Wednesday, 30 November 2011

#135: He and She, Retiree

I was in the Bookmobile yesterday collecting material for my nursing home readers when I happened upon the perfect book for me:  How to Love Your Retirement.  There was a lengthy chapter on "Living With Your Retired Partner", and I skimmed through it.

Wow.  So many retired couples say they get on one another's nerves. And the men are, reportedly, the worst; they have a tendency to hang out in the kitchen and offer commentary.  The poor guys clearly have nothing better to do.  One woman unhappily reported that her husband had even alphabetized her spice drawer.

Huh?  What's the problem?  Put those fellows to work if they are so interested.  Men can iron, bake and wash up -- and do a darn good job.

My husband is welcome to pitch in (and he does).  Have a blast, I say, but don't worry about the spice drawer.  Allspice, Basil, Cumin -- it's all done.  I'm not a librarian for nothing.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

#134: Time to Talk

Early morning phone calls from friends and family no longer go to voice mail or get the brushoff as in: "I'd love to talk but I'm already late for work..."

Who knew I could be so sociable before 9.00 am?

Monday, 28 November 2011

#133: Holiday Greetings

How many ways can you say "Thank you!  You are a wonderful volunteer.  We especially appreciate the grand way in which you do xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx -- Happy (one size fits all) Holiday!"

Last year at this time, I was working my way through 130 unique, seasonal messages for 130 wonderful volunteers. In my time as the library volunteer coordinator, I must have written about 2000 such cards, so as December 2011 bears down it doesn't feel normal to have so many holiday card-free evenings.  Surely I will wake up in a cold sweat knowing that this task has not been completed.

I guess the only way to relieve my anxiety is to tackle my own Christmas card list ASAP.  And perhaps this year I can actually get them in the mail before the 25th.    

Sunday, 27 November 2011

#132: Deja Vu (sort of)

A former colleague and I went over to the library today at noon, just as we used to every Sunday when we worked together.  Back in the old days we took turns driving, and we would chat about everything under the sun as we travelled to and fro.

Same thing today.  I drove, and we headed off-- not to work-- but to the Studio Show and Sale at our former workplace.  We admired the crafts and art, made some purchases, talked to a few Sunday staff and checked out the renovations  (that library building is always being upgraded).   Then we toddled off.  They all seemed to be managing quite well without us.

We had done what we came for, and there was still plenty of time to stop at a knitting shop on the way back.  Our renovated Sundays have definitely been upgraded!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

#131: Cool Yule

On the strength of my working a few shifts as an emergency librarian, it looks as if I get to go to the staff Christmas party, in spite of being retired.

How cool is that?

Friday, 25 November 2011

#130: Cruel Yule

November 25.   Time to admit that Christmas is coming whether I like it or not.


Alas, being retired and having all that "extra time" to get ready does not help at all.

I still feel panicked, and now I have no excuses.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

#129: Shoe Envy

On the way to lunch, Millie (my Pittsburgh friend) and I made a side trip to Littles, a big shoe store in Squirrel Hill.

I remembered it from previous visits and knew it had a fabulous selection.  But we were not there to buy--we were merely lusting.  (I don't know what my husband was doing when we were being seduced by shoes.  "Just looking"  is not a concept he comprehends, at all.)  

Millie and I checked out the dressy, high end Thierry Rabotin and Taryn Rose pumps and a complete range of more serviceable sporty flats.  We fingered them, we admired them, and we put them down. But our footwear faves were not what one might imagine;  I wanted the pretty but impractical work-worthy shoes, but she only had eyes for the sturdy flats.

I assured her that retirement would provide more than enough opportunity for comfort shoes.  Be careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

#128: Night Work

Since I have agreed to do a 4:00 - 8:30 shift next week at a branch library I don't know very well, I decided to drop in for the last hour today to reconnoiter and check on their closing procedures.

I had my little visit, we locked up the library, and I returned to Guelph.  All good.  I can do this.

However.  As I drove back along Highway 24 in the dark at 8:45, I felt no nostalgia for the evening shifts I jettisoned when I retired.  I'm so happy I no longer work nights.

But giving a colleague the evening off so she and her family can watch The Christmas Train chug into town?   That's a different story.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

#127: Cinema for Codgers

It was drizzly and damp in Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon so three of us went to a 2:15 movie at The Manor.

The theatre was practically empty, except for a handful of (what appeared to be) retirees.  (Full disclosure leads me to admit that our friend is looking forward to retirement, but is not there yet.)

