Wandering Thoughts

It’s Saturday evening in SoCal.

I’m watching the Angel – KC game on the boob-tube. It was in the low 80s here today and it’s snowing in Kansas City. I imagine Tom Hanks yelling, “There’s no snowing in baseball!”

I did chores today: dishes, grocery shopping, feeding cats, litterbox duty, helping Charlie move around and fixing her meals and tea, etc. This evening I got her the Subway sandwich, chips and cookies she wanted (along with Jaffa cakes and tins of Danish cookies) and picked myself up some fish and chips, mushy peas and calamari.

As I watch the Angel game Mist is sleeping curled up against my legs and feet and Smoke is grooming himself on the couch to my right. Charlie is in her room watching, and trying to figure out what is really happening in Blade Runner 2049.

And my mind started to wander . . .

I began my teaching career doing student teaching and part-time teaching during the 1971-72 school year. My older students were 13 and 14 years old. That means many of them were born in 1958.

My first students are turning 60 this year.

They, some or even many of them, are now grandparents.

Noooooooooooooo . . . .

Angels won.


Yesterday I was at Costco buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Donald-John, the Wonder Dog. I was stuck in a rather slow check-out line when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had an elephant?

The Purina Diet

Now, I’m retired with a lot of time on my hands and few outlets for my sense of humor. A sense of humor my students thought was rather “wicked,” especially when an administrator walked into my classroom while I was telling stories. I was a History teacher, after all.

So, on impulse, I told her that no, I didn’t have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn’t, because I ended up in the hospital last time. On the positive side, however, I’d lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and the way that it works is, to load your pants pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete, certified, so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care, because the dog food poisoned me. “No,” I said. “I stopped to pee on a fire hydrant and a car hit me.”

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard. Costco won’t let me shop there anymore. Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.

Sun Bath
Sun Bath

Reading Retired

One of the nice things about being retired is that I usually have quite a bit of time to read: newspapers and books, primarily.

Unfortunately, my favorite authors seldom write more than a book or two every year or two (or three or four). This means I re-read a number of books every year as well as find new authors to read. It also means that I sometimes am “inundated” with several new books at about the same time — publishers do not go over their schedules with me before releasing their books.

I received my copy of Peter F. Hamilton’s new Commonwealth novel — A Night Without Stars — last Tuesday and dove right in. By Friday I was on page 264 and Ian W. Toll’s The Conquering Tide (in paperback) arrived. The Conquering Tide is the second in Toll’s trilogy of the Pacific war. At 542 pages, not counting Notes and Index, it was a good quick read. Yes, I finished it today while sitting on our exercise bike and watching parts of Day of the Jackal on the room’s Apple TV.

By the way, I give The Conquering Tide 5 Stars.

Now I can resume reading A Night Without Stars and Spoor’s Spheres of Influence. And tomorrow my copy of Flint’s Castaway Odyssey should arrive — even though I saw it already on the shelves of HB’s B&N last Saturday.

Next week Modesitt’s Treachery’s Tools should also be delivered to my front door. I have several other books on order that should be arriving in the next month and a half . . . ahhhhhhh. Now, if I could just get an advance copy of The Gathering Edge before Christmas . . .cats and reading

Reading Humor

On a side note — p. 433 of The Conquering Tide:

Many who worked with Nimitz later recalled his shrewd use of the well-applied joke. While winding down a testy planning session in the spring of 1944, the admiral said he was reminded of history’s “first amphibious operation,” conducted by Noah. “When they were unloading from the Ark, he saw a pair of cats come out followed by six kittens. ‘What’s this?’ he asked. ‘Ha, ha,’ said the tabby cat, ‘and all the time you thought we were fighting.'”

Oh yeah, I went to our new Senior Center last Friday to get my annual flu shot and made the “mistake” of stopping at the library and getting a new card. Found a copy of Sue Grafton’s X. Now I just have to find time to read it. Hmmmmm . . . such a problem.

Sunroom 4 – Finished?

Our sunroom is finished–well, except for a TV stand and new cable outlet.

Yesterday, the room’s shades were installed. The shades are on the outside of the west and south walls and will block the sun so the room will not get too hot and not so bright as to drown out the TV picture.

South Sunroom Shade
South Shade

The shades are motorized with a remote control so Charlie can operate one or both of them from her chair. They are also on wire-guides to make sure they go straight up and down and do not flap around even in a Santa Ana wind or rainstorm.

Sunroom Shades Partway Down
Shades Partway Down
Sunroom Shades' Wire Guides
Wire Guides

Sunroom Interior South and West
South and West

Last week her two new chairs and footrest were delivered. After the installation of the shades yesterday, I took her shopping for a new table to replace the glass-topped outdoor patio table we’d been using for the last two decades. She found one at Living Spaces in Huntington Beach to be delivered today between 10 and 1. The store has a couple of battery-powered scooters for those with difficulty walking and I didn’t have to unload Charlie’s from the back of the Buick.

The delivery guys–two young men in their twenties–arrived early, a little after nine, before I’d finished clearing Charlie’s table and moving it outside. (They offered to come back a little later if we weren’t ready. Yeah, like I’d accept that offer.) After I finished clearing the table, they moved it outside and quickly assembled the new drop-leaf table. And before the start of The View, we were back in business.

Sunroom Interior West and North
West and North

This afternoon Charlie finally found a corner TV/media cabinet she liked and ordered it. So, we should be finished with furnishing her new smoking/sunroom shortly.

Meow–thumbs up!

The cats (Smoke and Mist) have already laid dibs to the visitor’s chair as their own–either basking in the sun on its back or sleeping in the seat itself. Facing out the window also provides “cat TV” and a good look at the birds and squirrels at, around and under the feeder.

Sunroom Shades Down
Shades Down

Read 3 (2015) — Books, books and more books

2016 Reading List

On my To Be Read shelf:

Spheres of Influence by Ryk E.Spoor

Read -- Thunderbird by Jack McDevitt
Thunderbird by Jack McDevitt

The Lost Stars: Imperfect Sword by Jack Campbell

A Little Rebellion: Crimson Worlds III by Jay Allen

An Ancient Peace (Peacekeeper #1) by Tanya Huff

Currently being read:

Grand Central Arena by Ryk E. Spoor

Thunderbird (Sequel to Ancient Shores) by Jack McDevitt

Unrelenting (Kris Lingknife #13) by Mike Shepherd


2015 Reading List

In reverse order these are the books I’ve read this year. Some of them have been reviewed on my Book Reviews page and most of those, If not all of them, have also been posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

  1. No More Heroes (In the Wake of the Templars #3) by Loren Rhoades
  2. Kill by Numbers (In the Wake of the Templars #2) by Loren Rhoades
  3. The Dangerous Type (In the Wake of the Templars #1) by Loren Rhoades
  4. Raising Caine (Tales of the Terran Republic #3) by Charles E. Gannon
  5. Trial by Fire (Tales of the Terran Republic #2) by Charles E. Gannon
  6. Fire With Fire (Tales of the Terran Republic #1) by Charles E. Gannon
  7. Tenacious (Kris Lingknife #12) by Mike Shepherd
  8. Defender (Kris Longknife #11) by Mike Shepherd
  9. Furious (Kris Longknife #10) by Mike Shepherd
  10. Cost of Victory by Jay Allen
  11. Daring (Kris Longknife #9) by Mike Shepherd
  12. The Cost of Victory by Jay Allen: 3 of 5 stars
  13. Liaden Universe Constellation III by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: 4 of 5 stars
  14. Phoenix in Shadow by Ryk E. Spoor: 4 of 5 stars
  15. W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton: 4 of 5 stars
  16. The Spellsong War by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.: 4 of 5 stars
  17. The Elysium Commission by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.: 4 of 5 stars
  18. Infinity Beach by Jack McDevitt: 4 of 5 stars
  19. Monsters of the Earth (The Books of the Elements #3) by David Drake: 3 of 5 stars
  20. The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child: 4 of 5 stars
  21. Steadfast by Jack Campbell: 4 of 5 stars
  22. Dragon in Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller: 5 of 5 stars
  23. Balance Point by Robert Buettner: 3 of 5 stars
  24. Shadow of Freedom by David Weber: 3 of 5 stars
  25. Survivor by Mike Shepherd: 4 1/2 of 5 stars
  26. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough: 4 of 5 stars
  27. Paradigms Lost by Ryk E. Spoor: 3 of 5 stars
  28. The 47 Ronin Story by John Allyn: 2 of 5 stars
  29. The Better Part of Valor (Confederation #2) Tanya Huff: 4 of 5 stars
  30. Valor’s Choice (Confederation #1) Tanya Huff: 4 of 5 stars
  31. The Clone Apocalypse by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #10): 2 of 5 stars
  32. The Clone Assassin by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #9): 4 of 5 stars
  33. The Clone Sedition by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #8): 4 of 5 stars
  34. The Clone Redemption by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #7): 4 of 5 stars
  35. Madness in Solidar by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #9): 4.5 of 5 stars
  36. Castaway Planet by Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor: 3 of 5 stars
  37. Undercity by Catherine Asaro: 4 of 5 stars
  38. The Clone Empire by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #6): 4 of 5 stars
  39. The Clone Betrayal by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #5): 4 of 5 stars
  40. The Clone Elite by Steven L. Kent (Rogue Clone #4): 4 of 5 stars
  41. Antiagon Fire  (The Imager Portfolio #7) by L.E. Modesitt Jr.: 4 of 5 stars
  42. Imager’s Battalion by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #6): 4 of 5 stars
  43. Princeps by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #5): 4 of 5 stars
  44. Carousel Seas by Sharon Lee (Archer’s Beach #3): 4 of 5 stars
  45. Scholar by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (The Imager Portfolio #4): 4 of 5 stars
  46. The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower: A Biography of C. S. Forester’s Famous Naval Hero by C. Northcote Parkinson: 4 of 5 stars
  47. The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter F. Hamilton (A Commonwealth Novel): 3 of 5 stars

Read Again:

These are books I’ve read before and re-read during July and August when I had no new books on hand. It does not include my re-reading of all of the Liaden books to get myself set for Dragon in Exile.

  1. A Rising Thunder – David Weber
  2. Shadow of Freedom – David Weber
  3. The Shadow of Saganami – David Weber
  4. Watch on the Rhine – John Ringo, Tom Kratman
  5. A Cruel Wind (A Shadow of All Night Falling; October’s Baby; All Darkness Met) – Glen Cook
  6. Dread Empire’s Fall: The Sundering – Walter Jon Williams
  7. The Thin Man – Dashiell Hammett
  8. The Glass Key – Dashiell Hammett
  9. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
  10. The Dain Curse – Dashiell Hammett
  11. Red Harvest – Dashiell Hammett
  12. The Truth of Valor – Tanya Huff
  13. Valor’s Trial – Tanya Huff
  14. City on Fire – Walter Jon Williams
  15. The Way to Glory – David Drake
  16. The Far Side of the Stars – David Drake
  17. Ambassador of Progress – Walter Jon Williams
  18. Target (Vicky Peterwald) – Mike Shepherd
  19. The Warmasters – David Drake, David Weber, Eric Flint
  20. Paying the Piper – David Drake
  21. In Fury Born – David Weber
  22. Night’s Master – Tanith Lee
  23. The Birthgrave – Tanith Lee
  24. The Gods Themselves – Isaac Assimov
  25. Judas Unchained – Peter F. Hamilton
  26. Pandora’s Star – Peter F. Hamilton