Friday, February 27, 2015

A typical week of retirement

I made it to the gym on Monday and had a great workout. Then I bent to do something totally normal - it was either emptying the dishwasher or feeding the dog - and I hurt my lower back. Yikes - no more gym this week, but if I move carefully I can carry on normally with some Ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation. Thankfully the dog hasn't been too insistent on walks in this cold weather so I have been helping her have a ball to chase by kicking it instead of throwing it. She must burn up her energy somehow. Today it feels much better but still tender in one spot so I am being careful.

I held a board meeting for my Friends of the Library group and did my library volunteer stint so I had some nice and varied social interaction. Unfortunately I will not attend lunch with former colleagues today as it is a long drive and my back still hurts.

Last week I ordered a pair of spring shoes and a pair of sandals but both didn't fit. They had free returns so they go back and I ordered two different pairs in hopes they will work. We'll see. Returned some other items that I had ordered that didn't fit and had to pay for those returns. Pretty much over ordering any clothing online that I have to pay to return.

We went out for Thai food at our favorite restaurant up the street on Sunday evening and it was a nice peaceful night to go out as it clearly isn't a date night LOL.

I also filled out tax forms using the pdf version available on the website and our state tax website. You can save the form so you can change it if needed. We owe the IRS money - sigh - so I had better pay estimated taxes for 2015. I don't understand why the payroll withholding table always underestimates and we always owe the IRS if we don't pay estimated taxes. We will get a bit of a refund on state taxes as the payroll withholding table for them always take too much. The illogic of it all. Oh well, its not in my control except to pay the darn estimated taxes and probably have paid too much.

Since I will turn my full retirement age (66) this year, I reread some information about when to start your social security payments IF you can afford to wait. Clearly the longer I wait the better off I will be if I live as long as my Mom (93) or longer which is likely. Absolutely will wait until Hubby retires from full time work and perhaps a while longer to reach 70. We may decide for me to collect starting the year after he retires and have him collect the spousal benefit on my earnings until he reaches 70 since he is 3 years younger. That would ensure whoever lives the longest the highest SS income possible. More number crunching as retirement gets closer to figure this out.

My frugal wins this week were about salvaging what we already own. If you want to take a crack at fixing something of your own that you don't know how to approach, simply pull out or download the manual, look for a YouTube video on the subject, Google your problem, post a plea for help on Facebook or simply put on your thinking cap and try whatever pops into your mind. It's at least worth a try.

One of the handsets for our house phone wasn't working and we were afraid we might have to buy new ones. I checked everything listed in the manual with no luck. Then I thought of trying the battery from a handset that was working to see if we needed a new battery for some reason. The handset worked but more importantly when I put the original battery back in it also worked. It must have just jiggled loose.

The pocket in my purse had developed a hole and small items were falling inside the purse lining. A few stitches by hand and that is problem of the past.

A pajama top for warmer weather was just too dark of a purple and actually made me shudder when I looked at it, so I ran it through the washer with some bleach. The bleach took out some of the black undertone so now it is a lighter but still dark purple top I can tolerate wearing for lounging and sleep.

There was a hole in the pocket of a pair of knit pants - no longer a problem. So glad for all those 4-H lessons and sewing experience from my childhood.

I am totally resisting buying anything for this house that isn't essential. 27 months until my husband can retire and we are starting to figure out the logistics of our move back to California. This move will clearly include as little stuff as possible to reduce the cost. Still, we have to live here in the meantime and need to keep everything working for us and looking as good as possible.

We needed to buy a new bath rugs for both bathrooms as they are falling apart to the point of being un-washable. We found one for the downstairs bathroom but it made the colored towels look shabby so I decided to see what would happen if I bleached the towels and they came out a nice cream color and look almost brand new! Still looking for one to go with the upstairs bath d├ęcor and need to check out more stores now that the weather is cooperating again.

Today I will at least sign up for a beginning jewelry metalworking class, watch a session of a Craftsy class, do housework, run errands, walk the dog, call a friend or two, do some volunteer work online, start altering an old pair of capris and very gently stretch my back. Such is my life in retirement in winter.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wild weather swings in Atlanta

Today the high will be 390 while there are predictions of rain and snow during the night ! A week from now it is supposed to reach 680. That is the joy of planning a wardrobe and activities in Atlanta during the winter!

Fortunately my biggest dilemma is whether or not to reschedule the dog's grooming appointment from first thing Thursday morning to next week. If there is ice on the road we are stuck in our house until it melts as we literally have to drive uphill any way we go. I'm sure she won't mind waiting a week.

Hope everyone else is warm and safe.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Valentine for People Living with Dementia

Oh, this made me tear up. My Mom had vascular dementia and loved to read and learn until the last month of so of her life. I do miss her so.

A Valentine for People Living with Dementia

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Vaccinations aren't just for children!

Yesterday I went for my annual physical and brought up that it had been a bit over 5 years since my last pneumonia vaccine. I received it at an earlier age than most due to a health issue.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that there are now two types of pneumonia vaccines recommended for those of us 65 or older. The one I received yesterday (PCV13)used to only be given to children but is now for seniors as well. I'll have to wait until next year to redo the other one.

Some interesting facts about pneumonia from the handout I was given.

"There are more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria. PCV13 protects against 13 of them. The 13 strains cause most severe infections in children and about half of infections in adults. ... A second type of pneumococcal vaccine, called PPSV23, may also be given to some children and adults, including anyone over age 65."

And don't forget the shingles vaccine that could keep you from having an outbreak or at least reduce its severity, your diphtheria-tetanus booster every 10 years and your annual flu shot.

