Friday, January 14, 2005

Shorthand

Shannon said something in her blog that made me think about shorthand. Just the fact that I know what shorthand is or how to write it probably dates me.

I was a private secretary for five years before I became a stay- at-home mom. The boss would call me into his office and I would sit with a steno book on my knee and “take dictation.” I was actually pretty good at it. However, I will never forget one of the most embarrassing moments of my brief career.

For anyone who doesn’t know shorthand, symbols represent letters or groups of letters. Sometimes just a small change in a loop or line makes a completely different word. One day during dictation, my boss dictated a short letter to a personal friend. He said, “I am sorry to hear you are having eye trouble.” When writing shorthand, eye and wife can be sort of close. I must not have transcribed this right away because when I finally did, I typed “I am sorry to hear you are having wife trouble.” It happened my boss was going out of town and told me to just sign the letters and send them on. Well, I didn’t loose my job, amazingly. Actually, they all had a good laugh, but certainly not me.

One final thought on shorthand. My Mom graduated from high school in 1933. I was looking through her yearbooks and someone had written her a note in shorthand. I could read it! It is sad that this learned skill has been lost to computers—or has it. I don’t really know if it is taught anymore or not.

Yours truly,

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Slip Sliding Away

Thanks Sue for the suggestion and Paul Simon for the words

Whoah God only knows, God makes his plan

The information’s unavailable to the mortal man
We’re workin’ our jobs, collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway, when in fact we’re slip sliding away

Chorus:

Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away

Yes, we are still dealing with the ice. Today the temperature dipped into the teens, but there was sun! I carry kitty litter and it got me out of a "near ditch experience" twice.

All is good!



Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Politics

The use of tactics and strategy to gain power in a group or organization….Encarta Dictionary

We all find ways to interact on a productive level within our own personal lives, in religious, professional and social organizations and our profession. We find a place that gives us satisfaction and influence. Within that place we often feel we want to have authority or power or even move to a different place that gives us more. That is the freedom we all possess in our country.

In the definition of politics, the words “tactics and strategy” don’t necessarily mean devious behavior to attain a goal. Those words can mean a person has studied the situation and moving in what they feel is the best direction. Maybe it is my background or my generation, but I tend to feel first and foremost hard work in any endeavor will produce the desired outcome.

Hard work is not in the definition of politics and I guess that is why it often loses to tactics and strategy whether good, oblivious or devious.
.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"It looks like deja vu all over again"

Yogi Barra

Last week we had a major ice storm. I posted several pictures as it was beautiful. By the weekend, though, it warmed up and the ice melted off trees and paved roads. However, the back roads were still in the process of clearing.

Then, Sunday night, another front moved in bringing more clouds, moisture, and freezing temperatures. All those back roads then froze and with the continuing moisture became a glare of ice. So, the past two days have been delivery days from hell. Sweetness can only do so much with the studded tires. I try to judge when to start slowing down and braking so my slide will deposit me in front of the mailbox. Mostly, I go on by and then try to back up into position. Sometimes I just get out and walk the mail back to the box. I have shoe chains to keep me upright.

“Roll Away, Run Away” are four words anyone working in mail delivery know well. There is almost a no tolerance policy if an unattended vehicle moves. In other words, if I want to keep my job, I better shut it down when I am out of it. Today, I had an unbelievable thing happen. I decided to walk some mail back to a box. I shut Sweetness down properly, got out, and she began to slide! Thankfully, she didn’t go far, but made me wonder if I would have lost my job over a “Slide Away.”

The weather alert keeps going off—I think there is more moisture coming in. I need some sunshine. Think I will go sit under a fluorescent light.


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Watch the Animals

An article in today's Topeka paper written by Don Oldenburg of the Washington Post reports how animals in the path of the December 26th Tsunami retreated well before the disaster.

In Khao, Lak, 50 miles north of Phuket along Thailand's western
coast, a dozen elephants giving tourists rides began trumpeting hours before the Dec. 26 tsunami--about the time the 9.0-magnitude quake fractured the ocean floor. An hour before the wall of waves slammed the resort area, the elephants reportedly again grew agitated and began wailing. Just before disaster struck, they headed for higher ground-some breaking their chains to flee.
The article goes on to say that reports of animals' "sixth sense" in detecting hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions long before the earth starts shaking go back centuries.
Animals seem to be super-sensitive to sound, temperature, touch, vibration, and other geometric activities which gives them a head start in natural disasters. Why not humans? Perhaps animals have, through millions of years of evolution, developed a sensitivity that have enabled them to survive as a species.

Not all humans touched by the tragedy ignored the animal warning. According to scientists, it appears that members of the ancient tribes on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands near the earthquake's epicenter may have been spared because they noticed unusual behavioral changes in the birds, dolphins and lizards.

I don't believe this article is calling for a world wide population to ignore the sophisticated instruments and scientific calculations to run out and watch the animals. Perhaps we should learn from the ancient tribes that there is merit in primal behavior.

On a more personal level, as a kid growing up on the farm, my father was very good at predicting storms, especially rain. We would ask him how he knew. He had many interesting theories--rings around the moon, sunsets or sunrises, direction of the wind, but most often he would just look out in the feedlot. If the cattle were agitated or active, it was a sure sign of something coming.

Now, as I write this, I hear on the television in the other room that 60 minutes has a piece on dogs smelling cancer. This all gets me to thinking about being a vegan....