Why didn’t John ask for her phone number?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter

July 8, 2022

By Tom P. Blake

23 responses to “Where is John?” eNewsletter from July 1, 2022

Last week’s column was titled, “Where is John?” Champ Yoko and prospective Champ ‘John’ spoke for 2 ½ hours at the Swallows Inn, a popular San Juan Capistrano watering hole and country music hangout. But, why didn’t John ask for her phone number? I asked for your comments re: what should have Yoko done?

23 Champs shared their thoughts–21 women and two men. That’s about a 9.5-to-one ratio, which is about par for the course in senior dating age 65+

23 Responses

Althea, “Was he married? Or, just out with his friend to have a good time. Perhaps he “Just Wasn’t That Into Yoko.”

Melanie, “John is married, or has a girlfriend, or just enjoyed talking. Yoko can’t bother herself about the reason…John didn’t want to go further.”

Sandy, “Some men carry baggage from previous relationships and/or use bars as their social outlets to get their social fix.”

Patty, “He was not wearing a wedding ring. That or showing pictures from his phone that show no women is no indication of whether he is married.”

Terri, “Yoko should realize that ‘John” has either a wife or a girlfriend and he just found it pleasant to hang out with her and her friends and nothing more. Done. I have personalized business cards with my name, email, and phone number, should the need arise.”

Teresa, “It seems risky to begin talking to an unknown person in a bar. Everything this guy said could be a lie. He could be looking for a woman with money.”

Thyrza, “His showing off his property would not bode well with me. Men show off their chivalry, that’s all it was. Put it to rest.”

Victoria, “Yoko’s story is as old as time itself. He’s probably married or in a relationship. The lack of a wedding ring is not foolproof. Perhaps he decided a relationship with her wouldn’t work.”

Joel, “I learned, as a matter of courtesy. Just to tell someone, ‘I don’t think we are a good fit’ and to accept it when someone (many in fact) have said something similar to me. You have to click with the person. Say ‘Next’ and move on. It’s not you, Yoko, of that, I am sure.”

Maria, “Maybe Yoko should have said, ‘Would you care to meet sometime and continue the conversation? At least she would have gotten a clearer picture of where he stood. She should chalk it up as a fun evening.”  (comment from Tom: should-a, would-a, could-a) hindsight is always easier).

Larry, “Yoko did all the right things and enjoyed herself. Any loss was his loss. Yoko, keep on keeping on!”

Anonymous woman, “It can take time for a woman to see that a rebuff may have zero to do with her. When that is figured out, it takes a lot of pressure off.”

Elenute, “If a man wants to contact a woman, he will find a way. Yoko should forget about him, attractive though he may be.”

Wayne, “Yoko should have simply stated at the end of the encounter: ‘John, I enjoyed meeting you and would like to see you again. Let’s exchange contact information. If he accepts, great. If not, it’s a red flag.”

Sue, “If John wanted her contact info, he’d have asked for it. He had a nice night and that’s that. Unfortunately, ‘He wasn’t that into her.’

Susan, “Suggestions for Yoko if the situation arises again:

“As Tom suggested, give him your card with contact information.

“Say: ‘I would like to visit your farm, let me know when a good time would be. Here is my number.

“Or, ‘I’m having a BBQ soon and would like to invite you. What would be a good number to reach you?’”

Gail, “John was a player. Yoko, count your blessings and be glad you dodged that bullet. It has happened to me. The guy wasn’t that into me. Fine, who’s next?”

Bonnie, “I learned a great lesson about guys through my oldest son. He and a girlfriend hit a bump in the road. He went through remarkable lengths to renew the relationship. I learned firsthand, that if a man wants to pursue a woman, he will just do so. He doesn’t overthink it. He just courts her naturally.

“Yoko might bump into him in six months, and they pick up where they left off. Timing can be a big deal.”

Heather, “I have a history with the Swallows Inn San Juan Capistrano. My brother Doug was a bouncer there in the 1960s. I really love a seedy bar. What’s funny, I met my significant other, Reuben, there. He has a horse at a stable down the road and came on Tuesday’s when Pedro makes tacos in the kitchen.

“My friends were my ‘wingmen.’ When Reuben would enter the bar, they would coax him over to sit at our table. Once, he grabbed my cellphone and put his number in my phone. Our first date was April 1, 2017. We’ve been together since.

“I wish Yoko had pushed a bit more or returned to the Swallows on the same day the following week. Life is too short for missed opportunities.”

Cheryl, “Has it happened to me? Yes. I’ve had many men tell me how busy they are right now, or what emergency has come up in their lives, that I don’t even pay attention, don’t care. The ball is in his court. My late husband would have driven to the moon to ask me out again if he had to.”

Kaitte, “Happened to me? Yep, for a split second at a gas station. He kept looking at me after he let me in the checkout line for gas. I was at the pump, and he looked around and found me. I should have given him my INTRO card. By the time, I figured that out he was gone. I did post lookout on Facebook but no response. Sigh, I’m 70, those vibes don’t come around often.”

Marie, “I have known friends who already plan weddings after an initial encounter and somewhat naively expect a positive follow up after they have enjoyed themselves. I have had men tell me after a first date that I am everything they are looking for…after knowing very little about me. Presumptions are not limited to the young folks.”

Marjorie: “I agree with Bonnie and my personal experience: If a guy is
interested he will make it happen. Otherwise, as others have said, he is
married, has a girlfriend, or isn’t that interested. Of course, she can ask
about meeting again, but take whatever he tells you as the answer. Don’t chase
him. And more important, don’t settle for being someone’s alternative.”

So, that’s it Champs. I know Yoko personally; she will relish your advice. And, chances are, your advice will benefit lots of other single women who go line dancing our just out for pizza and they meet a guy.  

Senior dating: Save the last dance for me

Senior dating: Save the last dance for me

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter May 6, 2022

by Tom P. Blake
(Today’s eNewsletter has been edited for clarity, grammar, and wordiness)

Champs responded to last week’s “Big Yellow Taxi” eNewsletter which featured a widow living in Illinois who had met a widower in California at their high school reunion. She called herself a vaycay girl and wondered if she is wasting her time with him.  
Jackie, also a widow, emailed: “I try not to make my life about having to find someone, but at age 74, IF I had another love story like meeting Randy at my 50th reunion, and subsequently marrying him, that would be nice, but I’m trying to be content—one day at a time. I am enjoying the journey and doing what I like to do, including attending my grandchildren’s activities.”
Tom’s comment: We’ve said it before. Attending school reunions can improve one’s chances for finding love in our senior years. After all, the people who meet at reunions share a common past and experiences from years before.
D, emailed: “In my opinion, the Yellow Taxi ‘vaycay’ gal is very lucky. Who in their right mind would leave California for Illinois when everything that person has is in California? (For the man, children, grandchildren, and mother live near him in California).  
“That guy’s life, happiness, and stability are also his survival and how to make it after the loss of his wife. He was described as a nice guy, and he is making an attempt at a relationship. The Yellow Taxi gal doesn’t seem to appreciate what she has, not to mention a visit by him after he recovers from his knee surgery.
“She is lucky but is complaining like a spoiled brat.”
Our Champs often comment about the oldies songs that I sometimes link to at the end of my eNewsletters. Last week’s song, Big Yellow Taxi, inspired the mention of another song from a Champ.
Champ Wayne emailed a tidbit about a song that he felt illustrates how a songwriter’s personal adversity didn’t stop him from co-writing and making famous a 1960 classic song.

Wayne wrote, “The Drifters recorded “Save the Last Dance for Me” in 1960 and it became a great hit. “The songwriter, Doc Pomus, suffered from polio when he was a kid and was crippled. However, he sometimes used crutches to get around.

“During an interview on Elvis Costello’s show “Spectacle,” Lou Reed, who worked with Pomus, said the song was written on the day of Pomus’ wedding while the groom who used a wheelchair watched his bride dancing with their guests.”

Tom’s comment: I went online and verified that Pomus co-wrote that song with Mort Shuman and the details Wayne provided in the paragraph above are true. Wayne continued: “Pomus’ wife, Willi Burke, was a Broadway actress and dancer. The song gives Pomus’ perspective of telling his wife to have fun dancing but reminds her who will be taking her home and ‘in whose arms you’re gonna be.’

“Hence, the song. True story and very touching! That’s how this wonderful song was written!”

With Ben E. King on lead vocal, the Drifters made the song a number one hit, and it was later recorded by multiple artists, including Anne Murray. I agree with Wayne that the song reminds us that opportunity often arises from adversity. Through dedication, hard work, and never giving up hope, we can make positive contributions to life and the world. Here’s the link to the Drifters singing, “Save the last dance for me.”

Where are the single senior men?

Eight ways to meet single senior men.

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – September 24, 2021

by Tom P Blake

Where are the men? As a senior dating columnist, the most frequently asked question I receive is “Where are the single senior men?” Meaning, available senior single men, and asked by women. Sometimes, the question is worded differently, but the intention is the same.

For example, Marci, 70, emailed, “I live in Orange County. I am retired and would love to meet an available, honest, adventurous man. Where is he?”
Marci added: “I am fun, smart, spiritual, good looking, and healthy. I love my family, friends, animals and ENJOY my life. I am so ready to meet him.”

My usual answer: “There is no specific place, at least of which I’m aware, where senior single men congregate with the purpose of meeting an available senior woman near their age range. No bar, no church, no senior center, no golf course—not even a cruise ship.”

But that has changed. There are hundreds of places now where senior single men hang out–and may possibly be hoping to meet a mate. Where? Isolated in their homes, due to the Covid pandemic. That makes meeting men even harder.

My response to Marci: You sound terrific–retired, healthy, attractive, loving enthusiastic, confident, and positive. Wow, great credentials; you’d be a wonderful partner! Oh, you didn’t mention whether you are financially secure—some calculating guy might even want to know that! But it’s best to not mention your finances. If a man asks, that’s a red flag that he is seeking something other than love.

I wish, Marci, that I had an easy answer to your question. Finding a quality mate is difficult for senior women. At age 70, the ratio of single women to single men is approximately 3.5-to-one. And yet, meeting a mate at your age is possible, even if many of them are hunkered down at home.

My normal advice would be: “Get off the couch and out of the house and involved in activities you enjoy. By doing just that, you will improve your chances greatly of meeting that adventurous guy.”

However, for nearly two years, seniors have been handcuffed by Covid. Socializing and meeting new people has been challenging. Earlier this year, the situation appeared to be improving, but restrictions are reappearing.

So, I’ve come up with a revised list of eight suggestions on how to meet a single senior man:

1 – To facilitate exchanging contact information with new people, hand out preprinted name cards that reveal only your first name and email address. Don’t reveal your last name, street address, or phone number (not yet at least).
Handwritten cards prepared by you are fine. Or you can go to Staples or a print shop to have them done. Carry them with you. Have them ready so that a pen isn’t needed when exchanging contact information with a new acquaintance.
If a woman wants to increase her circle of women friends–an excellent idea–handwriting her phone number on her card should be okay.

If your last name is a part of your email address, you might need to get a second email address that doesn’t reveal your name and use that when first meeting strangers. Just be darned careful regardless of how you are meeting

2 – Seize every opportunity to meet new people without endangering your health. Attend events and gatherings where people are vaccinated and located outdoors in the open air. For example, attend tai chi and/or yoga classes in a park. Introduce yourself to strangers, hand out your name cards, while keeping your distance.

This week, the editors of my three Orange County newspapers asked me to contribute an extra column to an Aging Well insert describing where retired people can go during these Covid times. The article is approximately 1,200 words.

You can read that article online by clicking on one of the three separate newspaper links at the end of today’s newsletter. Look for the Aging Well insert. The article might provide you some suggestions, even if you don’t live in South Orange County.

3 – Don’t focus solely on meeting men. Include women as well, single or married. Make meeting new friends a top priority. Social interaction is one of the most important activities seniors can pursue.

4 – Be sure you are getting physical and mental exercise. It helps your health and makes you a more interesting person. Adopt a project; write a blog. Write a book. Volunteer (safely). Read a book such as “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50” by Tom Blake

How 50 Couples Found Love After 50

5 – Internet date, which will improve your chances of meeting a mate. You need access to a computer. If you don’t have this capability, ask a friend for help. The internet is an important senior dating tool, enabling people to search for a mate beyond one’s neighborhood, city limits, and state lines. There are thousands of potential mates out there.

However, BEWARE! I estimate that 25 percent of the people on senior dating sites are scammers, trying to steal seniors’ identity and money. The scammers are experts of deceit, preying on vulnerable seniors, especially widows.

Don’t venture online on your own. Have friends help you. Write me for advice. Trust your instincts. Never send money to a stranger. Don’t be naïve or gullible because you are lonely. Be careful when meeting a stranger in person.

6 – Meetup.com – Again, you will need a computer, but only to locate groups within your area that provide endless activities. Meetup.com is an online site where you can join groups to learn—for example–to dance, speak a language, exercise, cook Italian (or any country’s) food. Learn how to write, publish a book.

7- Volunteer. There are many opportunities in your community. Pick a place to help that makes you feel good and do it. Just keep in mind the Covid precautions.

