Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tuesday, December 19

I'm driving around town looking for Xmas presents. It is 83 degrees and I've got the A/C running. What the devil is this? I know people visit here in the winter so they can enjoy this kind of thing but, frankly, I'm tired of it. We have a propane fireplace in our home(no, I didn't install the thing). We are out of propane & can't get any until after the holiday. I was all bothered until I figured out that it would be too warm to run the darn thing anyway. We are actively thinking of places we'd rather live. We've replaced the fence around the yard, replaced the roof, tore out the carpet & replaced it with hardwood, rebuilt the lawn sprinkler system and refinished the pool and deck. We are taking bids to paint the house & have decided on replacing the heat pump. The house is in a LOT better shape than it was when we bought it. If the housing market revives a bit, we'll be ready.

Right now the west is calling to us. Go somewhere and find four seasons but not 30 feet of snow in the winter. Well, actually, being retired we can pretty much wait out a snowfall as long as the power isn't interrupted. The state of Washington is definitely OUT of contention. We've lived there and I need more sunlight. Ditto Oregon. So we'll work on finding places that seem feasible. California is also out but because of prices and taxation. Parts of Colorado, Nevada, Arizona & New Mexico are the current favorites but I wouldn't bet much on any of them.

To change subjects radically, I read people's blogs to learn about them, their problems and their ability to deal with them. Recently I've been reading about having a written set of values and goals. It sounds to me like a good idea and I'm going to try to implement something like that in my life. One list I saw included: consideration, integrity, the Ten Commandments, character, health, order, time, communications, honesty, charity, prudence, and goals. Whew! It made me tired to simply read the list. Besides, I don't really feel that I need to work on some of those values; it's a very long time since I've worried about my integrity or honesty.

Order is certainly something I need to work on! We have lived in this house for almost 6 years; TODAY I emptied some boxes that have been cluttering our spare room all this time. Procrastination is another thing. I have at least 20 or 30 items that I've earmarked for sale on eBay. I've actually sold 2. Health - now there is a problem. I'm basically in excellent health but I'm 58 and 30 pounds overweight and obviously that isn't the start of a good news story. We'll see if I can do something about that problem.

Finally, two sites I'd like to recommend. The first is written my a woman whose husband is a career officer in the Army and is scheduled to be shipped to Iraq. Her blog is: http://blogs.tampabay.com/standingby/

The other is a bit different. I read many sites put up by RVers who want to let their family & friends (& others) know about their travels. Recently they added a page about a man currently in Iraq. He writes some things & the RVers add a bit here and there to put things in prospective. The page is: http://www.1tree.net/adventure/soldier_story.htm

If I haven't said before, I think this war in Iraq is beyond stupid. The invasion of Afghanistan MIGHT be explainable though I'm not sure our continued presence there is but invading Iraq was stupid beyond belief. But shit happens. Even intelligent people make mistakes. But we are still there. I'd leave in a New York minute. I know the country would go immediately into civil war mode but they will anyway whenever we leave unless we install another dictator who is so powerful that his enemies simply cannot afford the fight. Sounds like Saddam to me.

HOWEVER, the men and women of the armed forces deserve our complete support. I'm a veteran but I didn't have to do much. Some of our soldiers have to do and give so much. They go places and do things because they are ordered to do so. Sometimes things go wrong and they get a little crazy and hurt people they shouldn't. So what? They are in the middle of a war and in war bad things happen to good people. These two sites approach the soldiers life from two angles: the family left at home and the soldier himself. They are really very good.

Have a good week and if I don't make it back until after Xmas - Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Back to normal

My back finally got more or less normal so I've been out and about again. Yesterday we drove up to Citrus Springs, Florida to visit some relatives & go to a Xmas party. That whole area is mostly retired folks so the average age at the party was probably 70. The stories I was hearing just reinforced my desire to go places & do things as soon as you are able.

There was a couple where the guy just retired & they find that his wife has breast cancer. Another is a lady undergoing chemo while caring for her half-crazy husband. The hostess can barely move from back pain; yesterday she was taking drugs that would knock out an ordinary person. You just have to go early, go young, go poor but go!

We are planning on taking our own advice after the new year and visiting Ireland. We've been in Western Europe quite a bit but never made it to the Emerald Isle. We even have ancestors from Ireland but haven't made the trek. Now we figure that we'll just go for a couple of weeks & enjoy ourselves. We have friends who will keep the dog & cat; it certainly isn't the 'high' season so it shouldn't be crowded; & we both love Guinness. What's not to like! If anyone has any advice about places to go & things to see, please either leave a comment or email me.

Have a good week!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Life goes on.....


On the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, I developed what is sometimes referred to as a muscle spasm. The definition is a one time muscular contraction that is soon forgotten. The reality, for me, is something that it continues for some time. Several years ago I was prescribed SOMA, a muscle relaxant, for the condition. I've been taking leftover SOMA for three days trying to get things back to normal. Today, Saturday, I finally went out to a couple of stores. I wasn't great but I wasn't taking drugs either! The point is that shit like this happens more often as you age so get out there & have fun while you can.

I have to tell you folks; you're dumb if you don't retire as soon as you can. Have your fun while you can; your income is less important than your ability to have fun. As one ages, the things that would have been minor aches become things that keep you in bed; the things that would have meant a day off work become something that no one understands. I have a history of muscle spasms that started about 10 years ago. I'm 58 now. Do you really think I'll be more healthy next year? Are you really that foolish? These things will lay me low for 1 or 2 weeks a year. What if it happens to you while you are having that once in a lifetime vacation?

If you have visited me before you know that my attitude is that THIS IS my once in a lifetime vacation; my next lifetime starts tomorrow! The only way my last vacation will be my best is if I die before I take another! Join me in enjoying the present; remembering the past and hoping for the future!

Best regards,