Monday, November 26, 2007

The Wild Birds of Southern Oregon

Yesterday I rowed on Immigrant Lake. It was one of those perfect times when the water was like glass, the sky was brilliant blue, the sun was warming us in the crisp, cool weather, and the four of us were the only ones on the lake. Except for the birds! I have often said that one of the best things about rowing is the constant treat of the wild fowl who make their homes near water. We see osprey, herons, bald eagles, a wide variety of ducks and many more whose names I am not familiar with. One of my favorite sights is a mother duck and her flotilla of babies paddling across the water. As many birds as I get to see in the Ashland area, one must really go to Klamath Falls, Oregon to get the big picture! In the Klamath Basin one will find a wildlife refuge like nothing else anywhere. I joined friends a few years ago with a wildlife biologist who took us on a tour and identified the various species and provided such interesting information about the many birds who make their home there. I know many retired people who love "birding", and I think it is because it takes patience and time to really experience them, and guess what? Retired people get to take time to enjoy their interests! My friend Jerry photographs them, while my pal Rosemary draws and paints their image. Just one more way to enjoy retirement! And by the way, there is lots of information on the Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuge on our website

Cheers, Karen

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Leftovers Party

As I mentioned yesterday, I was going to a dinner party at my neighbors Paul and Carol. They invited friends to come share their leftover Thanksgiving dinner as well as leftover guests. So, as I expected, I chatted with many folks who are Ashland transplants. One couple came here from Washington DC to retire, and as many of us "retired" people do, they started a business. They created a B&B called Ann Hathaway's Cottage. They mentioned to me that our friend Vicki was their mentor in the venture. (see how generous Oregonians are?) Vicki and her husband Greg own The Iris Inn B&B, which is one of the oldest in Ashland. Both of the Bed and Breakfast's that I just mentioned are on our website I met others who had moved here from various parts of California and Washington as well as the East Coast of the US. All agreed that they were in love with Oregon and Ashland in particular. One young couple I talked with said they had heard such wonderful things about Portland, Oregon.
As I walked home last night, with my empty salad bowl, and the light of the full moon to show my way, I felt extra thankful for wonderful neighbors and new friends.


Friday, November 23, 2007


OK, I know that yesterday was Thanksgiving, but I was busy cooking turkey and didn't get to our blog. Thanksgiving is always a reminder to me of something that Marty and I talk about a great deal........being thankful, feeling gratitude. We realize there are so many things to be grateful for. Certainly for me family and friends are on the top of the list, along with being retired and living in Ashland, Oregon. but this acknowledgement of gratitude should not be reserved for just Thanksgiving. I think we benefit tremendously when we remind ourselves daily. So, I would encourage you to do a little exercise that I have enjoyed. Every day, write down one thing that you are grateful for. There is power in the written word, and I think you will be amazed how this simple act can lift your spirits.

Well, now I need to organize my turkey dinner leftovers. My neighbors Carol and Paul are hosting a "leftovers" dinner at their house this evening. Neighbors are bringing not only their leftover food, but their leftover house guests! It should be a fun evening, and you know I will be telling out of state folks all about and bragging (humbly of course) about my beautiful home state of Oregon.

In Gratitude,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Geezers and Excercise

No, this is not a lecture about "you must exercise!".........well, maybe a little. However, there have been enough studies done on the physical and mental value of exercise that is it something we all need to consider, and especially if you are retired. I say that, because when we have freedom over our daily schedule, it is so easy to put off, wait, and then totally dismiss the practice of exercise. Now, what I find is that one must discover the way or ways to exercise that agree with the individual. You have heard that Marty loves cycling, Mark is an avid golfer (he walks, no cart!) and I have my favorite too, and that is rowing. So here in Southern Oregon we all get to satisfy those "athletic" passions. One of the greatest days of my life is when I read that The Ashland Rowing Club was formed. Yes, here in little Ashland, Oregon, we have a rowing club! We row in Immigrant Lake, which is south of Ashland. We have around 150 members, we own shells of all sizes, now have a great boat barn and coaches! Many of our members race competitively and have done very well. Some have brought home gold medals on international races. Many prefer recreational rowing without the discipline and pressure of racing. One of the things I love about the Ashland Rowing Club is there are people of all ages, many retired and one woman who is 80 years young! She is such an inspiration to all of us. The men have a racing crew that they have labeled "The Geezers". All men over 60 years old. They too are role models! You can learn more about our rowing club at our website My real point in telling you about rowing is to remind you that your body and mind need exercise. Find what gives you pleasure and it will keep you off the couch and out of your doctors office and reading my blogs when you are in your 90's!
I would love to hear what kind of exercise you have found in retirement.

