Thursday, November 1, 2012

National Novel Writing Month NANOWRIMO 2012

I began my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel today.  National Novel Writing Month is for procrastinators to drop everything and write like hell for thirty days and finish a 50,000 word novel.  Any genre.

This is my sixth year of participating.  I was successful in three of my five previous years.  Some years the brain just freezes up, or dries up, and nothing happens after the first week of writing.

I am really going to get on it early this year and try to get ahead of the curve.  The "curve" is 1667 words per day.

My story is a murder mystery.  First attempt at crime writing. We shall see if I have a "criminal mind."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fifty Years is but a Half Century

How can it be possible that I can recall events from a half-century ago?  The Cuban Missile Crisis?  Like it was yesterday.  The first James Bond Movie?  Yup.  And read all the books too, but it didn't take 50 years.  And I still reel back at the notion that the Rolling Stones have been on Tour for 50 years!

I also recall events that are more than 50 years past: I Like Ike.  The first television station in Montana (KFBB). A family birth (1949) and a the tragedy of a suicide in the family. The cleanup, the funeral.

I will never understand why certain events in my lifetime of 65 years stand out.  Some memories are of very, very routine events and others were traumatic for a young kid.  A fornicating dog, a rattlesnake chopped to pieces, a stillborn calf, a pet duck killed, a pet dog killed by a car. A new puppy. And four sisters being born.

I am working on my Memoirs.  Something that a grandchild or great grandchild may enjoy in the future. I haven't decided whether to make an R-rated memoir or a PG.  It will be honest, but may be incomplete.

Friday, October 5, 2012

23 Degrees This Morning

October means football, Halloween, hunting season, and the end of wild fires in Montana.  From growing up in this State, I realize it also means some pretty friggin' cold mornings.

I know the weather forecast is still for daytime highs in the 60s and 70s, but the frost on the windshield this morning tells me that summer is gone and winter is right around the corner.

While my family and friends in New Mexico, Arizona, California, and even Washington continue to enjoy balmy days and comfortable nights, I am putting away lawn furniture and throwing frozen flowers into the garbage cans.  Time to put up protection for the rose bushes and get the studded tires onto the pickup truck.

Another great summer of camping was enjoyed, so we have good memories to get us through the cold months. Meanwhile, I captured a photo of the first dusting of snow on the hill behind our home.  Looks like the snow came down to about 4,0000 feet.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Falling Off the Creek Where I Nearly Broke My Neck

Confusing title, I know.  I was walking on a log to cross the creek.  When I jumped to the shore I tripped and fell hard onto a vertical tree branch snag that nearly cut off my leg.  My neck was what I felt like was saved by the denim jeans.  I was trying to retrieve a dry fly (a Dave's Grasshopper) that was hung up on bushes on the other side of the creek.
Fishing Injury, Day 3 Healing

Later in the day, when AGAIN hung up on bushes I pulled up with my fly rod and broke it.  Well, it had to have been brittle and cracked or something, because NO fly rod would break that easily.  At any rate, I should have pulled straight back with the line instead of the rod.

That wasn't the end of our crappy Labor Day holiday.  When we returned home we found that our refrigerator had crapped out too, and all the food was rotten.  Had to buy a new refrigerator, which, when delivered the next day, didn't fit in the space.  So I tried to force it.  I even removed the adjacent counter top.  My wife would have nothing to do with THAT solution, so the new refrigerator goes back and we had to special order one that was only 33 inches wide, instead of 36.  That was my weekend.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fishing Injury Slows Me Down

How much is a Dave's Grasshopper Fly worth anyway?  Mine was hung up on twigs across the creek so I trekked across the water on a fallen log, tripped on a snag near the shore and landed hard.  On the way down I gashed the side of my leg on a snag and have been pretty lame ever since.

To add insult to the injury, I later broke my fly rod trying to free yet another hook hung up on the other side.

I recall reading that fishing is the sport with the highest fatality rate of any outdoor activity.  Mostly that is because guys drown when their boats capsize or they are washed away while wading in a stream.  I am hurting while I sit here writing this, but am thankful I didn't hit my head or end up in the water.
Wounds to hamstring area just above my knee
I vow to be much more careful in the future.  Now that I am 65 years old I have to come to terms with the fact that I am just not as quick and agile as I used to be.  Bummer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Texting and Teenagers

My wife and I recently added two adult family members and a 16-year-old granddaughter to our AT&T account.  That's five people on one account, with four of them having Apple iPhones, including the teenager.
My spouse, smart as she is about these things, opted to upgrade to "Unlimited" TEXT messages.  We received our bill yesterday, which included three weeks' worth of the "new" members usages.  The adults each totaled about 200 text messages for the 3-week period.  The Teenager, (girl age 16), sent over THREE THOUSAND!!  Is this normal?
When do they actually talk to each other, these techno teens?  When do they play baseball, go to the beach, camp or fish, or do schoolwork?  Now I do have to admit that this girl is an "A" student, participated in cheerleading and fastpitch softball this past school year, and has a part time job.  Pretty amazing, but I think she must be the exception.  So we will be very interested in seeing how many texts she sends during the upcoming school year.  Oh, and yesterday she got her driver's license.  Now we have to worry about texting and driving too.

Sometimes I yearn for the 1950's, dial phones, black and white televisions, 25 cents for a gallon of gas and a nickel to mail a letter. But then we also had fallout shelters and air raid drills. So I don't miss everything about the 1950s. No.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Removing Motor Home Carpet

The carpet in our motor home reminded me of a permanent "bad hair" day.  It was flat, colorless (gray), and stained from water spills over twenty years.

We are replacing the old carpet with a wood-grained linoleum that looks more like the modern motor homes and camp trailers.  This is taking quite a lot of time because of all the staples that remain in the plywood flooring.

I think I will also have to seal the plywood with a tacking agent to aid in adherence. (We are using a self-adhesive strip linoleum.) The sealant would also guard against future water incursion.

I will probably add a bead of clear silicone along the edges.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why Do I Just HAVE to Start TEXTING?

I've heard it all. I heard it from Everybody.  "Dad, you gotta text" is probably what I have heard most often.  I resisted texting because it always cost extra, and it made no sense to me, and I tried it and it was hard to do because I had to hit some buttons three times to get the right letter, and the damn keyboard buttons are too small, and a few other reasons.
Then I got an iPhone.  Now I text.  Sideways phone with big buttons that instantly respond and even corrects my typos as I go.  Three weeks of texting and I am almost up to 300 messages.  Now I know that isn't a lot by teenager standards. They do some crazy numbers with unlimited texts like 300 a DAY (or more).
But I am in the game.  The iPhone made the difference and I have come to see the reason people text instead of call.  Why they text instead of an e-mail (which is almost a dead letter box).  Yes. I got it kids. I get it.

I'm even learning some of the tricks. :-)  and <3.  LOL.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Computing and my 85 year-old Mom

After five days in the wilds and away from my computer I returned to find hundreds of e-mails that needed to be deleted.  Of course I can't just batch delete, I have to make certain there is nothing important that I might miss.  Even the "junk" mail has to be reviewed, somewhat, because I would otherwise miss important "one-time offers" and such, besides the opportunity to take advantages of "larger size" products.

This past weekend my Mother turned 85.  She published a novel at age 75 and has been an inspiration to my siblings and me as she quickly embraced the new computer age. Today she announced that she was ending her computer work, e-mail, and internet connection and encouraged all of her friends and family to write her old-fashioned letters.  As I think about it, I may be soon looking forward to doing the same thing.  Being away from the computer for five days was really a relief.  I am not kidding.  Now that I am retired and don't depend on computers to make a living, I may begin to reduce my online presence as well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Best Quote I Saw Today

"I don't remember being absent-minded."

I saw this in a CNN story about the Aging Brain

As a 65-year-old man I am well aware of the forgetfulness and distractions that sometimes affect me.  I laugh at myself when I enter a room and stop:  Why did I come in here?

But I am also aware of the advantages I enjoy as my aging brain enables a greater appreciation of patience and diverse interests that I now have time to explore.  Yes, I do take a little longer to recall information, so playing Jeopardy is not my strong suit, but I am pretty good at Trivial Pursuit.  I used to be a walking encyclopedia, but now I am more of an "abridged' version.

And, OF COURSE, my spouse, adult children and even grandchildren have heard every old story several times.  Now I find great humor in the glib "Stop me if you've heard this story before," and they say "STOP" before I even begin.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Procrastination and Productivity

Each evening I resolve to be more productive tomorrow. But each morning I find myself doing the same things here at the computer, and before I realize it, lunchtime has come and gone.  Another day pretty much wasted.

Blogging doesn't earn much money at all; in fact, barely pays the cost of the websites.  I play Words With Friends to the point that it begins to feel like an obligation, a job.  So I ask myself: With a limited number of days yet to live in a lifetime, why am I choosing to spend a day doing nothing much at all? And then to do the same thing again day after day?

In retirement we seek a feeling of Usefulness and Worthiness, yet sitting here makes me feel Useless and Worthless.  I must do better.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Looking forward to June, Finally!

For no particular reason that I can discern, the Month of May has seemed to last for a really long time. We have been actively involved in activities with the grandkids who play softball, while also volunteering with Bountiful Baskets distribution of fruits and veggies, volunteering three times to help clear pine cones and needles at a private RV park, while we have also camped in the motor home on all four weekends, through snow and rain and sleet, wind and cold. How much fun was that?
Doug Kueffler in camp

We are ready for warmer weather. June will bring more showers, I am certain, but with that comes gardens, and lawns to mow. I swear, sometimes Life in Retirement has become simply the next stage of WORK!

We did get one pretty nice photo at Flathead Lake last weekend.  On Monday, Memorial Day, we woke up to the first day without rain, and the lake was calm and glassy, so this photo of the Flathead shoreline taken from Big Arm State Campground came out pretty good, I think.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Flathead Lake Montana Big Arm State Campground

We spent Memorial Day weekend at the Big Arm State Campground on the west shore of Flathead Lake, in northwestern Montana.  From Friday night until Monday morning we endured non-stop rain.  So it is green around here.  And cold.  Forty-one degrees F on Sunday morning.  But on the positive side, everything on the motor home worked perfectly for a change.  The old (21 years old) Fleetwood Flair has only 44 thousand miles on it.  We replaced the refrigerator last year, and the carburetor on the Onan generator the year before that.

You know what?  I think we will hold off on making campground reservations for next year until we see how the weather will be.  Last year it rained so hard during Memorial Day weekend that we had to go home early.

At any rate, Monday morning was nicer and I did shoot a couple of photos that I will share.  Our rig sat right next to the water in our favorite campsite (B016).  And this photo of the shoreline across the bay showed a nice reflection in the water.

Friday, May 25, 2012

We Bought a SportBrella XL

I think you can see the attraction this SportBrella holds for me.  It is a sports fan's delight.  My wife and I set it up at all the grandkids little league games and high school softball games and people come up to us and want to know where to buy one.  (They run about $50 at Amazon, but Costco, Sports Authority and Ace Hardware also carry them.)  We bought the XL, which is 9 feet in diameter.  It comes with two different kinds of stakes along with tie-downs, which make it pretty stable in wind.  The center pole extends out and can be pushed into the ground. But it also comes out so you can pound it in, (straight vertical too, if you want to use it as a standard umbrella).  We bought the red, but I have also seen them in Blue and Green.
I know I may sound like a shill, but we love finding new stuff to enjoy in our retirement. This is something we will be taking along on our camping trips too.  One more item for the motor home.

Amazon Link:  Sport-Brella X-Large Umbrella, Deep Red

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lowe's Offers a Free Wi-Fi Connection to Customers

Now this is something I can appreciate.  My new laptop is not equipped with any 3G capturing device so I have been limiting my use to home.

HOWEVER, my wife and granddaughter noticed as we drove past Lowe's Home Improvement Center that their iPhones were picking up an internet signal from Lowe's and it was free.  (two hour limit)  I am in town at the moment, waiting for an early evening YOGA class to begin and I am connected to the Internet via Lowe's as I type this!  How cool!  I love this modern technology!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Election Judge is a one-day part-time job

Back in February I received training as an election judge.  As a poll worker I will earn $120 for a 15-hour shift.  We can't leave during the shift.  We bring our own meals or someone can deliver a meal to us.  We sit on pillows and wrap a blanket around our tired old bones because we are sitting in an unheated elementary school gymnasium.  This is what I've been told to expect on Primary Election Day, June 5th, 2012.  We use about 600 election judges in this county and most of them are over 60, many are in their 70s.  What I wasn't able to discern during our training class was WHY these old people become election judges: for the money, out of civic duty, or just to have something meaningful to do for a few hours.  Heck.  I am doing this for the first time and I really have no idea why.  Perhaps it is to fill a day with something other than house work and yard work.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

YOGA class for creaky bones over 50

My wife and I met at a yoga class in 1995.  After we were married, we didn't hang out with the yoga class people very much.  Now, 17 years later, with aging joints and bulging tummy I am again participating in a weekly YOGA ritual.  The instructor is over 50 and so are all of the students. This was not by design but happened by chance.  I am very happy to just blend into the aged crowd as we demonstrate our reduced range of motion, lack of flexibility and absolutely HORRIBLE form.  My Downward Facing Dog just wants to stay down.

Friday, May 4, 2012

35 Pounds of Lemons

We recently began purchasing Community Garden produce. Every two weeks we pick up a box of fruits and veggies. We never know what we are going to find in the box, but it is always a variety.  My wife has now discovered that she can order an "extra" item in bulk.  Last time it was a 25 pound bag of carrots from Texas.  They were good for juicing and we will run out of them tomorrow, just in time for our next pickup.  But this week she has chosen to buy a 35 pound box of lemons!  How long can 35 pounds of lemons stay fresh without rotting?  We don't have room in our refrigerator because of all the other fruits and veggies we will be picking up.  What do you do with so many lemons?  I've been thinking about how much lemonade that would make.  If I were a kid, a lemonade stand might be an option, but we use lemons for salad dressing and...and... THAT'S ABOUT IT.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Washing Machine Blues

We have a four-year-old front-loading clothes washing machine (Whirlpool Duet).  We are getting error codes F70 and F71.  The first two technician repair visits resulted in nothing being done.  Seemed to work fine when the technician ran the diagnostics and no code appeared. On the third repair visit I had the machine sitting there flashing the F71 ERR code for two days.  The technician ordered two parts: the main control board-to-user interface and a wiring harness. Visit number four, two weeks later, installed the parts.  A code popped up when he restarted the machine, but then he cleared it and ran a wash cycle and it seemed fine.  I used the machine one time and it worked fine.  Three days later my wife ran a delicate cycle and the machine stopped mid-cycle and would not drain or spin. Guess what?  ERR code F71.  It flashed for a couple of days and then went out. The start button just beeps rapidly when you push it but it does not light up anything.  Tech repair visit number FIVE is scheduled for tomorrow, May 3.  If they decide to order more parts, I imagine there will be a two-week wait again.  I have very little confidence in the repair service (A and E Factory Service).  This will be their last chance before I go to the manufacturer and ask for a new machine.  We will see how THAT goes!  UPDATE: May 4, 2012. A new repair tech has determined that the motor control board is drawing current off the user interface control board and has ordered a replacement part.  UPDATE #2: May 10, 2012.  Visit number 6 replaced the Motor Control Board. The machine seems to be working okay now. I am keeping my fingers crossed.  My Extended Warranty will cover it all.
Wringer Washer like Mom used in the good old days
Wringer Washer like Grandma used in the good old days
(My Photos of appliances located at the Garnet Ghost Town in Garnet, Montana)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Plantar Fasciitis and Aging

Oh, but the morning pain in my heel just about makes me fall down when I first get out of bed!  Last year it was the right heel; this year the left heel.

