Category: Life

A Little Weather

A Little Weather

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby feather

The morning after snowfall is almost always an irritating one. I’m not really talking about the roads, because you expect that, and all the people who don’t remember how to drive with a little snow on the ground. But somehow, that extra chore of clearing off the front steps and your driveway throws off the entire morning. Little things start to annoy you about the day, things that would ordinarily be ignored or just part of the background.

There’s a snow brush in your car, probably in the backseat, but the back door is locked.

You turn your car on to warm up while you’re brushing the snow off, and when you get back in the gas light is on.

Fewer people than normal are in front of you at the convenience store buying lottery tickets, and yet, because you’re already a little bit behind due to the snow shoveling, the moments drag and it annoys you twice as much as usual that people are wasting their retirement plans on scratch tickets.

And don’t forget you have more snow shoveling to do when you get home tonight.

That little bit of extra whether colors the entire day that follows.

You’re later than you want to be for work. So are other people, but that doesn’t matter, does it?

Your email seems to load slowly. Or the cash register boots up slowly. Or the elevator takes forever. Or you have to park farther away from the front doors than usual.

The phone rings and the person on the other hand is needier than they should be.

People are more demanding of your time than they are normally are on this day of the week.

You put more items on your to do list than you cross off. That’s probably not unusual, but today you resent every single thing you have to add to it.

The day is a grind, the whole day. Every task, every job, everything you have to do.

And you still have to drive home on roads that have not gotten much better and probably won’t until tomorrow. When you get there, you know you’re better off to finish the shoveling before you get too comfortable being inside, before you make dinner, before you try to get anything done of your evening chores or relaxation or to do list or whatever. And you resent that.

Almost without realizing it, you’ve had a crappy day, just because of a little snow. Or maybe a lot of snow.

Samuel Clements, Mark Twain (or maybe Charles Dudley Warner): everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

But we sure let it do stuff to us, don’t we?

And it can get a lot worse than just having a crappy day. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a thing. In countries where there’s not a lot daylight in winter, suicide rates go up. Any kind of pre-existing depression or anxiety is certainly not your friend when the weather is bad ever for a little while.

And it’s not just winter, we can find reasons to dislike every season, and the major weather that comes with it. We’ve made things worse with the last couple of centuries of industrialization. Climate change is thing, a major thing, and it’s going to cause a lot more issues. Soon. Too much, too soon, too fast.

Be well, everyone.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Happy Birthday To Me

Happy Birthday To Me

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby feather

Happy birthday to me.

When this posts, my 48th birthday will be very close to being over. I’ll have completed 48 full orbits around the sun and be just starting my 49th.

Seems like a lot, but at same time it seems like very little.

I don’t mean in terms of geologic time, obviously, but somehow it’s just a little bit hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’m closing in on being a half-century old. That’s a debate for another time, with the current point being that I’ve still got way too much I want to accomplish, I suppose.

I have typically reserved my birthday for a different kind of reflection, however. Once upon a time, there were two questions I asked myself every year on my birthday. In more recent years, I’ve added a third.

Question number one: was this the best year of my life so far?

Answer number one: In my head, I’m waffling, and saying that depends on what context I’m asking the question for. Which, obviously, means that the overall answer is no. Professionally, it’s been a good year, possibly the best of my career so far. New job, running the whole apartment, hopefully not sucking too badly at it. Personally, no. My children in their various ways are going through a lot, and my wife has had some issues as well, and I haven’t in my eyes been an adequate emotional support to the family; trying only counts for so much. Creatively, no, but not too far off: After a rough first half the year, I got myself back on track in a very productive way for the second half. From a martial arts perspective, perhaps. I successfully graded to third degree black belt this year, and I’ve started to pursue Kobudo a little more seriously, but it’s still a struggle to get in all of practice I want.

Question number two: what can I do to make next year even better?

Answer number two: From a personal perspective, significant events are going to be on my control, but I can control how I react to them and how I support the people around me. I can only do my best. Professionally, I can work hard to get good at my job, and I think I’ve already started on that road. Creatively, it’s mainly about staying on the track I’ve laid out, and pushing ahead with my goals and dreams. It’s long past time I made significant moves to get my will in front of people’s eyes, and there’s can be a lot of activity in that direction 2019: short story submissions, publisher hunts for some longer work, independent publishing for other longer work, some shorter things, poetry, elections, and maybe even some fanfiction in the Star Trek universe. Let’s not forget that I’ll be using multiple platforms, as well. Aside from what has become the traditional e-book platform of Amazon, I’ll be working on Wattpad, potentially another e-book platform or two, and hopefully putting together a store on my website. In terms of martial arts, it’s really all about the practice. I do feel the need to rededicate and refocus my goals to target that practice better, though.

