Monday, October 31, 2011


The neighbors had good candy.  It's 9 p.m., and I'm all hopped up on sugar.
Don't Be Surprised!

I woke up this morning to the sounds of the cat throwing up.  Happy Halloween!

I'm going trick or treating in my neighborhood.  They're used to me, and when I don't get dressed up, they're disappointed.  This year, as usual, I'm wearing my angel wings, but I'm also wearing my wax vampire teeth that my co-workers got me as one of the many presents they gave me at my retirement party.  So I guess I'm an angelic vampire or a vampire angel.  Either way, I hope my neighbors have good candy...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So Much In One Day

Since I've retired, time is so different.  When I was working, all it seemed there was time to do was work.  Errands and chores got done, but there was never enough time.

Now it seems so much happens in one day.  Not all the time - when I first retired, there were days that I did nothing.  But lately, I can't believe everything that I do in one day.  I like the way time is now.  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tiny Tot in the Ladies Room

This is the first time this ever happened to me.  When I came out of the stall in the ladies room, there was a tiny little boy with a cube of cheese on a toothpick, and he was eating it.
I asked where his momma was, but he was supremely unconcerned and said nothing.  I heard a knock on the door of the ladies room, and when I opened it, there were two men asking if a little boy was in there.  The tiny tot walked out with the men.  It was the funniest thing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Finding Your Strengths

Since I've been retired, I have been reading AARP magazines from 2005 that have stacked up and I never had time to read.  They have some really interesting stuff, and I'm always finding things in them that I google.  I just read an article by Jane Pauley who suggested taking a survey to find your strengths.  Once of the things Jane Pauley suggested was writing down a list of all the things you're proud of.  This kind of goes hand-in-hand with writing down a bucket list, a list of all the things you want to do before you die.  When I was in high school, my friend Darlene and I had a list based on George Plimpton's book, The Paper Lion, and it was "100 things to do before you die."  So I've been having this list for a long time.  The closer I get to the other end of life (death), I'm realizing that I don't have all the time in the world.  This is not morbid, though I suspect some may see it as such, but it's just reality-based.

I still have lots of things left on my list, and lots of things I'd like to do but have had to scratch because of health limitations.  My number one thing is to see the Northern Lights.  But that is a posting for another time.

In thinking about the things I'm proud of myself for doing, it makes me reminisce about by life so far.  I'm proud of these things:
getting my Ph.D.;
travelling around the U.S. to finish my masters thesis on Christian communes, and living in communes for two summers;
backpacking through Europe;
being able to help my mother with peritoneal dialysis without passing out, and being a tiger for her when it came to dealing with medical personnel;
being a social worker for 35 years;
learning sign language;
studying French, Spanish, and Latin (notice I didn't say speaking those languages fluently!);
ziplining in Costa Rica;
swimming with the dolphins in Grassy Key, Florida;
feeding baby tigers in Wilmington, North, Carolina;
white water rafting for a week on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon;
snorkeling in Belize;
the ability to talk with anybody about anything anywhere;
hiking National Parks out west;
learning statistics;
learning how to make jewelry and stained glass pieces;
becoming computer literate;
taking pretty good pictures;
refinishing furniture;
being a cat whisperer;
learning to cook late in my 50's;
giving things away;
becoming assertive;
having come through four major surgeries, with my sense of humor still intact.

I will think about this list some more and add to it from time to time.   And I will start a new bucket list....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Techno Dinosaur

I just got my own computer this year, and now I finally have internet at home.  Whenever salespeople would ask for my e-mail, I'd say that I'm a dinosaur - one of the few who still doesn't have internet.  Now when I tell people I started a blog, they say, "Yeah, but you're not a computer person!"

Actually, my work for the last 10 years involved writing reports on the computer all day long, so the last thing I wanted to do when I came home was get on the computer again.  I have come a long way in learning technology.  I remember when I took a statistics course in graduate school, I had to get one of my professors to show me how to turn on the computer!  I started statistics back in the old days when you had to use punch cards, and you had to have a card for each piece of data.  I still have those punch cards up in the attic.  (My pack rat genes - my brother will catch that reference.)

Now I am so proud of myself when I learn something new on the computer.  Of course, the opposite is true:  I get completely frustrated when I can't figure out something on the computer.

One of my friends told me that there's a Zumba class on YouTube, and I found it.  I was doing Zumba in front of my computer and trying not to step on the cats.  Once you find the Zumba demonstration, then you can find hundreds of other Zumba videos.  I wore myself out doing Zumba, but it was fun.

Having internet is so convenient.  I look up everything.  Whenever I have a question about something, I google it.  Lately, I've been googling Irish Wolfhounds and rescue dogs.  Don't know if and when I'll get a dog, but I want to be prepared.  The cats are going to be shocked.  Not sure about how to break the news to them!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Virtual Makeover

Either I am becoming bored in retirement or I am becoming more creative (and silly - as if that's possible).  So last night, when I was staying up till all hours of the night, I was playing on the computer (how many stories start out that way?), and I decided to see if I could find a site that would show what you looked like with different hairstyles and hair colors.  Turns out, there are many sites like this.  Just google "virtual makeover," and see how many there are.

