Category Archives: Organization

Day 166: Conferences — NOT!

If I were not retired, I would be participating in the marathon of conferences right now.

But I am retired and I’m responsible for no one but myself, so I guess it’s time for my retirement conference.

The first thing I said I was going to do was to build the Retirement 365 blog format. Check! I like the retro housewife theme and have gotten good reactions to it. A friend even gave me matching pot holders!

I said I was going to cook more thoughtfully. Check! With the exception of the two-ish weeks I spent being a full-time travel agent, I’ve been doing a lot more cooking at home and cooking a lot more carefully. I’ve worked with portion size and how to cook for just the two of us in our empty nest — I only want one meal of leftovers from anything I cook.

I said I was going to get rid of stuff. I can only give myself a C on this one, because although I’ve gotten rid of masses of stuff already, I still have masses to go. Yet, in school we rewarded progress toward a goal and individual achievement, so maybe I get more than a C on this one.

I said I was going to learn how to use my new DSLR camera. Check! I’ve made great progress toward understanding and using the manual settings of my camera. I’ve got a ways to go, but I even have one of my photos published on a friend’s web page and I photographed her recent glass show. I joined the local camera club and even submitted four of my photos for critique by the club.I’m proud of what I’ve done so far, and look forward to learning a lot more.

I said I was going to get healthy, and I’ve been going faithfully to strength training twice a week and have had good success with the chiropractic care of my neck and lower back problems. Check! Next stop, more weight loss.

Although not in my goals, I have spent the last month revamping my main blog, Got My Reservations. If you have not signed up to follow me there, please do. I control everything on the blog — it’s self-hosted — so I don’t have the support of WordPress to send me new followers. Please visit me; it’s kind of sad that no one even knows it’s there and I can tell that through my addiction to watching my statistics. 🙂

There are a lot more goals buried in the fifty-nine posts over the last 166 days, but these are the beginnings of my new normal. Since my mom and dad aren’t around for me to show them my portfolio, I’m showing you.

I appreciate your love and support as I figure out who the new me is.


Day 152: Redundabundance

Dr. Internet has finally figured out what’s the matter with me. I have Redundabundance Disease.

Thanks to my blogging friend Leslie, who says that she also has this disease, I have been able to correctly diagnose what’s the matter with me and why I can’t get my house in order.

1. Disease of excess, caused by repetitious acquisition; the continual desire and ability to obtain more and more of what one already has too much of.
2. Cause: affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more
3. Cure: reduction in possessions.

I followed Leslie’s 31 Days of Home Staging posts during October and it quickly became very clear that I was not crazy when I said it would take five years of retirement for me to get our house to the point where we could actually sell it. According to Leslie, who is a professional home stager, data shows that a staged home sells much faster than a non-staged home. She calls this the Pottery Barn/Timeshare mentality; a prospective buyer should encounter a simplified and neutral decor similar to what you find in a Pottery Barn catalog. Let’s just say that our house represents the opposite of this concept and leave it at that.

Leslie also hit our personal problematic nail right on the head. It doesn’t do us any good to just keep moving stuff around and buying more and more storage bins and shelving units. We need to get rid of it, not store it. The fact that we have hobbies is our usual excuse for keeping stuff, and I do have some hope that someday I’ll make that Christmas quilt and those pieces of jewelry. But those items don’t take up our entire crawl space.

Last night we had book club at a beautifully decorated home. Our hostess says that she loves decorating for the holidays and has many bins of decorations that she uses. Her rationale is simple; a house that is always ready for company is a happy home. This was her mother’s credo and it has become hers. Her house is always ready for company and I’d like mine to be that way, too.

Between now and Christmas I have six weeks to be ruthless. I need to go through my house and purge, especially the two spare rooms. While it’s not yet time to Pottery Barn-ize my house, it is time to get it ready for company.

Merry Christmas, darlings.

Day 129: Question of the Week

This is the perfect saying for the week, courtesy of Pillows A La Mode.

Day 127: The Bare Refrigerator

My refrigerator is bare — it’s a good example of the meaning of the word barren.

I’ve been so busy burning the retirement candle at both ends for the last couple of weeks that I haven’t had the time or, quite frankly, the motivation to go grocery shopping. The top shelf is full of condiments and the door is full of salad dressing, but there’s nothing to put them on. There’s some floppy broccoli that’s going to have to turn into quiche or something. And I discovered this morning that there aren’t any eggs in the house. I can’t remember when that has ever happened. We ALWAYS have eggs.

