My wife is retiring from her job


Carol and Roger
Carol and Roger, June 2018

The big news is that my wife is retiring from her job as a teacher of English as a New Language at the end of the school year.

You’d think since I retired three years earlier, I would have had time to get used to the idea of her being home too. Well, not exactly. Of course, she’s often home in the summer, though last summer she taught in August.

I was home alone from September 2019 until early March 2020. Then my wife and my daughter were doing the education thing at home for over a year because COVID.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I believe it’s vitally important: early on, she converted the spare bedroom into her office, pretty much at my insistence. Previously, she was teaching from the dining room table, which meant I was invading her teaching space regularly. That was not working AT ALL.


Am I anxious about the economics of her retiring? Er, yes, since she had been making more than I had been – I was grossly underpaid – for a number of years. But she does have a pension and other resources.

It’s impossible to know whether she would have left at this point if COVID hadn’t happened. No doubt, students suffered educationally but, at least as important, socially and emotionally from remote learning.

Now she’s musing on what the next phase of her life will be. I’m hoping that she’ll not take on another job for a time. Recently, she suggested we do “spring cleaning.” I’d be happy just doing something with the boxes and bags that have cluttered the living room and dining room, some since my mother-in-law moved from Oneonta to a place near Albany last summer. 


It’s our 23rd wedding anniversary today. I’ve determined that there are certain actions that help us to get along. One major one is not trying to decipher her filing system. When we get documents she believes are important, she files them away. And she retrieves them because, for whatever reason, I can almost NEVER find them.

This became an issue when she emailed me that the accountant needed to know how much I made in 2021 from Social Security. She emailed me, “I think those forms are in the tax file folder. Look in the drawer in the kitchen under the toaster for the  folder.”

OMG, no, no. I know had received the document, and had promptly put it in her mail drawer. The document was NOT in the folder, which I, remarkably, located.

Now, I was able to find the amount of interest we paid in 2021 on our home equity loan, a paper we had likewise received. But because I’m the one who tends to access the electronic info from our bank’s online system, I could recreate the 1098.


I called the accountant and told him I could find the monthly net amount I received, but not the gross. We’d been working with their firm for several years since some debacles my wife and I had in filing on our own. He said that he thought this was the first time he had spoken to me, and it was probably true.

(Prior to being married to her, I NEVER itemized our deductions. I still find it exhausting but it’s important to her, so I keep track electronically of my charitable contributions.) 

I always found the title of a Paul Simon compilation album a true path for keeping a marriage intact: Negotiations and Love Songs.

Thanks, dear, for the full-body hugs every night.

Roger is 69, or 69, if it’s upside down


ny 69
From Idea stolen from Arthur

Rumor has it that I’m turning 69 today. This means I’m exactly a year younger than Ernie Isley of the Isley Brothers and Lynn Swann of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Every year, I wonder if I can recall how old I am during the year. How could I remember when I turned 59? Je ne sais pas. Whereas I recall the mechanism for 52 (deck of cards), 57 (Heinz), 61 (Roger Maris), 64 (Beatles), 67 (chaos).

I’ve loved the number 69 at least since 1969 when I turned 16. It’s just the look. I also have been told that 69, or more specifically soixante-neuf, has a rather sordid meaning. But since I’m so young and innocent, I have no idea what that is.

On the other hand, turning 69 makes me recall a song on the first Steppenwolf album called The Ostrich. The depressing lyrics:

Then you’re free
And forty years you waste to chase the dollar sign
So you may die in Florida
At the pleasant age of sixty-nine

In turn, this reminds me of the one thing I miss since I retired. I would take off work on my birthday. If my birthday were on Saturday, I’d take off Friday; if Sunday, then Monday. It’s difficult to blow a vacation day when I only worked two days in 2021, Election Day and the training beforehand.

Anyway, I don’t blog on my birthday, so see you manana.

I’m way too busy to work

Art at APL

It is a cliche, but like a lot of retirees, I’m way too busy to work. Friday, 1 October was a perfect example.

I was attending the third of a three-day online state Data Center conference. The penultimate session was on The Quality of the 2020 Census Apportionment Counts: What Can Process Statistics Tell Us? by Joe Salvo, Research Fellow, Social Data and Decision Analytics.

What? No, this was fascinating stuff! Really! For instance, how many more records had partial responses, such as just numbers with no names, for instance, because of the Non-Response Follow-Up taking place during a pandemic? As an enumerator for the 2020 Census, I would have loved to have stayed for the whole talk, not to mention the question-and-answer period.

Underground Railroad

But I needed to catch a bus for a tea for the Underground Railroad Education Center. It was outdoors, and fortunately a nice day. The UREC is a tremendous asset to Albany and the history of the country. Paul and Mary Liz Stewart’s “work uncovered the voices and stories of people written out of this history.”

Discovering the home of Stephen and Harriet Myers, abolitionists who lived in the city, and then buying and renovating – especially renovating – 194 Livingston Ave – has been a boon to the process. But it’s hardly the endpoint.

I knew a few people there, including mayor Sheehan, and met several more. One of the interns interviewed me for a project about the history of the UREC.

I was trying to remember how I knew Paul and Mary Liz, which predated the project that started two decades ago. Paul theorizes that the late Donna George probably brought us together. She was always connecting people to others they didn’t know before.

After I went home with my wife, who had come to the event directly from work, we ate a quick dinner.


