What is a Back Burner?

Many people say: “those who think they are doing good by ‘multi-tasking’ are really only doing many jobs or projects at one time – but not necessarily to the best of their ability.”

stove burner

I used to multi-task and to some extent still do more than one thing at a time like glance over something I want to read while also watching a TV show. But when I want to truly occupy my mind, while doing a project around the house, I will allow a different project I am thinking about to mull around in the “back burner” of my mind. The back burner of our minds operates like the stove in our kitchen once the meal is prepared but not quite ready to serve. We move the pot to the back burner to simmer allowing all the ingredients to mix, blend, and simmer creating this wonderful tasty meal for others to enjoy.

Back burners operate like a slow cooker – you toss in various ingredients, mix them up, and then walk away from them for several hours. The less times you open the pot to check on how they are doing – the better the meal will taste once done.

Many times, when I have problems that need solving and aren’t so earth-shattering that they need to be attended to immediately, I toss the idea around in the back of my head – usually subconsciously – allowing the problem to simmer such as the meal in the crockpot. We may not know it, but our back burner is always there ready to help us in situations like this.  While we are scurrying around doing our daily tasks, this back burner – while quieter and softer than our everyday mind – is intelligently thinking of ways to solve the problem(s) we have no immediate answer for.

Taking things to task this way enables our brain to be utilized both while working on current projects and silently thinking about the problems we want to tackle a day, week, or month down the road. It is not meant to be used to procrastinate though. When we toss the problem onto our back burner – it is to obtain – at a later date – a solution to the problem. Not only can this method assist in solving many problems, it should also reduce the stress in  one’s life.

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Posted in Live for Today, Routine, The Future, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Count to Ten!

counting-fingers-1-1482748

How many of us remember hearing one or both of our parents use the expression “Count to Ten” whenever they got angry? Back in the day, this was supposedly the sure-fire way to cool down when one was on the verge of becoming angry.

Today we are usually told to breathe – take a long breath – hold it in while saying one – exhale and then take another – hold it in and say the number two – and so on until you reach the number ten. Naturally if it is something that really has you frustrated and angrier than usual, you should probably do this until you reach the number twenty. Those of us who have meditated on occasion, might recognize that this is a form of meditation.  It is the systematic rhythm of counting and breathing that relaxes the mind so much so that it is almost impossible to remain angry once you have finished.

It is the oxygen intake you are getting due to the breathing in and out while counting that enables our brain to sort of relax by the time the entire counting process of one to ten or one to twenty is over enabling us to increase our perspective of the whole picture subsequently making the so-called “big stuff“ that created the problem or dispute in the first place to look like “little stuff.” Believe it or not, this little exercise works well whenever we get frustrated too. So, next time you find yourself – how shall I say – a little out of sorts with yourself or a project you are working on – try this counting exercise.

Actually, one could perform the exercise anytime during the day or week if for no other reason than to keep us calm and prepared for whatever might come next in our daily list of things to do. One doesn’t have to be angry to do it as it has a great calming effect and keeps us focused. Once you try it, you might just enjoy it as I do and sometimes just practicing it daily keeps me from losing my cool in the first place.

 

Posted in Contentment, Humor, Live for Today, Rants, Senior Moments, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Opinions

I Don’t Know Much About Anything,

But I Have An Opinion About Everything

opinion

The above statement can be said about many people today not to mention those individuals with political aspirations. But, putting political aspirations aside, one thing that should be considered when discussing a subject such as this is that instead of paying so much attention to the actual measure of qualifying, more attention should be directed towards those doing the measuring. Back in the day when I was still working, there were many a time that I questioned whether my boss was qualified to do his or her job. But in all fairness to this last statement, I would also have to ask myself (which I did on many occasion) am I qualified to do mine? Did you ever stop and think: what qualifications did they use as a measuring stick to determine what qualifications to even look for in those candidates for the job? Which also begs the question – who made up this measuring stick and what qualified those individuals to be able to do so. Seem like a Catch 22 to you – it does me!

Case in point, many years ago when I first started my insurance career, I remember having to go on an interview wherein I was given an aptitude test to see if I had what it took to make a career in the insurance field. After taking the test and being escorted into the room with the person whose role it was to discuss the results of the test with me, the individual proceeded to inform me that I should look for another line of work as I would never make it in the insurance industry. That was back in the late 1960’s. My career in insurance consisted of twenty-eight years of actual working in the insurance industry and then another ten years of writing and teaching those desiring to make insurance their career.

Now, what was that question again?

 

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Addiction – No, not that type!

coffee-cup-1239648

When I woke this morning, I said to myself: “Self, you need to be more assertive in what you do in any given day.” You are never going to get another book written if you keep putting off starting it. You have to become an addict.

No, not the person who is addicted to a particular substance, typically an illegal drug. The other type of addict, the one who is an enthusiastic devotee of a specified thing or activity.

Let’s talk about this for a moment. As human beings, we are all addicted to something. Some of our addictions are good for us while others we would be better off without. Take coffee addiction for an example:

I cannot call myself addicted to coffee – what coffee addict stops after his second cup of coffee? Besides coffee makes me pee which means I have to stop what I am doing and run …not walk…to the bathroom because when sitting at my desk attempting to write my 200 words a day or create a post such as this one, I usually get so wrapped up in what I am doing, I forget how old I am and that any small amount of liquid ingested into this old body causes it to immediately turn it into water.

Sitting at my desk writing sort of puts a crink ….is that even a word….in my writing style. you know what I mean. It’s when I remember after sitting at my desk for about an hour , that hey – you had two cups of coffee this morning and I think of that old saying: “what goes up – must come down. Well,  same holds true about the intake of fluid “what goes in – must come out.”  This takes time away from writing not to mention that at my age, it doesn’t take much to interrupt my train of thought which interrupts my writing. But I repeat myself.

Speaking of train of thought – where was I – no not the bathroom, I left there to head back to my desk to continue writing this piece. Oh, I know, addiction – another addiction I have is my feeble attempt to walk so many thousand steps per day. At one point, I was doing a minimum of 6000 steps a day. Could I call that an addiction? Works for me. One of the nice things about having a step counter in that expensive cell phone we carry with us everywhere we go is the app contained therein that tells you at the end of the day (and sometimes during the day when you least expect it) how well you are doing with your daily steps. I used to be addicted to walking five days a week first thing in the morning.

I would pop out of bed, do fifteen minutes of stretching exercises, put on my sneakers and walk for at least thirty to forty-five minutes. That is addiction. Rolling over and saying it is too cold outside to walk – well, that is just plain laziness. But, at times it feels so good to just roll over and go back to sleep. If there were two addictions I would like to continue with – they would be writing and walking.

Why is it that we can easily break the addiction of doing something that is good for us but continue doing the things that are bad for us? Take sweets for instance – how many of us love desserts? I cannot tell you how many times we have been to buffets and I eat what I think are healthy foods – you know salad, meat (grilled not fried), and fruit – passing on the rolls only to wander over to the dessert table and ruin what I just accomplished by eating healthy. That is addiction. But, one could write forever about the subject of addiction.  What is good for us and what is bad for us.  And let’s face it – that is not my style. My style is to write something – anything – that will bring a smile to the faces of those reading my rants and raves.

So, let me just say this: During our retirement years, if there is one thing we should become addicted to it is “Fun.”  We all worked long and hard to get to this point in our lives and while there are some things we should do and some things we should not do, once we reach a certain age, I am of the old school of thought that most things are good for us if taken in moderation. Take fun for instance, I could become addicted to having fun 24/7. After all, what is fun: Taken as a noun – Fun is enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure. Looked upon as an adjective – Fun is amusing, entertaining, and enjoyable. Getting back to the word addiction, at this point in our lives, best thing we could do is to become addicted to those things that provide us with days of fun.

I will end this with a quote (author unknown) that seems appropriate for the gist of this post:

“A smile is the light in the window of your face that tells people you’re at home.”

Now go out there and have FUN!

Posted in Contentment, Humor, Passions, Routine, The Future, Word Prompts | 1 Comment

Old Geezer/Old Fart!

In my quest to meet the recent challenges I set for myself with regards my writing, I decided to define what an old geezer – or in my case – an old fart is.

First off – Your Dictionary.com defines the term “old geezer” as follows:

Old geezer is a somewhat insulting term for an older person, especially one who is no longer cool, hip, or with the times. An example of an old geezer is a grumpy old man who sits on his porch all day yelling at neighborhood kids.

Now the definition of an “old fart” is: An elderly person who holds old-fashioned views.

Now that I have provided dictionary definitions, let’s look at this from a different point of view. Seeing that I have expressed myself on my blog as an old fart ranting and raving, let us take a moment and see what the word fart means:

Looking at the noun: A fart is a flatus expelled through the anus or could be defined as an irritating or foolish person.

As a verb: A fart means to expel a flatus through the anus; break wind.

As a synonym: Cut one, cut the cheese, fart, let her rip, rip one, pass gas, or toot!

Are you with me so far? Seeing that I define myself as an “old fart that rants and raves,” and being that I am not only past the age of 70, but closer to 80 than 70, let’s have some fun with what it means to be an “old fart.”  

And with that I will “let her rip!”

Below is a partial list that, in my humble opinion, represents why I fall on the list of being an “old fart”:

(1) I make more noise getting out of bed in the morning than I did twenty-five years ago during a heated night of passion.

(2) As an ‘old fart’ I prefer to eat dinner at a restaurant that provides quiet ambiance than today’s typical Sports Bar atmosphere.

(3) I no longer consider fiber to be or represent a thread or filament from which a textile is formed. Fiber represents a whole new meaning in my life.

(4) Years ago my knees cracked when I used to walk up and down stairs. Now they creak when I walk period.

(5) It used to be that I could get out of a chair and make a mad dash for whatever I was going for be it a snack or a bathroom break. Now, just standing up is a challenge and after having done that, next thing to do is have my brain send a message to my feet and legs that says  “OK old person – you are up – now you also got to move!”

(6) While I was never into going to bars much when I was younger, going to wineries today is now a favorite past-time.

(7) When younger – one went to hospitals for operations – nowadays they are called procedures.

I could go on and on (you know me – I like to rant and rave) but instead allow me to end this with a quote from Pablo Picasso:

“It takes a long time to become young!”

old man cartoon-character

Posted in Humor, Rants, Senior Moments, Uncategorized, Writing | 13 Comments

To those of you who follow my antics

Just a few words to thank those of you who take time from your busy schedules to follow some of my crazy writings – Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I must admit, I still do not have the mechanics of Word Press down pat and as a result I am sure I overlook telling those that read my material how much  I appreciate their doing so.

I try to write/post once a week and as soon as I see that someone has read and commented on what it is I wrote, I try my best to reply. But if I missed indicating that I seen you replied, I am sorry. One of these days  I will master Word Press.

Have a great day.

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“I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing”

At times I wonder why it is I continue writing, be it for this blog, the one I contribute to at http://community.retirement-online.com/profile/IrwinLengel or my monthly column for our community newsletter. But no sooner does the question pop up in my mind, it disappears almost immediately once I turn on my computer and start thinking of wild and crazy things to write about.

Yup, to steal a line from Steve Martin – I am one wild and crazy guy. With that thought in mind I decided that I would try to write a post this week using a one-liner from a past tv show or in this instance an advertisement from one of those shows.  The hard part is going to be to try and work the one-liner into the blog so that it seems to be part of the post. But here goes:

For instance, for lunch today we had home-made Chimichangas.

Chimichanga

Now, for those of you who have had this Mexican Spanish dish, you know that in some restaurants they are moderate in size while in others they might be rather substantial. Well, with ours being home-made and a way to use up some of our fresh vegetables, suffice it to say ours are pretty substantial. But before I go much further allow me to give a brief summation of the history of the Chimichanga.

As a matter of information and thanks to Wikipedia – the words chimi and changa come from two Mexican Spanish terms: chamuscado, (past participle of the verb chamuscar) which means seared or singed, and change, related to chinga, (third-person present tense form of the vulgar verb chingar), a rude expression for the unexpected or a small insult.

Enough with the Mexican Spanish lesson, let’s get on with one of several stories about how this Mexican Spanish dish came about. According to Wikipedia and one of its sources, the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, restaurant El Charro, Monica Flin, accidentally dropped a burrito into the deep-fat fryer in 1922. She immediately began to utter a Spanish profanity beginning “chi…” (chingada), but quickly stopped herself and instead exclaimed chimichanga, a Spanish equivalent of “thingamajig.” We will leave it there by saying and the rest is history.

Upon devouring our huge chimichanga for lunch, when finishing the last bite, I looked at my wife and coyly said: “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” For those of you too young to remember this saying it is from an old Alka Seltzer advertisement. When someone overate, and was full of gas and/or bloated, they would reach for the Alka Seltzer bottle and prior to popping two alka seltzer tablets into a glass of water would say: I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”  Hope you enjoyed my craziness.

alka seltzer

 

Posted in Rants, Senior Moments, Uncategorized, Writing | 9 Comments

“Who Knew?”

These past few months on the road have given me a new perspective of things to write about. First off, I have become overly fond of two words: “Who knew?”

So whenever I come across material that at least seemed new to me or was a concept I never even gave thought to – I will use the phraseology: “Who knew?”

For instance, while perusing some readings lately, I came across the question:
“Did Lady Godiva really ride naked through Coventry?” Interesting question, isn’t it?
Most people immediately picture this beautiful woman completely naked riding through the countryside on a magnificent horse with her golden hair blowing in the wind.
But how many people take the time to find out if this was myth or true. A better question that comes to mind is: “Why did she do it?

This is a true happening. Her husband was a very strict tax collector, but she herself did not like the fact that the people had to pay such high taxes. She tried to appeal to his sense of good will, hoping he would give the good people a break and not tax them so much but to her dismay, nay – he would not relent. Finally, after listening to her beg him and beg him day after day, he said to her one day – if you would ride through the town unclothed, he would relent in his pursuit of the high taxes.

He was probably wishing he would not have made such a statement when she took him up on his offer but, fair was fair, and he did honor his promise. As a result, Lady Godiva became a heroine in history and is so to this day. “Who knew?”

lady-godiva

The story does not end there though because before she rode through the town naked as a jaybird on top of her steed, she asked the townspeople to look away so as to not see her naked. Being grateful for what she had done, all did except for one man, a man called Tom.

Are you ready for this: Hence the arrival of yet another phrase known to man today – that of the “Peeping Tom!” I repeat, “Who knew?”

peeping-tom
Until next time!

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“Living in the Moment!”

”What is meant by the saying “Living in the Moment!”

Life is Good

I would like to think that it means enjoying whatever one is doing at any moment in time be it reading a book; writing in one’s journal; having dinner with friends and/or family; or working on a project such as a minor home repair job, hobby, or possibly attending to an odd job for a friend.

Living in the moment though does not mean we can forego looking towards the future. Oh, I am sure there are some people that think – “with all the turmoil going on in our world today – who knows what tomorrow might bring and therefore I am going to live for today and let the chips fall where they may with regards tomorrow.” That may be all well and good but as those of us who have recently made it through Hurricane Irma know – there is more to the statement “Live for Today” than some people realize.

I recently wrote an article entitled “Bump in the Road” and how life tends to throw such bumps at us now and then. Well, Hurricane Irma was one such bump. What some people may not be aware of are the “after bumps” we must take into consideration as well.

While many of us made it through Hurricane Irma ‘unscathed,” the fact of the matter is what if we would have been one of the unfortunate ones that weren’t so lucky? It is a thought that crosses my mind every time such an event takes place.

In planning for the evacuation of our home, we had to gather food, water, prescription drugs, clothing for two or three days, flashlights, important papers and so forth just in case our homes were damaged or quite possibly destroyed. Note: It was mentioned in the news that 25% of the homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed by Hurricane Irma. One of the thoughts, if not the main thought, that runs through one’s mind other than merely surviving at times like these are: In addition to what I am supposed to take with, what other possessions should I take with – you know – just in case?

They say material things can be replaced and I concur with that thought process but another fact is: while houses, cars, clothing, and high-tech toys can be replaced – what constitutes important information? How many of us have taken the time to record and keep safe data necessary to rebuild our lives after an event such as Irma should we be one of those unfortunate individuals that lose everything? I am talking about having a record of such things as bank account information, driver’s license numbers, insurance policy information (house, car, health, life), wills, passwords, and so forth?

These are the essentials needed to rebuild (yes – rebuild) one’s life in today’s high-tech world when a tragedy such as Irma strikes. While I have tried to maintain such records over the years – it is events such as this that always leaves me wondering – “Am I truly prepared?”

I am reminded of a television commercial some years back – and I believe it was for “Capital One” where the commercial says: “What’s in Your Wallet?” By the way, disasters come in all forms – they do not have to be the result of a hurricane.

Living in the Moment is one thing – attempting to revive all the data that proves you were living and are still living is yet another thing. Some things need to be thought about today, and tomorrow, and the next day as well.

Until next time!

Posted in Humor, Live for Today, Routine, Writing | Tagged | 9 Comments

Bump In The Road

Mistake

The only problem with getting out of bed at night to write is that I do not get up as early as I would like to the next day. But, when retired, like those of us who are, “Does it really matter?”  My answer to this question is a resounding yes – it does matter! My thoughts on this subject are that we should strive to be as consistent as possible with our daily routines.

For me, having a consistent schedule allows me to function without confusion, doubt, or whatever as to what it is I need to do each day. Getting up at the same time every day, stretching, taking my morning walk, taking my morning prescriptions, etc. enables me to prepare my mind for whatever I had thought about doing that day. Some days I prepare a list before I go to bed as to what I want to accomplish the next day and other times I wait until I am having my morning coffee to make such a list. I try to make it a point to retire at the same time each night and most nights stay in bed and not get up and write.

This daily “to do” list keeps me grounded. I know exactly what I want to get done and at my age I also recognize the fact that some of it will be done while other items may get moved to the following day’s list of “To do’s.” The neat part about such a routine is that, in life, we come across what one famous person called “bumps in the road.” Having such a list enables us to – address the “bump in the road” and come back to the list another day. Most of the time the list represents things that we would like to do and in some instances, need to do …………….but………..chances are none of them are emergency type situations thus should a “bump” occur, we can easily stop everything and address the “bump.”

Do we ever complete our list of “to do’s?”  If you are like me, probably not. Some get done on the day you planned on doing them, others get moved to the next day, and some get moved so often that eventually you say to yourself – apparently this one is not that important and it gets deleted completely from the list.

Bottom line is that the list gives us a purpose and should a “bump in the road” occur, enjoy the good times you had prior to the bump – address the bump whatever it may be or if possible, walk away from the bump – do not let it get the best of you, and get on with your life.  Remember – you are in charge of your own destiny!

Until next time!

Posted in Contentment, Live for Today, Routine, The Future, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments