Dreamer’s World September 18, 2018 – Thunderstorms

Dreamer’s World September 18, 2018 – Thunderstorms

    Last night as I went to bed, I was treated to a light show as a thunderstorm passed through the area. It was so beautiful to lay in the dark and listen to the thunder and see the lightning flash through the windows. The scene reminded me of an old black-and-white horror movie from the 1930s that we see on TCM. There were no ghosts or monsters to be afraid of, and everything was peaceful apart from the thunder.
    I fell asleep to the sound of rain against the window and woke up this morning to see that things are still so wet that the window screens have held onto moisture since the storm ended. The thunderstorms have passed, but we are not done with the rain yet. I have given up hope of ever seeing the sun again. The long-range forecast keeps changing to promise even more rain and gloomy weather for the next week or so.
    Like the weather, I am stuck in a pattern that I want to break. I am tired of the routine around here. I need a change to break the monotony of things. I never have enough time to do all the things that I want.
    I need a type of thunderstorm in my life to feel alive again.

Tags: Life, Post, Routine, Rain, Storms
September 18, 2018 at 11:50AM
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Dreamer’s World September 17, 2018 – Decisions, Decisions

Dreamer’s World September 17, 2018 – Decisions, Decisions

     As I am writing this, I am listening to a TED talk about the paralyzing effects of having too many choices in our lives. We often agonize over decisions in our lives, whether it is something simple like what to eat versus how to get ahead in our careers. We have comfort zones that we establish, and they are there for a reason, those comfort zones reinforce decisions that we have already made and increase the chances that we will make the same choices the next time they are presented to us. Venturing outside of that comfort zone involves risk, the risk that we will make the wrong decision, or that we will become paralyzed about which choice to make.
    I recently thought about switching from my Android Pixel phone using Google’s Project Fi to an iPhone on T-Mobile. My decision was made quickly. The cost of switching, as well as the cost of the new service, was going to be much more than I am willing to pay. The decision process took less than two minutes. I am pleased that I exercised the discipline to make that choice quickly and could then move on to other things. I feel no regret, and the sense of relief is palpable. I might decide to upgrade my phone on Project Fi, but I won’t have to make that decision until sometime later this year.
        We have the power to create reasons to make decisions in our lives. The possibilities are endless if we take the chance to make new choices without stopping to over-analyze them. The advice from the speakers is to go with your first instinct. The longer you spend choosing an option, the higher the chances that you will regret the choice you make. I prefer to phrase this as being spontaneous and getting the decision made quickly. All the consequences of the possible outcomes of each decision are impossible to predict. We have a limited amount of time in our lives to live, don’t waste it being paralyzed by fear.

Tags: Life, Post, Choices
September 17, 2018 at 11:35AM
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Dreamer’s World September 15, 2018 – Insomnia Again

Dreamer’s World September 15, 2018 – Insomnia Again

I have been awake for 3 hours and it is 0530 in the morning. Insomnia has returned for another visit and I am powerless against it right now. Rather than spend this time wondering why I cannot sleep, it is better to enjoy the silence and come to terms with things as they are.
At various times during my vigil, each of the Stooges has visited me. Hal The Cat is the most frequent visitor, for long periods he never leaves my side and talks to me through sound and gesture. Stevie Nicks has come around a few times as she makes her nightly rounds of the apartment. She also has spent time with me and showed her affection and concern. Spartacus has visited once, he sleeps very soundly and because he is older, he doesnt wander around as much anymore.
I appreciate their companionship, it makes the passage of time more pleasant for me, and I hope, for them as well. Hal (person) is asleep because he has to go to work later this morning and I dont want to disturb him. I watched a little TV to see how Florence has affected North and South Carolina, but the news quickly became repetitive and I turned the TV off. That is how I came to sit here typing and thinking on this very early Saturday morning.
As I type, I look around and realize just how lucky we are to be safe from the storms that affect so many other people. I am not referring to Florence as I write this, I am thinking about people who may not be as fortunate, those who are hurting, those who are alone. At times like this, I feel like I have excess capacity for empathy toward others. I know from experience that I cannot solve the problems of the world, or of most people in the world. Hell, at times I seem to be barely able to deal with my own issues. That doesn’t stop me from feeling a connection to the world on a solitary night with no sleep.

