After my morning walk and chores, I sit down with my coffee and turn on my painting music to start my painting day. I usually paint with Enya, Native American and Instrumental music. However, my shuffle came on and I listened to the song “Until I Found You” by Stephen Sanchez. Well, I’ve not been lucky in the spouse category, but I thought about my children. I must give them kudos. My kids (Cassie, Alex, Kate, Luke) and their spouses (Andy, Josh, Mimi) have shown me so much love, support, and respect. They are strong loving individuals who provide for their children and have given their children love, respect and guidance. When we reach our 7th decade, we realize life is getting shorter and we don’t know whether we have a day, a decade or three, but the end does come into sight. I just want my children to know that my heart is full and I’m so very proud of them. And as siblings, they love each other, respect each other and communicate and celebrate together. There is nothing that could make me happier and so fulfilled in my life. Raising these four individuals has been my success in this life./per
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BANANAS: What do you do with overly ripe bananas that are not yet brown? Here is what I’ve been doing for a few years now:
- Peel and cut into chunks. Put chunks into a freezer bag and freeze. (They do not brown when frozen.)
- Add frozen chunks to protein shakes and smoothies.
- Blend eggs, banana chunks and a little milk to make great pancakes.
- Blend banana chunks, yogurt and ice to make ice cream. Can always add flavoring. Add milk if it’s too thick, but you want it frozen like ice cream, so be careful adding liquids.
- Add frozen banana chunks to banana bread recipe.
I’m single and seem to never be able to eat a batch of bananas before they get too ripe. A neighbor told me about the ice cream recipe a few years ago. Now, after a few days of ripening, I just peel, cut in chunks and freeze my bananas. You could do this with other fruit as well, but I generally just buy frozen berries to use with my frozen bananas.
A Redefined Life
It’s been awhile since I last posted. I had written about retirement and the need to redefine my life. At the tender age of 69, I believe that I have finally redefined my life and feel comfortable in my new skin.
I had worked nearly 30 years in state government, but started out with a BS in Art Education and having teaching certificates, elementary education and Art K-12. During this training, I learned pottery, silversmithing, drawing and painting. I still have some items I made in college. I never really taught other than substitute teaching, scabbing, and running my own private, state licensed, preschool and kindergarten. When my kids were older and I was divorcing their father, I landed a state job that gave me a long career that started out in mental health and ended in behavioral health. I was fortunate to go back to school for my MPA, master’s public administration, which led to mostly management type positions. About midway in my career, I became a nationally trained administrative law investigator while continuing work within state government. I loved this work, plain and simple. It was very difficult when I retired in 2013, because I felt at a loss leaving my work behind. You could say that retirement was forced on me, as I was faded out due to age and having a boss that was allowed to force out other long-term employees shortly before their normal retirement age. I was one of the lucky few that at least had enough state-work years in to achieve full retirement benefits.
However, this blog is really about redefining myself and getting back to some root talents and love. I fell in love with art my junior year of high school. By my senior year, I had decided to go to school to be able to teach art. Due to “life” circumstances, I never really taught other than what was mentioned above.
In the late 70s, early 80s, my mom started taking some art classes with Priscilla Hauser. My mom became a wonderful painter and on occasion when I went home to see her, my mom showed me some of the painting she had learned from her classes. I purchased some of the art books from Priscilla Hauser, Sherry C Nelson, and others. I started painting again. But with work, going back to school, and raising four children as a single parent, painting was put away.
In the early years of my retirement, I became immersed in hiking. When I could, I took road trips with my paw and we camped and hiked. In 2018, my standard poodle, Jake, and I traveled 6600 miles, camped for about 18-20 nights, visited 13 National Parks and visited family for 2-3 nights each. In 2019, my new standard poodle, Ghost, and I camped and hiked for another 2-3 weeks, but stayed in places for a longer duration. On our last night camping before heading home, I fell and tore my hamstring. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such pain before this injury. One of my daughters drove me from CA, where the injury occurred, to AZ where I lived so I could obtain treatment.
During my retirement in 2013 until now, 2020, I sold my home and moved into an active adult community into a condo I purchased. Moving to this active adult community was a lifesaver for me. I had hundreds of clubs at my disposal, four recreational centers, and neighbors my own age. There was also golfing, but, alas, I’m, not a golfer. Instead, I joined a silversmithing club, a pottery club, a photography club and took some painting classes. The clubs got to be not as enjoyable as I would have liked and they each required us to work at the clubs, which helped keep the membership dues very low. However, I felt too strung out between all the clubs, so due to my hamstring injury recovery period and simply wanting to lesson my involvement, I dropped all the clubs.
The good thing about dropping the clubs is that it gave me more time to paint. I love painting and now have the time to paint everyday, if I so choose. I belong to a painting online website, “Let’s Paint with Plaid”, and watch many youtube videos from great painters.
I feel like I am improving every day and creating enough inventory that I hope to start selling in the foreseeable future. I can honestly say that I’m now comfortable with retirement and miss my working years less and less. With the pandemic, I’m not sure I will travel this year, and at the moment, my walks and hikes are confined to my local environment. But, that is okay. I feel healthy and love to paint. I’m including some pictures of paintings, which include paintings I’ve done in the 1980s and 2020s.