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01 February 2015 @ 12:20 pm
It's been almost two years since I wrote here, and well over two years since I wrote regularly or wrote on my blog. I used Facebook just a little in the past two years, not enough to describe most of the events during that time. As for Facebook, I dislike the structure centered around the newsfeed and "friends" more than ever, for many reasons. I also hate the fact that Facebook can and does change anything they want about your information and it's presentation whenever they want. The timeline is a good feature, though, but I doubt if I will use it much because I have so much more control over this journal and my blog. For those that use Facebook, I like checking their timelines. But I hate the newsfeed and don't use it.

I sense that I will probably be writing here and on my blog regularly again. I think I feel the urge again because my life is good and simple and stress-free now. So writing is a pleasant exercise that is good for my mental health now rather than some kind of task that makes me tired.

Journal-type writing for me, I've recently decided, is like my other mental pleasures -maps and exploring. Time is like a road that I am mapping as I record events along it. I've discovered that I love reading memoirs and autobiographies. It makes sense that if I love reading the maps of others' roads through time, I would enjoy extending my own.

So let's extend it now into this new year 2015...

I must begin with Dad. -He was central to my life during the time this journal was dormant. Then, six months ago, on July 28th, he died, at age 85.

Obviously there is a lot of emotion I could express about this, but that would be for my blog instead of this journal.

Here I will just say that we noticed a decline in late Summer 2012, then in Spring, 2013 he asked my brother Ed to come back from Florida to take care of him. Ed did this until the end. Dad's final decline began last March (2014), when he fell and broke his foot, and he got pneumonia. The operations and treatments for these combined with his contempt for the therapies required to recover caused him to worsen each week until the end.

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In the Spring of 2013, a small, affordable, non-hybrid car was on the market in the US for the first time since Chevy stopped selling (Geo) Metros in 1998. (Smart cars don't count -they are over-priced jokes.) The timing was good, because the engine failed in my Metro on Easter. I bought the new 2013 Chevy Spark as a replacement.




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When I got back to Dayton from Florida in Spring, 2013, I realized the finances were again in a dangerous state at my condo. (I had become treasurer the first time this happened in early 2009 and turned things around by 2010 then left the treasury to others.) This time in 2013 things were even worse. I took back control of the treasury because it was a dire emergency. I told the other owners I thought this time it was too late and that I expected we would have no money very soon because eight of the fifteen units had not been paying condo fees. I warned that all our utilitities and insurance were about to go unpaid and that as a result the city would probably declare the building unsafe and evict everyone.



The only reason all this did not come to pass was because Jim, who lives next door to our building, and who is president of our historic district, was interested in buying delinquent units. Also FINALLY all the owners were paying attention to the warnings this time and the deadbeats knew they'd better sell to Jim at bottom dollar or lose everything.

I sold my unit to Jim in July, 2013 because I wanted out of the nightmare no matter what even though I had paid all my condo fees since I moved there in 2007. I still love that place as much as ever though, so I now am a renter to Jim.

Jim got lots of control over the fate of the building when he bought two more units just after he bought mine. This gave him the voting rights to steer things from the brink, because we had three other owners working with him toward common goals. And I stayed as treasurer even though I am not an owner now. I am still the treasurer.

The now active board doubled the condo fee for 2014. Over the year, we succeeded in getting two more units into new ownership of persons who will not be deadbeats. And, by the end of 2014 we had two more units headed toward ownership change. The treasury is now sound, and I enjoy working on it because I have the free time and I am now working with cooperative people. We have been and will continue to be busy with some major repairs though. I think we will accomplish them over the next few years.

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When I was here in Florida a year ago, I was enjoying the improved Sunbarge II, but I began feeling interested again in exploring some more. It was my fourth winter down here staying on the boat. I had begun to limit my range to the mile or so of river adjacent to my waterfront acre and North Shell marina around the bend.



I began planning some adventures further out on the Saint Johns River, but then I thought, "What about the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway just 25 miles away? Isn't it about time I learn more about what's over there?"

I knew all the marinas over there were three times as expensive as those on the Saint Johns River and tributaries. But then I found Marker 57 marina, along scenic Riverside Drive in Edgewater just south of New Smyrna. -I could rent a boat slip there for just $50 per month!



I quickly realized this was cheap because Marker 57 has no breakwater between it and the heavy Intracoastal boat traffic. Even when all the big yachts going by obey the speed limits, which is rarely, they still create a brutal wake. But in February, 2014, I began renting a slip anyway, because when I went out in my Porta-bote, I became captivated by the New Smyrna waterfront, the Canaveral National Seashore, and all the little islands of Mosquito Lagoon.



