Failure to communicate

So, October is here.  Which means I’ve been officially retired (the second time) for 3 months and here in Louisiana for about 6 weeks.  And what have I learned?  i’ve learned that retirement is wonderful, home ownership is so much more expensive than I thought, and that I cannot effectively communicate in my own country.

Example 1:  I purchased my pro stove, pro hood, dishwasher and washing machine from a local company.  They recommended an installer to make bring all my appliances to the house and hook them up.  I had to have 220v run for the convection oven, and since I wanted my laundry room moved to where it was originally in the house, 220v run for the washing machine.  The electrician came and fixed the electric for the oven, but told me to have the plumber in first.

It’s a beautiful range and hood – and I love them.  But look closely at the hood.  Notice how it doesn’t vent any where?  That is because the installer doesn’t “do” duct work.  So I still need to figure out who does duct work and have them come complete the job.

Example 2:  Plumber came out and while I thought they’d go under the house and reconnect the hot and cold water and the drain, I was wrong.  They said it would be better to come through where the “new” laundry room was located.  Here’s a professional plumbing job if there ever was one:

That is a hole in the wall in the pantry (previously the laundry room) and while you can’t see it here, behind that big pipe is the bath tub in one of the guest bathrooms.  The bit with the duct tape is my sorry attempt at trying to keep critters out of the house.

Example #3.  The electricians told me that whoever did the previous renovations cut the wires totally in the old laundry room, and this I can believe.  They said they’d run some conduit and I ASSUMED that the conduit would run to the laundry room and that they’d be able to somehow use the old outlets.  I was wrong.

My new extra outlets!

The new dryer outlet.

My new light – and one of my daughter said it looked like art and maybe it’d be fun to have more conduit ran in spokes coming from the light.  Sounds good to me.

I’d hoped to have the walls repainted before my furniture arrives (which is in 2 days so that isn’t happening).  I’ve tried color after color and can’t find anything I like.  The lighting is strange and every color looks like a different shade on each wall.  Here’s what it looks like now:

Wall 1with purples and yellow .  The light colors weren’t working so I thought I’d try dark…

Doesn’t work for me either.

One thing that is going well is that my Dad is installing my new surround sound system.  We have the holes drilled for the center speakers and the rear speakers.  So I have 4 holes in my walls like this one with wire coming out:

We still have to get the wires from the receiver, up through the walls behind the TV to the attic and then across to the holes and then the job will be done.  But it is harder than it sounds.  All of the interior walls are wall board OVER 1″ thick board, which is attached to 2x4s.  To it is slow going, but I am happy knowing the house is so well constructed.  (Note: the more recent renovations like the “new” laundry room are just dry wall attached to 2x4s.)

The older cat has just about had it:

And I’m sure you will all be delighted to hear that Bilbo Baggins didn’t die after all.  He’s alive and well in Bossier City, Louisiana where he opened a sports bar:

Hope this finds you all well and enjoying life!

Good bye old life, hello new life

Today I’m saying good-bye to my old life and welcoming my new one.

We arrived at our new home-town safely on Friday evening.  We have spent the weekend trying to keep cool – the temps have been around 115 (give or take a few degrees) and because it’s the desert, hardly any humidity.  This is such a change from the last several years where we lived in places where the humidity was much higher.  Tomorrow I re-join the work force.  Mixed feelings for sure!

The day we left Illinois was a bit sad.  Before leaving I did a walk around and it seemed like the garden was in bloom just to say “good bye”.

My pretty white zinnias,


the luscious tomatoes,


my favorite, raspberries (which were not supposed to fruit until next year),


the wonderful black currants,


delicious zucchinis,


the bright glads and


my beautiful, little roses.


But it was time to go.  Truck was loaded and trailer was packed, so off we went.  It only took the first night at the hotel for me to learn to park where I could get myself out!


And this is my friend’s house.  She has graciously opened up her home for us to stay in until we can find our own place.  It’s good to have friends!


And it’s off to work in the morning!

