I started this Blog over seven years ago. This is my 986th post. I recently told a blogging friend, Jill Weatherholt, that my blogging changed over the years, especially as it relates to steering clear of topics that divide, e.g., political, religious, and the like.
In my very first post on September 20, 2011, I stated that I wanted to bring some sort of encouragement and light into the lives of, not just Baby Boomers, but everyone. I wrote hundreds and hundreds of essays centered around caregiving and Alzheimer’s, reflecting on my personal experiences with my father, as well as my professional experiences working in long-term care (LTC). But I wrote on other topics as well…
Back in 2016 – a very contentious year in US politics – I made the decision to stop writing anything that would ruin someone’s day because as many bloggers will admit, having a forum to speak your mind is a heady and powerful responsibility – about which some of us have been irresponsible. Thus the reason why, on September 12, 2016, 5 years after I started this blog, I wrote this post, Good Starts With Me – Irene’s About Face.
I am a columnist for Grandparents Day Magazine, an online publication based out of Adelaide, Australia. I wrote a piece for their July 2018 issue in which I suggested we might all do well celebrating our similarities rather than allowing our differences to divide us.
Community is so very important, more important to me than ever before. I hope that along with me, you will acknowledge our differences, celebrate our right to be individuals, and look for the good that binds us, rather than the bad that tears us apart.
Ariel & Shya Kane’s new storybook, Being Here…Too, is one of those, and deserves 5 out of 5 stars. (Preorders now being taken for the Kindle version; both eBook and paperback will be released November 12, 2018.)
I was gifted with the opportunity to read the Kane’s latest book before its release, an opportunity I could not pass up given how impactful their books’ messages have been to me over the years. There is no woo-woo involved in what they offer a world conflicted and torn apart not by just political or global issues, but also those internal how do I live the best life I can live? struggles each of us face.
On page xviii, the following statement sets the tone for the direction readers can expect to go later in the book:
“life will support you if you let it”
The format of the book is such that each brief chapter contains a story of individuals who were not afraid to be honest/transparent about their failed efforts to make the best of their lives. In Chapter 8, co-author, Shya Kane, states, “…everyone has a terminal illness – it’s called life.” So very true. Many are those who have lost a loved one and/or prior to receiving their own terminal illness diagnosis had the mistaken notion that there’s always tomorrow, or I’ll live my life to the fullest another day when erroneously convinced another day, and another, will actually be granted us.
Living in the moment – “bypassing the mind to find the moment” – is where Ariel & Shya Kane suggest true fulfillment lies. We can either live life as a victim or as its author and my friends, after sixty-five years of life, I can declare that for me, fulfillment exists in the here and now, not in the past or the future. The stories presented within the pages of Being Here…Too will paint a clear picture of what it is like to be buried in thoughts that wipe out any chance of the present taking center stage in one’s life. Been there…done that…doesn’t work for me..at all.
The authors conclude the book by describing how dissatisfaction with life gets in the way of being fulfilled.
Over the years…we have come to realize that the only time life dominates you is when you are not living in the moment. When you are not being here, your hopes for the future create an illusion, a dream of how it will someday be better than it is now…
True freedom happens when the illusion dissolves and you live life directly in each moment – not as you would prefer it, but as it is.
The present is all we have, so why live elsewhere?
I hope you’ll not let another moment go by before securing your own copy of Being Here…Too.
I’ve been authoring this blog, Baby Boomers and More, for five and a half years. Perhaps that’s a record for blog ownership, I’m not sure, but what I do know is that I thoroughly enjoy writing about matters of significance. I guess that’s why my blog has survived as long as it has: there are a heck of a lot of things going on in the world that fall into that category.
My website address remains the same: http://www.babyboomersandmore.com, but with a broader emphasis on life as it unfolds for all of us born within a certain year bracket:
- iGen (after 2000)
- Millennials (1980-2000)
- Gen X (1965-1979)
- Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and
- The Greatest Generation (before the end of WWII).
Yes, there are many differences between the generations but we have one major characteristic in common: although as individuals we are strong in many ways, we still need each other to get to the finish line.
With that change in overall focus comes a new, primary blog identification:
Living: the ultimate team sport
If we consider all the people with whom we come in contact as being members of the same team, we will do all we can to support them. We’ll bolster rather than compete; we’ll pick them up rather than step over them as a means to an end; we’ll exhibit respect for each other’s talents while nurturing our own; we’ll not take advantage of weaknesses in order to falsely boost our own strengths. In short, we’ll stand by our teammates and want only the very best for them.
