Spring’s Rollercoaster Weather

I started this blog yesterday, but lost it in cyberspace.  Writing a second draft is a useful process.  It forces me to think about my topic and hopefully  do a better job this time.  

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Late April snow blanked the yard. Trees damaged, siding torn from the house in windstorms, and lilacs blooming late are all victims of the long cold April and early May. Tulips, however, loved the cool early spring.  

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Winds catapulted temperatures to hundred-degrees on  Memorial weekend days. Iris bloomed and died in a day.

My first possible retirement date is July 1st.  However, I feel I’m on a decision-making rollercoaster. I’ve barely scratched the surface of tasks to complete before I turn in a resignation letter, so I don’t think I’ll make that deadline.  These are tasks to-do related to ending one long phase of my life and moving on to another, like selecting insurance providers, a health plan, talking to an attorney, etc.

I found a terrific cartoon about procrastination, that fits me rather well.  It has sections for getting lost on social media (such as writing this blog – twice), cleaning or repairing things (the air conditioner for the upstairs of the house stopped working tonight, which will necessitate contacting a repair person  in the morning, making arrangements to be home when they arrive, possibly buying a new system, etc.), and getting lost in daily chores (it was 95 degrees again today, consequently I’ve been watering every potted plant outside daily.)

I’m moving off the procrastination map and clearing away cobwebs.

No Closer

It was a wonderful spring break in Nashville, TN and Ashville, NC. The Smokey Mountains are beautiful.  I’ve returned home to a snow-covered landscape and below-freezing temperatures.  As the landscape here at home is covered in white, my decision-making is obscured in fog.  I hoped to make some progress toward my retirement decision during vacation, but I used the week away as an excuse to avoid thinking seriously about anything.

I enjoyed southern food, and visited many beautiful historic sites.

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The cemetery at Andrew Jackson’s historic home, The Hermitage, has an impressive garden dedicated to Mrs. Jackson.  The garden is already blooming in early March.

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Mrs. Jackson’s burial site is near the garden.  I hope to think more clearly when it’s warm enough to putter in my own garden.

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Valentine’s Day Dreams

This year for Valentine’s Day I’m dreaming of sunshine warm enough to melt the foot of snow covering everything, and the much taller drifts covering flower beds and breaking fences. I want the ice to melt to make walking easier for all of us. I want my frozen Nebraska backyard to turn into green grass and spring flowers.  I’m dreaming of days filled with sunshine and warmth, although there is peace and beauty in sparkling snow.

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I’m looking forward to early tulips, daffodils and lilacs.  Its 10 degrees outside todaySpring 2017 091

so I may need to go on a southern vacation to find spring flowers this early.  Spring 2017 090However, I can take a mental vacation from winter by leafing through seed catalogs.  It’s time to plan the summer vegetable and flower gardens.

 

What’s Next?

Spring 2017 004The list below was conceived during a blue moon. It includes things to do to get ready for retirement and those that aren’t such a good idea.    I’m in the party planning stage, but haven’t quite set a date.  I’ve made several mistakes along the way and will probably make some more.

  1. Throw yourself a” goodbye to the old” and “hello to the new” party.
  2. Don’t use  one’s breastbone as a one side of  clipper to trim bushes.
  3. Don’t second guess yourself when you are ready to write the letter of resignation.
  4. Do make plans for some meaningful activity to replace the daily job’s structure.
  5. Do plan a vacation.
  6. Don’t stay home and mope.  Get out of the house often.
  7. Spend time with family and friends.
  8. Take a class.  Learn something new.
  9. Read the books you didn’t have time for while working full-time.
  10. Watch all the movies in your Netflix queue.
  11. Start a new career.
  12. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are indispensable.  Most businesses and non-profit institutions will replace you in a heartbeat.
  13. Enjoy sunrise and sunset.Sunrise 2017

Butterflies

Flowers are covered with Painted Ladies and Monarchs in August and September.  They stop to drink their fill before moving south.  Many linger through October’s warm afternoons, but are gone, like the flowers, before November’s chill. I envy them.  I often wish I could migrate south during the cold months, too.  Maybe someday…

Frost Expected

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I harvested almost everything from the garden this past weekend.  Beets, squash and onions are stored in the barn to dry.  They can remain in the barn until the nights are consistently in the mid-twenties.  One or two nights will not drain all the summer warmth from the building.

My houseplants have summered outside for years.  The brighter light and humidity outdoors always gives them a growth spurt.  The first frost is expected tonight, in the  second week in October,  later this year than usual.  The first frost has historically occurred at the end of September in this location.  My garden has been located in Agricultural Zone 4 as long as I can remember.  I haven’t moved, but the weather is warmer and this is now listed as  Zone 5, with a longer growing season.

I planned to bring the remaining house plants inside last evening, but it rained again and  the pots were covered with mud and wet leaves.  Early dark and a 40 degree cold rain encouraged an early finish to the task.  I covered the remaining pots this evening and hope they survive tonight’s frost.

Completing this task at a more leisurely pace is appealing.  When I retire I’ll spend daylight hours clearing the garden.

Peppered Peace

I’m not a religious person, but come from a long line of God-fearing folks, and often misquote, or half remember Bible verses.  This  year my bell pepper crop is outstanding.  I harvested a five-gallon bucket of huge green and red peppers and spent several hours chopping them for the freezer.  It seems only right to sit a few minutes on the porch with a glass of cabernet to toast my garden’s largess.  It’s a very quiet evening without a hint of wind.

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (I only  remembered part of this and looked it up.)  However, a  misquote popped into my head and won’t leave me alone. “Peace that peppers understanding.”  Most people misunderstand half the messages they hear.

The idea of peppered peace fits our world.  In the past year, there’s been a murder every other hour in Chicago.  The US has been bogged down in war in Afghanistan for more than 10 years, having learned nothing from Vietnam, except not to draft people.

It feels like a war zone at my place of work.  People are layed-off, fired outright, or, if lucky, given a chance to resign or retire with dignity. The targeted folks are hurt and angry.  The injured randomly fire vocal tirades toward those of us who have no power to change anything, leaving us with peppered understanding, and  little peace.

I began this blog before the mass killing in Las Vegas. To continue and follow my analogy, the killer peppered the crowd with rapid-firing bullets, murdering and injuring as many as he could.  People search for an understandable motive, and pray for the victims.  Our society must move beyond this predictable response and make actual changes in the legal system. Do we, as a nation, have the collective will to resist gun lobbyist?