Time to go to the lake!

Off to

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bargain dining in Ashland

Retirees on a budget are frequently clipping coupons and looking for special offers in order to find affordable ways to experience Ashland's fine dining. One reason people from larger cities love to retire in Ashland is that they don't have to sacrifice this enjoyable aspect of life when they move to a small town. We believe that Ashland has at least 30 restaurants that rival any in San Francisco, Portland, or Seattle, with another 30 casual dining cafes, pubs and wine bars. Last night Mark and I took a bottle of our favorite wine to Omar's, where corkage is free on Monday and Tuesday evenings.
Check out their web site for directions, hours, and a sample of their menus. Additionally, they always feature an extensive list of daily specials with some of the finest fresh seafood and steaks around. Also on their web site you can sign up for their newsletter which included a $10 coupon last month. So we were very pleased to have a fantastic dining experience and not have to take out a second mortgage on our house!
For listings of many other of Ashland's great restaurants, visit our web site
Stay tuned for more tips from the Frugal Fork Wielder.

Monday, November 19, 2007

For the Love of Cinema in Ashland

Mark, Marty and I along with our friend Kathie went to the movies this weekend. Kathie is retired, and used to do some work in the film industry. She has a much more sophisticated way of looking at film that we do, so we especially love for her to join us. The conversation after is much more interesting. Actually, there are many people living in Southern Oregon who are actively working in movies. I could drop names, but one of the reasons they live here is to have some anonymity. They also love the environment of culture that they find in Ashland particularly, as well as the many out door pleasures. Clark Gable used to come to fish the Rogue River. He was one of my mothers favorites. And, I am not getting to the point of what I wanted to mention this morning. We are so fortunate to have The Ashland Independent Film Festival here each Spring. The next one is April 3-7, 2008. It is the seventh year for them and they are rapidly becoming one of the most notable in the United States. You can find more about them on our website Just look under Art, Music and Theatre. This is the kind of thing I can do now in my retirement. I can attend the festival and watch movies all day! Besides this wonderful event, we are blessed with two cinemas in Ashland, and I believe 10 screens in all! OK, now I am going to check the Ashland Daily Tidings for the weeks line up of movies! And just wait until I tell you about Mark's annual Oscar Party in February!
Cheers, Karen

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another yarn from Ashland, Oregon

Stitchin' and bitchin' - retirement provides time for both pursuits! Fortunately for my husband, I am not completely retired, so only have time for the former instead of the latter. (Mark might disagree with this analysis, but then he's not writing this blog!)
I was knitting at my friend Candace's house the other night, and was privileged to be allowed access to view her "stash". For those of you who are not familiar with this term, it refers to the yarn one has collected and theoretically intends to knit at some point in one's life. Suffice it to say, Candace has hired a building contractor to remodel part of her house to accommodate her yarn. No kidding! She loves to quote an acronym by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (The Knitting Harlot) in describing the magnitude of this: SABLE = Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. (BTW, I suspect quilters are guilty of this excessive behavior as well.)
As if purchasing yarn is not enough, Candace also buys wool right off the sheep and spins her own yarn! In honor of this special skill, she has composed a haiku:
"Lifetime stash supply.
Now I spin, and have made more.
I must never dye."
Stay tuned, and more secrets from my "charmingly eccentric" (Candace's words!) knitting friends will be revealed.
Knottily yours,

Friday, November 16, 2007

Retirement USA

Oh boy, it is Friday! Whenever I say that, my friends laugh at me and as though Friday has no significance to a retired person. And the truth is it still does. It was always a favorite feeling when I worked. I loved my job (I managed a social service program at Asante Health System) and enjoyed serving the patients and community that asked for our service. So really, at the end of Friday afternoon, I could celebrate the people I helped, ask for guidance for those whom I couldn't, and feel the joy of having time to myself. I try to maintain that "emotional schedule" in my life now, even though I am retired. For instance; Marty and I nearly always check our website each morning, to add more links or clear ones that may not be valid any longer. We blog, and then we email each other with an update on our website project. So, we have a "job"! Granted it is done in our jammies with a cup of coffee nearby, but it provides a certain discipline that we follow. Then comes Friday, and we have what we call "decktails". It all started when Mark and Marty built a house down the road from me. It has a large deck and we would gather there Friday after work along with other friends who may want to join us. We would potluck appetizers and wine and enjoy the beautiful hills of Ashland from the deck. By the way, those hills are amazing! It reminds me of Southern France (only it is Southern Oregon) and no matter what time of year it is, the hills will give us a light show that is breathtaking. We see fields of purple vetch in the spring, frosting of snow in the winter, and all the colors in between the seasons, plus an occasional rainbow. Yes, retirement is wonderful, but so are Friday nights in Ashland!

