Tag Archives: retired

Just Small Talk

I’ve said it before , I’ll say it again: It is great being retired and living in a senior community. Here there is plenty of time to do or accomplish whatever you want to do. All is done at your leisure which make retiring that much better. Traveling, reading, television watching, eating out, casino hopping, etc. is all part of enjoying the senior years. Many do not or have not the monetary or physical where with all to do it. Then there is Imperial Plaza.

Imperial Plaza took it’s usual Wednesday trip to Jamestown, Va. The first permanent colony in America. It was sad to see a great trip, that was cheap, not being taken advantage of by the great majority of people living here. Brookdale Imperial Plaza does not make a profit from these excursions yet seldom is there a full bus. Then, as you walk around the area, there are people saying there isn’t anything to do.

At Jamestown we viewed replicas of the Indian village, the English settlement and the museum. There was a bow and arrow demonstration, musket loading/firing demonstration and the showing of the interiors of the church and Indian huts replica. What was also for good exploration were the two ships. The size of the ships were small, by today’s standards, for having carried so many people to the new world. However, thinking of the size of the people in that era, mean there was plenty of room.

After getting back, I had just enough time to get myself clean, change clothes and get to a Mighty Pen Project class at the Virginia War Memorial (it was a humid day). I enjoyed my time with them, can hardly wait for our next time together. I always learn something new because I consider my writing as atrocious. I’ll keep trying to improve hoping I’ll get there one day. I have the two blogs to keep me in practice plus two stories I am still working on but constantly tearing apart for redoing. Each time I get fresh information at the Mighty Pen Project, I have to rewrite but I consider it worth the effort.

As I have written before, I am a member of the Howard Baugh Chapter of the Tuskegee Airman Incorporated who had a ceremony in Petersburg, Virginia. I could not be with them because I was out of town; they had a ceremony at a high school, I was out of town again. I hope to be in town for the next ceremony although I have been lucky enough to be available for the meetings.

It was a fine day for an outing. My wife and I went to the Wine & Hops Festival in Petersburg, Virginia on Saturday. It was okay, however, the lines for the wine and beer were long, there were a lot of vendors in a confined space, the place was very crowded in a small area. Lots of young people attended, being it was a confined area (Old Towne), standing around, made moving from vendor to vendor very complicated. But it was nice to get out, seeing things outside our usual areas of travel.

While in the area, we toured my old stomping grounds (I am originally from Petersburg), Hopewell and Colonial Heights, Virginia. We went to the new Puerto Rican Bakery/Cafe. It opened three months ago and we learned about it on television’s evening news. They are taking items of donation to the storm ravaged Puerto Rico. It’s the only Puerto Rican cafe I know in the area. There was one in Chesterfield but it closed a year ago.

I advise people, especially seniors, to get out and explore, revisit places of yore or new ones. Make time to go, enjoy before there is not enough time left to do it. I know my wife and I will go as much as we can because time is quickly catching up. Have fun and party as if there is not a tomorrow.

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Rehash

Yes, I will rehash some old gripes and for good reason. Only a portion of the problems have been corrected and I don’t think most of the other problems will ever be. Reason being that the problems are with the residents. If they would only do the things that they should as if they had pride in this place and themselves. This is not the project housing area and it is not a rundown section of the city. For the amount of money they pay each month to be here it seems as though they would want to keep this place as clean and beautiful as possible. But, they don’t.

I guess you are saying ‘what’s wrong now’ and I am here to blow off a little more steam, vent is another way of putting it. Dog droppings everywhere, trash scattered all over the grounds and, of those that are still driving, they and/or their guests are speeding like there is no speed limit here. Now that I have vented on that subject again, I will move on.

Ron is back. Welcome back Ron (Activities Dept.) and we all are glad to have you back, all healed from your accident and here’s wishing you and deer never meet again (LOL). Can’t wait to have you back on our next ROMEO trip and your dessert is on me.

Activities had a good trip to Maryland Live Casino and I did okay. Came back with what I took with me plus a little more. Not bad considering the last time I lost my shirt. Oh well, that’s the way of the casinos. I’ve often told people to only take as much money as you are willing to lose and leave the ATM alone.

After this holiday weekend, my wife and I are going on a Mystery Bus Tour (Tuesday) for four days and return (Friday night) to rest up for another upcoming getaway. I have no idea where we are going but I expect it to be full of fun. I am recharging my camera battery to have plenty of pictures and stories to tell. The trip should give me more ideas for stories to write with the hope of them being chosen by a publisher. I have my fingers crossed. As far as trips go, we have our next cruise (twelve days) and round trip train transportation paid for therefore we are ready to go in December. There’s a couple more short trips (not counting the casinos) coming up but I won’t mention them now. As it’s said, it’s subject to change.

It’s fun being retired and have the time and health to go wherever the wind takes you. When I was talking to Ron, he mentioned how he now realize how being retired would be. He could not work and had two months with nothing to do. That’s when we talked about how terrible it was (not counting boring) to just sit around with nothing to do and not being able to get out. Most people around here do just that and I just don’t understand it. I realize their age, however, there is so much to do here and ways to get out, even if you need a little help. But the majority of the people here just sit around and gripe about there’s nothing to do. When there is an event, trip or townhall meeting, they don’t show up and participate. They are seen later and when asked why they didn’t show up, all they say is they didn’t feel like it. There is, actually, too much to do. I can’t participate in everything but I try for what I have time for. Being retired is fun and full of adventure, simply because there is plenty of time to do it.

Well, that’s it from here. Wish all a very happy and fun filled Labor Day Weekend. I am also praying for those that are in Texas and will have to get their lives together again. I wish them all the best and my donation is in. Every little bit helps. Here’s asking everyone that read my postings to chip in also because the next time could be you.

ROMEO

Remember the acronym ROMEO I refer to from time to time? The group of men from Brookdale Imperial Plaza? Well, I guess all of you could tell from my writings that I really loved being out once a month with the guys. There are only around a dozen of us that do this and we really enjoy eating and drinking together. All men with jibs on each other and language to boot. I’ve been here a little over three years and have been on thirty nine out of forty outings.

ROMEO…Retired Old Men Eating Out. Before now, the only two men that were not old nor retired were the bus driver and the Activities Guide. That was before the last two. The last two have had a woman or two and a non-resident young male. RETIRED OLD MEN EATING OUT. It was great saying what you wanted to say, the way you wanted to say it and everyone understood and did not get offended. They understood the old way of speaking and how to rib someone. No explanation necessary. Cursing was not a no-no because no one but us guys were there.

The last two outings had women. The first one was from the Activities Dept. because she said she always wanted to eat at that particular place. The last time was because our normal man, from the Activities Dept., had to drive the bus (short of bus drivers) therefore a female from the Activities Dept. was selected because that is all there is. In the past, the activities guy driving the bus had been the driver, tour guide and aide all rolled into one. That was then but not this time. Then, when we get there the other female joins us. Then in walks her boyfriend. We had to make room for him.

The only place to make room was beside me therefore I was jammed in beside them and small talk was made with them. The usual banter with light jibs was never made and, it seem to me, tense. We ate, got on the bus and returned to Imperial Plaza. By the time I got home (I stopped outside for a while to smoke a cigar) my wife knew I was sitting with the women. That was not a problem, considering who the women were. The wives always kidded us about the time we returned. It was a standing joke that we needed a written excuse to get into the house if we were running late that evening. Most times we were late but it was always the usual laughable joke. Never who we were with or what we talked about.

The group’s name is ROMEO and I will drop out until it comes back to an all male group. That is what I signed up for. I did not sign up for a mixed group. I can do that with my wife and have even more pleasure. There will not be any telling of what I did or that I was sitting with the women because she is with me. I can stay as long as I like because she is with me. I can go back to being a loner and not the point of speculation. Good-bye ROMEO! Or is it now PEO People Eating Out?

Taking Advantage of Retirement

I will write, again, about being retired and all the fun that is out there to be taken advantage. But, there are others, in my retirement community, that want to just sit and complain about this and that and rarely, if not ever, take advantage of the magnitude of opportunities. I promised to give a little more of my travels and/or taking advantage of the opportunities, not only here at Imperial Plaza but outside the gates of the community. But, first I must say, there are numerous things to do and most are free and what is not free is very cheap.

