Monday, November 23, 2015

Doing VS Planning in Retirement

For the past few weeks, I've been "organizing" and "planning" for my new year of retirement. I spent a fair amount of time looking at the past year (or two), deciding on what was important to me in retirement.  I wanted to make sure that I was spending my time and money where it mattered in terms of retirement value.

The good news result was that I identified four major areas, as I said elsewhere.  These included home/family, spiritual/volunteer, health, travel, and personal challenge (education, creativity and engagement). Yes, I'm still working on a better title for that last category!  I also made a rough list of projects I want to do, places I want to go, and more.

Now the organized amongst my readers would say this was a valuable task, worth doing, and on one level I suppose they are right. I've figured out where my limited budget should go, I identified more interests than you can count, and I am on track again to do some major traveling after spending a year and a half mainly adjusting to new house and home.

On the other hand,this was time spend planning, instead of time spent "doing". I appreciate a certain amount of organization. I also realize that it is valuable once a year at least to figure out where the money has gone and where I would like it to go.  It is not something I personally would choose to do on say, a monthly or weekly basis.  I prefer to just get up in the morning and "do", rather than plan the day. Certainly there are a few things in my life that I use to give it some structure-planning dinner the night before, using my out of the house activity commitments as a scheduling tool, and at least attempting to pray and exercise in the morning before I do anything else.

Now most of us are both planners and doers, don't get me wrong, it's just where the emphasis is in your retirement. I know one former blogger who plans their trips fairly minute by minute and it works for them. I tend to make sure I have a place to stay and the car is loaded and head out from there, knowing somehow I always manage to find plenty of things to do.

Since I've made those budget and time commitment adjustments, it's time to get back to the action of retirement.  While I'll be sharing what those goals are later, my stream of consciousness planning method has left me with a long list of projects.  I'm sure I'll come up with more. Meanwhile, I think I have plenty to keep me in retirement, now and in the new year, don't you agree?

I want to:
  • Make a rough plan of my gulf trip vacation (Colorado to Padre Island Texas along to coast to Mobile and then back up the Mississippi River to St Louis and home)
  • Same project for my train trip to California
  • Start on a room by room mission in my little house-cleaning and making a list of what I want to do or fix and what I need to buy, and choosing colors
  • Continue with my picture journalism (taking old family pictures, putting one on a page and writing everything I remember about the time and the picture)
  • Do at least four special things (one a week) for the Christmas holiday-including the trail of lights and at least one concert
  • Take one weekend exploration each month 
  • Actually use the fireplaces (inside and out) this year. My house is so well insulated that they are not a need, but I missed the ambiance last year.
  • Make a family recipe book for both my adult kids - I need to start gleaning recipes from other family members
  • Take at least one class when I am not traveling-this time on income inequality and the Wyeth family.
  • Do some basic genealogy research, starting with my daughters family medical history and moving on.
  • Make a quilt and a scarf for charity every month if possible.
  • Travel quarterly to Texas at least to visit family and friends
  • I have some quilt and sewing designs and I need to get them out of my head onto paper and then to PDF form-perhaps to sell, perhaps not
  • I want to design a web page for my son's little business, and help him come up with cold weather landscaping and odd job services.
  • I plan to start a second, creative blog both for sharing and selling, and showing how to's
  • I've decided to do the basics to become a cottage food seller and move my cookies and so on to the next level of selling cookie trays-seasonally only
  • I want to do some research on long term house sitting as a vacation tool-I'm not into trading homes.
  • I'm going to try and start a new meet up type group, either for crafting or a book group, depending
  • I've taken on the project of teaching slow cooker cooking skills to residential homeless women who are veterans. I also agreed to set up a lending closet (starting with clothing and the basics) for this new shelter
  • I've started experimenting with essential oils and natural products to make solid lotion bars, pain lotion bars and more.
  • I've taken a new idea under consideration-a blog about Denver on the Cheap or Colorado on the cheap - this would be a completely new idea and would require daily research. I also need to see if there would be an interest on a living cheap blog that is not family oriented.
  • As part of increasing my health, I'm learning to self massage as well as getting regular massages on an as needed bass.
  • I have had two E books in mind for a long time. One about living richly on a fixed income and another a DIY type of book. Time to stop talking and start doing.
  • I've really wanted to find an online class that helps me with my phone photography. 
  • I created a new, exercise routine to do indoors mainly for me, and I need to implement it (trying to do a half hour aerobics routine when you walk unevenly is difficult. The goal is to exercise without having the prominent side hurting afterwards)
 And there you have it, my early winter list of things to do. Add to this list my every day reading, relaxing, exercising and I think it makes for a full few months. I'm sure other things will come up, and whether all of this will be completed (or even started) before I begin to travel at the end of February is any one's guess.  One thing is for sure, now that I am ready for the doing, there is plenty to do!

