Showing posts from December, 2012


It has been more than twenty years, since Al Gore coined the term “information superhighway”. Although I understood the basic concept, I had no idea how large a role the internet would play in my life.
An early version of Internet Explorer was installed on my workplace computer, but it was more of a learning novelty for the programmers. My employer, like most others, didn’t have a website and HTML code was still in my future. 
Slowly, I found some use for this new toy. I opened my first Yahoo mail account, which I have kept for eighteen years. Before long, I acquired a dedicated phone line for my home and learned the delights of online shopping. I even tried some chat rooms, although that was short lived. 
Later, website development was added to my programming responsibilities and I created my own personal website. More time would pass before my introduction to social media. What was all the twitter about? And let’s not forget the blogging world.
Nowadays, freed from wires and plug-i…

Santa Says

“A whole workshop full of presents and Mrs. Claus wants jewelry from Tiffany’s.”

“The elf who laundered these gloves will be spending next year in the unemployment line.”

“Why are we sitting behind a car stuck in neutral? Have you forgotten how to fly?”

You think you get stressed during the holidays? Just be glad you don’t have Santa’s job! Don’t worry. He sounds a bit grumpy right now, but I’m sure he’ll much more cheerful, when he’s finished his deliveries!

Wishing you and yours much joy during this holiday season and throughout the coming ear.

This week’s word was neutral.

Auld Acquaintance

He said he was an old acquaintance. She didn’t want to offend him, but he’d certainly been forgot. 
He’d overheard a friend call her by name. Now he smiled as she struggled to remember his. 
His nose looked like Pinocchio’s. Was he lying? She could tell him to leave, but who wants to be alone on New Year’s Eve?  

By the time the clock struck twelve, they felt like old acquaintance.
Wishing all a happy and safe evening and a very Happy New Year!

No Dummy

Calico finished the semester with five A’s and one B and her mother is certainly proud of her. She is already preparing for next semester’s classes. Although she has taken the prerequisite course for a Data Structures class, the comparable class here uses a different programming language. She picked up one of those Dummies books and has completed about half of it. By the time she returns to classes, she should have no problem following the course material.
It’s a shame that the transition from college programming to workplace programming isn’t as simple. It’s not the fault of the classes or the instructors; it’s just that real life is far more complex than any class.  
Take data for example. Student programs are run against data that is significantly smaller than that found in most workplaces. Imagine that someone asked you to sort a list of twenty names. I bet you could do that easily. What if someone asked you to sort all that names in a New York City phone book? That’s far more co…

Social Opportunity

When we decided to homeschool Miss Muffin, some of our relatives expressed concern that she would not have an opportunity for socialization. In the subsequent years, we have heard that thought expressed by friends, neighbors and complete strangers.
While traditional schools do offer opportunities for interaction, they are not the only place where socialization occurs. Informal play outside of school provides plenty of peer interaction. So do more formal activities such as scouting, youth groups and community sports groups. Extracurricular lessons such as dancing, karate and swimming classes provide additional opportunities, as do activities available through church groups. Summer offers additional opportunities for socialization. We are currently considering ummer camps in New York and Vermont, as well as some closer to our home. Camping is a valuable experience for many children and offers opportunities to become comfortable making new friends, while engaging in a host of fun activi…

Roller Coaster Day

Today began so comfortably. Calico finished her final exams yesterday and this morning we took plenty of time to chat as we enjoyed our coffee. Those days have been rare since her classes and work study job have had her rushing out of the house most mornings. Eventually she left to return a rental book and run a few errands, but the good feeling lingered. Miss Muffin and I enjoyed the antics of her kitten, who is determined to open the door to my bedroom.

The spell broke, when Calico returned home and shared the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. The day suddenly lost its mellow ambiance and although we returned to other activities, our thoughts and conversations kept drifting back to that awful loss. It fills the media too and elicits a question: Could this have been prevented?
Sadly, today’s tragedy has no simple solutions. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this rampage. To those who lost a loved one, to those who feared for their children’s safety and to every parent, relati…

Smelling the Coffee

A good cup of coffee ranks high on my list of life’s simple pleasures. Recently, however, it became a far more complicated one.
It started when our old coffeemaker, a Hamilton Beach Brewstation, started producing rather tepid cups of coffee. Calico tinkered with it a bit, but we still had to use the microwave to get it hot. That helped, but the cooler brewing water had a negative impact on the coffee’s strength. It was time for a new coffeemaker. Calico came home with another Hamilton Beach product, a compact little one-cup-at-a-time machine that took up far less space. What’s not to love?
The coffee, actually. The coffee arrived quickly and hot, but we couldn’t find a hint of coffee flavor. We did a little research. Suggestions included using a different brew switch, grinding the beans to espresso style powder and using a stronger coffee blend. We experimented and nothing produced a palatable cup of coffee. Yesterday, the one-cup was returned to Walmart and a 12-cup brewstation was …

Little Things

We celebrated the delivery of two new cushy brown recliners this week. 

We had brought one recliner with us from Memphis, but it has been the only permanent seating in our living room since our arrival. We’ve been dragging our office chairs into the living room, whenever we want to watch television. They aren’t uncomfortable for desk work, but they aren’t the best seating for relaxation. 

We finally found a pair like the one pictured at left. Their smaller scale made them a perfect fit for our living room and their smaller price worked with our budget. Only time will tell how they hold up, but, so far, they have enthusiastic thumbs up. 

Now we just need to finish decorating. There was a day, when we would have been checking out accessories, searching for pieces to complement our new furnishings. In our quest to keep life simpler, however, we will improvise with existing pieces. That’s not a great hardship as we still have several unpacked boxes of them in the garage. What we don’t use wi…

Loss of Fashion

Sears seems to be experiencing some ambivalence about the future of its clothing departments. Just last March, after reporting its largest quarterly loss in almost a decade, the store announced its intention to discontinue clothing sales at a number of its stores. Customer interest, undoubtedly measured by sales, was focused on furnishings and appliances. That made sense to me. I’ve purchased appliances from Sears in the last decade, but my last clothing purchase was probably in the sixties. 
Now, I’m seeing commercials that promote Sears as the place to buy trendy fashions. Perhaps they are relying on the Kardashian influence. They certainly have a fan base. If there’s any truth to tabloid rumors of Kim’s pregnancy, it might become the place for trendy maternity wear!
J.C. Penney is another retailer, who is making changes in response to recent losses. They will be revamping their largest stores over the next three years to include a large number of boutiques within each store. They …

Quality Construction

When I was young, girls played with dolls and boys got cowboy hats and building blocks. I didn’t care much for the cowboy hats, but I took every opportunity to play with their Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs. 
Calico and I made sure that Miss Muffin had plenty of building toys, but her favorites were cans of cat food. When she was barely a year old, she could stack an amazing number of cans to create high rise cat food towers.