Category Archives: Personal

A Convergence of Reading and Thought

“Science is expanding our ignorance
One of the things that science does is a really curious thing.  Every time we use science to try to answer a question, to give us some insight, invariably that insight or answer provokes two or three other new questions. Anybody who works in science knows that they’re constantly finding out new things that they don’t know. It increases their ignorance, and so in a certain sense, while science is certainly increasing knowledge, it’s actually increasing our ignorance even faster. So you could say that the chief effect of science is the expansion of ignorance.
In a curious way, Google is all about answers. So you could say that Google is increasing answers over time, but what’s interesting is that answers are becoming cheap; they’re almost free, and I think what becomes scarce in this kind of place that we’re headed to is questions, a really good question, because a really good question can unleash new questions.
In a certain sense what becomes really valuable in a world running under Google’s reign, are great questions, and that means that for a long time humans will be better at than machines.
Machines are for answers; humans are for questions.
The world that Google is constructing—a world of cheap and free answers—having answers is not going to be very significant or important. Having a really great question will be where all the value is.”

Kevin Kelly

For entertainment I am reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. The premise of the book is that after a terrorist attack in San Francisco, the powers that be abuse technology to track everyone. The rallying cry of the book is “Don’t trust anyone under 25” So I am reading the book from the perspective of the age group that proposes the loss of some freedom is worth the price of safety.

I am also reading it from the perspective of an aging hippy who saw the sixties and seventies fade into the complacency of the eighties. I enjoy the convenience of technology. Debit cards and loyalty cards, cell phones, opening up Facebook every morning to see what my friends and family are up to.

I am of the generation that enjoys the convenience of toll passes and search engines and online banking and shopping. I give little passing notice to the changing ads on my Facebook and Google pages that reflect things I have recently shopped for. I use my debit card to buy gasoline that tells someone, somewhere, that I have been at this gas station on this day. My internet provider tracks where I go on the internet and amazon contains my wishlist of products I would like and books I wish to read. My google calendar and Facebook birthdays sync and seem to have conversations that I am not even a part of.

I am pretty transparent. Is that a bad thing?

I remember a day when the only time you got a long distance phone call was when someone died. I remember my mother writing actual letters to her mother and news would take a week to arrive. I remember my mother using the saying “You never know what goes on behind closed doors.” I remember when there was only one phone in the house and it hung on the kitchen wall. There was no privacy and you better not have phone calls from friends at meal time because that was when everyone gathered at the table and the tv stayed off until you had finished your vegetables and helped clear the dishes. There was only one tv and it was in the living room. The entire family watched it together and on Sunday nights we kids would get to have snacks in the living room and watch Walt Disney. There was no concern over shows (or commercials) being too adult.

When my kids were growing up, we had one computer and it sat in the living room. There was no privacy. Their first phones were tracphones that I bought minutes for. They were strictly for using to call me to come pick them up after band and debate trips. They had no internet or cameras. We owned a set of encyclopedias. We made trips to the public library. I recorded RugRats and Winnie the Pooh cartoons on our vcr so they could watch them over and over.

Now it seems that most of us really do live in glass houses. I have a blog, I am on Facebook, Linkdin, Pinterest, and so many other sites that it takes a spreadsheet to keep track of my passwords. Even when the family is together, we all have our phones, laptops, tablets, and any discussion or argument is rapidly solved with Google. If I want to learn how to do something, I watch a video on Youtube or TedTalks. I used to keep a list of books that I wanted to read and would almost always wait for them to come out in paperback unless I borrowed them from the library.

I remember a time when there was no such thing as a camera in the hall at school. Now it is commonplace. As a student I made sure that I never got in trouble at school (or at least did not get caught) because a call home would have been disaster. I would have been in double trouble. Once for whatever I did and again for the fact that I embarrassed the family in public. Now it seems that the only person not held responsible for behavior is the individual acting.

I tend to think of the past as static. Things were this way or that way and for a period of time and then they changed. I am no longer certain of this perception. It seems as though things have been in a state of change for years and now I question whether it has always been like that and I just did not notice the changes happening, or if things really are changing faster and faster. There seems to be no chance to just stop and catch our breath and wonder about where we are going and if the changes are positive.

