Vacation Time Again!

Today is my last day in the office for a little over two weeks. Of course, I’ll still be doing quite a lot, but it won’t be in the office. I’ll see you again on July 15th. In the meantime, it’s time to rest for a while and recharge my batteries so I can continue to do a great job helping you with various technology and self-sufficiency issues. I’ve written about the need to unplug before and I highly recommend that everyone do it from time-to-time. Life is too short to spend all of it in front of a computer monitor .

In the meantime, if you do encounter problems with one of my books, please be sure to check the blog posts I’ve provided. Each one of my current books has its own category with a number of helpful posts about issues readers have encountered. If the posts don’t quite do it for you, be assured that I’ll start reviewing and answering e-mail the moment I return. I want to be sure you have a great reading experience and discover as much as you can.

While you’re reading, I’ll be fishing and gardening (amongst other things). There will be a picnic or two and barbecuing every day. The annual puzzle is a big event (and I may actually review the puzzle when I get back). Most of all, I’ll spend the time with my lovely wife, and that’s the most important part of all.


Christmas, a Time for Family

It was about this same time last year that I was preparing to shut down for the holiday season. Every year I look forward to this time of unplugging myself from all of the technology that entangles me the rest of the year. In fact, I wrote about it last year in Learning to Unplug. Taking time off provides a change of pace, makes life more enjoyable, and gives you purpose.

I was also looking over the poetry I’ve published in my blog in the past. I hope that you’re able to take time to read Christmas Remembrances and that you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Christmas truly is a time of remembrance—a time to think of what is past, what is today, and what may come tomorrow.

For the first time in a long time, Rebecca and I will actually be able to travel a bit this holiday (day trips, but travel anyway) and we plan to see some of our family during the holiday season. It’s my sincere hope that during this time of Christmas that you’re able to spend time with family and friends—that you take time to reflect a bit and unwind from your work. If you’re traveling, as we are, please travel safely and don’t be in rush to get wherever you’re going. Your family will wait and will most definitely want you to arrive safely, even if it means arriving late.

I’ll be back online on January 3rd this year, which is a bit sooner than normal. If you send me any e-mail, please be assured that I’ll answer it as quickly as possible when I return. In the meantime, please be patient and check out the blog posts for your book. It may be that my blog already has the answer you need.

Thank you, one and all, for the support you’ve lent me this past year. Writing technical books wouldn’t be very enjoyable without caring readers. You’re the reason I continue to work as hard as I do. I look forward to working with you on some amazing new ideas this upcoming year!


Summer Vacation

I normally take vacations twice a year.  The first time is during the Christmas holiday (see Learning to Unplug). The second time is at the beginning of summer. Our Christmas holiday is definitely the more restful of the two.

Summer vacation usually means getting out into the garden every day to weed and then there are animal needs to address. We’ll process a certain amount of food during this time as well. This is the time of year when we’re starting to see the benefits of having our garden. However, there is normally so much work to do that I really do need the time off in order to help Rebecca manage it all. So, the vacation part comes from not going into the office each day to write.

It’s not as if we won’t take some time off. There will be a few days where we go fishing first and do chores later. After all, even we have to have a bit of fun . Summer is the time for picnics, so we’ll probably go for a picnic or two to one of our favorite spots. Every summer vacation we also have some activities we do, such as putting together the annual summer jigsaw puzzle. It’s a fun way to spend a bit of time when we decide it has gotten too hot outside and want to spend a little time in the coolness of the house. Of course, kicking back in my hammock under the big maple tree next to the garden Rebecca has created for me is quite nice too.

The one big thing we do every summer vacation is barbecue every day. Normally I make the meat dish every day and Rebecca makes up a vegetable to go with it. Sometimes I cook both the meat and the vegetable dish to give Rebecca a day off cooking. The smell of roasted meat is a mighty nice way to spend an evening meal. I’ll use a combination of herb seasonings from Rebecca’s garden, butter or olive oil, and selected woods to give the meat a special taste.

