Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow day

Recently, we have been having a lot of snow. Just yesterday, another snowstorm brought about 20 cm of snow, mixed at times with rain and freezing rain – all with enough wind to obliterate the walking path several times.

If you want to see our weather, here is a site for a highway webcam in our area: Mt_Thom Webcam

I spent the morning clearing the snow from essential locations: a path to the outhouse, a snowshoe path to the car, plus clearing the area where the car is parked and around the mailbox, so the mail can be delivered. My daily exercise “requirement” is thus fulfilled. I have a gym membership but rarely go. I much prefer outdoor activities, and this winter I’ve been able to do lots of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing around where we live. The TV news showed quite a few accidents and cars off the road yesterday. It’s great not to have the work pressure any more, and the worry about whether I would be able to make it to work, or be stuck there unable to come home. 

I have a folding garden chair, which I use to put the snowshoes on. While sitting in the chair today, and the warm sun shining, it felt like an apr├Ęs-ski location in the Alps – only it’s my back yard!

While snow clearing, I enjoy the surrounding nature. There are not many birds around right now. The most noticeable are the crows, as you hear them crowing at length nearby. Sometimes I see some black-capped chickadees, or the occasional spruce grouse flutters away when I get near her tree resting spot. And I admire the diamond-like sparkle on the trees, brought about by the ice covering the branches from yesterday’s freezing rain. So much beauty!

I want to get more into photography, to record some of this beauty for posterity. But it’s difficult to capture the essence of a scene – the icicles never sparkle as much as in nature.  One of my retirement projects is to learn nature photography. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Some dimensions of me

I am getting ready to retire officially. I’m excited about being able to explore various paths – which I was not able to do while working. This was mostly for lack of time, though I have to admit that I spent excessive time on the internet. But mainly, it’s a question of one’s frame of mind.  Before, I was more focused on the day-to-day tasks that need attention, and I did not feel that I had the time to explore new paths. Now, liberated from work-related chores, I feel free to explore what I want to explore – a discovery trip of the mind!

When you look for retirement advice on the internet and in books, frequently the issue becomes finances. This will not be my focus. There are a lot of issues I want to explore: some related directly to retirement and to aging, but most associated with my other interests.

My background: I was born in Germany, but grew up in Brazil. In 1971, I came to Canada. I told people that I was moving from one country to another that was under some kind of war measures act!  I was planning on staying here for a few years, then travelling to Asia, but this did not happen. I found enough of interest to keep me in Canada for the past 40 years – moving from Quebec to British Columbia, and now living Nova Scotia.

I worked for over 45 years, with hardly any longer breaks. After training as a kindergarten teacher in Germany, I started working in 1965 – first in Berlin, then Rio de Janeiro and later in Montreal.  There, after working for a while at a children’s convalescent hospital, I made a switch to nursing, and this has been my occupation ever since. 

I have been quite involved in environmental activism for quite a long time, particularly since coming to Nova Scotia, mainly trying to explore the link between human and ecosystem health.

Since 1984, I have lived in rural Nova Scotia with my husband and daughter (who has since moved to the U.K.). I love the spot where we live – it’s very quiet and tucked away. There are lots of woods and nature around to hike and explore. The highway is far away and the gravel road on which we live is some distance from the house. 

Of course this works best in the summer and when you are not working. In winter it can be quite a hardship. And, our house being some 200 metres (yards) from the road, this means bringing the groceries and other stuff up to the house on a sleigh – quite a slug sometimes! 

I trained as a nurse in Montreal and British Columbia, and later got a degree in Halifax. My main areas of work have been the operating room, the recovery room and the emergency department. During the last several years, I have worked on greening the hospital - a lot in my spare time - and succeeded in getting a Green Team set up.  

Then, about a year ago, I developed a yet undiagnosed dizziness, and my hospital work and Green Team involvement came to a halt. For a long time, I expected to get better, but this has not been the case. I had been considering when to retire, but the dizziness took that decision from me. Now it’s time for retirement and for exploring what I can still do, at a slower pace.