Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What Does Vacation Mean to a Retiree?

"Is there a new blog?"

That's what my half awake wife asked me at four am.  I've been up since three-thirty: browsing and deleting email, scanning FaceBook posts from my 'friends', and doing the Wednesday NY Times crossword.

Carol read an article yesterday claiming that one reason older people (me for example) are unable to memorize things as well as they used to is sleep deprivation.  Old people have trouble sleeping.  She picked up this gem from one of her saved NY Times Sunday Magazines.  She doesn't collect them per se; what she does is put them aside to read "later" which translates to, "when I'm less busy" which usually means when we are on vacation, as we are now.  She brings the saved stack along and disposes of each one as soon as she's read it.  Depending on the length of our time away from home, she may get all of them read, if not the unread mags go back with us.

 So, to answer the title question: to this retiree, vacation means being away from home, away from the place that endlessly presents me with something that needs fixing, painting, moving, tossing.  It means getting far enough away for long enough that those sights fade.  Since I don't sleep well, that fade comes more quickly than it used to; there's another upside to aging for you.  The main upside is, of course, as long as one is aging one is alive.

It's warm in Key Largo.  I heard a visitor yesterday ask a local, "When does it get cold?"  his answer, "Never." This time of year in The Keys is most pleasant because it's both balmy and mosquito free, though not completely devoid of biting insects.  Watching the sunset at our inn's Tiki bar, I was mildly fed on by a few very tiny biters, not nearly annoying enough to get in the way of my enjoyment.

Yesterday we took a walk in a fascinating place with an absurdly long name,

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park(click the name for more detail on the park)

All in all a fine vacation so far - as good as any I can remember.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Beard or not a Beard? That is the Question.

I have a beard, have had for the last forty-two years.  It's scruffy because my hair curls, making it pretty much uncombable, and because it's not dense (I must have some Native American blood) it is kinda scraggily, but it is without any doubt, a beard.  I see so many men today with what I classify as stubble or even five-o'clock shadow, not a beard.  Two examples:  Robert Downey Jr. and Hugh Jackman.  I only use them because almost everyone on the planet has seen a recent photo of them.  They both look like they need a shave, not like they have a beard.  Maybe one could assume they are trying to grow a beard, but never, never that what they are currently sporting is a true beard.  Anything less than a half inch long really doesn't qualify.

Now I don't know if the world of boy-girl interaction has changed since I was a somewhat marginalized member, but the early stages of beard growth tend to itch the wearer and scratch the love interest.  Is this stubble soft?  Is there a new lotion that makes this micro-inch hairiness soft?  All I can say is "where was I when it was being passed out?"  New beards itch - end of story.  Now I imagine that several woman out there in internet land are saying "Come on Hugh scratch my face." or something less publicly utterable.  But really ladies, if you've never experienced a stubble go talk to someone who has before you take that step.  I'm sure you can find someone.

And guys enough indecision; either grow a beard or shave, so you don't give your dates a rash.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

This Century is now a Teenager - Scary?

Its childhood has been less than stellar.  It was born in a panic over the failure of our computer systems -  an example of our dependence on the ubiquitous microchip.  We worried that our bank accounts would be unavailable, our computers would be unresponsive, our cars would not run, and our aircraft would fall from the sky.  None of that happened.  It was born with a mere whimper.

Not until September of 2001 did plains fall from the sky, and change our country.   We retaliated,  but in a half-hearted manner, and ended up in a quagmire.  Two years later we added a second war to the mix, for reasons that were untrue.  We are still in both wars.

Early on we went from robust economic health into a spiral that left us anemic.  We are slowly regaining our health but our growth has been stunted.

As the century reaches puberty, teenage angst, pouting, and aggression are pretty evident.  I hope that our century is female, in which case that should subside in a few years as it matures.  If it is male, odds in favor of maturity are greatly diminished.