Category Archives: Retirement

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?

Mist and Smoke at home in the sunroom

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

Construction is Finished — Almost — Sunroom 3

Smoke seems to have the shopping bug . . . er, bag.

Construction Finished – Almost

Ahh . . . the continuing saga of construction: remodeling, replacing, upgrading and building is nearing completion. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or, at least, we think we can — Bathroom, Heating, AC and Sunroom (patio enclosure) — and, of course, a depleted bank account. The work should last for several years (decades?) and enhance our retired lives, especially, Di’s.

I think it’s better to spend for retirement early (if you can) and enjoy the results for years, rather than delay things until they are absolutely necessary and having to rush getting them done.

Today saw most of the construction of Di’s sunroom completed and the backyard cleaned. The work on the “patio enclosure” is being done by Patios by B & B a local Orange County company. Its workers have been both neat and hardworking. Between the de-construction and construction at least seven different workers (plus the production manage and owner) have been involved. Questions are answered quickly and phone calls returned promptly.

The roof was finished and the rain gutters installed. Caulking was done and the room seals well. The room is usable and the cats won’t get outside.

On Monday the crew will be back to finish the electrical work — this includes adding lighting to the ceiling. The city inspector will come and check the construction. Finish work and the installation of the flooring can then begin.

Also, on Tuesday our Heating/AC folks (Cool Air Technologies) are coming out to see about extending our system to the new room. We may get some sort of blinds for the windows so the sun does not shine directly into Di’s eyes or make the TV unwatchable — need to have a cable outlet (TWC) installed, too.

The room is usable now — the amenities will follow at their own pace — quickly, if not yesterday, as far as Di is concerned.


Construction Sunroom 8

Sunroom 8

Construction Sunroom 9

Sunroom 9


Sunroom 10

Sunroom 10

Sunroom 11

Sunroom 11


Sunroom 12

Sunroom 12

Sunroom 2 — Deconstruction and Construction

Sunroom – Continued

Well, no work on the sunroom today.

Took Charlie to get her picture taken to renew her British passport today — No, a British passport picture is not the same as an American picture. Both the pose and size are a bit different.

Then, I took her to one of her favorite stores for a “little” shopping. The shop is called “Fleur de Lys” and is located on 17th Street in Costa Mesa — almost, but not quite, in Newport Beach. We got there a little after 1 pm and left about 3 pm — women and shopping . . .

They are supposed to do some work on the sunroom tomorrow, Saturday. Enough to be ready for final inspection on Monday. One thing that needs to be corrected is a wiring error that has an outdoor light switch connected to an indoor dual plug. Hopefully, the roof over the room is completed before any rain comes. We’re supposed to get a bit this weekend — I’ll believe it when I see it.

Also, on Saturday the electrician who installed our new 200 amp box is supposed to return and correct two things the city inspector found wrong. One is that the new copper grounding rod needs to be replaced with a stainless steel one — our local soil corrodes the copper too fast.

At any rate, here are some pictures of the sunroom as it now stands — sans roof.

Sunroom 4

Sunroom 4

Sunroom 5

Sunroom 5


Sunroom 6

Sunroom 6

Sunroom 7

Sunroom 7


 

The cats already like the new room — they can now follow my wife “outside” and they’re closer to the bird feeders.

On Tuesday the folks who re-did our Heating system, and added AC will be here to look at the new room (patio enclosure) and see about what is needed to connect it to the system. Quite soon, Charlie ought to be able to enjoy an “outside” room to smoke in and watch her TV shows — a room of her own in her back garden, but without the disadvantages of wind, rain and heat that plagued her on the patio.