Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

"Cool" Art

I was sitting at the kitchen table this morning drinking my coffee and reading the newspaper when I looked up at our refrigerator. At least, I think it's a refrigerator and I think it's white in color. It's hard to tell when all you see are notes and receipts and business cards and all sorts of odd shaped papers attached by magnets to the three visible sides...not to mention the erasable monthly calendar obsuring most of the freezer door.

I can't remember the last time either of us culled through all this refrigerator "art" to see what was outdated and needed removal. I guess I'll add that little chore to my long "To Do" list. And where do you think I keep that list? You've got it...on the refrigerator!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

It's been in the news but, in case you missed it, California is set to become a "hands-free driving" state on July 1st. That means that adults will no longer be able to hold and talk on their cell phones while driving their cars. Juvenile drivers will be prohibited from having any cell phone conversations...hands-free included.

Needless to say, there's been a run on Bluetooth equipment lately. Everywhere I've gone in the past few weeks, I've seen more and more people seemingly talking to themselves with little black rectangles attached to their ears. Not too long ago, I took my mom to lunch and two men were walking to their cars with headsets on. Suddenly Mom pointed to them and asked me if they were aliens. Believe me...she had a big smile on her face so I knew she was just joking but they did look like castoffs from a Star Trek episode.

So with July 1st just around the corner, I finally dragged our headsets out from the closet. I don't use my cellphone in the car very often but I know there may be times when I might so I want to be prepared. Our cell phones are a year old and we did buy Bluetooth equipment for them at the time but we never did anything about them.

So last night I ripped open the plastic packaging and charged both headsets. Then I took out the tiny instruction manual (I swear I needed a magnifying glass to read the darn thing) so I could figure out how to sync the phones with the headsets. Next I set about learning how to operate in a hands-free world and, after a few miscues, I finally managed to turn on the headset, make a call, and then turn off the headset (without accidently re-dialing my sister for the umpteenth time.) Once I was successful, it was time for me to show Rick how to use his phone and headset (thank goodness we have the same model of phone).

So this afternoon, there I was in Costco talking to Lynn on my headset. I can only imagine what I looked like to the other shoppers. Oh wait...I know...I was just another alien communicating with her species.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Good, the Sad, the Necessary

I'm having a little trouble focusing the dear ol' brain so I thought I'd just ramble about this week's things that were and things that will be.

In another quest to recapture our early dating years together, Rick and I decided to spend another afternoon at the movies yesterday. This time Rick's choice was Iron Man and, although I knew the film had gotten pretty good reviews, I wasn't particularly anxious to see it. Still...going to the movies in this awful Southern California heat wave seemed like a good idea so off we went. Truthfully, I did enjoy the movie. Oh, it wasn't anything deep or thought provoking but it did provide two hours of rollicking good fun so for me it was a success.

Today was yet another day on the golf course for us. Rick was kind enough to make our tee time at a course near the beach so we were able to escape the heat. To be honest...I actually had a really good time. No, I didn't have a stellar performance (I think I lost 3 balls along the way) but I did have a few good shots and I'm feeling more confident with my new clubs. Best of putting has improved big time with my new putter and that's always a good thing!

I don't have any plans for the next few days but on Saturday Rick and I will be attending our friend's brother's memorial service. Dave was 54 years old and died a week after suffering a debilitating stroke. It's frightening to think that someone so young can die so suddenly. Sadly, we will miss the Saturday funeral of someone Rick has known since elementary school who also died this week...this time from cancer.

These deaths plus the recent death of Tim Russert have really made me face my own mortality. And it has also made me realize that ignoring my own health issues has got to stop. To this end, I actually sat down yesterday and made a much overdue appointment for a physical with my doctor. It's scheduled for the first week in July and now I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to lose some weight and lower my cholesterol before facing her. I'm sure she'll have lots to say about my current condition and I'm ready to hear it. It's time I get serious and take control...I want to have lots and lots of years on the golf course with Rick.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

From Bay to Ocean

We're back from our long wedding weekend in Coronado. In case you're not familiar with Coronado, it's a peninsula just across from San Diego. People always think of it as an island because you take a trip over the famous Coronado Bridge to get there but, trust me, it's really a peninsula. It's a quaint beach town as well as home to a naval installation which means, along with the thousands of tourists roaming the streets, you'll see lots and lots of military personnel on the streets and in the restaurants. And, of course, its claim to fame is the historic Del Coronado Hotel.

No...we did not stay at the "Del." Instead, we stayed at a hotel directly across the street from it as did many of the wedding party and guests. The centerpiece of our hotel was the "Mansion" which was the former home of an early 20th Century California sugar magnate. Sadly, we didn't stay in the Mansion with its cute bed-and-breakfast type rooms. Instead, our room was in the modern section of the hotel but we did have a bay view room. Here is what it looked like from our balcony.

Like much of Southern California, the weather was unseasonably warm and uncomfortably humid. Since the town is small, we left our car in the hotel's parking lot and walked everywhere. We spent our time seeing the sights in town, discovering excellent restaurants and visiting with our friends and their families. The wedding was Saturday evening at the local community center with a beautiful view of the bay. It wasn't too far so we walked from our hotel as did the members of the wedding party and many of the guests. Thankfully, the outdoor ceremony was short and then we all moved into the reception room to enjoy a wonderful dinner, lots of dancing and cool air conditioning.

So...what did I finally wear? The weather made me decide to wear my newest black dress which was thankfully sleeveless. I know "black" is not the usual color for wedding wear but, here in California, it has become quite acceptable to wear it and so I did as did many of the guests and even the mother-of-the-bride. Here is a photo of my dress and "no" that's not me wearing it!

This will probably be the last wedding for a very long time since all of our friends' children are now married. But that doesn't mean the celebrating is over. In August, there's a baby shower on the calendar and I'm guessing there will be lots more of those in my future.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Joan-i-locks and the 3 Dresses

Rick and I will be traveling to the San Diego area on Thursday to attend our friends' son's wedding Saturday evening. The ceremony will be outdoors right by the bay in Coronado while the reception will be inside the Community Center. So...the major question (for me, at least) has been what the heck am I going to wear? I have a very nice long black dress with a little jacket that I've worn to a number of weddings and I love it. Unfortunately, I don't think this wedding is very formal (I believe the bridesmaids are wearing tea-length dresses) and a long dress on me would probably be over-the-top.

At the beginning of the year, I bought a fairly plain black sheath dress with sheer long sleeves thinking I might wear it to a wedding we attended in April. Then I found a second knee-length, cap-sleeve, A-line dress with beading around the neck just before the wedding and wore it instead. And today, while I was out-and-about, I found a 3rd knee-length black dress with a belted waist on sale for an incredible low price so, of course, I just had to buy it.

Now the quandry...which one to wear to Saturday's wedding? The 1st dress has always been a little tight plus it has long sleeves so I'm thinking that one is not right for a summer wedding. The 2nd dress fits better but I'm not sure it's very flattering plus Rick thinks it's a bit matronly so I'm thinking that one is not right either. So that leaves the 3rd one as the dress of choice. The only problem is the dress is a little big plus it's sleeveless and I have a "thing" about exposing my upper arms...think middle-aged wings. So...what's a girl to do???

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Life's Highs and Lows

Yesterday was "Culmination Day" for my niece Elle and my nephew Sport. So...what's culmination? Apparently the kids' school district wants to refrain from using the word "graduation" for anything other than high school so they came up with this term to cover elementary and middle school ceremonies. The problem, of course, is that Hallmark has yet to catch up with this new terminology so finding the appropriate greeting card was impossible.

Sport's elementary school outdoor culmination was 8:30AM. Believe me...I'm not complaining about the early time. The sun was already burning brightly and the temperature was rising quickly. We did manage to snag seats under one of the provided canopies and the ceremony went off without a hitch. As ceremonies go, this one was actually quite entertaining and the speeches were kept short. Yeah! Rick and I left early with Elle who needed to be at her ceremony by 10:30AM (the ceremony was scheduled for 11:30AM).

