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Christmas is Great, Retirement is Great, I am LOVING Life!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sorry to have been gone for a bit. Retirement has been very very busy. I walked out of my beloved Filley Hall on East Campus last Thursday afternoon, sobbing when I got into the car with hubby who picked me up. It was emotional to leave a place that I had come 35 years and 5 months earlier, as a pregnant 26-year old, needing a job to help make the house payment for the new house we had moved into earlier that year. I looked back as we drove away and waved and said, "Goodbye Filley Hall." The crying was over quickly and it felt so good to be making that trip home from Campus once last time. I really have no plans to ever go back there, except when my good friend retires and I hope that is soon. She wants to retire so badly.

I have had a very busy time since then. Getting ready for Christmas is always a lot of work and I am so thankful that for the last 3 Christmases I have had that energy! Two years ago I was weighing in around 185 at Christmas time and of course last year I was at or below my goal weight, as I am this year. But now all the packages are bought and wrapped, the house is decorated and Christmas breakfast, which we are having at lunchtime to accommodate railroad son, who is due home momentarily, is all ready to pop in the oven, as is Christmas dinner. I will put in the turkey breast at noon, and hubby is going to smoke the ribs on the grill this afternoon. They baked over night in a very low temp. oven. Christmas music is playing on the radio, and I have a wonderful sense of contentment! Life is good. I truly love Christmas!

I'm giving myself some leeway for these two days, but tomorrow, it's right back on my much stricter lifestyle. Had dinner with my brother and our families Saturday night. He has had surgery on both his carotid arteries, and this last one was very bad. He had pictures of the awful mass of stuff they took out, I guess there was a tiny pinhole in it allowing blood to get through. The doctor had never seen anything like it. Brother has hardening of the arteries. His doctor told him to exercise, watch his weight and blood pressure. These are things he has done for years. It's a curse. I think my mother and grandmother probably both suffered from blocked carotid arteries and hardening of the arteries, but it was undiagnosed back then and they both died of sudden heart events in their early to mid 60's. I'm hoping my brother has staved that off with these surgeries. He will be 65 in March. My mom died at 65. I know that weighs heavily on his mind. I had my carotid arteries checked out a year ago after my brother's first surgery and mine are fine. I am a lucky woman!

When I think ahead and realize that my day-to-day job is no longer part of my future, it is still hard to believe. To think that I will never go back to my desk and sit for 8 hours before I can come home again, is still a little unreal. But it's GOOD! I am so looking forward to waking up in the morning and having the privilege to think, "What shall I do today?" What a luxury.

Now I will share some pictures of our Christmas Eve celebration from last night. We have appetizers, lots of fattening treats that I will need to dispose of today, so I don't keep snacking, and soup. That's a tradition my mother started--soup on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the whole year with Christmas Day coming in a close second! The kids each opened one gift last night, the girls got pajamas and Duncan got some Starlander figurines. He loves those and collects them. It was a wonderful evening, but I missed youngest son who was out of town, working as a railroad engineer. But as I mentioned he is to be home soon, and the whole family will be out later this afternoon for our gift exchange. I cannot wait to watch my beautiful grandchildren open their gifts. Those kids are sure what Christmas is all about. I am so thankful for my three beautiful grandchildren!!

Hubby and granddaughter Mia

Poor Lola had to be in her kennel most of the evening, she is just too lively for the kids. But she is looking forward (as I am) to days of getting to spend lots of time OUT of her kennel as I will be home all day long!

I have my nameplate from my job at home now and joked that the kitchen is my new "office." But at my old office they never let me have wine!

Hubby with granddaughter, Amber. (Can you tell he loves his grandkids?)

Mia, giving Lola a treat!

The appetizer table in the kitchen.

Soup supper in the dining room.

Hubby and me. I look old, but I also look quite small. I can't do anything about the "old" part, but I'm sure glad I look so small! That's something I CAN control!

Oldest son and his wife. They went to church before coming out and they sure "clean up good!"

Amber & Duncan, one of those rare time I can get them to pose for a picture TOGETHER!

Oldest son and his family. Aren't they gorgeous? Son told me he has gone for a run consistently the last few days, trying to stave off the inevitable holiday weight gain. I am so proud of his diligence and self-discipline!

Amber, showing off her new "Dora" boots. LOVE her Christmas dress. She looks like a Christmas Angel doesn't she?

As I said, I am very excited to have the whole family out later and watch those little ones open their gifts. I love the light in their eyes and their innocence and their total belief in Santa and all the magic of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to everyone! And God Bless us all!

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