Retirement

So I went to the retirement party of a couple of the women that I had worked with for the past 23 years.  But first!  Breaking news!  IT IS HOT HERE.  California has finally caught up with the rest of the country.  Here’s some proof.

Bess doing her best to keep cool on the dog couch.

I’m doing my best too.  Getting out for a walk fairly early in the morning.  And then staying inside all the rest of the day.  Minimal cooking, and oh!  I tried a new recipe that I think will be a staple for the rest of the summer!  Thanks, Sharon, for pointing me towards The Yummy Life.  This is her version of Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal.  I made a couple versions this morning, and I couldn’t wait overnight.  It was just right for a cool afternoon snack.  I really really like that it was not too sweet.  Working on that sweet tooth of mine, you know.  Her pictures are prettier than mine–I like her use of mason jars.

Those little bubbly things?  Chia seeds–yay!!!  Plus I LOVE that it uses yogurt.  You know I’ve always got a steady supply of that stuff around here.

I’m also hoping to beat the heat by spending some serious time in the pool.  I finally ordered a top to wear with my swim shorts.  Hope Land’s End gets it here soon!

Back to the retirement party.  I was really excited about this party.  Not sure exactly why.  These women were good friends, and they were very interested in retiring when I did it last year, so we talked a lot about it at the time.  It has just been recently that I have actually started to feel “retired,” and I was excited for them, and wanted to tell them how great it was. I also knew it would be a good time to see more of my former colleagues at one time than when I have dropped into the unit for a visit.  What I didn’t count on was that there would be quite a few people there who had retired in the years prior to me.  That was very interesting to see all of them. One thing that was particularly interesting to me was that no one seemed particularly changed after retirement.  Oh, lots of people say, “you look great.” or  “You look so relaxed.”  That’s nice.  But I don’t really believe its true.  I think I have aged a LOT in the past year.  But that’s a topic for another post, one I definitely want to write about.  To me, the people that were unhappy and uptight at work still seemed unhappy and uptight several years after retiring. Just an observation.  Take from it what you will.

Well, its too hot to sit here and blog any more, so I will leave you with a short entry today.  Probably a relief, as it is probably too hot to sit and read blogs where you are as well!  Keep cool, and try that refrigerator oatmeal, either for a nice snack or for breakfast!

The Great Retirement Experiment

Ha!  I could make a new blog all about retirement!  Does anybody else do that–daydream about new blogs they could write.  When they can’t even keep up with the old one, yeah, that’s a good idea.  I’ve been enjoying reading real life books about life on a farm lately.  So I woke up thinking I could start a new blog–“Life in a Cabin.”  Oh.  I guess that’s what this blog is already about LOL.

So.  Back to the retirement topic.  I know you guys are madly curious about it.  No.  I’m not bored yet.  According to Debra SY, that could take anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 years.  I’m putting my money on the 4 years.

I decided to treat my quilting like a job, albeit a very enjoyable one.  I need to start by 9 or 10 am and work for 4 hours on my quilting. I love this arrangement.  Because in the past, I would putter around, mostly thinking about the housework I needed to do, fooling around to avoid the housework I needed to do, and not quilting because, well, there was housework I needed to do, and how could I enjoy the quilting when I felt guilty about the housework I needed to do.  This way, I have my morning routine–check emails and blogs, spend quite a bit of time reading, journaling, and praying, and then head out the door for the morning walk with Noah.  Exercise done for the day, if I choose not to do anything else.  Back home, I start in on the quilting.  I don’t have any pictures to show you because I decided to try working on a large project from start to finish (very unusual for me.)  And when I am done quilting for the day (believe it or not, 4 hours of quilting is very tiring,) I am actually getting more housework done at the end of the day than I did before.  I do believe the house will be presentable in about 10 years.

The thing I like most about retirement so far is the change in my attitude.  I am more relaxed.  I don’t have an undercurrent of anxiety about work running all the time.  When I think about doing something I am much more positive about the possibility of it happening.

