Boomeresque:Definition
1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

A Boomeresque Holiday Gift Guide: Books, Travel, Zentangle®

by Suzanne Fluhr on December 11, 2017 · 12 comments

Rittenhouse Square Christmas lights

An early December snow on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia is helping me get in a holiday mood.

Disclosure: Boomeresque has an affiliate relationship with Amazon. In English, this means if you make a purchase from Amazon starting with one of the links in this post, Boomeresque will receive an infinitesimal very small commission which will help support my blogging habit. 

This holiday gift guide is a little self indulgent in that I’ve chosen three of my own “favorite things” as areas in which to recommend gifts for you. So, if you were wondering what present to give me…… Nah, seriously I have pretty much everything I need — and then some.

Children’s Books

My younger sisters Some people think I was a geeky child. My favorite type of gift to receive was books. To be sure, we weren’t talking high brow literature. A book from the Nancy Drew mystery series would be devoured and then promptly traded with friends for another in the series.

Snuggling with our sons for bedtime reading was one of my favorite parenting memories, even reading Goodnight Moon for the gadzillionth time.

Most Baby Boomers no longer have offspring who are bedtime story reading age, but many of us have grandchildren or borrow other people’s grandchildren to read to. The following children’s books are definitely bedtime snuggling reads:

Children's Book, I have a grandma whoI recently received a review copy of I have a Grandma who… Receiving this book just after returning to Philly from Mexico helped catapult me out of my post trip funk to write about holiday gift ideas. This  charming book is a perfect gift for grandmothers to buy to read with their grandchildren. 

This book, written for children ages 2 to 10, is an inspired vehicle for grandma-grandchild bonding. (I’ll be holding onto my copy for the day either of our sons who aren’t getting any younger bless us with a grandchild no pressure. ) 

As one might imagine, the author, Rosemary Zibart, and illustrator, Valori Herzlich, are grandmothers. However, I’m pretty sure they’re not little old lady, rocking chair grandmothers. The lively grandmothers portrayed in their book paint, cook, bike, sing, dance, swim, explore, and repair things, just to mention a few of the activities done by the grandmas in this 29 page paperback.

The illustrations are artful and lively, and the text will no doubt inspire intergenerational conversations and ideas for future joint activities.

Ten year olds will probably be able to read the text to their grandmas, but they might have to ask: “Grandma, who is Julia Child?” Who is Picasso? What’s a diva?” I used to love sneaking in a little “education” into our fun reading time.

The grandmothers portrayed in the book are rightly multi-ethnic, conveying the universality of grandma love.

There is a blank page at the end of the book. It would be fun for a grandchild to use that as a prompt to think about their own grandmothers and tell them how they would complete the sentence, “I have a Grandma who….”

To order this book from Amazon, click here.

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Montecristo Travels to Pisa by Sonja I wrote a full review of  Montecristo Travels to Pisa when it was first published in 2015, but I’m still charmed by this book authored by my little travel blogging, long haired chihuahua friend, Montecristo, with some help from his biped mama, Sonja Lishchynski.

i We had the chance to visit with Montecristo in Ottawa, Canada when his people were married this summer.

Montecristo Dumas travels to pisa

Montecristo and his biped mama, on her wedding day. She lends him a hand (with an opposable thumb) for his writing. (Photo credit: Eva Hadhazy)

Montecristo’s paperback is perfect for stoking a little one’s interest in travel and the world. 

You can order Montecristo Travels to Pisa from Amazon by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

Adult Books

One of my New Year’s resolutions will be to read more books. Despite my initial Baby Boomer insistence that I only wanted to read real books, I usually read  ebooks on my smart phone these days — not even on a tablet.

The following books are available in multiple formats—paper for the traditionalists, ebooks for travelers with weight restrictions, and even audio books. I haven’t tried that format yet. As soon as I learned how to read, I no  longer wanted to be read to. Perhaps I should give that another try.

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The Spoon from Minkowitz

 

 

The Spoon from Minkowitz, by travel writer Judith Fein, isn’t a new book. It was published in 2014. It’s about the author’s journey to find her grandmother’s shtetl in Ukraine, a journey informed only by six clues to the place provided by her grandmother before she died.

