Sunday, March 8, 2020

Mosaic Monday #70: Follow your Yellow Brick Road

Coffee and Cinnamon Bun
At the house of Dear Neighbor Friend
It was a struggle to compose this post, and even as I type these words, I am not sure the post will ever see the light of day.  The melee began when I decided to write about the third anniversary of my retirement, March 3.  In typical Angie fashion, I reviewed past posts on this topic (Week OneWeek ThreeWeek FiveWeek TwelveWeek Nineteen, Week Forty-One, Week Fifty-Two, Week One Hundred and Five). Part search for inspiration, and partly sprung from a desire to avoid repetition.

Visions of a Pulitzer Prize, or a National Geographic Photography Award, danced in my head as I scanned those posts.  From the distance of 24 months, I especially admired the post Bountifully Blessed from Week 52.  Insightful and spot on, and complete with resolutions for the rest of retirement.  And herein lies the rub.  Looking in the mirror, I know that I did not follow through on my good intentions as written in that post.  I have not succeeded in letting go of perfection and structure, and, despite my desire to enjoy more time crafting, these activities continue to get deferred because I have jumped head-first into volunteering, working and many other activities, which I give priority.  
Hand-drawn Valentine's Day card for Spousal Unit - I would like to have
more time to draw!
At this point, you are probably ready to click off this post to something more fun. You're probably thinking "Angie needs to get out of her own head," and you would probably be right.  Heck, several times my fingers have hovered over the "DELETE" key; wouldn't it be easier to write a typical light-hearted summary of February, and pitch it as "a month in the life of the retired Angie"?
Valentine's card and candy from Spousal Unit
But once I get an idea in my head, it's hard to get it out without some cathartic moment, some resolution.  How can I let myself off the hook without some introspection? So if you want to find some relief with Adorable Baby Animal pictures, I will understand.  The rest of you can stick with me and find out if the post makes it past a draft!!!

OK.  (You're still here?  GREAT!)  I think my fundamental challenge is the number of hours in the day.  Does anyone know how to double them?   Nope?  Sigh.  OK.  So the only solution is to decide what has to give.  Activities with Spousal Unit?  Blogging?  Cleaning the house? Community involvement? Time with Dear Neighbor Friend? Showering?  Working on the mountain?

And with Spring, new priorities will be added onto the list.  Gardening.  Travel.  Drinking wine on the deck.  What's a woman to do?

Cactus at the coffee shop
Earlier this week, in the midst of my brain-swirl, I posed this question to Spousal Unit: "Is there anything you thought we would do in the first three years of retirement that we haven't done?"  My friends, don't ask a question if you're not ready to hear the answer!  He said "Well, I thought we would have more down-time, like more movie nights or times that we cook dinner together."  Ouch.  It was a Wizard of Oz moment - Dorothy always knew there was no place like home, but she just needed to be reminded!  

If I am honest with myself, I recognize that I have developed some retirement habits that mean most evenings are committed to my activities (other than crafting).  Mind you, Spousal Unit is not sitting around twiddling his thumbs - he reads voraciously, loves watching the Lakers (read: LeBron) play basketball, and he has his favorite TV programs, all while cuddling with Maggie the cat. I should also mention that at no point during this conversation did Spousal Unit make me feel guilty about any of this.  In fact, he said that he supports me in all my activities as long as it makes me happy. But, even before this conversation, it has occurred to me more than a few times that going into our two separate worlds at night is not altogether satisfactory.
Swan River, February 20, 2020
Chicken Fiesta Bowl
Craggy Range Bar & Grill
So, I will be making some changes.  I have made some commitments that will wrap up mid-June, and I will follow through on them because it's the right thing to do.  But then I plan to make some significant cut-backs on my community involvement.  After all, no one wants me to stop showering!

It begs the question - what will I START/CONTINUE doing?  Movie nights and cooking dates with the Spousal Unit, for sure.  Personally, I have enjoyed our "wandering aimlessly" tours around Montana, and I want to do more.  Outings with Dear Neighbor Friend are essential.  Wine on the deck? you betcha.

(In February, Spousal Unit and I took our visitor Tim to the iconic Bar Stool Races in Martin City, part of the 42nd annual Cabin Fever Days.  It is just this type of unique Americana that I love to discover and experience.  Check out these videos.)

(When Dear Neighbor Friend and I go cross-country skiing, we are always accompanied by Sophie.  This enchanting dog hides pieces of deer fur under the snow, and when we reach that part of the trail, she retrieves the fur and joyfully tosses it into the air.  Check out this snippet of video - her playfulness is a message to us all!)

I am also really impassioned about an initiative called the Violet Protest.  I first read about it on someone's blog, but I have had a devil of a time tracing back to who it was - whoever you are, thank you!  For anyone in the US, check out the website link above.  "The Violet Protest is a public effort to send 50 hand-made ​textile squares to each and every member of Congress ​in support of core American values. Whether we knit, crochet, quilt, or embroider all 26,750 of these squares — through this social action, and from every corner of America; we as makers of all political persuasions, believe we can employ our willing spirit and our talents to contribute to healing divisions that threaten our country.  This collection of textile squares will be first displayed at Phoenix Art Museum, Fall 2020."

Now that's a CRAFTY cause worthy of my time!

As provocative as this week has been, pondering the relative value of showering versus time with Spousal Unit, I am glad it happened.  Even in retirement, it is possible to get into ruts and routines so deep that we can't see out.  It didn't take Dorothy's tornado to shake me free, but I did have to peek behind the Wizard's curtain.  If you have been my lion, my scarecrow and my tin man, sticking with me throughout this post, I thank you.  I think I am ready to see what the next year of retirement brings, following my Yellow Brick Road!  


Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


  1. ...Angie, you set some might high expectations for yourself. I photograph what surrounds me and leave it at that, simple.

  2. I did so enjoy your post, even if it was a sturggle to compose it! I loved the photo of your cacti! It reminded me of my dad's passion for succulents and how they rested on tables all through the house! I will investigate Violet Protest! Thank you for this post!!! Have a wonderful week!

  3. Angie, I do only the *tiniest* tiny fraction of what you do and there are still never enough hours in the day. Thank you for sharing your journey along the yellow brick road, including the speed bumps and detours! (And for including hosting this linkup as part of your routine.)

  4. Bar stool races - LOL. That looks ridiculous! (and fun)

  5. I am glad you finished this post Angie, it was interesting to read. I have found it is very easy to join up to lots of groups (read quilting groups for me) I have had to leave 2 groups because I just wasn't spending much time at home. Sometimes it just takes a while to work out what we want to do and who we want to do it with 😁. Retirement seemed to be a big expanse of time but it very quickly filled, I haven't worked out how to stretch time either!! I have decided some days do not have to be filled some days just can be enjoyed. I wish you all the best on your Yellow Brick Road adventures.

  6. I forgot to say the bar stool races looked like crazy fun!!

  7. See, you did make it through the post! Life happens, even when you least expect it, even in retirement. You do lots, all our Mom and Dad have done since they retired is fix things that keep breaking in our house.

  8. A very thoughtful post, I think retirement life evolves as we go along, and we evolve too. I know I am much more involved in "other" activities than my husband - for instance I belong to 3 groups! As well as our volunteering on Friday mornings. In between I definitely don't have enough time in the day, and I wish we had more time for down time. My husband sounds a lot like yours, he supports me in everything I do. Retirement life is wonderful and I have never looked back. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, or even today, so the key is to be involved and enjoy! There is still so much in this life to explore! Have a great week! and thank you again for the link.

  9. Angie I held my breath while reading your post - whew, you didn't pick stop blogging as a way to get time back into your day. Love visiting, love joining in and totally enjoy the post you write each week - lots of great info and photos. I have been retired going on 8 years and each day the hours go past, so full, so very quickly.

  10. Retirement is a strange thing. Time is a strange thing. We are retired for many yrs now. My late husband had a massive stroke just before I retired. Well that retired me early. I cared for him for 5 yrs before he passed. Busy times. He has been gone 12 yrs now and I have met someone and we seem to go places and have a lot of fun. We both lost spouses and maybe we are making up for lost time. Retirement and time give us that. So do what you have to do---do what pleases you and include the husband too

  11. When my husband and I retired friends and colleagues told us we would "be bored" Not so! We seem to be busier than ever. I can see how volunteer work can soak up a lot pf free time, however, and I commend you for realizing that you have become over committed and need to pull back a bit. When you have grandchildren one day you will find that they joyfully will take up quite a bit of time, so enjoy the free time you have now to relax and craft and travel. Happy 3rd retirement anniversary!

  12. There are sometimes never enough hours in a day, but you will take stock and work it out, Angie. Love Sophie and her zest for life. Isn't it funny how dogs always find things they bury. So glad you didn't cross blogging off your list. =)

  13. Take time, was my decision to read your Post, der Angie... to understand and never, never I thought
    "Angie needs to get out of her own head". Now, I had read of your retirement, your plans, it's lovely. I enjoyed reading with a smile.

    Happy MosaicMonday... habe a good week

  14. You are not alone. I got halfway through my January 30 day yoga challenge and still have half a month to go. Last year it took me until May. I was hoping that wouldn't happen again. :/ I always have grand plans, but lately also have felt the very strong need to just stay home. We put too much pressure on ourselves to accomplish this or that. I feel guilty on puttering days. And feel like I've wasted time when all I do is spend days cleaning. Each and every day is about choices. I took a walk earlier and guess what, I feel so much better about everything. Sometimes that's enough. :) Have a great week. (yes, always, to wine on the deck -- wish I could join you).

  15. I hear you, Angie. Ever since my "retirement" I've been busier than ever and trying to find time to do the things I want to do is becoming harder and harder. I think one of these days, I'll seriously think about stopping everything and devoting more time to "me" and "my activities".

  16. PS: Thank you for hosting, Angie, and have a great new week!

  17. aww Angie, don't give up. Hang in there and do what fulfills you and allows you to enjoy life. My husband and I both work from home, some days he's out but mostly here. It is a different time in our lives and we were enjoying it but fell into a rut as well. Recently we had the discussion of "why are we wasting time" and decided to reboot. Do the things we enjoy, with and without each other and limit the out/community activities. THANK YOU for continuing to write and share.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

  18. I'm always talking to my 'kids' about time! We better figure out how we want to spend it because it is our life and we don't have an unlimited amount. I've decided to give up a few things recently to make time for things I know I want to do NOW! lol We are retired and busier than ever! Enjoy your week! Happy MM!

  19. I think a lot of folks expect us retirees to go crazy and do so much with our days. Why? Wasn't that one of the problems with working? When I see old staff and friends and they ask what have you been up to. I say, Nothing. I wanted my retirement to be just that. I retired. I wake late in the morning, sip coffee and read and play on my Kindle till Noonish. Sometimes I will plan a shopping trip or a lunch but mostly I stay home. Home is where I am the happiest and where I want to be and I do not feel guilty for staying home at all. I did the years of volunteering and kid events. Now is my time with my hubby. Your husbands right. Lose some of the obligations and have those movie nights. My best events are sitting on the couch watching a movie with my guy with Raisinetts and popcorn. We just do not know how much time we have left and we have to do what we want, not what others think we should be doing because we have all this free time. You earned this time to do what you want. Go for it! Love ya, your friend to the south. Kit

  20. It is nice to have choices … whether to do this or that is how you view them. All the things you are doing sound wonderful and somehow remind me of that well-known phrase, “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.”

  21. I think sometimes we just have to give up our plans and just see where life takes us, especially when you're retired and more able to do so. If I had to choose, I'd say give up the house cleaning to make more room in the day for fun, but maybe that's just me.
    Stopped by from my friend Dawn's blog and, since today was the once a month I actually have a collage on my blog, linked up. Happy to "meet" you, and thanks for the hospitality.

  22. As they say, life is what happens while you're making other plans. One thing I've noticed is that each 15 minute task takes 40 minutes and each 40 minute task takes an hour and a half. No wonder I'm so far behind!

  23. What a gorgeous photo of you and your husband <3 Yes, spending enough time is importanta and valuable. Life is now.

  24. It is good to evaluate and decide what is important to continue. Showers and time with your spouse are good things. :) That Swan River shot is a beauty.

  25. So glad you are going to prioritize showering, wine drinking and laughter with spousal unit and neighbour! Enjoy.

  26. Your retirement evaluation made me think back on the first few years after we had both had decided to 'retread' my preferred word over 'retire'. I found the need to continue my many volunteer commitments, meetings, mentoring, social outings, lunches. One day I found my other half looking at the wall calendar (yes we still rely on them) and said, "I thought we were going to travel more. . .is there any time this month you could leave for a few days?' Innocent question and a slap alongside the head. I began rethinking retirement. Fast forward: two years ago we became expat Americans and are living in Greece, growing olives and traveling together a lot!!

  27. Lovely your photos, I love the Deer, it is fabulous.

  28. Well if my writing skills were legendary and every one of my posts and was perfect I guess I would be a famous novelist by now. I’m just content to spread the word about birds and how vital they are to our wellbeing as humans without worrying that every post and every photo is brilliant. I’m far from that point.
    Too much introspection is not good. Just enjoy each day as it comes, even if at my time of life they come too quickly.

