Thursday, August 24, 2017

A dog.

I was mowing below the deck with a push mower,  push up, pull back, forward and return, back and forth, roar of the motor, the smell of the grass bleeding, looked up.

"DOG"!    "DOG"! screamed my brain ....is it mean?  Is it lost?

I said "go home!" loudly.

Nope.

Dog.  Black, stocky with those light brown eyebrows and that soulful expression of a friendly animal, it turned out to be a "she".  No collar. Well fed.   Follows me...even as I continued to mow, shows no fear of the gasoline powered beast.

Grabs a flimsy stick....and NUDGES me!   Smile.

So I grab a BETTER and STURDIER stick, and throw it.   She fetches.

Then I remember I have a tennis ball handy!  I throw IT...we have a winner!  We play, I throw a dozen times or more, she retrieves the ball every time.  She's fast, accurate and seemingly tireless.

I don't even like dogs, but I'm enjoying this.  She has bad breath.  She slimes the ball, yuck.  I walk to the fountain,  "water"?  I ask?   "You sure are playing hard"!  

Nope.

We play.

Finally I am done with the throwing and return the push mower to the garage
and hop on the riding mower.   She follows.  Looks at me.   I drive up the driveway to mow there before it gets dark.

The tennis ball lays by the garage door.

She's gone.

Dog.


Monday, July 31, 2017




She Lives Above a Chinese Laundry
A story by Cindy Ascanio,  NW Arkansas, August 2017



Her name is Sanya and she is 26 years old.  She lives above a Chinese laundry in a small studio with any one window facing the red brick wall of the building next door.  Very little light comes through. The buildings are so close together and so very tall, it is often hard even to tell day from night.  At night the glow from city lights gives the room a perpetual gloomy look.

The laundry owner is normally at work by 6 a.m. so Sanya never needs an alarm clock (she doesn’t have one anyway).  The washing machines and clothing conveyor rattle are the first sounds that greet her each day.

Today though, there is only silence downstairs.

Sanya wakes from the same familiar, recurring dream and for a moment is disoriented in the silence.  She realizes as she turns to look at her watch on the nightstand, that it’s 9 a.m. and there are no sounds from the laundry.   No machines, no voices, no tinkle of the door chime, nothing.
The silence is a loud roar to Sanya, she imagines she can hear her blood whooshing through her heart and brain.  “What made me sleep so long?” she wonders.  Slowly, as if she has been under the influence of sleeping pills, she gets out of bed and goes to the bathroom, flipping the light switch as she enters, but nothing happens.   Flicking the switch up and down two more times (just to be sure!), Sanya smiles to herself at that, and sits down on the toilet.   “Just a power outage” she reassures herself, “there must have been a storm overnight, or maybe a car hit a pole.”

Those thoughts are followed immediately by the desire for food.  Sanya is not usually hungry upon waking but its three hours later than usual, and Sanya’s stomach growls at the mental image of a big breakfast.  “Dream on” she thinks to herself, remembering that she only has one small muffin left in the white paper sack she brought from the bodega a few days ago.She makes her way to the dim little kitchenette, removes the muffin, and chews slowly and with pleasure.


Later that morning, Sanya starts violently, waking up still sitting in her kitchen chair, muffin crumbs in front of her and in her lap.  “What on earth!” she thinks, “I can’t believe I slept again just sitting down to eat”!  She has no idea what time it is, her watch is in the bedroom area, so she goes to get it, blinking away sleep and a sense of being out of time, out of routine, out of sorts.

The dream she has over and over is not exactly scary, but rather disturbing and sometimes follows her for a few hours afterwards.  She wakes (in her dream), and she is the only human left alive, everyone else is gone.  Like that tribe or civilization that just disappeared she muses,  “what were they called?  the Anastazi?”  “Yes”, she thinks that’s right…..anyway, poof, just gone one day.
Her watch reads 7:00 and she quickly calculates that it must be 7 p.m.   “Wow”, she thinks, “9 a.m. to 7 p.m., what on earth could be wrong with me? Am I sick?”

