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Posts Tagged ‘Jeff’

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photo courtesy of realtor.com

I’ve been thinking a lot about retirement lately. Probably too much, in fact, considering that I have at least 35-38 years of work ahead of me.

But honestly, I wish I had started thinking about it sooner. When you’re young and considering whether or not to start thinking about retirement, time is big money. I’ve recently abandoned my plan to pay down my student loans as aggressively as possible to be done with it within the next five years or so. As lovely as that dream was, I’ve gotten a little smarter since then. Instead, I could moderate my student loan payments, and begin socking away 20% or so of my income into a retirement account. This will cost me at least a few thousand dollars in interest, since my student loans will take longer to get paid down. But the great thing is that the difference between saving right now for retirement, and waiting a few years to start investing…will be tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

(In theory, anyway.)

So, as I tuck away my pennies into my brand new IRA, I started thinking to myself, “This is for my condo in Florida!”

Then I though, “Wait a minute, I don’t want a condo in Florida! That sounds terrible!”

Why does everyone move to Florida when they retire? Presumably it’s for the warmth, though I don’t know that 90-degree days will be any easier to tolerate when I’m 70 than they are now. Longer days in the winter appeals to my Seasonal Affective Disorder, though according to weather.com, a January day in Miami is only an hour longer than one here in good old Indiana. I do like the idea of living near the water, but in Florida there are so many millions of people living near the water that you can’t even get close to it without having several million dollars to spare.

So I’ve decided that when I retire I might just throw allĀ  convention out the window and move north instead. If nothing else, just to be contrary in my old age.

Of course, I haven’t discussed this yet with the one person who will be sharing my retirement home with me, but I have a feeling he wouldn’t mind saving a lot of money so that we can instead have a waterfront cabin on one of the Great Lakes. Or maybe a nice little cottage on the coast of Maine. Or an Oregon bungalow. The one thing we do have is plenty of time to discuss it. Trees, books, cats, a view of some water, and a little land to grow my green things on–this is all I really anticipate needing 40 years from now. That, and access to a good doctor.

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photo courtesy of realtor.com

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It’s a simple life I live, but one full of happy moments. Here are just a few that made their way onto my camera this week:

1. Sharing the Cozy Chair.

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2. Rainy days at home.

DSCN25433. My merry minstrel.

DSCN27474. Optimistic tomatoes.

DSCN27505. Surprise white bleeding hearts.

DSCN27536. The best scones ever. (Archer Farms!)

DSCN27627. My garden’s first flower.

DSCN27648. Pointy ears.

DSCN27659. A beautiful view on a gorgeous 70-degree day.

DSCN276810. Mulberry season.DSCN277011. Anything Charley Harper.DSCN277312. Foster kids.DSCN2777

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Rambling Robins

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Today’s photograph was captured by Jeff, and shows evidence of one of many robins who flew in for their summer vacation yesterday, and are now left hopping about in the snow, searching in vain for a tasty morsel. I’m sure the little guys can fend for themselves, and they don’t look too miserable running around in the winter storm, but I do worry about their fate in the several inches of snow that is predicted to fall overnight. I hope they can manage to find a nice warm place to sleep.

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Jeff and I got back home from our bike-run (I bike, he runs) just as darkness was falling here in Rocky Ripple. I looked over in the dusk just at the right moment to see Evie execute a mid-air pounce on something. Something big. Assuming it was a bat, I picked up a stick and tossed it close to her, just enough to startle her away from the thing. This is my usual method of scaring the kids away from bats, which almost always allows the bat ample time to flutter away to their (and our) safety.

This time, however, I didn’t see anything fly away, so we approached slowly, peering intently at the spot where the creature should be. I was so thoroughly expecting to see a bat that I almost did not see the beautifully huge winged thing that was lying on its back in the grass and struggling frantically to upright itself. Beneath a shock of bright red legs and a red and white striped body as big as my thumb, were a good six inches of gorgeous black, gray, red, and white wings. We found out afterward that it was a Cecropia moth, North America’s largest native moth.

With a little effort we were able to wrangle the cats enough to give the clumsy thing a chance to get airborne. We watched as it flapped away over the neighbor’s yard, looking more like some large exotic bird than any insect we had ever seen. Evie looked on ruefully.

The wonders of Rocky Ripple never cease to amaze us!

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Some things that make these winter days worthwhile:

1. Snow Pants!

2. Magical Fruit Soup (yum.)

3. Kids So Sleepy

4. Negative Thinking

5. Fresh Reading Material

6. Finding recipe clippings stored in my Grandma’s Joy of Cooking. These almost sound worse than boiled hot dogs.

7. Colorful Graffiti

8. Sculptures by Nature

9. Pretending to take a picture of something in the foreground while someone is doing something weird in the background.

10. Flowers in February! (and realizing that I haven’t managed to kill off Florence)

11. More Sleepy Kids

12. Finding hidden trails in unexpected places…

13. Gorgeous views in the middle of the city.

14. And, of course, more sleepy kids.

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Sometimes, in the dead of winter, you just need to get away from the day to day drudgery of a warm and cozy home, and get out and enjoy a little local scenery in the exhilarating January air.

To commemorate our first frigid walk together two years ago, we headed out to Turkey Run State Park for some winter hiking. This is one of the best times of year to get out and see the natural world, so long as you are properly dressed. The snow and ice have a tendency to accentuate gorgeous geographical features that might otherwise go unnoticed in the summertime.

Winter hiking is inherently peaceful. Not only are there fewer hikers (we met only one other group on the trail in our two days at Turkey Run), but the entire landscape is blanketed in a relaxing quietness. The only sounds to be heard are the occasional woodpecker, a squirrel gnawing away at a walnut, and the gurgling of the stream as it is passing under a sheet of semi-solid ice.

Yes, the Indiana winter landscape is a sight to behold. At least, it’s enough to get us out of the house and trudging around in the snow and ice for a change of scene.

Of course, a little coffee and donuts on the way home doesn’t hurt either.

Happy Two Year to US!

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