Cory Doctorow’s book Little Brother, shows the dark side of what can happen when government abuses the lack of privacy that we have voluntarily embraced. I am not at the point where I would close my Facebook account and withdraw from the internet, but I am starting to wonder if we are asking the right questions. How much sharing is too much sharing? Will there be a cost and what will it be? The days of hiding one’s youthful indiscretions are gone. There is now a record of everything and often we have created ourselves with our selflies and checkins and lists of what we ate for supper. I lead a mundane life and cannot see the government being interested in what recipe I shared or the fact that I searched for the best way to construct a plot. But, if someone wanted to, they could follow my footprints. The could see that I drove to this city on this day, stopped and got gas and a snack, shopped here, ate lunch there. There are probably photos of some of it since security cameras have become commonplace.

We as a culture, never seem to slow down on the path and question what might be lurking over the next hill. Science creates ways to grow more vegetables and we end up with hormones in our food. Research figures out a way to cure a disease and the possible side effects seem worse than the original illness. Like guinea hens we run en masse after whatever newest, latest, discovery.

I witness it repeatedly on Facebook. One person will post something and before the end of the day I will see that same post spread, often without thought of accuracy. We wear our politics and religion like badges and leave our cyber trash behind us. We repeat what we read, share and “like” and comment. How many posts on Facebook every day are disrespectful of the President of the United States? What if tomorrow there was an attempt on the President’s life and the government decided to question anyone who had made negative statements? What if a non-Christian country invaded and decided to round up anyone who professed to be Christian.

I am not saying that it is wrong to speak your mind or that we should live in fear that what we say will be used against us. I am saying that we take so much for granted. The possibility does exist  and maybe we should be making less statements and asking more questions.

If you are interested in reading Little Brother you can download it from Mr. Doctorow’s site. He sells his books but also makes them available for free in various formats.

It can be found here: http://craphound.com/littlebrother/

“Cory Efram Doctorow is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. Wikipedia
“Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog. He has also been a writer, photographer, conservationist, and student of Asian and digital culture. Wikipedia
Addendum:if you want to know more – http://www.wired.com/2014/04/tails/
“Effectively, this is the ParanoidLinux I fictionalized in my novel Little Brother. “

“Tails is a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and anonymity. It helps you to use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship almost anywhere you go and on any computer but leaving no trace unless you ask it to explicitly.

It is a complete operating system designed to be used from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card independently of the computer’s original operating system. It is Free Software and based on Debian GNU/Linux.

Tails comes with several built-in applications pre-configured with security in mind: web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite, image and sound editor, etc.”

To read about, download and/or use Tails – https://tails.boum.org/index.en.html

Update on the Update

I have been cleared for surgery. Wednesday at 2 P.M. they will operate and add metal plates and screws to my foot. I have had very little pain considering I have a broken bone. I suspect that will all change Wednesday. I have to admit, I am a major chicken. And baby. As in whiny, pitiful baby. The very idea of metal plates and screws makes me cringe.

Nothing to eat or drink all day either. Blech.

Hopefully I will be in a bit better frame of mind the next day. The worst will be behind me and I will be enthroned on the couch where I shall remain with foot elevated for three days. I am hoping for very good pain meds. And ice cream. I am already stocked up. There are two gallons of Breyers Waffle Cone ice cream in the freezer. My kindle is stocked up too. I plan to sleep, eat, and read. Aside from the whole plate and screws part, sounds like a vacation 🙂

 

Broken Update

I had a very long day Friday. Rented a knee scooter which will be helpful later. I wanted to try it out and found it to be helpful but there are frequent situation where I have to use my broken foot a little. The surgeon tells me I am to put absolutely no weight on it immediately after so this would not be a good solution. As soon as I can put a little weight on it I am going to get one. Awesome alternative to crutches.

I did all my pre-op stuff Friday – surgery is approved by workers comp. Labs should be back Tuesday and hopefully  I will be cleared for surgery so then as soon as they can get it scheduled I will get this over with. This happened on May 30 and it is now June 15th so I am more than ready to move ahead. By the end of the day Friday I felt like I had hobbled ten miles! Crutches are exhausting.

I am grateful to my husband who has had to tote and fetch since movement is possible but not carrying things like plates of food or cups of coffee. He is not a coffee drinker but he has learned to make it for me.

