In February, I began volunteering twice a week with the Laubach Council for Literacy. Seems rather ironic to think I am now volunteering to do what I got paid to do for 20+ years! I am working 4 hours a week teaching adults English as a Second Language (ESL).
I have 7 amazing women ages 30-70 who are beginning English speakers. The women represent the countries of So. Korea, Ukraine, Mexico, Columbia, and Iran. We work on building vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and conversation skills. They need help with simple things, like ordering food from a restaurant, making doctor appointments, or even answering the phone. I love being able to help and I didn’t realize how much I missed teaching until I began working there. I don’t even mind the prep work that goes into preparing lessons.
The organization serves communities all over the area (I think the US as well). I am located at a local community center that is 3.6 miles from my house. The center offers several English classes designed to meet the needs of the participants. Some folks don’t speak any English and are illiterate in their native tongue. It is so hard to see people in this situation. I wonder how I would do if I was in their shoes. Our job is to teach English, as well as to help them assimilate into our culture. I am blessed I have the time to volunteer and grateful that teaching is a gift that I can use to help those in need.
Yes! It bloomed after last year’s plant surgery to saw the plant in two pieces. I kid you not, the plant was so root-bound that I couldn’t get it apart. There was almost no dirt left! I tried a shovel to break it apart. I tried prying it apart. At last I took it to my son’s house and he sawed it in half. Success! I was left with two halves that I was pretty certain would die of shock. But given the winter to be dormant, they enjoyed the rains we had and eventually seemed
to come to life. Both halves are blooming and doing well. I should not have doubted my skills with plants.
I also managed to save this orchid cactus. It will be blooming soon with beautiful bright red flowers. The wind blew it over earlier this year and not knowing what to do, I just stuck the broken pieces back into the soil and walla! It’s a giant plant now! The red blooms should be ready to break-through any day now.
My red mandevilla plants are vining and showing bright red flowers as well. Even my Christmas cacti are still blooming. They began in October and are still going strong. So I guess I can say I am a gardener after all! Now if I can remember to water everything as summer approaches. LOL
I can’t golf yet, but I walked the course with my friend the other morning. I acted as score keeper. As I feared, she is getting better and better, while I can barely move my arm.
As we were walking from the 1st tee, I noticed little soap bubbles all over the course. What?! Was the course dirty or something? Did the nearby car wash explode and bubbles drifted onto the course? Where were these bubbles from?
Then I noticed all these sprouts of grass everywhere. Of course, when you aren’t lugging a golf bag or concentrating on the game, you notice these oddities. I had to contain my curiosity until we finished the round.
I went to the front desk and asked what the deal was with the soap and silky sprouts. Did you guess the soap was fertilizer and the grass was full of new seedlings? Guess I have a lot to learn about this game called golf.
So, just what is a rotator cuff and how do you tear it? My online dictionary says it is a “capsule with fused tendons that supports the arm at the shoulder joint and is often subject to athletic injury.”
The good news is I can be considered an athlete! I always wanted to be an athlete, but that means you have to have some sort of ability-which I do not have. I have learned to swing a club and I golf twice a week so I guess that makes me a retired golfing pro!
The bad news is that I partially tore my left rotator cuff. The diagnosis from an MRI came with lots of other long words I can’t pronounce. All I know is that I can’t really move the arm much. Sleeping is a bear and I’m sidelined from swinging a club.
The good news is we are going to try physical therapy first before surgery. I have a great physical therapist that I have had before for hip bursitis, so I have a lot of confidence in him. Things are going REALLY slow right now.
The bad news is I am missing out on all of the great spring golfing weather. I hate the hot summers, so spring is my favorite time to golf! I’ll let you know when I can swing a club again…
Retirement has given me more time to make new friends and find ways to give back to the community. I was asked to join a wonderful organization called P.E.O. Since joining I’ve made several wonderful friends. The whole point of the group is to raise money to support women’s education. Here’s the official description:
“P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization for women. Founded in 1869 as a small friendship society, P.E.O. quickly grew into a diverse, widespread sisterhood with one mission: promote educational and personal growth opportunities for women.”
“Today, P.E.O. is a source of friendship and support for over a quarter million chapter members throughout the United States and Canada. Our sisterhood proudly offers educational opportunities with six philanthropies, ownership of a women’s college, and five programs that provide educational assistance.” (www.PEOcaliforniastate.org)
In February our chapter met and made Valentine cards for sisters who are older or ill and can’t make meetings. It is a nice way to keep in touch with them and a fun time of crafting for us. I don’t know many of the gals we made cards for, but it gave me the chance to make greeting cards. And I am all over that! I brought lots of craft paper, stamps, ribbons, and “stuff” to the meeting. Two other gals brought stamps too, so we had a plethora of materials to get our creative ideas flowing!
I feel very blessed to have met these women and look forward to many activities together. Any of you belong to P.E.O?
Fundraising for our PEO Chapter! It’s springtime and we are ready to party-Bunco style. Our theme was Mardi Gras and there were beads flowing, dice rolling, shouts of “bunco”, and raffle tickets sold for
opportunity baskets. All of this fun went to support women who need a loan or scholarship to start their education or continue it.
Bunco is a dice game where absolutely no skill is involved. You roll three dice at the same time and hope a predesignated number come up. If you are lucky enough to roll three of a kind you win a bunco or baby bunco. Of course, there are other rules, but it’s a fairly simple game. And because it is so simple, there is lots of laughing and shouting going on as players roll the dice .
For refreshments we had yummy cake pops decorated in Mardi Gras colors. Yes, I made them for the cause. Someone else made a King Cake and a decadent bread pudding with hot rum sauce!
In order to raise money for our philanthropy, we designed baskets full of all sorts
of goodies. Each basket had a value of approximately $50. Tickets were drawn and 10 lucky winners went home with baskets. We made a great little profit and proceeds were sent to support scholarships.
Sending cards seems like a lost art these days. We send texts, tweets, and emails wishing our friends Happy Birthday or Get Well wishes. Call me old fashioned, but I like getting cards in the mail! I like sending them too.
Making cards is a relaxing and creative outlet in of itself; but designing something unique for a friend or family member is very satisfying. Over the years I’ve collected printed papers, ink pads, stamps, little embellishments, ribbons etc. Today I have half a closet filled with little drawers of things to create my special cards. I am always needing to clean out and simplify my stash of materials, but it seems to be growing at an alarming rate..
I do love using my Big Shot embossing machine. This simple machine makes some truly beautiful cards by raising paper designs that I use on the cards. It also allows me to use little metal die cuts to create amazing detailed figures. This little bear is sending birthday wishes to a dear friend who happens to like bears. He is nestled within several layers of paper to give added dimension.
The Get Well cards at the right were made on a dotted Swiss embossed background (by Sizzix), and then I used a die cut and stamp to create the ice cream design (by Fawn Lawn). I colored the stamped pieces using Copic markers which blend very nicely. I also layered the actual card with several colors of paper, which adds depth to the final product. Add a little ribbon and there you have it!
I really love making holiday cards, too. I hope to show you some in the future. I just need to take time to take the photographs and then I can tell you step by step how you can create beautiful art.
Being retired gives me a lot more time to make cards. Frankly, I don’t know how I ever had time to work!