Tuesday, July 31, 2012
In the not too distant past, none of us had cellphones - we had never even heard of cell phones - except for the communicator that Captain Kirk used on the Starship Enterprise. (Of course, I refer to the REAL Captain Kirk, not some bald Shakespearean imitator.) Now we have dedicated parking lots at airports where you can sit and wait with your cellphone. Who could have imagined that? It's so much more civilized than waiting at the curb and being yelled at and chased away by the police - although I've done that many times also.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Project Arts of Plymouth, presents free concerts on the waterfront in downtown. This week's event featured a great R&B group called Soul City. An eight-piece ensemble, they played rousing sets of late sixties/early seventies rock/soul dancing music - Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Average White Band, Gloria Gaynor, that sort of thing. The crowd, young and old, were gathered in lawn chairs on this beautiful summer evening and loved every minute of it. Large men in their sixties dancing like they were twenty was a sight to behold.
Fans of all ages were out to enjoy the free music.
One of the vendors brought his wood fired pizza oven for made-to-order pizzas.
Some folks brought their babies.
This view westward of the grassy area where the concert was held is looking up Leyden Street towards First Church. Leyden Street is reportedly the oldest street in town although it had other names in the past.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Why do we drive too fast? Seems like if the speed limit is 25 most people will go 35, if it's 45 they will go 60, if it's 60 they will go 75. I've also noticed that the quality and mood of a neighborhood is directly related to the speed of vehicles through it. Seems to me the perfect neighborhood road is unpaved but with loose gravel, about one and half car widths (so someone has to yield when there is opposing traffic), and a speed limit of 10-15. My life isn't really better just because I go faster.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Here's another post in my occasional series about "what do vegans eat?"
Sloppy Joe's - an American classic - whether made from a can of Hunt's "Manwich," or built from scratch, this is a meal that's hard to beat. Substitute the ground beef with a non-beef version. Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, for example, each offer a non-beef vegan product that looks, tastes, and feels like ground beef (except no nasty ground beef gristle to get stuck between your teeth). Add green, yellow, and/or red peppers, onions, tomatoes, and a tomato-based sauce spiced to your liking. Spread it over fresh whole grain bread (or you could put it in a hamburger bun) and you have another delicious vegan meal.
Friday, July 27, 2012
I think that the perfect beach walk has these features: low tide with hard packed level sand, a light breeze perpendicular to the waterline, the right shoes and other clothing appropriate for the temperature, a hat, sunblock, a recyclable lightweight water bottle, a pocket camera, and a small lightweight music player device with at least 100 of my favorite songs (I like the iPod Shuffle or Nano). Being out in the primal elements of sea, sky, and earth is invigorating and enriching - and it's good for my mental and physical health. Having most of these features works just as well for walks on side streets, walking trails, the neighborhood, or, anywhere else.
Of critical importance is learning to NOT sing along to the music when walking in public. Since I am the only one hearing the music through my earphones, other beachgoers are not entertained to hear an old man randomly singing solo and off-key as he walks. I have learned to just move my lips - that way it looks like I am just muttering to myself - perfectly normal and acceptable behavior for an old man wearing shoes at the beach (but NEVER with black knee socks - I'm not that old yet).
While singing out loud is not okay, I think it is okay to occasionally direct the band with one or both arms or, mimic a cymbal crash or drum beat when the music calls for it. That only looks slightly embarrassing.
Sometimes, unusual things happen at the beach. On this day, the town vehicle that empties the trash barrels broke down. Thus, we beachgoers were treated to the ever famous "plumber's smile" by the man who drove the tow truck.
On second thought, disregard all that stuff in the first caption above, almost any beach walk could be called perfect.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
I wonder why the first and most common question people ask me is, "how do you like being retired?" Why does everyone wonder how you like it? Should I NOT like it? Is there some unspoken fear of retirement? Perhaps it reminds folks of the approaching end of life? Perhaps they dread the hours and days of unplanned unscheduled life? Perhaps they married for better or worse but not for lunch?
I spent 30 years either making direct safety decisions as an air traffic controller or, as an air traffic manager creating and implementing policy or procedures that affect safety. The responsibility was 24/7/365 - phone calls in the middle of the night, pages, texts, endless emails, issues occurring anytime and any day. Frankly, it's a nice change to only be responsible for myself and family. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed almost every moment of my air traffic career and I still miss it daily - but retirement suits me now and I'm glad to enjoy the luxury of it.
And speaking of suits (the other kind), I was in a clothing store the other day (Kohl's - with lots of other white haired weekday shoppers) and walked by a rack a suits and other such dress clothes. I realized that it has been more than a year since I wore a tie, suit, or dress clothes. I like that. No, I mean I REALLY like that.