8 – Suggest to your friends to sign up for this weekly free email newsletter by visiting the home page of my “Findingloveafter50.com” website or email me and ask me to add you. You will learn what others are doing to meet mates.
Cast your net far and wide. Anything can happen. Never give up hope. Continue to enjoy life, with or without a man. Links to Tom’s newspapers

Link to Dana Point Times newspaper
Link to San Clemente Times
Link to San Juan Capistrano newspaper

Seniors have the right to live again

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – September 3, 2021

by Tom P Blake

Seniors have the right to live again

Stuck with a live-in hoarder; a Champ wonders what to do

Champ Jeanne emailed: “I have a question about hoarding. Something that got glossed over when my partner moved in with me three years ago – the number of storage boxes etc. that he had and never used. It was pointed out to me that he is an organized hoarder. We met on the website Our Time in 2015.

“I had always envisioned hoarding as piles of newspaper etc. blocking passage in rooms and hallways! Every space has been filled with his stuff and he has more stuff in someone’s garage nearby. I am uncomfortable with every inch of space taken with the stuff that he never uses. It has become a problem in our relationship.

 “I am constantly donating unused stuff that I have. I have learned that hoarders can’t get rid of stuff. I have asked that it go into the attic so at least it’s not taking up room that could be used by the things we do use, which have been shoved out of the way to make room for his things. That way he has access to it if needed.

 “The bicycle, the motorcycle, the kayak, he refuses to move out. He is not going to use them – he’s in his late 70’s and out of shape!

 “I’m hoping Champs shed some light and give some advice. If I mention moving anything, he wants me to take empty flowerpots and put them outside – that sort of thing…I’m over my head and completely frustrated! 

“All this comes from my not bringing the subject of this ‘collecting’ up sooner in our relationship when I saw all the things he had and how he did not attempt to pare it down. “We don’t have an agreement, but he did say I can’t kick him out. The only way he would leave is if I put the house on the market and it sold! Maybe I had better ask my lawyer!  

“I can’t live with the situation the way it is – I have tried to for the last few years but that didn’t work!! He has had two wives leave him to his utter surprise and although he has many wonderful characteristics, he is not relationship material.  

“I ignored some red flags so that’s on me! He does give me some monetary contribution to the household, which is helpful, but not nearly what he would pay for a rental of this caliber in this area. 

Tom’s response: We’ll see what Champs say. Last week’s title was “We have the right to love again?” This week’s title is “We have the right to live again.” Jeanne’s situation is not “if,” it’s “when and how?” Jeanne will get him out of her house.
I sent her a return email with a few questions. She responded, saying there are other issues in addition to the hoarding. He is quick to get angry and is an incessant talker.

men must earn friends with benefits status
Stop arguing

She added, “His flaws are too much for me and they killed my love for him. I didn’t like the person I had become–yelling and fighting back or shutting myself in my bedroom.”

Another Champ was in a similar, but a different situation. She moved into a new apartment building a year or so ago in Northern California, signing a one-year lease. It took one day to learn that people who lived above her were unbearably noisy, dropping things on the floor during all hours. And the people below her were also unbearably noisy. The situation was unacceptable; she could not get much sleep.

The building landlord would do nothing. She took it upon herself to find other accommodations, even considering small college towns back East. Competition for small one-or two-bedroom places was brutal. Rental prices in California have increased dramatically. She finally found a nice location a few miles away. She forfeited a month’s rent at the end of her lease to get out of the bad situation.

She wrote, “I moved yesterday! After contending with looking for months, high and low, and getting beaten out for the only standalone cottage in my price range, I signed Saturday for a 2BR upstairs condo surrounded by magical redwoods and other mature trees.

“A good night of sleep is pure medicine!” She made the relocation happen while functioning on little sleep. That’s why I call our readers Champs—because that’s what you are. Go-getters. When things aren’t right, you strive to make them right. 

Please share your opinions with Jeanne regarding the hoarder. 

The back nine of life

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – July 9 2021

                          The Back Nine of Life

By Tom P Blake – Columnist

Most Champs—except newcomers–know that I write a bi-weekly column for Picket Fence Media, a syndicate that publishes the Dana Point Times, the San Clemente Times, and The Capistrano Dispatch (San Juan).

Newspaper readers sometimes respond to those articles, providing me with information that I think will be helpful to our Champs. Often, the people who respond live in cities and areas other than the three cities mentioned above. Such was the case this week.

For example, take Laurie of nearby Laguna Niguel, California. She emailed, “While reading your article, ‘Senior Singles can benefit from having an open mind,’ in the June 25 issue of the Dana Point Times, it got me to thinking about my sister, who is 61, widowed after only being married for four months in 2013, and she has not dated since.

“I checked out the link to your FindingLoveAfter50.com website and ta-da! There are so many things I could say about it. I watched your Today Show video and the last video you posted about the two ladies. Your advice is so spot on.

“I’m turning 68 this month. My friends and I tell ourselves we are on the ‘back nine’ now (the back nine in golf is the second half of a golf game). I’m not sure which hole in the back nine we’re on.

“I mentioned this to a 77-year-old surgeon I know and he chuckled and said in his Whales accent, ‘Well dahling, if you are on the back nine, I must be in the clubhouse having my martini.’

“My closest friends and I want our lives to be filled with quality time and friends and people who have value to us. Most of us are quite spontaneous, feeling as we get older to ‘try something new’ because we never know what the outcome could be. I loved your website article about who should pay for the date. The perspectives you presented were so interesting and varied.

“I am sharing your website information with several friends who could benefit from your insight. Do you still own Tutor & Spunky’s deli in Dana Point?

“I live in Laguna Niguel, up Pacific Island Drive, and am a frequent visitor to Dana Point.”

My response to Laurie: “I sold Tutor & Spunky’s five years ago, but still drop in for a sandwich to visit with some employees who worked with me. I am proud that the deli is in its 32year.

“I’ve been busy in my back nine of life. I am finishing a memoir about my 25 years opening, running, managing a Dana Point Deli. The book is titled, ‘Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark.’ It should be published around July 17 (it is live on Amazon.com both as a Kindle eBook and a Paperbook version.

Tutor & Spunky's Deli. A Dana Point Landmark
book cover by author Tom Blake
Tom Blake’s memoir finished July 17 2021

“At age 68, you and your friends may be on the back nine, as you describe it, but probably only on the 10th or 11th hole. You have lots left to do and enjoy.

“We in Dana Point appreciate your visiting us from Laguna Niguel. In 1989, I lived in Laguna Niguel. One night I went to sleep there and woke up the next morning in Dana Point. I promise I had not been drinking. I hadn’t even left my house.

