*** September 2009 ***
* E-zine *

This Month's Highlights:
· Victory Garden
· Acting Like Family
· Computer Disposal

Happy Labor Day!

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Millions of Americans are doing it. At first it sounds somewhat subversive, but then once you start thinking about it you realize it is how America was born and raised!

We’re talking about the backyard farming movement that is sweeping parts of the nation. Some call it “slow food.” Others call it “food not lawns.” Our grandparents called it “Victory Gardens.”

Americans are planting their backyards, side yards, and front gardens with vegetables. Vegetables and fruit trees are providing nutritious food in amounts larger than the grower can eat themselves--and so sharing and cooperatives have sprung up between neighbors.

“Seed swaps” and educational seminars online and in person at community gardens and parks help new growers with tips and learning. Experienced gardeners learn new methods and the latest information on plant varieties. Everyone eats better. The exercise is great, fun, and sociable.

These gardens can be as simple as a few strawberry pots with squash and herbs growing in them on a balcony. They can be as complex as a “mini farm.” It’s all up to you and the resources, land, and available sunlight that you have at hand. If you have no place to grow, many urban areas have municipal lots for community gardens. Check your area’s public recreation or parks department for information on these.

Some people involved in backyard gardening (as we called it in the 70’s when our back yard was the grocery store) identify other reasons and additional benefits to our society through this activity: educating children, meditative and stress reducing qualities of gardening activities, learning about and mitigating concerns about water use and industrial farming effects on the environment. Regardless of your reason, gardening and growing fresh fruits and vegetables is a rewarding, and tasty way to re-make your yard, stay active, know your neighbors, and remain healthier.

Here are some links to get you started in your search for your own back yard garden:

Get your copy of Square Foot Gardening here:

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A2. ACTING LIKE FAMILY by Barbara Krueger

How many stories have we heard about parents selling their home of many years to move to smaller quarters just so the kids can't move back in? And tales of sons-in-law complaining about the live-in meddling mother-in-law?

In the face of the economic woes which have touched us all, we need to revisit where we stand on these issues. Retirees depending upon investments to supplement social security and/or pensions have been decimated.

Seniors without investments, living on fixed incomes have been hit by rising inflation and lack of availability of part time work. Those only a few years away from retirement have lost jobs and have no prospects for landing another, and are fearful of uninsured medical costs. Adult children are hard hit with job losses, uninsured medical costs, rising inflation, and foreclosures.

Sounds like time for families to act like families, care about each other, and pool resources. Good communication between generations can make all the difference between devastation and survival. How much help do adult children need to meet their financial obligations? Can a grandparent pitching in as babysitter help ease the burden? Can moving grandma in help by pooling two generations' assets and talents? Can grandparents make room in their home for children and grandchildren who have lost theirs?

None of this can happen without open communication. It only works if there’s a clear understanding of the boundaries of the moving-in situation or the limits of financial assistance and the terms of mutual responsibility. A serious pow-wow is needed to start the process of identifying what help is needed on either side, how best it can be provided and what the arrangement does and does NOT include.

If your family has had good communication, the process of how best to help each other through difficult times will be smoother. If divorce, yours, mine and grudges has characterized your relationship, be prepared for the process to mutual help to be rocky. But it can still succeed if both sides see it as a mutual benefit, and as a chance to act like family.

Find topic related books at:

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1. Procrastination - One of the Leading Retirement Mistakes
For many young folks, retirement is the least of their worries. In fact, according to benefits-consultants Hewitt Associates, only slightly more than half of 20- to 29-year-olds participated in a 401(k) as of the end of 2007. With record losses in these plans in 2008, and concern about continued employment, their 401(k) saving and investing habits showed very little change.

Most young adults are more worried about student loans and daily expenses. They fail to provide for retirement. Such failure during these early years is a huge mistake.

Investing in a 401(k) allows earnings to grow tax-deferred. With the power of compounding, contributions made earlier have a longer time to grow and multiply. Assuming a 7% annual rate of return, a 25-year-old who contributes $5,000 to a 401(k) each year will end up with around $1 million by age 65. But if he starts putting that same amount in a 401(k) at age 45, he'll only have some-$200,000. So take a solid look at your employer's 401(k) or an IRA of your own and start to make the investments needed for a comfortable retirement.

Additional retirement financial information may be found at:


2. Saving Money on Repairs


Save money by fixing your broken electronics and small appliances versus buying new ones.


Use the internet to learn how to make repairs. For example list your problem on ( The website is designed to aid consumers with do-it-yourself repairs with help via online technical experts. Or you can learn how to do simple home repairs yourself so you don't have to call in expensive experts every time something breaks. The ivillage website can help you find repair related answers and ideas for making home improvements.

Additional home improvement information may be found at:

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We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.

Joseph P. Kennedy - "He may be president, but he still comes home and swipes my socks."

Rosie Perez - "Why would someone be so arrogant and smug to think children would only want to learn one language?"

Jeff Foxworthy - "Ignorance is bliss. When you do not know better, you do not really worry about failing."

Elia Kazan - "I felt no political cause was worth hurting another human being for."

Patsy Cline - "Here's to those who wish us well and those who don't can go to hell."

More "Thoughts" at: and get some music at

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1. What Should I Read Next? (WSIRN)

Have you just finished reading a book, and don’t know what to read next? Then the “What should I read next“ (WSIRN) website is for you. WSIRN produces recommendations based purely on collective taste: when items are entered into the same favorites list, they become associated with each other. The more often particular items appear on different lists, the stronger that association becomes. Pure and simple, WSIRN represents mass opinion about items. Over time the recommendations should get better and better as the database grows.

Find senior-related books at our Senior Bazaar

2. Computer Disposal

Your computer contains your personal and financial information. When it is time to get rid of your old computer it is best to be sure that your information and data is removed.

  1. Save important files on an external storage device or transfer them to a new computer.
  2. “Wipe” your hard drive clean – use software available both online and in stores where computers are sold. They’re generally inexpensive; some are available on the Internet for free.
  3. Consider using a program that overwrites or wipes the hard drive many times. Or, remove the hard drive, and physically destroy it.
  4. Once you have a “clean” computer, consider recycling, donating, or reselling it–and keep the environment in mind when disposing of your computer.

Drivescrubber 3 is a candidate hard drive cleaner: get it at



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Actual Call Center Conversations!

Glenn's Motors

Customer: "I've been calling 700-1000 for two days and can't get through; can you help?"

Operator: 'Where did you get that number, sir?"

Customer: "It's on the door of your business."

Operator: "Sir, those are the hours that we are open." >

Darleen’s Electronics

Caller: "Can you give me the telephone number for Jack?"

Operator: "I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand who you are talking about."

Caller: "On page 1, section 5 of the user guide it clearly states that I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall socket and telephone Jack before cleaning. Now, can you give me the number for Jack?"

Operator: "I think it means the telephone plug on the wall."


Questions on Retirement!!

Question: How many days in a week?

Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday

Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?

Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.

Question: How many retirees does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.

"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:

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This issue has been edited by Betsy Day ([email protected]).

Copyright 2009, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products, service and companies named herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders and are solely responsible for the content of their articles. Articles are included for informational purposes and are not an endorsement.

This Copyright E-zine may be forwarded to others only if sent in its entirety. Other uses are subject to written permission of the publisher.

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