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Senior Correspondent

Maybe it was reading The Wisdom Paradox and realizing my mind actually has a very bright future as I approach the anniversary of the 12th year of my satisfying retirement. Maybe it was beginning to plan for our month long RV trip in April. Maybe it was my just completed physical that says I have no health issues to worry about (at least for now).

Whatever, I suddenly had a burst of energy to do new things. First was to order a CD course on "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music." While I have been involved in music in some form or another most of my life, my listening and understanding has been on a casual level. I wanted to be able to listen to a piece of classical music and understand how and why it was composed. This course puts the music in context with the historical and social events happening at the same time.

The material is from a company that has a catalog of over 400 courses on both DVD and CD in virtually any subject you can imagine. The choices range from Essentials of Strength Training, to Calculus, Appreciating Wines to the Lost Art of Storytelling, Turning Points in Modern History to Comparative Religions.

The typical course has 30-40 lectures that last around 45 minutes each. For example, The Great Music course I purchased has 48 lectures, or a total of 36 hours of material plus a book that recaps the key points of each lecture. The fellow presenting the material really knows his stuff, but is also a bit of a frustrated actor. He puts a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm into his subject, all while clearly explaining rather complicated details of music construction, like fundamental frequencies, polyphony, or melisma.

I try to set aside 45 minutes a few times a week to listen to the next lecture in the series. Some of the information is detailed enough I have found it better if I listen to the material and then repeat the same CD the next day. The idea is to understand and internalize what I am hearing, not to just get to the end of the course.

So while that is underway I suddenly woke up from a Monday afternoon nap and decided I would like to freshen the look of this blog. I had thought about the need before, but this time I actually spent a few hours playing with the template and the various elements of the design. After running the new look past Betty I set it up to go live in a few hours. So far, I am pleased and comments indicate most of you are too. I wanted something a bit bolder and cleaner than the previous appearance. After 30+ months it was time for a change.

Now I'm cooking. I pull out the catalog from the company that sent me the Understand Music course and found two more that caught my eye: The Symphonies of Beethoven and Turning Points in Modern History. Out comes the credit card and I click to order these new courses.

Next up I set up a schedule to re-write an Arizona travel book I self-published two years ago (with a total press run of 12, family only). With the new RV available, revisiting the places in the book to freshen the photographs and write ups will be fun and give me an excuse to hit the road. Betty is itching to take new photos to replace some of those she wasn't happy with in the original book.

Finally, I rededicate myself to finishing the Satisfying Retirement book that I wrote about in the post, An Apology. I have about 20% of the editing left to do. Then comes finding a company to design the book cover and convert the Word document to the format that Kindle requires. As I read through the answers to the questions that were submitted by over 50 of you folks, I am anxious to get this information in your hands. There is good stuff in here.

Whew … that is enough for now. It is time to stop and listen to the next lecture on the Fugue and its importance to Baroque music. Trust me, it is much more interesting than it sounds

Retirement and a mind that is still kicking and growing … you have to love it.

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