Over the weekend Mrs. Phactor and the F1 organized a retirement party for TPP, and there was a cake. It said: "Retired botanists plant themselves" (in green frosting script!). Not sure what to make of that exactly, but when they get you a cake, it must be official. The exact point of my retirement is rather hard to pinpoint. When you work on 9-month contracts, every year you have 3-months when you aren't under contract, when you don't have defined duties, and when you don't get paid. And no, it's not a summer vacation! In fact, technically speaking, TPP has never gotten any vacation, ever. Yes, TPP engages in some leisure activities, which at times are very similar to his job, and travel, which always involves some botany, but it's your time to do with as you see fit. Some of my colleagues think of retirement as a long sabbatical, and perhaps that's not such a bad model. TPP has one youngish colleague whose emeritus research career is now one year longer than his regular academic career, which is quite a notable achievement. For the record, TPP will not, cannot, beat that record. The food for this party was most excellent starting with a fried turkey, injected with a chipotle marinade, and a watermelon, feta cheese, and arugula salad. The amount of food was pretty impressive, but 50-60 of TPP's close intimate friends lent a hand, and a mouth. They also drank some wine, an impressive amount of wine, but not very impressive wine, which is sort of symmetrical, somehow. And of course they had cake. Now TPP will have to adopt a more retiring attitude. Right. Now, gimme a piece of cake!