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I first ran across this video a couple of weeks ago on the Huffington Post website in their "Weddings" Section of all places.

It was posted by Taryn Hillin.

Here is her short biography from HP:

Taryn graduated from Yale in 2007 and is the Associate Editor of Huffington Post Weddings and Huffington Post Divorce. Besides writing for The Huffington Post she is also a screenwriter and recently released her debut YA novel, "The Imati."  She also likes dogs and popcorn.


Taryn titled her article: 

"This Is What It Really Means To Love Someone Unconditionally"


Before I continue,  let me warn you that what you are about to see is heart-wrenching.

These are strong words, especially coming from a man.

These are strong words, considering I am an incredibly pragmatic, unsentimental, stoic, utilitarian man and I treat life with a piercingly objective sense of reality......just ask my partner, my friends and my ex-wives.

These are strong words, considering I am a man talking about a poem.

In my opinion this man is a creative "genius."

I won't know how much until the time comes, but I know now, that I have been changed by this man's words.



Here's how Taryn introduced the video in her own words:

"It can be difficult to fathom what "unconditional love" truly means.
Thanks to Jesse Parent's performance of "Hotbox Love" during the 2014 National Poetry Slam, we now have a much better understanding.

Quite unromantically, "Hotbox" refers to the act of farting under the sheets -- an occurrence lovers and spouses know all too well -- but Parent's message goes much deeper than simply being comfortable enough to pass gas. It's a hilariously beautiful metaphor we should all take to heart..............."



Please take a few minutes to watch this video that was posted to YouTube in August.

Watch the entire performance....it's worth it.

If you react like me, you will want to spread this video around the planet.

Please do.

 
 
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Baby Boomers,

Don’t you just hate the final night of your vacations?

One one hand, you just don’t want to let go of the great time you are having.

On the other hand, you know you have to get back to reality.

So there you are, trying to extend what little time you have left, feeling guilty that you should be preparing for your return home.

That’s where we found ourselves on our final Saturday night in San Diego.

Doc and I had just partied our way through the John Cougar Mellencamp concert at the Convention Center and were wandering our way through the Gaslamp Quarter amazed at the crowds on the street.

Except for the lack of beads being thrown, you would have thought is was "Mardi Gras" or something.

I had heard that the Gaslamp Quarter was hopping on weekend nights but I never expected this level of excitement.

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As we snaked through the crowd, Doc and I looked at each other and we knew what the other was thinking:

“It was prime-time for people watching.”

Even though it was 11:00 PM and waaaay past our bedtime (Baby Boomers right?) we decided to keep the night going by finding a place to sit, maybe grab another adult beverage and take measure of the multitude of merrymakers meandering through the milieu.

We were lucky enough to stumble into a cool little Mexican joint called "Los Panchos de Charly."

It wasn't completely crowded so we picked a table outside on their small patio.

Within minutes we had chips and salsa in front of us and a few minutes later we had a couple of ice cold beers as well.

Ah yes, primed and ready for some classic “people watching.”

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Doc ordered a beef taco plate and I had an urge for some carne asada “street tacos.”

We sat against the outside wall which was the back of the inside bar.

There was probably a dozen or more guys (not one single girl) sitting at this bar staring out at the street scene which meant they were looking right at (or through) us.

That part was kind of creepy.

They all looked liked contestants for the next edition of “American Idol.”

I should have taken a picture and titled it: “All dressed up and no place to go.”

Our table though afforded us a front row view of the street action and it was well worth the price of admission.

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Across the street, there were a couple of nightclubs (we later found out that they were the new “hot spots” in the Gaslamp Quarter) and the wannabees were out in force.

It was definitely entertaining to watch the human angst and anxiety as the potential patrons shuffled their “stuff” trying to impress the guys behind the velvet ropes and the members of the opposite sex.

It was a classic night scene straight out of an 80’s "Bee Gees" song.

I could hear strains of “Staying Alive” in my head as we watched young guys, sprouting their first harvest of facial hair,  roll up to the curb in Lamborghini's and tight pants

These were followed by stretch limos unloading flocks of giggling and stumbling little black dresses.

Although, the main action was by the clubs, the best part of this human tragedy was unfolding right in front of us.

Small gaggles of geeky single guys were shuffling on the sidewalk, making excuses to each other why they couldn't cross the street to get into the club.

Young girls, showing way too much flesh, were leaning on each other in drunken support, waiting for their prince charming to whisk them away.

Hosers and posers walked by, pointing at the club crowd, as they hurried around the corner to find a place to shoot back a couple more shots of tequila courage.

And then there was the always entertaining drunk chick arguing with the door man at our restaurant because “all she needs to do is use the bathroom.” 

Ah, it was so surreal that it brought me back to my youth.

Some things never change.

OK, maybe just the music.

