Many Years Ago

“When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine”

That was the un-comforting thought many years ago. I am way past 64 now and another birthday is approaching. I don’t really celebrate birthdays or other holidays. It is not that I am a Grinch or curmudgeon, rather I am tired.

I used to blog way more often and at times up to perhaps 3 entries a day, especially when I was blogging on a site where people responded. When that site went down multiple times for extended periods, I recovered all of my posts, reformatted them and posted them here. I guess there are still things to blog about, but they seem less important as you will see.

I had some help getting my coffee trees weed whacked and fertilized, but now am having problems getting the cherry picked. I have a very limited amount of parchment stored but nowhere near what I could have. I have cherry turning to ‘raisin’ on the trees. When I did some picking on my own a few days back, I didn’t have enough in the bucket to get it pulped. Still, it was good to get the stuff off my trees.

I have a couple years to get my farm into ‘full production’. I lease the land and the lessor has some requirements I must fulfill. I will be replanting coffee to fill out that half of the property and I am not sure what I will do in the orchard. I can replant some damaged or missing trees, but without someone managing things, I’m afraid things will get out of hand.

I was using the tractor to mow some weeds and saw that some of the late mangoes were ready to pick. As I reached up to see the firmness of one, I got stung on my left hand and left shoulder. Twelve hours late my hand is still a bit swollen and sore. There were no stingers I could find, so that limits what stung me. I was asked if it was wasps or yellow jackets but you know, I didn’t stick around to investigate. As I reflect, maybe planting coffee in the orchard instead of more fruit has some merit. Arabica coffee is self pollinating 🙂

Some of the farms nearby have ‘Woofers’, workers who trade work for a place to stay. They might have food thrown in or other options depending upon the farm and numbers of hours worked. In some cases they get paid if they work past a certain number of hours. I don’t have that option yet. I have a room downstairs that that the previous tenant used as a bedroom I think. I have storage there and a deep freezer. It needs a better floor as the carpet is damaged and the bathroom needs with and a shower installed. I would have to move the washer and dryer to a better location, perhaps the other storage area. That location needs a lot of work. There is also room to put in a living room or make it the bedroom. These ideas all take money. Currently I am living of Social Security and have taken bits and pieces out of my IRA. In a year and a half I will be required to start taking money out due to the minimum distribution requirements.

I have been installing security cameras at various locations for neighbors. The systems are relatively cheap but come with a few nagging issues. A local church has some wifi cameras which seem to go off at times and I will be upgrading the camera software in the hopes that fixes it. It may be that there are power issues and the cameras are not recovering from it.

I am still helping a few neighbors with VOIP internet phone service. IN fact in two cases I am resorting to old equipment which allows them to continue to use the local telephone company phone line but route calls through an automated assistant to answer calls and also to route all outbound calls through the service to keep costs down.This arrangement allows them to still keep their legacy 911 service and not have to switch their main telephone number to VOIP. In one case, the company has slow internet, fast enough to use for long distance, but not reliable enough for a business who needs dependable telephone service.

I have converted many of the websites I manage over to WordPress. In some cases the owners have started managing them themselves.In most other cases the sites are static and not updated, so it is just bringing the sites into an updated look and made easier to manage. In two other cases, the owners I think are dragging their feet not realizing that once I set up the website in WordPress, their job is easy. Adding text is similar to using a word processor like Word or a spreadsheet like Excel where they can put items in a row or column. All the heavy lifting has been done for them.

There is a local volunteer group who welcomes visitors to the island, primarily at the pier and I have been managing their website. I had been asked a few times if I wanted to be on the Board of Directors and have declined. Then I got a call from a friend on the Board who told me he had an emergency. They are trying to change the tax classification of the organization and needs two more board members in the next 24 hours to file his paperwork. I agreed and pulled in another neighbor. Our first official board meeting is Thursday in town. Thursday is also the first day which officials will begin closing streets in town. You may know that the Kona Ironman is Saturday the 12th. They need to make room for the athletes, friends, support services and press.

“The IRONMAN World Championship centers on the dedication and courage exhibited by participants who demonstrate the IRONMAN mantra that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.® On October 12th, over 2,000 athletes will embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN.”

There are generally two types of local citizens during Ironman week. Those who help at the race and those of us who avoid town for the week. Imagine that you live in house with couple of family members. Then all of a sudden, a large wedding and reception are planned for next week. This is the same thing; our small town over run with people, all hotels booked, no rental cars to be had and so on. Still, they add a lot of money to out economy so I can’t complain too much. I don’t see Gordon Ramsay (the chef) in the race this year. He did participate a couple years back but believe he had an injury the next year. Someone I worked with years ago is also not on the participant list. Years ago I thought about volunteering as a helper for the race, but then a couple medical issues made me rethink that. Now I am content to watch a bit of it live-streamed on the internet.

My two Labradors continue to wake me up multiple times in the middle of the night. Because of that I tend to go to bed early, expecting to be up and back to sleep multiple times. Tonight was no exception being woken up by each dog to go out while the other won’t budge. Then an hour later they switch places. If I leave them outside they will bark (not constantly but a yelp every so often), so that is not really an option.

The female Lab O’lena needs to be spayed and that will cause some issues because during her recovery she will have issues getting up and down stairs. If I had that room downstairs fixed up… The alternative is to let her stay on the lanai/porch upstairs and just clean up after her. That way she can come back inside into the bedroom rather than be outside all night.

Just as I wrote that, O’lena barked to go out. Sigh!

Kona my male Lab is getting on in years and having a slight issue with the stairs. I am not sure if it his eyesight but I am sure his hips bother him a bit. Still, he loves running for a stick so I know he is not in pain yet.

Costco get in their new supply of sweet potatoes and I will be cooking them for the next week. I was going to have some for dinner but that early sleep thing came up! Now it is midnight and I am think that I could crank up the Instantpot and have some sweet potatoes but that will wait for tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I will be getting up at 5:30am to take the dogs out and then listen to the Internet Radio Station called Riviera.FM. I have participated in some of the shows for I guess 7 years. Tomorrow Adrian plays Rock and Country music for 2 hours. Then Thursday from 6am to 8am Hawaii time he plays various songs. Also included in the mix is a reading of listeners memories. He recently asked us to email him with the names of famous people we have met. In my case he mentioned a few last Thursday and will do that over a couple of shows. It turns out I have met quite a few famous people over the years.

Here is a partial list:

  • As a young child I met Jackie Gleason, the TV star and comedian. We were eating at a famous Chinese restaurant in New York called Ruby Foo’s. Jackie had just finished taping an episode of “The Honeymooners” TV show and was there for dinner.
  • Also as a child we were eating dinner in a local restaurant in New Jersey and the musician at the piano was Liberace and we got his autograph. More than a signature, he also drew a piano with his candle-opera on it.
  • While working at a restaurant along the Garden State Parkway, Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam stopped by. They were famous for their roles on the Dick VanDyke TV show and were on their way to do a show at a casino in Atlantic City.
  • While working for a place which made Ham Radio equipment I looked up to see Barry Goldwater (U.S. politician).
  • Speaking of politicians, I met Teddy Kennedy and George McGovern an event at the Kennedy Center (of all places).
  • I interviewed Rick Nelson a few years before his death.
  • At a radio programming conference in Nashville, I met the actor and musician Kris Kristofferson and Roger Miller. Roger Miller owned a ‘motor inn’ there.
  • One of the Statler Brothers and one guy from the Original Drifters came by the radio station where I worked. That radio station was a contender for use in the recent movie Coal Miners Daughter but the station was too new-looking, so they used another radio station down the road.
  • I went to high school with the son of famous football player Sam Huff.
  • I have met many of the stars from various Star Trek TV shows, a few from Lost in Space (the early TV series), Kenny Baker who played R2-D2 in Star Wars.

I forgot to send him a few others. One neighbor along with me and a few others formed the Kona Coffee Farmers Association. Nancy Griffith was a well-known sailor and she and her family have been featured in the documentary “Following Seas” which can be seen on Amazon Prime. The documentary includes much footage that she took on their 3 round-the-world trips. When you watch the documentary you will be amazed at all the things which happen.

Also not included was that one of the coaches at my high school was Fletcher Arritt, the winning-most high school basketball coach. For those who like stats, from 1970 to 2012, Arritt taught biology, directed FUMA’s postgraduate team to an 890-283 record, and sent more than 200 players to Division I programs. Many went on to play in the NBA.  His documentary is called “The Passing Game”.

Then on Fridays from 6am to 8am Hawaii time I participate in the radio show called “Hit or Miss”. A few presenters in their studio and we listeners around the world are jury for the question “Would this song from long ago, if released today, would it be a hit or a miss?”.  Along with the music, Riviera.FM salutes the pirate radio stations of the day back then. England was controlled by government regulations and radio stations who would not play rock and roll. Some pirate stations were on ships offshore in International waters and beamed their signals to eager teens who were tired of stuffy classical music. Eventually, rock and roll flourished and the government relented.

So as you can see, noting really earth shattering or exciting happening out here. Just more of the same.