As I get close to wrapping up my 20th year as a librarian, I’ve been thinking about the future. I’ve always just assumed that I would invest thirty years in my chosen (and mostly beloved) career, but the last few years have been challenging with ridiculous teacher evaluations handed down by
Governor Cuomo State Ed and tight school budgets causing the elimination of positions. It’s been a little disheartening, to be honest, and I think I just might need to have a new plan…
In a little more than five years I will be 55 years old and should have 25 years into the NYS Teacher’s Retirement System. That seems like a substantial amount of time to devote to a profession and I think that may be the perfect threshold to my relationship with teaching. Maybe 30 years isn’t really in the cards for me…
Writing those words caused my stomach to buzz with nerves…and excitement. Walking away from my steady paycheck will be a leap of faith that gets my heart beating a little fast. Mt first response to letting go of financial security is to think about all the reasons why I shouldn’t retire “early.” You know things like the fact that my youngest child will only be 16 years-old with college still to come and my house won’t be quite paid off and I’ll be paying increased out-of-pocket cost related to maintaining the excellent health insurance I presently have. And, really, who knows what the future holds in terms of income from Lark + Lily. Do you think I may actually see some income from this labor of love project?
But, something changed this week, almost as if a coin flipped to the other side and I began considering all the ways my life might improve should I retire in another 5 or 6 years. Instead of focusing on what I may not have available in terms of financial flexibility, I started thinking about the freedom that retirement will offer me. I’ll be able to spend more time with my youngest child. Travel plans can be made based upon when I want to get away rather than dates that are dictated by a school calendar. I’ll have opportunities to pursue other interests – maybe writing, photography or perhaps a position that involves promoting or supporting one of the organizations about which I feel so strongly. I’m feeling recommitted to my teaching job (after summer vacation) and curious to learn what the future may hold in store for me. I think I’ve got a plan.
I’ve booked the first of our mini family vacations and I’m kind of excited about going somewhere new. Once the Cape thing fell apart, I consulted with my crew and Toronto came up as a potential destination. After a moment of insanity when I actually considered doing Cleveland, Niagara Falls and Toronto, I got real and settled on Niagara Falls and Toronto. Despite the appeal of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that 7 additional hours in the car would just break me.
None of us have ever visited Canada beyond Montreal and I’m looking forward to seeing a new place. I mean, life’s all about that, isn’t it? I’ve booked the hotels, all in Canada, but beyond that we’re completely open. It seems that we must do some sort of boat ride at the Falls, right? Do any of you have a recommendation or do we just go with Maid of the Mist? My oldest son is set on visiting the CN Tower and Casa Loma in Toronto, so I’m thinking it might make sense to buy this city pass. I’m sure we can fit another attraction or two in from what’s included and it sure would simplify things. Simple is what I need right now.
Seeing that Toronto has a Chinatown and we have a tradition of having Peking Duck in Chinatowns in 6 cities in 3 countries on 2 continents, so far, I’m sure one of our meals will be Chinese. What other foods should we sample? Our location looks pretty central and I’m hoping to park the car and either walk or take transportation to most of the sights. Any tips for that?
My next task is to organize a little getaway for August – I’m thinking maybe a cabin on a lake for a few nights. Feel free to make recommendations – dog friendly, if possible. Jeter deserves a little vacation, too!
My house would be cleaner. Right now a twice weekly vacuuming, paired with a weekly bathroom cleaning and a more sporadic schedule of dusting, is the best I can do.
I would bake my own bread – sans high fructose corn syrup and other bogus ingredients.
The thank you cards and other correspondence I would like to, and intend to, write would make it out of my head and onto paper.
I’d get to more yoga classes.
I might consider getting to the Co-op more often, especially for granola and spices.
Hell, I’d make my own granola!
I would foam roll and lift weights more frequently.
I imagine I’d be further along in Breaking Bad than I am presently.
There would be time for more conversations with the people I love.
I’d probably fill those hours up with events, tasks, chores and activities. It seems to be what I do.
You may not know this but I’m kind of a fashionista, if fashionista means a person who is interested and excited by fashion. I’ve been into fashion for as long as I can remember with my first favorite outfit consisting of matching stretchy pink lace undergarments that I would happily reveal to any visitors. I think I was three.
