Senior Meet and Greet in Dana Point

Tom talking to seniors at Dana Point California Meet and Greet May 22 2019

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – May 31, 2019 – Keeping me focused – The next Senior Meet and Greet in Dana Point California is Thursday, June 27, 2019

by columnist Tom Blake

Get it right, Tom

I received several comments about the singles Meet and Greet recap in last week’s eNewsletter. However, the most frequent comment wasn’t about THAT Meet and Greet, it was about the NEXT Meet and Greet. I wrote it would be Thursday, June 28.

About 20 Champs set me straight (in a cordial and respectful way). In 2019, there won’t be a Thursday, June 28. That Thursday is June 27. I stand humbly corrected.

And speaking of Meet and Greets, Randall emailed, “Tom, I’ve been advised that you have a singles group that meets at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point on a monthly basis. I know your reputation for being honest and would like to attend the next meeting.”

My response to Randy: “With this group of astute Champs, anything less than honesty would be exposed in a nanosecond.

“The May Meet and Greet at Tutor & Spunky’s Deli was the first one since I sold the deli in 2015. Turnout was great, about 100. We will continue to have them as long as senior singles in our area want them.”

I suggested Randy sign up for this On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter on, so he can be updated on upcoming events and singles information that I consider important, interesting (and honest!).

 Romance Scam alert

Randy’s “being honest” comment leads me into a story of someone who wasn’t honest. I’m sharing it today because I never want any of our Champs to be scammed out of money, assets, self-respect, or anything.

I read an article written by Faith Karimi that appeared on CNN on May 24. A woman from Georgia was swindled out of $80,000 by a young scammer. I couldn’t determine from the article the age of the woman but was shocked that she was so naïve and foolish that she gave the man the money after one week of dating.

Here are some of the excerpts from the article:

“John Martin Hill, 35, connected with the woman…on in late March…Hill took the woman out on a date the same day they met (online), and the two agreed to get married a week later… (I thought to myself—you must be kidding–she met him in person on the same day first contact was made, without checking him out, and, agreed to marry him in a week?).

“He told the woman he’s a millionaire, and they decided to invest in a love nest. The woman gave her now fiancé $80,000 (cash) to help with the home’s purchase…

“During their short romance, he convinced her that they were in love and wanted to buy a house together…When he got the money, he cut all contact with the woman… (shocking, I know).

“The man lived with another woman and a child in Duluth, Georgia — and he’s wanted in Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey for similar scams, authorities said.

“Since then, several women have come forward and said they were in a relationship with him, or, knew women who were. Hill has changed his name at least five times in two and a half years, police said.

“Police arrested him Wednesday at a hotel in Franklin, Tennessee…”

The CNN story also stated, “’By sharing this story, it is our hope that he is not able to victimize any other women using this scam,’ Gwinnett County Police said in a statement. ‘These types of con men are very good at manipulating their victims. They tend to say everything that a woman wants to hear.’”

Emphasis on sentence above: they tend to say everything a woman wants to hear. 

Apparently, Hill has used several aliases including Gregory Hill and has scammed women in several states. He’s behind bars now, and it seems he will be for years to come. He was busted in 2012 but was still able to operate scams since then.

How anyone could be so naïve is beyond comprehension. However, it happened to women in several states. Wow.

Link to that article:

In fairness to… 

I don’t want to give the impression that all Internet dating sites are bad, and I’m not singling out I am merely re-emphasizing that one must be careful when meeting strangers online or anywhere.

This week, Don, one of our Champs, wrote to say he would attend the next Meet and Greet. Don said, “I met the perfect lady for me on a little over a year ago and she seems to think I am the perfect man for her. Edie is 73 and I am 78 and we are doing great.” is not a dating site, but here’s why it’s a good option for meeting people…

Vicki wrote, “I’m 70. Widowed 5 years. I loved being married and though I don’t want marriage at my age, I do want a companion. I’ve been lucky and I’ve dated a lot.

“I’m a determined lady and I’ve used all the dating sites (and I took dating seriously) and I’ve had horror stories, but I’ve also met some ‘ok men,’ just never ‘my man.’ I always picked men that were 3 or 4 years younger; I’m an on-the-go, fun, lady who attracts younger men, men who also like to get out and have fun).

“I’ve always turned down dates from anyone younger than 3 or 4 years. Even though I’ve always been told I do not look my age, I never strayed from that age range because I was brought up that women date their age or older.

“As for the you-look-younger line I hear, people say that to be nice and your age is going to come up sooner than later when you date, and I’m a bad liar. I always told the truth about my age and ignored the invites from the 50s + group.

“I joined a fun group–single and 55+ was the requirement. I recommend to meet men vs. online dating. Of course, more women than men are in this group, but lucky me, an attractive man 10-years-younger, took a liking to me.

