Keith and I wish you and yours the very best holiday season ever. Thank you for reading and supporting our Unretirement Project.
One of my Facebook friends recently asked what people were doing for the Thanksgiving holiday. Someone responded by saying since they’re not having a large holiday gathering, that they took a vote and are having pizza for Thanksgiving dinner. I love it! I know that things aren’t ideal right now and there are many things we would rather be doing. But we have to think about our health and safety. That doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun by completely breaking the traditions we’ve adhered to in the past. Here are a few of the things that we’re up to.
Feeling | Grateful
> Despite all of my grumbling about the pandemic, I’m very grateful to have my health, family, and work. I’m grateful for a nice home and plenty of food. I hope that during the Thanksgiving holiday, we don’t break the tradition of taking a moment to remember what we’re thankful for.
Remembering | The importance of face masks
> I’m confident that I’m not the only person who is tired of the pandemic and the masks, sheltering, etc. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing my part. While it does mean that we won’t be able to do some of the things that we’ve enjoyed in past holidays, staying safe and healthy is most important. Keep wearing those masks!
Planning | When to put up the Christmas tree
> We have friends who have already put up their Christmas tree. You might be one of those people too. And we totally get the reasons why. Typically, we wait until December, but we’ve been wondering if breaking the tradition in 2020 would be the right thing to do. I can’t help but think I’m cheating the Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe that’s okay this year.
Watching | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 & 2
> One tradition we will not be breaking is related to birthdays. My birthday is this month and we always watch the birthday person’s favorite movie. Mine is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. I love the soundtrack and the superhero fun.
Working On | Our annual strategy meeting
> We typically try to get away once a year to set goals for our personal and professional lives. We call it our annual strategy session. Earlier this year, we were planning a trip to discuss goals and COVID-19 got in the way so we had the session at home. It worked well so we decided that we will be permanently breaking the tradition of offsite strategy sessions.
Reading | Further
> Brian Clark is the founder of Copyblogger, a community dedicated to all things related to content marketing. I’ve been a big fan for years. He recently launched a once-a-week electronic newsletter called Further, focused on aging and finding ourselves as we age. I love the writing style and suggestions. Speaking of goals, one of his recent newsletters was about breaking the tradition of starting new goals in January. Why not just start them now?!
Loving | David’s Teas
> When I’m regularly traveling, I love stopping in a coffee shop to try the seasonal teas. Pumpkin Spice Latte? I’m there! With the pandemic, I’ve been ordering some seasonal teas from David’s Tea. Some of my new favorites include maple oolong and sweet potato pie.
Geeking | Jeff Granito Designs
> We’ve taken a fancy to tiki art. Our new favorite designer is Jeff Granito. Jeff has worked with companies like Disney, DC Comics, Sesame Street, and more. If you’re looking to add some tiki to your winter holiday season (and who wouldn’t?), check out his site for mugs, shirts, face masks, and more.
What’s UP with you? Keith and I wish you the best of health and happiness. Thank you for reading Unretirement Project.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby long before the pandemic at the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, NV
Thank you so much for being an Unretirement Project reader. We’re grateful for your support. We’ve been UP to lots of exciting things in November.
Feeling | Excited (and Exhausted!)
> Five years ago, we decided to move from Fort Lauderdale to Gainesville. Three years ago, we put a deposit on a house. Last week, we finally started moving into our forever home. To say it’s been a rollercoaster is an understatement. But we’re grateful to be spending our first Thanksgiving in our mess of a new home.
Working On | Unpacking
> Needless to say, it’s all about the unpacking right now. And we’re tackling a few boxes a day. After having most of our belongings in storage for the past few months, it’s quite a treat to open a box and say, “Yea! I found it.” And “OMGosh, I forgot we owned this!” When we put our things into storage, we were wearing shorts. Today, we’re grateful to find our sweaters. Ha.ha.
Watching | Football
> Thanksgiving is a day for being grateful. But it’s also a day of celebration. We like to spend ours watching parades, football, and the Turkeys Away episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. We lived in Cinci years ago and always loved how the city embraced this wacky show and episode.
Reading | Warranties and Manuals
> It’s not the most exciting reading. But it’s essential. While appliances are usually very intuitive, they also have more features. The hardest part is figuring out how to store all of these documents. In our last home, we created a file for each room and stored the manual for the item in the room’s folder. Very efficient and easy to locate the manual when necessary.
Remembering | Past Thanksgivings
> I don’t know why but holidays are always a time for remembering past holidays. This one will be particularly special since we’re in our new home. But last year, we took a cruise and it was fun. I guess what makes a holiday special is who you spend it with not where you spend it.
Planning | Alton Brown’s Aged Eggnog
> I read an article recently on the Serious Eats blog about Alton Brown’s aged eggnog. We like eggnog. It’s a once a year treat. So now that we have a home and a new refrigerator, I thought that I would break it in by making fresh eggnog and aging it for one year. Ask me this time next year if I’m grateful for it. LOL!
Loving | Versed
> I’ve mentioned before that taking care of my skin is important. Especially as I’m aging. But I will admit that I’m not interested in having a 20+ step skin care regimen. Thankfully, I recently discovered Versed. It’s a Target-exclusive skin care collection that’s free of toxins, added colors, and fragrances. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free. Lastly, each item is under $20.
Geeking | MOTILE Backpack
> I love traveling with a backpack and recently found one with a charger. Walmart’s MOTILE brand includes a laptop backpack with a wireless powerbank and a wallet with a Qi wireless charger. I decided to give them a workout on a recent trip and loved the storage. It’s great when form and function come together.
We are truly grateful that you join us in this project. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And let us know, what’s UP with you?
Watching| Marvel Cinematic Universe
> In anticipation of Avengers: Endgame, we’ve watched Avengers: Infinity War, Captain Marvel, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1. I won’t give away any spoilers, but IMHO, Endgame lived up to the hype. We’re going to see Endgame a second time in May on the big screen. The only other movie I’ve ever seen on the big screen more than once is the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Reading| Older, Wiser, Shorter
> A huge thank you to Jane Seskin for sending me her book of poems about the journey to seniorhood. “Older, Wiser, Shorter: An Emotional Road Trip to Membership in the Senior Class” definitely lives up to it’s title. The topics range from Meditation and Memories to Chores and Conscious. It’s an easy read that many will identify with.
Remembering| Old Music
> No offense against today’s music scene, but I’ve noticed a growing number of public places (like bars, restaurants, conferences, etc.) playing older music from the 70’s and 80’s. I’m certainly not upset by it. I grew up with the music. It’s been fun reconnecting with old tunes. The only downside is I’m downloading quite a bit of it. LOL!
Working On| Cast-iron Skillet Pizza
> While we’ve been living in the rental house, one of the things Keith and I miss is pizza. In South Florida, we had perfected making pizza at home on our gas grill. When we arrived in Gainesville, we put the grill in storage thinking we can live without pizza for a couple of months. Well, a couple of months turned into a year and we miss pizza. I don’t hate restaurant pizza, but it’s not the same. The other night, we saw a new episode of Rachael Ray’s 30-minute meals and she made cast-iron skillet pizza. Now, we are very excited about trying this!
> In particular, we’re focused on healthy skin. It’s amazing how this little UV skin tracker I mentioned to you a couple of months ago makes you hyper-focused on wearing sunscreen, moisturizing, and keeping your skin in tip top shape. While Keith isn’t wearing the UV tracker, he’s always asking me what the scans say because his skin is being equally exposed. We are also focusing this May on mineral-based sunscreens because they aren’t absorbed into the skin like chemical screens and they are more environmentally friendly.
Planning| Another move!
> It’s hard to believe that our home in Gainesville will be finished soon and we will be moving into our forever home. This has been the longest house building project ever and we can’t wait for it to be completed. While we’re happy that we took the leap and moved up before the house was completed, it will still be nice when we’re settled.
Loving|Thai Coconut Peanut M&Ms
> I’m a sucker for seasonal food flavors that come out – pumpkin spice, eggnog, etc. Recently, M&Ms came out with a handful of seasonal flavors including jalapeño and toffee. But the real winner was Thai Coconut Peanut. Part of me would love to see this as a regular flavor and the other part of me is hoping they leave the shelves as quickly as possible (if you know what I mean). They really are that good!
Geeking| Our first “Con”
> There are many meanings for the word “con”, but in this case, I’m referring to a fan convention. Probably the most famous is San Diego Comic-Con. No, we’re not going to that one. MegaCon is nearby in Orlando in mid-May so we’ve decided to see if we’re “con” people. It should be fun.
What’s UP with you this May?
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, FL
Disclosure: Occasionally we receive free products for review or include advertising links in posts, but no one impacts the honesty of our opinions.
This March, I rearranged our “What we’re up to …” list to reflect what’s going on right now. Read on and you’ll see why.
Geeking| Groove Bands
> I like backing Kickstarter campaigns. As a small business owner, it’s a way to pay it forward. And I like the cool items that I get to try out. We just backed a campaign for Groove Life, which makes silicone rings. They’re introducing watch bands that complement their ring designs. Besides the technology itself, one of my favorite Apple Watch features is the changeable band. I’m hoping this will be a nice one.
Loving| Smith Teas
> I gave up coffee years ago and now I love a nice cuppa tea. A couple of my favorite tea companies have gone out of business. During a trip to Portland, Oregon, I discovered Smith Teas. They are absolutely wonderful. A bit pricey, so I don’t drink them every day but a delicious splurge. If you have a favorite tea company, I’d love to hear about them!
> For our anniversary this year we’re crossing something off our bucket list. We’ve always wanted to take a repositioning cruise, so this year we’re going from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. Very exciting! We’re looking forward to some relaxation and education along the way.
>I grew up on Disney. My father worked on the construction crew for Walk Disney World (he built Cinderella’s Castle) and my mother worked there for over 30 years. That being said, I’ve never been to Disneyland in California. So, prior to our cruise, we’re going. To quote a very old expression, I feel like a kid in a candy store.
> My cruise reading includes the Frank Herbert classic “Dune”. Keith loves this book. I’ve never read it and was able to get it quickly on Paperback Swap. I know there’s a Dune movie remake in the works, so we’ll see if I become a Dune fan. Stay tuned.
Working On| Our Annual Strategy Meeting
> Businesses carve out time to do strategic planning and budgeting. When we started our consulting firm, we decided that it was important to set aside time to do the same. We feel better when we do it and our company is better because of it. Part of the conversation is focused on retirement – what do we want ours to look like?
Feeling| Surprisingly relaxed
> You would think with all of my business travel and an upcoming vacation that I would be a stressed-out mess. But surprisingly, I’m not. I think we’ve planned everything well. We’ll see once we start our trip, but I’m delighted that this is one of those moments where my obsessive planning might pay off. LOL!
Watching| Captain Marvel
> Like there was any doubt that we were going to see this movie! I’m not going to give away any spoilers except to say, “Goose!” If you’ve seen the movie you know exactly what I’m talking about. Now that we’ve seen Captain Marvel in March, we’re looking forward to Avengers: Endgame when we return from vacation.
What’s UP with you in March? You might notice that we’re posting less frequently for the next couple of weeks, but don’t worry, we’ll be back on track soon.
Watching| Hidden Figures
> I know I’m really behind in watching this one and just caught it while traveling in November. It’s a great movie about three African-American women mathematicians working at NASA during the space race back in the 1960’s. What a wonderful story about history and the people who made it happen!
Reading| Be Internet Awesome
> I recently discovered a project from Google called “Be Internet Awesome”. It’s a program for kids about how to use the internet in a responsible way. But I’m not so sure about the kids’ part. While there are lots of guides about conducting business on the internet, there are very few about being a good internet citizen. If you’re turned off by the crazy on the internet, but know you need to be there, maybe a dose of internet awesome is for you.
> I ran across an article earlier in November on The Conversation about how nostalgia can be helpful and positive. I can see how it’s importance to have balance. On one hand, I love 80’s music and old cheesy movies. But I need to embrace current technology and processes.
Working On| Catch-up days
> This was one of my goals in 2018 and sadly, I was terrible at it. So, I’m going to try again in 2019. I need to block off a day for catching up around the house and office after a trip. There are emails to answer, laundry to do, grocery shopping, etc. Here’s hoping I get better about this one next year.
Feeling| In it for the long haul
> Based on the comments I read on my Facebook page, the midterm elections wore people out. Me too. I get it. Whether you’re an R or a D, there was plenty to go around. But I’m trying to look on the bright side. Hopefully, people understand the importance of being an educated voter. Get ready because 2020 is starting right now. And when you need to take a break from politics, do it. Then come back, read up on the issues, and make sure you vote.
Planning| 2019 Goals
> Am I the only person saying, “I can’t believe it’s almost the New Year?!” How time flies! Anyway, with the new year, Keith and I will be carving out time to reflect on our accomplishments for 2018 and discuss what we’d like to do next year. In November, I wrote a post over on HR Bartender about the planning tools I use most often. We will definitely be pulling these out for our planning session!
Loving| Cooler weather
> South Florida never really had a change in seasons. We laugh that we didn’t turn the heat on for three years. Something tells me that’s going to change in Gainesville. LOL! It’s not too cold right now, but we are noticing a change in the weather (obviously, I wrote this before it got down to the 20s here in November). I have to admit, it will be nice to have seasons again.
Geeking| Google Titan Key
> I will admit that I’m still trying to figure this one out. I’ve read some articles that this security key is excellent and is used by Google employees to keep their files secure. But I haven’t found setting it up very intuitive. Tech security is important, so I will keep trying to develop a new routine with this device.
What’s UP with you?
I recently saw an article on Sixty and Me titled “Should you throw out your ‘to-do’ list after 60?” I certainly hope the answer is no.
I will totally admit that I’m a planner. As a person who likes to plan, I make lists. Granted, all of my lists aren’t created equal. For example, I plan our meals using lists. It helps us save money on groceries and we don’t waste food. I also have a list of small tasks that I need to complete during the day like “buy tickets to see Bohemian Rhapsody on Friday”. I can’t imagine when I retire that I would stop making those types of lists.
Then, I have lists I keep on my Outlook calendar. Someone could argue they’re more of a project plan or regular work activities, but to me they’re very similar to a list. It’s a list on my calendar of the things that I need to accomplish during the day. In fact, I have a regular occurrence on my calendar to write for this blog. It helps me remember all the things I want and need to do. The joke around our house is when it’s put on my calendar, it gets done.
But honestly, I could see that list changing. At some point, I’ll have fewer client obligations so those “to-do’s” on my calendar will go away. The question is will they get replaced with something else like volunteer meetings or just “me” time. At this point, I don’t know. But I do know that I will have to deal with having fewer lists someday. And that I need to be okay with that. The presence or absence of a list is not an indicator of my value or worth.
The other thing that I need to start thinking about is the way I keep lists. Right now, I have a system that includes a paper planner and Microsoft Outlook. I’m not sure that I will always need them. Oh, don’t get me wrong…I still have a few years to make this decision. But it has occurred to me that at some point I will have to part with my planner. LOL! And the question becomes will I be ready when that moment comes. For people who plan like I do, is the answer to downsize planners as an interim step?
Also, will there be a time when I don’t need Microsoft Office 365 and the iWork suite that comes with iMac will be totally adequate? Purely from a financial standpoint, I don’t want to pay for software I’m not going to use. But when do I make that decision? I’m sure I want to do it in time to learn the new software before getting rid of the old.
I know it might sound like I’m overreacting to a simple little article about keeping “to-do” lists but that’s not my point. It’s that at some time, many of the things I do today, I won’t do anymore. Either because I don’t need to, or I don’t want to. How I make those decisions is up to me. I can control them if I want to. And I can make the change experience fun or depressing. The choice is mine.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, FL