Saturday, July 26, 2014

Technology has not simplified life but neglect it at your peril

I have no photo of our first home PC  but it was an IBM and kind of looked
like this photo I  found on line...
    I remember our first home personal computer, clunker that it was with old floppy disks that really did flop, then replaced by floppy hard disks and finally wonder of wonders CD's and so it went, improvements all the time until today we have  plug ins and USB's and the Cloud for all that information storage.  That first home computer made me think we had the very world at typing fingertips and each information upgrade  requires adaptation and learning, just like life.  

Over the years I have kept up with techy changes computer, smartphone, tablet, laptop and you name it because it was essential in my career and then I  never wanted to be left behind in the dust, an anachronism as happens to many people too quickly now.  I have an old friend in CA who was  such a disaster with computers in the office way back when, all she could do was use them as a word processor and then barely;  she was the tech support staff's nightmare, she will know who she is when or if she reads this, but it is doubtful she ever will as she has become left behind for various reasons.  Today I tell her it is easier to reach her cross country by smoke signals because all she uses is phone and even then her old obsolete cell phone which she claims to carry around in her pocket at her home  where she is confined is always on the charger. Forget texting, she  doesn't know how or can't or won't learn.  Besides lacking time to really sit and  talk with her, I cannot begin to fill her in on day to day issues such as I can post on Facebook, another place she does not access. I advised her oh how many years back when she retired to enroll in adult education or community college courses on computer usage, at least software usage but she never did and has  gotten farther and farther behind until there is no catching up for her.  In many ways she reminds  me of my departed MIL who spent the last 60 years of her life living in the past, she neer kept pace with anything.  

Uncle Carl at 92 tackles  technology.  The little boy
wonders, oh will I ever get it back from him?
My late elderlies were behind the times but were quite satisfied with where they were but Uncle Carl maintained interest in any and everything despite declining mental capacity, when a  little boy allowed him to  use his mobile at the assisted living center, Carl did not want to give it back.  He was fascinated by first my digital camera and let alone the smart phones.

 Most people become old because they lose interest, have no curiosity and moreover stop learning. Some people have no interest in  learning ever and are satisfied to remain where they are in time.   I have an old school friend in PA, an educated man, an attorney who is helpless with computers, who relies on his adult son to show him what to do and who now suffers  the consequences of ignorance at not being able to access Bar communications  quickly on line. He's been dragged kicking and screaming and lamenting the  whole way.   Recently he sent me a Facebook request which prompted my phone call to him, could it be really?  Nah, he was trying to  read something and clicked onto his son's account and how could he get out of it?  I tried to talk him through it over the phone to no avail.  Our CA DIL and son are averse and uncurious about Facebook that she  will not approach it and discourages others including grand daughter who now avoids it.  Some of this I suspect is because of proclivity to hunker and hover and cling to family; she works in a business office and at least  has email and can text, but seldom does so. A person who is happy in her own cocoon and sees no need for technology I suppose. Different examples of people who  are out of the techy loop and who knows if they are better off for it?.    

Now I have another challenge activating webcam and or Skype account because grandson in CA has requested to chat live.  I was embarrassed to say I had not used it on any of our devices yet.  I know it will not be that difficult but I find myself almost dreading yet, another change another choice another challenge.  And then I remember the left behinds and know I will not join them. I will master that too. 

This cruise port, the first to be built in New Jersey in 40 years, provides the perfect setting to the beginning or end of any voyage. From the vantage point of the deck, you can look out over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor and all of lower Manhattan. - See more at:
Today though I started to write about how technology has really not simplified life, at least from my perspective. Life holds changes in many forms and technology today is a big one.   We have a  two week cruise planned in October from New Jersey up through and around Maine. Nova Scotia, Halifax, Quebec and return and I have been  using the online check in service with Celebrity Cruise lines to enter the necessary data as directed by our travel agent.  Holy cow, life was easier in the past when the travel agents handled it, did  what they needed to do, paperwork  arrived, we packed and off we went.  Nope, 3 hours this afternoon of my time and of course I no sooner completed one section than another required other information that was not here by my desktop, but was upstairs, and so it went.  I have a  lot of financial work to catch up on too as I keep our records on the Quicken system and am a couple months behind because I have not had time to sit at the keyboard. And you know I have not been blogging.  

Technology really doesn't make life easier I am convinced but has added a  new level of complication and busyness.  Today my smartphone creates chaos by anticipating what it thinks I want to text or enter and then does so, I usually do not catch these changes some of which may be hysterically comical though some of which are nonsensical which then necessitates post correction and editing afterwards.  Gone are the days of proof readers or particular spellers and all that stuff, here we are with swypos and devices that think they know what we want to say.  It's rather annoying but we are into technology.

October 2014 cruise itinerary
And the October cruise which should be an adventure aboard the Celebrity Summit, concierge class with verandah stateroom and all the top amenities will have me  at computer determining what off shore experiences to choose. After last years tour to Alaska I vowed never again to have a tour day arranged and herded  by others, so I am  working that out for us on my time.  Ahh it's great to have the devices to do this at home, or is it?  Otherwise, could I  gain personal assistance from an agent who could do the keyboard work, but  would it be at my convenience? Such is the price we pay for wanting to do things ourselves and there we have it with our own technology and time.  And lack of time. 

To learn more about our  cruise and Celebrity Summit, see this link

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Stlla d'oro lilly
It's that time of year when the lillies are in bloom...this year our Stella d'Oros bloomed ahead of the other lillies, most years it is opposite.  Nevertheless each year when I first see her golden bursts I recall A Streetcar Named Desire and Marlon Brando's character Stanley's anguish cry, "Stella, HEY Stella! Stella!" And the echoes of the  angry woman who wants her to leave him, "she ain't comin' down so you just as well not call"   That raw scene is an opposite contrast to  the beauty of this golden lilly but Stanley's  tantrum after he rages with abuse is what comes to my mind every year when the golden lillies appear in masse.. 

I would have seen that movie with my grandma, Rose who loved the movies and who  saved her money so that every Sunday after mass and dinner off we went downtown to one of our three theaters. Sometimes we would see 2 movies in an afternoon because her brother Bill was a projectionist at the local Liberty theater and he would likely get us in free. That left money for me to be sure to see a technicolor cowboys and Indians, which were my faves.    I grew to like movies as much as she did and perhaps this one is not for children but it did not harm nor traumatize me.  My Baba would  talk to the screen, "that's right you bum, she ain't coming back to you..."  Many other in the audience did the same back then but I do not recall anyone being annoyed by another's comment, people had similar to the same values and thought alike back then.  Simpler central times where all was not bared to the world for judgement and rehashing.  

If you are unfamiliar with this Elia Kazan 1952  black and white movie with Kim Hunter too it is   based on the Tennessee Williams' play, I have a link here.  Be aware there is a Verizon commercial  before the clip is featured.     
One clump of our Stella's
From the same movie there is the bitter death monologue that Blance du Bois  unleashes to Stella in frustration beyond..." ,I took the blows on my face and my body! All those deaths! The long parade to the graveyard. Father, Mother, Margaret that dreadful way. So big with it, she couldn’t be put in a coffin, but had to be burned like rubbish! You came just in time for funerals Stella. And funerals are pretty compared to death. Funerals are quiet, but deaths not always. Sometimes their breathing is hoarse, sometimes it rattles, sometimes they cry out to you, "Don’t let me go!" Even the old sometimes say it- "Don't let me go". As if you could stop them! Funerals are quiet, with pretty flowers. And oh, what lovely boxes they pack you away in! Unless you were there at the bed when they cried out "Hold me" you'd never suspect there was struggle for breath and bleeding. You didn't dream, but I saw! Saw! And now you sit there telling me with your eyes that I let the place go. How in hell do you think all that sickness and dying was paid for? Death is expensive Miss Stella! And old Cousin Jessie, right after Margaret's, hers! The Grim Reaper put his tent up on our doorstep! Stella, Belle Reve was his headquarters. Honey, that's how it slipped through my fingers. Which of them left us a fortune? Which of them left us a cent of insurance even? Only poor Jessie- one hundred to pay for her coffin. That was it Stella! And I with my pitiful salary at the school! Yes, accuse me! Sit there and stare at me, thinking I let the place go. I let the place go! Where were you Stella? In bed with your Polack!"
1945 Mom & Stella Janosky holding me

The name Stella is seldom heard today but when I grew up it was common around western Pennsylvania and in the Polish families and .  There was at least one Stella in every family, the one I recall most in ours was my grandma's niece, Stella Janosky who was Mary and Tommy's daughter and a close cousin of Mom's and Aunt Jinx.  Stella never married and worked at Pittsburgh Plate Glass; she and Aunt Jinx did many things together because they were both single working ladies who lived with their parents, old maids they were called back then.  But Aunt Jinx married Uncle John later in life and that may have been the end of their times hanging out together.  By then I was into my own self as a new teenager and I seldom saw Stella, it was as though she faded from the scene as my scene changed around my school life and activities. .  

Recently I have met several young women names Alice and Lois, two more old names, but no Stella's.  Still I wonder, whatever became of that old name?