Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Circle and the Line

I remember I must have been five or six years old when I was struck by an insight regarding my father's work versus my mother's work.

Namely, my mother (who was a housewife) did the same tasks over and over again, like going round and round in a circle. While my father, who often spent a good part of his day working at his desk in our house, did various tasks and then moved on to the next tasks, like someone walking forward step by step in a line. I remember thinking to myself that by and large women did circle-work and men did line-work.

Of course I was just a kid. I had little idea of men who did circle-work on a factory production line, or women who did line-work in jobs outside the home. Hey, this would've been the early 1960s! And I was young, and my knowledge of the wider world was very, very limited. Nonetheless I think I stumbled into a real insight for a kid of five or six.

I grew up and found my way into a job which is largely line-work. Though it has taken me into my fifties to grow into a deeper appreciation of all the little bits of circle-work which make up so much of my daily routine.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care

On health care I'd have to say I'm more or less on the same wavelength as Rod Dreher:
I don't have a strong opinion about the health care debate, which has now been resolved in the Democrats' favor. Sorry. I think we have a lousy system now, but I have serious doubts about this reform, especially coming as the government plunges headlong into insolvency.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bowling Again

Oh boy. Somehow I got roped into going bowling again this weekend. Don't know quite how that happened.

Though I must admit, I'm improving. Or at least, not quite so dismal as I was last weekend. I seem to be getting the knack of sending the ball down the lane without it careening off into the gutter. Actually hitting pins. Only one strike, and a couple of spares. But that's way better than I was doing last time.

I've still got a long way to go to get back to where I was with bowling, oh, say 30 years ago. But I'm heartened to see that reimprovement is not beyond all possibility.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Last weekend I went bowling with some folks. Don't know quite how I got roped into it. Haven't been bowling in years, and it showed. Oh, it showed.

There was a time when I was much younger when I was... well, I was never a good bowler, but at one time I was, shall we say, acceptably mediocre. I usually gave signs of having some idea what I was up to, I bowled 120-something on average, on a good day I might break 150.

But that was 30 years ago. Now it's all fled away. This weekend I couldn't keep the ball out of the gutter to save my life. Oh, I still displayed something of the stance and release of one who once knew how to bowl, step, step, step, arm back, swing forward, send her rolling. But results were uniformly dismal, with the ball curling strongly toward the left, and often into the gutter, no matter how I tried to adjust, compensate, or despair.

Bowling and me. Once upon a time...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Seasick Laptops

No sooner had we gotten through with my grandma's funeral than I had to take off the next morning to attend a job related conference I registered for some time back. Oh, what a waste of a conference! At least I got to catch up on my sleep in my hotel room.

I noticed at the conference a number of people who had their laptops with them, many of them Macs. To take notes at the conference, to check their email, whatever. And what floored me was the precarious way these people would set their laptop on their lap. Precarious. I mean, as they typed on the keyboard, the laptop would be wiggling and wobbling and tipping and jiggling and all but flipping back and forth, every which way. It made me almost seasick to look at it.

It also made me wonder, weren't they at all nervous about read/write heads caroming off the surface of their hard drive as their laptop wildly wobbled and jiggled and flip-flopped this way and that? Or am I technologically out of date? I have an upper end laptop myself -- no, not a Mac, and I didn't bring it along with me to the conference -- and I habitually set it on my lap so that it is steady, stable, immobile as I type. Out of fear of what G forces might do to a spinning hard drive in motion, I won't even lift that laptop off my lap and set it somewhere without suspending it first.

And in all the years I've owned various laptops, I've never had any hard drive problems, never had a hard drive fail on me, never had any ominous read/write errors. I wonder if the owners of these wiggling flopping gyrating seasick laptops can say the same.

My Grandmother's Bottle Opener

Got through the funeral okay. Graveside service at the cemetery was harder. Spent some time with my parents and my brother. And got to see several cousins I haven't seen in several years.

And. At one point there we were sorting through things in my grandma's apartment. You know, who gets what, what gets tossed. A lot of this had been decided in advance, long ago. I loaded one fairly sizeable piece of furniture into the back of my Jeep, turned down several other pieces of furniture for which I have no use, but which somehow had been assigned to me "in family" at a place and time I cannot remember and where I was probably not even present.

But. I did lay claim to one item that to me is worth more than its weight in gold. Out of a kitchen drawer, I claimed the old bottle opener. The old bottle opener that used to sit in a kitchen drawer out at the farmhouse back when I was a kid. You know, bottle opener, probably about 1960 vintage, with local gas station logo on the handle, and on the end of the handle a transparent red plastic bullet-shaped tip.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


The phone call came late yesterday afternoon. My grandmother had just died.

I knew it was coming, though I didn't expect it quite this soon. A few weeks ago she fell out of bed and hit her head. Was in the hospital, they were worried about a head injury. Then she seemed to be making a recovery. Until just these past few days, when she went into a decline, seemed confused, stopped eating.

My grandma lived a long and good life. She passed the century mark several years ago. Until within this past week, she was always perfectly clear in the head, always in full possession of her faculties. Amazing for someone who was well past 100.

Am up early this morning, have to pack, will be on the road for the long drive to my folks' place in the city. I'm taking a few days off from work. The funeral will be Saturday.

Requiescat in pace.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shopping Trip... Not!

I've been planning a shopping trip to the city for quite a while now. Most of the winter, in fact. But somehow it never comes off. Day after day, week after week goes by, and I never get around to going.

Some clothing, some tools, and miscellaneous other supplies. Items I can't count on finding in town.

Granted, distances as they are out here, an expedition to the city and back would consume most of a day. These are the wide open spaces. Heck, even a drive in to town is more than half an hour.

At first I was kept from it by the winter weather conspiring against me, always a snowstorm any time I could free up a day in my schedule. Or my schedule itself would gang up on me. At the moment there's no snow in the forecast, and it's becoming clearer and clearer that winter has only a limited run left: highs edging above freezing, snow cover gradually shrinking. But still a shopping expedition first planned back before Christmas has yet to materialize.

Wanted to get, among many other things, some long underwear. Well, by the time I finally get around to going, I guess that's one item I won't need any longer.