Friday, March 29, 2013

Welcome New Visitors

I expect that some of my visitors this week are new. Perhaps you came to my webpage because you found my story, “Monks in Taxis” at the Elder Storytelling Place. In which case you linked to me from a wonderful website; if you found me from another method I encourage you to click on the link to Elder Storytelling Place on the right margin of this website.

“Monks in Taxis” is a 98% true story. It is one of two travel of my stories published on Oriental about my military service during the 1960s. A few details were changed to match the photos I had available. The motor cycle was actually a Honda but I only had a photo of me with a BMW and the other vehicle was a bus but again I didn’t have the right photo so I utilized a different photograph from my time in Thailand. I used a famous technique called photographic license.

A few years ago when gas prices spiked near $4 per gallon (very high for gas cheap Texas) I told my wife I was thinking about buying a motor scooter for transportation to work. She promptly informed me that she would be sleeping in another bedroom to get used to life without me. Quietly, she reminded me that I couldn’t drive safely in my twenties so why would I think I could ride any better in my sixties.

It was a point well made. Needless to say, I am still driving my car and I might ride the bus if gas prices get out of hand again.

Back to my new visitors: Welcome to my reflections on life. I suggest you randomly select and read a few of the blogs from my archives listing. I hope you enjoy my take on life as a working senior.

Come back next week for further adventures on Downsizing in Place. This weekend my two sons are coming over to help clean the garage (much of the junk belongs to them) and prepare for an upcoming garage sale. I need to reclaim space in the garage for my workbench and delayed projects. And make space for my junk and new tools.

Soon after this downsizing adventure I will be participating in the Texas Senior Games in the 5K Road Race. In my case the correct name is 5K Road Shuffle, as I find it dangerous to lift both feet off the ground at the same time in order to run. But I can shuffle fairly fast. Last year I signed up for the 5K Race Walk event only to discover Race Walking has rules to follow. So I opted out and participated in the 5K Road Race (no rules – except to finish). Even without rules I may have cheated by having my forty-year old niece pace me while I shuffled along. And again this year she has promised to run / shuffle along with me.

2012 Texas Senior Olympics

Gods know I need as much help as I can get. And that is my point. We all need help.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oh My Deer!

Surprise visitors during recent walk in park.

No fear!

At least a dozen (more off the path).  

On March 24th my son and I took an early morning walk at San Antonio's McAllister Park.  The temperature was around 45 degrees, cool enough for the deer to enjoy an early morning foray out of the thicket.  There were more deer than walkers on this stretch.

They were tame enough that a bicyclist rode between them without scaring them away.

Too magical for more words.  This time a picture is worth a thousand words.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Another Photo Day

Time is short, ideas are lean and work is hectic so for this blog I have gone into my photo archives to entertain you.  And not to deep into the archive, I only had to back to January 20, 2013.

We were downtown for a Martin Luther King Memorial Service which was held near the old San Antonio Municipal Auditorium and I found my "bonus" photographic opportunity.

San Antonio Municipal Auditorium under renovation

My web page has a new Public Art Page which I encourage you to visit: SA Municipal Auditorium.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the title of a Spaghetti Western from the 1960s.  I missed the movie’s first run when I was in the army, and for a variety of reasons never saw the movie.  But the phrase has crept in our lexicon and is still widely used.  The phrase is commonly used when there is a need to describe three conditions of a topic: one good, a second not so good and the third condition that is somewhat vague (ugly).

Last week describes a time period that comes close to the current usage of that phrase.

The week started out with an unusual weather event, very high winds overnight and into Monday daytime.  We had several brief power failures at work and needed to reboot our lab equipment and check for proper operation.  Monday afternoon I arrived at my ophthalmologist’s office to a dark office and my appointment cancelled.

Monday evening my wife suffered from a severe, but brief, bout of an intestinal bug.  She was up several times overnight spewing bad stuff out of both ends.  The ugly part was me sleeping through most of the noise and cleanup: very bad for her, bad for my reputation of being an attentive husband, and ugly for the bathroom.  To my defense, my wife went into our guest bathroom so she wouldn’t disturb me.  Although I did wake up when she returned to bed, I gained no points as a helpful spouse.  She survived her ordeal and felt crummy and weak for the next three days.

The bad for me during the week was the absence of home cooked meals.  I had to fend for myself.  One night I made a stir-fry chicken dish that was passable.  We had scrambled eggs another night.  We didn’t starve but my culinary skills still leave a lot to be desired.  At least I can cleanup.

By Friday she was back to herself and a delicious home cooked meal miraculously emerged.  Two chickens were roasted and we dined at home (for my wife, her sister and me).  My wife cooked a wonderful meal with the left-over chicken frozen for my next stir-fry or gumbo attempt.

