Predictions of a major change

I was born on wash day in early December, 1951 (that’s Monday folks).  I am a Sagittarian. My mother finished the laundry before going to the hospital to deliver me.

Monday’s laundry day was called “wash day” (pronounced warsh). Mom carried water to fill the washing machine. She used the same tub of water for all the laundry.  She’d begin with the least dirty items like sheets and towels, then underwear, then shirts and dresses, and finish with the dirtiest jeans and socks.

She washed the family laundry in a wringer-washer, and rinsed clothes in galvanized tubs. Clothes swished around the agitator first, then she put items through the wringer. To rinse clothes, she moved items to one tub, ran them through the wringer, and finally rinsed clothes in the second tub, and gave them a final run through the wringer. Everything dried outside on the clothes line, regardless of season.  Water from the washing machine and tubs had to be drained into buckets.  The buckets were carried outside and water was dumped in the yard.

I use those tubs to hold plants in the summer now. This is a long introduction to get to the premise of today’s blog; horoscopes can read like predictions that are written just for us.

The Sunday Omaha World Herald horoscope for Sagittarius this week says “you could be in the midst of a major change.  Others might not be as aware of what has been going on as you might like.  Be open, and you’ll gain a better perspective of what to do and when.”

It was a busy time at the office, with more needy students requesting help daily.  One of the staff will be leaving next week, as her position was eliminated by the administration.  It seems more difficult for me to contemplate leaving work to retire as the number of people needing help increase, and the number of helpers diminish.

Some of my mother’s dedication to finish the warsh, before bringing me into the world, must have been passed along. I feel responsible to take care of the students, but I’ll try to be open to new information and gain perspective about retirement.


There were many empty and abandoned farmsteads near my parent’s farm in the 1960’s.  A childhood friend and I walked or rode our bikes to those empty farms to explore the barns and vacant houses.  Houses were rarely locked and sometimes the doors were missing.  We explored those places to search for abandoned treasures as if we were pioneers heading west to pan for gold.

I am reminded of my childhood adventures today by my daughter’s article about barn restoration.

The barn on my parent’s rented farm was sadly neglected after they retired and moved to town.  The farm sold to someone who was not interested in saving outbuildings.  As I contemplate my own retirement, I worry about the future of the house and barns on this ranch.  Her article lists many good ideas to pursue to maintain the barns for future generations.  DSC02866



High School classmate turns 65

My high school graduating class was very small.  There were thirteen of us.  Two military veterans have passed away. I attended a birthday party for one of the remaining eleven today.  She is a nurse and also still working.  She likes her job and isn’t in a hurry to retire.

She and I were childhood friends as well.   We wore matching polka dot bikinis the summer we were ten or eleven and sang Itsy Bitsy Yellow Polka Dot Bikini at the Clearwater summer carnival.  There are many versions of this song on YouTube, but this video is the first televised version.  TV sanctions against anything sexy were pretty strong in 1960, so the artists has a very young girl in a two piece swimsuit play the part while he sings.  Newer video versions of the song have women in skimpy bikinis.

Full Moon

The September full moon has been rising in the eastern sky for days, tracking slowly across the sky, and still present in the west pre-dawn.  Wildlife are more active in moonlight if the dog’s barking is a measure of activity.  She goes outside after dark to bark at something, returns to the house for a few minutes, then insists on chasing the foe only she hears, over and over.  I admire her determination to protect the house and yard.  DSC04751

Like wildlife, I’m often  awake far into the night during a full moon, and when I finally slumber, my sleep is restless.  I often feel completely relaxed and ready to sleep early morning.  This wonderful rest is interrupted by the alarm Monday through Friday.  I wonder what retirement will do for my sleep cycle.   Will I be able to stay awake later and sleep later regularly, or only during a full moon? Spring 2017 004

Step down from the merry-go-round?

Most of my days come and go in a whirl like an old-fashioned carrousel with horses bobbing up and down with the music as they go round and round.  It seemed like a major victory today to find time to call about repairing the lawn mower, making a hair appointment and finding time to get the car to the shop for an oil change.

