Friday, December 16, 2011

Rules & Regulations? Suggestions & Recommendations? 10+45?

    One trait that I believe most people have is wanting structure in their life.  I learned that as a parent when I noticed that kids develop better when they are given limits and parameters to help guide their decision making.  Leaders have better results with their followers when they provide guidelines.  I think humans, inherently, prosper better when given a framework of some kind to follow.  I think our Creator knew that when He gave us the Ten Commandments.  Needing to start somewhere, the Ten Commandments were a good starting point for basic and rudimentary behaviour.  You may be wondering, as you probably often do when I go off on these tangents, where I am going this time.  A friend of mine sent me an email that I had seen before.  I often am more teachable when one of the most basic teaching tools is utilised, repetition.  So reading the email, again, made me think about it more and I realised that it would make a great supplement to the Ten Commandments.  Let me tell you about it....
  Regina Brett is a newspaper columnist in Cleveland, Ohio.  One of her columns contained the following, I think it is worth sharing:
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come...
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."
  I hope you found this helpful without it being too 'preachy', believe me, that is not my style.  Sometimes simple words and concepts can be aptly poignant to everyday life.

The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don't like their rules, whose would you use? - Dale Carnegie

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Doctor, Doctor....

  This week, my wife, Lesley, had to go into the hospital for surgery.  After four previous back surgeries and multitudes of testing and medication, it was finally determined that the only recourse was to control the pain since there was no fixing it.  There is a remarkable little device called a spinal cord stimulator.  It blocks or reduces the pain signals that the brain is getting from the affected area.  She had tried the trial version of the device and it seemed to do the job.
  So wifey went into the hospital, yesterday, for the procedure.  Whenever she is out of her element, or closer to the truth, out of my sphere, I find myself getting beside myself (is that redundant?).  I don't sleep well nor do I focus well.  Obviously that is because I have a strong attachment to her.  So I was very happy, today to get her back home again and tie her down to the recliner (figuratively speaking) because she is a very active person.  She has the ability to multi-process or parallel-process things in her mind very rapidly, whereas I can only serial-process process at a slower rate.  Getting Lesley to relax is a big task, indeed. 
  Thanks to all that have been supportive while we have been transitioning Lesley into a bionic format.  I am working on a USB interface in her naval for present and future modifications and upgrades!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A New Slant On Christmas

Image result for christmas  I may be walking close to the edge with this entry.  If you have been a regular reader, you will probably think that is funny because this blog is about as tame as you can get!  Anyway, I had stated before that I would keep my comments apolitical, and I think I am still safe with that because this is more of a commentary on economics and fiscal stability.
  This was received just today, and I thought it gave fresh ideas when it came to gift giving:

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition


  As the holidays approach, the giant foreign factories are kicking into
high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods
merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor.
  This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of
genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that,
at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American
hands. Yes there is!
  It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit
in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
  Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates
from your local American hair salon or barber?
  Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
health improvement.
  Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American
owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift
certificate or a book of gift certificates.
  Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking
down the Benjamin’s on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful
gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the
summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
  There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift
certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what
about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember,
folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting
your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep
their doors open.
  How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or
motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
  Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a
local cleaning lady for a day.
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy
who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
  OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people
spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and
pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
  Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave
your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet
at your hometown theatre.
  Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese
lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about
fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to
burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
  You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that
China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring
about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to
follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care
about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
  THIS should become the new American Christmas tradition! Consider forwarding this to everyone on your mailing list -- Introduce it in discussions with your friends. Mail it to the editor of your local paper, radio stations, and TV news departments.
  This is a revolution about caring about each other and our country... and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Question of the Day...

How do you store your glasses in your cupboard?  Up side down so dust won't go inside them?  But the lip of the glass is now resting on the shelf and won't it get dirty?  Or right side up and run the risk of something falling in.  Maybe either way, but put the glasses in sandwich bags.  I think that is something Adrian Monk would do.  Hmmmm, a dilemma....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

One's Vocational 'Groove'

  Recently my service manager passed away.  When someone you work with and is close to your age dies, it reminds you of your own mortality.  But I spoke enough of death in my last entry.  Today I want to talk about the activity in our lives that consume a very large part of our time, our jobs.
  Bill had been my boss for seven years and was a great guy, firm and unwavering about how things should be done but a good friend, too.  We would often share 'war stories' about the POS/Cash register industry.  The marvelous thing about Bill, besides a stint in the Navy, this was the only job he ever had and it lasted 43 years!  Nowadays, that is very unusual where the average length of employment is a little over four years.  My longest employment was 13 years.  Of course, another factor besides changing employers, is changing industries.  I changed industries once for four years and tried the semiconductor industry, and then went back to cash registers.  I guess once the ink gets in your blood, you can't stay away.
  Of course there are many circumstances that would require changing jobs, but in Bill's case, everything stayed in harmony for 43 years, wow!  After all that time, you aren't with a company, it is more like an extended family.  Something to be said for that kind of stability.  We will miss you, Bill.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

When Time Is Finite In The Most Uncomfortable Way...

