Enjoying My Retirement

Tonight I spent a few minutes going back over my blog entries for the past 2 1/2 years that I’ve been retired.  In so many ways nothing has changed in that length of time.  I’m still doing the same things, thinking a lot of the same thoughts, still interested in the same things, happily married and at peace with my life.  But I realized that the things that really make me who I am are changing over time.  My mother said it best a few months after I retired; she said I looked so much more relaxed now.   And she’s right, but that relaxation she sees on my face has fact in my body and my soul.  I feel like I’ve gotten to the best place I’ve ever been in my life.  I’m happy, truly happy with who I am, what I have, what I do with what I have, how I treat others (2 and 4-legged ones) and how I treat myself.

It seems that most of my life I’ve spent working for some goal that I never really defined; it changed over time depending on what was going on in the rest of my life.  I allowed myself to be buffeted by others, by my employment, by my own emotions and the gyrations of others’ emotions in my immediate vicinity.  Now, of course, I wonder why I allowed it.  No real answer, I suppose, except that I was naïve, stupid in the way of the world, and I never really understood that it was “MY” life, that no one else had a right to abuse that life I lived.  I could sit here and mourn the losses in my life (and there have been many, unfortunately), but I choose not to see the glass as half empty.  Therein lies one of my greatest character traits.  I am a cockeyed optimist.  LOL  I always play the Devil’s Advocate in any conversation but I really do feel the positive much more than the negative.  I do look at the brighter side in most things.

On Facebook, on a daily basis it seems, there are postings of dire events, some which touch my heart; some things make me cry, especially the abused animals and the abused children.  Some times I have to turn away from the really awful stories because I’ve already seen too much and have cried too many tears.  I choose not to get mired in the crap now, to not let the negatives get to me.  Maybe it’s because I know these years I’m living now will be all that are allotted to me, I want them to be good years, happy years of peace.  Younger days are for protests, fighting, hunger, strife, arguments, and losses when the energy is high and the stakes seem few.  I’ve tired of the days fighting to survive either physically or emotionally.  What did it get me?

Well, it got me a good job, an education, a nice home, nice cars, etc.  It got me self-esteem for the person I’ve become through my trial-by-fire.  It’s got me a decent pension to retire on, a wonderful husband who loves me no matter what, freedom from want, warm, fed, dry and happy.  So much but of such simple means.  Was this all that I needed to make me happy, truly at peace inside?  I don’t think so.

What makes me happy is not the “things” I have, not the possessions I’ve accumulated.  It’s partly how far I’ve come in no measurable way from who I was once.  How far I’ve come from the damaged times to the happy times.  It’s the “me” I am that I celebrate these days.  I could have let life beat me on so many occasions but I never gave up.  It may have cost me dearly to never give up and never give in, but I’m reaping the benefits now.  No one except myself will ever truly know the battles I’ve fought, the ones I won and the ones I lost.  No one will ever know how much of myself I had to donate to the cause in order to survive; not just survive but to triumph over so much.

And now I have no battle to fight.  Thankfully.  The only bogie man in my life now is my own self.  i.e. I want to sew but I don’t because I put other things ahead of my desires sometimes….not too big of a trial, huh?  LOL  At this point in my retirement (life) my biggest losses are the days when I don’t stand up to my own self and say, “No!  Today I am going to do what I want to do, not what I need to do!”.  There is no one telling me anything negative now; I’m not at anyone’s beck and call; I have no boss except myself, so no one else to blame except myself.  If this is all I have to worry about……wait.  Maybe that’s why I look so rested, so peaceful now.  I no longer have to fight the dragon, and it feels pretty damned good!

Dropping The Ball

I have 15 pieces of fabric bought and washed to make blankets for donating to the rescue.  I have done none of them.  I wish I could add some time to my days!  It seems I have enough time (and energy) to do just what it takes to survive and to keep a path cleared through the house but no more.  The doctor is still working on my medications so I’m chalking this lethargy to the meds.  She just added one that perks me up a bit but it’s not nearly enough; hopefully I’ll be able to stabilize and get back my get-up-and-go.  I have found that lately I’m reading more about sewing than actually spending time doing sewing (embroidery for me).  I’m unsubscribing from some of my e-lists so I’ll have more time for the “doing” part.  I’m also working on a special project for a baby shower but it’s still hush-hush.  I still have that fabric in a bag to be washed.

