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Old Town Key West – O! The Garden Club!

November 19, 2011

O! The Garden Club!


Old Town Key West – From Our Corner

November 18, 2011

New post at the OTKW blog site:

From Our Corner

Please note that we will provide links for the remainder of this month from the G&B site, migrating to OTKW on December 1st.  if you wish to follow OTKW, please subscribe/bookmark, etc.


Chuck and the Pheebs. 

New Blog – Old Town Key West!

November 17, 2011

Here’s the latest – a blog about life in Old Town Key West.

Old Town Key West

Just click on the link and it will take you there!





November 15, 2011
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I’d miscalculated the time involved.  After allowing for the +15 hour adjustment, total travel time was 24 hours door-to-door.  Pretty uneventful trip, which is the best kind in my opinion.  The plane arrived an hour early due to 130 MPH tail winds which allowed speeds of 650+ MPH.

I was carted home most graciously by our neighbor Jan (Yaan).  Upone rolling up to the house I was greeted by decorations in my honor:

Seems a good portion of the neighborhood has become accustomed to my presence.

Two banners were needed for all the salutations.

I’m not the kind of guy who “collects” friends.  Something about growing up on a dead-end street, spending summers in the north woods.  I’m not accustomed to these sorts of things.  Having said that, I watched a TED presentation on Living to 100+, and one of the key tenents of productive longevity is a solid social network of 6 or more friends.  According to the presenter, the average number of close friends in the US is down to less than 2; 6 or more are beneficial to one’s mental health.   If this is true, I am on a road to long life.

Thank you all – I really do appreciate it!

I woke up after a few hours of sleep, greeted by Key West sunshine and deep blue sky.

Backyard vegetation a sight for sore eyes.

Guam’s coconut trees were prolific  – yet there’s nothing like having your own.

Dorothy was right – there is no place like home.


In Transit

November 14, 2011

Today’s a travel day.  I’m writing from Tokyo’s Narita Airport, a model of efficiency in a chaotic world.

If all goes well, I should be door-to-door in 21 hours.  The problem is – I’ve a narrow transfer window at Hartsfield Airport, and if I miss it, I’ll have to spend the night in Atlanta.  The last two trips I’ve heard about from Atlanta to Key West (made by neighbors) resulted in an overnight.

I hope not – wish me luck.

From Japan,


True to Myself

November 13, 2011

Day in, day out I’ve asked many questions, I say
Only to find the truth, it never changes, I say
If you don’t deal with it, it keeps killing you a little by little, I say
Call me selfish if you will, my life I alone can live, I say, I say, I

Got to be true to myself, got to be true to myself 

– “True to Myself”, Ziggy Marley.

Three months. Actually, it’s more like 3 and a half; nearly 15 weeks.

This has been the longest the Pheebs and I have been apart in 25 years of marriage.

Frankly, it stinks.  I’m not doing it again, unless it’s a matter of life and death.

I’ve lived a life not unlike that of a monk for the past 15 weeks.  A spartan apartment, no television, largely cut off from friends and family save for a few minutes of contact at the beginning and end of the day.  Not much food (personal choice and it’s gone well, thank you) and little more than water to drink.

It’s given me time to think.



1) I’ve not taken as good care of myself as I should have.  It’s been something put off for another day; an assumption it’s something “old” people have to do.  As I approach my 51st birthday, it may no longer be ignored.  Like a relationship, it’s something one must work at every day.  Vertebrae in my lower back shall be a reminder of this to the end of my days.

2) I’m not living on the mainland.  Ever. Again.  Island life suits me just fine.  No, not the come-into-town-over-a-weekend-and-drink-one’s-brains-out island life, but island life where everyone knows everybody, and people take care of their own.  It’s what life was like in Small Town America before the advent of McChainStores/restaurants/services/TV.

I had a vivid dream as a teenager about a place, a place with wood frame houses close together and white picket fences.  A place where people spent time on their front porches, a place where colors are bright and personalities vibrant.  Thankfully it’s on an island, an island called home.

That – and I don’t have to wear socks.  I hate socks.

3) I like being the captain of my own ship.  I was an owner in a mid size corporation once, and I liked it.  I liked being able to chart the course.  I liked being responsible for a staff of people whose livelihood depended on my navigation skills.  I had the helm during some of the toughest times in the industry we served, and I’m very proud of the fact we made money without laying anyone off.  

4) Conversely, I’m not a large corporation guy.   Too many rules and regulations, with an emphasis on what cannot be done as opposed to exploring the art of the possible.  If it’s not something we’ve done before, the pat answer is always no.  The folks who get ahead?  Aside from the few at the top charting the course, middle managers excel by attending as many conference calls as is humanly possible.  Not my style.  Nothing much gets done on a conference call.

5) I enjoy helping people – making a difference, so to speak.  The best part of the work day were the mornings, as they were spent walking around the office just seeing how everyone was doing.  Some days this took 15 minutes, other times took half a day.  While I’m making a difference now (I believe) the linkage between action and reward is so tenuous as to be rendered insignificant.

I need to true to myself.  I’m out of balance.

I think sometimes we opt to immerse ourselves in some aspect of our lives in an effort to drown out the voice which says, “Hey! This ain’t right!”  Some people immerse themselves in work, others opt for affairs and some simply self medicate.  Each one a dead end.

So – that’s my task for the remainder of the year.  Figure out how to be true to myself.

I’m fortunate to be able to do this at the Star of the Sea with the woman I love.


7,500 Page Views and other Ruminations

November 12, 2011

Yet another milestone has been acheived this week – 7,500 page views.  It’s noteworthy, as it occured mere days before departure.  This has been a blog for family and friends; a way to keep interested folks abreast of life on this side of the world.

I’m shocked at the number of photos which have been taken; in three months of solo living, over 1700 photos have been saved, with perhaps about 300 deleted.  Two thousand photographs over about 100 days – that’s 20 shots a day.

I have become a better photographer for this, composing shots in my head in an effort to capture the essence of a place far beyond what a mainlander considers mainstream.

I tried to capture the essence of the place so as to give the reader a feel for what it’s like to be here – to experience this place, this Guam.

There is a rugged beauty, and it is sure to remain a part of my consciousness for the rest of my days.

I think it a place on the verge of discovering itself.  Long a military outpost, Guam is seeing a resurgence of Chamorro culture – a good thing.  At the same time, the current administration is in process of weaning itself from the federal government dole, choosing to focus its attention on Southeast Asia, Russia, and ultimately China.  With abundant natural beauty coupled with a part of the workd curious to ‘”see” the USA, Guam is well positioned to surpass Hawaii as a Pacific tourist destination a quarter century hence.

As the world’s growth engines shift southeast, Guam is at the doorstep.  I’m already hearing an increase in the Chinese language on the beach, and saw more Russians in the past week than I have all year.  This bodes well for the future of the island,

assuming pristine places remain the way they are.  I sure hope so.

This represents an end of sorts.  I’ve but one more full day left on Guam, returning Monday to the funk, color and camaraderie of Key West.  No decision has been made whether to end this blog – or – to start another one featuring a Lower Keys perspective.

In any case, the sun is setting on one of life’s chapters.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share the experience with you – trust you’ve enjoyed it.