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Where Have All The Hippies Gone?

Where Have All The Hippies Gone?

Growing up the youngest of five girls, my oldest sister was my hero. And, she was a hippie. As I look around today, I wonder, “Where have all the hippies gone? Just what has become of them?”

My sister is now a grandmother who is soon to embark on the joys of retirement. Her plan is to get a travel trailer and go about the country with her little dog and paint beautiful scenes. Now, apart from the painting bit, her retirement sounds just like my grandparent’s retirement. Are there any hippie communities my sister might enjoy retiring to?

She might like Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It’s well known as an art community. Perhaps she could get her peace and love groove on there. And the Ozark Mountains are full of fabulous scenery for her to paint.

Girls of hippie in the field

She could also try Montana. The town of Missoula has a strong peacenik history. In June of 2007 the entire town supported a referendum that pushed for Congress to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.  I’m sure my sis would have been on board for those politics.

And, although Arizona is often thought to be part of the Wild, Wild, West, it is also home to many hippies. Bisbee once was a mining boom town. After that charming part of its history was over, the hippies moved in and turned the town into a hippie enclave. Every year they hold an annual Poetry Festival. Tourists and artists fill the streets of this charming little town.

If the desert has no appeal for my sister, she could continue west to Arcata, California. Although this city is known as a college town, it is also environmentalist headquarters. It is so green, in fact, that in 1989 it became officially zoned free of nuclear weapons.

My sister could leave the Pacific and head due east to the Atlantic and find more birds of the same feather in Ithaca, New York. Being an Ivy League university town, Ithaca’s hippiness shines through in its cooperative community programs such as farmers markets, art collectives and a community vibe of self-reliance.

Nearby is Burlington, Vermont. If you want to know just how hippie Burlington is, consider that the city banned McDonald’s and embraced Ben & Jerry’s. So, yes, flower power is alive and well in Vermont.

While my sister is tootling around in Vermont in her retirement travels, she…Continue Reading

Toilet Tissue Vs. Bidet

Toilet Tissue Vs. Bidet

I recently visited my daughter and son-in-law. This was my first visit in their “together” home since they have married. Now, I am a born and raised Texas girl. My son-in-law is a Saudi transplant. Many of our differences seem obvious. All have been easy to accept. It’s no big deal being a human being in our family. We embrace uniqueness. We relish in all that is different. We find it to be the spice of life. That being said, I do have to admit to a difference that created an embarrassing situation during my visit.

After a forty-five minute drive, a cup of coffee and bottle of water, it’s no big surprise that I needed to use the bathroom as soon as I arrived. As I finished my business, I reached, quite naturally, for where the toilet paper roll would be hanging. There was nothing there. I am not too proud that I can’t shout out and ask for someone to please bring me some toilet paper, which I did.

Bidet

My daughter, who has fully embraced her husband’s culture, responded to my call. She informed me that they do not use toilet paper. What? Yes. That’s right. They don’t use toilet paper. They had converted their standard Texas flusher to a flusher/bidet combo. I simply had not depressed the proper lever to complete my hygiene experience.

After a few moments of bumbling around I discovered which lever was the flusher and which was the spouter. My shriek of surprise announced to the newlyweds that I had indeed figured out the contraption. My son-in-law apologized profusely. I believe he was embarrassed. I was not but I do have a few more miles on my sense of pride than he has. I assured him there was no need for apologies, that I thoroughly enjoyed the new experience. Indeed, it was the most interesting and pleasant bathroom experience I believe I’ve ever had in my life. And then, true to my curious nature, I began to ask myself questions.

Where cleaning the bum with toilet paper or a blast of water is concerned, is one really better than the other? Is one “greener” than the other? Is one more hygienic than the other?

Well, concerning the environment, one uses the precious resource of trees and one the precious resource of water. That makes them Even-Steven as far as I’m concerned regarding whether one is greener than…Continue Reading

The Sultan of Quilts

The Sultan of Quilts

My aunt just gave me a handmade quilt as a gift. It is absolutely gorgeous. It took her the better part of a year to handcraft what I can only consider a work of art. When I look at the richness of the colors I am reminded of old-fashioned stained glass windows in a little chapel in a wood. It is so stunning a focal piece I decided to make it a wall hanging in my bedroom. I cleverly managed some backlighting to get the full “stained glass” effect. However, to protect the fabric, I keep the backlighting on sparingly.

This is not my only quilt. I have one my sister made me which is a favorite and beautifies my bed frequently. I made two quilts myself and am working on my third. I have another quilt give me by my paternal grandmother on my sixteenth birthday. I was too young to appreciate how precious this gift was so, rather than treasure it protectively, I used it almost every day. It now is quite ragged and I have had to patch numerous squares, but, I will never get rid of it. I don’t use it any longer except as a decorative throw over a chair in a spare room.

In America the word “quilt” is usually associated with mental images of hard-working pioneer women. However, quilting is a craft that has been performed round the world in almost every culture since the beginning of civilized man’s history once mankind began creating textiles. And quilts are not all patchwork pieces of scrap fabric. In the early nineteenth century, beautiful applique quilts were all the rage. Throughout the fifteenth century military men of wealth who could afford a suit of armor wore quilted garments underneath.

Quilting technique layers fabric that sandwiches a type of padding between the layers. Decorative stitching in creative patterns holds all the layers together. Because most textiles degrade and rot away to dust, it is impossible to determine exactly when in history the first quilted product was made. However, the oldest object was found in a Siberian tomb in 1971. It was a quilted carpet constructed of linen. The decorative needlework depicted animals and abstract images like spirals.

Quilts were treasured for many reasons. In cold climates they provided warmth without creating excessive bulk. The layers created strength yet allowed the quilt to remain soft and flexible. Quilts could be used just about anywhere warmth and softness was needed,…Continue Reading

The Snowbird Discount

The part of the Gulf Coast where I live is a favorite destination for “snowbirds” during the winter season. “Snowbirds” are senior citizens who summer in the cooler climate of the northern United States and winter in the more temperate southern climate. The interesting thing I’ve noticed this year is that, very soon, my husband and I will be joining them! Yes, we are getting up there in years. Within the next five years my husband will be eligible for partial retirement and we can begin travelling more. And, from the information I’ve been digging up, there are lots of discounts available just for seniors who are traveling about.

I don’t think it’s so much that these discounts are particularly targeting seniors. I think because seniors have more time on their hands and no longer have a work schedule to confine them, this flexibility enables them to take advantage of last minute offers. Also, they can travel during the off-peak season when there is less traffic about the resort and rates are a little lower.

The BNB trend has started up another new trend, house swapping. Often, this is a cheaper way to go with full amenities and maintain privacy. With a full kitchen, the expense of eating out is no longer a necessity. By eating meals made by your own two hands, you can use that eating out expense money to go somewhere really nice and special. It also seems that seniors are a coveted clientele. Probably because the homeowners doubt very seriously grandma and grandpa are going to go on a hardcore drinking binge and trash the place.

Now why is this so important? Should retirees not be sweating the small stuff like ten percent off here or a five percent saving there? Well, when you consider that for people over the age of fifty almost eighty percent of their time is leisure time, I would surmise that it is wise to be as cost effective as possible with how that time is spent.

Today’s traveling senior is not the same traveling senior of yesteryear. With the improvement of healthcare and medical technology comes a much healthier longevity. Seniors of today are energetic and youthful. Traveling seniors of the twenty-first century are game to try just about any activity. Whether it’s booking  a room or a bungee jump, don’t hesitate to ask about senior discounts.

There are many senior friendly countries who make it easy to travel within their borders, such as Italy and Spain. Seniors pay a special discounted rate…Continue Reading

No More Spanking

As a young adult, I assumed spanking was a normal form of discipline for children. When I had a child of my own, I found it impossible to spank. What then, is a parent to do? Was I going to be a failure? Was my child going to grow up wild and undisciplined?

According to current research, following what was in my heart was the right thing to do for the well-being of my child. Evidence shows that physical forms of discipline like spanking have serious, long-term effects on children. These forms of punishment make it highly likely that a child will develop aggressive tendencies, antisocial characteristics, and mental health disorders. Despite this news, almost sixty percent of American parents still spank their children. Spanking children doesn’t get the results parents are hoping for. It introduces another unacceptable behavior, the use of force to get one’s way.

Parents who spank should consider that the world views such actions as violating the basic human rights of a child. In 2006 a UN Committee published a declaration that physical forms of punishment on children were violence that was legalized and should cease. Only two nations did not ratify the treaty on the rights of children, the United States and Somalia. Somalia and the United States really should catch up to the thirty other countries who have outlawed corporal punishment of children.

Take a tantrum for example. A tantrum is an expression of a child’s frustration. Rather than the parent have their own tantrum and spank the child, the parent should teach an appropriate way to express those negative feelings. For example, my granddaughter would scream and hit whenever she saw a dog. Rather than fuss at her, we told her it was okay to feel upset but it was not okay to upset others. We taught her to make a fist and stick her knuckle between her teeth and blow. We called it her stress whistle. And, it worked!

Other forms of discipline I have used that are advised by child psychologists are time outs and deprivation of privileges. I focus on teaching the value of the right choice and the consequences of a bad choice. I don’t just focus on immediate consequences. I remind children that they will grow up. An unpleasant consequence as a child could result in a much worse consequence as a adult. Conversations like this help to develop a strong bond of trust and honesty in relationships. I never teach my kids that it is wrong to feel a…Continue Reading