Category Archives: Writer Writes

It’s been awhile…

So many months have whipped by, all the while I’ve been thinking time was standing still as we waited for COVID19 to be finished. It is not.

Spring, summer, fall of 2020 and now parts of winter into the new year of 2021 has continued to see Hubby and I adjust not only to Covid and world events but to our first year of retirement together. Somehow insignificant to the the rest of the events but for us, two little peas in the pod, we’ve been sorting it out.

Officially Hubby’s one year anniversary of retirement was January 23/21 and we would have liked to be not here, not in the rain of the west coast of BC – however, we are well, we are safe and we pray for the end of the pandemic. We are doing our best to do our part in complying with restrictions, guidelines and try to remain optimistic for the future.

It was not in the realm of our plans to be hanging out together, every day, sometimes all day for months at a time but we found ways to entertain ourselves. I discovered just how handy the Hubby can be when he is not occupied with concerns with employment work – much of that focus has shifted to fulfilling the job lists, created by me. Job lists, I might add, that just seem to add one or two as one or two are completed.

We have, and I use that term ‘we’ loosely because in truth, as creator, director and distributor of the job lists, Hubby seemed to end up with a large bulk of the tasks to do. Some living-room furniture has been painted, our bedroom walls painted, bedroom furniture rearranged, digging of gardens accomplished, moving some garden path paver blocks two inches to the left, and a drainage issue resolved after severals days of work in the rain. I had nothing to do with the drainage problem – that cropped up all by itself.

On my end, no slouching has happened, as I’ve been creating projects of my own, such as the one in the fall writing an article for a new local blog. You can read it here: https://surreywritersnorthof60.wordpress.com/2020/10/21/mailboxes-on-24th-avenue/

I was to be in a small artist/artisan show in December but it was cancelled due to the Covid restrictions and I had to decide what to do with the several paintings I had worked on and hoped to show.

I started off this year, on January 1st by selling a painting. There are a few of them hanging in a local coffee shop so there was a bit of a learning curve there, choosing which paintings, pricing, hanging, and telling my inner critic to take a long hike.

Hubby and I are getting ready for a grand-baby to arrive in the spring of 2021. One of those recent projects has been to sort through a dozen years of my son’s education papers, report cards, personal stories and getting rid of what he’d likely call the trauma of the school years. After a couple weeks of making decisions of what to toss and what to keep, I now have a nicely sorted bin full of milestones of years…to share with the grandchild. Perhaps the son will someday enjoy hearing about his own wildly creative imagination in storytelling as he made his love of snowboarding come to life, how boring his teachers were, on rougher days, how bad he thought the school system was, how much he loved volleyball, his friends and finally in Grade 12, after graduation how much he was going to miss the closeness of his friends and all the life activities they shared. It’s been a lot of years since that graduation, like 18 years, of me the mother storing several bins of memories – his memories.

Because of Covid, but really not thanks to Covid, neglected tasks have been accomplished. I have in the past, been a facilitator/participant of a program called Freedom Session. I had books with hundreds and hundreds of pages of writing, of processing life that needed to be sorted, some kept and the rest shredded and let go of. That task was a couple of weeks of work, physical and emotional but oh, so freeing, once done.

Our daughter has also noticed how handy Hubby is, in her case…Dad. He’s been the helper of in house drainage issues, car troubles problem solver, the go to guy to put on snow tires, and all around big heart and listening ears for the many adjustments needed in a Covid year.

There are a few more indoor tasks to be accomplished by Hubby and myself and the spring outdoor list is under development. I have big plans for Hubby.

I hope he’s ready.

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COVID SPRING

The time has zipped by since my last time of writing – which was a confession really. 

I had mentioned the day my emotions fell apart in a parking lot and that to my horror I had become this cranky yapping old lady mad at her hubby (for no valid reason)

Also mentioned at last writing was the scenario in which I believed I had been observed and quite likely overheard – several days later I actually chatted with that person and directly asked if I had been overheard.

I was prepared to humble myself and apologize for my lack of good behavior.

The answer came back as a no, I had not been heard. 

At the time I experienced a release of tension, but it taught me a quick lesson in keeping my emotions in check and was a warning that I had too much stimulation going on and needed to watch my attitude.

Since that time months have passed, way more important events have taken place and now it is summer.

BC, Canada where I live, has moved past Phase One of the COVID-19 virus, where we were in isolation for two weeks. We were then freed to roam our neighborhood, learned how to online grocery shop, absorb daily news reports about new cases, deaths, recoveries and slowly began to adjust to daily life going nowhere but for walks, short drives and in our back yard.

