Mexican Train Night

Now that we are getting into what some might call our advanced years, did you ever stop and think how boring our lives might be if we did not have friends or live in a community that was not socially active.

Every Wednesday evening a group of us – sometimes as many as fourteen individuals meet at our clubhouse around six pm and split into two or three groups to play a domino game called Mexican Train. It is sort of a ritual with many of us as it enables us to catch up on what is happening with our friends and neighbors. Usually each game is started at the same time and in many instances, ends at about the same time dependent upon how the plays go. When someone wins, a person at that table hollers “We have a winner” and hopefully one of the other tables has a winner too and then they switch places for the next game. It enables us to meet with various friends all throughout the evening and keep up with all that is going on in their lives as well as share with others what is happening in ours.

Other times during the week, different groups meet to either play a game of bridge or a card game known as “Hand and Foot”. This too allows different members of our community to share the comradery of friends and neighbors. Saturday mornings a different group of people from within the community also get together for coffee, donuts, and to share their happenings with others.

It is a great way to socialize and keep track of each other’s goings on. We share stories about our past lives, current lives, grandchildren, how one’s golf game is going (actually had one member of our community recently hit a hole-in-one and that individual is eighty years old), and so forth.

Why do I bring this up in this week’s article – because I am finding that the older we get, especially those of us with children living far away, this type of social activity is important. Not only is getting together socially at events/functions important from a social standpoint, it also serves the purpose of being aware when one of our friends or neighbors may be sick or home-bound for one reason or another. Knowing that will enable us to stop by and see how they are doing and possibly run an errand or two for them should they need it.

An example of what I am referring to just happened a few weeks ago. One of our residents failed to show up at coffee and doing a bit more research, it was learned that the individual had been taken to the Emergency Room the night before and was admitted to the hospital for observation. That knowledge enabled us via our Care and Condolence Committee (CCC) to check into the well-being of that individual. Once our CCC representative is aware that a member of the community is sick or in the hospital, not only does the representative contact that person to see if there is anything they need, but a note is placed on our community bulletin board so that the community as a whole also becomes aware of that persons status. Friends helping friends!

Having been in and out of the hospital for various things (years ago), I know how lonely it can be just lying in a hospital bed for any length of time with just the sight of a nurse or two to keep you company. Although I must admit – when I was in the hospital they could have given my wife a bed next to me because she was there from the beginning of visitor’s hours until visiting hours were over every day that I was there.

I think it is important as we age, especially if we are self-sufficient prior to being hospitalized, that others within our community know a bit about our lifestyles. Social activity, in my opinion, at our age is so important not only for the reasons mentioned above but also for our own mental health. By having friends we can socialize and converse with, we eliminate or at least cut down the amount of time we are sitting home all alone. Being alone as we age is a sure-fire way to become depressed and despondent.

So, next time you feel alone or don’t know what to do with yourself, find someone to play Mexican Train with or just call a friend or relative on the phone and invite them over for a cup of tea or a cup of coffee. Who knows, it may become a daily or weekly ritual giving you something positive to look forward to. Positive thinking is much better than negative thoughts as we age.  I know we (Dolly and I) enjoy our Saturday morning coffee and donut get-together. Although I must admit, when I leave I do feel a bit guilty about that Apple Fritter I had with the coffee. But then I also know that come Monday morning I will be back into walking two miles before breakfast and so I will walk it off.

But to be safe, next time I go for my walk after I have had my donut, I may walk two and one-half miles!

Until next time!

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Back to dancing and walking

MY VIEW OF THE WEEK

Of the various quotes I read this week, once again two of them sort of stand out with regards where I consider myself to be at this time in my life.

The first quote is one that is representative of the way my life has been for more years than I care to admit to. But, lately I am more inclined to lean the other way and by that I mean that I am starting to run my day versus the other way around. Here is the quote: “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn

Fortunately there were two that struck a chord within me this week and the words contained within the second quote pretty much explain the way I have felt for quite a few years now. “Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” – Doris Mortman

It has taken a few years but in essence, I have learned that I am the one that is in charge of what I do on a daily basis and if I want to get the things done that top my list of priorities, I have to be the one in charge of running my day.

Also, at times I find myself thinking back to some of the homes we have had in the past – saying to myself – “Gee wouldn’t it be nice if we still owned that home and could be living in it instead of where we are”……… but then “the bubble bursts and I wake up and say to myself – “but what would be different?”

Okay, you would have a big beautiful house but stop and think – it doesn’t end there. With that big house comes a big mortgage payment, costlier insurance, more maintenance, a bigger tax payment and so forth and so on. On the other hand, I know what I have and have applied myself accordingly and all is working out just fine. We are not wanting for anything, my bills get paid on time, food is in the house, a roof is over our head, and more importantly we have our health. Bottom line is I have made peace with myself and am quite content with what I have at this particular moment in time. That in and of itself is something that makes our lives work better.

Finally some good news to report as the rain has finally slowed down some. Our economy in Polk County should get a huge boost in the near future as Amazon is constructing a 1 million-square-foot facility in Lakeland that will serve as a distribution center. Once completed, Amazon will have two huge distribution centers in the state of Florida, the Lakeland facility and one that is also under construction in Ruskin, FL.

We, ourselves, continue to take life one day at a time. At the moment both of us are enjoying good health and we are making sure we exercise at least 45 minutes each day. When it comes to exercise we get it by means of our line dancing which we do five days a week. Fortunately even though we are a little tired when those forty-five minutes are over, it does make us feel better and we find we have a bit more energy upon returning home.

Myself, I have committed to walking a minimum of two miles a day for at least six days a week and have been holding to it. It is amazing how much more energy I seem to have compared to the way I felt before I got back into dancing and walking again.

Other than the above, all is quiet on the home front at the moment. As far as what we intend to do for a better tomorrow – nothing different from that which we have been doing as we are happy, healthy for the moment, and no problems facing us that we are aware of.

Life is good!

Time to Enjoy Positive Things

QUOTES FOR THE WEEK – BEST ONE TO DESCRIBE MY WEEK!

Of the seven quotes I entered into my journal this week, the one that stands out the most and would be the best one to describe my week would be the following:

“I want to do it because I want to do it.” – Amelia Earhart

I picked this one because for more years than I want to even think about, I have always wanted to write a book – why? Because as Ms. Earhart so aptly said – “I want to do it because I want to do it.” Well, I am now in week three of my endeavor to write my first ever book albeit a Kindle book. Wish me luck as my deadline for finishing it is the end of this month.

TODAY’S WEATHER, NEWS, & EVENTS

As far as my reporting on anything spectacular about this week’s weather, news, and/or events that occurred this week, nothing spectacular has happened. I do know that we have finally remembered why we are usually on vacation at this time of the year and that is because it rains so much here in Central Florida at this time of the year. We have had our fair share of rain each and every day for the past several weeks. Enough already!

Regarding the news – nothing reported that I would even care to discuss. Here are some of the headlines of current news events: 1 dead after train collides with car in Auburndale; respected clerk of court killed in Lakeland crash; man 20, charged with murder in Polk Co shooting; Two killed in morning head-on crash in Mulberry. Is it any wonder why we prefer not to watch or listen to the news. We never hear any good news – I guess it is only the bad news that our press feels is worth printing.

HEALTH AND EXERCISE – HOW I FEEL TODAY

Still on my walking regimen and not doing bad with it. My routine is fifteen minutes of stretching followed by forty minutes of walking which actually covers two plus miles. In addition – after returning home and eating breakfast followed by a quick shower, I am off to line dance practice which can last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Staying fit as we age is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. One of the things I have noticed the older I get is that after reaching a certain age, our bodies tend to change. Our skin wrinkles (although I haven’t seen too many wrinkles lately), hair thins although mine is still quite full albeit somewhat finer than what it has been up til now, and our arms and legs usually tend to get thinner.

Personally it has not bothered me to see how my body has aged but then, I do not find myself standing in front of a mirror looking at my naked self often either. Actually why worry about what it took a lifetime to make – it isn’t going to change – and unless your body is failing you in some way or another – best thing to do is keep up the good work in how you have maintained your body up til now. That is my way of looking at this particular phase of my life. How does that line go – “That’s my story and I am sticking to it!”

MAGICAL MOMENTS – COMFORT, PEACE, AND LOVE

Last time I wrote about “comfort” although it was comfort food I was speaking of. This week I think I will briefly post my comments as to the word peace.

Peace is a period of harmony between different social groups that is characterized by lack of violence or conflict behaviors, and the freedom from fear of violence.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in this great big world of ours could truly identify with the word peace and it’s meaning as shown above. Unfortunately there have been periods of disruption, uprisings, violence, and so forth as far back as many of us can remember. I just think it would be great if our grandchildren or at least our great-grandchildren could look forward to a world that was more prone to peace than violence. Live and let live is my motto. As long as my neighbor respects me as a person, doesn’t try to make me into something I am not, and I, in turn treat them in the same manner, shouldn’t we all get along? But then I am but a common man! What do I know?

FOR A BETTER TOMORROW – GOALS, IDEAS, ETC.

As to what my goals, ideas, and so forth for a better tomorrow might be – good health and happiness for my family comes to mind. Being able to visit our children at least one more time this year would be nice. Spending more time with friends and neighbors within our community is something we are looking forward to. Wishing our politicians would spend more time telling us how they are going to get our country back on track instead of bashing and bad-mouthing each other would make me think that tomorrow might be better – perhaps not exactly tomorrow but at least on the horizon.

Well I am coming to the end of this post and just want to say that each of us interact with what is happening around us over the course of time in a different fashion. Some of us look only at the negativity, while others look at the positive side of the equation. I mentioned that we usually do not follow the news because it would appear that all they want to report or tell us is negative issues and that is true. Myself however, I prefer only to hear about the positive things that are happening. If that makes me an ostrich hiding my head in the sand – so be it.  Knowing that I will soon be three-quarters of a century old, my thought process is that at my age, I have seen and experienced enough negative things in my life. I want to be surrounded by happy positive thoughts not negative ones.

Time now to enjoy positive ones!  Life may not be the party we hoped for….but while we are here we might as well dance!

A New Beginning

Every morning either before my walk or after it, I write in my daily journal and I usually begin each day with a familiar quote. Having decided this morning to try once again to get into a routine of writing a post for this blog at least once a week, I have thought of several specific items I would comment on.

First thing that came to mind were the quotes I write each morning. I have looked at the past seven days (since last Sunday) and in reviewing each of the quotes I had written – two of them in particular sort of sums up how I feel at this particular moment.

The first is a quote by Martha Grimes – “We don’t know who we are until we see what we can do.” And the other is a quote by James Leo Herlihey – “Be yourself. No one can ever tell you you’re doing it wrong.”

I have been looking at my desire to blog all wrong. I read a lot – my emails in the morning take up quite a bit of time to get through. And that does not begin to cover the time I waste in looking at Facebook. Don’t get me wrong. Facebook is a good way to keep up with family especially in our situation since many of them live in other states and we do not get to see them or even talk to them often. But, as I am sure those of you that do frequent Facebook will agree, it has gotten so that one sees about as much news on Facebook as we do on television. So much so, that one might ask “Why do we need television anymore?”

In the past, I know that based on all this material I have seen and read (Facebook, email and so forth) – I attempt to form my own opinion of this material. Naturally the thought process is that I would eventually write a blog post about this material putting my own spin on it. But I never follow through and my educated guess is that the reason I don’t is because it isn’t me. My blog posts are supposed to be my thoughts about whatever is on my mind on any given day not the thoughts of others.

So, future posts will be basically about the following topics:

My idea as to which of the seven quotes I posted in my daily journal sort of sums up my feelings about the week.

Possible comment(s) about the weather, news, or some other event that may have happened during the week.

Perhaps a comment related to exercise and health be it mine or someone else close to me – or not!

A magical moment – and by this I mean I may provide some comment or statements related to comfort, peace, and love.

And last but not least, a word or two about my thoughts that pertain to a better tomorrow.