Tuesday, April 20, 2021

101 New Things Update





 This post is an update to my post of 101 New Things for 2021. In that post I was up to 18 on my list. I have since added the following:

  1.   Sincerely Coffee 
  2.   Bingo Hall   
  3.   Waldo’s Pizza in KC
  4.   Second Best Coffee KC  
  5.   Evel Knievel Museum  
  6.   Joes BBQ KC 
  7.   Messenger Coffee in KC  
  8.   Top Golf 
  9.   Columbian food 
My favorite new thing on this list was the Evel Knievel Museum. In my post about taking risks, I wrote about how he was my hero when I was a young boy. I found out about the museum while researching that post and knew I had to make a visit. The museum is attached to a Harley Davidson dealership in Topeka, KS. It was worth the trip. The museum was well done and had many original items including motorcycles, leather suits and his semi truck and trailer. It also has a lot of cool memorabilia and personal stories about Knievel. As a kid, I just knew he jumped things on a motorcycle. Now after the museum, I discovered he was part crook, part conman, part showman and a daredevil. If you are ever passing through the area, I highly recommend a visit. 









My wife and I enjoyed the Bingo also. We have played on a cruise ship and played as kids but we had never been to an actual bingo hall. It was very fast paced and we enjoyed it but we will probably stick to the bingo on cruise ships in the future.

 Another one I really enjoyed was a trip to Top Golf with my son and son-in-law. I'm terrible at golf and just as terrible at Top Golf. It was a lot of fun playing the different golf scoring games while hanging out with two great guys. 

So, I now sit at 27 new things done out of 101. I still have a long way to go. And, the sardines I had purchased to try as a new thing got moved from the kitchen island to the pantry. I still hope to get up the courage to give them a try!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Collections


 I touched on collections in my post on thrift stores because I often notice a group of things on the shelves that I figured were donated from someone's collection. Most of us collect something during our lives. As a kid, I collected coins and stamps and due to my love of reading I collected Louis L'amour western books. I never got too serious about the coin collection but did fill up a penny book or two. As a kid, I didn't have money to go to a coin store to fill in the gaps. My collection included coins I found in change or that my dad had given me. I was more serious about stamp collecting. I had several stamp albums and a lot of newer stamps that my parents had bought me or that I had soaked off of letters. I had a large assortment of old letters and postcards found in our house when my parents first  bought it. Most were dated in the 1920's or so. I continued to collect stamps in early adulthood when I worked as a mailman. Every once in awhile I would pick up a letter with old postage on it on my route. The letter would have multiple old stamps with 3, 5, and 7 cents stamps to make up the newer postage rates. Several times I knocked on the doors of the customers and offered to buy their remaining old stamps. Most of the time, the husband had passed and the wife was just using the stamps at face value and they were happy to sell them to a me to add to my collection. I continued to buy a few stamps over the years at stamp shops and then lost interest a few years back. I still have the collection and have promised them to my son.

Currently, my wife has a small collection of depression era dishes but that is about our extent of collecting at the moment. We have a few items here and there that are antiques or we received when my parents passed. I don't consider any of that a part of a collection, although they would fit into reasons #1 or #2 listed below. I found that there are nine common reasons people collect things:

    1. Family and emotional meaning- photos, greeting cards, flower petals, seashells and other memory items

    2. To connect to their childhood- sports cards, comic books, dolls, miniature cars and other things

    3. Knowledge and Learning- books, magazines and newspapers

    4. Historical Collecting- historical memorabilia, autographs, artifacts

    5. Pleasure and Enjoyment- art, wine, music boxes, posters, concert tickets and shirts

    6. Collect as an Investment- rare and vintage items, stamps, coins, toys, rare whiskies

    7. Social Interaction- flea markets, swap meets and auctions

    8. Recognition and Prestige- having the best and most valuable collection

    9. Thrill of the Hunt- joy and excitement of finding a treasure for the collection

When I was younger, my grandmother had a collection of dog figurines. I don't know how it started but once she began, everybody began to bring her a dog for her collection. She had a line of shelves in her living room with every type of dog figurine you can imagine. Some had writing on the bottom notating when she received them. I don't know whatever happened to her collection, but I assume it wound up in an estate sale or a thrift shop. I had an aunt that collected clown figurines. I think one of my sisters collected cat figurines when she was younger. 

