Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Nothing improves if no one complains

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No one likes a complainer. Especially someone who acts like no one has it as hard as they do. Some people act like the world is against them and use every opportunity to let you know. But those people are rare and I think that, eventually, they get the idea that they are not endearing themselves to anyone with their constant complaints.

But on the other hand, as I've said frequently:
Nothing improves if no one complains
So, it's a fine line - if you see something wrong, you need to know how to complain but in addition, you need to know how to help. And sometimes, complaining so other people can hear you is useful. Not all the time but sometimes. Like yesterday.

The network administrators for our company made an announce a few weeks ago that they were going to tighten the rules on the passwords we use to log into our computers and get access to the company network. They said too many people were using simple passwords and we all had to start using longer and more complex passwords. We all forgot about it. Until yesterday.

All of a sudden, the program I use to prepare one of our major applications started to fail. I traced it down to the part where it tries to copy the updated application to the network so everyone can use it. I contacted the administrators and they reminded me about the new rules for passwords. "Well," I said, "this program is only used internally and no one else has access to it but me. Why should that need a new, fancier password?"It turns out the rules were not that flexible. All passwords needed to be upgraded. This meant I had a lot of work to do because this password was embedded in a number of smaller programs that prepared and loaded our application. It took me half the day but I finally did it.

But I couldn't just drop it. I had to make a big production of it and did a little hand waving and story telling to make sure everyone knew how hard I'd worked and how distressed I was! But in the end, it helped. Another engineer was having a similar problem and didn't know what the cause was. One of the fellows sitting near me had heard my tirade and mentioned to the other engineer what I'd been complaining about. The other engineer came to me to ask more about the problem and, sure enough, his problem was the same as mine. He would have been stuck for a longer time if our intermediary hadn't connected my rant with the other engineer's problem.

So sometimes, it's worth getting a little mad and maybe even getting a little too loud about an injustice. Something useful might just come out of it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

You can have it all

"Having it all," is a phrase we've all heard over the years. It was usually used for the growing number of women getting jobs while they were also taking care of children or were thinking of having children. In the past, the phrase implied, women had to choose between having a career or starting a family. But now, they were free to "have it all". They could balance the time it took for work and for the family. It was nice that this freedom was available but it missed a few troubling things. For one, there was also an increase in stress. The women doing this were not magically given more time in the day to handle all of this. In some circumstances, the woman's husband would step up and help with more of the family side of the equation. Good luck with that.

The other thing this phrase misses is that this was not new. It has been going on for centuries. For women with children who lose their husband, there is no choice. They have to do it all - all the time. The same goes for single women who have children and the man doesn't follow through and marry her or help raise the children. These women have it all for sure  - all the responsibility, all the worry, all the time.

Then this morning in church, we were singing a song called You Can Have it All, Lord. Our pastor had just preached a sermon on John 13:1-11 where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. Jesus has to explain to them that they cannot wash his feet. He must wash their feet to cleanse them. It is grace that he is talking about. No matter the problems we have, the troubles we cause, the sins we have committed. Jesus takes it all and forgives us. Now, he "has it all". It's hard to imagine but that's the way it works. There is nothing we can do to deserve it. It's his free gift to us.

Having it all could mean you're having all the problems. It could mean having all the worry. But we can give it all to Jesus and the freedom is wonderful. In this case, having it all is a choice but in the reverse. It's more "giving it all" and then receiving salvation.

Here is the link to our pastor's message. He says much better than I can.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Another great "Humans of New York" post

I've mentioned Humans of New York before but there are so many good posts there, I could almost just repeat every one here. But what's the use of that? You can just go and see them for yourself. But every once in a while, there is one so good that I want to point it out.

This one is from a few months ago but it has stuck with me. The man in the story is down on his luck but what he says shows that wisdom is often hidden in despair and trouble. This picture and interview were taken in a park in New York. That's all I know about it.
"When it starts to get crowded, I’ll leave.  Because I can’t stand the looks.  You know how many people were gonna sit on that bench over there, but decided against it, because of what’s sitting right here?  I drank myself into homelessness.  So I’m not looking for violins or tissues.  But I used to be in the mainstream.  I was somebody once, and people used to look at me without any barriers or animosity.  I can tell you this: when John Lennon sings Imagine, it’s complete bullshit.  He was living in the Dakota when he wrote that, overlooking Central Park.  Imagine no possessions?  He should have written a song about all the wonderful things that he had.  Imagine nothing to live or die for?  No Yoko?  No career?  No child?  No fame?  No status?  Well here I am.  There’s no peace here."
Here's the link to the original post.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


Yesterday, we went to visit my mother-in-law in the hospital. Before I go on - she's OK and we brought her home with us. She is 83 and has some problems but yesterday ended up OK.

But the hospital she was in is old and has been renovate many times over the years. Building after building was tacked on or multiple buildings connected together. The main parking lot is on one side but most of the nice, new patient rooms are on the other side. So, when you go to the main lobby from the parking lot looking for the patient, they hand you a card with directions. Here is what it says:
Go thru door at rear of lobby. Turn right, then turn left. At end of hall, turn right. Go thru door at end of hall & turn left. Take next right down the art corridor to the inpatient building. Elevator on right.

Good grief! Notice they left out most of "the", shortened "through" and replaced "and" with ampersand. Otherwise they would have needed two pages.

By the time we got to the art corridor, we were too tired (or afraid to get distracted) to look at the art. We did get to see my mother-in-law but had to wait about two hours until the discharge papers could be written up and signed. We all had a nice nap when we got home - after a 45 minute drive home from the hospital.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Ahh - good broccoli
This is going to be a short rant. I like broccoli. I didn't used to like it when I was young but back then, I liked very little that was green - except pickles and olives. But now I like broccoli. I might even say I love broccoli. Except...

I don't like broccoli when the stems (or is it the stalks?) are included. When we buy fresh, whole broccoli from the store and use it in meals and cut it up ourselves, we don't use the stems (stalks). When you buy prepared packages of sliced broccoli or you get it as a side dish in a restaurant, you invariably (it seems to me) get the stems (stalks) included in the mix. This is when I don't like broccoli. As a matter of fact, I hate broccoli like that. What would you think if you ordered sliced apples and half of it was sliced branches?

Yuck - stems, too!

I know some people have ways of preparing the stems (stalks) by slicing it and cooking it for a longer time. I'm sure you can add enough spices to make them taste better. But they should not be cooked the same as the florets. The stems (stalks) need longer cooking so if you include them with the florets, either the florets are overcooked or the stems (stalks) are under cooked.

It seems to me that when you get packaged broccoli, it should have to say on the label if the stems (stalks) are included. That just my opinion but you know I'm right!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

I saw it long before it happened

Not the squirrel from my story
 Earlier this summer, at least a month ago, I was riding my scooter into work as usual. I happened to notice the long tree branches arching over this section of the highway and imagined what would happen if squirrels were running along those branches and fell off. Now, squirrels are very sure-footed but things like high winds or other squirrels attacking or chasing them could cause them to lose their footing. So, I had this vision of a squirrel falling off a branch and landing in my lap. What a scene it was as the squirrel panicked and tried to scramble away from me. I imagined that I would try to stop so it could jump off and get safely away.

The more I thought about it, the funnier it seemed. If I'd been in an area where other people were standing by the side of the road, they would have thought it pretty strange that the guy on the scooter was laughing so hard. "What is he laughing at?" they'd probably think. "Should we call someone?"

A few days ago, I was on my scooter riding on another road where long tree branches extend over the road. I first saw a bunch of leaves fall to the road. As I looked up to see if more debris was going to fall, more fell on the road ahead of me. But it wasn't more leaves. It was a squirrel. He had fallen on the road about 15 feet ahead of me and it looked a little stunned. After a second of confusion or catching it's breath, it got its bearings and ran off the road with a lot of scrambling sounds on the pavement.

I don't know what caused this squirrel to fall but there was no wind. So, I'm assuming that another squirrel had been chasing this one. Or may it was evading a hawk. I'll never know but it made me laugh again. Once again I was lucky that no one was around to consider me crazy. Isn't it strange that I would imagine a similar episode a month earlier?

Something I realized later was that my reflexes are a lot better in my daydreams than they are in reality. In this case, I never even slowed down or swerved. Fortunately, the squirrel was not close enough that I would have hurt it. It's another lesson to be looking ahead for problems all the time.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Did I help or make it worse?

I was reading another blog today where the writer was wondering about where we get our ideas about what are good pills and supplements to take for our health. It made me think about my mother and I wrote this comment:

My mother lived alone until she broke her hip when she was 89. So, she came to live near us where we took care of organizing her pills (and other things). All her life, Mom complained that after she read the pills' side effects inserts, she found she was having those problems and would insist the doctor change the prescription. Then she'd read the new inserts and see those symptoms. So, after she moved here and we took over that part of her care, we didn't let her read the side effects inserts. Sadly, Mom died at 91 - about a year and a half after moving here and our taking over her care. Maybe having imagined illnesses was better than getting the real thing.
If you've been involved in the care of a loved one who died, you cannot help but feel guilty. "If I'd just been more understanding," or, "Why did I insist on that course of care?" are things I continue to worry about to this day. I think everyone goes through it but it still hurts. I still miss Mom terribly and wish I could have known what to do differently. But God has his own plan for our life and nothing we can do will add a second to it. I keep telling myself.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 New International Version