Wednesday, October 1, 2014

65 + 1/12th and working on my health

Having made it exactly one month past 65 and into my year of PUSH goals I thought I'd give an update.

Remember these goals for the year?
  • Push myself physically - I want strength building, stretching and aerobic activity to become  habits as necessary as brushing my teeth; also to get my weight down 10 pounds as a health benefit issue.
  • Push myself mentally - I love to learn and problem solve and don't thrive without it.
  • Push to engage deeply in a hobby/activity - I find purposeful activity makes life more meaningful and developing hobbies and other activities and then diving deeply into them provides that meaning.
  • Push to be more outgoing - I tend to be reticent so making sure I socialize more and connect more deeply with friends and family is important and the benefits speak for themselves.
I've been working on my physical activity level by walking a lot more and doing lots of yard work. I bought some new walking shoes as my old ones made my feet hurt. To move forward in a more planned way I rejoined the gym and start this morning. I also had a deep tissue massage and decided to commit to one every 6 to 8 weeks as needed. I'm starting to look for an alternate place to get a flu shot covered by my insurance since my usual provider doesn't have the vaccine yet. I'll check at the pharmacy at the grocery store later today but I won't pay for what I am supposed to be able to get for free - I'll wait longer if I have to. I also signed up for an archery orientation.

I guess that goes under developing an engaging hobby/activity. For years I have pursued art and although I am going to keep at it at some level I have to admit my talents are modest. My MIL was a fabulous artist as you can see by the unfinished painting below. I had it shipped home when we were in CA for my birthday as no one in the family wanted it when my FIL moved into assisted living. I love the painting but I also love that she just hung it up unfinished as she liked it a lot and her eyesight didn't let her finish it!


I've been trying to read some more intellectually challenging books along with my light mystery fare and am enjoying Saving Italy by Robert M. Edsel at the moment. I read The Monuments Men by the same author and found the story and history very engaging. I want to see the movie after I finish this book. WWII seems to be the theme as I also have Good Evening, Mrs. Craven by Mollie Panter-Downes waiting in the wings. I'd like to visit London again and go to the War Museum among other things we didn't see when we were there. Hmmm - perhaps a plan is forming here.
Nothing planned in the social category at the moment. Need to work on that!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Proud Mom, serendipitous thrift store shop, archery in my future and slow week ahead

I have to start with my proud Mom item! We lent a significant sum of money to a son and DIL to help with the down payment for a house and they sent us the first repayment check only 6 months after buying. They had to do the usual additional investments in fixing things in the house and we didn't expect to get a loan repayment for some time. Yeah for them.

In the middle of last week I stopped by my favorite thrift store that supports animal rescue groups. I was looking for a belt, but you have to be open minded when shopping thrift stores so I had other things on my mental list. No belt but I found a fleece pullover, zip windbreaker, yoga pants, shoes and a bracelet. It was 50% off Get a New Wardrobe day (which I didn't know so that is the serendipitous part) so I only spent $11.77. The dog is not thrifty, but is good at photo bombing!


Then I shopped for new running shoes for now and waterproof walking shoes for winter. Let's just say I have feet that are tricky and hurt easily so that was money well spent and since I found them at REI I will get my 10% dividend refund early next year. I walked the dog this morning in the running shoes and my feet were happy so money well spent.

Its been grey here so I bought some flowers at Trader Joe's and made the bouquet larger with some Camilla branches from the yard. Cheered the house for almost a week.

We went out to eat twice. After walking over to a street fair and listening to an excellent male acapella group, we decided to have a drink at a restaurant we hadn't been to and that turned into Cuban sandwiches for lunch too. Then we took advantage of a restaurant week special in a nearby neighborhood to go out for drinks and tapas at a restaurant I hadn't been to but DH had visited with a friend. A lovely evening out on a weekday.

I'm thinking that we will start trying new recipes for Sunday night dinner to get out of our cooking rut and find some meals that we could prepare for guests. We are out of the habit of entertaining and would like to get back into it rather than only going out by ourselves.

In my efforts to push myself to do more in many ways I have signed up for an archery lesson orientation for this coming Saturday. I have enjoyed archery whenever I tried it so this is a candidate for a new hobby. They have lessons available on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons once you complete the orientation and provide the equipment so I'm going to give it a try.

Nothing much else planned this week otherwise. I am going to consider rejoining the gym as working out at home isn't working out. Otherwise it is catch up on house work, more yard work, more library volunteering, seeing if a friend wants to go to a photography exhibit and then have coffee. Deal with my to do list that doesn't inspire me. Take dog to the vet for her monthly shot for her Addison's disease. That archery orientation. Find a place to get a free flu shot as my Dr. doesn't have the vaccine yet. A Craftsy class I bought and haven't taken yet. Look for that belt I need. Seems like the week will fill up!

Have a wonderful week and share your plans please.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A surprise party, a board meeting, lots of walks, yardwork and a son has successful surgery - The week that was

Another good week in my 65th year.

Let's get the son's surgery off the table first thing. Years ago he had knee surgery that was extensive and fully recovered all use of the knee with no pain. The meniscus tore again though and through the wonders of arthroscopic surgery his knee is fixed again and he feels good even though it is swollen from surgery. His wife is taking very good care of him this time! All good news for this Mom.

Four opportunities to socialize this week made me a happier woman. Three were library volunteer work related: 2 donation sorting mornings and a Friends of the Library board meeting where we were able to not only agree to pay for all remaining adult, senior and youth programs for this year but also give $7,500 to buy additions to the collection. We have the best volunteers who help run our used book sales three times a year and donate money as well.

The fourth social event was last night; a surprise 60th birthday party for a friend. She was in fact surprised and it was a lovely party and evening.

