Jun 30, 2014

Retirement advice when your children retire?

Now this is a hard one. My children are not only grown up but they are retiring.  Remember when all the talk was about how people were going to have to work FOREVER...well it turns out that was not a true rumor. It cannot be forever yet can it? Where did time go?

I know they don't feel like it is "already" but I do. This would be another nail in my coffin if it were not for the fact that I am so excited about them joining my husband and I in this part of life's journey. Now the hard part is how to NOT give them the benefit of my wisdom. Honestly, when you are as full of information as I am, it is hard not to share.

This very young looking group of friends are all
going to be my guinea pigs for retirement information
before long!
Our son-in-law retired today with a ceremony at the Washington County Sheriffs office so he is #1 in the line-up of retirees in our family. He is in law enforcement so he retires earlier than most people. But still...he is retired and his wife has his final check to prove it. I was there so I know it has officially happened.

I will put this in my emotional bank along with seeing the second generation leave the nest and seeing my three children graduate from college (debt free). Pride is the only word I can use to describe our feeling for our son-in-law.

Congratulations Doug! If you need any words of wisdom just call...I know I can help. :)

Have a wonderful day!


Jun 28, 2014

Aging: Seriously, a pet is a good thing!

When I wrote the article the other day about needing a dog, I did so with tongue in cheek. However, there is a serious issue here. See, I really do believe that those of us that are older still need to nurture and care for something. Nurturing is probably a basic human need.

It wasn't until I came to realize that those people I had fussed over in the past didn't want me to do that anymore that I began to understand why the little old lady down the street not only loved her darling dog but truly needed it.

Cat kiev
Cat kiev (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My children are not mean spirited and love me a great deal. For that reason, they do not want me to worry. They are trying to shield me from what is bad in their lives. I understand that feeling well. After all I am a daughter of a mother. The truth of the matter is I don't want to worry either. It sort of makes me feel sick.

But in a world without worry and control, there is a void of sorts. People of my age and older like to look and see someone gazing at us adoringly and an animal becomes the surrogate for grandchildren and children or a missing companion. A pet's complete dependence on us makes our lives complete somehow.

The fact is that the research agrees. Evidence shows that pet ownership is one of the real components needed to treat depression in older people. But that is only part of the picture. Stress, heart disease and anxiety disorders also fall into that group of conditions alleviated by pet ownership.

In an article written by Stanley Coren for Psychology Today titled The Health and Psychological Benefits of Bonding with a Pet Dog,  Coren talked about the conditions eased by the ownership of a pet. Coren is the author of several books about dogs and professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. In the segment dealing with aging he said:
Research looked at [people] 60 years of age and older, who were not living with human companions, but were living with a pet. The likelihood that the non-pet owners would end up being diagnosed as clinically depressed was four times higher than that found in the pet owning people of the same age. There was also evidence that the pet owners required fewer medical services and were much more satisfied with their lives.
So, see I could be onto something here. A dog, cat or even a parrot may be the solution to all kinds of problems. I think I am fine. But for you or someone you know, it may be something to think about. 

FYI: My husband and I cannot have a dog in our park model in Arizona...rules you know. So until we move or the rules change, we will not be having a dog. RV the Cat and I will just have to learn how to love each other!


Affordable Housing for Retirees...Tucson AZ

Screen Shot of Google Compare Mortgages

Condo Example
I have begun to think that the real estate market a better choice than RV resort living.  Why?  Well, here is the deal.  When I began looking at condos in Tucson, I found that there are some really wonderful condos available in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains.  I was amazed to find a condo with 761 sq. ft. LISTED at around $100,000...that is about 131 a square ft.  Who knows, the owner may sell for less.  The condo is in a gated community with a club house and pool.  It could be a possible perfect snowbird location.

Here is my thinking...we paid less than $20000 for our Park Model BUT we pay over $400 a month for rent on the space.  The positives of this situation is that we have an end unit that overlooks pickle ball and tennis courts plus a view of the mountains.  We get a lot of light and have plenty of room...it is all relative folks.  Now we have to ask ourselves "How much will $400 a month pay for on a real mortgage?"  A 30 fixed rate on a second home with 10% comes in at about $500.  Affordable?  I think so.  We would be building equity, I love designing small spaces and this might be a wonderful location.  I am thinking we should all take a look and compare the two lifestyles.

So if you will type Affordable Housing (city of your choice) in the search on my sidebar and look at what is available and then do the same thing putting in Google Compare Mortgages, you will have begun the process.  If it looks good to you, contact a real estate agent...believe me they will get back to you right away.  These people are a treasure house of information.

Times have changed since I began writing this blog for boomers and snowbirds.  It is always good to keep an open mind.  Think about it!

I am interested in hearing about your experiences.  Leave a comment and I will reply.

Link to earlier post:  Inexpensive Retirement 

Comment (just FYI) :
vivinfrance said...
Thanks for visiting my blog. Affordable housing: that's why we're in France, as there is none in UK. Our first venture into French property was in 1989, and for £25,000 we bought a stone farmhouse with 3 barns and a big garden (at least it became a garden when we were there, before it was just a head-high wilderness. Our second house was a 300 year old stone barn (£5000)which my husband converted and extended into a 5 bedroomed house with an enormous living room. We wanted to be within walking distance of village, shops etc, so we had a new eco house built about 2 miles from the barn, which is where we live now. No mortgage, no debts, bliss.

Jun 26, 2014

Aging: Why do I need a dog?

Oh my gosh I need a dog! My life is not perfect.

My son had his 50th birthday yesterday and that is reason enough to need something warm to snuggle.  Besides that my daughter had a little surgery last week and she just "wanted to be left alone!" Then to top it off my youngest son was in the hospital with a severe infection and his beautiful wife took care of him.

The perfect dog! (Photo credit: Alex Balan)
I am not allowed to boss my children or
grandchildren around and I am not allowed to give advice and stuff like that. The grandchildren don't like it when I smooch them in public. Children remind me that "Grandmother is not in control."

We own a cat but it doesn't like me much. So I may be buying a dog. I need something to boss around, take care of and control. A dog won't correct me when I use the wrong word or make fun of me because I am...well me. And I don't think a dog would mind if I smooched it in public. Yes, it appears only a dog will fit the bill. I will let you know how it goes.

Have a wonderful day!

RV the cat...he prefers my husband and disdains me.

Jun 24, 2014

Retirement and Aging: Who do you have on speed dial?

One of the good things and bad things about retirement is all the spare time a person has. If you are an active person, that means more golf/walking/time at the gym. If you are not, it means more time to listen and watch and stew!

We live in a 55+ neighborhood so we see a little of both. The neighborhood is always in transition...people move on or...well you know. Then someone younger moves in to take their place. The neighborhood has been here almost twenty years so we are definitely in a transitional time. Our aging neighbors spend a lot of time at the windows and doors of their homes.

Watching from my window!
When we moved here three years ago we learned very quickly who was watching everything and who wasn't paying any attention. We also learned that those that watched knew everything about everyone. People that walked around the circle we call our block could visit with everyone and gossip can spread fast. Every illness is promptly reported.

That is just a fact of life. But it is those people that live across the back fence that they do not know that get under their skin. For the people that are not very active there is not a good way to approach those people and solve their problems.

As a result, speed dial on the phones can fill up quickly. Animal control, environmental control, just the plain old police and even our association president are all on the phones with #'s 1-4.

If a dogs barks too, long someone is called right away. I am not saying that is bad because it means I don't have to worry about it and barking dogs can be very annoying. Barking can also be a sign of abuse and the neighborhood next to us has some issues with that problem. Even when someone walks around the corner to visit about the problem, they do not get any satisfaction. But we also know that a dog will bark a little no matter what and that is what they are suppose to do. A dog is very watchful and I like that.

There are smoldering fire pits and the neighbor's neglected above ground pool...if a senior has enough time on their hands and cannot get around enough to visit the next block, they can become a real nuisance for city hall.

Let me say right now that I am grateful that our neighbors are proactive and are taking care of their problems in a sensible way. These are all problems that need to be addressed for a lot of reasons. Calling the police is the right thing to do if some dangerous situation is involved. But...having the non-emergency number on speed dial can make it too easy to call when it is not necessary!

Is there a point to all this? Well yes I think so. As we age we can become a little touchy and a lot annoyed at small things. We need to be careful. Stop right now and ask yourself "Who do I have on speed dial?" and "How long do I wait before I use it?" It is something to think about.

I will add here that children of aging parents need to be aware and allay suspicion and fears about the neighbors. It is very important!


Jun 21, 2014

Aging: The Wonders of Curiosity

Curiosity (TV series)
Curiosity (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We all know that our mind is a "terrible thing to waste" and that "education is wasted on the young"...or at least that is what we have been told. I am finding that my curiosity is increasing as I get older so I am not wasting my mind or my age. That is the good thing.

The bad thing is that I am  no longer afraid to ask if I wonder. The fact is many people do not like me coming up to them on the street and asking them questions. And I don't want to become the creepy neighbor lady that peeks through the blinds at the neighbors. Sometimes I just have to wonder and wait. There you have it.

