Friday, September 30, 2022

Do A Nice Thing!


This is a short post as a reminder to myself to be a better person. This post is also to challenge my readers. I do not go out of my way to look for opportunities to help people like I should. I have times where doing nice things come to mind but I tend not to focus on it all the time. Don't get me wrong, I'm not mean to people, I just fail to take a moment to go out of my way sometimes to be nice to someone.

Yesterday, while at the grocery store, I loaded my few bags of groceries in the back of my car and headed to the cart cage to deposit my empty cart. I looked down my parking aisle and saw an older woman finishing up unloading her cart so I veered over to her and offered to take her cart along with mine. I got a huge smile and a thank you. I don't tell the story to toot my own horn. I tell it in a challenge to my readers and myself to do something nice for someone. Please seek out an opportunity daily and then return here and comment what nice thing you did. I will continue to seek out opportunities and will comment on my progress also. 

Please comment with any nice act you do, whether small or large. Maybe your reported "nice act" will spur someone else to do the same thing. Being nice does not cost a thing unless you escalate it to buying a coffee for the next person in line or something similar. So, get out there and do something good for humanity!

Sunday, September 25, 2022


 Definition of perseverance

continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition the action or condition or an instance of persevering STEADFASTNESS

I recently finished two books that made me think of the word perseverance. Both books were true accounts of war heroes. The first book was "On Full Automatic" by and about William V. Taylor Jr. and his tour in Vietnam. The second book "Damn Lucky" was written by Kevin Maurer about the service of John Luckadoo during WWII. Both stories are amazing and really put you smack dab into the middle of two historic times. Both achieved something despite tremendous difficulties, failures and opposition as defined above. 
William (Bill) Taylor tells of his battles and hardships endured in the Vietnam War. His tour of duty was 13 months and his personal battle was to survive those 13 months and return home safely. He survived ambushes, booby traps, snakes. leeches and more to get to the end of his tour and return home. Each battle that Bill Taylor engaged in might result in the death of several of his friends and fellow marines. One of those had just found out his son had been born the day before he died in battle. Several died in their last month or two of their tour. 
John Luckadoo's story involves his deployment to a B-17 bomber group. He has to survive 25 missions to return home. Out of 40 men he trained with and flew with in the 100th Bomb Group, only 4 survived the missions. He survived enemy fighters and anti-aircraft guns to finish his 25 missions. John Luckadoo returned from many missions in which 20 or more bombers failed to return with his crew. The odds were that only about 25% of crews made it to the 25 missions and returned home. He survived and turned 100 this past March! Their stories show their determination to persevere through their situation to hit those magic number of 13 months or 25 missions despite terrible odds of surviving to the end. 
Their struggles and near misses demonstrate what we all are capable of in tough times.
In retirement, most of us don't come close to facing the situations of the two young men above where perseverance is at the highest level you can imagine. However, there may be numerous situations in which perseverance is a valuable tool during your retirement and your last 20 or more years on this earth. 
In retirement you may have small situations that require short bouts of perseverance such as a repair or remodel of a part of your home, an unexpected car accident that you have to deal with, a family or personal relationship that has gotten off track for some reason, a financial hit to your budget or retirement funds and many other short term "tough" situations.
Also, during your retirement and last half of your life, you may endure much tougher situations involving death of family or friends and personal medical situations involving you, your spouse or immediate family. Major medical situations would be the most likely situations that might equal the life and death battles that the two men above endured. My wife has persevered and continues to do so with her breast cancer diagnosis. Her perseverance through chemo and radiation treatments has shown how tough she is while in a very hard situation. 
During "Lucky's" missions, he talked of being scared to death as he walked to his plane for a mission. But, once he climbed into the plane, he knew that he had a job to do and he began to focus on the moment rather than possible outcomes. I saw this same determination in my wife. Once she was hooked up to her IV, she would even make a comment about having to do what she needs to do to be around in the future for the grandkids. To me, she had the same attitude of perseverance that the bomber pilot had and I have full faith that she will continue to persevere for the next 30+ years!
I need to remind myself daily about the tough battles that people are going through and the fact that my life is going pretty well even though small things get me down sometimes. There is always someone else out there who is persevering through some pretty bad times. As much as people grumble about the state of the U.S., I wouldn't trade it for anything. We need to think of the problems going on in Ukraine and Haiti to remind us of how great we have it right here. We also need to continue to remember the heroes like Bill and Lucky who helped give us this great life we have today!
Have you had to persevere through anything lately? Any big issues that really knocked you down for awhile, but now are in the past? Have you read any great books lately that are similar to the two I just read? 

Monday, September 19, 2022

What's On Your Coffee Mug?

Here at the Retirement Coffee Shop, I enjoy a couple of cups of coffee every morning. A cup of Folger's usually starts out my day. On occasion I may have some roasted coffee that I picked up at a local coffee shop. Every morning I reach up into the cabinet above my coffeepot and pick out the coffee mug of the day. My favorite is a mug I picked up at the Evel Knievel Museum. Some of my other favorites include a cup that has a picture of books on a bookshelf, a NASA cup and a new favorite is a plain blue Corell cup. 

When out thrifting, I see a million coffee cups in all shapes, sizes and colors. Many have advertising logos and many have a few words of wisdom on them. You have seen many of these cups before with words embossed on them such as "I'm the boss!" or "Best Dad" or some other saying. My son bought one over the weekend that had a cat in a Santa hat and said "Meowy Christmas". I saw a coffee cup a few weeks ago that had some retirement slogan on it. I should have grabbed that one for my daily coffee.

I think your coffee cup says a lot about you. My coffee cups, shown above, say that I am a highly intelligent daredevil spaceman or something similar. I have three coffee cups that just sit as decorations on a bookshelf in my study.  One is a bright orange mug with Cozumel written on it, one is a Life Is Good cup with a cartoon guy laid back in a chair and one is a White Pass train cup with three train engines on it. These three say that I like Cozumel, trains and a relaxing day. 

 A "Best Dad" cup says you probably are a great dad and you love your kids and they love you. An "I'm the boss!" cup says that yes indeed you are the boss and you are proud of it. A cup with a puppy or cat on it shows that you love animals and especially love your pet. If you have a cup with some type of company logo it shows you are too cheap to buy a mug and got that one for free somewhere. Some coffee cups have your name on them. I don't know why you really need your name on the cup unless you keep it in the cabinet at work and it would show everyone that it's yours and yours only. 

A person's coffee cup may indicate they love nature, sports, a certain hobby, music, etc. by what's on the cup. What does your coffee cup say about you? Do you have a favorite cup or two that you use a lot? Do you have a cup with a really cool saying on it? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Mr. Fixit


I've always been somewhat of a handy man. I guess I learned the basics from my dad. He could fix about anything. I'm much like my dad in the fact that our fixes sometimes are not the most beautiful repair you have ever seen. But, nonetheless the repairs solved the problem.  

My wife and I recently flew to Seattle and then went on an 8 day Alaskan cruise. When we retrieved our luggage in the baggage area during our return home, my wife advised that this was the last trip for one of our suitcases (Big Bertha). I told her that "Ol Bertha" had at least another 5 years of travel in her. She rolled her eyes as she looked at the suitcase with a handle I had bolted back into place and a roller wheel that I had duct taped back on. I told her a new strip of duct tape and she would be good as new! We recently bought a new set of luggage, but after one flight they got scratched up and a handle broke. There is no need to try to keep nice luggage. In our experience, the handles on the suitcases do not hold up well. I repair them with a small bolt, washer and nut and they seem to do much better. 

Another recent repair resulted in the development of a Franken Turtle. My 3 year old granddaughter loved a small rock turtle that my wife and I had bought on vacation in Cozumel. She loved that turtle and dropped it several times on our tile floor resulting in turtle legs and head flying in different directions. After gluing the guy back together at least 3 times, the last drop just totally destroyed him. This was a few months ago. On our Alaska cruise we bought a similar rock turtle and brought it home to her. She was super excited and carried it around our house for a few days without incident. She insisted taking it inside a restaurant last week and dropped it on a tile floor. It shattered and then she fell apart. I recovered pieces and when we got back home we pulled out the glue. When I arranged the parts, I realized I was missing two legs. The genius in me told her we would find two small rocks and make legs. We were able to do so and got him back together. He looks somewhat like a turtle and should last another drop or two. Looking back, we should have bought several of the $5 turtles to keep in reserve! You can see our homemade rock legs in the photo below.

I enjoy piddling around the yard and the garage and working on small projects. I get great satisfaction in little things. Last week I installed a rain gauge in my yard. I had pulled open a drawer in one of my toolboxes and saw the rain gauge sitting there. I had been meaning to install it somewhere for the last two years we have lived in this house. So, I grabbed it and two screws and a few minutes later had a fully functioning rain gauge. Good thing I did it, I was able to measure some rain a few days later! Recently, I have changed out a few sprinkler heads, replaced a couple of outdoor landscape lights and planted a hardy hibiscus shrub. Before that I had small projects of taking apart, cleaning and reassembly of an old bench grinder and vise that used to be my dad's. Both came out looking great and working great. 

A few things on my current "to do" list include installing two pull bars next to our bathtub, replace and paint a wood gable vent on the front of our house and plant 2 shrubs that my wife purchased. I also need to charge a couple of batteries in our Ring cameras and trim some shrubs. Home ownership always supplies me with a list of things that need to be done. There are always a/c vents that need to be cleaned or a/c filters that need to be changed out as well as other monthly maintenance things that come up. Most of these I enjoy doing and then have the satisfaction of crossing them off my "to do" list.

Are you or your spouse a "fix it" kind of person? Do you have some ugly, yet functional, repairs that you can share? What are some of your most recent repair or maintenance projects?

Friday, September 9, 2022

Hawaiian Shirts

I was looking through my closet at my shirts today deciding what shirt to wear, when a retirement question hit me. That question: Is there a rule on when you can wear a Hawaiian shirt? You know the old saying about not wearing white pants until after Easter and other silly sayings about clothing. I wondered if there was an spoken or unspoken rule for happy floral shirts. It would make sense that you should wear them only during warmer months or on a cruise ship. I like to wear them because they give me a little "pick me up" and small feeling of being on vacation. Then I thought, "I'm retired, who cares when I wear those shirts!". 

In former days, people dressed up to go to the movies or dining. Some of the old photos show an audience at a movie theater and all the men are in suits and hats and the ladies in their nice dresses and hats. Our society today has changed a lot since then and clothing rules have gone out the window. I searched the world wide web for clothing rules. Some I had heard of, some I had not. One article was titled "14 Dressing Rules That Everyone Should Learn Once and For All". So, for those who need some guidance when dressing in the morning, here they are:

1. The middle button on a jacket should always be closed. The upper one depends on your mood. The lower one should never be closed.

2. When you are wearing a shirt or a blouse, you can unbutton no more than 2 buttons.

3. Wear earrings that match your bracelet and a necklace that goes well with your ring. 3 or 4 things in one look is too much.

4. The tip of your tie should reach your waist and cross it just a little.

5. Opt for either a miniskirt or cleavage. Both at once look too vulgar.

6. If you are wearing a shirt without a jacket, you don't need a tie.

7. Your office shirt cleavage should not be deeper than 4" from your collarbone.

8. If you tucked in your shirt, you should wear a belt.

9. Your naked skin should not be seen between your cardigan and your jeans. Wear a top if necessary.

10. Your belt should be the same color as your shoes.

11. All visible tags on clothes should be cut off.

12. Don't wear too many prints. You can wear 2 different prints of the same color or 2 coordinating prints of different sizes.

13. Your socks should be long enough that your naked legs aren't seen when you are sitting.

14. An office blouse without sleeves should cover your shoulders. "Spaghetti" straps are not okay in formal situations.

The most important thing about this mention of Hawaiian shirts! I'm free to wear them when I want!

I have numerous shirts that I have bought with floral prints, most were purchased in the Caribbean while on a cruise. I have never been to Hawaii, so I have no real Hawaiian shirts in my closet. I don't live in Florida or on an tropical island in which you would happily wear these shirts year round. But hey, there is no reason I can't bring a little vacation sunshine into my home this winter by wearing a bright colored floral shirt with a few parrots on it!

Some of the rules above, I have heard about including the tie length and matching the color of your shoes to your belt. As a man, most of the rules above don't apply to me.

These days there aren't too many people who follow any kind of clothing rules. I see people in pajamas at Walmart and almost anywhere else. I guess they are comfortable, but it looks a little too comfortable to me. I even see a lot of older retired men wearing pajama bottoms and an untucked plaid shirt. Maybe they have the same attitude as I do of my Hawaiian shirts of "I'm retired, who cares".

Do you have clothing rules you follow? Do you were pajamas to shop in? I admire those that look sharp and often will compliment them. I do this standing there in my Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts, socks and crocks. Looking good Mitch! 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Retirement Hobbies

Before you make the leap into retirement you often make plans for what you are going to fill your retirement days with. You may decide to work part time or do some volunteer work. You may also decide to explore a current hobby more in depth or try a new hobby.

Shortly before retiring I took up the hobby of metal detecting. I joined a local club and jumped into it at the beginning of retirement with gusto. I continue to enjoy getting out and digging up treasures. Just this week I got out for about two hours and unearthed a 1937 silver half dollar! Those moments bring great joy to my retirement. 

I know two retirees who took up beekeeping in retirement. They have a Facebook page and often post of removing honey bees from homes or trees. They bottle and sell their honey and have made a part time business out of the deal. 

Some people jump into golf and have weekly golf outings scheduled. Some spend more time fishing or hunting. Some take up knitting or quilting. All of these hobbies can fill many hours in a retirees weekly schedule. I searched the internet for retirement hobbies. Some were interesting and hobbies that I had not thought about. Some of those hobbies included growing a bonsai tree, animal care, paddle boarding, genealogy, geocaching, birding, wood carving, candle making and many more. 

I guess my current hobbies would be metal detecting, gardening, reading, blogging and doing a few jigsaw puzzles. Nothing that takes up a tremendous time or money. I've also been working on some online guitar lessons on and off and so far have not progressed much on that particular hobby.

Have you tried a new hobby in retirement but found it just wasn't for you? Retirement is a great time to try something you always thought you might enjoy but didn't have the time while working. If there is something that interested you 20 years ago, you might take another look at it as a potential hobby in retirement. Metal detecting was something I was interested in as a kid but and resurfaced as as potential hobby right before retirement. I'm glad I started doing it now that I have the money to invest in equipment and the time to enjoy the hobby.

I saw a news story the other day, on tv, about a guy whose hobby was repairing old G.I. Joes. He enjoyed it so much that he wound up opening a G.I. Joe museum in Lone Wolf, OK. During the news story you could see great joy on the owner's face as he repaired a G.I. Joe. He allows kids to touch and play with the toys in the museum because he said that's what they are meant to be used for. "If they break one, I will fix it" he said. What a unique hobby! What a great hobby that he can enjoy while also bringing great joy to others. Imagine having a G.I. Joe that was your favorite toy as a kid and finding it in the attic in pieces or worn out. Send it to this guy and he has fun repairing it and you have great fun in seeing your old army friend back in action!

Do you have any interesting hobbies you do in retirement or have you heard about a unique hobby like the one above? Any others out there digging for treasure with a metal detector? Anyone making a few dollars with their hobby? I would imagine a hobby like beekeeping could get away from you and become a full time job. Do you have a hobby that requires very little time or do you have a hobby that is consuming a lot of your time?