Dancing · family · Hospice · Marshall Flippo · Mom · My Thoughts · Ranching · Retirement · Travel

What Does My Retirement Look Like?

Here’s the stereotype of what retirement looks like for many: an aged couple rocking chairs on the porch, relaxed, watching the world go by–no hustle, no bustle! Lots of people are retired and retiring, thanks to the Baby Boomers.

About 61 million people collect Social Security benefits each month, and they account for about one in five people in the United States.


I’m 65 years old, retired and busier than ever, and I don’t fit that stereotype and many of you don’t either! I retired in 2013, so this is my sixth year of doing exactly what I want to when I want—that’s the luxury of retirement. I’ve always been a busy person and feared that I was a workaholic! I have to be busy. This goes back to my childhood. I started knitting when I was 10 years old and started the habit of knitting and watching TV. To this day, I have a hard time just sitting and watching TV—my hands have to be doing something.

Today my life is full and rich! My husband and my normal weekly dance schedule looks like this:

  • Wednesday – Round Dancing & Plus Dancing
  • Thursday – Advanced Dancing
  • Friday – Mainstream & Plus

Then, we usually attend an out-of-town square and round dance festival once a month that begins Friday night and ends Sunday at noon—lots of dancing! The dancing and friendships across the country feeds my soul!

When I’m home, I do Zumba two mornings a week. I love the movement to high energy Latin music–it feels like dancing to me!

I also am chairperson for two square and round dance festivals in Albuquerque:

  • Duke City Singles & Doubles Spring Fling in May
  • Hot August Nights in August

These festivals keep me busy hiring new callers and cuers for future events and planning the upcoming event. I’m so lucky to work with two great committees that make the work fun and effortless!

I attend Hope in the Desert Episcopal church and recovery meetings regularly when I’m home.

After my Mom died in 2013, my brother and I inherited our family ranch, so I visit our ranch and our small ranching community, Branson, once a month to check on things. I love staying connected to that part of my life and my dear friends there.

For the first couple years of retirement, I was busy as the Executor of Mom’s will, and probate kept me hopping.

In 2013, I volunteered to be treasurer of our square dance club, Duke City Singles and Doubles. Now that may not sound like too daunting a task for you, but I’m a “Word Person,” not a “Numbers Person.” I did it because my husband volunteered to be President and I knew his time would be dedicated to the club, so I might as well join him. The first financial statement took me eight hours to resolve, but the last one was about an hour, so I grew as a “Numbers Person.” I did that for four years and helped revived the club and grow it.

Since 2014, I’ve self-published four books and three cookbooks:

  • 2014 – This Tumbleweed Landed
  • 2015 – When Will Papa Get Home?
  • 2016 – Let Me Tell You a Story
  • 2017 – A Time To Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir
  • 2014- 2016 – From Grannie’s Kitchen: Volume 1, 2, & 3

I had two really positive experiences with hospice: when my best friend, Kathi Raver died in 2009, and when my Mom died. I knew that I would become a hospice volunteer, but I had to get some time and space from Mom’s death before I could handle it.

Last year, I started volunteering for Presbyterian Hospice, so I see a client once a week and have learned so much about the mission and importance of Hospice. My client is suffering from Alzheimer’s so it’s a roller-coaster ride of mood swings and communication issues, but what an education! My client’s daughter and husband so appreciate my time with her, and I love it. I’ve become part of their family.

I’ve also been a part of the committee that puts on the Branson-Trinchera Reunion every June in Branson. This is a celebration of the small country school I attended.

My husband and I love to travel, and we’ve done several cruises and trips in my retirement. My favorite was to England and Ireland two years ago for three weeks. What an adventure we had! (You can read about it here in my blog!) We have another cruise scheduled for this summer to the British Isle—back to England and Ireland and our first time to Scotland and Wales.

My current writing project has taken over my life! I’m writing the authorized biography of the most famous square dance caller in the world, Marshall Flippo, and I’m stressing out because I want to release it in September. As a self-published author, I’ve set up a timeline of production. Now I have to focus long hours to complete the writing by the end of April, to send it to a professional editor in May, to move the edited copy to a publication software and format it in June and July (our cruise is in July) and to order copies in August ready for distribution in September—WHEW!!!!

Someone said to me a couple weeks ago, “You’re not retired—you have two jobs: your books and your ranch. So, as you can see, I’m busy; I could never spend my days in front of a TV watching mindless TV. I may be retired; I may be 65, but I have energy and enthusiasm for life.

So, you may wonder why I’ve listed all I do in my retirement. I think many people have a skewed view of retirement. Yes, we anticipate the end of the grind—the 40 hours a week demands on our life and now the panacea at the end of the rainbow. I know many do retire and choose a much less active life than I have, but I wanted you to see the possibilities in retirement. You get to choose and the choices are limitless!

Curious about my books? Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

50% Discount through the end of February – A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir–both paperback and e-book versions–at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft.

Do you want to pre-order the Marshall Flippo biography? Go here to order the version you want. https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Hospice · My Thoughts

How Do You Stay Married 75 Years? What Happened?

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Photo by Jasmine Wallace on Pexels.com

Something happened for a couple days to wordpress.com and my blog , so I am wondering if you saw this blog post. I couldn’t see any statistics and got error messages, so here it is again. Let me know what you think about staying married for 75 years–that sounds unbelievable to me, a person who has been married four times and the longest was eight years.

Here we go. . .

I had a delightful afternoon on Sunday, July 15, 2018 celebrating the 75th wedding anniversary of my new hospice client with her husband, her daughter, a daughter’s friend, the hospice coordinator and two other hospice volunteers who provided music for this fun-filled occasion.75th AnniversaryMy client is 96 and and her husband is 94 years old, so that’s the first part of being married 75 years–stay alive a long time!

My maternal grandmother and grandfather were married 65 years. Grandma was 16 when she married, and she told me on their anniversary celebration, “I feel like I’ve been married my whole life.”

Today I posed this question to my client, “How did you stay married for 75 years?”

She caught me by surprise with her answer, and the group belly-laughed at her response, “Well, first it was a dream.” After those precious words, I heard a collective sigh from the group, and I could see hands go to our hearts. How romantic and so fitting to say on their 75th anniversary day.

Then she added dryly, “It was a nightmare, and I just got used to it.” What a response! I gasped then laughed even harder–I heard others in the group do the same.

She’s in the throes of Alzheimer’s–today was a good day. Her responses entertained us and matched the lightness of the day.

Her husband held her hand, glanced her way often, gave a one long-stem red rose and a romantic anniversary card. I felt privileged to witness this relationship. He kept his eyes on her constantly and loved telling stories on her and how they met. What a precious love story he revealed with a sweet glimmer in his eye tinged with a deep sadness as he watched his bride today–sometimes coherent, sometimes not.

We found that we are both country girls–she grew up on a ranch near where our ranch is.

Her husband’s story of how his future father-in-law initiated him, a city slicker, was priceless. Her father invited her future husband to go out to the barn and witness the slaughter of a calf–a gruesome experience for that city boy, but it didn’t scare him away!

He loved the fact that his wife rode horses bareback as a young woman, but he labored over how to mount the horse without a saddle. She teased him about that.

I asked if they danced any. He brightened up and said, “Yes, we square danced,” so I knew we were kindred spirits for sure. He also identified a hall that my parents danced in often when they were dating, so it’s possible my parents danced with this couple on a Saturday night.

The rich stories blessed my soul, and I left there with a smile on my face and heart.

This was my first meeting with this client, her husband and her daughter–her daughter was so thankful for the respite my visits will provide. I know the heavy responsibility of being a care-giver for a parent, but this daughter has moved in with her father and makes sure he sees his wife daily at the care facility where she is now. What an overwhelming task to take care of two elderly parents.

Our connections of ranch life and knowing the same part of the state was no accident–I love to call these incidents “God Things.”

Yes, my client will change, but I have the opportunity of getting to know her in the time we will have together, and that will be the reward enough. I’m sure there will be more stories, so I look forward to that.

How do people stay married so long? Any ideas? Let me know.

Check out my website for my four books and three cookbooks – https://www.laradasbooks.com

Summer Specials at my Etsy Shop – Larada’s Reading Loft