I tried a variety of them and had a blast.  First, you have to upload a picture of yourself.  Then you choose a hair style.  It's pretty funny trying to fit the hair style on to your head.  Then try changing the color.  See if that's not the most fun you have had all day.

What made it even more fun was uploading my husband's picture and trying out different hairstyles and colors on him.  He laughed when I showed him his picture, but not as much as I did....

Yes, you read that right.  Two weeks ago, my friend, Patty, invited me to see circuscats for an early birthday present.  First, she had asked me if I was available without telling me anything about what she was going to bring me to;  all she said was that she promised I would like it.  I pressed for more information, and she reluctantly told me what the surprise was.  She was going to bring me to see circuscats.  I went online, and sure enough, there is a site for circuscats.  They are called Acrocats, and I was thrilled to be invited.  Who wouldn't want to see a bunch of cats doing acrobatics, but the main thing is - how would you get them to do the acrobatics???

We got to the Shadowbox Theater on St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans, and we sat down to watch all the other theater patrons.  It was an interesting group.  We got settled and awaited the circuscats.  The "ringleader," a woman named Samantha, came out on stage, and she enticed people to buy kitty ear headbands.  I told Patty I already had those at home.  "Of course you do," she said.  Anyone who knows me knows this would be true.  She explained that cat training kits would be for sale after the show so that we could have our cats do the same amazing feats the circuscats would perform.  Cat magnets would also be for sale.  She further explained that the proceeds would go toward feeding and caring for all of the cats.  She said she wouldn't tell us how many cats she had, but suffice it to say, she is single.

The show began.  Ta-da!  A white cat named Tuna came out of his kitty carrier, and Samantha directed him to jump over an obstacle.  Tuna walked out onto the stage, looked at the audience, stretched, and walked around some more, ignoring Samantha.  She continued to direct him to jump.  He continued to ignore her.  They went back and forth like this for several minutes.  Patty whispered to me, "Debra, I am so sorry!"  I was thinking that I felt bad for Patty because she spent good money to bring me to this, but at the same time, I was laughing at the whole situation because anyone who has tried to make a cat do something knows that cats cannot be made to do anything!

Believe it or not, after much cajoling, Tuna finally deigned to jump over the obstacle.  One by one, Samantha and her assistant let different kitties out of their kitty carriers, and each of them performed tricks.  I laughed a lot, but my mother always did say I was easily amused.  The last act was the Rock Cats - each cat played an instrument in a rock band, but I wouldn't really recommend their music.  It was pretty funny, and Patty got me the Rock Cats magnet, which is now on my refrigerator.  I even got a cat training kit, and immediately began trying to make my cats do tricks when I got home.  I am having the same success that Samantha had with Tuna!

Here I am in front of the Rock Cats band.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Month After Retiring

Nobody tells you that being retired is weird.  I was so happy to leave my job, but everyone else is still working.  It's a whole other world out there during the day.  I went to the K-Mart at 10 a.m., and it was quiet.  People were walking around the store very quietly and politely.  It's totally different when you go to the store after work or on the weekend. Even traffic was different.  People drive without rushing and aren't as rude, trying to cut in front of you without using a blinker.

The other thing that's weird is that everyone wants to know what you're doing now that you've retired.  I tell them, "Nothing!"  I'm so happy about that, too.  Or I say, "I'm going to be a housewife for the first time ever."  Really, it's wonderful.  I sleep when I feel like it.  I stay up till all hours of the night.  I have become addicted to playing Freecell.  I am cooking.  I am going through my house room by closet by drawer, straightening things out, throwing things away, and giving things to others.  My motto is:  "If I am not using it, I am giving it away to someone who can use it or needs it."  I'm not in any rush to do this.  It's happening without any drive to get things done.  That's what's so nice about retirement.  I'm just not as rushed as I was when I was working.

Another thing that's weird is that once you say that you're retired, lots of people will tell you, "Oh, now you can do this or that."  I am saying that I'm not doing anything for a year. After someone dies, you're not supposed to make any major decisions for a year.  I am not mourning the job I no longer have, but it is quite a change.  I want to do lots of things, but I decided to give myself time until I have recuperated from the work world of the past 35 years.  I worked longer than that, but that's post graduate school work years.

I want to learn to play the piano and guitar again.  I want to learn how to draw, paint, sculpt, do pottery and glass blowing.  I want to get a puppy or a dog, not sure what kind, but I want to be able to do pet therapy with the dog.

I did start going to Yoga classes.  It wasn't ever something that I thought I could do.  I tried two different classes.  I can do the easy class, so I'll stick with that one.

Health is always an issue.  Didn't want to start my retirement being blind or crippled, but I have been dealing with both of those.  Had laser eye surgery on my left retina because it was detaching.  So far, so good.  Have had three steroid epidurals in the past three months to deal with low back and hip pain.  Hoping for relief...

Have been watching lots or movies and reading lost of books.  Love books on tape because you can do housework and listen to books at the same time.  Still Type A even in retirement.

Will eventually learn how to do more things on the computer.  Not sure about Facebook though.  It's bad enough I play Freecell every day!