By 8:00 (a.m.?  p.m?), Sanya decides to go downstairs, is pretty sure she can walk a little bit better now.   She has only been into the Chinese laundry twice, first when she rented her living space, and again about a month later when she had to ask the owner for repairs to her leaking sink.
Her door opens to a hallway, then to stairs that split at a turn, one way leads to street level, and the other to the laundry floor.

Both doors are locked (and sealed tight).  She tries again and again, but they are sturdy and won’t budge, her final, frustrated kick at the street door was weak and only made her foot hurt.  And she was so tired.

Sanya returns to her studio and goes to the window.  She has never opened it, and it will not open now.  She considers breaking it with a chair or end table, but dismisses these thoughts immediately.  The window is thick glass, with wire mesh inside, and has been painted many times. 
“Lock-picking” she thinks, “What do I remember about lock-picking?”  Well, there are tumblers, and if a thin wire or blade is manipulated just so, the lock should open.  “Who are you kidding?” she thinks, “YOU don’t know squat about locks.”

Sitting down, Sanya gets a whiff of herself and decides to take a shower and think things over.  Once undressed (which seemed to take a very long time), she lifts the shower handle, but nothing happens.
“Oh no”, she whispers….”the water is off too?”   That thought brings tears to her eyes, and in despair for the first time, she flops down on the bed to have a good cry over her (now) seemingly desperate circumstances.

Hours (days?) later, she awakens to murky light and a ravenous hunger.  She uses the toilet, it flushes but doesn’t refill, and searches her small space for food.  There are dried beans, some stale crackers, and – yes! peanut butter!

After the meager meal, Sanya sits down in her easy chair and tries to decide what to do next.  But it’s so hard, her brain doesn’t seem to work, she can’t concentrate, or even hold a thought for long…..and in a few minutes, Sanya goes back to sleep.

………………………………………..

The discovery of the blue planet was a lucky one, they were nearly out of fuel and starting to worry when they found it.   Plans to settle on the little world came together quickly.  First was release of the base gas layer, extending around the planet from the surface to a height of about 20 feet.   A mixture of sofamide and marchuload, the gas was deadly to all living things.  It hovered, and settled around every structure, it permeated all matter (it fused locks and turned metal into rigid rock-like stuff that would be ground into raw material later).   Next was the ash (but that’s not what it was called).  It settled too, but down through the air, falling softly like a gentle snow.   This chemical worked more slowly, testing each layer of atmosphere from the surface up and adjusting composition and strength as needed to transform oceans, mountains, skyscrapers, dams, and bridges.

To the human race, and the living creatures on the planet,  it was an attack of devastating and total effectiveness, but to the settlers, it was no different than spraying a nice yard of carefully tended grass to eradicate every insect living in it, ants, chiggers, ticks, spiders, centipedes and the like.

Within two days………..the little blue planet was lifeless…and ready for occupancy.

END












Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A professional career....1987-2017


ERP Systems  (Enterprise Resource Planning)

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources.

In the early years of my banking career, an analyst or accountant would request a report generated on a mainframe computer and it would be delivered the next day.   (In my world, this was Sarah's job....and she ruled it like a queen).   You got what you got.....and were grateful for it.

Now, the power of report-writing is in the hands of the user, open-source databases and built-in functions for designing and delivering the information desired, and how it looks / how it's organized.

Cloud-based information systems, retention and access....data is hosted by third-parties, and is in their hands.

GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)

Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are a common set of principles, standards and procedures that companies must follow for presenting financial statements. It is a combination of authoritative standards and commonly accepted ways of recording and reporting accounting information.

I remember researching GAAP in my step-dad's offices, a full library of printed books in burgandy covers.....hours in the library, and in his conference room.

GAAP was codified and has a revised topic numbering and reference system.  A good portion of it is online, by subscription, and research takes place like common search engines in use, text strings and phrases in the search area usually take you to the appropriate topic.

The Tools

Of course, the Microsoft Suite of products rules my work environment now, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word, Access.....have all come about since I began using ledger books, small computer systems (Compaq 386!) and lots of pencil to paper.

While my office is certainly not paperless, data is more integrated, uploaded, downloaded, scanned and available on a screen instead of paper.

