Health matters

 

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Now that we hit a certain age, health matters differently to each age group:

:: Teens: I only go to the doctor when my mom takes me/makes me

:: 20s:  Why would I bother going to see a doctor?

:: 30s:  I know I should go see a doctor but with this and that I don’t have time

:: 40s: I owe it to myself to go for an annual checkup even if I dread it

:: 50s:  My social dinners carry a conversation about health with those of same age

:: 60s:  I go to the doctor frequently and have a lot of different medications

:: 70s:  I talk a lot about others’ health problems, who’s still alive

:: 80s:  I am may need help to get to the doctor, it’s the one appointment I won’t miss

:: 90s:  I am happy to be alive and around to go see my doctor

:: 100s:  I like the fuss from the media for my age, even if I’ve done more in life

Genetics play a defining role in what our health footprint may be.  If you have been paying attention, you have noticed health issues from our parents and even siblings.   If you have been an observer of population trends, you may understand why pharmaceuticals have gotten so big and important:  The Baby Boomers are over 65 and consumed with turning back the clock.  InBETWEENers are coming to grips with medical diagnosis and taking strides to beat the clock.  GenXers may start to understand why health is a looming concern for most citizens.  Millennials are arrogant to believe that they have a long life ahead of them.

When I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes almost two years ago:  it was a shake up and a wake up call.  Almost grieving, or full board grief to the loss of the clean bill of health.  There were blood tests and dietician appointments to monitor my diet.  It was a bit of a challenge because my husband had been faced with gluten intolerance.   Reading labels, incorporating a balanced diet, choosing low fat over trans fat wasn’t a difficult change.

If you are like me, I have a lot of things on the go, with work and a shrunk family home, but necessity to be “on call” to my four blended children is always a priority.  Often, my own health takes a back seat.

When each of us faces our wake up call can vary.  Whether we embrace it, study the heck out of it to bridge understanding, or ignore it all depends only on each individual.  Often, we lose a family member or know someone who’s life is cut very short by a heart attack or some other mortal event.  That is when we may take our own mortality and health more seriously.

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I’m glad that the GenX community is a very healthy, active bunch.  They, and the Inbetweeners, have observed the effects of poor choices impact others:  a sibling, a close friend or an acquaintance.

For our Millennial children, they have formed habits, live a lifestyle that is much milder than their predecessors whether it was the hard drinking, heavily smoking, less active Baby Boomers or the stress-burdened inBetweeners parents.  They aren’t out of the weeds, however.  The poor choices in drugs is astounding to me.  The availability and acceptability of drugs started at a super young age, compared to their parents: The Baby Boomers and InBetweeners.  Peer pressure and social environment influences whether Millennials partake in drugs, most many of us hadn’t even heard of until the threat loomed from our children.

Baby Boomers, Inbetweeners and GenX knew about the effects of alcohol, more likely because of a family members addiction.  Besides weed, cocaine was off in the distance for the faster crowd associated with the big cities like New York or mega-athletes, or Hollywood crashes.  Not something that was around us until much later on, and less likely automatically there like it is for Millennials who can say “Meth, extasy, crack” more easily than their older influences who base it more on television, media or movies consumption.

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I’m thankful that the drugs that our kids, The Millennials, have to face were not around when I was growing up.  I often base that on the concentrated choice to put figure skating ahead of social pressure.  Even when I went to college, it just wasn’t around, or I had already formed a good habit of understanding that “I am who I surround myself with”.

I appreciate and don’t take for granted the influence of myself and my kids father gave them:  a leaning towards a balanced diet, lifelong athleticism, and although not perfect, still much better than they can see from those in the same age bracket.

There is a close correlation between having an athletic extra-curricular focus that influenced a healthier attitude.  I think that one of Stephen Harper’s (Canada’s former Prime Minister who was ousted due to lack of popularity) biggest legacy may be the extra-curricular tax break.  It promotes parents to get their kids involved in a sport or activity that would distract them from making poor choices or bridges awareness to avoid those spiraling downwards by participating in activities that will crop up later on with health.  There is likely some very good research out there that defines kids with extra-curricular activities, most often sports, are least likely to impact themselves and their families with drug addiction, sexual permissivity, putting them at a major risk to disease, career malfunction, or burden on society or government resources.

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It all starts with each of us.  Are we putting ourselves first in our health considerations?  Are we setting a good example for our children?  Are our children equipped to avoid the trappings of peer pressure, or, at least, making choices recognizing that they become who they surround themselves by?

Our governments can help, but it isn’t their responsibility.  It all starts at the doorstep of our own youth, career influence or social environment.  It can be offset by the habits we form, with a focus on making us better, not weakening our ability to be there to help others.  Who need us, count on us …. to be THERE!

 

 

 

 

Psychographics explained

The scientific, human behavioural name given for the study of characteristics, leanings, likelihoods, patterns, identifications was explained to me when I launched my career in magazine advertising sales back in the 80s.

Equipped with desire,  the right attitude, and positive outlook, the then Publisher, Gail C—-, hired me saying:  “I’m not so worried about your experience, as I am about your attitude and ability to learn.  I can teach you everything there is to know about the numbers that drive the magazine business”.

Gail drilled into me how important numbers are:  formulae, statistics, ages, and everything in between.  The first lesson was all about “demographics”.  You see, it was the 80s and consumption was exploding at a greater rate than the population.  My targeting an ideal demographic, you were almost certain to pinpoint who your message should be crafted towards.

Once you begin to adapt and understand all about demographics, it is then time to leap into “psychographics” which, according to this excerpt from WIKIpedia means:

Psychographics is the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.[1] Because this area of research focuses on interests, attitudes, and opinions, psychographic factors are also called IAO variables. Psychographic studies of individuals or communities can be valuable in the fields of marketing,[2]demographics, opinion research, futuring, and social research in general. They can be contrasted with demographic variables (such as age and gender), behavioral variables (such as usage rate or loyalty), and organizational demographics variables (sometimes called firmographic variables), such as industry, number of employees, and functional area.