Clients in need of assistance walk in the office door in a steady stream.  We won’t be able to see all of them with the staff cut in half by administrative fiat.  Who has to wait?   I’ve done multiple web searches to find models for Mental Health Waiting Lists, but must be using the wrong search parameters because there are no results.

There are discussions about the problems of waiting lists: increased danger to individuals, reduced college retention, poor academic performance, more hospitalizations, etc.  Retirement seems like a distant vision.  How can I walk away from so much need?



Waiting for a termite inspection

I’m writing this post in the morning as I wait for the termite inspector to arrive.  He is, of course, now two hours later than planned.  My work life is scheduled in hour-long appointments and meetings.  It seemed logical to me to try to schedule the termite inspection first thing in the morning to minimize the amount of time away from my job. The gentleman in question agreed to an 8:00 appointment.

I thought that is a perfect time, but (and there is always a “but”), he left a message that he couldn’t get here right away in the morning, and hoped to arrive by 9:30 or 10:00.  It is now past ten.

If I was actually retired, and home all the time, this change would not matter.  However since this is a discussion about approaching retirement, but not actually there, I have a day job that requires my presence at an office.  Delays such as this one are annoying to put it mildly.


Second Act

Many people pursue a second career after they retire.  The second career can be something one has done as part-time work while employed full time at their primary career, or the second act can be in a completely different field.  My oldest brother retired from two different careers, and ran a business with his wife after work.  He retired this summer from his second career, and will work at their business,  as much or little, as he wishes.


As I contemplate retirement from over forty years of employment in developmental disabilities and mental health, I find it easier to think about if I can transition to a second act.  I don’t want to quit “cold turkey,” and not have a meaningful way to spend my days.  Afternoon naps will be nice, however.

Day Before the Eclipse

The TV news reports that 500,000 people are heading toward Nebraska, to experience the 2017 total eclipse of the sun, along a corridor from the northwest corner of the state to the southeast.  It’s nearly five hundred miles of diagonal space to add all those extra folks.

Nebraska has only 1,826,341 people, plus a few more on really busy days, like during college world series games in June.

This is a rare event “This is the first time a total solar eclipse has gone from one American coast to the other since 1918. It will also be the first time in U.S. history that a total solar eclipse will make landfall exclusively on U.S. soil, meaning it will not be visible from any other country. (This technically happened in 1257 — but, of course, the United States wasn’t a country way back then.) from

Eclipse Traffic



July was hot and dry. It didn’t rain at all. I dislike 95+ humidity nearly as much as -10 degrees.  Perhaps it’s my British Isles heritage, but moderate temps in the 60s and 70s suite me best.  I love to sleep when it’s raining and find thunder rather soothing.

Pickles doesn’t agree with me. She’s frightened by loud noises like thunder and fire crackers.  When she’s scared she hides under the desk while I’m typing.  She’s there now because another storm front is moving through-complete with thunder-boomers and lightning flashes.

The noisy storm reminds me of the sound of authority figures blustering about his/her issue of the day.   I’m old enough to retire tomorrow if I choose, and don’t worry about being fired, but do worry about the people I serve, who will be at the mercy of these angry people.  People that are so insecure in their own ability, they make mean-spirited decisions.

Quiet day

There was a gentle rain over night. A half inch fell on my part of the world, and during a dry summer, it’s very much appreciated.  Rain was followed by a cloudy, cool day. My dog and I didn’t take on any big projects today.

Cell phone May 2017 274

It’s been a day to think about the deaths resulting from a white supremacy riot yesterday in this country.

As I contemplate retirement, and look back over more than forty years of employment, the battles for equality are the same now as they were back then. Women are still paid less than men, white men still earn more money than people from any other race or gender.  It’s still more difficult for women and people of color to be hired.

It stretches my imagination to wonder why young white men are so afraid of the rest of us that they violently protest.   What happens to older women?  We are already powerless in the workplace.  I worry that without employment’s buying power, I will be even more sidelined by society when I finally leave employment, and less able to defend myself.

However, my body is trying to tell me that I can’t forever dwell in the land of theoretically considering retirement as job stress is physically harming me.  My back buckles, often without warning, and sends shooting pains across my lower back.  My neck is sending a message too.  The tension in my shoulders works it’s way up my neck, and results in periodic headaches.

Be gentle to yourself and work for peace.