Tag Archives: fun

My adventure with standup comedy.

comedy club smallMy debut as a stand up comedy was a couple of weeks ago here on Hornby Island.  I am hesitant to write about it because I may generate more notoriety for myself. The experience further supports my feelings that I have found my Happy Place on Hornby Island like so many people here.

Our teacher was Jenny Brown who is a Hornby part-timer from Portland Oregon. She broke it down into simple steps and encouraged everyone regardless of how awkward they were. Stand up comedy is a lot like drawing…. people think they can’t do it,  but once it is broken down into steps it is do able by everyone.   The class started out with about 15 people which quickly dropped to 5 courageous souls.  webteaser 6

When people learned I was doing the comedy class the standard response was ‘’oh how scary”. It did not turn out to be scary at all. Once I got up on the stage and people started laughing at my reflections on life on Hornby I felt like I was on a roll.   It was just like joking around with friends which I do all the time. So the only difference was I had to stick to my script.

The downside to doing a public show is that people recognize me around town. I am used to going about my business in total anonymity.   I am still adjusting to my new found celebrity.. small as it is on the island. I have been deeply touched by the feedback I have had from people who recognize me and are so kind to tell me how much they enjoyed my comedy set. There was an audience of about a 100 which was a sell out for the venue and it raised money for someone getting a liver transplant.

I regret waiting to do this until I retired. I should have done it sooner.   Adventures abound close to home and you don’t have to fly to Zanzibar.  My adventures on Hornby have surpassed my Mexican and European adventures with the added advantage of not having to get on a plane or pass through customs. Don’t wait until you’re retired to get outside your comfort zone. Try it out for yourself like Theatersports on Granville Island in Vancouver and elsewhere.

Comedy graphics by Bee Wolf Ray

 

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What I’m doing in Retirement

Ok so it took me all morning to write this.  So that is one of the things I am doing in retirement but I am trying to stay away from the computer as much as possible.  The weather has been so cold and rainy this spring in Vancouver I regret not going to Costa Rica where my brother has been spending the winter. I kept thinking it would warm up soon and it did not. I had a two week March break from my teaching gig and so I tried to make the most of it with some local mini adventures. For me an adventure often involves meeting new people. So, I have met quite a few interesting new people over the past week. The first group of people I met were at the Meet-Up Group for Women 55+. There are four of these groups in Vancouver who meet at different locations. I was delighted to meet a retired Richmond school French teacher who was originally from Quebec City so we had several points on intersection as I learned French as a child, am now teaching English as a second language and I also lived in Montreal. Another woman I met was a retired surgeon. When there was a pause in the conversation, I threw out the question “ are all very well established women in Vancouver who have lived and worked here for many years.. why are we all now having to seek out friends through a Meetup Group?” Well that launched a lively conversation. Some of the comments were around the lack of time to socialize when working. IMG_4144

The second francophone I met this week was at one of the French language Meetups and she was from Oromocto New Brunswick. Since I grew up in Saint John we had a lot in common and we had both worked in Ottawa. I talked to here about my conflict between wanting to work at my teaching gig and go south to Costa Rica or Mexico. She remined me that I have a sense of adventure that I have not been tapping into that staffing of the teaching job is not my responsibility! I felt so inspired after talking to her. I also had long interesting chats in the French language Meetup with a young man from Spain who kept try to switch me to speaking Spanish and an older man who told me about his experience work in one of the “stans” in Central Asia. I began to wonder if my tribe is the Francophone tribe in Vancouver.

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The third Meetup I did was the Sketching Group who met at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I once again encountered another charming person, this time a young lady from Vancouver who is living in Halifax. She was in town to complete her book of sketches of Vancouver which is a follow up to her book of sketches of Halifax. We chatted at length on the culture of Vancouver vs Halifax. Then we set to work to do some sketching around the Gallery.

Then yesterday I went to a move at the Vancouver International Film Festival Theater which I think is the new “go to” place for seniors in Vancouver. The gentleman who plonked himself down beside me was very well informed about the arts and fashion community as I discovered at the end of the movie about a Belgian fashion designer Dires. I also went to another movie at the Film Festival this week called “C’est La vie” which is the funniest movie I have seen ages.