Tomorrow Bandit goes to the vet for his yearly checkup, then the week after it’ll be Dusty and Diego for theirs.  Hopefully nothing else is found and they’ll all check out okay.  We’re not seeing any issue with them so fingers crossed the doctor won’t either.  Today while Ronnie was working in the backyard (he’s building me a thread rack like one I saw online the other day), Bandit came out of the shed with a dead rat.  Of course, I went bananas; Ronnie didn’t even see it until I hollered to him.  He took it away from Bandit then threw it over the back fence.  Ronnie said it was newly dead so evidently Bandit was the executioner.  Ewwwwwwwwwww!  I’ve never known Bandit to kill any living creature; I don’t know what the rat said to Bandit to piss him off.

Today I awoke at noon…..I slept 11 1/2 hours!!!!!!!!!  I was surprised when I found out what time it was but happy that I finally caught up on my rest some.  On the weekends Ronnie keeps the dogs quiet so I can sleep in a bit but I don’t usually sleep this late unless I’ve been up all night…and I went to bed at 12:30 last night.  Wow!  Since I was doing laundry this weekend I started in finishing up from yesterday which entailed emptying the dog crates and washing all their blankets.  Then I changed the water in both fish tanks so they’re happier now, too.  Usually one day a week this is my routine for the animals: doing their laundry and changing out water in both fish tanks.  I just turn on the TV and leave it running for a distraction while I’m working.  Today they were showing Ken Burns’ “Civil War” and I watched most of it.  I had bookmarked that series on Netflix but had never gotten around to watching it.  Now I have.  I like Ken Burns’ historical series.  I love seeing actual photographs of historical events and hearing stories from the people who lived through those times.  I still have his “Jazz”,  “The West”, and the second half of “Auschwitz” to watch.  I saw “Prohibition”, “Lewis & Clark”, “Huey Long”, “The Dust Bowl”, “The War”,  and “The Roosevelts” which were excellent, too.  I’m usually not able to sit still long enough to watch an entire series; today was an exception and I’ll probably dream about the Civil War and Lincoln tonight.  LOL

 

 

 

Unstitched

Last week I finally got the stitches removed from my poor foot.  While I was waiting to heal, that ugly black boot rubbed a hole in the bottom of my foot…at that point the boot was retired to the closet for good.  Enough!  I’m doing well, still a bit of a limp but coming around, I’d say.  I go back to the podiatrist again next week to pick up my orthotics and that should be that.

Still doing the “dog” thing.  Took Mimi in today for her yearly vaccinations and checkup.  Today was the first time Mimi has made a trip while sitting in the doggie basket you see in the picture below of Pepper, my mom’s Chihuahua.  She panicked at first and just wanted “OUT!!!”.  Finally got her calmed down and made my position known–that she was to stay in the doggie booster seat ALL the way.  She then quieted down and made it the entire 30 minute ride to the vet.  Once her appointment was over I took her to Sonic for a puppy-reward cheeseburger.  Once she got to eat her cheeseburger she conked out for a short nap in her booster seat; she decided it wasn’t as bad as she’d thought.  Tonight she had a love fest with me on the couch.  She licked me until my skin just about started peeling off.  I think she was grateful for the special attention she got today on her dreaded trip to the vet; it definitely wasn’t a negative experience.  Pepper goes back Tuesday for his post-heartworm treatment checkup, then Bandit goes before the end of the month for his annual check.  I think we have 4 in March, 1 in April, 1 in July and the last in August.  I need to take up a different hobby!

Pepper on the way to his heartworm treatments

Pepper on the way to his heartworm treatments

Speaking of hobbies, I did get all 11 of the doggie blankets completed, 9 sold and 2 gifted.  Hope to get started on the next batch (this time appliqued owls instead of appliqued puppies) tomorrow.

