Really…what CAN I work on during this time off?

What have I been waiting for?

Since I’ve been taking some extended time off still, and one year has turned into four, I’m still searching for meaningful work and increased productivity, I’m thinking that a lot of people will be experiencing that now.

Granted, I’ve had some things going on…bone marrow donation, hip replacement…you know, small stuff.

However, with all that being said, I tell people that are trying to get used to this time “in flux”… “Welcome to what early retirement feels like”.

When I left the full time work force, I was frustrated with the necessity to schlepp on a long commute.  I would say to my eldest sibling: “when they look back on how they used to make people commute, they will consider it ridiculous.”

Now it’s forced upon everyone, and maybe this is the sea change to make it evident to employers.

For me, being in this situation is also about “The Rhythm of the day” and setting goals.  That can be a little trickier than you might think.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to making progress on.


Photo cataloging and tagging

Most younger people might take this for granted today, since they’ve only known digital photos that are often uploaded and saved automatically to the cloud.

But we’ve been taking pictures well before 2000-01, when most of it was developed film.

Elph cameras and advantix film had all types of various printed sizes, that are quirky to store and even more difficult to display in an album.

Finally, there are the odds and end photos from the WAY BACK machine.  Maybe even the occasional black & white photo, or photos of others from previous generations.

My personal goal with this project is to paint of COMPLETE picture from cradle to …well, not grave, but until now.

I’m actually working on another MONSTER post about this topic, entitled….”Who will tell your story?”

Anyway, I use Smugmug photo services and here is my referal link if you happen to sign up.  It costs about $60, but I’ve been happy with them for many years now.

The real power of storing your photos digitally is “tagging”.  Some services will tag your photos automatically and make a “best guess” to an object in a photo.  I’ve never used those services.

I tag all my photo myself, but it lets me get very precise.  Once everything is tagged, if you simply type in “Pizza” it will show the following:

Pizza photography



This kind of tagging can open up new connections and observations that weren’t previously evident.  It can also let you share things, much faster.

Sometimes, I will search for something and then use those photos in a Facebook post and tell a detailed story about the “who, what and where” of the photo or a series of photos.

This will also help in passing the photos on, so they don’t end up in an abandoned trunk at Goodwill.   It’s good to work on your digital legacy.


When we lived in Philly, we lived close to a branch of the National archives, that housed census information.

I became quite the little research scientist, understanding microfilm and fiche more than any human should have to, but it was kind of fun.  It also led me to membership in several different “Historical society’s”.

I was often by FAR the youngest person working on this type of work, but I haven’t touched it in years.

In fact, genealogy as a hobby business has leapfrogged me.  I have 2 file folder cabinets with dossiers on family members that date back to being born in the U.S. in 1811.

I consider the modern services to be a bit cheating, but they can do a lot of the heavy lifting and save a considerable amount of time.

It’s a fun hobby that can be shared with other family members and possibly connect you with new people.

Simpsons Graduate Course

I know you’re probably rolling your eyes on this one… and who could blame you.

Years ago when I was plowing through my coursework for my MBA with dry studies of statistics and finance, I remember looking at other course offerings or seeing an article about

current graduate level courses, and I remember seeing one on the Simpsons and frankly it made me jealous and burned my ass.

I was like…these lucky so and so’s.. I’d kill to shift gears or have some extra time to simply WATCH the Simpsons.  I was so busy with coursework, that a LOT of mainstream entertainment just fell by the wayside.

Maybe because of that course, I slowly started to collect the seasons of the Simpson’s on DVD, in hope that someday, I might be able to plow through them.

I also found a compendium book that detailed the first 20 years of the series, with a detail reference of every reference made within each episode.  It’s actually pretty cool.

You see, I’m kind of a “collector”.  Once I start on a series of anything, I need to complete it.  However, often the original purpose of the collecting will languish for “some day” to be fully enjoyed later.

I want to use this as a little “experiment” to see if I can push myself off my butt and take it to the next level.

I won’t be attending any “comic con” soon, or wearing a big plastic Homer Simpson head either…but I just want to learn about it more deeply.   GEESH…so sue me!


Don’t wait for a pandemic

In reality, these things have been on my “radar” since I left full time work, back in January 2016, and I’ve worked on them in fits and starts.

Like they say about the recent stock market downturn:  This time is different.


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