Reflecting on this Past Year

…..today I’m officially a senior citizen

There has to be a better designation than senior citizen when you turn 65. I know there are many perks when you reach this age but it also comes with labels such as golden oldie, old fart, grandma, oldster, senior, geezer, geriatric, old-timer and blue hair. Even though I’m a proud grandmother to Winnie I don’t feel old.

 

I look back on this past year and am proud of what I’ve done and happy to have such amazing friends and a wonderful family. I knew that this was the year to retire from teaching. I still loved the job but there were days when I was just plain tired and sometimes I didn’t feel that I fit in anymore. I didn’t want to be one of those crotchety old teachers that criticized younger teachers for doing things differently.  Sometimes I didn’t like what went on but I wanted to leave on a happy note so I kept quiet for the most part. The only people I would share my views with were people closer to my age and those who were also retiring. I have to admit that some of my favourite teachers were those much younger than me. I loved their humour and zest for life.

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Of course the students are what kept me going as a teacher. They weren’t always easy to teach and over the years the job grew increasingly more difficult but in the end the love and gratitude I received in the form of cards, art work, letters of appreciation and countless hugs made it all worthwhile.

This past year I’ve seen my own children continue to grow into responsible and amazing adults. They are all married now and our one and only grandchild is growing like a weed. She is my pride and joy.  Last night she kept saying Oma birthday, Oma birthday while rolling around in her crib. She clearly knows everyone in the family now and can say everyone’s name. She picks up at least 10 new words every day and we have to be so careful what we say in front of her.

My retirement is not quite working out the way I thought it would. I was hoping to do more travelling but it is still early days. Last May my father moved into our house. At 90 he’s still very independent but we’re a little worried about leaving him for too long. So far the longest we’ve left him alone is four days. We’re hoping to travel to London, England in November to visit with our son before he leaves to live in New York City in the coming year. Someone recently asked me if Dad was coming with us. We’ve tried to convince him to make at least one more trip to Germany to visit his brother. It looks like that won’t happen for at least another year, God willing, and I’m not sure if a trip to London would be in the cards for him as well. We’ll have to wait and see.

So as I turn 65 today I can honestly say that I’ve had a wonderful life. Now I look forward to my next adventure and hopefully I’ve inherited my father’s genes so that I can enjoy the next 30 years of my life with the same joie de vivre.

Two More Days!

…..the count down continues

One more day with the kids and then a PA day for cleaning up. The irony is that it seems like all I’ve been doing for two weeks is cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning; however, as soon as I start a new art project or pull books for discarding I seem to be right back where I started from.

Joanne suggested that I take photos of the every day things that I see all the time as a visual record of my life as a teacher. Here are a few shots taken after I’d cleaned the library. Unfortunately it doesn’t look that way at the moment. Outside the library a gallery of art that my students have done is on display and further down the hall is Ms. B’s class, Ms. C’s class and the office.

Ten Days and Counting

…..retirement is close at hand

I don’t normally count down the days to the end of the school year but this year is different. I’m finally retiring from teaching after 35 years of service.

I know some teachers who when they know they are retiring start the  count down from the first day of school in September. This is not my style but as my last day approaches I’m starting to feel that my life is about to change. I’ve written three speeches for three different retirement parties that all took place in the space of one week. The first one was for my principal and good friend, M, the second one for my longtime friend, L and the third was for me.

All three parties were very different. The first one was a sit-down dinner in an Italian restaurant, the second in the nursing home where L’s dad lived and mine was also in an Italian restaurant but less formal with finger foods being served.  All were special in their own way and I loved them all.

M’s party was held at her favourite restaurant. The meal was excellent and the speeches were warm and personal. M’s family was there and both her youngest sister and her niece spoke. They were funny and touching at the same time. L and I gave our speech in the form of a report card, which the staff thoroughly enjoyed because it was a bit of a roast but in the end the message was more serious. When M spoke she talked about how and why she came to be a principal.

L really wanted her father to be able to attend her retirement party and for that reason she booked the ‘party’ room at the nursing home. There was a piano player who played the entire evening in very comfortable surroundings. There were couches and overstuffed chairs situated around the room where people could sit and talk and listen to the speeches. Friends manned the wine table and servers walked about the room with canapés. The highlight of the evening took place when L and her father sang together and at the end of the evening L sang a solo. Three former principals came to the party plus family, friends and colleagues from school. It was a very musical evening and the accolades about her teaching career, especially those about her choirs, were very fitting for a much loved music teacher.

My party was the last one, held on Wednesday of this week. It took place in a restaurant literally up the street from where I live. My husband and I had eaten there on a couple of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the food. My family, including little Winnie, friends from years past who were now at other schools, retired friends, neighbourhood friends, life long friends and colleagues from school attended. I was especially honoured when my very first principal from 1976-79 arrived with his wife. I wanted the party to be casual and fun. The finger food was amazing, the aperol spritzes refreshing and the cake and desserts delicious. My friend P, was the MC for the evening and he kept everyone laughing. Three of my friends used the Wizard of Oz as their theme for the speech they gave about my time with them at the school where we all met and worked at for eight to ten years. There were so many wonderful speeches that it would take too long to talk about each and everyone of them. I had the best time and will never forget the thought and care people put into planning my special day.

 

Four Years and Still Going Strong

….yesterday was my 4th anniversary with WordPress

If I didn’t check my notifications side bar today I would have missed it.

4 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

It’s hard to believe that four years ago I started this blog to help me lose weight and get healthy. Four years later I’m still trying to lose weight but I’m healthier than I was then. I’m thankful that I didn’t gain back all the weight that I had lost (32 pounds) but it was getting painfully close when I finally started back on my weight loss journey. So far it’s been easier because my husband is doing it with me. I’m down 10 pounds and my husband is down 11.

My blog quickly morphed into a eclectic mix of photography, art, memories, recipes, teaching moments and my life experiences with my friends and family. I’ve met more than 1000 people who now follow me. I’m sure some have fallen by the wayside but many have stuck with me and comment regularly. For that I am truly grateful.

In the last four years you’ve seen me and my family change, grow and experience the ups and downs of life. I ran my first 5k, lost 32 pounds, turned the big 60, stood by my husband as he battled one illness after another requiring 4 separate surgeries and then I shared my son’s accident with you just last December when he needed surgery. I also shared with you my aunt’s prolonged stay in the hospital before she passed and how my 89 year old father fell, not once but twice, but lived to talk about it. I’ve spent way too much time in the hospital.

Not all hospital visits were for sick people. Last October I became a grandmother for the first time. That was the best hospital visit ever. IMG_2885-2

When I started this blog only my youngest daughter was married. Since then our oldest daughter got married a couple of months ago and our son is getting married this summer. Needless to say it’s been and continues to be a busy year.

 

I’m still teaching. I thought this blog might help me prepare for retirement but I loved my work and my colleagues too much to even consider it.  Now, I can say for certain that retirement is just around the corner and I look forward to my last year of teaching starting next September.

I’ve really enjoyed sharing my students’ art work on this blog and they love knowing that people really like what they’ve done and that they make comments about their work. I can always tell when my viewing numbers are really high that my students have found their way to my site.

One of the things that I’ve grown passionate about is photography since I’ve started this blog. I participate in a number of photography challenges and I take my camera everywhere I go. I’ve enjoyed sharing photos of our cottage and the beautiful parks in our neighbourhood and photos I’ve taken on our vacations.

Before I close I’d like to thank all of you who follow me and all those who pop by once in awhile for giving me a purpose to write. Knowing that people read my words and look at my photography gives me incentive to continue with this blog. Here’s to the next four years!

Cheers!