Wednesday, May 30, 2018


I have a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks. I'll be 58.
More and more I'm noticing the physical signs of aging. I notice it in the decreasing physical strength, flexibility and stamina. The things that were once easy, now seem to be more of a task. I need to rest more often and now I feel the effects of exertion the following day.

Mentally, I still feel young, but do have occasional moments when I can't find the right word or moments when I lose a thought.

As frustrating as these things are, they are teaching me patience.
I know I am a young retiree. One of the consequences of this is that I often find myself at the store or other places with much older people; people that seem completely unaware of their surroundings and that seem to move in slow motion. It would be easy to become frustrated and annoyed by them (I sometimes do), but I've come to accept that this is their time in the store and I am the interloper.
If they are much older than me, I think that they could easily be my parents and try to treat them with respect and grace.

And as much as it pains me to think about it, I realize in a few years I may be the old guy standing in the middle of the aisle trying to remember what I'm supposed to be getting.

Even though we all realize that aging is a part of life, I think we often fail to think about it as it will affect us, personally. It's easy to say, "That will never be me," but then it happens and we are the old person moving slowly through the store and through life.

It's been said that we have no idea of the battles others are facing and so we should be kind to everyone.
Today, I choose to practice kindness and patience.
Truthfully, I need practice at both of them. I'm getting better, but still need the practice.

Growing old takes way more character than a young man realizes.

John <><

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Weekend notes

We are taking advantage of the holiday weekend to get away for a few days. We left shortly after Chris got home from work on Friday and are just going to spend a few days in nearby St. Louis.
I'm sitting in a downtown Starbucks and am a little surprised they are opened on the weekends.

We don't have any big plans. We started our weekend with a late night pizza (10:30ish) at Calico's downtown bar and grill. We'll probably enjoy a few of the St. Louis tourist things -- maybe the zoo or botanical gardens, and find a downtown place for dinner and some music. At some point we'll meet Chris' sister and we plan to detour on the way home Monday to see her dad, too.

I may post some pics from the weekend (I may not), but I expect that my internet exposure will be greatly reduced. I've been posting less often on Facebook and actually following fewer people. I may go back to linking my Twitter account to Facebook and just scrolling through my FB feed occasionally.

I've slowly been making my way through a book on my phone (Kindle app). I'm going to read more often so I can finish it and get started on my new project -- Ulysses!
James Joyce's Ulysses is one of those books that makes top spots in every must read list and every hardest to read list! A friend mentioned that he is trying (again) to get through it and was seeking input or encouragement that might help him in his struggles. The only thing I could offer in the way of encouragement was to commit to reading it myself.
Although it seems somewhat sacrilegious to read a book like Ulysses in digital format, it is downloaded to my phone and ready to read when I finish my current book. I do find the Kindle app a convenient tool for carrying books and being able to read whenever I find myself waiting or something. I sometimes have to remind myself that reading might be a better option than scrolling through social media feeds or playing another game of Scrabble.
I'll have to spend more time in my new backyard reading room -- a shaded hammock with mosquito netting!

Although it is doubtful that anyone will really notice, I'll be seeing less of you on social media and perhaps, you'll be seeing less of me.
I'm not being anti-social. I am being selectively social.

Enjoy your weekend.
Read a book.

John <><

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Baseball, BBQ and Bikes

I've opted out of today's ride to see the Cardinals and Royals in St Louis in favor of riding to Memphis next week for the day game between the Memphis Redbirds and the Oklahoma City Dodgers, AAA affiliates of their respective teams. Maybe I'll find some Memphis BBQ to enjoy instead of a ballpark dog!
I suppose I could ride to both games and I most certainly wouldn't mind seeing both games; it's just that I still have a need to watch the spending thing. Although I get good mileage, there's still the cost of gas, tickets, concessions at the game and snacks or meals on the road. Since I've already been to a couple of the big bird's games this year, I thought I'd ride for one of the last mid-week day games in Memphis.
It's only about 50 miles farther to Memphis (than to St Louis) but will take a couple of hours longer to ride since there is much less Interstate and much more rural highway.

Speaking of rural highways...
Yesterday's ride on the Twisted Lady route through northwest Arkansas was great! The scenery was magnificent, the ride was enjoyable and the weather was beautiful! As expected, I didn't stop for any pictures. For the most part, there just isn't a safe place to pull over and take pictures along the rural highways, and even if there were, pictures really fail to capture the real feel of the spectacular views. At some point, I'm going to need to get a Go Pro or other camera to mount to my helmet or bike so that I can share some of what I see on a ride.

When you encounter several signs that say "Crooked and steep roads next __ miles," you know it's going to be a good ride! Because I'm able to do these rides mid-week instead of on the weekends, there is very little traffic and that suits me fine. The My Tracks app on my phone says it was a 206 mile ride. I stopped once for fuel, once for a soda and restroom break, and ended at my neighbor's bar for a pork tenderloin sandwich for a late lunch. I was home in plenty of time to relax and have dinner ready for Chris when she got home from work!

All cooked on the grill -- BBQd spicy Italian sausage, asparagus w/olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, sweet potato w/butter and cinnamon.

I'll let you know about the baseball and BBQ ride next week.

John <><

Monday, May 21, 2018

Ride Day

I skipped the Springfield Cardinals day game today (Monday) to do a little yard work. I need to be out for a few hours tomorrow and want to try to make the big league Cardinals' day game on Wednesday. I figured to get the work finished today and then be able to ride guilt free for the next couple of days.

Tomorrow's ride (today, if you're reading on Tuesday) will take me to the south into Arkansas. I may pause for a little coffee in Branson, or I may just fuel up at home before leaving. It's a 60 mile ride from home to Harrison AR where I'll pick up the route for the Twisted Lady.
126 miles, 517 curves plus the 120 miles to and from Harrison will make for a nice ride. I may try to stop and take a few pictures along the way ... or I may just enjoy the ride and not worry about stopping.

If the weather allows on Wednesday (I may have to dodge an afternoon thunderstorm) I hope to ride to St Louis for the final game of the I-70 series. Maybe I'll have a couple of interesting people interactions to share with you later this week.

Keep an eye out for us old guys on motorcycles.

John <><

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Be the Church Day

Today is the day that The Venues dismisses its regular church services so that those who attend church can be the church. The annual event is called Venuespalooza and the church partners with a couple dozen local agencies to serve the community in various projects.
Chris and I will be working with a group to clean the public area at the Crighton Access to the James River.

There will be several hundred people of all ages working together to share God's love with our community.
Pretty cool, huh?

Even though the event is a once a year deal, being the Church is a regular part of The Venues as it has several regular projects where its people serve others in the community.

The two slogans you'll see on the website are:
Following Jesus. Asking Questions. Loving People.
A world where every life is driven by love.

These aren't just catchy sayings that are repeated to sound good. They are statements that identify this gathering of believers as genuine followers of Jesus. They gather together to worship and celebrate, but they also disperse to be the hands, feet, and heart of God as they feed the poor and serve the homeless. It is a gathering of followers that is very different from the "country club" churches that I've grown accustomed to -- the churches more interested in serving its members than reaching out to the community.

For today, don't just tell someone that God loves them. Why not take it a step further and show them God's love?

Be the Church!

John <><

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Loving the unlovable

In the past several days I've had a few conversations with people that have felt unloved by the very people that are supposed to love them the most. We all know people like this; it may be that we are a person that has experienced the same thing.

There are kids that have been abandoned by parents, spouses that have been left for other mates, LGBTQ persons that have been abandoned by family and friends. And perhaps the worst of all -- people that have been judged and left behind by the church and the friends that claim to follow Jesus.

Perhaps it is the judgment of the church (or at least some of its leaders) that has brought me to the place of being more sensitive to others that have experienced such judgment and shunning.
Perhaps it is exposure to other followers of Jesus that truly practice love that helps me see the need to love and to really hear the command of Jesus to love.

Jesus makes it pretty simple -- Love God. Love people.

That's not -- Love the people that are like you.
And it's not -- Love the  people you like.
It's not -- Love some people.
It's love your neighbors and your enemies. (I know -- sometimes they're the same people!)

And it's not saying that you love them. I've been told "I love you" by the same people that feel fit to judge and shun me. If you want people to know they are loved --  show them love!
Hurting people need to feel loved.

