Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Oh Uriel, if I could stop talking about you then don’t you think I would?


There’s an old episode of ‘Maude’ where an old college friend comes for a visit over the holidays.  She presents Maude with a gift, a framed, portrait-sized photograph of our favorite 70s feminist from her younger days.  Maude is delighted and runs to show her husband Walter.  “Look Walter, this is me at 17!  I told you I was beautiful!!” 

Walter looks at it and says “Wow Maude, you really were—who knew?!” 

Maude’s deadpan reaction always cracked me up good and thanks to my feisty Russian neighbor Uriel, more & more I’ve been feeling like a Maude-in-training.  (I wrote about my first encounter with Uriel here, if you’re ever curious to check it out.)  

She’s a slender, attractive 36 year old viper who lives across the hall from me, speaks in LOUD broken English and always leaves me at a loss for words.  I’ve been sharing my encounters with her on Facebook (always a ready audience at hand) but maybe I did that once too often, as now there’s a few who think we’re like Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan in ‘You’ve Got Mail’, adversaries who are fated to fall in love & marry.  So I decided to talk about her here instead!

Here’s a couple favorites, followed with what just happened 2 hours ago.

Doug & Uriel in “You’ve Got Mail”

One Thursday afternoon, I notice Uriel has some packages waiting for her in the lobby.  I knock on her door.  “Hi Uriel—hey I know how you feel about people touching your mail, but you have 3 packages downstairs in the lobby, and one of 'em is a huge box from Macy’s.”

She looks at me for a moment, then says “They are not for me. They for my sister Vulvi.” I say oh, okay.  She says “She arrive on Monday. She can get them.”

  Uriel & Carl the Maintenance Man in “Try, try again”

Back in October, we were told our buildings maintenance man, Carl, would be going door-to-door on Tuesday to do smoke alarm inspections. Carl knocked on Uriel’s door, got no answer—but she had a sign taped to her door (first photo). He said “I know you’re not sleeping, I can hear you moving around in there!”

He returned the next day, knocked on her door again, still no answer—but she did update her sign!

 Uriel & Apt #405 in “Hammer Time”

The woman across the hall asked if she could borrow a hammer. She’s a witch by day, nurse at night. She has witch legs that hang on her door that had fallen off & she was trying to hang them back up with the heel of a shoe, making a LOT of noise.

She says “Do you know that woman who lives in 407?”  I said yes, yes, her name is Uriel.  She says “She’s a hothead! She asked what I was doing, I explained my door decoration had come off and asked her if she had a hammer.  She told me when she calls the police to bring me a ticket, I can ask them for one.” 

 Doug & Uriel in “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”

One night around 1:30 am, I wake up & my bedroom smells like a steakhouse. I come out into the livingroom, open my front door and there’s a thin, greasy smoke adrift in the hallway. Uriel is standing out there, swiping her front door back & forth.  I say very softly “hey, what’s going on?”  She says “Getting rid of fumes from my kitchen.”  I said “Why don’t you open your patio door?”  She said “Because kitchen is closer to front door, ok?” I said “Well, it’s really coming into my place.. you might set off the smoke alarm out here too.”

The door next to Uriel’s opens up, it’s the witch nurse rubbing her eyes.  She quietly asks what’s going on.  Uriel looks at me and says  “Arel you going to wake up everyone now?”  

Anyway, here’s what happened a couple hours ago.  I went down to our apartment building’s lobby to see if the mail arrived. Uriel is down there with a big taped-up box, waiting for UPS and smoking a long brown cigarette.  I said hi, but I guess I made a face because she said “Yes I know... dirty habit.”  I said I understood, I smoked myself several years ago and know how tough it is to quit.  I asked her how long she’s been a smoker. She says “ohhh... let’s see.  Probable 10 days now.”  

Happy New Year, Uriel!

Young Maude

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Mr. Winn (and anyone else reading this post)

A little earlier, my neighbor Mr. Winn (a Korean gentleman around my age) knocked on my door to give me a couple pieces of mail delivered to him instead.  He said “Wow look at all your Christmas cards!”  I said “Aw thanks but it’s not that many—in the good old days I used to get & send twice this.”  He said “Did you send a lot this year?”  I said probably as many as I got.  He said “I did better then you then, I only got 3 but I didnt mail any!”  

