How Do You Spell Retirement?

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I’m not sure, but . . . .

I would say that today is the first day of the rest of my life, but alas I am behind in that the first day of my retirement began on February 28th. What an odd thing to say, at least for me. I had actually hoped to be able to truly retire when I turned 75, and in retrospect had actually wanted to do so at 65.

I am in a unique position. I cannot actually afford to retire, but due to the generosity of my daughter and son-in-law, they have afforded me what I could not afford to do. I have a ‘very’ nice roof over my head and no pressure to ever having to return to work for my livelihood.

Like many seniors who are 72 years of age, I do receive a monthly SS check, but at the present time I could easily be placed in the poverty income level.  Not complaining though: I’ll manage, although my free-wheeling spending days are behind me.

So what does one do when they retire? For me it will not sink in for at least a month or so because just getting everything put away and in its proper place will take time.   Since my daughter works full time it is only right that I do the domestic thing and help out with the lions’ share of getting this household ship-shape.

Ah, but when the bulk of the domestic chores are done I am off to see what retirement is about. As you can see, I am off to a soft beginning by just blogging about it. I had actually thought to do a daily diary but alas that too went by the wayside, at least for the first 6 days of my retirement. You will forgive me then if I do my daily diary retroactive, won’t you?

February 28th: Moving Day – it took us all day long, beginning at 6:30 in the morning and finishing up right at 12 hours later as I believe we finally sat down for our first breather and sigh of relief around 7pm. This was however just the start. I was amazed though that my son-in-law, in short order, had some of the media up and running. Of course I told myself, because one thing for sure, no grass will grow under his feet. He is a get-it-done now no nonsense type of guy. I just wish he would take time every now and then to smell the roses . . . LOL

March 1st: The Day-After Moving Day – I really don’t remember what we did. Good grief is it already happening. I’ve only been retired 2 days . . . really LOL

March 2nd: I missed not going to church yesterday, but do believe we are forgiven since most of us couldn’t even find our clothes – which were packed in a dozen or more boxes, which brings me to what we did on Monday, the 3rd day of my retirement: unpacked box after box and began finding out that most of the cabinets in this brand-spanking new house are more shallow than our previous home. I am having to be creative as to where everything will go. Ha: it will be a hunt ‘n seek for the others since ‘they’ don’t know where I put the stuff!

Christmas 2014 - yup, that's me, Santa Nana Claus with Jack, one of my canine charges.

Christmas 2014 – yup, that’s me, Santa Nana Claus with Jack, one of my canine charges.

March 3rd: I am now the official dog sitter. Yup, my bedroom has become the temporary prison for our four pups, who can be very loud at many times, but in order to contain their anxious selves someone has to be with them. I have discovered a good way to keep their barking and howling at bay is to read to them. I am not sure if they are enjoying my reading, which by the way is a little highbrow for them since I am reading from Masterpieces of Western Art, or if I am merely putting them to sleep with my droning on about how art began in the 13th century and how it has progressed over the centuries since then.

It works though since as soon as I begin reading they nod off and from the looks on their faces slumber must be a welcome break from the anxiety they are feeling from this big change and move.

March 4th: I forgot to mention we had company on the 2nd and 3rd day in our new digs. My son-in-law’s oldest daughter (my step granddaughter), her husband and the first grandbaby, sweet little Maximus (he is called Max for short) came for a visit before heading to Florida. It was nice to see them; especially that blue-eyed angel. It’s been a while since I have been around babies and I was actually a little nervous. Surprisingly, Max was not frightened by our hoard of barkers although I do believe all of the dogs were at first anxious to be around him, but then their curiosity got the better of them and they were enthralled with the little fellow, especially the Basset-Dachshund mix, Mylee, who couldn’t help but bark as she watched Max hop up and down in his toddler jumper-chair. It was rather comical at that.

We continued un-packing boxes. When will it ever end?

March 4th: We can see a little light at the end of the tunnel as my daughter has brought over all the boxes from the storage unit we rented to hold housewares, etc. as we prepared for the big move. Did I mention we moved from the big A: metro Atlanta, to the little K, Kathleen in the peach state of Georgia? Okay, so it’s about a 2+ hour drive difference, but a difference it is!

Employment has a funny way of relocating people, so the home my daughter and son-in-law have known all their lives (they are in their early 40’s) is now part of their past. I am well-traveled though and have actually lived near this area eons ago, but I must admit I was somewhat excited about being in an area that I hope has a little slower pace of life than the big city I had lived in and near for quite some time.

