More on Retirement

Sixty three, I say it to my self often, and in awe that I reached this age. I survived three day open air rock concerts, and all that went with them. I survived motorcycle accidents, car crashes, life in general and here I am still.
I work pretty hard, and write, and have hobbies and interests, but now, instead of having the energy to run with them all, I need to choose. Weekends used to be a time of fun, but now they are a time of errands, chores and recuperating after a busy work week.
In my head I’m still 25, but my body disagrees.
Waking up to the early mists that sometimes blanket the hilltop villages of Abruzzo is tempting. The sun comes up and burns them away, making a perfect beach day.

Yes I lived to reach 63 years old! I read the news and all that is happening in the world. I’m not afraid of Coronavirus, but it makes me realize we’re all vulnerable. How much longer do I have to enjoy retirement?

Tying up Loose Ends

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Sometimes you have to tie up the loose ends to continue with your life, especially when its taking a new direction.
In many cases the loose ends are just in your head, dangling around in your brain, making the place untidy. I had a lot of those, and they were making me undecided and confused.
Over the last couple of months I’ve been able to tie them. None were visual or earth shattering, but they are tied, finished, and no longer causing me angst. Now I can look forward and see a clear picture of my future without barriers of unfinished business.

Look inside yourself at what is preventing you from being happy, and tidy up those loose ends. You won’t regret it.

Life is a confusing battle!

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Do we all have this constant battle? I know I do, you make a decision because it feels right, then your head says “No, wait!”

Oh my goodness, you can go around in circle for hours, days, weeks!
As I get older I let my heart win a little more, I feel as though I have less to lose. I’ve refrained from things that just don’t make logical sense, even if they feel right, not all of the time but probably 75%.

We moved to the US from England because it felt right, that was a biggie. Raising a child in a country we didn’t know so well. It worked out well, there were battles, but we have a strong, confident, successful daughter.

I didn’t quit work to be a full time author because my brain stopped me.
“You need to stay at work and earn money, keep your health insurance, save for your future.” I’m not sure if that was the right decision or not, but I don’t think I suffered from it.

Now I need to work on doing things my heart tells me to do. It’s telling me I should retire before my health suffers, it’s also telling me that the altitude of living in Colorado isn’t good for me. So I’m listening. In the not too distant future I’m retiring to Italy with my husband. We’ll enjoy the oxygen of living at sea level and the tranquility of village life. Good food, good wine and good folks.

Now my brain still struggles because my daughter lives in Colorado, but my heart knows she’s married to a good man and doesn’t need me anymore.

Maybe for once in my life my heart and brain are working together.

I hope so!

Wasting Energy on WORK!

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Oh dear me! I’m tired, exhausted, I need some ENERGY!
It’s February and cold.
Not much daylight, and yes, I am getting old.
I rise at 5:15 am and stretch, not sure I’d get through the day without stretching those limbs. I lift light weights fifteen minutes and use the step machine for a little while too.
Then its shower, coffee, yoghurt, granola and off to work!
The day is a blur of calls, meetings, invoices…….you know, I think thats the problem. I feel fine in the morning, but that thing called work is sapping my energy.
I think I need to give it up!

It’s been a while!

It’s been a while since I blogged. I’ve been back from Abruzzo for one week now, but my heart is still there. I didn’t leave the way of life behind, but brought it with me, in the cooking especially. I miss the simple, flavorful food so, I make it here in the US.

It doesn’t taste quite as good because the produce isn’t as fresh, but it will get me by until I return.

Retirement is on my mind!

A Christmas Story

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Once upon a time there was a little girl called Sandra. She was born in the fifties into an unhappy violent marriage. She was four, when her beaten, bleeding mother plucked up the courage to leave the monster she was married to. Her mum worked hard to keep food on the table and because of that Sandra spent a great deal of time alone dreaming of things she thought she’d never have.
In 1967 Sandra’s mum married a good man and life wasn’t so difficult anymore, but she still dreamed. What did she dream of?
Italy!
Why?
She didn’t really know, perhaps she was born with the dream. Sandra also had a weird uncontrollable gift. She knew things would happen before they did. Sometimes it was scary, but she lived with it with the help of an unseen presence, that she thought of as her Guardian Angel. Her first trip to Italy was 1971. To the Adriatic coast! She was smitten and returned often.
Sandra was married when she was 20, and travelled a great deal, often to Italy, but usually the Mediterranean coast. Her first trip to Rome was 2010, it gripped her heart, and that of her husband. It prompted them to search for a home. They looked in Campania, Tuscany, Lazio and then finally and after five years of searching, they came upon Abruzzo.
Abruzzo is on the Adriatic Coast, and only about three hours from Rome. Italy is beautiful, but Abruzzo is a piece of heaven. It takes you back in time to how Italy used to be before the tourist invasion. Quiet and traditional. The folks who live in Abruzzo are inquisitive, caring folks, genuinely interested in your well being. If they ask how you are, they really want to know. They’re proud of their land, their wine and eager to share.
Tomorrow we fly to our home in the tiny village of Colledimezzo, province of Chieti. A beautiful village perched on a hillside. It isn’t our permanent home yet, but we escape to Colledimezzo as often as we can.
Merry Christmas everyone, don’t lose sight of your dreams, instead make them come true!