I found a 17' vintage all-aluminum runabout which was just a bare hull so it only cost a few hundred dollars. I put some plywood in as a floor and managed to hook my little Honda outboard to the linkage so I could use the steering wheel in the front. I thought this boat was tough enough to keep in the slip exposed to the Intracoastal traffic. After a few wonderful trips out in March, I reluctantly covered and tied and secured the boat as much as possible and left it there when I returned to Ohio in April, 2014.

I worried about it all Spring and Summer, but I was pre-occupied with Dad as I said. Then, just a few days before he died in late July, an F-1 tornado passed the marina.



I flew down in August. The tarps were shredded and the hull was filled with rainwater as a result but I was able to bail it out. But the things in the boat were exposed and my new expensive trolling motor was stolen.

But big changes had happened by then (August) compared to late February when I first put my boat at Marker 57...

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Since I sold my condo to Jim in July, 2013 and was now renting it, I was evaluating new ideas related to real estate. Now was the time to be interested. -Dayton was ranked the city with the most affordable house prices in America. And in both Dayton and Florida, house prices had reached the bottom after the long descent from about 2006 at the height of the bubble. In Dayton, downtown residential was hot even though the metro area economy is still declining. I decided that two tiny areas downtown especially interested me as attractive, underpriced, and ready to appreciate. I began watching the internet in early 2014 for homes for sale in these two spots. In late March, when I flew from Florida to Dayton for a week to see Dad after his injury and to handle some other urgent business, I found that my favorite house in the one area was for sale by owner on Craigslist. I signed a contract before I returned to Florida. When I came back to Ohio for the whole summer in April, I completed the sale. I bought the house at 611 Gruner for $20,000.



I could always live there if I wanted because I loved the location across from the bike trails and river and as close to the center of downtown as my condo about 3 blocks away. But there was a reliable family living there as tenants paying rent double what I am paying for my studio condo. So I have been continuing to rent the house for profit and hoping the tenants do well and stay. In June I built a privacy fence so they would have a nice backyard. So far this house continues to look like a good investment.

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After I bought that house in Dayton in April, 2014, I didn't lose my interest in possible bargains appearing on the market in Florida. As in Dayton, I knew exactly which small areas I was interested in. (I had just spent my fourth winter in Deland and knew it was my favorite town in Florida and I knew where and at what price a house could be found that would make me give up living on the water down here.)

To make a long story short, I will say that I found such a house in May, at 313 Albany Avenue in Deland, for $24,900.



In June I was the owner. I bought this foreclosure from Freddie Mac. The owner who had bought it in 2005 in the housing bubble had paid $90,000!

I worried somewhat throughout the summer though, because I bought the cute little bungalow on a half acre without actually flying back down here to Florida to see it! I depended on realtor photos, Google Streetview, and my knowledge of the neighborhood to convince me it was a good deal. Then, when I flew down in August as I said to deal with the tornado damage to my boat over at New Smyrna/Edgewater, I was delighted to see that the house is nicer than I ever expected! I returned to Dayton relaxed, and prepared to come down here for the winter about October 1st. I actually arrived October 3rd, almost four months ago, and right now I love this little house more than ever.

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Before I go on, I want to talk about another thing that made all of this work out...I mentioned flying between Florida and Dayton twice last year -in March and then in August. This was so easy because of an amazing new airline called Allegiant. They have a niche market that they focus on in high volume, so the fares are remarkably cheap, and the flights are all non-stop. They focus strictly on linking smaller airports throughout the north to smaller airports in Florida. This is ideal for me. The airports I use are Sanford here in Florida and Rickenbacker in Columbus in Ohio. The flights are only an hour and twenty minutes and as cheap as $123 round trip! Parking at Rickenbacker is only $5 per night. Sanford is only about 23 miles from this house in Deland, and I can get there by walking to downtown Deland, then taking the bus to the Sunrail train (Orlando's new light rail system that began in May). If it weren't for Allegiant, flights between here and Ohio would be via the gigantic Orlando International Airport, about 60 miles away, the other side of Orlando, which has some of the worst traffic congestion in the US.

...The good news was this house, and thank god, because my boats had a lot of bad fortune in 2014, and the tornado at Edgewater was just one of the misfortunes...

