Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Finally... no more muffin tops!

The Gap made me very happy this morning with the announcement of their new high-rise jeans. Not that I'll be walking around in the ensemble pictured above, but after years of 'low-low rise' giving us glimpses of things we couldn't un-see, we're making progress, people!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Everybody out of the pool!!

It was raining (saints be praised!) this morning, so I motored to the indoor aquatic center across town for my morning swim.  I missed the fresh air and sunshine at the outdoor pool, but the indoor hours were more flexible, allowing me to start at 9 versus 10. Plus, there was the whole 'no sunscreen needed' thing, an added bonus. So, I'm swimming along - back and forth, lap after lap, about a half-hour in - when the lifeguard blows his whistle: "Clear the pool!" All the swimmers look up, then at each other, and I'm thinking, "Did one of these middle-aged folks poop in the water?" which shows you the way my mind works coming from the outdoor pool world. But, seriously, why else would you clear the pool at 9:40 in the morning? Turns out, the lifeguards finally said, there was lightning in the area. "Huh? But, we're indoors! That's why I came out here!" I said. "Metal roof," one of them replied. "Gotta get out." Further proof that you really do learn something new every day.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Puppy love

My poor spouse's face is taking its sweet time to de-swell after the wasp sting three days ago. Our daughter breaks into giggles every time she sees him ("I'm not laughing AT you, Dad. I'm laughing WITH you.") yet, oddly, I haven't been so attracted to him in years. "I don't know what it is," I told him this morning. "All I want to do is hold you." "Well, that's a start," he replied, never missing an opportunity. "No, really. You remind me of... of a ... I can't quite think of it."  Then, it hit me
"That's it! You look just like a Shar-Pei puppy!" I cried. "That's cool," he said. "Now, come over here and scratch me behind the ears."

Friday, July 26, 2013

'Nuff said.

A) This is why I love, love, love The New Yorker, and...
B) Thank God I'm not living in NYC right now.  Oy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wasp attack no blow to this ego

There's my handsome hubs on the left, last Friday after a night on the town. That's him on the right, 18 hours after a wasp stung him on the tip of his nose. Poor guy. There have been comparisons to Karl Malden, a character in the Dick Tracy movie, and any poor sap that suffered a loss in a prize fight. This photo illustrates the biggest difference between the hubs and myself: Vanity. If my face was swollen like a giant party balloon, I would stay in my bedroom with the blinds shut until my mug returned to normal. Family would have to bring in meals and leave them by the door. And cameras would most certainly be banned. Not this guy. Last night, he couldn't wait to hit the neighborhood brewery to try the newest IPA. What could I say? He certainly deserved one.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Working out in the drink: Harder than it looks

The lap lanes of the public pool look a lot less intimidating than, say, Gold's Gym (except for that moment when you have to shed the cover up and actually walk on the deck to the water.) But, it is possible to get a heckuva workout session in there with a combination of water walking (forward and backward), swimming and weight lifting....
Yes, I mean weight lifting...with these Aqua Jogger dumbbells which make for a remarkably strenuous workout under the water. I did an hour today. Olympic synchronized swimming, here I come.

Changing the world, one octogenarian at a time.

On Day Two of retirement, I went to Kansas City where I had lunch with six college friends, did some shopping and spent quality time with my mother.  We hung out in her kitchen, me tutoring her on her new iPhone. She had made some progress, having taken lots of photos on a recent trip to Maine, and her finger swiping technique was superb. But, she was hesitant to use Siri because the first time she attempted it, "Siri called me by name and it just threw me for a loop." "Mom, she's only there to help. Now, what do you need to remember tomorrow?" "Well, Nancy is going to pick me up for lunch at 12:30." I proceeded to show her how to ask Siri to put that on her calendar and create a reminder. That went so well, we looked up a new restaurant where we want to have dinner on Saturday night. The place wouldn't be open till four and I had to scoot. Mom said she'd make the reservation and call me tomorrow. "Just text me," I said, getting into my car.  "So, what do I need for that, your cell phone number?" "That's all you need," I said, as I pulled out of her driveway.  This morning, the message came through. I couldn't be more proud.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 1: Post-Retirement

1. Take car in for repair.
2. Take dog for 30-minute morning walk.
3. Discover Kate Middleton is in labor. Scour internet for details.
4. Lap swim at city pool for 1 hour.
5. Fold laundry.
6. Straighten house.
7. Check email.
8. Confirm hotel reservations in Santa Fe for Sept.
9. Make deviled eggs.
10. Assorted puttering.
11. 30 minutes of yoga while watching Royal Baby hoopla (Congrats, Will and Kate!)
12. Pick up car after repair
13. Get car washed
14. Buy new sheets for guest room
15. Happy hour.  (Correction: Very happy hour.)

