One year later…

How do you mend a broken heart?

July 25, 2016 – around 2 or 3 am

She was a beautiful black woman.  She was around 5 foot two inches, smooth skin, large loop ear rings and her hair cut in a buzz cut, nearly bald. Her skull was perfectly shaped.  She carried herself with an aura of pride, strength, and coolness.

Being annoyed at being probed, prodded, and woken up a number of times already that evening, I asked what do you need?  Most likely I was fairly abrupt, for I do that without really trying, even before open heart surgery.

“It’s time for your bath.” She replied softly.

Wondering how that was going to happen, I asked: “What do I need to do?”

“You just need to lie there and relax. I’ll take care of it.” No smile, all business was in her tone of reply.

She went to the keyboard on the computer that was near my bedside, somehow she pulled up YouTube, keyed in something and I heard soft blues sole music started to play. 

She proceeded to wet washcloths in a basin of warm water and started at the foot of the bed.  She pulled up the sheet and laid it just below my crotch.  She removed my socks and proceeded to wash my feet and lower legs.  She hummed softly to the music as she worked.  The music was some kind of soft blues played by a soul brother.

I laid back and let her work.  I wondered to myself:  Just how thorough of a job is she going to do?   

She was a beautiful sexy woman and I told myself this was not the time to test my ability to get an erection after open heart surgery.  All I wanted to do is to enjoy her beauty, listen to the soft music and make her job easier.

After she finished my legs, she then moved to the top of the bed.  She helped me sit up and removed the hospital gown, and after washing my back, she asked me to lie down again.  She then folded the top of the sheet down over my crotch. With fresh washcloths and something she squeezed from a bottle she started washing my chest and incision area.  The song on YouTube changed.  I recognized the song: “How do you mend a broken heart?” by Al Green.

I grinned to myself, thought about it, then said: “Nice, appropriate, selection of music you made.”

As she started to wash the dried blood from my stitches, she replied quietly in a smooth sweet voice: “It helps me past the time.”  I could have easily gotten lost in her brown eyes and in another time would have loved to touch her smooth skin.

I laid back and let her clean my incision. As words of mending broken hearts played in my head, I thought of the suddenness of the decision to have surgery and the relief that I was not going to die today.

As she finished my chest, she swapped the bloody washcloth for a clean one and moved to my arms.

Somewhere between her gentleness and  the lyrics:  “Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again”, I found myself fighting back tears.

When she was done with my arms, she took a fresh, warm, washcloth and in a single motion removed the sheet covering my crotch and covered my genitals with the warm cloth, never exposing anything.

 I didn’t get aroused and then wondered if that part of me stilled worked.  

She finished quickly, covered me with a clean sheet and helped me put on a clean gown.  I don’t remember her ever making eye contact, and I think the only other thing I said to her was ‘Thank you’.

Then she was gone and the music stopped. The normal hospital sounds of beeping monitors returned.

She was the most mysterious woman I have every encountered and I wondered if she enjoyed her job or just toiled through it.

Of all the nurses I saw in my four days at Shady Side, she was the gentlest of them all. I only saw her that one time.

Days later, when I got home, I wondered if she were real or was it just a dream. 

To this day, one year later, I can’t listen to “How do you mend a broken heart” without fighting back tears. I’m still trying to figure that out.

desktop time

So, I was sitting at my desktop doing some consulting work for one of my clients.  It was not a big job, and that was good for with my current back issues, sitting at the desktop is something that I needed to limit my time doing.  It should take me less than 15 minutes to do this job.

So, in starting this minor technical thing, I ran into a glitch. Glitches are common in  technical work.  So, an hour later of investigating and figuring out how to deal with the glitch, I got back to the one thing I originally sat down to do.  The glitch had to do with something in WordPress and just before I shut down my own blog that I use to test things, I noticed a few errors in my blog posts. How log can it take to fix these few errors?

An hour later, my back hurting I got up to take a break.  I answered a call, then as I went to put my phone down, I noticed an email arrived. I checked it and saw I needed to do another minor task for another client of mine. I returned to the desktop, with a bowl of cereal in hand.

An hour later, now my back hurting more and my cereal bowl empty. I went to shut down my blog that I had been working on to fix those minor errors.  Hum, I never noticed that many of the posts I imported from my Google blogspot had some many ‘uncategorized’ entries.  That needed fixed.

An hour later, I was still not done, now my back is really hurting and I needed to sit in front of the piano to practice some pieces before my lesson tonight.

So after five hours of sitting in front of my PC, I got up from my chair and left my screen with the blog still needing work. I hobbled away, my back bent and leaning to one side.

And we wonder why we are so busy these days, and why our body aches.


I Can’t Fix This

 Note: I first wrote this on November 11, 2016 as a post in my Facebook account.  I copied it to my blog for archival reasons, but didn’t make it public, for I normally want to keep my blog political free.  After a few months of consideration, thought, and healing. I decided to post it on my blog. I’m not too concerned about it being political for nobody reads my blogs except some of my family. And I consider them safe people from judging me.

When I was a parent of young children ,I would be on my way to the basement where my workshop was, and I would often find a broken toy sitting next to basement door.  I would take it to my workshop ,and more times than not, fix the broken toy. One time, I even took one to my place of work and had the engineers challenged as to how to fix it.  When it came to broken toys, my children may have thought that I could fix anything.

They carried that attitude into adulthood.  I would get calls to discuss them losing a job, a breakup in a relationship, or one of their kids acting out.  They would call to share in the moment, but they also wanted to see if I had some advice or secret that could fix whatever was going on.  Often, I would be able to shed some sanity into their life at the time. That may have enforced their opinion that I could fix anything.

Well, I can’t.

In the wee hours of November 9, 2016, we found that Donald Trump would be the next president.  Like stepping on a rake, shock hit us.

Donald Trump is a man who some think was one of the worst choices ever to run for president and others think he may be able to fix the wrongs of Washington.  Shock, anger, fear, disappointment, and many other dark emotions set in some like bad virus.  Others felt elated, happy, hopeful, and filled with good feelings like the sun shining after a long rain.

The gulf between those who despised Trump and those who saw him as a savor not only widened, but became impossible to cross.  Neighbors couldn’t talk to each other. Co-workers couldn’t discuss the results without anger and harsh words.  Social media was filled with posts and comments that contained the worst in many.  And, to be fair, the best in some.  News media focused on those negative traumas that got eyeballs or sold newspapers.

Many felt their world was broken.  And, in their eyes, it was broken.

Siblings exchanged messages that were filled with name calling, anger and hate.  Damage was done to relationships that events in Leadville were never able to do.

Well, I can’t fix it.

If I could, I would.  I know of nothing that should invoke such emotions and actions. But, this election did. Some of my children are handling disappointment much better than others. Some are not.  I want to step in the middle, wave my hands, yell, threaten, and send everybody to their rooms until they can be civil with each other.  But, I can’t. They are adults, not children. They need to be responsible for their behavior and deal with the ramifications of it.

 I can’t fix this.

And, I’m extremely sorry that I can’t.

The Recital


May 15, 2016
Northampton, MA

After spending over 70 years on planet Earth, I find little that moves me to tears.  But I recently attended a piano recital to see my granddaughter play and was surprised that I was touched by the other kids playing.  This recital was a special moment.

Click to play the music recorded below while you read on.  (I was going to make it auto play, but find that aggravating in other sites, so I put the playing control in your hands.)

If you pressed the play icon, the Beatles piece you are hearing was performed by a boy named Levi who was somewhere between 10  and 12 years old. All I could see is his blond curly hair as he sat on the piano.  He not only played the  piano, but he sang into a microphone. With his lips almost touching the mic,  he looked like a 12 year old  Randy Newman.  The audio is not very good for I recorded it with my cell phone  from the back of the room and Levi  had trouble keeping his mouth close to the mic while he played the base notes.

What touched me was not necessarily the quality of this performance, or any of the other kids that performed, but rather the expression of their passion for music.  I saw  Madeleine perform a piece she wrote herself,  Noah move his body in beat while playing the Star Wars theme, the tapping foot of Nicholas when he did his own jazzed up version of Lightly Row.

Kids age 10 – 12 do not  exude their passion for music, especially at a piano recital. They are normally terrified of missing a note, or forgetting what comes next.  They just want to get their playing done quickly and off stage.  But, what I saw that Sunday afternoon were a bunch of great kids that love  music and they were not ashamed to show it.

My granddaughter’s performance was good. She showed her feel for music when she put in the appropriate pause between notes for effect. She was not in a rush to get the performance done. She wanted you to feel the music, using the silence between notes to instill that touch.  If you were not noticing, you may think it was a mistake, but it was deliberate and effective.  Who teaches kids to do that?  This is special.

A few days later, after I got home,  I would catch myself humming  Ob-La-di, Ob-La-Da.  When I listen to these pieces, it still  brings tears to my eyes.

I emailed the teacher thanking her for doing such a great job and wishing her to never stop. Teaching young’ens to play the piano, a number of people can do that.  But to teach them to improvise,  compose and put a happy Beatles  tunes in your head for days,  now, that is great!


Things on my mind

Just for the record, I don’t like my software changing without my knowing or agreeing to it.

I like to prepare for change. I like learning how to use software and then find ways it can better my life. If it changes without my being prepared for it, I find I spend more time trying to figure out what I use to know than I do bettering my life.  This is normal for ‘free’ software.  (Is there such a thing as “free” software? – Another topic for a post someday.)

Am I resistant to change? Maybe.  But I rather describe it as resistant to surprise change.

So, it has been two months since I last posted anything on Google’s Blogsspot.  Of course it is different than it was two months ago.  

Oh well, deal with it, one of my kids would suggest.

So, that was a long introduction into a post about what I did in April 2012.

The first two weeks of April, I was focused on getting my taxes done. It was somewhat complicated.  Two businesses, job, Social Security, Pension income.  I had already taken a peek at it and knew I was going to end up having a payment of about $3000.  One of the businesses made more than I expected and I just was not watching what was paid close enough.  I had sent a payment in around March, in order to avoid penalty.  

So the good news is that I have a son who is doing well financially so I asked him for a loan. He was very nice about it and sent me enough to cover a sort fall for a few months.  

Of course, I didn’t rush filing. Why should I? I owed $3000.  I field April 14.  

The last two weeks of April, I sent doing things that was ignored because I was doing taxes the first two weeks.

Getting the lawn mowers running, cutting grass, work (the job kind). Taking care of the house, dogs and cats while Rita took care of her Mom.  

And May? What about May?

Well I did some good things with Javascript to get some web site stuff running like I needed. (that link points to a temp url website were I’m plugging in a new shopping cart for  

 I hate Javascript.  It is powerful, but the syntax is sinful.  Not my kind of language.

I cut more grass.

I started digging ditches for the gas line to the kiln building and garage. (A topic for another post.)  And moved the website to where I have my website. I can host it for no additional money – saving us $100 a year.

We canceled our business phone. It i was only aggravating us with telemarketers and we saw not benefit for it being a business phone. Verizon could not get the yellow page listing correct, it was too expensive, and it was time to go.

I caught the Indy 500 on TV some. Missed my sister and her family.  Wondered if anybody was selling ice at her house or camping out back.  Lonely visits me sometimes and I find myself wanting to call my younger brother, sit down and have a beer with my sister, hear my older brother’s voice, hear my Dad play the saxophone, have get advice from my Mom. Wait!  She never gave any good advice, so guess I don’t miss that.

Enough, more later…

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing
Today it works like this. Tomorrow, it works differently.
In the mid 90’s,  I made a decision that my staff would get Windows PC’s on their desktop, It was then that I started to develop a theory. My theory has to do with  the time it takes humans to adapt to change.  Some are faster than others, but none can adapt instantly.  Microsoft Office took sometime for my staff to learn, but they did. They used Outlook for email, learned to send files attached to email. schedule meetings.  They learned PowerPoint to better communicate their plans. They learned how to use Excel to better plan their work.  They became more productive. Then a year later, the company IT support department decided that everyone should migrate to the new release of Office. When it was installed in my staff’s desktop, it took them months to adapt to the differences between the old release and the new release. It took them months to reach the same level of productivity that they had before the upgrade. 
It was then that I developed a theory that, in order to benefit from new technology, one should not change it frequently.  Younger people would accuse me of getting old fashion.  So let’s fast forward to 2011.  Tablets like the iPad are taking over where PC’s use to be.  Smart phones like Google based Android and Apple’s iPhone are extending the reach of being connected and redefining applications.  Cloud computing like Google’s applications, Dropbox, Saas, and other new applications are replacing software that you install and run on your computing device. 
One of the big difference between Cloud computing and the old-fashion PC installed software is who decides when it changes.  In PC based installed software, normally the user decides.  Between 2000 and today (2011) that is often challenged with PC installed software often updating itself without the user’s knowledge. However, if one is technically astute, they can control when updates are done. 
Not so with Cloud computing.  One day it works this way, and tomorrow it works differently.  The user never sees a change coming. It just appears to work differently.  Currently, I’m a heavy user of Chrome and the Google applications. They are ‘free’ and I use Google docs often for spreadsheet and word processing needs.  Often, when I tried to do something as simple as add a column of numbers using the SUM function in spreadsheet talk, it works differently than it did before. The results, I frequently have to retrain myself how to get it to work.  It normally is just an minor aggravation, and only a small amount of disruption. Sometimes, however, the disruption can be more than minor.
I’m just forced to adapt, faster, more often, and unexpectedly.
If this trend becomes accepted behavior in the software and technology development world, and I claim it is, then what will happen when technology gets really sophisticated?
Let’s fast forward to 2030.  Singularity is upon us. Computing is pervasive.  You are always being monitored and connected to the Cloud.  Your transportation is automatic, your calendar is always updated, your family knows what is going on with you all the time, as does the legal world. Your TV, phone, tablet, desktop is now everywhere and you can not tell one from another. You have a ‘personal assistant’ that ‘lives’ with you. Some call it an AI robot, but is is really more than that. It takes care of you, plans your day. You depend on it for your health and well being.   You become attached to it. You like it. It likes you.
One day it works like this, then the next day it works differently.
What’s with that?   
Who, or what, is controlling whom?

