Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Hellos and Goodbyes...

Hellos and goodbyes come in many guises...some direct, some indirect. Some are spiritual, some specifically tangible. But, no matter what form they take, they can be emotional--both positive and negative.

Retirement---a huge goodbye--is getting closer (52 days) and I'm feeling a huge mix of emotions. Been dreaming weird dreams, feeling some anxiety, and getting really tired every night. Part of me is excited to get to it; part of me wonders what the hell I'm doing!

Picture of whiteboard outside my cube.
Over the past week, my good friend Carmen lost her brother to several heart-attack-related issues that quickly overcame him. He was 81, but in great health...one of those guys who ran, ate well, etc. But, his time came, and he wasn't able to hang on to this worldly plane. I had met him a few times over the years, and I really liked him. Carmen felt closer to him than to most anyone else in this world.  He was her big brother. She's hurting and nothing can help but time.

Sedona, AZ, aerial view
My daughter, who is in great health (thank God), and I will be driving to Sedona, AZ, for Mother's Day weekend. We're staying in a metaphysical B&B that uses horse therapy as well as Indian Medicine Circles, etc, to serve their guests. Connie has signed us up for some sort of class on Sunday morning. I'm pretty excited about it! It's been years and years since Connie and I have had a road trip. Well, there have been a few visits to Palm Springs, but those hardly count. This is a biggy and I'm especially pleased about it because it might be the last chance we have to do something like this for awhile--why you may wonder? Because she has shared with me that she's resigning from the Bureau and moving in with her friend Rachel, in Durham, NC.  Yup. Clear across the country! Five hours by plane.  A week's car ride?

Durham's location in NC
So, despite my wonderful, upcoming new life as a retiree, I will also be separated from my only kid by a whole country. A few folks have asked if I'm entertaining the idea of moving there, too. Nope.  Not a chance. I did my stint away from San Diego and when I returned, I vowed never to leave again. This is home. It's not only the people, it's the air, the topography, the ocean, the mountains, the hills, the rocks, and the history. Despite it being an expensive place to live after retirement, I'm here and I hope to stay. I just also hope that my reduced income will allow a few plane rides every year to get to NC. And, maybe, at least once, a road trip across this lovely country of ours.

So, yes...I'm saying hello to a new life.  Hello to my upcoming trip to Paris, hello to a new me, but also goodbye...goodbye to my incredible kid being close, goodbye to a full-time job, goodbye to a plentiful income, and goodbye to many people who have touched my life...as I get older, everyone around me gets older, too...and some of them check out. They find life in this manifestation too hard to continue and they move on to whatever comes next.

I know my "next" manifestation is ahead of me...but I'm confident that it's many years away.  I'm not scared of it, but I'm not looking forward to it, either. I still have a lot of hellos and goodbyes to say (and sing!).

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What You Think about You Bring about!

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So, just how many years have I been thinking about Paris?  Let's see, my first trip there was in 1977.  Forty years?  My best trip yet was in 1995...and then I had one more...which was delightful because I shared it with Connie, but it was short.

So, this coming trip, 126 days away, is overtaking my mind and heart.  I think about it all the time.  Wonder if it's going to be as fabulous as I dream it will be, worried I won't do the things I've dreamed of doing, concerned that the parts I'll share with others might be stressful or uncomfortable, and yet, excited and expectant that it will all be just perfect no matter what happens!

My friend, Carmen, has always said, "What you think about, you bring about."  Well, I've been thinking and dreaming and visualizing this trip for at least 4 decades, and it's finally going to happen.  Can I really afford to do this when I'm about to reduce my annual income by at least 40%?  Nope.  Do I care?  Nope.  I figure it will work out.  Not sure how, I just know it will be fine.

Another friend of mine, Jeanne, says that the Universe takes care of me--even when I do stupid things.  So, I'm challenging it this time to continue to do that!  And, I'm sure it will.  From a spiritual angle, I rationalize my good fortune by explaining that many years of my first few decades were rather hellish and I am getting paid back in good stuff to make up for it.  What doesn't make sense is "Why Me?"  So many others have experienced trauma, abuse, etc. etc. and they never get their lives to turn around!  Why am I so happily blessed?  Why has prosperity of spirit infused in me all this wonderment?  Ain't got a clue--but I'm grateful beyond measure and express so every single day and most moments of each day.

So, thank you, God, or Universe, or Ultimate Being, or Karma, or whatever it is....I am truly blessed and happy that what I've thought about for so long is bearing fruit...manifesting in full measure...and providing me with an adventure of the soul that will set the intention for the rest of my life.  It's a gift that I will treasure forever.

Image result for Paris images

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

YIKES...just yikes.