Looking back

Today is an anniversary day for me.  It was one year ago today that I officially joined the ranks of a very lucky group of people – retired folks!  I’m up early with a very full day ahead of me.  The sky is overcast, the weather is cool.  There is a soft breeze blowing, bringing the sweet smells of the early day into my home.  I look out my window and, as always, am totally amazed at the beauty that surrounds me here.

And while today will be filled with the tasks necessary to start the next chapter of my life, this morning I’m looking back over this past year and thinking of all the wonderous events that have taken place and the path I’ve walked…

Moved into this wonderful home, painted it and put my things away

Enjoyed the wonderful company of my middle daughter and her two delightful children for nearly two months (even tho that meant her hubby had to celebrate his birthday alone)

Watched my eldest daughter marry the love of her life, and rejoiced in the fact that my Mom conducted the ceramony

Enjoyed many visits with my loving parents

Got to spend a few hours with my sister

Got to enjoy having coffee with my other sister on a fairly frequent basis.  It was wonderful getting to know her better!

Watched my youngest traverse her first year of college and glowed with her accomplishments

Made friends with my neighbor and learned new games

Poured over garden books, planned gardens on paper and then was able to plant a very ambitious garden.

Delighted as the first flowers, herbs and veggies poked their brave little leaves through the soil

Watched the deer coming into my yard dining on weeds and grasses

Was entertained by those graceless birds, wild turkeys, as they marched through my property, sometimes alone and other times with their young

Awoke to the songs of many birds

Enjoyed the lack of noise, the lack of trafic

Delighted in watching the bunnies play and eat the clover

Learned *mowing meditation*

Came to terms with the fact that there are many things I cannot do

Accepted that my property is too big for me to maintain

Enjoyed photographing the mid-west

Obtained my own URLs for this site and my photography one

And so much more.  As I prepare to move and re-enter the workforce I am grateful for this past year which allowed me to grow so much.

I look around and it will be with sadness when I say goodbye to this home, but I’m excited to travel the path that lies ahead.  And now it is time to enjoy my first cup of coffee for the day and get on with the business of closing this chapter of my life.

As the Grateful Dead sang, “What a long, strange trip it’s been”.  Amen to that!


As I sit here, in front of the computer, I don't know how to start this post.  Is there magic in the air?  Am I feeling the earth beginning to awaken from the long sleep, preparing to come back to life?  I don't know.  I do know that there are mixed feelings within – a restless calmness.  Does that make sense?

I have heard from friends across the globe this week.  From Asia, from Europe and from the far corners of the US.  My little phone has been ring, ring, ringing.  It is so wonderful to hear their voices.  Emails are great – but it's not the same.  I can hear the warmth, the weariness, the joy and the sorrow in their words.  I feel that we are together enjoying a good chat over a cup of coffee.  It is WONDERFUL!

And another, younger voice asked me this week "What do you do"?  And do you know what, other than the glib response of "whatever I want", nothing came to mind.  Photography takes up many hours of my days, planning the garden does too.  Watching the seeds I have planted indoors (for transplanting after the danger of frost) brings me all sorts of joy each time I see them.  But what do I do?  I have no clue.  All I can say is that I am involved in a lot of projects and each day seems to fly by.

But, that simple question got me to thinking.  Soon it will be time to work outdoors and there is a lot of things to be done  The garden plans need to be put to paper and finalized.  The ground will need to be tilled. The fence line needs to have the scrub trees cleared.  Bushes will need to be trimmed.  And my winter projects remain incomplete.  Now, in these final weeks before the weather makes it impossible to be indoors I must get things done inside.  

With that in mind, this morning I cleaned off my entry-way alter.  It's an antique and has been covered with all sorts of stuff.  And that stuff needs to find a home.  But the alter is cleared and the wall, which needed touch-up paint is now complete.  I have to rehang the fuse box cover and put up my large Asian fan (to cover the fuse box).  All that clutter must find a home and then I will pull out a beautiful silk obe and decorate my alter.  And the truck, covered in so many layers of winter grime, will be scrubbed clean today since the weatherman has promised sunny skies and temps in the 50s.

And so, ever listening to the voice within, I leave you to get on with my chores.  I hope you have a great day!