Painting is About Persistence

TheMenu_Sedona Cafe_2013It happened again this week. I was at the spa at the community center talking to a neighbor about my love of painting people. He replied that he couldn’t paint people. My thought was, “Of course he can paint people.”

Let me back up a bit. If you’ve followed my blog you know that I have strong feelings about people being creative as they get older and that painting like any other endeavor takes practice and patience. I put down paint brushes when I was ten years old and didn’t pick them up again until I was in my late 40′s.

I started painted people when my red haired grandson was 18 months old and have been smitten with painting people ever since. While I still enjoy painting my grandchildren, most of my recent portraits have been of older men. [Read more...]

Bring Learning into Your Home

Books important for Retirement LeisureReading is one of the most popular retirement leisure activities.  If you’re like me, it doesn’t cost anything by visiting your local library.  I’m also lucky that we have a book exchange out our community center.  But, I also have a confession to make.  I struggle with leisure reading.  For years, I was a prolific reader and always had my nose in a juicy novel.  Through my twenties and thirties, I carried a list of the top 100 classic books to read.  In fact, I read most of them.  Then most of my reading shifted to material that was work related. [Read more...]

More Travel Tips with Older Grandchildren

Travel with grandchildrenWe recently returned home from spending two weeks in New England with two of our grandchildren, ages 10 and 14. It was the first time we’d been to New England for all of us.

We stayed for one week in North Conway, New Hampshire, a quintessential small England town and one week in Newport, Rhode Island. A large part of our time was spent exploring the area, mostly nature and history. Although, we did take one day to drive to Vermont to indulge in Ben and Jerry’s ice cream at their factory.

There is no guarantee that any trip is going to be as enjoyable as the fantasy during the planning stages. We all had our ‘moments,’ but ended the time together feeling that the trip was a success. We will all take away wonderful memories. [Read more...]

Travel Tips with Older Grandchildren

Moose head from New HampsWe’ve been lucky to travel with our two older grandchildren in the fall for the last two years.  They go to a year round school which has a two-week break in the fall, our favorite time to travel.

We did driving trips to Colorado last year, Steamboat Springs and Durango the year before. This year we wanted to fly to New England spending one week in New Hampshire and the other in Newport Rhode Island.  Since it was a new experience to fly with them, I wasn’t sure what documentation we needed.

The secret to a satisfying retirement is…

LA FreewaysRecently I was told about a retired couple who moved to Arizona from the Midwest. They’re not exactly happy here, but decided to take a four-day trip to explore California. Yes, I wrote correctly, 4-days to see California. They drove to Sequoia National Park where they remarked, “If you’ve seen one big tree, you’ve seen them all.” From the park, they drove to the bay area, selected Oakland as their place to stay. I actually like Oakland with its earthy, gritty ambiance, but wouldn’t necessarily select it as representative of all the Bay area has to offer. For some reason, they didn’t want to drive the coast, so I’m guessing they drove Interstate 5 down to LA. I know my California friends are rolling their collective eyes, because no one would choose the I5, unless they had to. The last two days were spent ‘seeing’ Los Angeles and San Diego before heading home. [Read more...]

Retiree Finds Retirement Passion in Photography

Retired in Arizona with a retire

Photo by Bruce Taubert

Every now and then I encounter the epitome of an individual living a retirement purpose. Speaking to our camera club, Bruce Taubert not only shared his amazing bird photography, but a passion for his subjects. Bruce spent his career working for the Arizona Game and Fish Department as a biologist.

While not exactly born with a camera in his hands, his mother was a professional photographer who dragged her son to weddings when he couldn’t escape to other activities. She encouraged the hobby as he resisted it. [Read more...]

Birdwatching Important an Enjoyable Retirement Activity

Watching quail from home in Prescott ArizonaI first became aware of my fascination with watching birds after a tree trimmer mistakenly thought we wanted to chop down the old ash in our backyard instead of merely trimming it. I’m glad we were able to communicate before the tree went tumbling down.

The benefit of this naked tree was how easy it was to see the birds that came to perch on it. A clan of woodpeckers had recently moved into the area and they loved to pick the bugs out of the bark of the ash. At times, we had half a dozen birds talking and squawking around the tree. When I needed to take a break from the computer, nothing gave me greater joy than to sit on the back patio watching those birds. [Read more...]

Daytrip to Flagstaff, Arizona

Snowbowl Wildflowers Flafstaff ArizonaFlagstaff Arizona is about ninety minutes (ninety miles) northeast of our home in Prescott Valley. It’s an easy drive, abet uphill going and of course, mostly downhill coming back. We had driven through Flagstaff on a number of occasions since moving to Arizona, but had never taken a day trip solely to visit there.

When we first thought about moving to Arizona, our parameters were quite clear. We wanted a location that was cooler than Phoenix in the summer, but much warmer than Flagstaff in the winter. I remember listening to a radio call-in show shortly after our move. A gentleman complained about retiring to Flagstaff and discovering it was every bit as cold as the Chicago he left behind. In case you don’t know this, let me clearly articulate that Flagstaff is cold in the winter. It can easily snow many feet which is why they have a ski resort. [Read more...]

Our Visit to the Czech Town of Cesky Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic 1We left the River Danube at Linz, Austria and drove north in a bus motorcade over the green rolling hills for a short time before entering the Czech Republic. Since we were traveling on a highway initially, the countryside was beautiful, but not unlike other parts of Europe.

We were nearing the end of our trip so it was mid November. The weather had been cool, but we never had any snow or rain and only one day of wind. Most of the days were gray with very little sunshine. This day wasn’t an exception. [Read more...]

Casting Caution to the Wind

Sahara DesertIf you follow my writings for any length of time, you know that I’m a strong believer in having a vision, goals, a plan and bucket list in retirement. With that said, I often say (write) that it’s more important to engage in planning than having a plan.

As human beings, we like structure. Even as a creative, I need to find the balance between having my list of to-do’s and creating my day. There needs to be a place for the unexpected, serendipity, risk-taking and living outside your comfort zone. When was the last time you cast caution to the wind? [Read more...]