The year in review

This has been an epic year for my husband Greg and I.  I retired from a teaching job that I loved, learned to live with my husband full time, started blogging, traveled extensively and rekindled my passion for photography.

My husband and I have learned the dance of being retired together.  He has his hobbies and interests and I am learning to take time to do the things that I love.  First I had to figure out what those things were (writing, photography, crafts)  but now we give each other space, so that later we want to spend time together.  This year our European travels have included Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Amsterdam, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.  My husband and I are very different people, he is quiet organized and cerebral and I am spontaneous, outgoing, and attention seeking.  But the one thing that we agree upon is that we both passionately love to travel and meet new people from around the globe.

For this blog  I decided to include some of my favorite photographs from the year.  I hope you enjoy them.

 

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View of the Vatican at night from our balcony

This was a special gift we enjoyed nightly in Rome, our Airbnb was located in a fabulous area with shops, restaurants and so many sights to enjoy.

 

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A wonderful dinner at Alfredo e Ada with a young California couple in Rome

Sometimes you find you stumble upon a real gem of a restaurant, a family run place with homemade pasta and delicious specialities offered each night.

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Greg, enjoying a sweet gelato at the end of the day

 

The location of our Airbnb in Florence was just steps from the Ponte Vecchio.

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Pointe Vecchio in the evening inFlorence

The sheer size and beauty of David was worth the trip to Florence.

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Michaelangelo’s David

We spent five days in the beautiful area known as Cinque Terre, where we enjoyed the spectacular scenery, hiking and seeing the beautiful cities clinging to the cliffs..

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Manarola on the Cinque Terre coast
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My attempt at an “artsy” photograph from Nessun Dorma
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Trattoria Dal Billy a fabulous restaurant with even better views
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I love this photograph of a lovely Italian lady checking out the neighborhood

Following Cinque Terre we rented a car and explored Siena and Tuscany.

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Appetizers and wine with views of Siena from our backyard.
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Sienna at sunset
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Tuscany landscape

It was a great pleasure to turn in our car in Rome and board the Celebrity Equinox.  No unpacking for a week and we were able to visit some great new places on the way to Barcelona.

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Grass growing on the top of the Celebrity cruise ship
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View from the hilltop town of Eze, France
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We loved the sangria, beer and olives in Mallorca
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Street view near our flat in Barcelona
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La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s masterpiece

After a week in Barcelona we took a flight to Geneva, Switzerland to visit friends and see much of the pristine beauty of Switzerland.

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“The Void” on Mont Blanc, France
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Fabulous times with friends
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Sunflower fields in Switzerland

We left Switzerland and headed for a few days in Amsterdam, a city we loved because of its beauty, accessibility, friendliness and rich history.

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Greg standing by the canals in Amsterdam
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A different point of view
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Zaanse Schans windmills

Next, we flew to London for a few days before we boarded a cruise to the British Isles.

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The band playing Queens’ “Fat Bottom Gor;s”
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Belfast’s famous murals
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Falling for Giant’s Causeway with my friend Brooks
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Looking up from Giant’s Causeway
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Nearing the end of our journey, taking time to snuggle together.
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One last stop before we fly home, a lucky detour to Stonehenge 

 

 

I hope you enjoy seeing some highlights of Europe 2016.  I promise there is more travel to come in 2017.  I wish you all a wonderful, happy and healthy new year.

Jumping Into The Deep End

What do I do with the rest of my life? Figuring out how to do this next phase of my life.

We recently went to the Grand Canyon.  Its only a few hours from my home in Arizona but as often happens, you sometimes forget to explore what is in your own back yard.  When you consider that the Grand Canyon is one of the seven wonders of the world, it seems a shame that we haven’t been there in over a dozen years. On our way to the Grand Canyon we spent some time shopping and hiking in Sedona.  Sedona is a beautiful, magical place with soaring red rocks that’s only about ninety minutes from our house.  We had breakfast, hiked and took in the spectacular views.  Obviously we need to come hike here more often.

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Sedona’s Fay canyon

Seeing the Grand Canyon again makes you realize how insiginificant you are.  It also made me think about my life and what I want to leave when I am gone.  When I decided to retire one of the things that kept me from fully accepting the idea of retirement was acknowledge that I’m getting older.  I really do not accept my age.  Maybe that is the key to aging slower.  But the idea of being able to set my own schedule each day and make those days count is something that is weighing very heavily on me.

My husband has been retired for over eighteen months and he has figured out how to carve out his day to his satisfaction.  I am still a work in progress.   He is a woodworker who has rekindled his passion and found his inner creativity.  At the end of a week or so he has something tangible and beautiful to show for his work.

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My husband’s project

 

There are some terrific things about retirement.  Travel and time are the two most important ones to me. Time is both my friend and enemy.  Every day I consider a gift, but a gift that has an expectation that i will not waste it.  I have arrived at a time in my life where my value is still uncertain.  When I taught every day, I realized what value and difference I made in my own little corner of the world.  I would get hugs at the end of the day and I knew that I accomplished something important.

I need to look at retirement as a process, and not a destination.  I’m on this train and each desitination I stop at is up to me.  Not since I graduated college have I had so many opportunities open to me, but in reality I need to decide what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.  I’m grateful for the opportunity once again, but I don’t want to squander it.

I enjoy doing crafts, writing and photography but I’m not the artsy fartsy type.  I would much rather buy stuff at a craft fair than make a bunch of it.  I took a cookie decorating class with a friend and after three hours I had a dozen cookies.  It was enjoyable but if I had to make these for a living I would end up charging ten bucks a cookie and gain a hundred pounds. Next,  I thought I might take my dog to hospitals as a therapy dog, but he’s not that well behaved and pees when he’s stressed out, so I think that’s out. I don’t mind subbing in classrooms, but at the end of the day its only temporary.  I love spending time with children, and helping parents advocate for their children’s rights.  I think this is something that I can help others with but I haven’t figured out all of the details.  I love writing, and in some ways writing my blog is my voice, an outlet to the greater world.