Not sure what's going on.  I'm truly upended today.  Had a stressful day yesterday trying to prep for a new instructor coming here (work) to do a 2-day class.  LOTS of stuff went wrong...but we pulled it all together and got it fixed and up and running by a little after 8 this morning.  Students enjoy the instructor--she's knowledgeable and has a great teaching style. All in all, a success...but I'm still carrying around a bunch of crap cuz folks on my team didn't come through with what they should have done and I wound up doing most of it myself.

I take some dark pleasure in knowing that the next time this class is offered will be my last one working at SPAWAR.  And, I don't know if I'll manage to remove myself from all the prep for that offering.  Of course, it will go much smoother, since it will be a repeat of today...nonetheless, much needs doing that I think I'll boycott and just see how the team manages it without me.  After all, I'm outta here on 29 June!

Image result for 29 June

I'm getting more and more ready to be gone.  Planning the retirement/birthday party needs to come up to the top of my to-do list now that major Paris stuff is done.  Sent out a lot of "save the dates" through FaceBook Events, but tons of them have garnered not a mumble. I don't think most people know how to use the Event feature!  So much for trying to so something that would save some time. Guess I need to send individual invites out to the full group.

Already booked the taco caterer, and now looking into renting tables & chairs...and MUST begin working on yard. Lots to do and only 3 months until the party! 49 work days til retirement. 10 Mondays. But, who's counting? I'm thinking of putting tables & chairs in front and back.  What do you think?  By the way, All the plants in the front are much bigger now!

One thing is good: I'm staying away from casinos. Really am concerned about making ends meet and how to pay for trip and regular expenses from August through October.  But, on the other hand, I know that it will all work out.  It just has to. Life goes on and I intend to live it.  No room for wasting money on slots! (that's a good thing.)

Connecting with my dear friend Jean-Marie (JM) to try to connect with his brothers who live on the outskirts of Paris. Not sure how or when, but I hope to see them a few times during my 6-week stay. Amazes me that these lovely men have been in my life since I was about 5 years old!  Not too many connections last 60+ years!  My mom and dad may have made lots of mistakes as parents, but their connection with the Cercleys was strong and has lasted through their children.  That's pretty wonderful.

I think I've shared that my plane reservations are done...and that Barbara P and Sheila D are flying over with me on the 22nd and leaving on 31 August. But, did I tell you that Linda Palomino (nee Fenton), a woman I went to high school with, has asked to visit while I'm there?  I agreed.  She's flying into Paris on the 28th, staying in a hotel until the 2nd of Sept, and then staying with me for a few days before flying home on the 5th or 6th.  THEN, I will be alone.  FINALLY.  Until 4 October.  Yet, is that truly my main desire?

I must admit, I'm getting a little anxious about having 4 weeks alone--despite mandating it! I must use it to good advantage. I want to walk and explore and read and write and think. I certainly won't do much of that those first two weeks with my friends...so I have to ensure that I stay active, yet get time to do the cerebral things I truly want to do.  Sometimes, I have little faith in myself and my ability to follow through on some things.  This thing, however, MUST work as planned! I've been waiting my whole life for it...I know deep inside of me that it's going to be a true rite of passage...yet I'm still a bit nervous.  Oh well. Time will tell!

Image result for sitting at cafe in Paris

So, that's my brain dump for today. I really don't know if anyone is even reading these posts.  I gave up on my other blog because it is too complex...this one is just simple.  I write & post and it's done.No issues on theme or updates or all the behind-the-scenes issues I have with that site. PLUS, this one is accessible from work. My WordPress site is blocked. (never have figured out why)

That's another thing I need to remember: Update and activate my Instagram site. I think it's going to be the best place for me to keep a good historical record of my trip.  or not.  Maybe I'll just blog here every day or so.

OK.  Enough.  Got to move on for today. Sorry for the huge missive into my inner psyche.  I told you at the beginning I was in a weird place today. Now you know for yourselves.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Linda's Life Changes...

The first couple of months of this year have been pretty good.  I'm moving forward into making the decisions that will bring me into retirement.  I have spoken to my financial consultant, researched reverse mortgages (decided to NOT do one right now), counted how many work days (57) and how many Mondays (11) I have left, and have almost totally lost any real incentive to be here.

In addition, I've been planning my big 6-week vacation to Paris.  I'm headed over at the end of August and returning early in October.  I've begun listening to French CDs and am reading maps, Paris travel books, and memoirs to prepare me.  Two of my good gal pals (Barbara and Sheila) are flying over with me, but only staying first week.  Another couple of friends are planning to join me and go on some adventures during the stay.  My rule is that by the end of week two, I begin my solo adventure.  That will give me LOTS of time to be alone and do my spiritual, life-changing, rite of passage whatevers!

The apartment I found is on the Boulevard Saint-Marcel in the 5th arrondissement.  It's on the 4th floor of a 6-story building with no elevator!  I've begun taking stairs whenever I can. So much to plan and do from now until then.  Getting my butt ready for retirement is just part of the story!

In addition, I'm planning a HUGE retirement party on 7 July.  I've sent out the SAVE THE DATE notices, booked a Taco Caterer who will come and set up and serve during the party.  I need to research how to fit 80 people into my little house and yard!  Let's hope it's a not-too-hot lovely day!

Can't deny it...I'm a little anxious.  Yet, I still know that I will be OK.  Finances will work out -- even though I'm spending about $1000 on the party!  Maybe I'll ask for donations for my birthday -- we can have an Eiffel Tower Cash Tree...  (Hey, that might not be a bad idea...)

Health is good; Blaze is good.  Charley's little ghost is still hanging out in corners of the house and yard, and I do miss her.  Am so tempted to get another kitty...but I need to wait on any new critters until I get back from Paris.  Glynn will be house and Blaze sitting the full 6 weeks...and I'll pay him some that he can give to Cher.  I know that it will all be perfect.  Deb Silvi and Robert Keaton are planning to attend...De even noted a "maybe"!  Who knows who else might show up?  I'm open to all.

OK.  This particular stream of consciousness needs to get posted so I can move on. Here's picture I found that I think is appropriate for the times!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Looking back at 2017

It's the Second Day of January. A new year has begun.  Unfortunately, I spent the First Day of the New Year being a slug.  I had high hopes of being productive so that I could set the pattern. Not too successful--although I did get dressed, did 4 loads of laundry, walked Blaze, and watched many hours of Sons of Anarchy!  I have only one season left and then I can stop.  Reminds me of when I was binge-watching Breaking Bad or Dexter.  Something about these horrible, intense, violent, yet intriguing programs that pulls me in.  Oh my.  Not what I planned to write about...as you can see by the title, I planned to post some events of 2017 to record.  So, let me get on with it!

I'm checking a couple of Calendars from 2017 to remind me of what I did! No guarantee that everything will be accounted for, but I'm sure the lion's share will show up.

JANUARY:  Cher and I had our January getaway to Borrego Springs for long weekend from 3rd to 5th.  Stayed in lovely condo right on main drag.  Did a little hiking, although my pelvis break made me extra cautious...wasn't quite fully healed yet.  Loved the weekend.  Had a lot of work drama that week, and the vacation in the desert was just what I needed. 

Then, Jeanne visited as usual in January...she had a time share in Las Vegas and went up there for a week of her 3-week stay.  I joined her on the 12th.  It was fun.  We went to Valley of Fire on the 13th and then to Zion on the 14th. GORGEOUS parks...pleasant fun with Jeanne...and we also saw Van Morrison at Caesars!  We didn't stay in her timeshare...but moved to Bally's when I got there.  Continued physical therapy for my pelvic break (Oct 2016).

On 20 January, we inaugurated our new President, Donald John Trump.  Enough said about that.  But, what deserves to be put in here is that I also joined my Civilian Leadership Development teams to brew beer! What a fun day.  Great time was had by all.  We named it INAUGURALE! (Of course, I got into a little trouble about it--seems brewing beer as a team-building event is frowned upon.)

Then, on the 29th, I actually had a business trip to Charleston, SC.  Finally got to visit SSC LANT and meet in person many of the people I work with daily. I was there to be part of an Inspector General visit; my job was to review training and the Drugfree Workplace programs.  Traveled with Ginger, stayed at the Air Force Lodge (no frills, for sure), and got to visit with Brian Lindgren and meet his wife Honey.  I'm sure that it will be my first and last business trip as a government employee!

FEBRUARY: Calendars show that things were slow in February.  I joined Frazier and family for Betsy Hewett's internment at Ft. Rosecrans on the 17th.  Other than that, visited Betty M for a pre-Valentine's Day event and then did the beer bottling on 24 Feb with same team that brewed it in Jan.

MARCH:  Donna visited on 9 Feb for a long weekend. Loved having her here and just visited around town, shared her with Cher, and enjoyed time.  We went to TOMATO CELEBRATION at Cuyumaca Community College garden program.  Did some shopping, bought several tomato plants, and enjoyed time together. For work, big event was attending the Cross-SYSCOM Training meetings at SSC PAC.  Also, in March, I had the foundation of the house checked and got estimate for fixing.  That was a biggy! Also had a chance to have dinner with Debbie Hatch in O.B on the 23rd.  She's a new friend and I'm enjoying getting to know her.

APRIL: Took Betty out for her birthday in La Jolla on the 7th.  Lovely time!  Quiet month otherwise...although Cheryl and I did take Marge Moss out for her birthday (15 Apr) a little late! Although it doesn't really count as a trip--Cher and I went to flower fields on 22nd up in Carlsbad. Lovely day.  Exquisite flowers!

MAY:   Big month for travel: Left for STC Summit in Washington, DC, on 6 May.  Taught full-day class on Sunday at conference, and then attended some events, spent time alone, roomed with Leah Guren, and enjoyed the venue.  Cher joined me on 10 May and we moved to VRBO in DC.  Dicey part of town, but little apartment we rented was great. We saw Christine Jackson (went t, her brother & family, visited museums, and enjoyed being DC tourists for a few days. Then, rented a car on Sunday, drove to PA to visit Karen & Lloyd and then Donna and Bill for two nights. Drove down to Fincastle to visit Jeanne for three nights (included trip to Monticello!), then drove back to DCA to fly home on 19th.  It was a delightful vacation.  Got to see Jeanne's home & some delightfully beautiful eastern geography.  Had fun evening with Donna, but wasn't there all that long...wish it could have been longer.

JUNE: Two big events in June.  Saw Dalai Lama at UCSD with Cheryl, Connie, and Barbara on the 16th and went to Vegas with Cher to see Brooks & Dunn & Reba McIntyre the weekend of the 23rd for my birthday and drove back to Valley of Fire to show Cher that lovely park during the weekend stay. Great birthday.

JULY:  Karen and Pat Farrell dropped by on the 4th in their motor home.  Only visited a few hours, but it was delightful to see them. Rest of the month was quiet.  Saw Betty and Rex for meals...and enjoyed a quiet month of recouping from busy May and June!

AUGUST: Jeanne returned for a short visit--16-23 August.  Brent Argast got married on the 26th, but I didn't go.  Just didn't feel inclined. Apparently missed a major event! Oh well.

SEPTEMBER:  The month of my Virgo friends' birthdays. Saw Barbara for a meal on the 2nd and took long weekend in Los Angeles with Cheryl from the 7th to the 9th.  We stayed in a delightful VRBO in Glendale on Riverside Drive.  Lovely neighborhood near Griffith Park.  Spent a day exploring Burbank, the Gene Autry Museum, and having mani/pedis and great birthday lunch on the 8th.  Went to the Getty on the 9th.  WOW. Fantastic spot. Had early dinner and drove home on that afternoon.  Had foundation worked on from 12-13 Sept.  (Glad that got done!)

OCTOBER: Another quiet month: trip to Panama City for Cross-SYSCOM event was cancelled.  Connie had her trip to Ireland.  But, things at my home were quiet and normal.  Nice.  Yet, October saw some medical issues for me. Got a bad cold, then had some major nasty issues with vertigo. Really set me back for a couple of weeks.  Still have minor spells, but after a few physical therapy sessions and a trip to the ENT, I guess I'm living a new normal that includes occasional dizziness. It's called Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo (BPPV).  In late October, I mailed in my retirement papers with chosen date of 30 June 2018.  Decided it was time for me to make it real.

NOVEMBER:  Went to Vegas with Barbara on 17th to see Celine Dion.  Phenomenal concert! And nice trip.  Barb got us Southwestern flights, so the trip was easy.  Deb Sauer visited me on 10th and stayed only 24 hours, but Cher and I drove her up to LAX on the 10th, so we enjoyed our little road trip--stopping in La Jolla, Del Mar at Brig for lunch, then the Self-Realization Fellowship gardens and gift store before jumping on freeway to get her to LAX for her red-eye back to Boston.  It was delightfully fun.

DECEMBER: Finally.  Last month of the year. Bought a new fridge because I hated the old one and I couldn't bend over to see what was on bottom shelves without getting dizzy! Had bone density test to see that I am pre-osteoporosis...(not good)...did all-day focus group about big suit coming up between a couple of IT giants...and made $300 for the day! Helped celebrate Holidays at work by coordinating 80300 party for Margaret.  Had evening with Cheryl GH, began Social Security checks, and found out that Charley's nose is probably cancer and her time on earth with us is not long.  Also, found out about David Armbruster's death--a sad loss to tech comm for sure.  All in all, had quiet Holiday month. Super sad about Charley...but not much I can do but let her wait it out until quality of life is bad. Took Marge out for lunch on 30th for pre-NYE celebration.  Great to be able to share time with that lovely 95-year old lady!

AND THAT WAS IT!  Whew.  I'll add some pics if I get the chance.  Sure will make it more interesting.

Linda O

Linda O
Glamorous Me