Category Archives: Personal

Using Microsoft Word 2016

I’ve spent a good deal of time learning to use Word 2016 in Office 365 Subscription to write a story or novel but it is starting to pay off. I’m starting to get the hang of it. I got disgusted with Scrivener because I couldn’t open a project in explorer to see if it was coming out the way I wanted, so I went back to Word.

I have too many pieces of software and am not spending enough time on the programs that actually could do the job I want them to do. Time to change that. Word, Photoshop, and Lightroom. Everything else goes.

Time’s Catching Up With Me

Loosing interest in things I’ve always loved to do. My motorcycles, photography, writing, even reading and surfing the web and learning things. Like to drive and talk to my dog still but who knows how long that will last. I want to take a long trip alone, drive to the mountains and get out and look off into the distance. Maybe even to the ocean where I can see forever. Just me. No responsibility to anyone else, no schedule, just me, my ride, and the open road.

And my wine. Oh, yes. Have to have my wine. Two glasses a day, a good Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, once in a great while, on a long day, a third glass. I don’t care as much about what I eat but I am fussy about my drinks. Coffee in the morning, wine in the evening, water the rest of the day.

I’m running out of time. Takes too long to do the simplest of things and there are way too many of them to do. And there is nothing to look forward to! I need to be free! At least one more time before it’s all over, I want to just hit the road by myself, not worry about where I am going or when I have to be back. Decide where I’m headed next when I get to a fork in the road.

If I could break free, I think I could write something, maybe nothing but a journal, but something worth reading, even if only by my kids. Me and Buster could hit the road in the motor home and do our own “Travels with Buster” book. Wouldn’t it be great! Three months on the road with my little mutt, no schedule, no bitching, no waiting for someone to crawl out of bed with the day half gone. Or watching them take two hours to get ready to go. It would be so nice!

I could take the motorhome with a rack on the back for a motor scooter with a rack on it for Buster to ride on, sell my motorcycles and invest in a nice used scooter. We wouldn’t need it very often but would be nice to have just in case.

I’m a dreamer. Never have got over it, but I’ll never get out of here until I’m so damn old I’ll only be fit for the old folks home and they’ll put Buster away. No winning, not now, too late and too many bad decisions. 

It’s 0151 and I’ve been up for nearly two hours. Have to take Lori back to Tennessee this morning for her orientation at the probation office and hope to get started by 0900 but had hoped for a good nights sleep first. Nowadays, I never know whether I’ll get a good nights sleep until the middle of the night. Thankfully, sometimes I do.

February 21st, 2018

1957 hours

Me and Buster drove to Tennessee yesterday and stayed at Leslie’s. Got up this morning and went to Murfreesboro for my 1000 appointment to talk to Lori. It was my intention to try to talk some sense into her in hopes of making arrangements for her future but I failed miserably.

Left the jail and stopped by Barnes and Noble and bought Best Short Stories of 2016 and the latest Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazines. Also, picked up Chris Orwig’s latest photography book, The Creative Fight. Then to IHOP for a club sandwich with fries and back to Leslie’s to wait for Alyssa to get home.

Took Alyssa to the Dollar Store, then met Leslie at Legends for supper. Now back at the house and getting ready to take my shower and prepare myself to go to court in Murfreesboro tomorrow to see what Lori’s future is going to be.

First Post of 2017

It’s January 5th and I’m writing my first post of the New Year. Been sick with the flu since last Thursday, December 29th, and yesterday was the first day I’ve felt human since then.

Going to be a busy day today. Wrapping up all of my old notebooks and journals, some barely started and some nearly full, and putting them in storage where my kids can burn them some day. Doing the same with last two years business records, ours and Granny’s, after I pull out everything we’ll need to file our taxes.

Going to start my journals fresh with two notebooks; a 5” x 8” moleskin in my camera bag and an 8 1/2” x 11” spiral notebook in my computer bag. Keep a Jim Firkus 8 1/2” x 11” spiral notebook on my desk to keep a record of things I do at my desk, eg, changing passwords on accounts or registering at new websites, running SyncToy or TouchCopy, appointments for autos or the dog groomer, all the stuff I tend to forget.

This afternoon, if the roads stay clear, I have to drive my motorhome over to Bruce Griffon’s to fill my LP tank. Checked yesterday and it was under 1/4 tank so with the weather dropping down to almost single digits the next few nights and low twenties during the days, I need to top it off. It’s used a full tank in two weeks so I’ll have to set the thermostat as low as it will go and let the electric heater take up the slack. That should keep it warm enough to keep anything from freezing.

Took Buster out this morning for his first run in the snow. Didn’t do much running. He immediately discovered it was good to eat and that’s what he spent his time doing. There’s only about an inch on the ground so not really enough for him to play in. At least he wasn’t scared of it.

Going over to see Granny at NHC (the nursing home) this afternoon. Taking her some chocolate ice cream and maybe a pizza and french fries, things she loves. If Mary goes over to Tammy’s like she usually does on Thursdays, I’ll go early and sit with Granny while I work on a new short story about a man that runs away from a nursing home and takes his friend with him. Have to take my X230 with me to work on that or may try using my iPad mini with the bluetooth keyboard.

Hearing Aids

In three months I’ll be seventy years old and I’ve just spent my first week with a new-fangled set of iPhone adjustable hearing aids. I didn’t need them. I could hear perfectly fine as long as you talked loud enough, and repeated yourself a time or two, and was looking at me when you talked. Everybody else complained though. “I get tired of repeating myself!” “The TV (or radio) is too loud!” “Didn’t you hear what I told you?”

So for their sakes, I drove down to Poplar Bluff to the Veteran’s Administration and had my hearing checked. Lo and behold, I had a hearing loss! I’d been this way most of my adult life so what I could hear without the hearing aids was perfectly natural to me. I didn’t realize all the little noises everyone else was hearing that I was missing out on and to be perfectly honest, I’m hearing a lot now that I don’t feel necessary for me to hear. Zippers zipping, air conditioners blowing, gravel scrunching under shoes. Of course, I’m a lot harder to sneak up on now and that’s very important to an old man.

The nice part about these hearing aids is they’re adjustable for different situations and you can put those locations in a memory and when you go there, push a button for that location and they adjust automatically for that situation. Handy.

I’ve been used to wearing a bluetooth headset for my cellular phones so wearing two bluetooth hearing aids wasn’t strange for me. After a couple of minutes, I was no longer aware they were there and the little things are so designed that when others first see me wearing them, they don’t notice. They’re not invisible but the small hearing aid unit fits behind the upper portion of my ear flap and a clear tube runs down to the cone that fits inside my ear so they are nearly invisible.

I can talk on my iPhone using the hearing aids for a speaker but when I go outside or into a noisy area, they are not nearly as good as the Plantronic Pro bluetooth I’ve been using. My hearing loss is more significant in my left ear and I have discovered that when I go out I can use only the left ear hearing aid and the Plantronic in my right ear and I can have the best of both worlds. Still experimenting though. It would be nice to be able to do everything with only the hearing aids.

Yesterday morning, I met six other retired guys for our weekly breakfast get-together and was pleasantly surprised to find that I could easily understand what was being said in three different conversations going at one time, and not once during the two hours I was there did I have to ask anyone to repeat themselves. I’m sure they appreciated it.

Earlier this week, my hearing aids got their first measurable test. I usually watch the TV in the living room with the volume scale set at 46-48. This week I had it on 28 and my wife, who usually complains about the volume, leaned over to me and oh so sweetly asked me, “Honey, could you please turn the TV up?” I turned to her, gave her the look she used to give me, smiled and said, “Sure, Baby. Whatever you want.”