Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Real Life Adventures

Some of you may be wondering what Paul and I have been up to since our last post. After all, settling into retired life is an adjustment.

Many day to day aspects of our life remain consistent. But, we are able to report we enjoy spending our days together.

We ended our trip to warmer climates last February to prepare for our trip to Italy with the Rosemount High School Chorale. The trip was all we hoped for and more.

We landed in Rome and boarded buses for Sorrento.

We spent a day on the Isle of Capri.

And spent a day on the Amalfi Coast.

We toured the ruins of Pompeii.

And drove north to stay in Orvieto and tour Assisi.

We ended the week in Rome where we once again visited the ruins surrounding the Roman Coliseum,

the Vatican
and St. Peter's Basilica.

The students performed five concerts during their tour and did a wonderful job. We enjoyed spending our days in the company of young people. Although we returned home exhausted, we were very happy for the experience.

As the calendar turned toward spring we realized we were settling into a very good routine.

And we found we were ready to tackle some of those projects we had been unable to get to during our careers.

We worked in our basement to clean our storage room which had accumulated years of "memories."

We shredded multiple years' supplies of obsolete records.

With the basement storage under control, we turned our efforts outdoors.

I have never spent more time outside enjoying the spring weather. I love the outdoors. It brought me back to my childhood on the farm.

Okay, so it wasn't exactly "Little House on the Prairie" but it was a time of many happy memories.

Paul and I raked leaves.

And practiced "controlled" burns.

We pruned apple trees.

And cleared TONS of brush that had grown and grown for years.

While we worked, I found my mind going back to life in Antelope Township and remembering how much I loved being outside on our farm.

You see, I was a middle child.

And, as I choose to remember, Mom placed me in charge of the four younger boys, who were pretty much banished from the house on a regular basis. We had a good thing going outside. There were so many areas to explore. Then, one day, an older (unnamed but dearly loved) sibling, full of early adolescent empowerment, stomped out into the yard and proclaimed I was to report into the house immediately. I knew my life was to take an incredible change for the worse. I wasn't sure what was going on inside that house, but I knew one thing,

it wasn't going to be a pleasant change in my day. I did what any sane individual would have done. I headed for the chicken coop.

And hid under the roost.

It didn't last long. I knew I couldn't spend the rest of my life under there.

It wasn't that we had an unhappy life.

Rather, we were rarely allowed gradual transitions.

Life was dished out in a series of abrupt turns.

Where were the pleasant routines we practiced with our own children?

We were raised in a "It's bedtime, go!" world.

We were not indulged.

However, we did know about indulgences!

Now (and here my mind digresses), according to church teaching

I gleaned as a child, even after "sinners" were absolved in the confessional (where we found ourselves every two weeks)

and said our Our Fathers or Hail Marys as penance, people still faced punishment in Purgatory

before we could enter heaven.

That scared the bejeepers out of me as a child!

In exchange for certain prayers, a Catholic could receive an indulgence, which reduced or erased that punishment instantly, with no formal ceremony or sacrament. Great news! Something onto which I could grasp !!!


You see, we were made very aware of our possibilities. Catholicism, particularily during our childhood, was not a religion of gray areas. It was pretty much black and white.

As I remember, I was having a considerable challenge staying out of trouble in the venial (or less serious) "sin" department. There were too many sibling incidents in any given week I had to deal with in that confessional.

I was too, well, human.

I figured I was going to need a savings account. So, I would kneel in church (where we seemed to be quite often now that I think about it) and I would take my missal

and I would pray those prayers to rack up the indulgences.

And, to me it was the best use of applied math

I ever came up with in my life. (Sorry, Lisa!)

I spent considerable time figuring out how I could lessen my time in Purgatory, whatever that was.

This activity helped me pass many hours sitting in that church. I figured I had years of my "sentence" taken care of and was looking forward to quite a savings account in case I ran into some "snarls" ahead.

I am thinking I wasn't the only person who did this.

And then, one day, a bunch of old guys in Rome

who had been so far removed from their childhood or family life they could not even remember

wiped out indulgences.

They said they didn't count anymore.

I just couldn't believe it.

But it doesn't matter.

I am over it.


Where was I?

Oh, yes, working outside.

This was just one of the thoughts that crossed my abstract random mind as we worked to clear corners of our yard that were briar patches.

I guess I worked out a few briar patches in my own mind in the process!!!

And, as we worked together, we turned those messes into cleared and clean areas.

We felt such a feeling of accomplishment as we worked each day.

We have spent 14 days outside so far this spring. Now, we are working to transplant forgotten perennials to new locations. Plants are being given a chance to grow and thrive.

We have moved geraniums,


ornamental grasses,

Siberian iris, (originally from Dad's garden in Reile's Acres)


and ground covers.

Time will tell if they are happy with the abrupt changes we have brought to their lives.

I guess we didn't offer them opportunity for transition!

We work hard every day. But, we set our own schedule. When we are tired, we quit.

And then we head into the house and relax.

One of us has even started to

And we really do enjoy our days together,

in spite of our strong opinions!

Because, we do

It is time to get the camper out of winter storage and hit the road.

Where will our next trip take us?

We'll keep you posted!