Share Share Your Underwear

Okay, no thanks on the underwear, but it rhymes, eh?

Is it just me, or is the whole “sharing” thing just getting a wee bit out of hand? Wanting to copy Spotify, that through Facebook “shares” the songs you’re listening to, NetFlix wants to have everyone checking out what movies everyone else is watching.

What’s next, what beverages you have in your fridge? What type of light bulbs you’re using? (LCD, Halogen, Incandescent, Fluorescent?) Come on, fess up!

Is it just me, or my “generation,” the 55+, AARP, 99ers, or whatever we’re called lately, or is the whole “express yourself” stuff rather superfluous? I suppose it’s just a fun way for people to enjoy connecting. Perhaps what gets me isn’t that the stuff is shared, but that it’s pushed-out-shared by social networking sites who want to blast out every personal aspect of our lives. I love Spotify for music, but I don’t feel the need for everyone to know what I’m listening to with every second hand of the clock. Does anyone really care?

I suppose when I was younger I would have liked to shoot a new song I was diggin’ out to my friends. Then again, when I was a kid, there were no iPhones or Blackberries, or digital music at all. We had things called “albums” back then. Scratches and all, they had great sound. Now we have every song in the universe at our fingertips. Ask, and you shall receive. I’ve got to admit it, I like it.

Switching gears, how about a good book? I just finished reading a new science fiction book by the late author Michael Creighton called Micro.

He died before he finished it, but another great author, Richard Preston finished it for him. Preston was probably best known for his novel “The Hot Zone” about Ebola, or some similar horrible disease. I’d have to check to be sure. But back to Micro… Imagine nanometer sized robots zipping around doing nasty things and we can’t even see them. Did I mention they can swim in our bloodstreams? This will become a reality one day, and hopefully it will be used for good, not evil. But when there’s a way to use technology in sinister ways, we usually do. Such is the way of mankind.

Time for a cup of coffee under natural sunlight. By the way, I’m not currently watching a movie, but I am listening to Natalie Cole on Spotify. I’ll get back to Michael Creighton’s Timeline after breakfast. (Just in case you felt the need to know.)

~ Les

Posted in December 2011 | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead. Día de los Muertos.

I don’t really need to have a name to remember what today is. It was ten years ago today my mom checked out of this life and on to the next. Nine years and one day ago we celebrated our last Halloween together. My mom, my wife and I put on costumes and sat on the front porch of mom’s house and gave out candy to the various kittens, fairies and Sponge Bobs that came seeking sweets. That was fun. Earlier in the night we had a pumpkin carving contest. Little did we know that this would be our last. But it was a good one. Mom was the judge. Candles were placed in the pumpkins, the lights were turned out, and we all oohed and ahhed our ghouliest best. Iris had no trouble winning the event as I am about as artistic as a piece of cheese. It was great fun for all of us.

So ten years later my mom lives on in our memories. Not so much that she had dementia, or that she had lost both of her legs to diabetes. I remember her smile, her laughter, and the faces we would make at each other. In the end, I was the parent and she was the child. But why not. She took care of me, and I was lucky enough to get to take care of her.

Dad passed eighteen years ago. Can this be? Can one actually live without one of their parents in their life for eighteen years? I wouldn’t be sure about this if I hadn’t already done so myself. But I can still hear my dad’s chuckle today, just as if we’d had a good laugh together this morning.

Iris’ mom and dad are no longer with us in the flesh either. In fact, we lost both of our moms and her dad all in the span of ten and a half months. 2001/2002 was a tough year. I think there’s something to be said about a couple only having a pair of parents. Seeing the four of them pass away was enough for me. Thank goodness for wonderful memories. Sadness passes away, along with memories of any rough spots, and we’re eventually left with just warmth and good memories in our hearts. That’s the way it goes. Hopefully, one day our children will feel the same way looking back on us. Warm feelings and happy memories.

So here’s to remembering all of our loved ones that have passed before us. May their memories always warm our hearts and bring smiles to our faces.

Posted in 2011 November | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

From Grumpy to Grateful

I turned the corner and pulled up to the front of our house. Right smack in the front  yard someone had taken the last sip of a Mountain Dew and flung the empty bottle onto our grass. “Why would someone do that?” I asked myself. We live in a neighborhood that dead-ends at the end of the road. More than likely the person that threw that bottle out the window was home by the time he or she got the window back up.

My first reaction was grumpiness. So I’m supposed to pick up other people’s trash just because they’re too inconsiderate and lazy to take it into the house and put it in their own garbage. Okay, well then that’s just what I have to do.

But wait a minute. This might not be such a bad event after all. We live in Oklahoma, a state that hasn’t caught up with modern trends as far as recycling goes. However, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, located here in Durant, Oklahoma has just started a major recycling program and announced that they’re “Going Green.” Not just are they going green, but they’re offering free recycling service to the entire community. They recycle plastics, (see where I’m going with this?,) batteries, used ink cartridges, cardboard, paper, magazines, aluminum cans, and metals. Everything except glass. All one has to do is separate the items, rinse them, and bring them in.

