Thursday, March 28, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy!

I'm swiftly approaching five years of retirement, in May. It still amuses me that some people thought I would be bored in this stage of my life. "What will you DO?", people would gasp when I told them I was leaving the corporate world behind. My work life pace was dizzying, exhausting, and stressful. Looking back, I honestly don't know how I coped from day to day. What I know now is that I didn't eat properly, exercise enough, spend time with friends, or take very good care of my home. On top of that, I often didn't sleep well. The financial rewards were great and I am grateful that allowed me to run away sooner. But I was slowly killing myself.

Truly, I feel almost as busy today as I was when I worked. The difference is that my time is my own, and I choose what to do, with whom, and on what schedule. I don't lie awake at night, worrying about playing golf tomorrow and having dinner with friends. OK, that almost made me "LOL".

I am so NOT bored. My calendar for March was packed with activity almost every day. Granted, things are perking up around here a little with the advent of warmer weather. But here's some of what I did this month:

Dinner at friends' homes (5 times), Nine & Dine at club, Golf (several times a week), Sweet Adelines  chorus rehearsal (once a week for 3 hours), meeting with contractor (for patio expansion), medical check-up, Nine & Wine, overnight trip to Scottsdale, Cubs Spring Training game, dinner out with friends, Friday Night Happy Hours at club, Wine Pairing Dinner, Silpada jewelry party, St Patrick's Day golf tournament, haircut, party planning, Spring cleaning (indoors and out), patio furniture delivery, lunch with an old Hilton friend, Bunco Night with the girls, a Talking Rock Communication Council meeting, a Wine Tasting, several long phone calls with Mom and far-away friends, and blogging. That doesn't include normal housekeeping, laundry, shopping, and preparation of meals. And we still have four days left in the month for more golf, including a tournament on Friday, and an Easter Brunch party for 64 invitees that we are co-hosting with our neighbors.

Busy, busy, busy - and loving every minute of being a Runaway Boomer!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Hodgepodge

It's officially Spring, and I have big-time Spring Fever. There is a jumble of seasonal thoughts in my head that looks something like this...
Windows Wide
Sweetness Inside
Summer Clothes
Pedicured Toes
Green Fairways
Sun's Golden Rays
Spring Cleaning
Domestic Preening
Flower Shopping
Colors Popping
Stuffy Heads
Allergy Meds
Patio Dreams
Gathering Themes
Cocktails Outside
Snacks Supplied
Morning Dew
Tee Time for Two

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Allure of Home Improvement

It was love at first sight three years ago when we toured the home we subsequently purchased in Talking Rock Ranch in Prescott, AZ. The layout, the finishings and fixtures, the view - everything was to our taste, and we could easily visualize living here.

Of course, when you live in a home for a while, you start to think about what you could do to make it even better - more your own. Now we have two projects in mind that we think would be welcome enhancements to our lifestyle.

Yesterday we met with a designer/landscaper/builder who has done a lot of work in our community. We stood on the back patio and discussed our vision for an expanded entertainment space, with more seating, a fire feature, and a hot tub. There are limitations on what we can do, because of Talking Rock design standards, but we believe that we can easily work within those guidelines. We are about to sign a contract and begin the planning and approval process. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy the results during the height of the golf and social season here.

On the interior of the house, we would like to reconfigure the entertainment wall. The space for the TV and audio components needs to be a little larger. The fireplace mantel could be extended across the entire wall. We'd like to add art niches and accent lighting. This project will probably be deferred to 2014, but we wanted to plant the seeds of thought in our contractor's head. He's a creative guy.

Home design project planning has been greatly enhanced in recent years by technology. We were shown lifelike, animated, computer-generated renderings of patio projects with crackling fireplaces, plants waving in the breeze, and actual backdrops of the client's view to add realism. You can even see a daytime versus nighttime view. It's so much easier to imagine the end product of your investment with these models. Amazing stuff.

Sample from
We were also encouraged to create an account on, which describes itself as "A collaborative platform for home remodeling and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community." After creating an account, we can build a folder of ideas that appeal to us, and share them with our contractor. This will help him get a feeling for our design aesthetic, and may spark ideas for features that will work in our plan.

This is the fun part - the dreaming and design. The reality of digging, dust, noise, invasion of privacy during construction, and writing checks will be the not fun part. But I'm sure the results will be well worth it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bark Your Joy

When was the last time you laughed out loud? I'm convinced it's crucial to our general health to giggle or guffaw on a regular basis. It lightens the spirit, cleanses the soul, and etches pleasant lines into our faces.

Of course, we can't squeeze out a genuine laugh on demand. And certainly we all have life circumstances that are serious or tragic and totally humorless. But from day to day we should search out ways to find amusement and celebrate it by throwing back our heads and barking our joy. 

When I need a laugh, I search out my friends. Last night at our Bunco gathering, we laughed like crazy women, and I went home happy. My golf buddies tease me and each other mercilessly, and we have a great time - especially when it's all balanced out with heartfelt hugs. One of the reasons that I love my husband is that we share the ability to find humor in many things, and enjoy being silly sometimes. 

Search out your happiness and embrace it noisily when it comes your way.

"Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine."

"At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities."

"He that is of a merry heart has a continuous feast."

"If you become silent after your laughter, one day you will hear God also laughing, you will hear the whole existence laughing - trees and stones and stars with you."