Adverbially Yours

Sadly, once again the Easter Bunny passed over my house without depositing the requisite chocolate rabbit.

Happily, my local market had a buy one get one free sale on Dove promises so my pantry is well stocked with dark chocolate.

Ironically, I recently vowed to reduce my sugar intake.

Sinfully, I choose to ignore this vow when it comes to said dark chocolate.

Velvety is the feeling of the chocolate as it slowly dissolves in my mouth.

Heavenly is the combination of dark chocolate and red wine.

Eagerly, I look forward to my evening glass of wine and piece of chocolate.

Blissfully, I savor each sip of wine and nibble of chocolate.

Tragically, I must wait twenty-four hours to repeat the cycle.

Thankfully, this bit of chocolate infused winey nonsense has come to an end.

A Box of Chocolates

I’ve been contemplating yesterday’s events. No, not the rescue of Iranian fishermen from Somali pirates by the US Navy that resulted in manly hugs, but the appearance on my doorstep of a man I hadn’t seen or heard from in a year and a half.

I opened the door, but only a crack, and there he was babbling about losing his phone so he didn’t have my number, though he didn’t say if he lost my number a year and a half ago or a couple of days ago. We chatted for a couple of minutes  through read on >>

Is It Hobby Time?

I have crafty friends. They are crafty in the artsy sense, not the sly like a fox sense.  I’m not at all crafty in the artsy sense, though the jury’s still out on the sly like a fox sense.  The previous sentence is a bit of a distortion. I can be crafty in an artsy sense. I dabbled in macrame as a teenager. I tried needlepoint (if completing two rows then tossing it aside can be considered trying), ditto for cross-stitch.

More recently, friends have tried to lure me into the world of beads and jewelry making. They tell me I can make jewelry to match different outfits. Clearly, they haven’t noticed that I’ve been wearing the same pair of earrings, two bracelets, anklet and necklace for the past couple of decades. Or maybe they have, and that’s why they think I’m a good candidate for a new hobby. However, I only remove my jewelry if I’ll be swimming in the ocean or traveling to a third world country. I don’t want to bother with matching jewelry to my wardrobe.

Gwen finally convinced me to join her in a bit of jewelry construction. I chose anklet construction.  While I enjoyed the design phase of the anklet construction, the stringing of very small beads onto a thin wire was tedious and hard on my eyes. I whined a good bit of the ten minutes it took to make  the anklet.  I do wear my creation from time to time. I replace my usual anklet with my personal creation when I’m spending a day or weekend at the beach.

Oddly, I receive compliments on my little anklet every time I wear it. Gwen thinks this is a sign that I should spend more time on jewelry construction. I think it’s a sign that I should exit the jewelry making biz while I’m at the top of my game. Not to mention, that the stringing of beads would interfere with my main hobby of drinking red wine and consuming dark chocolate. I do enjoy my hobby time.

My personal creation

Age Is Just A Number

Sometime between the time I went to bed last night and when I woke up this morning I became another year older. I think it happened during those 60 seconds it took for the clock to change from 11:59 to 12:00. Quite a lot can happen in 60 seconds.

People tell me I don’t look my age, but I’m not sure what my age is supposed to look like.  I have some friends who have had “work” done, but the only concession to an aging face I made was cutting bangs when I was about to turn 50. Jane, my hair stylist, likes to say, “Bangs are better than botox.” And they’re cheaper.

Today has been like any other Tuesday, but with lots of cards, calls and messages from family and friends. I got a workout in before volunteering at an ALF, then my movie buddy, Jean, and I saw a movie that kept us laughing all the way through. I did teach someone how to do my favorite dance, the cha-cha-cha. That normally doesn’t happen on a Tuesday, or any other day.  And of course, it has been an evening of wine and chocolate.

And speaking of wine, it’s time to fill my glass and make a toast to all those celebrating a birthday this year. May we all live as long as we want to and want to as long as we live!



Champagne, Chocolate and Unemployment

I’m almost out of chocolate, just two Dove promises left in the jar, though I think there may be about a quarter of a bag of mini chocolate chips in the pantry. I use those for my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I probably won’t make it to the grocery store until Tuesday, so I need to exercise some self control. That is tough to do since I’m on my second glass of wine, red, of course, and chocolate (for the non-chocolate aficionados, I should specify that I mean dark chocolate, although my dear friend Deb would say, “Is there any other kind?”) goes so well with red wine.

The wine happens to be a cabernet though I’m not a wine snob, which means I can’t tell if it is oaky or tannic or whatever other adjective might be used to describe it. I just like it or I don’t. I tend to prefer red to white and dry to sweet, and champagne makes me giggle – swear to god, if there is one. It might be the bubbles.

I used to have a Sunday night ritual. I would fix a small plate of cheese, fruit , a piece of cold chicken and a glass of wine. I would have my simple supper in the bathtub by candlelight with soft music playing. This was a perfect way to end the weekend and prepare myself for the work week ahead. I no longer do this since now there is no difference between a work day and a weekend day.

I have now been unemployed for 2 1/2 years. I was downsized out of a job along with most of the people in my department as the economy went south in November of 2008. I no longer look for employment. I joked to a friend that I can’t get hired by MacDonald’s or a gas station, though it really wasn’t a joke. I had applied to both. But the reality is that I live in a small rural county where the unemployment rate is about 14% and there aren’t many full time jobs for old people. Did I mention I will soon celebrate my 54th birthday?

I don’t feel old. And it is rare that anyone correctly guesses my age. I’ll probably have to show ID when I finally qualify for senior discounts. But employers seem to be reluctant to hire older workers, especially if it is a full time job with benefits. It seems we not only come with higher salary histories, we’re also more expensive to insure on health insurance plans.

Fortunately, the job I lost paid well and I have some savings which I am now tapping for my living expenses, and no debt. I have always lived within my means. I have my father to thank for this. When I got my first part-time job in high school, my father told me I should always pay myself first. I have always done this even in those early jobs that didn’t pay much and even if it was just $5 a paycheck to put in a savings account. Anytime I received a pay increase, I always upped my savings rate before increasing any other spending.

My second full time job was with Merrill Lynch as a cashier. The job didn’t pay well, but I learned so much about investing and my little savings account grew. Though I have sometimes been reluctant to take risks in my personal life, for some reason I never shied away from risk in my investments, though I always understood those risks. My account lost half its value when the tech bubble imploded, but I learned from it and continued to save and invest. I’m now a bit more conservative in my investments, since I’m pulling money out and need this little nest egg to last as long as is possible.

I do a little bit of work – house/petsitting which came about by chance and I’m now gaining clients by word of mouth. I’m on track to earn about $2000 this year from those activities. I think of it as a little bit of spending cash and a vacation of sorts since my clients have pools and cable channels I don’t get at home. I also do some volunteer work.

I must say, that except for the lack of income, unemployment is quite enjoyable. I volunteer. I experiment in the kitchen. I read voraciously. I kayak. I only buy what I need. I take line dancing classes with my mom (she just celebrated her 80th birthday on Monday) at a local senior center – 2 hours for $3 – can’t beat that and I’m the youngest person in the class! I have time for yard work. I play the piano. I ride my bike. I do yoga. I don’t wake up to an alarm clock. I no longer wear a watch.

I may even be retired, though I tend to think of retirement as a choice rather than something that is forced upon you. It’s funny, when I worked I was hoping to retire early and thought I might be able to do it between 55 and 60. I guess my wish came true, just a bit sooner than I expected.