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Retirement is not without Hassles: Tongue Twister #2220

I got up this morning about 4:30 Seattle time and hit the fitness center. It’s the ideal spot for someone who didn’t get a fit night’s sleep. Besides, it was snowing and slippery outside, a Winter Wonderland. There was only enough time for some stretching, strength exercises, and the minimum mile run. After quick showers and reorganization of our bags, we were on the Aloft shuttle for a quick ride to the terminal. Once our luggage was checked, it was then just a matter of navigating the escalators and train to the gate. We had plenty of time for a sit-down breakfast at Sizzle. The eggs were not cooked properly so any free time was taken up by sending our plates back to the cook for a second attempt.

The 5-and-half-hour flight was delayed a bit by deicing the wings. I at least had a running suit jacket to keep me warm on top, but bare legs from the waist down. I never felt the need for a nap and started a new book, Righteous Prey, after finishing Perfect Assassin on the fight here. I was also able to catch-up on blog notes that will be posted once we arrive at the Marriott Vacation Club resort. Once again, I feel disconnected from the world around me after this many hours without live news and sports.a movie was never a consideration with only my phone screen to work with. Typing is difficult with the turbulence and cramped workspace. Peanut M&Ms keep me nourished.

We’ll soon land in Kauai, grab our luggage, and grab a cab. We plan to have groceries delivered to the timeshare when we arrive and check-out the resort amenities. Lihue, where we’ll land, rhymes with phooey or gooey, since Hawaiians like to emphasize every vowel, on this island it’s primarily A, U, and I. Our nearest city will be Kalanipu’u, the next tongue-twister challenge.

Old Sport Shorts: Stuck on 59 #2219

The game I was looking most forward to seeing was against North Carolina. From this fan’s perspective, the Tarheels were always a very satisfying victory, especially when Dean Smith was at the helm. I.U. was not involved in the first Final Four that I attended in New Orleans back in 1982. I remember how polite and proper the Tarheel fans seemed in their less than intimidating powder blue outfits, while the women wore white gloves, befitting a lady of the South. It did not seem to match the fierceness of the other three teams fighting for the NCAA crown. Yet, they did it over the Georgetown Hoyas, and I was blue with envy.

“The General” paid a visit to a practice leading up to this big home game. He was particularly successful in finding ways to beat North Carolina in critical games, even with less talented personnel. I’m sure his presence in the locker room was inspirational to these young players and Coach Woodson, despite Bob Knight’s failing health. This team is built around solid defense and undoubtedly this was part of the message.

I originated “The Magic of Sixty” theory watching Coach Knight’s teams through the years. I believe that Coach Woodson is a student of his protégé’s philosophy, even if this number is meaningless to him. I’ve tried to back it with as much history and research as possible to prove the point. The most critical part of any I.U. basketball game is the stretch between scoring fifty and sixty points. Whoever gets there first or prohibits their opponent from getting there first is usually the winner.

“The Magic” proved once again to be there in this Bloomington Battle, as I poured over the statistics. At the 8:02 mark, Trey Galloway made a jumper to make it 59-47, a step away from the threshold to victory. However, the quest stalled and it wasn’t until 5:59, over two minutes later, that Galloway’s twisting layup made it 71-52. Fortunately, the Tarheels only put 5-points on the board in that important stretch of surpassing 60.

The 77-65 final was the first time in 7-games that Hoosier scoring didn’t exceed 80, but it really only took 60 points to seal the win. All the hype leading up to this battle was over. Last year’s National Champion runner-up and this year’s pre-season favorite had just lost their third consecutive game. And the most encouraging part was that it wasn’t the result of a last-second shot, a random night of sizzling shooting, or even a standout performance from an unexpected hero. It was the total dissection of a perennial powerhouse. As a result, the Hoosiers will stay in the Top 10 for the first time since 2017. The only concern is the 7-25 three-point shooting in the first two real tests of the 2022-23 season.

Trayce Jackson Davis added what has become a consistent double-double performance, with Senior sidekick Xavier Johnson nearly matching his leadership, A freshman, Jalen Hood-Schifino, and junior, Galloway showed that I.U. has once again become a National power and will be for years to come. Next up is Rutgers and the start of the BIG 10 schedule.

 

 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Points Well Taken #2218

The luggage situation was complicated with the overnight stay in Seattle between Alaska Airlines  flights. I ended up short-checking my bag rather than have it sent ahead to our morning flight. All of my toiletries and running gear will be needed, while my wife packed a carry-on. Unfortunately, she had some expensive Angel body cream in the bag, so she ended up going back through security to short-check it, as well. Our first minor hassle of the trip.

While we’re traveling, we’re at least avoiding all the paving in our neighborhood. Our cars are safely in the garage and won’t be subject to tracking tar all over the driveway. Tally is at Schnauzerville with her dog family, avoiding any disturbance from the paving and dump trucks. We are all fortunate to be away during the disruption. We evacuated well during the hurricane and now missing out on this other mess.

The rest of my wife’s family will join us once we get settled in Lihue. We have a 3-bedroom, ocean-view condo so all six of us will have plenty of paradise privacy. My son dropped us off at the airport where we learned that there will be no internet on the flight. I probably won’t find out the I.U. vs. North Carolina score until after we land. I was looking forward to maybe watching the game on the long, 6-plus-hour flight. Instead, I’ll be stuck reading and napping while fussing about the outcome. It’s a second minor hassle!

My wife and I both got aisle seats with no one in either middle spot. Plenty of space, although I’m missing the First-Class luxury on our last long flights. She wisely stopped for bagel sandwiches after dealing with the re-check hassles of her luggage. They are all securely on-board thanks to our tracking device reports. We’ll now have to pick-up two bags at the Sea-Tac Airport before we head to the Aloft Hotel, our first time to stay at this Marriott property. More points well taken!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Off We Go, Again #2217

I doubt that there will be time for a post tomorrow with the overnight in Seattle and early morning flight to Kauai. I’ll also have to cut back to the minimum on my run. I almost reached my monthly goal of 90 miles at 86.7, an improvement over the past few months with all the travel and GPS restrictions. It’s more in line with where I was this past summer with much cooler conditions. I will miss the annual Tomahawk 5k at the Braves Spring Training facility but will have a beautiful golf course route on the island. 

I was counting on free shipping of wine to our resort destination, but Alaska Airlines only does this from their West Coast airport locations, not from Florida. We’ve also apparently lost our MVP status that allowed for extra luggage. I was spoiled with the hub located in Portland, but now have to choose other options at our nearby airports. With the Alaska merger with American Airlines, we’ll have to start rebuilding frequent flyer points. As a result, we’re in need of a Costco for wine and other essentials once we arrive. 

Our Marriott Vacation Club resort is very near the Lihue Airport, so we’ll pick up a rental car for the days when we’re traveling to the other side of the island. Otherwise, we’re pretty isolated from restaurants and hot spots. We’ll make use of our kitchen facilities on several nights or walk the mile to the other Marriott property that has more amenities. We brought some games and I’ll try to keep up with all the sports during the early hours of the day. The USA has just advanced in the World Cup, various conference football championships will be decided, the College Cup soccer features Indiana, both men’s and women’s college basketball is also looking favorable for the Hoosier teams, and the NFL is in the last month of the season. I have a lot to keep up on, while Off We Go, Again!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Blur #2216

I was looking ahead to our travel schedules over the next year, thinking that I really just want to stay home. I’m not looking forward to the flight tomorrow that takes us to Seattle for a quick overnight and then on to Kauai. I’ll be exhausted when I get there, dreading a similar flight home. My wife, however, will be thrilled visiting with her two daughters on this trip that has been delayed multiple times. I also started looking into flights to Vegas, back to Indianapolis and Portland for weddings, our Egyptian River Cruise, and a long drive to Maine. I’m worn out just thinking about it. Travel does not seem to hold the same appeal that it did during the working days, when a break was always welcome. Now, it seems like we overdo it. 

We also have several guests lined up for visits to the house. A daughter here in January, multiple friends coming in February, and others yet to commit. We also have obligations to get together with my sister and hometown friends that will arrive in Florida after the first of the year. I’m then meeting a group of former work constituents for golf in early February, a game that I hate. It makes my head spin to think about all these get-togethers, but I always enjoy seeing old friends.

Today is my last day of withdrawal for awhile, as I do laundry, watch TV, and pack for Kauai. My wife has a number of errands to run. I wish I had her energy. My son will pick us up tomorrow afternoon and drive us to the airport. Then, the next few weeks will be nothing but a blur.

Retirement is not without Hassles: Normalcy #2215

After the Alaska/Hawaii adventure, we’ve finally gotten back into the retirement routine, just in time to leave again. We had dinner guests last night and afterwards watched another episode of Yellowstone. I was monitoring the I.U. soccer revenge match against Marshall, the team that stole their NCAA Championship away last year. We already have achieved eight titles, but that is never enough, as the Hoosiers once again make it into the Elite Eight. They play UNC Greensboro this Saturday for a Final Four bid. It almost makes up for a miserable performance in the Old Oaken Bucket game, another loss to Purdue. The Boilers were fueled by a potential trip to the BIG Championship game in Indianapolis, as the Western Division winner, a first for the program. Their accomplishment here was partially attributed to the schedulers that left both Ohio State and Michigan off their list of opponents this year. 

Purdue had a huge weekend of success on the basketball court as well, crowned as the PK Tourney Champions out in Portland. Decisive victories over Gonzaga and Duke moved them to #5 in the polls, overshadowing a Hoosier move into the Top 10, a lofty position they haven’t held in years. It also means that the Boilers are now the BIG favorites for conference dominance. I.U. was the preseason choice, so both schools are getting plenty of attention in the press. The Hoosiers face struggling North Carolina two days from now after the Tarheels dropped dramatically from #1 to #19 with back-to-back losses. I.U. was hoping to take down another top-rated team in Bloomington, but instead they are now the betting favorite. 

With the recent Purdue success, I’m reminded of the Joe Berry Carroll teams under George King that went to the finals of the 1979 NIT and 1980 Final Four. The big guy this year is Zach Edey at a towering 7’4.” He was named the MVP at the PK Tourney and will be a force in the BIG 10. It’s great that both P.U. and I.U. are good this year and there will be no conflict until they meet head-to-head where I always pull for the Hoosiers, my alma mater. 

There was no time to write this morning after my 5k run due to a stops at Home Depot, Wawa, and the chiropractor. We were then able to officially make it “Matinee Monday” with the movie, The Fabelman’s. Our other typical weekly kickoff tradition, “Meatless Monday” was met with a ham salad sandwich violation since we had so much left over from Thanksgiving. We will not honor either of these routines over the next few weeks in Hawaii. It will also be difficult to keep up with writing this daily blog and getting in my daily run, with all the time changes, island family activities, and overnight stopovers in Seattle. By the time we get back to Florida, we’ll once again be fighting jet lag and the challenge of getting back to what we see as retirement “normalcy.” 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Shot Crazy #2214

With my wife sick on the couch as a reaction to her third booster, I couldn’t help but think about the notion of whether or not these shots are really worth it? She was sicker from the reaction than she was from when we both came down with Covid. My only aftereffects from this shot was a sore arm.

After yesterday’s Turkey and Tequila poem, I apparently had Tequila on the mind and wrote another to pass away the time on a quiet afternoon:

Shot Crazy

A shot for this,
A pill for that.
We’re nothing more,
Than a lab rat.

A prick here,
A Band-Aid there.
The flu bug,
The Covid scare.

How about shingles?
Pneumonia yet?
How about your dog,
Have you seen the vet?

The common cold,
Can’t help you there.
And we don’t have a cure,
For losing your hair.

May I have another?
Are they two-for-one?
After this next booster,
Am I finally done?

Did you have a reaction?
We’ve got nothing for that,
And we don’t have a remedy,
For fighting fat.

Immunization,
Has swept our nation.
We’re all hooked,
On Vaccination!

Don’t make me bend over,
Not in the butt.
The need for a needle,
Has us all in a rut!

If there’s a shot,
To heal ya.
Forget the others,
Make mine Tequila.

Copyright 2022 blog.johnstonwrites.com

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Turkey & Tequila #2213

I got my third Covid booster yesterday. It follows last month’s flu shot while the pharmacist also asked about pneumonia and shingles shots. All I ever wanted was a shot of Tequila. Years ago, a group of friends would get together around Thanksgiving for what we called “Turkey & Tequila.” One of them recently commented that “it sounded like a potential  Kenny Chesney song.” I don’t write songs but I do dabble with poetry, so I responded with this:

Turkey & Tequila

When Thanksgiving comes,
Guests don’t want Sangria.
Nothing’s better with turkey,
Than a bottle of tequila.

The turkey’s meant,
To fill ya’.
While Tequila’s buzz,
Will thrill ya’.

Turkey and Tequila,
A combo like no other.
But never served,
By my mother.

So, pass the gravy,
Salt and limes.
And get ready,
For good times.

Give me a leg,
You prefer the thigh.
How does Anejo,
Go with pumpkin’ pie?

But don’t go choke,
On that turkey bone.
Wash it on down,
With a shot of Patron.

