributors analyzing the stations in life, and life is good as a senior, even if it is a little slower and sometimes outmoded in these fast times of high tech and young voices dictating the way.


Sure, kick the can as a kid, flag football and softball were fun as a teen, and even those dart games at the local pub weren't so bad, but all in all, those days of enjoyment don't have to be over … just modified a bit to lend a hand to the stiff and aching bones … a little less taxing and more relaxing. You will just have to ignore what Woody Allen said, "I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens." But the truth is you want to be full of life as long as it lasts
.

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Right as Rain
By Patrick M. Kennedy


It is a sure thing that many seniors roll their eyes, wrinkle their brows, and squint into the blank air when they hear the lingo and rap-n-rap language of the youth of today. Most seniors, except the most inquisitive or those who must communicate with a teenage grandchild, can't understand what they are talking about.


'Shucks', you say, 'it sure is hard to comprehend what they are saying and what they mean'. But don't forget, idioms, that is, a speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements, has been with you for years. You know that 'Shucks' means to express mild disappointment, disgust, or annoyance … something of little value especially in the phrase not worth shucks, you've been using it for years. Of course, in the real world, a shuck is a husk, pod, or shell, as of a pea, hickory nut, or ear of corn. You have been using it all along and now you know.


'Golly', or Gosh, Gee, Wow, Goodness, Holy Crap, etc., I didn't know that'. These are words you used as youth during the 1950's. Now the words are mainly used humorously to mock the purported wholesomeness of American culture. The kids of today use these words to mock the past as being shallow … if they only knew.


'He may be old in years, but he's still as sharp as a tack and knows what he's talking about.' Ouch! That hurts. But it makes the point that he should be listened to … and that could be you. That saying has been around for years but today it could be, 'sharp as a push pin' or a 'needle', or that vee turn you have to make with the RV when heading to the lake.


To create an agreement or solution to a problem -- After months of just talk, my wife and I have begun to hammer out a deal which will join our two personalities. We'd been arguing about issues for weeks, so the two of us got together to hammer it out … no, no hammers were involved, just words: loud and sometimes abusive. At first look it looks vicious, that is to shape or remove with or as if with a hammer, but in this sense it means to form or produce - an agreement, plan, etc. - after much discussion or dispute. Another old saying that can be misunderstood if taken as reality rather than as an old saying.


There you have it; it is all 'right as rain'. If things are right as rain, then everything is going well in your life. What does that mean? Some of you may remember. Only a couple of generations ago, most agriculture depended on rain since irrigation was not as prevalent. The life of everyone in a village, town, or city depended on the success of the local crops which in turn depended on spring and summer rains. Rain was essential to survival. No crops equaled famine. No rain meant no crops. 'Right as rain' thus means needed, appropriate, essential, or hoped-for. The expression 'right as rain,' meaning perfect, well, absolutely right, appeared first in England about 1894, before many of us were walking the earth.


Communication, of course, is the exchanging of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols. Such a system includes rules for combining its components, such as words: Different words from different generations are the splendor of language, and the list goes on and won't stop here. Holy crap, get it together.

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Birthdays

By Patrick M. Kennedy

Birthdays are those celebrations that just happen and there is nothing you can do to stop them. When younger they were festive occasions: Seven and a Half and going on Eight and you could hardly wait. All the kids in the neighborhood come to the house; balloons and crepe paper hanging around the walls; paper plates and plastic forks on the table and then a fancy frosted cake with candles on it showing your new age is brought in; and then fun and games. Sometimes a clown would appear out of nowhere and entertain with tricks and jokes, or that one time when you were brought a pony to ride around the yard. Those were the days.


One year at a time birthdays come and go leaving ages behind: One, then Ten, then sweet Sixteen, Twenty-One; then Thirty and Forty follow, and then, and then, as seniors they again become festive occasions: Whoopee, you made another one. And unless you are a monarch or somebody important like a president or senator, it just comes and goes. Of course sometimes the kids or grandkids or friends make it important and another reason for them to have a party. "At 20 years of age the will reigns; at 30 the wit; and at 40 the judgment," said Benjamin Franklin, but he didn't say what reigns after that.


