Sunday, February 26, 2023

A Rainbow Day


The word rainbow comes from the Latin arcus  pluvius meaning rainy arch. In Greek and Roman times , it was believed that rainbows were a path created by the goddess of the rainbow, Iris, linking us to the immortals. The world's longest lasting rainbow was seen over Sheffield, England on March, 14 1994. It lasted from 9am to 3pm. Rainbows can exist in mist, fog, sea spray, waterfalls and anywhere light meets water in the sky.  

My 3 year old granddaughter is infatuated with rainbows and unicorns at the moment. She has rainbow clothes, rainbow shoes, rainbow rain boots, etc. Last Christmas, she asked Santa for a rainbow on her bedroom wall. Santa sent Elfina to paint a beautiful rainbow in the corner of her room and she loved it. I pick up my granddaughter daily from her Pre-K school and we always have great conversation on the way home. Recently, I asked her how her day was at school and she smiled the biggest smile ever and blurted out "I had a rainbow day!". To her a rainbow day was the best. Her little sayings just fill my heart when I'm around her. She sees rainbows in everything. M&Ms are rainbow M&Ms. Multi colored TicTacs are rainbow TicTacs when she describes them. Her glittery, colorful boots are rainbow boots. I just love her sunny rainbow disposition!

In retirement, we are all looking to have many rainbow days. My rainbow day would start with morning relaxation with coffee and a book. Then the day would include a couple of hours digging in the dirt with my metal detector looking for buried coins. A rainbow day would include me finding a silver coin. A silver dime would be nice but a truly great rainbow day would include finding a silver quarter or half dollar. Then, I would return home for a lunch and shower and then spend an hour or so cleaning and logging my treasure while uttering the phrase "I just love metal detecting!". A short afternoon siesta or swim in the pool and then a nice dinner with my wife with an evening of watching some of our shows on TV or a streaming service would complete the day. That is only one description of a rainbow day for me. Other rainbow days, for me, might include a day of thrifting or a day of trying something new or exploring a new place. I have rainbow days almost everyday that I'm on a cruise ship or a vacation trip.

A rainbow day would be different for everyone. I picture a rainbow day of a friend of mine to be watching the sunrise from a duck blind on a cold morning. His rainbow day would include hunting with a family member or good friend to share the experience. Then I imagine he would enjoy cleaning his game and hunting gear for the next trip out. His day would include meeting with old friends for lunch and swapping work stories from the past. A neighbor's rainbow day is spending an entire day in his yard or woodworking shed working on projects. Everyone has their version of a rainbow day.

What do you consider a rainbow day in your life? Aren't they wonderful when you experience the feeling of a day that seems to be perfect in everyway? Has your version of a rainbow day changed over the years? I envision a very active person with a rainbow day of being on the ski slopes all day but later in life the rainbow day changes to shorter ski times and more time in the hot tub or sitting around a fireplace in the mountains. Do you have a happy place where your rainbow days happen more often such as a lake house, beach house or mountain cabin? 

I wish you all more rainbow days!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023


Wikipedia states that podcasting began in the 1980's as audio blogs and then began to catch hold in 2004 as podcasting when portable digital devices became available such as the iPod. According to Wikipedia there are currently over 115,000, English language, podcasts available on the internet.

During the last two years, I began listening to a few podcasts and have found a few that I really enjoy. I have found that listening to a good podcast is similar to being drawn into a good book. A good podcast will have me visualizing the story and feeling as I'm right there in the middle of it. With the large inventory of podcast to choose from, you can find one that peaks your interest. Podcast are great for times when you are looking for a little entertainment. I have sampled some podcasts that are very well done and I have listened to some that were very poorly done. There are so many options to choose from, so you can treat them like a book and start and quit an episode anytime you want. I have started several that I have quit after a few minutes.

Podcasts can be used for simple mindless entertainment, they can be used for self improvement and they can be used for learning something new about a topic you are interested in. You want to learn how to manage your money, there are podcasts for that. You want to listen to standup comedians, there are podcasts for that. There are podcasts for about every topic you can think of. They also have a wide range of the size of the episodes. They can range from one minute up to several hours. Most of the podcasts that I have listened to are an hour or less. 

A podcast that I have really enjoyed is called Infamous America. A few days ago I finished a series about the North Hollywood robbery in LA in 1997. It was very well done and very interesting. Previous to that I had listened to several series about 1930's gangsters such as John Dillinger and Bonnie & Clyde. There are many lists on the internet about the best podcasts to listen to. If you are new to podcasting, I would start with one of those lists or simply search your areas of interest on you Podcast app on your phone.

I recently browsed through podcasts in my app and downloaded several of interest. I will listen to them when I have the time and see if any are worth listening to. I downloaded episodes from On Purpose with Jay Shetty, Philosophy Bites, The Retirement Years, Feel Better Live More, 7 Good Minutes and Beautiful/Anonymous. I'm sure I will begin with the shorter ones such as 7 Good Minutes as the title suggests, the episodes are only 7 minutes long.

