Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Semi-retirement Rhythm

Being semi-retired is the most fun of all. Lots of holidays for six months and stimulating work, part-time for the next six months.  The perfect balance for me at this time.

My years are divided into four 'seasons' of retirement now.  And these together, form a rhythm that keeps my motivation and interest up throughout the year.  I love the variety and the different levels of intensity they afford me.

Part I - In my head

Yesterday was my first day back teaching. I teach one course at the university from the beginning of January to end April.  It's a planning and teaching strategies course for second year Education students.  I love it, I love teaching.

In this first 'season' of my semi-retirement year, my mind becomes sharper and more focused as I am constantly thinking about how to better explain, exemplify and illustrate to make the abstract more concrete.

It is also a time of reflexion, prioritizing and goal setting.  The cold and dark are conducive to this sort of activity and the time spent engaged in reflexion pays off throughout the rest of the year.

So the cold winter months are spent thinking and reflecting and trying to keep up a healthy social calendar to beat the blues that inevitably envelop me as winter progresses.

Part II - Body and soul:

By the end of April, the sun has warmed my bones and  I'm in the garden preparing for the growing season and inside embarking on another renovation project. This part of the year, I move from inside my head to in my body as it is a physically demanding 'season'. I build up my stamina going up and down the stairs, inside and outside, up and down ladders, pulling, pushing, stretching and bending.  A lot of the work is repetitive and therefore meditative. I am never more in a natural meditative state than when painting for example...

This is the 'season' where I am most in tune with my body and my soul. I spend every moment I can out of doors either working in the garden on having a beer on the deck with V.

Part III - Playtime
Picking figs on the other side of the
stream from our terrace

What is there to say? This is the most restful and relaxing part of the year.  From mid-August to the end of October, it is playtime. We visit with friends and travel to new places experiencing and learning new things.  This year, we will be exploring Brittany and a couple of cities in our vicinity.

This  'season' is spent hanging out with friends in the sunshine, taking a car drive to check out a neighboring town, restaurant lunches, reading and swimming at the pool, cocktail hour, brocanting (antiquing) and embarking on new adventures. This season is packed with FUN.

Part IV - Transition

My fellas
Wee Elves

This season is the most challenging to embark upon as we hit the ground running into it.  We have no sooner landed than we are in the field supervising student teachers.  This work takes us to the end of the first week of December.  During this period, we are acclimatizing, driving, observing, giving feedback, problem-solving, catching up with friends and family and getting the house in order for winter and the holiday season!

It is the month of transition from holidays to work, European to Canadian culture and from a typically Mediterranean climate to Canadian climate (often 20+ degrees lower at this time of year). We move from a leisurely lifestyle to one almost frenetic as we rush to prepare Christmas for our sons' visits.  This is the 'season' where I do the most knitting.  Whenever I have a spare moment, it is what I do.  I think that knitting is the buffer I need between all of that running around.  In November and December, I knit 6 toques 5 Wee Elves a neck warmer. Check out my Ravelry page.

It has taken me a lot of time to find my retirement rhythm but by November 2016, I'd found it. We anticipate having these four 'seasons' for a few years to come yet until it is time to readjust in keeping with our health, our interests, and our family's needs.  I anticipate grandbabies in my future sometime and I know I will probably want to be away for less extended periods.

For now, it is very good and I am grateful.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tristan is home for his 'holidays'. As a first year resident, this is what he gets for Christmas. We are grateful to have him with us. We are feeding him foods he loves and leaving him plenty of private time to sleep and unwind.

This is a guy who's been working 12-14 hour days 6 days/week for the most part.

Beside him is his big half-sister. Someone said they have the same smile. That would be Vlad's even and straight toothed grin you see.
We had a celebration supper last night and talked long into the night. Today was a day off of sorts as tomorrow both Vlad and I are at work.

I have a wreath on the door, ground pork for my tourtières and all gifts looked after. The children all want $$$ so that makes it easy for us but less fun as there are less and less parcels under the tree every year. I understand that they want to buy something they want but it doesn't make for much merry when it's gift-opening time. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Friday night we saw Denis Villeneuve's Arrivals. It was a very sensitive, moving Sci Fi. We walked away with a lot to talk about and were inspired by its philosophical message. We highly recommend it. Amy Adams is very very good in this... What are your favorite movies of the season?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

We are alive!

So we've been here, in France for almost a month now and I can't believe how time has just flown this year. Catching up with our European family of friends, getting the garden at the Moulin where we live back into shape and just vegging out because we need to get over a BIG year so far, we haven't seen the time go by. Tuesday was market day in Cotignac and we had lunch with our Moulin friends and went to Mirabeau en Provence, a local wine producer's shop for a wine tasting. Even if we had very little, I shouldn't have indulged myself. Wine is not good for my tummy but can you imagine being here and not partaking in alcohol, tomatoes, citrus fruits, some cheeses, etc., etc.?