My husband and I have traveled extensively. Here are three places that I would love to return to for total relaxation and escape.
Balestrand, Norway: Nestled between two fjords, including the largest Sognefjord, Balestrand is a peaceful and beautiful spot to relax. Rick Steves wrote about it here. We actually stayed down the road at the Dragsvik Fjordhotell on the point between the fjords (away from the “bustle” of Balestrand). If you are looking for a place to relax and contemplate your navel, this is it!
Santorini, Greece: A total switch from Norway, but Santorini can also be a very relaxing place. Especially if you stay at the Volcano View hotel, as we did. Just sit by the pool and view what is left of the caldera while sipping a drink.
Paris, France: Ok, this is not what you think of when looking for a place to relax, but the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles offers a sanctuary from the busy streets of Paris. With a quiet courtyard and rooms with no TVs, it gives you a sense of calm. Have breakfast or a glass of wine in the courtyard and you will think you are in a French country home. But Paris is just outside the gate.
In this crazy time of politics, it might be nice to get away and gain some perspective. What are your favorite places to relax?
I was recently asked to read a new novel called BLIND SHADY BEND by Adina Sara and provide my opinion. That is something new for me; I am not really a book reviewer. But I love to read so I welcomed the opportunity. I am happy to report that the book was well written and engaging. I was immediately intrigued by the premise of the book – a woman (Hannah) receives notice that her estranged brother has died and left her some property. What if that happened to me?
As I continued to read, I was drawn in further by the cast of characters that Hannah encountered when she went to visit the property in a little town in rural California. Strange neighbors, all of their challenges and relationships, how they interacted with Hannah and changed her life, it was all fascinating. It was also relatable and refreshing to have a mature woman as the lead character, facing certain life decisions that we all may encounter.
Although the author Adina Sara has written essays and memoirs, this was her first novel. Her writing was very descriptive and effectively pulls you in to the various story lines and emotions so that you care about what happens to the people in the book. I think that is really the mark of a good writer. The various twists and turns also keep you wanting to read more. If you are looking for a good book for summer vacation (or any time), I would highly recommend BLIND SHADY BEND.
For more information, go to www.adinasara.com. Blind Shady Bend is available at Orinda Books, Great Good Place for Books, Laurel Book Store, Oakland, Pleasanton, Moraga and Orinda Libraries, Amazon www.amazon.com/BLIND-SHADY-BEND-A-Novel/dp/1587903288 and can be ordered through any independent bookstore.
I was talking with a group of women my age and older about the early days — when we first started working in the tech business. We all had some horror stories to share about sexual harassment and blatant sexism. I thought I would share a few of mine here.
In my 20’s I got a job working at a sales office for Motorola. Besides the frequent sexual innuendos and comments, there were some events that stood out. First, all of the sales people were men and all of the support people were women. When there was important information to be provided to the office from corporate, the men would hold a separate meeting and no women were allowed. I was in a semi-management position and requested to go to the men’s meeting but was turned down. I was told that the men wanted to be free to use foul language and would not feel comfortable with a woman present.
Later I decided to pursue a sales career at Motorola myself. I was told by the sales manager that he would never hire a woman because they cry and also they would leave as soon as they became pregnant. I was able to find a sales position in another division of Motorola. In that division, I was put in a cubicle while the other salesmen each had their own office. None of the salesmen would speak to me or help me to learn the ropes. Finally my boss forced one of the salesmen to take me on the road with him to visit customers.
This salesman spent the entire trip telling me I didn’t belong in the business and why women were inferior. As we drove to where we would be spending the night at a hotel, he kept driving into what seemed to be the open farm country. He told me he was going to “have his way with me” and kept driving. I was thinking to myself that when he stopped the car, I would open the door and run. As it turned out, he was taking me to a neighborhood baseball game, he just wanted to scare me. He said he would deny everything if I told the boss.
Those were scary times, and many women just gave up under the pressure and harassment. I stuck it out and now I am a successful business woman who has had good business relationships with many male clients and partners.
Thankfully things have gotten better for women in the workplace, but we still have a ways to go. I don’t think we should forget what women went through to pursue career opportunities. What experiences do you recall from those days?
I work as a consultant and am planning to retire by the end of 2016. There are days I wish I could do it sooner, believe me! Here are a few things I definitely will not miss after I retire:
- Hearing an automated voice say: “Please enter your access code followed by the pound sign.”
- Waking up thinking, uh no, I didn’t respond that person’s email or is this the day that submission was due?
- Trying to think of yet another creative way to write a technical article or paper about a subject most people have no interest in — including me.
- Working with clients who think their narrowly-focused product will change the world and the Wall Street Journal should give them lots of free press.
- Taking phone calls and checking emails at all hours of the day and night because clients expect an immediate response.
- Doing monthly bills and reports — what a pain (although they result in pay checks, which will be missed!)
Of course I will miss the people I work with, but I plan to stay in touch with them. What about you, what won’t you miss when you retire? Or if you are retired, what do you miss about work?
Here is something that caught my eye, a model by the name of Jacky O’Shaughnessy who at age 63 was asked to model for American Apparel. I like that she seems real and not trying to look like she is 35 when she is not. Granted, American Apparel doesn’t seem like a logical choice for someone over 63 (advertizing underwear, no less) but I like her accepting-of-herself attitude. And she looks great too!
Here is an article in Elle about her from last year: http://www.elle.com/fashion/a14055/american-apparel-62-year-old-lingerie-model/
Nice to see real women in ads! I wish more advertisers would realize that this is smart marketing.
I know many people love their work and want to do it forever, but not me. I look forward to loads of interesting and fun activities when retirement comes around (soon, I hope)! For example:
- Travel: This is my number one goal for retirement. Many places that my husband and I want to go require a lot of walking, so it is best to do that when you are physically able. Plus, I suspect those long plane rides will get tedious as I get older.
- Volunteer: There are so many volunteer opportunities in my area. One I am interested in is helping a local non-profit music education center. Another I am considering is becoming an advocate for foster children.
- Music: Speaking of music, I am an amateur musician and play in various community groups. I would love to do more chamber music and possibly learn another instrument.
- Learning: Learning French, taking classes in history or writing, or just learning about new things would be great. In California we have a program called Osher Livelong Learning Institute for seniors. You can take classes at reduced rates and participate with others in learning programs. The one at UCSD is: http://olli.ucsd.edu/
- Genealogy Research: I find researching family history to be fascinating and rewarding. It gives me a new perspective into myself and my family, and I also learn a lot of history.
- Organizing: Its something we all put off, but it would be nice to have time to look through old photos, recordings, videos, papers and more to organize them and get rid of things.
- Fun: Reading, relaxing, visiting friends I haven’t had time to see, there are just so many things to fill the day.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to keep me busy when I retire. How about you, what do you look forward to when retirement comes? Or are you already retired, and if so, how do you spend your time?
Everyone has clothing or household items they don’t use. I recently came across some new services that let you trade your stuff or sell it very easily. You can also shop for clothes and items others no longer need. Sounds like a great way to clear your closet and get some things you will actually use!
Here is what I found:
Yerdle: Using Yerdle, you can give away stuff and get credits that you use to “buy” other stuff. You will pay a small shipping fee (usually $2) but the item is free.
Listia: This service is similar to Yerdle, you can give stuff away and get free stuff, but your items are auctioned off for points. You get points on Listia by giving away stuff and use points to bid on other things.
ThredUp: This is a consignment website where you can sell used clothing and buy from others.ThredUp sends you a free bag that you fill with clothes and send back for free. ThredUp sells what they consider to be good,you get part of the proceeds and rest is recycled.
Twice: This is another consignment service. They send you a kit to make it easy for you to sell your clothes. When Twice employees receive your clothes, they immediately give you an offer. You can also purchase designer items on the site.
Check these out and let me know if you use them or hear of others.