Full Moon and Empty Arms

Usually every time there is a full moon visible in the night sky I send a text to several friends saying, “full moon and empty arms.” Of course it is because it is true. I see the moon as an opportunity for some romance, but it seems I never have anyone to romance. Last evening while walking home from a jaunt into town I spotted the moon coming up over the tree line. It was amazing. I never took my eyes off of it until I entered the house.

This afternoon and evening, my neighbors were camped out on their driveway waiting for trick or treaters to come by; the volume of tricksters is near nil. I handed out but a dozen pieces of candy since two this afternoon. On most halloweens I have to play Scrooge and ration the candy. Today, I was generous and I’ll still be sampling the left over wares six months down the road. On the way home from my afternoon walk I stopped by the neighbors and told them to watch for the moon tonight. Later, after supper dishes were done I put on my jacket and strolled over to point them at the moon. It looked like it was six feet high above the horizon and huge. They were amazed and appropriately so. One of them whipped out his phone and found his app that identifies planets, and stars in the night sky, all by holding the camera up at the object. He identified three planets, Mars, Venus, and Saturn all visible along with the most gorgeous moon ever. Of course the moon was like looking at a beach ball and the planets were like looking at a grain of sand. I have to get that app on my phone.

Sky Safari

KETO-Green Chef vs Factor 75

This week I began a new adventure, actually two adventures. My pre-prepared KETO meal plan is expensive and I was looking for ways to cut the costs. Of course, I searched the internet and found a business called Green Chef. It is different than the Factor 75 that I have been using. Green Chef sends fresh ingredients and a how to cook recipe card with step by step instructions on what to do with each item. Factor 75 sends me pre-cooked ready to heat and eat meals. Both of them are expensive. So far, I like the Green Chef meals because it forces me to cook. I am learning a lot of new things. The meals are also very tasty and colorful. It takes me anywhere from 30-45 minutes to make the meals. Each Green Chef meal serves two, or in my case it is two meals, one is reheated the next day. The price per serving is lower than my Factor 75 meals. Todate, I have cooked three meals all very fresh and very tasteful, and there is plenty to eat. I have one more to go before I decide whether to reorder another round of meals.

Staying KETO is difficult these days. Maybe it is the change in weather and the shorter daylight, but I am craving comfort food, and too often I cheat like heck to fit a piece of cake into the diet. Cooking gives me a degree of comfort even though the food is not classified as comfort food. One thing I like more about the Factor 75 meals is that I can be eating within five minutes of initiating a meal. Unless I opt to go for a wrap. Wraps take a while to put together. Nothing is easier than poking a hole into a plastic wrapper and setting the micro-wave for two and a half minutes. The next step is to peel back the entire covering to stir the contents and to place it back into the MW for another minute or two. I can be eating in five minutes after taking the package out of my refrigerator. While with the Green Chef meal I am dicing, chopping spicing, sautéing, searing, and mixing. a couple of different entrees, one meat and a vegetable mix, with a sauce.

I suppose it all depends on how hungry I am, and how lazy I feel. If I had my way I’d be very happy with sub-sandwiches but they involve bread and we all know bread is not KETO.

In my very first sentence above I mentioned I had two adventures. The second involved building a fire ring in my back yard and setting it up for an evening fire. The kindling came from the trees in my yard, and the fuel came from my wood shop. I finally cut up the boards that were once a special table I built for my mother to keep her house plants on. It served her well for many years, and after she and dad died, and we were finally emptying the house I inherited the table. For many years it acted as a catchall surface for house plants, and the usual junk that accumulates around the house. Two years ago I cleared it and disassembled it for future wood projects. It lay on my shop floor during that time, and this week, I cut it up into smaller burnable pieces for evening fires.

Sitting in the cool night air warming myself by the dancing flames brought back a lot of old memories from my Scout Master days and also when we were on family camping trips. Each time we had a fire one of the family became the self designated pyro-maniac whose job it was to keep the flames roaring. When I first moved into this house I drew a plan of what I wanted in my garden: a pond, waterfall, stream, mini-forest, vegetable garden, flower garden, and fire-pit. I accomplished all except the fire-pit, it is time to close out the plan as complete.

Wanted:Gently Used Coats

There is no question that the current drop in temperatures has me thinking about a severe winter. Part of my downsizing effort had me looking through my closets for stuff to eliminate. There hanging by its lonesome was my winter coat. It is a down jacket that has served me well and is lacking a zipper pull. I fixed it by threading an oversized paper clip through the eye. It works fine, it keeps me warm, but I’m thinking I could use a nicer coat. Then I wondered how many people there are out there like me who are looking to eliminate a coat from the wardrobe? Probably a few more. Then it occurred to me that I am a Lion. Collecting and distributing used winter coats would make a great service project for the club.

I’ll make a presentation this evening to my board of directors and see how it flies. As part of my research I went to the internet and searched for coat collections. WOW! Lots of people are doing it, and that signals a genuine need. That is, there must be a bunch of homeless or needy people who can use some warmth.

So what do I do when we get a bunch of coats collected and now we have to do something with them. The internet offers multiple organizations that will accept gently used coats. I wasn’t surprised to see that The Burlington Coat Factory was amongst them. Most likely our club will donate them to a local organization called Together We Cope, or the Salvation Army, or the neighboring VFW that is collecting coats for veterans.

We can also accept cash donations towards the purchase of coats for anyone we find in need. Since we service up to twenty-eight families with holiday food they might also be needing some warm coats.

The trick is to let the public know what we are doing and to ask them to help with donations. Spreading the word to friends and neighbors via email or on Facebook should be easy enough even for guys like me.

Probably the toughest thing to do is to get a very large box (gaylord) to place coats into.

Thinning Out The Inventory

A year ago after Peggy died I got the urge to clear my house of unneeded stuff. My plan was to get the house ready for sale. That plan is still in place. Since another year went by I realized I hadn’t done a single thing to clear my life of clutter since the first and only garage sale I ever conducted.

Peggy’ s first anniversary death date has passed and Barb’s is in another week. Suddenly the urge to clear more clutter struck me hard. I learned of a community wide garage sale and went for it. I had two weeks to get ready.

The plan was to clear the basement as deeply as I could. I succeeded. I cleared things that I hadn’t seen or touched in years like a collection of boxes containing stuff I saved in case I might need it someday. The stuff is all valuable, but the somedays were too few and far between. Without thinking about it or looking into any of the boxes I carried them all up to the garage. Looking through the boxes would have renewed the primal urge to save, save, save. Once those boxes were out, and a nice bare spot was obvious, it became much easier to move more stuff. I went from corner to corner and anything I hadn’t touched in a long time was food for the garage sale. First my shop, then my storage area where I store office supplies pictures, and old stuff too valuable to throw out. Does that sound familiar? Next was the annex to the storage room where I store my Christmas tree and ornaments. My six year old tree became a victim. With four hundred lights burning for many hours from Thanksgiving through the Feast of Three Kings in January for six seasons I decided to not even wait for a string of lights to burn out and cause me hours of frustration trying to save it. I tossed the tree into the pile. No it didn’t sell, but I vowed that anything not sold will never return to the inside of the house, it will go somewhere.

In a few days, I had a substantial pile in the garage and every time I walked through the house I found something which I could live without, and calmly picked it up and walked it to the garage. I registered for the sale and that sealed the deal, I was totally committed. As the days went by the fever to clear the house became a frenzy. Why stop at the obvious? I began scouring closets, cabinets, drawers, and corners. I had numerous floral arrangements spread around the house of various tables all very old and somewhat worn out. Artificial flowers that were dropping their petals and dusty. All of this activity made me thirsty and I reached into a cabinet for a glass. Why do I have two dozen glasses for water? Another cabinet shelf was cleared to the sale pile. Then I realized I had gasses from my wife Barb’s home furnishings and also from Peggy’s. I went through all the dishes, glasses, and table ware. One morning as I reached into a lower cabinet for a fry pan I saw numerous fry pan handles sticking out. Why do I need so many pots and pans? Well I can use a couple for when I cook a large meal, but I ‘m not running a restaurant, I don’t need four of anything. The lower cabinets went to the garage. The week went on and there was little that went unexplored or unquestioned, like table-cloths, placemats, china serving dishes, etc. One cabinet had about a dozen jars of scented candles, some never used. These too fell to the grim reaper of the sale.

By Friday morning the day before the sale I had a garage full of stuff committed. I opened the door at eleven to begin organizing things then realized I hadn’t worked on a street sign to announce the sale. I hurried to make one and thought, what the hell, put it up now. Even though it was a full twenty four hours before the official community sale began what can it hurt? Within twenty minutes I had a steady stream of customers browsing, and things were leaving. I covered my ears to block the screams of the sold items as they left me forever. Their screams were soon disregarded as I found the sound of jingling coins in my pocket more pleasing. Another pleasant sensation was holding the soft roll of paper cash in my hand as I made change. In total, I estimate two hundred items of stuff left me over this week end.

One old man came up to me holding a pocketed sheet filled with silver dollars. I asked him if he got all those dollars in the community garage sale today. “No,” he said, “I just use this to show people what I’m looking for, do you have any silver dollars you want to sell.?”

“As a matter of fact I found one in my watch case prepping for this day, I have it on my dresser.” I went to retrieve it, and looked at the date on it. It was minted in 2004, not very old. I showed it to him and he said, “this is one of the special xxxxxy dollars, they actually contain more silver than the old ones do.”

“Really, how much is it worth?”

“I’ll give you twenty bucks for it, do you have any fraternity rings or wedding rings?

“I have my old high school class ring and a couple of wedding bands too.” I hurried into the house and found them. He whipped out a small electronic scale and after examining the rings for the gold content (14 k) he weighed them and told me he would give me $150 bucks for the rings. A memory popped into my mind. During the past week, I dreamt about my wedding rings. In the dream I saw myself having the two rings made into some kind of jewelry that I would hang around my neck. The old man convinced me to take the money instead. I know the guy will make money on this transaction, and that if I really wanted to I could make even more money but how often will the transaction happen in my home and take only ten minutes of my time? Another memory popped into mind, my wife Barbara often tried to convince me to wear a gold chain around my neck. She thought men who wore gold chains were sexy. I fought the suggestion. Now, I am thinking that perhaps this guy buying my gold was a sign from Barb to wear a gold chain.

All in all, I feel the garage sale was a huge success and now I will deal with disposing of the left overs by donating them to charitable organizations. I will try to sell them on Let Go and eBay. If they don’t sell quickly, I’ll donate them too.

I can sleep better now knowing that if my number comes up and an opening occurs to move into the apartment I want I’ll be more ready than I was before. It doesn’t really matter because what ever happens it will make life easier for my heirs. I had to dispose of entire households three times in my life and I vowed never to leave that kind of problem to my kids. As it is, I still have considerable stuff left that they will have to deal with someday. In the meantime, I will continue to simplify my life as time marches on.

Sunsets

There is something about a beautiful sunset that turns me on. Over the years I have been photographing the end of day event trying to get that perfect scene. I want perfect hues of pink and orange with shades of grey blue with plenty of sky and clouds, and a streak of orange light streaming toward me over the water. I came close a couple of times and have the photos hanging in my house. I tried again last night, and it might be the one I have been longing for.

What a beautiful way to end a great July day. The only thing missing was Taps.

As good as I think this photo is I believe there is an even better one in the days ahead.

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