Remembering Santorini

I stayed for almost two months in a villa in Oia (Ia) on Santorini many years ago, and for some reason, I’ve found myself thinking about it a lot.

These photos aren’t mine, I found them on one of the free photo sites. Mine are in a box somewhere. (This is the trouble with slides -transparencies-, they take up physical space and need to be stored.)
white houses and windmills in Oia on Santorini

They hadn’t built the cable cars when I was there.

So if you came by ship, these donkeys were the easiest way to climb the 600+/- steps to Fira.

When I was there the steps were slippery, even when they were dry and I’m told they still are. So watch your step and keep an eye peeled for donkey shit and piss.

As you can see from the pictures Santorini is a beautiful place, but it’s arid and what running water there is comes from a desalination plant. So don’t plan on cooking with it.

The villa I stayed in had a cistern, but in June, July, and August they get less than an inch of rain. So any plants you see rely on the morning dew.

Speaking of water, things sure have changed since I was there, I’ve been told that there’s now a water park out on one end of the island.

My two-month stay was fun, but I was young and easily amused. Wine, ouzo, and naked women were the order of the day. Now staying drunk for days on end is more than I can handle. On the other hand, I could use a young naked woman in my life.

The bottom line is, everybody should make the trip at least once. But I don’t suggest staying for months because you can only stare at just so many beautiful sunsets before you go island happy.

Grocery Shopping Sticker Shock

I went grocery shopping this morning after a two-week abstention.

What makes today different, is that I was watching prices. Being a single guy, sales, coupons and everyday grocery pricing has always been some kind of exotic foreign language.

This is what I found in Albertson’s today, Hatch enchilada sauce is a clearance item at $1.60 ea.
hatch enchilada sauce
This means I was paying almost $4 a can and never noticed.

Eggs were .99 for eighteen I bought one, and one of the girls told me that I should have bought more. But I’m only feeding one person. So how many eggs can one person eat? And how long do they keep?

I suppose that canned goods last long enough that I should go back tomorrow and buy whatever’s left of the hatch green sauce.

Because I’ve never worried about price and I can no longer afford to waste money, I went online and found several ads, now I need to make a list with each store as a separate listing.

What it comes down to is that, as much as I hate to admit it, I need to learn how to plan meals, and shop accordingly. I never used to hate shopping but I’m beginning to.

So guys, you should listen to your wife and learn how to shop, just in case. But, whatever you do, don’t let her catch you or she’ll expect you to not only do some of the grocery shopping, she’ll expect you to only buy what she wants, but not to buy and random extras.
—Which begs the question, how do you shop without grabbing something extra, just because it tastes good?

This whole retirement thing is turning into an education with steep learning curve.

Cleaning Up After 40 Years

I’m cleaning up after myself.

I’m almost 66 and for the first 20 odd years, I wasn’t stationary long enough to accumulate much shit junk and crap. But by my mid-twenties I found myself hanging on to all the “good stuff” I inherited.

Even without a permanent residence, I found I could store “important” things with my parents, my friends, or in self-storage. Now I have about 1500 sq ft of storage, my friends call it a house, but all I use is one bedroom, a bathroom, the kitchen, and an office. The rest is just a place to store shit.

Because the few friends I have are comfortable enough to just kick the shit off the chair the system has been working pretty well, but now I seem to have developed the need to make the place more livable.

Talk about easier said than done. I opened the closet I use as a pantry and found stuff that I’d had for so long, that it’s probably older than you are.

I’ve been finding things like carpet shampoo when I haven’t had a carpet in over 20 years. And how about a big bottle of wood cleaner? It’s a shame that the only wood in my house is Formica.

Heck, I’ve got three crock pots; who needs three crock-pots?

The 2 or 3-quart unit that I paid ten bucks for at Walmart, is prone to burning the food if there isn’t enough liquid. Then there’s the one with the cracked plastic lid. It’s that lovely avocado green that was so popular in the seventies, and the one my grandmother bought, probably in the nineties, is ceramic with a heavy pyrex lid.

