Share the Road

I have nothing against anyone who rides a bicycle, other than that I’m too unstable to trust myself on one.  I think it’s great exercise and I don’t try to watch out for them on the road.

But what gets me is that I happen to drive quite a bit along a state highway that have a paved bike/walking path parallel to it.  The bike path was recently repaved and is not frequented by many people walking.  But the shoulder of the road is still the preferred bike path of choice.  I don’t even mind it that much other than why did we as taxpayers just repave the lightly used bike path.  Thankfully the shoulders are wide enough to perhaps safely allow even two bikes abreast.  But often times, the bikers are riding on the line, or with multiple bikes abreast so I’d have to shift over to pass them.  I don’t think that’s the definition of sharing.  Worse yet, this past Sunday, there was a bike towing a little trailer in middle of the left most lane (remember this is a stat highway even though at this section, the speed limit has dropped to 45 mph) maybe still a quarter of a mile from the light.

Whatever happened to the word share.  Have these people not grown out of the four year old’s definition of share?  Where share means everyone else need to give me what I want?  I think our society is starting to deteriorate into that state where much socialistic ideas have crept into mainstream thinking and people can scream about sharing with them yet have no consideration of others.  I wish for safety for all the bikers out there, enjoy your day and get the health benefits of biking, but remember, sharing the road goes both ways.  Likewise, as you ask for others to share,  don’t forget you have responsibilities as well and don’t unnecessarily burden others… fairness to all…

Disaster Relief

With Harvey and Irma, there’s been much talk about disaster relief.  It’s heart breaking to see so many people needing to recover from the hurricanes.  I’m really thankful for existing organizations with well established infrastructure so they are poised to respond to help people.  I’m no dyed in the wool Southern Baptist but one thing I’ve come to appreciate is their ability and involvement in these relief efforts and because they can ride off their existing infrastructure supported through other programs, I believe 100% of the donations to the relief efforts goes to benefit the victims.

I started wondering about the most tooted organization the American Red Cross.  I was absolutely shocked that they refuse (claiming can’t) give an account of the percent going to the victims of every dollar given.  I can understand not being able to say for certain for Harvey and Irma as everything’s in flux, but this is for past disaster relief efforts.  How can a non-profit organization get away with such accounting?  Somehow, I don’t think IRS would allow them to get away with it.  And such large organization do need at least internal auditing.  I cannot imagine any of the large religious organizations being able to get away with that.

I was alerted to the overhead cost issues for donations when some people at church wanted to designate church as the receiving organization when they give at work through United Way.  I think United Way automatically takes 15-20% (and I don’t remember which) for administrative cost.  REALLY?  The sad thing is I know the employee donations tend to be just a regular deduction from the paychecks and what our church saw were pennies coming through.

So before you donate to any organization out of the goodness of your heart, please make sure that the money is going to where you want it to go rather than someone’s favorite projects or worse yet, someone’s pocket.  But don’t let bad organizations keep you from giving, just find the ones that you can trust and do it with gusto.

Hurricane

We’ve been following the progress of the latest hurricanes and it’s sad to see the wake of destruction they’ve left behind.  It’s so easy to think that we are safe and protected in our homes, but it was a very rude reminder that there are many things in life that are not under our control.  Even with all the technology for prediction, we still can’t tell the exact path an strength of a hurricane until it happens.  I’m thankful that we can have some forewarning, but I know of people in the Florida panhandle who were braced for the worst and pretty much got nothing, and then the people in eastern part of Florida who thought that they would be okay because Irma was going up the gulf side, but there ended up being flooding.

All things considered, I am very thankful for the relatively little life loss here in the states.  Things are replaceable, people are not.  It was interesting though that there are some stories of people who decided to ride things out but ended up needing help in the midst of the storm, and they were not happy that they didn’t get emergency help.  Hum…  have we come to a point of being so unreasonable?  If I knowingly make a dangerous choice, how can I then expect others to risk their lives to save me from my stupid choice.  I do appreciate the many first responders who do exactly that but it would be unreasonable to expect it of them always.

We don’t know what route Jose would take and how strong it will become, but please stay safe and make wise decisions.  I know sometimes it’s nearly impossible to evacuate large metropolis areas and there’s always the fear of looting, but lives before stuff and know that there are many things where we are no where to being able to control.

Focus Necessary

There are a number of things in life where you need to focus and you should probably take a break when you are tired.  Unfortunately, I think most of us miss that point when we really need to stop but think we can continue.  I’ll admit that most of the time we can probably get away with it, like long distance driving, but unfortunately due to the lack of focus, that’s also when we are most susceptible to accidents.  And that lack of concentration can cause great harm.

I was recently reminded of that fact.  Last week during cardio boxing I was getting fatigued but decided to continue to work on some power punches with my weak hand.  I guess there’s a reason why it’s my weak hand and throwing my weight behind the punch into a heavy bag was not a wise idea when my wrist was not straight and tight.  Long story short, my left wrist is now in pain and needing a doctor.

Sometimes we need to be more aware of what our bodies are telling us.  If it needs a break, give it a break before doing something stupid.  So no matter if it’s exercise, work, driving, or whatever.  Know the signals from your body and take actions accordingly.  Because there are times when we are a whole lot more likely to do irrevocable damage due to not focusing.

Trusting Professionals

I think it’s safe to say that most of us for one reason or another seem to trust the “professionals” to be good at what they do and we don’t tend to question their qualifications.

Recently a friend took his car into Brake Master’s to fix his squeaky brakes.  With a name like that, you’d assume that they would be able to fix his brakes.  Well, might as call them break masters because three trips later, more things are squeaking.  Hum…

And yesterday, I was out and about when the schools were letting out.  The school bus driver at the red light, just pulled right into the crosswalk completely blocking the crosswalk.  Really?  And then as I was getting close to home, a school bus pulls out from a stop sign, right in front of me.  Okay a fast car probably could have made it, but a bus?  Being not the fastest to start and a long length.  Wow, what kind of drivers are we entrusting our kids to.

I remember years ago talking to our contractor when we were building an addition to our house.   Boy, did he have nightmares to tell of subcontractors trying to safe money by cutting corners.  These are professionals that we trust every day.  It’s amazing that anything still works.  But thankfully there are still good some people out there.

With these things all around us, it can be tempting when we are doing things for others to try to cut corners or not being careful when we are suppose to be the experts.  I try to teach my kiddos that whatever they are doing, to do the best job that they can and not cut corners.  And also try to learn more so that they can be better at what they do.  I sure hope that somethings are sinking in.  And if one day they do become a “professional” or an “expert” of sorts in some fields, that they won’t turn out to be another person whose words or actions are not worth any more than something coming from an average Joe.  Of course, that means I need to be a role model…sigh…

Buzzing Trumpet Mouthpiece

Since the boys are now taking trumpet lessons, I decided to ask their teacher to help me get started.  I had messed around with the trumpet some to encourage the boys to get started and then I stopped.  Any way, I was able to sort of play it.  But trying to buzz a melody through the mouthpiece seemed like an impossible task.  I was told to just relax and have fun with it… and yes, often adults have a lot more problems with it than kids.

Today when I picked up the mouthpiece, I tried to not over think the process and just messed with it.  Before I knew what was happening, I started thinking of it more like a kazoo and bingo!  I got it.  Yes, it’s not pretty and I can’t go that high yet, but I got the basics.

I think as adults we sometimes do put limitations on ourselves and handcuff ourselves to our preconceptions of how we should act and we worry about doing the “right” thing so people would look favorably on us.  I’d like to think that part of me is still rather childlike (hopefully not childish) and can be awed by the wonders around me.  So off I go to look and sound silly as I buzz through the house and not worry about “doing the right thing” and just experience the freedom to explore (responsibly of course).

Worry List

In college I was taught about keeping a worry list while praying.  Basically while praying, whenever something pops into my mind, instead of trying to remember it or stop praying to take care of it, to just have a worry list next to me, stop praying to quickly jot it down and then forget about it.

It’s a good practice that I need to get back to  in life.  So often there are little things that pops into our head, we can try so hard to not forget it that we end up messing up our current task, or if we stop to take care of that which popped into our heads, we never get back to what we were doing.

So now with phones and electronics all around us and my to-do list almost constantly next to me that are synced across platforms, I have no excuse but to start getting into the habit of using them and once they are on the list, to not to worry about them until I’m at a good stopping point.

Of course, like everything else.  Easier said than done and it will take time to get into the habit of using it and then not trying to get to the task right a way but to wait until when I’m good and ready…  So back to other tasks now…

News Reports

We’ve been following the news regarding the impact of Hurricane Harvey.  It’s always sad seeing homes destroyed and people stranded.  But then I started wondering how wide spread is the devastation?

I remember years ago there was flooding along the Willamette River and people began calling my parents to make sure that we were not sitting under water.  Well, the flooding literally was just along the river but the reporting made it sound like the whole of Portland was being threatened.

Then I started thinking about when I was in Kindergarten, one time probably after a Typhoon, part of the school field was flooded.  The water was probably chest deep (okay I wasn’t a big kindergartner) and the bus driver had to pick us up one by one and carry us to the bus just outside of the gate.  I can imagine if the camera was only zoomed in on the effort, it would probably appear as some heroic rescue of little children from a major flood.  Hum…

So anyway, I started wondering about the degree of flooding.  Of course I’m not dismissing that there is bad flooding in certain areas around Texas, nor am I down playing the suffering of the people impacted by the hurricane, but I am wondering about the degree of the impact especially when I have friends living near Huston complaining about being stuck with the kids at home for a whole week.  That doesn’t sound like major storm impact.

I remember after Katrina, there were aerial view and maps of the parts of New Orleans under water which is rather lacking here.  Also, knowing that yes flooding will be a problem for some  in the low lying areas, but given that the whole area is pretty flat so the water would probably be more spread out and there won’t be significant run off into just one small region.  Thankfully unlike New Orleans, the area is not below sea level so the water does have a chance to drain into the ocean.  So my hope is that the flooding and destruction is not as bad as what the media is making it out to be.

Again, I’m not dismissing the problem being faced by those whose homes and businesses have been destroyed or even those who had suffered minor flooding in their home since even an inch of water in the house can cause significant head aches and repair costs to the owners.  But it is worthwhile whenever we watch or read some news report to think through it critically and not to make broad general assumptions.  No, the whole of Houston is not under water :).

Ionic Covalent Bonds

Ah chemistry time in co-op.  The subject of ionic and covalent bonds came up and I could not remember which and some of the additional information associated with the bonds.  So quick review…

Ionic… I own it.

Keep an eye on (anion) the negative attitude of the non-metal that stole the electron (maybe the non-metal is so negative because it is jealous of the metal’s shininess)  and on the other side  cat eye (cation) is positively shiny, just like metals.

Covalent – they COoperate and share what they have so each side has what it needs.

If I own the stuff, I’m not going to give it back so easily, so in general, it takes more energy to break apart an ionic bond thus it’s in general a stronger bond.

That’s it for a quick chemistry review…

Praying for people affected by Hurricane Harvey

So sorry to hear that Hurricane Harvey took on so much more power before landfall.  I’m glad that it was not a direct hit on Corpus Christie.  But as it is, we know a number of people who will be affected by Harvey.

It’s always hard when natural disasters hit.  I think part of it is that sometimes we do have the Star Trek false sense of belief that someone we can control nature.  Yes, we have made a lot of advancements in terms of controlling our environment.  We have been blessed through irrigation technology and the ease of transportation to have plenty of food though sometimes we do complain about the prices when there are some agricultural difficulties in producing the foods we want.  For the most part, we live under decent shelter and have our indoor temperatures well moderated.  If we get sick for the most part, we expect the doctors to be able to solve our problems.

So, we are quite comfortable and in comparison to people of the past and of other cultures, we are quite well off and our lives are very sheltered.  I think that’s why when things like Hurricane hits, it’s much harder for us to deal with it because it exposes our vulnerability and how we are anything but in control.

I’m praying for those in Harvey’s path that they will be okay and be able to recover quickly.  But I’m also praying for the realization and the remembrance that I need to be thankful for the good that I receive every day as it is the grace of God but also to recognize that life is not mine to control and to live accordingly.