Psychographics is often confused with demographics, where historical generations may be defined both by demographics, such as the years in which a particular generation is born or even the fertility rates of that generation’s parents, but also by psychographic variables like attitudes, personality formation, and cultural touchstones. For example, the traditional approaches to defining the Baby Boom Generation or Generation X or Millennials have relied on both demographic variables (classifying individuals based on birth years) and psychographic variables (such as beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors).

When a relatively complete profile of a person or group’s psychographic make-up is constructed, this is called a “psychographic profile”. Psychographic profiles are used in market segmentation as well as in advertising. Some categories of psychographic factors used in market segmentation include:

  • activity, interest, opinion (AIOs)
  • attitudes
  • values
  • behavior

So, to understand psychographics you can, in theory, define who your target audience is based on the criteria described.  Digging further, I found this website that had a great simulation of the segments that the clever people can start to populate behaviour traits based on Demographics, which it often is confused with psychographics.  Nestled in an unlikely place on the website Exam Tutor  lay the valuable nuggets of information that can be extrapolated and defined by population trends: 

Psychographics can also be seen as an equivalent of the concept of “culture” when it is used for segmentation at a national level.

One example of a life style classification model, is that developed by the advertising agency, Young & Rubican, called Cross Cultural Consumer Characterization (4Cs for short). This classification model is presented in the table below


Rigid, strict, authoritarian and chauvinist values, oriented to the past and to Resigned roles. Brand choice stresses safety, familiarity and economy. (Older)

Alienated, Struggler, disorganised – with few resources apart from physical/mechanical skills (e.g. car repair). Heavy consumers of alcohol, junk food and lotteries, also trainers. Brand choice involves impact and sensation.

Domestic, conformist, conventional, sentimental, passive, habitual. Part of the mass, favouring big and well-known value for money ‘family’ brands. Almost invariably the largest 4Cs group.

Materialistic, acquisitive, affiliative, oriented to extrinsics … image, appearance, charisma, persona and fashion. Attractive packaging more important than quality of contents. (Younger, clerical/sales type occupation)

Strong goal orientation, confidence, work ethic, organisation … support status quo, stability. Brand choice based on reward, prestige – the very best . Also attracted to ‘caring’ and protective brands … stress relief. (Top management)

Energy – autonomy, experience, challenge, new frontiers. Brand choice highlights difference, sensation, adventure, indulgence and instant effect – the first to try new brands. (Younger – student)

Freedom from restriction, personal growth, social awareness, value for time, independent judgement, tolerance of complexity, anti-materialistic but intolerant of bad taste. Curious and enquiring, support growth of new product categories. Select brands for intrinsic quality, favouring natural simplicity, small is beautiful.(Higher Education)

See more 

Based on the diagram, as a student of demographics and psychographics, it was easy to color code and edit the categories:

  • GI generation
  • Baby Boomers
  • InBetweeners
  • GENx
  • Millenials
  • WHYers or Yers (unborn)
  • ANY (can be determined by more psychographics)

Back in the day …. when I emerged from childbearing, I began working in the early world of the internet and using it as a tool to help my business revenue grow.  I began working in digital print, document management segment that was at its infancy.    I learned to use the internet as a tool to solve problems, like:

  • time to market
  • quality
  • accuracy
  • tracking
  • sending
  • receiving
  • eliminating shipping costs
  • decreased errors when updating
  • approval to release
  • remove administrative headaches

As the budding student I was back in the late 80s, by the early 90s I became a sponge on this topic, more by chance than focus.  Likely, it was in the back of my brain, ready to gurgle forth, and go to the next level.

Thankfully, on a teleconference call with other top performers in our organization (which I became one, by understanding what needs drove organizations to choose their provider based on, where price point was almost eliminated), a very wise gentleman executive, challenged us all to learn more about demographics and population trends.

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I became a new student of the “Boom, Bust or Echo” by David K. Foot who established and taught those who read it (which I have done numerous times) what predictive measures we could use to anticipate trends that were declining (or would decline) and the new ones emerging (or likely to emerge) based on the age of the population.  The basics, by cross-referencing your product or service with a defined target, your success was more likely.

To the dismay of the creative agencies out there, a lot of sales professionals and decision makers, could save on hefty research costs (or narrow them) if they read and absorbed the meaning of understanding population, and proved that anyone can predict the success, or design something that was destined to be successful, simply by understanding who the audience was or would be:

 

ECHOBOOM

Interestingly, however, the identity “Millennial” was not coined by Foot as such but as Echo:  which essentially means the children of the Boomers to InBetweeners.

According to Forbes, it was Neil Howe and William Strauss who came up with the label to distinguish this population group from the rest, born between 1980 and 2000.

What has recently emerged has the prehistoric demogration which the Baby Boomers followed and likely grandparents of InBetweeners:  The GI generation. the group born between 1900 to 1920s.  Howe and Strauss suggest that the Millennials closely resemble the GIs.  Interesting, by all means.  Especially, as it links to the basis for establishing this blog.  It even identifies the “forgotten generation” as turning 30 when the 90s happened.

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What I am projecting and predicting, based on real authority and research, as visualized above, is that we InBetweeners are a unique sort and what I lean towards saying:  that our children will more likely succeed as they more closely resemble the GI generation.  What a snap!

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I completely disagree with this depiction of Millennials, which more closely distinguishes the bubble within the bubble, to those born 1980-90, as children of Baby Boomers:  the greatest “ME” generation ever.

If we continue to study the phenomena among demographics, the trend and diagrams would mean this is what we have to look forward to the “WHYers” or Yrs generation:  the future is bright in that case.  Yet, it is still within every single one of us to help others reach their highest potential.  A little numbers can help us go a long way.  A lot of understanding can take us miles.

 

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There’s no place like a child of InBetweeners

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I’m getting started on this blog which was begun to emphasize that there is a group of people that don’t fit into the mainstream’s interpretation of demographic group which I identified us as “The Inbetweeners” born 1960-65.

Lo and behold the image shown was shared on Linked In to help employers identify the likelihood of success based on the year they were born.  Huh?  Where are WE?  Especially those born 1960-63.  We don’t seriously belong as Baby Boomers.  We identify more with Gen X than anywhere, and these skills are clearly earmarked for us.

We stand out in areas such as

  • Generating revenue
  • Adaptability
  • Relationship Building
  • Problem Solving
  • Collaboration

It really shouldn’t be considered rocket science.  If you were the little sister or baby brother of a Baby Boomer, you’ve always had to rely on your personal resources, tenacity, relationships, solutions and collaborative ability to survive.

Like most parents, we pass on to our offspring the qualities we have while focussed on arming them with better skills than we were not fortunate to accumulate simply because our voice is muffled out by the former population boom, and the climbing noise coming from our children:  The Millennials.

I should not come off as a surprise that we would be forced to have the skills we’ve been identified by.  If you are at the tail end of a big blob of consumers, employees, siblings we have only gotten those skills like “adaptability” “relationship building” “problem solving” and “collaboration” in order to survive.

Add gender, race to the mix, and you fall further to the bottom of the heep.  Not from lack of trying, but from lack of opportunity.  All the best jobs were clutched by the Baby Boomers and when we hit our prime with all those wonderful attributes, we’re being passed over for the savvy Millennials.  How depressing … perhaps.  Perhaps not.

On my second blob, I shared those Inbetweeners who have risen to the top and because of how far they had to climb, are solid contenders for greatness.  Not always because of their history or skills, but more likely because when they were starting out, there was a massive hill to climb.

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Think about it.  Our Baby Boomer siblings and icons were born out of war, devastation and even poverty.  They created opportunity and optimism by force of will and the era unfolding:  you would get a job, regardless of education, likely work it for 40 some years, retiring with a plump nest egg and the least worry of all the generations combined.

Inbetweeners had to take the leftovers, make opportunity happen where it never existed, and try to live optimistically where we couldn’t feel entitlement, and were taught you had to work hard to accomplish anything and nothing was handed to us.

Not far behind, the children of Baby Boomers and Inbetweeners, have become the next population force called the Millennial generation.  The gap in between, called GenX, were the ones who survived in the 1990s and also likely passed over from Baby Boomers to Millennials.

Our current world is not nearly ideal as the Baby Boomers and not necessarily equipped for Millennials, who have glossed over Inbetweeners and GenX, formulated by entitlement.   Thankful maybe those Millennials born to the Inbetweeners, taught the right skills for survival:  relationships, flexibility, tech savviness, problem-solving with collaboration a distant finalist.   They didn’t have to rely on collaboration to get ahead.  Strong, smart, they forge ahead.  Prime for discussion by marketers, advertisers, educators and employers.

Our world is a rocky one.  Who is really equipped for survival?  I am biased, certainly, to think Inbetweeners will be because of what life had unfolded for them.  Born in the consumerism of the 1960s, the political upheaval and uncertainty of the 1960s, the background noise fluttering with a Vietnam war.  Our formative years clouded by the “ME” generation that said “US” to this population group.

We are the years of observers:  we got to watch how destructive drugs and alcoholism could be, the former by our siblings and the latter likely shown by our parents or authority figures.

Our greatest hope?  Our Millennial children.  Not the ones yet unemployed.  They saw their parents flux between employment and layoff multiple times.  They heed the importance of education, to give you a lift in a competitive, combative world of employment where nothing was guaranteed anymore.

The InBetweeners were not shown a world of constant optimism.  A struggle to be skeptical because we were born in the wave of anything is possible.

The hardships that befall many, are likely cast with the InBetweeners, but their resolute nature can be found inspiring.

The next successful bubble within a large bubble will befall the resolute children of InBetweeners … to those who heeded their parents’ struggles, promising to leverage the period of renewed optimism, sprinkled with reality.

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Fear will be a strong motivator.  Whether that fear stems from world chaos and violence, or poor life choices dulled by drugs and alcohol, the out-of-control adoption of online presence.  The winners will be that very small segment of Millennials who absorbed the wisdom of the InBetweener  which will allow them to soar.  Like generations before them, they will take what history has taught them, with renewed vows to make the world a better place, for all, regardless of race, color, religion or education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#TGIF #Friday

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I wrote this last night. Rarely would I think this reminiscing should appear on the more serious veneer of optioneerJM or expose a side of Jeannette Marshall, not many have seen. 


It does tend to fall into our twenties. Not important, the early or late years. Your career starts to take off somehow. You spin around, just to see everyone IS looking at you.



You are a model citizen, responsible adult with some post-secondary education that no matter how thick is a foundation you can pull forward in those wondering times. Was it work ethic, looks, personality, education or street smarts? That won many others over and where you were allowed to spread your wings.

 

Nowadays, to get a foot in the door, you have to have heeps of experience, or make degrees into diplomas or walk out of the door. How lucky I am and even at the time I still did. How did magical things happen to this average ole kid.

Wait a minute. You were an average old kid? Like does that mean when you were a kid you seemed older, or as you got older you got hipper? I mean average. Really? Does that mean academics?


Should you be reminded how in grade school, your meanest toughest teacher on record, yet you don’t even remember his name. The one who pushed you above so many in leaps and bounds. So that the next year, away you sat with three other boys, working on math from the proceeding years, For those who may benefit. Guess that ain’t ole average after all.

I got on a tangent as I often do. Forcing my attention back to the matter at hand.


The 1980s were fab-tas-tic-u-lust. Opps, was that an accident or on purpose? I’d hazard a guess that what makes a writer creative is the disguise he or she wears creating characters that they could dream up while never would dare, do or try what their characters could.



Some call the 60s just outtasight. But wasn’t it the 70s that gave us our might? Skipping along with our brothers or sis humming or tap tap tapping like a drum.  To the music that made those a decade ahead, believe that peace, science and academics were what matters in stead.


I was born in the shadows of that rebirth, long before greed, politics, money because the currency of luck.  After all, our immediate forefathers, young enough and wise enough who we may have considered brothers.


Then what happened? We huddled behind our desks, cozied up on our couch, watching wholesome TV shows like Mr. Ed the horse, or the Mr. Ed before Sullivan.  Bewitched, Three’s Company long before Friends.


