Posts Tagged ‘retirement’

Okay, I’m a little too old to be called a girl, after all…I’m retired!!!

We are having a good time in Florida getting lots of exercise, shopping, exploring, shopping, relaxing and so on.  After visiting Gasparilla Island we spent a day on Manasota Key and checked out Stump Pass Beach State Park.  Although it was a nice day and we enjoyed ourselves, we didn’t like it as much as Gasparilla.

Stump Pass Beach

We spent an afternoon on Venice Beach, which we visited a few years ago and really enjoyed.

Venice Beach

If you want to go shelling, you don’t have to go very far.

Shelling on Venice Beach

We were walking along the jetty at Casey’s Pass and met Judy and Cubby Brown from Ellsworth, Maine.  We met them because Judy and I were wearing the same Acadia t-shirt.  What are the chances? 

These are our two new, quite expensive, beach chairs.  I think they should have come with their own cabana boy serving drinks…

For Christmas Bill got me the “bright light” that attaches to my sewing machine.  He ordered it from Patsy Thompson.  She has a great site which I suggest you check out here.  It is full of beautiful photos for inspiration and a wonderful on-line store.  I had a little trouble with the light but she provided superior customer service and had me up and running in a flash.  If you don’t have one of the lights, I highly suggest you get one as quickly as possible.  The light it provides is outstanding!

"bright light"

I picked up this new fabric at Wal-mart today.  It isn’t the best quality but they are the perfect colors for some Valentine gift ideas that are running around in my head.  Hopefully I can get them out of my head and into the mail for Valentine’s Day.  Fat Chance!  I don’t work that fast but I’m gonna try; they are little gifts and shouldn’t take very long.

Valentine polka dots

Lastly, we are volunteering at the local animal shelter; the Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County.  We love dogs; however, our current lifestyle does not allow for one so we get our “fix” at the shelter.  Ever since my daughter adopted a pit bull puppy, we have fallen in love with the breed and do all that we can to promote the breed.  They are our favorite and one day we will have one of our own.

Ginger catching a nap

How could you not love that face?  If you are thinking of a new pet for your home, why not make a visit to your neighborhood animal shelter?  They are doing a world of good.

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Livin’ the dream

Aahhh, life is good.  No, actually, life is great!  If you follow this blog at all, you know that I have been blogging about my retirement since my first post in Feb. 08.  That seems like forever and yet it has arrived.  I retired from the fire department the middle of September and went to work for Lowe’s the first of October.  My last day with them was Dec. 31 and now I’m really retired, at least till May 1.

Bill and I moved the cat, Sassy, to stay with her foster mom on Monday, 1/4, packed the car with as much as it could possibly hold and drove away from our home in Maine of Thursday, 1/7.  We had a leisurely trip south, stopping for lunch with his sister in RI and staying the night with his SIL in VA.  We spent the second night in Savannah, GA and arrived at my condo in Port Charlotte, FL around 4:30 on Sat. 1/9.

The temps in FL were unusually cold, below freezing at night, and the temp in the condo upon our arrival was only 45*.  Yikes!  We promptly turned up the thermostat, which ran for the next four hours.  The natives have been freezing with the below normal temps but, although we had to wear jackets for the next several days, we don’t think it’s that bad.  It sure is better than the temps in Maine.

We have been out every day, buying this and that for the condo.  Bill had to fix the toilets, he hung up a small coat rack by the door, he put on new door locks.  Yesterday we bought a 6 foot table and set it up on the lanai for my sewing table.  I haven’t gotten the “sweatshop” up and running but it’s getting closer.  I packed two boxes full of fabrics and patterns with big plans to get lots of sewing done.

We have been walking every day and checked into joining a gym around the corner.  They have two locations and one of them has spinning classes, which excited us.  Tomorrow we start the South Beach Diet, again, so today we porked out on Mexican food and Fairytale Brownies.  We.are.bad…

In addition to posts about my sewing adventures, which have been few and far between lately, I will post notes and photos about the things we find while we are here.  There is so much that interests us, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Guess I’ll start with today.  We checked out our map and decided to head toward Garparilla Island.  We were very happy with that decision, it was beautiful.  We weren’t prepared for such a great day…no shorts, no sunscreen, no hats.  Oh well, we did think to pack a couple of chairs and limited ourselves to 20 minutes at the beach.

happy feet on Gasparilla Island

happy feet on Gasparilla Island

We drove to the end of the island to the Boca Grande lighthouse, built in 1890.   It experienced some damage during Hurricane Charlie but ultimately, survived very well.

Boca Grande lighthouse

We left out car in the parking lot and went for a nice walk along the only road to the end of the island.  We walked for 40 minutes, about 2 miles.

It was an awesome day, the temps are rising and we plan to be wearing shorts tomorrow.  Rain is predicted for the weekend so maybe, just maybe, I’ll get some sewing done.

I’m a very happy girl, livin’ the dream of being retired and spending the winter in Florida.  I am blessed ;o)

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Slowly but surely I am working on the kimono quilt.  Out of 36 kimonos to be completed, I finished 2 and 3…

Kimono #2

Kimono #3

So far, I’m very happy with these and I have figured out an easier way to deal with the diagonal pieces.  After ripping those pieces out half a dozen times on the first kimono (you can see that one here), I knew there had to be a better way.  I’m in the process of packing all the fabrics and copied patterns for our trip to Florida.  We will be spending four months in my condo in Port Charlotte and I’m attempting to sort out what I must have with me while I’m there.  We will be traveling with my machine and taking along numerous accoutrements but I can’t stuff the car full with nothing more than my machine and fabrics.  I’m planning to ship a couple of boxes of fabrics and kits to arrive after we do.

I actually finished two snowman wallhangings for my friends, Su and Deb.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get them done before Christmas but I don’t think they will care.  I had plans to meet Su for lunch and was going to bring hers along but she is having serious family issues and had to cancel.  I wrapped it and tied it with a bright gold bow, leaving it on her door as a surprise when she returned home.  She loved it!

Su's snowman up close

Deb's snowman w/quilting, borders and binding

Both pieces were completed with the same borders and binding.  The area between the inner border and the stitching was quilted with a meandering loop and occasional “snowflakes”. I’m not totally satisfied with the eveness of the quilting but I’m getting better each time I practice.

Quilting close-up

These patterns are 2 of 4 belonging to Cold Twigs Snowman published by buttermilk basin.  Check out their website here.  I did not originally plan to make these as separate gifts but I’m glad I did. I will stitch both snowmen again and make a larger piece using all four patterns.

I worked my last shift at Lowe’s on New Year’s Eve and it’s a great feeling to know that I don’t have to go to work any time in the near future…not tomorrow or the day after or the week after.  Woohoo!!! I may reapply when we return in the spring; time will tell.

Bill worked his last shift on Dec. 30 after more than 25 years on the Cambridge Fire Dept.  He grew up in the firehouse and all he ever wanted to be was a firefighter.  Together we are going to create an exciting new chapter in our lives.

We are expecting a storm over the weekend with wind and snow so it will be a good time to stay inside and get organized for the trip.  We are taking the cat to her winter foster home on Monday and want to leave by Thurs or Fri at the latest, weather permitting.  There is lots to do between now and then.  It’s not as easy as you would think to prepare for a four month vacation.

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It’s been too long

I look at other blogs and wonder how in the world they find time to work, raise a family, craft, cook, exercise and still find time to make new entries so often.  It’s all  can do to work (more hours than I want) and do a little sewing now and then.  I never have time to actually b.l.o.g.!  Since I retired from the fire dept in September, I feel like all I have done is go to work at Lowe’s.  That’s about to change…

We are actually heading to FL for the winter after the first of the year.  Yes, color me a snowbird.  I can’t wait.  No more snow, no more ice, no more freezing weather, no more stoking the woodstove.  It’s all about getting outdoors and getting some sun, being warm and just…being.  I’m finally going to get to be retired, at least for a few months.

Christmas is this week.  I can’t believe it!  We finally got our tree up and decorated yesterday.  Once it warmed up in the glass room, the tree settled nicely and it’s beautiful.  Bill picked it out by himself and he did a great job.  Most of the gifts are wrapped, except for bows.  The original ribbon I bought sucked.  It was blue and silver and the stuff separated when I tied a bow.  That meant I had to take it back and shop for more ribbon.  Bows is on my agenda for tomorrow, along with finishing up the wrapping and shopping for a few stocking stuffers.

I’m trying to make a couple of small wallhangings for Su and Deb but I probably won’t get them done in time for the holiday.  If not, I will give them as a “I’ll be gone for four months” gift before we leave.

I did go to the book store and stock up on quilt magazines for the trip.  It’s hard for me to leave them sitting together without looking at them but it will be worth it when I can dive into one after several hundred miles on the road.

I have been going to a new chiropractor and hope that my sciatica is under control for the drive down.  I’m keeping positive thoughts!  More tomorrow, I hope.

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Generally, this is one of my favorite holidays.  Bill and I have dressed up in fun costumes and “trick or treated” to all of our friends houses.  It gives us a chance to say “hi” to those we don’t see very often and they get a kick out of our good time.  This year we are just tired and decided to stay home, build a nice fire and watch the World Series.  In a way, I feel sad that we aren’t out and about; on the other hand, it feels good to be home in my comfy clothes.

I did prepare a Halloween Haiku…

witches, goblins, ghosts

things that go bump in the night

leaves cover the ground

I have been doing some quilting!  Yeah, finally some quilt content.  I have been working on the Halloween wallhanging for Wendy.  Obviously, it won’t be ready this year but I think she will get it for Christmas.  The top is completed and I started the quilting last night.  Here’s a sneak peek…

Wendy's Halloween wallhanging 10.09

My retirement has been interesting, to say the least.  I have spent more than 40 hours a week since the first of the month working at the new Lowes.  Consequently, I’m tired.  Yesterday was the opening day so my schedule should slow down a little.  I was off around noon the last couple of days and I like that. On another note, I have lost 4 or 5 pounds and I like that, too.

Speaking of retirement, I received a couple of very special gifts.  First of all, my daughter contacted several friends and family members and organized purchases of Pandora charms.  I was not aware of this jewelry but here is a link if you want to know more about it.  She asked each participant to write a memory and purchase a charm of their choice.  She made a card out of scrapbooking materials with each memory and attached the corresponding charm to the card.  The four of us went out to dinner and she presented me the gift; all the cards were wrapped and in a little basket, the bracelet was in its box. Many of the cards made me cry as I remembered my friends and relived their memories.  What a wonderful gift.  Thank you, Wendy, for being the thoughtful, creative, loving daughter that you are.

Pandora bracelet 10.09Yesterday after work I was able to meet my best friend, Su for lunch.  I haven’t seen much of her this past month either.  We stayed for a couple of hours catching up and before we left she gave me a handmade basket to celebrate my retirement.  (I keep telling her to stop giving my gifts.)  This little basket was made by a Passamaquoddy Indian woman named Clara *** .  It is signed on the bottom and dated ’98.  This basket is one of a collection that belongs to Su and the fact that she has passed it on to me makes it an invaluable gift.

Clara basket 10.09

Clara basket (2) 10.09

That’s all for now.  Thanks for stopping by…


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Too busy

I started working at Lowe’s the beginning of the month and haven’t had time for much of anything else.  I worked 7-6 for six days in a row and that doesn’t leave much time for fun things.  So far, retirement isn’t any fun.

I have been sewing a little almost every day on the wallhanging for Wendy but I doubt she will have it by THIS Halloween.

On Saturday I went to the Cocheco Quilt Show in Rochester, NH which was very enjoyable.  I purposely left my camera home so that I could wander and enjoy, without feeling like I had to have a photo.

Hopefully I will get caught up and on a regular schedule soon.

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We are spending the week in Bar Harbor and visiting Acadia daily.  I thought I would be able to post the day’s adventures and a couple of photos each evening but I can see there is no way that will happen.  I started last night but my sciatica was screaming so I had to put the computer away.  Instead, I’ll do a quick catch-up later.

The weather so far has been beautiful, warm for this time of year and no rain (overnight, maybe).  Tomorrow, Campobello Island, New Brunswick.

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