Monthly Archives: February 2013

Dog Emergency!

As with most emergencies, this one occurred after 6:00 PM on Friday night — of course! Sydney had a lovely time racing around the yard (yes, Sydney!) chasing several deer just on the other side of the fence. They away and then she ran around, in and out of the rocks, until they were out of sight. This same routine happened with a turkey last week, but there were few repercussions — the turkey flew up (not very gracefully) into a nearby tree and stayed there motionless until Sydney was well gone. After a little while, I noticed that Sydney was licking her paw and discovered that she had ripped a nail probably on the rocks in the yard. Anyone who owns dogs knows that this can be a bloody mess (literally and figuratively). What to do? First, I called my vet, but they were closed and their emergency vet listings sounded very far away. Living in a community with 24/7 public safety officers is certainly a plus, so I called them and they had the same list. Kathy, the on duty public safety officer, told me that the Newton, New Jersey, animal hospital was the best but very expensive. She told me her story of bringing her dog there and I was suitably worried about what the charges would be! Everyone up here has a story.

I called my friend, Nancy, who reiterated that the Newton, NJ, place was the one to go to, having brought her dogs there several times. She offered to go with me, and we set off on a very dark night down Route 739 which seemed to stretch for miles and miles (it does, actually). Over the Dingmans Bridge (to cross the Delaware), which is one of only a few family owned and run toll bridges in the nation. An elderly woman stood in the cold collecting dollars from all cars coming and going. twopiecebanner3 We entered New Jersey and after a 45-minute drive that seemed like hours, we arrived at the emergency animal hospital, a very impressive operation. All the way I thought of what a difference it was living in the country — miles to anywhere important it seemed. This will take some getting used to.

The animal hospital was just like the ones you see on tv — large, well-run, efficient. After assuring the people at check-in that I was not the one who just called with a dog with swollen legs, we registered and were seen by a technician first and then the vet, a lovely woman who coaxed Sydney into the back. She returned less than 15 minutes later, with Sydney bandaged and looking quite pathetic, not to mention extremely anxious to get out! Instructions given, Sydney okay, only needing to keep the bandage on for 1-2 days, and we were off again. photo-1

It was quite an adventure. I am lucky to have a friend in Nancy who is willing to drop everything and drive with me on a dark and stormy night!! The whole thing made me thankful that I live up here — the people were very nice, very efficient, and very caring. The cost? $198.00, a bargain in my opinion. After several trips to emergency vets in Tallahassee, where one misdiagnosis was pretty serious, I felt totally confident. We just have to get used to the long drives to anywhere. Coming home, I did not revisit the Dingmans Bridge, but went through Milford to I84, a better lit and faster route I think. And, my EZPass was good enough for the bridge going back over the river into Pennsylvania. This sure takes some getting used to, but I’m getting there.

Book Clubs, Tea, and Wine

bookclub When I visited Tallahassee, the group that formed “my” book club met at Books a Million’s coffee shop to catch up, reconnect, and laugh a great deal. It amazed me that everyone was able to get together on only a few minutes’ notice and what a great time we had. Of course the first thing we did was talk about Gone Girl which the book club was reading for February (or March) and Cathy pointed out that at our club meetings, we usually talked about anything but the book to catch up on what everyone was doing. And, here we were, together for the first time in 9 months, talking about a book!! Ironic to say the least. We quickly moved on to more important things like getting t-shirts that say “My book club can drink your book club under the table,” and other items of consequence. We talked about my experience of moving and living alone, people’s health, children, plans for travel, and just bathed in the closeness that friends with a history share. It was so special and I realized how much I miss our monthly meetings, the shared food and wine, and especially the laughter. Meeting at one another’s homes also gave us a sense of that person’s life — their dogs, children, husbands, cats — and the artwork, photos, and mementoes that say so much about each one of us.

I’m pretty sure that we were a bit loud and garnered stares from people in the bookstore and in the café but I thought at the time they were jealous of us. It is rare, I think, that such a diverse group finds so much in common. Perhaps it’s our shared political philosophy, our ideas about public education, and that there’s always something new to learn from one another. Maybe it’s the shared love of books of all kinds — while we often disagreed about the books we read (an eclectic list for sure!), we all agreed that there is something positive that comes from reading things that make us uncomfortable or that we defend as bad writing or even just plain boring! The time went all too quickly and it was surely one of the highlights of my trip to Tallahassee.

