How To Actually Enjoy Retirement

If you are reading this blog, you’re either thinking about retirement or enduring it.  Either way, read on! Some look at the “golden years” apprehensively, as if any change, even a good one, might be about as enjoyable (or as exciting) as boiled spinach.  Others think they want to retire…until they do.

The change from gainful employment to every day a Saturday impacts your life in several ways:

  • Income changes
  • Health insurance changes
  • Activities of daily living change dramatically

Let’s look at each one.  Income.  Most of us aren’t sure just how much we’ll have at retirement until we actually retire.  Bear in mind that pensions are fixed, and Social Security offers few increases for the AGI.  Guess low.

Medicare requires a translator even for a college-educated health professional.  Find a retirement consultant you like for advice, with prescriptions in hand.  The balancing act of a Medicare Advantage plan is like gambling with a roulette wheel.  You trade lower monthly costs for the advantage of having good health, but one major incident changes your pre-existing conditions and preempts you from a change in plan.  Medicare is not for the faint in heart, no pun intended.  Don’t try to navigate these uncharted waters without guidance.

The infinity of free time holds the key to both of the above. Find meaningful, hopefully profitable ways to employ your time at your own discretion.  I have four side gigs to contribute income, offer me stimulation, and improve my life.  I started with one, of course.  I made glass beads and sold them at trade shows.  China flooded the market with cheap beads and that ended that.  In all honesty, it proved to be very labor intensive, and it probably needed to disappear anyway, much as I loved it  What I discovered is that life is not stagnant.  Your interests change, your energy and health dictate what you can do, and that’s okay.  Now that I juggle four interests, time management requires budgeting my hours, but I’m good with that.  I don’t sit still well anyway.peeking.JPG

The long and short of it is simple.  You spent many a year preparing for a career, and many a year building a career.  Spend some time preparing for and building an enjoyable retirement.  Don’t assume you can retire on Friday and fill Monday with meaningful activity–you can only reorganize your sock drawer so many times.  Closing your eyes and peeking out to see if you’ll like it is not a good retirement plan.  I am finding ways to enjoy this season of my life despite the curve balls and losses, and think that all of us could…with some preparation.  Enjoy your retirement.  Don’t just endure it.


When Not to Lose Weight

Admittedly, I began to Shar-Pei just a tad in my 40’s.  My once svelt body developed an unattractive teensy-tiny fold or two.  No amount of dieting or sporadic exercise erased the effect, and I grew accustomed to my new look.  For much of my life I ate with no thought of calories or waistlines, but no more.  I refused to actually count calories, but I looked at them thoughtfully prior to ingestion.

Then this bombshell hit.  Did you know that after age 20…20, mind you, you lose about a gram of brain mass per year?  If you started out with an average 1300 gram brain, that loss of 38 grams might not seem significant, but which 38 grams are we talking about?  The part that remembers where I put my keys?  The part where I keep track of appointments and events?  Both of those vital brain functions began deteriorating a few years back, requiring lists and routines to make me look normal.  As desirable as weight loss may be, I find this disturbing, almost frightening.

I used to subscribe to Erma Bombeck’s harebrained philosophy:  “A brain is like a computer.  It will only take so many facts and then it will go on overload and blow up.”  Our parents had a few phone numbers to memorize.  Now we have landlines, cell phones, work phones, email addresseses, and a few million passwords to remember.  No wonder smoke blows out our ears!  Our physiological computers are blowing up.  Literally.  Or so I thought.


Now that I’ve been enlightened about cerebral weight loss, however, I do recommend brain building exercises.  No need to leave your couch.  Crossword puzzles.  Memory games on your phone.  Learn something new.  Remain vital.  Eat a well-balanced diet.  Get enough sleep.  Non-weight bearing exercise, (off the couch with you, after all!  See how I sort of snuck this in there?)  In short, stop this weight loss!

