Crises in ice cream

“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.”

~ Elizabeth Edwards

Who said retirement was fabulous? Who said it would be easy? I want names and numbers (so I can wring their slimy little necks and give them a piece of my mind….).

Yeah, you read that correctly. I’ve had a bit of a struggle. For nearly 35 years, I’ve been part of a group, a dental group, and now, suddenly, I am not. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve said goodbye to saliva, bid my farewells to calculus (which often landed in my hair). I’ve also said adios to my achy back (and backstabbing as well). Yes, there are certain aspects of working in dentistry that I gladly left behind. But, then comes the “What’s next?” question and the identity crisis. Can I really find MEANING in dusting? Is there reward in a sparkly toilet bowl?

I’ve been reflecting lately, thinking about life, what mine means, how I now fit. While I don’t know yet where I’ll land, or whether I need to land anywhere, I’m reminded of a strategy I often used in the past when in the midst of turmoil.

When in doubt, do nothing.

Sometimes making decisions hastily leads to more turmoil. I’ve learned that taking my time, letting the answers come on their own–allowing due process to thoughts and feelings, quiet time, and all factors involved–brings peace.

Breathe. Be in the moment. Smell the roses. Stop fretting. Do nothing.

Yeah, I like that. Those. This thinking. Why must I be in a hurry to decide where or what is next? Why can’t I just be? Can’t I be good to me by allowing myself some latitude here? I have earned quiet time, I deserve to ponder in the quiet of my home, surrounded by things I love.

Certain things like simple beauty propel me forward:

new flowers_may 2017 (13)
Last year’s Foxglove…


new flowers_may 2017 (8)
…which is taller than all of us.

Simple gardening, enjoying the flowers that I planted last year that have resurfaced, along with the new.

wild flowers and veggies_may 2017
Top to bottom: wild flowers, thyme, basil, spinach, lettuce, wildflowers

And, who can resist these:

OK, stop laughing! Yes, that’s my voice and my daughter’s over our astonishment that there are not four, not five, but SIX kittens in this bunch. (I said stop!)

We can only get so close to the “nest” while mamma is away. We are worried she’ll come back while we’re trying to take a look. (Mamma Cat is not ours; she’s feral but has adopted us. We do not feed her, or any cats, outside. Still, she likes our home and has decided to stay. By the time we realized she was pregnant, it was too late to catch her–the plan once she’s finished nursing–so she can be fixed and released.)  In the meantime, I’m Mamma Cat’s self-appointed Mother-in-Charge of her and her babies.

I caught her in the act yesterday while she was moving her clan to a safer place. She hissed and growled at me. I’m dealing with it. I’ll be fine. Really. Sniff, sniff…

I also realized after I officially retired (on Feb. 23, 2016) that I had not been very good to me. Yep, that is correct. I had fallen away from good self care: enough sleep, enough water every day, the best food, enough exercise…..and so forth. As we moms often do, we rarely put ourselves first–and looking back, I’d put myself last again, for my family–but I hadn’t fully realized until I retired that I hadn’t helped myself one iota by the lifestyle I had adopted over the years.

I decided to start with some basics: food and simple nutrition. I cannot run this engine properly without the best fuel. I am Somersizing for those who are unfamiliar with this way of eating. After cutting out sugar and all processed food, it’s lots of fresh foods eaten in proper combinations to promote the best digestion. I’ve never eaten so well. I began April 1, and I’m down 6 1/2 pounds and several inches (I did not think to measure when I started). I feel so much better.

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Other basics: I’m trying to push the water, make myself MOVE every day, and get enough sleep. It’s amazing how the body responds positively when it’s treated right.

Not to forget emotional health, I came across this book recently.

quaker book of wisdom (2)I have never been overly religious and prefer to keep my beliefs to myself, but I will say that I agree with many aspects of this type of thinking. I found the following in the back:

1. Seize the present
2. Love yourself, whatever faults you have, and love the world, however bad it is.
3. Stop talking and listen to what you really know.
4. Play soccer! (Or whatever team sport you love)
5. Accept the fact that our lives are only partly in our own hands.
6. Believe in the perfectibility of yourself and society.
7. Make your love visible in the world through your work.
8. Seek justice in the world, but not in your own life.
9. Look for the light of God in every person.
10. Let your life speak.

If nothing, it gives me food for thought, let’s me pause when I need time to reflect. I may not have a “job” right now, not one in the traditional sense, but I am part of something (letting go of dental hygiene is harder than I thought–until I recall plaque). I’ve peacefully rediscovered my sense of belonging. I am part of this family, this household, this blogging world, my genealogy friends, and with #7 in mind, those flowers and kittens out there.

Retirement is not an event. It’s a process. No one told me that; rather, it had been painted as glee and glory. It can certainly be glee and glory, but for some, it brings to a close something that was pretty darned good for many years. To me that was a devastating loss.

