Monday, April 29, 2013

Kitty Yoga

This is Munchkin.  She and her littermates were born under our next door neighbor's porch, and we adopted her.  She was friendly to us from day one.  She has a playful, happy personality and loves to have her belly rubbed.  Yesterday I found out she likes to do yoga too.

I was doing yoga and Munchkin decided to join me.  When I do a bridge pose or a downward dog pose, she walks back and forth under the arch I make, meowing the whole time.  Then she joins me during the stretching part. These are the photos I took while she was stretching:


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Clever Cat Behavior

I witnessed an amusing interaction between two of my cats this morning. 

This is Munchkin:

This is Tiger:

Every time I get a bowl of cereal and pour milk on it, they both show up to hover around me, waiting to claim some milk from the bottom of the bowl.  This morning, as usual, they both had their eyes on the milk.  To prevent a fight, I got two small bowls, divided the milk, and set one in front of each of them.  

Tiger tasted his milk and Munchkin tasted her milk.  Then Munchkin walked over to Tiger's bowl and took a taste of his milk.  Then she walked back to her bowl and finished her milk.  It seemed obvious to me that she wanted to make sure his wasn't better than hers before she went back and finished her own. 

Does anyone else think Munchkin was exhibiting extremely clever cat behavior?  

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Springtime Walk

In our neighborhood, we have to walk about a block to get our mail.  Yesterday, in the early evening, my husband and I walked there.  I've been noticing how nice everything looks now that spring has arrived.  So, I took some photos along the way.  

There is our house, the little red brick one with the white doors.  It looks like it's settled in among trees; I like that.  I would never want to live in a house without trees nearby.  

These are some back yards across the street.  The trees are showing their new leaves.  I love this first touch of spring.  It's not too hot yet and everything is bursting with life.  

A tree in a yard on the corner, in bloom.  This happens only once a year... in the spring!

More trees in bloom,  up by the mailboxes.  Everything is dressed up for the season.  

The sun was getting lower and lower in the sky.  When we got back home, I took a photo of the door, just because it looked pretty in the light.  I was in a good mood; it must have been an "up" day. 

I like the way the sun makes shadows on the walls, too.

So, that was my walk to get the mail.  It was a pleasant part of an ordinary day. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Up Days and Down Days

I have up days and down days.  On up days I wake up feeling energetic and ready to take on the world. I feel motivated and decisive.  I can tackle the most daunting task.  I with every day could be like this.

On down days I feel like my brain is fuzzy and I have a lead weight pulling me down.  I can't decide what to do.  I don't feel like I can accomplish anything, and nothing seems worth doing anyway.

Fortunately, there are more up days than down days, but I wish I could eliminate the down days all together.

On up days I feel like this:

On down days, more like this:

Can anyone relate to this?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Must Watch For My Generation

Tonight on PBS, Frontline is presenting a show called "The Retirement Gamble".  I will be watching for sure.  It's a scary time to be contemplating retirement.  It is estimated that a couple retiring today will need about $250,000 alone for medical costs in the next 20 years.  Congress is threatening Social Security and Medicare.  Many people don't know where to turn to ensure their future when the income stops coming in.  For years, they told us to invest in stocks; then came the collapse and many thought sticking their savings in the mattress was a better idea.  Now that the stock market has recovered, there are articles in which "experts" are saying it's surely headed for another collapse.

Many people approaching retirement age are confused and worried.  I guess that's why this program is being presented now.  I will be watching.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Please Watch. It's Fun! Count the Stars Who Show Up!

Dancing lawyers...  

A Right Gone Too Far?

I guess you could call me a "news junkie".  Every day I read the New York Times.  I always listen to NPR when I'm in my car.  I pay attention to television news, for what it's worth.  I have come to the conclusion that American voters are having their power taken away by professional lobbyists.  Powerful lobbies spend millions to influence the way our lawmakers work.  Supposedly, those in Congress represent us, their consituents.  But when was the last time you were able to walk into your representative's or Senator's office and tell him how you feel about something?  Well, there are highly paid lobbyists who do it every day.

I recently asked what gave lobbies the right to operate the way they do?  It comes from the Constitution, which gives us the right to "petition" our government.  I believe lobbies have gone from "petitioning" the government to "buying" the government.  Can't limits be set on the amount of money lobbies can spend to influence our government?

