One Year With Lincoln

I sure do love continuing to get updates at the Oregon Zoo. I’ve been in Massachusetts now for just over 3 years and certainly miss my favorite state of Oregon and their wonderful zoo. I hope you enjoy the short videos I post here.

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Basal Cell Carcinoma

That’s what the lab says I have growing on the side of my nose. It’s reported to be the most common form of skin cancer and is highly treatable. I will await a call from a surgeon to set up a date to have it removed by a VA cancer surgeon. I’m relieved to get this diagnosis as I thought I might have a second nose growing next to the first one. LOL

A Return To My Normal Routine

The Thanksgiving holiday is now in my past. I had a quiet year on Thanksgiving, spending time with a friend for breakfast and the rest of the day alone in my apartment. I enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal at my local Senior Center with dozens of people I know well.

During the past 6 weeks prior to Thanksgiving I’ve had no car available for use. It was simply the need for a front brake job on my SmartCar and replacement of the front tie rods. That $365 work required me to wait for my Social Security check to be deposited so I could pay my mechanic. My budget these days require that I save up major repair payments over time. Gone are the $1500 paydays I used to enjoy while still working. In retirement, living on a fixed income, I must exercise patience for sufficient funds to arrive.

On the eve of Thanksgiving my car was ready for pickup. I thought the asking price was extremely fair which is why I go to my local repair shop. The car is back to running like new and I no longer need someone to pick me up on a daily basis.

Although stressful at times this episode in life was a minor hiccup, a bump in the road. I managed to deal with it without an anxiety attack or worry. I came out the other end happy and glad to return to my normal routine.

Thanksgiving Black Friday Cyber Monday

I’m sure people and businesses in the United States have these three days marked on their annual calendars. They signal the most important shopping days of the year where lots of people are in a spending mood. Pictures of crowds swamping mall stores at opening are commonplace across the United States. That is, except for me.

I’ve decided to almost eliminate spending this year in an effort to avoid digging myself further in debt. After all, I already own everything I’ve always wanted, needed or lusted after. Most of it sits on shelves and in closets never used. I have large UPS packages that have been sitting in my apartment, unopened, for over two years.

As an example I have no chairs for guests to visit me in my home, yet I have a box, unopened, in my closet with two brand new kitchen table chairs unassembled. Sounds silly doesn’t it. You see I live like a hermit yet buy stuff just in case someone visits. I owned an electric coffee pot for four years that still had the instructions in the glass carafe. I finally gave it away, unused, to a friend, the friend I thought might viit me and want a cup of coffee. Sad!

These days I buy most anything I want online after extensive research to get the perfect deal, the ideal item. I have piles of boxes containing these purchases all over my apartment, piled up, opened only once. This must stop!

My needs are very simple. My dreams drive my need to collect stuff, stuff that I used to use in my hobbies of 20 years ago. I now live in a one room apartment 10’x20′ that is ill equipped for a complete woodworking shop yet you’ll find 4 complete workbenches, a table saw, router table, drill press in the box and a myriad of folding saw horses, all in my one room. Every square inch is covered with power tools, hand tools and wood. Someday I’ll make something. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I Got Car

Finally, after a month without my car my mechanic called that the repairs on my 2009 SmartCar were complete. I’ve been catching rides from friends and taking the shuttle bus from my Senior Center for a month now. I even walked a mile this morning to my mechanic’s garage to pick the car up. I haven’t walked that far in a couple of years.

I had just routine work done of my car which now has 43,000 miles on it. That’s not much for a 2009 new car. Obviously I don’t drive as much as I used to in my youth. Still, my car had enough miles to require some routine maintenance, front brakes, rotors and tie-rods. I was very happy with the bill only adding up to $365. I thought it would be well over $500.

So now I actually have enough money in my bank account to survive easily until my pension check arrives in December. My rent money is safely sitting in my checking account and will get paid right on time. Life is good. God is faithful! Have a great holiday all. We’re in for the coldest Thanksgiving on record tomorrow.

Cold Compute Thanksgiving Greeting Card

As The Holidays Approach

I’m reminded of all the things I do have instead all the things I don’t have. What is friendship worth? What do you own that compares to being blessed with good health? What do you really need to be truly happy?

I find myself truly happy for the first time in many years. I’m in treatment for suicidal depression and I’ve been experiencing peace in my life for the first time in 25 years. The antidepressant I’m taking, Sertraline, has all but erased the mood swings that kept me from being tormented with long and severe bouts with thoughts of hurting myself. I’m still searching for what now lies ahead of me in my retirement but I feel I have a future.

Each time life throws me a curveball I have the resources to handle them without despair. I fall back on the knowledge that a tough situation will pass, that I need only wait and work through it with the tools my psychiatrist has provided me. I fall back on my friends, church family and neighbors who I find are eager to lend a hand or ear to listen. Life is good! Thank you God!

Veteran’s Day

Another year and another Veteran’s Day has arrived. As you may recall I joined the USAF in 1969, 49 years ago. Wow that’s a long time ago! Guess next year on my 50th anniversary I might buy myself a black balloon or something. Can’t say I celebrate this holiday as people’s memories are short. There were no ticker tape parades when I came home from Southeast Asia. There were only Moonies at the airports geerin the vets, calling them “baby killers”. There were no yellow ribbons on trees either. They didn’t even have the decency to call it a war, it was a “conflict”. Well excuse me!

Since I live in a rural small town now I’d have to drive a ways to find a Denny’s Restaurant offering veterans a free breakfast. In fact tomorrow the Senior Center is closed so there’s no lunch for veterans either. Funny that they are open on Halloween, St. Patty’s Day, Valentine’s Day! Makes me feel like chopped liver, a second class citizen as a veteran. I can’t compete with St. Patty’s Day! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Veteran's Day

The Election

I am happy with the results of the midterm election. What makes me the happiest is the fact that the election is over. No more mud slinging, name calling or political double talk. We now have a balanced congress with each party able to stifle or join the other side. Don’t look for any hand holding pair skipping down the aisles ofย  the White House soon. Yes, I did vote. If you didn’t, hush up, as I don’t want to hear your complaints.

Party Animals

Everyone loves a party! Halloween parties are particularly fun as dozens of seniors go to great length to dress for the occasion. I’ve never seen so many witches in one place at the same time. I must remind myself that I now live in Massachusetts, home of the famous Salem witch trials.

The center was packed as old friends mingled and chatted about all that has transpired since they last saw each other. A good time was had by all.ย  Parties bring out an expanded crowd, anticipating all those goodies as well as special prizes awarded to a few lucky party animals. This was the first big party for the new director, Lisa Bernard. Lisa seemed to be soaking in the excitement that was as thick as a witch’s brew. ๐Ÿ™‚

Gail 01

Happy Halloween Everybody

The United States celebrates some of the strangest holidays. Depending on where you live Halloween is taken very seriously. In the south, for example, houses are decorated to the level you see at Christmas. It was fun driving around seeing whole neighborhoods pick an annual theme and go “whole hog” preparing for it.

Here in New England we’re much more subdued with our Halloween traditions. In fact I haven’t seen a single trick or treater in the 3 years since moving here. There are private little parties going on behind closed doors but most of the attendees are adults, senior adults. Such is the case this year at our Senior Center in Uxbridge, MA.

I’ve attended these events that bring out politicians, volunteers and the maximum permitted party crowd. We pack in over 50 party animals in full costume eager to get their “goodies”, play games and win prizes. During the special lunch senators, police chiefs and local dignitaries donate their time by serving the seniors in attendance. There’s a best costume award that always turns out to be unique and fantastic.

So today is that magic day. I’m putting together my own little costume of the John Wayne character in the famous “True Grit” movie, Rooster Cogburn. Since firearms are strictly forbidden at the center I’m substituting a cordless electric drill in a holster. I’ve grown a full beard for the season and this event. At almost 70 it comes out looking like the one Gabby Hayes used to have. It’s always white as well. Talk of me being Santa Claus this Christmas is rampant. What fun!

Bob 04