Friday, December 13, 2013

Retirement Goal Planning, Experimental Cooking and Other Thoughts

.The last few days, I've been sitting with my calendar and trying to do some goal planning for the coming year. As most regular readers know, this is not my style. I am mainly a casual seat of the pants girl in retirement. My goal planning, financial and otherwise, is entirely unscientific.As with many other retirees I tend to keep a journal (in my case I carry it wherever I go,and it generally includes everything from dreams to my grocery list).  I make rough notes and then try and go back and organize my thought by category when I can.

I should add that being someone who does things in the reverse, I continue this trend in budget planning. Common wisdom would say to figure out the monthly "nut" and then move on to everything else. I start with everything I want to do and then look to that monthly load to see where and if I can make adjustments. Online budget tools like are great for this purpose.

While I'm still in the planning phase, my rough notes for the coming year include the following:

  • Take that trip to the California coast by train, and get at least one good gulf coast visit in during my trips to Texas. Take as different a route as possible every trip south. Explore the local area from Jackson Hole onward. This means two long trips this year, a weekend trip a month.
  • Decide if I want to look at going back to Germany next Christmas or the following summer. Plan to go back to the east coast.
  • Get rid of the sewing business or at least revamp it. No more online store or sales. Sew for fun and friends and look to teach classes and put unique items in consignment shops and galleries.
  • Spend some time working on this house. I'm not the yard do it yourselfer but we want a covered patio, we have a gazebo, I need to decide how else to divide or patio space and rope off dogs.  Help when I can.
  • Replace good furniture (especially in bedroom) left behind and remind people to downsize AFTER they have moved-not before (a post in and of itself). Replacing my good stuff is more costly than moving and storage.
  • Try an Osher lifelong learning class and see what I think. See if it can compare to the multi age regular college classes I do-that cost more.
  • Take a class in welding (if not more classes) as well as fiber arts classes.
  • Do more writing and take a class a semester not art related.
  • Decompress and seriously control online time not related to various blogs and classes. Keep up with my no technology on Sunday determination to the fullest.
  • Find a book group!!!!! Find a movie group!!
  • Read one non fiction and one so called classic book a month.
  • Leave 200 dollars not budgeted a month if possible (this is after all other budget lines)
  • Leave a third to half of any given day completely unplanned unless I have a meeting or volunteer comittment. I'm never at a loss of things to do and like my me time. a
  • As soon as son is an in state student, stop with all financial assistance except living and eating here (that will be June). Be willing to subsidize to have independent
  • Work on seriously building up our joint errand and odd jobs business and start marketing to businesses such as Realtors as well as seniors. Spend money if needed.
  • Keep on trying to move in some way at least five days a week-don't obsess on sweating or hurting, just the moving
  • Which leads to treating my body the way it wants to be treated-avoid stairs at all costs unless traveling, keep weight off the knee, stop exercising except in a pool when in pain. No pain no gain does not apply to my situation.  What others do or suggest is not right for me.
  • Explore cooking some more, experimenting. Don't have to love it, just do it.
  • Look at the home food business act in Colorado and see if I want to start selling hand decorated and baked items or just write about it (more soon).
  • Find a more intensive "with" not "for" volunteer opportunity, one that can survive my long vacations twice a year.
  • Find a bible study or church book study group midweek that is not half an hour away
  • Try yoga or some other activity that encourages some stillness and meditation
This is just a beginning list. I need to fine tune, I have more notes to add and I need to deal with both calendar and financial issues. Slowly but surely though, I'm getting some idea of what my new year in retirement will look like!

Meanwhile, I've been attempting to do some food experimentation. I've mentioned before that I don't love to cook. I do however love to eat. I'm trying to rope my already low food budget in a tiny bit.  The end result of all this is that I am only buying those so called loss leader meats and such-at least up until summer grilling time.  This means that on occasion I am dealing with cuts that I have not traditionally cooked with. This weeks major deal in my area was a pork shoulder roast. Something I am sure many readers have cooked but is out of my normal repetoire. Being a mainly lazy cook( except for baking, of course) immediately searched for slow cooker and easy roasting recipes. While I'm still looking I even found one that cooks in the slow cooker with apple jelly and mustard and seasonings.  Who knew?  Meanwhile, my sister is of course, making Beef Wellington for Sunday dinner.

Continuing my food exploration, I've decided on some food gifts for Christmas. So far I am making orange chocolate bark, homemade crackers (Parmesan walnut and chili cornbread) and chocolate covered coffee beans. Pictures and results of that and cookie making coming soon.

And so it goes............


  1. Barb, our Osher program includes the ability to audit regular classes at zero cost. Many of our members join for this sole reason, never attending OLLI courses at all.

    Myself, I really do enjoy the sweet OLLI folk, and am thoroughly enjoying the computer courses I'm now teaching. My students all think of me as brilliant and young, both of which are great for my ego!

  2. Unfortunately that is not the case here, I cannot use that membership to attend or audit other classes-that surely does not rule it out-I will give it a chance. Especially since I am an out of state student until April!!!

  3. Yikes! I'm still planning Christmas! (But I'm also trying to make some arrangements for Florida in January. And I DO admire your goals and your foresight.

  4. Check out your local public library for a book group. Publib libraries usually host them. Rosy

  5. Rosy that's certainly a possibility, however the library is not close to me, so I was hoping to find church or other book group!

  6. Hi Barb, that's an exhausting list. I'm still trying to make it to the end of this year. Surprised you are thinking of doing away with your sewing business, but like the idea of a food business. You have given a lot of thought to what's next.

  7. Not doing away with it Suzanne, just going in another direction. I prefer to make larger quilts and one of a kind items. the nature of etsy and craft sales and such is that smaller items do very well. Similar shapes and items with wide fabric options-which is something Carla, for example, does very well. I want to concentrate on teaching, and consigning unique items in stores and perhaps trying a few shows.

    Its just a starting list, trust me

  8. My goodness. You are making me think that I should list my goals very soon. Kind of like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, my mind is saying. "I'm late, I'm late"

    Seriously though you have some wonderful goals for the upcoming year. I am looking forward to reading your completed list.

    God bless.

  9. Well I figure that the average American that isn't going to live very lavishly would need maybe around 2,000-2,500 Dollars a month during retirement, but obviously that would/could change depending on how they choose to live. As far as picking/talking a/with financial planner, these days you have to be really careful, because some of them will rip everything you have out of your pockets. So make sure you pick the right one, here some info on how to pick the right one: However, you still need to listen to your gut, and do the research needed.

  10. I had great luck with the Meet Up website finding a book group. You might give it a try.

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