Monday, January 30, 2012

Tech Guy Go To.

    With all due apologies to the teens across the street, I have an excellent go to tech guy. When ever I'm really stuck I can check with my son on how to do something. Now in some of my previous posts I have described my limitations in the tech world. Thanks to my son the header on my blog was changed recently.

     My son's introduction to tech stuff started a long time ago. In the early eighties Apple decided to give schools computers. What we received were Apple II e's. Now these computers were very primitive. They were on a disk operating system so you had to have a disk with a little program and that's about it. You could write something , print it and store it on a disk.

      My son was about thirteen when we got the computers at school. There were many games and the games were easily copied so all the little beaners wanted in the computer room after school to play games. We had a sign in system for the kids to use a computer after school. It was great fun trying to get these kids to leave after an hour.

     A friend of my was teaching a small community computer class in the evenings. He could not make one session so asked if I would sub for him. He had his lesson very well planned out for me. I took my son along to help me. So on one side the computers did what I asked and the other side nothing happened . I gave the instructions again. My son watched and tried it himself. Finally my son discovered that the one side had put the disks in upside down. From that time on he became my respected adviser.

     My son has stayed with high tech throughout his working life. He was in the Communications Branch of Canadian Armed Forces (Reserve) and became familiar with electronics. He taught four different computer courses at a small college in the 90s & continued teaching to adults in various school districts throughout the Vancouver area for many years following. He has worked for high-tech companies that produced air traffic control systems, DC power supplies and wireless telemetry equipment. Now he is an Accounts Manager for a company that produces Ethernet security systems for control networks.

     So I have somebody with great knowledge and experience to help me with computer challenges.   By the way , he still loves computer games which are a million times better than in the eighties.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Do It Yourselfer Blues

      I am a chronic do it your selfer. I'm somewhat independent. I don't have any skills or talent in mechanics, carpentry, plumbing or electrical but I dabble in all of them when it comes to my house or vehicles. I've written before about my lack of natural ability when it comes to being a handyman.

     So here's the situation. It's about minus 5 here in the daytime. I don't have a garage and my ancient cars are parked outside. From time to time those old beaters will not run. So  I can solve  most of the problems . It just takes hard work and a little know how.

     Last week I accidentally left a car door improperly closed so that the interior light stayed on. So two days later when I discovered the door improperly closed... I had a dead battery. So downstairs and dig out my trusty battery charger. Find cords. Set up the charger. So for a lot of this it's bare hands kind of work. 6 1/2 hours later the battery is charged and the car starts. Problem solved.

    This week I needed the other car to haul some junk and I find it has a dead battery. This is a more serious problem. I set up my trusty battery  charger and soon find out my battery's toast!

    Now the next part is to find a replacement battery. This is where my live in professional shopper takes over. So 6 hours of phoning later she has found the best battery deal and off we go. She's also wangled a free battery test just to be sure the battery is completely finished. Next I have to get the battery out of the vehicle. There is one bolt that holds the battery in place. It's in a very confined space and it's extremely rusty. So making only a 1/8 turn at a time, many bad words, cut knuckles and cold hands I finally remove the battery 45 minutes later. 

     Off we go to purchase a battery. We race home to install the battery before dark. Ten minutes later the battery is installed and the old beater is running. 

    Now I know any farmer reading this will say, "What's he complaining about? I'm outside in the cold every day." For me, as I said in my last post, I didn't have to wear gloves until I was sixty. At 72 it's a different story. My hands don't get cold but the skin cracks to the point of cuts that bleed.

     So when I think this over it's the hard difficult work I do. I don't run with my money and ask the first guy I see to fix the problem. I'll save my money for the highly technical problems that I can't handle.

     I'm disappointed that in all the cold I was not going to take any pictures of this procedure. So I apologize. I hope you'll understand!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's Rather Surprising What People Lose!

      When I was a teacher the school lost and found bin was rather large. We emptied it twice a year. We had a plentiful supply of mitts, gloves , socks, boots, T shirts, coats, hats, gym strip, watches and the list could go on. We would have the items displayed and beat the bushes for kids to check the items to see if some of it belonged to them. Charities received what was not picked up.

     Shopping malls have piles of stuff in the lost and found. Since it's a large place the pile of lost and found is larger with greater variety. Airports, hospitals, movie theaters all have many lost items.

     Now I have lost a few things myself. As a little kid I had a string that ran through my coat a with my mittens sewed to the end.  I didn't wear gloves until I was sixty. Partly because I didn't need them and partly because I lost them. I have hunted for hours in the house to find something which is usually in some unusual place. 