Since I usually choose to take the positive side of stories, I’m going to look at my vast wasteland of a refrigerator as an opportunity to clean it.

And after that I’m going to clean my socks drawer. 🙂

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Day 67: The Real Beginning

Normally on this day in August I would be getting ready to go to school to crack open those boxes and put up my posters.

Instead, I’m at home, trying to figure out what my new life is going to look like.

It’s a scary thought. I could easily become the person who stays in her pajamas until 4:30 pm, hurriedly taking a shower before the hubby gets home. The person who has spent the entire day on the computer, the person in front of the television watching recorded programs, the person reading an entire book in one day.

Wait! I already am that person.

But I have to be someone else now. My work is now at home. I no longer have to commute further than from one room to another in my house, but I still need to structure my days to maintain my sanity.

I did emerge from teaching with my sanity intact.

In fact, I might even go so far as to say I emerged from teaching and regained my sanity. No more ridiculous parents blaming me for their child’s poor grades. No more spending my weekends grading papers that students don’t even look at. No more dealing with administrators who play favorites and pretend that their top-down decisions are generated by teachers. I’m pretty excited about listening to my friends complain while not having to experience it myself. Sorry, kids.

So I’m making a list and sticking to it today.

Weigh-in — check. Healthy breakfast — check. Social media limited to one hour in the morning — check. Dinner started in the crock pot — check. I still need to visit my chiropractor, exercise, and then start working on a baby quilt.

I also have to return my new glasses which don’t seem to have the correct lenses in them. I’m afraid that’s going to be a nightmare and I wish I could stop today’s list with the baby quilt. It’s really pink and cute.

One day at a time. My new normal.

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Day 48: Life’s Little Annoyances

Okay. I admit it. I’m kind of a nut about grammar and word usage.

One of the things I do while at home doing chores is to watch HGTV and I’m sometimes annoyed by imprecise language used by the hosts. Really? Isn’t someone listening and then making these people do a retake of the scene?

The trident kind of looks like this. Image Credit

Today on House Crashers (not my favorite show anyway), the homeowners own a very large trident spear.

I don’t know why; they have weapons and a goat. To each his own.

What really bothers me is that the host keeps calling it a triton.

Yeah — even my spell check doesn’t like that.

Just so we’re clear, Poseidon, the god of the sea, carries a trident. So does his son, Triton.

But I’m pretty sure you already knew this. After all, you read and write. A lot.

I think the moral of this story is that I watch too much television, but I’m willing to put up with a few petty annoyances to keep my brain occupied during mind-numbing ironing.

Why I’m ironing my pillowcases is a story for another day of Retirement 365.

Thanks for listening while I rant. 🙂 And don’t forget to visit my other blog, Got My Reservations.

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Day Twenty-Four: Monday, Monday

The Mama and the Papas told me I can’t trust Mondays.

Upon first waking up, Mondays seem innocuous, full of promise and endless hours available for getting things done. Then comes coffee and breakfast, my blogosphere connections, and perhaps a little correspondence and business. If I’m really feeling like a bad girl, I roll back into bed with my book. And yes, I might even fall asleep again for a few minutes. 🙂

Suddenly it’s ten o’clock and I haven’t really done anything.

Today was the day to clear the surfaces and the rest of the floor in my office. I can’t do much more with the sorting and cleaning in the other rooms until my spaces are free to use in the office. I worked steadily from ten to three with a short break for lunch.

Five hours have passed and there’s STILL stuff on most of the surfaces.

I’ve put massive amounts of papers in their appropriate files and I’ve filled another recycling bin today. I even threw away a whole year of Architectural Digests; you know how much that hurt. Yes, I recycled this very magazine.

I absolutely cannot go to bed tonight without finishing this job. I HAVE to wake up tomorrow morning to a fresh start. It’s a good thing I’ll have Tony to keep me company while I work tonight. Insert happy sigh here; I really hate to love Mr. Bourdain, but I just adore his snarky little self.

And just in case you didn’t get the reference to the Mamas and the Papas, here’s your answer.

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Day Thirteen: The Aftermath of the Gardening Apocalypse

As several of you commented, yesterday’s plan was quite ambitious, even if I wasn’t doing the majority of the work. I’m going to contact the landscaping company and tell them what good work Hugo and his crew did in the high 90s heat.

My garden had a serious intervention — it’s almost scary to think how much brush and weeds were carted away — but I know those poor bare stems will start branching out quickly. For the moment, however, it looks like the bad haircuts my brothers and I used to get from mom. 🙂

I got out this morning and had my fasting blood tests done, but then succumbed to temptation and did the McDonald’s drive through. Bad me. I’ll have to eat lots of lettuce for lunch today!

