Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WTF Wednesday: Is Bill Trolling Again?

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say, "What the f**k!"  Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

WTF???  I'm sure I am not the only one who thought this email from Bill Clinton is a little creepy.

Who does he think I am?  Monica Lewinski?  

I like Bill Clinton, even though I recognize that he made poor choices in his private life.  Everyone gets the opportunity to reset their moral compass.  Why not Bill Clinton?

I like Hillary too.  I may even have made a campaign contribution.  

WTF...didn't one person at campaign headquarters think twice about Bill sending email to women he doesn't know, saying he wanted to "meet for dinner."  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

WTF Wednesday: Nana Makes a Guess

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say, "What the f**k!"  Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

Last week the spouse and I took a break from our grueling life of retirement and headed to the coast.  It was the maiden voyage for our new trailer, Stanley.  

Here's Stanley enjoying the woods...

The great thing about a trailer is that you can leave it in camp and go explore.  Okay, we didn't do a lot of exploring but we did dig through the treasures at Aurora Architectural Salvage,

and watch for whales,  (we spotted two rolling in the surf just off shore), and visited breweries.  

We had lunch at Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon and that's where I found myself slapping my forehead and muttering "What the f#%k?"  

I had no trouble finding the restrooms.  There was a sign

with doors on either side....

What the f#%k?  Which one would you choose?  I made a wild guess and bolted into "barley."  Whew!  There were no urinals and there were little containers bolted inside the cubicles for sanitary disposal.  I think I made the right choice.  I still have no idea why females are barley and males are hops.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How Our New Baby Got His Name

Several weeks ago the spouse and I went to the RV show in Portland.  We just went to look, but several hours later we left as owners of a 26 foot Airstream Flying Cloud trailer.  We returned to Portland the following week with our truck to haul it home.

The trailer currently resides in the spouse's workshop.  We visit it,  and sometimes sit inside and chat while we admire all the gleaming surfaces.  Slowly we are transferring equipment from the old 5th wheel to the new trailer, and hopefully getting rid of all the miscellaneous junk that seems to accumulate when we travel.  Later this month we will take it on its maiden voyage.  I have several grant writing assignments that I have to complete before we can cut the tethers and hit the open road.

Originally we had planned to go to the Utah National Parks and the Grand Canyon.  Now the spouse says he doesn't want to tow the trailer over the mountains this late in the season, so we will be driving south along the Oregon coast.  

The Airstream draws a lot of attention.  Hauling it home from Portland people waved at us as they passed and at rest areas fellow travelers stopped to chat with the spouse as he meticulously checked all around the trailer at every stop.  Once we got it home it didn't spend much time in the open air.  The spouse had cleaned out space in his workshop and safely tucked it in under cover.

We hadn't been home long when the neighbor leaned over the fence and said, "Did I see a new trailer?"

The spouse proudly declared, "Yes, we bought an Airstream.  Want to see it?"

The neighbor didn't waste time hopping over the fence.  He was dazzled by the shiny aluminum, clean lines, and well-designed interior.

"Wow," he said, standing in the kitchen looking down the hall to the bedroom, "If I were a mouse living in a thermos, this is exactly what it would look like."

...and that's how our trailer got his name.  We call him Stanley, like the thermos!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Vashonista Celebration

Lavender Hill Farm

This is the fourth year that I have traveled to Vashon Island in October to spend a weekend with five intelligent, wise, and amusing women.  We first met through our blogs and then, with amazing trust and faith, we met in person at Lavender Hill Farm.  Six strangers brought together by the Internet and their love of writing.  Now we meet every year for several days of fun and laughter.   This year we were able to stay for five nights because finally all six of us are retired.  We are now old friends.  We call ourselves the Vashonistas.

Five nights and six days spent exploring the island, talking, laughing, and writing.  This year we decided we wanted to write together and Deb gracefully agreed to facilitate a writing circle.  

