move forward, live fully, breathe deeply....

there are so many areas in our lives in which we can get stuck...drowning in things, worry, anxiety. Here is my journey to live simply, with the fantastic freedom of 'less is more' as my mantra.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Retirement Adventures....of the quiet kind...Look Up!

Today's post is a rambling stream of a moment in our Retirement Adventures of quiet reflection--time spent at home...alone with my cocker spaniel and sheltie.  The Colonel's at work--hunting & gathering. My moments are quiet--tv off, quiet all around except for the occasional acorn hitting the rooftop.  sometimes alone doesn't mean lonely. sometimes alone is a time of restoring, rest, letting body & soul be healed by simple beauty and gifts in my own environment.   Here is a moment shared through prose....

As I go out the door
On a crisp fall day..
Wondering where the day holds it's magic
Wondering if it will be a riotous joy
Or a deflated tired empty balloon of nothing

The dogs burst through the back screen door
with tails wagging and loud cacophonous yips
and deep sonorous bays
as they almost stumble down the stairs to
hunt for and find the scent of their prey

I look about my feet-- bare
on newly painted boards bedecked in rust and gold
and browning offal from the swaying giants above
Stepping lightly-- rifling through the crunch beneath
to find the hidden wonder of the day      

Peering over railing replete with 
half eaten acorns I see
slashes of shadow long and striking amidst the stones
Beauty hides in nature's paint upon the ground
forcing my eye to  see. To see. 

Looking up-- i find the magic
in the Son's glorious movement above
in the grandness of the trees as they sway
to gentle breezes--rustling the leaves still there
like hair being kissed by gentle hands

lovingly holding autumn in a moment 
of bliss. This gentle rocking of my soul
calling Look Up!! Look Up!!
I Am there Always there.
Look Up!!  be assured..
I Am there.

I hope you have a day full of gratitude and thankfulness...a day with blessings overrunning your vessels of life. 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Retirement Adventures...It's not all a bed of roses..the petals have fallen off the stem and left me bleeding from the thorns..

.deviantART: More Like FREE grunge texture by

When sharing the Adventures of our retirement from the Army life...I've tried to keep it light of heart and light of myself to what I want to be or think that I was at one time in my life.  Brave, strong, fun, and funny...dependable, kind, giving.

Though I have taken a few paths that I've been ashamed of in the past--being angry, petty, mean-spirited, clique-ish, out-of-control--I've tried to make reparations and amends for my bad choices and bad behavior.  Living with the consequences of my choices and actions has proved painful at times--shame and sadness can steal my joy in the todays--even when I am years past the hurting, the hurt and the asking for forgiveness.

In recent days...and weeks...I have found it harder and harder to be awake. To be present. To be thankful in my circumstances.  My body feels so heavy--both physically and metaphorically--I just want to lay it down. To let it go. Fly away somewhere where there is no more weight.  Where the alone doesn't matter any more

Murky Water

Then I pick up my phone--that modern necessity most of us utilize like it is air, or water, or clothing to start the day--and I open it to the blog:  A Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp ( and read Missing Him:  31 Days of Jesus and today's blog post. And yesterday's and last week's...

Today's post is titled:  If you Need a Therapy that Really Calms the Heart.  It's about a man, a husband, a father, who is coping with his wife's depression.  How his courage, his love, his patience and persistent "being there" is part of his cellular makeup.  What hits me in the gut-wrenching soul part of me is it describes my husband.  I am that woman who has that thing that "grabs a hold of a woman and makes her fear a day and herself and letting anyone get close" ... those of you who know me and love me may wonder where this comes from?  I am a dual person...there is one of me who sings my inner song to strangers, who picks up a stumbled and alone elderly woman, who finds peace and joy in watching the trees sway with the power of the breathe of the Holy One.  Then, there is one of me who allows "joy to be elusive and cynicism to be easy and stress to be normal..the same me that chokes down pills and food and shame instead of choking out what's wrong"...the me that is "scared to death to be real"...the me that "just lives to be dead"... So I battle daily to be be find the ray of sunlight...the little heart signs that God leaves everywhere--in the trees--in the rocks--in the fallen leaves or clumps of dirt upon the floor--in my dear friend's reaching out to hold prayer, in thought, in presence. 