March 5th: Yes, I’m still unpacking boxes and still being creative on where to put things. My daughter was able to get out and do a little grocery shopping today. She sent me pictures of the Kroger in our area, and WOW it is something. I can hardly wait to go and meander through the store and see what goodies I can find. I am a foodie after all and even though I am unable to eat what I would like to eat I can still cook with the best of them so the epicurean in me is excited to learn about places to find great victuals.

Did I forget to mention we ventured into downtown Perry today and found a blast to the past retro-eatery called “The Coffee Cup of Perry.” The old-fashion drugstore type establishment had a soda-jerk-like fountain but this unique bistro offered breakfast all day (a welcome change from Waffle House and I-Hop for sure) plus a place to sit and have a cup of java, wine or cold smoothie during the hot humid days just around the corner. I foresee us eating there at least a couple of times a month.

Until tomorrow my e-friends. Hopefully my repartee will be more interesting from here on out.

Just Over the Horizon: Bucket List 13!

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Sunrise in Cozmel Mexico, the third port in our week-long cruise

Sunrise in Cozmel Mexico, the third port in our week-long cruise


Although I could go on and on and on about my very first cruise; I won’t. But, what I will do is let my photos speak volumes, and to point you to www.get-packin.com for more details about the best vacation I’ve had in my 71 years young . . .

There was plenty of water fun as evidenced by these photos.grand cayman

sea photos
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Vintage Christmas

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Not one, but several nativity scenes make up the elaborate Christmas display on a home on Hwy 81, just North of SR 20 in Loganville, Georgia

Not one, but several nativity scenes make up the elaborate Christmas display on a home on Hwy 81, just North of SR 20 in Loganville, Georgia


1 in frameOne of the best ways to create holiday memories with your family; in particular small children, is to motor along and view Christmas decoration displays.

Christmas carolers join an old fasioned stage coach

Christmas carolers join an old fasioned stage coach

M&M characters are sure to bring a smile to your face

M&M characters are sure to bring a smile to your face

I’d forgotten what a delight this simple tradition was, and in fact had not done so in a number of years. I was quickly reminded; however, when returning from visiting a relative late Christmas day. No need to describe what I saw. They say seeing is believing . . .
Vintage Christmas sleigh with Victorian figures

Vintage Christmas sleigh with Victorian figures

Carolers greet passersby

Carolers greet passersby

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Perhaps you just didn’t get around to seeing any of the local Christmas displays in your home town; well, why not check out this CNN list of some of the best holiday/Christmas displays in the world.
http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/19/world/worlds-most-spectacular-xmas-decorations/index.html

Christmas 2013: My Way

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Rather than to reinvent the wheel I will simply repost a previous blog I did about the 12 Days of Christmas . . . . https://scoop1942.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/on-the-12th-day-of-christmas/ I also wanted to point you to another blog that illustrates 12 traditions of Christmas . . . . http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/12/christmas-traditions-from-around-the-world-infographic/ and to complete this years Christmas offering I will post new photos with Santa on the 25th after all of the festivities have ended.

I’ve been remiss in keeping up with my personal blog, but promise to rectify it in 2014 and do my very best to offer a new post on a weekly basis.

In the meanwhile, check out http://www.get-packin.com for some additonal Christmas and Holiday cheer.

Time is All We Have After All. How Do We Cope When We Know Our Time is Limited?

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You’ve just been told you have 5 to 7 months to live! How would I react to a declaration such as this? I’m sure I would be devastated, and my mind would begin racing with hundreds of thoughts all jumbled. Let’s face it, five to seven months could seem like an eternity to someone who is in pain, both physically and mentally. To others the feeling would be “there’s just not enough time to get done what needs to be done!” And, I imagine others would simply be numb with little or no thoughts at all.

3 Robert & Louise v216 Me and Robert prom v2I recently received word that my beloved brother; my protector when we were children, my sometimes aggravation when we were teenagers, and always my shoulder; no matter our ages, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in his liver and pancreas, and cancer in his esophagus and stomach, with an estimated 5 to 7 months to live. I am going to visit him this next week, and while I am going there to be his shoulder to lean on, I am in no way going to give him sympathy. That is the last thing he needs. I am hoping to give him encouragement to live each hour, each minute and each day to the fullest; however that may be.

I don’t know how I am going to manage this because I am extremely emotional about his condition and I am prone to break out in tears so easily, but I have decided I’m going to spend every minute I’m allowed at the VA hospital, to memorialize the past so that he can leave, not just a footprint, but a larger than life memory to share with his wife of 30 years, children, grandchildren, other siblings and anyone he has crossed paths with for the past 72 years.

My brother is an artist, self-taught and also university educated. He has been a successful commercial artist but gave up his art some years ago. I was sad to learn that because his talent was huge. He was even commissioned to paint a wall of history in a small museum in Southwest Colorado. Seeing the news article about this made me extremely proud, but I have always been proud of him. This actually began when we were small children. I think he was five, so that made me three years of age. I remember, quite clearly, when he first sketched Mickey Mouse. I was in awe, and I still am.

I have seen many of his paintings and have looked through them, not just at them, because every subject has a story behind it. There was the blue painting: a blue hued swan, gently floating atop the slow rippling effect of a bluish colored lake with a mist in varying shades of blue, making the entire painting surreal. My brother, at this time, I believe, was at peace in his life. I saw that in his painting.

2 Dad v222A Grandma Baca around 1962 v2That painting would later take on the pain of losing our Father at the young age of 44, and our beloved grandmother, who raised us, just three days after we buried our Dad. You see, my brother retrieved the swan painting from my grandmother’s home, and he painted over it using red and black and gray as the main color pallet. The swan became a facsimile of a painfully looking Jesus Christ. A painting that when looked at would follow you no matter where you were in the room. The painting actually frightened my young children.

I try to remember that painting in my minds eye (for it has been lost for many years) and look past the intense uncomfortable feeling I always got, and see the true meaning of it. I now realize this was my brothers’ way of coping with the loss of our Dad and Grandmother. I honestly believe he was asking God for answers. Why did they die, both so young it would seem.

As I look back over the years I realize we both have faced many obstacles, much heartache, but so have we had joy and happiness in our life. We are simply living out the cycle of our lives. Some have shorter cycles than others. I have finally decided that God needs a really good artist in Heaven, one who can use the same canvas over and over again and provide a story in the painting that might bring comfort to some or an answer some have been seeking.

I am still not resigned to the fact that my brother has so short a time on earth, but I am consoled by the fact that his life is not over; he will continue to live in the afterlife. So too will I when it is my time to say goodbye to Mother Earth.

Nana Claus . . . .

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This year I will be participating in FREE pet photos with Nana Claus for Paws at one of our local retail establishments.  I also suggested we consider making this a fund raiser for our local police department’s K9 unit.

You’ll have to return to my blog to see the photos and hear all about it. 

. . . . belated Thanksgiving greetings . . . until next time

Halleluiah – I’ve Reached Another Milestone – 70 Years of Age!

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I had intended to post this on the 6th, the day of my birth, but just didn’t get around to it.

My, my, what does one say when they turn 70?  I feel a little odd (notice I didn’t say old).  The 60’s, for me were definitely a mixed bag.  Good times, bad times, good health, bad health; but, in the end, I survived.  I went from working in the corporate world to making beds and cleaning toilets, then came back to the corporate world.

You ask, how is one who is just now 70, still working?  Well, necessity is a real motivator, plus I bore easily.  I actually excelled when working as a manager of a small motel — I was never bored, moving all the time and lost weight along the way.  I’m back to my first love though; creativity, and working for the company I have worked for, off and on for more than 30 years.

Catching the bouquet at age 69

Instead of putting a few dollars away for a rainy day (basically my retirement), my philosphy was take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself.  As a consequence there is no early retirement for me.  Not a problem though – remember, I said I was easily bored, so given the opportunity to continue in the work force is actually a delight.

Who would have thought though; this ol’ broad, at the ripe age of 70 is a graphic artist and professional blogger – skills I acquired later in life.  I still edit the corporate newsletter, create ads and have entered the life of social media.  I haven’t quite got the hang of twittering though – LOL!

My grandchildren have all gotten older; from 13 to 24 yeas of age.  Where does the time go.  I remember rocking them when they were infants, singing lullabies.  No great grandchildren yet; and that’s still okay since I am still doting on the younger of the six grandchildren I have.

Santa loves all dogs – from Doberman’s to Boston Terriers

I plan to be Santa again this year – to the animal kingdom, and if my either of my younger granddaughters need a volunteer Santa, I’m there woman! 

Baking is still my thing, and yes, I’m still an ol’ foodie, watching food network TV every chance I get.  Chopped is my favorite and I so enjoy the challenge shows. 

Speaking of baking, my youngest son is attending college, taking a course in culinary arts — oh, how I so wish I could take a culinary course.  There might still be time since my youngest granddaughter said I was going to live until I’m 99; hmmm, that means another 29 years to go.  Who knows, the next time I blog I might just be telling you about my escapades in the college dorm … ha ha!

Be on the look out for new Christmas poems and photos . . . . until then, check out www.get-packin.com