I have now been retired for two years. That in itself is something pretty amazing, but what follows amazes me even more. This past year has been a whirlwind of learning and growth, settling into my new life as a full-time artist.
It was only 18 months ago that I took my first drawing class – I wrote about it in Me? An Art Student?. I look back on those posts in this blog, and laugh at how awful I was at drawing. Today, my paintings are selling, and selling for a whole lot of money. If you had told me that I would be a successful artist at this time two years ago, I would have laughed in your face.
Any major life change provides an opportunity to grow and learn, as well as the dangers of stagnation. Retirement is no different. When I started this journey, I decided I wanted to explore something I have never done before. I chose learning how to draw and paint. Being good at it was irrelevant. The important thing was to try something new and perhaps find a passion that would carry me through the next chapter in my life. The cover photo is a pastel I did 2 weeks ago in drawing class. I never would have thought I could produce anything of the quality of that little pastel – especially not dashing it off in 3 hours during class.
One of the things I love best about the Holidays is the excuse to spoil my family and friends with freshly baked goodies. This recipe is one I created when our son was little, wanting to incorporate his two favorite sweet things – marzipan and strawberry jam – into one cookie. He’s 27 now, and these are still his favorite – hands down. I do half the batch with strawberry jam, and half with raspberry, but pretty much any jam that goes with almond flavoring would work well. These cookies are small bites of rich, buttery goodness that have become a main staple of my holiday baking. Friends and family start asking me in November if I’m planning on making those ‘awesome jam cookies’ in the next few weeks. They all love them, and I hope you enjoy as well.
During my genealogical journey, I have found several surprises, a few of which I’ve written about here. However, this past week’s October Surprise has surpassed all the others.
My Nana had a baby daddy.
Imagine sending a chance message to someone who posted a pic of your deceased ancestor’s grave on a geneology site, and finding 240+ distant cousins a day later. Not only that, but those cousins are all in a Facebook group dedicated to the descendants of the ancestor that emigrated from Germany to the British Colonies in 1736? Yep. That happened to me. And it was awesome.
For the past 2 months, I’ve been researching my family tree. As I mentioned in a previous blog, […]
A freak accident last week left me with the ring finger of my right hand in a splint, and strict instructions from the doctor to not use it for 4 weeks. Yeah. That’s fun. No showers, no washing my hair, no picking up sauté or grabbing onto anything with my right hand, no writing, typing, painting, no doing dishes, no cooking. Basically, no stress on that finger at all.
NO PAINTING OR COOKING? Cue the scream. Time to get creative.
I had an unusual experience recently. I saw a picture of me – taken in the 19th century. It was very unsettling. It also started a new passion to explore in my retirement. No – the cover photo isn’t the one. You’ll have to read the story to see it.
Who is this person, after all?
That’s what I’ve been saying this past week, every time I see my reflection. For the first time in my life, I’ve consciously changed my hair color. Now, a stranger looks at me in all kinds of shiny surfaces. She has very pretty hair… whoever she is.
To forestall the inevitable trolling (and boy, have I experienced a lot of that!) I must state that I unequivocally refuse to exploit my cat. Yes, I did turn down two offers for Spock to endorse cat products, and no, I am not crazy. I have always considered people who would exploit their kids or their pets for personal monetary gain to be several shades of despicable. That said, now the furor has died down, I now have a community of about 7700 followers who are very interested in the pictures I post, and the messages I’m giving. I have to do something with this.