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Anyway, our food arrived pretty quickly and it was devoured just as fast.

I guess we didn't realize how hungry we were.

It was good…………mmmmm.

OK, it was very good.

Combined with the free entertainment and the cold cervezas I would have to say that our dining experience at Los Panchos de Charly was definitely worth 2 thumbs up.

As we sipped our last beers of the weekend, the waitress informed us that we would have to move inside because they couldn't have any alcohol outside after midnight.

That seemed like a strange law but we opted to finish them and head back into the crowds in search of our hotel.

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As I stood up from our table, I noticed every last bar seat was empty.

I had to wonder where all of those young men had snuck off to.

Maybe they were across the street in one of the clubs already.

Maybe they knew how to play the game so, to myself, I wished them luck.

It was another great weekend in San Diego.

My hats off to the folks at AARP for throwing a great event for us Baby Boomers, to Johnny Cougar for putting on a fantastic concert, to the Sofia Hotel for making us feel at home and to all of the great restaurants and bars that made the weekend special.

San Diego…….we’ll be back.


 
 
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Baby Boomers,

What do “giant meatballs”, “Victorian charm” and  a “swinging padre”  all have in common?

If you guessed that these are all things that make San Diego one of my favorite cities to visit every year you were right !!!

What’s amazing though, is how much new stuff there is to do every time I come back to San Diego.

I’m not talking about just new stores or restaurants, I’m talking about full scale attractions and entire neighborhoods to see.

I've lost track how many times I have visited San Diego.

And you know what?

I have never had a chance to explore the "Gaslamp Quarter."

In fact, I have driven and even walked through it not knowing I was even in it.

Well, this trip I got lucky.


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The Gaslamp Quarter

The AARP “Ideas@50+” event was held at the Convention Center.

We stayed at the Sofia Hotel which is located just at the North edge of this fascinating area.

So, by default,  we drove through it, biked through it and even spent time walking through it.

So what is the Gaslamp Quarter?


The Gaslamp Quarter National Historic District is the heart of Downtown San Diego.

It is a 16 block neighborhood best known for stunning examples of Victorian architecture as well as being a fabulous entertainment destination.

There are more than 100 diverse restaurants, nightclubs, lounges and live music venues.

Add on another 70 studios, boutiques, galleries and gift shops and you have a destination that takes, at least, a couple of days to explore.

If you plan on staying in the area, there are more than 20 hotels directly adjacent to the neighborhood.

I’ll be honest, Doc and I just barely touched the surface of what there is to see in this unique community.

Most of the time I spent staring up at the astonishing architecture of the stunning storefronts.


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The area is really a tale of two districts.

In the daytime, the neighborhood is awash in a mix of tourists in brightly colored, knee high shorts and New Balance shoes and snappy looking local businessmen darting in and out of the ornate doorways of the restored properties.

However, at night, especially on the weekends, the streets become a sea of hipster local “GQ and “Cosmo” wannabees trying to impress each other with their bohemian style, bad habits and apparently how much alcohol they can ingest.   

Doc and I are avid people watchers so we found both crowds fascinating and highly entertaining.


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Our first real trek into the “Quarter” was on Saturday afternoon in search of some lunch.

We had just spent the morning at the AARP event and decided to walk for a while to see the sights and find a unique place to appease our appetites.

Restaurants of all calibers lined the streets and many were very crowded.

Being that we were dressed in our bike riding “casual mode” we quickly ruled out any place with stiff white tablecloths and matching napkins.

It was definitely a "burger and beer" kind of afternoon.

We knew we had found our dining destination as we strolled up to a place called “Dick’s Last Resort”


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Dick’s Last Resort

You have to visit "Dick’s" to really experience "Dick’s."

They call themselves “The Shame of the Gaslamp Quarter.”

The gal at the front station informed me they had a space or two at the bar inside, even as I looked over the relatively empty patio area.

But, since it was relatively warm outside, we felt the inside seating would suit us better.

If you have never been to Dick’s, then I highly recommend that you park your humility and good manners at the curb and put on your best display of sarcasm and bad humor.

The whole gimmick of Dick's is that they treat you poorly on purpose.

The waiters are ill mannered and will dish it out to you during your entire meal.

Their goal is to offend and entertain.

It can be very humorous if you come here with the right attitude.

Since I exude deep levels of cynicism and sarcasm, I found myself right at home with the behavior of the staff.

In fact, I may have pissed one of them off by being a little too abrasive.

Go figure?

Our waiter, Trevor, was odd to say the least in his pink t shirt and tennis shoes.

You really couldn't tell if he was acting or not.

At the very least we found him humorous and affable.


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Doc and I decided on a couple of cheeseburgers and some bottled beers.

It took a long time to get our beers considering we sat at a table right next to the bar.

But they were cold and we were in no hurry.