I am eternally grateful to Cindy, the patient care coordinator at Dr. Jones office. She is knowledgeable and caring and KIND, the first person who not only was willing to get things moving, but volunteered information about things I didn’t even know to ask. People who are willing to go the extra step in their job are invaluable in this world and I appreciate her more than she will ever know.

Temporarily Broken

A week ago, I broke my foot. I stepped off the bottom of a stair and missed the last step. I came down hard and broke the fifth metatarsal. That is the long bone that goes to the pinkie.

I went to have it x-rayed and the nurse taking down notes said she was just say I hurt my foot because otherwise I might have problems getting insurance to pay because they would say workers comp would have to pay.

Work decided that it WAS a workers comp thing. Paperwork was changed. I made phone calls and found a doc at the Carrell clinic in Dallas that takes workers comp. I made an appointment. The doc there said it needs surgery.

Apparently workers comp has not completed investigating so here I sit. A week later. If I had used private insurance, I probably would have already had my surgery and be on my way to returning to work which is what I WANT! I would have some pretty big bills I am sure but I pay some pretty big insurance premiums too. Whether I use it or not.

Instead I am waiting for people who do not know me to make decisions about my life (without even talking to me) and in the meantime, I am stuck with this boot and crutches. For four years I ran up and down stairs at the new high school. I never tripped, fell, or otherwise injured myself. I have never broken a bone before. I detest sitting around and detest being helpless even more. I am frustrated, tired, worried, and sore. I want to get this fixed and go back to work.

To add insult to injury, we had a trip to New Orleans planned. It would have been the first time we ever took a vacation that did not involve visiting family or kids or driving a thousand miles. We were going to fly, take a shuttle to the hotel in the French Quarter, WALK most places, and fly home. That will most likely not happen and it is non-refundable, non-changeable, nada, nothing.

I KNOW there are people worse off than me and that I should be counting my blessings. I KNOW God has a plan and that He will work this out. I KNOW I am being whiny and complaining and not fun. I should use this time to write. I should turn it into a positive, I should be grateful that I have a husband who waits on me and that I am not trying to do everything alone.

I should. And I will do better. For now, waaaaaaah.  There. I’m done. Pity party over.

Changes

It seems that my humble little blog was hacked with spam so please pardon the changes as things are cleaned up.

And Venus Watched the Sunset

Tommy Stone

Tommy Stone

a single tear
traverses a soft cheek
faraway goddess floating alone
in deepest blue cannot compete
gently clouded by shadow
sunset flames leave Venus
cold and solitary
jealous of a darkened earth

This photo was taken by Tommy Stone. The little white dot in the upper left section of the sky is really Venus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun Song

The sun it sings a lullaby
She softly settles down
To rock me in the shadowed trees
Wrapped in a cloudy gown
Of palest pink with lacy stars
I listen to the evening song
I close my eyes and nestle close
Safe right where i belong

A New School Year Begins

I have been struggling. It has been a year of changes. Most of them good. Some wonderful. I have a new grandchild who lives just a tad too far away. I would love to see her every day but we will make the drive as often as we can. There will be more about her later, I promise.

At the end of last school year, I changed jobs. I have been the high school technology contact for thirteen years. As of last April I became the computer tech for the district.

I have enjoyed learning new things. We spent much of the summer setting up new equipment, including desktops, laptops, and iPads. We also re-imaged some labs that were already in place and replaced some older machines with newer machines.

The week before school started, the tsunami hit. I have experienced the beginning of the school year craziness before but only on one campus.

This morning I loaded up the dog and went to the track to walk and think. In the past, I have almost welcomed the challenge of that first few weeks. It was physically tiring but emotionally satisfying in the sense of accomplishment. You would think that the sense of accomplishment would be magnified when translated to an entire district. If that is true, then why have I spent the last week stressed, frustrated, and generally in a negative state of mind?

I realized this morning that while I always worked very hard that first few weeks, I was very visible to the people I was helping. I was all over campus and all the staff could see me and know that I was there and on the run. They were patient and understanding and considerate.

Being all over the district means that the only people that see me are the ones at the campus I am presently working on. That means that every other campus where I am NOT has no idea of what I am doing. This is the first time I have felt unsure about my job performance. I am having trouble separating objective evaluation from insecurity. Evidently, my motivation at work is not money though of course I like a paycheck, like everyone. My motivation is tied very much to feeling like I am making a difference and making others happy.

I have let myself get into a cycle of negativity and my goal next week will be to get myself out of that cycle.

Last week we attended the sign-up session for a bible study on The Fruit of the Spirit. My assignment this week will be to study to present on Loving God’s Family and the scripture is John 13.

Whenever I read this scripture I hear music. A song called The Basin and the Towel by Michael Card. In particular there is a line where he talked of “the impoverished power that sets the soul free”.

I meditated on that scripture and the song this morning as I walked around the track. The world tells us to stand up for ourselves, to not let anyone walk all over us.

I think that John 13 is not so much about not being first or about humiliating yourself, but about the transforming power of Christ to work through us when we stand down and allow Him to change a situation of strife to a meeting with Him. When we are willing to serve others without resentment, we mirror Christ servanthood and allow Him to draw others to Himself. That is the external effect. The internal effect is that as others react to the difference in us, we lose our own anger and resentment and are ourselves, transformed.

This will be my goal for the next week. To continue to meditate on these verses and watch for opportunities to let Jesus have His way and take my anger, my negativity, and make it something entirely different.

I already feel better. How can I not?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV14WES9aow

 

Glory Skies

Photo Credit: Tommy Stone

Photo Credit: Tommy Stone

all you puffed up people see
raise your eyes to glory skies
tucked away in bluest blue
heaped up blessings over you
far from where you toil and try
blinded to eternity

Coasting

My browser froze twice this morning. This is unusual and causes me to force it to quit completely and restart. When I restart my browser it goes to my home page which is this blog.
A gentle hint? A small voice calling me home? I have not written. I could list a number of reasons…new job, life changes, lack of inspiration.
The truth is my lazy streak has reared it’s head and I am allowing the ice cream eating, facebook stalking, tv watching me to take over lately. It doesn’t help that there is the cutest dog in the world curled up on my lap and together we have discovered that the search for the meaning of life pales next to snuggling in a recliner and oh look! There’s a squirrel in the back yard!
I am wandering through YouTube and listening to The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys and while Traffic sings to me from the past, there is thunder in the background and a day to get on with so until later….

Hmmmm

I seem to have made a mess of my sidebar. It will take a bit of thinking to get it straight and of course I had to start this late….Be back tomorrow and hopefully hammer and nails in hand to shore it all up!

Rainy Day Dog

Roxie after a bath

If you let a white dog outside on a damp, muggy day she will want to run around in the wet dirt. If she runs around in the wet dirt she will just get more wound up and you will have to take her for a walk. If you take her for a walk she will be curious and have to investigate everything she sees and smells. If she investigates everything she see and smells she might get a sticker in her fur. If she gets a sticker she will whine and lick at it and you will have to go home. If you walk home on the damp, muggy day, the white dog will be muddy. If the white dog gets  muddy you will have to give her a bath. If you give her a bath you will find the sticker. If you find the sticker you will have to cut it out of her fur with scissors. If you cut the sticker out of her fur she will happily shake water all over you. If she shakes water all over you, you will have to wrap her in a towel. If you wrap her in a towel she will shiver and curl up until you turn on the blow dryer. If you turn on the blow dryer she will roll around and rub her face on the rug while you dry her off. If you dry her off she will run around in circles for a few minutes, then jump in your lap and look up at you with little black eyes and wait. If she waits you must give her a cookie. If you give her a cookie, she will take a nap. If she takes a nap she will wake up and want to go outside and run around……

Winged Sunset

I hope this isn’t a repost. I have been neglecting everything lately. My excuse is health – I have been gimping around on a bad knee. I go to the ortho doc tomorrow so maybe he will give me some answers. I have had pain and the last few days it just seems to be asleep. Physically the tingly being asleep feeling is preferable to the pain but a little scary as well. My job makes it a bit difficult to stay off the leg and I am not even sure that I should – stay off it or exercise? One of the answers I hope to have tomorrow.

I have been sneaking up on nanowrimo but not keeping up with the word count. I made the decision this year to use nanowrimo as an excuse to begin but to continue past November and just keep working on it so the word count is not as important to me as continuing to work at it every day even if it is just a few sentences or working out a plot point in my head.

