Archive for Retirement

Milestone - One Decade of Retirement!

block-10.pngToday marks the tenth year milestone since I began my retirement from the Aerospace Mill for which I worked many years. I must say that those daily routines of getting up out of bed, commuting to the office, participating in whatever the plan of the day might have been, finishing up for the day, commuting back home and attending to home matters were comfortable for me right up until the last day. Now, however, at a decade down the road, I must also state that I don’t miss the old ways a bit.

During the last decade before retirement (starting 20 years ago), Verna and I spent a lot of time planning for the retirement we were to have. It turned out that by the grace of God and our own foresight, we managed to get our basic plan together. Thankfully, my employer had good a retirement plan and an incentivized 401(k) savings plan, both of which we participated in. Upon retirement, we exercised our choice to roll the 401(k) into a managed payout mutual fund designed just for retirees. We opted for the retirement pension payout as well. Bottom line: we’re doing OK.

Sure, there were still some unknowns and other events post-retirement that would shape our destiny, but the foundation for our sustenance was set by the time we were out of there. We weren’t prepared to lose our California house to flooding, for example, but our insurance payout and a fortunate find of a “flipper” to take that property off of our hands made it a sweet departure from home ownership in California. Otherwise, we would have had to do the fixing up and “flipping” ourselves for which we weren’t exactly prepared. Between that example and a couple of other post-retirement glitches, we have managed to stay afloat.

Pardon all the metaphors, but it seems that we’re set for smooth sailing for the next decade of our retirement, God willing.

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Southwestern Rose

Southwestern Rose

Our current location is in Albuquerque, NM. We’re in a nice campground west of the main part of town where we have a nice view of the Sandia Mountain Ridge to the east. In camp, there are several rose bushes. I took the above photo of one of the nicer roses open today.

We will be going west from here tomorrow setting up camp at Holbrook, back in our Home State of Arizona. On the next day, we will be back home in Wickenburg.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Grillin’ in the Rain

Rain or Shine the Grill Must Be Tended

When we arrived at camp today, we hooked up our utilities and immediately started getting the grill ready to fix our dinner. When I went out to grill the ribs, a thunderstorm started dumping some rain. Well, what had to be done was to get dinner on the table, so Verna got out my rain jacket and I finished the job.

The meal was delicious. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Roadside Wildlife in Colorado and Wyoming

antelope-herd-grazing.jpg

We’ve had several sightings of wildlife as we traveled across the West on our trip. We see the usual horses, cattle goats and sheep in rural areas, but we also have seen bears, deer and this small herd of antelope. The latter were grazing along a stream near one of the highways on which we traveled. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Mexican Hat

Mexican Hat Rock Formation

Our route from Monument Valley to Moab through Utah today, took us past the Mexican Hat rock formation just north of the San Juan River and the town bearing the Mexican Hat name. I snapped this image from the motorhome as we drove past the famous formation along US Hwy 163. Click on the image to enlarge.

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On the Road Again

Posing at Monument Valley

Verna and I are currently staying in an RV park at Monument Valley, UT. We were in Flagstaff last night and drove here today through some very scenic and beautiful country.

We took photos of each other and I combined them into the single image above showing part of the campground and some of the red rock walls surrounding us. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Lifestyle Change - Revised Eating Habits

keto.pngLast year, we both had our annual check-up with the family physician. After our exams, he ordered some lab work, mainly phlebotomy (blood work). Within a few days, Verna got a call from their office advising that her tests had come back showing her to be in pre-diabetes (type 2) with high triglycerides. My results weren’t all that too hot either, with the usual (for me) high cholesterol and other chronic problems showing up (kidney, hypertension, etc.). The doctor recommended a low-sugar (i.e. low carbohydrate) diet for her.

The pre-diabetes condition was something that immediately needed attention. We searched for and found a volume on KETO pre-diabetic recipes that went a step further than food prep and described how a body typically could reverse the diabetic trend by eliminating most high-in-carbohydrates foods. After reading up on some of the science behind the recovery process, we both decided to adapt our food preparation and consumption habits. Verna to try and slow down the diabetes potential and me to try and lose some of the fifteen or so extra pounds.

The first step was to purge from the pantry any and all items that were on an IMMENSE list of high carb no-nos. After filling up four good sized cardboard boxes of goodies headed out to the local food bank, we dutifully delivered them never to see the likes of those items in our pantry again. The list included rice, pasta, legumes, peas, corn, carrots, wheat flour, cornbread mix, pancake mix and so forth, most of which would regularly be included in our home-prepared meals.

We quickly adapted to the change and found many delicious recipes for low carb meals. There is plenty of on-line help on the food topic out there including Diet Doctor, plus there are cookbooks galore including many by TV Chef George Stella whose variety and clever substitutions for hi-carb goodies is a very good thing.

Early this year, after being on the new feeding arrangement for a few months, we saw the family doctor again. He prescribed follow-up testing to see how we were doing. When the test results came back, Verna showed a definite drop in the triglycerides and other lipids that were now essentially normal. I did not see her A1C number, but the verbal report indicated it was now normal.

Verna has lost a few pounds since the onset of the low-carb regimen, but more importantly, she is now in the green arc.

Me, on the other hand, I am now back to my high-school weight, having lost about 25 pounds. My weight is now stable and is normal for my height and build. I have now backed off of my blood pressure meds to about ⅓ of the previous dosage. I visited the kidney specialist and was advised that my marginal function had improved from 60 percent efficient to 80, which is fairly normal for my age (just turned 76 this week). My lipid numbers are all normal except for a high HDL cholesterol reading (a GOOD thing) and a low risk for cardio-vascular problems (a VERY GOOD thing).

The following excerpt* from one of our several books on the topic describes how we are neither starving nor craving these days:

MAINTAINING A LOW-CARB, HIGH-FAT DIET is beneficial for weight loss. Most importantly, according to an increasing number of studies, it helps reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more. The keto diet promotes fresh whole foods like meat, fish, veggies, and healthy fats and oils, and greatly reduces processed, chemically treated foods. It’s a diet that you can sustain long-term and enjoy. What’s not to enjoy about a diet that encourages eating bacon and eggs for breakfast!

Studies consistently show that a keto diet helps people lose more weight, improve energy levels throughout the day, and stay satiated longer. The increased satiety and improved energy levels are attributed to most of the calories coming from fat, which is very slow to digest and calorically dense. As a result, keto dieters commonly consume fewer calories because they’re satiated longer and don’t feel the need to eat as much or as often.

* Ramos, Amy. The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: Your Essential Guide to Living the Keto Lifestyle (p. 13). Rockridge Press. Kindle Edition.

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