Monday, April 20, 2009

Beautiful Monday

I just thought I'd post an update. Lots I should be doing but sitting here at the computer looking out over the back patio and the lake beyond is nice too. It's a wonderful spring day today. The sky is cloudless and the temperature is perfect. That's a huge change from yesterday which was pretty nasty. On the up side I won't have to water the garden today.

Speaking of the garden it continues to do well. I even have a few cherries on the cherry trees I have yet to plant. I wonder if they will survive the transplant shock? I guess I'll find out. With any luck the three new trees will be in the ground this week.

Most of this day so far has been used for exciting things like laundry. I also got a start on a new drawer I needed to build to replace a broken one in one of our houses in Orlando. I have some drawers to build for another project so this will be a learning experience that will pay off down the line. With all the things I've built over the years you'd think I'd have had to make drawers before but I haven't. It doesn't look too hard to duplicate the broken one. I guess time will tell if that is overly optimistic.

The weekend was a pretty good one. We had a friend come visit and I think they had a nice time. I know we did. We did some shopping, ate WAY too much at the Sam's Town Seafood Buffet on Friday night, played some poker, you know, just hung out and had fun. Oh and we watched Mamma Mia, that was a fun movie. Musicals are not usualy my favorite things really but this one was just fun. I thought Meryl Streep looked great in it, and that was before I found out she's nearly 60 now!

Poker actually went well this weekend, good enough to make me cautiously optimistic that maybe it's turning around. The number of available games seem to be picking up and that seems to be leading to more loose, beatable and thus profitable, games. My bankroll is increasing steadily and it won't be all that long at this rate that, if I can find higher stakes games, I'll be able to move up to play them. That might have to wait for a trip to Vegas though but we've been thinking of doing that this year.

What I'd love to do is drive out to Vegas taking my time and playing in cardrooms along the way in Oklahoma and Arizona and possibly other places if I can find likely spots. It's a long drive even from here in Hernando, around 1500 miles I think. Playing my way out to Vegas over the course of a few days each way would make it easier to take than just driving the whole way as fast as I could which would mean a solid two days in the car....yuck. That plan appeals to me but it means I have to do it alone as Connie couldn't really get enough time to do all that as the whole trip would then take at least 2 weeks. What will probably happen is that I'll drive out and Connie will fly out and meet me in Vegas then fly back after 5 days or a week or so. That gives me time on both ends and allows me to say out there as long as it's profitable enough to pay for itself and I'm still having fun. I hope it comes together as it sounds like fun. I'll wait until later in the summer when it's too hot here to enjoy being outside much though. Vegas will be hot anyway and I'm used to being there in the heat anyway since it seems like that's always when I visit. Good thing the poker rooms are all nice and well airconditioned (and now all smoke free...yippee).

Well I guess I have put off work long enough. Time to go work on a drawer.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Early Spring in the Garden

Living here in Northern Mississippi I can see that spring is going to be my favorite time of year. Winter is over. Not that I minded having a real winter. I actually liked it, even when it got down to twelve degrees, even when it snowed. Spring here is much more noticable than it was in Central Florida.
In Florida my favorite season was fall. Of course fall didn't really come there until mid-October. Then it finally started to get a bit cool after nearly six months of murderously hot summer temperatures. I liked nothing more than a walk on a crisp fall evening after a hot day when you could feel the cool edge creeping in. It gave you hope.

Spring does that here. There is so much color to spring here. In the pictures I'm going to post you'll see a bit of spring color even in the small portion of my yard that is in the pictures. You'll see one of our Dogwoods that has been blooming for a couple of weeks now as well as a couple of other plants I can't put names to.

Most of my spring veggies are in and well started. I've had a couple of disappointments the main one being the strawberries that I bought from Lowes that are just doing nothing. I thought the first batch got taken out by a cold snap when I started them too soon. That can't be what is keeping the second batch down. I'll be looking for a new source for strawberry plants I suppose. I really want to grow strawberries.

Here is a view from the back patio looking out at the area where most of the gardening is happening. I've got some blueberries and fruit trees in another area on the other side of the house but this is where the veggies will be growing.

Those are tomato plants on the wall to the left of the compost bin. There are two cherry trees and a peach tree waiting to be planted, those are in pots on the left of the picture.

I'm starting small with just 4 beds for veggies. Using the Square Foot Gardening method though those 4 beds give me 16 sq feet each to plant in and that gets in an amazing quantity of plants in a small space. There is one bed yet to finish, the shorter raised bed in the center. It is going to be an herb garden. The bed on the right is primarily peppers with some onions and carrots. The other two are pretty much an assortment. You can see one of the Dogwoods in the background of this picture although it's not the best picture of it.

Here is a view of the area looking from the front of the lot toward the back.

This is a closeup of the bed with the peppers in it. The taller boxes in the right rear corner will be carrots. They are not strictly up to speed with the Square Foot Gardening thing, they should have been 12 inches square but I already had them built for something else that I didn't end up needing them for. Might as well recycle.

That, for now, is springtime in the garden here. It's an evolving process and not only is it fun but gives me something to write about here. Now you know what I've been up to.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I've always kind of been a bit of the type to spend time reflecting on my life. I suppose many, if not most, people who have journals of any sort are. I find myself doing it more as I get older. In part it's probably because there is more to reflect on.

I recently read an article in Readers Digest about writing memoirs. It was a great article but I have no idea what month or even what year it was from. I don't even want to get into my method, if you can call it that, for reading Reader's Digest. I'll get them all read eventually, maybe.

Anyway that article struck a cord with me. Of course any article on writing tends to do that. At first I thought, but I do that in the form of my journals both online and my private journal on my computer. I used to do a hardback jounal written long hand but have not done that for several years. It was it's own form of relaxation that you just don't get when typing on a screen. I probably should resume it again.

After thinking about it for a bit I realized that journals and blogs are seldom really memoir. They can have elements of it but, at least the way I do it, it's closer to an ongoing autobiography than a memoir.

I have begun to toy with writing one or more memoirs but it's being a slow process. That's ok because what is slowing me down is the need to examine my life in more detail than I usually do and with brutal honesty. The brutal honesty part is harder than you would think. Harder than I thought anyway. I have come to realize that there are parts of my life that I can write in a memoir that I could possibly even post here. I really can't see any of it being worthy of trying to publish. There is more though that I'll be writing just for me to read, or at least to know I've written even if I never go back and read it. There's a lot that I wouldn't, or couldn't, share with many people, maybe not anybody.

I don't know what to come of it but if you know me you know I'm usualy my happiest when I have some sort of writing project in mind. For now that will probably be what is occupying me when I'm writing. Who knows some of what I re-discover about myself may leak out into entries in this journal. It wouldn't surprise me at all if that happened.

If you're reading this then you've probably been a part of my life in one way or another. I'd love you to write me an email sometime and tell me about some memory you have of me, something we shared together or maybe just the first thing you thought of when you read this. I think it would be interesting to see my life from the other side and I can't do that without help.

Help me....please?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jeckyll and Hyde

The weather here, moreso I think than in Florida, tends to do sort of a Jeckyll and Hyde thing. One day it will be just gorgeous as it was a couple of days ago when I wrote. Then yesterday we had strong storms but luckily missed us with the worst of what they brought to other nearby areas. Today, after a cloudy start to the morning, it was a cool, clear, perfect spring day.

I'm not complaining mind you. Weather is as you find it and complaining about it isn't going to get you anywhere. That doesn't stop me from doing it if there are too many days without sunshine since my moods do seem to hinge on sufficent sunlight. I probably complained last year about the week here in Mississippi where every day was over 100 degrees too. I don't think I complained at all about this winter and the cold even though I came from Florida where it was considered critically cold if it got into the 50's.

It seems that here the days are more likely to start out cloudy and get sunny where in Florida they would start out sunny then get stormy as the sun heating things up caused seabreeze fronts most summer days.

I can't say that one place is better than another for weather, both have their advantages and disadvantages. I will say that spring in Northern Mississippi is a heck of a lot more spectacular than spring in Central Florida. Also it's nice that summer doesn't last quite as long here in Mississippi, even if it does tend to be a little hotter at it's hotest.

All I know right now is that the weather is, once again, perfect and I'm going to enjoy that while I can.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I wrote recently about reconnecting with an old friend thanks to FaceBook. I'm glad that worked out as it has and wouldn't change that but over all I'm wondering if FaceBook is such a good idea for me. I've gotten several friend requests from former high school classmates and have always accepted them gladly. The thing that has me wondering now is that after I've accepted the request I write to them and by and large nothing happens. I may get a line or two back once but if I respond to that then I get nothing. In one case it appeared that somebody was going to actually WRITE and we might really reconnect that way. Well that rather abruptly seems to have ended. Of course they might be busy but more than likely I think I was just not who they wanted to talk to. I'm pretty sure I'm right about that but won't go into the details right now. I'm glad for the one friend I was able to really reconnect with and actually get back together with in person. I'm very glad for the friends who I made online in the past few years who are there now and who are making an effort to keep connected. Overall though as it applies to high school classmates it appears to be a repeat of high school. I knew OF lots of people but never really knew them because for whatever reason I never managed to really fit in. The cycle of life just repeats itself I suppose. I hoped maybe something, me or something else, had changed but that doesn't appear to be the case. And so, it appears, ends the great FaceBook experiment....too depressing.

Wonderful Spring Day in Northern Mississippi

Today here in Northern Mississippi is what spring is all about. The weather is as close to perfect as it can get. The sun in shining brightly in a clear blue sky. The temperature is mild. It's been a good day to spend some time out working on the garden. I keep finding myself just staring off into space though, not thinking about much of anything most of the time, just enjoying the day.

Spring here is bringing lots of color. The dogwoods are blooming as are several other trees (If I knew what they WERE I'd name then lol). There are also Tulips around and other bulbs that have flowers this time of year. Things are turning green again.

I'm not sure if it's related to spring or not but Tux, one of the outside cats that sort of came with this house and who I've written about here before, has once again had kittens. It looks like five this time.

In the past she always had them under our airconditioner/heater unit. This time she seems to want to keep them tucked up in the corner of the house near the basement. I wish she'd take them somewhere more sheltered but I'm afraid to interfere because I'm afraid she will abandon them if I do. She is, and always has been, very skittish. Even after a year and a half she won't even think about letting me pet her. Sometimes she even hisses at me when I feed her. I'm such a sucker I do it anyway.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Reconnecting is a good title for this entry for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that I see that the last entry I posted here was over 2 months ago. It was a busy two months with very little of it spent online.

I appear to be changing my online habits back again. Mostly that is thanks to Facebook. I'd had an account there for a while but had never actually used it. For a while it didn't have any profile information or anything. I can't even say what made me think to log on to it and finally add my info.

I'm glad I did though because as soon as I filled out a profile I began to have what I thought were long lost friends finding me there. I've had a lot of high school classmates and friends from where I grew up contact me. Some I remember very well indeed and some I really don't. I've also had at least one friend I made online who I thought I'd totally lost contact with, contact me there.

Connie and I went to Orlando last week to do some work on the house. One guy who I'd known well because he lived in my neighborhood had told me to let him know the next time I'd be in Orlando.

Well I did and a week ago yesterday we got together for the first time in 32 years. Connie and I met him and is wife at one of our (and theirs too it turns out) favorite local pizza places. We all got along great and it was like the 32 years didn't matter. I'd wondered if it would be awkward. Would we be too different now. The last time I saw him was when he went away to college (he was a year ahead of me) so it had been almost twice as long since I'd seen him as we were OLD last time we saw one another. Didn't matter. It felt perfectly comfortable and we just sort of seemed to pick right up. Of course there was a lot to catch up on but that was fun. It was also fun talking about some of the memories. All in all it was an awesome experience. But did I get a picture of the two of us together? LOL nope, forgot all about it until way too late. Maybe next time since I'm sure there will BE a next time...and not in 32 years!

I have also been contacted on Facebook by an old friend who I thought I met in 5th grade but she says it was 1st. I'm sure she's right but my elementary school memories pretty much start in 5th grade. The earlier ones were not my happiest. We were in school together from then on but after high school she went off to college, got married and moved all around and until now I never had any contact with her. It's been great to reconnect.

All in all I'm loving this maybe I can stay connected here and write my next entry here sooner than two months from now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Moved in and settling

This one will be quick as I've got a lot I need to do today. The POD is unloaded and gone. All the furniture is in place. Whether it's in it's final resting place only time will tell but most of it probably is. We didn't really over stuff this house with 'stuff' too bad but we did have enough that there are not a whole lot of sensible ways to arrange the furniture. About half of the stuff that Connie wants hung on the walls is up now. All the boxes except about eight with some of my stuff are unpacked. Mostly I have too much 'stuff' I know roughly what is in those boxes that have not been unpacked and most of it I either really don't need or don't need except in special circumstances. No doubt I'll keep most if not all of it anyway....sigh...I said I wasn't going to do that and to a big extent I haven't really. We threw a LOT out rather than move it and then threw a bit more out AFTER we moved it. LOL I know that's not the right way to do it but at least we got rid of some more clutter. Hopefully is is the LAST move. I know some people, military families in particular, move a lot and we've moved our fair share of times but I'm tired of it. I want this to be IT.

On another front poker shows signs of picking back up. It was just horrible from before Thanksgiving through Christmas. Not so much that it was going badly for me, more that it wasn't going period. There were simply few if any games and they were just not worth playing. I love to play but I'm not going to play in a game that I know I can't make enough to at least best the rake and come out even. I'm not looking to get rich but I'm not going to go to the casino just to feed the casino which is what those games were amounting to since it was difficult if not impossible to make any money in them.

This past weekend Connie and I both went and found games to our liking. She in the smallest they had, a 3/6 and me in a slighly larger 4/8 game. I was getting mediocre cards at best but the table was pretty good so I stuck it out even through a period of having to play extremely short handed. Normally I will not play 5 handed 4/8 because the blinds come so fast that it's too highly variable. I'm glad I stuck it out because I came out of a shortish three hour session with a nice profit. In her smaller game Connie out earned me by tripling my meager profit. She had one of those rare session where the deck just hits you over the head and the other players just refuse to believe you have a good hand. Makes it very easy to make money when that happens. I'm tickled because when she does well she is willing to go back again. A bad session would have her sulking for a month :) (she reads this so I'm probably going to pay for that but it's TRUE!). Now that things are settling down I should be playing more. The WSOP tournament circuit is in town, starting today at Harrah's (formerly The Grand). That should mean that there will be more and softer games available for the choosing for the next couple of weeks. I hope so.

Time to get back to work now...well it's got to be done.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Road Less Traveled

There is no telling how many entries I've used the above title for but I'm willing to bet it's a few over the years. It seems that on my journey through life I've spent a good bit of it on, as Robert Frost put it "The road less traveled by." That has long been my favorite poem. It came up today in my email when I got it as one of two daily quotes. The actual quote is:

Two roads diverged in a wood and I –I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.-- Robert Frost

It's a great poem and describes my life very well I feel. If you've never read it look it up on Google and take a look.

The other quote in today's email was:

As you go the way of life you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.-- Native American Proverb

Both of these are very fitting as today is pretty much the start of a journey down a new road in my life. I guess I've dabbled with this path for a while now but today it seems like I'm really firmly and surely on this new road.

There aren't too many people, or too many couples who would pick up and move OUT of Florida for their retirement years. True we're not really retired yet, not nearly, but we also don't plan to go back. That's why I feel that both those quotes fit my situation so well.

Today was Connie's first official day working from here in Mississippi. All our stuff is either here or in transit to here. I can now say that I'm living in Mississippi. I thought about it a bit last night and it was actually a bit scary in some ways but it's too late now, this is the road I'm on for better or worse now. I think it's going to work out just fine really. Mostly anything scary about it was the fact that I sometimes have trouble eliminating options or burning bridges and really don't like change all that much. Well the option of living here or there is now gone, the bridge pretty much toast, the change is done. Now all there is to do is move on and enjoy this new road less traveled.