Life Part Two

The adventures of Fay and Bob as they move beyond the 9 to 5 life

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Southern Weather

One big reason we left MN was because of the long and very harsh winters.   Toward the end, I couldn’t stand being cooped up from October through April, that’s 6-7 months.   I knew SC would be warmer in the summer and much nicer in the winter.  Pretty much there is no winter here, not by my standards.  Don’t get me wrong, ice storms can really mess things up because we could loose power for a week or so, not that this has happened since we are here and we have a back up generator.  Most of the time I just wait a couple days for the ice to melt.

The last three summers we were in drought, up until this summer and it was a challenge.   I told myself this summer I would not complain because 90 degree days are the trade off for no 0 degree days.   Until the last few weeks I have done pretty well.   I do have to admit that the last three weeks of mid 90 degree humid weather has made me irritable.  I’m usually pretty upbeat but find myself snapping at Bob, can’t concentrate and really want to go be outside for just a few moments in the morning or night.   Finally today the weather broke and it is in the mid 70’s, light breeze, all windows open, air conditioner off.   I am loving it.

I know we still have a few more 90 days but now I can look forward to my favorite very long season FALL!   Have a couple fun adventures planned, including a trip to the Carolina Renaissance Festival  which looks to be the same size as the MN Festival.  Going to make it a couple nights at a bed and breakfast on Lake Norman, take a boat trip on the lake, visit some wineries and of course the Festival.



After several months of 80-95 degree weather and living barefoot or in sandlas, shorts and tank tops, when it is 75 I now have on socks, long pants and a shirt with sleeves. Soon I will need a blanket too!



Great trip back to MN

Returned last night from a 12 day trip back to MN.   I spent the first few days at the Silent Witness board meeting.  Great group of board members a lots of good discussion and planning.   bob spent the day at Como Park while I was in one of the meetings.   Saw about 40 people over the long week and slept in 5 different beds so it was a very busy time but so great to see friends and family.   Got unpacked last night and did laundry and grocery shopping today so ready to have a great week.   Bob and I agree we don’t want to go anywhere, see anyone or eat out anytime soon.   Lots of  wonderful people but Bob and I aren’t used to that.  Pictures to follow when I get them off the camera.

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For the birds, Les Miserales and Civil Rights in Greenville

Bob saw this idea in one of his magazines so we tried it and it works. The idea is you fill the cap with water, this is a cap from a gatoraide bottle, and the ants won’t crawl over it and into your bird feeder. Works like a charm.
Keep ant's out of humminbird feeder

Sunday, yesterday, we went to the Upcountry History Museum and saw the exhibit “Protests, Prays and Progress”,  Greenville’s   Civil Rights Movement.   Not a pretty picture but not nearly as bad as some other areas in the South.   Pretty much peaceful protests but plenty of arrests.   Wish I could say it is all behind us but it’s not.   Being raised in the north gave us quite another picture of civil rights, or lack of rights.

They also had a small exhibit on the writing of the Star Spangled Banner music and the war of 1812, which I admit I don’t know about.

After that next door to see Greenville Little Theater LES MISERABLESBob and I were both kind of reluctant to see it but we had season tickets.  We saw it years ago in MN and loved it and not too long ago tried to watch the new movie and after three tries I gave up.   I just couldn’t get into it.

I’m so glad we went.   It was wonderful.   Who knew little Greenville has such talent!  I had forgotten what a powerful story it is, on many levels.

Had my first Chinese cooking class, stir fry tofu and fried rice.   Pretty good.

We drove to New Orleans for a week of vacation a couple weeks ago so will tell you all about that great trip soon.   What a city!   Nice to visit but I sure wouldn’t want to live there.

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Dynamic Aging and more

OLLI Furman classes are done for the regular school year.

My Dynamic Aging class was pretty interesting.   This is a new concept on aging.  The current ideas most people seem to have on retired people and aging is this is a time to relax, play golf, paint basically have a good time and there is nothing wrong with that.

