Blog posts have been few and far between over the last 6 months as I navigated the countdown to retirement. I had previously managed to successfully combine the running of a household with full-time work but once I could see the end in sight I tended to put several things on the back burner so that I could focus on tying up as many loose ends as possible in my job as well as training my successor.
So, my last day in the office was Thursday 4th July, otherwise known as Independence Day.
I searched for a suitable retirement image but nothing sums it up better than this photo. We now have the time to explore our own backyard as well as further afield and simply enjoy being surrounded by scenery like the amazing Glasshouse Mountains.
The past 3 weeks have been an absolute revelation. You do not have to be constantly busy. It is OK to take your time. What does not get done today will be done tomorrow. It has been a huge relief to feel the pressure fall away.
The first week of retirement coincided with school holidays so we had our granddaughters visiting for a few days and managed some outings and activities with them.
Since then I have caught up on sleep – no more 5am starts, exercised – walking each day and socialised – lunch with school friends, morning tea with cousins and several more lunches planned as well as a gallery visit.
Catching up on appointments is much easier without having to juggle them around work. Dentist, optometrist, financial planner, tax agent and so on.
On the home front, meals are prepared, rooms cleaned and washing done with the minimum of fuss. I am doing some sewing, too.
Meanwhile, we are putting the finishing touches to the plans for our next overseas trip. We leave in a little over 3 weeks and have a couple more train trips to book.
That is only a brief overview but suffice to say that I am not bored.
I plan to share more details of the day to day activities now that life is running at a much more reasonable pace.
Thank you for sticking with me during the very lean blogging periods.
It is just over a month since my last blog post on 19th March. The following 2 weeks were somewhat frenetic with work and also getting ready to head off on holidays to Mauritius on 1st April. If you missed that bit of detail you can catch up with the travel news and photos on my other blog, Somewhere, Anywhere.
We arrived home yesterday morning after a 36 hour stopover in Singapore. It was also my birthday. Unlike my milestone birthday last year, this year was fairly low-key. We had dinner with my sister, brother-in-law, brother and mother last night. It was lovely to catch up with them and to have someone else make dinner for me.
The weather has cooled down somewhat in the few weeks we have been away. However, heavy showers of rain are making it a challenge to do the inevitable pile of washing that we brought home.
Cooler weather also meant that I can consider meals other than the inevitable salads. Today we did some shopping to restock some necessities – fruit and vegetables as well as milk, cheese and Vegemite. I spent $30 at the greengrocer, including a cauliflower for $4. This is the upper limit of what I will pay for a cauliflower but it is still good value. With the addition of stock powder, an onion, salt, pepper and smoky paprika I made a pot of hearty cauliflower soup. That $4 cauliflower made 4 generous dinner serves plus 4 smaller serves suitable for lunches. 8 meals for about $4.50 seems like pretty good value to me!
1 full cauliflower (medium)
1 large onion, diced
2 teaspoons stock powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon smoky paprika
Lightly fry the onion in a large saucepan/stockpot. Remove the outside leaves and separate the florets from the stalk. Finely slice the leaves and stalk and add to the pot. Continue to fry for about 5 minutes. Add the roughly chopped cauliflower florets, seasonings and enough water to just cover the vegetables. Cover and simmer for at least an hour and add extra water if required. Blend until smooth and serve.
Well, it is over 3 weeks since my last blog post so you are probably thinking that my excuse will be that I have been busy.
While I did not trumpet any New Year’s resolutions for 2019, I made a decision that I would not tell myself or anyone else about how busy I was. I have recently become aware of some of the negative connotations of the word ‘busy’, and therefore, I have made a conscious decision to remove it from my vocabulary and thoughts as much as possible.
So, what of the past 3 weeks? I have simply been otherwise occupied and not writing.
Cooking, sewing and generally keeping home and hearth together.
Full-time paid work.
Involvement in community activities.
Socialising, welcoming visitors and travelling to visit friends.
