Computers and Life

As you may recall, our computer has been acting up for some time. I have come to realize that a new computer will be moving up on the priority list fairly soon. It’s hard to make that decision when you’re faced with completing a new kitchen floor that is halfway finished, preparing for a Thanksgiving road trip for a 90th year birthday celebration for Thommmee’s mom, and then of course Christmas is right around the corner. We’ve been limping along between two ailing laptops for a while now. Both of them have their own quirks and problems. I have spent hours on the phone with our internet service provider trying to resolve some of the issues but….the bottom line is, we need a new computer.

I recently commented that the public library have computers available at no charge but somehow….. the inconvenience of trotting down there is, well frankly… inconvenient!  I do rely on my fancy little smartphone for most things but for blogging it just doesn’t cut it. It makes a person wonder how we got along without such necessities for so long, dosen’t it? Games,  email,  searching,  blogging….. If you are a blogger it’s rather important,  I think.

Life offers highs and lows and in actuality this is not the end of the world. I have certainly been blessed with more ups than downs so my complaint is really just a moment of voiced inconvenience. Sometimes it is the frustrations of ordinary life that get the best of us!

Silly,  huh?

Farewell to Summer

Our summer here is officially over.  Fall begins tomorrow. The high temperatures will linger into October but the nights will begin to cool. In November  we will experience our “fall” in Southern California.  From now until then we will have dry dusty days without rain, Santa Ana winds, and abundant sunshine. The palm trees will remain green, native plants will flourish, hillsides will continue to brown,  leaves will drop and blow in the wind, but a few splashes of fall colors maybe found.

Summer was wonderful.  Although we spent more time at home than usual, we enjoyed many opportunities to get outdoors and appreciate summer. Rather than bore you with details,  I decided to showcase a few highlights and allow the pictures to tell most of the story.

A visit to Berkeley and the University of California

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Exploring Berkeley and visiting with family.

Visiting a winery near Gilroy, California

Salinas, California-Home of John Steinbeck.

Beautiful Monterey Bay

Camping in Big Sur and exploring the California coastline.

Laughing in amazement at sun bathing sea lions.

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A Phoenix sunrise. One of two trips we made to Arizona.

Who knew Arizona could be so green?

We loved our visit to Oro Valley north of Tuscon, Arizona…

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…and even enjoyed the rain!

Our small garden yielded us tomatoes, onions, peppers, squash, and strawberries.

I worked on a few sewing and craft projects.

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We spent a great deal of time with family, friends, and just hanging out.

(and of course eating and shopping!)

So while we say farewell to the Summer of 2016…

I am looking forward to what comes next!

How was your summer?

(or winter-depending on where you live)

The Public Library

A much younger person once told me that the day of a public library had passed. He felt there was no need to check out books, sit in a stuffy place while people around him said shhhhh. Computers were a much better way to research any bits of information that a person might need.  Uh…hadn’t I ever heard of Amazon???  Sitting to read a magazine or explore a bookshelf seemed like a waste of time to him. The idea of handling a bunch of musty old books or any other such nonsense seemed incomprehensible. As much as I tried to plead my case for the need of libraries, he just didn’t get it.

Ahhh well…youth…????

With a broken computer at home I am at the library-using a public computer. Having a smartphone or tablet  I seldom need an actual computer these days-except to write a blog post, type or print a document maybe. It might be more fashionable to head on over to a Kinko’s or some other such place, spend a few dollars and act like I don’t really need to be there…but… why would I want to do that when I can do this for free with my

Library Card!!!

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Oh sure, if I want to print something here it will cost me 10 cents a page (although it was free for may years) and I can only use the computer for 2 hours per day…but

 Why not?

If you have read my blog previously you may  know that I have fond memories of libraries-about my father taking us to the library as children while my sister and I checked out stacks of books (for free-if you don’t count the overdue fines we inevitability incurred). Most recently I talked about how much I enjoy the online services offered. I am able to search for a book at online at home, place a request, and then wait until the book is located. A text message will alert me when I am able to pick it up and for how many days it will be held. I can then pop into the library to pick it up. I also receive a text message when the due date is approaching. I can log on to my library account and renew my book several times before I actually need to make another trip into the library. No more overdue fines and super convenient!

