Jun 24, 2016

The Backdoor Way Out

Galen Pearl is one of the most insightful bloggers around. She sees things that most of us miss. I tried to complete a "Course in Miracles" with her in recent years and failed. She has done that exercise in mindful living many times.

Recently she began a new blog called No Way Cafe. In her Welcome post she explained where she is coming from. Even that post is a lesson in life.


Recently she wrote about the concept of "trying". In the blog she talked about how we do not try to do things...we either do them or we don't. I had never really thought about that concept before. In fact, I use the word try far too much. That may be what I did when I began the Course in Miracles. The truth is I quit. I did not do it and it was a conscious decision. I was giving myself a backdoor way out to fail. Why would I do that?

I don't sit down here to "try" to write a blog post. I either do it or I don't. The outcome is not certain but but the words are very real and certain.

What if we just erased that word from our vocabulary? Would our outlook on life be different?
The Grandsons!

I am tutoring a grandson this summer just so we can have fun together for a couple of days a week. I wonder how many times he will say "I can't" and I will reply "Just try!"?

So in the weeks to come I am going to replace that word with the famous Nike adword "JUST DO IT". The outcome may be good or mediocre or even bad. But in the end, it will be done. There is no "try" in this world!

What do you think?

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Jun 23, 2016

Snowbirds: Heads Up! Winter IS Just Around the Corner!

January-March in Arizona
My mother would say about this time of year every year, "Winter is just around the corner!" and we would laugh. But, if you want to be a snowbird, the truth is winter is a lot nearer than you think. The time to plan for that experience is NOW.

Here on the blog stats I am seeing that the traveling people are beginning to think about this winter or even some winter in the future. They are visiting blog posts about the snowbird lifestyle. 

How To Be a 12 Month Snowbird is being visited this morning. As more and more people are changing their lifestyle later in life, they are wondering what the possibilities are. This article explains how people have figured out a way to move from one location to another for 12 months out of the year. I met someone that actually is doing that. 

I have found that HOW TO BE A SNOWBIRD...answers and lists! is always popular. It could be that what stops most people in their tracks is not where to go but how to actually make that dream come true. This article is helpful I think.

Then there is that anxiety about what it is going to feel like to leave children and grandchildren behind for an extended period of time. How Does it FEEL to be a Snowbird? takes you inside my world. Everyone is different but I suppose that my husband and I are pretty average when it comes to the "seasonal life". 

If you click on the tags that include travel, snowbird lifestyle or anything related to that subject you will find a lot of articles about how it all works.  On the left top corner of the blog you will find a small box with a search function. Type in what you are looking for and see what comes up. Don't forget to check the link under the header SNOWBIRD LIFE. (This list is not a complete as I would like but still it can be a help.)

If you are planning on going south next winter, this is the time to make the decisions about that journey. It is not hard. You can do it on the cheap or fly high. That is up to you. In an article titled Patterns Snowbirds Follow you can learn from other snowbirds decisions.

If you have questions, be sure to make a comment and then check back. I will give you information or look for a place where that information is available.

Have a great day!

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What is your excuse? This grandmother practices Taekwondo!

I published this guest writer post back in 2013. Because Blogger begins deleting posts after so many years, I need to bring it forward. I think you might enjoy these words from Galen Pearl.

I asked followers on my blog and twitter to let me know if they would like to do a guest post. Imagine my surprise when I received a reply from a grandmother that earned her black belt in taekwando at the age of sixty. I loved this story. The idea that she was willing to undertake the art so she could bond with a daughter touched my heart. It also hit me right between the eyes...I have no excuse.  If I start something today or don't start something today, in 5 years I will still be 75. Galen Pearl did it so why can't I. I hope you enjoy this post by Galen Pearl.
The Nunchucks Nana

Nunchucks Nana, by Galan Pearl

When I tell people I have a black belt in taekwondo, they are, not surprisingly, surprised!  I just turned 60 and Im a grandmother twice over.  My hair is gray and my skin has seen better times.  And yet, there I am, out there kicking and yelling with people much less than half my age.  And loving it.

Not a grandmotherly hobby.  The joke in my family is that my grandchildren will not remember me baking cookies in the kitchen.  They will remember me heading out the door in my black belt uniform with my nunchucks.  (Nunchucks are martial arts weapons consisting of two sticks joined by a chain.)

How did this come about?  When I adopted my last child, she was already a teenager.  Its hard enough to bond with teens weve raised from infancy.  What could I do to connect with her?  She wanted to learn taekwondo.  Great, I said.  Lets do it together. 

And so we did.  Ironically, she soon lost interest and moved on to other things.  We bonded over Chinese movies instead.  But I was hooked.  I set a goal to get my black belt before I turned 60.  I worked hard for several years, and then last year I trained intensely for the black belt test in the fall.  I got my belt in November and turned 60 in January.  Whew!

Before starting taekwondo, I had spent years not being very active, other than taking the dog for long walks.  I never ran, never exercised, rarely broke a sweat.  But martial arts captured my interest and my loyalty.  I learned to kick and punch, to yell and jump.  And to sweat.  A lot. 

My school is a perfect match for me.  Everyone is welcome, which means that there are many levels of ability represented among the students.  We are expected to reach beyond our comfort zone and do our best in an atmosphere that is completely respectful and supportive, and allows for accommodations where necessary.  At my age, Im mindful of my knees and my neck especially, so I modify some exercises accordingly.  But I give it my best, and then some. 

When people find out I practice martial arts, they sometimes make a comment like, Oh, I wont mess with you.  I usually reply, Thats right.  If you stand very still and do exactly what I tell you to do, I can defend myself against you.  Its true that Im stronger and more fit than I used to be, but in truth, this isnt about self defense.  If I find myself in danger, I will still rely on running and screaming.  And yet, I do move through the world with more confidence.

Even more than that, however, for me martial arts is a spiritual practice.  It is meditation in motion.  When Im in class, Im completely focused.  My mind is not wandering.  When class is over, I might be physically exhausted, but I am mentally refreshed and centered.  The values and discipline of martial arts permeate my life, bringing alertness and courage to situations we all encounter.  Im so grateful for the ways it has enriched my life.

I practice several times a week.  Since getting my black belt, Ive branched out into other martial arts as well.  I already mentioned the nunchucks.  Im also studying tai chi.  I have no specific goals now other than to have fun.  And fun is good!

Note: Galen Pearl writes a very popular blog called 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place. She is a mother, pet lover and is living her life with intention while focusing on the positive. 



Jun 20, 2016

Playing by the rules!

Playing by the rules makes life nice for everyone!
In case you haven’t noticed, the rules begin very early in our lives. They are not necessarily the favorite part of our learning experience but they are very necessary if we are to live in a civilized society. I don’t know about you but that is where I want to live.
There are a lot of things written about where we will live in our retirement. The list begins with a new house on a beach. Then there is co-housing, retirement communities, intellectual communities, RV resorts and the list goes on forever. But the thing we need to realize is that, no matter where we choose to live, we want that place to speak to our culture and our sense of civility. What goes on inside our homes and relationships will be the same no matter where we live.
So when it comes to the rules, I am an expert of sorts. As my daughter points out frequently, I have seen a lot and therefore probably know too much. But there you have it…what is, is.
My days are filled with retirement matters and grandchildren. I am lucky in that I have two sons that married late in life and then began families. Those babies are now 4, 6, and 8. My oldest grandchild is 25. There are 12 of them all together so goodness knows I have seen a lot over my lifetime. The one lesson I have learned is that our lives need some rules or chaos would run rampant.
On top of that my husband and I have been retired for 20ish years. Being together 24/7 for 15 years has taught us a lot about retirement, marriage and the rules.
The thing that strikes me now is that those two set of rule, one for grandchildren and one for retirement, are not that much different. In a weird sort of way they run parallel to each other. They go like this:
  1. You must hug another person several times a day.
  2. Remember a “please” and “thank you” is always good.
  3. Come when you are called.
  4. When you are spoken to, please answer.
  5. Be nice.
  6. Don’t be bossy.
  7. Share.
  8. Cooperate.
  9. Look at a person when you are talking to them.
  10. The computer/TV must be turned off after a certain period of time. Go outside and play.
  11. Leave the light switches alone. The person that turned the light on wants the light on. They are not a playthings.
  12. Don’t hide other people’s stuff. That means do not rearrange the kitchen without talking it over or, in the case of children, do not hide your brother/sister's toys.
  13. Don’t touch other people’s computers. If you are a child, you will break it. If you are the husband or wife, the desktop is just fine and the person using that computer likes it that way.
  14. Tell someone where you are going if you leave the house or even the room.
  15. Don’t run in the house unless it is an emergency. Then you need to run fast. You don’t get to decide what an emergency is. If you are asked to leave fast, just do it.
  16. (For children and grandpa only) Do not break the baby.
 I always smile when I think about this list. A child knows that it is rude to leave a question unanswered but grown-up people will ignore each other for reasons only they understand.
A child should not sit in front of the TV or iPad all day. It is not good for their growth mentally or physically. They get up and move because they know the rule. The same should apply to retirees. And the list goes on and on.
Being bossy is probably the biggest problem for both children and retirees. No one wants a child to be bossy. It is still true when we are of retirement age. By the time we retire we are in charge of someone at work. That power does not carry over at home. I’m just saying!
Think about it. Maybe you have other more important rules at your house. We would love to have your input.

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I wrote this article for Surviving Your Husband's Retirement several years ago. Nothing has changed even after all these years! :)

Jun 18, 2016

We Like New Stuff....

iRobot Roomba 650 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
I had a friend ask me once why we bought our car "new". Honestly, I had never thought about it before. We never buy "new" "new" cars. They are usually last years model or even the year before. For one reason or another they have not been bought so we do. They are new to us.

But I will have to admit we do like new stuff. But I am not talking new as in this year's model, I am talking new as in only just invented. My husband just loves gadgets and his friends even buy him strange food for his birthday because they know he likes new and trendy.

We had the first Apple computer, electric knife, blender, food processor...and the list goes on and on. I even have a portable inductions burner unit because my husband thought it would be cool and we had never seen one like it!

So, you should not be surprised that we now are the proud owners of an iRobot vacuum. I can iron AND vacuum at the same time.

This little gadget may be my favorite of 55 years of the latest and greatest. I just love it but not for the reason you would imagine. I love it because is has so much personality.

The little thing has a name because I thought she needed one...Elsa has been with us for several weeks now and she seems to have a mind of her own. I talk to her when she get distracted and wanders off into a room that I had not planned on cleaning. You will find me chasing her down the hall. "Stop, stop! Where do you think you are going?"

She loves my dining room and when I set her to clean the kitchen, she will sneak around the corner and I will hear her bumping into chairs and exploring under the china hutch.

I have not told my friend about her yet. It takes a special person to understand my foibles. But, you can bet that her name will be coming up in the conversation. She just makes me laugh.

That is a very good thing!

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