Railroad Man

Harp on the Job 1950'sMy dad was a railroader. He took me to work with him on a few occasions. I’ve ridden and slept in mail cars while the mail was taken in and sorted while on its way from city to city. I’ve ridden in the engines and they even pretended to let me handle the controls. I loved the cabooses best. So I enjoyed watching the video that I posted yesterday afternoon. It reminded me of my father and those times. I realize that it is an anomaly as compared to my usual posts, but there it is. Something from the past that I enjoyed. Hope you do too.

Here is a photo of my dad from the 1950’s.

Evernote – Part 2

Evernote 2I’m reading a book in the evenings before bedtime about using Evernote. The book isn’t intended to teach how to use the app, but is more about application of the app to personal goals and to long term thinking and planning. I’m not deep into this book yet, and most of the time I become disappointed by these sort of ‘how-to’ books, but so far this one has added some good ideas. The thing that I wanted to mention is that the important take-away is that using Evernote with a strategy in mind seems like a valid idea. It’s a sort of mix between organizational ideas along with the tool to organize.

This sort of stuff interests me. I don’t see a lot of feedback on this subject so far, but I’d like to mention these ideas because they do seem so generic to anyone who is writing, blogging, or running projects or a business.

iPhone Ev5The idea of creating a Business Reference Library for small businesses is something that I’ve been pondering quite a bit. My work is project driven and I keep spreadsheets, proposal letters, and support documentation in Evernote. But I also write my loose ideas for business opportunities there and group those ideas using tags. They tend to take on a life once multiple notes become clustered and the idea takes on a shape. That would seemingly work well for writers. I use Scrivener for that sort of thing at the moment and don’t want to break my systems there, but if you are looking for a way to get loose notes and index cards under control, Evernote makes sense to me. I’ve been fooling around with using Moleskine’s Evernote notebook and my iPhone camera to capture odd hand written notes as well. Evernote can read the handwriting and search on the concepts written by hand. I tend to scan hand written meeting notes taken on a legal pad. I don’t know if the Moleskine notebook will become part of my work life or not at this point. It is a good idea though.

This is becoming a fertile environment for people like me who have a lot of different aspects to their world and the stuff that I need to know and reference.

Reminiscing on the Passing Year and the Future

Year EndIt’s almost year end and I don’t know whether I’ll be able to write on New Years Day, so I thought to write now, a bit ahead of time.

2012 has been a fairly difficult year for me. Transitions at work have been trying. Old friends and associates are retiring leaving me behind. I have a few years to go, and frankly I’m not yet ready to stop being productive. I’d like a better – more balanced approach to the daily efforts – but for the most part I’d like to stay working for several more years. A lot depends upon the economy and other external forces.

The news of the world and the country hasn’t been very encouraging to me. The inability of our leaders to do their jobs has me perplexed and disappointed. I don’t feel that the average person is being treated well. I feel we are exploited and our happiness and future are expendable to those who we’ve entrusted to care for us. These last moment deals to keep the country from becoming unhinged economically are not what I’d call good government or good leadership. I am tired of being made to live in fear. So a disappointment.

We had a very difficult year in terms of weather in 2012. The winter of 2011-2012 was extremely mild, but it left us with less water in the reservoirs and the summer drought brought that shortage to be a concern. Another area where fear for the worst made the year a bad one.

So 2013. What to expect or hope?

It’s probably crazy for me to think ahead like this. I don’t know anything about future outcomes.

This winter is shaping up to be more normal in terms of snow accumulation. That’s good and bodes well for the summer and the crops planted in our area. So a source of hope.

To my mind our government can’t keep doing what it has for these last few years. The Congress and President will need to work out some way to work together in a nominal sense. They’ve all lost their ability to see a middle ground. Extremism is a vice – contrary to the famous statement of one conservative – Barry Goldwater. The need to govern takes precedent over ideals and absolutes. A family could not exist without compromises and neither can a people trying to live in harmony together. It seems to me that those who must, will change. So I am optimistic that these antics will cease soon. This year ought to be the year where they wake up and start to adjust their reasoning. More optimism.

Once they get their act together a lot of other thinks will start to work better. The stock market for one. We might see a real run up on the stock market this coming year. We might also see multi-national companies starting to re-invest and re-tool their businesses. All-in-all, the economy might finally break through and end the misery that we’ve been living in this lousy economy. More optimism.

