A Juror’s Take on Service after 70

A Juror’s Take on Service after 70

I never thought I’d actually be on a jury. For decades I was dismissed repeatedly by lawyers who would rather have an ebola carrier on their juries than a wiseacre, know-it-all journalist.

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Calculating Retirement’s Cost-Comfort Ratio

Calculating Retirement’s Cost-Comfort Ratio

In September, the bean counters at the university where I have taught for the past 18 years sent me a letter telling me of an “important opportunity” that I might “wish to consider.”

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A shopping trip to die for

A shopping trip to die for

Buying one isn’t like shopping for a fridge or a big-screen TV – although it will be yours far longer than even the most reliable appliance.

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Old Gray Hair Ain’t What It Used to Be

Old Gray Hair Ain’t What It Used to Be

A friend of mine thinks I should dye my hair. She dyes hers. It would make me look younger, she says. I have two responses: 1) Why is looking younger a good thing? What’s wrong with looking your age? Don’t

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Writer exits comfort zone to bare his soles and more

Writer exits comfort zone to bare his soles and more

A writer sheds his clothes and lives to tell about it.

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Eulogy for a House That Was a Home, and the Rich History Within

Eulogy for a House That Was a Home, and the Rich History Within

A Calaveras County retiree mourns the toll taken by one of California’s most devastating wildfires.

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A Reminder from Sophia to Stop and Enjoy the Bubbles

A Reminder from Sophia to Stop and Enjoy the Bubbles

There are two realities in my life: bubbles and everything else. “Bubbles” is the term my husband, Steve, and I use for magic, joy and all things Sofia, our first and only grandchild. Sofia was born two years ago in

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A Grateful Nod to Those Who Sling the Slime

A Grateful Nod to Those Who Sling the Slime

When it comes to great neighbors, it’s tough to top the Columbia Air Attack Base.

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Ready to Heed That Creative Urge? First Silence Your Inner Critic

Ready to Heed That Creative Urge? First Silence Your Inner Critic

A music-teacher friend once told me that everyone can sing. This sounds like a reasonable enough proposition until we recall how many people insist that they can’t sing.

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Welcome, Swashbucklers, to the Realm of Legends and Lies

Welcome, Swashbucklers, to the Realm of Legends and Lies

For a while I was worried that no one would enter our Friends and Neighbors’ Tales of Adventure contest. After all, haven’t all the great adventures been taken?

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Welcome Back to the Wonderful World of Home Ownership

Welcome Back to the Wonderful World of Home Ownership

He thought he’d left the cares of home ownership behind. Then love brought four walls and a furnace back into his life.

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Bottle Trees Revive a Colorful Tradition

Bottle Trees Revive a Colorful Tradition

For Rebecca Seeley-Savino, it began when she saw the movie “Ray” at a friend’s house a few years ago. “In the scenes detailing Ray Charles’ childhood in Florida, I noticed bottles hanging from trees near his home,” recalls Seeley-Savino, a

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The Terminally Practical Person’s Guide to Choosing a Lifelong Pet

The Terminally Practical Person’s Guide to Choosing a Lifelong Pet

We ask a lot of questions before bringing a pet into the family.

Will our new pal get along with the kids? With our other animals? What does he eat? Will he shed, scratch or howl? But as we age, another question occurs: Is the darn thing going to outlive me?

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A Whippersnapper’s View of Living Well Vs. Living Long

A Whippersnapper’s View of Living Well Vs. Living Long

I don’t mind turning 60, really. But it’s like being behind in the sixth inning of a baseball game: The situation isn’t critical yet, but one can’t squander too many more opportunities.

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Discount Love Affair is One for the Ages

Discount Love Affair is One for the Ages

He used to sneer at senior discounts. Now he can’t get enough of them.

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Newlyweds’ gift to their grown kids is an abiding belief that love can last

Newlyweds’ gift to their grown kids is an abiding belief that love can last

When I was in my 20s, my attitude toward romantic relationships could be summarized by an old saying my dad taught me: “Women are like streetcars. Wait 10 minutes and another one will come along.” (This from a guy who

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Gardener’s Reverie: Is the Grass Greener in the Golden State?

Gardener’s Reverie: Is the Grass Greener in the Golden State?

By Marianne Willburn Breathing in the sharp, spicy fragrance of zonal geraniums, I stand quietly for a moment, my eyes closed. Around me, there are notes of lemon blossom and pyracantha – the deeply resinous scent of rosemary and the maize-like

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Honoring Thy Father, And The Grumbling That Goes With It

Honoring Thy Father, And The Grumbling That Goes With It

Near the end of the month my big sister sometimes sends me a friendly reminder: time for another Dad-check. A Dad-check is my contribution to a family fund that supports my father, who’s 95. I wish I could say that

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Want to Have the Last Word? Write Your Own Obituary

Want to Have the Last Word? Write Your Own Obituary

I’m having trouble getting started. “Give me a snappy lead,” my editors have urged for years. “Your first sentence should yank the reader right into the story.” But when that story is your own obituary, coming up with that clever,

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A Confessed Carnivore Survives His Salad Days

A Confessed Carnivore Survives His Salad Days

“Burger Bash” screamed the banner in front of Sonora’s Perko’s restaurant. The new McDonald’s at Standard suddenly doubled the Tuolumne County availability of Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese (750 calories before you get to the XXL fries and the two-gallon

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Finding Your Roots: 1940 Census Records Debut Online

Finding Your Roots: 1940 Census Records Debut Online

As this column goes to press, genealogists are getting a big boost. The long-awaited 1940 U.S. Census became available on April 1. This is great for those who have had a difficult time finding family members who lived during that

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A Hands-On Retirement: Stagecoach Driver Bob Anderson

A Hands-On Retirement: Stagecoach Driver Bob Anderson

To do this job, says Bob Anderson, ‘You gotta be a little horsey.’

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A Downsizer’s Take on the Stuff of Memories

A Downsizer’s Take on the Stuff of Memories

I used to envy people who could take that sentimental journey back to the old home place. You know, sleep in your old room with the sports trophies still on the shelves and the Pink Floyd posters still on the

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After 76 Years, Ol’ Leadfoot Turns in His Keys

After 76 Years, Ol’ Leadfoot Turns in His Keys

Ol’ Leadfoot has surrendered his car key. My dad got into a little fender bender down in Dallas recently and knew at last, the way an aging slugger who whiffs at a pitch he used to wallop into the cheap

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Advice to the List-Less: Dream Big, Aim Low

Advice to the List-Less: Dream Big, Aim Low

I began to get the question as soon as I turned 65: “What’s on your bucket list?” Life expectancy tables say I have less than two decades left before I shuffle off. So friends are wondering whether I want to

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Granddad Will Be a New Dad at 67

Granddad Will Be a New Dad at 67

I’m 67, a widower, father and grandfather and a survivor of shingles, bad knees, periodontal disaster, hypertension and cancer, not to mention exposure to other dangers of my age and era from the Vietnam War to LSD to homophobia, the

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Confessions of a Middle-Aged, Overeducated Idiot

Confessions of a Middle-Aged, Overeducated Idiot

It’s a great workout, but at my age, I can’t help picturing myself gasping, collapsing and being hauled, half-frozen and ghastly gray, to the ER, where they would know what happened just by looking at me: another middle-aged, snow-shoveling heart-attack victim.

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Piece By Treasured Piece, Family Roles Shift

Piece By Treasured Piece, Family Roles Shift

Here’s a definition of retirement that may not be what most of us envision when we contemplate the blessed moment when we turn in our employee ID badges: Bowing out of the workforce means having the time to take care

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Destiny’s Gift: Blue-Ribbon Memories

Destiny’s Gift: Blue-Ribbon Memories

When life threw me an emotional punch, trips to the barn were sure cures. Still are. Horses, I’ve learned, can be damned good therapists.

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Firm, polished and pricey, implants revive his smile

Firm, polished and pricey, implants revive his smile

In keeping with my specialty of Adventures in Aging, and inasmuch as our Friends and Neighbors theme this time is Love After 50, which of course translates to Sex After 50, which is naughty, I’ll tell you about my nasty

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Distance Versus Gravity in a Close-Knit, Far-Flung Family

Distance Versus Gravity in a Close-Knit, Far-Flung Family

It was my dad on the line, obviously distraught. He thought Mom might be having a stroke. I asked if he had called Simone, the woman from the elder-care service we had contracted with last year. He hadn’t thought of

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Love That Crazy Ukulele

Love That Crazy Ukulele

My mother introduced me to the ukulele. I think I was 7 or 8. I  can still see her leaning against the kitchen counter in our house on  Newport Street in Denver. A Chesterfield smolders in an ashtray. She’s strumming

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Sharing Home, Sweet Home

In the long-ago days when I could stay up past midnight, I once found myself on the wrong side of the dead-bolted door of a West Philadelphia row house at 1:30 in the morning. I started pounding. The door shook.

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Spice of Life is in the Salt Mines

The result of this ambivalence about work is a culture where people both complain and boast about how hard their noses are pressed to the grindstone.

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And Another Thing: Bladder Cancer

Hello and welcome, Friends and Neighbors, to another episode of Adventures in Aging. Sit back, prop up your feet, put on a little mood music and enjoy your favorite beverage as we journey into the intriguing world of bladder cancer,

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Reflections on the Sweet-Natured Soul

Reflections on the Sweet-Natured Soul

My dad turned 90 this year. He still drives (though if you’re heading for South Florida I can tell you which streets to avoid), still reads the paper and gets riled up about the state of the world (though he

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Finding Joy in the Father-Son Journey

Finding Joy in the Father-Son Journey

Journalist Chris Bateman and his son, Ben, set out to cross the United States on bicycles. They learned a lot about the country and each other in their Summer 2008 voyage of discovery.

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And Another Thing: Shingles

When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now, Will you still be sending me a Valentine? Birthday greeting? Bottle of wine? – Lennon/McCartney, “When I’m Sixty-four” They’re playing my song up there. I recently turned 64, which

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