Nature abhors a vacuum

Nature abhors a vacuum is a postulate attributed to Aristotle, who theorized a belief that nature contains no vacuums because the denser surrounding material continuum would immediately fill the rarity of an incipient void. “Rarity of an incipient void”. Yep, that’s my life in an indecipherable physics theory. Lack of job and commute should have created about a 60 hour a week void in my activities and commitments. It hasn’t. Where did it go? A fair amount of the theoretical void is well-spent time with my daughter, exploring, walking, and creating. But I did have expectations that I would get more projects done around the house, which hasn’t happened. I whittle away at them; I coerce my daughter a la Tom Sawyer (washing windows is FUN!). But my “to do” list continues to grow. On the bright side, my coloring and painting have improved!

Batten Down the Hatches

So what do you do when you no longer have an income? Find new ways to save or “create” money. Creating money is a little different than earning money. It’s taking that pile of scrap metal in the garage (I don’t know why) and the old catalytic converter laying by the back door (ditto) to the local metal recycler. $19.. Cha-ching! What can I say, it’s the little things. Saving money is easy; not turning into a pinchpenny is harder. Car insurance… did you know its cheaper if your car is a “pleasure” vehicle? Driving anywhere with a 4 y.o. on the verge of a sugar-low-meltdown is not a “pleasure” (note to self: stock aforementioned pleasure-mobile with snacks) but it still beats a 50 mile round trip commute.  

A note on switching costs. Switching barriers or switching costs are terms used in microeconomics, strategic management, and marketing to describe any impediment to a customer’s changing of suppliers. To date, my switching cost has been primarily time to research and implement a change, and the fear of the time it will take to change it again if it doesn’t work out. Switched so far for cost savings: electric supplier, car insurance, health insurance, and cell service. Still to be tackled phone/internet “bundling”… but who has that much free time?!

Grind at that grindstone

We’ve just watched “Mary Poppins” for oh, the 5th time. My daughter is enamored. Does she get it? Not more than “Mary Poppins is magic”. Watching it as an adult lends a whole new perspective.

Bert: You’re a man of high position, esteemed by your peers.
Bert: And when your little tykes are crying, you haven’t time to dry their tears… And see their thankful little faces smiling up at you… ‘Cause their dad, he always knows just what to do…
George Banks: Well, look – I…
Bert: Say no more, Gov’ner.
Bert: You’ve got to grind, grind, grind at that grindstone… Though childhood slips like sand through a sieve… And all too soon they’ve up and grown, and then they’ve flown… And it’s too late for you to give – just that spoonful of sugar to ‘elp the medicine go down – medicine go dow-wown, medicine go down.

Mental Vacation

One week into this retirement and it feels like vacation. When does reality hit? Maybe when there’s no paycheck in 2 weeks?!
So which is longer, a day made up of 9 hours of work , 2 hours of commute, and 2 hours of kid time, or one made up of 12 hours of kid time? Um, kid time definitely, particularly around 4pm. Some of this may be attributable to the dramatic increase in activity during “retirement” relative to my what I got from my desk job. At least this boss finds mid-afternoon naps more acceptable.

Day 1: An Adventure Begins

Today I stop being a Project Manager, with capitals, and start being a project manager- of my daughter (poor thing) and life. Not that I didn’t do this before, but realistically when the 168 hour week is taken up with 60 hours or so of working and commuting and 56 hours of sleeping, there really wasn’t that much time left to manage; it looked more like coping. Now the first week of this hiatus begins, with fun stuff to do and learn, and things to be accomplished (the number of things in need of repair seems to have increased in direct proportion to my free time). In true Project Manager fashion, I have a list of things we’ll do. It makes me feel better. I will try to control myself and not cross “make fairy wings” off the list when we’re done having fun.

Going Out On A High Note

3AM and wide awake- due in no small part to the delicious celebratory Indian dinner at Thali but also a brain in overdrive. How can the song “I’m a Gummy Bear”, a plan for building a solar chicken coop (probably the subject of a future blog), and a list of Things I Have To Do On My Last Day, all be going on in there at one time?! Throw in further contemplation of a rather deep discussion over dinner as to whether my  companions and I had peaked in our careers. We concluded that we probably had. After all, for the last 6 years I have worked on, Contributed To, the development of Yervoy, an immuno-oncology therapy that’s giving melanoma patients the possibility of survival. This is probably a once in a lifetime achievement and I’m pretty proud of it. To my dad, who succumbed to melanoma in 1984, this career was for you.

Cleaning house

I’m cleaning out 10 years of work files. Evidently I save everything. I came across this chain email that I’d saved in 2004; I don’t remember who the sender was but I can probably guess which friend. It pretty much says it all:


Too many people put off something that brings them joy

just because they haven’t thought about it, don’t have

it on their schedule, didn’t know it was coming or are

too rigid to depart from their routine.

I got to thinking one day about all those women on the

Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful

night in an effort to cut back.  From then on, I’ve

tried to be a little more flexible.


How many women out there will eat at home because

their husband didn’t suggest going out to dinner until

after something had been thawed?  Does the word

“refrigeration” mean nothing to you?


How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in

silence while you watched ‘Jeopardy’ on television?


I cannot count the times I called my sister and said,

“How about going to lunch in a half hour?”  She would

gas up and stammer, “I can’t.  I have clothes on the

line.  My hair is dirty.  I wish I had known

yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like

rain.”  And my personal favorite:  “It’s Monday.”

…She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch



Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we

tend to schedule our headaches..  We live on a sparse

diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the

conditions are perfect!


We’ll go back and visit the grandparents when we get

Stevie toilet-trained.  We’ll entertain when we

replace the living-room carpet.  We’ll go on a second

honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.


Life has a way of accelerating as we get older.  The

days get shorter, and the list of promises to

ourselves gets longer.  One morning, we awaken, and

all we have to show for our lives is a litany of “I’m

going to,” “I plan on,” and “Someday, when things are

settled down a bit.”


When anyone calls my ‘seize the moment’ friend, she is

open to adventure and available for trips.  She keeps

an open mind on new ideas.  Her enthusiasm for life is

contagious.  You talk with her for five minutes, and

you’re ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of

Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.


My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years.  I

love ice cream.  It’s just that I might as well apply

it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate

the digestive process.  The other day, I stopped the

car and bought a triple-decker.  If my car had hit an

iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.


Now…go on and have a nice day.  Do something you

WANT to……not something on your SHOULD DO list. If

you were going to die soon and had only one phone call

you could make, who would you call and what would you

say?  And why are you waiting?


Make sure you read this to the end; you will

understand why I sent this to you.


Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round

or listened to the rain lapping on the ground?  Ever

followed a butterfly’s erratic flight or gazed at the

sun into the fading night?  Do you run through each

day on the fly?  When you ask “How are you?”  Do you

hear the reply?


When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the

next hundred chores running through your head?  Ever

told your child, “We’ll do it tomorrow.”  And in your

haste, not see his sorrow?  Ever lost touch?  Let a

good friendship die?  Just call to say “Hi”?


When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like

an unopened gift….Thrown away… Life is not a race.

Take it slower.  Hear the music before the song is




It’s National Friendship Week.  Show your friends how

much you care.  Send this to everyone you consider a

FRIEND.  If it comes back to you, then you’ll know you

have a circle of friends.


To those I have sent this to… I LOVE you & cherish

our friendship.


“Life may not be the party we hoped for…  but while

we are here we might as well dance!”