There are several areas that are a real concern. Many concerns are in the Middle East. For that reason, I am encourage that we are becoming more energy independent and hope that continues. We need the fracked oil, solar, and wind power. We need them all. There shouldn’t be an argument. We need every solution available. The energy is important, but the freedom from Middle East crisis management will be a bigger solution than is realized at the moment. That area of the world is in trouble.

I think Europe is in trouble too, but its problems are going to be long standing and is a pity. We can’t help them much.

Frankly, we (the USA) can’t keep ‘helping’ most peoples in the world. I’m not sure that what we offer is welcome in many places. We’re broke anyway, and we need to start acting much more prudently. We need to start saving what we can – where we can. These constant statements that the amount is insignificant don’t fly anymore. We can’t keep throwing money around that we don’t have – period. So we will lose some marginal ‘friends’ in the world. I say – let them go.

2013 will start to see new manufacturing jobs for the USA. A return of sorts, and new businesses that see us as under used and close to the market for the products being produced. Shipping costs and issues with weather and energy costs will have to be considered, tipping the scales toward U.S. manufacturing. 2013 will not be the end of this issue. It’s just the start, but a start is better than nothing.

We have to start valuing each other more. We have to appreciate that our government isn’t perfect, but anarchy isn’t an answer either. 2013 is hopefully the beginning of new thinking and understanding. This century, so far, hasn’t been kind to us.

Today

Our Igloo
Our Igloo

We’re just getting back from dinner and a trip to Barnes & Noble. My family is still here with us and I’m contentedly sitting near to the fireplace while putting these words on my Macbook Air. Life is good.

My grandson and grand daughter and I built an igloo today. The snow was perfect. It was wet, but not too wet. We were filling a small plastic wash tub as a form for the snow bricks and it worked great. Later while we were working we could feel the temperature dropping. It’s now well below freezing out there and my grandson’s igloo is probably going to be a long term fixture in our yard.

It’s been a nice day.

Quiet Time and Writing

ImageI have been writing a lot in my journals. My time has been filled lately with quiet things – the sort of stuff that doesn’t really amount to much. Writing here about mundane things doesn’t seem the thing to do. Everyone has small parts of their lives that they live. We actually look for those moments where life isn’t forcing us to react and do something. At least I enjoy these times. It means that I can become introspective and meditate when I write. Doing that in a public blog isn’t for me. Those thoughts – some silly and overly optimistic – are going to remain private. They aren’t interesting anyway.

Having such a wide range of writing platforms recently is something different. For years I could write in a word processor and that was about it; at least from my viewpoint. Now I’ve got really good tools for my journal, Evernote for ideas that I want to collect for projects, Scrivener for my writing of essays and manuscripts, and even here in WordPress where the tools for writing are getting better. I need the time mentioned, I have a lot of venues to satisfy.

Another place and method for writing that I am lamenting – writing longhand. I have several fountain pens that I have accumulated and have used over the years. I used to write and meditate a lot on paper years ago. That somehow has changed to writing on the screen over the years. Now when I write with pen and ink my ‘hand’ (my handwriting) is poorer. It has deteriorated with disuse. I want to write with pen more so that I don’t lose the skill to do it.

Just some thoughts.

Evernote

Evernote
Evernote

Recently I’ve been having a great experience using Evernote. It is cloud based and recently was updated to Version 5 on the Macintosh and in OS6 for my iPhone. I also use it at work on a Windows 7 OS. I am enjoying the new interface tremendously on my Macs. Recently I’ve been exploring all of the options and have been clipping web articles and details using an add on that Evernote has provided for my Safari web browser. That works great too. I know that I’m gushing a bit, but the changes recently made have enhanced my user experience so much that it feels like a new program to me. I’ve been using Evernote for well over a year before this and was never this enamored.

There are a lot of details to this story. One thing that I’m finding is that my natural inclination to save “important” items is wrong. Save as much as you can of value. Don’t decide to be frugal with the data because it all becomes so much more useful once it’s posted and tagged. That’s another thing – use tags – lot’s of them. That makes the retrieval of information much easier. Months from now, when you do need the info, you will not be in the same frame of mind. Multiple tags help you find things. Use them liberally.

Evernote has become a place that I save things, but it is also a place were I post ideas and concepts for my business. I write there often, and the multiple platforms for my one account helps tremendously. I will likely write about this software / website more as I think of things to add.