Thankfully, this year the middle school was able to secure the Performing Arts theater in town so we had the luxury of comfortable seats and air conditioning. The theater allowed those with disabilities to enter first so we took advantage of this perk since my mom was with us. Our seats were perfect (in the row behind the last of the graduating students) and we were at the end of the row by the aisle for easy restroom access (what can I say...Rick and I are middle-aged). The ceremony was longer (more than 300 names to read through and students to trudge across the stage) but it went fairly quickly and was well orchestrated so there were no delays.

What started out as a happy day soon took a turn. After the ceremonies, Lynn, the kids, my mom, Rick and I went out for a late lunch. While in the restaurant, Lynn received a call from my brother-in-law (who was on his way back to work after the ceremonies) to let her know about the sudden death of NBC's premier political analyst Tim Russert. Rick and I have been admirers of Tim for some time and his death, at such an early age, was devastating for us. We cannot imagine this election year without Tim and his incredible ability to explain the intricacies of American politics in his very personal, down-to-earth way. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Maureen, son Luke, dad Russ, the rest of the Russert family and his family at NBC/MSNBC as they all face life without this wonderful man.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Not a Kiddie Matinee

Boy...I'm really enjoying this married dating thing. Rick and I decided to spend another day together (not on a golf course) so we went to our second movie in two weeks. Amazing! We saw Prince Caspian yesterday afternoon after I agreed to watch the first Chronicles of Narnia movie on DVD the night before. I'm not much of a fantasy film lover and Rick has been urging me to watch the first film for some time so I finally relented. Surprisingly, I enjoyed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe so much that I was actually anxious to see the second in the series.

Now maybe I'm old fashioned and out of touch with current practices but when did it become acceptable to bring a 3-year-old and a baby to the movies? I like going to the early afternoon showings to avoid the noise of a large audience so you can imagine my dismay when we walked into the theater only to find a young couple with two very young children sitting right smack in the middle of the theater. Besides the fact that the movie was wholly inappropriate for a 3-year-old and baby (too violent, too mature, too long), why would adults subject other film viewers to the possibility of a fussy baby and chatty child?

Yes...I know some families can't afford a babysitter or don't have family members available to help out and they did bring the kids to an early afternoon showing when the audience would be much smaller but still...a baby in a movie theater?!?!? The family did eventually move to aisle seats when the baby became fussy and the parents did alternate taking the children out of the theater a number of times when they started to make noise. I actually felt sorry for the parents who each missed a substantial portion of the film. you think, for their own viewing sake, they'll stay home and wait for the next movie they want to see to be released on DVD?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Farewell May, Hello June

It's been a busy weekend and first part of the week and, believe me, I'm not complaining. I like it when my life is filled with activity and variety and I've been trying hard to fill my days with things to do.

Last Friday, my library friend Sherry hosted a wonderful tea party at her home. Guests included current and former employees of the library where we used to work (Sherry retired in March) and it was terrific seeing everyone again. Sherry did a remarkable job setting a beautiful table and serving perfectly steeped tea and wonderful little sandwiches, fruit, chocolate dipped strawberries, tea cakes and a scrumptous trifle. Yum.

Rick and I spent Saturday evening driving the 35 miles north to visit my cousin Ina, The Moose Buyer. We had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant and spent the evening chatting about family, retirement and future plans.

Sunday was golf lesson day and, after our lessons, we spent a little time at the driving range practicing. While stepping out of the golf cart, I heard an unusual and terrifying sound eminate from my right calf and then the pain started. Ouch! The rest of Sunday and then all of Monday I spent trying to nurse my leg back to health.

Yesterday, Rick and I decided to go out on an afternoon date so we went to the movies to see the new "Indiana Jones" movie. We got to see it on a gi-normous former IMAX screen which made the action even more intense and dramatic. That, of course, made Rick a very happy boy!

Today Sherry and I spent the day together at our local zoo. It was a nice walk amongst the animals and it gave me a chance to try and stretch out my still-hurting calf muscle. Here are a few photos from our excursion:

Tomorrow it's off to the stores with my friend Judy to look for a dress for a wedding Rick and I are attending in three weeks. Wish me luck!