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Showing posts from 2018

Stop! Just - STOP!

I do understand that furniture designers have to make a living, but - this is just wrong.

I've tried "ergonomic" furniture. I've sat in those hard-seated chairs and couches. They are NOT comfortable. They are NOT conducive to working on for extended time periods.

They are NOT what I want.

Apple LOVES them - well, yeah, they would. 20-somethings can sit anywhere comfortably. What I want is furniture that fits a senior, with a bad back and aching knees, and a need to get to her feet INSTANTLY, when the call of nature sings out.

I don't need a seat so hard that my butt goes numb. I've seen seats like the ones shown, and a LOG has more 'give' to it.

I don't need a couch for "two" that can only fit MAYBE 1-1/2 - IF they are on the 1 meal a day, semi-starvation diet (SO healthy!).

I don't need a fixed table that encroaches on my already-diminished seating space. That "table" won't allow more than a small laptop/tablet to fit …

What Retirement Looks like for Me

Last spring, after my husband had to travel to Cleveland to deal with a medical situation, he requested that I start substitute teaching in a local school. As he would be missing some time at school, he wanted to make sure that our budget was covered.

It was a reasonable request, and I agreed. I ended up subbing about 2-4 times a week. I have to admit, I found it actually easier to keep up on housework and other things, due to the need to plan ahead. I could no longer procrastinate endlessly - I had to schedule tasks and writing, and meet my goals.

I was able to put out two short stories, and make a lot of progress on a new book.  In addition, I improved my physical well-being (all that walking around the schools and in the classrooms), and got away from the fridge.

This fall, I went back, primarily to get sufficient days in to get a qualifying year in Social Security. If I teach more than 53 days in a year, at $100/day, it meets the minimum requirement. Which does 3 things:

Gives me a…

Social Security Increase Next Year

That's good news, generally. The increase in the CoL (Cost of Living) means somewhere around $39 a month for the average recipient, less for those earning less than $1400/month.

Those whose medical bills or rent has increased will not see as much in their pockets.

I'm one of those who don't fit the standard advice. I receive pensions from teachers systems (one that actually reduces my Social Security check), still work part-time subbing (mostly to boost my SS by eliminating zero years), and have savings in annuities - both variable and fixed.

When the experts suggest you stockpile half-a-million to a million dollars in savings/investments, pensions are not considered. I used one of the many retirement calculators to determine that, if I were retiring one year from now, to receive an income equal to my current pension, I'd need to have $370,000 in savings/investment.


I just checked again, and to replace my husband's pension (both current, and what he will be ta…

Retirement is NOT Always Forever - Nor Complete

My husband and I have differing ideas about what it means to retire. My idea is that it should be a real change, not just changing jobs.

Now, our ideas were formed, in part, from our different experiences. My dad retired - for good - at 60. He had just received a diagnosis of cancer, and he wanted to take advantage of the freedom of retirement.

He never did much travel. My mother's ill health made that difficult, at best. She was resistant to getting a motor home, and using that as a base for their life. Even after her death, 12 years later, he seldom was able to see other sights. He died four years later, never having been far from home.

Den's father died before he could retire, at 52. Even when he was in the hospital, dying, he was planning to oversee building and operation of the new plant in Bradford. After his death, the new structure was never built, and the original plant eventually closed.

Den has already retired, once, from his job in Cleveland. Even before the retire…

How to Stop Phone Solicitations - Cold

I now answer my landline phone (where 90% of the calls happen) with:

Fraud division, Sheriff's Dept.
Stops them in their tracks. Cold.

15 Months Into This, How is It Going?

Mostly, very well.

The Good:

My stress levels have plummeted. My skin is clear, my respiratory system is vastly improved, and my overall physical condition is healthier. Some of that is having time to visit the doctor BEFORE I get run-down and sick, but some is just having the freedom to take care of myself.For example, a recent cold sidelined me for nearly a week, but I'm back to normal now, rather than dragging myself around for weeks of back & forth to the doctor's.When I am more tired than usual, I have the freedom to take a nap when it's needed.I found that I got more done when I added in some substitute teaching, 2-3 times a week or so. It's actually easier to tackle the household tasks when I have the opportunity to get out of the house a few times a week.The money is sufficient. I like the extra money from subbing, and if I make more than $5,000 in a single calendar year, I can wipe out one of those zero years in Social Security, making my eventual check hig…

Is Life All Downhill After You Hit 40?

Short Answer: No.

Long Answer: Hell, No.

I'm 67. I retired last year, after realizing that the old age I'd been waiting for had arrived. In addition to finally getting off the merry-go-round of too little time, and not enough spent with people who matter to me, or activities that I truly enjoyed, I said: enough.

Was my first year what I'd expected? Not even close.

To begin with, I was humbled to realize that, planner though I was, completely unstructured time is not something I handled well. Before the year was up, I'd started taking local teaching sub jobs, 2-3 times a week. I actually made better progress with writing after I had less time in which to accomplish it.

The district I sub in has generally nice kids, the work allows me to plan and make notes on my writing, and I am still able to reject jobs and have fun instead.

Due to an unexpected illness on my husband's part, I did not get as much travel as I would have liked. However, he is better now, and I'm…

Some Thoughts for a GOOD Retirement

This isn't about money (although, not having to worry about money is also a GOOD thing).

This isn't about health, medical care, or how to pay for it all.

This is about building habits that will make this the Best Part of Your Life.

I had been aimlessly browsing, ahem - I mean strictly reading what was absolutely necessary, when I happened upon a reference that intrigued me.

It led me to this site. What Ann Voskamp wrote about struck a chord in me.

She wrote about habits and how they can transform your life. Not just by the immediate outcomes, but how they can bring God's Grace to your life.

Now, I'm not the most knowledgable about religious matters, but what she said struck me as true.

One of the things she said seemed unbelievable.
“Forty-five percent of what we do every day is habitual,” say the researchers, “performed almost without thinking in the same location or at the same time each day, usually because of subtle cues.Other sources have cited different figures (t…

Should You Be Freaking Out About Your Investments?

Short answer - probably not.

By retirement age, your investment portfolio should be more conservative, less speculative. Yes, the market is down. NO, it's not that serious a slide. Here is a picture of my Duke investments for the last year. It went up most of the year. It's down, but no more than it was at the beginning of the Trump administration.

In that time, jobs have also grown, manufacturers have brought money home to the USA, and we've gotten an decrease in the tax rate. I would NOT expect a implosion in the investment market.

How is the Writing Going?

In general, well - I've managed to get a few pieces published at Medium:

Dream: I'll Retire and Write Books All Day. Reality:Things I've Learned in 10 Years of Blogging Medium is changing their format to a paid membership arrangement - I'm not sure that I'll be adding to my work in the future.

In terms of my book, I've not made much progress since just before Thanksgiving - too busy with holiday plans, a funeral, and illness (first my husband, now me). My cold is better, although I'm still way down in energy, and I'm finally able to function without taking a nap 1/2 way through the day. I even made it to the gym twice in a week.

Most importantly, the brain fog has lifted. For over a month, I've been unable to concentrate on anything substantial. Over the last week, I've started writing in my journal, planned the outline of a short story, and done some background thinking about my next book.

Tomorrow (Tuesday), I'm planning on getting out my n…

Missed a Post

Alas, I was sidelined with a particularly nasty virus. I was horizontal since New Years Eve. This is my first day up for more than an hour at a time. I'm deep into unpacking, cleaning, and catching up on mail, messages, bills, etc. I'll be back tomorrow with an update on how you might be affected by the flu/pneumonia this year.