When you search the subject of retirement, the majority of the podcasts seem to be focused on the financial aspect of retirement. As a current retiree, I would be more interested in the fun side of retirement and the daily living of retirement. So, for any prospective podcasters out there, I see an opportunity for you! 

Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites? Do you listen to a certain genre of podcasts such as true crime, comedy, history, etc.? I'm certainly interested in checking out any suggestions. If you listen to podcasts, do you find them entertaining and helpful? 

If you have never listened to a podcast I suggest you give it a try. You may find one that you really enjoy and add a new element to your retirement.

Thursday, February 16, 2023


I've mentioned in past blogs that my wife and I like to visit thrift shops. I like browsing a store of miscellaneous items and finding a good bargain. I find a shirt or a pair of cargo shorts every now and then. I find a lot of great books at prices from 49 and up. I usually balk at book prices over $2 which is silly when most new books cost $24.99 or so. I've often scored great deals on jigsaw puzzles, toys and other gently used items. 

Most all of us love a good bargain. It doesn't matter if it is a secondhand item at a thrift store or garage sale or a new, but highly discounted, item at the grocery or retail stores. Recently, I scored a bargain of the year at our grocery store. Shortly after Thanksgiving, our local grocery store had shopping carts of Stovetop Stuffing and French's fried onions deeply discounted. I picked up a box of stuffing and was shocked at the price on the box..... 25 cents!! We like the stuffing and it makes for a quick meal with some warmed up deli turkey and a side or two. I joke with my wife about making Thanksgiving dinner when I make the meal on a random day throughout the week. Our twin, one year old, granddaughters like the stuffing also, so it makes a quick addition to their lunch. I loaded up on the bargain price and bought 5 boxes. The onions were the same price.....25 cents! I grabbed two of those. I should have bought a few more of each and they were quickly snapped up by other bargain shoppers and were all gone the next day. Recently, I was in a Dollar General store and noticed their Stovetop stuffing was priced at $3.49. I just smiled and thought to myself, "I paid a quarter a box for mine!". 

Another place to get a great deal is on Facebook marketplace. I have purchased a few things on the site and have sold a few things. I have bought and sold on Craigslist in the past and I'm not sure it is still the marketplace that it used to be as I usually just go to Facebook these days. 

In retirement, a lot of people have to watch their funds closely to make their retirement funds stretch to the next check. I've seen stories where some retirees must choose between prescriptions, food and utilities due to the lack of funds. I feel for those people and know they are probably the world's best bargain shoppers. Unless you are multi millionaires, most of us should watch our funds and take advantage of any discounts or bargains to help stretch the retirement dollar. 

Along with finding a good bargain, I like a good discount. There are numerous places that offer senior discounts. Most start at age 62-65, but I have seen several that start at 55. Most discounts are 10%, but every little bit helps the budget. I shop rates when booking hotels and often find that AAA or AARP rate is the most affordable and can be $20 or less than other rates. Watching small things like hotel rates and dining costs could help stretch your retirement travel funds. 

Using coupons is another great way to save a little money in retirement. We don't get a print newspaper anymore and that used to be the place to get coupons in the Sunday paper. These days, we use very few coupons. Every once in awhile we will redeem a coupon that is attached to a grocery product or we will use a coupon we have found on a website. 

Do you have a good bargain story? What is your latest bargain find? Do you coupon? Do you have any suggestions on finding a bargain or getting more out of your retirement dollars? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023


I love to read books and in retirement have really enjoyed finishing up a large number of books from my bookshelf. I enjoy reading, but I don't devour 10 books a week or anything close to that. I usually average 2-4 books per month depending on the weather and what other things I have going on at the time. I have enough books on my shelf to last a few years at the moment but continue to pick up books at thrift stores and garage sales to add to my collections. Printed books are still extremely popular with over 700 million sold last year. 

As much as I love books, I really love a great bookstore. I love browsing the aisles and looking for a good bargain or looking for a good story that I wasn't aware existed. I used to enjoy going to Waldenbooks or B. Dalton Books back in the days when there was one or both in every shopping mall. My wife would go off to shop the clothing and other stores and I would head to the bookstore and then stop in at Radio Shack. B. Dalton was started in 1966 and peaked with 798 locations in 1986. The chain was acquired by Barnes & Noble and in January 2010, Barnes & Noble closed the last remaining 50 B. Dalton stores. Walden books opened in 1933 as a book rental business. Books were rented for three cents per day to help people after the Depression who could no longer afford to buy books. Walden became a bookstore in 1962 and changed it's name to Waldenbooks in the 1970's. The chain was bought by Kmart in 1984 and then Kmart bought Border's books in 1992. In 1994, Kmart joined the two book businesses and at the time Waldenbooks had 1216 stores. By 2011, bookstores were in major decline and Borders filed for liquidation to close all bookstore locations.

A lot of mom and pop bookstores have also fallen over the years. Amazon and other online book sellers have killed a lot of the local bookstore business. I still enjoy going to Barnes & Noble bookstores. They are currently the largest bookstore chain in the country. They began in 1886 as Arthur Hinds & Company which then became Hinds & Nobel when Clifford Noble became a partner in 1894. They now have about 600 stores in operation. I like strolling the aisles of books and looking through their bargain section where you can find recent bestsellers for $6.99 or so. 

My all time favorite bookstore, that I have visited, is Powell's Books in Portland, OR. This store is amazing. It is the world's largest independent bookstore. It has new books, used books and antique books. Powell's has several floors of books and is one awesome place for a book lover to visit. I have been there twice and can't wait to get back. If I lived near this store, I think I would be in there several times a month. 

Do you have a favorite bookstore? Is is a local independent store or a chain store? Do you like a good bookstore or do you prefer to order online? Anyone else been to Powell's and will agree it is one great bookstore? Anyone else remember going to the mall bookstores back in the 80's and 90's? 

Thursday, February 2, 2023


The earliest know map in the world was etched on a clay tablet around 600 B.C. in Babylon. Ancient Greeks produced the first paper maps in the world. In 1579 the Guang Yutu atlas was produced and included 40 maps and using a grid system. The first maps of the entire world began in the 1500's as explorers sailed the seas discovering new lands never before seen by Europeans. In the 20th century aerial and satellite surveillance have made maps as precise as possible and make the map and direction apps that are in use in everyday life.

I saw a news story one day this week about paper maps making a comeback. Apparently, the younger generation has a new interest in paper maps. I have always enjoyed using a Road Atlas when planning and taking road trips in the past. The Road Atlas is a wealth of information that you just can't see spread out on a single page of internet web page on your phone or computer screen.  

With the Atlas you can see a lot of out of the way places of interest. I have used an Atlas when planning long road trips from OKC to the California coast and I have used it for short trips from OKC to Dodge City, KS. You can easily chart your route across numerous states and note any places of interest that you would like to explore. On our family trip to Dodge City, I noticed an interesting place in Greensburg, KS. Greensburg is home to the World's Largest Hand-Dug Well. So, I had to put that as a stop along our drive just to see what this place was. It turned out to be a very interesting museum that was about the well and about a tornado that destroyed the town in the past. Then we walked down a staircase into the well. How many of you have ever been to the World's Largest Hand-Dug Well? I bet not many!

If you were to look up your route on your phone in the maps app, you don't see this site listed unless you really zoom in on Greensburg. Which, you would probably never do if you were just passing through. The Atlas is so much better at showing you interesting sites in one easy, hand held, paper map book. Maybe the younger generation, now interested in paper maps, will not miss out on all the interesting spots out in this great world of ours.

I remember, back in the 90's using Mapsco books at work to get around the DFW area. I did not like those things. You had to find the address you wanted and then find what map page you needed. Then one page was so zoomed in that you had to flip to the page before or the page after to figure out where you were going. The modern smart phone is much better at getting you from one location to another. We also had maps for all the bigger cities in Oklahoma. When you need to go to one of those cities, you picked out the appropriate map from the map drawer and hit the road. My, how times have changed.

Paper maps would still be very handy these days if you found yourself somewhere without cell phone coverage. Some people couldn't get across town without using their directions from their phone with Siri telling them every turn to make. 

Maps are used to get from one place to another. Maps are used to plan details of vacations and weekend trips. Maps are used to track where you want to go or track where you have been. In our Road Atlas, I use a highlighter and mark every state we have been to on the U.S. Map and then sometimes highlight the entire route of a vacation road trip on the state maps within the Atlas. I've seen a few RVs that have a map on the back with colorful states placed on the map as the travelers have visited those states. I have a canvas world Conquest Map on my wall that I bought for a wall decoration. It came with pushpins so I can mark where I have visited and where I plan to visit. I just don't want to mess up the beautiful map with holes, so my map remains pin free at the moment. 

There are problems with a paper mat. Most do not show you where a good dining spot is or where the next hotel will be. It won't give you reviews of the sites it shows on the map. It won't give you advice on "things to do in xyz city". The smartphone or computer are much better tools for planning a lot of travel details. Another big problem with a paper mat......folding the darn thing if it is one of the foldable ones. Atlas, no problem. Folding map equals frustration. 

Do you still use a paper map in some instances? Do you use the Atlas as a planning tool for road trips? Have you seen anything interesting because you spotted it on a map and thought "you never know until you go"? Do you have a wall map that you use pushpins to mark where you have been and where you wish to go?