Wish I knew who to credit for this photo. It’s worth a thousand words.
Wish I knew who to credit for this photo. It’s worth a thousand words.
Well. This post explains nearly everything about our consumer economy. Plus nearly everything about the aggravation of daily life. It explains why buying more appliances doesn’t necessarily make daily life more simple. Appliances are just as likely to complicate life as to simplify it. The post would probably explain road rage, if it were possible to have road rage when operating or repairing a stackable washer and dryer. I’m usually tempted to throw it out rather than try to fix it. Thank you to Almost Iowa.
Our washer quit again.
The little guy has his happy days and his sad days but too many of his days are spent sulking and refusing to work.
I wish I understood his moods better.
For much of this, I blame my wife (a common enough reflex for me) because she likes to fiddle with the settings.
After she has dialed the temperature to cold and the cycle to delicates, I come along with a dozen grease stained jeans and a pile of sweatshirts that smell more like my dog than my dog does – and when I push the START button, the washer gags and shrieks – then in a huff worthy of a petulant teenager, it quits and refuses to start again.
Normally when this happens, I simply unplug it.
In the world of appliances therapy, pulling the plug is the equivalent of electroshock. It erasers the memory and reboots the attitude of wayward gadgets- but like any treatment, it has its…
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
Here’s a timely post! A clear and concise reminder: We need not respond in anger. We can be one-person armies for kindness, tolerance, respect, and peace. We can be the solution, not the problem, in all our interactions, whether driving on the road or standing in the checkout line.
We live in violent times. When we turn on the news and are inundated with horrific events, it feels like a punch in the gut. We feel ordinary, helpless, and without hope. Some become angry while others spiral downward in various levels of depression.
One person can’t change the world, right? So we vent. We rant. We play the blame game. There may be truth in those words, but I doubt many with an opposing viewpoint will say, “Oh. Wow. You’re right.” I gotta believe sending out all that negativity, cursing, hatred, and frustration makes us feel worse. Without being aware of it, this powerlessness can spill over into other aspects of our lives.
Instead, I have a proposition for you.
Each day you are presented with choices. With a little self-control and patience, you can shift the way you react in your own world.
I challenge you to take…
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It’s been happening for fewer than ten weeks. I’ve only attended twice. No, I have not had enough beer to sing. Not yet. Continue reading
Hello friends. I’ve been in a funk. Haven’t published a blog post since April 30. Probably my longest hiatus since I started blogging in 2007, or since I began this blog in 2009. I’ve continued to read bloggers I follow (but irregularly) and to post comments (rarely).
I’ve been trying to adjust to retirement. Not as easy as I thought. Also, I’ve been all over the place in the past year regarding the purpose and audience of this blog. I began my first blog in 2007 with a focus on Maryland. That blog became more local when I moved to Ocean City.
I started this blog in 2009 to write about “life after sixty,” but I soon wandered into politics and economics. After retiring in 2013, I returned to my hometown, Montgomery County, and focused on local stuff for a while. I started several experimental blogs, but none of them clicked. The experimental blogs have been abandoned. Over the years, I’ve written a lot about politics, and I tend to get the most hits in the runup to elections. After the 2014 election, I was a blogger wandering in the desert.
Unable to find my bearings in retirement, I tried part-time work. Lifestyle and financial issues came to the fore. I made a conscious effort to cut back on blogging. Even though I wasn’t a very productive blogger, it seemed to consume a disproportionate amount of my time. Instead of blogging, I researched affordable places to live. Took a two-week fact-finding trip to Florida. At this point, I’m confused and undecided.
The truth is, my lifelong struggle with depression has worsened since retirement.
The cover story in this month’s Atlantic magazine, “A World Without Work,” helps explain my retirement funk. The story, by Derek Thompson, is not about retirement. It warns about the continuing loss of jobs due to computerization and robotization.
“For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. That moment may finally be arriving. Could that be a good thing?”
I’ve found that retirement has a lot in common with unemployment. Thompson points out that although leisure time offers wide opportunities, many unemployed men tend to spend most of their hours sleeping or watching TV.
I can go days without turning on the television, but I spend way too much time sleeping. Some days, I can hardly pull myself out of bed. That’s a sure sign of depression.
Any thoughts, fellow bloggers and/or retirees?
— John Hayden
Here’s a movie, “While We’re Young”, that contrasts two stages of adult life — middle-aged forties vs. twenty somethings — and touches on enough marriage and family angst to satisfy ten films.
Writer-Director Noah Baumbach packs four fictional documentary filmmakers — all of them quirky — into one narrative, creating excess competitive tension.
Ben Stiller (Josh) is a middle-aged documentary filmmaker who’s stuck on a project. His wife Naomi Watts (Cornelia) is also a documentary filmmaker who works with her father. Not surprisingly, the father, Charles Grodin (Leslie), who appears to be the dean of documentary filmmakers, has a strained relationship with his son-in-law Josh. How many times am I going to have to write “documentary filmmaker” in this one movie review?
The story might be better without the intrusion of the older filmmaker. Charles Grodin’s take on the character is great, but really, the old guy is a peripheral character. Most of the tension, comic and dramatic, is between the two couples, one young and the other middle-aged..
Adam Driver (Jamie) is the fourth and youngest documentary filmmaker. He’s married to Amanda Sayfried (Darby). I’m relieved to report that Darby makes ice cream, not films. I was impressed by Driver’s deft portrayal of the young and somewhat ruthless filmmaker. Stiller, with his piercing eyes, puts heartfelt intensity into the conflict between Josh and Jamie.
The two couples embark on an improbable intergenerational friendship, filled with glowing mutual admiration and envy in the beginning. The awkwardness of the friendship is good for humorous scenes at first. Alas, the friendship begins to sour about halfway through, and the comedy morphs into serious drama.
I won’t give away any more of the complicated plot, except to say that it leads to a serious dispute over documentary ethics between Josh and Jamie. A secondary theme about parenthood is not fully developed, but it’s a worthwhile counterpoint to the main theme, professional striving.
While We’re Young might disappoint if you’re looking for a barrel of laughs from beginning to end. The comedic part of the film is good, but the drama at the end is excellent. I’d see it again.
— John Hayden
A new AARP Livability Index can tell you how your city or town (or the place you’re thinking about relocating) ranks as a place to live and grow older. The Livability Index, which can rate practically any neighborhood in the U.S., goes live this week, according to The Washington Post and a host of other mainstream media outlets. You can find it at aarp.org/livabilityindex. (Interestingly, many MSM sources fail to give the url for the new AARP tool.)
AARP describes the new resource as follows:
“The Livability Index is a signature initiative of the Public Policy Institute to measure the quality of life in American communities across multiple dimensions: housing, transportation, neighborhood characteristics, environment, health, opportunity, and civic and social engagement.
An interactive, easily navigated website, the Livability Index allows users to compare communities, adjust scores based on personal preferences and learn how to take action to make their own communities move livable.”
I entered my Maryland zip code into the system and found out in about half a second that my Gaithersburg neighborhood rates 59 on a scale of zero to 100. I also received specific ratings on the following livability measures:
Housing in my neighborhood rates a measly 36. Not a surprise to me. I already know that generally speaking, you can’t buy or rent a home in Montgomery County, MD, unless you’re affluent. You need two middle-class incomes or one high income to support a family here. (That’s why I’m researching communities in Florida. The cost of living in many parts of Florida is quite reasonable, compared to the Maryland suburbs. Needless to say, the AARP Livability Index will be a great help in my search.)
On the positive side, my neighborhood rates high in Health (79), and gets pretty good scores of 64 on both Neighborhood and Engagement. (I’m doubtful about the high rating for Engagement. If AARP considered voter turnout in the last election, we would rank much lower.)
Transportation rates 56. Even if you own a car, that’s an optimistic number. The Washington, D.C. area is notorious for rush hour traffic. If you depend on public transportation, I dunno. My part of Montgomery County is past the end of the line for the Metro subway. And Metro overall? I don’t have to ride the subway every day, and I’m glad I don’t. MARC commuter trains are good if both your home and workplace are near a rail station.
The transportation score could go up or way down in the future, depending on whether our leaders and voters are willing to fund plans for the Purple Line in the southern parts of Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties, and Bus Rapid Transit in northern Montgomery.
Take a look at the AARP Livability Index. How does your hometown rate? Are your civic leaders going to be bragging, or running for cover?
— John Hayden
Let the record show that I’m officially and fully retired from paid work. My final night shift ended at 9 p.m., April 16, 2015.
I first retired in the fall of 2013, after the motel closed for the season. A year later, fall of 2014, I decided to take on a part-time job, four evenings a week. Six-months later, in the spring of 2015, I decided to give up the part-time gig and return to full retirement. I think this time, retirement from paid work will stick.
Retirement. What could possibly go wrong?
Friends and countrymen, retirement is like ice skating. It looks easy, but it is difficult. Like ice skating, retirement requires practice. Also like ice skating, retirement involves risk, even danger, especially if done recklessly.
I’ll have more to say about retirement, probably much more. But not tonight.