Monday, December 30, 2013

One 2014 Goal

The close of 2013 is upon us.  Less than 48 hours to accomplish the 2013 goals and objectives you resolved to complete.  I personally like all the press articles reflecting on the prior year (e.g. best tech gadgets; worst technology flops; etc.) and predictions for 2014.  So this is a time to create your own personal list - most joyous activities; worst decisions; best giving opportunities. 

Composing a Christmas letter each year provides me the discipline to summarize a theme and look back on all the activities with family and friends.  This becomes the starting point for my own personal year end evaluation.  But is this look back a waste of time?  Without some action or change, reporting history is meaningless.  So the next action is to create goals for 2014.

The first goal .........  "Write down the Goals!"

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Appreciation through Information

Objects are only valuable when the information about the object becomes known (preferably in an interactive way)  and appreciated by the viewer/user.  I came to this conclusion during the two hour tour at the Musee d'Osay with a tour guide.  Of course, at many museums there is plenty of written material and even audio headsets that can be used to obtain information about the object, yet these two methods are not nearly as interesting as a human that describes his/her knowledge about the object and can respond interactively to questions with successive levels of detail in dialogue about the object. Also the ability to relate objects (compare and contrast) by the informant provides an even richer set of information in which to appreciate each object individually and collectively.

The filter of information through the lens of the knowledgeable tour guide (with their biases and imperfect knowledge base) gave me a much richer experience within the Art Museum.  Without this knowledge the Museum tour would have been just another experience of going to the Zoo (without the random action of animals). 

Clearly art appreciation (for me) requires interactive information.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Early Christmas

A week on the River Baroness traveling and viewing history of the Seine made this Christmas a very different and memorable one.  A special treat was Christmas Day inside the Notre Dame Cathedral viewing the morning Mass.  But all good things come to an end and tonight I get to fight off the jet lag fatigue at home sweet home. 

This was the third time I had been in Paris (Summer 1971, October 1996, and December 2013) the memories build upon each other. The only USA city that I think can compare in beauty is Washington DC. (and that city was inspired by the architecture of France - and specifically Paris).

A beautiful and unique Christmas this year (six hours earlier).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Dreams
Wisner Family   - December 2013

It was a sleepy year for the Wisners, no trauma or drama - just a calm peace (or piece) of life's journey.  This makes the thirteenth Christmas letter - short, sweet and sincere.   Don't fall asleep.
Jenna (Healthcare Czar) - With only five months remaining of parental entitlement, Jenna has discovered finding a job is not like Nursing - it's serious business.  Her election as Secretary of the Nursing Class and her Co-op job in the emergency care at UCMC, qualifies Jenna to be the family Healthcare Czar - maybe she can cure the ails of Obamacare.

Ellen (Cooking Czar) - A Brave freshman (UGH! or is it UGG), Ellen continues to serve up excellent results at school and home (Cake Boss). Early bus schedules cut into her sleep but are compensated with almost weekly friendly sleepovers.  Once upon a time, she read about Cinderella - now she's dressed that way for the homecoming dance.

Susan (Household Czar) - Chasing the title -"Frugal Czar" was too difficult in our household (GLW has that locked).  Watching the landscape of politics idly was not an option either.  Refreshed with adequate sleep, Susan decided to save America one business at a time with Your Back Office LLC.

Garen (Frugal Czar)  - An Oldie but Goodie, his failed attempt at Top Chef Czar resulted in wild games (was it fried turkey with a trace of Buffalo?).  Don't mock his case with weekly excursions to Miami (U that is).  Walking the Masters and crossing certain bridges created gold points - but he still needs training options.

No tree house addition this year - just plans to reconfigure things at home:  bedrooms, cats, doors and floors.  Paris (Fr) and Naples (Fl) were highlights of this year's travels with other trips to Chautauqua, Wichita, Chicago, Keeneland and Sarasota.  Sleepovers by Paul S, Rich M, Hartleys, Murrays, and Martha kept the guest bedroom occupied.  Maybe it wasn't such a sleepy year after all.

As 2013 dozes by, we awaken to a new year of opportunities.  Each opportunity  is a chance to build upon dreams.  We look forward to sharing these together with you next year.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


"Golden slumbers kiss your eyes, Smiles awake you when you rise"   Thomas Dekker


Monday, December 16, 2013

Inlaws and Grandpas

It was an interesting dinner discussion with A&M M. about family titles - what does the son-in-law, daughter-in-law and grandkids call you?  The only experience Susan and I have in this category is what do we call our in-law parents and what instructions (if any) did we give our children on what to call their grandparents. 

The variations are endless. The traditions are driven by past chains of ancestor titles.  As an example, it was important for Susan that our young children call me "Papa" and her "Mama". As they grew up that evolved to Dad and Mom (and on occasion Father and Mother).  Our children call my parents Grandma and Grandpa (without the surname Wisner) and for Susan's parents the titles are Popsie and Nonny (although I think it should be spelled Noni). Both Susan and I call each others parents by first name.