First 6 of the appliqued puppy blankets

First 6 of the appliqued puppy blankets

Ronnie is going to visit family overnight so I’ll be on my own to do laundry and sew and pamper canine babies during both.  I had another laptop brought in tonight which I’m working on right now; otherwise I’m caught up on the computers for a bit.  This is the first Windows 8 machine I’ve had in to fix so it’s a whole new ball of wax, interesting figuring out how to fix the issues without losing her information but it was full of crap-ware and no antivirus running for months before it got here.  No telling what was on it before I decided to do a refresh.  Every time I thought I had it all something else would pop up.  Too many fires to put out; it was time for the big guns, so I’m downloading Windows Updates right now.  I may be about done for the night though.  This will take longer than I care to stay up.  I’ve been up since 5 AM and it’s after 2 AM again; time to call “Uncle!” perhaps!  I’ll sit here a bit longer I think but it won’t get finished tonight; not enough minutes and updates are a lot of “hurry up and wait, reboot, repeat”.  Boring!!!!!!!!  I’m just about ready to give in and give up for the night.  After 21 hours my patience is thin.

On another note, I now have 2 systems dual-booting Windows 10, one also has Windows 8.1 and the other has Windows 7.  Interesting system and I’m liking Windows 10, but like Vista before it, some software I’m used to running has yet to be optimized to run on it so I’m doing a bit of troubleshooting in order to use it like I need it to run.  It’s been a fun, if frustrating at times, experience so far.  One of the good things about doing the Windows 10 preview is that this time we will get to keep it with whatever upgrades come next (and for free!!) instead of having to completely reload the entire system like we had to do with the Windows 7 preview.  I don’t feel so bad about loading it knowing that it’s not all for nothing in a few months.  Makes a big difference even if it’s only semantics.  LOL

Still Stitched

Got an insult on Thursday when I went in to get my stitches out….I wasn’t healed enough to have them removed so I have to wear this ugly black boot another week. Wah! I’m doing better every day so it should be alright by next Thursday.

On a good note: Princess, the Chihuahua, went home to her mommy this afternoon. I don’t know which of them was the happiest. When we got home we moved the remaining dog crates, mopped under them and generally rearranged the doggie area now that not as many crates are required. A change is always welcome. Now, if we can just get Daisy adopted to some nice folks maybe I could stress less about the dogs. Still haven’t decided if we’ll keep all we have or try to rehome some of them. All is quiet with them right now; just expensive to vet each year and the occasional spats among them. They each deserve to have their very own family where they get all the attention so that’s something to consider as well.

Got a little sewing done this week and have much more to do, as usual. At least things have quieted down enough now that the holidays are over and my surgery is over so I can concentrate on doing something constructive again. I donated 6 appliqued fleece blankets for our rescue to sell and bought fabric today to make another blanket to give away. I have some blouses of my own to embroider and a hoodie to embroider for myself as a template for metallic thread embroidery now that I have a good spool stand for it. I’d like to get it done before it gets too warm to wear it—-I might like it! LOL There are a couple of simple knit blouses to put small designs on and a chambray shirt that will be fairly elaborate. All in good time, I suppose. We have a little dog that will start heartworm treatments on Monday and he’ll have to be in Friendswood at the vet at 7:30 AM, so I should have most of the rest of the day to sew. Wish me luck!

I need to get off here and go to bed. The longer I stay up the more awake I’m getting and that’s not good……….

Post-Op II

Blondie the Lutino (almost albino) Oscar fish

Blondie the Lutino (almost albino) Oscar fish

Doing great…hate this damned boot…get my stitches out in 4 days.

On another note.  Got the latest build (9929) of Windows 10 Technical Preview loaded and working on my desktop PC and loving it for the most part.  I’ve enjoyed each build so far but this one is the most challenging as 2 things didn’t work at all and one is still a pain at times (Internet Explorer hangs).  I’m enjoying the novelty of being back on my desktop after using my laptop for over a year.  I had put the 27″ monitor in the sewing room after a while in order to have the extra space on my desk but brought it back in here when I was recouping from surgery.  Since I couldn’t do anything else for a few days I worked on computers day and night.  I reloaded Ronnie’s laptop (Windows 7 Professional), my laptop (Windows 7 Ultimate)  and the sewing room laptop (Windows 8.1).  This is the first time they’ve all been freshly loaded at the same time.

In addition I’ve sold a sewing machine on EBay and have another listed.  I sold a netbook but am waiting on payment before I ship it.  I have a Touchpad, wireless keyboard and Touchstone charger listed and a Babylock serger that will go next (I still need to troubleshoot it to see if it’s worth servicing or just sell as is).  I guess this is the beginning of spring cleaning season.  It’s nice to be able to see my furniture again.

As of today all my new spool racks are installed on the Ellisimo Gold.  The Update #3 is installed (I don’t want #4 and #1 & #2 came pre-installed) and all the boxes are put away.  I mended Ronnie’s shirt and jeans and generally improved the appearance of the sewing room.  I pooped out before I started embroidering though.  I simply ran out of gas.  I’d only had a Starbucks coffee and the part of the cookie that Fancy and Gypsy didn’t eat and it was after 5 o’clock so it was time to get some fuel onboard.  I ate a baked potato so am ready to eat again now.  I guess a PB & J since I’ve had no protein all day except what was in the skim milk in my coffee.  I live such an exciting life.  LOL

We went to Starbucks for coffee, CVS for sodas, Petsmart for the dogs and fish (bought Blondie some feeders), then to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts for a door handle for Ronnie’s truck.  Evidently someone tried to break into Ronnie’s truck last Wednesday and broke the plastic parts on the inside of the handle.  Thankfully they didn’t break the window or mess up the door.  It’s repaired now so they can have another go at it.

Post-Op

'Great news! We found a donor body!'

Surgery was as noon today and I’m doing great.  The pain meds are beginning to wear off but it’s not too bad (yet).  I have a big black ugly boot to hobble around in for a while, have to elevate it and pack it in ice the first 24 hours, then go back in a week to get checked out.  I can handle that.

New Year’s Eve 2014

Whew!  I made another one–mostly intact, healthy and still kicking.  This year saw challenges with fostering dogs, changes in our health, a financial redirect, more emotional awareness and some character faults I realized and had to learn to deal with (in the I’m-too-old-to-change-now category).  Other than deciding that we can no longer do dog fostering anymore there weren’t any surprises or big upheavals.  With the health issues there were largely age-related changes and challenges but nothing we haven’t dealt with on one level or another.  The rest is incidental really, but issues dealt with nonetheless.

All the dogs are healthy and happy with the exception of Jolie’s issues which we are dealing with as they come.  Daisy is still at the sanctuary and no adopters on the horizon yet.  She is still happy and enjoying playtimes with her canine friend, Toby.  January starts another year of vaccinating all the animals which means more vet trips but hopefully no big surprises.

I’ll start doctors appointments next Monday with a surgical pre-approval with my GP, surgery on the 15th and a dental visit on the 21st.  I’ll get to wear a big, ugly black boot for some weeks which I’m sure I will come to hate.  I may do some rhinestone decorations with it if I get bored enough.  I’ll add that to my To Do list.

Ronnie has added a depth finder to his arsenal of fishing equipment so he’s liable to catch more fish and have more fun in 2015.  He’s currently on vacation and enjoying his time at home doing a lot of nothing (I’ve watched more television in the past two weeks than I have in a long time).  I asked him today if he’d missed work the past couple of weeks and he said a firm “NO!”.  He’s increased his pension savings in the past year so is likely to make retirement an item on his To Do list.

As bad as I hate it (and yet look forward to it), I intend to do the normal-for-everyone-else dieting when Ronnie goes back to work Monday.  There’s no sense in even trying to change a habit with him underfoot…and he snacks all day and night.  Even when I’m not thinking about food he’s eating something else.  Plus the holiday desserts still exist and at times I will partake though not every day.  There are still a few things I want to cook before I cut the calories so will try to get those out of my system before the belt-tightening begins.

I have been doing the Technical Preview of Microsoft Windows 10 and until recently found no problems with it.  Lately (and several times tonight) it has frozen up and rebooted with no explanation.  I don’t like this a bit.  Now in the middle of this post I may have to log out and change computers.What a bunch of crap!  Guess I’ll close and call it a day………Welcome to 2015.

 

 

48 Hours

…to go on this holiday season (for me).  Tomorrow is prep day (clean the rest of the house, make the birthday cake, clean the stove, etc.), then Wednesday the immediate family will come over for a while for gift exchange.  Since most of the family lives too far away to be here there won’t be a big crowd.  In fact, there’ll be almost twice as many dogs here as people.  But the dogs know the people and, except for Miss Mimi, they’ll be out to say hello.  Mimi will have to spend the holiday visit in her crate in our bedroom just like she did on Thanksgiving.  That arrangement worked out better than anything we’ve tried in the past.  She cuddles into her blankets and snoozes, then when the guests leave she comes out to join us again.  Her stress level stays on “keep warm” instead of “high alert” this way.

Tomorrow (today actually since it’s after midnight) is my mom’s birthday, December 23rd.  Ronnie’s birthday is December 25th.  Since we celebrate xmas on the 24th we’ll celebrate both birthdays as well.  It’ll be carrot cake this year; usually it’s German chocolate.  Both flavors are Ronnie’s favorites.  I was going to also make applesauce spice cakes this year but that plan fell through the cracks.  All’s well that ends well.  Right?

Poor Miss Jolie went back to the doctor today.  I took her Friday to have her blood drawn.  They called Saturday about the results, and Ronnie took her today to pick up two new meds and to get a growth removed from her eye.  Poor girl has so many skin tags and growths and scars.  They don’t seem to bother her much though.  She just motors on through them like nothing bothers her.  I wish that were true!  Her health is gradually going down the tubes, so we’re just doing whatever it takes to give her a good, happy life of love and peace for the length of time she has left to share with us.  I’m not expecting to have her any more than a few more months (hope I’m wrong”), because she fails a little more each day.  If we see signs on the outside, you know there are things going on inside, too, that we don’t see.  I seriously have been surprised at the times when she’s so sick and I think she’ll never make it through the night, and she does.  It’s going to be rude awakening when she doesn’t.  She’s a momma’s baby now.  She’s my girl!  Ronnie took her to Shepherd, Tx., this weekend to see her true mama, so they could spend a bit of time together in case it’s the last time they have with each other.  Ronnie said she had a good trip.  She smelled everything inside and outside her mom’s house.  He took her for a walk around town so she could say hello to her friends, human and 4-legged.  She spent her puppy-hood in the town of Shepherd.  A lot of people miss seeing her every day since we moved her in with us to care for her health.

A pleasant day today will lead into another cold front tonight.  The rain will be here by late morning so I’m looking forward to sleeping in a bit, which is my favorite past-time.

Dusty Shirt

DustyShirt

I found this design printed on a white ladies t-shirt a couple of weeks ago on Ebay.   I had to have it!  Love it.  Here it is beside the dog who inspired the purchase, my Dusty:

IMG_0168

 

 

 

My little Dusty Man is my arm-candy. He goes everywhere I go in the house.  He’s always in my lap, in my bed, and in my arms.  Spoiled doesn’t even play a part in his dictionary.  He feels entitled, not spoiled or just deserving of all the attention.  LOL  I’m not supposed to be out of his sight for any longer than absolutely necessary.  He watches me like a hawk and doesn’t miss a thing.  Love that little fur-boy…….

 

On another note, Winkie (now Rowdy) has been adopted and is happily learning to live in a home with his new mom instead of a kennel in a vet’s office.  Daylight and dark are those two!  So happy for you Rowdy-Man!!!

Daisy is still doing well at the sanctuary.  They’re going to start getting her to adoption events and see if they can find a home for her.  Fingers crossed for her!!!!!!!!!!

Been doing some serging and some machine embroidery.  Made some blankets for kids and embroidered a blouse for a birthday party.  Finished my last class about Babylock sergers and have gone down to Mom’s and showed her some tips, took her some supplies, thread, spool winders, etc.  Showed her alternate ways to thread the Evolution and how to use decorative thread on a serger.  It’s been fun.

Trying to work on xmas somewhat, too.  Tomorrow I have my car in for its first oil change then have to take Jolie to her doctor’s appointment for another blood draw test.  She’s been having some really rough days followed by some not so rough days, but I’m at the point where I expect any day for her to just go to sleep and not wake again.  Poor girl!

Well, it’s time good little girls and dogs head off to bed.  Try to write more tomorrow.  Night.  Night.

Image

Daisy Update

 

Daisy playing with her friend, Toby, at the sanctuary

Daisy playing with her friend, Toby, at the sanctuary

We received new photos and an update on Daisy’s stay at the sanctuary.  It looks like she’s having fun playing with the toys we sent and one of her playmates named Toby.  They sent 7 photos and we were happy to get them; we’d been wondering how she was and if anyone had developed more than a passing interest in her yet.  No one has, unfortunately, but the director at the sanctuary has been great about sending us updates and pictures.

Thanksgiving is over for 2014.  We only had 3 visitors due to family illness but the food was good and plentiful and everyone seemed to have a good time as long as it lasted.  The dogs loved having the attention.  Only Mimi had to be ferreted away into the bedroom since people upset her so much that she wants to bark and bite.  We put a crate in our room with a blanket and she quieted down.  The rest of the day she actually played with Bandit and Zoe in the backyard without getting snippy like she usually does.  It was a beautiful day in our part of the world but I’m glad the holiday is over.  Only one more to survive this year and I can breathe a sigh of relief once more….and my sun will come back out again.

I also survived my podiatrist appointment last week.  He did a little minor surgery on my toe and will be doing some not-quite-as-minor surgery on my heel in the coming weeks.  As it was the first visit I was surprised at him taking action quickly to get me out of pain, and I really liked him personally as well.  I told Ronnie we’d found our new foot doctor, so he will go once I’m done with my bit.  No need for both of us to be limping any more than necessary through the holidays.  LOL  I took my last antibiotic pill tonight and am glad to be over that phase.  We actually had a few rum drinks with family today since it was the last of the meds.  I’d been religious about staying off the sauce while I was on the pills.  I wanted to do the maximum amount of healing while I had the chance.  Now that that is over I can see myself tucking into a Margarita soon.  Been missing my Tex-Mex and margs.

On another positive note, Winkie may have an adopter.  There was someone who had lost her own dog to old age who volunteered for foster-to-adopt, so Mr. Winkie may get his furever home very soon.  Most things have begun to look up.  The only negative thing with our canines was that Jolie’s blood values are continuing to go downhill.  Even after increasing her sub-cutaneous fluids (doubled), her kidney values continue to rise which indicates that the rate of her renal failure is rising and her life is coming to an end sooner than we hoped.  Her white cell count has begun to also rise again so we’re doing more antibiotics to see if it will turn again.  Poor baby!  I hate to see this happen to such a sweet little dog but we’ve had her 3 years longer than we thought we would and she’s about 13 years old now, so she’s had a good, long life.  We can see a slower step with her now, and she doesn’t wake up as quickly as the rest of the dogs, or as quickly as she did just a few weeks ago.  She sleeps a lot and is more lethargic with passing time, but she’s not experiencing pain yet like Buffy did before her kidneys failed.  When we get to that point with Jolie it will be time to say goodbye.  Not something I’m looking forward to at all.

Wanting to end this post on a positive note: I love my new Babylock Ovation serger!  I’ve had 2 classes one-on-one and have learned so much already.  The final class is next week and I’m already packing what I want to learn in that class.  Since I’m the lone student I have been picking out the things I specifically want to learn and she has been great with it.  I had already bought her book last year but when I looked for it last week couldn’t find it anywhere.  After a couple of days I ordered another copy online so I’d have a chance to read it again before the last class.  Of course, the day after I paid Amazon for the second book I found the original one on the bookcase right where it was supposed to be and where I’d already looked multiple times.  Well, this way I’ll have 2 copies, can get them both autographed and share one with my daughter-in-law who also sews.  Things always seem to work out in the end.

 

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