SOMETHING DOESN’T ADD UP!

As has been evident in some of my past writings, I am the type that looks to write something comical on most of my blogs. At times I write trivia, sometimes I write funny jokes and at times I just ramble on and write whatever comes in my head. The following is just my way of coping with all that is going on in the world today and my wanting to smile and laugh rather than sit and worry why the world seems to be going to !@#$% in a handbasket. Please take the article in the light within which it is provided. A funny story. No more. No less.

Years ago when visiting our home state and going to the place where several of my ancestors settled, we visited some of the cemeteries where long lost relatives were buried. Now some might not think that visiting cemeteries is a place where something funny can be dreamed up but in my warped sense of humor, I was able to pen the following post with the hopes that it might just bring a chuckle or two by those reading my attempt at humor.

One of the things noticeable when strolling through a cemetery is the type of headstones found there but more importantly was some of the inscriptions found on some of those headstones.

Why are inscriptions written there – well, primarily to tell a brief story of our dearly departed. But as we all know space is rather limited and so one has to have a vivid imagination. Why you ask? Well the story, being written in basically a few lines, would in all probability be told partly within the lines and partly between the lines if you get my drift.

These old inscriptions were engraved into the headstones with the sole purpose of providing some insight into who the person resting beneath the headstone was. The inscription also enables those of us still living to understand the values of the people who have gone before us.

Now I am not talking about some of the headstones depicted in the old west like those found out in Tombstone, Arizona where you might see a tombstone sporting the following inscription:

Dawn Under

Here lies my wife

I bid her Goodbye

She rests in peace

And now so do I

Or

Joke’s Over

Let Me Out Now!

By now, many of you are wondering where the humor part comes into play with regards this writing. Well as evidenced by these two inscriptions, humor can be found in the wildest of places. Need another example? Picture this, what if the person creating the inscription on the tombstone wasn’t good at math.  The inscription might read as follows:

7 times 4 years I lived an honorable life,

8 times 6 years I loved a righteous wife,

Tired at last of life, I rest.

Born 1892      Died 1972

Need I get my abacus out to tell you what is wrong with this picture?  Until next time!

Retirement

Thought I would write a short post about retirement – leastways – my thoughts on the subject!

This is the life!

Retirement – why do some of us embrace it while others tend to either shy away from it or look at it as some unwanted plague? Truth be told, I was somewhat astonished when I learned I wasn’t able to dodge the bullet one more time as I had done so many times before. But that was way back when (1995 to be exact). But, I swallowed my pride, began sending out resumes, and subsequently acquired another job albeit an underwriting job for which I was more than over-qualified. But, it was a job and it helped to put food on the table and a roof over our head and so I accepted it and began my new career, if you will. But, alas, the cards were not with me that year because nine months later (no my wife did not have another baby) my underwriting job was going away too as that company also decided to down-size and yup, you got it – last in – first out. I was only 55, and a few months away from being 56.

How did we handle it? We took it as a sign and decided to down-size ourselves and we haven’t looked back since.  Why? Because the skills we had learned up to that point in our lives were no different than what would come to be known as our retirement skills as we moved forward in our new roles as retirees. Let’s face it – being free from the constraints of the daily 9-5 daily routine allows one to also be free to use whatever combination of life experiences, skills, talents, and personality we have already been through. Also, if applied correctly, these past experiences and so forth enable us to utilize the expertise gained over our working career that will create an existence in retirement designed to satisfy us.     

Is it easy? Not particularly. Some embrace retirement from day one while others seem consumed with all types of difficulties. Take it from me adjustment to this new lifestyle is not without its problems. We all have to learn to work and make compromises.  What matters is how we look at our expectations as we move forward and learn to make adjustments be they around finances, time, health issues or whatever. Retirement involves many of the trials we experienced during our working years – trials such as adversity, heartache, disappointments, as well as failures.

But, hey….it can be done! This past December (just last month) we have been retired 23 years and still are loving it!

Quiet Time – Good Habit to Follow

The quietness of mornings!

One of the things I believe we must do daily is to set aside a particular – “Quiet” – time for ourselves. A time when we have anywhere from an hour to an hour and one-half of “just me” time. No disruptions, no noise, no telephone interruptions, just an hour or so I have for myself. I am trying to get accustomed to making this time around 5:00 AM or 5:30 AM in the morning as at that time, it is quiet outside and with my wife sleeping in the next room, I am in complete solitude. While some people may say this sounds crazy – I personally think it is rather peaceful being alone with one’s thoughts at this hour of the day. I find it quite refreshing or should I say rejuvenating. This early time of the day to just sit with one’s thoughts reflecting, writing, or just simply sitting there in the quiet can be so mentally rewarding.

 But not everyone likes to give up or shall I say spend the first hour or hour and one-half of their day alone with their thoughts. While  my knowledge on this subject is rather limited, it would not surprise me were someone to tell me that most successful people carve out or put aside a minimum of ten to fifteen minutes of every day to allow themselves what one would call “quiet time.” And these little ten or fifteen-minute periods of time can be taken at any time of the day. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, a short ten-minute walk outside in nature, even a ten-minute soak in the tub or if you really want to get wild about it – lock yourself in the bathroom for ten or fifteen minutes.

Even if you don’t allow the hour or hour and one-half every morning like I do, just spending these short ten to fifteen minute periods can and should become a vital part of your daily ritual as I am a true believer that they will assist you in life. Think about it for a minute. What can these short breaks do for you? This alone time enables us to balance much of the noise (television, radio, CD’s, our smart phones, the computer) that we allow to infiltrate much of our day.

Getting back to me – just sitting alone quietly first thing in the morning before I do anything else – yes, even before I start writing or making that first cup of coffee, somehow makes me feel like my day will be more manageable. I do not know how some people just pop out of bed and seem to be going a “mile a minute” before they even head out the door to start their actual work day. True, we retirees do not head off to work like we used to but for many of us our daily schedule has become so full that we wonder sometimes how we even had time to work.  I have found that taking a few minutes just for me – keeps me balanced and ready for whatever comes my way throughout the rest of the day.

Quiet time does not necessarily have to happen during the morning either. One does not have to set aside one particular ten-minute period a day. Most evenings I spend ten minutes or so (usually waiting for my wife to put my eye drops in before retiring for the evening) just sort of relaxing, allowing several thoughts to flow through my mind, usually consisting of what all I accomplished during the day. It is a good calming feeling and one that enables me to ease off into slumber land shortly after the lights are turned off for the evening. Relaxing like this and letting go is a perfect way to gently fall asleep without the worries about what tomorrow might bring. After all, chances are you accomplished all you set out to do today and if not, well, tomorrow is just another day. One day at a time.

Until next time!

The Good Old Days!

59 Pontiac

Did you ever dread the day when someone would stop and ask what life was like back in our day – you know the time frame I am referring to but they don’t actually come out and say it – “back in the Dark Ages of your childhood!”  One would think that we didn’t have air, dirt, and water back then and that we had to fend off dinosaurs and pterodactyls – you know those prehistoric flying animals. In reality some might say that pterodactyls never actually existed. But that is not the subject of my rambling today.

Some might think that being individuals born in the 40s, we should all be gone by now, and seeing that we are not, we should be marveling at some of our modern wonders – you know what I am talking about – driverless cars, machines that clean our houses for us without our even asking it to (just by programming it ahead of time), and being able to see and talk to people with our watch – anyone remember the imaginary policeman’s fictional gizmo, the two-way wrist radio in 1946 worn by none other than Dick Tracy.

Is it any wonder why we might refer to those younger than us as young whippersnappers because they cannot remember much of the things that happened in our day!  You know the days I am talking about.

I am talking about when I used to wear high-top sneakers and doing so was not considered cool. Especially when one had to wear them to the school dance with a suit that I would not want to even be buried in today. Talk about embarrassing moments!

Back in the day, we could get a whole handful of candy for five-cents – you know, Mary Janes, Tootsie rolls (back then we only had one flavor tootsie rolls), and Root Beer barrels. Girls wore saddle shoes. Ask a girl what they are today and they will probably say: “Are they worn when one goes horseback riding?” Both our shoes and our clothing lasted a long time and believe it or not, should any of the clothing have holes in it, it was due to wear and tear over the years the item was worn. Our parents would not even think of buying clothing that already had holes in them

As a family, we were expected to eat all three meals together and breakfast usually consisted of runny oatmeal. We did not sit at the breakfast table eating breakfast while reading about athletes or missing children on a box of cereal. Or like today’s children do – noses in some high-tech gadget.

The rule was you ate what was being served to you and if you didn’t like it – well, you would have to wait until lunch to eat again and hopefully it would be something you liked because that same rule held for all three meals. If it was put in front of you – you ate it or you went hungry until the next mealtime. There was no luxury of eating chips, crackers, candy, or soda because such things were not kept in the house. And coming from a family of eight children, one learned real quick – you had better eat whatever was being served because (1) it would be hours before your next meal and (2) chances were that there would be no leftovers.

Both my parents loved coffee and I can remember when I asked if I could have a cup with my dinner one night. The response was: ‘No, you’ll stunt your growth.’ Seeing that I only grew to 5 feet 3 inches, I guess two things must have happened – one – I managed to drink some coffee when they were not looking and two – their comments must have been true.

Several rules applied at the dinner table or whenever we were all together eating – one was that tipping one’s chair back on the back two legs was a no-no, another was that no elbows were allowed on the table, and third – we had to eat all our vegetables or we didn’t get dessert. Hmmm, what was I thinking when I wrote this third rule – what is dessert? Ah, the good old days!

About Me – 2014

irwin4Welcome to my blog – a place where I can write, rant and rave into the blogosphere about the many things I think about as they relate to both the adventures and misadventures we experience in this, what I like to call “Our journey of life’”

 The photo shows me, and my wife, Dolly!

Who am I? I’m a retired property and casualty insurance underwriting manager, author of several short stories, poems, essays, and memoirs, teacher when I can get a class or two and a frustrated wannabe writer of sorts. My mission here is to express some aging/retirement opinions – about how I perceive the world around me, in all its glory and confusion. 

Why rant?   In order to cleanse my soul of the frustrations I endure when reading/seeing the news, ranting via a blog will help flush out the toxins that would otherwise build up within me thus enabling me to restore a sense of balance to this “old fogy’s” (a person who is excessively old-fashioned in attitude, ideas, manners, and so forth) way of thinking.

What can you expect? Comical musings in the form of reflections and ranting or raving dependent upon the mood I am in at the time of the posting. I must admit up front that I am not a daily blogger; but I promise a new post whenever the mood strikes my fancy to share something that I think is either fabulous or ridiculous and have to get it off my chest in order to save my sanity.

For a sample of some of my former rants and ravings visit: http://www.retirement-online.com/retiree-blogs.html

0r to see some of my short stories, poems, essays, and/or memoirs:

Please visit me at: http://www.thewritersdrawer.net/writer-index.html