I found this image on a site called "Emergent Culture".  I think represents the current situation well.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jewish Wisdom

When I lived in Philadelphia I studied with a rabbi.  I remember him telling a story (was it from the Talmud?  I'm not sure; it sounds like it was).  Anyway, there were two rabbis arguing (they do that a lot).  One said he thought it would have been better if God had not created man.  The other said he thought it was good that God created man. They left it up to us to decide.

I told the rabbi I tended to agree with the first rabbi, that it would have been better if God had not created man.  I had seen so many bad things happen.  I guess you could say I was doubting my faith in humankind.  I had decided I liked animals better than people.

The rabbi spoke to me about man and his place in this world.  (When I say "man" I mean men and women.)  We discussed the nature of evil in the world, and why bad things happen to good people.  We talked about stories of heroes who come to the rescue of others, and about men and women who have done worthy things.  I finally agreed with him that there are more good people than bad people in the world.  Every time I see something like what happened in Boston yesterday, I remind myself of that conversation.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Is There A Man Cave In Your House?

This is my husband in his "man cave".  I can't remember when I first heard that term.  Now it seems every man wants one.  My husband's is in the basement, which we had finished after we moved to this house.  

Every man cave must have a flat-screen television, the bigger the better.  See the globe in the foreground?  That's my globe of the moon.  I've had it for years; it shows where the moon landing landed, as well as other landmarks on the moon.  

Today, he's watching the Masters Tournament.  When he isn't in his man cave, you can often find him playing golf.  See the little electric stove in the corner?  That helps warm up the basement in the winter. 

Of course, there is room for some of my things in the man cave, too.  Those are my bird cages on the table by the window.  

Bookshelves with my books and some dolls.  

My beloved "mushroom lamp" from the 1960s and a Hawaiian quilt I bought on Maui.  

I can put in whatever I want; quilts, globes, birdhouses, lamps, books, art.  He doesn't care, as long as he has a comfy place to sit and a big T.V.  He can watch golf, football, basketball, hockey... whatever he wants, and I can watch HGTV and the Food Network upstairs.  Sometimes I join him to watch something we both like, like "Justified" or "Homeland".  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ah, Spring!

I love the color of the leaves when they first begin to emerge... that pale, fresh green. 

And then things begin to blossom:

Spring is just too short.  It's a beautiful, fleeting time of the year.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Far Away Things

We hear about things that are happening far away, but we don't usually understand them very well.  We are fairly isolated and insulated here in the United States.  We go about our daily lives.  Much of what we hear about wars in other places stays at the back of our minds.  There are reporters who go to these places and often risk their lives in doing so.  One that I admire for this is Richard Engel of NBC News. This isn't about him, though.

Yesterday I came across a video online that held me captive and made me think.  It was done by a British filmmaker named Olly Lambert.  It is called "Syria Behind the Lines, The Bombing of Al-Bara".  It has been aired on the PBS program "Frontline".  You can find it at PBS's website or Frontline's website.  The internet address I had was very long:

It was sad watching what these people are going through, almost hard to imagine.  It isn't graphic or violent, though.  As the filmmaker said, it seemed surreal.  I don't think I am being political.  It's just about one human being to another.

I remember being in Israel back in the 90s.  We went to the Golan Heights, where we could look down and see Syria.  Maybe this affects me more, having seen the place and knowing that it's real.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Apple Odyssey

I made another trek up to the Towne Center today, to visit the Apple store.  They put me at a "group training" table.  It was more like "group therapy".  The group consisted of four people all over the age of 50, all in a state of frustration.  We had a very young, very kind, very patient trainer named John.  (That's the actual photo I took there; see, now I can use my photos again!)

The Apple guy I visited last Thursday was very tech savvy but had no people skills at all.  I don't think he was able to come down to my level.  John, on the other hand, had the patience of a saint.  He went around the table, helping us one at a time, answering all of our beginner-type questions.  He even helped me set the date on my camera.

So, I came home happy and confident this time.  I have conquered... until the next update comes along.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bad Apple!

Right now I am so angry at Apple I could spit!  I have to make another 45-minute drive to the Apple store tomorrow.  The problem is I can't use any of my photos.  I can't put them on this blog, I can't email them.  I can see them, but I can't do anything with them.

It used to be so simple.  Then they went and changed everything.  I guess they have these young, hot-shot programmers who get paid to sit around all day and think of "new and improved" versions of everything.

