Friday, 30 September 2011

#75: Life After Work

The Globe and Mail (Report on Business) has confirmed that I am on the right track with my retirement.  Today's sizable article recommends that new retirees "stick with what [they] know".  Their expert observes that "people make the most successful changes when they keep one foot in what's familiar". feels as if I have both feet and at least one arm deep into what I know. Perhaps I'm overdoing it.

At least I appear to be observing another bit of G&M retirement advice:    "Now's not the time to do something you hate."

Thursday, 29 September 2011

#74: Deja Vu

I just spent the afternoon with a former colleague who is taking over my job at the library.  She will be interviewing, organizing, team building and taking volunteer services in a new direction.

We talked about her new responsibilities and about ways to grow the program.   I walked her through some of  the many files and documents that I had once used daily and hadn't thought about for months.  Sigh.

All those wonderful volunteers, all that opportunity, all those decisions......all that work.

She'll do a great job, and I am happy to wish her all the best.  I'll do my volunteering on the other side of the desk.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

#73: Looking vs Seeing

I have just returned from my Wednesday afternoon with the women's hiking group.  We were on a trail I am familiar with  only because I have often driven by on my way to work.

Walking in the afternoon sunshine, we passed a tiny lake and wildflowers -- tall purple asters and whole fields of goldenrod that were close enough to touch.

Surely I have looked at that view before, but today I actually saw it.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

#73: Still Addicted

One of my great pleasures while working was the opportunity to listen to books as I drove back in forth in the car every day.  One hour of listening covered several chapters' worth of entertainment so I didn't mind the trip at all.

Retirement has been a bit like cutting out carbs or only having one cigarette after dinner.  I don't drive nearly enough now to satisfy my audio addiction, so the craving is unabated.  There is no point to putting on an audio book that I have to hear in tiny bits.  What am I to do--drive up and down the local expressway listening to my CD player?

So after a difficult start, when I had to learn how to keep the story from shuffling, I have learned to love audio books on the  i-touch.  I hook it up to a portable speaker and carry it to any room in the house; I am able to peel carrots, brush my teeth, lift weights, apply make-up and "read".

And I can walk with earphones and the i-touch to my heart's content.  It's a good thing I don't have a dog.  He would be exhausted.

Monday, 26 September 2011

#72:Life Lessons

Chances are I will learn something positive about aging every time I visit my readers at the retirement home.  But, having signed a confidentiality agreement,  I can't really talk about individuals.

Nevertheless,  it is probably acceptable to say that the most optimistic and cheerful person I have visited so far is also the one with the severest mobility and vision challenges.   "Alice's" enthusiasm and love of life is a tonic and  inspiration.

Unfortunately, she doesn't really need my services.  Her daughter keeps her well supplied with audio books.

But maybe I can just drop in on Alice for a chat--whenever my spirit needs a lift.  Every couple of days?


Sunday, 25 September 2011

#71: Being Mum

Retirement means having more time for one's children.  A recent late night phone call with one daughter did not have to be interrupted because I did not have to make lunch and get ready for work the next day, and a shopping trip with the other could be enjoyed today, a Sunday, because I did not have to be on the job.

I am a fortunate mum.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

#70: Fling/Fling in the Sunshine

It's a sunny Saturday, perfect for two things: walking in the country and cleaning the kitchen.

Since the desire to scrub sweeps over me so rarely,  I am acting on the latter.  It's not too often that I have the time and the natural light required to actually eyeball messes and do something about them.  Cleaning up in the kitchen on a gloomy day, I am like a blind person as I swab the counter top with my soapy dishcloth.   If it feels sticky/lumpy/crumby/wet, I wipe it down.  But I can't actually see a thing. I'm doing it all by Braille.   

Sunny day ....different story.

And this afternoon, I will go for that walk.  I can do other Saturday chores on a weekday.

Friday, 23 September 2011

#69: Homebody

On this wet and gloomy afternoon, I am happy to be at home.  I've been at the computer for a bit, and now I am going to read.

I wouldn't want every day to be like this, but once in awhile, it is acceptable.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

#68: One Book Event

 I may not have completely embraced retirement since I very nearly answered the phone this afternoon with the cheery greeting "Information Services".   But at least I knew that I didn't have to go to work on a Thursday evening.

That meant I could drive to Cambridge for an entirely pleasant event,  the One Book, One Community author reading by Louise Penny.  I hated arriving at these OBOC evenings, after my shift on the Information Desk in time for the final question.   But tonight I got to hear the whole thing --the readings, the questions, the complete and entertaining package.  She was wonderful!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

#67: Take a Hike, Mum

Where have all the mothers gone?  (The other mothers I knew when my kids were in school, that is.)

A fair number seem to belong to the local Canadian Federation of University Women's walking group and today as their newest member, I became re-acquainted with women I haven't seen for years.  We caught up on family news as about 10 of us hiked in the rain along the Kissing Bridge trail. 

This weekly afternoon CFUW group has been on my radar for years, and now that I have Wednesdays to spare, I can join them regularly. Bonus points that I know so many of the other walkers!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

#66: Important Stuff

I confess that squeezing in time to drive over to Cambridge today to keep a lunch date with  former volunteers Sondra and Jean was a challenge.  What with driving back and forth plus our visit, I was later than  intended for my afternoon volunteer commitment back at the retirement home in Guelph.  But it was OK.   I stayed later and got everything done.

I'm glad I can be flexible enough to fit in the important things like catching up with these lovely women and sharing a laugh.  It was worth the drive to hear Sondra 's comment about Qi Gong: " that sounds like something you would smoke".

Monday, 19 September 2011

#65: Soundtrack

For years I have declared that retirement homes need better Musak if they want to lure me as a resident.  No Five Foot Two, Good Night Irene or Toot Toot Tootsie for me.  A Beatles soundtrack would be acceptable, however.

The Village of Riverside Glen must have seen the memo because strains of very orchestrated Yesterday greeted me as I arrived for my volunteer shift today.  I hate to think what this implies.

Regardless, I have no intention of moving anywhere for years and years.   I'll just appreciate inoffensive, familiar  background music as I cull their library collection.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

#64: Usher Failure

Work-free Sundays mean that I can help out at church, so today I was available to "usher" and pass the collection plate.  Too bad that I somehow skipped an entire row.

But it was church, right?  So I'm sure I was forgiven. 


Saturday, 17 September 2011

#63: Busted

Scene/seen in our backyard:  3 chipmunks and numerous birds happily frolicking and scrounging under the broken "Squirrel Buster" bird feeder.  The special weight-sensitive perch is lying in pieces in a new hole that has appeared in the flower bed under the feeder.  The hole is full of seeds.

How did this happen? How did it happen twice?  And what does this tableau have to do with retirement?

A working woman would retire the bird feeder!  The retired librarian patiently re-assembles the feeder, fills the hole, rakes the flower bed......and plans a stake-out. 

Friday, 16 September 2011

#62: Balance

You know that concept of Work-Life balance?  I have just figured out that it no longer applies to me.

Take today:  a meeting about library service at the retirement home, a walk in the country, a bit of gardening and then wine group (where we attend, not where we host).

 No Work, all Life.  But not a bad balance.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

#61: Compromised?

Am I failing to embrace my retirement by agreeing to pick up the occasional shift at my former place of employment?

Maybe. Just a tiny bit. But not enough to matter.

I prefer to think I am taking advantage of an opportunity. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

#60: Housework

One would think that having more time to do housework, I might actually do more.  But it doesn't work that way.

For some reason I am doing less.  It could be that I am busier now with activities I enjoy;  I don't think about the other stuff  because I can always clean the bathrooms/do the laundry/vacuum the stairs "tomorrow".

When tomorrow never comes, I feel a bit guilty.  Then I remember Dorothy (my esteemed mother-in-law) telling me that she wasted half her life with housekeeping.  And I go outside and fill the bird feeder.   

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

#59: The Fix

Even when my day seems to be going nowhere, a couple of hours of "yardening" seems to set things right. 

Too bad everyone can't take a mid-day break to go dig up a rose, replant it and imagine how much happier it will be in its new location. 

Monday, 12 September 2011

#58: Trifecta

Qi gong classes began today, and as I might have predicted, I am a complete klutz. I am gangly, awkward, and I can't follow directions.  (If animals did qi gong, James our instructor might be a sleek and graceful tiger,  whereas I would be a stork who doesn't know left from right.)

But I am delighted to discover that learning qi gong's "18 postures"  is a challenge.  Its difficulty makes it an even better retirement activity.  I had anticipated that my morning with James and his class would allow me to fulfil some of the usual recommendations for retirees.  "Get exercise" (check).  "Make friends" (check).  And now, knowing how much my brain and body will struggle with this new pursuit,   I get to add  "Master new skills" (check, check and double check).

Monday morning qi gong? -- win, win, win.


Sunday, 11 September 2011

#57: New Trail

The first Sunday after Labour Day usually found me driving to Cambridge for my four-hour afternoon shift at the library. 

Today I also headed for Cambridge, but on foot.  I took a meandering path through the woods along the river.  I admired the tall, pink, Joe Pye weed, the purple asters and fields of goldenrod.  And when I came out later on the Niska Road, I turned around.  I didn't need to go 26 kms.   No-one needed me to open the library, clear the book drop, staple the newspapers and turn on the computers.

My retirement has been a bit like that walk. I'm heading in the same direction, but my path is different and I'm in no hurry.  I'll take time to enjoy what I experience on the way.

Tomorrow is my first day as a library volunteer at the Riverside Glen retirement home.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

#56: New Look

Yesterday I culled my closet. The scratchy tweed pants that only looked good from the front, the skirt-suit that proclaimed "I'm a librarian and you're not", the celery-green tunic sweater that seemed like a good idea at the time -- all gone off to the consignment store, along with other assorted work-wear.  This shop is picky, but nothing was rejected.  Perhaps librarian-chic is the coming trend.

Meanwhile I have room for other garments if I so choose, but I'm not sure I need them. Not yet. I have a few pairs of jeans to wear out first.

Friday, 9 September 2011

#55: Frabjous Day

Thank you, Summer.

You have not deserted us, and offered up a glorious, warm September Friday.

Best of, I got to enjoy every minute, because I was not at work.

Come back tomorrow if you can.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

#52: Togetherness

Occasionally I am thankful for something I don't do with my partner in retirement. Square dancing.  Bowling in matching his 'n her shirts.   Collecting golf balls.

While running an errand in the car today, we passed the spot where a guy sells used golf balls and Bruce recalled having seen an ad on TV for special ball-finding glasses.  The second pair, for a limited time only, was absolutely free!  I briefly imagined the two of us wearing hideous glasses trudging toward the 18th hole, lugging a bag of balls.  We agreed  that this was a retirement activity that might appeal to some, but not us.  Lord, no. 

But I'm not so certain about my husband and metal detectors.  Do they come in pairs? Should I add to the "don't do" list?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

#51: Arty Party

Best thing about today for this retiree?

Time to attend the celebratory launch party for the Grange Prize for Photography at the AGO in Toronto.  Daughter Keri is the project manager for this competition so it's about time the proud parents put in an appearance.

It sure beats a Wednesday evening shift at the library.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

#50: Book Group Day

I am responsible for leading the discussion at book group this evening.  How is it that I am able to do my research on a leisurely Tuesday morning? 

Surely I was supposed to be online last night, searching for reviews at 10:30 p.m. sometime before getting ready for bed and making my lunch for the following day?

Monday, 5 September 2011

#49: New Year's Day

It is Labour Day, a holiday that always seems to me like the start of the real New Year.

It is a time to plan ahead, and this time last year I was doing just that, thinking about the need to compose the volunteer newsletter, plan a workshop for my visiting library volunteers, and create pathfinders /book lists for the library website.

This year, I am contemplating different activities:  sorting books for the Friends of the Guelph Public Library,  weeding and organizing the library at The Village of Riverside Glen (a retirement and nursing home), and interviewing Riverside Glen residents about their reading choices so that I can help them make better use of the Guelph Public Library Bookmobile.  Almost forgot...I offered to help a high school librarian friend re-shelve her collection.


Are all librarians so predictable?  Maybe I should sign up for that bellydancing class as well.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

#48: Lick It and Stamp It

I just wrote a letter in pen and ink (well, ballpoint actually). It was a real letter that I put in an envelope and carried to the post box.

I have a friend in New Zealand who is not on email, and I wanted her to know we are coming her way early in 2012. As a very happy retiree she will also be interested to know how it's going for me. I was able to tell her that, among other things, I hope to be writing more real letters to friends.

Better add that to my growing "to-do-in-retirement" list.  

Saturday, 3 September 2011

#47: Advice

I love it when my horoscope reflects my real life and not some fantasy existence.  In today's Globe and Mail, I was advised not to "get carried away with new ideas...there is really no need to rush".

Have all the Capricorns retired?

Friday, 2 September 2011

#46: Shuffle Demon

My chosen "retirement exercise" is walking, and since I also enjoy listening to audio books I can combine these two pleasant activities when I hit the trail with headphones and my new itouch.

Too bad that I am having major problems following my story.  Hard Time, my Sara Paretsky download, seems all mixed up.   It could be a "Shuffle" glitch  ( I know that much), so I reset that function, or think I do.  Find my place. Begin listening.  Become aware that the story is still crazy.  Check Shuffle.  Find my place again. Listen. Aaaaagh!  I swear that I hear the same altercation between V. I.Warshawski  and Officer Lamour eight times while Shuffle and I battle it out.  Then I  lose the story completely as my ears are filled with a Dvorak cello concerto. What is going on?  I attempt a fix.  It's no good:  Shuffle...Warshawski... Dvorak.... Shuffle..... Warshawski.... Dvorak. Dvorak wins.  I am out of good ideas and I stomp home in frustration.

My in-house consultant points out something interesting about my device.  There is also a "shake to shuffle" toggle and it is ON.

I guess that means that my pocket was not the best place for the itouch.

But now I know.  It's not too late for this retiree to become more tech-savvy.


Thursday, 1 September 2011

#45: September

Is September1 looking decidedly autumnal, or is it my imagination?

Never mind.  It is still officially summer for three more weeks, and since I am no longer tethered to a computer (except by choice)  I will have lots of time in which to take advantage of whatever summery, sunny days remain.

I'll deal with September 21 when I absolutely have to.