“We went out, he knew my age, he didn’t care! I wrestled with the age differences until I realized how much fun I was having with him, and guess what? We are now companions, spend at least 4 or 5 nights a week together, have gone on two trips and I’m happier than I’ve ever been in a relationship!

“My new advice for all daters over 55 is just go for it, enjoy every minute you have and forget age, be honest and if they don’t care, you don’t care! You are as young as you feel and when anyone asks my age I now say, ‘I’m old enough to know better than to answer that, and young enough not to care that you asked!’ Then I wink! It usually gets a laugh!”

Memorial Day Ceremony and Flower Drop at the Palm Springs Air Museum…

    A P-51 Mustang participated in the Flower Drop flyover.  This plane was flown by the Tuskegee Air Men

Greta and I were in Palm Springs on Memorial Day. We decided to attend the 22nd Annual Flower Drop & Air Fair at the Palm Springs Air Museum, known as one of the best air museums in the world. As a Navy veteran, Memorial Day means a lot to me. I wrote about our incredible day there, and included several pictures and videos. If interested, go to The home page will open on the story. That is the same website with all of our travel adventures on it.

Reminder: The next Meet and Greet is Thursday, June 27, 2019, at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, 34085 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, CA. 5 to 7 p.m.

Three-dot journalism

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – April 26, 2019 – Three-dot journalism – Spraying to all fields

by Tom P Blake – Orange County, California, columnist

Today’s e-Newsletter reminds me of former San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. He was a San Francisco icon, who wrote columns for 60 years. His was the longest-running column in the United States. He wrote between five and seven columns per week, totaling–in the neighborhood of–16,000 columns. He often referred to his columns as “three-dot journalism.”

I admired his “three-dot journalism,” (as he defined it), style of writing. His comments were often not complete sentences, but crisp, clear and interesting. He was a gossip columnist. If he mentioned you by name, you’d be famous in maybe a good way, or a not-so-good way.

His mention about people patronizing San Francisco’s Victoria Station restaurant, the restaurant chain for which I worked eight years, virtually launched Victoria Station into becoming the fastest-growing chain in the United States for a period of time in the 1970s.

On occasion, Caen would describe a column as “Spraying to all fields,” which referred to hitters in baseball who would hit to all fields, meaning his column that day was all over the place, covering a plethora of topics or comments, often not related to each other, with three dots…between items.

1994 photo of Herb Caen with one of his famed “Loyal Royal”  typewriters, upon which he typed 16,000 columns
(photo courtesy of Nancy Wong)
At the end of today’s e-Newsletter, there is a link to Wikipedia’s description of Herb Caen.Today’s column reminds me of one of Caen’s “Spraying to all fields” columns; it covers five different items. It’s dedicated to Herb Caen.

               1 Helpful online dating tips from two Champs

Champ A – Cheryl, “I want to add one note about groups. They are not always free. Some are held in facilities that require rent, some serve food, etc., and those places ask for a contribution, although it’s usually minimal.”

(And a reminder from Tom: is not a dating site, but a great place to meet and make new friends. And then, who knows where those new friendships might lead?)

Cheryl added, “Another tip about long-distance relationships: People should maximize the time it takes to know someone by communication through face-time, and telephone a LOT, between in-person visits.

Champ B – Chris, “I have been reading the letters from your Champs, about the problems and questions they have when meeting someone, a distance away. As I read the questions, I kept thinking: Why don’t they just Skype the other person?

“Then, you can better see what and who you are dealing with. I know over my long life (Chris is 84), I more than once have fallen in love with a voice, only to be disappointed because the voice didn’t match my vision of this person.

“I’m wondering, could it be that some of our Champs don’t know about Skype?

First, let me tell them, IT IS FREE! Yes, FREE (after some possible, minimal, set up costs mentioned below).

“Tina (my partner of 14 years and now my wife) and I have been using Skype for over 10 years. When she is in England, and I am in the states, we Skype every day. I call her at 12:30 p.m., my time, and she is sitting waiting for my call at 8:30 p.m. her time. We can see each other and talk for hours. It is almost as good as being there, except we can’t touch.

“This would be the answer for your Champs who are talking to someone on the phone, but still are doubtful about what to do and how to handle the situation.

Setting Skype up on a computer is easy, and it only costs about $25 for the camera and the wires. (Most new computers already have built in cameras). After that it is free. I have it on my computer, and, Tina has it set up on her Ipad. My daughter has it on her cell phone; she and I talk that way when I am in England.

So, my advice–to the lonely widow who has met Mr. Wonderful on line, or, that lonely old guy who is sure he has met the love of his life–is: after you’ve spent time talking on the phone, or emailing, and you are thinking about travelling a good distance to meet them, or sending them money for a plane ticket, start Skyping them first.

“You will learn a lot about the person you are in touch with, when you see them while you talk. You could be pleasantly surprised or you could save yourself from a major disappointment.”

               2 Popular dating site warning

From a male Champ who requested to remain anonymous: “After reading last week’s e-Newsletter (about senior online dating sites), I simply felt responsible to relate what I and several friends have encountered on a certain senior dating site, upon which my membership has been long-since cancelled.

“This website has the most hackers and scammers of all of the dating sites. When I was on the site, a hacker took over my profile, presented himself as me…messaging women, asking for their direct emails, then going after them for money…so many grisly tales of attempted scams…

“Many of the women and men on the site are not the actual person whose picture is posted on the profile.

“My computer guru installed a new super security program on my personal computer due to the scammer hacking my personal computer.

“The site is a dangerous dating site Tom ….

“A caution is simply to never provide your direct email. If, and when, you are persuaded this person is real, you can talk on the phone. Unfortunately, often the person barely speaks English. Plus, a red balloon is when there are misspelled words in their messages and/or incorrect sentence structure.”

While our anonymous Champ was referring to a specific senior dating site–he requested not to mention it by name, even though we’ve identified it previously–what happened to him on it could happen on any dating site. For gosh sake, please be careful when online dating, regardless of which site you use.

                          3 Why wait so long to meet in person?

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about a widower who was planning to meet a widow face-to-face who lived 845 miles away. Many of you suggested he meet someone closer to where he lives.

About the same time, I heard from a widow in New York state who lives a little over an hour away from him, and, I suggested to her that she contact him. She did. Now, they talk on the phone and plan to meet face-to-face in late June.

My question: why wait so long? That’s two months away. At the least, do what either Chris or Cheryl suggested above. See each other via Skype or face time on the phone. That might save disappointment before they meet in person.

However, I guess there is no rush to meet in person, IF,  just being in contact with the other person eliminates the loneliness they both feel. Then, maybe it doesn’t matter to either what the other one looks like, or how they present themselves, or that the other person may not even be who he or she claims to be.

                                      4 Next week’s e-Newsletter

I am planning to write about whether it’s important or not for senior singles to have a written list of the qualities they seek in a mate.

Plus, perhaps, some daters may even have a separate written list of the habits or characteristics in a person that would be deal-breakers. Smoking, for example.

If any of you want to share your list(s) or your thoughts about having a list, I’d love to hear from you.

5 Herb Caen and three-dot journalism information…

Link to Wikipedia’s page about Herb Caen…


One more item about Herb. While I was married to a woman named Debbe, she became Herb Caen’s secretary. That was pretty heady stuff. People would say, “Your wife is Herb Caen’s secretary? Wow…”

As I recall, it wasn’t always a dream job. He was pretty demanding…

…Here’s to you, Herb. We are toasting an Irish Coffee to you at the world-famous Buena Vista Café in San Francisco, where the Powell /Hyde Cable car turns around, and the view from there of Alcatraz, and where it’s rumored that you had more than one or two of those Irish Coffees…

Senior long distance dating – a challenge – but not impossible

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – April 19, 2019

Senior long distance dating — a challenge for seniors — but not impossible

Two weeks ago, we wrote about a widower, age 75, whose wife passed away two years before. He’s dating again. After being shunned by a widow he met at church, he turned to Internet dating sites to try to find a mate.

He emailed, seeking advice. He said he met a woman on the OurTime website, who lives 845 miles away. He was going to send her air fare to visit him.

I suggested, instead of sending her air fare, he should look for a woman who lives close to him. Getting involved in a long-distance relationship might be too much effort for a man his age.

Champs responded, sharing their opinions about senior long-distance dating.

Cynthia emailed: “Forget about long-distance relationships! If you can’t meet people in person within a 50-mile circumference, then it’s not worth it.

“You need to simply look around your own town, church, neighborhood, grocery store, club, senior center or wherever you go for entertainment.”

Art, said, “This man should be able to meet eligible women within an easy driving distance from where he lives. I am in a relationship with a lady I met online, and she lives only 15 minutes from me.

“Together, we belong to several groups, and there are at least four women for every man who attend events. Perhaps he is unfamiliar with, but unless he lives in a very rural part of the country, there are probably Meetup groups in his area.

“A woman living 845 miles away is too far for a meet and greet lunch or dinner, and the cost and inconvenience would make a possible romance very difficult.”

Susan chimed in, “If you are lonely, join a club, an exercise or Meetup group, volunteer, etc.  There are so many ways to not be lonely. If you enjoy children, volunteer at your local school or library. ( is not a dating site, but a place to meet lots and lots of new friends, and when you meet lots of new people, who knows what could evolve? )

“When I was off work for a few months, I volunteered at our senior center. I was NEVER lonely there. Lots of seniors hanging around wanting to talk with someone.”

Joanie stated, “This 75-year-old man should make sure he looks extra good, smells nice, wears fitting, well-cut clothes, gets a haircut and takes care of his skin.

“And then, he should take ballroom dance lessons. There are tons of wonderful single women who dance, most looking for a nice man. And there is a shortage of men. He will meet someone quickly.”

Gina added, “I think online dating can be an effective tool, but one should weed out the people who are long distance. Potential mates should be within 50 miles and willing to meet within a few weeks of making a connection via text messaging and phone.”

Linda felt differently; she said, “I think he should visit the woman 845 miles away, see where and how she lives. You can tell a lot about people based on how they live.”

Liza emailed, “My advice for your lonely widower is to slow down and relax.  Smelling desperation on a member of the opposite sex is a huge buzz kill.  Most seniors don’t want to be alone but that big of a rush would scare off any decent woman–but would certainly appeal to a scammer.”

Shelley said, “Yes, indeed; loneliness can cloud a widowed person’s thinking! I lost my beloved husband of 39 years five years ago. My judgement was impaired for at least 2 1/2 years!

“The widower should look for a woman he can meet in person and not have to send plane fare to. That has scam written all over it.’”

                  And yet, long distance relationships can work

A while back, I wrote about Sally, a widow, from New Jersey, who had been married 41 years. Two years before, she had corresponded with a widower (married 48 years) online. But he lived in Atlanta.

Through the online site, she sent him a message that she was removing herself from the site and included her personal email address. He didn’t receive her message.

When her online site tried to get her to renew, she checked her mailbox, one last time, and found a message from him. She said, “I emailed and we picked up writing again. I guess it was meant to be!”

They agreed to be just pen-pals. “No pictures. No, ‘Are you the right one?’ and, no plans to meet,” says Sally. However, a senior long-distance relationship began.

“We were very careful in the beginning when we wrote. We never mentioned the names of our children or grandchildren, just funny stories about different things. We both had long, stable marriages and our families were the center of our lives. We had successful careers. Neither felt threatened by the past.”

Then their arrangement changed. She said, “About 8 months into the pen-pal thing, he tells me not to get serious or marry anyone until we meet. At that point we exchanged photos, talked on the phone, and it kept getting better.

“He came to NJ for a two-day visit and stayed a week, and then kept returning every two-three weeks. I visited him in Georgia.”

Sally liked the Atlanta-area lifestyle. She visited a recreation community catering to all ages and particularly liked the quaint homes with porches. She told her gentleman friend that if she relocated, it would be incidental to–and not dependent upon–their relationship. “Marrying again was not in our plans,” said Sally.

Sally sold her New Jersey home and bought a home in the recreation community. She and her widower friend maintain separate residences, and have a LAT (Living Apart Together) relationship.

“We spend weekends together; we cook for one another once a week. We love to shop together. He visits his family and I visit mine, keeping these issues apart,” says Sally. “I am very lucky. It’s an open, honest, loving relationship without it ever getting routine, stale, or to the point of too much togetherness. We are committed to one another, but, observe that space that people need.

“We never intended it to turn out this way, but we gave it a chance. As seniors, we accept who we are and enjoy what we have now.”

And, you Champs likely remember Chris and Tina. They were 14 years in a long, long-distance relationship: England and California. Nearly 4,400 miles. But they made it work. Now they are married. She’s in her 70s and he’s in his 80s.

And, how about Champs Terry and Daeng. California and Thailand? Want to see happiness? Look below.

 Champs Terry and Daeng–who says long distance romance can’t be fun

                              Tom’s five senior long-distance dating tips

  1. Try local first. Focus on what’s near you. There are many options, as mentioned above, where seniors can go to meet new people and make new friends. Who knows? They might meet a potential mate by being out and about. is not a dating site, but it has endless choices to pursue activities that one might enjoy—like learning a language or hiking, and there’s no cost. Senior centers will have like-minded people who want to chat. Volunteering is a great way to pay it forward and meet people at the same time.
  2. If you Internet date, perhaps Cynthia’s and Gina’s suggested 50-mile dating radius is a good rule of thumb. However, it depends. Does the man still drive? Does the woman still drive? What happens if they become a couple? Who moves? Or, does the relationship become a Living Apart Together (LAT) relationship?
  3. Seniors must realize there are lots of scammers online, even on the most reputable senior dating sites—OurTime,, and, for example. Regardless of what the sites claim, scammers slip through the cracks and target vulnerable, lonely seniors.
  4. When you make contact with someone who lives near you, the two of you can meet in person and decide if there is a mutual attraction, without the challenges and expense of traveling long distances. Keep your search as close to home as reasonable.
  5. Long-distance relationships can work. Before giving up on your Internet site, check every message, just in case. It only takes one, as Sally discovered, but we never know which one.