Physical Presence, Offices


Remote, online and tele-commuting are popular (but unheard of at the start of my professional career).  Working off-site, from home and available 24 hours a day.   The ability to work closely with others from anywhere in the world....use of digital signatures and documents.

Friday, December 11, 2015

another year in Wichita

My hometown of Wichita, Kansas is known as a "good place to raise children", and frequently makes it onto lists of reasonably priced cities to live in............

I've been here nearly 55 years.

One morning in early June, I received a call from my boss at work ...."Cindy, can you come in my office for a moment?"   When I sat down at her table, she was the one who broke the news of my friends murder:   Local paper coverage

Later in the summer, my Uncle Larry was admitted to the hospital, and less than a month later, he died there.       The staff was excellent at Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice

Beth ended 30 years of service "on the street" carrying mail....and transferred to the customer care center - where she plans to finish her career with the United States Postal Service in May 2017.

After more than 16 years working in a beautiful office building, the holding company staff is relocating so that one of the subsidiaries can occupy the entire building.    We are moving to a smaller suite across the parking lot.  

Goodbye to the view of the pond, the swans and the sunset........



..hello cubicle life....

2015 comes to an end........still living and working in Wichita, Kansas.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Giving it Away:


The object of my attention from the third class was a young teacher in training,  willowy, long ponytail, earnest and open.

The next week, I brought a tiny yoga book to give to her.....101 Poses...and I received a spontaneous hug.

In the weeks that followed, I gave away several more books, then moved on to videos.

The regular teacher noticed, and they both may have wondered if I might be dying, or nuts, or both......but then one night I just mentioned that I was moving and that my new house would not hold all of my books.  

I've been blessed.....and now have exactly what I needed:  someone to pass along my yoga books to.  To her, it may seem that I appeared as if by magic, but this was intended all along, just waiting for the right circumstances to present themselves.

so much fun.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The summer lake house.


Shaffer Road entrance/driveway
 While very modest-looking from the entrance  (mom asks "honey, does the cabin have a coffee pot?"), this two level house overlooking Lost Bridge North is a beauty.   Hardwood floors, a large kitchen, great deck w/view and privacy all contribute to the rural feel.  

Since you might know I count things, here's "how I spent my summer vacation.":

17 visits (from Wichita, it's a 600 mile round-trip not counting running around while there, back and forth to Rogers, Garfield, Eureka Springs or the campgrounds), or an estimated 12,000 miles!!:

March 25 (closing), April 11,  20, May 3, 11, 24 (Memorial Day week), June 7, 21, July 3 (Fourth of July), 19, 26, August 16 (week), Aug 30-Sept 1 (Labor Day), Sept 6, Sept 13, 21 (week) and October 13 (week).

THATS A LOT OF MILES!  
Spread the trips among our trucks and vans, rental cars, once riding with family.

28 different guests: Derek  Rana, Kings, Morrisons, Maylene and Kevin, Roz and Bob, Schraders (total of 5), Pattie, YB, Beau and Brian, Jeanne, Amy, Lisa, Tash, Margaret, Shelley and Gina, Ron and Madeline....

THATS A LOT OF GUESTS!

Now it's time to turn it over to the caretakers for the winter, and settle in to wait for next spring and summer!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Shaffer Road

Yes.    After years of searching...the right property presented itself.   While searching through real estate for sale in the Beaver Lake area, one picture of a deck looking out over the lake was interesting enough to click on.    It was mid-summer 2012.  Many of them do sell quickly; so when one appeared, it was worth a closer look.   Unfortunately, things at home and work got in the way and the property was forgotten.  Then again in the fall.....the picture came up again in a search...this time the real estate company had done a much better job of presenting the property, the pictures were sharper and more descriptive.

It was worth a visit.   Why was this house still on the market?   Was there some flaw that could not be determined by the advertising layout?   The price seemed to be reasonable.......

In late fall there was finally time to drive down and see the place in person.     After the tour - knew the house was right.....but hesitated to make any offer - by this time the holidays were right around the corner, all funds fixed and locked down for the year (you know, capital gains and such).     Told the agent that it would be 2013 before any decisions were made.

As it turned out, the property was still available and with a couple of weeks of negotiations and some repairs, the deal was finalized.

Closing is March 26th.

Yes.