Everyone here know my wife and I love the casinos and the last one was a stay at the Sands Hotel and Casino/Mall in Bethlehem, Pa. (Sunshine Bus Tours). To say the casino was huge is not a dream but the truth. Of all the casinos we have visited, that was the largest. The hotel room was very large and cleaned daily whether we wanted cleaning or not. There was a cards tournament going on and the number of people playing (must have been in the hundreds) would not fit in Imperial Plaza’s auditorium. It was a nice trip…

The Activities Department, here at Imperial Plaza, have been doing a great job. Among the many trips (I’ll name two) was the fishing trip at the mouth of the Chesterpeak Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and the latest trip was on (The Alliance) a schooner on the York River. We sailed out of Yorktown and, after sailing in the triple mast (sails) schooner, had lunch at Outback in Williamsburg, Va. This Wednesday is to the Maryland Live Casino/Mall, can’t miss that, and, two months from now, a trip to the casino in West Virginia (Charlestown).

I just found out that a Richmond Mayoral Debate will be held here and I am wondering how many residents will attend. People here have so much apathy toward so much yet they can sit around in the lobby area and gripe about everything. I didn’t care about Richmond politics until I started living here. Now that Richmond is my city of residence and where I vote (we have a voting precinct in house), I am very interested and there is a need to know before I vote. Since there is a voting precinct here, I wonder how many residents vote, especially the Black vote. I have found the Black people here show more indifference than most and participation is seldom, with the exception of very few.

A few days ago I was talking with a couple of people about cities and, out of the blue, I was asked “what makes a city a city?” and I had to stop and think a second. It came to me about a conversation I had with a ranking postal official in North Dakota. I had wondered what made such small towns in North Dakota designated as cities. Some of the cities in North Dakota are smaller than our large trailer parks here in Richmond. This man told me that all the place needed was an operating post office and it could then become a city on it’s own. Well, Imperial Plaza don’t have a post office per se, but it does have package pickup, stamps, mail delivery and mail pickup. To top that off, Imperial Plaza have a bank, store, restaurant, doctor’s office, pharmacy, etc. All the places some cities in the USA don’t have and that includes having police, buses, barber shop, beauty parlor, etc. The resident don’t have to leave the premises for anything that is needed. We are a city within a city but without our own zip code. Now I don’t want to hear anyone saying I didn’t name this or that because I purposely didn’t mention everything. There is so much here to mention that I don’t want to attempt naming everything because I know I will miss something.

So, until the next time, I want everyone to be careful out there because any bad thing can happen at any time. Just be vigilant and careful but don’t go off the deep end and take matters into your own hands. Let the proper people do that and respect them for doing a great job in spite of the miniscule few that put a taint on their name. Peace Out

facebook-20160918-101543(I’m hoisting the foresail by myself but the teenager, in the blue cap, was suppose to help me)

I Am Retired

For the moment I will get back to talking about Imperial Plaza, not all of the happenings but as much as I dare for now. Since I have been here and have written about this place, I have found it quite intriguing, to say the least. Imperial Plaza have gone uphill, downhill and now uphill again. I was involved in some of it by being on committees but there have been some people that were quite radical about what they perceived as needing to be accomplished and how it should be accomplished. There is one or more that gives the perception of “my way or the highway”. There are others that will go so far as to jump the chain of command and go straight to the top.

In everything, like the government, there are parts of a problem that is not seen by the average person. In other words, the whole picture is not seen, therefore, the problem can not be solved as it is seen because one must first see the whole picture (the big circle…). There is always another element to look at unless you are at the top and definitely know the whole picture. Then, alas, there may be an element of that picture that is hiding something, for whatever reason, which makes the picture cloudy and a commendable resolution difficult if not impossible.

There are a few people at Imperial Plaza that come from a world where they are the boss and are used to people complying to their every whim but now they are into a world of retirement. They still have the mindset that when they say something, everyone must jump to do whatever it is without question. They also have it in their heads that they know the best way to do things only if they can get people to get on with the task they have alluded.

Since the previous head of Imperial Plaza got the boot (some say not), the new person have done a great job getting things moving without too much conflict and discontent. There is still a hic-up here and there but nothing is perfect and never will be. There was a large shift in the dining facility and the food and wait staff got to be pretty bad. With the new head chef and quite a few new wait staff, things are beginning to look up. I hope so because I have stopped eating there.