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When I got here October 3rd, I discovered that my houseboat Sunbarge 2, tied up at my riverfront acre, suffered the fate I always feared, sometime over the summer. -It was pilfered aggressively by thieves. Fortunately the boat itself was not damaged except the deck...The scumbags actually sawed it up trying to steal the electric motor bolted firmly to it. Thank god so much of the stuff on the boat was old and wearing out after four years although the boat itself was just renovated. My solar panels and batteries were near the end of their life anyway.

And the tornado in July that ravaged my runabout over at Edgewater on the coast was outdone by a storm November 10th. -This one actually SANK the boat!

I was shocked when I got the call the next morning from the marina, because I had made the stupid mistake again of thinking they got the same weather we got here in Deland about twenty miles inland. No! They did not get just the 1/2 inch or so we got, they got about 5 inches! I had emptied the boat in October and left an automatic bilge pump to deal with rainwater because it was uncovered. But all that water remained because the pump failed and then the wind picked up about midnight churning up waves. Finally, another huge yacht passing at illegal speed produced the wave that sunk the boat.

Only two of the five ropes had not broken. On the sunny morning of the 11th after I rushed to the marina after the phone call I knew I had to raise the shipwreck before I could do anything. Fortunately the boat was completely empty and weighed only a few hundred pounds because it was all aluminum. The tide was dropping so the depth would be only about two feet deep soon. All I needed to do was get the top lip all around above the surface so that bailing would be effective.

I was in luck! -The anchor winch with 50 feet of rope was the key. -I was able to thread the rope through the big eyelets in the marina piers and then through the handles on the boat. When I began cranking the winch the boat began to lift. I reached the magic level where the whole upper lip was above the surface and then I began bailing with a huge bucket. It took about an hour of this and my body was so tired when I finally had a dry boat again that I probably could not have continued much longer otherwise.

I knew this was the end, after almost nine months, of this boat being kept in a slip at Marker 57 Marina. I got on Craigslist and began searching for a trailer for sale within about fifteen miles. I found one I could buy immediately about 12 miles south, in Oak Hill. But I had nothing to pull the trailer with so I had to find a rental truck with a hitch. I had to go north to Daytona Beach to get this. But by sundown on November 11th, 2014, the boat just raised from the bottom a few hours before was on the trailer in the Marker 57 lot, and the truck was returned to U-Haul in Daytona just before they closed.

A nice trailer business is just down the street from Marker 57. They helped me get the rusty trailer which was almost unsalvageable rebuilt so that it would be roadworthy between the marina and my house here in Deland. They also installed a hitch on my little Chevy Spark. It's got a removable drawbar. Nothing sticks out from my bumper when the drawbar is off.

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So, here is the situation now...

The 17' aluminum runabout is now at the top of my driveway here at 313 Albany in Deland, elevated so I keep my 10' Porta-bote under it. The little trailer fits between these and my little Chevy Spark in the carport.



Over at the river on the other side of Deland my Sunbarge 2 houseboat is completely empty with the electric motor safely here in my storage room at the house. It is tied to my land and for the time being it is like a patio or gazebo I will visit on nice days because I put a little wicker chair and wicker table I found at the thrift store in the screened porch.



I will visit Sunbarge 2 by tossing my Porta-bote on the little trailer and driving across town to the little ramp at North Shell about 1/3 mile upstream from my land. It's too wet this year to cross my wetland acre on foot to get to Sunbarge 2. I am paying no marina fees anywhere now. I will get the wanderlust again soon enough with urges to explore by water on the river and over on the coast. But for the moment, the house is my new toy.

...One of the wonderful things about it is the big parklike yard with ten huge Live Oaks and one big Palm Tree. Unfortunately though, these trees make too much shade for me to use solar panels. The splotches of sun in the yard appear, move, and then disappear. That's not a problem for sunbathing on the lawnchair though. It just means I need to keep moving the chair. Ghost loves sunbathing as much as me and he always lays next to me when I'm in the lawnchair.



Because I no longer pay any marina fees, the biggest regular expense now is heat, even though I am in Florida. I got the electric turned on when I did the math and realized running a little $15 electric heater in the bedroom is cheaper than getting the same heat from kerosene. And I can leave the power turned on and maybe a couple ultra low watt LED lights on for security for less than $5 per month when I'm back up in Ohio. This is due to a plan I signed up for with Florida Power. It is popular because there are so many "snowbirds" like me who are only down here part of the year.

Like I said, this house was a pleasant surprise when I first saw it in person. I haven't completely refrained from making improvements, though. I built a little party patio in the back by fencing in the little back corner of the house. There is not much direct sun there because of my 11 big trees but on warm cloudy days it is much brighter there than inside the house and the 6' fence assures there is never any wind. Ghost loves the fence too, because he gets on top and then jumps on the house roof.



