Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Retirement as a Real Housewife

[I review the movies "Glorious 39," "The Brass Teapot," "Beware of Mr. Baker," and review a few good books.]

But first
Retirement as a Real Housewife

I was emptying the dishwasher for the seventh day in a row, something Hubby used to help with when I was working.  I realized that now that I am retired and Hubby is still toiling in the fields of employment, many more household tasks have fallen to me.  So as I stood by the dishwasher, a clean coffee cup in one hand and a grater in the other, a little thought bubble appeared over my head:  "After a 40 year career with only the usual few weeks off, even to have my children - Am I now a housewife?"

 And if so, am I a "Real Housewife?"

Though many of you may disapprove of such reality shows, I have the feeling most of you have heard of this franchise:  "The Real Housewives of Orange County" started it all, followed by "Atlanta," "New York," New Jersey,: "Beverly Hills," and "Miami."  There was even one in Vancouver, B.C. which I tried desperately to find, but it was not available in the U.S. and I found one in Sweden called "Swedish Hollywood Housewives," which featured one of Paul Anka's wives (saw some of it in Sweden).  If you crave a little more background, click here.

Anyway, again, as I let my mind wander while putting the dishes away, I wondered if my retirement would encourage my slipping into a meaningless life full of shopping, plastic surgery and flipping tables, just like the "Real Housewives." Would I be the star of my own life in  "The Retired Housewives of Snohomish County?" 

Do I fit the profile?

Let's see....

Blonde:  Yep (and it ain't easy). 
(Though not all of the Housewives are blonde, the exceedingly high proportion of those who are, makes that one of the important criteria.)

Speaking of proportions...

Advanced plastic surgery, especially lips and you-know-whats: Nope (not yet anyway).

Rich:  Nope, not likely either.

Skinny Bitch:  Not the skinny part, anyway.

Thrives on drama and attention:  I suppose. 
There were some exciting days at the library trying to explain to the same customer over and over why the drinking fountain didn't squirt the water higher or getting the homeless guy, who took a sponge bath every Monday night at closing, to come out so we could lock up. "Yoohoo, Mister."  Knock, knock, knock.  "We really want to go home." 
Or the "not all there woman" who thinks celebrities, including President Obama, are having sex on her bed and it's driving her even further around the bend eventually leading her to punch a library customer in the nose. 
Ah, libraries, dusty bastions of books and quiet.  NOT!

Revels in gossip:  I do revel in gossip about people I will never meet, such as celebrities, which I think is OK, but I don't approve of it when it comes to my friends.  But did you hear about...?  Just kidding.

Excessive Shopping:  Guilty as charged. 
With three closets full of clothes that I will probably never wear again, this is my Achilles Heel and puts me right there in the "Real Housewife" sphere,  but so far, since I have retired, I haven't been to the mall once.  Somehow my urge to shop is balanced by the horror I feel when I check the bank account and look at those platform sneakers I just had to have. 

Flips furniture over:  Though there were moments in the library when I wanted to flip the reference desk when a customer asked for his library card number for the 30th day in the row or when a customer rushes up to the desk, says she is in a big hurry and can I please look up the meaning of life on the computer really quick, but I managed to fight off the urge.  But good thing I retired when I did.

Is known to dress up little dogs in costumes:  Oops.


Tarquin as Scarlet O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind."

Tarquin as Melanie in "Gone with the Wind."

Tarquin as Baby Huey.

Tarquin as "Little Tiny Tim" in "A Christmas Carol."
Tarquin shows his Huskies pride as he prepares to attend a University of Washington football game.

But what sets me apart from a Real Housewife is, I don't just dress up the little dogs.
I dress up ALL of the dogs!

Here is Fred as an intellectual.
And Mildred as a Fashionista wearing a Beatles T-shirt, trendy red leather boots and a fetching Fascinator.

Despite my penchant for dressing up my dogs, not sure if I really fit the "Real Housewives" criteria.  However, Andy Cohen, Executive VP of Development and Talent at Bravo said in addition to being wealthy, the main things he looks for when casting a "Real Housewife" is being strong and having a point of view.  I think I qualify there. 
So no starring role in "The Retired Housewives of Snohomish County," but I am the star in my own life which consists of films, food, fashion and fun!

