Farewell to Summer

Our summer here is officially over.  Fall begins tomorrow. The high temperatures will linger into October but the nights will begin to cool. In November  we will experience our “fall” in Southern California.  From now until then we will have dry dusty days without rain, Santa Ana winds, and abundant sunshine. The palm trees will remain green, native plants will flourish, hillsides will continue to brown,  leaves will drop and blow in the wind, but a few splashes of fall colors maybe found.

Summer was wonderful.  Although we spent more time at home than usual, we enjoyed many opportunities to get outdoors and appreciate summer. Rather than bore you with details,  I decided to showcase a few highlights and allow the pictures to tell most of the story.

A visit to Berkeley and the University of California

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Exploring Berkeley and visiting with family.

Visiting a winery near Gilroy, California

Salinas, California-Home of John Steinbeck.

Beautiful Monterey Bay

Camping in Big Sur and exploring the California coastline.

Laughing in amazement at sun bathing sea lions.

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A Phoenix sunrise. One of two trips we made to Arizona.

Who knew Arizona could be so green?

We loved our visit to Oro Valley north of Tuscon, Arizona…

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…and even enjoyed the rain!

Our small garden yielded us tomatoes, onions, peppers, squash, and strawberries.

I worked on a few sewing and craft projects.

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We spent a great deal of time with family, friends, and just hanging out.

(and of course eating and shopping!)

So while we say farewell to the Summer of 2016…

I am looking forward to what comes next!

How was your summer?

(or winter-depending on where you live)

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Summer, Sewing, & Retirement

Every once in awhile I need an attitude adjustment. This retirement thing is a work in progress. Even after 2 1/2 years I can easily fall into lazy habits, get off track, cringe when I jump on the scale, and well…basically I need to refocus! Not that I am not busy but I sometimes have found myself being busy with the business of being busy.

Huh????

Last week is a perfect example. On Monday I was at the hospital all day waiting for the arrival of our newest great-granddaughter. Very exciting! I was the on call labor coach in case the young parents needed reinforcements. I have been front and center for four of my own (of course), my sister, and four grandchildren. For six others I have impatiently sat in the waiting room. I have completed 3 Lamaze classes, read countless books, and offered too many hours to count of advice by phone, visits to nervous moms, and had more than most of sleepless nights in this miracle of babies, pregnancy, and babies being born. So there was no place I would have rather been!!

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I mean, is she perfect or what????

It was also the weekend visit of one of my oldest and dearest friends, a baby shower of her second grandchild, and a visit from our oldest grandson, home from almost two years away. During the week I met a sister for lunch, had my brother staying with us (and thrilled to have him back),  met a friend for coffee and another dear friend for our usual swimming meet up. Church, household stuff, Bible study, and oh yeah…Thommmee-the most patient and understanding husband on the planet needed some attention too.

Anyway, I realized that all of this business was causing me to stress a bit and I wasn’t enjoying the moments with all of the scheduling. I was talking too much about what I still had to do (how special did that make the person I was with feel?) so….readjusting and focusing on my friends and family became priority. Fortunately, these wonderful people love me as is and were most patient with me. I have to say, I treasure each and everyone of them!

Once I realized what I was doing I reminded myself to do what I love, make Thommmee a top priority, and slow down a bit. After all, retirement does not need a checklist!

What does that have to do with sewing you might ask? One of the things I love is sewing. My newest project is making these Sprocket Pillows.

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(for a niece)

They are so fun to make and a great way to use up scraps of fabric.

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(given to a granddaughter)

I am giving them away as fast as I make them.

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(another granddaughter)

I am not offering a tutorial as I was not able to obtain permission from the website where I found them (besides her tutorial is so fantastic). You can find instructions at cluckclucksew with a template included.

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(my friends grandson-nursery colors black, white, and gray!)

They are simple, fairly quick, and come in two sizes.

