In Praise of Weekday Mornings

I’ve always been an early bird.  Even in retirement, my husband and I still get up around 6 am.

Weekday mornings are a pleasure for  the retired.  While the rest of the world hurries off to work or school, retirees often have the luxury of waiting until rush hour passes.  Then we often have the road, the stores, and the restaurants to ourselves.

If you go to a popular restaurant for lunch on a Monday through  Thursday,  you often see gray haired couples, or ladies who lunch.  Sometimes a bridge club will be holding its meeting and playing bridge at the same time.   Imagine going into a Barnes and Noble cafeteria where you don’t have to wait in line for your Starbucks beverage and there is table available where you can read your book or get on your computer.

The gym is also less crowded.  It’s easier to take a class, find an open piece of cardio equipment, or an open lane in the pool.  There are fewer people competing for the benches of the weight lifting equipment so they can read their emails or texts. The locker room is not crowded with ten of your brand new BFFs.

While students and 9-to-5 ers countdown to the weekend, retirees countdown the hours until Monday morning–when the rest of you go back to your classroom, your office, or your factory.

Once or twice a month I drive to DC or Northern Virginia.  If I time my drive right, I can get to Fairfax County from Charlottesville in about 2 hours.  Otherwise, it can take 3 hours (if there are no traffic accidents or road construction).  Along the way, there is seldom a line for gas or the McDonald’s drive-through if I need a break.

Summer can mean more teens and children around, but what you gain in kids, you lose in school bus traffic.

In addition to less people and less traffic, early mornngs have fresher air. In the summer,  temperatures are cooler and  plants are more refreshed. Birds sing and animals may be out and about. In the winter, retirees often have the luxury of waiting for the sun to melt the frost on their windshields so they don’t have to scrape.

Don’t pity us.  It does suck to get old, but we have weekday mornings to enjoy.


Three Reasons to Celebrate Not Your Birthday

happy unbirthay cakeWhen I turned 50, my husband took me to dinner and an overnight stay at the Inn at Little Washington,  in Washington, Virginia.  It was a wonderful experience–personalized menu, doting wait staff, private tea in the garden, and an over the top room with yards of lush floral fabric everywhere.  (My birthday was during the week in October so the restaurant was busy, but not ovewhelmed by people clamouring for food or attention.)

When my husband turned 50, I made reservations a year in advance at the Inn at Little Washington.  He has one of those party day birthdays like New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, or St. Patrick’s Day.  His birthday also fell on a Saturday that year.  There was no personalized menu, the staff was attentive but hurried and harried, no one had the time to explain the intricacies of the menu.  The food was still excellent and our room was still lovely, but the personal touches from our previous visit were just not possible when the  venue was that crowded and busy.

That was when we decided to celebrate Not Your Birthday so that he could enjoy the same level of personal attention that most of us expect on our birthday.

Why celebrate Not Your Birthday:

1) Your special day is celebrated the way you would like it.  There is no obligation to make a reservation so that your special someone can also enjoy the party holiday.

2) If you tell the restaurant or resort that it is your birthday on a day they are less rushed, they are more likely to give you a special dessert, maybe a complimentary glass of champagne to celebrate, or can comply with a request for a special table or wait staff.

3)  You can chose the date or time of the year in which to celebrate Not Your Birthday.  If you like summer vacations, but are born in in the winter, celebrate Not Your Birthday when it is warm and you can enjoy the type of meal or actvity that you really want.

happy unbirthday to you

Caution:  Don’t do this multiple times a year.  You become the stereotype of someone trying to game the system.  Businesses want to gain your repeat business, but they do not want to be stiffed.  If they do something nice to help you celebrate, appreciate but do not do it again three months later.


January Days to Celebrate

Today is still New Year’s Day (at least in the Eastern Time Zone ) where I live.  Most of us are familiar with Martin Luther King, Jr Day on January 21.  Dr. King was actually born on  January 15th.  He would have been 90 this year, if he were still alive.  He was a noted civil right leader.  He is probably most famous for his “I have a Dream” speech delivered on  August 28, 1963.


dragon.pngJanuary 16 is Appreciate a Dragon Day.  Donita K. Paul began it in 2004 as a way for libraries and museums to appreciate dragons in words and movies.  Famous dragons include Puff the Magic Dragon,  Desolation of Smaug (one of the Hobbit movies), the lady dragon from Shrek, St. George and his defeated dragon, and the folklore dragons from China, Japan, Korea, and Poland.

hugging pandas

January 21 is also National Hug Day.  It began in Clio, Michigan by Kevin Zaborney on January 21,  1986.



squirrels ground

Squirrel Appreciation Day is also January 21.  It was created by  Christy Hargrove,  in North Carolina.  There are three different groups of squirrels:  tree squirrels, ground squirrels, and gliding squirrels (who have flaps of skin between their legs.



Resource List of Veteran’s Info and Freebies

president commemorates veterans day
Veterans Benefits and Resources:

Veteran’s Day Freebies:


govlooplogo  provides many resources for government workers, veterans, and retirees.

From their about page:

GovLoop’s mission is simple: connect government to improve government. We aim to inspire public sector professionals to better service by acting as the knowledge network for government.

GovLoop serves a community of more than 280,000 government leaders by helping them to foster collaboration, learn from each other, solve problems and advance in their government careers.

We do this through a variety of mechanisms, including:

  • In-depth editorial reporting and research about topics at the intersection of management and technology
  • News coverage of issues and events that are pertinent to the government community
  • Weekly online trainings and self-paced courses
  • Speaking engagements
  • Leadership programs, and more

GovLoop also works with top industry partners, such as ESRI, HP, Microsoft and IBM, to provide resources and tools, such as infographics, market trend reports and educational events for public-sector professionals.

They offer downloads such as Your Guide to Veterans Resources.

They also offer quizzes (such as how many state flags do you know), free online classes, articles,  periodic invitations to become a featured blogger, a section on jobs which includes job openings, a perdiem calculator and salary calculator, career advice, and many IT resources.  It’s free and definitely worth taking a look at.

Why Do You Read?

Zat Rana makes a provocative argument that people read to memorize or critique in his short essay on “There are Two Ways to Read–One of Them Is Wrong.”  People learn either of these two reasons in school.

This works in school, and it teaches in its own way, but unfortunately, when reading in the real world, this kind of mindset cheats us out of knowledge

Perspective is needed to achieve the real joy of reading. “The only filter worth having is the one that distinguishes between what is relevant and what is not; what matters and what doesn’t.”

Now, having the focus to absorb what you need is critical and so is having a filter in place to detect if what you’re reading is factually wrong.

That said, anytime you read something with the mindset that you are there to extract what is right and what is wrong, you are by default limiting how much you can get out of a particular piece of writing. You’re boxing an experience that has many dimensions into just two.

Reading puts you into a different mode of reality.

By diving into the minds of some of the greatest thinkers and storytellers, it moves us into realms of reality that would otherwise stay unknown to us. We often walk out a good book with a new pair of eyes, and we can then use these eyes to create a better world around us, if we so choose.

Zat Rana makes the argument that civilization only progressed because things have been written down. Each generation does not have to start from scratch because previous generations wrote down things they had learned and passed them on to future generations.  He ignores civilizations with strong oral histories. Early Greek and Roman, Indian, and Native American cultures all had a strong oral history tradition of passing on information.

He also does not address that some people like to read because they find it enjoyable.  They don’t read for knowledge or because it’s a classic or a best seller.  The story is reason enough to pick up the book and finish it.

Guest Post: Job Seeker Poem

Kally has very generously published a semi-biographical poem about an older job seeker. Check out her wonderful and informative blog for job tips, tips on how to be a freelancer (she is a very successful one), and inspirational messages.


One of my regular reader, Pat has contributed an amazing and beautifully penned poem about the pains of job hunting. We’ve all been there, charting the unknown waters and feeling despondent. Pat has perfectly put those emotions into words.

I hope you enjoy it and drop by

If the sky is the limit,

Then why am I blue?

I’ve got my degree

Plus a masters or two.

I’ve had many jobs

As I moved through the ranks

When I’ve left for the next one

They’ve usually said thanks.

“For the energy and vision

You’ve brought to each task

If we offered more money

Would you stay?” they might ask.

But those days are behind me.

The market is colder.

I’m still the same person

Except I’ve grown older.

I’m still trying

To market my brand.

My future employer

May be close at hand.

I’m a very hard worker…

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