Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Where Do I Begin?

Tampa Skyline at sunset

Plenty on my mind so I don't exactly know where this post is going so buckle up, hold on, and we'll get somewhere eventually!  I hope you all had a blessed Resurrection Sunday or Passover.  I tried to go all in this Lenten season, making a very concerted effort to give something up of significance.  If you aren't familiar, there's a Catholic tradition to give something up for the 40 days of lent- a sacrifice that helps one focus on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  I have tried giving up booze and/or sweets in past Lenten seasons, but both St. Patrick's Day and my birthday are smack-dab in the middle of lent so those are impossible goals.  Actually, they'd be really good sacrifices, but I want to enjoy my birthday!   I should give up sweets for the whole year actually, but that sacrifice, and others I've chosen are a lot like past New Year's resolutions.  I either couldn't stick with it, or it what I did pick was such an easy choice that didn't mean a whole lot to me.

Anyway, this year I was very successful with that choice, which helped me focus on the reason for the season.  So I guess that's the point.  I didn't do so well on the no meat on Fridays rule though- a perfect run going into Holy Week, but blowing it on Good Friday.  I completely forgot about it as I bit into a Mickey D's Sausage & Egg Biscuit while I waited 6 hours for my car to be serviced*.  Fortunately it's just a rule and not a law, so no harm no foul. It's a symbolic sacrifice, which can be substituted for something else, like some charitable act.  Somebody remind me to do something charitable.

The 10 days prior to Holy Week were spent visiting old friends in Tampa, then on the beach in Cancun, with one excursion of note.

El Castillo Mayan Temple at Chichen Itza

It was a very interesting site and we were excited to visit.  It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the "Wonders of the World," but apparently that second notation isn't all that special as there are a bunch of them.  The Mayans, despite being brutal pagans, really knew their math and science.  And their calendar is one of the most accurate in the world, with only NASA's Atomic Clock besting it.  

The Great Ball Court                                                                                             Source

The Mayans had a fairly brutal civilization, making sacrifices to Kulkulcan, one of their gods.  And a game played on the ball court above that had one stone ring on either side.   The goal was to get the ball through that ring, and the winner was the one sacrificed at the end of the game since his win made him so worthy.  

The Ring - look at the top

It was quite hot there- 77 F, which doesn't sound too unbearable, but the humidity and the packed ground seemed to make the place even hotter.  So the next stop on the excursion below was a much needed respite.

This was taken at Tsukan Cenote- a natural sinkhole in the jungle with refreshing cool water.  Apparently there are thousands of these swimming holes dotting the Yucatan Peninsula.

Margaritas just taste better in Mexico

Coming back from vacation I read Sarge's posts about his future retirement plans.  And how his plans are being delayed slightly by CINC-HOUSE. 😬 On Saturday morning I was running some errands and heard one of those morning finance talk shows about when to retire and when to take social security, which gave me pause.  He had some good reasons to withhold taking social security until you are older, that I will have to consider.  I am still 6 years out from being eligible for social security, (56 this past weekend), so I have some time. But then again our travel interests, and frequency of those trips is ramping up.  So maybe sticking around for the higher pay, and foregoing retirement at that early age might be necessary.  I will of course involve my wife in that decision, just as Sarge is doing, but I hope that any delays are only due to minor financial concerns, house projects and such, vice her not wanting me at home like I've heard some men experience.  

I have too many relatives that died in their early 60s though so I know on my deathbed I will not wish I worked longer.  That's part of why we are increasing the frequency of our travels.  I know in retirement I will continue and increase my volunteer activities, as my KofC friends are looking to me to help lead them and this state someday.  I'm not sure I want that though as it's a four-year process to the top position, a year at the helm, and a year as an advisor to the helm, all with a very unforgiving schedule of meetings all over the state.  It's not something I can do while still working so I have time to think about it. 

I probably need some sort of hobby though so I may serve an apprenticeship under Juvat!  Then again, planning my travels is sort of a hobby, and one that doesn't risk the tips of my fingers.

We'll be going back to Cancun at some point as we really enjoyed it.  And as I mentioned in my previous post, it's actually quite inexpensive to get there from Tijuana ($140 round trip), nor does it take many of our time share points either.  

So where else are we wanting to empty that bucket list?  The Bourbon Trail, the Holy Land, Northern Ireland and Scotland, Machu Picchu, Cinque Terre in Italy, Capri and Sardinia, the Greek Islands, Kyoto, the Danube and Budapest, Arches National Park, and others are all in our future so I better get planning, and saving!

Happy Easter week to everyone.

*No, I had no idea that an oil change and a new visor due to an inop garage door remote that was under warranty would take 6 hours.  They weren't giving me any updates so that review won't be all 10s.


  1. When I retired there was more time for something I had rediscovered maybe seven years years earlier, fishing. My dad had got me interested in that when I was young but drifted away from when I went to University. So.......uh oh.....looking out the window now.......white......WHITE... is drifting slowly down and.....and....the ground...is......turning.......white.......(gasp)........April second.......

    1. Nylon, No kidding? Why Mrs. J and I just finished mowing our lawn. The temp is a balmy 75 outside. What's this white stuff? Did you just visit White Sands NM?

    2. I've tried fishing but I just don't like the monotony. I'd rather get in a boat and zoom around the harbor than just sit with my line over the side.

  2. We can retire and do what we want, that has not been the case for humans for most of time...working until you can't has generally been the rule. We are living in a Golden Age.
    Choose wisely....

    1. Yes, I am very fortunate and blessed that I won't have to struggle like my older relatives did.

  3. I heard about a church that gave up their heat for Lent. It was in Ireland. The priest asked everyone at the door what they were giving up. An old spinster walks up, all bundled up and he asks her what she plans to give up. She said, "Church!" and stormed out.

    1. I sometimes joke that I'm giving up being Catholic for Lent

  4. Tuna, I have never quite found the "right" thing to give up - birthdays and celebrations confound the usual "sweets" route, and something like social media is an idea, but it does not allow me to be around for folks as needed.

    As it turns out, I have a meeting with our financial person to update based on the new position. I have run "the numbers" and given my at least my family history, around 67 is the sweet spot for the maximum payout for I can anticipate my life to be, sans all sorts of horrible things which can go wrong (e.g., simply as a linear math problem). That said, the longer I work the less I become enchanted with the whole thing; it is hard to convince me of "urgency" when I have had "urgent projects" happen 30 times in the past.

    The Ravishing Mrs. TB also has a keen interest in travel (and is more of a traveler than I); likely we try to find a balance between her desire to travel often and my desire to stay home often.

    1. It was social media for me this year, and creamer. I've learned to drink black coffee and I can do it all the time now. Habits usually forming in 30 days as it were.

  5. "a perfect run going into Holy Week, but blowing it on Good Friday. I completely forgot about it as I bit into a Mickey D's Sausage & Egg Biscuit while I waited 6 hours for my car to be serviced*. Fortunately it's just a rule and not a law, so no harm no foul."

    Hmmm.....well, I could point out from my days as a Roman Catholic that forgetting it's Great and Holy Friday is a sin.....I could do that.....But, being as Orthodox are in the midst of Lent I shan't. ;-) The first 10 years or so that we were Orthodox we followed the rules of the Lenten Fast strictly, but after Lisa started having health issues we received an οικονόμια from our priest to not follow it as strictly.

    1. Forgetting wouldn't be a sin, but knowing and doing it anyway could be.

    2. Ah! I was brought up that forgetting was a sin. Same for the regular Friday abstaining from meat. You're at the ballpark on Friday (a minor sin in itself), you forget that it's Friday (another sin), and you buy a hotdog (another sin). Early 1960s that was.

  6. I'm still reluctant to stay until the end of the year. That negotiation will begin again, soon. Gaffigan is a really funny guy.

    The vacation looked fun, I'm not much of a traveler, unless it's to some old battlefield, yeah, I'm a riot at parties.

  7. First things to consider before retirement are: Is your car old and needs repairs or replacement? Major household repairs? Get those done before pulling the handle and you'll be mostly okay. It's amazing how much money you spend on work without thinking about it. Just in gas and wear and tear on the vehicle.

    The vacation sounded fun. You definitely vacated at the right time, before it got too hot. Jungle humidity with not a lot of breeze sucks.

    As to 56, congrats and, what, are you the kid here? I mean, we have Methuselah, oops OAFS, and then juvat and then me and then you.


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