sites for Sixties

I’m 61, and although I have a fairly eclectic taste in Web content, I’ve noticed over the years that I really enjoy reading content that particularly targets seniors. No, I’m not interested in AARP, senior dating services, or ads for discount wheel chairs. I’m interested in learning how other seniors are enjoying their lives, what they’re doing, and how they are aging well. After all, we are the Boomer generation and we are a tidal wave beginning to crest. We will impact the way EVERYONE lives as we impose on the market our need for autonomy, our lack of conformity, and our quest for independence.

Here are four enjoyable Web sites that will appeal to seniors: Next Avenue is a digital platform launched by PBS that offers original and aggregated journalism aimed at baby boomers. Next Avenue is PBS’ first venture to begin on the Internet rather than on broadcast television. Senior Planet is the first tech-themed resource for people 60-plus who are living and aging with attitude. This Chair Rocks is a blog authored by Ashton Applewhite to explore ageism: discrimination that sidelines and silences older people. Sixty & Me is a community dedicated to helping women over 60 create independent, healthy and financially secure lives. Sixty and Me empowers and motivates women to find their own voice and value in a transitional time of life that offers so much new opportunity.

Now although you can try to remember to visit these sites every once in awhile, a far better way is to have their fresh content automatically delivered to you. That way you don’t have to remember anything. You can use Facebook and Google+ to push the content to you, but I have a far better way that I’ll be talking about next — Feedly.

Coloring can be very stress-reducing. What better place to reduce stress than while waiting in a doctor/dentist office or other place requiring interminably long sitting times. But dragging around a coloring book and crayons or pencils would be a pain. I’ve found a fairly good Android app that you might want to try.

I was curious about how an app would handle color selection and application so I gave a couple of the more popular coloring apps a try. I chose apps designed for adults, not children. The ones I like most were developed by App Labs Games and are FREE. There are several to choose from on Google Play at


…differentiated only by the capital letter in the app’s icon.
D=Secret Garden
M=Mystery Gallery
P=Prominent Paintings
C=Calming Dream Patterns
O=Lost Oceans
E=Enchanted Forest

To apply a color, first select one from the 36 available colors and then touch the drawing where you want the color applied. You won’t get any pleasurable tactile feedback like you experience when pressing down with a crayon or colored pencil; you can’t shade or blend colors. All you can do is apply one color to an area enclosed in a black outline.

I thought I’d find this too infantile, but I surprised myself. Yes, applying color is mechanical (touch, touch, touch, change color, touch, touch, etc.), but the joy of this app comes from selecting a color and then quickly seeing if you like how it looks. If you don’t, there is an Undo button. It doesn’t take long to color a picture, even a fairly complex one. Almost instantaneous gratification, but the result is uniquely your artistic creation. Here’s one I did last night from the Lost Oceans coloring book:


2 Hoppin’ Great Beers for Penny Pinchers

cheap_beersI’ve already told you about my love affair with two brews made by Stone Brewery—Arrogant Bastard beer and Go to IPA beer (see The ONLY problem with those beers (seriously, the only one) is that they’re danged expensive. Oh, and that they are very hard to find. Okay, that’s two problems. A 6-pack will set you back more than $10! While I am never reluctant to pay good money for quality stuff, I’m Scottish, and we are known for being c̶h̶e̶a̶p̶ frugal. I have great news—here are two more hoppy beers for the budget-conscious. Both beers will appeal to those of us who enjoy the delightful bitterness of over-hopped beer, but these two stand out for me because they have a lot of tasty body once you get past the hops.

Sierra Nevada steam distills wet hops into hop oil for its Hop Hunter brew and adds the oil to traditional whole-cone hops. I love that hopefully I’ll be able to get this beer without having to special order it. Sierra Nevada beers are much easier to find than Stone Brewery beers.

New Belgium’s Slow Ride is an India Pale Ale session beer. I had to look that up. Wikipedia defines a session beer as one “that has a relatively low alcohol content and is therefore suitable for drinking over an extended period.” That’s fine with me. I only drink one bottle of beer a day with dinner, so I’m not likely to binge-drink the grog.

Serra Nevada and New Belgium usually sell their 6-packs in the $8–$9 range. While not cheap, that is still less than Stone beers. I think that Hop Hunter has just become my new go-to beer.

STC_0056I couldn‘t figure out which of my four garage cats had learned how to pry the lid off of the cat food bin. So I purchased an inexpensive trail camera to allow me to see what was going on in the garage during the night. When I fed the cats this morning and saw the cat food bin lid on the floor, I couldn’t wait to check what photos the little camera had taken.

Imagine my surprise when the photos revealed that my garage has been repeatedly invaded by THREE raccoons! My poor cats–I’m surprised they haven’t run away from home. (Oh wait, the heated cat houses and full feed bowls are good motivation for not running away from home.) But geez the neighborhood sure has gone downhill.

Meanwhile, my attempts to trap the previously unknown culprit(s) failed miserably. Every morning, the trap was sprung and the bait gobbled down. I have no idea what I’m going to do now, except keep the garage doors shut at night. That means that any garage kitties that haven’t come in by 10PM will be stuck outside until morning. With cold winter temps just around the corner, that will be a concern.

Easy Way to Take Corn Off the Cob


I’ve tried every gizmo on the market to get corn off the cob prior to freezing. Most leave great chunks of my knuckle mixed in with the corn.

Here is an absolutely slick way to tackle this labor-intensive job. You will need two tools: a bundt cake pan and an electric knife.


  1. Anchor the ear of corn in the open end of the bundt pan’s inner pinnacle.
  2. Using the electric knife, make five or six cuts down the sides of the ear. Keep as close to the cob as you can to get the whole kernel.
  3. As you cut, the kernels fall into the bundt pan. Rotate the bundt pan as you cut to distribute the kernels and maximize the space between emptying.

Last fall, I shucked, de-kerneled, and bagged 7 dozen ears of corn in less than 2 hours!

Quick and Easy Fermented Dill Pickles

Homemade Dill Pickles

OMG, these pickles are deleeeshious! And so easy. It will take you 10 minutes. Contrary to popular opinion, these pickles can be made using regular cucumbers rather than having to buy pickling cuckes. Yes, the skins are thicker, but they taste just great. I love this recipe because it makes 1 quart and 1 pint at a time. So when I have four cucumbers from the garden, I just cut and squeeze them into a jar, pour over the brining liquid, shake the jar a couple times a day, and 10 days layer I have exquisite dill pickles. Give them a try. This is a particularly good recipe to introduce you to fermented foods. You’ll get hooked, I promise.

Lacto-Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles

Makes 1 quart

Main Ingredients:

• 5-6 medium pickling cucumbers (about 1 lb) – look for firm, unblemished, bumpy ones
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
• 1 sprig thyme
• 1 sprig oregano
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 small bunch of dill
• 3-4 small grapevine leaves (optional, but keeps the pickles crisp)

Brine Ingredients:

• 2 tsp coriander seeds
• 1-2 tsp turmeric powder
• 1 tsp fennel seeds
• 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1-2 TB sea salt (I prefer a rounded tablespoon)
• 1-1/2 cups filtered water
• 1/2 cup raw, unfiltered cider vinegar


1. Wash the cucumbers, but don’t scrub them (you want to leave some lactobacillus bacteria on them) and rub off any spines.

2. Trim about 1/8 inch off the blossom end of the cucumbers. This removes an enzyme that can make your pickles limp. I also cut the cucumbers into halves or quarters so they fit together better in the jar.

3. Put the other Main Ingredients in a 1 quart largemouth canning jar and then pack cucumbers in as tightly as possible (try not to bruise them in the process).

4. Mix the brine ingredients together in a bowl and then pour the mixture into the jar to cover the cucumbers completely, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace.

5. Cover with a canning jar lid and band, write the date or day on the jar (a Sharpie works), place the jar in a bowl (to catch any overflow or leakage on the days the jar is inverted) and once a day, for a week, flip the jar over to redistribute the spices that will tend to settle to the bottom.

6. After a week, keep the jar in the refrigerated. Enjoy!

The original recipe said these would keep for a month in the refrigerator, but I have some that are several months old and they are just as crispy and delicious as they started out. Remember that with fermented vegetables, if they look or smell bad or appear slimy, don’t eat them!

(Photo and recipe from They adapted the recipe from A Platter of Figs, David Tannis)

In Support of Death with Dignity

Death with Dignity National Center logoAs a member of the Death with Dignity National Center (, I was asked what inspired me to support the cause. Some members have experienced the agonizingly slow death of a loved one and were motivated to become involved to help others.  That is their story. Here is my story.

I haven’t had much experience with death. Up until last year, I really hadn’t lost anyone I was close to in my 61 years of living. My beliefs about death were formed by being raised on a farm. Death is a natural part of an animal’s cycle on a farm. Livestock are bred, and born, and butchered. Good farmers make sure that each of those events is managed with respect and compassion for the creatures in their charge. Family pets are not allowed to suffer if mortally injured on the farm or if the quality of their lives is so diminished by age that the kindest thing to do is to put them down.

As an adult with my own small farm to manage, I placed high priority on two things: giving the animals in my care the best life that I am capable of providing them; and guaranteeing them a good death. I employed humane slaughter practices before they were the popular choice, making sure that my animals never suffered during the harvest of their meat. My pets’ health was always a top priority and I was raised to never shrink from the painful decision to euthanize when necessary.

As I entered my 50s and began to formulate a plan to manage my senior years, I realized that I had no caretaker who could be counted on to secure for me the same quality of death that I have spent my life providing for my animals. No one who could mercifully put me out of my misery when my living was done. I have been tremendously successful in managing my entire life, but I quickly realized that there was very little I could do to manage my death.

How To Make Your Own Helium Hood Kit (PDF)In good health and at age 50, I purchased two helium tanks and required paraphernalia to simply have on hand in an effort to ease the worry I felt about losing my sovereignty and autonomy were I to be incapacitated. I have no spouse or family or close friends, so if I can’t provide for myself, my quality of life will be in serious jeopardy. I created a legal environment that would help others care for me and advocate on my behalf for a quality death. I’ve created medical durable powers of attorney and video-taped myself stating my frame of reference and how I would like to die. I’ve placed in prominent areas around my house do-not-resuscitate orders and contact information where to send my body in the event I die. I’ve got all conceivable bases covered.

But there is absolutely nothing I can do to make sure that I have a good death. And there is nothing I can do to help someone help me have a good death. I can’t even ask friends to listen to me talk about these things lest they be placed in legal jeopardy. Mere mention of self deliverance risks being labelled suicidal and perhaps carted off to the state sanatorium.

I have accepted the fact that in all likelihood I will die alone. That is okay as long as I die well. Right now, there is no guarantee of a good death. My involvement with Death with Dignity and other similar groups is simply insurance that I can at least contribute to what I hope will eventually be positive change in our country’s inhumane treatment of people wanting to no longer live. I still have a lot of life in front of me, and I plan to pack every day of it full of joy, and curiosity, and delight. But not a day goes by without the niggling worry that I might have to endure unimaginable atrocities prior to death that my country’s politicians will inflict on me in their quest to remain electable. I was raised to treat all living creatures as I would like to be treated myself. I fear that no one will be allowed to do the same for me.

That’s my story. The good people at the National Center want to hear from you. What’s your Death with Dignity story? What inspired you to support the cause? What does Death with Dignity mean to you?

Click here to share your story:


Go to IPA — Quick!

I love good beer. Years ago I started brewing my own because good beer wasn’t available (before the popularity of microbrews). My beer took 2nd place in the Colorado State Fair one year. About 8 years ago, I discovered Stone Brewery beer. I fell in love with their Arrogant Bastard beer and it has been my favorite ever since.

Until now. A couple weeks ago I bought a variety case of Stone brews and met Go To IPA. Oh lordy, what a beer. Outrageously hoppy, very bitter. I’m still brewing my own, but there is no way I could brew anything close to this. Stone Brewery has magic. If you like a bold, hoppy beer, try this one.