Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tuesday This and That: In The Retirement Zone

 As part of my retirement "a little income here and a little income there" , plan, I occasionally do surveys, and research and folks and so on. Today I just happened to jump into a multi week survey and evaluation via the Yale Department of Senior help. It's a multi week program that includes both surveys and activities and aims to include positive views of aging among the participants among other things. Today I did a very long survey (of the "do you have trouble doing this" type variety) and then did a module. I suspect it will be at least as educational for me as for the researchers. Among the things I learned today is that positive views on aging alone show increased memory ability even without any other factors. I'll be sharing more as I get to read and take it all in.

Meanwhile, what's been happening while I was gone (the good, the bad, and the ugly)

1. Pulling up the ugly first, I made two immense math mistakes both in my banking balance and my paypal (earning balance), resulting in the "items returned" fees of almost twenty items (yep, you can do the math). No one to blame but myself, but quite a hit and need to get back on track.

2. I made a Facebook page for selling my hand made stuff!  Not connected to this page yet however. The one at the side is different! It's not a shop and it's going slowly, but at least I have a place to show all the photographs and all the things and have connected it to my Instagram, at least sort of.  It may be triple digits outside, but the fall sewing has commenced!

3. Speaking of those triple digits (has to be done), I'm doing much better about the humidity, but the current heat is much worse (and wet and sweaty) than it would be in arid Colorado and I've become a two shower a day and sun dress type.

4. Even so, my exercising has increased. I'm in the pool three days a week sometime between eight and ten and out between nine and eleven. I water walk and job and do exercises but even so it's not really weight bearing. The alternating days I do a fifty minute aerobic/weight/stretch seated program and force myself to do thirty minutes of walking to get the benefits (I drink alot of milk and have no osteoporosis or bone problems to date so I'm kind of lazy in the weight bearing area, truth be told)

5. I haven't been on nearly as many drives as I had planned. Everything sounds exciting until you're out walking among the tulips or lavender or water or whatever and it's triple digits with bugs. I think early fall will be my active time in this area.  Right now, I'm going out side in the morning, a few minutes before bed and happy to be in the cocoon that is my apartment even though I keep it close to 78 except for my bedroom.

6 My social and activity life has improved. I've joined a lunch group called the 4Ls (liberal, laughing, lunching ladies), my church has a crafting group and a lunching group and the community is back to having weekly events.

7. I've meant to head to Colorado a couple times and put it off and now I've just decided to wait till mid-August and escape the worst weather to the dryer heat (it will be anything but cool in Colorado, but it's a dry heat, as they say in Aliens).

I'm sure there's more but I'll save it for my next post as I get back in the groove here...

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Being Old.....It's Okay

 Some readers may remember when I first considered moving to the weird state that is Texas, that my daughter convinced me to move here. Specifically, she told me it was cheap, flat, warm, and perfect for "old people"  Said with humor, mind you, but seriously meant.

I used to say things like "I still feel middle aged", and when I do surveys, I tend to say something like "I feel like fifty" when asked.  But the truth is, I'm moving towards 70 in September.  And that's okay. Old is good. It's fun. It's creative. It can also be more dangerous and painful. But it's challenging, creative, fun, interesting, new and unique, and a whole bunch of other things.  if you allow it to be.

There was a time when I thought I needed to do "all the things" during the early part of my retirement. Because of health, money, and who knows what else. I know people who feel this way. That they have to run and jump and play as soon they leave the retirement gate. That they have to do all those things and then be prepared for not doing any or many of those things later on.

Which may be okay, but only up to a point. And that point assumes that a. those running and playing things are the only things of value in life, and that b. you absolutely can't or won't do them later.

I still travel. I'm not walking on German cobblestones to often and I'm no longer capable or climbing Mesa Verde if they would let me, which they won't. I'm not liable to sleep on the ground or even in an air mattress anytime soon-which means one of my bucket list items (Bonaroo) will probably never be fulfilled. But I can still take a driving tour of the gulf coast  from end to end, and go glamping at Yellowstone. The methods may have changed but the end goals remain the same.

Lately I'm convinced that most of the stuff written about the down sides of aging are either written by the young people who "study" it, or the very early retiree types who have decided that the enjoyment of life must end at a certain time (yes, I'm generalizing and possibly being snarky here).

The truth is that multiple studies have shown that people over sixty five (even those on the financial edge or in less than "perfect" health) have a high level of "satisfaction" (research term there), and happiness.  We are also ambitious, curious, active in many ways, exploratory and caring. Just for a start.

Almost all the bloggers and post sixty five friends I know support that. Even during our past pandemic. We like who we are, we like being engaged. We're more likely to share our opinions now that we don't have to worry about employers or other silly stuff, and we can ignore the opinions of the "Don't Wear this After  50 crowd".

We say what we think, we  volunteer, we have fun, we go to school, we play with our families, we make stuff, we cook stuff, we eat stuff and for the most part we fill our days with what we want to.

Recently a Facebook link to a blog (which I may link here), suggested to me that if I wanted to read about aging, I should read books by old people who write and wrote about aging.  Currently I'm reading a book called The Grace of Again, and admittedly much of my reading is still of the mindless variety, but I've added a few of those books to my oh so growing list.

This post has been a ramble, but it's also to share with you all that as I slowly return I've decided talking about aging is important and that there will be more posts like this-hopefully more targeted and that make sense, but there you are. And also more posts on retirement finances, which have kind of dropped off the wayside. Especially since I've made  a huge mistake while on this last hiatus.

Meanwhile, today at the behest of a few other of my community residents, we are test driving a monthly crafting group. I'll let you know how it goes.

Until next time, I leave you with a photo or two of hopeful creativity. My daughter the plant guru came by last week and redid my patio, so hopefully I'll have some photos sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

And So It Goes........

As many of you can see, I have somehow managed a whole two posts in five weeks. Obviously this is not my norm, and I've gotten messages and more messages and quick check ins.

There's nothing wrong. I'm not depressed. I simply have not felt like writing. I'm at that place where I haven't decided if it's a permanent thing, or a passing non-fancy. It's been almost fifteen years in total, after all.  On the other hand, I know I have things left to write about and share.

So I'm going to sit with this for a few more days, decide if it's the heat, think about what to write about next, or decide on a new challenge.

Either way, we will talk together VERY soon. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Busy. And Tired.

 That combination has kept me away from you, my friends. Too much on my plate after jumping into my post Covid activities and a very large drop in energy level that I have been working on rectifying-and which I'll share more about on Monday (it's not a scary thing, just a pain in the you know what thing, honestly)

But I am still here, I'll be back to normal posting on Monday although posts may be shorter (perhaps a good thing?), and mean while......a few random photos. 

The tentative pattern for my Alice fabrics only with a bright lime green background. We'll see.

Took my first little afternoon drive to a small town where I saw the little church with these beautiful windows (a modern church!) and the post office museum below

A prototype for a new bag to gift and sell. I can live with the sideways tea cups but it drives my OCD daughter crazy

Some pride related sewing for gifting and selling

My working to be read list and list of books coming soon

Current binge as it started to day - final season

Just finished book which I simply cannot recommend highly enough. A must read.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Projects Done, Working and Planned-and Dresses Again

 I'm gong to leave this reminder up to subscribe again on the side and since there are a couple blogs coming,we should know shortly if everyone is getting what they should.

Creative Projects that is.

On the finished side, I spent last week sewing and ended up with a table runner, patriotic napkins, coasters, and a pile of re-usable paper towels like the two shown here. Not sure if I'll use these for the patio or bring them to the inside table. I also worked on a couple of the wood blocks I pan to use for the wall sculpture, and am not sure they are exactly what I want (If not I'll sand and redo since wood is going up and I'm not sure where I would get reclaimed blocks or even cut them). I'm using the quilt with all the modern quilt blocks for the design inspiration but not the colors. 

As far as in the middle, rather than a Pinterest challenge I'm doing an Etsy one. I saw this mini wood barn quilt and tried to redo it (smaller, shelf sized and in bright colors) as seen above. I don't feel I made enough lines so I'm going to redo with six lines going the long way and four on the two short sides and add a bow. I also saw these cute little houses and am using them for inspiration but have a completely different painting plan. I love the idea of tiered trays or try decor but I am very much NOT a modern farmhouse style gal (with apologies for those who are. So I'm making some mini pillows and stuff for that, and a front door wreath from and old picture frame that may or may not come out. We'll see after the weekend. Also the gray modern quilt with all the bright colors should up for viewing by next week. 

I've opened up a selling page but my strategy is to make what I like, put some thing for sale and as for the rest, just can "I can make this for you in any color you like", or something like that!

Also as seen on Etsy here

As seen on Etsy here

And because I always have way more ideas than I will every make and sometimes need to let things "marinate" for awhile. I continue to look at these fabrics (yes, more pictures of Alice) while I decide what to make and how to get two quilts (not necessarily the same size) out of these fabrics. And, since I must make a pride quilt this month, I decided I could use the rest of my scraps and do something like this with maybe four different squares for a wall quilt and either paint or iron on fabric letters so the  word Ally is the middle. Wish me luck! 

A few of you have asked about my day dresses. Since I just did a quick wash and hung some on the door to get the wrinkles out, I figured I would share a few and also some current ones that are similar. I really dont only own navy and pink I have green and yellow as well. Just how this picture happened! I dont really wear house dresses because once I'm dressed for the day I dont change unless I'm swimming or working out (I can do chair aerobics in dresses), but I probably will not wear the shorter pink one very far afield. The stripe maxi came from somewhere I don't know but I am thinking Catherine's or Kohl's possibly. The pink floral from Walmart, the blue floral from Kohl's, and the two tie die from Lane Bryant. Every year they do the same dress in different colors. This year's is yellow and I'll probably get it. Price range from twenty to thirty five dollars (cause as we all know nothing at Kohl's is every full price!!)

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Break's Over!! A Quick Catchup!

 Well hello there!  First do me a favor and check out the new subscription box on the top right. Let me know if you have any issues doing it, confirming email, or getting a new post which will come out on Monday or Tuesday. Assuming it works I still won't delete the feedburner thing still until it's died it's  own death. I will try to adjust the look of the box and the font as I am able. If any other bloggers have a recommendation that they love, please tell me today before everyone jumps into this one. 

Spring break from the blog is finished. I figure I was making up for my normal Lenten shut down and this wasn't quite as long as that. Nothing exciting happened mind you, just a brief tech break at large. I had meant to post that I was doing so and forgot. I'll be around to catch up on all.your blogs this weekend!

I do have a bunch of things to share and talk about.  Meanwhile here are but a few Saturday thoughts off the top of my head for your reading pleasure until normal blogging returns in the new week.

  • My patio is mainly done-except for the decor part. I've wavered on the privacy screen but I'm on the first floor and I prefer the openness and the ability to chat with folks if the walk by on the sidewalk eight feet across the grass from my railing. If that changes, or when the heavy wind season comes, then I may make that jump. So far all the plants are living and I need a few more. My flamingos are now at home, one on each end!
  •  I've decided to embrace day dresses, sometimes also known a nap dresses. I've always been a "skirts are really cooler when it's hotter than crap" type of gal after l my years living in various swamp lands (talking to you, Washington, DC). Mind you, these are not your mama's house dresses and when worn properly can be worn to the grocery if needed. But at home time is comfy time man. And yes, voluptuous or no, I have been known to go braless at home (after working out, obviously).
  • I know prices are going up, but I haven't seen any huge issue yet for me as such, except for gas and some chicken shortages here and there. Admittedly  I'm usually shopping sale meats and such and throwing them in the freezer. Still, I feel like I should be doing a little more "prepping" financially and otherwise. Even though I really live in non disaster area (aside from Hell Freezing Over).
  • Now that things are opening up, I had a brief thought about something like my group in Colorado.  Very brief, and I put it aside. I'm the new girl here. And besides that, my goal is to not have weekly commitments as such but instead open myself to saying yes to more monthly and spur of the moment things depending. I'm really getting back into sewing and stuff and need more nesting at home time than I had before.
  • It in no way impacts his complete asshole status overall, but my governor is looking pretty good these days regarding the mask thing. Granted that was because businesses and people in general took responsibility for themselves (am I sounding like one of THOSE people here???). But his eliminate the mask mandate was successful, and there was no surge. His goal is to not have any government entities requiring masks past the start of the summer. We'll see if he remains a hero or goes back to zero.
  • I've spent seven months being unaware that the ceiling vent in the living room/dining area of my apartment was barely open. Obviously the place must be well insulated because I did not particularly notice an issue in the winter. It wasn't until I figured out that the bedroom was five degrees cooler than I was on my couch that I actually did the research. 
  • I got fabric. Alice in Wonderland fabric. As soon as I get all the American Decor sewn and up on my FB page, it will be time to make something with this-a quilt for my 66 year old sister who loves the book, especially all the drawings no matter the artist.  

  • I've been using my mask "as needed". I wear it into groceries and stores and doctors offices, if only because I'm not sure I'm not carrying germs to the vaccinated. But I have been unmasked in my small church (with everyone spread out). I've enjoyed out door patio seating and a couple indoor experiences, and am just taking things as they go. Tomorrow is said church, lemon meringue pie and tea, and stop off at the soft opening of a new bookstore (we actually have both a large independent used books store and now an independent new bookstore with coffee shop and seating).
One last thing. This is my gentle annual reminder that while it's never inappropriate to thank a Veteran, Memorial Day is to remember those who gave their lives. Veterans Day is the time to remember the living, and I suppose Armed Forces day is to remember the serving. Either way, it's not just a holiday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Monday Musings-Mother's Day, Pie, Freedom and Money

On Friday, my daughter took me to Red Lobster for lunch for Mother's Day since she was working the weekend. We ate inside (both vaccinated) at a separated table and it was lovely. On the one hand I felt bad going to a chain as  opposed to the many local restaurants and patios available. On the other hand I a had a huge craving for lobster, even if it was the flash frozen kind and where better to go. Future outings will be more of the "local type".

What I was missing for Mother's day was that homemade lemon meringue pie, which I have so often shared versions of on this space. My cast iron pie maker person is miles away. So it was time  to search for an acceptable substitute. After waxing poetic on my local city page about where to get the best pies, I had a list. Sunday after church I popped into the first one and it was delicious. I cannot say the best because I still have to check out all the others, right?  Since one of my warm weather goals is to find patios and outdoor spaces to read in once a week, as well as take a weekly drive further afield this goal of finding the perfect (lemon meringue) pie should be a fun challenge. I may have to try each one more than once.  Just saying

Things are slowly opening in this part of the Lone Star state at least. I went to Silver Sneakers yoga yesterday and they allowed 15 people in the gymnasium at a time, with masks on till we get to our chair and then off while exercising.  My new church has resumed it's crafting group weekly (with mask wearing except for drinking) and I expect other crafting groups and meeting groups may begin having get togethers (still masked, which I think works for me now). Some of the common areas here have opened up. Senior college is still virtual, at least for the summer. I'm looking forward to it all, but at the same time not interested in the level of social as before. I'm fairly sure that even if I still had the energy for it, restarting a retired women's group down here is not in my future.

Surprisingly (or maybe not, actually), opening up and going out just a teeny bit more has been affecting my creativity. While I've enjoyed getting out every day (and not just on the patio or around the immediate area) I've also felt a real call to spend longer times at my sewing table and to create in new areas like the wood painting and improvising in the area of sewing and quilting. My apartment and studio are still my castle and where I spend  much of my time.

My patio is looking much better with a few more plants (I still need some hanging ones), solar lights, a mini flag holder and my flamingos. This picture was taken the other day, I'll need a less overcast one for more. 

An up coming project is to revamp the old budget here a casa Barb. Things are opening and I have new expenses (fitness membership costs, entertainment). I also need to adjust based on other things: warm weather utilites, increased food and bas costs, upcoming travel goals, my improved one person cooking, creative goals and more. After I do my taxes though. Procrastination is my middle name, after all.

 And who knows. Maybe I can get rid of some hibernation expenses. Especially the twenty reading and TV channels I've been binging on for the past year.

I should be back to normal twice or thrice a week blogging and catching up on my sidebar. I took some time to work on some craft writing and creating but am ready to get back into my normal writing (and life) routine.

I may need to make some brownies today.