In our writing circle

On our last day of writing Deb read us the poem, "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver and gave us the last two lines as a writing prompt:

     Tell me, what is it you plan to do
     with your one wild and precious life?

This is what I wrote:

What do I plan to do with my one precious life?

F*@k if I know!

My friend Jocelyn lost her husband two weeks ago.  In April, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He retired July 1.  In August he was gone...the Universe reminding me that there isn't always a tomorrow.  The week after his memorial service the spouse and I went to the RV show in Portland, not to buy, but to look.  We came home with a new Airstream trailer.  Later this month we're headed to the Utah National Parks and to the Grand Canyon.  I'm not waiting for tomorrow.  The time to do what I want is now:  to spend more time with my grandchildren, to listen to my 88-year-old father's stories, to watch the sun set on the ocean.  There's no time for disagreeable people, no time to waste.  Life is good, and I want to bask in the light.

Read what my fellow Vashonistas wrote about this prompt on their blogs:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Life as a Lifeboat Museum Host

Port Orford Lifeboat Museum

We are starting our final week at the Port Orford Lifeboat Museum and have fallen into a routine, but one quite different from when we are home.  The spouse is fishing, or talking fishing, or fiddling with his fishing stuff every day.  He has finally cracked the code for catching surf perch and will show anyone who expresses any interest the pictures of his dead fish on his iPhone   We "work" four days a week, Thursday through Sunday.  I've been at the museum today for four hours and we've had four visitors...and made $3.00 in donations and $5.00 in dogtag sales.  I've caught up on email and Facebook since we don't have wifi at our campsite.  The "job" gives us plenty of time to feed our cyber addiction.

We took a road trip to California to see the redwoods on our time off.  They are beautiful, as is the scenery along the coastline, but the best part of the trip was staying one night in a hotel and taking a shower in a full sized shower.  I could actually raised my arms above my head to wash my hair without having to tuck in my elbows.  We're getting along fine in our 5th wheel trailer; it seems spacious after our motorhome, but I do miss having a bathroom I can turn around in.

Last weekend Indians gathered at the park where we are camped to bless the site and launch new cedar canoes.  They have a salmon feed every year at the park that was once a Native American campsite.  They drummed and chanted around a fire.  I was reminded again that I had stepped out of my routine. 

This volunteer assignment is like putting our life on hold.  All our regular chores and responsibilities are set aside.  We have no routine to follow.  We didn't forward our mail.  Most of our bills are paid automatically...and those that aren't will just have to wait until we get home.  We're in suspended animation.  We're forced to shop and eat in new places.  There is nothing familiar here.  On our trip to California we stopped at Taco Bell for lunch...I hate to admit that I felt at home.  For creatures of habit, this adventure is a challenge, one that we are enjoying but, nevertheless, a challenge.

As I paddled my kayak on the lake yesterday I was smiling.  I could hear the ocean waves breaking on the shore just over the dune.  I paddled along a patch of reeds close to shore and made eye contact with an egret.  He watched me as I silently floated by.  I am an intruder in this place, but the locals don't seem to mind my incursion into their territory.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WTF Wednesday: Sometimes Junk is Just Junk

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say, "What the f**k!"  Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

It's Thursday, but we don't have WiFi on Wednesday. so I'm late posting this...Get over it!

One thing the spouse and I like to do when we travel is visit the swap meets, junk stores, and antique barns all along our route.  Last week on our day off we went to Brookings, Oregon and found a lot of "antique" shops with lots of reproductions and made in China tourist crap.  We also found the Humane Society Thrift Shop and the Goodwill.  

The spouse said, "Did you notice that these thrift stores are well organized and smell nice?"  He was right.  They were probably the cleanest thrift stores I've been in.  However, we didn't find anything we couldn't live without.

We returned to Port Orford, our home away from home.  There's a thrift shop at the Senior Center and we stopped by to try our luck.

This was the most interesting item on the shelves...

What the f**k?  Who buys opened packages of panty liners at a thrift store?  There are some things that just shouldn't be recycled.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Lifeboat Museum Hosts

The spouse and I are spending a month on the southern Oregon coast at Port Orford.  We are working for Oregon State Parks as volunteer hosts at the Lifeboat Museum.  We work four days a week from 10:00 to 3:30.  It's not strenuous work; so far today we've had only six visitors.  It has, however, taken some adjustment to rejoin the working world.  I've forgotten what it's like to not have a choice about rolling out of bed in the morning...a few words of protest might have escaped my lips.  

On our days off we are exploring other parts of the coast.  On Wednesday we visited Cape Blanco Lighthouse and got to visit with the lighthouse volunteers.  It might be a fun place to volunteer in the future.On Monday we're going to drive down to Brookings and then visit the Redwoods.  

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

We are staying at Tseriadun State Park, a day park located steps from the beach.  Every day after work I walk the beach, which is known locally as Agate Beach.  I have accumulated a collection of agates, rocks, shells, and driftwood.  The seals swim in the surf at "our" beach, where we are often the only humans on the beach.  Yesterday afternoon we went to Battle Rock in Port Orford and watched the whales in the bay. 

Agate Beach at Tseriadun State Park

Agate Beach

Agate Beach, at the tide line you can see the purple sailor jellyfish that have washed ashore by the thousands.
Purple sailor jellyfish
Purple sailor jellyfish

There's no Costco, no McDonald's, not even a Dairy Queen, and just a small grocery store.  There is a nice public library with very friendly staff and I'm now the proud owner of a Port Orford library card!

I haven't watched news in two weeks...except when we had breakfast at Hooks with the other park hosts and the overhead TV had Fox News playing, but we all know that's not really news!  I do miss TV, but I am enjoying the change of pace here.

We got this job because I read about the opening on a blog  Once we got to Port Orford, I had the opportunity to meet the writer of another blog that I've been reading for several years.  The spouse and I met up with Rosario Williams and her husband for dinner last night at Redfish, a waterfront restaurant with great food and a terrific view.  Rosario's blog is Loving Real Food and you can visit it by clicking on the title.

Life is good.  I think we'll be doing more hosting in the future.  I'm glad we said "Yes" to adventure.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zzzzzzz

Zzzzzz...there must be something about this coastal air, lulling sounds of crashing surf, and absence of traffic noise that makes for a good night's sleep.  I've gone to bed early the past two nights and fallen instantly asleep.  Our campsite is located in a former RV park, right next to a freshwater lake and just over the dune from the ocean.  If the tsunami siren goes off, we'll be scrambling to get to high ground!  The state bought the RV park from the former owners and is working to reestablish the native habitat.  The RV sites (except for two host sites) have been removed.  Another volunteer couple should show up today and fill the other campsite.  There have been very few park visitors except for the deer...who seem to have no fear of humans.

I am writing from the host desk at the Lifeboat Museum.  There's Wi-Fi at the museum!!!  The lifeboat station sits on a hill above the town of Port Orford.  We're safe from tsunamis up here.  I can see the ocean glistening in the sun out the window, but it is a sharp drop off to the ocean below.  Apparently the town didn't want to give up prime real estate in the port when the decision was made to put a lifeboat station in Port Orford, so they gave the Coast Guard the hill on the westernmost tip of Port Orford Heads.  The lifeboats were launched on rescue missions from a cove 280 feet below the station on the hill and the sailors lugged cans of gas down 500 steps steps to reach the boathouse in Nellie's Cove.

The boathouse is gone now, but you can see what remains of the dock in the picture above.  Below is the view from the trail to Nellie's Cove looking over the breakwater.

This morning I walked the Tower  Trail that leads to the site of the observation tower that was used during World War II to watch for enemy ships, submarines, and aircraft.  The tower was dismantled in 1970 when the station was decommissioned, but the view is still spectacular.

I will sleep well again tonight after hiking the trails today and probably a walk on our beach at sunset.  Zzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Y is for Yes!

My friend Linda over at Thoughts from a Bag Lady in Waiting, says in her sidebar that in retirement her life is "an opportunity to say yes."  It's a great philosophy and one I've tried to emulate.  It is easy to stay within the confines of the familiar, the safe, but more of a challenge to venture into the unknown.  This week we started a volunteer assignment at the Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum as volunteer hosts for the Oregon State Parks.  Two weeks ago I read about the opening on a blog.  I emailed the State Parks host coordinator...and now I'm sitting at the host's desk at the Lifeboat Museum.  Out the window there is a stunning view of the ocean through the huge stand of Port Orford cedars because I said YES!  (Well, really we said "Why not?")

There were a lot of reasons why it wasn't a good time.  We'd just started painting the house and hadn't gotten the garden planted yet.  It seemed like it was too short notice to pack up and leave for a month.  But, we said, "Why not?"  We finished painting the house in record time and got new drip irrigation installed in the garden.  We harvested our first crop (radishes) and got tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers planted....then we packed up and left.  

The state parks provide us with a site to park our RV...we're the only campers in a little park with a short path to the beach.  Coastal deer roam through our yard.  Everywhere we look there are stunning views and very few people.  This afternoon (after work, and I never thought I would say THAT again) we're going to drive the coast looking for migrating whales.  The weather has been perfect.  I'm so glad we said YES!

Pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A to Z Challenge: X

I'm not the only one having trouble coming up with something for "X."  Sue Grafton, the author of the alphabet mystery series with a private investigator named Kinsey Milhone, broke tradition in naming her newest novel.  The earlier books in the series, starting with "A" is for Alibi , up to the most recent "W" is for Wasted, all started with a letter and "is for" followed by a word that starts with the same letter.  Then she got to "X" and had the same problem I'm having.  There just aren't any good "X" words.  The new book is "X"  ...that's it, just "X."  It will be released in August.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A to Z Challenge: W is for Working Vacation

The final letters of the A to Z Challenge are this week.  Why is it that as soon as I post a mediocre response to the day's letter I immediately think of numerous other topics starting with that letter that would be more interesting.  Yesterday's letter was "V" and I posted old vacation pictures of Venice because I couldn't think of a thing.  I could have used "vacation" and told you about our most recent plans for adventure.

This week we are leaving for a working vacation.  The spouse and I will be volunteer hosts at the Port Orford Lifeboat Museum.  I read about this opportunity on a blog I read, Wheeling It.  It is amazing the connections we make in the blogging community!  Now the spouse and I will be living at the southern Oregon coast for the month of May.  We get a free spot to park our RV in return for volunteering as hosts at the Lifeboat Museum for  five or six hours a day, four days a week.

We've spent the past week scurrying about to get ready to leave home for a month.  The garden is planted and new drip irrigation is installed.  It will be a jungle when we return, but we couldn't go a summer without a garden.  We've got new curtains in the fifth-wheel to replace the old roll-up blinds.  Our son will maintain the home front while we are gone.

We're looking forward to exploring the southern Oregon coast.  The spouse is excited to fish every day and I'm taking my kayak to try on the lake...I'm not brave enough to try the ocean!  There is Wi-Fi at the museum so I'm sure I will bore you with our adventures, not the least of which will be living in a small trailer for a month with the spouse!

Here's the fifth-wheel trailer we will call home for a month.  Nothing fancy, but it has all we need.

Thanks to Nina at Wheeling It for posting about this hosting opportunity.  I hope we cross paths one day in our travels...the first round is on us!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A to Z Challenge: V is for Venice

The real challenge of A to Z is the end of the alphabet and we are approaching the end with the letter "V"   I googled up a list of "V" words and found nothing that inspired me.  So, I' m taking the easy way out and sharing some photos from Venice.  Two years ago my daughter had to go to Italy for her job and I decided to tag along and share her hotel room.  Venice was by far my favorite place.  It really is magical.

I couldn't get over that Venice looks just like all the pictures from travel magazines.  It was like no other place i had ever been.

The vendors sell everything from beautiful fresh vegetables to trinkets.

Venice is unique.  I am very fortunate to have shared this experience with my daughter.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A to Z Challenge: U is for Untold

U is for Untold, Unwritten, Unmentionable.  

It's all the stories that never make it into the blog.  Once I year I meet up with five fellow bloggers who I "met" through our blogs.  We have become dear friends and although we only see each other once a year, we are in contact frequently through our blogs and social media.  When we first met it was surprising how well we all got along.  We knew so much about each other through the words we had written in our blogs. It was like we were old friends. 

Here's a picture of my blogging friends at our first meeting on Vashon Island in Washington.

But there was also a lot that I didn't know about them, and that they didn't know about me.  When we were together we talked about the things that we don't write about, the things that we don't publish in our blogs, the things that are unmentionable.  All of us self-edit on the very public forum of our blogs.  Sometimes I don't tell stories because they're not mine to tell and sometimes I don't write because of a perceived potential for backlash...I've lived too long in a small town and know how gossip travels.

Writing in the calm and quiet of my living room it is easy to forget that our blogs have the potential to reach thousands of people.  I am sometimes surprised when I am in town and an acquaintance comments to me about one of  my recent activities.  I forget that local people read my blog.  

I long ago realized that I would never face a congressional hearing for a cabinet level job, but that doesn't mean I want ALL my dirty little secrets posted for eternity on the internet!  ...and I won't post the secrets of my fellow Vashonistas.  Well, unless it's a REALLY good story!

What don't you write about in your blog?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A to Z Challenge: T is for Thankful

I'm a believer in counting my blessings.  Every year in November I participate with many other people on Facebook in posting a daily message of gratitude.  The first year I did it I found that focusing on what was right in my life made me a happier person.  Since then I've made a habit of noticing the abundance of goodness in my life. I'm grateful for blessings large and small.  

I allow myself to bask in enjoyment of new socks.  Who knew that new socks could be such a pleasure?  ...and I'm grateful.

Yesterday I drove to the Tri-Cities to visit a friend at the hospital.  On the drive I tuned the satellite radio to the Broadway channel and sang along to the show tunes....with NO commercials!  I'd be a fool to not appreciate this blessing.  Joyful music lifted my spirit and made the drive enjoyable.

Every day I am grateful to be retired and have the ability to choose how I spend my time.  The freedom of choice is a gift that I appreciate every day.

Life is good,  and I am Thankful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A to Z Challenge: S is for Satan

I was searching the abyss of memory for a topic for "S,"  and then Satan rose from the depths.  Here's my story about Satan.

Most people think of Oregon as a liberal state, but I live in Eastern Oregon.  It's the red part of the state.   It's sort of the bible belt of Oregon and very conservative.  

For 7 years I was the vice principal in our one high school town.  Early in the school year the Christian students organize an event called "See you at the pole."   Students gather before school at the flagpole and pray.  Because it is a student-led event that does not disrupt the educational activities of the school, the administration does not intervene.

One year several students decided to express their displeasure of this activity by wearing devil horns, tails, and carrying plastic pitchforks.  I started getting phone calls about 15 minutes into the school day.

"My daughter is upset because YOU are letting students dress up as the devil.  It is not appropriate to have the devil at school."

Now, you might wonder how many phone calls I got from secular parents about the hoard of students praying and singing Christian songs at the front entrance to the school.  The answer is one in Eastern Oregon is surprised when people break into spontaneous prayer, even at a public school.

I explained to the Christian parents that freedom of speech allows students to express their beliefs, political leanings, and points of view.  If we allow Christian students to wear a "Jesus Saves" T-shirt, then another student is free to wear red plastic devil horns as a form of protest as long as neither expression creates a "material disruption of the educational process." 

Another reason to be grateful for retirement...I no longer have to participate in these stupid debates!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 A to Z Challenge: R is for Republican

R is for Republican.  I'm married to one.  I'm not sure how that happened.  When we met in college he didn't look or act like a Republican.  We were both against the war (Vietnam) and I'm pretty sure that he voted for Jimmy Carter.  We served in the Peace Corps...Republicans don't do that!

I was raised a Democrat.  My family supported the civil rights movement and boycotted grapes.  JFK was our hero.  The spouse's parents supported Nixon.  I didn't know that when I married him.

Early in our married life we looked like every other hippie couple in the 1970's.  I thought we were liberal.  I think the spouse's Republican roots were dormant.  Once he hit his 60's he became more conservative.  It doesn't help that he listens to Republican propaganda on the radio...and actually believes that FOX News is a legitimate news source.

I'm not looking forward to the presidential election.  There will be many months of bickering, but at least the spouse won't be driving my car.  I'll have a Hillary bumper sticker and the spouse wouldn't want anyone to think he was a supporter!

2015 A to Z Challenge: Q is for qat, qi, cinq, qis

Words With Friends is a Scrabble-like game played on the internet.   On any given day I have four or five games going on.  I play with friends and a complete stranger named Chip.  I've been playing with Chip for several months and I know nothing about him, except he's never won a game he played with me.  I keep thinking that Chip will give up, but he keeps coming back for more.    In a game last week Chip was leading the entire game.  I thought he was finally going to win one.  Nope, I pulled off a win by 3 points.

I don't know why I continue playing the game.  I have anxiety every time I get a "Q."  I panic that I won't be able to play it and get stuck with a 10 pointer.  If I get a "U" and the "Q" hasn't been played, I'll hoard it just in case I get the "Q."  I usually wind up playing the favorite "Q" words:  qi, qat, and qis.  I have no idea what any of those words mean and I couldn't use any of them in a sentence, but they don't require a "U."  

I also panic when I have a "V" or a "C."  I really dislike those letters.  

These days my only stress is worrying about words.  It is good to be retired!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

2015 A to Z Challenge: P is for Port Orford

The city of Port Orford website  says that Port Orford is the oldest town on the Oregon coast and the most westerly in the 48 contiguous states.  The pictures show stunning ocean views.  Why am I writing about Port Orford you may ask?  The spouse and I are considering volunteering at Port Orford Heads State Park as Interpretive Hosts for the month of May.  The park will provide us with a camp site for our 5th wheel trailer and we would each volunteer 22-24 hours a week.   We've never been to Port Orford and this seems like a great opportunity to spend a month at the beautiful Oregon coast.  

Why are we hesitating?  We'd have to be there by May 1st.  We just started painting the house. (...and when I say "we" I mean the spouse and I, not some painting service.)  I was going to go to San Diego in May to see my Dad for his 88th birthday.  We still have a lot of work to do in the garden.  There are always a lot of reasons to say no.  That's just the fear of the unknown making itself heard.  I think we'll probably do this.  It will be an adventure.

Friday, April 17, 2015

2015 A to Z Challenge: O is for Oprah

I used to have a TV in my office at school.  Students were dismissed at 2:30 and the staff contractual day ended at 3:00.  I was usually in my office catching up on paperwork until at least 5:00.  I got in the habit of turning on the TV at 4:00 and listening to the Oprah show.  She kept me company.  My friend Shawn and I always wanted to attending a taping of her show in Chicago, but we were never able to get tickets, and then the show ended production.

Last September Oprah was in Seattle with the "Life You Want Weekend."  Shawn and I bought tickets and headed for Seattle.

Here's Oprah so pleased to see me...

...and here's the gift that Oprah gave me.  Well, me and the other 15,000 of her closest friends at the event in Seattle.

It's Oprah's Chai tea.  Oprah didn't miss an opportunity to hawk her merchandise.

It was a fun weekend but perhaps more for the company of my friend than anything we learned from the presenters.  I've crossed Oprah off my bucket list.

