I can't even begin to tell you how much I love being able to call my time my own.
I don't think there's anyone on God's green earth who loves being retired more than I. I think, truly, I was born to be a retired person.
Some days I'm very productive.
Some days I'm a slug.
And do not have to look for approval, or ask forgiveness from a single living soul for either of those things.
I made myself promises when I retired. I promised to stretch my wings. Try new things. Do the things I've wanted to do, but always said I didn't have enough time to do.
Actually, while time was a factor, I'm also of the mind that if there's something you "really" want to do, you will find the time, or make the time, to do it.
I was having dinner with some friends one evening several years back before I retired and we were each sharing what we had been doing since we had last been together. I remember, fairly vividly, one of the women rolling her eyes and saying to me, "Wow. I wish I had all the free time you seem to have. It's all I can do to work and keep the house clean and take care of my husband."
And I tried, truly, to keep my mouth shut.
But . . .
Well, you know . . .
Keeping my mouth shut isn't always something I do well.
So, I said just what I've said here - "If you really want to do something, you're always able to find the time. As far as those other things, maybe I do them more efficiently, or perhaps my husband is more capable of taking care of himself. Whatever."
She took offense.
She responded, I listened.
I responded, she fumed.
And I asked, "WHY is it okay that you're offended, but not okay that I'M offended?"
I don't recall ever getting an answer to that question, although, to my mind, she clearly implied there were important things I was just not doing.
Why I told that story has become unclear . . . LOL!!!
Back to my point - I love being retired.
This week is a perfect example of exactly what I love about it.
It's been a bit of a hodge-podge of doing many of the things I am now enjoying doing.
I have, some mornings, slept late because I stayed up really late reading the evening before - really late. 2 a.m. late. I've discovered J.D. Robb's "In Death" series and am over the moon in love with them. Eve and Roark are worthy of having all the fans they've collected and all the analysis pieces that have been written about them. If, like me, you're late to the game - I encourage you to give them a try. You probably know J.D. Robb is a name Nora Roberts writes under. Expect the same things in this series that you already love.
I have, some mornings. gotten up super early.
Small things, I know. But lovely.
Sleep late, or up in time to watch the sun rise.
So, I've been reading.
I have gone to the gym a couple of times.
I've been helping out with the Watauga County Annual Community Plant Sale which helps raise money every year for the Watauga County Democratic Party.
I've taken a couple of lessons in my on-line photography course from Shaw Academy.
And I've been writing.
(and yes, the house is clean - well, fairly clean. and yes, husband is fine fine fine)
And the writing is going well. Yay!
That's not always the case, of course.
But - since seeing Anne Lamott at Lenoir-Rhyne, and then listening to Pam Stack interview James Anderson on her Blog Talk Radio Show, I got inspired and motivated and ready to write.
Luckily, since I'm an indie writer, I am able to write when I feel like it. I don't have to feel pushed by deadlines. I can choose and mold my words until they're what I know I'm looking for and am happy with.
It also means I can procrastinate - and, I admit, that is not such a good thing.
But. That's another topic for another day.
Right now, I'm writing and I'm writing well.
Writing is not something I'm able to do quickly.
But just doing it feels great. Right now.
Cross your fingers for me that it feels good and remains on the "fun" side of things for awhile.
At the very least, until I get the first draft finished.
That's my immediate goal - getting that terrible awful shitty first draft finished.
I seem to have trouble remembering some very important words from Sir Terry Pratchett -
But, I won't be writing all day.
There's Facebook. Addictive. Lovely. Awful. Fun. Horrible. Facebook. I love it.
I have to make a salad.
Tomorrow is the Watauga Democratic Convention. And before the convention starts, attendees are having a potluck lunch.
How fun is that?
I'm planning on taking my Hungarian Cucumber Salad.
Want the recipe?
Here 'tis - I'm making more than this recipe calls for, but I'll just play around with the amounts as I fix it.
Hungarian Cucumber Salad
(Makes about 6 servings; this recipe is adapted from the traditional recipe in The Art of Hungarian Cooking)
2 English cucumbers or 3-4 fresh garden cucumbers (cucumbers with small seeds are best for this)
2 tsp. fine table salt (for drawing the water out of the cucumbers)
extra sour cream and paprika, for serving
2 garlic cloves, finely minced (more or less to taste)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (any mild vinegar can be used, but don't use a sweet vinegar)
1/2 - 1 tsp. sweet paprika, to taste
1/4 cup sour cream
2 T olive oil
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Peel the cucumbers, slice cucumber into thin slices.
Put the sliced cucumbers into a bowl and sprinkle with table salt. Toss until they're well covered. Let cucumbers sit and release their liquid for at least 15-20 minutes.
While cucumbers are sitting, make the dressing. Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic. Whisk together the minced garlic, vinegar, sweet paprika, sour cream, and oil. Season the dressing with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
After cucumbers have been sitting for 15-20 minutes to release the liquid, put them into a colander and let the liquid drain off. Then put a small plate over the cucumbers in the colander and gently press down to squeeze off as much liquid as you can. (You can also put cucumbers inside a clean dish towel and gently squeeze to remove the liquid.) Blot cucumbers dry with a paper towel.
Put cucumbers back in a dry bowl. Add the dressing mixture and gently combine. This salad is best when it sits for at least 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors combine. Serve with additional sour cream and paprika to add to the salad at the table if desired.