Nov 30, 2016

Did you see....

...the sunset I posted on my Facebook account?

I stepped out my backdoor yesterday evening at sunset and this is what I saw. See, I know there are people that disdain the city we spend our winter in and the RV resort snowbird lifestyle. It is not glitzy or even up scale. Tucson is not any of those things.

But, when I look around me and what we see on a daily basis or talk to the people the pass by on their way to bocce ball, I know that if I didn't appreciate what we have I would be very ungrateful. 

What you see here is two people walking their dog. It is chilly and it did frost last night. On  the right side of the picture are bocce ball courts. On the right I see park models where friends live. Palm trees line the streets that were cleaned last week. In the distance you see the Catalina Mountains in all their glory. 

I have come to love this place. We are not a perfect fit but I suppose we are as close as we will ever be. We avoid politics, religion and (I) avoid a place like this gossip runs the world so a very smart person ducks when the conversation come around to "did you know?"

But the picture...really we are living on a million dollar piece of real estate! Life is good.


Nov 23, 2016

Did you know that if you put the earbuds to your ipod up your nose....

I published this originally in 2009. My granddaughter Elena (the one with the earphones up her nose) was around 11 back then. She called this last week and wanted to see the story again. Here it is. Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Elena with her Uncle Larry

I love my grandchildren...bless their peeked little heads! They make me laugh, they make me cry, they occasionally make me want to run and hide. But, in spite of the hiding part, they mostly make me laugh.

I have a lot of teen aged grandchildren and one that is an "almost teenager". She is a great joy to me and hates it when I talk about her. So I will not mention her name...not today anyway. She has just gone to middle school where she hangs out with other middle school humans all day. She is not a baby any more she tells us and she thinks that being in middle school should prove that to us .

I took her to ballet after school this last week and offered to meet her at the front door of the school because it was the third day of school and we weren't entirely clear on what the drill was. I don't know what I was thinking. Oh my would have thought I had offered to entertain at an assembly naked!! NONONONO!!! THAT IS A VERY BAD IDEA!!! she warned. I hid out in the parking lot ducking down as low as I could...she found me anyway. So I took her to her lessons as anonymously as a grandmother possibly can.

Her brother discovered the "pee hole" in his underwear when he was about 4...and had to tell me about it when we were streaking down the freeway at 70 miles per hour. "Grandma, know what I found out today...I have a pee hole in my underwear. Do you think grandpa knows about that?" The freeway almost had a huge pile up that day and there were reports of a hysterical older woman with a child in the back seat driving erratically on Oregon 26.

So yesterday when my nameless granddaughter came into the dinner room and announced that "if you put the earbuds to your ipod in your nose the sound will come out your mouth" I should have remained cool. As she leaned over to let me listen I almost fell off my chair. My daughter and I were still laughing as she headed out the front door to visit with the neighbor boy. Her parting words were "don't talk about me while I'm gone!" My daughter and I looked at each other in amazement. Would that be possible?

I'm just saying....!!!


Nov 21, 2016

I Invented the Computer! he said.

I wrote this article back in 2012. Russell Kirsch is a hero of mine. He called me on the phone what day many years ago so I wrote about it. I will never forget that conversation. This is a follow up for that article.

If you love Dilbert, you will understand why I loved the reappearance of Russell Kirsch in a article written for BoingBong. In case you don't know, Kirsch was the man that took the very first digital image and it was of his son. That was back in the 1950's. Kirsch loves a good laugh I think. That is why he says things like "I invented the computer"!  Not that the statement is untrue but just because those kind of statement do get your attention. 

BoingBoing had a story the other day about a man that had an encounter with Mr. Kirsch in a coffee shop. The encounter started with Kirsch saying, 

"That’s the problem with a lot of people”, ...“they don’t try to do stuff that’s never been done before, so they never do anything, but if they try to do it, they find out there’s lots of things they can do that have never been done before."  
When the much younger man asked what the old man had done, Kirsch said simply "I invented the computer." WOW! I am sure the young man wondered if that was true? I expect this incident to appear in a cartoon one day soon much like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet. But here is the truth...Russell Kirsch is a very interesting and important man in the world of "inventing the computer".

As it turns out, I talked with Mr. Kirsch back in 2007 after I wrote a blog post about him (I had spelled his name wrong but really he just called to say thank you). He told me his story of being a young man involved in the thermonuclear weapons calculations. This was during the cold war era in the 1950's. As I understand it, that program was the impetus for the building of the first programmable computer here in the United States. Kirsch had been a part of that program and he was the young man. An article published in the Oregonian in 2007 tells us:
Russell Kirsch with the 
image the first digital image.
2007 edition of the Oregonian

In 1957, Kirsch was a computer programmer -- a job category that, at the time, must have seemed closer to magician than to engineer. Kirsch and an elite team worked with SEAC, the Standards Electronic Automatic Computer, the federal government's first electronic programmable computer.
As he was telling about his work on thermonuclear weapons calculation (programming?), I think he mentioned the International Ballistic Missile program. He told me how he played with the computer on his own time...without the knowledge of his superiors probably. We all know that Dilbert's boss would have gone ballistic over something like pun intended. Kirsch may have spent a little bit of the company's time playing too but he didn't say that. Sounds familiar doesn't it? He laughed softly as he told the story. I had read an article in the Oregonian the day before (2007) about him. They told about the first digital image taken with a device he created using the the government programmable computers. That first snapshot was a picture of his son, a small baby at the time. The Oregonian told how that image was chosen by Life Magazine as one of the pictures that changed world. We all know digital photography is a wonderful addition to our world.

When I last talked to Mr. Kirsch he and his wife, an art historian I believe, were working on an Apple program looking at replicating art on the computer. I hope that research has been used somewhere in our cameras or computers today.

So did Russell Kirsch invent the computer? Well yes and no. Was he a man on the list of people that helped accomplish that task? Yes he was. Was he a man that changed the world in a very big way? I think so. But best of all I think he has a wonderful sense of humor that leads him to watch the face of a young nerds as he blows them out of water when he says, "I invented the computer." I love that a lot! And you might like to know that Russell Kirsch is in his 82 year of life...amazing!


Note: the original article is not available on Blogger anymore. I do have it printed somewhere but it is probably in Oregon and I am in Arizona. Darn.

Nov 19, 2016

The Perfect Picture for this Week

Yes, that is my ball. Yes that is the flag you see just on the other side of the trees. Yes there is a big hill on the other side leading to no man's land.

The day is beautiful, the greens are lovely...there is nothing wrong with this golf course that a chain saw couldn't fix!


Nov 16, 2016

A Day in the Life of Normal (whatever that is!)

Life is really is. In my little world of age mates that are for the most part very quiet about opinions, religion and all those issues imply, I am happy and above all healthy.

As for normal, I really don't know what that is anymore. I have lost a sense of where I belong in this world.

In this place many people take a park model, build an extra room on and close the blinds for the entire winter. Other, like my husband and myself, spend a great deal of time outdoors. We all come here for a different reason.

I need light to stay alive and healthy. I open windows and blinds even when it is fairly warm. We often air condition the outdoors because of my needs. It is not ergonomically efficient or financial good. But I just don't care...I need what I need!

Today in my normal day I started on a walk, stopped at a friend for a quick chat about dinner for friends tomorrow night, walked around a couple of blocks, stopped for an extended chat with a newly arrived friend. I stopped again to receive the blessing for my Facebook post inviting people that didn't like my views to unfriend me. I finished my walk 2 hours later. A short walk takes a long time unless I go out of the park where I don't know other people.

Our neighborhood carpenter returned with his son in tow. We need this man's help so badly and his son is a welcome event. He makes it possible for single women and disabled families to come here in the winter. If the floor falls in, he will fix it. We like that.

We live in a small space here, a trailer house that is parked permanently (sorta) on a spot. The thing we all know is that the axle and the wheels are stored underneath so that someday someone can drive the hunk of junk over a cliff. In the meantime, we live beautifully with ice in the door of the refrigerator and a dishwasher. The water for the ice may run through a hose, up through the floor and into the fridge but, much like the wheels, we choose not to think about that.

It is hot here today in Tucson again today. Our air conditioner is running and the ceiling fan is going full blast. I have a minor sore throat during this time of year from breezes coming at me from every direction.

The leak in the bathroom sink has been fixed and we found our lost garbage can hiding in the parks maintenance shed. That is the kind of thing that makes me laugh out loud. Holy cow, who would want our old, broken and ugly can. It is a mystery.

My husband has planted a tomato plant again...he does it every year. This year, however, he has put it up on a concrete block so the Havalinas cannot eat it. We have cartoon from neighbors about the Havalinas because it seems my husband thought he could outsmart them for many years. The stinky piglike creatures finally won.

So, life goes on. I am headed out to have a glass of wine with my husband in the back facing our mountains. We will have leftovers for dinner and I will watch Acorn TV or another episode of the Kettering Incident on Netflix. No football tonight. I golf 18 holes tomorrow with the women at my local golf course. We will have dinner for our friends at Mary's house. Her secret garden in the back of her park model with hold a table for the women.

Life is good and it does go on no matter what. People around the world are sitting down for breakfast right now and others are asleep near a loved one and their children. That all keeps me grounded.

Much love to you all.


Nov 14, 2016

Nov 12, 2016

On the Interview with Madeleine Anna

My granddaughter interviewed me this morning. She live in Dubai, UAE. She is doing some research on growing old and it turns out I qualify to talk about that. That makes me smile...being qualified that is. It was a lot of fun to answer her well thought out questions because it turns out I am full of information and answers. Now it is your turn to smile.
This is Maddie and her younger sister.

She asked me questions like "What was your first thought when you found out you were pregnant?" That one required a little historical background with the answer. She asked about first dates and teen years and family stories and (best of all) what I remembered about her father when he was young like her.

Her last question was about what wisdom I could pass on to her. I told her that she needs to see everything she does as a building block for what she will become. If she makes mistakes, atone for them and admit what she did. What is done normally cannot be undone and in truth the past does not exist. That is why she will need to move forward and learn from all her experiences.

The interview was a wonderful opportunity for me. It was like a vetting of my past as well as serving as a validation of my value to the future. I hope it turned out to be as special as she hoped it would be.

I was reminded that as the "wise" people in our families, we need to find a way to pass on wisdom on so that it weaves its way into our children's lives without them even realizing it.

This week my grandchildren voted, several for the first time. My granddaughter posted on Facebook that she had done her part. My words of wisdom to her as we watched the count come down was to remember that when others go low we always go high. It is a family tradition.

What is the best words of wisdom you could give to your grandchildren or children? Give it some thought.


Nov 9, 2016

In The End I Would Not Hold My Country Hostage...

Being an American is a great privilege and even if I didn't choose the president we have, I will always choose my country. There you have it.

We are leaving for a trip to Dubai in December and I know that this election will come up with people from around the world. Our Canadian friends have already had their say and I hate to admit it but I may pretend to be one of them when we travel.

We were in Spain when G.W. Bush started the war in Iraq. It was not a pretty thing to see or feel. Being so hated and reviled by a foreign country takes it's toll. The Spanish people took to the streets in protest of Asner's throwing his lot in with Bush. At that time my oldest son and his wife were living in Saudi Arabia and we sent them home to experience a terrorist attack on their compound and school. So I know first hand that what our country does and says plays out for U.S. citizens around the globe.

One of my youngest son's good high school friends is second generation Filipino. He is feeling very threatened right now. His Facebook post asked "What do our neighbors really think about me and my family?" In the wake of this election I can see how he might feel that way. He is a college professor and teaches poetry to his students.

We cannot unsee or unhear what we have experienced. I watched every debate and followed the news on rallies. The behavior of many people at the Trump rallies made me a little sick. Those of us that were appalled at the tone of those were not enough to make a difference when we voted.

So, now we will do what Secretary Clinton asked us to do. We will move on. Unlike the Republicans that were elected when President Obama took office, I am a Democrat that would NOT encourage the obstruction of all that is good to make Trump suffer. We cannot hold our country hostage because we are self-righteous or even right.

In the end I can say that my husband I are proud to have been a Hillary Clinton supporter. What I am not proud of is that I did NOT wear my heart on my sleeve because I didn't want to offend or argue with friends. I could have done better than I did.

I was With Her and in the sense that what that campaign stood for will not go away, I suppose I still am.

So when we travel in December I don't think I will hide no matter the cost. Being an American is a great privilege and even if I didn't choose the president we have, I will always choose my country. There you have it.

So if you want to vent here, please feel free. We are among friends after all.

Be well.


Nov 8, 2016

Where Did You Hear That?

It is Election Day, 2016 today. Hillary Clinton (Dem.) is running against Donald Trump (Rep.). I'm with Her. We shall see if I have chosen the right person. I certainly hope so.

Because I am an educator, I am very much in tune with the concept of using a prime source. In case
Election Day 2016
you are not aware, a prime source is defined as:
In the study of history as an academic discipline, a primary source (also called original source or evidence) is an artifact, a document, diary, manuscript, autobiography, a recording, or other source of information that was created at the time under study.
In the real world, I keep the concept in mind when I hear or read something that just doesn't seem right. Being raised during the 1950's I am well aware of brainwashing and how those people that do that sort of thing don't change everything in a piece of information. However, when the words are rearranged just slightly, the meaning changes markedly.

I had a friend swear up and down that Paul Harvey had said something very hateful on the radio and, because Paul Harvey said it, it must be so. When he read that same piece in writing, the writer had changed ever so few words. That small change left the my friends believing that it was what he had heard.

Thankfully, this election is over today. This is just for future reference. When you hear something that sounds a bit wonky even if it agrees with your beliefs, please check it out. Where we get the information is more important than anything. Talk show hosts are very good at bending our perception of the facts to suit their agendas and I can't imagine that you don't take what they say with a grain of salt.

I don't know if Snopes is infallible. I can't imagine that anyone can be. But they check facts and I have found original sources of information that I could go back to if I just used my brain. There is a site that evaluates charitable trusts. It would pay you to check that out before you begin repeating information about that sort of thing. I am sure there are many many others.

So, now that I have that off my chest, I am settling in so I can see how this day unfolds. I hear that Donald Trump is already suing Nevada for letting people vote after the poles are suppose to close. (I have not checked that piece of information out yet so do that before you repeat what you see here.) It should all be very interesting.


Snopes: Clinton in Egypt False
Snopes: Nobel Peace Lies False
Snopes: Uranium Given to Russians (Note: Among the ways these accusations stray from the facts is in attributing a power of veto or approval to Secretary Clinton that she simply did not have.) Unproven

Nov 3, 2016

2016 Election: On Wishing Time to Pass

Now I find myself wishing for the election to be over. That is something I said I would never do. Wishing my life to pass more quickly seems foolish to me.

Even when I was a very young woman with children living in a cold, drafty farmhouse down a dusty lane, I did not wish for even one day to pass faster than the others. My family worried for us and actually asked me if I was anxious to move on...didn't I wish that we were out of there? The answer was always a firm no. Life could be over soon even back then. I did not want to miss one single day.

When times are hard or heartbreaking, it would be very easy to miss the beautiful sunset or the warm autumn air. I wish I had an app on my phone that reminded me to take note. Do you suppose there is one of those? I suppose not.

As for the election in 2016, our life as we know it hangs in the balance. We will see if the American people are paying attention or if they aren't. I, for one, am with HER!


Nov 2, 2016

Walking My Bottom Off...Really!

My Tucson Home
It turns out that I have to exercise hard almost every day. Darn! I can tell you for certain that there really is nothing I like better than writing, having coffee in bed, reading and watching TV on Acorn. Yes indeed. Sunday might be my favorite day of the week. Or is that Sunday when you sit around and pretend to rest.

But I don't go to church because I don't sit still that well. You can see where I am going with this...I am a split personality with big exercise issues.

So, when my doctor told me I had to get up and move, I took it to heart and the very next day I got up in the morning, put on my tennis shoes and went for a walk. Since August I have walked almost every day.

Now I am going to have a brand new clothes will not fit for very much longer. My wedding ring will have to be resized and my shoes are even looser on some days.

So, when I say I have walked my bottom off, I am not kidding! I feel great and, because this has to be a lifelong habit, I don't plan on stopping ever. My split personality is coming together because, in the end I am happier when I am moving.

Best of all, I am having a whole lot of fun! Life is good.

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