settling in to retirement, life is good

Recent entries from TajLV
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TajLV 22 months ago


That’s the size of all the files I generated in the second half of this year. No huge files this time, so they all fit on a single 700MB CD-ROM. That includes 192 articles of 600 words or more written for one client alone, plus all the graphics and files related to the new company I set up in September. Now I’m ready for the first half of 2013. 15 months ago

TajLVTeenage Angst?

As I recall, teens don’t need a reason or a problem to behave badly. It kinda comes with the territory for many. My elder daughter used to have huge flare-ups with her mom. One day I tried to intervene. I asked my daughter, “What is it you want from your mother?” She replied, “I want her to be a good mother.” And my wife said, “You can’t have a good mother. You’ve only got me!” LOL

I’m tempted to say it’s a stage he’ll grow out of, but I don’t know that for sure. My daughter is 25 now and she still has bad days with her mom. Hang in there. You’ll always be his mother, and hopefully he will realize at some point that he only gets one. Namaste. 16 months ago

TajLVHaving a baby

is one of the top three major life-changing events that adults commonly experience (the other two being marriage and death of a family member – what the press used to call “hatch, match and dispatch” news). When a baby is expected, the parents begin thinking about changing their insurance policies, moving to a bigger home, starting a savings/investment plan, getting a family-friendly car, etc. That’s why I mentioned businesses as sponsors. They have a lot to gain.

Back when I worked in advertising, P&G was a client. They had a new herbal laxative called Colac. They knew that breastfeeding mothers were very prone to constipation but avoided harsh chemical laxatives for obvious reasons, so they started marketing samples to members of their Pampers Club (diaper buyers). If they could have given out samples to expectant moms, they would have jumped at the chance. That’s why I mentioned gift baskets. If you think outside the class itself, you will see lots of opportunities to partner. I say, “Go for it, Indy.” 16 months ago

TajLVSome random ideas

What groups do you already belong to that could help you get a class going for their members? PTA? Church? League of Women Voters? Planned Parenthood? DAR?

What local businesses might be very supportive of such a class and perhaps serve as sponsors? Insurance companies? Real estate agencies? Car dealerships? Pharmacies? Dentists? Supermarkets?

What if you could put together a basket of pre-birth supplies that’s given to each expectant mother who takes the class, sort of like Welcome Wagon does for “new arrivals” to a neighborhood? What if you had a class that focused not on the mothers but on the fathers or the siblings? What if you wrote a birthing column or blog that made you an instant expert in the field? What if you had a student intern to help you? What if you studied models of similar classes elsewhere, contacted their leaders and got mentored? What if you had so many ideas you hardly knew where to begin? What if….? 16 months ago

TajLVCholesterol Bombs

aka “deviled eggs” (else, spinach dip). 16 months ago

TajLVBest Friends

Yesterday, one of my best friends “J” passed away. In the 1970s, we served in the Peace Corps together. He used to joke that we shared the same desk, shared the same beer and shared the same women. In truth, we had many adventures together. Later, when I moved to Japan and married a Japanese woman, he was our witness. Then, when he moved to Japan and married a Japanese woman, I was his best man. I used to joke that he kept following me around and copying me. We both had two daughters, too. But by the 1990s, he had returned to the United States and our relationship waned. By 2003, we had something of a falling out. It saddens me that we never patched things up. For so long, we had been there for each other. Best friends are rare. I feel most fortunate to have had J as mine. R.I.P., my old buddy. R.I.P. 16 months ago

TajLVThis is why

I have not been to a dentist in over 5 years. Just before I lost my insurance coverage in 2007, I was looking at dental work that would have cost me about $2,000 out of pocket. I was prepared to follow through on that, but once the coverage was gone, I knew it would cost even more.

Today, I had new x-rays taken, got the troublesome molar extracted and had one quadrant thoroughly cleaned at a cost of $200. That much I could handle. The dentist then wrote up a schedule of all the additional work required, including five more extractions and bridge work totaling $10,698 if I did everything she recommended.

Ain’t gonna happen. Unfortunately, I have other health concerns that are more pressing. And until the Affordable Care Act makes my health care affordable, I’ll just have to keep tackling one dilemma at a time. 16 months ago

TajLVA step

I’ve been very bad about this goal. And I don’t expect to complete it this year. But I do have a molar that is telling me it needs to be extracted, so I’ve made a dental appointment for tomorrow … a first small step toward fixing some of my many accumulated physical ailments.

It doesn’t help that I’ve had no health insurance since mid-2007. It doesn’t help that I didn’t trust my last doctor and would never return to his clinic. It doesn’t help that my eye doctor retired from practice and that my dentist moved his office clear across town.

But those are excuses. Little by little, I need to start taking care of some of the more pressing problems before it’s too late. Things break down if not maintained. That’s just the way the universe works. 16 months ago

TajLVAccounts set up

It’s hard to believe how many hoops there are to jump through when getting set up for business banking, especially compared to personal banking. I set up a simple savings account with Chase online in about 15 minutes. Getting this business checking account up and running with CitiBank has taken a week, but at last it is done and fully integrated with a new PayPal business account. I still need to receive our physical checks and get a debit card issued for my partner, but the online banking function is now active and there is money in the account.

Next, I need to tackle all the website related tasks, such as switching domain names over to the company, transferring the hosting to a new server, updating the info presented online and reapplying for affiliate programs under the new company name. It’s like a real job! 16 months ago

TajLVNo, not a boy toy

And certainly not another jerk or co-dependent. Why not a real man? I hear they are good at lifting things … like weight off your shoulders. Namaste. 17 months ago

TajLVYour adventure

reminds me so much of my own first NaNo. Lots of breakthroughs, not the least of which came afterwards when I looked back on how much I had accomplished. You can win, and you will win, simply by keeping up the pace for the final two weeks. But what you are winning isn’t the just the finisher’s prize…it’s all the learning that goes with it. Go calypte! 17 months ago


you are getting it … or is it getting you? LOL17 months ago

TajLVOn several occasions

I have felt a great sense of “belonging” to a group. On one occasion, in my 20s and 30s, it was a group of writers and poets who met once a month. The talks we had got to the core of things that interested me. Some of those persons are still in my life today, albeit continents apart.

Another time was in my 40s, when I first attended a conference of personal historians and discovered how we all seemed to be walking the same path and making the same discoveries. Again, I count many of them among my friends even now.

Most recently, in my 50s and 60s, I have found a “home” within the Sierra Club. It’s a bit different, but similar to the other two experiences. I feel we are all working on something very big and important together. I can meet a member from another part of the country and it feels like we’ve been part of the same fraternity for a lifetime. Communication comes from shared values and it flows easily.

Are these my tribes? I don’t know. Can I be myself with these people? As much as I ever have been able to with anyone, and they have also helped me redefine myself and my priorities. There is a sense of fulfillment in my interaction with them.

Oddly (or perhaps not, being who I am), I’ve been drawn into leadership positions in each group. I feel I can contribute the most when I serve in such a role, but inevitably I also find that after a couple of years I want to step down and pass the reins of leadership and responsibility on to others. Then, like a butterfly, I go my way and seem to land on other flowers.

This is very much how I relate and belong to groups. I’m not sure I could be a community stalwart who serves decades in an organization or within a group. Guess we all must find our own way. Namaste. 17 months ago


I am so not keeping track. This apparently occurred 33 cheers ago. Congrats to whomever got it. 17 months ago

TajLV 17 months ago


I’m taking care of all the minutia of getting this company up and running. One big step was getting our business license. Done. Next was getting our Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Done. Now it is opening a business banking account. I had a meeting with the Branch Manager and a Personal Banker at CitiBank last week. They let me know what paperwork we need, and I now have that in order. All that remains is to find time during banking hours to complete the application. Early next week? 17 months ago

TajLVMy brother, sister and I

scattered my father’s ashes at Arlington in Virginia … probably broke a couple of federal laws, but it was a wonderful bit of closure for us all and fulfilled his desire to be put to rest in a military cemetary. The process of scattering the ashes is a good opportunity for reflecting on relationships. RIP to your mom, TG. 17 months ago

TajLVThere really is

nothing quite like it, is there? Namaste. 17 months ago

TajLVWe won!

The campaign season has ended once again, and this time on a high note. I was at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the gala celebration as Obama’s win was announced. Haven’t heard a crowd roar like that since 1992 when I was at the Skydome in Toronto to see the Blue Jays win the World Series. What a crowd!

The state assembly candidate I was working for won his race 53%-47%. He credited me with the effort that put him over, as I managed a ground team of over a dozen field workers for 14 days of early voting, two days of phonebanking (over 3,000 calls made) and an election day push that included TV and newspaper interviews, canvassing voters as they came to the polls and putting up signage pretty much everywhere in his district. I guess my marketing background can come in handy for such activities.

So much happened during the past two weeks, I could hardly begin to tell it all, but it included a law suit and a car accident. The opponent sought to have our candidate disqualified over a residency technicality (a ploy that didn’t work). On election night, my candidate’s partner was driving his BMW and got T-boned. Fortunately all he suffered were some bruised ribs, but the car was totaled.

The campaign got a huge suite on the 60th floor of THEhotel for the election’s after party. I consumed my fair share of beer. Nibbled on crackers, cheese, broccoli, but couldn’t really eat. My stomach had been tied in knots waiting for the results. It was a day that started at 6:20am for me, and didn’t end till well after midnight.

So…. now I need a day or two to decompress. I slept for three hours this afternoon as part of the process. I’ll miss being with my crew, but I am very much looking forward to getting back into my normal routines. Once every four years is enough. 17 months ago

TajLVMassage schools

often give great service for low prices. Although they typically have the beginning students practice on one another, the ones that are getting close to graduation need more “real life” experience. Worth looking into. Namaste 17 months ago

TajLVAlmost there

For the past two weeks I have been in campaign mode, serving as the field director on a local campaign. Last time, I was campaign manager. It was too stressful. This is fun. I have a crew of more than a dozen energetic youngsters working for me. We have canvassed neighborhoods, electioneered at the early voting polls, phonebanked and put up yard signs. The group has become quite close, and I managed to get them all free tickets to the gala celebration hosted on election night by the State Democratic Party at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Exciting stuff. Lots of stories to tell from encounters with voters. I feel very good about our candidate’s odds of winning… and in Las Vegas, that’s definitely a good thing. 17 months ago


if you keep up the pace of words per day, the little editor in your head will shut up and the words will just flow. Enjoy the process. It can be very liberating … a lot of fun! 17 months ago

TajLVGreat seeing you

I really enjoyed getting together with you for a brew. Next time, Denver?

and you’re buying!18 months ago


We gave a moment of silence for the young man at our Sierra Club meeting last night. Our local staffer will attend his memorial service on Wednesday and arrange with the family to make a donation to a cause of their choice in his name. Time to move on from the grieving and carry on. And I really need to focus on taking care of this long ignored goal. 18 months ago

TajLVStill stunned

A young man I knew killed himself on Sunday. He was just 27 years old. Before he died, he turned off his phone and wrote a suicide note on Facebook.

It took me till today to get over the shock enough to read the note and the 56 comments that followed it, starting with his friends imploring him to call them, hoping it was not a hoax, then calling the police, the false hope of thinking he was still alive, later learning the police had already discovered him dead, then the outpouring of grief from dozens of fellow grad students, members of his National Guard unit, those of us who knew him through the Sierra Club, relatives, old friends…. all of the comments in chronological order, time stamped and recorded for the world to see on his FB timeline.

The butterfly pictured here is art for a tattoo that his cousin is going to get as a remembrance. I’m making it my avatar for a week of mourning and reflection.

I did not see this coming. Nobody saw this coming except the young man, who wrote….

Well I would like to stick around and see what you all have to say, but that would be counterproductive.

PS. The cat is outside, hopefully. She’s nice. Name is Misty. Somebody should come get her.

The cat is safe, my friend. And you are missed. R.I.P. 19 months ago

TajLVIt's official

Last week we formed our LLC. There’s a bunch of paperwork to wrap up before the end of October, including licensing, but we are in the Secretary of State’s database with status listed as active. Off we go! 19 months ago

TajLVNot everyone

is suited to self employment. I tried it in my 20s and failed miserably. I tried again in my 40s and it did not go well. Coming in from the cold, taking a 9-5 that offers benefits is very attractive. Nose to the grindstone, income assured. Something is sacrificed (a bit of freedom), but much is gained. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking of it as security. There is no such thing outside one’s self.

Now, in my 60s, I have discovered how to make self-employment work. It’s a very different kind of stress … positive and uplifting. But if I had not tried and failed twice, I would not know how to make this work. Good luck to you in your choices. They are not absolute. There will always be changes ahead, my fellow Hoosier. Namaste. 19 months ago

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