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Brownies and Whipped Cream February 23, 2010

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One day I had a date with friends for lunch. Mae, a little old “blue hair” about 80 years old, came along with them—all in all, a pleasant bunch.
When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups, except for Mae who said, “Ice Cream, please. Two scoops, chocolate.”

I wasn’t sure my ears heard right, and the others were aghast. “Along with heated apple pie,” Mae added, completely unabashed.
We tried to act quite nonchalant, as if people did this all the time. But when our orders were brought out, I didn’t enjoy mine.
I couldn’t take my eyes off Mae as her pie a-la-mode went down. The other ladies showed dismay. They ate their lunches silently and frowned.

The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Mae. I lunched on white meat tuna. She ordered a parfait.
I smiled. She asked if she amused me.
I answ ered, “Yes, you do, but also you confuse me.

How come you order rich desserts, while I feel I must be sensible? She laughed and said, with wanton mirth, “I’m tasting all that is Possible.

I try to eat the food I need, and do the things I should.. But life’s so short, my friend, I hate missing out on something good.
This year I realized how old I was. (She grinned) I haven’t been this old before.”
“So, before I die, I’ve got to try those things that for years I had ignored.
I haven’t smelled all the flowers yet.. There are too many books I haven’t read. There’s more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown overhead.

There are many malls I haven’t shopped. I’ve not laughed at all the joke s. I’ve missed a lot of Broadway hits and potato chips and cokes.
I want to wade again in water and feel ocean spray on my face. I want to sit i n a country church once more and thank God for His grace.
I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast. I want un-timed long distance calls to the folks I love the most.

I haven’t cried at all the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain. I need to feel wind in my hair. I want to fall in love again.
So, if I choose to have dessert, instead of having dinner, then should I die before night fall, I’d say I died a winner, because I missed out on nothing. I filled my heart’s desire. I had that final chocolate mousse before my life expired.”

With that, I called the waitress over.. “I’ve changed my mind, ” I said. “I want what she is having, only add some more whipped cream!”


Remember When Most Homes Had Only ONE Bathroom? February 20, 2010

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Born and raised in Massachusetts, I was the middle child of five daughters. No brothers. Oh, did I tell you there was only one – yes, one – bathroom in the house? I’m sharing that with you because maybe it’ll help explain why I’ve always been a dreamer. Maybe I was dreaming of having more than one bathroom.

As Founder of a non profit organization, Ageless Dreamer, I immersed myself in encouraging our oldest generation to dream out loud. The idea came to me ten years ago when I went to the mailbox and received my first invitation to AARP. I circular filed it, of course, but realized that I was about to cross into someplace that I’d never been. Then I noticed, as I walked the sidewalks of the town in New Hampshire where we live, that there weren’t many old folks walking around. Where were they? And I began to notice that when I drove by assisted living or nursing home, or other similar places, that I didn’t even turn my head to look.

My husband and I started visiting these places and after a few months realized something very important: It didn’t matter if someone lived in the least expensive or most expensive senior living arrangement, if no one knocked on your door to visit and share stories, then stories and dreams were left untold. Constipated, if you will.

AARP doesn’t give up easily, so once again when I went to the mail box, a second invitation arrived which I also proceeded to recycle. But this time as I threw it into the blue plastic bin, I declared: I’m not an AARP-er. I am an ageless dreamer. The rest is history. You can learn more about that on the website: http://www.AgelessDreamer.org

This book is about stories of our oldest generation who are living and ageing successfully at home. It’s about our own futures and the lessons we can learn on how we can remain in our own homes as we age. Planning for that is important, both from a financial perspective, and a well being perspective. They’ll certainly be other options for many people, but this one option of ageing at home, is the one I’ll be capturing through stories shared with me.

With the 100 year old being the fastest growing demographic today, it’s very likely that the vast majority of Baby Boomers will grow to be part of that demographic. The wisdom, knowledge, and talents of today’s elders – also known as the Greatest Generation – will provide inspiration and insight into what we have to look forward to.

If you know someone who’s part of the oldest generation who’s successfully ageing at home and would like to share the story in this book or future ones, please send it to me at lauriewidmark@comcast.net. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

How an old-fashioned grandmother became an Internet superstar (with a little help from her grandson) February 1, 2010

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By Linda Matchan

Two years ago, Bubbe didn’t know from a website.‘‘I didn’t even know what an e-mail was,’’ says the 83-year-old grandmother.

But that was before she became the star of ‘‘Feed Me Bubbe,’’ her popular online kosher cooking show produced by her grandson Avrom Honig, 25, of Worcester.

