Five Days to Retirement

ThePixelman / Pixabay

The flight from Las Vegas to Baltimore was smooth and on-time. It was the last flight before retirement and the culmination of an enjoyable week. Enjoyable not because I bowled well, but how does one not enjoy Las Vegas? My performance on the lanes disappointed me. My scores were the lowest in several years at this tournament. One of my teammates reminded me there is always next year.

Away from the lanes, the casino offered gambling and food. Gambling is not my cup-of-tea, but I do like food. At the breakfast buffet, I settled for a meat lover’s delight of an omelet. The evening buffet spotlighted prime rib. My wife and I had prime rib often enough we passed on it when we were out last night with friends. There were other options such as Mongolian, Italian, Mexican, and seafood. So much for eating.

vineszoocontact / Pixabay

My gambling this year was a few hours feeding the slot machines. When the week ended, I declared victory. I had money I left with a few dollars more having beaten “Lost Wages” (Las Vegas.)

The reason for the trip was to bowl in the Military Championship. I did not burn up the lanes this year. I could blame the conditions, but it was my sub-par performance. Excuses, none.

When not bowling, playing the slots, or eating, I was editing my novel or reading a favorite author. My work-in-progress is coming along slowly but surely. Of the aspects of the writing craft, the one I appreciate is how challenging it is to edit something I wrote.

The author is Joel Shepherd. The current read is the third in his The Spiral Wars series. Aside from the storyline, I am impressed with the descriptions of the starship, locations, and alien races. Space fantasy is not my preferred genre, but I enjoy this series.


geralt / Pixabay

I reach another life milestone the end of this week. 26 January 2017, I retire once more. It is the culmination of 51 years service in Navy and to the Navy. Time to stop.

If you have been to Las Vegas, tell me if you left richer than you arrived. Discounting for the cost of room and board, I did.

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Viva Las Vegas

The flight was one of the more interesting ones I have flown in years. We settled in exit row seats to prepare for the five-hour flight. A few moments later, a man in the row behind us called, “April.” She was in the row ahead of us. He inquired if she was ready for her first plane ride.

He was part of a large group making the trip. Others suggested she relax, and not worry about crashing. They related undesirable events that might happen to the flight. None of them seemed to upset April.

-gerry- / Pixabay

April expressed her only concern during the landing phase. As we descended, she noticed water drops coming from around the window. She said the window was leaking. Her seatmate told her not to be concerned. After we landed, the attendant called out April’s first flight, and everyone cheered her.

Gold Coast Casino

Now, we are here and enjoying the life of a transient in a Las Vegas casino. It is not like you see on television or the movies, at least not where we are staying. This casino is rows upon rows of money-taking slot machines and table games. Many have someone before them hoping to win a small fortune. Some dobut most are lucky to break even.

I am here to compete in the tournament. The side benefit is chatting with people I haven’t seen in a year. Among these are the four friends on my team. Each is from a different state. It was nice to catch up with them. I enjoyed “bragging” I am retiring this month.

Military Championship Bowling Tournament

laterjay / Pixabay

The tournament starts tomorrow. I hope to bowl well and win. The caliber of competitors makes it unlikely I will win an event. However, bowling well means scoring as well as I do at home. Winning is succeeding at bowling well.

Time to enjoy some fun offered at the Gold Coast. Wish me well on the lanes and at the slots. Breaking even on them is another way of winning, though that is less likely than winning on the lanes.

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Learning from a short-short story

short story

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Several months ago, I found a short-short story contest. The story had to be 1500 words or fewer. Entering  it was an opportunity to take a break from editing my two first drafts and write something new.

What to write?

I have confessed in an earlier post my jealousy for writers with great imagination. Suffering from the shortage, I was on the verge of skipping this contest.

Frustrated I lacked a topic; I went back to editing one of the first drafts. When I cut, if the amount exceeds a paragraph, I add the material to the end of the draft. It was here I found the idea for my short-short story.

How difficult could it be?

Owning an idea, time to turn it into a story. As with my novel drafts, I didn’t create a detailed outline. I wrote the first draft from introducing the cast to finale unconcerned for word count. The result was a 5000-word draft, exceeding the word count allowed by the contest.

Lessons learned

Editing the story to send to the contest was a trip as my grandson would say.

The first cut was to remove extraneous location description. I started the story with the protagonist entering the town. Instead, I placed her near her destination which eliminated hundreds of words.

Next, I revised the destinations description to add character to the building. In doing so, I could show elements of the antagonist’s personality. This saved more words later.

Reordering events eliminated more words and tightened the story.

Rewriting the conversation between the three cast members increased the conflict while losing words.

Now the word count was under 1500.

Beta Readers

Three friends read the story and each provided thoughts for improvement. Some of their comments made it into the submission; others didn’t.

The wait

Khamkhor / Pixabay

The story is with the judges. Is it good enough to win, likely not? But I would be ecstatic to place.

I am considering posting the story once the contest is over. Would like to read it? Let me know.

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Happy New Year

Maialisa / Pixabay

Happy New Year to you and yours. As the ball drops in New York City on 2017 and Baby New Year brings in 2018, my wife and I will be watching on television or sleeping through it. We will soon know which.

The Year 2017

2017 was an interesting year. I started the year with the goal of having a novel to beta readers. I missed because I underestimated the effort required to edit one to that point. Though I did send off a short-short story to a competition.


I started the year planning ending it retired with 31 December as the last day working a full-time job. I didn’t keep it either. Now the day is 26 January. They hired a replacement ensuring I can leave without regrets.

geralt / Pixabay

Everyone who learns I am retiring either asks the same question or makes the same suggestion. The question asked is, “What will I do now?” The suggestion is, “I need to keep busy.” To the question, I reply I have plenty to do. I will continue my current activities and use some of the newly available hours to complete some house tasks, travel, and write. I answer the suggestion with the list of all I plan to do after I retire. Not forgotten is downtime. Relaxing!

The year 2018

I called my site, “Fall of My Life” because I think of the past few years as just that – fall of my life. Having passed 70, it is time to move on to the “Winter of my Life.” Sometime next year, I will revamp the website to reflect the image of one celebrating the white-haired days of his life. (Actually, the white hair has been around for more years than I admit.)

Happy New Year! I wish you the best in the coming year, be safe, and healthy. Thank you for your support this year and hope to see you visit in the next. I most look forward to your comments.




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Christmas Eve – Santa’s coming

Christmas Eve

StockSnap / Pixabay

Tis Christmas Eve and it resembles a cold fall day at our home. The weather is clear and warmest it has been in days. Miles north, it has been cold with freezing rain or inches of snow. A wintry mixture is worthy of the season.

We are fortunate our travel to spend the holiday with family is short. Our Son’s family, who we will visit with today lives a short forty minute drive away. We will load the presents and other goodies soon. Tomorrow we will share the day with our Daughters family who lives next door. God blessed us with hale and heathy children, son-in-law and daughter-in-law, four granddaughters, and three grandsons. That we have our health to enjoy them is another great blessing.

This summer we bought a SUNSEEKER recreational vehicle. It is a mobile home-on-wheels which we took on an excursion to Texas. The test drive proved its worth, and we look forward to many trips starting when the weather is fit. Until that day, it sits faithfully beside our house ready at an instant. Spring will come soon enough.

Our trip planning will no longer have to be scheduled around my work vacation since I retire in January. After over 17 years in the same job, a long time for a contractor to the government, we will be free to go anytime. This life change is exciting to anticipate.

It is time for my wife and me to load the presents in the four wheel sleigh and be off to play Santa on Christmas Eve.

Marisa04 / Pixabay

Time passed.

We played Santa and had a wonderful time. We are back in our nest waiting for the morrow when we get to be Santa once more.

Before we go, Lori and I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas day. Be safe during this and the coming days. And remember that I enjoy hearing from you.

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A short story time

Ramdlon / Pixabay

December 13th is a day I likely will never forget. It is the day I sent my first writing to a short story contest. February 28, 2018, is the next date to never be forgotten. The day they announce the winners. What is the likelihood that my story will win or even place? I have read others describing the anxiety caused by the wait. Push me good wishes.

Perhaps someone would like to know how I came up with the short short story. Actually, it wasn’t that difficult to create 1500 word story if you have scraps left from a draft. My story was built from several hundred words excised from the draft written last November. It caused problems with the draft’s timeline. Pulling it removed this burr in the story line.

I read that material removed during editing should be kept. I kept it, and it became a story fit for a short short story contest. How fit will be known February 28.

Today is day 39 until 26 January 2018. 39 days until I become unemployed, voluntarily. 39 days until I don’t have a paying job. 18,686 days since I joined the Navy. 9,462 between my retirement from the Navy and my retirement from working as a contractor. Some day, my children might calculate the number days between this retirement and my internment. Hopefully, it will be a sufficiently large number allowing me plenty of enjoyment after my second retirement.

Pipeline Columbus Fall Classic

An aside, the Pipeline 2008 Boys Red team lost its indoor match this week. I missed the game but the head coach said the boys played a good game.  Technical development during the winter session is the goal. Winning is secondary since this is not a league or tournament.

thommas68 / Pixabay

This is the snowy time of year, this year in Maryland. There is a possibility of a white Christmas. Do you celebrate Christmas? If you do, have you completed preparations? Are the gifts bought, wrapped, and ready for delivery? Have you decided on the meal for the day? Tell me how you will spend the day.

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Advantage of a fertile imagination


Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay

I envy those who have a fertile imagination and have little difficulty finding a topic to blog. I, on the other hand, sit in my recliner staring at the blank computer screen. I sit wishing the words will write themselves, but my wish is in vain. Nothing appears until I strike the first key.

Fortunately, blank screens only happen one day a week. On other days, I create memorandums, instruction guides, respond to incoming emails, and other documentation required by my job. The words flow unfettered by fear because I’m comfortable. Comfort makes it easy.

As with blogging, writing a short story or novel requires imagination and courage. Imagination to conceive the story and fortitude to struggle through to the end. Of my three works-in-progress, only one is complete and shown to beta readers. It is a short story prequel to one of the two novels. The three beta readers liked it and had few recommendations for changes. The story is as complete as I could make it. I await an editor’s review. Her thoughts provide insights that will apply to the following novels.

StockSnap / Pixabay

The novels are coming along well. I mentioned last week I would do at least a page per day of editing. I found that once I sat down to do a page, I stayed longer and often edited three to five, never just one. Week after week of minimal progress is required.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Pipeline 2008 Boys Red boys. They played this weekend and lost. Such will occur from time-to-time. Every game is a step forward, win or lose, as the boys learn and grow.

If you are looking for a blog with well-written posts on a variety of subjects, I recommend Elizabeth Drake’s blog. Leave a comment to let her know you visited.

Until next week, be safe and enjoy the winter holiday season. Let me know you stopped by.


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