The burgers arrived relatively quick and were unexpectedly big and juicy.

They came with fries that were actually crispy and nicely seasoned.

We ordered another round of beers.

They were swiftly delivered to our table and they were cold too.

What the hell was going on here?

A big, tasty burger, crunchy French fires and really cold beer is not what I expected from a place like Dick’s.

Sure, it was bar food just like an Applebee's or Red Robin and maybe it was a little over priced but I have to give the joint two thumbs up.

Hey, maybe we caught them on a good day,  but if I am ever in the Gaslamp Quarter again and hungry for some standard bar fare then I will definitely return to be abused by the dicks at Dick’s.


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Later that same day, after partying our way through the  John Cougar Mellencamp concert at the Convention Center, we again found ourselves wandering hungry through the Gaslamp Quarter on our way back to our hotel.

Why don’t you stop by again tomorrow and I’ll let you know what happened.

Or maybe I’ll be a dick and not tell you anything.

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If you found today’s blog helpful, interesting or even funny I bet your friends would to. 

It's easy to tell them about it.

Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.

The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!

Thanks for joining me..........................................................

                                                                                        


 
 
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Baby Boomers,

The other day I told you how Doc and I stole a couple of bikes from the Sofia Hotel and held them hostage for over 12 hours.

I have to recommend to you that, any time you stay in downtown San Diego, bikes are the premier mode of transportation for getting around.

They haven’t reached the popularity of a Seattle or Key West yet, but you see quite a few locals smiling to themselves as they buzz around the concrete jungle, knowing they are smarter than their neighbors who drive.


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Here are a handful of benefits to biking in downtown San Diego:

  • The weather is almost always perfect...... so you can get a little sun and fresh air
  • The incredible architecture to look at
  • You avoid enormous parking fees and wasting time searching for the handful of available spaces
  • You save gas
  • There are some really cool areas to bike in, on and around, including the Gaslamp Quarter, Horton Plaza, Petco Park, the Convention Center and obviously the Embarcadero near the bay. 
  • You can take your bike on the Ferry to Coronado Island

By far, I think the last benefit is the coolest.

So that is exactly what Doc and I did.


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Coronado Island

From just about anywhere in downtown San Diego you can see the bright blue, soaring bridge that leads you to the unique beach community of Coronado. 

What I originally thought was an island (Coronado Island, right?) is actually a peninsula possessing a picture perfect beach town boasting one of California’s best beaches.

There are neat and orderly neighborhoods robed in red tile roofs, vegetation that explodes from every front yard, bountiful boutique shopping and one of the coolest old resorts I've ever seen.

After jumping off the ferry, we zig- zagged aimlessly through the neighborhoods until we got close to the Hotel Del Coronado.

The rear tire on Doc’s bike developed a huge blister so we decided to get it fixed at a local shop.

Since it was mid-afternoon, we decided to stop for a bite to eat and some frosty adult beverages.

The repair guy at the bike shop suggested a little greasy spoon up the road called the “Night and Day Café” so we took his advice.

We hit pay dirt.


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Night and Day Café – Coronado Island

The place was your typical greasy spoon with minimal counter seating facing the grill, an open front window,  a few small tables against a food stained wall and a direct view into the back food prep area.

There was absolutely, positively nothing fancy about this place.

There was dust on everything and multiple shades and layers of grease decorated the cooking area.

The TV hanging in the corner was blaring a football game.

The front was being handled by a couple of unkempt, burly guys that could have been the owners, the managers or the cooks.

My guess is they were all three.

If that type of atmosphere bothers you, all I can say is, don’t be fooled by the looks.

Burly Guy #1 stepped right up as we sat down at the counter and tossed us a couple of plastic menus.

We ordered a round of beers to help us make up our minds on the food.

The menu had breakfast, some standard “American" fare and the balance was solid list of Mexican entrees.

Doc decided on the “California” Burrito and I had to try the fish tacos.  

We exchanged our empty beers for new ones and watched the cook prepare our lunches.

It looked like he knew what he was doing.

The place was busy with local patrons coming and going.

We knew they were locals by their breakfast choices at 2 in the afternoon.


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Our food arrived quickly.

The plates were hot, hearty and the aroma of the food was enticing.

Yep, this was indeed a “dive” with great food.

The fish tacos were big, spicy and sloppy..... just the way I like them.

They had ample chunks of tender, tasty fish, mounds of fresh cabbage and were topped with a spicy, yet sweet, mango salsa.  

Doc’s  "California" burrito was the size of my head.

It had to be at least a pound of meat  wrapped in a soft  flour tortilla and topped with delicious cream sauce.

It wasn't hard to hear Doc moaning with delight as she tore into the cavernous culinary creation.   

If you live for high priced, pretentious food served in a “stuffed shirt” and sterile restaurant, then this isn't the place for you.

If you prefer tasty, hand-made fare, with more regard for taste than cleanliness, that is relatively inexpensive, then this is a joint I can highly recommend to you.

The "Night and Day Cafe" is open 24 hours and has a full breakfast menu alongside the complete Mexican menu.... and sells beer and wine.

They advertise their “Happy Hour” specials on a small chalkboard in the corner.

The day we were there, it started at 4 PM and was $2 tacos.

I hope to be back soon to check them out as well as their breakfast menu.


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With a nice afternoon buzz and our stomachs full, we picked up Doc’s bike and headed over to the Hotel del Coronado.

I love to visit this place.

We spent the next couple of hours lounging on the beach watching the Navy F/A 18 jets doing maneuvers in the bay.

If you were following us closely, you could also see us wandering in and out of the hotel for cocktails as well.

Built in 1888, the Hotel Del Coronado is a Victorian beachfront masterpiece with its iconic red turrets and beautiful landscaping and graceful architecture.

The "Del" radiates with a confidence of gracious Victorian splendor that is without equal.

I can only imagine what it felt like to wander this place back in the 1800's when it was first built. 

It is an incredible  monument to our distinguished lifestyle of the past.

Once I find a good discount coupon or travel deal for this place, you can bet  we will be back to stay here.


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As the sun started to fade over Point Loma, we changed out of our beach wear and pointed our bikes back toward the ferry landing on the other side of the “island.”

Knowing that the ferry ran all the way to 10:30 PM, we again wandered our way, in no hurry,  back through the captivating, tree lined streets of the Coronado neighborhoods.

We decided to grab a bite at the “Ferry Landing” before it got too late.

The “Coronado Ferry Landing”  is a charming collection of shops, art galleries, fine restaurants and casual eateries surrounded by swaying palms, waterfalls and family parks.

In other words, it’s your typical tourist area, but it does have one of the nicest skyline views of downtown San Diego especially at night.

There are at least 10 different restaurants ranging from the charcoal broiled, gastronomic extravagance of Burger King to the exquisite French/Mexican fusion cuisine at a high end restaurant called “Candela’s On The Bay.

We opted for something in between that would meet the criteria of our low stress itinerary: Beer and Bar-B-Que.

It just so happened that we found a nice outdoor barbecue joint called Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Que.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll let you know how it was and we’ll talk a little more about what we discovered in the Gaslamp District of San Diego.


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If you found today’s blog helpful, interesting, or even funny, I bet your friends would too. 

It's easy to tell them about it.

Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.

The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!

Thanks for joining me..........................................................


 
 
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Baby Boomers,

It looks like our trusty government is trying to get a jump on open enrollment for next year.

Do you think they are a little better prepared than they were last year when they rolled out this "White Elephant?"

Here's the important information curated from the latest email I received.



"Open Enrollment is the time when you can apply for a 2015 Marketplace plan, keep your current plan, or pick a new one.

Are you ready for the next Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Period?

Here are 4 key dates you should know:

November 15, 2014. 
Open Enrollment begins. 
Apply for, keep, or change your coverage.
 
December 15, 2014. 
Enroll by the 15th if you want new coverage that begins on January 1, 2015. 
If your plan is changing or you want to change plans, enroll by the 15th to avoid a lapse in coverage.
 
December 31, 2014. 
Coverage ends for 2014 plans. 
Coverage for 2015 plans can start as soon as January 1st.
 
February 15, 2015. 
This is the last day you can apply for 2015 coverage before the end of Open Enrollment."



I will be sure to keep you updated as any new information arises.

 
 
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Baby Boomers,

What would a trip to San Diego be without the food, the beer and the calories?

Strangely enough, Doc and I don’t normally spend a whole lot of time in the restaurants.

Usually, we find ourselves eating “on the fly” because we are always trying to pack as much adventure as we can into the short amount of time we have on vacation.

But, this weekend was a little differentbecause, other than our obligations to attend the AARP “Ideas@50+” event, we had no other timetable to follow.

Our secondary agenda called for some advanced R & R, so we actually had plenty of time to decide when and where we wanted to eat.

And besides, we were living in Downtown San Diego for a few days, so what could possibly be so hard about finding a few great restaurants?

So, Thursday night, we headed straight to Little Italy to check out Filippi’s Pizza Grotto.

It was time for some “world famous” pizza and beer.

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Filippi's Pizza Grotto

If you remember our trip to San Diego last year we were basically shut out of getting inside of Filippi’s.

It was the weekend of  “Little Italy Festa” so the neighborhood was packed with tourists and most of the restaurants were SRO.

This was the one place we had heard the most about.

This was the place for pizza in Little Italy.

We really gave it the “old college try” but all 3 times we stopped there the line was at least an hour long. 

This trip we got lucky.

