Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The big city

When you live in a small town
you learn to do without.
No chain restaurants in the area
the nearest is 25 minutes away.
The closest shopping mall is
 has JC Pennys and Dillards
that is it for 100 miles.

Both of our children live
in big cities.
One is in Maryland outside of DC
the other near Tacoma.

My life experience has mostly been in a big city
except here- and we CHOSE to move back here.
Phoenix, Wuerzburg, Washington DC, Indianapolis,
Milford, Monterey, Hong Kong, Honolulu
Riyadh, and finally the beginning of small town-
Flagstaff and now Milford again.

We actually live 10 miles from the small town here.

Missing the amenities of a big city
can be a drag to your life at times.
It is a long drive to Church.
We shop on line, almost exclusively, for clothing.
Finding shoes are a particular problem.
We do not have the option of finding anything we want
when ever we want it. 24 hour stores- you are dreaming.
Better get those rain boots while they are on the shelves.

Off we go to the city today.
We will walk to the church!
The shopping bug has hit, but we will have little time.
Costco, Safeway (ohhh- how I miss Safeway!),
a liquor store with more than two kinds of beer,
Norstroms, Macys, Crate and Barrel, REI.
We will hit them all.
Don't forget the trip to Ivar's on the dock!
It will be a set of short trips to each
getting ready for the wedding.

Do you think my mind can take in the stimulation?
How about my pocket book?

Monday, August 29, 2011

I never thought of myself as a food.

Gooey peanut butter (with lumps) and sweet jelly.
Whole grained wheat bread.
Smooshed together like a toddler would eat.

We fly out tomorrow for our son's wedding.
As parents of the groom we are doing the traditional
not the norm these days.
We are paying for the photographer
and the honeymoon.
Not a cheap escape
but this kid put himself through university
so it is what we are going to do.

The week after we are home
I will drive 1200 miles to my mother's.
Driving is expensive
but renting a car after flying is also expensive.
Having my own car is important.

My mother is moving to an independent living apartment
in a continuing care facility.
Her choice.
Last time mom lived in an apartment was 64 years ago
one semester
at college.
It is going to be a change- big time.

My local sibs know that I am retired
so it is my duty to go out and move her.
Actually, I love being with mom so it is not a chore.
I will stay with her
and then inventory her house
beginning the march to selling what she does not need.

Mom chose this particular place to live
because my brothers (who never call)
said it would be a much more convenient place for them to stop in.
Right now they live 2 miles each from mom
and they never stop in.
This place is not any closer....

There is a sister who does live about 30 miles away
that does everything that she can to keep my mom afloat
She and I double team mom
Why cannot the other two chip in?

I'll be staying with mom a month
it is a long time to be gone from home.
Usually I don't mind
but September is the best month of the year in Kansas.
And since my husband and I have finally reconnected
a month- the best month- will be hard to swallow.

But off I go.

Me- smooshed in the middle
trying to balance bumpy finances & sweet family
between the rough and tasty part of my life.

A sandwich.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes and the Market. Oh my!

The East coast is sure having a rocking time this week.
Hurricane Irene is supposed to make landfall soon
They have already experienced an earthquake

Take a page out of normal emergency preparedness
and make up a 72 hour kit
right now
before you are in the line with every other ding dong before a natural disaster.

What do we always have on hand?
Cash- not a lot - but enough to get gas and a meal when the computers are down.
Water- we keep on hand 10 gallons. There are only two of us and we live near a really big lake.
Food- What is your favorite type of protein? Enough for five days
Gas in your car- we learned this the hard way when we experienced a bombing in Saudi.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sitting on the sidelines

We made a decision to sit out the market.
It is difficult to do.
We have made tremendous gains in the last four years.
Almost as much as one of us working full time.
But the time came
That we were up too early in the morning
and too late at night
wringing hands and wondering
if we would begin to lose principle.
We are only 10% in right now
So our new split is
70/20/10 Cash/bonds/stocks
We will wait until the next election is about to happen
to buy in again.
We think that US corporations are more willing to let the ship go down
without them
then risk any savings on the ship!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Heat, Rain and the price of corn!

We had our share of heat this summer.
Often it was warmer in Kansas
than it was for my family in Tucson.

The heat was so bad that the largest lake in Kansas,
our neighborhood "pond"
is now filled with blue green algae

The rains have finally come
but they are too late for the corn fields by my house
Don't worry- the farmers all have federal crop insurance
And we will simply pay more for corn in the winter.
And then we will pay more taxes in the fall to keep
them in corn next year.

I am buying my feed corn for the turkeys now
Wild turkeys often turn to us for feed in the winter
Buying it before the price skyrockets will help us all get
through the winter grays

Like the stock market
buy low, sell high
although I will be "using high".
Just like the stock market
I am not willing to buy corn when the price goes up
Even if they are cute turkeys.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Unaccounted for incidences

My son in law's brother's house burned down yesterday.
A young family
Two children 18 months and 4
Two adults, both working two jobs

A candle left burning when naps were being taken

We all can be caught in unforeseen situations
A fall down the stairs
A fire
A car crash
A sudden death of a friend or family member

How we deal with these things
is part of our fabric

Being retired gives more time to work through them
give the incidence space
and an opportunity to serve.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Moving forward

Finding how to move forward takes time.
Some have found that they are totally prepared for retirement.
They have their hobbies lined up,
their social schedule set,
and jump right in.

That is what all the experts suggest
That was not me.

Retirement came as a jolt to the system.
Overworked, under paid and just tired
along with the full force of menopause
I quit my job
my calling
my everyday living and breathing position.

Last year I did nothing
Lots of sitting and staring out the window.

Picked up a side job or two
but at the end of the day
otherwise nothing

Worried at first
wasting time is not in my family vocabulary

Slowly, the emergence has begun.
Looking around like a kid-
enjoying the squirrels and trees and turkeys

Went to my old school
Helped out a few teachers
Came home and thought
"that is not it".

I am ready to move forward.