retirement, heartbreak and mending

Guilty Pleasures

The pervasive theme of my entire adult life has been to keep everyone housed and fed. To that end, I have consistently and diligently exercised, if I do say so myself, a stellar Protestant work ethic.

Now that I'm retired I find myself spending a long, peaceful mornings on the patio, listening to the water in the pond, keeping Bailey company while she chases butterfly shadows, drinking coffee and reading, with Kashi napping nearby.

While this activity is exactly what I want to be doing when I'm doing it, I find there is some small ridiculous ember of guilt glowing in the background. And I don't know why. I put in my time and I deserve this now. I am not taking anything from anyone in order to indulge in this way. So what is it that gives me that feeling?

Disdain for Stain

After attending YouTube U to learn what's involved in staining a concrete floor, I say fuggedaboutit! Decision made: I'm going to have to paper what isn't going to get carpet.

Fractured Fairy Tale

For the life of me, I cannot understand how my family, those who were raised by me, can spend long periods of time isolating from one another.

Last night was rough. A conversation that had to be had was had. It was prickly, uncomfortable, scary and difficult. I was left feeling like I was on death row for a crime I did not commit. I lay in bed for hours, unable to shut my brain off, even after it occurred to me that the accusations were ludicrous.  (That is not me!) Injustice is a hard pill for me to swallow. I had to force myself to focus on the sound of the fan and visualize all my cares flying away into the night like fireflies.

"You'd die for them, happily. Your family. But at the same time you think, Chist, I can't die! What might happen to them if I weren't here? And you know bloody well that you mostly can't help them anyway; they've got to do it – or not – themselves."
– Hal Grey, in Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabledon

Update: Breakthrough

My daughter has come to the conclusion that we cannot move forward if she remains in the past, so she made the simple decision to leave it behind. This is great news for our relationship, although I do worry she may retain lingering thoughts or questions that will gnaw at her. But I hope not.

What's Up... Vance and Molly

It's been over four months since I posted that I should be writing more, and the most I've written in that time is a grocery list. Sad!

Mom finally sold her house in Oregon and was packing to move in with my sister, so there was a semi-mad dash to finish some things at Cory's place to make it ready. Over three weeks, I helped  clean and paint what would become Mom's sewing room and install a shopping bag paper floor in the basement so she can make that her fortress of solitude.

Then Corbin inked a deal for a commercial space where he and Nancy are opening their new business. (Shameless plug: go to and give them the business!!) Steve and I helped them paint and prep the space, interspersed with spilled paint disasters (thanks, Bailey!) and squirt gun fights (thanks, Nancy!). They'll be opening for business SOON!!!

I've been doing a lot of home improvementy things around my own abode. Small things. Probably not noticeable to others until I physically drag them over and say, "LOOK WHAT I DID!"

I show them the front door where I scrubbed off 20 years of cat pee and repainted and now it looks all fresh and clean.

I show them the address sign I painted but haven't yet put on the house.

I show them the other address sign I painted on the curb because I'm too adamantly DIY to pay $5 to the vagrants that come to the door and offer to paint it for me every couple of years.

I show them the bathroom we finished (finally! with a little help from our friends).

Note the exemplary paper floor.

I show them the glass lanterns I've collected and, recently spruced up by painting the insides with nail polish, hung from the patio roof.

They make kind, appropriate sounds. "Cool," say they.

Not as cool are the big patches of my w-w carpet that I've had to cut out and discard because my 15 year old grand dame


all of a sudden thinks it's much more satisfying to pee on carpet than in any of the potty boxes. I'm trying to decide what to do with those areas and when. It would be dumb to have new carpet installed, only to let her pee on that; we're wondering if we want to try staining or painting the concrete sub-floor to see if we like that as much as the floor at Nugget Market. Anyway...TBD.

Some time back I became a Verified Doobert Transporter. You can read about the organization at, but I'll save you the trouble. It's an animal rescue thing. Once they vet you and decide you're not a cat/dog murderer, you can volunteer for any relay legs you like for a given transport. For example, earlier this month Steve and I drove to Colfax to pick up Vance, a 2 year old Treeing Walker Hound, and Molly, a 4 year old Beagle/hound mix.

We schlepped them back to Sacramento and handed them off to the next volunteer. The dogs' trip originated in Minnesota and would end in Santa Rosa, so our part was small, but they were very nice passengers, it was a very pleasant volunteer gig, and we can't wait to do it again.

Oh, also, I'm teaching Bailey to ride in a shopping cart. Because she's cool and I like taking her everywhere with me.

"Hey lady. Try the Oolong."

The kids and grand-kids are all fine, although there's always the on-again, off-again saga of who's speaking to whom and whom isn't. It seriously blows my mind that this happens in my nuclear family. I don't understand it, and it stresses me out to think about it, so I mostly don't. They're all traveling down their own individual paths and they must have a reason so I just leave it alone. When they want to talk, or visit, I figure they'll let me know / invite me. In the meantime, I just respect their privacy and love them from afar.

And in would have been my 35th wedding anniversary. For what that's worth.