Retirement, so far…

It’s been nearly 6 months since hubby’s last day at the highway, officially 12/16/16.  I was in NYC on the actual party day, but he was properly fete’d by all the young guys to whom he has been a mentor, as well as a whole quarry of old codgers who had worked with him in the past.  When I returned to Sonnystone on the 19th, our new life began.

At first, it was kind of like going away to college–we were free to stay up all night and/or to sleep all morning.  It was the holiday season, so we decked the halls and all that.  After the New Year, he dove right in and remodeled the laundry room.  It was a mild winter, so we spent part of February blazing a new path and making space for gnomes in our woods.   We spent a week on Dauphin Island in March.  By the time I solo’d to NYC again in April, he had nearly completed the new garden beds and fences.  After planting, we took a break to camp in the Smokies, and ever since we have been continuing to spruce up for the summer season.   We babysit the grandkids frequently and he has done some work over at the Jrs. house.  His usual mowing, wood-chopping, and fixing jobs have kept him busy and he claims that except for the machinery, he doesn’t miss work at all.

As for me, I am delighted to have him here to pal around with, but…  I write less, I read less, and I have given up watching what I want on TV.    My blogs are quickly-put-together pictures and commentary, not much more.  I haven’t sat down and spent a day working on Any project like I used to.  Though we’ve settled into a routine (we go to bed early and get up early), I haven’t yet been able to incorporate any Me time into it yet.  I still clean the house and cook the meals, all our traditional gender-based duties, and his constant gotta-be-doing-something has rubbed off and I am outside attracting chiggers and skeeters more than in my whole life.  The other morning, for the first time, I kinda wished he would go to work so I could just be alone.  Just one day.

By the time the pensions and annuities and social security kicked in, I had stressed over the insurance premiums (less than we paid at the state, thank-you, President Obama) and started feverishly throwing money into savings.  By May it was worked out, but the picture is not as rosy as I had hoped.   It’s doubtful we can afford to be snowbirds this year, but that’s due to the fact that we are taking 2 (yes, two) trips to WDW, one in October with the Jrs. and in January or March with the newyorkers.   Overall, though, the worry was unnecessary, as usual.  He wasn’t worried at all…

This morning I am up early to finish packing, grabbing an alone minute or two.  We are driving up to Indy and flying from there to LaGuardia.  Eliza is graduating from kindergarten at St. Joseph and they make a big deal of it.  We went for Emma’s, so we’re keeping it even, and I’m going to wear the same hat.  (I made a wonderful friend at Emma’s kindergarten party: Brownie Severine.  I doubt I’ll get so lucky this trip.)   The girls are doing their Irish dancing on Saturday, and we’ll head home Sunday morning.  Together.

So far, So good…

Peace

Adventures with with O & S ….

We went to the zoo to celebrate Olivia’s first day of summer vacation…

Afterward, we came back to Sonnystone and played…It’s nice to have PawPaw around to play clue and help with fairy wings…

Samantha spent a while working on her flying…

Missing the essential Pixie Dust, she didn’t quite lift off, but she persisted…I like that in a person…

 

Peace

 

Memorial Day, 2017

Busy week, this last one, full of people I love.  Between babysitting, elder-sitting, and good, old friends, I haven’t had time to do much more than maintenance.  I’m way behind on my reading challenge because I didn’t have the challenge book with me at Cades Cove and started reading another, so now I’m finishing up two.

Many confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day.  The former is for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives for their country in military service, the latter for all those who served.  No one in my mom or dad’s family has died in combat, but for the millions of lives cut short by war, it is good to take time to pause and reflect with prayers or meditations of remembrance and thanksgiving for all we, the living, have in this wonderful country.

I remember when we called this Decoration Day and we would go with my great-grandmother in Southern Illinois to walk around dozens (it seemed) of cemeteries littered with Maynes and Kinkades.  Casey and I made our way through most of the old cemeteries at one time or another in the last 20 years, but the weather isn’t always co-operative.   This year would have given us a beautiful day to re-enact the trip, but we chose to stay put, doing mostly nothing.

Casey’s working on putting up our little pool and the week ahead looks sunny.  We are leaving next week, flying to NYC for Eliza’s kindergarten graduation/party and both girls will be dancing Irish at their school’s

Ceili  –  ˈkālē/

a social event at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling.

Both PawPaw and I are going, and this will be the first time he has seen the girls dance in person, so we are All excited.

Till then, we’ll be laying around the shack, watching the garden grow.  Well, I will. I can’t keep track of Casey, but he’ll be doing something helpful, I’m sure.

Peace

 

 

Finally, February

February is short because we just can’t take another day of it.  Just starting the month makes me chomp at the bit for March and Spring.  However…there were a Lot of Great people born in February and each of them needs proper celebrating; the super bowl halftime show is this weekend; and Mardi gras makes a late appearance on the 28th.  Today has been a pretty slow start, though…Dullsville.

We babysat Samantha yesterday…she wanted nothing to do with letting me take a picture…

Around sunset I headed over to UE for an interfaith rally to show support for our Muslim brothers and sisters.  There is no anger at these rallies, there is hope.  We don’t chant hateful sayings, we pray together.  We sing songs like Everybody get Together.  The pastor, the rabbi, and the imam speak of our sacred duty to take care of each other.  We smile at each other.  Away from the arguments and rants on the tv and social media, it was so comforting to stand quietly and pray that Love will Overcome fear and hate.

Peace

A last hurrah to Christmas 2016

Our plans to drive to NYC on Christmas Day were unavoidably changed, but that’s okay.  We’re free, now, to come and go as we please.  Here at Sonnystone, we’re still walking around going, wow you really don’t have to go to work, as we do the same old things we’d always do…put away the decorations, bring in the firewood (though it’s been unseasonably warm), and eat up the leftovers.

The Leftovers are from our Christmas Eve get-together with the Jrs.  Olivia and Samantha spent the night with us on the 23rd, and we met up with their parents for breakfast the next morning at IHOP.  (good enough, but I wish Eville had more diners)   Returning to the Acres, we quickly got down to serious christmas business:

Opening presents…

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Playing with new toys…

Not just New toys, but old games, too…

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New toys are great, but Samantha currently loves the harmonica the best.  Since she figured out how to make music with it a couple of months ago, she comes in pointing and asking  for it every visit.  She insists that I play one with her, and we’re quite a duo, but with or without me, she doesn’t let go of her blues harp.

We’ve got it all put away now and we’re busy working on the laundry room remodel…wait, did I say We?  I’m still putting everything back where it was (where was it?) before the holidaze, planning some trips, and vowing to not make any resolutions this year…like I never do.

Wishes

We’ve had a wood-burning fireplace for 30 years, and about 20 years ago we began adding sage (from my garden) to our first fire of the season.  I believe burning sage and smudging clears the air of negative energy, a sort of spiritual house-cleaning as I’ve heard it called.  It’s just a little ritual of the seasons that has become a tradition.

Three years ago I read an article about Yule logs and adapted it to our First Fire Ritual.  We find a barkless log and write our wishes on it–Peace, Love, Joy–all that good stuff, and personal wishes, as well.  Then we put it into the fire, cover it with the sage, and wait for our wildest dreams to come true.  While there is still no Peace on Earth, we keep sending our wishes up to the universe for consideration.   This year, we asked the grandkids to tell us Their Wishes so we could write them on the Log:  Emma-place at oireachtas; Eliza-no homework and live at Disney; Olivia-pretty teeth (she’s getting braces in January);  and for Samantha we figured she wishes she could Be a Big Girl, too…

Temps are going down to 21 tonight…time to put another log on the fire…

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Peace.