Summer 2014 July 25 Friday (Time)

66 degrees this morning.

One of those days when I write in the date and wonder what happens to time? I expect if anyone had the capacity to actually buy more “time” it would be the most popular product available and people would spend fortunes just for more time.

I think that is one reason mobile phones are so popular. I told someone when they came out that mobile phones are like being able to “buy time”. Looking back, I still feel that is true, but it also is a great way to waste time also!

Tomorrow will be (if I am figuring right) 8 months that I should have had a lot of “free time”, but I really have kept busy the full time.

I think part of it is, as described by the author of “Reset”, that looking for employment is a 24 hour, 7 day “job”. You are always looking for the one break that will get a job, not even a dream job, just a start.

One of his comments was “you wear unemployment like you wear a suit”, except it is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and eventually it starts to became part of your skin (or words to that effect, one of the weaknesses of audio books, you can’t find a quote when you want one!)

My first full time “City” or perhaps career job is a better term came about in a strange way. I had just either gotten “stood up” by a woman, or there was a misunderstanding and was diving back to my apartment in a funk. I had just graduated from Wichita State University and during the Summer I was completing my M.A. degrees with a research course.

As I pulled up at a stop light (I can still picture it), my Professor pulled up beside me, saw me and yelled about a job he know about and to call him. He was an excellent dedicated Professor, but I don’t believe he ever would have thought about contacting me about it otherwise. (I had finished my course, so I wouldn’t have seen him otherwise.)

I called about the job, interviewed for it and got the job and my career started in Liberal, Kansas, and the time has definitely flown by.

I think when you are looking for employment, you are aware that the next thing you read may be the break you need, the next person you meet may know of a job, or you may miss an opportunity.

Strange, I have never thought of it before like this, but in a strange way, it almost is like someone gambling, you are always waiting for the big break.

I have often wondered about people who get a job and then either waste time with personal activities or just don’t try to do a good job. I think, don’t they know how valuable a job is (especially a good job)? I think the book “Reset” would be a good book for someone who has a job, to remind them of what it is like not to have a job.

Same with time, I see my granddaughters being bored and want to warn them to not waste the time by being bored, but I know they won’t understand.

I can’t find the exact quote but this will do (Horace MannI): “Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered for they are gone forever.” I

t think the problem is, your really don’t know where time is lost and you don’t realize you are losing it until you have lost it. And then there is no way of finding it again.

Time is moving on fast, That’s it for now, Friday, July 25, 2014.

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Summer 2004 July 24 Thursday (Change!)

Summer, 2014 July 24 Thursday (Change!)

79 degrees this morning. Walked 58;39 minutes, also did sit ups and weights.

I was struck by the difference of the city we live in and the next city over. The other City has regulations more like Lakeland used to have and it is a much more attractive city to live in. There are numerous trails/walking paths, landscaping on streets and entrances etc. The city we live in has sidewalks (if you are lucky), and the old “scrape and leave” development patterns.

The City next to us is booming, with substantial housing and commercial construction, including chain commercial, local commercial etc. This demonstrates that letting developers take over the city instead of realizing the City is for the benefit of the residents is good for everyone, including the developers.

Not that the area of the city we live in is doing all that bad, but the difference in living environment is really striking. Guess where we are going to make sure we move when we move, assuming we stay in this area?

There seems to be a general feeling in this area (from the City to local businesses) of a resistance to any type of consideration of whether or not the “current practices” could be changed for the better. An example is the city recycling program, which is very limited for a large city and any questions of “why” seems to lead to defensive comments, not honest discussion about why the procedures are the best and can’t be changed. There seems to be a resistance to any type of even discussion of changes. Another example is the newspaper, which doesn’t seem to want to discuss whether there is a need to relook at their circulation procedures.

My feeling is if you don’t change you get stale, (at least if you aren’t continually looking at possible change you get stale). I think the local procedures certainly provide evidence that my feelings are correct.

While I agree with the concept of emphasizing “promotion from within”, it is so strictly followed in this city, that I think it has led to staleness and a resistance to change and just a real inability to step up to meet the changing needs of the residents and businesses. It is as if there is a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Of course, the antidote is to move, or just simply adjust to it and realize it could be worse.

Just read an article about the problems with the “incentive structure” in federal (and probably many other organizations) projects. The article notes that “‘focusing on failure” is counterproductive, since it discourages trying new approaches and (quoting): “All major technological work involves trying new new things, trying new things involves failures and those failure can often often be extremely useful learning opportunities” (The article notes that penalties for failure are actually counterproductive.) (Source: Clay Shirky, “The Key to Successful Tech Management” in the March/April 2004 edition of Foreign Affairs) (Shows how far behind I am in my reading!)

Anyway, to conclude my thoughts, I think this area is focusing on “punishing failure” instead of “learning from failure” and it will be a problem for the progress of this area in the future. It is already a problem for many organizations. Of course “rewarding failure” can be an extremely difficult action to take. Obviously I’m not referring to failure due to incompetence etc., but rather have the courage to try something new and learn from it if it is a failure.

Moving continues. We got the fax machine set up yesterday, and generally have all the printers functioning etc. I have also completed the first wave of “weeding” of the books and now will start the process of weeding the ones I tentatively decided to keep.

The Owl still resides at our front door, guarding against the rebuilding of the bird nest, resulting in a mess on our front porch.

That’s it for now, Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Summer 2014 July 23 Wednesday (Home)

79 degrees this morning.  Walk was 58.15

Haven’t seen the birds since Monday morning when they dive bombed the Owl to try to scare it off.  The plastic Owl still maintains a steely vigilance over the former nest, and perhaps how considers it it’s home.

I can relate to the feelings of the poor birds being kicked out of their home and community by some thoughtless idiot (me).  In a way, the spoiled brat politician and his toadies did the same to us, (and other personnel) perhaps in a different manner.  Of course, technically speaking, we had  a choice, but, not really, when you see the community you have worked for twelve years being destroyed by incompetence, greed and flat stupidity.

I hope the birds are  able to build a nest elsewhere and enjoy their new community. 

Perhaps because of my career, I notice the songs and articles and poems written about “my hometown” or similar terms.  A hometown means a lot, and I think, in spite of the fact we only spent 12 years there, we consider Lakeland as a “hometown” because of the people we met and the investment of the residents in building a better community. 

I have recently realized the advantages of living right across the street from a swimming pool (although it will close Labor Day) and having the time to take a quick swim during day, especially during the summer.  I love swimming, but it has always been difficult to find a pool where I felt comfortable swimming and the time to do so.

There is something about swimming (and bicycling and even lifting weights) that rejuvenates you and just kind of gives you a feeling of flow.  Hard to explain, but I know it when it happens! It just changes your outlook on the entire day. I love my morning walk (and walking in general), and it is almost essential to my day.  Somehow bicycling, swimming, weightlifting etc. is just a different experience.

Finished my second “hearing” of the book “Reset” this morning.  It was a good book, but now time to get back to Doris Kearns Goodwin and the “Bully Pulpit” and Roosevelt and Taft.  I will probably  re-listen (and/or read) “Reset” again, about a man struggling through being laid off and his search for another job.  Contains a lot of good information, whether you are employed or not and it continues to document the age discrimination which is so prevalent among employers, even in the early forties and especially in the 50’ a and 6i0’s.  Somehow, everyone seems to think after you are 62, your only value is as a Walmart greeter (absolutely nothing against Wall Mart greeters, it has just become a cultural expression) or maybe to work part-time in fast food.

I am reaching the time when I will need to get started my own business if I don’t find a job.   (If I find a part-time job, I will also start my own business).  The moving is almost substantially completed (with minor adjustments to continue for months, I am sureI) and I need to get going.  I have mentally slated August 3 to start on a “full-time” basis, which is after several interviews.  There is a local community college that has a program that may help me get started.  There is a lot involved and I especially want to make sure whatever I do, I do a good job. 

Moving continues.  A non-profit picked up a lot of items yesterday, much of what works, but we just won’t have the room for it.  I may have mentioned this yesterday, but Aliene’s plants mostly survived the move and are now in the house.  It is nice to have plants in the house, I didn’t realize how important they were.  We also continue to make adjustments in furniture etc., and I don’ even want to think about the “sortin and throwin” we will need to do yet with many of he boxes and decisions on where to hang pictures.

I have finally “weeded” many of my books, knowing they are  going to a good home, or to be sold at a library book sale to someone who will treasure them and read them.  Or if they throw them away, at least I didn’t have to do it!

Postings may be somewhat erratic over the weekend, as we have some activities that may affect my routine Friday through Tuesday.

That’s it for now, Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

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Summer 2014 July 22 Tuesday (Routine)


79 degrees this morning, apparently back to Summer weather! Walk this morning, regular route, (around 59 min, forgot stop watch), 40 sit ups 15 lb weights.

Owl is working so far to keep the birds from building their nest over our front door. There was about 6 birds (we think, it was hard to count) who dive bombed the plastic owl for a while yesterday morning, but since then they have stayed away. We think they are trying to scare it off, which is a difficult task, scaring off a plastic owl!

Newspaper delivery here is very erratic, which is more upsetting than if it was always late. (Some days it arrives at 4:15 a..m, other days after 6:30 a.m.). I’m still undecided if I am going to keep delivery or not if the erratic time continues.

Routine is an important part of our lives, even something something so minor as the paper being delivered on a consistent basis (perhaps it is even more important since it is so minor, and especially since its comes at a time where routine is important for me, in the early morning hours) Also, reading the daily newspaper is probably my longest running routine.

Aliene mentioned the other day about how she missed the routine of daily life we had in Lakeland. Even while we were packing in Lakeland, we still had the routines we had developed over the years with friends, activities and just habits, and those routines were important to our lives, including phone calls, meeting for lunch or supper, etc. That is what we miss most about moving.

Back to the book I am listening to, “Reset”, he also notes the value of routine in our lives, and how the change in routine is frequently the worst part of losing your job.

Had lunch yesterday with a friend who is a City Manager in this area. I enjoyed talking with him and it was good to reconnect with him and briefly experience the City Hall atmosphere!

Moving continue to progress, a major advancement yesterday when Aliene’s plants make it back inside the house. After surviving the move (which was unexpected), they have survived living outside since July 3. Today will also be major step when a non-profit will come by to pick up a large number of donations, which will give us more room and allow us to complete some of the major move stages. We are still going through boxes and donating/throwing/giving away, but it is now more manageable.

i think getting rid of many of the items has really helped, although we are getting to decisions about whether to keep some oems which is more difficult to make. I have gotten ride of a lot of clothes and about five boxes of book (probably about 150 books), although now I am going to go through them again.

Something I have delayed doing for almost 17 years (which is unbelievable that so much time has passed) is going through my parents papers, in this case, they apparently saved every letter and card I ever sent them. I am undecided if I should not look at them, look at them and throw them away or look at them and keep them for future reference. They don’t contain any secrets, they are like any letter a child sends his parents. I’ve about decided to look at them and then decide how to proceed. They don’t take up a lot of room and if I toss them, a small part of my history disappears.

Took Kali and Katherine swimming in the community pool yesterday. It was fun and I did my best not to get sunburned or let them get sunburned, went for ice cream afterwards.

Saw a bunny rabbit this morning, one of those with the big cotton tail. Funny, I don’t recall seeing rabbits in Lakeland.

That’s it for now, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

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Summer 2014 July 21 Monday (If Only…) (Battle of the Birds)

Summer 2014 July 21 Monday (If Only) (Battle of the birds)

75 degrees this morning. Found my stop watch, walked 59:48 minutes, a good walk. I don’t try to “beat my time”, I just do it so I can keep general track. (I’ll be honest, the reason I started this is that when I walk “laps”-even long laps-I tend to forget where I am and which lap I am on. I
started using the stop watch so I knew what lap I was on!. My current walk is a route which is not repeated, so I’m don’t need to worry about forgetting which lap I am on!) Also did 40 sit ups and 4 sets of 15 lb weights.

“If Only”. This morning while listening to “Reset”, the author mentioned the concept of “if only” as in “if only I had a job”, if only I had a new car” …”if only…. I would be happy”.

Obviously there is no one thing that will make you happy. I used to have a department head (the title may implicate the guilty, so I won’t use the title) who would ask for a major purchase and say “if only I get this, I will be happy for five (or whatever) years and not ask for anything else”. Of course, six months later…..

Somewhere in life, I realized there is no “if only” that will make me (or anyone) “happy”. Life is a series of experiences (in my opinion) and I think “happiness” is dealing with and living the experiences.

Some years ago (I can’t pinpoint when) I decided that “experiencing” life, even the negative, stressful things were the important part of life. I don’t try to cover up any of my experiences, although I’m sure I do. That includes both the physical (such as my surgery for skin cancer) and the psychological (dealing with an angry resident, dealing with my own anger etc.), as well as the pleasant parts of life. I’m hardly perfect on it, but i just think “I need to truly experience living life and really feel how I feel” (so to speak) and it makes life much easier and, in my opinion, much better. That is one reason that the only thing I use that may affect my experiencing life is coffee, and it is hardly that much of an impact. (It keeps me awake for life!) I don’t want to miss experiencing life.

BATTLE OF THE BIRDS: We continue to fight the “Blue Jays” (actually after looking up Blue Jays on the internet, I don’t think they are Blue Jays, but…).

We made a major advance yesterday when we took down the nest, washed it all down, put up a plastic “owl” near the site of the next and also put up some chimes to harass the birds.

The birds went a little crazy and tried to scare off the owl (unsuccessfully) and I didn’t see them this morning. I expect they will be back with some new techniques. I know they won’t give up easily.

Thus far, the owl appears to be working well, but I won’t claim victory for awhile yet.

Again, we don’t like doing it, but the mess it creates is a real health hazard.

Some major advancements in moving in. With some help we put all the moving boxes in the attic and cleaned out the garage. We still have a lot to do but getting the moving boxes out is a major advance.

We have a non-profit coming out tomorrow to pick up a bunch of items we are donating, thank goodness, which will open up lot of room.

I really don’t like the lack of recycling here. They actually don’t recycle cardboard. Yesterday I carefully cut up all the cardboard boxes we aren’t saving for a future move and carefully filled the trash cart to capacity, all the while feeling that something is wrong about not recycling cardboard. Such a waste of resources. I now have two bins and have them filled to capacity with the few items they recycle.

That’s it for now, Monday, July 21, 2014




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Summer 2014 July 20 Sunday (Data Exhaust)


68 degrees this morning, but somehow seems warner, even with a relatively strong wind.

Data Exhaust is an interesting concept and the term caught my attention while reading an article on privacy. Data Exhaust is all the “exhaust” we leave from our digital operations, since as internet postings, credit cards, cell phone use, gps signals. It is really amazing the signals we leave about our location, what we do etc., from the use of the “pikepass” leaving a message of the exact time I go on the turnpike to my credit card use leaving “trails” of exactly where I have been and what I have purchased to cell phone texts and calls. I’m sure somewhere every tv program I watch etc. is tracked and stored.

Of course, it is not the “collection” of data which matters, it is how it is used. Recently I visited to check on prices on an item. I took no action, I merely looked. Since then, I have received almost daily e-mails about the item (and similar items) meaning Amazon actually traces causal visitors. That is creepy.

I could probably name numerous other instances. I wonder (as I think of the book “1984” which is now technically possible and probably in effect in some countries) who would really care what I do every minute of the day. I have learned to ignore the pestering of the e-mails, I ignore the specific “personally targeted” ads on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo etc. I still get numerous “targeted” ads on China tours, hotels, flights etc. so they really aren’t all that smart.

I think the big problem is, again, when the data is misused, and the potential of misuse normally leads to some type of abuse, probably by private businesses trying to exploit the information as much as the “government”. The potential is terrifying.

My insurance company recently offered me a relatively large discount (almost $200 per year) if I would allow my car to be “tracked” from the moment it came on to the moment the key turned off. I read it carefully and found that the date was subject to release by “court orders” and the information could be used against me. It also tracked anytime you “braked hard” “hard acceleration” or driving over 80 mph (which is legal in some areas). No thanks, I think I’ll pass on that.

I expect at some point, we will be required to have such a device in our car to drive it. I hope I don’t see that day. Neither of us have anything to hide, I almost always drive at or near the speed limit, I rarely brake or accelerate hard etc. and I’m not ashamed of where I go. I just feel it isn’t anyone’s business, especially some company trying to sell me something I don’t want or need, but who feels they have some right to spam me or call me with their “targeted” data. I have a couple of words for that I won’t use.

Moon Day, +45 years. I was 5 days into Air Force basic training on Moon Day, 1969. We had the option of seeing it live (I believe about 2 a.m.), but I slept though it. I regretted missing it at the time.

If I had known what would happen in my life on Moon Day, I wonder what I would have thought. A lot has happened in 45 years, as is I expect always the case! Looking back, I don’t know that I would have changed a lot, actually I see small decisions that I wished I had made a different decision when the small decision resulted in problems.

I think the big surprise after “Moon Day” was that little more was accomplished in the next 45 years, although the shuttle etc. was quite an accomplishment.

Moving continues. We organized the garage yesterday (at least organized it for further organization), but do have a lot of items organized for donation and throwing away, and storing some of the items in the attic (such as boxes etc.) At least future moves will be easier!

That’s it for now, Moon Day +45 years, Sunday, July 20, 2014.





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Summer 2014 July 19 Saturday (Thoughts during my walk)

Summer 2014 July 19 Saturday (Thoughts during my walk)

68 degrees this morning, as it starts to warm up to Summer.

Thoughts during my morning walk.

During my walk this morning, I experienced again the inability of some people to finish a job. In this case, the sidewalks. The areas around the sidewalks are mown and then the grass (in this case tall grass from not mowing soon enough) litters the sidewalk.

I always question if there is a snake hiding in the grass clippings! I may take a rake and go out myself and clear the grass clippings from my walk route!

Another peeve is landowners who aren’t responsible enough to mow along the sidewalk, The grass enriches onto the sidewalk and frequently grass is taking over the sidewalk. Since this area is so unworkable (with only one sidewalk on a side in many casesI), it can really ahe an effect on people using the sidewalks, which is a shame. However, I don’t plan on mowing along the sidewalks!

Speaking of sidewalks, I’ll never understand why some persons feel (or approve) “serpentine” (or zig zagging or winding) sidewalks. In my opinion a sidewalk should be straight, not meander around like a snake! (Lakeland was bad about this.). It is almost impossible for a bicycle rider or a disable person to use the sidewalk and when the sidewalk is the only means of getting along a high traffic street, it is really a disservice to residents and discourages walking.

There is is a lot of discussion about “walkable” communities and I am always pleased to note the return of trails off the street (for both walking and biking) and the emphasis of bicycle, walking and alliterative ways of transportation. (It made me sad to see Lakeland go back into the stone ages and reject a $1,000,,000 grant which would have basically made it possible to walk and bike safely in the part of Lakeland north of I-40. Also, Lakeland is going back into the stone ages on recycling by eliminating the recycling of yard waste, which uses up a lot of the landfill).

Speaking of recycling, the people at the recycling place probably think I am a complainer (I probably have called them about 10 times), but recycling here has a long ways to go. For example:

-No lids available for the recycling containers

-No yard waste recycling

-Cardboard is not accepted for recycling and there is no place to take cardboard, other than to the “dump” etc.

As I mentioned before, we have a 96 galling cart full of recycling due to the rules and it is difficult to continue recycling when you feel it is not important to the city to do it.

I plan on reviewing the plans for recycling and to get involved as necessary to at least make my thoughts known about the lack of recycling and the artificial barriers that prevent recycling.

During my walk, there is a donut shop that starts cooking about the time of my walk (cooking may be the wrong term for donuts). Even though I don’t especially even like donuts, the scent that walls from the shop is enticing to say the least and sometimes I get back to the house hungry.

I also wonder why the Sonic I walk past leaves it music on all the time. It seems a waste of electricity.

When I return from the walk, I note the Blue Jays” are still sitting in their partially rebuilt nest. (Sigh)

That’s it for now, Saturday, July 19, 2014

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