… seize the moment…

I had became friends with a guy who was about seven years older than I am. He was a retired surgeon and he had taken up making pottery as a hobby. I got connected with him since my wife was a potter and  he would come to our Raku firings where I helped with the firings.

Jim and I connected for we were both honest, blunt, possessed a quick wit with a smart ass attitude, too much intelligence and too little tact. Coming across arrogant was easy and natural for us. Showing our true caring and heart was not.  

Jim convinced me that I should learn to throw pots on the wheel. So, I took lessons from him and learn to throw. I was his first pottery student. After each class, we could clean up and then sit on his deck and share a glass of fine scotch and talk of worldly issues. It was kind of like the last two minutes of the TV series ‘Boston Legal’. We got to like each other very well. I was laid off and even did some handyman work for him, but mostly we worked together as friends and he paid me.  We would have him and his wife over for dinner and they would reciprocate.  His wife, Gina, use to be his nurse, and Rita and I would joke about how Jim could not get away from acting like that a surgeon in his operating room.  It was in his blood, but in his heart he was a great person  

Jim sold his million dollar home and moved to Florida a few years after we became friends.    Rita and I moved to western PA to survive my being ousted from the high tech industry .  I visited him, stopping by on a trip to someplace. We shared a glass of Dewars and chatted of lofty things.  I missed Jim.  I would often quote him in my teaching of potter students. Even though we had little contact, I considered him one of my best friends.

I sent him an email the first of 2009 and Jim wrote me to let me know about his year long battle with bone cancer.  The letter sounded like a doctor describing a patient’s condition. Facts, but not much personal depth. That was Jim’s normal presentation that I could get through with a face-to-face probing. The letter did raise concern about his future. He sounded like he was working on his bucket list.  I didn’t write or email all through 2009. Shame on me.  

I finally got the nerve to email him again on Jan 19, 2010 to see how he was and ask about my sister’s cancer treatment. His wife wrote back saying he was very ill. His cancer has spread and that if I would write another email about my medical question, she would present it to him. I didn’t feel comfortable about asking Jim for medical advice when he was so ill.  I was really concerned about him.  I didn’t how or what to email. So I put it off.

Shame on me for not telling Jim what I felt about him.

Yesterday, Aug 13, 2010, I finally got enough nerve to send an email.  It was not deep, only asking how they were.  I was fearful that his wife would have to answer the email to let me know that Jim died.

She did. Jim died Jan 29, 2010. 

Her email sounded like it must have been painful to write.  She did share with me one insight that I, and others, need to hold close.  

She wrote: 
“… you should “seize the moment” at our ages, enjoy your life, do the things you wished to do, dreamed of etc. because you can be healthy one moment and critically ill the next.”

I will miss Jim. And, hopefully start “seizing”.  I will write Gina back today. Procrastinating about telling people you like them and think they are good people is not a good thing.

 We all will die. Nobody lives forever, Few know when. Some live longer than expected. Most die sooner than expected.

Death has a way of being permanent and we do not get ‘do-overs’. 

Guess,  it is time to make this life of mine worthy.


We are away from home. A short weekend trip to Long Island to visit Jen and family. The day after we are here we called the women who is taking care of our house, dogs and cats. She informed us that Sue had run off again. She did that last time we took a trip and was lucky to get her back after Sue encountered a porcine and some friendly person took her to the humane society.
When we go home, we were greatful Sue was there.
Now, a few hundred miles away, I can’t allow myself to think of the worst.
What if she doesn’t come home.

First Blog Post

Rita is away, taking care of her mom, who at 92, is recovering from back surgery. So, that leaves me at home with Sue, Zoe, Toby and Charlie, our two dogs and two cats. Other than working full time and overtime at my day job, I get to teach her pottery classes, work on the garage which we are trying to complete, take care of the house, yard, and do some technical work on the side.

Keeps me busy.
So, I started this blog in order to test out blogging, since I have some technical work to do in that area and to see if it is a place to store my thoughts, musings, stories, to do lists, and other things that can be expressed in writing.
I’m also looking for an alternative to Facebook Twitter, which I joined as a way to keep in touch with my kids and family.
So, now I must leave and get my butt to work.