I'd better pace myself.  This could become exhausting.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Here's one for the nightstand. Am I right, ladies?

Now that my Facebook job status has been changed to Retired/Freelance Writer, I'm thinking about branching out into different genres - children's books, plays and (yes!! yes!!) erotica. I'll admit the obscene success of "50 Shades of Gray" may have something to do with that. What the heck, I can write smut as well as the next gal, right? I was considering giving it a try... until I saw this (for real) title this morning, written by not one, but two creative gals. See their names right next to the (ahem) hedgehog. I don't think I could ever top that. Ever. Back to the drawing board...

Sunday's fun day again!

This is an album I've never heard of, but the title seemed apropos. 
In my working life (you know, like last week) Sundays were always a mixed blessing. Mornings were peaceful and serene, afternoons filled with errands, and a home-cooked meal for family and/or friends in the evening. As soon as the dishes were done, a vague sense of dread would descend as I pondered everything I had to do in the coming week at work. I've never slept well on Sunday nights.  I wonder if it will be different now. All I have to do tomorrow is take the car in for service. On Tuesday, I'm lunching in Kansas City with college chums. Wednesday is wide open. There's a facial with my daughter on Thursday and a hair appointment on Friday. Yep, tonight I should sleep like that bare naked baby.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"No rest for you," said the shoes.

Reminding me that retirement doesn't mean you can sit around on your can with your feet up all day, my new blue workout shoes (with the tiniest bit of neon) arrived today. Asics GT1000s. Very light. Great arches. Recommended.

RIP, Helen Thomas

One of my heroes is dead at 92. What a contribution she made. I'll bet she's in the front row in heaven, still asking questions.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I'm outta there!

Done and done.
That's all she wrote.
The fat lady's singing.
And to all a good night.
Exit, stage right. Runnin' all the way.
Parting is such sweet sorrow.
All's well that end's well.
That's a wrap.
The party's over.
Put the lid on it.
Don't let the door slam me in the butt on the way out.
The end. 
Let retirement commence!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Retirement is a roller coaster, alright.

Saw an older acquaintance at today's Sidewalk Sale - my swan song, of sorts. She asked how I was feeling about retirement. "At the moment, kind of emotional," I said. She answered, "Give yourself time to grieve. Retirement is a loss. You're losing part of your identity, part of your social network." Gawd, I thought. I am so sick of loss. I'm losing things right and left. Then, she said, "But the reinvention thing is awesome!" OK, that made me feel a little better. So did these...
It turns out, you get a lot of flowers when you retire. But, I'll be glad when this week is over.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hello again, Janis!

Look how cute Janis Ian is! I'm following her on Facebook and just downloaded the classic "Between the Lines" album on iTunes. What a talent! What a fabulous collection of work! Of course, I loved "At Seventeen" but my favorite track was No. 1:

Janis posts a beautiful photo and quote of the day on her Facebook feed.  Today, it is:
“Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.” ~ Steven Wright

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gold watches are overrated, anyway.

My retirement reception was tonight at a downtown pub. The local TV news station showed up. People bought me too many drinks. I received fabulous gifts including a pair of gorgeous earrings from my favorite gallery, lovely flowers, a child-size kick board for my "adult swim" sessions, a beer koozie from the library (which is funny enough) and a certificate of recognition from the Society for the Prevention of Mental Health, circa 1980, which I will hang proudly in my home office. I love my Downtown Lawrence peeps. I'll really miss them. Three days to go. Emotions are mixed.

Retirement in 4: The countdown continues

Four more days left of employment. The accountant cut my last paycheck yesterday. (Silly gooses! They trust me enough to stick out the week.) As I deposited it in the bank, I felt a pang in my stomach. It's not that my earning power has come to an end. I expect to make more money. But, there was something very final about it. Like the end of a relationship. "That's it," I said to myself, driving away from my regular lane in the drive-up. "That's it. For now."