Yeah that’s great Mr.Winn, I suppose that’s one way of looking at it.  After he left, I opened the mail he brought—3 more cards from my friends Susie, Elisa & Kim Hall.  Hmm let’s see… counting the 3 cards today, this brings me to 20.  But I only mailed out 17, and my cousin Tracy always sends her photo-card out after Christmas so I’ll be 4 ahead… hey Winn, get back here!  

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 13, 2015

When I look ahead, sometimes it seems a lot to take in

indians watching the railroad

Sometimes I feel a little like those Indians, watching the white man's railroad work itself across the plains.  It just seems in the past week or so, things have been changing, big & small, leaving me feeling uncertain about the future and overwhelmed in the present.

This past Friday marked my one year anniversary of leaving my job at UPMC.  What have I done with this year of freedom?  Not a whole lot of anything.  But is that a good or bad thing?  I guess only I can answer that question, and the problem is I keep coming up with different answers. 

There's one part of me that says "Doug you're only 54, you're not going to just sit there and watch life pass you by, are you?" while another side of me argues "you're in your 50s, you spent 35 years in the workforce more or less and managed to sock away a little money, so what do you have to prove at this point?"   I don't know if I should share this here, but when I was in my teens and twenties my dad (if he had too much to drink) would call me a bum.  "Boy, look at me.  You're a bum."

I just hated that more than anything.  I always thought it was unfair and mean, and now I wonder sometimes if he had me pegged right after all.

So, for the last couple weeks I suppose I've been in a bit of a funk about things in general, and not feeling a lot of motivation to do much of anything besides watch tv, read & sleep.  But again--is that necessarily bad?  I suppose it is when I start coming up with excuses to get out of simple things like meeting a friend for lunch.  (I was supposed to today, wondered what kind of story I could come up with to get out of it, and decided to just tell 'em the truth.)

This past Friday I thought I'd shake things up a little and give my blog a new look.  (Hey, you gotta start somewhere right?)   I came up with a couple different templates, like the one below.

(I'm still deciding; right now ApacheDug's Teepee is in a transitional state.)  But just as I settled on what you're seeing now, and realized I'd have to go back and 'touch up' 255 prior posts because my old format doesn’t translate well to a white background, Google (who owns Blogger) released a statement Friday afternoon that effective immediately, they were no longer supporting Microsoft's blog-writing tool "Live Writer" and us bloggers were on our own.  

(This is my very first post using Blogger's default editor--it's clunky & awkward.)  And while the demise of "Live Writer" was sinking in, the news on my television was about the week's big losses in the market due to falling oil prices and the Fed's plans to raise interest rates on the 15th, and because bad news comes in threes, it was right around then I began hearing an assortment of shuffling sounds and thumps behind the wall behind my couch. 

Aw no--it turns out my neighbors, the best ones I've ever had in this building, were moving out.   Yes, of course I know things could be worse, a lot more than this.  But when you're in a sour mood already... and doggone it, where's the cold temps and snow?  It's two weeks before Christmas and it was 70 degrees today.  Nope, nothing's making me happy!

Well, I've always tried to end these posts on a positive note and while I can't come up with anything at the moment, I can truthfully say I feel a little better after sharing my thoughts here.  I'm certain things will look up soon, and as I finish this, I can hear a train's horn in the distance.  I'm taking that as a good sign.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Yep, here’s my gun—and I’m not afraid to use it

Early this morning while watching tv, I was sipping a cup of coffee and looking down at my carpet & thinking it could probably use a good vacuuming.   So I moved some stuff out of the way, hauled out my sweeper & got to it—but hey, now I couldn’t hear my tv and the King Sisters (from the 1967 holiday special “Christmas with the King Family”) were singing “Have a swingin’ Christmas”, so I grabbed the remote and jacked up the volume.  Ah, better!

I’d just finished the living room, and was now in the hallway leading into my bedroom when it hit me—it’s 8:40 am and I am making all kinds of racket.  The young man who lives next door to me happens to work nights (as an office electrician) and was probably sleeping, or trying to.  I made a whoops face, turned off the sweeper, ran back into the living room, turned down the volume and waited.  Silence; no one was pounding on my front door.  

As I was putting things back in order, I began to wonder about him.  He’s such a quiet fellow, rarely makes a sound over there.  I’ve always taken it as a blessing, but you know what they say about these quiet types… for all I know, he’s over there pounding his fist into his palm, ready to take me out!  Wait, does he own a gun?  All the maniacs have one it seems, and they’re not afraid to use ‘em.  All I have is my phaser from ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ and it’s bark is definitely worse than it’s bite.  Jesus, I’m 54 years old and live alone!  For all I know, I’ve got a killer living next door! 