Collecting can get out of hand, just watch an episode of "Hoarders". Some people have entire rooms to house their collections. Some people have huge garages to house their car collection or sign collection. I remember some time ago seeing a news story on a woman's salt and pepper shaker collection. Her entire house had glassed in floor-to-ceiling cases holding her collection. They were on every wall in every room and down hallways. It was a huge collection! What we collect is often important and holds value only to the collector. I can admire your salt and pepper shaker collection, but I sure don't want to own it myself.  

I'm sure many a collection has been reduced or liquidated in retirement as some may downsize and not have room for their collection in a smaller home or apartment. Some collections may have been liquidated or given away due to change of interest. Some collections are probably in boxes in attics, basements and storage units. Retirement provides the opportunity to dust off old collections and for some to get back to enjoying what they have put on the shelf for lack of time or money. 

What do you collect and why? Does your collecting fit into one of the 9 reasons listed above? Have you done more collecting in retirement than before since you have more time to devote to it? Did you once have a collection that you regret parting with? Do you have a collection that has taken over your house or your life? How about unusual collections, anyone have something uncommon?

 



Friday, April 9, 2021

Patience

 



How's your patience in retirement? I haven't ever been a real patient person. As a young boy I had terrible patience. I loved model cars. I would get them for birthday and Christmas presents or I would save my allowance up to buy a new model car. I would gather my paints, glue and model and set up on a table or desk to dive into putting together the pieces. This is where my lack of patience comes in. the model car would come with some large pieces such as the car top and bottom and then have all the smaller parts delicately attached to the plastic support. To have a great car in the end, you should carefully cut the pieces from the support, sand the edges smooth where it was attached and then paint the parts as you see fit. I never have patience to let paint dry. I would paint a few parts for the engine and would be so ready to put it together that I often grabbed the "dry enough" piece and glue it to the next piece. I often would up with fingerprint smudges on the part and ugly areas where the wet glue mixed with the "dry enough" paint. I finally would lose all patience and glue the whole thing together as quick as possible. I didn't have days to get this model together, I needed it done in an hour! My models always looked a little bad and the wheels tended to be angled in because I didn't let the glue set before I sat the whole thing on the shelf.

Also as a young boy, I liked fishing. Fishing is one of those things you definitely need patience. But this boy found a way around all the waiting! I fished for catfish and would fish on the bottom without a bobber. To get around the waiting issue, I would take two or three rod and reels, bait them up and throw the line out to the middle of the pond. Then the genius in me would lodge the rod and reel into a fork in a young tree so it wouldn't get dragged into the water. Wala! I would leave and tend to other business and return in an hour or two to find a fish or two on the hook. Problem solved!

In retirement I find I have a little more patience. I don't feel the rush to get things done as quickly as I used to. When working, I knew I had to do yardwork, house maintenance and errands in the limited hours after work or on the weekends. So, there was always a little sense of urgency to get things done. Now, if I don't get the lawn mowed on the weekend, it can wait until Monday or Tuesday or any day and at anytime. I now find myself taking a little longer on tasks just because I can. I have more patience at the grocery store and am no longer in a hurry to get checked out, because I don't have to rush home and get the lawn done by dark. My patience has gotten worse lately with one thing- idiots sitting at a green traffic light absorbed with checking the latest emergency text or facebook post on their phone. Drives me crazy!

My friend Greg has tremendous patience and we all need to take a lesson from him. Greg was my next door neighbor for about twelve years. One day he brought home the bones of an airplane on a trailer and told me he was going to build his own plane. I would go over and check on his progress every once in awhile. He would patiently be sanding, painting or running cables for controls. He never appeared to be in a hurry and took his time on the little things as well as the bigger things. I, on the other hand, would have tried to get it built in a week. I guess if you want patience in anything it would be in the guy building an airplane! Greg did most everything himself. He did metal work, fiberglass, paint and everything else involved in building a plane. He completed it after three years and seven months of patient labor. He told me he would work at least 10 minutes a day even if it was just sweeping out the garage. Greg now enjoys flying his plane and must have tremendous pride in knowing he built it himself.  What a beautiful plane too!





Greg's mantra of "10 minutes every day" could be used in any task. That reminds me of the old saying "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time". By breaking down large tasks into "bites" we can accomplish the big things a little bit at a time. Perseverance is the key. Thanks for the lesson Greg!
 
How has your patience changed in retirement? Are you more patient with some things than others? Do you have any great stories like Greg's quest to build a plane?



 

Monday, April 5, 2021

What's Your Story?

 


My daughter gifted me with StoryWorth for Christmas last year. I had never heard of it. She selects a question every week that is sent to me via email. I answer the question, add photos if I want, and send it back. At the end of the year StoryWorth puts it all in a bound book. It has been a great gift! The questions are thought provoking and have brought up some great memories. Most of the questions and answers would probably never have been shared if not for this process. You don't normally think about sitting down and sharing your memories with your kids or grandkids when you get together. This is a great way to have a recorded history of my memories and experiences. The questions include first job, first car, best day, favorite cartoon, best holiday memory, etc. There are some thought provoking questions such as "If you could travel back in time and return safely, what period would you go back to?" and "What things matter most to you in life?".

There are other ways to pass down your memories. There are "Letters To My Grandchild" and other books that you can fill in the blanks with your stories. You could also do a daily journal. I don't do a daily journal, but what a great way to pass on some of your thoughts and memories. Not long after my daughter was born, I began to journal about her growing up. I wrote in a spiral notebook and kept small items in the side pocket to remember the activities. She loved play money, so I put in one of the bills. I put in ticket stubs from movies and other activities. I started adding my son's activities when he was born. I wrote in "The Book" as we called it up to and including the day she got married and presented it to her that morning. I cried knowing it was the end of an era for me as she was about to walk down the aisle to a whole new life. My son will also get a copy. I still enjoy reading my copy and remembering those great times and memories of both my kids.  

About two years ago, I started a travel journal. I bought a nice leather journal and have written about a couple of trips so far. This journal is mainly  to remind me of trips taken and places visited. But, I suppose, it could be interesting to future generations if it lasts that long.

My wife has been doing a little family tree research and has come across a few stories of our ancestors. It is a shame we don't know more details about their lives. I wish I had a journal from each one so I could look back and really get to know them and the time they lived in. I guess it is never too late to jot down our history as we know it with our own stories and experiences. I'm glad I'm able to do it through this StoryWorth and through "The Book".

Do you journal or use some other means to put your experiences to paper or computer?  One of my earlier blogs touched on photos and videos, can you think of any other ways  to preserve our history for future generations?

Even better,  "If you could travel back in time and return safely, what period would you go to?".

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Thrift Stores



My wife and I love a great bargain. Growing up and then through my 20's and 30's, I never cared much for a trip to Goodwill. I didn't like the old clothes smell and didn't think I would ever find something that I would need. I don't remember any other thrift stores around back then other than Goodwill. Over the years, I think thrift stores have greatly increased in numbers and quality. In larger cities you will find many to choose from including Goodwill, Salvation Army and many other charities stores and private owned stores.  Now, my wife and I frequent about a half dozen of our favorite thrift stores on a regular basis and have a blast doing it. Plus, I don't think the thrift stores smell like the old Goodwill stores I remember. 

I have found things you wouldn't expect to find. Recently, I found granite cleaner and sealer for our granite countertops. This stuff is usually pretty expensive, so I scooped up the discounted pair of bottles when I found them. I've also found home a/c filters that would be 10 times the price at a hardware store. I've seen oil and air filters for cars, but have never been able to find the ones that fit my vehicles. I get 90% of my books from these stores. I now have a supply of great books that probably could last me 2-3 years. I have a problem leaving a bestselling book on the shelf when it will cost me less than $3 for one in like new condition. I can read a book or two in a week, then go thrifting that next Saturday and come home with 15 new books. I tell myself "no more books until I read 20" but then I see some great books for 49 cents and I just have to put them in the cart. Just the other day I bought a book, about the Comanche Nation, on Amazon for $10 thinking I would never find it in a thrift store. I kid you not, the very next Saturday I see that same book at a thrift store for $1.49. 