Monday, July 15, 2013

My last Monday before retirement

It feels so weird - the last Monday of my last week at work. Five more days until... well, who knows what, exactly? I've never been fearful of change. Rather, I've always tended to seek it out. (Classic Sagittarius trait: Bores easily.) But, I've never been faced with the real possibility of long term, day-to-day freedom before. If I weren't going to be so darned busy this week, I might entertain a mini freak-out.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I stayed too long at the Metaphysical Fair (with apologies to Bonnie Raitt)

The psychic room at the fair. (Is it me or is there a blurry haze hanging in the air?)
I met an old friend from Kansas City at the Metaphysical Fair. She and her neighbors were interested in getting psychic readings. What the heck, I thought. It'll be fun. The readings went quite well, but I was seeking an old school massage for my sore left shoulder. The first massage booth was busy. There was, however, an empty table at the body therapeutics booth in the corner. Close enough, I figured. The practitioner instructed me to lay on the table while she dashed to the registration booth.  (Turns out, she was in charge of the door prizes, too.) Soon, she's back, holding her hands above me, breathing, chanting and anointing me with oils. A few minutes later, she asked if I'd hurt my right ankle. "Not lately," I answered. "But in the past?" "Uh, I guess." She placed a stone there and went to work.  "Do you want me to tell you where I'm in pain?" I asked. "No," she answered, seemingly annoyed. "I'll figure it out." So, she worked on my ankle, then gave me a stone to hold in my right hand. "Having trouble with the lymph node under your right arm?" "Uh, no." "Well, it needs my help. But it's that ankle we really needed to work on today." Figuring she would get around to the shoulder in due time, I let her do her thing which included digging her knuckles into my ribs to remove self-blame, a pretty good foot massage and lots of whooshing, noisemaker shaking and finger chimes. At the end, she said "Is there anything I haven't addressed?" "Well, I've torn my left rotator cuff and it's been hurting like a motherfreaker." Her sigh was audible. She closed her eyes, put her hand on my shoulder and murmured something under her breath. I paid her in cash and left no worse or better for the wear, smelling like a late 60s head shop. The end.

Kicks just keep getting harder to buy

Nice legs, don't you think?
Thanks to our mutual increase in physical activity, my husband and I blew through our athletic shoes at the exact same time. What did he do? He hopped down to the running shoe store yesterday, picked out the pair that fit best and bought them.  (They happened to be Nikes in this blue ink spot design.) Slam, bam, done and done. Me? I will obsess for a few more hours, then venture downtown for additional obsessing with my unfortunate shoe salesperson. My dilemma: Neon or non-neon. I have been bemoaning the neon craze in athletic wear for some time now.  I realize there's a certain safety advantage in having traffic-stopping DayGlo orange shoes, but it seems that neon shoes are a gateway drug leading to all-over neon-ness - shirts, shorts, socks, headbands. Every time I see someone covered in blinding brightness, I have a bad 80s flashback. (I thought fashion from that era is something we all agreed never again to revisit.) Still, the craze does tend to make standard-issue white kicks with grey trim "so ten minutes ago." I realize it's a first world problem but what to do....what to do... ?
A little hot pink at the waist is all the neon I can do.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fresh veggies and a dip

My Saturday started at the farmers market with my daughter. We couldn't resist these gorgeous blackberries....
 and some other stuff.
Then, it was off to the pool for "adult swim" with the hubs where I breast-stroked and water walked for 40 minutes surrounded by the "master swimmers" who seemed to be doing more talking than swimming....
I plan to do a lot of adult swimming in my retirement. (Did I mention there's just one week to go?)  By the end of the summer, I'll be rocking my Speedo, goggles and swim caps with the best of them.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sh*t My Deaf Husband Says: Episode Whatever

Me (upon hearing the hubs and dog return from a long walk in the heat): I hear panting.
Hubs: You're decanting?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm a real Booser.

The BoomerGirl has always enjoyed her booze, but this Boos may give my favorite cocktail a run for its money. I have a lot of newer butcher block in my kitchen and I've been looking for a product that could warm up the color and keep them from drying out. Enter Boos block board cream made with unbleached bees wax and mineral oil. Wow! What a difference a little bees wax makes! Best of all, the directions tell you to "massage" the product into the wood with your hands (rather than a rag). Suffice it to say, I now have an intimate relationship with my countertops.  I think I need a cigarette.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Traveling for a different point of view

The Bell Tower Bar at La Fonda Santa Fe
The hubs and I have been longing to get back to Santa Fe since our last visit in 2008, and a travel writing assignment for a local magazine has provided the motivation we need to make it happen. This time, we're going in mid/late September when we hope to catch the Aspen leaves turning gold. On the last trip, The Bell Tower Bar on the rooftop of the La Fonda hotel became our favorite spot to imbibe and watch the sunset. Since then, we've always searched out cool, rooftop taverns on our travels, such as atop the Moonrise Hotel in St. Louis...
and, most recently, on the roof of Petit Hotel d'Hafa in Sayulita, Mexico, which wasn't technically a bar, but they did serve complimentary tequila and wine.
That's one of the great things about travel. You can't help but gain a new perspective. And, the cocktails don't hurt, either.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Turning on to QiGong

