Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Out of the gate - Busy start to 2019 in first half of January

A busy first half of January in terms of meetings, prep time and socializing. I'm realizing that the 2 groups I am involved with have all their activities in the first half of each month and then nothing. Looks like I need to make plans with friends and family for the second half of each month so I have something to look forward to!

I've spent a lot of time on our finances. Balancing everything for the end of 2018, making the 2019 budget, thinking about what to do with our inheritance and if we move again what that will cost. We had quite a few occasional payments due and other action items, so I made a chart by month for those periodic bills and things like appointments to make, birthdays, etc. and it is helping.

I've also decided to focus on being even more conscious of my/our optional spending more from a minimal impact and not adding more stuff to our lives perspective (rather than financial) - see the new tab at the top of the blog.

So I am summarizing how I've done on my 2019 Intentions twice a month for now as a reminder to focus on them. I did pretty good!

2019 Dreams, Aspirations and Hopes (No goals here) - January 1 to 14

SORTA 1. Make exercise a do-able habit - Focused on stretching and walking. Did my stretch DVD 3 times so far this month and walked 8 times. Need to work on stretching more!

YES 2. Lots of family time - Lovely time with all immediate family on New Year's Day at the Rose Parade and then half of them at our house that night and the next day. Out to lunch with Hubby. Called great-aunt to invite her to lunch but she was ill so will make that happen later.

YES 3. Be active socially - The first half of the month was busy. Women's club board, book discussion group and monthly meeting. Pet Club meeting. Scheduled lunches with two friends for later in the month and a group outing in February.

YES 4. Dream and evaluate location and lifestyle options - Had an initial discussion re options and timing of potential move to the Berkeley area. Looked at our investments to see how and when we could have the cash to buy a new place before selling this one.

SORTA 5. Read with a purpose - Went to book discussion group. Have requested several memoirs from the library.

6. Refresh my wardrobe in my style and colors - This has taken an interesting turn as I have decided to do a Not Buying New Challenge for a while. If something wears out or if I have a specific need for which there is nothing in my closet I can buy it but otherwise it is thrifted or nothing.

7. Healthier food all the time - Well, no.

YES 8. House ready to sell or enjoy even more - Deep cleaned the front bedroom. I wanted to buy something to store racquets and balls that were on the closet floor, but found a sturdy box to use instead. Enlisted Hubby to dust the ceiling fan blades and high closet shelf. Made a list of bedding replacements desired, but am not shopping for a while as I decide which are the top priorities for replacement/upgrading household items.

9. Push my creativity - Hmmm.

YES 10. Learn - I'm participating in a beta test of a new online program and learning a lot. I read an interesting book by Stephen Talty, "Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan's Pirate Army" and another by Shaun Bythel, "The Diary of a Bookseller".

11. Do more enjoyable things - Attended a performance of an opera medley. It was very interesting and enjoyable. A group of us then bought tickets for a table at the February performance of Tales of Hoffman by the same local opera company.

Friday, January 4, 2019

December 2018 - Week by Week

December is full of commitments for many of us isn't it? Hopefully yours had some lovely entertainment and time with loved ones too.

Week 1: We tried to go out for dinner Saturday night, but ended up just having drinks as we waited 1 1/2 hours after ordering , but no food arrived at our table!

Monday was a busy day starting with exercise at home, than a "who knows why" vomiting dog who had to see the vet twice (fine now), laundry, a Pet Club board meeting with the new club President too ill to come so I am still in charge (sigh), and a call from our son where I learned the deer tree ornament sent to our 2 year old granddaughter was a big hit (yeah!).

Went to a women's club board meeting to report on progress on a project and got elected to the board which was a big surprise and I'm not sure what it means commitment wise, but I do like these women! The next day enjoyed another interesting discussion about book with the book subgroup of my women's club followed by lunch (shrimp enchilada and salad - yum!)

Week 2: Made 4 dozen cookies for the Pet Club Holiday Dinner dessert potluck. They are White Chip Cranberry Blondies and boy are they sweet! We (the club leadership) managed to pull off a successful party despite ill health on several people's part. Whew.

And then there was my women's club holiday meeting and potluck lunch for 37 people. I made Balsamic Honey Carrots using a recipe from Budget Bytes and they were such a hit that I was asked for the recipe. That has happened before like - never. The trick I think is roasting the carrots instead of steaming or boiling them. Then we had a middle school jazz pop band play for us which brought back lots of memories of sitting through many, many concerts of my musician son. I wore the apron made by my new DIL's mother for each of the women in the wedding party out of extra fabric from the tablecloths. The sunflowers match the club's logo and I was helping with lunch.

We ended the week by having salmon tacos for lunch on the Ventura pier while watching the waves roll in.

Week 3: We are exchanging "stocking type" gifts with our local son and DIL. I packed each of them a gift bag of food, fun and emergency kit items. The dog is "getting" a small Christmas tin filled with poop bags. I'm sure he'll be thrilled LOL.

Hubby's 90 year old aunt called to remind us that she will be going to Idaho for 2 weeks to visit her son and his family. I want to be her when I grow up! Her husband died this year so she took the challenge of traveling by herself having never gone through airport security or taken Uber. She uses GoGoGranny to schedule her ride. What a strong woman. 

And our beloved pier in Ventura was damaged by 15 foot high surf (Photo) and closed until repairs can be done. This historic pier has been damaged by waves or burned many times including having 20 feet of pier ripped off once. It keeps getting repaired although there is no date set for it to reopen yet. Lifeguards also had to use water craft to rescue surfers who couldn't resist trying to ride the waves.

Week 4: A lovely Christmas Eve at our son and DIL's followed by a sick Hubby on Christmas morning so we came home right after a quick opening of gifts and before their brunch party started.  It was fun to meet the Mom of one of their friends from S. America. My son met him when they both lived in Japan for a while. They have such a nice group of friends and throw really fun parties.

And then there was the unexpected. For the first time in 53 years of driving I was on the freeway and my car simply lost all power and with that the ability to drive. I was able to get over into the breakdown lane fortunately but was between a high wall and the end of an on ramp. AAA showed up very quickly and got me and the car off the freeway safely, the car needed a new fuel pump and 7 hours after I left home I was ready to drive back with only a repair expense. I admit I was initially terrified, but now I am only feeling grateful. 

BTW, the tow truck driver said if your car stops in a traffic lane and you can safely remove yourself and get off the freeway that is the best thing to do as your car is definitely in danger of being hit! I stayed with my seat belt fastened so in case I was hit the air bags could help me and I wouldn't be thrown out of or around the car. He confirmed that was the best choice in my situation.

Last 2 Days: Getting ready for a short visit by son, DIL and granddaughter so cleaning and grocery shopping. Spent the early part of the 31st with both sons and their families before bringing the dog and ourselves home for a very quiet New Year's Eve. Hope your year was fabulous!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

And now the new year really starts!

After lunch today we said goodbye to the Berkeley based family and our super granddaughter which officially ends the holiday season for us. Tomorrow may be my older son's birthday but he has to work and I dropped off his gift on New Year's Eve. Always shortchanged with a very early January birthday as people are celebrated out LOL.

Anyway, I've spent part of the day looking at year end financial numbers and our plans for next year which are still pretty much up in the air on the moving front. We spent a ton of money in 2018 if you count turning family loans into gifts. But we did inherit more money so .... We will continue to contribute to a 529 plan for our granddaughter but at our children's request we have reduced gift giving even more for Christmas.

And (thanks California DMV) despite getting driver's licenses about 1 1/2 years ago we both need to make appointments, dig out all the required documents and pay another $35 to get the Real ID Driver's License! Yuck.

I think I am going to try to not shop out of boredom or unwillingness to wait (for a book from the library for example) this year. I have done my winter wardrobe using Project 333 and am already bored (but that is a personality problem not a wardrobe or need to go shopping problem.) So what behaviors can I substitute for shopping/browsing online or going to stores and wandering around? Eating is out and library trips usually involve a coffee and sweet but could switch to lunch. Exercise is good. Hmm - what else?

We are talking about using Hubby's cancelled flight credit to both go to Dallas as he had originally planned to see the Kennedy assassination museum. I might go to the Dallas art museum instead! Then we would drive to Austin and on to San Antonio (where my parents were married at the end of WWII). I had originally thought of  going to Santa Fe but this makes more sense and will be fun.

Ideas for what to do in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio please! And when is it best to go in late winter or spring before it gets really hot/humid but not during the rainy season?

We need to research where we might live in or near Berkeley and have what we want house, price, walkability to restaurants, etc. and opportunities to meet people and make friends vs an area that empties out every day. Moves during retirement are tough on the making friends and finding meaningful and fun things to do front.

So here is to kicking off 2019!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Welcome 2019

 Just a quick peak back at some of my 2018 which started with watching the Rose Parade in person.

We went for walks along the ocean and on the Ventura pier regularly and usually had lunch while there. Once the pier is repaired from recent storm damage we will be back.

We celebrated birthdays. I got strawberry shortcake while our granddaughter had a plane on her cake!
We had the very fun wedding of our much loved older son and his sweetheart of 20 years. Then we lost my 91 year old FIL who will be much missed.

And I took on a volunteer new project. My task is to see if I can find a buyer for a 1930 Mason and Hamlin Model A Ampico parlor grand pneumatic player piano with  mahogany finish and a lot of piano rolls. Know any one who wants to buy one?

Now it is time to get ready to go see this year's Rose Parade in person. Hope you are having a great start to your year!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Book List: Biographies of Mighty Women

This just popped up in my Facebook feed. Good timing given my intention to do some targeted reading about strong women!

Stories of Mighty Women: 75 New Biographies for Adult Readers

Friday, December 21, 2018

Update: 11 Goals for the (now) 8 months until I'm 70 and probably all of 2019

I definitely got derailed soon after posting  this update at the beginning of November! Death of my FIL, wildfire, family celebrations, holidays - lots of reasons.

Regardless of the reasons, our life commitments and options have changed since that update post. We no longer have the same reason to live where we are now that my FIL has passed away. That changes everything - perhaps!

So here is the modified version of my goals which are a mix of habit development and projects. They do need refinement and turned into actionable steps in some cases. Call it setting intentions and direction instead of goals.

But first I want to set one for my dog! Sleep past 4:30 am regularly in 2019 please LOL.

2019 Dreams, Aspirations and Hopes (No goals here)

1. Make exercise a do-able habit - ideas: walk/treadmill/swim daily; yoga/stretch 2x per week; weight/strengthen 2x per week; read the RBG workout book and see if it fits as a plan; try local Pilates studio

2. Lots of family time - this should be easy and a continuation of what we have been doing.

3. Be active socially - invite friends to do something or come over once a month, increase role in women's club

4. Dream and evaluate location and lifestyle options - includes evaluating the option of relocating to the Berkeley area and purchasing a small home there; take a longer trip to Berkeley including spending time with a realtor learning locations and market

5. Read with a purpose - first quarter is probably going to be reading memoirs and biographies of strong modern women; continue in book discussion group

6. Refresh my wardrobe in my style and colors  - keeping to a plan and budget with an eye to spending more time in the Berkeley area and climate; possibly hire my stylist friend to help me shop in an environmentally sound and stylish way (She wrote this great blog post for me! Style Recipe )

7. Healthier food all the time - read, plan, eat, enjoy

8. House ready to sell or enjoy even more - deep clean and declutter one room each month from rafters to floor, address any needs/fixes and refresh with secondhand/re-purposed/carefully chosen finds (Thanks for the idea Barbara )

9. Push my creativity - refashion, re-use, re-purpose, make myself; hold a cocktail party; etc.

10. Learn - Take three classes from OLLI or other source

11. Do more enjoyable things - perhaps a vacation trip, regular live theater (season subscription?), gallery show openings, musical performances at the library

What went well in 2018?

Yes, I am aware 2018 isn't quite over but in the tradition of thinking about what will be my goals and dreams for the coming year I am first thinking about what went well in 2018! In random, brain dump order here are the first 10 to come to mind.

1. We had lots of lovely time with our family! Definitely something to repeat in the coming year.

2. I made friends and found groups to get involved with. I'm talking about you Somis Thursday Club and Leisure Village Pet Club. Both are letting me use my skills and strengths as well as being fun and welcoming.

3. We went for walks by the ocean regularly. Lovely to be able to drive there in about 20 minutes.

4. I now feel very comfortable driving around and know how to get places easily.

5. Our home functioned well and the neighbors are friendly but not intrusive.

6. Our retirement budget worked!

7. One car living is not only possible but will be continued.

8. We have found some restaurants and a live theater that we enjoy as well as a farmer's market.

9. We have both been healthy and found new exercise venues: Pickleball for Hubby and yoga for me.

10. I continue to enjoy learning about color, style and wardrobe design without spending a lot.

I'm sure there are many more but there are the ones popping out of my head at 6:30 in the morning!

What went well for you this year?