He has his own little kingdom up there and spends a lot of time there.

So, things are pretty peaceful and quiet now...In fact, this house is the quietest place I've ever lived. But this is fine because every day I need to remember that the main reason I'm here is because I'd be experiencing my former annual winter depression if I were not here. During the rare stretches where it stays cloudy and cool for more than a couple days, I feel the slight melancholy creep back in like a bad old memory. But the sun and warmth come back just in time every time before I notice anything that I might call "depression".

Because I've made mood maintainence the focus of my winters here, this place, the warm spring at Deleon Springs State Park on the north side of town, has now become the center of my life in Deland:



Of course, it's been central from the beginning, because Tedders Marina where I began my life here in 2010 is just around the bend at the top of the picture.

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Now my normal pattern is this...

If I awake and it's already sunny by 8 AM, I either wait until about 9:30 when I can find patches of warm sun in my yard to sit in, or else I drive through my neighborhood to this tiny beach and ramp at our local lake called Blue Lake:



The bench there faces straight east across the lake so I can start getting sunshine there as early as 7:30. I also can take my Porta-bote out there and explore Blue Lake and the other two lakes connected to it by short canals.

But regardless of how I begin my mornings, if it's a nice day I go to DeLeon Springs by about 1 or 2 o'clock, and stay until about 4. There are about 15 of us that go there every day we can. We call ourselves "the regulars". The swimming exercise in the 72 degree water does me almost as much good as the sunshine.

Then when I leave about 4 I stop downtown:



I usually have a beer at The Grotto and then have supper at one of the dozen or so restaurants I like. If I need to get some books I stop at the library on the way back home to 313 Albany.

...You can see why it makes sense that now is when I've started writing again. -Now is when my life has really gotten peaceful, That must be why I enjoy the writing.
 
 
20 March 2013 @ 03:53 pm
As I just said, I haven't written here in awhile so there is a lot to summarize.

Things in the Fall were fine until Ghost disappeared overnight November 12th-13th.

Here is what I wrote about that on Facebook:

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Today was the fourth full day since Ghost disappeared.

The last time I lived without a pet was almost twenty years ago. Then, I got my cat James as a kitten and gradually learned how valuable it is for a single adult to have the companionship of an animal. I felt intense grief when James died a little over three years ago at age sixteen. But it was summer still so my moods had not yet begun to darken with the seasons. And there was no uncertainty -it was a death, and I was prepared for it, and I was with my pet at the end. About a week before James died, the white cat I later named Ghost began hanging out here in the yards behind the condo, watching me every day, and wagging his tail when I saw him.

I ignored him for I can't remember how long, because I was only thinking of how I missed James. But I now know his presence helped me get over the sorrow, and I know I finally adopted him on a beautiful day I will never forget.

This time, to my awareness, there is no other pet watching me as I mourn, waiting to comfort me when I am ready to accept comforting.

And this time, I am mourning while my moods are becoming less bright, as the days shorten.

And worst of all, I have no idea what happened to my pet, and where he is, or where his body is.

I am being transformed right now by the intensity of my sadness, because I am directing it toward greater self-awareness.

-I have been trying to meditate for years now, without much success. -But this convulsion has shifted my consciousness out of its normal groove, into places it has never been, and I have been using this as an opportunity, and have expanded the range of my mind finally. I am experienceing successful meditation finally in the last few days.

But, as for what happened, I've searched everywhere.

I do not believe Ghost is dead.

He was trying to communicate something to me just before midnight Monday night, when I last saw him, just before he went out and never came back. I remember exactly how he was looking at me, with eyes half closed, purring very loud, and hugging my arm. I remember thinking, "Wow, what's the matter, I'm not leaving you."

He had been staying with me every moment, more than normal, for several days, then this final behavior, then he was gone.

He knew it was exactly one year ago we went to Florida for the second time. He knew we were about to go again.

I was having forebodings about the danger there, on the little boat on the river, especially regarding him.

And I love how perfect and safe this little half block of interconnected back yards full of gardens below the condo in Dayton is, almost a cat paradise. I know Ghost sees it as heaven.

He was telling me to go without him, that the horrid long drive is too traumatic for him, and that living on a boat through the winter is just too stressful and dangerous. He was telling me he loves me, and to not worry about him, and that he will think of me every day while I am down there.

He may have been carried off by a coyote or stray dog and killed beyond the range I searched, but I doubt it. They would have just killed him here and I would have found his body.

Instead, I think he found his way back to where he came from just over three years ago. I do not know where that is, maybe not far. I hope they took him back in and are loving him properly this time.

