Friday, July 26, 2013

What you see out the window

Today's Friday Loose Blogger Consortium topic is brought to us by Grannymar (who I'm willing to believe has some beautiful views!).  Wonder what the other members of the Consortium see??  I'll be interested in finding out and I bet you will, too!

I was surprised to find how many of my pictures are taken out through windows.  Looking through a window it is almost a picture fully framed to begin with, packaged  and categorized, sitting in a pigeon hole ready to be pulled out and appreciated!  It might be a storm that has blown in ...

Or, maybe the picture frame is the car window, like this picture of California Poppies on a hillside going over the Grapevine heading to San Diego to see our daughter.

Or something whimsical like a funny rock shape on a hillside.

Maybe it is fog through the window  in our wooden door.

Or a vineyard beside the road.

Sometimes it is scary like the ambulance taking your neighbor to the hospital!  Fortunately, it had a happy ending.

Whatever it is, viewing it through a window is almost a perfect metaphor for how life events appear to us, sitting comfortably housed in the present looking through the window of memory at the past or the window of imagination at the future.  We adjust our moods and emotions like  the adjustments of a thermostat as the howling storm outside passes through and the beauty of the subsequent rainbow beckons us forth.

The insulated view informs us, lets us plan and prepare before joining in once again.  Then someone watches us through their window.  We are social, visual creatures, after all.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Shopping/Shopping Online

This is a topic brought to the Friday LBC marketplace by Padmini.  Wonder what she will be getting online in the future?  Check her blog and the others on the right side of the page to see what their hearts materially desire.

I used to think that Amazon was nuts, going from book sales to ... well, to everything else!  I thought they would crater, because who would go to Amazon to buy clothes or electronics or barbeques or cameras?

The jury is in and I have been found to be phenomenally ignorant on the topic!  But, never accuse me of not jumping on a bandwagon once it gets going.  I now buy so many different things (or at least a high percentage of the things I buy at all) on Amazon that it is ridiculous.  Books are the start, for I have a Kindle.  Why so many of the other things, though?  Because they have made the shopping experience the easiest and most efficient on the planet.

With one click, I buy something that is automatically charged to my credit card which is on record and the item is mailed to my address, also on record.  I love waffles for breakfast, so I have a subscription to a waffle mix called Kodiak Cakes, 6 boxes of which automatically ship to me once every three months.  Once every two months, decaf coffee for our Keurig coffemaker automatically ships.  It is easy and the prices are usually very competitive.

Of course, there are a few downsides.  It, like Walmart stores, is killing the neighborhood shopping experience.  Killing the neighborhood shopping experience is to some extent killing the sense of community.  Killing the sense of community is making us more isolated and leading to less employment.  Shopping for a book online has none of the warmth of shopping for one in the neighborhood bookstore.

Who would have thought you could do all of that with one click??

Friday, July 12, 2013

Not Over Yet

This topic was brought to the Loose Blogger Consortium by Will Knott.  It is fascinating to see a group of people blog on the same topic at the same time and I encourage you to use the clickable links on the right to see what the others have done with this topic.  After you read this, of course!


It very seldom happens to me – how many men have begun a sentence that way? – but last night I wrote a post on this topic and it was truly dreadful.  In my own eyes it was dreadful, that is how truly awful it was.  So, I decided it was better to be late than awful.

So, as is my way (and a few others of our group), I just cast the topic to the universe or my subconscious - which really are not separate – to see what would return.  As our Bible says, cast your bread upon the water.  This is the haul that I brought in:

1.  We had a crash landing right across the Bay from us which caught the attention of the world.  They smacked a Korean jet into the sea wall separating the runway area from the water.  They were extremely lucky they did not kill everyone, but the news just came in that another passenger, the third, has died.  The story here is that you must pay attention right to the completion of the landing, for until you are fully down, it’s not over yet.  But, for the dead, it unfortunately is.

2.  I just received word a half hour ago that the only girl in my elementary school class has had cancer spread to her bones and that she will need to go to a nursing home.  I am so hoping and praying that it is not over yet.

3.  On a lighter note, my solution for a customer seemed complete last night.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t complete and it has taken me all day to finish it to full satisfaction.  It was not over yet.

4.  John Madden is a legendary coach and TV sports broadcast personality in America and lives locally.  He has a program each morning on the local station.  One of the things he has talked about is retirement and he says that a person should not look at retirement until it is time to fully retire – then do it! – because it is ineffective and makes you unhappy to have one foot in each world.  I am thinking he is right and my work life is not over yet!

5.  And, last, how do you know when your mission is complete?  If you are still alive, IT’S NOT OVER YET!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Some days are like this …


I am not experiencing this now.  But … I have.  And … so have you.

