There was a day when you couldn’t get me to say the word “retire.” I had too much going to even give it a thought. From the time I shut off the alarm and got out of bed until the time I turned out the lights at night, my life was set on “go.”
Through the years, there have been a few changes. Actually, there have been many. Some days, it feels like my get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went, as they say. Other days, I”m still going strong. Or at least, I really want it to be that way.
I recently took a class on retirement, just to see how I stood and what I might out to do to prepare for that day when I would be able to leave the fulltime job and shift at least some of my efforts from things I HAVE TO do to things I WANT TO do. Well, at least that’s’ the intention.
It was during that class that I realized I’m certainly not at that point yet. In fact, I’m not certain when I will be there. But at least now I have an idea as to what it will take to get me there. I also know there are many things to consider before I can make it happen.
I have to look at such things as …
* Finance — Where will it come from and how much will we have? Will my retirement account and our investments sustain us?
* Health — Will we able to get around well enough to remain independent?
* Insurance — What can we afford and what will it cover? Health, home and vehicle insurance are only part of that picture.
* Home — Can we maintain our home? There are always areas that need attention, from cleaning to repairs.
* Transportation — What are our options? Will we still be able to drive ourselves, or will we need assistance?
* Activity — A key point for most any retiree. It’s not just keeping the body active. You need to keep the mind sharp as long as possible.
These were just some of the key concerns. There are many more. Each individual’s situation is different.
Take a look at KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/RETIREMENT-OKLAHOMA to see areas a person looking ahead should be aware of before taking that plunge. Don’t forget also to look at KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MONEY-OKLAHOMA for more ideas on what you can do to prepare.
These and other topics in our “know it” library might be just what you need.
I call it “being curious.” Some call it “being snoopy.” But I’ve always been interested in what’s on everyone’s mind. After all, that’s what people in my business are supposed to do: find out what people want to know about and give them as much information as you possibly can.
Sometimes, it’s easy. You can start with weather. Especially in Oklahoma, the weather plays a big part in most everything, from business to pleasure, from life to death. Weather is a factor.
You always can talk politics. This is an election year and, no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape hearing or seeing someone voice an opinion on who is and who is not doing the right thing, who will or who will not win in the November general election, who ought to stay, who ought to go.
One of the most significant freedoms we have it the right to state our opinion, and the right to agree or disagree, whether you do or don’t want to hear it.
Now that the Thunder’s season has ended, there’s a break. Right? To a degree. There are still the Thunder players participating in the Olympics, which, by the way, is another topic that will be even bigger soon.
We’re just a few weeks away from the start of the new football season. The predictions and expectations already are there.
Money always is an important topic, from how to make it to how to spend it, or how to save it. Add to that the cost of anything, which always seems to being heading upward. Who has money, who needs money and how to help those who don’t have enough to adequately survive also get attention.
Vehicles have been popular topics since the first ones were invented. You can expect that to continue until we don’t use them anymore.
Health matters — yours or those of someone else, how to avoid them and how to treat them — are important and often discussed.
Items relating to the military, particularly in a state like Oklahoma where it has such a presence, affect many people.
You also will read, see, or hear about such topics as children, pets, religion, travel, recreation and cultural events.
Plenty, huh? And there are many more.
Each of the topics mentioned above is in at least one of our “know it” topics. It may be a story, it could be a photo, or it might be in a topic’s resource material. Then again, it might be in more than one, sometimes several.
That’s why they are there: To give you information. And you can contribute as well by sending news releases, notes of praise, or other tidbits to the online communities.
Visit HTTP://KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/ and look them over.
Summertime means more time outdoors. We all want to have a great time playing in pools and parks, or camping and doing yard work. Sports abounds outside and we can either be players or spectators and have a good time doing either one.
Sometimes we take safety for granted and I have fallen into this same trap. We’re in such a hurry to get outside and have fun that we forget to take some safety precautions. We think it might be OK at the time until things turn ugly then or later.
Sunburns, insect bites, rashes, abrasions, sprains and strains are the least of some effects from being outside trying to have a fun time. Broken bones, lacerations and, God forbid, fatalities are the more serious.
All of this is to say “prepare for your outdoor fun” by taking precautions that won’t leave you wishing you had later. Wear sunscreen, wear protective clothing, wear personal protective gear that is designed to keep you safe. It ceases to be a fun time when things go bad and we have all either seen that or experienced it firsthand.
I don’t mean to be a fuddy duddy on having fun. Enjoy the great outdoors! Get out of the house! Just play and work safe so that your enjoyment stays what it should be; a healthy good time.
“Have I got news for you.”
Ever heard that phrase? Most of us either have said that, heard it, or done both during our lives. There’s always something we think is important enough to share with others and they with us.
A few years ago, when we established our “know it” communities we offered readers a chance to share news releases, alerts, recognitions and other information (including photos) by sending their items by email to any or all of the five sites:
Many groups and individuals have participated. You can see what they are sending by going to the reader-submitted area (upper right) of each community:
(Note: You can see all of them by going to: http://knowit.newsok.com/)
The instructions also advise that editors at The Oklahoman will consider items submitted for publication in the newspaper. That has happened.
But now, that has been enhanced by using a page, labeled News From You, each Saturday in the Local/State section of the newspaper.
We even include posted blog material.
So how can you get your information to us for consideration?
You can send to the communities, as mentioned above, by following the directions for emailing.
Or, you can send email to Metro reporters Vallery Brown (email@example.com), Matt Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jane Glenn Cannon in Norman (email@example.com), or Diana Baldwin in Edmond (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It’s your news to share and be shared.
It’s Winter Weather Awareness Day in Oklahoma and a good time to work on your pre-winter preparedness. It won’t be long until the consistent freezing weather, snow and ice will be in the forecast, so make plans now on how to survive them.
Gov. Mary Fallin issued a governor’s proclaimed naming the day. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, National Weather Service and other state and local agencies are sharing information to help the public prepare for the winter season.
State officials said last winter’s blizzards were strong reminders that we need to have our homes and vehicles, as well as our families and pets, ready to meet cold-weather challenges.
Weather officials said that “during the Christmas blizzard, record snowfall required stranded motorists to be rescued by the Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and local first responders.
“The experience of those stuck in the cold for long hours during the blizzard last winter should drive home the need to always prepare,” OEM Director Albert Ashwood said. “Having a blanket, emergency food and water, a flashlight, a well charged cell phone and a full tank of gas would have made a big difference for many of those awaiting rescue on Oklahoma roadways.”
The state officials remind you that if you have to travel in heavy snow or ice, you should allow extra time and “be particularly cautious on bridges and overpasses as they will be the first to freeze.”
Remember that “travel conditions can rapidly change. Drivers who must travel in these conditions are urged to drive slowly during snow or ice storms and to plan extra time for their travel. ODOT crews report they are ready for this upcoming winter season.
“Statewide, our salt and sand supplies are fully stocked, and more than 500 trucks are available to clear snow and ice from highways and interstates,” ODOT Director of Operations Casey Shell said. “During our clearance operations, we ask that drivers stay at least 200 feet behind our equipment, for both their safety and the safety of our crews.”
At home, be sure you have adequate weather stripping and insulation. Keep your furnace clean and ready to use. Make sure your pipes are protected against freezing temperatures.
“By following some simple tips and monitoring your local weather during times of severe weather, Oklahomans stand their best chance at not becoming a victim,” said Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS office in Norman.
He also reminds everyone that information regarding hazardous winter weather, including watches and warnings, is available on the NWS website at http://www.weather.gov, on NOAA Weather All Hazards Radio and on local radio and television stations.
You can sign up to receive OEM’s weather alerts and receive NWS watches and warnings on your cell phone or other email address at http://www.ok.gov/OEM/.
Go to knowit.newsok.com/severe-weather-oklahoma to find more ways to get ready for winter.
There are some visitors you just don’t want. Especially when they are green, with four long legs, antennae and bulging eyes.
Before you think I’ve lost it entirely and am seeing aliens … let me assure you, I’m not.
I haven’t been hitting the bottle, I’m not smoking something funny, I don’t shoot up and I don’t snort … other than in my sleep, or if I get real tickled.
I’m talking about grasshoppers. Big, fat, juicy ones. The kind that leap off the lawn furniture, flutter their wings, then land on you and attach to your clothing. They can grasp the material so tightly that they become very difficult to remove.
They can be quite a nuisance. A plague. It says so in the Bible. I’ve read it.
When I heard and read recently that the current drought was causing these generally rural creatures to change their addresses and move into the cities, looking for food, I wasn’t all that concerned. We live far enough in, I thought, that it wouldn’t be a problem. Besides, I hadn’t seen a grasshopper at our house in, well, I couldn’t remember when.
