Friday, August 30, 2013

first week of classes finished

It is Friday, August 30th and my first week of classes is over. It was a pretty easy week and I should not be too pressed to prepare for next week, when the work really starts. My biggest problem is how tired I am and I hope when the weather gets cooler I will feel more energetic. I have lettuce and sugar snap peas up in the greenhouse and that is a comfort. The house is half stained and it looks very good but the color is so different that I am going to have Mark’s workers do the back porch and the deck. The new receiver from dish is working fine so that should last for a number of years. I have been riding every day on my new bike and I really like it. I also am doing regular walks in the morning and practicing my sax. I am also continuing with the yoga and weights. I have played golf a few times and on Wednesday I shot from the white tees and scored a 48. I do think I am playing well and should be able to give Craig a good challenge when we play next. My finances are holding steady but when Gabe pays me back some of the money, I will pay down my equity line debt a little. I have made reservations to go to New York for 4 days at Thanksgiving (planning to see Gabe, Francesca and Julian) but if I am too busy grading, I will have to pass on that trip.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Students Move In

I actually slept pretty well last night (Thursday) and I was pretty rested when I awoke. I went to Radford and helped out with the students moving in and I did quite a bit of work, mainly getting stuff out of trucks and autos and then getting the vehicles down to Dedmon. I also sent my e-mail to Steger at VT to complain and the loud and violent movie last night fifty yards from the memorial to the shooting victims. The secretary I called thought I should send it. I have everything ready for the new semester and I hope I can handle it. If I don’t overcommit to things and stay on top of my classes, I should be okay. I pick up my new bike tomorrow and it will be great to go for a non-stationary ride again. I realize that if I retire I had better have very good plans to keep busy or I am going to be restless as hell. Kate and I talked a little about my novel and I don’t think it will work in its present incarnation. I think I need to make it humorous so that will be my goal.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The hollow is back to normal

I took my regular walk this morning and stopped to cut the grass by the house and cabin. It was getting pretty long. I saw a number of wildflowers in bloom, including heal all, tick trefoil, horse balm, southern harebell, indian tobacco, white wood aster, touch me not, thin-leaved coneflower, great lobelia, queen anne’s lace. I cleaned up the house some, did my yoga and weights (my left arm is much better), practiced my sax, washed the dishes and rode the stationary bike for 40 minutes. I have gained 6 pounds over my 208 weight so I have to slow down my eating at night. Last night I saw Elysium with Matt Damon and it was entertaining. I was ready for a movie. I am feeling a little better about starting teaching again and I found out a lot of info from Larry at HR and I really think I can retire a year earlier than I thought, in June of 2015. Health care will be about 585 a month and I can get a 120 dollar credit so it will be 465 a month. I will get the 2500 sick leave put into my 403B to avoid taxes. If I don’t get a sabbatical I think I will finish in two years so I may only have 4 semesters left.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

