Archive for Retirement

Retirement Life Events

Yesterday, we had the second surgery to correct the cataract in the right eye. This was a bit more complicated than the first surgery (which was a simple lens replacement) in that there were additional measurements and a second laser process involved to fix the astigmatism in the right eye cornea. There was yet another measurement made during the surgery to determine which of four possible lens implants would be selected. I regret to say that the cause of all the additional processes could have been circumvented had I not had LASIK surgery on the right eye 22 years ago.

I went to the day-after follow-up this morning and the results pleased the surgeon (who kept patting himself on the back) as well as they pleased me since he had me reading the fine print on the eye chart even though the dilation in the eye was still set at F 0.6 or so (wide open). The eye will be considered completely healed and functional in a few days although the eye drop regimen will persist for about three weeks. I thank the Lord that all this is behind me and seems to have worked out.

A few weeks ago, I upgraded Damsel’s AR-15 with a forward vertical grip. I watched a video on the ‘Tube where some dude installed a vertical grip on the standard hand guard by using a rail section and a compatible grip. I did the modification to her rifle by following the advice I saw and when it was complete, I was not satisfied. The grip still had some wobble even though it seemed to be securely fastened. It was a workable kluge.

I previously reported on the hand guard upgrade on my rifle with a quad rail and a vertical grip. That worked out very well and I am still happy with it. I was going to apply that same upgrade to Damsel’s rifle but we got distracted a bit since she indicated that she wanted to get pink furniture for her gun. So, we abandoned the quad rail upgrade. Now, the pink furniture seems to be sold out everywhere. I am on waiting lists but nobody can seem to say when they will be back in stock.

Well, I didn’t want to wait to get her gun fixed and get rid of the foregrip wobble, so I ordered a Magpul MOE Hand Guard (which is the same manufacturer of the pink stuff) as an interim solution while waiting for the ultimate pinkness to show up.

Today, the hand guard arrived and I completed the mod to her rifle. The before and after pictures are below. The kluged verical grip on the standard hand guard (left) and the Magpul hand guard and vertical grip (right). Click on either image to enlarge.

Standard Kluge Magpul MOE hand guard and grip

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Eleventh Retirement Anniversary

eleven-red-rocks.pngThe last year seems to have gone by in a whirlwind despite the social and biological plagues of 2020. Since our Retirement Post Last Year, we have been busy with our everyday routines accompanied by some occasional deviations from the norm. We find things to keep us busy, I guess, as most retirees do, and that seems to make the time pass quickly.

Because of the overblown COVID-19 pandemic (or should I say DEM panic?), we have postponed any excursions in the RV to next spring and/or fall. We had planed a couple of trips for 2020, but stuff happened.

IMAGE: Numeral Eleven textured by the red rock gravel around our house where many people would have a lawn. We have to pull weeds once in a while, but no mowing in retirement!

During the past year, on two occasions, we have entertained overnight visitors in our home. The first visit was from a couple that we have known since the early 1960’s. They stayed a couple of nights with us and had a reunion dinner at our place with another couple who, like us, relocated to Arizona from Kalifornistan. The second visitor, also an old friend and former workplace associate, stayed with us a couple of nights in August while on his way from Colorado Springs back home to the Los Angeles area. Those were both nice visits that we enjoyed immensely.

October is going to be an eventful month. I have my second cataract surgery scheduled mid-month with pre- and post-surgery visits with the ophthalmologist plus visit scheduled with the proctologist for an exam and to schedule the next colonoscopy. I also have some more dermatology work to be done sometime in October. I also plan on seeing the orthopedic surgeon next week regarding knees, shoulders and hips. There’s nothing drastically wrong with those (I hope) but I have a recommendation from the family doctor to go to the ortho for x-rays and follow-ups.

So, here we go into our twelfth year of retirement. We’re praying that the widespread insanity diminishes enough for us to get back to normal and maybe hit the road to relieve our wanderlust.

