Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Retirement Journey - Six Months Later

“Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”  - Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go." 

Thanks, Dr. Seuss.  That's what I thought was going to happen when I retired. 

It has almost been exactly six months since I retired (I retired July 1, 2013), so I wanted to assess how it's going since I first wrote about it one week after retiring in my blog "Retirement: First Week in Review and What I've Learned So Far." 

Before I retired,  I did a bunch of research and learned I was supposed to have purpose, structure, and community to have a successful retirement, so I set about making that all happen. 

Here was my plan:
Every day I would jump out of bed eager to begin my new life of retirement.  I would structure my day by reading, meditating and going to the gym followed by other fabulous activities. 

I would take zumba classes, have regular hours volunteering at the senior center, teach the dogs new tricks, take horse-back riding lessons, cook, lose weight, visit my children, travel, play chess, play the piano, join a chorus, redecorate, take golf and tennis lessons, get involved in politics, and take classes.  I would do my makeup and hair and dress up nicely and get out there in the community and make a difference, just as I felt I had done while working.
Six months later, it's not quite working out that way. 

This is the reality:
7:00am                    Zzzzzz

8:00am                    Zzzzzz

9:00am                    Zzzzzz

9:30am (or somewhere in the vicinity)  I get out of bed

10:00am                  Drink tea and read the paper followed by "The View"

11:00am                  Work on blog and other computer stuff

Noon                        Have lunch

1:00pm                     Meditate (maybe), Go to gym (maybe), followed by
                                 errands (maybe)

3:00pm                     Get cleaned up (maybe)

4:00pm                     Happy Hour with Hubby (he works at home 7-4)

5:00pm                     Make dinner

6:00pm                     Eat dinner

7:00pm                     DVD or TV

And what about all of those activities I had listed?

Take Zumba classes? 
Yes, I bought the special shoes and everything, but didn't like having to get up early and my dance moves sucked

Volunteer at the Senior Center?  Nope

Teach the dogs new tricks?  Are you kidding?

Take horse-back riding lessons?  Nope.  I started to worry about falling off

Yes, but my experimenting has resulted in Hubby getting mad at me for making so much food.

Lose weight?  Nope

Visit my children?  Yes, but I've realized they have their own lives, so frequent visits and long stays from Mom aren't on the agenda

Hubby is not retired so we are restricted by time and money

Play chess?  Nope

Play the piano?  Nope

Join a chorus?  Nope

Redecorate?  Nope

Take golf and tennis lessons?  Nope

Get involved in politics?  Nope

Take classes?  Nope

Get dressed up everyday? 
Nope.  Some days I don't even get out of my pajamas

Get out in the community and make a difference?  Not yet

I am actually joking a bit here.  Well, half joking anyway.  I am doing it to make a point.

“When you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.”
- Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go."  

I retired a year earlier than my full retirement age, so my peers will most likely be retiring this year or later.  The point I want to make and the lesson I have learned these last six months is that retirement is not just an extension of what you have been doing for the past 40 years.  It's an opportunity for a new life - a do-over, if you will.

Yes, it's true, I haven't accomplished that much in terms of learning new skills or losing 20 pounds or running for Mayor  - yet - but the last six months have given me that time to reflect, time I didn't really have when I was problem solving other people's problems or putting out those pesky work fires and then trying to fit in all of my personal stuff like going to the gym, spending quality time with my family and friends and running the household. 

“You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”  
- Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go."  

Lest you think I am a total loser, I enjoy writing my blog and the blogging community, meditating, going to the movies and going on long walks with Hubby. 

I belong to a book group, and I have been appointed to the local Council on Aging, so I look forward to making a difference working with that group and advocating for seniors. So I feel there is community and purpose to all of that.

As for structure, here is actually what my daily routine looks like now:

Monday -   Write Tuesday and Friday blogs
                  Exercise at home

I started with Oprah's 21 Day Challenge and have since gotten into some of Deepak Chopra's other series of meditations and find them very healing and comforting.

Tuesday - Tweak and publish Tuesday blog
                 Go to the gym
                 Go to a movie
                (Senior discount on Tuesdays - catch my reviews in my Friday blog)

I have rediscovered my love of going to movies.  There is actually a sort of meditation involved with sitting in the darkened theatre, especially at matinees during the week, when I have the theatre practically to myself.

Wednesday - Special Project Day
                      Get some of those pesky projects that have been hanging over
                      my head done such as cleaning out kitchen cabinets, washing
                      curtains, etc.

Thursday -     Gym, Errands

Friday -          Fabulous Friday 

After tweaking and publishing my Friday blog and exercising, get dressed up so I don't look like the slob I look like the rest of the week.  Go out for Happy Hour with Hubby.

Saturday -       Sexy Saturday
I will let you figure that one out.

Sunday -           Day of rest 
"Let the day take me away." Anything that strikes my fancy

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. but mostly they're darked.
But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
- Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go." 

I met someone recently who had retired a year and a half ago and we were talking about what retirement felt like. 

She said, "It has taken me this long to realize that this is my life now." 

A simple statement, but I found it very profound. 

 "This IS my life now." 

And like starting one's own business, it is up to me for good or ill to make it successful.   

So now I have that list of things I want to pursue that I can add to my days at any time. 

Six months from now my routine might look very different.  My purpose changed.

But, you know what?  If it doesn't, I am not going to stress about it.  I am enjoying this time with myself.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”   - Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go." 

Thanks, Dr. Seuss! 

How is your retirement going?

See you Friday for my list of
Best TV Food Shows
and my
Week in Reviews.
Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.




Friday, January 3, 2014

Oscar Predictions and The Week in Reviews

[I review the movies "American Hustle," "Magic, Magic;" "Killing Season;" "World's End;" Jayne Mansfield's Car;" "Passion" and "Stranger Within" and recommend a novel]

Happy New Year, everyone!

I am back on track with my usual Friday reviews. 

But first, I want to weigh in on who I think will be nominated for Academy Awards, which will be announced on January 16th (the awards will be telecast on March 2nd).  The Golden Globes have already announced their nominations, and though Academy Award nominations often follow suit, not always, and I think there were some major omissions this year.  Plus the Golden Globes divide films into dramas and comedies, thus making many more nominations for Best Picture and Best Actor and Actress than the Academy Awards will.  And I have to add, these were my nominations before the Golden Globes were announced, I promise!

So here is what I think some of the nominations will be.

Best Actor                                                        Best Actress

Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)            Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Joaquin Phoenix (Her)                              Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
Christian Bale (American Hustle)               Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)                     Judi Dench (Philomena)
Matthew McConaughey                             Amy Adams (American Hustle)
(Dallas Buyers Club)         

Best Supporting Actor                                Best Supporting Actress

Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer's Club)                 Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)       Julia Roberts (August:Osage County)
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)                  Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

I am only going to put in three nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Actress, because in the famous words of Bill Murray on Saturday Night Live's Weekly Update, "Who really cares about this award anyway?" 

Best Picture                                             Best Director

12 Years a Slave                                        Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
American Hustle                                         Paul Greengrass  (Captain Phillips)
Captain Phillips                                           David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Gravity                                                      Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)

Winner Predictions (by me):

Best Actor:  Chiwetel Ejiofor, though I think Tom Hanks outdid himself in "Captain Phillips," especially the last 15 minutes of the film and Christian Bale was, well, Christian Bale, the chameleon.  This is the deep category this year.

Best Actress: Sandra Bullock should never have won for The Blind Side. She should win for "Gravity," EXCEPT here comes old Meryl Streep again and she gives an amazing performance, but of a very unpleasant character. The Academy doesn't usually like unpleasant characters. They could cancel each other out and Thompsom or Dench could get it. 

But I am voting for Streep.

Best Supporting Actor:  I am completely against first time actors and children winning Academy Awards, so that eliminated Abdi.  Though Leto was amazing (he's come a long way from his "My So-Called Life" days), I am banking on Fassbender to win.

He was just astonishing.  As I was watching him in "12 Years," I said out loud Academy Award.  He just let it all hang out.

Best Supporting Actress:  Again, I don't want Nyong'o to win.  She needs to do more work first, but is Julia Roberts' part really a supporting role?  If not, that isn't fair. 

I think Nyong'o will probably win.  The Academy tends to reward first timers in this category.  But Jennifer Lawrence stole the show in "American Hustle."

Best Picture:  I think"12 Years a Slave" is a shoe-in, but the sheer amount of work it took to make "Gravity" was amazing.  And "Captain Phillips" was riveting, and there weren't even any women in it.  I usually don't like films with all men.

Best Director:  If "12 Years a Slave" wins Best Picture it stands to reason that Steve McQueen should win for Best Director (and don't get him mixed up with that other Steve McQueen), but it doesn't always work that way. 

I vote for Alfonso Cuaron, because of what went into making "Gravity."

The only other category I am going to weigh in on now is Best Documentary - if 56 Up doesn't win Best Documentary, there is no god. 

This series has followed 14 British children every seven years from the age of seven in 1964 to present and, in addition to the incredible determination it took to follow these fourteen people every seven years, it's riveting viewing.

OK film lovers, what do you think?

***NEW ON DVD***

American Hustle

The con is on.  As they say in the film, everything is a con and everyone is conning everyone.  It's what we do in America.
Jennifer Lawrence steals the show, but this is really an acting extravaganza - Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, DeNiro.  Fresh script, great acting, humor...what more could you want? 

And a shout out to my friend, Barb, over at Living Richly in Retirement (a great blog, by the way), Jeremy Renner does you proud.  Don't you love his pompadour?  Hair seems to play a big role in this film.

Rosy the Reviewer says...run, don't walk to see this.  It will pick up many awards.  Loved it!


Some You Might Have Missed
(and some you should be glad you did).

I see the bad ones so you don't have t).

Magic Magic (2013)

A naïve American girl goes on a road trip in Chile with friends of friends that turns into a nightmare.

Rosy the Reviewer says...This is more of a nightmare for the viewer.  Love Juno Temple, but she needs to find some better vehicles for her talent.  Some of the things she has been in lately are wearing thin on me.

Two veterans of the Bosnian War -- one American, one Serbian -- form an unlikely friendship that turns deadly.  I didn't think I would like this one and John Travolta's accent got on my nerves at times.

Rosy the Reviewer says...this isn't "Captain Phillips," but it's a tense game of cat and mouse.  If you like movies about "human hunting," such as "The Most Dangerous Game, you will probably like this one.

World's End (2013)

Five friends attempt to relive their attempt to conquer "The Golden Mile," an epic pub crawl of 12 pubs culminating in The World's End pub which they had failed to do 20 years before.  In so doing, they, of course, encounter an alien invasion.  

It is the third and final film in Simon Pegg's the "Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy," following Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007).

Rosy the Reviewer says...If you liked "Shaun of the Dead" and/or British humor, you will enjoy this. I loved it.

Billy Bob Thornton wrote, directed and starred in this film of two disparate families coming together in the South of 1969 for a funeral.  

Jayne Mansfield was a blonde bombshell actress who was famously decapitated in a horrific car accident. Thornton uses that allusion as a centerpiece for this story reminiscent of Tennessee Williams - think "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."  I can't decide if Robert Duvall is good in this or not.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Thornton is a talented writer and actor, but this is no Slingblade.  But if you like Wes Anderson or movies about quirky Southern families, you might like this.

Passion (2012)

Think "All About Eve" in a business setting except with murder in mind. Remake of the movie Love Crime ("Crime d'amour" 2010) starring Kristin Scott Thomas, so I have to ask myself, why remake this film three years later?

 And what is really strange, the first one was French/English/Japanese and this one is French/English/German.  Albeit the first one had more subtitles but other than that, a literal remake.  De Palma is a big Hitchcock fan, so there is homage to "Psycho" and "Vertigo" and stylish cinematography and music a la Hitchcock.  I notice that he has reversed the hair colors of the stars from the original:  in the original the villain had dark hair and vice versa.  It's the little things, I guess.

Rosy the Reviewer says...What is happening to our great directors?  Spike struck out this year with "Oldboy" and this one does not live up to De Palma's best work.

After being attacked, an acclaimed actress and her psychiatrist husband retreat to a remote Mediterranean island where they meet a mysterious and troubled young woman who becomes a threat.  

William Baldwin's hair could have been a character all it's own.  Warren is a model-turned-actress and you can tell.  It was like a really, really bad Lifetime movie and that's giving Lifetime movies a bad name.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Rosy, repeat after me.  I will never, ever again put a movie in my Netflix queue based on the preview alone.  "I will never, ever again put a movie in my Netflix queue based on the preview alone."

***Book of the Week***

The Borgia Mistress by Sara Poole

Book three in the "Poisoner Mysteries" series, Francesca Giordana, Borgia court poisoner, is once again center stage, this time to avenge her mother's death and save Pope Alexander VI from his enemies.  

Francesca is a plucky heroine, but the writing is sometimes a bit stilted at times.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are a fan of historical fiction and mysteries, you should enjoy this.

That's it for this week. 

See you Tuesday where I will check in on my retirement, six months later!

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.

Check your local library first for books and DVDs.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Retired Librarian's New Year's Resolutions


I can't believe that 2014 is almost here.

So once again it's time to make those New Year's resolutions. 

As you have probably surmised, I like to include my dogs in costumes in my blogs, but I realize that is just a way to get a cheap laugh, so my first resolution is to stop using dogs in costumes as a cheap way of getting a laugh, and instead, I will work to be more serious about the topic at hand.


Every year I make New Year's resolutions, but I usually don't go back and review them.  I think that's a good idea. 

So, in 2013, did I do what I said I was going to do? 

Let's see...

2013 Resolution #1. Lose weight.


2013 Resolution #2. Exercise more.


2013 Resolution #3. Pay more attention to my husband.


2013 Resolution #4. Watch less TV.


2013 Resolution #5. Stop buying clothes (especially since you will be retiring and won't need so many)
Uh-uh...that's a no for "I can't believe how badly this is going."

2013 Resolution #6. Retire

I did do that.

Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.  But one out of six isn't so bad...
is it?
Most of us don't do so well keeping our New Year's resolutions.  Some statistics say we quit during January!
However, if you want to make some resolutions you can actually keep, why not try

The Library 

Pick at least three of the following and I promise you, your life will be changed for the better.

  • Download free e-books for your Kindle, Nook, IPad or other device from your library's website.

  • Take your child or grandchild to library story times.

  • If you don’t have a library card, get one. It’s free and is your ticket to so much: free DVDs, computer usage, and databases where you can find car repair information, genealogical research, newspapers and much more, all from the convenience of your own home. And you can't find this free on the Internet.  Libraries purchase this information for you.

  • Speaking of DVDs, why pay a service for them when you can check them out for free at the library?  They have the latest releases and you can place your requests online via the web page and check out a bunch at a time.

  • Never got around to learning how to use a computer? Many libraries provide free computer classes and learn how to use a mouse, find what you need on the Internet, use your email effectively, send attachments, copy and paste, all those things that have you stumped. And if you are a job hunter, we have a class highlighting job hunting resources on the Internet, as well as a laptop you can use in the library for as long as you need to.

  • Need help preparing your tax return?  Libraries partner with the AARP every year to help people fill out their tax returns. The service is free by appointment.

  •  New in town and want to meet your fellow residents? The Library is a community gathering place. 

  •  Is your little one just starting to read?  Libraries have books especially focused on new readers. And baby and family story times are designed to help your little one succeed in kindergarten.

  • Have a slow Internet connection or no Internet? Free computer usage is available at the library, and if you have a laptop, most libraries also provide free


This is just a taste of what awaits you at the library if you resolve to make your life better this year.
So get yourself to the library and start on those resolutions!

Now for those other pesky personal resolutions for 2014...


Let's try one more time...

1. Lose weight.
2. Exercise more
3. Pay more attention to my husband
4. Watch less TV
5. Stop buying clothes

But this year, I am going to take some tips from my friend Juhli over at Boomer Girl's Guide, a blog I highly recommend and add these:

6.  Keep learning
     I am working on my meditation practice and reading, reading, reading

7.  Focus on being happy in the present

      I am keeping a gratitude journal

8.  Give of yourself through volunteering

      I have been appointed to the local Council on Aging - my mother didn't have a
      good "end of life." I am passionate about people being able to end their days in
      their own homes or in the care of their loved ones

9.  Fill my days with meaningful activity

      All of the above and more

10. Laugh

      This is difficult sometimes when one is feeling down, but I do tend to have a
      wry take on things and can still find some humor in despair.

What are your New Year's Resolutions? 
(Besides getting yourself to the library, of course).

Best wishes for a happy and productive
New Year!

                                           Old habits die hard.

See you Friday for my Oscar Predictions
and the Week in Reviews.

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends