Summer 2014 July 31 Thursday (Shoes)

68 degrees this morning. Relatively heavy rains all day yesterday. Still wet this morning, but able to get my walk in which is good.

I learned this morning that in the early 1900’s, shoes/footwear was so expensive it was at least 25% of the cost of clothing for people during that era. I don’t know how the ratio was computed, but I assume it is correct. The reason was attributed to high tariffs for leather etc. and other materials used in shoes. The reason for the high tariffs was the political power (and money) of the special interests who stood to make money off of shoes etc. Some things never change!

I think it would be hard to compute now what the ratio of the cost of shoes to the cost of clothing, unless you limited the clothing to work clothing etc. Today there is dress clothing, work clothing (which may or may not be the same as dress clothing), casual clothes, exercise clothes etc. and I’m sure I haven’t included everything.

I read the other day that there are some brands of sneakers that sell for over $800 per pair and sell out as fast as they are issued. I am lucky that my favorite exercise shoes are relatively inexpensive, I actually them better than the more expensive brands.

I’m not ready to declare complete victory yet, but we haven’t seen the birds who nested in our front door for over a week now, and the owl continues to stand vigilantly at the door. Hopefully they have happily found another nest and have forgotten about this one, or at least given up on it.

Hopefully I can resume riding my bike in the next day or two. I have given up on finding the compressor and will buy one, which is not a big expense. For the most part I have located enough of my bicycling equipment that I can get started again. i missed riding my bike. Basically the neighborhood will be good to ride in, but it will be difficult to take want long rides outside the neighborhood, since they are all high traffic streets without any bike lanes etc. and the sidewalks aren’t really for riding the bike. I am lucky that was able to start walking and lifting weights relatively quickly. And, of corse, the ability to go swimming has been good.

I like swimming outside, but an indoor pool is just more practical No leaves, critters (hopefully) and the temperature is much easier to maintain. At least that is my option.

School is staring in some ares Monday, which indicates the start of the end of Summer., although realistically Summer weather continues for 3 or 4 months. I”m not looking forward to winter, it is more harsh here and I just don’t like winter weather.

However, there is at least one more month of summer weather (meaning the pool is open and for the most part, t-shirts and scandals are comfortable!

My teeth implants have been relatively good. It doesn’t hurt and has very little discomfort. I will be glad to get the procedure set up and completed.

I got “smart meter” rates from the electric company. Although we don’t have a “smart meter” yet (I’m not sure if we need one), I can track daily electric use which is kind o fun, as well as being informational.

That’s it for now, Thursday, July 31, 2014.

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Summer 2014 July 30 Wednesday (Persistence)

75 degrees this morning. Rain was forecast. Walked 57:53 minutes, sit ups and weights. Walked a different route this morning due to forecast of rain, so I walked so I could get back if it started to rain. As frequently happens, I will probably walk the new route on a normal basis since I like it better for a number of reasons. Due to the turns etc., n the neighborhood, I can walk almost as far inside the neighborhood as I can walking along the major streets. Due the lack of maintenance of the sidewalks, it is safer to walk in the neighborhood, for the most part.

Good to get back to the routine of exercise. lI usually find I feel a lot better if I walk first, and then do the other exercises.

“Sticking to it” (persistence) is important, I feel. The other day I was indulging in on one of my secret vices (watching boxing on tv). The match included a 6’7” fighter with one loss and around 14 wins and one loss. The other fighter was about 6’ tall and had no losses. The shorter fighter was hurt early and tried his best to win. I haven’t seen such determination and drive in someone as I say in that boxing match as he struggles to maintain his record of no losses. I admired his drive and spirit, but he still lost.

I think one reason persistence is so important and yet so hazardous is that if you persist in a goal, you basically are giving up working on other goals. For a boxer, maintaining his no loss record is probably his top priority. On the other hand, if he gets injured permanently, or suffers a loss of confidence, it could be he should have quit early. I assume self-confidence is probably one of the most important aspects of boxing since you are literally in it by yourself and can’t depend on any one to help you while you are in the ring.

Some of this relates to the recent fad of (especially recruiters), asking job applicants to fill out a long list of questions, many of which don’t seem to really relevant. It can take up to 8 hours (or more) to fill some out, and in most cases, you don’t get an interview anyway, the recruiter is just trying to show they can present a large number of qualified applicants and justify their fee, at least in some cases.

I am debating if it really is worth the persistence to fill out the questionnaires or if I should just use the time to look for other jobs. I don’t mean the usually questionnaire on your specific qualifications etc, which I can understand. This is a long list of “what would you do in this case” type questions that literally take hours to complete and don’t always appear relevant. In the end, it is a simple decision-if you want the job, you fill it out. If you feel you really aren’t interested or qualified and you can use your time better elsewhere, you don’t.

Moving continues, with one project at a time. I have completed a major part of my “book weeding” and am now staring into phase two, where I will go through the books I have kept and “weed” more.

I am amazed at how many t-shirts, caps etc., I have. I am undecided how to proceed. Do I just keep wearing them and try to keep my favorites, or do I just start taking pictures of many of them (for the record) and give them away. Many of them (especially the hats) have lived a long useful life and probably need to be retired. On the other hand, they are comfortable and if I do lose them or damage them it is no big deal, so….the decisions continue!

My “teeth implants” feel fine, I have absolutely no discomfort from it, other than the very first day. I still have to have the new “teeth” made, and then another visit to have them installed and then the procedure will be over and I will be able to enjoy my new teeth! I am going back to Memphis to see my current dentist to finish the process.

That’s it for now, Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

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Summer 2014 July 29 Tuesday (Now, It’s Part of You)

68 degrees this morning, cool weather predicted, high of 86 degrees!

“Now it’s part of you” my Oral Surgeon said as he viewed the x-rays showing the “roots” of my two new teeth. Actually, I still have one more stage, I need to return to my Dentist and have the actual “teeth” (actually a form of a crown) “installed” on the roots. Interesting. Supposedly they are “guaranteed for life” and the procedure is 90% effective.

This process actually started September 5, 2013, so, depending on when I actually complete the process, it will have taken almost a year or more than a year. Right now, I plan on completing it around Labor Day. Maybe I can start chewing on that side of my mouth now!

My “mouth” has quite an investment in it, considering the implants, and the various crowns, bridges (although the implants replaced the bridges) and fillings etc.

On the digital newspaper front, I have found my local paper has a reasonably good format on the iPad, much better than the format for the computer. The Wall Street Journal format is better for the iPad, while the New York Times format is better for the computer at least one of the formats is better, anyway. This could change after I get used to using the various formats, although I would still prefer to have the actual paper.

I have also subscribed to an app called “Next Issue”, where, for a fix amount per month, I can get all the magazines I basically subscribed to in various formats. Overall I like it, and it resolves the issue of have to subscribe to the magazines and deal with the renewals. Some magazines have started this deal about “automatic renewal”, which I really resent, unless they clearly send you notice on how to unsubscribe. Anyway, it also gives me a chance to read some magazines I wouldn’t normally subscribe to or probably even read and it is a reasonable “one flat rate” price.

We canceled our Netflex subscription. We just never seemed to watch it much and when we wanted to search for a specific movie or documentary, it didn’t have it. As much as we say we would like to watch movies, we rarely do, although that could change in the future. However, the cable company we use provides us with a bunch of movie channels. In fact, when we subscribed, we told them we didn’t want HBO or Cinemax. I noticed we HBO and Cimemax and I tried to cancel them but was told they were “part of the package” and it would raise our bill $50 per month if they canceled it! The strange ways of cable marketing. I really wonder who thinks up all of there programing offers, they must really be strange. For the most part, they are designed for maximum revenue of the cable company, not for customer service.

We went with the electric companies “smart meter” program and wonder if this is the correct decision when we received an e-mail that our electric rate during a peak period was going to be .43 per kilowatt! Hardly much of a way to save money, no matter what the low “off peak” rate is. I am starting to review the program, and plan on downloading the “app” that tells you “real time” what your electric bill is and consumption etc.

It reminds me of the first time I got my own phone. I was advised by the representative that they were “out of” the regular phones and only the “princess” phone (or something like that) was available at several dollars a month more. I couldn’t care less about getting “princess” phone, but I had to have a phone.

