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September 2017

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 I really meant to post more frequently than I have. I have found myself wanting to reflect on current events and I really want to share some of my travel experiences. But my most productive writing time seems to be during the day, while I'm at work, and I'm reluctant to wade too deeply into current events at the office, as that path leads into a murky swamp of legal and ethical issues. And I have found it difficult to step away from the experience of traveling to write about it in real time, and then my normal life creeps back in when I get home.

And so I write nothing. I've got an idea for dealing with the travel writing issue. I'm thinking about taking a small note pad with me on the next trip, so I can jot down ideas about what I see and do. Nothing detailed, but just reminders about things that struck me along the way. The idea is to use these notes as starting point for posts about the trip when I get home. We'll see if that works at all.

As for current events, I need to force myself to think about writing in the evenings. Perhaps notes might be helpful here too. Often I'll be inspired by a news article or a conversation, and I'll have a bunch of ideas I'll want to write about.  I might need to get in the habit of recording those ideas as notes, which I can flesh out later in the evening, on my own time and with my own computer.  No promises, but I'll give it a try.

It has been nearly two months since my last post. I've been on two trips in that time, both of which I'd like to write about, at least a little.  We have one more trip scheduled before the end of the year, and have started making plans for next year. We've got three trips at least partially planned, and are considering a fourth.  There's a pretty good chance that we'll add a couple more beyond that as well.

When we made the decision to begin travelling more last year, I was worried about whether I'd be able to get enough time off from work to accommodate what we were contemplating. As it turns out, it hasn't been an issue. Because my work schedule is incredibly flexible, I've been able to schedule a lot of my work hours around my travel, working longer days and/or weekends, so that I haven't needed to use as much leave for our trips. In fact, I've done so well at saving my leave that I'm probably going to carry almost 200 hours over into next year. Which means that the pace of our travel is likely to remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.



Apr. 12th, 2017 07:16 am
resqgeek: (Default)
This is the first post written on this new platform. I have been an on-again-off-again user of LiveJournal since 2004, and was reluctant to leave that platform because I had paid for a lifetime membership. And so even when the first warnings came that suggested that it might be time to consider moving, I continued to post entries there.

However, the when the details of the latest changes to the LJ terms of use were pointed out to me (and, yes, I will admit that I didn't read them myself when they were first posted), I realized that I could no longer continue to use LiveJournal. I don't get enough readers to qualify as a "media outlet" under those new rules, so that wasn't the problem. But the new terms of use require the users to conform to Russian law, which does not protect free speech and the rights of expression. And there are a number of issues that I feel strongly about that could violate Russian law, should I write about them.

So, I have migrated here. My entries (all of those earlier than this one) from LiveJournal have been imported (intact, I hope), and I will move forward from here. I hope that the few readers that I had on LJ will follow and continue to interact with me here.
I love to travel ( be more precise, I enjoy visiting places; the travel in between isn't always my favorite part), and it has long been my plan to travel more extensively after retiring. It is the biggest reason I plan to retire as soon as I am eligito collect my retirement benefits. I enjoy my work well enough, ble but my life is more than my work, and I want to experience more of the world.

Over the last year we've come to realize that we really don't need to wait for retirement to begin to travel more. Our retirement savings are on track to provide a more than adequate lifestyle after work, and a careful analysis of our current financial situation suggested that we had more than enough money left to begin travelling now. And, with our daughter off in college, we really only have to worry about managing our vacation time from work.

And so, we've actively been trying to plan significantly more travel. We began last fall, right after our daughter went off to school. We took a week and drove to Florida, visiting one of my wife's friends and doing some sightseeing that didn't involve theme parks. Then in November, we flew out to LA, in part to some sightseeing but also to visit one of my friends. And, of course, we took our daughter with us for our annual ski trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

And that's just the beginning. We have a number of additional trips either booked or in the planning stages. Over the last few years, I've done a poor job of documenting my travels, but I'm hoping to do a better job going forward. Watch this space to see where we go next...I'm looking forward to seeing some interesting things in the months ahead.

Writers write

Nov. 20th, 2014 09:01 am
resqgeek: (Ambulance)
Looking at my archive, I see that, prior to this week, I've only posted four entries this year.  There are certainly any number of reasons (i.e., excuses) for that, but the truth is that I simply haven't made writing, whether in this venue or elsewhere, a priority in some time now.  But, I'm setting out to change that, or at least make an attempt.