And so it goes, this Monday in retirement!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Learning in Retirement-My First Experience with OLLI

Recently I finished taking two "senior" classes through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute here in Denver.  While this was by no means my first experience in learning or education in retirement, it was the first time I became involved with this particular system.

As some readers may remember, in Texas I took college credits through the local college system. I was not sure if I wanted to pursue an actual art degree, so I took both classes I liked and that were advanced, and some basic requirement classes (Texas government, since I was living in Texas). I enjoyed those classes for a variety of reasons.  Academically, they were challenging, even those art classes that were in my area of expertise. I am a firm believer that youth keeps us young, and as such usually go out of my way to surround myself with people of all ages. Rather than be embarrassed at being the oldster in the group of college kids, I embraced it.  Unfortunately, being me, I went at the thing full throttle, and after two semesters of eighteen hours of credit courses I realized I did not want to stretch myself quite that much during this time of retirement.

I also have had the full experience of online classes through Coursera and various other online sources.  While I found almost all of these courses fun and challenging, I realized that I was missing the human classroom interaction. For me at least the online chat room just was not the same!

Enter OLLI, or the Osher Lifelong Learning Center.  I decided that this might be exactly what I was looking for at this time of my life. Classes varied in how much reading and or "homework' there was.  There were classes on about fifty different topics. I also realized that Osher was a community as well.  While I registered late and was lucky to find any courses (more about that below), I soon was invited to a summer picnic, a Denver walking tour, and many other activities outside the basic classroom. Also, at least once a week, there was a lunch speaker.

All in all I enjoyed my classes, even though one of said classes was not the right fit for me.  My first class was Tuesday morning and it was a "great decisions class". Class involved reading some articles each week, watching a video on a variety of topics from the refugee crisis to Russia's place in the world, and having a fairly rousing discussion afterwards (a discussion that was mighty civil considering the obvious fact that the attendees ranged from my left wing hippy self to at least one fellow to the right of John Birch). I thoroughly enjoyed this one, from the readings to the discussions.

The second class I took was a memoir writing class. Since I'm involved in some halfway serious family writing (journaling based on old pictures) and had never actually taken a writing class, I figured this might be a good fit.  While the instructor was wonderful, this was not for me. This particular class was directed at people who wanted to write memoirs, literally. In addition to writing practice, the instructor spent a fair amount  of time talking about turning writing family memoirs in book form. While I am writing a book, my book is not a memoir and as such I kind of felt out of place in this class and with the assignments.  Also, everyone was expected to write about things such as sad or painful events and then share with the class.  THAT is so not me. While I would like to find a writing group at some point, this class was not in the direction I wanted to go.

I did meet many new folks in class, so that made both classes a win on one level. More importantly, I enjoyed both classes and the experience enough that I will repeat the experience in the winter (I travel in the spring).  I missed the early registration, but have sent in my check, with my goal to sign up for two classes. This past fall, I took two classes on the same day, staying for lunch and walking around the building in between classes. This time my desired classes (Dealing with Income Equality, and What Happened to Community) are on different days. However, classes are less than fifteen minutes away. So on one morning and one afternoon (not the same days), I will be off to the church that serves as the classroom center for Osher learning.

I would say that my first experience with the Osher center was extremely positive. I can only hope I enjoy my winter classes as at least as much as the ones I took this past fall, and that I made better class choices.  Either way, being challenged mentally is an important part of retirement, and learning while interacting with others is a great way to constantly keep that mentality in high gear.