I wonder how safe driving is
in Utah where the speed limit is
80 mph!

I had a set of encyclopedias when I was a 10 and my mother would settle arguments with my grandfather using what those books had to offer. I loved the feel of them in my hands and honestly rushed home from school for weeks after they were delivered to explore a new volume.

Oh, and now we settle arguments by doing a search on the computer or iphone. I don't suppose much has changed at all. My son tells me that we don't need to wonder about things anymore because we have this wonderful "new" thing called technology. Amazing!

My grandson told me the other day that he and his friend were curious as to what the most expensive thing on Amazon was. When they Googled it, they found a diamond chandelier ranked at the top...serious money I am guessing. I loved that he knew where to go to find the answer without even thinking. I have to remind myself about Google.

Siri on my iPhone will find things for me too. When we traveling I also wonder where I am or how big a particular desert is or even where to eat in Podunk. I also carry an atlas because my phone is not active is some remote places. Even in this age of wonderful technology, sometimes a real book is the only thing available. If I don't have some way to find the answer I will forget what I am wondering about.

Curiosity is a wonderful thing.

What have you wondered about today?


Jun 16, 2014

Fun In Retirement: Writing a pretend book!

Laughed at the biography!
So, when is your book coming out, Barbara?ReplyDelete
Not anytime soon...I have too many things I like to do and sitting at my computer FOREVER is not something that is calling my name! Besides that, I have not written my biography, don't have a title and the beginning, middle and end are as yet unplanned. Yes it will be a while.    b+

A blogging friend wrote this comments for the last post, When you write your first book, what will your bio say? Linda Myers is a blogger (Bag Lady in Waiting) that lives in the Pacific Northwest and has actually co-authored a book with her husband about his Vietnam experience. She knows what goes into writing a book. I, on the other hand, can only guess.

Back when I started writing this blog, I did it as a piece of pretend publishing. The idea of being able to write something and see it in a place that others could look at it too was so appealing to me. I couldn't write my way out of a paper bag back then (and maybe still can't). I knew that if I were to get better, I would need to practice practice practice.

Could it be that writing a book is much the same? Don't real authors with failed books leading up to a blockbuster know that the failure was what made them a success? The failed books turned out to be practice for the one that was really good. 

See, I really never plan on writing a book. I don't have enough years in me to write twenty books and maybe arrive at a story that someone might want to read. 

On the other hand, I know that if I don't "write a book" and I live for twenty years more, I will just only be very old and there will be no book. I have come up with the idea for a pretend book. I could write a title, create a table of contents...or not....write as many or few stories as I wanted. Say "THE END" and move on to my bio. I might start with the bio because at least I would know what to write.

Doesn't that just sound like fun? In fact, I already have a three ring binder full of stories I could use. 

So, it is a thought. We will see. What do you think? Should I create another pretend book blog and just start? HMMMMMM.


Jun 12, 2014

When You Write a Book, What Will Your Biography Say?

I have heard that there are people that write their own obituaries just so they know that it is done right. My thinking has always been that it really won't matter to me anymore so I don't care if it is right. Say I was  a stripper or a pole dancer...it will be fine. 

But if I ever write a book, that will be another matter. I want my biography to say something about me that makes my readers laugh AND want to read my book. Why would I write a book if no one read it?

On my left sidebar the Amazon ad contains some of the books that Amazon recommends as being outstanding. One of those books is called Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children) (available on Amazon here.)

I loved the title so I had to take a look at the review and then I went on to read some of the reader's comments. It appears I need to buy this book for sure.

At the bottom of the Amazon book page was Ransom Rigg's biography. It made me laugh...notice that he had been complaining about the heat pretty much his whole life. Still he decided to make southern California his home. But if he lived in Oregon or England,
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
 (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children)
he could complain about the rain so I guess complaining is the point. But I digress....

I like his idea of a biography a lot...this guy has a very unusual way of catching your interest.

Ransom Riggs grew up in Florida, where he spent his formative years making silly movies with his friends in their various backyards, snorkeling, and complaining about the heat.
Ransom Riggs (doesn't like the heat!)
He studied English at Kenyon College and film at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles. He makes films you can watch on his YouTube page: www.youtube.com/ransriggs. 
He enjoys traveling to exotic lands and complaining about the heat. 
He would like to thank you for reading this short biography.
The best part of it all was when he said "Thank you" for reading his biography. He used almost 85 words so was very difficult you see.  Now, if you ever write a book, what will your biography say?


Jun 10, 2014

NYT's: A Retired Educator's Thoughts on California Judge's Tenure Ruling

Teachers union
Teachers union (Photo credit: kevin dooley)
The New York Times carried an article today talking about the California judges ruling that "teacher tenure laws deprive students of their right to an education under the state Constitution." I have some thoughts on the subject.

I have lived on both sides of the fence. I was a classroom teacher that belonged to our union and my husband was a teacher turned a high school principal and a district personnel director. The question of tenure came up over and over during our careers. Ny husband found that walking the line between finding and keeping very good teachers while working to get rid of those that failed would drive most men/woman to drink. It was very frustrating. But it is also true that before tenure was initiated in Oregon, school boards and administrators abused their power to fire at will so they could hire better coaches or rid themselves of people that cost them too much of their budget. Abuse of power versus inability to replace bad teachers turned out to be a hotly contested argument.

Early in my husband's career he was working in Hermiston, Oregon when all of the 
teachers-coaches were fired in one fell swoop. A collection of men that saw themselves as powerful, gathered in the back of a local grocery store and decided that all of those coaches needed to just go away and they did. The school board colluded with the men and supported their decision. On a Monday morning an English teacher, art instructor, math teacher, etc., lost their jobs in the classroom because the baseball, basketball, football and track teams were not quite good enough. It was mid 1960s.

In this particular case the teachers sued the school district and supported those fired teacher for a year as the suit was resolved. They could not work during that year. It was difficult for the district teachers to make a sacrifice in their income but they felt strongly enough about the issue to give up what they must. We were young and had small children and trust me, that year was not easy for us.

The teachers won and now in the state of Oregon a coach's contract is separate from his teaching contract. In fact, today many coaches are not teachers at all.

There were school districts in the state of Oregon that simply got rid of anyone that was too experienced because they cost them more than they wanted to pay. They would pay a beginning teacher a lot but the pay scale did not go anywhere. Even with tenure, reaching a point in that school district where you could move up the pay scale even a little was very difficult. Before the teacher was awarded tenure they would be dismissed. The decisions made in cases like this were at times capricious and unfair.

We also saw cases after tenure became a law in the state where even mentally ill teachers were very hard to dismiss. In some cases it would take years. In the mean time students were in those teachers classrooms. I have been in a classroom as a substitute where the teacher was using the same material they created when they were a student teacher 15 year before. The students were disinterested and out of control. Plans of assistance and mentoring usually did not work because teachers are not made in college or in the principal's office...teaching is a talent or a gift. You cannot fix something that is not broken but is simply the wrong tool.

People shy away from education even when that is what they should be doing because it is a very hard job. Even though teachers are paid to work certain hours, I can assure you that most teachers work unpaid hours every day of the school year. 

So you can see that it is not easy to find a way to be fair and reasonable. One would hope that the people in control of the educational system would be honorable. Taxpayers and money can make those people do some bad things. Very like companies that fire people just as they were getting ready to cash in their retirement, security for teachers would simply go away.

We don't want bad teachers that "deprived children of their constitutional right to an education". On the other hand we do not want public employees like educators to be left to hang in the wind. I have been there and trust me, it is not a happy place to be. 

It is just a thought!


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Jun 8, 2014

Google Scares me a Lot: I could not access my Google App administrative console!

English: Google Logo officially released on Ma...
English: Google Logo officially released on May 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had such a big hiccup in my blog world this last week I almost had a 2 year old meltdown. The payment for my Gift Boomer blog domain was due and the payment was denied. Google scared me a lot because they told me that I could be cut off! And, when things go wrong, you don't get to talk to anyone at Google ever! AND I hear through the online grape vine that if their get rid of you, getting back in their good graces is very nearly impossible because, as I was saying before, you cannot explain yourself to anyone.

I swear there is a big computer room somewhere just cranking out rules and making stuff up. The only time a real person gets to have a say in that company is when they need to change a light bulb in that room.

The problem was my credit card had been compromised during the last year and I did not make connection between my new number and my domain re-registration. Google sent the link for me to sign in to my Google App administrative console for the domain and fix the problem. But I simply could not get it to work...I don't believe I even knew there was such a thing as a console. I even talked to the Google App representative and she tried all the things I tried but no luck. Like me, she kept saying "I just don't understand why this (or that) does not work!" I kept say, "I know!" She did admit that she could not connect be with the big boys and she one ONLY trained to do the app stuff. I even asked to talk to a supervisor but I was told they don't know anything either. See what I mean?

