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Retirement planning #2

I gave formal notice of my retirement a week or so ago. It feels good. Mostly. Other than when I'm overcome by doubt and anxiety, that is.

I realized a week or so ago that I'm not worried about having too little to do. In fact, it's the opposite. I've been adding to my list of "things to do when I retire" so long now that it's become overwhelming. Even if I were to jump out of bed early every morning and worked 10 to 12 hours a day, it would take decades to get through it.

The answer I think is simply to set priorities, create a plan, and be gentle with myself when life intervenes, as it almost certainly will.

I know from past experience that any plan I make needs to include a little of this and a little of that, with plenty of white space for procrastinating and daydreaming while I get my feet under me.

So, for the first few months, I'll try to include exercise of some kind, quality time with family and friends, a few chores, a creative or volunteer …
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Puppy training

We got a Jack Russell Terrier about a year and a half ago. Her name is Jackie Blue ("Sausage", for short) and she's a great little dog - cute, good-natured, energetic and intelligent. She's also stubborn as hell. And lately she's started having allergy symptoms, which makes looking after her a full-time job. If we don't keep a sharp eye on her, she'll sneak off and lick her paws raw while we're not looking. It's frustrating and exhausting for everyone. We finally broke down and bought a "cone of shame" so we can leave her unattended for a few hours at a time, but she hates it so we use it as little as possible.

The frustrating thing about allergies is that it's so tough to identify the source of the problem. Is it something in her food, something in the environment, or some combination of the two? Our vet's best guess is that it's environmental but we're limiting her diet too in case it's a food allergy - which is to…

My people

The truth is I'm not all that close with most of my family anymore. Over the years, we've grown in very different directions and, although I still love them, I no longer think we have much in common, or that spending time with them is particularly good for me.
The trouble is they don't bring out the best in me, which isn't intentional on their part. It's just that I can't be fully myself when I'm with them, mostly because I know so much of what I think and say makes them uncomfortable. 
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Long Nights

The nights have felt long lately. The trouble is I can't seem to sleep through them. And, when I wake up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, it's like a complete stranger is inhabiting my body - thinking and feeling things that make no sense in the cold light of day.

I wouldn't care, except the stranger prevents me from getting back to sleep for hours, no matter how firmly I tell her to shut up. And sometimes she reappears in dreams when I do finally nod off.

It's frustrating because long nights make for long days, when it's a struggle to stay focused and upbeat at work - which is especially important now that I'm counting down the days until retirement. Being sleep-deprived also makes it more challenging to eat properly and get enough exercise.

One night this week, I managed to sleep through but woke up before six, which I preferred since at least I could get up and make good use of the time rather than tossing and turning for hours.

I know people who read or wri…

Interdependence versus self-reliance

When I arrived home last weekend, it was to news that Husband has successfully installed a new water treatment unit - which involved a fair bit of old-fashioned plumbing and rewiring. He was rightly proud of his accomplishment since it was a beautiful thing to behold.

Then on Sunday the toilet in the upstairs bathroom began misbehaving, so he spent a good part of yesterday buying parts and doing the necessary repairs. 
In between, he was busy chopping and hauling wood, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, packing the car for my return to the city and seeing to various other chores, while I mostly hung out by the fire keeping Jackie Blue company. 
When I stop to think about it, it's scary how dependent I've become on him to do home repairs and other chores, and seriously doubt my contributions to our household are even remotely comparable.  These days, those contributions are largely financial and organizational, with a little gardening, cooking, puppy care and cleaning thrown in.…

Retirement planning

I've finally firmed up my retirement date and begun telling people I'm leaving. It mostly feels good. The awkward thing is that they invariably ask me what my plans are for when I retire, and I don't have a good answer yet.

On the one hand, I'm not too concerned about that. I have a full life outside work so there's little doubt I'll find interesting and useful things to do. After all, my primary motivation for retiring early is to focus more time and energy on things that matter most to me - family, friends, community, exercise, political engagement, creative activity. 
On the other, I can't help feeling a bit anxious about what lies ahead, given the uncertainties. What if Husband and I drive each other crazy? What if I miss my work? What if we don't have enough money to live comfortably as we age? 
I'm determined not to let fear and anxiety keep me from taking the leap. It's possible I've another 35-40 years of living to do and I want to m…


I've always enjoyed my morning cup of jo. Most mornings, when I'm home with Husband, he gets up first, makes coffee, and brings me a cup before I even get out of bed. For a few years, our routine was to stay in bed for a half hour or so most mornings, sipping coffee, petting the cat and chatting about the day ahead. Now that I'm living on my own during the week, I have to make my own coffee - which has taken some getting used to.

On the upside, my desire for coffee makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning, and I find I'm mostly enjoying the new routine, though I miss Husband and Jackie Blue of course.

Neither of the apartments I've rented since Labour Day has a drip coffee maker, so I've had to rely on older technologies to make my morning cuppa - first a small stove top expresso maker, and now a French press. Each has pros and cons but, overall, I prefer the French press because it mellower coffee and I can make two cups at once.  My main criticism is …