Saturday, November 29, 2008

The "D" Word

It seems like a lot of people think they can cheat death (the "D" word) by not mentioning it or not writing a will. But like it or not, death is a part of the circle of life. I know death is an uncomfortable subject that most of us avoid talking about but I had been thinking about it a lot this past week, as last Friday was the anniversary of the death of my best friend who died 9 years ago in a skiing accident.
Then last Monday I attended a funeral for a friend's father. He had been quite ill for a few years and had put things in order prior to his death, so that his family knew exactly what to do. As I thought about death, it reminded me that there are some very important documents that many retirees just haven’t taken the time to complete like a Medical Power of Attorney (MPA) and a Will. So, let’s start with the Medical Power of Attorney. Usually, a married person has the right to make medical decisions for their spouse in time of an emergency. But, if you're single, then it’s crucial that you have an MPA in place. Begin by asking yourself who you would trust with your life because that’s the person you want making medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. I have 2 people listed on my MPA in case the first one cannot be reached. (for an example of an MPA, see:

As for your Will, obviously, the law differs from state to state on distribution of assets, but by writing your will, you’re the one in charge. You can specifically direct who gets what instead of having your assets distributed according to state laws. While a handwritten will, signed by 2 witnesses is legal in many states, I recommend you consult an attorney to ensure you’re in compliance with state laws.
So, if you haven't done it yet, why not take some time this week to start creating these 2 important documents. Knowing your wishes will make it so much easier for your loved ones to handle an emergency situation for you.

EGYPT - the Cruise

We started the cruise portion of our trip by flying from Cairo to Luxor where we boarded the MS Giselle. We spent the next 7 days cruising the Nile River and stopping in several cities to visit the temples and ruins. It was my first cruise and I loved that it was a small ship that held 150 passengers. With 75 employees catering to my every need, I truly felt like a Queen. On board we feasted on 3 meals a day, including many special Egyptian vegetables, salads and desserts. I can't begin to write about everything we saw in the 7 days, so I'll hit some of the highlights of the Cruise. We took the Wonders of Egypt Trip guided by Trafalgar Tours. First, we visited the gigantic temple complex of Karnak which is the largest temple complex ever built by man. It was so exciting to walk down the Avenue of the Sphinx above which once stretched for more than 2 miles between the Temples of Karnak and Luxor.

That afternoon we rode by horse-drawn carriage to the Temple of Luxor (below) which largely dominates the town and was built parallel with the Nile. It has been used almost continuously (and still is) as a house of worship since it was built by King Amenhotep III, completed by Tutankhamun and added to by Ramses II.

On the 3rd day of our cruise, we visited the West Bank and Valley of the Kings. It seemed like every day I was overwhelmed by the fact that I was really there in Egypt, actually walking over such historical grounds and in temples built thousands of years ago.

The sacredness of the Valley of the Kings created a spiritual cloud that enveloped me as I walked through the area, which was the most moving ruin sight for me. I have no personal pictures of the area as we were not allowed to take pictures there. We did go down into King Tut's tomb. Our tour guide, Sammy, warned us that it was a rip off -- not worth the $20 additional fee to go in it; but hey, how could I have gone to Egypt and not seen King Tut's tomb. (and it wasn't worth the money as it's quite small and all the artifacts are in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo)

As of 2008, there are 62 tombs and chambers in the Valley of the Kings, ranging in size from a simple pit to a complex tomb with over 120 chambers. The tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. While all of the tombs have been opened and appear to have been robbed, it is still fascinating to actually go down into the tombs and just imagine what life was like for the Pharaohs and kings. We went into 4 tombs and my favorite was King Seti II with its numerous rooms, hieroglyphics and colors still so vivid on the walls in the tomb. (see stock photo below)
I would have loved to have spent more time exploring the tombs, but that's one of the drawbacks of being on a guided tour because our time in the Valley of the Kings was limited to 2 hours. But it's still the safest way to travel in Egypt and to maximize the number of Temples and sights you can visit in a few weeks.