Thinking about how books affect us, I remarked to my friend Lynda that when I was reading the Maisie Dobbs mysteries I drank a lot of tea. In Maisie’s London of the 1920s-1930s tea cured all ills and, regardless of what was happening, a cuppa would help clear one’s head and improve matters in general. Now I am reading Guido Brunetti mysteries set in Venice and I find myself craving dry white and red wine. I laughed at myself this morning while I was reading the Brunetti mystery at the diner as I realized this phenomenon. What a compliment to the author, I think, that the story so pulls me in that I want to quench my thirst with the drink that will improve even the most dire events. Perhaps that’s my desire to find an easy way to improve my life or maybe it’s just the fun of reading a good mystery! I think I’ll finish here and have a cup of tea. It’s too early for wine!

The Strand, Pete’s Tavern, and Memories

My friend, Beth, returned to Lords Valley this week and we decided to drive into New York to go to The Strand Bookstore which boasts 18 miles of books and doesn’t disappoint. Strand_Book_Store031612 It is always a nostalgic trip when I go to The Strand — I remember my father’s friend, Marty, who spent hours browsing the shelves. Sometimes Marty and my father would meet up and inevitably ended up buying something from a street corner vendor or off the back of a truck that never quite lived up to expectations. One such time I remember vividly. They walked into the court (now referred to as a cul-de-sac) in Deepdale (Queens) where our apartment was above the one that Marty shared with Eleanor and their two children, Michael and Michelle. There was a small stoop and, on summer evenings, everyone was outside the apartments either on the stoops or sitting on the benches. The benches were reserved for the adults and the kids generally sat on the stoops when not playing. My father and Marty proudly displayed the first ever transistor radio (at least the first that we had ever seen). However, to get any sound from the radio, there was a series of contortionist-like moves that had to be completed while antenna wire was wrapped around the iron of the stoop railing. I suppose at some point the radios worked, but after a while kids lost interest and we went off to play somewhere, leaving the men to their technological work. What an odd memory because of a visit to a bookstore. 95915501_ed12bc77ff_z

After the bookstore, Rachel, Beth and I went to Pete’s Tavern for lunch. Pete’s is the oldest continuously operating bar and restaurant in New York City. It is the place at which O. Henry was a regular and supposedly wrote some of his best short stories. Maybe even in the booth in which we sat yesterday. The booths are spartan to say the least, very small, wooden pew-like benches, and to say you are close to your food is an understatement. However, the food is outstanding and it is an iconic New York saloon. On occasion I met my father at Pete’s for a drink after work if he was in “the city.” We’d sit at the bar and have a drink and possibly a snack, once in a while having dinner together. Later, after marrying, Adrian, my father and I would occasionally meet at Pete’s. More recently, we were there with Rachel and Michael for a beer before having sushi at the trendy Yama which is nearby and for which you have to wait whether you have a reservation or not!! Pete’s holds a place in my heart as somewhere that has seen generations of my family come and go even if for a moment in its long history. petes-tavern Lunch, by the way, was delicious!

To walk off the wonderful lunch, we went to Barnes and Noble which, in spite of its four floors of terrific choices, doesn’t hold a candle to The Strand in my opinion. Then across the street to the Union Square Market which, in spite of the very cold temperatures, had a nice selection of vendors of organic breads, vegetables, condiments, and plants, not to mention ostrich jerky! All from regional organic farms. Then back to Lords Valley and the snow. What a wonderful way to spend a day for so many reasons. Each time I go into New York City my experience is different for just the reasons I described here. Sometimes it’s bittersweet, sometimes bringing up memories of the past that hadn’t surfaced for a long time, and sometimes to make new memories.

Winter Pantry

Weather governs everything we do, what we wear, what we choose to eat, and how we feel. I accept that, but didn’t realize how much winter in the Poconos would dictate my daily schedule and how I shop. Although my neighborhood supermarket is quite close, sometimes (like this morning when it’s 9 degrees), I’m unlikely to venture out just to find fresh produce. Besides, I went shopping yesterday because I knew it would be sunny and warmer than today. It’s not clear whether I think about these things because I have to, because I’m retired and have time on my hands, or because I live alone. I choose to believe that it’s because I’m super-organized and am trying to eat freshly prepared foods and less meat.