Saturday I took a very long walk-shuffle, 3.4 miles in 46 minutes, in preparation for my upcoming 
Senior Olympics 5K Roadrace in April.  In the afternoon we took another photo-jaunt downtown.  Iris sat at a hotel side-walk cafĂ© and enjoyed coffee while I photographed a new art series displayed in several store front windows.  

Whimsical design in restored ticket booth

Color Fans

Houston Street Children's Museum, not part of store front art project
She positioned herself opposite the Majestic Theater and reviewed a brochure of upcoming shows.  By the time I returned she had booked tickets for an April show with friends.  The good is that we’ll enjoy a live musical production depicting a recording session of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins in 1956; the bad is that a casual Saturday afternoon outing now cost $150.  Not ugly, unless the performance in April falls flat.

Saturday evening we meet friends for a casual burger out; the burger was good but the service was very bad.  Apparently a few workers didn’t show and the kitchen was shorthanded.  But we weren’t in a rush so we had time to chat and bitch as we waited.  After dinner we went to Luna Live Jazz Club (noted for good music and its smokeless environment) to see one of Iris’ favorite groups, Johnny P and the Wiseguys.

Sunday got off to a slow start with nothing planned until the afternoon.  The afternoon found us at a local park for a charity fun walk event.  I was a team leader for the local CropWalk  event.   The walk was good; the event raises money for a variety of organizations that provide food and nutrition aid locally and worldwide, we walked with friends and I captured a few good photos.  My team raised $500; very good.  The only slightly ugly part was that I purchased a hat and tee-shirt at the event and needed to borrow money from my wife for dinner.  It is a debt that needs to be paid back upon penalty of having to eat my own cooking.
Strange group of walkers

One of two main trails through Comache Park

Bonus Shot.  Turtle enjoying a sunny spot.

Monday I returned to work with a rescheduled late afternoon visit to my ophthalmologist.  I expected a routine visit.  Check my eyes, get a prescription for new glasses and go on my way.  Surprise, the routine visit did not occur.

A new diagnosis was revealed; narrow angle closure is developing.  If the condition continues untreated the internal pressure in the eye will increase and glaucoma can result.  The bad news is that the progression could be sudden and with some discomfort.  The good news is that the closure can be treated rather easily.  All that is needed is a laser beamed into my eye to open drainage holes.

What?  Laser my eyes!  Holy Star Trek!

The treatment doesn’t sound like fun, but since my wife had the procedure done several years ago I feel good and know the procedure is safe and effective. 

Later this month my eyes will be blasted with a laser. It should be an eye-opening experience.

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Strange Combination

Many years ago I helped my niece assemble several pieces of IKEA furniture for her apartment.  I arrived in time to take over the assembly of two pieces she was having problems assembling.  One piece was a trundle bed and the other piece was an “S” shaped lounging chair.  The bed I knocked off in short time and was proud of my rapid work.  The chair proved much more challenging. 

There were two identical “S” pieces that formed the sides and no matter how many times I tried to line up the pieces two of the screw holes never matched the cross members.  They were less than an eighth of an inch out of alignment.  After more than an hour I found the solution, the pieces were upside down (the upper and lower portions were not exactly the same dimensions and shape).  Perhaps I should have read the instructions more diligently.  An old axiom about putting kits together is if all else fails you should read the instructions.  Last year my son assembled several IKEA bookcases without any problems.  Not being a natural fix-it guy I know he read the instructions.

Although I have never shopped at an IKEA store I have a significant appreciation for the excellent products they sell.  My niece and son love the pieces they have and both still shop at the store and at the on-line web store.

Last week news broke that IKEA had meatballs tainted with horse meat.  I had to read that headline several times before it really sunk in what the story was about.  Horse meat at a furniture store.  Just that thought alone defies logic.  Horse meat at a furniture store.

Great furniture, bad meatballs.  In the calendar after Monday and Tuesday is WTF!  WTF is IKEA doing with meatballs?

I imagine that during a sales or marketing meeting a hand popped and a junior executive blurted out a bright idea, “Let’s sell meatballs.”  “Great idea,” another voice approved.  Several years later we have horse meat tainted meatballs at the furniture store.

“Welcome to IKEA.  Can I show you a couch, a desk or a meatball?” What is stranger: IKEA selling meatballs or meatballs tainted with horsemeat?  There is an incongruity in that question that I am still trying to figure out.

Ten bonus points if you can enlighten me.


Last night I had a nightmare.

I came home from work and asked my wife what was for dinner?

She answered, “Meatballs with spaghetti.  They had a sale at IKEA that I couldn't resist.”

Followup story: March 1, 2013
Horse meat found in Taco Bell in the United Kingdom.  Or perhaps it was Gidget?


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