Archive for the ‘Guest Blogger’ Category

Says the Spider to Guest Blogger Suzanne Gunn, “Welcome to my orb!”

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

Orb WebSummer in Kansas goes through stages. It starts hot and muggy with a few bugs, which is followed by hotter and muggier and “did you see the size of That Mosquito”; and finally it’s damn hot, wring-it-out muggy, Backwoods Off as the perfume de jour and season of the orb spider.

Along with increase in bugs comes an increase in their nemesis, spiders (along with bats and miscellaneous birds, but this is about spiders). Most spiders know their place in the yard. The gorgeous yellow and black garden spiders spin magnificent webs along the border of things, neatly out of the way. Not so the orb. These ladies believe the world is their oyster and happily rig their webs any place they can get an anchor line attached. The webs can be really big, nearly invisible and surprisingly tough – after all it has to withstand struggling insects. We are now at the beginning of the Season of the Orb Spider (mysterious music, please).

So the other evening Skamp, the rat terrier, and I were following the plopping journey of a smallish toad across the yard. I was looking down at the little critter, not up. Oh darn! Walked smack dab, full frontal, forehead to belt into an orb spider web that hadn’t been there an hour before.

I levitated. Yodeled! Flailed mightily and then did my best cheerleader moves midair trying to remove web and find the spider (oh where is the spider!?!?!) and avoid stepping on dog or toad. Eeee! Once grounded on terra firma the spider hunt continued, bending at the waist, shaking out my long hair, alternately hopping, shaking and flailing. It’s the most horrible feeling not to know where the spider went to say nothing about the creepy web. The spider obviously survived because there was another web in the same exact place by the next morning.

If you happen to drive by our place and see the Lady of the Manor out and about waiving a long stick like a demented Hogwarts escapee don’t worry. It’s just the best available spider defense system. It’s low tech and it works. Sweep and swish through thin air and there went another spider web…

A Short Fable by Suzanne Gunn

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

She had three cats and a dog and a lame vegan tiger named Spritz.

Spritz had been donated by a circus that could no longer afford the liability insurance.

At first the cats and dog were terrified of the great beast but over a period of weeks they grew to be a family. The biggest cat, Papa Grey, couldn’t understand why the new cat wouldn’t hunt and started to bring Spritz nice freshly caught mice. Finally Spritz ate one and immediately craved another. It had been warm and soft and rich to the palate. So much better than oatmeal and soy gruel. In his heart and mind ‘something’ clicked into a new position and he began to change inexorably into a very real tiger.

Two cats and the dog were missing when she realized that Spritz was somehow different and scary. She went outside to call Animal Control and watched through the window as the tiger sprayed his scent on her recliner. Ah, she thought, Spritz was more than a name.

The Animal Control officer was kindly. He called for assistance from the zoo and, after the tiger was gone, helped her remove the damaged furniture, wrote her a ticket for harboring a wild animal and asked her out to dinner.

“All in all,” she mused over a perfectly chilled martini, “a rather nice ending.”

BellaBoomerBlog: Planning for Retirement

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Guest Blogger, Mary Corey is the author of The 100 Percent Club, a pragmatic book dealing with the labyrinth of details needed to be resolved prior, during and after the death process. As a seasoned RN who has recently retired, she offers the following thoughts about preparing for retirement.

Thoughts About Retirement

The long awaited day of retirement has arrived. You’ve carefully planned your finances and you’ve taken care of all the practicalities of your new life. You have or will shortly have a lot of company. There are about 76.4 million of us baby boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964 according to the 2012 census. That’s about a quarter of the US population.

Hopefully your health is still good and you’ve made friends outside your daily work life. At any rate you now find yourself blissfully not getting up at 6:00 every morning for the commute. No longer do you have to meet production quotas, put up with coworkers idiosyncrasies, or resolve endless client problems.

For the next three months it’s great to sleep in and rest knowing you never have to return to the nine to five grind. However, one of my high school friends wrote me an email stating she “had great chunks of time with nothing to do”. She is not alone.

You need a plan. This is as significant as your health and finances. Your plan will influence both. What really interests you at this point? What do you want to do with your remaining time? What did you do in the past that was meaningful? It’s a mistake to depend on children for your social life. They have their own lives.

After all these years, you probably have a good handle on your strengths and weaknesses. That’s what great about being a boomer, lots of life experience coupled with wisdom and perspective. It mayt help to sit down and write out possibilities. My neighbor, a former high school principal, tried part time work, the gym, learning Spanish and finally happily became a docent at the art museum. Other friends volunteer at the food bank. One acquaintance is helping developmentally children learn to ride horses. The point is if the initial plan doesn’t work, move on till you find an interest that does.