Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Goodbye, Eva, and Just a Normal Day

Last week was a full week. My aunt Eva passed away on Monday, the 16th; her funeral service was last Friday morning. Eva was just shy of her 92nd birthday and by all accounts was ready to move on from this life, wondering why it's so hard to die and why was she still here. She was a part of every one of our summers growing up as we'd vacation near her and her family in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I can easily hear her voice in my head with her Yooper accent filling her kitchen. I had so little contact with her in the last 45 years but still, she will be missed. Visits to the U.P. won't be the same without her sweet presence there.

My aunt Maria flew in from Florida and kept me company on the 6 hour drive to Winona, near where we stayed. It had been more than 11 years since I was last in the U.P., and being there made me realize how much I miss it. We only stayed 2 nights but I was able to manage to get in 18 holes of golf at the local course where I'd spent many days as a boy. It was so nice to walk the fairways again and reminisce. It's been more than 20 years since I last golfed there. I recalled on the 5th hole how my dad hooked his drive into the woods on the left. He played his 2nd shot from more than 200 yards away, over a small rise in the fairway that blocked us from being able to see it land. We looked and looked for his ball but didn't find it until walking up to the hole and finding it in the bottom of the cup. I'll never forget that. I was maybe 12 years old.

I played two rounds of the 9 hole course and would've stayed longer but I wanted to meet with some cousins at my cousin Bobby and his wife Tina's home for dinner. We had a lot of laughs and good conversation. I was so glad to be able to make the trip for Eva's funeral and connecting with everyone there and for the time spent chatting with Maria in the car.

Today was the sort of day I envisioned my retirement days would look like when I was still employed as an air traffic controller with the FAA. It began with more than 8 hours of sleep, which is a few hours more than I'd typically get when I was a slave to my alarm and the ridiculously early wake-ups that were part of my normal work week. I made my way downstairs with the pups in tow. I let them outside while I prepared their food, tuning in to the last segment of Morning Joe to break the quiet of the day. I thawed a frozen breakfast sandwich and had it with a bowl of cereal then proceeded to pop the top on my pill box and wash Tuesday's contents down with a big swallow of orange juice. I take a daily multi vitamin; 1500 mg of glucosamine and 1200 mg of chondroitin to help minimize knee pain; 10 mg of claritin for seasonal allergies, and my warfarin dosage (blood thinner) for my Factor V Leiden condition and because I want to keep living.

A check of the weather showed it was going to be too windy for Frisbee golf, an idea I was kicking around last night, so I opted to go for a longish walk after taking Toby and Charlie for a 40 minute walk. I rode yesterday and was fine with giving my riding muscles a break. After completing yesterday's ride my Garmin 820 told me to give them 40 hours to recover. That sounds about right. I was pushing pretty hard trying to keep my watts and heart-rate up the last half of the ride. My riding has taken a backseat to golf this year and I'm okay with that.

I came home from my walk and chatted with Tammy for awhile before laying down for an hour-plus nap. I seldom took naps when I was employed because they nearly always made it too difficult to fall asleep at night when I needed it most. I no longer have that concern. I woke up from my nap and went out and got both my flu and shingles vaccinations. I'm good to go!

And here I sit, by the fire with the pups by my side, listening to Supertramp's Crime of the Century on my Stanton T-92 turntable. It's a vinyl kind of night. Tammy is upstairs plotting out a course for a vacation we're taking this spring to the Pacific Northwest. We'll be traveling with our pups and staying at AirBnb's along the way. We're overdue for a little get-away.

Here's video from possibly my last longish ride of the year from last week to close this entry out.

Until next time...

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