IMG_0559   That elusive day way off in the distance when I can give my suits to Goodwill, ride off into the sunset and do what I want. But what?

My husband, as I mentioned in a previous post, is a lot older than I am and can technically retire whenever he feels like it. A pension and social security are ready and waiting for the day he decides he doesn’t want to or can not work any longer. But he doesn’t want to retire just yet. He says “I’m not ready”, “What would I do with myself all day?” and  “I don’t want to just sit in the house and stare out the window until you come home from work.”  But what could he do with his time if he wasn’t working? He says he has no idea.

A recent New York Times article by Tara Siegel Bernard about Coping When Not Entering Retirement Together talks about the need to communicate, the feelings of guilt on the retirees part about spending money when the other spouse is still working and working out your schedules. An excerpt;

With more and more baby boomers retiring each year, either by choice or because they lost their jobs in the economic downturn, many couples must coexist, if only temporarily, in different phases of life. Living two different realities can lead to a variety of challenges, both financial and emotional, from brewing resentments about how a partner is spending free time, to how to reconcile the spending mind-set of a retiree and of someone still collecting a paycheck.

I would probably be a little jealous of his free time, but I also know he has more than earned the right to retire when he’s ready.

But I don’t want to get to 67 and not have that next thing to engage my life. In fact I want more things than work to engage in now; which is part of the reason I began this blog so that I can begin to enjoy one of my passions. Retirement is 20 years away, I don’t want to keep planning on living the way I want to in 20 years, I want to do it now. But how?

Also, there is “the bucket list”. I found several sites recently that are focused on helping and documenting people checking things off their bucket list. The Bucket List Society and The Bucket List Blog are a couple I found interesting. My list is long and mostly filled with places that I want to travel to; Scotland, Japan, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Peru, Venezuela, Cuba, Alaska, Kenya and on and on. I have two friends that are travel addicts and am quite envious before and after every trip they take.

I have been stuck for awhile, but I am slowly figuring out my next steps, what brings me fulfillment and happiness and I am evaluating what and who I want in my life and I am going to make those things happen.

Do you have a plan for life after retirement or to live the life you want now?


10153742_10202389258470231_250872627_n   March Madness continues!

Go Dayton!

I cut off part of my handsome nephews face to protect his identity. But had to cheer for his teams ascension to the “Elite Eight”!! Way to go Dayton!!

How could I have not picked a sentimental favorite in my bracket? Well like Mercer I just didn’t think they had a chance. But we are having a blast cheering for the Flyers now!!


Sweet Sixteen

No Billion Dollar perfect pick for me. Darn Duke and Arizona State really got me off to a bad start! And Saturday night Villanova crashed and burned and then Wichita State killed all my dreams – I had them taking the tournament.

So with the Sweet Sixteen set – my card stands at 36/48. And I have 47 points, no where near the lead. But it has been a fun tournament. With our Gonzaga Bulldogs at least making the tournament over my nephews Butler Bulldogs we had at least little bragging here in Washington.

Some great match ups still to come even without a Billion dollars on the line. Going to have to cheer for the Dayton, Flyers!!


Time Flies

232323232fp-94>nu=3369>734>3;9>245-7344--248ot1lsi       Four Generations. I am the cute chubby one in the middle.

Now that I’m getting so close to the Big 5-0 articles on aging, growing older, retirement and social security are attracting my attention more often.

Yesterday I was caught by surprise by a New York Times article about Gloria Steinem turning 80. Yes, 80, that is not a typo. I always think of her as my mothers contemporary, but she is 15 years older. In the article, NYT Op-Ed Columnist, Gail Collins  wrote “This is What 80 Looks Like” about Ms. Steinem’s decades in the spotlight. Asking Ms. Steinem what she had planned for her 80th birthday.

She’s planning to celebrate in Botswana. “I thought: ‘What do I really want to do on my birthday?’ First, get out of Dodge. Second, ride elephants.””