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September 15, 2018 at 05:37PM
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Dreamer’s World September 12, 2018 – One Day At A Time

Dreamer’s World September 12, 2018 – One Day At A Time

    I am starting this blog post at 0330 in the morning because I’m awake for no good reason. I hate insomnia, but since I didn’t feel well after work yesterday I took a long nap and that probably messed my body clock up to the point where I find myself awake now.
    Sincerely I’m awake I will probably decide not to go to the client’s office today. I hate to make the trip when I feel wrecked due to lack of sleep.
    Surprisingly, I was able to go back to sleep for about an hour before my alarm went off at 0600. I stopped it and the next thing I knew, Hal was shaking me awake again at 0700 and asking me if I was going to work today. I told him that I was going to work, but not at the client’s office since I was not feeling well. I can afford to miss a weekly visit every now and then since I have been working with the client for so many years.
    I will do what I can from home today as well as monitor the progress of Hurricane Florence as it nears the coast. The latest forecasts seem to spare us from the heavy rain, and I am grateful if that will be the case. I hope that the storm will not be as bad as predicted for everyone.
    I am more out of it than I thought. I spent the first two hours of the day thinking that this is Thursday. I need some alcohol to bring me back to reality, or at least make staying away from reality more fun. At least, my BG levels are terrific so far today. Ironic that I feel like crap when the BG levels are right where they should be.
    At least I felt better as the morning progressed. If the day at work doesn’t get too stressful and exhaust me all over again, I will see if Hal wants to do anything after work. I can also cook the roast in the Instant Pot this evening so we will have plenty of food for the next several days. I cannot stay inactive for too long after work because I want to be ready for a good night of sleep tonight.
    During one of the endless conference calls in the afternoon, I went ahead and put the roast into the Instant Pot. Because it is a large roast, I gave it more time to cook since the extra time shouldn’t harm the roast in any way but should make sure it is done throughout.
    I was stunned to see the sun actually shining here today. It has been over 5 days without a break from the clouds and the sun seems blindingly bright after such a long time. Now I really hope that Hal wants to get out and do something after work this afternoon, but I will have to wait and see about that.

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September 13, 2018 at 08:16AM
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Dreamer’s World September 12, 2018 – Choice between Apple and Google

Dreamer’s World September 12, 2018 – Choice between Apple and Google

    Today is the day when Apple will unveil their new series of products, particularly the newest iPhone. I am sure that I will check things out later today just to see what is being offered and how much those items cost, but that will be the extent of my interest.
There was a period about a month ago when I seriously thought about switching from Android and Project Fi back to Apple and a traditional carrier. After some intense consideration, I have decided that I am staying with Android and Project Fi. THere will be new Pixel phones coming out in about a month. I enjoy Project Fi and it has been an excellent experience for me.
    Project Fi is a Google initiative that provides cell phones that work with T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular networks without interruption, but the phones are also geared towards using secure Wifi whenever possible. I switched to Project Fi about 4 years ago and have never experienced a problem with the service or with the company itself and the customer support process. The drawback is that the choice of phones is very limited. Sadly, the available phones are increasing in price to the level of Apple and Samsung, but the network and plan still make Project Fi the best option for me.
    I currently have the Pixel 2 XL phone and it is terrific. The camera is probably the best available on any cell phone. Google should be releasing the official next Pixel phones in October and that is the news I am waiting for. If I decide to upgrade my phone, I will definitely stick with Pixel and Project Fi.

Tags: Post, Technology, Google, Apple, Cell Phones
September 12, 2018 at 02:45PM
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Dreamer’s World September 10, 2018 – Monday, Monday

Dreamer’s World September 10, 2018 – Monday, Monday

    This week starts with more rain. We are just soaked here, and there is more rain on the way. If Hurricane Florence comes ashore in the Southeast, we will get even more rain as a result of that! The weather is testing my endurance and ability to stay in a positive mood.
    The weekend was rainy but uneventful. I rested and am feeling better than I have in quite a while. After I drop Hal off at his job this evening, I am coming home to have a nice dinner and then go back to get him later. With the approach of the hurricane, I will make sure that I make a trip to the grocery store to have enough stuff here, so we have plenty to eat and prepare in the Instant Pot.
    The day at work was busy, and that was a good thing because it made the time pass more quickly. I will do the things I already set out for this evening, and then I want to get a good night of sleep to be ready for tomorrow, and whatever that day brings.

