March 31, 2022

Self and Family: Keeping Everyone Happy

 Every so often, I am returning to the roots of Satisfying Retirement and rerunning an older post that deals with the nuts and bolts of retirement.  If you have yet to leave full-time work and have questions about what is ahead, I trust these posts will help you. If already retired, there is never a bad time to review what got you there and how to improve your experience. 

From eight years ago:

One of the topics identified in the recent post (now 8 years ago), What topics or concerns should I address, is not an easy subject but one that affects many of us. The question, and the answers, can be emotional and stressful. It can cause feelings of guilt or even abandonment. Depending on the answer, it can also be liberating and empowering.

Question: What is the proper balance between being a caregiver and living a life that is in balance?

There, it is out in the open. The question centers on how much of your life you sacrifice to fulfill a feeling of responsibility to an aging parent or another relative? Where is it appropriate to draw a line and not feel guilty about your decision? How do you know if codependency affects your decision and relationship?

I wish I could tell you I found a website with the perfect answer for everyone. I would love to give anyone struggling with this problem easy solutions to answer the questions so everyone is happy. Unfortunately, I didn't, so I will have to give you my best shot at an answer.

The question, and the resolution, are very personal to me. My almost 90-year-old dad lives alone in an assisted living apartment. He has 24-hour help available for emergencies and regular housekeeping. He eats his meals in a dining room just one floor down the elevator, or he has a mini kitchenette if he chooses to prepare something he bought at a small grocery center across the parking lot.

He has no hobbies or interests that fill his time. As he has gotten older and more time has passed since his wife died three years ago, his world has continued to shrink. Now, a typical day is spent reading and napping. He doesn't make friends.

The lunchtime visit from Betty and me every 7-10 days is a big deal to him. Even though we don't talk much, he does relish the time together. I handle his finances, get his prescriptions refilled as needed, take him shopping when he needs basics like laundry detergent or deodorant, and provide transportation to doctor appointments. The place he lives does have a shuttle service for these needs, but he absolutely refuses to use it.

And therein lies the problem. Betty and I plan to be RV traveling over two months this summer. In 2015 we want to be on the road even more. I can schedule his doctor visits for when I am in town. I can get one of my daughters to pick up his pills if he needs refills while I am gone. I can help him stock up on enough supplies to last 2-3 months. But I can't replace the "face time" that is so important to him.

Betty and I have talked about this dilemma quite a bit over the past few years. Until now, we have chosen not to be gone for more than a few weeks at a time. But, last year, we finally concluded that being tied so closely to him meant we face the genuine risk of running out of time and health to do what is important to us. I am sure he would want us not to sacrifice some of our dreams either.

So, we are going to travel. We are going to be gone for months at a time. To make that separation as easy as possible for dad, we will leave him with most of what he needs for the time we are away. We will call often, make sure someone else in the family is available for his shopping needs, and depend on the nurses at his facility to keep a sharp eye on him.

Our solution works because all of our family lives in this area, and dad lives in a full-service retirement community. There are backup people when needed. But I know not everyone is so lucky. What if the parent(s) live far away with either no family nearby or family that can't provide the level of involvement necessary due to declining health? 

If you have been providing some level of care and involvement but feel you really need time to live your own life, what do you do? How do you balance a commitment to a parent with your needs? Do you have strong feelings of guilt for not being a more active caregiver? Have you asked the person you are taking care of how they feel about the situation?

While I did not find a website that provided all the answers, I found one that can help us all think through our options. With the intriguing name of Tiny Buddha, this site had a list of tips on how to balance our self-interest with our desire to sacrifice for others.  Here are some of the better thoughts and a few ideas to bring things back into balance. You can check out the entire article, along with an explanation of each of these points, by clicking the link at the end of this post:

*Too much sacrifice can harm relationships.

* Excessive giving can create internal resentment.

* Sacrificing is not always helpful.

* To truly give yourself, you need to take care of yourself.

Now, here are a few steps that may help you find the best balance for you:

1. Establish your reason for imbalance.  Are you overextending yourself to feel powerful? Or to please everyone? You need to figure this out.
2. Take a piece of the pie. You can’t give everyone in your life 100 percent, so you likely give your parents, friends, and significant other a percentage of your energy. Consider a piece of that your own, and honor that in your choices.
3. Think of taking as another form of giving. Everything you get from giving, the people who love you will get the same if you give them a chance to reciprocate. Why not allow them the opportunity to feel helpful and important, too? 
4. Make attempts to repair unbalanced relationships. You need to address this either by asking for what you need when you need it or by initiating a constructive conversation.
5. Make a habit of expressing your needs. If you state your expectations, it will be easier for people to meet them.