Getting out-of-town and riding elephants sounds like a perfect birthday celebration, I’m just not sure I want to wait until I’m 80 to do it.

Another comment from Ms. Steinem struck me:

Fifty was a shock, because it was the end of the center period of life. But once I got over that, 60 was great. Seventy was great. And I loved, I seriously loved aging. I found myself thinking things like: ‘I don’t want anything I don’t have.’ How great is that?” But, she added, “80 is about mortality, not aging. Or not just aging.

Fifty does feel like it’s looming to me, like a cliff that I am heading towards and at times I am trying to swim like hell away from and other times I just lazily float down the river enjoying the ride.

A wonderful poem on the blog Ephemeral Memories “The Midlife Moment of Truth“. contained a line;

Each innocuous day adds up to months, years into decades

You know the saying “time flies”? I know my grandparents and my parents have said it over the years and you never quite understand that statement until you get there, but time really does fly. And a lot of that time is innocuous. I want less innocuous time and more memorable time filled with fun, people I care about, things I am passionate about doing and more laughter.

As I wrote earlier this month about my husband getting older and his comments about his “F’ing Golden Years” not being very golden, it’s giving me a preview of the trials of aging, but also some of the triumphs of aging. The no longer wasting time on things that are of little importance, the ease of saying “No”, the wisdom to know that a bad day or unhappy event will pass and pleasure and happiness will return.

Anne Karpf of The Guardian wrote an article earlier this year “Ageing is a mixture of gains and losses”  that had several parts that resonated with me;

“The denigration of age is built upon the idealisation of youth, and both do violence to reality. Being young is rarely as unconflicted, nor old as wretched, as the stereotypes would have us believe.”

The stereotypes of every age do have truth to them, but they are definitely not the whole story.

And a great quote on the passions that can come with age.

“One of the most delicious accounts of how growing older can mean growing more engaged was written by Florida Scott-Maxwell, the American-born playwright, suffragette and analyst. In 1968, when she was 85, she wrote: “Age puzzles me. I thought it was a quiet time. My 70s were interesting and fairly serene, but my 80s are passionate. I grow more intense as I age. To my own surprise, I burst out with hot conviction … I must calm down. I am far too frail to indulge in moral fervor.””

Though only in my late 40’s I do find myself less willing to sit back and take things as they are or as they are presented; if something is not to my liking I find myself more often than not voicing my dissent, walking away from it or just ignoring it.

How are you aging?

Clear Lake

Shari and andy clear lake My little brother and me sitting outside in the sun at my grandparents home in Clear Lake, Washington

So much has changed about the beautiful area where I was lucky enough to grow up. But parts of it have stayed very close to the same, like the sleepy little town where my grandfather still lives, Clear Lake, Washington, current population 1,002.  There is still one tavern, one tiny grocery store, one gas station, the post office, the grade school  and the church. And one of my favorite memories from my child hood the local swimming spot on the lake. The entrance has been fixed up, in my day it was a little wooden hut that you passed through and paid your quarter to swim for the day. Now it is a cinderblock building with a fancy sign. I have no idea what the fee for the day is – $5 bucks? But kids still swim in the lake for now, play in the sand and eat popsicle to cool off.

My grandfathers shake mill is still standing, well most of it is still standing, but it is now a small industrial park with a couple of mechanical and welding shops. It doesn’t have the wonderful sweet smell of cedar chips that used to fill the air as you drove by, just the humming of machines. Whenever I smell cedar I always think of my grandfather.

Mr. Parker, the old owner of the Clear Lake Market, has retired now. So all the fresh meat and fish that he either butchered himself or had brought in from local fishermen has been replaced by a little cold bin with a few plastic wrapped packages of ground beef, sad little steaks and some chicken pieces and a huge selection of beer and wine. There are bars on the front windows now too. That makes me sad. I remember my grandparents going on vacation for three weeks each spring and never bothering locking the doors to the place. Now my grandfather locks it up tight and has the neighbor keep an eye on the place when ever he is out of town.

