journal . stories . life

24 ~ July 2022

Since retirement my ongoing struggle is how much time to spend cleaning and maintaining my house and yard, versus how much time in adventures and outdoor recreation. Outdoor recreation usually wins, and this July is no exception. The dogs and I spent another week in the cabin near Leadville, and have done a lot of hiking in the high spruce and fir forests and up into the alpine. July has had a lot of mountain rainstorms, and the wildflowers are especially gorgeous this year.

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I have done several very satisfying trail rides on good horses again this summer. I would love to own a horse, but am not going to break myself financially to do it. I have to be careful with money in retirement, since I am on my own, and can’t think of anyone who could or would help out financially if I needed it, especially as I progress towards 80 and all that comes with that. Trail rides are a more affordable option to owning a horse, with the benefit that I don’t have to buy a trailer to get to ride in the mountains. I have had a couple of dreams in the last week of riding horses on a trail, which are a nice thing to wake up to.

In just a couple of weeks I will have completed a year of a diet that is almost 100% without sugar. I have learned to always have my reading glasses along when grocery shopping, to search the ingredients for hidden sugar. I am finding out that things I previously thought were healthy, like yogurt, has plenty of sugar in it.

It has been worth it though. The absence of sugar plus intermittent fasting has allowed me to drop 30 pounds from what I weighed a couple years after my retirement. I noticed the difference when I was hiking above timberline last week, and a climb to a rock outcropping seemed so much easier than I remembered it being. And dancing is always better when you have less weight to move around. When I go to the doctor my pulse is always in the low fifties.

I think what was going on back in 2017/18 was an adjustment to retirement, after working for 40 years. It just takes a while to come to terms with your new life and all the free time, after such a long career. Now I can’t imagine going back to work, and is another reason I have to be careful with my money.

Having fresh greens and soon tomatoes from my two backyard gardens goes a long way towards maintaining a healthy diet. Plus I have been getting two to three dozen eggs everyday from my chickens. That enables me to cook delicious omelettes (add a tablespoon of corn starch to your omelette mixture for the best omelettes). I cook with one 12 inch frying pan full of greens and veggies, and the second with my egg omelette. That, plus toast from my baking often and fresh coffee makes for an incredible daily meal. Also, I have discovered a way to get my border collies to eat more veggies, including kale. The trick is to cook the veggies with eggs: I quickly wilt and sautee the greens in olive oil in one of my large frying pans, than add about 5 eggs and mix it all together. The dogs eat every last bit of these egg and vegetable frittatas. Their coats have never looked better and I have noticed increased energy in all of them since I started doing this in May.

Even with me and the dogs consuming 8 or 10 eggs a day, I have plenty left to give to all my neighbors. That is a nice benefit and enables me to have a little more social contact, which I appreciate. Sometimes the lonliness from living alone is tough to deal with.

The border collies and I are going to continue to hike in the mountains frequently, through the end of August. The peak of summer passes quickly up there, and then it is a long stretch from September until the next June. I want to enjoy it while I can, while me and all three of my dogs still have the health to get up there. I am thinking for next year's hiking season a satellite gps locater for my old girl Mollie would be a very good idea. Old dogs can be unpredictable in the backcountry, but she still loves to go. Hopefully Mollie will still be able to hike up high in her 15th year. My sweet girl Maggie was very active through her 16th year.


“A night on the mountain is better than a thousand nights in the city because you meet the universe on the mountain!” ” ― ― Mehmet Murat ildan.s

““It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing. It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human. . . I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.” - ― Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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“Wherever you go, go with all your heart"