Sunday, February 12, 2017

What I'm Reading.........

Friday I went to see that classic movie of all time, John Wick Chapter 2. Yes, even though it was almost eighty today here in Denver in February, I spent a few hours in a darkened theater spending my latest gift card in order to watch mayhem, violence, Keanu Reeves and the cutest dog ever. Hey, it's warmer in Denver than either Hawaii or Florida. At least it was on Friday.

My problem is that like movies-and books and TV shows. In fact, I like almost all movies, as long as they are not pornographic or cannibalistic.  I am capable of watching The Best Years of Our Lives one evening with family, and John Wick 2 the next day. The same is true of my reading and television watching style. It is who I am. Whether it be current fiction, television or the movies, I tend to watch, read or listen to a fair amount of mindless drivel-interspersed with more meaty fare, if you will.  I rely on various book and movie clubs to keep me honest and up to date on some of that more meaty reading(and watching).

When it comes to my reading, my primary sources of fiction tend to be current mysteries and police procedurals, with the occasional Danielle Steele or Nora Roberts thrown in. Robert Crais, John Sandford, Alex Kava, Lee Child, Harlan Coban-these are my go to guys and gals. Being an avid reader though, it was time for some new authors. Somehow, I have reached that tipping point when I am current on all my favorite authors and no new books are scheduled for a few months. In other words, I needed some new author recommendations. And since I read at least a couple books a week, I needed them now. Thankfully some recommendations and a new website sent me on my successful way.

A fellow bookworm recommended the website Fantastic Fiction. Let me tell you folks, if you are also looking for books, you really need to check out this website. Not only does it list every author, it also shows each individual series-in order. So, if you were to say, want to start reading the "Prey" books by John Sandford, a quick look shows you all the books, in order they were written. Now, I know that some books and series stand fine on their own, without having read the books before, but many series are served better by reading in order as we learn the ins, outs, and quirks of each character, yes? 

Also, after hearing my plea a couple knitting friends suggested new authors, authors that I'm fairly sure some of my readers know intimately.  Since the first of the year, I've read the entire John Puller series by David Baldachi, three books by mystery author Thomas Perry including The Old Man, and more than a few similar tomes, if you will, including a couple by Catherine Coulter. What can I say, you can never read too many books or too many mysteries.

Fortunately, I belong to more than a single book group and my book groups pull tend to pull me out of my normal reading style above and into more serious fare. Because of this I have also recently read Cutting for Stone, Desperation Road, and the Wide Sargasso Sea (choose your own classic month). Surprisingly and in spite of the rave reviews, Cutting was not my favorite novel and I constantly encourage folks to read his first book, an autobiography of being an Indian doctor in Appalachia-during the aids crisis.

The Wide Sargasso Sea on the other hand, was...interesting. For those not in the know, this book is one authors attempt to explain how an exotic beauty ended up mad and chained in the attic in Jane Eyre. Without explaining or giving things away, Rochester does not come out of this particular book smelling like a rose-but then he's not the most likeable friendly fellow in the original book, either!

I can't speak for anyone else but my reading goes in cycles, and not the way you might think. During the fall I watch more TV and read less. Between football (college and pro) the World Series, basketball championships, soccer and the couple regular TV shows I watch, September to Christmas tends to be more of a TV watching time and less of a reading period. On the other hand, while it may still be darker in the evening, winter tends to be less of a TV period-I generally binge on one Amazon or Netflix show at a time and that's it.

And just in case I take my reading too seriously, the folks in my book groups keep it real. Our March book of choice?  Light reading from the dollar store, where the person whose month it is grabbed twenty paperback novels of the same title with questionable origin. Hey, reading by any other name is still reading, right? 

As for my non reading time?  I've started a log cabin knitting throw similar to this one for my living room. My genealogy calls me to my laptop on a regular basis. My immigrant/refugee ministry is very active in terms of both advocating and service, especially with the very tragic current events situation in this country. I've started on a large Easter quilt and am writing every day. 

I also signed up for senior college classes for spring (Writing and great decisions) and have tried to walk 30 minutes. And finally, since this is my year of streamining and my time, I have learned about the joys of doing-absolutely nothing.

And now, back to my current book............

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Elder Orphans, Solo Agers and More

A couple of quick notes:  You should see a few changes as I update my sidebars as I add some new bloggers and websites. Some have the same perspective as I, some do not. Also, in the future I'll be commenting on positive change and protest as much as possible for those of us wondering how to deal with the current morality. And finally, on Wednesdays, (tomorrow), Ill be adding a third blog post a week that is mainly photos. Last but not least, prior to writing this missive, I spent some time phoning one of my senators to let him know that he chose the party line over his constituents (Colorado is very blue, and he phone calls were five to one against) when voted to approve DeVos.  He'll pay for that election time in this state for sure!!!

Those of us in the boomer/retirement zone are an extremely varied dynamic. Some of us are married, some of us are not. Some of us were never married, some of us are widows and widowers. Some are divorced. Some have kids, some do not. Some are traditional marriages and some are same gender relationships. Some are caring for parents, and some are not. Some of us have extended families and some have small core family situations. Some of us are connected fully with our kids if we have them, and some are not.

The truth is that there are wide variances in boomers and retirees. And that's without beginning to discuss geographical differences, economic differences, heritage and attitudes and all the other things that make us all different.

Were we to look at commercials and general articles or photos about retirement, it would seem that all of us are one half of a couple, with grand kids and sometimes an elderly parent to care for. While many of us fit into this traditional demographic, many do not. 

Because of these differences in family structure, pundits and writers are constantly coming up with descriptors for different retirement groups.  For example, recently I learned the phrase "Elder Orphan" while visiting another blog. An Elder Orphan is one who has no spouse/partner,  adult children or companion to rely on. This group is increasing as people make differing lifestyle choices that may not necessarily include a spouse  or having kids or include a divorce. In fact, there is now an Elder Orphan Facebook group. The largest concerns that I see currently for those folks aging alone have to do with transportation (if I have outpatient surgery or if I am sick, who will drive me), Affordable housing, and the legal side of care issues.  Now, 29 percent of retirees and seniors not in facilities live alone.  I personally fall into this group although I am not an elder orphan. I also am not a "solo ager", a term I found while exploring the website Next Avenue.

A Solo Ager, is, as I understand it is someone who does not have childrejn. They may be married or not married, depending. Apparently, one in five of us do not have adult children to support us as we age. In a childless marriage, one partner is often left behind, we no spouse and no other family support. These numbers will also increase, as more and more people choose to remain childless. This group may also include those who are estranged from parents or children in their lives.

While I not big on labels per se, labels and qualifiers like the ones above do help us realize that retirement is not only about couples with kids and grand kids. Not even close. That demographic becomes a smaller part of retirement year after year.

Personally, I don't fit into either of the above categories, but like many others, probably somewhere just out the lines, or in the center if one were to use a good old Venn diagram. I am single (widowed). I have children, but one is not close enough to help me with day to day things (she would come if I had, say, major surgery), and another offspring is looking to move out of the area. While I may move closer to my kids eventually right now they are not permanently "settled", so that may not be the best option in an immediate sense.

Just as we are not a one size fits all group as retirees, I expect there is no one sized solution for our various circumstances.  And if there were, I am certainly no expert on what those options necessarily would be.  Looking ahead for myself though, there are certain things I can do for myself that can make my later years both easier for myself and make reliance on others (children and friends) less immediate or necessary.  For example, at this point my children a free spirits, and relying on the fact that the will live in the place they are now is unrealistic. However, I have planned for one more downsize (that or a 50/50 snowbird split) that would probably move me closer to one child as I age.

I also live with another retiree and have for lack of a better word, developed some "family relationships". I have some other retirees within my church and social groups on whom I could rely to bring me food if I were ill, drive me home after a colonoscopy, or simply provide emotional support. I will fully admit that this took some effort after my recent move, and that belonging to a church made a difference in this area.

I also adjusted my "home footprint" so that I can afford help for those things that others might rely on a spouse or adult child to help with. I do this both because independence is my thing, and because at this point in their lives both of my children have schedules that involve working full time, going to school full time. I choose to rely on them only when it is absolutely necessary. The end result of that of course is that when it is absolutely necessary my overworked, underpaid offspring and their partners will do what's needed. At this point in my life, I don't need them to shovel the walk, drive me places or other things. And finally, because I'm a widow and my offspring are not close, I have all the legal stuff done. If I were to have an accident or become ill, my wishes are clear to anyone. 

And my demographic? Single/widowed early retirement boomer with one independent far away child, one almost independent who will move away soon, but with other family, friends and neighbors who abound. Is there a word for that?

Monday, January 30, 2017

What's Your Love Language

Just a quick note. Almost every opposing view on this blog has been "why don't you give it a chance". Since today's blog is definitely not political as such, I'll simply say this: When it comes to human rights, equality for individuals and American values, it can take five minutes to do damage that it may take five years or more to repair. So I am open to serious thought out change where all parties are included in the discussion (remember those other arms of government?) as opposed to a quick executive action that was not thought out, probably unconstitutional, and in terms of it's implementation a cluster******* of epic proportions.

I am a gifter.  This morning, I spent my time searching through old jelly jars, thinking that for my groups and family like my sister and sisters in law I would maybe make lavender sugar scrubs for Valentine's Day. Now, I know, many of you are shaking your heads. You figure Valentine's day is only for significant others, or you think that gift giving is not frugal, or you are not in favor of gifts....

I'm one of those crazy folks who celebrates all the holidays. My adult kids will happily tell you about the times I made green eggs and ham for Dr Seuss's birthday. It is who I am. I am a person who expresses affection, love, and friendship by gifting. As a part of most of the major holidays I also give presents or goodies or cookies. Usually when I gift it is small or homemade, but not always. Mostly though, I show appreciting by making stuff and giving it away. Again, it is who I am.

I've learned that different people express affection in different ways. According to Gary Chapman, most of us express love and caring in one of five different ways: Gifts, Time, Touch, Acts of Service, or Words of affirmation and affection.  I suspect there is alot of crossover here, and few of us fit one category entirely. The truth is that in addition to being a giver, I am also a toucher.  My husband was not a toucher, and expressed his affection through gifts of time and service to me, primarily (Before we had a housekeeper, my working husband cleaned the house from top to bottom every Sunday, even when I was an at home spouse). 

Somtimes when you have different love "languages" (I think this happens more often than we know, even with couples or families that are otherwise compatible), gifting can be a confusion, or even cause hurt feelings. My husband never gave me flowers on Valentine's Day. He occasionally got me candy, and sometimes we went out to dinner, but his general way of making my Valentines day was allowing me to choose either a project around the house, or take the kids for the day and let me have the house for myself. In my case, this worked fine. I have no problem whatsoever buying my own flowers. 

The confusion, I suspect, arises if one person is absolutely convinced that the only way to show affection is with fifty dollars worth of roses. If that is your relationship then communication would be key. This is also where you come to terms with your own love language as opposed to someone else's. In other words, had flowers been extremely important to me and had I shared it often enough, my husband would have purchased me flowers at the drop of a hat.

It goes without saying, I imagine, that some of your are thinking "please don't give me something else that I have to donate/regift/whatever".  That would defeat my purpose of giving as an expression of love. So, if I have a sister who is allergic to scent (and I do), she most surely is not getting scented sugar rub for her bath or shower.

On the other hand, gifting is about letting go. Since for me the joy is in the gifting/making, once the gift is given, it belongs to that person.  He or she can use it, gift it, whatever works.  If you let the dog sleep on the handmade quilt once I have given it to you, so be it. It was never meant to hang on the wall anyway. By the same token, I feel pretty sure that my handmade sugar cookies and lavender body sugars will be a hit most of the way around. But if someone uses what I give for someone else, or puts it aside, that's mainly okay. On the one hand I want to make something enjoyed or appreciated, but on the other hand, I got enjoyment and more from putting together the gift,  ya know? 

So tomorrow, I am going down to my senator's office (the senator who says that his phones crashed because of outside agitators and "people from California"). I'm also going to be baking and freezing some of those heart shaped cookies, working on a heart quilt (for me) and gatherng together my cute little cloth bags to put things in.

Because not only is making and giving an expression of love, these days it's a stress reliever and uplifting-both of which I definitely, desperately need.

Are you a giver? How do you express affection? Are other family members on the same page??

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Day The Phone Died and Tragedy in America

Today my heart literally hurts so much that there are no words. I am ashamed to be an American. Yes, I know what it means to say that. And I know what it means to say that if you voted for this man you elected a fascist. There is no other word. If you are one of the millions who voted from Trump just because of the choice issue, or because you were afraid of "socialism", you have elected a fascist. I honestly and truly pray (every day) that we make it through the next six months. Not only should Trump hang his head in shame for what he has done to families, refugees and legal residents of this country, he should hang his head in shame because the countries with the terrorists were not banned. You cannot blame this on national security. I realize as I write these things I may lose readers. But the reality must be faced. You (we indir6ectly) elected a racist, sexist, incapable fascist who would like us to return to the human rights stances of Russia or Germany of old it seems. Yes, after today I can compare this guy to whomever I like. At this very moment, all I can do is pray. And pray again.

For those interested, this link expresses my opinion in words better than I ever could:

Meanwhile, I promised you the story of my poor injured phone.  Not too long ago, one of my mentioned goals  was to cut the technology cord for an entire day each week. Let's just say that has not gone well, and that I'm not particularly sorry as such. While I don't want to become dependent on technology, it is a part of my life, and in my case, the way I communicate with family who live all over the world.  Since I am also the Frugal Retiree, it is essential to my money saving and money making efforts.I rarely play games, and I'm usually not one of those people who goes down a "rabbit hole" for hours. I spend a couple hours each morning online, and then except for basic texting and phone calls and calendar checking, I may not be on my technology again until  after dinner (although I do passive earnings on my phone).

And then last week, well..........I was without my phone for three days. Folks, let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight (even for a woman who can receive calls and texts on her tablet). I was not a fun person to live with. Somehow, somewhere, the little button on the side had gotten stuck in the "in" position and nothing done by man or woman would adjust it. This meant that it was always on, the screen never slept, and every time I plugged it in it came on and died, came on and died, came on and died.  You get the idea. There was not a frugal or easy technology fix. It was time thank myself for paying that monthly phone insurance (with a deductible) and move on.

I really do rely on my phone for a great deal-and I have no regrets. Without my phone I could not make calls or text. But oh my goodness, that is not all!  I do a daily guided contemplative prayer break for five minutes twice a day.......and the guiding app is on my phone. I pay all my bills through my phone- and could not because I had no phone (remember, I have no laptop). My phone has a photo scanner on it-and all my family photos that I had scanned to PDF's were on my phone and could not be downloaded to shutterfly.  My grocery coupons and discounts were on my phone. Heck, my music streaming is on my phone.  I don't use a paper calendar, so my schedule was on my phone!!

Fortunately, two hundred dollars (insurance deductible) and three days later, I have a new model of the same phone-and all my apps and information have been returned to the "new phone just like my old phone". While the two hundred dollar deductible was painful for the Frugal Retiree, the alternative was no alternative for me. And for those who 6nare wondering, yes, even with the two hundred bucks I am ahead on the insurance vs non insurance continuum. At ten dollars per month, it would be a long time to break even on a seven hundred dollar phone.

And as for that technology fast a day a week? Truthfully, I am holding off on that one. As long as I'm using my tablet a couple hours in the morning, and another couple in the evening, it works for me. I'm not sacrificing anything and my life is well rounded. For now, I'll stick with what I've got. My late father was in the wine and liquor business for forty years, and as such he and my mother drank wine and occasionally liquor on a regular basis-always the good stuff, but still regularly. Every few months or so they would not drink for a few days to see how it affected them. Right now the frugal retiree is in control of her tech use. If that changes, perhaps I'll follow dad's lead, who knows?

In other news, my new, more streamlined schedule allowed me to read three books this week.  I also completed a quilt top and some other sewing. I finally (remember, all the art studio stuff I got a year ago?) have started a daily art journal. I'm also back to cooking for the church once a week, with last week being a potato bar for forty people. And my commitment to stay in bed as long as I like, and make no outside commitments before lunchtime?  That, my friends is going swimmingly, especially in the cooler (albeit pretty mild) weather. I'm getting up and grabbing a drink and journal, sitting by the front window and chilling in the morning. I've also taken piles and piles of pictures, so starting next week, blog posts should be photo heavy again, and I can amp up instagram a bit.

Hey, it works for me. At least for now.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It's Not Getting Better...................

So in today's weird news of the day, I create a post and a few hours later said post is somewhere.....I just don't know where. I know others have had this happen on blogger, but not I.  Let's just say that in the future I may want to edit in word and save the document later, do you think?

Meanwhile folks, today is the day. What day you may ask? Well, today is the day that I stop"waiting and seeing". You see, many of my friends, and non friends regular send out things like "trust Trump", "Wait and See", "Give it a Chance", or "Everything will be all right", or even "We have checks and balances in this country".  Today I say to those of you reading this who have this philosophy-I'll wait no longer. And to the fellow blogger who said yesterday that I was bashing Trump-you better believe your bottom dollar that I am. 

Our President has done the following (or promised to do so in the next day):  He intends to stop all Federal arts funding including NPR and PBS, He's ordered a wall (even though folks in Texas don't want it) and expects us to pay out of our tax dollars (does anyone actually think Mexico ever will). He's cut all federal funding to violence against women initiatives, including those that protect college students who have experienced sexual assault. He plans to sign an executive order that states that immigrants brought here as infants or toddlers be returned and deported. There will be no dream act and 700 thousand young people will be deported. He has chosen a Secretary of Defense who left the military because he left Marines to die in Afghanistan. He has chosen an education secretary who does not even know the basics about education in general. Even folks who have no kids in school have some idea what the words "Common Core" mean.

He plans to limit legal immigration, even of those skilled folks who are desperately needed for our economy, and wants immigrants who are here working to pay the US for any service used. He's resumed the pipeline, the heck with the well being or the burial grounds of those in North Dakota. He's taken is out of the trans-pacific deal (I know this is a debatable topic but most economists believe that this helps China in a huge way and farmers will suffer the greatest). He's appointed a racist who called the KKK a patriotic organization to be the head of the Justice department.

So my questions to all those who voted for this man are these: Do you even understand, on any level at all why my gay nephew and my Muslim friend are fearful?  Do you understand it's not paranoia?  Is all of this all right for you?

Because I gotta tell you, even if you put the refugee/Muslim immigration thing aside, having a Dow that closes at 200, that closes at a thousand even, does not make all the above go away for me.

Everything I have seen so far, every single thing (and I read five news sources including the BBC), leads me to believe that we are turning back at least twenty five years on human and personal rights, health care and more. I am in fact, terrified for this country and what can happen the next few years. Today a think tank stated that we are no longer a "full democracy" and I am not sure I can disagree.

So no, this is not a political blog.  On Friday I plan on telling you all about the day my phone broke and I had to wait three days for a replacement (the horror!!), and Monday's blog is all about cooking.

But I'm an activist at heart. I'm also a historian, and history tells us that "wait and see" and "give him a chance" often turns bad, and very quickly. Citizenship is not about voting every for years and then sitting back and going with the flow.  It's about making people accountable here and now. So yes, occasionally you will see political posts. Sometimes you'll see brief notes about what's happening in the world above a frugal post, or a comment about my refugee and sanctuary ministry here in the sanctuary city of Denver.

And to those who think I'm bashing Trump?  You bet!! Given a chance, I firmly believe that he will destroy this country and make himself very wealthy in the process. Does that mean I am bashing you? No. It does mean that I believe that people who voted for Mr Trump bear some responsibility for what will happen-but so do that forty percent (and I know darned well some of my readers who are included in that) who didn't bother to vote at all. 

And what truly hurts my heart is that the people who supported Mr Trump (military folks, young unemployed and disaffected folks in places like Pennsylvania, and middle class whites) could end up suffering the most when all is said and done.

And now, I'll step down off that soap box, go and call my senators for the third time today, and continue the work I need to do to make my church a sanctuary church, with all that means.

And yes, now I have a phone that works. Thank the Lord.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

You're Never Too Old To March

Just a few days ago (or so it seems), the phone switchboard-if that's what they call it- at the United States Congress crashed. Completely. Even in this age of the most modern technology, it crashed.  Why?  Because millions of people got up in the morning and called their congressmen and women. And other people's congressmen and women. Because, in a moment of complete audacity and idiocy, a group of Republicans thought it would be a good idea to completely gut the ethics committee. In other words, they wanted no oversight.

I mention this, not to discuss the politics of the situation, which I tend to think is self explanatory.  The point is not the idiocy, the point is the intervention. People can make a difference. Especially when they are in large numbers, and especially when they are active voters.  What we do and how we act in between elections matters. Voting every four years is admirable, but these days it is not enough.

Which is why, at age sixty five, walking with a limp,  I intend to walk with many other women and men here in Denver. Walking, marching...neither are the purvey of the young.  In fact, almost every person I know who is involved, locally or in DC  (my former home) are women and men closer to my age than that of my daughter or son.

Now, some will say this is whining. Some will say it's time for acceptance. Some will say I am a poor sport, and some will wonder what I hope to accomplish, or aren't I afraid that I might look silly.  The answer to the last one is no.

The answers to those other questions are fairly simple. I'm not a poor sport. I had a Bush, Bush and Reagan. While I disagreed with all of them more than once and voted for none, I believed that they were qualified and had the temperament. I also believed that they put America first. This election fits none of those criteria. I think even some conservatives and Republicans see that. And, since our future president has an approval rating almost forty points lower than the last two presidents when they took office, others see or are beginning to see as well. 

That said, why now, why this, why march? Everyone has their own reasons, but here are a few of mine:

  • We have a future president who has chosen as the head of the Justice Department one of the most racist public servants still living.  So much so that the last time he tried for any office, his own party disqualified him.  I mean, would you let Strom Thurman be that guy?
  • I have a daughter who most of her adult life has had annual physicals, mammograms, gyn tests, gotten weighted and gotten evaluated overall. All at Planned Parenthood. Note there is no mention of either abortion or birth control . Also note that without Planned Parenthood she could afford none of the above.
  • I have pre-existing conditions-more than one. As did my husband who would have been not insurable if he ever left the Federal government. As does a close friend who survived breast cancer and whose employer doesn't provide the hours for health care. As one of those with great health care, I am unwilling to kick others to the curb to fend for themselves, 20 million of them.
  • I'm a woman who has made a variety of reproductive choices over my lifetime.  Put simply, I believe everyone else should have that same right, without interference.  As my mommy (who made similar choices in her day) once said-it's between the woman, God and no one else.
  • I believe in equality, including marriage and bathroom equality for everyone, no matter gender (or much of anything else except adulthood). I hope to see my trans nephew happily married in my life time, so cabinet appointees who use words like aberration don't make me feel confident. On the contrary, it makes me start to think the clock is going to turn back-and not in a good way. Donald Trump supports bathroom bills and is against protections for the LGBT community.
  • In the same vein, I have friends of color and friends of all faiths. My daughter's best friend and the neighbor across the street for many years is Muslim. She is afraid, and I am not confident in telling her not to be. Protections and rights as we know them are under attack.
  • I oppose sexual assault, intimidation and harassment. Aside from the fact that our president elect is most likely guilty of sexual assault )more than once), he has also appointed two cabinet members who favor rolling back protection for women's rights and assault-including not punishing colleges who don't investigate sexual assault.
  • I believe we have an ethical situation in this country that is fairly unmatched, historically. We have a future president who is unwilling to separate his business, family and national interests. I have little reason to believe he will put the latter before the former two, as evidence by his refusal of blind trusts just for starters.
  • And last but not least, I believe the security of this country is in jeopardy and I say that as a former military member and foreign service employee who has tons of friends in both camps. Folks, Putin is no ones friend. He wants to rule the half of the world that China does not. If folks would actually read and learn, they would see that he is a frightening individual. Anyone who puts his relationship with a despot (personal and financial) above real American security concerns is in my opinion unqualified and deserves watching
Now, I have no idea how far I will walk, or how well. But I do know that what we do (all of us), how we act and the message we send makes a difference.  And so I march. I begin an Immigration and sanctuary ministry. I call my congressman-regularly. And I remain vigilant.  It is after all, the least I can do.

*****Polite comments, even those that are of different opinions are welcome as always on these kind of posts. insults, yelling and screaming will be deleted. Please keep it civil so I don't have to return to moderation.  Thanks everyone!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Asking The Readers: Do You Use Costco (or Sams or BJs?)

One of my goals for 2017 is to eat well while cooking less (and hopefully not spending more).  A second goal is to generally streamline my life-in terms of time more than stuff. I want to spend less time on busy work and "to do" items and more time on home pursuits (sewing, reading, general down and family time) and outside the house priorities like volunteering, knitting. book groups and challenging fun stuff.  

This has made the frugal retiree consider returning to the stocking up and buying bulk lifestyle that she had when there were multiple teenagers and teenage friends, a husband with a hollow leg, and many very hungry dogs. I mean, I certainly don't want to buy things I won't use, nor do I want my home to look like an episode of Extreme Couponers. I just would rather purchase things that I use regularly on a multi month basis instead of every week, couple of weeks or even month.

In case you haven't guessed, I hate shopping and doing errands. I make an exception in the case of fabric and crafting supplies, but usually get those in large amounts online. I know folks who use errands for exercise, getting out of the house or socialization. That is not me.

Which leads me to  the topic of those warehouse clubs or Amazon subscription service. In addition to the non shopping issue, we have some very different dietary needs and eating times in this house on occasion. I have a college student with high cholesterol who should only eat lean meat and goes to school full time and works forty hours. His dinner time, when he is home is often at  midnight. I can eat all the meat and fat I want within reason, but cannot eat carbs. The person who shares this house has her own quirks. We have a working baby boomer, a retired baby boomer, an  a twenty something college student.

So on some level my goal I suppose is to have easy options for different people as well as shopping in bulk. My recollection from previous warehouse clubs is that, for example, you can get large packages of chicken breasts with each individually wrapped.  Yes, I could buy many pounds and repackage, but the chance of my doing it is slim to one.

Since I never said goodbye to my large chest freezer, my plan is to start buying large amounts of stuff one at a time each week, until I am where I need to be. In other words I am not liable to walk out of a warehouse club with five hundred dollars worth of items.

Since I would not be buying large amounts of everything, I'm trying to decide if the membership does in fact "pay for itself", in convenience, if not in money.  

Yesterday my son quipped that I should probably call this year the "year of convenience" or the year of "let someone else do it".  Yes, and no.  I am still the Frugal Retiree. I cut coupons, I clean my own house. I make my own gifts. But I did promise myself that I would spend as much time as possible on those things that bring value and as little time as possible on those things that don't bring value-busy work if you will.

Now, I have a friend who loves to shop and hates to clean her house. Her idea of streamlining will different. Right now I am happy to limit going into stores, cut down on cooking, and take advantage of the occasional fluff and fold service.

Meanwhile, talk to me. Have you ever belonged to a warehouse club? Do you now?  If so what do you buy? Have you ever ordered from Amazon subscribe and save (for say, something like large bags of dog food). What was your experience. Do you think it saved money or time? Both? Neither? Let me have it!