Oh No; What if you were born on February 29th in a Leap Year; what a dilemma. Do you celebrate every four years or cheat three out of four years and celebrate on the 28th, but then you are really a day younger than your age at the party. March 1st is out of the question because that's into your next age cycle. Oh you of the 1 out of 366 births have a problem and good luck and have fun, whenever. Just follow what Jack Benny said, "Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." And anyway, "After 30, a body has a mind of its own." says Bette Midler.


And for seniors there are many benefits, just remember, life begins at retirement. And of course the challenge of retirement is how to spend time without spending money. And there is that other problem, the body, "They say that age is all in your mind. The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body." Said that Unknown Person who doesn't want to be known to keep from being stoned for telling the truth.


What's it all about anyhow, age? The first hundred are the hardest and it's just coasting from there with little peer pressure. "Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you have not committed." said Anthony Powell, and many seniors aren't ready for another birthday just yet. Age is just a chronological measurement, not an attitude. And aging is different than age because it is the accumulation of changes in a person over time. So what if the calendar says you are seventy, you feel and act like forty, so there, take that. You can be what and as old as you want to feel.


Getting back to the beginning, birthdays are celebrations that happen every year, just another day in a life. Age is just a tag put on that celebration. Merriment and Fun are the keys to a celebration of the day and that is something to be remembered about birthdays … not the past
.

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Music and Seniors

One and Two, Three and Four; or One, Two, Three; or One-Two Hip-Hop; no matter what rhythm or beat you follow or dance to, music is there for all the ages. No matter what the genre of music you follow or love or are just stuck with, the basic music scale is typically the same all over the world: seven notes from A to G written on a five-line staff of horizontal lines, one octave and then the next, and they are broken down into lengths from whole notes on down the fractional spectrum. They can be sharps, flats, minor keys, major keys, or just simple whole notes.

Specifically 'music is the art of arranging sounds in time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre'. Throughout the ages these sounds have ranged from tom-tom drums in the jungle to violins in the concert hall. No matter which decade you came alive in, or when you reached adulthood and music appreciation, the 30s, 40s, 50s on up until today, or all the decades.

And no matter which musical instrument played these notes and reached your ear; music is music. Of course, some music is better that others, but that is an issue of opinion and argument that will never be settled, and that is good. Music will vary in styles forever and tastes will change or not. 'Music happens to be an art form that transcends language,' said the musician Herbie Hancock.

Many senior citizens, 'a person of relatively advanced age, especially a person at or over the age of retirement', have come through the age of dancing or finger popping to the music of the Duke or the Count; or romantically' crooning with Bing, Perry or Frank; then dancing in the aisles with Bill Hailey on the stage rocking and rolling. There was the screeching as Elvis entered the stage, or screaming with Little Richard or Jimi Hendrix, and singing along with the Beatles and Stones, blistering our ears with mind-bending screeching guitars, and then there's rap, who knows where it goes from here.

Lurking in the background of all these sounds there is an easy-flowing rippling river and is classical music. It is the favorite of many seniors and it doesn't change with the whims of a decade, maybe every century or so. 'What is classical music if not the epitome of sensuality, passion, and understated erotica that popular music, even with all of its energy and life, cannot even begin to touch?' said the Canadian musician, Lara St. John.

Two seniors go into a bar. The first one says 'I like the music in here.' The second one says, 'that's just the sound of glasses toasting.' The first one says, 'I like the music in here.' Music is in the ear and mind of the beholder, that's why so many dissimilar sorts and sounds of tones and voices comprise what we call music. Taste is the ultimate definer of what's music and what's not, what's good and what's not, and seniors have seen and liked or disliked a lot of it. Of course seniors could follow the approach of Jimmy Durante, 'I hate music, especially when it's played'.

But music is the equalizer, the common denominator that pulls all generations together, or not. And seniors have seen a lot of pulling and pushing through the years and some of it was even called dancing.

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The Hard Lawn

The longest yard is a movie about football. The longest yard for seniors is that one that seems to grow bigger and dirtier and harder to work as each year passes by. Sure, sitting out in that yard on a sunny day, lying back in a comfy patio chair and sipping a cool drink is great. The memories of barbeques with all your friends and neighbors crowding every corner of the yard like a multitude at wonderland, brings a smile to your face. The folding chairs spread around the yard with conversations here and there, chimed good times all around. The aroma of dogs and burgers on the grill make your mouth water thinking about it.