When we decided to drive straight through from Tallahassee to Lords Valley last week, I realized that I had enough food in the pantry and freezer to make meals for a couple of days — in case I couldn’t get out to shop because of the freezing rain and snow. (That wasn’t the case, but it was comforting.) This led me to make a list of the items that one should have in a “winter pantry,” to make sure that there are nourishing, nutritional items available just in case! Then I thought why not share this with my friends? So here goes. This is a list of what’s in my pantry right now and items that I replenish immediately upon using OR buy two of when I can. Since my local market is limited in some of the more exotic items (exotic to Lords Valley includes things like quinoa), I often pick things up when I go into the city especially since my dentist is across from the largest Whole Foods in New York! Spices and herbs are not listed since that’s a matter of taste and there are so many. Suffice to say the spice racks that were installed when the kitchen was renovated is full! Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are staples as well.

In the pantry:
Pasta
Quinoa
Bulgur wheat
Rice, brown/white/arborio
Orzo (yes I know this is pasta but I decided to list it separately)
Couscous (also pasta — I like the Israeli couscous because it isn’t as grainy)
Beans, canned and dried
Stock, veggie and chicken (not to mention homemade turkey stock from Thanksgiving)
Soups (canned just in case)
Soy/rice milk in a carton (in case I lose electricity)
Lentils
Tomatoes, diced/crushed
Flour, sugar, and salt of course!
Jar of pesto/marinara sauce (these are fun to buy at Eataly in NYC)
Olives
Artichoke hearts
Dried fruits, apricots/pineapple/cranberries/cherries

Then, in the fridge I keep the following (these are the items that keep over weeks):
Frozen peas
Frozen bagels
Frozen whole wheat English muffins
Peeled garlic (I just found this in a jar with a rather long off expiration date)
Hard cheeses, parmesan/cheddar
Smart Balance and Earth Balance
Eggs

If I’m not going to be gone long, I’ll keep a couple of onions and shallots in a bowl on the counter. Keeping in mind that all of my garbage has to be taken to the dump on a schedule that’s not always convenient, I choose carefully what I leave behind. There are things in the freezer that I don’t care to reveal because they are going to the garbage but needed to not smell up the place. The other thing I have to keep in mind is that groceries have to be hauled the 40 steps down to the house from the upper driveway in the winter. Not so bad other times when I can drive down, but the driveway won’t be usable until the spring thaw.

I feel virtuous having all these things in the pantry and fridge. I’m so smart, I think. So why is it that whatever I want to make needs an ingredient that isn’t there? Life in the mountains changes everything!

What Am I Missing?

Today is the Magnet Lab’s annual open house. I only remember this because of Facebook postings that I cannot avoid. Someone asked me why I didn’t make my trip to Tallahassee to coincide with the Open House. Why would I want to go? There’s nothing about the open house that appeals to me after 15 years of organizing, stressing, arguing, and cajoling. Besides, it’s not events that brought me back to Tallahassee — it was people. You could also say that I should have chosen dates that worked for the Empty Bowl event or the start of the football season for FSU, but again — those are not the things I miss most. Only three days into being alone again, I am reflecting on newly fallen snow, a low of 8 degrees tomorrow and a need to drive to the mail room and the dump (pardon me, the Refuse and Recycling Center!). snowyyard

patjillWhile in Tallahassee, I had dinner with my cousins Jill and Maxine. It was so wonderful to catch up and truly appreciate how family accepts you for who you are, not what they want you to be. As usual, Jill was right and having dinner at home was far more conducive to conversation that dining out and we shared a lot. I especially appreciated that I could share my feelings about moving back north without judgment although I’m pretty much convinced that they think I was rash in my decision-making. Maxine took the photo here and as usual didn’t want to be in the photo although she looks terrific! We reminisced a bit, shared current likes and dislikes, and Jill discussed her current passion for jazz at B Sharp’s, not to mention her piano lessons. How she could even think about piano lessons is a puzzle to me since she was part of my piano experience. My parents managed to take all the fun out of playing as every time anyone came in our front door, I was required to play Autumn Leaves. Jill still makes fun of me for this although I had nothing to do with it. We even had an ad agency use our garage for a print ad and, before my father would sign the contract, I had to play the piano! Embarrassing is an understatement. But I still miss sharing these memories in person.

patroxannekimEarlier in the week, I had dinner with Roxanne and Kim. I still marvel at how we all became friends because the thing we have most in common is work and yet we talked about everything and anything except work. Our dinner at Kool Beanz was sort of a re-creation of many dinners we three (along with Kristen) shared. To say that it was a dinner filled with laughter and great conversation is not doing it justice. Our waitress welcomed me back and, even though the best dessert in Tallahassee in my opinion was not on the menu that night, it was a spectacular time. I miss this a lot too — drinking one glass of wine too many and talking a little too loudly about nothing of import!

