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February, 2014: 28

2/28/14-Fri.-Waiting room at a Scott and White Clinic in Waco. Mom's having a lot of right knee pain, and I am on a visit through Sunday morning. We went to Souper Salad for lunch. Uneventful trip up from Austin this morning. Weather warm and sunny, high about 80°'F. Stock market nicely positive today. Have sold off about $30,000 in profitable equities in past week. Five best strategies have average annual returns of better than 40%. Of course, it has been a bullish period for quite awhile now. Figure, not unreasonably, I'll focus on these approaches at the expense of the others so long as they persist in giving relatively superior results.

In the past three weeks, I have been volunteering as a library assistant at a SE Austin elementary school. Enjoy the setting, activity, and personal contacts there. Last Monday was "moustache day." A number of adults were sporting colorful artificial moustaches with matching headgear or other attire. In addition, this whole week is devoted to Book Spring activities, that non-profit providing a free book for each student as well as introductions under a Dr. Seuss theme. There is a several-year-old pet boa constrictor, Wilson, in a herpetarium in the library (reminds of the Tom Hanks character's imaginary companion in the movie, "Castaway").

All in all, this volunteer gig is fun, and there is plenty to do. I am kept busy. Fran and I recently heard an analysis of a survey given to over 35,000 folks, going into precisely what they were doing and how they were feeling at the times of the survey questions. The bottom line was that we are happiest when fully engaged in the moment, i.e. staying mentally focused on particular activities, rather than daydreaming, obsessing, or otherwise distracted. The assumption is that when not so engaged our "big brains" have too much tendency to bring us down with regrets, worries, resentments, self-criticism, etc., whereas without the opportunity for such negativity we are naturally more upbeat. Interesting pastimes and/or meditation techniques are efficacious. My library shifts fill the bill well.

Later. Mom's knee problem was diagnosed as osteoarthritis. No indication why this chronic condition is particularly problematic now. In any case, she was relieved by getting a new cortisone injection, her first in over a year.

Back home, she offered me second hand clothes that one of her wealthy friends had given her (for Mom's choice of dispersal, between family or Hope House, a local charity). Four of the shirts still look nice and fit me, as did a couple pair of socks. Good!

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