My daughter whispered today to my husband to buy ice cream. Hmmm. If the only crisis I now face is which delectable dessert to buy or make, I say, Bring it!

elizabeth edwards quote_she stood in the storm and when the wind

Filthy Rich


“You aren’t wealthy until you have something money can’t buy.”

~ Garth Brooks

kitty snuggles
fall mornings
nature’s choice
changing seasons
unexpected lovely
bad judgment
worse  judgment
persistence (the husband working on his lunch hour)
a great childhood
loving parents and grandparents
fabulous children
who grew into fabulous adults
a matching sister (bangs included)
devoted parents

As I reflect on this idea and the things money cannot buy, I feel blessed and rich beyond measure. My sister and I were incredibly lucky to have the parents we have/had. We’ve discussed this many times. I hope this gives you pause, that you take a moment to reflect and think about what has enriched you and your life.


What in your life are you appreciative of and what has made you rich?

❤ ❤ ❤

Endings, Beginnings & #2

Sometime in May we began hearing faint mewing noises under the house through the vents inside and realized we had a family living “downstairs.” Our normally closed-up four foot crawl space was discovered by an expecting Mama where the bricks had been moved. Four to six weeks later, we saw evidence of our new “neighbors.”

Catching them, however, is another matter entirely. Mama is wild, and part of a situation I am not in favor of, not by a long shot.

A family in our neighborhood, good people with whom we’ve had a very good relationship over many years, keeps cats for mousing purposes only. ONLY. These cats are not allowed in their house, they are not named, they are not taken to the vet to make sure they remain healthy, and above all else, they are not fixed. Food and water is put out once a day. These folks want a continual stream of cats strictly to keep down the mice population. (So, guess where these fluffy feline fur balls choose to live?)

And I gotta tell you: It makes me sick. I am a cat lover, some call me a cat whisperer. The method by which these cats usually perish is by car or coyote. We live in the country and it happens all the time on our road (and in front of our house). But this year, there was an explosion of cats, and they like our yard. We never put out food. Ever.

Since kittens take their social cues from their parents, and if Mama is afraid of humans, her kittens will be as well, at least at first. This was the case here.

summer cats and kittens_aug 2016 (41)They were all over the yard and porches, but we could not get close to the kittens. One of the striped kittens had an infected eye and it appeared to be getting worse. One baby was getting bigger than the other. Smaller Baby (SB) needed care.

Provided I could catch them, I was afraid to separate them, but this was the final straw:

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Bigger Baby, enjoying a meal while Mama had to watch

That’s Mama* on the left, and one of her babies (Bigger Baby) had just caught a mouse. Baby slowly carried the mouse to the spot above while Mama had to watch her kitten polish off every morsel. She tried to approach once but backed off when I yelled. I walked over when Baby was done and I could not find a scrap. Not a bone. Nothing. A few days before I took this shot, Mama growled at her other kitten (Smaller Baby) when it tried to nurse.

That did it.

From then on, my daughter and I have been on a mission. We’ve been bound and determined to catch a kitten. Mama does not deserve them. Trouble is, days went by without seeing a hair on their cute little hides. We figured they musta left town.

Until yesterday. As I drove into our garage on a mid-90s degree day (we’ve been having a heat spell) I did not see SB lying in the shade. In spite of the heat, he looked weak, tired, and very hungry. My daughter opened a can of food and lured him into the pet carrier. He bit me as I tried to pick him up; poor thing was so hungry he thought the food would be taken away. (I didn’t ground him or anything. Made it bleed; I’m fine).

Otis_aug 2016 (6)
Smaller Baby, note left eye slightly more closed

For a wild thing, SB did GREAT at the vet’s office and in the car. We were right, SB is a boy, about three months old, underweight, low body temp, and a droopy, weeping eye. Ears are clean, right eye looks good, left eye just irritated, skin and fur all look good. Heart and lungs good. One tiny flea on his tummy. He was cleared to go home (but back in two weeks).

I feel good about our endeavor yesterday. This kitty may not have made it through the fall–let alone the upcoming winter–in the condition we found him. I can safely say that for SB, it’s the END of fighting for food and water and shelter. It’s the end of fighting his mother for food. Best of all, it’s the BEGINNING of a nice great life with people who will love and care for him for the rest of his life.

So, let me introduce you to #2, our second rescue cat this year.

Meet Otis.

Otis_aug 2016 (13)

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Here’s big brother Gandalf, rescue cat #1. He arrived in January. He’s not spoiled or anything. He hissed at Otis twice through the carrier door. Gandy=15 1/2 pounds. Otis=2.4.

Wish us luck. ❤


*Not very big herself, my guess is Mama was a teen bride (i.e. part of that problem I mentioned).