Question number three: what am I doing to make the world better place?

Answer number three: that’s a damned good question. And not one that’s easy to answer or support. I try to be an appropriate, positive example to anyone who might be watching. I also do certain amount of slactivism: letters, petitions, and so on, online, but I don’t do nearly enough arguing with people in appropriate forums where it matters, and I need to step up my letter writing. I spend a lot of time being politically angry, but not enough time channeling that anger into something constructive so, I suppose my answer is not enough.

Anyone else use their birthday thinking about themselves or their lives like this? Or am I just way too introspective?

Be well, everyone.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
My Christmas Play List

My Christmas Play List

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby feather

Whatever you’re celebrating this time of year, I hope it’s good. I hope it’s everything you need to be.

I realize a previous post may lead you in the direction of me not liking Christmas. Actually, I’m fairly certain I said that I kind of hate it. I also explained, which only matters if you took the slightly misleading title of the post to heart, that what I hate is what our society has made of Christmas.

I do, however, mostly hate Christmas music. Even once you peel out all of the blatantly religious songs that do still seem to get play everywhere, the majority of what you have left seems to be either blatantly materialist or designed to keep you mindlessly obedient. Get rid of that, and the children’s songs, and the pickings are starting to be slim. Peel out the humor and satire, which I do enjoy, and now you’re getting down to the things that are actually about stuff.

And that’s where I her live, so my playlist is small. This year, it seems to have only 11 songs in it. Not any particular order, again, minus the humor and satire. Maybe I’ll do a list of those next year.

White Wine in the Sun – Tim Minchin

Making the very point that Christmas has been rebuilt on a foundation of consumerism, whatever else it might have meant to anyone else.

Father Christmas – The Kinks

Reminding us that not everyone has it good and that the season sucks for some people.

Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid

In response to a famine in Ethopia. Millions of people starving in one country. At Christmas, who would have thought such a thing could happen?

I Believe in Father Christmas – Greg Lake

A protest song about the commercialization of the holidays. In 1975. I wonder what the songwriter thinks these days.

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Dr. Suess

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.

Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses

Life is too damned busy. Even at Christmas. Especially at Christmas.

Happy Christmas – John Lennon

Also a protest song, one looking for peace.

Merry Fucking Christmas – South Park

You mean other people have different beliefs than I do? NSFW.

Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen

Maybe we can have a single, quiet night when we can forget all of our problems and worries.

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney

Closest thing on this list to a mindless fluff piece, but you need to look a little closer. It’s about living in the moment at Christmas, something that’s hard for most of us anytime.

Please Come Home for Christmas – The Eagles

Missing someone at Christmas, maybe someone you can never see again.

Be well, everyone.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
This is Oliver

This is Oliver

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby feather

This is Oliver.

Ollie. Ollie-Pop. Giant Dog™. Giant Doofus. Barky McBarkface. The biggest suck in the world.

He’ll be 8 years old in the new year, which bothers me a little, because the typical age range for his breed (a Saint Bernard) is 8 to 10. But, he’s quite healthy, built lean for a Saint at only 140 or 145 pounds, and while he is slowing down, he’s still pretty active for his size and age.

We brought him home when he was about 5 ½, flagged to his imminent rehoming or surrender by a former coworker of mine who works with dog rescues here and there. Significant changes in life had forced a young couple and their young child to move in with someone’s mom, where there were already two big dogs, and not as much harmony in the household as one might like.

He’s also plagued with anxiety. He loves us, his people, and he’s generally very good with women who come in the house. Not so much men. Men make him uncomfortable. Outside the house, he’s afraid of all other dogs and all other human beings. That fear manifests as aggression of the “stay away from me and my people or I will rip your head off” kind of aggression. That level of posturing in a waist-high dog with jaws he can open wide enough to wrap around your entire head is, understandably for most people, frightening.

But inside the house, he is the sweetest, most lovable, most relaxed dog you will ever find.

We all fell in love with them on the first visit, even my wife who, at the time, didn’t want to dog. I’d wanted one for years, and the girls were certainly on board. My son, to be honest, was indifferent either way, since he was fairly certain he was moving out of the house the following spring.

But everyone loved him, and we arranged to bring home a week later.