I’m still daydreaming about that farm in Oregon.  There are so many things I like about it.  LOVE the house, the barn, the property.  Love that it is near my best friend.  I don’t love so much that it is far away from this community that I have here.  I’ve lived here for 25 years.  And being that I’m not the most outgoing person in the world, it took me a long time to develop that community.

Oh, here’s some big news!  Guess who’s going to have surgery on BOTH OF HER HANDS!!!  Yep.  Its not like the doctor talked me into it or anything.  It was more the stories about the old geezers who would come in and their nerves were completely gone.  They just kept working with the carpal tunnel until their hands didn’t work any more.  I don’t want that to happen to me.  I’ve had this for 10 years.  It got much better for a long time.  But lately its been driving me nuts.  So I guess that’s my first big retirement project.  One at a time.  Each one takes about 6 weeks to recuperate from.  And he explained to me, when the nerve is fairly damaged, it can take a LOT longer for that to regenerate (nerves heal at about 1mm per day.)

Anxiety.  Changing the subject rapidly.  I don’t think I referred to myself as anxious for the first 50 years of my life.  I WASN’T anxious.  Because I ATE, and that kept me calm and cool and collected.  From the time I was very young, I was kind of proud that I never got nervous or anxious or upset about anything.  Ha.  Then last year I read that book that made me look at what the cause of my overeating was.  And I could see the things/people that made me anxious and how my overeating was a direct response to that.  But now, even though I recognize that anxiety, I still have the automatic response of wanting to eat.  The other day I was heading down the hill.  I had to drop off my dad’s trust to have an attorney look it over.  I was bringing a salad dinner to share with some other women at our Spiritual Formation Salon. I had been thinking, gee, I’m not hungry at all.  I guess I’ll just skip dinner.  The MINUTE I walked out of that office after dropping the trust off, I thought, ‘Man, I am ravenous.  Where did that come from?‘  Yeah.  There’s really no reason for me to be anxious about that trust, but it does make me extremely anxious.  Fortunately, this time I recognized the anxiety, and decided not to eat because of it.  I did have a small salad about an hour later, which was just right.  Dr. Kessler (The End of Overeating) says that neuropathways are formed in our brain when we comfort ourselves with food.  And I’m thinking that if those neuropathways are as slow to change as the nerves in my hand, well, its gonna be a long time until the old ones are gone, and new healthy neuropathways are formed.

I’ve gone to the pool two times now.  I was able to swim for 30 minutes straight the second time.  I think it might be the summer of the pool for me.  I get excited thinking about going.  And tomorrow I am signed up for a TRX training class.  I have belonged to the gym for over two years, and this will be the first class I have taken!  I’ve been wanting to try TRX for a while now.

Finally, a successful batch of granola!  Used Shelley’s recipe, and watched very carefully.  I usually burn it and have to throw the whole batch out.  I wonder if you cooked it longer at a much lower temperature if you would be able to crisp it up without the possibility of burning it?  Anyway, quite delish.  I added some date nubbies (don’t know what these are called–ground dates that are rolled in oat flour so they don’t stick to everything,) raisins, and for the nuts, I used pecans, sunflower seeds, and pepitas.  I also added a tiny bit of uncrystallized candied ginger, chopped up fine.  Quite yummy.  Thanks Shelley!

Granola over homemade yogurt, with a few dried cranberries added.

I don’t have much more to say for myself.  My official retirement party will be this Thursday.  I’m looking forward to seeing everybody.  And two weeks from today I will leave for my week in Coupeville, working with  quilt artist Marianne Burr.  Hands, you just gotta hold out for a few more weeks!

So Now What?

Today was just an ordinary day.  Just like any other day.  Only except…something…something seems a little different.  Oh yeah!  No more getting up at 4am!  No more hour and a half commute!  No more coming home at 9pm, so tired and depressed I can hardly stand myself.  Hey–NO MORE BREAKROOM!!!

Yesterday was really a very ordinary day of work.  Unexpected babies being born and needing transport.  Fun over, get back to work and do what you know to do.  Potluck was nice, with too many desserts and not enough protein.  I was really crashing by about 5 pm.  I came home and actually ate dinner, which is something I NEVER do after work.

Today I made some appointments, did a little housework, and took all three dogs for a walk.  Because it was freaking cold here.  Came home and worked on my rug.  And after a while I thought I should be doing something fun and exciting in retirement, so I took off for the thrift store!  I only got 3 dishes–total cost:  70 cents!  Now that’s the kind of ‘retail therapy’ I can afford!

You all said you wanted to see the progress on my hooked rug, so here’s a few pictures of what’s going on there.

The sheep’s wool in between the swirls is called antigodlin technique, which just means you hook the loops any which way instead of trying to make them line up.

 

The leaves and fruit and most of the branches filled in.  I am liking the way this is looking.

For lunch I tried a new recipe from the Precision Nutrition website.  Its called a Peaches and Cream Omelette.  Its an egg and egg white omelette made with a little cinnamon and splenda in it.  Filling is some cottage cheese and peaches (I used mangos.)  And it is topped with a little yogurt.  I know, it seems a little ‘out there.’  But after watching all these food network shows, I am more open than ever to unusual food combos.  For me (basically not an egg-lover) it was too eggy tasting.  I much prefer my clafouti, which is almost the same combination of ingredients, only the cottage cheese is baked in, and the clafouti has just a bit of grain (1/6 cup oatmeal) in it. Still, some of you might like to try it.

Tomorrow I go to have an EMG and NCS done on my hands.  I use the initials because the real names sound too much like some kind of medieval torture.  You can bet this test will be followed by a stop at Pinkberry.

The Million Dollar Question

Have you decided what you’re going to do in your retirement yet?

Yes, if I had a dollar for each time I was asked that question (and the people who asked it repeatedly would have to pay proportionately more each time they asked) I would have a million dollars and I really wouldn’t have to worry about living on a “fixed income.”  Perhaps I’m just a little defensive about being asked?  Here’s some of the answers I’ve thought of.

The silly answer:  

I’m gonna get chickens!!!

The best answer:  

I am listening for God’s direction, and am willing to go where He wants me to go and do what He wants me to do.

The daydreaming answer:

 I’m gonna move to a farm in Oregon!

The boring answer:  

I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, only not go to work two days a week.

The most-likely-to-happen answer:

 I’m going to do some of those things that I’ve had to put aside/give up/put on the back burner for the last 25 years while I worked as a nurse.

So, to expand on some of those answers, I am seriously seeking God’s direction.  But sometimes He doesn’t give exact directions, and you just have to make a decision.  The day I read the words “Jesus decided to…” was a very important day in my indecisive life.

I really really do want to have chickens again.  I just read a book called “Still Life with Chickens.”  It was very fun to read, and had a lot more detail about life with chickens than I expected.  I really like everything about chickens except the mess. And the crowing.  But I know what to do about that now LOL.

Regarding that daydreaming answer:  A couple of interesting things have collided, in this order.  While surfing around Amazon, I noticed a book called Fifty Acres and a Poodle.  All about a woman uprooting her life and moving to the country.  It included a standard poodle, so I had to have it.  While looking at that book, the “Still Life with Chickens” book showed up, so I ordered that one too.  I thought they would both be fun books to read.  Then in my blog about grief, PJ wrote such a good comment, and part of it was encouragement to “take the trip or journey to a place you have always wanted to go or experience to feel the renewal of dreams.”  THEN, my BFF reminded me that I had always wanted to move to Oregon (Even before she moved there.  I’ve loved Oregon since I was a young girl.)  And hey!  Don’t you guys think that moving to a farm and writing about the whole experience would be the best blog fodder ever?  Of course, the down side of this answer would be that I would actually have to move LOLOL.

Most-likely-to-happen?  These will include just some everyday life kind of things, as well as maybe some more fun exotic things.  You know, like maybe gardening a bit more.  Keeping the housework under control.  Exercising more consistently.  Having EVERY SATURDAY OFF LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD.  Celebrating every holiday on the same day that the rest of the world is celebrating.  Traveling without worrying about getting back in time, or fitting it in, or finding someone else to ‘cover’ me.  Oh my, the possibilities are endless under this category.

And did you notice I did not even include the one thing that I am for sure planning to do:  work on my art quilting.  I have said this answer many times to many people, and am usually met with a blank stare and a polite nod.  I don’t think they know what an art quilt is, or they think that is a boring goal, or whatever.  I don’t really have the inclination to try to explain it to them.  So I’ve stopped giving this answer.

FOG

The Fog Blog.  That’s what I’m gonna remame this blog.  Because its all about food and dogs these days…

I’ve really been enjoying my food this week.  Being careful not to eat too much (still counting calories,) but choosing each snack and/or meal to be something I truly want to eat.  Experimenting with new recipes and new (to me) foods.  Here’s just a few of the pics of the goings on in the past two days.

Some delicious sauteed brussell sprouts with dried cranberries and walnuts.  Love this combo.  They are just as good leftover, too.

Had them alongside this bowl of sauteed veggies–onions, mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini.

I actually had the veggies (not the brussel sprouts) topped with some marinara sauce and a bit of shredded parmesan.

Here’s that Voluminous Vanilla Ice Cream from Katie.  I don’t know how she made it into actual scoops for her picture.  I suppose I could have if I really worked at it.  Anyway, this is a case of “you get what you pay for.”  At 40 calories for a big bowl, why did I think it would taste like real vanilla ice cream.  Nevertheless, it was a fun and refreshing treat, especially on a hot night.

And here’s how I really ate it–I took one of those Raw Cookie Dough Balls and cut it into bite sized chunks and topped the ice cream with it.  Now this WAS a treat.  And no sugar in the whole thing.  The calories did increase significantly to 160 for the whole bowl.  Oh.  And I guess there is a little sugar in the chocolate chips.

Last night Mr. Monk was REALLY happy!  I tried to document the momentous occasion:

Really, I think Monk is one of the prettiest pugs I have seen.  I got a book full of pug pictures and they just looked plain weird.  But look at that face.  I think I need to contact People Magazine.

Another refreshing smoothie experiment–awesome!  Just some frozen pineapple chunks, a little homemade yogurt,  and some coconut water–AWESOME taste, and only about 150 calories.

 

Yesterday was sewing day, and guess what?  I only ate what I brought with me.  Which was a wonderful bowl of cherries, strawberries, and blueberries, topped with cottage cheese and walnuts.  And because I am eating vegetarian this week, my calories came in pretty low for the day, so I treated myself to the Single Lady Cupcake.  Decadence.  And no leftovers to keep calling my name.

I’ve tried a couple of other experiments.  Yesterday morning I wanted to make some of my famous blueberry scones.  I didn’t have any spelt flour in the cupboard, so thought I’d experiment with the coconut flour and chickpea flour.  Only thing was, it was VERY early in the morning, and I’m not really sure how much flour I put it.  Oops.  The one I ate right after I baked them was so light and delicious that I would try the recipe again to see what I had done.  But when I re-heated one this morning, after having frozen them the night before, the texture was kind of icky.  I’ve never experienced this with my frozen baked goods before.  Anyone else have this experience with using and then freezing coconut flour?

I have an idea to make some frozen yogurt using only dates and bananas for sweetener.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Retirement countdown:  4 SHIFTS LEFT!!!

The Way It Is Around Here

Exactly how many pictures can one take of a sleeping pug, anyway?  Apparently there is no end to the sleeping-pug-photography.  Heaven knows there is unlimited opportunity for this kind of photo around here.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love the big guy?  Yesterday I made a stab at trying to clear my little courtyard of sticks and his old doggie bed.  This morning I peered out the window to find he had dragged  his new doggie bed out of the dog room to his favorite place to keep watch. The Dog Whisperer has been saying lately ‘You are not always given the dog that you want, but you ARE given the dog that you need.’  My dad used to say something to that effect to me about Noah during the ‘troublesome years’ (oh, were they only months?)

Today was another stellar ‘vacation’ day.  I took a walk with Noah this morning, and brought my camera to capture this field of yellow wildflowers.

Tried to snap a close-up but I had the wrong setting on my camera.  Still, can you see that some of the flowers are single and some are double.  Interesting to see such variety in wildflowers.

It was already warm when we headed out, so I was ready for something light and refreshing when we returned home.  Made this canteloupe smoothie with just some frozen canteloupe chunks and some of that yogurt whey from the other day.  Just a bit of cinnamon and splenda to round it out.  VERY refreshing.

I don’t know if its a fluke or not, but it seems we’ve entered a new era around here.  Noah is staying inside the house without a leash, and for the first time, he spent a good part of the day outside without his bark collar on!!!  And, for the second day in  a row, I went out and sat in my chair and enjoyed the warm breeze without all the dogs going nuts.  So peaceful.  I ran inside to get my camera to take a picture, and SOMEONE was keeping my seat warm for me.

I wanted to try to get a picture  of these coral bells contrasting with the pale Japanese maple leaves behind it.  Not quite what I was looking for, but here’s what I got.

ppp

That is the end of our picture show for the day.  But I still have stuff to talk about.  I have to admit to buying a box of Fiber One bars.  I LOVE those things, even though they cause certain gastrointestinal disturbances.  To say nothing of the fact that they are COMPLETE junk food.  I make myself look at the label each time I eat one.  So today I made a batch of Katie’s Raw Cookie Dough Balls (just walnuts and dates with a few chocolate chips thrown it.)  I think they are just as good, and definitely much more nutritious.

Continuing on my vegetarian way, I am going to have some sauteed veggies with marinara sauce for dinner tonight.  And if I’m energetic, I might sautee some brussel sprouts too.  I’m not sure why I’m so veggie oriented right now, but I’m gonna go with it.

I made the beginnings of Katie’s Voluminous Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert tonight.  Only 40 calories, can’t beat that.  I’ll probably have some strawberries on top.

I ran across this quote in Debra‘s blog on the first day I came home from my trip.  I love it.

People should live joyfully most of the time, eat healthfully most of the time, exercise most days, then treasure the body that happens, regardless of its BMI category.

As always, Debra’s articles are thought provoking.  One of her main points in this article is that it is extremely difficult and requires a lot of vigilance and just plain hard work to maintain a large weight loss.  All I can say to that is amen, sister.

And lastly, while chatting with my BIF Jill, I realized that two weeks from today would be my FIRST DAY OF RETIREMENT.  Can you believe it?  I can’t!  I don’t think I’ll really realize it for a few months.

Flower Show

As promised, here is a garden tour of Cambria Pines Lodge.  There are gardens surrounding the main lodge, and you have to walk through the gardens to get to the lodge from your room.  The gardens are separated into ‘rooms’ and each of them has its own theme.  Every day I took a different route to enjoy all of the gardens.  And I just realized that I still missed at least one of them–the rose garden.  Baaah.

This is one of the main garden areas.  I think the gazebo is there so they can have weddings in this garden.

This is a partial shot of the all white garden.

Almost every garden had a water feature, so you always heard running water as you walked along.  I think this is a shade garden.  I just like all the different textures in this picture.  The boulder has water bubbling out of the top.

I walked in this garden and thought, I think it must be a butterfly garden.  And sure enough, when I left, that is what the gate said!

They had quite a few of these birdhouses covered with flowers and plants.  Very fun to look at.

Just some gorgeous close-ups of the flowers.

Can you believe how long some of these foxgloves are?

 

I really love some of these smaller groupings of flowers.  Does any body know what the large mass of pink flowers are?

 

And one more crazy birdhouse.

Thanks for all the nice encouraging comments on my project blog yesterday.  Sometimes I think its weird that I share stuff like that.  But I kind of like having it for a personal record too.

Changing the subject rapidly, has anyone seen the movie Super 8?  Or Midnight in Paris?  Or how about Everything Must Go?  My vacation is coming to an end, and I have a yen to go to the movies.  Because when I retire, I will be on a strict entertainment budget LOL.

Well today I think my food intake was okay.  If I am adding correctly.  It seems like I ate a little too much.  I went to my favorite Costless Market and only went to the produce department.  I got four bags of groceries for $15.00!   I think vegetarian is the way to go in retirement.  I was reading a Mother Earth News magazine about living on less, and they mentioned that as a way to save money.

I think I’ll end early and work on my project!  Habanada!