Without preamble, J Edgar began. There were no trailers.  There were no ads.  Not one.  Not even a Christmas Coke commercial with a bunch of happy penguins.

Advertisers are missing a *golden* opportunity. Don't they realize the demographic attending afternoon films? A captive audience of older viewers is just waiting to be bombarded with marketing for Depends, life insurance, and those walk-in bathtubs where people always seem to wear housecoats.

An interesting idea, eh?

But let's keep it to ourselves.


Friday, 18 November 2011

#126: Endless Weekend

Perhaps it is inaccurate to refer to my upcoming trip to Pittsburgh as a "long weekend".

My life is a long weekend.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

#125: Una Birra?

We are toying with the idea of joining friends for a hiking holiday in Sicily next September.

This may be the incentive I need to break out the "Italian the Easy Way" CDs, dictionaries, grammar books, etc.

I abandoned Italian lessons when I was working and had no time for language learning, but the prospect of being able to order more than Birra Messina at the end of a dusty trail -- that's a retirement  project I can swallow whole.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

#124: Sittin' on the Dock of e-Bay...

The way I see it, e-Bay is made for retirees.  Who else has the time to watch over a bid that is going to expire at 2:30 pm?

My theory was borne out when I successfully bid on an item, and then checked the profile of the seller.

He is a 75 year old retired pharmacist who overcame cancer three years ago but found himself depressed until he discovered the joy of e-Bay. 

I can now think of my purchase as contributing to his continued recuperation.  Retail therapy, indeed!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

#123: Golden Girls

Eighty-ish Jean, seventy-ish Sondra, and moi (67) met for lunch today, solved several world problems, and then made arrangements for December.

We all got out our pocket calendars and wrote next to the chosen date:  12:00--Lunch with The Girls.

This is Jean and Sondra's label, not mine.  But I'll be a Girl along with these two any day of the week! 

Monday, 14 November 2011

#122: Lunch Bar

A Qi Gong friend and I have taken to having lunch together after the class.

At first we ate in the cafe at the seniors' centre.  The prices are very reasonable, and we love that the staff are likely much older than we are, and they are still going strong.  But in other ways, this venue does not measure up.  It is more cafeteria than cafe, so I feel like I am back at the nerd table in high school, albeit with a much, much older crowd.    And while I won't say that the food seems "elderly", it is predictable and uninspired.

I didn't know I was so picky.

So we have now taken to having our coffee at the Second Cup near campus.  Sometimes the students have eaten all the good wraps, the place is noisy, and because the staff forgets to close the walk-in fridge, there is often a cold draft.  (I just get up and close the door, and go back to my conversation.)  Our new hangout does not exactly raise the lunch bar, but for now it is OK.

And when I want a tuna fish sandwich and cream of mushroom soup, I know where to go. 


Sunday, 13 November 2011

#121: Reality Cheque

Note to self:

Yes, you enjoyed your Saturday shift as an "emergency librarian" but this was not a voluntary pursuit.  They will pay you.

But first you need fill in your time sheet.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

#120: Seniors Helping Seniors

My biggest grocery shopping challenge as a retiree (aside from dodging other retired shoppers) has been dealing with those darned flimsy plastic bags that are intended for loose fruits and vegetables.  I can't open them.  I finger the edges again and again, and they stay doggedly shut.  What is going on?

Are these new bags since last June?  A cost cutting strategy, perhaps? A ploy to keep me in the store for twice as long?   Because I now seem to take 2 or 3 minutes to wrestle just one little bag open.

Or perhaps it is my fault.  It could be that my aging fingers are becoming inept, or perhaps they are just really dry.  But I refuse to lick them in order to gain traction.

I was recently engaged in a power struggle with what was intended to be a carrot bag when a nearby voice echoed my frustration.  "I just hate those bags!" said the older woman on my right.  "So this is what I do", and she reached out to finger a wet bunch of parsley. Then she opened her bag.

Whatever works.  If you see me petting the damp veggies I'm not testing them for freshness.


Friday, 11 November 2011

#119: TechnoFreak

After two hours, I think I have figured out how to put an Overdrive app on my iTouch so I can read library ebooks on my little Apple device.

The secret (I think) is to first have an iTunes account and an Adobe Digital Editions account that recognize ones own iTouch. (Since it doesn't actually say this on the Overdrive website I need to be prepared to deliver this information, if required, to puzzled Library users.  Tomorrow.  When I work at Hespeler.)

