There are times you wonder. Just sit and wonder is the world around you crazy or in fact is it you.
Yesterday for a time I thought it was just me.
Its always good to consider where you are as a person. Just stop for a moment and examine not only the path that gets you to where you are but the choices, considerations and moments that led you there as well.
I made a bad career choice earlier this year going to a company that I shouldn’t have gone to work for. It was a moment of weakness and for that I suspect I will have significant regrets for a long time.
What can you do as a person at that point? Pack it in and move on. Wallowing in the doubt that caused you to consider this a failure only causes you more doubt than if you simply move on.
So I am moving on.
I accept that I make mistakes.
I accept that I am almost nearly perfect (like Mary Poppins) but in the end I am not completely perfect.
Mistakes happen to everyone. It is how you recover that shows your mettle.
Today’s featured photographer is Jacqueline Taylor Andersen. This photo is of the majestic and frankly greatest dog that ever lived, Dylan Thomas (pickle) the pickle was added by my sons. Not that it doesn’t fit him. Just that he is a Dylan. Dylan Thomas remains one of my three favorite poets and I’ve always wanted a Dylan. With a family restriction of a middle initial O for males Dylan is a name we cannot have however.
So the dog gets the name.
It fits him as well. He is an international dog of mystery. He is also the most mellow dog I have ever been around. Not that he isn’t smart, he is, just that nothing phases him.
This is Dylan’s identical twin brother T-Rex. T-Rex appears when Dylan has something to complain about. That isn’t often that he has things to complain about but when he does he is T-Rex.
T-Rex loves nothing more than chomping on my feet. I don’t know why T-Rex started doing that but he has been doing that since the first week he lived with us.
Dogs add so much to the world around them. Dad liked Dylan – he was impressed by how mellow he was. At Christmas last year Dylan went with us to Indiana. We all stayed with mom and dad. Dylan was best friends with mom and dad’s dogs in minutes. He and Nelson (dad’s dog) were tight.
He is without a doubt spoiled.
I suspect in the end the spoiling is my fault.
He is also my walk buddy. Although when the walks don’t happen when he thinks they should there is the occasional appearance of T-Rex.
In April Raven joined our family. She is a force of nature. One of those dogs that is always in the mix. She isn’t a dog that sits idly by while the world passes her. She leaps into the middle of everything announcing her presence with authority.
She picked the boys as her people when she arrived. When it is time for the walk she runs upstairs and yells at the boys to move it.
The newest member of our canine crew is Tamsyn. No pictures of her to share today but those will come. She is Jakki’s dog. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect fit for Jakki. Tamsyn is the most picky eater I have ever seen in a dog. Ever. But like Dylan and Raven, Tamsyn is ready for the walk now. After only being with us a short time she already knows that the walk is the best part of the day.
Time is a funny thing. It is hard to imagine that the two people in this picture were additions to my family that well in the end made my family. The first is the Beanie being held here by her mother. I couldn’t imagine life without Jakki. She is a wonderful person. I am so very proud of her. Plus she is the world’s greatest big sister for her two brothers. It isn’t easy being the older sister of twins. They are twice as hard and twice as needy. She has handled that job with aplomb so far beyond her years it is scary.
I have about 2 hours of video five days after Jakki was born in the swing on the left side of the picture.
The other person on the couch is my wife Barb. Holding her daughter. I think sometimes the two of them are peas from a similar cloth. They often think alike. Barb has been in my life for 24 years as of October 15. We met then in a bar (J. Aruthurs) for the 3rd time. We had been introduced by friends two times before that but it never took. And there was the bunny suit incident at school as well.
Harry Met Sally Vignette
The first time I met Barb she was wandering the halls of the High School we both attended. She was wearing a white bunny suit for April fools day. She was a senior and I was a freshman. I walked up to her and asked her if she had the time. She looked at me like I was a lowly freshman and moved on. Years later I was recounting my version of the white bunny suit to my fiancé. My fiancé looked at me and said “you were the rude person that asked me the time?” I was thinking white rabbit and of course through the looking glass. She was thinking she was a white rabbit. The second time we met was when Barb was working at Trojan Horse. A friend of mine said you should meet this girl I think you two would hit it off. We talked for a moment as she waited on our table. I am sure she laughed because I am incredibly funny. But nothing happened. The third time we met was the night at J. Arthurs in Bloomington Indiana. We met, I was seeing someone but that relationship was ending. A week later my roommate invited a parent from his class (he was teaching at BDLC then) over for dinner. My roommate called twice to say he would be late. The person he had invited was Barb. We’ve been together ever since that evening 24 years ago. Just like in the movie “When Harry met Sally” we had met but things weren’t right. Then we met and things were right.
The last picture is of the bubbies. Decked out as Indiana Hoosiers. As you can see from this picture they are rough and tumble guys ready for anything. Notice Luke on the left has no teeth. At this age they were very hard to tell apart. I think it is incredibly easy to do so. But they do look very much alike. This is one of my favorite pictures of the boys. Taken at the foot of the staircase in Greenwood Indiana.
Shortly after this we had to safety proof the entire house. Once the two of them started walking there was little hope for the rest of the world.
In the end these four are the loves of my life. My family. My everything.
I can’t imagine what manage the three little ones will do to the world. But for now there is no manage. Only promise.
My first camera was black and white. Most of the early Ralstin family treasures are also in B&W. I cannot say who is in the picture but I actually am sharing it because of the car. I am sure there is a Ralstin family member that will stumble upon this picture and recognize the person.
But the car – wow. That was the way cars used to be. They looked big and looked ready to take on the world. I loved those cars when I was growing up.
My grandfather had an old woodie station wagon he used to running errands and moving things. I remember riding in that station wagon it wasn’t much but just the memory is happy. Just knowing I was there makes it that much more real for me.
Here are the boys in our pool in Indiana. It seems strange that this picture comes from 2011. Now more than three years ago. We still have a pool but now instead of Barb and I rushing out in the spring to open a pool we simply wait for the home owners association to open the pool. We have tennis courts to! No basketball court though, that is in the end a Maryland thing. They are big into tennis but not so much into basketball. One neighborhood over has a basketball court but we haven’t gone there.
I can’t say that I have even been to the neighborhood pool although I have walked by it more than 300 times on the various walks the boys, jakki and the dogs take.
I just don’t stop at the pool.
Finally since the last picture was Indiana here is our day at the 100 acre woods created by the IMA. No we did not see Winnie the Pooh that day.
It was a fun afternoon spent walking around the park. We were there the week after it opened so we ended up parking at the Major Taylor Velodrome and the museum drove us over in buses. There were that many people there.
History note, who was Major Taylor and what is the velodome?
Indianapolis is the racing capital of the US because of the 500 and other races at the speedway but there are also bike racing tracks and NHRA tracks as well.
My mother-in-law Joan Ralstin was also a photographer. She did however take slides she took prints. There are many fewer prints than there were slides but still there are a number over all.
This is of the family dogs outside I suspect at Henderson Street in Bloomington Indiana.
The problem of course with images from the past is the damage done by viewing, storage and ultimately time. As you can see this picture is bent badly.
There are a few like that so it is a restoration project.
Joan would have loved the digital world. Scanning all these pictures into a single storage area would have made her very happy. She took quite a large number of pictures and I will as promised share as many as catch my eye. Not all pictures scanned at this point catch my eye.
I guess with all the scans we’ve done to date I am getting a little jaded.
This is a picture of me holding the boys – on our old green couch (sectional). That sectional moved from Cincinnati to Indianapolis and Indianapolis to Maryland. We did finally send it off to where ever couches go when they die with our last move (to our new house in Maryland)
Gwen is watching down in the corner. She was always curious about the boys. Mostly because food rained down from the sky from the boys high chairs. She saw them as meal tickets.
At one point in the process I noticed that we hadn’t filled Gwen’s food bowl in more than a month. It still had food in it from the previous filling. She was living off what the boys dropped on the floor. I guess in the end we adapt to the world we are presented.
Based on previous life experience I looked long and hard at the Microsoft Surface 3 computer recently when I decided to try the windows convertible format. I actually went to the MS store and tried one. Then I was at an event where a number of convertibles were sitting around (convertible sadly not meaning you can take the top off, simply that it can be either a laptop with keyboard or a tablet without).
I used the pre-helix Lenovo and liked it a lot. Then I saw the ads for the Lenovo Helix and that was the computer I wanted.
What I really like:
- Tablet mode is easy to do and works very well.
- Stylus (stored on the tablet side of the computer) works great
- touch interface is smooth and multi-touch is supported
- screen is small but the entire system is light so it’s a good tradeoff
- Nice that both USB’s are 3.0
- Has a nice docking system for the computer
- Mini-display port adapter works well
- It is the old IBM style keyboard not a full chicklet keyboard. I have a couple of chicklet keyboards but I love the old IBM style more.
- I have gone more than 8 hours and more than 4 reboots without needing the charger.
- Wi-Fi connections are easy to manage.
- It has a built in ATT modem
- it has the i7 Intel chip!
What I don’t like
- I do not like windows 8. I don’t like it in the box. I don’t like it as the tablet I just don’t like it.
- USB 3 ports are finicky at times. Sometimes you have to hot load the USB ports rather than just load from cold boot.
- Its annoying but the base is pretty heavy.
Overall this is a strong buy. It doesn’t have the cool cache of the Surface 3 commercials and it does have windows 8. If windows 7 weren’t horrible with touch monitors I would downgrade it. But that isn’t a viable option so I life with Windows 8. My experience with this device has been happy all the way around. No complaints and ultimately I would both recommend the Lenovo Helix and I would in fact buy another one (I did to replace my wife’s dying home computer).
Counting podcasts and blogs I am nearly to 4500 posts overall. During all that posting, thinking, reflecting and posting I have come to three simple conclusions.
- Its not about how many people read any one blog
- Its not about how many comments or emails you get for any one blog
- Its not about how long or short the blog is.
Its not always about the content of the blog always, either. Its about the topic within the blog. The reason it’s the topic is that is what people are seeking confirmation or declination that their thoughts are on the mark, correct or wrong.
Declination of arguments is a term I coined when I was a school teacher. It means you reject my argument or I reject your argument and in the words of my sons “substitute my own.”
Based on that I was looking back over the topics I’ve published in this blog and my other blogs to evaluate what was a topic people liked or at least which topics engaged people. The reality of my analysis was a little disconcerting. Mostly because if you had asked me prior to the research I would have said the opposite, well at least I wouldn’t have specifically said the results I got.
- Photo blogs of the past 6 months are the most popular blogs I’ve posted.
- Next most popular blogs are my various customer service blogs.
- My reviews were the least favorite blogs posted on this forum.
But reviews were the most likely to hit a search term and bring a new reader to my blog. Just the least liked by my regular readers. I may have to grab a few people and send a survey.
Overall it was fun however to review nearly 10 years of blogs. More than 250,000 unique and different people have touched my two primary blogs and podcast (and probably north of a million people counting all blogs). I have hit 1,000 people with one blog and 500 downloads twice with podcasts (Fred and Ed stories, twice downloaded a lot)
It is fun sometimes to step back and evaluate what you have wrought. I will not proclaim here in my blog “look upon my works ye mighty and despair” because I’ve seen blogs that have 50,000 hits or more a day. I have no desire to produce something that in the end has that many hits. Fear of failure would drive me crazy in that pressure cooker.
On this holiday season I would just like to say thank you to all my readers. Subscribers, those who link to the blog from Linkedin or Facebook and those who have my blog bookmarked and appear. I write to get the ideas out of my head, its nice to know that people read some of those ideas and come back again and again. Thank you for reading.