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Cornell   Retiree Benefits: News & Perspectives
Your Experience & Planning Can Help Others!

We are pleased to introduce a new feature that we hope you will find informative and helpful. Paul Bursic, retired Benefits Director, and Gordon Barger, current Benefits Director, are partnering to provide you with articles and insights about benefit topics in retirement. In this first installment, Paul shares some thoughts about the decisions you made for retirement and how they might help others.

As a Retiree, you have a unique perspective on life. You have worked most of your life and are now financially able to support your lifestyle without full time work. Or maybe you have taken advantage of a business opportunity that you desired for many years. Whether you devote full time or part time energy to another job or to volunteer work, your life has probably changed since your time at Cornell. Many retirees I meet tell me about their lives in retirement, and the joy of controlling their own time and efforts,
How did you get to the level of financial security you have today? No doubt you rely on your retirement savings, perhaps a pension plan from work and a Social Security check. You paid into these programs for most if not all of your working life, so it is nice to have these financial building blocks finally paying off. 

You may not realize it, but you have a wealth of knowledge about successful financial planning! It may not feel like you have any great insights, but I bet that you are underestimating your capabilities here. You’ve learned that retirement planning happens over a long stretch of time. Think of all the years you contributed to the Social Security system without really thinking about it much. Now you can realize, if you did not fully appreciate it before, that putting aside a small amount of money every paycheck during your career really does add up over time. I’m certain you also have a new appreciation for what your expenses are in retirement compared to what they were before. Once you start to think about it, I’m sure you could come up with several other insights worth communicating to others. 

Think about what could happen if you put that knowledge to work for someone you care for, perhaps a child or grandchild, or a young working neighbor. At the right moment, a gem of wisdom from you could help that younger individual steer the best course for him or herself. You could help keep someone from making the wrong choice to spend income now without a plan for future savings and needs. You might stop a serious long-term mistake.

No one likes a scolding for current habits, so my advice is that you pick your moment carefully. Share your perspective, share your experience, and you could have a lasting impact. You’ve made some choices and they’ve worked for you – you are a great model for good behavior. Share what you know and watch what can happen!

Questions? Contact
Retiree Reflections
Retiree Reflections is dedicated to sharing retiree experiences within our community.
Retirement Dream Come True
By John C. Miner, retiree (2016)
Director of Administration,Dept. of Physics

It had been a long-time dream to make audio recordings of the two-dozen worship songs that I had written over the past 20 years, while serving as a worship leader in my church. But during my working years, my free time was limited and so was my energy level after working a full day and tending to household chores. Before retirement I managed to build a well-equipped recording studio in my basement and used it, initially, as my rehearsal space. Having collected multiple guitars, hand percussion and other instruments, along with microphones, amplifiers, monitors and too many cables to count, I was ready to jump into the digital recording world when I retired in April 2016. What I hadn’t counted on was the steep learning curve for me to become minimally functional with the recording software, GarageBand, that came with my new Mac.

After viewing numerous tutorials on YouTube, most of which were quite outdated, I finally got up the courage to start my first multi-track recording. It was tricky at first, but eventually I’ve gotten the hang of it. Now the hardest part is getting my playing and singing up to studio quality.

Fortunately, I have musical friends both here and afar who are willing to help me. One such person is my cousin’s son, Keith, in Minneapolis, who is a professional “sound guy.” Keith takes my digital tracks recorded here in my basement and, by sometimes adding more instruments and then mixing things together properly, he magically makes my songs sound quite nice. We have completed 4 songs, so far, and are working on a fifth. This is a retirement dream-come-true.
Campus Events & Activities
Free summer events
The Cornell Summer Event Series features free music, dance and theater at the Schwartz Center; public lectures; and Friday outdoor concerts on the Arts Quad, beginning with the Sim Redmond Band, June 29 at 7 p.m. The public is welcome.

Tuesday performances at the Schwartz Center start July 10 at 7:30 p.m. with fiddle-accordion duo Eloise & Co. The lecture series begins July 11 with Dava Sobel and “The Glass Universe,” at 7 p.m. in Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall.
The series is sponsored by the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions. See the complete schedule online .
Pawprint Photography Contest
If the weather during the first half of this year hasn’t inspired you to take great photos, now is the time to dust off your camera for the 36th annual photography contest.

Cornell staff, faculty, students, alumni and retirees  can email up to four photos  to the 2018 photography contest through Sept. 30 to Aggie Binger with the subject line: 2018 photo contest. Entries will be posted online after the deadline has passed.

The photo contest schedule:
  • Sept. 30, 11:59 p.m.: deadline for all photo submissions;
  • Oct. 19: winners for each category announced; voting begins for people’s choice among these winners. Deadline for voting: Oct. 28, 11:59 p.m.;
  • Nov. 2: people’s choice and judges’ choice winners announced;
  • Nov. 5-16: prizes available for pick-up or delivery
Summertime folk
Bound for Glory presents six Sunday night concert broadcasts on WVBR-FM this summer, beginning June 24 with Catskills singer-songwriters and storytellers Lisa DiSavino and A.J. Bodnar.

Admission is free and open to all ages, 8-11 p.m. Sunday nights in the Alternatives Library in Anabel Taylor Hall. Now in its 51st year, the free folk music series features performers playing three sets starting at 8:30 p.m., and concerts are always free.

Upcoming shows include The Twangtown Paramours, from Nashville, July 1; and regional duo The Vollmers (Brian Vollmer and Claire Byrne), July 15.
Caregiver Support & Education Network
Caregivers come together to share the challenges, joys and resources of caregiving as well as listen to occasional speakers presenting on topics of interest. Facilitators share strategies, tools, and resources for coping with stress, caregiver guilt, and burnout as well as information on local/national resources that may assist you. 

Feel free to bring your lunch to any of these meetings. For questions or for more information, contact Diane Bradac, or 607-255-1917.
Group support meetings are held on campus in Weill Hall,
Room 321 on Thursdays from 12:00-1:00pm on:
July 19, 2018
August 23, 2018
September 20, 2018
October 18, 2018
November 15, 2018
December 13, 2018
The World Bewitch’d: Visions of Witchcraft from the Cornell Collections
This exhibition explores the origins and spread of the belief in witchcraft across Europe and examines themes such as gendered stereotypes, belief in night flying, shapeshifting, demonic pacts, and the witch epidemics that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands. On view in the Carl A. Kroch Library, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Level 2B. Visit for more information and gallery hours.  
The original crystal ball from The Wizard of Oz will be on view in the Kroch Library rotunda, Level 2B, from April 30 until June 25.

Free and open to the public.  
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Funky Nests Challenge
Ever have a robin build a nest in your front door wreath? Birds make nests in the darnedest places! Go outside this spring and check out store signs, streetlights, balconies, traffic lights, gutters, downspouts, rooftops, stadium lights, light fixtures, grills, utility poles, potted plants and more! Snap photos of what you find and be sure to share your discoveries with us!

We are not looking for professional photographers. We’re just looking for interesting stories. We hope that people of all ages will participate, and we accept diverse types of entries like poems or videos, too.

Contest ends June 30, 2018. Visit the official website for entry form and more details!

Birds & Blossoms Walks in June
In collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell Botanic Gardens is offering free, guided walks to discover both the birds and wildflowers of spring. Walks will be held rain or shine and pre-registration is not required.
Bird Walks in the Arboretum–Fridays, 8:00 a.m.:
Meet by the Sculpture Garden, in the F.R. Newman Arboretum.
Wildflower Walks in Sapsucker Woods–Sundays, 1:00 p.m.: . 

Meet at the Cornell Lab Visitor Center.         
Cornell Cooperative Extension
Compost with Confidence
Saturday,June 23 2018
12:00 - 1:00 PM
Ithaca Community Gardens

This FREE compost class is taught by Master Composters on the 4th Saturday of the month May-August in area community gardens. Learn how to setup and manage compost. Each class covers composting basics, and includes a tour of the host garden. Attend one or all classes!

Questions? Contact Adam Michaelides, at or at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (607) 272-2292 ext. 124.

Community Energy Conversations
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
CCE-Tompkins Education Center

Learn how your family can lower your energy use, support the switch to renewable sources, and be more comfortable in your home in our FREE facilitated conversations, offered every 4th Wednesday from April through September. Bring your questions, ideas, and your electric bill! We'll suggest ways to cut your energy use, shrink your carbon footprint and we'll go over NYSEG's new rates that may help you shave more off your electric bill. A concurrent energy literacy session for youth is offered for those who tell us they would like to bring their children along.

Questions? Contact Aislyn Colgan at or (607) 272-2292.

Gardener's Plastic Pot Swap Recycling Event
Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, 2018
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
CCE-Tompkins Education Center

During our recycling event, you can leave your plastic nursery pots, trays and cell packs in the designated area off the CCE-Tompkins main parking lot on Willow Avenue. Take away as many pots as you can use, too! Plastic that is left after the event will be taken to a recycler for processing. This is a FREE opportunity for gardeners to recycle their plastic plant containers instead of throwing them away.  NOTE: ONLY POTS IN GOOD CONDITION WILL BE ACCEPTED! NO broken or torn plastic, and NO HANGING POTS. All pots dropped at CCE-Tompkins must be clean and stacked by size.

Be advised that you now can recycle plastic nursery pots and trays at the Tompkins County Solid Waste Depot.
Community News
Don't Replace, Repair!
Do you have a small appliance, piece of furniture, or other item that needs fixed? Do you want to learn more about restoring life back into a damaged item?Or do you have repair skills you would like to share with the community? Ithaca ReUse hosts the Fixers Collective every Saturday from 3:00 - 5:00 pm. It is an informal gathering where they have mended such things as printers, lamps, kitchen mixers - even a knit hat! Simply bring an item that can be carried in and out easily, and fix away!

For more information, visit their website.
Knit with Care
1 st  & 3rd Tuesday of each month
3:30 - 5:00pm
Cancer Resource Center (612 W State St., Ithaca)

Beginners AND experts welcome! Come knit or crochet with a bunch of passionate & fun loving crafters! Each week we will have knitting, food and a theme to work on. Knitting needles, yarn, pattern, & beginner’s booklet provided free.

RSVP:  Monica at  if you are coming (please specify if you would like a starter kit).

Contact  with any questions, concerns
&/or requests for specific needles, patterns, or yarn, etc.

Please join, like, invite and share our  Facebook event page , and help us spread the word! #KnitWithCare
Dollar Days at the YMCA
Feel like getting a good workout, but don't want to spend the money on a yearly membership? Or want to cool off in a pool on those hot, summer days? Stop on by the YMCA of Ithaca & Tompkins County on Thursdays, and you can do both!

Thursdays are Senior Dollar Days at the YMCA, and any active, older adult (60 years and older) that is a non-member can join for the day for just a dollar! You can use the equipment, swim in the pool or take a Wellness Workshop.

If you are 85 years or older, the YMCA offers a free membership to the facilities all year round!
The Writing Room: Creative Writing Classes and Workshops
"Writing through the Rough Spots : Writing can help create clarity about challenging situations.  Writing Through The Rough Spots is designed to provide a trusting, non-judgmental atmosphere for you to write in. Ellen Schmidt has 25 years of teaching experience, including numerous summer workshops at Star Island, NH.
Summer 2018 Writing Through The Rough Spots Classes
Session II:
Wed. 6:45-9 pm July 18-Aug.15
Thurs. 10am-12:15 pm July 19-Aug. 16

Each 5-Session Class: $150. Both sessions: $290
Registration for summer classes opens May 1
For more info and contact:
Farmer's Market Season in Full Swing
Farmers Markets Season Kick Off Farmers Market season is now in full swing. Between three locations, the Markets are open four to five days a week through October.

To see days and times the markets are open, visit the Market website .
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