Retired with Something to do

Younger women especially have said to me  since my family is grown and I’ve retired “What do you do all day?”.

I used to worry about having time on my hands but I have found ways to keep happily busy.  We women are fortunate because we have our homes to clean,laundry to do,and meals to make. I’m sure that you’ve heard the saying ” Men work from sun to sun ,a woman’s work is never done!” It’s trueit does keep us busy and “life occupied”. The work is on going and needs doing again each day.  I have to admit that my home is not as dirty as it once was with a family to care for. But my dogs do their best to close the gap.  Two long haired papillons are capable of leaving hair everywhere and they never pick up their toys.  Each morning I get dressed immediately,although I have dreamed of staying in my “housecoat” (do they call it that anymore?)til late in the morning.  Anyway the dogs are waiting to go out.  Here they must be on a leash at all times so out we go.  I take them out again walking in a different direction this time,just before noon,once again late in the afternoon and John takes them in the evening. I change after my supper dishes are done into my housecoat so he is still dressed and takes them for their final walk of the day. The walk once I’m up and out is quite pleasant especially along the canal where I often see water birds and just recently four otters. A mocking bird along the way greets me with his songs-just beautiful.

It’s time for breakfast and to gather clothes for the washer(some days) ,decide what I will make for our main meal of the day at noon . As I work around the house for the morning my TV is on as I listen tomorning shows-Fox and Friends or the Today Show etc.

I have meetings three times a week groups all of which I started by putting an item asking for people to contact me if interested. On Mondays our “Hooks and Needles” group meets-experienced knitters and crocheters help those of us (especially me) when we get to a stitch we’ve never done or if we have a tangled mess. Thursdays our book club will meet(once a month) ,and Fridays it’s our recipe exchange/cooking group.

We have a heated pool and when the weather allows(it’s been cold this year but many of us go everyday)we take advantage of it -it is a social occasion  as many of the ladies stand in the water and visit and there is an water exercise group -I have never joined in this one.

Once home again I am usually at the computer.  I love my computer!! Whenever I get stuck with a stain,or a suggestion of what to do with the I’m there.  My sister Marcia and I have a perpetual scrabble game going on so I will check the computer to see if she has made a play and left me a note. We are close and she shares news about what her kids are doing and who has visited,and what she is makng for lunch,and how she is doing healthwise among other chatter about what is going on in the world and  with the rest of the family. I check Facebook to see what the kids and grandkids are up to and then I read email from friends up North and forward them some funny emails I’ve received.

Actually I check my emails before I walk the dogs in the morning and on the hour most days. I have found web sites for recipes and one that I am using to learn to crochet-there are great videos and I can play them over and over until I get it right!

Any time I have a question-for instance-what is the life span of a butterfly or where is Turkestan -I’m at the computer.

Stains,how long refrigerated items will keep-I’m at my computer.  Dickens has been itching-what should I do about that?  My computer is my friend.

More on this topic of keeping busy tomorrow because Lily is barking to go out. So long for now-I have a lot to do today!



Right now  I am waiting for my yarn to come from “The Knitting Warehouse” which I’ll use for a new (free) afghan pattern I found online.  I order the yarn although we have a JoAnn’s and Michaels where I can purchase yarn but often they dod not have the yarn specified in the pattern.  There is a yarn shop in Suart(about 10 miles from here) but they carry very expensive albeit fine yarns-too much investment for a beginner . Anyway while I’m waiting I found a knitted scarf pattern which should keep my hands busy until my afghan yarn arrives. When I am not actually knitting or crocheting I keep looking on the computer for EASY patterns-printing them and keeping them for later.

I mentioned my book club ,it is my responsibility to pick up the books and distribute them and gather those returned and take them to the branch library . Before each meeting I do computer research to find reviews,discussion ideas and the biography of the author of that month’s selection. I spend hours planning for each meeting.

So I read,do needlework,check out recipes for the recipe exchange and after my housecleaning is done entertain myself.

We have a Wii which we use for living room sports:mostly bowling and tennis but actually many more. John just hooked up the Wii to the internet so now we can watch movies from NetFlix which are streamed directly to our TV-no DVDs to return.

I spend hours at my keyboard practicing the selections from MY EASY PIANO book. They are all the nostalgic songs of years gone by-Blue Skies,Stormy Weather,I left my Heart in San Franciso as well as old timers-Bill Bailey Won’t you please Come Home  and hymns. Some I play as I would on the Piano ,others I use all the bells and whistles of my keyboard -differetn voices and rhythm  accompaniments. Sometimes I sound quite good-my husband says-he encourages my  efforts  while he has the TV to himself for those shows he enjoys but that I don’t care to watch.

When we want to do something together it’s the Wii or a jigsaw puzzle.  We are able to borrow books and puzzles here in the Park at the club house on the honor system-bring them back when we are through and remember to bring them back. Magazines-I like REAL SIMPLE and Martha Stewarts LIVING ,local newspaper and library books-plenty of reading and browsing material.

I have met so many people along my dog walking route that each time the dogs and leave we may not return for several hours as we visit along the way.  Some of our friends keep dog snacks and the dogs remember where each of them lives.

So that’s basically how I spend my time other than watching TV quite a bit, and talking with family nd friends on the phone. It is not too difficult to find something to do.





