Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Getting Your Thumb Cut

Ouch! One minor slip landed me in a major fix two days ago as I accidentally cut my thumb while in the garden and that put me out for the last couple of days. It is much better now but I am limited to light activity like typing this online diary and even then my wife is not too happy about it. She wants me to just rest the thumb and put my leg up just watching TV the whole day but you know one cannot really do that the whole day. It si also not healthy to just sit around doing nothing and engage in sedentary activities all the time so I thought it would be good to make sure I at least work some blood circulation in my body. Typing this is not too difficult although there is still some slight pain, but it keeps my fingers active and also my mind too. She will have to accept that her husband will be stubborn sometimes and afterall it is just a cut and little swelling nothing to be too concerned about. There is no infection owing to her putting on some antiseptic quickly although initially it bled quite a bit but the doctor said the cut was not too deep and it was purely a cut to the flesh, no injury to the finger bone thankfully. I did not feel too much pain to be honest but it could be due to my high pain tolerance.

It was also fun sitting in the car on the way to the doc's as my wife drove us there. She does not drive very often, quite rarely in fact, and under all that panic and concern she had over my cut thumb, she drove the car in a state of panic as well. Looking all flustered and... cute. It was also raining and it made the whole joruney quite an experience if you ask me. She was screaming and cursing at other drivers and believe me you she very rarely opens her mouth to engage in harsh language. I had quite a nice time laughing about it and it kind of took my mind off the pain, which I am very thankful to her for as well, on top of driving me around. I could have done it myself but she would not allow me to do so. I thought my cut was not that serious at all but you know my wife loves me so much, she gets really worried with anything that happens to me physically. Even when it is a little cold, she would get really worried and fuss over me. I cannot deny that it is a really nice feeling and has more to do with ego than anything else, but it also makes me love her even more, because I know she loves me that much.

Since the cut, I have not yet returned to my garden but it can wait I guess. I have just been reading more and sleeping a little bit more as well. I do not watch TV or movies the whole day because it is not good for the eyes, and have not been able to step into the kitchen since it would mess up the little bandage around the thumb. I guess you could say I am having a nice little break during my retirement. The latest books I have read include some translated Japanese novels which are from the mystery and thriller genre. They have been really interesting and perhaps I will try to write a short review in the future if I do not get too lazy after this very minor injury that I have gotten. I also some interesting TV shows that have got me thinking about the state of politics in our country recently but to be honest, as long as whoever gets elected as our next President does something good for our economy, that would be enough for me. I know there are amny people who are not doing that well nowadays and could do with some changes to the economy but they also have to work harder and save more. It is always good to think long term and not always trying to look for that quick short cut and gain that would be nice in the short term but in the long run never benefits anyone.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Going Back To The Library

Since I have been catching up on my reading, I decided to make more regular trips to the library in order to get the same books without paying for them. It is always great to own the books but they take up a lot of space once they start piling up, and also the money might come in handy in other areas especially since I am retired now. The great thing about the library is the selection, especially the old titles, and you can always make use of the library's system to place reservations for books that you want but are currently not available since they have been borrowed by someone else. It is great for someone my age to be able to enjoy the kind of technological advances in the current generation and this has made my reading life so much better. I get to read anything and all the different types of books I did not have the time for when I was younger and working. I would say I average about five to seven books a week, on top of the newspapers and magazines that also occupy my days. I read quite fast for someone my age, and my eyesight has always been good. It is quite surprising to find someone like me who reads so much yet does not need any eyeglasses.

I also watch a lot of TV and movies, so it is even more amazing that my eyesight has not been negatively affected by and large. Maybe it is because I make sure I sit a safe distance from the TV and the radiation does not harm my eyes so readily. I also make sure I read under a good light and actually do a bit of eye exercises in the morning, look out into my garden and just twirling my eyes while looking at the greenery. I read many many years ago that it helps to keep the eyes in good shape and so far that routine seems to work for me. It might sound a bit funny with some old fogey staring out into the garden twirling his eyes and a passerby might think I must have gone senile. But for good healthy eyes I do not mind being thought of as crazy. The wine that we drink daily might also help in good blood circulation which can be bring benefits for the eyes, but I still believe that making sure I use them in the right conditions have helped for the most part.

My wife will also be joining me on the next trip to the library, as she has been won over by my promotion of the benefits of borrowing from the library instead of buying. She could perhaps get even more cookbooks without having to spend any money buying them. Since we both love to cook, that would be a great way of indulging in our hobby while not spending on anything other than the food itself. We can also learn more about other types of food without having to spend on cooking classes. It is much like watching those cooking shows on TV where they show you the recipes and some of them feature non American dishes which we are always keen to try. I can also borrow some books on topics which I would not spend money on, but since the library offers so much variety, it allows me to find out, learn and read more. It is something I have missed out when younger, and now it is like a treasure chest of knowledge for me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Another Day Out In Town

My wife and I spent another nice sunny day out in the town center as we had to run a few errands. I wanted to send a few letters to my brother and sister and had to make a trip to the post office, while we also wanted to get some more food for our emptying fridge. I also had to get a fresh pack of fertilizer as they were running out at home, and thought that perhaps I could pick up a fresh pot of flowers as well along the way. I love flowers and my garden is all the better for it since they really liven up the whole house and garden and look really pleasant. My friends who have dropped by have always complimented me on my gardening skills and how the small space actually looks so much larger, and that perhaps I could get a job as the Queen's royal gardener in England. Now wouldn't that be just amazing if I was one since I really like it as a hobby and it would be nice to get paid in pounds. But I would rather spend the rest of my life tending to my own now and having a good retirement with my lovely wife.

I have not been able to write as much in my online diary since I get bored sometimes and I am not sure if anyone might get bored reading what I do each day. Sometimes I also get so engrossed with what I am doing each day that I forget to go online and write anything but I would like to learn more about online diaries and maybe I can make some new friends on the Internet as well since that appears to be very popular nowadays. Maybe I can also find people who enjoy the same hobbies as I do and that would be a great way to meet new people who share the same interests. But I also get lazy and would prefer to just watch a dvd with my wife. Anyway, back to my trip to town, and after waiting in queue at the post office for half an hour, I finally got my letters posted and went to the gardening shop. I had to pay $49.99 for the fertilizer and was surprised how prices had risen. I thought only food seemed to be affected but looks like I could be wrong. My wife had earlier gone to the supermarket first and that was my next destination. I decided not to pick up any new flowers since the fertilizer already cost so much.

When I got to the supermarket, my wife had already done most of the shopping and it was then that I hit upon the idea of trying out our luck of having lobster pasta again tonight. It happened to be our lucky day and they still had lobsters when we got there. Our way back home was filled with talk of how we would prepare our pasta and just thinking how great a meal and delicious it would be when it was finally done. A few more hours later, we were sitting at the dinner table enjoying the lobster pasta and feeling oh so satisfied. It was our lucky day and we had a great dinner as a result.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Having Hobbies At My Age

As you might know by now, I am over 50 and a retiree, and am not that outgoing, spending most of my time at home or in my garden, which is still considered indoors to me. This might be a problem for most people my age or older, as it can really get quite lonely at times when you are old and have no children like we do. What I do to make sure my brain remains alert and working, as well as occupying my time, is to catch up on all the hobbies I love but never quite had the time for when I was younger, due to work and other commitments in trying to ensure my wife and I would enjoy a good retirement. My hobbies are mostly simple things which do not require much money and can be enjoyed with my wife as well. I have the good fortune of having a wife that also delights in spending time on the same activities, and it probably explains why we are still together and love each other so much even at this age, when many couples might actually find their partnership dull and boring. We both love to read, watch TV and movies, and enjoy each other's company tremendously. Making a simple trip to the town center for our groceries are very enjoyable in its own right, and it could be said that we are husband and wife, but also best of friends.

