Choosing My Battles

It appears that technology (currently WordPress) is determined to pose ongoing challenges. I have never been one who enjoys conflict, so I make an effort to choose my battles.

Today my battle of choice was aligning my website address with the title of my blog, since WordPress had gone rogue on me and decided my website address should be ‘seclusion101withannemarie.com‘ instead of ‘retirement101with annemarie.com‘.

Since chances were slim to nil of getting the website address changed, I decided to go with it and change my blog title instead. That alone was battle enough as WordPress did not seem to believe I really want to make the change.

This has been my mission since 9:00 this morning. I have taken short breaks to have a bath, do my hair, have brunch, dust the livingroom, run to the pharmacy, go with Dan to get the Jeep washed and buy groceries, put away the groceries, walk Kat the dog, and have a short chat with my neighbour Kim. Finally at 4:00 this afternoon, my mission appears to be complete and my new blog title is here to stay!

Tomorrow, I will work on changing my tag line or adding a category to my menu. One battle a day and I should start to see some progress!

WordPress

It has been almost a year since I started posting blogs on Word Press. I was getting frustrated with other social media that I had been using. I felt that Instagram was too superficial and commercial. Facebook was too political, nasty and negative. I was looking for something better and, for the most part, I have found it on WordPress.

I enjoy the opportunity to be more creative on WordPress. I enjoy meeting people from different countries and totally different walks of life and getting to actually know them on a deeper level as neighbours and friends. I enjoy the time and effort people put into sharing their posts. WordPress is a deeper, more personal experience.

The only issues I have with WordPress are the technical challenges that it presents. Much of my time at work over the past couple of decades has been dealing with technical meltdowns, glitches and the like. I have had more than my share of such nonsense so it is not something that I look for in a pastime.

The most persistent and annoying issues I have are relative to the WordPress Reader. The search tool is so frustrating, I generally cannot even find my own blogs on it let alone anyone else’s. Having found a blog I want to read, I often cannot download the pictures or video clips or my phone locks up. I have no idea why. I can download an entire set of commercial drawings from an electronic planroom on my phone but my phone has to be constantly restarted when I am trying to use WordPress.

The most bizarre issue I have had on WordPress happened when I was setting up my account. I went through the entire process, including choosing the name – Retirement 101 with AnneMarie. That was where I was at – navigating my own path to retirement. WordPress, in its infinite technical wisdom, decided to name my website ‘seclusion101withAnneMarie.com’. Why? I never asked for that website name. I am fairly sure I didn’t agree to it. Was someone in the black hole of technology anticipating the pandemic of 2020 and the social distancing that it has created? No idea. My website needs work to look more professional but I think I am going to have to live with the seclusion that comes with my web address.

Maybe I can move to a secluded spot in the woods?

Back to work

I have received notice that I am scheduled to return to work on June 8th. Since I am retiring on July 24th, I could easily refuse. There is no benefit for me to return, other than a few weeks pay, which we could survive without. There are several reasons not to return – most, but not all, health related. The dust, the air conditioning and the stress in my office all aggravate my asthma and that is something I do not need, on top of my other respiratory issues right now, particularly considering the current Corona virus situation.

Be that as it may, I have agreed to return to work until my official retirement date. I have been with this company for almost sixteen years. I have a lot of time and effort invested in it. I have built up a number of client and supplier relationships that I do not wish to see the company lose. As much as I know things will ultimately be done differently when I retire, I want to make sure someone is ready to take over where I leave off.

In the meantime I have two weeks left to enjoy my pre-retirement break. Today I am cleaning our patio set and getting it ready for resting and relaxing once I do retire for real!

Stone Elephants

I am not the biggest fan of artwork – especially abstract art. I do not really understand it. I do not care who painted it, I would never pay millions of dollars for a red dot on a white canvas.

I do however love the beauty of nature. I feel the pulse of the universe in the sky, the ocean, the earth, plants, animals, and even in each and every one of my little stone elephants. I love the material from which each was carved. Each is unique and mesmerizing in its own way.

Happy Birthday!

This weekend we have two family birthdays. πŸŽ‚

Lucas & Cason – last visit before the lockdown

Yesterday, our grandson Lucas turned five years old. My son and his family live hours away from here so we were not able to celebrate in person. We sent Lucas some cash for his birthday. (My son said Lucas was very excited and wanted to spend it on a power tool for them to share – I do not think soπŸ˜‚.) Dan was at work, but I video called Lucas to wish him a Happy Birthday. We discussed his breakfast (pancakes with strawberries). We also played a few two person video games. It took me a bit to catch onto them but we got there. It was not an inperson visit but we both had fun!

Celebrating Mom’s birthday 2012 – Mom and Prim

Today would have been my Mother’s birthday. She passed away in April of 2013 one month short of her 95th birthday. Mom lived in a nursing home for her final five years. My daughter and I would often go to visit her and take her out for Sunday brunch. She loved to visit with her great-grandchildren and show them off to the staff and other residents in her home. She also loved it when we brought her flowers to brighten up her room. (Even the time we forgot to pick up a bouquet on our way out of town so had to pick wild flowers in the ditch along the wayπŸ˜‚)

I would love to be able to call my Mom and wish her a Happy Birthday, but honestly I am glad for her that she is not here. I am happy that her life ended peacefully, with family by her side. I am glad that she was not here to experience any part of this Covid 19 pandemic.

Garden In!

I planted the rest of my seeds and seedlings yesterday! The garden is mostly peppers – bell, Hungarian wax, and a variety of hot peppers and tomatoes – San marzan, Roma, Tiny Tim (for Kat), Beefsteak, multicolored and Better Boy. We also have a few cucumbers, onions, zucchini (for Kat), peas, carrots, lettuce and radishes and a few herbs. I also have my flower planters done. Most of them are perennials but I add a few annuals to the mix every year.

Garden area. The hanging planters and the Bleeding Heart were from the grandkids for Mother’s Day
Beefsteak Tomatoes
Garage wall planter
Day Lillie’s that we got from our neighbour this week
Dan’s ‘Tree of Enchantment’ would be a little more enchanting if it grew a bit this year
I love this planter. I bought it for our patio to slow the grandkids down, but now their pool is too big to share the patio.
Currant Bush – there are going to be more currants than bush this year🀷

Now I can start the rest of the yard clean up. Dan brought out the water hose yesterday so now I can dig out the pressure washer for the patio and pond. Then, I can start giving all the planters a fresh coat of paint. I am so excited for all the time I will have to spend outside in our yard this year!

Opening Up Saskatchewan

Our provincial government has decided that it is time to re-open Saskatchewan. I agree that it is time. People need to return to their lives and we should be ready. Businesses have been made aware of what they must do to keep their customers and staff at minimum risk. Medical facilities have had time to prepare for Covid and non-Covid patients. Schools will remain closed for now as will churches, sports venues, and the like. Our government should be ready to take swift action if there are signs of a serious outbreak. People in general have been educated as to the risks of Covid 19 and the precautions needed to avoid contracting or spreading it. Saskatchewan is ready. It is time.

I have ventured out very little in the past two months. For the most part, I have gone only where I absolutely had to – our bank, our pharmacy, and to a lab for blood tests. I also went to one outdoor greenhouse and one very quiet dollar store. Dan has been doing all of our other shopping and errands on his days off.

Yesterday I decided that it was time. I put on a mask and headed off to Walmart with Dan to pick up a number of items that I prefer to buy for myself – shampoo, conditioner, and the like.

Not actually me…

Dan dropped me off at the lineup to the Walmart entrance. There were maybe fifteen people in line. The line was orderly and moving at a steady pace. One person would be allowed to enter the store and the rest of us would move up a spot. The spots were clearly identified. I was signalled to enter the vestibule, where there were three more steps to move up. Then I was signalled to enter the store.

Once in the store, it was a GONG show. People were coming in, people were going out, people were crossing sideways to grab a cart or return a cart. I had no idea where I was supposed to go. A staff member caught my eye and motioned me over to get a freshly sanitized cart. I thanked him, grabbed a cart, and moved off towards the pharmacy area.

There were no arrows to indicate which direction I should be travelling. There were only a couple of other people in the immediate vicinity so I was easily able to keep my distance. I was relaxing, while still being vigilant. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a large man moving up beside me. I edged away from him just as he put his BIG hand on the handle of my cart.

This was not the first time Dan has stepped up beside me to take over pushing a cart but he startled me none the less. Fortunately, my mask muffled my shriek and we moved on.

Dan’s hand vs my hand. He has BIG hands.

I led the way around the store, while Dan pushed the cart. It was all good until we reached the grocery department. Suddenly there were arrows on the floor and I was going the wrong direction – as were half of the customers. Dan was in the next aisle, going the right direction. I caught up with him and we quickly got what we needed. We paid the cashier, who was on the other side of a plastic barrier. I was distracted when I noticed she was sanitizing the debit machine after I used it. πŸ‘

By the time I turned back, Dan was gone. He was halfway out the door. As I was trying to get past the service counter, there was a staff member – right there – announcing Walmart’s Covid 19 protocols. In the ten square feet in front of her counter, there were a dozen people all going different directions. I was one of them. πŸ™„

It may be time and Saskatchewan may be ready. Personally, I do not feel that I am quite there yet – at least not for Walmart.