Friday, December 2, 2016

Baking and Sewing and Ministry and Budgets and Health Insurance: This Week in Retirement

Occasionally we something that is incredibly moving and know we'll remember it for awhile. For me one of those occasions was today.  Last week, a police officer was killed in a traffic accident on Interstate 25. While the officer was not targeted, it was a tragedy for all involved (the driver stayed in his lane instead of moving to the left and since he was driving a semi, he had not a good view of the officer during the stop). As a driver of more miles than most people do in a lifetime-always, always, always move to the left lane for a stopped truck,care or emergency worker. Yes, even if you own a mini or small sedan.

This morning that accident was brought home to me a gain, as I drove to my volunteer gig.  The US highway going the opposite direction was completely blocked up and filled with vehicles-police cars, fire trucks and more. All with their lights on and moving, headlights on and flags. Tragedy as it was, I wish I had had a chance to stop and take a picture. 
Not my photo, but moving nonethless

Meanwhile, this was a sightly busier and (sometimes) happy week. My journey this morning took my to my residential shelter for women, where I prepared and set out two "craft" projects that could also be gifts.  One of the problems with receiving gifts for Christmas for the homeless or low income is that the recipients often want to give something -anything-back so that the exchange is even. While we talk about receiving gifts in the spirit they are given, I can appreciate the problem. So today, we did two things. First we decorated sugar cookies with holes at the top, and then I left Christmas Ziploc bags and gift bags so that they can put them on a tree or gift them to the folks that are putting on a full spread "Mother's Day" in December program on Sunday (this will include gifts, a meal, manicures, pedicures, haircuts and the like). We also painted mini flower pots white so that they can be painted like snowmen, to be used as gifts or decoration.

Not the best picture as I strive to not use flash or get physical features at the shelter.  This shows the cookie "workstation"
Yesterday, I spent most of my day sewing. I have promised preemie twins who are approaching a year quilts that are the same, but different. My solution to this dilemma was to use the same six fabrics but make two different quilt patterns with two different borders and two different backs. These are the rough, unfinished quilts, but you get the idea.  

Completed quilt 1, ready to be backed.

The still to be finished unpressed quilt

I also researched insurance. This is open season for federal employees (even those no good congressmen). While I am keeping my retiree insurance and going on medicare, I do have what is known as "standard option". Since I will not be getting Part D and relying on my retiree insurance for the drug coverage, I want to see if moving to the high option ($100 more per month) is financially a win to get better drug coverage (if I can pay $100 more per month and avoid the donut hole, basically). Still researching this one.  I also cried wolf a little bit for providing the dinner at my regular Thursday night church event (service, dinner, and then discussions and fun). At this time of year I try to go out at night as little as possible, and I was just feeling "punky".

On Wednesday I met with one of my three book groups and discussed the new Harlan Coben book, which every single one of the group rated a 10. For those who read Coben (this book is titled Home), I am a big reader of the Myron Bolitar books and not so much of the stand alone titles.  I then skipped my local knitting group (a rare situation) so that I could get home and mix up batches of Christmas cookies before sitting down to sew some more. In the evening, I watched the final season of The Fall, one of the best shows on television. 

My fairy garden now has a surfing santa and a boarding Santa, so I guess it is tropical. Hence the removal of most of the snow.

Tuesday is one of the days I rarely leave the house until my evening class, and this week was no exception. Instead I spent half the day doing research.  Research on Immigration and Refugees, mainly in Colorado. You see, recently my church (as part of that Thursday night program), had an eight week series on how to live into our commitment as a neighborhood church whose motto is "sanctuary in the city". After eight weeks of discussion and focusing on direction (rather than choose many we choose one or two directions), we felt it was the right thing to do to support immigrants and refugees at all levels and form a racial justice ministry (while this topic series was scheduled long before the election, I would never deny that some of our discussions took results, platforms, and current events and appointments into play. When the President elect indicated his choice for a cabinet post was one of the most racist politicians of the current times, for example, we took that into consideration.).