As I said, I love to read and fix my eyes on the TV as well. I also enjoy spending a nice afternoon in my garden and doing basic gardening chores. Sometimes I help out my wife with cleaning the house, and one thing I did not realize is that we both also love to cook, so our time in the kitchen is always filled with laughter and delight at preparing our meals. It also goes without saying that we enjoy eating, so sometimes we try our hands at preparing new dishes and test them on ourselves or any friends who come over for a visit. I think it is good for a couple to do things together at home, as it really helps to develop the bond between the two individuals and make them grow together as a pair. That has always been how my wife and I grew together. Even simple and seemingly boring stuff like playing Scrabble together also helps in one way or another. We have always been good natured, but doing things together has also helped to improve us in that aspect. We rarely fight or quarrel, and most times when we do, they are resolved within minutes since we usually realize they were just misunderstandings and that as long as we understand each other, there is really no need for either of us to get angry with one another or over anything.

I would say that perhaps in that respect we are both greatly blessed to have found each other and to have grown old together and still be so much in love with each other. The absence of kids has not been too great a problem since we enjoy each other's company so much, and friends who pay us a visit from time to time also help to liven things up occasionally. We also never get tired of doing the same things together, such as watching movies, sometimes two or three in a row. Perhaps it has partly to do with a subconscious realization that we are also catching up on things we wanted to do but had put on the backburner till now. It is something akin to having a second lease of life, and one that is very exciting in its own right even at our age. Throughout the whole process it has gone on to cement our relationship and made our bond so much stronger and loving.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Clearing My Garden

I have said time and again how much I enjoy my gardening as a hobby and today was no different. I do not spend time in the garden everyday, but today was one of those days that I did, and it was tiring, but very satisfying. My wife decided to make a trip to the town center with her friend Joyce and so I was all alone at home and planned to tidy up my garden once again. I had not pulled out the weeds for almost two weeks and they were starting to invade my garden once again, so out came my gloves and I spent a good half hour exercising my legs squatting down and pulling out the pesky little greens. Then I tended to my potted plants which lined my garden wall and watered them well. Some I added fertilizer as I saw that they were not looking as bright as they used to be. I have always wondered whether those stories of people talking to plants and making them grow better were true. I was so tempted to try that out today since I was alone there and my wife would not be around to see her husband becoming crazy or senile at his age after talking to his plants. In the end I could not bring myself to do it, what if one of them actually spoke back to me? I might have fainted there and nobody would have been around to save me.

I then spent the rest of the afternoon just browsing the Internet and catching up on news around the world. It is interesting how powerful this medium is, and I find myself fortunate to be able to have the chance to be in a time when there are virtually no boundaries left between countries and men and women, and we can all find out more about everything and each other through this medium. But I was more interested in reading the news and after that, since my wife had not returned home yet, I popped in another dvd and caught another movie. This time, it was the Shawshank Redemption, based on a book by Stephen King. Believe it or not I have never seen it as I was really busy back then and never had much time to watch anything. I really enjoyed this movie and thought Morgan Freeman was excellent in it. I was quite moved by the story as well, and made a note to pick up a copy of the book. You know how it is with movies, they seldom follow strictly to the book if they are based on one, and the book often provides more substance to the characters and really draw out the plots and storylines really well. That is one reason why I enjoy reading so much, because authors always have the artistic freedom to flesh out their characters and stories.

My wife soon returned home not long after I completed the movie and I decided to help her out in the kitchen with the dinner, as I felt that she must have been tired after spending the afternoon out in town with Joyce. My wife does not get as much exercise as I do, except with her chores at home and in the kitchen. Most women would say that is a lot of exercise, but I always feel that she should also spend some time with outdoor activities as the fresh air and sun would do wonders for her. She told me she had a good afternoon tea with Joyce and they then spent time window shopping and doing the usual housewives thing. We decided to prepare a light meal for the evening since we had pretty much had a long tiring day and it might not have made for a good night's sleep on too heavy a stomach after physical activities like gardening and walking around town. It was a light fish fillet for each of us, some fresh greens, and a glass of white wine each. We believe in having a bit of wine from time to time, not overdone, but good enough for a health heart like many of those scientific reports seem to suggest. Before turning in, I am just finishing this little diary entry and we also had a nice little turn on Scrabble. Good night!

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Friend Hans Came To Visit

One of the fringe benefits of being a retiree and just staying at home most of the time is that your friends actually take the time to come visit you. Today, my good friend Hans came over to pay me a visit and we had a nice long chat in the afternoon before having a great dinner together, prepared by my lovely wife. Hans is also a fellow retiree like me, and we pretty much have the same mentality and beliefs in life, which is to work hard, save, invest and then enjoy life when we retire. The only difference between us is that my wife is more beautiful haha! My wife will love me for saying that, but the truth is, the difference between Hans and myself is that he is more outgoing whereas I prefer to spend most of my time indoors and doing stuff like reading, watching tv, tending to my garden, and philosophizing with my wife. Of course, that might not include the time we spend in bed haha! Oh my I am feeling a bit naughty today but well it is all in the name of good fun and I am not sure who really reads my online diary anyway, except my wife who would be delighted that I still find her attractive after all these years hahaha!!

So Hans made the effort to come visit us bless him! And we had a nice chat talking about the good old times, not that we aren't having any good times now! In fact, we could perhaps be having one of the best retirements anyone has ever had, since we get to do what we like, anytime we like, and as much as we life. There are many others who are spending their retirement years wondering what might have been and regretting what they have done in their youth and wishing they had the chance to turn things around or turn back the clock. Not for me and Hans. We know we have done the right thing in terms of building a rock solid foundation for a comfortable retirement and also because we are simple men, we can derive much pleasure from the simple things in life that God has given us. Most men might be bored to death just going through the same routine everyday, but not us. We savor every second of our lives that God has given us the privilege to spend in good health and also the ability to still enjoy our hobbies at this age. Many people might suffer from backache if they were to even squat down in the garden pulling out weeds, but not me. I get a good workout from my gardening activities, and it keeps me healthy at this age since I do not really enjoy going to the gym or sports.

Our dinner with Hans was a nice spread prepared by my wife and included our favorite pasta dish (this time it was good old beef bolognese), a nice bowl of fresh salad, delicious tiramisu made by my wife as well (yes! she's really good at baking as well I am a lucky man!) and we each had a glass of red wine to wash it all down at the end of it. Not too there, since Hans had to drive back home and we would not want our good friend to get into trouble there. We spent another hour and a half enjoying our meal and discussing how we could perhaps make a holiday trip to Australia with Hans and his wife, and they could perhaps bring their kids too. Hans has two sons and a daughter, and they are all lovely and bright children. All very well taught and great manners, which is increasingly rare with youth of today. Too many of them have been brought up wanting to be successful fast and taught that to get what you want you basically have to be aggressive, selfish and rude. It is not the right way to do things and more of them should learn that nice guys do not always finish last. But no such problems with Hans' kids. They are all really nice people and we always enjoy ourselves spending time with them. It would be a great holiday if we could all go together and having children around would also make the trip much more enjoyable I believe.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Some Interesting Stuff Happened To Me In Town

Today my wife and I made a trip down to the town center, hoping to pick up a rental dvd or two, as well as doing our grocery shopping since our fridge was beginning to empty itself out after two weeks. We also planned to get the ingredients for the lobster pasta we wanted to pamper ourselves with tonight, and were hopeful that the supermarket would have some fresh lobsters for purchase. What we never expected was to have found a little dog that seemed to be lost, and then spending a good hour trying to find its owner. Now I have never been good with dogs, and do not really enjoy spending time around them, but this little pup must have found something on me that reminded it of its owner, and decided to follow me around the minute I set foot in the town center. We had no other choice but to try and look for its owner, and went around the area asking around if anyone had lost their dog. Like I just mentioned, it took us around an hour and we finally found the lady who had not tied the dog up tight enough and it just managed to give her the slip. Now what the dog might have found on me to remind it of its owner is beyond me.

