Tag Archives: Arizona

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

A little closer to the Finish

What was I thinking?

In my eagerness to get the first coat of clear stain on the custom made frame for my painting project, I goofed.

Hubby is home this afternoon from paid work to finish a project of his own, putting in the last two windows for our home, replacing the thirty year old ones.

While he tries to take a sun break near where I am, I figure he’s easy prey for my project and I get him busy shaking my can of stain.

First goof up.  As he’s shaking I remember and then confirm by taking the can and read, “do not shake.”

I shake my head.  Get my rag and begin applying the stain rubbing into the wood frame thoroughly to eliminate any possibility of air bubbles being left behind.

Hubby says, “How many coats do you have to do?”

With my inside voice I’m thinking…one, cause that’s all I wanna do.

With my nice outside voice, I say, “I’m not sure,” as I casually pick up  the can to read the instructions.  Should have done that before I started – I usually know that sort of thing.

I discover that six hours of drying time is needed before the second coat is applied and with a light sanding in between.  Ugh, then the can wants me to put on a third coat.  This is going to take days!

But, I have a bigger problem to deal with because my hand is sticking to the can.

Second goof up.  I’m not wearing gloves.

I quietly mention this to hubby, who wisely says…well…nothing.

So, for a clear stain, after four, then five soapy scrubbings  with my vegetable cleaning brush I still have tanned diagonal stripes across my palms.

Perhaps I should have purchased a ready made frame.

The one-third done project is sitting on the table outside waiting for its next coat of stain.  It can wait.  Six hours the can said.  I’ll be in bed by then.

Instead, now I’m writing.  Hubby is watching TV hockey and kinda watching over the dinner cooking.  That’s another project I got him doing.  It’s good to keep him busy when he’s taking an afternoon off work.

The painting is nearly done – the one I’ve been creating since my Arizona holiday nearly six months ago and I will be happy to see it and the frame together and off to live with their new owner.

Come back to visit soon.  I promise to show and not tell.

 

 

 

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A Blank Canvas

Late fall 2015.  Casa Grande, (Palm Creek) Arizona.

A holiday home for a month – a blank canvas and high hopes.

I took paints, containers, a canvas and an easel and set them on display on the table out on the patio.

For days I walked by the canvas as I went to and from the hot-tub, riding bike, playing a few games of pickleball or going for a walk.

Then I needed pain pills, an ice pack, a heat pack, stretches and rest.

I looked at the canvas with longing while I procrastinated telling myself I was just getting ready.  It was true – I simply needed to get into the space where I could let my hand, pencil and creativity connect with one another and then touch the canvas.

Rather like an exercise plan or a change to healthier eating or digging through a very cluttered closet.  There comes a moment, that space in time when one just knows to go ahead and take a step forward.

One day I did pick up my pencil.  I needed some stress relief and it felt good.  So much had been going on in the background of my mind filling up all the creative spaces and I first had to let the worry and concern leak out and give my head some room.

Just before leaving for our holiday an unwanted and unexpected stressful situation arose with a group I was involved in and potential loss of a friendship and it weighed heavily on my heart.

Driving had become so stressful since my car accident a year ago, with me always sighing in relief to get out of the car, either to stop driving or to ease the constant pinch in my back. It’s a long drive from BC, Canada to Arizona and  I drove because that is fair in a shared relationship but I didn’t exactly do my ‘fair share’.

This was my first large painting I was to try in that space of a year as I’d been focused on other areas of life like physio, massage, doctor appointments, fitness classes and trying to get myself back to what I believed my normal should be.

Once I began drawing my mind focused and shapes emerged on the canvas.  A fresh sense of excitement began to build and if not daily, then every other day I found myself slipping out the patio door and adding a touch of paint at various points on the canvas.

This stepping into my ‘painterly world’ continued for the next several weeks.

To me, this meant I was returning to myself and some deep part of me was healing.

Join me in future posts as I continue to share journal entries, slather on sunscreen for the outdoor daytime fun and while I slather paint on canvas to release the inner drive to feel full color again.

2015-11-05 14.59.19

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

Thanksgiving Memoir

In honor of American Thanksgiving though I am Canadian and live in Canada and because I will be having a dinner served to me while on vacation in Arizona I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share a story from several years ago…

 

At my house the experience of Thanksgiving Dinner is similar to an approaching hurricane ending with the aftermath of destruction – my imagined comparison, seeing as I’ve never really experienced a real hurricane.

It begins with the slow build up of whirlwind activity, the planning, writing lists, shopping, then shopping some more with frenzy and panic building as the day comes closer.  There are recipes to prepare and store away, either in cupboards, fridge or freezer.

The decision of what kind of turkey to buy rests with me – should it be one shot full of grease or a fresh one from the local store which would be faster and easier for me.  Perhaps I ought to go all out and buy an organic recently killed beast from the farm too many miles away.

As the hurricane air stirs up I forget all about the turkey decision and send the hubby to buy it.  As the mounting tension rises I think about who will attend dinner, who will not and how many to invite.  Pondering how long one should wait to call I also consider how long they will stay and where I will put everyone in our small dining area.

The day arrives, the people come, the noise increases and the children run and screech.  The house is filled with the roar and the pace in the kitchen picks up as food flies from storage containers to the stove, from pot to bowl and the countertops disappear under the mountain of colorful platters.

The crowd plays musical chairs while one child wants to be near another and I quickly arrange a separation between two young adult siblings who chose this day to have a fight.

The legs of the table groan under stacks of mashed potatoes, a pile of healthy vegetables several children will not touch, a dead bird full of bread and twenty elbows plopped on top.

There are not really any full conversations to be heard, only sounds of whish, plunk, “pass the…” “thanks, “more please,” cranberry,” “mm mm good,” and “what, no more gravy” as the serving bowls and platters whisk by.

Then all becomes quiet except for the sounds of forks scraping plates, of slurp, munch and crunch as the food disappears down the human vacuums.

Once done eating, all the participants leave the table except one.  Mom.  Me.  I push my plate out of the way and lay my head on the table and out of one eye I survey the latest storm.

Instead of mountains of food it is now foothills of slop, with dark gravy stains on the white cloth, cranberry on the chairs, cloth napkins tossed into the empty stuffing bowl and the high chair needing to be hosed down.

I let out a long slow breath.

Lifting my head I take my napkin and fold it into a square then lay it on the table claiming it as my spot – the only clean one.  I’ll come back here later with a cup of coffee and a piece of pie.

I tune into the sounds around me and realize I have to go and stop the streams of rippled white goo spraying across the kitchen from an over enthused teenager who is using our canned whipped cream to stir up some excitement from a sibling.

With another long sigh, I recognize I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

 

 

 

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