So after the second day of the struggle I began going to chat forums. I used the shotgun approach (a method of the asking a lot of different people the same question) to try to get some answers. Finally, I saw a grain of information that actually helped. It turns out, I have an email address (mydomain@mydomain.com) that I needed to use when I sign into my Google App administrative console. Who knew! Hopefully it is fixed but I do not see that a payment has gone through so who knows.

If I disappear sometime soon, I want you to know I am not dead...at least not in the real world. Online though....maybe!

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Jun 3, 2014

Do You See Retirement in Black and White?

I prefer life in blazing color!
I don't know if you have heard of Lisa Heffernan or not but she is the mother that admitted that she wished she had never given up her job to stay at home with her 3 children. Life passed her by (she thinks) and now she is finding that she cannot pick up where she left off 15 years ago. 

She saw it as a black and white issue...either you work or you don't. She appeared on the Today show and wrote articles for major newspapers on the subject. I could see how some of her experiences were relevant to the new retiree. After all there are always some retirees that regret retiring. They don't see the shades of gray between working and not working.

Like Heffernan, I chose to be a stay at home mom when my children were very small. I never regretted doing what I did back all those years ago.  In fact, there was a lesson I took away from that experience that has been a great help for me in this third stage of my life.

Back when I was young, I learned that life was never all or nothing.

Flexibility...the key element for successful retirement!

Of course there are patterns that almost all retiree follow and I have written about those in former posts. It is an interesting phenomena.

They talk about travel or gardening or quilting. Many, many will see retirement as a very small place and they want to downsize and live all on one level in case they get old really soon. A few will want to sell their home and plan on spending the rest of their days in an RV wandering from here to there. Others see nothing...just empty endless days with nothing to do. I understand all those things because my husband and I had the same ideas.

But, the thing that my husband and I did not do was think that anything we chose to do was forever. We never have had a "forever house" or gotten rid of our personal possessions and left our old life behind. We are always open to new experience but remain grounded.

I did not "quit working", I just quit working for money. In retirement, I have taken up some "hobbies" that fill my extra time and I have gained energy and satisfaction as well as some validation from those pursuits. It is never all or nothing! Being willing to move on and change has made retirement a wonderful stage in my life.

It is just a thought!

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Jun 1, 2014

The Computerized Child and Cursive Writing

Shay's Selfie
I wrote a note on one of my grandchildren's birthday card recently. The money inside was important but the note needed to be read before the money went into the pocket. I was very puzzled when this child frowned and bent over the card trying to decypher what I had written.  I could only wonder if my handwriting had gotten so bad it could not be read.

My daughter explained that this generation of children have a problem reading cursive writing. A couple of days later a friend told me about her 22 year old grandson confessing that he could not read a letter she had written in cursive. Have you ever heard of this? I would never have guessed but it does seem very reasonable doesn't it?

The friends husband said that the trouble was that kids today are not educated! I don't think that is true but I do think that cursive writing may be going the way of inkwells and fountain pens. Things do change. I could only wonder...what else is changing, perhaps with children's minds, as a result of their learning experiences in a technology driven society.

Just a thought!

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Empty Nest Syndrome....again!

I am surprised everytime I realize how old I have become. Not that 72 is very old but still. I had no vision of myself getting to be this old when I was younger. If I had realized, I probably would have done a few things differently. But that ship has sailed.

The one thing that surprised me more that any other is that I am seeing a second generation grow up to fly away like my children did. Four grandchildren have ventured out on their own.

A granddaughter will marry this summer. This will be the first of many wonderful ceremonies in our family. A ceremony seems to move us forward with joy and satisfaction.
The Future!

The future is on the minds of my children these days. A son-in-law will retire this summer. How could that be when they are so young...at least in my mind. I cannot bear it when they talk about being older...if they are, where does that leave my husband and I?

The next stage will be the one where they become snowbirds and learn to travel and spend long periods of time away from home. It won't happen for a while but still I can see it coming for them a lot clearer than I saw it for myself.

Once in a while I catch a glimpse in a picture or even the mirror of my very old self. I am trying to embrace the image. After all, like Christmas, it will come whether I am ready or not. I still like the way I look so that is good.

So the nest empties, a new nest fills and then empties as surely as the first did. I feel the sadness that the empty nest bring once again. But if just as it should be. The natural cycle of life continues for my lovely family.

I just wanted to celebrate for a moment. I went over 400,000 page views this week. Now, I know that those of you that are in the know are going to say that it is not really such a big deal. Only a tiny percent of those views translate into real readers. I don't care...400,000 just roll off my tongue so beautifully.

Have a wonderful day.

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