But looking out as the grass grows, and the weeds flourish, and the hedges burst into full bushes, and remembering how the lawn mower is getting heavier and harder to push, the hoe developing a contrary personality, and clippers that seem to get heavier and duller with every clip or clunk. That takes some of the pleasure out of it. And with each tick of the clock your muscles get sorer and your joints get stiffer and that makes it harder to kneel down and play in the garden bed.


Keeping up a happy home is hard, especially for those who have developed physical ailments. Besides the task of mowing the lawn, there's climbing a ladder to change light bulbs, shoveling snow off the walk and stairs, and vacuuming the rugs, and scrubbing the floors; these things could become part of the past. 'I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past', said Thomas Jefferson. And that's the key, what to do now and how to do it.


There are many solutions to this problem. Maybe the whole yard could be paved or covered with tiles so there would be no mowing or weeding. But then it definitely would be a hard yard and there goes the croquet games and practicing putting the golf ball.


Maybe hiring some help would do it. Getting some neighborhood kids to mow the lawn and weed the garden is one option. Of course, that would take the fun out of gardening and maybe raising your own healthy vegetables for salads. Getting a maintenance man and house cleaner to help around the insides might do the trick. But you would have to disappear for a few hours each week so they don't have to work around you. These are good options, but do they fit within that retirement budget?


Then there is the ultimate option, sell the whole thing and move. Go to other's houses for back yard parties. For years they have been coming to your place, now it is their turn. But where to move to is the big question? Buying a condominium or renting an apartment are two choices. They can be very comfortable and elegant places, and someone else does the mowing, trimming, weeding, shoveling, and sweeping. You can still have parties with friends coming over … no problem.


Or if that doesn't seem like fun then maybe moving to a senior's or retirement home. Residents need never be bored at a senior community. There's something for everyone. Entertainment and activities are usually offered, both on-site and out in the local community. Entertainment can range from visiting performers, to day trips that might include local landmarks, forays into nature, or just an outing to the local art museum. There may be transportation to local shopping or medical appointments. And some allow some space so you can plant your own small garden. Some of them provide three meals a day if you are tired of cooking all the time. At senior living communities, you don't have to worry about grocery shopping, meal preparation, or even coffee brewing … just relaxing and having fun.


This is just another option to getting rid of that hard yard. Of course, the other option is just stay where you are and find a way to have fun.

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Unlocking the Mind
By Patrick M. Kennedy


Those little things you want to forget, as the clock turns by ticks, keep popping up like the morning toast. Only the good things matter. Memories come in all shades rattling around in the psyche storage compartment. Oh, all those recollections are treasures that only you can possess, and only you can spend. Unlocking that chest of experience is something only you can do, that is, when you want to share with your friends.


The time you played hooky to go watch the girls soccer team practice was just a tattering shade of monkey-shine gray called youthful hormones. You won't tell anyone about that those days, although it was great bragging rights in high school. And then there were those lost lovers, or those that entered your mind as a fascination but didn't seem to jell. Only you remember about those and they bring a slight grin to your face and no one knows why but you. You lock those away as too personal to share.


Three seniors walk into a bar and sit at a table. The first senior asks, 'Have we been here before?' The Second senior says 'Yes, I believe it was a few weeks ago.' The third senior says, 'I recognize the smell of the place.' The bartender says, 'The usual boys.' And he sets 3 schooners of beer on the table. Of course, there are always lapses in memory, but there are unlocking reminders, too. The first senior says, 'Oh, yeah, yesterday,' and takes a sip of his beer. 'What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined ... to strengthen each other ... to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories,' said George Eliot years ago.


Memories are just experiences you have had; some good and some bad, but experiences none the less should keep you out of trouble. 'I've done that before, and I don't want to do it again'. Or 'that was fun; let's have another stab at it.' Or then the good advice, 'A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way,' said Mark Twain.


How to; been there before; a skill of something or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event; fished; worked; loitered; traveled; or anything else can be the definition of experience. One thing seniors have in common is the baggage of experience. Money can't buy them, and the lack of money can't destroy them. Unfortunately, years can blur them, health can alter them, but nothing can damage them. They are gray-iron markers in your path through life.


The mind, the brain, intelligence, wits, the senses, emotions, and a carload of other physical and mental accessories contribute to memories. 'Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment,' said Buddha, and that's good advice.' and then, 'There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there,' said Albert Einstein. And that's the point, you got there and it is time to unlock the mind and live for today. Life is to live forward, and understand it backward.

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Silence or Boredom
By: Patrick M. Kennedy


Laying back in your living room easy chair on front of that blooming plant, examining the cloud formations and moon-crater patterns in the white stucco ceiling is not cool; the kids and company left a couple days ago; 'silence is golden' they say; so, why not cash it in for some good-time fun. You could look through the photo album you consider, nah, too many old memories of times and people you'll never cross paths with again. Writing your memoirs is the same thing. Playing one-person chess is too depressing because you always beat yourself, and there is no one around to celebrate with when you win. You've counted your toes many times and they still come to a total of ten.


Is this relaxing silence or boredom settling in? Whichever, you can't let it last too long or dark clouds will begin to form over your head, silence is nice but when it turns to boredom, that ain't good. Someone experienced or very smart once said, 'whatever is better than boredom'. Whatever in this case is one, or some, or every, or all things without specification of a specific activity to doom boredom. In this case it can mean anything but boredom. It can mean taking up a hobby; creating a family tree; cruising art galleries, walks in the park; a long drive in the country, which can be pretty hard if you live in a large city; talking to or walking with your pet but 'arf arf' and 'meow meow' don't last long in conversation, and you can't take the bird out for a walk

.
Computer browsing is just another lonely and sometimes boring whatever; E-mails from faceless friends and mostly strangers doesn't cut it. 'Discussing how old you are is the temple of boredom,' said Ruth Gordon, and sometimes, most times, discussing that situation happens in e-mails and it can get as old as your old friend on the other end.


'He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest,' said Dylan Thomas. What a dilemma, caught in the middle. You want the rest, but for heaven's sake, many know work is a four-letter word. 'I can excuse everything but boredom. Boring people don't have to stay that way,' said Hedy Lamarr. But work? Boring is defined as being uninteresting and tiresome; isn't that the same definition for the work we retired from to get away from? Whatever sounds like the answer to the problem, the opposite of dull?


Of course we know that whatever is a slang term meaning 'whatever you say' and 'I don't care what you say'. The term is used to dismiss or disregard a previous statement and express indifference and is usually considered offensive and impolite. In this case we are using the word as an interaction to the positive, a path to non-boredom, a list of other things to do. Just remember what Benjamin Franklin said, 'As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.' In this case we are addressing the problem of silence (boredom) and not the word.

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Senior's Coffee Shop
By: Patrick M. Kennedy


A coffee shop largely serves as a center of social interaction. The small neighborhood coffee shop provides social seniors with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time of day, or even do computer work with something called wireless, whether individually or in small groups of 2 or 3 sitting around a table. And this should be done in a comfortable environment. Is rap and grunge Music blaring from the oversized speakers that line the ceiling corners really that relaxing for seniors? Is the flip-flop language yelled at each other by the sales clerks and coffee makers really what you want to hear?


A coffee shop is a business that primarily serves prepared coffee or other hot beverages. It shares some of the characteristics of the local bar, and some of the characteristics of a restaurant, but it is different from a cafeteria. As the name suggests, coffee shops focus on providing coffee and tea as well as light breakfast-type snacks. When did the coffee shop become a browsing area for artists and art patrons, and

ranting parlors for political maniacs? When did it become a replica of a hospital or high school cafeteria?
In the 17th century, coffee appeared for the first time in Europe and coffeehouses were established and quickly became popular. Granted, coffee shops in the United States arose from the espresso- and pastry-centered coffeehouses of the major U.S. cities, notably the beatnik customers of Greenwich Village and San Francisco's North Beach. Students sat around and listened to and read poetry. Sure, most seniors remember those days as fun trips to the other side of life. That was then, and this is now. This is the other side of life now for most seniors who have spent their lives in regimented job routines and uncomfortable working conditions. Now, fun and relaxation are the goals in life.


OK, what does a senior want in his/her coffee shop? The coffee menu is fine, and the selection of pastries is tasty looking behind the glass in these modern coffee shops. But when you have a coffee cup in one hand and a plate with a muffin in the other, you have to sit on a bench designed by the Spanish Inquisition team of stylists. It takes an Olympics gymnast to bend body and descend to a chair or booth next to Formica table top with yesterday's patrons' coffee stains still resting on top. The bench will be hard wood and the chairs will be hard-wood or plastic seats. A small senior citizen finds it hard to eat and drink products that are at their eye level on a table.


