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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Yoga Yuks

I have been officially retired now for five days (if you count the weekend).  Being a school teacher, it just feels like the start of any other summer break.  I still have that same sense of urgency to get everything done right away, before I go back to work.  But, there will be no back to work for me in September.  I guess I really won't know how it feels to be retired until September rolls around.  Meanwhile, I am trying to establish a routine for my new life:

I get up early, as if I were going to work still.  I don't want to waste the best part of the day - morning.  I love mornings.  So, I start slowly, having coffee with my husband, checking emails on the three separate accounts I have ( more on this technology craziness later), and spend some time reading a book or magazine.

Then, it's on to exercise.  I start off with a yoga CD.  Now, you must know, I am so out of shape that I struggle to lift my head off the pillow ( only slight exaggeration :) ).  I have made physical conditioning one of my major retirement goals.  Since I am arthritic I decided yoga would be good to help with my flexibility.  Now don't laugh, but I got this CD called Yoga for the Rest of Us with Peggy Cappy and the participants on the CD are all in their 70's and 80's!  I figured if these old gals can do yoga so could I.  What a blow to my self esteem to realize these septa and octogenarians were better able to do the moves than I was.  So pathetic!  Most of the warm up stretches are done in a chair for God's sake.  I managed the warm ups OK, but when we got to the standing poses...Holy Cow...I have no balance!!!! When did that happen? It's funny how age creeps up on you, and you find yourself doing some of the things you laughed at your mother for doing.  EEE GADDS!!!!  This is day three of my yoga adventure, and I must admit I am getting better at the Mountain pose ( for all of you non yoga people that means I can stand on my two feet)  great accomplishment.  But, at least I don't sway like a tree in a tropical storm like I did on day 1.  I still need the chair for balance on the tree and warrior poses, but I'm hoping with practice I will be able to do them without assistance.  I didn't even try the sun salutation exercises...didn't want to be totally discouraged.

So, after yoga, I head upstairs to the treadmill and walk.  Again, I am starting slowly, only a 1/2 a mile at a time.  My goal is to increase the distance each week until I can do 3 miles in 45 minutes. Right now it takes 15 minutes to do half of a mile.  This could take a while!

Once I've finished exercise, time to shower and dress for the day and on to whatever projects await me.  So much to do in the house and outside, that should keep me busy for years.  Also trying to fit in some tutoring here and there. 

I like this schedule so far.  I'll keep you posted,

- Karen

Thursday, June 20, 2013

project 1

So, painting a piece of furniture is not such a quick and easy task.  I thought I could knock it out in an hour, two tops, but I guess Robert Burns, Lennie, George, and Steinbeck knew what they were talking about (best laid plans...).  I first sanded to rough up the glossy surface of the dresser, then smoothed it out with another sanding using an ultra fine sandpaper.  Who knew that at 61, one has no arm strength and would need to take a break for two hours before starting the next step!  (I think I know what my next project should be:  a visit with a physical trainer.)

The painting stage was again a surprise.  I bought paint that had a built in primer in hopes of having to paint only one coat. took three coats of paint to get the wood covered adequately.  After using a brush with the first coat, I decided I would use a small sponge roller (another HGTV trick I saw on one of the design shows) for the final two coats in order to have a smooth, unstreaked surface.  That actually was a successful move.

I do love the new look of the dresser.  I'm thinking of adding a little bling to the first drawer and purchasing either clear glass or milk glass knobs as drawer pulls.  That would necessitate a mini-lesson on the use of power tools. I'd ask my husband for a lesson, however, he wasn't too pleased about the painting to begin with; he doesn't like change.  That is one thing I will be embracing during retirement...Change.  After doing basically the same job for 39 years, I am ready to try lots of new things.  I don't need to make major changes right away, like moving or divorce or changing religions (just kidding), but trying small things like learning to use a power drill.  Could be fun.

So below are before and after photos of the dresser of project #1.  Lighting in my hallway is very bad so the pictures do not do the piece justice.  I decided to display a few milk glass pieces on top, including a milk glass lamp.  Since the dresser houses extra linens, some of which are vintage linens (one of the things I like to collect), I also used two crocheted doilies I got as a wedding shower gift, made by Bob's grandmother to protect the surface of the dresser.  The wall above the dresser has some family photos, so for my real next project I am going to create a family tree with unifying frames.  Keep you posted on this one.


Can't figure out how to turn this picture SORRY


Friday, June 14, 2013

I am retiring in 5 more workdays.  After 39 years in the teaching profession, I will close up my grade book and open the cover to a new book....a new beginning.  I have decided to call my blog New Beginnings because that is what I hope this will be, not an end but rather a start. I have truly enjoyed my little stint as an English teacher.  The work and the children have been challenging and rewarding, but I have been going to school my entire life.  Just think of it...61 years old and I've never stopped going to school!  There is definitely something wrong with that.  So, thanks to a few twists of fate, I am packing up the books, erasing the boards and locking the classroom door for good.  I do say this with some trepidation.  Will I miss school?  Will I sit listlessly in my house, not knowing what to do next?  Will I regret tossing aside what I do best (at least I think I do it well)?  It is frightening not knowing what will happen.  That is one of the benefits of know what to expect.  You know that the day starts with a sleepy first period and ends with a noisy, rowdy period 8; September is all sweet anticipation and hopes and June is all sweat and exhaustion.  How will I know what day or month it is when I'm not on a school schedule?

A friend told me that one should take it slow when first retiring.  I know that sounds like good advice, and I really should think things through before leaping in at full throttle.  Unfortunately, that's really not my personality.  When I am faced with a new adventure, whether it be developing a spelling program or a school-wide summer reading experience or even simply planning a unit of study, I get all itchy and plan away like a bullet train.  I'm kind of hard to slow down once I really get into a project.  So....this retirement thing is getting me revved up.  I feel the thrill of a few cool projects looming in the near future.  I have to admit, I went to Home Depot on the pretense of checking out kitchen sink faucets for my husband, but really what I did was pick out paint for my first project.  I am going to paint the big old ugly dresser that stands in the upstairs hallway.  It has a very practical use ( it stores all the sheets and linens that can't fit in the dinky linen closet), but it is extremely ugly and adds nothing to the dark hallway.  So, I chose a very cool turquoise color called Mermaid's Treasure.  While I was at it I bought two sanding blocks (one fine, one extra fine) to prime the wood. I hope to have it done by the weekend.  I'll let you know how project #1 turns out.

Meanwhile, I've started this blog.  I'll keep you posted on my new beginnings.

- Karen