Vista of a Mexican yogi

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View while sitting cross-legged on the faux Persian rug in the living room. Ommmmm.

LAST DECEMBER, I wrote here about throwing my back out, as they say, rendering myself a temporary cripple.

I’ve had that problem now and then for decades, far more before my last divorce,* but it usually cures itself in four or five days. Last December it lasted two weeks, which had only happened once before. It was a hard time.

But it woke me up. Though I’ve done somewhat light exercise on a regular basis for decades I had begun to get lazy about it, and that matters.

I have a gym set here at home, and my schedule had been thrice a week, and I cheated occasionally. I now do it five times a week. I still cheat some, but not often and not without good reason.

I also do a 20-minute, rapid walk around the neighborhood plaza. Again, I was known to cheat, but now I’m cheating far less.

A new element is some light stretching exercise. I call that yoga, but it’s not. It’s stretching. I do short stretching of my back in the morning before getting to the gym set, and in the late afternoon after returning from my usual café Americano negro on the main plaza downtown.

That afternoon session is longer and involves lying and sitting on the living room floor atop a faux Persian rug. Sometimes I even light incense. I’m invariably alone at that hour, between 6 and 7.

While sitting, I’m getting the view above. The lights are out, and the late afternoon sun is out thataway. Thought I’d share the view with you.

* * * *

* It’s an issue with a psychological element.

(Note 1: Aging is no fun though I appear to be holding up better than most geezers my age. Last September I wrote here about a crippling heel spur I had developed. There is no good solution to that except for surgery. I chose to do nothing because it only bothered me now and then. I thought it was permanent, but it lasted eight months and vanished. Just recently. How about that!)

(Note 2: Unrelated to anything written so far but included just to keep you up to date on Hacienda joys and sorrows, a lightning strike on Monday fried our Samsung 32-inch LED smart TV, our TV-cable box, and a wifi box. The surge entered via the TV cable, not the electric wires. I have a surge protector by the TV, but I only had the TV power cable connected to it. The surge protector also has the option of running the TV cable through it, but I had foolishly not done so, an expensive oversight. As for wifi, I have two services, which is how I am communicating with you right now.

(I’ve already purchased another TV and connected it to Netflix, which is all I watch anyway. Our TV cable provider is a company called Megacable. Its service is abysmal, so Lord knows when the second wifi will be restored. I really don’t care about the cable TV, but my child bride watches it while she irons.)

Back from Mexico City

WE RETURNED from Mexico City yesterday after spending five nights in that tumultuous burg, and I’ve never been so happy to get back to the Hacienda.

We own a condo there, where my child bride lived when we met over 16 years ago, and we visit a couple of times a year to air it out. Otherwise, it just sits there, furnished and idle. We’d rent it if we could find someone reliable.

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Our condo is one of many in one of these buildings.

Two of the four full days were dedicated to straightening out a financial matter, a pension fund, left over from when my wife worked as a civil engineer with the federal highway department. For some reason, offices at UNAM, the massive National Autonomous University of Mexico, are involved in the matter.

I had never been to UNAM, which is in the southern side of Mexico City. Alas, our condo stands in the northern side. Since Mexico City traffic is beyond dreadful, this meant hours of sitting in taxis inching through traffic.

Otherwise, the visit entailed cleaning the condo, and eating caldo de gallina one day in a nearby restaurant we found recently and barbecue hamburgers in a food truck just across the street from our place.

So you get a feel for things, at top is a brief video I shot during the bus ride to the national capital, and below is another I shot from a Mexico City taxi. We were on our way to UNAM. Or maybe we were returning from UNAM. It really makes no difference whatsoever.

Now I’ve got yard work to do. Things pile up when you’re gone.

The spitting snake

WHEN WE MOVED into the Hacienda almost 15 years ago, watering anything in the yard was a challenge. The only way was with a bucket.

But times have changed. I’ve installed various storage tanks, pumps, faucets and, the important part, I’ve connected to the municipal water supply.

Now it’s pretty easy.

This morning, I turned on one of the pumps, grabbed a long hose, walked here, there, everywhere, watering. Then I sat in a web chair on the Jesus Patio and watered some more, and I taped it for you.

Until recently Vimeo was my favorite video site, but it has reduced the number of videos one can download with a free account. Actually, it reduced the number below what I had already downloaded, but Vimeo’s gonna leave me in peace about that.

So I’ve returned to YouTube where I’ve had a channel for years. YouTube is Google, of course, and I dodge Google when I can. But it’s free, and there’s no limit, so here I am again. Any future videos will be on YouTube.

My Vimeo channel is still alive, however. I will miss their freewheeling attitude toward copyrighted music. YouTube is far more strict about that.

Above is the World Debut of “The Spitting Snake.”

Early retirement is fun

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We bought that red, ceramic globe recently near Dolores Hidalgo.

I RETIRED QUITE early, age 55, and that means you potentially have lots of years ahead of you, years in which you must do something or other.

My plans were few. I knew I’d use the time to read books. I like to read books because it’s an interesting thing to do, plus it makes me even smarter than I already am.

Not on the plan was yard work, which I dislike. My distaste for yard work was one of the reasons I recently had part of the Hacienda lawn filled in with stone and cement. That’s the lighter part in the photo above. The darker is the sidewalk, which is 15 years old.

But I’ve discovered that I’ve simply substituted one form of yard work with another. The stone and concrete require sweeping. The primary reason is that there are plants, big ones. One is the towering nopal, and the other is the monster bougainvillea.

The nopal drops big, dead, prickly “paddles.” Ker-splat! The bougainvillea snows dead leaves and other miscellaneous crap.

I was out sweeping this morning when this realization came to me. It’s still yard work. However, sweeping stone and concrete is far more fun than fussing with grass.

I don’t regret the stonework. We intend to do more next year.

Back to the theme of retirement. Lots of folks dream of retiring early, which is a phrase open to interpretation. The standard “early retirement” is 55, and that’s what I did. Other people, mostly young ones, dream of leaving the work world even earlier. At 40, for example. Good luck with that, amigos.

Here’s what you usually have to do to retire early, say, at 55. Don’t go into debt. Save, save, save … and invest wisely. Being single can help. These are not difficult things to do, but few folks do them. It’s equally simple to lose weight. Eat less crap, and do regular moderate exercise. Again, easy, but few people can do it.

I’m having a fun time, and I’ve been having fun since 2000. Before that, not so much. One late afternoon recently, I was sitting here before the Hewlett Packard screen, and I looked out yon window. Below is what I saw.

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