Oct 17, 2017

Advice on the Forces of Gravity

Yes, what goes up does come down. Although we all know it, sometimes the self evident gets forgotten. Case in point...don't throw a hammer in the air unless you are a very good catch.

Let's take the installation of a new light fixture for example. In this case, we are talking about putting something back up that came down. Gravity made the first part so easy that the second part didn't seem to be a worry.

I decided that I could do that! I could remove the exterior light fixture, clean it, spray paint it and put it back up. How hard could it be? I was thinking that I had scored a point in my accomplishment book as I removed the fixture. Gravity made taking that baby down a dream. I pulled the wire nuts off and it simply fell into my hands. Wow, that was easy or so I thought.

I cleaned, scraped the glass to a new glistening finish and spray painted the simply fixture black. It is so cute and looks almost new. Then I climbed on the ladder with the fixture and began attaching the wire nuts when I noticed there were more wired that there had been before (I thought). Did that light fixture breed and multiply over night? When I attached the wires the light came on...permanently.

Now my husband was watching over my shoulder wondering what the heck I had done. I got down and he mounted the ladder feeling a little smug I think. Again, how hard could it be. He untwisted wires, reattached wires and looked hopeful. We gave it a try but now nothing came on...nothing outside, nothing inside...absolutely nothing.  That was when we turned the electricity off so we could work it out. It appeared that the electricity was in charge and we weren't taking any chances.

A light flashed on in my mind...now I remember. Those black wired had a nut and were tucked inside with not attachment to the light, that black wire attached to the red wire. That white wire attached to the two white wires. Let there be light. We were up and running...a couple of hours later.

Is there a lesson? I never know for sure. Yes gravity still works. Yes is does pull down. Yes getting things to come down is a lot easier than getting them to go up. So there you have it.

Now ask me about the range hood. :)

Have a great day!


On Coming "Home"

We are back in Arizona. We left in April to stay in our Oregon home and now we are back...already! People in both place will say to us "Aren't you early this year?" and our reply is usually yes.  It seems that for those people that do not leave we come and go much quicker than they expect.

This is home today. Tucson AZ
We came back to Arizona in September this year because we are moving to a townhouse. We have lived in a RV resort for many years and we needed a change. We found the place we are moving to because of serendipity...who can fight the will of the universe. So here we are setting off on a new adventure.

We have a beautiful home in Oregon. We live in a 55 plus community and love all our neighbors. They are alway there and I like that. I don't want to stay in one place but it makes me happy that they stay. So, here in Arizona we have found a new home that fits us perfectly. It is mixed age so we can see children and younger adults. It seems at this stage of our lives we need that kind of community a lot.

In the second stage of aging we are finding that we need what we have always loved as adults. We don't need to play so much as we need to work and live. Life continues to be very good.

Think of you all.


Sep 19, 2017

Revisiting Harry S. Truman's Love Letter to Bess

This blog post came to my attention today. I found the printed letter on my desk and revisited my thoughts. Harry S. Truman was a straight forward plain spoken man. I heard him speak from the rear of a train on the campaign trail. Even though Memorial Day has past, I wanted to share this one more time.

 May 2009

Today a fellow blogger wrote a post from her home in Provence. It was about the fields of poppies that are in bloom. Corey Amaro from Tongue in Cheek told about traditions in France, back road drives and the beauty of late Spring. I was reminded about a visit my husband and I made to the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri many years ago where a single faded poppy caught my eye.

Harry Truman served in WWI when he was a young man. He was courting his wife, Bess, at that time and he sent her a poppy he had picked in a place that was once a medieval country in northern France and southern Belgian called Flanders. The flower had been pressed in the leaves of a book. I have always imagined it was the battle field Bible so many soldiers carried over their hearts.  The poppy later was recreated in paper and veterans sold them on street corners around Memorial Day here in the USA. They were a vibrant symbol of the suffering of a world at war.

The tradition has been carried on by the Veterans of Foreign Wars ever since. My husband and I visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence Missouri several years ago. I found that very poppy on display and along side it was a letter. My heart ached when I read that letter from Truman's to his love...Bess. I have looked for a copy online but cannot find it. As I remember it he said, "If I were a sob sister, I would cry over all the lives that were lost in The Fields of Flanders where the beautiful poppies bloom this time of year."

I could only think that nature has a way of cleaning up when we humans continue to make a mess of things. I write about this every year because I think it is the story worth retelling. Memorial Day is that holiday when we set some time aside to remember our veterans. We continue to “make a mess of things” and in the soil where young men and women have lost their lives, flowers will grow once more. How can we help but not be “sob sisters” at times like these! Just a thought.


Note: I received an message from a Facebook source about the letter I mentioned above. This is the first time I have had a chance to read it since I was in the library many years ago.  Here is the paragraph I was referencing:
I walked out to the O[bservation] P[ost] the other day (yesterday) to pick an adjusting point and I found two little flowers alongside the trench blooming right in the rock. I am enclosing them. The sob sisters would say that they came from the battle-scarred field of Verdun. They were in sight and short range of Heinie and were not far from the two most famous forts of this line of defense. You can keep them or throw them away but I thought they'd be something. One's a poppy, the other is a pink or something of the kind. A real sob sister could write a volume about the struggle of these pretty little flowers under the frowning brows of Douarmont the impregnable.
I was very grateful for this information. I did not have the facts quite right in the post above but the central thought remains the same.

FTI: Douaumont was the scene of a vicious  World War I battle that began Feb. 21, 1916 and lasted for 10 months.  It was between the Germans and the French. Modern estimates are that 976,000 men were lost.   The letter from Harry S. Truman to Bess was written in November of 1918.  Douaumont was said to be the strongest fort in all of Europe at that time.  WW I began on July 28, 1914 and ended on November 11, 1918.
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Sep 18, 2017

On Driving: Don't Be Nice...it just confuses people!

I drive a cute little Mini Cooper Sport when I am at home in Oregon. It is a fun little car that can be a handful if you put it in the "sport" mode. I don't do that.

Mine is all black and not a convertible
and a four door but other than that
it is just like these. :)
Needless to say I am careful. It is not safe even if everything works out, so taking chances increases the chances for dents and bruises. No one, especially me, wants that to happen.

Part of being careful is being nice to people on the road. I will wait for you to go across the street or to pull into my lane. Most of the time that is a good thing.

Sometimes though, it just confuses people. They really don't know what to do when I wave them through or let them take their turn first at a four way stop. People in Oregon don't honk their horns or flip you off (usually). But they do wonder what the woman in a tiny car is doing.

Yesterday I was driving with my daughter in the car with me. I stopped at the intersection, looked both ways twice then waved the lady across the way to go ahead and turn. I was going straight and had the right away. She didn't know what to do with that and just sat waiting for me to obey the law.

Beautiful daughter said, "Mom, go!"

"I was just being nice," I replied.


There you have it...so I drove through first. It seems that obeying the law is a good thing and is, in fact, being nice in it's own way.

Have a beautiful day!


Sep 15, 2017

Living Alone

We take lots of selfies but
don't really know what we are doing!
My husband has gone ahead to Tucson and will signing papers for our townhouse. I am in Oregon in our home in Hillsboro. We have not spent any length apart for almost 7 years. I have gotten used to having him with me. This summer he has not golfed with the men so we have spent everyday, all day together.

We finish each other sentences, bicker over whether we should leave the umbrella up or down in the rain and get in each other's way. But we love to spend time together. Honestly, I miss my husband when he is out of my sight!

Is this all a good thing? Should a wife be than dependent on her husband? Won't that make it harder for one or the other of us when we are left along?

Well, for as long as it lasts I am not going to question my joy. Marriage is still fun even after almost 57 years.

A day in the life of a single retiree must be very lonely I think. When I am by myself, I gain new respect for people who are left alone and live such a full life. It takes some doing on my part to think for myself without hearing my husband's voice in my ear. Isn't that strange? It would take time to get over that I think.