We also visited the breathtaking Deir el-Bahri, Queen Hatshepsut's impressive temple. I found the story of Queen Hatshepsut really interesting because she was one of the original feminists. She had run-ins with the Kings and other high rulers, so she decided to dress like a man as she wanted to be taken more seriously. That's Sue and I in front of her temple. Unfortunately, her Temple was also the site of a massive attack in November 1997 which left 71 people dead, which further why you need the securityof traveling with a group when in Egypt.
Everywhere you go in Egypt, the locals will try to sell you something. It gets very tiresome and you have to be firm with your "NOs" for them to stop bothering you. But, by far, the wildest approach in shown in the pictures below. While waiting in the Esna lock on the way to Edfu the tourists are a captive audience so the locals come by ship to try and sell their wares. It is just a riot, as they literally throw bags with everything from dress to shoes to carpets up on the top deck of the ship. Then the tourists yell down to them what they are willing to pay. Once the negotiated price is agreed upon, the tourist puts the money in another bag and throws it down to the ship.

I'd highly recommend an Egyptian Tour that includes cruising because it's just such a relaxing way to go. We'd usually sightsee in the morning; have lunch and then cruise to the next town. Every afternoon at 4 pm, they would serve high tea on the top deck.

Again, if you plan a trip to Egypt, go in late winter/early spring to avoid the high temperatures. Egypt was everything I expected and more -- so for me it truly was a dream come true!!
(There we are below with Sammy, our tour guide, on the top deck of our cruise ship.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Hope You Dance

With the holidays here, you've just got to exercise or those 5 to 10 extra pounds will jump on you before you know it!

If we're honest with ourselves, we have to admit that it's gotten much more difficult to lose the weight and maintain a good shape as we've gotten older.
(Why do you think they invented elastic waistbands?)
I love to dance and like that song - I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack. (lyrics at

Tonight for exercise I went to a line dancing class. It was a lot of fun - we practiced the Electric Slide which I knew how to do and then I learned the Chocolate Hustle. I had never tried that dance and it was a little confusing to learn, but our instructor did a great job of breaking down the steps. She's done an excellent job of shaping a group of amateur dancers into a fine-tuned troupe as the HTC Line Dancers took 1st Place in June 2008 in the Line Dancing Category in the Greeley CO Senior Games.

So, eat all the turkey, fixings and pumpkin pie you want on Thursday, but get back to exercising on Friday! According to the MAYO Clinic there are 7 primary benefits of exercise:
  • improves your mood
  • combats chronic disease
  • helps you manage your weight
  • strengthens your heart and lungs
  • promotes better sleep
  • puts the spark back in your sex life
  • can be fun

No matter what your preferred exercise is -- JUST DO IT! Don't use the holiday season as an excuse to let yourself go!

Need more encouragement? Pick up a copy of the book "Growing Old is not for Sissies" by Etta Clark. The book is an excellent pictorial display of older athletes and proves you can stay in shape no matter what chronological age you've hit.

Give Thanks!

At a time when there are so many things wrong with our economy, when every day we hear of more doom and gloom with companies closing and more layoffs, we still have much to be thankful for. Just the fact that 3 weeks ago today we elected a new president and that transition will be made in a peaceful manner is a feat never accomplished in many countries.

In the midst of rushing to prepare your Thanksgiving dinner, please take a few minutes to think of all you personally are grateful for -- family, friends, health, a job, your home. Personally, I feel very blessed to be part of a large extended family with 8 brothers and sisters, many other relatives and wonderful friends scattered across the nation and abroad, good health, medical insurance and a pension. One of my traditions for Thanksgiving Dinner is that I love to start the meal by going around the dinner table and having each person say what they are grateful for. Try it --- some of the answers may surprise you.

Since we live in such a highly mobile society, with family scattered throughout the country, many of you might be alone for the Holiday -- some for the first time. If that's the case, then there's several options to keep you busy. Plan a Thanksgiving dinner party and invite all your single friends; check out programs at nearby churches or senior centers as they always have room for one more or volunteer. Live near Denver, then volunteer to serve dinner to the homeless at the Denver Rescue Mission.

