Babies and Road Trips

I recently drove I-90 through part of North Dakota heading to Bismarck to see family (all kids in one place for a few days) and the birth of my newest granddaughter – meet Emma Grace. We had a bit of a rough start, so here she is talking to Daddy in NICU.


Along the way, though, I was struck by how many old barns and deserted farms there were (amongst the drilling rigs). I wanted to stop and get some pictures but was under request not to ‘dilly-dally’. On the way home though I did get the barn from a distance & driving up further, I found I could get into the yard but it was drizzly and my car was parked on the shoulder of the interstate so I walked just a bit up the hill to get a shot at the house and the rusted remains of a truck…that I still haven’t been able to edit to my satisfaction. Are you out of breath reading that long, incorrect sentence? I’m really going to need to go back when ‘dilly-dallying’ is an option :). I wonder what the chances are of being arrested for trespassing? Why are these places always behind fences??



Twitter Hashtag Chuckles


Humor is really the best medicine, and the Italians, after threats from ISIS that they’re coming for them, have shown humor in all its snarky best with the hashtag #We_Are_Coming_O_Rome. Advice about traffic, strikes, food, fashion, bathing, toilets:

Apparently there were some issue’s with Dutch hooligans, so they were asking ISIS to hold off for the moment:

The Germans got into the fun and advised they wait til the German Chancellor left:

And the Finns:

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Doing the Right Thing vs. the ‘Right’ Thing

There’s been an article floating around about a little autistic boys 6th birthday party that nobody showed up for – 16 invitations. The police made it up to him. I made the comment that I’d love to hear the reasons these 16 didn’t come. Is it because he’s different? Then shame on those parents. Knowing an autistic young lady, I see the ‘differentness’ that has brought ostrazation and meanness directed her way.

Someone came back and made the comment that those kids shouldn’t made to do something they don’t want to do, that this would be unpleasant & hurtful….

I disagree. Unpleasantness and things we dislike are part of life, it’s part of socialization. Sometimes it really is doing or understanding the right thing vs. the ‘right’ thing. My Dad and grandparents impressed that on me, and yes, I was drug to things I didn’t want to do with people I didn’t want to be with, and my snotty attitude was met with disapproval. But it taught me — how is it said? Grace under pressure? It is no skin off my nose to be considerate, kind and respectful. That doesn’t mean I’m required to accept everything, but be kind about it. Frankly, I bow out of things with people I like a great deal. Through that, it made me aware of and sensitive to the humanity of others based on, well who they are vs. what or ‘who’ they are. Some of the people that made the deepest impression weren’t those with the correct credentials, address or job.

One was a gal whom an ex-something thought he could save. She was a stripper – frankly a hooker and not the high class escort type. She had problems with drugs, and she was street tough. Those around us despised her, many would say snarkily that I was obviously not ‘trashy’ or dysfunctional enough. I came to like her and developed a strong respect for her. She had a huge heart, would give the shirt off her back to anyone who needed it, sacrifice and protect those who I think just showed some respect and regard for her as a human. The imprint of that fleeting person in my life 20+ years ago never left me. It was one of those meetings that draw the contrast of and continued to teach and reinforce the value of character over the value of the ‘right people’. Charlie was a mess on so many levels, but had depth and wisdom beyond words. She was, I would say, an Old Soul, and I fell blessed for that chance passing.

If I hadn’t been pushed and drug into unpleasant situations, i.e. places & people I didn’t want to, and frowned and reproached when put my snot on, I doubt I would have been open to that short ships passing in life with Charlie and certainly wouldn’t have taken away the impression I did. She would have been ‘trash’, not the right person…someone to avoid with disdain. I would have missed something tangible that made a difference.

Facebook Manipulated 689,003 Users’ Emotions For Science

for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement,”

via Facebook Manipulated 689,003 Users' Emotions For Science.

“for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement,”

This testing place in Jan 2012 for – they say – only 1 week ostensibly to gauge reactions to positive or negative things in news feeds. To what ends? To modify newsfeeds to resonate with the user? Isn’t that accomplished by what people and pages you choose to follow? If you follow a page, isn’t that its own indication that you want to see certain posts?

How about letting people make the choices and giving the tools to do so. I think I’m fairly capable of making up my own mind, besides what may resonate with me today, may be different tomorrow. My interests vary often in response to what is or is not going on in my life at that moment. I suspect that’s the case for the vast majority.

Just because someone ‘likes’ a post of woe and pain doesn’t mean it ‘resonates’. It might mean this person is someone I care about and I empathize with what they’re going through – not that I want to be flooded with more related posts of it, or even flooded with suggestions of related posts. Suggesting some is great but I don’t need, nor care for, my feed being taken over. Let me make the decisions.

“for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement,” — Personally I don’t think this is enough ‘agreement’ to manipulate emotions in the name of testing. Ethics, good ethics, and sensitivity would state up front agreement-not buried in thousands of pages of policy agreement Facebook knows very well most don’t read even if they then highlite it in red. Secondly, inform the person the parameters in the experiment, what they will be seeing and what the purpose of the experiment is. Thirdly, allow active feedback.

But again, Facebook really has no need to even do such an experiment if they understand people can make their own decisions. I do have to say, they have recently asked me on mine whether I want to assist in a study of newsfeeds. The questions were too narrow and poorly constructed, however, and really would not have improved the ‘experience’ for most of us. They were too black and white, too either/or.

Which brings back the question: To what ends was this experiment even needed? And for whose needs?

Get To the Point and Relationships

I think my motto, or mantra-whatever – could be ‘Get to the POINT!’ Not that I can’t ramble, especially when I’m thinking out loud, but things don’t have to become that complicated. I’m sure there’s a certain amount of psychological profiling that could be done on those who seem to need to turn something simple into an ordeal.

I understand in the world of business, politics- well just relationships in general, sometimes a certain amount of spin is necessary. But I have found in the last 30+years of my adult life, that people generally respond well to be talked to – not at, or not faux to. Most are intelligent enough to comprehend, even if you have to spin slightly to belay a more visceral reaction. There is no need to make it an ordeal. Talk to people with and allow then their dignity. If you’ve developed a dignified, respectful, and yes personable relationship on issues that are resolvable, when one isn’t, or can’t be in a way that is satisfactory, it can be far less dodgy.

Another thing–Get to the point and solve the issue or find an answer–isn’t that what you want as the customer? I can’t tell you how many things have produced days and strings of emails, only to be copied in, read back through this 6 volume load of crap, to see the answer could have been given and the problem solved 20 emails and 7 days ago. Or to finally be able to read a string of emails that have gone around and around all afternoon, and (with eyes rolling) realize all that needs to be said is, How about we do this (copy and paste with modifications)-does this make sense, and voila(!) Done. It could have been done 4 hours ago by cutting to the chase instead of long winded whatever.

I’ve come to the conclusion it would be a fascinating psychological profile on those (and they abound I believe in the business or political (don’t we know that!) or many arena’s, who seem to think every contact is a game to be played. It’s demeaning to the recipient.

OK Now that I’ve vented, I will step off my soap box. Not like any of these things are new, but for some reason I’m finding it supremely annoying…more so than usual.

Remembering My Lost Son, Who Would Have Turned Three Today –

Remembering My Lost Son, Who Would Have Turned Three Today –.

“Prince was murdered on October 20th 2012 when his father allegedly drowned him during his fourth court ordered unsupervised visitation” “ A court ordered unsupervised visitation. Court ordered. This indicates that Herra had deep reservations, and perhaps fear, on his father being with him alone. So much so, the dispute ended up in court more than once, in which said court granted ‘Luc’ unsupervised visitation for the 4th time. Court ordered her to give Prince to his father in fact.

Wow. And then her beautiful 15 month old son, was drowned, ‘allegedly’ killed by his own father. The same father she had such deep reservations about. A 15 month old who would be alive today had the court heeded and considered those fears. The Court and no doubt Social Services since I’m sure they were involved.

I would be not only angry with this Father, but also with the Court and Social Services. I understand they’re bound by laws, but they also have a certain amount of discretion. Are they sorry? Are they working to change said laws if they felt in this, and who knows how many other cases, that their hands were tied and they could not truly protect children?

Yes I’d be angry at them, too, and be working to raise awareness on the need for oversight and consequences for those who place a child in harms way.

Retire? Love to. Please.

Twenty years ago, I couldn’t conceive retiring. I mean what would I do? If I won the lottery (I mean the big bucks, here) I would still keep working because I’d need something to do. Flash forward 20 years? Yeah. Not so much. I’d still need something to do, but I’d do what I want, when I want and on my time. This kind of came home to roost recently when I took a few days’ vacation. One in which I didn’t go see kids, or go somewhere with someone. Five days of being in control of my time.  I loved it.  My days ran into each other. ‘Did I see…?’  I think so, but it might have been last Friday, or even a week ago – This might be Tuesday, or Thursday. I sort of lost track of days. Because I didn’t have to keep track and it didn’t really matter.  If I woke up at 3 am, that was OK, because I didn’t have to get enough rest to get up and go to work. I could go back to sleep at 5. If I didn’t go to bet until 1 am? If I decided to  take a walk with my dog at midnight? All OK. My time was my own. If I wanted to take a drive up the scenic highway on the spur of the moment? Why not?  It was freedom. And I loved it. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d retire. Completely and just enjoy life.


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