Tag Archives: Felicia

The 7 year itch and the countdown to retirement…

It’s been 7 mostly good years years in North Carolina but there have been some &*%#$ stinkers, too. Ellen and Reid have seen the trail of letters that paint the larger Southern picture.


August 12, 2013

Ellen/Reid: I’ve about had it with humidity. Heat, not so bad, but feeling drenched all the time, not so good. It’s just the dog days down here. Yesterday when we played golf, I was soaked by the second hole and it didn’t improve from there. But the forecasters predict cooler temps ahead yet they completely, and conveniently, omit any mention of insidious humidity. It’s just the price you pay for choosing to live in these parts. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The longer I'm down here, maybe I am beginning to show some 'neck tendencies.

The longer I’m down here, maybe I am beginning to show some ‘neck tendencies.

Reid, I hope you’re keeping track of the airline changes on your ticket to Savannah. I’ve not really taken a close look, probably a shift in flight number or such, but you’ll need to follow that. How do you opt to follow flight changes on your phone? I just want you to keep getting in early enough so we can spend some hours together before Emma’s entourage blows into Hilton Head.

This retirement thing keeps rearing its head. I had a chat with my good friend Ann who was a big-time exec with the bank, and she thinks it’s doable for a variety of reasons. I think back a couple of years after that hospitalization/surgery scare when the doctor said he didn’t think it did my long term prospects any favor. What I may do is poke around about part time writing at the bank that may allow me to keep my benefits but let me get on with other things. There’s a book in me somewhere but it doesn’t know how to get out. I’d like to teach a little more. Your more pragmatic uncle may toss buckets of cold water on such thinking for loss-of-salary reasons but it’s worth an exploratory conversation or two.

The now-deemed-illegal tomato plant vilified by the HOA garden Nazis continues to Continue reading



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The intellectual side of Reid in Seattle…

Turns out we missed Reid in Seattle by a matter of a scant few days. His visit was a little more eclectic than ours.


Reid at the EMP Museum in Seattle. He's always had a curious and intellectual side to him.  We may not have seen that in his formative years, but we see it now. (Photo: Chase Turner)

Reid at the EMP Museum in Seattle. He’s always had a curious and intellectual side to him. We may not have seen that in his formative years, but we see it now. He was in the NW for a Phish concert with buddies but he took in the cultural portion of the Emerald City, too. (Photo: Chase Turner)

August 5, 2013

Ellen/Reid: Well, you can kiss the greenbelt behind the house goodbye. We got a note from the city zoning department notifying us and other homeowners within 300 feet of the project that the 5.5 acres that is now bordered in solid greenery is being developed into what appear to me to be mega-mansions. It’s quite the downer. Felicia worries about what will happen to the deer we see grazing on our shrubbery, the resident hawk that watches from our pines, and the frogs that relentlessly croak in the uncovered stream right behind us. It’s depressing to think of the canopy going away. More of man’s incursion into the natural world, but I suppose the folks said the same when my neighborhood was developed 20 years ago or so. The only question is where is the lot line for the new development. From the plat they circulated, it might be 50 feet away from the creek, so perhaps not all the greenery will be lost. I’ve called the city about it, but as you would expect, no response thus far. The guy who owns the property is named Phillips, and I see him on a lot of my Saturday and Sunday walks since he’s up early in the morning walking his little dog. I mentioned the sale to him yesterday, and he said his tax bill was $22,000/year which was a little steep for a retiree. I couldn’t grind on him because it’s just the way things go. Let’s hope they don’t scour the land down to the nubbins or at least to the creek. It would be nice to keep some vestige of green.

Played golf three times this weekend and had the same score each time – 82. It could be so much lower but my golf psyche just won’t allow it. My swing is making baby steps toward improvement but isn’t all the way there, yet.

Washington and Oregon seem ages ago. Seems like we were just boarding the plane to head West. I don’t typically buy lottery tickets but perhaps now is the time to try my luck. If I win, you both win.

This starts the third week of working out at the gym. Feeling a tiny bit of improvement although the damned scale has yet to provide independent verification of progress. Maybe it needs to be replaced with a more user-friendly model. Ellen, I did get the coconut oil and will try it this week although it doesn’t sound particularly appetizing to me. I didn’t even know they could extract oil out Continue reading

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Keeping pace with Emma…

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; Ellen will hit the bricks for a half marathon in the fall. A big chunk of her training, it would seem, is trying to keep pace with Emma.


July 1, 2013

Ellen/Reid: I’m getting too old, or maybe too out of shape, to walk golf courses anymore. It was really hot Saturday and while I tried to stay hydrated for every ounce of fluid ingested another two ounces exited through my pores. By the time I got home I was just exhausted. Felicia finds it frustrating because she’s ready to go and I’m becoming one with the couch. But at least the stroll is better than not working out at all. A buddy of mine and I walked Sunday, too, but after nine holes we gave it up in stifling humidity and surrendered to the luxury of a cart. Good thing, too: the skies opened up with a few holes to go and there was enough lightning to power a city.

Well, Reid, the mighty Black Hawks pulled it out in near miraculous style. Incredible. The paper the next day showed revelers on West Division Street which couldn’t have been much more than a stones throw from Liz and you. Hockey is such a good, fast moving, fun game to watch. Hard to figure why more people don’t enjoy it. The NFL is far too pokey; waaaay too many stoppages for replays and the like. That’s what’s wrong with democracy in U.S. sport. We have to adjudicate too many things because the technology exists to make sure someone’s toes were in bounds or someone didn’t hedge at the line of scrimmage. That’s way too stupid. Plus, as we’re finding out the hard way, lots of players are just thugs. No getting around it.

Here’s hoping Cass Lake was good all the way around.

Cass Lake, MN is a lake country nirvana for little Emma, as it was for her mother and uncle before her.

Star Island at Cass Lake, MN is a lake country nirvana for little Emma, as it was for her mother and uncle before her.

The three things I’ll always remember about that place are the bats, fishing with Bill Hines, and the squadrons of three inch mosquitoes (at least they felt that big). In two weeks we’ll be out on the West Coast, hopefully cruising along in good weather. Confirmed the Harley rental with the dealer in Continue reading

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A dad’s irritation and black coffee…


June 24, 2013

Ellen/Reid: I am still irritated at leaving Chicago early. That was just plain stupid, trying to get an earlier flight. Even if American Airlines, the dolts, had relented and let me on it still felt wrong on a bunch of levels. I could’ve taken you and Liz to brunch, Reid, and still had plenty of time to spare. It’s just so aggravating to

Reid on the stoop of his Chicago apartment early on a Saturday morning. He seems in a good place.

Reid polishing off a danish on the stoop of his Chicago apartment early on a Saturday morning. He seems in a good place.

act like that. That won’t happen again. I know I was plenty anxious about today but there’s still no excuse. Reid, I was so impressed with how you and Liz have done your place. It’s just awfully nice. And incredibly spacious.

I didn’t sleep very well last night, tossing and turning about today’s examination. You two will be the first to know (after Felicia) and by the time you get this the results should be in. So we’ll just keep our collective fingers crossed. We’ll know, too, about the Blackhawks. That was fun watching the game. I didn’t realize you guys were so into hockey. Who would have known?

The morning got off slowly at work. Not even the black coffee was able to shake things up this a.m. Maybe it’s just one of those days.

For the third time United has changed our flight plans to Seattle. This is getting old. In three weeks we’ll be there and you guys will have been to Cass Lake and back in that time. You should have a lot of fun up there. Emma is old enough to sort of get the drift of things up there. A new generation attaches itself to Northern Minnesota.

Felicia harvested our first tomatoes of the season from the front stoop and they have been pronounced edible. I got one bite and it was pretty good. Reid, you ought to stuff some herbs for cooking in those boxes at the top of the stairs. A little basil, some oregano, cilantro, chives, et al. That would be a nice little garden. Whatever you’d plunk into the dirt would need plenty of water since the boxes are facing south but that’s okay. Nothing wrong with some common herbs. I should ship you some cuttings from the oregano here since I brought it back from your grandmother’s garden. That would be a good way to keep that legacy going.

Little fledged cardinals continue to troop to the feeder. I worry they won’t know how to feed themselves in the wild if we pull the plug on the sunflower seed. But we enjoy them flocking to the second floor and it makes them a little safer from the marauding feral cats that I see slunking around here on a daily basis. I never should have sold your grandfather’s .22. My BB gun is just enough to catch their attention although I’ve never sent any ammo their way.

My church newsletter was done just in time before boarding the flight to Chicago. But it’s a beast that needs to be fed all the time. I’ll have to crank out another one before heading to Seattle. It just never goes away but such are the wages of sin. I’m trying to get a little more inventive and creative on the graphic design but you guys will have to be the judge. It’s still outside my comfort zone.

Alright, enough already. Take the sunscreen and Coolibar clothing with you to Cass Lake. Reid, I hope you catch fish, and Ellen, I hope you catch Emma. She’ll be trying to scoot away all the time.

Love, dad

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Of all the stinking mornings to not sleep in…

This letter alludes to a trip to Chicago to see Reid. That trip has come and gone. Look for coverage in the letter posted next week.


June 17, 2013

Ellen/Reid: Of all the stinking mornings I could have slept in – not just stayed in bed but actually slept – it would have been this morning. Drives me nuts. There are no mornings, Saturday and Sunday included, where I’m not up-and-at-‘em at the crack of dawn, literally watching the clock at 5:33 or 5:49 and then up like a shot at 6 a.m. to make coffee. It’s awful.

Reid at the door of his new digs with Liz in Chicago. Nice place for a young couple. It's got more square footage than where his old man lives.

Reid at the door of his new digs he shares with Liz in Chicago. Nice place for a young couple. It’s got more square footage than where his old man lives.

They continue with the layoffs down here. A good friend of mine got let go, and he’s having to pull up roots and head toward Maryland for his next job. He’s a great, competent guy – and just like that he’s gone. This was where he wanted to live, he and his wife had a nice house in a good neighborhood and that’s all gone away. We played one final round of golf together on Saturday and he gave me the skinny Continue reading


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Birds in flight…

Unashamedly, I’ll continue to try to foist environmental issues on Ellen and Reid. Same as my dad did to me; I just hope the lessons sink in a little quicker than they did with their old man.


May 21, 2013

Ellen/Reid: The little blue birds are testing their wings for flight. I could see them flitting around in their nesting box this morning. Their maiden voyage can’t be but a few days away. I wish I would have put a small dowel just below the entrance hole as a safety net of sorts since the nearest limb would be a 3 – 4 yard stretch for a little one. The parent birds are flying themselves ragged

The blue birds are gone. We didn't get to see their grand entrance, but we wish the fledglings well.

The blue birds are gone. We didn’t get to see their grand entrance into their brave new world, but we wish the fledglings well.

trying to feed however many voracious nestlings are in the box. I hope I get to see them as they try to fly for the first time. It makes putting up the nest worthwhile if it contributes a bird or two to the population. We placed a second box about 40 yards away but it doesn’t have any activity.

It looks as if I’m going to retire at 65. There’s no particular rhyme or reason to it, it just feels right. The health scare a couple of years ago figures into it a bit – live now while you can. A friend of mine was saying last week that the average life span of men is about 78 years. We can do that math. I want to spend time writing and blogging and riding the bike, golfing if I must, and, of course, seeing you two dweebs a lot more. There would be nothing wrong with working 20 hours a week at a store or golf shop to fill some idle time. I have to talk to John about the specifics but that’s sort of where things rest at this point. Your uncle seems on board with it although Continue reading

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The green belt as a nice backdrop…

I can’t count the times these letters have touched on or skirted environmental points over the years. It’s an important touch-point for me and one of the few hot button issues that I consistently push.


March 11, 2013

Ellen/Reid: The trees out back are beginning to bud, a sure sign that before long we will be completely shut off from view of the units 75-100 yards away. Felicia nosed around at some other single floor condos and she couldn’t find any that had the appeal of ours. The green belt is a nice backdrop, and I suspect that of all the units here, we have the best in that respect. What

The green belt is safe refuge from marauding feral cats for the birds that visit our window feeder. We have a room with a view - and it's all green.

The green belt is safe refuge from marauding feral cats for the birds that visit our window feeder. We have a room with a view – and it’s all green.

we don’t have is the warmest unit around. That’s what got us looking around at potentials. Heat rises, and it rises quickly up and out of the room where we want to stay warmest. The fireplace has been on almost non-stop and Felicia vegs in front of it most evenings while I stay Continue reading

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