The one thing that have, on one hand, gotten stagnant and, on the other hand, gotten bad is the entertainment. I know most of the seniors want old music (thirties, forties and so on), but, it is always the same old thing. There are two or three bands that always come here and I can tell you the line up of the music. I know what tune is next, because there is very little deviation from that line up, and usually what comment the lead person will make. There is a very good man playing good music in the White Squirrel but he have been relegated to twice a month, he was playing every week for months. He would fill the place on Tuesday and everyone was eating, drinking and dancing. The new group that replaces him every other Tuesday does not take requests nor do they fill the place. Alas, you can’t fight city hall. It’s the dining facility’s lost and I keep my money in my pocket. I either stay in my apartment to eat and drink or I can go out to eat. My wife and I are mobile and I don’t care what we do for that day. There are always choices and I try to take advantage of them because I am retired and I’m not nailed down to do anything I don’t want to do.

I’ll stop here although there is so much more to talk about but I don’t want to make this too long and boring. I want to continue this at the next writing and go into other parts of what is going on as well as, hopefully, getting into my travels. As I said before, I am retired and I love writing, salt water fishing and traveling. As time permits, I’ll write something else soon. Be kind to your neighbors for you’ll never know when you’ll need them. Also, insure your words are soft and sweet, you’ll never know when you’ll have to eat them. By the way, the photo is one of the jobs I retired from.

 

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No Nation Is An Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

I must have hit a nerve with my last posting because I did not get any comments nor did I get any likes although the posting was read by a few people. Therefore I am posting a more controversial topic…the Republican Convention/Donald Trump. I was slightly miffed when I didn’t get my usual reviews but this is not a job and I am not getting paid.

The Republican Convention is over, and, in my personal view, with nothing accomplished except for hate and discontent among everybody against everybody. Even the former ex-chief of the KKK is running for senator because of the rants and ravings of that convention. The KKK love what is going on and the ignorant party members bought these rash statements of a bigoted know nothing. David Duke and the KKK love hate and dissension and they see, finally, progress in their quest for regaining power.

Why am I being so harsh about this, you say? I am an American although my skin and thinking is not that of Donald Trump. He and the KKK want to corral me into the groupings of all the people they think should not be apart of this great nation. Make the nation great again…I never thought it wasn’t. I have served my country in peace and in war and retired from it to serve again as an employee at a federal facility. By doing this, I have found the nation greater than any nation I visited. I have had the opportunity to have a look into the workings of many other governments and then ask myself one simple question. Would I want to live under that type of government? The answer was always a huge “NO”. However, ask the Republican, the one that have never been in the service or never wanted to go, which country is the greatest and all you will hear is rhetoric, never a straight answer.

Mr. Trump say get out of NATO, USAFE, SEATO, etc. and all other defensive/offensive organizations that are designed to not only protect allied nations but, in the long run, protect us. How can a person that does not know what is in the Constitution or Declaration of independence say what we, as Americans, should and can believe in. His ranting words fell on my deaf ears as soon as he started talking around very pointed questions and then started talking nonsense. There was always raves about what he was going to do to fix things but never, ever about how this was to be accomplished. All I can say is the people that heard this and went along with it are just as stupid as he is. The USA is in trouble if he gets elected, in my humble opinion.

So far, most Republican members of Congress are not with him on most things. Good. But, I wonder how he expect to get what he wants, carte blanc, without the blessing of Congress. Then, many Republican Congressmen are up for re-election this year. Will they be re-elected to maintain that majority? We will see. If they are not re-elected and do not maintain the majority, what will happen.

It is almost over and now we will have the Democratic Convention. This should be a boring four days compared to the last four. Let us hope for the best and that saner minds prevail. Pray to God that the people will open their minds and think. I truly believe that anything is better than Trump, but, have it your way. And you will. This is a democracy and as a democracy the people will have it their way via a secret ballot. Let us pray they are right with whomever they choose. Remember, no nation is an island and the bell may be tolling for us. May God have mercy on us all.

Vacation Cruise

We have returned (my wife and I) to land after nine days at sea, on the Grandeur of the Seas, with stops in Bermuda, Nassau (Bahamas) and Coco Cay (Bahamas), over twenty four hundred nautical miles, round trip. I loved it but I did not love what we returned to, the aftermath of a terrible storm. Trees down, roads blocked because trees were across the roads and power lines and no electrical power anywhere. I have been through and seen worst but that is something a person can’t get used to. It’s an inconvenience, to say the least, but I’ll get to that later.

First let me write about the cruise. We traveled from Imperial Plaza by bus with twenty six other people and checking in/boarding was a breeze. It was better than what I anticipated plus the weather was perfect. In fact, the only day we ran into rain was at the last stop, Coco Cay, Bahamas, and that was an off and on rain. In fact, when I took the picture of the sailboat with the lightning strike behind it, it was a sunny morning. When the off and on rain hit, I was reclining in a beach chair on the beach, letting the warm rain wash over me along with a gentle, warm breeze. What a relaxing day.

The first stop was at Heritage Wharf in Bermuda. We took a tour of the entire island with frequent stops included. That night we cruised the waters in a glass bottom boat, looking at the fish and the old ship wreck that was sticking out of the water which have been there a couple hundred years. This is proof that Bermuda is surrounded by a reef and there are only two ways past the reef. It was quite warm but a nice breeze gave relief from the humidity. Lovely place but it would be expensive to live there. Michael Douglas and a couple other stars have property there but they can afford it. While we were on the tour, we stopped in the capitol, Hamilton, and did a short tour downtown. We also did the same thing at the far end of the island, St. Georges.

The next stop was Nassau, Bahamas and it was a little hotter (I don’t mean that in a bad way. I love the heat.). We toured a cigar making factory, a chocolate factory and the Natural History Museum. Of course I had to get some nice, fresh, hand rolled cigars. Love a good cigar (I know smoking is bad for you but to each his own, I say). From what I could see, Nassau is small and densely populated. My wife and I concluded that the reason people there moved and worked slowly was because of the heat, humidity and the closeness of everything. The more (faster) you moved, the hotter you become.

The last stop was Coco Cay, Bahamas (owned by Royal Caribbean). As we were entering the port I took the picture of the sailboat and never saw a lightning strike. Later that night, when I reviewed my pictures, I was startled to see the lightning in the photo. Now it is one of my favorite photos. It was sunny as we were coming into port but it later turned into on and off showers. The weather was warm with a nice breeze. I lazed under an umbrella and, as the showers came and went, I only got wet from the knees down but was never cold. The cruise line had nice food (hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ, fruit, and beverages). Then the seagulls started flying all around us and occasionally stole food. They were very aggressive and would get as close as a couple feet (can anyone say aggressively hungry?).

On board the ship was fantastic. I could write a book about the things that went on, the fine service, the wonderful shows and, of course, the duty free shopping. The food was greater than great and there was a different menu each day. The on-board casino kept me and my wife occupied (she won the slot machine contest. I came in thirteen out of the many people that entered) and the drinks flowed freely (not free). I love being retired and on a constant vacation. It was so wonderful that we signed up for a cruise in December 2017, but all good things must come to an end and it did.

Getting back to Imperial Plaza, via Imperial Plaza’s bus, was easy, especially with the traffic (only a couple slow downs). Then the bottom fell out. We knew there was a wind storm but we didn’t expect the power outage or the destruction the wind caused. Trees were down everywhere and electricity was out. Oh well, can’t fight Mother Nature, just cope with it. We returned on Saturday afternoon and Imperial Plaza’s power came back at four thirty Sunday afternoon and then the fun began. Saturday night we stayed in a hotel and returned Sunday afternoon. Then, forgoing unpacking, we began emptying the chest freezer and refrigerator/freezer plus cleaning both. Now we will restock with the insurance payout. The company we are with is making a fast payout for the lost food.

Monday, we walked the area taking pictures of all the devastation and carnage that had occurred. It looked like a war zone with so many trees down, broken trees, trees on cars, trees on houses, and traffic lights not working. There were many vehicle accidents because where the traffic lights were out vehicles had to come to a stop. Some didn’t and, of course, there was an accident (one death that I am aware of). There was even damage to one of the buildings of Imperial Plaza. The wind was a “straight line” wind, not a tornado, as I’ve heard some people saying.

Well, I’ll close this and say “stay tuned because it’s not over yet”. This year’s traveling is not over yet. This weekend we’ll go to Maryland Live (casino) for my wife’s birthday, then the following weekend is to Colorado for my grandson’s wedding. Then to Pa. for a family reunion and I don’t remember the rest. I’m retired and I love this traveling. I’ve worked many years to have and enjoy this time in my life. You all should do the same. I wish all a good summer and safe travels. Enjoy life!

Lightning Strike

Lightning Strike

Coco Cay, Bahamas

Coco Cay, Bahamas

Grandeur of the Seas showtime

Grandeur of the Seas showtime

A resident of Coco Cay

A resident of Coco Cay

A small piece of the wind damage

A small piece of the wind damage