This is how I've been starting my day lately. It's wonderful - from the music to the motion to the chirping birds. Once I memorize the routine, I plan to get some purple pajamas and practice in the backyard. That'll keep the rabbits at bay.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Two new recipes for the file

While exhausting, our extended holiday was filled with delicious food and a couple of new recipes.  Seen above, my favorite new appetizer - party skewers with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls marinated in homemade pesto and an avocado wedge. You can skewer anything, really, and have pretty and easy-to-eat hors d'oeuvres in a jiffy.  Not a new idea, but discovering where to buy those little bamboo skewers with the handles (Sweet! in Downtown Lawrence, for locals, and here online) rocked my world a little. 
That's my initial 'C' made from extra pastry on the top.
My universe was further jolted when I tasted my first Australian meat pie, compliments of my son's girlfriend who spent four years in Melbourne. Yes, it contained wheat and an untold number of carbs, but it was well worth the guilt. Besides, the accompanying microgreens and Brussel sprouts were counteractively innocuous. The savory pies are easy to make and, like the mini-skewers, the possible variations are endless. Here's a good recipe for the classic version that we enjoyed. I'm imagining them for Sunday night dinners in the fall with soup or salad.  But now, back to the diet...

Sting Stop Elixir really works!

At some point between our outdoor 4th of July festivities and yesterday's porch time, I got nailed by a mosquito. The sadistic little bugger bit me in the exact middle of my back where I can't reach and several times in my nether area, where it's embarrassing to scratch. Fortunately, I had purchased a bottle of Nurture Botanicals Sting Stop Elixir a month ago (at Phoenix Gallery, for locals, and here's where you can get it online) and was able to remember where I put it. Wow! That stuff just zaps the itch right out. And it smells nice, too. Expect to apply twice a day for 24-hour relief. Highly recommended. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Mom gets an iPhone

My darling mother turns 80 in August. Since she'll be traveling most of the summer, she received her big present early: The iPhone 5, her first smartphone ever. (That's her excited-but-a-little-bit-frightened face.) Last night, the younger generations gave her a tutorial on how to add Maine and Connecticut to her Weather Channel app and a brief how-to on Instagram.  She's determined to learn, and I'm hoping she'll be posting lots of photos while she gallivants around the East Coast. Next stop - Facebook town!

Two weeks to lift-off!

With my son's girlfriend in from New York for the last 8 days plus 4th of July activities plus training my replacement at work, "burning the candle at both ends" doesn't begin to describe my frazzled status. The saving grace? Two weeks from today, I will be sipping my morning coffee as a newly retired woman. I don't think my leisure will last (I've had two tempting part-time job offers already) but I am so looking forward to my Summer of Lull.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Scenes from a Fourth

... and it was a liberating 70 degrees, to boot!  Goodnight, America!

Independence from fireworks equals happiness

     I'll have to admit, I don't miss the Fourths of July of my youth - or my kids' youth, for that matter.  Frankly, we're all damn lucky to still have our digits and limbs. Especially my father, who used to put on a driveway display of pyrotechnics when we were little and, inevitably, fall down as he was running away from a lit fountain or cone. "DAD!  Get up! Fire in the hole!" we'd cry, in fits of nervous hysteria. (That's the point when my mother would go inside.) These days, the hubs and I are content to meet up with friends at the city's "Party in the Park" and watch the Jaycees-provided fireworks (provided we can stay up that late) from afar.  We may still buy firecrackers from a tent on the edge of town, but we'll save those for the next basketball championship.
    Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Stop to smell (or read) the prose(s)

One of the quotes along our campus route to dinner:  "Man's chief purpose is to live not to exist."  Word, Jack London.

The day our giddiness went off the charts.

Why are we smiling like fools?  Because it's 78 degrees outside and we're about to ride our bikes to the hotel on campus for dinner.  On July 2nd, people!  We've had an extraordinary run of moderate weather which has turned everyone in town into what Jackson Browne once called 'happy idiots.'  I LOVE happy idiots. So joyful! So effusive! So.... silly!  While riding our bikes the 7 or 8 blocks to dinner,  the hubs kept yelling, "Omigod, it's just like vacation!" Well, I don't know about that. But, it's sure as heck not like Kansas in July.

Boomer Girl Review: Ultimate Oriole Feeder

I've still got a way to go before I'm feeding pigeons on the steps of St. Paul's (which I never thought was a bad thing to do ...