Happy Fourth of July ~

Happy Fourth of July!

Greetings from Hillsboro, Oregon 1988. 

Fourth of July Parade

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy

I love a parade.  And one of my all time favorites is in Hillsboro.  It’s the largest 4th of July parade in Oregon.  Everything from kids decked out and ready to strut their stuff to giant John Deere tractors roll right down the middle of Main Street.  Jazzercise mamas, high school bands, church groups, hand-made floats on the back of flatbed trucks and even a local politician or two round out the entertainment.  It’s definitely 2 1/2 hours of small town wacky bliss.

America truly is a great big melting pot of weird and wonderful.  And that’s exactly why we mark this day.

Whether you choose to celebrate at a small town parade, enjoying brauts and brews in your neighbor’s backyard, lighting off bottle rockets under the cover of darkness (oh no, please don’t!) or stretched out on the grass gazing up at a night sky filled with flash and sparkle, enjoy the day and savor the moment – from sea to shining sea.




Aging with Attitude ~

It’s not your age.  It’s your attitude.  Isn’t that what they say?

Well, I’ve got plenty of attitude and some days its not the attitude of gratitude I’ve been striving for.  Some days I just feel old.  And tired.  And really tired of working for a living.  I’m the last of my peers to still be chained to a desk and while most of the time I am extremely grateful for the job and the paycheck, sometimes I think I’ll never get out of the retirement starting gate.  The grass looks greener where my friends are playing, and gardening, and traveling and starting happy hour at 3 o’clock instead of our usual 5:30 meet-up time back in days when we all snuck out of work a little early for attitude adjustment hour.  I’ve got short-timer’s disease for sure and the time feels very long indeed.

But here’s the thing.  While I am ready to give up the desk jockey job, I am not ready to give up some kind of meaningful work.  Whatever work might look like.  So, I’ve been trying on all kinds of hats to see what fits and what feels kinda groovy.  At least for a while.  travel writer – blogger – world explorer – pet and house sitter – walking enthusiast – photographer.  So many hats!  So little time.  And I still don’t know what I want to be when I finally get the chance for my second or third or forth acts.

It's fun trying on new hats!

It’s fun trying on new hats!

Some people seem to float from act to act with ease.  I admire these folks.  And, I love hearing their stories and learning from their adventures.

Meet Barbara Beskind ~


photo courtesy of IDEO/Senior Planet

Barbara is somewhere around her 6th Act.  She is a role model extraordinaire.  Barbara just celebrated her 90th birthday – with her co-workers at IDEO, a Silicon Valley innovation company, where she recently started her latest gig as one of their designers.  A job she won when she competed in the firm’s design challenge for products for older adults.  Every Thursday Ms. Beskind travels by train from her retirement community in San Mateo, CA to the IDEO offices in San Jose.  She’s not an engineer, but she certainly is a real life adviser.   Read more of Barbara’s inspiring story on Senior Planet.

Rock-on older ladies, indeed!

So, my dears, here’s the question of the day. What does aging with attitude mean to you?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.




Rock on Older Ladies

Rock on Older Ladies!

When I saw this video I knew I had to share it on the blog.  Enjoy!

Hubs and I are lacing up our walking shoes and heading out to the Columbia Gorge for a birthday weekend celebration and lots of walking at the Columbia River Gorge Biennial Classic Volkswalk event  at Cascade Locks.  With 600+ walkers from all over the world, 13 different walks and 1 bike ride, plus fun social events, and lots of new people to meet I know it’s going to be a great time.  Now all we need is some sun.

Enjoy this toe-tapping tune and share it with women everywhere!

Cheers to weekend adventures and older women.

Rock on.


Ducklings ~

Last week I took an after dinner camera stroll along Lake Oswego.  I sat for a long time watching a mama and her ducklings.  Some days I feel just like these little guys.  The pond looks deep and the water murky.  It feels safer to just sit on the rock and bask in the evening sun.  ducklingonarock

Or hang with my bestie… ducklingpair It all looks a little too scary… ducklingtestingthewater But, what I (finally) know for sure is that when I close my eyes, hold my nose and dive in… I bob along just fine.  Sometimes better than fine.  I find joy in the adventure every time I flex my bravery muscle. ducklingswimming Maybe that’s why they call it getting your ducks in a row.

Have a happy weekend.  I’m off to play with my Colorado besties.



Chef ~ An Afternoon Movie Delight

Chef, the movie, is a tasty treat for the whole family.

ChefTheMovie Hubs and I have not been to the movies in a long time.  So, in honor of a non-working Monday, we remedied that situation with a late breakfast and an early show.  What drew us to the cineplex?  Chef, a smart and engaging comedy staring the multi-talented Jon Favreau, who also wrote and directed.  It was a thoroughly tasty treat of a movie.  In my book you just can’t go wrong with a well-written, well-acted story that includes food, passion, food, a road trip, great music, food, mid-life reinvention and a go-for-the-gusto happy ending.   I loved this movie!  We laughed.  We cried.  And I wanted to eat a big juicy cubano sandwich by the time it was over.

