Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life, Week 8 : Day 57, 2/17/23

It’s hard to believe it’s been two months since I retired. This is my February blog post about my post-retirement adventures.

Yesterday was sad because it would’ve been my mother’s 95th birthday. She’s been gone for five years. The temperatures here rose unseasonably into the high 60s. She would’ve loved it.

On a brighter note, my daughter passed her road test, and she’s been driving with me in my car to get more practice before driving on her own.

As I continue my decluttering project, I donated ten boxes of books to the Book Fairies, but I’ve also found several more boxes of books in my garage, and there are still more in my house.

On February 8, I participated in a lively discussion of The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah at my library’s book club. (Read my review here: While historical fiction isn’t my favorite genre, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.

I also read Megan Goldin’s forthcoming release, Dark Corners. (Review: I liked this book, too, but it wasn’t as good as Stay Awake, (Review:, the first book I read by this author.

Besides reading, I also attended virtual exercise classes and a music webinar on Motown given by Vinnie Bruno. I really enjoyed his presentation on the Bee Gees and found this one also good. The best part for me was when he discussed the Supremes and played some of their music. My cat, Hermione, however, was partial to Stevie Wonder.

Last night, I also attended Bruno’s presentation on Billy Joel. I was interested in it because Joel grew up in my hometown, I was born on his birthday, and my brothers knew him when they were young. Bruno’s presentation was very informative, as usual. The music was also great, although I preferred the earlier pieces he played.

Aso this month, I had the first of two deep cleanings with my periodontist. It was my first deep cleaning, so I was apprehensive about it, but it wasn’t bad at all. The worst part was the shots. I didn’t stay numb much longer afterwards and didn’t have any pain.

Last week, I went for bloodwork and am going today for an echocardiogram because I’ve been having dizziness and palpations. These aren’t brand new symptoms for me, and my doctor doesn’t think they’re anything serious. I’ve already received the blood test results. My cholesterol has actual gone down, which is good news, but I have some other areas outside the normal range. My doctor said they aren’t connected with my symptoms and should improve if I lose some of the weight I’ve gained. I plan to start doing that before my April physical when I’ll be retested.

I was approved as a substitute at my library, so I’ll be filling in, when needed, on a few nights and weekends.

I’m also making good progress on my third Buttercup Bend Cozy Mystery, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian. I’m on Chapter 22, page 128. Below is another unedited excerpt from this book. In this scene, Cathy goes with Chris and his granddaughter Sheri to meet Lulu, the llama.

Chris parked the car by the house. Sheri didn’t wait for him to help her down. She excitedly ran ahead. Chris chuckled. “I like to see her so happy.” Cathy wondered at that comment if he meant Sheri wasn’t usually happy. Was the girl’s sadness caused by her grandmother’s recent death or the conflict Cathy had overheard between her parents?

Sheri was already at the llama pen’s gate. “Hold up, honey!” Chris exclaimed, as he and Cathy approached. Cathy noticed that there were smaller animals in the pen with the llamas. She recalled Mildred’s explanation of the differences between llamas and alpacas. As they caught up with Sheri, Chris said, “We keep the female alpacas and llamas together unless we’re breeding them, of course. You’ll notice the size difference. Sheri grew up with them, but when we have school visits, they frighten some kids by how large they are. Full-grown llamas can weigh up to 500 pounds.”

“Wow!” Cathy said. “Where’s Lulu? How can you tell them apart?”

“Lulu wears a pink ribbon.”

Sheri was hopping from one foot to the other as if ready to jump the fence. “Can we go in now, Grandpa?”

Chris opened the gate. “Go ahead. You might want to make a stop in the barn to get hay later if you want to feed her.”

“She’s munching on the grass,” Sheri pointed out. Cathy watched as the young girl ran to the llama wearing a pink ribbon. She counted five other llamas in the pen and nearly twice that of alpacas.

“You can pet one if you want. They’re quite gentle,” Chris said. Sheri was already petting Lulu. The llama regarded her with big brown eyes.

Cathy walked over to them. “This is Lulu,” Sheri introduced the llama. “Lulu, this is Miss Hastings. She’s going to be working at the farm with her mommy.”

Cathy laughed. “You can call me Cathy, Sheri. And, you, too, Lulu,” she added.

“Wanna pet her, Cathy? She’s very soft.”

“The alpacas are softer,” Chris said. “Their fiber is lighter and warmer than wool.”

Cathy found that interesting. “I don’t knit or crochet, but my grandmother does.”

Chris smiled. “You can pick up some skeins in the shop. I won’t charge ya.” He winked.

Cathy placed her hand on Lulu’s back and moved it down, as if stroking her kittens. The llama didn’t purr, but her eyes widened. “She’s friendly.”

“They all have different personalities,” Chris said. “Lulu is a sweetheart.”

“How long have you had her?”

Sheri answered. “She’s five, like me. Momma said Daddy brought her back from Peru the year I was born.”

“That’s right,” Chris said. “Lulu was just a baby or “crias,” as baby llamas are termed, when she came to the farm. Danielle was pregnant when she and Dylan visited Peru again. Danielle fell in love with Lulu, as she had Dylan, and insisted on bringing her back to Oaks Landing. It’s not easy to transport livestock back to the U.S. There are all sorts of red tape regulations, but Danielle wouldn’t go back unless Lulu came with her. She was raised here for her wool, unlike some of the South American llamas that are mostly raised as work and guard animals.”

As Sheri continued petting and talking with Lulu, Cathy stood by the gate with Chris. “Mildred said that Danielle met Dylan in Peru. Was she looking for llamas?”

Chris smiled. “Looking for llamas and found a husband. She met Dylan on her first trip there, but she’d just gone to visit some farms. According to her, it was love at first sight. Dylan handed the farm over to his brother and made plans to move to Oaks Landing.” 

“Sounds like a whirlwind romance to me.” Cathy lowered her voice, “but they don’t sound too happy now.”

“That happens with couples sometimes, but they love one another. I think there’s a lot of pressure with Betty’s condition, and Doris’ death didn’t help matters.”


I hope you enjoyed that excerpt form my work-in-progress. This weekend, I’m planning to go to the Camelia Festival at Planting Fields Arboretum, and Tuesday night, I’ll be reading some excerpts from my books at my church’s Fastnacht Zoom Follies that start at 7 pm. The Zoom link is found on the St. Stephen’s website, under Fastnacht Zoom Follies 2023.

Thanks for reading about my retirement adventures. I’ll post another update in March.



I'm a retired librarian and the author of the Cobble Cove and Buttercup Bend cozy mystery series and other novels, short stories, poems, articles, and a novella. My books include CLOUDY RAINBOW, REASON TO DIE, SEA SCOPE, MEMORY MAKERS, TIME'S RELATIVE, MEOWS AND PURRS, and MEMORIES AND MEOWS. My Cobble Cove cozy mystery series published by Solstice Publishing consists of 6 books: A STONE'S THROW, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, WRITTEN IN STONE, LOVE ON THE ROCKS, NO GRAVESTONE UNTURNED, and SNEAKY'S SUPERNATURAL MYSTERY AND OTHER COBBLE COVE STORIES. My new Buttercup Bend series published by Next Chapter Publishing includes THE CASE OF THE CAT CRAZY LADY and THE CASE OF THE PARROT LOVING PROFESSOR. I've also written a romantic comedy novella, WHEN JACK TRUMPS ACE, and short stories of various genres published as eBooks and in anthologies published by the Red Penguin Collection. My poetry appears in the Nassau County Voices in Verse and the Bard's Annual. I'm a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writers' Association. I live on Long Island with my husband, daughter, and 2 cats.

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