My Son’s Birthday

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My teenage son has just turned a year older. This means he’s a year closer to becoming a grown man, a year closer to possibly leaving for college, and a year closer to being independent. He’ll make all of his own decisions soon. Yes, the good ones and the bad ones. He will also face his own consequences.

I can only hope I have done a good job at preparing him for all that he will face. Providing him with necessities is one thing, but preparing him for life is a whole other thing. I’ve given him the gifts of private education and martial arts training at Tae Kwon Do. I’m very proud to say he is a black belt. However, the most important gifts I’ve given him are love and teaching him to be a caring human being.

He is more focused as he’s growing. He’s more sure of himself, more confident. He knows what he wants, and he goes after it. I’m sure I taught him that. He listens to my advice more carefully now knowing I speak from experience.

He tries to help and protect me now in a way similar to how I’ve been protecting him all these years. His heavy voice now fills a room like a sonic boom. He’ll soon pass me in height. Later, he’ll be driving me around. See how the roles reverse? I’m eagerly awaiting that last change.

Wind

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Wind blowing, ripping, racing, forcefully across the skies. No where to escape its grasp as it encircles me. As I walk, I feel its power against my body and face whistling harshly as it goes on its way and comes back again, and again, and again. This cold wind can chill you to the bone while you’re out walking in the evening, or it can really wake you up as you start you commute in the morning. This windy chill causes me to pull the covers tightly around me and beg for another hour of sleep as I hear an alarm ring in the distance. It’s so toasty under the blankets on mornings like this one.

The black squirrel I’m watching now doesn’t mind as it uncovers its treasures, jumping and pausing, jumping and pausing. It is preparing for the weather. This is the cold and windy season of autumn. Soon it will be winter and the squirrel has hidden its stash and knows where to find sustenance.

Are you prepared for this windy weather? What treasures have you hidden? Will you curl up on your couch to read a good book, or will you cozy up in front of a fireplace to watch a movie? Do you have healthy snacks or sugary sweets hidden away in your cupboard? I have both. There are so many things you can do inside your home on days like this.

This fall I will do a few DIY activities. I will crochet new scarves for my immediate family members, paint my dinning room, watch a few movies, write more of my own books, and read more of other author’s books. What will you do on these cold windy days? Leave a comment to share some ideas you have for retirees like me. Use the windy days to your advantage.

A Chill is in the Air

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Autumn brings both beauty and brisk weather. All the golden hues of leaves are about to burst out into view where I live. I took a nice brisk walk today in the area where my child goes to school. The decision to park across from the school and wait until he would be dismissed on this half day was made after he realized he’d left his phone at home and the privileged parking lot his school has provided for parents, like me, to park in was filled with cars from a movie crew this morning. So, I parked the car, and decided to walk around and explore the area around his new school. Up until this point, I’d only ventured out to the Dunkin Donuts franchise about three blocks away. Today, I was going to take a much longer walk. Google Maps provided me with directions to my destination. It was only 0.6 miles away. I could get there, shop, and be back at the car by the time my child was dismissed from school. So, off I went into the great unknown.

The first few minutes of walking were a breeze, however, after going a little further I noticed I was walking uphill. Now, I had not done this kind of walking for quite some time. So this was beginning to be a daunting task. “Should I turn back?”I asked myself. “Of course not!” I answered reluctantly. So, I persevered and reached my destination. While browsing around the store for bargains, I pondered in the back of my mind, “How am I going to make it back?”

Well, one thing I could do to make my trek back to the car easier would be to make fewer purchases. Or I could purchase only lightweight things making it easier for me to carry things on my walk back. Either way, the walk back would be somewhat easier because I’d be going downhill this time. Everyone knows downhill is easier than uphill, right? Well, that would remain to be seen.

As I left the store with two bags in each hand, I thought about how great I’d feel about having walked a little more than a mile today at the end of my journey. Heck, in my twenties I’d walk two miles a day just going to and from work on foot. Back then I didn’t have a license nor a car and I hated to ride on public transportation. So, I’d walk to work everyday: winter, spring, summer, and fall. I digress. The wind kissed my face softly and more intensely at times as I walked at a moderate speed downhill passing few people on this blustery day. Discovering businesses in this neighborhood I never knew existed, and imagining the bags were like dumbbells, I’d lift them up and down while waiting for a chance to cross the street at each corner. “What a workout?” I thought as I approached the car.

After putting my bags in the trunk, I eagerly sat inside my car thinking, “What an achievement!” I must do this again someday soon.

How are you spending your autumn days? I hope you’re getting out and about. It’s nice to feel the wind on your face once in a while. Remember retirement means doing things you didn’t have time to do while you were working. Here’s to hoping your autumn days are happy ones! As always you can reach out and share your thoughts about my podcast on any of my social media platforms. Talk to you later. Peace!

This is the script I wrote today for my podcast. I’m posting it hear for anyone who reads my blog and wonders what my podcast may be like.

Seasons

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My last post was about the fall or autumn season. As I sit in a parking lot surrounded by trees, mostly green and some with leaves just beginning to fade into a mustard type of yellow, I think of how we all as people have our seasons. When we are children, we’re all shiny and new. As teenagers, we blossom quickly. As adults, we are not as green as we once were; we are more knowledgeable and more guarded. As we proceed into the fall and winter of our lives, our hair like the leaves on these trees fade. Only black, blonde, brunette, or red hair fades into gray. And sometimes as humans we fight to prevent the new season from coming, instead of embracing the beauty of it all.

Like the leaves on the trees surrounding me, I know it will all begin again in the spring. My niece is about to welcome a brand new bouncing baby girl into the world soon. This baby will be the newest leaf on our family tree. Yet all seasons are beautiful and necessary. Enjoy your season, no matter which one you’re in right now.

I originally wrote this post on October 10, 2019.

Fall Cleaning

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Some people say every year they do a spring cleaning of their homes. I say each season has its own natural cleaning time. Winter brings the cold and ice to kill all the germs, spring brings the rain and breeze for planting something new, summers heat helps everything to grow, and fall is the season of harvesting all that has grown to keep us going throughout the cold season when it all begins again. I’m doing fall cleaning right now. Yes. Fall cleaning. I’m putting away the summer clothing and moving the fall and winter gear to the top. Donating clothes my son has outgrown to charity is a part of each season’s cleaning. He’s growing like a weed. Also, clearing worn out comfy clothes from my closet is quite a necessity.

Donating or recycling old books we’ve read and reread is a task I’d put off for some time because I’m so in love with reading actual books. “I know, I’m a part of a lost breed of human beings.” This is what you’re thinking, isn’t it? Most people download books and read them on a variety of apps and devices. Me, I’m just old-fashioned. Well, I’ve parted with a good portion of my stash of books. And my son has outgrown many titles I purchased during his primary years. Going to the library religiously was our saving grace when searching for books on his level to fill in the monthly book logs. How many of you remember doing that?

There are several books I will keep, though. These are books I purchased while working but have never had enough time to read. Since I retired I’ve completed Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom, and James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk. I’m now reading Joseph Prince’s Unmerited Favor. Shonda Rhimes,and John Grisham’s books are next on my reading list.

What are you reading now? Let me know in the comments section. Happy seasons cleaning everyone.

Plumbing 101

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Just so you know, I’ve taught myself many things in my lifetime. One thing I taught myself to do was small plumbing jobs, like I can change a washer, replace the toilet handle and flap, change faucet handles, faucet seats, and faucet cartridges. And oh yeah, anyone can change the aerator. If you can read well, you can learn to do just about anything. Even if you cannot read, if you are a visual learner, you can learn to do new things from YouTube videos. So this week I wanted to fix my bathroom sink’s faucet handles and seats. Read on to find out what happened.

I’d already purchased the collection of tools and parts necessary to do the job in August, therefore, all I needed was time to do the work when shutting the water off wouldn’t affect anyone. Thursday was the perfect day because everyone except me would be out of the house for a few hours. I started by laying out all my supplies and shutting off the water in the basement. Next, I tried to remove the stripped faucet screws stuck in the handles because of hard water and erosion. All the recommended tools for removing the screws did not work. While fiddling with the hot water handle and screw, the handle popped off, leaving the screw stuck inside the cartridge along with a small piece of the handle. This is when reality set in. I’d have to call in a plumber.

Plumbers are expensive too. To make a long story short, the plumbers came and ended up installing a new vanity, a faucet for the bathroom I’d purchased, a new toilet, and a new faucet for the kitchen sink. Use your imagination to figure out how much that costs. Everything looks new and shiny for now. So let’s see if these home improvements will stand the test of time.

Will this experience deter me from doing more plumbing in the future? I think not! After all I had successfully stopped a leak in my mother’s bathroom faucet handle about 2 months ago. I’d also installed a new handle and flap on my previous toilet. The supplies aren’t very costly and remember my service time is free. The lessons learned from plumbing 101 were to leave the challenging jobs to the pros, and a few home improvements or upgrades can look amazing.

I hope I’ve inspired someone to learn something new even if you’re retired. Who knows what could happen. You might just become a pro at it. So what will you learn next? Let me know in the comments section.

I’m Back!

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I am glad to be back after a brief hiatus. Preparation for the school year took a little time since my child was attending a new school. Shopping for school supplies and new uniforms was necessary. Therefore, had to place my interests on hold again. My child comes first!

Anyway, I’m still awaiting the copyright for my second children’s book so I can finally publish it. In addition, I will release my simple game app associated with the book at the same time. So far, I have released three apps and one children’s book this year. That’s not so bad for someone who has retired for nearly two years.

Now I’ll get back to podcasting about preparing for retirement when you begin your career. This coming week, I’ll be discussing IRAs. If you want to chime in to the podcast, you can message me on Anchor. You can find my podcast on most platforms now. Here’s the link to my podcast on Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/tees-talk-time You can rate me there or give me a clap.

I hope you have been following your dreams while I was away. Remember, “life is what you make it.” So make your dreams come true.

Summer Fun

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I haven’t written in a while, because I was making sure my child had a summer of fun. Days quickly turned into weeks as we attended basketball camp, went to the movie theater, and played at the park. We sampled fine cuisines at restaurants and communicated more with family and friends. In between all those fun activities, my son started drawing again, and it amazed me at how his innate gift is getting even better with time. I did a little podcasting and created four android apps in my spare time. It’s been a wonderfully productive summer. I hope yours was fun too.

On the flip side, they assigned my son summer reading and has to read two books, one fiction and one nonfiction, so I’ve been monitoring his reading habits. He finished the fiction book already. Now he’s working his way through the nonfiction book. His assignment includes listing definitions of challenging words and using them in sentences. He also has to analyze each book’s style, genre, etc. So we are still trying to infuse more fun into the last month of his summer vacation. I’m sure we’ll succeed at doing just that.

I also completed my second children’s book. I’m now awaiting my copyright certificate before publishing it. This will complete my goal for 2019. My goal was to publish two books this year. So right now I feel like I’m batting a thousand.

An update on podcasting, I’ve started a series on how to plan for retirement as you begin your very first job. This series was born out of a conversation with my nephew. So far, I’ve covered 401k. The next topic will be the IRA. You can listen to my podcast on Stitcher at the link below:

https://www.stitcher.co/podcast/anchor-podcasts/tees-talk-time

My apps are available in the Google Play Store at the links below:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=apinventor.ai_teresa_tq_27.WalkYourOwnerPedometer

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_teresa_tq_27.DoggyDo

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_teresa_tq_27.teresawsmithauthorapp

Any feedback on any of my work is always welcome. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Podcast to the Second Power

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Book promotions aside, the dust settles after a variety of ventures in that area. Finding a new niche wasn’t difficult at all. The podcasting bug has bitten me and I’m leveling up my game in that area. New mic, purchased! Second new mic, purchased! New content, researched! One voice message received and I’m elated. This new seat feels comfortable. Why don’t you come join me for the ride?

I entitle the podcast, “Tee’s Talk Time.” It’s available on many platforms for your listening pleasure. Discussion of day-to-day life and life after retirement can provide a wealth of information to listeners. Some broadcasts will be about preparing for retirement while working. Send questions, comments, and suggestions in a variety of ways. Direct messages to my social media, linking to the broadcasts via a link sent while I’m podcasting or signing in to leave a voice message on Anchor are all ways to keep the conversation going.

The children’s book has taken on a life of its own and is selling via networking, the word of mouth, and a book signing event. This frees up time for readying my next book, app building, and yes you guessed it podcasting. Wish me luck and come join the conversation.

Summer Reading Kickoff 2019

Taylor and I at the Summer Reading Kickoff 2019

The summer Reading Kickoff 2019 was an awesome experience. I met so many interesting people at the Saratoga Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The children and their parents from the community made me feel right at home. In addition, the staff was welcoming and helpful to boot. They had so many wonderful activities for the children to engage in at this event.

Saniyah and I posed together for pictures.

Reading my book to the children at my childhood library was a dream come true. I feel like I’ve come full circle in my life now in more ways than one. Just seeing the smiles on the children’s faces makes me very happy. They colored coloring pages of my book’s main character and engaged in conversation with me about my book. It was an unforgettable day!

These two beautiful sisters had their faces painted and also visited me with their mom.
We had lots of fun at my very first author event.
Thanks to Mr. Herbert for allowing me to participate in this event!

Mr. Herbert gave me this incredible opportunity to share my work in the community where I grew up. I am forever thankful to him for his kindness. I would also like to thank Ms. Pace who organized the event along with Mr. Herbert and Ms. Monica Williams who is the manager of the Saratoga Branch of the Public Library. They are all serving this community very well. Keep up the good work!