So here I am surrounded by my things and sitting at my desk contemplating what I need to do to find a balance between missing people who know me so very well and being back in the northeast where I feel like I belong. When I met Larry (my son’s father-in-law) for lunch in Tallahassee, he reminded me again that I have to work hard to keep up relationships from a distance because my life has changed so much and my friends’ lives have not. I remain determined not to lose that closeness.

Face to Face is Better!

On my trip to Tallahassee and to Weaverville, I discovered a lot of things, some less obvious than others. The most obvious is that seeing friends in person sure beats Skype or any other technology out there. Meeting up with friends that know me, with whom I have a history, and who understand the decisions I’ve made in the past couple of years means everything. I was fortunate to move from one person to another, sharing meals, lots of coffee and non-stop conversation. The Friday before I left Tallahassee, I went to Kim’s house for dinner with Kim, Todd and Pablo. kimtoddpat After months of hearing about Pablo, his trials with the Florida High School Athletic Association, and the final decision that allowed him to play soccer, it was a real treat to meet him. The photo is taken by him so will be remembered by me as the “Pablo photo.” I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have in spite of having a brand new camera which has so far never been used!!

Kim is a wonderful cook and, with Todd’s help (while we drank wine and talked with several teenage boys who stopped in for a bit), she made a Nigella Lawson recipe of shrimp and black rice. A beautiful salad from the garden and it was a perfect meal. We sat around the fire pit talking before dinner — talked about all sorts of things mundane and critically important (at least to us). I was never more comfortable visiting her home and began to realize the obvious importance of friends who know me better than I know myself!

eternalgrounds The next morning Robin and I went to breakfast and then shopping. We decided to get a cup of coffee and found a newly opened coffee shop, Eternal Grounds. (The photo is Robin looking pensive!) The name alone should have tipped us off that this was a church-run shop and if that didn’t, the logo sure should have. Upon ordering and paying for the café au lait and latte we each received “words of the day,” which was a parchment-like paper rolled and tied with a ribbon with a biblical passage on it. I was blessed often for my patience and for coming in and finally received the coffee. It was absolutely delicious, the barista certainly knew what she was doing (and was so cheerful throughout), and I found the marketing concept quite amazing. Robin and I marveled at the fact that coffee would be the vehicle through which to “spread the word,” and wondered if the location would make a difference to its survival. Time will tell I guess.

That night, Robin and John invited my cousin, Jill, to join us for another southern dinner — I think my friends saw that I needed fresh seafood — of grilled grouper (from Southern Seafood) and asparagus. We had a wonderful time relaxing, eating, enjoying the perfect weather, and just being in each other’s company. My dog, Sydney, also thought that she should have fresh seafood as did Ernie, the large black German Shepherd, so it felt just like being at home. I never thought I’d miss southern cooking! I had grits at least three times while I was there.

Tallahassee is a small town even though it is the capital of Florida and, population-wise, a good-sized city. I met Kathy, my neighbor, friend, and realtor, at Starbucks early and as I entered the shop, ran into a long-time acquaintance. Then I sat down and the man sitting next to me looked familiar — Dennis, the former Dean of Flagler College in Tallahassee. It turns out that Dennis was born and raised in Honesdale and was very familiar with where I live in Lords Valley. Small town, small world. There are lots of kinds of friendship — friendship of convenience, transitional friendship, locational friendship, work friendship. (I have purposely left out book club friendship because that will be a totally separate blog.) There is no substitute for dear friends who will drop everything to sit for a few minutes and catch up — there’s nothing better.

Back to the Diner

drivetodiner2 This morning I awoke to a beautiful soft covering of snow. It was soft enough to cling to every branch and leaf; it seemed as if it was still snowing, but the light dusting was falling from the trees without any discernible wind. The sun came out and it is a glorious day. The temptation was to stay inside and admire the beautiful view but I decided to check out the local roads and go into the Milford Diner. My drive in was beautiful as you can see from the photo and I was glad to get out as I renavigate being on my own. After over 2 weeks of constant company it is very quiet. But, I have lots to blog about, many photos of friends to share, and my new hobby — gardening!

Back to the diner … yesterday before I drove Beth to meet her son who lives in Connecticut, we went into the diner. Honestly I was a bit worried that I’d have to start all over again but, to the contrary, I got a big welcome — hugs, enthusiastic greetings, and promises to “catch up.” When I arrived this morning for breakfast, Freddie took me to one of Nancy’s tables and poured my coffee even before I sat down. Nancy visited for a little while although she can’t stay in one place for very long — lots of tables to take care of and she is VERY good at what she does. One of the things I love about this place is that Nancy and the other waitresses are not discouraged from talking with customers, establishing relationships, and making it a place you want to go to. I’ve been in diners and restaurants where there is such a focus on table turnover that there is no civility, no kindness. The Milford Diner is quite the opposite and the service is wonderful and never seems to suffer even though people take the time to make you feel special.

When I finished breakfast I sat with Judy for a while — just talking and catching up. There always seems to be someone in the seat opposite Judy — her brother, her friend Greg, others that I’ve yet to meet — in fact, when I got ready to leave, Greg was waiting for my seat!! We laughed about that and it was a nice feeling that this type of interaction happens again and again and is always welcomed. Rather than feeling too much on my own, I felt a part of something that for a small part of the day makes a big difference. My good friends were concerned that my trip to Tallahassee might elicit some regrets about moving north. While it was wonderful to be there and be with friends, I have no regrets and am determined to make a life here in Lords Valley. The weather is lovely, I have my blog and a fire set and ready to be lit. I think I’ll go to the diner again tomorrow morning.

It’s Easier to be a Host than a Guest!

After the last couple of weeks, I have come to the conclusion that it is easier to be the host than to be a guest. I had this epiphany while staying at Robin and John’s last week in Tallahassee. I felt like I was under foot most of the time, interfered with their routine, left Sydney in their care more often than not, and constantly asked if this or that was okay to do, drink, eat, use, etc. You get the picture. It is one of my great pleasures to have visitors and I absolutely love it when friends and family come to stay for however long! I happily anticipate their arrival by getting things ready and I enjoy every minute of the company — shopping, fixing meals, sharing meals, making fires, and pampering guests by making sure coffee is ready when they wake up or getting them a cup of tea at night. Why is it, then, that I cannot accept the same?

I don’t think this phenomenon is specific to me. This is something I notice when people are in my home as well. Not my children of course but anyone else that has come here. Now, it must be said that when my friend Kim came to stay overnight, she seemed to be able to accept the role as guest and it made it easy and comfortable for me as host. When Lynda stayed for almost a week, she also was able to settle in and help herself, ask for things, or just be as comfortable as possible without involving me. It’s a strange thing to think about and I have no answer other than to say that I hope everyone who comes to stay here will feel comfortable.

It also must be said that I was totally comfortable and at home at Robin and John’s. After all we’ve known each other for 36 years! But…I maintain that the work involved in hosting friends is far less stressful than my own expectations of myself as a “good guest,” whatever that is. I tried — at Lynda’s in Weaverville and at Robin’s in Tallahassee. One thing I do know — at Robin’s I can be a good guest by recognizing that Sunday afternoon is time to make myself scarce so my host can relax for a few minutes. Lynda likes her time at the computer to check email — she is such a good host that, unlike me (what I’m doing now while Beth is upstairs watching the news), Lynda will stop whatever she is doing to engage with me. There’s a fine line between being an unsociable guest and allowing your host a few minutes of private time to get things done.

So after all these years of being a guest and hosting people, I realize it’s not the wine, gift, or special coffee I bring and it’s not making my bed each day. It’s not taking your host out to lunch or dinner — it’s allowing my host to enjoy having me there and to have fun with the process of welcoming me into her home. It’s not really in my nature to do that but I’m determined to try! Please come visit and we can talk about this!

Back to the North

After almost 2 weeks, I’m home again in the gray gloomy Poconos. My friend, Beth, drove back with me so we decided to keep on going and get home in one day. While the drive was a long one (16 and a half hours), it was good to get home, even though carrying luggage down the unshoveled 39 steps was difficult. Talk about mixed feelings. After so much time on my own, I was anxious not only for social interaction, but for the opportunity to see my friends face to face. Technology has kept me going — Skype, email, texts, Facebook, not to mention the telephone (you remember that, don’t you?). I quickly realized upon arriving at Lynda’s in Weaverville, that there is absolutely NO substitute for sitting down with good friends.

