Retired, What To Do

Or, the joy of being self-directed and intentional . . .

The question 90% of new retirees ask, (when the first month of sleeping until noon becomes boring) is “What shall I do?”   After the life-long routine of going to the office, store, plant, job, that question is both a surprise and scary.

Thousands of times you’ve wished for the luxury of staying at home, all day, every day, but now that very schedule is upon you, and don’t lie, you’re soon bored and bewildered.

It finally dawns on us that our entire life has been spent doing what someone else has told us to do. And again, don’t lie. But stay with me, you’ll find it an eye opener, but it’s better to considered it today, and not wait for some tomorrow.

As infants and children it didn’t matter one bit what we wanted, because if we didn’t do as our Mom and Dad said, a swift swat on our butts taught us.

When 5 or 6, we went to school and everyone told us how great it was going to be. I was excited. And in many ways it was, but have you forgotten that once again we found that if we wanted to stay alive, there was another Boss, the Teacher with new rules to obey. And at recess, yes, there were other kids to play with, however, most of them were bigger, and if we wanted to remain healthy, it was best if we followed their lead.

No one asked us what we wanted to do. Yeah, we had a lot of fun along the way, but just the same, our days were spent doing what we were told to do. Remember???

And on Sundays? Well, there were Teachers with all kinds of names from Bishops to Priests, Sister This and Brother That, but no matter what their names, they had rules that even told our parents what to or not to do. We eventually found that no matter where we went, swimming pool, bowling alley, hiking, or just going for a nice drive up the canyon, dang it, there were rules to obey, or cops wasted no time reminding us of them.

In our teen years the group just older than us set the rules on what to wear, do, hair styles, clothes, and suddenly there were boys and there were girls, and it didn’t take long to find out how to please our opposites, and we tried our very best to do just that. And if we found jobs, they always came with different bosses telling us what to do. Like most teens, at times I floundered, (who didn’t?) and was lucky and survived those years, but yet, no one ever asked me what I wanted, but was always what they wanted. You, too?

The Bosses changed but they all told us what to do. More Teachers, and finally husbands, wives, even our children. And we all tried to do as ‘they’ wanted from what to serve at meals, to what furniture to buy. And on and on. The church, magazines, radio, TV and neighbors told us what and how to keep our homes, yards and gardens. And how to spend our spare time, as well.

We had jobs that filled our days, and if they paid enough, we stayed, but I don’t remember ever sitting down, trying to figure out if it was what Ethel wanted to do. No, we blundered along and were might lucky if life didn’t scar us too badly.

Was I that unimportant to myself? It took a long time before I finally asked myself why, from childhood on, didn’t someone, some book, some class, some counselor ever offer a hint to help us find out what WE wanted to do, or be.

Yes, I found that much of what I was told was good, but much of it I accepted without thinking, and most of us became clones of other’s instructions. It’s worth a thought and just maybe there is time to gently find out what you want to be. And not to be a clone in a bunch of other clones, sitting, watching tv, bored and wondering if this is all Life has for you.

Those of us who found jobs we loved and which continued to fit into our retirement years, were and are blessed and lucky.

But before another day goes by, find out what you would love to do. What hobby you always wanted to try, as a new language. Play the piano, guitar. Something you almost feel that you ‘need’ to do, and then start making plans, or doing it. Right now. For once, if never before, you can now be your own boss. That’s what retirement can be.  Make it so for you.

Death in The Narrows

ZIONS NATIONAL PARK; Sept. 19, 1961: 

Flash Flood Takes 3 Lives


ZIONS NATIONAL PARK; Sept. 17, 2015:

Flash Flood Takes 12 Lives

But life never halts, and cruel as it seems, goes relentlessly on . . .

Fifty-four years ago, and almost to the very day, a flood swept Zion Narrows, and I remember for my sister Fern’s husband, Walter J. Scott, was Leader of the 22 people who formed that 1961 group, which also included their daughter, Adene.JW-Scott-1960

They didn’t hike all in one bunch, but groups of them were scattered along the pathway by that narrow canyon stream, and were ‘held together’ by Walt, who hiked back and forth among them.   It was great.

But Life often has its own plans and they were never again to meet as a full group, because before too long, the stream water had risen to cover their path, their shoe tops, and then, before they could even try to adjust to wet feet, a cascading wall of water came upon them, bringing tons of pine needles, and just as swiftly, came tree limbs, rocks, and debris of all sorts.

Wet feet were soon unimportant, for by then they were struggling for their lives, and they knew it. As the water relentlessly kept rising , they were forced up slopes and over or around rocks they  would never before even  considered tackling, but there was no choice, for they were facing dangers they had never dreamed or planned.

Their lives were on the line and so they did what normally would have been impossible. Flood refugees can’t be choosers and that is why they spent the rest of that day and that night on a hillside, safe, but yet, oh, how close to danger. It had not been part of that day’s plan.

And, with no instant communication, it was not until the next day that they began to hear what had happened to others on their hike. And families in their homes, knew that a flash flood had hit the canyon where their sons and daughters were, but there was no way of knowing if the hikers were safe, or had been taken along with the flood.

Yes, the world immediately knew of a deadly flood in Utah’s beautiful, but oh, so narrow canyon where, in such a flood, their only safety was getting to higher ground.  Such a problem, for a part of the lure of that hike is of its dangerous beauty. The flood sent no warning, and getting away from that raging water, was their only chance of survival..

It was like demons had planned the event, for all that day, that night, and into the next day, was pure hell for the hikers, as well as those who waited in homes, as my sister Fern did in her Murray home.  She, along with other families of those hikers did not know if their loved ones lived or had died.  My sister could have lost her husband and daughter, or one of them, or if both had survived. It was a bad time, back in 1961 for hikers or families.

Every hiker saw a story unfold, and from their higher position could at times catch glimpses of the stream, and a few of them saw Walt, Leader of the entire group, fighting to help two young men to safety.   With his strength, he might have been able to save himself but those young  hikers were in his keeping.  His struggles. however,  proved to be useless and all three of them became victims of the water’s fury.

I was a writer for the Murray Eagle/Green Sheet newspapers and was trying to write my column, “Out My Window” and it was a dark ‘window’ that day. for one part of me tried to be an ‘observer’ and write the facts, while, another part of me was a participant. along with family members for I knew Walt and Adene were in a life or death situation.

There was nothing anyone could to do but wait and pray, and it was long hours before Fern knew that Walt her husband had died, but Adene her daughter, survived.

As survivors of such horrors have ever found, Fern also learned that life never halts, and cruel as it seems, goes relentlessly on. It’s a difficult, but a well trodden pathway. and as the families of those 54 years ago learned, the families of those today will also sorrowfully learn.

People who died that day 54 years ago were Walter J. Scott, Leader, Steven Gene Florence, and Paul Ray Nicholson. Survivors from this area, were John Bangerter, Bonnie Darger, Lila Fielden, Katheryn Grim, Margaret McIntyre, Lynda McIntyre, and Adene Scott, daughter of rhe Leader. Among other survivors were hikers  from Park City and out of State.

Clean Air And My Fireplace

We Can have it both ways . . .

There are two sides to most problems, and there certainly are to the debate over Fireplaces versus Clean Air. Both views are legitimate, but sometimes TV, radio and newspapers seem to act as though there is only one side.  And inasmuch as I have a fireplace and also love to breathe, I searched for help and began with calling the Police. And why not? They’re the very ones someone would call if they thought I was breaking a law.

The Police told me that the use of fireplaces is legal, but in order to protect the air and keep it clean, an effort  has been made to create Rules, and if people (and that means me, and that means you) will observe those Rules, the Police will never be needed.

The Yes or No for fireplace usage will be announced each day on Radio  and TV newscasts, but if missed, simply call 801-536-4000 to find out the “Yes or No” for the day. 

That number is for The Dept. of Environmental Quality, Division of Air Quality Control, and it is part of their ‘job’ to give us the info we need. They, same as a lot of us, like Clean Air, as well as  fireplaces, so keep their number on your mantel for quick use, and don’t hesitate, because that’s exactly what that number is for.

Yes, there are two sides to the problem  but the Rules are fair and square, and so, when you want a fire, first make that call, and then go ahead with what they tell you. But that Heart of the Home, a fireplace, is legal, and the Rules are for everyone’s well being. We all want Clean Air.

I had no fireplace when we built here in Murray. My husband had grown up with the chore of keeping the fireplace ashes cared for, and didn’t want those chores repeated for the rest of his life. But within a few years following his early death, I had men knocking out a huge hole in the east side of my living room wall, and within another week or two, I had a Fireplace. All mine. To not only enjoy, but to take care of the ashes as well and  I’ve never regretted my choice..

It hadn’t been a wonderful couple of weeks, however, because as soon as there was a big hole in my wall, there were  three (four, five, SIX!!!!) homeless cats that tride to make my home theirs, and though I could keep them out during the day, I had to sleep, and for almost two weeks those dang cats  spent their nights in my house. But even that finally ended, and soon I, and guests were eating an evening meal before my fire, and loving it. It truly did become the heart of my home.

Yes, in almost all art work of family and home, there is a fireplace. and I love the old war song, that Mama used to sing, with words of,  “Keep the home fires burning, While our hearts are yearning, and though our boys are far away, they dream of home.”

And I’ll ne’er forget one nippy evening when a man, taking his daily walk,  came to my door and thanked me for perfuming the air. He said, “One deep breath and I was a child again. The air smells like home, and I had to say ,  Thank You.”

That’s the power of a fireplace, changing a grown man into a child, and bringing that man/child to a stranger’s door, and I don’t forget.

And now, while there are no suggestions about the use of stoves, with no guilt,  using your fireplace is legal, and, by following the Rules, they are  no threat to our Clean Air. Those on both sides of the question are happy, so keep the number nearby, and again, it’s 801-536-4000. That way we’ll be keeping The Rules, enjoying our fire,  and also able to  breathe  clean air.

Body Maintenance

Use it or lose it . . .

I’m no shining example but I’ve tried to exercise, to eat right and I get along fairly well. And it all began with Miss Gorlinski, gym teacher at Granite High.

Her first words that stayed with me were, “Don’t choose your food just because it tastes good; but choose food that is going to be good for your body.” Yes, Miss Gorlinski, I remember.

She told us to notice how our mothers gave our newborn siblings only what was needed for their bodies, and nothing just because it tasted good.

Yeah, but she also told that before those babies were a year old, we would be giving them a taste of some dessert. Bit of ice cream, or candy. Yeah, shame, shame, shame, before they were a year old, they knew the difference and were hooked for the rest of their lives. Sugar is addictive.

Miss Gorlinski taught us to use our bodies, and reminded us of how the babies exercise because there on their backs, they twist and use every muscle in the body, flinging arms and legs every which way, and those same kids, keep doing the same as 8 or 9 years olds. Climbing trees, racing each other, wrestling, bicycling, yeah, and at school recess we were  using all our muscles again.

Everyone  should have a Miss Gorlinski in their early lives.

Today we’re told over and over How to be Healthy, and a big one is to not eat anything White and that’s OK, but that puts a ban on cauliflower, milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, Tofu, all marvels of food, so don’t put them in the same boat as white sugar, and the thousands of foods from white flour.

We’ve got eyes. And common sense tells us to use the brown stuff. Brown bread, brown rice, brown pastas, and we should use those eyes, and look at the list of Ingredients on every package or box of food we buy.

Dry Breakfast Cereal has become a big lie. They have pictures of good grains on the box, but put on your glasses and look at the ingredient list. And, I betcha that in three fourths of those cereals, is sugar, sugar, sugar  And, if sugar is one of the first three (4) ingredients, it’s a dessert no matter what the label says.

Miss Gorlinski was a gym teacher, and reminded us that we don’t get down on the floor and swing away. No we don’t get on a bike and race up and down the sidewalk.  No, we don’t bend and roll  as children, but she asked: Why Not????  She told us, that while standing at the sink or table doing some chore,. bend the knees and shift your weight back and forth from leg and foot to the other leg and foot. Just as you did as a kid. Do it again.

Orange juice is full of vitamin C but, a Continental Breakfast of O.J., do-nut, and coffee, while a standard breakfast for many, will make us feel zippy for a half an hour, but after that???? We feel sick and mentally dull.

So we go on to carbs, the brown, not white ones, and their impact is slower to take hold, but once they get in gear, their impact lasts 4 or so long hours. And then we get to protein, and a serving must be more than a slice of bacon. It is slower  to kick-in, but once it does its wonderful power remains with you for 7- 8 hours.

And then, all day long, every 2 or 3 hours, we’re told to give our body a jump-start, and it’s easy. Not a meal, but a tsp. not a Tbsp, of peanut butter is immense; A tbsp or so of beans does the same. A good carb, a protein and a fruit and you’re good for another hour or two. Think small for these tidbits.

And we’re told that we can’t be babies again, but we can exaggerate every move during our day.  When we make our bed, stand in the middle on one side, and without moving our feet, stretch to the left, the right and far forward across the bed. Ho, ho ho, stretch your body, and if the muscles rebel???? Well, they’re telling us that we’ve been ignoring them. So, nod and stretch again. .   Use it or you’ll lose it.

Where oh where are the Miss Gorlinskis to tell today’s pre-teens that we have just one body, there are no returns, but there is maintenance. Good ole maintenance. For today and on and on and on right into our senior years. Why Not???