Friday, October 30, 2015
Retirement Activities: From Watercolour to Babysitting with a Dash of Yoga and Running
Having emptied my suitcases, washed the laundry, sorted through mail, remembered a few passwords, discovered what kitchen staples needed to be replaced ... And, very importantly, got myself back on Pacific Daylight Time (just in time to be nudged back out of it this weekend), I began picking up a few of the threads I hope to knit together into some sort of Fall schedule. Without classes to prepare or attend, no assignments to design or to mark, I've had ample time to read and to rest and to catch up on my Netflix and network shows.
I've also pulled out a knitting project that needs to be finished and begun another one. I've baked banana bread and I made a quick and easy version of cassoulet. After a month of walking at least 15 kilometres a day, I'm running again (3 8km runs this week), and I've made it to a beautiful 75-minute yoga class, restorative in so many ways, and I'm going to another this morning.
And lists! Oh, I'm making lists! With time to putter, the house all to myself this week, my brain sputters out instructions, spills ideas explosively, popcorn on the stovetop with no lid. Random thoughts about a possible post, reminders about renewing car insurance, book titles I need to order, ingredients for making kimchi, question about who to ask about where to get a good container for making kimchi, a reminder to pick up materials for my Watercolour Class.. .
See what I did there? I buried the lead, didn't I? Yes, now that I've snuggled myself home, restored a sense of belonging and regained a workable domestic rhythm, I'm carefully adding activities that keep me growing in retirement. You may know from earlier posts that after spending most of my life "knowing" I wasn't "artistic," I nonetheless talked myself into taking my friend's Illustrated Journal class, and I've been playing happily ever since. Retired, I'm finally able to join her weekly all-day watercolour classes. I missed the first one in this six-week session (too busy gazing down at snowy Greenland).
But yesterday, there I was, learning how to play with ink on wet paper, how to pour colour over resist, how to layer drawing over top of all that and paint out negative space behind it. And doing all this with 10 or so bright, creative women of a certain age who were warm and funny and supportive. All of us willing to open ourselves up to the experiment, guided as we were by Alison's very solid, yet delicately and subtly provided, technical support.
Our renderings of the subject -- branches of shrubs in their fall beauty, mostly stripped of leaves to reveal lines just meant for tracing in ink--were wonderfully varied. And while there were stages during the process that brought my inner 8-year-old out to scream "I know! I'm not artistic!" I persevered, focused on process and learning and fun, and I ended up with this painting. Which I don't hate.
Do you have any particular plans this weekend? Or any brilliant advice about babies who don't sleep? Or any stories about baby-sleep Rescue Missions of your own? It takes a village, truly...