Saturday, March 3, 2012

Let's Tango in Our Cabin in the Woods

     I often hear or read about unusual getaway places that some people have.  Some folks have luxurious second homes in exotic locations.  In the summer my next door neighbors lock up their 3500 square foot home and move into their 1200 square foot cottage on the beach.  The two houses are within a 30 minute drive of each other.
     A story which appeared in the NewYork Times a couple of years ago intrigued me.  The article talked about how a woman named Sandra Foster renovated a 9 by 14 foot cottage in the Catskills.  The cottage was an old hunting cabin that Ms. Foster turned into a tiny Victorian shabby chic retreat.

     As I was in a reflective mood this morning, I thought about the effect our retirement of 10 and 12 years has had on us.  Even though Ross and I are fairly healthy and mobile, we seem to be doing less and less.
     Part of it has to do with the major cruel and unfair life changing challenges that we have had to face in the past four years.
     The past three months have been excruciatingly difficult.
     I thought about how much we used to fit into our busy and exhausting schedules when we were both working. We went into the city (New York that is) frequently.  We saw plays on and off broadway.  We took tango lessons so that we could take a turn on the dance floor on Fridays at La Belle Epoque, an elegant French styled bistro and restaurant in New York City.
     We traveled.  We thought nothing of getting into the car on a Saturday morning and driving for 6 or 7 hours. And then after a  stay overnight, we would get back in the car and head back the next day.
     Our common interest in antiques and collectibles led us into the eBay world and later turned into a little business.
     Ross retired two years before me.  After I retired we moved into an active adult community.  Barnegat is quite a distance from NYC, so the trips into the city pretty much came to a halt.
     At first we participated in the different activities the community had to offer.  Ross became the chairman of the pool committee and joined the men's club. I tried my hand at ceramics and took a quilting class.  We went to the shows put on by the Mirage Players, and attended the St. Patty's Day dance.  We gave the Italian American club a whirl.  Ross was on a committee which had the daunting task of rewriting the communities' By-laws.  This turned into a two year project.
     We both joined a health club.   I became a member of the Tuesday Morning Ladies bowling league.
     We rented space in an antique mall so that we could sell our finds that we acquired from the estate sales and auctions we frequented.
     But, slowly things began to change.
     Ross is no longer on the pool committee.  The By-Laws project has been completed. However, he still belongs to the Men's club and attends the monthly luncheon meetings.  I  stopped participating in  community activities. No more Italian American Club.  We have found that the dances and shows have become repetitive and we are no longer interested.
     I quit my bowling league.  Ross quit the health club.
     We sold all of our antique and collectibles at auction in January and gave up our booth in the antique mall.
     Our routine has become, breakfast at 10:00, linner at 3:00.
          At around 7:00 p.m. we sit down in front of the TV and decide which shows we are going to watch and which ones we are going to DVR.   Then it's off to bed at 11:00.
     The next day is the same ol' same ol'.
     Our  one escape has been visiting the lovely spots in our area and capturing their beauty with our camera.
     Of course, it goes without saying, that writing my blog is something I have become passionate about.  
     The support of the blogging community warms my heart.      
     But, as I was being reflective this morning, I decided that we need something to get us out of this funk.  Something to look forward to.  Something different. Something new. Something which would light a spark.  A project.
    I think it's time to find our "cabin in the woods".   Then perhaps we can tango once again.

BTW, while Ross and I imagine that's what he and I look when we dance the tango, however, no,  the couple in the video is not us.
NOTE: Sorry, but apparently you will not be able to view the video if you are on an iPad or iPhone.

Here is today's entry from Anna's diary:
Sun. March 3 1929
Bad nasty head cold.  Missed Mass. Went to Grandma M's with Junior after dinner.  Home about 7.  Jewel and Rick over evening.  Jean at Peggy's overnight.  Billy with us.

Here is the link to the post where I first introduced Anna's diary:

Anna's Diary


  1. Was planning a trip to the Yurt before Dad got sick but then things got complicated! He would have loved it I know. It never happened.  A trail of breadcrumbs is exactly what you would need! We are hidden.....I know you would be able to follow the trail but if you ever have the urge to take a ride up I will meet you there...

  2. Yes, that little cabin would be a perfect knitting nook.  Wow, we complain about paying $3.55 a gal here.
    But I think we will catch u with you soon.
    Have fun in Santa Barbara!

  3. That is quite a view you have there!  Looks perfect to me, Jim.   Will you leave a trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow to your Yurt?  Wondering if your Mom has ever been to the Yurt?

  4. I use Photo Shop Elements as my photo editing software.  It is an Adobe product.  Easy to use, cause I need easy. 
    Thanks for your comment.    I especially like your point about "making choices that reflect who you are now."  
     That is certainly a more positive way to look at our new lifestyle. 

  5. I second the motion :)

  6. I would love that little cabin!! Just me and my knitting (and wi-fi of course). We gave up going out to dinner because of that  same conversation. Besides, we like to cook. We don't go many places on the spur of the moment. Sometimes I suggest something a few days early and on the day we don't seem in the mood. With the price of gas these days it's hard to just go for a drive. However, we are going to Santa Barbara tomorrow to visit with two couples who live down there that we met in  Maui. That trip was planned over a month ago before gas prices went to $4.35/gal around here. 

  7. The hunting house across the street from our Yurt is for sale. Four bedrooms on 17 acres of beautiful land. Needs a new roof but it's been for sale for about 2 years.....started at about $230,000 now down to $160,000 and I would bet that he would take less......Would be a bit of a drive for you, about a 2 and a half hour drive from the GW Bridge......Also I love these little houses and am considering an addition to our Yurt.
    The second picture is the view looking across at our land!  Much Love!  cuz Jimmy.....

  8. First, how do you do that photo thing across the top?  This one is the best yet, methinks....
    That was fun to watch the Tango video and I just pretended as if it were you and Ross!
    It is fascinating and , yes, encouraging to me to read about the changes you have seen in your life since you retired.  It fits that for some years you were more active and now you are making choices that reflect who you are now.  Certainly the events of the last four years have had an impact on your interest in some of the social connections you had at the beginning of retirement but it seems as if you are doing now what you need to do.  I will be where you are now the day I retire - I will be skipping the active stage....
    I am excited and curious with you about your future.  What sort of "cabin in the woods" will you find?

  9. Lynda , I am stopping for a second to see what is happening in your world.  Annie would be thrilled to hear that you joined a quilt club.  Having found my "cabin in the woods, " I wish you well in your efforts,  It is well worth the hunt.

    Temporarily, I am being a tad overwhelmed with my entry (through FaceBook) back in the world I occupied for so many years teaching.  My reception has been very rewarding.  In the past ten days, my world has expanded outward, as former students are discovering that the guy who used to try and teach them how to write, actually does OK in that regard.  My page-views, something that heretofore, I have paid any attention to, have been escalating alarmingly.  I topped 400, yesterday, giving my four digits in three days.  To this old hippie, it doesn't matter. 

     But I am going to use this interest to begin hammering away at Kaiden's college fund.  I figure half-a-million  ought to do it, and we have 18 years.  I have proposed to the community, that if people are interested, (and my "stats" indicate they are) I will start putting my essays out for purchase at a buck apiece, with proceeds going to Kaiden's college fund.
    Big 'tings qwine on here.  Great success.

    Though I have become drunk with power, I will never forget the little people, who helped me to the top.

  10. Okay, if I have a vote - I vote "YES" - - Cabin in the Woods all the way!