Tag Archives: retirement

Downsize Then Downsize Some More

8 Jul

Retirement and a new life in Mexico provided a much needed opportunity to dig through our stuff and get real about what to keep and what to get rid of. As we prepared for the big move five years ago, we had many garage sales, gave memorabilia to family and the rest to Goodwill. And I thought I was already a minimalist. NOT!

The Day Before We Left Austin, TX

Our son and his family hauled off furniture we didn’t need.

Part of the problem was that we were very unsure about what we would need. It took us two years to begin construction of our house. We also had never lived in a tropical region. People told us not to bring rugs to a humid climate. We did anyway and didn’t regret it.

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A lot has changed in three years.

I bought a fancy portable sewing machine because I wanted to make my own clothes and wasn’t sure I could get one here. I was wrong, Not only are there many lovely sewing machines sold here, I have hardly touched the one I brought.

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A new fence. The trees have really grown.

Other people suggested that we get a storage unit and bring things gradually as we needed them. That might work for some, but it was a “hell no” for us. We were burning bridges and wanted nothing to weigh us down, especially a storage unit.

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Even our bodega got a makeover. The only thing we store is kayak equipment.

Our intention for a new life was minimalist living in a much smaller space. Packing, transporting, unpacking, storing, maintaining “stuff” takes its toll and has a price. Today, five years into living in Mexico, I find that I have had to go through my plastic bins and get realistic about the yarn, fabric, books, videos etc. that were once so important to me. On my last visit to Texas I schlepped back precious pattern books to give to friends. It was time to get real, there will be very little knitting or crocheting in my future.

Becomingminimalist.com

Truthfully I still own too much. Here’s some websites you might find interesting. Poco a poco, little by little… DOS TORTAS

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Lightning Strikes Twice

18 Mar

I have experienced typhoons in Japan, hurricanes in Texas and lightning in a snow storm in New Jersey, but nothing like the electrical storm we had this week in Bacalar, Mexico. This was a doozy.

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The evening started with quiet flashes and increased breezes coming from the north. Only because we had just installed hurricane curtains on our screened-in porch, did we close up the house and head to bed. Might as well give these puppies a go. Lord were we in for a night!

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An example of some of the storms that roll across the Laguna.

It wasn’t long before the storm hit. Blinding flashes exploded one after another followed immediately by ear splitting sonic booms which told me that the storm was stalled right over us. My father had taught me to count, one-thousand one, one-thousand two, between lightning and thunder claps to track the storm’s movement. It was right on us and I was glad for the concrete bunker that we live in and our newly installed protection.

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Just in time.

I badly wanted to go up on the roof to watch the storm, but frankly I was scared. Mexico leads the world in death from lightning (National Lightning Safety Institute) and I wasn’t about to be stupid. The lack of grounding wire in many homes in Mexico is likely the culprit, not to mention the spaghetti bowl of dangling wire that can be seen all over most cities.

I checked on the dogs who seemed to be doing quite well considering, battened down the hatches some more and climbed into bed. I fell asleep counting one-thousand one, one-thousand two, as the storm slowly moved away.

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NOT taken during the storm.

The next morning our yard looked like it had been through a spin cycle. Two banana trees came down with their top-heavy load of green bananas, lots of leaves, and a few big branches was all. We had gotten a much needed drenching and overall faired pretty well. It took a few days but all is back in order. Next time I will take pictures.

DOS TORTAS

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Finding Your Voice

28 Jan

I remember kindergarten and the teacher presenting a table of musical instruments for a pint sized marching band. For some unknown reason, I chose the baton to lead the band. I remember my teacher reporting later to my mother in a certain voice that I “liked to be in charge”. It is my first memory of having my voice squashed.

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We are living in inspired times with women finding their bold, beautiful voices. Whether marching in pink hats, accepting awards, or naming their abuser. I understand the old need for self preservation and its long term consequences to our soul, and the heady power of speaking out.

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The orchid in my yard has no trouble finding her voice.

My government job, at times helped me find my voice. I presented at national conferences and brainstormed around tables. I was respected in my field. Then the times changed, the funding dried up and my position disappeared. That’s the way it goes sometimes in a regime change. Also my gray hair made it impossible to find a comparable job. It was time to retire.

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Lisa and my last Christmas in Texas (2012). I was still working and planning our escape.

The question I ask myself and pose to you is, “how do you continue to use your voice as you age?” I find it easy to be quiet and let others make decisions, which affords little personal growth and is plain lazy.

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Retirement looks good on us.

Looking in the mirror, I realize at least two ways I continue expressing myself, one is this blog and the other my budding art practice. Some weeks I know what I want to say and have my topic well fleshed out by Sunday. Other weeks, like today, it appears as I put fingers to keyboard.

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Last night when I couldn’t sleep.

My art is becoming more and more fearless, at least for me. I leave next Sunday for a week of watercolor painting in Merida. We’ll see what shows up. I’m excited. So whether you need to be quiet and listen more, or sing your opinions from the rooftop, please share your thoughts in the comments section. It really is inspiring to hear from you.

DOS TORTAS

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You Win Some You Loose Some

30 Jul

On Wednesday this week, I lost and found my diamond necklace and had my iPad stolen from my luggage, both on the same day. Travel has its perils.

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Winery beauty Northern California.

Sitting on the plane as we landed in Mexico City to start our U.S. vacation, my hand went to my throat and my necklace was missing. With an attempt at no drama, we looked through the plane seat and sent messages to our house sitter and friend who drove us to the airport. No luck. There wasn’t much else to do, so we continued with our travels.

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Petunias

Hours later, Lisa pointed incredulously at my foot, “what’s that?” and there was the necklace tangled in my shoe laces! It must have fallen and in my 3 a.m. stupor, I tied it into the bow! How crazy is that? I was feeling pretty smug at not having gotten upset at the possible loss of my beloved necklace. Not so fast, the day was young.

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Blooming artichoke.

Any way you look at it, travel these days is getting more stressful, especially international travel. There’s the luggage, fees, passports, immigration paperwork, security, finding your gate, layovers, delays etc. etc. In our case, all is negotiated in Spanish.

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Who doesn’t love goats at a winery ❤️ she looks pregnant.

We landed without further event in San Francisco. The plane arrived thirty minutes early. We slid through immigration and ran to catch an earlier shuttle than we expected for the two hour ride to my daughter’s house. Things were clicking along until I reached into my suitcase to retrieve my iPad. I had it stowed in my checked bag due to newly released security warnings. Drum roll….

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The cover was there but no iPad. Our very long day just got longer. Fast forward to today, I have a new iPad and thanks to that mysterious thing called the cloud, my old pad has been erased and a new one restored. I wish I could say that there was no drama. I understand in my head why people steal, but it’s hard not to take it personally. Replacing a device is an inconvenience, not to mention a pain in the ass and an expense. Lesson learned, nothing of value in checked luggage. When we moved to Mexico we had visions of zipping north to visit the grands. Not as easy as we though and one more thing to consider when making plans to retire in Mexico.

DOS TORTAS

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Inspiration And A Plan (2)

19 Mar

The painting challenge #21emBODY with artist extraordinaire Connie Solera continues this week with the prompts EYES, LIPS, NOSE, TOES, SHOULDERS, NECK and HIPS. Retired and living in Mexico, I appreciate the creativity, structure and opportunity to nurture my artistic spark. The idea is to heal our body, one part at a time. I don’t know about healing, but it sure has been fun.

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Hazel Eyes

Staring into my 65 year old eyes, with the wrinkles and skimpy lashes was hard at first. After awhile I became fascinated with me.

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Lips

I used the painting of lips as my experiment with color. I’ve wanted to use myself as the model for this process and a blue painting was my attempt at playfulness.

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Nose

A change from staring a my own face I decided to switch it up again. I choose another nose that is dear to my heart these days. Our dog Luna provides never ending entertainment. This is a replication of one of my favorite pictures of her.

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Toes

Ah, yes, toes. I got down on the floor and played with camera angles to get this upside down perspective. Sketching has also been a fun part of the process. My need to be perfect is falling away.

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Shoulders

Continuing to play with color resulted in this blue/green rendition of myself. I experienced  a lot of shoulder pain at one time and would wake at night with my shoulders reaching for my ears, my body’s response to stress. No more! I’m loving these relaxed shoulders.

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Neck

A bit more stylized, this self portrait hardly resembles me today. It was fun to paint and I added a scarf as an afterthought. You who know me are familiar with my pleasure in making, collecting and wearing scarves .

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Hips

And finally this week, I celebrate my hips. I went to the art supply store yesterday in search of some oil pastels. I’d like to branch out and try new techniques. I like the colors and texture the pastels produced.

As life has spun around me this week, painting has provided an anchor and a focus. I’ve surprised myself with the outcome. I am loosening my grip and need to control. If that’s not healing, I don’t know what is. DOS TORTAS

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Nana’s Visit To California

9 Oct

Visiting friends, children and grandchildren in the States is a bittersweet part of retirement life in Mexico. Please enjoy a few pictures while I head out this morning to car shop with my daughter and her husband during my vacation to Northern California.

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Taking selfies with dear friends.

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Riding in the back seat with Maxwell.

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A fun time taking pictures at the pumpkin patch.

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The children’s museum.

Max is a great one handed walker who took seven steps to Grandma Lisa on Skype last night. Lisa is holding down the fort in Bacalar. We have a new fence going up while I’m gone.

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A grainy photo of the new privacy fence between us and the neighbors.

In an effort to settle the ongoing conflict with our neighbors, we have put up a fence to keep Luna in and curious eyes out. We now have a small stretch of privacy fence that will have a planter with lovely vines along it. (See Standoff With The Neighbors-How It’s Done In Mexico)

DOS TORTAS

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Honey have you seen my….?

4 Aug

Have you seen my phone, keys, wallet, Ipad, recharger, badge…? So much stuff to keep track of. This week I let go of a big one, the badge. I remember when it wasn’t necessary to swipe a badge to enter a building or an office. No picture was hanging from my lapel to identify me as NOT an intruder, crazy gun toter or perpetrator of domestic violence.

Wednesday was my last day of state employment. I was touched by the kind sentiments of folks who expressed sadness over my departure. The question of the day was, “are you excited???” Funny enough, I wasn’t. We have a huge adventure looming on the horizon with much to accomplish in the next two weeks. However, I did finally hit excitement yesterday when we set a departure date, two weeks from today! Yesterday we signed papers to put the sale of our house into the very capable hands of our dear friend Suze Miller. Once we depart, the house will be staged and sold rapidament (gracias a Dios). Until then, I will be very busy.

No More Stinkin Badge

No More Stinkin Badge

One last thing, we had a family get-together last Wednesday to celebrate my retirement and got a surprise gift we didn’t expect. My youngest son and his fiance are expecting a baby in January, a little girl, Sophia Aria Fisher. Life just get’s better and better.

Hunter's getting a sister!

Hunter’s getting a sister!

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