Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Catching Up

Our house.  New Roof, New Paint and decorated for Christmas!

I do not have a large following here at RazorSharpInsights, but those that do look in from time to time, might have noticed I have not posted for about 9 months!  There are a variety of reasons that I put my commentaries and pictorials on hold, but for the most part I have just been busy and preoccupied.

This year brought with it...a number of  choices, challenges and chores.  To say it has been the busiest year in recent memory would be an understatement!  I have decided to use some photos and captions, to quickly "catch you up" with what has been happening in my life!

My last Post was in March of this year.

In April, I took a few photos in and around Tacoma.  The purpose was larger than the posting of these three pics, but that is something to be discussed/Posted at a later date!

The first photo is of the Lighthouse at Browns Point.  The photo below it was taken from the Tacoma waterfront at sunset.  And the third photo was taken in Tacoma's Wapato Park.

In May, I tried my hand at taking a panoramic photo of Seattle from across Elliot Bay

Our daughter graduated from Clover Park Technical College in June!  Congratulations!

July brought with it the traditional, neighborhood fireworks, a closeup of a Dragonfly escaping the disorienting noise and flashes of July 4th, and our dog Bella, during an outing to the Dog Park!

About this time, I made a decision to retire this year. Those that know me, likely appreciate and understand my reasons.  I also scheduled a very long overdue Knee Replacement for September.  This would allow me to finish and enjoy a little vacation before being laid up for a couple months...and the recovery would take me into November, when I would retire. 

August saw me taking some vacation time!  I needed to get some chores accomplished and I had some planning to do.  The house needed some siding replaced, a new roof, windows repaired, some appliances replaced, new paint...the house would be 19 years old, and I wanted it prepared for retirement as well!!

I wanted to get a solid, 2nd car before retirement, as we were still driving our 15 year old Isuzu Rodeo!  I also wanted my wife to have a dependable and very nice car to do her "running around" in.  Since I had become very familiar with the E46 BMW's (1999-2005 3 Series) quirks and positives after maintaining my daughters E46... an "Orient Blue",  BMW 330i it is!  A set of wheels, a cooling system overhaul and some replacement pulleys and she was ready to go!

I took some time to attend the Air Show at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and snapped off a few photos from outside the Base. Represented below: Current, WWII and Korean War era aircraft.  See if you know what they are!!!  (No quiz...but fun) 

I would obtain a new "Portrait Lens" for my DSLR later in the month and I took an opportunity to use our grandson Landon as a test subject as he was walking towards me in the sunset lit garage!!  Below him, an unsuspecting Hummingbird.


I also bought a new Wide Angle lens for my DSLR...yes, it was a shopping spree!!!  First test subject????  The State Capitol Building at night!

September came quickly.  I squeezed in a camping trip with Sandi and Landon, to the Oregon Coast.  We enjoyed the beach, a visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, a day trip to Depot Bay where we saw plenty of whales, and even a late night stroll on Pacific Beach!

Sandi and I repaired and painted an old, oak bench I had given her for Mothers Day years ago.  It went from old fashioned to WOW!!!

Then there was surgery.  September 13th crept up quickly on me, as much as I tried not to think about it.  I have had a couple of "knee surgeries", but a complete knee replacement?!!  I was a bit apprehensive, but the day came and off I the wee hours of the morning to get it done.  Before I knew it, I was out of surgery and in a bit of a daze.  I looked down...yep, my leg was still there!  Seems it had went well.  From here out it would be an uncomfortable 4 weeks, (made bearable due to Sandi's efforts) then a couple months of some uncomfortable Physical Therapy.  Oh well.

October.  Halloween!!  We did a little pumpkin carving to help decorate the house for Trick or Treater's!

November 1st, I retired from my most recent profession. I say this because "retirement" is often associated with not working ever again!!  This will not be the case with me, though I am still not sure what I "want to do when I grow up".

I was ready to begin some light workouts to strengthen my new knee. When I plugged in/got on my trusty recumbent bike that I had so faithfully used over the past two years, it completely malfunctioned!  The screen blinked wildly, the speaker screeched out some strange sounding "beeps"....and after some investigating, I realized that the computer board was kaput.  I learned that it would not be cost effective to repair the bike, sooooooo off to the store I went!  I ended up buying a higher quality bike and had it setup in no time!  Gentle workouts commenced that day.

In December, Sandi, Veronica, Jesse (Friend from work) and I, traveled to Chicago to attend my Niece Erin's (and Tim's) wedding.  It was a beautiful ceremony and reception and it allowed me to reconnect with family in Chicago. (and everyone else that came!)  While we were only there for about 28 hours, we were glad we had made the trip!

From Chicago, we headed home to Michigan and took a few days to enjoy visiting with my brothers/sisters and my Dad and his wife.  I made sure that Jesse was able to experience some of the places I knew growing up, and gave him a brief tour of the area.  We visited my old neighborhoods to include the schools and church I grew up attending. St Lawrence Church is pictured below.

We also visited downtown include Hart Plaza, (note the sculpture of Joe Louis' fist)  the Detroit River, (across from which is Windsor, Ontario) the Maritime Sailors Cathedral, (yes, the one Gordon Lightfoot mentions in the song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald) Greek Town, Yates Cider Mill and we toured Hitsville USA, the birthplace of MOTOWN!

 I think Sandi, Veronica and Jesse understood my love of the "MoTown Sound" a little better, after standing/singing (we sang "My Girl" in Studio A) in the same house...the same studio...that Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, Diana Ross and the Supremes and so many other talented singers and songwriters had stood, sang and recorded some of the best music ever produced!.  There is NO music like the music that came out of that small house on West Grand Blvd., Detroit!

We took a short trip/detour to the 8 Mile and Woodward area of Detroit.  An area that has felt the sting of the failed economy of Detroit.  We drove past street after street of vacant, vandalized and burned out houses.  There were also plenty of large manufacturing buildings and auto plants that stood vacant and destroyed.  It was sad to see.

Before we knew it,  it was time to fly back home and start preparing for the Holidays.  We took off and flew west into a beautiful sunset....hours later we were back in Seattle/Tacoma.

Thanksgiving came and went and before we knew it, Christmas was upon us!  We decided to get a large, 10 ft tall tree this year.  We wanted our tree to symbolize the great thankfulness and joy we felt this year.  It was a very busy, sometimes anxious...most times happy and grateful kind of year for me.  

So there you have it!  I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year and I look forward to the adventures next year will bring!

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