A New Read on Bush 43: The George W. Bush Presidential Center
Confessions of a Gamer Chick ALZHEIMERâ€™S In the News
boomers...living life to the fullest | MAY 2014
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MAY: IN THIS ISSUE
Boom Voyage Spring
Let It Bloom
Travel and You, Wellness
A New Read on Bush 43
Tex Mex Fiesta, Windy Books for Windy Days
Art and Culture in Mexico City
Gamer Chick, Understanding Credit Ratings
Costs of Senior Care
On the Cover: Boomers enjoying games with family.
PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Robin Roberson TECHNICAL & WEBSITE DESIGN AdPow, Inc. BoomerBuzz RADIO DIRECTOR Raul Enriquez PUBLIC RELATIONS Isabell Rossignol PHOTOGRAPHY Becca Menig & Katherine Garcia CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Angela S. Deppe
PUBLISHER’S LETTER As we “BOOM” into spring there is a myriad of seasonal happenings to explore and I hope our writers entice you with engaging editorial on healthy balance in all areas of life, preparing for Social Security options and wonderful Tex Mex fiestas for entertaining your guests. Do you enjoy art and culture? If so, Mexico City is a hotbed of the creative blend! You can enjoy a “feat for the eyes” whether you are drawn to paintings, both historical and modern, parks with architectural fountains, monuments and local flavor or opulent palaces and museums. Cynthia Stock has given us a A New Read on Bush 43: The George W. Bush Presidential Center. It sounds so amazing that I have already planned my visit…for hours. I want to be in the ‘Hot Seat” of decision making power! And Torrey Moseley has confessed to being a gamer chick as she reminisces about video games that baby boomers love (d). On the more news worthy side you can educate yourself on Social Security with words of wisdom from CPA, Angela S. Deppe, CPA. And Randy Watkins explains what credit ratings are and how they can determine factors in your life. And we continue our series on senior care with information on the costs of long term care from Claire Maestri. All must reads! And speaking of reading, Liz Inskip-Paulk, M.A. offers up some excellent choices of Windy Books for Windy Days. Sonja Kabell reminds us to plan ahead when traveling, so we do not forget some simple, yet important tips, amidst the excitement of a great vacation. And we showcase Destin, Florida if you are seeking a colorful American destination that is beautiful, fun-filled and relaxing.
We hope you enjoyed BoomerBuzz Travel and BoomerBuzz Radio which we launched last month and if not give them a read and listen. Both are easily found on BoomerBuzzMagazine.com.
Thanks for reading and I hope April Showers bring you May Flowers,
Let It Bloom Educate Yourself on Social Security By Angela S. Deppe
adjusted, lifetime fixed retirement income
Here are a few tips for when and how to
maximize your Social Security Benefits:
Security accounts for 90% of income for 35% of all beneficiaries! And it accounts
â€˘ What should people know about Social
for 50%+ of income for 64% of all
Security to help them maximize their
benefit? When is it best to start collecting benefits?
Administration (SSA) is the expert on Social Security; however, they are not allowed to provide advice on how to maximize your benefit. It's important that individuals educate themselves and create a plan on how to maximize their own Social Security.
If Social Security accounts for the majority of Americanâ€™s retirement income, why do 2/3rds of Americans claim their Social Security Benefit before they reach their Full Retirement Age and deny themselves payouts that could be more than 75% higher if they just waited a bit longer to start collecting? The answer is simple: Social Security is a complicated subject. Most Americans do not understand what their Social Security Benefits are, when they should collect, and how to maximize their monthly Social Security income.
This can be done thru online Benefit Maximization
as http://www.socialsecuritycentral.com/ca lculator-demo financial advisor.
Using a tool such as this is so important as there is no one rule that fits all for when it's best to start collecting benefits. Each situation is unique. Longevity, marital status, benefit amounts, other retirement income,
considered when deciding when to start collecting benefits.
Good example from SSA.gov of a $1000 benefit at Full Retirement Age (FRA) 66 shows that if the benefit is taken early at age 62 the benefit is then reduced to $750. If the benefit is delayed and taken at age 70, the benefit is $1320. That's nearly double what it was if taken at age 62. Ouch! â€˘ How much a boost can you get if you strategize? See example in question above. It's also important to note that a married couple
â€˘ Is it beneficial to delay when you begin
can get an even greater 'boost' by
taking the benefit?
strategizing, especially if there's a big
Yes, for most people. 74% of Americans
difference between each spouse's benefit.
take their benefit early losing out on
If the higher earner delays his collection
thousands of dollars that they worked
past FRA and receives these 'boosts' or
hard for. Between ages 62 to 66 (which is
delayed retirement credits of up to 32%,
Full Retirement Age for most people), you
this increased amount is then passed
can gain up to 25% more. And between
along to the surviving spouse after his
ages 66 to 70, you can gain as much as
death thru the survivor
amount could be large if the higher
09 earning spouse passes away several years
goal is to help those at or near retirement
before the lower earning spouse.
maximize their Social Security income. I have developed a Benefit Maximization
Best tip I can give to a married couple is that the decision on when to take your individual benefit should be made jointly with your spouse as it could affect her long after you're gone (via the Survivor Benefit).