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Fifteenth Blogiversary

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It’s time for the annual milestone to mark yet another year of blogging on CB&D. Our statistics for the past year show that we have posted about 52 times, or, on average, once a week. That’s nowhere near the “old days” when we made 300 or so posts yearly, but it’s not to bad (in our opinion).

Just because we’ve gone sort of silent on posting does not mean that we’re out of blogging in the reading sense. We have an RSS feed reader browser extension with some 27 blogs that we read daily (or as often as they post) several of which post many times a day. We think that we’re getting the news we need through them.

In the coming year, we will probably be doing just about the same as this past year, noting when there are special events or personal activity, not the least of which we hope will be travelling in our motorhome to new and interesting places as well as some old favorites. That may resume in springtime assuming this COVID-19 crap goes dormant and there are no riots where we’re going.

Lest we forget, today marks The Autumnal Equinox, a.k.a. “first day of fall.” Here in AZ we are still having what we call “second spring” with cactus flowers and our Pride of Barbados shrubs in bloom. We see bees, hummingbirds and butterflies regularly and will probably continue to have them well into winter months. What will disappear from our skies are the ubiquitous Turkey Buzzards who will soon be headed to Mexico for the winter. Happy Fall, everyone!

Thanks for keeping us on the blogrolls. Let us know if we’re not reciprocating.

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Completing Another Trip Around the Sun

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The Gothic Script above is the translation of Seventy-Seven (literally seven and seventy) as I recall from my high school (der Hochschule) German Classes. I took two years of “Die Deutche Sprache” as my language credit towards graduation. I made the graphic posted above for the occasion of my turning 77 this month.

“Ich habe zwei jahre in der Hochschule die Deutche Sprache gelernt” which, I’ve been told is grammatically correct for “I have learned two years of the German language in high school.” Truth be told and in 20-20 hindsight, I would have been better off taking Spanish in school, given the places I lived and the fact that Español is primarily the language spoken by most illegal invaders of America these days.

As for the birthday, I am happy to say that whatever ailments I may have or had seem to be in remission and we can cope with those minor things that generally prevail with age. I thank GOD for His blessings. We may make it to octogenarian temporal territory after all.

On another topic, last evening I witnessed the apparition of the comet NEOWISE, currently visible above the western horizon after sundown. I resolved the fuzzy coma and a fair amount of the gaseous tail using a pair of 10x Image Stabilizing Canon Binoculars. Unlike Comet HALE-BOPP of 1997, this comet was difficult to see, even with the optical aid. NEOWISE is not as bright as HB97 and not easily seen with the naked eye. Despite the relative dimness, many amateur and professional astrophotographers are getting some great imagery and posting the pictures online.

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Canon EF 100-400 mm High Performance Telephoto Lens

Telephoto LensIn the not too distant past, maybe last December or so, Damsel and I watched a documentary on our local PBS station about wildlife photography. It was very interesting to see the birds and other wildlife that we regularly see here near our retirement home, being showcased in a presentation about amateur photographers and the wildlife subjects of their interest. We both enjoyed watching the informative documentary and learned some things as a result. Foremost, I concluded that the stock 100-300 mm zoom lens I use with my Canon SL1 is inadequate for the type of work we saw on the show.

We both enjoy photography and have both made some extraordinary shots from time to time, but when something is out of the capability reach of our equipment, it shows. After watching the documentary mentioned above, the cerebral juices started flowing and had been simmering since until I read a View From The Porch article that mentioned the lens I now have. I was impressed by the results Tam posted and put the lens on my wishlist at Amazon. When I finally had enough money tucked away to cover the cost, I went ahead and ordered the lens.

Today, the Good Truck of Brown® delivered the package. Aside from some imperatives that had to come first, I could hardly wait to try the new toy out! At last, I had the time to unpack and attach the lens to my camera. I went straight outside and took about 35 shots of “stuff” I regularly see around here. The two below are just a couple of things I was able to capture on my maiden outing with the new lens. A Curve Billed Thrasher at the backyard bird feeder and a Mourning Dove in the Mesquite Tree by the RV Drive. Click on either image to enlarge.

Curve Billed Thrasher Mourning Dove in Mesquite Tree

UPDATE: I added photos of a house sparrow and a Gambel’s Quail below.

House Sparrow Male Gambel’s Quail

I shared these and some others on the FecesBook™ thing. I am very happy with the initial performance of this lens as compared to my old zoom lens. The built-in image stabilizer and the quick-to-respond ultrasonic focus drive mechanism were splendid in allowing these and other photos from a hand-held camera/lens combo.

The product page from Canon is here and the Amazon listing is here (the price went up since I ordered mine for a little over 1.8K).

By the way, our CARES Stimulu$ was in the bank yesterday and has now been distributed to charities in our neck of the woods. I did not use those funds for this purchase. Damsel and I believe investing the .gov money back into local charities will get it to work where it’s needed. Charity begins at home.

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Yard Cleanup - Feeding the Chipper

Feeding the Chipper

Over the past months (maybe over a year) we have trimmed mesquite tree branches away from the driveway and in the back and front yard areas. We also recently removed a few branches from the plum tree in the courtyard to encourage it to grow upward. When we don’t have time to break the limbs down and stuff them into the refuse bin, we sometimes drag them across the road to our lot over there to be dealt with at a future time.

Well, the future is here. Yesterday, Damsel and I took the chipper that we bought last spring over there to dispose of the branches and create some mulch for Damsel’s gardening. I took the 3KW Honda Generator in the back of the pickup so we could have power to run the chipper.

We got most of the work done in that single session and created a box full of wood chip mulch that Damsel can spread on her trees and other items she grows. There remains some thicker branches that we will chop into firewood for our neighbors that have fireplaces.

When operating the chipper, the manufacturer recommends protection for eyes and ears (pieces fly and it’s loud). I borrowed the goggles and earmuffs from the range bag for the job. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Medicare Wellness Checkups

medicare.pngThis is the first year that The Damsel and I have signed up for a Medicare-approved (and 100% covered) “WELLNESS” check up with our local healthcare clinic. Damsel has just become eligible for this procedure and I, after several years of non-compliance, decided we should do it together. Since it is covered, it might be interesting to see what this senior health checkup is all about.

We made our appointments for the checkup for both of us at the same time with our healthcare provider. When we arrived for the appointment we were escorted to a treatment room in the clinic. Our provider was a Nurse Practitioner who greeted us and then started through her checklist of things to discuss. There would be no examinations other than verbal today. She referred us to our Regular Family Physician if we had specific health issues that may require physical examination and/or treatment.

The following topics were discussed for each of us starting with me and the with the Damsel:

  • Wellness Discussion - History of chronic or other past and current health issues
  • Advance Directives - what to do regarding our healthcare desires if we become unable to communicate them
  • Substance abuse screening
  • Depression screening
  • Nutrition discussion
  • Exercise discussion
  • Preventative health and fall risk discussion
  • Immunization record and possible additional immunization needs discussion
  • Adult depression screening
  • Cognitive exam (verbal memory and confusion testing)

We were advised that our response to the latter cognitive exams showed no signs of confusion or memory loss (eat your heart out JOE BIDEN). We were given a detailed printed record of the discussions and exam highlights and it looks like we’re pretty much normal with our petty arthritis and joint pain. Our dental and vision care is up to par and other than a couple of potential immunizations (tetanus, shingles, pneumonia) we’re OK.

The one thing we were short on was advanced directives; we both need to get our health treatment desires in writing via a “Living Will.” Pursuant to that, I prepared a Healthcare Directive and Medical Power of Attorney document for each of us; we will be having them notarized this week and will file them with the Arizona Department of State, the latter which will issue a wallet card for us to direct first responders how to act upon our wishes should we become comatose or otherwise unable to communicate.

The directives are only a start upon our last wishes documentation. We have a bunch of details that need to be ironed out before crossing over the bridge to Paradise. Those will be getting resolved over the next few months.

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