If not, I think I will see him again in the Spring. He is so wise. He knows exactly when I plan to be back.

After over two years on the water, and after seven months tied up in a place where I have friends, but NOT trustworthy friends, the boat may be in any condition imaginable when I get down to it on November 25th.

If I am lucky, I can take up where I left off in early May, but without Ghost this time.

Will I even want to, without the playfulness and joy he provided the previous two winters?

Or, is it just as cheap to rent an apartment in Deland for three months rather than a boat slip and storage locker for 12 months? If I can find one with a lease of only three months it would be practical.

No matter what, everything has shifted, and I am becoming a different person.

I will always love you Ghost, wherever you are. You have changed me forever.

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To make a long story short, I will say that my expectation was correct. -Just before I left to go to Florida, I heard from the neighbors who were helping me keep an eye out for Ghost that he was spotted about a block west, having hidden in an apartment building undergoing renovation.
Then, shortly after I got to Florida, I learned that he had returned home, and then I made arrangements for him to be fed and protected while I was gone. My neighbor Jim was especially helpful. He sent me pictures of Ghost a few times, and when he hurt his shoulder in December, Jim took him to the vet and he recovered quickly. I just got back from Florida ten days ago, on Sunday, March 10th. Ghost and I were overjoyed to see each other again. He is now friendly with Jim and the other neighbors so in that respect what happened was good.


The most important thing about my 3-1/2 months in Florida, from November 25th to March 8th, was my boat.

When I arrived, I realized that all the solar panels, as well as the steering motor, no longer worked. And considering all the other things that also were deteriorated or beginning to deteriorate, I decided to re-build the boat. I rented a small apartment in Deland until February 8th because I couldn't live aboard the boat again until then.

I also had to decide what to do about a large abandoned houseboat that was set adrift before I got to Florida, and which was tied at my land by the water patrol because it was an easy spot to put it so it would not be a hazard.

That houseboat is still there. There is a good chance it will still be there when I am back down there. If so, hopefully the water will be high enough that I can move it, and hopefully the hull will not be flooded after a summer of drainage into a hole on the deck that lets water in after downpours. There is really nothing I can do until I return, and maybe it will have been removed by then.

As for my new, improved, solar boat, it is well chained in a disassembled storage mode at my land now. But I am quite pleased with it. Here are my accounts from Facebook from when I finished it:


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Introducing "Sunbarge 2"

Monday, February 4, 2013

Here is the simpler, stronger, improved version of my solar boat here in Florida, which I am now calling "Sunbarge 2", completed January, 2013:



For comparison, here is one of the photos of "Sunbarge 1", which was completed in November of 2010:



Sunbarge 2 has the same cabin, now reinforced, and with three windows, but it now has a simple flat-type roof. The screen porch is the same too, but is reinforced on the outside now.

I am going to try to get by now with just three solar panels instead of six. Presently they are just laying on the deck at the front of the boat. It will be practical for me to put them on the cabin roof too if I ever want to.

The steering portion of the Minn-Kota electric motor was repaired. The anchors and gangplanks did not change.

There is no longer the upper overhanging roof structure with storage space between it and the cabin, and all the rails/fences around the perimeter of the deck have been eliminated.

Sunbarge 2 is suited for the waters I now travel and the schedule and routines I now follow. (Many of my original expectations and goals changed in the 2-1/2 years since Sunbarge 1 was built.)

Here is an album of more pictures of Sunbarge 2:

Sunbarge 2 photos -February 1-3, 2013
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This has been quite a brief summary, considering that I went almost six months without writing anything on my journal.

As I said below, I don't trust Facebook to serve as a reliable record of events, so I want to use this journal regularly for that again. But here is the link to my Facebook timeline, where there are more details of my life since September of 2012:

Mike Monett Facebook
 
 
20 March 2013 @ 03:13 pm
This is the longest I ever went without writing here since I started this online journal in the Fall of 2006.

I still want to say things here on a regular basis even though so much has changed and so much is changing, especially since 2010 when my life became so much more unstructured.

When I started this journal, Facebook was not well known, and there was no reason to believe it would turn into what it is now.

It is still evolving. And for me it can even function like a journal if I use it a certain way. I like it mainly because it is like a journal for everyoe else. When I started writing online in a journal, I felt alone because nobody else did. Now, lots of people I know sorta do the same thing.

Also, it functions for me as a kind of notebook to go back and review, so that when I finally add an entry here after a long stretch like now, everything that happened is already recorded. I just need to go over it and summarize it in this journal then.