But, you need to know that I do do it without much trouble. I go about my business, visit with neighbors as I walk around my block, read, watch TV and (best of all) write. And in this day of technology I can talk face to face on my iPhone with family or even friends. That is so very wonderful.

It all feels like it might be okay to be alone after a while but I will not know how it really feels until it is my turn.

It is just a thought.

I am having a wonderful day and I hope you are too.


Sep 14, 2017

Happiness is Hard Work...Life is not Infinite... and other thoughts from out here where the rubber meets the road!

  •  If spouses/partners don't compromise a little, they may miss their chance at happiness. People do die you know...especially when they reach retirement age!

  • A friend of mine had a son that said that he was NEVER getting married...it required too many compromises and he was not willing to do that.

  • I am not an expert on anything but life. I've been married 57 (almost) years but what do I know? I am only a retired educator living the life day after day after day.

Tom Sighting wrote an article that appeared in US News and World report a while back that caught my interest. 5 Ways to be Happier When You Retire set forth some very good common sense ways to make your retirement what you want it to be. I think about that sort of thing. Making each day count is important. My husband and I have been retired for over 20 years so we have worked through the reality of retirement and now we are pursuing those 5 ways to be Happy for ourselves.

But, it wasn't until we have learned to compromise and to find a path down the middle that we were both as happy as we could be. Retirees should remember that the cart doesn't go in front of the horse!

Happiness is a hard won prize!
If you have been retired for any length of time, you know that the path to happiness is not the same for any two people. We all have ways to remain content...if we don't, we only have ourselves to blame. BUT...and here is the big "rock in the road" part...people who are married or living with a partner and are not of one mind may have some problems. If each person's path is different, it only follows that partners might need to compromise.

That is really hard. A friend of mine had a son that said that he was NEVER getting married...it required too many compromises and he was not willing to do that. That young man is nearly grown now, in college and becoming the mature person he should be. Unfortunately, many of us never arrive at a place where compromise is even possible. I have seen it over and over in my retirement life.

So, is there a way to arrive at compromises with out compromising our own life altogether? I wonder.

There was a couple that were enticed by friends to spend the winter in our RV resort...or I should say a golfing friend of the husband convinced him to come and play with him in Arizona. The guys decided to spend the winter golfing and somehow the wife agreed to come. When they arrive in Arizona, the man played golf...all of the time with his friends. The wife quilted...all of-the time...alone.

Now here is the deal...you can quilt in Minnesota in the winter but you probably don't want to golf. He was in seventh heaven and she was furious all-of-the-time. She missed her grandchildren and friends and church. He wanted to golf in the winter and she wanted to stay in Minnesota. No one was giving an inch. She complained to anyone that would listen. It was not fair in her eyes.

What do you think? Did she know how she was going to feel before she left? Did she realize how much time she was going to spend alone or in the company of the other mans wife? I thought not.

Here is the thing about being happy in retirement when you are in a relationship...no one gets to be happy all of the time. Make sign...hang it on the wall...both people have to compromise otherwise it is not going to work out.

In an article appearing in Psychology Today, Leon Seltzer, PH.D (Compromise Made Simple....), pointed out a given when it comes to working out marriage problems no matter how old you are. He wrote:
It makes very little sense to fight about what’s fair. For what feels fair to one party might yet feel grossly unfair to the other. In the end, the only thing that matters is that the solution arrived at feel fair to both of you.
Then he talked about chewing it over and over with the girl friends or the golfing buddies.
Moreover, it hardly matters what anybody else might think. For if you and your partner see your final agreement as equitable, then (for all intents and purposes) it is equitable. That is, no external confirmation is “called for.
In the case of the couple I talked about above, I am sure that everyone that reads this will have a different solution. I kind of wanted to smack the man but it was not my business. A man, on the other hand, might have thought that she was being selfish by ruining her husband's fun. It was his dream to retire and play golf...period. He had worked hard for a very long time after all. (I know...so did she.)

