Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Middle

     I am a middle child. I am also a middle-class American living in the Upper Midwest, which is in the middle of the country. And I am still middle-aged.

     I recently became aware of another way in which I stand in the middle of things. 

     A Canadian friend stayed with us a few weeks ago as she looked for a place to rent for her family. She and her husband love the city and she found a reasonable two-flat in a Chicago neighborhood. On the day we met with the realtor to finalize the arrangements, I was thinking how much fun it would be to live so close to the lakefront, the museums, the profusion of restaurants and the cultural diversity that the city possesses. There is an excitement and energy to it that draws one in. But as we drove back to our house in the suburbs, I felt something inside me loosen and slow down. Turning into our driveway, I realized how much I need space: space to breathe, to think, and to live. In the same way that too much clutter in my house makes me feel unsettled or irritable, living cheek-by-jowl with my neighbors and being hemmed by buildings and concrete would eventually have the same effect.

     On the other hand, too much space would probably make me feel isolated and lonely after awhile. As much as I love nature and relish the idea of living in the country surrounded by trees and hills, or fields and open sky, I do like the easy access to the art, architecture and culture of city life. So I live between the two. It wasn’t really a choice; I just landed here over twenty years ago when we moved east for my husband’s job.

     I am a bloom-where-you’re-planted kind of girl; I know I could make the best of wherever I lived and find things to delight in that no other place offered, but there is something about living in the middle that suits me.

     What is it about the place where you've been planted that makes your roots feel watered?

Friday, April 18, 2014

My Picture Gallery - Closet Art

     I wouldn't consider my clothes closet to be a large one by modern American standards, it is only a small walk-in, but there is just enough room on the wall opposite the door to hang a couple of pictures. I chose this one for what I suppose is an obvious reason: Inspiration. Unfortunately, the inspirational bunny is having better luck with her leopard print skirt than I am with too many of my own clothes.

     It is probably time for me to pay closer attention to the other inspirational bunny I have hanging below it.

Art by Michael Sowa

Thursday, April 10, 2014

National Poetry Month

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –

                                                                    ~ Emily Dickinson ~

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blah Blah Blogging - Artificial Intelligence

     When I comment on another blog, I am often asked to prove I am not a robot before my comment will be accepted. Since I am so woefully challenged by technology, it is surprising to me—and a little flattering too—that I could be competing with anything so highly developed as a robot.

     All I have to do to prove I am human is type a few blurred letters or distorted numbers into a box and I am admitted to the inner sanctum. It is a program called CAPTCHA, an acronym for: Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Sometimes the test letters or numbers are too distorted for me to read and I am compelled to try again and again before the security code is broken and I am allowed to enter into the next interactive level of the blogosphere. It makes me feel more like a spy than a robot.

     I am moderately aware of the insidious nature of the evil genius robot on the internet: those robots that make you think there are more people reading your blog than there really are, or send you junk mail, or stalk you for their own dark, nefarious purposes. From what I have read, however, most of the robots using computers are as friendly as R2D2, Wall-E or Commander Data.

     Statistically, I expect my own security system to be breached someday—I just don’t have the hubris to think that I can outsmart a robot indefinitely. Despite my clever passwords and malware protection I will probably click on some alluring advertisement or innocent looking video and leave the back door open to the bad guys. At that point I will need help. Superhuman help. So, I am wondering: Is there a test to tell the Superheroes from the humans? Perhaps someone will invent a Get me Out of here Turing test to tell Superheroes and Humans Apart—GOTSHA.