Friday, December 23, 2022

What Is Retirement?

There are several definitions of retirement that I found in searching Google. One definition is the withdrawal from one's position or occupation or from active working life. Another definition is the stage in life when one choses to leave the work force and live off sources of income or savings that do not require active work. Another definition states that retirement is when one leave the workforce for good. Retirement means different things for each of us. Some can fully retire from the workforce but choose not to and stay in their active working life until they can no longer physically perform the work. Some retire from a full time career but take up part time work and thus are not fully retired by the last definition. Some can never fully leave the work force due to lack of a pension or adequate savings. 

I met a man a few months ago that was painting a house in our neighborhood. He had just come down off a ladder and was at his truck when I had a short conversation with him. This young man of 76 had been painting houses for 40 years. He said he still loves the satisfaction of a paint job well done. He was still getting up and down the ladder even though he had fallen off the ladder into an empty hot tub on a recent job and hurt his shoulder. He said it still hurts and he was to have a MRI soon to see if surgery is needed. I jokingly said that maybe he should hire a younger man for the ladder work and he agreed. This 76 year old looked to be in great shape and I'm sure his work helped keep him that way. I don't think "retirement" was in his vocabulary. In his opinion he was doing something he enjoyed and would continue doing so as long as he could.

We all know or have seen people who work late in their life. We see politicians that work into their 80's and sometimes die while holding office. I can't imagine that being an enjoyable position and imagine it to be very stressful with the travel and the bickering that happens in the political arena. We see actors and singers who love their profession and also perform as long as they can. I heard the other day that Indiana Jones will be back this Summer! There are many old bands that still tour the country with the members in their 70's and 80's. You would think after 40+ years on the road they would want to retire and settle down!

We each have our own expectation of retirement and what that life looks like. I guess some have the mindset to retire as soon as possible and pursue other activities while some never think about retirement because they enjoy what they do so much. I guess I can't say I'm retired as I do a little part time work, only about 5 hours this last year but by the last definition I have not left the work force for good. In my opinion I'm retired. For some, retirement is a beach house in Florida. For some, retirement is travel around the country in an RV. And, for some, retirement is sitting in a recliner and watching TV all day. 

What is your version of retirement. Do you have a "pie in the sky" vision of retirement where you and your spouse are super fit and walking hand in hand on a white sand beach everyday? Or, is your vision of retirement more reality based? Is there an age where you think you should give up your working life or are you an old rock star that will rock until you die?

Foreigner Still Rocking!

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Christmas Memories

This time of year always brings back memories of my childhood and growing older over the years. My family lived in a house on about 26 acres of land in North Texas. The land had numerous cedar trees on it that provided our Christmas tree every year. We would go out into the pasture and find the perfect tree and dad would cut it down and haul it into the house. It was always much bigger in the house and had to be trimmed down quiet a bit to fit the space. By the time he was done there were cedar needles all over the house but it began to smell a little like Christmas. I remember at least once where we took a tree up to my school for our class Christmas Tree. I was so proud that we provided the tree that year!

Decorating the tree was a family affair and we all gathered around and put the ornaments on. Some were handmade by my two sisters and I and some were store bought and several years old. We began the decorating process excitedly but quickly tired of putting on ornaments after placing 10 or so on the tree. The grand finale of decorating was placing the tinsel icicles on the tree. We always had several new boxes of these every year. Each box held about 10,000 strands and it would take you forever to put them on! At the time, they probably cost 29 cents a box or something similar. My sisters and I started out putting them on one strand at a time while delicately placing them on the branches to hang just perfectly. By the end, we were throwing handfuls at a time at the tree and they landed wherever they wanted. My mother would come behind us and thin the bigger deposits and redistribute some of those strands to the empty sections of the tree.

I always remember sitting at the base of the fully decorated and lit tree and staring at all the wrapped presents with so much excitement. I could not wait until Christmas arrived! Our family always opened the wrapped presents on Christmas Eve night. These were presents that were from mom and dad or from one sibling to another. The kids were usually given a small budget to buy the other two a gift or two. Our Christmas Eve dinner usually was chili dogs because we wanted a quick dinner as soon as dad got home from work so we could begin opening presents. I know, chili dogs, really? My mother continued to have chili dog dinners on Christmas Eve for years whenever we gathered to do our family Christmas. And then, on Christmas, Santa came overnight and left more gifts under the tree for us to discover the next morning. Which sometimes was 3am when one of us woke up and bounded down the stairs to see if Santa came. Those were great times!

