Friday, August 29, 2008

quote of the day

Anyone can build a house of wood and bricks, but....that sort of home is not our real home; it's only nominally ours. It's a home in the world, and it follows the ways of the world. Our real home is inner peace. An external, material home may well be pretty, but it is not very peaceful. There's this worry, and then that; this anxiety, and then that....It's external to us and sooner or later we'll have to give it up. It's not a place we can live in permanently, because it doesn't truly belong to us; it's part of the world. Our body is the same: we take it to be self, to be "me" and "mine," but in fact it's not really so at all; it's another worldly home.

--Ajahn Chah

Thursday, August 28, 2008

retirement report

The third anniversary of my retirement is approaching so it's time for a report. Before I retired I was afraid that once my work life ended time would fly so fast that I would be on the way to meet my maker before I had a chance to enjoy the leisure. You know the old maxim: time flies when you're having fun. But, I was delighted to find that the opposite has happened. Time, at least in my perception of it, has slowed to an unhurried pace. One of the reasons for this is that I resist busyness. People have told me that they were reluctant to retire because they didn't know what they would do to pass the time, and a few of them have returned to work just for something to do. I don't have that problem. I can sit in the yard and watch the traffic on the highway. I don't need things to do.

So, here's how I spend my time these days:
  • I'm reading a lot of books.
  • I'm continuing the battle against weeds and brush. I've always had the desire to remain organic and not use herbicides, but the jungle is winning the war. So I've started using chemicals to kill out the brush that keeps cropping up year after year after I clear it away.
  • I baby sit the grand kids. Although I'm worn out at the end of the day, these young'ns keep me laughing, and that's good medicine.
  • I'm not painting as much as I had planned, but I took a lot of great photos while we were in St. Thomas and perhaps I'll start a new project soon.
  • The pressure to continue the remodeling is building and I won't be able to resist for much longer so I'll start the next phase soon.
  • I'm still learning to play the piano, in fact I can play these songs with a modicum of skill: Over the Rainbow, Danny Boy, You Lift Me Up, The Entertainer, A Wonderful World, Moon River, and Don't Worry, Be Happy. Our recent trip to St. Thomas has inspired me to pick up the guitar again and sing some of the old songs I used to enjoy.
  • There a so many things that need to be done, but I have to keep reminding myself to slow down and go at a leisurely pace. Frantic activity (especially mental) is a killer.

Friday, August 22, 2008

quote of the day

The most indifferent thing has its force and beauty when it is spoken by a kind father, and an insignificant trifle has its weight when offered by a dutiful child.

– Sir Richard Steele, Irish writer, politician (1672-1729)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

what i'm reading now

This book by Pulitzer Prize winning, Rick Bragg, is an account of life in the red dirt poverty of Alabama. It describes the suffering and sacrifices his mother went through to raise three boys and protect them from their mean alcoholic father and the shame of being poor in the south.

Monday, August 18, 2008

hunter's first day of school

As is our family tradition, mom and dad, baby sister, gram pa and gram ma, aunts and uncle, accompanied the kids to school on the first day.
Of course, Jenna is there for moral support.
Hunter poses outside the school. Notice the tie. He says it's important to look handsome on the first day of school.

Hunter is at his desk and ready to start.

Marley starts at a new school for 3rd grade.
For more pictures, go to Kelly's blog, Life with Kids!

Monday, August 11, 2008

our last day on the island

On our last day Rachel picked us up at our hotel and took us for a tour of Charlotte Amalie where we met her co-workers, shopped for souvenirs for the family at home, and picked up some local food to take with us.

It's common for motor vehicles to park on the sidewalk because the streets are so narrow.

Not only narrow streets but narrow sidewalks

Being a retired postal employee I'm always interested in what other post offices look like.

I love this great mural on the post office wall. We arrive at the gallery where Rachel works.

Rachel's co-workers

Rachel poses with her friend, Julia.

Rachel and her supervisor, Jackie

Here's an example of black coral sculpture. You don't want to know the price.

the interior of the gallery

Back into the fray in our search for t-shirts and other souvenirs

We went to a shop and bought a roti (a large burrito-like concoction full of conch (sea snail), potatoes, curry, and other hot spices.) And at this store we bought coconut tarts.

We had a little time so we ate our roti before the plain took off.

We leave the islands.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

st. john and thereabouts

I'm up at daybreak and take a walk along the beach and around the hotel while we wait for Bob and Rachel to pick us up for our boat trip to St. John.
Did we come at a bad time?

Here's a chart of our second boat trip showing the route we took.

Rachel and Bob get the boat ready for our trip

How would you like to live here?

Christmas Cove

This young couple live aboard this sailboat. They knew Bob. They asked us where we were from and when we told them Oklahoma, they went below and brought out an OU t-shirt and waved it at us.

This guy knew Bob too.

Dorothy and Rachel prepare lunch
We trolled along these cays, but never caught a fish.

We came along this ferry from Tortola B.V.I., and you guessed it! The captain knew Bob.

Here's a tour of Cruz Bay, St. John

On the way back to St. Thomas we meet up with Tim

Back at the marina; securing the boat.

Dorothy and I went back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.

Tuesday was open mic night at Latitude 18. This lady was playing a ukulele and sang "Jailhouse Rock". This night I had Mahi Mahi with crayfish etouffe and Dorothy had scallops provolone

This is Tim and his daughter Payton. They're friends of Bob and Rachel and now they're friends of ours.

This is a picture of Latitude 18 that I lifted from a tourist brochure. If you ever find yourself in St. Thomas be sure to eat here.
What kind of people do you find living on the Virgin Islands? In the words of the tourist's brochure for Coral Bay......
You'll find:
Truth seekers looking for something.
Mystery men hiding from something.
Artsy types.
Turn on, tune in, drop out Hippies.
Honest musicians.
Sail boaters from all over the world.
Retired couples too cool for Florida.
Way cool trust fund babies.
And misfits from every walk of life.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

grilling at the marina

Monday evening we were invited to the marina for a cook out. Dorothy and I, Bob and Rachel, Phil, and Tim and his daughter Payton enjoyed a good meal and good conversation

Payton finds a lizard.

Bob prepares to grill some chicken

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

doing the touristy thing

You drive on the left side of the road in the Virgin Islands, yet everyone drives a car with the steering wheel on the left side. A little scary. The speed limit all over the island is 35mph country and 20mph city. There's no stretch of road straight enough or level enough to get up much speed.

I cobbled together this view of Megan Bay Beach from four photos. The vistas here are too large for one shot.

Dorothy and I at Drake's Seat. This is where Sir Francis Drake sat and watched for Spanish ship activity. He would send word back to England of the ship movements.

Megan Bay from Mountain Top

Bob and Rachel sip banana daiquiris on the balcony of Mountain Top, a tourist gift shop mall at one of the highest points on the island. Megan Bay is in the background.

Remember the day we spent on Water Island? That's a view of it from the mountain road on St Thomas.

This is the restaurant at Paradise Point
And this is the view from Paradise Point