Preparing for a New School Year

For the first time since 1963 I did not spend the week before the beginning of the school year busily preparing for learning or teaching. I’ve either been a student, the parent of a student, a teacher or some combination of these roles for the past 50 plus years. This has traditionally been a week of shopping, organizing, and planning for a successful school year.

While I’m not preparing for school, I realized that I participated in many activities that were similar to those that would have occupied the pre-school week of the past.

Monday: The first day of the pre-school routine was intentionally very different from years past. As a celebration of the break in tradition, we packed a lunch and enjoyed a picnic from the middle of the lake. Instead of sleep being interrupted by a mind filled with lists of things to do, sleep was interrupted by the uncomfortable feeling of sunburn.


Tuesday: Day 2 of pre-school started very different as John brought the catch of the day in to be cleaned before breakfast, but the afternoon was spent shopping, an activity not unusual for this week. However, instead of pens, pencils, notebooks and clothes for the upcoming school year, bathing suits and fishing lures filled our bags on this day.


Wednesday: This day’s events actually were very similar to the way I spent time opening up a new school year. The day began at the library, but instead of loading up on books to accompany curriculum, I filled the reading list for an upcoming trip. Then off to Gainesville to the Repurpose Store looking for treasures from others’ trash. I guess some things will never change. And finally, a stop at Satchel’s Pizza where I investigated the “new technology” and toured a bus.


Thursday: Alarm set for 5:30, the usual time for a day of work. Donuts from Tas-T-O, usually a requirement by the fourth day of pre-school. Then six hours of sitting around, but instead of sitting in boring meetings, I sat in various waiting rooms at Munroe Regional with my Mom and Dad while my Mom underwent a medical procedure. All went well with the procedure so we all left in good spirits, not always the case after attending a day of educational inservice training.


Friday: Instead of meeting students and their parents, I met bloodsucking mosquitoes and other insects while riding my bike on the Cross Florida Barge Canal. Then the afternoon was spent researching and making plans…not for lessons to be taught, but for more adventures in the coming months.


I can honestly say I didn’t miss any of the usual back to school activities, but it’s nice to know they prepared me well for this new adventure called retirement.



I Can Probably Fill One Hour Each Day

In an interview with David Letterman about his retirement from The Late Show, he was asked what he’d be doing in the future. His response, “I think I can fill one hour each day.” This in response to what most people believe about his schedule. Since he’s only on air for an hour, obviously, that’s all he works each day.

Apparently people believe I have a lot in common with Letterman. Many expressed surprise not that I’m retiring, but that I was still working. It’s funny how different the response to my retirement has been to that of my husband. He’s had lots of people suggest that he work as a consultant or take a position at a private school or one with a non-profit organization.

Those who learn of my retirement suggest places to visit, new things to experience or hobbies to pursue. No one has mentioned anything remotely related to work. I can’t help but ask myself what that means. Am I just seen as one who wants to play? Or is my husband just seen as one addicted to work?

In any case, neither of us plan to do any “real” work. We will be volunteering on a regular basis and will work as “interns” with Emily’s event planning business.

Instead of work, we’ll be traveling. First to Omaha for the College World Series and then later this summer to British Columbia so I can use my passport. We’ll continue to travel throughout Florida since we have more springs to swim in, more lighthouses to climb and more beaches to visit. And the list of other places to go seems to grow everyday. We also have plans to walk, bike, kayak, sail, fish, read and watch more sunrises and sunsets from our porch.

We’re living at the lake where life is suppose to be slower, but we haven’t noticed that change yet. I don’t anticipate having any problem filling an extra hour a day.


Retirement Job?

When people find out that John and I are retiring at the end of the school year, the most common question we hear, “What are you going to do?”

Most people mean, how are we going to spend our time, but a few want to know what new employment opportunity will be occupying our time. John’s even had people make suggestions regarding jobs that he should consider.

I’m confused. When I looked up the word retired on, here’s what I found:

retired [ri-tahyuh rd]


withdrawn from or no longer occupied with one’s business or profession

It seems pretty clear…no longer occupied with one’s profession.

Volunteer. Fish. Bike. Read. Camp. Write. Travel. Sail. Hike. Practice photography, woodworking, cooking. Learn new things. Find new hobbies. Maybe plant a garden. Go to sporting events. Play games. Visit family. Spend time with friends. That sounds like an answer to that what are you going to do when you retire question.

BUT…if a new career is in the making…then I’m sure it must be vacation photographer because everywhere we go, strangers approach John and ask him to take their picture. Couples. Families. Groups of friends. In NYC, Miami, DC. In state parks, national parks or theme parks. At the beach or sporting events. He’s recognized as the go-to guy for photos. Wonder if he could ask for tips?

IMG_7432And the second most asked question, how many more days? John…37 and for me…41.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This week we celebrate the retirement of a co-worker. To recognize this event, a reception has been planned and we’ve all signed up to provide food and drinks. My favorite easy to prepare contribution to these types of events is black bean and corn salsa, served with tortilla chips. Preparation takes only about 15 minutes, but it tastes best if refrigerated for at least eight hours so making the day ahead is perfect.


1  (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained $
1  (11-oz.) can shoepeg corn, drained $
1  small green bell pepper, chopped $
2  plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped $
4  green onions, chopped $
1/4 cup  Italian vinaigrette dressing
1 tablespoon  fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons  chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon  garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon  seasoned pepper
1/2 teaspoon  chili powder
1/2 teaspoon  hot sauce
Assorted tortilla chips


Stir together black beans and next 11 ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and chill 1 to 24 hours. Serve with tortilla chips.

Another great recipe from Southern Living, December 2008.