My wife is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The city of Pittsburgh has had a recycling operation going on there for a long time. The fact that Oklahoma for the most part does not have one has always bothered her. When she read that the Choctaw Nation was starting recycling, she was exuberant. We had been taking our aluminum cans to a local recycling place, but that’s all they took of what we had to recycle. Six months of saving cans would usually net us around $7.00. Obviously we weren’t doing it to get rich. So, what to do with these bottles…

As are all soda bottles, these are recyclable. We already have a collection box going in the garage for plastics. Not just any plastics, but an awful lot if them. We also pile up magazines, cardboard, and  bag up aluminum cans ($$$) and other metal cans to take in for recycling. Note: It’s important to check the type of plastic.

Here’s a list of the numbers you want to look for that are recyclable. This info was taken from a Wiki on the net. This information is easy to find, and may include more types of plastic for a recycling center in your area.

These are the types of plastics that the Choctaw Nation recycles. They include soft drink, water and salad dressing bottles; peanut butter and jam jars, hula hoops, five gallon buckets, milk, juice and water bottles; the occasional shampoo / toiletry bottle, reusable microwaveable ware; kitchenware; yogurt containers; margarine tubs; microwaveable disposable take-out containers; disposable cups; plates and more. Look all on the bottom of the plastic you are considering throwing out. If it has an arrow-in-motion around a number like this one on the Mountain Dew bottle, consider doing something nice for our environment and recycle it (if you can.)

We are collecting all of our recycleable plastics in a big box lined with a plastic bag out in the garage. We rinse out our plastics as soon as we have emptied them. In fact, we clean them faster than we clean our dishes! If they’re going to collect out in our garage for a while, we don’t want to be inviting hungry little critters.

Here’s our collection boxes lined up in the garage. Don’t worry about that big white critter, that’s just our kitty boy Riley who has to check out everything.

So, what started out as a grumpy moment this morning turned into a grateful moment. Not to say that we’re glad that someone tossed their garbage into our yard, but it could have been worse. Since recycling is new in our area, this Mountain Dew bottle probably never would have been recycled if it had been taken home. It would probably would have gone to a garbage dump to sit for half of eternity. Hopefully this lesson learned also provided you a few moments of entertainment.

My fortune cookie thought of the day…

Some situations in life that make us grumpy could lead to gratefulness if we examined them in a different perspective.

Posted in 2011 August | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Tornado Near Miss, 4-14-2011

Coming home from an AIHA (American Industrial Hygienist Association) conference in Oklahoma City on Saturday, we were just 15 minutes south of this tornado, as the crow flies. Believe me, the crows were flying awfully fast that day.

We were stuck on the Roosevelt bridge in a 15-person van, waiting for a cherry-picker vehicle to move. It had been repairing the bridge on which we were traveling that a semi had damaged.

We made it home fine, but the K-12 school in Tushka, OK that I had previously worked at as the Network Administrator’s Assistant was flattened. Sadly, 2 people died in that town as a result of the tornado. Nationwide the tornado went on to kill another 21 people in places as far away as Arkansas, Virginia and North Carolina. Here is a picture of the tornado.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Dinner at Home

This type of article always amazes me. (link at bottom) It always gives me a sense of nostalgia when I think about eating dinners at home with mom and dad. The statistics in articles like this don’t even phase me anymore. I know deep down that this stuff is true. When I was a kid we always ate dinner at home. Always. We would eat out once a week, Friday nights, as a family. Sometimes we’d go to a Chinese restaurant or a Spanish restaurant or an American Continental restaurant but the point is we would eat out once a week. When Iris came into my life everything took a turn for the better. I worked full time outside the house, and Iris made our house a home. Once again dinner consisted of homemade meals, practically every night. I’d come home from work and the smell of a home cooked meal would greet me at the door when I got home. Not that we didn’t still eat out, but it was more of an occassional thing, and was a bit more special. Now Iris is works outside the home, and I’m in college full time (again.) Dinner duty falls in my lap once again. (most of the time, except on weekends) According to Iris I do a pretty good job with dinner and packing leftovers for lunch, but in my opinion, I don’t do quite as good a job as Iris. However, now I can’t even imagine eating out only once a week. The biggest thing is convenience, somehow, and I don’t know how, it seems like we don’t have the time to cook and eat at home anymore. We always did before… what’s changed? Has our world really somehow become more fast paced?

I don’t even know why I’m posting this article, perhaps it just makes me think of the good times eating at home as a family when I was a little boy. If the article somehow encourages you to eat at home more and that your lives are somehow better for it, then “Yay”.

For those of you reading this that have small kids, (you know who you are,) I especially recommend giving it a shot. Not just to move to the better side of the statistics, but for the “sense of family” that comes from regular meals (at the table) together. But I warn you, it’s not easy to establish. In my previous marriage, I tried to establish this as a pattern starting with just one day a week. Wednesday was going to be “Spaghetti Day.” Hey, granted it’s not the healthiest meal, but everyone likes it and it’s easy to make. We couldn’t even get spaghetti Wednesdays rolling. So it’s not easy to establish, but the rewards are great.

Give it a read and let me know what you think: Dinner at Home

Posted in 2011 January | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Happy New Year, Pierogi Style!

A First Try with Pierogies.

We’ve eaten pierogies and enjoyed them, but never made them from scratch. That changed last night. After a mild meltdown over having the flour turn out a sticky mess instead of a nice ball of dough, we finally got started after Iris saved the day with more flour.

They turned out delicious.

Posted in 2011 January | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Food for Thought (for our seventies)

When do our self-inflicted eating restrictions end?


Cheese Pizza

I think there aught to be a declared age, starting with us boomers, let’s make it 70, that when we hit that age, we get to eat whatever we want. Milkshakes for breakfast, pizza every weekend (for those that love it as much as I do, and are 70 or older.) Real butter, more than they say we should have. How about a small lake of it in the middle of our mashed potatoes, made with cream, not skim milk. Going to a movie? Forget the “small” popcorn, no butter. Make it a bucket for every qualifier, and a regular Dr. Pepper to wash it down. None of that artificial stuff. (Don’t forget my discount.)

You’re up late watching a movie and you’d like to have some nice healthy grapes. No problem. Wait a minute… you’re diabetic and should limit yourself to six small grapes? No thanks, a bunch will be just fine.

I mean, really… what are we trying to do… extend our life to 92 instead of dieing at the wee early age of 87? I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do any drugs other than the ones my doctor tells me to take.

Give me a break. Just let me “live on the edge” in my seventies and (hopefully) eighties, have my cake (chocolate on chocolate please) and eat it too.

Anyone else feel the same way? Let’s hear it. Maybe we can start a movement.

Posted in 2010 November | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Today We Became First Time Grand-Parents

Anthony & Fiona gave us a baby girl grandbaby today at 11:11am. 7 pounds 12 ounces! 20-1/2 inches long. World… meet Keeley Ada Lowe Seels. 😀

Posted in 2010 August | 2 Comments

Food for Thought, If you can still make the time to think.

New York Times illustration

First read the New York Times book review of Nicholas Carr’s latest book, by Jonah Lehrer: The Shallows – What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain.

This was an interesting article. From the review: “Carr argues that we are sabotaging ourselves, trading away the seriousness of sustained attention for the frantic superficiality of the Internet.” This is the same interesting guy that in 1998 wrote the article “Is Google Making Us Stupid.” Trying to read that entire article personally reinforced a few of Carr’s points. The article is long, and it takes concentration to get through it. Do you have the patience to read every word of it? Nick Carr’s Blog, Rough Type, has lots of interesting thoughts from around the world on his studies. It’s hard to argue with what they say when you read them. The review presents many views. It’s not a two-sided argument, cut-and-dry. There’s gray between the black and white.

It’s interesting how we can see what he’s saying from both sides. On one hand, I know perfectly well what he means by skimming through articles looking for the worthwhile nuggets that I’m after, and on the other hand I can see how I don’t really want to concentrate on anything for any length of time, when it comes to genuine in-depth studying. Thankfully, doing physical things is not as affected by our quick-run-through habits we’re developing from reading on the net. I don’t have as much trouble sticking with washing the dishes as I do with concentrating on something I’m reading for a long time. How about you? My daughter-in-law Fiona can spend hours, days, weeks doing manual labor in her many gardens… planting, working the soil, weeding, etc. Can any of us still read, analyze and study for such sustained periods of time? I know that I have lost some of my ability to do this. Maybe it’s because I’ve recently joined the 50+ generation, or because I’m a net junkie, or a combination of the two.

Having just started back to school in a Master’s program, it will be interesting to try and compare my studying during my Bachelor’s degree years, “pre-net” (can you spell dinosaur?) and my 2010 study habits now that my mind has been wrapped in the web since its inception.

What’s your take on this one?

Posted in 2010 June | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Honor Where Honor Is Due: Our Military

I’ve never been in the military.

flag bar horizontal

However… I sometimes wonder what it’s like in other people’s life circumstances.

I also realize that I have no idea what it’s like to be truly hungry, or truly poor. I often stop and consider myself fortunate, having good health and a good life in a great country. How have we come to have it so good in such a beautiful land?

I can’t relate to war, never having been in one. However, through reading the biographies of soldiers that have died, I can catch a glimpse of their meaningful lives and how they strove to, and did make a difference in ours. An excellent site to examine the lives of those that have died to protect our freedom can be found at the Washington Post, which offers commentary, although way too brief, on each and every soldier that has given his or her life in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s updated for every soldier that is lost. A few of these brave soldiers had a fleeting mention on televised news, but more importantly they’ll always be remembered and honored by the ones they interacted with in their daily lives before going off to war. These weren’t just military personnel, they were everyday people like you and me. They had high hopes, dreams, and families, just like you and me. Take a moment to read about these individuals, it will help you have greater appreciation for the land in which we live, knowing that they knew perfectly well there was the chance that they would not return home alive.

To all Vets, of all wars… family, friends and strangers alike, we honor you, on this Memorial Weekend, and thank you for protecting our lifestyles and freedom we so cherish, not often enough remembering the sacrifices that were made and are still being made to protect us.

Thank you.

Posted in 2010 May | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments