I've been thinking about how this New York Times article and how virtual communities for senior citizens, especially older baby-boomers, would work in our area. It's a way for this group to band together to provide mutal support.
As I read about how this is being implemented in other parts of the country, I can see how this works and how building an online community can help in all aspects of daily living.
When we get home from church, I'm going to explore the links in this piece. I'm anxious to learn how it works and whether it can be duplicated here.
It's a ritual every morning when we swing over to get out of bed to check our individual mini iPads to check for overnight pictures of our grandkids who live in differents states and on different continents. Quite often you will hear one of us let out a loud "oh wow" and it's only because of new grandkids pictures on Instagram.
And there are those times when we are in the yard or at the supermarket and I check my Instagram on my cell and find more pictures. Result is big smiles in the aisles while loading up on bananas, lettuce, apples and other stuff.
How do you share pictures of your kids to their grandparents? Do you use your phone? Do you send video clips? How often?
Can older baby-boomers navigate their way through the intricacies of travelling in Europe? There's the language, currency, train schedules and a whole passel of other challenges.
Last year, super-wife and I flew to Bosnia to see our daughter and family. We flew into Split, Croatia, drove through Slovenia and then to Vienna, Austria and a week later, we went back and stayed a week in Bosnia. On our return phase, we flew into Frankfurt where we caught a train north to Hannover for a two day visit.
How'd it go? Great. We feel more empowered to travel out of the country.
We got tremendous help from YouTube videos where we found videos taken in the Frankfurt airport of each step from the time you get off the plane to the train station right at the airport. We saw many others, including ones on how to find the right train car.
RickSteves.com is a site filled with practical help. It includes discussion boards where real life situations are posed and then responded to.
We are planning to go back next year for another family visit. We want to see more.
When my high school class was lined up just before our graduation ceremony on the athletic field, our class's counselor came up to me with a grimace on her face. As she got closer, my thoughts were simple, "Oh crap." Being a less than stellar student in high school, I thought I was going to be held back.
Well, I wasn't and as this picture shows, they handed my diploma with a smile on their faces. This all happened 50 years ago at T.L. Handy High School in Bay City, Michigan. A high school friend, Dick VanNostrand handed me this picture he took at the graduation. He was a photographer for the local paper, the Bay City Times.
My memories of high school and of my fellow classmates were fuzzy. I had left the area and had lost touch.
I was never a scholar or even a good student, but I learned a lot and I continue to learn.
Lot of baby-boomers who were born in 1946 are going to their 50th high school class reunion this year. It's a rite of passage to becoming full-fledged senior citizens who are moving towards being elderly.
Should you go?
Did you stay in your hometown when you got your high school diploma? Did you stay in contact with your old classmates? Are you curious about them and their lives?
Today is my 50th and we are going and I'm not sure why. I lost contact with most high school classmates when I graduated from college and didn't move back home. I still remember some names and I still have my yearbook.
My high school years were not terrible nor were they great. I have to admit that they served as a launching pad for me as I moved to the next stages of my life.
What am I expecting tonight? I hope I can overcome some innate shyness and be comfortable in visiting with people who I haven't seen since I was in my teens. I'm now 68. I used to be the photographer for the high school newspaper and I'd walk through the halls with a camera around my neck. Maybe I'll take the camera I use to shoot pictures of my grandkids and let it hang from my shoulder. It might be a good crutch to lean on.
I love getting his text messages during the day about life with his almost week-old son. My son Justin seems like he's a natural born father. His texts range from reporting that he changed 11 diapers the day before to he had a poop that could only be described as nuclear.
He and his wife Lauren are really excited about the new addition to their family that had consisted of them, a dog and a cat. Now, they have a son and Justin is loving every minute of it.
This excites me for a lot of reasons. One is that all this really shows the grace of God. Miles is really healthy and he was born a month early. But, more importantly, it demonstrates that coming from a background of poor fathering is not a predictor of the kind of dad a guy is going to be.
I had no father figure and I had no siblings and I can say that the best job of my life has been being a father. That is topped only by being a husband. The poor fathering cycle has been broken officially. This is proof. Thank-you God.
My grandson who turns four on Saturday is coming to our house on Saturday to visit for a few weeks. Last year when we visited them at their home in Bosnia, he was really into watching Veggie Tales, He knew all the characters, their songs and their dance moves. Now it's Spider Man and other super-heroes.
