Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Remember the Ice Cream Truck?

Do you remember as a kid how you loved to hear the Ice Cream Truck driving through your neighborhood? I know I did. It would bring kids tearing out of their houses to try to catch up with it.

I'd thought it was a thing of the past actually, gone the way of the Milk Man, the Charles Chips Man and Drive In movies. It's not gone though. It's driving through my neighborhood.

At first it gave me a nice nostalgic flashback. Then, after it had been parked in front of my house for a bit the nice nostalgic feeling gave way to irritation. The old curmudgeon in me started to come out.

I suppose that it always played really badly recorded music realy loudly. I mean that is how we knew it was coming. But after listening to it for a good ten minutes (I guess the kids could not make up their minds) I know wonder if maybe our parents didn't look at it with quite the enthusiasm that us kids did. Possibly they even had thoughts of ripping the speaker off the side of the thing and stomping on it. I would no longer blame them :)

Just goes to show you how your perceptions can change over time. I was tempted to go out and see about buying something but I have a feeling the prices would shock me. I can't actually remember how much we used to pay for things but I know I always just needed some change, no paper money. These days you probably need a credit card to afford it.

The neighborhood kids still looked just as happy to see it as I remember being though. I never got to see my kid react to hearing it. At 21 now he'd be more likely to want to shut off the loud and truly horrible music than to get an ice cream...but maybe not.

Even the the old curmudgeon can step aside long enough to smile at the nostalgic thoughts of times gone by. Oh...and it moved on so it's quiet again which helps too :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

A change then a vacation

First the change. I'm back in Orlando for a week. We left around 1 pm on Friday when Connie finished work for the day and started driving. She really wanted to get to Orlando in time for a home poker game some friends were having on Saturday night. She likes poker but not enough to want to drive that long all at once. She likes the people too and I suspect the chance to get together with them for what is rapidly turning into a diminishing number of opportunities was the key for her. Whatever the reason we ended up driving straight through and got home just before 4 am on Saturday morning.

I know it sounds insane but I'm coming to like to drive this way. Being on the road all night is not that bad. I seem to have no trouble staying awake as long as I have a goal in sight. Also if need be I can cat nap at a rest stop. The traffic is non-existent and driving is very easy. She pointed out to me that a lot of why we seem to like it is that it no longer feels like we are wasting a day driving. We use the same amount of TIME of course but we got plenty done on both Friday and Saturday and STILL drove from Hernando to Orlando. Normally we'd have used up all of our waking ours on Saturday sitting in the truck.

She got right around six hours sleep on Saturday and I managed about four but felt pretty good. We did get to our friend's house and played both of the tournaments that night. They're just little $10 buy in things between friends. No big stakes involved here. The people are fun though and the poker is not bad. I feel a little awkward playing these tournaments because I cash well over 50% of the time. This past Saturday I won the first tournament and was second in the second one. I guess if it really bothered people how often I take home the money they'd stop inviting me. It may help that I'm not in Orlando that much anymore so it probably doesn't feel to them like I win that much. This is kinda too funny....a poker player with a conscience. I love to win and I play to win...always even against friends. The thing is they ARE friends and I guess I do worry I will piss them off. Not much I can do. I just have never been able to throw a game of any sort. If you play with me and beat me then you know you beat the best I could give it.

Now that the weekend is over I'll spend the week working on the flooring I'm installing as an ongoing project and also doing a few odds and ends toward moving in January. There are things I can pack up now because I know I can do without them for the next three months. I'll probably take the truck back to Hernando when I go in around two weeks and take a load of stuff even though I realy don't need to. It's going to be too cold up there to enjoy the Miata with the top down anyway so I might as well take the truck and a load of 'stuff' with me.

Before I go back though we've got a long anticipated vacation coming. Around nine months ago we booked a cruise and have been asking ourselves "is it time yet?" ever since. Well it's almost time. We leave Saturday for a week cruising around the Carribean. I'm really looking forward to it. It's the most relaxing form of vacation I've ever found. I just enjoy the sun and fresh air and sit around reading and people watching. If I take a vacation on land I usualy end up planning some way to play some poker on it, or theme the whole thing toward poker. This cruise will be poker free. They do HAVE poker available but it's one of the horrible PokerPro tables. It's like playing online, you play against live players sitting around a table with a computer screen in front of them. Horrible idea. If I'm going to play on a computer I want to do it in my living room with a tee shirt and gym shorts on and my feet propped up. I won't have any trouble not playing.

Now it's time for me to get to work. Lots to do here before I go on the cruise. I'll probably write another entry before then but probably will not write from the cruise. I'm taking my laptop so I can write but plan to have very close to zero time spent online as well. We're not even planning to buy one of the plans where you get cheap (well cheaper) minutes on the ship. I'll probably check email a few times so if somebody writes I'll write back but I'm not going to be online long enough to write journal entries.

I'm amazed at how much I have been writing here. Especially after not having written for so long on AOL and being sure when I moved here that I wouldn't be changing that here. Oh well I do enjoy writing so it's working out. So is our new home here I think. I'm really liking it here. I was always sort of on the fringe of J-Land on AOL, sort of like the guy at a party who hangs around watching but not really being part of the party. That won't change a whole lot here but maybe it will change a little...just maybe.

Ok NOW I'm going back to work...I really am...maybe :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tricks memory plays on you

Yesterday I finally started on something I've mean to do for quite a while. I've seen in a couple of different places, mostly writing prompts I think, how you should keep a timeline of your life, sort of a life resume. Not just of jobs held but of important events in your life.

I thought I remember it all fairly well but as I began to try to compile the document I found myself remembering a surprising number of things only dimly and getting things in the wrong chronological order. I also found out that I am horrible with dates.

I discovered another oddity for things farther back in my past, and I'm really just talking since I've been married. Jobs I held back then that had seemed like I'd been there a long time in reality turned out to be only a couple of years. One house we lived in which I'd been sure we'd lived in for a very long time was also only about two years.

A more recent house that we DID live in for 10 years seemed no longer than the one back in the distant past, and remember I've been married 31 years so the distant past is pretty distant.

All in all it's been an eye opening experience creating this life timeline or whatever you choose to call it. I'm glad I'm working on it and have a feeling that I'll be VERY glad in another 20 years. I know I've still got things to add and dates to refine. Some things will be hard to document because they were before I began to journal in any form. That is another thing that will be nice in 20 years or so. Journals like this one and the private ones I have kept over the years either in actual paper journals written long hand or on my computer will be invaluable to look back on somewhere down the road.

Mostly right now I'm musing over the oddity of how compressed time seems the farther back I go in my memory. I wonder if it's just me or if it's a common thing.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Christmas Ornaments

I've made a decent little start on my Christmas ornaments that we plan to give away as gifts this year. So far three of them are cut out. None of them are finished, not even final sanding but I'm going to post pictures here now because I'm impatient and because I don't have anything else much to write about right now.

There are several more to come over the next few days. I have less then a week left here right now but I will be back in a couple of weeks and I can finish up then. I hope. They are being lots of fun to make but it'd be cheaper to buy them. But it's the thought that counts and I've always thought a handmade gift was pretty cool because you knew some thought went into it.

Sunday Morning

It's a bit before 6:00 am on Sunday morning. The house is peaceful and quiet save for the country music I'm listening to by choice. It's still dark out and I'm looking out at the back porch watching the cats wolf down their breakfast. I love these times. Early mornings, especially early weekend mornings, always seem the most peaceful and calming. I have a few hours to do what I want when I want. Oh sure on the face of it I can do that pretty much anytime but in reality there are usually things I should do instead of what I want to do (doesn't mean I'll do them but I'll think about them). Right now I've got a couple of hours before my wife wakes up that I don't have to feel the nagging of those waiting projects in the back of my mind. It's too early to do them. I'd wake people up. This time is blisfully useful only for me to sit here and enjoy the quiet and be alone for a short while.

Oddly I found this didn't work when I was here in Mississippi and Connie was in Florida. If I was the only one in the house then I could always do some sort of project that needed doing. Another reason it's good to have her here.

I'm watching CMT now as I prepare to post this and move on. Sugarland's "Already Gone" is on I think it's been a while since I mentioned in my journal that Jennifer Nettles is just SO cute! Ok that done I'll post this, watch the rest of the video then do something even more relaxing...

Hope ya'll's day is starting out as nice as mine...

Friday, October 10, 2008

AOL can now kiss my...

hmmm better not finish that title, I didn't select adult content for this blog. Anyway I have now transferred an embarrasing five blogs here. Only one of those was what you'd call active and that is the one that this blog replaced. I do not plan to use the original "My Journey" I like the idea of beginning fresh with this one. On the other hand I did not want to lose it. It's now here on Blogger, safe for as long as it takes then to decide they don't want to do this for free anymore.

The other journals that came over were on a variety of specialized topics that I had deemed better separated from My Journey although, being part of my life, it was all part of the journey.

I know that I tend to bore my readers with long discussions and/or rants about poker so I separated those out into Pocket Queens.

I began posting some of my short stories in My Journey and then realized that they should be in a blog of their own archived together for safe keeping and ease of reading. The safe keeping part didn't work out as well as I thought. Story Time was the only of my journals that I absolutely would hate to lose. I do have it all backed up on my computer now but for a while that journal was the only place it was saved all in one place because the stories were written far enough apart to span the lifetimes of many different computers.

The journal (or blog...I still want to call them journals and need to STOP THAT) that is Tricia's Story was started to contain a story I began from a simple writing prompt in a book. It grew to be well over 100,000 words and have 55 chapters and the story is not done by any stretch of the imagination. I got tired of emailing it to the few people who were following it so I gave the story it's own journal. I've since been on hiatus from writing it but still sometimes get asked when I'm going to continue. Good question...I do think I will continue even though I think it's weak in some places and could use a major re-write. That obviously won't work in this format, when I started publishing it this way I was stuck with what I had, not a bad thing, it kept me going forward instead of stopping to fiddle. I do plan to get Tricia moving again, that's why I moved the journal. All of the writing in that blog is saved on, actually originated on, my computer unlike many of my short stories which were written for a contest on AOL and sometimes composed right in the editor for the contest.

The last journal I moved is a weight loss journal I started around the time I was involved with Weight Watchers many years ago. It helped me keep on track and I'm proud of what I accomplished even if I've backslid a bit now. I moved it in the hopes that it will inspire me once again and I'll get back down to my WW goal weight once again, or at least something that is a good compromise between that and where I am now. I always felt that while my weight loss struggles were definately a part of my journey through life they were not something I wanted to dwell on in my main journal. I am not sure how I feel now. I don't have a lot to write about in My Journey Continues anymore and weight loss struggles and successes may well be something I will just put there... or I may reopen One Small Step. Time will tell.

I have to give AOL and Blogger some credit, they made the process of moving the journals just about as simple as I can imagine it could possibly be. It worked flawlessly from what I can tell. I had one blip during one transfer and they recovered from that painlessly. It's not often I end up saying Good Job when AOL is involved but in this case they done good.

If you're new to reading me then welcome and please check out the other journals if you feel you'd like to. I kept them all public just in case anyone wanted to browse through them. If you followed me from AOL thank you. This, for better or worse, is home now. I think it will be for better.

Have a great day ya'll!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just Because

I really don't feel I have anything worth writing about but right now I have nothing else that I need to do very badly and nothing at all else that I want to do but write. Starting a new story or even better working on a couple of ongoing ones would be useful but that's not gonna happen right now, the motivation is just not there. I'm not going to let having nothing to write about stop me though.

What have I been up to? LOL sounds like an assignment for class write about what you did on your vacations...

I've been up to nothing spectacular yet I've stayed very busy. Busy is good right now. It keeps my mind off the world going to hell in a handbasket. My little corner of the world is actually getting better in many ways.

Just today I installed a brand new kitchen faucet. I've wanted one of those ones where the spout comes off and is also the spray thingy. LOL sorry for the technical language, I hope you have some idea what I mean cuz I'm too lazy to go out on the internet and hunt up a photo. Anyway this morning I spent a surprisingly short time installing my brand new faucet. Did it right the first time too, no leaks and no trips to get things I forgot or that they forgot to tell me I needed. Good thing cuz it was raining cats and dogs most of the day and going out to Lowes would have sucked.

The old faucet in this house is better than the old faucet in the house in Orlando and the house in Orlando is slated to get a whole new sink anyway so when I put the new sink in I'll put the faucet I took out here in there. You still with me on that? Horrible sentence structure :) I've been accused of writing in a way that tends to take people's breath away, not because it was exciting but because of my tendency to use long, sometimes run on, sentences with few commas.

ANYWAY...the sink in the house in Orlando that we'll be moving out of is 50 years old and white (well kinda) ceramic. It's stained and scared as you can imagine after 50 years. Replacing this faucet was a piece of cake, it was installed with modern fittings even though the house is around 30 years old. I'm a bit worried about working on the one in Orlando because the sink at least is original to the house. The faucet MUST have been replaced sometime though. I simply can't believe it could be 50 years old and still working. Maybe I got lucky and it's installed with modern fittings and I won't have to upgrade it as I go. Oh well, it's all an adventure.

I've also started on a Christmas gift for my sister in law. I may have mentioned that in a previous post. I've been assured that she does NOT read this (I didnt' think so but it never hurts to check) so I can tell you a bit about it. I found the idea in one or another book of woodworking projects I have. It's called a book house and it's a replica of something from 1925. It's a bookcase meant to go on a table and it looks like a house, hence 'bookhouse'. I've got all the rough pieces cut for sides, back, base and roof. Yesterday one side of it was my first real project that I used my new scroll saw with and it did marvelously even though it was the first time I've used one. It's not perfect but it'll clean up plenty good enough.

This is what one side looks like after being cut out. Obviously it still needs lots of finishing work. Ultimately the whole thing will be painted an off white with blue trim and a red roof. I'll cut the other side out tomorrow probably and then it will be ready to be assembled, there will be cutting and fitting to do yet with the other pieces but they are all just flat pieces of wood so the sides were the hard part. I guess the angles on the roof may be a bit of a challenge too but I've gotten pretty good at getting angles to work out for me on these kinds of things.

I think I've soothed my writing muse for now. Pretty good considering I didn't have anything to write about. I'm sure it's nothing you needed to hear but hey, it's what I've been up to lately along with standard stuff like lawnmowing and things. Still have not played poker again, not sure when I will. I did go to the casino to meet a friend from Orlando Sunday and while I waited for him and his son I played some video poker and finished that $100 ahead. That puts a tiny bit of a bandaid on the bloody mess that is my poker bankroll right now.

Take care ya'll and I'll be back again...whether I have anything to say or not apparently :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A bit of a ramble...

I'm tired and maybe coming down with a cold so I thought I'd stop working for the day and ramble here a bit.

I have not done much writing in my journal (am I supposed to call it a blog now?) for the most part because not only did I not feel like it but whatever I wrote would probably be more negative than I would like it to be.

Life is kinda getting to me right now. I'm trying not to let it but it sneaks in there. I've got lots that is going well, I'm healthy as is Connie and I've actually made a lot of progress on the house in Orlando in terms of fixing it up. When I've been here in Hernando I've been busy and have a backlog of projects to do that won't be cleaned up soon, and that's a good thing. I'm still really enjoying the Hernando area and we're having wonderful weather right now.

So why do I let life get to me?

Well in part it's because I keep trying to play poker. Right now that is going horribly. It's the whole reason we moved here. That makes me feel kinda dumb at the least. Connie loves it here as much as I do though so who knows, maybe my poker playing was just a way to get us up to this area and it's now served it's purpose. One thing is for sure, it's not going to be providing any extra vacations this year as it has in the past which is tremendously disappointing.

One reason I think it's going badly ties in with another thing that is getting to me and that is the economy in general. How is that effecting poker? Well there are a LOT less people playing right now, especially less people playing limit poker. I think you can trace that pretty much right to the crappy economy. Less people playing means less and usually poorer game selection. I still think I'm playing well overall, I'm just having crappy luck. Of course I'm still looking to see what I can change but I can't find too much. It's gotten so bad right now that I'm going to take some time off from live poker, a couple of months anyway. I'll continue to play a bit online to practice but I doubt I'll play much, if any, cash game poker in a casino for a while. I may play a tournament or two since I sometimes do fairly well in them and they have the advantage of a fixed cost if I don't do well. (I can control any potential loss up front)

The economy is also taking our retirement savings on a roller coaster ride and it's not fun even though we try hard not to even really look at the stock market results. You can't avoid it sometimes and knowing that we've already suffered a six figure loss doesn't make for a happy camper. I'm sure it will come back but we're getting ever closer to the time we actually want to retire and use that money so there is less time for it to come back. But none of that is news to anyone, plenty of people are in the same boat. Too bad all of us bailing together still may not keep it from sinking huh?

To end on a slight positive note I'll tease you about a couple of potential future entries. If you've followed my AOL journal you may remember me writing about Tux, the cat I adopted up here in Mississippi. I may have even wrote that she had a baby. Well she had three more and they are adoreable. Pictures and a few words (like I could write just a few words!) hopefully will be forthcoming. I may also do an entry about a Christmas present I'm making for my sister in law. I don't think she reads this so it should be safe. Before I write anymore on that i'm going to check with Connie first but I think it's going to be a fun project and should be something that Stephie will like when it's done.

Ok, I'm done rambling. Ya'll take care and have a great day!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Well here it is...

Welcome to anybody who followed me from AOL journals and to anybody chancing across this as new readers.

Change is a good thing right? Most of the time it is, lets hope that AOL forcing us out to new places will be a good thing. It looks like many AOL Journalers will end up here.

I have a silly question....what is here called? Blogger or Blogspot or either depending on how you feel at the moment? I've seen it referred to as both.

I'm not looking forward to the learning curve. I didn't know how to do a lot of things on the old AOL journals but I could do some things. I wonder if I can trust that AOL pictures will stay around? I've been using that for my pictures. Is there a good (free) alternative that is likely to be around as long or longer?

I'm writing this while cooking lunch...waiting for the rice for my black beans and rice to cook. It's time to go check on it.

Anyway, here is the new spot and the continuation of My Journey in a new home. Kind of appropriate I suppose since I am moving my physical self to a new home as well. Hopefully I will like this virtual home as well as I like my new house in Mississippi.