Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tiny Jewels

Tiny jewels
On silken thread

Friday, September 30, 2016

Morning Glories

Velvet trumpets
Glorious sunshine
Petals fall

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Loss, Redemption and Growth

I have been thinking about my observation that my posts about ADD and loss and redemption are the ones that people read when they visit this blog.  Many visitors come here after searching for "poem(s) about losing things".  ADD is the subject of my most read post and it can be looked at as a form of loss.  A loss of a life lived in the mainstream.  Alice Sebold's book The Lovely Bones is about loss and redemption on several levels.  In some ways my return to university was prompted by my sense of loss from not having finished the first time.  I would redeem myself by returning to university.  To be human is to suffer loss and to seek redemption.  In fact, some would argue that their lives are better after a loss.

In Necessary Losses, Judith Viorst argues that we all go through losses from the moment of our birth when we are ejected from the safety our mother's womb to the day when we face the ultimate human loss, our own death.  In fact, she argues that these losses are necessary for our growth.  Loss, redemption and growth.  The triad that defines our humanity,

I don't know that I agree with Viorst in that loss is necessary, but I will agree that it is inevitable.  To be human is to engage with others, to take risks.  We don't always succeed.  We fail.  Others fail us.  Some people are out to get us.  Random events can make the world seem to be a dangerous place.  Nature is capricious.  Humans look for meaning.  It can be hard to find meaning in some events.  It is how we deal with our losses that defines us as humans.  Do we step up to each challenge?  Do we hold back?  Do we give up?  Do we look for the good?  Do we look for redemption and opportunities for growth?

Redemption can come in strange ways and at times that we are not expecting it.  An opportunity for growth is not always obvious.  Sometimes we just ignore it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Pareto Principle or the 80 - 20 Rule

The 80 - 20 rule is a simple one stating that 20% of your efforts usually produces 80% of your results.  This holds true in many areas of human activity.  Businesses know that about 20% of their products are responsible for 80% of their profits.  About 20% of the work in my garden produces 80% of the vegetables that we enjoy.  That would be the tomatoes and potatoes.

When I look at the posts that people view, I find a similar pattern.  The most viewed post, ADD, is responsible for almost one half of of this blog's page views.  The top 10 posts have gotten almost 71% of the traffic.  Most of these posts were the object of readers' attention without being featured in this blog.  People just found them and read them on their own merits.  I would expect the traffic patterns to become more skewed now that I have a section that shows my most popular posts.

So what are the practical implications of this observation?   I did not know in advance which posts were going to be popular.  Organizations with thousands of products can do market research and determine which of their products merit the most effort.  I cannot do that.  However, I can look at the posts that engage readers and ask myself what they are looking for when they read a particular post.  Obviously I cannot know for sure but I can make educated guesses.

ADD, loss and redemption seem to be the top three subjects that engage the great majority of my readers.  None of these three would have been on a list of topics that I would have thought would make people search out and read this blog. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Where Do I Go From Here?

Soon after my last post in 2008 I left university.  It has taken me this long to write about it for several reasons but I will not get into all of them now; perhaps some other time.

I could not go on.  I had to leave to maintain my health.  The stress of being at university after the events of 2007 was too much for me to take and remain healthy so I withdrew.  I cried when I walked down the hall from the Student Services Office towards the bus stop and my last bus home.   I felt like I was abandoning a dream, my dream of finishing my degree.  I felt like a failure.

More than four years has gone by since that day and I no longer feel the same.  I am not a failure.  I made a decision to put my health first.  That was the right decision then and it is the right one now.  I doubt that I will ever return to university.  The time has passed.  Events have made my life different and changed who I am.  I am content now with my decision to withdraw and I am satisfied with my life.

So, where do I go from here?  My blog was to be my chronicle of my return to university.  It is gratifying to see that people still read this blog and I would like to return to writing here but I would have to find something else to write about.  I am open to suggestions. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Between Classes

I like my schedule this year. I have enough time between classes to get a good start on completing assignements after each class. When I am at home I concentrate on reading and studying. The reading we have to do this year is substantialy more than last year. Some of my courses are half courses and we cover the whole text or texts. I have several assignements due most weeks. In some classes and labs there is an assignment or test every week. I prefer that kind of schedule. I do better when I have regular tests and assignments.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Serious Bunch

I've been back at university for a bit more than two weeks. In some ways it feels like we just got out for the summer. In some ways it is the same place as it was last year but I am in with a different group of students; more studious ones. Last year, I was one of the more serious students in all of my classes. This year most of us are there to learn. A nice change.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Today I finished selecting my classes and bought some textbooks. I have a decent schedule again. Classes begin at 9:30 or later and finish by 4:30. I enrolled in two full and three half courses in psych, one French and a half course in linguistics. I had wanted to take a psycholinguistics course but had a conflict and could not take it unless I took a three hour evening class. Overall I am quite pleased with my schedule and I got to enroll in almost all of the courses that I had picked.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where Has The Time Gone?

Last week I received an email to let me know that it is time to select my classes for next term. It is good to get back into thinking about classes and seeing some of my friends again. A few have graduated and one is taking a year off build up her savings. I will miss them. I do know that many of them will be around the , now familiar, haunts. I am a lot more relaxed about heading to class this fall. It is easier with my first year behind me.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Dean's List

It is official. I made the Dean's Honour List. I am surprised because I did not think that I was eligible because of my reduced load of four courses. It is gratifying to be recognized for doing well. It also is an incentive to work hard next year.