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Neighborly Advice

When I was in my twenties I had a neighbor that was well into his eighties.  He insisted that the two main ingredients for quality of life was to always stay busy and never stop learning.

It sounded really profound at the time.  Kind of like coming from a prophet in the high mountains of Tibet.

In hind sight, now that I really understand the definition of “busy” I might have some issues with at least part of his philosophy.  When one is sixty years your senior “staying busy” might consist of getting dressed for breakfast and taking a mid-day nap.  As Forest Gump might say, “busy is, as busy does”   I’m taking “busy” completely out of the equation.  “Learning”, however, I’m with him one hundred percent.

In the event  my neighbor was right, and I think he was,  I’ve migrated towards educating myself to all the things I may have missed while hanging on the corporate  ladder.  I’ve gotten involved in some of the new techniques  in quilting.  I’m really “in” to “sculptured felting” and intrigued with “long wool locks felting.”  I’ve even taken a renewed interest in Pinterest.

These were some of the things I was doing with intentions of rewarding myself when I suddenly realized they were all making me feel guilty.  It’s like a backwards postpartum depression.  I have become so accustomed to bringing home the bacon I won’t stop to make myself an omelet.  In the back of my mind is the ever present, lingering idea that the simple act of enjoyment indicates I must not be prioritizing my time.

When contemplating retirement I carefully examined all the obvious survival  aspects of fire, food and shelter.  I calculated real estate taxes, insurance and gasoline expenses along with adjustments for anticipated  utility increases.   I just didn’t grasp the extent of the mental adjustment I might have to make to keep from feeling so irresponsible for having a well thought out plan..

So this may be my own profound wisdom I have recently discovered.  Retirement should not be from one extreme to the other.  It cannot be totally stagnated, nor should it require working beyond one’s comfort level.  Surely, there is an even balance.  I’ll let you know.

Taking my own words to heart, at least for today, I invited some of my animals into the front yard.  They’re  quite fond of ornamental flowers but this time of year it really doesn’t matter, does it?

I just sat on the porch watching as the sheep and goats were soon joined by wild rabbits and squirrels and we all enjoined the afternoon together.  If anyone asks about me,  just tell them I’m “busy”.

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Lost Poop Scraper

Blog photo poop Scraper

I think I read that towards the end of 2014 there were about 1.3 million blog sites on the internet. Each one representing someone’s thoughts, views, opinions or a diary of what is important to them.  I have personally known people that have devoted hours and hours,  week after week and year after year to their blog.  Each one has to wonder at one time or another if anyone really cares. So, logically, I decided to join the ranks and commit to blogging about some of the realities of life after retirement.

I had the show in Greenwood Arkansas and did the felting class in Sapulpa, Okla. and put out an appropriate blog.  Who would have guessed that placing one little widget in one inappropriate place could wipe out an entire website.  In an instant my blog about my recent activities was gone.  Just because the words are gone doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but it made me wonder how I was possibly getting everything done while working a full time job.

Apparently in my years before retirement I was unconsciously accumulating a mental list of all the little things I saw that needed to be done.  Each thought was recorded and followed up with, “when I retire I’ll get that done.”

A widget in my brain, so to speak.  Recording a mountain of projects that needed to be accomplished “when I retire.”  When I actually retired it triggered the thought it all had to be done now.  

It doesn’t all have to be done now.  I have the rest of my life to get those things done and I’ll do them one at a time until my list is complete. I refuse to pass up my life now to get things done from the past.

I took advantage of the beautiful weather and decided to attack a clean-up project behind the rabbit cages that I probably scheduled for myself last spring.  It was nice being outside, working with the animals, and doing the things I used to do before getting so involved in the cooperate world.

When raking up leaves and twigs I unearthed a rusty tool.  I realized it had been my favorite poop scraper in years past.  It was the perfect tool for removing debris from the cracks and crevices of the rabbit cages.

No telling how long it had been there.  Still,  a reminder that I was back to where I once was and where I had always wanted to be.

Funny how something that had been so useful in the past was lost and forgotten.  Just like a post  buried in  the archives of countless blog sites, put away and eventually, forgotten.  

So, to all the dedicated bloggers that may question their own sanity for their endeavor, you never know when something as trivial as a poop scraper might surface again and remind someone that life is meant to be enjoyed.

Surely there is hope.

