Back in the Saddle

I’m back in the saddle, or at least on the horse. The saddle may have to come later.

It was my intent to post something much sooner. I said at the outset of creating this blog that it was my goal to post daily, or close to it. It seems I lied. My post frequency has been closer to weekly, or certainly that’s what it seems anyway. ‘Things’ just get in the way. Poor reason/excuse I know. I haven’t even posted photos for the Weekly Photo Challenge lately (to be honest I’m not even sure what the topic is.

The summer has been proceeding at a pace unforeseen or unexpected to me. In many ways it’s just been a spring and summer that has taken on a schedule that I don’t like. I’ve done numerous trips, by car and within 1000 km (~600 mi.). Some have been for pleasure and a few have been to see or support loved ones in need. That being said, I appreciate that I shouldn’t lament the reasons, and I don’t, it’s the time away from my castle and my ‘stuff’ that I lament. That and my apparent inability to manage my time effectively when I am at home.

One thing you do get is to see a bunch of interesting stuff when you’re on the road. This gent was operating the espresso machine at a coffee shop on the road called “Deadwood Junction and Tarnished Turkey Cappuccino Bar”, one of my favourite haunts while en route to Kelowna or back home from a visit to my grandson.

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You can see it hasn’t been all bad. It’s just that since I retired last year I often feel overwhelmed and under capable to handle my various stresses, most or all self inflicted. Plain and simple I see my world as full of these opportunities and things I want do, and certainly there’s no shortage of things I should do. There’s always cutting the lawn, doing dishes or the laundry, shopping, cooking, washing or maintaining vehicles etc. etc.. Never mind the fun stuff like camping or seeing my grandson.

Woe is me, my life is sooo tough isn’t it. Just smack me upside the head.

Like camping was such a hardship. While I didn’t post much I did do some journaling, and what a view. The photo doesn’t do it justice, albeit this was with my phone.

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Early retirement has provided me with challenges I didn’t see coming. Many people have asked me since I retired “What do you do?”, or “How do you stay busy?”. I just laugh. Life is so full, how do I get to do everything I want to, that’s the question.

So if you have any time management tips, or ways you think may help me in my time of need please let me know. I’d love to hear. In the meantime I’ll mount up and ride into the sunset of my golden years……

7 Reasons My Underwear Feels Too Tight

blogging, blog, journal, writing

Ever have one of those days where you seem to be just a little out of phase with the rest of humanity, where the best laid plans seem to go astray?  A day where after breakfast you put the milk in the cupboard and the cereal in the fridge. I’m experiencing that today. It’s seems as if everything I touch, anything I do, falls just short of being ‘right’.

morning pages, journal, journaling, writing
Morning pages

Today is a Dad’s day, a day where I take him out and we go to the doctor, optometrist, or in this case to the lab for blood work, and then we go out for lunch. I had planned to leave home a little early so that before I picked him up I could go to Walmart or one of the many electronics type stores to look for a phone case for my new iPhone 5 (and that’s a whole ‘nuther story).

Prior to leaving I was doing my morning pages, you know, that’s ‘writing’ in a book with paper pages and using a pen or pencil. These days I’m not sure how many people still do that…, but I was and before I completed one of my sentences part way through the exercise I became distracted. Well, not distracted at that time really, I put the journal down to check on something I was writing about and that’s when I got distracted. My wife had a question about her ‘new’ iPhone 4s (my hand-me down). There I went, off task, and so far today I’ve not made it back to the journal.

Well that put me behind schedule, not only did I not get to finish the sentence or entry in my journal I never made it away in time to go look at iPhone covers before picking Dad up.

So off on my way I went. I picked up Dad on time (amazingly) and we went to the lab. Fortunately the handicapped parking right in front of the lab was available so we slipped right in, and interestingly enough the lab wasn’t too busy so we waited no more than 5 – 10 minutes to get called. Seems like my day wasn’t a right-off after all, so far things were going well. Lunch was next .

Now that I’m recounting the days events it’s seems like maybe things weren’t so bad after all, lunch went well and Dad paid so life is good and things were looking up. We had a nice visit, he was feeling pretty good and I got him back to his home without further ado. It didn’t stay that way however, or didn’t feel like it anyway.

After dropping Dad off I hit the stores to look for my case, and if I learned anything during that exercise it’s that nothing is cheap, particularly quality iPhone cases. To get the case I wanted, an Otter Commuter, was going to cost between $44 – $50 bucks depending on the store. That’s in addition to any screen protector I bought. My stress was in a holding pattern. A quick look at Amazon (on my phone of course) made me realize that online is where I’ll get them, way cheaper.

As I think about that experience it dawns on me perhaps one of the reasons I feel so stressed and out of sorts is that I am so worried about dropping my phone, and have been ever since I picked it up. Perhaps that is the underlying cause, the reason for my ‘out of sorts’. Whatever the cause….. I feel how I feel and it continued through the day, that ‘skin don’t fit’ kinda feeling.

After arriving back at my home I had to turn around and go back out to run a couple more errands, one of which was to pick up quilt batting for my wife at the local fabric store. I’m afraid I scared the lady in the store, I feel like I went in there with a chip on my shoulder and although I don’t think it’s true I felt like I was surly and abrupt. Damn underwear starting to crawl again.

Next stop was an auto parts store to try and replace one of my malfunctioning wiper blades, that I paid $40 bucks for no less. I went in through the door and must’ve looked like I was ready for bear as the attendant approached my apprehensively and quickly passed me off the reps at the service counter. I suspect he wanted nothing to do with me, if he could see how I felt he was probably wise to defer me. The counterman listened somewhat sympathetically to my plight. I explained the driver’s side wiper leaves a streak in front of my eyes and when I just paid $40 bucks for 1 blade I had hoped it would last longer than 3 months. He murmured back “Well, I guess I could replace it”. Well, thank you very much. Perhaps he could see I was itching for a fight too.

So that sounds like another win doesn’t it? Hang on, not so soon.

Unfortunately when I went outside to swap the bad blade for the good I must’ve touched the fender of the car with my jacket. As I pulled back after installing the blade I noticed a nice brown smudge of dirt/mud on my nice clean black jacket. Argggh, %$”*”&#*, use your imagination to translate. Now I’m fussed and I’m dirty, and if you know me you know I don’t like to get dirty. Especially on tight underwear day.

All I can do is wipe the mud off my jacket and try to wipe my mood clean at the same time. I was relatively successful, nothing damaged and nobody hurt in the process, and proceeded to the next stop. Fill up with gas.

Things went relatively smoothly after that, although getting out of the car prior to filling I noticed yet another blotch of mud, this time on my pant leg. Will it never end I thought (how about wash the car dummy). I exited the car and holding it together somehow inserted my credit card into the gas pump. Perhaps I was too fast, perhaps too forceful, the pump would not accept my card. Another ARGGGH.

Take a deep breath, try again, success this time. The gassing up exercise completed with few casualties, only my spirit.

Two Slurpees in a car cupholder.
Two Slurpees in a car cupholder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Home I went. But wait, I had to get my wife a Slurpee (Slushy). I don’t understand her penchant for ice cold ice based drinks on a cold winter day but hey, who am I to argue with the light of my life. She wants a Slurpee, a Slurpee she shall have.

Knowing that this stop would be part of my day I came prepared, I had her refillable Slurpee cup at hand. The Slurpee machine operated flawlessly and I proceeded to check out. It was when I went to pay that I was met with a surprise.

Now it’s not like I’ve never used the plastic refillable cup before but when I paid and found the tab higher than expected I gasped.

“Are you sure”, I asked? “How can it be that a Slurpy with a re-usable cup can be more expensive than if I’d used one of the disposable cups?”

“Well”, she said. You never told me it was YOU’RE cup”.

I guess she had me there. And mentioning to her that I ‘assumed’ she knew it was my cup did NOT help the situation. She only replied “when you assume you make an ass out of you and an ass out of me.” She sighed heavily, refunded my money and then charged me a more appropriate, smaller, amount. Personally I think her underwear didn’t fit either, or maybe it’s the moon.

With my chores pretty much completed I forged home, stewing all the while about how I was out of phase, how my skin didn’t fit, how my knickers were too tight, and in my mind plotting what I would write here. It’s a good thing an animal didn’t bolt or a car pull out in front of me, my attention was not all there. I was too busy thinking of what I’d say here.

I did arrive at my home safely though, I don’t think I maimed anyone in transit, at least as far as I know.

After backing into my driveway I did notice a couple beer cans laying on the snowbank in front of my hedge (not mine, I have enough decency to toss mine in the neighbours yard). Here I go again, I feel that familiar tugging sensation near my private parts.

Knowing it’d be futile to pick up the beer cans and carry all my acquisitions (quilt batting, Slurpy) and Dads’ medical history file (that I try to take every time I see him), along with my camera bag and sweater etc., I choose the smart avenue. Pick up the cans, drop them in the recycle, and make not 1 but 2 trips back and forth to the car for the rest of the stuff. That way I can be sure not to f*** up and either drop half the stuff or wipe my clothes OR the new quilt batting on the side of the muddy car. Mission accomplished, all goods arrived in the house unscathed.

Once inside I dropped everything (not literally) and quickly logged on to my WordPress account to quickly disgorge my thoughts into a post, to try and enlighten you to my day and what made it ‘special’. I hope I didn’t bore you too badly and you arrived, like I did at the end of my afternoon, with underclothes that fit. I know the constricting feelings were all just fleeting experiences, tomorrow will be another day and hopefully one where I am in alignment with the universe. Until that time, if your underwear doesn’t fit go without.

Cheers

Away, But Not Gone

upside down, sewing, change

I am here, but not. Wanting but not having. Feeling but not saying. Alone but not lonely.
– me

I feel upside down sometimes, need change
I feel upside down sometimes, need change

It’s been some time since my last post. This sounds suspiciously like the preamble to a confession, where I enter the confessional and spill my sordid deeds to the priest. Tisn’t though.  First off I’m not Catholic and don’t really believe confessing my sins to another man carries any weight. My sins are between me and my God, or whatever Deity you may choose to believe in. But that’s just me, you have your beliefs and I have mine.

No, it’s only my ‘confession’ to you, my loyal readers.  Those that chose to follow my ramblings, to see where this lunatic would take you, and perhaps get the odd chuckle or maybe a thought provoking idea.  I love you for that, I truly do.  My confession today is about my blogging.

I know I’ve been remiss.  Many times I grabbed my laptop, or my iPhone, and thought “you know, I should post something”.  The rubber never hit the road, as they say, I never followed through with the thought.  Hope was not a plan.

I am ok though, I haven’t had a fall nor fallen ill.  I’ve just been busy, and where I realize you should never be too busy to write I guess the drive to do that, to write, just carried less weight than the other things going on in my life.  In actuality I’ve been feeling pretty good.  I’m still on a reduced dosage of my meds and looking to get off completely in a month or so (whenever I run out of pills). No, I’ve been busy with ‘life’.

We just got back from Hawaii, my wife and I, along with our daughter and her family.  We were enjoying the sun and surf, sightseeing, bonding (maybe too much bonding), and just generally trying to relax.  I took just over 650 photos, most of my grandson Madden, and have all those to deal with yet. What a problem to have.

Also just prior to our departure on Nov.29th I purchased a domain name and began setting up a website.  Since our return I’ve been fixated on getting that to a point where I feel ok with it, and then I began setting up an online gallery for all my photos.  This required more software acquisition, installation, and set up.  I’ve also become reacquainted with some family members and have had my interest in genealogy rekindled.  So many things to do, so little time.

So the long and short of it is that my focus has been oriented toward ‘other’ of my many interests.  Somehow in this cornucopia of things I like to do I still need to find that balance, a moderation of all things enjoyable.  Til then I deal with my passions in the only way I know how, to try and do them all.

Cheers

Why Walking Into Traffic Isn’t a Good Practice

I braved the din again today, marched along the highway against the onslaught of rushing traffic.  I guess you could say I was walking into traffic, as opposed to walking into the path of oncoming traffic, a distinct difference.

Unfortunately it was like most other walk days, there is a section of my stroll where I cannot avoid the main street, where my walk parallels the road and I’m constantly inundated with the sounds associated with large volumes of traffic. Inundated is maybe not the right word, perhaps accosted is, or assaulted. The bottom line is that I can only minimize it, I cannot remove or prevent it.

I occasionally wear earphones and listen to music on my iPhone but often that just adds to the overall experience of overwhelmededness (catchy new word) and that’s precisely what I’m trying to avoid.  Consequently I walk down backstreets as long as possible until I have no choice and I must then re-connect with the main road.

I enjoy the walk nonetheless. The fresh air (apart from air pollution of course) is invigorating. The exercise is necessary and is critical to my longevity and anticipated weight loss.  I’ve lost a few pounds already and hopefully the trend will continue over the winter.  I want to be optimistic but I’m also a realist and know that winter brings the yuck that de-inpires me (another new word) to get out and about.

A meandering path through the trees

On a portion of my morning walk I can hike down a dirt path that parallels the train tracks.  The well used route meanders through the trees and shrubbery and on mornings like today the sun was just beginning to filter through the trees.  There is no canopy so the sun reflects of any greenery or plants still with colour.  It caught my eye again this morning and made me appreciate life.  I’m grateful for my capacity to see the beauty around me and I must acknowledge my gratitude more often.

At any rate there was no traffic here, aside from a couple other pedestrians and the odd dog.  I was concerned about running into a bear though, they have been seen here and there was lots of sign.  Multiple piles of scat were visible but I’m hoping they’ve all gone to bed by now, or are searching somewhere other than near this path.  I know “hope is not a plan”, and my wife would certainly appreciate my not getting mauled, but it’s got to be better than walking into traffic.

