Thursday, December 28, 2017

Reflections on Retirement

As soon as I reached Medicare eligibility, I seriously began thinking I should retire. I'd worked for 48 years. My husband had retired. Many of my friends were retired. I longed to have more time at home, more flexibility to pursue hobbies, more freedom to travel... I thought it was time for someone with more energy to step in to my career.

Eagle Day 2017

Aquatic Sampling

My last work day

So in March I retired from my second career.

I don't want to sound as though I am complaining, but it has been a huge adjustment for me. I know many people would be so grateful to be where I am. I admit it, I miss my career. I need positive interaction with others. I want to continue to learn new things and be an integral part of something important.  Oh, and I don't like not having discretionary money. 

I'm still trying to create a daily routine. I can stay home all day and not accomplish much. That is ok on occasion but not for my daily routine. At first I slept later and then exercised. Brunch might be at 2:00pm. I was experiencing a need to feel that I'm accomplishing something, so I started getting up at my normal time allowing me to get the exercise done, then on with my day.

Art Show
Old habits don't leave so quickly. I tried volunteering in my sister's Kindergarten classroom. It was something I enjoyed, but I prefer to have my own classroom. I volunteer at the local historical museum, and serve on the library board, they expect a lot of free work. I substituted in my sister-in-law's preschool and found it was really fun. I still participated in educational webinars to remain aware of current trends. I continue to join the educational groups in which I was involved. I do job searches online. It would be nice to have a creative outlet that brought in extra money.

All my expectations came to be and we did travel. It was difficult to let go of the thoughts, "we need to get back home, let's shorten this trip, we should be taking care of things on the farm".

Hopefully in my second year of
retirement, adjustments
will allow us to take a carefree trip.

I schedule time for getting out in nature, painting, learning how to write children's books and practicing my photography. I'm searching for ways to combine my interests into a part-time job. My goal is to be productive and enjoy all of this life.

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.  RWE

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A morning at Pre-school

Who knew? I haven't spent much time in preschool classrooms, only long enough to read a story or share a quick lesson. But last Monday I helped my sister-in-law teach 2 groups of 3 year olds. I had so much fun! We dressed the calendar kid for the weather, we said the Pledge of Alliegence, we studied letter sounds, we sang songs, we marched around listening to music, we used free play time outside in the leaves, we ate snacks, we had circle time, we decorated a paper Christmas stocking and I read a new book. Most of them had heard of the Nursery Rhyme, Humpty Dumpty and repeated it with me. Then I read, After the Fall, by Dan Santat. It's a captivating story of how Humpty gets back up and continues with his life. It's a sweet story. The children were impressed, I know because a few days later I ran into one of the mothers and she told me her little guy ask if I was coming back to class. He then told her I taught them all about Humpty Dumpty.

Here is the link to a review of the book: After the Fall

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The 7th Annual Halloweensie Contest

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words candy cornmonster, and shadow. (Candy corn will be counted as 1 word.)  Your story can be scary, funny, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!) Here is the link to the contest:
The 7th annual Halloweensie Contest

Here is my silly entry that was inspired by a two-year old's choice for a costume.

Let's get our Halloween costumes. What do you want to be?

I want to be an elbow for Halloween.

What's scary about an elbow? What does an elbow do?

It's bony and it creaks.

Let's dress as monsters. All your friends will be dressed as monsters.

Ok, then I'll be a candy corn.

What's scary about candy corn? Everyone will eat you up.

I'll hide in the shadow of the corn stalk.

Perfect! I can be the cornstalk. You can jump out and scare everyone.

And the creaking, bending elbow will be the scariest Halloween costume ever!  

I'll be the monster.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: Reflections of 2017 #AtoZChallenge

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: Reflections of 2017 #AtoZChallenge

#A to Z Reflection

This was my first experience with the A to Z Challenge. I decided to participate the day before the challenge began. I'd heard about it from a March challenge that I had just completed (Two Writng Teachers Slice of Life Challenge). That didn't give me time to plan posts ahead of their due dates. I read that you needed a theme so I thought photography might be the simplest for me and that is what I did. It worked for me, but I might try to be more focused if I participate again.

From participating in the challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers blog, I knew how to add a link to my daily post. In the A to Z Challenge I learned how to create a link to my post instead of simply leaving the url. I liked doing that because it's a cleaner look. However, I had to go through several steps to copy and paste every day. I noticed several participants had difficulty with this too.

I didn't use Facebook to promote my blog because I don't use FB. Another participant demonstrated how to put the post on Twitter, but I didn't think to do that even thought I have a Twitter account.

I really enjoyed reading the various blogs written by so many participants. I've even started following some. The ones I visited  & commented on made the effort to read my posts and comment too. Their comments encouraged me. I found the participants to be an eclectic group that offered a variety of themes. I especially liked the blogs about ancestors, quilts, history, a short story of Hawaii and positive quotes. I Usually follow posts written by teachers, so this was a bit different. The themes were interesting and unique. I have a better idea of how to select a theme now. I found myself drawn to visit the same blogs throughout the challenge. I tried to visit different blogs, but there wasn't time to visit all. The challenge was a great experience.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Z is for Zora Arkus-Duntof, champion of the Corvette

Zora was born Christmas Day in Belgium. He grew up driving a street car and racing motorcycles. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering and was the first to hold the degree as Chief Engineer for the Corvette. This job came to him because he attended the auto show in New York in 1953, when the first Corvette was introduced. He was so impressed that he wrote a letter to the Chief Engineer at Chevrolet to compliment him and make suggestions to improve future production models. The engineers at Chevrolet were so impressed with him, they offered him a job opportunity. He changed the Corvette to have more horsepower using a V-8 in 1955 and fuel injection in 1957. And as they say, the rest is history.

I have a few pictures of Covettes below. We have owned two of these pictured the 1958 and the 1965. We have a 1966 convertible that needs restoration.

My rendering of the 65
Modern motor
Our 65 Coupe

Friday, April 28, 2017

Y is for Yolo, you only live once

I recently read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It was a retirement gift. The story tells of a shepard's journey to find his personal legend, a story of self-discovery. It's one of those books that causes you to evaluate your life. I read the cliff notes too. I'm reminded that you only get one life on this earth, so you should make it your best. Seek out your dreams, do not let fear control your actions, be intentionally grateful, and live in the present. I've tried to live my life in this way. Instead of writing my essay to explain, I've Included a few of my favorite nature pictures for your viewing pleasure.
Barn near President James & Dolly Madison's home
Blossom from the Tulip Poplar in my yard

Sunny day on the Mingo River

Add caption

Add caption

Thursday, April 27, 2017

X is for Xavier Mission

I researched the letter x, I wanted ideas to connect a picture with this letter. First I need to let you know that I love old books, I collect them because they contain so much that is lost in the world today. So I have a few old books to peruse.

In New Universities Webster Dictionary from 1940 the letter Xx has 107 entries. It's a very thorough book.

In 1974, I purchased a Webster's New World Dictionary @1971 just before I started college. I used it to spell words, to find out if I should use an adverb or an adjective, to learn how to correctly pronounce the word, to uncover the meanings and to find synonyms for writing. Xx has 30 entries in it.

The World Book Encyclopedia of 1994, Xx has 17 entries. This is the most current hard bound resource I have. I used to have an app to help me, now I mostly use Wikipedia, or the dictionary from 1971.

Anyway, I think we have slowed use of the letter x. Maybe thats because it has 6 different sounds. No wonder English is a difficult language to learn. Many words beginning with Xx in the oldest book no longer appear in newer dictionaries. Xerox was not in the old book, but X-ray was. Xebec appeared in all three books. It is a 3-masted ship used in the Mediterranean. X-chromosone was only in the 1994 book.

Also appearing in all three books was St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary. That sounded familiar to me so I dug a little more, went to Wikipedia and hit the jackpot. I've been there and have pictures of the St. Francis Xavier Mission south of Tucson,  Arizona. It was established in 1692! It is beautiful! My photos aren't great because I was using a new camera, with settings unfamiliar to me.

W is for waterfalls

Waterfalls can be soothing to the weary traveler. There is something comforting about the sound of water falling that lulls us into a peaceful state. I have a few pictures of waterfalls. 

They can also be dangerous. Our desire to get up close can put us in danger of getting too close and losing our footing. Once while hiking near Steamboat Springs, CO, to see a waterfall up close, my husband heard our friend's feet scrambling in the gravel to stay on the trail. My husband was close enough that he grabbed the friend and prevented him from falling in the crevice. 

I believe the grandest waterfalls are in Yosemite CA. The park is awe inspiring. I suggest you go in the winter, when there will be fewer people. 

Yosemite CA
Yosemite CA

Rocky Creek Falls in in the Ozark portion of mid-Missouri. This one isn't tall, but it's beautiful.
Rocky Creek Falls, MO
Man made waterfall in Phoenix AZ

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V is for vantage point

V is for vantage point, it often influences the success of your pictures. You can vary the vantage point to get an unusual shot. Find below a few examples of using variations of vantage point.

Here is a picture of the Ebony Damselfly up close.

Cruise Ship Level 1

This view was once my vantage point for 7 days. Mostly water was all I saw, this time it was land ahoy!

Here is a picture of some good-natured teachers. Their vantage point was drastically reduced during this activity and they had to rely on other senses.

This picture offers a dramatic view of Maghonay Bay, Roatan, framed by palm fronds and tree leaves.

Belize River

This picture shows the view of the Belize River from a vantage point of a boat on the river.

Here is a view from the bottom looking upward.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U is for Unbelievable

This picture is unbelievable because I was simply taking a picture of the buttonbush. I did not know the Tiger Swallowtail was resting on the buttonbush.

Duck Creek Conservation Area

This picture is unbelievable because every time I view it, I am transported back to a calm, peaceful day in which I  took a group of eighth grade students fishing.

Wind River Canyon

This picture is unbelievable because we were traveling and talking on the phone with my father-in-law back home. He was an over-the-road trucker for many years. He knew exactly where we were, he told us to get ready for the most spectacular view. And it was!

DeVore Buffalo Jump

This picture is unbelievable because it depicts a buffalo jump. The Native Americans used the country-side topography to help them survive. They herded the buffalo toward the cliff where many buffalo died. The Native Americans used mostly every part of the buffalo for their survival.

Monday, April 24, 2017

T is for Thomas Jefferson, trees, tides and tobacco

The picture shows the view from Monticello, the home of our 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson. What impressed me the most on my visit there was the ingenuity he used to design his house and gardens. And I discovered that 2 other presidents lived approximately 30 miles away, James Monroe and James Madison. I also visited James and Dolly Madison's home.
Charlottesville, Virginia
Oak tree at Homas House in Louisiana 
The second picture shows the grandeur of the
oak trees in the south. The branches reached the ground. Spanish moss can be seen hanging
from the branches. This plantation was about
18 miles from the Mississippi River. The only
reason it was not burned was the fact that a Scot owned it.

This is one of my favorite beaches on the gulf coast of Florida. The tide is coming in, the birds are scurrying to get dinner before the water level is too high.

This picture was taken on a road trip through northern Kentucky. They have lots of tobacco growing
in large fields. I would like to get a plant just to see if I could grow it.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

S is for Shut-ins

Missouri has some unique places. Shut-ins are one type. Shut-in refers to a spot on a river where its path is limited due to rocks. The water must flow over and around the igneous rock, wearing it smooth.
I have three different shut-ins pictured below:
Madison County shut-ins

Johnson Shut-ins is a beautiful spot in Missouri. We have held teacher workshops there because of the unique flora and fauna. There are fens there with the Hines Emerald dragonfly. The shut-ins are quite a draw for visitors.

Friday, April 21, 2017

R is for river, roses and refuge

#A to Z Challenge
R is for river as in the Mississippi River. Here is a view through the trees.

R is for roses from my rose bush,

 and finally R is for refuge. This one is close to where I live. I try to visit as often as I can.
Mingo National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q is for quail

I have a few quail on my small farm in Missouri. You can hear them cooing. I saw Gambil's Quail when I went to Arizona. They have a black curly question mark on top of their head. I was too excited to gat a good picture, but I will share it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

#A to Z Challenge Letter P is for Panama City Beach, Pecan Pie and Pumpkins made into Jack-O-Lanterns

Another place I love to visit is Panama City Beach or PCB for short. This spot is close to Tyndill Airforce Base. It is very secluded because it is hard to find. Most roads are marked "Do Not Enter" because the area is owned by the US AirForce. It took us a couple days to get enough nerve to drive down one of those roads toward this beach. After a short hike from the parking lot, we were in heaven: white sands and clear, blue water. We walked the length of the peninsula and were rewarded with manta ray sightings and unusual shells.

Making pecan pie is one of my go to desserts. It always turns out great! Here is one I made last Christmas:

I had to show you these pumpkins made by these children last Halloween. They had a blast. I'm trying to learn how to take night photos.

#SOL 2018 Day 31 Thank you, slicers.