Saturday, August 18, 2012

Retirement ~ Time to Smell The Roses

My usual morning routine is one that sometimes takes two hours to complete after I first get up in the morning.  By the time I get up, my husband has made my coffee and read one newspaper.  As I descend the stairs, I hear Boston run to get a toy so he can greet me with his happy morning dance as he begs me to admire his toy and pet him.  I then kiss my dear sweet husband, pour my coffee, and settle down in my favorite red chair to watch the Today Show and read three newspapers, The Pueblo Chieftain, The Gazette Telegraph, and The Denver Post.  I always read for an hour while I sip my coffee before I finally make my breakfast.  My hubby is probably already to take the dog for his morning walk by the time I eat.  On summer mornings, we do our morning newspaper reading and chatting on the back deck.  I love retirement.  There is no rush to get out the door.

Yesterday, on Thursday, feeling especially good mentally and physically, soon after pouring my cup of coffee, I heard Lionel Richie singing on the Today Show.  I couldn't stop myself.  I was dancing around the kitchen and family room, coffee cup in hand to "Oh what a feeling, we're dancing on the ceiling."  "This is a great way to start the day," I thought.  I even posted on Facebook that I was starting my Friday off right by dancing to Lionel Richie while I drank my first cup of coffee.  Then, I took my medicines and saw the pill container said it was Thursday.  Then, my daughter-in-law posted on Facebook, "Wait, isn't it Thursday."  Yes, it was Thursday, but I am retired.  It is hard to know what day it is.  It felt like a Friday to me.

Today, Friday, the 17th,  the man and I both slept in.  The dog didn't wake up my hubby, so we were able to sleep until we were both awake.  In fact, I think I woke up first.  That is a rarity.  "Oh well, it is a Saturday, so we can justify sleeping in," I thought upon awakening.  But, when I read the paper, I realized it was not Saturday, it was Friday.  I've been confused on what day it is for two days.  Every day in retirement feels like Friday or Saturday.

I usually fix big breakfasts on the weekend.  Of course, today was not the weekend, but I thought it was.  We had gotten up late, so it really felt like Saturday.  Before breakfast I slipped out to the garden to see what was ripe.  I picked some cherry tomatoes, snipped some chives, got some Pueblo peppers out of the freezer and made us a frittata.  I've never made a frittata before.  It was quite yummy.  We also had fresh raspberries and blueberries in Greek yogurt.  This was really a Saturday or Sunday breakfast.

After breakfast, I again slipped outside.  It was so nice and cool outside.  I sat on the deck and thought of how much I love this house.  While we were both working at demanding jobs, I dreamed of just enjoying my house and yard after I retired.  Today, as I sat out on the back deck, I looked over to one of my favorite sights, my back rose garden, the one I planted the year I retired.  I call it my Peace Garden.

This summer has been a hot one.  I thought these roses would never come out of it in late June and throughout July when they looked done for, but I kept up with the feeding routine, I made sure they were watered, and I deadheaded every few days, although all through July I had few blooms, and the few blooms I had dried up on the stems.  Now, the weather is cooling and we've had some rain.  The roses are having what I call a second blooming.  Isn't that what retirement is all about?  A second blooming.  The second blooming is almost the best.  The colors are richer, deeper, and the blossoms are fuller when roses bloom in late summer and early fall.  It is true, "Gardening is a form of autobiography," I think as I look at the roses.

My eye catches one rose bud on the Peace Rose.  It is so stately.  I venture down the steps into the garden to take a closer look at this particular rose.  I capture it with my iPhone camera.

I haven't seen quite as much pink on the edges of these roses until now.  The cool weather is allowing the pinks to show their hues.  This rose, the Peace Rose, was planted in 2006 when I retired.  It was the first rose in the garden.  It was selected because it is one of my favorite roses.  Introduced by in the United States in 1945, the year of my birth, it was given to delegates of the first meeting of the United Nations with a note that read,  We hope the 'Peace' rose will influence men's thoughts for everlasting world peace.  

I really do love this rose.  It is the one I usually choose to place in a vase in front of my father's portrait when I have them in bloom.  I do this to honor my father and his time of service in the war, and to remember the time when I was going a bit too caustic and angry about a problem during my divorce many years ago.  As he listened to me rant, my father said nothing as he held up his two fingers in a peace sign.  That simple gesture spoke volumes to me, and I calmed down. My father was not one to go around putting up the peace signal, but he did so that day to send me a message.  I got it, and I haven't forgotten it.  Peace!  It is a beautiful thing.

It is such a great thing to have time to smell the roses and think about the reason I have a garden.  I have a garden because I love to create beauty.  I also love to have a creative outlet, and gardening allows me to do that in a way that is physically, spiritually, and mentally satisfying.  I thought I would spend my retirement years working as a master gardener.  I even took the course and have the certificate, but I don't consider myself a master gardener.  I still think of myself as a "dig in the dirt" kind of gardener.  I design in my head as I work the ground.  This means I have had some major design flaws in my yard.  It means I am always digging something up and moving it somewhere else.  It means I have not always considered nature, space, and placement as well as I should when I garden, but I am learning.  I keep some notes along the way.  I have a file in my garden shed where I keep the original receipts or tags for the roses and perennials I have planted over the years.  I try to have a rule that if I can't say the name or remember the name of plant, I don't plant it.

My gardening has been very hit or miss this year.  The heat has been a factor.  My health has been another factor.  And, we have our house on the market, so I have not made any huge additions to the garden.  I just try to maintain it and enjoy it.

I don't know how I will part with this beauty if we ever actually sell this house and move.  This is Easy Does It.    This beauty was planted in June of 2010 after being purchased to be planted in my Peace Garden in memory of my daughter Julie after her death.

Julie at her class reunion dressed in a shirt covered with orange flowers
This is the perfect rose to honor Julie.  The color reminds me of her.  Julie wore a lot of orange.  She had a vibrant personality and could carry off wearing such a bold color so well.  I love the touch of yellow, and a bit of pink and apricot in this rose.  It is complex in its color scheme just as Julie was complex in her personality.  Perhaps, the rose reminded me of her dressed in a top she used to wear that suited her so well.

Another flower I love to admire in my Peace Garden, is the Queen Elizabeth.  Introduced in 1954, it is sometimes known as the Queen of England rose. Interestingly, this rose did not bloom this year until the week of the Queen's Jubilee.  When it first bloomed this year, it bloomed all week of the Jubilee, and then it stopped blooming because of the heat.  It started blooming again when the Olympics began. I guess it identifies greatly with its British roots.

This rose is easy to grow and rewards me with beautiful sweet smelling bouquets.  I prefer to cut the buds for arrangements because they are so beautiful.  I like them better than the fully blossomed flowers.

I love deadheading my roses.  It is a very relaxing pasttime for me.  Working in my roses gives me time to think, to reflect, to smell the fragrance of the beauty of the plants I treasure.  As I clip the spent blossoms, I always toss them into one my great treasures:  my father bucket.  I love this bucket because it reminds me of my father.  It is a simple galvanized work bucket that still has paint splatters and cement attached to the surface inside and out of the pail he used as he went about working on the home he loved to maintain.  I think of how important it is to stay connected to the simple pleasures and pride that work can bring.  I am grateful to find beauty in a bucket full of spent blossoms.  I am grateful for this time in life when I can just putter in my garden while literally taking time to smell the roses.  It is good to not have to know what day it is, or even what time it is.  Time is suspended as I ponder all the sights and smells of my garden.  I treasure the memories that such times evoke within me.


Terra said...

I agree with much of what you write here, and think we could enjoy chatting, about our love of gardening and of retirement. We are the same age, and I have a Peace Rose too, planted about 20 years ago. 15 years ago, at the wrong time of the year for transplanting, we built an addition to our house and dug up that rose, and it lived and thrived! Just sayin', in case you dare to take it with you when you move! Or leave it, and buy yourselves a new one.

Barb said...

