Paring it Down

Today was a lovely autumn day in the ‘Ville.  Fall is my absolute favorite season, and fall in Kentucky can be spectacularly beautiful.  Today was one of those perfect weather days.

However, “Monsoon Halloween” is on its way.  Yep – torrential rains are forecast for Wednesday, and now there is plenty of social media hoopla about whether or not neighborhoods should move trick or treating to tomorrow instead.  Out mayor, Greg Fischer, has declared the decision to move Halloween is up to individual neighborhoods.  So, does this mean that kids could actually go trick or treating two nights in a row?  Oh, my.  I digress.  Also, I will now show my old-school, traditionalist side – just go trick or treating in the rain, kids!  That’s what I used to do!

So, with the imminent advent of some messy weather, I spent part of the day paring it down.  I took down some hanging baskets, put away the patio umbrella and the hammock.  I removed some outdoor cushions and pillows and stored them away.

There is something so cathartic about such simple actions. Paring it down.

 

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California Dreamin’ and #Vanlife

camper

In the travel department, some summers are better than others.  This summer’s vacation for our family is a celebratory one to mark my retirement and the high school graduation of my oldest daughter.  We are headed to California.  With my daughter going away to college, this summer may be the one of the last big family vacations for awhile as our schedules change. I hope not, but the reality is that this could be the case. So, we wanted to cross some destinations off the bucket list.  On the itinerary will be San Francisco, redwood forests, beach camping in Santa Cruz, and a stay in Big Sur.

I will be sure to post pictures and share stories about our trip in a future post.

One aspect of our trip that I am particularly excited about is that we are renting a Volkswagon Westfalia camper van from California Campers.  After we leave San Francisco, not only will this be our vehicle for the rest of the vacation, but it will also be our residence for a few nights.  Sure – it’s not the most glamorous way to spend a vacation – walks to the showers, four people crammed into tiny beds for the night, campfire cooking; but it will be a unique experience for our family and new perspectives in traveling are always the best.

Some people have even made a life of living in their vans, and if you are interested in reading about the #vanlife movement, I encourage you to check that out on the Internet sometime. It’s a fun rabbit hole to fall into for awhile.  Looking forward to translating that virtual experience into real life soon.

Here are a few links you may want to explore:

#vanlife

Five Harsh Truths About Vanlife

The Unglamourous Realties of Vanlife and How to Make Life on the Road Work

Is Vanlife for You?

Smelling the Butt of a Pineapple and Summer Mom

My husband and children have told me for years that I have a split personality, evidenced by noticeable changes that occur when I am not working.  As an educator, that means times likes Christmas Break, Spring Break, and of course, summer break.  So, currently, I am Summer Mom.  Now that I am retired, will I always be in summer mom mood?  School mom is/was stressed with juggling work and family responsibilities.  School mom thought about her students too much and worried about her work performance.  Summer mom is chill and present in the moment.

During the school year, due to lack of time, we would rely on convenience products from the grocery (pre-cut fruits and vegetables for example).  Last week, my daughters and I made a trip to Whole Foods, and I knew that summer had finally arrived because we were on a mission to, among other things, find the best whole pineapples in the store.  My youngest daughter, thirteen years old, embraced the experience.  Even though A. is a teen now, she has such little kid joy residing in her body, and it is a wonderful thing to see.  Her slim little figure, that is about 3/4 legs, pranced around the bin of pineapples, and had no qualms about picking up each pineapple and smelling the butts or the bottom of the fruit.  Of course, this is how you can tell if a pineapple is ripe.  Inhaling the aroma from the bottom of a pineapple, trying to find the fruit with most ripe ready smell, is the key to bringing home a fruit that is the most luscious.

As I watched her do her thing, it became very apparent to me that this is the spirit I hope to sustain now that I am retired.  I want to be the one who spends time at a bin of fresh produce, touching, smelling, appreciating all their goodness. Is it not a worthy use of time to be so in the moment that you have no qualms about smelling the butts of pineapples in a crowded grocery store?

I want to be Summer Mom forever.

 

 

Balancing Postures

For the last couple of years, I have been doing yoga, generally as a way to start my day.  I am not one to pay for pricey yoga clothes and do studio yoga, so I have been taking advantage of my Apple TV to stream a favorite yoga instructor’s videos into my home, via YouTube.  I highly recommend Yoga with Adriene.  Her attitude toward yoga and life is easy-going and comfortable.  She seems to have a healthy balance in her life, and it is contagious when practicing yoga with her.

Of course, in my working life, struggling to find a good balance of work and family time, my exercise routines have been hit or miss over the years.  One of my goals in my new life routine is to exercise everyday, either doing yoga or walking.  I have been toying with the idea of training for a mini-marathon, as well (more on that later).

Getting back to yoga, though….today’s yoga practice included some balancing postures, and as I practiced today, it really sunk in that one of the biggest changes I would like to see in my gap year (and beyond) is more BALANCE.  Finding that sweet spot between the push and the pull. Settling into that space between the sun and the moon.  Thanks to yoga practice this morning for driving that home today.  Namaste.

backlit beach dawn dusk
Photo by Cedric Lim on Pexels.com

 

Day One

I had been thinking about starting a blog for a few months.  I have been officially retired from education for about a whole week at this point.  Before retirement, I realized that most of the plans for my first year as a retired person involved a load of physical activity.  All of those closets and the god-forsaken attic, previously ignored, would finally be made right with major de-cluttering efforts.   Lacking in my vision for my “gap year”,  as I have been calling it, were more mentally stimulating activities.  I have always been a reader, but why not try my hand at being a writer?  Hence, the idea of a blog blossomed in my mind.

Today, I finally found the  inspiration to start, thanks to a dear friend of mine.  During lunch together today, enjoying a green salad, asparagus in puff pastry, tomato and mozzarella, and garlic fries (all lovingly made by my friend), she shared that SHE had started a blog! Thus ensued a fascinating conversation about her experiences thus far.   My friend even helped me brainstorm some names for my blog.  She suggested that I include some reference to books in the title because for the past 16 years, I worked as a high school librarian.  Before that, I taught secondary science for 14 years.  Books, knowledge, and learning, of course, have been a huge part of my life.

After quite a brutal stretch of hot and humid weather, today is cloudy, rainy, and cooler.  So, the combination of a great inspiring chat and a more “writerly” type of day, has propelled me into the world of blogging.  Can’t wait to see how this evolves a I begin “My Life in the Next Chapter”.