Retirement: First Impressions

Officially, I’m on my fifth day of retirement. Unofficially, counting from when I vacationed out, it’s 20 days. But who’s counting?

I’m still in “vacation” mode so the full feeling of retirement hasn’t quite settled in yet, although there are glimpses that make me realize this isn’t a normal vacation, and vacation time will be over soon.

Since spending so much time leading to leaving Findlay and working on Tamasté prep, and since arriving in Florida and continuing the van prep, I haven’t had a lot of idle time to ponder the wonderment of retirement nor the somewhat freaky “what, no paycheck?” aspect. But that is about to change with tomorrow’s milestone of completing Tamasté’s prep followed by hitting the road Tuesday to begin exploring Florida.

So what’s different in retirement so far? Biggest thing is the absence of tracking what day it is. When weekends are like weekdays, and Monday could be any day of the week, those beloved guideposts on the path through working life are gone. I used to laugh at those “who cares?” clocks and now I’m living a calendar that looks quite similar.

All that’s good, since it also means each day is fully experienced and going slowly. When I do work on schedules for places and such, I’m surprised the current date is much earlier in January than I think it is. My mind must still be on work-time pacing, mentally counting the days faster than reality.

Look for the first video on the Tamasté YouTube channel soon featuring a complete tour of Tamasté. Hoping to publish one video a week, plus frequent posts here, but we’ll see. After all, not sure I can mentally track exactly what a week is, given that I can’t keep track of what day it is.

Fantastical Escape

An annual pilgrimage of sorts used to happen for me when I lived in Texas:  attending the fall Renaissance Festival. Billed as the world’s largest such event (both in size and permanence, at least back then), it was always a glorious day of escape into world of visual (and culinary) delights.

I haven’t been to a RenFest since moving to Ohio in 2005, despite having two within a few hours drive. Not sure why I haven’t upheld this fall ritual, perhaps because I feared the local versions would not live up to the legend that was the Texas Renaissance Festival.

This past Sunday I finally made the journey to the Ohio Renaissance Festival and thoroughly enjoyed myself. With wenches and dragons and knights and fools aplenty, it was a most enjoyable step back in time to wander and shed the worries of modern life. This weekend’s theme was “Fantasy” mixed historical expectations but still delighted. Enough chatter! A picture feast awaits you below…Huzzah!

All photos as shot, unretouched, and ©Gary Varner, 2018.














Had a great, intense journaling session this morning, which included an unplanned (best kind!) sidetrack into thoughts about “journey.” Sharing a part here in hopes you find my thoughts useful in prompting your own thinking on journey. It is shared as written and unedited, but I think you can read my writing well enough to make out all the words.

For the stationery-tools curious:  written with a Franklin-Christoph P66 (Masuyama italic cursive nib) fountain pen, Robert Oster Caffe Crema ink, in a Nanami Seven Seas A5 Writer journal.



Each winter I try to help our feathered friends by keeping the bird feeders full. Unlike a neighbor down the street, I stop filling the feeders once spring arrives so the birds can forage on their own. While it’s fun to see the birds flocking around her feeders year-round, I don’t think it’s a good thing to interrupt the natural cycles of forage and spread that the birds do each year.

It’s been great fun watching the birds this winter, made all the more frequent by the mildness we’ve experienced here in Northwest Ohio. Yet, despite snow and cold, the birds still hit the feeders regularly. I’m no birdwatcher in the sense of being able to tell you what I’m looking at, but it doesn’t take one to marvel at the competitiveness and at times, meanness, I’ve seen from these feathered creatures. Sometimes one bird will viciously chase another away despite plenty of room on the feeder. And there’s a group of smaller birds that frantically hop between a feeder hole and nearby branch, leaving me wondering how they’re getting anything to eat.

And then there’s the basement dwellers, those birds content to avoid the competitive action on the feeders and peck their way to contentedness on the ground. They get plenty to eat because I’ve learned birds are inherently messy and picky at the feeders. Watching them closely, they knock out more seed than they’re eating, much to the delight of the basement birds and the odd squirrel that wanders over to forage as well.

They are difficult to photograph, since the least bit of movement or shadow shifting in the window scatters them instantly, except for the doves who just continue to peck and sort on the ground ignoring the big monster staring at them through the window. Considering how fast all of them move and how frequently, it shouldn’t surprise me that I’m refilling the feeders every three days or so.