Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An observation regarding computers

I have two email accounts: one for Charter and one at GMail. 

My Charter email is for mostly for personal or business purposes.  The GMail one is for internet subscriptions to various electronic publications and some internet purchases.

Between the two I get somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 70 messages a day.  The majority are in the form of spam on gmail which automatically goes into a spam folder.

So here's the observation:  more and more of my personal emails from friends and such are labeled sent from an iPhone or iPad. 

I heard some technogeek a little while ago predict that the age of the desktop or even laptop computer is drawing to a close because so many people use their smart phones or tablet computers.  Maybe he's right.  I find I myself even reply to a lot of emails with my iPad.  Yet I also use my desktop computer for just about everything else.  The keyboard is easier to use and the screen is easier to read plus I have more productivity applications on it.

It will be interesting to watch the trend develop.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

On turning 70

Yesterday, February 23rd, I turned 70.  What have I learned in 70 years? The major theme running through my life and that of others who I talk to who are about the same age or older is that fewer and fewer things are really important.  If a person can say he/she has good health, a warm, loving family and peace of mind then you're way ahead of the game.

Of course there was a time when we were all much younger when things like being accepted, having fashionable clothes (not ever one of my concerns), a nice car, house, etc was important.  To some extent they are still important but they're definitely expendable.

What's important now is that I feel good and life is generally good.  So onto another year. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

RIP, Chubby

Today is a sad day in the Sullivan/Stockwell family.  Six-year-old Courtney's pet gerbil passed on to its larger died. 

This marks the first time that I know of that one of our grand children has had to deal with the loss of a pet.  Cole & Nicholas had a fish die a short time ago but they didn't even notice it.

My sister and I have a lot of experience dealing with the loss of pets.  First, we had a lot of them and second, my father didn't believe in vaccinations or pretty much any other kind of medical care for an animal (in fact I guess we were pretty lucky that WE got to a doctor from time to time).  The logical consequence of this was that we frequently arrived home from school only to be greeted with the news that our pet _____ had to "be put to sleep."

Like every other family,  when Peter and Becky were little, they too had to deal with the loss of a pet.  If I recall it was either a guinea pig or a rabbit or a squirrel we rescued but not dogs or cats. 

We handled it by saying things like it lived a good life and it was old anyway and it was now in a better place.  Whether or not they really bought that is anyone's guess.  The only time we used the "it's at a big farm now where it can be much happier" was when we had my mother's basset hound put to sleep because he was very mean and unpredictable.  The last thing it did was threaten Sandi one night when she got up to go in the kitchen for something.  That was it for him.  Big mistake.

Anyway, it's a situation every family with pets has to face at one time or another.  Some loss is gotten over fairly quickly.  Others won't be.  For example the loss of the two dogs, Sadie and Lacey, in my son's and daughter's families are going to be very sad just as it was for us when we lost Frankie and Brandy.

But that's life...and it goes on...regardless.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Upcoming milestone

This blog started about 5 years ago is approaching 12000 views (no, they're not all mine).  Recently it has been averaging 20 views a day.  I wonder who's looking?  Leave a comment.

The following message was originally posted on Facebook about a week ago.  It bears repeating:
"I have an urgent request of  some of our more vocal gun-rights advocates: please keep in mind that it has been only a little over two months since the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook School. Please temper your remarks and have some consideration for those who have suffered so. In spite of the paranoid remarks of the leader of the NRA, no one is going to strip you of your precious right to bear arms. Just have a little consideration. Thanking you in advance."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day

Go to and scroll down to most recent post on left side of page for your laugh for the day.  Be sure to watch it all the way through.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The blizzard of 2013

What a mess.  I worked all day to at least make room for one vehicle to get out. 

Not counting the drifting, I'd say we got conservatively 18".  Between the drifts and the town plows the snow at the foot of my driveway was well over 4 feet deep.  Very slow going but I'm getting there.  Back at it tomorrow to shovel the walk way, a path to the bird feeders and the finishing touches on the driveway.

This is getting old, very very old.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A toy that has withstood the test of time...

I've posted two blogs that address the issue of transition where children are concerned.  But of all the things that have changed as they get older, there's one that has been a pleasant surprise.  I speak of the enduring interest Legos hold for kids--all ages. 

Col(5) and Nicholas (3) have a huge bin of them and they love making things.  Brooke (9) and Courtney (6) are the same. 

Whether it is a kit that makes a specific thing or just a loose collection of various parts, Legos continue to thrive.

I think back over 30 years to when my son was their age.  He used to have a laundry bag full of them and every once in a while we'd challenge ourselves and try to use every one of them to make stuff.

Of course we never succeeded.  There were too many but it was great fun trying.  Now I find myself doing the same thing much later.

Other toys that seems to have survived the test of time but not to as great an extent are Erector Sets, Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys.  The boys have Lincoln Logs and no one seems to have much interest in the Erector Sets--maybe because they've changed a bit over the years. 

Also, Play Dough has hung in there to some extent but none of these things match Legos.

Long live the Lego.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I never thought of myself as a gadget freak.  I'm not one of those people who has to have the latest and greatest of stuff.  Yet, everytime we go away somewhere, I find myself packing an assortment of cables for gadgets we feel we need to bring with us. 

The picture you see here shows a few of those gadgets.  Included are two laptop computers-one is mine, the other Sandi's-my oldish cell phone, an iPod, two iPad table computers--again, one mine the other Sandi's--and an Amazon Kindle eReader which belongs to Sandi but when she's not using it, I use it to read books we've downloaded to it.

And this isn't everything.  What you don't see is Sandi's iPhone and another iPod she has in her office.  Then there's yet a third iPod we leave in Florida.  Along with all three iPod's are speaker docks they go into.

To top it off there's the camera I used to take the picture. 

Finally, there's my desk top computer which I don't really consider to be a gadget but it is yet another electronic device.

I suppose to some extent all of this makes me a gadget freak.  There are lots of people who have maybe one or two of these items.  But then again there are others who have a whole lot more.  For example my cell phone is old technology compared to SmartPhones.  Also, we don't have portable GPS devices although our iPads can function in that manner.

Do we need all these things?  Of course not.  But they are fun and in many ways they make life easier (unless of course one or more of them are malfunctioning). 

Take for example the recent string of power outages we've had over the past few years.  Our cell phones and iPads allowed us to keep in touch with what's going on. 

Anyway, you can be sure I'm not going to rush out and buy the new iPad Apple just announced.  Well.....

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Great Event

Yesterday afternoon and into early evening about 80 former and current staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary School gathered at The Inn in Newtown.

I was there from 4 P.M. until around 8 P.M.  I got to see many of the folks I had worked with for so many years.  I was one of the oldest people there and as such I was unique in that I worked with probably every one of the folks who were there at one time or another-including the several years after my retirement that I subbed--something which I will probably end up doing again since I was told there's still  a desperate need for substitutes.

Putting this event together was an extraordinary undertaking.  It started with a message on Facebook from someone who offered to host a small gathering.  From there it snowballed to a huge number of people who wanted to participate-including many who are not on Facebook but heard from those who are.

Since it was clear there was a need for more space, a couple of teachers from Reed Intermediate who had taught for many years at Sandy Hook approached the owners of the Inn at Newtown about renting their back room.  The owners offered it for nothing.  All we had to do was pay for appetizers and drinks.  They even arranged for additional servers who volunteered their time.  They of course were very generously tipped.

From there another person who lives in Pennsylvania ran a fund raising event in her community and made enough money to cover the food and drinks of all current teachers at Sandy Hook who are still dealing with varying levels of trauma yet continue to put on a happy face every day to teach.

A relative of another person there approached his company and got enough money to buy everyone a scarf and T Shirt.

People traveled from as far away as Maine, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin to be there. 

The effort and volunteerism that was put into making the evening a success is amazing. 

It's just a shame that all of this goodness had to come from such a terrible tragedy but folks are already talking about making it an annual event.  

If that actually comes to be, count me in.

Transitions Part Two

Recently I posted a piece describing how the play areas of my grand children have changed with the passage of time.

Well, here are two other things that I just thought of.  First, the nature and quantity of items on our grand children display area has changed a great deal.  The only thing on there now is what Nicholas (3) & Cole (5) have made for us.  Brooke (9) and Courtney (6)  have pretty much grown beyond the point of drawing a lot of pictures although they still do from time to time for special occasions.

The second thing is the types of TV shows they like to watch.  We've progressed well beyond Elmo and Barney and are now up to preteen types of shows or sitcoms like A Dog with a Blog or something like that.  It's actually a pretty cute show and harmless enough.

A year from now all this will have changed of course.  Time marches on.