I hope I can find someone there who can solve this.  Their equipment and their services are not cheap.  I had to pay $99 for a year's worth of being able to make appointments at the store.  If I call for phone service, it costs $50 per call.

It takes a lot to make me angry.  But I'm just about there.  I am feeling used and abused at this point.  I will report back later tomorrow.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

I'm Going Back!

Well, now I've got a different problem with my MacBook.  Yesterday they showed me how to find my photos in the iPhoto library.  However, today when I clicked on iPhoto I got a blank screen instead of photos.  On the otherwise blank screen, I saw this message:

"This photo library needs to be upgraded to work with this version of iPhoto."

Unbelievable!  I was desperate so I clicked on the "upgrade" button.  It did its thing, and I was once again able to view my photos.

HOWEVER, when I tried to attach a photo to an email, it would not allow me to attach the photo.  I couldn't make the photos appear from which to choose.  THEN I tried to post a photo here on my blog. It wouldn't allow me to do that either.  What am I going to do if I can no longer post my photos here?  That is unacceptable!

So, Monday I am going BACK up to the Apple store to find out what is happening and how to fix it.  I have experienced a high degree of frustration with this today.  I have to try to put it into perspective.  I am going out and get some fresh air and get my mind off of this.

***Update:  I've been reading Apple Community discussions online and apparently the problems with   iPhoto are widespread.  One person said Apple has been working on a fix for three months now.  Is this the future of Apple now that Steve Jobs is gone?


I made the 45-minute pilgrimage to the Apple Store yesterday.  I had an hour long training session with a very patient young man.  He explained how to use the newest iPhoto program that had been driving me crazy.  It turns out the photos appear in stacks that you organize by events.  Now I have to go back and do that.  Also, the dates of the photos were all out of order, because I had never set the correct date on my digital camera.  Now I have to figure out how to do that.

He proceeded to show me what the Launch Pad is for, then helped me download Google Earth.  I learned the importance of backing everything up and how to do it.

Then we switched from my laptop over to my iPhone.  Unfortunately, he told me I can't get my old maps back, the maps I was used to.  It's gone for good; on the trash heap of obsolete technology.  The new map function has a voice that gives you directions.  It startled me the first time it spoke up.  I told him it irritates me; as I explained to him, I don't like inanimate objects speaking to me.  He implied I would have to get used to it as it's the wave of the future.

Every time I visit the Apple Store, I feel old.  There are always crowds of young people there trying out the newest things.  Most of the employees are busy helping older people like me learn how to use their things that are already outdated.  I wish I could learn the programs and they would stay the same, but now I know that's not going to happen.  Oh, and he explained the difference between updates and upgrades.  Updates are free but upgrades are not.  I found out my laptop is running on "Lion" and should be running on "Mountain Lion".  But before I update, I need to get a hard drive and back everything up.

The Apple Store is in one of those upscale Towne Centers, where there are also many tempting stores and a big food court.  I rewarded myself with an oatmeal raisin cookie, then went to Dillard's and bought a new blouse.  (Don't tell my husband.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Generally, I really like my iPhone.  I just don't like the way Apple keeps changing things.  They call them "upgrades" but they are usually a pain.  The guys at the Apple store kept telling me, every time I visit, to upgrade it but I have resisted.

A few weeks ago one of my apps stopped working, so I thought I would give in and try the upgrade.  Now I have yucky, awful maps!  When we were in Florida, I used the old map system to negotiate all over the place, on roads that were unfamiliar with us.  I loved that old map program:

Now I have a new map program that I can't comprehend:

I don't think there is any way to go back to my old maps.  Ugh!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Is This The Future of Customer Service?

You know when you call a customer service number and get a recording?  Nine times out of ten, you do.  Also, nine times out of ten, I believe, the caller would prefer to speak to a real person.  There have been a number of "tricks" suggested to get yourself directed to a human being.

This morning I came across a new strategy on the other end of the line.  I had to make a call about  my credit card bill.  Of course, I was connected to a recording.  I responded to the usual initial questions to identify myself and my account.  Then I was informed that I had two choices:  1) I could proceed with the automated system; or 2) I could be connected to a real person... for a fee of $35.00.

Wow!  Is this the future of customer service?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Opening Day

Opening Day in Cincinnati is like a national holiday.  There is the parade and all the accompanying hoopla.  Many have been calling for the day being declared an official holiday so everyone can take the day off.  

P.S.  Rats!  They lost.