This summer vacation will hold something special for me. I have an abundance of construction wood this time, so I’ll probably take a bit of my time out of the office to put up new shelving in our larder. Rebecca currently lacks a good place to put empty jars without cluttering up the shelves containing food. In addition, there have been times where we had such an abundance that we had to scour locations to put it all. The new shelves will ease some congestion.

We’ll be back to work on July 17th. If you have any questions regarding my books, please be patient and I’ll answer them when I get back. In the meantime, don’t worry if your email message goes unanswered. I assure you that I’m not going to ignore you. Happy computing!


Learning to Unplug

It’s the last day of the year for me. I won’t be writing any new blog entries in until next year. Rebecca and I take each Christmas off and don’t come back until after Epiphany, which is the actual 12th day of Christmas (just in case you were wondering about the songs that use it). If you send me an e-mail, I won’t respond until January 9th-the first work day after Epiphany. I completely unplug while on vacation and you should too. Here are the top reasons I unplug during my down timeperhaps you’ll find a reason that works for you.

  • Rebuilding Our Marriage: Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m devoted to my wife. I consider my marriage far more important than any other element of my life here on earth. Rebecca patiently waits for me the rest of the year, but vacations are devoted to her and our marriage. I look forward to our time together and count the days until we can spend time doing something interesting together.
  • Focus on Family, Friends, and Neighbors: My family has always been good about working around my schedule. There are times during the year where I simply tell them that a book deadline is far too important to visit with them and they understand. My closest friends and even my neighbors are equally cognizant of my need to work. I try to make up for the lack of attention during the rest of the year with visits throughout vacation.
  • Personal Health: I want to provide my readers with the best service that I can. That means taking care of my personal health: spiritual, mental, and physical. Disconnecting from everything gives me time for self-reflection and helps me to grow as a person. It also provides me with much needed rest. No one can do a job well unless they have received the proper rest and nourishment.
  • Organizing Personal Finances: Believe it or not it is never too early to sort out your retirement plans. I have been doing lots of research into retirement planning on websites like Key Advice and have decided that I might release some equity from our home to fund my retirement. In case you were not aware, equity release is a way for homeowners aged 55 and over to release tax-free funds from their homes without having to move. It is an increasingly popular way for people approaching retirement age to boost their finances. This makes it one of many finance options in retirement for those who are looking to make a retirement plan. In fact, a friend of mine recently decided to release some equity from his home so I must remember to ask him for some advice about what to do. Apparently, nowadays you can even use an equity release calculator to work out how much money you might be entitled to claim. Naturally, I am very interested to see how much money I might be able to claim from my own property. Furthermore, although no one likes to think too much about no longer being around, I have also established who I want to take on the responsibility of lasting power of attorney over my estate. After talking to a solicitor and writing a will, I found some brilliant estate planning resources online that explained how to establish an LPA. You can take a look here if you would like to learn more:
  • Personal Projects: It seems as if too many people wait until retirement to work on anything fun. I’m not planning to wait. During vacation, I take time to work on personal projectsthings I want to do for the sheer pleasure of doing them. I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to retire anytime soon, unless an injury or some other unforeseen issue makes retirement necessary. So, I plan to do a few of these projects while I’m still able to do them. Vacation provides the opportunity.

During this holiday season, whatever your beliefs or wherever you live, I hope that you take time to unplug. Do something interesting, exciting, spiritual, or simply satisfying. The world of work will still be here when you get backyou’re truly not indispensable. It may seem as if the world will come down around your ears if you disconnect, but that’s a lie. I’ve been doing it for many years now and nothing terrible has happened. I have no cell phone, no computer access, no connectivity of any kind to impede my efforts to relax and recharge.

Rebecca and I will spend the next two weeks putting puzzles together, baking cookies, working on crafts, and sitting by the wood stove reading. We’ll spend part of the holiday in church, addressing our spiritual needs. Yes, there will even be some movie watching on our television, but that’s going to take second place to getting reacquainted after months of hard work writing, gardening, and generally making a living. Of course, I’ll need a little exercise after my lack of restraint in holiday eating (I hope my doctor doesn’t see this), so I’ll do a little wood cutting too. I’m sure that we’ll spend plenty of time with family, friends, and neighbors as well. See you next year!