Maybe, if I am very lucky, no one will ask about reading ebooks on their iPhone/iTouch, but if they do I don't want to appear too ignorant.

In the meantime, my 67 year old brain is overwrought and freaked out.  Technology is not my natural metier. But I'm sure all that brain scrambling is very good for me -- sort of like Qi Gong for neurons. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

#118: Floss Boss

I had my teeth cleaned today for the first time since retiring.  When Heather, the dental hygienist, knew about my changed circumstances, she pounced on me.

Nancy!  Now you'll have more time to floss!

I hated to break it to her, but I've asked many, many people about their retirement plans, and flossing is not on anyone's top ten list.  Or their top 100, for that matter.

No one ever says, I can hardly wait to retire so I can floss as much as I want.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

#117: Dress Up

No trip to Saskatoon is complete until I have visited "The Mendel", the lovely little art gallery that overlooks the South Saskatchewan River.

I always pop into the gift shop, and this time I overheard an older woman, a Mendel volunteer, admiring a display of hand-woven scarves.   These are lovely, she said, but I have so few opportunities now to get dressed up. 

Ah yes -- I surveyed my own ensemble -- the truth about retirement attire.

The good news:  you can wear jeans every day.  The bad news:  you can wear jeans every day. 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

#116: Laundry List

So far, one of the most interesting things that has happened to me in Saskatoon was my guest appearance on the community radio program, Laundry List.  The topic under discussion for this episode was....ta dah... Retirement.

Daughter Jenny and her friends Tracy and Brenda co-host this "anything goes"  program.  (That Saturday morning, they also recorded a second 1/2 hour item about home ownership.) These three young women have great rapport,  and it was fun to see them in action.  They are completely poised and thoughtful, and very entertaining.  

Me?  I was terminally boring.  I won't be looking to break into radio anytime soon, but why should I?  I'm retired.

Friday, 4 November 2011

#115: Crank

Here in Ontario, the leaves are still on the trees and the mums are still blooming in our gardens.  It is autumn, for heaven's sake!   But our stores seem to be consulting a different calendar, one where December 25 comes right after Halloween. 

Thus, I walked into the grocery store yesterday and found a huge display of Christmas flowers.  I understand the amaryllis which take 8 weeks to grow and flower, but who buys poinsettias in early November?  So I had a little rant (more like an annoyed observation) to the poor floral clerk who admitted that she also thought the store was rushing the season.

I don't think I would have sounded off about Christmas Creep 10 years ago.

Perhaps I am crankier now because I am retired?    That is such a scary thought that I bought 3 amaryllis bulbs and went home and planted them.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

#114: Info Service

While I was at the preview night for the Friends of the Library book sale, I encountered one of the organizers, a retired librarian, standing by the exit with her smart phone.  "The reception is better here, so I'm looking up an author for someone" she explained, adding  "You never stop being a librarian!"

Too true.  I've just spent an hour putting together a rather involved answer to a reference question for a friend.

I was glad to do it.  "Can you find out something about....." is a request I cannot ignore.

But now the information desk is closed and I am back to packing for my trip to Saskatoon.  I'll get to hang out with my librarian daughter, talk shop, and no lieu time or holidays days were required.     

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

#113: Trekking

In our neck of the woods Star Trek is on at 12 noon, so I occasionally join my husband for lunch with Captain Kirk.

We saw all these programs and loved them when they originally aired back in 1966, but I remember none of the details-- just the characters and a few tag lines like "Beam me up Scotty".  Watching the reruns is like seeing them for the first time.  I have no idea how each episode will unfold.  My fellow Trekkie, however, recalls all the details and doesn't mind sharing.  "This is where the bad guy from the penal colony arrives."  "Here's where Kirk is at the OK Corral".

I enjoy the commentary, and the company.  The closest I got to Star Trek while at work was once a year when I turned up in my "Information Officer on the Enterprise" Halloween costume.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

#112: Early bird

Why do older folks take advantage of restaurants' early bird specials?  I would like to think that it because a 5 o'clock meal guarantees more time for evening activities such as movies, concerts, dance lessons, or book groups.

My book club meets tonight and I am so happy that this is no longer an after work activity.

I now have time to prepare dinner from scratch, eat it, and get out the door in time for the 7:30 meeting.  I will even be able to quickly review the book which I read about two years ago and have totally forgotten.

On second thought, I should planned an even earlier dinner -- 4:00, or maybe 3:30?