Whatever your plans are, I wish you a joyous and safe start to the Holiday Season!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


We spent the first 2 days of our exciting Egyptian adventure staying at the LeMeridien Pyramids Hotel Cairo. It was the perfect location, so close to the Great Pyramids, that you can see them from your room and the pool. Again, part of the 5-star treatment provided by Trafalgar tours. For me, the 2 most important monuments that I had to see were the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx.

The most well-known and photographed of the Pyramids is Cheops, which is approximately 540 feet tall, the equivalent of a 54 story high building. I've always been curious as to how they were actually built. The most widely held theory as told by our tour guide, Sammy, is they cut big limestone blocks , then gangs of men dragged the blocks to the pyramid site and pushed the first layer of stones into place. Next, they built long ramps of earth and brick to drag up the next layer of stones. They continued this process until they made it to the top. Finally, they covered the pyramid with an outer coating of white casing stones which is why the pyramids always look smooth in pictures. While Sammy's story seemed plausible, it's such an amazing engineering feat, that it's still hard to believe that's how they were actually built. As shown in the picturs in the EGYPT Planning BLOG below, we actually climbed the lower section of Cheops, which for me was one of the most thrilling things we did.

The other mystical sight was the Great Sphinx which is a creature with a human head and a lion's body. Of all the myth0logical stories we heard, the one most fascinating to me was how the Sphinx was found as it was buried for most of it's life in sand. The story goes that when Thutmose was still a prince, he had gone hunting and fell asleep in the shade of the sphinx. During a dream, the sphinx spoke to Thutmose and begged him to clear away the sand because it was choking the sphinx. The sphinx told him that if he did this, he would be rewarded with a kingship. Thutmose carried out this request and the sphinx held up his end of the deal. The statue is crumbling today because of the wind, humidity and the smog from Cairo.

After 2 days in Cairo, we flew to Luxor to begin our cruise which will be covered in the next EGYPT BLOG.
At the end of the cruise, we flew back to Cairo and spent 2 more days there visiting several of the local Mosques and the world-famous Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The Museum is just overwhelming as it houses over 120,000 objects, including the mummies of Egyptian Pharaohs, sarcophagi, sculptures and furniture We spent just 3 hours there which wasn't enough. I'd highly recommend that you take a tour that visits the Cairo Museum at the start of the tour as I feel you'll get more out of visiting the temples by having seen the jewels and antiquities first. To truly take it all in, you'll need a few days so look for a tour that gives you the option of extra days in Cairo. For me, the highlight of all exhibits were the jewels and antiquities taken out of King Tut's tomb. King Tut's Death Mask was just breathtaking, with the colors still so vivid after all these years.

When visiting one of the mosques, we had to take off our shoes and also put on the green capes pictured below as our pants were too short.
The picture below was taken inside one of the mosques and the other is an of over-crowded Cairo. I've never seen anything like the dense living conditions there. The final tip on traveling in Cairo is NEVER DRIVE. The drivers there are more reckless than those in either Italy or Paris --- so always take a guided tour.

Boomers Festival

Today, while confirming some facts about Boomers I found an interesting website advertising the first ever Baby Boomer's Festival, March 27-29 in Reno NV. Activities over the 3-day weekend will include great speakers, dancing, wine tasting, athletic competitions and live entertainment. There will also be exhibits designed to appeal us boomers. For more info go to:

Did you know?
  • In 1946, when the baby boom started, the U.S. population was 141.5 million. Today it's more than doubled, with boomers representing over 28% of our total population.
  • In 1957, 4.3 million babies were born, the most in any year.
  • There are more than 77.4 million boomers with another person becoming a boomer every 18 seconds. That's approximately 10,000 new boomers daily!
  • Since everyone is living longer, boomers will spend more time taking care of their parents than any other generation.

