Posted in author news

A Personal Post: A Prequel to my Retirement

Other than my new book releases and promotions, I haven’t been sharing any personal posts. Now that I’m retiring and will have more time, I’d like to do that. I’m writing this a week before my retirement on December 22.

Like a book, I feel like I’m beginning a new chapter. I’ve been thinking about my goals and how I want to spend my “golden years.” I’m not retiring in my 70’s or later. I’m not yet 65, but I’ve worked for 32 years as a librarian and feel it’s time to leave my full-time job.Since 1990, I’ve worked at the Hicksville Public Library as a reference librarian. I have mixed memories about my experience – some fond, some not so fond. The fond ones include the friends I’ve made among the staff and meeting my husband when he worked there as a computer instructor. A few staff members, many who are retired now, attended the wedding. My daughter practically grew up in the library, first attending programs as an infant and later as a child and young adult. I’ve worked under five directors and seen several renovations and changes to the building and its collections. I’ve celebrated special occasions and sadder times with my co-workers. A part of me will always live there, although I plan to move with my family to another state next year.

I recognize in younger librarians the enthusiasm I felt when I first began my career. The field is very different now. Computers and eBooks have changed reference services. Yet, helping people locate the information they seek for enrichment, pleasure, and knowledge is still a goal of the profession.While I was working, I managed to write sixteen novels. over thirty short stories, and several articles for pet magazines. It wasn’t easy. I wrote in the morning before work. My husband and daughter were incredibly supportive, but I felt that spreading myself between work, writing, and family resulted in shortchanging all three as well as myself. Now that my daughter is in college and an adult, I want to spend more time with her before she leaves to follow her own dreams. I also want to finish all those book ideas that I haven’t had time to complete and better myself as an author through workshops, conferences, and writing groups. I’m still seeking an agent and intend to pursue that goal more intently.I won’t be basking in the sun and sleeping all day after I retire. I’ll still rise early, write, and keep to a routine that, while flexible, will be productive. I’ll share my experience on this blog in a new column called “Debbie’s Retirement Life.” I’ve always believed that it’s true that when one door closes, another opens. I want to find out what’s on the other side of that door and plan to share what I find with you.

Posted in Monday Blog

How to Cook Fresh Meals Even a Husband Can Make

blueapron2My husband has a plan to retire in four years. The first step of that is to learn how to cook, so he can prepare meals while I’m still working. He recently subscribed to a service called Blue Apron that delivers fresh ingredients and recipe cards to the home. Following the instructions and using the items in the stay-fresh box, he creates two dinners a week of four adult servings that allows leftovers for lunch blueapron1for our family of three.  So far, he has prepared Baked Empanadas de Picadillo with Arugula, Queso Fesco & Pickled Onion Salad and Spiced Checken Souvlaki with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce & Roasted Potato Wedges. Next week, he’ll be cooking sirloin steak and turkey burgers. While the meals require a bit of preparation, my husband is enjoying the experience. Even better, he is cleaning up.

Since I’m still on Jenny Craig food trying to lose a few more pounds, I was told I can eat some of the Blue Apron meals as long as I watch the calories. This isn’t hard because the recipe cards include calorie counts and portion sizes.

I was also curious about HelloFresh, a similar meal preparation company, but my husband opted to try Blue Apron first. We use Peapod for our grocery deliveries, and they have started to feature recipes on their website, although it’s not quite the same as having pre-packaged meal kits.

In an attempt to also involve our 11-year old daughter in learning to cook, I gave her a Kidstir breakfast kit for Christmas.  She has yet to try it. The kit didn’t include any food but had complete recipes for four dishes with simple instructions for children. It also featured some games and a kid-sized kitchen utensil. Subscriptions for monthly kits are available. I guess Holly considers herself too old for these, although they would make a fun activity for mothers with younger kids.

I’m sure there are more meal kit services, so if other husbands, wives, single people, or teens are interested in trying these all-in-one cooking packages, they can shop around and compare prices, menus, and other options.

Next on Anthony’s agenda is a trip to Arizona or another warm-weather state where we can afford to retire. Like any goal, There are many steps to take before reaching it. For now, I can spend more time writing, reading, or with my cats while my husband, Chef Anthony, takes care of dinner twice a week.

Since writing this article, I’ve discovered two more meal preparation companies: HomeChef and DinnerThyme. I offer no recommendations, but here is the complete list with links of the companies I’ve found so far:

Blue Apron