Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The World Isn't Working

Photo: Aztech New Media

If it is a quiet day, trust the stillness. If it is a day of action, trust the activity. If it is time to wait, trust the pause. If it is time to receive that which we have been waiting for, trust that it will happen clearly and with power, and receive the gift in joy. (Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, 29 June)

Watch what you say and only affirm those things you want to bring into your life and your world. Your words are very powerful. (Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Day 185)

The only thing that will keep you stuck in the past with old experiences, useless emotions, and worn-out habits is your mind. (Iyanla Vanzant, Faith in the Valley, p. 193)

I can make choices that are good for me, even if they threaten my safe routines. (Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, One More Day, 13 June)

The world isn't working. Things are unraveling, and most of us know it. (Jim Wallis in Nourishing the Soul, p. 252)

  • The year is half over. It's time to take stock to see if my reading program is on schedule. I've finished several books that I started reading at the beginning of the year. I continue to read each day from two stacks of books that I keep beside the bed. I try to read at least one page each day from each book. I'm happy to report that I'm currently on schedule and that I expect to finish all of the books on the last day of the year.
  • I'm trying to buy the three ingredients of the plant mix I make up several times each year for the plants that Melva and I like to grow. Yesterday we went to three places looking for the vermiculite, the perlite and the spangham peat moss. No one had any peat moss. I paid too much to buy small bags of the other two ingredients. I suppose I'll need to go to the Benhke Nursery in Beltsville, MD before I find what I need.
  • Because of my interest in genealogy I've been thinking about the three children that the death of Michael Jackson left orphans. Now these children will never have the opportunity to ask Michael Jackson about their parentage. In my opinion it's highly unlikely that he left anything in writing to explain his thinking and how they came to be conceived. How will this affect them as they live their lives? Will they ever really know the truth about their parentage? Are they white, black or mixed? Does it matter? I think it will.
Mr. Dickie

Monday, June 29, 2009

1957 Jukebox

Photo: Aztech New Media

Chronic dissatisfaction indicates that we have not turned our will and our lives over to God's care, but are still trying to run the show egotistically. (Food For Thought, 16 June)

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

It would be helpful to see that ... [others] are working through their "stuff" in the same way you are working through your stuff. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today!, 24 May)

Whatever is being done, accustom yourself as much as possible to inquire, "Why is this man doing this thing?" But begin with yourself, and examine yourself first. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, X,37)

When you run into people who are perpetually miserable, your job is to pray for them, hold them in the light of your mind, send them lots of love and ... get out of the way! (Iyanla Vanzant, Faith in the Valley, p. 178)

You should live so that other people think well of you and you think well of youself. (Lucy Malory in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 25 June3)

  • My friend Bill, in Florida, sent me the URL for UpChucky.com. This site has lots of interesting things to play with. I was most interested in the "Jukebox." I graduated from high school in 1957 so I tried out the jukebox for that year. There are twenty songs that play via streaming audio. I installed links to the 1957 jukebox on the two class of 1957 groups I belong to on Facebook.

Mr. Dickie

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What Do You Make of That?

Photo: Aztech New Media

We all need to interact with people we might prefer to avoid, but we don't have to force ourselves through long term or intimate relationships with these people. (Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, 20 June)

When you begin to focus on yourself, everyone else will start to look pretty good. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! 15 June)

There comes a point in our lives when we must examine what we are doing and ask ourselves, "Why? What would a person who does this need to believe in order to justify doing it?" (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! 2 June)

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

I will set aside a time each day to center my thoughts ... I will take them one at a time and observe how constant study changes my point of view. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 14 June)

  • Some reports say that the doctor who was present when they called 911 to get an ambulance for Michael Jackson had moved into the house a couple of weeks ago. What do you make of that?
Mr. Dickie

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Finishing Our Work

Photo: Aztech New Media

The main point in the game of life is to have fun. We are afraid to have fun because somehow that makes life too easy. (Sammy Davis, Jr. in Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant, 19 June)

The only way to keep calm and rational in this troubled society is to have deep inward serenity. The person thus equipped sees spiritual things as the true realities and material things as fleeting. (Look to This Day, Alan L. Roeck, 21 June)

To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living. (Henri Frederic Amiel, in One More Day by Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, 7 June)

But a brief existence is common to all things, and yet you pursue and avoid things as if they would be eternal. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, X, 34)

There is no way any of us can ever finish all our work. There will always be hundreds of hours worth of "shoulds." (Alexandra Stoddard, The Art of the Possible, p. 238)

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Best Years

Photo: Mr. Dickie (U.S. Capitol from the Library of Congress, 24 Jun 2009)

Those who give cheerfully give twice - once to others, once to themselves. (Anonymous, in 365 Ways to Change Your Life by Suzanne Somers, p. 141)

No longer talk about the kind of man a good man ought to be, but be one. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, X: 16)

Your parents and grandparents had people they could look up to. (Andrew Frothingham and Tripp Evans, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, 3 June)

Almost anything you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. (Mohandas Ganhi in Touchstones, 3 June)

With our regular pattern of taking our inventory, praying, and meditating, we are developing a relationship with ourselves which builds characters and maturity. (Touchstones, 21 May)

Perhaps my best years are gone ... but I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now. (Samuel Beckett in The Art of the Possible by Alexandra Stoddard, p. 228)

  • Yesterday I was able to walk for one hour at Schrom Park. I walked five laps which according to my pedometer is just under four miles.

  • In the afternoon I watched a free "on demand" episode of the Mr. Monk show on the Verizon FIOS. There are no commercials so it takes 47 minutes to watch one show. They make four shows available at a time. I hadn't seen the one I watched. This was the first time I watched anying on demand that lasted for more than a few minutes. Of course they charge a fee for most of the on demand programs. Movies cost $2.99 to $4.99 each. Cyndi told us she has been watching some pay for view movies on her cable service. Most of the video stores in our area are now closed.
Mr. Dickie

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Katy Culp's Retirement Luncheon

Photo: Mr. Dickie (Library of Congress - Jefferson Building, 24 Jun 2009)

Self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action, and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. (Reflections, 8 June)

Sometimes what we think is so impossible turns out to be possible after all. (K. O'Brien in One More Day by Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, 8 June)

The only way to create success or luck is to think, speak and act in ways that support ... [our goals]. (Iyanla Vanzant, Acts of Faith, 3 June)

Choice of attention - to pay attention to this and ignore that - is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences. (W.H. Auden in Touchstones, 18 June)

I can use ... greater faith to enhance and strengthen the quality of my life. (Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, One More Day, 18 June)

Perfection is a long way off, but improvement can be made to happen every day. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 18 June)

  • Yesterday I was too busy to write anything in my two active blogs. I spent the day at the Library of Congress attending the retirement luncheon for former co-worker, Katy Culp. We both worked for Dennis Chin for many years. About fifty people attended the meal at the Hunan across the street from the James Madison building. Nancy and Li-jen came from Pennsylvania. Katy's husband and daughters, Beth and Sarah were there. Al Banks, the new Director of ITS, spoke after we ate. Al worked for Dennis Chin as a programmer on the Bill Digest team that I managed. I had a great time visiting with old friends before, during and after the luncheon. Many of the folks I talked with I hadn't seen in several years. It was great to see them and do some catching up. I took the Orange Line of the subway downtown. I arrived home about 5:00 p.m. During the trip to town the subway train made several stops away from the stations. In light of the recent accident on the Red Line those pauses in the trip were rather disconcerting. I'll have to admit I made it a point to not ride in either the first or last cars.
  • I picked up a brochures about the subway SmarTrip card and one about the Library of Congress Credit Union's VISA card. Cyndi loaned me her SmatTip card for the trip. I thought I might need it to pay for parking at the New Carrollton station. I was ready to leave the house when Melva was ready to go to work. At the last minute I decided to ask her to drop me off at the station which is a mile from the house. On the way home in the afternoon I used the SmarTip card. I learned how to transfer money from several old cardboard fare cards to the plastic card and how to add money to the it. I also use the card to pay for my ride home and to pay for the bus ride up the hill from the station to our house. I don't know if I am supposed to return the card to Cyndi and buy one myself.
  • Jim, our neighbor across the street, put a lot of items on his carport yesterday for pickup today by the thrift store. This morning I took several items, left over from Melva's flea market outing, across the street to add them to Jim's contribution. We are both glad we don't have to confront the huge clean-out task that Jim is trying working on
Mr. Dickie.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What Did You Say?

Photo: Aztech New Media

It's difficult enough that "gay" doesn't mean "happy" anymore, and "straight" doesn't mean "honest", but now "bad" can mean "bad", or it can mean "good." So, if a kid says a CD is "bad" does he want it or not? Limit conversations with kids to questions that can be answered yes or no, or, more likely, uh-huh or nah. (Andrew Frothingham and Tripp Evans, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, 23 June)

My comment on the above. If your child says to you, "Mom and dad I want to be straight with you. I think it would be bad to go out with my gay friends on Saturday night." What should you reply? "Honestly we'd feel bad if you weren't happy. Have a nice time."

Yesterday about 5:00 p.m. there was a terrible subway accident here on the inbound Red line. One train was stopped waiting for a train to clear the Fort Totten station. Another train, coming up behind, from the Takoma station ran into the back of the stopped train and then climbed on top of the last car of the train that was stopped. At least seven were killed and more than seventy were sent to area hospitals. Our daughter, Cyndi, used the Red line for four days last week to go to work while her car was in the shop. We are grateful that one of the mechanics came in to finish the work on Saturday so she would have her car again on the day of the accident. I predict that the accident investigation will reveal two causes for the accident. First, they will say that the train operator was talking or texting on her cellphone. Then they will admit that the train was running on the automatic control system and that there might be a very slight, unproven, possibility that the control system failed. If I am right, maybe I should try to get a consulting job with the NTSB.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, June 22, 2009

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Photo: Aztech New Media (Hawaii)

Of all God's gifts, there is none for which we shall be so answerable as the gift of a child. (William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, p. 25)

To be alive is to have conflicts. We find outselves in disagreement with other people and in conflict with ourselves. Often, the things we want seem mutually exclusive, e. g. more money and more free time, more food and fewer pounds. (Food For Thought)

The harvest I reap is measured by the attitudes I cultivate. (Iyanla Vanzant, Acts of Faith, 9 June)

... those people who eschew modern electronics are either hermits, misanthropes, psychopaths, or Amish. (Andrew Frothingham and Tripp Evans, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, 13 June)

Whenever we choose a life-enhancing activity and perfrom it regularly until it becomes an ingrained habit, we are using our addictive tendencey to build ourselves up rather than tear ourselves down. (Food For Thought, 14 June)

... we .. know weakness: physical ailments, mental depression, emotional estrangements, spiritual apathies, griefs, disappointments, and persecutions. In times of weakness we need the help of the Spirit. (The Upper Room Disciplines - 2006, 2 June)

  • This morning I finished reading "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius. This 134 page book is often quoted in other books that utilize quotations. I starting reading the book at the beginning of the year and tried to read a page each day. I found that if my concentration wasn't sharp I had a hard time getting much out of what I was reading. This book was part of a 1945 Classics Club book which also has sections by "Lucian of Samosata, Skeptic" and "Justin Martyr, Christian."
Mr. Dickie

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Playing With Photos

Photo: Aztech New Media (Yosemite, CA)

I will not expect too much of myself, nor expect to accomplish my improvement all at once, nor without the help of my Higher Power. I must keep reminding myself to accept His help in all I am trying to do. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 21 June)

The achievement of freedom from fear is a lifetime undertaking, one that can never be wholly completed. When under heavy attack, acute illness, or in other conditions of serious insecurity, we shall all react to this emotion -- well or badly, as the case may be. Only the self-deceived will claim perfect freedom from fear. (As Bill Sees it, p. 263 in Daily Reflections, 21 June)

I will take time to clear my mind and focus on what is essential for today. I will release any unimportant thoughts. I will then allow myself to be guided toward the best action I can take for today. Regardless of how simple the answers may seem, I will listen without judgment. I will not take my thoughts for granted, for they may be my only guide. (Courage to Change, 21 June)

Another person's bounty reminds me that wonderful things can happen at any time to anybody. I will appreciate the many gifts I have been given. (Courage to Change, 18 June)

What happened yesterday does not have to happen today unless you believe it must. (Iyanla Vanzant, Faith in the Valley, p. 190)

My life is an unfolding journey of discovery, and I am continually learning more about myself and awakening to my spiritual identity. (Colleen Zuck, et al., Daily Word For Healing, p. 123)

  • Yesterday I didn't find time to post to my two Google blogs. We set up a table at the VFW flea market. About an hour after we set up there was a heavy downpour. All of the vendors, except one, quickly moved indoors. In spite of the rainy weather Melva still had fun and sold lots of plants and a few other items. We went out to eat a late lunch at the SamLina in Riverdale afterwards. I'll unload the minivan today.

  • The Thursday and Friday entries from Mr. Dickie's Blog didn't feed to the my Facebook notes. Once the feed is set up it's out of my control. I don't have any idea what went wrong. I suppose the feed will become operational again in due time.

  • Right now we have blue and pink hydrangeas in bloom, along with coneflowers, white daisies and a red flowering plant whose name slips my mind. We have about a dozen hydrangeas in our yard. All of them were grown by Melva from cuttings.

  • Last night I watched most of a very nice PBS show about Shirley Temple. I know I watched this program at least once before. It's a miracle that she survived all of the explotation by adults during her childhood. In a way this is a tribute to her parents and to her.

  • One time when I developed some film at WalMart I got a free program, Avinci, that makes a short movie from still photos. There can be six photos in each little movie. Once the movie is finished it's shared by sending an Email invitation to others. Last night I reviewed how this program works and created a movie with the iris photos I took this spring.

  • I found the website, Slide.com, and created another ten photo movie. I used the iris photos for this one too. I couldn't find any instructions about how the process worked. I just followed the instructions on the screen as best I could. At the end I noticed that it might be possible to post a link to the movie on Facebook. It worked! The first time I tried the show was in black and white. I tired again using a different template. The second time I didn't lose the color.

  • Several of us are questioning the usefulness of having a UserName URL for facebook. In my case I think I have set the privacy level so only those people who are my friends can see my Facebook postings. The UserName URL displays my profile photo and the thumbnail photos of some of my friends and an invitation to contact me after becoming a Facebook member. Maybe the main purpose of the new UserName feature is to direct more people to Facebook membership.

Mr. Dickie

Friday, June 19, 2009

Music News

Photo: Aztech New Media

If you are on the road to nowhere, find another road. (Ashanti Proverb in Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant, 7 June)

A shortcut is often the quickest way to some place you weren't going. (Classic Crossword Puzzles in Touchstones, 7 June)

If we do not think we have to be perfect, then we can accept our mistakes as learning experiences and be willing to try again. (Food For Thought, 4 June)

Every moment of your life writes a line for your obituary. Perhaps now is the time to consider how you are living and what you want to be said about you when you are not. Today I am devoted to writing a powerful history of myself and my life! (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! 10 May)
  • Yesterday I attended the computer club meeting. I talked to someone while I was using one of the two computers in the hallway. I invited him to attend the meeting and he accepted the invitation. One of the members demonstrated the robot he is building. It was amazing to see the robot stand up after he fell down. The talk was a big success.
  • I took the thumb drive, loaded with music in the WMA format, to the senior center. I spent about an hour using the public computer. I selected albums by Luis Miguel, Gloria Estefan and Gilberto Gil from the thumb drive. I think there were forty-one tracks. Once the music was selected I used Microsoft Media Player to burn all but four of the songs to two CDs. I was surprised when I realized that the songs from the three artists shuffled together. In the evening when I tested the CDs in the car I was surprised again. The format indicator said the CDs were in the CDA format. I thought they would be in the WMA format. This morning I tested one of the CDs using the CD player in the bedroom. This player only reads the CDA format. The music sounded great. I put one of the CDs in slot six of the car CD player so Melva will have new music. Because the computers at the senior center are newer than mine the Internet Explorer and the file managers look quite a bit different than what I'm used to. Now I need to understand what made the songs shuffle together and why they were converted from WMA to CDA format. At any rate I'm pleased with the progress I made and I'm looking forward to creating more CDs for Melva to listen to in the car.
  • In the evening I watched part of a very good PBS show about the trolley and overhead cable car (What are these called?) systems in Portland, OR. The program was particularly interesting because Cyndi and I used the trolley system to move around Portland when we were there.
Mr. Dickie

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Good Finale

Photo: Aztech New Media

I am thankful for the adversities which have crossed my path and taught me tolerance, perseverance, self-control and some other virtues I might never have known. (Anonymous in Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant, 8 June)

... I will use a spiritual patterm of living for the solution of all my problems. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 6 June)

Our existence is chained to our human limitations, but through meditation and prayer we transcend them to a point where we grasp a concept of a Supreme Being in our midst. (Alan L. Roeck, Look To This Day, 31 May)

Part of being able to make a good finale in your life is to accept that your mistakes have given you the wisdom you have now. (Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in Nourishing the Soul, p. 236)

  • Yesterday I moved some music files from my laptop computer to a 4GB thumb drive. I filled it up. I also loaded some of the music on my Oasis portable player. I wanted something new to listen to the next time I go for a walk.
  • This afternoon I'm planning to attend the Bowie Seniors Computer Club meeting. The topic is robots. I also want to use one of the public computers to see if I can write some music to a CD-R so Melva can listen to the music in the car.
  • I'm trying to help my neighbor, Jim, learn more about his new laptop computer. I'm reminded of how much work is involved to learn how to use these machines. I'm also reminded of how much I don't know. People with newer computers always have things they can do that I can't do on an older computer.

Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Today's quotations, with the exception of the last one, all came from the June 17th page in "A Calendar of Wisdom," by Leo Tolstoy.

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. (Anonymous)

The madness of contemporary war is justified by dynastic interest, common nationalism, European equilibrium, or ambitions. If there are ambitions in people, this is a very strange way to sustain it, with all the crimes which happen to people during war: destruction of homes, plunder, and mass murder. (Anatole France)

You ask me, is it necessary for civilized people to make war? And I tell you not only is it "already" unnecessary, but it was never necessary, and not sometimes but always it destroys the normal development of humanity, destroys justice, and stops progress. (Galston Mohk)

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. (Anonymous)

The reasons which governments give for wars are always screens, behind which lie completely different reasons and motives. (Anonymous)

If we are going to fight wars why is it necessary to write the Geneva Conventions to establish "rules of war" before hand? Wouldn't it make more sense to write the "rules of peace" and avoid war altogether? (Richard "Mr. Dickie" Henthorn, 17 Jun 2009)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Have Some Fun With Life

Photo: Aztech New Media

Today, I will have some fun with life, with recovery, with people, and with my day. (Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, 8 June)

... there is a big difference between loneliness and solitude. (Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in Nourishing the Soul, p. 235)

If we want to restore, maintain, and celebrate the good and meaningful things in life, we have to find the capacity to put them back into every aspect of our lives ... (Thomas M. Chappell in Nourshing the Soul, p. 203)

Character is developed by the daily discipline of duties done. (Alan L. Roeck, Look To This Day, Alan L. Roeck, 21 May)

Having boundaries doesn't complicate life; boundaries simply life. (Melody Beattie in Beyond Codependency found in The Language of Letting Go, 16 June)
  • Last night I visited the new webpages of the county library system again. In my opinion they paid a lot of money to buy something that isn't very user friendly. There don't seem to be any help screens. I managed to create a personal list and to post a couple of bibliographic records to the list. I think I have turned on the feature that will maintain a record of the books I check out. To test this I have to go to the library to check out something. There was one screen where there weren't any buttons to return to the previous screen. I had to use the browers "back" button. I created a toolbar icon for my personal page and placed it on the AOL toolbar.
  • I renewed by subscription to Smart Computing magazine and order a subscription for a friend. Anyone with a subscription has access to their extensive website and online versions of there four or five other magazines as well as back issues of SmartComputing. You can also request a daily Email which usually has three sections.
  • I placed the wireless phone I bought at a yard sale near my computer and hooked it to the phone line this morning. When Cyndi called I answered using this phone to find out whether I wasted my money or not. I didn't. It worked.
Mr. Dickie

Monday, June 15, 2009

The World is Waiting for You

Photo: Aztech New Media

If you have it to give, give it! If you know what to say, say it! If you know what needs to be done, do it! If there is some place you want to go, go now! If there is something you want to do, do it! What are you waiting for? Haven't you figured out yet that you are the only one who can do what you do, the way you do it? Don't you realize that the world is waiting for you? (Iyanla Vanzant, Faith in the Valley, p. 186)

...there are a few things you want to remember - 1. It's not your issue.2. Don't get stuck in other people's stuff.3. When people get tired of suffering and struggling, they stop. (Iyanla Vanzant, Faith in the Valley, p. 178)

Sometimes standing for what is good and true and right for you is often a lonely stand. (Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Day 147)

If we are unsure of a particular course of action, it is best not to go rushing into it. (Food For Thought, 22 May)

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)

You don't have to give up your power to problems. You can take your focus off your problems and direct it to your life, trusting that doing so will bring you closer to a solution. (Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, 18 May)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flag Day - 2009

... I seek to improve my conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation. How I do this is completely up to me. Perhaps I become more conscious of a Higher Power when I look for signs of guidance in people around me, or in the events and unexplained coincidences of my life. Or perhaps I see this Power further away from the world of logic and reason. I might look for answers through my feelings or my instincts, or my dreams. Maybe I pursue a more traditional spiritual path. Or I can decide to keep myself open to all of these possibilities. Whatever path I choose, I know I must keep trying as often as I can to follow the course offered to me by my Higher Power. Only in this way can I be confident of my actions; only in this way can I find the courage to change. (Courage to Change, 13 June)

We ought not to insist on everyone following in our footsteps, nor to take upon ourselves to give instructions in spirituality when, perhaps, we do not even know what it is. (Teresa of Avila in Courage to Change, 14 June)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June 14th is Flag Day

A workout is a personal triumph over laziness and procrastination. It reflects someone who is in charge of their life and takes pride in setting and achieving goals.

A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday. Whether you can feel the difference in your body or not, a workout positively benefits your body and mind. It helps you see life from a higher perspective. (Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Day 165)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Spending Time Alone

Photo: Aztech New Media

I've learned how to take care of my inner needs by spending more time alone, quietly reading and just generally leaving more unscheduled time for myself. I've discovered that if I don't take time for myself, I start to feel empty and imbalanced. I am no longer a whole person. How much time do you spend alone a day? (Alexandra Stoddard, The Art of the Possible, p. 236)

I am now receptive to the idea that .. sometimes people do things that have nothing to do with what I have done! (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! 13 May)

You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm. (Collette in The Art of the Possible by Alexandra Stoddard, p. 233)

While we die early because of obesity-related disease, others die early from malnutrition and starvation. (Food For Thought, 27 May)

When you believe you know everything, you will never acquire understanding. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! 4 May)

Today, I will give myself permission to set the limits I want and need to set in my life. (Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, 17 May)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Photos

Photo: Aztech New Media

Both food and drink may be used as escapes from the unpleasant realities of living, and the abuse of both involves similar character defects. (Food For Thought, 5 June)

Addiction, alcoholism, compulsions, excesses are all usually symptoms of some underlying personality problem. They are the ways ... distressed persons express ... particular difficulties with life. (Alan L. Roeck, Look To This Day, 6 June)

Often the most troubled lives are those most unyielding to change. (Touchstones, 5 June)

... I find that I often cling to my [character] defects because they give me a certain amount of pleasure. (Courage to Change, 8 June)
  • On Monday, for forty-five cents, I purchased a set of three CDs at the thrift store. The box claims there are 75,000 clipart and images on the three discs. I was most interested in the 1,800 JPeg photographs. Without installing any of the included programs I was able to open the Photos folder. Inside I discovered eighteen other folders each with one hundred images. I'm going to enjoy sharing some of these images in my blog postings in coming days.
Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Saint John Chrystostom

Photo: Mr. Dickie (Melva's iris in our backyard, Spring 2009)

If a person could look at our world from a distance he would see so much stupidity and hatred that he would probably cry. We do so many funny and stupid and impoverished hateful deeds. One person hunts wild animals and becomes an animal himself; another feeds donkeys and horses to carry loads, and despises people who die of hunger. Other people spend a great deal of money to create huge houses and do nothing to help the homeless. Some people seek only profits, others spend only for dissipation, and others steal.

In all of these excesses, all of this criminal behavior, we see people who only want to take care of themselves, without a thought about what is most necessary in this world.(Saint John Chrystostom in A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy, 9 June)
  • Last night I had two nice phone conversations. I talked with our daughter, Cyndi, for a while. I also talked with friends, Dave and Lynda, in Oregon. The telephone is a wonderful device that blesses all of us with the opportunity to keep in closer touch with friends and family some of whom we seldom are able to see face to face.
  • I'm working on a project to recover Lotus WordPro files of a thirty-one part Devotions document that I put together several years ago. The stumbling block was finding a way to read the thirty-one files in the .LWP format without having a copy of WordPro installed on the computer. At this point I have successfully converted all of the pieces into "text" files that I can read and modify with other word processors.
Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How Much Will This Matter?

I will not attempt to manage or control what is clearly beyond my powers; I will dedicate myself to managing my own life, and only mine. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 23 May)

If another person has an addiction, a problem, a feeling, or a self-defeating behavior, that is their property, not ours. If someone is a martyr, immersed in negativity, controlling, or manipulative, that is their issue not ours. (Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, 13 May)

We don't have to allow others to make us miserable, and we don't have to make ourselves miserable. (Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, 10 May)

How much will this matter years from now or even tomorrow? (Colleen Zuck, et al., Daily Word For Healing, p. 133)

I am now receptive to the idea that ... when I get there everyone will not be there. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! 2 May)
  • Yesterday was a difficult day. Our neighbor, Wanda, had a stroke while home alone. We didn't know there was anything wrong until her son and daughter-in-law arrived from their respective jobs. Wanda had called John and her daughter, Nancy. Melva and I got involved in helping out. I called 911 for an ambulance. They sent a fire truck, and two ambulances. Why do they do that when the caller is clear about what is needed? No wonder the county is broke. Eve wanted us to take her to Doctor's Hospital. We followed the ambulance. John had to take a truck back to work and pick up his car. The hospital was very busy. There were no parking spaces in the lot. Luckily I remembered that there is an emergency lot beside the entrance to the emergency room. We stayed at the hospital until John showed up. As we grow older there are more and more reminders of just how fragile life can be. We should all count our blessings for each day of good health.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, June 8, 2009

Road Work

Photo: Mr. Dickie (White Peony in our backyard, May 2009)

... obsessive thinking can be too much to handle. My best hope in battling it is not to begin, because once started, it gains steam and becomes harder to interrupt. (Courage to Change, 20 May)

... stop confusing yourself by trying to coordinate too many opinions. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 21 May)

There are three keys to successful relationships: Never make anyone else responsible for your happiness; trust what your inner self feels, sees and says; and pay close attention to the warning signs. (Iyanla Vanzant, Acts of Faith, 2 June)

  • Yesterday I went for an hour walk at Schrom Park. I took along my Oasis player. There were lots of people using the park.
  • There's a problem with standing water on the sidewalk at the bottom of our hill. Yesterday I used my shovel to open a small ditch from the sidewalk to the top of the storm drain cover at the curb. Immediately the water began to drain off the sidewalk. Charles and Henry came over to help out. Charles removed dirt and growing grass that was hanging over the sidewalk. Henry brought a straight edged shovel and a trash bag and container. We piled the excess dirt and cut grass that was laying on the sidewalk on top of the storm drain cover. We will get rid of that later after it has time to dry out. It was a stinking mess.
  • I asked Charles for some blank CDs to use in testing the Phillips CD dubber I bought at a yard sale this weekend. The CD blanks you use with a computer are different than those used with a dubbing machine. He also loaned me a headset with volume control to try with the device.
  • I installed Lotus WordPro and Approach on my laptop. I'm doing this to see if I can recover by book and music catalogs. The next step is to find the backups. It will be a piece of luck if I can pull this off. This problem is the result of one of my many computer disasters.

Mr. Dickie

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Adventure of the Seas

(Adventure of the Seas)

Defending ourselves by engaging in argument with actively ... [addicted] or otherwise irrational people is as fruitless as donning armor to protect ourselves from a nuclear explosion. (Courage to Change, 3 June)

Stop demanding that people do what they have already demonstrated an unwillingness or inability to do. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! 3 May)

Very often the business which busy people claim to be doing is not important at all, and sometimes it would be better left undone. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 1 June)
  • Yesterday Melva and I went to yard sales in Bowie, MD. I bought a Phillips CD dubbing machine, with a user's manual, for $30.00. In the evening I did a preliminary test. I was able to play a CD in the left-hand drive. I plugged a headset into the phone jack. That didn't work too well because there is no volume control. Listen to music this way would be a quick way to go deaf. I don't have any blank CDs for this type of device and I no longer know where to buy them because the NWL store that was a mile away closed. I'm going to ask my friend, Charles, for two or three so I can test before I buy another pack. I gave him all my blanks when the machine I bought from him stopped working. If I can get this box to work I'm going to have some fun. I still have many LPs and cassette tapes that I would like to put on CDs.
  • Cyndi went shopping on Saint Thomas. She noticed that the Royal Caribbean ship Adventure of the Seas was in port. She sent an Email to Melva's nephew Jorge asking if he was on that ship. She sent me a copy too. I knew from his posting to The Wall on Facebook that this is the ship he's working on. I sent her a reply. Yesterday was the wedding on St. John island. She returns home on Monday.

Mr. Dickie

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Anniversary of D-Day

We create many negative situations by simply assuming that our expectations are self-evidident and that they are clearly understood and shared by other people. (Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 195)

You'd be lost without your computer, microwave, mobile phone, and VCR [DVR]. You're addicted to the conveniences of modern life. Try going a week without watching TV. We dare you. (Andrew Frothingham and Tripp Evans, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, 23 May)

Appreciate what you have and what you have had. Accept changes in life gracefully, and know that each stage of life has gifts that are arrived at only through the process of the life cycle. (Suzanne Somers, 365 Ways to Change Your Life, Day 152)

Friday, June 5, 2009

In My Opinion

Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this - that you are dreadfully like other people. (James Russell Lowell in One More Day by Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, 24 May)

If you really want to know who you are and what you are capable of achieving, you must be willing to live without the opinions of other people. (Iyanla Vanzant, Until Today! 2 May)

Why we subvert our own best interests is often a mystery, but we all know the frustration and despair of not doing what we should do and doing what we should not do. (Food For Thought, 24 May)

Let's examine our own motives to be sure we're not playing self-defeating games. We will have to dig deep for this kind of honesty, but it's well worth it. (One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, 30 May)
  • I'm trying out two Google options. You can install a search box in the deskbar at the bottom of the screen and you can install a sidebar that displays a clock, some news, your photos and your google blogs. The search box seems to work. I'm not so sure about the sidebar. It seems to lock up. I'm not sure whether I can discontinue the sidebar and keep the search box. I like how both options work, when they work.
  • I stopped at the Crofton library yesterday to return some CDs. When I came out of the building I ran into my stamp collecting friend, Jim Dail. We stopped and talked for quite a while. The stamp club still meets every Thursday night at the Bowie City Hall. I haven't attended a meeting in many years. This was the second time that Jim and I ran into each other at this library.

Mr. Dickie

Thursday, June 4, 2009

We Lived to Tell the Story

(David Austin Rose)

How can you know what you can do unless you know what you cannot or will not do? (Alexandra Stoddard, The Art of the Possible, p. 231)

You are not required to discuss your lessons or growth process with anyone unless you choose to. (Iyanla Vanzant, Faith in the Valley, p. 168)

When others talk nonsense, I don't question my own thinking. (after Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, 2 June)

I choose to simplify my life and affairs. (Susan Smith Jones, Choose to Live Each Day Fully, Day 139)

  • Melva and I took Cyndi to the airport this morning. We arrived at her apartment at 3:45 a.m. We had an exciting ride. As we neared the Beltway exit to her house I passed someone who was driving as if he might be falling asleep. I made the mistake of honking, thinking that was a good idea. It wasn't! The idiot caught up with me on the left and tried to run me off the highway. The highway was wet from rain that had been falling all night long. We we lucky that I was able to pull the van away from him without losing control or contact with the road. It was a very scary few seconds. More and more often we are reminded that Washington, DC is a very dangerous place to live.
    Mr. Dickie

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


When you find a behavior or activity that produces a good feeling, put it on a list. Then, do it frequently.

Today, I will do one activity or behavior that I know will create a good feeling for me. If I'm uncertain about what I like, I will experiment with one behavior today.(Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, 6 May)

I commit myself to take action today and to do those things I know I need to do to enrich my life and achieve my goals. (Susan Smith Jones, Choose To Live Each Day Fully, Day 143)

Today, I will not worry about other people's reactions, or events outside of my control. Instead, I will focus on my reactions. I will handle my life well today and trust that, tomorrow, I can do the same. (Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, 31 May)
  • Does this make any sense? Yesterday the bankrupt General Motors, now sixty-percent owned by the federal government and thus the citizens of this country, sold their Hummer brand to some Chinese group for five-hundred million dollars. Why would our government allow this gas-gusling, road-hogging, military vehicle to be built and sold in this country by anyone? I can understand why our leaders and the leaders of General Motors might want to ripoff the Chinese for five hundred million. But, it just doesn't make sense if there is an energy shortage now or in the future to perpetuate the production of this vehicle for sale to civilians. No wonder the economy of this country has "gone to Hell in a handbasket." (Whatever that means.)
Mr. Dickie

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Reason to Stay in Shape

Photo: Mr. Dickie (Melva's amarylis in our dining room, April 2009)

A person must possess himself and have a deep sense of security in fundamental principles and values in order to genuinely apologize. (Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 197)

We should be satisfied with the small things in life. The less we need the less trouble we can have. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 23 May)

People strive in this world, not for those things which are truly good, but for the possession of many things which they can call their property. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 30 May)

Stay in shape - you may be working for a long time. (Andrew Frothingham and Tripp Evans, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, 22 May)
  • I had to take the Toyota back to the dealer. After I had the oil changed it leaked oil on the carport. Now I have a mess to clean up. They said the drain plug was tight enough. While I waited I finished reading the chapter about Google Gmail. I'm undecided about setting up an account.

Mr. Dickie

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wichita Assassination

Photo: Mr. Dickie (Backyard garden - Spring 2009)

Other people's problems, other people's priorities, other people's principles, other people's people, can get in our way, hold us back, and take us off track until we develop the strength to be honest with ourselves. (Iyanla Vanzant, Faith in the Valley, p. 151)

If you see an action is explained by a very sophisticated reasoning, then you can be sure that this action is bad. The decisions of the conscience are always strict and simple. (Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom, 27 May)

No one can give you wisdom. You must discover it for yourself, on the journey through life, which no one can take for you. (Sun Bear in Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant, 27 May)
  • Yesterday morning abortion doctor, George Tiller, was assassinated at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. My friend, Tom, called to tell me about it. While living in Wichita I was a member of this church and active in the Luther League youth group. When we first begin to attend the congregation met in the intermediate school auditorium. There's no way to understand this act of domestic terrorism carried out by someone who professes to be a "Right to Life" activist. Hopefully the police apprehended the right person and our justice system will, in due time, impose an appropriate punishment.
  • Last night our neighbor, Jim, prepared our evening meal. He started preparation after Melva got home from work. Cyndi received an Email I sent and responded by coming to eat with us. The meal was delicious. We had: crabcakes, mixed vegetables, tomatoes and lettuce, hot rolls, Dutch apple pie with double vanilla ice cream and ice tea.
  • I'm very pleased to now be communicating via Email with my very good college friend, Don. I'm making an effort to proactively use both the telephone and the computer to stay in closer touch with friends and family. We are blessed to have these technologies available to us.

Mr. Dickie