Test for our Leaders

When our leaders and decision makers fall out of line with the American people it may be time to re-think about our voting decisions. I pose a set of simple questions for our leaders that may let them understand just who the American people really are.

  1. When was the last time you made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch? Or hot dogs and mac and cheese? Rice and beans? How about fried bologna with melted cheese?
  2. When was the last time you needed to make a decision on which bill to pay and which bill will have to wait until next month? When was the last time you felt the threat of being evicted or foreclosed on your home?
  3. When was the last time you felt that sending your children out to play may be too dangerous? Or, when was the last time you felt that you were in a situation where you had to physically defend yourself?
  4. When was the last time that you felt you needed government assistance just to feed you family?

These questions and many more are realities that Americans deal with each and everyday. By simply truly understanding these realities a leader can quickly distinguish the direction that must be taken to provide an initial plan of attack that works for the American people.

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Shedding the Working Years

I am not quite retired yet. Actually I have just about 28 more months to go, but am actively started the preparations. I see so many folks who have passed over that hill and still carry with them the relics of the working years. Hat’s, clothing, awards, lapel pins and gifts they have received from co-workers and supervisors. All kinds of memories saved to preserve the feelings they once felt as a dedicated worker. I have made the decision that I don’t want to be that retired person. No, once I retire I want to start fresh and concentrate my passion of new pursuits of a life after career.

My career has never been my life, although it is a small part of all of our lives and carries with it many lessons we have learned. These life lessons are the things I do want to take with me along the next chapter. It is the people we meet along the way and the many personalities we encounter that mean so much. The conversations we have had with our partners in the field of employment create the memories of so many years of toil. Those deep connections, times of joy and times of sadness that have shaped our minds into what they are today. These are the things I will retain and the good thing is that they don’t take up too much room in our dwellings, but much room in our hearts.

This weekend I will start a project to use this winter to go through my home and start getting rid of all of the physical elements of my past careers. I will start with my closet. Actually it is an extra closet in our guest room. From uniforms and equipment from when I was a Law Enforcement Officer to many of the dress clothing I wore working in an office. The closet is packed and seriously needs to shrink. I will only retain my finest suit, shirt, tie and shoes for special occasions like weddings and funerals. With this I also have clothing that is many years old and worn out but I have held onto for one reason or another. I haven’t worn these items of clothing for years and I know that there are many folks out there who will find good use of them. I have jackets and hats that sit in other closets to simply take up space. They too need to find a new home. Oh, and don’t forget the shoes, boots and sneakers that have been exchanged for a new pair. It will all go to donations and quicken the cycle of clothing to another in need.

With this one last career I have been working I find myself wearing the same clothing week in and week out. These are the items I retain and care for to make last another 28 months. I want to arrive ready to make that move and making the decision to remove those items that are most personal to me is the best way to start the process of preparations. I will repeat this operation on other things that are taking up space in our home in the future, but for now it is just this one project that I will focus my attention on.

The funny thing is that I have always portrayed myself to be a minimalist at heart I am finding that when you dig deep inside your yourself you find that there are many physical items attached.

Posted in aging, family, frugal, growing up, life, marriage, mindfulness, minimalist, prepared, retirement, simple living | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thanksgiving to go Please

With pressures amongst us to practice social distancing this Holiday Season we have made the decision to spend it without family. We both work in fields we are in contact with people. Despite the fact that we wear masks responsibly and manage to maintain a 6 foot distance from others the dark fact remains that there could aways be the possibility of contracting this strange virus that is always in the shadows of our work life. The truth is that if we do contract it we wouldn’t even feel the effects for 14 days. While giving up spending good, quality family time on Thanksgiving Day, a day I always cherish, I feel it is more important to act responsibly. It is sacrifice for the better good.

So, the dilema we face is preparing a meal for this grand day. I looked at all of the options as far as just cooking a turkey breast and all of the trimmings, going out to eat (not an option), or getting take out. After careful consideration and help from neighbors on the app Next-door we decided to order from a local farm market. Two Dinners ready to go that I can simply pickup at their store.

This wouldn’t be the first time we have chosen alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving as we have had the dinner at a local diner, or opted to make turkey roll ups with just a few side dishes when family had made other plans with in-laws. We are coming into reality that America has changed from an era where most family lived within a drivable distance from one another to an America where family members are living thousands of miles away. You can call this post industrial age anything you like, but I am not too fond of it. But with COVID in the air, it wouldn’t matter much anyway.

I think back in history when so many people left their families behind to discover a New World to escape the religious constriction they faced in the Old World. Life is constantly changing and we are now living in the dark ages of a modern society. The good news is that for the most part we are not facing the same tragedies that others faced during pandemics. I know it’s not easy and there is a small percentage who don’t survive the virus but I have faith that we will get through this stage of history and a brighter tomorrow is just around the corner. A future where we are spending time with our loved ones with a Turkey with all the trimmings.

Posted in america, family, food, growing up, life, marriage, minimalist, simple living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Addictions

2020 without doubt has been a very challenging year to say the least. With COVID 19 always hanging in the shadows of every corner of my life I now find myself stuck in a corner. Giving up a gym membership and eventually losing all interest in any type of exercise has given way to a man 20 lbs. heavier than he was back in the beginning of the pandemic. Exercise is the key ingredient to stabilization of my blood sugar as I have also noticed those numbers rising. My food choices have also been heading in the same direction as I find myself giving into foods I should not be eating. And then there are the addictions…

I remember myself as a “non drinker” for years. I started drinking again about 15 years ago as I would occasionally drink a beer or two on the weekends. Over this year I find myself drinking every night and sometimes more than a six pack.

I quit smoking back in 2013 and turned to vaping as an alternative. The original plan was to make the switch and slowly ween myself off of nicotine altogether. That hasn’t happened yet as I make it too easy to continue the addiction.

Coffee is another problem as I knock down two cups each morning. It never was a problem before for recently my body has been rejecting it in the form of gut issues. I have always loved to drink a cup of tea and can’t understand why I still have to have those two cups of coffee in the morning.

Most folks would say that these are not major problems as addictions of greater magnitude are swallowing up people, families and communities. But this is not about other’s, this is about me. As with just about any other major decisions I make in life I have learned to allow 30 days of deep thought and planning before diving in. This will bring me closer to New Years Day.

Posted in diabesity, fitness, food, health, mindfulness, minimalist, simple living, stress, type II diabetes, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Cleaning up the Inbox

As we discover that we can get a discount on food, hotels, rental cars and many other places by just sharing our information including our email address we soon come to realize that those same entities add us to their email campaigns. Even websites that we enjoy like to keep us up to date with sometimes daily emails.

I have always noticed that slowly I am getting more emails than I can keep up with and although I may have been excited about a product or idea at one time, I no longer want to see all of the daily emails in my inbox. In the past I would allow these emails to invade my life each day until I got to the point where I would just start unsubscribing to all of them.

My approach now is I need to do the same thing only under a daily basis. Each day I probably check my email twice. Once in the morning and once at the end of the day. Each time I find at least one or two things to unsubscribe. I feel less pressure when I am reading just a handful of emails that I need to read, rather than going through the task of going through emails and deleting 45 of them.

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Dinner is Lunch

A few years back I made the decision that I really didn’t like going out to lunch. The food just wasn’t as appetizing as it used to be and too often the portions were to large. No longer than an hour after lunch I would feel tired and lethargic and with that less productive at my position. In the mean time I was also discovering how many left overs siting the fridge that usually ended up in the trash each weekend before trash day.

This made me also curious to how much money I was spending and throwing away. On average lunch can run on average about $10.00 per day. With 20 working days each month, this meant that I was spending around $200.00 to eat lunch each month, or $2,400.00 per year.

By preparing enough each day for dinner and lunch the next day wasn’t difficult. I know pop a container in the microwave of the delicious, homemade food that I love in the portion that is sensible.

In the end I no longer have to think about where I was going to eat lunch, had time to take a little walk after lunch, discovered a new source of lost income to pay down debt and added a bit of joy to each day as I anticipated eating lunch each day.


Posted in finances, food, frugal, mindfulness, minimalist, prepared, simple living | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Just one Soap

Here is a little trick that I managed to fill both my needs of reducing clutter and prepping.

I have discovered that with just one bottle a good liquid soap I can wash my body, wash my hair, wash my hands and shave.

The prepper in me purchase enough to keep 3 bottles on hand while the minimalist in my is happy because I am only shopping for one item instead of 4.

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Simple Living Prepper

I started my blog, “Simple Living Over 50” many years ago and have shared many of my thoughts and dreams throughout these years. At the age of 59 now I have lived and learned a lot about both myself and others. I find it important that I now share with you another side of my Simple Living way of life.

I have been and always will be one who prepares for the future while living in the NOW. As the chapters of our lives unfold there have been so many life events in which I have learned from. These events are as simple as not saving money to purchase a gift for a best friends wedding, to evacuating our home due to a forrest fire. It is my intention to describe many of the simple ways I have found to prepare for many of life’s challenges. For this reason I have decided to change the theme of this blog to that of the mindset of a “Simple Living Prepper”.

We have all had the opportunity to see “Preppers” in action on TV, in magazines and of course on other blogs. Many of these folks prepare for extreme events which they believe will help save them. From underground bunkers to finely crafted homesteads it appears that the lives they lead should be a lesson to all of us about what it takes to prepare for the unknown. Although I have to admit that I do enjoy watching these types of programs I have found that what I am watching just is not my reality right now.

My reality is slightly different as I suppose most share my reality. I live in a house in a City on a very small piece of property. Many folks I live near are renting houses or apartments and I do consider myself very lucky to own something. I spend close to an hour and a half driving to and from work each day. I don’t own a giant pickup truck as the gas mileage would crush my finances. Most of the food that comes into our home is purchased from a supermarket. I never hunted and have only fished a handful of times which includes catching crabs when they are in season. Pretty much my life is dependent upon the system of society created around me.