There’s record numbers of people appllying for gun permits, maybe it’s time I got myself something with a little more firepower!

I know, I’m being silly.  I went back to watching the King Family, and the next time I see my neighbor, I’ll be sure to apologize for this morning’s ruckus.

on my tv

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Where God has His church, the Devil will have his chapel—even on Facebook

SATAN: Hahahahahaha!
JESUS: Why are you laughing, Devil!
SATAN: You said this is your child!
JESUS: Who are you speaking of?
SATAN: Why—the one reading this, of course!
JESUS: Yes… he is mine.
SATAN: Look!  Your child can’t even type “AMEN” in the comments below!
JESUS: Get thee behind me demon, for my child WILL type “AMEN”!


Look familiar?  If you’re on Facebook like the rest of us fools, then chances are you’ve seen this already.  In fact, I’ve seen 4-5 versions of it in the past month.  This latest exchange between this holy/unholy pair was from this morning:

holy chat
If you look at the numbers, you’ll notice that half a million people have clicked “Like” on this.  But hold on, it gets WAY crazier—because the last time I checked, it had close to 1.2  MILLION comments, with no signs of stopping.  That’s a lot of people anxious to do the Lord’s bidding!

(Sadly, it appears that 99.9% posted ‘Amen’ and that isn’t even what Jesus asked for;  He specifically requested AMEN, using upper case letters.  There’s a difference, people!)

One poor soul wrote “AMEN JESUS! AMEN, AMEN!  DID YOU HEAR ME JESUS!! AMEN!”  Dude, calm down—he heard you, you’re safe! 

That is, until next time…Eye rolling smile   

Okay, so why am I sharing this.  I DON’T KNOW.  I just find it surreal & disturbing that this godawful exchange, most likely written by some banjo pickin’ inbred, has managed to get so many people's attention.  And yes I suppose it got mine too BUT ONLY BECAUSE ONE OR MORE OF MY FRIENDS MUST’VE LIKED OR COMMENTED ON IT, CAUSING IT TO SHOW UP IN MY NEWSFEED.  I’ll never know, I’m not about to scroll thru a mllion amens to find out who it was!

A couple weeks ago, one of my friends (Danielle, a heathen like myself) said “I hate Facebook, but I still want to get on there everyday!” I laughed, nodded my head in agreement.  I keep telling myself that Facebook helps me feel less lonely, and these days it seems more & more necessary for keeping up with family & friends, but that’s becoming less and less a thing, and this is becoming more and more.  jesus is seeing whos naughty or nice

Monday, November 23, 2015

Here’s a thing or two that makes me wanna get up and do a happy dance

happy dance


Y’know, it’s easy to get caught up in all the doom n’ gloom out there; those so-called ‘extreme Islamists’ have done a real number on France, much of the planet’s in a dither and even Facebook has been a real eye-opener this week as people divided into two camps over the Syrian refugee crisis and why they should or shouldn’t be allowed here.

On a personal note, it sure was tough to stand on those scales yesterday & see my weight goin’ UP this week. I’ve been doing those weekly weigh-ins since the end of May, and this was the first time it went in the wrong direction. Bummer.

But then I turned on the news & saw that damn Subway guy Jared Fogle finally going to jail (wow, for 15 years) and whaddya know, the economy isn’t going down the drain after all, markets appear to be doing a little better—and things just seemed to get better from there. Here’s some things that are putting a happy dance in my step today

“Brown paper packages tied up with string…” (rather, a box of goodies from Amazon)


This just arrived—Stephen King’s latest (woo-hoo!), a sleeping mask, the hot chili oil I wrote about recently, a bar of stainless steel soap (for removing garlic or onion from your hands) and yep Brylcreem, that greasy kid stuff for your hair. I love it, but the older I get, the harder it is to find!

Comet, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship

Comet TV

Two nights ago I was watching tv & a message appeared on my screen, courtesy of my Tivo. “A new channel has been detected and added to your lineup.” Wha..?? When you don’t have cable anymore, this is an event. I discover it’s a poor man’s SyFy Channel, I click on it just in time to see Tom Selleck’s 1972 classic, “Daughters of Satan.” Someone pinch me, I’m dreaming.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever'” Well, until that thing is all gobbled up

my saturday meatloaf

What do you do when it’s a Saturday, you’ve got no place to go and you’re seen & eaten it all? Make a meatloaf, naturally—I just cooked up this awesome thing, it should last me a few days if I take it easy Smile

 And finally, it’s time to put on those dancing shoes

I saw this yesterday for the very first time—it’s so awesome I can hardly stand it!

