Posts Tagged With: retirement

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 9

I feel a little whiney today.  I didn’t sleep so well last night.  My privacy shades didn’t keep out the bright security light so I couldn’t find that deep, delicious REM sleep I need.   I was anxious for daybreak so I could get organized and hit the road.  Yesterday I decided not to head north to Kilispell, Montana as planned to visit Glacier National Park but to stay on I-90 West that would eventually take me right into Seattle.  I’ve never been in this area of the country so it’s all new and beautiful to me and although I swore I would have no deadlines, I feel ready to get to my final destination.  My husband is flying to Seattle to meet me for his 70th birthday with his children and grandson.  My well-planned itinerary feels like its unravelling around the edges a bit but, so what?  I’m gonna follow my nose and keep going left — west.

I’m not sure if I was tired and zoned out or was involved with my murder mystery audio book, but when I noticed a bunch of people at an overlook I joined them.  Whoa!  Welcome to Idaho.  I’ve met some incredible people at these overlooks.  We’re all visitors and every one has a story.   I had to pull into a rest stop to make absolutely sure I was where I was supposed to be.  When I did, I realized I was hungry so  I took a box of crackers and peanut butter over to a picnic table with my maps, etc.  I thought the critters were squirrels.  But, they weren’t.  They were prairie dogs.  Hungry prairie dogs.  They were adorable but I still didn’t share my peanut butter crackers.

You single girls out there – let me tell you the easiest way to meet nice men.  Forget Match or eHarmony, just sit down and look at a map.  They can’t resist – if they’re gentlemen they want to help. Whether you need assistance or not you will meet some really nice people.  So, these two guys who were also laughing at the prairie dogs joined me at the picnic table to see if I needed help and we began talking about Idaho.  They  were headed south to the Tetons after spending the night in Couer d’Alene and highly recommended a stop there.  I was only a couple of hours away and very tired so I decided to take a break, have a hot meal and find a motel for the night.

I had an hour to kill before I could check into my motel room so I stopped for lunch.  I whipped out my atlas while I had a glass of wine waiting for my meal.  A nice older (than me) gentleman came over to see if I needed help.  See, I told you so.  Anyway, we had a nice chat about his dream of visiting Florida and he gave me some information about Idaho. When I checked into my room I took a wonderful hot shower, set up my computer to try to catch up on blogging, emails and messages and took a long nap.  When I got up I was hungry and lazy.  I didn’t want to get dressed up to go to a restaurant so decided to look for a fast food place in the neighborhood.  I found a Panda Express nearby and thought, why not?  Live life large, right?  Try something new.  Not.  By morning my hands were so swollen I couldn’t make a fist and my face was puffy.  Unless you can tolerate loads of MSG, don’t do it.

But, I was clean and comfortable and fed and getting organized.  I’m excited to explore Couer d’Alene tomorrow.


Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who is Oscar Scherer and Why Is There a State Park Named After Him?

Because it’s one of our favorite camping sites and just 30 miles from home and since we’ve spent some fun camping trips there and I’ve often wondered who Oscar Scherer was, I finally googled (that’s a verb?) “Oscar Scherer”:

In 1955, Elsa Scherer Burrows bequeathed 462 acres of land to the state of Florida for use as a park. The land was donated in memory of her father, Oscar Scherer, an inventor who developed a process for dyeing leather for shoes in 1872.

After a year of preparation, Oscar Scherer State Recreation Area was opened to the public in 1956. In 1991, an additional 922 acres were purchased as part of the P2000 initiative. This increased the parks total acreage to 1384 acres.

It appears that Elsa and Pinnochio had a lot in common, famous fathers involved in shoes.  Now we know and “knowing is half the battle” according to GI Joe.

Oscar Scherer State Park is where I often go when I need to run away from home for a couple of days.  I particularly love this park because the campsites feel private and wild although you are only 20-30 feet from your neighbors and have access to water and electric and the showers & restrooms are clean –   which is about as wild as I want to get.

My last escape from reality I was joined by my husband and we had a good time although things do tend to get a little bizarre when you have two 60-somethings escaping reality together:

front sign oscar

Bobcat on the Red Trail

Bobcat on the Red Trail





Eagle nest

Eagle nest




Would you go swimming?

Would you go swimming?







Delightful camping site

Delightful camping site



No, I didn't hit him ... clunked himself on the trunk's hood!

No, I didn’t hit him … clunked himself on the trunk’s hood! But that’s what first aid kits are for.








Categories: Camping, Family, Humor, Kayaking, Life, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Why Women Return to Work When Their Husbands Retire – Reason #1

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ingredients.”  What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?


My husband sits at the kitchen island with his computer while I prepare meals.  Suddenly he has become the secret ingrediant to my success in the kitchen. After all these years I couldn’t possibly prepare a meal without him explaining to me:

  • How to clean a chicken
  • Which herbs and spices are appropriate for the dish I’m preparing
  • How many herbs and spices I should use
  • What temperature the oven should be set at
  • How to fold the grocery bags
  • How to line up the cans in the pantry (all labels facing forward)
  • How to most efficiently load the dishwasher
  • What foods should never be put in the garbage disposal
  • Why fruit flies have appeared in our kitchen
  • How to make a better cup of coffee
  • How to clean the coffee maker
  • Which dishes/cups can safely be used in the microwave
  • Which bread/salad dressings/pickles and other condiments he prefers on his sandwiches
  • Why he is the best popcorn maker in the family
  • Why our grand-daughter prefers his pasta to mine
  • The proper way to clean dishes (hand-wash)
  • The proper way to fold a dish towel
  • The best brand of dishwashing liquid
  • How to clean a cast iron skillet (the way his dad did)
  • How to empty the drip pan under the refrigerator
  • When the garbage can needs to be emptied
  • Which items can be recycled
  • Etc.

It’s amazing that my family has survived the past 40 years of my meal preparation without his supervision.  For those of you ladies who don’t have a man looking over your shoulder while you’re in the kitchen, feel free to borrow mine.




Categories: Daily Prompt, Humor, Life, Retirement, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 3 Comments

I’m Supposed To Be Retired So Why Am I So Busy?

Once again I am running behind on my Blogging 101 assignments.  I spent three hours catching up yesterday and can’t figure out how I’m behind already.


Got up this morning and made the coffee

Fed the cat

Fed the cat

Went for a 2-mile walk along the Peace River

Went for a 2-mile walk along the Peace River

Had coffee with my husband

Had coffee with my husband

Husband & I planned the rest of our day

Reviewed schedules & to-do lists with husband

Made breakfast & cleaned the kitchen

Made breakfast & cleaned the kitchen

Got my hair cut

Got my hair cut

Paid the bills

Paid the bills

Worked on customer quilts on my long arm machine

Completed a customer’s quilt on my long arm machine

Cocktail hour(s)

Cocktail hour(s)





















































No pix of my visit to the doctor, preparing dinner and cleaning the kitchen (again), phone calls with quilting customers, kids & other business.  But I did spend time on Blogging 101, making comments and I worked on my header photos, got my Blogging 101 badge correctly posted and other odds & ends.  Oh, I also watched a couple of past episodes of “Game of Thrones”.

As  Lewis Carroll said, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Geez, I know how that poor White Rabbit felt!


Categories: Humor, Life, Retirement, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Dream Girls Over 60 Unite … Read My Blog!

Blogging 101, assignment 4, Your Dream Reader

I hope my blogs will reach mid-century girls – women over the age of 60 who may be wondering about the next phase of their lives.  Perhaps they’ve worked all their lives and it’s time for them to retire or maybe they’ve been stay-at-home moms and it’s time for their husbands to retire.  Regardless, they are beginning a new lifestyle and it can be intimidating not only from a financial and health perspective but also considering spending 24/7 with spouses or significant others.  It can be a trial, a challenge, or tremendously funny.


There are other issues such as wrinkles (face & thigh, butt & neck), weight gain, hormones, hair loss, fashion challenges, health & medical issues for both spouses, and any number of other exciting things to look forward to.  There’s a myriad of things to be unhappy or worry about but, as we all know, with age comes wisdom and, more importantly, freedom!

Freedom to go commando, to not wear makeup, to pull your hair back into a ponytail or not color it for months.  Freedom to jump in your car, stop at an ATM & withdraw as much cash as you can and hit the road until the money runs out. Freedom to let someone else worry about paying the bills (especially since you’ve withdrawn all the money), solve the kids’ and grandkids’ problems, cook the meals, do the grocery shopping, do the laundry. Freedom to take the time to get in shape, eat right, be as glamorous or as “natural” as you want.

So, I would like to reach my 60+ age friends out there and help them see the bright side, the adventures, the challenges, the humor that awaits them as they travel through the highways & byways of the rest of their lives.

Girls, remember, worrying will make you ugly!  We’ve waited all our lives to have fun, so let’s do it!

nora desmondhelen

Either way, it’s all good!



60 woman

Categories: Humor, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Who Am I? I am (not) Jean Valjean 25601

Now bring me prisoner 24601
Your time is up
And your parole’s begun
You know what that means.

 Yes, it means I’m free.  (Les Miserables)

After almost 50 years in shackles, I gained my freedom when I retired 14 months ago.  I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy my career but the bottom line is that I spent those years doing what I needed to do, not what I wanted to do.  Unlike those fortunate enough to turn their avocations into well-paid careers, I evolved into a business administrator spending my days solving technical and personnel issues, budgeting, writing, interacting with the public, etc. while my heart and mind were yearning to travel, daydream, read and create.

In anticipation of my freedom I purchased a 17-foot Casita travel trailer and a Kia Sorrento to tow it.  Over the next several months I learned how to hook it up, drive it and set it up at camp sites by myself.  I have driven cross country (north to south)and camped solo – not bad for a scaredy cat 60-something woman who always thought camping meant staying at a cheap motel, who’s afraid of the dark and worms.

I want every day for the rest of my life to contain at least one adventure to share on my blog …  planning a trip, trying a new recipe or a new product, solving a problem, or sharing a new book.  I want to encourage other women to break through their comfort levels, step out of their boxes, overcome their fears, declare their independence and, most importantly, fulfill their dreams.

It’s not easy to do whatever you want after a lifetime of fulfilling the needs of everyone else as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an employee, a grandmother, a friend; to release some of those responsibilities and begin living a few of your own dreams.  Feels kind of selfish at first but I recovered quickly.

Now that I’m unrestrained, unchained, unrestricted it’s hard to prioritize all the things I want to do.  I’ve taken a yoga class, Zumba, traveled to New Orleans, visited Ruby Falls and the Chickamauga battle field.  I’ve investigated an old cemetery with my brother, camped in Key West by myself, sewn quilts and crocheted afghans, taken a 1200 mile road trip with my sister, and probably read over 90 books in the past 14 months.  I’ve painted part of my lanai, removed the old fans and light fixtures and will begin working on the cracks in the pool deck so I can renovate with bright Mexican colors.  I’ve started an eBay business, continued my long-arm quilting business and, of course, started blogging.

Indulgent and selfish?  You bet!  And I want to share it all on this blog.  I’m looking forward to participating in Word Press’ “Blogging 101”.


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

You Know You’re a Mid-Century Girl If …

I’m a mid-century girl and you are too:

  • If you were born in the 1940s, 50s or 60s
  • If you wore a girdle and stockings to your first job but later burned your bra, threw out your girdle & started wearing pantyhose and mini-skirts and slacks to work & now wear Spanx if necessary
  • If you learned to type on a manual typewriter, then used an IBM Selectric then a computer keyboard & now have an iPad or notebook
  • If you worked where there was a telephone switchboard but now use a smart phone
  • If you watched I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke & Bonanza  on a black & white television & now have flat screen TVs in every room with TIVO, ROKU or You Tube
  • If you used to get dressed up to go shopping downtown but now do all your shopping at the mall or on-line at or eBay
  • If you had to save up to make weekly long distance calls home to your parents and now use Skype or Facetime to stay in touch with family & friends
  • If you took shorthand, bookkeeping and business English in high school and still use all those skills
  • If you hand wrote letters in cursive to friends & relatives on nice stationary, stamped them and sent them through the  mail and now use email and FaceBook to communicate with those same people
  • If you had a Brownie Instamatic or Polaroid camera that used flash bulbs but now use your smart phone to take photos
  • If you were forced to take Home Economics in high school but were not allowed to take Shop because you are a girl
  • If you helped your parents read (and fold) road maps during summer road trips but now use GPS, Priceline, Trip Advisor or a map app on your smart phone
  • If you used to wash and iron your cotton/linen/silk dresses then went to polyester because it was wrinkle free and now wear 100 % cotton, linen & silk again
  • If you used to play in blue jeans and Keds and now wear designer jeans, heels & blingy tops for evening wear
  • If you were forced into one of the accepted professions for women; secretary, teacher, nurse but retired as an Executive Assistant, school principal, senior teacher, politician, doctor, lawyer or para-legal, manager, engineer, astronaut or succeeded in whatever career you eventually chose
  • If you read the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew and now read mysteries, blogs & the Wall Street Journal
  • If you went from watching Disney with your family on Sunday nights to visiting Disney World with your grandchildren

You’re a mid-century girl and my kind of woman – so, let the adventures begin!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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