Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I want to thank the academy...

I'm accepting an award from the thoughtful Thom Brown at To Gyre and Gambol, because of the nice things he said about me and because the first requirement - telling you 10 new things about me - might help pull together my thoughts, which have been very scattered lately. Here we go:

1. I've just received my first Social Security payment. It's nice to have some regular monthly income after being retired five months. I hope the same opportunity will be available for generations to come, and I worry that it won't.

2. This is our 19th year of season tickets for St. Paul Saints baseball. I can no longer sit through every kind of nasty weather, as I used to. We stayed for two innings of 50 degree wind and rain Thursday night, and nine innings Friday night. When the same weather turned up Saturday night, we stayed home. You might say we're finally smart enough to come in out of the rain.

3. I grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota, on the Mesabi iron range. In my teens I once went with some friends onto the grounds of an abandoned mining facility where we broke windows and then pushed an outhouse off a cliff into a flooded mine. It was my one act of juvenile delinquency; I quickly learned that a life of crime was not for me.

4. I was recently interviewed by a producer for Minnesota Public Radio about having beaten Bob Dylan in a talent contest (Hibbing Winter Frolic, 1959). They're doing a program for Bob's 70th birthday; I don't know whether I'll be included in it. It's a fun claim to fame, and I've already been featured in MPR and Minneapolis Star-Tribune stories a few years ago.

5. I love my iPad, but not because it makes me more productive. I use it for games (currently Scrabble, Snood, and Fish Pond) and a fun drawing-coloring program, and I look up things on the Internet (including blogs and comments) while watching television. It's an expensive toy, with the potential to be much more.

6. Speaking of games, I really do escape into games that require a little eye-hand coordination and reward me with sound effects and bright colors. If I didn't have my electronic devices, I suspect that I could easily get hooked on the machines at casinos.

7. Hubby said to me yesterday, "I just realized that I have never set foot in a Starbucks." I haven't, either. So who's out of step--us, or the people who pay those prices, sometimes several times a day?

8. Evidence that I am a procrastinator: In my wallet, I have unused cards entitling me to $10 at a local coffee shop (not Starbucks), a free loaf of bread, 15 percent off total purchase at Once Upon a Child, and free lunch at the college I retired from. I also have a $5 Target gift card and a $20 Visa gift card (sent by my HMO after I complained about an unwieldy aspect of their online prescription refill service). I hope they have not all expired!

9. For the last couple of months, I've been spending Tuesdays with my 95-year-old dad, who has just entered hospice care. Various factors limited our time together for several years, so I find our weekly visits a satisfying and healing process filled with little moments that I will remember fondly.

10. I keep thinking that I have become lazy and unfocused in retirement. I have unfinished projects everywhere, but I would rather read blogs, play games, or take a nap. Then I remember: I'm 68 years old and I'm caring for two toddlers 40 hours a week plus taking on new responsibilities for shopping and cooking, plus the long drives to see my dad. I like doing all these things, and I'll have the summer to do my projects. Right now, I deserve to relax, without feeling guilty.

I am also to pass along the award to others, and I'll do that another day. Meanwhile, stop over and visit Professor Brown; you'll be glad you did.


Jeanne Estridge said...

These are great!

Also, now that I know you beat Bob Dylan in a talent contest, I'm star struck!

Marion Williams-Bennett said...


This is almost as good as beating Bob Dylan!

DJan said...

I spend way too much time reading blogs, but I refuse to feel bad about it, I'm retired and 68 too. I've been receiving SS checks since 2008 and I find it quite nice!

Taking care of two toddlers for 40 hours a week doesn't sound exactly retired to me, though. :-)

Grandmother Mary said...

I'm with DJan- since when is day care for 2 for 40 hours a week minimum retirement?! Hats off to you though and yes, you deserve to relax without guilt!

Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs said...

Yes, relax without guilt! We women feel far too guilty far too often about far too many things. No guilt for you, as you've earned the play time. Although I don't know where in the world you find downtime with all you've still got going on!

Glad you chose to avoid a life of crime! :)

Unknown said...

Kudos! I love retirement and relish in the fact that I've earned the right and privilege to be lazy. It's a well earned perk, so take full advantage...PROUDLY!

I'm not a procrastinator, so you can just send those gift cards and coupons to me! LOL

Great post!

Unknown said...

Wonderful. Full marks!

Dylan? Wow! And way cool.

I'm still about three years from my Soc Sec, but I;m ready. I'm with you though - I hope it's still there for those who follow.

I love #9 especially. Thank you for these. Much is familiar.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Fun stuff. so glad you decided against a life of crime. You, JD, you.

Sally Wessely said...

Those are some mighty interesting things to learn about you. You have had a few very unexpected experiences such as nearly ending up as juvenile delinquent, and beating out Bob Dylan in a talent contest. Wow, who can top that?

I'm glad you are enjoying retirement. You have no need to feel guilty about whatever you don't accomplish. With your genes, you have plenty of time to get to those projects.

grammy said...

Such great get to know you info (o:
You should just try Starbucks....to be in the IN crowd.
Sounds fun to get a SS check.
and win a talent contest...well beat out Bob anyway (o:

Jeanie said...

Lots of fun information here. It sounds like you have your thoughts pretty well organized.
I agree that 40 hours a week of child care entitles you to all the down time you want.

Pearl said...

Bob Dylan. So talented -- now if we could just get him to stop singing!



Unknown said...

I agree with Pearl. Welcome overstayed.

Anita said...

Adjusting to a new life style takes time. When my youngest child went to kindergarten, and I was alone 7 hours, I thought it was my "duty" to accomplish so much; afterall, it was "free" time.

It took almost two years to gradually change that way of thinking. I've learned to play tennis, go horseback riding, and run through my neighborhood.

The chores will always be there, and I'm still convincing myself that I don't have to impress anyone anymore with some superwoman status.

May God bless your Dad with His peace and comfort. And you, too.

Coll said...

I did a quadruple-take after reading #7. I step into a Sbux EVERYDAY. I know it's wrong to spend so much on coffee, but I can't help it.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I have never been in a Starbucks either..I guess we don't know what we are missing.
I am sorry to read about your Dad being in Hospice. It is good that you spend one day a week with him while you can.
You are doing great, everyone who retires should do what they really want to do..you will soon fall into a rhythm..look at how many years you worked..you are not going to adjust overnight..so relax! :)

http://howtobecomeacatladywithoutthecats.blogspot.com said...

You and Dylan, hanging out in Hibbing? Bet you much prefer hanging with the grandkids!

Anonymous said...

Look at .......IRONICUS MAXIMUS.

Deb Shucka said...

It's wonderful to get to know more about you in this way. I'm so glad you're getting to spend this time with your dad. That's a gift not everyone gets.


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