Monday, September 19, 2011

Experiencing The Lion King on Broadway

While we are putting the finaL upgrades on the Dodge, Patty Clarkson has contributed a guest blog!! Thanks Patty. Guest post written by Patty Clarkson I can count the number of musicals that I've ever seen on stage on one hand, but I've loved each and every one of them. There's just something about musicals that just seem magical and I have so much time watching. So when I heard that The Lion King would be coming near me on a national tour, I knew that I would have to go and see it. I told my kids about it and they got equally excited over it and we've been looking up ticket prices and dates for it to try and figure out when we can go that will work for all of our schedules. While I was online looking up some info on what exactly I could choose for a date and how much it would cost for tickets then, I ran across some info on hearing aids. I looked through it some and after that I decided to go and get a hearing aid test done to see if I need some. I haven't gone to take the test yet but I did find some tickets that were a bit cheaper than I expected on the date that we chose to go. Now we just have to wait around for the big day!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Finding a resting spot

We will be the first to tell you, sitting round is hard work. We have all heard about the folks who work 30, or 40 years before they retire. Or the person who is released from prison after 15 or 20 years. In a way they are so very similar. Both have a lot in common.
No, they aren't criminals. We would like to think that after being incarcerated for 20 years the majority of people would not readily jump back into a life of crime. Nor would retirees look at criminal activities as a means of supplementing their income.
Rather, both groups have left one environment in which they were so very familar and entered into new and unknown world. A world that is suddenly full of unstructured time and wide open space. After years of doing what had been expected and demanded they now have choices. After serving authority, they are now faced with being the master of their own destiny, no longer seeking approval or the consent of another.
The question before these people is "What should I do now?"
We imagine there is some degree of fear involved. Such uncertainty, that it paralyzes a person. This may be the metaphor that best describes our current status.
For us, being on the road is as close as we will ever come to looking at the world from space. That feeling of awe and inspiration one gets when you realize the world is so much bigger than any fears you could ever have. That people are so insignificant, when the "diversity" is the answer to the age old question "Why am I here?"
SO while we wait out the days until 2013, we try to take in the wonder that makes life worth appreciating. We have the time to realize (again) that life is indeed more than the sum of our own existence.
This is the 10th anniversary of the taking down of the Twin Towers on 9-11. This weekend will be full of memorials to those who died, both civilians and those who fought to rescue others. Rememberance of the passengers on Flight 93 that went down in Pennsylvania before it could get to its final destination. We try not to see this as a time for mourning, but as a time of celebration. A celebration of love, dedication and honor. A time when we hold up life as a precious moment we experience in too short a period when it is measured against the infinity of time.
Someone once said that if you wanted to measure the span of anything against the concept of time, take a roll of toliet paper and have a friend hold one end and you walk as the roll is unraveled. Now look at the roll of toliet paper stretched across the ground. As you consider its length and you compare it to other objects, realize this---That time is infinately longer than that roll--that the roll would only represent a mere fraction of time as we know it. So to is the length of pour lives--compared to infinity--our exsistence isn't even a blip on the map.
So we need to get over ourselves and accept the fact we are not important enough for the world to bother with us. We need not be concerned with what others think of us, and the best we can hope for is to be content in all we do and love one another.

For all those whose dreams have ended prematurely, we remember you and honor your contributions.

