Successful Retirement Guide
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    Here are excerpts from The Successful Retirement Guide. These excerpts change periodically and
    may from time to time include new material destined for future editions.



    Opportunities: intellectual, social

    All the world’s a stage!  Literally.

    And we are all players.  Perhaps you have performed on a theatrical stage; perhaps you haven’t; but
    we all on occasion have worked to make a personal impression; we have pretended to be or not to
    be … whatever; we have feigned interest or lack thereof;  we have imitated; we have impersonated;
    we have used gesticulations to back up our vocal communications.  In short: while our skill levels
    may vary, we are all experienced actors.

    Since you are so experienced, you might want to consider acting for personal development and
    satisfaction as well as socialization.  

    Where to begin?  Many communities have amateur theater groups.  Many of these offer workshops
    or classes. You could also check in with your local library or at a nearby college or university for
    classes.  You can also just jump right in: many amateur performances don’t require any particular
    skills and folks of all ages, sizes and appearances may be needed.

    If you are reluctant to “jump right in,” consider some of the ancillary roles that are needed in amateur
    theatre: set design and manufacturing, costuming, stage management, lighting, sound, marketing,
    ticket sales, ushering (get to see the plays for free).  You can be part of the production while watching
    and learning about whether you might like to try for an acting role.

    If you do decide to try acting, you may need to audition.  An excellent book on the subject is Joanna
    Merlin’s book (below) which provides good advice to actors and anyone else who wants to make an
    impression (and may have to deal with getting rejected).

    Even if you decide not to be an active actor, learning about the art of acting - about actions, objectives,
    obstacles, relationships, relaxed physical control, listening, reactions– can be very rewarding in its
    own right and assist you in your day-to-day relationships.

    Some resources:

    An Actor Prepares, and…
    Building A Character, and…
    Creating A Role
    Constantine Stanislavski, et al
    Theatre Arts Books; Reprint editions (September 2002)

    Acting Truths and Fictions
    Lawrence Parke
    Acting World Books, 1995

    Auditioning – An Actor-Friendly Guide
    Joanna Merlin
    Vintage Books, 2001   (lists of acting schools and other resources)


    Cheese making

    Opportunities: intellectual

    We all remember Little Miss Muffet who, while sitting on a tuffet, munched on curds and whey.  Did
    you ever wonder what a “tuffet” is?  And how about that “curds and whey” stuff?

    Well, a “tuffet” is a low seat, and curds and whey are products of the cheese making process.

    You can make your own curds and whey if you’d like to try them, but it might be more fun to go a bit
    further and make your own cheese.  Wouldn’t it be fun when someone compliments you on your
    cheese plate to be able to say: “Thanks!  I made it this past weekend.”

    It is interesting to try and imagine how cheese-making was discovered - the key ingredients are milk,
    and enzymes extracted from the fourth stomach of a calf.  (Yes, calves have four stomachs.)  However
    it was discovered, cheese making goes back at least as far as the ancient Greeks: Homer tells us
    how Odysseus and his men entered the home of Polyphemous the Cyclops and ate his cheese while
    he was out tending his sheep.  Polyphemous, quite miffed, responded by eating some of Odysseus’
    men.  Odysseus gave Polyphemous a sharp stick in the eye.  This angered Polyphemous’s dad –
    Poseidon – who condemned Odysseus and his men to a long sea voyage.  But back to cheese…

    You can make cheese in your own kitchen.  And you don’t need the fourth stomach of a calf to do it.  
    For simple cheese production, you’ll need milk, a curdling agent – either something acidic (like lemon
    juice) or an enzyme, a thermometer, stainless steel or glass pots and measuring cups, stainless
    steel spoons and cheesecloth.  If you wish to progress into more sophisticated cheeses, you might
    want to invest in molds (for shaping) and a press.

    Essentially, cheese is made by curdling milk.  The curds produce the cheese – soft or hard depending
    on processing.  The leftovers from the curdling process – water, milk sugar and albumen – are the
    whey.  Commercially, whey may be turned into protein additives for food products.  While Miss Muffet
    of  nursery rhyme fame ate her whey, it is not that appealing and you will probably choose to discard

    You will need to be attentive to temperature control and cleanliness throughout the process.

    To help you get started there are relatively inexpensive cheese making kits available (see below).

    Some resources:

    Home Cheese Making
    Ricki Carroll
    Storey Publishing, 2002

    And That’s How you Make Cheese
    Shane Sokol
    iUniverse, 2001    (books, equipment, kits and supplies)     (kits and supplies for cheese and more)   (how to make soft cheeses)



               Great doubt: great awakening.
               Little doubt: little awakening.
               No doubt: no awakening.
                                                          -- Zen koan

    Gives you something to think about doesn’t it?

    Brief background:  Zen is an evolved form of Buddhism.  Buddhism is a religion based on the
    teachings of Buddha, aka Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in India about 500 BC.   While there are
    various forms of Buddhism, in general Buddhists attempt to come to an understanding of true reality
    and achieve a state of liberation and enlightenment.  They do this by trying to live in a moral fashion
    (generally based on the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”),
    meditating and seeking wisdom.  It is possible for Buddhists to also be Christians, Jews or Muslims.

    Zen evolved from India through China, Japan, Korea and Viet Nam.  Zen seeks to achieve enlighten-
    ment about the nature of reality by meditating on koans like the one at the beginning of this section.  
    Koans are questions or statements made by Zen masters to help students of Zen step away from
    normal every-day life and come to an understanding of the reality that transcends that life.  Here is
    another koan:

    One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate, the Buddha called to him,
    "Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?" Manjusri replied, "I do not see
    myself as outside. Why enter?"

    And another…

    Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a
    university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

    Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.

    The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull.
    No more will go in!"

    "Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I
    show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

    Zen posits that we can’t understand true reality because we are too wrapped up in living our subjective
    reality.  By meditating on the koans we try to break away from our subjective reality by freeing ourselves
    from rational thinking and thus find the transcendent true reality.

    So, if you are focused on the question: “What’s it all about when you sort it out Alfie?” Zen is probably
    not you.  But if you aspire to enlightenment without any sorting, Zen may add value.

    Also see the section on Philosophy.

    Some resources:

    An Introduction to Zen Buddhism
    Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
    Grove/Atlantic, 1991

    Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
    Shunryu Suzuki
    Weatherhill, 1973   (general information and koans for reflection)

© 2008-2013 R.K. Price
Question Column
Life is what happens to you while you're
busy making other plans.
                                         - John Lennon
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