The End


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Meanwhile, in everyone’s hearts and minds…


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Is it soup yet? No, and I’m happy to say it never will be—it’s chili :)

I HATE SOUP.  More specifically, canned soup.  I hate canned chili too—it’s the worst!  So I wonder why chili isn’t considered a soup?  “Because it’s of the stew variety.”   Haha that’s funny—I hate stew too!

I do like homemade chili though, but can’t remember the last time I tried making it.  But then earlier today, I was at the supermarket buying ingredients to make spaghetti sauce (I like mine sweeter then the stuff in jars—sorry Prego & Ragu) and saw this particular style of diced tomatoes.  “Zesty Chili Style”.   I don’t recall seeing this before, is it new?  Anyway, I figured what the heck I’ll make chili instead.

    • 1 14.5 can Del Monte Zesty Chili Diced tomatoes
    • 1 16oz. can Hunts Tomato sauce
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1 14.5 can Hanover kidney beans, drained, rinsed
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • 1/2 cup green pepper
    • 1 lb. ground beef, browned & drained
    • 2 tbl sugar
    • 2 tbl chili powder
    • 1 tbl garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper

So simple—brown the beef, drain the grease, toss in the chopped green pepper & onions, cook 5-10 minutes more.  Now stir in sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, ground red pepper, a couple hard shakes of salt & black pepper, mix it up.

(FYI, many chili recipes call for a tablespoon of cumin; I’m not a fan.  Cumin takes it from a homemade tomatoey taste to something more like canned chili.)

Now dump in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, beans.  Bring to a boil, then let simmer (covered, uncovered—I alternated) for 20-25 minutes.  I was surprised how well it turned out—I sprinkled a little shredded cheddar cheese on top, and a couple slices of homemade bread from the bakery didn’t hurt!

Anyway, as tasty as it was, I couldn’t help but wonder if a little more heat would’ve made it better.  It got me to thinking about those gold-foil packets of hot sauce at Wendy’s, you can’t buy them anywhere but an online cooking forum said Dynasty Hot Chili Oil was the same thing—so I went ahead & ordered a bottle of the stuff from Amazon for next time!

So until the Soup Nazi opens for business around here, or someone surprises me with their grandma’s old recipe, this is about as close to soup as I’m gonna get!


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Chocolate teepees and my so-called secrets of weight loss (hint, it’s all in my head)


Last weekend I drove down to my sister Shawn’s house to celebrate my birthday. I knew she was planning a special day with a custom cake, but had no idea what it would be.  (I was assuming something of the spaceship or superhero variety; a giant bug would’ve been a tasty treat too.)  This is what I got, a decadent chocolate mousse cake with a confectionary teepee on top.  Loved it, couldn’t have been happier.  Thanks again Shawn!

I confess that after dinner, when we were all enjoying a slice, I felt like someone coming out of a coma.  This was the first cake I’d tasted in 5 months, and it awoke the “sleeping fat Doug” inside me.  “CAKE!  GOOD!  WANT PIZZA NOW!  AND HOT DOGS!  PANCAKES!  I WANT EGGROLLS AND WHAT ELSE HAVE I BEEN MISSING OUT ON!!”

It took a couple days (and a frozen pizza, 2 bottles of pop and a couple chili dogs) to nip that in the bud, but I managed to put that hungry man back in the nappy part of my brain—I’m even holding out hope I can still report a minus number on tomorrow morning’s weigh-in.  That’s been my big secret, y’know…


It’s what I’ve been doing since I began weighing myself weekly back in June (and posting it here since August), and yes, there were a few weeks when I didn’t lose more than 1-2 ounces but so what?  I always got my minus number.   

But then last night I sent a brief email to my sister a friend, saying I was worried I messed up once too often this week & probably wrecked my record of consecutive losses.  I knew I was opening the gates so to speak, because she’s struggling to find her own “weight loss mindset” & responded with a fairly lengthy letter that pretty much left me at a loss for words.  Unlike me, it helps her to talk about it, relate to it, vent her frustrations, get inspired, speculate on how much I’ll lose by Christmas, attach motivational articles—whew.   All I know is, it has just the opposite effect on me.  The more I read, the more I wanted to say to hell with it all, let’s just eat.

