Blame It on the Bossy Nonna

8 year old wisdom: “You’re so bossy Nonna, you boss me around all the time.” This was Teddy recently when his Nonna made him quit playing Hot Wheels on the PC and come to lunch.

And Nonna admits that she has always been “a little bossy.” Her own mother agrees – and she knows best.

Today as Maria celebrates her birthday all of us bossees must agree that she does it out of love and concern for us. It’s her Meyers-Briggs ISFJ personality. Plus her teacher experience. Plus her concern we are all healthy and safe and happy.

I mean it’s not as if she doesn’t walk the talk. She’s always ready to help out – her peers, her siblings, her mother, Sarah and Dave, her grandkids, in the community and of course me. Sometimes she gets frustrated that it seems to be “expected” or taken for granted. But then she’s on to the next service opportunity. Go figure.

So my dear Happy Birthday. We all love you and appreciate you. Even a certain ginger tabby four footed bundle of love that cares for you more than anyone else. But he won’t be bossed around either.

Social Media and Me

I just finished paying for my online hosting service and domain registration so I guess this blog will continue for another year, God willing. That got me thinking about social media in general and how my online activity and presence may have changed in the past 20 years. My conclusion – it has and it hasn’t.

A lot of what I do online hasn’t changed from the way I did things 20 years ago. I still belong to a number of text based technical and specialty forums where I type posts just as before. I don’t have a smartphone so I don’t take photos with it and immediately post online. (I use a real camera although it’s digital now.) As a result I don’t have an Instagram account. I have discovered YouTube but I don’t make videos so mostly I just learn how to fix stuff or listen to YouTube music. I do a little bit with Reddit.

My main social media outlets are Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Twitter I find limiting and rather juvenile so I just link my blog through it. LinkedIn keeps me in touch with former work colleagues and Facebook is great for old and new friends, relatives etc.

I used to program a website with HTML as my personal “brand presence” on the Web, but that sort of activity has largely been supplanted by WordPress software or any of the many blogging sites out there. My blog is hosted on my own domain by a web server company and it’s all basically point and click. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. I have a WordPress theme and all the spam filtering and other tools I need for a website are close at hand. If I didn’t want to do that I could just register at a blog site and type away. I try not to do “fake news” and I don’t advertise or charge anything. I hope some of my online friends and family enjoy what I have to say.

So that’s my Social Media presence. Not very flashy, but I hope to continue for a while.

Another Sweet Girl

I have been really blessed with each of my grandchildren. There’s Teddy – smart at math, science and literature. He’s like his grandpa in that he can really get into some subjects while others leave him cold. There’s Veronica – sweet and kind and affectionate but looks after her siblings like a tiger. And finally Susannah – who’s always been the baby but now as she approaches birthday #4 is becoming another sweet girl.

I would say in a lot of ways ways Susannah is most like her mother of the 3 kids. She was an early talker and is the most precocious one. She wants to be in there doing everything the older kids do. She has her mother’s indomitable determination but also can exhibit a wicked temper like grandpa did as a youngster. She takes herself pretty seriously and you can’t tease her too much. She’s very quick to see if you are telling her something that doesn’t make sense. Her babyhood days are definitely behind her as she becomes a little girl in her own right.

Like the two older kids she is getting into martial arts. This family will wipe the floor with any offenders for sure.

Sarah has taken all the kids into the optometrist as they grow and it looks like Susannah will be the first one to get eyeglasses for some early childhood nearsightedness. The parents are hopeful she’ll grow out of it but for now the other kids are very jealous. I hope she feels special.

Susannah’s having a “Mary Poppins party” today and we’ll be down to see her on her calendar birthday October 16. Happy birthday my other sweet girl.


Family Fog

I remember how sad I was when my Grandpa developed cataracts in the 1950s. His world got cloudy and blurry and then totally dark. He lived for 10 years this way.

And so it has come to pass for me – something I expected and now it’s here. My family has a history of cataract disease – my Grandpa, uncle Rocky, my Mother, and my Sister have had a bout of it. Now it’s my turn. But times have changed, thank God.

  • When Grandpa had the problem in the 1950s his case was hopeless. Inoperable. He could not have survived a 48 hour stretch of immobility in bed, his head restrained in a bunch of sandbags. Not in his 80s. So he went blind as so many other generations before him went blind.
  • My Uncle faced a serious operation in the 1970s but he made out alright. They removed the cataracts and his lenses and he lived the rest of his life with Coke-bottle glasses. But he could see.
  • By the time my Mother had this operation in the 1990s it was still surgery with stitches but they could put in a replacement lens. She had to be careful for a while but she was fine.
  • My Sister had her eyes fixed a couple of years ago with a pair of day surgery visits. That’s what I hope is in store for me. I don’t want my grandkids to worry the way I did about my Grandpa.

