Sunday Stills: Whistle While You #Work

Stack of papers to be graded

This holiday weekend, Labor Day (in the U.S.), is the traditional end to the summer, as school begins, and vacations are all but over.

According to the US Department of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

Imagine what our country (or any) would be without workers. This holiday was to be in honor of the Labor unions that protect workers from harsh and unrealistic conditions as a result of working in factories.

For Sunday Stills, if you haven’t quite guessed the theme, it is WORK!

We value work so much so that we spend most of our childhood preparing for our future careers.

Which of course leads me into education and my second act in life as a university lecturer. Yes, the featured image above is a huge stack of papers to be graded (from last year)! I won’t see a stack like this until later in the semester.

Some students have to “work” for their leisure! Student jumping off the platform “the dive” in one of our classes. This photo is submitted for “Action” for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week.

Student takes the "leap of faith" 40 feet in the air at the Peak Adventures Challenge Ropes Course in Sacramento.

A summer day in the life at my former career…I trained and supervised lifeguards and swim instructors, and manage to teach a learn-to-swim class every summer. It was still work, but teaching people how to enhance their leisure time and learn new skills was rewarding and satisfying! I might have whistled a note or two while at work!

Swim-Lessons

Here are some earlier posts about “work” when I retired from the day job as aquatics director (from the early days of my blog). Click the links to read more or just check out the images.

PERSPECTIVES ON…THE BOX: RETIREMENT, PART 2

Personal things from the office

Under Construction

A peek at my home office built into the master bedroom addition.

home office in master bedroom
Home office work space

 

PERSPECTIVES ON…MOUNTAIN DESKTOP Now I take my job wherever I need to. I don’t mind grading papers with a view like this of Lake Tahoe!

College Notebooks
Mountain Desktop

Share something related to work for Sunday Stills, even if you are no longer working! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Reminder that there will be no Sunday Stills post for Sept 9.

I’m attending my 40-year high school reunion in San Diego that entire weekend (Thursday through Monday), and will not be able to share posts! You can always use an older theme if you miss it too much, by visiting the Sunday Stills Page.

Here is the link-up!

We had over 80 posts in August! Please welcome and visit our new Sunday Stills participants who shared their great photos and posts in August!

City Sonnet 

I’ll Give You a Letter for That

Life Lessons

MV Obsession

Netdancer’s Musings

Quaint Revival

Sights and Insights

Travel Ways

Wide Eyed in Wonder

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Labor Day Holiday!

Camera graphic

 

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49 Days In 1988: Week 31 – First Night – Hugh’s Views & News

Night sky

Many thanks to Hugh for featuring me on his blog today!

This weekly feature shares accounts from his journal written in the 1980s and introduces bloggers’ book project and favorite 80s songs!

If you have not visited Hugh’s blog yet, please stop by!

Photo by Emre Gencer on Unsplash

via 49 Days In 1988: Week 31 – First Night – Hugh’s Views & News

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Weekend Coffee Share: Autumn Edition

Autumn leaf on wood shows it's splendor

Autumn leaf on wood shows it's splendor

If we were having coffee, after a fun week of reading Halloween-themed blogs and posting a few of my own, I would tell you that it is nice to finally get into autumn mode.

If we were having coffee I would offer you a wonderful pumpkin-spice flavored coffee, I found at Trader Joe’s. I add just a couple of scoops to my regular Colombian roast and it is perfect. Fall-weekend-coffee-shareWould you like a dollop of Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice creamer to mellow it out? Autumn heaven in a cup!

It is daylight savings time here in the states. We get to “fall behind!” Woohoo! I got an extra hour of sleep last night! It will be nice to wake up early and have some daylight, although it will be dark by 5:00pm.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we managed to have a small, adult Halloween party at our house last night. Just a few close friends over to eat, drink and be scary. It would be scary if I cooked, so thankfully, my husband does that. But I did make some Candy Corn cocktails that turned out de-lish! The idea of the party was to also toast our new master bedroom with champagne. My friends were impressed with the bedroom. We also managed to hand out candy to trick-or treaters–the few we get.

If we were having coffee I would remind you that yesterday was my last Leisure Link. I want to thank everyone who has participated in the link party over the last few months. Watch for a wrap up post this week!

Part of the reason I discontinued my link-up was because I am so much more busy working as a part-time lecturer than I expected. I have been teaching two classes this semester. Last fall, as I was retiring from my day job, I taught two evening classes. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it, but since I had taught them both before, usually one per semester, most of my curriculum was ready to go. This semester, with just two classes, one of them is brand new and has 75 students. With the online component, it really keeps me hopping! But I love it.

Party lights enhance the new master bedroom addition
Party lights enhance the new master bedroom addition.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am a little more than half way through the school semester! Both my courses had their midterms this past week. The month of November is pretty much it for classes, except for a couple of dates in December, reserved for group project presentations and finals. As I like to keep myself scheduled and structured, I already have my 2016 schedule, for spring and even next fall! It really is nice to know what I have to look forward to.

How is your autumn coming along? I can see by many of your posts that you are enjoying the fall leaves and some of you are already reporting snow. To my friends in the southern hemisphere, I hope you are enjoying wonderful spring weather!

Enjoy your week!


Please join other fellow bloggers as they share their week at Part-Time Monster’s Weekend Coffee Share!

My Penance is Paid

La-Jolla-Sunset
La-Jolla-Sunset
A light at the end of the tunnel

Divorce is never good. I put something into place 20 years ago this month…my separation and subsequent divorce. It has taken 20 years to pay this penance.

I got married for the first time at the ripe old age of 20. My husband was 23. Not only were we kids, we were still attending college. Luckily I was smart enough to finish my undergrad degree three years later without missing a beat, get employed, and have my first child, all before the age of 25.