The physical trip takes Fein and her husband to Russia and then to Ukraine. It is a journey over distance in the usual sense, but Fein also takes us on her emotional journey, and a journey through horrific modern history where witnesses are still alive, but not for long. She is a fine story teller such that the book is an engaging and satisfying read.

It could be I found the book particularly compelling because my mother’s family also immigrated to the United States from a shtetl.  Shtetls were Jewish villages in Eastern Europe — think Fiddler on the Roof. With the multiple redrawings of the map of Europe after various wars and upheavals, we’re not even sure in what country their shtetl was. Reading The Spoon from Minkowitz made me wish I had some clues to where my people came from like Judith Fein did.

You can order this book from Amazon by clicking here.

 

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In my holiday shopping guide for 2016, I recommended some other fine books for travelers and normal people others on your gift list. To avoid reinventing the wheel, you can find those books HERE.

TRAVEL GIFTS

Suitcase

Even though I usually check my suitcase for flying these days, thanks to some hinky shoulder rotator cuffs that got that way from hoisting my suitcase into overhead bins on planes and high luggage racks on trains, I still swear by my lightweight Lucas, 20 inch expandable suitcase with four spinner wheels and a telescoping handle. I bought mine in 2015. It has been to three continents with me and been pulled along many a rough surface. If I remember correctly not a sure thing, I paid about $100 US for mine and it’s black.

Their new version weighs less than 6 pounds, comes in royal blue and currently costs only $79.99 on Amazon. I prefer tie down straps to packing cubes and in this suitcase, I can easily pack for a week without doing laundry, including two pairs of shoes.

The suitcase expands an additional 2 inches and has 2 outside pockets that I use for an umbrella, and eventually, for dirty laundry.

You can order this Lucas suitcase from Amazon by clicking HERE.

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Packing Cubes

packing cubes

Just because I’m a Luddite when it comes to using packing cubes doesn’t mean you should be. Some of my best friends, and most travel bloggers, swear by them. My travel blogger son describes them as “life changing”. The lad always was a tad hyperbolic. Really? Life changing?

If I were going to switch to packing cubes, which I’m not because I like my life just the way it is, this set looks comprehensive and comes with two see through waterproof toiletry bags that will make Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents happy less grumpy.

You can order these packing cubes from Amazon and see others HERE.

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Backpack – Briefcase Carry On

Eagle Creek ConvertibriefBack in some hazy time when I was a more than full time lawyer, there was a long public transportation strike in Philadelphia – no more hopping on a bus to get to court. So, I started walking everywhere and carrying my old fashioned briefcase started to be painful.

One day I ran into a lawyer friend (yes, lawyers an have friends) who was carrying an Eagle Creek briefcase like a back pack. I swooned and went to a luggage store to buy one. (This was before on line shopping was even a thing.)

I still have it. I still use it on every trip, and even if I’m only walking a block to a coffee shop for a change of scene. It was very “modern” at the time with a padded lap top compartment. My beloved, Mr. Excitement, soon started coveting my backpack briefcase. At his next birthday I returned to the store only to find that Eagle Creek had discontinued the product. I was devastated disappointed and finally bought him a much  more expensive iteration by another manufacturer.

Lo and behold, I now see that Eagle Creek is again selling something called a Convertabrief. It looks different than my ancient model, but if something untoward were to happen to my briefcase backpack, I would certainly give this one a try. Other real life reviewers sing its praises. It also seems to have more modern bells and whistles. RFID wasn’t something we were worrying about back in the day.

You can check out and order Eagle Creek’s Convertabrief, HERE.

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ZENTANGLE® SUPPLIES

If you’re sitting there, saying “Zentangle? Who? What?”, don’t worry. I have you covered. You can read my What is Zentangle and is It Habit Forming? blog post.

The short answer is that it is a meditative art form. In my opinion, it’s more satisfying than coloring someone else’s drawing or design. Best of all, one need not possess any artistic talent to use the Zentangle method. I can very personally attest to this. It is also an excellent way to work on your lawyer (or other) recovery program and to never be bored in waiting situations, you know, like a 4 hour airport layover 

Zentnagle Primer - Volume OneTo get started, you should probably refer to the Zentangle bible published by the couple who developed the Zentangle method, Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. You can purchase your copy of the Zentangle Primer, Volume One, here.

There are a raft of Zentangle books for sale on Amazon, but I’ll just mention the two I used when I first became interested in the Zentangle method before Maria and Rick published their Primer—which, of course, I also now own. You can click on the name of each one to find the Amazon listing:  The Joy of Zentangle and One Zentangle a Day – A 6 Week Course

With rueful recognition, I can state categorically that if you fall under the Zentangle spell as I did, it will not be safe to leave you in an art supply store with a credit card. You will need SUPPLIES. Here are links to the basics:

Zentangle micron pen set

Zentangle Tool set

And when you’re ready to go all in for the best colored pencils for Zentangle Inspired Art:

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

I envisioned this shopping list to help you pick out your gifts for others, but when it comes to the Zentangle method, you could buy the books and supplies for yourself and give your loved ones the gift of a Zen version of you.



How are you doing with your holiday gift shopping?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Debbie D. December 11, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. BC (before computer), I was a voracious book reader but now there are stacks in the bedroom and almost as many on the Kindle, all waiting to be read. Someday! Montecristo and his biped Mom sound like fun. 🙂 That looks like the ideal carry-on. Four wheels work so much better than two, don’t they? Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays, Suzanne!

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr December 11, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Thank you, and same to you for a happy and healthy holiday season.

I didn’t realize it, but 4 wheels on a suitcase does give one a lot more flexibility because you can push it sideways in tight spaces—and anyone who flies knows all about tight spaces.

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avatar Debbie D. December 11, 2017 at 9:05 pm

Exactly! ☺

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avatar Nan December 12, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Books are ALWAYS good and I’ll check out a couple of the adult ones. I still have Alpha Son’s best children’s books given to him by his grandmother. They were so cool – much cooler than my childhood books. And oh! I lived for Nancy Drew, under the blankets with a flashlight. I’d also just discovered the idea of packing cubes so will give yours a look-see. I don’t know if I’d like them or not since I also like straps. I still wish you’d do some Zentangle tiles (real ones) because I’d buy some!! MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours!!

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avatar Sonja of Montecristo Travels December 12, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Thank you so much for including us in your book list!! Volume 2 is due soon…. stay tuned!

And again thank you for coming to our wedding!!!

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avatar Jeff & Crystal Bryant December 13, 2017 at 8:10 am

Thanks for compiling this list of items that help spur the desire to travel in others. Your lighthearted approach is well received. I was familiar with many of the gifts, but some of the books were new to me.

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avatar Judy Freedman December 13, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I haven’t tried the packing cubes, but I love the Eagle Creek compression bags.

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avatar Carole Terwilliger Meyers December 13, 2017 at 9:36 pm

It’s always nice to see items that are recommended by someone we know (sort of know). I like that suitcase but recently bought a different one that I am also fond of. So I won’t be clicking through to amazon for that one for a while longer. But I am considering the book for grandmas.

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avatar Sue Reddel December 14, 2017 at 12:34 am

I love the idea of the backpack/briefcase I’m going to check it out. Love the book, but like one of your other readers, I have stacks and stacks just waiting to be read. Maybe in 2018.

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avatar Patti Morrow December 14, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Truth be told, I opened this post not because I was looking for a gift selection, but because I would (to use an over-used expression, but totally apropos) laugh out loud. Which I absolutely did, as usual, reading the witty strike-outs. As an added and unexpected bonus, that grandmother book looks like something I might buy. Goodness knows my little Blair should learn early on that her Gigi isn’t the normal grandma.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr December 17, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Patti, if anyone should have that book to give to their grandchild, it’s you. She might as well know she has to buckle up when she’s with Grandma Patti.

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avatar Elaine Masters December 16, 2017 at 11:09 am

Love your list. I just got a backpacking briefcase to carry my tech on trips. It helps! Love your Zentangle & if I weren’t such a workaholic, I’m sure it would be relaxing fun. I hope you visit your ancestral lands. We did last spring & it was heart-warming. The geneologist we spent days with was enlightening.

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