The End of an Era?

Today was my last day of school (with students).  I’m retiring after 33 years – 10 years as a high school librarian and 23 years teaching biology, AP biology, physical science, conceptual physics, chemistry, oceanography, marine biology, forensic science, advanced genetics, algebra, basic math, and culinary arts online.  Wow, no wonder I’m tired.

So, stay tuned for some fun projects around the homestead.  I plan on reading, baking, renovating and maybe traveling a little.


The Epic Battle of a Boy and his Beanstalk…..

He’s not exactly a boy and it’s really not a beanstalk, but every few years my handsome husband does battle with the Kiwi vine on the back pergola.  Our house is fairly shady and the thick and vigorous vine over the living room windows makes it even darker inside.  We also haven’t got very many kiwi in the last few years.  Many fruit set, but before they are ready for us, the squirrels have been getting most of them.

Thus begins the road toward our retirement.  We are starting on a journey of making the inside and outside of the house as well as the property as maintenance free as possible.  We want it to look organized and neat, appealing to a buyer when we finally decide to make that big move northeast.


Before the pruning – a tangled, mess that is attacking the neighboring trees and trying to get into the second story windows.
After the pruning – the tangled, mess tis laying on the ground and the sun is peeping through the pergola.

2019 Garden – Finally Getting Started

The spring was a little late this year and my garden was even later.  I finally feel sturdy enough to make it down the driveway (steep) to the garden so I braved some of the weeds and put in a few starts.

Last weekend I planted 5 Yukon Gold and 3 Russet potato starts in the be closest to the garden gate.  The bed needs more soil so it will be easy to pile it higher as the potato sprouts start to grow.

This weekend I planted 3 tomatoes – a Big Boy and a Brandywine in the small bed near the peach tree, and a Roma in the small bed closer to the drive.  I also put a Cinderella Pumpkin into a wine barrel – the one closest to the lean-to, a small pepper into the bed next to it (with the scallions), and a zucchini in the bed next to the potatoes.

I also started a pot on the back porch with a lovely silver sage and a clump of lemon grass.

Retirement – So many decisions, so little time

This retirement planning is crazy.  I’m very blessed to have so many resources to make decisions about, even if several of them aren’t working out exactly as we’d hoped…..

What option to choose? – how much now? – how much for survivors?

What to do with private 403B?

What to do with lump sum portion?

What to do with my insurance from ‘early’ retirement?

What to do with hubby’s insurance?

How much withholding?


The best news is that I have this wonderful retirement to have to make decisions about.  It’s so much better then to make no decisions because there is nothing to decide.  The other good news is that I think I’m finished deciding!  19 more days to go.


Am I Ready to Retire?

Sad news in our district as we are facing more budget shortfalls in Oregon Education. We were one of the very few districts left that had certified librarians in schools. We found out that the first round of cuts included decreasing the high school librarians to 0.6 FTE. This follows cuts years prior making middle school librarians 0.4-0.6 and primary librarians 0.5.

Stable funding is getting a lot of press here of late – lots of blame on our pension system. What made me the most sad was the statistic that said there are 158 licensed school librarians in Oregon – less than one per school district.

So I’ve decided to look into retirement. I was proud to be a science teacher for 23 years but utterly amazed the last 10 years watching so many amazing librarians in Oregon do so much with so little support. I was hoping to have another year to sort out all of the decision, but the district office is no longer allowing employees to retire and then be rehired for the position at part time – even if it would probably save them money (I must be a little bitter).

Declutter like a Mother & Declutter 365 – Jan 5

Todays task for Declutter 365 was to straighten and declutter the kitchen linens.

  • This task was already done.  I just had to check in on it.  The decluttering I did last year at this time has worked well so everything is still in its place.  I just needed to do a little ironing of some linen tea towels.

Todays task for Declutter like a Mother was to keep continue focusing on those closets. We didn’t finish a closet, exactly, but we need put a new floor in the guest room closet. In order to do that we had to pull everything out. We’ll declutter as we put the things back in.

The Guest room Revamp

We have an embarrassing problem.  A few years ago we adopted this beautiful little snowshoe Siamese cat, Suzuki.  She wasn’t very cuddley and hid more then we liked, but she was lovely and needed a home.  They couldn’t keep her in foster care because the other cats would all attack her.  A few years in, she was getting to trust us, enjoyed being petted, love to scoot under the covers on a cool night and started peeing outside her cat box. We had her checked by vets (several) for urinary problems and all her tests came back fine.

Because of Suzuki’s new problem we’ve had to confine her to only one room in the house, the guest room.  We don’t want to but we can’t send her to another shelter and we can’t have her ruining the house.  Someone usually sleeps in there with her to keep her and we don’t, thank goodness, have overnight guests.

So we’ve decided (with four days of our vacation to go) to strip out the carpet and pad, seal the subfloor and baseboards, paint the walls and lay down a waterproof vinyl flooring.

Day 1 – Everything from the room was moved into the adjoining office space.

Day 2 – Carpet, pad and tack strips we’re removed and taken to the dump, baseboards were removed, and the subfloor was sealed.

Day 3 –  The hardware was removed and the walls painted with two coats. The first photo is after one coat.

Day 4 – We filled the nail holes in the floor and finished the flooring on day four.  I love this flooring.  It’s easy to cut, no messy adhesives, and should provide a nice water-proof  area for the problem kitty.