Monday, December 1, 2014

Not everyone gets a college degree

Of late, and by that I mean for several decades now, the emphasis in education has been in acquiring a college degree. "Get a college education or you won't amount to anything!" Although I agree that some folks need a higher education and can very well make good use of it to better themselves, I also feel it is not realistic to think that a higher education is for everyone. And, from my way of thinking it is a disservice to millions of people in the work force to push the idea that they are less important or failures if they do manual labor of any kind. Look out the window and just about every facet of our daily lives depends on manual labor to make it work. Electricity, telephone, water, transportation, sewer, roads, vehicles, buildings, clothing, food, simply everything needs manual labor somewhere down the line. Much of it does not require a college degree. In my opinion it serves no useful purpose to discredit those that choose to perform manual labor or those that cannot obtain a degree for whatever reason. In years past it was considered a privilege to be in training to learn a manual skill. Today, not so much. If manual skills were taught in school more often we'd have a lot less people on the welfare roles, a lot less victims of society, a lot less people walking the streets and getting into trouble, a lot less people resorting to drugs to feel good.

I read about a tribe on another continent that was starving not because they couldn't grow crops or tend to cattle or fish.

They were starving because they were taught that those types of labor were beneath their dignity.

They believed that starving was superior to working to feed themselves.

Millions of people are being taught that today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving and gratitude

It is now Thanksgiving Eve! Let the feasting begin. I'm grateful to have food and also family and friends to share it with. It hasn't always been that way. I've spent a couple Thanksgivings alone and without much to eat. It wasn't as traumatic as some would have it. I am not stuck on what isn't, I'm more into being OK with what I've got. Happiness is often a choice and I choose it whenever it's even remotely possible.

For decades it has been one of my Thanksgiving traditions to get up early and go visit a bunch of old guys who, due to various circumstances are now living alone with no one coming to visit other than me. I bring cheap novelty gifts, a couple sleeves of pennies and a deck of cards. We chat, laugh at the novelty gifts and play cards for an hour or so before I move on to the next old guy and repeat the scenario. My visits stretch from 4:30am until about 1:00pm and then it's family, food and football. Of course I maintain contact with these old gents throughout the year but it seems that it is on Thanksgiving that they enjoy the most. As time goes on locations have changed and the logistics do not allow for the usual personal visit, in which case we carry on a phone conversation for an hour or so. They do most of the talking. Old guys are like that. If it's not an old joke I've heard a dozen times before, it's some rule of wisdom they feel the need to impart upon my na├»ve shoulders or for some reason they need to confess one of their past indiscretions and follow up with an apology to me as a surrogate for whomever it concerned at the time. It is time well spent for me and also the person I am with. We've found that we need each other. To me, that is a gift beyond anything I deserve. Sure, I've helped these guys by simply being a non-judgmental friend, but the life experiences they've shared with me have brought me to a level of acceptance and maturity and faith that I would may never have achieved on my own. I am grateful to these guys.

Happy Thanksgiving! Please pass that on to any crotchety, grouchy, gassy, forgetful, thankless, almost unlovable old guy you know. It just may change their life for the better,

Monday, November 24, 2014

Unexpected day off from hard labor

The road leading to my business is flooded over once again. This flooding happens about 5 or 6 times a year and lasts 24 to 48 hours with access limited if at all to my shop. I drove through early this morning but it has deepened to the point where driving through is no longer an option. I am stuck in my office until further notice. My hope is it will go down by the time I am ready to go home as long as the rain stops soon. Meanwhile, it is my job to find out what to tackle as far as desk and paperwork are concerned. I can assure you, this is not my best talent. However, the coffee is made, both computers are at the ready and I am determined not to waste the opportunity to make a dent in previously neglected tasks. That's the plan. No games, no feeling sorry about the situation, no pitty pot for me, no sirree Bob! Here I go. Enjoy the day!..............

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to mend a broken leg- The hard way!

Several years ago, through a serious case of misjudgment of activity suitable for a guy  my age, I managed to break my leg and many parts of my ankle. It hurt! The doctor I went to at first mis-diagnosed it as a sprain and treated it as such for almost 5 months without any noticeable relief. Not so much enjoying the pain, I decided to obtain a second opinion. An immediate x-ray (not ordered by the first doctor) showed all the broken parts and I was sent to a very competent and well credentialed orthopedic surgeon who recommended immediate corrective surgery. "You've got a lot of broken bones in there" He said. "We'll throw the kitchen sink at it including bone grafts, steel plates and screws to stabilize it. "And after that heals" he continued, "We'll go in there again and fix the abnormal shape and fuse the ankle. It will be somewhat odd in appearance and you won't be able to flex the ankle but you will be able to walk for at least short distances. Perhaps with a cane or walker." I appreciated his honesty. I said I'd think about it for a day or two. He said I was not doing myself any favors by putting it off. "The longer you wait, the less I can do and the more deformed and weak it will be." I thought about it and  also studied the statistics regarding that specific procedure. Right or wrong I chose not to have surgery. I got an "Arizona Brace" instead. Along with duct tape, several other styles of braces and perhaps a couple thousand dollars in expenses for those other braces, I now walk relatively well for extremely long distances and the pain is very minor most of the time. I'm Ok with the results of my choice against surgery. I would not recommend that choice to anyone else. They have to make their own decisions.
The up side:
I never missed a day of work
I didn't have to spend time in the hospital
There was no opportunity for post operative infection and hospitalization
No opportunity for post operative crumbling due to screws or plates failing
Didn't have to go under sedation
Those are just a few but I think you get the drift.
The down side
For the first year there was a lot of pain, a lot!
The ankle is a bit tender
The ankle is a bit unstable
I wobble sometimes due to a lack of strength from underuse (it's getting stronger though)
The ankle looks rather deformed, maybe ugly
I have no idea what the future may bring (but that was also the case with surgery)

That's my story for today folks. It's been a long time healing and it's not over yet. However, it is a whole lot better than I thought the outcome and tribulations of surgery would have been. If you can walk fine today? Be grateful with each step and be careful......................Joe

Friday, November 14, 2014

More on publishing children's book

Yikes! Computer ignorance is still a major problem when it comes to retrieving, and putting together all the stories, poems and what nots I've stored electronically over the past few years. When I hand wrote or typed hard copies the paper was the issue but I could always find what I was looking for somewhere in the numerous piles. It simply took time. Now, since the piles are gone and due to a computer crash or two and moving the records from one computer to another and then another and then to still another the folder with the stories is temporarily lost. Temporarily being the proper term here though. They are there to be found, no problem there. It's just me and my mixed up mumbo jumbo hodgepodge of passwords and file names composed with an overdeveloped sense of privacy. I suppose I'm simply rambling here but it helps with the guilt of not properly educating myself in the tools of electronic writing and publishing. Looking for some progress to report next time. Today I shovel snow for the first time.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Publishing Children's books moving along

Well, it's been quite a ride for the past couple months with the printing of "All About Don". We're into the second printing now due to a better than expected market for the new story book. I can tell you, That is a real treat! Self publishing has advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is complete control of every facet of editing, format, composition, printing and marketing. Some disadvantages include initial costs, marketing, distribution and no assistance with anything. While working full time as owner of a 55 year old business with several employees, time and opportunity become real issues. With "All About Don" most of its all come together rather nicely and the first check to a chosen charity will be sent out right after Thanksgiving. A huge "Thank You!" To everyone who sent out the message to friends and relatives that the book was available. With the first printing completely sold and half the second printing ordered in advance it is going famously. Pretty good for a relatively unknown writer. Now, the work continues on putting all of my children's stories together into one larger book which includes a variety of parenting ideas and tid bits, silly rhymes and kids interactive activities. I'm thinking it's going to take a while but thankfully my business is going into its slow season and I will have some extra time on my hands for almost a full month to commit to this writing task. That's the plan anyway. I've had plans before so I'm looking at this realistically. The stories are already written but are in need of proof reading and editing as well as illustrating. So far, so good. We're going for the gusto with this one. Have a good day!

Friday, September 12, 2014

New Story Book finally printed and in hand for sale

At long last the children's story/coloring book: "All About Don" is in print and selling quite well indeed. Its been a long journey but the results are excellent. The illustrations drawn by 12 year old Alyssa Lake put the story of a short little deer with a big nose into a cold and snowy wonderland a child can see and understand and enjoy time and time again. With the coloring they can participate too. That's why its called a "Look, Listen, Think and Do Book".Springrove 5 and 10 variety store in Wyoming has them on the shelf and many of you who have been following the whole process have stopped nto my office at J&S to pick some up as gifts for children and grandchildren in your lives. I've been told its an easily read and amusing tale of a dangerous predicament with a happy and surprising outcome. As a writer those comments give me a great deal of satisfaction.

Thank you to everyone for your encouragement and support over the years. Tell everyone you know that they are available at my office: 5724- Clay Ave. S.W. in Wyoming Mi. or Springrove 5 and 10 variety store, also in Wyoming. $10.00 each. A relevant story just in time for Christmas.
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