My advice would be, enough with the words.  Just keep a weekly chart, drink lots of water and go to bed hungry.  All you have to do is beat last week’s number.

As for myself, I’m keeping my fingers crossed about tomorrow.  I want to keep that record going—oh, and this wedge of chocolate mousse cake I have tucked away in the freezer, I want that too.  Hey, with victory comes reward!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A quick hot lunch: one oniony, peppery hot roast beef sandwich coming right up

1.  Add one generous tablespoon of Worchester sauce to a can of Campbell’s French Onion Soup & simmer in saucepan (don’t add any water).
2.  Throw some Ore-Ida Country Style French fries in the oven.
3.  Place 3-4 slices of deli roast beef into a crusty hoagie roll, cover with 2 circles of provolone cheese.  When the fries are almost done cooking, reduce the temperature to 400F & put your sandwich in the oven with them for the final 3-4 minutes.
4.  Take out the sandwich & fries; that roll will be crispy on top & the provolone completely melted.  Generously spoon several tablespoons of that delicious hot soup mixture into the roll (& maybe drizzle a little on those country fries while you’re at it)!
5.  Top the hot sandwich with some mild pepper rings.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

You want the truth? Okay here it is--I couldn’t handle the truth


This is me on May 25, 2015.  I’m only sharing it here because of a few messages I’ve gotten in the last couple weeks. Here’s one from just a couple hours ago:

Keep going, you won’t believe the difference 10 pounds makes!

They’re referring to the weekly weight chart I posted on August 21, where I’ve yet to hit the 10 lb. mark. But here’s the truth: I DID hit it—a few days before I posted that chart. Y’see, this (latest) weight loss battle didn’t begin in August, it actually started May 25, Memorial Day.

Since leaving my job in December, I’d gone kind of overboard with delicacies like bacon, lemon cake & butter pecan ice cream. So I was all prepared to go into summer with a newfound resolve to tackle this weight issue for real.

263 with camera
What I WASN’T prepared for was those scales when I climbed aboard. My God, I weighed almost 263 pounds! I decided not to do an online weight chart blog, I was just too embarrassed.

Holding my clunky camera on the scale only made things worse

But I DID spend the next couple months losing some of those pounds—no more big breakfasts every day of the week, no more bacon PERIOD. Get outside, walk everyday rain or shine. 10-11 weeks later, I’d dropped 11 lbs & that’s when I decided to begin posting my weekly weigh-ins here. 

dugs rigatoni
I’m still enjoying foods like rigatoni, but not like before where I’d add a pound of ground beef & gobble down a couple plates of it; now I use 1/4 the meat, double the tomatoes & eat a dark green salad with everything. I’m hooked on romaine lettuce & spinach leaves!

The thing is, I KNOW I have to lose weight but I don’t want to do it thru low-carb diets, cabbage soup, Dr. Oz supplements or programs like Weight Watchers. Here’s what my own Sun-Thurs plan boils down to:
  • No more gorging until it “hurts so good”
  • Foods like hamburgers, pizza & ice cream are Friday & Saturday only  
  • 50 sit-ups every night—well, 4-5 days a week
  • Two glasses of ice water every evening
  • NO EATING AFTER 5 pm.  That’s what the ice water is for!


Here’s some “healthy cookies” I baked yesterday; 2 cups oats, 2 bananas, 1/3 cup applesauce, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup raisins, 1 tsp cinammon, 1 tsp vanilla. Drop rounded teaspoons onto baking sheet & bake for 15-20 minutes at 350F.

(Warning—these are an acquired taste…)

I’m sure lots of people have their own ideas, and I bet some of ‘em would love to tell me why my plan isn’t healthy or good enough. I just know that I’m comfortable with what I’m doing, and it seems to be working—for now, at least.

Since August 21 I’ve lost close to 9 lbs, and since May 25 I’ve lost 20. I’m getting there!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Some warm n’ fuzzy thoughts on a Thursday afternoon (from a doped up Doug)

I know it’s been awhile since my last blog, but this sure wasn’t what I had in mind for my next one.  In a nutshell, I’ve been out of the swing of things for the month of September (feeling glum about stuff in general, that’s all).  And then this past week, I got a real surprise.