But the tiny grade-school is still there where I attended first grade. It still has a funny two story building with the cafeteria on the first floor and the gym on the second floor. Parents still watch their children play sports or perform in plays and adults still use the basketball court in the evenings to keep fit.

The first home I ever owned is in the town too on School Drive. That house was also the first home my grandparents ever owned as well. There were three other owners and nearly 40 years between us, but still a funny coincidence I think.

Clear Lake still has a volunteer fire department that responds to residence in need for fires, health concerns, car wrecks and other emergencies. Almost every home with an able bodied adult used to have a scanner/radio in their home so they could respond to calls for help. I hope that is still true today.

I had some of the best times of my life in this tiny town; swimming at the lake, Christmas parties filled with gifts and treats, yummy salmon bar-b-q’s on the 4th of July and other family celebrations. I learned to ride a horse, swim, mail my first letter, ride a bike, play cribbage and gin and to mix my first gin and tonic too.

Some of the biggest losses of my life have come here too. The passing of my beloved great-grandmother Kate who taught me to enjoy music and dancing and who always had a little sweet treat for me. My dad passed away at a very young age while I was living in this town. I lost my grandma here too after she and my grandfather moved back to the farm after living by the golf course for nearly 20 years. And not too long ago I lost my sweet uncle who lived here too.

A tiny place with a very big influence on my life. I am so thankful that it is still here and that so many people I love are here still too!

Is there a place that has had a big impact on your life?

Feels Like Home

IMG_0782 I’m home tonight, by home, I mean the place that I grew up. It still feels like home even with all the changes that have taken place over the last 40 odd years.

The place has grown up, like me or maybe out, like me. Lots of sprawl, lots of strip malls, fast food, Starbucks, Costco and all the modern conveniences are here now. We used to have to go to the big city for most of this stuff – either north to Bellingham or south to Seattle/Everett.

The house I lived in as a baby across from the college is now a mexican restaurant, but my grandparents little farm is still pretty close to the same. My highschool has gotten bigger, but some of the berry fields where I earned my first pay checks still grow sweet berries. The local grocery store where we shopped is gone, but “Big Scoop” our local ice cream parlor is still here.

It still feels like home even when I have lived more of my life other places now.  Maybe it is just the concentrated history I have with the place, lots of firsts; first jobs, first kisses, first dates, first drives, first heartbreak, first loss, first loves.

Where do you feel at home?


I don’t know if you are basketball crazy, like a good portion of the rest of the country seems to be right now, but even if you’re not this might make you want to pay a little bit of attention.

Quicken Loans and Yahoo have a Billion $ Bracket Challenge. Pick the perfect card and you win. Visit: if you want more information.

Here is a link to my picks or a printable card: Yahoo Billion $ Bracket

Going with a wildcard, Wichita State, to take the trophy and bring me riches!

I used to love basketball and played in highschool and long after in college intermural and in a ladies recreation league.

Are you taking the challenge? Watching the tournament?



IMG_0010 Kissing the Bricks!

A few years ago I traveled with my little brother to visit one of our sisters in Indiana. We’ve visited many times before for family reunions, graduations, first communions and to attend the Indy 500.

I was never a racing fan but when you have friends or family that live in Indianapolis, inevitably, you end up going to “the race”. That’s all it took and I was hooked. My first race was 2001, Sarah Fisher was the only woman in the race that year and of course I had to cheer for her, because, chicks have to stick together.  Since that first race we have been back 5 times and every time it is still a thrill; the mass of people converging on one place, people laughing and talking about their favorite team or favorite driver, the same street hawkers and evangelizers back every time trying to sell you a trinket, t-shirt or god.

During our fall visit the three of us were sitting around the kitchen with a small TV on in the corner listening to the last race of the year in Las Vegas, when a terrible crash occurred just a few minutes into the race. Dan Weldon had to be air-lifted out of the track, it was bad, it would be announced that he had died a short while later. It was my brother who wanted to go lay some flowers at the gate of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the next day.

Dan Weldon's Memorial at IMS Photo: Shari Reiter

Dan Weldon’s Memorial at IMS
Photo: Shari Reiter

We ended up there with several dozen other fans who wanted to pay their respects. It was a sad day, he had left a young family, he was so young and he was such a great personality on the race circuit. Even though he was only in a few races that year he won the Indy 500 in a crazy finish that had a rookie crashing in the wall in the fourth turn of that last lap to give Dan the win. He will always be one of my favorite drivers.

After we had laid the flowers, talked to several other mourners and watched in sadness the growing memorial we decided to go tour the speedway and the museum and to see Dan’s face on the trophy.

In all my visits I had never gone to the museum or toured the speedway. The museum includes so many cars from the nearly 100 years of racing at the track, pictures of all the past winners and the Borg-Warner Trophy with each of the past winners faces on it.

Borg-Warner Trophy

Borg-Warner Trophy

The picture above is of Dan in victory circle celebrating his win and the trophy behind it.

When you go on the tour you also get to tour the track, the press boxes and the coolest part actually go out on to the track. They aways stop at the “yard of bricks” so you can take a picture and touch the bricks. My little brother and I had to kiss the bricks, just like the winners of the races do. My sister laughed as she took our picture.

It was a sad day, but one filled with love and appreciation for my family.


232323232fp73444_nu=_656_738_258_WSNRCG=34665__8_6349nu0mrj What do you remember from your childhood?

My brothers, sisters and I, on the rare occasions we get a chance to get together, inevitably end up sitting around talking about our lives as kids, laughing about the silly things we did and if we got caught by our parents or not. Like my sister’s joy ride in my mom’s Porsche(not caught), my little brothers car wrecks and speeding tickets(always caught), all of us rolling out of our family van at one of the road races my parents were running in one sunny weekend or some other memory that struck one of us.

One thing that always strikes me as odd when the five of us get to talking is that it almost seems that we grew up in different households. We really have few memories that we all go – “yea – remember when”, it is usually one or two of us recalling something and the other three going “hum – I don’t remember that where were we”.  Like the van in the picture, somehow we got on the topic of the van and my little brother was sure it was white with a blue stripe, but I always remembered it as white with a red stripe, like an ambulance. I think I remembered it that way, because I was a little embarrassed to be riding around in an ambulance. But he was sure it was white with a blue stripe and then postulated that we had two vans.

I remember we were in the “ambulance” the first time I called my step-dad “dad”. It seemed like a pretty big thing then, but it passed without any comment or notice by anyone, but I do think there was a little bit of a smile on his face, just a hint of one. And I do remember that moment.

But so many others I can’t recall. Things I repeated still stick, like watching Laurence Welk with my great-grandma Kate in her big white leather recliner while she smoked cigarettes. ( I ended up with a scar above one of my eyes from a too quick jump into the recliner before the cigarette could be moved out of the way). I remember stealing the chocolate-carmel diet candies that my grandma Buddy always had around the house, she was constantly on a diet, probably never lost weight because we were stealing all her diet candy. My grandpa always used to push his false teeth half-way out of his mouth and scare us kids and then he would pull them back in and we would all laugh. Building tunnels in the hay in the barn and playing in there for hours, which is funny because I am kind of claustrophobic now and the thought of the hay tunnels makes me a little bit queasy. Summer camping trips throughout the pacific northwest and Canada always with our final few days at the KOA campground in Winthrop, Washington. At the KOA we would get to swim in the pool or run wild through the campground and on our last night we would all get cleaned up and go for a nice dinner at the Sun Mountain Lodge.

18 years as a child, teen and young adult and these are some of the family things I remember 30 years later.

Do you and your siblings share a lot of memories or are they different? What do you remember from your childhood?