This made me think of super-heroes that I adopted when I was around that age. I remember Zorro, the Cisco Kid, the Lone Ranger, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon and Super Man. As a young boy, I spent time in front of the radio listening to their fight for good over evil.
My son had his super-heroes too. I remember him watching Ninja Turtles and I remember the Ninja Turtle toys that he collected and played with.
Adults have their super-heroes too. Last night, we watched "24" on television. Isn't Jack Bauer a super-hero. The threats he confronts are much more global and more violent.
How important are super-heroes? To me, they seem important. They plant a seed that good can win over bad.
In a couple of weeks, my second grandson will be born. I wonder if in a couple of years whether he will be into super-heroes. Will he be playing Ninja Turtles with my son? Will he know about the Lone Ranger? Zorro? Super Man? I can't wait to tell him.
I graduated from T. L. Handy High School in Bay City, Michigan exactly 50 years ago. That means a big reunion in the fall. I'm not sure what to expect. Is there a way to prepare yourself before you go? Is there a right mindset?
Our high school was on the westside of the Saginaw River and was one of two in our town. I flew below the radar for most of those years, except for two years I spent as a photographer for the school newspaper. Because I moved from our town, my ties to classmates were reduced dramatically.
In the invite to the reunion, there was a request to write a personal update about the past 50 years to be used in a 50th memory book. It asks for accomplishments, awards of recognition and hobbies and other stuff.
This is a milestone occasion and I look forward to going with my wife. I'm just not sure what to expect.
How many baby-boomer guys have more hair on their chins than on the top of their head?
I didn't fully appreciate how much hair I've lost until my wife was sitting behind me the other night and used her iPad Mini to take a picture of my just about bare scalp. I am way beyond the point of needing a comb.
To me, it seems like I've got a lot of wasted space on the top of my head. Could it be put to use for some sort of message?
What about tattooing "John 3:16 in big letters?
It was love at first sight when I saw this shower curtain at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It's a big map of the world that's easy to read and really helps when you're trying to follow happenings in the world.
Before we got this, we'd have to either pull out our computer or an atlas or a faded National Geographic map if we could find it.
I can't wait for our four year old grandson to see it. He is growing up in Eastern Europe and has travelled to several countries. Now he can see them on a big map everyday when he takes a shower.
When we make our baby-boomer move to a smaller house, the shower curtain goes with us. It has become indispensable.
I've had chronic open angle glaucoma for a long time. Eye drops and ophthalmologists have become part of my life. I've been told over the years that my vision should be good as long as the disease is managed.
The effort has been a journey with lots of steps. It started with cataracts that were removed and with lenses in my eyes replaced with ones that I wasn't born with. Along with the high eye pressure, the lens in my right eye has fallen from its perch several times and I've had a retina detachment.
My pressure during the past six months has been low until now. It's high again which means I'm seeing more of my friends in the eye doctor's office.
Meanwhile, my vision has shown signs of being out of whack and I'm not sure why. What's next? The glaucoma doctor seemed satisfied. He said it might be my retina again.
There's another appointment tomorrow morning. Glaucoma patients, how about you? Is your glaucoma experience pretty steady without many bumps and grinds? Has it been a roller coaster ride?
Do you have a list of things that you want to do before you reach the front door of eternity?
I turn 68 in a little over five months and I find myself trying to decide what I want to do before I reach the front doors of eternity.
Super-wife and I both saw the movie Bucket List and we were entertained by two old guys trying to find themselves and to find experiences that would bring them fulfillment. They travelled around the world to a lot of exotic places. Do you remember where they went and what they did? They climbed one of the tallest mountains. Didn't they go to the Great Wall of China?
I think they had a long list of things they wanted to do? Can I develop a list of five, ten or more? I've got some ideas. I signed up for bucketlist.org where people from around the world share the items on their lists. I thought I might find some inspiration.
One item I saw was "Getting A Tattoo." How about a heart on my arm with my wife's name on it? I don't think so. I'd make the point better by loading and unloading the dishwasher for a week.
If you're an older baby-boomer has the nature of your junk mail changed? It has for me. A few years ago, I started getting mail from hearing aid dealers, regular offers from AARP and various retirement homes.
Today, I got a shout-up in the mail from a local funeral home trying to get my business when I pass over to the next life. They want me to be ready. The mail included a sales letter along with their contact information.
As a 67-year-old old baby-boomer, do I see the need to have a funeral director and funeral arrangements in my life? No. I'm in reasonably good health and I have items left to do on my "to-do" list. However, I realize that life's direction can turn on a dime and I need to be aware.
That junk mail today from one of the local undertakers, did that. It made me more aware.
How many of you older baby-boomers have kids and grandkids who live on the other side of the country or the world?
Our kids live great distances which are shortened by Apple's Face Time. What a great tool that easy to use to maintain family contacts and relationships.
These big eyes and smile really brightened our weekend. Our three-year-old grandson had been in the picture, but got drawn away by the cries of his monkey.
I was fascinated watching the piece about GoPro cameras on 60 Minutes and how they are being used by younger types to get all kinds of great action video and still shots. There were surfing shots, underwater stuff and skydivers. There's a whole collection of great photography with this camera that can be purchased at any Sam's Club or from Amazon.
What about senior citizens? I'm 67 and not into extreme sports. My wife and I have had some adventures. We have grandkids who live in another country and we have a son who with his wife live in the west. Check out this video about the camera and the visual revolution that it has started.
Those are questions that a lot of baby-boomers are asking themselves, I'm sure. The answers are not the same for everyone. For super-wife and me, it has always been simple. We wanted to see our kids and we wanted to further exercise our grandparent muscles.
We have two kids and since they've graduated from college, they have always lived in other states. Our son lived and worked in Washington, D.C. for several years. We had many great trips and visits there. Recently, we spent a week with him and his wife in Las Vegas where they live and work.
Then there's our daughter and husband and our two grandkids who live in Bosnia. It was part of the old Yugoslavia and is one country away from the beautiful Adriatic Sea. What do you do if you want to see them in their own environment where they live and work?
I'm a member of the first class of baby-boomers which means I'm 67 and my spouse is several years less. We are not of the generation that easily buzzes around new countries on public transportation and in tiny cars on really narrow streets.
We thought about it, examined our bank account to see how many pop cans we'd have to collect and decided with some gusto to go.
Would I do it again? You bet. Worst part of the trip were the teenie-tiny airline seats that have leg room for a person no more than three feet tall.
Best part of the trip was being able to do it with my wife. Next best was family. My little girl is a grown woman with her own kids and a great husband. I'm one proud dad and my wife is one proud mom. It was a privilege to be part of their lives in Bosnia for that period of time.
What about our grandkids? Our time with them was pure gold. In the morning, our three-year-old grandson would knock on our door. He'd crawl in our bed and he would use the kiddie apps on our iPad Mini's. Our almost year-old granddaughter charmed us with her spunk and smile. I love being part of a family.
My wife's sister met us in Frankfurt, Germany for a trip to the Hannover area where we looked for evidence of their ancestors in nearby rural areas. That was humbling. It was like looking into the soul of her family.
We had to take trains, figure out trams and subways and wade our way through another language in grocery stores and train stations.
But, we did it. And I praise God for this opportunity.
Are you thinking about a smilar trip to see kids? Do it.
I think it was my daughter-in-law Lauren who described one time as the family "patriarch." I think she called me that when we were taking a family picture with our kids and then one grandchild. That moment stuck with me, but I could never see myself as a Moses or Abraham.
Then I saw Zeke Braverman played by Craig Nelson on the television show Parenthood and I started to make more of a connection with the word.
It's a family of a bunch of kids and grandkids who are uncharactically close. Somehow, they keep their individuality and sometimes, they let that show with a great deal of volume during family get-togethers.
Zeke tries to bring order to the family chaos and occasionally contributes to the disorder. He's there for his family when needed and sometimes when it's not.
But, in my mind, what makes his character special is that he values family relationships. They are major to him. He shows love to them all.
The show starts a new season in the next week and I'm anxious to see more.
I'm getting comfortable with the word family patriarch. I still feel like I'm in training. Zeke can help me move that along.
It's before 7 a.m. in the middle of the week and I added something new to my collection of vision challenges-migraines. It's the variety where I don't have the severe headache pain, but my vision goes through short periods of momentary fuzziness.
When this started over the weekend, I could feel my gut tighten up, not knowing where it would stop and not knowing how this would affect my daily life.
Everything seems back to normal and God-willing, it will stay that way, but what about the future. I ran into a Sara Groves song this morning that's a potent reminder that God is faithful. His hand is in mine. Do you need a reminder today? Check out this YouTube video.
By the way, I was tipped off to this song, by our church's daily Beyond The Weekend devotions which reinforce the previous Sunday's sermon. Thanks to Ada Bible Church for doing this. I needed to hear it this morning.