I could let this blog post be a damnation of my struggle...or, I can read to the finishing the instructions on a find what it has to say. For my husband (the Colonel) or for myself (inner understanding?)...and I see that ..I SEE that... in finding a something to be joyful in--be it a child's play, or a toddler's reaching up to hold a hand, the warmth of my cocker spaniel's bottom as he rests on my foot, the clump of dirt on the floor--miraculously shaped like a heart-love... there is joy to be found.  Then the rest of the "instructions" are for me to be thankful in whatever circumstances that I am wail to my maker to take my anger and my make me well again.  Because the "anger is making me sick and weak and bound" and "the therapy is in the thanks".

can you see the heart-rock-love--lying on it's side?

I could quote the whole shebang...all the wisdom, and worry, and angst, and joy, and love, and anger, and constant dullness of depression...but I think you would do better to read the post:
Maybe you could give a little prayer for the Colonel as he holds me til I can find my way again. Maybe you could pray for me to find my way into the sunlight, the thankfulness, the joy of what and who God is in the breathing and the living in the light.

I am thankful in this this light...xoxo

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Retirement Adventures: Re-Inventing Myself in the South

photo borrowed from Southern Living blog

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful event:  SOUTHERN REINVENTION--hosted by Tasia Malakasis and held at the new 
Belle Chevre Creamery in Elkmont, AL. 

It was a beautiful drive into the country with sunny skies and good company. The Colonel & I chatted pleasantly with one of my girlfriends who sat in the backseat as we found our way to Elkmont.  It was a drive of unfulfilled hopes of southern music (I kept trying to get The Civil Wars track, Barton Hollow, up & running) to get us in the "mood" for our outing. Little did I know that I would have such difficulty with getting the track from my smart phone onto my husband's new car stereo with bluetooth capability.  I'm the kind of gal who likes to read and apply the how-tos in life...and even after pulling out the owner's manual I couldn't get a single bar of music out of that car stereo by the time we made it to Elkmont!!   
Now, I was so Happy! to finally make it to the event...the beautiful new creamery was a wonderfully refurbished warehouse that was dilapidated only last summer! The soiree was to showcase the best of what the south has to offer where handcrafted and artisan are synonymous with quality and ingenuity while bringing new life to old buildings with a zest for community.
People came from many communities far and wide to support and enjoy the day with samplings of food, music, cheese making, clothing, and storytelling.
Clothing Designers Billy Reid and Natalie Chanin had items available to purchase--both Alabama natives with a connection to community--they make a metaphorical statement that being Southern is an asset! not a hindrance.

We had introductions to some of the wonderful artisan-made libations of Shine of  Stills Crossroads, AL( and the Back 40 Beer Co. of Gadsden, AL(moonshine and beer! Seen, not tasted! except in poached persimmons and beer vinegar respectively)


   Recipes from Southern Living editors ( goat cheese cheesecake---divine!! Deviled eggs w/ goat cheese & pickled okra---yummy!) 
Southern Living editor Scott Mowbray on R

We had a fun time kneading and rolling our own goat cheese into logs before they were cut into little logs for taking home to enjoy --- though a few impatient persons unnamed enjoyed licking our fingers on the way to the wash stand afterwards! 

Sitting on bales of hay with burlap seat covers we enjoyed a repast provided by
 Jim&Nick's Community BBQ.   We feasted on BBQ sausage, brisket, and hot wings with multiple condiments rounding out the palate.  I was sooo tempted to revisit the goat cheese cheesecake bites...but decided to play nice & share. I wish that I had had enough forethought to take photos of the lovely food -- next time I promise!!  While fresh bottled water was provided aplenty, I purchased (as I always do!) a quart of icy cold herbal tea&black tea mix named Pom Pearadise! from Samovar Gardens of Brownsboro, AL.  Never ever disappointed with their tea!

On the way out..we purchased a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie from the Pie Lab also of Greensboro, AL .Check them out! Not only are they producing wonderful pie...but they are producing social change in their community!

                                                pie lab

We cornered Tasia for a quick photo under the new entrance wall of the creamery.  What a gracious lady! 
me! Jen (sister-in-law) & Tasia

What a lovely day out with my hubs, family and friends.  Though I am born a Southerner (you all know what that means!) I am reinventing myself Alabama.  At times, it's a rather daunting task...but then I meet brave, strong individuals who dare to dream and then work like the dickens to accomplish those dreams!! I am inspired once again to pull up my cowgirl boots and get to work!