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The only downside to the week was a yoga class I went to that was Level 2. I hadn’t read the fine print in the class description. $ 14 for the class and $ 5.00 for parking made this an expensive mistake. I managed a few walks but am still wearing my down parka and toque and I see many others dressed the same way. So I will add a few photos of my walks around Vancouver. The cherry trees are starting to blossom, but my cherry tree pics are from last year.

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The internet, cell phones and ipads for beginners.

Information overload

The abundance of information on the internet can feel overwhelming at times. There is a tendency to spend a lot of time surfing the net and/or downloading files, editing files etc.  once you are on-line   As a result people can shut down from going online or else feel that it is too complex to use, especially if they have not gotten used to it over the years.  This may be true for some older people but many older people are very computer savvy.  I have one friend who is 68 and is a guru with Garage Band, a program that generates music scores on a computer screen and generates print outs of scores in different keys for different instruments.

Mobile Devices/hardware

Ipads

I just love my Ipad.  I have the Ipad mini which severed me well in my trip to Mexico. There are now Ipads that are cellular enabled so you don’t need to take an Iphone with you.  However that is just wishfully thinking as the phone is easier to carry around.  The new Ipad pro comes with a stylus for drawing programs which in on my wish list.

Cell phones

I can only speak about my iphones which I have been using since the Iphone4.  I  will list the useful apps I have on my phone and I pad  and what they do.  I especially like the transit apps for Translink in Vancouver and Google Maps.

Here is the highest rated phone on Amazon.

function name of app ipad iphone purpose frequency of use
          3 = daily, 2 = weekly, 1 < weekly
entertainment scrabble x x play on line 3
entertainment CBC radio x listen on line 1
entertainment twitter x x read on line 3
entertainment Facetime x x talk on line 1
entertainment skype x x talk on line 1
entertainment Vancouver Public Library x read on line 1
entertainment overdrive x download from library, read on line 3
entertainment brainHQ x play on line 2
entertainment clarient tuner x x play on line 1
entertainment Itunes x download 1
entertainment optik TV x TV guide telus 3
entertainment Facebook x x read on line 3
finances Inverstorline BMO x x read on line 1
finances Vectorvest stock advisory (paid) x x read on line 1
health pacer x track steps 3
health my ehealth x x view lab tests on line 1
travel pay by phone x pay on line 2
travel BMO account access x x read on line 2
travel Hangtag x read on line 1
travel transit360 x way finding 2
travel findmycar x way finding 1
travel airline apps x x pay on line 1
travel google maps x x way finding 2
utilities roboform x x keeps passwords 2
utilities weathernetwork x x weather 3
utilities email x x read on line 3
utilities drop box x x save files 1
utilities daily notes x x keeps notes 1
utilities flashlight x view things in the dark 1
utilities magnifier 30x x enlarge print 1
utilities google drive x x safe files 1
utilities wordpress x x post to blog 1
seldom used
instagram
youtube
pinterest
linked in
kindle

Ipod

The chief value of the ipod that I can listen to music, the radio or pod casts and the battery doesn’t run down as fast as the battery in the iphone so you can listed for a couple of hours.

Navigating the internet

Site functions value
Facebook Set up your account. personal site created by you, open to viewing by  your friends by adding them.  You can upload pictures or links to other sites. 5/5  Good way to stay connected with friends and family or special interest groups.  Easy to use.
Twitter  Set up your account.

Brief news feeds from selected organizations or individuals.

 3/5. Kind of a time waster but fascinating none-the-less.  Nothing required of you unless  you want to retweet a feed to your followers. Easy to use.
Instagram Download to Iphone to post pictures.  Need to set up an account 1/5 It seems popular with younger people.  It could work as a photo album. You can share with selected people.
Skype Download the program to computer, tables or phone. You can talk over the internet with a webcam and it is free to chat with people everywhere for free or minimal cost. 4/5 Very useful for staying in touch with friends and family.
Facetime  Like Skype but for MACs and IPads and Ipods  5/5 Easier to use than Skype.
Pinterest  A web site with a lot of eye candy, especially food, fashion and pets.  You can post and view others posts. 1/5 Popular with a certain demographic but not very useful.  The recipe pictures are several clicks away from the recipes. Very annoying
YouTube view short videos about many things, including music, how to videos including many videos about computer instructions.  You can save videos if you set up and account. 3/5 Entertainment, some self help.  I don’t use this more than once a week.