Another goal of mine: write more succinctly, at least after this particular post. 🙂 I know you’re all busy and have better things to do than read my oftentimes lengthy magnum opuses. I’m newly committed to being as succinct as possible, somewhere along the lines of an article I wrote on December 27, 2016: Don’t go there. Let’s face it, as a writer, I should be able to use an economy of words to get my point across to those who’ve chosen to follow me.
And one last thing: the header images you’ll see at the top of my blog (which will cycle through randomly) are from photos I took during a few of my hikes around the Pacific Northwest. Hiking is my passion, so I’m pleased to provide snapshots of views I have been privileged to see.
With that, I’ll sign off for now, so very glad to be a member of your team.
In the past, I’ve written posts spotlighting an artist who uses paints, brushes and charcoal for her creations: Mary Riesche: artist and sister extraordinaire, and Art worth viewing: spotlight on Mary Riesche.
Today’s focus is on an artist who uses words, sentences, and photographs as the canvas for her creations.
Lainey Piland happens to be one of my stepdaughters, so with that matter disclosed, I can now continue to rave about her talents without any masked conflict of interest. When you check out her blog, A Day Without Rain, you’ll rave about her abilities as well.
I don’t think Lainey would mind my saying that as a youngster she was far from enamored with hiking in any shape or form. (This is a fact admitted by the artist herself and her father, my husband.) But in the past several years, hiking has indeed become a passion of hers. Her husband, TJ, benefits from her hiking passion and gifts her with acceptance and total lack of complaining when called upon to accompany her on her many jaunts throughout the Pacific Northwest. Read the rest of this entry »
12 Lessons Learned From a Debut Author | WritersDigest.com. I’m a debut novelist so I latched onto the attached article pronto! In writing this article, Anne A. Wilson managed to describe emotions I’ve been experiencing for the past several months.
What makes Anne’s story even more relatable for me, a somewhat older novelist, is that Ms. Wilson wrote her first novel six years ago at the age of forty-three. That’s not the novel that actually got published, but herein lies my point: it took years for her to write a publishable book. Also, Ms. Wilson had no creditable writing education or experience when she decided to write a novel. Like me, she was “starting from scratch.” Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re like me, you’re wondering how another year has slipped by so quickly. I’m sure there were a few of the 52 weeks that seemed to slog by, but all in all we can now look back and marvel at what we accomplished, or what others accomplished in our stead, during the past 365 days.
An accomplishment with which I’m happy is having authored this blog for the past three and a half years. I’ve provided this blog for you, but I’ve also provided it for me because I truly enjoy having the opportunity to share my experiences and my viewpoints; I hope in the process that I have encouraged, helped, and entertained you. From the start of Baby Boomers and More in 2011 to the end of 2014, I posted 520 articles. I’d be a very happy blogger if the quality of those articles surpassed the quantity because if I’m just talking into thin air without benefit to others, its hardly worth the space my blog occupies.
Here are links to the five most visited articles in the year 2014 based on WordPress statistics:
Read the rest of this entry »
Humbled, grateful, overjoyed! Not just because I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, but also because I’ve inspired someone, hopefully many someones. Talking to a wall is not a very gratifying experience; if my blog is merely an electronic version of that, I will have not reached my objective: to help, encourage, and lighten your load while on this aging journey. Thank you Kay for the nomination!
Kay Bransford of Dealing with Dementia nominated me for this award. If any of you readers have yet to follow Kay’s blog you need to get to it. I will nominate several bloggers for the same award, following the Rules provided below:
- Thank the amazing person who nominated you and provide a link to their website;
- List the rules and display the award;
- Share seven facts about yourself;
- Nominate 15 other blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they’ve been nominated. I failed at listing 15, not because the blogs I follow aren’t worthy, but because my blog-following count is a limited one;
- Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.
Seven facts about myself:
1. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a Baby Boomer and have been for awhile. Turning sixty was easy, however it got a wee bit more difficult at sixty-one …
2. I was born in Pasadena, California and have lived a great length of time in Los Angeles, California; Honolulu, Hawaii; Anchorage, Alaska, and the greater Seattle area of Washington State – my current and final home.