Now she’s inundated with e-mail — ‘‘without exaggeration, hundreds, even thousands’’ — from fans from as far away as China and Africa who want help roasting chicken or stuffing cabbage, or to confide in her about their tsuris (troubles). She’s got a website (www.feedmebubbe.com), a frequently updated Facebook page (‘‘on the set right now working on the cholent episode’’), and an online store selling her T-shirts, aprons, even a ‘‘Feed Me Bubbe’’ ringtone (original klezmer music, composed by a fan). On Tuesday she’ll be featured on a PBS ‘‘Frontline’’ documentary, ‘‘Digital Nation,’’ which explores the impact of digital technology on people’s lives.

“If a fortune teller ever told me at this age that I’d start a new career I would never have believed them, ’’ says Bubbe – the Yiddish word for grandmother – who worked in a bank until she was 73 and after that did “nothing spectacular. I went to the senior center a couple times a week. Did cooking and housecleaning. The regular thing.’’

Bubbe’s newfound fame is a uniquely 21st century phenomenon, made possible in a world where anyone who blogs, tweets, Facebooks, or YouTubes can vault to celebrity. But this is also what makes Bubbe’s story so unusual. Until recently, her life was so low-tech that she thought the Internet “came out of the air, just like nothing.’’

Though she didn’t set out to do so, Bubbe has managed to stand out from the pack by embracing the new technology while just being herself, cooking old-fashioned dishes in an old-fashioned kitchen in old-fashioned ways. In the process, she has tapped into a market of peripatetic, family-starved young people who are hungry for more than just chicken soup. They’re hungry for Bubbes.

For that very reason, Bubbe – who lives in a suburb west of Boston – doesn’t disclose her real name on the show, and she declined to give it to the Globe as well. “I never want to be recognized. People write me and say I remind them of their own grandmother,’’ says Bubbe, a short, stooped woman with white hair, a kindly face, and arthritic fingers who believes she fills a void in the lives of grandmother-less viewers. “So how can I have another name?’’

‘Eat in good health’

“Feed Me Bubbe’’ is hardly your typical cooking show. It’s shot in Bubbe’s seriously outmoded kitchen in the small house she’s shared for more than 50 years with Zadie (Yiddish for grandfather), whom Honig drafted to be production assistant. The house could be a 1950s set from a Neil Simon play, with its shag car peting, plastic-draped furniture, two-tiered candy dishes, and crystal prisms dripping from the lampshades. But it’s the kitchen that speaks to Bubbe’s mostly under-40 fans; it still has the original birch cupboards, worn-out Formica countertops, shiny wallpaper, and tchotchke shelves next to the window.

“People have said they’ll break my neck if she changes it,’’ Honig says. “And Bubbe was, like, ‘I can’t redo the kitchen?’ ’’
Her recipes are similarly retro. She’s taped more than 30 “Feed Me Bubbe’’ episodes so far, including “Bubbe’s Burgers,’’ “Sponge Cake,’’ “Cheeze Blintzes,’’ and a three-part chicken soup series. Every once in a while she throws in a story – “I learned this in the Catskills!’’ – and ends each episode with a “Yiddish Word of the Day’’ and a Julia Child-esque sign-off, except instead of “Bon Appetit’’ it’s “Ess gezunterhait’’ (“Eat in good health’’).

The lanky Honig, who has a communications degree from Worcester State College, got the idea for “Feed Me Bubbe’’ two years ago when he needed a job and wanted to make a demo tape for job interviews. His father suggested he do a video of Bubbe cooking. Bubbe agreed, reluctantly. “I thought I’d do one, I’d do two,’’ says Bubbe, agreeing to start with “Jelly Jammies,’’ a variant of strudel and a family favorite.

The production values were less than stellar. The camera was shaky. Bubbe’s hands were out of the frame. The sound of the mixmaster drowned out her voice. Still, Honig got it done and posted it online.

And then the e-mails started. “It caught us by surprise,’’ says Bubbe.

She heard from a woman named Betty who wrote that she was making Bubbe’s sweet and sour meatballs and “Jelly Jammies’’ that week. “I never had the privilege of being in the kitchen with my own Bubbe,’’ Betty wrote. “Watching you brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. . . . I would like to adopt you as my own Bubbe.’’

Another woman threatened to adopt Bubbe, gushing: “I absolutely love you, Bubbe.’’ (“You certainly can adopt me,’’ Bubbe replied.)

“We’re talking the whole world!’’ says Honig, his voice rising to a high pitch. “We’re getting e-mail from, like, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia. This is the craziest thing that could ever happen to someone!’’

Honig, who seems to operate only at one speed – full throttle – immediately saw the marketing possibilities for “Feed Me Bubbe.’’ He’s posted her recipes online, recruited sponsors, developed merchandise, partnered with other websites such as www.fridaylight.org, where Bubbe demonstrates how to light candles for Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath.

Twice, she and Honig have gone to California for a Video on the Net conference, once as speakers on a food panel and once to promote the show at a conference booth. “I was running around the whole convention handing out ‘Feed Me Bubbe’ cards to anyone I could find,’’ Honig says. “Bubbe would start talking to them, and they would melt.’’

Grandma in charge
Throughout all this, Honig has taught Bubbe about digital media, “just the way she would teach me how to chop an onion.’’ She’s now conversant about blogs, Twitter, and instant messaging.

“I’ve become an expert in Twitter and texting,’’ says Bubbe, who has no computer of her own.

She’s also starting to call the shots in her video episodes, as she did recently for a promo for an upcoming cooking segment.

“Peppered steak is coming up next episode?’’ she suggests as Honig roughs out a storyboard on the kitchen table.

“Interesting,’’ he says, noncommittally.

“Details of peppered steak will be coming next video,’’ she decides.

He counts down from 10, shoots the promo – with a plug for Bubbe’s “Frontline’’ appearance – and it’s a wrap.

“Ess gezunterhait,’’ she says, as always. “Enjoy!’’

UP! Where the Sky is No Longer the Limit November 27, 2009

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It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote and I’ve missed you all! A very sick spouse, with what the Doc says was H1N1, who’s finally, after almost six weeks, getting back on the healthy side — has kept me distracted from Blogging and Twittering away.  Amen to that….we count our blessings.  But no more excuses, it’s time to rock n’ roll…not dream and drool.

Focusing on the upbeat side of life: Disney Studios has done it again. But this time I think the animated film, called UP,  is meant to be seen by anyone who considers themself an  ageless dreamer.  I don’t want to give away the story – it’s both funny, adventuresome, sad, silly, and downright witty.  So, if you’re looking to indulge in a realy heartfelt adventure wrapped around some true realities of life and ageing, I’d recommend UP in a heartbeat. Let me know what you think.

The Eden Alternative August 23, 2009

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Oh my gosh, the Eden Alternative is a new approach to nursing homes/assisted living!  Take a look at this YouTube video and let me know what you think!


Great Example of How To Be 85! August 5, 2009

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Wow — She’s a great example of how to be 85!!  Gives one something for which to aim.

Showgirl Dorothy Dale Kloss Still Kicking With the Fabulous Palm Spring Follies

Send in YOUR Stories to Share in my upcoming book! July 19, 2009

Posted by Ageless Dreamer Foundation in Ageless Dreamer, Ageless Dreamers and Dreams, Inspirational Stories, Words of Wisdom.
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Lo and behold, all you ageless dreamers out there, THE BOOK is in process!  It’s stories about our oldest population who still remain living at home and are doing it successfully.  It’s OUR future so I figure if we can collect the secrets to their success in remaining independent we’ll all win in the end.  Please share your story of an elder parent, relative, neighbor, or friend.  And if you haven’t asked them if they have a dream maybe ask them today, listen close and open up their world and yours!   Quote for the day: Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you. [Marsha Norman]

Inspired by a Jump from the Sky June 15, 2009

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Way to go, former President  George Herbert Walker Bush!  You showed the world an alternative way to grow older.  You were dreaming out loud and had the courage to make it happen.  You ARE a perfect example of an Ageless Dreamer and what we’re all about.  We salute you!

Crowd marvels at President Bush’s drop from the sky June 15, 2009

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Copyright Permission by Foster’s Daily Democrat

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — Someone looked up into the sky and declared, “There he is!”

Everyone turned their attention to the clouds, from which former President George Herbert Walker Bush materialized and descended toward the earth with the grace only a parachute could provide.

The crowd clapped and cheered when Bush touched ground on a landing zone behind St. Ann’s Church on Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport. A few of them had taken pictures to capture the event and share with family and friends back home.

Wait a minute.

Not so fast.

Moments later, another person in the crowd once again directed everyone’s gaze to the skies. There, dotted against the parting clouds, were several more daredevils parachuting through the sky, whipsawing through the air at occasional sharp angles.

There looked to be about three of them at first. Then four or five. After more looking around and counting, the consensus of the crowd was that there were eight parachutes in the sky.

If that first jumper wasn’t Bush, then which one of the eight above was he?

Josh Carpenter, of San Antonio, Texas, had no problem picking out which one was the 41st president of the United States. He had a camera with a strong zoom-in lens and spotted Bush through the eyepiece. As the parachute in question drew even closer, the crowd could discern that it was the only one in the sky carrying two people. Sure enough, the press had reported earlier that Bush would be making a tandem jump from the plane.

Former President George H. W. Bush rides tandem with Sgt. Michael Elliott of the Army Golden Knights parachute team as he celebrates his 85th birthday with a parachute jump, Friday, June 12, 2009, over Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP Photo/Army Golden Knights, SSG Joe Abeln)

Former President George H. W. Bush rides tandem with Sgt. Michael Elliott of the Army Golden Knights parachute team as he celebrates his 85th birthday with a parachute jump, Friday, June 12, 2009, over Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP Photo/Army Golden Knights, SSG Joe Abeln)

Bush turned 85 years old on Friday and celebrated the milestone with a feat of daring that he already had famously accomplished a handful of times before. He leaped 10,500 feet from a plane and made a parachute jump. A member of the United States Army’s Golden Knights made the jump with him.

All five of Bush’s children — including his son, former President George W. Bush — greeted him when he landed. So, too, did former first ladies Barbara and Laura Bush, as well as 14 grandchildren, two brothers and a sister.

On Friday morning, it almost looked as though the jump would have to wait for the next day. The region woke up to heavy showers. At around noon, though, the clouds lightened and parted, and shortly before Bush touched ground at 1:30 the day turned hot, bright and sunny.

These parachute jumps have become a tradition for Bush as he’s made his way through his golden years. He jumped to mark his 75th and 80th birthdays as well. He last jumped in November 2007 at the reopening of his library at Texas A&M University.

The first time he jumped from a plane, though, he did not have fellow Americans cheering below to greet him. Instead, as a young Navy pilot, he parachuted from his plane when it was shot down over the Pacific Ocean during World War II.

After Friday’s jump, Bush told reporters that he had two reasons for taking the birthday plunge: he wanted to experience the feeling of free-falling, and he wanted to prove that senior citizens can stay active and have fun.

“Just because you’re an old guy, you don’t have to sit around drooling in the corner,” he said. “Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy life.”

An hour before the jump, local police blocked off a stretch of Ocean Avenue for security. Onlookers caught Bush’s jump from the nearby beach and getty, from benches along the sidewalk, and from perches on high, jagged rocks that met the creeping tide of the ocean.

Peter Reed, of Hypoluxo Island in South Florida, was in Kennebunkport with his family to celebrate his in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary.

“This was a surprise for us,” he said of Bush’s moment in the sky. “It’s pretty exciting.”

Reed’s son, Peter, who skipped stones across the waves during the event’s down time, said Bush’s jump was “really cool.” At 10 years old, the younger Reed had not yet come into the world when the elder Bush served as president from 1988 to 1992.

Jason Heinz, of Chesapeake, Ohio, was in Kennebunkport on Friday with his wife, Jennifer, and many of his cousins. This year, they picked Maine. He, too, was surprised to learn in one of the local newspapers that Bush was planning to jump from a plane.

“That’s something you don’t see every day, an 85-year-old ex-president jumping out of the sky,” he said. “You don’t see that in Ohio very much.”

At least two of the onlookers on the rocks hailed from even farther than Ohio or Florida — Hans and Turid Christensen were from the country of Norway. The Christensens had been vacationing in Canada but figured they’d swoop down into the United States for a couple days.

Hans Christensen called Bush’s moment “beautiful.”

Staring across the water to the reception taking place where Bush landed, Christensen added, “It’s fantastic, at 85 years old to be doing that. He must be some president.”

40 Yrs Later: The 7 Children In ‘The Sound of Music’ May 26, 2009

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‘The Sound of Music’ won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1965 and is one of the most popular musicals ever produced.
Remember the 7 children of the Trapp family?

They were having a reunion after 40 years.
And all were looking healthy and amazingly well…

It wouldn’t be funny if it weren’t so true… Julie Andrews turned 69 and to commemorate her 69th birthday on October 1, actress/vocalist Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was “My Favourite Things” from the legendary movie “The Sound Of Music.” Please share Ms. Andrews’ clever wit �and humour with others who would appreciate it.

Here are the actual lyrics she used:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Cadillac’s and cataracts, and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favourite things..
When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.
Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Back pains, confused brains, and no need for sinnin’,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,
And we won’t mention our short, shrunken frames,
When we remember our favourite things.
When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores.