Monthly Archives: January 2018

CW goes to the edge

What a drop!

What colors!

So many reds and oranges

All nestled together

Such textures rough and smooth

The wind in my face

The smell of wet rock and juniper

There is the distant cry of a hawk

Faint thunder

The clouds moving in

People run for cover

I stand in the rain

On the edge

A flash

Then a rumble

3…4…5 seconds

One mile off

Grofe plays in my mind

I wasn’t expecting echos of the storm

The rain spatters huge drops

On the pavement where I stand

Riveted to this view

Right on the edge.

 

 

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White out

 “Smoke, Fog, and Haze: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.”
– writing prompt for today’s CW piece.

White

Silent but for the sound of wind

Isolation

What is it that is so critical that I must be here?

I see the tail lights in front of me, but they swerve

It is slick

I must get home, I cannot stay here

I see my warm kitchen, smell banana bread

Feel the warmth of my fire

My hands are cold

My wipers, ineffective

I’m shivering in my seat

I must get home, I cannot stay here

My radio is playing Vivaldi

The programmer has a sense of humor…playing Summer

I smile just a bit

But I must concentrate very hard

It’s difficult to drive by feel

How slow?

How careful?

How long until I’m safe?

I must get home, I cannot stay here

Blizzards, fun to watch

Not having fun now…

Pull over?

Wait it out?

2 more hours.

I must get home, I cannot stay here.

Trust my feeling

Trust my instinct

Trust the road

Trust those driving ahead and behind

It’s hard to trust

I must, because

I must get home, I cannot stay here

Fall back position

I tend to go to subversion as my first fallback when things don’t go right.  It upset me to discover this, but I know WHY I do that (after some reflection.)

  1.  Follow the rules.  Stay within the parameters.
  2. Watch as an incompetent takes over and screws it up and derails the project.  This brings up two pathways: wait for experience to kick in, the lesson to be learned, whatever that gets us back on track or watch the doofus crash and burn and the project stay off track and fail so I can say “I told you so.”
  3. So I wait for the turn around and it never happens.  But I want the project to succeed, both for my benefit and for the others involved in the project
  4. Doofus gets schooled by higher ups or more experienced people on the team and gets discouraged but in order to save face DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING AND MAY EVEN EXASPERATE THE SITUATION! 
  5. I become subversive and the project succeeds in spite of the mismanagement because we are back on track.
I am too old and too impatient to go through all 5 steps Every Single Time.  In my experience in the public schools and as a business owner/operator and in fast food, and in the many organizations I have been a part of (from Girl Scouts to Church Choir…) it’s always the same 5 steps.  There were some projects that I was indifferent to, and those I let founder.  And though I didn’t say it out loud, I snickered to myself, “I told them so…”  Now, I recognize the signs early on, and exasperated, I assume that the Doofus that is messing things up is not coachable or amenable to change.  He/She will not learn the lessons.  Why go through the effort of mentoring them and coaching them if they keep saying, “I got it from here” and they clearly don’t “got it?”  I’m not saying micromanage, because we all know how futile that is.  So instead of falling back on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th steps and especially with a time crunch, I revert to step 5 as a default.  That’s the way I have programmed myself to think.  Unless something changes in the human condition that contra-indicates this conclusion, that will be my general approach to situations like these.

Bad Memory–High intelligence?

This was fascinating.  The whole theory behind this theory was that the brain acted as a repository for information in a way like you’d expect a library to work.  They postulated that there was a finite amount of information that could be stored, and that in order to make good decisions, irrelevant material had to be expunged.  (I’m getting all my Toastmasters Words of the Day used up today, so keep your thesauruses and dictionaries close.)  They’re wrong.

Your brain never forgets anything.

Wait…what?  I forgot where my keys were.  I forgot Jamie’s name.  I forgot my appointment.  Those are ESSENTIAL things to remember.  All of those things were in my brain the day before I needed them.  Did I replace those ESSENTIAL bits of information with something more important?  I don’t think so.  I read no scientific papers.  I didn’t discover a new subject of study.  I learned no new skills.  I did have some interesting conversations, and worked to solve a couple of problems.  Were those things more important or more relevant that the location of my keys, my friend’s name, or the appointment I’d set?  No.

Inefficient memory has nothing to do with the quality of the information stored in your brain.  It has nothing to do with the relevance of the information.  It has to do with access.  The neurons that direct your inquiry to the correct location where the information is stored work in a circuitous path.  The more you use the path, the wider and more direct it becomes.  I did find my keys, and remembered Jamie’s name, but I had to reschedule the appointment.

I have a rather large vocabulary which means that I have a humongous number of words in my brain, but I don’t use the $20 words much because it doesn’t enhance the understanding by my conversation mates.  The larger the vocabulary, the more precise and descriptive you can make your communication.  But it does no good if everyone with whom you speak has to look up every other word.  This means that though I have those words in my brain, I don’t have to access them often.

I have a plethora of scientific information regarding the natural world:  biology, geology, physics, botany, meteorology, and chemistry are some of the subjects I find fascinating.  I have an innate understanding of mathematics and logic and I can picture and rotate graphs in my head.  I am fascinated by history and how each event relates to the culture and affects the timelines that intersect it.  I keep all these things in my head and accessible.  There is nothing I choose to forget.  In fact, there are things that my mind recalls that I really do not understand why I keep in there.  It’s like going through your keepsakes and finding old grade cards.  Why would you keep those?  I have lots of stuff in my attic that I may or may not need, and so there is a ladder that goes to my attic, but it’s not used very often.

ANYWAY, the stuff you forget today is not gone from your brain forever.  It never leaves.  The pathway to the information is just a road with lots of pot holes.  Eventually you can rebuild that pathway and discover this ‘lost’ information.  The truly intelligent beings are the ones who can create pathways linking different information to a situation.  Why don’t planes have flapping wings?  Because the design is based more on a kite or a hawk. (OK a kite is a type of hawk, but I’m talking the kind of kite with a string that you can buy at Walmart.  Did you know a kite was a hawk?  That fact is running around in my head and I caught it, subdued it to my will and put it in the blog to ever be captive to this page.  Now I’m getting silly.) Leonardo Da Vinci was one of those people who had lots of information in his head from observation and study.  Einstein and Stephen Hawking related ideas in their heads that no one else would have put together.  Geniuses do that all the time.  They make use of the pathways to discover new relationships between the memories, the facts and the ideas to form new theories and new ideas.  Other geniuses make use of the pathways to remember what is on their grocery lists.  That means that they don’t throw away useless information, they just don’t use that pathway very often.  Should they need to draw a conclusion that requires that information, they can access it and integrate it into their thought processes.

So if you take that test on Facebook that says “You are a Genius because you can’t remember crap,” take that with a grain of NaCl.

I have my Mad on

Saw a stupid video on Facebook, and it’s stayed with me all day.  9 year old kid gets bullied on the play ground.  He starts beating on the kid, and the teacher intervenes.  The kid is in the heat of the moment I guess, and hits the teacher.  I know of a 9 year old that was so big that he could pick up his foster dad, and his mental condition was such that when he had his mad on, he felt no pain.  The kid in the video, however, was not one of those big kids.  He did not have a condition that masked his pain when he had his mad on.  How hard can a 9 year old hit?  Yes, it would probably hurt.  He was not schooled in the martial arts, so there would be no broken bones or split lips.  It shouldn’t have made the news.

The parents videoed their son being handcuffed and led away by police.  No sign of injured teacher leaving in ambulance, no sign of injured bully leaving in an ambulance…  Obviously, the parent of the young felon (assault and battery) weren’t going to video the ambulances taking away the victims of the vicious 9 year old, but the follow-up by the news reporters did not mention any hospitalization either.

Let’s hear it for Zero Tolerance.  How many of you have been in school yard fights?  If you won, were you arrested?  If you lost did you sue?  How many of you were bullies?  How many of your victims fought back?  Would you have continued to bully people that fought back?  The #Me Too was for all the people that had been sexually assaulted or somehow associated with a sexual assault–you were the boss that fired the assaulter, or the counselor that turned them in.  It might be easier to identify the bullies than the victims because I think in this country, NO ONE would admit to being a bully, and yet 102% of the population would identify with the victim of bullying.  The only conclusion is that there were 5 boys and 3 girls that were moved from school to school all over the area just to bully those who didn’t fit in (meaning the rest of us.)  The point is this:  weren’t all these bullying incidents handled in house?  Little Donnie and Little Tracy were sent to the principal’s office and sat in detention for a few days.  The rest of the school population went about their business and the victims tried not to NOT fit in so they wouldn’t continue to be bullied when the miscreants were released from detention.

THERE WAS NO NEED TO HAVE THE POLICE COME INTO THE SCHOOL.  The kid didn’t have a gun or a knife or anything else that was identified as a weapon.

I am old.  I remember when they landscaped Europe.  (Oooh I love fjords!  Put some more in!)  When we had a serious incident with bullying, namely fighting, the brat(s) went to the principal’s office and he or they got 10 whacks from the Scurbanian Killer…a brush with the bristles removed.  It hurt like the dickens, but it was immediate.  There were no appeals, no law suits.  The parents didn’t rush in to demand the principal’s job and slap punitive damages on the principal, the teacher, the victim, the victim’s parents, and the school board.  It was assumed that if you got the Scurbanian Killer at school, you were going to be grounded for a month and get a spanking from your parents when you got home too.  And everyone in the neighborhood would look at you and shame you for your bad behavior.  Then some doofus decided that children were people.  That they had rights–the same as adults.  But they also had no responsibilities.

Wait?  What?  Adults are adults because we have learned that rights come with responsibilities.  Privileges are not guaranteed.  If you give children rights, and don’t teach them responsibilities, how do they learn?  If you think that a kindergartner or a 1st grader can learn the same responsibilities that an adult has learned, I have a bridge I could sell you.  Same for 9 year-olds.   The bully needs to learn that if he does bully someone and that one fights back, it’s all on him.  The victim must learn to stand up for himself and fight back if need be to protect himself.  There are responsibilities for the teachers as well.  If you get hit when breaking up a fight, crap happens.  Both students should have been sent to the principal and the situation handled IN HOUSE.  The faculty and staff and administration of the schools have given up their autonomy in ruling the school.  They have given up their responsibilities of in loco parentis and turned it over to the police.  And we, as parents and grandparents, have allowed this!  How stupid is this?  Are we teaching children how to be adults?  NO!  We’re teaching children how to game the system.

Get the law and politics OUT of the school system!  Treat children as children and then teach them how to be adults.

OWWWWW!

So I started out 2018 really well…I broke a toe!  Not the grubby little toe, and not the Big really important toe, the 4th toe on my right foot.  Now remembering that my left side gives me troubles…Broken hip twice after replacement, kidney stone in left kidney and now some sort of muscle problem in my left thigh, I limp on my left leg pretty much as a normal thing now.  How do you limp on both legs?!

You cannot splint a toe.  You just tape a good toe to the bad one.  They must be adjacent.  It is a lovely shade of purple now, but I can still get my foot into my shoe!  Yay!  So I ask my friend how she heals so fast because she’s had some broken bones and bam!  You can’t tell she’d ever been injured.  She says use the D3 plus Calcium and not only heals the bones but strengthens them.  Well of Course!  That makes perfect sense!  So what do doctors recommend?  OMG.  You can’t pronounce these meds!  What do they contain?  Welllllll, you can’t pronounce those either.  Why would they prescribe chemicals that are so foreign and contrived when Vitamin D and Calcium work better with fewer side effects?  The fact is, the doctor wouldn’t.  He’d tape the toes together and say stay off of them as much as possible.  Ice and ibuprophen.  He wouldn’t even prescribe a bone healing agent unless you asked about it.

So what do we see here?  We’re treating the symptom and not the cause.  Do we see this approach in other areas?  OF COURSE!

Scenario 1:  I don’t have enough money.  I must double my hours to have enough money.  I cannot double my hours in my current position, so I must find additional work.  If I work for myself, I will make more money, but it will take too much time from my other job.  I will work a part time job that doesn’t pay as well so it doesn’t interfere with my other job.  It will cost me more in time, and sleep, and child care, and gas and wear and tear on my car and add stress to my marriage and my relationships with my children and my friends.  But, I don’t have enough money.

  • Enough money for what?  Are you trying to pay off debt?  Are you wanting a more lavish lifestyle?  Are you worried about paying your utility bill?  Do you find yourself without heat/light/phone every month?  Prioritize your needs for the money.  If utilities and mortgage/rent are the 1st things you pay for out of your paycheck, and you don’t have the money left to service your debt, you may have to eliminate some things and plug the leaks in your budget.  And even if you have plugged all the leaks, you may have to come up with a unique way to bring in more money.
  • Can you get a raise?  You want more money for the time you expend and the value you bring to this company.  Are you worth more now than you were last year?  Have you improved your skill set?  Have you taken on more responsibility?
  • Can you work for yourself in a way that your schedule is flexible enough to give you the money you need to replace your current income with fewer hours?  How important is this job you currently hold?  Is it your passion or is it just a paycheck?  Is it a means to your passion ie. you make $1000 more than you need for your household and spend it on building ultralights, or skateboards, or helping in the shelters or donating to Doctors without Borders.

For many people, the cost of the childcare and the transportation is 2/3 of the check they’d get from the 2nd job.  If you figure 80 hrs/month at min wage, ($7.25) you’d be working 80 hours for less than $150 a month?  That’s $1.81/hr.  Who can afford to work for $1.81/hour?!!!  So as in every enterprise, you have to look at the cause, not just the symptom.  Is there something that takes only an hour or two per week where you can make $150?  Let your mind go crazy and then pare it down to something reasonable.  For me, that would be 2 students/month.  I would be 1-2 investment clients/month.  It would be 4 books sold.  (Nice thing about books, you only have to write them once!)  Find the source of the problem and work from there.

Scenario 2:  I am fat.  I don’t like being fat.  It causes really stupid problems like not being able to tie my shoes or put on my socks.  I can’t get up out of the couch.  I will eat fewer calories and stay up later so I burn more, and exercise until I drop.  ??  I am not losing weight.  I am eating fewer calories, I changed from my late nights to getting a full 7-8 hours sleep, and I’m still exercising.  I am not losing weight.  I’m eating the RIGHT calories, getting enough sleep and exercising.  I am not losing weight.  It’s hopeless.

  • How are you counting calories?  Do you weigh your food?  Do you cook it so you know how it’s made and what goes into it?  What is the breakdown of your calories–carbs, proteins, fats?
  • How consistent are you on your work outs?  Are they all cardio or do they include strength and flexibility exercises?  Do you work with a trainer?  How do you measure your progress of your work outs?
  • How much sleep do you want?  Do you wake up tired?  What is your typical bed time?  Do you dream?  Do you dream in color?
  • Have you spoken to a doctor?  Had testing done?  Nutritionist?  Recommendations for change in diet?  Watched hour long infomercial about how people are losing 60 pounds in 30 seconds followed by an add for chainsaws and extreme liposuction with a shop-vac…

See?  The symptom is being overweight.  If you cannot determine the cause, you cannot fix the problem.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mental problems, cause doesn’t always lead to the same effect.  I’ve become increasingly skeptical that knowing the cause of a behavior can help change the behavior.  It may eliminate a trigger, but only if the trigger isn’t very old. If the trigger goes back to your childhood, I look askance at it.  Unless you can remove a traumatic experience from your past, you have to go from your present condition.  About all you can do for those experiences is to think, “oh…wasn’t that interesting,” and move on from there.  I know that’s harsh.  “When I was in Jr. High, I was thrown into the shower and restrained, wet and naked, and they took all my clothes and put them in the hallway.”  That’s traumatic.  Can you change what happened?  Nope.  Can you get even?  Probably not, and it wouldn’t make you feel better.  How did you cope at the time?  Do you believe that nothing could be as bad as that experience?  Probably.  Have you anything to fear then?  Hmmmm.  The symptom was being the person on the bad side of a bully and (of course) the minions that follow bullies around.  What was the cause?  Does it matter? Nooooo!  Now that’s where the interesting stuff comes out.

So when you find yourself worrying about stuff in your life, sit down, take stock, and ask the questions until you get to the root of the situation.  Then solve the problem, don’t just treat the symptom.