And so it goes, this Wednesday in Retirement


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Using Marijuana for Arthritis Pain - An Update

 Hey everyone, I keep talking about giving a summary of my pot usage experiment to date and never get there, so here we go. This is just a quick summary of my experience to date and how it's helping me. However, after my missive at the bottom there is a list of questions people have asked me (Do you get high??  How do you know it really works?? Is there research??) separate from my blog post. Feel free to check it out!

Way back in July, I wrote about my decision to explore marijuana as both therapy and pain treatment for my arthritis/fibro.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have severe arthritis in one knee (that affects my walking and makes the other knee hurt), muscle pain, and nerve damage on the knee. I also had restless sleep issues.  This post is about what has happened since I first wrote that post and made that first trip.

If readers would like to learn more about my knee, knee treatments or therapies I have explored, please feel free to read here, here, and here. That first link above also describes my first experience of purchasing pot.

It's now four months later and I am taking pot edibles regularly at at bedtime.  I am thrilled with the results. When I decided to embark upon this experience, sleep and night time knee pain was the first concern on my list. I also felt that by getting more sleep, I would be better prepared to deal with most other retirement challenges.

 Every night, I eat a chocolate chip cookie, and every night it knocks me out. I take this cookie approximately two hours before I plan to sleep ( I am generally in bed a hour ahead of time, reading or knitting). Sometime after that first hour, I start slowly going down. Sometimes if I am doing something and not paying attention, it hits fairly quickly-as when I was doing the NY Times crossword the other night and looked down and realized I could not think of a single clue. I am gone, folks, gone. Just not so far gone that I cannot make a midnight bathroom trip if middle aged nature calls. 

Don't get me wrong, I still do wake up on occasion. I take the above mentioned breaks, and occasionally I get Restless Leg Syndrome from another medication. Invariable, I eventually go back to sleep. I've even considered moving up to more than one cookie, although first I want to try taking non-drowsy marijuana during the day to see how it affects my pain when it is not putting me to sleep.

The bottom line is that taking marijuana has made a huge difference. For example,  I did not take the cookies with me on my trip to SD or my visit to Texas last summer-and I paid the price. In the future, these cookies will go into double Ziploc bags in my purse. If the Texas police actually pull over the middle aged lady with the dog, the SUV and the handicapped plates, my kids will just have to have bail money ready.

At this point I am so happy with my results in terms of sleep, discomfort and help, is that my next step is to move up to non drowsy day time edibles and see how they affect my comfort while not putting me to sleep at the same time. Because I will not drive while taking the edibles, I will only be able to take them on those days when I have no outside commitments-at least until I see how they affect me.

So far, my use of pot has been recreational (in legal terms). That means that while I am using it for comfort rather than enjoyment, I am buying it over the counter rather than via a medical card.  My other next step is to make a doctors appointment and get a medical card.  Why, you may ask?  Because a medical card means I only have to pay seven percent instead of twenty five percent tax (yes, the state is making a killing), because I can then buy a months supply and because I can purchase higher dosed cookies.  All things I am looking forward to. 

I've also purchased topical options, I like them better than traditional topicals, although I am not sure how much stronger the salve I am currently using actually is (I started with the rub that had the least amount of THC and am now ready to move onward).  It seems to work better and keep my leg feeling warmer much longer than say, Ben Gay.  Of course it's also warm rather than cold and has a good smell.  This week I'll be starting on a stronger rub, and I'll let you know how it goes.

Finally, shopping for pot is on a par with shopping for any other item, albeit more controlled. As the pictures show, my local store has a reception area just as any other business would. It then has two entrances, one for medical purchases and one for recreational shopping. The immediate neighborhood has restaurants, a body shop, a burger king and piles of antique shops. Two blocks away are residential homes  Put simply, this is no back alley or head shop, and on any given day I might see a 21 year old kid, someone older than myself, someone ill, or just your average neighborhood fellow stopping by after work.

To make a long story short, as far as I can see, this is the smartest thing I've done in a while-with no down side so far.  Now that I've gotten this far, as I said, I plan to expand to daytime therapy and look at stronger rubs. I'll continue to experiment.

Bottom line? While I am no expert, I would encourage someone with discomfort, sleeplessness, diabetes or other medical issues to at least look at marijuana as an alternative, if you can do so legally. I'm certainly glad I did.

And there you have it, a brief summary of my marijuana experience to date.  Let me know what you think.  Would you do the same??

