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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

All hands on tech

“There’s real tension between convenience and security,” Shadel said during the annual gathering where AARP Washington released a new report showing nearly half of Washington Internet users failed a recent quiz about online and Internet safety.

Some of the top offenses are banking online or buying items with a credit card while using public Wi-Fi networks. Read more.

Geocache Revel In Thrill Of The Hunt

Bill Pierce accidently stumbled across geocaching while hiking Shoshone County’s Pulaski Tunnel Trail. Pierce wanted to double-check the name of the creek that runs down the ravine before he entered the day’s adventure in his journal. Google found him the West Fork of Placer Creek and included a description of a geocache location, where a cache – or a hidden container – was stashed along the trail. “What the heck is that,” Pierce remembers thinking, fascinated by the idea that there are 2.3 million geocaches hidden across the world, including more than 2,000 in Spokane County. Players who hide caches share the location online at www.geocaching.com. All anyone needs is a GPS or a smartphone to plug in the GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude) of a location then navigate the directions to find the hidden geocache, which usually includes a log book and perhaps a trinket or coin/Erica Curless, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever participated in a geocache hunt?

New Boomer Erickson Eschews AARP

When the AARP membership application appeared in Keith Erickson’s Coeur d’Alene mailbox, he threw it in the trash. Another application arrived the next week, then another in the days before his 50th birthday. “I was blindsided and then insulted,” said Erickson, an avid runner who clocks 50 miles a week. “I still consider myself as relatively young. It had to be a mistake.” He didn’t think AARP tracked you down for its $16 annual membership that allows for senior discounts on everything from dinner out to travel and the movies until at least age 55. “It’s like taking a step into oblivion,” he said. “Once you take that step, there you are. You are always a senior citizen”/Erica Curless, SR. More here.

Question: Hey, I still don't have my AARP card. Do you?

Do you see who I see?

Ted Ketcham’s Boomer U story today reminds readers of their view of the world - and who is in it. The invisibility factor presents not just with age, but with disabilities, sexual orientation, gender and other defining qualities.

Yes, there is a certain grace that comes with blending in and not having to be in charge. But when you want your presence or voice to be acknowledged, to be shunned is “soul-crushing.”

Have you experienced the “invisible factor?"

(S-R archive photo:Sept. 26, 2013 photo, 80-year-old Marianne Blomberg works out at a gym in Stockholm.)

There’s a pill for that

Suffering? Getting old? The pharmaceutical industry wants to help. Every night on TV, photogenic actors frolic with photogenic grandchildren, or lounge in bathtubs gazing into the setting sun, telling emotion-laden tales of 30-second Madison Avenue cures: E.D.? Low T? R.A.? COPD? Dry eye? Sneezy? Wheezy? Queasy? There’s a drug for that.

And all the consumer needs to do – all together, now – is “Talk to your doctor.”

But there are a few things the ads don’t mention: Low-cost alternatives to the high-cost drugs featured in the ads. Lifestyle changes that could make drugs unnecessary. Damaging side effects that may not be discovered until a drug has been on the market for a while.

Less obvious is the fact that when consumers do show up to talk to their doctors, the drug industry got there first. Read more. John Webster, SR

My 82-year-old  mother takes a bewlidering number of medications. It really concerns me. I don't take any regular medication— not even vitamin suppliements.

Do you take prescribed meds? Why or why not?

The second time around

My Boomer U story today was about newlyweds Theresa and Joe Phillips who married July 20. She was 68. He was 81. Neither expected to marry again.

But they fell madly in love a few years ago and tied the knot.

No one knows how boomers will couple and uncouple in the next two decades or so. See possible ways. But experts agree the dating landscape for aging boomers will be much different than the dating landscape for our parents' generation, when women outlived the men by huge margins, so there weren't a lot of available men once you hit your 60s and beyond.

The dating and remarriage market for aging boomers is "thicker" in the wonderful word used by Stephanie Coontz, one of my favorite women-and-family-issues researchers.

(S-R photo courtesy of Theresa Phillips)

1962 birthday party on Heroy Avenue

Thank you Mary Thibault Akiyama for emailing me this photo of your backyard birthday party in 1962 on Heroy near Shadle Center.

Mary posted it on Facebook after reading my Monday Boomer U story about celebrating 60th birthdays and how fondly most boomers remember their childhood backyard birthday parties.

What I love about this photo:

1) All of us are wearing dresses to a backyard party. Some look like our First Communion dresses.

2) Kim Lynch and her sister, Megan, are in the front row. Megan died in 1995 of breast cancer at age 38. I know her parents  — and siblings — will be happy to see this photo of Megan.

3) It reminds all of us that one of the best gifts you can give someone in grief is sending a photo of their deceased loved one that they likely don't have.

Thanks Mary!

(Photo courtesy of Mary Thibault Akiyama)

Boomers: We dream of travel

In my Boomer U story today, I looked at coming trends in boomer travel.

European river cruises are hot, as is taking trips with many generations in tow.

One boomer I interviewed for the story, Susan Snelson Spiegel, is an uber traveler and always has been. And she has combined travel with volunteering on many occasions.

What kind of travel will you do in your 50s, 60s and beyond?

I picture myself, in my 80s, on those bus tours seeing the United States in a new way.

Happy Memorial Day!

(Photo courtesy of Susan Snelson Spiegel)

Boomer U and me

My husband once told me, years ago, that I would likely have a newspaper job to the grave, if I tracked the baby boomers to the grave.

That's not the reason I'm happy to be a big part of Boomer U, our new Monday Today section, but he had a point.

Take a look