As I said, not busy, simply living and loving life.
I am looking forward to sharing some more happenings soon.
At the end of my last blog post I said I would show you more of what I had been sewing the next day.
Well, that did not happen. Not only did I not write the post, I did
not do the intended sewing. There were other things that rated as more
important and demanded my attention. In fact, if I am honest, that is
why there are often significant gaps between blog posts. The blog has a
relatively low priority in my life as the full-time job and running a
household definitely come first.
Anyway, in the absence of any sewing, I want to share some of the recent additions to my wardrobe.
I am not keen on buying clothes online but towards the end of last
year I bought 3 tops from Covered Perfectly. This was on the
recommendation of Susan from Susan After 60
blog. The tops are made in the USA and with a buy 2, get the 3rd one
free deal they were very reasonably priced, even with the overseas
Here are the three that I bought.
Since it is the middle of summer here, these will not be worn in the
near future. I am looking forward to wearing them in the cooler weather
and also including them in the packing for our Europe trip later in the
Yesterday, I had some free time between appointments in Maleny so I
took the opportunity to check out the recycle boutique. I do have a
browse there from time to time and have bought a few things previously.
I was definitely in luck as I found this cute pair of cropped
Sportscraft jeans which appeared to have never been worn. They were my
size and fitted like a glove.
I also found a pretty sleeveless top with a cowl neckline.
Here are a few styling possibilities that I have identified for my new pieces.
Cropped jeans with teal 3/4 sleeve top.
Cropped jeans with navy tshirt.
Cropped jeans with white collared shirt.
The sleeveless top will be paired with white cropped pants, black trousers or even these green jeans.
A few years ago my wardrobe consisted mostly of black, white and red items.
More recently I have included a bit more navy in lieu of some black
pieces and the addition of some more blue and green is great, too. I am
still sticking to my theory that every piece in my wardrobe must be
able to be worn in at least 3 different ways or combinations.
The year may be new but many things stay the same. I went back to work on 2nd January so time is tight but I am determined to make time for regular blog posts. Unfortunately, I have been a bit preoccupied these past few days. This has been due to the financial collapse of Bestjet and its impact. You can read about it all here.
Anyway, we have dealt with that to the best of our ability at the moment and life goes on. I am doing all of the things that I did in 2018 and continue to do in 2019. Washing and ironing as well as preparing meals and trying to spend more time on sewing and gardening.
The garden is quite remarkable as we continue to harvest food with very little care or effort on our part.
Here is my haul from this afternoon.
The lettuce, beans and tomatoes are all from self-sown plants. We had lettuce and tomatoes in the salad with bean tacos for dinner tonight. Since I found the beans, I think I will have beef and bean stir-fry tomorrow.
One of my goals for this year is to eat or drink some home-grown produce every day, preferably at every meal. I am doing pretty well so far.
The topic of tonight’s post is relatively minor and almost insignificant. On many occasions I would not have even considered it as a potential blog post.
However, it has recently occurred to me that a lot of what I do and take entirely for granted are activities or skills that would be completely unknown to many people. Therefore, this year I am going to make a concerted effort to post about some of the little things that fall under the broad category of life skills.
I made a sampler of different sewing stitches when I was 8 years old. It was a laborious task undertaken in school sewing lessons in Year 3. The sampler is framed and hangs in my sewing room these days. There are 6 different stitches, one of which is blanket stitch.
I don’t think I have ever used blanket stitch in over 50 years since that sampler was completed.
Nevertheless, when I noticed the stitching at the end of a blanket coming unravelled today, I immediately knew that I would mend it using blanket stitch. It was a bit like riding a bike – you never forget.
The blanket is one of a pair that we have owned for 40 years so I guess it is not too bad that it needed some running repairs. I simply threaded a large needle with the unravelled thread and restitched the edge with blanket stitch exactly as I had done on the sampler.
The left hand side of the photo is the existing machined ‘blanket stitch’ and the right hand end is my repairs.