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Archive for September, 2018

Today is the last day of my first year of retirement!
Things I’ve Learned:
1)  You need more money up front than you think.  Because of the way Social Security, retirement plans and private savings are set up, there is a “substantial” delay between when you retire and when you start getting your money on a regular basis.  In my case, I couldn’t make up my mind how much to draw down my personal / private savings until after I got my final payment figure from SSA.  This meant pulling in our belts more than expected (for a few months) until I felt comfortable making this decision – and then waiting for it to kick in and start paying.  Everyone’s situation will be different, but I saved four months of “working” net pay to cover the expenses and I probably would have been more comfortable if I had been able to save up six.
2)  Make sure you can cover your health care expenses!  This out of pocket expense has been significantly more than I estimated.  I made sure to cover the cost of insurance and prescriptions and a “normal” amount of routine visits.  I didn’t “really” budget for trips to the ER, colonoscopies, cancer surgeries, … and the list goes on.  This will remain a cost I will have to constantly monitor until we get a “real” national healthcare system which covers medical, dental and vision.  You know – all of “health”.  For us, this probably means Medicare when we turn 65 in a couple of years.
3)  You need to get organized and then try to stick with a flexible plan.  Even with all day, every day, if you aren’t eating the elephant one bite at a time, big jobs on the “honey-do” list will get away from you.  Most stuff is day to day, but you need to allocate time to longer term goals and what you want accomplished or they will drift and just not get done.
4)  It always ends up being more complicated than what / how you learn to do it on YouTube.  And usually more expensive, too…  Sometimes, you’ve just got to bite the bullet and pay a professional.  Do your retirement budget a favor and pay to get it done before you retire.
5)  It takes longer to adjust to a “non-work” schedule than you think.  I thought my body would adapt to a different sleep pattern within a couple of weeks.  WRONG.  It’s been twelve months and I’m still adjusting.  Sure, I can stay up later now, but that doesn’t get things done the following morning when you sleep in to make up for it.
6)  I wanted to read more books, learn to play an instrument, learn basic fluency in a foreign language and get in better shape (lose weight).  I am sleeping more.  I’ve lost weight and I’m getting more exercise.  I’m reading fewer books, because I’m on the computer a LOT more.  No progress on music or a foreign language.  (See #3 above…)
7)  Relax, smell the roses, and have a cuppa’…   About six weeks into my retirement (last November), I had to go into the ER / hospital to get my heart stopped and restarted due to my AFib.  So, once again I’ve been reminded I’m living on borrowed time.  (Hence the more sleep and trying to lose weight.)  It felt so un-natural to not have to get up for work, I think I let that (by itself) stress me out.  Now, I really am trying to take it a bit easier and settle into “being” retired.  LOL…  I think it might take me another two or three years, but I’m determined to get better at it.
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On This Day In:
2017 First Day Of Retirement!
2016 Revere And Criticize
2015 Global Climate Change May Test This Statement
2014 Adaptability Won
2013 Disappeared
2012 Fuller
Life On The Range
More Classics
2011 Stoned Again?
2010 Insubordination… And That’s Why I Love Her!
Losing – Week One

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The Grapes Of Wrath (1940) — movie review
Today’s review is for the John Ford directed movie: “The Grapes Of Wrath” starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, Jane Darwell as Ma Joad and John Carradine as Jim Casy.  The movie is based on the novel written by John Steinbeck which was published the year before the movie (1939).  The subject of the movie is the move by the Joad family from Oklahoma to California – what causes the move and what happens during the move.  This is the first time I’ve seen this movie and I never had to read the book while in high school and haven’t read it since.  Yes, I know it’s a “classic”.  Mea culpa, mea culpa.
It seems I’ve been watching a number of Henry Fonda movies lately, so I thought I’d do this review next (after “Once Upon A Time In The West“).  In OUATITW, Fonda plays a cold blooded killer named (only) Frank.  I was surprised to find he is also a killer in this movie.  At the start of the movie, Tom is released from prison (convicted of murder which he claims was in self-defense) and he makes his way to his family’s farm in Oklahoma.  He finds the farm abandoned, but is able to meet up with them at his uncle’s farm nearby.  Unfortunately, his uncle’s farm has also been repossessed, and the family is being forced off of it.
Repossessed is probably not an accurate description, because they don’t actually own the farm.  They are sharecroppers.  As long as the land was productive, they could scrape by enough to feed themselves and pay their rent.  But, when the world was hit by the Great Depression and most of the mid-west was hit by the “dust bowl” of the mid-1930’s, the land was unable to support the families let alone pay for the rents.  Many families were forced to move or starve.
Like many families, the Joad’s decide to move to California on the “promise” of well paying jobs.  The majority of the rest of the movie is about the difficulties of the trip and the eventual realization that “the promise” was merely a means for the owners of the land in Oklahoma to get the sharecroppers to voluntarily move off the land without the owners having to use force.  And, during the course of the movie, Fonda’s character kills again.  This time Tom kills a “deputy” who has just killed Fonda’s friend (Carradine / Casy) for no reason except that he (the deputy) can get away with it.
This movie is a powerful indictment of capitalism, fascism and authoritarianism in the United States during the 1930’s.  It has strong political (anti-communist) undertones which touch on both the “red scare” and anti-unionism as the wealthy, in California, try to take advantage of their fellow Americans who have been driven into poverty and into migrant worker status by weather and economic forces beyond their control.  The movie also uses two specific scenes to demonstrate that average Americans have charity in their hearts – in sharp contrast with those with economic power / wealth.
The movie is generally considered to be one of the greatest American movies of all time – and I agree it one of the most powerfully disturbing movies I’ve ever viewed.  According to Wikipedia: “this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” “
The movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards (1941) and won two: Darwell for Best Actress and Ford for Best Director.  Fonda was nominated for Best Actor, but did not win.  He lost to James Stewart in “The Philadelphia Story“.
Final recommendation: very highly recommended!  Disturbing, yes!  Powerful, yes!  If there is ANY downside to the movie, I’d say the weak attempt at an optimistic ending detracted from the overall power of the movie.  Fonda’s “Joad as everyman” in the prior scene was barely believable.  Ma’s “we’re gonna get by cause that’s what we’ve always done” – far less so.  In any case, this is a great / classic movie and well worth viewing in our day due to its message about our own economic / political time.
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On This Day In:
2017 Proof Sits In The Oval Office
2016 Tragic Determinism
2015 Maybe It Should Be Clearer
2014 Make It Your Strength
2013 Four Score
2012 The Ruler
2011 Forever
2010 Just Cuz
How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
It’s Alive!! (3rd Pair Shoe Review)

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Martyrdom has always been a proof of the intensity, never the correctness, of a belief.
  —  Arthur Schweitzer
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On This Day In:
2017 Proof Sits In The Oval Office
2016 Tragic Determinism
2015 Maybe It Should Be Clearer
2014 Make It Your Strength
2013 Four Score
2012 The Ruler
2011 Forever
2010 Just Cuz
How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
It’s Alive!! (3rd Pair Shoe Review)

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I have never understood why it should be considered derogatory to the Creator to suppose that he has a sense of humor.
  —  William Ralph Inge
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On This Day In:
2017 Chilled And Smooth
2016 But Sometimes You Have To Stand In Front
2015 The Key Shift
2014 Remember ISIS / ISIL?
2013 What Have You Done Lately?
2012 B8
2011 I’m Definitely Not In Control

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Very Few

There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.
  —  Andre Gide
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On This Day In:
2017 Or The Candidate Who…
2016 The Happiest People
2015 Jumping Into The Dark
2014 I Would Be Sillier
2013 It Keeps Happening Anyway
2012 Take Time
2011 A Mother’s Lesson
2010 3rd Pair – Shoe Review (DOA and Final)

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Yours truly standing in front of the newly delivered yard sign for our daughter’s campaign for membership on the Community College Board.
Image of me standing in front of Bec's campaign sign
Note:  This is my “uniform”  (T-Shirt and cap) as I walk around our neighborhood dropping off fliers for her campaign.
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On This Day In:
2017 Improvise
2016 Got Leisure?
2015 It’s Been Hurtin’ For Quite A While Now
2014 Curious Talent
2013 Eureka
2012 Slow Me
2011 He Said What?!?
2010 Gritty
3 and 3
Just A Hunch
Wall Street – Movie Review
2nd Pair – Shoe Review (Aborted and Final)

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Years ago we discovered the exact point, the dead center of middle age.  It occurs when you are too young to take up golf and too old to rush up to the net.
  —  Franklin Pierce Adams
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On This Day In:
2017 Improvise
2016 Got Leisure?
2015 It’s Been Hurtin’ For Quite A While Now
2014 Curious Talent
2013 Eureka
2012 Slow Me
2011 He Said What?!?
2010 Gritty
3 and 3
Just A Hunch
Wall Street – Movie Review
2nd Pair – Shoe Review (Aborted and Final)

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Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.
  —  Albert Einstein
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On This Day In:
2017 Thank You, Senator McCain (So Far Anyway)
2016 What About Friends?
2015 It Tastes Good To Me
2014 Others’ Footsteps
The Not-So-Modern Samurai
2013 Doin’
2012 A Lover
2011 What Have We Found Here
Words

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There are only three requirements for success.  First, decide exactly what it is you want in life.  Second, determine the price that you are going to have to pay to get the things you want.  And third, and this is most important, resolve to pay that price.
   —  H. L. Hunt
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On This Day In:
2017 If Only
2016 Equal Justice
2015 Not Enough
2014 Are You Even Listening?
2013 Namaste
2012 Looking Up
2011 Et Tu Brute?

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Image of Bec's Website Logo
Issues
Images of Campaign T-Shirt
The above is some campaign information about my daughter who is running to become a member of the local Community College Board.  She wants to give back to our community and try to make a positive impact in the lives of other people.  (And, we are very proud of her!)  October 22nd is the last day to register to vote in California for the election to be held on November 6th.  Please register to vote and then get out and vote in the up-coming elections and remember to look all the way down the ballot.
Oh, yeah, today is her Birthday!  Happy BD, Princes!!
We love you always,
Mum and Dad

XXX
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On This Day In:
2017 Happy BD, Bec!
2016 BD Quotes
2015 Princess
2014 Optional
2013 Happy Birthday, Rebecca
2012 Be Not Old
2012 National League Western Division Champions!!!
2011 What Kind Of Work Do You Do?
2010 Another Loser… And Come November

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We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.  God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people, claims, and petitions.  We may pass them by, preoccupied with more important tasks . . .  When we do that, we pass by the visible sign of opportunity raised in our path to show us that, not our way, but God’s way must be done.  It is a strange fact that people frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they will allow nothing to disturb them.  They think they are doing God a service in this, but actually they are disdaining God’s ‘crooked yet straight path.’  But it is a part of the discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can perform a service and that we do not assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow it to be arranged by God.
  —  Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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On This Day In:
2017 No Hope For #DumbDonald
2016 Do Something
2015 What Are You Making Now?
2014 Like Fire Burning In My Heart
2013 Oh Yes He Can!
2012 Enquiries
2011 The Prize: Understanding
2010 Can You Tell My Scanner Works?
Rebecca – The Early Years
James – The Early Years
Brothers By Another Mother

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The struggle is a normal, necessary part of the process.  Changing your food is hard.  Changing your habits is even harder.  Changing your relationship with food is the hardest part of all.  The process requires struggle — it’s how you know you’re growing — but don’t make it harder than it has to be!  There is no such thing as the ‘perfect Whole30,’ so if your beef isn’t grass-fed or your travel meal doesn’t look exactly like our meal template, don’t sweat it.  Your only job is to stick to the Whole30 rules for 30 days, and some days, you’ll have to let good enough be good enough.  When you do struggle, remember why you took on the program in the first place, and don’t be overwhelmed by the big picture — just focus on the next day, or the next meal.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and high-five yourself for the victories you’re achieving every day you’re on the program, no matter how small.  Even tiny progress is progress.
  —  Melissa Hartwig
Quoted by: Jamie Webber
In the on-line article:  “The Beginner’s Guide to Whole30
Specific link: http://greatist.com/eat/whole30-beginners-guide
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On This Day In:
2017 Real Conservatism
2016 The Business Of Life
2015 Alone Again, Naturally
2014 Agreed
2013 Smile From Your Heart!
2012 Like You
2011 Got Days?
2010 K9 Humor – Has Anyone Seen My Setter? (Must read!!)
A Longer Blog Than You Want To Read (Probably)
2009 Back and Forth and Round Again…

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Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)  —  movie review
OUATITW is a “classic” style “spaghetti” western directed by Sergio Leone who made Clint Eastwood a movie star with his “Man With No Name” trilogy.  This movie stars Henry Fonda in a role / type reversal as the movie’s main bad guy, a killer called “Frank”.  The movie includes Claudia Cardinale as Jill McBain – a New Orleans prostitute who comes out west after marrying a dirt farmer who has the foresight to buy land with the only available water in 200 miles; Jason Robards as Manuel “Cheyenne” Gutiérrez – a bandit who seems to get into and out of trouble for most of the movie, (kind of the good hearted bad guy); Charles Bronson, known only as “Harmonica” – not really a good guy, but the closest thing this movie has to one as he kills all the bad guys; and Gabriele Ferzetti as Mr. Morton – the background bad guy who hires Frank to force Jill McBain off the land, so he can take ownership.
I borrowed this DVD from my brother who claims it is one of his favorite Western genre movies of all time.  He also claims the Western genre is his favorite genre of all.  I don’t remember ever seeing this movie, so I brought it home for a look see…
My reaction: it’s good, but not great.  It’s long and I found it a bit confusing.  The movie tries to use flashbacks to explain things (particularly near the end), but it doesn’t do it well.  My brother says he remembers seeing a different version which has an additional twenty minutes and explains everything better.  Maybe, but I can only watch what’s before me…
So, does Fonda make a good baddie?  Does Robards play a convincing Mexican?  Does Bronson play a good Eastwood?  Is this a good Western?  Is this a good movie?  Three yeses and two noes.
Henry Fonda makes a surprisingly good “evil killer”.  He plays it straight and it works.  He’s believable.  Robards plays a terrible Mexican.  I didn’t even realize he WAS a Mexican.  I just thought Cheyenne was a nickname.  Even saying that, Robards plays a surprisingly great “good hearted bad guy”.  I like him.  He was threatening and likable (almost funny) at the same time.  Charles Bronson CANNOT play Clint Eastwood.  While the role was clearly written for Eastwood, Charles is just okay in it.  Not great, but okay.  And, finally, Claudia Cardinale is gorgeous.  I’ve heard her name before, but cannot honestly say I’ve ever seen her in any movies – even movies I’ve seen (LOL).  No, she is not believable in this role, but I think it would have been a tough role for any actress to pull off.  Having said this, she is good enough in the role it makes me want to see her in some of her other performances to see if she can act or if she’s just another pretty face who was okay in this role.
Is this a good Western and / or a good movie?  Yes.  To both.  Although it is LONG and a bit slow in parts, it is trying to tell a story and it mostly accomplishes that – and that (both, actually) in itself is pretty unusual for most Westerns.  I like gritty Westerns and this is one of those.  I like movies which have a story to tell and this one does.  I like movies where some of the characters evolve and some calcify, because that’s how people react in real life – and this movie shows this.  So, yeah, all in all it’s a good Western and a good movie.  It’s not Oscar material, but it’s an enjoyable watch.
Final recommendation:  Strong to highly recommended.  It’s no where near my favorite Western, but it’s a good movie and I really liked the good guy actor (Fonda) in this type reversal.
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On This Day In:
2017 Faith In Science
2016 What The World Calls
2015 Say What?
2014 Start Today
2013 Fly!!
2012 Greater Love
2011 Before

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Four Loves

Infantile love follows the principle: “I love because I am loved.
Mature love follows the principle: “I am loved because I love.”
Immature love says, “I love you because I need you.
Mature love says: “I need you because I love you.
  —  Erich Fromm
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On This Day In:
2017 Faith In Science
2016 What The World Calls
2015 Say What?
2014 Start Today
2013 Fly!!
2012 Greater Love
2011 Before

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A major obstacle to creativity is wanting to be in the peak season of growth at all times. . .  But if we see the soul’s journey as cyclical, like the seasons. . .  then we can accept the reality that periods of despair or fallowness are like winter, a resting time that offers us a period of creative hibernation, purification, and regeneration that prepares us for the births of spring.
  —  Linda Leonard
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On This Day In:
2017 Drug Epidemic In America
2016 Word Up, Chuck!
2015 Sometimes I Wonder About Things
2014 Still Racing
2013 Anew
2012 Make Both
2011 Are You Happy Yet?

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