I had my consultation with the eye doctor this week. he asked me to describe my situation.

“Difficulty with reading road signs. Can’t drive at night. Glare bothers me.”

He chuckled. “An impressive list of symptoms.”

After he looked in my eyes with a bunch of bright lights he said: “Yep. You have cataracts all right.” No kidding, Sherlock.

Bottom line, I’m heading in on Nov. 7 to get my left eye fixed. If that works my right eye follows a month later.

I didn’t go for the deluxe Toric lenses. That may have corrected my distance vision but I would still need glasses to read. Instead I went for a minor upgrade (Tecnis lenses) to give me better contrast in night driving. Up here you need all the night vision you can get with deer all over the place. I’ll still have to wear glasses to drive a car, but after 30 years I don’t care anyway.

So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.




A Twitchy Experience

I used to be a fan of streaming videos on YouTube, but all that has changed lately. I have become addicted to live streaming on a site called Twitch.

Twitch is now owned by Amazon and I got a free subscription to it because we have Amazon Prime for home shopping.

One of my favorite YouTube video makers switched over to Twitch and I followed him there. On YouTube he made a series of videos where he played a video game called Minecraft. However on Twitch he and his friends often live stream another game called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG for short.)

PUBG is one of those multiplayer shoot-em-ups that are so popular with Millennials today. It is called a Battle Royale game – 100 matched up players parachute onto a god-forsaken Russian island where they have to find guns and armor and then shoot it out to the last person. It is frightening as heck for a new player – these folks are swept away in the first few moments after they land. The playing terrain keeps getting smaller and smaller and you have to keep moving or die anyway.

I would never be able to play this game well. but like many other voyeurs I find it very addictive to watch some one else go through the ordeal. There are various strategies you can try out. My favorite player doesn’t take it too seriously. He rides around in a car trying to run over other players, or circles the island on a motorcycle. He even tries a totally passive strategy where he hides and lets everyone else kill themselves. Once in a while he wins but most of the time he is happy to make it to the top 10.

He has a colleague who plays the game in squads of 4 or in duos. This guy is more skilled and aggressive and often serves as a team leader. He takes the game more seriously but doesn’t win all that often either. However he is very funny and makes lots of sarcastic comments about his opponents. Great mindless entertainment.

The other day neither of these streamers was on so I searched for who else I might spectate. And I discovered a whole other universe. The world of the professional PUBG gamer.

These guys have huge followings and when it comes to the game they have it all – skills, strategy, instinct.  They are Stone Killers. Assassins. They play in duos usually – a guy at the top of the game’s food chain can’t trust more than one partner to be good enough. They expect to win every game. They have attitudes like professional wrestlers. They know how to find the best weapons. They stalk other players like tigers. They are at the top of the PUBG leaderboards when it comes to wins.

Fortunately for new players the software that matches up a field of 100 players tend to seed these killing machines into very competitive games. A noob wouldn’t last a minute with these guys. I mean a duo like this will get at least 25-30 “kills” in a single game. They have the best playing equipment. They wear earphones to catch the slightest sound. They know all the tricks.

It’s hard to believe but folks like this actually make a living by streaming video game footage. Their fans subscribe to their channels for a small monthly charge and donate lots of cash to them. They play in tournaments and stream that on Twitch. Not your father’s video game experience to be sure.

Growing up I had a choice of real life careers. I don’t think I would have ever in my wildest dreams think that someone could have a career like this. Virtual mayhem. Go figure.




Life Begins for Sarah


They say life begins at …well you know. So for Sarah life begins tomorrow (October 2, 2017.)

I won’t say how old she is but she was born the year Elvis died and NASA launched Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. You can look it up.

We will be looking after our grandkids for a few days while she and Dave celebrate her milestone in New York City. It’s been a long time in the planning but they will get to see Hamilton. Not the city, the hip-hop history lesson.

Doesn’t seem all that long ago she looked like the pic above. Now her younger daughter is older than that. Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.

She hasn’t stopped planning though. Now she is busy with raising 3 active youngsters and even giving them one year of homeschooling (maybe more.) She is active spiritually in the Good Shepherd catechetical program for little kids. Active in her parish community too. I’m proud of her.

So my dear child of God, I wish you a happy birthday and many more. Always your Dad.


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