A Day In Retiree Life

Lilac May 2014-1-2I spent some time in my garden this morning. Traditionally, here in Kamloops, the May long weekend is the time where it’s deemed safe to plant your garden. I pushed the envelope by planting my peas in late March (and they’re doing wonderful, thank you very much!) and radishes, lettuce, and carrots in late April (they’re up and doing well!).

I had put a few of the tomato plants I started from seed (thirty plants; four varieties) in the ground a few weeks ago a few weeks ago and surrounded them with my walls o’ water to keep them safe in case we got a late frost. I planted the rest a week or so ago (supplementing them with aspirin, fish parts, and eggshells in the holes) and today decided to remove the protective walls.

In addition, I have planted five pepper plants (which I started from seed a couple of months ago), spaghetti squash, crookneck squash, mojito mint, basil, nasturtium, borage, rainbow Swiss chard, and a couple of other varieties of radish and lettuce. I keep meaning to take pictures of my plot in the community garden. I will. Soon.

This afternoon, Gerry and I went out into the back yard and played croquet. Yes, croquet. Just the two of us. Just because we felt like it. I joked that we should don our finest attire and brew up a spot o’tea to enjoy while we played (a la Downton Abbey) but we decided to forgo the English finery for today.

Then, I spent a pleasant hour on the upper deck reading. I just started a book I picked up from the library this morning: May Sarton’s At Seventy: A Journal.  I love her appreciation for simple things: tending a garden, a simple breakfast of bread and homemade jam, a yellow goldfinch; many of the same things I find myself finding pleasure in these days.

I enjoyed one of Sarton’s earlier books a few years ago, Journal of a Solitude, and look forward to this one too. Her first words in Solitude echo my own experience:

“I am here alone for the first time in weeks, “to take up my ‘real’ life again at last. That is what is strange—that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life, unless there is time alone in which to explore what is happening or what has happened.”

Now, it’s almost five o’clock and I’m thinking about the new pork recipe I’m planning on supper. Cooking is much different these days than it was when I was working, when usually the last thing I wanted to think about at the end of the day was preparing a meal.

These days I’m trying new recipes, browsing Pinterest for inspiration, watching the Food Network, and having a blast. I even bought a new Jamie Oliver cookbook today with a gift card I’ve been saving for something special. I prepared a couple of recipes I saw him make on TV last week that were a huge success (Mothership roast salmon and, with the leftovers, Salmon filo pie. De-lish-ious!) . Plus, I really like his food philosophy.

Other than this blog post I didn’t get any actual writing done today. (Although it’s said among writers that even when we’re not physically writing we’re thinking about writing and so, in some ways, we’re always writing.) I’m pleased with the progress I’ve been making on the synopsis and outline for my current project. I have good intentions of getting my tushie into my office for focused writing time every day but some days, gardening, reading, and now it seems, croquet, just get in the way.

And I’m A-Okay with that.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. I really enjoyed reading about your day. It made me want to hide my To Do list and just “float”–sometimes I forget I’m retired, I have so much to do. Will check out the books you recommended too; I think I’d like them!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Kas. Finding that balance between “doing” and “being” is a constant challenge, isn’t it? I hope you find the balance that works for you in this season.

  2. A Green Thumb and a Chef – not bad just recently out of the retirement gate. I spent more than a year gathering my wits and trying to learn French with Rosetta Stone. Don’t feel guilty for enjoying yourself days on end. Especially with a book. Thanks for the titles.

    1. It’s funny, Marian, that I do find myself feeling guilty sometimes for not getting certain things done. That said, I’m allowing myself a grace period of undetermined length to settle into retirement before I get too serious about establishing a regular routine. For now, going with the flow feels pretty nice.

  3. Your life sounds great, Linda. I used to play croquet with my sister in the backyard of my parents house in Chicago. Your story brought back croquet memories. I am glad you’re enjoying retirement. Must be nice to have time for writing. Lynne

    1. The gift of time is a precious one, Lynne. We are enjoying it to its fullest!

  4. It all sounds lovely! I hope to have a garden one day when we go back to pa.

    1. I have found growing my own veggies to be so fulfilling in the past few years, Terri. An unexpected gift to be sure! Hope you are able to make it happen when you settle in to your new home in PA too.

  5. I loved reading this post, you described my idea of an ideal day! And how I wish I could have joined that croquet game. Every summer when we visited my family in western Mass. my uncles always played croquet and there was a special game when we kids were invited to join in. Everyone “cheated” in some way and there was a lot of love and laughter involved. Sometimes the simplest things mean the most to us and it sounds as if you’ve found that kind of joy of retirement. Keep up the good “work!” 😉

    1. Croquet seems to be one of those games many of us remember from childhood! And yesterday there may or may not have been some good natured “cheating” occurring. 🙂

  6. This sounds like a nice life of retirement that you’re leading. I want to come to your house for dinner. Your meals sound more creative than the ones I fix.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by, Lee! Yup…retiree life is agreeing with us for certain. It’s funny how I’m enjoying preparing meals so much now that I have time. Such a contrast to work days.

  7. Dear Linda, I’ve been away for some time from reading blogs and I’m so delighted to come back to yours and discover that you have embraced retirement. Your days sound so enjoyable and leisurely. I retired back in 2001 and it took me several years to stop working full time on writing a novel. Then I was ill for a few years, but now I’m back on track and I’ve committed myself to my dream of being published. Writing is my passion and so I’ve set a goal for myself: to do something for my writing each day for the next year. Like you, I know that just sitting and thinking about a plot can be working. And so I plan to do one of the following aspect of writing each day for the coming year: plan, research, read ms., write, edit, polish. I started this past Sunday and I’m so excited about this. Wish me luck and I wish you all the best as you enjoy these lovely days of your life. Peace.

    1. Hi Dee, so nice to see you back. I do, indeed, wish you the very best of luck on your achieving your dream and meeting writing goals.

  8. Linda, you are handling retirement like a pro! I enjoy hearing about all your activities, especially knowing this is where you’ve wanted to be for a while.It’s amazing how busy one can be which makes retirement a misnomer. It’s really more of a transition into another phase of life and the very best part is being in charge of who we spend our time. Keep enjoying!

    1. Kathy, I am astounded every day at how quickly the time passes. Transition is a much better word than retirement! It does make all the difference being busy at things one is passionate about as opposed to those “must do” things that a career working for someone else requires. This is such a great time of life! And, by the way, I’m cheering for you as you draw nearer to that publication date for Ever Faithful To His Lead. I know this has been a long journey to get to this point and you’ve inspired many along the way. I’m certain that your book will also inspire and help many who read it.

  9. Hello Linda,
    I was looking through my Favorites list today and stopped by your website and read your day in retiree life. I had not heard about your retirement, and am so happy for you (and a bit jealous). Sounds like you are adjusting quite well to the new phase of life. Also sounds like you are back in Kamloops. Enjoy that garden and reading and writing and whatever you want to do.

    1. Hi Cyndi,

      How nice to hear from you! Yes I retired at the end of February and we moved back home to Kamloops to be closer to the family. Retiree life is pretty grand, I’ll tell you! Hope all is well with you and that you get to enjoy the retiree life before too long too.

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