There were some difficulties in early days. We learned not to let him meet other dogs on the street the hard way. We learned not to let him meet people on the street the hard way. We’ll never, ever be able to take him into a dog park, and even in our now fenced in backyard, if he hears another dog 10 blocks away he is forced to bark repeatedly until he can’t hear it anymore.

But he’s loving, and affectionate, and a lapdog when you let him be.

Image may contain: 1 person

And he’s a pretty awesome guard dog/alarm system.

He also lets himself be bullied by the cats. Well, one cat in particular. Cyrus, at less than a 10th of Ollie’s weight, will just stick his head in the food bowl that Giant Dog™ is eating out of, and Giant Dog™ has no idea what to do, so he lets it happen. Or maybe he just knows that Cyrus won’t eat that much, but the look he turns on us is usually one of helplessness.

We try not to let it go on very long. Oliver appreciates that, I think.

Be well, everyone.

I’m all done swimming for this lifetime, thanks.

(Well, I covered the feline overlords in blog posts, so it seems only fair.)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
My Oldest Child

My Oldest Child

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby feather
Long, long ago.

It is the 19th of December in the year 2018 of the common calendar, and it is a date of special significance to me. At 1:42 AM this morning my son, my firstborn child, turned 20 years old.


20 years ago today, in the middle of the night, I held him for the first time. It’s very easy to admit now that I was terrified. What the hell did I know about kids,much less babies? Only a few days off of 28 years old, I had a couple of friends who had small children, but didn’t really see them that often. I really didn’t spend much time around kids.

Becoming a parent for the first time isn’t actually something you can possibly be ready for. But when they put the baby in your hands for the first time, you realize you haven’t got an awful lot of choice but to get ready, and to do it really, really fast. You figure things out as you go, make the best decisions you can at the time you’re making them, and hope you don’t screw up too badly.

At 20,my son is on the cusp of true maturity, true adulthood. He has struggles now and struggles ahead, but he also has struggles behind. We can all say that, I suppose, but it’s very easy to lose sight of what you’ve made it through.

In some ways, he’s more prepared for his world than I was mine, and in some ways less. And that’s okay. We are not the same. He’s got a lot ahead of him to figure out, and it’s different than what I had to figure out.

I’m going to slightly butcher and slightly extend a line that I think was spoken by Chachi’s mom in the short-lived Happy Days spin-off Joanie loves Chachi. (I feel like I remember his mom was played by John Travolta’s older sister. I should probably look that up.) Last year, he made 19-year-old mistakes. This year, he’ll make 20-year-old mistakes. Next year, he’ll make 21-year-old mistakes. You learn from them, get stronger, get closer to the best version of yourself you can be. What else can you ask?

Me, I’m almost done with 47-year-old mistakes, and we’ll see what 48 brings. I try to be a good example for him, including by making sure he knows I still screw things up sometimes.

Happy birthday, my son, I wish you all the joy and happiness you can have.

Be well, everyone.

Be well, son.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Caturday: This Is Morris

Caturday: This Is Morris

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby feather

This is Morris:

And this is the third in a widely-scattered series of posts about my current feline overlords. Morris is a rescue cat who spent a few months in the shelter system winding up with the unlikely name of Pumpkin but, obviously, had to become Morris. Something about old television commercials and orange tabbies.
We’re fairly certain he was a barn cat or semi-feral, used to people being around, but not super affectionate. He didn’t mind a little attention, but couldn’t really stand being held for more than a few seconds and had no real interest in sitting next to you in the chair or on the sofa.
When we brought him home, he looked like this:

But he has no impulse control, and ballooned quickly:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1-700x525.png

Well, not too quickly, but too far. He’s on a calorie-restricted diet right now. Hopefully, it doesn’t take too much more time to slim him down than it did to fatten him up. Except it will because it is. Because he has no impulse control, steals dog food, pushes other cats (well, Cyrus) out of their bowls when he can get away with it, and isn’t above thieving some things.

He’s come a long way in the almost three years we’ve had him. He can handle being held for several minutes at a time, will get into bed with you for reasons other than biting your toes, and is fairly demanding of attention if you walk by, pushing up off the floor to headbutt a hand descending to scratch him.

He came home to live with us on 07 November 2015, not even six months after Morgana joined us. The introduction was less gradual this time, making an immediate friend of Cyrus and receiving a few hisses and swats from Morgana to teach him his place in the local feline hierarchy.
These days, he has a preference for dog beds, backpacks left on the floor, and the spare bed in the basement. Oh, and windows. Windows are fun. When we adopted him, the given age was two, making him five now and the youngest feline of the local overlords.
And again, a shelter cat. Happy ending for a shelter cat.

Be well, everyone.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
The Writing Life

The Writing Life

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby featherSometimes, the writer’s life is easy. Sometimes it’s not.

Sometimes the words don’t come or the story doesn’t work or you suddenly hate your main character.

Sometimes, you forget the rules of grammar so that the ones you break aren’t intentional and what you’ve just written reads like you wrote it while drunk and having bed spins.

Sometimes you can fly by the seat of your pants and sometimes you can’t.

Sometimes your carefully plotted out story bores the crap out of you because you plotted it out too much.

Sometimes, a sentence falls out of one of your characters’ mouths so perfectly and so naturally that it sends you reeling away from the straight-line path of your outline, so far out of the way that’s going to cost you thousands of words and be perfect for the story even though you have no idea how you’re going to get back.

Sometimes, when you’re going back to edit something you’ve written, the thing that has just passed before your eyes makes no sense whatsoever and you have no idea what you originally intended for that sentence, paragraph, chapter.

Sometimes, when you are experimenting with dictation, and you’re not in a perfect sound environment, the transcription software twists your words and the background noise into something nonsensical, hilarious, offensive, or pornographic.

Sometimes, when you’re thinking about that transcription software to closely, you start to lose hope over the fact that you can probably, most of the time, never expect more than about a 90% accuracy, regardless of the claims the software makes, and you’re crushed into realizing that that means 10,000 of the hundred thousand words in your novel are the wrong words.

Sometimes, not counting the words it gets wrong, your transcription software drops words or adds some that aren’t there.

Sometimes, you could get so wrapped up in getting today’s words in that you neglect housework, other projects, plants, pets, children, spouse.

Sometimes, you forget meals, miss appointments, leave for work far later that you should have and risk a significant speeding ticket to show up on time.

Sometimes you wake up with a spectacular idea or have one in the shower or while you’re driving or running or doing something that doesn’t involve writing and by the time you can reach for a pencil or a voice recorder or a phone or laptop, it’s far too late.

Sometimes things work too well and sometimes they don’t work at all, and

Sometimes that’s in the same writing session.

Sometimes it’s in the same paragraph.

So why would anyone choose to be a writer?

Especially since I haven’t mentioned any of the massive frustrations of trying to get someone else to publish your work. Or review it. Or read it. Or even look at it.

I should look up who said it first, someone very famous in the writing world, I expect, but it’s fairly common advice that if you can do anything other than write then you should. It’s a miserable life.

Sometimes ecstatic and others soul-crushing, it’s filled with extremes, and you have to have a life while you do it and a real job and maybe even a family; at the very least there are probably people you care about. So yes, if you can do something other than write, you probably should.

If you can’t, then some part of your energy is almost always going in that direction.

I definitely go through phases where I can’t write, where life intervenes, where stuff is going on that has to be dealt with, but I’m still desperate to, and I’m always, always happier when I’m writing. I can’t speak for every writer, just for myself, but I’m always happiest when I’m learning or creating something, and writing is one of a very few things that can give me both.

Someday, I may even be good at it, but there’s only one way to find that out.

Be well, everyone.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Snake Rescue

Snake Rescue

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby featherDo you ever have a hard time letting go of an idea?

Reptiles seem to have a place in our family. My son has had a Leopard Gecko since he was nine years old, and, since moving away, taking the gecko with him, has expanded his small personal menagerie to include a Blue Tongued Skink, which was a rescue, and a Peters’ Banded Skink, a species he became quickly attached to. In fact, long-term, he’s considering very seriously joining or starting a species recovery program for the species. It’s native, if I’m remembering right, to the grasslands just south of the Sahara and has had an awful lot of habitat loss in the last couple of decades, so it doesn’t have a single continuous range anymore.

My daughter has kept the corn snake for a pet since she was nine years old. She has, several times, talk about wanting another snake, or a second corn snake to perhaps even. They’re not so endangered, but it comes from a similar impulse.

Now, whether those two impulses are lurking somewhere in the back of my brain, whether I’ve internalized them because they’re coming from my children, or if it’s a completely original idea to me, I had the brilliant thought not to long ago of participating in a species recovery program for something a little more local, but also something a little more serpent-y.