Once I got to Tallahassee, my dance card quickly filled up and, although I wondered what I had to offer to the conversation, I indulged myself and met with as many people as humanly possible. It was wonderful. My amazing friend, Robin, opened her house to me and Sydney without reservation or any demands on my time or presence for that matter. Sydney was well looked after and I was able to move around Tallahassee seeing friends, shopping, and getting reacquainted with a town that I lived in for 37 years. While I had a lot of time in between meals to contemplate the experience, I began to discover that my new home is, indeed, my home. That was important for me as you can imagine. In fact, when I got back late at night on Sunday, it was so familiar and welcoming. I’m sure at some point the aloneness will get to me but right now, it’s nice to be sitting here at my desk in front of the window looking out at the snow-filled yard while the wind whips through the bare trees. There is a very distinctive sound of the wind up here unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

There is so much to blog about — coffee at Eternal Grounds coffee shop, dinner with Kim and family, meeting people at Starbucks, the amazing book club that met me at Books a Million on Saturday afternoon just before I left, catching up with Jose and Brandon — that it will take days for me to relay some of the things I learned about traveling, eating while traveling!, and about myself as a transplant to the cold, wintry north.

I must say that, once I arrived home, I realized how much less stress there is to living up here. For example, yesterday I discovered that I had no dial tone. It’s happened before and probably there was a power blip or outage while I was gone so I wasn’t really worried. After trying to fix it myself (very pioneer of me except that it took 3 phone calls and multiple texts to Rachel and Dave for advice) I just let it go for a day and then called Blueridge Cable this morning. Unlike Comcast, I actually had my call answered by a real person in Hawley. He tried rebooting, then we talked for a while, and … wait for this … he apologized for the inconvenience I would be caused while they sent someone out to take a look — TODAY! About 15 minutes later, someone called me on my cell and said that they would be out this afternoon and wasn’t he sorry that I’d have to wait for them?! But, he said, try one more thing and I’ll call you back in a few minutes. I did and it worked. Now…there is no way this would have been resolved in less than 30 minutes in Tallahassee, so I had an extra reason for being glad I’m home. I love my friends dearly, love Tallahassee, but this trip helped me realize that the decision I made to move here was a good one. Gray and gloomy or not, it’s home for a while — a long while I guess — and one way or another I’m going to make the best of it!

Some Things Never Change

…like the amazing changeable weather in Tallahassee, the comfort of sitting and talking with old dear friends, the challenge of driving in Tallahassee, the familiarity of browsing in a bookstore for as long as you want, construction around the University Center, detours on Gaines Street, loss of parking at FSU to accommodate the football program. Here I am again with free time between meals with friends pondering the question that my friend, Kathy, asked me this morning: “So…do you think you made the right move?” I’ve been asked this question many times by people close to me and by people I’ve recently met. There is no way to definitively answer such a question for a number of reasons.

First, when I retired, everything changed, so it wasn’t just leaving Tallahassee and FSU. Second, the place I moved to — Lords Valley — and the home were already comfortable places for me because I’ve gone there since 2008. Third, when faced with a choice, you make it … take all the factors into consideration and then punt. Last, just do it and don’t look back! I think the question would be better put as “How has the move affected you?” This is interesting to think about on my first trip back to Tallahassee since the move. Reconnecting with friends has been so easy probably because we never disconnected! Email, Skype, Facebook, the phone, all keep me connected. For the most part, my answer to Kathy’s question is always — “I love being close to my children, New York City, having one house to worry about, and having options.” Had I stayed I would have continued doing things that were no longer fun and sometimes stressful. It worried me that I might get back to Tallahassee and regret not living here any longer, but that’s not the case.

I do not miss the daily stress of work, the frustration of being in education in a time when it is devalued, or the unpredictability of the weather (although this unseasonable 76 degrees is fabulous and the prematurely blossoming trees and bushes are beautiful!). While the people of Tallahassee are, in general, very nice and polite, so are the people I’ve met in Milford, Lords Valley, and Hawley. I will not “go by” my former home and regret the loss of the fruit trees or the yard where we raised three dogs, or the home where my two children grew up. It is just a house…it is not the memories nor the people who passed through my Tallahassee home over 37 years.

One thing I do have to admit is that driving down Meridian Road yesterday to visit my friend, Beth, I did feel a twinge as I passed the road to my former home and then the road to my parents’ home. I thought about the good things that happened in each of those homes and in places in between and smiled, then realized I can think of those things anytime anywhere. I don’t have to be in a specific geographic location!

So, for those of you who are retired, thinking of retiring, live alone, are considering making a move from the familiar to the less familiar, I recommend it as a way to prove how brave we all are and how adaptable we can be. Yes, some things never change, like the support system of good friends and the welcome home that I can feel anytime I want to visit Tallahassee.