My wife and I have both scored some great, brand name clothes, new with tags at thrift stores. One of my favorite light jackets is a Cabela's jacket I picked up at a thrift store. I do metal detecting as a hobby and can wear out a pair of pants (in the knees) pretty fast. I buy all my detecting cargo pants at thrift stores for $1-$4 knowing I will get some good wear out of them and at a very good price. I have also bought some pretty nice jigsaw puzzles but will admit I've had a few that aggravated me when I got to the end and was missing a piece or two. I still had a great time putting them together though! Our table lamps in our living room came from a recent trip to a thrift store. They are beautiful glass lamps. We put on new shades and they look awesome for a fraction of the price of new ones.

In retirement and really anytime in life, smart shopping is smart living. You can save significant money on items purchased at such a great discount. I've saved hundreds of dollars just in books. For every book I purchase at a thrift store for $1.49, I could easily spend $15-$30 for the same book at a full fledged bookstore. I know you can save even more by using the library, but I like to have the books on hand and not have to worry about return deadlines or getting it back to the library after using it. I like to read them and put them in a pile to sell to Half Price Books or donate back to the thrift store. For us, thrifting is as much a fun hobby as it is a savings thing. And when asked where you got that beautiful shirt or blouse, just reply "A cute little boutique on 16th street".

A few years ago, we had a thrift store Christmas. Anything given had to be purchased at a thrift store. We all had great fun shopping and trying to find unique gifts for each other. Some were awesome, some were gag gifts that we thought would be funny when opened. We enjoyed it a lot. 

I also see things in thrift stores that make you think a little. I will see a large selection of dog, cat, pig, or clown figurines, piggy banks, trophies, etc. and think they probably all belonged to one person as part of a collection. I see nice old furniture that makes you wonder why it's in a thrift store. It ties back to my post of "Digging for Treasure" and I realize all of these items in the store were probably someone's treasure at some point. They gave it up voluntarily to update their wardrobe, discard an old collection or update their home decorations. Or, they gave it up involuntarily through downsizing to a nursing home or a funeral home. In the end it's only "stuff". A few of my things may wind up being passed down to my kids and grand kids, but I know that most will be sold or given away eventually. Most of my thrift store finds are not treasures anyway. Most I'll use and discard or use and donate back to the thrift cycle. If nothing else, I'm saving the environment a little by my reuse and recycle. 

Do you thrift at all? Do you hit the garage sales? What bargains have you come across in your thrifty shopping?

Back to reading, I have another 20 books to finish by the end of the week so I can do some thrifting on  Saturday!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

101 New Things for 2021



Sometime last year I read a blog that mentioned how the blogger was doing with their new year's resolutions for the year. One of their goals was to try 101 new things that year. I think the blogger had hit 40 something out of the 101. This year I set the same goal to try 101 new things. So far, I have enjoyed trying new things and look forward to many more. I've completed 18 so far, so I'm a little behind schedule. I need to hit  8-9 a month to make goal. So, I need to be at 24 at the end of the month to be on track. Here is my list of new things completed so far:

