Retirement Log 07/23/2020

Now that I’m a retired teacher, I’m wondering what to do with my time. I pictured myself going to movies in theaters, out to lunch once a week, and spend time in and possibly volunteer at the local library of my new hometown. We all know in the times of COVID, especially in my area of the US, most things are closed down or really not safe for someone in a couple of high risk categories. I thought I’d periodically track how I spend my time so I’ll have ideas or something to look back upon. (I’ll try for good formatting, but that might take some editing on the computer as I’m now on the phone.)

  1. Slept until 10!!
  2. Enjoyed the morning matcha.
  3. Tad and I went for a morning drive to discover another part of our new town. Of course our dog, Max, went with us.
  4. Had leftover lunch from the local German restaurant of lentil stew.
  5. Organized our mess of OTC meds and toiletries that just got thrown anywhere when we unpacked a few weeks ago.
  6. There was a huge rainstorm after lunch so we turned off all the lights and watched CandyMan (1992) on Netflix.
  7. Sat on my Mom’s rocking chair on the front porch and talked about how it was 72F and I was cold and we compared it to 99F back in our hometown.
  8. I checked out a new recipe and did some prep work for dinner. We plan to grill some salmon but the rain has come again so it looks like I should make plans to bake it.

It’s not even 6 PM and it seems that I’ve had both a full and lovely day.

I persuaded my husband to buy clippers and then I cut his hair with them. It looks better than mediocre but I think I’ll be able to fix it after a few days when his cowlicks kick in. This might be a new retirement hobby for me.

One of the reasons that we moved here…the view. This is from the dog park this morning near Johnson City, Tennessee.

We’re settling in nicely to our new city/state. Driver’s licenses, voter registrations, and library cards have all been accomplished. Paperwork makes the world go around and makes you find your marriage certificate to prove you’re the you from the birth certificate.

After the last 3 days on the road, I’ve concluded that although I wanted to move to the mountains in east Tennessee, I didn’t want to drive there from south Texas. But we made it!

Monday morning movie: Zero Dark Thirty. Some of it is hard to watch but Jessica Chastain’s acting is brilliant. 🍿

I’m making up for missing yesterday’s Microblog May Book Challenge Sprint. For Monday’s post, a recent favorite is the Age of Miracles by Karen Thomas Walker. It’s a beautiful tale during the time of great change (slowed rotation of the earth). If you like light scifi with a deeper message, this book is for you.

We’re moving to Tennessee at the end of June (from South Texas) We’ll spend 2 nights on the road and we’ll have 3 days after we arrive until the belongings get delivered. What would you prioritize to be put in the cars for the roadtrip and first few nights in the empty cottage?

Today we watched the movie The Clovehitch Killer. Great narrative, no jump scares, but still a horror movie by my standards. 🍿

Boredom and Other Things

I’m lucky enough to still be employed as a teacher during this crisis, so it fills my days. My husband, Tad, retired a year ago from an public utilities finance position and then worked for about 6 months at a big box retail hardware store unloading trucks. It was a bit much physically for him so he stopped working for now and will try for something else again when we move to Tennessee this summer.

As I was making my weekly “shout out” video for student achievement, I was thinking how much fun I was having making it because it broke up the boredom. Then, I started thinking about what a privilege it is to be bored. We’re still worrying about current global situtations, the economy, and the future overall. However, right now, we have a little microcosm of happiness in our home. I know many of my students have it harder than I do. Right now many of them are sole earners for their families. The community in which I teach in rural South Texas is dependent upon oil and gas so it is going to get worse before it gets better around here. It is a time in my lessons and grading to show as much grace as possible and to think about their future when I do so.

Here are some things we are doing to stave off boredom:

  1. Planning meals: We enjoy our weekly meal prep and the only part that has changed has been getting more creative with the ingredients on hand and learning to cook without an oven element (that will be a post for another time.)

  2. Walking Max: My dog is a little tired of us being at home. Yesterday, he refused to go on yet another walk and only went about halfway down the driveway before insisting we turn around. Our yard has also never been so well kept.

  3. Watching Shows: Right now, we’re into The Good Doctor, Hometown, Ozark, and I’m rewatching Parks and Recreation for the umpteenth time.

  4. Packing: Figuring out what to take with us to Tennessee with us has been fun. We’re downsizing from a typical suburbia 3-2 home to a 2-2 cottage. We apply minimalism to many things and are truly keeping only what “sparks joy.” Has anyone read The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning? At this stage of our lives, it has more meaning than Marie Kondo’s philosophy but I still enjoy her take on tidying up.

  5. Making Travel Plans: We’ll remain optimistic about our Iceland trip in the fall. If we can’t do it then, we are optimistic we can do it one day.

  6. Being Silly: We still enjoy spending time together. He broke down and let me give him a quarantine hair cut. He’s still speaking to me and we had a good laugh.

Being bored and doing all of these things to fill our time is a true privilege. What do you feel blessed doing that you otherwise wouldn’t have had the time to do so?

My heart shattered into 144 pieces today as the Governor closed schools for rest of year. Although absolutely the right call, I’m retiring in May and moving out of state. There are 144 kids I won’t get to see grow up or even say goodbye to in person. For that, I mourn.

Went to the title company today to close on the sale of our home. Masks, gloves, wipes, and plexiglas are all new tools in doing business. It’s still novel and not normal. I hope it never becomes a “new normal,” yet here we are.

Retirement Goals

Retirement is on the horizon at the end of May. I’ve said for years that when I retire from teaching, I want to focus on three things.

  1. Gardening I’ve always wanted to learn to garden. Right now would be an excellent time to learn, however, we’re selling this house (hopefully closing this week). We’ll be moving in a couple of months to Tennessee from Texas and renting for at least a year there. I am growing aquaponic (is that the correct term?) lettuce on my kitchen counter with scrap organic lettuce from the grocery store. I’m enjoying watching it grow. My goal is to buy one of these garden towers, but the price is very steep.

  2. Creating One thing that I’ve thought long and hard about is keeping my hands busy. It would be nice to be productive and creative at the same time. I’d like learn to knit and then donate scarves, blankets, hats, etc. Taking an in person class for knitting or crocheting would be a must for me, so what to do in the meantime? My birthday is coming up so I ordered a gift for myself: an embroidery kit for beginners. It’s a little cactus and the lettering says: Don’t Be a Prick. Now, whenever I’m binging Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, my hands and mind can be occupied while learning to create.

  3. Gaming The gaming world has really passed me by. I’d love to buy a gaming system but I don’t know where to start. I remember first getting my Atari when I was in 7th grade. I had bronchitis and had to stay home so my Mom splurged and got me one. I had HOURS of fun and still get excited when I see Pong. My husband, Tad, and I used to have fun installing and playing games way long ago on our Windows 95 machine. Myst, anyone??? I remember when the Wii came out and I was invited to a friend’s home for a bowling night. I had so much fun.

If you are reading this and have suggestions for gardening, creating, and gaming for beginners, please reply and let me know.

Feeling a bit “under the weather” as the saying goes and just not into working today. While I’m still monitoring online classes and avoiding anything but Gatorade and saltines, I did put on Cabin in the Woods as a nice diversion. 🍿

Sunday movie was Brittany Runs a Marathon. (Prime Video) Did it inspire me to exercise? No, but it was a cute movie to watch on a lazy Easter afternoon. 🍿

When readying to bake our Friday night caulipower pizza last night, we found our oven element not working. My husband and the grill came to the rescue. It was terrific grilled! Now, to try and get our oven working during home isolation…

This is Max. He insisted on barking throughout the entire live video walkthrough while we’re trying to sell this house in a pandemic. If only we had thought to use earbuds. Don’t be like Max. (Or us)🐕

Weird day of online teaching-spent most of the day in bed sick (not covid) but still managed, monitored, communicated, and actively participated in my 6 classes without having to take off a sick day. Strange times, indeed.

Ignoring WFH Distractions

Things I’ve learned to ignore while teaching from home during this crisis: 1. My husband sighing. 2. Me wanting snacks just because I’m home. I don’t snack at school. 3. How many times my dog goes in and out his door. 4. The countless Google Classroom notifications, only replying to them during official “office hours.” They actually decrease my productivity and effectiveness. 5. My desire to watch TV when I work online just because it’s staring right at me. I love shows. I mean I TRULY love shows. They’re now reserved for lunch and after work hours. 6. My phone and social media. I’m so busy interacting with students that I rarely pick up my phone.

I wonder what I’ll start noticing?

Creative Cooking

We usually meal prep on the weekends. We don’t portion it out but just cook enough to last at least 3 nights (Monday-Wednesday, sometimes stretching until Thursday). Sunday night is typically grilled fish night. This week’s cooler Texas temperatures call for a casserole for our make ahead meals. I didn’t have any “cream of” soups so I got creative. Here is the ingredient list:

1 lb organic ground beef-browned, seasoned with garlic and pepper. Assorted diced roasted veggies-organic carrots, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, and onions. Frozen chopped broccoli ½ pack of Lipton onion soup mix. Shredded organic cheddar 2 Tbs milk

We’ll see how it turns out.

For our Sunday lunchtime movie, we’re watching Bombshell. The weather is cooler than normal here in Texas so the windows are open and the birds and the wind chimes are competing with the movie volume. It’s not really a bad problem to have, all things considered. 🍿

Watched A Simple Favor this afternoon on Prime Video. It’s a well acted movie full of twists and turns. 🍿

I’m the daughter of a farmer/rancher who passed away when I was 9. I’m sure my life would have been different had he survived. In the present, I’m trying to grow lettuce on my kitchen counter using the internet for advice. Wonder what he would think of that?