Monday, August 31, 2015

September:A Time for New Starts

September in the vineyard
This is the fifth September that I have been retired. Each year, our Retired Teachers' Association has
a "Start School without Me" luncheon at a local golf club. I attended the first year after my retirement but in subsequent years, I have chosen to go out with my ever-increasing group of retired friends. Since I started school in 1959, September has always seemed to be a time for making plans.

Didn't we look different 56 years ago?
This September, I will be visiting New York City with my daughter in celebration of her fortieth birthday. Our Canadian dollar has taken a nosedive since we planned this trip a year ago. We will be renting an apartment in Jersey City and commuting to Manhattan. I enjoy fruit and yogurt in the morning with my coffee so we will definitely be eating our morning meal in Jersey.

The new "Peopling of America" exhibit opened on Ellis Island in May of this year. I have always been fascinated by the history of migrations so I am especially looking forwards to visiting.

On the same theme is the The Tenement Museum on Orchard Street in the Lower East Village. Guided tours, some with actors depicting immigrants to New York, are available at the museum.

M. and I will not be heading south this year so I finally joined the Seniors' Centre (except my card says "Active Adult.") It is worth noting that yoga classes are less than half price at the Centre. I have also volunteered to do "front of house" or "walk an author" this year at the Vancouver Writers' Festival. This year, I would like to see John Vaillant, who wrote The Jaguar's Children, a novel about a migration from Oaxaca to the United States. Volunteers are eligible for some free tickets so it is very much a win/win opportunity.

Every year, I buy a subscription to our local theatre productions and I always miss half of the shows.
This year, I plan to be in town for all of them. I belong to a small group of people who meet for discussion twice a month and I will be attending an Elder Scholar series on World Affairs.

I took this photo from the Staten Island ferry.
I am not a very athletic woman. In the past, I done a lot of walking but my natural inclination is to read a lot. I will make an effort to go to our indoor pool  and to do weights at the community centre across the street twice a week. My pool is free and as an "AA" (Active Adult), the centre is inexpensive. Tilde needs to get more shots and to feel comfortable with the leash before we can do much walking.

I still have too many clothes. It takes all my willpower not to succumb to autumn purchases. Josephine at Chic at Any Age wrote a blog earlier this week on Planning your Wardrobe for the New Season. There is a lot of work yet to be done in my closet.

"The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many."
-   Oliver Wendell Holmes

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Home Time

It is impossible for me to travel all of the time. During the last four years, I have been away for almost half the year. In British Columbia, where I live, our provincial medical insurance is based on being in the province for a least 6 months of the year. It is possible to extend this but most retirees stick to the 6 months rule.
Who wouldn't like to live in Paris?
I have found that the most expensive aspect of long-stay travel in Europe has been housing. In Paris, I have chosen apartments in proximity to the Sorbonne, Seine and major museums and art galleries. If I had been prepared for a longer commute, I could have chosen apartments further out but I may have sacrificed ease of movement or security.

This year, was my first "frugal" vacation. Volunteer vacations or overseas teaching are rewarding adventures. My brother, who visited me in Oaxaca, is currently employed as the superintendent of a British Columbia offshore school in Cairo. Retirement can provide the time for paid or unpaid adventures.

Monsieur and I attended Ageless Pursuits at the University of British Columbia this summer. It was an interesting experience and our professor had taught Monsieur back in the 1960's. We attended lectures on Migrants of the 20th and 21st centuries and on the culture of Ancient Athens. I plan to enroll in a weekly lecture/discussion series this fall. As a repeat student (no, I did not fail!), I received a voucher for $75 off my next course. Monsieur, who has passed the age of 65, can audit any class for free. We are both interested in a variety of topics and we now have the freedom to study what we wish.
our new family member
Our strata has finally changed a "no-pets policy".  Since I plan to be around this winter and Monsieur is certainly not a traveller, we have adopted a puppy. Tilde is 13 weeks old and has been with us for 5 weeks. I spend time with Tilde every day teaching her to live with us in the apartment. 

I have been "curating" my wardrobe and books. Four years into retirement, my clothing needs are fewer. I enjoy the freedom of suitcase living and hope to eventually live with a minimalist wardrobe.
I started with weeding 5 items a week but after 10 weeks, decisions are becoming more difficult.

Our community library in "The Core" where I live is the recipient of a lot of books as I weed my library. I like to shelve and organize books and I occasionally meet another resident who particularly enjoys mystery novels.

This week, the weather changed. I have enjoyed warm sunshine for the last 6 months. This morning, I had to close the storm windows on the balcony, rain is falling and the trees are blowing. Perhaps the forest fires will be controlled. 

Leaves are changing early from lack of rain and children get ready for school. A couple of teacher friends face their first retirement year. A change is definitely in the air!

painting by unknown local artist from the Steveston Grand Prix of Art

In Steveston, every September, there is a one-day open air painting event.