Downloading and uploading music- Itunes

Undercover TouristIf you want to have music or the spoken word while you walk or run, you will want to download files from your computer and/or from Itunes  and upload it to your phone or ipod. You need your Apple ID and password to download.  You can also download audio books and podcasts.  The Itunes app will need to be installed on your computer and Iphone and and is free to use. However downloading music from Itunes costs about $ 1.00 per tune downloaded.  You have to set up an Itunes account if you want to buy files to download.    Itunes used to be easy to use but over the past couple of years it seems to be less user friendly.  Apple is moving to a paid music subscription service call Spotify   which is $10.00 a month so you can download as much music as you want.  Once you download files to your computer into the Itunes program, the music will synch with your iphone and ipod by plugging the iphone or ipod into the computer USB port.   You can also synch files on your computer via wifi or download files to your iphone directly from the Itunes app on your iphone.

Photos- uploading and downloading.

There are many packages for uploading photos and some are more complex than others.  The easiest way is to install Icloud on your PC and IPhone.  This takes about 5 minutes.  You need your Apple ID and password to download the software from the Apple Store.  Once it is set up on your PC you can choose what kind of files you want synched across your devices.   Having you email and bookmarks synched on all your devices is a must have.  I give Icloud a 4/5 but sometimes it stops working and you have to sign out and sign in again or restart or computer.

Password protection/software

My favourite software for saving passwords is  RoboForm.  I have used it for over 5 years and it is free. It saves all your passwords on your PC, your IPhone and Ipad and synchs them all.  It is quick and easy to install.  When you log into a site it presents you with the option to automatically save the password if it has not been previously saved.  And if the password has been saved you click on the name of the password and it will automatically fill in the password.  The whole system can be password protected.  This software gets a 5/5 from me.

Volunteer job screening

Like many other retirees, I thought volunteering was going to be an opportunity for personal development and social connections after I stopped working. I found that not to be the case.  So here is my check list to assess volunteer opportunities that may fit your wish list. The scores can be changed depending on what you are looking for.  I higher score is a more intense volunteer experience, a lower score, one that will take less time and resources.  You can download the Excel file here so you can score the form easily. volunteer screen.

 Recruitment and training  
1         How long is the volunteer candidate screening process? 1 month 2 months 3 or > 3 months score
3 2 1
2 Will a criminal record check be required? yes no
2 1
3 Will training be required yes no
2 1
4 how long is the training? 1 day or more 4-8 hours 1-4 hours
3 2 1
Logistics
5 Can you walk there from home? no yes
2 1
6 Is parking available? no yes
2 1
7 How available is parking ? never sometimes always
3 3 1
8 What does parking cost? <$5 per shift > $ 5 per shift free
3 2 1
9 Is parking reimbursed? no yes
2 1
10 How long does it take to get there from the time you leave home? < 1 hour 30-60 min < 30 min
3 2 1
11 Is it on public transit? no yes
2 1
12 Personal safety in location scary Normal secure
3 2 1
13 How long is a shift? 8 hours 4-8 hours < 4 hours
3 2 1
14 How many shifts a week are required 5 or more 2-4 1
3 2 1
15 How long is the volunteer commitment? More than one month Less than one month One time only
3 2 1
16 What about if you want to take some time off? They can’t accommodate can accommodate with notice no problem
3 2 1
17 Can you take the winter season off to be a snow bird no yes
2 1
18 Morning shift Yes no
2 1
Nature of the work/job
19 What are the demographics the volunteers? Students Job seekers Seniors
3 2 1
20 What kind of clients? Vulnerable/     fragile/non English speaking normal Low maintenance/easy
3 2 1
21 What is the boredom meter (repetitive tasks with zero mental challenge) high medium low
3 2 1
22 Intellectual challenge low Medium high
3 2 1
23 Social interaction low medium high
3 2 1
24 New skills or knowledge acquired? none some lots
3 2 1
25 Travel required yes no
2 1
26 Physical energy required A lot some none
3 2 1
27 Speed required A lot some none
3 2 1
28 Patience required A lot some none
3 2 1
29 Stamina required A lot some none
3 2 1
30 Computer skills required A lot some none
3 2 1
31 Memory required A lot some none
3 2 1
Total score 0