Tag Archives: retirement

Lots to do

Here we are, at the end of January. Fast month. So much going on. Meetings, activities, errands, appointments.

There were six storytelling days at Columbia, and even though February is a shorter month, there will be eight days at Columbia with seven books. February is Black History month so we use the Ruby Bridges books in our classes. I have a new one, written by Ruby Bridges, which I will be debuting with first and second graders.

Church activities were in full swing in January, with our annual meeting tomorrow (Sunday). I did the children’s story one Sunday and served coffee fellowship on the next. I will do those activities again in February, but due to Lent and Easter activities, I won’t be serving coffee fellowship in March and April. There is a need for children’s Sunday school teachers so I may be called in for that. I’m not real hung-ho to do that since I did it for decades at our previous church.

Preschool board meeting was on the same day as my eye doctor appointment, I got new lens in two pair of glasses, but not new frames. I have frames I really like and don’t want to give them up or have the expense of new ones. Frames are so expensive. I actually had new lens put in a frame that dates back to the early 2000s because I paid a small fortune for it, it still looks great, and I didn’t want my bill to run any higher. We are fortunate to have optical insurance but it pays very little of the total bill.

After the rains the temperatures are a bit warmer so Terry and I have both been getting some yard work done. I am also walking most days because I have to check on how I can drive out of our housing tract. The replacement of all the gas lines is continuing (it was started in September), and it appears there is a different crew coming in to reopen the utility boxes on each street and now replace some other equipment. It’s a huge operation. The boxes they are working in are all underground, and very deep. The workers use ladders to get in and out of the boxes. Streets are closed off for the day so I have to figure out which way to go when I pull out of the garage.

Because Terry and I are both going out of the house for more and more activities, we are using more clothes. That means more laundry. We change our clothes after every outing, and unless it’s an item to be dry-cleaned, it goes into the hamper. Of course, the dry cleaning has to be taken in and picked up every week, too.

One chore I seem to have cut back on is cooking. Last night we had hot dogs and French fries. An apple for dessert. It was quick and easy after a very busy week.

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Back to normal times, whatever that means

Did anyone else get tired of all the holiday tv commercials playing over and over just as all the election ads, which also played over and over, went away? It seemed that anytime I turned on the the, it was an endless loop of advertising that I was totally uninterested in watching. Terry got quick with the remote and muted many just as they started because they made me sigh, cringe, shake my head, etc.

Those are gone. I’m not even sure about what is being advertised right now, except some furniture ads that aren’t too annoying. I watch very little tv beyond the news shows. Terry records all of the weekly shows and specials that we like. It’s not very many, and then we fast forward through the advertising, if there is any. Television viewing, though, is not annoying me right now.

This is my second week, after winter break, back with the first and second graders. We are all settling into a groove, and it will be a long one. Twelve weeks of school before the spring break for our local school districts. That means 24 books will be read from January to April and 12 books will be shared after spring break up to the end of the school year. I’m sitting with my calendars, planning out the books for each grade and how one will teach a concept that will be picked up and used in a later storytelling session.

Like last week’s second grade book, Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun, will be remembered in today’s book, The Juice Box Bully, as some of the same characters return but with changed attitudes. This week’s first grade book, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon, set the tone for what we will witness next week in Chrysanthemum. My hope is that the students have taken the message from Molly Lou Melon to help Chrysanthemum deal with the mean girls in her class. And so it will go, week after week, as we build resiliency skills and learn how to live our life among annoying people. Just as I’ve built skills to ignore annoying television commercials.

What did the past year leave you yearning for?

Instead of resolutions, I received a list of questions to ponder and work into the new year.

This past year left me yearning to see our grandkids more than we did. They are busy, their parents are busy, we are unable to get away to see them like we did when they were tiny and we had an apartment in San Francisco.

We knew there would come a day when Grampa and Gramma would not be as much fun as when the kids were little. Their tastes would change, they would have varied interests, we would become boring. They still love to come to our house and hang out. They still like to go shopping for books and art supplies, and makeup and LEGO. Maybe shoes, but not like they did a few years ago.

I’ve asked our neighbor’s sister, who has worked with rescue animals, and seems to be quite the “cat whisperer,” if she would consider housesitting for us later in the year so we could travel to see the kids. Maybe even do a trip to the beach and get a house rental like we did years ago. I’m also going to ask the kids for suggestions for things they would like to do since they are developing their own ideas of what is fun.

The last weekend in November

It’s been a quiet few days around here. I’ve not left the house since Wednesday, but will go out for a brief period today–Saturday, and again tomorrow–Sunday. Monday will be back to full-tilt busyness. But for this last weekend in November…I will relish the stillness.

Our weather, though chilly in the mornings, has been quite nice in the afternoons, high 60s and even 71 on Thanksgiving Day. I raked leaves on Friday and hauled cypress detritus to the garbage container for pickup on Tuesday. I could do that task every day and make a small dent on the amount of needles that seven Italian cypress shed. However, there is not enough room in the garbage bin for that much heavy material.

Taken in by Internet advertising, I ordered some clothes from JJill on Saturday. I have one pair of pants from that store purchased years ago when I was visiting the kids in San Mateo. Fresno has its own JJill store, but I’ve never been in there. Instead, what do I do? order online, from the comfort of my couch, sans makeup and wearing scruffy clothes. And the entire order is made up of comfy, warm clothes. At 40% savings.

I have baked fruitcakes and am now in the aging process. The cakes, not me. Well, maybe if I pour the brandy in me, my aging will come along well, too?? When I posted a picture on Facebook of my fruitcake from a few years ago (you know, those memories that pop up?), I had a few people comment about it and found out there are a few others out there who like really good fruit cake. So, I have six small cakes, and this year I won’t have to eat them all myself! I have some local takers when the cakes are aged to perfection in a couple of weeks.

On Sunday I will go to church and just sit in the pews, join a table at lunch afterwards, and go home. No duties. Oh, I will probably go around greeting visitors and chatting with those who are so delightful or those whom I’ve not seen in awhile or those who just need a smile and a few words.

October wrap-up

It’s been a long month. There are STILL five days in October. I cannot remember such a long month in what seems like years. I’ve crammed a lot into the month, and there are still more days to do more cramming.

Today (Thursday) will be Day 2 of this week at Columbia. Thursdays are with second graders and we will be reading a new book, I Don’t Like Yolanda. There is so much in that book. Stamp collecting. Letter writing. Cooking. And the big lesson–making assumptions about people that turn out to be wrong. It goes along with last week’s book–Milo Imagines the World. We cannot know a person and their life just by looking at them. We must interact to learn more and make connections.

Friday is Vaccination Day. Terry and I have an appointment to get our FIFTH Covid vaccine. I don’t remember getting that many vaccinations for polio which was the other dread disease that our parents were frightened by. It appears that COVID vaccinations will be like flu vaccinations–every year. But, this will be our second Covid vaccination in one year. Our vaccine cards are full so I’m assuming we will be starting a new one. We got this year’s flu shot two weeks ago, and the only record of that is the one our doctor will keep.

Because I am giving the children’s sermon on Sunday I will be using Saturday to finalize my preparations. We will have a visiting missionary from Korea giving Sunday’s message so I’m tying the children’s story to being a missionary wherever you are. I have little bags of M&M candies to give each child as we finish. M&M for Mighty Missionary. There is a dining out event after church where a group of us will go to a local restaurant for lunch and conversation. It will be the first one since 2019 when, you know, the world changed.

Monday is Halloween but I’m not participating. We’ve had so few trick-o-treaters in the past that I’ve just given up with that event.

And then Tuesday will start a whole new month which appears to be dark and cold from the weather forecast. Rain is in the forecast, which we are all cheering for.

A Tuesday at home

Yesterday, Monday, was Ladies Who Lunch. We were a small group, just five of us who were in town and not ill or at the hairdresser’s. We met at a very new, upscale, popular Armenian bakery. Everyone is raving about the food here, and it is excellent. It is also very busy due to its rave reviews.

The building has been remodeled from a former a Parisiene bakery to this very modern, light, large room with a patio on the east side. Because the weather was near-perfect, we chose a table outside. Actually, we chose three! We moved twice due to sun and a too-small table and then a lovely couple asked us to take their table for our larger group. It was perfect.

As mentioned before, we have added a younger person who is three years away from retirement but wants to practice and who has a short day on Mondays so she can make it to our 11 o’clock meet-up time. She is a perfect addition. She fits right in with her good sense of humor and high energy. The energy factor got some discussion yesterday.

One of the group has just returned from a trip to New England and another woman is planning a trip to Iceland with a younger friend. Lots of talk about what was seen, what will be seen, places and hikes and transportation. Both women said they could not do these trips with some of their friends due to friends’ disabilities of aging. Both women, and our newer person, all exercise, walking as well as going to the gym. It’s definitely a lesson to those about to retire and those who have–keep moving if you want to keep moving.

All that said, Terry and I slept in until 7 this morning, and I’m planning to stay home today. I will stay busy, though, as the weather is a bit cooler–high 70s–and I plan to make bean soup. Wednesday and Thursday will be Columbia days with first and second graders.

Time with friends and God

It’s just short of 7 am and I’ve fed the cats, sorted the laundry and started the washer, re-made my to-do list because I had crossed off 90 percent of the old list, and I’ve dressed in my old jeans and worn t-shirt because I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE TODAY.

I turned in a stack of library books yesterday and brought home another stack, one being another Louise Penny, Inspector Gamache mystery. All I would really like to do today is sit and read my books, but there are tasks to be done.

Along with the household stuff, I am working on a lesson for the children’s sermon at church on Sunday. I’ve been responsible for two of these a month for awhile now. I’ll only have one in November and none in December. Advent season is coming, and there is a member who takes that on and fills each Sunday of the season with beautiful carols, candles and lessons. But for this coming Sunday, I have to make ready.

I’ve known my topic since the last lesson I did back in September on Noah. One of the children used the word jealous to answer a question on how Noah’s neighbors felt about his boat building. Interesting thought that stuck in my head, and I kept hearing God prompting me to go with that word for the next time.

I’ve made notes and read some and prayed A LOT about the difference between envy and jealousy. Sort of a, “OK God, if you want me to do this jealous thing, you’ve got to give me something to work with.” A text message came yesterday that gave me pause and maybe, just maybe, an opening for the lesson. See what you, dear Reader, think:

A good friend texted me that she will be starting a job on Wednesday, working as a teacher’s aide in a nearby school district. Our times to see each other will be limited to occasional Saturdays. Oh! I was very happy for her as she wanted to find a way to make a steady income and have good benefits and this job will allow that. I certainly don’t envy her the work as it will be hard and something she has never done before. I am, though, jealous of the TIME she will devote to that new job that she can no longer devote to me.

It occurred to me that when the Bible talks of God being a ‘jealous’ god, he too wants our time and attention, and this may be a jumping-off point for the children’s lesson. I have a few days more to ponder.

At the carwash

It had been awhile since my car was washed. Terry will sometimes take my car, especially if it needs a smog check as our favorite carwash company has an authorized station for that, but this year’s registration didn’t require the smog check, so my car didn’t get its usual mid-summer wash.

It has been so long since I had been into the carwash that changes had been made. I didn’t know the various levels of wash, and even though I originally chose the better out of the good, better, best selections of past visits, it turned out what I really wanted was best because I wanted a wax applied. I specifically requested “NO FRAGRANCE” for the interior.

I am old enough to remember when I got my car washed, at this same purveyor of clean cars, for $1.50. The company once had gas pumps so I always filled up when I got the wash. The pumps are no longer there. I have to get gas somewhere else. We won’t talk about those prices. The price of the carwash was enough to make my eyes “bug out.” $33.99. Due to previous visits, I had two $1 discount coupons, bringing the cost down to $31.99. Then, there was the $5 tip I left with the attendant who dried and polished everything.

So, the car, inside and outside is now clean. The dust has been washed away, the tree sap wiped from the windshield, the interior dusted and fingerprints removed. However, remember that request I made, up there in the second paragraph? No fragrance? As I got in to drive away, I nearly gagged. There was this awful fake cherry smell inside the car. I rolled down all the windows (something I never do while on the road) and turned the fan on high.

I was furious. As I stopped for all the other errands, each time I came back and opened the car, there was that noxious smell. This morning I went to the garage to load some items into the car and was hit by the smell. I opened all the windows and hope the garage air smell will waft in to displace the fakey cherry smell.

I have never had this happen in all the years I have frequented that carwash, which is well over 40. My request for no fragrance has always been honored. Times have changed.

How to exhaust a retired person

On Sunday and Monday we were up early due to morning obligations. On Monday I was out of the house at 8 am for a morning meeting. Then, I left the house at 3:30 pm for an afternoon meeting.

Getting home at 5:30, I still had to prep, fix, and eat dinner. This sounds too much like those working days.

I was in bed just past 8 pm and slept like a rock.

Two meetings in one day is the way to exhaust a retired person.

Find your tribe

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen this morning’s post with a picture of our latest Ladies Who Lunch gathering. Eight of us showed up on Monday. We have one contrarian who is having problems coming back to the group. She always has something “better” to do than to make the time and commitment to see us.

We always meet on a Monday, usually the second of the month, but now that post-pandemic schedules are clicking in and one of our recent attendees is still teaching, we are being flexible, but still on Mondays. I reached out, one more time, to the one who hasn’t rejoined us, and didn’t get a very good response. She has our next date, time, and place. I’m leaving it there.

We need our friends. We need a tribe. It has become even more evident after the pandemic when we rarely saw each other in person. Now that we are back, face to face, in person, we realize the joy we missed when unable to be in each other’s company. These women friends are hilarious. They are compassionate. Maybe it’s because we are all teachers, we are all older, two are widows, most are grandparents. We are women, hear us laugh. And cry. And complain (but very little, and it’s usually about our own inadequacies).

We reminisce and we look forward to what is next. One of the group came late because she was at a another restaurant celebrating her sister. She brought us the menu and we decided that had to be our next place to lunch. We are always looking for the small, the locally owned, the quirky. She also had to leave early because she had a time scheduled to glaze her latest pottery creations. We are planning to get to her next show.

I hope you all have that group of people who work for you. I actually have a few, from different places who do different things. I think it’s okay to belong to more than one tribe, but whatever you do, find your tribe. It will make a world of difference in how you view the world.

If you haven’t already seen the picture of yesterday’s group, here is the Instagram link.