Have a great day.

All Done and Done In

I’m back on the mainland staying at my daughters and my first annual sunshine coast tour is finished. I’m pooped and ready for a holiday.   The reviews are mixed but generally I’d have to consider the party a success.

I took lots of photos with both my iPhone and camera and have yet to download, organize, file, and edit them(or edit then file, I’m not sure).  I’m a little overwhelmed by the thought of the task but will make a charge at it once I get home.  Any suggestions or comments as to how best handle these tasks would be appreciated.  This particular shot I took with my phone as I was leaving Gibsons.

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Today I completed my walk through of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden and attached park and as of yet the verdict is out.  I need to ponder my reaction to ensure it’s fair.

It’s not that I didn’t like them, because I did.  I suspect it’s more that I wanted to like them too much.  Anytime you have high expectations you’re bound to be let down, or that’s my experience anyway.

Well, as I said I’m a tad weary so I’ll say goodnight.  I for one will have sweet dreams.

Road Weary

The last couple of days have been long, or they feel like it anyway. Even though I’m enjoying the quiet time and solitude the driving is becoming a pain, literally and figuratively. My back and bum are getting sore and they’re telling me it’s time to take a break.

20120924-221214.jpgI’ve stopped in Gibsons for the night. I arrived a bit later than I had hoped and the weather hasn’t cooperated as far as sunsets or other nice shots however I got a few from the ferry.  I’ll see about posting some of the nicer ones from by dslr soon. In the meantime I’ll put up one I took with my iPhone. On the whole I’d have to say I’m pretty happy with the pictures it takes, not super hi-res but pretty good.

Tomorrow will be my recharge day with a visit to the Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver.  I’m excited, and hopeful it will lend me some peace.

Comox at Night

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I love the water, sunsets, and beauty.  It’s great when they all come together in one spot.  I found them doing that tonight.

I’ve completed my visits with family and friends and my time is now my own.  I had hoped to make it further along the traveling path I envisioned but for all the right reasons I’m a bit out of sync with my original goal.  Instead of being partially along the Sunshine Coast (the western coast of BC mainland) I sit here in Comox, about midway along the eastern coast of Vancouver Island.  It’s ok though, the whole point of this trip was enjoyment, and relaxing over the next few days will go a long ways to fitting that bill.

After settling into the hotel in Comox I felt a walk, some fresh air, and a full belly would at least partially satisfy that relaxation urge.  I grabbed my camera and headed out.

The walk took me near the local marina and as the sun was in the process of setting I didn’t have to wait long for a sunset backdrop to appear behind the anchored sailboats.  I snapped away and took the bulk of the photos with my dslr but snapped off a few with my iPhone,  just because.

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I’ll get on the ferry in the morning and continue my adventure, planning on arriving in Gibsons sometime in the afternoon. I anticipate more relaxation in my future while there. Wish me luck.

Tip Toeing Through Elysium Gardens

DSC_0311

Our time in Kelowna, this time around, is done.  We hung out with the kids, I took a couple walks, we bonded with our grandson, and certainly the highlight (for my wife anyway) was the Cirque Quidam show on Saturday night.  It was a great show but my back rebelled part of the way through and sitting in the folding chairs didn’t do it any favours.

It was part of a birthday gift for my wife.  We went for dinner, had a drink and then walked through a Japanese garden that’s downtown and near the stadium where the show was.  I found it (hope she did too) a very pleasant and relaxing evening.  Certainly Cirque was jaw dropping.

Even though I had trouble sitting through it the show was good entertainment and if you are at all interested in acrobatics, some audience interaction and amazing, some might say freakish, human contortions you would like this.  We sat on the floor about 9 rows back but in hindsight a seat somewhere in the bleachers would have been just as good.  On the floor you miss some things by being eye level with the stage.

DSC_0320We left to come home yesterday but before we departed town we stopped at Elysium Gardens, a local nursery and mixed garden venue.  My main purpose was to have a look at the Japanese garden there, something that is a new/old interest of mine.  I would really like to create a Zen garden, or other type of Japanese garden in our yard.  Something to bring peace and calm to our lives.  Honestly I don’t know how I’m going to do or take part in all the things I’m interested in.  My retirement has to be early in order to have time for all this stuff.

The gardens are certainly beautiful and while I was a bit disappointed in the Japanese garden portion of the grounds it was still a peaceful and relaxing break to the day.  The Japanese garden was just a bit smaller than I had hoped for.  All the gardens were certainly beautiful though, another place to visit again.

The trip to the gardens also gave me an opportunity to play with my new camera, a Nikon D5100 I picked up a couple weeks ago.  It’s another old/new interest, one that will enable me to take waaaay more pictures of our grandson Madden without having to use my iPhone.  I was really into photography 30 years ago and feel a strong urge to reconnect with the hobby.

DSC_0311I shot off about 50 or 60 photos at the garden and now have to decide the best way to file and manage both these groups of shots and the 200 or so I took of Madden before that.  Certainly any suggestions would be appreciated.  I’m thinking I should just register a domain, find a hosting site and be done with it.  Truly any ideas would be helpful.

After we arrived home we tried to determine our next course of action.  We would both really like to go out camping again but with house and home commitments, appointments for my Dad, and other necessary tasks I don’t know that camping is in the cards.

My wife will be back to work for a day or so this week and while she could commute from the local campsite it just seems like too much.  Perhaps we should just stay home.  I know we have some beautiful gardens here, perhaps I can tip-toe through my own tulips.

The Pause that Refreshes

Photo 2012-07-26 5 55 15 PM

We are beginning the second leg of our trips now.  We finished one tour of camping duty and have gone back out to battle the roads again.  Yesterday and the day before give us a chance to get caught up on laundry, pick up a few supplies, and take care of one or two personal appointments.  At least one of the appointments was for Dad, taking him for things like blood work etc..  The outcome of that was mentioned in “I Saw an Old Man Walking”.

We drove as far as the Colville Walmart last night, arriving around 8:30 pm or so.  Made for a long day but with some luck we’ll make up for it at the tail end of our trip.  I really do not like the drive-camp-drive scenario, much too tiring for me.  As long as we can get a few days of downtime after these first couple days we should be ok.

Spokane was the destination of choice today.  We only drove as far as Deer Park this morning where we came across an inexpensive municipal camping spot so we decided to bunk there.  $10 bucks a night is within my budget.  That’s good too because I blew the budget a bit while shopping at Costco.

Photo 2012-07-26 5 55 15 PMI’ve been a tad frustrated trying to navigate while using maps and reading road signs so an investment in a GPS was considered.  I didn’t have to consider too long though, actually it was a foregone conclusion.  I picked up a Garmin nuvi 2595LMT.  I hope it’s a good unit.  Too late now anyway but it’s always nice to know you made a good choice.

My posts are likely to be a bit disjointed from here on out, at least for the next week or so.  Nothing new you might think, but because we’re on the road it has been a bit more challenging to put up a good post.  Somehow the preparation on my iPhone just doesn’t do justice to the appearance of a blog.  I can get the content in alright but making it look at least a little interesting is more challenging.

I’ve been using an app called Penzu to write them and then copy/paste in the WordPress app when I get cell service.  I don’t think I can insert pictures as easily though and they seem to lose all formatting when I do the paste.  I have just used the WordPress app to prepare the post but I’ve also lost them that way too.  No chances are taken when I do it this way.

Anyway, I’m off for now.  Time to move on.

July 12 Camping

Time is flying by, and I know not where it’s gone. I only wish I could recapture it, experience it again.

We have been camping or on the road now since July 6th and I haven’t journaled or blogged since then.  Actually that is not totally correct, I blogged about Madden on the 7th.  Shows what my memory is like, good but short.  Or as a friend said to me, “my memory is good, it’s my recall that’s the shits”.

My back/ lower side has been bothering me the last few nights and the first night it chose to rear its ugly pain ridden head it reached such a crescendo of discomfort I was unable to get to sleep.  I thought perhaps the cause was the bag-type chair I’ve been using so I switched to either standing up or sitting in a different lawn chair since then.  This is the first day I’ve tried sitting in my chair since then and as I sit here, on my lawn chair/throne, surveying my campsite domain, I pulled out my iPhone and will pen some thoughts.

Writing anything here is a challenge for me. I am easily distracted, I already have a short attention span, and I am also easily lead astray. A prime senior ADD candidate Not a good combo for someone endeavoring to maintain their blog. Oh I wish I were stronger of will and not so wishy washy. We are so often critical of ourselves aren’t we?
My other current excuse is the lack of cell service, read that as Internet. Since my posting is done either via phone or laptop I’m somewhat hooped on both counts. In reality that’s a bunch of bunk, and if I had the appropriate amount of willpower it wouldn’t be an issue. I can get a cell connection down at the beach, should I choose to avail myself of it. I can also journal anytime and anywhere as all I need is my journal and a pen or pencil. Hell, a piece of charcoal and a deerskin would work. They’ve been used for centuries.

Whatever the reasons for not posting there’s far too many distractions now. I’ll have to finish later.
Caio