Category Archives: retired

It’s been awhile…..

It was couple of years ago I moved from our family home  to our vacation home in Mesquite Nevada. I wrote several posts describing the change, what I didn’t share was how this change ultimately fell short of my expectations. 




Transition takes time to emotionally sink in and when in the middle of a big change you may mistake being “busy” for being fullfilled.

I did. 

One day I woke up and found myself lost.

Apparently I had been lost for sometime and did not realize that externally I had reorganized my life with fulfilling tasks, but failed to meet the needs of my soul. By the summer of this year, despite a glorious trip to Europe and the birth of the most perfect grandchild; I was down in the dumps. I suffered from anxiety, spent way too much time alone and had trouble motivating myself to do anything outside of my studio.

Luckily for me I am by nature; an analytical person.  When I realized  the problem was not going to pass on it’s own I sought help. I was not afraid to make changes, research, to be open to suggestions and to try potential solutions.  I got a new doctor who was a good listener. I made some lifestyle changes and made an effort to be more attuned to my physical well being. 

The second thing that started me on a more positive path was growing connections with fellow creative spirits: Women who wanted more out of life than just to be comfortable. Although I have a wealth of creative friends which I keep connected to online, in Mesquite I wasn’t able to find the intellectual depth I needed to grow . I found these kind of women in Saint George Utah, 

So I moved!

We found the perfect home. It’s less than an hour from Mesquite, but is in a much larger and more diverse community.  It has an active and interesting quilt guild. There is a museum.  The downtown has an amazing library. The are lot’s of bike paths and it is filled with beautiful places to hike. There are good places to eat, shop, listen to concert or go to a play. 

We choose a family neighborhood, near a park with room enough to comfortably have guests. The house has a back yard to garden. There is a huge gourmet kitchen and a three car garage that my husband loves. My studio is in a front bedroom that is larger than my old studio and filled with light. 

I plan to start full speed on several new projects. I also want to balance my studio work with a daily journal writing, cooking, water aerobics and making functional items. There is a wonderful group of art quilters to keep me moving forward. 

Southern Utah is place of great beauty. People from all over the world travel here to see Zion National Park. I feel at home here. I feel welcome and I look forward to many happy years in my new home.


Next Post is my word of the year: Observation 

Until Next time..






Iris Apfel’s Wisdom

Curiosity and a sense of humour

You only have one trip you might as well enjoy it.
Iris Apfel

I recently watched a wonderful documentary on Iris Apel. Iris is a 90(+) icon of the fashion world. I had no idea who Iris was, but by the end of the documentary I was a huge fan.  She is her own work of art. From the heavy use of layered jewelry to her signature glasses.

This post is not about Iris in the world of fashion and design, it’s about the wisdom of Iris.

# 1 “I am not a beautiful women.”
To be honest about yourself is a noble characteristic. Why waste time chasing what is not in the realm of possibilities. (Trying to weigh what you did in your 30’s. Looking good wearing a trendy item that wasn’t designed with your body type in mind.)  Iris is not vain. She is realistic.  Her strength is her ability create a personal style that is a perfect fit for her body and her personality.




Watching Iris has inspired me to rethink putting some creative energy into my own closet. In the documentary she was shopping in thrift stores and carts on the streets of New York for color, patterns and textures that together make a visual statement. She paired these finds with some designer, vintage and cultural pieces. What holds them together her well cultivated aesthetic. 

#2 “You can’t have it all.”

How many of us know people or are people who still hold regrets that we didn’t……..

Iris was born three years after my own mother in 1921. It was an era where women started to move beyond the home. Iris studied art history, worked for Women’s Wear Daily, was an interior designer and assistant to an illustrator. At she 27 married Carl. In 1950 they open “Old World Weavers. The company served clients that included the White House until 1992.

Iris and Carl never had children by choice.  Her reasoning is solid: “You can’t have it all.”

As a women who grew up in the age where women were told to go out and get more. Have the career, the kids, the marriage and social life. It is nice to hear someone who made clear choices and doesn’t have regrets.

#3 When your mind is busy, you don’t hurt so much.

Iris is active despite being in her 90’s and less mobile than a younger person. She pushes herself out the door. Currently Iris has a line of jewelry, eyewear and makeup. She also is a Professor and active in a fashion design program.

I am in my late 50’s and not in bad shape. I can’t say that I am hurting physically, but the schedule Iris keeps would push my limits. Her lifelong work ethic has served her well. Being active is an attitude. Keeping your mind and body moving forward in a meaningful way is critical to a happy and long life.

Check out the documentary by Albert Maysles.

Until next time……….


Can you be isolated in the digital age?


My Dad


My father retired from the University of Hawaii, moved to a place he had never visited and began 12 years of social isolation until his death in 1984.



My Dad retired at 68 when I was beginning high school. We moved from Hawaii to a small town in Northern Colorado where we didn’t know anyone. Most days my Dad had a routine which included driving me to school, returning home,  sitting on the couch, chain smoking, drinking beer and watching TV with his dogs. He turned into bed by 8 and was up at 5:30.

It was a very sad life for a man that had been a wonderful teacher, a writer and someone who had a strong group of articulate intellectual friends. He spent his retirement severely depressed and in almost complete social isolation. When he died, I am pretty sure he said “Thank God that’s over!”

My father’s horrible retirement years has been a beacon for me. I thought long and hard since I entered the workforce about how my life in retirement would be completely different from my Dad’s.

A key component to happy retirement is to be engaged socially, intellectually and physically.  Social isolation is an issue for many older adults who have left the workforce and it’s impact is significant. A brief google search produced a long list of articles and websites about this condition.



Social isolation has a larger impact than increased depression. It also contributes to a wide range of physical conditions including increased blood pressure, increased risk of alzheimer’s, weakened immune system and increased risk for cancer.

A strategy to avoid social isolation in retirement is to settle in a community with other retirees. The first age restricted community was Youngtown Arizona in 1954.  The concept of “active retirement”  community exemplified by the Sun City expanded the concept of age restriction. poolside This model added shared facilities (rec centers, meeting rooms, golf clubs, etc…) and community run clubs, sports, classes and social events.

Work Or Retire Signpost Shows Choice Of Working Or Retirement

Work Or Retire Signpost Shows Choice Of Working Or Retirement

Being in a retirement town I run into many happy people from the icon of active retirement: Sun City where social isolation is fought hard. People who buy property in Sun City consciously make a choice to live in a place without a dull moment.


Residents frame their decision to live in an active community as a way to immediately have friends and activity in a new community. It’s a prefab transition from a busy work life to a busy retirement, but it’s not for me.

After working the super active school environment, I am happier right now enjoying some “me” time. Social media has played a major role in helping the balance between the isolation of my studio and the need to connect with like minded people.

As I have learned to actively engage in a variety of social media platforms I am getting connected not only with people like me, but also with people who help me stretch out socially and intellectually.

I wonder if my Dad had been living in the social media age if he wouldn't have created a life beyond work

Being online has expanded my my interests. I did not consider myself a writer. My training and expertise is in the visual arts. So when I began to take this blog seriously I started searching for  bloggers who were successful. Some of these bloggers had lists of blogs they followed and I read and followed some of those blogs. Along the way I have ended up reading wide array of topics from blog about fashion to the history of Canadian participation in WWII.

I have also learned through blogs that other forms of social media are key to driving readers to your blog. Paula Reed Nancarrow had a series of posts about using Twitter to increase the number of followers to your blog. Since that time my readership has grown more than tripled.

More importantly once I got Twitter and took the time to understand that platform I have made some connections that have added immeasurably to my artistic practice by sending out images of work in progress and gagging my success by monitoring the social traffic.

cal-201408-retro_tech_024 The biggest “ah ha” for me was the discovery that being engaged in social media or being online is not analogous to watching TV.  A TV is a device like a book. You are taking in information.

Social media is a conversation at a large event where you may know some people, but not everyone. You have the opportunity to listen and to respond. It is not an isolating activity and if you are an intellectual person you will find a world of intellectual thought that will expand your understanding of the world.

Sad Fact: Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age UK, 2014)

So take sometime if you don’t know how to use social media to learn how to use it. It’s liberating!

Until next time…


Creating the Paradise Check List

Palmas Real

A friend just purchased wonderful townhome with a spectacular view in an idyllic beach community  where the weather is warm, the suns shines and ocean breezes sent the air.

While I was helping her look for a property, I felt completely relaxed and a little jealous when she purchased her “slice of paradise” and it got me thinking………

So what is paradise and how do I find mine?

 Some people might  think of paradise as a place where all one’s needs are met.  You’re never cold or too warm. No effort is needed to get something to eat or drink.  In this kind of paradise everything is at your fingertips. Pool cocktail

A good analogy of this is the all inclusive vacation or cruise that many busy people take to unwind.  For those of us who have left stress filled work environments; paradise is the antithesis of the workplace.

elements Other people might conjure up  a place where  a person is happy, relaxed and at peace.  It could be described as a state of mind, even bliss.  For someone who spent their life working for others it’s a paradise of “me” time.

This paradise is like someone who buys a cabin overlooking a beauty mountain for their dream retirement property.  They dream of  being able to read, meditate, take long hikes and watch the sun go down every evening on their porch.

Golf ball on green For some people a paradise is spend time to devoted to their passions and the list is endless. Maybe it’s a studio where they can paint or work in clay.  It might be having a quiet study and time to work on writing a novel. There are weekend athletes who want to be able to devote a large amount of their time to their sport.  Travel is a passion shared by many people whose paradise is being able to explore the planet.

Before I retired I dreamed of creating my own paradise.  Paradise is not as easy as choosing a pretty setting or focusing on a single activity, or just enjoying unscheduled time. It’s a little more complex.

I recently read a post in which the author (Kathy Merlino) listed her top 10 activities that filled her days now that she was retired. The list included, gardening, knitting, ongoing education, cooking, pets, drawing, volunteer work, maintaining her property, exercise,  and writing her blog.  With a few adjustments, it could my list because it includes, learning, moving, sharing and creating.

My checklist to create paradise: paradise collage

Place: Find or remain in  a place that appeals to your senses. Are you a beach person who cannot get enough of the water and sand between their toes? Or do you love to watch the seasons change and cannot imagine not having snow at Christmas?

Resources: Make sure your must have resources are available in a community that will help you both survive and thrive.  I want to have access to a library, rec center, open space, fresh food and high speed internet but I don’t need a mall.  If you need to eat out and go to the movies, see a play or concert; you may not want to live in a beautiful place where you have to drive an hour to get a decent meal.

Community: Talking to a wide variety of people who live in a place helps you to tune into what kind of community meets your needs.  Does this place have special interest clubs, volunteer opportunities, are there  ways to find people to golf with or are there classes available through local colleges or libraries.

Finding the right balance is worth the investment of your time and effort. Living somewhere away from your circle of friends, or family may be something that will keep you from really making any beautiful place a paradise. In same way moving to paradise that does have the people or resources that will keep you moving forward in future would be a mistake.

Lucky for  me, I believe I am finding my paradise with each new day here in Mesquite.

Until next time!





Stages of Retirement Part 2

In the last post I talked about the first three stages of retirement:

Phase 1: Pre-retirement  – planning to retire

Phase 2: Retirement  –  stopped working 

Phase 3: Disenchantment – the bubble has burst! 

The next stages are when your life retired life  really begins .

Phase 4: Reorientation

This is the time when you “take inventory” of their retirement experience.  Maybe the never ending vacation is not as fulfilling as  you thought or you feel like you can not take one more day that is unplanned.  For most people they  get involved in some sort of group, or spend time  on a hobby, learn a new skill or move to a new community.

Reorientation is a period where you  create new life that is worth living. A life that feeds your soul. 

for more information

for more information

Now that I have a better understanding of this stage, I am thinking about where I fit in my community.

A few months ago I  joined the local rec center.  I found that the classes I took were either filled with women who were very athletic or were older retirees filling their time. I was either struggling to keep up or bored.I still enjoy classes at the Rec Center, but I am trying to mix it up more and not get stuck in a rut; after all I have to keep active!

For more information go to

For more information go to

One of my deepest and long held passions is art. Last week I signed up to be a member of the local Virgin Valley Artist Association. They have monthly meetings, classes, lectures and a very nice gallery.  Right now  realize that I am not ready to commit my time or energy but I have the option to get more involved and hopefully I will connect with some people who share my love of art.

Phase 5: Retirement Routine

This stage is described as mastering a rewarding retirement routine. In short you have a life that you can be happy with for years to come.  Some adults are able to do this within a year after they retire while others make take several years to settle into a routine.

Very few people hate their life after their work life ends.  

A blog follow called “Retirement a Full Time Job” had a great post about this issue of being happily retired. The post is titled “Does Retirement Secretly Suck?”. The author quotes several studies that all seem to conclude that boomers like being retired. One study even had a satisfaction number of those who felt in control of their retirement process as being 98% happy.

I am not sure I buy into the 98% statistic. In my blog post “What am I going to do?” I referenced a study which said that 80% of men liked being retired and 80% of women felt they were of less value after leaving the workplace.

After rereading the article which referenced the study, my conclusion is that the women studied were asked this question before they had fully made the transition into finding a retirement routine.

image from

image from

Like most women, I had a strong social network built during my working years. Rebuilding a social network takes time. It also takes energy which many of us don’t have for the first year.

If you have moved away, like I did; or your friends are busy at work; you have to once again start the process of connecting with other women through shared activities. Remember, unlike the workplace; you will not be spending 40 or more hours a week with these people. Finding that right match for a close friendship may have several false starts.

In the end I believe that the vast majority of people find what they are looking for and live a happy (not perfect) life in retirement.

Phase 6: Termination of Retirement

Eventually the retirement routine slows down. When a person can no longer fully live independently  for whatever reason.  The time to start planning for this stage of retired life is now.

I have a very clear power of attorney for both my medical and financial directives.  It’s also important to talk to you children (or who you think will be involved when the time comes) what you want and why.  There are lot’s of websites and groups who will help you figure this out, just don’t wait.

I have enjoyed doing a little research and feel much better prepared for making my own life as happy as possible.

Your comments are always welcome!