Get to know me!
I have always wanted a beautiful flower garden and over the years have tried with limited success to create a backyard paradise. Being retired has allowed me the time to really devote to the project and it does require time and effort. I've also found out that it also involves some trial and error. I've had a few flops but overall my garden is starting to shape up nicely.
I have always been into fitness but as I've aged I've become more aware that the body needs to move. Stiffness, aches and pains can come from nowhere and sitting seems to be the worse culprit. The great news about retirement means that you suddenly have more time to devote to health and wellness. My attitude towards fitness is that it should be fun and as such I have developed a routine that adds to my enjoyment of life overall. Because of this I work out almost every day. My fitness routine varies between cycling (listening to my favourite podcasts), yoga (listening to either Classical or MoTown) and a dancing/weight routine to Rock and Roll classics. Music for me is inspirational and I let loose in the comfort of my own basement. Dance like no one is watching! Highly recommend it...
The Canada goose that has been nesting behind my house for the last month, rain, shine, cold and warmish, has finally hatched her brood. So adorable. My anxiety levels will be high for the next while, hoping that they all stay safe while they develop. Nothing much I can do about it though. Mother nature is in charge.
I really enjoy watching the birds in my backyard. I find it to be a relaxing hobby. I've added to the selection of feeders over the past couple of years to attract a wider selection of birds. The most recent addition was a feeder to attract Finches. It only took a couple of hours before they found it. Amazing.
Yesterday I said goodbye to my sweet Eddie (Edina Monsoon) who was suffering in the final stages of kidney disease. I know it was the right decision but it was still painful. She was exceptionally loving and cuddly. Every time I sat down to read, she would jump on my chest, making it difficult to see the page but I loved every second of it. Heartbreaking! She will be missed.
I know it is now coming up on the end of February 2019 but I was thinking about some of the books I read last year and thought I would share with you my top 3 favourites.
I started out 2018 reading Leonardo DaVinci by Walter Isaacson and what a great start it was. It is a brilliant biography of one the most creative minds ever to have lived. Beautifully written and filled with photos of his art and illustrations. A joy to read.
Another of my favourites was Red Famine, Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum. The book impeccably details Stalin’s policy of agricultural collectivism and the attempted destruction of the Ukraine peasantry. The ensuing famine and starvation is devastating and the struggle to survive is epic. Although the subject matter is difficult and some details are horrifying, it is an important reminder of the evils of Stalins reign of terror. Mankind should never forget.
My absolute favourite read of 2018 was The Road Not Taken, Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam by Max Boot. The book details the life of Edward Lansdale an American covert operative working first in the Philippines and then in Vietnam in the days leading up to the US build up there. Lansdale is a larger than life character, who some say was the model for Graham Greene's The Quiet American. Lansdale followed a "hearts and minds" approach to counterinsurgency and had some initial successes. His attempts to convince leadership to follow this approach in Vietnam fell on deaf ears and the result is well known. A absolutely fascinating page turner. I struggled to put it down!
When I retired, I developed a range of activities and objectives to ensure that I stay active and engaged with the world around me. Most were activities that I was always interested in but never had the time to devote to them. Taking my fitness to the next level was first and foremost. Thais includes both my physical and emotional fitness. I do feel more physically fit now, given that I can work out every day. At the same time however I am developing some of the aches and pains associated with aging, Achy hips, knees and at one point had a frozen shoulder to deal with. When it comes to emotional fitness I still find it a struggle. Boredom and loneliness are an ever present hurdle to overcome. I am a major introvert and I relied on my workplace for most of my interpersonal connections. Losing that was a big void to overcome. I do try to get out every day to at least have a conversation with a human being but am still trying to find a solution that works for me. Even though I am not an artist by any stretch, I have taken up watercolour and discovered a group of women who get together twice a week to paint. Looks promising but will keep you posted.