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Where Did She Go?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

This stretch has been the first time in over six years where I haven’t posted to The Silver Mine weekly.  I had to let it go to test whether it belongs in my updated life.  I miss posting.  But it’s time to let go of the emphasis on retirement related topics.

That was an important set if issues to address when I started focusing on them in 2006.  Now, there are many resources and lots of capable voices advocating for making this stage of life more than a matter of waiting around for the trip to the funeral home.

When I got fired up about how badly we were “doing retirement,” my path had been toward life as a fiction writer.  I’d been concentrating on screenplays at that time, but now I want to go back to my first love–writing novels.

As a first step on this new version of that journey, I’ve released my first novel, Widow Boy–a historical thriller about a woman who finds justice for her murdered husband in the gold rush town of Cripple Creek by masquerading as a boy.  It’s a fast read with a gentle touch to the history and technology of Colorado gold mining in the 1890’s.  I started the story 20 years ago.  (Luckily, research for a historical novel doesn’t need to be updated if you don’t get on with publishing it right away….)  I have worked through it with two different critique groups over long periods and am proud of the quality that’s resulted.  I sincerely believe it’s a great read.

It’s available on Amazon in both paperback and for the Kindle.  If you want to read it but can’t afford either of those, e-mail me (mary@mining-silver.com) and I’ll let you know when there’s a “free day” for the Kindle version–which you can read on your computer if you don’t have an e-reader.

If you do read the book, I have a favor to ask.  Reader reviews are a critical piece of getting the visibility a book needs to succeed.  So please do a quick review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Or tell your friends.  Or recommend it to your book club.  Or give it as a gift.  We find the best reads by word of mouth and I’d like to be part of your communication chain if you like this one.  Thanks.

I am also working on a new website that will give me greater freedom to write on whatever topic inspires me.  That’s where I will be posting in the future.  This is the 299th post on The Silver Mine.  The 300th–and last–one will provide the link to that site once it’s live.

Thanks for reading The Silver Mine, especially to those who did so regularly.   Being read is the greatest reward for a writer, and I appreciate your support.

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Mary Lloyd is a writer and former retirement expert (and natural gas industry executive, statistics instructor, stay-at-home-mom, crutch maker, etc.)  Her first novel, Widow Boy, was released on Amazon on Sept. 12, 2014.  She also wrote Supercharged Retirement:  Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love

 

Yes, It IS Your Fault

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Okay. At some point, we voted for these bozos.  They are in office.  The fact that they are not doing the job they agreed to do  is something we’ll have to deal with– and hopefully we will–in upcoming elections.  What’s going on right now in our government is mind-numbingly egotistical.  To say that the behavior of these “statesmen” is dismaying is like saying Mount Everest is tall.  So let’s start to make this clearer to them:

TO THOSE WHO HAVE HAD A HAND IN SHUTTING DOWN THE US GOVERNMENT:

You have embarrassed us all with your ineptitude and hard-headedness.  You have put millions of hard working citizens out of work to prove a point even you can’t agree on.  If you were adult enough to go to real core values in negotiating, this would have been resolved long before the deadline.  You choose instead to play Ego games and call them “values.”

TO THE REPUBLICANS:  Yes, you are to blame.  Shame on you for insisting there is only one way to achieve what you are trying to achieve–which is less government spending in the long haul.  What you cut doesn’t have to be wearing the Obamacare logo to achieve that end.

TO THE DEMOCRATS:  Yes, you are to blame.  Insisting that additional delay not happen on a program that has already been delayed in part–and for lesser reasons than not shutting down the government– is not valiant.  It is Ego-driven just like the quest to make it go away.  You are no different than your counterparts across the isle in your pettiness.

Getting the right things to happen while working with people we don’t agree with is simply part of living life in this complex world.  Why the hell does Congress think it should get a hall pass?

TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

Mr. Obama, you have been President of the United States for five years.  You have had the role as leader of the leading country in the world for half a decade, yet you do not seem to grasp that a leader needs to leadYOU are the leader of this country.  Not Mr. Boehner.  Not Mr. Reid.  Not any of the news celebrities.  YOU.  That means part of your job is figuring out how to get people to follow.  Many of us long ago learned what you still don’t know.  You do not get people to follow by drawing lines in the sand.

All of you, please stop this embarrassing display of ineptitude.  Any sane adult knows that reaching a compromise involves giving up lesser things to achieve the most important thing.  The most important thing right now is to get us off the world stage in the clown suit.  We need to get our affairs in order as a government.  You have disgraced us in front of the entire world and put a lot of people in financial peril for the sake of being “right.” There is no “right” in this behavior, just the din of self-centered grandstanding.

Solutions reached through compromise stand the test of changing political winds.  Programs put in place via the political clout of just one party are doomed to be rescinded when that party falls out of favor.  The American system works because of compromise.  Please learn that civics lesson and get back to doing your job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Pope Versus a Budget

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

What’s the matter with the US Congress? And the US President? In less than two full days, the globally diverse Catholic church has risen to the task before them and chosen a new pope.  That pope will be around for a fairly long time. He will set policy and be the boss for every Catholic on earth. He’s not to everyone’s liking–no one is.  Still, the Cardinals chose and got the job done.

I’m not a practicing Catholic and am not even inclined to tout them as particularly blessed in terms of skill at building a consensus.  But it does give you pause, doesn’t it?  The US Congress–and the current Administration– have yet to come up with a budget for this country.  Not just for this year.  Not ever.  For some reason, all of the people who are responsible for getting it done think the childhood strategy of pointing the finger at someone else is enough to explain their own failure to get this crucial task accomplished.

Who said they could quit because it was hard work?  Who gave them the okay to go home and relax when what they need to do most is still in the starting blocks?

Why is it acceptable to fail at this? To ignore this? To act like it’s not them that have to get it done?  It’s heartbreaking to witness the cowardice of what’s going on.  Instead of rising to the task–like congressmen and women have done since this country began–they’re paralyzed with fear about the reactions that might come from the constituencies they represent.  Instead of assuming the leadership role they were elected to, they take rigid stands like stubborn three-year olds and refuse to get on with finding the solution.

Yes, it’s a lot harder to get the job done in the Senate and the House than in the Sistine Chapel–you have the media blowing everything out of proportion and sensationalizing every little nuance day after day.  But there is no constitutional waiver for not doing the job because it’s hard work.

Yes, the work involves hard choices and will dissatisfy some who voted for you.  Do you think every single person was on board with any of the hard things that this country has had to decide over the decades and centuries?  This is not about who voted for you.  This is about coming up with a workable plan for how this huge and successful country is going to make and spend its government dollars–so we can stay successful.

It took the Catholic Cardinals–who are part of an organization that’s struggling with scandles and major differences of opinion just as we are–two days to get their job done.  That is not because it was easy.  It was because they accepted it was theirs to do and did it.

Take a lesson, Congress.  Take a lesson, Mr. President.  Get this job done!  Come up with a budget.

 

What We Really Fumbled with Monday Night Football

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

At the moment, our nation is in a fit of outrage over the officiating on Monday Night Football two days ago.  I didn’t watch it on TV.   I was at the game.  It was a decent game with a lot of unusual stuff.

I could talk about how ineffective the Packers were in the first half–with their Superbowl Champion quarterback getting clobbered in the backfield eight times.  (“Sacks” usually only happen a few times a whole game at most.)  I could talk about the Seahawks getting totally bamboozled by the changes the Packers made in their game plan at half time.  I could talk about the absurd number of penalties the refs called on both teams.

And, of course, I could talk about that last play of the game…which everyone is claiming to have omniscience on.  Many have taken it upon themselves to heap profanity on the guy the refs said caught the ball–who, to be honest, was just doing his job.  Many are insisting it’s time that the NFL solve the labor dispute with the “real refs” so this kind of thing stops happening.  Many insist the refs were wrong and the NFL should reverse the call–action well beyond what’s spelled out by the league as options for redress.

There is an amazing amount of attention being giving to this “flagrant abuse.” Ellen DeGeneres even lampooned it on her show this afternoon.

Lest you think I am biased one way or the other on the actual outcome, know this:  I was born and raised 40 miles from Green Bay, Wisconsin.  I will always be a “Packer backer.”  However, I now live in the Seattle area and I root for the Seahawks, too.  I wanted them both to win.  But I worked hard not to cheer for either one since I was there with my sister who is a Packers season ticket holder and my brother who is a Seahawks season ticket holder.   (They were both philosophical and extremely polite about the whole thing in case you are wondering.)

Were the refs spot on?  Of course not.  But stop vilifying them.  If you had the chance to do your dream job, would you turn it down because you didn’t know what you really needed to?  Yes, they aren’t as good as the officiating teams who’ve been doing it for years.  No, that does not give you, a spectator, the right to rip them to shreds.  Yes, the NFL needs to solve the related labor dispute.  No, we don’t get to be jerks because they haven’t.

The thing that bothers me most about the furor is the furor itself though.  This was one football game between two teams who don’t have a whole lot on the line at this point in the season.  A football game. 

It was just a game, a game that most of us weren’t even actually playing, and yet the whole country is yelling about it.

The amount of attention and demands for action that have come from it are worthy of a national emergency.  Which we just so happen to have on the horizon.  No one is yelling about that.

Congress has just adjourned until after the elections without getting anything done.  Again.  We all have a big stake in that.  Every time they chicken out and fail to deal with the hard decisions that need to be made, we all lose.  We are all in that game because it’s our economy that they are too timid deal with.  Where is the fury about that?

No one’s life is going to be better or worse  because a substitute ref made a “bad call” on Monday Night Football.  (And whether is was or wasn’t is simply a case of personal opinion–except for that ref, whose job it was to make the call.)  We are all at risk if our elected officials don’t get the job done.

The real fumble came on Tuesday morning when the nation got worked up about the outcome of a football game.  We are the ones who have our priorities screwed up if we can make noise about that and stay silent about what’s not happening in Congress.

 

Link to Mary Lloyd in the Huffington Post

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

The Huffington Post has started a section called Huffington Post 50 and I’ve been invited to blog for them. My first post went live with the debute of the section on Friday, Sept 30.  Check it out.  And if you want to help shape what appears there, figure out how to post a comment and do that whenever you agree–or disagree–with whatever you’ve just read.

 

Scary Info from the Alzheimer’s Association

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

The recently released report Generation Alzheimer’s has some staggering numbers. Below is a summary, sent by Diane Wright of the Alzheimers Association. It’s worth the time to read.

Mary Lloyd

*****

This year, the first wave of baby boomers is turning 65 – and with increased age comes increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Our new report, “Generation Alzheimer’s: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers,” sheds light on a crisis that is no longer emerging – but here. Many baby boomers will spend their retirement years either with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone who has it. An estimated 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s.

Starting this year, more than 10,000 baby boomers a day will turn 65. As these baby boomers age, one of out of eight of them will develop Alzheimer’s – a devastating, costly, heartbreaking disease. Increasingly for these baby boomers, it will no longer be their grandparents and parents who have Alzheimer’s – it will be them.

“Alzheimer’s is a tragic epidemic that has no survivors. Not a single one,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “It is as much a thief as a killer. Alzheimer’s will darken the long-awaited retirement years of the one out of eight baby boomers who will develop it. Those who will care for these loved ones will witness, day by day, the progressive and relentless realities of this fatal disease. But we can still change that if we act now.”

According to the new Alzheimer’s Association report, “Generation Alzheimer’s,” it is expected that 10 million baby boomers will either die with or from Alzheimer’s, the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. But, while Alzheimer’s kills, it does so only after taking everything away, slowly stripping an individual’s autonomy and independence. Even beyond the cruel impact Alzheimer’s has on the individuals with the disease, Generation Alzheimer’s also details the negative cascading effects the disease places on millions of caregivers. Caregivers and families go through the agony of losing a loved one twice: first to the ravaging effects of the disease and then, ultimately, to actual death.

“Most people survive an average of four to six years after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, but many can live as long as 20 years with the disease. As the disease progresses, the person with dementia requires more and more assistance with everyday tasks like bathing, dressing, eating and household activities,” said Beth Kallmyer, senior director of Constituent Relations for the Alzheimer’s Association. “This long duration often places increasingly intensive care demands on the nearly 15 million family members and friends who provide unpaid care, and it negatively affects their health, employment, income and financial security.”

In addition to the human toll, over the next 40 years Alzheimer’s will cost the nation $20 trillion, enough to pay off the national debt and still send a $20,000 check to every man, woman and child in America. And while every 69 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease today, by 2050 someone will develop the disease every 33 seconds – unless the federal government commits to changing the Alzheimer’s trajectory.

“Alzheimer’s – with its broad ranging impact on individuals, families, Medicare and Medicaid – has the power to bring the country to its financial knees,” said Robert J. Egge, vice president of Public Policy of the Alzheimer’s Association. “But when the federal government has been focused, committed and willing to put the necessary resources to work to confront a disease that poses a real public health threat to the nation – there has been great success. In order to see the day where Alzheimer’s is no longer a death sentence, we need to see that type of commitment with Alzheimer’s.” 

Resumes for 50+ Job Seekers

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Some resume advice given to those of us over 50 is misguided-and wrong.

At an AARP job fair I volunteered at yesterday, several job seekers told me stories of situations where they had ideal qualifications for work they were applying for, but they didn’t include it, because it was more than ten years in the past. They were under the impression that hiring supervisors were death on seeing anything but their most recent experience.

This is ridiculous. The strongest thing someone over 50 has to offer an employer is the breadth and depth of their experience. It means they know how to show up for work on time, solve a problem without creating a new one, soothe an irate customer, and so on. Negating that by limiting what you can talk about to the last ten years is lunacy.

This suggested strategy is probably stemming from a misunderstanding of advice that you include only the last ten years of experience on your resume to reduce the chances of ageism. There is some legitimacy to that. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t mention relevant experience at all. It just means you don’t need to list every job you ever had. (Remember when we didn’t have experience and we were desperate to list anything that looked like a job?)

If you are looking for work and have been in the workforce for a while, you need to be both creative and attentive in what you tell a prospective employer about what you can do. A key piece of a good resume writing strategy is to separate your achievements and strengths from the chronology of your work experience in how your format your information. That way, you can mention that you successfully owned and operated a car repair shop, even if it was twenty years ago, for example.

The most important thing to do with your resume is to give the person to whom you are sending it a clear idea of your experience at solving the problems they are trying to address. When you learned that skill isn’t anywhere near as important as that you have learned it.

Experience is GOOD. But knowing what part of the vast amount you have applies to the job you’re seeking is critical. Telling everybody everything won’t work. But neither does not telling the person who needs to know, simply because you did it more than ten years ago.  Use your head on this and stop  following arbitrary rules that well-meaning but misguided unemployment counselors offer.

 

When Do You Quit?

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Knowing when to give up on a project or plan requires both wisdom and courage. How do you decide?

Health care reform legislation is still being debated, and the outcome of the eventual vote is getting “iffier” by the minute. In my home state of Washington, they’re in special session of the legislature because they’d been unable to agree upon a budget during the regular session. These are two political examples of something we all grapple with personally:  How do you decide when it’s time to throw in the towel?

My dad seemed better at this than I am.  Raised during the depression, with the family in dire straights after the death of his father, he was still capable of deciding when something simply wasn’t worth working on any more.  He was good with his hands and had a wonderful, practical mind, so it didn’t happen very often.   But when it was time, he was wise about pulling the plug.  Sometimes it was to just throw the thing out and buy a new one.  Sometimes it was to start over with better materials.  Sometimes it was to take a different approach to solving the problem that precipitated the effort in the first place.  But first he would pronounce “Ah, piss on it.” about what he had been doing to get what he needed.

I need that wisdom.  Way too often, I end up piling one bad solution on top of another and making a monstrously ineffective mess of the whole thing.  My kitchen is a good example.  It needs to be remodeled.  The appliances are starting to die.  The  countertops were chipped and cut up when I moved in six years ago.  The flooring was probably worn out long before that, but it’s still here.

This is my year to redo the kitchen.  All I really need to do is those three things.  Instead, I’ve turned it into a project that makes a lunar launch look simple.  I need to quit and go back to basics.   I am wasting time now and money eventually if I don’t.

It would be nice if we could get it right and perfect the first time we did anything.   But that’s not reality.  It takes courage to look at a lot of hard work and decide you have to give up on it.   But building onto old bad solutions only worsens the problem.  This is true for my life.  This is true for my state.  This is true for my country.  Two wrongs don’t always make a right.  Sometimes they just make a bigger mess.

 

Blogging to My Own Beat

Monday, August 31st, 2009

When I started this blog over a year ago, I did so with quite a bit of reluctance.  I am to that point in life where flexibility is paramount and I didn’t want to be bound be the “musts” of blogging.  Thou shalt blog at least once a day.  Thou shalt blog no more than 400 words at a time.  Thou shalt be prepared to blog while on vacation and otherwise away from the space where you are prepared and outfitted to blog…in any corner of the world at any time of the day.

Obviously, I have not played by those rules and the most glaring example has been the last three weeks.  You haven’t heard a peep from me.  I’m really sorry about that.  But I can explain.

It’s not anything awful.  It’s just…well…I’ve been living my life.  And that involved a bike trip followed by two weeks on the road in Colorado doing book tour stuff and having some fun.  I’m not a fan of the “I’m making myself dinner” style of blogging, so you didn’t hear about all that.

I finally realized as I was slithering out from under the resulting pile of guilt this afternoon that those who read this are most likely just as happy with that  as I am.  When I write here, I hope it’s to offer something useful.   If I write too often, I may actually be offering you less.  Case in point:  I am subscribed to several online newsletters and the ones that come even once a week are starting to wear me out.  TOO MUCH INFORMATION!

So this post is just to set the record straight.  I will write when I can and you will read when you want.  Hopefully, we can enjoy each other best that way.  If you need more, please feel free to complain by sending me a note.  Or commenting on this post.  Thanks.

Life is sweetest when rules are kept to a minimum.  Down with blogging tyranny!

12 Reasons to Be Happy — 2009 Happy Thon

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

HappyThon 09 is kicking-off

the 10th Annual Happiness Month, this August

Here are 12 reasons for me to be happy…

1.  It’s summer!

2.  Babies…and GRAND babies

3.  Our national parks

4.  Roads that get us where we want to go

5.  Heartwarming stories

6.  People who do amazing and positive things

7.  The innocent kindness of children

8.  Friends who make you laugh

9.  Funny movies

10.  Breathing…that really is worth smiling about

11.  A fresh, juicy peach–or some other goodie from the farmers market

12.  Living life on my own terms

Pop quiz!  These are mine…now it’s your turn.  List 12 things that make you happy.