We then proceeded to the supermarket and the first thing we tried to do was to check on the lobsters. Unfortunately they had no more available for the day and we were joking that everybody must have wanted to have lobster pasta today, the same day that we decided to have them. The supermarket staff tried to turn our attention to the king crabs instead but we did not really have the craving for them as much as a freshly boiled lobster so we decided to pass on that. We did, however, choose to pack a bag of fresh mussels and some cod, which would still allow us to have some semblance of a seafood pasta, with the mussels thrown in together and the cod lightly baked on the side. Now I must add now that my wife and I are crazy about seafood, and despite that, bless God that we do not have any high cholesterol. It must be the exercise we get tending to our garden. Next, we went through the shelves picking up stuff to stock up our fridge, such as the daily necessities like cheese, milk, more pasta, bread, jams, etc. What we had problems with was that we noticed the prices of some staples had risen and remembering the recent news on the global economy and food shortage, we started talking about how prices could become too high and unmanageable.

Then I started to wonder if I really had retired with enough money to last the rest of our twilight years. I had spent some time in my youth considering inflation and making sure my investments would take into account that so that my savings and chest of gold would still have enough to handle that. After some thinking, I reasoned that as long as we made sure we stuck to our budgets and adjusted accordingly, things should be safe and we should still have an enjoyable retirement even if the economy were to experience any negative fallouts. After paying for our purchases, we proceeded to the dvd rental shop and picked out a couple of movies. Maybe I will talk more about what we saw in the future, I am not that great at movie reviews and writing them out on the computer for maybe everyone to see is not something I am so comfortable with right now, but I will try. I enjoy watching movies more than talking about them, but I guess I could still find some time to try my hand at being a movie critic. With nothing left on our things to do in the town center, we then made our way back home and while my wife is preparing our dinner of seafood pasta of mussels and cod, I am just trying to spend my waiting time writing this. I'm thinking about the dog now.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Trying To Live A Life Of Peace And Quiet

Ever since I packed up my bags and decided that it was time to settle down and live life quietly and happily after years of toil under the hot sun, it has always been my desire to just have a nice time everyday, just doing the little things I love to do but never could find time for hidden behind stacks of paperwork on the office desk. Now at my ripe old age, although some may call it still relatively young, I have been spending basically all my days indoors in my little comfortable house, with my wife who shares the same things and interests that I do, and we really have about the most picturesque life a retiring couple could ever have, and probably could be described in a fairytale storybook. Now that I have also discovered putting my thoughts down on the computer, it has been another addition to my list of hobbies that I enjoy doing since young.

The difference now is that I can finally have the time to spend on them, and enjoy them thoroughly. It has taken me decades but I feel that it was well worth it. Not many young people nowadays realize that you have to pay your dues before you can earn them. They just want to enjoy life too early in life, and they will probably end up dead broke and angry when they are older. Then they would be trying to justify themselves disgruntingly saying that they did what they thought was the best for themselves, and that at least they had the time of their lives in their youth. I will not go into that because everyone deserves to have their own opinions, but my own opinion is that I am now happily retired, and have enough money for the rest of my life, while enjoying all my simple hobbies and time with my beloved wife. True happiness has been earned through our dedication to making our lives better and we are thankful for everything we have now and have ever had. Simple things like reading a book becomes so much more enjoyable when you know that you can wake up the next day still enjoying it and spending the whole day on it.

It is also a joy waking up each morning breathing in the fresh garden air from our windows, bathing in the morning sunshine as we stretch our old bodies to release the energy for another bright and sunny day. Sipping the warm cup of tea at the breakfast table and munching away at our toast with lightly spreaded strawberry jam, we would spend the morning reading the newspapers and watching the early morning talk shows, while discussing the previous day's happenings and current events being talked about in the newspapers and on TV. We then indulge in our hobbies such as more reading, catching up on movies that we've missed, and maybe making a short trip to the town center for anything from shopping to having a little meal. Sometimes we will try to plan for a nice trip out of town to a lovely beach to enjoy the sun and sand, or make a touristy jaunt to some attractions that we never could find time for in the past. Or we might even just spend an afternoon with our gardening chores. That is what a good life is about, and we are grateful that at our age we still have the energy and time to do so.