Archive for Family

Belated Gifts for Verna

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise and Coral Set  Kingman Turquoise Set

Since Verna’s Birthday and Christmas are very close together, we celebrate each separately, including gift-giving. No “combination” gifting allowed. No Sir. That is the case for this winter season when we went shopping for a birthday and a Christmas present for her. Also, since I have no calibration on what she considers a “perfect” gift to be, she goes with me to pick and choose.

We were both not particularly in the mood to do any shopping prior to last month’s holiday, so we mutually decided to forgo any shopping until after the crowds dissipate post-holiday. Today is our weekly shopping day for groceries, etc. and since we get out of our jammies on shopping day, we went to the Old Livery Mercantile in town (technically, a touristy souvenir and gift shop) to see what might be suitable as a birthday and then a Christmas gift.

Verna has long wanted a nice Native American Squash Blossom Necklace, so we started looking in the display case where many beautiful examples of N.A. crafted items are located. After several trips around the jewelry cases, she was split between the two pictured above. I suggested that she could have one for birthday and the other for Christmas. So she got ‘em both.

The one on the left is Sleeping Beauty Turquoise with Coral and the one on the right is Kingman Turquoise. Both are hand-crafted by Native American Artists in the Southwest, not sure if Hopi, Navajo or ? but they are both beautiful. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Milestone - One Decade of Retirement!

block-10.pngToday marks the tenth year milestone since I began my retirement from the Aerospace Mill for which I worked many years. I must say that those daily routines of getting up out of bed, commuting to the office, participating in whatever the plan of the day might have been, finishing up for the day, commuting back home and attending to home matters were comfortable for me right up until the last day. Now, however, at a decade down the road, I must also state that I don’t miss the old ways a bit.

During the last decade before retirement (starting 20 years ago), Verna and I spent a lot of time planning for the retirement we were to have. It turned out that by the grace of God and our own foresight, we managed to get our basic plan together. Thankfully, my employer had good a retirement plan and an incentivized 401(k) savings plan, both of which we participated in. Upon retirement, we exercised our choice to roll the 401(k) into a managed payout mutual fund designed just for retirees. We opted for the retirement pension payout as well. Bottom line: we’re doing OK.

Sure, there were still some unknowns and other events post-retirement that would shape our destiny, but the foundation for our sustenance was set by the time we were out of there. We weren’t prepared to lose our California house to flooding, for example, but our insurance payout and a fortunate find of a “flipper” to take that property off of our hands made it a sweet departure from home ownership in California. Otherwise, we would have had to do the fixing up and “flipping” ourselves for which we weren’t exactly prepared. Between that example and a couple of other post-retirement glitches, we have managed to stay afloat.

Pardon all the metaphors, but it seems that we’re set for smooth sailing for the next decade of our retirement, God willing.

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From Ancestors to Descendants

alex1.jpgToday is the fifth anniversary of the birth of our eldest Great Grandchild and the first Great Grandson, Alex. Happy Fifth Birthday to Alex and many happy returns.

That’s a recent photo of Alex at the right, nearing his fifth birthday and like all boys that age showing some maturity (his pose) and some less mature dirt on his face, typical of most normal five year old boys. Alex, his cousin Maci and brother Mikey were on a park outing when this photo was taken.

The three kids I mentioned are our three great grandchildren aged 5, 3 and 2, respectively. The kids live in the Santa Rosa area of California with their mothers, our eldest two granddaughters.

Our eldest granddaughter is the mother of the two boys aged 5 and 2. The second eldest granddaughter is the mom to our only great granddaughter (at this time).

As we watch these kids grow up at a seemingly accelerated pace, we realize that we are growing older at the same rate. We further realize that our youngest descendants are rapidly maturing to become parents themselves in years to come. We can only hope that we might still be around to see the beginning of that next generation

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Our Twenty-First Anniversary

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One of these days, the ring depicted in the photo message above will be delivered. In the meantime, we only have a likeness of the actual gift (in addition to the earrings already given) until the package arrives. We inadvertently chose an east-coast Amazon Marketplace affiliate with poor shipping practices. Verna will have the new ring and I will post a photo of her wearing it in a few days.

UPDATE: Verna’s new ring showed up today (09/13/19). Very nice . . .

Verna’s new ring

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Dogs Relaxing in the Motorhome

Dogs Relaxing

The puppies (they will always be puppies to us) get a little tense (a lot?) when we go on a road trip, but they soon accept it for what it is - a doggie adventure. When they get back in the motorhome they get a snack and then they relax.

Beethoven is sitting on the sofa top while Cabela seems to be quite relaxed herself. They have done this vacation routine many times before and will be OK with it, but VERY glad and excited to get back home.

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Lifestyle Change - Revised Eating Habits

keto.pngLast year, we both had our annual check-up with the family physician. After our exams, he ordered some lab work, mainly phlebotomy (blood work). Within a few days, Verna got a call from their office advising that her tests had come back showing her to be in pre-diabetes (type 2) with high triglycerides. My results weren’t all that too hot either, with the usual (for me) high cholesterol and other chronic problems showing up (kidney, hypertension, etc.). The doctor recommended a low-sugar (i.e. low carbohydrate) diet for her.

The pre-diabetes condition was something that immediately needed attention. We searched for and found a volume on KETO pre-diabetic recipes that went a step further than food prep and described how a body typically could reverse the diabetic trend by eliminating most high-in-carbohydrates foods. After reading up on some of the science behind the recovery process, we both decided to adapt our food preparation and consumption habits. Verna to try and slow down the diabetes potential and me to try and lose some of the fifteen or so extra pounds.

The first step was to purge from the pantry any and all items that were on an IMMENSE list of high carb no-nos. After filling up four good sized cardboard boxes of goodies headed out to the local food bank, we dutifully delivered them never to see the likes of those items in our pantry again. The list included rice, pasta, legumes, peas, corn, carrots, wheat flour, cornbread mix, pancake mix and so forth, most of which would regularly be included in our home-prepared meals.

We quickly adapted to the change and found many delicious recipes for low carb meals. There is plenty of on-line help on the food topic out there including Diet Doctor, plus there are cookbooks galore including many by TV Chef George Stella whose variety and clever substitutions for hi-carb goodies is a very good thing.

Early this year, after being on the new feeding arrangement for a few months, we saw the family doctor again. He prescribed follow-up testing to see how we were doing. When the test results came back, Verna showed a definite drop in the triglycerides and other lipids that were now essentially normal. I did not see her A1C number, but the verbal report indicated it was now normal.

Verna has lost a few pounds since the onset of the low-carb regimen, but more importantly, she is now in the green arc.

Me, on the other hand, I am now back to my high-school weight, having lost about 25 pounds. My weight is now stable and is normal for my height and build. I have now backed off of my blood pressure meds to about ⅓ of the previous dosage. I visited the kidney specialist and was advised that my marginal function had improved from 60 percent efficient to 80, which is fairly normal for my age (just turned 76 this week). My lipid numbers are all normal except for a high HDL cholesterol reading (a GOOD thing) and a low risk for cardio-vascular problems (a VERY GOOD thing).

The following excerpt* from one of our several books on the topic describes how we are neither starving nor craving these days:

MAINTAINING A LOW-CARB, HIGH-FAT DIET is beneficial for weight loss. Most importantly, according to an increasing number of studies, it helps reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more. The keto diet promotes fresh whole foods like meat, fish, veggies, and healthy fats and oils, and greatly reduces processed, chemically treated foods. It’s a diet that you can sustain long-term and enjoy. What’s not to enjoy about a diet that encourages eating bacon and eggs for breakfast!

Studies consistently show that a keto diet helps people lose more weight, improve energy levels throughout the day, and stay satiated longer. The increased satiety and improved energy levels are attributed to most of the calories coming from fat, which is very slow to digest and calorically dense. As a result, keto dieters commonly consume fewer calories because they’re satiated longer and don’t feel the need to eat as much or as often.

* Ramos, Amy. The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: Your Essential Guide to Living the Keto Lifestyle (p. 13). Rockridge Press. Kindle Edition.

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Happy Independence Day!

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Aside from a couple of minor chores, we relaxed and enjoyed the Independence Day Holiday today. We ate pulled-pork sandwiches and Cole slaw with a root beer float. It was an excellent dinner! We’ll be watching fireworks this evening from the courtyard, where we have a limited view of the Sunset Park fireworks exhibit five miles west of our place.

I took this picture of these patriotic flowers back in July of 2007 (sorry, no larger image available), which are shown here on throwback Thursday in honor of the Independence Day celebration.

May God Bless and keep our Freedom in America!

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