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We are leaving in a few days for a trip. It will include a visit along the California coast. Our itinerary open and flexible. Brother is back to work, baby and new parents are doing fine (we saw them yesterday). The grads have graduated, no birthdays, and the diet is out the window anyway.  No sewing next week but, that is alright.

I am ready for some quiet and time with Thommmee.

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A work in progress…

I have officially reached the age to receive Medicare. When I was younger it seemed a place so far away that surely if I ever reached this ancient age I would be used up and simply plant myself in a comfy chair to wait out my remaining years.

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Guess what?

I don’t feel that way at all. In fact, I have now reached a crossroads where I need to decide…

What do I want to do with the rest of my life?

If a normal reasonably healthy woman in the US has a life expectancy of 89 years old, I may have another 20+ or so years left. I realize that death came come “like a thief in the night, we know not when” as it states in the Bible, but just for argument sake, let me assume I will hang in another 20 years with at least moderately decent good health and a few good brain cells working.

So now what?

If you have read my blog you know I have a fabulous husband, many grandchildren, great kids, friends, am active in my church, and between all of that I am pretty busy with events, camping, birthday parties, vacations, and various outings. I also like to sew, get some reasonable pleasure from cooking, some gardening, and have recently started reading again (after a long dry spell).

Where do I go from here?

The first year of retirement  life seemed so clear. I had a purpose-I was now free of a daily required schedule and had the gift of life that retirement allowed. I jumped out of bed every morning relishing in the newness of not having to go to work every day. I was free to pursue the joys of life within my moderate budget. I don’t jump up quite so quickly these days. I joyfully  embraced the time I now had to spend time with those I loved and cared about. That has not changed at all. I was dedicated to getting to the gym regularly. Not so much any more (to be honest less and less). I sewed almost daily. Not now unless I have a specific project. I explored  and planned new adventures, combed blogs and the internet for ideas, and created new creations in the kitchen. Now-well, we have to eat so I have to cook. I blogged regularly. You can see that is not happening these days. I am lucky if I post twice a month. I was energetic and enthusiastic about almost everything. Now, yawn, is it naptime yet?

What happened?

I know, I need to eat better and exercise more.   I tried a crash exercise plan to get back into a groove with little success. Confession time-I have been slacking. I  know I thrive better on a routine so I have been attempting to tighten the reins on my daily activities-but remain somewhat flexible for unexpected opportunities.  (Isn’t it 5:00 somewhere?)

What now?

I crave to find a passion. Should I seek a new passion or revive an old one? Or a combination of both? Should I embrace a cause, volunteer,  get out more, or focus on the projects here at home? Is it all in my head or is it this aching body that seems to have slowed me down? Or is it all connected? Am I just finding a reasonable stride or am I really considering turning into that couch potato I was so worried about becoming? My kids laugh that I am so busy they can hardly keep up with my schedule. Am I being too hard on myself?

????

Life is a journey to be continued…

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Waiting

Waiting for something or someone…although I do have more patience than I did when I was younger, waiting has been challenging for me at times. I guess that might be said for most of us. As kids we waited excitedly for Christmas or birthdays or summer break. Perhaps the wait was fun because these were such big events in our little lives. It must have been difficult but looking back it seems like half of the fun was the anticipation.

As we grew older we continued to wait. Summer vacation still loomed before us but perhaps in a different way. I loved school so summer vacation meant I waited for summer school to start. We would take classes during the summer so we could take more electives during the regular school year. Usually it would be a history class-which I did eagerly wait for so that I could take two choir classes in the fall. I definitely looked forward to that! I waited to be with my friends during school. Summers were long and hot in Southern California and in those days most people did not have air conditioning and we did not take many vacations. We waited to turn sixteen, getting our drivers license, dating, weekends, school football games, and dances. We waited for graduation. (Turning eighteen was not such a big deal because if you lived at home you were still under your parents rule). Getting your first apartment,  your first job, your first car-now that was something to wait for!

After high school we waited to begin college, begin a career and find a life partner (not necessarily in that order). We then waited to become a wife and mother. Some of us pursued our careers-some of use chose to stay home as full-time or working mothers. Waiting for each child…waiting for that first day of school…the cycle continued but now we were waiting for our children to reach their own milestones and we were  seeing the world (a very different world) through their eyes.

Now waiting became an entire new concept. Waiting to feed our families, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for bedtime (because we were so exhausted), waiting for school to be out, to pick up kids from soccer practice or other activities (because kids can’t walk anywhere now). Now I waited for them, report cards, drivers licenses, graduations, college and the world goes on.

All too soon I was waiting for them to move out, get a job,  get married,

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start a career-or both-or something! I waited to become a grandmother and to then figure out what I am doing with the rest of my life! Have I waited long enough to pursue a career-or continue an old one, will I celebrate a milestone anniversary or will marriage survive the changes?

I have waited a long time to begin my life anew. For some it might look different. For me it is retirement and spending time with those I care about (and especially Thommmee).  I don’t seem to be waiting so much these days.

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I am  actually living  and appreciating life in ways I never dreamed of. Waiting now is a time of peace. I could be a bit saddened to think of how much time was wasted waiting when I was younger but you know what? I am not. I loved the waiting. I loved the anticipation of life around the corner and while I may have not known it at the time-that was life! Now this is life. Waiting for a flower to unfold,

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the spring blossoms,

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waiting for one of the kids to call and interrupt my sewing, waiting to grab my camera to catch that magnificent sunset,

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waiting to put on my comfy slippers,

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or to sip my morning coffee,

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or to take my cake out of the oven.

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I love waiting to spend time with the grandkids.

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Do you know what…

it was worth the wait!

I forgot to mention…

I am waiting for the birth of our newest grandson who is due at any minute!

Retirement-one year later

It is hard to believe that one year ago today I walked out of work for the last time. I looked at my earlier post celebrating this big event. I wanted to find out how I felt that day. I wanted to see what my expectations were, what I was thinking, planning, and to see how this year came together.

This is what I discovered.

I commented that I was free to pursue many things.  I am pleased to find that many of those dreams are being fulfilled but… some not exactly as expected!

I come and go as I please.

I did not start a sewing business. Most of my (many) hours of sewing are for gifts or simply pleasure.

I can stay up late if I want to… but… these days I really don’t make it much past 9:00PM.

I do spend time with family and friends and have worked on strengthening those relationships.

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I spend a great deal of time in the kitchen and you will often find me experimenting with new recipes. For someone who really never liked to cook this was a huge discovery.

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I cleaned out a few closets and drawers but somehow this does not seem as important to me as it once did (go figure).

We did plant a vegetable garden last year but spent so much time vacationing that the results were somewhat less than spectacular.

Oh well.

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(photo courtesy of Pinterest)

I did make several batches of strawberry jam

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and even took a crack at making lemon marmalade.

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I have not read many books this year.  Although I love to read, I really found that I don’t like to sit quietly very much.

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I have spent countless hours talking on the phone, emailing and catching up with people. When I want to. Voice mail or text messages when I don’t.

I did manage to regularly attend the gym 2-4 times a week… faithfully… until about Thanksgiving…

I do attend a weekly Bible study, occasionally keep grandkids for the weekend and do some babysitting for our newest granddaughter.

Well, you get the idea. Some success…some not so much.

But…

I am happy and loving life!

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Not for one minute have I missed working at a “real job.” I love the freedom that retirement allows.

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(courtesy: be the change tumbler.com)

I love spending time with Thommmee. I don’t miss the extra money as I had feared. More time allows for more ways to be frugal. I find I need less-in fact-I find I want less!

I did buy a much needed coat at a local thrift store… for $8.00.

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With all the time I spend in the kitchen I splurged on a glass Pyrex pie pan, loaf, pan, square pan, and glass mixing bowl for $1.00 each at an estate sale.

