We often have casual conversations about the weather over our back fences or to people we are not intimately familiar with. When we can’t think of anything else to say we talk about the weather! Well, I seem to be in one of those funks where words and not coming easily right now so let’s talk about the weather.
Is it just me or has this some been an unusually hot one! I know as I am getting older I can’t seem to take the heat as I once did. When I was in high school I worked summers putting up hay in local farmers barns. No we didn’t wrestle those big round bails you see today. Back then they made square bales weighing somewhere around 50-90 lbs. I was a skinny runt but I still managed to toss the hay around with the big guys. The inside of the barns would often get up to 110 degrees or more. Yes, I sweat a lot but it didn’t bother me that much. Now whenever the temperature gets above 90 degrees I stay in the house. During those days I mow the lawn in the evenings after the sun as gone down the high hill west of us.
This year I have been spending many days inside. I think the local weather man said we have had forty days of 90 degree weather so far. Yvonne and I went up to Mackinac Island in upper Michigan a few weeks ago and even though it never got above the mid sixties it was an enjoyable relief. When we started heading home it got progressively warmer until it was in the mid 80s.
Here it is late September and we have a forecast of 96 for today! Where are those cool fall days all of us in the Midwest usually enjoy this time of year? It is just too darn hot for mid September!
And the journey goes on….
I have been having some pretty grumpy days lately so I find it necessary to revisit the issue of happiness.
We all want to be happy especially in our retirement years. The pursuit of happiness is even in our country’s founding documents. Happiness is more than a feeling; it is actually much more a choice. We all have known people who seem to be grumpy and unhappy no matter what their circumstances are. They seem to just refuse to be happy. To many of them the government is the enemy who steals their happiness. For others they refuse to be happy until they have all the possible worldly possessions they desire. For some of us, especially me lately, health problems seem to be robbing us of our happiness.
But what most people don’t seem to realize is that happiness is actually a choice not a condition. Many people who have little or no worldly possessions are some of the happiest we encounter. How can that be? Each of us we can be as enthusiastic as we choose to be. It is primarily how we choose to view our experiences that makes the difference. We can choose to be happy or choose despair and misery. Unfortunately many who retire choose the later.
As we retire and make changes in our everyday lives learning to be happy is probably one of the most important things we need to do. Don’t spend your retirement years wishing for something else. I know to those who are currently unhappy choosing happiness seems pretty far fetched. But it really is just a matter of how you choose to view things. Choose happiness; you won’t regret it. Yes, it does require you to throw away some of the attitudes that make you grumpy but if you keep working at that you can accomplish happiness.
And the journey goes on…
We recently spent a glorious three days on Mackinac Island in upper Michigan. One of the unique things about the island is that there are no motorized vehicles on it. Transportation is by either horse, bicycle, or on foot. We stayed at the Island House hotel and besides for some pretty poor service in the dining room during a dinner hour our stay there was fantastic. The food at the hotel was great but I guess the waiters were either poorly trained or just overloaded the night we choose to dine there. My favorite dining spot proved to be Millies on Main. Good food, quick service and reasonably priced
No this isn’t a horse painted in deco. Instead it is a full size statue of a horse. We ran across it on our April visit to Louisville this year. Most of you know that Louisville is home to the Kentucky Derby which is a world renown horse race that takes place in early May of each year. There are many of these statues found throughout the downtown area. No two are the same. Since I am not much of a horse race fan we didn’t make it to the track and museum but enjoyed all the fiberglass horses downtown.
Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
At first thought the above quote did not mean a lot to me but when I thought it out it is indeed has a great significance in my life. I often get somewhat depressed that there is so much suffering in the world today. The chanting of war has seemed endless in my lifetime. I was conceived by a noble man returning from World War II. Then there was the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the Iraq war and many other “conflicts” strung in between. War, death and suffering seem to be a way of life for us.
I also getting frustrated that there is so much need in the world today. There are so many who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Even in the U.S. which is the most prosperous, at least from a monetary point, in the world today. There are those who are working two or even three minimum wages jobs just to keep their head above water.
Yes, some of this need is self inflicted; that is there are people who totally buy into the materialistic mantra of the marketing folks around today. They buy more and more things that aren’t really needed until their credit cards are drowning them in debt. I try to have compassion even for this group also but often times end up judging them for their behavior.
But there are also many many people who through no fault of their own just cannot afford the basic needs for them and their family. Some are drowning in bills associated with some previous healthcare event. I know that over half of todays bankruptcies are related to this fact. I look out at the sea of people in desperate in of help and become very frustrated. Whatever I do will be very insignificant to the overall need. And that is where the above quote comes in. No, I by myself cannot make even a small dent in this need but if there are millions like me out there doing our little part then at least some of that need is fulfilled. So at Gandhi said it is very important that we realize that nothing we do is really insignificant if we are doing it with others like us.
So I try not to be disheartened about my limited contributions to easing the world’s pains. As long as there are others like me we are not insignificant!
And the journey goes on…
Of course being totally deaf as I am means that I can no longer hear the noises around me. Sometimes that is a good thing. I no longer hear the screaming kid at the table next to me in a restaurant. I am somewhat oblivious to the constant chatter of people on cell phones always around me. The last five years of my corporate life was living in a cubicle. Most people complained about them as you can hear conversations, coughs and other things from several cubicles around you. I was one of the few who really liked my cubicle.
But there are times when not hearing things can become a danger. The most obvious to me is going to get the mail daily. I have to consciously make sure that I stop and look both ways before I cross the street to the mail box. If I forget I could end up walking into the path of a automobile! Another one was that when I was running my cabinet/furniture shop for six years I became somewhat oblivious to the noises that the various power tools made and therefore seemed to fear them less. That is not a good thing. A number of times I put my fingers in danger because I did not realize that the equipment was running!
So, even though being deaf has its advantages in the noisy world it also presents dangers that I have to be constantly aware of.
And the journey goes on.
Ok, this series will finish up the DC and area trip for now that we took in 1988. It is also of Williamsburg VA.
I have been away from my computer for a while. Yvonne and I spent a glorious week at Mackinac Island. I will be sharing pictures of that soon but right now let’s finish up the current series of DC and the area. This picture and the one following them are of Williamsburg VA also taken in 1988. I have been there several times before and after this series was taken. It is one of my favorite places to visit.
Sorry for not saying something earlier but I have been away from my computer for a while. Yvonne and I took a week vacation to northern Michigan starting Labor day weekend. We spent three glorious days on Mackinac Island. It was simply wonderful to not see a single motorized vehicle for all that time. Even though I am deaf cars and such still make quite a bit of noise at least in my mind. In place of the cars and trucks were one and two real horse powered carts and wagons and then there were bicycles . I will be posting some more of those pictures soon on my InTheSlowLane blog.
Unfortunately during the trip I came down with some hip problems that currently make it uncomfortable to sit in my office chair so even though I am home the blogging will not be as frequent as I usually do. Hopefully this latest health episode will resolve itself soon. But it seems it does have the possibility of turning into something more serious. Getting old is hell but it sure beats the alternative.
And the journey goes on…
Here is an exert from a 1983 article in Sojourner Magazine written by Elsa Tamez. It speaks to my questions as to why God is silent so often in our lives.
GOD’S SILENCE is mysterious. Sometimes it fills us with fright and paralyzes us in the face of the legion of devils that squeezes out the life of the people. But without this silence of God, we can’t become men and women. When God speaks all the time, people become deaf. They don’t hear the cry of the poor and of those who suffer. They become full; they no longer walk and hope. They don’t dare to do anything. They no longer endure.
God remains silent so that men and women may speak, protest, and struggle. God remains silent so that people may really become people. When God is silent and men and women cry, God cries in solidarity with them but doesn’t intervene. God waits for the shouts of protest….
So to this author God is silent so that we can do what we were put on this earth to do. That is to be our brother’s keeper. We cannot and should not expect God to do this for us. It is our task; if God did it then what is our purpose? These words are definitely worth contemplating.
And the journey goes on….
The Smithsonian in Washington DC was one of me favorite places to visit. We went then in 1988 during our DC visit.
I usually post pictures of my hubby as she is just more photogenic than I am. But here is one of me. I remember exactly when it was taken on April 10, 1986 at 8:00pm Hawaii time. We were on our second island and that was Maui and in this case editing did not stretch the truth . That is not a pull down background behind me but the real thing taken from the lanai (we call them patios around here) of our hotel room just before we headed to dinner that night. I had full intentions of wearing the shirt shown in the picture after we got home but I don’t think I ever did. After several years it mysteriously “shrunk” and was donated to Goodwill. But the memories of that trip and this sunset will live with me all my life.
And the journey goes on….
Don’t get fixated on one particular thing.
One of my favorite books is “1,000 Places to Go in the U.S. before you Die”. As the title indicates there is a list of 1,000 places in the U.S. that you can visit. To me retirement years is that time when you can accomplish many of the things you have put off. I strongly believe that being the Jack of all trades in my retirement years is much better than spending all my time to be the master of one thing. So, my advice is as the red letters above say don’t get fixated on one particular thing but instead diversify. I know the investment councelors who seem to always be hovering over us in retirement chant the mantra for our finances but I think the message goes beyond money.
We all have a list of things that we have put off in life. For some of them the opportunity is gone but many of them will continue on our To Do list. Make your own personal list of things you want to do before you die and then proceed to accomplish them. It will make your retirement years very interesting.
One of the main reasons that this topic came up on my personal list is because I was getting very fixated on politics and let it drive much of my time and life. I was convinced that if we could get a person in the White House who had deep compassion for his/her fellow man that it was worth my time. Now I find out that the person in the White House has little effect on the overall mood of the country. Gridlock still dominates our society and it seems that nothing will change this short of some apocalypse. So I probably wasted a couple of my retirement years being so focused one particular thing. I have since greatly throttled back this activity almost to the point of total complacency and my life seems fuller for it.
And the journey goes on….
My wife comes from northern Wisconsin and anyone who knows the area knows that is paper country. I think when you are born in that territory something is put into your DNA related to paper? Before I was married I usually went through a roll of toilet paper every month or so and a box of tissue would last at least six months. After I found my soul mate and got married that condition would drastically change!
Our first shopping cart as husband and wife was filled to overflowing with paper products. After almost twenty five years of marriage I am finally used to the fact that I am no more than three paces away from a box of tissue no matter where I am in the house. I make my monthly trek to Sam’s Club to get my twenty boxes of tissues to replace those used in the previous month. And then of course the toilet paper and paper towels require a separate trip .
For the first forty years of my life I guess I never realized just how essential paper products were. Thanks to my hubby that has changed. Now I know that when you use a tissue you must always get at least two as you need to wrap the used tissue with an unused one. Then of course there is the SOP (standard operating procedure) for the other paper products but I won’t go into those details here.
So any of you who are thinking of getting serious about a girl from northern Wisconsin be prepared to equip your home with the “proper” amount of paper products. But that is really a small sacrifice to get attached to one of the Wisconsin beauties. I don’t regret that for one minute.
And the journey goes on…
Let’s continue on with our DC area trip in1988 to George Washington’s home Mount Vernon.
Let’s start up a new category with this post. As you have or will discover there are many different things that you can do in retirements. Therefore the retirement “Do’s” are almost unlimited. But there are also a number of retirement “Don’ts” that you should be mindful of. These are things that you generally don’t want to get hooked on in your retirement years. Let’s start out with my first Don’t.
Don’t Let Your Mind Go Lazy….
This is probably the most dangerous thing you can do. Yes, it is possible for you to simply lay down on the couch and spend the rest of your life scanning TV channels. But, if you let your mind go dead your body will soon follow! Keep mentally active in at least one major area of your life. One of those areas for me is blogging but I also have several other things that also keeps my mind tweaked. There are many other things you can do. Let’s run through a very limited list of possibilities:
It is not so much important what you do but it must exercise your mind. If you let your mind go lazy everything else will soon follow suit. Just don’t let that happen.
And the journey goes on….
If Only we in the U.S. spent even a minuscule amount of what we spend for our wars to promote peace…
I want to direct you to a website promoting peace instead of war. OneMinuteForPeace.org from the American Friends Service Committee. As the site states in the previous year the United States has spent over $1 trillion of military spending. That comes out to almost $2,000,000 every minute! It is sad to say but we spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined and many many times more to fund our wars than we do to promote peace.
The graph above from their website shows the total U.S. discretionary spending. It is shameful that our war machine takes up so much of our spending.
The AFSC is part of the Quaker faith tradition and is world famous for their peace initiatives. In fact they have received a past Nobel Peace prize for their activity. They go throughout the world helping those who are destitute and/or ravaged by wars. They are trying to raise the amount of just one minute’s U.S. military budget for those initiatives. Please consider giving them some of your resources. It is too bad that small organizations like the AFSC must do the bulk of the peacemaking work when so much is spent of war and destruction.
I find it amazing that many in government say we are spending our grandchildren into poverty while at the same time putting the biggest budget item in the “no cuts” category. It saddens me more to know that so many people who call themselves Christian seem to celebrate that fact. If only we in the U.S. had even a small fraction of our passion for peace that we seem to have for war we could indeed call ourselves our brother’s keeper.
And the journey goes on….
I just got a haircut recently and a memory came back to me from my childhood. In order to get it back where it belongs on the far fringes of my memory I have to post it here. I don’t have nearly as much hair as I did back then and I get it cut much less frequently now. But it was a tradition for several years that I always got my “Hollywood Burr” hair cut every two weeks. It was a neighborhood tradition for several years.
The man living just behind us named Mr. Harmon was a barber in the army so he knew a thing or two about cutting hair. The first thing was to cut it quick and the second was to cut it short! I guess in order to supplement his income, although I don’t know what he did for his main job, he opened his garage every Saturday morning and all the neighborhood kids would line up for their 35 cent haircut. I think he managed to buzz through about twelve kids an hour. Mr. Harmon always told the parents “if it is not short enough bring them back and I will make it shorter at no expense.” I know Mr. Harmon had two boys himself and it seemed their hair never grew by more than an eighth of an inch before they were in the chair. It is strange that I don’t really remember much about his boys but I remember him with his hair trimmers in hand every Saturday.
Above is a picture from those days. I don’t seem to have any pictures of Mr. Harmon or his kids but I did find this one of me and my brothers and a friend a couple of doors down named Denny Cannon. I’m not sure what we were celebrating but it looks like we were having a pretty good time. That’s me the third one from the left. Notice my freshly cut hair; the photo must have been taken on a Saturday Notice the brick wallpaper in the background; that was quite the thing in those days. Ok I think I have penned enough here to safely put this memory back where it belongs.
And the journey goes on…..
We took a trip to Washington DC and the surrounding area in 1988. Let’s do a series of pictures from that trip. This picture is of me recreating my high school picture of 1965 except without my classmates and twenty three years older.