I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

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Audrey Hitchcock Interview: Finds Her Passion Making Buffalo Mozzarella

Diana Landau | July 12, 2022
Episode #57 - Audrey Hitchcock This month Carl interviews architectural designer/ranch owner/cheesemaker Audrey Hitchcock. Audrey and her husband Craig Ramini did not hatch their Second Act plan until they were in their 40's. Audrey, who has a successful career designing high-end homes and restaurants, didn't set out to become a pioneer mozzarella di bufala maker in the U.S. Her path is a love story to her late husband, to her water buffalo, and to finding her life's purpose.
 
Audrey grew up in Massachusetts. Her parents divorced when she was 7 and the family went from middle class to food stamps. Both she and Carl acknowledged that when your parents divorce, it greatly affects your life. In high school she was very active, participating in sports, theater and Girl Scouts. "I wanted to grow up to be Jane Goodall, or live like the People in "Born Free" in Africa."
 
While earning her BA at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, she met her future husband, Craig Ramini. After years of studying in London, Audrey and Craig then decided to move to San Francisco. She worked as a designer and Craig had a high-tech career in Silicon Valley--which he hated. Craig decided to try something entirely new and took some time off to explore his core values. He wanted to work with animals, become an entrepreneur, and he loved food. This led him to learn from cheesemakers in Italy and Australia. The couple bought 5 water buffalo in 2009 and began making highly-desired Mozzarella di Bufalo, as one of the only dairies producing the product in the country.
 
Water buffalo are not like dairy cows. They are intelligent, loving and affectionate, much like dogs. Audrey and Craig named their animals after rock stars and singers, so the herd includes Grace Slick, Joan Jett, Annie Lennox, Pat Benatar--and today they have Taylor Swift and Beyonce on the ranch too. By 2013 Audrey and Craig were successfully raising a large herd and selling their hand-pulled mozzarella and ricotta to high-end restaurants and grocery stores. Tragically, Craig was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and he died in 2014.
 
Even though most people told Audrey she was crazy to keep going, she did--managing her design career and the ranch at the same time. She pressed on, building up the business which today includes 12-15 restaurant and winery customers, 10 grocery stores and 8 farmer's markets. Audrey expanded the occasional ranch tours to every weekend, drawing 65-85 people per tour. (Did we mention you get to pet the gentle, 1600 lb. water buffalo? Did we also mention the Bufalo di Mozzarella is really, really good!! And that their cheese is higher in protein yet half the cholesterol of cow's milk?) Audrey says, "Everyone experiences grief in a different way. The animals are my family."
 
Audrey's advice on starting Second Acts:
  • "Passion, love and purpose--it's why I work as hard as I do. Start with passion and love what you're doing. Find your purpose. This isn't about making lovely mozzarella and hanging out with the water buffalo. I also want to make a contribution to the world."
  • "Map out your (Second Act) business plan. Research every aspect of it. You'll have a better chance at smooth sailing if you plan ahead."
  • "Craig knew he was going to have to re-write the traditional dairy business model. Be fearless!"
 
• More about Audrey Hitchcock and Ramini Mozzarella: https://www.raminimozzarella.com/about/
• Sponsored by: Capital Advantage
• Sponsored by: How to Retire and Not Die
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” blog.
Tags:    blog   interview   Audrey Hitchcock   architectural designer   ranch owner   cheesemaker   water buffalo   Ramini Mozzarella   Mozzarella di Bufalo  

Bob Vogel Interview: Beloved College Professor Finds New Stage

Diana Landau | June 14, 2022

Episode 56 - Dr. Robert Vogel This week Carl has the pleasure of interviewing the one and only Dr. Bob Vogel who has moved on to a very unlikely second act. Dr. Vogel had an illustrious career as a top educator at Miami University in Ohio. (Carl took courses from Dr. Vogel in the 1970's.) After a successful, award-winning career of 40 years Bob retired. Professors usually then go into research and publishing but Bob wasn't interested in that. Instead, he embarked on an entirely new career in the entertainment industry.

 

Bob grew up in Long Island. After their wallpaper business went bankrupt, his family went from affluence to poverty. "The experience really shaped me," Bob says. After high school he was excited to enter college and reinvent himself again. "I am such a positive person, my family wondered if I was adopted," he laughs. In college he dreamt of going into entertainment but instead went on to graduate school, eventually obtaining his Phd and accepting a position at Miami of Ohio, teaching media and communications. "I love inspiring and encouraging young people!"


