Is There Life After Retirement?

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feet to the fire

So there I sat …
three full months into retirement, and two months into a radical relocation. While marveling at the concept of a “gas fireplace” after thirty plus years of living in the tropics, I couldn’t help but wonder – how did I get here and what in the hell did I just do?!

And then I laughed.

Care to join me on my post-retirement adventures?

Posted on: April 23, 2023

Stay tuned for some samples of my newly launched freelance copywriting service. I’m highly experienced in such things. But in website design? Not so much…

If you’re curious, drop me a line at, let me know what interests you, and I’ll send a sample. No commitment, it’ll be just us communicated. Like pen pals. Sort of. LOL

So I just had the uniquely early 21st century experience of looking for something online and falling down a completely unrelated rabbit hole. Or ten. This time around, the main hole was finding little “ancient” YouTube vids of old photos to which I added a musical background. Remember how novel and creative we felt? Oh, and by OLD, I mean a couple of decades. Not the five or even six decades it could have been.

The little memory lane trip was unexpected, so it got me right in the heart. I’m usually pretty good at focusing on the present, but this really hit me. The people, the place, the experience — it was a very special time in my life. I’m happy with where I am in 2023, but that was one of those “Oh, if I had a time machine that could take me there for a few days and bring me back when I was ready” moments.

So it got me to thinking.

There’s a fine line between loving something from the past and trying to live in it. Sometimes it’s hard to see that line. Other times, it’s easier to just send some love and appreciation out into the ether and refocus to now.

What about you? I’d love to hear your two cents’ worth on this.

Oh, and here’s a link to the video that inspired me to write my first post in months:

So I’m in-between, well, there’s a lot of in-betweens that could each be a blog entry on its own. But the relevant one is – I’m in-between seasons of the four streaming TV series that I actually watch – so yesterday I stream surfed. And on my newly subscribed Paramount Plus (aren’t 7 day trials a marvelous thing?) I found a hour long documentary titled “Blondie’s New York,” about the former CBGB band.

Now, the history of the band was interesting, as was getting to know the players. I mean, who knows Blondie beyond Debbie Harry? I didn’t.

But the real treat for me was how deeply they dived into the actual arrangement and production of some of their most favorite songs. Heart of Glass was one of the first songs that I knew and the way they deconstructed it, and put it back together was amazing, even for a non-musician like myself.

If this appeals to you, I highly recommend checking it out. Here’s a link:

During the course of a day, there’s an ongoing lowkey debate taking place in my subconscious regarding the good/evil aspect of the degree to which the cyberworld has taken over our lives.

But today the “it’s a good thing” team won. I decided to ask the Great Internet about something that I’ve wondered about since early childhood. Grabbing my laptop, I fired up my web browser and typed:

“Why is the first pancake always bad?”

And lo & behold … it TOLD ME WHY!!!

Granted, it also told me fourteen other things I didn’t need to know and will probably be trying to sell me pancake batter for the rest of my life. But for now … thank you, Internet. Take the win. For today, at least.


So here’s the thing …

Awhile back I decided to write story based on a recently retired person, and a friend suggested a senior citizen with superpowers. Now I think he was just being funny, but the damn idea lodged itself in my brain and now I have a whole scenario in mind. And since I don’t care about being published, etc. I decided my only goal is to amuse myself and a few of you clowns.

One of most laborious parts of writing (or pre-writing) is character development. Whether or not the writer uses the information or not, he/she must absolutely and intimately know EVERYTHING about their protagonist. Being the lazy person that I am, I’ve decided to simply make the protagonist … ME. That way I already know the character!

Taking my Easy Button way of doing things even farther, I decided to write it in First Person – like I’m just telling you this thing happened. I like easy. A lot.

Of course, I don’t really have super powers and my life/self is not exciting enough for madcap fiction, so I have to invent bigger than life mindsets, events, foibles, etc. right? So far, all good.

But recently an event in my real life imitated a situation in my fake life and it occurred to me …

WHAT IF PEOPLE WHO KNOW ME THINK I’M ACTUALLY DOING SOME OF THE SHIT I MAKE UP FOR THE STORY???!!! Not the superpowers – that would be fun for me to have you think THAT. I mean the events, etc.

So that’s my somewhat paranoid concern. Writers and readers among you – what do you think? Am I going to regret going down this road???

I’m kind of laughing at this, but not entirely. Like: ha ha ha wait.

Talk to me, gang. Here, or wherever you see this.



Marti raises hand in sixth grade, to the dismay of Mrs. Smith

Over the years, I’ve tried to watch various Reality TV shows and although I stayed with Project Runway and Dancing With the Stars for multiple seasons, the genre just doesn’t hold my interest for long. That is, except for one program: Bravo TV’s Top Chef.

From the very first season until the year I dumped cable TV, I watched every episode. It’s dramatic on its own, so there was thankfully a little less of the producer-created interpersonal drama that seems to be a part of reality TV. Plus, I logged a number of years in the Food & Beverage industry – albeit front of the house – so I connected. And ok, yeah, I have a crush on Tom Colicchio but whatever.

I’ve missed it lately, so earlier this week I decided to purchase the most recent season 18, which was created during the pandemic. Having the luxury of that “retirement status,” I binge-watched the first 13 episodes in a week. Although there’s a good news/bad news element to the experience, I have loved it thus far.

But before I explain that, I must digress and explain two things: 1) Other than the Halloween Wars season that included my friend and UHMC colleague Teresa Shurilla, no, I don’t watch other cooking competitions shows. No, not even Iron Chef. I think TC has a good blend of professional cooking/personal story for me. 2) Coincidentally, I’ve randomly crossed paths with a number of Top Chef contestants, winners and judges. Sheldon Simeon is one of my Sous Chef son’s mentors and the husband of my friend, Janice. And Lee Ann Wong now heads the restaurant at the Pioneer Inn, where my dear former Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset meets. Okay, there’s other stuff, but back to my story …

Good news: There was more bonding and camaraderie among this season’s contestants that I’ve ever seen. I’m sure this is largely due to the devastating effect COVID restrictions have had on the culinary world. But also, I think it was the professional status, personal character and cultural diversity of these chefs. Even the one guy that they grumbled about a bit was basically a good guy. I loved, LOVED the intensity with which they competed, yet somehow worked together with genuine affection and teamwork. If I was still doing management training classes, I’d SO make them watch this.

Bad news: from about episode nine forward, I didn’t want ANYONE to go home. I swear … each week I (and the remaining contestants) cried big tears for the departing chef. Crazy, yeah?

Now earlier I said I binge-watched the first 13 episodes, but there is still one more to watch. The Finale – normally between the last two contestants – is among the final three. See? Even the judges couldn’t break up the Final Three! At this point, I have not watched the finale, and am considering not ever watching it. In the tradition of ignoring reality (Old Yeller lives, Butch & Sundance makes it) I might just stop now and pretend that Shoto, Dawn and Gabe all win.

Cop out? Or “ignorance is bliss? Tough call. But Top Chef, keep it coming. I missed ya.

Facebook (ugh) has played a major role in alleviating the weirdness of pandemic-motivated social distancing, I have to admit. However it’s a pretty superficial form of communicating, especially for those of us who don’t want to be in a constant state of either intense arguing or – the equally useless – preaching to the choir. Nevertheless, I occasionally find some sparkling gems among the cat and dinner pix.

Such is the case with Boston Dynamic’s video of their best robotic creations dancing to the Contours 1962 classic “Do You Love Me?,” narrated by Mythbuster’s Adam Savage. I’ll add a link to the end of this article.

But what prompted this blog entry isn’t the great video. It’s an interesting article that I uncovered during my inevitable journey down the Adam Savage rabbit hole, about the fact that he and Jamie Hyneman did not personally get along. At all. To those of us Mythbuster devotees who were oblivious to this apparently well-known fact, it’s worse than learning our parents never liked each other! WHAT??!!

How could two people who co-hosted a successful TV show for fourteen years NOT like each other? How could they never have even had interest in having dinner together, or in keeping in touch?

Adam said it was fairly easy, based on several points:

1. They had a process that worked and they believed in it.

2. They respected each other’s work ethic.

3. They didn’t let their egos get into the way of doing the right thing.

4. They had similar beliefs in handling and using their fame.

This touches on why Facebook ain’t cutting it for me right now. Normally I am fairly accepting of others’ perspectives. But I’ll be honest. I am struggling with getting past the fact that folks that I had previously liked and respected, are still Trump fans, in January 2021. Not characteristic of me, but it’s a chasm that is still wide open. And finding a way to resolve that difference has not shown up yet.

So maybe I’ll try to “be like Adam and Jamie” and see if I can apply these concepts to that great divide. Of course, the fourth point – fame – is not really as issue for most of us. Maybe for us regular folks, a comparable issue would be how we want other people to see us.

Here’s a link to the Business Insider article. Would like to hear your opinion. But not your rant.

And of course, the cool video, which is probably more to most people’s liking.

Yesterday, Android GPS Lady – my new bff – lost her mind.

All I wanted to do was find the nearest Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles so that I could FINALLY turn in my temporary W VA tags that expired over a month ago for actual, real license plates. Sandy took me there once so how hard could it be to find it again?

Well, there are complications involved.

Yes, I’ve been in Columbus for a few months but had only lived here for a couple of years FOUR DECADES AGO. Things change in forty years, y’know? Plus, during the first visit which I failed to produce the coveted Title Memorandum, Sandy drove. So I didn’t pay attention.

But if I may go off on a tangent here, please explain this to me: The dealership who sold me the car wouldn’t issue this elusive Title Memorandum document until I went somewhere to secure a Confirmation of VIN document. Wait. THEY sold me the car – shouldn’t THEY know the VIN? But I digress. On to probably the most relevant complication:

I have a lousy sense of direction.

Lousy is actually understating the situation.

Seriously. I remember my mother wondering if she’d dropped the infant Marti on her head, thereby damaging the part of the brain that grasped spatial relationships. Really. She wondered.

So the bottom line is – unless I am going someplace where I have to make NO turns (so far that would be Circle K) I GPS it.

So GPS Lady and I set out to find the BMV that I knew was only about ten minutes away, even though her initial estimate was 16 minutes.

To the ongoing rhythm of her rerouting beep, we toured parts of Columbus that I didn’t know existed. “Hmmm, what an odd smell,” I thought. Looking around and realizing “Oh, factories. Of course. I guess all cities have industrial districts.” And a few miles later, theorizing “Communities around industrial districts must deal in car refurbishing, based on the massive number of inoperable vehicles parked in what used to be front yards. It’s all good. Yeah. I’m good. Well, yeah, let’s lock the doors. But I’m fine.

To be fair, GPS Lady also showed me some divine examples of October-in-Ohio’s red, orange and brilliantly golden autumn trees. They are so bewitching that I am obsessed with them. Nevertheless, after about thirty minutes of this continually rerouted journey, I had to make a decision. Do I keep listening to my friend who is clearly having a mental breakdown, or do I try to figure out where in the hell I am?

Then it occurred to me:

Neither! I have announced to the world that my own intuition will be my compass for this phase of my life! So I turned off GPS Lady and followed my intuition, which led me to a stretch of natural charm called Three Creeks Metro Park. Primarily intended as a dog park, it offered trees, a variety of wildflowers in their final act, a pond and a heron – which I swear, was the same one that followed me around in Florida last month. So I took this as an opportunity to wander around with my phone camera and play with nature.

Feeling all cool about the intuition thing, I left the park and allowed my intuition to take me to the next stop – BIG LOTS! which happens to be one of my favorite off-price junk stores. I strolled through the aisles, tossing all sorts of items into my cart (“oh wow! my intuition says I should buy this suction cupped razor holder for the shower”) until I made my way to the check out counter and watched my total come out to … $111.32. Holy shit. Really? Damn.

Slowly returning to my temporary plated car, I mentally counted how many days until my pension check and hoped my grocery needs would be minimal until then. After offloading my $100+ worth of mostly junk, I decided to give GPS Lady another shot. Sure enough, she was her old dependable self and got us home.

So in addition to getting some fun snapshots and a great shawl thing from Big Lots, I learned two life lessons:

  1. Following my intuition is great, as long as I don’t confuse it with the much louder, “I want!” voice of my inner three year old.
  2. Even GPS Ladies need a break every now and then.

As I change the idea and theme of my blog, I realize that I don’t want to:

A. Trash the old stuff

B. Or go through the hassle of changing the theme.  Therefore, here are some photos. lol


My Island Boy’s first encounter with snow (around 2000)


Where I earn a living

20170302_230134 (2)

“Rotary has eaten my life” (said with humor and affection)

2016-08-14 17.37.30

My crazy hobby

2017-07-10 15.07.06

Helicoptering over Kauai (2017) 

2016-01-21 17.09.44

I don’t know.  I just like it.

2016-12-22 22.27.47

My new favorite place to spend Christmas 🙂


  • Joyce Burke: This was great too read
  • Debbie: I'm with miracarroll--it's your story, so create however you want. Leave the rest of us wondering which of the (mis)adventures are real, which might b
  • miracarroll: Marti, surely the people in your life are wise enough to know (especially after you say it) that you're a writer and in fiction, everything is fair ga