Jesus commands us to love others and I really believe that God is counting on us to show his love. The metaphors of the Bible aren't always the best for demonstrating God's love, so he asks us to be his love.
What I mean is --

The Bible often calls God our father. If your experience with a father is of one that has abandoned you our abused you, why would you want a relationship with a father as powerful as God -- especially when the people that follow him are just as abusive as your father was?

The Bible portrays Jesus as the groom and the Church as his bride. If you have been cheated on by a spouse or abandoned by a spouse or beaten by a spouse, would you want to be in another spousal relationship with someone that says he loves you but his followers don't show love?

It is so sad to see so many people that have abandoned pursuing God because of the hateful judgment and condemnation from people that claim to be following Him and say they are speaking for Him.
When you hear hate -- it is not from God.
When you see hate -- it is not from God.
When you feel hate -- it is not from God.

And if you really believe that there are people that are unlovable -- then you need to check on your relationship with God. In the end, the only one that is truly unlovable is me -- and God has chosen to love me anyway!

Show love.

John <><

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Trumpster Fire -- smh


The President's nominee to head the new Counterintelligence and Security Center believes that the Chinese company ZTE (yeah, the one the US is going to help create Chinese jobs) is a national security threat.
How is this a thing?

Oh yeah! There's that deal they made that benefits Trump's personal finances!
When will the GOP led Congress finally say, "Enough is enough!"
Is there a Trump supporter that can explain this to me?
Or can explain why you would support this kind of exploitation of the presidency?


ZTE threat
the deal

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Ride Interactions

I took a little different route than I normally do on my road trip yesterday. And I made an unscheduled stop or two along the way.

Because the day was forecast to be warm, I opted for my Kevlar sweater rather than my textile motorcycle jacket. I figured it may be a little cool starting out, but it was cooler that I expected. Since I was going to stop to change into my jacket, I decided to have a quick breakfast and a cup of coffee as well. It was only about 45 minutes into my ride, but I wasn't in a hurry.

My next unscheduled stop was interesting.
My helmet started feeling a little tight at the temples and was starting to bother me so I stopped to adjust it. I was riding through a rural area and pulled off into a small church parking lot. A pickup truck that was going by stopped to check on me. It was an older couple that had switched from two wheels to a Can-Am Spyder when they could no longer manage balancing the weight of their motorcycle.
It's a part of the biker code to stop and lend assistance to another biker and they were doing that. They were also members of the Christian Motorcycle Association so they were quick to share their faith and offer me a New Testament. I thanked them, but told them I already had a couple in my saddlebags and was also a follower of Jesus. They prayed for my safe travels and we parted ways.

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful (except for the lady that almost ran into me while merging onto I-270 N).

I changed back into the sweater when I stopped for lunch and gas at St James.
I tried to listen to the ballgame on my headphones but there was too much wind noise. No worries, the Cardinals didn't do well yesterday and I'm good with riding without the distraction.

All-in-all, a good day on the road.
Keep watching for us old guys on motorcycles!

John  <><

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Healthy Living

I'll be posting on my other blog more in the coming days.
You can find today's post here.

John <><

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Rockin' the retired life!

Yesterday I spent a few hours moving 1.25 tons of gravel. It's only about 1/4th or 1/5th of what we'll end up getting but what the small trailer we borrowed can safely haul. We'll get another load this morning and I'll be listening to the Cardinal's day game on the radio this afternoon as I move another ton+ into the flower beds.
I tried to talk Chris into going to St. Louis to watch the game, but she doesn't have the same enthusiasm for baseball that I have. I even promised her a stop at Ted Drewe's and White Castle!
I guess she'd rather get her flower beds filled.
No worries. The Cardinals have another day game next week! (Actually, I'm thinking Springfield Cardinals' day game on Monday, followed by a nice motorcycle ride and a St. Louis Cardinals' day game on Tuesday!)

I was going to begin (again) a new regular exercise routine for May, but I'm giving myself a pass on the days I move rock. Although moving a ton of rock isn't a killer workout, it is more than I have been doing and gets me some good physical work for the day.

More on rockin' the retired life...
I received my latest order from Amazon yesterday -- two hammocks for the backyard!
After moving rock today, I'll be looking for a good place to hang them and then I'll be able to enjoy summer afternoons rocking in my hammock after my daily exercise ... or before my exercise ... or while thinking about exercising.

Retirement is brutal!

John <><