My Final Lap!

My Final Lap in “A Long Long Time”
I have started my last lap with that sense of relief that when it's over,it's over. But I also start it with the sense that this must be a lap that reflects the hard work, drive, ownership and passion that got me to this point.
March is the Month that I sit down with my boss and she goes over my performance review with me every year! This year and many years in the past, my boss has given me a very good score for accomplishing all my goals. She also has given me a small pay hike for a job well done!
March is also the month every year that I spend time planning my goals for the year ahead. If I didn't get to them all that year, I'd make plans for the next year. Now, that luxury is gone.They all must be done this year!
One of my goals I have been working on for a few years now is to leave everything that has been assigned to me over the years that I have worked for this company a little better and easier for my co workers than when they were assigned to me 33 years ago.Today and many days over the next year I will be spending some extra time on those goal.
Now you might be thinking that I have a big title after my name or a big paycheck to go with it. To the contrary I am a laborer. When I say laborer I mean I punch a clock. I coordinate the work flow and help my coworkers with what ever they need help with. I am in charge of the filing system, office supplies all of our printers and copiers, and just about anything anybody would need help with in the office. I think my big title is called Support level 3!
Sometimes it's hard to imagine how this coming year will go.The planning and preparation are nearly as good as the doing. My energy from day to day has gotten stronger knowing that a new beginning is  happening right in front of my eyes. I love that feeling of joy I get, when a coworker says something like what will we do without you, or you make me smile. One of my favorite sayings was… one day I was helping a coworker with a project, before we finished she looked up at me and said, you make me so happy!  Ahhh! The joy of making someone happy, in the life of a 9 to 5 shift.

March 11-11
Again today we have been reminded of the power of nature, looking at those pictures coming out of Japan, they were simply amazing. It did not seem right to be watching such horror even frightening at times, knowing that peoples life’s were being taken as we watched.
The horror in Japan has reminded me once again of the fragile nature of our existence on this planet. While my heart, and soul, was in Japan my mind travelled back in time to my home land and my family in Ireland and memories of my last visit with them in November 2010.
Read: “What if there isn't Anymore”
March 17th
With the tragedy in Japan getting worse day after day I feel guilty about getting excited or having fun  while so many people are suffering. But it’s St Patrick's day and I work with  lots of” We wish we were Irish people” all dress up in green ready to have fun with their only real Irish Lass for the day. Lucky we were busy at work  so we did not get into any trouble. I did turn down a happy hour that was planned after work, in favor of a glass of wine at home with Scott.
Read:  “Drowning the shamrock”
Monday thru Friday
Last fall my health care provider came into work for a health screening test on all the employee that work in our company. It was free so I though why not have it. To my surprise I got the bad news that I have  high cholesterol! My doctor suggested I eat healthier, exercise more, and he put me on that little white pill for three months. I also made it one of my new years goals!
Read:  Goals – by Irish
Tuesday 22th
Well today was my big day I took the day off work to see my doctor and have a complete physical! Even though I did not work as hard as I wish I had on my diet and exercise… I was pretty sure that what I had worked on.. would pay off and it did. My doctor was very happy with me I had lost 7 pounds and got my cholesterol closer to normal. I know my goal was 10 pounds by April first but its a good start and I am enjoying a healthier way of eating! hooray!!!
This was one of my publicly stated goals for the new year,  knowing that you are keeping and eye on me and holding me responsible keeps me on my scale!
March 26th
March has been the month for many year now that Scott and I come out of hibernation after a long cold winter in Minnesota. We scurry off to sunny Arizona to visit family, do some hiking, and enjoy some sunshine at a beautiful pool. Scott’s mother and father own a little piece of heaven in an retirement park there, called Sunflower Resort in Surprise Arizona. Thanks Eine and Neil for sharing your little home with us!
For many years on these vacation while sitting by this pool! I have day dreamed about retiring and often took a little journey in my mind to the day when I could spend a month here and not just a week.
Last year 2010 I took two week vacation to test drive my retirement dream. I even bought a retirement  wardrobe from the clothing line of “Life is Good”  how cool is that..  I even started wearing them while I was on vacation. It all felt great! I have a lot more dreams than this one for my retirement. But this is my  training spot for “My final lap”. Ahhh the dream of retiring!

Saturday 26th
After a long hard cold winter here in Minnesota, Scott and I are ready for our Arizona vacation to visit family and enjoy some sunshine!
Arizona here we come!DSC05001
March 27 thru April 1
We have enjoyed time with my sister and her husband, and Scott mother and father!
Now we are soaking in lots of rest, and relaxation, in sunny Arizona on this last rushed vacation from work here before I retire. Yes, being here has made the dream of retirement bigger than ever!
Since there is a great little library here in Sunflower Resort that has lots of books on retirement and this is my training spot. You guessed it, I have been reading lots of advice on what the experts have to say. One of the questions most asked from the experts is “How do I know when it is time to retire”? the answer usually is; They do not know when the time is right for you, but they can give you some indicators.
These are very important questions? When you can answer them you may be ready to retire!
Out of seven indicators, I picked three that best suited me!
#1  When do you want to do it?
After many years of careful planning! I have finally arrived at the time I want to do it? Spring 2012.
#2What do you want to do with the rest of your life?   This is what the retirement experts have to say about that. 
Your retirement will be like a blank canvas. You'll buy all the paints and brushes but will have no idea what it will look like until you start.  Great!!  I thought all I had to do is make a bucket list, but now I have to learn to paint!
canvas for blog 
#3  You are excited about making a major change in your life (where you live, how you spend your time) Change is life. A life without change is in a rut. Change can be stimulating, exciting, terrifying, and necessary. Sometimes you just have to shake it up and that thought gets your blood racing.
April 4th
Over the past 33 years Scott and I have made many major changes in our life some were good some were bad but they all were exciting. Today was one of those day when we made a major change in our plans that got my blood racing!
Read:  “Mini Cooper Road Trip”
Wait here Scott: The Mini Cooper road trip was on my bucket list after I retired next year, not this year. Ok Ok I know, I have already been wearing my retirement wardrobe that I bought last year!!
The only thing we can say is,  If it just feels right.... do it. Isn't that what life is all about.... We are following our dreams we only hope we are smart enough to know where our dreams are taking us.
Conversation  was our number one source of entertainment on our road trip from Arizona to Minnesota. We never ran out of things to talk about or plan. We spent many hours talking about my retirement, our dreams together, we made a bucket list, and a road map for the next two years. And of course there will be many more MINI Cooper S Convertible road trips!!
Now dreams are one thing and reality is another. Unless life has other plans for me: My plan is to make this retirement dream a reality next year.  Hooray!!
Tuesday 12th April
I feel very relaxed and spoiled after a two week vacation: the hardest part has usually been returning to work. This time it was different even though my desk was full of papers that had accumulated over the two weeks I was out waiting for me to sort them all out and file them: I did not feel like I had to get everything done my first day back like I usually did.
I took frequent breaks through out the day to chat with co workers that were interested in the highlights of my trip! 
When some one said I missed you or glad you are back I took extra time to thank them or to let them know I appreciated and missed them also!
The hardest part of a two weeks vacation for me over the years has been all the preparation I have had to do at work to get ready to leave. Making sure anything that needed to get done immediately gets done and being able to delegate out my work so it all get done while I am gone!
My plan is that this would be my last two weeks of vacation before I retire: I will be taking many long weekends and a few mini vacation in My Final Lap of a long long time! Just knowing that has made this vacation, and return to work after vacation, a very relaxing enjoyable experience!
April 16th –17th
I am sure you have heard the saying many times, I need a vacation from my vacation. That's how I am feeling this weekend. So much work goes into the planning of a vacation, I am ready to just sit back and do nothing for a weekend!
April 18th - 23rd
My boss was out of the office most of the week. She asked me to take on extra assignments for her which I was more than happy to do. I feel good when my boss trusts me to fill in for her when she is out. Having my boss trust me has always been very important to me… and now that trust is more important than ever in my Final Lap.   
Good Friday
Ahhh! the weekend is here. I left work a little early today I had already worked over 40 hours this week and it was a  beautifully rainy spring  day! Most people that I have worked with over the years would rather stay at work on a rainy day. “Not Me” I love a rainy day! Rainy days are just nice and relaxing you can just shut off the world and have some downtime. Three things I love to do on a rainy day is… #1 go for a walk in the rain, #2 read a good mystery,#3  take a nap, today it was a nice long nap!  A new green raincoat is on my list of stuff to buy for all those walks in the rain I hope to take after retirement! 
rainy day
Easter Sunday
Scott and I took our MINI Cooper out for a mini road trip to St James Minnesota to visit our family on Easter Sunday. As always we had a great time just not long enough. If this was next year and I was retired we could have stayed a little longer, even overnight but for now a few hours will have to do.
Week 25th-28th
This week  was “Bring your child to work week” Even though I have enjoyed seeing my coworkers children each year it was also a day that was hard to get my work done.This year I was different I was  more relaxed. I also took time out from getting my work done, to enjoy the children and their special day!
Friday 29th
Today was a great day! I started out my day getting up at at 4 o'clock in the morning to watch the Royal wedding of Will and Kate. While I was having a cup of tea and enjoying how dashing Harry looked! I looked out the window to see these men at work. All this activity was going on at 4o'clock in the morning.
Then my own prince of 33 years and I went to McDonald for their now famous oatmeal breakfast!
It was also my last day to work for the month of April! Yes I have eight months to go and I can apply for SSA, Hoot! Hoot!
Just over a weeks ago I asked my boss if I could take every other Friday and a few Thursdays off for the  summer months of 2011. Today she got back to me on that request, and she said I could have them off up until July 4th. Then we will relook at the rest of the summer months which I was more than happy with.
Thought For The MonthWe must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us! – Joseph Campbell