Where Everybody Knows Your Name

winter 2008Last Saturday, the first snow storm of the winter blanketed the tristate leaving many people stuck in their community. If you live in a walkable town like Hoboken and its a non-work day, snow is a gift. Residents take control of the unclogged, traffic-free streets visiting bars and restaurants and being tempted into throwing snow at someone. There is no politics or unrest today. The world is at peace and everyone is your friend.

If you live in Warwick, you are in a winter wonderland of mountain vistas interrupted by the occasional neighbor in snowshoes or cross-country skis. If you went out the night before, you aren’t moving so quickly the day after. Chilling fits the mood of the weather perfectly. If you didn’t, inviting some neighbors to walk over for wine and appys around a rousing game of Monopoly might be the way to go. Expelling the energy in one night always seems like the right choice when you are in the middle of a fun time. Next day, maybe not. Some lessons are never learned.

Last Friday (previously referred to as “the night before”) my husband and I went to a restaurant bar up the street where a local cover band was playing songs from the 60s and 70s. We danced. We drank, etc., etc. We ran into other neighbors who joined us in dancing and drinking. Its Hoboken for the over 55 set.  We are not running to Florida. Its cold and I like it. Next up Super Bowl and I’m told it is serious chili and wings business around here.

My life and times through Glenn Frye

It was the early seventies and I was in my early 20s. I didn’t know it then but the Eagles were a backdrop to many of my times and now my memories. Sometimes, it was just the song playing in the background of a night at my local pub. Other times, the song said what I felt. Although I don’t want to believe it, it might be that I will never reminisce those times with those songs without being sad now that Glenn Frye is gone. He and the Eagles wrote the songs that made up my life.

I still see myself in that North Bergen pub just about 4 blocks from home where the music was either being belted from the local garage band or from the jukebox playing any one of the great songs by the Eagles.  Those songs bring back memories of the touching lyrics of Lyin’ Eyes that brought to light how my two-timing boyfriend did not deserve me. Desperado that soulful anthem to a misspent youth which finally gave way to relinquishing my free spirit to join the corporate forces in order to make money. And, of course, Tequila Sunrise – yes there were a few.

As time went on, my association with the Eagles and their songs continued to be an expression of me. My husband and kids came to anticipate my verbal comebacks of “get over it”. Then the older songs came back into the picture with Witchy Woman (I’m sure that was what the kids called me) and Best of My Love was a romantic moment with my husband.

I can’t imagine the Eagles will pull out of this. Did the Grateful Dead make it without Garcia, or the Doors without Morrison? Can’t be done. Henley will go out on his own and the rest will be playing in small clubs. I already miss Glenn Frye. I will always think of my own past when I hear the Eagles. I just wish it wasn’t over already.

 

 

Surviving Corporate America

I got my first full time job when I was 19 years old. I was the receptionist in the showroom of a swimwear company in New York City’s garment center. At the time,my only perspective towards a career was to make money. I hadn’t a clue as to what I wanted to do so I took the path that my mother took by working in the fashion world. The exception was that she was a very talented dressmaker. I was not. My career began behind the front desk doing menial labor; typing agendas, ordering coffee and lunch and greeting stuck-up store buyers and their minions. I answered the incoming phone calls through a switchboard. No talent was necessary just follow these rules – show up on time, do your job and don’t mess up.

In those early years, when I went on an interview it was meant to see if you had the skills needed and if you got along with the hiring manger. The session usually ended knowing if there was a job offer. A few years ago, I applied for a job within my last company and was subjected to an hour long phone interview with someone from another state who was hired to ask a series of questions that had nothing to do with my job. Question: Do you like to clean up after a party? My answer: it depends on what condition I am in.

In between then and now was a lifetime of experiences that included working for egotistical managers demanding their way while spending their days with liquid lunches resembling episodes of “Mad Men”. I count it as life lessons learned that led me to a clean, rousing finish. I’m lucky not to have known what I wanted. It might even be the key to success. Don’t look for anything, take what comes and don’t mess up.

 

Why Retirement is Good for the Economy

Today is Sunday. This week, the front page news reported that North Korea developed a hydrogen bomb pissing off the UN, the drug lord El Capo has been captured which meant the flow of drugs may be shortened by 10% and  Chris Christie is still in the race (really). In my world, I am pouring through recipes saved to my iPad and clipped from newspapers deciding what marinade I should put on tonight’s chicken dinner and what wine goes with it.

If not for the football playoffs, the church service (which still only takes place on Sundays at 10 AM) and my tiredness from last night’s dance, it could have been any day of the week. The weekends are great but were always just a break from the routine of work and my corporate friends. Retirement, however means shopping, socializing and exploring at off-peak times at local shops where someone does know my name.  What once was my work week is now just my five-days .

The shopping experience is enhanced through a conversation with the shop owners who during the week are usually hopeful for any verbal exchange. It usually leads to a sale. Required visits with a relative are less of an obligation as a random act of kindness. Although there are events that are meant for the throngs of visitors to my little town which many of the locals avoid (Applefest), many of nights include weekday jazz with outdoor dining and ladies night on Thursdays where it is just us town folks.

How does this help the economy? How does it hurt? Isn’t it better than hearing about bombs, killings and Donald. Tonight, my husband and I might go to Eddie’s Roadhouse and have dinner where Eddie will say “Hi Ginny and Tony” and I will talk to woman next to me, who lives down the street.

Warwick green

Warwick Green Photo by Ginny

 

The start

Everyone told me that retirement would be the death of me. I almost believed them. Except the day I walked away from the 40 years of my laborious career, was the day I rediscovered myself. I found out, I am a great cook but without enough mouths to feed. A gardener that plants where ever I put it giving little attention to its needs of light and water. My former excursions to the mall have been revised to take advantage of my local surroundings. With the abundance of auto repair shops (some though look abandoned) , I can always get my car fixed. And of course, I will never be out of apples.

In truth, I am where I belong. I live my days planning for travels and finding new adventures in a retirement community that meets my craving for friendships and activities that suit me perfectly. I am emancipated – work doesn’t need me anymore and I don’t need it.

I forgot so many things that I am now brought back to. I forgot that I can help family or close friends without feeling that they are intruding on my time. I realize how good it feels that all those holidays and late nights of work and corporate policies has rewarded me with the comfort of a new home in a new neighborhood amongst people just like me. I remember now how it feels to be part of a community and support my local shopkeepers by buying non-GMO meats, eggs and produce from the farmers who are are my neighbors and add to the local color of my village.

Many times, I’m asked “what do you do with your time”. Stock answer – “anything I want”. Sometimes that means staring at the TV in the middle of the afternoon or surfing the web (which by the way is done quite often in the work place as well).

My thought with this blog is to publish my experiences in travel and adventure, life in the Hudson Valley and provide inspiration to those who may want to come on the ride with me. Life in the garden of retirement.