Lori Deschene, the founder of Tiny Buddha, makes some excellent points in this article. I encourage you to check out the full article and see how it may apply to your situation.

March 27, 2022

Time is Slipping By: Does That Influence My Decision?

My son-in-law's parents recently moved from their home to an apartment in a retirement community. Such a change brings lots of adjustments and compromises. It means some possessions and familiarity are left behind. A sofa that has served them well for years was too big for the move. A recently redesigned bathroom that took into account some physical issues will no longer be available.  Three bedrooms became two. Pots and plants, a garage, and an everyday routine were left behind.

Even so, a fresh start and the elimination of some daily chores are welcome. Meals are prepared and offered without the need to shop or cook. Classes, game nights, movie viewings,  and regular outings without the need to drive bring new opportunities.  

Their shift from a house to an apartment brought into focus the reality that such a change is not all that far away for us. We like our home which is only minutes away from the rest of our family. A big backyard was important when the grandkids were much younger; now, our occasional dog sitting for family allows plenty of room to romp.

 A long back porch on the north side means we can sit outside even during parts of a Phoenix summer; the sun is on the other side and doesn't bake us quite so completely. I enjoy keeping the pots filled with flowers year-round. The yard is low maintenance and pleasant to gaze at.

There are a few parts of our home that we have discussed renovating but have not moved forward. Both bathrooms need freshening, new shower stalls, and countertops. The back patio's concrete flooring has been painted, but that doesn't stand up well to the heat and water from the sprinklers. The rugs are showing their age. Even a new coffee table and two new end tables would be welcomed.

With a move to a retirement home in six or seven years, we would be unlikely to recoup some of what these changes would cost, or we would not be able to move most of the furniture. The upgrades I mentioned would not be major renovations, but enough to put a hole in the budget.

Here is my dilemma, and question for you to ponder: should we spend money on making our home a better fit for our needs and tastes knowing that we won't be here long enough to see those costs reflected in the ultimate sales price, or that some of what is bought will not be brought to our new home?

Betty and I have moved many times and owned eight different houses. Each time, we have done cosmetic upgrades or even a few major improvements just before selling to improve our asking price. We have never really upgraded until we are just about to leave! 

Each time that happens we kick ourselves for waiting until we are almost out the door before doing something to our living space that we would have enjoyed. We fix a space up to the point where we almost decide not to move! How silly is that? 

This time, it has become very clear to me that the next move will be into a space that will have major limitations. We won't have a yard, though maybe a small patio that can handle a few pots. We will be renting, so even minor renovations without approval will be not possible. Whatever the state of the kitchen, bathrooms, and living space will be fixed; we will adapt to the apartment, not the other way around.

So, that means for the next half a decade or so, we will have the last chance to modify and renovate our living space in a way that pleases us. I must quickly add we are happy with our home, it has no glaring problems. Yes, we have made compromises and excuses for the almost seven years we have lived here. Except for a minor kitchen redo a year ago, the other possible transformations are still on the drawing board.

Some of that is Covid-caused.  Shortages, six to nine-month delays between placing an order and getting the product, even trying to replace a few pieces of furniture have become a major hassle. Workmen are scheduled half a year into the future, so we haven't bothered. 

Bottom line: if we take the plunge and complete the modifications we would like, the money spent will not be returned to us when we sell. The amount we are thinking of spending would mean vacations would have to be curtailed for a few years to allow the budget to heal.

So, do we invest in this house, make our living space a nicer fit for our last several years, and accept that money is gone. Or, be satisfied with how things are (which is quite nice), realize that some of the urge to splurge is more boredom than need, spend the money instead on travel while we are still healthy enough to do so, and congratulate ourselves for not spending money on something we will only enjoy for a brief period of time?

I am anxious for your thoughts. 

March 23, 2022

Why Didn't I Ask More Questions?

Dad meeting a great-granddaughter

I have been thinking about my dad recently. His birthday was last month. He would have been 98; he died in 2015. Growing up I remember our family life only in positive ways. Maybe my optimistic nature has blocked any negative thoughts, but I don't believe that to be the case. My brothers and I were in a home filled with love and support.

During his last few years, after his wife of 63 years died, he lived alone in an assisted living setup, about 20 minutes from us. Betty and I would visit him several times a month for lunch, to take him to doctor appointments or fill a prescription. Considering that my mom was the center of his universe, he seemed surprisingly content and settled into his solo life.

