Tag: high school


~Evil Scheme~


♥ A while back, my wife and I hatched an evil scheme, but first a little background: In our retirement community, part of our monthly fees includes a set amount of money for the meals they provide us. We can use those bucks for any food items we want. We can use them in the Dining Room or in the Café, but we return any money not used within three months (quarter). Hence the hatching of the evil plot. 

Unaware of this when we moved in, management gladly took back some money from us at the end of our first quarter here. We vowed that would never happen again, so I made some reminders on my PC and waited patiently for the end of the next quarter. As we approached the middle of the last month (August), we put our scheming plan into action and started ordering wine and beer along with our meals, even buying it for anyone dining with us.

As the month progressed, we could see that the plan wasn’t chewing up enough of the money, so we ordered 24 large cookies from the Café to give to a family of five boys (ages 3–12), that lived beside us in our last home.

 Satisfied this plan would work, my wife made the call to the café and was told they would be available the next morning. She arrived at the prescribed time and when she asked them to deduct it from our meal tab; she was told they couldn’t. Dismayed that our plan had backfired, she paid, and headed over to deliver 24 delicious looking cookies to five boys that were delighted to get them. To add insult to injury, she wouldn’t give me one, saying I had to go to the Cafe and get my own and she knows I will do just that. 😊. 

Well, we just had a couple of days left and still have a lot of money left to spend or else lose it. That’s when we opted to pay the tab for the couple that dines with us for the two days left in the quarter. We wound up overspending by a few dollars, but I would much rather that happen than let them have money back.

To prevent it from happening again, my wife’s oldest son, and his wife, created an Excel spreadsheet that allows me to track our dining tab in real time and tells me whether we’re overspending, or underspending. This is a game I will not lose! 😆.

Morihei Ueshiba said it well, “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.”  

♥ Living in our retirement community for the past four months has been enjoyable (except for the food tab fiasco). We have made many friends, are fed well, and life is good, with one exception: I have been gaining weight like a bear that stumbled upon a honeypot. I’ve noticed that my clothes are fitting a little tighter, but I’m thinking that since I’ve been working out at the gym, turning fat into muscle, it stands to reason the scale will show me gaining some weight. My self-deception was eventually exposed, and I am forced to accept that I was overeating.

So, my wife and I sat down and devised a plan to help me get rid of the unwanted pounds. The first thing we discussed, to my dismay, was giving up desserts, which I love. The only caveat is that I can have it one day each week (Sunday). That consoles me somewhat 😢. I also plan on eating more salads, and perhaps, eliminate the soup before my meal at dinner. I shall also forego the 2% milk and drink only the Fat Free. I have been watching the calorie count of my entrées, keeping them below 600, but that hasn’t been enough to get the job done. The odd thing is that I look and feel more fit, so the workouts and the thrice weekly three-mile walks are paying dividends. It just isn’t making my waistline smaller. It was foolish of me to ignore the obvious signs for so long and now I must pay the price for that self-deception. Of course, we all deceive ourselves about one thing or the other, and eventually it catches up with us and we have to pay the piper for our sins. The quote below probably sums up my situation:

“Happiness consists not in having much, but in being content with little.” Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington. Yup, Countess, that’s what I gotta do! 

♥ A couple of weeks ago, we sold our home of many years. We received our asking price without needing to put it on the market and saved a lot of money that would otherwise be paid to a realtor. Now, I have a good friend (Janet) that’s a realtor and lives pretty far away, but I’m confident she thinks that’s not a wonderful thing. I also believe that if she could see the big smile on my face, she would wave her forefinger back and forth and chastise me for being so glib. Certainly, I can understand where she’s coming from, but come on, everyone loves saving money, right? I hope to see her soon, and if she says anything, I’m gonna ask her if she hired a realtor when she bought her home. Her reply will most likely be that she didn’t need one since she is one. And my retort is, “Well, I didn’t need one either”. Naw, I wouldn’t say that to her, she’s too sweet and kind 😊.

