About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What's on Your Mind Lately?

Several times in the last couple of weeks a great chevron of geese flew across the sky at dusk when Willie and I took our daily walks. First we could hear them calling to each other and then look up to see that perfect V formation silhouetted against the evening sky. This sight got me thinking about a good topic for Fun Monday--which I'm delighted to be hosting this first week of the new year.

Most weeks we have around 25-30 bloggers participating in the Fun Monday challenge, each of us giving our own personal twist to the assigned topic. Our little blog community is like a chevron of geese. We're all busy living our lives as best we can, sometimes relying on others to fly in front while we take a back position where we don't have to flap our wings so hard to move forward. Regardless of where you are in the formation, I'm sure you're thinking about 2008 and wondering how things will go for you in the new year. So, here's your question for this week, answer as briefly or extensively as you like:

"What's on your mind as we close out 2008 and begin
2009? Large and small. What are often your first thoughts the minute you wake up? When you're alone and unguarded? Working? Stuck in traffic? Playing with the children? Walking the dogs? When you can't sleep?"

I am so eager to read your responses to this question. I suspect that many of us will have the same things on our minds. We may live differently, but we mostly want the same things from life--and face the same challenges. That's good to know.

Now, here's what's on my mind lately:

1. Caregiver for my Sister--I'm putting this one first because it meets all the criteria: first thing I think about in the morning, lose sleep over, think about it when I'm walking the dog, stuck in traffic, working--you get the idea. Taking care of my sister, who's nine years older than I, has always been a major concern. Until July of '08 she was living independently, with some assistance from me. Early last year she started having health problems and then lost her apartment to a fire. I moved her in with me for about three months--which both of us hated. In October I got her settled into a nice, safe senior citizen's apartment complex about 10 minutes from my home. She's beginning to make friends. I'm trying to come to terms with my loss of freedom and privacy because of taking on her care. Frankly, I don't see much improvement in 2009. . .

2. Surviving the Bad Economy -- I'm very fortunate to have retirement funds from state teacher retirement system and a very stable organization where I worked for 18 years, plus Social Security. I worry though because I have no one else to fall back on in case of a financial or health emergency. I always said that I'd get a job if necessary, but now know that's not the given that it once was. So, I'm looking at all my expenses and figuring out how to live well on less.

3. Things Undone -- in addition to a "To Do" list, I also have a "Things Undone" list that gives me a lot of grief. I believe that it's important to be productive, even in retirement, but most days come up short.

4. Training for a Walk across the South -- my walking buddy Sally and I are signed up to do a week-long distance walk through several southern capitals in March. I must start training for this, but don't want Willie to know just yet. He would be too excited at the prospects of extended walks every day.

Well, that's a few of the things that are on my mind these days. After you've compared my list and yours, be sure to check out the following Fun Monday participants' lists. And thanks, to everyone who signed up to play this week:

1. Jan (host for January 12)
2. Swampy
3. Ari
4. Misanthrope
5. Sayre
6. Tracey
7. Cruise Mom
8. Karisma
9. Janis
10. Sandy
11. Pitts Academy
12. Molly
13. Pensieve
14. Hulagirlatheart
15. ChrisB
16. Jo
17. Alison
18. Grace
19. Gattina
20. Hootin' Anni
21. Celeste
22. Margaret, Brand New Mama

23. Sugar
24. Julie
25. Mommy Wizdom (sort of!)
26. Pamela

Oops! I gave you the wrong links for Sayre, Tracey, Cruise Mom, Pitts Academy, and Margaret. They're fixed now. Note to self: figure out Mr. Linky before hosting Fun Monday again!


karisma said...

Sounds like some good planning there! I like the idea of a things undone list, mind you I have so many unfinished projects I would probably need a couple of years to catch up.

Thanks for hosting this week. Good luck with the walk.

Celeste said...

Although I didn't write about it, I too have a fear of the future and providing for myself. I don't have children and my brother and I are not very close.

What a great idea for this week, and a wonderful post too.

Sayre said...

You're going to walk Southern capitals? I live in one! I don't know what the structure of your walking tour is, but perhaps we could meet for dinner?

I can see where caring for your sister can be an all encompassing thought. I hope it doesn't become too burdensome to you this year. We are close to that point with my in-laws, but I just try to take it one moment at a time when necessary.

Julie said...

Can I play along? Mine will be posted in the morning. :)

I too have concerns on the future on my list as well.

I would like to hear more about your walk through the southern capitals. Sounds interesting.

Thanks for hosting!

Julie said...

Sorry, that is my old blog listed in the previous comment. My current blog is anotherchanceranch.typepad.com. Thanks!!!

Molly said...

Thank you for hosting this week's Fun Monday. Your topic should produce a wide range of responses. I imagine that many people think about surviving the bad economy. I definitely understand a list of Things Undone, which I think may be a result of too much to do and too little time.

A walk across the south sounds like a wonderful goal.

Alison said...

thanks so much for hosting this week Faye. I loved your topic, it made me more aware of my thoughts, and I learned a bit about myself. I am intrigued by your planned walk, I can't wait to hear how it went. Being a caregiver is not an easy job, my parents are almost 80 and so are my inlaws, this has actually been on my mind lately also.

karisma said...

Is it just me or are a few of the links not working? I keep getting error messages.

Molly said...

The links that I had trouble with
6. Tracey
7. Cruise Mom
11. Pitts Academy
22. Margaret, Brand New Mom

This rest seem to work fine.

MommyW said...

Hi there! What a great theme!! I love it. I will definitely read some of the responses.

I did not play this time but I did post sort of on topic...

Happy New Year to you!!


Gattina said...

Concerning your sister the improvement in 2009 depends on you. You have to set limits and think of yourself, especially now she is taken well care of !

Pamela said...

I'M U P !

I literally used you list because my mind is a bucket right now.

Pamela said...

I understand the taking care thing.
When my mom was ill -- I was the closest 'child' and it was rough emotionally and physically. And I still feel that I didn't do enough

Now we are doing the same with my husbands sister who has Alzheimers.

Hootin' Anni said...

Ohhhhhhhh, the walk across the South would be super fantastic!!!!

I've typed a few thoughts this morning and just posted them. This is a great idea for Fun Monday, it is so unique. I know I'm going to enjoy reading others' entries! Thanks for hosting.

Oh and when I'M STUCK in TRAFFIC, my immediate thought is "Doesn't ANYONE work anymore?" LOL

Come read mine if you can.

m (the misanthrope) said...

Oh Faye...I also have that never-ending "to-do" list. As soon as one item gets checked off, it seems that at least one more is added.

And I admire you for taking on your sister's care. I often worry about finding myself responsible for the care of a loved one. I don't mean to be nosey, but if your sis is in assisted living, doesn't that take the burden off you somewhat? Or is it a "senior community" without the living assistance? Just wondering.

And YAY for you and Sally and your Walking Tour! I hope you'll post more about it?

Your chevron of geese was a wonderful analogy to blogging, and I think, to relationships in general. Wonderful post my friend, I really enjoy your writing and your "way of thinking"!

Janis said...

Faye, I love your analogy of the geese and blogging friends. Your sister is Blessed to have an angel sister to look after her. May God give you strenght to stay the course. Your walk across the south is a wonderful project, good luck with your training. Thanks for hosting this week!

PENSIEVE said...

Mine's FINALLY UP!! First time I've been able to join in in MONTHS and I have to say, it was nice to get these thoughts in order :) http://bit.ly/15GY0

You DO have a lot on your mind. Caring for a loved one is difficult, thankless, sometimes frustrating work. It's invasive and challenging and requires time and intent. Your sister is fortunate to have you in her life; you're doing a great thing in making sure her needs are met.

I hope some of your fears are relieved; that this whacked economy DOES turn around. Having to be self sufficient in uncertaintimes is difficult at best.

Take care, Faye.

Again, thank you for hosting!

~ Robin @ PENSIEVE

ChrisB said...

I think some of the things you have mentioned are also on my mind although I didn't include them in my post.
You chose a good topic for this time of the year-reflection can be very positive!

Homeschool Mama said...

Here is the direct link to my post for today's meme.. I am listed as Pitts Academy but my blog is called Learning By Living.. :)


karisma said...

Hi Faye, Just responding to your question about my pets, if you go back to the last post I did and click on Pets at the bottom of the post it will bring up most of them from the past year or so, there is one post right down the bottom that introduces everyone except Miko. Of course they are all a year older now but look much the same.

Hugs xxxx

Lane said...

I love the geese chevron analogy!

Seems like many of us have similar things on our mind at the moment - taking care of loved ones and finances in particular.

I sort of envy Willie, nothing too taxing on his mind and yet the wonderful surprise of extended walks coming up:-) Will he be doing the tour with you or going on his own holiday?

IamwhoIam said...

Sorry I could not play along and I see where your mind is full. I did a few walks where I entered the Joners using his age in dog years and he loved all the attention. I am sure Willie will love it.