DOUGDC's SparkPeople Blog DOUGDC's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Yesterday Fell Apart Today will be better. <BR> <BR> First, there's the clear dawn sunlight streaming into my room. I always feel capable and optimistic when I see the morning dawn. <BR> <BR> Second, I am grateful that I have this new opportunity to continue what I was doing yesterday, but did not complete. And I'm avoiding the annoyance, even anger that I felt about myself for letting things fall apart. <BR> <BR> I try to do four big blocks of work, "stuff" really, each day. Two blocks of self education (pro... Fri, 17 Mar 2017 08:04:31 EST Is Acceptance the End? It's morning. A cold, clear, end of winter morning. The day is full of possibilities and I look forward to taking care of the things I think are important. <BR> <BR> I list these important things for myself, particularly in the morning. Professional education, French study (for an upcoming vacation), taxes (gotta do 'em), Sparkpeople (either very early or around lunch), daily exercise, and networking with friends, doing stuff with my wife, and recreation. All important. <BR> <BR> But even ... Mon, 13 Mar 2017 09:16:11 EST Morning Has Broken... Broken open, I mean to say, and looks lovely. Sunny, clear, chilly. <BR> <BR> I've been able to get up at 6 am the past two mornings without an alarm, and find that having breakfast, scanning the paper, checking into SparkPeople, and checking for major issues in email all before 8 am is a huge relaxer for the day. It's quiet now, no competing requirements (well, despite the temperature in the 20's, I did put out some of the recycles - the bin in the kitchen was full). I feel relaxed going i... Sat, 11 Mar 2017 07:27:25 EST A Beautiful Day Ahead - An Opportunity Today is a lovely, sunny, chill, but not cold day. House is quiet. My wife is off on a genealogic project and I have 9 AM to 5 PM at my disposal. It feels good to look ahead at the opportunity to make what I will of the day. We'll see how it turns out. Thu, 9 Mar 2017 08:36:56 EST Routine is Helping Routine is helping. And getting up earlier would help more. <BR> <BR> I can generally be sure of getting three blocks of work done: professional study, French study, and gym (surrogate for climbing hills). Also getting home admin generally fits in. This all worked yesterday when, because of a medical appointment (all is well) and the two hours of associated transportation time, my morning routine was out the window. But focusing on the big blocks meant I had time to get those big things done... Wed, 8 Mar 2017 08:58:18 EST Gathering Thoughts It's Monday morning. I have a cup of tea, and I'm typing, not writing, as I look ahead at the week and review a bit the week just passed. <BR> <BR> I feel good that my wife and I are working together, not separately, on the issue of how ot retire, and, in particular, where to live. She likes the DC area. Calls it "sane." I like the SF Bay area. Call it "exciting." But we're looking for one floor living, anticipating that in the not too distant future the warranty on our knees or hips or just... Mon, 6 Mar 2017 08:33:25 EST Focus - seems to be working Setting priorities is a constant requirement. I've got these goals. How to accomplish? For me the issue is something akin to focus. <BR> <BR> I have set professional study, French study, Spark, email, and finance management as the big things, and in that order. <BR> <BR> So this AM I've completed breakfast, reading the news some, Spark check in, and am writing this blog. This completed before my "work" start when I begin studies for the day. <BR> <BR> Been able, with this sort of approach... Sat, 4 Mar 2017 09:02:44 EST Dinner Party Went Well I enjoy entertaining. Particularly at dinner. I get to cook something I like (or hope I'll like), and the atmosphere is likely upbeat. <BR> <BR> Last night we had a neighbor over, a single woman who's been living alone for some 30 years. I modified the Garlic and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts recipe from Sparkrecipies so that I could warm the previously stuffed breasts in the oven after our guest arrived. Increases potential conversation time, and cuts down on last minute activities. My wi... Thu, 2 Mar 2017 09:47:30 EST Brain dying I used to feel I had a facility with foreign language. I took Latin in high school, followed by German in high school and college. I learned some Spanish visiting family in Mexico, and learned some basic Italian while stationed in Italy. When I thought I would be stationed in Japan I started a Japanese course, but then found I would not go to Japan and dropped it. I learned tourist Portuguese from tapes before visiting Brazil. I have always felt it was pretty easy to get started, at least, in... Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:03:36 EST Great Flight We were lucky. Although completely full, the flight took off on time, had a very smooth cross country trip. Getting through both origin and destination terminals was smooth, all baggage delivered quickly to the carousels, and ground transportation easy at both ends. <BR> <BR> So now it's a Virginia schedule with new things to do. I have four high priorities <BR> <BR> 1. Do some required professional study <BR> 2. Work at learning basic French <BR> 3. Prepare this year's taxes <BR> 4. Clean ... Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:29:57 EST Off We Go Into the wild blue yonder - flying to the DC area where we'll stay for a few months. <BR> <BR> Amazing what five hours in an airplane can do, compared to a few days in a car or train, a few months on a bicycle, or even a year in an oxcart or on foot. <BR> <BR> Flying is amazing, but also fundamentally unpleasant, with time spent ahead of the flight waiting for security and time spent after the flight waiting for luggage. Then little space to move about during the flight itself. I lose mys... Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:11:48 EST Beyond Frustrating Working to copy some old cassette language tapes to my computer for ease in working with them. But the copying software interface is unfamiliar and the difficulty of getting the files recorded has been beyond frustrating. But it's working now. Getting stuff done. Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:59:09 EST Heading East - Getting Ready Big chore for today is planning what to carry back to our home in Virginia. And packing it. And making sure the information needed to do the taxes all comes with us. <BR> <BR> The steady rain makes it easy to stay inside, and I've already done my hill walk. Looking forward to dinner at home instead of out, as I usually do on Mondays so as to listen at a Classical Revolution performance in town. <BR> <BR> The two big goals are out there: hike the Appalachian Trail, and learn about early chi... Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:55:11 EST Calm Day - Feeling Good Dinner party last night went well. Great time with friends. Kind of late when clean up was complete. <BR> <BR> Promised rain has not shown up - will get some walking in. <BR> <BR> Still looking at consistently keeping intake 500 cal below output. Finding that hard in the entertainment/party schedule. Sun, 19 Feb 2017 16:13:22 EST Scored Mr. Robot (at the library) Of the endless serials that have been prepared for television, Downton Abbey being the index case, I've watched only two: Game of Thrones and Mr. Robot. I got into Game of Thrones when I began to feel, while watching the first episode, that it was the same story, more or less, as Downton Abbey, but a few hundred years earlier. And it had magic. So, after seeing the first episode of Game of Thrones, I was hooked. Somehow I've watched five seasons of this thing, and enjoyed every minute. <BR> ... Sat, 18 Feb 2017 18:08:12 EST Hangouts a Highpoint? The bright spot today was a Google Hangouts (sort of like Skype) with a friend who was too ill to make the drive into SF he had planned. So we chatted on line instead. At least neither of us got soaked in the relentless rain trying to get to a meeting place. <BR> <BR> And while it may seem sort of silly to feel that bit of personal communication was a highlight on a rainy day when mostly I read, or prepped for a dinner party we're hosting tomorrow, I guess, in a way, it was. <BR> <BR> I've ... Fri, 17 Feb 2017 22:10:59 EST Nibbling Away at the Elephant Got a good handle on one of the expense items that will come up in taxes this year. Glad to do that, and to be able to continue with it today. <BR> <BR> My volunteering has put a hole in day around dinner time. Helping out at a shelter. While I'm sure I'll enjoy doing the work, in prospect I find it annoying that I've given away the time. <BR> <BR> As someone said: You always have enough time for the things you think are most important. Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:41:12 EST Prioritizing It's an ongoing thing, but if I'm going to have time to get the finance/admin stuff the household needs done, I'm going to have to curtail some social visits that require an hour or so each way in transportation. It's a city. It may be compact, but downtown is 20 minutes from the house, and many common meeting spots are up to an hour away. <BR> <BR> But yesterday I was able to dent the admin pile and felt really good about the result. Price was skipping a discussion meeting at a downtown li... Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:53:52 EST We've Agreed: No Candy Even so, I suspect we'll go by some candy shop and get just a few to celebrate Valentine's day today. <BR> <BR> But not many. <BR> <BR> And I do have a lovely card - because "No candy", does not mean "No cards". <BR> <BR> We'll go to a favorite Italian restaurant in San Francisco for dinner. I'm going to have to come up with a plan for not eating everything in sight. I recall they have steamed mussels as an entree. That should be a good choice. <BR> <BR> And not too much wine. I want to ... Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:55:54 EST Embrace the Future ...but Live in the Present. <BR> <BR> The future is coming. I cannot hold it back. I cannot prevent the change that will come. I can, perhaps, shape it, to some degree. But ignoring the future, ignoring future trends, retreating into a comfortable local surrounding and pretending that the rest of the world is not changing or is unimportant and will not affect me is not a successful strategy going forward. <BR> <BR> Neither is obsessing about what might happen, or living in fear of an imagin... Mon, 13 Feb 2017 12:56:09 EST Managing Temptation Managing temptation is not my strong suit. And the more worrisome difficulty is managing the temptation to misuse time as opposed to the temptation to overeat. I'm generally comfortable with my eating habits and my weight. Could weigh a little less, but I'm generally within five pounds of high school weight, and, though I'm aware that the distribution between muscle and fat is different than when I was a teen, I still fit into old clothes and move around pretty well. <BR> <BR> Time managemen... Sat, 11 Feb 2017 12:00:44 EST Party Time Had a few folks over to the house yesterday for a couple hours. Just a way for all of us to get introduced around. Had some snacks out, beer, wine, soft drinks. Quiet, informal and pleasant gathering. <BR> <BR> After these folks had left, another friend came in and we ate up what was left behind, as well as opened another bottle of wine. A very pleasant few hours. <BR> <BR> This morning my first course was Alka Seltzer. Been a while since I've abused myself to that extent, but it was a grea... Fri, 10 Feb 2017 23:35:08 EST A Few Short Term Goals What I'm going to do today, and in support of what... <BR> <BR> 1. Prep for a party - going to have about 10 or 12 guys, some with their wives, over for a short, informal open house this afternoon. Need to do a little shopping. Most stuff on hand. This morning baked a rustic boule to use with olive oil or cheese as part of the munchies. All this in support of expanding my circle of connection now that, as a retired person, I don't see folks at work all the time. <BR> <BR> 2. Walk - at least... Thu, 9 Feb 2017 12:54:18 EST Greeting the Day with Gratitude - again It's 8 AM and today is already mapped out, at least in rough. It feels a little claustrophobic. Early is an eye doctor visit. Doubt anything new or worrisome will show up. Then, mid-afternoon, a visit to a men's group. Good guys, my age and older (hard to imagine) who get together primarily for social contact. We'll talk about stuff, but won't really solve either personal or world-wide problems. <BR> <BR> My wife and I have invited the men's group members to an informal open house at our pl... Wed, 8 Feb 2017 11:08:19 EST Definitely Worth the Time La La Land turns out to be a good film - despite being a definite chick-flick. The story is one of career vs relationships, the outcome is a little ambiguous. But it's also a discussion of jazz as an art form, and has a lot of great music. The director owes a bunch to De Lovely, Casablanca, the Gene Kelly Singin' in the Rain number, and any number of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance numbers. The opening number even reminded me of the opening of the West Side Story movie, but a bit less su... Wed, 8 Feb 2017 01:17:23 EST Hoping La La Land is Worth the Time Here is is, rainy, chilly, overcast, been this way for a few days, and a few more are yet to come. My wife would like to see this movie, La La