Wednesday, August 31, 2005

blog revamp

With the luxury of time I've acquired since retirement I decided to give my blog a makeover. I wanted to design it from scratch, but I found that I simply lack the web design knowledge and html savvy to accomplish it; so I took the most bare bones template that Blogger offers and just added my own stuff. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

edible image

Dorothy is throwing me a retirement party this Saturday at the Proctor Community Center. This is the edible image that will be on the cake. I'm on a tropical beach through the magic of Photoshop.

2nd week report

The first week of retirement was long and luxurious. The second week was the exact opposite. It flashed by so quickly that I can hardly remember the individual days. I lost a dear friend, a co-worker of the last 21 years, Billy Martin. In addition to carrying the mail he was also our union steward, and the treasurer for the local chapter of the National Association of Letter Carriers. He worked tirelessly to salve the inflamed areas where management and labor rub together. His funeral was more a celebration of his life than grieving for his death.

I started a routine of exercising with dumbbells and Dorothy and I are trying to walk a mile or more three days a week. After walking every day on the job for 21 years it would be disastrous for my health to sit down now.

There are projects I'm anxious to get started on, but it seems there just isn't enough time. I've heard other retirees say this before, and now I'm experiencing it: How did I have time to work all those years?

quote of the day

My most fervent desire is that somewhere, pain is assuaged. That somewhere, freedom finds new bearings, in big and small ways. That in another place, someone expecting the worst gets a reprieve. I wish that those who need mercy would find it, and find it to be more than enough.-----Meg Fowler, Blogcabin

Sunday, August 28, 2005

an afternoon at the creek

Marley swings on the rope, while Burk holds Hunter, and John watches Corbin swim to the creek bank.
John and Corbin walk the log.
Hunter wades out of the creek.

Burk, Hunter, Marley, John and Corbin walk toward the swimming hole.

quote of the day

Grandparents listen to dreams, and tell you what a new word means; they can tie a fly, bait a hook, and know where the best place is. They live among odd objects, which they cherish, and smells unforgettable. They have little time left, yet so much time to spare.
James Hillman -- The Force of Character

Saturday, August 27, 2005

up for work

The alarm went off at 5:30 this morning and I started to get up for work. Then I realized: Hey, I'm retired! Who set that alarm? Marley Kate and Hunter were here yesterday and were playing in the bedroom. Hmmm. I'll get a stick and spank their butts. (like that's going to happen)


In the morning
After taking cold shower
--What a mistake--
I look in the mirror.

There, a funny guy,
Grey hair, white beard, wrinkled skin,
--What a pity--
Poor, dirty, old man!
He is not me, absolutely not.

Land and life
Fishing in the ocean
Sleeping in the desert with stars
Building a shelter in mountains
Farming the ancient way
Singing with Coyotes
Singing against nuclear war--
I'll never be tired of life.
Now I'm seventeen years old,
Very charming young man.

I sit down quietly in lotus position,
Meditating, meditating for nothing.
Suddenly a voice comes to me:

"To stay young,
To save the world,
Break the mirror."

Nanao Sakaki, Breaking the Mirror, 1987

Thursday, August 25, 2005

parallel occurrences

I followed a link on Clarence's blog the other day that discussed the phenomenon of "six degrees of separation". It got me thinking of historical events that we don't always connect to each other. For example we often think that when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 they found a relatively uninhabited land (except for the indians), but the Spanish explorer Coronado had claimed what is now New Mexico in the year 1540, and Santa Fe was established as its capitol in 1610.

The Lewis and Clark expedition set out in 1803 to explore the vast, uninhabited (except for the indians) west, yet California had been claimed for England by Sir Francis Drake in 1579, and the city of Los Angeles was dedicated by Father Junipero Serra in 1781 with 44 original settlers.

The day general Custer and his men were massacred at Little Big Horn, the St. Louis Cardinals (known then as the Brown Stockings) were playing baseball in St. Louis.

I did some research on my own family to find out what historical events were happening at the birth and death of my ancestors. Here is what I found:

Peter. O. Blue was born in Scotland in 1745, the same year "Bonnie Prince Charlie" Stuart defeated the British in battle and advanced toward Derby. He was defeated at Culloden the following year. Peter came to America in 1771, 5 years before the Revolutionary War. He died in 1828, the year Andrew Jackson was elected president, Alexandre Dumas wrote "The Three Musketeers", Jules Verne was born, Webster's dictionary was published, and Gilbert Stuart, the painter of George Washington's portrait died.

Peter's son Malcom Blue was born in 1785, the year Mozart performed the Six "Hadyn" String Quartet, and the seismograph was invented. When Malcom died in 1866, Dostoevsky wrote "Crime and Punishment", H.G. Wells was born, Degas painted the ballet series, and Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.

Malcom' son, James Daniel Blue was born in 1838, the year Queen Victoria was crowned; Dickens published "Oliver Twist", William Clark, from the Lewis & Clark expedition died; Great Britain had 90 naval ships, Russia 50, France 49, and the U.S. 15. When James Daniel died in 1908, LBJ was born, Ian Fleming (author of James Bond stories) was born; General Motors Corp. was formed, and Ford produced the 1st Model T.

James Daniel's son Homer Blue was born in 1881, the year that James Garfield was assassinated; Picasso was born; the population of London was 3.3 million, Paris 2.2 million, New York, 1.2 million, and Tokyo, 800,000. When Homer died in 1952, Eisenhower was elected as president of the U.S.; the Korean War was in progress; Ernest Hemingway wrote "The Old Man and the Sea"; Norman Vincent Peale published "The Power of Positive Thinking"; Movie: High Noon; popular songs: "I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Clause", "It Takes Two to Tango", "Your Cheatin' Heart"; first hydrogen bomb exploded.

Homer's son Homer G. Blue was born in 1915 at the start of WWI, that year Booker T. Washington died; Einstein postulated the General Theory of Relativity; the first transcontinental phone call was made. When my dad died in 1985, Ronald Reagan began his second term, John Irving wrote "The Cider House Rules", Garrison Keillor wrote "Lake Wobegon Days"; the Academy Award for best picture went to "Amadeus"; and the U.S. deficit reached 130 billion dollars.

One week before I was born in 1945 a nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima; also that year George Orwell published "Animal Farm"; the boxer of the year was Rocky Graziano, and the Empire State building was struck by a B-25 bomber.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

1st day of school

Marley Kate's first day at school and as usual Dorothy and I are on hand to take pictures.

Marley arrives at school with Mom and Dad.

envoy-ette's game

envoy-ette in her blog It Could Be Worse asked readers to participate in a game in which she posts her recollections of the reader according to the following criteria:
  • What song or movies reminds her of you
  • She'll pick a color/flavor of jello to wrestle you with
  • She'll say something that only she and you will understand
  • She'll tell you her first memory of you
  • She'll tell you what animal you remind her of
  • She'll ask something she's always wanted to know about you

Here are her responses for me:

2) Forever Rod Stewart. (I see you singing it to your grandkids)

3) Orange Jello. We can throw it against the walls and see if it's a good color.

4) "Here I am!"

5) A deep thinking postal worker....that adores his family.

6) A ground hog. You come up when something interesting is going on...but otherwise...don't bother me....I'm thinking and pondering "life".

7) Did you really hit that snake in your living room with just ONE SHOT?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

different species

Noah put two of each kind of animal on the ark. Male and female. In humans the differences between the sexes go far beyond gender. They are two separate species. In the good old days ( a long time ago) humans were hunters and gatherers. Men were hunters and women were gatherers. These traits have been passed down the generations like runners handing off a DNA baton, father to son, mother to daughter. In no other area of life will you find more evidence for these characteristics than the way we shop. When a man shops he knows what he wants to buy or he wouldn't be shopping. Like a cheetah stalking its prey, he enters the store, goes directly to the department where the item resides, picks it up and makes a dash to the check out counter. Mission accomplished.

The female species enter a store with only a vague idea of what she wants to buy and meanders through the merchandise, picking up things, laying them down, making comparisons, going through a mental process that even with modern technology scientists have failed to decipher. If she manages to buy something on sale, she returns home aglow with the pride of having "saved" money.

Names have been omitted in this post to protect the innocent (me). The fact that I went shopping with Dorothy and Kelly yesterday is purely coincidental.

Monday, August 22, 2005

quote of the day

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too, all sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!" ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 19th century German writer and scientist

Sunday, August 21, 2005

little rock

We drove to Little Rock, Ar. to attend the 40th wedding anniversay celebration of Carl and Carol Keys. Wow, what an accomlishment to live together that long, raise a family, and still be going strong.

We met many of the Keys' friends and family members, and enjoyed the time spent in conversation and laughter.

Dorothy made the cake and Kelly helped her decorate it.

After we left Little Rock we headed to Hot Springs. The picture at right is the view of Lake Hamilton from our motel. After checking in we called our dear friends Ricci and Sandy Davis who live south of the city. Ricci and I have known each other since we were 15 years old and attending Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, California. We visitied until midnight, reminiscing about the good old days and trading stories about the grandkids. It had been 14 years since our last visit and we decided to visit more often. We're getting older and we can't afford to let time go by without the important people in our lives. We hope to see them again soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

1st week review

It's been a week since I retired and I thought it would be a good idea to look back and mull over the events of the week. First, it's been wonderful. The freedom to sleep in (this morning I slept 'til 6:15), the time to work on my projects at leisure, the opportunity to lay in the hammock and watch the clouds go by. These things are priceless to a person who has worked at a job, for the most part, six days a week for the last 21 years.

I worked on the dishwasher, but wasn't able to solve the problem. I installed a new motion sensitive flood light on the front of the house. Took the grandkids to the creek. Installed a new printer/scanner/fax on my computer. Mowed the lawn. And even had time to catch up on my reading and watching old movies on TV.

This morning, Dorothy and I are leaving for Little Rock to attend the 40th anniversary party of Carl and Carol Keys, our son-in-law's parents. We'll spend the night in Hot Springs and visit some old friends from high school the next day. So this is my last post until Sunday night or Monday morning.

I love this retired life.

Friday, August 19, 2005

quote of the day

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Tao te Ching

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

quote of the day

It was on that road and at that hour that I first became aware of my own self, experienced an inexpressible state of grace, and felt at one with the first breath of air that stirred, the first bird, and the sun so newly born that it still looked not quite round.

the dreams begin

For years after I was discharged from the Army I had dreams about my experiences there. The dreams were so lucid it's almost as if I was in the Army twice. Now, after 24+ years with the Postal Service I had my first dream just two days into retirement. In this dream I was called back from retirement to carry mail. It took all day to case the route and I didn't hit the street until after dark. What a nightmare! I guess the job will gradually drain from my psyche, and it may be months before I realize that it is over and a new life has begun.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

marley, hunter and me

No projects today. We went to Barren Fork Creek and had a leisurely afternoon. Hunter doesn't get in the water; content to just throw in rocks. I asked Marley why, and she replied, "rocks are his life".

at the creek

Marly ventures out onto the log.

summer days

I told Marley not to go in deep water, She replied, "Grandpa, you're looking at a trained swimmer". (5 yrs old)

a new routine

Actually it's a lack of routine. Yesterday, my first Monday of retirement, I got up at 5:00am, spent some time in meditation and when Dorothy got up I was paying bills. I walked around the pasture with a pedometer to see if it would be a good daily walk. It was .6 mile. That's really not long enough, and I don't want to go round and round looking at the same trees each time, so I'll be looking for a good place to walk. After walking 9 miles a day for years and years, I can't stop now.

Before lunch I repaired the dishwasher and that was enough manual labor for the day. After lunch we watched a movie and took a nap. In the evening we went to Tahlequah and ate at Chalinga's restaurant. It was their first anniversary of being in business and the meals were half price, plus they had a Mariachi band. Then we visited a friend, a fellow letter carrier, who is under hospice care at a nursing home. He doesn't have much time left and we want to be with him as often as possible.

So that was a pretty good start to retirement. This morning I actually slept in until 6:00am. Dorothy and I went to Siloam Springs and picked up the two younger grand kids and brought them home. They will be spending the night.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

what I'm reading now

It's taking me awhile to read this one. I have to go back and reread paragraphs and chew on them for awhile before I can go on.

Here's a quote from the jacket cover: "In this empowering and original work, James Hillman resurrects the ancient, widespread, and socially effective idea of the old person as "ancestor", a model for the young, the bearer of a society's cultural memory and traditions. America disregards old people who aren't young-acting and young-looking. We don't realize that "oldness" is an archetypal state of being that can add value and luster to things we treasure, places we revere, and people's character."

birthday poem

Last night after I blew out the candles on my birthday cobbler, my grand daughter Tara read this poem that she wrote:

Dear Grandpa
I have always looked up to you,
You've taught me so much in everything you do.
From playing guitar with me
Singing "Bad Leroy Brown" and "Bobby McGee".
From playing in the garden watching things grow,
From you I've learned all that I know.
You always know what to tell me and Sam
When no one else really understands.
You believe in us no matter what we do.
I know you'll be there for us with whatever we pursue.
I didn't really have a dad.
You filled his place and for that I'm very glad.
I wanted to say thanks for being the best grandpa in the world.
Because of that I am the happiest girl.

retirement: day one

Yesterday I punched out for the last time and drove away from the post office. One last look in the rear view mirror at those familiar white trucks brought back memories of the thousands of time I drove away from that building. There were times when the trip home was over ice and snow and it took more than two hours to travel the twenty miles. Going home after dark was a common occurrence when we had a heavy load of mail and not enough people to carry it.

I want to think of it not as driving away, but driving toward a new life, a new beginning. My family was waiting for me at home to celebrate not only my retirement but my 60th birthday. I spent the evening just watching each child and grandchild, savoring them. They're all beautiful, each one a jewell.

Dorothy and I also celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary this week. She's responsible for all this. If I had not met her when I was a kid the idea of working for a living would have never occurred to me.

Friday, August 12, 2005

quote of the day

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."
--Albert Einstein

Thursday, August 11, 2005

quote of the day

Generally speaking, the civilized man does not know what he wants. He works for success, fame, a happy marriage, fun, to help other people, or to be a "real person." but these are not real wants because they are not actual things. They are the byproducts, the flavors and atmospheres of real things--shadows which have no existence apart from some substance. Money is the perfect symbol of all such desires, being a mere symbol of real wealth, and to make it one's goal is the most blatant example of confusing measurements with reality.
– Alan Watts

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

quote of the day

People say you have to travel to see the world. Sometimes I think that if you just stay in one place and keep your eyes open, you're going to see just about all that you can handle.
Paul Auster

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Last night I attended a meeting of our local volunteer fire department. A neighbor invited me because they were in need of more members to help respond to fires and other emergencies. I got the feeling that although they need more volunteers, they really aren't looking for geezers. I don't think I'll join, although they do have pretty cool fireman hats, and maybe if I could drive the fire truck and work the siren, but no, I can't see myself at my age doing something as heroic as runnning into a burning building, axe in hand, but then again, maybe I could stand outside and squirt water on it. I'll think about it.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

at school

Dorothy was going through some old photos and clippings and found this. I went to the first grade class at Cherokee Elementary, Tahlequah. Ok. and "delivered" letters to each child. Occasionally, a teenager will approach me on the route and ask me if I remember them from that day. It's funny how something like that sticks in the mind of a child. It reminds me that whenever we have an opportunity to have a positive encounter with a child, we should never fail to do so.

tara at sonic

We stopped at Sonic for lunch and our grand daughter Tara waited on us

ready for retirement

Dorothy gave me this hammock as a retirement gift. You know where I'll be if you want me.

quote of the day

The Christian mind has always been haunted by the feeling that the sins of the saints are worse than the sins of the sinners, that in some mysterious way the one who is struggling for salvation is nearer to hell and to the heart of evil than the unashamed harlot or thief. It has recognized that the devil is an angel, and as pure spirit is not really interested in the sins of the flesh. The sins after the devil's heart are the intricacies of spiritual pride, the mazes of self deception, and the subtle mockeries of hypocrisy where mask hides behind mask behind mask and reality is lost altogether.
Alan Watts -- The Wisdom of Insecurity

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

i hope you dance

There's a song on the radio whose lyrics declare: "And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance, I hope you dance." Well, the writer of that song hasn't seen me dance. There seems to be a neural interrupt between my brain and feet; they just won't do what I tell them to. But, have you seen that Six Flags commercial with the old guy dancing up a storm? Now, there's one cool dude. If he would just put out a how-to video, I could learn to maneuver out on the dance floor just like him. Dorothy's always wanted to go dancing and when I told her that once I'm able to dance like him we'd go dancing all the time. She said I'd be dancing alone. I will never understand the female mind.