Tags: Life, Post, Monday, Rain
September 10, 2018 at 03:17PM
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Dreamer’s World September 6, 2018 – Our Country In Peril

Dreamer’s World September 6, 2018 – Our Country In Peril

    Today I contacted my US Senators and let them know my opinion on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, which they should REJECT. It is something taught to me as a child, my duty as a citizen, to let elected officials know how I felt about issues of the day. I don’t think they teach civics as a subject in school anymore, and that is a shame.
    Our system is far from perfect. It is worth noting that I had to specifically request NOT to receive emails from either Senator as the result of my reaching out to them in the first place. Experience has taught me that signing up for these “newsletters” only subjects me to pleas for money. I find it strange that our system has devolved to the point where millionaires and billionaires beg for money from people who struggle to make ends meet. The irony is that we are fleeced to compete with corporate and big-time political donors for the attention of our elected officials in the first place.
    This example proves that money is the problem we have with our political system. Money does NOT equal speech unless you are an elected official who is desperate to remain in office. We need a total ban on political contributions from any source, and our elected officials should be required to live on the salaries that they earn, if not on the minimum wage! Our elected officials quickly lose touch with reality once they enter the world of corporate money and handouts that are given to influence their votes on issues that affect every single one of us.
    The most prudent answer is to have publicly financed campaigns where each candidate is given the same amount of airtime on radio and tv, and the same amount of advertising in newspapers and print media. TV is the monster we need to tame.  That one will be much more difficult to solve, but we have to try if we are ever to reclaim our country from the rich and powerful who do nothing more than begging us for our money to keep them in power.

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September 06, 2018 at 09:10PM
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Dreamer’s World September 6, 2018 – A Very Good Day

Dreamer’s World September 6, 2018 – A Very Good Day

    I’m glad that today is Thursday. It is the last full workday of the week for me because tomorrow there is an off-site Happy Hour for the local employees who work remotely in the afternoon. I will travel to that event via Metro so I won’t have to worry about driving. In effect, I will be leaving here around lunchtime to make it to the g, and that will mark the start of the weekend. This week has been busier than I expected, but nothing that caused too much stress.
    I am looking forward to this evening because Hal has promised to give me a massage after work. I need to take him up on his .offer and enjoy myself for a change. Today will be rather slow at work, at least based on the calendar this morning. There are no endless meetings to attend, just one this afternoon scheduled for an hour. I will have the opportunity to get things wrapped up nicely before quitting time. After a quick bite to eat, Hal can give me his wonderful massage, and we will be set for the evening here at home.
    Friday is also supposed to see a change in the weather around here. The stifling heat will end tomorrow with thunderstorms. The weather won’t affect my trip to and from Happy Hour tomorrow because I will take the train, as I mentioned earlier. Perhaps the storms will clear the air around here and help ease my sinus problems.
    After the massage tonight, I will cook dinner in the Instant Pot. I have the ingredients all set to go. Cooking won’t be too difficult after the massage, and I know that I will feel rested and renewed. Dinner will take less than one hour, and most of that time will be spent watching the Instant Pot work its magic. The menu will be chicken breasts with cream of mushroom soup mix along with onions and green pepper and pasta with cashews mixed in to give it some extra flavor. I am sure that Hal and I will enjoy our dinner and our evening at home together.

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September 06, 2018 at 09:05PM
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I survived the Warsaw ghetto. Here are the lessons I���d like to pass on | Stanis��aw Aronson

I survived the Warsaw ghetto. Here are the lessons I���d like to pass on | Stanis��aw Aronson

I survived the Warsaw ghetto. Here are the lessons I’d like to pass on

I’m 93, and, as extremism sweeps across Europe, I fear we are doomed to repeat the mistakes which created the Holocaust

Wed 5 Sep 2018 01.00 EDT

Last modified on Wed 5 Sep 2018 08.52 EDT

The Warsaw uprising, 1944.

‘The battle to draw the right lessons from that time is in danger of being lost.’ The Warsaw uprising, 1944.
Photograph: Universal History Archive/Getty Images

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel stated this summer that “when the generation that survived the war is no longer here, we’ll find out whether we have learned from history”. As a Polish Jew born in 1925, who survived the Warsaw ghetto, lost my family in the Holocaust, served in a special operations unit of the Polish underground, the Home Army, and fought in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, I know what it means to be at the sharp end of European history – and I fear that the battle to draw the right lessons from that time is in danger of being lost.