After decades in education, he was given a big send-off from students all over the country, the university established a scholarship in his name and then it was over.  Bob was not sure what he wanted to do. He made a demo CD and saw an ad for a pianist. "My wife literally had to push me out the door, my hands were shaking. I hadn't interviewed in 40 years!" But he tried out and got the job. Then a former student, Lenny Dave asked him to join his national comedy tour, adding Bob's music creating "Great Comedians and their Music". At age 80, Bob and Lenny still perform all over, delighting (mostly retired) audiences everywhere.
 

Dr. Bob Vogel's (Un)Retirement advice:
  • "Look at your 'incompletes.' Are there some things you didn't finish that you want to achieve now?"
  • "Life is like a smorgasbord. Try different things!"
  • "Push beyond your comfort zone. In retirement, you have the freedom to fail. Then you can start again."

P.S. from Carl: "Take a chance! If that doesn't work out, do something else. People will admire you for trying."
 

 

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” blog.
 
Tags:    blog   interview   Bob Vogel   Miami University   professor   comedian   entertainment  

Sam McDowell Interview: All-Star Player with Hall of Fame Second Act

Diana Landau | May 10, 2022

This week Carl interviews baseball legend "Sudden Sam" McDowell. After a record-setting career as a Major League pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sam embarked on a stellar second act as a sports psychologist and motivational speaker, creating addiction and recovery programs for players (and their families) in all sports. He had many ups and downs in his own baseball career, however. "My career was fueled by alcohol and addiction," he shares. Sam is also author of the book, "The Saga of Sudden Sam: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of Sam McDowell."
 
Growing up, Sam's family (including his 6 siblings) lived in Pittsburgh, PA. Sam's focus was sports. He played baseball, basketball, tennis and ran cross-country. (Fun Fact #1: His father was a football quarterback in the Rose Bowl.) At the young age of 17, the Cleveland Indians recognized his talent and he was recruited with a big signing bonus. By the time he was 18, he was already pitching in the major leagues. Sudden Sam became a star, a six-time All-Star and led the American League in strikeouts five times. By 1971, he injured his rotator cuff and his decline continued. "I didn't retire, I was kicked out," says Sam. The anxiety and depression that came from the pressure of being such a young superstar took a toll and his drinking continued.

 

After a short career in real estate and then in insurance, Sam hit rock bottom, losing his wife, family and mountains of debt from a failed business venture. The turning point came when he moved in with his mother. "I woke one morning at 3am and felt in my heart like something beat me." He made a call to a recovery center that morning. (Fun Fact #2: TV Show "Cheers" based their Sam Malone character on Sam.)
 
After learning in recovery that alcohol is a genetic disease, he says the lights went on. His own therapist encouraged him to become a sports psychologist and help other players with addiction and recovery. Sam attended Harvard's continuing education program in sports psychology and eventually was hired by the Texas Rangers to be their sports psychologist, a first in any sport. After a very successful second career in baseball, now at age 80, he continues to help players and former players in all sports through his programs. He has two World Series rings to show for it from the '90s. "The Toronto Blue Jays felt I was valuable in helping them win it all!"
 
Sam's Advice on (Un)Retirement Success:
  • Financial security: "It is extremely important. You must be honest and realistic with yourself. Be sure to consult a financial planner—you may live until you're 90!"
  • Cheering has stopped: "Yes, you had a successful career. Accept it. Now go on."
  • Second act: "Get a hobby, volunteer, play sports. Where does self-worth come from? Set out to accomplish a goal, then do it. This builds your self-esteem."
 
• More about Sudden Sam McDowellClick Here for more unretirement ideas
The Saga of Sudden Sam: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Sam McDowell
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
• Sponsored by Gary Sirak's How to Retire and Not Die
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
 
Tags:    blog   interview   major league   baseball   redemption   financial security  

Corky Logue Interview: Pawn Shop King Turns Into Pickleball Pied Piper

Diana Landau | April 11, 2022

 
Carl talks this month with Corky Logue of Rollingwood, Texas. Corky is a man of incredible energy and focus. As a serial entrepreneur, he has owned 40+ companies. "One of my biggest shortcomings is I'm a little too optimistic about things," he says. A big success came at the age of 47, when he went public with his chain of EZ Pawn stores, leaving the company a few years later with about $30 million in stock. A self-described workaholic, Corky is still as busy as ever at 74. "Everything I do is fun. If it's not fun, I'm not doing it!"
 
Corky's father was in the Navy, so his family moved some but most of the time they lived in the South Austin area, in a trailer park. Corky has a large family and six children of his own. He says he was a geeky teen, very involved in Explorer then Eagle Scouts. "It taught me leadership,"  he says. After high school his father urged him to join the Marines, but Corky wanted to attend the University of Texas and moved out on his own. He worked 2-3 jobs and put himself through college. Sometimes on the podcast, guests talk about their worst job and how the biggest problem was usually the boss. Corky tells Carl, "Since 1972 (when he was 24), I have never had a boss. I've been the boss!" 
 
He has owned drywall supply companies, bike stores, travel agencies, software companies and more. From the early 1970's to the mid-1890's he was running 12 companies simultaneously. He also became a pilot. "I like living at 100 miles an hour." Corky says he only needs about 3 hours of sleep each night. "I'm still as busy as I was when I was working. The big difference is back then I had few friends. Now, through tennis and pickleball, I have more friends than the previous 65 years!"
 
Corky has 2 courts in his backyard, where he schedules 45 people to play pickleball each week, 4 games a day. "When they're through, they come up for a beer. It's so much fun. I've met some great people." In his spare time, he spreads the message of Toastmasters as a 50-year member. "Absolutely, Toastmasters has made me a different person and I want to pay back what it gave me." Corky also spent some time as Mayor of Rollingwood. There's a pattern here with Corky—a high energy lifestyle, leading by example and having fun—all at the same time. "I used to be somebody, and now I'm nobody and I'm damn happy about it!"

Corky Logue's (Un)retirement Advice:
  • "Play pickleball! It's one of the few sports you can play 7 days a week. With pickleball, I've made the most friends, had the most fun and it keeps your body happy too. "
  • "I have a daily routine that I stick to, I'm still trying to learn to live at 55 miles an hour." (vs 100 mph)
  • "Being social helps you live longer. If that's the case, I'm going to live to 150."

• Sponsored by Capital Advantage

 

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.

 

Tags:    blog   interview   Corky Logue   pickleball   toastmasters   texas   EZ Pawn   serial entrepreneur  

Mike Murphy Interview: Political Hack turns Media Pundit

Diana Landau | March 08, 2022

This month Carl interviews the entirely engaging Mike Murphy, co-host of the political perspective podcast "Hacks on Tap" with David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs. On the show, the hosts, (and friends in real life), really pull back the curtain on what's happening on the political scene. Mike has had a very successful career as a top Republican strategist for more than 40 state and national races, including John McCain, Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and a particularly long-shot win—Arnold Schwarzenegger. After decades on the campaign trail, Mike has flourished in a new career as a media pundit, writer, producer and professional speaker. (Carl says he is "The Don Rickles of Politics" for pretty much stirring it up with both parties.)

 

Mike grew up in Detroit in a "classic, Irish Catholic family" that eventually moved to the suburbs. Always a political family, his grandfather was a lawyer elected as a local probate judge, his father was a labor lawyer and his mom was a trailblazer in local Democratic precincts. As a teen, Mike was deeply interested in politics and performance theater—two main themes throughout his careers. He says he wanted to focus on international policy and went to the Foreign Service School in Georgetown for college, even learning to speak Russian.
 
While in college, he was recruited to help a losing candidate craft radio ads. They worked, the candidate surprisingly won and Mike's phone started ringing while still a student! "I was always entrepreneurial," Mike adds. After graduation he went to work in campaign politics. "It was so much fun. They gave a lot of responsibility to idiots like me. I joined the circus and have been there ever since!"
 
His big break on a national scale came in 1987, working for Dole as a media consultant. He worked on Senate races but specialized in governor races. "I had a good run in the campaign business," he says. Carl asks him how he decided on his second act. "I liked film and TV, I like creative stuff, so I thought hopefully that eventually I'd have a fun run." He certainly has—as a co-host on a very popular national politics podcast, as well working as a writer and producer. You'll have to listen to the podcast to hear Mike's best guess on the 2024 elections. He's unabashedly an anti-Trump Republican, since an initial meeting with him in the early 1980's—back when Trump was a Democrat.

 

Mike also got married and now lives in L.A. where he is developing a TV mini-series called "the Drop" about 1980's Atlantic City, the mob, the gaming biz and Trump. On his professional speaking engagements he says, "Half of it is stand-up (comedy) for me. It's fun to have people laugh and to be entertaining." Seriously, Mike is one smart, funny guy.

 

Mike Murphy's (Un)retirement Advice:
  • "If you want to keep busy professionally, get outta the house!" Keep an office somewhere, too. Have somewhere to go, do stuff, volunteer—something!"
  • "Be smart about your money, so it can give you some financial freedom to develop your second act—Who knows? You might find out you are really good at it."
  • "If you are happy 3 out of 5 days while working, that's pretty good, (and realistic.) If you are 5 out of 5 on the happiness schedule, well that's fantastic!"
  • "I did used to be somebody. Maybe I'll be somebody again!"

 

• More about Mike Murphy
• Check out Mike Murphy and David Axelrod podcast Hacks on Tap
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.

 

Tags:    Blog   Interview   Mike Murphy   Political Campaign   Donald Trump   Detroit   Georgetown   Arnold Schwarzenegger  

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