Hubby and I created a fun couple of Pickleball videos: https://youtu.be/RkXlzOmsfaA

Phase Two came along and our bubble of people we were in physical contact with increased, shopping in grocery stores tentatively approached and we began to play singles Pickleball at the outside courts.

Slowly, we listened to the news a little less – still so concerned about what was happening in the world but needing mini breaks from the death tolls and numbers of cases.

Tragedy struck – beyond COVID – more death, violence, great grief, and anger – with it has come demonstrations, more violence, marches, speeches and a desire along with a hope that the brokenness within our world’s people can be healed. 

It has been so sad and heartbreaking on so many levels.

Phase Three has been announced here – with it comes more freedom to move about, to travel within our province and to cautiously include even more people in our circle of contacts.

For hubby and me it means we are more active in the game of Pickleball, hubby is riding his bike adding miles and length of time out of the house – for fun, but to get a higher level of endurance and fitness.

Our fun adventure of retirement and adjusting to it has brought surprises and emotions far beyond that long ago one day parking lot melt-down.

Rather we are grateful to be healthy, safe, alive, living in the location we do – while we continue to care about what is happening in the rest of the world where COVID is still ravaging its way in and through other people’s lives.

This is a humbling time of life, being a senior citizen, looking forward to our retirement years, enjoying our daily life, yet grieving for the loss of life from the hand of others, and from a virus that can literally attack anyone, at any time.

Take care out there.

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Filed under Art/Draw/Paint/Create, Life Lessons, retirement, Writer Writes

Retirement Month One continued…

Our New Year’s evening of  2019 consisted of eating, licking our fingers, unpacking, doing a little walk around the neighborhood, watched some TV and then abandoned all the plans we’d been chatting about: like a midnight hot-tub as they are open 24 hours a day, then re-thinking that plan as we could do the hot tub in the morning.

Well midnight came…was I awake? I can’t remember. I do remember that morning came and the trek to the hot tub didn’t happen.

After being several days on the road, traveling from B.C. Canada, including making an overnight stop to visit friends in California who we’ve known since our early married years when Ross was in Seminary at Fresno, California – anyway, we were tired out and just sat in our little bungalow and relaxed.

January 1 and 2, 2020.  Morning coffee, which in my opinion is the best time of day, settling in and unpacking…full sun days, played some outdoor pickleball and reconnected with people not seen since last spring.

This retirement experience so far was going well.  Great in fact.

January 3. A most annoying feeling began to happen…. scratchy sore throat.  My throat.

January 4.  Scratchier throat.  The interpretation of a scratchy throat is raw, like swallowing sharp little sticks. I know this sign well enough so off to the store I go and Hubby too of course.

At the base of my neck a pain developed which radiated down into my left shoulder, the exact location there are some bone compression’s. As the flu/cold symptoms increased so did the pain in my body and so did the frustration level with anyone in my recent memory who’d had a cold in my presence even though I could have picked up a bug anywhere.

Hubby became more helpful, attentive and quiet as I became sicker.

I tried to be upbeat, I really did.

We bundled ourselves up warm because it gets quite chilly in the desert and took a little trip south, or north or west – I have no idea because most of the time I get lost in the resort park so I can’t be expected to know where I am once I leave here. More so if I’m busy feeling sorry for myself and ill.

We were off to see the hot air balloons…flu pain in my shoulder and neck…sore throat…pain medications flowing through me and trying to be enthusiastic about the upcoming event.

I know, I know…I do know better.  Should’ve really been home in bed.

However, I was trying to be a good retirement wife full of frolicking fun even though I had to fake it a lot.

Okay.  So, we did that – saw the balloons, saw a lovely lake backdrop, felt the excitement as the balloons heated up one by one, lit up and glowing beautifully with all the various rainbow colors, then felt the cold descend as the darkness of night arrived.

A band played.

People danced on the grass.

Food trucks dished out hamburgers and hot dogs.

Other people did as we did, stood around waiting for something to happen. One balloon went up, up, up to the end of its tether. Then it came down and that was the extent of the excitement for me.

It was dark, desert dark, and cold, desert cold.

After two hours of being upbeat and engaged with the surroundings, I was done.

Those balloons may have eventually done a finale of all going up to the end of their tethers, but Hubby and I did not stick around long enough to find out.

In the next days to come the throat soreness eased up as the nose plugged up…and then the nose blowing began.

This must be quite exciting reading…

It must have been torture for Hubby to listen to me because I sounded like a honking semi-truck on the freeway and continued like that for several more days before I became more human like.

And the bronchial cough – oh the cough…though I did discover a nice liquid drink which drugged and subdued my system at night so I could sleep.

We have some wonderful friends here in the park who are our go-to people when we need help and need to borrow items.  We seem to need help a lot.

