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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)

Read Full Post »

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