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.