This theory says there is more to this last third of our life than kicking back.    Science has now shown that we can make new neural/brain pathways and the way we do that is when we continue to learn and challenge our self and be open to change because there is certainly going to be a lot of change in our future.  Also, be open to new ideas, more than at any other time in our life.   We need to “live on the edge” of what makes us comfortable.

We talked about these concepts, what is our meaning and purpose in life and how that is different from happiness, how to learn more about our self and our reaction to things.

He is going to continue the class in much more depth next year.   I have awhile to decide if I want to make the time and emotional commitment.

My Characters in History ended featuring Al Capp, the cartoonist, and part two of General McArthur.  My far McArthur was the biggest character.   My grasp of World War Two is pretty limited so I learned a lot.


I sort of flunked out of my core conditioning class.   It was really hard.   I wasn’t the only one, out of about 25 people in the class only 10 finished it.   Disappointed in myself but I was afraid I was going to hurt myself and certainly didn’t want that.

Three classes was too much to take.   I won’t do that again.

Toured the new Greenville Hospital Medical School.  I was blown away with how they are teaching students now.  Very modern, very high tech.  Using the concept of flip learning where you do your reading or assignments at home and then come to school to discuss them and do your homework.

The last Friday class I went to was a speaker that talked about Social Security.   Sure learned some things there.

I will be taking a four week Chinese cooking class in June and am really looking forward to that.


Food, Jazz, Hallelujah and more

Just finished 18 hours of education from Great Courses on “Food: A Cultural Culinary History”.   It literally started with what the cave man ate and moved up to very current times.   There was much history around the history of food and I don’t know when I have enjoyed a set of CD’s more.   I just had no concept of how world history, food, cultures, habits, cooking methods have evolved over time.   Definitely want to hear this again.

Next I started “Elements of Jazz” (think history of jazz) and am almost done with that.   It starts with plantation beginnings of cake walk,  which I had never heard of, goes into ragtime, blues, swing, big bands, modern jazz and the ABC’s of Jazz Improvisation.   The lectures are so interesting and he weaves how what was happening in the country has influenced and been influenced by jazz and then there is all the music he plays.  This one is only about 6 hours and will be listening to it again soon.

Each of these have little books that summarize the information so it is easy to go back and refresh my memory.

Friday was the 3 hour lecture on Leonard Cohen and”Hallelujah!”: God, Sex and Pop Rock.  We could have easily had another 2 hours of discussion.    This link has over 16 million hits.   What an interesting and complicated man.   Truly one of a kind genius.  Appears I am not the only one who doesn’t understand the lyrics, not only for this song but also some of his other songs.   I have never been really good at understanding poetry so that’s part of my problem.  The backup band for him is fabulous.  Check out the music at 3:20.   Is the song about a woman, God, both?   We have been enjoying the DVD of his performance in London a few years ago.

Leonard Cohen

Today we went to the Strawberry Festival in Slater, a tiny town 6 miles from us.   The weather is PERFECT.   There were about 60 craft and other vendors and lots of food trucks and of course strawberries from the nearby farm.   They are delicious.   Have a big supply on my kitchen counter.

Starting at 6 tonight Bob and I will be selling beer and wine at the Travelers Rest Trailblazer Park grand opening.   The beer and wine selling is an all summer fund raiser for the Travelers Rest Artist Alliance.   I think it will be fun.  They will also be having food trucks, a Medicine Show and featuring the Malpass Brothers, country band/Johhny Cash like.   Again, did I mention the weather couldn’t be more perfect.

Hope you are all enjoying your day.


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Hope for our next engineering generation

Last Friday Bob and I went on an OLLI tour of A.J. Whittenberg elementary school of engineering.  That’s right, engineering for pre kindergarten 4 to fifth grade 11 year olds.  It is a new (2010) school in a not so good part of town.   No requirements or tests to get into the school, students get in with a lottery.   There are about 500 students and this year they graduate their first 5th grade class, 70 students.

The Greenville plan is that when these 5th graders graduate there will be an engineering middle school that some can go to so that school opens this fall and 35 of the 70 students will get to go.   When those middle school students are ready for high school there is supposed to be an engineering high school for them to go to.

To say we were impressed is a huge understatement.   They are teaching power point to first graders.   Every class room has a display of the of  the engineering process.

engineering processIt is hard to explain.   All the stem topics (science, technology, engineering, math) along with art and music are integrated together.  So for example, when they study music they are really learning fractions (quarter notes, half notes, etc).   They have leggo robots, every grade has an environmental task at the school. They had a group of 8 students who went to Germany this year for a leggo robot contest.

They are going to plant cotton next year so they can teach students about how hard it is to grow cotton, link it to history lessons and actually harvest the cotton and make it into thread.

Really fantastic.   We are still talking about it.


Then on Sunday we went to Furman to the first:

T2PI: PROGRAMMING & PHYSICAL COMPUTING WITH ANNUAL PROGRAMMING INVENTORS’ EXPO. WEBINARS AND WORKSHOPS FOR ALL AGES AND EXPERIENCE LEVELS! featuring the Raspberry Pi micro computer and Arduino micro controller.  These are not college students.  These are 6-16 year old kids.

This is for kids and teenagers but Bob is really interested too and maybe eventually he might be a mentor to them.    A couple weeks ago we didn’t even know what a Raspberry Pi micro computer was.   It is a very inexpensive ($40) computer that is the size of a credit card.   It is programmed for single use types of applications.   These inventors who are using the card computers are 14 years old!

Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of Raspberry Pi.   It is only a year old and comes from the UK.   The inventor thought they might sell a thousand at the most.   They posted a video on youtube and it got 600,000 hits.   They now sell 10,000 a week and there have been 700,000 sold in less than a year, mainly in North America and Europe.

This is Owen, 17 years old, with the 3D printer he built.

3D PrinterThey have quite a few workshops this summer on 3D printing and raspberry pi so Bob is hoping he can attend along with the teenagers.   He is so excited to be back into the electronics world.  This group has been meeting for less than a year and has about 20 kids who participate.   The teenagers teach the littler ones.  Exciting stuff!

You haven’t seen Sabrina and Smoky lately so I will end with a couple photos of the rest of our family.   We have had this kitty mansion several years and Sabrina sits on the top perches every day but this is the first time she crawled in the little hole.   I think Smoky was chasing her and she went to hide.   It was really cute.   She sat in there for quite awhile.


Both cats like sitting on the perch on the porch.   Here is Smoky enjoying the day.


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Keeping our Minds Active, Drones and 3 D Printing

The winter term of OLLI, Osher Life Long Learning, ended in early March.   Bob and I finished our Southern History class which started a couple years ago in the 1500’s and then slowly moved up to present day times.   I learned so much and have a greater understanding of what made the south the way it is.

For Bonus Classes I coordinated a program on Winston Churchill – The Man of the 20th Century, another person I didn’t know a lot about.    In three hours the speaker could only give us a small glimpse of this man’s life.    Definitely a topic to go back and revisit.

Bob went to an all day class called Hear! Hear!, a program that covered types of hearing loss, features of hearing aids and cochlear implants, telecommunication equipment, smartphone applications and public accommodations. Bob is starting to have some hearing loss but not at the hearing aid point yet. Just something that happens with aging.

We went to an all day class put on by SCORE, Senior Core of Retired Executives, which Artist Alliance sent us to.   A good review of all the resources they can provide to small business and organizations.  My board members were glad to have the information.

I’m on a committee at OLLI to bring our OLLI artist’s works to a long wall display, maybe 30 feet so have met a few times to come up with a plan.   This spring there is an exhibit of a couple dozen water color works of art.   Very impressive what these relatively new artists can do.   There are usually a couple watercolor classes a term, several photography classes as well as drawing and pen and ink.   I am amazed when I see the works.   Another example of  “you are never to old to learn something new.”

Bob made a new friend named Reid and he is very interested in 3 D printing and wanted to work with Bob on getting some type of group going at OLLI.   So far there has been one meeting with about 20 people at it.   We went out to Reid’s home for dinner and met his lovely wife Laura and Reid walked us through what it was like to print something in 3 D with his printer.   They applied for a grant from OLLI to buy a printer and have a class but that didn’t work out, at least not this year.   I haven’t seen Bob so excited about something in awhile.   He and Reid went to a 3 D  manufacturer for a tour and yesterday we went to see a demonstration by a 17 year old student with the printer he built.   That’s what Bob wants to do, build a 3 D Printer.  There is a big 3 D printing company in Minnesota

So all your life you are unaware of something like 3 D printing and now Bob has 4 activities and tours in the next couple weeks that  he will be attending about printing and other technology.   Funny how that works out.  You can start learning more about this at   It’s not as new as you might think, been around since the 1980’s and an early inventor was right here in Greenville    Isn’t that odd?    One of the early companies, still in business,  is 3D Systems, only about an hour away.   Bob and Reid have plans to go there soon.

Wikipedia says this: A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in a new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.

I have been doing some reading on it too and it is going to be a disruptive technology that changes the world, being referred to as the third technology revolution, like the industrial revolution.

We are half way through our Spring OLLI classes.   I am taking Core Conditioning at 9 a.m. on Monday mornings.   Struggling with that.   Using those big bouncy balls to sit on is not easy.  Class also has yoga and lots of stretching.   I know that is all good for me but not easy.   I had hoped my three days a week  of water aerobics would make it easier.   Hate to think how hard it would be if I wasn’t dong those exercises.

After that I have a class called Characters in History where a different presenter talks about someone.  So far I have heard about Leonard Bernstein and  Theodore Roosevelt and Howard Taft.

On Thursdays I have Dynamic Aging, a program to help us come up with strategies for this third part of our life.   Outside the box thinking, which is exactly what we need to be doing. Here is the course description. I think you will be reading much more from me about this.

Dynamic Aging (DA) is much more than an exercise or nutrition program—it is the proactive and systemic process by which a motivated individual can significantly improve their own health, happiness, cognitive capabilities, ability to control stress and pain, develop new meaning in their lives, enhance relationships, become increasingly self-aware, have more energy, and flexibly adapt to rapidly changing life circumstances. This course will minimize formal presentations, maximize student interaction, and produce tangible improvements in life satisfaction/happiness levels for those students willing to apply the skills learned in class.

This is the first term Bob is taking two classes.

The first one is Successful Greenville Entrepreneurs where each week a successful business person comes in to talk to them.   A wide variety of speakers and he is loving it.  3 D printing is coming up in at least one of his tours.

His other class is Science Research at Furman University there are presentations and tours of various science departments as biology, chemistry, environmental, physics and computer science.  Of course 3D printing is coming up.  A recent class with the Physics department was all about drones.  He was pretty excited to tell me about these.  I guess Furman has a pretty well respected physics program, think robotics –  I did not know that.

Enjoy the photos of the drones:






For Friday Bonus Classes I coordinated a trip to West End Coffee Roasting.   Roasting and brewing and tasting coffee is every bit as complicated as making wine!   They gave a fantastic lecture and tour.

I also coordinate a tour of A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School for Engineering.   Yes, you read that right, elementary school engineering.

Also doing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah!”; God, Sex and Pop Rock.   Sound like something you want to come to?

And the last one for me is facilitate a Tour of Greenville Hospital System and University of South Carolina School of Medicine.  It is as new building with cutting edge technology.   Wonder if they are using 3 D printing for medical purposes?   That definitely already exists.

My next posts will be our Anniversary Celebration and what woodworking projects we are up to.  Yes, somehow Bob still has time to keep at that.


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