When I asked him how he was doing or if he needed anything, the answer was always some form of, "I'm fine." I can't remember any conversation about how he was coping with mom's death, loneliness, or what would seem to be normal topics after such a long marriage.

Probably jogged by his birthday, I began considering more about what his life must have been like. I thought of all sorts of questions I wished I had asked, but, he was always reserved and not emotional, at least on the outside. I don't know if I would have learned more about the man.

I knew that his dad died when he was a teenager. He became "the man of the family," taking on all sorts of odd jobs to help support his mom and his two brothers. When he was able he joined the Navy. That was the only way he could afford college. His timing was excellent: his training ended just as WWII was over. He never had to face combat, got his college degree, met, and married my Mom.

I'm not sure he ever really liked the work he did. Trained as an electrical engineer, he was employed by a few companies that were involved in the developing electronic side of society. His last few jobs were in sales, something his personality didn't really seem to fit. The glad-handed, back-slapping, swap-stories-to-make-a-sale type of guy he was not. 

That fact alone probably explained why he had a hard time holding onto steady work. There were several times as I was growing up that he was unemployed. I remember stacks of resumes on the dining room table and him being home for long stretches of time. Mom's teaching salary supported us while he struggled to find employment. He never talked about his problems; he did everything humanely possible to isolate his family from the economic effects of his lack of work.  

At one point he did invest a substantial sum of money to buy an executive recruiting company. Located in the high rent district of downtown Boston, his venture quickly failed. A severe recession eliminated the need for such a service and his seed money ran out. I wish I had talked with him about how that felt and the lessons he learned. It might have helped me during my own low period after being fired just after a move to Tucson.

Until his later years, he showed no interest in anything that wasn't directly related to family or my mom. He sang in the choir because she did. He played bridge because she enjoyed it. He would do whatever she suggested with total commitment.

After marriage, he had no relationship with his two younger brothers and we never found out why. When I asked the answer was a generic, "this is my family and they have theirs."  So, my brothers and I never met or knew our uncles or cousins. That always struck me as a loss. To have blood relations that are never even a small part of your life is a missed opportunity.

Not an outdoorsman, I still remember him buying me a fishing pole and some silly rubber worms to go fishing only because he believed a dad is supposed to teach his son that skill. He had no idea what he was doing but he and I spent a few hours by an urban lake near our home, casting those orange worms in a vain attempt to entice some nibbles. The fishing pole was retired that evening and was never mentioned again.

In the last few years, while living in a 55+ development but before moving to a retirement community, he discovered painting. I have no idea what prompted him to try something seemingly alien to his personality. He had never shown any interest in that type of expression before.  He attended regular classes with an instructor he liked and began to turn out increasingly sophisticated works. 

Unfortunately, at some point, my mother made a comment or two about them that was not fully supportive. Overnight, he stopped. I had hoped he would begin again after her death, but that was not to be. He never picked up a brush or expressed any interest. I wish I had gotten the whole story behind his abandonment of this form of creativity and maybe done more to encourage him to start again.

Now, I wonder what made him tick, what were his passions and interest beyond mom, and his three sons. I puzzle at the distance between him and his brothers. I struggle with the feeling I should have done more to get him to do something with the last five years of his life as a widower. When I broached the subject, he was quick to assure me he was happy sitting alone in his apartment, reading. I accepted that, but wonder if I could have led him into something he would have enjoyed.

My questions remain unanswered. If there is takeaway from all this, it is to ask what will allow you to have a better understanding, a fuller picture, of someone you love before it is too late.  Dad was a rock in my life, always loving and supportive. But, I never really understood what motivated, stimulated, irritated, and drove him. I never dug beneath the surface, and that is my loss.

March 19, 2022

When A Spouse or Partner Needs a Different Level of Care

This is a common occurrence I hadn't thought much about: how do you handle living arrangements when one half of a couple needs a different level of care than the other person? If you are living at home but your spouse should be in an assisted living situation, what options do you have to remain a couple? If your partner resides in an assisted living apartment but you must be transferred to a nursing care facility, must you be separated?

Since we experience the effects of aging at different times and levels, it is quite likely one person will need professional care much sooner than their significant other. The first step is to gather information well before you think you may need to make important decisions. This allows for the couple to feel a bit more comfortable about what an establishment looks like, how spouse accommodations or visiting arrangements are made, and the overall quality of the facility.

Both people must come to accept that at some point they may not live together or as close as would be preferred. My Dad's assisted living facility did have apartments large enough for two, but that is not always the case. There are many that have only have single-occupant rooms.

Acknowledging that you may not be able to live in the same place as your partner is a tremendously emotional realization, but one that must be faced. If you require much more care than your partner, for example, he or she may be able to continue to live at home while you are somewhere else. I imagine that is one of the toughest decisions we may need to make, but safety must be foremost. 

Also, we can't forget that there are two people involved. One may be in a situation where mobility and health issues severely limit their ability to leave the apartment. If the other person is still healthy enough, the facility chosen should provide enough social activities, and transportation to shopping and medical appointments. Otherwise, the more active spouse will naturally feel some resentment in being shut off from the world. 

The financial pressure of any assisted living arrangement can put a strain on even the strongest investment foundation. Medicare provides no help for assisted living costs, which can average between $4,000-$7,000 a month. Normal health care for someone is provided under Medicare, such as a doctor visit or in-patient care at a hospital. But, living costs are not. This fact alone is one of the reasons so many of us want to age in place as long as possible. Even with in-home health care, the expenses aren't quite as daunting. 

If you are covered by Medicaid instead, there is a spousal protection regulation that can help the at-home spouse maintain financial resources greater than normally allowed. The specifics and restrictions are too much for this post but should be explored if this is your situation.

Two final thoughts I would like to add. For some, this post may be better suited to what your parents are facing. You may be young enough that the living arrangement decisions can wait a bit. But, mom and dad or your in-laws must be prepared and willing to make some hard choices. Here is a link to a solid overview of the issues that arise when your parent or relative lives by themselves: What to watch for when an elderly parent lives alone.

If you are single, the decision of when and where to live when your health requires it will be both easier and tougher. You don't have to take into consideration another person's needs, feelings, and health. But, neither do you have a partner to help you share the decision-making process.

Even so, researching your options, reviewing your desires, figuring out your finances, and visiting some facilities well before needed applies every bit as much as it does to your couple friends.

While not directly addressing this issue, here is a post from last year about being single and retired. If you missed it, give it a read: Retired and Alone.

I realize this is not a pleasant thing to think about, but, essential. Exploring your options before being forced to make a choice is critical. Discussing the options and possibilities of a life that looks very different than the one you are living now should not be swept under the rug. Time has a nasty habit of not waiting for you to be comfortable about the future. It does what it will do with distressing quickness.

March 15, 2022

Life : It Happens in The Middle

"I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in and all your dreams. Life is art." So says actress Helena Bonham Carter, known for her roles in Harry Potter and The Crown, among others.

Contrast that quote with a dictionary definition:" Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a form like such as painting, music, literature, and dance."

I vote for Ms. Carter's depiction. For too many, art is what other people do, the creative ones, with a paint-smeared smock or pottery clay on the floor. It is the stack of papers that represent an 85,000-word novel. Art is a photograph of a sunset behind the mountains that takes your breath away or a ballerina able to spin on her toes flawlessly during Swan Lake.

True, all those examples represent art. Each shows a particular talent or skill that results in a physical or visual outcome. Our world is better for every one of those examples. Yet, they are such a small segment of what makes art in our world, so limiting in how we tend to see our lives.

Let me take a detour for a moment and see if this new thought connects with what I have just said. If you read a book, watch a movie, even read a magazine article, it will have a beginning, a middle, and an ending. This was a lesson you likely learned in English class while writing an essay or book report. 

Something must set the scene to grab your attention, to pull you into whatever you are reading or watching. Then, a story unfolds that motivates you to stay with it. Finally, a conclusion brings all the loose ends to a satisfying conclusion.

Again, not a lightning bolt of awareness. The parallel between this basic concept and living is evident, too. We are born, we fill the years with everything that makes up our life on earth, and then all of it ends. We hope that the memories that linger bring smiles to the faces of those still here. We hope that we left something behind that made another human life better.

A morning meditation not long ago brought all this to mind; the subject was impermanence. Our thoughts come and go, relationships, too. A loved dog or cat is part of our life for maybe a dozen years and then lives in our memories. Nothing we touch, experience, create, hold, build, paint, or love is permanent. All are fleeting in the grand scheme of things.

Just like the last amazing book you read or movie that melted your heart,  our life is built around the same model: we had a beginning, we are living in the middle, and at some time, we end. We don't control the beginning; we usually have little control over how our story ends. 

Sure, circumstances of where and how our story begins do matter, but we can't affect that. The mortality of all living things means we can't just decide to live another 10 or 20 years if that isn't in our genetic makeup. It is the middle that is really up to us.

So, to loop back to the opening quote, the creative part of life that Ms. Carter is talking about is the middle. This is where the uniqueness of you happens. Whether that middle is meaningful, is satisfying, leaves a positive mark, and is more than just bridging the gap from the beginning to the endpoint is, to a degree, our story to write. Even if the circumstances of someone's life have been difficult, filled with struggle and loss, the way that person reacts to the hand dealt them makes all the difference. 

And, I contend that how you fill your middle is what makes you both creative and artistic, it is what makes you fully human and irreplaceable. Not permanent, very much impermanent, but with an ability unique among living creatures to express yourself in ways that no other human ever created can replicate.

Life is a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is what we do in the middle that makes it distinctive.

March 11, 2022

Is Retirement Still A Viable Concept?

Every so often I am returning to the roots of Satisfying Retirement and rerunning an older post that deals strictly with the nuts and bolts of retirement.  If you have yet to leave full-time work and have questions about what is ahead, I trust these posts will help you. If already retired, there is never a bad time to review what got you there and how to improve your experience.

Sometimes I wonder if the whole concept of retirement is destined for the dustbin. The idea of retiring from work has not been part of our world for much more than one hundred years. Leaving work permanently didn't become something that most thought about until the years after 1935 with the beginning of Social Security and strong employer pensions. Certainly, my parent's generation welcomed retirement, and the majority of folks my age aspire to that part of life.

But, over the last few years I have watched at least five trends that seem to raise questions about retirement's appeal, or even viability. Consider these circumstances:

1. Savings rates can't possibly support full retirement. For those 45-54, the median amount saved for retirement is $100,000. For 35-44 year olds, the median saved is only $61,000. Even forgetting about retirement savings for a moment, 72 million Americans have no emergency savings at all. That is a whole bunch of folks who are one paycheck away from financial hardship or ruin, much less retirement.

2. The support of company pensions has all but disappeared. The defined benefit type plan is but a fond memory for most. Companies have been cutting the contributions and scope of pension plans for the last few decades. Poorly funded 401(k) accounts, or no pension at all, are more the norm. Future generations will likely never experience the option of a robust pension.

3. The likelihood of cutbacks in Social Security benefits and means testing for payments are virtual certainties in the years to come. There are too many folks retiring and too few workers to fund their Social Security payments to keep the system operating the way it does today. 

4. The amount of money needed to retire continues to rise. Thirty or forty years ago someone with one hundred thousand dollars in savings and investments, a decent pension, medical coverage, and Social Security could look forward to a comfortable retirement. Then, the "magic" figure became $500,000, quickly followed by one million dollars. Today, retirement gurus claim you need 2 million dollars to have a shot at a pleasant time away from work. Needless to say, 2 million is a number very, very few will accumulate; one million is impossible for most. 

5. Maybe just as important, the interest in continuing to work is growing. Due to financial concerns (see #1 above), wanting to continue doing something that is satisfying, being fearful of free time with nothing to do, or anxious to start a new business and make a lifelong dream real, the percentage of those who say they have no plans to stop working, or working well past the typical target of 65, is increasing. Some studies show it is nearly 33% of all workers. 

I am now wondering about the reality of retirement in the decades to come. Has our world changed to the point where retirement isn't something the majority will ever experience, either by choice, or circumstances? Within the next few generations will retirement be as uncommon as it was 60 years ago?

What do you think?

March 7, 2022

The War in Ukraine Has Sharpened my Focus

The insanity of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought some thoughts of mine into focus. I look at the actions of President Zelenskyy and marvel at his strength, determination, and leadership at a time of such peril.  I wonder what has caused the seriously outnumbered citizens of Ukraine to fight with such ferocity against seemingly unbeatable odds. 

As a democracy that has existed for only thirty years, I marvel at the depth of commitment to the idea of a nation that is so ingrained in the 44 million residents that they are putting their lives on the line every day. For the million-plus who have fled, I believe that decision shows just as much courage. Everything they have loved and known has been left behind in a rush that is almost unimaginable in its desperation to protect family members.

The situation reminds me of what being a citizen of a particular country should entail, what responsibilities come with such a designation. It raises the question of whether I would respond the way the Ukrainians have to an unprovoked attack and threat to everything I hold dear.

Hopefully, I will never have to find out. But, even if not under military invasion, being a citizen demands I commit to certain principles and actions. Someone who lives in a country and benefits from all that entails must take certain steps to protect all that he or she holds dear.  We are part of the "team." In large part, our actions will determine our future. 

What are our duties to take part in and protect this grand experiment known as American democracy? These come to mind:

1) Commit to being educated. I would argue this is the most important requirement. A citizen must take the time to learn about the issues, to think deeply about the problems and opportunities we face, and to avoid the tendency to accept whatever the media or our favorite talking heads have to say.

Just because something is on the Internet, TV, or radio does not mean it is accurate and true, though it may be. A citizen's responsibility is to dig deeper. Consult multiple sources for insight, including those outside your normal comfort zone. Talk to others, form your own opinions but be prepared to change what you think if new information becomes available. Rigidity is not compatible with education.

2) Commit to participate. Not voting makes you no better than a non-citizen. Not supporting candidates and issues you believe in leaves you no right to complain about the outcome. Of course, you have the privilege and responsibility to oppose against things you feel passionately about. But, if you don't play in the game, you can't simply complain about the score.

3) Commit to support or deny support as appropriate. Even if your dream candidate wins, even if every ballot proposition that you support passes, your duties are not over. There will be people, maybe lots of them, who disagree with you. You must work to support what you think is important and withdraw your support if someone or something doesn't seem right.

As the next point states, that doesn't mean you stop paying taxes if you dislike the IRS. It doesn't mean you occupy a federal building to protest a policy you find odious. It does mean you vote against people or things. It does mean you legally protest, with signs or petitions. You use your money and time to support or deny support. 

4) Commit to following the rules. With a civilized, organized society comes the rule of law. As much as a citizen disagrees with the speed trap south of town, if caught driving faster than posted, he will pay the fine. If called to jury duty she will serve. If someone disagrees with a point of law you don't disobey it but work to change it. As our society is structured, the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbitrator. Disagree with a finding? Work to change the law. A citizen doesn't have the right to disobey legal statutes he disagrees with, as January 6th should have clearly demonstrated. Otherwise, we face anarchy.

5) Commit to being committed. Being a good citizen is not a part-time job. You can't "turn it on" in an election year and then hibernate until the next one. As the points above should make clear, this is a full-time responsibility. 

Without being overly pessimistic, I believe our form of government and way of life are under serious assault, and not just from outside our borders. What the FBI calls "Domestic Terrorism" is impossible to ignore; it is thrown in our face every day by those who not only hold different viewpoints but believe violence is a way to achieve their goals.

The polarity, distrust, and downright hate that seems to be what passes for social discourse has us on a path with little room for course correction.

The five suggestions above will not change any of this quickly. But, all any of us can do is focus on our responsibilities to act like a citizen who believes in what we stand for. We must be willing to put in the hard work to ensure a future that we want our children, grandkids, and great-grandchildren to experience.

We don't have to agree with each other about everything. That is not what democracy is about. But, we must treat each other with respect, dignity, and common courtesy as we disagree. Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, and Misogyny are not compatible with that goal. Nor is making your point with the barrel of a gun.

We can, and must, do better.

March 3, 2022

A True Photography Artist Shows Her Stuff

My wife, Betty, and her family, visited Disney World two months after it opened in 1971. As a Christmas and birthday gift, I gave her a week-long trip to allow her the opportunity to mark the 50th Anniversary celebration of this mammoth entertainment complex in central Florida.

It was a memorable trip for both of us, not only for the nature of her history with the park but to have the week to ourselves. While the family is the center of our life, as we approach our 46th anniversary, we loved having the time together without having to please anyone but ourselves.

Betty is an outstanding photographer. Actually, I and several others believe she could market and sell a lot of what she has shot and edited over the past several decades. With smartphone cameras being so high in quality, she no longer needs to lug her Nikon around. What she photographs and then photoshops is every bit as good.

Because you were so gracious a week or so ago in making favorable comments of my attempts to paint, I thought you deserved to see something really first-rate.

She took over 2,100 photos while at Disney about her expected output. Though impossible to present all the ones I think she could sell on Etsy or somewhere, I have picked a few that really grabbed me, and hopefully you.

Enjoy a handful from the nighttime fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom.

The nighttime fireworks display at both Disney World and Disneyland are legendary. But for the 50th anniversary celebration, the Florida version takes the event to a whole new level.

And, finally a sampling of her work over the past several years:

The End!