Your post has meaning for me, too, Sally - Bob and I often have to check with each other to figure out what day it is. Sometimes, we'll say - "this really feels like the weekend" when it's the middle of the week. No more TGIF thinking for us! Your roses remind me of my Mother who had a green thumb and beautiful rose gardens. She was a galvanized pail lady, too. I'm never going to show you my gardens, Sally - you would be appalled! They're a really wild affair, but I love them for their color and movement and character. So glad that you felt well enough to dance to Lionel! PS Julie and her rose are a lovely match.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I loved learning about your roses, especially Peace and Easy Does It. Because of our harsh winters, I only grow hardy shrub roses, but I definitely admire the beauty and subtlety of your "real" roses. And I love the idea of retirement as a second blooming. Amen to that!

becca said...

wow beautiful flowers

DJan said...

I just love this post, Sally, but I am simply and completely amazed at the pictures you were able to take with your iPhone camera! They are simply amazing, and I do think I could smell them as I looked at their pictures. Isn't retirement wonderful?

Joanne said...

I love the image I have of you dancing in your kitchen. I do that when I do the dishes! Your roses are beautiful and the colors seemed to be the same as in your Daughter's dress. You're right about those colors looking so pretty on Julie.
Blessings, Joanne

LC said...

Retirement as a "second blooming" is such an encouraging thought. And you are certainly blooming. I am inspired in how you are finding joy in simple pleasures, satisfying routines, relationships, beauty and your nurturing of that beauty. Thank you for a lively and lovely tutorial via images and words of accomplishing and appreciating a second blooming.

rosaria williams said...

Ah, the rewards of retirement are so many, from sleeping in, indulging in favorite activities for hours, and deciding which days are weekends.
What a beautiful thing it is to spend time tending roses, vegetables, all things that grow.

Your roses are very beautiful, and you must be quite a gardener!

Linda Myers said...

Wonderful: losing track of what day it is. Because it doesn't matter, really.

#1Nana said...

I relate to so much of what you write. I never know what day it is and have to look at my iPad if I want to know the date...a calendar doesn't help because I can't get close to what week it is. I'm so grateful to be retired.

Linda Reeder said...

My poor roses have been shocked again by the latest 90+ heat wave. Now we are in a cooling trend, so I will need to get out and dead head and refresh my garden. As you may know, my garden requires a lot of work, and sometimes it feels like work, but when I have all the time in the world to devote to it and don't have to hurry, I love it. I'm looking forward to that in the coming week as the remodeling gets under way inside the house.
This, is a lovely, peaceful post.

Thisisme. said...

Hi Sally. I just HAD to pop over to read your latest post! It was such a lovely post as well. I felt as if I was sat there with you in your garden as you were telling me all about your day and your very pretty garden. I love the roses. I have quite a few in my garden, and I too have a little remembrance garden in a raised bed, with roses, lavender and rosemary, all planted in memory of loved ones who are no longer with us. I so agree with you that retirement is wonderful. So lovely just being able to wake up when we want to and sit and read the papers, or whatever takes our fancy. We just have to hope that we can hold on to our health! I know that you have had lots of problems with that, especially since your fall at the beginning of this year, and I've had spells in hospital. Really enjoyed this post my friend. Thank you!

Olga said...

What an amazingly beautiful post all around, Sally. I love the garden metaphor for retirement--a change for a second blooming--and in the best of world's, a time for peace through creativity.

Thisisme. said...

I left my other comment on Blogger and then saw this on Facebook ! I love the story about your dad's galvanised bucket, and the rose in memory of Julie of course.

Jeanie said...

Such lovely descriptions of all your wrote about. I have only been (mostly) retired for a few weeks, but my favorite part is the unhurried mornings. Maybe I'll add some dancing to make them even better. I have scheduled some work days in September and I do not look forward to the getting up and rushing out early.

Chatty Crone said...

A beautiful rose for your beautiful daughter. sandie

Sandi said...

Loved this post and the beautiful rose photos, Sally! I yearn for the days when I won't know (or care) what day it is! I get a bit of that during the summer, but not enough to truly let go!

I too, have a Peace rose that I love, given to us to memorialize my husbands sister when she died several years ago.

The rose you chose for Julie is stunning, and I am going to look for that one to add to my little rose garden.