Being one who doesn't shy away (and who also has difficulty with the no word on occasion), when they asked who would be interested in being a coordinator for the Immigration and refugee group, I raised my hand. Of course. So half of this day was spent researching groups to partner with, issues and need and more. Thankfully, the rest of my day was spent sewing and baking and sewing and baking-my primary jobs for the next two weeks. Oh, and I was also snuggling, since winter finally arrived in Denver a few days ago! 
Frosted eggnog cookies ready to go into the freezer

Christmas napkins for gifts in the works
Following carolers on my way to the movies
On Monday, I went to the movies and saw Doctor Strange.  Great movie and glad I went to see it even if it was my second choice. Arrival was my original plan, but it was the 3D version and I don't do three D ever. Imax, yes. I also did my basic errands, fun, fun, fun. And then, to keep with our theme of the week, I sewed and baked frosted eggnog cookies (now in the freezer) and knitted and sewed and read and watched football (yea, I'm trying to nest in December! ).

This weekend? On Saturday I have either another movie or a gingerbread house making class ( I am one of those folks that enjoys group activities and learns best from a real person rather than Utube or a book when it comes to hands on learning).  Follow that with a quiet dinner and book and there you have it. I have to stay home all Saturday because I have a frighteningly large Amazon order coming (yep, I got all my gifts, even movie gift cards on Amazon), and even though I live in a lovely neighborhood, would rather be home when that many boxes are delivered.

Sunday? Well, Sunday I am going to put on my German in full, pretend I am back home, and go to the Denver Christmas market. Where I will buy German pewter and glass ornaments and smokers, have a schnitzel platter, and listen to German music from polka to rock (I have German artists that I love) Follow that with lessons, carols and a reception at my church, and there you have it.  A week in retirement.

Happy Friday!


  1. Hi Barbara,
    You have so many fun projects and activities going on that I wish you lived near me and I'd join you. The eggnog cookies look so good that I'm going to make some today. Thanks for sharing your week's activities with us and for the reminder to bring my fairy garden inside as it's going to get cold mid-week in Minnesota!


    1. Mine remains indoors, so that takes care of that isue. This was my first year for the eggnog cookies.

  2. You are a busy person. Me, well my week has more or less been the usual with the added helping Harvey to shovel and snow blow.

    God bless.

  3. I love sharing your projects and activities.I also like to keep busy and have many interests.Some of my retired friends stay home and don't do much and have, on occasion, made a little fun of my "busyness.." I say,I do as much as I like, no more no less! I love life and have many many interests..retirement means I now have time to pursue them all!!!! Luckily, I have sets of friends in each activity I enjoy, who share my love of art, music, crafts, spirituality, etc. I play cards with two different groups each month, and I have to have a lot of solitary time too, for reading and creative writing.. Plug in the meditation and hikes with hubby, and life is very good indeed. Kudos to you for stepping up on the social justice issue and committee!!

  4. I may have met my match, but i could not step away.

  5. I agree with Madeline: kudos to you for stepping up and making a difference. I am a few degrees stronger since a brain surgery in May than I've been in years, and I'm trying to decide how to direct my own energies toward doing the same.

  6. Important reminder about safe driving when roadside freeway emergency, but tragic the accident prompting it. You certainly have had a variety of interesting activities. Surprising you're involved in so many book clubs -- I have only one, meeting once a month. I read additional books for my personal pleasure. Wish I could find a play reading group as would enjoy creating characters. Think I'll suggest that to our local Senior Center and see if they get any interest. Might be difficult to get current scripts of interest. Not doing any baking again this year, but what you describe certainly sounds like a worthwhile effort -- the plastic bags offering cookie choice of purpose.

    Laudable your involvement in the immigrant sanctuary situation. California cities are taking supportive stances. I think we may well be challenged
    next year. There has also been an increase locally in religious discrimination. We will not lack for values, belief system challenges.

    1. Meant to add that I hope you enjoy your German immersion -- much to be learned from that nation's past experiences.

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