The Retired Life AKA The Writing Life

Hey, Readers. Last Friday I promised an “I’m Retired” post. It’s a good thing I looked back because I almost postponed this until next week.

I also shared a photo of my new “office” which is really a writing nook. Years ago, I envisioned a separate room with a fancy desk. It would have large windows overlooking a green lawn with woods beyond where wildlife would often visit.

Instead, I have a small writing table that suits me just fine. There are windows where I can look out. My husband’s hobby (one of them) is feeding birds (I swear we may go broke buying feeders and bird seed). We have a variety, including titmice, chickadees, cardinals, nuthatches, indigo buntings, sparrows, and more. We even saw a painted bunting a few times.

Unfortunately, we have to deal with raccoons and squirrels. Don’t get me started on the pesky squirrels (pretty sure hubs has a squirrel feeder as well), but raccoons are opportunists. Using a live trap, he’s trapped and relocated four of them to a nearby wildlife preserve. John stopped doing that when a mama and her four babies were at one of our feeders. He couldn’t stand the thought of accidentally separating a family. So yes, I’m able to see wildlife from my windows.

But back to my retirement. The first couple of weeks has gone fast. I still feel like I’m on vacation. Last week was extremely busy. We ordered a new sofa, had it delivered, and the old one hauled away. For the first time in months, I went to the grocery store with John. He likes to shop (and cook) so most of the time, I’ll leave that up to him.

I shared a photo of my writing nook last week, so today I want to share a few things that are on the desk and wall.

The image on the left is, of course, my desk. It’s comfy and cozy, so that’s what matters. Last winter, when I decided to retire, I treated myself to a brand new Dell all-in-one desktop. Everything’s wireless and there’s only one cord for the electrical plug. We’ve come a long way from all those separate cords for printers, keyboards, speakers, and the mouse. And let’s not forget the phone line for dial-up internet. (Thank goodness those days are behind us.)

The second image was a gift from a coworker. She knows how much I love to read and of course my cats. She couldn’t have found anything that looked more like my Tucker.

The third image was a parting gift from my coworkers at the hospital. Several of them signed the mat and expressed their well wishes. The place I worked was once a World War II Army training base. At one time, German prisoners of war were kept there. The foreground is a photo of the Camp Fannin Veteran’s Memorial. That’s pretty special in itself because my father-in-law was discharged through Camp Fannin.

After the war, the U. S. Government deeded 600 acres and the old hospital building to the State of Texas. The hospital served as a tuberculosis sanitarium for years. In 1977, it became part of the University of Texas system.

A couple of other items on the desk are a small piece of pottery just to the right of the monitor. It was a gift from one of the doctors I used to work with. It sat by my work computer for years, so it’s only appropriate that it sits by my home computer now. The other is a coaster from another coworker (close-up image on the right). It’s raku pottery and came from Chama, New Mexico.

This brings me back to writing. My Legends of Maderia series is set in northern New Mexico. Although my plans to write and publish the second novel this year didn’t transpire, I plan to start writing it next month. The photo on my computer screen will be used in the book cover for Blood Red Dawn. The picture wasn’t taken in New Mexico but at Fort Griffin, Texas. However, it was just what I needed for the ruins of my fictional Fort McKittrick.

That’s it for now. More about writing including my short-story collection and Blood Red Dawn next week.

48 thoughts on “The Retired Life AKA The Writing Life

  1. Congrats on your retirement and thanks for sharing your writing space as well as the news that you’re starting on your next book! Lots of writing going on. I think you’ll find that your retirement days will continue to fly by. Enjoy every moment!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It takes a while to get past the feeling like you are on vacation. πŸ™‚ I love your writing nook and the personal things you have accompanying your space. Here’s to many new books to come out of that cozy writing nook!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m getting there. When a vacation begins, we’re all excited. As time goes on, we think, “I have four more days of vacation, three, two, one. It’s a great feeling knowing I don’t have to go back to work!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. A view of the lake sounds wonderful, Karen. In the 20 years I worked at my job, there were only six months when I had a window. I had photographs of the Grand Canyon and Alaska on my walls to help me imagine the outdoors.

      I agree about the meaningful items stimulating our creativity. Music often inspires me, and although I can’t listen while I’m writing, I’m able to access my playlists if I get in a rut.


    1. Thanks so much, Liz. I’ve often thought about what you said a few weeks ago about having a certain time to write and approaching it like a job. I can see the need of doing that, otherwise, I won’t get anything accomplished. But these first two weeks have been a vacation. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your writing nook, Joan – and I especially love the print of the cat. He really looks like Tucker! My dad made a hobby for a good many years at trying to outsmart the squirrels and build something to prevent them from stealing the birdseed. Some of the contraptions worked for a while – then the squirrels would wise up again. He finally broke down and bought something on Amazon that seemed to work the last time I was there. I swear it’s all a learning curve for the squirrels. Glad you’re enjoying retirement!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those squirrels are smart little devils, as are the raccoons. John has even tried red pepper flakes, hot bird seed cakes, and something I brought from Amazon. Didn’t deter them, they kept on eating.

      Yep, that cat sure looks like Tucker. (Of course Tucker is never far from me while I’m writing.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. LOL. We spend a small fortune on birds and pets, too. Wish I had your blue buntings, but I have all the rest, as well as blue jays who scream when I get the paper in the mornings, so I’ll throw out peanuts for them and the squirrels. I don’t have a view at my desk, which is maybe a good thing:) I don’t get as distracted. Sounds like you’re ready to dig in and enjoy retirement and writing. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate to think how much we’ve spent on bird food this past year, but that’s okay. We both enjoy watching them, and it gives John something to do. (Not that he lacks anything – he keeps busy.) Today, he saw a Baltimore Oriole in our bird bath. I’ve never seen one, but we’re on the migration path. Guess it pays to keep the feeders going year round – I used to stop feeding during the warm weather months.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Once in a while, we get a Baltimore Oriole that doesn’t stay long, but each spring, I put out a feeder for them with hummingbird food and grape jelly, just in case.


  5. Congratulations on making such a great transition into retirement, Joan! I love your work space and that you have surrounded yourself with things that have special meaning to you. I tend to do a lot of that, too. And I have to say, our cats must have been twins separated at birth, if yours looks like the one on that poster. So does our Harry (Blackstone Copperfield Dresden). Right down to the beautiful tuxedo markings and the pink nose. (I just love a black cat with a pink nose!!) I’m also an ardent bird watcher, and love having a big window by my desk that overlooks our feeders. I have found baffles that work to keep the squirrels off of my feeder trays, so they are now the Ground Crew, responsible for cleaning up everything the bigger birds knock out of the tray.

    Here’s wishing you big success as you work on your new novel. I’m hoping that over during my autumn semi-break, I’ll finally start getting caught up on all my reading, and that includes several of your books, too. I’ll have 2-1/2 months or so for some R&R and I’m adding a THIRD R, as well. (Rest & Recuperation & READING!) Looking forward to that most of all. (I hear some Legends calling me, and they keep mentioning a place called Madeira! Can’t wait!)

    Happy Retirement and Happy Writing!! πŸ€—πŸ’–πŸ€—

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so happy for you, Joan. You’ll soon find out that you’ll be as busy as you ever were — at least that is true with me. But your focus will shift and alas, the sun will shine a little brighter. 🌞

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s already been a busy two weeks, Gwen. Hopefully, I’m settling into a routine. I already know that I need to discipline myself to set aside a certain time for writing, otherwise I’ll never get anything accomplished. Denise’s Story Empire post from yesterday was timely for me.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. It became increasingly more difficult to find that balance, especially in the past year. Lots of changes, learning new software systems, you name it. I didn’t realize how “tired” my brain was until this week. No wonder I wasn’t able to write anything of significance.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I love having items with special meaning surrounding my writing space. Thanks for the tour of those that have significance to you. All are wonderful. I especially love the cats/books plaque, and the tag accompanying the coaster is a wonderful message to remember. Happy retirement and happy writing, Joan!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I saved that little tag. I used to help my brother when he fired Raku pottery, and it’s true. Not every piece survives the fire. My little writing nook is coming together. Now, to write. πŸ˜‰ Thanks, Mae!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Five years into retirement and still loving it. The only unhappy people I know are those who don’t have hobbies or things to keep their minds and bodies occupied. I have some friends who couldn’t stand it and returned to work. My brothers and I joke about how we ever found the time to work.

    Best of luck to the two of you in retirement.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Pete. I’ve heard of people who return to work because they’re bored out of their minds. Don’t think that’s going to happen to me. I was a bit concerned about my husband, but he’s found plenty to do and he loves retirement.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I had the same concerns about my wife, but it didn’t take long to realize there was nothing to worry about. She found her groove right away too.

        Liked by 1 person

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