Cheers, Karen

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Knitting in Ashland, Oregon

A hobby which can become a passion for those who have extra time in retirement, is knitting. In Ashland, we are so fortunate to have The Web-sters yarn shop. Drool over their wares as you visualize adding to your stash at
In addition to being purveyors of the yummiest yarns around, they offer many classes in fascinating ways to use yarn that will challenge your skills and keep your mind active learning to create projects you never dreamed were possible. These classes come in all ability levels from basic kitting for those who have never picked up needles before, to exotic techniques involving mosaics, fair isle, European style knitting, and something my friend Candace is doing that involves wrapping the yarn around her back to help reduce the stress on her thumbs! I wish I had a camera the other night when I saw her with a cat on her lap, another on the back of the couch breathing down her neck, the yarn wrapped around behind her, and something she had strapped to her thigh to hold her pattern so she could follow it and keep her hands free for all of the above activities!
Tonight there is a free session at Web-sters where people (seems to be mostly women, so might be a great hobby for a single man to take up!) gather to work on their favorite projects and enjoy an evening of companionship. Karen and I are making afghans for Afghans. Check out this great site, and help out if you can.
Kay is making hats for the local shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. There are also several other groups that distribute warm hats, sweaters, scarves and mittens to local people in need, such as Uncle Food's Diner and the Northwest Seasonal Workers. You can check out other volunteer opportunities in Ashland on our web site
But that sounds like another topic for a blog, so I'll close for now.
Hope this leaves you in stitches!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Learning in Retirement

One of the most fun things for retirees in Ashland to keep their minds active is to take classes at SOLIR - Southern Oregon Learning in Retirement.
This program offers retirees a chance to teach a class in their favorite hobby, or literary or current events topic that they have researched and have some level of expertise in and enthusiasm for. Or for a paltry $100 per YEAR tuition, take all the classes you can fit into your busy retirement schedule! Popular courses are on anything Shakespearean, as Ashland is home to the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival It's always helpful to have studied the play before you see it live on stage at the Elizabethan theatre. Plus you get a chance to meet new friends that share your love of learning in a specific area, or just those who finally have time to enjoy exploring their world outside of career and family.
Ashland is also home to many other adult education programs which you can learn more about on our web site,
See you in class!

Retirement USA

This morning I am thinking about community service. This is one of the very best parts of retirement! One has time to volunteer! Marty and I are both eager volunteers, especially around feeding the hungry. Yesterday we had a shift together at Uncle Foods Diner, which is the local "soup kitchen". It is such a simple concept that is set up in the Methodist church kitchen, here in Ashland. We receive food donations from Southern Oregon University, the Growers Market, Market of Choice, and others who can give food. We chop, peel, clean, and get more inventive than you can imagine. The talented chef from one of our local resturants , Larks in the Ashland Springs Hotel, can make a meal out of anything! We feed 60 to 80 folks on Tuesday afternoon. I get so much out of helping on this project, and am so grateful that now I am retired I can do this sort of thing. Many retirees say that they don't want to have another schedule and are reticent about stepping into the volunteer world, but there are many ways to do it. Marty and I are a team in this particular effort, and if one of us is out of town, the other can fill in.

We believe that volunteering in our communities is so important, not only for those who receive, but also the ones giving (good for your mental health, my friends) that we have included volunteer opportunities on our website

I would love to hear from some of you who will share your volunteer stories with us.

Bye for now, Karen

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cycling in Ashland, Oregon

Many of my friends are avid cyclists, especially those fortunate enough to be retired with a little extra time to devote to the activity. Southern Oregon is a fantastic place to pursue my favorite sport, with a bike path that extends from Ashland to Medford, and then from Medford to Central Point. There are plans to complete this non-motorized vehicle route all the way to Grants Pass. You can check out Bear Creek Greenway at for details on the actual route as well as the proposed expansion. Another great site to browse is Siskiyou Velo, This is our local cycling club, and features information on the week's scheduled rides as well as upcoming events out of the area. Join the club, and receive a newsletter with interesting information on topics such as nutrition, cycling safety, and a bulletin board to buy and sell gear.
The granddaddy of touring is Cycle Oregon, The logistics of feeding, housing, and entertaining 2000 cyclists for a week as they pedal across our lovely state is quite something to behold! Cycle Oregon always finds the roads less travelled, and this is a chance for local communities to strut their stuff and showcase their local culinary and musical talents. You will discover scenic corners of Oregon you never knew existed, and fall in love with the charming small town spirit.
In the off season, like today which is raining, head for the and take a spin class or just do some cross training on their excellent equipment. They have an impressive staff of personal trainers if you need a little encouragement, and a unique salt water indoor pool which has very low chlorine content and is also more buoyant. Try a Tai Chi class to improve your balance, which is so important in cycling.
Keeping the rubber side down,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Retirement USA

I spent yesterday raking leaves and getting the garden ready for Winter. It was sunny, shirt sleeve weather. It has cooled off today and we are getting a little rain. Yes, an Oregonian that will admit to rain! However, I think the greatest misconception of Oregon is that it rains everywhere, all the time. Here in Southern Oregon, (Ashland is my home) we do get rain, but plenty of sunshine and snow in the Winter. People who come here to attend the Oregon Shakespearean Festival are amazed at our weather. Summer can bring high temperatures, but we Oregon gardeners love it as it ripens our tomatoes and other garden goodies! On the flip side, we have cold days in the Winter which welcomes the skiing season. We have a great skiing mountain, Mt. Ashland, which is a mere 20 minutes from town. It has some very demanding runs as well as good beginner and intermediate slopes. Many people enjoy cross country skiing as well on many of the surrounding hills of Southern Oregon. You can find more information about the Shakespeare festival I mentioned as well as Mt. Ashland on our website Retirement in Southern Oregon is great!

Bye for now, Karen

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Retirement USA

My daughter and I returned from our week holiday. We visited another beautiful state..Hawaii. Or, Kauai to be specific. I love that island and will continue to spend time there, but I do have to admit that I am always happy to return to Oregon. As I drove into Ashland from the Medford International Airport, I sent up a thank you for returning me safely and especially to this beautiful area of Southern Oregon. As you see I mentioned the airport, which is only 15 miles North of Ashland. It is such a bonus to living in Southern Oregon, as we who are retired tend to travel a bit, and getting to an International airport easily can be so important. You can check out our website and read more about the airport in Medford.

It is a sunny, bright morning and I am eager to get out in my garden and see what needs to be done for winter. Surely raking leaves, but in this Oregon air and sun, what could be better?

Until tomorrow, bye for now.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Greetings from Ashland, Oregon

Greetings from Ashland, Oregon where people LOVE to retire. That's why we have so much information on our website
If you've read Karen's previous posts, I'm her friend, Marty. My husband, Mark, and I have considered retiring in many different locations, but Ashland keeps calling us back.
First of all, we love the moderate climate with its distinct four seasons. Summers are nice and hot, sending us to the Rogue River to cool off in a raft or to enjoy standing around waving a stick with some fishing line on it! Cool mountain lakes are 1/2 hour away for camping and hiking. Then it's time for a glorious autumn, with a showy display of deciduous trees that must rival the Northeast. Winter here is a paradise for skiiers and riders, with Mt. Ashland 6 miles down the road, Mt. Shasta less than 2 hours, and Mt. Bachelor 3 hours away. Spring is intoxicating with fabulous flowering fruit trees and the call to get your hands back into the dirt and plant something edible or decorative.
Today's forecast is for 64 degrees and sunny, so I'm heading for Hyatt Lake to meet some friends for a bike ride. Check out their web site for pictures and more information on this lovely spot less than 1/2 hour from Ashland. They have two restaurants, one of which has nearly famous chili according to my friend Fran, so we will treat ourselves to some carbs after the ride.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Retirement USA

I am in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon today. My daughter lives here and loves it! We took her dogs to a local dog park , and I confirmed what I heard about Portland being a dog loving city. We chatted with folks if all ages, some retired, some young with small children as well as their dogs. All were having a great time on this beautiful, sunny (yes, I said sunny) fall morning. Many dog lovers have chosen Portland, Oregon as their retirement home, More about Portland on our website

Bye for now,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Retirement USA

This is the first real post to our new blog. My two business partners (and best friends) and I created a website a couple of years ago, with the intention of building a retirement directory. You could go to to see the results. You see, we love retirement, and we love Oregon. Oregon is where we live, have retired (well mostly) and we want to share Oregon with you. We will eventually add all the states. But for now, you will be reading lots of retirement stories, Oregon stories, and who knows what else. All three of us will be steaming up the computer keys in the mornings over our coffee (or tea in Marks case). More about us, Mark, Marty and myself, Karen in the days and weeks to come.

We would love to hear from you. Tell us your retirement stories, and your Oregon stories.

OK, now for me I am getting ready to take a little trip with my daughter (she has to take time off of work, but now that I am retired, I dont have to ask my boss!) so, I will sign off and check in with you later.

Cheers, Karen