The installer came out and while talking, I mentioned it to him. He laughed and said that wasn’t true, he had a bunch of “regular” phones on his truck and the representatives were trained to lie to people and tell them they were out of the regular phones. He said they didn’t even make an extra commission for it, they were just trained to sell the highest price product! He installed a regular phone and I haven’t trusted the phone company much ever since. I always carefully check my bill and it is amazing the charges that appear that they take off as a “mistake”, of course, always for some gimmick or program that they probably make a 90% profit on.

That’s it for today, Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

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Summer 2014 July 28 Monday (Anticipation and Change)

Summer 2014 July 28 Monday (Anticipation and Change)

81 degrees this morning.

Next stage of teeth implants today. The surgeon will “uncover” the posts for the new teeth, and then when that heals, the Dentist will install the new teeth (actually crowns). It probably will be almost a year to the day by time it is finished.

It has probably been the “longest” year I have lived for awhile, although it seemed to go fast. It wasn’t “long” because of the teeth implants, but because of the other events regarding my job, realizing that my age is considered a handicap (basically saying my experience doesn’t mean anything), moving to another area and other events.

On the other hand, it means anticipation (both good and bad) about change also. I have always enjoyed and anticipated some change, while also dreading some changes, if that makes any sense. I guess I could say I like controlled change within an overall larger structure of predictability.

For example, my early morning routine, I don’t like change. From the time i get up to about 8:00 a.m., I like it to be the same procedure., and I really liked my routine before we moved. After I became “in transition”, I worked at keeping my morning routine the same so I wouldn’t lose my sense of having a purpose each day, even if it was just exercise, reading the papers and my “15 minimum minutes” of reading something I wouldn’t otherwise read and listening to a nonfiction book while I walk.

The time I walk and listen to a book is valuable to me. i have listened about uranium production, the Aztec culture, politics, job search, autobiographies, and oner subjects that I may not normally learn about. Now that i walk about twice as long, I can listen to more, which is good. Frequently I will listen to a book twice, and I always learn something new the second time around!

I recently gave my granddaughter my “Walkman” cassette tape players, accepting the fact that I would not probably even listen to cassette tapes again while I walked (thank goodness), nor even my CD Walkman, although I can’t bring myself to give up my CD Walkman, although even when I bought it about 7 years ago, I had a hard time finding one. Of course, I now use my iPods/old iPhones converted to an iPod touch. I am amazed that all of the batteries still work in my iPod’s and iPhones. My original “iPod shuffles” are about 8 years old and the batteries are still good in all three of them! It will probably be a real shock when they give out. Replacing the battery in the iPod Shuffle (unless I do it myself, which is probably impossible for me) costs more than buying a band new iPod Shuffle, although the new Shuffle’s are near as good as the ones I have. (I have several of the new ones, and they just aren’t the same.)

On the newspaper situation (having to rely on “digital” newspapers more since the physical papers arrive so late or aren’t delivered in my new location), I have found that the iPad seems to be a better way to “read” the newspaper than computer. It isn’t the device, it is the format. The iPad “app” system is just more flexible than the web site delivery system. Had to explain, but try it sometime and you will see what I mean. The design of the newspaper is much different for the iPad, than for the computer.

Overall, the audiobooks and the digital newspapers are a major change in the method of learning. Certainly I like the chance to listen and learn while I walk/drive and I like the way I can skip through the digital newspapers, but I still like the physical newspaper better.

That’s it for now, Monday, July 28, 2014.

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Summer 2014 July 27 Sunday (Of Replica Papers, Free Advice and Gasoline Scams)

81 degrees this morning. I intend to enjoy the hot weather as it is supposed to cool down this week.

The digital Commerical Appeal “replica paper” wins hands down as the best “replica” paper. I don’t know which program they use, but their replica paper is so much easier to use than any other replica paper I have tried to use. The others are all basically impossible to use.

This didn’t use to be a problem, but now that where I live the newspaper delivery is either non-existent or arrives so late as to be useless, the replica papers are much more important and I continue to struggle with the digital newspapers. I actually prefer the digital USA Today to the printed one, the Wall Street Journal is good on the iPad, the New York Times has an excellent “alternative” format, although it misses some of the news I like. So far, I haven’t found a good digital format for the newspaper where I live, although really haven’t tried on the iPad that much.

Spending the weekend meeting with friends, it has been wonderful and it is just starting! Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately) it will end on Monday with a dental appointment as I start the last stage of my “dental implants’. I still will need to make an appointment with a dentist for the last phase, which is basically two crowns as “permanent teeth”. By the time I finish, it will have been a year long process, but well worth the effort as opposed to redoing the bridge which was getting longer and longer.

