Are we really what we drive?

March 7th, 2011 by John Morris

When my career job went away, so did my company wheels. My changed situation presented new challenges including how to transport myself.

With no job, there is less need to own a car; but what to do when I had to get around? Several kind friends offered to drive me where I wanted to go, but I didn’t want to impose on them. Sure, I could borrow my wife’s car when she didn’t need it, but I wanted this option at a minimum.

I developed this two-pronged approach:

  1. walking to where I could get what I wanted
  2. riding public transportation for the greater distances

My plan so far has reaped extra benefits:

  1. the walking has given me much needed exercise
  2. at age 65, I could ride the trains & buses for $1 or free.

How much money is my approach saving? The number crunchers have set an average of $8,003 per year to own and operate a car.


By the numbers

March 6th, 2011 by John Morris

As a diabetic, I crunch those all-important numbers: my daily blood sugar readings and the results of a three month long hemoglobin test. But my general practitioner also has me focusing on other equally boring numbers.

One of those numbers is my weight. In my undiagnosed diabetic stage, I went from 175 to 135 in about three months without exercise or dieting. I had suspended belief in an immutable physical fact: an inactive healthy American male defaults to being overweight unless he is sick. I even found the ability to ignore all those other red flags that could only be harbingers of diabetes.

With my diagnosis came oral medicines. I gained control of my misbehaving blood sugars; regained a higher level of energy and yes, gained some needed weight.

My “good” weight zone has been set at 140 to 155, and I’ve lived in the zone for six years. But then insulin came along.

My Doctor warned me all type II diabetics will need insulin if they live long enough. Our pancreases get lazier with each passing month until they decide to stop pushing out insulin at all. At this point, oral meds will not do much good. Simply put, they are not insulin which the body still needs it to chug along.

Kicking and screaming, I went on the “spike”. I learned quickly insulin does the job quite well. With this adjustment, I became a normal healthy American male with that pesky penchant for overweight.

With winter closing down, I believe I’ll shed my winter weight and quickly get back into the weight zone I should inhabit.

Which leaves me with this one quandary: should I buy new and larger jeans?


The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.