Here are 5 random thoughts about a retirement life you might want to think about:
  1. The practical part of the issue is that retirees needed to compromise...simple as that. I think the wife in the couple I mentioned would have been happy if they could have done other things while they were there or if she could have flown home for a visit or flown a grandchild to spend some time in the sun. He would have been happier because he didn't have to endure her anger.
  2. Remember that averting an argument is better that settling one. Talk about what you feel before you  jump into something you have already decided you will hate.
  3. We are not happy all of the time...so in many cases it is a matter of finding a way to be happy even when our life is not perfect. (Does that make sense.) Tom Sightings had some good ideas. 
  4. Could it be that being retired requires too much together time? Even finding a way to go separate ways...maybe playing a little golf...and come back together can rekindle romance and keep a relationship interesting.
  5. Don''t let it fester...anger is very bad for our health. Please find a way to communicate.
I suppose there are some deal breakers that happen when people retire but I know that most couples don't demand that they have their own way all of the time.

Hearing a wife/husband say that they think the other would like to travel/move/learn to fly but the wife/husband is not ready to leave the grandchildren/horses/bridge club reminds me that life is not infinite. Compromise will let everyone have part of the day just the way they want it. If they don't give a little, they miss their chance. Spouses do die you know!

I've been married 57 (almost) years but what do I know? I am only a retired educator living the life day after day after day. It's just a thought.

What do you think?


Sep 12, 2017

What Did I Do to Deserve This...in a good way!

I write about retirement, travel, books and family with some blogging advice and thoughts about current events thrown in. I have never followed the big piece of advice given by all the experts. "Stick to one subject they say." I DO NOT STICK TO ONE SUBJECT! It seems to be working. 

It is a good day for me...really, in spite of the title of this blog post. I have been recognized by a website promoting retirement in Costa Rica. The award was for being one of the Top International Retirement Blogs in 2017.  I thought that it was not who chose the list though. I was impressed at the company I am keeping in retirement blogging these days. That is good.
Retirement Blogs 2017 (welovecostarica.com)
And the really good part is, I am not nearly done yet. I don't even know if I ever will be. One day I suppose I will be finished writing. When I am, I may let you know and I may not. I may not even know I have stopped myself ! The door will remain open.

As I look back, I am surprised at how I have traveled as far as I have in this world. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the Beatles in one of his books. The story was that the Beatles put in 10,000 hours of work before they even became THE BEATLES. Getting to know any craft is very hard. It is not so much about talent as it is about hard work. I am not even near that point yet.

Back in the day when blogging for seniors was unheard of, I began talking about retirement. The first blog was called Always At Home. We were just starting our traveling journey and it seemed that no matter where I was in the world, I felt at home. I don't need much. That was back in 2006.

I changed the blog title several times before I settled on the current name and domain.

The only way I could find to connect with people was through memes posted by other bloggers like myself. We would write a story or a poem and then comment on each other's material. Actually, I did meet some very unique and talented writers through that process. I would slip those in on a Friday or a Sunday. The rest of the time I just wrote about my life.

I needed an audience though. I began looking for older people and found grandmothers. That was one way of connecting. But I found that no men were writing. As men like Bob Lowry (Satisfying Retirement), Tom Sightings (US News and World Report) and RJ Walters (RJSCorner.net) came on the scene the picture became more complete. I was glad to have someone that was not a grandmother or a mommy blogger to connect with.

I wore out every subject I talked about and all that was left was LIFE! So, life is what I have been writing about ever since.

A wonderful new closed Facebook woman's group opened a few years ago and I was one of the first to join Women of Midlife (even though that ship had sailed for me). That group now boasts 2000 women. Even that group sees an ebb and flow. Still the core group remains very stable. I have found people that share my woman's journey.

Now I write about retirement, travel, books and family with some blogging advice and thoughts about current events thrown in. I have never followed the big piece of advice given by all the experts...Stick to one subject. I DO NOT STICK TO ONE SUBJECT!

Back in the day when I was teaching school I had a student tell me that he wanted to be a doctor so why did he need to read all those books and learn about the world at large. My reply was that if he only learned about being a doctor, he was going to be very boring! I think that may be why I do what I do.

I invite you to go over to look at the list of Top International Retirement Blogs.

How did your journey as blogger begin? I am interested.