2015 A to Z Challenge: N is for the Nineteenth Amendment

N is for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  That's the amendment that prohibits any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex.  This amendment was ratified in 1920.  While we may have won the right to vote, women are still fighting for equal rights.  Women have yet to achieve pay equity, earning 78.3% of men's earnings.  Not a month goes by that I don't read about another challenge to reproductive freedom, a constant assault to whittle away a women's right to make her own decision about her health and body.  Women's rights are a topic I am passionate about.  I resent that women's options in employment, education, health, in just about anything can be limited by a paternalistic society that treats women as second class citizens.

Whew!  Glad I got that off my chest.  Rant over...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

2015 A to Z Challenge: M is for Morning

This afternoon I took my car in to the dealer for its 5,000 mile service.  In the waiting room I was thumbing through a "women's" magazine.  I realized that a lot of the content just doesn't apply to me now that I'm retired.  I don't need tips for getting along with my boss and I especially don't need fashion advice.  I gave up fashion when I stopped working.  Cotton knits and comfy shoes are my retirement fashion statement.  One of the best choices I made in retirement was to give up  makeup so I can skip the tips on creating the perfect smokey eye.  I love being able to rub my eyes and not have to worry about raccoon eyes!

One article in the magazine pointed out that mornings can be the most hectic part of the day and offered suggestions for a "morning makeover."  It was another article I didn't bother to read.  Since I retired my mornings are relaxing.  I go to bed when I feel like going to bed and I get up when I wake up.  I haven't used an alarm clock for years.  Some mornings I just relax in bed and think about getting up...because I don't have to if I don't want to. 

In retirement mornings are the start of another day of doing exactly what I want.  I am blessed!

Monday, April 13, 2015

2015 A to Z Challenge: L is for Loss

The theme of loss has played over and over in my head today.  Maybe I can stop perseverating on this topic if I write about it.  I visited a friend today at the hospital.  Her spouse was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He started chemotherapy several weeks ago, but after one treatment the assault to his system created other medical problems that were life threatening.  He is now struggling to recover from a ruptured spleen and the resulting infection and get well enough to start chemotherapy again.  They can't cure pancreatic cancer.  The best they can hope for is to delay the inevitable.  

What can you say to a friend whose entire life has been turned upside down?  The future that they had planned in retirement is lost.  Their goals are clearly focused: live long enough to see the birth of a first grandchild, walk a daughter down the aisle, leave the hospital.  

My heart aches for their present and future losses.  

2015 A to Z Challenge: K is for Kayak

Last year in the A to Z Challenge I wrote about the spouse and I taking a kayaking class through the Parks and Recreation Department.  We spent a beautiful early evening on the Columbia River learning a few basics about operating a kayak.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could keep up with the younger members of the class.

I'm the fourth from the left in the picture.

We never got around to buying kayaks last summer, although we did rent some one weekend when we had the grandchildren.  This year I am ready for kayak season.  I bought three kayaks last week for me and my two granddaughters.  The spouse is still looking for his perfect kayak because he wants a fishing kayak.  The grandchildren don't get here until June, but I'll be kayaking on the Columbia River this spring.  Watch for me.  I'll be the silver haired fox in the bright lime green kayak!

Friday, April 10, 2015

2015 A to Z Challenge: I is for Income Tax

I'm delaying filing my income tax until the last minute...we owe a tidy sum over and above what has already been paid.  I've always done our taxes myself...well, Turbo Tax and I.  Then last year I got a notification and a bill from the IRS for taxes due.  I had managed to mess up on our 2012 taxes.  I went to an accountant to help me sort it out.  This year I just took the file with all my receipts directly to the accountant.  Whatever it costs, it's the price I pay for peace of mind.  There is a part of me that is relieved to hand the task off to someone else, and a part of me that is irritated that the process has become so complex and high stakes that I can't do it myself.  But, tomorrow I will write the check and send it off and forget all about income taxes until next year.
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