Our Patio Debacle

We decided that this was the year to hire someone to put in a new patio.We interviewed 4 contractors and chose one from Pittsfield (about 20 miles away).  We chose him because he was referred by a general contractor and he had a three ring binder with photographs of all the walls,fireplaces and patios he had one-really beautiful work.  He said he had thirty years of experience and we paid more than we had expected because we had seen his work and we wanted a nice job since we would not change it again in our lifetime. Well the short story is he did a rotten job-the material between the flagstones never hardened -causing the ashy residue to lay on top of the flagstones and when trying to swep it this material would sweep right out.  The slates would tip,the slope was wrong causing the water to run towards and settle at the base of the clapboards and the moisture wicked up the boards-I’ll not go on. We are now having all this dug out and a new masonry work will be done in several weeks. We felt we had been taken!! We had a contract with a license number, signatures of both the general contractor and “his masonry man” and a satisfaction guarantee.  OK sounds as if we practiced due diligence-I guess not.  Since the last day he told my husband he needed the money-we were assured the material between the flagstone would harden-he was paid the remainder of the contract price.  Now the “mason”will no longer answer our calls or letter.

We have a date in small claims court now. I don’t know how much good it will do other than give me some satisfaction. I keep thinking of my mother’s words”Sue a beggar ,catch a louse.” Beware of contractors in these economic times.I wish my hair was not gray because I keep hearing about contractors fleecing the elderly!!!UGGHHH We are so embarassed to be in this situation.

Patio slates

The next step-

Patio Repair

Autumn Lingers in My Home

It is very satisfying to be able to do the things I had never had the time to do when I was teaching.  This year I learned to crochet. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks(in fact I think even that has been found to be possible).I have had a vegetable garden and canned some of my produce-freezing some ,raised herbs,dried them to use until next year.

My home has the odors of autumn as I remembered my mother’s and grandmother’s did. The cut up peppers  for the sweet pepper relish,the cinnamony-spicy smell of chili sauce simmering on the stove,the apple crisp in the oven- rosemary,basil and thyme as they  dried. Such a homey feeling.

Our homes though are sometimes more difficult to work in even after using a food processor to help with the relish making.  My grandmother had a “summer kitchen” which allowed much of the canning with the boiling water for sterilizing cans and the hot water bath for the processing to escape.  My kitchen was so hot and steamy I had to use the AC-I bet grandma would have liked that. The old iron wood stoves had the warming ovens where bread dough was set to rise-I set mine in my oven with a pan of warm water .I have a glass topped electric range and big canners and kettles of water -not much room and I can use only certain pots and pans.  It was a different time but some of the most rewarding chores can be done in my modern kitchen.  I just love my canning cupboard at the foot of my cellar stair. I remember going into the root cellar for my grandmother to bring up vegetables or food from crocks.  I remember running because it was so dark down there. Creeping slowly down the stairs and racing back up out of the musty darkness. My grandchildren have a nicely lit cellar with carpet on the descending stairs. I wonder what scares

Autumn is a marvelous time.  I miss the odor of burning leaves wafting on the cool air and the baskets of apples fresh from the trees witing to be made into pies. Which my Dad enjoyed immensely with a slice of Vermont cheddar cheese-I can still hear him saying “Apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze.”

Teenagers and Old Folks

We have something is common with teens. Teens are usually so hard to deal with that when they move on into their twenties and out of their parent’s home it is a relief. I think that we seniors are sometimes viewed the same way. Seen as an obligation-“I should call Mom” “I should go over and help her with the …… The problem disappears when we move on.

Prejudice Comes in all Colors and Ages

As a senior citizen I find that some of the younger generation who wave the banner of “Tolerance” are the ones who are in fact prejudging me.  I have found myself recently explaining that my views are the result of thoughtful consideration of a fact or policy and defending myself from charges of intolerance. That shouldn’t be necessary.

As anyone can tell you, we are all influenced by our life  experiences, and that should be taken in to account but most of us are  not ruled  by them ,nor should anyone be afraid of expressing opposition to an idea or action merely because of age, color or religion .

We will listen to your ideas and resent any  automatic judgement . Just be sure that you are not afraid to analyze the ideas and actions of others unlike yourselves and  to disagree with them.

That too is prejudice.

Hello World

High Hopes

Oldest in my family,always told to be the best I could be. A grandmother and married almost 6 years now.I need to stay busy and find things to do and if I can’t find what I want –I organize one. Failure is not an option. I am an optimist and have had a good life-I believe everything is possible if you try!

Joan Marion

When Other People Think You’re Old

I remember the first time someone offered to carry my groceries to the car and realized that I really did look my age and that people thought I was old.  My mirror had been telling me the same thing but you know you really can’t trust mirrors. My daughter told me that her friend had said I was looking for her-I knew that her friend didn’t have a clue as to who I was and asked how she knew it was her mother. She told me that her friend had  told her “an old lady had asked for her”-somehow my daughter knew it was me. I can’t forget my shock. I had been called an old lady!

When the waitress called me “dearie” –not so uusual down South but here in New England it was a first for me.  Anyway I don’t feel any different but there are signs that others regard me as elderly-When I ask for them to repeat directions they almost shout their reply.

My adult children suddenly know much more than I and tell me all the ways “things have changed” and explain much more than necessary.

I don’t feel any different and each morning I am surprised at the rather wrinkled senior citizen I see in the looking glass.. I feel as alive and vital as I ever was but I know others are questioning my assumption.

I begin to worry now if I can’t remember the name of that actor from yesteryear appearing in a classic movie, things that I used as a child are now appearing in antique shops and heaven forbid, museums. When people who I know are younger than I, are called elderly in the newspaper or on the TV news, when people explain the obvious to me…I know it has happened. Funny without these clues I would not know –I’m OLD.