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day scheduled served us well over the years as my wife's family always waited until Christmas morning to open all gifts. This allowed us to have Christmas Eve at my family's home with my kids and then have Christmas morning at my wife's family's home. Now that our kids are grown and we have three grandkids we will have Christmas at our home on Christmas Day. I hope my kids and grandkids will have great Christmas memories of these days. 

We haven't had a live tree but once or twice in my adult years. We currently have a nice artificial tree in the corner. It sheds needles as much as a live tree when I put it up and take it down. Our tree has ribbon and a variety of decorations. One thing it lacks is tinsel icicles! On our old live cedar trees, we threw out the tree with most tinsel still on it. I can't imagine trying to remove tinsel from our artificial tree every year to pack it away.

What are your Christmas memories of your childhood? What was a favorite gift you got when you were younger? Mine was a BB gun and a bicycle. When do you celebrate Christmas with gifts, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Anyone else out there do chili dogs on Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas everyone!! Remember the reason for the season and enjoy those family interactions!

Monday, December 12, 2022

New Things To Add To The New Things List

 On December 5th, my wife and I added another New Thing done this year. We went to a glass blowing studio and each made a blown glass ornament. After the instructor dabbed a pipe into molten glass he handed it to us to roll on a table. Next he dabbed the pipe into the furnace for additional glass. We then rolled our molten glass in two different colors, of our choosing, and then we put it into another furnace to melt the glass color into the original clear glass. Boy, was that furnace hot! 2400 degrees! We then handed the pipe and glass to the instructor who rolled and shaped it into a round ball while we blew into the pipe to create the round bulb. It was a lot of fun! The glass had to cool and we picked the ornaments up the next day. We had created a one of a kind keepsake for our Christmas tree. A couple in front of us said it was their fourth year of creating a glass ornament. What a cool Christmas tradition. We already plan on going back next year. 

While waiting on our appointment time we visited a fused glass studio next door. The owners were making Ginger Bread ornament of glass. With fused glass, you decorate the piece with bits and pieces of colored glass and then fire it to melt all the glass into one piece. We got a flyer from them and plan on this being another New Things for us to try in the near future.

We had dinner at a new place in town before we went to the studio. Well, it was new to us. I think it opened in 2006, but was our first time. It was a pub called McNellie's Public House. It was an old three story building with a bar on the first and third floor with dining on each floor. We enjoyed a great dinner in a new spot. Overall, we had a great night and it helped add a lot of fun to our week of keeping grandkids and prepping for Christmas. 

Another New Thing we did recently was to hide ducks on our last cruise we took in November. I had posted about cruising ducks a few posts back. We took about 50 ducks to hide and hid about 10 a day on our 5 day cruise. I found 10 ducks with one duck having a tag from an earlier cruise out of Los Angeles. I will add a tag to it and hide it again on our next cruise. I saw one little girl looking for ducks one morning and pointed her to one of my hidden ones and to another I spotted. She was very excited as she hadn't found a duck up to that point. Hiding and finding ducks added a whole layer of fun to the cruise and I plan on doing it again on our next cruise.

Our ducks to hide!

Ducks found!


Have you tried glass blowing? Have you tried any New Things lately that have been a great experience?

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

What Books Are On Your Christmas List?


I recently saw a TV interview of the singer Bono on an early morning news program. During the interview I became aware that he was a man of faith and that he had a new book out titled Surrender. I have put that book on my Christmas wish list for this year. I have been watching Dave Letterman's show No Need For An Introduction on Netflix and saw an interview with Will Smith. The interview was before his big slap down of Chris Rock. Will Smith talked about his troubled childhood and I found out that he has a book titled Will. That book has also been added to my Christmas wish list for this year. 

I like to vary my reading with books that include Fiction, History, Memoirs, and Devotionals. I will read a couple of Fiction books, then throw in a History story and back to Fiction. 

What books are on your Christmas list this year? Anything interesting that you added? Do you stick to one genre in your reading or do you mix it up? What is your favorite genre? In the Fiction category I usually read thrillers, adventure and murder mysteries.  I'm always looking for suggestions for a great read!