I decided Facebook will never replace this journal for me. There are many reasons for this, too many to list.

Whether it's done in Livejournal or not, I need a chronology of my life, because the meaning of life to me is making existence better and with less suffering for all people and animals, beginning by making sure I myself am not suffering so that I have attention and energy to help others. If I learn important things about how to do this but do not properly record what I've learned, I can't review those lessons to accurately repeat them. For example, the rebuild of my solar boat in Florida, which I just finished, would have been less successful if I did not have lots of recorded observations here in my journal made while I was building the original boat. Those were very useful. If all that had only been written on Facebook, it might be gone now, and it definitely would have been harder to review.

Another recent issue has been the fact that Livejournal messed up the archives for photographs stored on their site. I had hundreds of these. They suddenly became completely disorganized when the company changed the interface without asking users first.

I created my own html index page to fix this, so now I can move on and forget about that worry.
 
 
26 September 2012 @ 10:53 am
It's been two months since I wrote anything here. Wow!
Like I've mentioned, though, my life is nice and simple now, and I use Facebook sometimes. And it was summer, which is always the time I do the least writing.

The rest of the summer since I last wrote was nice. August was slightly cooler than normal and September was considerably cooler than normal and the rain frequency became normal so everything is very green again now in this first week of Fall.

I gave some some samples to a lab in early August and the results say that my adrenal glands were weak at that time. So, I continued to change my diet and haven't had any more bouts of deep fatigue.

Almost every day now I feel an urge to write again, so I'm glad I started doing it again here this morning. It is still the best way I know to sort out my thoughts.

I also just put another entry on my blog. I started writing it in late August and updated it and then finished it. I called it "what early retirement feels like now that I am into it".
 
 
26 July 2012 @ 04:06 pm
It's been almost a month since I wrote here last when I talked about the heat wave just starting. The drought part of it has been getting better in the end of July. There is some evidence the heat part of it may be gradually starting to moderate too, so maybe August will be better than July. That first ten days was definitely the worst, when it reached 102 3 days, 99 one day, 98 two days, and 96 two days. The other two days it was 91 and 93. Since then, the worst day was 99, and we've even had five days where the high was between 76 and 85.

I've felt very tired since the heat wave started. It got so bad that I decided to read two books about thyroid, and I had a basic, low-cost thyroid test done, which is easy because the medical lab is just down the street. The thyroid test indicated no problem there.

But the tiredness persisted, and I was convinced it is much more than just adjusting to the heat and the boredom of not being able to be doing all the active outdoor things I enjoy because it was so hot.

I now have this theory about what was happening to me: My adrenal glands were becoming very exhausted again. In recent years, I've come to believe this was my problem between 1977 and 1984, those long horrible years that spanned most of my twenties when I was like a zhombie and I still dont know how I ever endured them.

Back then, there was so much less knowledge about adrenal fatigue. It is totally different now. In fact, I even found a new book about bladder problems that I just read and returned to the library that basically argued that my recent bladder issues are probably caused by weak adrenal function.

All my life I've been plagued by a vicious cycle of allergy flare ups straining my adrenals which makes the allergies even worse which further stresses the adrenals until they are completely unable to produce cortisol.

There are new cortisol tests that weren't around during those awful years thirty years ago. They are somewhat expensive though. Maybe if Obamacare survives I will be eligible in a couple years for health insurance that doesn't cost me a fortune. Then, I'll get the new tests and prove that I'm right about what my problem is.

I am not really sure why my adrenals crapped out on me in July of 2012. Maybe that severe cold I caught the minute I got back to Ohio from Florida in early May overtaxed them. The symptoms never really went away completely until the end of June, so there were many weeks of continuous immune response, which is awful for the adrenals, just like the prolonged pollen allergy assualts I've suffered through every year of my life.

The good news is, like I said, there are now doctors who have studied this situation and have been helping people with it since the nineties. Two of them have websites that I discovered in July. I am going to try to get their books because I found their websites very useful.

Both of them recommend vitamins to help the adrenals survive better or to get better after they've become exhausted.

Today, for the very first time, instead of just a multivitamin, I took the additional amounts of Vitamin C, B5, magnesium, and Vitamin E that one of the doctors recommended.

It may be just the placebo effect, but I feel better today than I have since June. Also, It just rained again and cooled off, and more is coming this afternoon and tonight. Maybe things are looking up now.
 
 
28 June 2012 @ 07:50 pm
Like I've mentioned, my life is very simple now so there is less to write about than in previous years.

June stayed dry and perhaps just slightly cooler than normal up until yesterday. Then today, a heat wave began, with a high of 102 at the airport.

We really haven't had a very hot summer since the horrible all-season-long heat wave of 1988.

I am 58. Air conditioning never really became common until the late sixties or seventies. I never really spent time in it until I began working in offices in the late seventies when I was about 24. I did just fine staying cool the old-fashioned ways through several very hot summers when I was a kid. I am now off the grid and retired so I am rediscovering after about 34 years life mostly away from AC 24/7.

Today the temperature in my condo peaked at 95. I felt very comfortable all day simply by wearing nothing but shorts, and by completely sponging myself with cold water about once per hour. Ghost my cat is fine, having slept all day stretched out on surfaces that absorb his body heat, such as the ceramic floor in the bathroom.

I also built a super-thick styrofoam cooler, with 4" walls, compared to about 1" for most picnic coolers. I put about 15 pounds of ice in it last night and then some food. After one day, less than ten percent of the ice has melted.

Throughout this heatwave, when I want to spend a day outside, I will get out on the downtown biketrails early before they get hot, and get to the shady areas along the Stillwater River and at Wegerzyn Center Park before noon. I will be in the woods sitting on a bench reading a book or on the internet, or wading in the river until about 6, when it will be cool enough to head back to my condo on the bike paths again.

I am more worried on days like today about air pollution affecting my health than heat. I will be paying attention to how my body seems to be reacting to that all summer. I think air conditioners really help to filter the particulates out although I don't think they remove the ozone that seems to cause fatigue for me. By the end of summer I'll know more.
 
 
04 June 2012 @ 09:50 am
My goal of living a very simple life and focusing on what really matters in life is now reality.

This means there is much less to write about obviously.

The weather in Dayton has been wonderful although a bit dry.

Most days I go out fairly early on my bike or on foot with my phone, android, and internet connection and whatever book I am reading in my backpack. Usually I bring about a pint of water. When it is hot I head for my "secret" beach on the Stillwater River near the biketrail where I swim for the exercise and the relief from the heat.

I try to focus my thoughts on my friends, family and others rather than on myself. I have this luxury because my own life has become so calm and gloriously uneventful, as I always wanted it to.

I am doing more reading now than ever before, not just of books but of informative websites. I also listen to many podcasts.

As for my own body and mind, I am most focused now on optimizing the healthiness of my diet. Every day I buy several servings of fresh greens, usually kale, and a few servings of fresh fruit. I buy local organic as often as possible. The downtown farmers markets are open four days a week so I just make this shopping a part of my biking or walking. The other three days I take the car down to Dorothy Lane Market in Oakwood or just south of there to Krogers, Trader Joes, or the health food store.

I love living downtown here. I can go so far in so many directions on all the bike trails that converge at Riverscape and I can safely walk through the shady streets in all the historic districts that encircle downtown. Some days I am out wandering until dusk, Since the summer solstice is approaching, this makes for some long, beautiful outings.

When I get together with others now I have the time and energy for this important part of living, which might be the best thing of all about being "retired".
 
 
15 May 2012 @ 10:33 pm
I am back to keeping my journal updated regularly again now starting tonight.

I know back on March 24th I said I'd be back in Ohio about April 15th, not May 4th. But I kept in touch with everyone via Facebook or other means so they all knew about the delay and rescheduling. The main cause was that I contacted the Florida EPA on March 30th about my wetland. I didn't meet with them until early April, and then we agreed I would change some things I did wrong when I made the shore accessible to my boats.

I had a lot of other stuff going on too.

If I have another month like April, when my life was wrapped up with other people, well maybe I'll lapse again, because it is not proper to write about other people here because this is about my private life, not my social life.

I felt great when I got back, first in Columbus, on Saturday, May 4th. But the next night I caught a terrible cold, one that I'm still feeling a bit of now after nine days.

The weather has been beautiful, and normal for May.

I really want to focus on the transformation of my diet now to one that will be as healthy as I can afford. Ever since September I've been committed to this but now I am really giving it time and attention, reading books right now, and doing lots of very careful shopping at stores in Dayton that I never bought food from regularly until now.

This afternoon I made my own sesame Tahini. It is pretty good. Now I am going to make Hummus.

As for foraging, I checked the big cattail fields near Research Boulevard today. That freak almost July-like heat that Ohio had in March really screwed up the season for the cattails. Normally right now would be the peak time to collect the pollen tails, but they were long gone, and the plants looked like they normally do at the end of the summer!