We rode our “complementary” bicycles from The Sofia Hotel into Little Italy and excitedly chained them to the bike rack right outside of the restaurant.


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We hurried through the front door into the Italian Deli storefront and “Che Bello” there was no line.

We were seated in a few minutes and had cold “Stella’s” in our hands before we could say “Grazie.”

I took a few minutes to stroll through the restaurant and the best way to describe it is “old world.”

There are basically 4 different rooms and they were all packed with loud and gregarious patrons.

The atmosphere was cozy yet hectic.

The waiters and waitresses were running with frenzied purpose and the cooks were shouting out orders in Italian from inside the open kitchen.

The place was messy.

The carpets were worn.

The tables, cloaked in red and white checkered cloths, were unsteady.

The lighting was chaotic and dusty Chianti bottles swung from the ceilings.

The aroma in the air was dynamic and full-bodied.

I loved it.

It was just like having dinner with the Italian family I never had.

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As I said earlier, you have to enter the restaurant through an authentic Italian Deli replete with a meat and cheese counter, dried fish, olives, oils and can goodsyou get the picture. 

There is basically everything you need to create a true Italian feast. 

We came that night, knowing our meal would be pizza – Pepperoni, Sausage and Mushroom pizza to be exact.

It arrived quickly, steaming hot with a thick layer of gooey, greasy cheese on top.

Just the way I like it.

We were starved, so we dug in.

It was good, almost very good, but, in our opinions, not great.


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The crust was thin (but not thin-thin) and the ingredients were very fresh.

The sausage, which can make or break a true Italian pizza, was spicy and flavorful.

But, in my humble opinion, this was not the "world famous” pizza I was hoping for.

I was born and raised on the South side of Chicago.

I have had better.

In fact, I have had better in Phoenix.

I like my crust to be firm and almost “snap” when I bite into it.

The toppings and cheese should hold together like the string section in an orchestra and not slide off the side of the slice as I am biting into it.

Each bite should be a cacophony of sweet basil, rich tomato sauce, buttery cheese and sharp pepperoni.

We weren't disappointed,  just slightly broken-hearted that the pizza didn't live up to all of the hype we had heard.

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That being said, we devoured the pizza in no time along with a couple of rounds of cold beer.

“Satisfaction” was the word of the evening.

We eyeballed some of the other dishes showing up at the tables around us.

Huge and colorful plates of Antipasto salad.

Giant meatballs resting precariously on mounds of spaghetti.

Bountiful plates of Ravioli and Lasagna.

We chatted with our neighbors and they smiled at us between lusty bites, letting us know that they were really enjoying their meals.

You could tell that they were "regulars."

And one young man put everything into perspective as he told us:

  “Don't forget they have more than just pizza.”

That was enough to bring us back again.


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Tomorrow, I will continue our culinary journey with an unexpected find, the “Night and Day Café” on Coronado Island.

I have always said, simple pleasures are the best.

"Ciao" until tomorrow.


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If you found today’s blog helpful, interesting or even funny I bet your friends would to

It's easy to tell them about it.

Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.

The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!

Thanks for joining me..........................................................


 
 
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Baby Boomers,

I have to admit that one of the reasons I was so excited to attend the AARP "Ideas@50+” event last week was that it was held in San Diego.

San Diego has to be one of my favorite travel destinations.

If you remember, last year in May, Doc and I celebrated the first year anniversary of our meeting by taking a romantic weekend  trip to San Diego.

Although last weekend's trip was basically businesswe also earmarked it for some much needed rest and relaxation.

So, for a few days, let's turn Survive 55 back into a “travel blog” and talk a bit about the “social” side of the AARP event and some of the great places we visited, restaurants we ate at and fun things we did during our 4 day trip.

Other than covering the “Ideas@50+” event we had no schedule, no plans, no time restraints and no idea what wass going to happen next.

That’s the way to travel, isn't it?

Since we were in San Diego to visit the Convention Center why don't we start at the start?


PictureSan Diego Convention Center
San Diego Convention Center

The AARP “Ideas@50+” event was held at the San Diego Convention center which is located right downtown, on the water and across the street from Petco Park and the Gaslamp Quarter.

It is definitely a beautiful building in a beautiful location in a beautiful setting in a beautiful city.

ARCHITECTURE

As you could guess, the building itself is huge like most convention centers.

It has 3 floors and is divided into multiple sections with different sized exhibit halls, ballrooms, meeting rooms and public spaces.

PictureLooks Like A Boat
The architecture flows with an aquatic theme with the overall structure built to resemble a large cruise ship.

The composition of glass, metal and color is bright and airy and holds an endless array of interesting photographic panoramas.

PARKING

Unfortunately, parking, like everywhere in downtown San Diego is a "pain in the ass" or expensive.