The spring fashions that I’ve seen so far this year have thrilled me more than any I have seen in years. The “new bohemian” look is screaming my name and I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate a few key elements into my wardrobe. Because, that’s what stylish people do, right? They never buy the whole package, preferring to collect a couple of pieces that acknowledge a trend without getting lost in it. Below are a couple of my favorite looks from March’s InStyle, an outstanding issue, by the way.
What are you and your closet craving this year?
- What do you think is more likely to change – a person or a situation?
- Do people get run over every day on Troy’s Hoosick Street? Why aren’t there more pedestrian crosswalks? Why don’t people use the ones which are there?
- Is it uncommon to alternate between feeling feel ultra calm and on the verge of hyperventilating?
- Are you registered to vote? Have you seen the Republican candidates? Don’t they make you want to vote?
- How fun does this look? Who else is in?
- Is it easier for you to remember or to forget?
- Any advice on how to score tickets for a soccer match in Barcelona? Lisbon?
- Did you make any resolutions for 2015? How’s that going?
- Do you agree that most people would be more pleasant if we had a 3-day weekend every week?
- If you could only have one flavor of ice cream for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What scares you more – things never changing or the fact that they might not stay the same?
This summer I did something I’d been threatening to do for at least a year – I turned in my DVR and bought a Roku. For those of you who may be considering doing the same thing, let me share what I’ve learned.
- Handing in the DVR box was completely painless. I went to the Time-Warner “store” at Colonie Center and it couldn’t have been any easier. There was no hard sell, no “speak to my manager” nonsense, just a simple and stress free transaction.
- Our next stop was Sears where, for approximately $50, we bought a Roku 1. Our television is probably 10 years old and the first generation Roku was what we needed, there are other options for new televisions.
- Once we got home, I conceded to my teenaged son and allowed him to set the Roku up, a process which took less than 10 minutes from in the box to on the screen. Since I kept Time Warner as my internet provider, all we had to do was register the Roku and connect.
- As the summer progressed we unanimously Agreed that we missed one thing about having cable – the clock on the DVR box. No, seriously, that was the big loss to our family room – the clock! Other than an occasional jones for HGTV or Cartoon Network, we did fine with our Amazon Prime and Netflix Streaming offerings.
- My bill went from $140 a month (a combined amount for DVR cable box and internet) to just over $50 per month. Of course, Amazon Prime is about $100 annually and Netflix is, I believe, $7 or $8 a month, but we already were paying for these services in addition to Time Warner.
- The U.S. Open has dominated my Labor Day weekends for a good number of years and I was kind of missing the chance to watch it on television. I did some super quick research and it turns out that Sling has a package of channels (including 3 ESPN choices, HGTV, Cartoon network and A & E) for $20 a month. That seemed worthwhile to me and I signed up for a 7-day free trial. I imagine we’ll continue the service.
How about you? Are you still connected to cable? How much are you paying a month for television programming?
Despite not having been impressed with the class I took last month in P’town, I decided to give stand up paddle boarding yoga a second try recently. Although I’m still not completely hooked on the concept, I had a much more positive experience this time around and that’s saying a lot considering I was the only person to fall in the lake and there was a giggly Girl Scout troop attending the class.
Taught by Rhiana out of the Kayak Shack, with numerous classes at various times available, the class is approximately 90 minutes long and costs a reasonable $35. Chrissy and I headed up early and were able to get on our boards for a bonus bit of a paddle around prior to class, eventually meeting up with the group and paddling into an area thick with lily pads in an attempt to keep our boards stationary. It seemed to work for everyone but me, but, it wasn’t a real problem to paddle back into place periodically.
No, the real problem was the strap on my bathing suit which nearly turned SUP yoga into topless SUP yoga. Repeatedly fixing that was far more distracting than a gaggle of girls. The other distraction was the sky – it was just beautiful, streaked with pink and yellow as the sun slowly returned to the horizon. This was what I had always hoped for when doing yoga outdoors, yet consistently found elusive.
The scenery alone made the experience gratifying, but the workout was also satisfying. Rhiana took into account the different levels of experience and athleticism and led our group through a class which was differentiated and challenging. I’d definitely take this class again – Scout’s honor.