Filling Time Between Coffee and Wine

Like most people, Malcolm and I have come to terms with how life will be for the foreseeable future. Being retired enables an inherent flexibility that we are especially grateful for right now. Our wings may be clipped, but adapting to our new reality has been easier than imagined.

Making a conscious decision to be diligent about the things that matter has been the key for us. Creating balance in our daily lives which includes time for family, friends, health, fitness, hobbies, travel and finances has always been at the core of our well-being.

Of these priorities, only travel and finances have been detrimentally altered by this disease. Everything else can be easily maintained, even when ‘social distancing’ is imperative. When the dust clears, we will deal with adjustments to the way we travel and restructuring of our financial security.

For now, creating structure and balance within our daily lives, while remaining true to our values is most important.

Adapting to How Things Are

My twice weekly social tennis game has been replaced by a brisk daily workout against the wall at our local park. Not only is it a great workout, but it provides some valuable meditative time as well.

The park is just a few minutes from home by car, so I drive over and Malcolm walks. It is about a 40 minute walk, so by the time he arrives I am almost finished. It is a win/win for both of us.

Our floating picnic is quickly becoming a favorite Sunday afternoon pastime. Launching the kayak and paddling out to a secluded beach in the middle of the river has its perks. I posted this photo on my Instagram Stories last Sunday and my daughter accused me of being insensitive. What do you think, too much?

Malcolm and I have always had shared and individual hobbies and the hobby he misses the most is entertaining friends in our home. He is still cooking lots of yummy food and treats though, so I may have to up the workout to twice a day just to keep up with the calories he is forcing me to consume (wink).

When he isn’t baking a seriously sweet Caramel Flan like the one above, or a starchy comfort food like the mac and cheese below, he is running to the market for fresh produce. BTW, he scored a package of TP this morning!!

The virus is getting too close for comfort and as of today, his trips to the market are hereby suspended by the Executive Committee (me). It seems irresponsible, even as careful as he has been, to continue this indulgence. From here forward, we will have to make do by using the delivery apps recently installed on our phones. Walmart has really stepped up their efforts and I highly recommend downloading that one if you haven’t already.

Creating Comfort

We have a lovely home with plenty of space to be separate or together, but when it comes to waking up in the morning (coffee) and settling down in the evening (wine), we both want to be in exactly the same place – a comfy recliner.

Redecorating the family room a few months ago left us with some excess pieces of furniture that didn’t fit the new/lighter downstairs look. After surveying the upstairs loft, which hasn’t been used since our daughter moved away for college, we came up with a plan to reclaim the space. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

We started by donating gently used items and pitching the rest. Then, we rebuilt the TV cabinet to accommodate a modern flat screen TV. Next came re-purposing the old downstairs pieces and acquiring a couple of new things to make the space cozy. I am happy to say that we completed our little ‘reading nook’ just in time for a pandemic!

We expect to be spending quite a bit of time here for the next few weeks and possibly months to come, so why not be comfortable. His chair, devices and chargers are on the left, mine are on the right. We each have head phones and can tune each other out when we want to. Not shown in the photo is a small space with a coffee pot and wine cooler. It is the perfect Corona Cave. Yes, I said that.

When I saw this cartoon posted by Joe at Easin’Along I had to laugh out loud. Similarities to our new space and our attitude are uncanny. Thanks Joe!

Lessons Learned

What made me smile this week was the realization that we can adapt and ride this thing out in relative comfort, and maybe even with a little humor at times. We don’t have to put our lives on hold, but we will have to be creative, stay positive and make a few sacrifices. Some of us may even use the time to do some good. If you are like me, you will know you are doing the right thing when your actions align with your core beliefs and you wake up looking forward to another day, not dreading what the news will bring.

Please remember that many, many people are hurting right now and reach beyond yourself at every opportunity to brighten their day in some small way.

We could all use a little smile right now and would love to hear what you are doing to ‘lighten things up,’ not only in your own lives, but for others. Please share your thoughts regarding how you are filling the time between coffee and wine in the comments section. And, don’t forget to visit Trent’s World to add a link to what made you smile this week.

Sharing Some Goodness

Malcolm made these yesterday and they are yummy. He says I should remind you guys that they are made with no sugar; the sweetness of the bananas is sufficient. They were great with our morning coffee.

Until next time, be responsible, stay safe and take delight in the little things.

40 Comments on “Filling Time Between Coffee and Wine

  1. I love your attic hide-away. It looks like the perfect place to ride out this storm … coffee and wine service included!

    Retirement does make this crisis a little easier to maneuver. We’ve already had the opportunity to adjust our lifestyles and get comfortable with a different rhythm. But my heart hurts for those who have been suddenly thrust into chaos by losing their source of income. Their adjustment is radical and severe.

    A husband who likes to cook and bake is a wonderful treat. Can you feel the waves of jealousy emanating from this comment? 😉

    Be well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have a great way of dealing with this unfortunate situation. The title of the post made me smile! My husband and I have also settled into a routine. We are both perfectly fine with staying at home although I really do miss seeing my friends. I love your attic space!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beth, Settling into a routine is the very best we can hope for right now. Getting together with friends is a sore spot for sure, but telephone conversations are a good alternative. Glad to know you guys are doing well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like you have a great plan in place! Creating balance in our lives is essential during this world wide storm we are all facing. I think my husband and I are starting to find that balance now that we are working from home. That photo of the mac and cheese – Oh, My. Goodness!!! Love your cozy loft space too!


    • I imagine working from home must have a different set of challenges. Kudos for finding balance within your situation. That mac and cheese is what motivates me to visit the back board at the park.


  4. All so true. We are retired too, so this shelter at home order from our governor is not really changing our lives. I did consolidate my grocery shopping, no more running to the store every time I need something. More thoughtful shopping and more eating out of the pantry. I went today, early this morning with about 50 of my closest elderly friends (senior shopping from 7 to 8 at our grocery store today) and that was wild. Anyway….YES…I NEEDED this recipe today, as I have exactly THREE ripe bananas and I didn’t want to make our usual banana cookies because they take oatmeal and there was no more oatmeal at the store and I’m saving it for breakfasts. So the banana recipe you shared is PERFECT! THANK YOU!!


    • Hi Dawn, overly ripe bananas is exactly what sent Malcolm in search of a recipe. They were a great (no sugar) breakfast alternative. “Thoughtful shopping” is key right now. I think as people start to settle into this thing and realize that they will not run out of food, there will be more of that kind of behavior. Being retired does have its advantages!


  5. I love your Corona Cave!! Especially since it’s not like a cave at all. Sounds like you’re being smart and adapting to the situation. We are also. I hope we’re doing enough. Stay safe.


    • It is a pretty cushy cave isn’t it? I told Malcolm we should rent the downstairs and live up here permanently!! That didn’t go over well. Especially since his favorite part of the house (the kitchen) is downstairs. Hope you are finding creative ways to cope as well. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t have a lot to drop right now, so that is exactly what I will be doing this afternoon! I am typically not a fan of sugar free, but these were good. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your visit.


  6. Your reading nook is beautiful and inviting, Suzanne. Thank you for the banana muffin recipe. I was going to look for an easy recipe to add to my limited baking repertoire and Malcolm found it for me 🙂 Like you, I made some minor adjustments to my daily routine and carried on. To lighten things up, I blog about what I find beautiful or interesting from my activities. I hope it brings someone a smile. Thank you for your smile in the first photo and the cartoon.


  7. Hi Suzanne,
    Love what you and Macolm have done with the loft!
    Dan has been out fishing every day…the middle of a lake is great for social distancing. And, yes, we have agreed that trips to the store are going to end now, as much as possible, but, do you know of anywhere that delivers beer and wine?lol.
    I’ve begun making masks for the folks I love in healthcare. They are better than nothing…and I can’t believe we are asking people to do without basic ppe. My niece (ER doc) is already in quarantine and recovering from the virus.
    Being outside helps with the anxiety. Walking every day.


    • Nancy, making masks is certainly a worthwhile contribution and provides a good project for you as well. A little creativity goes a long way right now. My brother has been fishing a lot lately too, same reason as Dan. So sorry for your niece, but glad she is recovering. We need her! Malcolm uses The Wine Spies for wine deliveries. They have a selection every day that you can choose from. You can’t make a request for something specific, but if you know wines at all, you will probably find something you like. We stocked up with them just before this thing got big. Beer is a tough one. The markets can’t deliver it, but restaurants (in Florida) can. Weird right? Best of luck to you guys and stay safe.


  8. Absolutely! Time to take delight in the little things and count our blessings. And help others if we can, safely. I enjoyed reading this Suzanne, and seeing your cozy little nest.
    I don’t think your kayaking post was insensitive – if the weather was better here, that is what I would be doing too!



  9. Suzanne,
    I am one of those husbands who likes to cook, but I cook the stuff that makes me fat. As a result, I am in the final few days of Nutrisystem. Now that I am back to my “playing weight”, I am being careful and a bit more selective about what I will eat going forward. Malcom to the rescue…I love my morning coffee and tired of bland, boiled eggs. I will try the muffins for sure! Thrilled that I could make a contribution to Picture Retirement. That cartoon is a good one for the times we are in.


    • Joe, what a great time to be doing Nutrisytem. No shopping or preparation required. I definitely would not recommend the mac-n-cheese and the Flan is completely off limits. Malcolm’s cooking is why I have to work so hard at staying fit. I cannot resist good home cooked, high calorie food! The muffins will do the trick for breakfast. Enjoy! That cartoon is so us….


  10. I agree with your comment about having made many of the adjustments already as we retired. The thing I miss the most is getting together with friends to just talk – walk & talk or whine & wine. I’ve adjusted to yoga on-line versus class, and even did a Zumba on-line last night. It finally stopped raining (at 45 degrees), so took a walk yesterday as well. I’m going to try Zoom; a couple of friends have started a happy hour on there. My big new thing – pantry cooking. figuring out what to make from what’s stocked in the pantry. It’s been focused on dinners and is kinda fun.


    • Pat, the best thing we have had going lately is great weather. Not sure how I will cope if it starts to rain. Malcolm made a huge pot of pasta sauce early this morning. We will some of it for homemade pizza this evening and bag and freeze the rest. Weird, how figuring out ‘what’s for dinner’ has become something to look forward to isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Suzanne, this was great to see! And NO! Photos of SUPing is NOT insensitive! We all need to exercise to keep healthy. Our water is too cold, but the nearby bike trails are open. I love your new reclaimed room. That cartoon is so true (slightly sad though, LOL!). Here in NorCal we are dealing with cold, intermittent rain and a “no go to Lake Tahoe” via the news. Ironically the best snow of the season is NOW but ski resorts and lifts are shut down. Best thing to do is watch shows. As we prepare to sell our house, hubby is diligently working to fix some things up. We had planned a week road trip for next week, using his vacation time and my Spring break from classes, but we must stay home. Will get a lot done. Enjoy yourselves, you earned it!


    • Terri, hop a plane to Florida.Seriously!!!! We would be happy to host you guys for a 14 day quarantine. The river is still open and we have plenty of food! The cartoon is a little sad when you take it at face value. I try not to. Sorry about your road trip. That hurts.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Hi Suzanne, My husband and I have similar philosophies to you and Malcolm. We are also trying to maintain structure and balance and remaining true to our values. We check in daily communicating our priorities. Right now it is to help everyone stay mentally and physically healthy. The kayak and picnic sounds wonderful. I think humour right now is wonderful medicine. Your Malcolm is an amazing cook/chef. I am gaining weight just looking at the photos.

    You also made me smile on how you each have head phones and can tune each other out. Welcome to my world, and a happy marriage.

    Very wise words, Suzanne, on not putting our life on hold. I think you have helped create my new mantra for this week. We are at week 2 of completely self isolating. I greatly appreciate you sharing your post. Take care and stay healthy. xx


    • Hi Erica, as this goes on, I am sure my attitude and behaviors will shift between ‘I can do this’ to ‘I’ve had enough of this’ and back again. Helping your family to stay mentally and physically healthy is a commendable goal. I can only imagine the struggle for young couples with children. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

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  14. Hi Suzanne! I LOVEd your photo of kayaking and didn’t find it offensive in the least. I’m finding that I REALLY want and need to see photos of people relaxing and enjoying themselves. It also helps (me at least) to know how others are handling their days. As you said, most of us at our age are going to be okay, but it is still a “change” for us all and that can be unsettling. ONe thing I’ve been doing is taking about 4 or


    • Kathy, your message got cut off at the end. Sorry about that. I’m glad you enjoyed the kayak photo.That was a really fun day. We are no longer allowed to launch, so that reprieve didn’t last long. We continue to come up with distractions, so for now, pool floats will have to do. Adapting to change is something we all must get used to. Thanks for stopping by.


  15. Oh, that banana muffin sounds great. I am going to attempt it soon. I made my first ever batch of oatmeal cookies yesterday. Let’s just say… not very good at all. I think l used the wrong kind of oatmeal. This looks and sounds easy enough even for me. How nice to be able to walk for such a long time. I dream of it as it is one of my favorite forms of exercise. I could reach out and touch the park for how close it is, but that is not allowed. I hope things get back to normal somewhat soon. I like the cartoon. That is us when we are home. We mostly go crazy when we travel. Stay safe!


    • How the heck did you screw up oatmeal cookies? I’m sure you can handle the banana muffin treats; even I can make those. They are not sweet, but they taste soooo good with my morning coffee. The walks are a blessing for sure. Malcolm crosses the street when he sees someone coming from the opposite direction. It is pretty easy to avoid people in our small town.(except at the market) I wish our densely populated cities had paid attention to early warnings and taken precautions that now look like basic common sense. Florida will likely go into full shutdown within the next day or so. It’s about time! I imagine my daily workout at the park will be prohibited (even if I am the only person there). Another adjustment to add to the list. Oh well. Take care and be well.


      • Haha! I think l translated the rolled oats wrong. I used the oatmeal l could find, which while not instant, is pretty close. Google Translate is not so reliable after all. No Quaker Oats unless l want to pay close to $12 a container :-). We ate a couple anyway before throwing the rest out.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Suzanne, it’s wonderful to read about how you and Malcom have organized these stay-at-home days around your joint priorities. And as for Malcolm’s cooking and baking, well, I’ve been doing exactly the same thing. I baked a chocolate devil’s food cake yesterday, homemade Mac & cheese the day before, and a couple of banana loaves before that. Our waistlines are not going to thank me! Interestingly, I’d thought I might take up bread baking during this time of self isolation (one of my unrealized retirement goals), but discovered it was not a very original thought when I went to the grocery store. All of the flour and yeast was sold out; the shelves were bare.



    • Jude, flour has become the new toilet paper. There is something comforting about baking a loaf of bread, or a batch of cookies, isn’t there? We have been shifting between comfort foods and fruits and veggies almost daily as we try to be somewhat responsible about adding calories to our diet. Not a big fan of chocolate, but I love a good devil’s food cake. Maybe I should request one from Chef Malcolm. As far as having priorities and some semblance of a routine, I don’t think I could do this any other way. Without structure, I would seriously become that person in the cartoon. Stay well.


  17. Your new room is beautiful, and I hope you spend some enjoyable time there. And, to have a hubby that cooks – now, there’s a treat for sure. Stay safe, and enjoy the comforts of your good life.


  18. Jude,
    I am a little behind in reading posts in my inbox but it was nice to sit and relax, after a day of teleworking (retirement is still few years away for us), and read your post plus all these great comments. I love the pictures of the water and sun – keep them coming


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  20. Pingback: Little Adjustments Everywhere | Picture Retirement

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