My treatment included all the massages, stretching, orthotic inserts, and even rolling my foot over a frozen water bottle, but nothing worked like the application of dexamethasone, which is a synthetic antiinflammatory steroid. Six treatments of this and I began to feel like I was healing and would be able to walk some distances again.

I've not even tried running, and now the other heel is giving me trouble. The doctor says it is part of the aging process, along with carrying extra weight now that I am not exercising like I did twenty years ago. I was a long-distance runner, flat-footed, and I over-pronated, so all of those contributed to small tears in the fascia and the resulting scar tissue build-up.  I guess I am now enduring the consequences as I age.

I know the exercises I should be doing, but if nothing short of dexamethasone will do the trick then back to the doctor I will go, limping all the way.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oldest Thing in our house (besides me)

This morning I saw that my wife had left the ironing board standing out where she had hurriedly used it before she left for work.

As I folded it up to put away in the closet I noticed how old and squeaky it was.  I also saw how tattered the cover, how worn the paint, how OLD!   This must be the oldest "tool" in our home.  I don't count antique furniture, of course, but this thing must nearly qualify as an antique.

The good new is: THIS ironing board may OUTLAST US ALL!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Earth Day is 42 year's old

I remember the FIRST Earth Day, April 22, 1970.  I probably remember it because I was in college at the time, so I was very "involved" with whatever the hot social causes were at the time.  But it really doesn't seem like 42 years have gone by, and that is typical, I guess, for a person as he or she ages.  Time flies, and nothing seems as far back as it really is.
Earth Day and Earth Week have become more and more important over the years and 175 countries of the World now observe this special alert on the state of our planet's health.  The emphasis back in 1970 was environmental damage caused by oil spills, open garbage dumps, toxic chemicals in our soil and food, air pollution and water pollution from industrial factories, etc.  Today, Global Warming probably tops the list of our survival concerns, along with deforestation, sea surface temperatures, drought, and many other issues.  I realize that many of our environmental concerns today are either the result of Global Warming or contribute to it.  I hope the youth of today find the enthusiasm, intelligence, and political will to correct the many problems facing the World.  I won't be here but I would like for my children and grandchildren to survive in a future World.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Replacing Bed Pillows and its About Time

Our big event for this Sunday was a trip to town and, after several stops in the mall and other stores, we finally settled on three new standard-size pillows for our bed.  They were $20 each and that was at half price.

When you only but pillows once every five or six years, I guess it is worth it.  I could not believe how "yellowed" our old pillows were in comparison.  Who knows how much dust, skin cells, and mites were packed into those old yellow pads.  Simple shopping trip, but it feels rewarding.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Adjusting to Retired Life and Doing Nothing

THE most difficult adjustment I have had to make since I retired is getting over the FEELING that I should "do something significant" and be "productive."  You know what?  I have been retired for FIVE years now and I am beginning to doubt that the FEELING will ever completely go away.   But...I love not being tied to the calendar or the clock; and not being dependent on someone else to get a project started.  I do it when I get around to it and when I feel like it....whatever "it" happens to be.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why Do We Spend UP to our Income?

When my Social Security benefits began, my wife suggested we try to save that money.  Since she is still working full-time and earning more than I ever did we have been making ends meet on our income BEFORE Social Security kicked in.  So why does it not work that way?  Although we have been able to save some of the Social Security monies, it is nothing like what we thought we could do.  Like so many other times in our lives, increases in income seemed to result in higher expenses.  But they are not really expenses.  We spend on "stuff" that we used to do without.  I fear that we are going to accumulate so much extra "stuff" that when she retires we will be strapped to make ends meets.  We need to have a meeting of the minds about the difference between what we NEED and what we WANT.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

San Francisco Vacation Like Speed Dating

My wife and I visited San Francisco last week. Of the three full days we were touring, three were rainy and windy and cold.  It was sunny and beautiful on the morning we left.  There are so many places to visit and things to do and people to see that it reminded me of speed dating.  I haven't been in California for 16 years and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of graffiti.  San Francisco was clean.  Perhaps the rain washes the grime away.  The fifteen-story hotel was full of people and so was the hotel fitness center, even at 5 a.m.  We ended up exercising by climbing the stairs over and over.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Age also seems to lengthen recovery time

I have been very healthy all of my life.  Suddenly I'm 65 and feel frail.  Mostly I feel this way when I am sick with a cold or the "crud" as I have been for the past four days.  I've never been down with something so simple for so long.

I think it must be related to age.  I used to bounce back from illness the way I used to bounce back from injury: quickly, and with a minimum of fuss and self-pity.

My wife has five days off from work, and it is our anniversary to boot, so we plan on celebrating.  I just hope that my headaches and phlegmy coughing go away.  Otherwise, I won't be very good company.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This can't be Me; it must be my Father

Oh my, from time to time reality slaps me and I see not my own face, but my Father's, looking into the camera.

This look like a guy drawing Social Security.

Working in the kitchen doing his "chores."  I have become my Father.

Medicare now too.

I imagine it won't be too long until the first GREAT-grandchild.  I have a granddaughter who will be 20 years old in a couple of months. Hope she isn't in any hurry to start having babies.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Frosty Morning Good for Picking Up Dog Poo

What a great subject, huh?  Fifteen degrees above zero this morning, and it is garbage truck day, so I ventured out into the back yard with a plastic bag and gardening tool to pick up poop.  Ten pounds, (or 20), and TWO bags later, I put my "harvest" into the trash barrels and hauled them out to the road.  Cold weather is best for poop digging, as it is all frozen.  With two dogs in the yard I have trouble keeping up with their deposits.  But their "eliminations" are NOTHING compared to the deer plops outside the fenced yard. Our acre lot has about three deer deposits per square yard by spring time.  I don't try to pick those up; I just scatter them around with a rake to help fertilize the lawn.  Yesterday there was a small "herd" of deer walking on the road, almost in single file, about twenty of them, all Whitetail.  This is a great place to live.  Western Montana and along the Bitterroot River.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Double Valentine

I couldn't find the special Valentines' Day card that I bought for my wife a few days ago, so this morning I had to use a "generic" v-day card that I had in a desk drawer.  After writing out my loving thoughts to her, thanking her for keeping me on the ball with regards to diet and exercise, I located the "real" card and thought, "What the heck," and wrote in that one too.  So she is my Double Valentine today.  I bought a dozen roses a few days ago so she could enjoy them before the V-day event, but I am not fooling her, she knows that the rose is also my favorite flower.
Have a Loving and Thoughtful Day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What if this was your FINAL Year of Life?

I saw a marquee sign out front of a church today.  "What if you found out this was your final year?"

I guess we are meant to ponder how we have lived our lives, treated our loved ones, and perhaps what we would do with our final year, if we knew.  For certain.  No doomsayers.

I would disregard all doctor's warnings about anything having to do with my diet and weight.  I would again, after twenty some odd years, enjoy a good cigar and a Scotch whiskey. I would enjoy several varieties of chocolate in as many different forms as I could find.  I would eat ice cream for breakfast if I were so inclined.

I would spend some time writing letters instead of sending e-mails and texts.  I would make sure that my paperwork was all in order, give away my old Navy souvenirs to any family member who would take them.

I would also enjoy luxurious baths, saunas, steams, massages, and pedicures.  Perhaps not the pedicures. It really bugs me to have someone touch my feet, and I would not have to put up with anything I didn't like anymore.  I don't like broccoli or brussel sprouts.  I don't care if they are good for longevity. My final year would be fun. And then I would die.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Age 65 Happy Birthday to me

To me it seems funny that so many of the greeting cards I receive have jokes about age and social security and medicare.   It is important to note that virtually ALL of these cards come from people who are younger than I am.  Now consider my own Mother, who will attain age 85 in four months: her card just praised me for being such a good son, and wished for me that all my "dreams will be realized."  (She doesn't know about my weird dreams.) Twice in her hand-written note she wishes "good health" for me, and now I understand how important that really is toward enjoying our later years.  Yes, I remain in good health. Thank you, Mom, for the good genes. (And Dad too. He is alive and will attain age 90 in just five months.)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Took Down the Christmas Tree (Feb 4th)

This is the first year in my entire, long (64 years) life that I have EVER kept a Christmas tree up until February.
This was a new, artificial tree, a six-footer with 400 multi-colored lights that we bought to replace a tree-foot tree we used for the past five years.