It always swings back into place!  So far, at least.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

I Am an American

Photo presented for the Fourth of July by our Department of the Interior

Above, you see our flag flying with the great mountain Denali in the background in Alaska.  We are a land with great scenic beauty and wonder.  We are also a land with urban blight and despoiled nature.  The scenic beauty is more common than the blight, but I have no desire to deny realities that need to be worked on.  That is why I worked for years with a homeless shelter.

I am speaking of no other nation when I speak of these things.  I wish each nation on this shrinking planet the absolute best version and vision of itself.  But ... and this is important ... beyond wishing those nations the absolute best, it is folly for me to think that I really know them.  3/8 of my blood flowed from the shores of Ireland and Scotland, but that doesn't mean I know anything about being Irish.  I read Grannymar's blog, but I don't walk her streets or wander through her countryside.  I don't walk into Irish pubs or stores and speak with the locals.  I may read many perceptive pieces on Ireland, I might ache with what I hear of her travails or glory in what I hear of her accomplishments, but I cannot tell you what it is to be Irish.

Here is the ironic part: I can't even fully tell you what it is to be American, I can only be one.  I have not lived in Maine or Wisconsin or Alabama.  But, I have lived on the Great Plains of Kansas and I have lived in beautiful California.  Yet, something about growing up here, something I can't fully understand, something that comes from living in America my whole life binds me to all these people quite deeply.  Einstein was right when he said the fish is the last one you want ask about water, for he lives in it and thus filters out perception of it.  Still, that fish knows water in ways that a landlubber like me never can.

Let me tell you a story to illustrate the fact that living as an American stamps you as American (as, no doubt living in France stamps you irrevocably as French).  I knew a young woman who worked for one of my customers.  She grew up in Mexico and, as she said, her accent and her knowledge of the culture are totally authentic.  She came to the United States in her late teens.  By the time she had reached her mid-twenties, to travel back to Mexico to see her family was to be greeted in places where they did not personally know her with the description "Americana!"  She was amazed.  Then she asked one of her friends how people knew right off that she had become American when her clothes and her accent did not give her away.  He told her that she now carried herself as an American.

It is something about the culture we each grow up in and I am not sure what it is.  All I know is that all of us are what we are and I really doubt that we ever figure out the whys or the whats.  And, I also know that others are going to be quite willing to give us the answer with great certainty.  And I also know that the answer they give won't be it, because they don't walk our streets, don't live in our homes.  And on and on it goes.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Today’s topic was brought to the LBC by Maria.  Please check out hers and the other bloggers of the LBC by using the active links on the right side of the page.

Ummm … after you read my take.  Of course.


A free society and covert activity: they contradict one another by their very natures and America is having a dialog regarding it right now.

How can you stop hostile forces and plots from attacking innocent people and simultaneously maintain personal freedom?  Well, I think part of the answer is that freedom in a free society is limited regardless of the fantasies some believers like to bring to the table.  I am not free to attack another citizen without consequence, nor am I free to say something about another that causes them danger or harm in many situations.  At the same time, my government is not given free license to search my house without cause or confiscate my property without similar cause as approved by the courts.

Our Constitution and court system is our national effort to resolve these freedoms and it was written in the midst of many freedoms denied – often directly and specifically by the men who wrote it – and the future will continually evolve understandings of inappropriately denied freedoms.  It is an imperfect document developed by imperfect people or there would be no amendments necessary.  Ever.  But, imperfect though it is, it is really pretty damn good!

I put these statements in the public domain as soon as I post this blog entry.  It would be naïve of me to think that individuals would have the freedom, unlimited, to read it from anywhere at any time and that my government would not.  And not just my government, but the governments of both allies and enemies.  On top of that, it is certain that they will not tell me that they have looked at or examined or archived it.  I have no doubt that J. Edgar Hoover and his crew created a dossier on me and my friends during the late 60’s and early 70’s.  I’m sure those dossiers would have been juicier if they could have hovered small drones recording information through the window at some of our parties!

Contrary to some of my fellow citizens and my younger self, I don’t see this as particularly nefarious (although that is subject to change as regimes come into power and potential abuses increase).  I don’t feel the need to arm myself to keep the government from taking over my home or my life.  Neither does it particularly bother me that we have been spying on our friends.  I expect and hope that they are still spying on us like they always have and are just putting out faux outrage to mollify their constituencies.

To be totally honest, at this stage of human development, I think that nations with good spy networks letting them know what is going on with one another more fully mutually guarantee that they are not surprised by or misgauging a situation leading to harm. 

I am less blasé about dirty tricks and at no point do I forfeit my right of protest over activities I see crossing the line and simply invading privacy.  By personal education, votes, protests and discussions with my fellow citizens, I try to resist violations.

How do you see it, oh national and international audience?