Lunch with friends, a rare occasion for us.
Rick and Teresa, aka Redheaded Woodpecker and Bimbo by Day, are, like us, Hash House Harriers, members of the infamous running and partying group (Not a Cult®). We owe many of our best and lasting friendships to the hash, Rick & Resa very much part of that exalted circle. The four of us are getting together again in a few days, this time at our house for one of Donna’s fabulous dinners.
Some time this weekend, my pen pal Bill (aka Gopher, also a hasher) and wife Terri (Pigs in Spaaaace!) will pull into town with their giant 5th wheel RV in tow, planning to explore the area for a few days before moving on to winter nomad mecca Quartzite, then (if they can come up with the required documents) Mexico. Our Amazon delivery guy has invited us to his retirement party, and there’s a Christmas party at another friend’s house the same weekend. We’re venturing pretty far out of our hermit lifestyle this month, which’ll also include a short visit by our grandson Quentin, flying down for two days just before New Year’s.
Happily, there’ll be a few quiet homebody days amidst all the excitement. I’ll try to take advantage of them to blog, and more importantly, compose our annual Christmas-slash-New Year’s missive to friends and family. I started the morning by drafting an outline, just like in high school:
- the kids
- talking about moving, still here for now
- home improvement
- travel plans for 2024
As ideas occur to me I’ll add bullets, then start fleshing it out. The goal, as always with Christmas letters, is to fit it on one side (the side with seasonal decorations to be sure) of a single page, with room for a hand-scribbled signature at the end and maybe a personalized p.s.
The dogs, initially hostile, are now merely curious about our neighbor’s Christmas inflatable:
This one’s right across the street, so it’s become familiar and they no longer bark at it. The ones farther down the street are still kind of scary, though. Speaking of seasonal decorations, we passed on our son’s offer to string lights along the eaves during his Thanksgiving visit. We still have the giant Christmas tree-style bulbs we hung from the branches of the palo verde tree one year, and maybe we’ll ask our daughter Polly to grab a ladder and put them up again. Otherwise, like most of our neighbors, we’re whatever one calls the opposite of the Griswolds.
In wrist-related news (you knew I’d get to that, didn’t you?), here’s my current collection (minus a couple of cheap beaters kept in a dresser drawer). These are the watches I like to show off. Seven are automatic self-winders, four are quartz, and one has a “meca-quartz” movement, a bit of both. They’re mostly Japanese (five Seikos and one Orient), with two from China, one from Switzerland, and three American Timexes (but made in the Philippines).
Two of the watches are homages: the Seiko at top left is a 2021 limited edition styled after the famous Seiko Pogue of the 1970s (second from left, bottom row); the Pagani Design just arrived from China (third from left, bottom) is nearly identical to the even more famous Omega Speedmaster, the watch worn by Apollo-era astronauts. It’s not a fake — if it was, the dial would say “Omega,” not “Pagani Design.” I don’t think I could bring myself to wear an outright fake, but I’m fine with an honest homage.
My two favorites are the Pogue and the Breitling (top right), both given to me by Donna at different stages of our life in the Air Force, with 1,600 hours of fighter time between them. But I wear all twelve, not in strict rotation but depending on my mood. And as you know, I love sharing photos of them.
Seeing them all together, I have to update what I thought were my personal preferences in watches. Until now I would have said I favored light-colored dials over dark ones. Clearly, that’s not true. I also would have said I preferred leather straps over metal bracelets — also contradicted by visual evidence. I would have said I go for simple dials over complex ones, but five of my watches are chronographs with stopwatch functions, and another two have extra hour hands to track Greenwich Mean Time. One thing’s true’s for certain, though: I’m Team Analog all the way.
A friend recently asked me to explain a phrase I sometimes use to sign off on blog posts. One of the reasons I’m so wordy in these posts is that I like to make things clear. So here you go … got it now?
Stay fresh, cheese bags!