But, if you don’t mind walking a bit, there is $5 “honor box” parking on the bay side in the Embarcadero Park lot near Joe’s Crab Shack.

We found open spaces all 3 days and it didn’t take us long to find a quick route into the back of the convention 

PictureSan Diego Convention Center Phase III Expansion
Some of the “cool” things we liked about              the convention center:

  • The Look – It really does look like a cruise ship

  • The Layout – It was fun just to walk around the entire building and take pictures of the different angles and at different windows.  The views are spectacular.  The front opens up to Petco Park and Downtown San Diego while the back offers the bay, Coronado Island and Point Loma.

  • The Long Escalators – Again, they offer some great picture taking opportunities and they are just downright fun to ride.

  • The Grand Staircase – This divides the center in half and has become “the place” for fitness buffs to be seen.  It’s 100 steps to the top so you’ll always catch an eyeful of the “beautiful” people sweating while doing their stair runs.

  • The Starbucks – Hey, it wouldn’t be complete without one.

It appears that San Diego is in the midst of improving the convention center with a Phase III expansion which should break ground in early 2015.   

The expansion will include a 5 acre rooftop park, broadened waterfront park areas with a public event venue and stores, pavilions and restaurants on an "Embarcadero-like" promenade.

This will obviously make one of the nicest convention center settings even better.

Believe it or not, the Convention Center is an attraction worth seeing all on its own.


PictureSofia Hotel San Diego
Sofia Hotel

While there are probably 100 vastly different hotels (Hilton, Wyndham, Marriott, Omni, Hard Rock, Westin, La Pensione and the Manchester Grand to name a few) in the downtown area, I am glad we stayed where we did. 

Sometimes the high-rise, high class hotels are nice, but many times they are overbearing with difficulty parking, “stuff shirt” attitudes and overpriced  restaurants and amenities. 

I like my hotel to be comfortable, where I can drop off my stuff and hit the road running. 

It's all about the different experiences and local flavor right?

That’s why I decided to book the Sofia Hotel.

The price was right and the amenities were great.

While there were several  "partner" hotels for the AARP convention, their prices were at least $100 more a night.  
I was worried about trying out this historic "boutique" hotel but I was not disappointed.

PictureStrange "Minimalist" Shower
Here's the upsides:

  • Great “Old World “ ambiance and historic architecture
  • Least expensive rates for a hotel of this quality
  • Walking distance to the Gaslamp Quarter, Petco and Convention Center
  • Staff, with one exception, was incredibly nice and helpful
  • Great bar/restaurant on site - "Currant"
  • "Coffee Bean" just next door
  • Check-in and checkout was quick and easy
  • The hotel is partnered with "Uber" to give your first ride for free
  • Free bikes to use
  • Fridge and microwave in room
  • 2 bottled waters each day
  • Free WiFi

The only downsides were:

  • Strange "minimalist" glass window for shower creates huge bathroom puddles
  • Small room
  • Queen bed was not extremely comfortable
  • Valet parking was $32 a day, but has unlimited in and out privileges
  • Room A/C was not real strong - stayed around 80 degrees the whole time


PictureFree Bikes From Sofia Hotel
Overall, the Sofia turned out to be a great place to stay.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am all about having the most fun with the least amount of money.

Well, the free bikes for the hotel guests to use is a fantastic amenity.

On Thursday night, Doc and I rode over to Little Italy to check out the world famous pizza at Filippi’s.

Then, Friday morning we grabbed the bikes again and rode over to the convention center.

From there, we took the bikes with us on the ferry over to Coronado Island.

We spent the afternoon exploring the island and visiting the beach and the Hotel del Coronado.

We finally got back to our hotel at 9:00 PM to find out that we were only supposed to take the bikes for 3 hours…..Oops!

In spite of our criminal action, the hotel was gracious and didn’t slap the cuffs on us.

Nothing spells "FUN" like having a nice hotel to call home.

So, tomorrow we’ll continue our San Diego journey by stopping by a few restaurants that we discovered:

  • Filippi's Pizza Grotto
  • Night and Day Cafe
  • Dick’s Last Stand
  • Los Panchos de Charly
  • Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q


Please join me because I think you will be surprised what I have to say.

PicturePhoto-Bombing at "Ideas@50+" Convention
If you found today’s blog helpful, interesting or even funny I bet your friends would to

It's easy to tell them about it.

Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.

The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!

Thanks for joining me..........................................................


 
 
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Baby Boomers,

Do you ever wake up and just know it's going to be a "Hot One" today?

Well, it's like that pretty much every day in Arizona.

To commemorate the final "Dog Days" of summer on this wonderful "Silly Saturday" I thought I would bring you a little humor from the internet.

Although I found these photos on the web, it's not hard to imagine that a lot of them were taken right here in the "Valley of the Sun."

Welcome to Arizona, where summer spends the winter — and hell spends the summer!

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If you found today’s blog helpful, interesting or even funny I bet your friends would to

It's easy to tell them about it.

Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.

The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!

Thanks for joining me..........................................................


 
 
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Baby Boomers, 

Does this sound like anyone you might know? 

A child is born with “spina bifida” back in October of 1951.  

He had corrective surgery as a child and his youth was not unlike any others except his burning ambition to be a rock and roll star.  

He was average in school, a bit of a rebel and by the age of 14 had already started playing in local bands in the small Midwestern town where he was growing up. 

At 18, he eloped with his pregnant girlfriend and was a father by the time he graduated High School. 

But he stayed focused and to be a better Dad, he attended a small local college, but it was the 70’s and the lure of drugs and alcohol were strong.  

He graduated, though, and continued to play the bar scene with local rock bands. 

After graduation, he headed to New York with the hopes of landing a record contract. 

That sounds like it could be the early life story of just about any kid from the Midwest. 

Sex, drugs and Rock and Roll, right?

Well, it’s how the story unfolds that makes it so interesting from a Baby Boomer perspective.


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Do you remember a catchy  song from the late 70’s called "Need A Lover?”

OK, I know that was 35 years ago.

But, how can you forget the stirring and impassioned 2 ½ minute instrumental intro?

OK, you want me to make this a little easier?

Let’s jump forward a couple of years and see if you remember a little ditty about  “Jack and Diane?”

Or maybe “Hurts So Good” or “Hand To Hold On To?”

That’s right, I’m talking about John Cougar or as he is respectfully known today John “Cougar” Mellencamp.

John Mellencamp, born and raised in a Midwest  “small town” is one of us.

His trademark style of Midwest “Heartland Rock” has certainly tapped into something undeniably American.

He is a Baby Boomer, a musician and a songwriter who, I think, embodies the spirit of our generation.


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Well, last Saturday night in San Diego at the AARP “Ideas@50+” convention John Cougar rocked the evening and brought back some great memories for a small gathering of loyal Baby Boomer fans.

For one night we were no longer 50+ senior citizens, we were 18 year old bad boys thinking about back seat trysts with our girlfriends, Bobby Brooks jeans, smoking OP’s and rebelling against authority.

The evening opened with a rousing R & B and gospel tinged set by the 75 year old Mavis Staples of the Staples Singers fame.

Local, Southern California favorites, "Los Lobos” took the stage next and seemed slightly humored to be playing in front of the predominately senior citizen audience.

There is kind of an irony in this being that their biggest hit, “Will the Wolf Survive,” from 1984 foreshadowed  the fact that Los Lobos (The Wolves) are still going strong after 30 years on the road.

The band brought the crowd to its feet several times during their set  with their distinctive blend of rock, bluessoul and Latin music styles.

As they ended their show with an extended version of the hit “La Bamba” it was hard to imagine that this five-man band celebrated its 41st anniversary this year.


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John Mellencamp opened his set with “Human Wheels” the title cut off of his 1993 platinum album.

He smoothly segued into his newest single “Troubled Man” off of his latest album “Plain Spoken.”

It didn't take long after the opening chords of his 1988 hit “Check It Out” off of his “Lonesome Jubilee” album to bring the crowd to its feet and up to the front of the stage.

His band quietly slid off the stage and John, alone, center stage commanded the spotlight with acoustical versions of “Jack and Diane”, “Longest Days” and “Small Town.”

It almost seemed like a sign of respect that John wanted to play these songs by himself to this older audience.

With just an acoustic guitar in hand, they unfolded like a friendly conversation between close friends.


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John took a short break, as his violinist Miriam Sturm returned to the stage  with the  keyboard player on accordion to play a haunting and passionate song called "New Hymn.”

John returned with the remaining band members and as the last violin notes faded the band roared into "Rain on the Scarecrow", one of his all time classics.

With the crowd hoisting their beers and dancing in the aisles (yes, they were dancing in the aisles) the band began ripping off a digest of their greatest hits:
  • Paper in Fire
  • Crumblin’ Down
  • R.O.C.K. In the USA
  • Pink Houses
  • Authority Song


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The final song of the evening “Cherry Bomb” had everyone singing along.

"That's when a sport was a sport
And groovin' was groovin'
And dancin' meant everything
We were young and we were improvin'
Laughin', laughin' with our friends
Holdin' hands meant somethin', baby
Outside the club"Cherry Bomb"
Our hearts were really thumpin'
Say yeah yeah yeah
Say yeah yeah yeah"



I think the crowd forgot, for at least the moment, that they had been there for an AARP convention.

"Seventeen has turned thirty-five
I'm surprised that we're still livin'
If we've done any wrong
I hope that we're forgiven
Got a few kids of my own
And some days I still don't know what to do
I hope that they're not laughing too loud
When they hear me talkin'
Like this to you."


There’s a lot of truth to be told in the final verse  of this song.

In reality, seventeen has now turned to fifty-five and yes, we have a few kids (and grandkids) of our own.

But, "if I have done anything wrong, I still hope I will be forgiven" and most ironically...............

"some days I still don’t know what to do.”

That’s not a bad thing, is it?


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If you found today’s blog helpful, interesting or even funny I bet your friends would to

It's easy to tell them about it.

Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.

The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!

Thanks for joining me..........................................................


 
 
PictureJay Lickus at "Ideas@50+"
Baby Boomers,

I have finally caught up from our wonderful trip to San Diego last weekend to attend the AARP “Ideas@50+” convention.

First of all, I would like to thank AARP for throwing such a nice event.

I’m sure it cost them a pretty penny to put this show on and while I am not a huge advocate of their programs, I must say that everything at the event was extremely professional, very focused on the interests of our generation, relevant, dignified and well thought out logistically.

To steal their words in describing the event:  

“The beginning of an evolution to a more content-driven, interactive experience of exploring, thinking, and engaging with key influencers about the key ideas and issues that matter to the 50+ population.”

Strangely enough, before writing this blog post, I scoured the internet looking for articles reviewing the event to see how others felt about the experience and found only one on Martha Stewart's website.



PictureJohn Cougar Mellencamp
AARP expected more than 14,000 Boomers and Senior Citizens to attend the 3 day event but from what we saw I don’t think attendance came even close to that number.

While there was a good showing from all over the country (I spent a lot of time gawking at nametags) the majority of the attendees were definitely from Southern California.

The exhibit hall was far from full of vendors as well.

What does that tell you?

In my opinion, the recession isn't over yet folks.

When I spoke to the hotels, restaurants and even the cab drivers, they all echoed the same sentiment that the event was not as successful as they thought it would be.

The biggest indication was the small turn out to the John Cougar Mellencamp concert Saturday night.  

The hall held over 6000 but was less than half full.

Nonetheless, it was a great concert and the Baby Boomers in attendance still rocked.

But, the folks that did find a way to make it to the weekend event were not disappointed.

And neither was I.

PictureAARP "Ideas@50+" Exhibition Floor
So what was the biggest takeaway for me from the event?

The people who attended and what I discovered from them.

Who am I talking about?

  • Baby Boomers who traveled across the country compelled to find answers to issues that were complicating their lives.
  • Single Senior Citizens that were interested in what others like them were doing with their lives.
  • Younger Baby Boomers, obviously hurt by the economic downturn, searching for ways to rebuild their retirement plans.
  • Older couples in scooters and pushing walkers exploring technology options to ease their physical burdens.
  • A diverse generation ready to invest themselves in making life better for others. 


Picture"Ideas@50+" Tech Breakout
Bottom line, these were people willing to                             help other people.

Everyone was almost "shockingly" friendly, open to participation and willing to unashamedly share their experiences whether good or bad.

These were people eager to discover and embrace new technology.

They were looking  for answers and alternatives to how  they were currently handling their health, finances, social interaction and free time.

They were genuinely there to learn.

This was an engaged audience.

I got the feeling that, like me, they were there to explore life’s real possibilities.

Strangely enough, even though the official moniker of the event is “Ideas@50+” I felt that Doc and I were the youngest people in attendance.


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As part of the experience, I was honored to chosen for a focus group panel by AARP to analyze and review their upcoming website expansion called “Live Your Dreams.”

Through their website travel framework, they are shooting for a platform that mixes the interaction of Facebook, Pinterest and Yelp to create a medium for posting your personal ambitions, passions and aspirations, in not only travel, but personal growth and experiences as well.

A bucket list, if you will, that is fully interactive with other Baby Boomers.

A friendly place to let others know where you want to go, what you want to do, how you want to grow and what accomplishments you have achieved.

The dozen or so folks involved in this focus group literally surprised me with their level of engagement, thought-provoking ideas and ambition to help AARP develop a program that would truly support and benefit our generation.

The discussion was refreshingly open, honest and candid.

Honestly, I didn't expect that when I first got there.

PictureAARP "Life Re-Imagined" Board


Overall, I was extremely happy we attended the event.

 It was no disadvantage that it was held in San Diego either, but that is a blog for a different day.

There is no doubt I will definitely be involved in more local and national Baby Boomer events.

After last weekend, I now feel like I really am part of the "Boomer" generation.

Guess what?

I am damn proud of it too.


PictureJay & Doc at "Ideas@50+"
If you found today’s blog helpful, interesting or even funny I bet your friends would to

It's easy to tell them about it.

Forward it on to them or just email them my blog link at www.survive55.com.

The more Baby Boomers we can help, the better place we make this world !!!

Thanks for joining me..........................................................