Families hidden treasures many come in many forms

Families hidden treasures many come in many forms

Many years ago, my father-in-law Danny, who was in his late 70s, was hanging new kitchen cabinets.  Part of the job meant moving some of the ceiling tiles.

When he moved the tile directly above the kitchen sink, he happened upon a paper bag holding $8,000 in cash. 

His wife, Mary, was apoplectic when he found it. She had worked as a housekeeper for many years and had been saving her earnings in that bag to pay for new appliances or other things she wanted that her husband was less than excited about purchasing.

I remember that day vividly as I think about

Acknowledging feelings of grief is the first step toward healing

Acknowledging feelings of grief is the first step toward healing

I will be attending two celebrations of life this month.

The first is for my friend Margaret.

I wrote about her in one of my recent columns, about her surprise 90th birthday party with 50 of her friends and neighbors. Margaret died in December, a week before she was scheduled to go on a trip to Africa.

I am comforted by the thought that people got to celebrate her 90th birthday with her.

The other is for a 50-year-old work colleague who was killed by a stray bullet. He leaves behind a wife and children. His death is senseless, tragic, and shocking.

I add to this something which I have been unable to write about thus far, because it’s been too painful;

Monthly planners are an easy way to visualize what's ahead

Monthly planners are an easy way to visualize what's ahead

As one year comes to an end, a new one begins.

I recently received my 2023 monthly planner. Full of expectations for the coming year, I can’t wait to begin to fill it up with appointments, activities, and events.

Each year I spend some time looking for just the right planner, one with a bright upbeat cover and big boxes for each day of the month to make notations.

Somewhere in my growing up years, I was taught to be productive and prepared. My monthly calendar helps me to look forward and visualize my day, week, and month to get myself ready for what is coming my way.

On a practical side,

Change of pace: Consider walking for your next get together

Change of pace: Consider walking for your next get together

It might sound like a random invitation, but at a recent holiday gathering of women friends, a community acquaintance, Terry, invited me to go for a walk.

We had been talking about feeling a bit stressed and sad watching some of the rude behavior of others whether in the media or in our daily lives.

Always a positive person, Terry explained that she had some therapy she wanted to share with me. She explained how she recently invited a friend on a long beach walk, and how wonderful she felt afterward. 

She noted that her mood had improved. She said because of the conversation during the walk, she felt a closer connection to her friend. 

Don't put off estate planning another year

Don't put off estate planning another year

It was my recent fall - documented extensively in previous columns - that compelled me to suggest to my husband that we review our estate plan. I guess I needed to remind myself that I am not immortal, and I wanted to be sure that our plan fits our current circumstances.

In these past few years, COVID has increased Americans’ awareness of the need to have a will, living trust or living will.  According to a 2022 survey, people who have had a serious case of Covid said they were 66% more likely to engage in estate planning compared to those who had not.

However, that same survey found that 67% of Americans still have no estate plan.

Make wishes known for organ donation

Make wishes known for organ donation

The organ and tissue donation process is unfamiliar to a lot of us. Some people may not even know they are registered donors.

Understanding the law and how it is implemented is important.

The first time many of us heard of choices about organ donation was at the DMV. More than 90% of individuals surveyed across the country stated that they registered their donation decision through their local DMV.

A pink dot on your license shows that you are an organ donor. That information is also forwarded to Donate Life California Registry.

Your Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD) is another common way to designate you would like to, or chose not to, be an organ donor. Many of us have completed an AHCD as part of our will or trust. 

Be mindful: Most bad falls have a cause

Be mindful: Most bad falls have a cause

For weeks, friends and neighbors worked on planning a surprise block party for my friend Margaret’s 90th birthday. On the big day, over 50 people showed up with food, drink and gifts to celebrate this amazing lady.

Several of the neighbors who attended the party had read my Acorn column about my fall. Soon I had a group of women surrounding me talking about their recent falls—their broken bones, black eyes and ongoing recoveries. In each case, these women recounted the accident that resulted in their fall. We all listened with sympathy and understanding.

Since my fall, I have

Social Security COLA increase a good chance to talk to finances with parents

Social Security COLA increase a good chance to talk to finances with parents

Due to this year’s meteoric rise in the consumer price index, a measure of inflation in the cost of goods and services, Social Security beneficiaries will receive an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment for 2023.

Only three times in the past 46 years has the COLA been higher - in 1979 to 1981 with an increase of 9.9%, 14.3%, and 11.2% respectively.

And while an 8.7% adjustment is significant, it’s important to put the figure in context with the top expense categories retirees will be spending their money on next year when the extra cash comes in. 

Many seniors live on a fixed income in retirement. Social Security is often a large part of their income.

The numbers noted below are a 12-month national percentage change in the Consumer Price Index as of September 2022.

The largest expense for retirees is housing,

Getting a painful lesson in fall prevention

Getting a painful lesson in fall prevention

Morning walks in my neighborhood are one of the most enjoyable parts of my day.

I love the coolness of daybreak and the special sightings of the stag and two does that frequent our open space.

I also enjoy my walk because each day at that time I call my mother to catch up with her. Our daily conversations allow us to share our lives with one another. We also reminisce about aspects of my growing up years.

Forced retirement may be a waste

Forced retirement may be a waste

How old is too old for working at a job? Last week a news story hit my inbox and it really got me to thinking about age and retirement.

The article noted that Target Corp. abandoned its mandatory retirement age of 65 for its CEO, Brian Cornell. Cornell is 63.

There were two things that interested me about this story.

The first is, I know Brain. I worked with him when he was at Tropicana and I was with Dole Packaged Foods. Tropicana had bought the licensing and distribution rights to Dole refrigerated juices, and I was part of the transition team working with Brian.

Since 2014, when Cornell took the Target CEO job, sales at the national retailer have

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