The Lokomotiv ice hockey team

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What drought? it is R A I N I N G. Downpours for 10-20 minutes and nothing. Another hour, more rain. Reminds me of the Portland Oregon Rain Festival held every year from January 01--December 31. So this month is focused on finances. How can we generate the most money, with the least effort and time. Yeah, the American Dream huh? But we seem to be moving closer to just that situation. Remember we want to "retire," not from working, but from working for others. We know some will argue that any work is done for others, there is no such thing as truly being self-employed. But we are determined to be the masters of our own financial destiny. Mary has completed her online classes for grant writing and will be starting her real estate appraisal classes this week. She will be going to Michigan in October to start working on her required 2000 hours of training and gaining field experience. I will be ready to start the copywriting by the summer. This timeline will allow us 1 year to get our new careers off the ground. Not exactly what we were thinking when we first posed the question HOW DO YOU PAY FOR FULLTIMING? back in early 2009. Then we were looking for some enterprise we could do on the road and while staying at various campgrounds. We considered tutoring / science camps for kids and adults, building different crafts items we could sell, and we even thought about the idea of doing presentations on topics from the educational to the entertaining--a type of story telling. I guess that is why we started asking questions back in 2009. We knew we wouldn't have a pension, and were too youbg for social security (if it is still around in 2025) so we need reliable income. We have not worked out the logistics of how a real estate appraiser can be full time, but we can do that in the next 18 months. In the meantime, we are headed into new careers--now that we are both the otherside of 50--and ready to be on the road. Frighteningly exciting, isn't it? Yes --- FRIGHTENINGLY seems to be a real word

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day calm

Watching ABC's THE SIXTH SENSE when we hear a noise outside. Think nothing of it, until there is pounding at the front door. I think for a moment about grabbng my pistol that is on the bookcase, but go on to open the door with the dogs at the storm door. I walk outside to see folks with flashlights and what looks like a sheriff car behind another car in the street. Two depuities standing in the driveway with flashligts want to know where MICHAEL JOHNSON is...not here I tell them, never has lived here...The two deputies head back to their cars and leave... Am I back in Detroit? So we are spending an otherwise quite holiday weekend at the home base. I wanted to install the #10 fuel plate, but the fuel pressure gauge and the lift pump are on back order... Instead I removed the Dodge's interior--seats and flooring--to do a complete cleaning. The floor on the underside of the rubber mat was filled with Florida sand. The orginal owner spent way too much time on the beaches at St. Augustine. I pulled the flooring and scrubbed it with comet and vacuumed the sand out. There is something to be said about a clean truck--just as there is something about a dirty truck--if it is your dirt. One positive note, I came away with close to $4.00 in change!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The lost three day holday

We had planned a get away over the Labor Day weekend. Now we aren't sure if we will be on the road. Generally, Mary and I travel towards the coast this time of year. Many of the tourists are gone and North Carolina beaches are nearly deserted. The ocean is quite nice and typically stays warm into the first few weeks of October.

We have been going to the Blue Ridge by the third or fourth week of October. The first year we went to Asheville it was October 20. We left Raleigh and 80° temperatures on a Friday afternoon. When we arrived in Asheville it was close to 55° and dropping. In fact, that night was the season's first snowfall. Temperatures were in he mid-20s that night. That was pre-Coachmen and pre Dodge diesel. We still had the Chevrolet 5.7 gasser and the 7K pound Holiday Rambler tt. Knowing the Chevrolet was on its last hoorah, we opted to tent it...and were quite COLD that night.

But this weekend just feels like a home bound weekend. May be it was Hurricane Irene. Fortunately Irene didn't weild monumental force, as far as hurrican potential goes, but it did enough damage (last count there were close to10 dead) that it seems to have deflated the urge to get out for the last adventure of summer.

IT could also be Mary and I need the down time to just be still. Mary is completing her on-lone classes, I am getting the Dodge ready for new modifications, and there is also the new job opportunity that was given to Mary this week. If there were such a thing as the perfect end run play, that news would be a metaphoric example of how it would play out in real life. In a way, I think we are just beginning to appreciate our options.

It does look like the weather will be great this weekend--an almost perfect North Carolinian holiday. The Coachmen is setting right outside. We just might have to unroll the awning, set out the new pink flamingo patio lights and load up the grill with some briquettes. Three years ago, Mary and I were in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina on a cold Saturday afternoon in March sitting in Awful Arthur's Seafood. Mary ordered her first rock fish sandwich and a beer, I had the peel-and-eat pound of shrimp and a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Led Zeppelin was playing on the radio. I looked over at Mary, she was smiling, I was grinning ear to ear and I said these words---

"It don't get any better than this!"

I think that is what this weekend will feel like--what could be any better?