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January 11, 2015


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When I was 5 years old, I accidentally drank DDT poison that my stupid grandmother stored in empty coca cola bottles. I was the first case the local hospital ever saw of a child ingesting DDT. I was paralyzed on my left side and hospitalized for a very long time. I can still remember sitting in the crib in the hospital with doctors all around me.
No one knew what the outcome would be, but my mother knew. I was slow to learn things. It took me a long time to comprehend things. I have to repeat things over and over to myself before I can understand. Because of this, I have suffered greatly at the comments and opinions of others. Still to this day I am mocked.
And you know what Syd, I couldn't give a rats' ass what anybody says, thinks, does or whatever about me. Because I believe in myself. I believe I am smart. And I believe I am a success. It didn't matter that I got a zero on my chemistry test and all the students laughed at me. Because I took the class over again and got a 98, A+.
That's my secret. I know I have to do it over and over again till I get it right.
If I were in your shoes, I would tape my wonderfulness as I play the piano, alone in my house and play it back to my friends. Here! I would say! Listen to how great I can play the piano with only 2 years of training.
Believe in yourself and don't give a flying fuck what anyone has to say about you. For in the long run, their words are meaningless.
As for Carrie Bradshaw, my idol, I already am inspired to write my blog as if I were she. And Carrie would have come to the same conclusion that I have about retirement: it's nothing more than a thing. It's nothing more than an extension of a life I am already living. I'm still drinking cosmos, I'm still meeting the girls, I'm still interested in sex and I'm still interested in living my life with my own Mr. Big.
"In retirement, is honesty really the best policy?"
I believe Carrie couldn't have asked that question any better.


Ohh, I love this one. Much better than bollux. In all seriousness, it takes awhile to get used to the I don't give a whatever attitude. And of course I do care what some people think. I also think that somewhere along with that comes the "life isn't perfect" thing. I mean, I live with a professional artist and I'm taking a drawing class-just because it sounds like fun and realising that maybe my pictures will never look like anything but fifty grade drawings and I don't even care!

Saying goodbye to a canine again tomorrow. Not my funnest day.


I love your resolutions and your Uncle sounds like he truly has found one of the secrets to a happy life. I hope you share tidbits of your book with all of us. My only resolution is to get moving more physically. The rest are simply some goals that I am treating as work projects.


Your resolutions are great. Writing in a coffee sounds very inspiring. Inspiration is so important. I might try writing my short story in a coffee shop. Great idea! Good Luck!

Retired Syd

Barb: I'm so sorry to read about your furry companion. That's the worst. Virtual hugs to you today . . . that's such a sad time.





Yes! Yes, yes, yes. Loved this. I retired last year. What a journey. I have never felt so unsettled. I'm learning that these feelings are part of the process and learning to have patience with myself. But what I wanted to say was that my goal last year was to write a very rough first draft of a novel. I'm still working on it, but thanks to NanOWriMo last November, I am now past 50,000 words. You can do it!!! And if you'd like a writing buddy, I could use one, too. And love your coffee shop idea. Maybe I should try that. I am 20 minutes drive away from one though. Bummer.


I would DEFINITELY read your book--it sounds fabulous!


Also, if you ever want to run pages or the completed manuscript by someone, I'm a pretty good critique partner. :)

Retired Syd

Nita: That might be a good thing. If you commit to driving 20 minutes just to get there, you're all in don't you think?


For piano performance butterflies, I bet you can find a teacher whose students appear in periodic recitals. Seriously. Have the teacher schedule you in with the "other kids" and perform in recitals. Your audience of strangers, mostly the "other kids" moms, won't matter, so you'll get past the jitters and you'll actually have a ton of fun.

Like you, I've thought about writing a book but haven't gotten past a rough outline. Your chosen coffee shop sounds perfect. So why not ride the bus or subway to get there, using your ride time for reflection on your ideas and for people watching?


By the way, you already have a whole book worth in the blog, and I enjoy reading it all the time! If I don't get enough from your post, I go back and read a few old ones for fun! I know there are a few bestsellers out there that were once just blogs! I'd buy it for sure!

Retired Syd

Pauline: Good news, I found a free lot a few blocks away.

Laura: Thank you for that encouragement! But I really want it to be fresh material. Something that wouldn't bore you if you have been a long-time reader of my blog.


Both of your resolutions are fabulous! Although still difficult, I've found that not giving a shit gets easier as I grow older. I'm not musical at all so just hearing you play a couple of notes that go well with one another would impress the heck out of me!

Good luck with your book! You are absolutely correct about needing to get out of the house with all its distractions. I'm looking forward to the finished product (no pressure, though!).

Diane C

Hey Syd, Happy New Year! I'm so happy to see a new post!
I know you live in the beautiful Bay Area. How about writing at your local library? I'm over in Walnut Creek, and our beautiful library has free wi-fi, Peet's coffee, comfy chairs and lots of places to settle in. I'm sure that there's a great one in your neck of the woods. It could be worth checking out!

Retired Syd

Diane: Actually, the library is way to quiet. I need the buzz of all the action at the coffee shop. Seems counter-intuitive, doesn't it? And I definitely can't go somewhere with Wi-Fi, I have no willpower there either!

Your library has Peet's coffee? Wow.

Lynn Jeffers

Oh sister, I feel your "piano pain!" I, too, am a piano student with the WORST PERFORMANCE ANXIETY EVER!!! By myself, I can give myself "bench butt." In front of anyone else, I break out in a sweat and screw up! Really pisses me off, because I'm pretty good alone! I even tried to force myself to overcome the anxiety by playing at a wedding - it was a disaster! When I recall my piano recitals at the age of 12, I can still feel that nausea and nervousness I felt waaaayyyy back then! I think I'm this way because I'm such a perfectionist. I want the piece to be perfect, and that makes matters worse. I have never been able to mess up and then just go on. I will be following you to see how the "I don't give a shit" resolution works out with respect to your playing - because if it works, I want to do it too!

Winnie Boo

Everyone has their new years's resolution, but the biggest challenge is if we could be able to attain out goal.And at the end of the year, we can say that we make a worthful deeds the whole year.

Rin Porter

Syd, I think your idea of writing the book in a coffee shop a few days a week is GREAT! That way you set aside both a place and a time that will be devoted to the book. As a few other commenters have, I also offer you my (free) services as a proofreader or reviewer as you get chapters under your belt. I still struggle with worrying about what a few of my relatives will think, but I am making progress toward not giving a shit! You go, girl! Thanks for this post.


Syd,You have the talent to understand life and put that understanding into words, what a gift you have! It sounds like going to that local coffee shop gives you a sense of purpose while enjoying life at the same time. Regarding your blog. I agree with you that one has to focus on the important things. I completed Breast Cancer Treatment last month and have returned to work full time. Fortunately, my prognosis is excellent, but when one experiences cancer, it is a rude awakening to the fact that our time in this world is limited. I consider every day a gift. The biggest question I have is to continue to be employed or retire. Financially, we have been advised that I could retire now. However, remaining in my current employment situation gives me a strong sense of PURPOSE and FINANCIAL FREEDOM. I work in the health care field and am nervous about losing BOTH PURPOSE AND FREEDOM. Syd, Your book will be full of the wisdom learned through your own experiences as well experiences of others. Good luck and enjoy the process. I will certainly look forward to the time when it is in print.

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