We were too young to understand all the fuss over four young men arrived on the continent on a bus, or was that an airplane?

Don’t laugh too hard but when we graduated from High School, it was all about Disco, lights and all that fuzz.  Agreeably, we were mostly ignorant about beer or getting a buzz.

 

That wasn’t our scene.  Do you wanna know what was?  Going to school, then getting all gussied up like those 50s gals, except with very high heels and more conservative skirts than the 60s, yet not abandoned like the 70s.


We were a generation when it was about life being about the basics:  having a family, going to Midnight Mass at Christmas, with newcomers at the table because it was unthinkable, while it was not at all that new yet authentic, for anyone from the neighbourhood, school or work be left alone on the Holidays.  Funny, some folks even went to church, more often than not, which was never a conversation at the

dinner table was religion a topic sought.


Yes, the 80s were rad.  You can’t disagree when all the Millinnials embrace the decade.  It was a time when life was pretty basic, much less controversies, scandals, violence in our sphere.  We pushed on, went to school, excelled in athletics or guide/scouts, year after year.


We weren’t in the years when what our peers did or thought, was more important than our home, our families, parents, siblings and such.


Now there was drugs, alcohol, and permiscuaty in talked in back alleys not permiated by media, television, radio, newspapers and magazines.  In fact, that is when I read and read.  Nothing felt better or safer than in bed, with a book.  Being called to set the table, dinner was ready, would nearly break the imagination captured, dreading to just put it down.  Then we skooted outside so the adults could breathe, instead of the chatter and noise four kids bring, when turning on the TV was the very last thing.


Whoop whoop to the 80s.  Think about it, that was when the computer and music playing instruments were being revolutionized.  Ignorant were we that it would only be a phase.

 

The emergence of drugs and crime started to hold us spellbound.  Theatrics and lies joined them as the norm in the 90s.





Then we hit a new century.  Brought on alongside sheer panic that we were doomed when the clock was to pass midnight 23:59 1999 to 24:00 2000.  Makes you think, maybe we were really that lucky.


We were into our 30s by then.  Usually happily married or two times past.  Consumed with a passion never before known:  the power of money over towered us, some cast in gloom.


Whoever said “money can’t buy you love” as a quote turned into a famous tune?  Wasn’t really far off when you consider how fast hatred, jealousy, terrorism, violence can grow. 


Our own children now in their twenties as we near closer to 2020s.  Mixed with fear, and far less optimism than we were allowed.  Where diseases as bola, violence created by religion long before born.  


Yet they are the children of the 80s youngsters born of the 60s, wherein lies as when the basics were born.  Long before when a child could ride a bike alone, and still make it home.   Long before millions became billions …. in debt.  Where politicians, not parents or teachers, became scorned.


We were brought up in a world where politics were faded in the background, until a corrupt President was ousted.  Scandals were drugs, pre-marital sex very private, and violence against women, far less, children was even known.


The faint dew drops of that optimism allows many to soar.  Behind them strong parents, with morals from when the ideal foundation was formed.



When searching for royalty free images to enhance this Blog, I thought it ironic what the iconimic image covering The Times would symbolize the new century.  When the horror in Paris would mark this year approaching its end: 2015 my friend.

 


Bowing my head over these keys, gives me pause as our refugees arrive in Canada today with the belief that ours is a much safer world, with opportunity, humanity and peace.  Let us remember that “our” means our world, our harmony, our hope, our peace is not your, mine, me, or I.  It takes a lot of people to keep us from harm.

 

Vincent Van Gogh “Sunny Meadow”


Can we get back to the basics?  Only personally and privately we may have to reflect.  Will we help others, the poor, the fearful, the aging, the lonely, to never neglect.  We do have the power to make it basic again.

Sunny camomile meadow – Margaret Raven Art Gallery

Balance balance

Regardless of age, everyone hears the hoopla on how important a balanced diet it.  That’s fine and dandy if you have a lot of time, which most of us in this INBETWEENERS age group don’t seem to have enough of.

Oftentimes we are in a power struggle between 1) work, 2) home and what always comes last 3) health.

There are a few tricks that help offset the pitfalls of this battle between wellness and reality.  The best way, I’ve discovered, is to make batches of healthy soups, chowders or chilli in advance and invest in great freezer to microwave containers.

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Correlle’s containers take the gold medal for me because of the snap lock lid and the glass bottom that is their trademark for not breaking.  I’ve learned by trial and error that the investment is worth having soup spill out and is plain ugly.

Leftovers are usually not something that I’m a fan of so instead, I will pop leftovers like chicken or beef it in the freezer for pulling out on my energetic cooking days.

Granted it takes planning.  Yet you can make a plan to have back ups and that is just as awesome.

Make a deal with yourself that you won’t resort to take out or dinner outs — it is something your health will thank you for in the long run.  Making the easy to go or easy to eat containers is also cheaper.  Then again, we INBETWEENERS  aren’t necessarily pinching at the pocket book so we can form bad habits without pause.

Soups and chowders are especially hardy and filling.  I have found a few tricks to help speed up the preparation time so that you can’t fall on the excuse of not having anything.   Just yesterday, I was making home made lasagna for my adult kids to come over and have a little chat and some quality times.  I sure miss those times.  You’d think that this would take a long time to make, but it really didn’t.  Setting a lovely table and choosing a wine took more thought.

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The only canned item in my pantry is canned tomatoes and sauce, on the ready in a pinch.  I also buy fresh baby spinach, wash it and put in a bag and yes, you got it, put it into the freezer.  I have consciously made that a habit that has expanded to fresh cilantro, parsley and basil from my garden days, each into a bag, on the ready for my culinary creations adding great flavour, but more importantly healthy ingredients.

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I found these lasagna in a new Italian Supermarket fairly close by in my neighbourhood.  Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of shopping for groceries.  Yet take me to a cool store like this, and I can wander around and pick up a few things to inspire me to try something new.  Going to a specialty supermarket or farmers market to me is relaxing and enjoyable.  I don’t chose to do it when I’m on a shopping mission, because that just destroys the pleasure.  I’m open to new ideas by wandering around in the crowd of anxious shoppers, feeling I have one up on them, that I’m not in a hurry and it is an excursion, not a chore.

To make my lasagna, I had 3/4 of the ingredients on hand.  First up was creating my always new sauce, which I go by appeal and color:

  • A can of 28 oz cubed tomatoes (I like Roma = best for italian)
  • A can of 28 oz ready made tomato sauce – Hunts tends to be on sale
  • I tossed in a couple of small containers of pizza sauce in my fridge

 

I found this brilliant must have when one of our largest department stores was closing down.  In the meandering mood of wandering around to discoverimages anything I may not buy at full price to try.  This gadget has been the wunderkind in my kitchen.  So much so, that I did pay full price to give to my daughters for Christmas.  Talk about chopping onions and tears?  Not with this, you just peal the onion, cut it into quarters and plop it in, yank the puller as many times as coarseness desired.  It turns chopping hassle into speed fun!  They can be found in your department store kitchen gadgets area and cost no more than $20.  It is a gift that keeps on giving.


 

I put on a largish pot with water and a tsp of olive oil to come to a rapid boil before I begin the sauce.  I then start with the canned cubed tomatoes and tomato sauce in a medium saucepan to start a slow simmer while I pulled out and washed what I could find in my vegetable container:  fresh mushroom, small onion, orange pepper, and a full garlic.  30 seconds to rinse and plopped in to pull the string and voila, minced ingredients.  In a separate smaller saucepan, I plopped in a blob of Becel margarine (that tastes like butter) and set the minced ingredients to soften to a bubble then added it to the sauce.  Great color and texture already unfolding and the aroma enveloped the house.

This is when I pulled out a handful of frozen bagged spinach rinsed it and added to sauce for health smart zest.  Along with it went a half a cup of frozen cilantro (Italian parsley).

I tend to judge by color, texture and aroma when I am adding spices:  flaked oregano, basil — I’d say a good tablespoon of each.  I let the sauce simmer and the water for the pasta to boil.

I did have to run out to the grocery store to get important ingredients for the lasagna – but it is always better that way, in my opinion, because you have a list, you have dinner half way done, so there is no time to add temptations or uncalled from items.  What I bought was:

ss1mbukojvymd06zlnkmCheese Mixture:

  • 1 container of cottage cheese (low fat is my motto whenever possible)
  • 1 container of ready flaked parmesan cheese
  • a container of Romano dry cheese from Kraft
  • pre-shredded mozzarella cheese package (about 1.5 cups)
  • a heaping handful of frozen spinach rinsed with warm water to soften

It took me maybe 20 minutes to zip out and get those ingredients along with a case of Coke Zero that was on sale!  Another 5 to the liquor store next door for a Black Tower white wine (I know red wine is usually best but I had two adult kids that may want a glass of wine with dinner and I was working within a budget).  It cost $20 Cdn.  Sadly, they didn’t have my favorite wine from Australia BIN555 (below).

When I returned home to the still boiling water (my son was home from work so, no, I didn’t leave the house unattended while the stove was on), I preset the oven at 375 F for one hour.

I gently added about 8 strips of the lasagna to the boiling water for no more than 7 minutes, just enough to soften, long before mushy.

I combined the cheese mixture (above) in a glass bowl.  Then it was time for assembly:

LAYERING:

  • Drizzle some olive oil along the bottom of the glass dish and use washed fingers to smooth it around so that stickiness isn’t an issue
  • Place a heaping spoonful of sauce on the bottom, don’t be shy but don’t be too generous
  • Gently place take one pasta sheet and lay it on one end of dish, repeat with a second one at the other end so they overlap.
  • Add the cheese mixture and drop in on top of the pasta.  (Don’t worry about making it smooth or if it appears in a clump, because when it bakes, it will even out.)  Use all of the cheese mixture.
  • Add another couple of the pasta sheets over the cheese mixture, then add generous amount of sauce, leaving a bit for the last.
  • Add another couple of the pasta sheets again over the sauce.
  • Finally add a generous amount of mozzarella all over the lasagna, ensuring that there it covers all the sauce, end to end in the dish.
  • Sprinkle some parmesan shredded chips all over,  top with Romano cheese and a few sprinkles of dried parsley for color

Pop goes the lasagna into the preheated oven, noting that it probably says 30 minutes left.  You have a generous allowance of time to set a beautiful table.  I usually have lemon on hand, and today I had some red grapes.  So I put crushed ice with the rinsed lemon and grapes into a glass pitcher, adding water.  I’ve seen people do it with a sprig of mint and a fresh cranberry for color and taste, but I was working with what I had on hand.

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Once the 30 minutes passed, my daughter had arrived, candles were lit with my son was drooling at the aroma, I pulled the lasagna out of the oven.  15 minutes is the right of time to exchange pleasantries and being seated, pouring either wine or nutrient rich water.  (Go figure, they were both being responsible and stuck to water — the cook had three glasses as a reward to creating the treasured moments.)

The secret to the best lasagna, is letting it set for 10-15 minutes before serving so it comes out in cut pieces instead of slop if you’re too impatient.

This isn’t the most calorie conscious menu, but it has a strong combination of nutrients with the spinach and garlic.  You can ease back on the cheese layer and topping if that appeals to your waistline, but remember if you go for a brisk walk for a good 30-45 minutes, it will allow you the freedom to eat balanced without depriving yourself a delicious food.


 

Winosseur:

BIN 555 Shiraz from South Australia’s Wyndham Estate is a safe bet for me most of the time.  Rate as a 4-star, you can’t go wrong, especially in the pocket book because it prices around $15 Cdn.

 

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54 is a jolly good age

There are plenty of noteworthy athletes, royals, authors, etc. who were born in 1961.  Mostly living, they have made their mark in our lives and how we define success.

Some of the more prolific tend to be athletes, while others may not immediately come to mind when we think of notable inbetweeners.  Here are some worth taking note of born in 1961:

New York Islanders v Edmonton Oilers
EDMONTON, AB – Wayne Gretzky gives a press conference between periods during an NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and the New York Islanders at Rexall Place on March 06, 2014 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Wayne Douglas Gretzky CC (/ˈɡrɛtski/; born January 26, 1961) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and former head coach. He played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for four teams from 1979 to 1999. Nicknamed “The Great One“, he has been called “the greatest hockey player ever”[1] by many sportswriters, players, and the NHL itself. He is the leading scorer in NHL history, with more goals and more assists than any other player. He scored more assists than any other player scored total points, and is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season – a feat he accomplished four times. In addition, he tallied over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them consecutive. At the time of his retirement in 1999, he held 61 NHL records: 40 regular-season records, 15 playoff records, and six All-Star records.[1] As of 2014, he still holds 60 NHL records.[2]

 

St Louis Rams v Miami Dolphins
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – AUGUST 28: Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino stands on the sidelines before the Dolphins met the St. Louis Rams at Sun Life Stadium on August 28, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

 

Daniel Constantine “DanMarino, Jr. (born September 15, 1961) is an American former football player who was a quarterback for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). The last quarterback of theQuarterback Class of 1983 to be taken in the first round, Marino held or currently holds dozens of NFL records associated with the quarterback position. Despite never being on a Super Bowl-winning team, he is recognized as one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history. Best remembered for his quick release and powerful arm,Marino led the Dolphins to the playoffs ten times in his seventeen-season career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

 

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Dennis Keith Rodman (born May 13, 1961)[2] is a retired American professional basketball player, who played for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks in theNational Basketball Association (NBA). He was nicknamed “The Worm” and was known for his fierce defensiveand rebounding abilities.

Rodman experienced an unhappy childhood and was shy and introverted in his early years. After aborting a suicide attempt in 1993, he reinvented himself as a “bad boy” and became notorious for numerous controversial antics. He repeatedly dyed his hair in artificial colors, had many piercings and tattoos, and regularly disrupted games by clashing with opposing players and officials. He famously wore a wedding dress to promote his 1996 autobiography Bad As I Wanna Be.

 

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Nadia Elena Comăneci (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈnadi.a koməˈnet͡ʃʲ]; born November 12, 1961) is a former Romanian gymnast, winner of three Olympic gold medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic event. She also won two gold medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. She is one of the best-known gymnasts in the world.[1][2][3] In 2000 Comăneci was named as one of the Athletes of the Century by the Laureus World Sports Academy.[4]

Comăneci began gymnastics in kindergarten with a local team called Flacăra (“The Flame”), with coaches Duncan and Munteanu.[8][9] At age 6 she was chosen to attend Béla Károlyi‘s experimental gymnastics school after Károlyi spotted her and a friend turning cartwheels in a schoolyard.[5][10][11] Károlyi was looking for gymnasts he could train from a young age and saw the two girls during recess. When recess ended the girls ran inside. Károlyi went around the classrooms trying to find the girls, eventually spotting Nadia in a classroom. 

 

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George Robert Stephanopoulos (born February 10, 1961) is an American journalist, a former U.S. Democratic Partypolitical advisor, and chief anchor of ABC News.

Stephanopoulos was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, the son of Nickolitsa “Nikki” Gloria (née Chafos) and Robert George Stephanopoulos.  His father always wanted his son to become a lawyer, if not a priest. Promising him he would attend law school eventually.

Stephanopoulos rose to early prominence as a communications director for the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign of Bill Clinton,[3] subsequently becoming White House Communications Director, then Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy before departing in December 1996. Today he is chief anchor[4] and chief political correspondent for ABC News, co-anchor of ABC News’ Good Morning America, and host of ABC’s Sunday morning This Week.[5]

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Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances;[fn 1] née Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997), was the first wife ofCharles, Prince of Wales, who is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II.[2]

Diana was born into a family of British nobility with royal ancestry as The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer. She was the fourth child and third daughter of John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer and The Honourable Frances Shand Kydd. Following her parents’ divorce, Diana grew up in Park House, which is situated on the Queen’s Sandringham estate, and was educated in England and Switzerland. In 1975, she became Lady Diana Spencer, after her father inherited the title ofEarl Spencer.

As Princess of Wales, Diana undertook royal duties on behalf of the Queen and represented her at functions overseas. She was celebrated for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. She was involved with dozens of charities, including London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, of which she was president from 1989.

Diana remained the object of worldwide media scrutiny during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. Media attention and public mourning were extensive after her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997 and subsequent televised funeral.

So there you have it.  Some of this year’s notable 54 year olds.  An exercise in discovery for me.  Low hanging fruit to be sure.  Those that are easier to find because of notoriety.

I will keep digging to find more inbetweeners who have never graced the cover of People Magazine or The National Enquirer.  They’re out there.  Keep the faith, I’ll find them for both of us.

CREDITS:

IMAGE SOURCES:  Google

BIOS:  Wikipedia

 

 

 

Notable “inbetweeners”

There are a number of notable people: politicians, the famous, the infamous, scientists, writers, artists who fall into what I term “The Inbetweeners”.  A consortium of people joined by the fact that they were born from 1960 to 1965 — the cross between where they fall into “Baby Boomers” or “Generation Xs”.  There is no loss of identity among those that I highlight as I begin my adventure in bringing forward what makes us tick, rock, and take stock in as a unit.  If you don’t agree, that’s when comments come in handy, instead of just ignoring or going on about your merry ways.

I’m going to do things a little off kilter, because I am the author, and I can say so.  Mostly, because I am a self-identified inbetweener, born in 1961.  Marvelously, I share the same year with a lot of people who have achieved fame, notoriety, or infamy.  As I usually do, I search GOOGLE to find an image that brings to the forefront the main message of my blog.  In this case it was way easier than I thought.  This group ensemble was just waiting for me to snap up.

 

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Front and center is Obama — the poster child for achievement regardless of skin color, upbringing, or the variety of distractions we all encounter growing up.

I realize that I should have started writing about 1960s babies, but being the creator allows me to have opinions and make decisions on my own that hopefully appeal to all the inbetweeners out there.  Maybe you have a logo or buzz word we can use to band together to learn, share, immortalize and remember what makes our little hub so great?  By all means, bring it on.  To create a central theme, I have created Twitter @1960to1965 Google+ inbtweeners using the crowd image that I found to represent us – a proud crowd of people having fun, enjoying life!

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Starting clockwise, the following famous inbetweeners shown in the above image.  I will identify when I use WIDIPEDIA as my main source for information:  why?  Because it is usually the easiest to find that shares information that isn’t self-promotional.  I will try to keep it simple and standard — date of birth, claim to fame, birthplace, education, career.

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Barack Hussein Obama II (US Listeni/bəˈrɑːk hˈsn ɵˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States, as well as the first African American to hold the office. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate ofColumbia University and Harvard Law School, where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review

 

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy Premiere of ‘Shrek Forever After’ during the 9th Annual Tribeca Film Festival at the Ziegfeld Theatre – Arrivals Featuring: Eddie Murphy Where: New York City, New York, United States When: 21 Apr 2010 Credit: WENN

Edward Regan “EddieMurphy (born April 3, 1961)[1] is an American comedian, actor, writer, singer, and director. Box-office takes from Murphy‘s films make him the 4th-highest grossing actor in the United States.[2][3] He was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984 and has worked as a stand-up comedian. He was ranked #10 onComedy Central‘s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.[4]

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Michael Andrew Fox, OC (born June 9, 1961), known as Michael J. Fox, is a Canadian-American[1] actor, author, producer, and advocate. With a film and television career spanning from the 1970s, Fox‘s roles have included Marty McFlyfrom the Back to the Future trilogy (1985–1990); Alex P. Keaton from NBC‘s Family Ties (1982–1989), for which he won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and Mike Flaherty in ABC‘s Spin City (1996–2001), for which he won an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 and disclosed his condition to the public in 1998. Fox semi-retired from acting in 2000 as the symptoms of his disease worsened. He has since become an advocate for research toward finding a cure; he created the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and on March 5, 2010, Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet gave him a honoris causa doctorate for his work in advocating a cure for Parkinson’s disease.[2]

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George Timothy Clooney (born May 6, 1961) is an American actor, screenwriter, producer, director, and activist. He has received three Golden Globe Awards for his work as an actor and two Academy Awards, one for acting and the other for producing.

Clooney made his acting debut on television in 1978, and later gained wide recognition in his role as Dr. Doug Ross on the long-running medical drama ER from 1994 to 1999, for which he received two Emmy Award nominations. While working on ER, he began attracting a variety of leading roles in films, including the superhero film Batman & Robin (1997) and the crime comedy Out of Sight (1998), in which he first worked with director Steven Soderbergh, who would become a long-time collaborator. In 1999, he took the lead role in Three Kings, a well-received war satire set during the Gulf War.

 

rollinsarticle

Henry Rollins (born Henry Lawrence Garfield; February 13, 1961) is an American musician, writer, journalist, publisher, actor, television and radio host, spoken word artist, comedian, and activist.[1][2][3] Rollins hosts a weekly radio show onKCRW. He is also a regular columnist for LA Weekly and Rolling Stone Australia.[4]

After performing for the short-lived Washington D.C.-based band State of Alert in 1980, Rollins fronted the Californiahardcore punk band Black Flag from August 1981 until mid-1986. Following the band’s breakup, Rollins established therecord label and publishing company 2.13.61 to release his spoken word albums, as well as forming the Rollins Band, which toured with a number of lineups from 1987 until 2003, and during 2006.

 

Celebrities Visit SiriusXM Studios - September 20, 2013
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 20: Scott Baio visits the SiriusXM Studios on September 20, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Scott Vincent James Baio (/ˈb./; born September 22, 1960[1]) is an American actor and television director, best known for his roles as Chachi Arcola on the sitcom Happy Days and its spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi, the titular character on the sitcom Charles in Charge, the main character in the musical Bugsy Malone, and for his role as Dr. Jack Stewart in the medical-mystery-comedy-drama series Diagnosis: Murder.  By definition and guidelines, he should not have been included because he was born 1960.  However, the rules are the rules, he was still born in 1960 and included in the image.

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Julia Scarlett Elizabeth LouisDreyfus[1] (/ˈl ˈdrfəs/; born January 13, 1961) is an American actress, comedienne and producer. She is known for her work on the comedy series Seinfeld (1989–1998), The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006–10) and Veep (2012–present).

LouisDreyfus broke into comedy as a performer in The Practical Theatre Company in Chicago, which led to her casting in the sketch show Saturday Night Live from 1982 to 1985. Her breakthrough came in 1990 with a nine-season run playingElaine Benes on Seinfeld, one of the most critically and commercially successful sitcoms of all time. Other notable television roles include Christine Campbell in The New Adventures of Old Christine which had a five-season run on CBS, and her role as Selina Meyer in Veep, which has recently been renewed by HBO for a fifth season.

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Heather Deen Locklear (born September 25, 1961) is an American actress. She is known for her role as Amanda Woodward on Melrose Place, for which she received four consecutive Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress – Television Series Drama. Her other notable television roles include Sammy Jo Carrington on Dynasty, Officer Stacy Sheridan on T.J. Hooker and Caitlin Moore on Spin City, for which she earned a further two Golden Globe nominations forBest Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy. She had a recurring role on the TV Land sitcom Hot in Clevelandand a main role on the TNT drama-comedy television series Franklin & Bash in 2013.

I’m making the rules as I go along.  The photos will be as recent as I can find, and not in their hay days, which more often than not were in the 1980s.    For the gals, I will try to depict them more au natural whenever possible, simple stated because most of us don’t have teams of image consultants, makeup artists, hair stylists at our beck and call.

I know it isn’t fair that the first ones I’ve shown are all famous.  However, they all share many of the same ailments we share with them:

  1. Aging, fading looks
  2. Declining health
  3. Battles with addiction
  4. Controversy
  5. Being 54

Not to worry.  I will endeavour to find those who make our world a better place without the notoriety, or starting off with a dream that grew.  We will find those that inspire and allow us to celebrate being an inbetweener.

 

Jeannette

 

 

Identify identity

I begin this blog in November 2015, 19th to be exact.  The day after I went to the doctor because I was under the weather.  I had a couple of zits developing on my chin, was feeling exhausted, less than my usual energetic exuberant self.

I could have attributed it towards stress, however, in the grand scheme of things, I didn’t carry the normal stress that most would say contributes to high stress, for example:

  • FINANCIAL:  I am not living paycheque to paycheque, nor am I fighting off debtors.  I live within my means.
  • FAMILY:  Can be a pain in the ass.  They can be sources of great strength or detriment to our overall wellbeing.  That in and of itself will fill pages of blog posts.  Family dynamics with parents, siblings, children, and stepchild.  Overall, it is on a fairly even keel these days.
  • EVENTS:  Yes, we’re ramping up for the Holidays.  That can cause people a lot of stress, financially and emotionally. I’ve got a kickstart on Christmas shopping.
  • WORK:  That is probably my highest contributor these days.  I’m neither failing nor am I soaring.  I took a job at an entry level to get into a great company.  That is going to be worth pondering about here are there.  There are stress factors in and of itself.
  • HEALTH:  That is where I go from hero to zero.  Recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I am not paying attention to my body or what track I’m on that will ensure a fruitfall 20 or more years.
  • RETIREMENT:  Count me among the thousands of 50+ who don’t think they have planned their retirement as well as they could have.  I can blame a divorce that divided up assets and job turnover.  As many have before me, I’ve used savings to offset unemployment to meet bills and avoid financial disaster.

I have written a lot about business, sales, leadership and social media in my “optioneerjm” blog that has had a chunk of viewers in the 130,000 page views over 5 years.  Nothing remarkable, yet steady.

I exude my creative side with “meanderingsabout”  a blog about beauty, fashion, movies, books, and world events that I want to talk about.

 

 

 

group-people-clip-art-1719138This blog is about so many of us out there.  We have an in between identity:  we are at the tail end of the baby boomers, often counted in and counted out.  Many of us are parents of Millennials, those born in the 1980s to early 2000s, or GenY.  Some consider us GenXers born in the early 1960s to the early 1980s.   Other times, we’re told that we are part of the Baby Boom generation.  Mostly, I’m talking about those of us who are born in between, 1960 to 1965 — the cusp of GenX (1965-1980) or the end of Baby Boomers.

  1. Baby boomers are people born during the demographic post–World War II baby boom approximately between the years 1946 and 1964, giving an age range between 50 and 69 as of 2015. (Source:  Wikipedia)
  2. Generation X, commonly abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation born after the Western Post–World War II baby boom. Demographers and commentators use birth dates ranging from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. (Source:  Wikipedia)
  3. Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation[1] or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when thegeneration starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. (Source: Wikipedia)

 

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No wonder we have a group identity crisis.   You’d think we don’t belong anywhere.  Caught between the two largest population bubbles, yet we have a voice to be reckoned with.  We’re finished with having children, worried about what will be left for us at retirement, since we seem to be glossed over in so many instances, we have health uppermost on our minds.

After all, if we don’t take care of our health, we won’t have to worry about  the next phase in life: grandparenting, retirement.  That is about to change, if we want it to.  We can focus on our health, both mental and physical, to ensure that the next 20 or 30 years are full of life, living, loving and contributing guidance to our millennial children.

I start this journey privately, with a keyboard at my disposal.  To document, share, inspire, teach others to love ourselves first is to take care of our health and wellbeing most.

 

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“The mere process of growing old together will make the slightest acquaintance seem a bosom friend.” Ed Koch

Thanks for joining me.  We will create a common voice for those born between 1960 and 1965.  We have unique concerns.  Perhaps not as pressing as Baby Boomers nor consumed by GenX.  We can help each other.  Your visits will inspire me to write more, your comments motivate others to pay attention.  We’re in this together.

Jeannette

The inbetweeners

 

 

“I’m not scared of growing old, I’m just scared of not achieving everything that I want to do.”  ~Melanie Laurent

I created a Word Press identity several years to allow me to read, follow or comment on other Word Press blogs.   At the time, I was considering who and where I would start to write my own blog.

I decided to throw all my cards in with Google’s Blogspot at the time because I was optimistic that Google’s power in and of itself would fuel it to land on others radars quicker than anywhere else.

Five years later, I won’t say I’m disappointed.  After all, it is what I write and who reads, follows, or comments is what determines a blogs success.  I’ve had loyal followers since the beginning, with very few spikes in attracting new followers.  It continues.

“To me, growing old is great.  It’s the very best thing, considering the alternative.” ~Michael Caine

Since I decided to start my third blog about health and wellness, I decided to try WordPress with more concentration to see how it fairs.  I recognize that some of my favorite blogs are written here, a great incentive to continue my learning journey while fueling my passion to write.

“No one longs to live more than someone growing old.” ~Sophocle

Eventually, I would like to create an e-zine.  Inviting writers of distinction or distinct interests.  I am targeting a small percentage of the general population that I’ll deem “The Inbetweeners”.  A term I’ve coined to describe many of us caught between the two large bubbles of Baby Boomers and Millennials.  I describe it in more detail on my ABOUT page.  Call it a mission statement: To help, inform others glide into their 50s while minimizing what concerns us:  health, wealth, retirement, guiding adult children: their education, their principles, their characters, their finances, their values, weddings, children … and everything in between.

“The mere process of growing old together will make the slightest acquaintance seem a bosom friend.” ~Ed Koch

If you somehow fell onto my page accidentally – HELLO!  If you took the time to read — WHY THANK YOU!  If you shared it — BLESS YOU! And, of course, if you subscribed to it — GRATITUDE!

We all start somewhere, somehow and this is it for me.  A journey about writing, learning and most importantly, sharing knowledge that I am discovering.  Together, with you.

Jeannette

“I am growing old, and my future, so to speak, is already behind me.” George Wald

 

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Cindy Crawford is not yet 50, thus is not our target group.  She is 49 and will be 50 February 20.

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