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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Old Dog vs New Tricks

Old Dog vs New Tricks

“you can't teach an old dog new trick.”
Saying said to mean that it is very difficult to teach someone new skills or to change someone's habits or character. ~Cambridge Dictionary

I’ve often said that I tolerate change when necessary for improvement, but never for change sake.  I also embrace the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage.
Having explained my philosophy of life in a nutshell, I’m about to turn my firm habits upside down.  Please bear with me and understand that I am not trying to convince you of anything.  Two weeks into this new direction and already I can’t imagine not having tried this much earlier.

I’ve been retired from my career for a while now and my one on one interaction with people is limited to a handful of friends that have stuck together for around 30 years. As you might imagine we have more than a few similarities in our lives.  We are said to be set in our ways. We mostly don’t disagree because many of our differences have been settled early on.

My one lasting influence is and has (seems forever) been my wife.  She isn’t just my wife and friend, but more importantly my oldest most reliable and only partner in business and life.  I had the opportunity and made the decision to retire early, she on the other hand was a bit younger and decided to keep working at her career.
Best to start them young

Here is the rest of the story.  She is still getting out in the work world and learning and sharing information.  She recently came home with information that some people she knows had purchased medical marijuana medication for mundane ailments and were pleasantly surprised that it worked better than some expensive pain medication they had been using.

In an effort at full disclosure:  1) I’ve never used any kind of illegal or recreational drugs, I even avoid prescription and over the counter pain killers at any cost.  I never picked up the habit of smoking cigarettes; first because I felt the 25 cents a pack was ridiculous when as a teenager I was making 80 cents per hour, secondly because I loved participating in school sports, you could be dropped from the team if caught smoking or drinking. 2) we are fortunate that Washington State is a legal marijuana State.

My wife insisted that I try the medication for back pain (the price I pay for a lifetime of daredevil auto and motorcycle sports racing).  I promise you that I was not an easy sell.  I grew up with an image of shady dark alley transactions that people relied on to acquire their illicit supplies.  To be continued.  Look for part 2 to be titled: “Medical Alternatives.”  The best is yet to come……..

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Go to Guy

Go to Guy

The one you go to for advice. Who can turn your sad days into happy days. The one guy that knows all your secrets, that you tell anything and everything to, who protects you and only wants the best for you. The first person you tell your happy and sad news who always is the first one that comes to mind. The friend that you can't wait to talk to because no matter how boring of a day you've had, there's always tons of things to share. This is the friend who takes up the majority of your minutes/texts. Who you cannot see your life without.
You are my rock, my go to guythe one friend that completes me.

I don’t know about the #admiration but a friend or person that you can depend on is what best describes me. This is especially true if you have membership by way of birthright.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I was not the dependable one.  Whether it was the easy request like pick up some milk on the way home or a request to do the impossible.
For those that don’t know me, I was raised by a single parent, and she was an amazing influence throughout my life and to this very day.  My mother was also a Go to Person.  If she didn’t have the answer to your problem, she always knew someone that could help.
When I was 17 years old and still in high school, a friend of the family confided to my mother that a she had family emergency back home (Mexico).  She attempted various ways to assist them, but the final solution was for me to drive the family of four all the way from the Pacific Northwest to Monterrey Nuevo Leon Mexico. Not many teenagers would go along willingly.  I did for various reasons most predominant is that I’ve always been an obedient son.

Trust me when I say that I felt like Christopher Columbus.  Heading for the first time into the unknown and learning as I went along the way.  The drive south was non-stop in the sense that I only took power naps over a three-day travel schedule.

The real challenge was making the return trip by myself.  At my mother’s insistence I treated myself to one night in a hotel along the way.  I’ve made additonal sacrifices to assist others since that time but none requiring so much personal (physical) sacrifice.
I do have a strong belief that we are here to be of service to others.  There are those that will try to take advantage of a nice person so be aware and discerning.  The best is yet to come…..

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Reminiscing vs Reality

Reminiscing vs Reality

I could be way off base and be the only person that is afflicted with this concern for revisiting past acquaintances and random people encountered along the path of life.

I had a medical professional friend that not only was a service provider but also a golf partner.  I enjoyed knowing him for approximately 6 years and I felt that we had an average friendship (above acquaintance level).  I need to quantify what a golf partner is to me.  First off, in life I have had many acquaintances and much more than a couple of handful of friends.  I like to spread the fun and competition of a good round of golf.  So, while my golf tee times are very regular the partners vary from week to week.  A favorite golf partner might join me for a round of 18 holes eight times a year (consider that I might play 20 rounds or more on an average year).

With that disclaimer out of the way, the rest of the story is that my family and I moved across the State in pursuit of a career promotion for myself.  Some twenty years went by before I once again encountered my “friend” when I visited his office for a medical visit.  In my mind I was looking forward to seeing him again and I even imagined a hearty handshake and maybe even an embrace. Didn’t happen.

He entered the examination room, and introduced himself, and proceeded to treat me.  He never recognized my name or even remembered that we had spent time playing golf.  I know that common sense dictates that I should have reminded him.  However, I was so disappointed that, I chose to just forget the history that we shared.

I recon that my reason for writing this post is to try to once and for all put this “friendship” to rest.  I have thought of possible reasons for the lapse in memory but with out more information, I can’t make heads or tails out of my conclusions.

He could literally be having the onset of dementia, he may have had an accident that created a gap in his memory bank, many other possibilities, but while I am loyal to friends and acquaintances, I am not lacking for friendships in my life.  I have my hands full maintaining the circle of friends going.  I can’t help but internally mourn the loss of someone in my life that I thought was a friend.  The best is yet to come….

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Time for Reflection

Time for Reflection

What does it mean to take time to reflect?

Taking time to reflect means slowing down enough to stop, enjoy the adventure and figure out what is really important to YOU. Learn what you like and dislike. Do something for fun… for you.

Is it possible to be too smart for your own good?  My answer at this point in my life is, without a doubt.  For some of us, questioning ourselves is unthinkable because it may show a kink in the armor.  All my life I have been so sure of myself that to begin to question my life’s decisions, might show some level of weakness or failure.

However, life has taught me so much, that to reflect on my life periodically is actually a sign of maturity and strength.  In life’s journey we are like a ship at sea.  Just like a ship is affected by the elements, and ocean’s currents, so our lives are affected by things that we are aware of and many that blindside us.  Navigational adjustment is a requirement to arrive at our planned destinations.

Most recently, I have stayed away from posting on this blog because I was in search of me.  Fortunately, one of my discoveries is that I do enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts with you (my readers).  I’ve been contacted by some readers, asking me if everything is alright.  Thank you for asking, I can answer that I’ve never been better.  I am reminded of a dear friend (no longer with us) that used to say, “I’m in great shape, for the shape I’m in!”

Imagine for a moment that I climbed a mountain for the mere purpose of meditating and seeing the world from a different perspective.

In the process, I’ve completed some items from my bucket list. What?  You don’t have one?  Everyone needs a Bucket List!  It doesn’t have to be “the end of Life Bucket List.”
My definition of a bucket list is, a list of items that need to be given priority to track and complete timely (you set the timeline).   See my post on Bucket List:

 My most recent Reflection time has created some unexpected actions in my life going forward.  I have arrived at conclusions and new directions that surprised me (the very person in charge of my journey with God’s Blessings).  Never forget that Choices and Consequences are a package deal.  When making choices keep in mind the possible consequences (otherwise known as paying the Piper).  The best is yet to come……..

Friday, September 22, 2017

Getting off the Merry Go Round

Getting off the Merry Go Round

Definition of merry-go-round for English Language Learners
  • : a large round platform that turns around in a circle and has seats and figures of animals (such as horses) on which children sit for a ride
  • : a set or series of repeated activities that are quick, confusing, or difficult to leave ~Merriam-Webster
One of the best aspects of my life and possibly the best part, is that while I am organized I still like the element of surprise (wonderment) almost every day.  I don’t embrace change for change sake but I enjoy controlled (planned) change.
Imagine that you love a food so much that you have been known to say that you could eat it every day for the rest of your life.  You most likely don’t mean that but in a moment of excitement it was the thing to say to express your appreciation for the food item.  A similar amount of restraint need to be used in everything that comes as part of your life.