Thanks for a beautiful post, inside and out!

troutbirder said...

Oh my what beautiful roses. We love our new house in the shady woods but no being able to grow roses due to lack of sunshine is the one big detriment. And yes I too often don't know what day it is (except Sunday). Retirement is the best...:)

Jean said...

What beautiful roses, and what loving care you give them!

I love being retired, too. I thought I would miss teaching, but I don't. My early morning routine consists of watching the Today Show, reading the newspaper, checking blogs and Facebook, and knitting. It's a gentle way to ease in to the day. I often don't know what day it is; I've been known to forget which month it is; I almost never know the date. Isn't retirement grand!?

Dee said...

Dear Sally, this is a marvelous posting--I can truly see the truth of that quotation you gave us--that gardening is autobiography. Your roses and your father bucket certainly do illustrate that quotation remarkably well.

The roses are lovely. Thank you for sharing with us what each means in your life. They bring blessed memories to you and must be such a gift to your spirit. Peace.

Joyce said...

My husband has a co-worker who retired a few years ago. He likes to pop into the office and say, 'Today is TuesdaySaturday' Every day is Saturday in retirement : )

I love your roses and the stories behind them. Today I wish you peace.

Kay said...

This post made me want to get up and dance too if my upper back wasn't hurting me so much. I have no idea what I did with it. Mom thinks it's the stress of planning our party.

Whatever the case, your post made me want to just sit down and relax for a while and just stop to smell the roses. I just wish I had roses as beautiful as yours to smell. Sigh.

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

Perhaps you could consider finding out about having your beloved roses dug up, and moved to where ever you live next... When moving time comes.

Gentle hugs,

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

This was a fun post, full of interesting info on roses.

Last Saturday, it was dark, muggy and smokey out. As we drove to Sutherlin, we got into better weather, but I kept thinking that it was Sunday instead of Saturday. Must have been something going on with days being mixed up last week!

Thanks so much for stopping by to see me. I have been behind with my visits this summer too.

Kathy M.

Deb Shucka said...

I love this post! The roses are stunning - your pictures somehow hold the feelings expressed in your words. I love the metaphor of the vivid colors of late-blooming flowers. Definitely something I can relate to. Can't you take your roses with you when you move?

I'm so glad your health is good right now, and that you're able to fully embrace this amazing life you're living.

Rose said...

My favorite part of retirement is also getting up in the morning and not having to hurry around to go somewhere! Surprisingly, I don't sleep in as late as I thought I would, but those early morning hours of just sipping coffee and doing whatever at a relaxed pace are my favorite time of day. I love your description of retirement as a "second blooming." I've done a lot of things, like go through the Master Gardener program and learn Tai Chi, that I never had time for before.

The 'Peace' rose has always been one of my favorites, too, but I didn't know the history behind it--how fascinating! Perhaps you can dig up a few of the roses that mean the most to you, like the one in memory of your daughter, and take them with you to your new home.

Oh yes, and I often don't know what day it is either:)

Grandmother said...

I love the thought of us blooming again in retirement and taking our time to do what's really important. Gorgeous roses!

schmidleysscribblins, said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've seen you around the blogosphere. I noticed you becaause my sister, daughter and son and granddaughter all teach English. My daughter works with the special needs kids, and my son works with the language challenged kids.

I love the Peace Rose, the first I planted years ago. Although I can't grow the tea roses anymore owing to too much shade, I do grow a couple of climers. My favorite is still the Peace Rose which won the All America Award right after WWII.

Jeanie said...

I had to chuckle at the beginning of this post. I came up north on Wednesday. For the life of me, I can't get in my head that today is Thursday! It must be Friday! Nope! A free day! I am trying to get my ducks in a row so I can join you two in the retirement game. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to produce flowers so beautiful as you, but maybe I'll get a few things organized! Enjoy every minute, Sally. You deserve it!

Carolynn Anctil said...

You have a stunning collection of roses. I'm partial to the delicate shade of pink in the Queen Elizabeth. The Easy Does It blossom is gorgeous and I'm sure your daughter would be pleased that you chose such a uniquely beautiful rose to honour her memory with.