George W. Bush has been out of office for five years now, and it's been a low-key five years, spent painting watercolors, opening his presidential library, and undergoing minor heart surgery. But apart from these occasional updates, 43 has stayed well under the radar — and that probably won't change.

According to an extremely flattering, deferential article in the New York Times adapted from Peter Baker's “Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House,” a friend likes to describe Bush's post-presidency life as, "Clinton is a citizen of the world... and Bush is a citizen of Dallas."

According to Baker, Bush has spent the last five years in a "self-imposed exile in Texas," where he hosts barbecues at his home, privately worries about the rise of the Tea Party, and golfs with strangers.

After giving up golf while in office out of deference to troops at war, Mr. Bush has taken it up again. He sometimes plays with the first few people who happen to show up at courses like the Brook Hollow Golf Club or the Las Colinas Country Club, and he built a putting green at home. “He’s a golf-aholic now,” said his friend Charlie Younger.

And the time away has been doing him well. A Gallup poll found 49 percent of Americans viewed him favorably, compared with 46 percent who saw him unfavorably — his first positive balance in eight years.

Not that it really makes a difference. Bush has stayed almost completely out of the national discussion since he left office, although he's spoken out once or twice on topics like immigration legislation and Iran relations.

Other notable updates:

  • He spent Halloween with his granddaughter. She was dressed as an astronaut.
  • He has a "man cave" in his house.
  • He hopes to produce portaits of the 19 foreign presidents and prime ministers he worked with at the White House, a hobby he picked up from Winston Churchill.
  • He recently traveled to Africa to help fight cervical cancer.

[image via AP]