Garden Gate

So we had a bit of a mishap at the community garden.  It appears someone or something hit the gate posts and broke them.  As the community garden coordinator, I arranged to get it repaired.  I found a great handyman not too long ago, he helped me with some repairs on a townhouse that I am looking after for a friend who is active duty and deployed to Europe.  Anyway, the gate would hardly open as the posts wobbled back and forth.  So Joe the handyman had a pretty large job to dig up the posts and concrete so he could replace them.  The gate looks great and works so much better.

The vegie garden is not looking so good, heat and disease are taking a toll.  If we can persevere for a couple more weeks, then the plants should produce through the fall.

The pollinators keep on doing their job.  I see lots of butterflies and bees working away.

Just Zippy!

It seems I have a lot on my mind however when I try and put it down on paper… pffft! its gone.  This will be a disjointed and rambling post as I write about the stuff filling my days.

I have a consulting agreement and have been helping a company with proposal development.  I have found it interesting, challenging, tiring, and rewarding.  I have established my own LLC, set up the accounting, generated invoices, ordered business cards, and am in process on my resume, business plan, paying taxes, so I have more work to do.  I also have to figure out how to get more work!  I definitely am “busy learning on the learning curve” as Jeb in Donna the Buffalo sings in “Conscious Evolution”.  One of my favorite DTB songs, I once wrote a paper on the song for one of my classes at American University.

On the Beach condo front, we should close on Friday though I am not convinced we will.  What a cluster this whole transaction has been.  I started to write down all the craziness but think I better not.  Suffice to say I will be so glad when this is done. I plan to go to the closing and then stay at the beach for 2 weeks, something I have dreamed of doing for awhile.

I do love to make lists so have lists of all the things that I will take down to the new place.  Also saw two good book lists in the Post this weekend.  From this article on Heres what to read this summer if you are entering law school, several books caught my eye – In Cold Blood, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Federalist Papers.   I have read the latter two before but am sure they are worthy of a re-read.

Another book list comes from the Post’s Book World, 23 books we’ve loved so far this year, several on here caught my eye, Delicious Foods, Not what you would think, more of a thriller than anything, The Green Road and The Whites look intriguing also.

I am reading How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free, lots of good ideas and advice.  And I felt wild and free in June when I went zip lining for the first time.  A bit scary for sure, I admit to shaky legs on the first one or two jumps.  I will definitely do this again.IMG_8445IMG_8519 IMG_8595

Semi

On Monday, I went from retired to semi-retired.  Signed an agreement and received a statement of work to do some consulting.  And I went to work yesterday!  I think I will like this engagement as it uses my knowledge and work experiences.  So my retirement lasted 106 days–my hubby asked that I not do anything for 60 days and I made that.

Some may wonder why do I want to work if I don’t have to work for the money?!  The main reason is  I really want something to occupy me though I have found a lot of things to do in the last 100+ days, like gardening, cleaning, organizing, buying a beach condo, and traveling.  I haven’t felt like my mind was engaged.  Do you know how you feel when you are mentally challenged on some task or project?  I like that feeling, maybe there is some adrenaline rush or sense of satisfaction?

Since retired, I have worked soduku, played words with friends, read a TON of books (not really as most are on my iPad!), prepared budgets, organized documents for the beach condo, and still I have found myself just a teensy bit–here is that dreaded word, BORED.  Did you hate when your child would come up and say, MOM, I’m BORED!  My son soon learned to not say that to me as I always found him something to do and he probably didn’t like it much!  A good lesson I learned from my mom.IMG_2429 IMG_0082

Anyway, here are a couple of photos from the community garden.  A little frog on the catch basin, and this after one of the gardeners insinuated that I used PREEN on my garden because it was weed-free and of course the PREEN killed all of our garden frogs!  I think the snake(s) ate some of the frogs, as the hunting was pretty easy.  And we have one water barrel full of tadpoles…  The second photo is the butterfly garden with jo-pye weed, milkweed, clover, etc.  The milkweed started blooming so am on the lookout for the monarchs!

Just Beachy

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I have dreamt and planned to live near the water some day.  Preferable coastal, not necessarily beachfront. And then kind of spur of the moment yesterday, we put an offer on a condo at Ocean Isle Beach, one block off the beach.   After a little negotiating, we have a deal and will close on it in July. Buying it with my sister-in-law, I told hubby this am that he is now in a partnership with BOTH his wife and sister.  He doesn’t think he stands a chance!

