Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Writing Letters – Doreen Frick

Letters: Doreen Frick Still Writes Them!
Posted on December 12, 2016 by Barbara Younger

I find myself writing shorter and shorter notes on Christmas cards these days. I type so much that writing longhand feels uncomfortable. It’s like my fingers have lost the art. So in honor of letter writing, I bring you a post from writer Doreen Frick, who has not lost the art at all

Yesterday my daughter texted this: Mom, how many letters a week do you write?

 I took a quick inventory of letters awaiting stamps (5) and letters I remember sending so far this week, (6) and letters I was thinking of writing tomorrow (2) and gave her a “guesstimate” of 15.

She tread carefully, remembering the four letters she’d received in the last month, (two to her kids), because she asked me if I really thought only fifteen.After all, I have four kids, and eleven grandkiddies, and she knows I don’t email, barely text, and rarely call. I re-evaluated my correspondence (I keep track on a tablet) and decided she was right. It was more like twenty letters a week.

And in that instant, I counted the cost. Twenty letters a week, forty-seven cents each, hmmmm. How much am I spending a month on postage? Envelopes. Cards. Small packages. And in that one moment I made a decision. I will be cutting back next week to one letter. Just one.

Now I’m sure that wasn’t the real reason my daughter texted me. In fact, she likes to get my letters. And so do her kids. She texted because, as she put it,“It just dawned on me that letter writing is your ministry, Mom.”

 Thirty-eight years old, and she’s just now “getting me.”

But the real beauty of all of this is not that one of my kids finally understands me but that all these years I’ve been hoping that my friends and family will see the beauty and love I have for a hand-written letter. And that was one other thing my daughter said,

It’s nice to get a letter when all you ever really seem to get in the mail are bills.

Mission accomplished. I can let that one go now.

Insulin Prices Skyrocket, Putting Many Diabetics in a Bind: MedlinePlus Health News

Insulin, a life-saving medication used to treat diabetes, was discovered nearly 100 years ago, yet the price of the drug has now spiked by 700 percent in just two decades.

In early November, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Democrat, pointed out that certain insulins had risen from $21 a vial in 1996 to $255 a vial in 2016.

Read more —> Source: Insulin Prices Skyrocket, Putting Many Diabetics in a Bind: MedlinePlus Health News

Bathing Mom is awkward – YouTube

This one is serious and good advice. I will see if I can add her playlist summary for more. For now, take a look.

Lincoln City Budget Comments by Councilwoman Leirion Gaylor Baird

On Monday, the City Council cast the votes that determined Lincoln’s 2016-2018 biennial budget.  I’m writing to share with you the highlights and how the budget serves all of us in our growing community for the next two years.

What Happened – In short, here is what happened during this year’s budget process. In July, the Mayor proposed a budget that included a small property tax increase (1.17 cents per $100 of home valuation or $17.50/year on a $150,000 home). The Council majority made cuts to the budget and adopted an amended budget that would have left fiscal holes for future Councils to fill. The Mayor vetoed the Council budget last week, and, on Monday, Councilwoman Jane Raybould, Councilman Carl Eskridge, and I voted to uphold the mayoral veto. With this veto, the budget reverts back to the Mayor’s original proposal, and that is what will go into effect this fall.

Where We Agreed – Both the Mayor’s and the Council’s budgets included great things for our city.

  – We invested in people – From hot meals for senior citizens (aging services) to library hours that educate and engage, from playground and pool house repairs to parks maintenance, to later and more frequent bus service, both budgets prioritized people. I cannot praise the Council and the Mayor enough for their commitment to ensuring we address the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.

  – We invested in public safety – Both budgets included new funding for six police officers and six firefighter/paramedics. As Lincoln grows, keeping up with our public safety needs is crucial.

  – We invested in infrastructure – We are increasing the number of water mains we repair each year and devoting historic levels of resources to our roads. In this budget, we set aside $15.5M in arterial and $5.4M for residential street improvements and committed full funding for the local match of the South Beltway in our six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

Where We Differed – The Mayor’s budget pays down our debts on schedule, saves the city money in the long run, and doesn’t make it harder to balance future budgets by delaying expenses that we should start paying now. 

The Council budget’s left two big holes to fill in future years. 

First, for those who feel the city should work to minimize its debt, the Council budget should have raised a red flag. This budget would have postponed paying debts until the next biennium, foregoing payment now and forcing us to pay more later. 

Second, the Emerald Ash Borer crisis, an issue facing communities across the country – Lincoln being no exception, is about public safety and spending money now so we don’t have to spend more later. The Council budget simply did not put enough funding into averting this crisis.

