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I finished the sweater last night!  YAY!  I actually like it and it actually fits!  I took a lot of time with this one and really worked on getting it right, not just “good enough.”  It is not the most flattering thing in the world, but I still love it.

I am giving a talk tonight on eye-cons.  (sorry about the misspelling). I am not really ready, and I need to do some studying so I can actually sound like I know what I am talking about.  I know I could talk knowledgeably about the process, but not so much about a general overview of them.  I am sure I have the resources right here in my home to study up and not feel foolish.  (I hope)

Today is warm, even if windy.  I plan to take a bike ride this afternoon.  Wondering how I can get ready for an Olympic distance triathlon in July.  I can if I work at it.  I just need a new bike.  And I don’t want to spend the money.  One of the local bike shops is having a 70% off sale this weekend, perhaps I shall stop by and see if I can grab a bike for under $1,000.

It’s all good.  I have such joy in my heart to have reached this stage in life.  I never would have even dreamed of having a life so sweet.

In fairness, though, I feel I need to share a revelation I have had.  I do get stressed out.  I do get unhappy from time to time.  I have realized that these things are not caused by external situations.  They are because I am inclined to feel these ways.  I have gotten stressed out about the sweater I was knitting (see above).  I did it with a group and it was supposed to be done by yesterday.  I was killing myself to try to get it done, and then they extended the deadline to next week!  So silly.

Thank God I have a program to deal with my own foibles.  It is such a blessing.

Posted in Knitting, Retirement, Training | 8 Comments

Finding Myself

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Yes, Birkenstocks with hand knit socks.  The Birkenstocks are new.  The socks are probably close to 20 years old… from the last period in my life when I might have thought Birkenstocks were stylish.  I ordered the birks (from Nordstrom because all things being equal – free shipping, large selection – why not?) after falling in my house while making my bed – because my foot got tangled up in a flip flop. And down I went!  Now, THAT sounds like the problem of an old person – except that I have always fallen fairly regularly.  My cure for that is trail running because it is so good for your balance and quickly responding to changes in the surface your on.   And now I am doing yoga too.  Why Birkenstocks?  I think they are steady and secure.

It’s been so long since I had the freedom to dress however the heck I want that I don’t even know what I want anymore.  I told a few people I was going to dye my hair purple after I retired, but I really don’t want to have purple hair and it took me so long to grow out my natural color, which I think is beautiful.  Light brown with big white streaks.  I love it.

Blue jeans and technical tee shirts seem to be what I wear most days.  When I am not in some specific work out clothes.  I actually bought a yoga shirt that is beautiful.  I can wear that with little purple yoga pants.  And it is a thrill for me.

Because I have lost weight.  I hate to write about this, but I have lost weight.  I wear a different size.  I can wear things I only dreamed of before – like the yoga top and pants.  I went into a fitting room at a store two weeks ago with a pair of RED pants that were a size I have not worn since the 1980s, I felt that someone would come along and tell me “Excuse me Ma’am, those pants are NOT for you, let me steer you to the WOMEN’s sizes.”  No one stopped me from trying them, and no one stopped me from purchasing them when they fit!

Tonight is the last class in the 16 week program I took to lose this weight.  I have been discouraged because after the initial 10 lbs. or so, I have been losing about a pound a week. This is a HARD food and exercise program to ONLY lose one pound a week.  I have whined, I have complained, I have wished I could get my money back and quit.  But at the end of 16 weeks, I am no longer pre-diabetic, and I wear size 10 pants.  And I weigh less than I have since 1995.

I have lost and gained so much weight over my lifetime that I hate to even acknowledge this weight loss, because I am afraid I am arrogant and therefore will gain it all back and more.  It’s happened so many times.

But my life is different now.   I must get the confidence that I can do this or I will not be able to.  One of the most wonderful things about retirement is my Medicare supplemental, which includes Silver Sneakers.  I feel like that makes me sound feeble and ancient.  BUT I can go to almost any gym, sign up for free, and take their classes, use their pools, and other lovely services, such as hydro-massage chairs.  How awesome is that?

It’s Monday and I love Mondays.  Always have, even through most of my career when I still liked my job.

 

Posted in Aging, Clothes, Hair, Health, Retirement | 2 Comments

Snowy Morning at Home

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This is the sweater I have been working on for the last six weeks.  It is a lovely shade of blue-grey.  I have not once taken a photo that shows its true color.  I am dreadfully sick of knitting it.  I have one shoulder on the front and then the sleeves left to knit.  I don’t think it will take more than a week or two (tops) to get it done.  Then I will work on small projects that I enjoy immensely.  With colorful colors that I love.  No grey for a while – or ever.

It is 7:30 a.m., it is snowing, the roads are horrendous.  And I get to stay home.  I can hear my neighbors scraping ice off their cars that weren’t in their garages.  I can hear people chipping away at ice on their driveways and sidewalks.  And I get to stay home.  In a moment I will sit down in front of the fireplace and finish the front of this sweater.

What a delicious way to spend a morning.

I am tempted to write about a woman I sponsor, but better not.  I’ll just say, I don’t understand coming to the program because you need it – desperately – and arguing with words in the big book and the concept of a higher power that is referred to as “he” and “him.”  To me that screams “I still think I am full of good ideas, and need to assert my superior intelligence.”  Which screams to me “WARNING!  WARNING!”

I am so sick of seeing people I love drink again and die.  It’s almost more than I can stand.

Let no one deceive himself.  If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is folly with God.

— 1 Corinthians 3:18-19

Posted in Knitting, sponsee | 7 Comments

7 Weeks Into my New Life

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I got a new computer yesterday and this is the first thing I am writing with it!  I haven’t got the photos figured out, hence this is not the photo I wanted to use.  But there is a limit to how much time I want to spend right now.  Note:  I very seldom take a photo of the front view of my house because of the house to the left in the photo.  Purple.  Purple, and the man who lives there has decided to cover the window in the garage with a Broncos Blanket – mostly orange!  Tres Elegante!

I am seven weeks into retirement.  Sometimes it has been so uneventful that I worry I will be bored.  Those days are few and far between.  Other days I am so tired (like today) that I wonder how I will ever get any rest when my life has little structure and I tend to completely fill every second.  Most days I wake up overwhelmed with gratitude for this stage in my life and amazement that I ever got here.

On February 5, on my way home from church, I was involved in an accident and totaled my beloved car (2010 Rav4).  Someone ran a red light and the truck in front of me slammed on his brakes.  I slammed on my brakes, but the car behind me failed to even notice there was a stopped car in front of him and slammed into me, forcing me into the truck ahead of me.   The witnesses said I stopped, but by the time the police arrived they changed their story and said I did not stop.  And I got a ticket and a court date.

I found the experience terrifying.  The drivers of the two cars I was sandwiched in between got out and started screaming at each other in Spanish.  I have no idea what was going on.  I thought I was having a heart attack.  But I wasn’t.  I have whiplash and a concussion, but I consider myself extremely fortunate.  And now I drive a new 2017 Rav4, and will have payments for many years to come.  Oh well.

Most days I go to the 6:30 a.m. AA meeting, followed by Mass at 8:00.  I am in the last week of my weight loss class, so I spend time doing homework for that.  I knit a LOT.  I meet friends for meals.  I go to the gym, or out for hike.  It is a good schedule.

OH!  And I got my lipid panel and A1c done last week.  Early this week I got the results.  My lipid panel was excellent as I expected.  But the thrill is that after 4 months of this diet, my A1c is NORMAL for the first time since my doc first ordered one 2 years ago.  I am delighted to no longer carry the diagnosis of “pre-diabetic.”

I have a volunteer job at my church starting later this year.  We have a meeting to talk about it tomorrow.  I am very very excited about it.  It is something I love and am very passionate about.  I feel at this point, I need to be careful not to write too much about it.

My hope is to start blogging consistently again.  I have said it before though and then not followed through.  It is such a pleasure to have an actual computer after years of using an iPad.

Some days I feel I need to pinch myself to see if this is really my life.  It is beyond anything I ever imagined.

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.  Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.

St Francis DeSales

Posted in Gratitude, Health, Rest, Retirement | 3 Comments

Really Retired

There’s a tiny self-portrait!  Walking around a little lake across the street from the grocery store.  

I really retired.  I have had few moments of anxiety, some of it bordering on panic.  I have had a lot more moments of peace and happiness.   I have tried to get outdoors every day.  Some days, it being January, I just stay inside.  

The urge to go plow into something else is very strong.  I am trying to refrain.  I need to take some time to just figure out what I want to do.  A strange concept.  What I want to do.  

I am working out for 1 to 2 hours a day.  I spend a bit of time preparing and cooking healthy meals.  

This just all sounds so feeble.  But it is good.  

Going to lots more meetings, a newish lady asked me to sponsor her.  We are meeting once a week.  

Going to Mass nearly every day.  That is probably the biggest gift.  It is awesome.  

