Five Years On

Five Years On

It is an anniversary of sorts. I retired five years ago today. I had started my blog nine months earlier in anticipation of my retirement, intending to share information on retirement and post-retirement issues, as well as my profound thinking on subjects of my choosing. That goal lasted less than nine months. Once I was actually retired, I discovered I wasn’t interested in retirement anymore. It was just the start of the next phase of my life, and I put the old one behind me. In some ways, I regret my choice of blog name, but I am still into recharging and reconnecting, even if I am past retirement.

Much of the last five years has been spent traveling, both in the US and abroad. I have been to the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Cuba, Turkey, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, and Canada. I may have forgotten one or two. I took photography classes in Venice, Istanbul, Arles, and Cuba. I floated down the Nile.  I saw elephants in the wild. I flew to Paris just to see an art exhibition and added Christmas Markets to the itinerary because I could. I spent Christmas in the shadow of the Matterhorn. I visited friends in Sweden.

I took several road trips through parts of the US, including backroads and byways in the routes when I could. I took a sleeper train from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles, California. I spent time with family and friends across the US in New York, California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, South Dakota, and Minnesota. I attended graduations and weddings, celebrated holidays and birthdays, and enjoyed the company of some of my favorite people. I attended the Women’s March in Washington, DC.

Part of my new approach to life happened when I discovered blogging photo challenges. They opened up a way to share my love of photography and travel and, at the same time, document my post-retirement life. Not only did photo challenges make me look at my images in new ways, they inspired me to improve my photography skills and vision. It could have been a Crayola color or a square or a cosmic challenge.  A big thanks to those bloggers who take the time and energy to host challenges. In a way, my blog posts and photo challenge posts are a chronological record of my last five years. I try to use photos from recent trips or events to respond to new photo challenges. Sometimes I reach back into my archives, but I love going through my latest images to find a good fit for a new challenge.

Obidos, Portugal

What’s on the agenda for the next five years? In the upcoming months I will be visiting Newport, Rhode Island, going to see an art exhibit in Southern California, spending time with family in Alaska, making at least on trip to upstate New York to float in my sister’s pool, and touring southern Italy in September. For the rest, I’m flexible.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Promise

The Reader

The Reader, Porto, Portugal

Join Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge: Promise

Irony #2: Kindergarten show canceled so kids can keep studying

Sometimes life is so ridiculous that it deserves a comment. What is education in this country coming to? How does stifling creativity and cooperation prepare kindergarteners for college and careers? Should children be drones who can recite facts and figures but who don’t know how to dream or create or have fun? It makes me sad.

This column was in today’s Washington Post.

Kindergarten show canceled so kids can keep studying to become ‘college and career ready.’ Really.



Learn on a Dime

I know I won’t be able to do nothing after I retire, both for my pocketbook and for my sanity. But I’m tired of an office environment and want to do something creative and portable. For years I’ve taken classes looking for an avocation as much as a new vocation. But the course content hasn’t always justified the cost or the time required. So I decided to look for cheaper learning alternatives on writing, editing, web site design, photography, and teaching English as a second language.  (I am not endorsing the companies or courses mentioned below; the opinions offered are my own and experiences will be personal, be it good or bad.)

My quest for cheap learning started on Groupon, one of several “deal-of-the-day” websites that sell discounted goods, services, and just about anything you want. Groupon and similar sites play on the impulse buyer in most of us. I’ve discovered some of the deals reappear on a regular basis and aren’t all that limited. But Groupon is easy to use and you can search for deals in your local area. I purchased the four courses discussed below on Groupon. I was looking for self-paced educational courses that allow access for extended periods.

A Groupon search for “learn” will find local and online deals for music, dance, art and cooking lessons, photo tours, and courses on a variety of subjects. If you want to learn to tango, deals on sites like Groupon offer a short series of lessons to entice the buyer to take more. 

I had just finished my WordPress site and loved the experience of putting it together. EwB was offering an online class called How to Build a Website(normally $777 for $79). ( Even if the course was a bust, I decided I could learn at least $75 worth of something. I would have access to the course for 12 months. I jumped at the offer. I have completed several units. I am pleased with the content, even though the units on HTML and cascading style sheets left me shaking my head and will require more study. So far, I’ve gotten my money back. I don’t know if the course is worth $777—classroom courses on Read more ›

Check out this article from MONEY – Forget Tuition: How Retirees Can Attend College for Free. It was written in 2009 but the information is still relevant. College level courses aren’t cheap, but there are ways to save money.

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