Have no regrets,
Now will ya’?
Don’t drink so much,
It kills ya’.

Blue Agave’s,
Known to heal ya’.
And when distilled,
You have Tequila!

If the alcohol don’t,
The worm will keel ya’.
That’s the reason,
It’s called “Te-kill-YA.”

I’ll have seconds,
What a meal (yum)!
Let’s give thanks,
For Turkey & Tequila.

Copyright 2022 johnstonwrites.com

 

Old Sport Shorts: Hoosier Tip-Off Classic #2212

The 2022 Cream & Crimson were off to a undefeated (4-0) campaign start going into the game against Little Rock. The real early season tests, however, for the Hoosiers loomed ahead, between the holidays, with #1 North Carolina coming to Bloomington for the ACC-BIG Ten Challenge, #11 Arizona meeting them in Las Vegas, and #3 Kansas hosting at Allen Fieldhouse. Any sane fan would be satisfied with one victory in those three pre-conference match-ups. Then, it was on to the BIG, with the first game at Iowa after the New Year. WOW!

Little Rock exposed our shooting problems. The Hoosiers were 1-8 from beyond the arc in the first half. Trey Galloway, Anthony Leal, and Trayce Jackson-Davis did not dress, while Malik Reneau and Race Thompson spent time in the locker room for injury treatment. Race played the second half in a headband to cover the bandage near his temple. Miller Kopp hit three straight threes after the break, Race Thompson had two athletic dunks coupled with four free-throws, and Xavier Johnson hit another two freebies at 12:09 to reach the magic sixty goal with a 15-point bulge. Little Rock responded to cut the margin to seven, but Jordan Geronimo’s three stopped their momentum and Xavier Johnson soon added another. At that point, the Hoosiers were 6-17 from deep, showing improvement for a 17-point lead. The “X-Man” with ten assists and Geronimo’s fifth block pushed the lead to 21.

It was the 5th consecutive game over eighty, but I.U. had twelve sloppy turnovers in the 87-68 victory.
As an encore, I.U. finished off the Hoosier Tip-Off Classic with its sixth consecutive 80-point-plus outpouring to start the season, topping Jackson State 90-51 in Bloomington. It was another tune-up performance in preparation for #1 North Carolina to end the month of November. With a few nagging injuries hampering our big men, Sophomore guard Tamar Bates led all scorers with 22-points including four 3-pointers. The defense held the Tigers to well under the magic number of 60, while the offense got there with 12:40 remaining on a Trayce Jackson-Davis dunk. The Hoosiers shot 57.6% from the floor, 45.5% from three-point range, and 75% from the free throw line, with ten turnovers. Bring on the Tarheels!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Streakers Unite #2211

I received my Fall edition of the USRSA Registry newsletter, dedicated to streak runners like myself around the world. My streak now stands at 5,079 consecutive days. There are now 4,125 runners who have completed at least a full year of running every day, as more and more enthusiasts join the organization. I can remember when there were less than a thousand of us. I also used to be ranked #203 on the overall list but now have dropped to #230. Apparently, others have been doing this for years without awareness of the website www.runeveryday.com, otherwise I would only be moving up not down. I shouldn’t be passed unless I stop, but the whole process is self-monitoring. I once had aspirations of getting into the Top 200 but now it means that more than 10% of the top “streakers” would have to quit running. More likely, it would be death or injury that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. 

I’m content to be in the top 5.5% of this growing group. It’s better than my normal race performance that is typically in the top 20%. For me, it’s not a race anymore but a matter of perseverance. At the age of 71, my pace continues to slow, but nearly 50% of those listed in the Top 100 are also over 70. Their streaks extend to over 50-years, having started in their 20’s. I did not begin until a few years before my sixtieth birthday, being unaware of the challenge. My goal was to get to 1,000 by the time I reached sixty, but have obviously continued the quest to this day. 

There are many days that I wish that I was not committed to this challenge. There is no finish line and it can be inconvenient when traveling. It’s often hard to believe that I’ve stuck with it for nearly 14-years, and can only imagine the pressure to perform by those in the Top 10. No one will probably notice when I eventually fall off the list, especially knowing that there are undoubtedly others out there that have yet to reveal themselves or never will.

I sputter along day after day, taking it one day at a time like any other addiction. I try to get in about 90 miles a week but it takes longer and longer to get in my 5k a day goal. Occasionally, I’ll drop back to the minimum mile when time is particularly tight. I’m glad I’m not alone out there, even though it seems lonely and even painful at times. Streakers Unite!

 

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