An odd thing about that last unit is that over the years it’s developed a unique beefy aroma. Fortunately, it doesn’t affect the taste of the food.

It’s definitely time to clean house.

I was up til 1 am. this morning sorting and tossing tons of old paperwork. One of the boxes even contained all the receipts from my machine shop.

I thought about it, but couldn’t for the life of me figure out what could possibly be so important that I needed to save a bunch of paper from the early eighties. Oh well, maybe the trash guys can figure it out.

I’ve also been cleaning up my websites. I’ve sent emails to the sites I admin asking permission to fix or delete broken links and to dump a lot of useless crap, and gotten responses from 3 people thanking me because they keep forgetting to do it themselves.

I’ve also deleted something like 45 posts from this site alone and moved my food articles over the “The Smoking Pan.

I’ve used The Smoking Pan domain before, but I didn’t keep up with it. Now that I’m planning on having time on my hands maybe, I’ll finally get all those recipes my mother, grandmother, and the one grandfather scribbled on the first available scrap of paper into a legible form.

And here I’ve been worried about what to do with all my free time.

Maybe I’ll even start posting pictures of my current mess to give myself the incentive to work harder at it.

Life Changes, Whether We Want It To Or Not

Things are changing rapidly, so here’s where I’m at.

I’m forcing myself to adapt, but not without kicking and screaming like a 5 year old in full tantrum.

Currently I work 4 days and get 3 days off -cool, no? But this last few days I find myself sitting at home, staring at the walls, wondering how in the hell I’m going to cope with 7 days off and no money.

So I started a new blog, The Smoking Pan, for recipes and maybe a little food photography. Lord knows I’ve got enough lights, props, and lenses to setup a small studio, so I might as well use some of it.

I’ve also started house cleaning in earnest, and I’m sure I’m going to receive hate mail from the garbage collectors, because I’ve got tons of shit junk and crap that I never got around to doing anything with. Now all those things I was going to fix are cheaper to replace than repair. And the stuff I saved because I might need it some day is getting under foot.

I’m also going to dump a lot of posts from RCNevada. (this blog). Maybe this will allow me to get organized, probably not, but it’s worth a try. And all those whiny posts are starting to annoy me beyond what I’m willing to tolerate.

I know I need to get out of the house or I’ll wind up one of those cranky old hermits who forgets to bath and goes around talking to himself. So, I bought a pair of very light weight hiking boots and plan on forcing myself to get my happy ass out and about.
propet hinking boot
These are a pair of Propet Ridge Walker Hiking Boots.

They run narrow so I went from a 4e to a 5e and so far they don’t feel too bad. Of course today is the first day I’ve worn them so I won’t know for sure until late tomorrow. You’ve got to find out what happens when your feet swell, and trust me, they will. Especially when you’re hiking.

So here’s the plan: I force myself to get up early and get out and get back home before the temperature hits shake and bake. Then when I get back I start painting the bathrooms, and so on.

In the meantime a friend just offered me a job watching surveillance video, which sounds about as much fun as watching paint dry. But, it’s money in my pocket and someplace to go so I’m thinking about it.

Life goes on.

Elvis Lives, If Only at Walmart

Elvis lives, at the Walmart superstore on Nellis and Boulder, Hwy. in Las Vegas. Because it’s the local training center for Walmart managers, every so often they have a graduation celebration.

This is how they party at Walmart.
Elvis, Walmart, and Showgirls

They also had an Elvis impersonator, but the eye-candy was a hell of a lot more interesting.

I didn’t see an open bar so I guess the best these FNGs could hope for was some decent cake and a short party. I mean, just how much Elvis can you sit through while remaining sober?

With Elvis the pelvis falling out of favor everywhere but wedding chapels, I bet the impersonator was glad to get the gig.

Just to remind you that Elvis will be around for a while, here’s a picture I took at a local gas station.
Elvis and his pink Chevy
I love that pink –not my favorite color, but still cool– Chevy. It’d look even cooler without all those teddy bears in the back window.