Wild, Wild, Winter
There you have it: the weirdest, wildest winter we’ve ever seen! Regardless of where you hail from, I’m sure you’re saying, “Enough is enough! That was something, but I’ll be glad when it’s over.” All I can say is that here in the Philadelphia area, snow piles loom over me, and I’m never sure when classes at the local community college, where I teach English, will be canceled. (We’ve had 3 snow days over the last 6 weeks.) So, since snow still covers the ground, we can still publish holiday stories, right? I’m glad, because I know you’ll love SENIOR INSIGHTS columnist Jewel Littenberg’s “This Jewish Girl Loves Christmas,” which captures the spirit of the holiday in truly ecumenical fashion. And, Christmas shopping is mentioned at least twice by one empty nester who traipsed across Italy last year, Visa card in hand. Don’t miss her adventures in Cinque Terre and Lake Como, Italy, part 3 of “Why I Went, What I Did, and Why You Should Go Somewhere Far Away, Alone (or Almost Alone), at Least Once in Your Life.”

Still making (and breaking) New Year’s resolutions? Ramp up the effort a bit with “Three Wise Men and an Old Dog,” by Jim Porterfield. Jim lets his Type-A personality rip in this how-to manual for making the most of your empty-nesting years. After all, you don’t want to Miss. A. Thing! Seriously, Jim turned me on to the writers he quotes, and I can’t say enough good things about those words of wisdom, whether they come from three wise old men or from three wise old women. And, something for the soon-to-be empty nesters (those with teens still in the house): New York Times–bestselling young adult writer Laurie Halse Anderson satisfies her readers’ craving for plots that turn on the tough topics teens face. She also shares some of her secrets for mentoring the young adults who inspire her writing in her interview, “Real People Empty Nesting.”

Speaking of missing your kids and making resolutions, why not consider becoming a foster parent? April Redzic and Lejla Jusic of ChildServ of Chicago make a case for choosing that “encore career” in this issue’s GENERATIONS column. In fact, it’s never too late to find that second (or sixth or seventh) career, as you’ll see when you read Patricia McLaughlin’s STYLE column, “Dream Coats.” And, winter wouldn’t be complete without worrying about thick-waistedness. Leave it to Kerry Peresta to bring up that unpopular, but hilarious, subject as she battles the bulge in BODY. Finally, an issue that's important in any season: your hearing! Are you losing it? Don't be shy about taking care of it, advises one empty nester, in "Whaddidya Say?"

The Publication
The format of Empty Nest makes the editorial our home page (you’re there!), where the articles are discussed in context of the issue, and links take you directly to the text. As always, though, you can reach the Features, Departments, and Editorial via the sidebar menu at left. Finally, you can do a keyword search of Empty Nest. Just type a topic or author’s name into the search box at the bottom of the sidebar, and you’ll bring up a page with links to relevant articles in the current issue—and in the Empty Nest archives.

Note that links to two new blogs appear in the left column of our homepage: Carpe Diem, my own blog, which I revived recently, and Senior InSights>Senior InSights, a new blog by Jewel Littenberg. Enjoy! On the horizon: Empty Nest gets Facebook and Twitter! Stay tuned . . .

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My Winter into Spring
Well, after all my news in the last issue, this will sound tame. Some have hated this winter of snow and ice, throwing up their hands in disgust (see paragraph one; that was for all of you). And others have relished the chance to finally get to use their long-dormant snowshoes, skis, or “microspikes.” Except for a few times when I’ve been housebound because my Prius is loathe to leave a snow-packed driveway, I fall into the latter camp.

Somehow, for a time each year, I think we need it: snow blanketing the earth, quieting things down. Hills of stark, dark tree trunks contrasted against that pure white. There’s nothing like it, and I soak it up. It’s the perfect counterpoint to the hustle and bustle of life among the lush foliage of summer. Tromping around in the snow suits me perfectly, and I thank my husband, Gary, for that. He’s the one who first got me, a self-professed “beach person,” into REI many, many years ago, to purchase some “warm clothing” so I could come and “play outside” in the winter.

As for what’s going on in my empty-nesting life, I’m still “changing tack” (see the editorial, last issue). I’m teaching Technical Communications at the local community college—an offer made to me two days before the class was to begin. Another instructor had to back out at the last minute; her loss was my gain. The correct answer in such a situation is “Sure, no problem!” and that’s how I felt about it. I’m also taking an online course called Teaching Excellence, offered by the same college to its faculty members. It’s a 6-week course, so it’s been a little hectic: designing hypothetical “learning-centered” classes while making up lesson plans and marking papers for Tech Comm, and reading chapters for both. Adjunct pay is next to nothing, but I’m happy; what can I say? I’m using this time to prepare myself to teach more classes—at any school—and to continue to help students master the skill of writing. Aside from raising my daughters, I consider it the best work of my life.

I’m finding more time to keep in touch with my kids and my friends, to reach out to old acquaintances, especially those from publishing. Work on the memoir and other writing has had to take a back seat to teaching and studying for a bit, but everything will come in its time. And, eventually, I’ll get back to doing publishing work—developing a website, and freelance editing and project management. See Jim Porterfield’s 3 WISE MEN essay in this issue. After immersing myself in some of that thinking (at Jim’s recommendation), I’m much better at juggling a lot of “work”—of my own choosing—at once. I know the time I spent on it will pay off.

There is one exciting thing on the horizon for Hubby and Me. While we’ve been snowshoeing through the stark white bliss this winter, we’ve also been planning an escape adventure like none we’ve ever had. The end of this week, we’re trailering our Thistle (see editorial, last issue) to St. Petersburg, FL, where we’ll participate in the National Thistle Class Association Midwinters East Regatta, a weeklong sailboat racing event. Thistles are skipper-plus-two-crew boats, and a good friend of ours (who is also a past Thistle Class president) will be our third. Our first “coaching” session is Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. I have a sub lined up to teach my class next week, so if all goes well, my students will get a nice break from me and I will return tanner, in better shape, and surely more knowledge about sailing Thistles. If I survive the week, that is. :-)

I know I’m a John Denver fan, but I must say that these days, Michael Bublé’s “Feelin’ Good” still defines my existence. My favorite lines of the week are “Sun in the sky, you know how I feel, Breeze driftin’ on by; you know how I feel . . . It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life. For me . . . and I’m feelin’ good . . .”

Do you know it’s 70 degrees in St. Pete? Right now. And, 27 degrees in Philly. Need I say more?

As always, we thank our dedicated contributors, to whom we owe the quality of this publication, and our loyal readers, who ensure its success.

For more about Empty Nest magazine, visit About Us.


Robin C. Bonner
Editor, Empty Nest

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