Land - a movie whose title would never encourage me to buy a ticket. But we'll go this afternoon, at a nearby theatre that we enjoy visiting because it's small and easy to reach on mass transit. <BR> <BR> As we fit this recreation event into our calendars, I realized that the movie, and transportation, and maybe a stop at a coffee shop, was going to ... Tue, 7 Feb 2017 11:25:34 EST Lots of Work, Not Much Done Just noticing. I'm busy. Seeing people, working on chores, even cooking. I've got something to do outside the house 3 or more days a week. And, as I'm retired, the automatic social aspects of employment are missing from my life. <BR> <BR> But even busy, things pile up that need doing. Mostly, I admit, things I don't enjoy doing. <BR> <BR> However, getting things done actually feels good. So I spend time just doing stuff, to feel like stuff is getting done. <BR> <BR> Critical issue - do i... Mon, 6 Feb 2017 16:59:53 EST Separation Separation, in this instance, is not from my wife, but from the house we've owned together in San Francisco for something like 30 years. It is turning out not to be practical or wise to continue to maintain this 115 year old townhouse and a similar but newer house on the East Coast as well. But selling this house means that we may never again do some things we enjoy - walking on the beach of the Pacific Ocean at sunset, walking anywhere near the Golden Gate bridge and enjoying the vast parks ... Sat, 4 Feb 2017 10:35:23 EST "A Day That You Tarry Is A Day That You Lose." A line from a the song, Jeremiah Johnson, sung repeatedly by Tim McIntire in the Robert Redford film of the same name. The movie is one of my favorites and the sentiment is a warning that feels very important to me, a life-long procrastinator. <BR> <BR> I feel a strong sense of time pressure. Like I haven't a lot of time left (72 last August) and so much to do. Some is complex stuff to manage. In my goal setting I've identified the two areas where I want to put the most effort, and I've als... Fri, 3 Feb 2017 14:19:40 EST Rote Behavior It's just finished raining. Chilly. Damp. Cloudy. But weather is only one part of the reason that I look at today as only another day of mechanical effort to try to get things done, and with little hope of real progress. The other part is the newspaper. The news of Feb 2017 brings back memories of Vietnam protests of the 1970's. It doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel comfortable. It doesn't feel safe. <BR> <BR> This is where habit takes over. Where I do the things I usually do without think... Thu, 2 Feb 2017 11:04:18 EST Meeting the Day with Gratitude Each day opens with the opportunity to deal with the problems that arise, or, those left over from earlier. I'm grateful for he chance to try again, and always have hope of slaying the beast, getting on top of stuff, and bringing some eagerly anticipated serenity into my life. <BR> <BR> Nevertheless, the unfortunate truth is that right now, tension seems to be growing. Things are not working out gracefully. The problem of where to live is going to take some time to resolve. Unexpected expens... Wed, 1 Feb 2017 12:39:36 EST Planning a "Move" In a few weeks we'll return to Virginia and give contractors a chance to look into the remaining "this old house" problems that we have at the place we're rehabilitating in San Francisco. In Virginia we'll look for a suitable retirement home, single story, near transit, walkable neighborhood, and, most importantly, one we can afford. We'll be there six months or so, and do some traveling while we're there. Lot's to do to get ready. Will be busy.. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Tue, 31 Jan 2017 12:29:29 EST I'll Get Over It... But right now, I'm sad. I don't like the way the future is unfolding right now. But a lot of people would like to have my problem. <BR> <BR> It looks like I'm going to have to give up on our San Francisco house. Empty it. Sell it. Dispose of furniture, clothing, kitchen gear, tools. I've been working for years to get this house ready to live in. It may never be ready to live in. We may never again live here. <BR> <BR> Recently I mentioned the elephant in the room. This house is that elepha... Mon, 30 Jan 2017 12:08:07 EST A Good Choice On the way to church this AM I took the bus, as I usually do. The route involves a light rail ride to meet a bus running up a main road. As I got on the bus at the transfer I noticed I would be arriving early. I could use up a few minutes and arrive at a better hour by walking instead of riding. Great idea! And I'd get a little more exercise for the day, walking up one of San Francisco's many hills. So I got off at the next stop. <BR> <BR> Walking up the hill felt great. Made me feel like a... Sun, 29 Jan 2017 19:23:42 EST Stuck on a Plateau It's been a month since the holidays ended and I'm still 5-10 pounds above where I was in early November. Thought I'd changed my general life style and would return to my former weight automatically,, but I guess I changed it again during the period of candy canes and plum pudding. So I'm a little frustrated. <BR> <BR> Some of the SparkPeople techniques are helpful to me now. I posted an iconic photo from the Appalachian Trail, a place I'd like to do some hiking, in the kitchen to remind me ... Fri, 27 Jan 2017 12:29:52 EST Urban Hiking I love being outdoors - even in the rain. So walking is a great exercise for me, all except my right foot begins to hurt after an hour or so. <BR> <BR> Yesterday the weather was lovely, temperatures in low 50's, and I had a men's group meeting to attend (meeting some new friends through this group). The meeting place is about 5 miles from the house. And it's San Francisco, so there are hills to climb and descend. For interest I planned to go by a SF landmark, the Painted Ladies . <BR> <BR>... Thu, 26 Jan 2017 12:08:20 EST Planning an Experiment An experimental dinner party. <BR> <BR> Stay with me here. The huge domestic issue, the elephant of a few days past, is where to live. What place, in what type of house, will we retire. Our San Francisco home has three stories and we fear the stairs will become unfriendly in a few years. But we'll be in the house for at least a couple of years before we sell it. So we're cleaning the place up. <BR> <BR> Cleanup has led to discoveries in the attic. Dishes we haven't used in years - came fro... Wed, 25 Jan 2017 11:49:33 EST Looming Sky - Looming Day Generally I wake up optimistic. Today as well. Walking out to get the paper, the sky is grey and flat - as though a tornado were imminent. No tornados here in San Francisco. We only await a long overdue earthquake. But the sky reflects my view of the day ahead. Looming responsibilities in conflict with other stuff I'd like to do. <BR> <BR> I got up earlier this AM to have time to have breakfast (healthy choices) and check the news online. Now, at my desk, I'm ready to work on "stuff." There ... Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:08:57 EST A Good Day in the Offing It's starting well. Pink edges to twisted grey clouds with patches of blue all point to a temporary pause in the rain, and look like an invitation to progress for the day and for the week. As I walk to get the paper, I'm stoked. "In the Good Ol' Summertime" runs through my head, a bit early, I note. <BR> <BR> I see things as possible. I see them pile up. I work at priorities. But I took a personal step to help arrange the priorities: I printed a picture from the web of a lone hiker on the Ap... Mon, 23 Jan 2017 13:11:43 EST Going to Church I've tried to talk myself out of going this morning. Yesterday was a day of world-wide protest, the women's march, which I though valuable as a way of being sure that ideas important to the marchers were not ignored by everyone else, including our government. <BR> <BR> And last night was the third recent episode of heavy rain in San Francisco. It's a chilly, damp and grey day. Who wants to go out? <BR> <BR> But this is the kind of time when hearing from others, seeing friends, and searching... Sun, 22 Jan 2017 11:02:45 EST Dealing With the Elephant Oh, yes, the elephant in the room. This one is the size of a house. A century old house in San Francisco that we need either to finish fixing up and enjoy, or sell. Neither is easy. Neither is fast. Both have associated financial implications. And, particularly the potential for unbounded investment in this house is frightening for retired folks like us. <BR> <BR> Its shadow overhangs everything. Both objective and emotional issues demand attention, and, until we have an agreed future strate... Sat, 21 Jan 2017 11:54:33 EST Grey Day - Many Ways It rained hard last night. And the sky was grey and overcast early - a few optimistic blue patches appeared later in the AM, about the same time I tuned in the inauguration. A confusing morning that led to a quiet, contemplative day. <BR> <BR> Cooked a good meal for my wife. But still thinking about the country. A strange morning indeed. Sat, 21 Jan 2017 01:19:59 EST Looking for Community Attended a "Men's Group" meeting yesterday. It's at a Senior Center in SF, and takes about an hour via buses to get there. The meeting lasts an hour once a week. Then an hour's ride home. Is it worth the time investment? <BR> <BR> About 10 guys show up. They all seem older than I am, and some actually are. But the truth is I'm about their age as well. The stated purpose of the group is to give guys a place to vent, to offer supportive feedback, and to help guys avoid isolation, something whi... Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:52:28 EST Great Performance Last Night We're talking musical performance here. Last night joined a friend at a regular, free performance of chamber music in a most unexpected setting. A bar and grill in the traditionally Latino Mission District of San Francisco. <BR> <BR> I've been to a number of chamber music concerts in the past, but they've never seemed exciting. But being in an auditorium watching tuxedoed performers at a distance and being in a bar five feet away from three or four informally dressed performers are enitirel... Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:35:14 EST Can It Work? Well, it has to work. That is, time management has to work. But I need to find a way to get there. <BR> <BR> Yesterday I blocked out the day in advance. It was only a couple hours before external events showed up and four hours disappeared into accompanying my wife on an unscheduled shopping trip. We stopped at Lowes and Lucky (supermarket). Picked out things that actually required both of us to talk and jointly approve, and made progress on the unending house remodel/redecorate project. So... Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:23:02 EST Time Obsession I'm feeling oppressed by time. Not enough. <BR> <BR> A teacher once said, "You always have time for what you feel is most important." By which he meant that, by definition, what you are spending time on is what you think is most important, regardless of other folks' thoughts. So if I'm watching a DVD instead of paying household bills, that's a choice, and evidence of what I think is more important. <BR> <BR> So today I set up a schedule. Hour long chunks. Broad topics. But I hope to use it ... Sun, 15 Jan 2017 13:23:02 EST Gone Before It Started No thought to greeting today with gratitude or otherwise. What's happened? My wife and I had planned a yard sale to get rid of accumulated stuff we no longer needed nor had storage for. The event will occupy the entire day until 4 PM. Then a bit of a rest and then dinner and maybe a movie. <BR> <BR> We didn't advertise the yard sale enough. Casual traffic bought some stuff, but few came by. Nevertheless, we reduced the amount to store some. And that is good. <BR> <BR> I feel this frustratio... Sat, 14 Jan 2017 16:28:51 EST Greeting the Day with Gratitude Today I'm grateful that I wasn't driving that truck. That truck was a large tractor trailer truck that I often see delivering vegetables to local restaurants. It had evidently been driving along the curb when its trailer hit the limbs of a large tree, tearing one large limb off and fracturing others. No one evidently hurt. I scanned the truck for dents. The truck didn't look at all damaged.The driver was calmer than I would have been, and seemed sorry for the event. I helped him in an unsucce... Fri, 13 Jan 2017 12:06:52 EST How Did I Have Time to Work Time for today is already spoken for, and that was at 8:30 AM. <BR> <BR> It's like this. Today my wife and I will attend a lecture on sculptor Rodin at one of the museums where we're members. It will be in the morning - basically taking my usual time for getting things done. Home for lunch. Then, in the mid-afternoon, I'm going to join some guys at one of their homes for an hour or two. This event is a blanket invitation extended at the men's club at a local senior center. I'm going because... Thu, 12 Jan 2017 12:33:57 EST Winnowing the Possibilities Greeting the day with gratitude. Searching for hope. <BR> <BR> The day will do well enough. Although the sky is cloudy and looks a bit forbidding, there's a pause in the rain. More this evening, but dry now. Compared to the umbrella/wind struggles of yesterday, going out today will be easy. <BR> <BR> This opens surprising opportunities I feel grateful for. 1) Walk about 3/4 mile, one way, no big hills, to the drug store for needed supply. Visit library on way home. 2) Same store and libra... Wed, 11 Jan 2017 12:46:11 EST