The Grey Rat Snake has, barely, a population in the region, mostly focused on the Frontenac Axis. My thought is that it’s not that hard to incubate eggs, so long as you are able to control the temperature and humidity appropriately for the species in question. My father has done chickens, ducks, and geese any number of times over the last several decades. I can learn the basic skill set from him. I can learn the basic knowledge of what conditions need to be and what the dietary requirements of hatchlings are with a relatively small amounts of online research, and the environment and conditions they need will take some more study time, although possibly not as much as figuring out the requirements and regulations in Ontario, having a little experience with how murky government websites are. After that, it’s just permissions, right?

Permissions to set up or join a species recovery program, permissions to keep native animals, not as pets, but as part of that program. Permissions from my wife to actually do this, because she’s not all that keen on snakes. That might be the most important permission, really, as we’d want to keep them for a year or so, getting them above the initial delicious fresh out of the egg size so they have a better chance of actually surviving in the wild.

Worth noting that there is also a species of turtle that’s fairly local to the area and is in similarly fragile state species-wise, Blanding’s Turtle.

I think this would be really cool long-term project, and really interesting to do. Plus, it would let me give a little something back to the planet that’s give me everything.

But I don’t think it will be smart to start until sometime after we move and are established in the new house, you know, the one I’m going to retire in, but once we’re there… that’s a whole new sport.

Be well, everyone.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Office Fish Tank

The Office Fish Tank

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby feather

The promo picture. We’ll see.

I’ve been talking about doing it for months, but, in the last few days, I’ve spent about $200 in getting all the stuff together for a fish tank for my office.

And this is in the nature of experiment. I want it to be a truly awesome fish tank.

I’ve done a lot more reading and information gathering than ever before in terms of aquariums, and I’m going to document the process a little bit. Some pictures and video, not that I promise to post anything, but I want to keep records to see if I’ve actually learned anything. There are no fish yet. It’s actually not even set up yet.

I picked up the tank on Friday last week, a very cool one, the Fluval Flex 9 gallon which has some funky lighting, a lot of integrated filtration, and curved front face. I unpacked it to the top of my filing cabinet yesterday. Today, I’m taking rocks, and driftwood, and sand to work. In between running two training seminars and regular stuff, I am going to do the Aqua-scaping of the tank, deciding how I want things arranged. After that, and probably tomorrow, the plants. The process involves:

  1. Disinfecting the rocks I’ve chosen with boiling water and rinse any debris off. Taken care of already.
  2. Soaking the driftwood to reach out some of the tannins, which will be in progress within a few minutes of my arrival of work. I’ll change the water several times while I’m there, and maybe let them soak overnight.
  3. At that point, I get to arrange the rock and maybe the wood in the tank. Having something vague in mind already, I don’t expect to do an awful lot of rearranging once I’m there. I picked things to fit my approximate mental vision of how things look.
  4. Four, a quick rinse of one bag of two bags of substrate that I bought, a black sandy aquatic soil designed to help plants do well, then will add that to the tank.
  5. Add the introductory fertilizer to said soil
  6. Six, unpack and plant the plants. It’s a relatively small tank, the interior dimensions, length by width by height, running in the sort of 30 to 35 cm range. It’s not far from a small cube, and it is only 9 gallons, so when I made the decision to do a heavily plant tank, there was a lot of reading about foreground, midground, and background plants. For the size the tank I’m doing, I don’t think there’s an awful lot of midground so I’ve selected some easy to care for specimens, I’ll put details in later, for foreground background, with the idea that both will spread over time. I have a combination of three different plants to grow to some significant height along the back. At least one of the background plants, a beautiful little red one, will shoot out roots from the sides to glom onto whatever surfice it can, so the Dragon rock and driftwood will be helpful here, as well as to help anchor some of the creeping stuff in the front of the tank.
  7. Gently fill up the tank from the rear to avoid disturbing the substrate too much.
  8. Let that sit for several days for the plants to adjust.
  9. Turn on the filter and let the plants grow for a week or two or three.
  10. Only then do we think about adding fish or invertebrates to the tank.

And I say fish or invertebrates, because I actually plan to have both. The I’m thinking half a dozen brightly colored shrimp, or maybe transparent Ghost Shrimp, because they’re kind of cool and very easy to take care of. These, paired with an single large snail, and considering the plants, will keep things very clean and minimize the amount of actual vacuuming I’ll have to do. The idea is that this is a relatively low maintenance tank. There might be a small school of Corys in the mix as well.

The main fish will probably be a single species school of something that actually likes confined areas, because it is only a 9 gallon tank, but I haven’t decided on them yet, either.

In approximate order, and probably spread a week or so apart each: the shrimp, the Corys, the snail, the school.