Jon Favreau plays Chef Carl Casper who has a wake-up call in the form of a scathing restaurant review and through the magic of the movies (and the best ex-wife a man could ever hope to have – Sofia Vergara) ends up buying a food truck and heading out on a road trip across the country with his buddy and sous chef (John Leguizamo ) and his son, a ten year old tech wizard and social media master who tweets their whereabouts to an ever increasing band of foodie fans.  Stir a couple of sweet little cameos from Dustin Hoffman and Robert Downey Jr. into the pot and you have the recipe for two hours of fast paced fun with a heart.

I won’t give away any more of the plot.  Check out the trailer and next time you have a few hours to spare, go see this movie.  It will make your heart sing with a Latin beat.   I guarantee it.  If that isn’t that entertainment in it’s purest form, I don’t know what is.

Hubs and I give it two thumbs up!



OMG, I’ve Been Channeling My Mother!

I don’t remember when I started channeling my mother.  It happened slowly, a comment here, OMGmom a wise-sounding (or was it just wise-ass?) reply there.  I didn’t even notice for a long time.  And then one day it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks…I was speaking but it was my Mother who was doing the talking.  The thing we all vowed to never happen when we were 15 was happening.  This mom-channeling thing started when my kids were young and long before that next truly terrifying experience of looking in the mirror one morning and seeing my mother’s face staring back at me.  

A few years ago, my daughter told me that she had channeled me in her classroom full of third graders so I’m pretty sure it happens to most of us at some point, especially when kids are involved.

This Sunday is the day we honor moms in all their unique and quirky glory which got me thinking about these mom-isms that annoyed us, made us roll our eyes, prompted us to make fun of mom as soon as she left the room and then, ultimately, repeat those same words (over and over just like she did) to our own offspring. Continue reading

It’s Time to Walk ‘n Roll ~


A 65 year old woman walks into a room filled with complete strangers…

Six of whom are dogs…

Her heart beats a little faster…

Scents of puppy breath and craft beer waft across the air…

And, she feels drawn…

You can call it puppy love, but…

I prefer to call it my first meeting with the lovely and amazing folks who are the Portland Chapter of Canine Companions for Independence.

Quite honestly, these people (and their pups) blew me away.  And then they stole my heart.  The meeting lasted two hours and I was completely hooked by the time I left.  I do not see the title of “puppy raiser” in my future, but I’ll make a great puppy petter and a very vocal supporter of the dedication and beautiful work that is being done by the good folks of CCI.

The meeting I walked into on that first Monday in March was a planning session for the Portland edition of a national fund raising event put on by CCI chapters – DogFest Walk ‘n Roll.   Yep.  You guessed it. I joined the planning team right then and there.  You can’t keep an old meeting planner down.

This is going to be a fantastic event for a beyond great cause!

By why stop there, she asked.  We need a Backpack&Rollie Walk n Roll team!  Because really, isn’t that what hubs and I are setting out to do?  Walk and drag out rollie-bags along twopups_web wherever we go. I am grateful everyday for our ability to so easily make this dream come alive.  For so many, it’s not quite so simple.  So last week Team Backpack&Rollie was officially launched.  We’re ready to walk and roll and we’re looking for members and sponsors to help us exceed our goal of raising $1,000.

Okay, and it didn’t bother me one bit that the team captain is also called the Top Dog.  How stinkin’ cute is that?

Here’s the mini version of how DogFest works.

  • It’s a family and dog friendly event that combines, two walking courses, puppy petting, sloppy kisses and wet noses (for the dogless folks like hubs and I).
  • Teams and individuals will walk and roll either or both courses.  Prizes will be given!
  • There will be entertainment, local celebrities, doggie events of all kinds and a chance to meet lots of CCI puppies in training, their handlers and their trainer.  Get a few tips for your own four legged friend.
  • The goal of each DogFest chapter (events being held in cities across the country) is to raise $60,500 and to spread the word about the amazing work these dogs (and their handlers) are doing to make a difference in the lives of so many people.
  • Fundraising is done through donations and sponsorships of all kinds, but the easiest way to get involved is to form or join a team.  Teams raise money online, compete for doggone good prizes and share in the fun on the day of the event.  You don’t have to live in Portland but if you do, you can come walk with us in September.  For out-of-towners, there will be lots of video and great photos so you will see your team in action and can cheer from a distance.

Please watch this short video taken at the most graduation of puppies from the Portland chapter at the Charles M. Schultz (yes, Snoopy’s creator was a HUGE supporter) in Santa Rosa, CA.

Grab a leash and join me for Canine Companions for Independence DogFest Walk ‘n Roll! You can register, join our team, or simply make a donation to my fundraising efforts. Either way, you’ll be supporting the amazing work of Canine Companions. We’ll be romping, rolling, and “ruffing” it up with our dog and people friends. Let me know how you want to get involved. It’s sure to be a doggone good time! – See more at: http://www.cci.org/faf/email/emailFriend.asp?ievent=1101116&lis=1&kntae1101116=C7A1F5748C52469AA52644FC77E93C82#sthash.qRYFCiHB.dpuf
Grab a leash and join me for Canine Companions for Independence DogFest Walk ‘n Roll! You can register, join our team, or simply make a donation to my fundraising efforts. Either way, you’ll be supporting the amazing work of Canine Companions. We’ll be romping, rolling, and “ruffing” it up with our dog and people friends. Let me know how you want to get involved. It’s sure to be a doggone good time! – See more at: http://www.cci.org/faf/email/emailFriend.asp?ievent=1101116&lis=1&kntae1101116=C7A1F5748C52469AA52644FC77E93C82#sthash.qRYFCiHB.dpuf

Wanna join the fun? 

Great, because Team Backpack&Rollie WANTS YOU!

Here’s how you can help ~

  1.  Join our team.  Here’s the link again.
  2.  Spread the word to your friends, family and co-workers and help us raise $1,000. I’d love it if you shared this post.
  3.  Sponsor our team if you are a business, or talk to me about corporate sponsorship for the event if you want to go big.
  4.   Make a one time donation.  Every dollar counts!
  5.   Come walk with us and join the fun on Saturday September 13, 2014 at the University of Portland.  I’m thinking costumes and I’m open to your wild and crazy ideas.

Because, when the chips are down in this life, aren’t we really all in it together?

It’s just how we roll.


Nancy ~ aka The Top Dog

Check out the CCI website for more information on their mission, their programs and all the ways you can get involved.

It’s Friday and here’s a little Food For Thought ~ and a smile

A dear friend sent me the link below earlier this morning.  I was working on another post in my Plan Your Roving Retirement series, when I took a short break to read what she had sent.   A smile broke out at the article’s title “Was it Fatal For You Darling”?, but when I read the opening line, and started chuckling out loud , I knew I had to share it with all of you.  Because, we’re all in this together and one thing I know for sure, laughter is still the best medicine.


photo credit: Emily Flake

So thank you my dear Marian for your eagle eye and your cockeyed sense of humor in spotting this great post and sending it along so I could share it on the blog.

Was it Fatal For You, Darling? by the brilliant New York Times humorist Joyce Wadler.  If you want to read more of Joyce’s “Was I Misinformed” columns click here.

Happy Friday!



Everybody Walk ~

Regular walking helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as well as boosts self-esteem and improves sleep. 30 minutes a day spent walking can lead to benefits like reduced body fat, lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, increase energy, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

I know this.  You know this.  But that doesn’t mean either of us is doing it.  At least not every day. I’m a pretty regular walker but, short dark days and inclement weather can really foil my walking plan.  Some days its easier to Just Say No to walking and Just Do It to tea, a cookie, and a good book.

Its pouring in Portland today and so I decided a break from the office and a couple of laps around the mall would be just the spark I needed.  Turns out it was and in more ways than I knew.   I was making the turn on lap number two, walking by a new and quite lovely kiosk set up by the good folks at Kaiser Permanente to snag seniors into their Medicare insurance web when a tiny sign caught my eye.  I whipped out my cell phone and emailed myself the web address so I could look it up when I got home.

When I looked it up, what I discovered was an outstanding resource all about walking for health.  Information, inspiration, education and encouraging ideas, this site has it all and then some.   Check it out –  www.everybodywalk.org  

If you aren’t a walker, or even if you are, I highly recommend watching their outstanding 30 minute documentary.

Remember when you were a kid and walked to school?  Me too.  Uphill both ways, rain or snow.  Turns out that was good for us.   The video points out how we have engineered walking out of our lives and that in not good for us.

You might want to spend some time browsing through their online resources (love the walking App) and then sign up to Take the Pledge.  I just did.  I’m always better when I make myself accountable.

Not too shabby for a 30 minute walk at the mall.   Now I’m ready to get out there again after dinner.  This time I’ll hit the treadmill at the gym.   Summer cannot come soon enough.

Walk on!






What Makes a Great Partner ~ the sequel

This video says it all about being a partner and a friend.  And, if you read my earlier post on partnership, you’ll agree that these two have #4 (comedian and straightman) down pat.  Go girls!

And to my dear sister…may we be our own version of Irene and Alice 30+ years from now.

Cheers to best friends and partners everywhere,


And thanks to Steve Harvey for sharing two amazing women with us.  They are truly an inspiration.