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