Saturday, December 13, 2008

Time is a River

I read a book called 'Organizing From the Inside Out' and realized that while I have organized my space and my belongings fairly well, I have failed to organize my time, which leads to disorganization of the other areas.
I have have known for some time that I had a problem with my use of time. I set up schedules and create systems, but I blatantly disregard them. Time is wasted in stupid ways and I lose control of my life.
I am currently away from home for several weeks and this strikes me as an ideal time to analyze my various stewardships and create a means to manage then by wise use of time.
I have resisted is getting up at the same hour every day no matter what day of the week. Six AM works for me. At the other end of the day I need to go to bed at 10:30 and take a nap or two at regular times during the day to let my mind rest. I long ago learned that a nap, even when I don't sleep, can refresh me and help me get a fresh perspective on the tasks and challenges I face.
Time is fluid, but it cannot be saved or stored up. It can only be used or wasted.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Enthusiasm

It is so easy for me go get caught up in enthusiasm about various subjects. It is less easy to get enthusiastic about things that are actually virtuous, healthy or productive.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Footing It

It's been two weeks since I gave up my car. I haven't changed my eating habits, but I've lost three pounds. The weather has been a little chilly, but walking warms you up. I only had a bit of rain on Thursday night and it was quickly over.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

video

Uncle Sam

Sam got a job that will move him to Atlanta, Georgia in a month. Meanwhile, he's spending most of the month between in California training. Another job is in the offing that will probably take him to the D. C. area. I will miss his gentle presence, but I knew the time would come that he would leave again. The good thing is that he leaves under circumstances that mean he will always be welcome when he comes back. He will also be a lot nearer to his immediately older sister and her family than anyone else in our family. So our loss is their gain.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The End of the Caravan

The car I have been driving was forced on me but I have become somewhat dependent on it. Eight and a half years ago in May, 2000, I moved to Utah and gave my car to my son in Virginia. I knew I would not walk voluntarily and I knew I needed to walk for the sake of my health. I was moving to a home in a neighborhood where groceries, church, and transit were close enough that I really didn't need a car.
A year and a half passed and I was doing very well. I handled my various transportation needs by riding buses, although now and then I borrowed a car from a family member. In late summer of 2001 I began to care for my parents. My mother still drove, but she was having problems. My sisters decided that it would be better for me to have my parents car instead of taking a couple hours by bus and train to get to their home on Monday mornings after spending the weekend at my home. For their convenience, I agreed to accept the car.
Six years have passed and the car has cost me several thousand dollars in repair including a new transmission. In addition to insurance, registration, property tax, and fuel, I spend a lot more money because I could drive to stores and pick up random items without considering the task of carrying them uphill for a half a mile from the bus-stop.
I expanded my participation in activities including artist groups and I did a lot of home improvements that required a long back deck to carry plywood and other items. I had a hitch mount installed for several hundred dollars so that I could pull a trailer from Virginia.
An accident about 4 years ago did damage to the undercarriage, which quietly propagated as the years rolled by.
Yesterday I took the car into a dealership to have them fix the heater that they have charged me 700 dollars to fix, but never really solved the problem. I also asked them to inspect the car.
They got back to me and said it would require $4000 in repairs to pass safety inspection.
That is more than what the car is worth.
I took an alternative route and had another business inspect the car. There were problems that could be fixed with an expenditure nearer $400. Then this morning my son discovered a rear shock absorber tilted down in such a way that the car couldn't be driven. He said it was a sign.
I finally agreed. With the shock wired to the frame I can drive the car to the salvage yard.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Party with Friends

Last night I went to a party with a group of friends I met on the Internet. Most of us wore costumes. I have a draped black silk vest embroidered with gold thread and gold sequins in the pattern of butterfly wings. I made spiral designs on a pair of protective glasses and put curled antennas of thick black pipe cleaners over my ears and wore black pants and a black shirt. When I showed my son the outfit he said I looked like a super-villain. I thought I looked like an alien, so I called myself an alien super villain butterfly. Others at the party were dressed in costumes that involved various degrees of professionalism or ingenuity. I made a seven layer dip and provided Tostitos dip chips, someone made a big pot of very tasty chili. There was corn-bread, cakes, soda, ice cream, some kind of pie, Moonpies as a joke, and the company was witty and funny.
I think it was about the best non-family party I have attended in years.
I like family parties because my offspring are nice enough to be patient with each other and they are also witty and funny. My grandchildren are cute.
I don't like large parties with 'programs', unless the programs are well planned with talented participants. All too often 'ward' parties are dull and make me nervous.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Movies

I have a substantial collection of movies, which is good now that I have stopped watching broadcast TV. It is harder to watch a movie than watch TV because you must have some physical interface with the process instead of merely sitting in a chair armed with a remote. It is likely I'll even get a bit fitter since I will have to get up from my recliner more often. The potential for fitness has been reduced since yesterday because I upended my couch and found the remote for the DVD player. Now I can insert the DVD and I don't have to stand by the media center to hit the 'play' button again and again to get to the actual movie. One of my daughters is hoping that more movies for children will be made with the function of playing the movie without pressing buttons. Her little girl enjoys watching movies while riding in the car, but most of the movies she enjoys have to be cued up by hitting the play button at the right time. This is a chore, and sometimes a dangerous chore for the mom who is driving.
My movie collection displays a clear preference for Fantasy and Action movies. I don't have many musicals or romances. Comedy and Science Fiction are probably tied for the next most popular genre in my collection. Most of my favorite movies have liberal doses of comedy in them. I'm not fond of dramas with no light relief. In my experience, people going through difficulty are prone to make jokes to relieve the tension of fear or oppression. Just look at the bright, wide smiles of children in poverty unless an 'artful' photographer has managed to get them to glare and whine.
Today was Sunday and the family watched a Lucinda edited version of 'The Other Side of Heaven'. I like it when the Hancock family comes over and chooses a movie to play. I find that my favorite movies also have a strong moral content. While most of them are not what you would show to children as entertainment, the best are instructive and thoughtful.
I heard an interesting lecture by an author who talked about the use of time by the average person nowadays. They said that after work, most people spend a certain amount of time 'vegging out' in front of the TV. The remainder of their time is spent 'geeking out', or in other words pursuing some interest to the point of becoming a geek, which I think is a new word for 'amateur' or someone who really 'gets into' an area of interest without become a professional. The internet makes this much more likely since people can research and network with other on various topics without traveling around or spending a lot of money.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I took my cable box back to Comcast yesterday after I realized how little there was of value on TV that I can't get otherwise. For instance, Conference and other broadcasts are available on the internet and I have a very extensive movie collection on DVD.
This is quite a bit like going on a diet. I have been tempted at intervals all day to find the remote and browse what might be on TV. It is like when I stopped eating refined carbohydrates 8 years ago. For some time afterwards I was tempted to eat cookies or other goodies. Last year I decided to stop eating any meat unless it was strictly used for seasoning such as bacon crumbles on a tomato sandwich. It took a while for me to stop noticing the sale items in the butcher section.
Remembering those days I realize that it will be awhile before I stop craving the somewhat mindless, very lazy indulgence in TV. Playing a video or using the internet actually takes a lot more physical or mental effort than watching TV with a remote in hand. There are a few things I will miss. But overall I'm certain this is a choice that will have as much benefit for my mental health as my dietary choices have had on my physical health. It is also saving me about 600 dollars a year. ; )

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Starting Okishdu Again

Nearly a year ago I used the Nanowrimo program in November 2007 to write the final book in my Okishdu series, titled 'Reluctant Warrior'. I did so at the request of one of my daughters. Although I sent her a draft in electronic form, it still needed some work. In December of last year I worked on reviewing and rewriting my Okishdu books as I visited Florida, Virginia and Maryland. There was a hiatus of working on my writing for the next few months, but in May I attended a writing workshop which taught me a lot about the craft of writing books. Unfortunately for Okishdu, I couldn't persist with writing until I got the aforementioned wedding and family reunion accomplished. Following that I spent nearly a month tending three grandchildren which was good, but off track for my writing. After their parents retrieved them my next object was to create a major stained glass panel which had to be finished by early October. I have finished the panel and submitted it to the Church Museum of History and Art International Competition. Along the way I also revised my glass storage area in my studio which involved a fair amount of carpentry. Now at last I am open to return to writing and it is nearly time for Nanowrimo again..

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Family Harmony

It is a wonderful thing when a large family can congregate for nearly a week and no major conflicts occur. There were a few burrs, but nothing major. A family reunion had been planned to take place on 8-8-08, but there were conflicts for this date so we settled on 7-6-08 which can be written in the military fashion as 6-7-08.
Family members gathered from five different states, four on the east coast, and Utah, where more than half of the participants now live. We started our activities with a trip to Starvation Reservoir where we boated and camped overnight on the fourth of July. One of the families had a conflict with another family reunion and didn't join us until the sixth.
The family reunion was followed by a wedding of my oldest granddaughter in the Timpanogos Temple with a reception in my backyard afterward. Preparing for the reception took nearly two months since sod was required to repair a sadly depleted lawn. I bought sod, a chipper, a new chain saw, and my sons went to work to make the backyard nice. In the final weeks of preparation I repaired and painted a set of lawn furniture. A granddaughter helped me prime and paint.
The reception was nice. I made a four tiered wedding cake, prepared shrimp wontons, Swedish meatballs, chicken teriyaki, assorted open face sandwiches on specially baked formed bread, strawberries with chocolate dip and lemonade that cascaded from a fun plastic fountain that changed colors and made bubbles in the punch. Rented tables and chairs augmented the furniture I already had. Lace tablecloths, purchased more than twenty years ago and used in at least four weddings since, were overlayed on green cloth rounds I purchased new for this event.
Almost as soon as the reception ended the family began to disperse but I am left with three grandchildren to entertain and provide for in the next few weeks. So far we have dealt well together.