We had all miniature ornaments, and most of them were plastic balls that the dogs couldn't break by wagging tails too close to the tree (well, more than CLOSE).

The tree provided such a wonderful ambiance we just couldn't bear to let it go.  The best news for me this morning was that it only took fifteen minutes to un-decorate and dissemble the tree (the lights are permanently affixed).

I actually look forward to putting it up next Christmas, or maybe next Halloween, even.

Coffee and Art

I have tried to cut down on coffee because it makes me pee all day.  When I quit coffee "cold turkey" I had really bad headaches for about two weeks, so now I just drink a single cup in the morning.  Then I drink hot water with lemon, honey and a little cayenne pepper (very little).

As for the "art" part, I made this charcoal drawing of my coffee mug.  My daughter, age 40, looked at the drawing and finally just gave up. "WHAT is it (supposed to be)?"

The Weight Scale is Not My Friend

This is a difficult time of the year for me, and I mean every-single-year.  Holiday food gorging comes back to haunt me in the winter months that follow.  And I am a lazy exerciser. I see that we are supposed to "break a sweat" at least three times a week. I haven't done that in three months.  I go up and down the stairs about ten times a day just to go to pee (now that I am retired I drink a LOT of coffee, which I am trying to cut down, but that is another story).

The Scale says "200 is nearer than it appears."  Well, I tell you it is right around the corner and I better do something soon.

Both of my identification cards that show my weight (driver's license and retiree military ID), evidently belong to someone else.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rationing Out My Time

This is a real gutcheck. How do I spend my numerous hours in retirement while my wife continues to work? My days are divided up into Computer Time, Yard Work, Garage Chores, House Chores, Home Improvement, Vehicle Maintenance, and Pet Care. (My Computer Time includes managing finances and investments, fiction writing, blogging, social networking, and game play.) (House Chores include laundry, cleaning, cooking, and shopping.)

I have been really honest in evaluating this "division of labor." Computer Time is 90 percent. All others comprise the other half (thank you Yogi Berra, for that math equation). The rest of the time I read or watch television.

Retired. Officially.

I am now receiving Social Security benefits (USA), and began MediCare coverage too.  So I do feel officially "retired," even though it has been five years since I left my last real job.

In three days I will be trained as an "Election Judge" for the county and will assist with the four elections to be held here in 2012 (Primary, General, and two school elections).  The county will pay me for my time. An actual pay check (as opposed to Paypal income from blogging and surveys.)
Am I pathetic?  Pretty much.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Christmas Past and Now What?

At some point in my life Christmas season became a time not so much for holiday stress but for holiday sadness. At some point Christmas became an event that was not about me, but about my children, and that was a point that heralded adulthood.  That was okay.  But later in life, the point at which the sadness began, was after the children were grown and gone and even had children of their own.  Christmas season, winter solstice, the end of the year, came to represent, and remind me, of the waning days of my own temporary existence here on Earth.  And when one begins to think about the end of life, ambitions and aspirations for the future become much more difficult to manifest.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Day for Kids but I am out shoveling

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After shoveling 12 inches of snow off the driveway, the county snow plow came by and threw about six inches of it back onto the approach.  I re-shoveled and then set out the garbage cans. The morning newspaper wasn't delivered until nearly 10 a.m.  Now we are told it will snow more today...and tomorrow...and the next day.  How many days until spring?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Third Phase of my Life is Retirement

This site is currently under construction.  I intend for this to be a most personal journal, emphasizing retirement lifestyle, introspection, health and fitness.  Building strong personal relationships have never been one of my better traits, so this is something I will be working on during my retirement years.
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