I've been taking longer walks with and without the dog as planned and also spent yesterday morning doing yard work by pruning almost every bush in the front yard. This morning is the back yard and yard work will continue to dominate the week. The weather has cooled, no rain and the leaves aren't falling thick and fast yet so it is the perfect time to whip the yard into shape and get some exercise as well.

I am hoping that we will spend this afternoon walking over to a nearby small business area for an Open Streets event with performers and food. This is becoming popular here and involves closing a section of street to traffic and encouraging pedestrians. I looked at the performance schedule and there are going to be acoustic drummers, a cappella singers, and lots more to see.

Hope you had a good week and have something fun happening this weekend.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Retirement and health care costs

We all know that health care costs are the wild card in planning financially for retirement - or before retirement for that matter. This is the best article I have seen on the topic. Hope it helps.

Next Avenue's blog article on Retirement health costs: Planning for the wild card

Monday, September 15, 2014

I'm declaring it walking week!

My attempt to PUSH myself to exercise more failed on my beach weekend with friends. The day we were to go kayaking I woke up with an unforgiving headache and nausea. So I stayed home and shut my eyes and took medicine. The next morning I was fine but then we drove home so no exercise this past weekend.

My intent is to take a long, exercise focused walk each day this week and I got off to a good start this morning. The dog got her short walk and came home and then I went out again without her.

The weather has here has turned towards Fall with a bit of cooling making walking outside an option again. If we have a rainy day I have a walking exercise dvd to use.

I am going to continue with following my PUSH goals. Here is what I did do in week 1 despite the kayaking fail:

Push myself physically
- Strength: Heavy yard work 2 1/2 hours; sorting/moving donated books 4 hours 
- Aerobic: Walked dog 6 times
- Weight: Lost the 3 pounds I put on over vacation; 10 to go

Push myself mentally
- Nothing I can think of!
Push to engage deeply in a hobby/activity
- Signed up for a Craftsy sewing with knits class

Push to be more outgoing
- Phone calls with brother and a cousin
- Lunch with a friend
- Beach weekend with 6 friends - I kept thinking of reasons not to do this, but pushed myself to go ahead and go on this trip.
- RSVP sent for a large party - the kind I find hard to attend

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

That pesky planning for 2015 finances and goals

Once again my father in law took a sleeping pill and a few hours later got out of bed to use the facilities and fell. He wasn't hurt thank goodness, but had to call for assistance in getting up. So the place he lives had to notify us (on the other side of the country) and that was at 3:30am. I couldn't go back to sleep and am really shattered as the Brits would say.

Forging ahead I grabbed an extra cup of coffee and went to the library to put in my time sorting, pricing and packing donated books and media items for our next Friends of the Library sale and am happy to note that the one over Labor Day weekend made $5475+ which was a good take. The donations keep coming like a flood though so we are on to preparing for the next one. Then I went out to lunch with a friend as I still needed to go to the grocery store and drugstore on that side of town. Right now I am debating the wisdom of a nap vs. more coffee. Even the dog has decided on an early nap as I messed up her sleep schedule too.

Yesterday I started thinking about next year's finances and family goals. I am trying to cut back in some areas so we can save even more and still travel as much as we want and need to. So far I have eliminated life insurance for me due to my inheritance and not bringing in any income that needs replacing. We will keep hubby's as he is working through 2017 and since he hasn't started receiving his pension the amount I would get as a widow would be smaller than the survivor's share once he is.

I also really looked at my clothing situation and came up with a very short list of things I actually NEED - waterproof walking shoes for winter, replacement running shoes and sandals in the spring and some underwear. I am going to take a sewing with knits Craftsy course so I will be making some items as an interesting challenge and hobby for myself. If I actually limit my shopping to that my clothing budget will be low. Hubby needs to replace much of his wardrobe as he has lost weight he didn't need or want to lose due to a chronic illness and has reconciled to not being able to put it back on in the foreseeable future. He gets the bulk of the clothing budget.

We have to decide what to do about the need for a retaining wall in a hidden area of our yard. I am leaning towards shoring up what is there rather than spending a lot on a new one. I want to spend money on travel - at least 2 visits each to N and S California to see our kids and other family, one trip to NH to see family and a vacation trip to Santa Fe or NYC. Hubby will probably go see his Dad at least 2 additional times so it adds up quickly.

However, I am confident that our gift budget will be much smaller as we have no planned large gifts to family. No planned technology upgrades, no planned home improvements or large repairs and no planned new large health care expenses for us or the dog. There are always unplanned ones though aren't there? So right now our bottom line for next year looks good and planning is all I can do.

Although I won't know what increases we have in health, car and home insurance costs, property taxes, cable fees, etc. until later, I do know they will all go up. Starting to think about where to spend vs. where to save may also help out this last quarter of 2014.

Have you started thinking about your budget or plans for next year? How do you approach it?

I'm such a lucky girt!

I was talking to someone this morning who is heading off soon on vacation and you would think they were being taken to a dreadful event or place. Anticipatory negativity - not worth the effort. Why think like that when you can be grateful and look for the good in what has happened, what you have and what is ahead?

So I am going to go through my 65th year with the "I'm such a lucky girl!" attitude. Right now I am thinking I am lucky to -
 Have had these two as parents! My cousin gave me this photo of my parents probably taken before my brother was born as he is not in the photo. Mom was pregnant with one of us LOL. They wanted a family very badly and were glad to have us and did their best to be good parents.
And here we are in 1952 with our Mom

 And probably the late 1960s with my Dad and Grandpa in the corner there.

And I'm such a lucky girl to have family and friends who not only gave me a birthday party or came and to celebrate with me.