Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

Tomorrow morning can be the dawn of a new life if I'm completely willing and fully committed. (At My Best, 31 December)

As we look back over the year, it has been a good year. It is good to the extent that we have put good efforts, good words, and good thoughts into it. None needs be wasted. Both the good and the bad experiences can be profitable. We humbly thank God for the year that has passed. We can resolve that we will do better in the year to come, enriched by what has passed. (Alan L. Roeck, Look To This Day, 31 December)

  • During the year I've followed a daily reading program. Each day I read one page in fifteen books that I kept on a table beside the bed. This morning I finished reading the last page in all fifteen books. I shared many items that caught my attention either in my Arrow Prayers or Mr. Dickie's Blog. The entries from Mr. Dickie's Blog also posted to my Facebook during the later part of the year. If you've read any of the entries in either of the blogs or on Facebook I hope you found something useful or thought provoking.

Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Can You?

Can you stop doing all the things you do that keep you from doing the one thing you want to do? (Iyanla Vanzant, Acts of Faith, 30 November)

Do not be afraid to get rid of things which distract your attention - everything material, everything which can be seen or can be felt. The more you purify the spiritual core of your faith, the firmer your faith will be. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 26 July)

There is a difference between telling the truth and telling everything you know. (Mother of Kathryn Carpenter in Meditations For Parents Who Do Too Much, by Jonathon and Wendy Lazear, 22 December)

If you are planning to get something done this year you'd better get busy. Mr. Dickie

Monday, December 29, 2008

Music Players

Wealth reminds me of manure in the field. When it is in a big pile it makes a bad smell. But when it is distributed everywhere across the field, it makes the soil fertile. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 31 July)

If you are waiting for something to happen before you begin what you want to do, it will never happen. (Iyanla Vanzant, Acts of Faith, 30 November)

I'm still learning about MP3 players. This weekend I decided I wanted to try using the MS Media Player to convert a couple of CDs to Microsoft WMA file format. I discovered that the Media Player creates a new folder for each CD. I converted a Maura O'Connell CD and a Wayne Taylor CD to the WMA format. Then I copied those files to the new Oasis MP3 player. This player can play several different music file types. While I was working on the project the internal battery on the MP3 player ran down. I used the AC adapter that came with the player to bring the battery to a full charge. Having completed this learning process I now know that I don't need a program to convert to MP3 format. I can just use version 9 of the MS Media Player which runs on my laptop to convert any music I'd like to listen to on the Oasis player. Once I copied the two albums to the player I had 87 songs loaded. I probably have at least 200 files in formats that I can load directly onto the player. I wonder how many songs the player can hold. The bubble pack says up to 1000 songs (64 hours) of WMA files and up to 500 songs (32 hours) in the MP3 format. This is probably why it's a good idea to use the WMA format rather than the MP3 format, unless one has a personal preference for the MP3 format. I think it would be pretty cool to have 1000 songs loaded on my personal walk-around jukebox. No wonder the young folks love these toys.

Mr. Dickie

Sunday, December 28, 2008


A person dies as he lives his spiritual life, alone. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 11 August)

All you have to do to receive your divine inheritance is change your old way of thinking. (John Randolph Price in Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant, 16 December)

Changing our whole way of thinking is a monumental task, not to be taken lightly. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 16 December)

Cyndi was able to replace the Craig MP3 player that broke with a 2GB Oasis player that she brought when she came to visit at Christmas time. Yesterday I started loading some of my MP3 files on the device. Today I loaded more. So far I have 63 songs on the device, including several that came with it. I really enjoy being able to take part of my music collection along when I go out for my frequent walks. I'm now ready to try using the device in our minivan. I think I wrote earlier that the MP3 players can be plugged into a cassette tape adapter and played in the car.

One of the neighbors, Bruce, called last night to see if I could recommend someone to put new shingles on his shed. I recommended our neighbor, George. This morning I went to ask George if he wanted the job. Later I saw him at Bruce's house. I assume they made the arrangements for the job.

Mr. Dickie

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bad Example

Nothing is more harmful than a bad example set by others. They bring into our life notions which never would have occurred to us without an example. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 14 December)

[You have plenty!] Talk plenty. Think plenty. Give plenty Thanks. (Rev Joe Hill in Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant, 14 December)

Last night the three of use visited the new National Harbor development near the Wilson Bridge across the Potomac. We went into the Gaylord Hotel to see the decorations in the atrium and to watch the water fountain show. We also spent a few minutes looking at the outdoor tree near the river. Then we went to a two-piano bar and listened to live music. Cyndi returned to her apartment this morning. We enjoyed the Christmas visit.

Mr. Dickie

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After

The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs. (Joan Didion in Meditations For Parents Who Do Too Much by Jonathon and Wendy Lazear, 30 November)

Growing up is a good life's work. By attending to the health of my own spirit, I'm doing the best I can for everyone whose life touches mine. (Family Feelings, Vanceburg and Silverman, 1 December)

There is no way goodness, abundance and success can come to you if your affairs are not in order. (Acts of Faith, Iyanla Vanzant, 1 December)

  • Thanks to everyone who sent Christmas cards, letters, Emails and photos. We appreciate the time and effort. If you didn't get a copy of our Christmas letter and want one let me know. You might have been missed this year because of Address file issues.
  • This morning I had trouble getting my laptop started again. After about thrity minutes the problem went away as it has before. One of these days my luck is going to run out. I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with a new computer running the Vista operating system. Maybe the computer gremlins will force the issue.
  • Melva and I are enjoying our visit with Cyndi. I wasn't disappointed when they didn't invite me to go shopping this morning.

Mr. Dickie

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Toast to Family at Christmas

Outside snowflakes are falling,
There's winter in the air,
But in our house it's cozy
all because we are here.
Let's have a Merry Christmas
and the most wonderful New Year,
as we continue on through life,
with family we hold dear.
(Noreen Braman)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Wish

I wish you the joy of Christmas,
The Season's sweet repose.
I wish you the peace of Christmas
To mark the old year's close.
I wish you the hope of Christmas
To cheer you on your way.
And a heart of faith and gladness
To greet each coming day.
(Author unknown)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good Television

[When] ... I am calm, I have a clear understanding of what is mine to do and the best way to go about doing it. (Collen Zuck, et al., Daily Word For Healing, p. 331)

If I am not walking the walk, there is little point in talking the talk. (Courage to Change, 9 December)

There is one time when procrastination is helpful, when you decide to worry about something tomorrow. (Mr. Dickie, after Instant Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan, 14 December 2008)

Life is what happens while you are making other plans. (John Lennon, Family Feelings, Vanceburg and Silverman, 13 December)

We are enjoying the fact that the Internet makes it possible for family and friends in Panama, Canada, Italy and all over this country to keep in touch during this holiday season. It's Mr. Dickie's opinion that Christmas communications are much more personal now than they used to be. He embraces the use of the technology. Our thanks to everyone who took the time to write some year-end news.

Last night I watched a very interesting interview of Bill Gates conducted by Charlie Rose. It reminded me of how good television can be. They discussed the work of the Gates Foundation, its progress and Bill Gates vision for the future of the foundation. Once I discovered the program I watched until the end.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Mail

The words of affirmation that are often saved for a funeral should be delivered during a lifetime. (Carol Kuykendall, Daily Guideposts, 8 Dec 2007)

The greatest challenges in life seem to bring out extraordinary courage in ordinary people. (Colleen Zuck, et al., Daily Word For Healing, p. 332)

You are a farmer. Your thoughts are the seeds you plant; they are the cause of every condition in your life. (Iyanla Vanzant, Acts of Faith, 11 December)

We are enjoying all of the Christmas letters, both snail mail and Email, that we are receiving. It's nice to hear from folks once in a while.
Mr. Dickie

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Passing the Buck

Serenity is the direct result of the way I live my life today - the values I honor, the principles I practice, the choices I make, the actions I take. (A Time to Be Free, 17 December)

[There] ... is a question whether or not our subconscious minds ever become entirely free from irrational ideas as long as we live. (Alan L. Roeck, Look To This Day, 1 December)

Have you noticed that our leaders have brought new meaning to the phrases "passing the buck" and "the buck stops here"?
Mr. Dickie

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Inevitable

I bow to the inevitable, and take my hat off to it. (Mr. Dickie, after Meditations For Parents Who Do Too Much, Jonathon and Wendy Lazear, 3 December)

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. (Aldous Huxley in Body, Mind, and Spirit, 5 December)

Our lives and our closets have a lot in common. Both are cluttered with things we could easily do without. (Meditations For Parents Who Do Too Much, Jonathon and Wendy Lazear, 7 December)

I am on my own special path in life, and my journey, not my arrival is what is important. (Colleen Zuck, Daily Word, Day 319)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Activity

Speculating on other people's attitudes and motives is a waste of time and effort. To search out the reasons for my own is a voyage of discovery. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 3 December)

It's fine to plan for what you want from a holiday celebration, but be willing to be happy with what actually happens. (M.J. Ryan, Instant Health and Happiness Boosters, 16 December)

I'm ready to start the final step in the Christmas greeting project, sending out snail mail. This is the most time consuming part.

Mr. Dickie

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Life Is Not The Problem

Life is not a problem. If we live, we live; if we die, we die; if we suffer, we suffer; it appears that we are the problem. (Alan Watts in Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant, 4 December)

A good life is given only to those who make efforts to achieve it. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 27 June)

One irony of growing up and becoming mature is it's not quite as easy as we thought it would be. (Body, Mind, and Spirit, 8 December)


We are thankful for the Internet, Email, cellphones, satellites and phone cards. These new technologies have made such a profound difference in how we stay in touch with friends and loved ones.

Yesterday I finished our Christmas Email letter for 2008. This time I included a nativity image which I surrounded with holly leaves and berries. I also included a link to the song "Christmas Eve in Washington" written and sung by Maura Sullivan. At the end of the message I put in links to my four Google blogs. There's always some disappointed after sending the letter because some of the Email addresses no longer work.

Christmas Eve In Washington Maura Sullivan Original Recording

In the last week I added three new friends to my Facebook account. My AOL friend, Betty Hogan, was the one who encouraged me to create an account. It's been a lot of fun learning how social networking works. It's always a pleasant surprise when someone finds me and sends a request to be included.
Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This I Know

This I know without being told, 'Tis time to live as I grow old. 'Tis time short pleasures now to take, of little life the best to make and manage wisely the last stake. (Abraham Cowley in Family Feelings by Vanceburg and Silverman, 3 December)

There can be only one way to fight the general evil of life: it is in the moral, religious, and spiritual perfection of our own life. (A Calendar of Wisdom, by Leo Tolstoy, 16 January)

Acceptance may be one of the most difficult things to learn, for it means we must give up the desire to control our life and its outcome. (Body, Mind, and Spirit, 3 December)
  • Yesterday and today I've been working on my AOL Address Book. I'm trying to get ready to send out some Christmas greetings. Months ago, when my laptop computer quit working I lost access to the address file I maintained on the computer. Now I'm looking for a quick and easy way to recover. This morning I discovered that I should use the Control Key if I want to select only a few address records to work with. The AOL Help file wasn't any help in understanding how this works. I tested to see if I could print Avery address labels. That worked.
  • Every time I go up in the attic I try to bring down something that Melva and I can review for possible elimination. I think I see progress in clearing some of the clutter. Yesterday I brought down several photographs that we'd forgotten about. It probably wasn't a very good idea to store them up there where it gets so hot.
Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Things I Do Not Have To Do

Photo: The Print Shop

There are ... many things I do not have to do:

  • I don't have to understand everything. Some things are not my business, and others will simply never make sense to me.
  • I don't have to be reluctant to show my feelings. When I'm happy, I can give in to it! When I'm not, I can turn to my ... friends who help me to grow through the tough times.
  • I don't have to feel threatened by the future. I can take life one day at a time.
  • I don't have to feel guilty about the past. With the help of ... [my program], ... I can make amends and learn from the mistakes I have made.
  • I don't have to feel alone. ... there is always somebody to reach out to ...
  • I don't have to take responsibility for other people's choices. They have their own Higher Power to help them make their decisions.
  • I don't have to give up on my hopes and dreams -- my Higher Power is not limited by my lack of imagination.
    (Courage to Change, December 16)

For several days I haven't thought of anything I wanted to write about in my blog.

One of Melva's nephews posted some photos on Facebook who took during a weekend visit to Volcan. We enjoyed seeing the Christmas decorations and his daughter and her great aunt.

I'm working on our Christmas message. This year we will send most people the message via Email. We enjoy all of the Christmas cards and letters we receive from family and friends.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, December 15, 2008

Think About It

The only possible way to improve the conditions of one's life is to improve one's emotional condition. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 29 November)

Peace of mind depends on recognizing our own shortcomings. An honest personal inventroy helps us recognize our strengths and weaknesses. (Courage to Change, 2 December)

When you make an effort not to blame other people, your life becomes much easier, but very few people make this small effort. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 14 June)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some Thoughts

Almost every effort of the human mind is directed, not toward lightening the work of the laborer, but toward making more pleasant the idleness of the leisured. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 9 June)

Doesn't it often seem as though those who most clearly understand the dangers that face us are the ones who ... [yield the least power to affect change.] (Mr. Dickie after The Promise of a New Day, 6 August)

... a stupid person pretends that he is bored with life and that he can find something more interesting. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 31 May)

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Only during a period of war does it become obvious how millions of people can be manipulated. People, millions of people, are filled with pride while doing things which those same people actually consider stupid, evil, dangerous, painful, and criminal, and they strongly criticize these things - but continue doing them. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 17 June)

Friday, December 12, 2008


The misfortunes of war and preparations for war bear little relation to the reasons given to explain war: the real reasons are usually so insignificant that they are not even worth discussion, and they are completely unknown to those who die. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 17 June)

The reasons which governments give for wars are always screens behind which lie completely different reasons and motives. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Widsom, 17 June)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Christmas Pledge

Photo: Melva and Dick Henthorn, Newport News, VA, June 1967)

Believing in the beauty and simplicity of Christmas, I commit to the following:

  1. To remember those people who truly need my gifts.

  2. To express my love for family and friends in more direct ways than presents.

  3. To rededicate myself to the spiritual growth of my family.

  4. To examine my holiday activities in light of the true spirit of Christmas.

  5. To initiate one act of peacemaking within my circle of family and friends.

(From Unplug the Christmas Machine found in Instant Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan, 11 December)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Next Year

Photo: Drawing of ship in the Miraflores lock of the Panama Canal Zone - Juan Rodriguez.

  • ... I'm not zeroing in on one particular problem but rather participating in a whole host of solutions that can lead to emotional, physical, and spiritual health. (Courage to Change, 19 November)
  • Today I will be conscious of my actions. I know they will be more powerful than anything I might say. (Soul Searching, p. 327)
  • Try to avoid making judgments about yourself, especially by comparing yourself to others. Compare yourself only to perfection. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 8 May)
  • [Has anyone told you lately, "You're coming unplugged."? Maybe it's something to consider. What if you ran out of batteries and the electricity went off?] Let yourself experience a day without [computers, printers,] faxes, phones, cellphones, e-mail, television, radio, and [CD and MP3 players]. [Imagine] ... the effect ... on your sense of rhythm, your mood, your sense of self-worth, your relationship to others. (Mr. Dickie after M.J. Ryan in Instant Health and Happiness Boosters, 10 December)

I'm thinking about shutting down my two remaining genealogy blogs 'News" and "Obits" at the end of the year. I think my interest in making genealogy information available on the Internet has run its course. It's possible to just leave what I have posted already for folks to read, but that seems to miss the point. If I'm not going to add new information from time to time there's no reason for anyone to keep checking the blogs.

Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Yard Work

Photo: Corel

Spiritual effort and the joy that comes from understanding life go hand in hand like physical exertion and rest. Without physical exertion, there is no joy in rest; without spiritual effort, there can be no joyful understanding of life. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 2 April)

We cannot hope to obtain any sort of perfection in a society which is divided into two parts: rich people who rule the world and poor people who obey their orders. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 14 April)

This morning we both worked in the yard for several hours. Melva spread the last two bags of mulch. We bagged all of the plant debris we'd cut down earlier. Then I set the mower blade as low as I could and mowed the yard. Afterwards I tied down the throttle on the mower and burned off the rest of the gas. I don't plan to use the mower again until next spring. We put out about twenty bags of debris for pickup tomorrow. Now we are ready for winter. We tried to hire one neighbor to help with the project. When we didn't have any luck we decided to do the job ourselves just like we usually do.

I decided to include a photo in today's blog entry. At some point the easy way of doing this broke. I have no idea what happened. Stuff just happens!

Mr. Dickie

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Daily Life

I must reevaluate my daily life to see whether my habits are overshadowing my needs. (Jonathon and Wendy Lazear, Meditations for Parents Who Do Too Much, 20 November)

When you clash with other people, remember the law of reciprocity. You should do to others those things which you want done to you. This should become your way of life. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 19 May)

But it is dangerous to think that you are more clever than the majority of religious mankind. (Henri Amiel in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 16 May)

What's Next?

  • When you are in company, do not forget what you have found out when you were thinking in solitude; and when you are meditating in solitude, think about what you found out by communicating with other people. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 28 March)
  • It defies the laws of nature for a child to rule an adult, or a fool to guide a wise man. Likewise, it is against the law of nature that a small group of people should be overindulged when a huge, hungry crowd's most basic needs aren't met. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 9 June)
  • Take the time to compare your troubles with your joys. Put it all into perspective. (A Time to Be Free, 20 November)

Last night when I looked at the laptop computer before going to bed I noticed a blue screen with a message about "Kernel Error" that I'd never seen before. Blue screens are never good. This morning I got lucky. I was able to get the computer running again on the first attempt. I have enough experience with computers to know that this kind of problem never goes away, it just gets worse. I've gone through computer malfunctions so many times I've lost count. I'm not certain what I'll do when I can no longer use this computer to access the Internet. The last time it happened I think I let eighteen months pass before I got the laptop computer running. Because of the recent changes made by AOL which reduced their service markedly I'm somewhat inclined to say, "It's time to discontinue paying them for Internet access." Do we really need these machines in our lives?
Last night we got some snow. We could see it on the grass for several hours.
Mr. Dickie

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gift of Life

  • The gift of life is similar [to a birthday present]. It constantly unwraps itself and we experience what's inside. When we have expectations about our lives, we are usually disappointed by the way things turn out. When we are open to whatever happens, we are rewarded. (Soul Searching, p. 315)

  • You should live your life as if you are ready to say good-bye to it at any moment, as if the time left you is some pleasant surprise. (Marcus Aurelius in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 12 May)

Friday, December 5, 2008


The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation. (George Washington)

The life-affirming thoughts I think and the choices I make are the tools I use in shaping a life of meaning and purpose. (Collee Zuck, et al., Daily Word for Healing, p. 290)

Your attitude about who you are and what you have is a very little thing that makes a very big difference. (Theodore Roosevelt in Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant, 24 November)

I know not when my own harvest will come, but I must prepare for it by tending my seed and nuturing my plant along the way. (Soul Searching, p. 345)

  • Yesterday I didn't post to my blog. I had an accident. I typed what I wanted to post and lost it. I'm not sure what happened. Needless to say I wasn't too happy. I wasn't up to attempting to type the same thing a second time.

  • Did you know you can play an MP3 player through your car radio. Here's how I did it. Our minivan has a tape cassette player. I plugged in the tape adapter and then plugged that into the MP3 player. That's all there is to it.

  • Have you ever thought about how many Buicks Tiger Woods has helped to sell with the television commercials he made? General Motors paid him $7 million dollars a year until this month for those commercials. Maybe one of the reasons the auto makers are in trouble is because of the bad business decisions they've been making.

  • On December 4, 2008 The Washington Post ran an front page article announcing that the local bank, where we do our banking business, is going to be purchased by a leading credit card company, Capitol One. Notice they didn't call Capitol One a bank. Capitol One was originally part of the Signet bank of Richmond, VA and was spun off. How did this bank purchase come about? Capitol One, which apparently is in trouble, recently got a $3.56 billion bailout from the Treasury Department. Apparently Capitol One will use $520 million of that bailout money to buy Chevy Chase Bank. Chevy Chase holds $490 million in non-performing assets, the result of risky adjustable-rate mortgages. With that much bad debt why would Capitol One want to buy this regional bank? Here's why, Chevy Chase has $11 billion in deposits. Now I don't know much about economics or money management. But there's one thing I know something about. When a fish smells bad I know it. This fish stinks to high heaven.

Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Library of Congress Visit

The life-affirming thoughts I think and the choices I make are the tools I use in shaping a life of meaning and purpose. (Colleen Zuck, et al., Daily Word for Healing, p. 290)

If you are living with another person, make an agreement that as soon as either of you starts to blame the other, you will end the argument. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 27 April)

I know not when my own harvest will come, but I must prepare for it by tending my seed and nuturing my plant along the way. (Soul Searching, p. 345)

Yesterday I spent the day at The Library of Congress (LOC). I hadn't visited in many months. We still have accounts at the Credit Union. I made the trip because I wanted to make certain the accounts were set up to our advantage. They weren't. One of the staff spent quite a bit of time making the necessary changes.

After I finished the bank business I went downstairs to visit with former co-workers in ITS. More than half of the cubicles are now occuplied by new folks. Quite a few of the people who still work there weren't at their desks. There were plenty of people around to visit. I enjoyed talking with everyone. I talked to my two Facebook friends and looked at all of the photos in Carole's photo album. By 4:00 p.m. I couldn't find anyone else to bore with my life story, so I left. I had a great time.

Melva is working on an eighteen block lap quilt. In the evening she laid all the blocks on the floor to see how they look together. It's going to be very nice.

Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Everybody is ignorant, only on difference subjects. (Will Rogers in Family Feelings by Vanceburg and Silverman, 24 November)
For the ignorant, old age is as winter; for the learned, it is a harvest. (Jewish Proverb in Soul Searching, p. 346)
Some people don't know how badly they need a new way of life until disaster overtakes them. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 21 November)
Mr. Dickie

Monday, December 1, 2008

Electronics Phobia

Do you want to limit the scope of the problems you have to deal with? Stop taking inventory of the problems of everyone you meet. Instead, take your own inventory. Then focus on trying to improve yourself. (Mr. Dickie after Courage to Change, 24 Nov 2008)

I'm willing to accept that something is not right. (Iyanla Vanzant, Faith in the Valley, p. 346)

When you let go of what is not working, you will make room for what is going to work. (Iyanla Vanzant, Faith in the Valley, p. 355)

  • My electronics phobia is working full time. I left the computer on all night because I didn't want to deal with the possibility that the thing wouldn't boot up this morning. That worked. I woke up in the middle of the night. I read from the books I read daily and listened to the new Sansa MP3 player. At one point it shut itself off. For several minutes I thought I wasn't going to be able to get it to come back on. I wonder what that's all about. It would be pretty funny if it stops working since I went to the trouble of printing out the twenty-six page manual and reading it yesterday.
  • Strange isn't it, the more cars, toys and appliances we own the more problems we bring into our lives. They are fun while they work and a pain in the neck when they don't.

Mr. Dickie

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Get Ready for Computer Disaster

Do you want to limit the scope of the problems you have to deal with? Stop taking inventory of the problems of everyone you meet. Instead, take your own inventory. Then focus on trying to improve yourself. (Mr. Dickie after Courage to Change, 24 November 2008)

People very often do not accept the truth, because they do not like the form in which the truth is presented to them. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 2 May)

... people who are the most happy and the most content have learned not to become angry or resentful about what's not right in their lives or about what's missing in their lives. (Tereas Ann Willis, It's All Good, 20 November)

  • I don't trust electrical appliances, especially personal computers. Everyday we are just one flip of a switch away from disaster. I was reminded this morning when I tried to boot the laptop computer. All I got was a blank "blue" screen. The dreaded "blue" screen monster. After about thirty minutes of trying "this and that" the problem went away. I have enough experience with malfunctioning computers to know the problem didn't go away for good. The prospect of buying a new computer and getting some software loaded and dealing with Windows Vista is daunting. How did we ever let ourselves become married to these machines?
  • Still on the subject of electric toys, I bought a SanDisk, 2GB, Sansa Clip MP3 player. I loaded about one hundred songs on the player and then went for an hour walk yesterday. I noticed that one or two songs didn't seem to load properly. At the end of the day I was still trying to find all of them and delete them from the player.
  • While out walking I confirmed that another house in "the hood" is using a generator. This is the second place where I've seen this happen. This isn't good.
  • Melva and I spent a couple of hours yesterday working in the flower garden getting one section ready for winter. A week or two ago I asked one of the neighbors if he wanted a job helping us. Maybe we couldn't agree on an hourly rate. He never got back to me. Funny how people who don't have work still don't want work when it is offered.

Mr. Dickie

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Gratitude is our most direct line to God and the angels. If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for. The more we seek gratitude, the more reason the angels will give us for gratitude and joy to exist in our lives. (Terry Lynn Taylor in Thinking Outside the Church, by Jennifer Leigh Selig, p. 237)
  • We went out and joined the shopping madness yesterday afternoon. We went to the Towne Center mall at Bowie, Maryland where we shopped at Macy's and Sears. I didn't realize there's a Ritz Camera store there until we got back home. So much for good planning.
  • In the evening I discovered that the football game between Nebraska and Colorado was on TV. I read the wrong Saturday and Sunday schedule in The Post. I watched the end of the game. It was close. Nebraska finally pulled off the win. The ending was exciting.
  • During the week somebody stole four, very expensive, "En Vogue" wheels and tires from the white Cadillac of one of my neighborhood friends who lives at the bottom of the hill. They crooks put the car up on blocks and broke the four locks on the tires. Previously someone broke the windshield out on one of the two cars of his next door neighbor. It's a grim situation! Everytime someone perpetuates a crime against one of us we are tested, especially at this time of thanksgiving.
Mr. Dickie

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given to you.
(Sarah Ban Breathnach, in Thinking Outside the Church by Jennifer Leigh Selig, p. 238)

  • At four o'clock yesterday afternoon we went to Cyndi's apartment for our Thanksgiving meal. Melva furnished some of the food and Cyndi furnished the rest. We arrived just before the start of the rather one-sided football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks. Dallas was just too good. Everything on the table was delicious. We waited until after the game to eat the pumpkin pie. I asked Melva and Cyndi to take some photographs of be since I was wearing a long sleeved shirt and tie. I also took several shots of Melva. Maybe I'll post the best one of each of us in the next couple of days.

  • This morning I brought up the box of Christmas cassette tapes and the box of Christmas CDs from the basement. There are probably enough albums to make it possible to only listen to each one once during the holiday season. When I was able to make my own CDs I put quite a few of my old LPs on CD. I think this will be the first year those have been available.

  • We wish everyone a calm holiday season in the days ahead.

Mr. Dickie

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.  (Melodie Beattie, in Thinking Outside the Church, by Jennifer Leigh Selig, p. 237)
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I live in the now - a time of spiritual growth and discovery. (Colleen Zuck, Daily Word, Day 271)

It is a great thing when two souls are united to support each other in their work, in their successes and misfortunes, until the last silent minutes of the last good-bye. (George Eliot in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 11 March)

A while back I received a notice from Microsoft that they are going to discontinue their "group" support before the end of the year. Months ago I created a group for my maternal Hagstrom/Carlson family. The idea never really got off the ground. There were a couple of reasons. The site must have some current activity to remain active until the end. I've decided to "let it go." I'll let them take it down early. Thanks to those who showed an interest.

Mr. Dickie

More Facebook Fun

As you acquire objects, and you use them, you should keep in mind that they are the products of people's work. When you damage or destroy these objects, you damage or destroy the toil, and this part of the life, of other people. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 25 March)

The thoughts that come often unsought, and, as it were, drop into the mind, are commonly the most valuable of any we have. (John Locke in At My Best, 13 November)

Yesterday I tried to learn more about how to use Facebook. I thought I included one "bird" photograph. I was surprised when the same photo appeared twice, in two different sizes. After I finished experimenting Facebook crashed when I signed on from AOL. I deleted the larger photograph and the problem seemed to disappear. There's always lots to learn and often it isn't easy to understand what causes the computer or Internet problems when something breaks. Often I think it is a fragile "house of cards" ready to fall down right in front of me. I suppose some find working on these problems challenging. For me they are an annoyance and cause quite a bit of anxiety.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, November 24, 2008


I am going to create a great day. (Iyanla Vanzant, Acts of Faith, 27 October)

Today, I will leave my troubles and hardships behind where they belong, in the past. (Soul Searching, p. 280)

[I'm] in the present with gratitude and healthy pride, choosing each day to affirm life. (Body, Mind, and Spirit, 12 November)

While it's true that, like the seasons, friendships come and go, a few stay near in the heart, if not in proximity. (Bernie Sheaban in the Summer section of Soul Searching, p. 198)

At the moment, our bodies are continually responding to the messages from our minds. So what messages is your mind giving your body? (Margo Adair in Soul Searching, p. 202)

That's all for today. Nothing else comes to mind that I want to write about.

Mr. Dickie

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Saw the Movie

All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit quiet in a room alone. (Blaise Pascal, in Courage to Change, 1 November)

I do not agree with the popular literature that says self-esteem is primarily a matter of mind-set, of attitude - that you can psyche yourself into peace of mind. Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way. (Stephen R. Covey, Daily Reflections For Highly Effective People, 30 October)

Yesterday afternoon the three of us went to see the new James Bond movie in Bowie, Maryland. I had a hunch that I might not like it. I should have followed my hunch and stayed home. There's basically no plot. The entire movie is a series of chases and fire ball explosions. When a scene didn't have much going on in it they used annoying flashing images to convey a sense of action. And of course the sound track was blaring, to the point of causing deafness, during the entire movie. Sometimes the characters moved from one geographic location to another with no indication how they got from one place to another. I think I could recommend the movie to 13 or 14 year old boys. The rest of us ought to see some other movie or stay home. Maybe I'm just too old to enjoy the kind of movies that are made nowadays.

Mr. Dickie

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Red "X"

My memories are precious because they belong to me. Today I'll take a minute to reflect on something pleasant from myt childhood [or my life]. (Soul Searching, p.; 263)

My sense of humor blesses me with a positive, lighthearted approach to life. (Colleen Zuck, et al., Daily Word For Healing, pl. 260)

I will be proud of all my accomplishments (minor and major) this past year, and grateful to God. If I can't think of an accomplishment, I will be grateful for simply making it through the year. (Soul Searching, p. 312)

On Thursday I went to the computer club meeting at the Bowie Senior Center. I thought I'd finally learned how to fix a problem with graphic displays from the Internet. The most curious manifestation of the problem occurs when I am using Facebook. Sometimes images that I've seen before disappear and the little box with the red "X" appears. Because I use AOL to access the Internet there are two ways to sign on to Facebook. I can either sign on from AOL or while running AOL I can also invoke the Internet Explorer 6.0. At the meeting I learned how to set security with Internet Explorer. I thought this would be the answer to the problem. Apparently it wasn't. I did learn that I can "right click" on the red "X" to cause the image to display. That seems to work every time. A couple of years ago I had this problem with the homepage of one of the Monroe County, Ohio genealogy websites. I worked with the webmaster for a while trying to understand the problem. We never did get it resolved.

Mr. Dickie

Friday, November 21, 2008

Life's Journey

To go on your life's journey, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. (after Family Feelings by Vanceburg and Silverman, 20 November)

Yesterday afternoon I went to the computer club at the Bowie Senior Center. The speaker was Steve Deming a Microsoft employee. He's a very good speaker and quite well informed. The meeting ran long because the audience had so many questions they wanted to ask.

I didn't post to this blog yesterday.

It's snowing in Annapolis, Maryland today. We seldom get snow before Thanksgiving. Does this mean we are going to have a long winter? How can it be so cold, when our leaders keep talking about global warming?

Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Take a piece of paper and write down all the wonderful things that happened to you over the past year. They don't have to be earth-shattering, either. In fact, it's the little accomplishments that really mean the most and for which we need to be proud. (Soul Searching, p. 311)

I'm still trying to get things working with my Google blogs. The Email to Blogger doesn't seem to work correctly either. Some HTML code is generated that isn't accepted when I click the "publish" button. This morning I tried sending the post and saving it for later editing. That didn't help.

AOL sent me a reminder this morning that they will discontinue the Photo service at the end of December. The free virus scan was dropped this week. It looks like they are determined to gut the service.

Sometimes I think it might be better if the programmers would just "let well enough alone." Constant changes and improvements often lead to serious problems and much time spent by consumers in trying to figure out what to do.

Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Being Centered

Just as clay has to be kept in the center of the [potter's] wheel so the pot will be symmetrical, we, too, have to be centered in our own lives to keep from being off-balance. (Soul Searching, p. 293)

I'm having trouble posting to my Google blog. I found a sheet I printedout in July with instructions on how to post to the blog using Email. I'm going to refresh my memory today with this test posting. Speaking of memory, it's a bit troubling that I had to find the sheet I printed out in order to refresh my memory that Email can be used for posting. I'm going to send a photograph along with the posting. The photograph goes along as an attachment.

It's been cold and windy all day. This afternoon we had some large snowflakes for a while. Yesterday there was snow on the ground in western Maryland.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, November 17, 2008

Some Thoughts

Meditation is the spiritual way to turn my thoughts away from whatever is troubling me. It is a lift, a refreshment. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 10 November)

I have the power to change my beliefs, my thoughts, and my experiences. (At My Best, 10 November)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Life Principles

Even in the midst of people or circumstances that seem to ignore the principles [of life], we can be secure in the knowledge that principles are bigger than people or circumstances, and that thousands of years of history have seen them triumph and again. Even more important we can be secure in the knowledge that we can validate them in our own lives by our own experience. (Stephen R. Covey, Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People, 15 November)

Google blogs is acting up this morning making it difficult to post.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Your Life

When you appeared in this world, you cried, and all the people around you rejoiced. You have to live your life in such a way that when you leave this world, you will rejoice, and all the people around you will cry. (Indian Wisdom, in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 12 March)

Yesterday we enjoyed looking at all of the new photos from Panama. Vanessa sent photos via Email. Alfonso and Jorge posted photos to Facebook.

Melva and I went to a church Christmas Bazaar in Greenbelt. She made several items, two bags, and an apron. She donated other items they could sell.

Last night I looked at the Google Sites feature to see if I could use it. I couldn't see any way to upload to the "site." I'll need to do further study. Apparently you are supposed to use their editor to create the pages "on the fly." That probably won't work for genealogy.

Mr. Dickie
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Certain Limit

Mr. Dickie at his computer table.

There is a certain limit to the appropriate length of any time in this world. Just as the fruits and vegetables are limited by the seasons of the year, everything should have it's beginning, its life, and its ending, after which it should pass away. Wise people willingly submit to this order. (Marcus Tullius Cicero in A Calendar of Wisdom, by Leo Tolstoy, 3 April)

Yesterday my doctor's office called with the message that the stress test didn't reveal any heart issues. Now it is time to set up the annual follow-up test at the Washington Hospital Center. That one requires many trips to the hospital and takes most of a week.

Yesterday we received a first Email message from Vanessa in Panama. She sent three photographs in a Zip file. I also noticed that Alfonso posted new photos to his Facebook account. We are always grateful for the blessing of the Internet which has enhanced our ability to stay in touch with family and friends.

Melva had to take out the bobbin parts from her new sewing machine when a needle broke. She gave me the challenge of putting the four pieces back into the machine. I didn't see a diagram in the manual. There was an exploded diagram on the door into the place where the pieces belong. It took me about ten minutes to get everything back together. As I get older fixing things I don't understand seems to be more and more difficult. I always feel lucky when I'm able to to do it.

Mr. Dickie
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Thursday, November 13, 2008


Photo: Mr. Dickie

Those who own land in amounts larger than that which is needed to feed their own families can be treated as being quilty of causing poverty of many other people. (A Calendar of Wisdom, Leo Tolstoy, 23 March)

Alter your position and you will alter your perspective ... (Neil Wilson in His Passion, Day 265)

Yesterday AOL announced that they will discontinue their XDrive service in the middle of January. By the time they get done removing the free features from the service there won't be much left. I experimented with this service but never really made much use of it. So far I've found that most of the time it is difficult for others to gain access to the files that one posts.

Yesterday I underwent a stress test. From my personal perspective everything went well. I didn't experience any distress while on the treadmill. One of the technicians did indicate that some heart issues were evident from the machine readings. He said that I might have had them since before the by-pass surgery.

Mr. Dickie
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pick Yourself Up

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Do not despair. Do not be disappointed if you see that you cannot accomplish all the good which you would like to accomplish. If you fall, try to stand up; try to overcome the obstacle before you. Get to the heart of the matter, to the essense of things. (Marcus Aurelius in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 27 March)

Yesterday we went to the Veteran's Day Half-Price Sale at the thrift shop on New Hampshire Avenue. We each found a nice quilting book. I bought a Diana Krall CD that I'll probably give to one of my neighbors. I bought the May 2008 issue of PC World. It was a good joke on me. When I got home I discovered that the cover article had been removed from the middle of the magazine.
This week I have two appointments at the doctor. I'm taking care of some routine maintenance. Today I'm going to have a stress test. I'll be there about three hours.
We are going to establish Email contact with Vanessa, one of Melva's nieces.
Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Something Wrong

Photo: E.C. Henthorn (Mr. Dickie's First Birthday. The photo is glued to a piece of masonite that Dad then cut out. There's a little stand he made for it.)

There is something wrong with the creation of this world because the rich people think that they are the benefactors of the poor, but in fact those rich are fed and dressed by the work of these poor and live in luxury created for them by the poor. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 19 March)

Today we remember the thousands of Veterans who served this country. May those departed Rest in Peace and may those still living be honored and blessed for their service.

Mr. Dickie
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Square One

It's humiliating to face the fact that I've messed up yet another time, to go back to square one and try again. (Soul Searching, p. 183)

We put out some suet for the woodpeckers this morning. We hadn't provided any for some time. Yesterday I stopped at Loew's to buy six blocks of the stuff. It's always fun to see how long it takes the birds to notice.

Mr. Dickie
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Sunday, November 9, 2008


Photo: Mr. Dickie (Our parakeet, "Perky" in the kitchen at Wichita, KS about 50 years ago.)

Never postpone a good deed which you can do now, because death does not choose whether you have or haven't done the things you should have done. Death waits for nobody and nothing. It has neither enemies, nor friends. (Indian Wisdom in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 12 March)

It's another beautiful fall day. This year the leaves aren't showing as much red as they have in the last couple of years. There's still plenty of color, all different shades of yellow, orange and brown with a little red thrown in for good measure.

Mr. Dickie
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Maryland Flag Kaliedoscope

Photo: Mr. Dickie (Maryland Flag and tree kaliedoscope)

When considering the future remember that all situations unfold as they do regardless of how we feel about them. (Epictetus in Instant Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan, 5 November)

I didn't get around to posting this entry until after supper. I'm listening to a CD of Spanish music that my friend Tom gave me while I was visiting in Wichita.

Most of the leaves fell from our dogwood and crepe myrtle in the front yard. It's time to do the clean up.

Today we went to the annual sale at a Catholic church on Berwyn Road in College Park. We always like going to this sale. I bought a Louise Hay book that I once checked out and read. I bought a boxed set of three cassette tapes by Neal Diamond and three VHS tapes of his concerts. The VHS tapes cost me ten cents each and the cassette tapes cost fifty cents. We also went to the sale at the community center on Goodluck Road. We both talked to a friend we made when we used to set up a table at the Methodist Church in College Park. She's still selling on EBay and doing well.

Mr. Dickie
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Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday in Landover, Maryland

If I am caught in unpleasant circumstances, I can come up with creative ways to turn them around. (Soul Searching, p. 237)

The Washington Post printed an extra 300,000 copies of the November 5, 2008 issue of the paper. All copies sold out. Cyndi left a message asking us to save our copy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


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In my own home and community there are cherished family and friends who are examples of God's grace in action. (Colleen Zuck, Daily Word, Day 248)

Perseverance. Your own built-in taskmaster. The thing that makes you stick with a job until it's done. (Soul Searching, p. 206)

Nothing stays the same. Everything is in a state of constant change. Life comes and life goes. Houses are built and torn down. New technology comes and becomes old. We experience some good and some bad. We were born and became caught up in all of it and then one day we've completed all of our own changes and we are no more.

Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our Sympathy

If we constantly compare ourselves to others and carry around an imaginary scorecard, we will never be satisfied with ourselves. (Body, Mind, and Spirit, 31 October)

Everybody needs his memories, they keep the wolf of insignificance from the door. (Saul Bellow in Soul Searching, p.ll 228)

Last night, about 10:00 p.m., we received the sad news that our next door neighbor, Eddie Robison, passed away earlier in the evening. We were very fortunate to have such a good neighbor for so many years. Our sympathy goes out to Barbara, family and friends. Eddie will be missed by so many of us. May he rest in peace.

Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

If the resolution we're about to make is highly charged with anger, resentment or bitterness, it would be wise to hold back until the hysteria has subsided and we have taken time to consider all the factors calmly. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 29 October)

Today is probably the most important election in my lifetime. I remember when John Kennedy ran for president. Then there was much discussion about whether a Catholic should hold the office. The line at my polling place was all inside the school building. I was back at our house about an hour and a half after I left.

I'm thinking about what I will give up if I am no longer a paying member of AOL. At this point I don't think I'll give up very much. I think I'll no longer be able to use the two genealogy chatrooms. Since genealogy is seldom discussed in either room it won't be much of a loss. I can use the time I've been spending in those chatrooms for something more productive.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, November 3, 2008


During the afternoon I downloaded and installed the free version of NetZero. It runs using Internet Explorer. I was able to get signed on the first time I tried. I accessed and updated Mr. Dickie's Blog on Google using NetZero. I was also able to get signed on to AOL where I checked the Email.

I don't know anything about NetZero and little about Internet Explorer. I'm sure it will take some time to understand how things work. The big question will be whether I can get along with only ten hours of access time per month. Time will tell.

I think this is a good first step towards shutting down our paid account on AOL.

Stay tuned.

Mr. Dickie

Wake-Up Call

Try to have an unequivocal willingness to do whatever is necessary to maintain your physical and emotional well-being. (Adapted from A Time to Be Free, 27 October)

Yesterday I had another wake-up call. When I opened the top of my laptop I heard the sound of breaking plastic. The righthand hinge on the screen broke. Good grief! Needless to say that event got my attention. I think I can continue to use the laptop if I can just remember to leave the open screen alone.

I talked with my daughter about NetZero. She used to use that service to get on AOL when we both wanted to be online at the same time. They offer free dial-up connection to the Internet if you can get by with less than ten hours a month. If I don't go to the AOL genealogy chat I might be able to get by with only ten hours. I'm considering trying it out before we tell AOL we aren't going to pay them anymore for access to the Internet. If I can get NetZero to work I think I will still be able to access AOL and my Google blogs.

I didn't post anything to my blogs yesterday. I wasn't inspired.

Mr. Dickie

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What You Want

Let's Take a Walk
You can't have what you want
Until you want what you have.
(Horace Harris in Acts of Faith)
29 October
About 6:00 p.m. last night I checked to see if AOL had removed the links to my website and the journals. They had! In a way it is somewhat of a relief to no longer have queries about the information on the website. Long ago I'd grown weary of responding.
Mr. Dickie

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Still There

If I learn nothing more ... than to keep hands off what is not truly my business, this alone will lighten and brighten my life. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 27 October)

I am learning to let go of my certainty about what other people should do. (Courage to Change, 29 October)

The first thing I did today when I signed on to the Internet was to check to see if AOL took down my website. It's still there! I expect it will disappear sometime today. It's an opportunity for me to practice accepting change.

This morning there was frost on the grass when I went I put the trash can out at the curb. There are many signs already that we are going to have an early winter.

Last night I watched a very nice show on PBS about the differences between humans and apes. The most amazing thing was that one of the apes could understand about three thousand words in English. They proved this by having the human being hold a welders mask in front of her face when she talked. If you get a chance to view this National Geographic supported program I recommend it.

Mr. Dickie

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Push and Shove

Some folks worry and putter, push and shove, hunting little molehills to make big mountains of. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 26 Oct)

Saying yes to a commitment, a relationship, a goal, or a new way of life is just the beginning. Then comes the day-to-day work and dedication to it. (Daily Word, Colleen Zuck, Day 238)

Now AOL has announced that they will discontinue their Photo albums at the end of the year. I've noticed that they haven't deceased the price for those of us who are so stupid we continue to pay them for the service.

Yesterday a new friend called about my webpage about the Joseph Conger family. I was surprised when I realized that this file was stored in the webspace of my daughter. I'd forgotten this piece of my website. There had been 5,757 visits to this page according to the visit counter. When I went to download it I discovered that I'd only uploaded one file to this space. I'm glad I found out in time. Today is probably the last day that my AOL Journals and the website will be available. I enjoyed the fun while it lasted.

Mr. Dickie

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some Peace Will Come - David Mallett

I know these are times of trouble
Trouble is always around
I see that old haunted look on your face
And I can tell there's a lot comin' down
Keep it together
Nothin's forever
Except for that place in the sun
Wait a little longer
And when you are stronger
I know some peace will come
I know some peace will come

These are the times they were talkin' about
When they told you life ain't always fair
But when you are yearning and burning with doubt
Just thank the Lord you got someone who cares
Keep it together
Nothin's forever
Except for that place in the sun
Wait a little longer
And when you are stronger
I know some peace will come
I know some peace will come

Your days are filled with longing
Broken up by a memory or two
I know that good times won't be long in coming
To someone with such good intentions as you
Keep it together
Nothin's forever
Except for that place in the sun
Wait a little longer
And when you are stronger
I know some peace will come
I know some peace will come

(Song written and sung by David Mallett)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Photo: Ranger School, probably at Eglin AFB, Florida, in 1962. That's me in the back, on the left. My Ranger buddy, Lonnie Bartholomew, is kneeling in the front. Beside me, I think, is Ranger McGrew.

It cannot be your duty to do anything you do not have time to do. (Emmett Fox, in Body, Mind, and Spirit, 25 October)

Finish each day and be done with it ... (Ralph Waldo Emerson in Body, Mind, and Spirit, 10 October)

Last night they tried to play what could have been the last game of the World Series. The game was played in Philadelphia. There weather was terrible. It was cold, windy and heavy rain was falling. They suspended the game at before the bottom half of the sixth inning after Tampa Bay managed to tie the game at 2-2. They will try to finish the game tonight. Because this could have been the deciding game of this year's World Series I wonder why they even started the game in the first place.

Melva picked up her sewing machine which she took to Crofton, MD for repair yesterday. Something broke in the bobbin case.

Mr. Dickie
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Monday, October 27, 2008


The truth is that any activity which calms the body and focuses the mind can be helpful in achieving a meditative state. Any endeavor which keeps our attention tranquilly fixed in the present moment can provide the basis for meditation. (At My Best, 10 October)

The two trees across the street are both displaying various shades of orange. It's quite a view from our living room window.

Mr. Dickie
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

More Internet News

Photo: Corel

You can't know what kind of a person someone is by how they look. (Teresa Ann Willis, It's All Good! 21 Sep)

Each day brings situations that require me to make decisions. (Colleen Zuck, Daily Word, Day 211)

Yesterday MicroSoft sent a message announcing that they will drop support of Groups in February 2009. They offered a way to move the group to a service called, Multiply. A few months ago I set up a family group for my Carlson/Hagstrom family using MicroSoft. The group never really caught on. I'm going to take my time deciding what to do next. Perhaps it's time to shutdown my group.

I watched some of the World Series game last night. They were talking about the catcher for the Phillies, Carlos Ruiz. He was born in David, Chiriqui, Panama on 22 January 1979. Melva's hometown, Volcan, is in the province of Chriqui. We correspond with Melva's niece, Karen Ruiz. I sent her an Email asking if her family is related.

Mr. Dickie
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Those Were the Days

Photo: Mr. Dickie (Another picture I took over 50 years ago. I don't remember if I was in Kansas or Nebraska at the time.)

... some of life's most valuable insights are discovered during difficult times. (David Mann, His Passion, Day 204)

Yesterday Melva forgot something she needed for her quilting class in Bowie. We talked on the phone and decided that I should bring it to her. I hooked up my portable CD player in the minivan and enjoyed listening to the Joni Mitchell album - Blue during the drive to Bowie. After I made the delivery I decided to go to Allen Pond to take a walk. I don't think I've ever been there before. I wore the pedometer and my headset radio. I walked four laps around the pond in an hour. The peodometer registered four miles. I enjoyed watching the ducks, geese and people. By looking very carefully I even spotted a gray (blue) heron standing very still near the dam that forms the lake.

I think I can quickly rebuild some parts of my genealogy website on the Google Group. I tested to see if links on a page posted to the Pages area of the group will work. They did. The only problem was the button images didn't display. I'll have to upload a button to see if that fixes the problem. If it doesn't the buttons can easily be removed and the page will work just fine. I'm reminding myself to "take it easy." There's no need to panic. Having to do something different will probably be a blessing in the long run. Some things may even improve. I'm just glad I wasn't running a business using the AOL webspace. Then it would be panic time.

Mr. Dickie
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Thinking of What I'm Doing

I will withdraw my mind from what others do, and think of what I am doing. I will not react to challenging words and actions. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 23 Sep)

For rest from the cares of life you can turn to God each day in prayer and meditation. (Alan L. Roeck, Look to This Day, 25 Sep)

I worked yesterday trying to contact someone who can work with me to change a link from a RootsWeb webpage to one of my webpages. At the end of the month this link will break when AOL drops support for my website. The Email addresses of the two contacts mentioned on the page were out of date. I sent a message off to someone else who might know who's responsible for this aspect of Monroe County, Ohio genealogy and history. I think this is the last thing I need to do to get ready for the shutdown of my website. I suppose there will be other, unknown, links to my webpages that will break. I'll just deal with those if someone contacts me.

Mr. Dickie
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Genealogy Projects

Photo: Mr. Dickie (I took this photo in Nebraska about fifty years ago. In those days I took black and white photographs and did my own developing and print making)

When I am faced with a problem that seems impossible to solve, when I feel trapped in a situation and can see no way out, let me ask myself whether I am standing in my own light. I must find the vantage point where I can most clearly see my difficulty as it is; then answers will come. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 23 October)

Yesterday I worked, off and on, doing the tasks necessary to get ready for the end of the month when AOL will drop support for my genealogy website and for my journals. I made good progress. I decided that I'd download all of the webpage files one at a time rather than take the time to install and learn how to use a program that would bulk download. By the time I shutdown the computer at the end of the day all of the files from my three-piece website were residing on the new thumb drive I bought for the purpose. This means that I will still be able to share something if someone asks me for a page that they viewed when the website was working.

There's one more project that must be done. That isn't going so well. There is a Monroe County, Ohio webpage that points to a Monroe County, Ohio History webpage that I provided. I haven't been able to find a contact address that works. It looks like no one is responsible for maintaining the webpage where the link to mine will break at the end of the month. I've written to someone else who might know who to contact.

Another project I finished was to install buttons on my AOL toolbar that take me to all of my Google blogs and to Facebook.

Mr. Dickie
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Technology Challenges

An active mind and an active physical routine are part of a healthy fulfilling life. Yet the most important ingredient to health of mind and body is to be active spiritualy.

I'm disappointed that the Craig MP3 player I received as a gift broke. I hated to tell Cyndi what happened. I kept the bubble pack which will probably be needed to get a replacement. We don't have a sales receipt because Cyndi won the device in a contest. One of the short-comings of owning many toys is that we have to spend lots of time learning how to use them and when they don't work it's always time consuming to take care of the problem. Perhaps that's why we've become a throw-away society.

I ran into a problem with the Obituary blog I created on Google. During the process I noticed that I got a message about a "certificate" which I didn't understand. I didn't know what to do, so I just proceeded to the next step. Apparently the folks at Google detected something wrong with the blog. They sent me a message last night telling me to verify that I am a living human being. I went through the steps to get the blog unlocked this morning. I hope that's all that's needed. I hope some hacker didn't somehow gain access to my blog during the creation process. Good grief!

Last night I did some research trying to decide how I am going to go about downloading the webpages from my genealogy website. I need a way to do the downloads in bulk. Otherwise it is going to be very tedious to download all those files one at a time. I'm focused on two possibilities. Both require installation of a program and then going through the learning curve. There are only eight days left until AOL drops the bomb on us and turns off support. One of my friends, from a genealogy chatroom, set up his own website to deal with the discontinued support. It will cost $72.00 a year. He paid for three years at once. I'd be afraid to lock myself into something new for three years.

This morning I'm listening to one of the CDs I brought back with me from my Nebraska and Kansas trip. I'm using the Compaq computer that Cyndi gave me to play the CD. That's about all I have done with that computer.

I'll certainly be relieved when I have put these time-consuming technical challenges behind.

Mr. Dickie
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mr. Dickie's New Google Blogs

For a few months I have been keeping a personal journal (Mr. Dickie's Blog) on Google. I've been pleased with how the service works.

I wrote earlier that AOL will discontinue Journal support on October 31, 2008. Google agreed to move AOL journals to their service. They created an easy procedure to facilitate the transfer.

I'm pleased to announce that I have successfully moved my three AOL journals to Google. As of October 21st I will no longer post new information to any of the AOL journals. Certain housekeeping tasks remain to be accomplished before the three new Google blogs will be configured to my satisfaction. Please be patient as I go through that process.

I'm thankful that Google was willing to support AOL users by providing support for our journals.

My four Google blogs are as follows:

Personal Blog:

Arrow Prayers: (976 entries)

Henthorn Genealogy News: (130 entries)

Henthorn Obituaries: (50 entries)

Mr. Dickie

Friday, October 17, 2008

MP3 Music

Photo: Lt. Dick Henthorn, U.S. Army Infantry, Company "B" near Munsan-ni, Korea 1962-63)

Each new day is an opportunity to look for and find blessings. (Daily Word, Colleen Zuck, Day 212)

My daughter, Cyndi, gave me a Craig MP3 music player. For the last several days I've been learning how to use it. I installed Express Rip on my computer to convert music from my CD collection into MP3 files. I used the music management software that came with the player to move the MP3 files from the computer to the player. The player has 256MB of storage. Apparently that's enough room to hold about 105 songs. I learned how to turn on the music "shuffle" option. I've taken two walks in the neighborhood while listening to music I put on the player.

I also hooked up my old amplified speakers to the laptop computer. This allowed me to listen to the MP3 files I stored on the hard drive. I also put one music file on my thumb drive and tested to see if I could store the music on that device. That worked. I went out and bought another 4GB thumb drive. I'm going to use it for two projects. I plan to put my MP3 music on the thumb drive and I plan to download as many of my genealogy files from the AOL website as I can before the end of the month.

There's a tape cassette player in my minivan. I bought an adapter for the tape player that allows me to play music from my portable CD player. That didn't work too well because a rough road would make the CD skip. I decided to connect the new MP3 player to the adapter to find out if that would work. It worked fine. Rough roads didn't effect the player at all.

Many months ago I created one MP3 CD with 132 songs on it along with the music from four shows that I recorded from television. I put a few songs from the CD onto the MP3 player before I filled it up.

I think the new car can play MP3 files recorded on a CD. I still need to test that.

So many toys and so little time.

Mr. Dickie
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