Sunday, December 27, 2015

Raising Ourselves

My sister emailed upset with herself because she raised her voice to our mother.

They disagreed. My sister did what she wanted to do. My mother told her she had wasted money. My sister blew her top.  My mother is 93. My sister is 65.  They’ve had this dynamic for as long as I can remember.

Except that my mother used to be in the power position. And it used to be my mother who raised her voice – which still makes no sense – because why would somebody in the power position raise her voice.  She has already won.  There is nobody to impress.

But this is the dynamic we were raised with.

Our father used to insult people he disagreed with. Particularly his family.  I remember trying to do the same, as a teen.  It didn’t work. It just got my father madder, and he would slap my face.

Again, he already had the power. And he had the money. The decision was already his.  So why the raised voice? Why the hitting?  So he didn’t like it that I disagreed with him.  My opinion had no influence on any decisions.

And now, my mother’s opinion has no influence on my sister’s decisions.

What’s really crazy is that this dynamic of anger, after one has already won.

We didn’t like it as children.  But it is the way we were raised.  It seems like the expected behavior, even though it hurts.  Cancelling our childhood training is probably the hardest thing we ever need to accomplish.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Fixing a Printer via TeamViewer

A neighbor called – her computer was refusing to print, and she wanted me to fix her printer via TeamViewer.

Knowing this neighbor is poor at diagnostics, I agreed to try TeamViewer. I opened her Devices and Printers, right clicked her default printer, chose Printer Properties and Print Test Page.  It printed.

I opened WordPad, typed: This is a Test, File, Print.  It printed. Nothing wrong with the printer.

So, I asked what doesn’t print?  Her email didn’t print.  I opened her email and tried to print.  The only choice was printing to the cloud.  She checks her email via browser.  I tried printing another browser page.  Again – cloud.  I tried a different browser.  Cloud.

So, I asked if things were working a week ago.  Yes, they were.  I tried System Restore.  System Restore failed. I tried two other dates. Both failed. The error message suggested I try chkdsk /r   At this point, I was thankful for any ideas.  I ran chkdsk from the Tools tab on drive C.  This involved a reboot, but TeamViewer reconnected us when it was done.

I tried printing her email.  Ta da!  Chkdsk to the rescue!

Now my neighbor thinks I can fix printers via TeamViewer.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Do the Good Guys Always Win?

Yesterday I talked with a 5-year-old about Hannukah.

He asked me, “Do the good guys always win?”

I know he’s 5, but I had to tell him the truth.

“ Both sides in any war believe that their side is good. But the winners get to write the history books.”

He gave me a blank look.  So I told him the story of the Dreidel Deception.  When Xerxes was in power, it was illegal to teach about Judaism.  So, the rabbis took the children up into the mountains and taught them the dreidel gambling game.  Each side of the dreidel is marked with a letter. Players spun the dreidel and when the dreidel fell, the rabbi started a story with whatever letter landed on top.  When the soldiers came by and found these children playing and talking, they asked, “Any teaching going on here?” 

The rabbi answered, “No. No teaching. Just nice clean gambling.”

The 5-year-old seemed to like this story better.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Words for Snow and Water


I grew up hearing that the Inuit have over one hundred words for snow. Nobody could tell me what these words were or what they meant.

Finally, on the web, I found a page that explained the words.  They are really phrases combined into words – long words without spaces.  The words mean things like snow sparkling in moonlight, snow sparkling in sunlight, hard packed snow, light fluffy snow, avalanche, falling snow, snowflake, big snowflake, wet snow, dry snow, crusty snow – all concepts that we have in English. There may be nuances that don’t translate well, but basically, snow is snow, the world over, whether or not you put in spaces.

Another website made the point that English also has many words for water: lake, ocean, pond, puddle, river, waterfall, pool, raindrop, storm, thunderstorm, drizzle, fog, cloud, mist.

Whether we use single words or phrases, we use language to precisely describe our world.  This is a human trait, not unique to any language or any people. Climate does contribute to vocabulary.  People who live at the equator don’t need words for varieties of snow.

We English speakers are particularly lucky because we have incorporated words from other languages, and therefore have nuanced synonyms to better understand as well as convey our meanings.