February 26, 2010

Tagged, I'm It!

Blogger friend, Kass, who mercifully is no longer silent, has tagged her readers in a simple fun photo tag.


Open your photo folder and go to the 10th photo, post and tell us the story behind it. OH wow.

This photo was taken with my daughters the last Halloween before we moved away from our home on the west side of Cleveland in 2007. We moved 10 days after this photo was taken. In the background, you can see a rose trellis, which was part of my beloved rose garden. The window on the left hand side was my office and the little rose garden and bird feeders out front of it used to keep me company when I wrote.

We built that home in 1997, and the first rose I planted was when my Grandmother passed away in 1998. She had lived in Texas and we always called her the Yellow Rose of Texas, so I chose a yellow tea rose to remember her. As my rose garden expanded, I planted a rose for every female in the family.

The little "candy corn" was the Circus Rose because from the first time she was old enough to laugh, she was a little clown, spreading her giggles like rose petals. The little devil's rose was the Queen Elizabeth rose, a regal name for a regal child. There was also a Gertrude rose the most lovely deep pink rose, for my other grandmother who was a thousand times more beautiful than her old fashioned name. There was also a Firecracker rose in honor of my favorite holiday, and a Broadway rose for an occasionally dramatic member of our family.

Moving away was not an easy moment for me, I've written about it before, I had not lived anywhere for that many years in my life. I wasn't looking forward to starting over somewhere new, but the nature of employment in manufacturing means you go where the jobs are. It could have been Mexico or China. Mercifully, it was only 90 miles away. Sometimes I still get mad at the new owners who have let my precious roses go.

But instead, I'll cherish photos like this and make new memories at this house. That reminds me, it's time to start planning this year's garden.

February 24, 2010

Time Machine Day

I've been doing a serious purge around the house lately. It's slow going because I'm a sentimental sort of gal. This purge started in January... see what I mean? But yesterday, I discovered a paper I wrote back in 1987, for an undergraduate English class. It was a humor piece about...

Why I Did Not, Nor Would Not, Use Computers

I am so amused by this eerily prophetic piece that I am compelled to share it with you today.

To those people who consider a personal computer to be nothing more than a television floating on top of a typewriter, terms such as PC, diskette, and byte have virtually no meaning. These people are not alone, for I too belong to this pitiful group of lost souls. The closest I've ever come to being user friendly was playing video games on an Atari when I was in junior high. My computer vocabulary consisted of Space Invaders and Pac-Man. Although I recently learned that a PC is short for personal computer, my vocabulary is rather limited. Diskettes and bytes still remain a mystery.

"Once you try it, you'll love it!" my user friends exclaim. User is an appropriate term. It conjures images of drug abuse and sexual conquering. Perhaps a computer can be likened to a seductive woman or illicit drug. It traps and entices, shackles and addicts. The seemingly innocent box of plastic and wire whispers, "Come on baby, Touch my keyboard and watch me light up. I want you to get close to me." A computer somehow manages to enamor even the most steadfast opponents. I revel in watching a user cringe as I set up the typewriter to type something from rough copy. Their pain is visible as unsolicited lectures about how much easier a PC would be while informal lessons in programming begin. Perhaps people writing with fountain pens once received similar endorsements concerning ball-point pens. Once addicted, any habit is hard to break.

Television advertisements extol the virtues of a home computer. I used to believe the ability to type was a valuable commodity. Typing is no longer sufficient, as the world's fasted typist tells me how a computer improved her speed. Parents who want to give their children the best of everything are urged to buy a home computer. Certainly, a child who grows up without a computer will never be able to function properly in society. Granted, computers can do many things better than I can; plan a budget, store information, or process a report. I simply remain unconvinced that our national security will be endangered should people choose not to buy a computer. If anything, national security seems more threatened, remember the movie War Games? Is nothing sacred in the world of computers?

Of course society does have to progress with the times. Communication has come a long way since the days of cave drawings. From stone tablets to quill and scroll to pen and paper to typewriters, the evolution to computers logically follows. Elimination of error is a continual striving of man. With each step in the communication hierarchy, another factor of human error is removed; no ink blotches, misspellings, typos, or uneven margins. Computers provide the ultimate in perfection. I'm not ready for perfection, even if I am willing to make concessions to changing times. After all, I would not want to buy a Sunday paper composed of stone tablets.

Call me conventional. Call me afraid. I admit that I am old-fashioned and set in my ways. If nothing else though, computers are an expensive investment. With each new model, the old becomes obsolete. So many advances are being made on a regular basis that a home computer which came out 10 years ago is literally worthless with today's newer components. In terms of consumer buying habits, I suppose I am a laggard. But until I succumb to the temptations of a PC, I will plug away on my trusty typewriter. Ignorance is bliss.

February 21, 2010

Copied and Borrowed Bread

Sometimes someone else says it better, and this is such a time for me:
from a NY Times comment section about the Tea Party movement:

I am a conservative. I believe in:

Conserving the environment

Conserving a woman's right to choose

Conserving the quality of life for the middle class

Conserving the rights of all people to live the life they choose with whom they choose in the way they choose

Conserving the right to believe in God or not

Conserving my right to pursue a long and healthy life

Conserving the infrastructure that made this nation great.

I believe in paying my taxes, all of them.

I do not believe in loopholes, corporations having the rights of individual humans, congress having more access to health care than the poorest of the poor.

Who knew I would ever label myself a conservative?

February 15, 2010

What will you give up for Lent?

As the Christian world prepares for 40 days of solemn reflection in anticipation of Easter, a time honored tradition is to "give up something". I've taken a slightly different point of view on this tradition... read on...

What will you give up for Lent?

February 5, 2010

Disturbing Do-Gooding

Whenever disaster strikes, it usually is just a matter of time before the altruism turns sour and motives become questionable.  The news is abuzz with a story of a missionary in Haiti who has been arrested under suspicion of child trafficking. What I personally find most disturbing about this story is the layers of arrogance and presumption. To recap:

An Idaho based group, the New Life Children's Refuge had been working to set up Haitian and Dominican orphanages since last November. A noble mission, to be certain, until the leadership comes under a microscope.

The woman who founded the group, Laura Silsby, has a slew of legal and financial problems. Her house was foreclosed in December, she has 14 claims for unpaid wages and is scheduled to appear in court for unpaid legal debt later this month. Why someone with so many domestic problems would leave the country to rescue orphans suddenly feels suspect.

This writer's opinion is that sheer arrogance drove the mission. Why the same funds weren't spent helping expert disaster relief organizations is beyond my comprehension. When the runways and ports of this tiny island are cluttered with handfuls of do-gooders who cannot possibly be as well trained as the professionals, it screams "pompous".

Naturally, there is an inclination to want to help. The news is absolutely heartbreaking. But I wouldn't know the first thing about outfitting a rescue mission to an earthquake ravaged island in a different country. I think it's a safe assumption that neither did Laura Silsby. I will give her mission the benefit of the doubt, despite her questionable business records. I will assume her heart was in the right place, but clearly it pushed her common sense aside to make room. Unfortunately, these are the sort of stories that make headlines. Stories of do-gooding gone bad detract from truly effective relief.

Doctors without Borders has been working in Haiti for 19 years, providing ethical and impartial medical assistance in not just Haiti but nearly 60 other countries that are in need. The American Red Cross has so far spent or committed nearly $78 million to meet the most urgent needs of earthquake survivors in Haiti. Hope for Haiti has been assisting the nation for over 20 years.

Nowhere in any of these organizations' literature is there a request for an ill equipped do-gooder from Idaho with legal problems to fly into the nation and rescue 10 orphans. They ask for donations, for blood, and for professionals to apply for organized mission trips. There are so many ways to help. I hope that stories of such misguided altruism do not halt the much needed assistance through the proper channels. Even a simple click is something.

How can you help today?

Click to Help Haiti


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