Monday, February 24, 2014

On Retirement....

Well, I've been doing more than thinking about retirement. I'm planning on doing it by next year.  

Susan and I have started to take an inventory of what we can get rid of and what we can keep. Basically, we're keeping all the art and getting rid of most everything else. There will be a bounty of garage sales over the next many months. If you're in the area, watch for some good deals from our house.

I'm just tired of working. I have a great job, but the people I work for are, well, people I work for. I am not good with working "under" people--I understand this. I love the freedom that comes with my job, but even my job has limits to freedom and the control of my time. It has been a great ride, though, over the past nearly 20 years of my career. But, it's time to spend time with Devin and Susan.

What will we do? Well, we'll be moving for one thing. We'll be going to Tennessee to live close to Susan's mom. That won't be happening until sometime next year, but there's a good chance that Susan and Devin will head up there for the new school year, leaving me here to finish out my last year at the University.

Why now? Lots of small reasons, but the big one is my obsession with my impending doom. My father lived until he was 56. He had just retired from his highly stressful work and "enjoyed" his retirement for 9-months.  Then he died of a massive heart attack.  

I will be 56 next January....

I don't want to go out that way. I'm in good health, I anticipate I "could" work until I'm in my 70s or later, but I don't want to work anymore. I want to begin really enjoying myself, spending time with the family, and watching the world go round. I am so "over" trying to accomplish something for myself or for this world. I have my children who will pass on my legacy. I have all the students who have passed through my courses that I believe I've left with some lasting impression. That is all I can do. Now, it's time for me to do things just for myself.

I feel really good about this. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An Early Spring Means....

I'm not getting my hopes up at all, but I'll take these last few days (and the forecast for the next 10 days) of wonderful, spring-like weather.

The real problem for me when the weather turns like this is that all I want to do is ride the motorcycle....

Where I live (Central Texas), there's a great ride waiting for you literally on every road you turn on. We have long but secluded roads in the hills that take you through some of the best areas of the state. I've been on quite a few and have discovered some by accident. Each road comes with the freedom and peacefulness I need these days as I grade my papers.

I am looking forward to the upcoming Spring Break. I'm hoping that it will include a very long ride back home to New Orleans. We will see.

It's All Good!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Morning Coffee and WWOZ

There isn't much better in life-in-exile than having my coffee and listening to WWOZ on Friday mornings. It is my weekly routine. One of the perks of not teaching on Fridays that I really cherish with my job.

I can almost smell the French Quarter from here ;)

As the weather becomes more "spring-like," and the parades begin to roll for Mardi Gras, I find myself always missing home more and more. I have learned one lesson while living in exile--never take anything for granted.  Appreciate all the good things while you can. Because you never know what's coming for you. All you had could be gone in the blink of an eye.

For right now, I'll enjoy my coffee, my WWOZ, and maybe a shot of whiskey. And tonight I'll dream of walking down Decatur Street tomorrow to watch the Krewe du Vieux parade.

We all need dreams ;)

It's All Good!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dear Winter....

Dear Winter,

Back when I was young growing up in the Northern California Sierra Nevadas, you and I had a great time. I enjoyed the snow and I loved the times when you were able to get me out of school. The only thing I really didn’t like about our relationship was that I had to clean up all your messes. I didn’t seem to mind, though, because we were having so much fun.

As I grew older, I saw that my other friends had more fun with you than I. Our relationship had matured, and I knew that I had to go someplace farther away from you. I didn’t want to leave you completely, so I ventured to a place where we could see each other a few times a year and still say hello and remember the old days. When I moved to Atlanta, I thought we had an understanding that you could come into my life once a year and we could get into a little bit of trouble together. Not the week-long frolics we used to have when I was a kid, but still enough disruption to cause some good fun. And every once in a while you were able to get me out of school.

Still, the Ice Storm of 1993 was enough for me to realize that you were not the friend I had hoped, and I knew that at some point in time I’d have to move farther away from you. I never wanted to leave you completely, and I don’t believe you’d ever let me go completely, but I knew that we just weren’t good for each other anymore.

When I moved to the Gulf Coast and eventually New Orleans, I felt that we had finally achieved the kind of relationship that would be healthy for both of us. Sure, you’d come and visit every once in a while, but you weren’t hanging around as much and you weren’t making as big of a mess. Our relationship felt good and I was happy.

It was your damn cousin Summer and her damn hurricanes that really messed me up. But I know you had nothing to do with that.

So, we found ourselves in Central Texas in 2006 and for the most part you and I have continued on with our friendly, healthy relationship. Sure, you surprised the hell out of me with an unexpected blast in April 2007 with that Easter snow storm. But I felt like a kid again—it was fun and I forgot about how bad of a mess you leave behind. Well, I didn’t forget—I actually had kids who could clean up after your mess now.

I got to say, though, that you must be pissed off at me or something. Or you miss me so much that you want to come and visit more often this year. Perhaps you’ve become a bit senile and forgot the distance we had over the past few years and the reasons why I needed this distance. I’m not sure what the reason is, but I’m not happy with you coming around as often as you are doing right now. It’s not fun, and it’s just not right.

So, I’m writing this letter to let you know that I am through with you. Our relationship is over. I’m tired of moving, and I feel that you’re the one who has over-stepped her bounds. I think you need to remember your place in the weather patterns of Central Texas. You’re not denied opportunities to visit here—you’re just not supposed to come here every week.  It’s just not right, and I am truly fed up with your visits.

Please, don’t come around here anymore!

Maybe I’ll feel different next year, or the years after. But right now, I’ve had enough of you and I just want you to go away.

I’ll remember all the fun we had in the past, but for right now you are a very bad memory. I must demand that you go away.