That all changed this morning.
Around dawn, I went out onto our patio and deck to get a feel for the weather conditions as I got ready for work. It was still a bit dark, with only the slightest of light in the east, so I turned on the patio light before I walked outside.
I took three or four steps out onto the deck, then spotted something on the corner of the swing. When I got closer, I noticed the eye and the movement of the antennae. Then, the whole body turned … toward me.
I checked around, but didn’t see others. One grasshopper an army does not make. It’s not time to head to the local lawn and garden store to purchase a spray. No need to break out the flamethrower. They’re not filling the air as they assault my lawn or outdoor plants.
But I’m going to keep an eye on the situation. I just hope I don’t dream about grasshopper invasions.
Read more about the grasshopper situation, and about Oklahoma’s weather conditions, by going to http://knowit.newsok.com/severe-weather-oklahoma
I’m beginning to think I don’t ever want to retire. Seriously. Life may be more enjoyable — and safer — if I keep working.
I’m heading back to work Monday, and none too soon. This vacation has been anything but relaxing.
It began peaceful enough. At least, for the first seven hours. That ended with a sales call I knew I shouldn’t have answered. But when it’s shortly after dawn and you are still groggy from sleep, you don’t always make the right decision … like picking up the phone.
Oh, well. That got me up and moving. I actually got a few inside chores done that day and the next while trying to limit outside activities to cooler times of the day … or, night, when temperatures dropped to the mid- to high 90s.
But then things began to happen.
Early on day three, I decided to do some trimming outside along the fence and around the walk and driveway. It only took a couple of hours. But that afternoon, whether due to the heat or some bug I picked up, I began feeling bad. And it got worse, and worse.
By nightfall, I was unable to stay up any length of time. Lying or sitting down with glass of iced tea and a good fan was my favorite activity.
That carried into the next day, when I could only get out of bed long enough to get a drink of water or head to the restroom.
Next came a plumbing problem, necessitating a trip to the hardware store to get a new flush kit. Meanwhile, the lid on the toilet tank fell onto the floor and shattered into about five large pieces, with several chips and shards, of course.
We had talked about possibly using some of my time off to visit family, maybe even those in Kansas City. But the high temperatures have been making life miserable there, too. Plus, I’m a firm believer in not spreading your sickness to those you care about.
Scratch one trip.
The next day, while feeling a bit better, I tried to move a couple of things in the garage and strained my back. One of those strains that makes you sick to your stomach, which I already was. Oh, joy.
I gave it until the following day, when I felt like I finally might get a break. I did — a break in the windshield on my pickup. Apparently, it took a small rock that hit it just hard enough to start a crack.
I tried to arrange for a service job, but could do no better than two days later. Time to park it and wait. I wasn’t exactly feeling like going anywhere anyway.
Trying to take it easy and not do anything to cause more problems, I figured a short trip to the store wouldn’t cause any more damage … other than to the bank account.
As we were checking out, my little finger got caught in the metal basket on the grocery cart.
On my last day off, the service man came out to look at the windshield and hopefully stop the crack from advancing. His verdict? Nope. Couldn’t fix it. The crack was now too long. A windshield replacement is ahead.
So, with sore back and stomach, a cracked windshield, a topless toilet tank and a discolored little finger, I’m ending this vacation. I need to get back to work to get some rest.
There’s more to our “know it” communities than news about Edmond, Midwest City, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon, and there’s an open invitation to you to become part of it.
Each of these communities has other cities and towns nearby. Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish where one ends and another begins, and.or there is overlap. We set up the online communities to include them.
“Why didn’t you just use north, south, east and west?” a reader once asked me.
We needed a focal point, a center for each coverage area. Problem was, we still had some equally (or nearly as) large cities close enough in some areas that it almost required a double-emphasis name. For instance, Edmond and Guthrie; Midwest City and Del City; Norman and Moore; or Yukon and Mustang.
There also are those who believe that Bricktown is almost a city within itself … and within Oklahoma City.
So why didn’t we put together separate “know it” communities for each of them? For now, it’s more manageable, more functional to do it this way. Will that change in the future? We’ll see. Just about anything is possible.
We do have a “play position,” or key story on the page for each community. That allows us to emphasize a story from any of the cities and towns in that area. You might have a big event occurring in Guthrie or Piedmont in the lead position in “know it: Edmond.” Or, it might be a critical city council meeting in Moore that leads “know it: Norman.” The top story for “know it: Yukon” might be something big in Mustang.
You see how it works.
But there’s more. You can contribute to the coverage for your area.
If you’re looking for a way to get the news out about an upcoming event, deliver a word of praise, or perhaps an update or follow-up is needed to those in your community. Here’s a possibility for you. Our “know it” geographical communities can help.
Need some help getting the word out about your upcoming event? Maybe you want to say “thanks” to an individual or group. Or, it could be that you need to send an update or reminder about a community happening.
Our “know it” geographical communities can help.
Readers can use Twitter feeds to get their messages out in the five “know it” online communities — Edmond, Mid-Del, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon. These include the surrounding area for each city.
Each community has a specific hashtag, similar to other web tags, that helps add personal messages, or “tweets,” to a category. Hashtags have the “hash” or “pound” sign preceding them.
The specific hashtags for the “know it” communities are:
- Edmond area — #knowedmond
- Mid-Del area — #knowmwc
- Norman area — #knownorman
- Oklahoma City area — #knowokc
- Yukon area — #knowyukon
The tags also can be added to other hash tags, such as #NewsOK or #okpreps.
Each “know it” community features a special area titled “NEWS SUBMITTED BY YOU,” where information such as news releases can be added.
To use that area, the reader creates an e-mail with a document or photo attached, then sends it to the address for the particular community:
Here are some tips for using this feature:
- Add the e-mail address to your list of those who normally receive your news. (The other e-mail addresses will not appear online.)
- Send your information and/or photos as a SINGLE ATTACHMENT to your e-mail. (PLEASE NOTE: Text from the e-mail will not appear online. An attachment may be a WORD document [.doc], a text file [.txt], a portable document [.pdf], or a jpeg picture [.jpg].)
- The subject line will be your headline, so be specific about what is most important that you want to emphasize. Example: Cross Timbers Elementary plans open house on Tuesday.
- Avoid punctuation and ALL CAPS in your subject line, but do capitalize the first letter of the first word and all formal titles.
- Remember to tell others about this service!
All sites can be accessed by going to http://knowit.newsok.com.
Editors and reporters consider information submitted for possible use in other sections.
Each community link is a “window” into that city and area, its offerings, its people. These are living, growing communities online, just as they are in real life. We continuously look for new information to add to them, in addition to the items that flow there from The Oklahoman reports.
The design is such that readers can glean a wealth of information about their community, quickly and efficiently, by simply clicking on the topic, ranging from stories to facts and figures on people, services and locations.
It’s all here for you.
Having GOOD neighbors can sure make life better. But having GREAT neighbors makes it downright enjoyable.
We’re fortunate in that we have some GREAT neighbors, and we try to be the same for them. They’ve been there for us when things have been tough and we’ve helped them when times were tough as well.
We’ve all pitched in when we there has been a need, large or small. Sometimes it’s something as small as helping move a heavy piece of furniture, while other times it might be car repairs.
It’s even enjoyable taking turns mowing each other’s front lawn, though we do limit the patterns of the mowing to reasonable and acceptable ones.
We’ve taken turns preparing meals to share, or gone together to reduce the load. I can’t remember a one of them that wasn’t delicious. Sometimes we go to a restaurant together and we’ve treated each other on occasion.
We’ve taken turns being driver and passenger on excursions together. Sometimes, we have a backseat driver, who usually is reminded — with respect, of course — that he or she fails to signal from time to time, too.
We’ve attended events together through the year, from recitals to sports events to concerts and beyond. Sometimes they are close to home; sometimes they require a drive (see taking turns being driver and passenger above).
Sharing lives is definitely a key part of the relationship.
We’ve shared special memories with our neighbors, particularly when they involved our children. We’ve watched the children grow and reach various milestones. Only parents, family and close friends know just how important it is when a little one can “go poddy” on their own.
We’ve had holiday get-togethers for years, from block parties to family events that we are invited to, because we’re considered family. We know we are.
There have been sad times, particularly when one family of the other has lost a loved one. Great neighbors give support when it’s needed.
But there have been good times. Many of them. There’s a comfort, a warmth, a secure feeling that comes from knowing you’re with those who want to be with you.
Rain or shine, cold or hot … makes no difference when you have family and friends … and great neighbors.