America has lost its heart

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I moved to the US from England in 1995.

The culture here was completely different from that in the UK, but I liked it. Folks were welcoming, upbeat and happy.

Shortly after I arrived there was a dreadful tragedy in Oklahoma, you all remember it so there is no need to go into details, but folks pulled together, and got through it.
Since then terrible things have happened. School shootings, 9/11, terrible times for all. Through the grief and sorrow, folks pulled together, it brought them closer. Even if their politics were different, they were one nation healing together.

For the past two or three years America has changed. Racism is rife. The general mood of the country is that of anger and hatred.

Not everyone demonstrates this mood, but enough folks to make me feel unsafe, a little scared. Hostility is displayed openly. Folks seem to know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

America has lost its heart and it saddens me.

Dolce Far Niente

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This only happens to me in Italy. I’ve tried to practice it here in the US, but it doesn’t work. There is always something do. There are things to do in Italy too, but somehow, they aren’t so important. What is more important is sitting with a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine and just enjoying the moment.

Can’t wait to be back!

This crazy little thing called retirement (Part 8) Vasto – the confirmation

 

We spent one more night in Atessa. After our huge lunch, we couldn’t eat another bite, but we wandered through the beautiful little town one more time. Cocktails completed the evening.

The next morning we set off to meet Monia, our realtor, in San Buono. Google managed to get us on a road that didn’t exist, and I was terrified we’d never be seen again, but we made it. San Buono was a pretty little village, but the apartment we went to view wasn’t a patch on the house in Colledimezzo. From San Buono, we followed Monia to Celezna. Celezna was slightly bigger than the other villages we’d looked in. The hill it was on was much higher, and the views were breathtaking. The house, on the edge of the village, had a terrace which boasted views of the Adriatic. Tempting, but not tempting enough to turn our heads. We’d already found what we were looking, our mind was made up! We stopped in a small coffee bar and told Monia we’d made our decision and wanted to make an offer on the house in Colledimezzo. Then we cheek kissed Italian style and went our separate ways. She had other clients to see, and we were heading to Vasto for our final night.

Vasto was a beautiful surprise, as was the Residenze Amblingh where we spent our final night. The photos I’ve posted are just a few to tempt you to come back next week and read about our afternoon and evening in Vasto. It may be my favorite town in Italy!

This Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement (Part 7) Fossecasia

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My daughter and I were a little giddy when we left Colledimezzo. We took the SS652 towards the coast. Twenty minutes later a carpet of azure spread out in front of us. Breathtaking!
The Adriatic in all of its splendor!
I first visited the Adriatic coast in the early seventies, with my mum and my crazy Aunt. We spent two weeks in Rimini and thats when I became hooked on Italy. I was fifteen years old. My daughter spoke, bringing me back to reality
“Mum, you’ll be living the dream” she said, “Close to the mountains and close to the ocean. What more could you ask for?”
My eyes filled with tears of happiness, sharing this journey with my daughter made it even more special.
“Lets park down by the sea. I’d like to try and eat on a trabocco.” I said.
“Trabocco?”
“Yes, they used to be fishing platforms, but now they’re restaurants. Gino D’Campo visited one on his show a couple of years ago.”
I watched travel shows about Italy when ever I could, and if it was a travel show that included cooking, even better. Gino was my favorite.
We tried to get a table in two trabocco restaurants, both fully booked. Finally trabocca Punta Pesce Polumbo welcomed us. Our Italian was very limited, and our waitress spoke no English, so it was quite the experience. It was a fixed price meal, wine included. The food was absolutely delicious and we ate and appreciated the delicious fish and pasta, not realizing just how many courses we’d be getting. Had we known, we’d have eaten less at the beginning. Although every mouthful, every single morsel was delicious, we had to raise our hands.
Our waitress laughed, “Finita?”
“Si, mille grazie.” I said patting my stomach.
“Mum, it’s grazie mille,” my daughter corrected me. “You have to master this language if you’re going to live here.”
She was right of course. “I’ll go and pay and then I think we should go back to Atessa and maybe take a nap. All that food has made me sleepy.”
We paid and left, but we didn’t take a nap at the hotel, instead we wandered around the beautiful little hilltop town of Atessa, stopping in quaint little bars to taste the the local beer and wine.
I absolutely knew I’d found the place I wanted to retire and I was happy!

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