I want to be a writer.  Oh, I write all the time for work, but the nature of that writing, full of techno-speak and legaleze, doesn't really make me a writer, in my opinion.  I want to tell stories, to entertain, to enlighten.  And I don't feel like I've been doing much of that in a long time (if ever).

I keep encountering a bit of wisdom that says that "writers write".  The idea is that a true writer writes as much and as often as he or she can.  Writers *make* time to write, which is something I have not done.  Among other things, I've been reading.  My pile of "to be read" books more closely resembles a mountain, and I keep signing up for new book giveaways from Goodreads.  That looming pile of books intimidates me into spending my free time reading rather than writing.

So, how am I going to change this pattern?  Well, for one thing, I'm going to stop looking for more books to add to the "to be read" pile.  I'm not going to sign up for more Goodreads giveaways, and I'm going to cull my "to be read" pile to get rid of the books that I've lost interest in.  And I'm going to try not to let the pile intimidate me.  The books aren't going anywhere, they can wait until I get to them.  I am going to try to spend at least a little time everyday writing, even if it is just a few minutes.  Some of that writing may show up here, some of it elsewhere, some of it may never leave my documents folder.  But I will write, and I will be a writer.
Last week, a small group of my co-workers and I had lunch with a retired colleague. Before his retirement, he had been our boss, and had been the person primarily responsible for our training in our early days at the Office. It was good to see him, and retirement seems to be treating him well. Listening to him talk about his travel and the other interesting things he's involved in proves that there will be life after work, and I'm looking forward to the day when I can explore those possibilities.

At some point during lunch, he asked me about my writing. He knew that I harbor a secret desire to actually write a book, and that I've made at least one serious effort along those lines. Unfortunately, I've largely set aside that work, and haven't really found the time to pursue it seriously in quite some time. Part of it is a commitment to spend time with my family, and as my daughters got older and involved in more activities, this required more of my time. But my former boss also said something that has been bouncing around my head for the last week. I was talking about the number of books I've read over the last few years, and he said suggested that if I didn't read quite so much, I'd have more time to write.

I enjoy reading, and I don't see myself entirely giving up reading. But there might be something to the idea that I can find time to write by reducing the amount of time I spend reading. Even if it is only temporary, I'd like to spend a little more time writing, even if it takes the form of posts here or on some of my other online forums. I'll have to think about that a little bit more...
I was reading the most recent blog entry from a local paramedic (syndicated here as [ profile] night_runs), and I had to laugh at a description of a recent auto accident they responded to recently. As it was described, the car had gone "Boot over bonnet with a pirouette." I can't think of a more poetic way to describe what had to be a pretty horrific crash. Not only that, it paint a pretty clear picture of what happened. Great piece of wordsmithing, that. Only rarely do I actually succeed in producing such wonderful text, which makes me wonder if I've really got the chops to be a writer. Maybe I should focus on my photography?
Tomorrow a number of my friends will begin their NaNoWriMo challenges. Somehow, I suspect that I won't be hearing as much from them for a few weeks. But that's okay. I'll be cheering them on as they struggle to write 50,000 words by November 30, and I hope that its a great experience for all of them. With any luck, I'll get to read at least some of the efforts. I'm sure they'll need polishing, but I also sure that there will be some interesting stories being told.

Good luck, NaNoWriMo participants!
November is rapidly approaching, and I beginning to see people getting ready to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I'm more than a little jealous of those who are actually making the commitment to write 50K words in 30 days. I would love to try my hand at the challenge, but there simply is no way that I have enough time at this point in my life. Between work, and my responsibilities at home, I don't think I could seriously expect to write more than maybe 10K words in a month (maybe, if I was really lucky). So, as much as I'd like to make my own attempt, I will be participating vicariously through my friends' attempts. Good luck to to all of you!
I haven't been doing as much writing as I'd like lately. I'm trying to figure out where my book needs to go next, without a great deal of success. In the mean time, I feel like I should write something (anything) else, just so I'm still putting thoughts into words. Unfortunately, I've been spending a lot of extra time at the office, and by the time I get home, have dinner and put the girls to bed, I barely have enough energy left to check my e-mail before crashing myself. I've been tempted to block out some time on the weekend to write, but I have so little time with my family already that I really don't want to give up what I have on the weekends, even to write.

My wildest dream would be to somehow become independently wealthy, so I no longer needed to have a full time job to support the family. Then I could write full time, guilt free. A complete fantasy, of course, and not one that inspires constructive problem solving on my part.

In the meantime, I'll continue to write in bits and pieces, as brief opportunities present themselves. Hopefully, they'll add up to some finished work eventually.