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I have clipped coupons, shopped sales, and made many gifts. I try not to waste and plan meals based on what is in the kitchen. We don’t eat out often. We are a do-it-yourself couple living the good life in our little house in our own little corner of the world.

I wouldn’t trade a thing!

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I’m purring a lot these days

(No intent to borrow photos without permission or misuse intended.)

An Early Christmas Celebration

Instead of exchanging gifts this year, a friend and I agreed to treat ourselves to a Christmas lunch. We decided to splurge a little so she made reservations at the Mission Inn. The Mission Inn has a several nice restaurants and is also a first class hotel in nearby Riverside, CA. We selected the reasonably priced buffet.  It was fabulous!

There was holiday cheer and decor at every turn…

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both inside…

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and outside.

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After the hustle of preparing for Christmas, it was nice to just relax and catch up with good food…

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…and a good friend.

She broke the no gifts rule and gave me this adorable and appropriately named bracelet.

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(Thank you I love it!)

There was no corner of the hotel that was left undecorated.

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No detail went unnoticed.

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There was something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.

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 If you are in the area, be sure to check it out!

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http://www.missioninn.com/

This is a great place to visit any time of the year.

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Merry Christmas!

Friendship

I have talked about friendships in earlier posts. People-no family relationship-no obligation relationship-no reason to have a relationship other than friendship. You don’t have to have common interests, agree on everything or anything or have the same goals. Just friendship.

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Friendship is described as a mutual affection between two or more people. Sounds simple enough. There is even a website devoted to the subject of friendship:   http://friends.com.

Famous people have offered their opinions  and have much to say on the subject of  friendship :

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

and

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
Helen Keller

and

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
Aristotle

“Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find.”
William Shakespeare

and from a friend to many in memory of her passing this week;

“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”
Maya Angelou

Yes, friendship……… Many do it but others don’t quite know how to get there or even seem to need the companionship of friends. Perhaps they don’t know what they are missing or might be to timid to try. I have noticed that as we age it is harder to make new friends-good friends that are not dominated by their busy lives. We often loose the friends of our school years as we  have moved on-in different directions.

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Our work acquaintances-were they really friends or simply work associates? In some instances were we just two people bound together by an eight hour day and the same scheduled lunch? It may have seemed like friendship, but despite our best efforts, we may have moved on when our paths no longer cross on a daily basis. They seemed to know us so well at the time but now, we now have little in common. Why is that??

A friendship needs to be cultivated. It needs nourishment, commitment, and that mutual affection and interest in each other. Not an unobtainable thing most certainly, but some mutual effort nonetheless.

If you don’t have friendships or a desire to make new friends-where do you go? I have met ladies at the gym and although we chat I do not see use developing a friendship outside the gym. There are many magazine articles, books, and suggestions on the web to offer some guidance and direction. My suggestions are; if you are working, cultivate a relationship outside of work to find other common interests. Kids can be a great resource when you get to know the parents of their friends.  The other parents on the soccer team, the cub scout parents, church, volunteer organizations, walking, running, dog, and common interest clubs  can be a good resource also. I have a friend that joined a community choir with the triple bonus of making friends, singing at senior centers, and doing something she loves.

For me, a friend is an important part of my life. Yes, some friends I am closer to than others, some I see more regularly, others it takes more planning. Some are an email away, down the street, or a phone call away. One thing remains constant however, they are my friends and I treasure each and every relationship. Now that I am retired and have more time to spend with these friends, I am every so thankful that we both put in that mutual effort during the very busy years of careers and raising families. I now truly feel that I am able to savor that labor of love in maintaining those relationships in a new and exciting way.  I can only encourage those of you with such busy lives not to allow these precious people to be placed on the back burner waiting for the day when life is less busy or a major life occurrence happens. Friendship might be like fine wine-turn to vinegar if left too long without savoring.

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