When Your Number is Up

We decided last year to leave our home this summer and do some traveling, if for no other reason than to get away from the scorching heat and high humidity we tend to endure living in the middle of the State of Florida.

Our travels were to begin the end of March and our first escapade was in PA followed by several weeks in CT. Once the first trip (PA/CT) was over, we returned home so as to slip away on yet another adventure south of where our home is to celebrate 53 years of marriage.

This trip itself will soon be over and after returning home to visit various doctors (once we reach a certain age, we tend to plan our vacations around doctors’ appointments), it will soon be time to get back on the road again for yet another planned event in PA followed by yet another trip to CT.

However, during both these trips, events happened that have caused me to wake during the night in a quite pensive mood about this time of our lives. During the first trip, we received news that my brother-in-law who was one year younger than me had passed. His health had been failing these last few years and for over a year before his passing he had been going through kidney dialysis treatments three times a week.

Then, yesterday while on this second leg of our summer long adventure we learned that a close cousin had passed and she was only 78 years of age (two years older than I am).  Both situations have found me thinking about our own mortality? While we (my wife and I) attempt to live a healthy life style and for the most part do not have too many health issues (let’s face it – we all have some), none of them have caused us to become hospitalized or put on any long-range treatment plans (i.e. – dialysis treatment as mentioned above).

But, the passing of two relatives so closely when they were both in our age bracket does make one sit up and take notice that – we are not immortal.  Eventually our time will come. The thing is – can we change the future? At this late date, can we incorporate into our lives changes that will enable us to “beat the odds” and live to a fairly “ripe old age?”

The “proof is in the pudding” so to speak. “You cannot be sure that you have succeeded until you have examined the results of your efforts.” Only by taking the time now to change, if necessary, one’s eating habits, exercise habits, and so forth will we be able to live – hopefully – to a “ripe old age” so to speak and thus avoid the fate recently experienced by our loved ones.

Although we all know that there is no “avoidance” of such an event.




When I think of the word buddy, I think back to my working years. As long as I can remember, I have been what one might call a loner. Never one to make what one might consider close friends – I have made several friends over my lifetime that I could in fact put in the category of “Buddy”.

Two such individuals come to mind – one never truly became classified in my eyes as a “buddy” although in his eyes which I only recently learned – we were supposedly good “buddies” during our high school years.

But the one individual that I would definitely class as a buddy of mine was an individual that became my boss many years ago. We kept in touch over the years even though he subsequently left the company. Later on in life, his position changed and I was able to hire him back with him becoming my subordinate. I was also able to have all his previous time with the company reinstated which truly came in handy when he retired many years later.(Isn’t that what buddies do – look out for one another).

To me a buddy is one that is there for you no matter what the circumstances. They do not judge or look down on you or try to change you. They give advice and counsel but are still right there by your side should you decide not to take their advice and move forward with your own plans. A buddy is someone you forge a friendship with that lasts a lifetime. You would go to bat for that person at the drop of a hat and he or she would do the same for you should you need them to.

This is what comes to mind when I hear the word buddy. And believe me when I say that considering myself a loner all my life, it sure is a good feeling knowing that at least I had one true buddy in my lifetime. Of course, I would be remiss if I wouldn’t add the caveat that I married my best buddy especially since this week she and I are celebrating 53 years together as man and wife, buddies forever!


Green Technology!

Recently I read a story that had been pulled from somewhere on the Internet and after reading the story I realized that becoming “Green” as in green technology is not a new concept. Following the story are a few interesting facts related to green technology that I am sure many will find interesting and hopefully evoke the question – when will America wake up and pursue the path of green technology?

 In the line at the grocery store, the young cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day….”

That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back her day……

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she’s right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day……

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. “Wind and solar power” really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day……

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap…..

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then……

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn’t have the green thing back then……

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint……

But that old lady is right. They didn’t have the green thing back in her day…….

Did you ever think about how long the concept of keeping our planet “Green” has been around?

Many of us think that the “Green Thing” came about only a few years ago – you know back when President Jimmy Carter advised Americans to lower their thermostats and put more clothing on.  But let’s look back beyond the 1970’s. Did you know that going back to the year 1900, New York had more electric cars on its streets than there were cars powered by gasoline?

Being the owner of a hybrid, believe me I can understand the value of such a machine. Look at some of the advantages of electric cars – they are quiet, clean, and as evidenced by some of the newer models on the road today, easy to use.

Having traveled cross-country several times in my lifetime, another form of green technology that has yet to come into being even though it has been around a while is windmill power. Windmills have been used for irrigation purposes going back as far as the 1800s and had these windmills never been introduced way back then, chances are that we would not be seeing wind power’s resurgence a century later.

Looking back it would appear that Americans have been attempting to go green for several decades.  Makes one wonder what type world we might have been living in today had we switched from fossil fuel back then to green technology.

After reading the material that led up to the writing this article, I asked myself the following question: “What impact am I making on the environment today?”

Also, when I read some of the things making headlines today, I have to stop and wonder where our priorities lie. All we need to do is replicate many of the things mentioned earlier in the story and perhaps, just perhaps, we could minimize damage to our planet.

Until next time!


Just Do It!

Focus on the journey, not the destination. How often have you heard that saying? Or perhaps the comment that you will not find joy in finishing a project or activity, you will find joy in the actual doing of the activity.

They say that writers write and that may be true for many wannabe writers. For me though, the thing that I struggle with most of the time is the writing or “doing” part.

To that end I looked up the definition of the word “doing.The definition is – noun – the activities in which a particular person engages.

Perhaps therein lies my problem – I may be so keen on wanting to see a finished product with my name on it that I never really sit down and begin writing. Instead I read stories written by others thinking that that could be me putting out such stories or I dream of seeing a column with my name in the byline.

I cannot begin to mention all the things that I want to do that float around in my head. I have also thought about developing a comic strip or a series of short stories using an insurance investigator as my main character (since I spent 30 + years in the insurance business as an underwriter).

I know I have many notebooks full of “what if” type scenarios I talk about doing but never really took the time to make them actually happen. I would not only write about them, I would go so far as to draw up plans about them. Having done that I would then determine what my time schedule should be and then even questioned myself as to whether I should write in the morning or the evening? Taking it even further, I would even ask myself the question: what is the best way to write these articles, stories, or whatever?

See where I am going here?

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

In looking back at many of the journals I have written over the years – I could probably write a book about all the things you shouldn’t do if you want to consider yourself a writer. The contents of my journals provide a brief description of something I struggle with all the time. I am the type that can think of all kinds of things that I would like to do but apparently my problem is that I am constantly trying to figure out how and when can I do them. Bottom line though is that using this train of thought, as I sit and pontificate the best way of doing them, I spend too much time thinking and therefore I never actually start.

I would be better off taking the approach I sometimes do when my mail and other pieces of paper stack up in my office. One of the secrets I learned when I was working and got backed up was to actually take all my files with the most important ones on top and stack them. Then I would sit at my desk and handle each and every file I touched. While I may not have handled it to a conclusion, I handled it. I used to know a mnemonic that I would use back in the day that assisted me when I got backed up or thought I had too much on my plate. While that particular word slips my mind, another one that I just made up will do the trick.

When you have a list of things to do in your office (or improvise so as to use it for other projects as well) think of the following mnemonic: RAFT

Read, Act, File, or Trash the item.

Let’s face it – while most of the items can be addressed first time around using this method, there might be a few that cannot be handled immediately. But the pile should be whittled down some after taking this approach.  And of those that are left, you can devote more time to them because you will not feel overwhelmed by the stacks of files you were once facing. See what has been done. Rather than plan too much, you took action and did something.

So, the three words you need to remember whenever facing any project you have “Just Do It!”   I intend to and my objective/goal is to write at least 4 posts a month to this site. What about you, what actions are you going to take to write more?

Until next time!