Monday, May 14, 2007

Just Another Monday

People keep asking me what I do all day long, as if retirement means your life is suddenly on hold and you become a piece of petrified wood. Truthfully that couldn’t be more from the truth. In fact, I can’t figure out how I ever managed to devote 50 waking hours to commuting and work.

Here’s what happened today – a fairly typical Monday I would guess.

I got up at 6:00 so I could sit with my meditation group on Captiol Hill from 7:00 to 7:30. It was a good sit, where the time flew by and I heard nothing of the outside sounds of morning.

I stopped off at Deborah’s office to have my blood drawn in preparation for a physical later this week.

I came home and practiced the piano for an hour or so. I’m working on Scott Joplin piano 4-hand duets with my friend Mary. I’m also working on a sonata by Antoniotti with Deborah, as well as a difficult Schubert sonata with Bill.

I tackled a small cleaning project, going through the drawer in the kitchen where we have been throwing everything we couldn’t figure out what to do with. Someone after some party had even thrown a Ziplock containing cheese into this drawer. It was not a pretty sight. I moved on and cleaned out the lazy Susan as well. I filled an entire trash bag with things that were old or bad or unnecessary. I found things that I thought were lost. There is something so gratifying about cleaning out even a small space.

I was inspired to cook something interesting for lunch, often wanting to have my big meal in the middle of the day these days. So here was the recipe du jour for let’s just call it

Chicken-Eggplant-Rice casserole:

– Cook one cup of brown rice in 2 cups of chicken broth.
– Saute 2 onions (chopped) in a small amount of olive oil.
– Add one pepper of any color and 2 cloves of garlic (chopped).
– Add one eggplant (chopped).
– Add 2 teaspoons oregano, ½ teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.
– Add one can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes.
– Stir in the mostly-cooked rice.
– Add in a piece of leftover grilled chicken breast, cut into small pieces.
– Add salt and pepper to taste.
– Add in some fresh basil leaves.
– Put in a casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees until the rice is thoroughly cooked (about 20 minutes).

Serve with a fresh tomato-basil-mushroom salad topped with unsalted pistachio nuts and drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

After lunch I took the leftovers plus a spare bicycle we weren’t using over to my elderly dying friend Florence’s daughter, who needs a way to work off some of the extra energy she builds up caring for her mom. I had tea with Florence and Lydia. Florence’s sight and balance are definitely impaired, but she is still as smart as a tack. Utterly amazing for someone with an aggressive brain tumor.

I stopped at the now familiar Healthy Back Store, where we are on a first-name basis with the proprietor since we sprang for a Sleep Number bed on Saturday. The bed was delivered today and I was there to purchase an anti-allergy mattress cover.

I came home and admired the new bed, which is at least 6 inches higher than our last bed. I quickly filled the water pillow David had ordered for me, telling myself I now have no more excuses for back or neck pain. I’ll be floating my head on water and floating my body on an adjustable firmness surface. Many people would probably describe this as certifiably NUTS! But we shall see if it makes a difference...

Then I was off to yoga for a 6:15 class with my beloved teacher Leyla. It was a nice combination of working really hard doing lunges and a million down dogs and relaxing into restorative poses as we draped ourselves over bolster pillows. After you wring out your body in a twist over a bolster, you simply cannot have any tension left.

Back home I had a light dinner of cottage cheese and a green salad topped with a d’anjou pear.

Here I am with a rather late post describing a fairly boring (by many people’s standards) day. This is just one of those days that could have been any other day if yoga class didn’t make it a Monday.

So this is the unabridged answer to the question of what I do with myself all day long now that I am retired.

My husband just asked if it was more difficult to write something each day now that I no longer have work to bitch about. It’s not more difficult to find something to write about. It’s just that the subject matter has become much more mundane. There are no more meetings. I’m simply keeping company with a retired husband and two aging dogs. It’s not exactly a roller coaster ride, but the grass isn’t growing under my feet either. So far I’m not bored and I certainly have no regrets about leaving my job. In fact, I highly recommend retirement!

13 Comments:

Blogger Old Lady said...

Faced with time to do what you want to do can be a challenge. Have fun with it, wish I could do the same.

7:45 AM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

Found you through Pauline! Hope you don't mind me commenting ...

Retirement is dangling like a carrot in front of me ... THATS when I will have a COMPLETE character change and will no longer be a chronic procrastinator!

You lucky thing ... ENJOY!

8:02 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

I don't think finding a ziploc with old cheese in a drawer is mundane. Yikes! Old cheese is never a pleasant surprise.

Your bitch-about-work posts, while necessary for your peace of mind, were not nearly so interesting to me as reading about these first days of your retirement, your comings and goings, restlessness, contentment, what you're cooking, etc. It wouldn't surprise me if this blog begins to evolve in really interesting ways it never could as long as you were stuck in the cycle of meetings and anger.

I salute you!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Pagan Marbury said...

I am semi-retired myself- I cut my hours back so that I could take classes and work on my novel- and I think it's harder to find stuff to write about when I'm not interacting with other people. It sounds like you keep your days full. I agree with Reya that your post-retirement blogs are just as good.

10:42 AM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Mundane? Not mundane- less angst-ridden, maybe. But that's a good thing.
Hey, you've inspired me to write what I've been cooking too!!
See!

12:21 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

OL -- I think it actually takes some time to figure out how to use free time. But I am learning and it is fun.

Riseoutofme -- Welcome! Come visit anytime. Any friend of Pauline's is a friend of mine. Snatch the carrot as quickly as you can!

Reya -- Just as my life is evolving, so is my Blog. Both will be different in the end.

Pagan -- I hope to read your bestseller one day and finally know your real identity, assuming you are not writing under a pseudonym! Being your own boss is the best, yes?

Gewels -- I just drooled on my keyboard as I read your post. We must cook together sometime!

3:02 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Ya'll eat like Kings out there I tell ya...Like Kings!

3:35 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- I don't know if we really eat like kings, but food is a pretty important component of our life!

4:49 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Many people have limited imaginations and for some reason seem to prefer to be occupied with distraction rather than life. The saddest comment I've heard from people about not working is, "What would you do? There is only so much TV you can watch."

5:45 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- The TV networks would go broke if they depended on me because I have no use for TV in my life. I'm sure there are good programs on PBS, but I just never seem to sit down in front of the TV.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Many people would surprise themselves how they could fill up the days with neat things to do, or just learn to savour the ordinary things that they felt rushed doing. I just love having that 2nd cup of coffee and taking a walk around the property wuth my cats and just looking at everything more intently.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I describe myself as "semi-retired". Perhaps we need a new term to describe someone like me who retired from his previous career, but still has part-time paying gigs doing something else. But, I can't think of a good work for this. At some point I may opt for full time retirement or at least choose my paying gigs more carefully.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- I think the freedom to choose how you spend your time is what is most appealing!

David -- I'm savoring the feeling of not having to produce anything (including dinner!) for anybody. At some point I may want more structure to my life, but for now I like it this way.

10:09 PM  

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