Friday, March 26, 2010

Audio Books, The New Books on Tape Craze

Are you caught up in the audio book craze? I am not there yet. I like to read but I am still in love with holding the paper and turning the pages etc. I had gotten away from frequent library use as the kids got older so B&N and Amazon got a lot of biz from us. I remember when I used to buy the nursery rhyme books on tape for the kids. It was very cool but they fell off the popular list as the kids aged. Now I have no space to store books so I borrow from the public library. It feels like a lost when I return the book especially if I really liked it. I also miss having a functional library in my home. Books-on-tape have grown up and is cornerning the market and our way of life as Audio Books.
The Audio book business is on the increase.  It is not just for the kids anymore. I remember a selling point for audio books was the ability of busy folks to keep up with their reading. I think many of the titles or the popular push was with meditation and inspirational materials. Today, various readers have recorded lots of books and materials for the general population. Life got busy for many people and audio books gives us the better of two worlds - listen while you work, while you drive, while you relax, while watching TV, while you jog, taking a shower, you name it.

Remember the old days when folks gathered around the radio for story time. It was the high point of the day. Bringing the stories to life on the radio was state of the art entertainment. Today we have so many options for entertainment and acquiring knowledge and having fun, why not more audio book titles, topics and genre. The proliferation of personal electronic devices certainly gives it boost. These gadgets target the young and the young at heart. Look at all of the gadgets; ipods, MP3, Iphone and all of the other phones types, and readers like Kindle on the market. As expensive as some of these gadgets are they ought to be able to read to you.

Virtual libraries are very attractive especially in the city where living spaces have reduced by 2/3 of what they used to be and with the prices more than twice quadrupled over the years. We do not have the space for storage or libraries anymore. Remember those volumes of encyclopedias? Wow, another market and earning steam went the way of the dinosaurs. Grab a CD or better yet get it on-line. I still cannot get into having the bud in my ear with the noise - music or reading for personal listening. The hands free phones or blue tooth devices are not popular with me.
Audio books provide access to all types of books and materials. From Mark Twain to I am Legend you name it you could find it. Moreover, from the reviews, audio books are very good quality recordings and productions. I will be selecting an audio book this weekend. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Repairs by Remote Control

The other day I called for some tech help at work because I could not log in to the network. I made the request for help and got a ticket - a response to expect the service. I was told that the Tech person would get to me soon. He came by and looked at the system, gave me so tech-eze about the problem and assured me that he could fix it. I was on to some other tasks while he worked at my station.. When I got back to my desk, I had a new operating system, a cleaner desk top and good function. I even got a new keyboard because the one I had would cut off whenever it chose even in the middle of typing. I was happy.

Today I called for help from the tekkie because I had a printing problem. I got the usual response. I waited for him for a while but he did not come. I went to lunch. As I returned to my desk and got on my computer, the screens began to change without my doing. I sat back and watched the screens I had open closed. A dialog box popped up, and letters started appearing and formed words. It said; "hi, let me know when you are back from lunch so that I can assist you with resolving the printing problem."

Huh, I thought. Oh, the brave new world! Or the anti social mechanical world of technology that diminish our human interactions. I typed back, "I am here." He explained that he would work on the problem from wherever he was. I said OK, not that he asked my permission. I sat back and watched as he worked on my system. Screens opened and closed in flashes and voila! the problem was fixed.

I was expecting to see my friendly tekkie work on my system at my station; instead, I got a remote service call. Wow! Is this technology replacing humans or perhaps eliminating the personal touch? What does this really represent in the world or humanity?

What does it represent in terms of privacy and the big brother effect or syndrome?

Is your monitor being monitored in secret while you work?

Food for thought or issues for concern and action? Is there action to be taken and by whom?

What do you say?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grace in Small Things - Day 156 Farewell Dear Friend

This was another warm beautiful sunny day today. A day of goodbyes, so long and a day to remember. A day to be thankful for friends, family, and grace. Grace to experience another day of living and to embrace others.

Meeting my daughter for the trip to send off my friend. It was quite comforting to have her with me.

The outpouring of love and sadness for what we will miss and what we have lost. The chapel overflowed with people, tears, laughter and thankfulness.

Gathering of friends and acknowledgement of magnanimous heart.

Refocus, regroup, reflection, stillness.

I thank you my Gist community for your prayers and your love. You have given me strength. Your friendship means so much.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stolen Friendship, A Life Taken Away

Yesterday I wrote in response to the change in the weather, what a difference a day makes. We moved from gloom, rain and cold to a sunny, warm beautiful day. Today, this day, there is a marked difference in my life in the number of people I know, loved and now lost.

Today I lost a very dear friend, supporter, confidant of sorts, a colleague, a visionary, a committed, caring, loving human being. I saw her yesterday. She gave a rousing presentation calling us to action. She was energetic, full of life, zest, passion for doing what is good, what is right and what is just for the community. Equity, fairness and good quality of life for the families of her beloved community was her life’s work. She took that cause on personally, whole hearted and vociferously with her soft melodic voice, patience and quiet determination.

This morning on her way to work, traveling the way she loved and fought for others to be able to do and have the access to do so. This morning she was killed by a bus while riding her bike to work.

Last night we made plans to meet up for lunch one day next week after meetings we would attend in different places in the city but close to each other. Now with this day’s dawning, that will never happen. What a difference a day makes. This day has created a void, a loss, devastation and a change that will forever affect us all. The pain is intense and unforgiving.

I really don’t know what to say, what to think, how to feel or how to accept this. The tears haven’t made it clearer or better or help me to understand. I do know that the pain and grief of this loss will ever leave me or lessen but I pray for her peace and eternal rest. I am so lucky to have known her, worked with her, and loved her. My life has been blessed and enriched by her involvement and presence. I thank you.

I don’t know how to say goodbye but we will come together with family and friends to say farewell on Friday morning. Thank you for your love, your sincerity and your greatness. The world is truly smaller now that you are gone but you will never be forgotten. You have touched generations and you have given us your all. I love you.

Rest in Peace my friend, Rest in Perfect Peace.

Today, I am grateful for friendship, for love and caring and for the blessing of knowing a humanitarian and a beautiful woman.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Grace in Small Things - Day 149 Fading Away Friday

The wonderful bright, warm spring weather that we've been enjoying seems to have vanished and we are back to the rain and sleet and gloom of winter all day. This dreary day certainly put a damper on the spirits and energy today. But we are blessed with the goodness that feeds us and the environment.

Thank God, it’s Friday. I am happy to be home now warm and dry. Woohooo tomorrow is leisure day, no matter what the weather.

My other girl went away but for the weekend today. I am happy that she arrived safely and happy to be with her friends.

Wrapped up a project on a high note - very pleased to have reached a target.

A most delicious slice of pizza for lunch. Thin crispy crust... hmmm, hmmm good.

I was able to end the week as I started it on the way home, despite the bad weather. I walked home again. It was hard but I had to do it.

Thankful for the strength, the resolve and for the motivation to walk this week.

Thankful for Elaine on GiST who inspired me.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." ... Ephesians 3:20

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Grace in Small Things - Day 148 - Thoughtful on Thursday

***Safe arrival and the phone call to confirm bring relief and joy - Rejoice and be glad in His goodness and mercy.

***Good news from school for Lord Mutton at the parents meeting.

***Thoughts, desires - action brings hope.

***Introspective and resolve.

***A gracious day 4 of the walk home. Thankful for health and strength.

Fun Weekend Getaway

We had a chance to get out of town for the weekend this past weekend and man, did I enjoy myself. It was a long time coming, as we have not had a chance to get away just for fun. We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel. We took a walk around the area to see what was there. One thing stood out was the number of churches in the area. I remarked to LM that the area should be called Church Row. There must have been eight churches along the way, about 6 blocks– big and small doors or signs/buildings and steeples just doors apart from each other.

The food at the Sheraton was very good. I enjoyed every bit. I loved the layout and the decorations and the place. Each table in the lounge had a beautiful floral arrangement with three designs. Our luncheon table had a round arrangement very spring like with yellow roses, and the dinner table had the arrangement above with tall flowers above the bowl.

Look at the chandeliers. Gorgeous, isn’t it. As we looked around the room, LM pointed out the statue atop a wall of a man on a horse. Hey, let’s get a picture of him, he said. We went up the steps to get in position to get the picture and saw that it was George Washington. A nice touch!

Oh, let me give you a glimpse of the room. It had a King sized bed. Take a look. The bed was huge; a four-poster. The room was nicely done. It had the latest equipment and a good view as well. I liked the window shades, which were surprisingly easy to operate. The rest room was also very spacious. It was a double room; the outer room is a dressing area with the facilities in the inner space so there's privacy if you have company.

Other than the window shades, the one other thing I wanted to take home was the mirror. Wow, look at this. Outstanding! I will be looking for something like this for my room, maybe in my dreams. This was a cozy spacious room for a nice weekend get away. I would have loved a swimming pool on site, but there is a nice bar and restaurant for a nightcap of sorts and good company.

It was a good get away for me and an opportunity to think, to see, to be other than stressed and worried about the inevitable and the usual oh hum drum stuff. LM had a great birthday weekend; he will celebrate with his friends next weekend – his time his way.
Hmm, Sheraton, after all these years you are still doing it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grace in Small Things - Day 147 Workable Wednesday!

So I find myself in an open, flexible and uncomplicated frame of mind. There are lots of challenges and demands but I am staying resolute to be about the business at hand. You Gisters have given me strength.

Sense of purpose and accomplishment plugging away at the daily tasks - getting things done - more so than over the last 3 weeks.

Bittersweet goodbye as my daughter left for spring vacation in Europe - prayers for traveling mercies, safety, and peace.

My younger daughter called to check on us to offer comfort -such sweetness and grace. Thankful for another beautiful spring like day - the impetus for the long walk 3!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Grace in Small Things - Day 146 Burgeoning Awakening!

With spring in my step, sunshine and warmth in the air I walked to the train in quick steps. I am turning the page.

Busy day of work... all about the work- and peace in my soul about staying above the fray.

Getting Euros for my daughter for her spring break vacation----bitter sweet experience.

Sobering and cleansing conversation with colleague about decision and finding peace.

Day two of the walk home. I willingly walked home again and enjoyed the trip. I am getting my mind open to a fitness routine - nutrition and fitness plan.....on the horizon?

Grace in Small things Day - 145

Oh what a beautiful, morning, oh what a beautiful day..... this puts me in mind of that soothing song even though I didn't think that everything is going my way. It was a beautiful sunny Monday morning.

***Getting up and out of the house fresh, energized and early for a morning meeting. Still psyched from the weekend events.

***Mom had a good report from her check up today. She is holding her own - Blessings.

***Despite the negative energies and uncertainties around the office I am holding firm in staying absent in the presence of the mess.

***Well, I managed to hold on to the thought and belief that I need to start the shedding of years of adding to my frame. Yesterday Elaine commented about this and I concurred. One simple thing I know I can do is to walk more. I can actually walk part of the way home for one thing -about 10 blocks across a bridge with a very nice view. That has always been a fleeting thought and a nice feeling to think about making that move but it's been stuck in thought.

Although I didn't plan for it, I walked home from work tonight. Glory be I still feel energized at bed time. The goodness of doing the right thing for self.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Grace in Small Things - Day 144 - Sunday Sunshine

Another bright warm pre-spring Sunday morning. Waking up another morning in that big, beautiful, comfy bed.

Grateful for traveling mercies - Safe trip out and back home.

Seeing a daughter and her work first hand - the marvels of God's hands and his blessings.

Meeting new people on a professional level.

Brunch at the commons with the kids - It's Lord Mutton's birthday. Thank God for blessing him with another year and for blessing us with him. I am thankful for His mercies and graces. This is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoiced and was glad in it!

Grace in Small Things - Day 141 Thankful Thursday

Finally made it to the foot doctor –what a relief. I couldn't go another day or hour - Thank goodness!

Lots of running around today to tie up loose ends - but got it all done.

Made some progress with work with the help of others – other voices got the mountain to move. Grateful for helping hands.

Curried shrimps with rice and broccoli – special request – very, very good.

A little R&R with old comedy sitcoms - The Golden Girls.

Grace in Small Things - Day 142 - Fun Friday

Wooohoooo it's Friday again and I've got a fun trip planned for the weekend -fun for a change!

Completed my presentation and ready to go - All of the ducks lined up – Grateful for his mercies.

LM will accompany me on the trip – yay a side kick!

Reflection and exploration.

The wonders and grace of being able to be in another State - 4+ hour road trip - in an hour by air! Such fun and laughter going through the airport. We felt so alive and lissom to be away from home.

Grace in Small Things - Day 143 Super Saturday

Waking up in a king sized super comfy bed at Sheraton hotel. Beautiful bright sun shine and warmth. - 40 degrees, Wowza!

LM helping me to decide on an outfit for the day – professional but springy and comfortable.

Breakfast with LM admiring the place and the foods and the weather and the flowers - oh for the glory of God.

Walking to the square for the morning session of the conference -energized being on the campus.

Seeing my daughter – all grown up, dressed up and in the thick of things - Goodness and mercy. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians.... Every time I think of her (them) I thank my God. I thank him for his blessings and mercies.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grace in Small Things - Day 140

1. Made it to work on time despite the morning rain and slippery roadways. I stayed even -unflustered- today; not caught up in the craziness that's going on there.

2. Got all of my weekend plans finalized - and it's only Wednesday. Thankful for the goodness of grace.

3. Many conversations with a daughter today - about much of nothing- just passing time. Such fun and joy!

4. Met lord mutton at the store for school clothes - he wanted me to join him - not because I had to pay but to see his choices.

5. Chicken curry and rice for dinner....hmm...hmm...good!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Grace in Small Things - Day 138 Monday Magic!

I made it to work today even though I didn't think I would - after the truck load of weekend work.

Thoughts and expressions of life and living.

Buffalo wings and garden salad for lunch. A nice picker upper from the pepper sauce.

Scheduling a weekend trip - this time for work work- got the flight time I wanted.

Light hearted conversation about Mom with my brother. Laughter and joy!