Monday, June 25, 2012

My Desk

I sit at a desk that used to be a study carrel at Harvard University. My grandfather was head of the university's printing facility back in the 40s and 50s, so somehow we managed to snare a few nice items.  There are stains and gouges on the desk top, as well as the imprint of a pair of small scissors.

My imagination runs wild when considering this small desktop filled with piles of books, with just a little room left for a stack of paper and a pen.  Over and over that image repeats as young people studied and wrote paper, answered questions, or researched topics. Sometimes the books were so boring heads would nod until eyes closed and sleep would come.  Other times, great ideas were born. Maybe a single moment of clarity would open an entirely new world for a young mind.  Who knows, maybe a young man wrote an awkward piece of prose to express his love.

This desk holds a couple of computer monitors (the piles of books lift them to eye level), speakers and a keyboard now.  I have been known to fall asleep leaning back in Dad's chair when the books get exceptionally boring.

The number of books that I have available to me through electronic means would startle those young students.  I often feel like a lazy slug when I click open a few windows and have reams of information available to me without the need for a librarian.

I get a little intimidated if I think too deeply about the users of the desk fifty or sixty years ago.  There was so much potential and they were about to enter the world at an amazing point in our recent history. So much was happening in the world around them.  All they had to do was reach out and grab their future.

We're in the middle of our own future right now.  In the last 50 years, some amazing things have occurred.  I experienced the beginning of the internet and free flowing information. Technology seems to have no end. I saw men land on the moon and build a space station. Communication is cheaper and faster than ever before.

I look at this little desk and think of the people who have sat in front of it as they learned.  It no longer resides in one of the oldest and most respected universities in the US, but through the wonders that have come alive in its future, it holds the tools for learning on its table top.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Getting Old

Yesterday I worked on filling out my profile information at Grand Canyon University.  I wandered along, inputting information about owning Insty-Prints, typing in the years I was there and the years I worked at different churches, etc.  Then ... THEN, I got to the education section.  I wanted to enter my undergraduate information.  Hmmm ... let's see ... maybe I'll just enter the last college I attended and the one from which I graduated.  Ok ... good, that's a great idea.

Coe College.  I started in the fall of 1979.  1979.  Ummm ... 1979.  Are you kidding me?  There was no year earlier than 1980!!  Oh, for heaven's sake, I graduated in 1981!  Talk about destroying a girl's heart.

Max and I have often laughed at the fact that we are running out of radio buttons.  You know those little buttons you select on surveys, etc.?  They mark off your age for you quite nicely.  Let's see.  23-35 - Nope.  36-42 - Nope.  43-51 - Nope.  52 - ? - WHAT??  I'm in the last radio button?  That kind of stuff just kicks me in the head.

Why can't these companies recognize that the Baby Boomers (yes, I'm at the tail end of that group) comprise one of the largest population entities out there and we don't plan on dying in the next seven years.  For heaven's sake!  Let's make those radio buttons go out until at least the age of 120!

Sometimes the world makes me feel really old ... even when I'm not.

So, I logged onto the Grand Canyon University's Tech Support page on Facebook and asked about the whole '1980' thing.  They asked that I send my query in to an email address which accepts feedback for the website, because they know they have students of all ages. I did.

But, whatever ... when they say 'all ages,' I know that they are talking about old people like me ... all of those ages that might have gone to college prior to 1980.  Sigh.

Someday I'll rant and rave about the relentlessness of time and all the profound thoughts which revolve around that idea, but for today, I'm just whining.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Count Your Blessings

The other morning I woke up singing an old hymn.

Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your blessings, see what God has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

I wondered what had been going on in my dreams that brought me to that song, but it seemed like a good way to start the day.  I showered and then decided that I needed a little bit of time away from my normal day, so I got in the car and drove.

I hadn't gotten too far up the gravel road, when I saw a deer nibbling on fresh corn leaves in a field. I stopped for a few minutes to watch and pretty soon, he (she?) came closer to the fenceline.  I moved forward so as to continue watching and the deer moved again.  Pretty soon, one of us had to make a decision.  Either I moved on, or the poor deer did, but just at that point, he turned to look at me.  I had rolled the car window down to see if I could capture a picture, so I did just that, told him 'good morning' and drove on. The picture stinks - he was too far away for my camera phone - I really need to remember to take my real camera when I decide to go for a drive.

Just down the road another half mile, a beautiful cardinal rose up out of the ditch and as I was watching that glorious red color in awe, a cluster of birds flew up in front of me.  More cardinals and several goldfinches. It was glorious!  I felt like color was exploding in front of me.

All I could think about was the fact that I was experiencing an awful lot of those blessings in a few short minutes.

But, there was one more.  I hadn't yet gotten off the gravel road (which is only a 2 /12 mile stretch) and I came to a stop again.  A gorgeous male pheasant was standing at the top of the ditch, resplendent in his color.  I slowed to take it all in and was thankful for the many blessings that fill my day.