When Retirement Isn’t Retirement

One of the pleasures of retirement lies in enjoying friends through an extended and delightful lunch on a Friday afternoon.  Of course, none of us consider ourselves retired.  Larry manages rentals.  Bill manages too many acres.  Debbie and I own small businesses.  Here’s the thing:  Every retired person needs a side gig.

Why, you ask?

  • Who couldn’t use a designated stash of mad money for travel?
  • Who actually enjoys living on a strict budget of just Social Security?
  • Who needs to pique the brain with stimulating interests?

I think I just described 99.9% of all seniors.  Boomers, think about the tax deductions if nothing else!  If you simply cannot fathom yourself in a side gig, comment below and let’s email back and forth.  I’m full of ideas.

Friends who know me will affirm this truth:  I am a serial entrepreneur, and at various seasons in my life I dabbled in several age-appropriate side gigs.  When the boys were young and being home schooled, I wrote a monthly home school magazine and earned side money as a freelance graphic designer publishing corporate newsletters.  When I owned a flourishing bead business and traveled to trade shows across the country, I also enjoyed a travel business.  Each served me well.  Each earned some money, but mostly  I found them immensely rewarding.  I haven’t changed.  Right now I sell a fabulous affordable skincare line, and am positioning myself as a blogger.  Writing brings me full circle to how I started, and since I think better with a pen in hand, it suits me.  Writing brings my soul to water and refreshes me.

Find friends who share your interests and live life more fully, with grace and gusto.  Retirement isn’t retirement.  Not really.  Hopefully not ever.


Who’s Your Favorite Patriot?

Tough question, right?  When I look for a worthy candidate, I’m left scratching my head.  Leadership is like using a catalyst, an agent that causes a chemical reaction when mixed with another compound.  Nothing happens until the catalyst enters the mix.  When our Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia more than 200 years ago to write the Constitution, our population numbered around 3 million, yet six world-class leaders sat among the authors of that historical document.  The mix of those great minds resulted in a document standing the test of time.

Today we number at more than 200 million Americans, and in looking at the explosion of media before us, one would think rock stars, Hollywood icons and quarterbacks serve as present day heroes.  Our world, both locally and abroad, suffers from a drought of great leadership.  With the press so firmly partitioned into bias camps, we find no good way to separate the sheep from the goats, much less ascertain the truth of what takes place, who did what when, or which quote to believe.

Now before you clamor for one public figure or another, realize I speak hypothetically.  No real contest exists.  I am expressing equal disdain for all public figures in every bias camp.  My past vote for candidates remains private.  I bear the utmost respect for the office of the Presidency and the man who serves, whether I count him my favorite patriot or not.  Because I respect the office of the President of the United States do not assume my opposite assignment of villain status to all his naysayers.  None of these dignitaries in any office earned my vote as favorite patriot, so don’t jump on your your high horse too quickly, just take it all at face value.

My candidate for favorite patriot this 4th of July is…the unknown soldier.  He cannot be vilified.  He cannot be microscopically scrutinized for missteps or words inadvertently spoken.  His sole accomplishment lies in the anonymity and totality of his service.  His willingness to give his all without recognition or remuneration or medal of any kind speaks volumes about his character and qualification.  Indeed, he cannot be faulted in any way.

And that’s the real problem, isn’t it?  Everyone feels the need to point fingers, weigh in, assess blame, state an opinion.  Where are our public servants?  Is their conspicuous absence the fault of the press?  The people?  The cowardice of the public servants?  Until we can read a true and faithful report of the real actions and words of a single public figure, gratefully accept the service rendered, politely suggest things to improve the situation, making sure everyone involved feels safe to participate, and at the end of the day we bury our hatchets and sleep peacefully at night, our hero will remain the one unimpeachable candidate resting in an unknown grave.  The Unknown Soldier.  May he rest in peace.  May we find more of his ilk and stature in the days to come.  We desperately need them.