OK, you might say. That is all very nice. After all, you can just run to the local big name book or warehouse store to purchase a book. Of course there is Amazon. If you have Prime you can even receive it within hours or the next day. No worry about fines or library cards and all of that nonsense.

Good thought.

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Well….

Today I needed to use a computer. Since the computers at the library are in high demand, I am assuming many other people need computer access for some reason. As I nosily look around, I see people job searching. Some here are seniors, some people dressed nicely-others not so nice. Perhaps  owning a computer is not within their budget. A few students are here working on projects of some sort. For some families a computer might not be in the budget or if they have one the cost of internet is too high. In our area you can expect to pay $60 a month (at least) for home internet service. McDonalds  or Starbucks might not be convenient or available or whatever.

The library is getting busy as kids finish their school day. I see a few young people here-a couple of girls quietly giggling together while they have school work laid out on the tables before them There is a young couple studying. What a  nice way for teens to study together.

I picked up a flyer at the door.

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They are promoting upcoming library events like storytime for kids on Tuesdays  or a free craft corner in the evening. The library is celebrating Hispanic Heritage month and a date for a puppet show of Alice In Wonderland is approaching. There is a literacy program. There are opportunities for volunteers. The Friends of the Library have a small bookstore where donated books are sold for a fraction of the cost of a new book. Contact your local library to see if they are taking book donations. (Most of us have a few laying around gathering dust and taking up room) Movies and books on tape/CD are found here too!

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Who knows? The children’s reading area might stimulate a lifetime of learning!

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Maybe the library isn’t for you but this really is an opportunity for many…people of all ages!  It is diverse in its offerings and with a county or city library system if your location does not have what you are looking for they probably can get it! The reference librarian is available to direct and assist you in your search.

And its free!

I passed a young mother on my way in today. She had a young boy of about 6 years old in tow. Her arms were overloaded with a stack of children’s books.  They were laughing and talking as they walked away. I envisioned them laying all of those books on the living room floor to explore together. Or maybe she would read to him as he snuggled beside her in a cozy chair. They may have some set aside for bedtime stories. Bonding time. Books can take you places or stir the imagination!

We will go shopping for a new computer this week and I will probably not be back to use the computers anytime soon. Sure, I could pop over to the bookstore and buy a book but I feel my money is best spent elsewhere (we all have our priorities). Sure, I buy books on Amazon if I need to own an actual book. There is, however, something about the atmosphere of the library that makes me love being here. Few distractions, no cell phones, no dirty dishes calling to me!  Maybe it’s the memories it evokes. I don’t know for sure.

What I do know for sure, is that the library system we have here is a gift and I hope it is one we can embrace in a changing world. A library just might be one of the best kept secrets!

Mail and the written word

I was recently searching  the stores for a simple address book.  I was surprised to find the selection so limited if available at all!!  While browsing  a major chain bookstore,  a young employee observed my struggle and offered to help. When I told her what I was searching for she patiently explained to me that the store didn’t really have much of a selection of these (apparently obsolete) items. She kept her phone numbers in her phone. “Oh,” I commented, then asked “what if your phone was lost or crashed?”  She smugly explained that she had a computer backup, app, or  cloud for such emergences. When I asked her if she also kept addresses in these places she gave me a blank look. There was no understanding in her world that an address was something to hold on to when, after all, she could simply text the person for an address. Once you had  been to their home you would simply remember where they live!  Duh!  Maybe she would call her mother for the address as my kids do…which was the point of purchasing these address books in the first place! I was tired of my kids calling for addresses every Christmas, baby shower, or even an occasional thank you note. They knew that mom had a address book with all of these address carefully recorded (or at least an envelope with a return address in hopes of being added).

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What this young woman, and probably many others fail to realize, is the joy that comes from getting a hand written note or card in the mail. I know many people don’t bother to check their mail regularly anymore. Why bother? Bills are paid online, pay checks, tax returns, and other such sources of incoming or outgoing monies are handled electronically these days. Our lives are so busy that many have forgotten the joy of receiving a piece of personal mail-much less taking the time to sit down a write a note or letter to anyone.

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I remember the joy my kids experienced growing up when a birthday or Valentine or any special occasion card came in the mail addressed to them. My mother was particularity diligent in sending cards and the kids anticipated receiving mail as a result.  I have tried to do this for our grandkids but cannot seem to keep up as well as she did. We also mail them post cards occasionally when we are traveling as I recall how much pleasure my kids experienced with this simple sign of acknowledgement.

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But…what about adults? Don’t we like to receive personal mail as well? If you are thumbing through your recent batch of mail-bills, advertisements, and whatever, don’t you usually stop when you find a hand addressed letter or card from someone you know? Aren’t you likely to take a moment to open it, spend a few minutes reading it? Might we feel a moment of happiness that someone we know took time from their busy schedules to write to us? I know I felt that way recently when I received a thoughtful note from fellow blogger, Marlene at insearchofitall.

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Of course I love my emails, Instagram, internet searches, (not a fan of Facebook these days), my smartphone, texting, and good old fashioned chatting  but can’t deny the pleasure I feel when receiving or writing a note to someone I care about. If you haven’t tried it lately I encourage you to do so. Just imagine the joy the recipient of your efforts will feel next time they head to their mailbox!

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Proud to be an American….

 

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I can’t listen to (much less sing) patriotic music without getting all choked up. Perhaps you too feel that way about your favorite patriotic songs either as an American or of your own home country. I think it is great to be proud of our heritage!

There is no time in the United States like the 4th of July (American Independence Day) to appreciate our patriotic music.  Some of our most beloved songs have been around for some time while others are more recent. Regardless, they still fill our hearts with pride and bring a tear to most eyes.

Some of our most well known and popular songs are:

America The Beautiful-sometimes called the national hymn of the United States. It was adapted by a poem written in 1983 by Katharine Lee Bates.

My Country ‘Tis of Thee (also known as America) was written in  1832 by Samuel F. Smith. It was his desire to create a National Hymn for the Untied States.

The Star Spangled Banner-our National Anthem. Written by Frances Scott Key in 1814, it officially became our national anthem in 1931.

God Bless the USA-sometimes referred to the  ‘unofficial National Anthem’ was written by Lee Greenwood in 1983.

This Land is Your Land-written by folk singer Woody Guthrie in 1940.

God Bless America-an American patriotic song written by Irving Berlin in 1938.

From the mountains…

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…to the prairies…

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…to the oceans …

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God Bless America

Cross at Groom, Texas

Many thanks to all who served!

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(my dad-his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery)

Thommmee and his father-both proudly served as US Marines.

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(combined over 45 years of service!)

I am…

Proud to Be An American.

What is your favorite patriotic song?

Summer, Sewing, & Retirement

Every once in awhile I need an attitude adjustment. This retirement thing is a work in progress. Even after 2 1/2 years I can easily fall into lazy habits, get off track, cringe when I jump on the scale, and well…basically I need to refocus! Not that I am not busy but I sometimes have found myself being busy with the business of being busy.

Huh????

Last week is a perfect example. On Monday I was at the hospital all day waiting for the arrival of our newest great-granddaughter. Very exciting! I was the on call labor coach in case the young parents needed reinforcements. I have been front and center for four of my own (of course), my sister, and four grandchildren. For six others I have impatiently sat in the waiting room. I have completed 3 Lamaze classes, read countless books, and offered too many hours to count of advice by phone, visits to nervous moms, and had more than most of sleepless nights in this miracle of babies, pregnancy, and babies being born. So there was no place I would have rather been!!

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I mean, is she perfect or what????

It was also the weekend visit of one of my oldest and dearest friends, a baby shower of her second grandchild, and a visit from our oldest grandson, home from almost two years away. During the week I met a sister for lunch, had my brother staying with us (and thrilled to have him back),  met a friend for coffee and another dear friend for our usual swimming meet up. Church, household stuff, Bible study, and oh yeah…Thommmee-the most patient and understanding husband on the planet needed some attention too.

Anyway, I realized that all of this business was causing me to stress a bit and I wasn’t enjoying the moments with all of the scheduling. I was talking too much about what I still had to do (how special did that make the person I was with feel?) so….readjusting and focusing on my friends and family became priority. Fortunately, these wonderful people love me as is and were most patient with me. I have to say, I treasure each and everyone of them!

Once I realized what I was doing I reminded myself to do what I love, make Thommmee a top priority, and slow down a bit. After all, retirement does not need a checklist!

What does that have to do with sewing you might ask? One of the things I love is sewing. My newest project is making these Sprocket Pillows.

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(for a niece)

They are so fun to make and a great way to use up scraps of fabric.

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(given to a granddaughter)

I am giving them away as fast as I make them.

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(another granddaughter)

I am not offering a tutorial as I was not able to obtain permission from the website where I found them (besides her tutorial is so fantastic). You can find instructions at cluckclucksew with a template included.

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(my friends grandson-nursery colors black, white, and gray!)

They are simple, fairly quick, and come in two sizes.

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We are leaving in a few days for a trip. It will include a visit along the California coast. Our itinerary open and flexible. Brother is back to work, baby and new parents are doing fine (we saw them yesterday). The grads have graduated, no birthdays, and the diet is out the window anyway.  No sewing next week but, that is alright.

I am ready for some quiet and time with Thommmee.

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Books and Reading

 

Oh where oh where have I been??

READING!!

After a rather long break from reading I am finally back at it. If you have followed my blog for any time, you might recall that I was in a somewhat state of despair because, after a lifetime love affair of reading, I was suddenly unable to focus on a book. I lamented how frustrated I felt and many of you offered encouragement and support that it was a phase and would pass.  You were so right!

Not much of anything is accomplished these days with my nose stuck in a book!! I felt it only fair to share a few of the titles that have kept me so busy and away from my blog. Not being a book reviewer, it is with reluctance I offer my opinions… but here goes!

I first started out listening to a few books through Amazon Audible. My first try was a huge success with A Man Called Ove by Swedish author, Fredrick Backman. This is the story of a cantankerous old man and his life after the death of his wife. He has his own peculiar biases and opinions which are challenged in a humorous and engaging way. This was an absolutely wonderful book and the narrator was a perfect match.

On a roll now, I moved on to a tender story of two sister separated during the Berlin Blitz of World War II. Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner was touching, thoughtful, and held my interest throughout. Great book!. I am currently listening to another of her books  A Fall of Marigolds. This is an interesting story of a nurse working on Ellis Island in 1911. The history of the time period is quite fascinating but now I am now only listening to audio books while I am at the gym (and sadly this is not often enough to keep me motivated in the story).

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Encouraged, I began to haunt the public library for new titles and authors. What a surprise to find new titles can be found through their online search catalogue. Links provide reviews from the editor and actual readers which certainly helps in the selection process. Books can even be reserved online! A text message is sent when the book is available so I simply walk into the library to find my requests waiting for me. Books can be renewed online after I receive a text alert that the due date is approaching! How convenient is that???

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is a marvelous read! It is the story encompassing three generations from Australia to England. This mystery and the lives of the women it chronicles will keep you turning pages well into the night!

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Next, Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas caught my eye. I found this book on a Pintrest list of all places. Set in Colorado during the Great Depression, it is an lovely fictional history told by an 86 year old mountain woman. The story expands as she mentors a young woman new to the area. Watching the friendship develop is a reminder how special woman friends are in our lives. Do you also treasure your woman friends?

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Our women’s Bible study is reading Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur. This book gives new insight to some of the Bible’s most interesting women such as Eve, Sarah, and Rahab. If you have any interest in learning more about some fascinating women during Biblical times, this is a great book.

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Next was I Belong to No One by fellow blogger Gwen Wilson (garrulousgwendoline). She has written an intimate portrait of her younger life growing up in rural Australia during the 1970’s.  What courage she has shown by sharing her story with others. It was hard to wrap my head around the girl in the book with the Gwen I have come to know through our mutual blogs. I was deeply reminded that although we are influenced by our personal journeys, history, social prejudices, and mores,  it is what we do with those experiences that shape our future.  This book truly  shows that we have a choice to overcome obstacles at any point in our lives! Thank you for sharing your story, Gwen!

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Currently I am reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. This book gives an insight into the life of an Alzheimer’s victim and her family. You may be more familiar with the movie staring  Julianne Moore who, in 2015,  received an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Alice. Since I had not seen this movie and was only aware of the subject matter, I was surprised to find how much I like this book. Had it not been loaned to me I may not have ever picked it up.

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 So…

…this is what has been keeping me busy.

Do you have any recommendations for me?