Head ‘Em Up

When I was a very small girl, very small mind you, there was a popular Western TV show called “Raw Hide.”  Clint Eastwood was just getting started  as “Rowdy” and Eric Flemming was the trail boss named “Favor.”  City people and cowboys alike were glued to the screen when “Raw Hide” came on.  But; before Favor could yell “move ’em out,  they had to head ’em up.

Friday is the Diamond State Fiber Festival in Greenwood, Arkansas.  I now see a part of being a retiree that I may have overlooked.  I’m taking 2 forty gallon containers of some really nice Ashford and Ashland Bay roving, 2 tubs of tie-dye roving, a large tub of spinning supplies for the students, and a box of “new heart felt” silk felting tools.  Of course, I need folding chairs,my six foot table, a box of accessories, table cloths, banners, money box and 8 heavy-duty steel display racks that seem to get heavier every year.

This will be topped off with 5 spinning wheels.  I understand there are 7 students enrolled for Saturday’s spinning class  but, thankfully, 2 of them have their own wheels.


All of this must be “headed up” before anything will be “movin’ out” which I hope to accomplish by noon on Thursday.  I can very easily get side tracked while traveling, especially in Arkansas, and I want to allow plenty of time to follow the road less traveled if I choose to do so.

Thursday night we unload and we are scheduled to set up the booth around 8:00 Friday morning which means “Head ’em up”one more time.  I’m just glad we don’t need a tent.

I’m really excited to be a part of the 3rd annual Diamond State Fiber Festival.  The founders Lori and Stan Brown not only produce some gorgeous fleeces at the Diamond B Sheep Farm but their contributions to education and informative demonstrations for the fiber world are priceless.

Sunday we plan to “head ’em up and move ’em out” for Tulsa.  I’m hoping I’ll have moving help at the house.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I did, indeed, retire today.  We had a luncheon, cake and every thing one would expect except the traditional gold watch I really wouldn’t want anyway.

It was pleasant, but maybe a bit un-climatic.  I may have to get back to that after I’ve had some time to digest it.  Right now, it’s time to  Move ’em out to a new life.

#1.   I like to load the hardware and bulky storage containers first.

#2  Spinning wheels always get priority on the top layer.

#3  I use the soft items and baskets like packing to hold it all together

#4.  …And it all fits.

About Me???

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     Blogging is something I’ve never done.  When one is sixty-some years old computers are just something you’re forced to use and never necessarily master.

I’ve done my research on blogging and read countless articles on the importance of the “About Me” section.  So, how can anyone sum that up in a nutshell?

I’m a woman, mother of three, married to the same man for thirty-three years.  When I put that in writing it definitely sounded a little drab. I could say I have an extreme fascination with the fiber arts  and not only a desire to teach and craft with fiber but to actually raise the animals and produce my own wool.  I could include that I have developed “Angora Jane LLC”, a reasonably successful spinning wheel, fiber and accessories company.  However, that still didn’t sound like something interesting enough to blog about.

Finally, after all these years I have something to say.  After 45  plus years working as everything from a waitress in a local diner to an administration assistant for the rodeo association, I have something to say.  I’ve been a nurse’s aid at a hospital, a bus driver for public schools and other jobs I’ve long forgotten.  At least 35 of those years were spent in the real estate mortgage industry and I feel I can truthfully say I know as much or more about the real estate and mortgage industry  in Oklahoma as anyone else.

However, none of that matters anymore.  In October of 2015 I will be officially retired.  A segment of my life is completed.  Take this job and shove it, I ain’t workin’ there no more.

I can now plunge into Angora Jane Spinning Wheels and Fiber without the annoying hindrance of having to earn a living at a real job.  I can schedule my days before the dreaded five o’clock traffic and sleep in on Monday after working an out of state fiber festival.

It’s not like I haven’t been planning and counting down the days for the last ten years, and I’m confident I have a good plan.  The test will be to see if the plan works and the true dynamics of actually living without a paycheck.

I don’t want to commit to a time frame in blogging.  That sounds too much like a real job.  I’m hoping for, at least a couple of times a month and more if things get exciting.

Perhaps someone can benefit from my life’s experience or learn from my future mistakes.  Come with me into the life of the retired  and the world of blessed serenity as I pursue my dreams and hope it all fits into my budget.

The “About Me” section may have to wait awhile.  I’ve never retired before so I really can’t tell you about me until I find out how I am.