Calculator that creates a customized plan on how and when to take your Social Security at http://www.socialsecuritycentral.com/ca lculator-demo. It's the only online Social Security
provides the user instant results with a
â€˘ Should a person check in with Social Security to make sure their earnings are accurate? Yes, everyone should verify his/her best 35 years of income with the SSA. This is especially important for women who took
simple step by step guide. I also wrote an Amazon top-selling book It's Your Money!
Simple Strategies to Maximize Your Social Security Income. You wouldnâ€™t pick a flower before it
time away from working to raise their kids.
blooms so why would you take your
Since Social Security statements are no
longer mailed out, this can be done online
Maximizing Social Security is personal for me.
My own mother took her Social
Security early at age 62 and lost out on over
bloom, let it bloom.
maximize her Social Security income, she may not have had to continue working so hard like she is today to make up for not having enough retirement savings.
Angela S. Deppe is a CPA, founder of SocialSecurityCentral.com and its easy-to-use Benefit Maximization Calculator, and co-author of It's Your
Money! Simply Strategies To Maximize Your
Social Security Benefits. She is a contributing writer to
BoomerBuzz Magazine and has been featured in USNews, MarketWatch and Alaskan Airlines Magazine.
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Are You Ready To Travel? By Sonja Kabell
Growing up in our family, we traveled somewhere every summer. We would go everywhere we could the old fashion way - by car. The family motto was, have car will travel! My father worked for one of the large petroleum refineries outside of Houston area. His job as a shift supervisor had weird hours, was a very noisy environment and full of pollution. For as long as I can remember, he would take the month of June as vacation time and we were off exploring this great country. I think it was to get away from all the hustle and bustle of Houston and his job. From the plains of Texas to the mountains of Colorado, as far west as California to the shores of Florida, we were privileged to see it. This was the day of being outdoors, enjoying the scenery. No phones, iPads, or handheld electronic devices, no one tracking you down, no GPS; just pure uninterrupted family time driving the country side using a map as your guide. I truly miss the simplicity of those days.
12 Transportation now is even simpler with planes, trains, boats and automobiles. As you think about the upcoming travel time of year, where are you going? I wanted to give you some great tips to make sure you enjoy your vacation time and stay healthy. I called a good friend of my, Larry Flannery, travel expert with ARTA Travel to get his input as well. Back in the day, when you travel by airplane, you got dressed up in your Sunday best. Now air travel is much more casual. Larry suggests that you dress comfortably. Clothes that are light weight and that can breathe will be more comfortable to travel in. A huge tip is to carry on all items that you take daily Prescription drugs (hope you don't have a lot of them), supplements, pain relievers, your contact case and solution, etc. You can always buy new clothes but you cannot easily replace things you use daily and prescriptions. Whatever form of travel, you need to stay hydrated and bring healthy snacks with you when possible. Just because you are on a vacation, doesn't mean you should throw all caution to the wind. Making healthy choices are best so you don't come back with the vacation 5lbs. When we are traveling on a contained aircraft or on a cruise boat, it is you and thousands of germs. Make sure to continue with your daily supplements but boost up the immune system with a powerful, trustworthy Vitamin C and a probiotic. When we travel, we are exposed to things outside our normal environment. We want to make sure we are taking care of ourselves and keeping our immune system working. Wash your hands often and try to move your body as much as possible. Make sure to leave in plenty of time to keep the stress level down. We want to enjoy our time away. Another tip from Larry is to mark your bags with something distinct so you know it is your bag - a bright ribbon works well. He also suggest making a copy of your passport and itinerary in put in your checked baggage. That way, you have two forms of information in case one gets lost. Enjoy your time away and keep in mind that you still need to be good to yourself. It might be time for a road trip! Sonja Kabell, Creating Healthy Lifestyles, www.sonjakabell.com 972-935-6484
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A New Read on Bush 43: The George W. Bush Presidential Center By Cynthia Stock
I set all politics aside when I visited the George W. Bush Library and Museum. My respect for George W. Bush grows daily when I think about him as an ex-Commander-in-Chief. He seems to have left office with an abundance of grace and wisdom. He remains silent when he could jump into the public arena with rhetoric and criticism. Far from idle, he supports altruistic causes with determination, particularly his fight against AIDs. And he does what I think he does best: relates as a human being. With that mindset, I bought my ticket. The center sits on the western side of the SMU campus. The day I visited, Dallas enjoyed a perfect spring day with a pristine azure sky. From where I parked, the roof line of the museum stood out against the blue, and I knew exactly where I needed to go. In honor of the university Founderâ€™s Day, a jazz band, situated in one corner of the entry plaza, played music. The sounds faded and surged in the blustery Texas wind. It was a perfect start to an intriguing facility.
As an American, I take for granted how safe I feel. So it came as a bit of a shock that I had to pass through the rigors of security similar to those at the airport. No body x-ray or shoe removal, but I walked through the arch of a metal detector and had to place purse, keys, and camera in a bin to be scanned. I quickly moved on to the magic of the center and was thankful for those who protected it. Once past the ticket desk I entered a large, open atrium lit by rows of windows in a tiered ceiling. Beneath the windows, panels above the walls flashed a montage of American landscapes, a tribute to the different terrains that make up our country. In the atrium, glass cases displayed gifts bestowed on our country from foreign powers and gifts given in return. Jewelry, gold sculptures, even an ornate gold belt buckle comprised the displays. Entering one wing of the museum, quotes from Mr. Bush adorned the walls. “The Presidency is more than an honor. It is more than an office. It is a charge to keep.” A president takes charge of the lives of a nation, and these words made me appreciate the courage of anyone who accepts the position, regardless of his ideology. Opposite this quotation, pictures followed a young man who married, became a father of twins, who entered politics, and faced many of the greatest political and economic challenges of any recent president. Observers often comment on how the office ages its incumbent, and Mr. Bush was no exception. Yet he remains vibrant and candid in his video interviews. The layout of the museum creates a smooth flow for exploration. I passed an area devoted to Mr. Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative. Then I found myself admiring a glass case of autographed baseballs, accompanied by a discussion of Mr. Bush’s love for the sport. In one wing of the museum, there is a replica of the Oval Office. The epitome of tasteful simplicity, it is difficult to reconcile the setting with the important decisions that come from it. A visitor can sit in the chair behind the “big desk” and have a picture taken. In my head I knew it was a replica, but a small essence of the power behind the scene intruded when sitting in that place.
The Decision Point Theater is a hands-on experience with presidential decision making. I debated whether or not to participate. I was glad I chose to engage. The theater consists of rows of chairs with big screens. The screens displayed a list of four problems Mr. Bush faced while in office. The seated group votes and majority rules on which one to try to resolve. My group chose Hurricane Katrina. With this problem, the screen offered five types of advisors, from the Pentagon to state law enforcement. Each offered different perspectives on problem solving. To complicate the process, “breaking news” headlines rolled across the screen. After listening to all sides, I had what felt like less than a few seconds to make my decision. I already knew the outcome, knew this was a pseudo-experience, but the time constraint made me squirm, and I felt compelled to make a “right” decision. Welcome to the Presidency. To my surprise I made the same decision Mr. Bush did. This changed the whole way I viewed the news reports and editorial commentary I saw and heard during the crisis. The exercise in the decision making process was also one of enlightenment about the burden of responsibility felt by any incumbent.
The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy is a collection of Mr. Bush’s foray into oil painting. He has images of world leaders from Vladimir Putin to Tony Blair. Decades ago I audited a painting class to learn art appreciation. The teacher referred to student paintings that had “strokes of the masters” in them. They weren’t masterpieces, but they demonstrated patches of brilliance. Maybe I wanted to see this in these portraits, because I was beginning to know an ex-president as a person, not an icon. In a video, Mr. Bush spoke about what he
wanted to achieve with each portrait. My two favorites were Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president elected in Africa, and the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Mr. Bush explained he wanted to convey the strength of President Sirleaf. It is well known that PM Koizumi admires Elvis. In his portrait, Mr. Bush painted eyes that suggest a hint of the playfulness present when the prime minister sings Elvis songs. The portraits and video commentary show the very human side of world leaders. I saved the 9/11 tribute for last. Mr. Bushâ€™s voice of reassurance, his praise of first responders, his declaration that America will never forget, accompanies video footage of the events of that day. I watched faces emerge from clouds of smoke and swore I recognized them, only to realize I had seen it all before and that this was reality, not history, because I had lived through it with my country and my president. I cannot say why this moved me so, but it did and I cried. The display reaffirmed how this attack changed America forever. In subtle lighting stands metal wreckage from one of the towers. Far from beautiful, I wanted a picture to give substance to the feeling it invoked in me. I will never meet George W. Bush. But I have had my picture taken with him, of sorts. In the center of the building there is a patio with bronze statues of Bush 41 and Bush 43. I watched with amusement as a mother took a picture of her daughter with the two presidents. The hero worshiping girl in me came out. I asked the woman to take my picture, too. I hooked my arm with Bush 43 and felt proud. If I did meet him, I would thank him for his service, regardless of MY ideology. And I will visit his presidential center again. There is much more to learn. Cynthia Stock is an RN in Dallas, TX, and a published author. Visit Cynthia-Stock.com.
In the News…Alzheimer’s
Blood Test for Alzheimer’s (CNN) -- In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have developed a blood test for Alzheimer's disease that predicts with astonishing accuracy whether a healthy person will develop the disease. Though much work still needs to be done, it is hoped the test will someday be available in doctors' offices, since the only methods for predicting Alzheimer's right now, such as PET scans and spinal taps, are expensive, impractical, often unreliable and sometimes risky. "This is a potential game-changer," said Dr. Howard Federoff, senior author of the report and a neurologist at Georgetown University Medical Center. "My level of enthusiasm is very high." The study was published in Nature Medicine. Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/09/health/alzheimers-blood-test/index.html
Aerobic Workouts May Slow Dementia Progression (HealthDay News) -- Regular aerobic workouts increase the size of the brain's memory area in older women and may help slow the progression of dementia, according to a small new study. It included 86 women, aged 70 to 80, who had mild memory problems, also known as "mild cognitive impairment," which researchers say is a common risk factor for dementia. The women also underwent MRIs to assess the size of their hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. The study, conducted by Teresa Liu-Ambrose and her colleagues at the physical therapy department of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, was published online April 8 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Read more: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_145582.html
Alzheimer's Association applauds the introduction of the Alzheimer's Accountability Act As the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research, the Alzheimer's Association® applauds introduction of the Alzheimer's Accountability Act (H.R. 4351/S. 2192). The Alzheimer's Accountability Act represents a bipartisan effort to ensure that Congress is equipped with the best possible information to set funding priorities and reach the goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's by 2025. Read more: http://www.alz.org/news_and_events_alzheimers_accountability_act.asp
Tex-Mex “Stay-cation” Fiesta By Karol Wilson
It’s a little warm outside, and your scheduled vacation is weeks away or maybe you’re not travelling this summer. What to do? Entertain family and a few friends with a simple backyard fiesta. Choose a lazy weekend, take a few siestas, and use the easy (most can be made ahead of party time) recipes to make for a memorable afternoon or early evening, very casual get-together.
Make setting up for your party easy. If you have some solid colored tablecloths in red or yellow…all the better. Or just line up small pots of cactus runner-style down the table for a cute and inexpensive conversation starter. I’ve fallen in love with the votive LED “candles” and alternating them with the cactus plants would be pretty and stylish. That said, make sure you have some cintronella candles burning outside away from your table and have a can of insect repellant available.
The recipes that follow can be used with your own tried-and-true favorites. The bean dip will work well with a simple queso or fresh guacamole as an appetizer. Roasted potatoes or corn can certainly substitute for the potato salad recipe I’ve offered. But you’ll definitely want to try the Anticuchos, a favorite at the annual “Night In Old San Antonio” celebration. Served with some warm tortillas and pico de gallo that you can readily obtain at most grocery stores, and you’ll have a real hit with your guests.
I leave dessert up to you. Consider store-bought pralines, tres lechesflavored cake or ice cream, or just have another glass of that yummy sangria!
Makes 7 cups Ingredients: 1 15 oz. can Bushâ€™s black beans, rinsed and drain 1 15 oz. can white shoepeg corn, drained 1 bunch green onions, trimmed and sliced 1 red pepper, diced 1 C. pico de gallo 2 C. Mexican-style shredded cheese 1 Â˝ C. Pace medium salsa 2 Tbsp. evoo Salt to taste
Preparation: Combine all the ingredients. Refrigerate until time to serve with tortilla chips.
Rose Sangria with Pineapple & Guava
Serves 12 Ingredients: 1 bottle (750 ml) of Rose (not White Zinfandel) 4 6 oz. cans of pineapple juice 2 11 Â˝ oz. cans guava nectar 4 cinnamon sticks 2 C. Âž-inch cubes fresh pineapple 2 oranges, halved thru the stem end, thinly sliced crosswise Ice cubes (add some rum if you want it stronger)
Preparation: Mix first 5 ingredients in large pitcher. Set 12 orange slices aside for garnish; add remaining to pitcher. Cover and chill 6 hours or overnight. Fill tumblers with ice. Pour sangria over ice and garnish with orange slices and serve.
Serves 4 In a blender, puree 1 cup of guacamole with 1/3 cup fresh lime juice and ¼ cup of water. With the machine on, gradually add ½ cup of vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Quarter 1 head of iceberg lettuce and spoon dressing on top. Garnish with crumbled bacon, sliced radishes, shredded pepper jack cheese, and diced tomato.
Southwestern Potato Salad
Serves 6 Ingredients: 12 medium red potatoes, with or without skins 2-3 pickled jalapenos, chopped ¼ to ½ cup chopped Kalamata olives 3-4 tsp. whole-grain mustard ¾ cup mayonnaise (use olive oil-based or consider plain Greek yogurt) 2 tsp. chopped cilantro 2 tsp. chopped oregano 2 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped Preparation: Boil potatoes in salted water until cooked, about 20 minutes. Rinse in cool water. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes into bite-size cubes. While still warm, toss with remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Anticuchos Serves around 6-8 as an entrée
Ingredients: 5 lbs. tenderloin 3 jalapeno, aji, or other hot peppers 2 cloves garlic ½ tsp. comino seed 1 achiote pepper of a long green pepper 1 tsp. pepper 1 tsp. salt 1 C. red wine vinegar 2 Tbsp. melted butter
Skewers (soak in water before grilling) Flour tortillas Bottled pico de gallo
Preparation: Cut meat into 1 ½ inch cubes. Crush all dry ingredients thoroughly; add vinegar. Marinate meat overnight in this mixture.
When ready to cook, skewer two or three cubes of meat and broil over hot coals to desired doneness.
While cooking, baster meat with a mixture of reserved marinade and melted butter. An extra aji may be added to the marinade, but the dish will be really hot. Serve with warm flour tortillas and pico de gallo.
Windy Books for Windy Days Liz Inskip-Paulk, M.A.
With spring comes wind in West Texas, and so I thought it would be fun to compile a list of books that revolve around the wind in some way. Here are a few suggestions with which to start off…
Letters of a Woman Homesteader – Elinore Pruitt Stewart (1914) A classic of its kind, this short book is composed of letters sent by Elinore Pruitt back to her old employer after Elinore has left for her new future as a pioneer homesteader in Wyoming. She knows that life will not be easy out on the plains, but her absolutely charming letters reflect her positive attitude to life and her very determined efforts at making a go of the whole project. This is one of the most moving and honest accounts of early settler life that I have come across, and if anyone’s interested in learning more about the life of pioneer women in the U.S., this is a good read.
Chasing the Monsoon – Alexander Frater (1990) Alexander Frater is an experienced journalist who is assigned to follow the path of the annual Monsoon season as it arrives on the Indian coast for one summer. This is the tale of that, but it’s much more than travel writing – it also includes some meteorology, geography, memoir, some sociology, and there’s a good argument for humor, as classy it gets. The monsoon affects India on many levels, and as Frater
28 travels across the country, he writes of his experience with both wealthy and lower income people. It’s a fascinating study of a huge weather event that occurs every year and affects millions of people, and I recommend this read on many levels.
The Worst Journey in the World (Antarctic) – Aplsey Cherry Garrrard (1922) This is a blow-by-blow account of an Edwardian expedition of the South Pole/Antarctic exploration that is as exciting as any travel writing could be, and its descriptions of living in the open for weeks in 65 below zero when your tent has been blown away, it’s dark 24 hours a day, your food is very repetitive and you don’t know if you’re going home – it’s amazing. Apsley Cherry-Garrard was a young assistant on the 1910 expedition led by Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, and his “I was there” accounts are detailed and do not gloss over the hardships of the journey. This particular diary is frequently part of lists of “Top Adventure Stories”, and it really is as exciting as it sounds when you read it.
The Wind – Dorothy Scarborough (1925) An early Texas classic, this novel covers the story of a young woman freshly moved to Sweetwater, Texas, from a rather sheltered life in Virginia. Her lack of experience is not helpful when it comes to early life on the South Plains, and with loneliness and boredom comes the neverending Wind (which is almost another character in its own right in this book). It’s a slightly strange story, but I recommend it for its great descriptions of early Texas domestic life from a female perspective. It’s also notable for its rather frosty reception that the book received when it was first published due to its rather unhappy portrayal of Texas life at a time when state Chambers of Commerce were desperately trying to lure settlers to their towns and cities.
Liz Inskip-Paulk is a freelance writer/editor who is also an avid reader. She was born and raised in England who now lives in Texas.
Enjoy Art & Culture Mexican Style Disfrute de Arte y Cultura Estilo Mexicano By DeeDee Lowder Arts and culture are an integral part of society in Mexico, with their many achievements being a great sense of pride to Mexicans. Multi-layered and many faceted, Mexican arts and culture reflect the influences of the ancient and the modern, of its colonial and revolutionary past, and of its many ethnic and indigenous identities.
influences. Mexico’s literary history runs largely parallel to its political and colonial history – from the myths of the Maya and Aztecs, to the colonial writings of Spanish settlers and missionaries, to a decline in arts and literature in the 18th Century due to political upheaval, to a flowering of literature following the Mexican Revolution.
Mexico’s rich artistic heritage also owes a debt to its revolutionary past, which still holds a powerful place in the Mexican psyche. Following the Revolution, the new government encouraged artists to paint murals celebrating Mexican history and populist ideals encapsulated in the Revolution.
Its rich and diverse history, from the ancient civilizations through the Revolution, continues to inspire Mexico’s writers and artists.
Diego Rivera became one of the most wellknown of these muralists, known for depicting indigenous villagers, designs from pre-colonial civilizations, and Communist imagery. His wife, Frida Kahlo, is also celebrated for combining political and folk themes in her work, but she is equally wellknown for her vivid self-portraits. Her use of bright colors and symbols illustrates the historical and indigenous influence of her work, fused with contemporary and surrealist themes. Music and literature are important elements of Mexico’s culture as well; music combines traditional elements with colonial influences and continues to be shaped by modern
Palacio de Bellas Artes and The Alameda Park An architectural gem as well as a treasure trove that unites murals of Orozco, Rivera, Tamayo, and Siqueiros, and a Tiffany glass mosaic curtain. Stroll in the adjacent park among the fountains and monuments,
and look for the policharros (a mounted policeman dressed like a mariachi). Coyoacán Walled gardens, Franciscan churches, shaded plazas along cobblestone streets, markets, dancers, clowns, balloons, and fountains dot the relatively large area in the southwest of Mexico City which has always been a counterculture hotbed. This is where Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived, a few blocks away from Leon Trotsky (their houses are now the Frida Kahlo Museum and the Leon Trotsky Museum, respectively), and the tranquil residential area, with parks, squares, and cobblestone streets, are now a favored spot for the bohemia set.
The unique museum was conceived and created by muralist Diego Rivera who, motivated by his own interest in Mexican culture, collected near 60,000 pre-Hispanic pieces during his life and projected a building to place and exhibit them.. Built of black volcanic stone after his death, it takes the form of a pyramid with articles collected from almost every indigenous civilization in Mexico’s history. The National Museum of Art
Museo Casa Diego River
The birthplace of Mexico's most famous painter has been preserved as a museum featuring some of his original works and a collection of artifacts from his house.
The National Art Museum is located in the building formerly known as the Communications Palace, which was built between 1905 and 1911 by the Italian architect Silvio Contri. It houses a rich collection of Mexican art ranging from the 16th to the first half of the 20th Centuries with paintings by Juan Correa, Miguel Cabrera, Eugenio Landesio and the largest collection of paintings by the outstanding Mexican landscaper, Jose María Velasco, among others.
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Confessions of a Middle-Aged Gamer Chick By: Torrey Moseley
This is how I imagine it, if I close my eyes. In the basement of an average neighborhood church, members of a seemingly normal-looking group of Boomer-aged people are sequestered away…for some secret meeting. Glancing at this gathering of people, one might not immediately discern their relationship to one another. There’s a lawyer, a plumber, a retired nurse, a teacher, a domestic engineer, an IT technician, a retired career Marine Sergeant, and a grandpa . They all have one thing in common. The retired nurse pushes herself up into a standing position -- causing her folding chair to make a horrible metallic scraping noise on the linoleum floor. She takes a deep breath, holds her head high, and announces, “Hi, I’m Torrey and I’m a gamer chick.” The group responds in monotone, 8-bit unison, “Greetings, Torrey!” Yes, my friends, I’m here to tell you that the world of video games is NOT limited to those under the age of 20. I am a gamer chick from, well…from the very dawn of the video game. I was there when the primeval video game Pong™ (insert registered trademark symbols behind everything I list from here on out) first emerged from its primordial ooze. Yeah, we had one. In fact, we were the ONLY family on the block that had one. This made me a very popular girl. I can’t tell you how many HOURS we spent gleefully staring at those two little vertical lines and moving, bleeping blip. That is how it all started.
By age 17, I was spending most of my weekends (and thus my allowance) at the only “arcade” in town. It was adjacent to a pizza parlor. It was there that I discovered a macabre, but totally addicting game called Death Race. It was a game where the player operates a little “car”. The entire object of the game is to intentionally run over as many pixelated “pedestrians” as possible. The challenge was that once you hit a person, a little gravestone would pop up in their place. If you hit a gravestone…it was “Game Over”. I know it’s wrong, but I loved that game. And, I was good at it. Death Race circa 1977
From there sprang iconic games like Pac Man, Space Invaders, Joust, Frogger, and Qbert. I was in HEAVEN. Then, with the advent of personal game systems, these arcade games started to finger their way into the home market. And, I was right there. The first game system I invested in was the Intellivision by Mattel. It was AWESOME. Just look at these quality graphics! (she says sarcastically)
Those are buildings and lakes on the left, you have to use your imagination. Now, instead of hanging out at the arcade, my friends and I could huddle around a giganto 17-inch TV and play wondrous games like Utopia, Shark Shark, Snafu, Bomb Squad (the code, THE CODE!!! Figure out the code!), and my all-time favorite Microsurgeon…in the comfort of our own homes! We would lose all track of time. Looking back, this would have been today’s parents’ dream…teenagers, safe at home, spending time with one another, laughing and having a blast without alcohol, drugs, violence or sex. We were nerds. We didn’t care. Now, over the years, most of my friends stopped playing video games. Most of them traded in their Intellivisions, Ataris, and Commodores for “grown up” things…like cars, boats, getting married, having kids, buying houses. Not me. While my friends were graduating from college, I was graduating from Intellivision…to Nintendo. And, to this very day, Nintendo is still my game system of choice. Today, I could open my own personal Nintendo museum. I have ‘em all…from that original grey box Nintendo to the Wii (and every other iteration of Nintendo in between).
I still have all their games too, and they all still work. And yes, I did graduate from college (with high honors I might add), and I got a car and got married, but that is beside the point. I was happy in Nintendoland for many, many years. Link, Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Toad…they are my brothers. Then, a wonderful thing happened. The video game world evolved, yet again. Suddenly, with the exponential growth of the internet, a new generation of video games was created (cue an angelic chorus laced with synthesized music).
The MMORPG MMORPG…Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. I cut my MMORPG teeth on a cute little game called Maplestory. It’s innocuous enough—cutesy little 2D virtual world where chubby little player-controlled characters go on a mindless (and endless) pursuit of their ever-elusive “next level”. It got really boring. I got tired of the grind. I craved better quests. I longed for awesome graphics. I hungered for more dimensions—3, to be exact.
Enter…WoW (cue legendary, EPIC music). I started playing WoW (World of Warcraft) about 7 years ago. Maybe 8…I’ve lost track. WoW was so amazing to me when I first started playing. I mean, it’s an ENTIRE 3-D WORLD! 3 DIMENSIONS!!! Let me see if I can illustrate the difference in an analogy. I like analogies. WoW is to Pong, as Michelangelo’s Pieta is to a 3-year-old’s drawing of a 5-legged dog. ‘Nuff said.
I love WoW. Sometimes I need a break from it for a few months, but, I always manage to find my way back. WoW has gotten me through some tough times in my life. Without going into great detail, it is a great distracter that allows me to place my focus away from pain. It’s a pretty powerful painkiller. WoW is also (as strange as it sounds) where I met my husband. We really did meet there about 5 years ago. Heck, I even got my 76-year-old dad to play (and we’re even in the same guild). I know there are many other MMORPGs out there. But, for me, my battle cry will always be, “For the Alliance!!” If nothing else, for less than $15/month, I have one incredibly affordable form of entertainment.
A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were cleaning out our garage. He opened a big pink plastic storage tub. Inside was my Intellivision system with all its games-- all complete, all in their original boxes. We brought it in and spent awhile on the internet trying to figure out how to hook it up to our “modern” TV. After a quick trip to Radio Shack, we had it all hooked up. I pressed the “ON” button, and that familiar, tinny 8-bit music filled our entertainment room. It immediately whisked me back to my youth… to where this journey all began, decades ago. I have come full circle and have returned to my “video” roots. Yep. I’m a gamer chick to my very core, and I will be to my dying day…until it’s Game Over.
UNDERSTANDING CREDIT RATINGS By Randy Watkins
You hear a lot of talk about credit scores these days. They are becoming more and more important as it becomes harder and harder to maintain good credit. Credit plays a role in everything from buying a home, to signing up for cell phone service or utilities, to getting car insurance. A score is a snapshot taken by the three leading credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, that allows lenders to determine whether or not you will be extended credit, the amount of credit and even the terms (interest rate, loan amount, re-payment schedule). While I am not a credit counselor and I can’t give you any credit repair advice, I can give you a little bit of information about credit scores and some basic steps to keep them healthy, which are important for you to know when applying for home financing. After we review your credit score, if you need to work on your credit in order to qualify for a loan, I can help you find a local resource to assist you and get you back to a place where I can help you with financing! What Is a Credit Score and How Is It Calculated? The score is a number between 300 and 850 that is used to determine your creditworthiness — that is, to predict how likely you are to pay your bills. Many of the companies with whom you have a loan or a line of credit report back to the three credit bureaus information such as whether you
pay on time, your credit amount, etc. Your credit score is calculated from this personal financial information found in your credit report. The higher your credit score, the better the credit terms you will receive. The lower your score, the higher the interest rates you may have to pay when you are extended credit. Generally, scores over 700 are considered excellent while scores below 600 are considered poor. W.J. Bradley requires a minimum 620 score for nearly all our programs, but we can talk about that when meet in person. Each of the three major credit bureaus issues their own scores based on their own proprietary calculations. The Fair Isaac Corporation also has a credit rating scale called a FICO score. FICO scores are most widely used by banks and other issuers of credit to determine lending terms, and it’s what we use at WJB to determine your credit score. The credit bureaus use the following factors to determine your score. Each factor is weighted differently and affects your score to a different degree:
What is a tri-bureau merged report and why should I get one?
You should get a complete picture of your overall financial health before you go out to make a big purchase that requires you to apply for credit or a loan. Your score will impact the interest rate you are offered, so knowing your score will give you a sense of what you may qualify for.
The best way to gain a clear picture of your financial health is through a tri-bureau credit report. The tri-bureau credit report gives you a score from each of the three major credit reporting agencies on one report. Lenders sometimes take an average of your three scores, or may even use the lowest score, to make their lending decision. A combined report gives you a complete credit profile — saving you time and money so that you don’t have to check each of the major reporting agencies separately. You can go to any of the major credit bureau websites for your combined report: TransUnion, Equifax or Experian. You are eligible for one free credit report per year. Take advantage of this opportunity to monitor your credit report and ensure
there are no mistakes or surprises with your credit.
How can I improve my credit score?
In addition to not paying your bills on time, there are other factors that can lower your credit score. If you are at or very near your credit limit on your credit card(s), or if you have multiple revolving credit accounts (like department store or gas credit accounts), your credit can suffer. Creditors also look at your employment record to see if you’ve switched jobs frequently or if you’ve maintained steady employment. These days, many people have late mortgage payments, a short sale or a foreclosure weighing down their credit score. If you have any of those issues to contend with, it doesn’t automatically mean you can’t apply for a loan; call me and we’ll discuss what I can do for you. Although there are no quick fixes when it comes to improving your credit score, you can take steps to rebuild your score over time: 1. Continue paying your bills on time — your payment history matters. 2. Don’t max out your cards or even run the balances up high. 3. Hold off on applying for new credit or cancelling an old card, since length of credit helps. 4. Pay down high balances, but don’t just transfer debts among several lenders. 5. Settle any collections or past due accounts that you possibly can. 6. Dispute and resolve any inaccurate items in your credit report. The last two years of your credit history are the most important.
It’s not easy, but it can be done. Credit bureaus are legally required to investigate disputed information by contacting the creditor that originally supplied them with the information. The three major credit bureaus usually have the same information for each consumer file — but not always. You need only contact the bureau that actually shows an error.
TransUnion P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022 (800) 888-4213, www.transunion.com
Equifax P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374 (800) 685-1111, www.equifax.com Credit scores affect your life — beyond just mortgage interest rates.
Factual information cannot be removed from a credit report, and the credit bureaus will not automatically remove information from your reports just because you dispute it. You have to prove that information is wrong with supporting documentation before a credit bureau will correct a report. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a credit bureau must within 30 days remove or modify a disputed item if it is found to be inaccurate, incomplete or cannot be verified after a reasonable investigation.
Credit scores are often used in determining prices for auto and homeowners insurance. Employers have also begun using the scores as part of background checks when making hiring decisions. The practice of using credit scores in nontraditional ways is expanding. It’s more important than ever to educate yourself about credit. If you have more questions, I can help you find local resources to provide you with credit counseling and more in-depth information. Check your credit score at least once a year. Correct any errors and take steps to improve your credit. Maintaining a healthy credit score will smooth the way for you to achieve many of your future goals.
Randy Watkins Residential Mortgage Loan Originator / NMLS # 177234 direct: 972-381-2426 | cell: 214-684-1164 | fax: 877-273-5832
Contact information for the three major U.S. credit bureaus: Experian P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 759013 (888) 397-3742, www.experian.com
Randy.email@example.com | www.mywjb.com/randy-watkins W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital, LLC 16479 Dallas Parkway, Suite 120, Addison, TX 75001
Takeout can eat up your savings. Pack your own lunch instead of going out. $6 saved a day x 5 days a week x 10 years x 6% interest = $19,592. That could be money in your pocket. Small changes today. Big bucks tomorrow. Go to feedthepig.org for free savings tips.
How am I Going to Pay for Senior Care? By Claire Maestri This might be a bitter pill to swallow, but first recognize that in home care is expensive. Long Term Care in general is expensive. My best advice is to start saving or addressing these costs early. Talk to your parents about their savings plans. Often I talk with clients who are reluctant to spend money they have saved for “a rainy day”. I am often the bearer of the news that it is storming outside! The State of Texas has great Long Term Care Planning Guides that can assist you in understanding the costs associated with Long Term Care. Please keep in mind that I am not a financial advisor. I am merely sharing information based on my experience working with aging clients and their families. I will share with you their successes to help you determine a resolution for your current situation. If you or your parents need to pay for in home care or other long term care right now: 1. Figure out exactly what level of care they need. The higher levels of care cost more money, so don’t start spending on those levels until your loved one really needs them. 2. Talk with your loved one about what he/she wants. If he/she wants to stay at home, don’t pay a “down payment” at an Independent Living or Assisted Living. This is a waste of time and resources. 3. Talk with your parents and siblings about money. This is difficult, but everyone must be on the same page in regards to how your parents feel about spending their money. If they don’t want to spend money on services that you are more comfortable with them having, you might become responsible for the cost of those services. Sometimes, siblings are willing to share this burden. 4. Don’t make any assumptions. Your parents may have saved for this time and have a special stash for aging care. Talk with them. 5. Be wary of anyone with a “quick fix”. I had a client whose financial planner had put a lot of his liquid cash into a 10 year CD. The man was 87. HELLO! This forced him to pay the penalty for withdrawing money prior to the maturation of the CD when he moved into an Assisted Living. Make sure your financial advisor is aware of the special needs associated with aging and the demands of Long Term Care. There are Registered Financial Gerontologists who are very knowledgeable about the issues related to a family funding Long Term Care. Check upcoming issues for more information with regards to Medicare and Medicaid. I know this is on your mind! Claire Maestri is a freelance writer of senior topics and an expert in helping families find quality senior care options. She lives with her family in Dallas, TX.
42 But My Mom has Medicare! - Paying for Senior Care By Claire Maestri
So here is the skinny on Medicare – it is HEALTH Insurance. There is a common misconception that Medicare will pay for Long Term Care. It does not. Medicare is currently designed to cover hospitalization and rehabilitation services. Therefore, if your loved one needs extended care beyond Medicare coverage, it will be an out of pocket expense. Medicare will cover a hospital stay. When your loved one is sent to the Skilled Nursing or Rehab, Medicare will cover days 1-20 at 100% and days 21-100 with a co pay. After the 100th day, you will need to determine a long term plan. Any days beyond this 100th day stay in the Skilled Nursing are paid for by the patient or family at full cost to the patient or family. Since Medicare is Health Insurance, there are parameters in which coverage continues and is cancelled. First, in order to qualify for this 100 day stay in Skilled Nursing or Rehab, your loved one must have been in the hospital for 3 days first. So, you can’t just decide your loved one is sick enough to need Skilled Nursing care and send them to a Skilled Nursing Facility and expect to receive Medicare benefits. They must go to the hospital first. They must also have a “skilled need”. Just because your loved one
went to the hospital does not mean that when they leave they are sick enough to need Skilled Nursing or Rehab. If your loved one does go to Skilled Nursing, they are not guaranteed the 100 day stay. They might get better, or no longer have a “skilled need” before the 100th day. Again, Medicare is Health Insurance and is set up for illness and wellness. Sometimes patients go home after a Skilled Nursing or Rehab stay or directly from the hospital. In this case, they might qualify for Home Health services. Home Health services are paid for by Medicare, but these services are limited and paid by the visit, not the hour. This means that the Nurse, Therapist or Aide that comes in from the Home Health agency is thorough and paid by the visit. He/she will only stay for time that is required to perform the services. So, if you have a loved one who needs extended assistance for more than a few hours a day, then there is a need to employ a service that can provide such assistance. This cost will be out of pocket. Go to http://www.medicare.gov for more information. They can best explain the Medicare benefits for your specific situation.