Monday, September 27, 2021

70!!! And October Goals

 And so, I've entered a new decade of life. The day after my birthday I don't feel any different than I did at 69, although I did feel the need for an afternoon snooze before the family dinner at the local french and steak restaurant, courtesy of my darling daughter. My sister-in-law and her husband joined us and a good time was had  by all. Sparkler candle included.  

Meanwhile, it's a new month. And as I try to create my new normal, and get myself on some kind of a "post Covid even though it's really not post Covid" lifestyle, it's time for a few goals and plans for the month that's coming, and I can use some accountability as I get back to some kind of normal schedule.

So as of today, goals and bucket list type plans for October include:

1. Take a fall day trip drive, possibly even an overnight, and another local trip to hit up our local pumpkin patch that also h as cut your own flowers.

2.  Decorate the house and patio for fall

3. And one new weekly or monthly social thing to my calndar.

4. Return to my weekly five dollar movie habit on Wednesday

5. Make one new  fall recipe (may or may not be pumpkin).

6. Make my Christmas master list and creative mastr list

7. Exercise for a full hour five days  a week (seated exercise, PT exercises included).

8. Register for and schedule my orientation to be a Casa volunteer

9. Sign up for the Great Courses again since I can't do Olli classes this fall, and practice German daily.

10. Do a fall deep clean of the apartment

11. Start making an effort bit by bit to fill the pantry and the freezer at loss leader prices both to allow me to not shop when I'm not in the mood and to prepare for increased prices and possible shortages here and there.

And there you have it. There may be things added later, who knows?  And my Christmas and creative project lists need to be refined, and are a separate checklist. But it's a starting pint, after all.

Monday, September 20, 2021

One Year!

 Last week I signed another lease for a the coming year at my active retirement apartment.

Honestly, it's hard to believe I've been here for a year, even though the last year has encompassed so much! When I first arrived, we were still in the "thick" of the pandemic. I unloaded, settled in, and except for waving as we walked masked or sat on our patios, there was little interaction- even with the other residents although people did stop by to welcome me. Other than times I visited my daughter and son-in-law, that was occasionally a lonely time and I relied on Facebook, Zoom and my daughter for my social interaction.

Fortunately, 2021 has been an improvement for me, even with the variants and masking issues. I was (fortunately) vaccinated early on (my booster date will be in just a couple of weeks) and so except for a period of Hell Freezing Over, the new year has slowly improved.  I am still a homebody much of the time, and I am still cautious, but I have moved past the lock myself away period of life. I go to church, I have joined a group or two, I have eaten out, and yes, I have just returned from two weeks in Denver-smokey air and all. 

I haven't been an "official" renter for a while, so did find it interesting that rather than going month to month after the first year, we signed a new lease. Not that I have a problem in any way with such, it was just different for me. And it may be because many of the apartments are income qualified. Who knows?

In other news, I FINALLY had my first PT appointment this morning which was an evaluation. I have been walking with an uneven gait forever,  I need pain management tips, and had other issues that were affecting both my pain and my walking and activity even more than usual. It still looks like I wont be walking much more than fifteen minutes at a time, and I am actually supposed to walk with a rolling walker now (just for the exercise type of walking so that I can go faster and not worry about falling and get my heart rate up). I have been measured and tested and been watched while I walk and now it's time to start all the new exercises and therapies I have been given. Plus I am meeting with the guy two times a week through the fall.

Football is back and I'm happy to see the Washington Redskins or the Washington  Football Team as they are known to some to have had a win. It may have been 102 here today, but hey, it's football season.

I am still mainly ordering online  for trunk pickup and or delivery, and while I have had some substitutions I have not seen any large shortages. That and the fact that I eat almost anything so can easily substitute has me more relaxed that it seems some others are. However, prices are definitely rising and I pretty much ate down my freezer before my Colorado visit so I will slowly start stocking up on some non-perishables and loss leaders for the freezer. Yesterday I made a large slow cooker full or garlic brown sugar chicken thighs (literally I just used herb garlic seasoning and threw brown sugar on top and cooked on hi for four hours), so I am again feeding the freezer (I knew there were reasons I would want the giant extra large slow cooker)

Denton is a town of many small businesses and one of them is an specialty cheese shop. Each week on Wednesday they have a different grilled cheese sandwich, depending on what special jams they have received, cheeses on hand and other gourmet items they sell and when they run out they run out. I've decided that on Wednesdays at 11:15 that's where I'll be for lunch. Look for  pictures...

