Around the Ranch: Aging, Figuring, Hamming, Dreams

Been a while since we’ve had the morning cuppa Joe and just “went over a few things…”

The Best Anti-Aging Medicine:   It may be your self-image.  Elaine and I don’t spend much time with people our age.  With a few notable exceptions, when most people hit their 70’s they “couch out” and turn into frankly boring people.  We don’t want to go there.

One of the problems is there are few role models for successful aging.  One example (if you leave her politics out of the discussion) is Jane Fonda.  Another is Tina Turner.  By the way, Tina was born in 1939, so that makes her 79.  Jane Fonda is 81-ish, being born in ’37.

We’ve come to think there are two major reasons why most people don’t have grand and robust later years.  One is the crap on television about seniors.  The so-called sitcom Golden Girls, for example, cast three man-less women who were bound up for economic reasons so it seemed.  Not a happy state to look forward to.

The other reason is – lacking positive inputs from media about aging – that people “fall into” aging.  Lacking some real energy (so they think, again that’s a control game) they “age into a role they don’t consciously question.

Elaine’s got her eye on Joan Collins, as a role model.  Born in 1933, she’s still going strong and looking great.  Elaine’s got that in mind.

My self-image runs more to “Doc” in Back to the Future.  Energetic, smart, and oh yeah, fit and not overweight.  Always doing interesting things.

So as you begin to scale the aging wall, remember once in a while to sit back with a cup and review what your “little voice in the head” is offering in the way of pointers and then tell it to STFU.  You can, if you choose, re-invent yourself every morning when your feet hit the floor.

What Happened to “Figuring?”  An indicating of how our mental models of daily conduct are changing may be glimpsed in the virtual disappearance of people “figuring things.”

When I was growing up – 70-years back – Pappy and all the guys at the fire house used the expression all the time.  “Figuring” was a general-purpose “getting to answers.”  Sometimes, you “figured it this way” in politics, or you “figured a door should be 26-5/8ths inches high.”

I occasionally try to use the word “reckon” which has its roots in navigation.  As in “dead reckoning” and “reckon our position” and such.  Again, technology has done us in.  The high art of “reckoning” has been displaced by a lat-lon on the GPS.

Oh, and figuring?  That’s now calculating and no one “figures in their head much” anymore.  Computers and phones being ubiquitous, we’ve offloaded an important skill.  This related to aging how?  Use it or lose it.

Planning to Move: My buddy Gaye suggested prior to moving that we hire a building inspector to come out and do a once-over of the property so we’d know in advance what the issues would be for a buyer.

Being too cheap to spend the $300 bucks, or so, I know most of the gotchas so I did it myself.  .Just on the outside of the house, I came up with 22-items on the “punch list” and that will take most of the summer (and maybe into fall) to knock out.

Slow Mail:  One of the cities on our “possible future homes” – Payson, Arizona – has moved down a couple of notches again.  Not just because it doesn’t make sense to us to pill a big chuck of our life savings into ground that close to Mexico.

The new problem – which came to light when we mailed something to one of Elaine’s boys there – was that mail from Texas to Arizona can take up to 11 business days.  And that’s “first class.”  (God help 2nd class users!)

The other thing we keep eyeing is proximity to a major airport.  Payson doesn’t seem to have scheduled service, so if we move there, guests would need to rent a car down at Sky Harbor (Phoenix) and drive 2-hours up into the mountains.  The other choice would be us driving down.  But that’d be 4-hours on arrival and another 4-hours to handle the departure and sometimes you just pay the money and take the time back.

Grappling Hooks:  Here’s another one of those farmerly implements you don’t see much of, anymore.  But we happen to need one in a few weeks time.,

Due to all the heavy rain, a fair bit of “dead-fall” from the forest has come down the creek and started to jam up the 4′ culvert under the county road.  So the choices are:L  a) weld one up out of some 3/8th’s rebar and a foot of 1″ steel rod.  b) go to Amazon and buy the solution for $20-bucks.  c) Ignore the problem, hoping the county will fix it – but then there’s the matter of whether they’d put the fencing back up proper.  Such is life in the woods.

Dream Time:  Still having amazing dreams almost every night. Last night, for example, I spent 3-whole days in dreams.  One involved working in “other side broadcasting” while the second one involved doing a welding instruction film.  In that one, the lead character was a huge diesel-powered 30-kW welder.  Called a “Big John 600” it would deliver 600 amps at 50-volts for welding really thick material.  In the dream, I figured it up without looking where I’d put “the stinger” and there ware sparks all over the place.  Some of the other people in the shop we frightened it might torch the whole place, but I explained “Ya’ll are woodworkers…what do you know compared to welders?”

Third dream (and another full day) was I another degree was got appointed to the economics department of the major university in the afterlife.  The takeaway is that economics there really focuses on the human-transactions, not the dollars and cents kind which I found interesting.

Anyone can have such adventures.  But, you have to give yourself permission to dream, then permission to recall in explicit detail.  Oh, and if you’re “mean” on this side of the veils, then that will come after you on the other side.  One of the lessons in afterlife economics is that there’s balance and symmetry across all Realms.  Again, interesting stuff, especially in IMAX plus wind, taste,, sound and super-powers.

Ham Radio Update:  That Yaesu FT-920 that I picked up on eBay for a song and got back on their air is playing great.  The repairs consisted of a new microphone and replacing the silver CR-2032 memory battery.  Apparently, the radio gets “iffy” when the battery nears end-of-service.

The Wireman:  Which is a dandy source of high quality wire (ask for Debra) finally got me the 275-feet of copper-clad steel needed to complete the Beverage array.  I had hoped to get it while the Major was still here since we have been hanging antennas for almost 60-years, now.

The first leg runs northeast to southwest which gives up dandy reception of Europe and South America.  The next leg will be going northwest to southeast which will bring up[ Washington state, Alaska, and over into Asia while switching directions will bring up Florida and the eastern Caribbean.

The Latest Super-Antenna:  I assume, by now, every general class (and up) ham knows about “horse fence antennas” – there are reviews on eHam over here..

They work very well, but since I run fairly high power levels (~1,2000 watts out) ]“Life’s too short for QRP!”  – low power] and I knew from my days back at SGC long-ago that antennas that can handle more current actually do transmit better.  (That’s why the SGC-303 mobile antenna is so “hot.” – it uses edge-wound copper instreat of chintzy wire…)

I looked at the relatively thin wires of the horse fence and remembered that despite overblown claims the “cage” type antennas (multiple strands of #14 in a 12″ diameter long pipe configuration) really did “talk well.”

About 6-months back while surfing eBay, I noticed a roll of 14-conduct #16 wire.  It was heavy-duty printer cable ribbon wire.  Unlike the horse fence tape, it was insulated, so a bit less prone to noise and thanks to 14 decent sized conductors it is great on transmit.

One afternoon recently, I was able to talk to a couple of hams down in the Beaumont area (one was mobile) with only 10-watts. That’s about 200 miles on 10-watts during the day…so no gripes.

There is one problem with it:  It’s heavy.  So it’s a serious effort to raise it up and down but since the power has a converted/repurposed ATV winch running the tower up to 60 feet, it’s not too bad.  Sags a good bit and I don’t know if we get an ice storm next winter how it will fare.  But, for now, back to having one of those “big gun” signals at night on 75 is nice.

Now, if I didn’t get to bed at 7:30 or 8 in order to get up and write…I have decided starting next month to attend the local ham club meetings; though I could use the beauty sleep.

Ordered a radio sound card for the FT-920 this week.  I’ve done a fair bit of PSK-31 and slow-scan TV on HF, but that part of the sport/hobby is getting more complicated by the day so to keep up, I ordered ($10-bucks on Kindle) “Get on the Air with HF Digital”.

When you’ve been a ham for almost more than 55-years, keeping abreast current technology can be a bit of work.  When the Major and I were putting up antennas and working DX (distant stations) the personal computer was still 22-years in the future, the Internet almost 35….  Let alone radio interfacing.  Always something to learn and maybe that helps keep us young.

Zeus the Cat: Has gone rogue – nearly feral on us.  Reason?  Well, despite his vasectomy to keep the local cat pop down, Zeus has a girlfriend. He comes in the house for all of 10-20 minutes a day and then meows at the door to get back to the love of his life.

Elaine’s been putting food out for her – not a lot – but she’s skitterish which most feral cats are.

Anniversary Looms:   Elaine and I will hit 19-years married shortly – two weeks.

Talking about it at cocktail hour last night, we agreed it sure doesn’t seem like that long.  But, when we counted up all our adventures…Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Boca Raton, ranch, airplane, goats…yeah, there’s a lot of ’em.  Still has the “feel” of newly-wed too, which in today’s world verges on miraculous. ONly feels like a year, ormaybe three.

OK, off to finish Peoplenomics for this morning….come back often and bring a few million friends…

21 thoughts on “Around the Ranch: Aging, Figuring, Hamming, Dreams”

  1. George,

    Don’t fall into the trap of confusing the celebrity with the person. Everyone you mentioned has had a lifetime of training and practice about how to look good. Plus a pricey “pit crew” to assist. You are what you is.

    Is there still such a thing as second class mail?

    Congrats to you and Lady E on keeping the magic alive.


  2. George and Elaine: Congratulations on your life together! It’s heartwarming to see people actually enjoying life together for the long term. I’m not sure we all have the internal abilities for that, though it’s always worth seeking the opportunity. It’s definitely worth the effort to cultivate real friends without regard to age.

    I’d definitely consider the greater ABQ area if you must move. Yes, it’s got it’s crime problems and I-25 is a corridor from Mexico, but anywhere near an interstate will have that problem. ABQ has all the services you could want, though it’s gone blue for now, FWIW. If you’re at least an hour away from a major north/south road or any freeway, you’re probably as good as you’ll get. Beyond that, you’re probably looking north of border states. Don’t forget that there are at least 200 other countries in the world too. Everywhere has problems and opportunities.

      • G…..
        No matter where you go.. no matter what job you have..

        There will always be a downside

      • As a retied Texan, I mostly agree with NM Mike on Albuquerque or New Mexico in general, but am a bit more fanatical about staying even further away from Interstate Highways, especially an intersection of them like I-25 and I-40! (ABQ)

        Since you are a pilot, you are well aware of the need to look carefully at the weather forecast before embarking on a mission. Likewise if you had been in the military, you would be cognizant of the need for an intelligence briefing that is of greater importance to overall success than the weather forecast.

        Having walked in your shoes and faced the same retirement decision(s) already, I came away with a spreadsheet of criteria that I matched up to GIS databases (and remote sensing imagery). Then I examined the weather and the various “threats” we expect to face from a collapsing empire. Then I walked and searched the terrain (entire USA) for 3 years in a 5th wheel to smell and feel local areas, especially the ones that ranked at the top of my GIS/XLS search.

        I “landed” in a mountain community at 7,000 Ft MSL, on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains, in a south facing slope of the mountains (for food growing and energy costs), on a small plot of land adjacent to a river with only Forest Service land behind me. No HOAs, covenants, noisy/nosey neighbors, etc. Then I set about to build a Homestead – which I tinker with daily and will continue to improve until I’m pushing up daisies.

        Where? I landed in New Mexico, between Ruidoso and Roswell. Terrain goes from 3500 ft to 7,000 ft, so you can dial an elevation where you want to set up shop in a 60 mile stretch of State Highwy. Roswell has daily service to Phoenix and DFW, so I can easily get east or west at the drop of a hat. From my house to the airport is 70 miles, and there are only 2 stop signs and 1 turn to get there. (and one state cop…)

        I bounce between Albuquerque, El Paso, Las Cruces, and Roswell on a whim. 100% of everything I need is within minutes (hospital) to an hour (Home Depot, Sams Club, Harbor Freight/Northern Tools, Cabellas, etc). 3 casinos, a ski resort, big game hunting/fishing/etc, horse racing, and so on – all within about 15 miles of my property. The ladies in my life (Andy would be jealous!) enjoy plenty of salons, shopping, creative hobbies, etc., up to and including the Spencer Theater (NYC quality plays & concerts).

        Home construction projects go mostly without a hitch, and if I see a state inspector or code enforcement it is because they are dropping by for a cup of coffee or to share local news.

        It is a small town with a tourist rush hour (racing and ski seasons), and as such I don’t find as much “craftsman” skills (carpentry, machinist, mechanics, etc) as I’d like, but I know where to find those services when I want them. Plenty of local ranching, oil, and dairy farming with a hint of military bases an hour or two south of us. So it isn’t paradise, but it does allow me to create a Homestead of my liking at a reasonable cost with minimal government interference.

        On the collapsing empire part, that gives me the most pause? I’m where I NEED to be as much as I’m where I WANT to be. YMMV.

      • The grass is always greener somewhere else G____. While you could probably use a smaller place closer to a town with good medical facilities, there are advantages to staying in Texas. If I need a surgeon, I’m going to Houston, regardless. Don’t ever let country doctors cut on you.

    • I concur with NM Mike 100%. Great climate and amenities. No problem with drinking water, comes from Colorado River Basin.

  3. I totally understand your situation with the clogged culvert. In my case, the local beavers have decided to use the “box culvert/bridge” on the state highway as a great place to put a dam. State has been good so far at removing the dam, but it takes a lot of personal visits to the regional office to get their attention. Then comes the crew of 5 dump trucks, an excavator, and 15 personnel to do what I could do in 20 minutes myself; if the law would permit.

    On all other drainage problems, I get on my loader/backhoe and dig the ditch or replace the culvert. On my farm alone, I have some 6 to 8 culverts of fairly large diameter that constantly need attention.

    Loader/backhoe is the handiest thing I own for the farm. Great for moving downed trees, removing debris, or just plain old moving dirt to fill holes. Seems like every rain brings a new adventure in run-off water management.

  4. I use the Wireman for all my coax, and especially their LMR-400. They come to our Hamfest every year and Debra is great to deal with. I am hoping that the guy (and I forgot his name) will also be coming to our Hamfest and I am looking to buy his 10M-80M horse fence antenna to replace my G5RV. I have yet to find the “perfect” antenna, but I am still looking. LOL

  5. I am with zeus the cat….

    enjoy yourself while you can.. none of us know when our time is going to happen.. in shape or out of shape.. when the big guy calls us home we are going like it or not..

    Although I do remember a patient that was close to her time laying there arguing.. that she wasn’t going to go yet she still had a lot to do she didn’t care how beautiful it was…. she lived for about a year after that..

  6. About ageing, while talking to my son, more than a year ago, he mentioned talking to “some old folks”. I asked ‘how old’ and he answered about 65. So I mentioned that I had them by 10 years and he replied, “but dad, you think young”. A positive attitude has a lot to do with your ageing and Quality of Life. Be a positive person.

    Moving? My Lady and I look at that sometimes and then figure we have ‘almost’ everything convenient to us. Why move closer to town for faster access to the hospitable or food store? Why trade in a good living area for a marginal area? To each their own, but we are staying put until we Must move.

    Dead reckoning is mostly a lot art. I did enjoy teaching this to my Lady while living on our catamaran. It really got interesting when we got into set and drift or tides and river flows. Good times.

    Our anniversary is next week so we will hop over to the beach for some R&R.


  7. Well George my grandmother use to say that you got out of life just what you put into it.Big push on around here to suck people into retirement homes,sell your home move in with us,pop your pills sit around doing nothing just waiting for the pale rider to come along, and give you a ride to the other land.Pushing 82 still able to do my garden do the canning and mow the lawn making sure I stay a step ahead of that rider on that horse.I was married to the grandest woman that the good lord ever put on this earth,married for 51 years and went to together five years before we were married, lost her five years ago, but she left me with a million memories and not a bad one in the lot,wouldn’t have trade one of her for all the fakes in holly wood who lack any conception of what life is really about.When I look at society today I see little that bodes well for this country,sex drugs and greed being the driving force, but then again every country that sets their sights on being an empire always rotted from the inside out.Lol now its time to go out and mow the lawn have the son disk the garden one more time and then its planting time again>!!!

  8. Congrats on the 19 with Elaine who from all your reports sounds like a fine lady. I too am blessed with such and we’ll be celebrating our 17 years of bliss later this year. I learn a lot about Ham radio from your posts and greatly appreciate it. I too used to work on transmitters; once a station where I was working had the rectifiers in the 1KW AM transmitter catch on fire. Very exciting keeping the firemen from spraying water to douse it.
    We were lucky to have an ace engineer who had us back on-air with the same xmitter in a couple of hours.

  9. Back in the ’40’s, Edgar Cayce could send a letter from Hopkinsville, Kentucky and it would get delivered in California 4 days later. That’s because of the wonderful rail service we had all over this country. It’s shameful what is being done to our Post Office, it is just another long-term attack on our Republic. In the Constitution it required the setting up of the Post Office; it is important, so anyone can be served via the mail. It’s a right that is fast disappearing. See, the goal is to destroy the culture, and the destruction is non-stop.

    • It’s not the “Post Office” but the people that (work?) there. We, the people doing it to ourselves. ;-((

      • No, it’s the policies affecting the post office and the retirement burdens put on them plus the selling off of their valuable real estate properties. I.e. Nancy Pelosi’s husband. All takedowns have a long-term plan which always outwits the short memoried citizens. There is money in that there stamp and delivery distribution system don’t ya know? And there are quite a few takers ready to step up and fleece the nation. Thus, the decline is sliding full-steam ahead.

  10. I’m retiring to Mexico. While you and most others view Mexico as a threat, I do not. But I’m married to a Mexican citizen and have a different perspective. Mexicans are warm, friendly and family oriented. I’m glad Americans are afraid of Mexico. The last thing I want is a bunch of loud mouthed arrogant people with fanny packs invading Mexico.

    • Congratualations – its a fine country, dandy people, except for the govt and the cartels we would be there. Remember, Pappy Ure and mom of the Ures spent a sever4al very happy years in Ensenada and loved it.
      Wer4e there not so many victims in the country (violence against nortes) we’ds be back too…love the little place called puerta aventuras south of Cancun 100 km or so

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