Monday, November 26, 2012

I've Done the Heavy Work for Christmas Preparation

A well worn ski trail
When it comes to Christmas I have been known to be somewhat absent from preparations. This year I've out done myself and done a big job and look how early it is. This year I have lots of snow for a very white Christmas. Now this took and awful lot of work. How many of you wish for a white Christmas?

A nice rock  covered with a white blanket

Bare poplar branches

The trail disappears in the distance

Another large poplar

Long afternoon shadows

Winding ski trail

Snow and long shadows

So you see I've done a great job and have lots of snow for a white Christmas

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Humiliation Has Some Limits

      I have had a computer in my house since 1997. I did not have the Internet at my house until 2009.  For the Internet I went to my daughter's house. This arrangement worked well as I could go to her house when she was at work and search the Internet or do my email. 
The messy desk is for a later post with more humiliation.

     This arrangement worked fine for me except that I did not learn much about looking after a computer or learn what possibilities were available. Since it was her computer I left the management to her. 

     According to my daughter the computer crashed and since she was in a hurry she bought another computer right away. There was warranty on the old computer. The agreement she made for settlement was to take a reconditioned computer and since she didn't need it she gave it to Dad. I guess she thought that Dad had done enough dog sitting and renovation assistance that he deserved a computer.She left a few months later so I had to get the Internet at my house.

   Now I could really explore things since I had my own computer that was connected to the Internet. It took a while until I discovered that there were things I could listen to on the Internet but I found that the sound was way off. I could only get some garbled sound. I learned an awful lot about computers but I couldn't get my sound to work. I asked people and was about to replace the sound card. Now I had lots to do so I never got around to replacing the sound card. 

     I wonder if somebody has figured out what my problem is by now?

    The other day I posted about my ipod problems and how my neighbor told me to push the jack in until I heard a distinct click. A few days later it clicked in my head that maybe the same solution applied to my computer sound. You guessed . I pushed the jack in until there was a click and tried the sound and there it was! So after three years I have sound on my computer. 

    Now this is embarrassing and humiliating. Two of the same problems and the solutions were extremely low tech. Since I bragged about some of my technical skills I am humiliated to admit that I was stumped by such a simple problem.

     Please don't laugh too hard!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Comments Rock

    More and more I appreciate comments that followers and readers leave after my posts. Comments can do many things. Comments can compliment, affirm, amuse, enlighten and sometimes disappoint.

    Comments that some people make will add to what I've written. I don't always say all that could be said because I am unaware or too impatient. 

      It's always pleasant when someone agrees with you. However, I am not upset when someone disagrees. I appreciate a good debate and I will never make personal slurs and can usually ignore personal attacks and stick to the argument.

     Some commenters have amazing wit. There are many types of humorous replies. The ones I really like are those that are very distant that if you're not careful you'll miss it.  You can guess that I like Far Side the cartoon. I also like Far Side one of my followers!

    Commenters usually have their own characteristics and their comments are predictable. In other words readers that are stable and thoughtful.

     Other commenters take a global view and are able to make a comment the applies to the whole post. Others will focus on one point in the post. I tend to reply to one small part of the post. I haven't missed the rest of the post . I just think that one part of the post is more important to me.

    It's gratifying to see how hard readers work to keep up with comments. Some days you find a reader will comment on three or four posts. I appreciate people who have been busy and go back and read older posts. I  find that sometimes I just have to miss comments for a day or two. I can read the posts but I don't have time to make comments.

    Now I've posted on comments before. Comments are very meaningful and positive for me. The comments keep me going. 

     Thanks to all readers who stop by Hiawatha House and leave a comment.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Better Communication Needed

      Now I ranted on my last post. This is going to be one of those little picky annoyances.

      We have blue box service which picks up material which can be recycled...tin cans, paper and some plastics. I am fully supportive of recycling. I think there should be more recycling as more things could be and should be recycled and reused. I applaud our city and all other cities that have set up a blue box service.

      We are requested to take off all labels. Most labels come of very easily. However about 10% of the labels are extremely difficult to remove. Soak them! Scrape them! Try as you like , the label comes off in tiny little pieces.

      So here's my pitch. Why can't the people at the beginning of the process communicate with the people at the end of the process and have glue on the labels that  makes it easy   to take off the label? 

      Has anybody else had this problem or am I just a whiner?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Don't Freak Around Me!

      I can completely get thrown off my game when someone around me loses it and melts down and in some way lays blame on me. I don't have much time for some one who gets bent out of shape for everyday events. I can accept somebody being greatly upset when the time calls for it. Accidents, frights, threats, extreme events. One I'll never forget is when we were called back from the lake because our basement had flooded. I remember my wife coming in the house and standing at the top of the stairs and being completely overwhelmed and devastated. She was inconsolable. For these things our normal instinct is to show some strong emotions.

     What bothers me most is when people  purposely lose control or are not in control of emotions as they should be. Exaggerated reactions are just not pleasant. Yes, I can listen all day to some one who has great stress. Yes, I will make an effort to assist someone who has been put in a stressful situation. How much of the melt down incident is to influence those in the area?

     I would expect that the proper and right thing to do is exert self control so that those around can respond appropriately. This is where I come in. I do not function well at all when scenes are made. They throw me right off my game and I am not at my best. I am able to recognize an extreme situation. Very rarely do I have to be told. In that situation I can be of some assistance. Now some of this may be explained as when I encounter my own stress, I'm more apt to withdraw. I've been known to go to sleep. I have also heard of other people following this routine. I find that if I take some quiet time and think about the stressful situation I am ready to come up with a more suitable solution for the cause of the stress.

    I found that as a teacher it was much easier for students to perform if they had a calm, quiet atmosphere to work in. I sometimes think of the horse or dog whisperer and how this could be used with children. I rarely yelled art kids. When I did yell, they would look at each other and say, "I guess we better smarten up because he never yells." When a child was upset it always worked much better if you could use a quiet approach.  Getting angry or excited did not help the kid when they were upset. I remember one boy becoming extremely upset one day so much so that he was going to leave the classroom. This was fine by me as he could go out and calm down and he wouldn't lose face in front of his classmates. He accidentally tripped on the overhead projector cord and it bounced up to the ceiling and broke one of the light bulbs. Then things changed to the safety mode for the  kids covered with glass.

     So if possible I would prefer that we deal with stress so that it allows people around us to respond in their best form. Maybe we''ll all have a better day when all of us have a better chance to solve a situation.

    What do you think? How do you deal with over the top situations? How do you deal with your own stress?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Part two: My Confession is Needed

     Well, yesterday I let it all hangout and bared my soul in a post. It was hard to admit that I wasn't half as smart as I thought I was.

    Thanks to the people who made comments and suggestions as to what was wrong. Some of you will see that you were right. I was hoping to find someone with and ipod nano and the same problem.

    So it was a very simple problem. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the ipod nano. The plugging in of the ear buds was the  problem. I was too gentle with pushing the connection together into the ipod.  It didn't look right or feel right and I didn't want to push too hard and break the fragile thing.

    So how did it get fixed? My neighbor Tracey across the street , the one with the two teenagers , gave me a hot tip. I meet Tracey once in a while when she's walking her dog. I noticed one time that she had the same ipod. So the other day I said to her, "I'm going to give you my ipod and see if you can get it to work." So she asked me what was wrong with it and I told here that it usually would only play for a minute. She told me that she had exactly the same problem with hers. She had read and reread the manual and decided that the problem was with the connection and one day pushed it until it clicked. Immediately , I knew that that was the problem with mine. I went home right away and pushed the cord much harder and sure enough it clicked and the ipod never cut out again.

     So my thanks to neighbor Tracey for giving me the hot tip. And I still didn't have to lower myself to get the teenagers to help me. No offense meant to the teenagers as they are great and wonder people to have for neighbors.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My confession is Needed

     About two years ago I made some posts on my great expertise with some electronic products. I proudly announced that I could set my digital watch. I could also set my bicycle speedometer. To top all this I could use my ipod nano!
Here I was two years ago smiling smugly about my accomplishment

     I did two posts on the ipod. I posted about how I would master the ipod and not go to the teenager across the street. Then I posted that I had successfully mastered the ipod. I had found out how to download music, tune in the radio, set the pedometer, load pictures and get pod casts.

    Now here's what really happened and I didn't tell you. The darn ipod would only run a minute or so. A couple of times it ran 20 minutes. I went through the manual several times to see what the problem might be.
I tried setting everything there was to set. I checked the timer. I asked my friend Tony to take it home and check it. Tony returned it a week later and said it works fine and by the way I took some of your music. I tried the ipod again and it was the same.

    I asked my daughter as she has an ipod. She had given me this one. She couldn't help me. I asked my son and he said he couldn't help me unless he could have it to work with.

    I was  confused, angry and frustrated. Here I thought I had mastered the tough things and now the thing only plays a minute.

    So there's my confession. I was not going to tell anybody this little secret.

   I finally found out what was wrong and I've enjoyed my ipod ever since.

    So can you tell me what was wrong with my ipod and how my problem was solved. The next post will have all the answers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election? It's Over!

   Canadians take a healthy interest in American politics. American conditions affect us greatly. We are neighbors. Many of us have family on both sides of the border. ( My daughter lives in Chicago.) Our press covers U.S. politics and elections in great detail.

   I'm sure that many Americans feel as I do that I'm glad the election  over.

   Since we receive many U. S. television channels we are not spared election ads. For me ads become rather tedious. 

   It's our new services that are a little hard to take. We get a blow by blow account of the the whole affair. I have said many times in this blog that I appreciate a well reasoned logical opinion. Sadly, very little of the reasoned and logical were present in this campaign. It's sad to see that the advertising can be so negative.

    So the day after the election most people are saying that things have to change. Many good suggestions are being made as to what has to be done.  I hope that what the politicians are saying about working together gets done. Not only Americans depend on a successfully functioning government , but also your neighbors to the north...Canadians. 

    One thing following an American election gives me is a much better understanding of the U.S. government system and how it works. 

    In case you're wondering , our Canadian elections are full of attack  ads. Our Canadian politicians try to divide and conquer all in the name of winning an election and when elected do a very mediocre job. 

    Politicians in many countries could stand a tremendous improvement in their behavior and tactics. Politicians need to come up with realistic policies that can be put into effect and build our country so that we have a secure future. Promises and attack ads just for the purpose of wining an election don't bring about concrete actions.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Society's Challenge With Mental Illness.

     My direct experience with mental illness has always been from afar. However , I have never ignored the  subject of  mental health . Mental health has been a challenge for all societies from the beginning.

     My earliest memories are from the late 1940's. Mental health was not really talked about. The people around me knew very little about mental illness and for that matter the health professions knew very little as well. The public feared people who were mentally ill and shunned them.There were huge government institutions were people were locked away. Little treatment was available so these people were warehoused and kept away from the rest of society, sometimes for the rest of their life..

    As I was finishing high school one of the suggestions my father made for a career possibility was to be a psychiatric nurse. I thought about it but not seriously. 

     Now most of the big bad black institutions are gone. Medication and counselling help to keep people in as normal a situation as possible. Some space is available to treat those with very acute conditions. Many changes have taken place from the bad old days until now. In many ways the treatment now is much more humane but there's much more that has to be done.

    So another incident that got me thinking about mental health is a medication that I was given when I was diagnosed with seizures. I was reading through the information which came with the drug and was shocked to find out that it was the same medication used to treat two of the common mental health conditions : schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. With a little research I soon discovered why this is so. All three have to do with some type of brain dysfunction. In the case of seizures there's an area in the brain that has abnormally fast waves. Now I don't like taking this medication. It messes with my balance and  moods.

     So now back to how mental health is dealt with today. For those people lucky enough to come in contact with the health system there is a protocol. First, counselling and medication are tried. If things don't work out and deteriorate a number of different agencies begin work on the case. They make a joint recommendation for treatment. There is a mental health board that deals with the patient and explains the reasons why and what will take place. The patient and family also have input. If all things go well the patient agrees with the health board to follow a set   treatment . The mental heath board is a somewhat legal body that puts everybody on the same page and attempts to safeguard all from problems.

     Those who do not come in contact with the health system have a horrendous time and tend to get into serious consequences in the general society. Some refuse treatment. I can understand why they wouldn't want some of the medication because it has some nasty side effects. One of the saddest things I ever saw in my life was a man in the Washington subway yelling at a huge wall. As I listened to him it was just words pouring out of his sentences whatsoever. He  was obviously not in contact with a health system and left to fend for himself on the streets.  

    Is this the ticket for success? Far from it.  Much more  research has to be done in the health field to find more effective medication. Society's attitude and support for mental health could go a long way to help people min their community .

    Now this is a black post but sometimes there are things that have to be said. We can't ignore the black all the time. Some good has to come out of many places to bring about a better life for people suffering from mental health issues.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just What is on the internet About Us?

  Some of your comments on my last post got me thinking about  more things as to what information is on the Internet about us. As you know from my last post I have been spending time looking for information on some class mates that I was with 54 years ago. For a few there was lots of detailed information. For some there was nothing. For some there was just the possibility of a phone number. 

   Some of the information about us is securely locked away in government or private business computers. My son works for a company that produces, sells, installs and services security systems. These systems are meant to keep your personal, government and private business very secure. Yes, there are hackers. They seem to get pretty high up the ladder in their search for information. Most business things can be done via the Internet. I can file my income tax return on the net. I can buy and sell things by using my credit card. I can do my banking right from home. My bank did inform me one time that a disk with some information on my business and many others had been lost. They of course had this backed up and no bad guy has been able to  use the information. the disk is probably still lost. 

    But most things out on the net are pretty basic. The first half dozen entries are phone numbers. I don't know why it takes a half dozen websites to distribute your phone number and say that you may be on face book or some other social net working site. Some things are sort of fly by entries. Yes, I seconded a motion at a library board meeting. Yes, I'm named in my Dad's obituary. Once I accidentally found my application to teach for the Canadian government overseas. I've tried to find this again but no luck. Sometimes other people say things about us. It seems that there are many genealogy sites that include a few things. 

     Bloggers leave a huge trail behind them. We usually start our blog with a profile. Each entry we make is out there as a separate piece of information. I also write on another blog and find that those posts are listed separately one after another. Much of our material is picked up in searches. Somebody googles something and our site is included and listed. If it's on the first page someone may take a look at our post.

    So yes,  there can be quite a bit of information about us out on the Internet. I can hardly wait for the comments to fill in all the things I've missed or don't know. My curiosity is killing me!