After an uneventful day, I’d gone to bed Monday night around midnight or so… an hour or so later I woke up with a start, feeling like someone had just punched me in my right kidney.  Did I injure myself somehow in my sleep?  I got out of bed & paced back & forth, trying to figure out why my right side was on fire, hoping I could “walk it off”.  As it got progressively worse, I knew I was in trouble.  Wishing now I hadn’t done it, I called my sister Shawn at 2:30am to let her know I was preparing to go to the hospital, then I dialed 911.  Five minutes later, I was being strapped into a gurney and being loaded into an ambulance.

I was rushed to UPMC Mercy Hospital (I think my cries of pain speeded that driver along some).  They rolled me into one of their ER cubbyholes & began drawing blood from one arm while inserting an IV drip into the other, peeling off my clothes and taping various heart monitor discs on my chest and legs, all while trying to gather some basic information.  I was feeling pretty special, there must’ve been 5-6 medical people around my bed.  In the doorway stood the two medics who got me there and I heard one say “I bet he has kidney stones.”   (I suspected the same thing, I’ve never experienced this much pain in my life.)

A doctor approached my bedside, said “we need to do a CT scan but first we’re going to make you more comfortable okay?”  She motioned to a nurse and softly said “hydromophone”.  A few minutes later as my head began swimming, and the stabbing pains were reduced to boxing glove punches, I almost wept as I thanked the nurse still with me.  An hour & CT scan later, they told me it was kidney stones.  “Mr. Morris, you should know this isn’t the only one, you have several.  You’re currently dealing with one that’s traveling thru your ureter on it’s way to the bladder.”  um, okay!

I was sent home with a week’s supply of Percocet (Oxycodone), a month’s supply of Flomax (Tamsulosin, to help me pee) & a popcorn-size tub of industrial-strength ibuprofen.  And for the last couple days, I’ve been sitting here in a dopey haze, chugging water and stumbling into the bathroom every hour or so to pee my cares away—and hopefully some rock formations while I’m at it.

(As long as I’m blathering on, I want to thank my friend Elisa, who didn’t flinch when I called her from the hospital at 6:30am & asked if she could take me home.  Along the way, I told her I was going to be sick and she swerved to the side of the road to let me do my business while murmuring “there there… puke your guts out… not on my car… not on my car…”   Haha, thank you Elisa!)

Y‘know, I got away with avoiding doctors and pills and hospitals for the last dozen years, but why do I have a feeling that’s about to end?  The writing’s on the wall.on the wall

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The race is on—it’s just a few more laps ‘til we catch that rabbit, right?

Earlier tonight my friend Tom (who I met this past January on the Early Retirement Forum) emailed me and asked if I was down. Touched, I replied I was doing okay and asked how he was doing in return. He said “Haha! No, I mean your portfolio! I’m down over 60K! I looked at your blog, aren’t you following the news??”

I should’ve known better, these ER guys are all about the numbers. Yes, yes I know—China’s economy is in the red, OPEC is flooding the globe with cheap oil and the Feds are rubbing their hands together & promising to raise interest rates any day now. Some of those so-called market experts predict that US stocks will rally, others say we’ve been on the gravy train far too long, so get ready for a steep decline and a 2 year bear market.

Darn it, I hate all of it. 2015 has been a crappy year for stocks & bonds, and I’m worn out worrying about it. When I left my job 8 months ago (is that all it’s been? It seems longer) I plugged all my dollars & sense into Mint.com’s retirement tool, said I wanted so-and-so dollars a year to live on (adjusted yearly for inflation) and wouldn’t start making withdrawals until January 2016. I got back this:


Woo-hoo! That was in December, right after Christmas. I had the whole year ahead to earn just 15K in my portfolio, and Minty predicted I’d have it in 6 months. Alas, it was not to be: here’s how it looked in July.


Rats! But the worst was yet to come. Here’s what it said August 28, after that six-day market tumble and 2 day hint of recovery:


Gulp… that estimated date keeps going the wrong way. Most of us in the market are affected of course, but when you’re counting on this to LIVE on come 2016, and it’s telling you to wait until 2017, things are off to an uncertain start. Doggone it, that rabbit was so close a few months ago too! I’m not throwing in the towel just yet, here’s how I see the final laps in this race:

ApacheDug’s Market Predictions for the Final Round of 2015

September (historically the worst month of the year for Wall Street) is going to start out on a down note, why break with tradition? Then the Feds will listen to Suze Orman’s pleas not to hike interest rates, sending global & domestic markets into an orgasmic delirium 

October & November will see the markets climb even higher—quick, we gotta make up for that mess we got ourselves into back in August!

In December the economy is up, China’s frozen over and the Feds come out of hiding & announce a small rate hike—but no one is listening! It’s the Holiday Season, we’ve recovered our losses and are up 4-5%


Friday, August 21, 2015

Chapter 5 in my Diary of a Fat Man: The giant Doug who ate Pittsburgh

This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with some friends on Mt. Washington, which overlooks Pittsburgh.  We had brunch at this little french restaurant where the owner’s dog wore a colorful scarf and sat at our feet, then took in the sights before returning to my friend Danielle’s house (that’s her above) for a lively discussion of religion & politics and some much needed bashing of both.  All in all, a terrific day.

I returned home, and a couple hours later, received some photos of our time together and I wanted to go back up there and throw myself over that railing.  I look like John Hurt in ‘Alien’, right before that lizard baby burst thru his stomach!

I’ve been tracking my weight weekly since May, when I weighed over 262 lbs & began a diet-exercise regimen but have decided to start posting it online to stay motivated.

Date Weight Gain/Loss Feeling Total
May 25 262.60   Disappointed smile  
Aug 21 251.50 -11.10   -11.10
Aug 28 249.50 -02.00   -13.10
Sep 04 248.50 -01.00   -14.10
Sep 11 247.50 -01.00   -15.10
Sep 18 245.80 -01.70   -16.80
Sep 25 245.60 -00.20   -17.00
Oct 02 244.80 -00.80   -17.80
Oct 09 243.60 -01.20   -19.00
Oct 16 242.80 -00.80   -19.80
Oct 23 242.00 -00.80   -20.60
Oct 30 240.60 -01.40   -22.00
Nov 06 240.20 -00.40   -22.40
Nov 13 239.80 -00.40   -22.80
Nov 20 240.20 +00.40 Sad smile -22.40
Nov 27 239.40 -00.80   -23.20
Dec 04 237.80 -01.60   -24.80
Dec 11 237.20 -00.60   -25.40
Dec 18 235.80 -01.40   -26.80
Dec 25 237.80 +02.00 Crying faceCrying face -24.80
Jan 01 2016 235.20 -02.60   -27.40
Jan 08 235.20 0   -27.40
Jan 15 233.20 -02.00   -29.40
Jan 22 232.60 -00.60   -30.00
Jan 29 232.40 -00.20   -30.20
Feb 05 230.60 -01.80   -32.00
Feb 12 229.60 -01.00   -33.00
Feb 19 228.80 -00.80   -33.80
Feb 26 229.40 +00.60 Sad smile -33.20
Mar 04 228.50 -00.90   -34.10
Mar 11 227.20 -01.30   -35.40
Mar 18 227.20 0   -35.40
Mar 25 227.20 0   -35.40
Apr 01 225.60 -01.60   -37.00
Apr 08 224.60 -01.00   -38.00
Apr 15 224.60 0   -38.00
Apr 22 224.00 -00.60   -38.60
Apr 29 224.00 0   -38.60
May 06 223.40 -00.60   -39.20
May 13 222.20 -01.20   -40.40
May 20 222.20 0   -40.40
May 27 220.40 -01.80   -42.20
Jun 03 220.40 0   -42.20
Jun 10 218.20 -02.20   -44.40
Jun 17 220.40 +02.20 Crying face -42.20
Jun 24 219.00 -01.40   -43.60
Jul 01 217.20 -01.80   -45.40
Jul 08 218.20 +01.00   -44.40
Jul 15 217.60 -00.60   -45.00
Jul 22 215.60 -02.00   -47.00
Jul 29 213.80 -01.80   -48.80
Aug 05 213.00 -00.80   -49.60
Aug 12 208.80 -04.20 Party smile -53.80



60 LBS 

Aug 19 206.40 -02.40   -56.20
Aug 26 206.20 -00.20   -56.40
Sep 02 207.20 +01.00   -55.40
Sep 09 208.40 +01.20   -54.20
Sep 16 207.60 -00.80   -55.00
Sep 23 205.80 -01.80   -56.80
Sep 30 209.60 +03.80   -53.00
Oct 07 209.80 +00.20   -52.80
Oct 14 211.20 +01.40 Disappointed smile -51.40

Eye rolling smile          Winking smile          Smile