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Are you comfortable talking about death?

Are you comfortable talking about death?

“It is very important that you only do what you love to do. you may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live. And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do. Otherwise, you will live your life as a prostitute, you will do things only for a reason, to please other people, and you will never have lived. and you will not have a pleasant death.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

You know that feeling when you meet or encounter a person who commands reverence and yet is so humble and earnest. Hopefully, during our lives, we have met one or two of those individuals. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was one of those for me. And while I only saw her speak in Pasadena, California sometime around 1977-78.

In America, in our culture, death and dying are still unmentionable for many people, still considered unlucky. As if talking about death would somehow hasten yours or mine, and yet.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross influenced a cultural shift which continues to this day. She talked about and to the dying, giving them a voice and an ear. She started a trend toward reintegrating death into our lives instead of hiding it in a sanitized room away from family. We have much to thank her for. You can learn more about her life, books and work at http://www.ekrfoundation.org/.

Hearing her speak, and talk about death and dying and the importance of recognizing it as a natural part of life, a healthy part of life was inspirational. And even though I was just about twenty-one at the time her words and presence had a profound effect on my own relationship with my own mortality. We just started dating my mortality and me. No reason to rush into anything.

Are Tiny Houses Realistic for Seniors?

Are Tiny Houses Realistic for Seniors?

I love tiny houses. I LIVE in a tiny house, 416 square feet, right now! I’ve lived in many curious dwellings like a 16-foot airstream trailer without electricity, a Quonset hut, a pup tent for three months in a meadow near Mt. Shasta, a single-wide mobile home and now a studio condo in a nearly 100-year-old building. I GET SMALL! I have also lived in big suburban houses, smaller suburban houses, you get the idea. I prefer smallish.

I LIVE in a tiny house, 416 square feet, right now! I’ve lived in many curious dwellings like a 16-foot airstream trailer without electricity, a Quonset hut, a pup tent for three months in a meadow near Mt. Shasta, a single-wide mobile home and now a studio condo in a nearly 100-year-old building. I GET SMALL! I have also lived in big suburban houses, smaller suburban houses, you get the idea. I prefer smallish.

I love the tiny house movement and all it represents in regard to downsizing, consuming less everything, being more conscious about what you bring into your home or don’t due to space limitations.

The one thing that troubles me about all of the tiny house designs I’ve seen and granted, I’ve not seen that many, but most every photo or plan for a tiny house includes a loft and a ladder to access that loft, and THAT’s the part I’m not sure about.

Pad Tiny Houses has solved that with the Hikari Tiny House. Coming in at 184 square feet downstairs, with actual stairs instead of a ladder and sleeping up or downstairs, I think the Hikari House could be an answer for a shared senior community.

All that aside, I am so excited that in Portland, Oregon we have a wonderful Tiny House movement. Classes can be taken to teach you how to build your own tiny house. Watch this video by Pad Tiny Houses. Dee Williams and Joan Grim are the instructors who lead this weekend workshop, and there are other workshops that involve a tiny house actually being built.

Media & Politics: Do Facts Matter

Media & Politics: Do Facts Matter

From Facebook to politics, and television, does it seem like facts don’t matter anymore?

Do you remember when paying for things in cash wasn’t suspicious and asking questions wasn’t considered rude and combative? I do, and I miss them.

Have you ever had anyone get angry with you because you asked them where they heard something or if they could back it up?

Most of us can’t back it up, myself included. A good friend who is a journalist and fact finding genius has re-trained me to be more diligent in what I repeat as fact or truth by challenging me all the time. Fortunately, I like the challenge, but I find many people don’t like being asked on what they base their opinions or where they got their “facts.”

Another new barrier to critical thinking is the internet. I am guilty on occasion of “Liking” or sharing a web page that prints facts about science, celebrities, or politics, but provides no links or references to cite where the information they are authoritatively writing about came from.

Guilty, but I’m changing. I’m working on slowing down and before I “Like” someone’s post or share an article, I look for references that I can check. It all takes so much time, so I have to ask is this worth the time, and if the answer is no I move on.

FactCheck.org – Does the Fact Checking So We Don’t Have To

nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

FactCheck looks at the information we see in the media and checks the facts for us. They take the content of political speeches and commentary and fact check them. You can even submit your own request for them to fact check an issue, maybe the one you bet $20 on.

And example might look like this:

Q: Did President Obama cut benefits for veterans by $2.6 billion to give the money to Syrian refugees? A: No. The Department of Veterans Affairs transferred funds to close a $2.6 billion gap in a health care program. The transfer is unrelated to Syrian refugee aid.

In a country that seems to value how you feel and how you look, over facts and reality, it worries me. That’s why I encourage you to pause before you Like and consider that even those with similar opinions and politics are just as capable to of posting misinformation Sometimes, ironically in response to an unsubstantiated opposing opinion or “facts.”