Thursday, September 29, 2005

quote of the day

It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true. As one grows older, one climbs with surprising strides.
-- George Sand

fall weather

I woke up this morning to 52 degrees. Our first day of true fall weather. I mowed the lawn and the air was brisk and invigorating. It was my day to deal with insects. I was stung by a wasp and Dorothy made a paste of baking soda and vinegar which took the stinging away and reduced the swelling. Then I found this corn spider blocking the door to my tool shed with his web. I managed to get the mower and weed eater out with disturbing him. He'll be gone soon when the weather turns even colder.

I always look forward to colder weather because Dorothy turns the heat up on her cooking. Tonight she made a spicy beef and navy bean stew with pecan corn muffins which we slathered with butter and jalapeno jelly. And for dessert we had a triple layer pumpkin cake with the middle layer containing white chocolate chips and pecans. Tomorrow morning we'll have to double our mileage on our walk to burn up all those calories.


Yesterday, while Dorothy and I were in Tahlequah, we saw two letter carriers (old friends and workmates) going about their routes. We also had lunch at the same place I lunched every day for years while I was delivering mail. I felt a certain wistfulness while remembering the years of working for the Postal Service. Not that I want to go back to it. No, it was a physically demanding job and I was getting too old to do it. And the technological changes over the years had changed the job so much that I felt I had outlived my era. Let the kids have it.

I'm excited about retirement. I work at projects here at home every day but not to the point of exhaustion. There's nothing that needs to be done that requires urgency. I like a slower pace. I've returned to painting and I feel that is my true vocation (in addition to being a husband, father , and grandpa).

I'm looking forward to this new life of retirement, but I can't help being sentimental about my work friends, customers and experiences I've had over the years.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

quote of the day

In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.
--Czeslaw Milosz

a new place to walk

We were in Tahlequah today and decided to do our walking there. We found a great place to walk along this creek that flows through the middle of town, hence the name, "Town Branch Creek". Lots of up hill, down hill, stairs and bridges. We went to Lowe's also to buy some wood for some projects I'm working on. I'd better close this post now. I hear thunder and I don't want to lose my modem, so I'm logging off and unplugging.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

katrina volunteers

Dorothy and I worked as volunteers today at the Arkansas Baptist Assembly, helping the evacuees to make arrangements to leave the camp for a new life. Some have secured jobs and housing in the area and have decided to start a new life in Northwest Arkansas. Others are determined to return to New Orleans. We were assigned jobs in the information office and thought we would have an easy day. Actually, we were so busy we didn't have time to go to lunch. The fax machine clicked and buzzed all day as faxes were received and sent. There was never ending traffic at the information window as evacuees requested and submitted their exit forms. The copy machine received a good workout too. I worked the computer doing data base searches for evacuees that were out of touch with their families. I printed notices for the bulletin board and filed paper work. Dorothy was busy receiving and sending faxes to and from FEMA and family members inquiring about the guests. It was a fast paced day and slipped by us before we knew it. The "guests" that we talked with were very friendly and cooperative; much more than I would be under the circumstances. We'll be going back next week to help out again.

Monday, September 26, 2005

hogwild pizza

This is a picture that appeared in the NW Arkansas Times featuring the new Hogwild Pizza. Jonathan Cooper and David Mackey are evidently serving pizza to Mr. Wild.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

quote of the day

Where do I begin and end in space? I have relations to the sun and air which are just as vital parts of my existence as my heart.
--Alan Watts

an exercise in frustration

Yesterday we spent some time at the Tag Office. (That's the DMV to Californians). Is it just me or do people with the most casual attitudes tend to gravitate to jobs that require a sense of urgency? Part of the problem was that the office was not set up for efficiency. Each time a clerk needed to use a pair of scissors she would get up from her desk and walk to the other side of the room, use the scissors, then back to her desk. There were several clerks using the same pair of scissors. All the computers shared one printer which slowed things down a bit, and it was located in another room. Whenever a clerk left her station to retrieve forms being printed I suspected she used the opportunity to duck out the back door for a smoke or a trip down to the corner 7-11 for a slurpy. It wasn't just the feng shui of the office. These people just didn't care (or so it seemed to me). I couldn't stand it any more so I jumped over the counter, gathered all those lazy girls together and exclaimed, "Girls, it's obvious you don't like working here. This job requires a promptness, efficiency, and productivity that none of you possess. You are more suited to a job at a self serve gas station. And, for God's sake, why don't you buy yourselves a pair of scissors!"

Actually, I didn't do all of the above. It just took place in my mind. I went to the car and read a book while Dorothy waited patiently for her car tags.


Dorothy and I walked this morning. We go to the trail at Maryetta School in Stilwell. As you can see it's a pretty one. We can hear the Meadowlarks singing as we walk. What does a Meadowlark sound like? Click here.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

this is the first day of fall?

The first day of fall and it's a hot one. It's noon and 90 degrees already. Yesterday I worked out in the heat and I think I over did it. I cut down several trees and cut up the trunks for firewood, then piled the branches up to be chipped into mulch today. We started yesterday off with a 2.24 mile walk then I cut the trees. After lunch we went to Siloam Springs, and while Dorothy had her hair done, I stayed at Kelly's house and was mauled by Marley and Hunter. I had told them that if they didn't behave, Grandma would skob their knob. Skob their knob? They required an explanation, so I demonstrated by giving them a Dutch rub on the top of their heads (mildly). Well, they spent the next hour or two skobbing my knob (not so mildly). Then we picked up Tara and her friend Megan and headed for Fayetteville. We stopped on the way at Hobby Lobby and bought a frame for my painting (see below), so it could be hung for display and possible sale at the Hogwild Pizzeria. We had a TaraYaki pizza there, and boy was it good; with teriyaki chicken, green onions, water chestnuts, and almond slivers. If you're ever in the Fayetteville, Ar. area, do yourself a favor and eat there. Next time we're going to try the Shrimp Scampi pizza. Can't wait. We also took Rachel and Samantha some of the tamales that we made the other day. I'm anxious to hear what they thought of them.
So today, after such a tiring yesterday, I'm relaxing.The chipping and shredding can wait for another day. I went out and mulched the pumpkins Marley, Hunter, and I planted. But now I'm ready to hit the recliner, read a little, maybe snooze a little. I might even start a new painting this evening.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

what I'm reading now

This book claims that most of what we learned in school about the pre-Columbian Americas is wrong. Here are some of the interesting revelations contained in the book:

  • Before 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe.
  • Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capitol, was larger in population than any contemporary European city, with running water, beautiful botanical gardens, and immaculately clean streets.
  • The earlier cities of the Western Hemispere were thriving before the Egyptians built the pyramids.
  • Pre-Columbian Indians in Mexico developed corn by a breeding process so sophisticated that the journal Science recently described it as "man's first, and perhaps the greatest, feat of genetic engineering."
  • Amazonian Indians learned how to farm the rain forest without destroying it--a process scientists are studying today in the hope of regaining this lost knowledge.

Interesting stuff, huh?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

another Marley episode

I just got a message from my daughter Kelly on the IM. I thought it was worth sharing:
Marley came to me and said "Can I help you with the dishes?" I said "Well there is not much to do." She said, " Well I would be delighted to help you." Then I rememebered at school they are talking about helping your family. So I told her yes she could help. While we were doing it she told me that she had told Mrs. Dunn that she helps with the dishes at home. I said, "no you dont. Why didn't you say that you help set the table?" She said that wasnt a choice. So at least she decided to do it after she lied about it!
She even went in her room to clean but I think she got overwhelmed.

good grief

I went to the mailbox today and brought back a letter for me and one addressed to Dorothy. My letter was from the Office of Personnel Management informing me that they received my application for retirement and would be issuing me a check "as soon as possible". "Oh, boy", we thought. Now we can leave on our trip on October 8th as we planned. Then Dorothy opened her letter. It was from the Court Clerk of Adair County. It said she is to report for jury duty on Oct. 7. Some people have one of those days. We seem to be having one of those lives.

Monday, September 19, 2005

a full monday

I've been busy all day. Dorothy and I went this morning to the 1 mile walking track at Maryetta School in Stilwell and walked around one time. Then up to Siloam Springs and picked up Hunter to take care of him while Kelly went to a doctor appointment. We met a real estate agent at a house on Nokes Farm road to check out a house for Dorothy's brother. It was a very nice house; we took pictures. Then Dorothy had an appointment with a doctor. She was bitten my a Brown Recluse(fiddleback) spider. The doctor prescribed some antibiotics. Dorothy was worried that her skin was going to rot off, but the doctor said that was a rare occurence. The bite is on her chest just below her collar bone. I wanted to take a picture and post it on this blog but she refused; in fact she acted rather insulted about it.

note: Marley's school has Watch Dog program where dad 's, uncles, or grandfathers volunteer to be a positive male presence on school campus, helping in class and outside class, making sure no unauthorized people are loitering around the school, etc. Her dad can't take off work for it, and Kelly suggested asking her uncle Slade. Marly said, "I'll just ask Pops. He doesn't have anything to do for the rest of his life".

note: Kelly bought Hunter (2-1/2) a Superman costume for Halloween. He ran up and down the hall a few times trying to achieve liftoff and then said, "This don't work. It don't fly". So they took it back to Walmart and got him a Buzz Lightyear costume.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

marley kate's painting

Marley wanted to paint a picture too. She called it "Rose Garden".


I was up before 5:00 am this morning. I stayed up until 11:00 working on this painting. I have a few touch ups to make, but it's essentially finished. It's the first painting I've done in 20 years. I'm afraid I'm a little rusty. Dorothy and I went walking at the Westville track; we did 1.47 miles according to my pedometer. Then up to Siloam Springs for an auction. They were selling off the lifelong accumulation of a 101 year old woman. These auctions amaze me. There's always some dealers there looking for valuable antiques and I suppose they pick up some good deals. Then there are others who, in my opinion, buy junk; and they can't seem to get enough of it. We went by and picked up Marley who seems to need some grandma and grandpa time, and besides we have a litter of kittens on the front porch. That's a real draw for a five year old girl. So now were making cookies and watching Scooby Do. All in all a fairly relaxing Saturday.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

retirement party

We had a party on Sep. 3 to celebrate my retirement. Ricci Davis and his wife Sandy came up from Donalson, Ar. for the event. Ricci and I have been friends since high school. I was happy to have them here.

Burk grills burgers for my retirement party Posted by Picasa

son-in-law Burk Keys, daughter Kelly Keys, grand daughter Tara, Me, grand daughter Marley, grand son Hunter, Dorothy, grand daughter Samantha, daughter Rachel Marveggio Posted by Picasa

first row: (seated) Dave Remond, Me, Marley, Madison, Morgan. Second Row: Brian and Becky Cannon(Dorothy's sister), my daughter Kelly, Brendan, Cindy Rooney, Bryce, Tara, Samantha,my daughter Rachel. Last row: Hunter, Burk, Brian Remond, Jason Rooney, Mike Rooney, Amy Pelfry, Robin Hill, Rita Hill, Dorothy Posted by Picasa

quote of the day

If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
--Bishop Desmond Tutu

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

a rainy day project

It was a dark and stormy day. Since it rained all day we decided to make tamales. Here's a picture of Dorothy wrapping the delicious delectables in corn shucks.

Ay, Carrumba!

She put a pork roast on at 7:30 this morning and we just now washed up all the dishes, although there are still about 2 dozen tamales in the steamer. We soaked corn shucks, removed the seeds and pulp from dried Ancho chiles, made dough from Crisco, water, and masa harina. What a job! Dorothy said, "That's it", for her. Of course, it was labor intensive, but good grief, we made four dozen. Only two left in this picture. I ate those. They were so good it made me want to say "Ya no bueno por cungada!" Spanish? No. I just made it up.

quote of the day

If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be too cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.
--Annie Dillard

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

quote of the day

The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Bach, and Mozart settled down day after day to the job in hand with as much regularity as an accountant settles down each day to his figures. They didn't waste time waiting for inspiration.
--Ernest Newman

Monday, September 12, 2005

crisis after crisis

As if it wasn't bad enough to evict a lizard from the house last night, today I had to kill a snake. I was relaxing in the hammock after a morning of hard work, when Dorothy alerted me to the presence of a snake just near the foundation of our house. I don't know why but she's always the one to find these snakes, lizards and all manners of creepy crawlers. I don't know why I never see them. Anyway, Dorothy skedaddled into the safety of the house and I got a brick and dropped in on the snake's head, then cut off his head with a shovel. I went into the house proud of my success in vanquishing this monster (3 ft. long) that was threatening our household. Was I treated like a hero? No hug . No Kiss (or promise of more affection later). You would think I do this kind of thing all the time. Such is the life of a husband.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

4th week report

Here I am at the end of four weeks of retirement. I have to admit that a wee bit of ennui has set in. I've enjoyed the lack of routine and just letting each day unfold and just drifting in the wind like a feather, but I may have to add a little structure to my days.

Dorothy and I are walking at the track in Westville three days a week and we're trying to add a little distance each time. Our Sunday School teacher is convalescing from by-pass surgery so I took a turn teaching the class today and that involved a lot of study this past week. Tomorrow I'm going to start cutting down trees and cleaning up the fence rows around the property. I'll cut up the big pieces for firewood and run the rest through a chipper/shredder and use the resulting mulch in the flower beds.

I'm going to start painting tomorrow afternoon. I did a pencil sketch on a canvas and now I'm ready to apply paint. The subject is one of the canals of Venice.

We've got to start getting ready for a trip to California next month. We're just going to meander out there, stopping at every attraction that catches our fancy. I'll take lots of pictures to post here upon our return. I'm hoping my two daughter will take turns as guest bloggers while I'm gone.

minor crisis

We had a minor crisis at our house today. I was on the computer when I heard Dorothy call, "Wally, is that a lizard?!" I turned around and there on the floor between my recliner and the dining room table was a lizard. Call me a sissy, but I wasn't about to pick it up with my bare hands and it probably would have scurried under a chair or couch and who knows where or when we would have found it. Dorothy got the dust mop and handed it across the table to me and I brought it down pinning that little reptilian bugger to the floor. I was tempted to go ahead and smash it but I didn't want to leave lizard juice on the floor. There's a step down from our dining area to the kitchen so Dorothy placed a square plastic trash can on its side with the opening against the step, then I swept the lizard into the container like a hockey player scoring with a puck. Dorothy and I did our victory dance and high fived there in the kitchen. We're a team!

Saturday, September 10, 2005


I'm hearing from several sources here locally that many of the Katrina evacuees have no intention of returning home, hoping instead to find jobs and start a new life in whatever environment they find themselves in. Commentators are stating that this may be the greatest migration of people since the thirties, when over a million "Okies" left, not only Oklahoma, but Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri for the prospect of jobs in California.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

guest map

I just discovered that my guest map has been disabled since I redesigned my blog. So if you have attempted to mark your location recently and failed, you should be able to do so now.

down hill from here

This morning I started a project of cutting down Mulberry saplings and young trees that have grown up around our garden. I tried to start the chainsaw but I couldn't even get a spark from it. I cleaned the spark plug and adjusted the gap, but no luck. Dorothy said we will probably have to have it tuned up. "No," I said, "we just had that done a few months ago." She said it was probably more like two years ago. So to prove her wrong I got out the check book and searched for the entry that would indicate when the work was done. I went back a year and a half and found nothing. She was right (unless we paid cash). Instead of this blog being a chronicle of my growth as a human who is realizing his potential after retirement, it may turn out to be a record of my descent into dementia. Dang!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

healthy, wealthy, and wise?

Monday morning I was out of bed at 8:oo, yesterday at 7:00, but here I am this morning, up at 5:00 writing this post. I'm trying to find a happy medium with bedtime and getting up time, but it's eluding me. I've talked with other retirees my age and they report that they're getting eight hours per day but they are distributed around the clock at odd times. Sleeping all night at regular hours may be a thing of he past.

When I was a child I would sometimes wake up early and listen to the sounds coming from the kitchen; the clatter of plates being stacked; the bell-like ring of spoon against cup as my dad stirred sugar into his coffee. Now as I move around the kitchen in the hours before dawn, I'm making those sounds. Sounds and smells have the power to bring up memories buried deep within the soul.

Dorothy and I have volunteered to help with the Katrina evacuees in Arkansas, but we haven't heard anything yet. In fact, they haven't even arrived at our locality. I understand the delay in getting rescue efforts underway. Individuals jump into the fray in a crisis, but the wheels of an organization grind exceedingly slow.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

quote of the day

The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.
-- Thomas Merton

Monday, September 05, 2005

quote of the day

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."
Abraham Maslow

monday morning notes

Thing are gradually changing. I stayed up last night until 11:00 and actually slept until 8:00 this morning. I haven't slept that long in years. I think the job is slowly seeping from my psyche and body and I'm actually learning to relax.

I received a few good books as gifts at my retirement party. The Davinci Code, Gods and Demons, Chicken Soup for The Grandparent's Soul, Daily Inspiration for the Purpose Driven Life, 365 Days of Power, and Sparkling Gems from the Greek. I can't wait to get started on these.

Our church has joined with others in the area to provide food and shelter to a group of Katrina evacuees. The Arkansas Baptist Assembly is taking 800 people and providing them with a place to stay. Each church is taking a certain area of responsibility to provide necessities. Our church, First Baptist, Siloam Springs is providing toiletries (tooth brushes, deodorant, etc.) The members are simply purchasing these items and donating to a common supply. Our local Walmart has already run out of tooth brushes. Dorothy and I are going to do our part. We're going to call today to see if they need any volunteers. We want to have a hands on role in this. This is another advantage of retirement; we're free to get involved.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

quote of the day

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is to live inside that hope.
Barbara Kingsolver Animal Dreams

redondo beach 1964

Ricci and Sandy Davis brought this picture with them when they came up for my retirement party. The four of us were at Redondo Beach one night in July, 1964, and Sandy took this picture of Dorothy and I. If it wasn't for Sandy there would have been no pictures of our times together back then, and she's still taking pictures. Our camera wasn't working so I'll have to wait to receive copies of the pictures she took last night to post them on this blog. It was a great party though. Customers, co-workers, family members, friends from church, and neighbors. We had a memorable time.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

oh heck

Looks like the spammers have found me. I enabled a word verification program for comments. Sorry for the inconvenience.

states I've visited

You can make a map of the staes you've visited by clicking here

all ready

Yesterday, Dorothy and I worked to get this party ready. She finished the cakes, and cleaned house, even made some cookies (they were delicious, with oats, rice krispies, and chocolate chips). I got the grill cleaned up and made sure the propane tank was full, I even cleaned up the horse shoes in case someone might want to toss those. Were looking forward to sharing some time with friends and relatives. I'll have pictures tomorrow.

Friday, September 02, 2005

signs of aging

Dorothy and I have a walking program and I thought that after 21 years of walking a postal route I would have to pace myself in order for her to keep up with me, but it's the opposite. I'm having to push to keep up with her. I didn't realize I had slowed down so much. Of course, I'm 60yrs old and she's just a 55 year old youngster.

A few days ago my son-in-law Burk pointed out the fact that the car tags on my truck had expired. The sticker said Oct 04. They couldn't be expired; I'll get a sticker next month that shows 05. Then I saw other cars that had Oct 05 stickers on and some already had 06 stickers. Somebody must have stolen my sticker right off the license plate! Yesterday I was rummaging through the glove box of my truck and guess what I found. Yes, the sticker I bought last September was still in there. I've gone a year without affixing it to my plate and have never been stopped by the police. They must have their minds on other, more important things, like donuts.

making progress

It's Friday morning. I slept until 6:20. Boy, am I getting lazy! I had a cinnamon bagel and cream cheese and a cup of coffee for breakfast. I haven't gained a pound in the first three weeks of retirement. Dorothy and I are getting ready to go to the track and walk. We hope to do 1-1/2 -2 miles this morning. Then I have to do some weed eating and Dorothy is going to ice and decorate the cakes for my retirement party. We'll be busy most of the day. I love this unstructured, non-routine, think it up as you go retired life.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

hogwild pizza

My daughter Rachel's boy friend, Jonathan, opened a new pizzeria today in Fayetteville, Ar. so we decided to check it out. It's called Hogwild Pizzeria. We had the Cajun pizza and it was delicious. They have several specialty pizzas to suit every taste. Chicken Fajita, Mexican, Teriyake Chicken, Shrimp Scampi, to name just a few. We're looking forward to visiting often and trying a different style each time. Jonathan is also a graphic artist and designed and built the sign you see on the outside. Tara is sitting in the big chair after eating lunch at Hogwild. No she's not that short, the chair is that big. The restaurant is located at 1200 N. Garland, Suite 7, Fayetteville, Ar.

by the way

I'm getting up each morning at around 5:45. That's an increase of 15 minutes sleep each day. I'm slowly sleeping a little later.

I asked Marley Kate how she was doing in kindergarten. She replied, "Nap time is boring, but I slept through it."

Dorothy and I were planning a road trip in October, but if the price of gas keep increasing we may change our minds.

We received our Walmart circular in the mail yesterday. I was happy that I didn't have to deliver them. Yippee!

I was laying in the hammock yesterday and looked at my watch. It was 4 o'clock. My fellow letter carriers were just punching out (if they were lucky) and going home after a long, hot day. Retirement is great.

Dorothy's throwing a retirement party for me this weekend at the Proctor Community Center. We've invited friends, family, workmates, and former customers. We'll have a good time, eating hamburgers, and telling tales about the rigors of mail delivery over the years.