I am at once overcome with bittersweet memories of where I've been...but am determined to be happy and enjoy this new In Alabama!!  There's beauty to be found here. XOX.

poetry on the wall of Belle Chevre Creameryby Tasia Mala

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Retirement Adventures--the way to the The Retirement Home

What an adventure...not all happy...not all bad...just a roller coaster of emotions and experiences at a time where I could use less stress instead of more.  Things don't always go as we would like or as we would see them in our own mind...and when that happens, you can roll with the punches or have a hissy fit..

Me?  I have been the user of hissy fits way too many times in my life. I hate to admit that, but I will be real with you. I also will share with you that it really doesn't work for me. ~chuckle~ As a result, I have learned to roll with the punches a bit more than I would've expected to.
 our retirement home..

Our house-hunting expedition was epic (in my mind). I wasn't able to find my dream retirement flat chicken coops. What we found will be a home that my husband is ultimately very happy with. His mom & step-dad love it so much they offered to trade with us! Smile.  Don't get me wrong--it's not terrible--it's actually a lovely home. It's on a half acre of rocky hillside (in my mind, maybe part of the lower Appalachian trail? I just need to look harder for the holler and the still!)  ~chuckle again~
As you can see, lots of boulders in the yard...and the dark place under the deck does NOT have a still..or a winery. Sigh.

What it does have is lots of wonderful little paths...beautiful trees...and boulders with weathered, rain beaten hollowed out bowls..full of moss and bracken(the latter after a rain).

Our trees sway slightly as the gentle breeze catches the leaves throughout the day. There are no sounds of highway autos or the general din of living. It is quiet here. Perhaps it will be peaceful after a bit of time?

 Our adventures have led us to expect the unexpected:  Employment not coming as quickly as planned...Retirement checks being "lost in the proverbial mail" (purely symbolic!) as the clerk who entered our account number put in one too many digits...thus, it ends up taking a month longer than expected!  We were able to close a week early on our home...but it still wasn't enough time to enable us to paint the whole house before the Colonel started work.  So we're piecemeal-ing it for now. wallpaper off..painting some more.
All of the things you have to do to make an older home "yours".
Finding all of the little "surprises" that an older house brings: uneven floors, funny smells, interesting design choices from decades past (and maybe present?) It has been overwhelming at times...thus, the hissy fits! And comparing to the newly updated, beautiful homes we had seen (though out of my comfort range for mortgages) it is difficult to look at the updating that will need to be accomplished over the next 5 years. (yes!! I said it! we're on a 5-yr plan!!)  At times, I feel as though I have spent my whole life waiting ...I know it's not really my whole just feels that way...waiting for the house that will be our place to nest. To feel like I have roots. To watch the flowers bloom every year. To know my neighbors for more than a year or two. A safe, peaceful place...that may even have a hen or two that scurries about. 
For now, the Colonel and I are climbing the mountain of boxes that comes with every move.  I am collecting quite a ream or two of white tissue paper as I discover the moving company wrapped even some of the smallest seashells in 2 or 3 sheets! Funny how some items are "over"wrapped and others just tossed in a box willy-nilly.  I can still hear my mother yelling at me to do a job over (and over!) if it wasn't done right as I wonder if people aren't taught to do their best anymore?  Some must be as evidenced by my tissue paper collection.  I think I'll dwell on that for now.

Our vacuum has to go to the appliance hospital tomorrow..I think I'll shop after dropping it off...purely an extravagance as I should be unpacking!  Sometimes, a girl's just gotta do what a girl's gotta do! After all, the knobs need replacing...and the rooms need lighting (no overhead lights!! what planet am I on??!!)...The boxes will be happy to see me when I get to them...I will try to put on my happy face and look forward to the challenges ahead.

 Until then.. Adieux!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Retirement Adventures in the Upsy Downsy Topsy Turvy World of Mine! ..leading up to HomeOwnership!

Silly me!  I just noticed that I misnumbered the previous "Episode" post..haha! I guess it's my just rewards for being "cute"! The "Episodes" are now m-i-a and AWOL. Sigh.

The past month has been a lesson in patience...and we have tried to use our time wisely. Traveling by plane to Upper Michigan (the "U P") to relax and fish for 2 weeks was only one of the ways we utilized our time and our free mileage.  Little did we realize that the weather would remain pretty rainy as well as chilly! Fishing continued through rain and shine and the Colonel was highly pleased with his efforts as he pulled in many lovely Large bass, walleye, and northern pike.  