And so it goes! 

Note: As a follow up, I have received many comments, questions and emails (probably on this topic more than any other in total).  Below I've tried to answer all those comments and questions from my own experience. Some answers may duplicate what I wrote above. However, do remember that this is about my personal experience and observations and not a comprehensive guide to pot use or to pot in Colorado.    

  • First, the obvious. Has it worked? As already mentioned, my answer is a resounding yes, with regard to what I have purchased and experimented with so far. 
  • Are there any side effects?  No.  As always, I wake up when I wake up, except for one morning a week. I have no hangover experience, no lethargy (other than my normal, I'm so not a morning person but I have a meeting at nine, kind of thing). It does not affect my stomach, my appetite, or anything else.
  • Do you get high?  I would say not, I suppose an expert could better explain. I take this cookie to sleep, not to relax, and it puts me to sleep, still allowing me to wake if someone comes in and says its an emergency or to go to the bathroom. I imagine if I ate less, I would take longer to sleep and might get that "wasted" feeling.
  • How do you know it's not just the placebo effect.  I'm an intelligent woman, who, like lots of other intelligent folks, knows her body fairly well. Regular readers know that I've experimented with herbs and supplements, aromatherapy, and arthritis massage, among other things. Some of those have worked, some have not. I think my own anecdotal evidence is pretty good, but there is research and opinion aside from mine.
  • What do your regular doctors think, and do you tell them? I tell everyone. I live in a legal state, and list this just as I would a daily aspirin or multi vitamin. I'm not opposing medical care, I'm supplementing. My orthopedics response was "Well, you can't take anymore Tylenol arthritis than you are. So if this is working for you, then I don't have to move you to prescription pain killers".  This is the same guy that also prescribed physical therapy and knee injections, which I had.
  • Do you really think it's safe?  I can understand recreational pot, but there really isn't any research yet.  Yes, I do, and yes, there is. While the research in this country is limited, it does exist on a small scale-including one study which shows half of the patients with Crohn's disease finding all symptoms gone, and another showing lowered prevalence of diabetes in marijuana users.  Since most research in this country is funded by the NIH or other federal programs, until the feds start shining a light you know where, research will stay stagnant. There are however, research results in other countries, many of which have better research facilities than we do and cutting edge care-even if they don't have legal pot. I can share what I found at request.  Also, let's not discount the huge amount of similar anecdotal experiences.
  • Why haven't you tried it during the day?  That's next on my list. My first concern was sleeping through the night, or getting close.  I was meaning to try edibles during the daylight hours to see if they put me to sleep, and then one of the folks at the place I go shared a candy option that I can use during the day that does not make you sleepy or lethargic.  While I certainly would not drive while using this stuff, I could sew, cook and use it at home on those non driving days.
Now, as to the pot purchasing and regulation
  • The places I buy pot are really like any other regulated retail item. See above for more.
  • The state has regulations in place.  Every time I walk into the place, no matter how often, I show my driver's license even though 21 has been and gone. I assume that's to track the folks that come in from other states, but I have not asked.  The first time I took this step, my son took me. Even though he was just my escort (that was when I had done my spiral knee sprain), he was "carded" as well.  You cannot smoke in public or drive "buzzed."
  • The main difference between medical and recreational is dosage and cost, in my personal experience.  See my comment above I have yet to get a "medical card".  This does not stop me from buying anything so far. It does increase my cost. The total tax on my purchase was, I believe, 25 percent, and with a medical card I would be paying 7 percent or so (that's right folks, the city and state are making a bundle!!).  Also, as the manager of my store told me today, with a medical card I could get a larger amount of marijuana (in whatever form) at one time, and with higher concentrations. So seeing an approving doctor is on my list.
Any questions?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Moving into Organizational Mode for Fall and Winter

Sorry folks, I came back and then I disappeared. Had an emergent issue to resolve and was trying to sew for that seasonal opportunity (which I've now dropped, more on that later). Expect a couple blogs  each week, usually on Monday and Thursday!

Regular readers know that I am one of those folks who tends to live seasonally in the extreme.  I tend to be very lazy in the summer, for example. Summer is for down time, for enjoying the yard and the neighborhood, for relaxing travel such as a trip to the beach or the amusement park. Dining is casual and it is a very slow time for me.  Most of my regular activities tend to cancel in the summer or have more irregular meeting schedules as others also travel, take long drives or take the grand kids to the amusement park.

   On the other hand, fall has traditionally been more of an organizational and preparation time.  Rather than spring cleaning, I do things like that in the fall, in preparation for the cool weather. I shop and cook differently. This is the time I plan for those early spring trips when I am ready to leave the cold for awhile. It's the time I want the house cleanest for those holiday dinners, and it's the time I look into cool weather clothing in earnest, to make sure I am prepared. I also like to give a serious look at my schedule and plans for the new year, re-evaluating my priorities. This is not about things like caulking my house, or putting away lawn furniture (which we don't generally do here in Colorado). It's about "getting it together" if you will.

I haven't gotten nearly as far as I wanted to on this list of things to do. Early fall brought me  commitments from Olli classes, extreme volunteering, and a couple Indian Summer-ish road trips,  

This week, because classes have ended and there is the Veteran's Day holiday (two of my regular gigs are on Wednesdays), I have more free time and good weather, so I have made a list of things to do (yes, everyone, you read that right-I made a to do list for the next couple of weeks)  Because I am who I am, the chances of me finishing this list in a two weeks is, of course, not in the cards. Nevertheless, these are the things I want to get done......sometime soon!!
  • Clean out the freezers and make a list of what the heck is in there. Even though this is a two person household, we have full freezers. I've written before about how I shop for so little per month, and buying loss leader meats and coking large amounts of things and freezing them in two person sizes is a big one. 
  • Finish my annual evaluation and set priorities as to how I want to spend my time and energies in the new year. I've already set those priorities as health, home and family, church and community, travel and creativity/education/engagement (still can't find a single title for that one). Now to plan some specific implementation if you will.
  • Organize my closet for my lifestyle.  I'll never be a part of the 333 clothing project, for two reasons.  First, I live in a climate where it can be 70 one day and 21 degrees the next (and sometimes both on the same day).  Second, I rely on help to get down the stairs to do my laundry (this house is retirement perfect except there is no place for a washer and dryer on the first floor). That said, my aim is to make sure everything goes together and that I have nothing in my closet I do not wear.
  • Organize the trusty studio. This is the busiest time of the sewing year for me, even when I am only sewing for friends and gifts. I recently added shelves and a table, and need to sit down and figure out all the fabric I have (along with paints, scrapbook supplies and more). At this rate, I'll be making a Christmas quilt and a team quilt a week-so I need to be at least a little bit organized.
  • Go through the Christmas stuff early. Every year I realize I have Christmas stuff I don't use, and every year I promise to gift it to kids who may want it or donate. This year my plan is to get two bins, give each child the ornaments I got them as kids and divide some other stuff-possibly creating a beginning Christmas Village for each kid.
  • Clean the fireplace and get Dura-logs. This is not an organizing deal as such, but it's gotta get done!
  • Do a major clean of each room.  I do not clean my house as a rule in the real sense. I clean the bathrooms, and I vacuum a dust a couple times a week as the need hits. Other than that, I clean the inside of the microwave after dinner if it needs it.  So doing a top to bottom clean is, like, out of my comfort zone. 
  • Block out specific dates for things like my long term spring road trip, and other events so that I can plan, budget and organize in advance on some level. I'm a seat of my pants gal when it comes to things like travel and entertainment, as most know. I also know that when it comes to getting good deals, one either looks far ahead or at the last minute.
  • Shred, shred, and shred. Or start taking boxes of shredding to UPS bit by bit. I went through my files, including taxes that I had from, get this, 1994!!  I now have a full bin of papers that need to be shredded or hand torn. I guess this is my new in front of the TV project!
  • Finally, I have GOT to get those family recipes and pictures organized for the recipe books I hope to give family members for Christmas.  I may not have a picture of every cookie or plate, but I am working on it.
And there you have them, my good intentions. These will be the basis for a blog a week I imagine, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Now, I'm off to have warm pumpkin pie and whipped cream for lunch (don't judge me too harshly). 