Closing Thoughts – I worked hard to try and find a compromise during this budget process. I spent hours with department heads and city staff to understand how cuts would create trade-offs in the services that their departments provide. I spent time working with my colleagues to understand their priorities and to try to find middle ground. In the end, we did not get to a budget up0n which everyone could agree. That said, I still believe that the time spent looking for compromise was a worthwhile and important effort. 

Compromise is key to good governance. I intend to continue working with all of my colleagues to find the middle ground on other important issues facing our city. 

In the case of the 2016-2018 budget, I supported the Mayor’s version in the end because I want to grow our city, not grow a budget deficit. A budget that faces the fiscal facts and increases revenues to support a growing city may not score political points, but the hard thing to do is often the right thing to do.

All my best,

Councilwoman Leirion Gaylor Baird

4 ways we get better with age – United Health Care

Older, yes. Wiser, you bet. How about happier too?

Do you tend to think of getting older as a to-be-expected decline? Well, there’s plenty of reason to look up.

In fact, here’s something to keep in mind: For many people, midlife and beyond may be some of their best years yet. Here are four good reasons why:

1. Optimism helps light the way – Research shows that as people grow older they’re more likely to have optimistic attitudes than those in younger age groups. They also tend to experience fewer emotional storms — and enjoy greater inner peace.

A tip for the ages: Focus on the positives in your life. One simple way to do this is with gratitude. For example, create a journal to note things you’re grateful for — both big and small.

2. Mixing and mingling come easier – By midlife, many people feel more confident in social situations — and more comfortable with who they are. And that’s a big plus for building relationships, a key to healthy aging. When you have people you can turn to for support and companionship, it can be a buffer against feeling lonely or depressed.

A tip for the ages: Reach out to family and friends regularly. And make an effort to make new pals. Volunteering in your community is a great way to meet people. And you can feel good about what you’re doing too.

3. Wisdom grows with time – After decades of experience, many people find they’re better at:

  • Adapting to career and life changes
  • Coping with a crisis
  • Making good financial decisions

A tip for the ages: Let your years boost your confidence. When faced with challenges, remind yourself of all you’ve managed in the past. And consider sharing your experience by being a mentor.

4. Curiosity is ageless – Learning new things can be revitalizing — and help keep your brain and memory sharp. Maybe that’s building furniture, starting a blog, studying a new language or taking up salsa dancing.* And if you have kids, they may be more independent now. That may mean you have more free time for new pursuits too.

A tip for the ages: You may find that your interests and preferences change over time. So be open to new endeavors that may be worth a try.

LightbulbWhat to do next – Set your sights on brighter days ahead. Envision the future you want with these 7 strategies for setting and working toward goals.

*Talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level.


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National Debt Graph by President – zFacts

This is an eye opener -keith ——>

When did the National Debt go crazy? Why? Who’s to blame? Where is the debt headed? Compared to the US economy, the national debt is smaller than it was after World War II.

Source: National Debt Graph by President – zFacts

Rural Poll shows Nebraskans’ optimism | UNL Today | University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Rural Nebraskans continue to be optimistic about their current situation and future, according to the 2016 Nebraska Rural Poll.

Click here – or read onSource: Rural Poll shows Nebraskans’ optimism | UNL Today | University of Nebraska–Lincoln


    Lincoln, Nebraska, Aug. 8, 2016 —      Fifty-two percent of respondents said they are better off this year than five years ago, holding steady from 53 percent last year, the highest proportion in all 21 years of the study, also occurring in 2008. Only 16 percent said they were worse off.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll in cooperation with the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska, with funding from Nebraska Extension and the Agricultural Research Division in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
This optimism was also reflected in their outlook on the future, with 46 percent believing they will be better off in 10 years. The results were similar to last year’s 48 percent. The percentage of those who thought they will be worse off increased slightly, from 17 percent in 2015 to 20 percent this year.
Respondents’ assessment of their current situation reflects a general pattern of growing optimism over the 21 years of poll results, with bigger declines occurring in 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2013. When looking to the future, there has also been a general trend of increasing optimism over the past 21 years, with two bigger declines in 2003 and 2013. This poll was conducted in the spring.
“There can be quite bit of annual variation in these confidence measures resulting from timing with regard to large events and statistical error. However, the trend over the poll’s entire 21 years has been for that confidence to slowly increase,” said Randy Cantrell, rural sociologist with the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute. “If one considers the array of the things that affect an individual’s day-to-day life, many if not most have in fact improved. If nothing else, technology has made a lot of things easier and created a new set of possibilities for individuals to learn, to participate with others in pursuing their interests, to engage in commerce, and in general to see more opportunities for themselves and their surroundings.”
Brad Lubben, assistant professor of agricultural economics, said he was surprised by the continued optimism from those employed in agriculture.
“I would have expected the ag sector to be less optimistic. They may still be better than five years ago from accumulated wealth, but the outlook for the next 10 years is surprisingly strong,” Lubben said. “Maybe they are looking past the short-run difficulties at the long-run opportunities for growth.”
In addition, most rural Nebraskans disagreed that people are powerless to control their own lives (55 percent). The proportion remained the same as last year.
Differences in satisfaction with respondents’ financial security during retirement were found by community size. Over one-half of persons living in or near the smallest communities (55 percent) report being dissatisfied with their financial security during retirement. In comparison, only 39 percent of persons living in or near communities with populations ranging from 5,000 to 9,999 are dissatisfied with this item.
Other results:
* Rural Nebraskans continued to be most satisfied with their marriage, family, friends, the outdoors, their safety and their general quality of life. They continue to be less satisfied with job opportunities, current income level, their ability to build assets and wealth and financial security during retirement.
* Certain groups remained pessimistic about their current and future situation. Those with lower household incomes, older respondents and those with lower educational levels were most likely to be pessimistic about the present and the future.
* Rural Nebraskans with lower education levels were more likely than persons with more education to believe that people are powerless to control their own lives. Thirty-six percent of respondents with a high school diploma or less education agreed that people are powerless to control their own lives. However, only 19 percent of those with at least a four-year college degree shared this opinion.
The Rural Poll is the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans’ perceptions on quality of life and policy issues. The poll has a collection of data about rural trends and perceptions that is unmatched in the country, said Becky Vogt, survey research manager who has worked on the Rural Poll since its second year. This year’s response rate was 29 percent and the margin of error was plus or minus 2 percent.
The 21st annual poll was sent to 6,115 households in 86 Nebraska counties in April. Results are based on 1,746 responses. Complete results are available at <> .
Although the Grand Island area — Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick counties — was designated a metropolitan area by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013, the Rural Poll continues to include those counties in its sample. Also, Dixon and Dakota counties were added to the poll in 2014.

Don’t I Need Minerals In My Water? 

Don’t I Need Minerals In My Water?


distilled waterOne of the most common questions I receive is, “Don’t I need minerals in my water?” This a persistent water myth, but if you look at it rationally, it’s easy to discover the truth of the matter.

First, it’s important to look at this question from two scenarios; 1) an emergency situation, and 2) everyday life.

In an emergency situation it’s very important that you ONLY consider one aspect; the safety of your water. All other factors are irrelevant. So, when you are in an emergency situation, follow the Red Cross recommendations, or go beyond these recommendations by using a water distiller to purify your water. In an emergency situation, don’t worry about whether your water has minerals, if it has the right pH, whether it’s clustered, super-oxygenated, harmonic, or whatever else someone is selling. It’s all about safety, and if anyone says anything else, don’t listen to them ever again.

Now that I made that point crystal clear, let’s move on to drinking water for everyday life. Do you need minerals in your drinking water?

No. Water is the most important substance you put into your body. It allows you to regulate your temperature, it transports nutrients and oxygen to every cell, it removes toxins, aids in digestion, is a key for every chemical reaction and electrical signal in your body and countless other functions. Being a source for minerals is not one of the functions of water.

So let’s break it down…

Hydro1)    The Minerals In Water Are Not Bioavailable. In other words, the minerals found in water are not in a form that’s useable by the body. To understand this, let’s look at how minerals get into water in the first place. Pure rain water falls to the ground and dissolves the rock and metals it comes in contact with, thus the minerals found in water are simply dissolved dirt and soil. Humans and animals can’t get nutritional minerals directly from the soil, but rather we get our minerals from plants, or from eating animals that have eaten the plants. For example, you and I are not able to go in the back yard and suck on a rock of calcium and get the calcium that our body needs in this way. Plants do, however, get the minerals that they need directly from the soil, and then they transform these minerals into a “bioavailable” form, which means that they can be used by your body. This is why Dr. Andrew Weil says, “We get our minerals from food, not water.” So, eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts and meats to get the right minerals for your body. If you want to supplement your diet, buy a high-quality mineral supplement that says that the minerals are in the chelated form.

2)    There Can Be Harmful Minerals In Water. Not all minerals are good for you. There are many parts of the country that have high levels of arsenic or nitrates, which have both been linked to many different forms of cancer. In addition, cities often add fluoride and other contaminants to the water.

3)    There Can Be Other Harmful Chemicals In Water. The minerals in water are often mixed with other chemicals. There are over 85,000 chemicals recognized by the EPA, and an alarming amount have been found in water supplies across the US. Remember that when the government says that your water is “safe” to drink, they are using the LEGAL definition of the word “safe”, not the English language definition (it’s funny that they don’t tell you about this important distinction). So even if you could get good minerals from water, it would be like dropping a vitamin on the ground and getting it all dirty before you take it. You simply don’t know what other bad stuff is in the water.

4)    The Quantities Are Too Small. Anyone who still thinks that they want minerals in their water has to consider that they would have to drink a ridiculous amount of water to get anywhere close to the recommended Dietary Allowance of minerals in their diet. If you live in Boston, for example, you’d have to drink over 650 glasses of water each day just to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance. This view is backed up by The American Medical Journal that states, “The body’s need for minerals is largely met through foods, not drinking water.”

To summarize this, your body needs plenty of clean water. The best way to get consistently clean water is via a well-designed and properly constructed water distiller. I recommend two different distillers. For emergencies, I recommend the Survival Still. For everyday use I recommend the AquaNui brand of water distillers.

Source: Don’t I Need Minerals In My Water? | Survival Still, Emergency Drinking Water System | Survival Still

Henry Larsen | |

When I was about 10 years old, I received a spanking for something I did not do. My feelings were hurt more than anything else but I was feeling pretty miserable.

Source: Henry Larsen | |

When I was about 10 years old, I received a spanking for something I did not do. My feelings were hurt more than anything else but I was feeling pretty miserable. I remember thinking “It’s not fair!”

At the dinner table that night, my 8-year-old brother, Stanley, with head hung low confessed that he had done the misdeed.

My father had to think quickly to right this wrong but it only took him a couple seconds. His response restored justice in an instant and brought great laughter to the entire family.

Dad slowly pushed his chair back, leaned forward just a bit and announced for God and everyone to hear, “Next time Keith does something wrong, I’ll give Stanley a spanking.”

Of course we never did swap spankings but in that moment, at that table, Dad had artfully restored my dignity and sense of justice.”

— Keith Larsen, Lincoln


Speedballs or Why Seniors Need Purpose Love and work by Lee Nyberg

We all need a reason for being.  One famous man’s take on purpose: “I’ll keep working until about 5 years after I die… I have given my board of directors a Ouija board so they can keep in touch,” (Financier Warren Buffet, at age 82).  What’s yours?
I would love people to sign up for my newsletter, just have them send me an email and will sign them up. email:
Cheers, Lee Nyberg       

Speedballs or Why Seniors Need Purpose Love and work: the essentials of human life, according to Freud.  Drs. John Rowe and Robert Kahn, in their book, Successful Aging, agree with Freud, concluding involvement in productive activities, along with close personal relationships, is key for active engagement with life.  Leaving love to the poets, let’s take a look at work.
Purpose is our reason for being, no matter our age. A baby’s purpose is to eat and sleep; a child wants to have as much fun as possible.  
Purpose continues to evolve for each of us as we move through life’s phases, waxing and waning and sometimes mystifying all those around us. Just think of the person who seems to drift from job to job.  Purpose is what drives us to overcome challenges, like finishing graduate school. The University of Michigan found that purpose is so strong an influence, it acts as a protectant against stroke, even after accounting for traditional risk factors. Successful agers tend to have a laser focus; attributing their vitality to occupation and being needed. 
Rose, at 83, actively volunteers in political organizations and runs an animal shelter in her big, old house. “I’m the only one who stuffs envelopes; what would they do without me?”
John, spry at 80, volunteers at church and tends an aging neighbor. “I get a great deal of satisfaction from helping others,” says John. 
Carmen, also 80, teaches barbering, three days a week. He enjoys it because it keeps his mind sharp, his blood moving, and means he stays alert. 
Engagement in life, for these seniors, means doing something for others, and challenging the mind and body. Frank Stanton, chairman of CBS from 1946 to 1973, said this on retirement: “Don’t do it all with your left hand, give it all you’ve got—if you can’t find paid work, volunteer.”
Chronic illness can slow a person down, or not. Some people remain active in spite of functional limitations and chronic diseases.  Phyllis, another 80-year-old, had three heart attacks, major heart surgery, colon cancer, a serious fall and more.  Despite all that, she continued to perform as an actress and volunteer in the theater, when not “on the boards.”  She summed up her approach: “keep an interest in outer things, not inner ones.  Keep busy. Maintain more interests than there is time for.”
Rowe and Kahn reported that people are more likely to try new things when they believe they can perform competently in different situations. Productive behavior is also supported by one’s belief in the ability to influence events and control outcomes.  Interestingly, a positive sense of self can be created in someone who lacks it when 3 factors are present:
1. An opportunity to pursue a challenge that isn’t so great it will overwhelm your sense of ability.
2. Presence of supportive and reassuring other people.
3. Experience of success and positive feedback from others.

Continue working for social engagement and active productivity, no matter your age.  The MacArthur studies, which formed the basis for “Successful Aging”, found about 80% of both younger and older adults, believe that “life is not worth living if you can’t contribute to the well-being of others.”  The same broad group believes that older people who no longer work [for pay] should contribute through community service.  
My thoughts about purpose crystallized recently when I heard Bruce Springsteen’s 1985 hit, Glory Days.  He sings about a baseball player:  “…he could throw that speedball by you, make you look like a fool boy.”
Seems to me, life is the speedball—you’ll only look like a fool if you just stand there. If you swing and miss, at least you tried.
Many thanks to the book “Successful Aging”.

4 Steps to Help You Feel Better About Yourself | Spirituality – BabaMail

Feeling good about yourself is not just a matter of confidence or changing your look, it’s about shifting your perception about yourself to a more powerful and positive one. It requires changes, some of which will be difficult for some people. It requires perseverance. Most of all, it requires you to decide that this is what you want and that it is time to start making a change.


A comprehensive guide to living a better life with yourself.

Source: 4 Steps to Help You Feel Better About Yourself | Spirituality – BabaMail

Goodbye Andrew Jackson, Hello Harriet Tubman | Opinion |

Read this story from UNL. Me? I am still waiting for the dollar bill to be eliminated. How? We reduce printing costs by 50% if we settle on the $2 bill and then start using dollar coins. Of course, the grand slam will be to eliminate the costly penny.  This will create an open slot in the cash registers. This will make room for the $ coins. Under 30? You most likely don’t carry or use cash. -keith —

Source: GORDON: Goodbye Andrew Jackson, Hello Harriet Tubman | Opinion |

Mary Kathryn Nagle & Sarah Deer – Quilt Walk for Justice – YouTube


Published on Dec 17, 2015

On December 7, the Supreme Court heard hear oral arguments in the Dollar General case. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and the Monument Quilt will join together in front of the Supreme Court carrying quilt squares.

7 Biggest Fears About Senior Living

We break down the seven biggest fears about senior living and share why there’s nothing to be worried about. A Place from Mom. —–>

Read details about about

1. I Will Lose My Independence

2. People Will Forget About Me

3. I Will Get Old and Sick Faster

4. I’ll Be Bored

5. I’ll Drain All Of My Finances

6. I’m Afraid that Strangers Won’t Take Good Care of Me

7. I Won’t Be Able to Control My Daily Activities and Life

Source: 7 Biggest Fears About Senior Living

The Biggest Fears About Senior Living

In recent years, baby boomers have reinvented what senior living really means. There is a wide range of types of state-of-the-art senior housing, from independent living for active adults to assisted living for those who need day-to-day help.

All options aim to provide seniors with a lifestyle tailored to their individual interests and needs, while also offering the necessary care to remain mentally, physically and socially healthy.

If you or your loved one is worried about moving into senior housing, read on for answers to seven of the most common fears about senior living:

About the Author

Sarah J. Stevenson is a writer, artist, editor and graphic designer living in Northern California. Her visual art has been exhibited around California, and her writing has appeared in a variety of web sites and print publications. In addition to writing about older adults, she also writes for younger ones–her first novel for young adults, THE LATTE REBELLION, was published in 2011 by Flux. For more information, please visit: http://www.sarahjamilastevenson.comView .


A Powerful Message About Stereotypes | Baba Recommends – BabaMail

– video 2:00

This must be one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen. While it may be an advert, it cleverly portrays stereotypes within the family – stereotypes that hurt us all and pass down from one generation to the next.

This video captures a father’s confession. He states that he has set a dangerous precedent for his daughter whereby wives should be solely responsible for maintaining the family household. Feeling deeply remorseful for what he’s done, he makes a vow to his daughter.

Share this video with your friends and family, passing on a strong message, encouraging more balance in today’s family dynamic, encouraging each family member to #ShareTheLoad.

Source: A Powerful Message About Stereotypes | Baba Recommends – BabaMail

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