“That was just before Dana Point became a city on January 1, 1990, and the boundaries of Dana Point were expanded to include the Ritz Carlton and Monarch Beach Areas, as well as Capistrano Beach. So, I understand the city of Laguna Niguel, from where you are coming.

“Now that the pandemic has eased, and you and your friends are willing to try something new, three things are important to keep in mind. These three suggestions apply to singles anywhere in the world, not just Southern Orange County.

Three things single seniors should do

“First, get the body moving. Walking helps. Try tai chi, yoga, water aerobics, dancing, standup paddleboarding—whatever is of interest. Just, get it going.

“Second, get off the couch and out of the house and involved in activities you enjoy. Senior centers offer a multitude of activities. For your widowed sister, there are widow and widower clubs. Many people she’ll meet there will be able to relate to what she has gone through. They would be good places for her to gradually reenter the social world.

“Third, aim to maximize social interaction. People need to be among people—laughing, talking, caring, sharing, and hugging—all of those social interactions are good for a person’s health. Meeting new people is healthy

“Those three things are key for senior singles. Pursuing them will keep seniors from finishing the back nine and entering the clubhouse too soon, unless, like your 77-year old surgeon friend, you’re into martinis.”

Have a good weekend.

Finding love in their 60s because of a logo on a hat

 On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – January 8, 2021

by Tom P Blake

 Goofy Together and Loving It. Finding love in their 60s because of a logo on a hat

During 26 years of writing about finding love after 50, readers and Champs have shared multiple romance success stories with me. I love hearing them.

In 2009, I included the stories of 50 couples—many of them Champs–in a book titled, “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50.” There are eight bonus stories in the book-so 58 couples are included.

As I hear more success stories these days, I’m wondering if a book titled, “How 65 couples found love after 65” should be written. The above book is available at https://www.findingloveafter50.com/tomblakebookstore or e-mail me at tompblake@gmail for a reduced rate.

The latest success story arrived this week. Heather, 67, a Dana Point, California woman emailed: “Love your articles and I’m so happy you have a gal that makes you happy. I wanted to share my story.”

Heather wrote, “My husband died in his sleep, May 2016, while we were celebrating our daughter’s 30th birthday on Oahu. It was horrible.

“Many people told me, look out, you are fit, funny, you cook, you are independent; men will seek you out. It was the last thing in the world I was thinking about. I had a pile of work to get through let alone the slowness of Hawaii for the death certificate and autopsy for my children.”

Heather’s story continues eight months later

In January 2017, Heather and some women friends were enjoying themselves at the “Swallows Inn,” a popular country music bar with a dance floor in historic San Juan Capistrano, which is near Dana Point and San Clemente.

Heather’s friends were originally from Battle Creek, Michigan. So, when her friends saw a man entering the Swallows wearing a cap with a University of Michigan block “M” on the brim, her friends went over to talk to him. His name was Reuben; he was also from Battle Creek.

Heather said, “I was sitting by myself as they were chatting it up and then they hollered over, ‘Heather come here.’ I was smitten when I met Reuben.

“It took until March that he wanted my phone number. Our first date was on April Fool’s Day. We were the couple in the corner acting goofy. We went to Stillwater (a bar in Dana Point) and everyone wanted to be our friend.

“We are a biracial couple; I think my very tan skin and his beautiful black skin were an attraction to people. Also, we are both very friendly and accepting. He is the love of my life and partner.

Reuben and Heather at California Adventure. Notice his hat and shoes

“Within the five languages of love, Reuben, 62, is the Act of Service. He can fix anything in my home. I love to cook and bake for him and keep a clean home. I work out five days a week and he does too. We are fit, healthy, goofy together and we love it. 

“I retired in June 2017 after 44 years in residential lending. Went to work at Trader Joe’s in Crystal Cove as I could not stop, cold turkey, from work. Such a fun place to work! Saw multiple celebrities. After 11 months and missing out on birthday parties for little ones.

“In 2018, Reuben moved in with me when his roommates disbanded. He was slowly bringing tools over and we were together all the time. Just made sense.

“Everywhere we go, Reuben has a Chicago Bears or Michigan cap and/or mask on. Always starts a chat.

Reuben’s 4 face masks – Chicago Bears, Michigan (2), Turk’s Dana Point

I love this story. I admit I am biased because I grew up in Jackson, Michigan, 30 miles from Battle Creek. Plus, I graduated from U of M and am a big University of Michigan fan.

There are two dating lessons in Heather’s and Reuben’s story.

Lesson One. Hats with logos are conversation starters for seniors–and ice breakers

Wearing a shirt, face mask, or hat with a college, pro sports name, or something fun on the brim, is a good idea for singles who’d like to meet a mate. Those are conversation starters, ice breakers which is why those Battle Creek women approached Reuben, which led to this love story.

Greta and I observed this when we were on our traditional New Year’s day walk at Salt Creek Beach. I saw people wearing Alabama shirts/hats and Notre Dame shirts/hats and said to the people “Good luck today in the game.” (Alabama was playing Notre Dame in the college football playoffs). Some of them wanted to stop and talk about the game. (Later, the Notre Dame fans didn’t want to. Alabama won big.)

When Michigan fans and Ohio State fans see each with logos, they tease the heck out of each other. Still, that’s a conversation starter.

I have two maize and blue “M” face masks, several “M” golf shirts, a hat, and a pair of Go Blue Michigan shoes. (Greta’s daughter Terry has given me all my UM stuff as gifts. I think, singlehandedly, she has kept them in business).

 Tom decked out – down to the UM shoes

If you don’t have a hat with an ice-breaker logo, and if you live in South Orange County California, on Saturdays, go to the Dana Point Farmer’s market and check out Champs Vince and Julie’s booth. They are the “logo hat specialists.”

Our Champs Vince and Julie in their Dana Point Farmers Market booth with a variety of hats. Talk sports with Vince–he’s very knowledgeable

A hat that I cherish from their booth: an old VW bus on the brim. Everyone needs a hat with a logo on it.


And lesson two: Hey guys, to win her over, slowly bring your handy-man tools when you are doing maintenance on her home. Leave them there. Soon, you’ll have so many tools there that she’ll have no choice but to invite you to move in.

Keep those romance success stories coming. 

Six Incredible Women

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  April 10, 2020
Six Incredible Women

by Tom P Blake

Part 1 – Off the top of my head

What the heck do bloggers write about during a pandemic, besides strictly pandemic news? After 26 years and 4,000 articles, columns and eNewsletters, I never thought I’d be tongue-tied.

But, I am, sort of. Do you really need to be reminded to appreciate your mate and your friends? Do you need to be reminded to beware of romance scams? (Well, one more COVID-19 related scam. See Part 2 below). Do you need to hear my suggestions about senior first date behavior?

No, because while we are all mainly staying home, I doubt if any face-to-face first dates are taking place across our Champ nation.

Persevere Champs. This pandemic will make us wiser and tougher. You men and women are an incredible group. I have vast admiration and respect for you.

There are people out there who need you, your guidance, support and friendship. They are friends, family and strangers.

We must persevere.

Part 2 – More on bank and credit card scams during these difficult times

Champ Loretta, who works for a bank, added to last week’s eNewsletter scam-warning by Citi Bank of fake bank and credit card email scams:

Loretta wrote: “Please note that one should always check the site name in your browser. That is the line that should start https:/

“If the site is not https:/ don’t click. It’s that simple. Many scams are not secure sites. Start there. Then check spelling.

“Go to your bank website and send them an email to their secure site. Whatever you do, don’t provide personal details from an unsolicited text or “Official” seeming email.

“I work for a bank; Internally, as a test, the cyber security department will send us fake emails seeking for people to click. This testing is done to reduce potential phishing and enabling scammers access to bank systems. If we click inappropriately, then we must take a refresher test. Takes 45 minutes to an hour. We have learned: Don’t click if you are rushing. Don’t click or respond if you haven’t reached out to your bank in another manner like their web site with https:/”

Part 3 – “In loving arms”

This is a newspaper column I wrote about an experience I encountered three weeks ago in Dana Point, California, my home city. I felt it would be a nice diversion from the 24/7 bombardment of bad news we’ve all been receiving surrounding the virus. It’s called:

                                           Six amazing women

Saturday, March 21, 2020, was a beautiful day in Dana Point. After being quarantined inside their homes for most of the week, people had a nice opportunity to get some sunshine, exercise and fresh air, while maintaining a six-foot distance from others. At that time, it was permissible to be outside, while avoiding close contact with people.

That morning, my Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) buddy, Russell Kerr, and I decided to paddle from Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor to Doheny Beach in the Pacific Ocean, and back, about a mile and a half in each direction. Not bad for an 80-year-old dude, and a 72-year-old Kiwi (New Zealander).

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Tom and Russell Kerr in Dana Point Harbor 

Near the harbor mouth, we saw what we thought was a two-foot log bobbing in the water.

(As many paddle boarders and kayakers do, we pick up trash and debris that floats in our waters. Normally, one of us would slide the log on to our paddle board, and, bring it ashore. A log like that, if struck by a boat, could damage the propeller or punch a hole in the boat. We often arrive back to the beach with lots of retrieved plastic garbage on our boards, which we discard in the trash bins.)

Upon closer inspection of the object, we saw that it wasn’t a log—it was a baby sea lion. And it was struggling to get breaths and stay afloat.

We hoped it could make it to a rock on the nearby jetty, 20 yards away. Plus, we saw three adult sea lions about 50 yards away, thinking one might be its mother.

Both of us being age 72-plus, we thought it not a good idea to try to rescue it by hand. Sea lions have razor-sharp teeth, and a bite could have compromised our immune systems during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We looked for help; there were no boats around. We felt there was nothing we could do. Leaving that pup behind broke my heart, and Russell was troubled as well.

Back at Baby Beach, after paddling, we saw a Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) rescue truck pull up.

Two PMMC women, Krysta and Wendy, scurried to the shoreline carrying a blanket.

The sea lion was laying on the paddle board of Candice Appleby, San Clemente, a nearby city. Quickly, Krysta and Wendy put the pup in a blanket and whisked the pup away to the PMMC truck to take it to the rescue center in Laguna Beach, five miles up Pacific Coast Highway

Candice Appleby with baby sea lion on her paddle board

 Photo courtesy of Val Ells

From a distance, I introduced myself to the woman who rescued the sea lion, and told her I was a columnist for three newspapers and asked what had happened out there on the water.

She said her name was Candice Appleby, a resident of San Clemente. She explained that she is a SUP coach and had been out in the ocean instructing a client. She said, “When we came back inside the harbor mouth, I saw three women kneeling on their paddle boards.

“One was my friend Val Ells, Dana Point, (who happens to volunteer at PMMC), and another was Lisa Hazelton, San Clemente. I don’t know who the third woman was.

“Val yelled to me that there was a sick seal pup there and they were trying to get it on a board.

“I paddled over and was able to get it on the back of my board. Val had her cell phone with her, so she called ahead to the PMMC, and was told a rescue truck was being dispatched to Baby Beach.

“When I got back to Baby Beach, the rescue workers were distressed that it was such ‘a baby.’ They rushed off with her.”

I was impressed with the humanitarian act of those six women—four on the water plus the two from the PMMC.

Another woman, standing a few feet away, commented, “Candice is a world-champion paddle boarder.”

“Is that true?” I asked Candice. She humbly admitted she had won The Dana Point Battle of the Paddle/Pacific Paddle Games nine times (a very big accomplishment among paddle boarders, the world over). I asked for her website address:


I was amazed to discover, when checking out her website, that Candice is probably the greatest woman paddle boarder in the world.

In the midst of the COVID-19 dark news, where hundreds of thousands of people across the country and around the world are risking their lives to try to save the sick, these six women were a bright light with their heart-warming act of kindness, in trying to save this precious little sea lion.

And, as we are learning during COVID-19, lots of people can’t be saved. Candice forwarded to me this news from Wendy and Kathy at the PMMC later that afternoon:

“Sad News: I am very sorry to report but sadly she passed. Our team worked on her for three hours straight. She was very emaciated and hypothermic. Her lungs sounded terrible.

But we wanted to let you know she died in warm loving arms.

I admit, my eyes watered. Sad news indeed, but on the positive side, six incredible Orange County women had tried to save this little sea lion.

The PMMC is a charity. They exist on donations. I sent one; they appreciated it. https://www.pacificmmc.org/

We’ll get through COVID-19—because of people like these six women and all the workers, women and men, who are involved in the virus battle: Dedicated, willing to give of themselves and risking their own health to save others.

However, there won’t be paddle boarding for a while—the beaches and beach parking lots in Southern California are closed.

As I was finishing today’s eNewsletter, I glanced at my desk-top calendar, which has a photo of animals next to each month, to check today’s date, and noticed, under the month of April, that featured two baby rabbits, a quote by Anatole France:

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”  Wow, so true.

Part 4 –  Free Ebook coupon

Almost 30 of you downloaded the free copy of my ebook, “Italy 23 Days by Train,” on http://www.Smashwords.com. The offer is valid for another week. It’s simple to do, well, a couple of you had some difficultly, but overall, it went pretty smoothly. Go to the Smashwords website, search on Tom Blake, you will see my books, click on the “Italy 23 Days by Train” cover. Where it says, Purchase, click on that but enter the coupon code: LP83M. You will not be charged and can download it or read it online.  Enjoy

See you next week.

Combating loneliness and social isolation

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – Combating loneliness and social isolation

By Tom P Blake  January 10, 2020

What’s worse for your health? Smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being isolated with little or no social interaction?

According to the December 2019/January 2020 AARP The Magazine, which arrived in our mailbox on Tuesday, both are equally bad for your health.

That observation was one of many in an article, written by Lynn Darling, titled, “Is There A Cure For LONELINESS?” Covering five pages, it’s the longest article I’ve ever read in any AARP magazine.

The article is like a short encyclopedia on how loneliness and social isolation affect older Americans. It covers in depth the causes of loneliness and what research is discovering about its effects on health. For a better understand of loneliness and social isolation, I highly recommend our Champs read it. I was surprised at the extent of the isolation problem among seniors.

But I want today’s focus to be positive: on what people can do to lessen loneliness and social isolation.

Our April 6, 2018, eNewsletter was titled, “The key to overcoming loneliness and the blues.” In that article, Champs made significant suggestions on how to deal with loneliness. Their comments were so helpful, I am repeating some of them today.

Here are excerpts from that eNewsletter:

Thyrza, California, said, “I think loneliness and social isolation happens to any age, gender or what have you in life. I was very lonely when my parents moved me with them away from my friends.

“I felt a touch of loneliness when I was a full-time, stay-at-home mom. Now at my age, a widow living alone, loneliness still creeps in. It does not bother me as much as when I was younger with my responsibilities as mom and wife.

“Loneliness affects everyone, but I learned that freedom to do what I want with my life released me from that feeling. I know it will always be part of one’s life but the freedom to act to get out of the loneliness rut is to be embraced. Embrace loneliness and know when to release the feeling. It is just a feeling anyway.”

Jackie, Tampa, Florida, emailed, “Loneliness is the biggest challenge for me as a single. I don’t mind eating out or traveling alone, but sometimes it would be nice to have a companion to share the experiences with.

“I don’t have many female friends who are financially able to travel or go out much. And I’m not a spendthrift, but I would enjoy spur-of-the moment road trips or dinner and a movie with a friend.”

Esther, Brooklyn, New York, “As a single woman, retired teacher, with no children and little family, I understand how loneliness can be a destructive force if not addressed. To avoid loneliness, there are several things I do:

-Maintain contact with a small group of close friends with whom I share birthdays, holidays and life events

-Volunteer at the local library, museum and Botanical Garden

-Work as a private English tutor three days a week

-Interact with people of all ages with various needs. My local college offers a broad lifelong learning program with varied courses, travel opportunities and cultural events. I am an active participant

“Never miss a regularly scheduled appointment whether it be a dental, medical or beauty appointment

“Living in New York City, I’m able to attend many, diverse cultural and social events. The Harbor Fitness, a state-of-the-arts gym near me, offers a fabulous ‘silver sneakers’ program for people over 55. I work out and socialize regularly.

“Through the internet, I keep in contact with old friends and relatives who live far away. Mainly, I do not feel alone. I am busy, significant and connected!”

Jon, Olympia, Washington, “The reason loneliness can be such a problem is we are ingrained with the philosophy that we must have another person in our lives to be ‘whole.’  Obviously, this is not the universal answer, citing the number of people in miserable marriages and a high divorce rate.

“Doing things in which a person finds fulfillment–not solely to be busy and taking up time–can reduce the feeling that they need an intimate relationship with another person. A few close friends can help make up the difference.”

JoAnn, “Get a dog.  Best friend, a laugh and cuddle a day!”

Bonnie, California, wrote, “I have great compassion for those experiencing loneliness; It is debilitating.

“I have been able to mostly escape that condition because I am an only child. Without playmates under my roof during my growing-up years, I had to invent my own fun. Creativity, reading, and writing were my friends.

“Now, at 64, and a single, empty-nester mom, those are also my adult enjoyments. I work full-time as a designer and read and write at every opportunity. I also love to travel solo, because my interests are specific, and I like to be able to pace myself and my energy as I go. For that reason, I avoid travel tours.”

“However, if I was seeking companionship, I would reach out to the cultural community and volunteer as a docent. Or at an animal shelter and offer two times a week to give love to the yet-to-be adopted pets.

“Or, save for a river cruise on the Seine. Always, always have something to look forward to. Open your home to a once-a-month potluck dinner. Drive for Meals on Wheels. (My 96-old uncle still drives and serves others!) Give time at your house of worship.

“Take a free class at a local college. Your calendar will be bursting at the seams with interesting tasks and interesting people and new ideas. And others will be blessed by your contributions.”

Tom’s comment:

To combat loneliness and social isolation, seniors must have more social interaction with people.

Photo of our Ireland travel group from August, 2019 in Ireland. Travel can create new friends and be helpful in combating loneliness. Notice the wide age range. Greta and Tom in front row center. Photo courtesy of Paul Culver.

And that interaction needs to be–as much as possible–face-to-face, not always on your computer or phone texting. However, keeping in touch, via phone or computer, with long-time friends in other areas of the country, is important.

Try to mix social interaction with younger people into your life—kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, for example, or friends younger than yourself can keep you thinking young. That’s very important.

A good way to interact with people is by joining groups. Meetup.com lists thousands of groups and activities and should provide plenty of ideas for people not sure what to do to meet others. My sister Pam, in San Diego, is heavily involved with the Orchid Society there, and maintains multiple friendships because of that connection.

As mentioned above, volunteering—helping others—provides social interaction. And, opportunities to help are endless.

If you are feeling lonely, get out there and make social interaction a top priority.

Your comments are appreciated.

Seniors don’t give up on finding love

 On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – October 11, 2019

Seniors don’t give up on finding love

by Tom P Blake

Comments from 5 Men and 5 women regarding last week’s article

Last week, we wrote about Michele, 67, from Brooklyn, a widow of 18 years, who has given up on Senior Dating. The responses from that eNewsletter were more diverse than any I can recall.

In an unusual turn of events, an equal number of men and women responded. Today, five men and five women comment. And notice the diverse geographical locations of our Champs.

Some comments were depressing, as other seniors besides Michele have given up as well. One Champ, Ginny, provided an extensive and helpful list of suggestions for how senior women might meet potential mates. Her suggestions are included at the end of the article.

Thanks Champs, for taking the time to write. Your comments keep the eNewsletter fresh. The 10 responses follow:

Ken, Alabama, “I’m 61. In lower AL. I have given up on Senior Dating. Haven’t gone out in five years. Been Widowed over 20 years. Early years, I thought I’d meet someone. Had my senior heart broken twice. They wanted me to accept their children. But, they wouldn’t accept mine.

“Now, just me. The few unmarried women I meet are not interested. Many I meet aren’t interested in dating either. Oh well.”

Thyrza, Los Angeles, “Is it possible that Michele is too old school in her approach to finding love after 50? With a wink, I say to Michele: ‘Show some skin.’ It won’t kill you.”

Ben, widower,  South Orange County, Calif., “It’s like anything else in life- you got to throw yourself and see what sticks that you are attracted to and what you want in a relationship. It will be hard to find someone; I was married for 24 years. There are good people out there; just do not give up.

“The dating sites are a real gamble and after some time–why bother?

“I am probably going to leave California in 2020 for TN or God knows where. Reasons: Cost-of-living, downright sincerity of people, people have even stated ‘You belong here. Please come back.’ Price of gasoline, greenery, sense of community and my niece & hubby will be moving there soon from CT. Taxes are not bad and no state income tax.

“Your Tutor and Spunky’s Deli September Meet and Greet meeting was nice and it would be my pleasure to go to the next one in October.

(Thursday, October 24, 5 to 7 p.m., Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, Dana Point).

“No expectations on my part. I am ‘genuine,’ honest and forthright. I am always working on my listening skills and up front with ladies. How else can one be? Happy when I work on the roses and cactus at home, plus reading a good book or seeing a decent movie.

“Articulate, and smile (like Charlie Chaplin wrote in that great song).

“Emotionally, every day is a challenge- certain places I will not go in–too many good memories.”

Joanie, Southern California, “Another option for the Brooklyn woman: Move to Alaska! More men than women! On the other hand, finding Mr. Perfect can be wonderful, but it’s also compromising and limiting.

So, ladies, find exciting hobbies and things to do where you do not have to have a man. And yes, the older we get the less men there are…so why worry about it? Why strive for that ‘diamond in the coal mine?’ Find other interesting things in life. Find a place to nurture others – animals, kids, sick people, babies in hospitals. All highly rewarding!

JimEl Paso, Texas, “My younger sister did one of the things you suggested when she found herself divorced in her 50s. At a party at a friend’s house, she struck up a conversation with a gentleman she found attractive. She asked him out and they’ve been dating for the last few years.

“Sometimes you have to make your own luck.”

Sid, Florida, “This young pup (Michele) is slowly starting to become an older pup.”

Stella, Newport Beach, “The ratios can be depressing if you focus on that. Focus on this instead: It only takes one.”

SallySacramento, “I’ve enjoyed your articles, books, blogs and advice since 1998!

“I’m still single San Clemente Sally living in Sacramento! I cherish my friendships and love giving anyone a smile so they give it back to me.

“Nothing has stuck in 25 years of being a widow but I love my independence and hearing all the stories of everyone I love to meet.

Jon, Olympia, Washington, “I’m happy to be out of the dating scene but am frequently amazed at how many women complain about the lack of men.

“While I don’t have the numbers, it seems that if women were a bit less fussy and would stop complaining about the men they meet, they might be more successful at finding someone they were happy with.

“They need to abandon the romantic ideals of the high school years and get real with where we older people are now. Some honest conversations with the men in their lives would probably clear up many of their problems.”

                      Ginny’s valuable suggestions for meeting men

And finally, GinnyPhiladelphia suburbs, “I have several suggestions for increasing a woman’s chances for meeting single men besides the usual church etc.

“At our Senior Center, we have some attractive, active, single men who shoot pool. That’s where I met my ‘sweetie’ after we were both widowed. We are still going strong after six years of dating, at 78 and 85. I am on the Council there now.

“I wasn’t shy about knocking on the pool room door, the guys invited me in to watch. Men from other places sometimes come for tournaments (more chances)?  And while you’re there, keep your eyes open!

“I know someone who loves Pinochle. She found a card partner. They are both active, fun loving, widows in their eighties, and it turns out that they grew up on the same street. They are very happy together. In fact, much to our surprise, we met them on a cruise.

“Another suggestion, volunteer at a Veterans post, or be an aide to a vet for a day thru the “Honor Flight” program. They pay for trips for vets to DC to visit all the war memorials. From our area it is a bus trip, a send-off breakfast and a wonderful outpouring of flag-waving, local residents ‘welcoming them home’ and dinner and entertainment following.

“Another suggestion. I sometimes have gotten invitations to go to free retirement investment seminar lunches. At the one I attended at the local country club, the ratio of men to women was very favorable. Ladies, be bold, go alone.”

Tom’s comment: It’s not only investment seminars where a nice complimentary meal is included; it could be at new housing developments, senior care facilities, a cruise line’s or travel agent’s promotion function–any number of different situations where a comp meal is offered. I agree with Ginny. Get out and meet new people.

Ginny continues, “Class reunions. I have met some nice eligible classmates who have approached me; however, I am attached.

“And finally, educate yourself about online dating. My widowed, cautious brother, age 73, had done it for several years before finding ‘the one’ online a year ago.

“So, ladies, don’t get discouraged. Get out where the men are. Volunteer, even if you don’t meet ‘the one,’ you are doing something productive to give your life meaning and purpose. HAVE FUN, and in doing so, you will attract others.”

So, there you have it, lots of different points of view from lots of different Champs! Enjoy your weekend.

Oh, and to underscore the point about not knowing when and where men might appear out of the blue. My sister Pam, just returned from New Guinea. These guys emerged from the forest while she was there. Pam’s happily married so she wasn’t interested, but found them to be unique and friendly. Perhaps geographically not available as well.

 New Guinea Skeleton Men (Photo courtesy of Pam Peters)

Overcoming Senior Depression

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – September 13, 2019

by Tom P Blake

As I’ve written many times, emails from Champs provide the fresh information that makes weekly publishing of this eNewsletter possible.

Today, an email from Champ John is featured in Part One – Overcoming Senior Depression

Part 2 wasn’t planned. I mentioned in last week’s column that it was the final article about the trip to Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and Scotland. But something came up that I thought you might find interesting about traveling—I call it “Roll with the flow.”

And Part 3 mentions in about 42 words the date and time of the next Meet and Greet at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point.

Here we go:

                      Part One – Overcoming Senior Depression

I appreciate emails like the one Champ John sent this week.

He wrote, “I wanted to let you know that your book, ‘How 50 Couples Found Love After 50,’ has motivated me to ‘break out’ of depression.”

John’s comment pleased me. When I published that book, my goal was to provide information and hope to singles, based on the stories of 58 couples. (I know the title says 50 couples, but there are, in fact, 58 couples featured).

So, what the book did for John is what I had hoped would happen to people who read it – give information to help them improve their lives.

John explained he was depressed by a combination of three things: A divorce after 19 years of marriage, major back surgery, and a ‘workaholic’ lifestyle (he was still working 40-60 hours per week at 72).

He said that after reading the book, he started to get out and about and socialize.

John said: “I signed-up for a two-day bus trip to the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, UT, which was organized by my local, public radio station, KNPR. Twelve fellow playgoers (whom I had not met) and I saw four wonderful plays, walked the town, ate, drank and conversed: I had a wonderful experience! On the return trip, we exchanged contact information with one another for the purpose of sharing pictures and planning future activities.

“One unexpected benefit of the trip was experiencing joint and muscle aches, after prolonged walking and step-climbing, and shortness of breath from lack of daily exercise. How can something that is painful be a benefit? My body was telling me to regularly exercise and to control my diet, to avoid disability.

“My heart told me that emotionally walling-off myself from others was not in my best interest; that the mutual and heartfelt exchange of human affection is the real stuff of life.

“I know that I now am on the comeback trail to Life and Living. Thank you for your inspirational writing.”

The three factors that were depressing John, which I comment on below, affect many seniors today.

1 Depression after the loss of a spouse or partner. John is of the age where many people lose a loving partner–through divorce, accident or death. It can be mentally crippling, causing people to shut themselves off from the outside world. Lately, there has been much in the news about the debilitating effects of loneliness on senior’s health. John now understands that daily social interaction with people is essential.

2 Importance of exercise and eating right. On the trip John took, his body sent him an important message: “Keep me moving. Get me in shape.” It’s one of the most important things seniors can do to remain healthy. And, John also realized on the trip that eating the right foods is a must.

3 A workaholic at 72. Some people keep working after 70 because the income is needed. But, as we age, we must take time to stop and smell the roses. Working at that age can be stressful. It can lead to an early unnecessary demise. We need to ask ourselves, “Do I really need to be working this hard at my age?” and “Shouldn’t I get out and have fun while I’m still able?”

I am pleased that How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 helped John break out of depression. But it was his effort to get out and mingle with new people that did the trick.

The book is available in hard cover and as an E-book, on Amazon.com and FindingLoveAfter50.com. Or, for a special Champ reduced price on the hard-cover version—and a signed, personalized copy–email me at tompblake@gmail.com with questions. I will ship to your friends as a gift and endorse it to them if you request that.

     There are actually 58 couples included  

                               Part 2 – Roll with the flow travel event

When I mentioned that last week’s article would be the final one about the Ireland-Iceland-Greenland and Scotland trip Greta and I just took, that statement was before our trip home. Then, a Roll with the flow travel event happened.

Greta and I feel lucky to be alive. OK, I admit, that statement is a bit dramatic, but there’s truth in it, which I will explain.

In 20 years of traveling together, we understand there will be travel-related situations that arise that aren’t pleasant, or, weren’t planned or anticipated.

They accompany the travel game. They won’t appear on your itinerary. They come unexpectedly.

And the way you deal with those situations? “Roll with the flow.”

This happened last Saturday. Greta and I were scheduled to fly home to Dana Point, California, at the end of our 30-day holiday to Ireland, Greenland, Iceland and Scotland.

We disembarked the ship at 8:45 a.m. We waited at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to catch a 4:30 p.m. flight to Paris’ Charles de Gualle Airport, where we were connecting to a nonstop Air France flight to LAX.

The connection time was tight. We barely made our 6:50 p.m. departure and were happy to be buckled into our seats on Air France. We were going home, and it felt good.

An hour out of Paris, above Northern England, the pilot announced over the PA, “We have a mechanical issue. The anti-collision radar has stopped working. We can’t see other airplanes. We cannot fly over the Atlantic Ocean without it. We are turning back to Paris. It should be a quick-fix.”

I looked at Greta, saying, “There is nothing we can do except Roll with the flow.”

I didn’t mention to her that I was concerned about flying into such a busy airport (10th busiest in the world, 481,000 aircraft movements in 2018) through clouds, the ground not in site, with no anti-collision radar. I simply crossed my fingers while listening to The Beach Boys sing, on the plane’s in-flight entertainment system. I could sense in looking at other passengers that some were concerned.

I watched the screen in front of me as it showed the U-turn and the airplane progressing back:

  Eyes glued to the screen at my seat

On final approach, still listening to the Beach Boys, their song, “Don’t Worry Baby,” started playing, which I thought was almost humorous.

The plane landed. Some passengers applauded. We were safe. Nothing else mattered. A few hours inconvenienced but so what? Roll with the flow.

Passengers were told to take all carry-on items off the plane. And to go to the ticket counter. But we were not told which counter or how to get there (Air France has about 100 counter windows there).  Some 300+ passengers were wandering around trying to find the place we were to congregate. It was 10 p.m.

We were not told anything except to get in line at the counter. An hour later, Greta and I got to the counter. We were told, “The flight is cancelled. It will go tomorrow, hopefully.”

We were given a box lunch and a voucher for an airport hotel that took us over an hour to get to—there was no transportation available at that late hour other than an inside-the-airport-connecting train that we couldn’t find. The Air France lady had tried to explain to us in French how to get there.

We were walking through dark parking lots and potentially dangerous areas. I thought, yikes, this is possibly more dangerous than the flight that turned back.

A few minutes before midnight, we arrived at the hotel. I got in line at the hotel reception desk and told Greta to go to the bar and order us a glass of wine, before the bar closed. It had been 15+ hours since we had departed our ship to go home.

The wine was decent; the box lunch filled with carbohydrate and sugar snacks. Not edible.

                                   Blue Lunch Box

     Carbs and Sugar

But, we had a roof over our heads and we were safe: Roll with the flow

The next morning, an email arrived early from Air France: “Check in is at 9 a.m. Flight departs 11:30 a.m. We cannot locate your checked luggage. It didn’t make the connection from Amsterdam. Rest assured, we are searching for it.”

We had to retrace our steps to the airport check-in for our boarding passes and go through tight security again. When we finally got to the gate, Air France had changed it to the opposite end of terminal three. Oh well, what’s another 300 yards?

We departed at 11:50 a.m. and arrived safely at LAX, about 20 hours after originally scheduled. Amazingly enough, the checked luggage was on the flight with us after all.

I won’t even get into the traffic mess at LAX these days. It was horrendous. Trying to find your Lyft or Uber driver is zoo-mania.

In travel, one needs to Roll with the flow.

Part 3 – September Meet and Greet

The Meet and Greet gathering for senior singles is scheduled for Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, Thursday, September 26, 5 to 7 p.m. Beer and Wine $5. Appetizers complimentary. Hope to see some of you there. In the first three months, some couples have already formed. Yea!

      At a recent Meet and Greet