There is so much about our health that we can't impact so why not do everything that is in your control to prevent illness!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

How I created a Spring wardrobe in my colors by shopping my closet

As I've mentioned I am in the midst of the 7 Steps to Style virtual program offered by Imogen Lamport of Inside Outside Style and not only enjoying the program, process, and private Facebook group but learning a lot about how to maximize my clothing budget at this time of my life.

So in the midst of thinking about my wardrobe and figuring out what to spend my clothing budget on this year I happened upon this article, A bunch of pretty things I did not buy, which is also now a book. Pretty funny as a juxtaposition to the amount of time I am spending thinking about clothing right not - more than at any time in my life except the teen years by the way.

Anyway, I now have a lovely swatch of 50 colors representing the 50,000+ that would look good on my at this time. I'm dealing with spending where I have shirked in the last couple of years - belts, bras, everyday winter coat, shoes, gym clothes and lounge/sleep wear. I will need to replenish my cold winter wardrobe a bit next Fall too.

The bulk of my wardrobe shopping though needs to be for a spring and summer wardrobe for those warm to very hot months we have a lot of in Atlanta. I want to spend my money very well this time around. My shopping time too as it is one of my least favorite activities and even more time consuming now that I am taking color into account as well as lifestyle, size, fit, style, ease of care and price.

So I am shopping my wardrobe first to see if I truly need anything to make it through early spring when it is cool to warm. I was able to create a potential color palette from the colors in my eyes and came up with these eye enhancers.

The red and coral are the closest colors in my swatch to the colors near my iris and were a surprise to me as I thought it was brown! There are also tiny flecks of teal to my surprise.

Three neutrals and four colors - I could live with that but I'm also waiting for a sunny day when my husband is home so to take the appropriate photos so I can get Imogen to pick out my signature colors. Also, I don't own many items in these colors for spring/summer although I wore them a lot back in my teens/early 20s. So back to shopping my closet I go.

I did find enough clothing for early spring that blend with colors in my swatch.

The overall color scheme for early spring

  And a few closet orphans that will work too with each other, denim or soft white.

I love the versatility that my color swatch gives me and have been pleasantly surprised at how many clothes I own that blend but please notice there is no black. Charcoal is my new black. So black is gone as is bright white, fuschia, and cool red, but there are plenty of colors left and they do look better with my current hair and skin coloring. I did sneak in a too white zip hoodie until I can replace it.

Overall I have a trench coat, blazer, zip hoodie, 3 cardigans, 16 tops, 2 jeans, ankle pants, 2 capris and a skirt for a total of 28 items plus 3 pairs of shoes and 2 belts for a total of 33 without including accessories. Not bad for shopping my closet.

It's not a perfect wardrobe eye color wise but I have plenty of clothes for the transition from cold to hot weather. I may need to add one or two smart casual outfits for going out or those occasions that require more dressing up. I definitely need those shoes, belts, and accessories mentioned earlier.

Onward to creating a wardrobe that works for hot/very hot & humid weather that will be here way to soon.

I'm going to add to that wardrobe using my signature colors/eye enhancers as much as possible so I expect to end up with two capsule wardrobes that don't work together very well. One will use the existing pieces that have at least one more season in them but won't have anything added in those colors. The other will be my new or thrifted purchases in my signature colors or colors that blend with them.

I'm looking forward to the journey and will share my learning with you as I go.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Month 1 of 2015: Goal status

I only have 4 goals for 2015, but they are ones I struggle with so I'm going to honestly report how I did each month.

January 2015

1. Work out at the gym at least twice a week (unless traveling, etc.).
- Gym: January 3, 6, 9, 12, 28 & 30
- Traveling: 1/16-26 with a hike & lots of walking
* Also got a massage and got lab work done for upcoming physical as part of my better health regime

2. Buy the clothing needed to have a wardrobe I love to wear that fits my life right now.
- Found 4 tops at a consignment store that fit well, match my colors and will be good for Spring.

3. Go through all files, office supplies and my books and only keep what brings me happiness, is used regularly or will be used up over time.
- So far I've jettisoned 10 books, box of envelopes, leather portfolio & 2 inches of paper

4. Disentangle from all of my volunteer roles for the Friends of the Library in preparation for moving in 2017.
- My most change resistant volunteer is finally training someone to take on my book sorting role. Big cheer!!!

Then there are the mushier goals.

5. Love and be loved.
- Our trip to CA certainly was filled with love - time with sons, DILs, FIL, BIL, great aunt, cousin & nephew.
- Had lunch with a friend and coffee date with another right after our vacation
- Called my great-aunt who was like a big sister to my Mom. I'm really missing my Mom.
- Two books on building patios were donated to the library book sale and I picked them up and mailed them to the son who has that on his home improvement list.

6. Have fun - and I'm adding, have adventures.
- We planned into our trip to CA two days just for us to drive up the coast from the LA area to the Bay Area with overnights in Cambria and Santa Cruz.

7. Find joy in everyday life even when it involves chores LOL.
- I've been remembering to really play with the dog, find reasons to laugh, light scented candles. I almost always wake up in a good mood so my measure for this goal is if I am still in one when I go to bed! Haven't kept track but I think it is going pretty well.

So, what's on deck for next month?

- More time at gym plus a bunch of preventative health care appointments for a physical, dental and orthodontic check ups and another massage I hope.
- My book club is meeting and I have a lunch scheduled with former co-workers. Friends of the Library book sale is hard work but also social as I see friends all day. Need to schedule some more social activities.
- I want to plan something fun for Hubby and I for Valentine's Day
- Keep plodding away at decluttering the home office, creating a small wardrobe that I love, and transitioning roles in the Friends of the Library group. I need to actually put time for these on my calendar.