I am still frightened when I think about what that March weather says about the future. I listened to interviews on Radio EdoShock yesterday where weather experts summarized the unbelievable facts about that long heat wave...Some cities actually had LOW temperatures that broke the previous HIGH records. Some not only blew away the previous all-time records for March, but also for April, even though this happened in the MIDDLE of March! Many stations exceeded the previous records by over thirty degrees, and one station in Nova Scotia exceeeded the previous record by 33 degrees! It is just a matter of time until such a bizarre thing occurs in July instead of March. From what I have read, this will be unbelievably deadly. (All humans not in air conditioning on these days will probably die, and there will be huge dieoff of other mammals.)

I hate writing such gloomy stuff here, but it is what I think about because it is so immediate and real, not fifty years in the future. To blot it out because it is so depressing is insane. This should be the biggest news story since 9-11 because of the danger it implies, but the news media is afraid to go there.
 
 
25 March 2012 @ 06:24 pm
Wow -I need to update my journal again! Nothing really exciting has been going on with my life down here in Florida, just almost another month of beautiful days.

And I do use Facebook now somewhat so I have stayed in touch with that.

The weather up north has been ridiculously warm for March. That and a few other considerations made me decide to stay here in Florida until around April 15th.

I am typing this on the Android at the swimming area at DeLeon Springs. I am beginning to miss the "luxury" of using my full-size notebook computer in a room with a real table and chair. (The power-supply does not work well on my solar boat, and my table and chair there are small.) Tomorrow I will begin a new habit for when I am in Florida -on the days I don't swim, I will go to the Deland Public Library for an hour or two and take my notebook PC. It will be nice to use it more again. And, I'll be more likely to not go so long again without updating my journal.

If you are in Ohio and reading this, I miss you, and I am glad I'll be back up there in about three weeks.
 
 
29 February 2012 @ 12:26 pm
Once again, I've been putting posts on Facebook but now need to repeat them here so my journal stays up-to-date. Here they are...

Sunday, February 12th, 2012:

I'm sitting with the sun coming through the forest branches into my new boat window. I spent yesterday and Friday dredging the inlet so I can be back here in normal lower water levels. The wind has been brutal so I'm glad to be in here among the trees. Three lamps are burning because the low was 31. Tonight might be the coldest night of the winter.



Three lamp are needed to stay warm on the boat when it gets below freezing.



Friday, February 17th, 2012:

This fourth day is supposed to be the last these scary airboats from the Army Corps are spraying the hyper-invasive Water Hyacinths in this stretch of the tributaries. I smell the stuff in the air and I feel really crappy. I will be flushing the toxins out of my system probably for over a week. The entire Saint Johns River and all the adjacent waters would be destroyed by these horrible plants if they didn't do this. So, I am VERY conflicted about this.



Saturday, February 18th, 2012:

me removing invasive Water Hyacinth (no nasty herbicide):





Sunday, February 19th, 2012:

There are several of these on my acre...trees that grew above and engulfed old stumps. My theory is seeds landed on the rotting stumps during flood conditions, took root, then managed to extend their roots into the main soil as the water slowly receded. These waterways were still logged until the 1960s. These stumps might be remnants from that. I've unearthed sawmill trimmings preserved in the muck in my little inlet.



Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012:

After just two days cruising about, I'm retreating back into my inlet and may not be back out for four days, based on forecasts. The Jet Stream has moved so this is the new pattern apparently: cold fronts every six days followed by quick re-warming. The result is just two days out of six that aren't windy. At least there is more rain this way, so maybe the drought won't redevelop after all. Oh, well -I may be returning to Ohio as early as three weeks from now anyway. If I remain "penned in" like this until then, I'll really be gung-ho to get back. I'm already feeling anyway the old familiar moving on urge that has always made me such a traveler. My friend here who is also a Buckeye reminded me of the yards up there with "real grass and real dirt". She meant in contrast to the scruffy thin lawns down here where there is only sand. I keep thinking every day again now about my friends and family, and the other river, and the downtown places and bike trails.

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012:





How to make an instant bench in a Cypress-knee woods:

1. Find old 2x4.

2. Straddle two Cypress knees of roughly equal height.
(On hikes you can carry the 2x4 to have a bench anywhere.)

9AM, Wednesday, February 29th, 2012:

This winter I've seen few gators, just knew they were around if I heard one splash up in the weeds. This morning was different. -I cruised into South Lake at a crawl and looked through the binoculars and realized a gator was slowly coming towards me. He got to about five feet from the boat and just stared, then slowly dived and swam under the boat. When he was close I estimated his head was two feet wide!