♥ I called an old high school buddy (Wayne) the other day and wished him a happy 80th birthday. When he answered the phone, I didn’t identify myself, but he immediately recognized my voice, telling me it was easy to do. Sometimes I’ll call my daughter and leave a message on her machine, and I always identify myself, as if she doesn’t know the voice of the person she has known and loved all her life. I have friends that will call and leave a message and they always do the same thing.

I think that most of us feel like the person we called would not recognize who left the message if we didn’t end it with our name. Almost everyone has “Caller ID” on their phones, so it’s easy to identify who’s calling when you answer, but if the old machine kicks in, we’re not so sure.

I think that I’m gonna try this when someone doesn’t answer and I have to leave a message, “Sorry you weren’t available to take my call, but when you get a chance, call me back. I have something I’d like to discuss with you.” You noticed I didn’t leave them a name or number to use? The vast majority of the people I talk to on the phone have my number and they don’t really need for me to include it in my message. Heck, I have a close family member that says in his recorded message, “Thanks for calling, but don’t leave a message, just try again later.” That’s a little too bold for me 😊. I see nothing wrong with him doing it because that is exactly how he feels. With that said, when I call his number, I feel a little sad when the machine kicks on and he says that I shouldn’t leave a message. Most of the time, I just don’t call him back.

 Of course, our recorded message is kinda silly, but the intent is to bring a smile to the caller’s face. It goes something like this: “Sorry we missed your call, we’re either feeding the chickens, gathering eggs, or feeding the hogs. Leave us a message and we’ll call you back!” We’ve gotten several comments, all good, but I suspect that some of our callers aren’t amused.

A lot of us use a standard message. Some are curt, and some attempt to be funny. Robert Baden-Powell said, “The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.

Sometimes, making others smile brings a tad-bit of happiness😊.


Teachers Make Excellent Friends


⚽ I read recently that forty of the fifty tallest mountains on earth are in Pakistan.  I had absolutely no idea of that fact, showing just how little, I know about our planet’s geography.  But, thinking back to my childhood, I can easily understand why I’m so clueless in that area.  I was in the fourth grade, Ms. Nichols was my teacher, the Geography book was large with pictures, and I would prop it up on my desk, lay my head down on my hands and go to sleep.  Don’t get me wrong, she was a wonderful teacher, caring deeply about her students, but she couldn’t watch everyone all the time and I knew that.  I got a lot of sleep in class that year and I’m guessing that’s why my geographical knowledge is deficient.  Ms. Nichols was the first person to tell me that I was a good athlete and that I would do well in high school athletics.  She was the first adult to be interested in teaching me about things I knew nothing about.  I believe most adults are unaware that children want to be taught, to be made aware of things they have no idea even exist.  And I’ll bet that all of you had that special teacher that was interested in teaching so that you could absorb what they wanted you to know.  Just think of how hard it must be to teach a fifth grader mathematics, or history, and keep their attention.  She taught me in grades 4 -6 in our little country 2-room school.  Upon completion of the 6th grade I left for our local high school (grades 7–12), about 4 miles away and lost track of her, only seeing her occasionally.  Looking back on how special she was, I hope she had a good, fruitful life.  Within the last few years I have contacted her daughter, and we have become good friends.  I doubt that she knows how many lives her mom touched in positive ways.  Her many students owe her a debt of gratitude. Sadly, we only become aware of that as we grow older.  I wonder if teachers can intuit a student’s appreciation.  After all, it is the teachers we remember when we recall our educational experiences.  Quite a few of my high school classmates went on to become teachers and I must admit, teachers make very good friends.  I remember being on a cruise ship leaving Alaska and in the dining room, next to our table, was a table of perhaps 20 teachers on vacation.  That was the happiest table in the room with laughter emanating constantly.  What great fun it was to be close enough to enjoy their enthusiasm for life.  So, my suggestion is, if you’re looking for a friend, go out and find a teacher, you won’t regret it.