end of Alaska trip and getting ready for a new semester

Wednesday was another fine day as I took Dave out for a late breakfast, then we went kayaking in the harbor, then I took my 11 mile bike ride, then I treated him to dinner at a fancy restaurant, 333, that was very good. We watched the Yankees lose in extra innings and then it was time for bed. I got up early, anxious to get going, but I instead did my yoga, went for a bike ride, and then took a nap. I was watching TV when Dave got up around 9:30 and I told him I had to get going and we bid one another goodbye for another year. I drove up 76, then got on I-15 north, then 215 north and finally reached I-40 at where I stopped and played the Marine Logistics course at Barstow. I played from the white (over 3200 yards) and I needed one very good putt on nine and one absolutely amazing chip on eight to break 50. The chip was in the thick rough but fairly high up and there was a mound between me and the pin and the pin was within 10 feet of the mound and downhill so I really had no chance to get close. I was hoping to get within eight or ten feet but my chip just cleared the mound, dropped on the fringe and rolled ever so slowly to within five inches of the cup. After that I drove on and took my bike ride. I drove on to Seligman and had a late dinner and some writing at the Roadkill café. I stayed at a gas station RV park and it was fine although I didn’t sleep very well and got on the road just after dawn. I decided to try to do a lot of driving on Friday and I did, ending up with over 400 miles (which means I’m about 1600 miles from home) but though I took a nice bike ride in Petrified Forest National park (not as interesting as the badlands), I was pretty bored until I got through Albuquerque and saw signs for the Sandia Crest and I gave up my 500 miles plan for a hike up on the crest and a stay in a local RV park. It was impossible to sleep (the altitude and a humming noise) so at 4:30 I got on the road and made some decent time until dawn. I stopped in Gallup for some lunch at the highly recommended Jerry’s café, an outstanding Mexican place. I stopped in Oklahoma City and rode my bike around the downtown area on Sunday morning. It was a pleasant ride and I stopped at the Memorial to the OKC bombing and that was pretty powerful. Monday was another drive day and I ended up doing over 380 miles so I am within easy reach of home tomorrow. I stayed at a combination RV park and Catfish farm, a fairly unusual mix. I couldn’t sleep very well because of the heat but I drove hard on Tuesday and arrived home in the afternoon. My 44 day trip is over and it was a good one. I got a little tired of driving a few times, but I saw some amazing things. It is Tuesday the 20th and I had a fun day playing 18 holes at Draper with Craig (I won the match; he won the stroke). I then went home and did my yoga and rode my stationary bike, although I must have pulled my left shoulder since I could hardly move it. I had a nice late lunch with Emily yesterday and I will have dinner with Rhonda on Thursday. I will be at the meetings on Thursday and then I will help the students move in on Friday and then meet with Kate to discuss my novel. The summer is almost over and I have few complaints.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Aug 3 through Aug 6 Alaska Trip

I really enjoyed being with Gloria’s friends and I wondered why I don’t have conversations like that back home. Rob and I have a good relationship but he doesn’t invite me over with friends and family and Jeff and Rachel are good to talk with but not much humor. I don’t have much of a social life and I wonder if I should try to change that. Sunday was another walk through the Coyote Hills with John and Rick and then Rick and I went to play golf at Mission Hills, which turned out to be a very short nine hole course (with six par threes), perfect for Rick’s ability. I shot a 69 for 18 holes and with a 4 stroke per hole handicap, Rick beat me in match play but I came back and beat him on stroke. We both had a lot of fun though we were pretty late for dinner. Nella and Jill were there and it was fun again. On Monday morning it was time to leave and after showing John the five basic jazz chords, I started for Oceanside. The drive was pretty easy, but after stopping to chat with Kelly for a half hour, I could see that I wasn’t going to get a ride if I didn’t do something quick so I stopped and rode for 45 minutes about a half hour from the magic mountain Rodeway where I had made a reservation. The ride was rushed, dinner at the Mexican restaurant was not very good (they were closing and washing the floor), the rodeway was kind of dumpy and I didn’t sleep well. Better planning would have prevented this and on my return home I have to do that so I arrive back in Virginia relaxed. On Tuesday I drove toward Oceanside, leaving I-5 for I-210 as I got close to LA. I was moving well until I hit Pasadena and then traffic stopped me cold so I got off and played a par 3 course and that was fun. I drove on and reached Oceanside just before 2 and Dave was there a few minutes later. We chatted and it was great to see him, then I went for an 11 mile bike ride along the river, and that felt great. When I got back Dave and I went for a nice happy hour dinner at a local restaurant and then back to his place for the evening. The view is spectacular but the noisy harbor seals and the train kept me up and Dave’s couch isn’t the most comfortable place to sleep. He is involved with someone and I wish him the best. He seems pretty confident and happy and who can speak against that.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Days July 28 through August 3 Alaska

Sunday turned out very well. I set up to run with High Country and had a lot of fun doing 4 miles of the McKenzie. That was more than enough and I was cold when I finished. I paddled very well and stayed out of any trouble. Monday morning was a drive day although it was planned to be pretty relaxed since I only had to drive 270 miles. I stopped for a nap near Eugene then went to a Starbucks to do my writing. The novel has a little more energy and I may have to main character go back into drug dealing. I drove on and when I saw a sign for a gold course, I stopped and played nine holes in a cart since it was a hilly course. I was shooting pretty well, on my way to easily breaking 50, when I got to the seventh hole. As is often the case I just swing away without scouting the hole and the shot I hit, not a bad one, ended up in a weird out of bounds area I couldn’t see from the tee. I had to take a penalty stoke and then I blew my third shot and I lost my focus and ended up with an 8. That meant I had to shot 10 on the last two holes, one a very difficult par 3 (5th hardest hole on the course) and the other a very long par 5. This meant a 4 and a 6 or a 3 and a 7 to break 50, not an easy task. The par 3 was very hard looking, traps and bushes around the green and over 140 yards to the pin. I decided to go for it and hit my driver. It was a great shot and hit the green but trickled down to a few feet in the short rough. I needed a great putt and got a good one but missed the six footer and ended up with a 4. That was a pretty good score and now to the par 5. The tee shot looked okay but you had to go over some bushes to get to the fairway and those bushes were pretty far out. I hit a line drive and it bounced a few feet in front of the bushes and shot up and seemed to go right into the top of the bushes. My hopes were dashed but I went to look anyway and there was no ball right in front of the bushes. I was ready to drop another and take the penalty when I noticed that there was a ball about 30 yards up and it was mine. I guess it had pushed right through the bushes. My next shot was solid but to the right and my third shot was a tricky one that easily could have gone out of bounds to the left if I didn’t come real close to the trees on the right. I shot a very nice shot that went a little too far to the left but ended up just in the left rough about ninety yards from the pin but having to go over a small pond right next to the green. That is probably my hardest shot and normally I would have gone with an extra club to be safe but I needed to be close so I hit my pitching wedge and just made it over the pond and the ball ended up just off the green, 40 feet away. I needed a great putt to get me within 2 feet and a gimme but instead I got a good putt 5 feet away. Make the putt and a 49—and I did. My earlier double ball was a 49 so I had two 49s, which really perked me up. I drove on and when I got to Grants Pass I could see that I had trouble. Smoke from forest fires was obscuring the sun and I had seen this before. I stopped in at the visitor’s center and they said it was way down, at least to cave junction but that the road was open. I drove with the windows up and the air conditioning on and the smoke extended almost to the coast. I couldn’t bike ride but I had to get a nap and I took one about 20 miles from the coast. I drove on and then decided to camp at a county park campground which was fine and I rode my bike around the campground for a full hour. I then went for a walk at the Citizens Dock and then dinner at Harvest Café, where the food was very decent. On Tuesday morning I got up very slowly and found out that I had slept till 8:30 and I went to do my laundry and go to the post office before going to Denny’s for breakfast and writing. It was time for my Boy Scout Tree Trail hike, and it was lovely and serene as usual. My knee held up very well and I walked a lot further in than I usually do. I was walking for almost two hours which is great. After the hike I started driving down the coast and stopped for a nap before doing my beach walk. That was also very rewarding though it was overcast. I kept driving, had some salmon candy and garlic salmon, rode my bike for a hour at one of the really long beach pullouts, and had a shower at one of the state parks. The eel had toxic algae and though I saw plenty of people swimming, I didn’t want to take a chance. I drove on to Eureka and found a place to camp about then minutes south of town and then went back to the movie theater and watched Wolverine. It was not great but I was ready for a movie. Wednesday morning found me driving toward Fremont and when I called Gloria she told me that her results were in and it was not cancer. I was very excited and happy and when she told me Rick wasn’t going to be back until Friday, I told her I would drive down and meet her for dinner. Traffic was very slow so I didn’t get here until almost eight but she made me a nice pasta dinner and we chatted for a few hours. Thursday morning we went for a long walk in the bird sanctuary and then for coffee and almond croissants at Peet’s. Later I rode my bike on the creek trail nearby and I took Gloria out to p. f. Changs, which is always a treat for me. I met her friend John who was a very interesting guy and we had some good conversations along with rick. Friday Gloria and I went into San Francisco on BART and had a fabulous lunch at The Slanted Door. We walked along the waterfront and there was a lot going on for the America’s Cup races. I went for another long bike ride and then Rick came and some guests and we had a very entertaining night talking about movies and literature. I stayed up with Rick and John. On Saturday, John, Rick and I went for a walk in the bird sanctuary and then I drove in to meet Dolores and had a very good lunch with her at Chez Panisse. Then it was back home for another dinner and more good conversations.