We appreciate them – not so sure they appreciate us as we tend to be such scrounges.

For three years in a row I have borrowed their vaporizer because for three years in a row my body has arrived in Arizona and gotten sick.

I so love that vaporizer humming all night which also helped me breathe easier. Well, I love them too for owning it.

I received such good care. Hubby man really came through on the meal preparation, clearing away the Kleenex snot piles and listening to me moan about, well… everything.

I didn’t like being cold. I didn’t like the recliner chair I barely had the energy to get out of.

I missed Thomas the Cat.

I needed hugs but that wasn’t likely going to be happening much. I was hungry but didn’t want anything to eat.

Meanwhile, as the recovery happened, we still explored the grocery stores, got involved in our daily life here and reconnected with people as I was able.

Hubby came and went to various places mostly alone, because if it included the gym, the pool or the hot tub or took any effort at all I declined.

I’m quite sure it wasn’t all that much fun, however he tends to like his own company, so he wasn’t really complaining.

After two weeks of this part of retirement fun….as the sore throat left, and the flu/cold symptoms shifted, the pain in my neck and shoulder also eased off.

This was a relief because it meant I had not injured myself on the pickleball courts and the future was looking brighter.

And then, as flu and cold bugs do, they decided they’d had enough of me, and likely jumped over to anyone unfortunate enough to have been too close to me.

Like Hubby.

And then…because his immune defenses were down, he does what he typically tends to do.

Ignore the symptoms. Deny the existence of illness yet medicate and keep going.

We are such different creatures.  He informed me it wasn’t a cold he had but just his ongoing sinus issues from the fall.  Okay. Fine.

One thing, and this is only one thing I’ve learned in forty-one years of marriage, is this: when we are both experiencing new things, are perhaps immune system weakened and trying to process life as it happens, there can be clash of personality, of goals for the day or month and suddenly one little thing, any particular little comment just may trigger some emotions.

We were heading into a clash…

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Filed under A Cat's Life, Life Lessons, retirement, Writer Writes

Retirement Month One

Day One and Day Two were great as Hubby and I settled into our little bungalow in Venture Out in Mesa, Arizona for our extended holiday and the beginnings of testing out retirement life.

We’d arrived in Mesa on Dec 31st at the end of a sunny day, with the sky all aglow as the deepening lemon turned to crimson then to a mixture of muddy brown which turned into the blackness of night as the city lights twinkled on all around.

It was magical.  I wasn’t driving so I could absorb the beauty of the evening as we approached our first destination: food.

We’d changed plans midstream, mid-driving if I want to be factual, instead of spending an evening out celebrating New Year’s Eve and eating in an Arizona restaurant – a specific restaurant as Hubby had declared many days previous that he wanted to eat ribs from a place which is close by our soon to be home for the next three months.

It’s his retirement, and it was his food craving…and, it was easy to accommodate him because I wasn’t expected to cook a thing.

Besides, I like ribs too.

We pulled into the parking lot and quickly pushed our way inside to order our takeout dinner of juicy ribs and beans, potato and Hubby says he ordered Mac n Cheese too.

A side note here, Hubby is obsessed with Mac n Cheese – there is a restaurant in our new town which caters to Mac n Cheese.  We will be going there soon for sure.

The entire restaurant was full of celebrating New Years people.

Me, being me and I’m not sure why, but I noticed what appeared to be newbies, a man and a woman seated at a table just inside the entrance, because they had picked up the catering menu instead of the restaurant menu. They had come in right after us, sat at an empty table and were looking around.  I had already perused two menus – thus my vast knowledge and my following helpful gesture.

I pointed them to the correct menu which was sitting on a little stand up at the counter by the door.

As I was standing near the seated couple, a man from another table leans over, taps me on the shoulder and tells me, “We are ready to order here too.”

I turn around and say, “Pardon me?”

He tells me again, “We are ready to order here.”

I laugh and tell him that I’m just here to order dinner myself and was helping someone else with a menu selection.

Of course, much later a bunch of fun ideas came that I could have taken his order and submitted it. It would have been a blast but no, I was tired and hungry, and the brain wasn’t thinking that fast.  I could have gotten an instant job and helped fund this wild adventure Hubby and I are embarking on. Well, not really…being Canadian, I’m not about to earn any money and I certainly don’t want a job.

I have a job.  It is called getting used to Hubby and his retirement.

Next, off we went to a grocery store to get some quick supplies for the morning – cream for my coffee being the most important item which makes for a more pleasant wake up experience for both of us oldie  retirees – me because I got what I wanted and for Hubby because he wouldn’t be asked to go to the store or a coffee shop right after he cracked his eyes open.

To be continued…

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Filed under Life Lessons, retirement, Writer Writes