Participating in a Knit Along at my Local Yarn Store.  On January 10, we shall cast on.  I am working on the gauges now.  It is a beautiful sweater, and I have chosen the most yummy wool in a blue grey color.  

There is a lot for me to learn.  I don’t really feel like I know who I am right now, but it will be fun to find out!

Happy New Year.  

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

My Last Day of Work

img_1448Hi There Friends!

Today I am going to work for the last time and I couldn’t be happier.  I have no doubts, regrets, or sadness.  Probably I needed this year to transition into retirement because I was not ready a year ago.  I am now. My co-workers took me out for lunch yesterday which was lovely. Even though I have pretty much hated every day at this job, I think I will look back on it fondly for all I accomplished there and the lovely colleagues I had.

The photos is from my birthday trip. A train trip to a mountain town, a soak in hot springs, more delicious meals than I can count, a beautiful hotel room, a nice friend who came with me. It was very nice.

I’m so tired right now that I don’t think I have any deep thoughts as I head out for this momentous day. I will just clean up a few loose ends, spend a few hours with the person who will be doing my job, take the last few personal items out of my office, and be done!

One thing that keeps rolling around my mind is incredible gratitude for my career with the State. Thanks to God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I was able to work for the same employer for 21 years and earn a pension. That is not something that I feel I am capable of doing. This was definitely the grace of God. Left to my own devices, I would have told off the first person who irritated me and walked out the door. And if not the first person, perhaps the 10th or 100th. But I didn’t. And I am clear that is not me. That is God.

I am so grateful for a good life. A good life created out of a pile of ashes. Not by my wonderful efforts, my efforts had me a drunken lunatic at the age of 32. I came to Alcoholics Anonymous and threw myself on the mercy of the group, and they told me to turn to God and the steps. The steps led me to a better life – surrendering to God. Amazingly, it was better than anything I could have ever dreamed up.

And now – I get to start a whole new chapter. Thank you God!

Posted in Health, Joy, Retirement | 4 Comments

Happy and Wonderful News!

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One night in late November, I was so tired that when driving home I almost hit a concrete barrier in the road.  I was so tired I didn’t care.  I just kept driving, at 80 mph.  When I got home, I thought to myself “That’s it.  I nearly killed myself and I don’t even care.”

I decided to retire as soon as possible instead of trying to go another 4 months.  My financial situation will never be perfect.  I lost absolutely everything in my early 40s, and then borrowed money to go to school, and then bought a house and tried to have a “normal” life.  There is a lot of financial wreckage.  Very little of it is left after this year of employment and stringent devotion to debt payment.  But there still is some.  I have restructured it so that I can live on retirement income.

My last day will be December 23.

Merry Christmas to me!  The Best Gift Ever!

I am so happy and relieved.   This has been a very difficult and long year.  I have been so depressed.  I gained 21 lbs. in 3 months time, sitting in my office eating non-stop.  It seems to be how my grief manifested itself.  Of course, the grief did morph into depression, and then anxiety. 

I know that retirement will not be the answer to every problem in life.  But I think it is going to improve my life dramatically.

It has occurred to me that I now understand why 65 used to be the mandatory, arbitrary retirement age.  I am tired.  I don’t feel particularly sharp.  I have little energy for, and even less interest in, my work.  I’m done.  Well and truly done.  And I am happy about it.

For my birthday I am taking a train trip to a mountain town with my friend.  We are only staying one night and then just heading back the next day.  The whole point of the trip is the train.  But we got rooms at an awesome hotel that I love for the one night we are there.  The weather forecast calls for snow every single day between now and then.  The lovely mountain town, all covered in snow.  My 65th birthday.  A good friend with me.  No worries about driving.  We can walk everywhere we need to go.

I am hopeful about my future.  I am exhausted and will take a bunch of serious down time.  I may go to movies in the daytime.  After going to the meeting in the morning, and then Mass, and then the gym.

In November, I started an evidence based weight reduction program at a local university.  Well, local really isn’t the right word, it’s a pretty big, fancy, famous university.  With a fabulous medical school.  I had to do something drastic.  And this is definitely drastic.  I have already lost close to 20 lbs.  And feel like myself again.

Also did another thing I never thought I would do and hired a personal trainer.  Oh the things that woman has me doing!  But my body feels very different even after a month.  I am actually excited about going to the gym now.

Medicare and Silver Sneakers – sound like old people’s stuff, but I’ve got to say, they are awesome.

Hope to start blogging again.  This has been a very dark time, and I am pretty sure it is over.

Thank you God.

Posted in Health, Retirement | 4 Comments