Tomorrow I'm being a good girl in her birth month and having a skin test done. I'm also braving the nail salon come hell or high water with mask in hand. Because no matter what magic this physical therapist works, never again am I going to be able to trim my own toenails. Never mind paint them. I also may grab some eggs bennie, and in the afternoon my quilt guild has a large surplus fabric sale!

Oh and the quilt? It's a very early Christmas present from my sister, who is also a quilter. And is already on my bed

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Just a Quick Note

To say that I've been keyboard-less and now I'm not. Back soon.

 Maybe even this afternoon.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Dog Days.....Of Summer that Is

So here we are back in the thick of Covid here in Texas. The state remains a lovely place to live, as does the place on live in. If we could just get rid of a couple people (namely the governor), things would go so much better. The sooner the state move that arrow more toward the blue, the happier we will all be.

Having said that, It's not the only state, and democratic states are having their own issues as well. Meanwhile, I've gone to masking in many groups (wore it in the move theater yesterday) out of caution and fully intend to get my booster at month eight in October. I'll travel to Colorado the end of this month, and will take my mask and be cautious. I just hope I'll feel confident traveling later in the fall and or in the new year, cause I've committed myself.

Meanwhile, the end of summer (although not hot weather is upon us here in the State of Abbot. My days have not varied much at all. In the first part of the morning I'm doing my morning things (sitting on the patio, watering the plants, reading and meditating, playing on line, doing house stuff). After that I'm sewing or self entertaining most days and having lunch. Somewhere around one thirty I'm heading to the pool with the afternoon pool crowd, and staying a good two hours I forgot to sunscreen some days, and so the following days I needed to wear a shirt and then spray that stuff well. By the time I'm finished with my shower it's a good four oclock and then I'm sewing/reading/knitting/Tv-ing/patio-ing again until dinner-and I fully admit that in this weather I've been doing more than my sharing of ordering in as opposed to cooking.

My fibro pain has REALLY been acting up, so almost all my exercise s been water walking for awhile with some strength training. I'm hoping my moving around the house/neighborhood and my shopping trips are counting as some weight bearing exercise points because that's all that is happening right now.

In fact I've been so weak-willed that my daughter came today to help me choose closet organizers for my sewing room, did some laundry and is coming tomorrow to do one of those whole house move the furniture type clean that i am pretty much no longer capable of. I really do think that once I return from Denver I may need to look at getting help at least once or twice a month-there are quite a few of the homemaking assistant/grocery shopping type guys and gals helping various neighbors and while I don't need alot of that stuff, I am not one of those who HAS to do things on my own on principle. Let the helping begin already.

As you all know, I am a summer girl at heart. But I love the fall colors, clothes, and food and decor. Which is why I've been yanking out the fall fabric to make fabric pumpkins, bowls and vase fillers and the like for the fall shows that are coming up.

I may have finally decided to get an air fryer.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Money Making/Saving Monday

 Summer isn't over yet. In fact, I'm looking forward to using the community pool starting at the end of this week without grandkids and the splashing (they have early morning adult only hours but since I'm not an early morning person, I rarely use them).

Even so, my personal break from blogging is over and one of my goals is to increase my casual income by $100 each month and get back to using all the freebies available to me as well as grocery deals-especially the way food prices seem to be jumping).

And since I haven't had a Frugal Friday post in seemingly forever here in the retirement zone, here are a few things that have been happening on the saving and spending front. Good and bad.

1.  I spent some time using a dedicated email address to sign up to all the places that have birthday freebies since September is my birthday month. There are some I wont use, but the current list includes resturants, clothing stores, Ace hardware and the like. Some of them, like Ace hardware are actually coupons off (ten off 25) but if it's something I need (I go through a bunch of painter's tape in quilting) then it's worth it. As I update the blog for fall, I'll make a tab above for a list of the freebies and so on I get. Oh, and I've also updated my book list for the year.

2. After a fair amount of introspection, I decided NOT to return to the full gym membership/group exercise option offered by my local county. I don't get Silver Sneakers through my insurance. I've become very happy with my youtube offerings that include one mile and two mile walks, weight programs, yoga and pilates and I walk outside for fresh air (or I do when it's not triple digits). I'll just go with the ten dollar rec pass for the senior center which will include card groups, craft groups, line dancing and all the normal non exercise activities. The community is supposed to start chair exercise soon as we return to the normal (hopefully).