Generational spans create the challenge of addressing your elders.  Only after years of being out of college was I comfortable addressing people eight years older than me by their first name.  Consequently addressing Susan's parents by their first name took time to get comfortable with. 

The available nicknames for Grandparents are always fun to hear -  Grammy, Gamma, Mamey, Mimsy, Noni, Nana, Nanny ......   Gramps, Grampy, Pappy, PawPaw, Grandad, Poppa .......

My niece is expecting so Mom and Dad will become Great Grandparents soon.  Hmmm.......  I wonder about Great Grandparents titles.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Slept like a .....

This morning it was tough to get out of bed.  "Boy,  I slept last night like a log" was my comment this morning to Susan.  I suppose the "log" reference was because of my lumberjacking the day before - totally wearing me out physically. 

But how do you answer the question how did you sleep last night?


Like a Baby
Like a Top

Like a Rock

But where is the guy "Sawing the Log"   :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Right Tool

A.M. dropped by to help me split the wood in the back forest Actually he was the catalyst to prevent my further procrastination.  Back in September Susan had several dead ash trees cut down. I had requested they leave the wood only to discover about 50 stumps (most 20 inches in diameter) from the trunk lying in the back forest waiting to be split. 

A.M. an experienced lumber jack, brought his "Big Bertha" (that's my word for the 12 lb tool he brought) Splitting Maul which was the ticket.  There was no way I would have had the patience (and strength) to split this wood with my 3 lb sledge/splitting maul and wedge (that I couldn't find).

So as the snow fell, we both took turns using Big Bertha.  A.M. was quick to give me guidance on proper technique to avoid injury and he added some insight into the difficulty of splitting wet stumps that were vertically placed on the ground. 

It just proves the old adage - you need the right tool for the correct job .......  and the right coach to correct the rookie.
12 lb Splitting Maul

Saturday, December 7, 2013

White Winter Wisp

The five inches of snow last night was but a wisp of white dust on the driveway this morning.  Expecting to spend hours shoveling the driveway ended up a 30 minute exercise of pushing the dust to the side and spreading salt for the patches of ice.  The sun has already done it's work and the beautiful reflection of the white blanket across the yard accentuates the feeling of a new day.

Unlike most people, I love the winter season.  The cozy feeling of sitting at home watching a horizon of white fill the skys during a snow storm.  The quiet feeling of peace as everyone huddles inside while the storm passes.  Then the undisturbed snowfall across the landscape of activity awaits the morning activities as we reengage after an evening of hibernation. 

As I sit here blogging away, I have the benefit of seeing across a valley of white. Even the trees are partially clothed in a light white outfit with sparkling jewels of ice on their branches. Their warm black coats of Bella and Fitch are  a complete contrast of black ink dotting the white canvas.

What fun it is to write and blog, a winter post today.

PS -  Now I know some readers will say - Why wisp?  Isn't that the wrong use - and doesn't he mean skift (see Blog First Snow - 12/7/2009).   Yes I did mean wisp - the third usage/definition of wisp:  "A fleeting trace or indication; a hint"

Monday, December 2, 2013

Birthday Best Buys

Saturday, I picked up two Surface RT tablets at Best Buy in Florence Ky.  One for E.D. my tech buddy and one for myself.  E.D. stopped by on Sunday to pick his up.  The Best Buy Black Friday deal was $199.99 ($212 with tax) and well worth the saga (and hassle) to get it.  That saga is too long a story for a blog (although in past years I would have detailed it completely).

Little did I know how fun a birthday present to myself getting the Surface RT would be!  All evening Saturday, all day Sunday, and good part of Monday, I have been playing with the tech toy!  So what is the good, the bad and the ugly:

The good:
(1) I've finally crossed the line into the world of tablets - no more ipad envy
(2) This will incent me to "virtualize" my files, calendar, and email into the cloud
(3) The design is cool, the productivity tools (e.g. Microsoft Office and even Outlook 2013) at my fingertips (literally), HDMI output to big screen monitor, and YES (for you Appleheads) a USB port (find that on your tablet!)
(4) Remote Desktop Access is a snap (too bad for GoToMyPC)
(5) Dancing tiles (again - raspberries to the iworld gruppies)
(6) Immediate integration with my Windows Phone and synchronization

The bad:
(1) It's not a Surface Pro so some software can't be loaded (Chrome, Firefox etc.)
(2) Not enough Microsoft Apps
(3) Only 32 gig - but can be expanded with the microSD card and/or USB flash stick
(4) No keyboard, cover, or HDMI cord (what do you expect for $212)
(5) Only 2 gig of Ram

The ugly:
(1)  The time it took to update the old operating system and security patches - 3+ hours

And the unexplored includes the Windows 8.1 upgrade features, the voice commands, the script capabilities etc.

So this Birthday was dominated by gadget heaven.