Comfortable, regular sized upholstered chairs and coffee tables would help: Linen napkins instead of brown paper, and metal spoons instead of plastic. Background music with lyrics that can be understood and maybe familiar to the general population rather than a cult of young punksters would make the coffee shop environment more comfortable. And artwork and photos on the walls that make sense to well-traveled and highly-educated and experienced senior citizens would ease the pain of extra-hot coffee steamed to a scald and muffins baked to a brick. Yes, seniors are dreamers, too.


And yes, you are probably saying that seniors should drink their coffee in an antique store or a museum. This is the new world and coffee shops, that is, coffee houses are mostly near colleges and cater to the young. If you want comfort and coffee, then stay home, or build your own senior coffee houses with all the frills and fancies … that's what the young say now, but just wait until …


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What isn't now once were


By Patrick M. Kennedy


The Dodgers once were in Brooklyn. The Giants once were in New York. They moved and followed the covered wagons west. Newspapers were a dime and sold on the corner, and there were penny candy stores just around that corner. There were Five-n-Dime stores instead of Dollar Stores. 'Times, they are a-changin' Bob Dylan wrote and sang years ago, and he didn't know what was coming next or even tap into the progress time-stamps on living day to day.


At one time we did all this typing on a Smith-Corona typewriter, and made corrections with an eraser, messy white out, and extra copies were made with carbon paper. More than one copy was a real mess, especially if you had to correct a typo. Changing the ink ribbon was a real challenge, and there was only one font, until IBM invented the electric typewriter with an interchangeable font ball. Now that was real progress, we thought. Fold and place a letter or bill in an envelope, place a stamp on it, and drop it in the mail box. Boy that seems like a lot of work, but really just routine in the good old days.
Of course there were those loyal gas station attendants who pumped your gas, cleaned your windows, and maybe checked your oil. Maybe you were one of those guys earning money after school. And then there was free air for the tires on that car. When did air become a commodity?


The radio was always turned on and it entertained the kids and moms while they puttered around the house. The Lone Ranger was one of the popular programs that drew the kids around the radio like moths around a light bulb. 'Hi-yo, Silver! Away!' echoed off the walls … 'Who was that masked man anyway?' was the question asked, and then answered when TV burst onto the scene, was black and white and on only during the daytime. A different media, but whole families gathered around it, like moths to a light bulb … until The Lawrence Welk Show came on and it was only the adults in their easy chairs staring at the light in the corner.


The Iceman Cometh was not only a Broadway play, but a reality in most households. The icebox needed to be cold to preserve the food, and that was the function of the ice delivered. The Milkman Cometh as well; he left glass bottles of milk on the porch a few times a week. It is even rumored that some families had their bread delivered. Of course, for some it was a trip down to the corner to the Mom n Pop store to replenish these necessary supplies … and possibly a candy bar or two for the kids. And then when the refrigerator was invented it became the center for family gatherings and the invention of larger meals cooked, because they could be snacked on for days.


For many households the coal bin had to be filled before winter, and the coal repeatedly shoveled into the furnace to keep the house warm. Others kept the furnace oil drums filled, and in either case, they kept the dust cloths moving atop the furniture to keep it clear of the unwanted dirty dust they created.


Kids were in the yard; two-wheel one-speed bikes, taped up baseball with beat-up gloves; black tennis shoes for all; torn sweat shirts and jeans; nothing changes.
Those were the good old days we remember as we flip through our picture albums and note the times we had. Baseball is everywhere now, and even on color TV. It's not so bad now, even if your team is losing.

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Happy Talk

(Or: The Future Can Be Better)

Patrick M. Kennedy

Oh, it's so much fun being retired and having the freedom to wake up when you want and to be able to eat what you want, when you want. No more alarm clocks, no more commutes, no more office or plant stuff, or punching time-card stuff. The past is there and done, and as you age into the present you find that all the other ages are behind you, but not lost. Experience can make the future better.

You are talking about the future, bragging about the past, and listening to your friends doing the same things. You plan that trip, that project, or the hobby you wanted to do and can do now because you have the time to fritter away. You meet those new friends that you never had time for before, and you find they have the same ideas and plans and dreams as you.