3. My favorite people – other than my loved ones – are anyone older than me – preferably senior citizens who’ve claimed that title for quite some time. This third fact about me directed most of my worthwhile adult career and volunteer pursuits: senior housing industry manager, Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support group facilitator, and Certified Long-Term Care (LTC) Ombudsman for the State of Washington.
4. I have posted over 480 articles on my blog since starting it in 2011.
5. I am currently writing a novel that focuses on the caregiving challenges faced by those who are the primary caregiver for a loved one. Through real-life stories, the reader will learn more about the disease and its effect on everyone it touches. My hope is that by putting a face on this disease – showing what it looks like in everyday life – more interest will be generated to prevent, treat, and cure Alzheimer’s disease, a disease that is always fatal, and for which all of us are at risk.
6. I have three daughters (one of my own and two of my husband’s) and two sons-in-law (one who married my own daughter and one who married my husband’s youngest.)
7. My family tree: I have two siblings, an older brother and sister. My father died from Alzheimer’s complications in October 2007 at the age of 89; my sister-in-law died of the disease in the summer of 2012 a few months before her 70th birthday9.
And that’s why I do what I do.
Nominees for Very Inspiring Blogger Award:
Mary Riesche Studios, Vacaville, California. This artist has drawn and painted since she could hold a pencil. She has tirelessly pursued her craft through every chapter of her life. She raised four children while her husband was in the military – living numerous places in Europe and the U.S. as a result – and that never stopped her from painting. When her four children were out of the house, she and her husband adopted a teenager from Russia, bringing the number of children to five. She’s a trooper, to say the least. It took her a while to have an empty nest. I hope you’ll visit her site to see a representation of the type of work she produces.
Catching Up to the Disease, by blogger, Don Desonier. The subtitle for this blog is Transitions in Dementia Caregiving. Don’s wife died of early-onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 69 on July 4th, 2012. This blogger knows something about being a dedicated, committed caregiver, and on top of that, he excelled at being the very present advocate for his wife of 25 years.
Dementia Poetry is an in your face journal of a daughter-in-law’s disease journey with her mother-in-law, in the form of extremely well-written poems. The subtitle for her blog is: The Politically Incorrect Alzheimer’s Poetry Blog.
Theresa Hupp’s blog, Story and History, is a moving journal of a family’s life covering past, present, and future. But that’s not all: Theresa is a fabulous, published author. I’d say I’m jealous, but friends, and that’s what I consider Theresa, don’t turn green with envy – at least they shouldn’t. Theresa, you nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award in February of 2014, but I already received that award a couple years ago so I’m not going to claim it again, but I thank you profusely for nominating me.
Not My Original Plan, a blog written by a woman in her thirties who is the caregiver for her mother who has dementia. This is a very inspirational blog – how fitting for this award! – and I strongly suggest you check it out and follow it ASAP.
Not Quite Old, by blogger and author, Nancy Roman. The subtitle for her blog is Gracefully Aging with Resistance. The way Nancy writes – filled with extraordinary humor, will keep you engaged and wanting more.
Let’s Talk About Family. Lori’s blog family history starts with her mother’s failing health and death, and continues with her father’s life as a widower who eventually moves into an assisted living facility (ALF). Her blog is one that I never miss. You know how you can manage the notifications you receive so that you get a notification e-mail immediately, daily, or once weekly? Her blog is one of those that I receive immediate notifications – I can’t wait any longer! is the way I treat her blog. If you are not yet following Lori’s blog, get to it!
Jill Weatherholt, Pursuing a Passion for Writing, is a site that inspires me because while working full-time, she’s still committed to writing and what she writes is well-worth reading. Thank you, Jill, for being an online inspiration to this aspiring author. Jill started the blog to create a community for other new writers and shares her publication journey – something all wet-behind-the-ears writers need to read and be encouraged by.
10 Legs in the Kitchen is a fabulous cooking blog but a whole lot more. Stacy’s anecdotes add “meat” to every posting and provide humor and insight, not just darn good recipes. I met Stacy at a writer’s workshop in Seattle.
Yellow Mum Blog, by Wendy in the United Kingdom, documents the loss of her mother to cancer, ten weeks after diagnosis. What she writes is a journal, but in many respects, it is a guidebook for the rest of us in our grief.