Coming in the next couple of days, and update on my Olli class experience as well as an involved post about me, pot, and my arthritis.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Thoughts on Volunteering in Retirement

Oh dear!! So it looks like two blog posts have entered the cloud somewhere, I'm trying to revive them.  Be patient and welcome back!

On Thursday mornings, I man the front desk at a residential shelter for women with special needs.  These gals had to have been physically homeless for two full years before they are accepted (as opposed to homeless and sleeping on couches). The shelter allows these women to stay for as long as they need, while staff helps them to get benefits they are due, helps them try to find living situations and more.  Unlike regular shelters, this one does not kick women out for having a drink as long as it is off premises and they recognize that after living on the street for two years, it will take a long time for them to re-learn how to function.

At first glance, this particular volunteer gig seems rather unromantic, or not a "fun" volunteer thing. Some days this is true. Most days though, I get to interact with all the women (giving out meds, doing crafts, helping decorate and just being there).  The thing is though, I do this particular chore because it is a need.  Sometimes filling needs is warm and fuzzy and sometimes filling a need as a volunteer is done simply because it has to be done.  

In this particular shelter, the funding allows for one staff for twenty women at a time.  That person is a caseworker, and she was so taken with busy work (handing out meds, answering the phone, helping some one in the kitchen) that she never had a chance, ever to work with clients one on one, with a closed door.  That's where I and others come in. When we first began volunteering with this organization, we had a meeting.  Rather than deciding what we wanted to do, we asked about needs. This was identified as one of their two most important needs.  So while I also cook dinner and plan evening crafts, and decorate for every holiday, I perform this service once a week.

Recently, in preparation for the new year, I did some introspection as to where my money and my energies should go in the next year (or time and treasure, for the church goers among us).  In the coming year, I'm committing to five major areas (as mentioned in the post that went missing). These are home and family, travel, health, volunteerism, and personal challenge and creativity (still looking for that right phrase).

Whether to volunteer has not been a question for me. It has always been something I was committed to. When I was searching for a new church, the amount of outreach it's members did was very high on my list. So I never had the "should I include volunteering as part of my retirement" questions. Doing so was high on my hierarchy scale, if you will.  However, I had other retirement priorities as well, and merging volunteerism into that new schedule took some time. I am not an expert on volunteerism by any means, but there are a few things I have learned along the way from myself and other retirees who volunteer.

For example, the people I know who enjoy volunteering the most are the ones who have found a true Need with a capital N. They look for the places with the big needs, and then find ways to fit their skills and likes into those  needs.  Big needs are not necessarily working with the homeless, but they are the kind of needs that are most desperate and difficult to fill, and often in the places where change is most desperately needed.

 We also find the most satisfaction when we are volunteering with, rather than to.  On my Friday night dinners and craft events, we sit and eat with the homeless women we serve-this is more than bringing food and standing behind a table while people file through in line. The friends I have who volunteer in schools and enjoy it most are those who actually get down on the floor and read to kids out loud, rather than the ones who file the books, although both are always needed.

Because I (and most of my retiree friends) travel at least part of the year, we make an effort to contribute in a way that allows for volunteering by others when we are gone. In other words, while I lead a team that feeds homeless women, I can be gone for three weeks and the world will not fall. Even at my front desk duties, I can trade off. I can go on vacation without feeling that I am letting anyone down.

We recognize that volunteering (for most retirees at last), is just part of our retirement lifestyle.  We still need room for family, recreation, rejuvenation, travel and more.  And, just as with the old "put your mask on first" cliche, we are better at helping others when we are healthy and have less issues of our own.

We prefer to volunteer in an area we truly care about (and where if possible we can use our unique gifts/hobbies/experiences).  If I were to be the expert on volunteering in retirement, my suggestions would be simple. First tell me which issues bother you the most (hunger, children, housing, the number of people in jail, neighborhood environment, or more). Then start looking for where you help in that area.  Don't wait for people to ask, or advertise. Call Habitat for Humanity, your local literacy program, head start, your neighborhood watch, whatever it is.

It certainly took me a while to find the best places to volunteer, the ones that work for me. At this point in retirement I have been able to volunteer in places that matter to me. I've also been able to volunteer from home by making quilts, hats and scarves for people, so for me, volunteering is both about leaving the house and doing so at home.