The dental bridge dates back to when I got out of the Air Force. I had one year to get “free” dental care and the dentist I saw pulled my tooth and poured in the gold on the bridge. It did last at least 25 years, but I expect today they would do a root canal rather than pull the tooth. It would have saved a lot of problems and expense over the years. That was one of the (if not the) most expensive “free” things I have ever received! (Other than “free” advice.)

Actually, while I have received plenty of “free” advice, both with good and bad consequences, I have found some of the “advice” I paid for has frequently been “bad” advice in the long run (or short runI) to the point that I depend more on my own thinking and “free advice” than I do advice from “professionals”. Obviously not always the case, but I have become very suspicious of “professional” paid advice. Of course, you never actually know until you either reject or take the advice, but I have learned to do my own research and depend on my gut feeling, or perhaps I should say a “reasoned, decision making procedure”.

Our car is reaching that point where the original warranty is expiring, and since we plan on keeping it for a while the question of “to or not to” purchase an extended warranty is upon us. (We quit buying one when we bought the car, it seemed rather redundant.) Our car has been very reliable and it is likely it will make it to 100,000 and beyond without any problems, you just never know, which is why they make so much money with extended warranties! We would only buy it only from AAA or a reputable business, not the scammers that send you the “official” looking documents about extended warranties.

Speaking of scammers, the gasoline stations where we live have a real scam (in my opinion). They advertise the “!0% ethanol” for (say) $3.19, but when you get to the pump, all they have is “all” gasoline (with no ethanol) for $3.69 on up to premium (which unfortunately we need) for $4.09 etc. A real scam. 7-11 stores thus far have been the only station we found who doesn’t have this scam, so we buy all our gas from 7-11 in the town we live in and I boycott all the others who practice this scam. Oddly enough, no other stations in any city, including Memphis, seems to practice this scam. 7-11 is also probably the only convenient store chain which does not sell lottery tickets.

Premium gas at 7-11 can be as much as 50 to 70 cents cheaper per galloon than the scams.

When we are traveling, we have found Love’s County Stores and the Fiesta Convenience Stores (only a couple of these, at exit 278 & I-40 and exit 221 & I-40 in Kansas and the “Doublebees” at exit 175 & i-40 in Arkansas are the best for buying gas at decent prices. Oddly enough, both of these also have a McDonalds, which may be why they are honest. We even found one where it appears they set the pumps so they will overflow with a large sign saying “customers are responsible for overflows”. Guess what, it overflows every time.

I have developed a lot more respect for McDonalds since we moved. The little McDonalds where I went for the free internet, great coffee, music and parfaits was wonderful, and I have found the McDonalds are usually more than willing to “make fresh coffee” if I request fresh coffee. McDonalds has the best fresh coffee, next to Starbucks and the only cup I can drink out of while driving without spilling it on my shirt! Wonderful!

That’s it for today, Sunday, July 24, 2014.

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Summer 2014 July 26 Saturday (Friends)

68 degrees this morning.

Looking forward to visiting with friends this weekend. We have been looking forward to it since we knew we would be in the area. We can (somewhatI) replace houses, cities, cars etc., but friends are unique, and we really value and hope we can maintain meeting with our Lakeland friends on a regular basis over the future.

We lived on a farm when I was growing up, so the number of people were limited, especially children our age. Our closes friends were about 3/4 mile away (they were mostly friends of my older brothers and sisters due to age differences) and we would walk over and give the Tarzan yell to see if they could play.

My best friend lived about 2 miles away and we would walk (I don’t recall ever being driven) over to see each other.

We went to a one-room school (I still remember the teachers name, Ms. Porterfield,) and I went there for 4 grades before Kansas consolidated all the one-room schools.

Decision points on our lives are coming up. Either I will start working another job or I am starting my consulting business and “jumping in with all four feet” as I like to say. Maybe some of each if things work out, which is what I actually prefer.

Wherever the Wheel of Fortune may land. And I need to be ready to recognize it when the Wheel of Fortune points to me.

I think my reason for wanting to continue working is my basic desire to make changes for the better, even if it is small changes. One of the most rewarding things about City Manager is the ability (well, power or authority) to resolve problems, especially those little, irritating problems that impact on your life (or the big ones for that matter). If nothing else, I can listen and explain why a problem can’t be resolved.

I really enjoy that aspect of City Manager, especially since I love feeling that I am an important part of the team that makes life better for city residents.

That is a major reason it makes me so angry when I see an arrogant spoiled brat who thinks he knows everything destroy a city. (As an example in Lakeland, the spoiled brat politician was going to “fix” the trash system. He ended up with a much worse program that charges the same rates, doesn’t recycle yard waste any more, doesn’t pick up near as much (before they picked up everything in bags, now just two containers.) However, enough of that, Lakeland residents are going to have to resolve that problem. That isn’t my problem anymore, but it is a good reason for me to keep working and hope I can prevent such stupid arrogant actions in other communities.

Back to my time on the farm, I can remember playing “City Manager” when I was child. I had an entire “city”set up (with sticks, stones and leaves and other items representing vehicles, airplanes, buildings etc), I didn’t have actual vehicles etc. They didn’t make Hot Wheels back then and we just didn’t have toys like that. Perhaps that is the reason (at least I feel) I am especially creative, so it may have been a gift that I had to use my imagination.

Moving has been somewhat of a trip down memory lane as I am forced to look at books, etc. that I purchased because I had read them as a child. I can’t bring myself to throw away the literature books (my brothers and sisters) I read as a child (I purchased them at a library book sale years ago), or many of the early books I liked. Also, I don’t even think about giving away my Hot Wheels collection, although I would like to donate them to children who will enjoy them when I no longer appreciate them for whatever reason.

The next week week may have a lot of decisions points. We will see. We are looking forward to visiting with our friends this weekend. If I”m having “too much fun” the journal entires may be somewhat erratic for the next several days, although I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be able to jot a few thoughts.

That’s it for today, Saturday, July 26, 2014.

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Summer 2014 July 25 Friday (Time)

66 degrees this morning.

One of those days when I write in the date and wonder what happens to time? I expect if anyone had the capacity to actually buy more “time” it would be the most popular product available and people would spend fortunes just for more time.

I think that is one reason mobile phones are so popular. I told someone when they came out that mobile phones are like being able to “buy time”. Looking back, I still feel that is true, but it also is a great way to waste time also!

Tomorrow will be (if I am figuring right) 8 months that I should have had a lot of “free time”, but I really have kept busy the full time.

I think part of it is, as described by the author of “Reset”, that looking for employment is a 24 hour, 7 day “job”. You are always looking for the one break that will get a job, not even a dream job, just a start.

One of his comments was “you wear unemployment like you wear a suit”, except it is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and eventually it starts to became part of your skin (or words to that effect, one of the weaknesses of audio books, you can’t find a quote when you want one!)

My first full time “City” or perhaps career job is a better term came about in a strange way. I had just either gotten “stood up” by a woman, or there was a misunderstanding and was diving back to my apartment in a funk. I had just graduated from Wichita State University and during the Summer I was completing my M.A. degrees with a research course.

As I pulled up at a stop light (I can still picture it), my Professor pulled up beside me, saw me and yelled about a job he know about and to call him. He was an excellent dedicated Professor, but I don’t believe he ever would have thought about contacting me about it otherwise. (I had finished my course, so I wouldn’t have seen him otherwise.)

I called about the job, interviewed for it and got the job and my career started in Liberal, Kansas, and the time has definitely flown by.

I think when you are looking for employment, you are aware that the next thing you read may be the break you need, the next person you meet may know of a job, or you may miss an opportunity.

Strange, I have never thought of it before like this, but in a strange way, it almost is like someone gambling, you are always waiting for the big break.

I have often wondered about people who get a job and then either waste time with personal activities or just don’t try to do a good job. I think, don’t they know how valuable a job is (especially a good job)? I think the book “Reset” would be a good book for someone who has a job, to remind them of what it is like not to have a job.

Same with time, I see my granddaughters being bored and want to warn them to not waste the time by being bored, but I know they won’t understand.

I can’t find the exact quote but this will do (Horace MannI): “Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever.” I

t think the problem is, your really don’t know where time is lost and you don’t realize you are losing it until you have lost it. And then there is no way of finding it again.

Time is moving on fast, That’s it for now, Friday, July 25, 2014.

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