Archive | September, 2012

Organizing for America – my post retirement passion

25 Sep

Organizing for America, the East side office in Madison has more work then any one person can manage. They have a strong team, made up of young staff but backed by not so young volunteers like myself. There is high energy and everyone works hard and passionately to get President Obama elected for the second term.  This is one organization, then there are others such as We the People, Wisconsin – such organizations and all the study centers in Madison makes this a very attractive place to live.

My friends said that transition to retirement will be hard, yes and no.  i am busy four to five hours each day with the OFA work, i continue to be conscious of my exercise routine, i have participated in the local museum scene and have spent time getting settled back into my home after three years.

i am doing very exciting stuff and am busy – very busy.  But if you ask me if i am grounded here, i have to say not yet.  But i am sure it will happen. I have not given up on photography and here are some pictures from the trip to the Museum, the OFA office, and some old buildings around State street which will not be around for much longer.

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Madison, Willy street fair

17 Sep

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2012 marks the 35th year of the Willy St. Fair. A fund raising event for the Common Wealth Development and the Wilmar Neighborhood Center (organizations to help communities). Its held around the second or third week of September each year. I was glad to be present for this year.  The day was beautiful, there were 8 music stands, lots of art and craft, food, music and of course bear – its Wisconsin after all – beer is essential food in addition to cheese and good ice cream.

First week in Madison

16 Sep

If you can not be in New York or Washington, Madison is the place for you.  Everyone wears  their politics in this town (t-shirts, banners, stickers, yard sale posters) what ever it takes, people are out there letting you know what they believe in.  In addition,  there is the art scene and the music scene, not to mention all the academic study centers.

If you have to live in Madison, Williamson street is the street to be.  The   neighborhood holds four festivals during the season, number of  restaurants, a coop, a theater and 20 minutes walks from the capital.

My first week here in pictures. Music festival, tennis, visit to the dacha and much more 

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retirement 101 contd

15 Sep

There was some panic yesterday as i frantically searched the web for things to do in Madison.  Then a comment from a friend brought some sanity – who said – “give your self time”, “don’t rush into things right away, settle in”. All good advise and i slept on it.

This morning, i sent in my papers to volunteer at the VA hospital, i walked to the Obama local headquarters and signed up for manning the main desk from 1pm to 5 every Wednesday until the elections, i signed up for yoga classes twice a week and a zumba class once a week.  This evening, a reception at the local art gallery which represents ten artists and tonight is their first anniversary of the opening. Looking forward to meeting with some local Madison artists.

Next blog will have photographs, promise – i have had some inquiries about my photographs.



101 – Retirement

13 Sep

The thought of retirement is exciting.  After 25 years plus, no more waking up at the same time and getting  dressed for work every morning, no more worries about staff and what is best for them, no more 7/24 thinking of development and what model works and what will make a difference.  I loved each minute of what i did for the past 25 years, but then the thought of doing something different was exhilarating.

After a week of sleeping late, reading all day, going for a walk when ever i wanted to, i realized that  i had not spent time needed to plan for retirement.    After a whole of adult life structured around work, official events and planned exercise time, that not having a structure would be a bit disconcerting. That was a bit of a surprise.

So, my first task today was to get some structure into my life.  Not much, but a little bit. So i have promised to do a blog everyday with more content and that means some research time time. I  joined a yoga class and have made couple of calls to start election work each day.

I am looking at other possibilities. Will keep my readers posted.  This is going to be a challenge, but i love challenges.



10 Sep

Stop over in Washington was all about hand over to new management and saying goodbye to friends and colleagues at USAID.   Washington is one of my favorite cities. Although it is not New York, but it is what it is and it is special.  I am glad that Madison is only an hour an half away and i can visit Washington when ever i want to. 

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On the way back from Armenia

5 Sep

A stop over in England is recommended.  English towns are quaint and complete with cathedrals and beer drinking places and of course old architecture.  i visited friends in Salisbury, about two hours by bus and train from London, but it was worth it as the pictures below show 

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. on to Washington next.

Goodbye Armenia

1 Sep

I was able to change my flight to Sunday from Saturday – giving myself one day for my self to take in the last sights of Ararat and Yerevan. Of course Mt. Ararat refused to show itself, hopefully tomorrow when i take off in the morning. It was a perfect day – complete with breakfast in bed, exercise,  food and more food, walk around, visit my favourite church and drive around in the rain.

Today was a perfect end to my last week which was packed with goodbyes to my donor partners, my Ministry counterparts and our implementing partners. We shared common vision and challenges and recognised that there is so much potential and need to to do so much more.

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I am not going to say any parting words as i know i will be back in Armenia, as a tourist.

Empty houses

1 Sep

All is gone. Flowers and memories remain. My day was packed with goodbyes to wonderful colleagues and friends. I will miss being here. Right now on my balcony, near full moon, clear sky after a bit of a storm and the city bright and alive.



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