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.

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.

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.

Author Event

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Well, I did it. They confirmed me to be a part of the Summer Reading kickoff at my childhood library. Going into the library to get information and volunteer my time has led to my first event as a published author. I’m so excited. My family and friends and former students are all coming to support me.

Reading to the children, giving away a book, and signing a book for one lucky visitor will be my pleasure. It feels good to give back to the community I grew up in. Retiring allowed me to be more generous with my time. Before I didn’t have the energy to volunteer after working a full day at school, grading papers after work, calling parents, cooking dinner, and helping my child with homework. Now my child will assist me at this event. See how the tables turn? We are both venturing into new waters together and it feels great!

Podcasting

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I haven’t been blogging for a few days because I am working on building my social media presence and working on my podcast. It’s been fun, but it’s also been a lot of work. I am a newbie to social media, so I had to learn how to set it up and how to post pictures, text, and hashtags. Then I decided I wanted to try creating a podcast about the process of retirement and the challenges we face when completing the paperwork, and choices we make to fill our time after retirement.

I didn’t realize how much I’d love creating a podcast. It’s similar having your own radio station. Only you get to choose your content, your audience, your guests, and your schedule. I can podcast from anywhere at anytime and I don’t have to dress up either. I can wear jeans and a tee shirt if I want to. Podcasting is a very comfortable medium for me.

There are a few skills you have to learn to become good a podcasting, though. Like, you need to learn the proper distance to sit away from the mic. You must also learn how to edit your audio and add musical transitions at different points in your show. If you do interviews, you must send links and schedule your guests for the call in interviews. All of this is very exciting. It’s more like play than work.

My podcast is in its infancy. However, you can listen in and monitor my growth. I call the podcast Tee’s Talk Time and it’s available on quite a few platforms. I’ll list the links below. I’ve only done two episodes so far. Wish me luck!

Check out my podcast, Tee’s Talk Time, on Anchor! https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fanchor.fm%2Fteresa-smith8&data=02%7C01%7C%7C70f027055bb7407f475208d6cf71c7c8%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636924484914714134&sdata=QjAexcxUEogexqPJRCf4GIZFqbTIzAPPMevW%2BjBjERE%3D&reserved=0

Check out my podcast, Tee’s Talk Time, on Spotify! https://open.spotify.com/show/6dsjnWlnowJPEUfydpLE4T

Check out my podcast, Tee’s Talk Time, on Breaker! https://www.breaker.audio/tees-talk-time

Check out my podcast, Tee’s Talk Time, on PocketCasts! https://pca.st/6esL

Check out my podcast, Tee’s Talk Time, on RadioPublic! https://radiopublic.com/tees-talk-time-GEBZ1v

Check out my podcast, Tee’s Talk Time, on Stitcher! https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/tees-talk-time

Lights, Camera, Action

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting the set of a local talk show. I was so excited! Let me backtrack and rewind here for a minute though. At the end of 2018, a cousin introduced me to a friend of hers who is a local talk show host. My cousin asked her to drop me home after the event we were attending. On the ride home, I found that she and I had a lot in common. We’re former affiliates of the Department of Education, living in the same borough, and retired but not done dreaming. So we traded numbers and promised to keep in touch.


Fast forward to a month or two later, she asked me to be a Production Coordinator for her local television show. I was hesitant to sign on, thinking I knew nothing about this industry. I truly didn’t think I was qualified. Besides, I was enjoying my free time. When she explained how easy it would be, I thought I’d try it out. This later led to an invitation to the studio. She asked me to fill in for another of her employees last night. Basically, I would sign guests in, give them a meal ticket, take pictures of the host and guests. I was so excited! I arrived early, received my instructions, and waited to work. It seemed easy enough, right?


Well, it was much harder than I thought. The first guest arrived, and the energy went from zero to one-hundred fast. It shocked me to find out how much work it takes to put on a production. However, it was a real learning experience. I have a newfound respect for people who work in the entertainment industry. I also know it’s not for me. So I’ll just chalk this up to being another retired adventure. I’ll stick to being a retired teacher and children’s book author for now. 

Published!

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I did it! I finally published the revised second edition of my children’s book. My Author Central page is up and running, too. If you’d like to look at it, click on the link below. Wish me luck!

Click this image of my book cover to see my Author Central page.

At of this moment I don’t have my copy in my hands. I’ll have it soon, though. I’ve learned so much more about writing and publishing a book this time around. I know my next book will be easier to publish because of the knowledge I’ve gained. Remember my goal was to publish at least two books in 2019, so I’m well on my way to achieving my goal.

What’s Next?

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I was on a natural high after my mother’s event, but what was I going to do next? Well, I’d self-published a book a few month’s after my father passed away, however, I’d kept the release of the book pretty secretive and low key. I was a bit afraid of the criticism I might get from people who knew me directly. So I only disclosed this venture to a few of my closest friends and family members. My mom wanted to take a truckload of the books no matter what their condition to sell at a family reunion she was attending that May. You know how mothers are. Anything that their children create is considered a masterpiece no matter what other people think of it. Well, I was able to convince her not to take the books with her. I said I don’t think my book is ready to be released to a large audience yet. I just want to do a trial run on Amazon for now.” As you can imagine my book didn’t sell well. However, I didn’t take it personally. I was just beginning to focus on an old passion I’d had since my childhood. In addition, after losing my dad I just felt like giving birth to something. I knew I wasn’t going to have another child at that age, so why not give birth to a book. I digress.

So one of the things I intend to do now is really working on my writing. I want to rerelease my first book and also publish my second children’s book this year. Writing this blog will also help me to improve my writing by actually writing almost every day. I’m also planning to build a bigger network, audience, and readership so my coming publishing endeavors will be more impactful. I want to encourage people who are beginning new chapters in their lives like me to pursue their passions. Pun intended for the use of the word chapters.

The Main Event

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I decided to throw my mother an 80th birthday celebration at an exclusive venue in the spring of 2018. It was indeed a labor of love and the icing on the cake, pun intended, was I could integrate all of my talents and creativity into planning the event. The site was available on her actual birth date, so everything was just coming together perfectly. I designed and printed the invitations on card stock paper and mailed them all way in advance to be sure each guest had an extra long time to RSVP. I ordered some of the favors in advance and created the rest on my own. The color scheme for everything was a bright pink and white. I also designed and printed the programs for the event. All of my creative juices were flowing. I secretly downloaded a music track in order to rehearse my surprise singing performance, too. My son and I rehearsed a dance to My Girl by the Temptations religiously every day. I could imagine him saying, ” I don’t know what I’ll do if I hear mom sing The Best Thing That Ever Happened by Gladys Knight one more time.”

I also created a video montage set to music to be played during her birthday celebration. The video contained pictures of my mom throughout her lifetime. It also included pictures of her with my dad who passed away some years ago, and other pictures with my siblings, the grandchildren, other family members, myself, and close friends. I spent days selecting these pictures and I spent days deciding which music would play in the background of the video. Everything had to be just perfect for my mom. Could I really pull this off? What do you think? Were there any bumps in the road?