Image result for van gogh clock  First off, I have to make a confession, I am a fan of Grey's Anatomy. When it first came on, I watched a couple episodes and couldn't get into it.  However, when my wife and I were visiting Germany for her son's wedding, it was the only thing to watch in English while we were in our flat.  Lesley would have been fine watching anything since she is fluent in German, but I was not.  Anyway, after a few episodes of GA, I became a regular viewer.  The only catch is, I am about five seasons behind and trying to catch up via Netflix.  But, as usual, I am getting sidetracked here.  On an episode I watched, Meredith (main character and intern) woke up one morning thinking she was going to die and wanted to stay in bed to avoid such an event.  It made me think (oh-oh), what would it be like if I knew I only had one day, or one week, or one year, or whatever, to live?  I have seen movies on the subject.  Many of us have even known people who are terminal.  But, ultimately, if such a fate should befall us, it is our own personal choice how we handle it.  In my case, my reaction would depend on how much time we are talking.  If I had only a day, I think I would go into a mental meltdown.  It would be too much for my little mind to process.  But if I had, say, a year, then I think I could come to some reckoning.  I say that, but in reality, who knows what I or anyone would do.
  In most cases, I think, our demise usually comes relatively unexpected.  Of course an accident is always unexpected, but not so much if it is a long term and fatal illness or simply the end of our longevity.  In that situation, we might have a rough idea that the end draws near, but not always for sure.  Often times we just go to sleep and not wake up.
Artist:  Hyatt Moore
  I know this hasn't been a particularly happy subject I chose today.  But I think my message is a familiar one,
we should live our lives to the fullest as if it was our last day or last week above the green grass.

Don't fear your mortality, because it is this very mortality that gives meaning and depth and poignancy to all the days that will be granted to you. - Paul Tsongas

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shadows And Clouds

  "You can't teach an old dog new tricks!"  I always thought that was narrow minded thinking.  There is always something new to be learned.  I think most everyone knows that.  Following that line of thought, consider this; you can always learn something new about yourself.  Or perhaps you can accept or even improve an aspect about yourself that you probably knew all along.
  I have noticed a behaviour pattern about myself.  It is probably a very common characteristic among many people but I find it interesting to try and step out of myself to observe it, figuratively speaking.
  How I feel about myself, my surroundings, my work, my leisure time and other people not only depend upon me, but also depends on many external influences, some which I can control and some which I cannot.
  I can go through my day and everything is going swimmingly and then an event will take place that will put a kind of shadow or dark cloud over my head for the rest of the day.  Ever have that happen to you?  I never really stopped to think about it until yesterday.  I think what brought it to my attention was having multiple events happening together.  Most of the day went okay until late afternoon.  A neighbour came to the door which set of my dog into a barking fit.  That caused me to be cross with my pet.  Shortly after that, there was a barrage of ringing on my door bell, I suspect a kid in the neighbourhood pulling a prank.  Of course, that set my dog off, again.  This short tirade of events caused the following to happen:
  1.  I yelled at my dog, and felt bad after doing so.
  2.  I was embarrassed to have my neighbour witness me berating my dog.
  3.  I felt violated because a prankster came onto the property and rang my door bell.
  Simple events, however, I had a gloom with me the rest of the day.  I think it all comes down to my being disappointed in myself for not controlling how I reacted and for what others thought of me.  It is simple human nature; for example, you get complimented by the boss and you are walking on air or you get chewed out and you are bummed out.  Simple self-esteem mechanics.
  So that's it.  My self-observation lesson, today.  I think the better we can understand ourselves, the better we can understand others.  After all, we are all in this together!

The human mind can bear plenty of reality but not too much intermittent gloom. - Margaret Drabble

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Surreality

  Since my last entry, work has given me the opportunity to drive around in some of the places that were hit hard by Hurricane Irene.  Driving through the areas was something similar to watching the aftermath of a disaster movie or seeing news footage from Hurricane Katrina.  But actually being in the middle of it takes on a whole new meaning.  A couple of my supermarket accounts had been flooded by almost three feet of water in their stores that had the consistancy of milky coffee.  Consequently, they had computer equipment that was damaged, not to mention many other things.  It was my job to assess the damage to the computer gear that we maintain for them.
  The towns of Windham and Prattsville were severely flooded being so close to the rivers.  The high rapid waters made toys of everything in it's path.  I was told that ten homes along the river in Prattsville, were washed away.  Fortunately no fatalities. 
  Roads and bridges were washed away or badly damaged from erosion.  Homes, trees, sidewalks and lamposts were uprooted or toppled.  Farmland turned into mudland and crops were ruined.  Cars were floated and found in different places when the water went down.
  The power of the hurricane was impressive, but the way everyone pulled together when it was over was more impressive.  The owners of the stores I spoke of, went right to work, smiling all the while.  They were well aware of the financial losses, but their primary goal was to get open as soon as possible because they knew the local folks depended on them.
  After all is said and done, I have realised how lucky I have been in my life (so far!) to escape harm from natural or man-made disasters.  I hope I haven't broken the magic spell after saying that.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Getting Caught In The Pinions Of Progress

  Even though I am older and more matured (sometimes people may want to debate with me on the later), I am still learning.  Often times learning is comprised of proving what I already suspected to be fact.
  Case in point:  As we all know, Hurricane Irene made it's way up the coast to the northeast on Sunday, August 21.  At my location, we were essentially unaffected except for wind, rain, and leaves and twigs scattered about.  It wasn't until I started traveling around the state that I really noticed the impact.
  Okay, so where am I going with this?  Well, we all use the interstate system frequently during our travels and take it for granted that it is there.  We don't think much about it except when we wonder why there are tolls collected in the East and not in the West.  Anyway.....I started traveling down one of our interstate roads, assuming, in good faith, that I would reach my destination.  I drive for about a half hour and there is a sign on the road saying the interstate is closed ahead and everyone gets off at the next exit.  WHAT?  Not even a sign of warning at my entry point.  So I and everyone else are in line at the toll booth so we can pay them for the pleasure of this major inconvenience.
  At this point, I need to interject some information.  Prior to 1956, there was no interstate system in the U.S.  Everyone traveled via the state highways.  As far as I know, we managed just fine.  With the advent of the interstate, we could travel to our destinations faster, both in time and speed.  As time goes by, more and more vehicles are on the road.  No problem, the interstates are multi-laned and have also been expanding with time.  In 1956, when the construction of the interstate system commenced, there were 65 million vehicles on the road.  Prior to that, it could be assumed that the state roads could handle something less then 65 million vehicles.  Fast forward to today;  the number of vehicles on the road has quadrupled and we are doing okay.  Now throw Hurricane Irene into the mix....the hurricane caused flooding on several parts of the interstate making them impassable in some areas, hence the closure.  At the point where I was forced off, I was still some forty miles from my destination.  There were two alternative ways to go, the state highway that ran roughly parallel with the interstate, but that was closed to flooding, too.  The other was to swing wide taking rides onto far flung roads that ran on higher ground.  Here was the rub;  ALL of the multi lane traffic that was being carried on the interstate was now being funneled into single lane roads that frequently went through busy towns and villages.  The result was very slow moving, stop-and-go traffic.  The next time you are out and about, take notice of how many trucks are around you.  My guesstimation is one third to one half of them will be trucks.  So what was to be a three hour cruise, no, wait, that was Gilligan's Island.  So what was to be an hour drive each way, turned out to be a five hour drive each way.  Boring!  Though it was interesting to really take notice of the countryside around me while I was sitting in traffic.  One area was populated with  Amish folk.  I am sure, as they looked at us floundering in our machines and going nowhere fast, they thought us very foolish.
  So my point is, we can become very dependent on our modern conveniences, but sometimes they can turn against you.  There is not much we can do about it, just go with the flow and grin and bear it.  With everything comes a price.  Happy motoring!

There is no reason that the universe should be designed for our convenience. - John D. Barrow

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Life Is Good...

Image result for life is good  What a great summer this has been!  And it went by so fast!  We have been and are very busy with visits from children and grandchildren as well as visits to them.  Of course the children are grown.  I am always fascinated about how my perspectives change with age and also observe the same phenomenon in others. 
  I have great memories of both my maternal and paternal grandparents.  One of the things I remember, when I was about eight years old, was my grandmother preparing my supper on a TV tray table so I wouldn't miss my favourite programs.  It was fun to do the same thing for a granddaughter two generations later, this summer.
  I hope from their vantage point, all those that were involved with raising me and have since passed on, know they are loved and appreciated by me.

The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent. - Sam Levenson