Friday Eve

While working, I loved Thursdays. Thursday was Friday Eve. On Thursday, you could rejoice in the fact that tomorrow would be the working man’s beloved Friday. I am writing this on Thursday. Retirement Thursday does not have the potential happy punch that working Thursday did, but here I am on Thursday, still happy. I’m happy that I’m retired and no longer working.

I’m happy that I’m not working EVERY day during retirement. Happy is heavily dependent upon perspective. Every morning I have to get up and check my shoes to make sure that they don’t have unhappy slime on the soles. That slime will cause my happy feet to slip right out from under me and I can (and have) slide into a pool of unhappiness and self-pity. I have quoted my favorite business slogan (Bissell’s) before: “life’s messy; clean it up.” When it comes to unhappy shoe slime, I have to clean it up myself. Only I can clean it up. There is no Mr. Clean who can magically appear and clean it up for me. Mister, that’s not very nice to me.

I’ve been developing an unhappy shoe-slime cleaning solution. The ol’ Coronavirus has complicated my formulating. My granddaughter, Liadan, frequently reminds me of the impact of Coronavirus. She is very theatrical, so she often, with much drama, tells me that she would have… (it’s always something phenomenal) but she was foiled by CORONAVIRUS. Things I can’t do because of Coronavirus are unhappy slime on the soles of my shoes. I would be going to the gym (or more likely the YMCA) and be incredibly svelte, but for Coronavirus. Slime removing solution: walk (while masked) with friends. I would be learning Spanish (or pickleball, or bridge, or improved writing skills) at my nearby senior center, but for Coronavirus. Slime removing solution: Masterclasses and The Great Courses. I would be reconnecting with friends from my past, but for Coronavirus. Slime removing solution: writing a blog and sending invites to the blog to friends (after 100 posts I’m up to 25 followers – thank you my friends). I’m retired; my time is my own. Today I cleaned my pantry shelves. Yeah, life is good (and my pantry is clean).

So it’s Friday Eve and I love it. I learned to love Thursdays while working. In retirement, I’m LEARNING to love EVERY day. To tell the truth, I’m only moderately happy, but another thing I learned while working is to fake it until you make it. If you’ll excuse me, I have some unhappy slime to remove from the soles of my shoes so that I will be ready to be happy on Friday.

Shoe-slime-removal chair

The Long and Winding Yarn

I have a lot of yarn. I have too much yarn. Why? I have yarn for use with my knitting machines. I never use my knitting machines. I have yarn for crocheting and hand knitting. I don’t hand knit, so that leaves a lot of yarn awaiting pulling and twisting with a crochet hook. When I think about it, it is pretty amazing that a long linear strand of fiber is pulled though itself one loop at a time, over and over again, to create something else. Crocheting is my attempt at being amazing. Last week I finished crocheting an afghan, started and finished crocheting a deer and started another afghan. None of these projects has visibly decreased my yarn “stash.”

When I began my retirement journey, I established rules for myself (I was missing those rules imposed upon me by the workplace), intending to ensure that my much-decreased income would meet my not-so-decreased expenses. One of those retirement-spending rules was to NOT buy yarn before going through my existing yarn supply when beginning a new project. I’m amazed that I should have so much yarn, and still, on most occassions, not have what I need for my newly-begun projects. Of the three projects that I worked on last week, only one did not require the purchase of more yarn. Yarn is very seductive stuff. It can really pull you in.

It’s amazing what people can do with yarn. I am a member of a machine knitting guild. The other members create beautiful articles of clothing, art and warmth. I own knitting machines. They are capable of creating, they just don’t under my ownership. They’re heavy and would no doubt help to hold my house down in a storm. They are also great whisperers of yarn-buying urgings. As I’ve said before, during a pandemic, household items become increasingly conversive (and persuasive).

I choose projects requiring a crochet hook, because crochet hooks require much less commitment than do knitting machines. Knitting machines require a commitment to space and set-up effort before you even start a project. With a crochet hook, you just pick it up and carry it to wherever you want to use it. When you’re to a stopping point you set it down.

Cinnamon sometimes curls up next to me and “helps” me with my crochet projects. She’s a very helpful cat. She has put in an order for a crocheted cat. We’re both still on the fence about getting her a real cat.

And so, my yarn about yarn is coming to a tangled end. I will untangle it, and add it to my stash to be used later. Retirement is full of “later” and yarn. Life is good.

Less-than-perfect home-made deer.

My Favorites

When Phil and I began dating, he took me to the home of one of his friends. This friend had small children, and one of the little ones told me that I was her favorite. I assumed that I, of the many young women that Phil took to this friend’s home, was her favorite. I was flattered. The following Valentine’s Day, I had a sign made for Phil, with the words, “You’re my favorite” inscribed on it. Last Valentine’s Day, the first following Phil’s passing, I was comforted by the outpouring of love from my friends. I want everyone to know, that friends are so much more valuable than money… and chocolates and flowers. Although friends bringing chocolates, flowers and cards are truly amazing, the best gift is the friendship itself. Yep, the gift of friendship is definitely my favorite.

I started evaluating “my favorites” when I read the headline in this morning’s paper, “Polar vortex to bring big chill to NM.” I immediately thought, as far as vortexes/vortices go, Polar ones are not my favorite. I prefer a visit to the many vortices of Sedona (one might say a whirlwind visit, if one was as proficient at all things corny as myself) to standing outside during the chill winds of a Polar vortex.

My favorite pet is always my current pet, because, and this is an amazing phenomenon, my current pet is always my best pet ever. Cinnamon knows that she is my “best kitty.” Yes, she is my FAVORITE kitty and I tell her so repeatedly every day.

My favorites have changed over the years. My favorite kitty, three kitties ago, is not my favorite kitty now (although I have fond memories of all of my kitties). My favorite food has not changed, but has spiraled out (kind of like a favorite-food vortex) to include many foods. Isn’t that GREAT. Instead of just craving one yummy, not-so-good-for-me food, I now crave almost anything that is slightly sweet and edible. Life is good!

Retirement is currently my favorite stage of life. It provides the time required to leisurely explore potentially-favorite activities and foods. When a Polar vortex descends upon New Mexico, I can stay inside, snug and warm. I don’t have to brave (although to be honest, there was no bravery involved when I travelled icy roads to get to work – just cowardly white knuckles) the elements to fulfill work commitments.

Today, I’m going to stay inside with my FAVORITE cat, drinking my favorite herbal tea while watching my favorite “All Creatures Great and Small” episode. She and I will happily reside in the warm eye of the Polar vortex that swirls around my house. I may call or email some of my wonderful friends. I may not. I may simply reminisce; remembering some of my favorite times with some of my favorite people. Apparently, even a Polar vortex brings gifts – opportunities to appreciate the warmth of home and value of friends (including furry ones). So, it’s good to have a warm home, a fluffy cat, good memories and be retired during a Polar vortex. I should donate to those who don’t have a warm home. It’s cold outside, and I am inside: blessed and warm.

Cinnamon, contemplating the approaching Polar vortex.

“He Was a Friend of Mine”

I like John Prine, even though he didn’t write, or record “He Was a Friend of Mine.” I do wish he was a friend of mine. His music makes me feel. Sometimes it makes me feel sad. Sometimes it makes me laugh and feel happy. It’s powerful, and sometimes ludicrously profound. For the most part, I love music.

I don’t swear (except in extreme emergencies). I say, “oh dirty words.” Many people have mistaken my “oh, dirty words,” for “oh, dirty birds.” I’m okay with either. You can imagine how I feel when I pull up next to a car, with music blaring lyrics that proclaim the mystical magical attributes of certain parts of male anatomy and how females (referred to with a derogatory reference to female dogs) should interact with those anatomical features. I don’t like this kind of music. I think it’s inconsiderate of drivers to broadcast it from their vehicles.

Sometimes this inspires me (and not in a good way) to write song lyrics responding to those I’m being forced to listen to. These lyrics are not nice. I should be ashamed (and I am). In response to the afore-mentioned song, the following popped into my mind: “I want to cut off your testicle(s) and use your anus as a receptacle.” In our Country’s current state of divisiveness, I jumped on the extremely-inflammatory- response vehicle heading towards universal anger and outrage. It’s a real demolition derby. We (I) must resist the urge to subtract civil from civilization. We don’t want to end up with just “ization.” What the heck is that? I think it’s kind-of like an “I Nation” where it’s all about me and what I want. Let’s all tune in to some good ol’ John Prine. His lyrics could be rude and irreverent, but in a fun engaging way that encouraged self examination and ultimately, civility.

It’s been a few days since I encountered the vehicle with the blaring music advocating foul language and misogynistic disrespect. Maybe I should carry complimentary headphones to be distributed to drivers whose choice of music is inappropriate for small children and old ladies. It would be a gift that kept on giving. Is it illegal to drive while listening to music through headphones? I’m all for free speech, I would just also like to have the right to choose what I listen to. If the headphones thing is legal, I may have to go with it. It’s probably time for me to again embrace social distancing and isolation (for my own safety). I haven’t yet been vaccinated for COVID so isolation is recommended. Thank God I’m retired. Life is good.

Happy music player (headphones optional).