That is what is going on with me…along with planning for the holidays, looking forward to my son’s wedding, and working on the house.

Kitchen, living room, hallway, back bedroom, and bathroom done. Two bedrooms to go. I will post tomorrow.

 

the bird still climbs
the highest tree
to watch the setting sun
knows night will fall
and dark come down
but through it all
the dawn will come
and as the day
comes to an end
clings to his branch
through wind and night
the world be hidden
from his sight
he waits and hopes
through pain and sorrow
keeps watch eternal
for tomorrow

Summer Passing

The summer is fading away into this heat that makes me sluggish and unwilling to go outside unless necessary. Trying to strike a balance between keeping plants alive and not wasting water is tricky. Even early morning and late evening are unpleasantly still and warm. I saw hopeful clouds this morning about four-thirty and scanned the weather report for a sign of rain but there was nothing close by.

I have not written much this summer. It seems that my muse packed it’s bags and took a vacation, leaving me here to remodel a bathroom and now, train a puppy (or be trained by one!) I am learning to take her outside (often) and fetch her stuffed monkey and throw a ball to her. Hopefully she approves of my progress. Roxie is gracious enough to allow me to sit in the chair with her and watch tv though I must be boring because she goes to sleep until she rolls over and waits for me to figure out that she wants her belly rubbed. We will need to work on the leash situation. She does not care for it at all but it is one more new thing in her life. If anyone has tips for being trained by your Mauxie, I am up for suggestions.

Progress continues on the bathroom. We stripped the wallpaper, prepped and textured the walls and will begin painting today. Time to get out of this chair and gather paint supplies.

 

and one more

 

 

I will try not to bombard the internet with pictures…

Healthy Skillet Supper

It has been awhile since I posted a recipe and the other day I found one on Pinterest that I wanted to try. I did a little bit of creative modification but it turned out delicious and made several meals for Dale and I. The original recipe used white minute rice in the skillet. I used brown rice for less carbs and served the mixture over the rice. I added the corn and seasonings.

You could substitute yellow squash or eggplant and try adding some cilantro and lime juice.

Easy Skillet Supper

While the skillet is cooking put on some brown rice to cook – it takes about 45 minutes and should be ready by the time the rest of your meal is done.

3 medium zucchini, washed and cubed
1 medium onion chopped
saute in olive oil with a little cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper

drain one can of black beans and one can of whole kernel corn
add to the skillet and add a little chili powder
stir and cook over medium heat for a few minutes
add one can of mild rotel tomatoes
stir and let simmer for about ten minutes

Serve over brown rice with a little shredded cheese. Garnish with sour cream.

A Meme: Ten Things and Favorite Bloggers (Thanks Jae)

Ten things you may not know about me (thanks Jae)

I have been having a bit of writers block – maybe I over did it in April!

Here is a meme that was passed on from Jae. Stop by her blog to read more than poetry – a heart on a page.

10 things you may not know about me:

1. On my fortieth birthday I was driving down the road and in-a-gadda-da-vida came on the radio. I turned around and drove to walmart and bought hair dye and dyed my hair red.

2. I once hitched from Colorado to Michigan (younger and stupider days)

3. My favorite book ever is Jane Eyre.

4. I once sold roses on a street corner.

5. I can’t go to sleep at night without reading something.

6. I own my own scroll saw and drum sander.

7. I love to sing in the car.

8. I took a course in Basic programming at a junior college in California for the fun of it.

9. I once lived in an RV.

10. I have always wanted a tattoo of wings.

Favorite bloggers:

Jae at JaeRose (of course!) http://jaerose-jaerose.blogspot.com/
Paschal at Murat11 http://murat11.blogspot.com/
Thom Gabrukiewicz of 3 Word Wednesday http://www.gabrukiewicz.com/
Misty at KindleObsessed http://www.kindleobsessed.com/

I can’t list all of the blogs I read in this post or the post would like, well, my sidebar 🙂

 

Love

 

I tell him to remind me

To pick up the dry cleaning
He tells me to remind him
To take out the trash
We laugh
Each can blame the other
For forgetting
This is what it’s like
To grow old together
NaPoMo 24 poetic asides prompt: love