Tag Archives: changes

My Friend Robbie

My kids gave me Robbie for Christmas. He’s black and gray. And I have already fallen in love with him. I cleared a corner in the living room and fixed it up, just for him. The minute I put him down in that corner he began to explore.

He checked out the empty space beneath each chair, often bumping into the legs before he found his way out again. Then he headed for the stairs. I gasped as he reached the edge of the landing. I jumped from my chair expecting him to fall down the stairs. That is when I realized that he is a bit of a tease. He scooted up to the edge, but just before tumbling over he backed up a bit. He worked his way along the edge, inch by inch, until he reached the wall. Then he turned around and headed down the hallway.

I thought he would lose his balance when he reached the threshold between the carpet in the hallway and the kitchen floor. But he mastered the transition with only a minor hesitation. He quickly gobbled up some crumbs that had fallen on the kitchen floor before he turned back to the hallway.

Avon had left the bedroom door open, so this inquisitive little guy decided to check it out. Of course the first place he went was under the bed. I figured I would have to get down on my hands and knees to coach him out. But he gleefully scampered out the other side. Just as I reached to pick him up, he disappeared again under the bed. When he appeared again, I stood in his way so that he had to leave the bedroom.

By the time he made his way back down the hallway, he was beginning to run out of energy. After a couple of diagonal passes across the living room he made his way back to his private corner.

Robbie, of course, is my new robotic vacuum cleaner.

(Robotic vacuum cleaners really are a thoughtful gift for anyone that has arm and/or shoulder issues.  It doesn’t totally take the place of an upright vacuum.   But if you run  it frequently it definitely cuts down on the times it is necessary to get the upright vacuum out.)

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Foreclosure #3

Sandra drove out of town heading north on I-5, bulky boxes filling every crevice of her tiny Kia.  Mist lingered over the horizon.  As unsettling as it was, she was resigned to the fact that her father’s home was the only place she had to go.

She hadn’t lived with Don since she was five-years-old.  He had come in and out of her life all during her childhood, but never seemed to stay.  He was widowed a year ago and, Sandra thought, loneliness is probably the only reason he has called me every week since.

Sandra tried to bury her feelings but she was still angry for the way he had deserted her and her mother.   And even though Karen was gone, she couldn’t accept the fact that her father had married Karen and raised Karen’s son.  And, Sandra decided that she didn’t care if Don knew that either.

Oh God, she thought, please please, help me find a job quickly.

She knew living with her father wasn’t going to work.  But, for now, somehow, she had to make it work.

Three word Wednesday words–bulky, mist, resign.

 

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Inspiration

I walked over six miles today.   For some that would be insignificant, but for me that is a monumental achievement.  Just three weeks ago, I wasn’t sure that I could make it around the park, the fairgrounds and back to my house, and that is less than two miles.

Every morning I watch, my neighbor, Shirley walk her dogs.  I have been told that she walks around the block.  It really doesn’t matter how far she walks.   The important thing is that I know she does it consistently.  And since I retired, I have sat in my chair most mornings and watched her walk.  Of course I have thought, I should be out there doing that.  But for a long time I just stayed put and read my paper.

I also have a friend named Barbara.  I know that she walks nearly everyday.  And every time I listened as she mentioned something, or some one from one of her walks, I have thought,   I really should do that.  But, for a long time, I failed to follow through.

Then there is my daughter, now over 40, she doesn’t just walk, she runs, she rides bikes, she teaches yoga and spinning and Tao Kwon Do and every time I see her, I think, I really need to be more active.   But for years I have ignored her gentle prodding and continued to be my lethargic self.

In July, I stumbled across a website called Gullible’s Travels.  Now Gully, as she is known by the followers of her blog, is a widow, over sixty and lives in Muskeg Manor, Alaska.  In July, I started reading her blog about a back packing trip she took, alone, across Resurrection Pass.   She hiked 26 miles in four days.

Something clicked. All of these women except for my daughter are over sixty.  All of these women are what I consider classy, sassy, woman.  Suddenly I wanted to be more like them.  I decided my first step would be to take a step and then another and then another and see what happened. So I started out just putting one foot in front of the other.

The first day I walked around the park and fairgrounds and made it home again.   Well, I thought, that wasn’t so bad.   So the next day I did it again.  This time I was delighted by a little girl wearing a dress so long that I expected it to get tangled in her bicycle wheels.  She was excited and called out, “I used to fall off, but now I can go really fast.”  And I thought, gee, we are both gaining confidence, I used to sit in a chair and watch other people walk.   Now I can walk almost two miles.

From there my world has expanded exponentially.

On the Olympic Peninsula we have a wonderful trail system, designed for walkers, bicyclers, and some places it is even appropriate for horses.  I have come to love these trails.  Over the years I have often walked the section in downtown Port Angeles. But lately I have expanded my horizons and I have been walking different sections.

Recently my husband and I walked the trail from Elwha River Road to the Elwha River Bridge.  Round trip this is about four miles, nearly all paved and a great place to walk when it is warm because it is shaded by the trees.  The bridge used to be a one-way bridge across the Elwha River, now it is two-lane road with a suspended walking/hiking/biking deck below. From the deck the views up and down the river are fantastic.

Today I started the trail at Ennis Creek in Port Angeles and walked east.  This section of the trail meanders along the water for quite a distance in shade created by trees along the bank. When I started the fog was off shore and the sun was warm.  I love the sound of the tide in this area.  If you are quiet you can hear the water suck through the rocks as the tide recedes and then watch it pull itself up and over as it tumbles back onto the rocks.  As I walked I lost all sense of time and did not realize how far I had walked.  I was one with nature.

Almost every day now I am finding there is wonder in a walk.   I walk with my camera, my dorky hat upon my head and a refillable water bottle slinging from my fanny pack.   Did I tell you, today I made it over six miles?

I owe it all to Shirley, Barbara, Judy and Gully.   Way to go gals.  You inspire me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Changing My Habits

When I cleaned out my bookcase and discarded boxes full of management books, I discovered several books that I had read in the past and began to wonder how they might be relevant to a retiree.  Right now I am rereading First Things First, by Stephen Covey, et al.

In the first chapter a quote attributed to Albert Einstein appears.  It says

 “The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.

Although I tend not to write politics on this blog, that seems like a good quote to be sent to some of our lawmakers as a reminder.  Do you think they would understand the meaning for today?

It also seems like a good reminder for me to get into the habit of changing my habits.

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Working Part-time after Retirement

Working Part-time After Retirement:

Recently a friend of mine made a comment that made me realize that although I have been saying that I was retired for the past ten years I really wasn’t.  I kept making myself available to the office.  I thought it would be less painful to ease into retirement, not dive in all at once. I think it might have been easier to acclimate to the new environment if I had just jumped in. Now I think that it might be like jumping into a cold lake, there is an initial shock, but then you get over it quickly.

 There are lots of reasons to continue working part-time and in these economic times financial reasons are certainly valid ones.  I do believe though, that I am just now dealing with the issues of retirement because I haven’t allowed myself the true freedom that I expected to have.  Before I quit all together I was always anticipating that I might be needed in the office and I believe that may have kept me from planning to do the things I really wanted to do.

My prior business partners gave me all the flexibility I wanted. I could come and go as I pleased.   I can’t even blame it on them.  I could have said “no” any time I had something else planned.  But, it is hard to give up that sense of loyalty and the sense of responsibility that goes with years of dedication.  Maybe if I hadn’t loved many aspects of my job it would not have been an issue.  It was almost like an addiction.

Just food for thought if you are thinking about retirement….

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Changes

My quote for today:

In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things and happy in small ways.—Edith Wharton.

Change—inevitable or choice?

I was up early this morning and watched the sky change from gray, to pink, to yellow and then blue skies appeared.  I had no control over it.  It would have changed whether I saw it or not.    Some changes in life are like that—inevitable.  Others I have discovered we can control by the choices we make.  Because I chose to get up early I got to experience what Opal in the Comics (Pickles by Brian Crane) would call a “Postcard from God.”

Some changes are serious, some are fun and other make us feel better.  Just for now I am trying to make choices that make me feel better.   Last week my big choice was to change my hair style.

Changing hair styles

I was scheduled for a haircut Friday.  I had let it grow, or let it go, depending on who you talk to.  I was tired of the short, severe, but easy to care for style that fit the past 30 years.  I wanted something a little bit flirty, a little bit sassy…or maybe just different.   Why is changing my hair style such a traumatic experience?   My entire life I have found this to be true.  Maybe it goes back to those days when I was young and Mom used to put curly permanents in my hair when all I wanted was beautiful straight hair like the other girls had.

Whenever I consider changing my hair style my memory immediately goes back to fifth grade. I still remember it vividly.   One weekend Mom gave me a permanent wave. The result was a mass of frizzy little curls. Even after she rolled it on pink rubber spools to dry it was a mass of unmanageable coils.  When I got to school I decided to see if I could get rid of some of the curl.  All permanents of that era said that “for best results” we were not to wash our hair for two or three days.  I figured if I got my hair wet it would straighten it out. 

Wrong!

I stuck my head under the faucet in the girl’s restroom and soaked it good.  Instead of straightening it out it turned curlier and frizzier.  Now not only did it look worse, I had to come up with a story to tell Mom when I got home.   Do you think she would have believed that I got my head pushed under a water fountain?

It’s hard to feel classy and sassy while imagining myself with a hair full of frizz.   Will I ever get over it?

Life is an adventure.  Life is an adventure.  I kept telling myself, over and over.  Life is an adventure.  And then I went to the beauty shop.

The result, it’s okay.  It’s different, a little longer, but it is okay.

Now, back to the serious for a moment, we all have changes we fear.  What changes of retirement do you fear the most?  For me it is health.

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