  • Greek food-lamb gyro
  • Tried a Huli-Huli chicken recipe
  • Tried a new bakery around the corner and had a cupcake
  • Thai food- Chicken Pad Thai
  • Axe throwing
  • Tried a french onion chicken recipe
  • Tried a new fried catfish restaurant
  • Learned to sew on a sewing machine
  • Played Backgammon for the first time
  • Moroccan food
  • Started a blog
  • Visited a Seminole Nation Museum
  • Visited graves of G-Grandmother and GG-Grandfather and GG-Grandmother
  • Tried a new fried chicken restaurant called the Drum Room
  • Attended a Toby Mac concert
  • Tried a new coffee shop
  • Tried a new pizza place
  • Made a Chocolate Guinness cake
I have numerous ideas for the coming months. I would like to try pottery making, archery, flight lesson, Top Golf and Pho. Getting to 101 may be difficult and all will not be epic new things. A new restaurant, new coffee shop and new recipes will need to fill the gaps between the epic things. I plan on adding several to the list from a vacation we have planned in May. The quest to hit 101 new things, has me looking for new places, things and events to go to. Some of these, I may never have thought about or might have said "maybe, some day". I've enjoyed the new things completed already and feel like it has added a new freshness to the year. I have a new optimism about the future and about adding things to the list. 

 I encourage each of you to look for something new to try this year. You don't have to do 101 things. Just step out of your routine and try one thing and see if it doesn't add a little something to your life. 

If you have any great ideas I could try, please comment and let me add them to my list. Now I've got to get up the courage to open that can of sardines sitting on our kitchen island. I bought it a few days ago to add "Try a sardine" to my list. Wish me luck!

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Friday, March 19, 2021

Digging For Treasure

 


A few months before I retired, I began to think about things I might like to try in retirement as a hobby. I was reading a blog somewhere and it mentioned metal detecting. As a kid, I always dreamed of finding treasure using a metal detector but the most my family could afford was a really cheap model from Radio Shack. I was excited but that excitement soon wore off when all I found with that detector were rusty nails and aluminum pull tabs. I quickly tired of that game and knew I couldn't afford a "real" metal detector. That mention of metal detecting brought up those old memories and I said to myself "heck yeah, now's the time to get that good detector". I purchased a pretty cheap, used one, off of craigslist to make sure I would enjoy the hobby. It didn't take long to get hooked. After one time with this detector and finding 30 coins or so, I decided to upgrade to a mid-level detector with more bells and whistles. The new one was from the famous Garrett company that has been making detectors since the 1960's. The new detector can tell you what is likely buried and how deep. It is pretty awesome! I really enjoy it as a retirement hobby. My wife thinks I'm crazy spending hours digging in the dirt to find a handful of coins and relics. 

It is the thrill of not knowing what is in the next hole that keeps me excited. I could find a pull tab or I could find a gold ring (haven't found a real gold ring yet!). They both emit similar tones on the detector. I may find nothing but newer coins and then I may find an old coin or two. All of it is treasure to the little boy still inside me. I will leave the house and tell my wife "I'm heading out to find some treasure!". 

 As we leave the nest and head out in search of our own life in our youth I think most of us have a different view of life's treasures. We tend to look for a promotion at work, a new house, a new car, a new watch. A lot of material things become treasure to obtain and horde in a race to have more treasure than the next person. I guess that is why some call it the "rat race". I also visualize that the human race, in general, is at times much like a bunch of pack rats. Here is a Wikipedia quote about pack rats:

Pack rats are nest builders. They use plant material such as twigs, sticks, and other available debris. hey are particularly fond of shiny objects. A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying—for example, a piece of cactus—and "trade" it for the new item. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous.

Pack rats run around and find any and everything they can to add to their nest. You may find bits of shiny stuff, pieces of plastic, small toys and other items in their home.  All of their gathered items are treasure to them. Humans are much the same, running all over town, buying a few things from the different department stores, dollar stores, etc. and then running home to pack it away. And doesn't that peculiar characteristic sound a lot like a human also?

As we get older, I think our view of treasure changes. I know my view has changed. I no longer feel the need to acquire things as much. I treasure non-material things a lot more now. Treasure is my family getting together on holidays or weekends and spending some time together. Treasure is sitting quietly in the morning with a cup of coffee and a good book. Treasure is great memories from a trip or vacation. Treasure is when my 22 month old grand daughter, sitting beside me in my recliner, looks up and says "Hi Pawpaw" with a big loving smile on her face. Treasure is one more day on this earth. And, treasure is a 1940's Mercury dime dug out of the ground!

What do you treasure during your retirement years? Have you seen a change in what you have treasured over the years?