Tag: living

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Clever Homeless Habitat

The Vermont Street bridge, passing over Washington, separates my neighborhood of University Heights from adjacent Hillcrest. It’s not uncommon to see tents below, as some of the area’s homeless seek shelter from the elements. But bright colors make them obvious.

While looking over the side, I saw something either new or so camouflaged it hadn’t previously caught my attention. At first, I thought a palm tree had collapsed or perhaps city workers had gathered fronds. But stepping back for different perspective, I could see an entrance. The Featured Image is a crop (see the original below the fold), shot using Leica Q at 12:02 p.m. PDT today. Vitals: f/4, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm. 

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Sign of the Times

Two weeks ago, while walking around Hillcrest, my wife and I briefly stopped by the local, massive, used bookstore. To my surprise, the place was three-quarters emptied and going out of business. Yikes! I hadn’t shopped there for nearly a year, when purchasing a paperback for myself later given to my father-in-law. While 5th Avenue Books is gone, online counterpart Schrader’s Books will continue selling used titles through Amazon. As someone who almost exclusively reads ebooks, I occasionally—but, honestly, rarely—shopped out-of-prints not available in digital format, almost always finding the sought-after read.

That last purchase: The Past Through Tomorrow by Robert A. Heinlein, an old-time favorite selling for three bucks. When I first bought the anthology in high school, it came as a set with two other titles: Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love. During the last year of my father-in-law’s life, reading became his main recreation. I donated the Heinlein title to that cause. Following the 95 year-old’s death nine weeks ago, I reclaimed the book to read and as remembrance. 

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Epitaph (Revised)

With great sadness, I must report the passing of my father-in-law exactly one month after his 95th birthday. Bob often insisted that he would live to be one-hundred-and-eleven, and I wondered if he might. Aged as the retired engineer might be, he exhibited surprising vigor and sharp intellect. I will miss the gentle geek, who continually searched for ways to mature his spirit and improve—extend—his livelihood. If only more people, of any age, opened their minds to new ideas rather than crusting over into immutability.

On Oct. 15, 2007, my family relocated to San Diego to be closer to him, understanding that the solitary elderly rarely receive the respect they deserve. Someone in so-called official capacity would have placed Bob in an institution long ago, because of his age. But with a little assistance—our apartment is one block from his—he lived independently up until the end, passing in his own bed. I am especially proud of my wife for being such a dutiful daughter. Anne enabled her dad. 

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On This Day

Nine years ago today, my family relocated from the Washington, D.C. suburb of Kensington, Md to San Diego, Calif. Whoa! There is no record in my website archive. Looks like I did little posting in late 2007, which isn’t surprising with the move and trying to continue working. At the time, I operated the Apple Watch and Microsoft Watch blogs. Unbelievably, Ziff Davis enterprise closed down both after laying me off in April 2009. That’s why I warned two years ago: “Writers, Own Your Content!

I don’t feel like the same human being, after predominately cutting carbs from my diet starting three years ago. Wearing pajamas, I weighed about 91 kilograms (200 pounds) on Oct. 15, 2007; 57 kg (125 lbs) today. My physical build is more like age 20—as is my remarkable energy. Granted, I look every bit of my 57 years and don’t pretend to be otherwise or cling to some misbegotten attempt at reclaiming youth. I’m merely a happy, healthier middle-ager. 

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My Life is a Blur

For anyone wondering why my online writing volume is way done, I can explain. My vision is in a state of crisis. The decline occurred slowly until I could no longer ignore it. With different health insurance situation, I would have acted sooner to fix the problem. But when finances are tight and health-care expenses high, you make sacrifices—even where you don’t want to.

I have macular edema in both eyes, which is swelling of the retina, or fluid leaking into it. The ailment affects the central vision area, causing visual distortion. The first signs manifested in my right eye in 2011. A retina specialist recommended laser surgery to repair scarring left by capillaries that had leaked and healed. But we were uninsured then, as now, and the cost was prohibitive for the family budget. I could see well enough, and cancelled treatment.

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Thanks Isn’t Enough

Thirty years ago, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I knuckled down for a lonely holiday with the mainly foreign students on the University of Maine campus. I had no way home but was ready to tough out the long weekend with the other students.

With a difference: Many of my companions came from countries with no Thanksgiving. They didn’t have the memory of family and feast for this particular holiday. I was a freshman, too. Some of the guys planned to hang out in the computer center and play keyboard games and read the print-out action on teletypes. I would join them.