Friday, November 1, 2013

The marvelous, the curious, and the mundane

The Marvelous

My own blood related relative live in the Midwest – so I only stay in touch by phone and email, and an occasional visit.  When I am with them, I feel connected with my roots.

The Laverne Zlatnik branch of the Zlatnik family - NE Kansas

But I am fortunate to be grafted into my wife’s extended family– many of whom live in the Bay Area… It is a wonderful family – diverse ethnically, racially, and beliefs… despite our differences we like each other a lot!  This last weekend was one of those glorious times to come together for the marriage of a niece… It was a time of sharing, a lot of laughter and hugs. Our joy was a tempered a bit by the memory of one brave family member who died recently. Maybe that just intensified our sense of connection together.

A few of the Flory family and friends ( bride and groom to back left)

In addition the marriage party was made up of relatives of the groom that had come from the East Coast, Bay Area professional friends of our niece, long time Bay Area friends, and a great many family, some who had travelled great distances.  The ceremony was heartfelt, we shared gourmet food and drink, and many danced late into the night.  My best good wishes to Tracy and Christopher!  I know I left the wedding with a warm glow.

4 of the 5 Flory "kids"

The curious 

My friends the crows are so smart! This is the season when black walnuts are ripe and falling from the trees.  We live at the end of a cul de sac, and there is a telephone line that crosses high above the road.

Crow in a Liquid Amber tree

Crows perch on the line and drop walnuts to the street below… then they repeat the process… Sometimes the nut hits just right and breaks but usually not.  Dropping them in the street causes many of them to be crushed by cars that come and go.  Crows are smart – but I doubt they “see” this as a method for getting the walnut meat… but they come in numbers and do this everyday during the walnut season.

Crow on a fence post

The mundane

Few things in this world are more sectarian than how people prepare their oatmeal.  I know people who would not consider anything but instant oatmeal… preferably with artificial fruit flavoring added. (Yuck!)

Instant Oatmeal

 Even old-fashioned oatmeal is controversial.  My formula is cup of water brought to boil, add a cup of oatmeal, boil hard until no visible water remains, and the key to perfect oatmeal is to scratch the bottom the of pan, and when the bottom layer looks toasted, take it off the heat and put a lid on to steam for a couple of minutes so that it will not stick to the pan. A few additives are nice too.

Good oatmeal should be flaky like well cooked rice - add milk, sweetener, fruit, and nuts!

 My wife prefers it more creamy, my sister prefers to add oatmeal to boiling water and immediately take it off the heat and let it sit.

Really good flavor - texture more like whole grain than flakes - but takes a lot of time!

Then there are the real oatmeal fans that only go for Scottish style Oatmeal that requires an hour of cooking –((The oats are broken pieces not crushed flakes).   I think this is a case when tolerance and mutual respect for our differences is called for…

The frustration

Adventures come in all flavors – and this week I had a computer adventure.  I am a confirmed Mac user… One reason I love my Mac is the frequent surprise upgrades that appear on my desktop… It’s like a present each time!  This week saw that I had a major new operating system available and only a click away…  My iMac is now a few years old and no longer under warranty – but I still receive the free upgrades… However in this case it removed my old operating system and got hung up before the new one could be installed… I was in limbo…

This is about the way I was feeling when I found that my computer was inoperative

With Mac – no problem – there is a friendly 1-800 number to call for on line support.  After a 2-minute wait I was connected with an amazing guy – who listened well to my problem and could visualize what I needed to do to fix it.  He told me to download a much earlier operating system that I had on a disc – then progress through all the on line upgrades through to the most current…  Then he directed me into the 4 hour-long download of information on my back up memory drive.

The Mac guy walked me through the "surgery" step by step - and it worked!

 Finally I was told to reinstall all my application files. He advised me not to transfer from the memory drive for fear of reintroducing any mischief files.  So now after many hours of challenging work I feel that I have a brand new computer – its leaner and faster – and I’m delighted!