Then I walked less than a fifth of a mile to the Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library to see the new installation of Art at APL called Pieced Together. The artists include Fern Apfel, Paula Drysdale Frazell, Danny Goodwin, Chloe Harrison, Niki Haynes, Beth, Humphrey, Henry Klimowicz, Juan Hinojosa, Melinda McDaniel, Michael Oatman, and Kenneth Ragsdale. The exhibition guide is just a small fraction of the work.

I was immediately drawn to Michael Oatman’s work. Much of the created works are based on comic book covers, magazine logos, and the like. The installation will be at 517 Western Avenue until April 17, 2022, so check it out.

Expect that many of the next few posts will be of the “I’m way too busy to work” mode.

Roger’s Retirement music too

With a Lot O’ Soul

Marvin GayeMore music in honor of my retirement in 2019, compiled by JF and DC.

Fame – David Bowie. Beyond two-octave riff, it was co-written by John Lennon. I was very sad when each of them died.
Let’s Go Crazy – Prince. Among my favorite songs of all time, ever since I saw the Purple Rain movie, The 12″ inch vinyl, which I own, has an even more delicious guitar line. Sad when he died, as well.
Paperback Writer – the Beatles. The Fabs, of course, but I suspect this was a reference to my blogging.
Got To Give It Up – Marvin Gaye. More cool. No wonder Blurred Lines purloined it.
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson. The first song from the MJ album I contend is better than Thriller.

This song IS about you

If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, featuring Teddy Pendergrass. One of my theme songs.
You’re So Vain – Carly Simon. Saratoga’s only 30 miles from Albany.
I Got You – Split Enz. The only Split Enz album has that song.
I Say A Little Prayer – Aretha Franklin. Great cover.
Until – Cassandra Wilson. New Moon’s Daughter (1996) is the first of four of her albums I own.

Tell the Truth – Otis Redding. He definitely died too soon.
I’ll Take You There – The Staple Singers. Mavis so often sounds like church.
Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Tammi died WAY too early. And Marvin’s death at the hands of his father…
It’s A Shame – the Spinners. One of the few Motown hits by the group before they moved to Atlantic Records.
I Know I’m Losing You – The Temptations. If I had but one Tempts album, it would be With a Lot O’ Soul, which includes this song.

Slip Slidin’ Away – Paul Simon. “You know the nearer the destination…” Truer words were never spoken.
Where Is the Love – Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. Donny died a tragic death. I saw Roberta perform on New Year’s Eve in ALB in the late 1990s.
The Glamorous Life – Sheila E. Ah, my personal close relationship with Sheila, who I’ve seen perform twice in the past few years.
Moving Out – Billy Joel. That’s what I did at work. Saw him way back in 1974.

Roger’s retirement music list


Beach BoysBefore I retired in 2019, my colleges Josee and Darrin put together Roger’s Retirement music list on Spotify. Most of it made a whole lot of sense to me. It’s not just a roster of tunes that I like. That would be near infinite. But many of them have very specific recollections in my aural history.

So, I’m now going to guess why THEY put these songs on the list.

Our Prayer – the Beach Boys. One of my top five BB songs. A near-religious experience.
Good Vibrations – the Beach Boys: on one hand, it was a bit overplayed. It was on every other 1960s music compilation. On the other, it’s been called a pocket symphony, probably the most expensive single up to that point. Plus it utilizes a theremin.
Get Ready – the Temptations: I saw the Temptations twice. Once on the Reunion tour at the Colonie Coliseum in the early 1980s and a couple years later, with the Four Tops, at Heritage Park in Colonie, near Albany.
Making Flippy Floppy – Talking Heads: I saw the group at SPAC when they were on the Stop Making Sense tour in the early 1980s. And I love saying “flippy floppy.”
Ain’t That Peculiar – Marvin Gaye. His performance, which I saw a video of in the past couple of years, was the essence of cool.


Face the Face – Pete Townshend. I love to play it LOUD. “Watch the flick!”
Sweet Honey Dripper – the Neville Brothers. From an album I bought from a DJ from WQBK-FM. LOVE that song, and in fact the first three songs from Fiyo On the Bayou. Saw them at a Live at Five concert in downtown ALB.
Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman. A favorite song of a friend of mine.
Loves Me Like A Rock – Paul Simon. Probably my favorite solo Simon song. And it features the tremendous Dixie Hummingbirds, who I once saw back in the 1970s. Saw Paul Simon, too, in 1991, at the Knick in downtown ALB.
Slow Turning – John Hiatt. For some reason, LOVE the reference to Charlie Watts. My wife and I saw him at the Troy Music Hall, perhaps in the early 2000s.


Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin. Lives on the bottom. Feel like I’m in church. Part of that second wave of Aretha hits, from the early 1970s.
I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash. From the second American album, which featured Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I thought that album would be a pop hit; it got to #170 but won a Grammy.
Free Man in Paris – Joni Mitchell. From a breakup album. I saw her twice, in 1974 at SPAC and in 1981 in Philadelphia.
Mull of Kintyre – Wings. I didn’t even hear this song until I bought Wings’ Greatest Hits. Massive UK #1, but did nothing in the States, and I rather like that somehow. Saw Macca at the Knick in 2014.
Takin’ It To the Streets – the Doobie Brothers. Michael McDonald taking the group to another place. On one of those Warner Brothers Loss Leaders dedicated to soul, it was one of the only songs by a predominantly white group.

There’s more.

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