⚽About six weeks ago I had some “floaters” appear in my right eye so off I go to see my optometrist.  He splatters a few eyedrops into it and, using his complex equipment, tells me he thinks they will go away, but I should come back to see him before the end of the year.  So, just a few days before the end of 2019 I walked into his office for my appointment, he plops a few more eyedrops in the offending eye, makes his exam and says everything looked great and that he will see me at my scheduled appointment next October.  As I prepared to depart, he inquired as to what I was doing to celebrate on New Year’s Eve.  “Well doc”, says I, “At my age, my wife and I don’t celebrate the coming of the new year as much as we celebrate being here to see it happen”.  

Probably, regardless of our age, we should celebrate in that manner.  Instead of writing down a list of 5 or 10 things we want to accomplish in the new year, we should just be thankful we are here to juggle the things life throws at us for another year. I must admit that I enjoy looking back over the past year at the twist and turns my life took.  Invariably, there are moments of sheer joy but there are also times of incredible stress and sadness.

My Mother was, perhaps, the best person I knew that handled stress easily.  If the problem was money, she would calmly say, “Tommy Joe, it’s only money, we still have our health to be thankful for.  God will provide for us”.   I was a teenager at the time, and I quite clearly remember thinking, “Mom, we’re almost destitute, are you sure God has the time to worry about us?”   If the sadness was because someone dear to us had passed away, her response was always, “they’re in a better place”.  That response never helped me much, but she was put to the test when Dad passed away.  During that time, she seemed more worried about my brother and I than herself.  She passed away 18 months later, leaving my brother, and I devastated. 

I know that the arrival of a new year is celebrated around the world, and I want to be part of that if possible. 

⚽ I have spent a lot of time recently, collecting the many leaves that fall from our trees and it is a worrisome job.  I use my blower to dislodge the ones hiding behind the many shrubs that surround our home, and then I use my Craftsman yard vac to shred then into a thousand pieces before dumping them in a large compost pile my neighbor, Cal, uses for his garden in the Spring.  As I have gotten older, the effort has become greater, but I keep doing it because I know the activity it requires is good for me.  I think it is important, as we age, to maintain a certain amount of physical activity and gathering up those errant leaves provides me that opportunity. 

I have often wondered if I didn’t have that activity, would I remember Fall?  Yes, just like you, I enjoy the wonderful kaleidoscopes of colors it presents each year.  Spring brings us colors also, but it’s not the trees so much as the flowers.  Although, I must admit I enjoy seeing the verdant greens that come forth each time Winter fades, and warmer weather arrives.  It has been said that, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”.  Well, sometimes I feel like I don’t know where I’m going and I’m willing to take just about any road that will get me to that place in life where I don’t have to rake leaves, cut grass, repair everything that breaks down and feel completely exhausted when the sun descends below the horizon.  Some may think that only happens after you transition to the other side, but that’s not what I’m looking for. I want it to happen while I’m on the green side of the grass.  David Thoreau said, “There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it, and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.   I kinda think that’s not entirely true.

⚽I ran across this quote the other day and thought it interesting, “We are rarely proud when we are alone”.  I’m inclined to agree with that thought, by whoever wrote it.  I have been alone at times in my life, and I believe you can have someone around, but if they are disinterested in you, then you are alone.  I remember playing four years of high school football, and doing quite well in that endeavor, but the person I wanted to impress the most was my mother, and she only attended one game.  Dad was always there, but he would be drinking and embarrassed my brother and I in front of our classmates.  I loved him dearly, but I hated for my friends to see him “high”.  Anyway, no matter the success I had as an athlete, my mother wasn’t there to enjoy it with me, so I had a hard time being proud.  I remember being single after my ex-wife and I divorced and doing things without someone with me.  I would go to a movie without someone there to enjoy it with and I felt the emptiness that comes with being alone in this world with no one to share life’s adventures.  Make no mistake, life is filled with wonderful moments if we choose to acknowledge them, but when we are alone, the colors of life are not quite so deep, the air is not quite as refreshing, and our accomplishments not quite as joyous. Some wise person once said, “When we want to ignore something, we don’t look too hard into the sunlight”.  I avoided looking into the sunlight a lot as a younger person, but I find myself gazing into it often as I have gotten older 😊. 

Wherever you are in this world, I hope your family loves you as much as mine loves me.  I know you will return their love abundantly.  That is my intent as well.