At this point, I hope the vision in my head is what reality comes to look like. While I’ve learned a lot more in the reading and research I’ve done in the last few weeks than I ever knew about keeping fish before, there’s still a lot I don’t know. Honestly, considering the low level of crappy equipment we used to use on a regular basis, I’m not certain how any of our fish lived longer than a week, and we had some live for several years, most notably my giant pleco, who was one of the first additions to our first tank before my wife and I were married. We brought Frank with us when we moved from Toronto and my son still remembers him. My oldest daughter might, too. He was 10 or 11 years old when we lost him.

I’ll put some pictures of the process up in the next few days, but I’m going at this slowly, so it’s probably going to be after Christmas by the time everything is in place and swimming.

And I haven’t even mentioned things like water testing yet.

There’s a lot more to keeping fish then just throwing some water in a bowl, you know.

Be well, everyone.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Time for a Mid-Life Crisis

Time for a Mid-Life Crisis

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby featherIt’s the first of November, 2018 and I’ve decided that it’s time for my midlife crisis.

Nice bombshell, eh?

Now, I say midlife crisis, but mine is not going involve a sports car or plastic surgery or a 20-year-old girlfriend, or anything stupid like that. Mine is coming a reorganization of priorities and some significant goal setting. Some of those goals I’ve already started to work in earnest towards, while some are just getting started and some which a brand-new.

The high points, and there isn’t going to be a lot of detail on some of these as there are things to consider and build in the background:

  1. By my 50th birthday, I want to have completely revamped my career. My current career, my writing career, and maybe my own business on the side.
  2. Also by my 50th birthday, although I’d like this happen sooner, I want to be living in the house we’re going to retire in.
  3. To go along with the living in a house I want to retire in, there will be a second property. Not an investment property, exactly, but a property in Ottawa, where one, possibly two, and who knows, maybe even three of my children will go pursue post-secondary education. This is not so much an investment or us as it is for them. We will file the paperwork, jump through the troops, and charge the rent. Landlords, in effect, for a child of our own and several of their friends. The objective here is not money for our pockets, because we’re doing okay, all things considered, but to use the equity built up into the eventual sale of that property to cover as much of their accumulated student debts as possible. Our situation, financially, as never been what either set of our parents enjoyed. It’s never really had the possibility of it, economically, generationally, situationally. So we don’t have the extra income and haven’t managed the save enough along the way to get them completely through college or university debt free. But, if we sell our house for the right amount, and buy our retirement property for the right amount, we can, essentially, transfer our debt to another property and have the rent the kids are paying into it cover the mortgage and other fees, so that three or five or however many years later, when our last child is out, we sell the house, even if the market is crappy, get equity back out of it to pay down previously mentioned debt. I’m liking this plan more and more the longer I think about it. But it’s going to take a lot of work to get there.
  4. I’ll mention the writing goals, but I’m not going into a lot of detail. Currently, there is a one, three, five, and 10 year plan. The details get fuzzier the longer the time frame so that I can re-forecast easily, and I’m making adjustments due to other goals.
  5. I’ll also mention martial arts goals so they’re here, but I’m unlikely to share most of those out loud.
  6. I want to travel. I mean more than just go and hang out someplace for a week or so. My wife and I have talked several times about the idea of getting a teaching English as a foreign language certification and spending a year in Japan, a year in South America, a year in Africa.
  7. I want to get involved in some significant conservation programs, during the years when not traveling, working to stabilize local endangered species. At the moment, I have in my head to study, and incubate eggs for eventual release, Blanding’s Turtle and the Grey Ratsnake, which are both listed as endangered and both exist, in theory, locally. There are plenty of species that need assistance, mainly due to human encroachment on habitat and our essentially destructive ways as a species, and maybe I should help a little.
  8. I will become politically active. Keeping those plans in the background for now.

So, my midlife crisis looks mostly like I just want to find enough focus to achieve things I’ve already been thinking about. I’ve said it before, but with 48 only a couple of months from now, and 50 close enough on the horizon that I can see it from where I’m standing, I may be half done. Well, I suppose it’s possible that I’m far more than half done and just don’t know it yet, but assuming good health and remaining accident free, and gentle improvements in medical technology, I may be half done.

There’s stuff to do, important stuff, and as the children grow and spread out, the second half of my life needs to be meaningful in expanded and different ways than the first half.

Some of these need some serious planning, some need some new perspective, some need a lot of work, and some need a lot of thought. Mind, body, spirit. Everything needs to be built and satisfied. Family, career, writing, karate, experience.

Be well, everyone.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather