Saturday, March 29, 2014

Droid years

Bummer it looks like I will soon be trotting off to the local Verizon store to replace my Galaxy III Samsung aka Sammy smart phone.  While I was not looking she has aged and  today I researched to find she will be three in June. A mere tot in human years but a crone in technology years.   How time slips away while we are doing other things.  My Gal  is not holding her charge.  I  generally plug her in every couple days and thought I forgot to do so last night because she  was drained this morning.  But through today  I have had problems keeping her on and her battery is quickly  draining.  I've followed the Verizon trouble shooting techniques including soft reset and  recharge.  

While I puzzled, Jerry ever the realist asked, "well how old is that phone?"  I almost responded "only a year old and a few months," it seems like only yesterday I was learning her and mastering swiping.  Today it's so easy to me as a result I often reply with swypos not reading carefully what I've swiped.  Gal has become so familiar with me that she automatically fills in phrases.  Yet, it has happened, unbelievable how Gal is getting up there in her Droid years and is slowly slowing down. I think I noticed some bllips a week or so ago when I went to check on my Facebook page, but I ignored it.  It's like a health symptom, not to be ignored nor explained away, because it has progressed.   Technology is wonderful  especially at its newest and  while it works and Gal does get the workout, functioning for email, Facebook and camera.  Still it seems like only yesterday I was fussing with her and getting acquainted having picked her to replace my beloved Blackberry.  Now Gal III will either need a new battery but more likely will be replaced.  

Old age comes sooner all the time and  is neither friend nor kind acquaintance to technology, once aging begins there is no stallling the inevitable, no way to help her limp along, no facelift, no botox, no joint replacement surgery.  Toss and replace when dementia shows its first signs as with Gal Sammy.  Nothing is repaired or tuned up, instead to the scrap heap as a replacement will be the answer.  Fortunately I have been through this frequently enough to  anticipate and expect, not be afraid and I will dive right into the new techie challenge pool. Perhaps it will not be so deep this time.  Gal Sammy has become my friend and I will miss her but will not mourn. There will be another version, smarter and faster although Gal Sammy has been a whip and I have more features on her than I use.  I see Verizon, our carrier of choice which has served us well all over the country and in Alaska on our travels, offers an S4 and a mini SIII.  The S4 looks so much like Gal that it a switch may be the easiest techie transition. 

Still if I could fix her I would. I come from a long line of fixers and live with a very handy man who can repair most anything.   But droid years are unkind and so we shall see what's my next new techie toy. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yesterday's photos today's St Anthony

Back yard ice pond near hillside
Up the hill side toward the front, our  house to the left,
neighbor on thr right.  Glacial remains
Late yesterday after a visit with a friend I wandered out back and along the side of the Morrison Glaciers to take some photos of the declining snow with my tablet.  It was a sunny crisp day.  With the previous over abundance of snow the  recent melts are welcome sights despite some frigid  temps the green grass is emerging.  Every year there is a small pond that  accumulates in this  spot before the downhill bank, but this year with the ground frozen down a few feet, the  yard drain is blocked with ice, slowly it has begun to drizzle out but the pond has been much bigger.  Earlier in the day I watched one of our rascally pine squirrels race across the back, they always move at   warp speed, quite the comical sights.  On his race down the hill he leaped and landed into this ice pond.  I could almost hear him as he ascended immediately about  seven feet into the air and sailed down the hill mid air shaking, "WTH was that."  Wish I'd had the camera  or phone with me, one of those funny sights provided free by nature right here in our back yard which is filled with patches of snirt and what I have dubbed the Morrison glaciers.  Those of you unfamiliar with winter may wonder about "snirt", aka dirty snow.    

The other side of the back yard off the shop where
the motor home lives.  Much more snow and less melt,
shadier there.
Side front of house where the hosta sticks linger
One wonders how they survived burial in the white all winter

I continued along inhaling the brisk colder air  happy to be outside once again without snow parka and boots.  Toward the front where there had been huge 7 foot hills of piled snow from shoveling and snow blowing we have significant melt down and a clear driveway once again.. 

The hostas which I did not trim back are triumphantly poking their sticks upright.  And one last patch of snirt is off to the right of the back garage door, in the yard.   I think that patch has a personality all its own, a ghostly remains,  as though clinging on for what little time it has left here.  By tomorrow if the melt has continued it will likely have vanished.

But later today it was still there, this I know
Snirt creature,  fading 
because  I  when I reached for the tablet today I  was missing my stylus which I prefer to use. Well where could it be?  I looked all around on the carpet and then began to think, oh it's in the house somewhere because I  showed Jerry the pictures when I came in and I  used it.  So I thought, so I was sure. I searched my jacket pockets, I looked all along the kitchen counter, the upstairs desk.  No stylus.  What to do but evoke mny loyal patron St. Anthony who always finds what I have misplaced, I have called on Tony all my life.  I mentioned to Jerry that I was missing the stylus but that it had to be here somewhere, I'd used it to show him the photos.  He suggested I retrace my steps outside. Nonsense, I had it with me.  But finally I  pulled on my jacket and shoes and walked out the back, past this same snirt creature and headed toward the middle of the driveway.  

Side of house driveway from motor home shop to the street
And what did I see as I walked along toward the driveway slowly retracing my steps from yesterday>  The stylus!  Thank you St. Anthony!  But, how in the world could it be?  I was so sure I had it with me when I went in yesterday;  I was positive I had used it.  Another lesson in maybe I should not always be so vehemently sure about what I have done because there it was, it had spent the night out in the cold but none the worse.  All Jerry said when I returned with the stylus in my hand, "wasn't that a good thing you listened to me.."  I prefer to thank Tony and  the snirt creature which must have wanted to see me yet another day.   

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Great Books and memory

  I am enrolled in another online course through Hillsdale College, Great Books.  Hillsdale is a small (student body of about 1400) independent, co-educational, residential liberal arts college in southern Michigan founded in 1844 and does not accept  any governmental funds.  It is an institution we have long supported and one that is included in our estate legacy.  It has been too long ago that I last read and studied these.  Quite intense and thought provoking,  started with Homer's  Iliad and The Odyssey.  Similar to the History and Constitutional courses I have taken at Hillsdale this one on literature beginning with the classic ancients is occupying much of my previously free time to read, listen to the lectures, ponder, review the discussions, etc with a new session each week.  I am enjoying this depth immensely. 

My bucket list for retirement included to pursue and reengage in educational courses in history and literature of which I have always been fond.  While in my professional career days there was little time for such.   The course in the Holocaust that I took at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse in the fall was  another  stimulating activity.  Thanks to the ease of online study I can partake in much more.  It  invokes my discipline to keep up weekly.  

Today I am  pondering on what will happen to our culture as we no longer teach, learn nor appreciate history and literature.  There seems to be a subversion of the basics, and a resultant ability to discern.  In the lecture on The Odyssey, Professor Whalen spoke of  Mnemosyne, Greek goddess of memory, the mother of the  nine Muses and how memory is a gift that distinguishes us from other animals.  Memory facilitates reasoning, and may be a basic foundation of civilization.   Mnemosyne is unknown to many of the so called educated in the current generations, I am sure a mention of her would evoke a blank stare from our adult grandchildren and their parents, perhaps along with the blankness a grimace of  "this means nothing to me....I live in California."    

What happens when a culture, a people, an individual no longer has memory?  Consider dementia and the dreaded Alzheimer's,  how once memory is gone only barrenness remains.  Robbed of memory the individual deteriorates.  I equate that to what is happening today as deliberate indoctrination replaces education, an ability to reason to discern begins to vanish.   Reasoning the high light of humanness  dims.  Humanities are disdained, few appreciate history and ever fewer have any awareness of the importance of ancient literature, of classics and  the need to acquire wisdom to make judgments.  So much is instant, online, finger strokes, Facebook where I too spend time is the substitute of many for personal interaction,  discussions.  So our western culture is  beginning to fall apart to lose value, today  sects of immigrants and others are  urged to retain their own languages, their own cultures, not to assimilate, not to adopt ours.  Could anything be more dreadful? 

This of course is a welcome diversion for me as we are in a holding pattern while Jerry has physical therapy sessions and continues with medications to be determined if he will heal and avoid back surgery on the nerve that is pinched by two vertebrae in his spine.  This means I do his chores and mine as well as continuing  my physical fitness agenda a the Y.  Spring is emerging here as well,  There were two robins in our back yard and the other day I saw a flock of geese flying north in formation.  We still have plenty of  snirt, dirty snow, to melt but green grass in visible once again in our lawns.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Polish proverbs Nie moj cyrh

Today on Facebook, Carlie, a close friend shared an old Polish saying  but in English.  It took me back years, when was the last time I heard it, perhaps  2010.  It was something my granpap Teofil and later,his son, Uncle Carl, said all the time.  Something I had forgotten and something  I felt was a great reminder. "Not my circus, not my monkeys"    Granpap said that all the time when someone would  try to bemoan something that was going on which he felt was  not his business and he would not be bothered.  It wasn't that he was uncaring or unsympathetic but he knew that some folks just whine all the time and if you let them they will soon snare you into moaning along with them.  He had overcome many obstacles in his life and he would not accept someone else's burdening him.  His philosophy was deal with it or shut up.  This at times annoyed my grandma Rose who would say, "Pap you can't just ignore that." and he'd reply, "hah!  Sure I, can watch..."  And off he would go on his way about his business usually whistling or humming.  He had another saying like "don't tie your monkey to me" which meant get lost with that. 

I really had not considered this being a Polish proverb, just something they said and  passed on from father to son. Polish for  circus is  "cyrk" or  "sorkus" and  often  refers to a mess or a strange situation, something chaotic.  In Poland monkeys, "malpy" are associated with chaos, trouble, and down right nuisance.  So if the monkeys are running around loose or escaping from the circus, well you get the picture.  Monkeys are "problems" in Poland, and circuses are where "problems" come from. If it's not your monkey, and it's not even from your circus, then it's not your problem.  It is a basically simple philosophy and stops some people from spreading further gossip as well, no one will listen and there they stay with mouth agape.  

How frequently I think that today the monkeys are really running the zoos. Now that I have been reminded of this wisdom I  will adopt it more fully, not that I  get easily distracted by such nuisance.  The delete button works well on email and on Facebook I hide the ever whiners.  I don't read their  agonies.  Call it cold hearted, I call it release from what others would use to drag you along or ignoring the lamentations. I used to tell people that if I wanted to hear such gnashing and whining I could read Lamentations in the Bible.  Those unfamiliar with the Bible  were clueless to what I meant.   In my career as a state bureaucrat I developed a skill for being physically present but mentally off elsewhere, to shield and amuse myself when I was  captive in ever too long meetings or hearings and some tiresome soul was pontificating.  Here years later, I still invoke that skill  by semi-listening to what someone may be saying when usually it is not my monkey and surely not my circus.  There is ample happening in my life with friends who have cancer, are handling real illnesses, losses, and financial issues; with  Jerry facing back surgery and so it goes.  All else, nope not my monkey.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Give it up for Lent, the four letter word

Baba Rose
I was raised Polish Roman Catholic and my grandma (Baba) Rose was a stickler about Lent and all it's traditions of deprivation and denial proclaiming it a very old practice.  Yes, Lent as a 40 day season began sometime in the  4th century, legalized by the church at the Council of Nicea in 313 AD, that's ancient.  As a toddler I could not comprehend why in the world I had  to do without whatever I wanted at the moment and it was a shock to hear that four letter word, "lent."   As I recall, I was between three and four when I was told the first time  that I couldn't have what I wanted  for Lent,  a long time.  It was likely something sweet to eat. Baba Rose said, "Patty, it's Lent and  we give up something we like to sacrifice, no more until Easter." 

What?  That must have been the first time something was denied me because my grandparents  made it their business to ensure that  whatever I wanted I had. I did not make sense of the time span, "until Easter" but I went about my business with a frown and  then forgot all about it until the next time I was denied. Still I did not dwell on these things and yet the lesson continued.  "Someday you will be glad you did without...."  

Granpap Teofil
It wasn't just me, either; granpap Teofil had to give up too; I remember asking him to conspire with me,  to buy something at the store when Baba wasn't looking, candy maybe.  But he laughed and just shook his head while saying, "oh no not while it's Lent, those are the rules." Granpap never had much to say about church or rules, so I well knew this was Baba's doing but for him to comply it must have been important without any way out.  
Me about 4 years old
Nevertheless, I absorbed my disappointment but again  not let it sink in  because  I  recall hearing  what I called the "not for Lent" words repeatedly. To me, Lent was not good, something to be avoided; in my child's mind Lent became a four letter word, don't say it.   Baba assured me that I would learn all about this when I went to Catechism and I would always be glad after the giving up.   Later as a child  I would offer to give up something I didn't care all that much about but that would not do while Rose or the nuns inquired about my Lenten sacrifice, "it has to be something you like." 

Although I  left the Catholic religion which today beckons me for the spiritual comfort, a Lenten tradition of deprivation became my annual ritual.  I used to be a chocoholic, there was not a place I did not stash chocolate, it went where I did; my co-workers could always find a supply in my office. While I am unsure of the exact year, sometime in  the early 1990's  I decided to make the ultimate Lenten sacrifice and give up chocolate; Roberta, who was most devout and my closest friend questioned me about the severity of my choice, would I be able to do that.,really?   It certainly was one of the most difficult deprivations I ever experienced but a miracle emerged just like Easter, I lost my extreme fondness for chocolate; not something I was looking for but something I  have now recognized as a blessing. I have never again been consumed by chocolate.  Today I enjoy some  dark chocolate now and then but I can take it or leave it.  It's not something that I crave or need and I am amazed thinking back to how I had to eat chocolate at least once a day then.  Lent the four letter word rewarded me at the end of it all, just as promised by my grandma so long ago.  

Today it is really difficult for me to think of giving up something I would miss eating; I am not a
Me today leaner and healthier
sweet eater and really not much for snacking a lot either.  If I do it is usually an apple, some pretzels, something healthy.  .My recent  weight loss and healthy  eating lifestyle leave nothing I can identify to offer as a sacrifice.  Well I suppose I could offer my almost  daily glass of wine but even Jesus had wine with meals and I attribute a glass of wine to healthy practices.  My doctor agrees.  Besides I do not drink every day and Lenten sacrifice is to make us mindful so the occasional will not do..   

So what to give up  for Lent in 2014?   Something that will be a daily reminder in denial.  I have determined it is another four letter word, one I've been  saying out loud in response to annoyance, rubbish, or other non likable things that happen.  No, it's not that "f" word although I admit to evoking it in absolute frustration, for especially bad news like death, cancers, etc.  I was unaware that I used this other word so frequently until Jerry mentioned something one day and then I attempted to disguise it using the Polish for it. Bad habits start with such unawareness.   This  word is not pleasant and not nice and not something I recall saying much in the past,  it starts with "s" may be preceded with another 4 letters, "bull."     So for Lent, the cuss jar appears.  When ever I say that word it's $1 to the jar; further, each time I think it it's 50 cents.  If I am dutiful and persevere, this bad habit will be gone in 40 days when the joy of Easter returns.  The money will go to the Salvation Army, one of my favorite charities and one that I support financially all the time.   

What are you giving up for Lent or do you?