Speaking of which, here is Rosy the Reviewer's Week in Reviews:


An interesting British Film about a young woman who uncovers a plot by her father to avert plunging England into WWII by appeasing the Nazis.  Downton Abbey fans will recognized Hugh Bonneville and if you are a fan of British actors in general, they are practically all in this film!  A bit weak in places, but it definitely pulls you in.
Rosy the Reviewer says... Recommended for the acting and the ambience.

British Actress Juno Temple seems to be everywhere these days.  She was in "Glorious 39" (above) and stars in this indy dark comedy about a struggling couple who find a magic teapot that dispenses money every time they or anyone else feels pain.  Much pain ensues. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...Highly recommended, especially if you like movies like "Eating Raoul."
A profile of drummer Ginger Baker, who was most famously a member of the band Cream.  He's one angry guy. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...Highly recommended documentary, especially if you are a fan of Cream or "The Golden Age of Rock and Roll."
Haven't been out to eat much this last week.  I am still working on my plan to dine at every fine restaurant in Seattle from A-Z but, though I made it to F, they kept opening new restaurants that started with a letter from A-E, so now I am working my way through the neighborhoods instead. 
So in lieu of a restaurant review here is my recipe for the best chicken wings (and they are baked not fried so calorie friendly:
You can use split chicken wings or whole ones, it works both ways.  Use about 2 and a half pounds, and though the recipe calls for you to puncture the wings with a knife all over, not sure that's really necessary.  Guess that would help hold onto the sauce.  Cover a rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with foil, put a wire rack on top of that.  Place the wings on the wire rack, sprinkle with salt and put in a 425 degree pre-heated oven for 35 minutes, turning once.  Then broil them for 7 minutes on high, turning once. 
Then toss with your favorite sauce.  
 I do Buffalo wings by melting 2T butter and whisking in 1/2 c. buffalo sauce such as Frank's and 2T distilled white vinegar.  Toss the wings in the sauce along with 1/4c. blue cheese dip.  Yum!
The other sauce I like is the sweeter Thai sauce:  Mix 1/2 Thai sweet chili sauce with grated peel from one lime and 1t. fish sauce.  Toss with the wings and some French-fried onions.
For more sauces, this came from the January 2013 issue of Good Housekeeping and if you want to get that article?  The Library of course!
Nothing to report.  I look like hell.
I have three books to recommend this week:
Shoreh is an Iranian actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in "House of Sand and Fog, one of my favorite films.
Rosy the Reviewer says...It drags a bit but is recommended for her account of life in Iran under the Shah and his ouster by the Khomeini and how one becomes an actress in Iran.
This is similar to Richard Templar's "The Rules of Life," which I also liked.  And if you are a fan of Bucket Lists, you will probably like this. Jones and Templar are both Brits, so very British in his prose, such as giving yourself a Boxing Day once per month.  He uses Boxing Day as a metaphor for having one day per month where you do whatever you like, without planning, just going with what presents itself.  He adds a Now List Day, which is one day per month you work on your Bucket List, and a Goals List Day where you work on the top three things on your "Wish List" - those things you wish for that would make your life better.  He is very list oriented, but I liked his approach as I continue my quest for the meaning of life.  For more information, check out his website.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you are on a similar quest or just want to fix what's wrong with your life, give this one a look.

Here is the true-life account of the film "Heavenly Creatures," another favorite film. (Both Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey came to the forefront in this film.  Winslet has reached superstar status and Lynskey has been in "Two and a Half Men" for the last 10 years, but I am also seeing her more and more in recent films). 
Anyway, back to the book.  Two teen girls in New Zealand kill one of the girl's mothers as part of their elaborate scheme to not be separated and to live a beautiful and fantastical life together.  One of the girls grew up to be best-selling author, Anne Perry.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you like true crime, this is a good one.
More Fun:
Saw The Fixx at The Triple Door last Thursday.  A really great performance from a band that has been rocking since the 1980's.  And The Triple Door is a great venue for seeing bands.  Feels like a nightclub but big enough to feel you are seeing a concert. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...If The Fixx performs near you, go see them. You will enjoy it.
Well, that's my Week in Reviews. 
Now back to being a regular housewife.
But before I go, here's one more for the road.
Mildred as Joan Crawford!
Disclaimer:  This blog in no way disparages housewives, only "Real Housewives."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Retirement: First Week in Review and What I've Learned So Far

We all fantasize about having all of the time in the world, but if you ever really had all of the time in the world, would you know what to do with it?

If you are blessed with a passion and the talent to go with it, perhaps you really are just waiting to quit your crappy job so you can devote all of your time to your passion.  But for most of us, being given all of the time in the world can present us with new challenges, problems even, as we try to create structure, purpose and community, the supposed three requisites to a happy and successful retirement.

So I have set up a sort of schedule for myself in order to create requisite #1:


  • Get up when I feel like it, unless I have something pressing I need to do, which so far, I haven't had
  • Read the paper and assorted magazines to keep up with the films, food, fashion and fun I so adore (I may be retired but I'm not living in a bunker)
  • Look over recipes for menu ideas
  • Clean up the kitchen
  • Waddle upstairs with tea to watch "The View"
  • Check Facebook, email, bank account (start worrying about bank account)
  • Go to the gym
  • Errands (if I have any)
  • Return home
  • Shower
  • Read, blog, watch TV, special project
  • Happy Hour with hubby
  • Dinner
  • TV
  • Bed

During this first week, I have learned the following things:
1.  How long it takes a woman to finally give up on herself and let it all hang out
2.  What I was glad I missed while working
3.  Meditation is not easy
4.  The common plot thread that governs Lifetime movies
5.  I am very boring

So let's break these down in order

1. You might remember in an earlier blog, I asked the question, "When does a woman stop dyeing her hair, wearing make-up, etc. and turns into a little old lady?" 
Well, a few days ago during this first week of my retirement, hubby said me, "What's with your hair?" 
And my reply was, "What's with my hair is that this is what it looks like when I don't do anything with it as in getting ready for work. Who's going to see me except you?"

So here I am, answering my own question about when a woman gives up on herself. 


So that's how it starts.   First you don't care what you look like around hubby.  Then when you get used to that, you don't care what you look like at the gym, then you don't care when you are out shopping and, pretty soon, before you know it, you are wearing old lady shoes (AKA comfortable), polyester elastic waist trousers and all hell breaks loose.

Geez, I had better add personal grooming to my new daily schedule.

2.  While standing in the kitchen waiting for one of my delicious casseroles to cook and wondering how many calories it has in it, I looked up at the curtains over my sink.  We have been having day after day of sun, something unusual for the Pacific NW, so I was inclined to look upward more than usual.  I noticed something and called hubby into the kitchen. 

 "What is that up there on the curtain?" 
Hubby squinted and said, "Looks like dirt." 

After closer scrutiny, I realized it was not only dirt, but years and years of dirt and grime! 
Well, they have been up there for 8 years, I thought. 
I know what you are thinking, but, hey, when I was out of the house commuting and working 50+ hours per week, did I want to spend my leisure time spring cleaning?  Hell, no! 
Add to that the fact that it's usually gloomy and gray here in the Pacific NW and nobody notices dirty curtains, so those curtains had been languishing unnoticed. 
But when I found a half-eaten bone that had been under the couch so long it had petrified, that did it!

"HUBBEEEEEE!, " I screech!!!!  We need to take down all of the curtains and clean everything!"
Down came all of the curtains and I am happy to report that they are now washed and ironed and I am surveying the house for all other tasks that need to be addressed. 

Add another task to that old schedule I am compiling. 
The garage is next and I have declared Wednesday as "House Project Day!" 

Hubby is starting to rethink my being home all of the time.

All clean.

3.  Meditation - I thought I had sat quietly breathing and counting and watching clouds and letting thoughts come and go like little wisps of fairy dust in my mind at least 20 minutes this time.  Made it to 3.7.

4.  After years of watching Lifetime Movies, I have finally found the common plot thread: 
If you have followed any of my blogs in the past, you probably know I already have an unnatural attraction to Lifetime movies.  And the fact that I am even thinking about them is alarming, but I finally realized the thriller style movie - woman being stalked by a crazed, obsessed lover/husband/roommate/teacher/garbageman - always starts with a cold opening teaser, usually of the victim or bad guy running away from something. 
Then the screen will say "Six months later" or "Ten years earlier. 
The ending shows the crazed, obsessed lover/husband/roommate/teacher/garbageman caught or killed or put somewhere where we will never have to deal with this person again...and then the last scene shows a character looking straight on into the camera with a look that implies...
or will we? 

I bring this up only because I want to give you the full picture of the demons I must fight as I try to figure out the difference between leisure and goofing off.  I am having to restrain myself from TIVO-ing the next new movie with the intriguing title, "Deadly Spa."

5.  Dylan Thomas said, "Something is boring me; I think it is me." 

See "Structure" schedule outlined above.

So I have structured my time

Now I need to figure out the Community and Purpose parts of the three things I must have to be a successful retiree...I will tackle that later. 

In the meantime, since I bill myself as "Rosy the Reviewer, Thoughts on Films, Food, Fashion and Fun," I had better review something.

Here is the week in reviews:


Identity Thief - Terrible.

A Good Day to Die Hard - Hated it.

So those are my film reviews for this week.


Trying not to think about it.


Full-figured women can wear skinny jeans, just know you will look full-figured not skinny.

(and just so you know, I love to read, so books fall into the Fun category, since I couldn't think of an "F" word that would embody books - and I don't read much fiction):

Moving on to a higher note, here is a really fabulous book for you literary types.  And even if you don't consider yourself a literary type, this is a good read.

This was the fodder for what became "The Bell Jar."  In the early 1950's, Plath was chosen as one of 20 young college women to be guest editors at Mademoiselle magazine, back when Mademoiselle was as much a literary magazine as a fashion one. The title characterizes how she felt during her month in New York City.  This was a huge honor for her, but that summer led to her breakdown, famously documented in "The Bell Jar."  What is interesting here is the dichotomy that was Plath - she was as much into champagne and frilly frocks as she was villanelles and sonnets, something that is often overlooked because of her often dark writing and her suicide.

More Fun:

Attended two concerts this last weekend at the Chateau Ste. Michelle, a wonderful outdoor venue on the grounds of a winery.

Robert Plant

who was fantastic.  Never was a big Led Zeppelin fan, but he certainly played the Rock God role to the hilt.

Terri Nunn and Berlin were next.  (Remember "Take My Breath Away?") followed by Pat Benatar.  Loved Terri - she came down into the audience and mingled with us regular folk. The last time I saw her, I was on the aisle, so when she came down she stopped and put her hand on my cheek and looked deeply into my eyes.  One of those groupie moments I love so much!
Terri Nunn
And Pat was in great voice.
(Did you know she trained as an opera singer?)
Pat Benatar
I guess as long as I can still rock, there's hope.
And that my friends, is the long and the short of it for this week. 
I know, that was a cheap laugh.  Couldn't resist.

Adorable children and dogs in costumes work every time!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Retirement: Day 1

Since my last day at work was last Friday, I know that Monday is not really the first day of my retirement, but since the last couple of days were weekend days, I just pretended it was a normal weekend, such as our typical Sunday.  Slept in, went into Seattle for a long walk along Millionaire's Row on Capitol Hill, watched a movie...all the usual weekend stuff putting off the inevitable of...

What's next?

Millionaire's Row - Capitol Hill - Seattle

In retirement, with no real obligations except those you set yourself, time takes on a whole new meaning.

So here I am, alone with myself and my future, not knowing if today will be a typical day, a special day, a day filled with meaning...but here it is.

Day 1

9:00am  Got up, but had to make myself. 
I could have slept and slept.  I have never been a morning person, but this is ridiculous.  Am I going to go back to my teen and early twenties days when I could sleep until noon?  Must be this hot weather has a soporific effect on me. Anyway, I'm up.  Decided, OK, Monday and the first day of the rest of my life.  Better weigh myself.  You could have heard my howl all the way into the bowels of hell.  Geez.  Not good.

Padded downstairs for some sparkly water from my beloved, Sodastream, vowing to not put one carb in my mouth ever again (and, by the way, if you don't have a Sodastream and you like sparkling water, it's a revelation.) Read the paper, and yes, we are some of the few who still subscribe to a print version of the paper.  On days off, I usually spend an hour or so getting caught up with my magazines.  I love magazines, everything from" People" to "Self" to "Vanity Fair." Then cleaned up the kitchen and made some tea.

10:00am  Again, out of habit, took my tea upstairs to my office. 
Checked Facebook (where I overshare like mad), email, bank accounts, etc.  All part of my usual morning.  Then turned on the TV, put in the contacts, made the bed, put on those pants with an elastic waistband, which I know is a recipe for disaster, and watched "The View." Wouldn't you know.  A special episode about people who have transformed their lives through extreme weight loss! I absolutely cannot abide Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  She annoys the hell out of me, from her nasal voice to her interrupting all of the time to her smug views.  Can't wait until she is off the show.  Then my sister called to wish me well on my first day of "real" retirement, assuring me I will love every minute of it. 

11:00am  This is the "sweet spot" for me to go to the gym on my days off.
 If I am not out of the house sometime between 11am and noon, I just won't go. I am going, but first, I am going to add something new to my repertoire.  I have been reading about meditation and mindfulness and I want to add this to my life.  I really recommend "Wherever You Go there You Are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Very informative about mindfulness and very comforting as well.

So settled down in a chair in my office, set the timer, closed my eyes and started counting my breaths.  One -  breathe in, two -  breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, letting my thoughts float in and out like clouds passing through the sky like I am supposed to do, thoughts like "I wonder what time it is?"  "How many more minutes?" Time passes slowly in this state of calm.  Finally I just have to see how well I am doing and how many minutes have flown by as I get in touch with my inner self. It must be at least 30 minutes. I sneak a peek at the timer. Oh, geez.  TWO MINUTES.  Ok, this is going to take some practice.  Better head to the gym.

11:30am  Put the top down on the Mustang.  Crank up the Bob Seger. And head to the gym.


11:45amArrive at the gym. 
Wouldn't you know, right out in front, the "Measure Your Body Fat" clinic.  Nope.  I will save that for another day when I am really desperate for something to do.

2:00pm  Back from the gym.
Now what?  I realize this isn't like a regular day off from work. I may be retired, but Hubby isn't.  So he is in his office working.  On a usual day off we would be planning our afternoon - stairwalking in Seattle, a nice lunch or dinner somewhere, a movie...now it's just me.  Can I save the world in one afternoon?  Nah, I think I will watch TV.  No, I shouldn't do that.

I will go outside and read.  Am reading Amanda Knox's book "Waiting to be Heard." If you followed her case, there are some interesting new facts presented here, not to mention insight into the young woman herself.  I was already aware of the details of the case because she was from Seattle, so found the details of the trial a bit long. 

3:00pm OK, that's enough sun for one day.
And it's hot, hot, hot.  The only room with air-conditioning is the bedroom, so headed up there where the TV calls to me. 

It won't hurt if I watch just one thing.

4:30pm  Got totally sucked into "Celebrity Wife Swap" and the Anna Nicole movie.   I know, I know.  I'm a hard case. 

Too hot to cook, but thinking about dinner and cooking something, because I enjoy the act of cooking, but the refrigerator is already jam packed with leftovers from my cooking frenzy over the weekend.  Hubby gets upset when I make huge batches of food when it's just us, but I love to try new recipes.  I cook it, I try it, and then he has to eat it all!

5:00pm Well, I made it through my first day - well, to Happy Hour, anyway.  Hubby and I had a nice tete a tete on the deck with a refreshing adult beverage and shared our day.  Lots of talk about our upcoming concerts - Robert Plant, Pat Benetar, my idol, Gladys Knight - lots of schooling about music by the hubby as he plays a song on Pandora and says, "Recognize this?"  He loves to do that but it's all good.  He is also very supportive of my current road to discovering "Leisure Rosy."

7:00pm  Dinner over.  
Was happily ensconced in the air-conditioned bedroom watching a "48 Hours," when hubby arrived wanting me to watch a YouTube of Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, Bruce Hornsby and Shawn Colvin singing "The End of the Innocence."  It was awesome.
8:00pm Watched "The Bachelorette."  I know.  Three steps forward, two steps back.

10:00pm Followed by The Real Housewives of Orange County. 
(I didn't want you to see that part).

So as I get ready for bed, I reflect on my first day.
I can see this whole retirement thing is going to be harder than I thought. 

When you have worked your whole life and then spent your free time with your family, your other interests and ideas take a back seat. In your career, you are driven by that whole thing about feeling like you need to either be working on or producing something significant every single day. Then the kids move away, you retire and need to rediscover that non-working, non-care taking self. When you are producing something you can point at, then it seems like it's OK to waste time on reality TV and sitting around. That's the dilemma for me.  So it's all about finding that real self and creating structure, purpose and community in this new world.

Day 1 of reinvention over and not a lot of reinventing took place, but tomorrow is another day.  I've got the chess board out and a "no parking" sign on the chair in front of the TV.

Here are the questions "the experts" say you need to ask yourself to make retirement work:

What is extremely important to me?
What makes me happy?
What made me happy in my childhood and teens that I want to do again?
What made me happy in my career that I would like to do again or continue?
What talents or skills am I most proud of?
What special talent have I neglected while putting in long hours in my career?
How would I like to make the world a better place in my own way?
What sort of legacy would I like to leave?

You would think those would be easy questions to answer, but I am finding them difficult - difficult to translate into this new world of leisure.

But I will keep asking, just like I will keep working on meditation. Maybe tomorrow I can make it to 5 minutes!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Long Goodbye, Part 2

Four days to go until I join the ranks of the unemployed.

I have said my goodbyes and am now waiting out my time.  I know what a lame duck feels like. The phone doesn't ring, no future assignments, no problems to solve.

So my mind is switching gears, away from the details of my work and more toward the details of my new life.

What will change?  What will I miss? What will be lost?
First of all, what in hell am I going to do with all of those suits I have?  I guess that I may never wear them again, because when I dress up it’s not going to be a suit, I guarantee you.  It’s going to look more like this!

This was the fashion dichotomy I lived with during my entire career as a librarian.

Since I won’t be getting ready for work anymore, I guess I won’t be watching "Inside Edition" (I Tivo it), while putting on my make-up, a habit that has crept up on me.  Will I miss the exploits of the Kardashians or Amanda Bynes or those cute videos at the end where a baby laughs uncontrollably or a kitty curls up with a gorilla? 

And speaking of make-up…will I stop wearing make-up?  Will I stop caring what I look like?  When does that moment occur when a woman stops dying her hair or wearing makeup or shapewear or stops that continuing never-ending attempt to lose weight, and puts on the elastic band trousers and lets it all hang out?  When does “little-old-ladydom” set in?

Will I miss my paycheck?   Probably no more $200 opera tickets.   Am I destined for the nosebleed seats at concerts and shows, or heaven forbid, no more concerts or shows?
And shopping?  Will my shopping now consist of window shopping and my wardrobe get forever stuck in the year 2013? 

Travel?  Yikes.  Since most trips to Europe cost thousands of dollars, will we have the money for that again?  Don't even mention staying in a hostel.

And dinners out.  I have been working on eating at all of the fine restaurants in Seattle from A-Z.  I haven't gotten to Z yet!  Am I destined to eat forever at Mickey D's?

And what about purpose and meaning?  Working as a librarian, I have had the opportunity to impact people's lives.  I was able to contribute to the community.  I knew that what I was doing was important.
So working has afforded me a lifestyle I have become accustomed to, habits that are hard to break and a sense of worth, but I shouldn’t dwell on what will or could be lost.  I want to look forward to what I will gain.

I love my house.  We have a lovely piece of property that we have designed for our lifestyle.  While working, I didn’t get to spend much time there.  Now I can wander my property to my heart’s content or sit up in the aerie-like master bedroom and watch a movie every day if I like (and listen to my neighbor's power tools, which is a whole blog unto itself.  But I digress.)

I will gain quality time with the dogs and possibly turn them into good dogs.

This is a picture of a good dog.

This is a picture of a not-so-good dog.


I will gain closet space, as I pull out all of those suits to make room for other more fabulous clothes (that I may or may not be able to afford in future, but I am not going to dwell on that now).
No more getting up earlier than I like. Mornings will start late and leisurely and include meditation.  (The hubby has to put up a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs to keep those not-so-good dogs I was telling you about away from the bedroom door, whining for their morning treats.  He's a good hubby).  And please don't laugh about the meditation.  I am on a "journey" here, folks!

And I can get to the gym and take those zumba classes at 10am (and by the way, who are those people who can go to 10am zumba classes?  Why aren't they at work?).
Hubby and I will celebrate Fabulous Fridays and get dressed up and eat and drink cheap, but good food and wine at Happy Hour at those fine restaurants!  I am determined to get to "Z!"

And when we can't afford to dine out, I will cook up fabulous meals like my buffalo chicken wings or Asian turkey in lettuce cups.

Whether or not I have the money to travel or do other things, I will have the time. 

Time to read, time to visit children and grandchildren, time to volunteer, time to write this blog, time to figure out what the last 65 years have been all about.  Time to add even more meaning to my life.

And time is something money can't buy.

What will change when I turn out the light in my office, turn the key in the lock and walk away for the last time?  Only time will tell.



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Long Goodbye

Welcome to my blog!

I hope the newly retired, as well as those of you who have been retired for a while or are thinking of retirement will have some fun with me, as I explore this whole new world, while at the same time giving a “mature” perspective on films, fashion, food and whatever strikes my fancy.

Prior to this, and as part of my job, I wrote a library-oriented blog for my library. I was well-known for my satires and dogs in costumes (thank you Freddy, Mildred and Tarquin for putting up with that!).

Right now, I am in the throes of my last days at work – the long goodbye.

I am not very good at saying goodbye. I think I get that from my Mom, who was not very good at that either. She wasn’t one for showing emotion. When I would go home for a visit (I lived clear across the country from my Michigan upbringing), and it came time to leave, she would wave us off quickly, so we wouldn’t see her lips quivering as she held back tears. Now that I am a Mom with grown kids who live far away, I know how she felt and how hard it was to say goodbye, when she knew she wouldn’t see me for a long while.

Here at work, I felt I needed to give almost two months notice, so there have been many goodbyes, many “So what’s the first thing you want to do when you retire?” or “What are your plans?” type questions.  Not easy questions. How do I respond?

I could reply

"The first thing I’m going to do...

 is wear nothing but elastic waistbands and see what happens.”

“I’m going to watch a Real Housewives of Orange County Marathon and drink wine with my dog.”
(that's another whole blog right there)

Catalog my spice rack

Start a thimble collection


"I plan to...

Win an Academy Award

Write the Great American Novel

Become a star on the Food Network

Train for the Olympics

Seriously, though, who knows?

Isn’t that the point? Once we don’t have “work” to get in the way, we have the time to ponder those questions. What do I want to do with the rest of my life?

Here are some more realistic plans:

Take zumba classes
Join a book club
Learn to meditate
Read more
Volunteer at the local senior center
Have the freedom to visit my children and grandchildren without having to ask permission
Find meaning

But mostly I look forward to the freedom to just be.

I always used to say, when you get to a certain age, you shouldn’t have a landlord or a boss. Now I won’t have either and won’t have to ask anyone’s permission for anything.

But now, as I am still in the throws of my last days at work, I am experiencing the bittersweet highs and lows of... 

The Long Goodbye.

I am meeting with each staff member to say goodbye properly and to let each of them know how much I have enjoyed working with them. I had the privilege of working with a wonderful group of people and I will take away many happy memories of them.

 And they threw me a lovely English Tea Party, because they know how much I love all things British.  We all wore fascinators and drank out of lovely teacups.
Here I am sporting my fascinator.

And that makes the leaving all the more difficult. I can’t help but wonder how I will fill that space of daily interaction with good and fun people with something else.

Who knows…maybe I WILL sit and watch TV wearing those expandable trousers and have wine with my dog. At least for awhile anyway.

But that’s the point. It will be my choice.

So I am turning the long goodbye into a long hello… to freedom.

And for those of you who miss my old blog, this is for you.