Almost always, there are circumstances where getting on the proverbial merry go round is required.  Examples: to succeed in business or a career, hopping on the corporate merry go round is required.  You can succeed without full and total commitment to the corporate game plan, but the odds are against you.  Getting off the merry go round in any circumstance requires knowing in advance what your destination should be.

The merry go round of life is all inclusive. Other examples are: the commitment to marriage and raising a family.  However, getting off that merry go round can be painful and costly.  You can successfully get off that merry go round by completing your commitment to raising the kids and supporting your spouse, along the way as the family evolves.  Most importantly, let’s not forget that the arrival of the children should only be a temporary interruption to what started as a romance between two people.  After the children leave the nest, the original relationship should be strong and able to pick up where the romance was, when lovingly interrupted. 

Caution:  If you try to get off the merry go round while it’s moving fast, you most likely will end up on your face.  The best is yet to come…..

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Life Goes On

You can say 'Life goes on' after mentioning something very sad to indicate that, although people are very upset or affected by it, they have to carry on living normally. ~ Collins Dictionary

The realization that someday we will leave this life and life will go on.  As important of a role that we play within our intricate lives, hopefully all our loved ones will find a way to continue to move forward.

This year has been the worst in my life for loss of loved ones.  Losing just one loved one in any one year is bad enough, but the year is barely at the half way mark and I’ve already had 3 losses that I am aware of.

I was told and do subscribe to the idea that, the older we get the more friends and relatives we will lose because everyone is getting older.  This year losses, however, have nothing to do with aging.  I am grateful that those that are directly under my oversight (wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are safe and healthy).

I don’t like to write about my most personal gains and losses in life, but I feel that this post will help to move on from this very life shattering event.

My family is made up of seven brothers and sisters, life normally dictates that the oldest in the pecking order should go first (expire – die).  Just before the end of June our family lost our youngest member.  My little brother was only 45 and if I had to pick the one member that was most popular and loved, of all seven he would be the one.  He would literally take the shirt off his back to give to someone in need.

The last time that he and I hung out was the year before.  We normally didn’t move in the same social circles because of our age difference.  I do know, and he told me every time he had a chance, that he loved me extra because of all the male children I looked the most like our father.

I am being selfish and writing this post strictly for my own ability to move on.  I just returned from a five day stay in southern California where we attended services and celebrated his too short life.  Because my little brother was such a life of the party in life, His Celebration of Life was very upbeat.  Over 250 people attended his loving goodbye. 

Since we believe that we will see each other again we all have reason to move forward.  So, in fact “Life Goes On,” and because of that, the best is yet to come…….

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned
10 Shocking Statistics About Elderly Falls
·        When an elderly person falls, their hospital stays are almost twice longer than those of     elderly patients who are admitted for any other reason.
·        The risk of falling increases with age and is greater for women than men.
·        Annually, falls are reported by one-third of all people over the age of 65.
·        Two-thirds of those who fall will do so again within six months.
·        Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older.
·        Approximately 9,500 deaths in older Americans are associated with falls each year.
·        More than half of all fatal falls involve people 75 or over.
·        Among people aged 65 to 69, one out of every 200 falls results in a hip fracture. That number increases to one out of every 10 for those aged 85 and older.
·        One-fourth of seniors who fracture a hip from a fall will die within six months of the injury.
·        The most profound effect of falling is the loss of functioning associated with independent living.  ~ by Shell Point Retirement Community

CAUTION!  Don’t try this at home.  At some point, we all reach and cross the line where we are old enough to know better.  That line can be reached through personal experience, common sense, or by someone else’s example.  However, you do reach it, we all must reach it.  I love learning from other’s mistakes because it saves me a lot of pain and suffering.  Not to mention that it makes me look mature and smart.

As I get older, I’ve noticed that every so often I catch myself pushing the envelope.  I am not sure that I am trying to prove that “I still got it,” or perhaps trying to save time.  Since I am retired, I can’t blame my corner cutting on time constraint. 

Just a short list:  I have survived the following unhurt, almost got electrocuted running electrical wire for an addition to our home; survived a rear collision on a vehicle wreck where my car was standing still and the other driver was traveling at approximately 50 mph (should have killed me but it only resulted in a broken back) (I know, I make it sound like a piece of cake).  I almost drowned while swimming with friends in a river at age 11 (I actually went under for the count); I was painting the trim on the exterior of my house while standing on the very top rung of an 8-foot ladder (a wind gust came up and I almost lost my balance), I quickly came to my senses and I called a professional to finish the job.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Well, my wife and I have spent perhaps thousands of dollars over the years in an effort to stay healthy through exercise (gym memberships).  My most recent effort is to transform our large garage into a gym.  We purchased 5 professional workout pieces of equipment, and a hot sauna to complete the ideal workout place.  And now the rest of the story:  No work out place is complete without a descent size screen television to take your mind away from the pain and suffering of a healthy workout.  I was trying to place the tv on top of the sauna but it was about a half inch too big to fit. From on top of the ladder about 4 feet high, I was holding the tv and tried to place it on top a shelf about 30 inches away.  Bottom line is I lost my balance and went backwards from the ladder while still holding the television.  I protected the investment on the tv set keeping it at arm’s length as I went down backwards.  Fortunately, on the way down my elbow knocked over a stack of walk-in carpets that miraculously landed under me and cushioned my fall.

All’s well that ends well, but once again, someone was looking out after me, and I came out unhurt.  I surveyed the area where I landed it, and still don’t know how those carpets ended up under me.  I came within inches of hitting my head on at least three very sharp corners, any of which could have killed me.

I beg you to be very careful in your own personal lives.  If you believe that you can’t afford to have a professional handle your project, ask yourself if you can afford time in the hospital and the medical bills or worst.  I hereby promise to draw on my experience, and the mistakes of others to keep myself safe for my family and friends.  The best is yet to come……..

Friday, July 21, 2017

An Eye for Beauty

Miss Gracie
David Hume's Essays, Moral and Political, 1742, include:
·        "Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.
·        "The person who is widely credited with coining the saying in its current form is Margaret Wolfe Hungerford (née Hamilton), who wrote many books, often under the pseudonym of 'The Duchess'. In Molly Bawn, 1878, there's the line "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", which is the earliest citation that I can find in print.
I could say guilty as charged.  There are many things in my life for which I fell in love at first sight as example my beautiful wife, each one of my children when they were born, followed by my grandchildren.  I’m sure you are beginning to get the picture. 

Until recently, I have not had to pay the price for my indulgence.  To be sure the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” applies to objects as well as individuals, and almost anything of beauty, such as, a clear sky, or a moonlit night.

Three years ago (June 2014) I was having what I consider and average day, and as such I drove my favorite four-legged partner to the groomer.  The day was progressing in such a way that it was not likely to stand out as a special day in a week down the road, let alone for the rest of my life.

When it came time to pick up Theo (toy poodle) from the groomer, I walked in and the first thing I saw was this beautiful little snowball of a puppy.  I remembered asking the groomer, who is this beautiful creation you are working on.  She mentioned that the puppy was a Bichon (breed) being groomed to make her more adoptable by the Animal Shelter.

Without even calling my wife for approval, I said, tell me who the point of contact is for the adoption.  After all the paperwork was properly processed “Gracie” arrived at her new home.  Gracie’s name is derived from my youngest granddaughter’s middle name (Grace) the intended recipient.

The rest of the story is where regrettably, I pay the consequence for falling in love with Gracie the first time I saw her.  Within a year and half, she lost the sight on her right eye (something internally caused it). Even beyond that devastating occurrence she acted normal and continued to be playful and loving.  We spared no expense and took her to the Veterinary and was referred to a dog Ophthalmologist.  I personally declared myself Gracie’s Service Person.

A year later Gracie’s vision on her good eye began to fade and within two months totally failed.  After many more tests including brain scan it was determined that she had one or more brain tumors that would not end well.  My little Gracie eventually passed away (May 23, 2017), from her many illnesses that included diabetes. 

Occasionally, I still shed a tear for the little girl that so affected my life in just a too short span of 3 years.  We all know that life isn’t fair but what did that little beautiful loving dog ever do to deserve her painful short life.  I’ve said it before, “if doggies don’t go to heaven, I want to go where they go.”  It has taken me almost two full months before I could get myself to write about Miss Gracie.  I am only writing about Gracie to place her solidly in my recorded writings.  I can only hope, the best is yet to come…….

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Paranoid or Careful

Paranoid or Careful

For as long as I can remember, I have used the following saying: “Just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean they are not out to get you!”  I probably take it more seriously than I should, but my other favorite saying is “Better Safe Than Sorry!”

Every day that passes by and with every news story on mainstream news, we are given proof that we are not as private as we would like to think we are or used to be.  I’d like to think that I spend an adequate amount of money to keep up with the advancing technology, and yet, I constantly am surprised at how some third world country resident is trying to get my personal information, or worst yet the banking institution’s data bank information.

On the plus side, it’s good to know that I will never be homeless.  I know you are wondering where my optimism comes from, well at least 4 or 5 times a year an extremely wealthy Prince of widow of a Prince reaches out to me.  Yes, you guessed it, they want to leave me their fortune and they are trying to figure out how to send it to me.

So far, I haven’t responded, because I’m still trying to get over the terrible head ache.  What headache you ask?  The one I got after I fell off of the turnip truck!

To make things worse, my wife keeps asking me to turn off some of my modern technology.  She hates the way Amazon Echo Unit (Alexa) keeps waking us up from the middle of a sound sleep in the early morning hours to ask what we meant because she didn’t understand the command.  Imagine being paranoid about that!

I already cover the camera lens on my computers, just in case someone is checking up on us, like everyone’s favorite uncle.  You know the one, Uncle Sam or one of his Minions. 
Everyone once in a while, I’ll be in town and notice that my cell phone is telling me that I am only 6 minutes away from home, the traffic is good and the weather is 54 degrees, and rain showers will stop in 26 minutes.  That information means that someone or something knows where I am at and what environment I’m in.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I long for the days when the only way to guess that it might rain, was because you could see the dark clouds in the distance coming your way!  Hang in there, the best is yet to come……

Sunday, April 30, 2017

It Is What It Is

It Is What It Is

Have you ever heard the popular saying: “it is what it is.”
It is what it is:

  • A cliché, popular within the circles of coaches, business execs, and those of us who just want to say "It's happened. 'I'm going to forget about it. I'm going to move on. There is nothing that can be done about it." 
There are so many things in our families and personal lives that we can change or minimally influence, and then there are some things that try as you may, you just have to let go of, and move on.

Those things that we can’t change we must come to terms with and live with.  One thing in particular that I can think of in my life is the following.  Life takes us all through various stages (examples): graduating from school and attending friends and relative’s celebrations, Attending friends and relatives’ weddings, etc., etc.  However, as we get older and start getting invitations to retirements, it seems that our social calendar also starts filling up with invitations to memorial and celebration of life services.

One of my friends soon notice my apparent deliberate absence from friend and coworker memorial services, and pulled me aside about 10 years ago.  Because I loved and respected this friend, I embraced the question and his input.  When asked, the why, I honestly answered that I never knew what to say to people that were grieving the loss of a loved one.

My friend explained that people were not expecting soothing words from me and that my presence alone would be lending the support they needed. I have attended many services since then, and have gained as much as I have given by my presence.  Facing up to this one thing that was causing me discomfort has definitely turned into a blessing.

One other “it is what it is,” situation for many people it's either their appearance or even voice or both.  Your voice will always sound different recorded or amplified compared to what you think you sound like.  With regard to appearance some people hate participating in photo opportunities because they don’t like how they come out.  Here definitely, it is what it is!  As I like to say, “What you see is what you get.”  What you see that you don’t like in photos is what everyone else sees day in and day out.  Your recorded or amplified voice is what others hear every day.  Just roll with the punches and enjoy life.  The best is yet to come……