Texas (June 4-5)

Texas is hot.  Really, really hot.  On race day (June 5th) the temperature hits 105 degrees, about 15 over normal.  It’s a night race, so in theory it should be cooler, but I doubt it dropped below 90 before the race was over.  Our hotel is a Fairfield Inn in Denton.  On the plus side, the A/C seems up to the task.  Something I normally take for granted.  Future race weekends will prove this assumption to be sadly naive.  Also on the plus side, there are several good restaurants nearby, including an excellent Thai place.  We ate there twice over the weekend.  On the minus side, it turns out that Denton is in a “damp” county.  This means every gas station and convenience store sells wine and beer, but there are no liquor stores and no hard liquor available.  Meaning, no vodka.  Major bummer.  Despite the slathering of SPF 60 sunscreen I end up with a heat rash on my arms.  I’m having a hard time understanding why anyone lives in Texas.

If you happen to find yourself near Denton and you like Thai food, be sure to visit Thai Ocha.  I’m sure the weather is lovely at some point in the year, February maybe.

Race results – Scott 4th, Dario 5th.  On the plus side, Dario leads the championship points standings coming out of the race.

First Impressions

I really LOVE not having to get up at 5:15 AM anymore.  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve needed to set an alarm clock in the last 2 months (mostly travel related) and I’ve never slept past the time it was set to go off.  I usually go to bed between 10:30 and 11 PM and I usually wake up between 7 and 8 AM.  Go ahead and hate me for that.  I think I’m still working off some long term sleep deprivation.

Our travel schedule has been a little intense since I retired.  My husband and I had the privilege of being able to purchase Target Chip Ganassi team credentials for the 2010 racing season and we’re trying to attend as many races as possible this year.  (For more information on the Indy Racing League, check out http://www.indycar.com/ or   http://www.ganassi.com/)  We missed a few at the beginning of the season, but have been to every race since the beginning of June.  I’ll try to do a short post of each of the races as part of my “catch-up” blogging.

I don’t feel like I’ve had a lot of real free time so far.  A big part of that is the travel, especially when you consider the amount of planning that goes into it.  I’ve made 14 hotel reservations so far this year.  I’ve also had a fair amount of financial stuff to sort through.  I’m certainly feeling less stressed and doing things at a more leisurely pace, rather than feeling like I have to cram so much into every day.

I made my first ever lasagna.  It wasn’t a total disaster but it certainly wasn’t worth the ridiculous amount of time and effort I put into it.  I think I like the idea of cooking more than the actual cooking.  I’m hoping to get better but I don’t think I will ever be really good at it.  My idea of the perfect recipe is one with 6 ingredients or less that takes no more than 30 minutes to make, has no more than 500 calories per serving and is low in sodium and fat.  Did I mention it needs to taste good too?  I have about 3 recipes that meet all of the criteria, if I can expand it to 30 I will be overjoyed.

I haven’t spent a lot of time on photography yet, although I am getting some things posted on my website.  I am not impressed with the photo album capability on the site but at least I’m getting something out there.  For anyone who missed my retirement slide show, most of the photos will be on the site in one of the folders.

Oops, I think it’s time for bed.

So Now, What?

On May 28th, ten days before my 46th birthday and less than a month before what would have been my 24th anniversary with Target Corporation, I “retired.”  I use the word retired because I did not leave to take another job, nor do I intend to ever work in a traditional job again.  In the spirit of that intent, my director and HR were kind enough to throw me a really classy and very fun retirement party.  With cake.  (I use the quotation marks around the word retired because the government doesn’t officially recognize retirement before the age of 55.  So consider it sort of a CYA, if you will.)

When I announced my retirement, I received one of two reactions from people.  The first was along the lines of “I hate you/I’m so jealous” and the second was some variation of “Take me with you.”    So I think it’s fair to say that the idea of a really early retirement appeals to a lot of people.  Of course it leads to an obvious question – what next?  This blog is part of the answer.  I would never have made the time to do something like this while I was working.  I also have a lot of ambitious travel plans and the desire to do a lot more with my photography.  That feels like enough for the short term.  Maybe in a year or so I’ll need something else.  Or maybe not.

It’s About Time

When I retired from Target on May 28th, I left behind a promise to start blogging and posting photos online so people could follow me vicariously.  (Something a surprisingly large number of people have expressed interest in doing)  So here it is nine weeks later and I am finally starting to fulfill that promise.  Not that I haven’t been busy in the mean time.  (More on that in future posts)  Since I’m new to this, I’m not sure how often I will be posting but will try for something more than weekly and less than daily.  I guess it will largely depend on how often I feel I have something thought-provoking, interesting or at least mildly amusing to say.  I will get a few posts under my belt before I send out notice that Just Jacque has gone live, so there will be a relative flurry of activity for the next few days.

Before I really get started, I have to thank my husband, BFF and relentlessly patient technical support person (aka Tim) for building this site as a gift to me and for coming up with a really cool name for it.  If you are wondering about the name, ask a fan of Will and Grace.