His eyes shone with excitement when he returned not only with his fish--but with stories of the American Eagles who would fish alongside the pontoon boat (barely missing the inhabitants of said boat!!).  I never had the blessing to see the Eagle-- but I did take a pic of their lovely DIY nest on the "big" island of our little lake.

We spent a few days at the flea market while up north and I found lovely pieces to add to my collections (or should I say my "hoard"--I really really need to let go of Stuff! or not be surprised if I trip over everything!!).  I will have to divest myself of a few items so that the new pieces fit in a manner that is un-trip-worthy. Wink Wink.

After returning from the UP...we worked at a dizzy pace to get Drs appointments, new IDs, and all the other retirement i's dotted and t's  crossed.  I was the Colonels personal secretary and Girl Friday as I tried to fulfil his requests with a light heart...though to be honest, I must say I gave him a less than cheerful "Yes Sir! Colonel Sir!" once or twice along the way.
Yes...I can be very sassy. I admit it. Poor old soldier.

Our next effort was moving our son to graduate school and helping to get him set up in his new apartment. The second trip (for me) the Colonel and I took through rain in a bouncy loud U-Haul van to deliver the sofa and other large accoutrements.
  Our bright spot was we looked like the Clampets driving to an induction ceremony the next morning! Lots of grins came our way as we stepped out into the parking lot with our Sunday best on.  We had a lovely visit and my favorite memory is of the Colonel and his son working together on putting a big box table and stools together (and working out the difficulty of poor instructions and missing parts). By the time we left our student-- I was more than satisfied (and happy) that we had helped to make Jon's first 1 bedroom apartment a decent home-away-from-home.

 Out his front door his new "pets" await to great him every morning: Huey, Louis, and they quack a loud "good morning" in their style.

Finally, somehow we made it to today. The final walkthrough done. A painter almost hired ($11,000!!!!! Really?!?--I am Shocked and Awed!) We'll hear lots of my "painting adventures" in an upcoming post--I'm sure! And now, as of 
Monday...we signed our mortgage and officially became HOMEOWNERS!
I am giving a big "Thank You Lord" for getting us to this day and to this home.  We have walked through a mess or two but have made it thus far safely intact!! With some lovely memories along the way! (Honestly... As well as some frazzled emotions).
So here we are...on to wallpaper removal and painting sessions!
Sorry for the long post--and the recycled pics (my FB friends will recognize many!).
Choose Joy my friends.
I am.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hello out there!! this adventure has been a roller coaster!! If you read blogs in a reader...I am joining
Bloglovin and you can follow me there easily!!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I'll catch you up soon on all of the "adventures"!!  Sorry for the delay.

Keep your hats on! and your hope High!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Retirement Adventures! Episode 5...Through Cool Waters...

Sometimes when everything seems to be a detour or a wall to where I want to be it's difficult to keep my head up, breathing slowly & surely.  There's a rushing sound in my ears. My body seems overwhelmed with the currents and eddies causing me to close my eyes and gasp for air. I try in vain to fight the obstacles...thinking the harder I try, the harder I work, I'll break through to the goal I have in my head.  Reaching up--I find that there's at least two or three goose eggs where I've banged my thick skull against the driftwood floating about!

This house hunting river has been a tempest.  Putting offers in and negotiating feels to me like a river rapids with jutting rocks and driftwood wedged everywhere. I feel battered and bruised when I walk away without "my house". Circumstances out of my control dictate a timetable that causes me angst.  Trusting someone else to do their best for me at the bargaining table has been my personal thrall.  I have felt unmoored.

However, with any storm or raging flood waters...afterward there is usually a calm, serene, sweet smelling pool of water to wade through without worry...without losing my way. I rely heavily on God (& the Colonel!)as well as my son and some of my closest friends to help me during the tempest...until I reach the cool green waters.  Though I have tried earnestly to trust God (& the Colonel!)to find the house meant for our family--old habits and patterns arose that kept putting me in a place of fear, of feeling lost and a bit alone.  Silly me!! I know in my head I am never alone...that I am never separated from  God--or the love that He (& the Colonel!, my sons and friends)have for me.  That good things will come. That lessons will be learned.  That I will find the serene place that I belong.