Without going into the details of why I chose to initiate the divorce after 15 years of marriage, let’s just say that it was necessary for my self-esteem, my children and my finances.

CalPERS-logoIn California, retirement and pension programs are considered community property. This means that in a divorce settlement, spouses are entitled to each other’s pensions and other assets. I worked for a public agency that paid into CalPERS, our retirement system, beginning in 1986. Once our divorce was finalized, my ex was entitled to $11,000 of my retirement account.

I did not know that would happen. Not that anything would have changed.

At the time, I was pretty naïve about these subjects. I was told in 1995 that CalPERS did not pay off the spouse, but put money into a retirement account, but even that information was sketchy. Now that I was a single parent at age 35 with a busy job, and raising two young girls with no help, the last thing on my mind was how my future retirement was affected.

At the time of our divorce, we were attending a church and had been active members for several years. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to divorce as a Christian? Christians do not divorce. And those that do, well let’s just say…it’s awkward. We are supposed to be above the earthly issues and if there is trouble, seek counseling through the church (which we did). The pastor was chagrined that someone in his flock would dare divorce. Suddenly he wanted to get in our business when he had never given us the time of day before.

Needless to say, once my husband left (I kept the house, the car, the bills, etc), I stopped attending that church. I had several friends who were supportive and some had left that church for similar reasons. In a year I started attending a new church.

Ironically, that pastor’s adult son went through a divorce soon after.

Despite my belief in God I felt tremendous guilt for putting the divorce in motion. My husbands’ family disowned me, and only communicated with me when they wanted to visit my daughters.

I continued to pay the penance of guilt, but I was determined to not relent. My ex promised to do better but I was not interested in going back to him. I did not particularly care if his family ever spoke to me again.

For the two years we were separated, I got no monetary help from my ex. He had trouble keeping jobs. If I had asked for child support, I would have had to PAY him alimony since I made much more money than him.

He eventually met a woman he decided to marry two years later, but we had not filed for the divorce. We amicably filed, each paying a small sum to the paralegal who handled the filing.

Once the divorce was final, and he remarried, I filed for child support. I got the huge sum of $200 per month.

Unfortunately for me, his fiancé was greedy and had been through a nasty divorce a few years prior. She also worked for a public agency and knew something about CalPERS. She coerced him into taking his share of the retirement. Even though he was entitled, he originally had no plans to do so. So $11 grand was taken out of my account and paid to him in a check.

It was rumored they used the money to fund their wedding in Kauai in 1998. Nice, huh? Tragically, she passed away in 2005 due to breast cancer. Upon her death, her family promptly forgot about her widowed husband.

In 2003, I discovered that CalPERS had a community property re-deposit program. After some paperwork, I could pay my retirement fund back at $130 per month on a 15-year payment plan. I wish I had known sooner.

When I retired in 2014, I still had more payments to make to CalPERS, I quickly discovered I had two options: continue to pay the $130 out of my pocket on my pension income, or use my vacation leave balance to pay the difference. The monetary value of my sizable amount of vacation time transferred to my 401K account. A portion was transferred to PERS tax free to pay off that re-deposit.

I hand-delivered the check to the CalPERS office in early May and paid my final penance, 20 years later to the month.

After a 20 year journey, my penance is paid.

Enough is Enough: Why I Had to Retire

Retirement Life...or is it?
Retirement Life…or is it?

Exactly one month ago, I retired from public service in recreation and parks, after 31 years. I shared several blog posts about my retirement experience, including a guest post on A Momma’s View.

I thought this might be a good way to wind up my retirement series with a post from the daily prompt Enough Is Enough.
Yes, the fight is over.

In my guest post I stated,

“Does this bother me? Sure, a little. The stress of change has been taking its toll on me these last two years. It is exhausting to explain to someone 20 years your junior how certain things are done and why. I know without a doubt why older people retire and give up. It’s just too hard.”

After sitting through drastic changes to our recreation department as a result of the great recession, and enduring the miserable decisions our City leaders made, I had to throw in the towel.

After watching countless colleagues get laid off while management still kept their jobs, and saying good-bye to another group of retirees, I had to call it a day.

After my staff and I worked our arses off to “make it work,” I gleefully filled out my retirement application.

After navigating even more changes with the influx of new management coming and going, making crappy, program-killing decisions, the exit door could not have hit me on the way out any quicker!

Enough is indeed, enough.

However…

Now that the fight is over and my stress levels are very low (I’m sure my cholesterol numbers have improved), I do have to get organized.

The image above is of a card I received when I retired. It seems to imply that retirement is a lot of napping and doing nothing. While that may be great for some people, resting and napping is not my idea of retirement. On the other hand, I do have to admit to hitting that snooze button too many times and putting my feet up…a lot!

But the idea of making my own agenda—now that is the tricky one! A task that I am implementing today.

I have a new calendar. After years of using on online Outlook calendar for everything, I have a beautiful, 2015 spiral-bound planner highlighting Thomas Mangelsen’s wildlife photographs. Here I keep my blog post schedule and ideas, my workout schedule, and any appointments I have (I had three appointments last week!). With this low-tech tool, I also schedule my daily routine for my consulting business, and preparations for my future university courses and lectures.

I love technology. I loved having an online calendar. When I worked full-time I was ridiculously busy; a calendar tied to my outlook account for work and personal time was a necessity. A simple click on my I-phone, and there was my life, laid out week-by-week. That was back in the day when I carried two mobile phones; my own and my work phone.

I had tried to use planners before, but they ended up in the office supply graveyard. In order to effectively use a real planner, I had to retire. Enough is enough.

Now, back to putting up my feet and basking in the glory of a new beginning.