    As for that recipe.
    1. 3 large onions 500/600 grams finely sliced into 30mm pieces.
    2. 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
    3. 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
    4. Half teaspoon of ground turmeric
    5. 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
    6. Half teaspoon of ground black pepper
    7. 3 cm piece of fresh ginger peeled and finely minced
    8. 3 or 4finely sliced green chillies at 30mm
    9. Half a teaspoon of chilli powder
    10. One and a half tablespoons of rapeseed oil
    11. 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped coriander
    12. 100 grams of gram (chick pea) flour

    Place the sliced onions into a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Leave for up to 3 hours.
    When ready to form the bhajis, squeeze the onions with your bare hands to release the water into the bowl.
    Add the remaining ingredients up to and including the coriander and give everything a good mix.
    Sift the flour over the mixture and mix well. There shoud be enough water released from the onions to form a thickish batter that sticks the onions together. If the mixture is too dry add water. If too wet, add flour.
    Form the mixture into bhajis and then either bake on a greaseproof sheet or oiled tray for 3040 minutes at 200 degrees. Alternatively deep fry until golden brown and cooked through.

    Now get cracking Angie.

  29. Good for you ~ Sounds like you have your priorities right to me ~ It is all too easy to continue the 'race' after one retires ~ so glad hubby helped you resolve your dilemma ~

    Happy Moments to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  30. I love this post, it is so real. I am about a month and a half away from my retirement and I have been so busy with my brother and his issues that I haven't done anything to get ready. I thought about delaying it but I am going ahead. I always have this crazy sense that everything will turn out okay. My wife is ten years younger than me and loves her late career change into an exercise instructor. She is very supportive of me but also makes it plain she is not retiring (and I am fully supportive of that) so it will be an adjustment on just how this thing is going to go.

  31. Reading this just reinforces that over planning is counter productive. I get exhausted just contemplating how much mental energy you are putting into creating a blueprint, Angie. Wake up and enjoy the day, I say. As for going over past blog posts, I never do, unless I want to refer to something I wrote about one of my trips, or to check some detail that struck me at the time. I certainly never contemplate my writing prowess, God (whoever she is) forbid!

  32. I can see all of the comment Angie. Place the sliced onions into a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Leave for up to 3 hours.
    When ready to form the bhajis, squeeze the onions with your bare hands to release the water into the bowl.
    Add the remaining ingredients up to and including the coriander and give everything a good mix.
    Sift the flour over the mixture and mix well. There should be enough water released from the onions to form a thickish batter that sticks the onions together. If the mixture is too dry add water. If too wet, add flour.
    Form the mixture into bhajis and then either bake on a greaseproof sheet or oiled tray for 30/40 minutes at 200 degrees. Alternatively deep fry until golden brown and cooked through.

  33. Hello, Angie
    You must love what you are doing, that is what is most important. Doing things you love doing. I am happy as a lark since I retired, I must say I do not plan out as much as you, unless we are planning a big trip. We go day by day, no hurries or worries. I was away for a few days and missed doing a Mosaic post. I enjoyed your post, the pretty deer and your sweet dog. Enjoy your day and the weekend ahead.

  34. In Alaska, we had the outhouse races every Feb. They were a blast. Beautiful photos especially the one of the deer looking in to the camera. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day.

  35. Angie, your conversation with the Spousal Unit sounds like one the Husband and I have every so often. He says the same thing, Whatever makes me happy. I love my guy. :-) I've gotten better about defining what I will and will not do when I volunteer. That helps me. I also sit on my hands more often when someone is courting for volunteers.
    I've also realized that I actually do more different stuff each day, and that there aren't enough hours to do everything I want to do. But, then, I've got my whole life. :-)

  36. I really am avoiding things with my cataracts. Such a long wait. I love your mosaics, though.

  37. Self-evaluation and couple evaluation is a very good thing. What a great post as we meandered with you through your thoughts. I am like you and can become involved in so many activities that I lose sight of what I really want to accomplish in life. As retirement draws closer for me, my husband and I are talking about what that will look like. It's an interesting stage of life, isn't it?

  38. Goodness what a post Angie …

    Your photographs are lovely, and wine on the deck … yes please :)
    How about Pimms on the patio?

    All the best Jan

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