Friday, November 21, 2008

EGYPT- Planning the Trip

One of the luxuries of being retired is having the time to take a trip in off season which reduces the price and makes sightseeing more enjoyable by avoiding crowds. Since 1970 I’ve wanted to see the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx in Egypt and was thrilled to finally make that dream come true earlier this year. As mentioned before, Sue and I started our trip in Europe and visited Germany and Italy for the first 2 weeks. We then flew from Frankfurt to Cairo on April 29th and spent almost 2 weeks in Egypt. I'm dividing the BLOGs on Egypt into 3 parts -- planning the trip, Cairo, and the cruise. I'll include some photos with each BLOG.
I always love the planning stage of any trip because of the excitement I feel in anticipating the adventure. Since this would be my only trip to Egypt, I decided to take a 5-star tour through Trafalgar Tours which turned out to be a great choice. They not only booked us in exceptional hotels and provided a luxurious cruise ship but I felt very secure on the trip as there were armed guards accompanying our group. I didn't realize it until I actually started travelling through Egypt, but there are still unsafe areas, but at no time did I feel threatened. In planning a trip abroad, for travel advisories always check the State Department's website at

For any potential health problems, consult the Center for Disease Control website at to determine what vaccinations you'll need. Also, carefully plan what you'll bring as most foreign tour operators now allow only one 26" suitcase. Many museums will require you to cover your head and knees so bring appropriate clothing.
A great website for clothing tips is Be sure to get all your medications filled well in advance. The most useful items I found for traveling in Egypt were a hand-held battery operated fan; a ventilated hat and a small square scarf. What I loved most about traveling with Trafalgar is that from the minute we arrived in Cairo until we departed Egypt, their tour guide and other personnel more than delivered on everything promised in the brochure. From all my travel experiences, that was truly a pleasant experience -- to have my expectations exceeded!

Where's the Line?

Are you like me --- sick of these bailouts? And now the auto industry wants a piece of the action! Corporate greed has been rampant for years and the Federal Government did nothing to stop their excessive spending, lavish lifestyles and the many tax deductible corporate benefits bestowed on officers like company cars, county club memberships and let's not forget the private jets. What happened to the fiduciary relationship between the Chief, Financial Officers (CFO) and corporate investors? Why isn't the CFO being held accountable --surely he and the accounting firm had to realize long ago that these corporations were in dire financial shape, yet somehow they managed to find the money to fund huge year end bonuses? What happened to people and corporations being forced to accept the consequences of their actions?

The inaction of top corporate executives to tighten their belts and begin to make prudent business decisions has caused this financial fiasco, so, why shouldn't they have to accept the consequences and be fired without a golden parachute? Instead, if the Government grants them a bailout, it is directly rewarding them for mismanaging their company. Since Uncle Sam seems to have so much spare cash to dole out to these failing corporations, I'd like to know where the line starts because I want some too. I know that many of us could use a Government handout right about now as we watch our retirement nest eggs fall daily. Some of my retired friends have lost as much as 70 to 80% of their entire stock portfolio.

Let's see -- corporate officers mismanage their money -- then the Government bails them out. But,you, a struggling retiree loses in the stock market (a direct result of these ongoing and ever-increasing corporate problems) and do you get bailed out---nope, you just have to tighten your belt, eat beans and maybe forgo a needed medical treatment.
Fair -- no way!

So, if you're tired of it like me -- please take the time to call or email your Congressman and let them know your fed up!

Wellness Seminars

One of the joys of living in an Active Adult community is the variety of workshops and activities offered. This week we had a seminar presented by Kim Kirmmse-Toth of Positive Aging, Inc. (see links). She gave an energetic, fun-filled presentation on staying happy and positive in retirement. Some of her tips on Planning for Play are to: energetically pursue new hobbies and interests; volunteer your time and talents; explore outside activities like hiking and biking; and expand your horizons by investigating areas outsize your comfort zone. For example, you might want to consider volunteering out of state when a national disaster hits or take a trip to another country to explore the local culture. It's critical to both your social and mental well being that you stay involved -- so if you don't live in an Active Adult Community, try your local library, churches or Senior Rec Centers for classes. In many areas, there is a Free University which offers classes for a very reasonable fee. To me, the KEY to finding happiness in your retirement years is to stay involved and be enthusiastic about pursuing new adventures!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Denver Film Festival

Are you a movie buff and live in Denver? Then catch a movie at the STARZ Denver Film Festival which is happening now at the STARZ Film Center in downtown Denver and runs through Sunday, November 23rd. I've met a lot of retirees there who love movies just as much as I do and enjoy the buzz of the Festival. No matter what your skills are, there's something to do for everyone from driving the directors/stars, working in the theater or at the volunteer center. I love working in the Film Maker's Lounge. There's such an electric feeling in the air when people start filtering in after a movie. It's a place where all the up and coming directors and film makers hang out and can get a bite to eat. It's so much fun, that it's my 6th year as a volunteer. Here's the schedule, in case you have some free time to catch a flick this week---
And if volunteering there sounds like something you'd enjoy, then check out their website next summer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Love Affair

It's not what you think! Today I had planned on writing about Egypt, but it snowed here last night which made think about my passion -- skiing! I've been skiing since my first trip to Chestnut Mountain Lodge in Galena Illinois in 1969; so in January 2009 I will celebrate my 40th anniversary. I fell in love with skiing on that first trip, even though we had many mishaps, the weather was freezing and I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I just knew that I loved being on the mountain and the joy of flying down the slope; well,it was the most incredibly free feeling. Then in January 1970 I skied in Winter Park Colorado and that hooked me forever. I vowed that someday I would live in Colorado and have since 1999.
Skiing has brought so much adventure and joy to my life. In 1988, I accepted a job in Heidelberg but my heartfelt reason for that major life change at age 40 was so that I could ski Europe. I was scared as I had never lived anywhere but St. Louis. I joined the ski club which was a great way to meet new friends. I'll never forget my first trip to Club Med in St. Moritz Switzerland (pictured above). What a thrill -- skiing in one of the most exclusive resorts in the world! Every weekend was a new adventure - skiing in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria and France! Skiing also brought out my altruistic side as starting in 1986 I became very involved with the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park Colorado. It brought true joy to my heart to be able to help out the kids both physically and financially. So what's skiing got to do with retirement --- plenty!! It's a challenging sport that will keep you in great physical shape, it's a fun way to meet new people and staying physically fit helps you mentally. Skiing is so popular with Boomers that we even have our own club -- the Over the Hill Gang!

Oh, I've been married, divorced, several other long term relationships, but no passion has lasted as long as my love affair with skiing! Try it --- you might fall in love too.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Continuing on with our European Adventure , we flew from Stuttgart to Italy to visit my friend Nancy who lives in Vicenza. With Sicilian blood flowing through my veins, I just love being in Italy - the food, the ambiance, hearing the language -- it all reminds me of my heritage as we lived for many years with my Italian grandmother, who immigrated from Sicily. Sue & I stayed with Nancy in the Piazza dei Signori area where the Basilica Palladiana is located. The church is an impressive example of Italian architecture and was under renovation. I loved staying right in the heart of town as everything was within walking distance. Every night a group of us would stroll through town until the enticing aroma of one of the many fine restaurants pulled us in. Using the clocktower as our landmark, we never had to worry about finding our way back. We also visited the Teatro Olimpico ("Olympic Theatre"), built in the late 1500s, which is considered the first example of a covered theatre in the Modern Age. That's Sue and Nancy in the Teatro Gardens.

Have you heard of Vicenza? It's world famout for its fine, intricate golf jewelry which is widely advertised on HSN. Some travel tips for Italy --- most stores are closed on Monday until 1 pm; the Italians love to dress well so leave your jeans at home and their hotels aren't up to our standards. Since you can't count on a 3-star hotel being what you'd expect, don't hesitate to ask to see the room before booking it.
Above all, relax and have fun as the Italians truly know how to enjoy life. Be prepared to spend at least 2 hours having dinner as Italians consider conversation just as important as the food!

Capital Cooking

If cooking is your hobby, then I'd love for you to check out the blog link below for the Capital Cooking Show. My niece Lauren DeSantis, who's being hailed as the next Rachel Ray, is the host and producer of the show currently being shown in 15 states on Public Access TV. There's a brief YouTube video at that link and it's really cool because my sister Ginny, her mom, was interviewed too. Lauren had a booth at the recent Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show where she demo'ed her cooking techniques right alongside Paula Deen! Cooking is a fun, creative hobby to pursue in retirement -- so, if you have the time, try out some new recipes for your Thanksgiving Feast!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Germany

My friends Elke and Ed, who moved back to Germany after living in Colorado, hosted an appetizing dinner for us in their lovely new home. The highlight of their unique home is a cozy wine cellar. With it's intricate brick design, arched ceiling and rock floor, well, I felt just like we were in a quaint Italian Cafe in Rome. As you can see, it's well stocked as Elke & Ed love to entertain.
On Saturday night we had dinner with 20 friends at my favorite Italian Restaurant, Ville Verde in Sandhausen. Rocco and his wife Tina make all their dishes from scratch so the food is absolutely delicious. The atmosphere was just like New Year's Eve -- loud and joyful! With so many of the same people there, it was deja vu because I had celebrated my 50th Birthday at Ville Verde.
How could 10 years have passed by so quickly?

We had a hectic schedule so we left that night after dinner and rode to Stuttgart with Brian and Elena. Stuttgart is located in southern Germany and is famous for it's many tourist attractions as well as for being the home of major car factories like Mercedes and Porsche. We spent a few days there with Brian and Elena, taking in the many historic sights as we walked through the olde city. My favorite area was the The Schlossplatz (Palace Square) which is surrounded by many buildings dating from royal times. I also enjoyed strolling through the colorful Japanese Gardens which had been left from the 1986 International Garden Exhibition.
We ended our delightful stay in Stuttgart by having dinner with Brian and Elena at a local German pub. The time we spent in Germany was a fun-filled start for the rest of our trip. NEXT: Italy


Schloss Hirschorn

I’ve always loved to travel and was fortunate to have visited many European countries while living in Germany. Like many retirees, I want to keep on hitting the road during my golden years, so to celebrate turning the big 60 this year, I planned a trip to Europe and Egypt. My last trip to Europe was in 2001 so I really looked forward to visiting my friends there. I planned to spend 2 weeks in Germany and Italy with friends and 2 weeks in Egypt on a guided tour. I was so excited as I've always wanted to see the Great Sphinx and Pyramids ever since my first trip to Europe in 1970 when I visited an Egyptian Exhibit in the Louvre. My friend Sue made the trip with me. Our first stop was Germany where we stayed with my friend Danny who lives near Heidelberg. We spent several days touring in Germany, visiting the Heidelberg Castle, Dilsberg and the Hirschorn Castle. The Heidelberg Castle is a well-known attraction with thousands visiting it every year. Personally, I like Schloss Hirschorn which is so picturesque sitting atop a mountain, set against a forested backdrop and overlooking the Neckar River.

We spent a sunny afternoon on the terrace there with my friends Danny and Gretchen, enjoying the scenic view while sipping Rhine wine and eating German pastries. Now Schloss Hirschorn is a 4-star hotel with 8 guest rooms in the main fortress. We dined that night at the Gasthof Zur Sonne in Neidenstein. The menu selections reflected local German fare such as turkey schnitzel and spaetzle, but the taste and presentation was just incredible! Everyone so thoroughly enjoyed their meal that I just had to find the chef and compliment him. Even as an experienced traveler I was shocked at how expensive everything was with the Euro being so strong against the dollar. So if you're planning a trip abroad any time soon, bring at least 50% more spending money. With a can of Coca-Cola or a cup of coffee costing almost $4, you'll definitely need it!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Where's your MAP?

For us boomers, a map was a colorful piece of paper with lines, drawings and directions that clearly showed us how to get from Point A to B. Today, a lot of people use their iPhones to get directions using Google Maps. But, the MAP I’d like for you to think about is your Medical Action Plan (MAP). I know that this is a topic you hate to think about, let alone talk about but having a MAP will come in handy if you have a medical emergency and you’re unable to talk. As we get older it’s important that we have a good support system, especially if you live alone and your family is in another state. And whoever is your local go-to-person in a medical emergency will need this info immediately. Your MAP can be as simple as a list of relatives to contact, their phone #s, the medications you currently take, your primary Doctor and phone #, and the hospital you prefer to go to. Also, you might want to consider emailing this info to your support person as soon as you prepare it. If you’d like to develop a more detailed MAP/medical history, check out the website at which provides excellent info on their free program and a free decal for your window like the one below. Just remember, you’re MAP should be clearly written and detailed as it's the set of directions that does the talking for you when you can't! Stay healthy!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I can’t wait to retire! It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 30s, 40s or 50s, I bet you’ve had that thought at least once a week, especially when things are going bad at work. Like most Baby Boomers, I started thinking about Retirement as soon as I graduated from college and started my first professional job in my 20s. At work, it was a recurring topic because I worked with a group of older men near Retirement age. They constantly debated the value of a Federal Pension versus private industry, how they’d spend their days golfing and of course, money. Money was always such a hot topic as some of those guys were so old that they were kids during the Depression. When I finally decided to retire 37 years later, I thought I was well prepared because I could look forward to a good Federal Pension. But after being retired for several months, I discovered there were some topics I wished I had considered, some issues that I had never even thought about.

So what about you ---think you’re ready to retire? Before mouthing a quick “YES” just because you’re old enough, the $64,000 question to ask yourself is: WHAT AM I RETIRING TO? Take a few minutes, grab a cup of coffee and start thinking about these questions:

Do I look forward to going to work on Monday morning?

Do I fill my weekends now with enjoyable activities?

Can I get up in the morning without going to a workplace and still be happy?

Do I have any hobbies that I want to spend more time at?

Can my spouse retire at the same time? If not, how do they feel about my retiring?

How will my social and family life change when I retire?

Do I want to work part-time during retirement?

How will I handle a medical emergency or serious illness?

Where will I get Health Insurance coverage?
Will I have enough money coming in to cover my expenses -- from my pension, Social Security and savings? Donations from my kids (sure)?

Where do I want to live after I retire?

With some many areas of your life radically changing when you retire, before giving yourself the "Green Light" to retire, use a little caution. Just like the Stop Light above, spend a little time in the "Yellow caution" zone. Taking the take the time to answer the above questions will give you a head start in planning how you’ll spend those extra 60 to 70 hours a week you’ll gain when you retire. Creating a Time Management Plan based on your personal answers will reassure you that you'll know exactly "What am I retiring to?" and will give you the confidence to move out of the "Yellow caution zone". Any special areas of concern --- send your questions to

P.S. -- Take another look at the Stop Light picture above. Did you notice the Nest Egg? I loved it -- because in retirement your financial Nest Egg is the solid foundation to fund all the fun things you want to do!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's Over!

I'm so exhausted! I went to my first Election Party last night. When I got home I was so wired over the Election results that I stayed up half the night watching CNN. It was such a historic moment for our Nation and so exciting to me with voters coming out in record numbers and women playing such a critical role in the final outcome. As I watched President-elect Obama's Victory Speech and scanned the sea of people in Grant Park, their jubilant faces created a colorful tapestry representing our multi-cultural and multi-generational Nation - White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, American Indian, young, old.

Now I expect him to keep his word and deliver on his campaign promises that will help us retired Boomers. We retirees have worked hard all of our life and need to be able to joyfully look forward to retirement without daily concern over our health and financial needs. Issues important to all of us are:

Health Care: He promised affordable, easily accessible, and high-quality health care for everyone. This is a critical issue for many retirees because most companies do not allow an employee to carry their Medical Insurance into retirement. Retirees need some form of universal health care so that they no longer have to fear financial ruin from unexpected medical expenses.

Social Security: He’s against efforts to privatize Social Security and supports building a reserve for Social Security.

Taxes: He plans to eliminate income taxes for all senior citizens making less than $50,000. That proposal alone will positively impact more than 7 million seniors a year. Under his tax proposal, over 27 million senior citizens will no longer have to file an income tax return.

Now that the Election is over, I sincerely hope that the leaders of both Parties can put aside their differences and work together to kick-start our economy, to unify our nation and to provide everyone with not just hope for a better future, but to create a pro-active plan that will make it happen.

Monday, November 3, 2008


DISCLAIMER! I've been told I must have a disclaimer just in case any reader makes a life-changing decision based on what they read in my blog, so here it is:
MyRetirementAdventures is my personal blog. It's meant to be fun, informative, motivational (like encouraging you to get up off the couch and walk), helpful and may even cheer you up. The thoughts & opinions expressed in my Blog may change from time to time because they're mine. My Blog is intended to provide info and opinions on current topics, retirement issues, my life, travels and personal adventures. All data on this site is for informational, motivational and fun purposes only and I will not be held liable for anything you do because you read my Blog. While every caution has been taken to provide my readers with the most accurate information and current website references, please use your discretion before making any life-changing decisions based on the information in my Blog. Remember to always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program; never spend more money than you have; and above all, please save more money than you think you might need for retirement because you never know who the Government might bailout next!
Thanks for your kind words and continued support!

Save a Heart - YOURS!

Like most people, I tend to gain weight during the holiday season and with it right around the corner, I'm trying to get a head start on exercising.......and there's nothing better than walking. It's a gorgeous, brisk Fall day here in Colorado, perfect for walking, and I just finished 3 miles.

No matter what size or shape your currently in, everyone can get out and take a walk. It's especially good for us retirees because it not only increases your physical activity and improves your health, but gets you out of the house. A brisk walk increases your heart rate, strengthens your heart and increases blood circulation through your body and reduces body fat. Remember to consult your doctor and have a checkup before beginning any type of exercise program especially if you've been inactive for awhile. If you've been lax in exercising, then be sure to start out slowly, perhaps walking just a mile to start, gradually increase your pace, and always cool down at the end. It helps to have an exercise buddy because then you're committed to doing it and more fun to have someone with you along the trail, so invite a friend or neighbor to join you.

It pays to have the best equipment -- so invest in good walking shoes and buy a pedometer to keep track of your steps. Try to walk at least 10,000 total steps a day (about 5 miles). Wear the pedometer all day and set realistic goals for yourself --- like taking 1,000 more steps a day until you gradually increase to walking at least 10,000 steps daily on a routine basis. It's your heart - so protect it with a daily exercise program.....and walking is the best way to start. For additional info on heart health from the American Heart Association, visit their website --
(NOTE: The above is meant to motivate you, not meant to be medical advice.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

48 hours left

I've never been more active in the political process than this campaign as it's the first time that I've made a financial contribution as well as donated my time to a candidate.

Yet, as we enter the last few days and the final deluge of political commercials, daily emails requesting additional financial contributions and phone calls from both political parties, I just wonder -- are you as tired as I am? Tired of the name calling and the candidates digging up dirt on each other rather than spending more time on clearly presenting their position on critical national issues. If I want dirt on either candidate, I can easily find it myself on the Internet. I would have preferred that each candidate have spent more time explaining how they plan to solve our economic crisis, health care problems and protect my retirement as well as end the war.

I know some people in Colorado are just as tired as I volunteered today to call voters. At least 10 people screamed at me, 4 or 5 hung up on me and 3 said they would not vote because they didn't like either candidate. I'm frustrated too because after volunteering today and talking with some of the other volunteers, I sincerely believe that we need a major reform in our election process. I'm sure that millions of hours have been spent by volunteers in each party calling people and knocking on doors ---- actually getting out there and talking to real people. Yet, it's the Electoral College who will decide our next President. I don't like it! I think it's about time our President be elected by the popular vote rather than the Electoral College.

I just hope that whoever is elected on Tuesday will be the strong, proactive leader that our Country needs --- the one who is capable of leading us out of the gloomy despair that has permeated our nation and souls for way too long and who can lift us up to a new level of financial prosperity and security.
We deserve a more secure future!
LADIES ONLY!! On Friday night I went to see the play
"GIRLS ONLY" --- The Secret Comedy of Women. It was so fantastic I laughed til I cried!
"GIRLS ONLY" is an original comedy that celebrates the enjoyment and ups & downs of being female. It has a 2 woman cast that starts with them in their childhood bedroom reading their teenage diaries and ends with them as 2 little old ladies making crafts of a well-known female hygiene product. They rant and sing about everything from slumber parties to breast feeding in public. It's a fast-paced, multi-media production which include videos, old commercials, improv, audience participation and humorous songs reworded to some well-recognized tunes. One of the funniest numbers was about the men in our life ---- 'guy'ncologists and "men"opause. So for an entertaining night out here in Denver, grab your best girlfriends and rush to see "Girls Only". It runs through February at the Garner Galleria Theater in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.