Just Visiting?

Well, that was a refreshing 3-year hiatus! In addition to winding up my long and illustrious career, I got hooked on the 2016 presidential election [actually I got hooked on one of the candidates and his progressive agenda]. One thing led to another and now I am more politically aware and actually participating in the process (not as much as others, but more than before).

With my first year of retirement behind me, I am looking forward to getting more control over my schedule (and over my health). One unintended consequence of my revived interest in things political is that I have not been able to spend nearly as much time as I had planned doing computer programming activities. That has begun to change, but is still being negotiated.


As you can see from the graphic, I have not stopped following international news.

Have a nice day until my next post (hopefully sooner than 2020).


Taking a Refresher Course


I have been brushing up on the basics lately. Decided to go back and start fresh (from the very beginning) by learningĀ all the skills that I use on a regular basis from scratch. It has been a great idea! Along the way I have filled in a few of the gaps in my education. Most of what I need to know can be learned just by Googling [so that is an every day event for me and probably countless thousands of other professional programmers]. Most of my day to day activities are focused on Java, though, so I get rusty on technologies that I only use once in a while (like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, etc.). I am particularly enjoying the course assignments; they give me a manageable project to confirm my skills (or in the case of Bootstrap, add to my toolkit).

The nice thing about taking this course is that I do learn about tools and frameworks and libraries that I wouldn’t ordinarily encounter at work. This course is offered by Udemy. I have taken a few of their courses now and I am pleased with the value for the price. Still watch Lynda.com courses on a regular basis also (and they are the most valuable for my professional needs). Just recently found another course [from Harvard] that you may want to investigateĀ on bits!

Happy coding!

Must have been a Tough Year

Had to do a little maintenance to WordPress this morning and notice that I hadn’t blogged for about a year. Oops! We have been busy with family, friends, financial planning, a little travel and plenty of good old hard work at the office. We decided to tackle the storage problem this year; she did most of the heavy lifting, of course, while I was bread winning. She took about forty years of stuff and squeezed it down to about half its original size! The old obsolete stuff has either been shredded, given away or tossed out. Not quite done yet, but hope to be by year’s end.

We had a visit from our friends Linda and Rick recently and wound up watching the new Christopher Nolan film. The sound track was just a bit too loud for my aging ears, but the story was pretty good. Time magazine gave it a long review which I found worth reading.


We had another (off year) election. Not a very good outcome for FDR Democrats this time. Fortunately we have Netflix, so we avoided about 95% of the political ads.

Paul LePage

Lots of folks retiring this year; saw two of my colleagues and a handful of customers walk away. I am still working (and working on my own retirement plan). Investigated a few possible segues to my aging career. Still learning new things (and relearning new things) at every opportunity.


Terrific animated film by talented Korean animators


My day job still holds my interest but not like it did in the good old days. Waiting patiently to see how things turn out. Meanwhile, the financial picture is coming into focus. It looks like we won’t be rich after all. Good thing I never yearned to own a yacht!

Shout out to the California, Ohio, New Hampshire and Massachusetts folks. Highly recommend The Nut Job!

Waiting for the train to pass


Waiting for the train to pass on my way to breakfast one morning. Waited for quite a while with my stomach growling. It finally passed and I continued on to have a delightful breakfast of Belgian waffles, strawberries, real maple syrup and whipped cream. All while beavering away at my homework!

Snow Birds Get Ready to Take Flight


After a rendezvous at Walden Pond (and brief goodbyes from the Shishovs), we all headed off caravan style to a local pizza parlor only to find that they only had room for half of us. Julie used her magic smartphone and found us a place that could accommodate eleven hungry relatives. I will spare you the pictures as we packed into a lovely suburban pizzeria [check out my Facebook page if you really care] near the spot where the shot was heard ’round the world. I managed to get a few portrait shots in with my iPhone. And a shot of my nearly perfect parallel parking job (on the first try, in traffic, in the rain).


To many of you this may seem unremarkable, but after living outside of civilization for a decade, I think I did quite well to remember how to park this way (plus I had a bit of practice with Aren over the summer).

Piano Lessons Over Skype!


The piano recital was terrific this year. I really enjoyed the first Impromptu by Schubert (Op. 142) and highly recommend it. Next we were treated to a terrific set of Brahms Hungarian dances for piano 4 hands. You have to hear it to believe it; even though I had heard most of them before, it’s hard to beat a live concert. What made them extra special in my view is that the lessons were conducted over the Internet with Skype! Amazing!


You’ll have to content yourself with these You Tube recordings (or purchase them) because the recital was not recorded (except in our minds and hearts). Thanks for including me, Irina!

Go Tell It On the Mountain


Photo of the whole crew by Gale Davison

It took Cadillac Mountain to get us there, but the Jerry-Joe-Don reunion was accomplished on a nearly perfect day for it. It has literally been years since we all got together (and much water has passed under the bridge). Gale took this great picture and even managed to be in it!

It’s hard to beat the location (despite the hectic pace and even with rain for several days during the week, we all had a great time). We even had Maximum Meat with Jalapeno Corn Bread at the brewery just before heading back. We got a private guitar concert and I nearly got wiped out on the chessboard. Whew! And now summer is over.

I’ll leave you with one last parting shot taken just before the skies opened up on our last day on the island.


“Foggy Sunset at Seawall” by Don Smallidge (gently cropped)

Don’t Quit Your Day Job


I know what you’re thinking. But after several hours of trying this is the best I could do! Perhaps after I retire I can spend a bit more time fiddling with these tools. I needed to use Pixelmator, Acorn and Photoshop Elements to get this far, but clearly there is a lot more to it than I have been able to grasp so far. I think the graphic artist community can breathe a sigh of relief. There will be no challenge from this quarter in the near future. But I hope it tickles the intended audience all the same.