Now that I’m alone in the house and don’t have to follow tradesmen around, I can really get things done. These items still remain on my list for today.

  1. Antique sewing machine cabinet
  2. Take inventory of what’s in the freezers and do some meal planning.
  3. Unpack and evaluate what I actually wore on this trip. What can I leave home the next time?
  4. Restock/repurchase toiletries for travel case/re-evaluate usefulness. Same question as above.
  5. Check the loose connection on my small travel case and put away luggage.
  6. Correspondence
  7. Garment bags

As always seems to happens, yesterday’s plumbing work caused another item to be added to the eternal list. There’s a stack of garment bags laying on my living room floor, and they are full of formal dresses and coats. I guess I need to go through them before I put back the garment bags; I’m sure there are some items that can be donated to Goodwill that neither Engineering Barbie or I will never wear again. I just hate to get rid of formal dresses — who knows when we might be invited to an ’80s party?

Yesterday I read an article recommended by a friend from the Chicago Tribune about food photography. One of the professional photographers recommended the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone, and I took this photo with it. Somehow, I think I don’t have the basics of the different lens styles down pat yet, thus the green tint. Watch for more tries with this new app!

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Day Eleven: Planning for the Future

When we got home today, I was all excited and somewhat nervous about my future. Now that I’m retired and not on a glorious vacation, where do I start?

I’m a list maker, so I made a list. I thought there might be some cute linkey list program that I could use here on the blog, so I did a little search. Of course there are list programs that share one’s lists to social networks. What was I thinking?

Here and here are some interesting options for time-wasting, and this blog actually made some sense to me for Retirement 365 — make a list on Mondays and then review my progress the next week.

To keep it manageable, however, I decided to limit my list to just what I need to do tomorrow.

  1. Unpack and evaluate what I actually wore on this trip. What can I leave home the next time?
  2. Restock/repurchase toiletries for travel case/re-evaluate usefulness. Same question as above.
  3. Check the loose connection on my small travel case and put away luggage.
  4. Work with plumber — I can’t wait to have the faucet at the rear of the house working again! It’s been a pain to cart the hoses around.
  5. Work with landscapers. They promised they would come tomorrow and it’s going to be in the 90s again. We’ll see if that really happens.
  6. Look at antique sewing machine cabinet. The plan is to sand the finish and paint it a putty beige like the cabinets in my office, but it might be too hot to do that tomorrow. At least I can figure out the color.
  7. Take inventory of what’s in the freezers and do some meal planning.
  8. Grocery shop.
  9. Go to chiropractor.
  10. Insurance issues — stuff to deal with before my insurance changes over.
  11. Make doctor appointments — same issue.
  12. READ A BOOK!
  14. Write another blog post or two.

Perhaps I’m being over – ambitious, but really, I think I need to do all of that tomorrow. That’s enough to scare me off and send me back under the covers.

Ask me again. What am I going to do with myself in retirement? I think this is the answer.

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Day Three: Sorting and Chucking

It’s amazing how one’s focus changes overnight with retirement. I’m sitting in my office going through the files and papers I brought home from school with me. I’m thinking to myself, “Why did I even bring that home?” And the piece of paper goes directly into the recycling bin.

Yes, they were gems when I first created those lessons, and they’re still eminently teachable. But will I ever teach them again? Unlikely, so into the bin they go. It’s really sad that I’m triaging to triage my piles of stuff. I have a pile of papers that need to be filed, but before I can actually file them, I need to move the boxes of stuff that are in front of the file drawer. You see where I’m going with this.

And how does one lose an ironing board? We have two in the house, his and hers. His stays downstairs in the man cave and mine is upstairs where my clothes actually reside. Yes, it’s probably a misnomer to call it a man cave when several nights a week there’s a lot of man-ironing going on in it, but still… Where’s my upstairs ironing board? I’m afraid it’s underneath an aforementioned pile of stuff.

No, I’m not a hoarder. Not yet. I’m just the somewhat unfortunate recipient of lots of family treasures that I haven’t had the time to sort through. The articles all say to make four piles: keep, throw out, donate, sell. I am doing that; I promise. It’s just a little more difficult than the TLC and HGTV shows make it look.

So on Day Three, I have made a dent. Well, maybe a ding, but it’s better than I’ve done for months. By the end of the day, I’ll be able to see the floor in that part of my office. Embarrassing to tell, but the unfettered and uncensored truth is going to be my new normal. Thanks for not judging me too harshly.