The Mother Lode

My daughters, Alexandra and Jennifer (right), sure hit the gene jackpot: As heirs to my beauty and fashion sense, my steely self-confidence, my quick wit and collection of Chanel bags, these are two lucky babes, let me tell you. Along with those desirable traits, though, I worry that I’ve passed along some questionable ones: We share an addiction to eye makeup, over-the-top bling and I-could-smell-you-coming-a-mile-away perfumes. Look up “subtle” in the dictionary and there’s not a Johnson family photo in …

Why Phoning Your Children Just Isn’t Enough

The medium is the message, Marshall McLuhan famously noted. And in a touch screen world, our relationships with our adult children improve with the more communications media we use. While millennials enjoy chatting on the phone or Skype, they also want parents to “lurk” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media so we can follow (not intrusively, though) their lives. That’s the finding of a study by University of Kansas doctoral student Jennifer Schon. “We found that young adults …

Tips for International Travel

Two back-to-back international trips this year — to Germany and South Africa — gave me a good reason to brush up on my world-traveler skills. Here are the main things I think about when I’m planning a trip abroad. Phoning home. How I am going to communicate? I mainly use Skype. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to make international calls. There are similar applications for phones, including Viber and WhatsApp, that allow you to text, call and send photos and …

Senior Centers, Part II: Line Dancing at Age 93

Video courtesy Microsoft/IN2L/Selfhelp You might have missed a piece I wrote earlier this month about senior centers’ efforts to woo baby boomers. (At 78 million-strong, this demographic is a membership director’s dream.) To attract the Forever Young Generation, some centers are dropping “senior” from their name and serving up hip offerings such as wine tastings, dating and divorce workshops and Pilates. Programming for what are considered traditional, older attendees is also changing. (It’s Senior Center Month, so I’m giving equal time to …

Our Low-Tech High Court

At 53, Elena Kagan is the youngest justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. The oldest is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who turned 80 on March 15. The average age of sitting justices is 67 years 4 months. Technology has changed a lot in the 27 years since Antonin Scalia took his seat on the court. The typical Fortune 500 CEO (average age: 55) might find it odd that the justices have all but shunned modern methods of communication. As Kagan explained …

Grandparents: How to See the Grandkids All You Want

When I was growing up, nearly every vacation was spent traveling from Ohio to Indiana to see our grandparents. We also talked on the phone every Sunday. Sometimes cards and letters were exchanged too, but that was the entire menu for staying in touch. Thanks to technology, today’s grandparents have many additional ways to connect – so why aren’t more of them taking advantage of it?! Recent grandparent studies indicate some are using the newer forms of technology to communicate …