Thursday, November 24, 2016

I haven't posted in quite some time - primarily because family matters have kept me occupied.  On Thanksgiving Day, we have a tradition of listing 10 things for which we are grateful in the current year, not including family or friends.  I decided to share mine and hope you have no trouble compiling your own list.

Mindful that I must be thankful for ALL things, I guess I am thankful for the ugliness exposed by this election.  We need to remember that these differences have existed since the time of the founding fathers. This nation was built on compromise (otherwise the nation's capital would be in New York City, not Washington DC) and it is compromise that has kept us going - in spite of those differences and our constantly changing population. Neither side is completely right or completely wrong. My prayer is that our elected representatives keep that in mind as they do their work - locally and nationally.

I am able to consider retirement options. Many don’t have that luxury.  I won't be able to afford a trip to Europe or buy a vacation home in Florida but I won't be eating dog food either.  

My boss may make me crazy sometimes but I have a job, I don't have a long commute, I generally like the work, and I am paid for what I do.  Very few can say the same.

It may seem like an odd destination but I had a good time in Cincinnati this summer. The city is beautiful and there is plenty to do. It was easy to see why people like it.

We had a very successful garage sale. I was happy to be able to help a friend get rid of so much of her clutter while also getting rid of some of mine.

Three cheers for skilled trades people - the HVAC guy, the electrician, the painter, the plumber & all the others who make our life easier.  Thank goodness not everyone wants to be an accountant or an attorney.

I’ve read some good books this year, including Chernow's biography of Hamilton (which led to the next point on my list). I already have several titles on my to-read list for next year.  And I love movies.  I can’t wait for 2017, which I believe will be better than 2016. The only film of real note this year - Zootopia.

Specifically for 2016 - the soundtrack from Hamilton. The quality and scope of the music was a total surprise.  We can't afford tickets but we borrowed the CDs from a friend.  Otherwise, music in general. I love most genres. There is always something to listen to that matches my mood…or improves it if that’s what I need. 

About 35 years ago, my brother told us 2-inch thick televisions would hang on the wall and we would be able to access any programming we wanted to see.  It took longer than he anticipated but here we are with skinny TVs and video streaming.  I am particularly thankful for Acorn TV. Thanks to its wealth of programming, we didn’t have to suffer through any political commercials or shows.  We always had worthwhile alternatives.

I am so grateful that most people living in the western world, including me, generally live in peace.   While no place is completely safe or strife-free, I cannot image how horrid it would be to live or work in one of the many places in this world where war rages continually.  I am also thankful for those who serve their communities and their nations in an effort to aid and protect.

So that's my list.  Happy Thanksgiving to all my fans and friends in the US and belatedly to those in Canada.  To everyone else - I hope you are able to create a list for yourself, no matter what day it is.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Windows10 Broke My Computer

Did Windows10 take over your computer recently?  Are you one of the millions of victims?   Were you able to escape it successfully or did you end up paying hundreds of dollars to an IT specialist to solve whatever problems that software created?  It seems this affected everyone we know in some way.  And yet, there's been next to no media coverage about it outside the technical world.  Why?  This should be headline news.

Somewhere in the fine print of the user agreement there must be a paragraph that gives Microsoft the right to push unwanted and poorly constructed software on its customers. However, just because it has the right, doesn't mean it should.  Can't Microsoft see that people would be happy to upgrade if the software was worth upgrading to?  So much was written about poor performance and countless difficulties, it's no wonder folks kept saying "no" whenever the pop-up surfaced offering the free upgrade.  Gee Microsoft - didn't that tell you something.

One of the reasons Microsoft gives for forcing Win10 down our throats is privacy concerns. Bull-oney. It just invaded our privacy by downloading Win10 when we repeatedly said we didn’t want it.

We wouldn't bother getting our PC repaired except that the household network was resident on the PC and that is totally screwed up - thanks to Windows10. So we will spend a ton of money, which is not in our budget, getting our PC back to Win7 and then moving the network to the Mac.  We never want to go through this again because there was absolutely nothing "free" about the free upgrade to Win10.

I rarely feel the animosity toward a corporation that I currently feel toward Microsoft. If I had any choice, I would never use one of its products again. If anyone out there decides to file a class action lawsuit to recover the cost of repairs, count me in.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Our Parks are More than Just Green Space

"You are very lucky to live in this country."

We had a block party yesterday and welcomed a couple of new families to our street. I spent some time talking to a lovely woman who, with her family, immigrated here from Ukraine. What she said nearly brought tears to my eyes. It is worth sharing.

She spoke often of how we had taken special, natural places and preseved them. Ukraine has beautiful places but the people have done nothing to keep them open and available for the citizens to enjoy. My neighbor was amazed at all the state and national parks we have. She spoke specifically about Illinois Beach State Park, Devil's Lake in Wisconsin, and Niagara Falls.  The family is already planning trips for next summer.

What else do we have? Blue water. In Ukraine, the water is brown.  Here the water is fresh; there the large bodies of water are salty. We take it for granted; she thinks it is amazing.

We do not appreciate what we have until we see it through another person's eyes. As my new neighbor spoke, I silently thanked all the "tree huggers" who fight so hard to keep the Great Lakes blue and the trees in Devil's Lake State Park green. She admires Americans for taking care of the natural gifts we have. Little does she know how difficult that has been to accomplish.