Sitting there next to a flowing river or tidal salt sea-water shore, you say to yourself, "that tide or river flow can take me anywhere I want to go. They move through time so free; why can't that be me?"

Remember the lyrics to that old song? 'Happy talk, Talk about things you like to do.

You got to have a dream, If you don't have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?' Well, that's a good philosophy to follow in retirement. Have a dream and make it come true. It's all up to you. Optimism, hope, confidence should be the operative words for an in-high spirits retirement.

You worked and spent time for many years, maybe at one job, or maybe at several, and juggled tasks like a circus performer. They all got done and your chest swelled with pride. Now you have just one task; being as happy and content as you can find the time for and can afford. You remember all the fun and games you had in childhood, but then as the middle ages took over your life, the work controlled it all. Now, believe it or not, the fun and games can be back. You can be a child again, at heart if not in body motions, and play games and frivol away the time. Of course, some self control must be maintained. You can't go out and throw rocks at the garage door or the cat next door. Climbing trees is out of the question and a tricycle is too small. Riding a bike is permissible and a healthy thing to do.

The one word and mental condition that must be avoided is that evil spirit - boredom. 'Perhaps the world's second worst crime is boredom. The first is being a bore,' said Sir Cecil Beaton of British fame. So it's a two-way street. Keeping busy things on your agenda will eliminate boredom, but don't overdo it and bore others with your projects and plans. Happiness is the goal. 'Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence,' said Aristotle several hundred years ago. Wonder if he was retired when he said that. Happy talk is part of it, but happy activity is the key to being content in retirement.

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I Hate Work

By Patrick M. Kennedy

Sounds like a line Ralph Kramden, Jackie Gleason, would say in the Honeymooners: and follow with a belly roar Har Har Hardee Har. I know some of you are going to think that is a crazy statement. Work got us to where we are now: Retired, happy, a nice home, a little income coming in, and a universe of free time. Actually it comes down to that one thing, a little income coming in, and toss in a universe of free time: Time to do things and little enough income to do them. That's where 'I hate work' enters the retirement puzzle because a lot of happily retired citizens have to search the blue skies and back alleys for some kind of meager part-time employment (work) to have the fun we dreamed about. Just remember what Albert Camus said 'Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.' If you decide you need to do this, be careful.

Men/Women Wanted. . Man or Woman Wanted For. . Circle and call. Circle and call. Not today, sorry! All filled up today, call again tomorrow or when you grow younger or own an American car. You can't demand. You have to request and beeeee pleasant and have a silk suit and tie on your tongue. A button-down brain cluttered with toothy smiles and polished pleases. Your applications probably are stashed in file drawers all over town between chopped olive sandwiches and Mary Missy Sanitary napkins. You are too experienced and that is a negative for most of the jobs available for your situation … retired.

A job in the 'Lost and Found' at the bus depot sounds inviting. Dusty odd items stacked and hung throughout the room: Cubbyholes and oaken drawers with numbers and dates above brassy handles; alphabetical hooks and shelves that circle the room. A collector of the small things people forget. Any retiree can do that and maybe even dig up some old memories. You could have treasures that people are hunting for; it's a position of power. No one but you can decipher the notes you take to find that lost ring or keychain. If you get sick and have to stay home they would have to close down the shop. What security! What power!

Sometimes you will spend the afternoons scanning for jobs in the HELP WANTED'S. It is something to pass the time, so you pull out your pad and paper from the Formica table top office and play your own game with your own rules.

WANTED: A delivery boy who owns his own store. WANTED: Dental Assistant. Must own a welding set. WANTED: Dependable, trustworthy young person for a reputable collection agency: Must own a car with bullet-proof glass.

Then you wonder if you really want to go back to work? Oh the pain of it all. Sometimes you aren't so sure. Your Social Security and retirement checks have been enough to pay the rent and buy the basic munchies with a clip full of coins left over to tip a few beers. 'Nothing is work unless you'd rather be doing something else,' said Coach George Halas. That pretty much sums it up. Most retirees would like to be doing exactly that … doing something else and avoiding the daily hum drum of taking on work again. Of course, taking on a work job has some positive sides to it but they are too few to list here.

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Books available for your library


To a retired senior, it is to do whatever you feel like doing … from now on … for as long as you want. You have taken a very long vacation in life. This book, Lotsa Fun with Retirement, is to help you get away from the norm … the usual boring nonsense. This is an extension of the two books of the same theme: How to Have Fun, and More Fun … with Retirement.

Available at:

Booklocker.com -

Amazon -

Barnes and Noble -

 

 


 

Two Seniors and Friends

 

Two people, Mary and Mel, from separate parts of the country, are the central characters of this journey and romance, as well as some of their friends and people they run into in their quests to be happy although a little older now. Things aren't the same, as they find out as time passes on, and they do the best they can to approach each ordeal with as much knowledge and tact they can assemble.

Available on Kindle

 

 


 

A collection of light-hearted, witty, yet informative, articles about seniors and retirement living. In addition, there are tad bits of useful, if not useless, information to enhance the FUN in RETIREMENT: Dreams, Fantasies, Facts, Jokes, and Elucidations that have come from semi-scientific papers, true stories told by a liar, personal experiences as logged and blogged on the Internet and passed on as remedies and antidotes for the human condition … and just plain-old made-up stuff.

Available at, click below:

Amazon

Kindle

Barnes & Noble

Nook

iTunes

Booklocker.com


 

A collection of light-hearted, witty, yet informative, articles about seniors and retirement living. They are written for the SENIOR WIRE NEW SERVICE, the nation's leading syndication of news, information and features for mature market publications. Over 50 papers nationwide, as well as Canada and India, currently pick up the WIRE's articles.

In addition, there are tad bits of useful, if not useless, information to enhance the FUN in RETIREMENT: Dreams, Fantasies, Facts, Jokes, and Elucidations that have come from semi-scientific papers, true stories told by a liar, personal experiences as logged and blogged on the Internet and passed on as remedies and antidotes for the human condition … and just plain-old made-up stuff.

Where to Buy this Book:
Booklocker
Paperback
E-Book

Other places to Shop:

amazon.com - borders.com

BarnesandNoble.com

booksamillion.com

Kindle Version

Or, order a copy from your favorite neighborhood bookstore.

Click here for a quick look inside the e-book


 

This book offers guidelines to help these individuals adapt to what is happening in their lives; even when their experiences aren't what they expected or would have liked them to be. When senior citizens enter this stage in life there are so many questions: Where is the money? Where do I live? How is my health?

Being a senior citizen isn't just about retiring and traveling, and it isn't just about the changes-good and bad-to which older people have to adapt. Being a senior citizen means being an elder, a responsible person in our society. The book explores and clarifies, in an easy to read manner, nearly 60 serious subjects about and for senior citizens; and the effort is made to include solutions and answers in each subject addressed.

Published by Red San Publishing

Where to Buy this Book:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble.com

Books a Million.com

Kindle

Or, order a copy from your favorite neighborhood bookstore.

A quick look inside the book, click here:


Several months after finding evidence that 80-year-old Duffy had been mugged and is missing, and per his will and the money he left for it, many of Duffy’s friends and enemies from Seattle ’s Market and around the country gather for a wake and/or a celebration at a Pacific Ocean beach. They are not certain if he is actually dead or just playing one of his cantankerous old-man tricks. Some hope he is dead, and others expect him to walk down the beach and have a beer, laughing at the big joke on all. Detective Murray is there to find the truth and he suspects everyone.

Published by Red San Publishing

Horse Races and Paint Stores? is available at:

Amazon Kindle

 

 

The Author, Patrick M. Kennedy (Sir Pat)

Pat Kennedy has been a professional writer, editor, and graphic artist for over 30 years. In the past he has freelanced out of Seattle, Boise, Indianapolis, and Las Vegas. He has published two novels, Toy Shadows, and Horse Races and Paint Stores, and has had articles published in various magazines and books. He is especially proud that he still writes a regular humorous and lighthearted column, Inside Out & Round About’ that is available and distributed through the Senior Wire News Service, and contributes a regular senior’s column, Coffee Break, to the Concret Herald News in Washington. These articles are the foundation of his books.

Over time, he has dabbled in the labors of paperboy, professional musician, elevator operator, soldier, bartender, janitor, advertising agency owner, editor for small literary publications, publisher, copywriter, custom picture-framer, salesman, and for years as a technical writer, which gives him a bonanza of experiences to call on while freelance writing and editing.

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Visit the Author's Web Site at:

A Better Word