One retirement challenge is that I must create my life daily. When I had a job to define my days and weeks as the main focus around which other sub-activities revolved, life was easier and more predictable in many respects. Now, life and time are more like a blank canvas. Filling that canvas takes some practice and intent. I hope I get to keep practicing for a long while.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I told Milo that he should be honored to appear in today's blog. That's because this is the 400th blog post I have published over the past couple years. What began as a way to keep an online photo and journal record without filling boxes or shelves in my home has turned into a regular activity. I never intended it to be a daily thing but lately, that's what it's been. Milo, however, is not impressed. And as nearly as I can tell, he can't read, write, talk, or appreciate my subtle humor. Nevertheless, he seems happy and content just feeling the touch of a human friend. Animals aren't as dim-witted as I sometimes think.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
When you're on foot it's easy to avoid little critters like this one trying to cross the path.
One of the especially nice things about walking the canal is that there is almost no litter - the staff picks up anything dropped pretty quickly and regularly. And especially nice, there are almost no cigarette butts. I guess most smokers don't walk along the trail.
Shadow man often walks with me and he wears many hats. Whether he has on his pac man head....
....his regular head......
....or his lego-man head, shadow man walks on, just like me - he's a walking man, and a walking man walks.
And as a walking man, I don't have to drag along another pair of shoes behind me unlike most boaters who have to drag along a smaller boat of some sort (or hoist it onboard).
Sometimes though the boat roles are reversed: little boats have to drag big boats along behind. Me, I'd rather just walk. I plan on 80 minutes to walk four miles including brief water/picture/bathroom stops. That's 80 minutes of exercise good for all bodily systems, with an added bonus of.uninterrupted listening to music. I think I can get used to this retirement stuff......
Monday, July 23, 2012
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Some things you only get to do a few times in the course of a lifetime. Helping your child learn to ride a bike is one of them - holding onto the bicycle seat and pushing/guiding/balancing from behind. I remember countless attempts when I ran along behind pushing his bicycle. I was huffing and puffing while he wobbled left and right, not quite able to balance and ride on his own just yet. And then, one day, in the blink of an eye, he could ride; in that instant his body and mind understood balance and momentum and how to achieve it consistently. Never again would I hear the words, "push me daddy, push me more." Never again would I huff and puff and sweat running behind him. Like so many events in a parent's life, I didn't know it was over until it was over - and then there was no going back - no way to unring the bell, no do-overs.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
It was a perfect summer evening in southeast Massachusetts. Warm temperature, light breeze, clear sky, almost sunset. I joined the Plymouth Digital Photographers Club for an outing at Scusset Beach with a beautiful family who posed as models for a photo session.
The photographers generated quite a bit of interest from other beach goers. They wondered who the famous subjects are that attracted so many paparazzi. Well, they aren't paparazzi but rather just regular folk enjoying their art/craft/hobby/avocation on this perfect summer evening at the beach.
A great time was had by all!
Friday, July 20, 2012
I'm not sure if this monarch butterfly is spending the summer with us or just passing through on the long journey south but, it sure does like Amy's garden. Monarchs are apparently the only butterfly that make an annual migration similar to birds.
So too, this fritillary enjoys the abundant food sources. (I think it's a fritillary but, I'm not really very knowledgeable about lepidoptera).
We're still enjoying long warm summer days here in New England but, sunrise is now one minute later and sunset is one minute earlier each day. The steady march to the equinox moves on.
Moisture beads after a summer thunderstorm.
Sunset after the thunderstorm has passed. There sure is a lot of beauty on this planet. I hope I get to stay for a while longer.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Finally we got some rain around here but, even dinosaurs can be wistful when stuck inside on a rainy day. Note: dinosaurs are not fully housebroken, do chew and claw the furniture, and often bite friends or guests (two out three of these behaviors are also exhibited by our housecat). And much like humans and cats, they also do not like to be reproached for their bad behavior.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The Plymouth Harbor downtown waterfront.at sunset and high tide. As "America's Hometown," Plymouth attracts a high number of tourists during the summer months. The locals are also out and about enjoying the good weather, beaches, and other water activities.
The slips are full and the harbor is bustling on a typical summer weekend.
This family team demonstrated well-practiced roles in getting their boat ready to launch.
The dingy dock in the foreground hosts boats for short excursions from anchor in the harbor. The tents in the background are part of a weekend festival.
Another dingy dock in the shadow of the Mayflower II, this is a full-scale reproduction of the original vessel that brought the pilgrims from England to Cape Cod and Plymouth almost 400 years ago. This replica ship was constructed in Devon, England and crossed the Atlantic in 1957 to its new home.
Plymouth has its own paddle-wheeler, the Pilgrim Belle.
A sign of summer - kids and dads at the ice cream window. I once knew a man who operated an ice cream shop four months of the year from June through September. It was right outside the entrance to one of our popular national parks. The other eight months he vacationed on a beach in Mexico. Interesting business model.
Looks like a police magnet to me.
This is how we residents dress in Plymouth when we have to go into town.
This antique was parked along the waterfront. I think it's a 1967 VW bug but I couldn't find the owner to confirm. (My first car was a well used 1966 VW bug).
The Pilgrim Belle at night.