A Swift Current, Letting our Parents Go, Hallie Swift’s blog is one to which many will relate. Whether your parent’s departure is a gradual one – such as is the case with Hallie’s mother due to dementia – or a sudden departure by way of a fatal accident, letting go is hard to do – oftentimes more painful that we believe we can handle.
Thank you “Let’s Talk About Family” fellow-blogger for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. That’s the kind of feedback I like! More importantly, everyone should check out her Blog because her insights into the ups, and downs, of caring for parents is very insightful and well worth following.
I have been so blessed by the input I receive from the many Blogs that I follow. I’m going to use this opportunity to make some nominations as well! (I could list many, many more, but to begin with at least, I’ll list just a few that always stand out to me.) First of all the steps that the nominees need to take to award others who are worthy of singling out:
- Thank the person who nominated you for an award;
- Copy & paste the award logos in your blog, as well as in the sections devoted to your nominations, below;
- Be certain to link the person who nominated you for an award; in my case, you’ll see that I’ve linked “Let’s Talk About Family” when I thanked her for nominating me;
- Nominate your own choices for awards;
- Place links to their Blogsites so that others can view their fine work;
- Say a few things about yourself so that others understand a bit more as to where you’re coming from – and where you’re going:
- My first name is Irene and I live in the Seattle, Washington area.
- I’m a Baby Boomer who loves to share knowledge about the challenges, and delights, of being in this age group.
- My working background of the past 20 years includes being a paralegal in law firms as well as for corporations; an Executive Assistant and Office Manager for a senior housing company; a Business Manager in an assisted living/dementia care facility; an Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support group facilitator; and a certified long-term care (LTC) ombudsman for the county in which I live.
- I became a LTC ombudsman in 2008, thereby leaving the senior housing industry, because in my mind one can never do enough for the vulnerable adults who live in long-term care residential facilities. In order to assure that vulnerable residents experience a dignified existence and a high quality of life, I had to switch sides and become their advocate.
- I will always try to write something about which I am familiar and that I have also experienced. I’m not an expert, but my goal is to always provide input that I hope will prove valuable to others.
- My mother died in 1994 and from 2004 thru 2007 I was the primary long-distance caregiver for my father who lived in an assisted living community’s dementia care unit.
Now onto the award nominations!
Versatile Blogger Awards:
Day by Day with the Big Terrible A (Alzheimer’s, of course.) This blog is very reader-friendly. This blogger is a wife who is taking care of her husband. Her mini-entries very clearly reflect the struggles she, her husband, and her family face but she also makes room to celebrate the little victories that sometimes are hidden within the caregiving struggle. I think all of us can find comfort in this woman’s efforts, and her ability to describe those efforts deserve 5 Stars!!!
My Simple C.com. This blog is an online community that seeks to connect professional caregivers with family caregivers. The resources and suggestions are quite good and are provided without the intent of selling anything. Virginia Lynn Rudder works for a company called Simple C, but she clearly has a goal of providing information in an easy to read, comprehensive, and supportive manner.
Elder Advocates. Lark E. Kirkwood experienced something that no one should ever have to experience. A guardianship was put in place limiting access to her father who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and who has subsequently passed on. Please visit her site because she provides many valuable resources relating to a prevailing problem for vulnerable adults: elder abuse & fraud.
BEAUTIFUL BLOGGER AWARD.
Flickr Comments by FrizzText. This Blogger really knows how to take a photo and knows how to find them so that we can take a break in our very busy days and simply enjoy his view on our world. Please make a point of stopping by and you’ll be representing one of the more than 100 countries that partake of his Blog site.
I’m thrilled that instant information rules our day for the most part and I’m SUPER thrilled that we can communicate via Blogging, but I’m also a proponent of posted/written communication.
First of all: Blogging.
I think us Bloggers relish the opportunity to “be published” on the Internet because not many of us will ever have a byline in a syndicated newspaper, and book-publishing just seems too hard a goal to attain. With that said, however, I write with this in mind: job counselors often advise employees to dress for the job they want, not for the job they currently hold, so I’m Blogging with a publishing intent that takes me out of my home-office and into the homes of others. If I can’t get others to read my articles, I may as well be writing in a personal journal. So blogging is a great venue in which to reach the masses.
But I LOVE the written word. I own a Kindle, actually, I’m on my second Kindle, and that’s the only way I read books, be they fiction or non-fiction. I’m such a voracious reader, I’m convinced Kindle was invented just for me. 🙂 So when I say I love the written word, what I’m really saying is that I love letter writing. I own stationery, n. paper and other materials needed for writing, and I have a large accordion file that holds greeting cards, n. a decorative card sent to convey good wishes. (Definitions from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 11th Edition, 2004.) I love sending cards and I love receiving cards, but mostly I love sending them.
Nicole Brodeur, Seattle Times staff columnist wrote a piece that appeared in our local newspaper on January 13, 2012: For The Love of A Letter. She writes how wonderful it is to receive a piece of mail with our name on it, written in hand, which becomes “a bit of humanity among the bills and slick circulars.” She correctly states that the written letter is becoming a dying art, so much so that the United States Postal Service faces a very bleak, if not brief, future. Certainly e-mail is quick and doesn’t require one of those pesky, ever-changing-in-value postal stamps. Evites are quick and oh so engaging – NOT- as we read respondents’ comments about why they can’t attend. But Evites are pretty darn impersonal. Ted Kennedy Watson, owner of two Seattle shops with all things paper, states in Ms. Brodeur’s article that he “gets ‘hundreds’ of emails a day, some invitations to events that, en masse, lose some of their luster. You start to feel more included than invited.”
En masse communications – you’re simply one of the many e-mail addresses in someone’s global e-mail address book. I know we’ll always rely on this form of instant communication – I certainly do – but Ms. Brodeur hits it on the nail when she says that she hopes that “we don’t tweet or tap away the value of putting thoughts to paper, of taking the time.” (Even a “Dear John” written letter is more personal and respectful than a “Dear John” e-mail or text message.) She talks about letters that she’s saved over the years which instantly brought to mind one of my most valuable letters; one which I keep in my fireproof safe: the last letter my mother ever wrote to me. My parents still lived in Hawaii when I moved to the Seattle area in June of 1994 and my mother and I spoke on the phone at least two times a week. But it was her letters that I relished the most. One of those letters arrived in my mailbox on September 22nd, 1994. I read it, placed it to the side, and went about the rest of my day. Two days later my mother died in her sleep quite suddenly and inexplicably. When I received the news in a phone call from my father that day I frantically looked around for my mom’s letter hoping that I had not tossed it in the recycle bin. Glory hallelujiah – I had not. So two days before my mother died, I have her thoughts on paper, in her handwriting, and signed “Love, Mom” at the bottom of the second page.
Somehow I don’t think a saved e-mail could ever render the memories and the sentiments that my mother’s handwritten letter does every time I retrieve it from the safe to read it.
Facebook (I have an account) and Twitter, and other social sites can continue to do what they do, but let’s not dispense with the antiquated and/or archaic practice of putting pen to paper. Please?
What do you want to read and comment on? I thoroughly enjoy this blogging experience but it’s not satisfying enough for me to have a one-way written conversation. My family would be the first to say that once I get going, it’s hard to shut me up. (As of March 2016, I’ve posted 700 articles.)
But I want to enhance my own Baby Boomer experience with your wisdom, advice, successes, even failures. It’s in those practical experiences that we grow the most.
So I sincerely covet your input as to what would draw you to my “Baby Boomers and More” Blog more frequently. What topics interest you enough that you would provide comments and even contribute your own articles that I’ll press/link to my own Blog site?
Truth be told? This is not just my site – it’s out there for everyone. I hope you’ll be candid and honest with your input. Bring it on – I’m good and ready for your Baby Boomer Blog ideas.
I’m a Baby Boomer – are you one too?
No doubt you have already faced some challenges in your 21st Century age grouping called: Baby Boomers. I think you’ll agree, however, that along with those challenges we’ve also experienced delightful times that can only be experienced by us Boomers fortunate to have grown up in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
My hope in starting this blog is that you and I will be able to provide some sort of content that benefits our age group, but not our age group only. Let’s face it, our children and/or our grandchildren need some sort of resource that adds to their understanding of what we’re going through. They too will enter a Baby Boomer-Like age grouping when they reach our age so perhaps we’re doing them a favor by getting their feet wet in this wacky aging world in which we live.
Some of this blog’s content will be humorous; some of it will be inordinately sad. My hope is that one way or another, we’ll all be better off because we’ve entered this “Baby Boomers and More” blog site.