Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Rambling New Me

I have sent a recent photo of myself to my family this morning to introduce my new look. I keep having to trim my five week old beard. It’s fun hearing the reactions from people who haven’t seen me for a while. Usually they affirm me and when Christine is accompanying at the time, that’s a bonus. As I told you earlier, this look is not her preferred persona for me. Some of my friends think I am keeping it to make her mad – not so! She is humoring me but hoping that I will ‘grow’ out of this soon. Candidly it’s far more work to maintain a neat beard that to sweep it off each day.

I am enjoying my concentrated time at art. All kinds of time to paint but I don’t stay at it very long. Too many other activities. The past two days it has been warm and sunny. Here in the lower mainland of BC you seize the moments. When you have an MX5 sitting in the garage anxious for the road, guess what? You get out there. Christine and I have been out driving the back roads and small towns south of the border in Washington State and then here through farm country. We stopped for pie and coffee yesterday on Lyndon Washington. It was $15 plus a tip for a $17 payout, and that’s $20 Canadian now. Our Looney has plummeted in two weeks to .77 against its USA counterpart. Bank of Canada may think the lower dollar helps the economy but it’s not helping mine. I’m retired.

Two weeks ago we were paying $1.50 per litre for gasoline and yesterday I happily filled up at $1.03. We are puppets on a string sometimes. At a buck fifty I would have to confine myself to driving up and down the driveway. Humor aside, I am realizing anew the crushing weight of the cost of things and the disproportionate share of our seniors’ incomes spent on the basics. Gas and food costs keep climbing. I am grateful for Canada’s medical help, even with its shortcomings because many in the US are crushed by medical costs. I know that everyone feels the sting of inflation but retirees on fixed income amounts feel it more severely.
But I am concerned for my children and their children. If the downturned economy is here to stay, different choices will have to be made as to lifestyle and that’s not easy to do when we have become accustomed to instant gratification. Who would have thought one year ago that we would have to reinvent responsible personal consumer practices to protect ourselves against credit card debt?

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