Because doing what I can to help others is important to me, as is helping my church do the same, I have committed both money and time and effort in my volunteering adventure, and have decided to continue that journey in full in the coming year. For me, this means that I have a charity/volunteering line item in my budget-separate from church giving.  It works for me.

Lastly, let me say this. No matter where you live, there is a need for volunteers. The needs may not be well advertised, and you may have some trial and error as you look for the right fit.  Be patient. Call agencies instead of waiting for notices.  Search for agencies and places you might not at first think needs help.  Habitat for Humanity is a good example.  While they need builders, they also need people to provide food for the builders, make things and help purchase things for the new homeowners, help fund raise, and do the dirty work of hauling stuff away when they remodel.

It may take a while to find the right place and time to volunteer, but once that happens, volunteering is in my experience an important part of a rich retirement.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Coming Soon.....................

Thank you everyone, for your emails and comments on the blog.  Now that I've had time to sit back and consider, I have decided that being me, I'll continue onward.  The direction of this blog may change in some ways, but I believe it is for the better.

There will be more shorter articles, along with more of the "How I did that", or "How I managed to afford that", including some very specific DIY projects.  I'll also be continuing to write about living richly in retirement, with an emphasis on living richly on a fixed income.  And finally, there will be new blog posts on a variety of topics I have been thinking on, researching and wanted to tackle, from my medicare option and research, to much more on widowhood and single retirement and more.

See you soon!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Has The Time Come??

 I do love my readers.  When I wrote this earlier in the day, I received encouragement from a variety of sources as to how I ccould continue this blog.  Many people reminded me that at one time I had considered turning this into a lifestyle blog, as that was where my true interest lies.  So read below and tell me what you think!

 For the past month or so, I have had some difficulty writing on this blog.  This is not because my life has become so boring. On the contrary, life has become busy and interesting, and I a doing a wider array of things than I was earlier due to my move and adjustment.  The problem is that I don't really want to sit down and write-at least about the same thing I am writing about now.

I am not a "writer" as such. I began this blog with a specific goal-to share my journey as a retiree living on a fixed monthly income.  I think I've done that, and in fact every time I sit down to write about fixed income living, I think to myself-but I already wrote about that.

I've written about my experiences on urban vs suburban frugality, downsizing and relocation,  how I purchase groceries frugally, how I travel on less than 200 a day (and that number continues to go down all the time) I've written on how I find both time and money for all my hobbies (many of them "expensive).  I've shared all the ways I find to purchase free things and do fun expensive things on a budget.

For the first year after moving to Denver, I was readjusting to a new place and climate.  I also had a great deal to share about my downsizing experience, from the move itself, selling a house, finding a new place to live and what to keep and give away. I've written about working in retirement, having your own business in retirement, and having grown children live with you in retirement.

Lately, I have not had the same love and energy for writing and I think readers can see that. I am also not a person to write any kind of daily or weekly diary as such. There are some wonderful bloggers who do that, and I visit their blogs regularly.

So at this point I am at a crossroads. I can stop by every few weeks and leave a blog post (again, works for many but not for me). I can say farewell and leave this blog up as reference, or I can change this blog into a different animal entirely.  You tell me.

I am always asked for specifics on how I pack for vacation, make boot cuffs out of old sweaters, make a candy vase, plan for a solo cross country trip-and more. I also get email requests for more about life in Denver and it's surroundings and have hesitated to write about that as I think others do so much better. In other words this would be more of a lifestyle/diy/travel blog, with a retirement and fixed income slant. Blogs would be shorter and more photo heavy. The question of course, is whether that is what readers want to see and here, and if I have enough to share to be interesting.

At this point I am going to think about life, writing and all of other life's questions for a few days. I need to decide if I can commit to blogging regularly, if I have enough to share outside of frugal retirement, and whether this direction works while keeping the title and URL of the blog.

This post was originally a "farewell forever post.  While I've been persuaded to reconsider and look to a new direction, I am not sure what I will do. This has to be something I enjoy, but it also needs to be something people will read, and enjoy reading.  So I ask you all. What do you think?

I've been blogging since 2009 here, and earlier elsewhere.  Whether this will be a permanent break,  lead me to a new blog, or something more-or less-I do not know. Meanwhile, thank you everyone, I hope you will share your opinions on any thoughts today or any other time.