Aug 31, 2015

The Little Black Dot

If you look at the page of life after retirement, be sure to look past that little black dot. The whole world waits for you.

In a post I wrote several year ago called How To Be A Snowbird I talked about how you can find a way to load up the bare essentials and travels south to escape the cold, dreary and wet/snowy north. People around the world that can afford it do this every year. Even those people that live in the southern hemisphere probably look for warmth during their winters.

In an inspirational blog post put up back in 2012 the black dot appeared in a story told by "Steven" on a website called Motivation.  In the story a group needing to see a bigger future for their community was inspired by a simple black dot in the middle of a blank piece of paper.
During her presentation, the speaker took a large piece of white paper and made a small black dot at the center with a marking pen. Then she held the paper up before the group and asked them what they saw.

One person quickly replied, “I see a black dot.”

“Okay, what else do you see?”

Others joined in agreement: “A black dot.”

“Don’t you see anything besides the dot?” – she asked.

A resounding “No” came from the audience.

“What about the sheet of paper?” – asked the speaker. “I am sure you have all seen it”, she said, “But you have chosen to overlook it.”

“In life, we also tend to overlook and take for granted many wonderful things that we have or happen around us and focus our attention and energy on [the] small dot...."
When we retire our options are open to us like they have never been before in our life. We are not tied to a place on the face of the earth because of a job. Our children are grown and truly need to live a life free of us for at least part of every year. And all of us have dreamed of what we would do if we had that freedom. Admit it, on those days when the job drove you crazy or your responsibilities as a parent seemed overwhelming, you dreamed of a kind of freedom that was impossible at that time.

The dream is there and yet many of us focus on the black dot in the middle of our page in life and forget to even glance at the blank page right in front of our face.

I hear women say they cannot leave their grandchildren.

Men will immediate take up a volunteer life or get so involved with a hobby that they forget to find a way to include their spouse in something they will both enjoy.

Many simply don't see the option as possible even though it can be affordable. They are afraid of change.

Their whole life is about the small black dot when a whole blank page is ready to be explored.

Being a snowbird is an opportunity to explore that blank page. As a retiree a person can spend a little time here or there. If one day later in that stage of their life they decide to settle down, they will have experience and knowledge about that they can do.

I always keep a list of the options close at hand. My husband and I like change a lot and are not looking forward to a time when we are glued to the floor. Here are a few ideas that might help you spread your wings and try something new.
  1. Buy a very small trailer that you can tow behind your car and go out and see our country. That is what we did first and I think it was one of the most valuable things we did. We learned that we were up for adventure and could take risks without harm.
  2. Take advantage of a timeshare you have owned FOREVER and didn't use. Go to Mexico or the Caribbean or even South Carolina. 
  3. Visit a location near to someone you know. They can show you the ropes. I know so many people that have done this and found a whole new life.
  4. Consider your options and take a look at your finances to see what you could afford if you were to find a vacation home in the warmth of winter sunshine.
  5. Keep in mind that very affordable yet simple living in places like Arizona are available. We have settled in a small old park model that we have turned into a doll house. It is so affordable that we can stay for 6 months in the desert AND travel. We own one car and drive back and forth from Oregon to Arizona and back.
  6. Buy a Camper Life book and explore the options at campgrounds around the USA. Many, many have rentals in simple facilities that are wonderful.
  7. Read, read, read. Travel books, blog posts and even websites that Lonely Planet give a window to the world and have all the information you need to make a dream vacation.
  8. Always keep in mind facilities like AirBNB when you travel. You can stay in a house and get a feel for how real people live almost anyplace in the known world. I like that option a lot. Living like a tourist is a lot different than living like a local!
  9. Explore options for hobbies that you had not thought of before. Who knows you may love geo-caching a lot.
  10. If you love golfing, hiking or gardening in the north in the summer, remember traveling south makes those hobby possible year around. RV resort offer jewelry making, music group participation and theater groups for you admission to the park. Trust me, you will never run out of things to do.
    In my Oregon garden
So there you have a few. Don't focus on a dot in the middle of the page when the world is waiting for you.


Aug 27, 2015

Grandchildren: When It Gets Very Quiet...!

See, I am the type of person that does three things at a time but cannot hear an explosion in the same room. The world can fall down around me and I will not notice. It is a special talent. But when it comes to my grandchildren, there are thing that get my attention right away. Total silence is one of those things. My head comes up and I move at the speed of light because I know that what might come next is probably not going to be a good thing. Here is what happens:

This little girl is VERY busy but on that particular day all she was doing was figuring out how to use a broom. Phew!


Aug 25, 2015

Photographing Children: Teaching Us What is REALLY Fun

Every time these three little children come to visit, I am reminded that play should never go out of style. Everyday should have lots of water, play, a visit to the [porta-a-]potty, jumping up and doing something, adventure, caring for someone you love, and best of all, hand holding. All of it happening while you smile and have fun. It really is that simple. When you do all those things, life is good!
Playing in Puddles

Visit to the Port-a-potty

Jumping Up and Doing Something

Taking Care of Little Sister and Holding Hands
Have a wonderful week!


Aug 17, 2015

Thieves Are Strange Creatures

Golf Course at Sunrise
Black Butte Ranch, Sister's, Oregon
We have creatures wandering through our neighborhood at night. We are up during the night so we see raccoons and cats coming through. I think there are mice and I am sure there are rats. It's the rats I want to talk about today.

My daughter works for a police agency and she has always said that a thief doesn't come out into the light very often. They linger in alleys and away from street lights. Like the unwelcome vampire, the light is not their friend. It turns them puddles of slime!

It could be added here that most are not really very grown up. Some will be redeemed and some will not. I am not feeling very forgiving right now because we were robbed last night.

We are a bit like a rape victim in this particular case. If we were to call the police, the blame would be put on us for being uncovered and out in the open. We may as well have sent an invitation to a robbery party. We did not close our garage door! We most always close the door but, like all humans we are liable to make a mistake once in a while. Ninety-nine percent of the time it would be just fine...but 1% can be a bad deal.

In our case however, the thief did a very strange thing. He/she did not take the valuable stuff at all. But, if they had intended to get our attention they did. They took my husband's golf clubs (very old and not very valuable clubs in a very old ratty bag) AND the keys to our car and house. The keys were left in our car. Keys are not intrinsically valuable but they are much needed.

See what I mean about "asking for trouble" and the police being less than interested? I am not sure what we will do next. We do have an alarm system on our house so that is a good thing. But that doesn't help when my husband's clubs are gone and the keys to our car/house are in a bad person's hands.

Is there a lesson here? Not really. You know the drill. Thieves are not mature but like a very naughty children or an untrained dog, they can make your life miserable. Darn!


Aug 9, 2015

When Friends Celebrate Each Other

We were invited to a party for a couple that renewed their wedding vows. They have been married 25 years so it is an occasion that needs to be celebrated and honored. In this day and age finding couples still in love with one another for that long is very unusual.

This couple has a group of friends, a large group of friends, that all have the same claim to fame. They are staying married for the long haul. It is amazing. These Bunko playing women turned into best friends and now their husbands have joined the "club". They are the village that raise the children, lead by example and keep fun alive.

They party together, support each other through illnesses and even stalker-watch each other's children in an effort to keep them safe.

The amazing thing for me is that they have been a part of my life since my daughter's children were very young. They adopted me as their token wise person. They are smart, accomplished, successful women and men. Best of all they know how to laugh at themselves and the world in general. They are the kind of people that not only stay married but also stay connected to their friends. And, they have enriched my life in ways I cannot even describe.

The party was wonderful and the ceremony made the big crowd cry but best of all, laughter filled the air. What a delightful evening.
Kristine told the crowd that Lee asked her
not be sappy and tell how wonderful, brave and kind he was, so she wouldn't say that!
You will have to admit...this sign is plain funny!
When I am with this group I know that women that
stick together can weather any storm. They are living proof.
Have a wonderful day. Oh, and Happy Anniversary Kristine and Lee.


Aug 6, 2015

Amelia on Things That Work and Things That Don't

I talked about Amelia the other day. She is the one that pointed out the pointlessness of painting the outside of our house because it might be a waste of money. She surprises me. There is always more to be said but I am speechless sometimes.

Amelia and her magic wand!
But there is more.

We were discussing her return to Dubai with her sister and parents on the trip to the airport yesterday and her mother was talking about her plans as the vice-principal of the grade school Amelia will be attending.

"We are going to all get together and look at what worked and what didn't. We are going to build on what works," her mother told me.

Amelia was quiet waiting for the rest of the conversation when she realized there wasn't going to be anymore said. That was when she added what was left unsaid.

"Don't do the things that don't work again," she added.

There you have it...the latest Amelia-ism.

See, there is a saying out there about doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. Why do we do that? Even a seven year old knows that if it doesn't work, you shouldn't do it again. How hard can it be? I am going to have a sign printed.

Just a thought!


Featured Post

What IS Important?

Note: I published one year ago on this date. It is still important to me. How about you? I have had this on my mind for a few days. I thin...