We love this beach community and go every year, its very laid back, not too touristy, and family oriented.  DSC_0035

The community has boat docks for fishing and tieing up when the tide is in.  Lovely sunsets too! During low tide, you can go to the western point and find all kinds of shells and sealife in the tidal pools.

I don’t quite have the hang of adding photos in wordpress.  I will keep practicing for sure.

On the work front, I hope to be re-employed within the next couple of weeks, lord knows will need the extra cash now!  I have been talking to a consulting firm and think I may have my first gig!

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I really wanted that shark’s eye however a hermit crab beat me to it.

Catching Up

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So I think my blog’s title was/is a bit ambitious.  Daystreaming? implies something more periodic than once every few weeks.  So I’m thinking about changing the blog’s name or not, blogging in a more disciplined manner or not, will have to figure it out or not.

And those thoughts right there sum up my current state.  Two+ months post retirement and no single crystal clear motivation has emerged-YET!  I laugh at myself because I have cleaned, de-cluttered and organized most of the house and yard and have more on my to-do list.

Since my last post, I have been to Merlefest and niece’s wedding weekend in Atlanta. I will post more from Merle separately, I don’t have my usual supply of photos as I got my Nikon 3100 wet the first night at the show and it quit working.  Did you know you can send it off to Nikon and they will repair if possible?  So I did that and after $225, my camera is due to arrive before the weekend back in working order.

Tonight is the Dear Jerry tribute at Merriweather Post Pavilion which looks like it will be cool weather with lots of rules: no lawn chairs, no coolers, no grills in the parking lot, only one sealed water bottle or one empty reusable water bottle, no picnic baskets, food can only be brought in clear, plastic containers… so much for tailgating or having a picnic dinner on the blanket on the lawn.  It appears these rules serve to ensure you will buy ALL your food and beverages from vendors inside the venue.  Will definitely report back on the show.  Here is an update on the show’s lineup Dear Jerry Concert details.

Back at ya soon-or not!

Not working update

So 37 days into “retirement”, I decided not to call it retirement.  I consider myself in between jobs at the moment without a clear idea what kind of work I want to pursue.  As I ponder this next act, I am reading a lot of different things.  Like this website Encore, Second acts for the greater good.  And then this article in this mornings WA Post, How long do I have? and why one may not want to retire!  I admit to being a bit bored which is probably normal as I went from a fast-paced, stressful environment to an extended vacation!

So to keep busy, I “interviewed” for a volunteer position at the hospital.  And looks like I will start that in May, every Wed for 4 hours.  Over the last few weeks, I have been to the beach, to visit my mom and then to visit son at school. I have my community garden spot tilled and early spring stuff in the ground.  I have seedlings sprouted and getting ready to set out.  On this rainy day I intend to start cleaning and organizing.

While visiting our son, we drove around Claytor Lake State Park.  I think I would like to return this summer if for no other reason to swim out to this platform!

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Hiatus

So I took a hiatus in writing, I got busy with lots of life stuff. Starting with the retirement party that went off quite well, we had over 50 friends and co-workers there.  The party marked the official end to my USDA career,


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I went to my sister’s beach place for a long weekend to celebrate her daughter’s bachelorette weekend.  We had perfect beach weather and a fabulous weekend celebrating.  I don’t plan to share any photos or stories from that though.  I think those are best left for others to share. I do think my niece and her friends are lovely, smart, and classy young women.  I especially enjoyed the beach and the weather.  Bring on spring!

I do want to mention the restaurants where we dined.  We had lunch at The Gulf at Perdido Pass. IMG_2064The restaurant is casual with all outside dining and the above view was from the restaurant.  I had the grouper sandwich and it was quite tasty!  Others in the party tried the hamburgers.

We dined at Cobalt which has lovely sunset views and great food.  I had grouper again, paneed grouper this time and it was fabulous.

I find myself in a work hiatus.  A strange feeling for sure. I observe others working, reading emails, taking phone calls, dealing with issues.  Some of the habits I had like 2 cellphones and 2 iPads, one for work and one for personal are over.  I used to check my work emails first thing in the am and last thing at night and many times in between.  Now I look at emails and it is mostly spam.  I am thinking about work again, just not going to rush it.  I have started the process to volunteer at the hospital.  And found a website Encore -Second acts for the greater good that provides advice on how to find your second career based on the desire to give back.  I really like the idea.  I guess I need to just relax and enjoy this hiatus.

Hump Day Doings

If you watch TV, you have probably seen the hump day commercials?

During at least one meeting on a Wednesday, someone at my work would mimic the “guess what day it is”, some better than others, bringing much needed humor to the subject at hand.

Now my Hump Day looks a bit different. I have my to-do list still. Doing yoga, calling the plumber, going to the grocery store (in anticipation of 4-8 in of snow tomorrow!) are way different than my work to-dos such as scheduling interviews, reviewing and editing budget testimony, IT roadmap, Approps committee talking points, hot issues etc.  And I usually experienced more than 1 fire to put out each day and it could easily trash my day to the point where I accomplished little else.  Oft times the fires came up from somebody’s failure to deal timely with a deadline or request.  A constant source of frustration!

So we just melted away all the ice and now tomorrow are due for 4-8 inches of snow though I hope the forecasters have it wrong!  DSC_0065

I have focused on indoor tasks, like cooking, organizing files, etc.  The other night I made Braised chicken with carrots and fennel.  I saw the recipe in Southern Living and left out the green olives (as the hubby won’t eat olives), added fennel and bone-in chicken wings.  I had to up the ingredient portions to about 1 1/2 the requirement.  Served it over couscous, the small kind not Israeli.  And then lightly steamed some asparagus to place on top.
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We plan to eat out tonight looking at one of these new-to-us restaurants.

Hanks Oyster BarBRABO or Jackson 20 all in Old Town.  I want to go to Hanks though I don’t think they take reservations.  I like BRABO’s menu though it is pricey.  So will see where we end up as we will be at home tomorrow, I’m sure.

Day 1

Just a quick post on day 1 of retirement.  I read this article, How Baby Boomers can revamp the economy, in the Post this weekend.  Some interesting thoughts on how  the concept of retirement is evolving.  I don’t intend to not work.  Just have not figured out what I will do other than take photos of the 6 ladies who frequent the backyard.

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I took these right before a big snow storm over President’s Day weekend.  And then here, one doe feeds at the bird feeder.

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The ice from yesterday’s storm is melting and I have some plans for today, nothing exciting.  Just doing what I want to do, no have-tos for now.

Re-Tired Message

The following message is what I sent out to all Farm Service Agency employees yesterday, on my last day in the office.  I wish I had written all of it, I did have help from our public affairs director.  He is so talented.  He reminded me that I don’t have to write in bureaucratese anymore!  I should write how I feel!  I hope I can re-train myself.

Woke up to a 2 hour delay due to another passing snow storm.  So my quiet cake and coffee reception was just that, exactly what I wanted.

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FSA Friends

As I prepare to retire on February 28, already I feel a gamut of emotions, from the fulfillment of attaining another milestone, to the joy of anticipating new days ahead.  I also feel the subtle apprehension of reaching the next juncture of my life.  And by now, I’ve felt the tears of my final conversations, knowing that in a few short days soon, I’ll be completing the boxing up of records and mementos, taking that last look around my room, clicking off the light, locking my door, and hearing those echoes of my footsteps down the long, tiled hallways of the South Building for the very last time.

I have had a truly remarkable career with USDA over the last 34 years.  I started with the Office of Inspector General, where some of my first assignments were auditing the county offices of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service across the Midwest.  Those days provided my first experiences with this incredible nationwide network of dedicated local staff – inspirations that have guided me to this day.  Later, I transferred to ASCS’s Kansas City office, and then to Washington, D.C. where I’ve worked hard to use my experiences during my earliest days in the field to keep the confidence of our county staff throughout the performance of my duties.

Right from the start, I became dedicated to FSA’s important mission of supporting and enhancing American agriculture, assisting our farmers and ranchers to become the most productive and efficient producers as they could be.  As I helped to implement six different farm bills, each time from a different perspective, my appreciation grew further as I saw how my colleagues kept their commitments to American agriculture and rural communities, through teamwork and cooperation.  I have been so fortunate to have had mentors, teachers, and brilliant leaders who provided me not just with many incredible opportunities along the way, but with many insights and inspirations that helped to light the path.

That’s why I will miss coming here every day – – because I love working with all of you.  I have always found FSA employees to be the best:  you are creative, collaborative, and compassionate.    FSA truly is and will continue to be the “Can-Do” agency.   As my days draw to a close, I am so grateful that I can say how proud I am of my career with FSA.  And most of all, I am so proud of what we have accomplished together.

All the best,

Candy