     When I left the skating dressing room the other day there was one sock left on the bench. I thought it belonged to one of the skaters and thought back to who was sitting in that place. I could tell immediately this was no ordinary sock. It was a therepeutic sock. I put the sock in my helmet and took it home. Five days later I received a desperate call from Red (not me). Red Had come back to the arena looking for his sock and checked the whole arena. He had gone to the hot tub in the pool and had looked  all through the pool. He had been razzing the guy sitting beside him and thought the guy may have taken the sock as a prank. Red phoned the prankster. Red also phoned some of the other skaters. At the Friday skate he asked again. Someone was able to say, Red (me) picked up your sock. So I received the relieved call 5 days after our skate. 

     So the sock was returned to a grateful Red. I was told the pair of socks went for $100.00 a pair!

     So now I have an idea for skaters. Put a string on your socks that goes around your neck and attach your socks to it so that you won't forget your socks. 
As you can see the string is double so it's adjustable.

      Think I'd make any money on this idea?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sometimes You Need a Chuckle

      I'm a fairly avid reader. I spend the greatest amount of my time on blogs. Next to that is reading.

      I read a fairly wide variety of books, but sometimes I can't find the right book at the time. That's when I can rely on some old favorites and I go back to them. I have lists of books I've read a way down on the right side of my blog. 

      Recently I was looking for a couple of books in the library but they are signed out and have been for some time. I've been waiting for "Oliver's Twist" which is an autobiography by Craig Oliver. Another one I've been looking for is "To Kill a Mocking Bird."  I finished high school before this novel was used for study.

      So because I was in a hurry I picked up a P.G. Wodehouse book. Wodehouse is well known for his English humor. He wrote the "Jeeves" stories which were a television series at one time. Wodehouse wrote 14 books using Jeeves. So I pick up a Wodehouse book and have some light reading where I don't have to concentrate too much and I get a great chuckle out of Bertie Wooster who is such an airhead and unflappable Jeeves who is Bertie's butler and always gets Bertie out of trouble.

     Another writer I read when I can't find anything is Louis L'Amour. L'Amour is easy to follow and there is lots of "Rockem Sockem " action. L"Amour's heroes always draw faster than the bad guys. I'm surprised art how many people read Louis L'Amour.

     I have readers I know and I always ask them what they're reading so that I can find something new . One of my 90 year old friends is a voracious reader. So I always say, Bernice , "What are you reading?" She smiles and says, "You wouldn't like what I read." So then I tease her about reading romance. Some bloggers are really good at telling what they are reading. Some bloggers have a list of books that they have read.

    Sometimes I blunder into a series. I've read all of Jean Auel's Ayla stories. I like historical novels so I have read Quite a few Edward Rutherfurd. I like Leon Uris. I have also read a few James Michener's.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Memory Keepers

       On January 1, 2012 my sister, Doreen  would have been 69 years old. Instead Doreen died in February of 1953 at age eleven years.

       Doreen was a very healthy active child. She became ill and it was thought that she had a cold. She did not get over the cold but was up one day and down the next. She didn't seem to be able to beat what ever bug she had. The family Doctor decided to admit her to the hospital. Her condition became worse and she was sent to a city hospital. She continued to go up and down. My Mom stayed in the city and my Dad spent as much time as he could with her at the hospital. Antibiotics didn't seem to be doing any good. At the end of two weeks Doreen suddenly passed away. 

     This death was devastating to my parents, her brothers and the community. The loss of their daughter was something that stayed with both my parents until their passing. 

     My Dad died in 2008. With that the keeping of the memory of Doreen passes to her brothers. Most of the people my parents age are gone. Very few people now would have met Doreen. My youngest brother was born after Doreen's death so he never met her. 

     In the 1950's it was considered that kids didn't mourn and that deaths would soon be forgotten. No one talked to us about Doreen's death. People talked to Mom and Dad and expressed their sympathy and support. My brothers and I just continued on with our lives. My brothers and I did not talk to each other of Doreen's death until we were in our fifties. We know now that this is not the way to handle losses with kids. 

     However, we survived the loss of our sister. Now we are some of the few left who will keep her memory . People will visit the cemetery and be able to place her in the family. Soon there will be no one living who will have actually known her. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blogger Perceptions

       I have always wondered about blogger perceptions. We deal in an almost one dimension medium. Sometimes we add photos and some bloggers use mainly photos. But how close are we to the "real meal deal" in the blog world. 

      When I was teaching I would ask the kids what I did when I first came into the classroom for each class. I explained that I took a look at each individual student before I started my class. I told them that I wanted to see if anyone came in upset. I wanted to identify that situation and try to settle it rather than wait part way through class when everything boiled over. So in this situation perception was everything. I could observe actions, sounds , body language and other student reaction. I could also observe some sequence.

      When we blog , we are limited to the written word alone. Some writers express themselves extremely well and give us a good picture. But we are missing a couple more modes of perception. It would be nice the hear the bloggers spoken word. It would be beneficial to see the body and the body language. We certainly communicate through body motion. I have stamped my feet or banged my fist down a time or two. So how close do we get to the complete picture of the blogger we read or follow?

      Sometimes I read about bloggers who meet a fellow blogger. They are always excited to meet the blogger in person. They usually report a very positive experience. I've only met one blogger in person. It was a super experience. She was older than I thought because I was going by a picture on the blog. However the person I met was exactly who I knew on the blog. The surprise was her partner. I had pictured him very much as a follower. He was no follower and was an impressive character as he held strongly supported views.

      So I was just wondering how we saw things on our blogs. Do we get it right or does it matter.

      What ever the perception is out in the blog world, I like the blogger as is on the blog. That is the real person in the blog world and that's all that matters.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

An Elderly Son and His Father.

     Yesterday I was talking to my son on Skype. I noticed he  was wearing glasses so I asked him why. He told me they were for reading and then added,"I'm old like you!"

      This reminded me of a couple of incidents with my Dad.

      When I was close to 64 I sent my Dad a birthday card for his 91 st birthday. I had told him in the card that in two more birthdays I would be 65. Dad didn't have much site left due to Macular degeneration. He asked my step mom to read the card again. He thought for a bit and then said, "Red's an old man!" My step mom found this hilarious and so did I. There is something extremely incongruous when your father calls you an old man. 

      Two years before Dad passed away he made another comment that was significant. Dad was a farmer all his life. He looked at the world with farmer's eyes. All judgments were from his farm life. I became a teacher and of course you know that Dad's opinion was that I worked from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM and the money wasn't bad. Furthermore, I had weekends off, two weeks off at Christmas and two months off in the summer. He thought this was pretty soft. He really wanted me to teach near the farm so that I could help him out on the farm with all my spare time. At age 94 he said to me,"Well, you did all right after all!" This comment amazed me. I thought my career was successful and that I was fortunate to have savings and a good pension. I realized that all these years he had looked at me with concern. In his mind if I didn't own 3000 acres of farmland and a few humongous tractors I was not well off.

     Dad died in 2008. How fast the wheel  turns. I am elderly and my son has reached middle age. Slowly the relationship changes. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


      This post was the first one I made on the blog back in Aug. 2008. My daughter had helped me set up the blog so I wanted to post something to see how the process worked. It shows a certain naivety about blogs.

       It's one of those posts that you can look back at and see if you did what you said at the beginning of your blog. No one should be bothered by the repetition as I think only one or two people read the post.

       What does one say when one starts a blog ? Obviously something must be on my mind . I'm interested in the environment , music,reading, Xcountry skiing , cycling , issues of health and education ... So from time to time I will leave comments on these topics and other related issues . I hope that you find something of value ...informative, interesting or something which you wish to comment on.
     I look forward to coming up with topics and putting them together for others to think about .

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mommy Blogs

      On "Sunday Edition" on CBC there was a documentary on "Mommy Blogs." I had never heard the term "Mommy Blog" before.

     The documentary went on to explain that women with children began blogging as away to support each other. Ideas of dealing with children were exchanged. Various products designed for children were discussed. 

     Gradually some of these blogs became used by advertisers. Products aimed at women and children were featured on some of the blogs. Many Moms joined in on this situation as it was a way to obtain some extra cash for the family. Moms were then persuaded to post positive things about various products. Of course, some of these people never saw  a product they didn't like. One of these blogger now has about 100 000 hits a day!

    Now large conventions take place for Mommy bloggers. A huge number of companies are there  to display their products. Samples are given away in huge numbers. Hospitality suites are numerous. So the bloggers are wined and dined and the companies find more bloggers who will post for them. Some tape of one conference was played as a performer was singing to the group. As in most concerts this crowd of women were completely into the performance.

     So who am I to say that the Mommy blogs are an eyesore to the blog world? I have bumped into the odd one of these blogs. You usually see that they have 2000-3000 followers and lots of advertising. So if you find one of these blogs that you find interesting, so be it. I for one, will try to avoid following blogs that have advertising. 

     I like the blogs I follow that have a genuine interest in people's day to day activities, exhibit excellent photography and artistic skills. If a blogger is able to combine some of these , it's just a much better blog!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bloggers: Hard Working People

       The longer I participate in the blogging world, the more I realize how hard bloggers have to work to put out an interesting blog. I'm not trying to tell you that I am a hard little worker. No , I've been reading many blogs this last while. 

       A good blogger reads and follows many blogs on a regular basis. A good blogger doesn't just see a good idea and copy it. When bloggers look at good blogs it prompts them to come up with their own original creations. The blogger may have some ideas that have been rolling around in the back of their head when they see something and then their whole post pops into their head. I think of how many blogs the Smitten Image must read before awarding Posts of the Week!

     A successful blogger is going to make meaningful comments on other posts. A dialog can be set up that benefits both writer and reader. Comments stimulate and support other bloggers. Blogger support for each other is crucial. It's interesting reading comments to find many of the same bloggers show up on many posts. One of my friends recently started a blog. He has a great idea: combine technology and nature. He is an amateur video-ographer and naturalist. He will not post very often but he has an excellent blog. He works full time and there's not enough time to post more often

     There's a tremendous talent among bloggers when it comes to photography. Some blogs succeed completely on their photography. Some bloggers tell an excellent story through use of photography. Good photography is hard work as well as talent. Other bloggers skillfully use clip art. You have to have your post in your head before you set up the illustration. All of this takes time and work. How many times is a post done before it's complete?

      I've said before that it's sad to see some blogs start and just as soon cease. They are blogs with all kinds of potential. Most reasons for ceasing are not enough time to spend putting out quality posts.

    So at the beginning of 2012, hats off to all the hard working bloggers in the blogosphere. I  look forward to spending pleasant time following your blogs.

Monday, January 2, 2012

It's Time to Strike the Set

        A few weeks ago we set up many Christmas decorations as we looked forward to the Christmas season. Lights were hung on the house. The front window had a nativity scene. Banners were hung on each door. A wreath was hung on the outside front door. Stockings were hung on the mantle. The tree was elaborately decorated. All of this was  as if it was a stage which had been set up for a special show.All this was only a few short weeks ago. We have had the celebration. 

       Today was the appointed time to "strike" the set. Outside decorations were brought in first. Decorations at various parts of the house were gathered up. All the boxes which contained decorations were laid out and opened ready to accept the precise decorations they hold. Decorations were removed from the tree in sets to match the boxes that were waiting. Finally the lights were taken from the tree. Then the tree was dismantled and carefully put in the box so that next year all parts would come out in the exact order needed to erect the tree. Lastly all the big boxes containing all the little boxes were put up on the shelf to wit for next year when the whole process will be repeated again. 

Some of the boxes ready for packing 

     My outside house lights are still on because Ukrainian Christmas occurs this week end. 

     So the stage has been dismantled and put away to await another year. 


Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 1 : A Time for Reflection and Questions.

     January first is a great time to sit down and reflect on what has gone on in the past year. Are there changes that need to be made...changes which will bring about improvements or adjustments. For example, volunteer activities, recreation, relationships, friendships, faith, personal growth? So may questions! So many different answers!

     For the purpose of this post I will keep comments to blogging.

     First question: do I continue with the blog? I admit that I have become somewhat obsessed with Hiawatha House! I get a kick out of it. Writing brings satisfaction. Giving and receiving comments stimulates  ideas. When I started blogging I had no idea what comments were and the tremendous value of comments. I was very preoccupied with the mechanics of blogging. I thought there were thousands of people out there who were just waiting to read my blog. It was a steep learning curve.

     Second question: what am I going to do with Hiawatha House this year? Last year I decided that I had to put more effort into my blog. I have written more posts, used more photos and made more use of links. I will continue and increase these strategies. I have to look closely at the topics I post on. I tend to be quite scattered. I write on a wide variety of topics. This year I  will try to deal with a narrower range of topics. Time will tell how I do this and how well it works. I still have lots to work at when it comes to the mechanics of blogging. There are so many opportunities to add variety to the blog. Some old things I will do away with. 
I have found more blogs to follow and will hunt for more good blogs to follow. 

    So at the start of a new year I've expressed  some thoughts as to where I might go and why. The how I'm going to get there still has to be established.

     To all my readers I look forward to more dialog with you. I look forward to your comments that make me a better blogger. I look forward to the surprises in blogging from what comes up for me to write on and from your comments. 

     Here's to a year of good blogging to all bloggers and followers. All the best to you in 2012.