So let me just say...that when you feel like you're  drowning in angst...let go!  Hold on to the ones you love. They will buoy you. Your river will calm. Your goose eggs will recede. You can walk confidently through the still, green waters to a thankful grateful place called home!

Oh...and while I'm here...we have a signed contract on house #3!! Now we need for the appraisal to equal our loan amount to move in the direction of being homeowners!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Retirement Adventures

Well...It's week 3! Whew...what a whirlwind! We've been all over in our targeted neighborhoods looking for homes. Some are so small by today's standards--or is it we have too many belongings to fill a home?

75 years ago a double size closet would have held a husband and wife's wardrobe.  Now, walk-in closets are the acceptable norm for one person and it's full to capacity.  How many pieces of clothing do we need to hold onto? The high school favorites? The college "cool" duds?  That first (second and third) professional ensemble that saw us through the early years of our careers? How about all of the bridesmaids dresses? The Wedding dress? Scrubs for every size up & down...not to mention the blue jeans we'll "get into someday"??  T-shirts are another wonderful creation and addition to our modern times and clothing must-haves. When do we have enough T-shirts? At 10? 15? 25? 50?  What is the deciding factor in donating or throwing away (heaven forbid we make them into rags!!) our worn, too small, or tattered attire?  

Let's move from the bedroom to the kitchen and dining areas. In my mind the greatest kitchen and dining room lead into or are part of each other.  That "open concept" is modern in a sense--but I think we're just borrowing from a simpler time when farm kitchens were gathering places that enveloped our loved ones with warmth, companionship, and nourishment.  Now with the open concept comes less storage available for use...with that being said, how many sets of dishes am I really needing to utilize? The wedding gift everyday ware? The rad, "green" recycled glass place settings? The lovely handed-down china with all the unusual pieces? Or, my favorites...the vintage white restaurant ware.  And then what about the special "party ware" for the Oriental themed dinners? The Tex-Mex? The "outdoor rustic galvanized ware"?

I'm coming to the realization that it's really not the things that make your home warm, happy, or relaxing. It's all about the idea of focusing on the people in your life, making the most simple, clean food beautifully delicious and nutritious, and living within a reasonable size home while being good stewards of the belongings we are blessed enough to have.  Bigger isn't better. More is too much....uncluttered and simple is what will free us to live a quieter more peaceful existence.

While looking for homes...and shedding tears as "discussions" occur to bring a cohesive want-list to the search...we've narrowed the list to a "top 5"...
Boy, was that a ping-pong discussion. #1 was #3 then #2. #5 was #2 now #1....but wait! We forgot about #7!! Now start all over...where was I??? Oh yes, let's go see 9 more houses and start again! Gotta keep your sense of humor in it all. Breathe. Don't speak before you think. Try to think of what your spouse needs and if you can live with it realistically, give them that gift. Remember though, that it is your choice and you have to live with that choice. No being a bratty whiner later!!

All this being said....we have made an offer on the #1 on the list!!.. the best choice for our needs.  Let, the negotiations begin! 
We have asked for home inspections, a home warranty, and of course the appraisal has to be on target. The selling realtor asked why we needed a home inspection? that's an interesting question. Why would a realtor (of all people??!!)ask that?   We'll find out hopefully sooner rather than later!  The waiting game begins with offers and counter-offers. Patience is key to your survival in this stage. Patience and flexibility. If the deal falls through, know you will be okay. Remember, there's #2,3,4, and #5 just around the corner.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Retirement Adventure Week 2

This week the adventure takes us down the house hunting Boulevard-of-the-Bourgeois.  I consider our family middle class. We don't want to own a mansion or a Maserati. We don't need 6 bedrooms or a dining room large enough to host a convention.  Our needs really are basic: a home large enough to eat, sleep, relax and be creative in (I NEED that art studio!).  Preferably it will have 2 bathrooms so that when one is "occupied" another will be available for the inadvertent "call of nature" where nature isn't the scene for such. Lastly, we would like a property large enough for a vegetable garden. No more patio pots please!! (Unless for decorative purposes only!)

I thought I had to have a small organic farm resplendent with an old post and beam "art barn" as well as a few other outbuildings that could be converted to guest cottages. I am finding though, that my dear Colonel has no earnest wish for such large endeavors!  HUH??!! What man doesn't consider himself a Paul Bunyan or a Pecos Bill? Catching a ride on the tail of a tornado? Or chopping down a tree for the family fireplace?  Where is the adventure? The bravado??

"POP"!! ...that there was a dream bubble popping and reality settling in.  So we've agreed to compose a "must have" list made of both of our wants and needs.  We've also agreed to allow the realtor to help us find a home "the old fashioned" way:  by handing over the must-have list and the budget and allowing her to show us the properties that meet those needs.   The online photos, etc. won't distract us or waste our time this way. (Sadly, the photos almost ALWAYS show a house that is bigger and better than what the reality is. This I learned the hard, disappointing way.)

I have a small admission of guilt:  I "was" looking online...and thought I had found my idea of a wonderful new home! THREE times!! "POP"!!! goes that bubble again and again. The latest of the dream home's listing has been removed. I can only surmise it was sold.  Now my heart is somewhere under my arches of my feet on a hot, humid, overcast day in northern Alabama. I keep reminding myself that God takes care of every feather on a little sparrow--and there is no reason why He would not take care of me too.  I am battling with keeping the edges of my mouth from being down-turned and hoisting my heart back up to where it belongs for now.  Ceasing "online dreaming" may be a helpful recourse?

Meeting with the realtor on Saturday morning turned into a pretty full day of getting in and out of a little knee aching and spasming and The Colonel's bad back didn't prevent us from seeing upwards of 10 homes in a five and half hour period.  Now, I hate to be a quitter after the first day of viewing these offerings, but somehow it's hard to stay in the game.  If the house looked fabulous the yard was too small or had no privacy.  If we looked at a "fixer upper" it was WAY beyond repair. (Again, the online photos were much better than reality!  The mold and water damage on one particular house was haz-mat gear quality.)  Sometimes the finishes were done well in one room like the kitchen--but then the bathroom had tiling that was so uneven you could cause a bad abrasion by hitting it just right.

The Colonel got excited about this one particular house. It was a great big house with 5 bedrooms, 3 living areas, 4 baths and a front and back yard that were on a mountain with a steep grade. The yard itself was like stepping stones carved out of mountain rock. The landscaping was beautifully done with very little upkeep needed.  Several different Japanese maples dotted the backyard interspersed with grasses and even hydrangeas. It was the largest "rock garden" I've ever come across!!  Lovely as it was, I'm not too sure we could have our vegetable garden, outdoor kitchen, or outdoor dining space.  If we had a party where would the guests park? How would they get to the front door?  Will we need to buy and install a ski lift??

Remember the opening paragraph of this post? Hmmmm, we haven't found a humble, middle class, modest size bungalow with an acre of land to call home.  Nothing close. How do I assimilate my dream home and my needs with The Colonel's?  Do men always "Go Big or Go Home"???  Can I be happy in a mountain rock garden? Or, will I constantly dream of a Texas limestone homestead with a windmill creaking in the background? Each spring and summer will I look for bluebonnets, daisies, queen anne's lace and Indian paintbrush dotting an open prairie field?  Will a quiet night be spent listening for the crickets, coyotes, and the occasional owl? And what about the night sky? Will it be as open? as star-filled as my childhood memories of the vast expanse of the Texas sky?

The adventure seems difficult at this starting place on the path. I guess the trick is to keep moving forward. Make the best decision you can with as much information as can be gathered.  Find the wood violets in the smallest crevice amongst the trees. Beauty I know is here. All around.

Before publishing this post... I slipped and fell down a flight of stairs at 2am as I was going to get The Colonel some pain medication for his herniated disc that was causing him a great deal of discomfort.  I'm very sore--no great damage to anything except "my personality" as I had hung on for dear life to the handrail and landed in a hurdler's position as I bounced off my left cheek for 5 more steps. Both of my dear menfolk jumped out of bed as I sat there thanking the Good Lord that nothing was broken.  Alas, The Colonel moved too fast and we ended up taking him to the Dr's office for that disc problem.

So, on hold for a little while are the house-hunting trips...the Retirement Fishing Odyssey to Canada, and the smile on The Colonel's face.  We are thankful for kind, professional people we met in the healthcare arena today as well as our son's stepping up to the plate and helping in any way he could.  This little side path to the Great Adventure was difficult in some ways but a blessing in many others.

As ever, onward!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Retirement Adventures Week 1

It's been one week since driving cross country with my two favorite dogs!  Sadly my husband and son in my rearview mirror...were left with the  monstrous adventure of packing up our worldly belongings with the moving crew and then cleaning our military quarters to the satisfaction of the housing representative on duty.

Now, neither of these tasks --my driving cross country or the menfolk packing out the house-- would be a daunting task in and of itself but then you throw in a few unwritten obstacles and Voila!! you have quite the adventure!...

By now you're wondering:  "Why did she leave with the dogs?? That doesn't seem quite fair!".  In all honesty it is not a fair trade. Guilt keeps tapping me on the shoulder as I recover from the 13 hour trek.  I did stop every 1 1/2 hours to take the two faithful companions out for short walks but that was for my sake as much as theirs.  The old man, our 14 year old cocker spaniel Bullet, bones and joints creaking and moaning in protest, dutifully clamored in and out of the van as best he could.  Our little girl, a rescued abused Sheltie, Molly, managed to contain her terror of riding in a car to minimal foaming of the mouth.  She too dutifully climbed in and out of her kennel as if she were an old pro at this moving business.  The two dogs recuperated relatively quickly compared to my 5 day-downing with fibromy-aching body-algia!

Now that we're in doesn't seem quite so bad. The last 5 days have been devoted to acclimating to the humidity, the mountain, the steep terrain not only in the yard but also in the house with staircase after staircase to maneuver baggage, pets, and my aching knees, joints, and general stuff that comes with the aforementioned physical challenge.  Getting up early would hardly be called my forte...somehow, it has become an unwelcome necessity.  The beasts won't "go" in the steep yard covered in periwinkle...their little bums are tickled to distraction.  I am now taken for a minimum of three walks a day up a steep flight of stairs to street unlevel (sarcasm intended as even the street is at an angle!)!!  Not only are my current companions "walking me", they are teaching me fortitude, humility and duty -- every time I have to bend down, hand inside my recycled Walmart bag, to pick up the sizeable, malodorous offerings or walk, limping, up and down the street until their "gifts" are bestowed.  Truth be told, I am thankful for my sweet companions, gifts and all, and would be quite lonely without them.

!on the other hand, Thank Goodness for friends and family who live nearby. They rescue me from total overwhelming lack of human interaction!  My dear friend Alice brought her two sons over to help unload heavy boxes from the van...I managed to get one in the house then became a ball of knees-gone-bad. We then went to lunch at a restaurant I haven't eaten at in years (Oklahoma had lots of restaurants--more mom&pop establishments than well known modern venues). Lo and behold! While walking in, I ran into Laura, a sweet neighbor I met and enjoyed at Ft Stewart 5 years ago!  The next morning I met another dear friend Jo at Starbucks -- ah! the good life-- for coffee and yogurt.  Then, Friday night, David's little brother and his good-cook-wife Jennifer had me over for dinner. So lovely!!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or military housing...Jon David, our 22yr old, and David were hard at work. Monitoring the packing crew...supervising the loading crew...and also being a packing/loading crew themselves. Moving our son to his new digs in Auburn, AL later this summer requires a separate truck of household goods.  Not to mention a certain someone (she will remain anonymous) who didn't want her art supplies to be packed by any hands except her own or moved by anyone other than family members. Spoiled rotten! I'd say.  The packing crew didn't show up the first day scheduled -- and it created a frenzied level of work as two crews were sent to complete the job "on time". Starting at 8am and working until 10pm makes for an exhausting day both mentally and physically. Then the loading crew arrives bright and early the next morning.  Working from early morning until 8:30pm. Are you following this tale?  My poor menfolk are worn out!   But their adventure is far from over...sadly, they must load the rental moving van...then clean out the house. I would say, justifiably so, that those dear men deserve accolades and showers of flowers as well as a hot meal and cozy bed awaiting them when they finally make it to Alabama!!
Hopefully, that will be in the very near future!  A day more? before they drive moving van and car along my previously traveled path. begin our "new" lives as military retirees.  Though my son & I have not been "in" the military, it has been the guiding force of our lives -- where we live, where I work and how long, our community, our friends, even our identities -- tied to our wonderful provider: my husband of 25 years, and my son's father.

For our family, "retirement" is a new adventure. A new path with lots of choices to be made and enjoyed.  Foibles to be chuckled at....New sunrises to view in awe. Fish to be reeled in. Successes to be celebrated. Unions to be rejoiced over. Breaths to be taken.  Oh, what an adventure!