3. I've not been great about carry out and drive through. Panera especially is my friend as is the local gourmet burger joint. So realistically I've cut money from elsewhere and am also on a serious dive to cut the grocery bill. To the point of starting one of those grocery price comparison lists, as well as being ruthless about any waste. I've even resorted to frozen fruit and some canned, as I've had some fruit go bad quickly even though I eat it all the time

4. My income will be freed up more starting sometime in September and I've decided to put the difference into car savings.

5. I've been sewing, and painting wood and so on-generally making things to sell on FB or in person or at small pop up craft fairs at breweries and bars which they have many of here. At this point it's all fall related! I still can't decide if a craft  blog to go along side it is a good idea.

6. I'm budgeting for a fall vacation since it's really to warm to do anything here except the occasional day drive. Fairly sure that will be a run to the gulf and Padre Island, but who knows.

7. I made a  rough budget month by month so I know what's coming up between now and the end of the year.

8. I made my quarterly "Everything I can do for free or almost free" either at home using stuff on hand or in the neighborhood. Lot's to still explore around here, so it's a pretty long list.

9. I'm actively following some money making lists and dedicating time to the making money at home thing so that I can plan for my larger , longer vacatin sooner rather than later (I have a Christmas trip plan in mind).

10. I did my own pedicure (pretty poorly) as I do every other month, I used up stuff on hand, I've started crafting with old and thrifted clothing and scraps(both for finances and sustainability), I cancelled all my streaming services except for the very basic now that I have more in person entertainment options, I did NOT hire a cleaning service (but it's coming eventually, no matter what I have to give up), I kept my eye out for organizers and shelves on Marketplace instead of buying all the new and cute Ikea stuff.

I'm supposed to be driving to Denver (non stop with a break of sleeping in the Dumas, Texas Walmart RV area for a few hours), but the smoke is so bad that Denver is temporarily the most polluted city and all the windows have to stay closed. What to do, what to do. Besides seeing my kid and family, I need to load up the car and bring stuff back. I'll have to go soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Hmm. Goals?

 I've obviously been lazy this summer and have been lucky to get a post a week going, but although it's still August I'm slowly moving back into the regular posting zone. I have a more than a few posts planned, including joining in on a "What's on my Bookshelf" post towards the end of the month. 

What's really on my bookshelf at this moment is A Little Life. But I gotta tell ya, right now it's just sitting there, ya know? May be to visceral for me  right now!

Meanwhile, in an effort to get myself in a little bit of gear, here are a few goals that will keep me sort of on target. I honestly expect that these are really August/September goals with my lack of attention to detail and my ability to dabble hours away!

1. Financially, up my casual income (read selling stuff and doing online research) from two hundred to three hundred dollars a month by the beginning of September

2. Healthwise, as 70 approaches, I'm finding that my bend and reach and stretch abilities are going down hill separate from my knee, so I'm adding a stretch routine at least four times a week-especially for my arms. My left shoulder hurts when I reach for the sky, although that may also still be the side effects from my ever so very overdue Shingrix shot.  Also, to go back to wearing a mask inside at crowded stores, well, because!

3. Blogging: Be back to blogging at least two days if not three by September one, concentrating on age related health and other adjustments, lifestyle stuff and frugal retirement stuff.

4. Enrichment wise, as of today Olli (senior college) will be in person this fall, so I need to be signed up and registered in the next two weeks. Also I have been invited to teach two "classes" (the kind of things they have at pubs and wineries where you sip and make..whatever) so I'm brainstorming those.

5. House: completely rearrange my sewing room. I'm praying I can do this myself, but if I can't son in law will come to, move the large  sewing table away from the window (after all that) so I can set up a little photography space in the light.

6. Family: Drive to Colorado to see the other half since it's almost been a year and take a side sightseeing trip along the way to Caprock Canyon and the Highway of Legends in Colorado. Also I think my daughter's planning something huge for the 70th so I'm not sure if I should pretend to be surprised or ask what I can do, lol.

7. Spiritual: Increase my centering prayer time (five minutes of complete silence and emptiness) from five minutes a day to ten minutes a day, and get back my Bible reading-I now know that I can ask Alexa to read the chapter and just listen. Who knew.

My photo of the day (week): I have this pottery bowl full of dead flowers that have turned to straw on my patio table. But I haven't had the heart to dig them out since a friend has made their home inside the pot. Every time I water it he (she?) just jumps to the side and then settles back in. So I can't destroy his/hers/their home just yet.

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...