In my minds eye I enjoy playing out different situations. Recently my wife and I found ourselves being evacuated due to a major forrest fire in our region of the planet. Other than driving 3,000 miles away to relocate to a new area 9 years ago, this was the first time we were put into a situation where we were forced to leave our home. We were staying in a hotel just 25 miles from our home and maybe 30 miles from where the fire was burning. After just two days we received word that our home was safe and we were able to return.

I thought I was fully prepared for this event but quickly learned that I brought with me many things I did not need and forgot to bring many things that I actually needed.

There are two very special things I do love in these times we are living in. One is going on vacation, mostly to see family and loved ones, and second is camping. It is the practice of these two things that have set the stage for the things I would need to survive for several weeks in the event of being forced from out home. The Prepper World calls this “Bugging Out”. Bugging out only needs to happen when our lives are in direct danger should we stay in our homes.

Before going on vacation or setting out on a camping trip I go through the same routine. I make a list of all the things that I would need during my time away from home. The way I do this is by projecting myself in that Hotel room on vacation, or at that camp site. I think about all of the things I need to get us through our trip.

There are also events that would cause us to remain in our homes for safety and this is called, “Bugging In”. Bugging in is always preferable as the shelter of our homes provide the needed comfort needed during stressful times.

These two realms of “Bugging Out”, or “Bugging In” cross paths when it comes to preparedness. My intention is to project my thinking into many small articles that are geared towards my way of life and the typical City dwellers out there. It is also my intention to learn from others who respond to my posts as I can so like so many others, I do not have all of the answers.

Posted in america, camping, emergency, family, food, life, minimalist, prepared, simple living | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Turn it Off

I awoke this morning with a sickness in my soul. A feeling of discouragement in the world I live in.

It is not my reality but the reality of all of the sickness I have allowed in through the windows of my soul. Violence and anger and all levels of negativity streaming through both the TV and Computer. Even though I try to send out positive messages into the world through social media outlets I still find myself overtaken by the messages which I allow to enter. Yea, I even find myself striking out like a madman searching for victory.

It is time to just STOP. It is time to turn off the devices that show me such pain. My world is a happy world with LOVE always leading the march as I slowly move through each day. How I allowed the EVIL in I don’t know, but I do know that I have the POWER to STOP it.

I will just TURN IT OFF.


Posted in aging, america, Christian Perspective, christianity, frugal, God, life, mindfulness, minimalist, nature, simple living, stress | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Corona-cation and the Balance of Nature

Like most, I am stuck at home. Although I have my laptop and work phone here with me and am actively working, it is just not the same. We have formed a team to make phone calls to reach out to our elderly citizens to check on them and see if there is anything they may need. What I have found is that most are self sufficient and are having no problems. On occasions I discover someone who does need something and one of our local charities is quickly contacted and put into action.

I have also delivered needed food packages and posted COVID 19 posters on local businesses to inform the public about social distancing while they are out and about.

I myself am practicing social distancing and now only leave my house only if it absolutely necessary. Even though I am continuing to work out in the field a few days per week I am finding it difficult to maintain a stay at home routine.

On average, based on my apple watches calculations, I burn an average of 3,200 calories per day. Since staying home that number has dropped drastically. I am lucky to have purchased a treadmill last year and try to use it at least once per day. Being that the gym is closed there is no weight lifting at lunchtime, nor random walking during the day. The yoga studio is shut down and even though they are offering online classes I find it difficult to practice during the “at home” work day.

I have noticed that I am gaining weight and my daily blood sugar numbers have been going up. I would love to have the opportunity to get out and do some hiking or long distance walking, but it is continuously raining and still doesn’t show a chance of stopping for at least another few months. And this brings about another problem as the lack of sunshine has added to a less than desirable mood. I am not, nor have ever been a stay at home type of person. My body was born to burn energy and in desperation I may find myself out in the rain to take on a few miles per day.

This typically that time of year where I find myself heading out to a warmer region for a week just to capture some sunshine and involve myself with some physical activity, socializing and having fun. It is obvious that this years vacation has turned into a corona-cation.

On the other side of my thoughts, I am grateful that my family is healthy and doing well, but I do worry as we have two more grandchildren due in the next few months. I have set a date in my head of May 2nd as a point where I believe we may once again be safe to start returning to normal. This brings me close to “planting season”, when I will need to get my gardens set up for this years harvest. I have many chores to do and find that I have plenty of time on my hands but then again, it never stops raining here in the Pacific Northwest.

My thoughts around this vicious attack of a virus that has caused a pandemic are built around balance. All things in nature when out of balance find a way to return to balanced. It’s almost like the earth sending us a warning that we need to be more careful about the destruction we are causing. A warning that we all need to slow down and work to keep a natural balance in our own lives. A warning to let us know that when we believe that we are in charge, it is simply not true.

I will heed this warning and remember it always and live in rhythm with the natural balance of nature and learn that this balance is not only for the earth itself, but a balance that we all need in our lives.


Posted in adventures, aging, america, body building, cardio, diabesity, family, fitness, fun, gardening, health, hiking, life, marriage, mindfulness, nature, Oregon, simple living, type II diabetes, united states, walking, whole food plant based, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments