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MONDAY, OCT. 28, 2013
Mark Wilson is in search of an Inland Northwest family willing to place the area’s first elder cottage in the family’s backyard. The family won’t get a monetary break for being the first, but they will pioneer a trend in senior housing that is predicted to flourish in the next decade or so.
A few years ago, I had lunch with Dr. Elizabeth Welty, then in her mid-90s. “What’s your secret?” I asked the retired physician, who was in good shape, physically and mentally.
SUNDAY, OCT. 27, 2013
In fall 1984, a features writer at The Spokesman-Review fell in love with a Montana grizzly bear scientist she had interviewed for a story. The day she told then-editor Chris Peck that she was leaving to get married, my application arrived on Peck’s desk. After eight years away from Spokane, working at bigger newspapers in bigger cities, including USA Today in Washington, D.C., I was preparing to return home to Spokane to get married.
SATURDAY, OCT. 26, 2013
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul – named for a 17th century French priest – was founded in 1833 by Antoine Frederic Ozanam, a French student challenged by another student to prove his Catholic church still cared for the needy. The society has a strong presence in Spokane and North Idaho through its thrift stores, emergency shelters and helping people with utility bills, rent, clothing and food, as well as providing emotional and spiritual support.
MONDAY, OCT. 21, 2013
This week, I traded in my dumb cellphone for a smartphone, and I feel dumb as a stone as I try to figure it out. Mental frustration is good for building new connections in the brain, but feelings of panic, irritation and sadness over the convenience of my old phone are triumphing right now over any long-term benefits.
MONDAY, OCT. 14, 2013
On May 7, Stevi Allen was busy working on a quilting project and wrapping gifts for a church ladies’ luncheon. As she made her way to the lower level of her Spokane home, glass jars of gift candy in both hands, Allen, now 71, was in a hurry, as usual. She somehow missed the small, carpeted final step and crash-landed at the bottom of the stairs.
My boomer friends and I talk sometimes about our teeth. It’s come to this – conversations about teeth. But you start to talk about your teeth, and it’s amazing where the conversation leads.
MONDAY, OCT. 7, 2013
The other day, three of us old-timers at the newspaper reminisced about what it took to research stories before Google. We did a lot more reporting in person and on the phone, conversations that sometimes stretched for hours. And then if the article required in-depth research, we’d pop over to the downtown Spokane library in search of books on the topic, and we’d search (sometimes for hours) for magazine and journal articles summarized in large, heavy index books.
MONDAY, SEPT. 30, 2013
From 1949 to 1953, Maryrose Groce – an Anaconda, Mont., girl – ended up a young wife and mother living in Newark, Ohio. Her husband, Tom, worked for Kaiser Aluminum in its Ohio plant. People didn’t travel as much back then, and one of the other Kaiser wives, when Groce told her she was from Montana, said: “Oh I’ve never been that far South.”
MONDAY, SEPT. 23, 2013
In Yellowstone last week on vacation, we noted the many signs posted to let tourists know when Old Faithful – the park’s most famous geyser – would next blow its steam stack. This happens every 60 to 110 minutes and can usually be predicted within a 10-minute window. Many people plan their day’s activities around Old Faithful, and in the 10 or so minutes leading up to the “window” tourists sit patiently on benches, waiting. Thousands of people wait together. When Old Faithful finally erupts for between 90 seconds and three minutes, a cathedral-style quiet descends upon the crowd, save for the snapping of photos.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 22, 2013
Two Holy Names sisters, Mary Ann Farley and Celine Steinberger, grew teary-eyed during a recent interview about the ways Holy Names sisters have been part of Spokane for 125 years. These are two resilient, accomplished sisters, unafraid of much or many. They didn’t apologize for their tears.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 21, 2013
The Samaritan woman in the New Testament story was tough. Married five times, living with a man who wasn’t her husband, she wasn’t afraid of Jesus, the man who spoke with her at the well in a kind but honest manner. Jan Martinez – founder of Christ Kitchen in Spokane, a place where women in poverty earn money, dignity and respect – loves the Samaritan woman.
MONDAY, SEPT. 16, 2013
In 1982, I did a sabbatical year in Washington, D.C., working inside two Congressional offices as a staff member. Every night of the work week, we young staffers could eat free by dropping in on receptions put on by lobbyists. The spreads were impressive: open bars, substantial hors d’oeuvres, fancy pastries. We listened politely to the lobbyists, stuffed our faces and saved money on groceries.
Rockwood Retirement Communities is adding a new living space to its 90-acre South Hill campus. The Summit is an 11 story-building scheduled to be finished by summer 2015. Rockwood has held informational lunches about The Summit project for more than two years. Here’s what happened at an Aug. 22 luncheon:
In a lengthy phone conversation recently, the caller and I lost contact twice. Once because her phone was acting weird and once because my cellphone decided to hang itself up. Sometimes when I talk cell to cell with my sisters in Coeur d’Alene, it sounds as if they’re talking to me from the bottom of an oil barrel. Recently, our cable-powered phone went dead for two days when the cable system went on the blink.
MONDAY, SEPT. 9, 2013
Susie Leonard Weller of Liberty Lake recently emailed this note to Boomer U: “One of the big issues facing boomers like myself is that at some point in our life there is some event – a divorce, loss of job, death of a loved one or a health issue – that feels like the world we once knew is falling apart. And despite having good coping skills, they’re not enough to face this particular challenge or series of disturbing events.” Weller and Peggy Capes of Rathdrum will present a workshop Sept. 20-21 at the Unity Spiritual Center of North Idaho that will help others examine life-changing events and frame healthy responses to those events.
In December 2011, a friend threw a party for a mutual friend visiting from out of town. It was dark when guests arrived in the late afternoon and dark when the party broke up around 10 p.m.
MONDAY, SEPT. 2, 2013
Each fall, I pore over education catalogs that come in the mail and daydream about the day I am retired – or semi-retired – and able to be a student again. There are so many opportunities for boomers and seniors to be lifelong learners in the Inland Northwest. And many of the classes cost very little, plus you don’t have to write papers, take exams or party like it’s 1973 – unless you want to.
School revs up this week. Grandparents, take heed. When your “little students” hand you a drawing made in school, keep it. These are precious pieces of art. Irreplaceable, like the children who created them.
MONDAY, AUG. 26, 2013
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Census of Agriculture is taken every five years; the census is considered the gold standard for farming facts and figures. A census was taken in 2012, but the analysis won’t be released until February. The average age of farmers was 57 in the most recent available census, taken in 2007, up from 54 in 2002.
Six years ago, Wes Hein realized he and his family would need to leave farming – 15 years before he intended. He and his wife Lori moved from the Palouse to Spokane in 2007 and settled into city life.
A reader who lives on the South Hill was doing some remodeling when he discovered, folded in the ceiling of the basement rec room, a love letter likely written in the 1960s. A girl named Terri wrote it to a guy named Dan. The letter is precious, filled with heartsickness. The two teens appeared to have been separated by distance and, perhaps, by disapproving parents.
MONDAY, AUG. 19, 2013
Autumn is now hinting at its return; you can smell fall in the early morning on these late August days. It’s also a reminder that school is on its way back onto the calendar in many family’s lives. Now is the time for boomers, retired and otherwise, to consider a volunteer gig in the schools. Communities in Schools in Spokane County is sponsoring again this year its popular PrimeTime mentoring program.
MONDAY, AUG. 12, 2013
In early July, Princeton University researchers unveiled for reporters a human looking ear they created on a 3-D printer. Ah, human ears.
We aging baby boomers might not be such a big burden, after all, if some current trends noted in the elderly population continue. A Harvard University study, recently reported about at HealthDayNews, studied data on 90,000 Medicare beneficiaries between 1991 and 2009. The good news: People are living longer and enjoying better health nearly up until the time of their deaths. The average time of acute sickness and disability is now limited to a year or two, rather than more than seven, as in some older generations.