Spelling Tips for Boomers

The benefits of home schooling speak for themselves.  I know, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  After home schooling my three sons K-12, my neighbor’s kids for four years, and now grandchildren, let me just say this:  The building blocks of character training and the 3R’s stacked upon each other day in and day out create at last a masterpiece…a way of life I heartily recommend for other grandparents as well.

  • The structure of everyone doing their jobs each morning gives me time to focus on projects for ministry or for my business.  By lunch time we all feel productive.  I need the structure as well as my littles.
  • Evidence of learning new concepts, developing both knowledge and wisdom, blesses them…but it also blesses me with meaningful purpose in my life.
  • Intergenerational learning fosters bonds and maturity in both the younger who model older siblings, and in the older teaching the younger.  I know I still learn new things.  I always share from my perspective.  We all benefit from the arrangement.

Critics of home schooling bemoan the lack of socialization, never realizing that the home, full of all ages and all personalities, remains the primary classroom for rounding off the rough edges and errant ways of people rubbing shoulders all day long.  No one escapes to catch a bus.  We work out our differences.  When children learn to cherish the family day in and day out, their ability to fit into society is guaranteed.

Over the years I heard many a bureaucrat “tsk tsk” the notion that home school parents protect their children.  Yes, we protect them from drugs and gun violence, but what parent doesn’t want a safe environment for their children, especially when schools seem unable to stop mass shootings?

You may fault my spelling, but home schooling spells F-A-M-I-L-Y to me.  Our littles range in age from 3 to 13, and we dote on each and every one of them.  Grandparents enjoy a unique opportunity to participate in this process.  Let me see…precious days with the littles or sitting with the gray heads at McDonalds each morning…I can’t imagine living any other way.  It’s about producing a lasting legacy.  It’s a lifestyle I heartily recommend.


What I’ve Learned About Nine Minutes

Facebook leaves unwanted trivia impressed on my brain leading to cerebral implosion.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love cute memes.  I love keeping in touch with my friends.  But dire warnings and impending doom and politics on hyper drive need to just go away.  No one experiences a change of heart with propaganda on Facebook, so we could all just agree to drop it?

The latest attack on my psyche came with one of those benign little headers: Nine Foods to Avoid.  And then this…Every slice of bacon you eat is 9 minutes off your life.  Seriously?  Number one, we’re talking about a food group here.  And number two, with so many dread diseases threatening to end our lives, I hardly think bacon ranks up there with an airplane crash or a drunk driver or lung cancer.  Bacon.  Not bullets.  Not nukes.  Bacon, people–breakfast candy and flavor enhancer and appetizers-would-never-be-the-same-without it, service-to-humanity, simple bacon.

Kale without bacon?  Ugh.  Asparagus wrapped in bacon?  Yes!  Bacon improves just about everything.  I admit to being a life long fan of bacon.  Too little to see over the edge of the top of the table, I slunk from chair to chair and snatched bacon off plates as a toddler, or so the story goes.  Yes, my love of bacon goes way back.  So I wonder, why bacon?  Why is bacon the recipient of so much disdain?

Bacon attracted foes and fans throughout the centuries.  In the Old Testament it was banned.  In the New Testament Paul accepted bacon into the menu.  Bacon rashers fed pioneers, but now bacon subtracts life like a ticking clock attached to dynamite.  Here’s the thing:  prevailing winds shift.  The status of poor bacon dances on each side of the line of respectability, and the line seems drawn in sand, not etched in concrete.  Wait awhile.  It will move again.

In the meantime, strictly in the spirit of public service, I offer you a better way to cook bacon.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Lay slices in a baking dish.  If bacon lovers populate your family, add a rack to the pan and another row of slices.  Bake for about 30 minutes, to your desired level on the continuum between limp and crispy.  My family likes it crispy, so we sometimes leave it an extra 9 minutes.  (I bet you thought I’d forgotten about that nine minutes, huh?)

Nine minutes doesn’t sound all that significant in the scheme of eternity, but think of all the words people utter in just nine minutes.  Couples exchange vows in less than nine minutes.  A sincere I love you and hug take about three.  Expressing sincere appreciation takes three or four.  Use your lost nine minutes wisely, and you’ll never miss them.  Inherent in aging gracefully lies the realization that the numbered days before us shrink with each circling of the sun.  No one reclaims those minutes cast into the realm of a fourth dimension.  Not one of us can truly add a minute, let alone nine of them, to a lifespan over which only the Creator exercises control.  So eat bacon, don’t eat bacon…I leave that up to each of you.  But do use those nine minutes to bless another person (and try to refrain from using Facebook as a soapbox).  Aging gracefully is a choice.  Choose grace.
bacon bliss

Banning Blemishes

Whether the bane of adolescence still dots the landscape of your face or you want to embark on self-improvement, blemishes never feel welcome.  We look at furniture, and scour the surface looking for blemishes that either add character or decrease value.  That summation really says it all.

We subsist in a surface value kind of world.  Blemishes rarely add value, unless they’ve been added with chalk paint and stain.  The shabby chic crowd seem to prefer these self-inflicted blemishes on their furniture, but a scratch on a modern piece nixes the sale.  They aren’t really blemishes in the chic world we admire, we think of them as art.

Blemishes, sadly never garner an ounce of respect.  The first inclination when one surfaces, either on the face or in one’s life, always, is a grimace.  Only with practice do we learn to appreciate the story and then the meaning and finally the value in a blemish.  A story too horrific to talk about leaves a scar on the soul, but realizing the truth learned and survived gives new meaning to that blemish scarring the heart.  Growing grace for grace equates with living and learning, and I’m all for that.  I just also believe in accepting the process.


The face, particularly, remains a canvas where we eliminate blemishes.  I’m right there with you on that!  I tried this new Posh product on a thirteen-year-old grandson whose face was dotted one morning with all kinds of pimples.  One application.  That’s right.  One application of a dot on each one brought noticeable improvement.  By day’s end each one was drying out and many faded completely.

You can find this amazing product on my site, at  Look at COLLECTIONS, specialty face.  And as for the blemishes in your life.  Either learn to assign new meanings or embark on self-improvement.  I love art, though, don’t you?  I’m a shabby chic lover at heart.

Boomers Need Change less than their Children need Remembrance

If you’re staring at the gaping maw of 70, change is no stranger in your life.  I first discovered the insignificance of science when I learned that the human body has 48 chromosomes.  A few seasons later I learned that the normal human body has 46; the original data came from studying individuals with Downs syndrome.  And just like that, it hit me!  Science is fallible.  These all-knowing researchers spout their hypotheses like little gods wielding truths, but their “truth” changes with each new discovery.  As a population of oldsters, we doubt just about everything and believe in conspiracies everywhere.  Eschewing the establishment became a way of life for many of us.

I bring this up because I see with growing alarm the idolization of knowledge, an infatuation with innovation, the marriage of our lives with technology.  We boomers remember the mighty pen and paper; we still write in cursive, for goodness sake!  We came in peace, but have been met with the constant and utter destruction of simple pleasures.  The unfolding of a crisp newspaper with well-written support of profound truths has supplanted by sensational snippets on Yahoo masquerading as journalism.  A simply brewed cup of coffee now requires a dictionary at Starbucks.  I still haven’t mastered the art of brewing Folgers in a Keurig machine.  I admit I meet each new change with dismay, no doubt a sign of my age.

But I firmly believe the nobility of science will one day cause the downfall of our way of life, and where will our children be then?  Listen, I read One Second After, and I believe it!  Pass on your anachronisms.  Your children may need them sooner than they think.  Bill and I often lament the loss of knowledge when Aunt Grace and Uncle Paul died.  They knew so much about surviving on the land, and we didn’t harvest that knowledge responsibly.  Mom and Dad died knowing things about living through the depression, little quirks we found charming, but now we really wish we’d .paid more attention.

So my message is simple.  Be strong in the face of ridicule.  Wear your age proudly.  Relish being out of step with this plastic world surrounding us.  Our quirks may one day save our children’s lives.  Remember how to live a simple life.


Are Boomers Getting a Solid 8?

Retiring Boomers face a world with fewer parameters, so my question is, what happened to sleep?  Research deems restorative sleep, cycling through all five waves of the sleep cycle, as essential for brain health.  And that’s the big cheese we’re talking about here!  Make way dementia, because sleep’s gonna’ kick your butt!

According to the REST (Retirement and Sleep Trajectories) study, Boomers go to sleep about 30 minutes later each night post retirement.  Their wake times increase by 60 minutes.  In other words, the Boomers’ golden years, on average, appear to be restful.

So why are they napping so much?  Admit it.  You know an aging parent who naps off and on all day long.  Or you’re looking at a retired spouse napping through a program on TV.  Being a Boomer and married to a Boomer, and being part of the burgeoning Boomer population, I know things.  Uncorrected napping threatens to become a Boomer national pastime.  Let’s rule out sleep disorders and chronic diseases. sums it up in one word.  Ever watch Never Cry Wolf?  My favorite line, “Boredom, Tyler, boredom!”  That’s right.  Too many Boomers lack meaningful engagement.

In a world crying out for help, opportunities abound.  First and foremost, find a side gig.  Your wallet will thank you. Then start with service to your family, neighborhood, or circle of friends.  And finally, look at our dysjunctive, dysfunctional, disturbed-bordering-on-pathological world, and fix something.  Every week our home rocks with minions who need our love and attention.  They take a lot of time, sap our energy, leave messes in their wake, and we love it!  I immerse myself in a side gig that lends income as well as a lot of pleasure and influence in the lives of others.  Find that purpose in your world and in return, earn a solid 8.  You’ll rest better, I promise.


Percutaneous Absorption of Selenium…What? Longevity. What???

Brazil nut harvests are diminishing, which requires protecting the trees throughout South America.  It makes Brazil nuts a prized commodity.  Most folks could care less…until they realize why this simple nut grown in pods, harvested with machetes, and transported to a location near you is an antioxidant of growing interest.

Selenium just recently got promoted from being lethal to a non-toxic, beneficial, and then necessary element for the human body.  Oh yes.  It supports everything from heart health to testosterone production, and a host of needy body parts in-between.  It enhances metabolism of fatty acids, which makes it an important antioxidant in conjunction with Vitamin E.  Joint lovers, listen to this!  It serves as an anti-inflammatory agent as well.  Amazingly, longevity diets include healthy portions of selenium because it restores youthful elasticity of the skin.  And where do you get it?  Well, meet the little-touted but mighty Brazil nut!

Studies offer conflicting reports on the efficacy of percutaneous absorption of selenium, but it nevertheless stars in its namesake, Brazilian Bombshell, a Posh body butter.  Yup.  Pharmacists use selenium to treat folliculitis (hot tub syndrome) and some yeast infections.  It combines with sulfur to treat dandruff.  But in Posh, the essential oil of the Brazil nut creates a wonderful fragrance.  It wafts over me when I apply it, and I close my eyes, smelling a beach.  It’s just that wonderful.  And selenium?  What a great bonus!

Do I want elasticity of the skin?  Well, yeah!  Am I interested in longevity?  Well, yeah, I’d love to be around for my grandchildren’s weddings.  I didn’t think I liked the taste of Brazil nuts, but chopped up and added to things, they aren’t half bad.  Better yet, I like absorbing its benefits through my skin.  Long live Brazilian Bombshell, the Posh-lover’s favorite!!!  (You can find it at and clicking on COLLECTIONS, body.)

braz bb