Now 93 years old and living in Tel Aviv, I have watched from afar in recent years as armchair patriots in my native Poland have sought to exploit and manipulate the memories and experiences of my generation. They may think they are promoting “national dignity” or instilling “pride” in today’s young people, but in reality they are threatening to raise future generations in darkness, ignorant of the war’s complexity and doomed to repeat the mistakes for which we paid such a high price.

Stanisław Aronson as an officer in the Second Carpathian Rifles, under British command in Italy. 1946

Stanisław Aronson as an officer in the Second Carpathian Rifles, under British command in Italy, in 1946

But this is not just a Polish phenomenon: it is happening in many parts of Europe, and our experiences hold lessons for the whole continent.

Given what I’ve learned over my lifetime I would, first, urge future generations of Europeans to remember my generation as we really were, not as they may wish us to have been. We had all the same vices and weaknesses as today’s young people do: most of us were neither heroes nor monsters.

Of course, many people did extraordinary things, but in most cases only because they were forced to by extreme circumstances, and even then, true heroes were very few and far between: I do not count myself among them.

The same applies to those who failed in their moral obligations during that time. Of course, there were many who committed unspeakable, unforgivable crimes. But it is nonetheless important to understand that we were a generation living in fear, and fear makes people do terrible things. Unless you have felt it, you cannot truly understand it.

‘I ended up moving to what was then the British mandate of Palestine, fighting for a Jewish homeland.’

‘I ended up moving to what was then the British mandate of Palestine, fighting for a Jewish homeland.’ Photograph: Stanisław Aronson papers

Second, just as there is no such thing as a “heroic generation”, there is no such thing as a “heroic nation” – or indeed an inherently malign or evil nation either. I must confess that for much of my life, I maintained the view that it was important for Poles to feel pride in their wartime record – leading me, when recounting my experiences serving in the Home Army in Warsaw under Nazi occupation, to omit certain examples of indifference and uncooperativeness on behalf of my fellow Poles. It is only in recent years, as I have seen that pride turn into self-righteousness, and that self-righteousness into self-pity and aggression, that I have realised just how wrong it was not to be completely open about the failings I witnessed.

The truth is that, as a Pole and as a Jew, as a soldier and as a refugee, I experienced a wide spectrum of behaviour at the hands of Poles – from those who sheltered me at risk to their own lives, to those who sought to take advantage of my vulnerability, and all possible shades of concern and indifference in between.

And although the Third Reich destroyed my world, it was a German woman who saved my life by introducing me to the men who would recruit me into the Polish underground. No nation has a monopoly on virtue – something that many people, including many of my fellow Israeli citizens, still struggle to understand.

Third, do not underestimate the destructive power of lies. When the war broke out in 1939, my family fled east and settled for a couple of years in Soviet-occupied Lwów (now Lviv in western Ukraine). The city was full of refugees, and rumours were swirling about mass deportations to gulags in Siberia and Kazakhstan. To calm the situation, a Soviet official gave a speech declaring that the rumours were false – nowadays they would be called “fake news” – and that anyone spreading them would be arrested. Two days later, the deportations to the gulags began, with thousands sent to their deaths.

The Aronson family in Lwów, 1940 or 1941

The Aronson family in Lwów, in the early 1940 or 1941 Photograph: Stanisław Aronson

Those people and millions of others, including my immediate family, were killed by lies. My country and much of the continent was destroyed by lies. And now lies threaten not only the memory of those times, but also the achievements that have been made since. Today’s generation doesn’t have the luxury of being able to argue that it was never warned or did not understand the consequences of where lies will take you.

Confronting lies sometimes means confronting difficult truths about one’s self and one’s own country. It is much easier to forgive yourself and condemn another, than the other way round; but this is something that everyone must do. I have made my peace with modern Germany, and hope that all Europeans can do the same.


Finally, do not ever imagine that your world cannot collapse, as ours did. This may seem the most obvious lesson to be passed down, but only because it is the most important. One moment I was enjoying an idyllic adolescence in my home city of Lodz, and the next we were on the run. I would only return to my empty home five years later, no longer a carefree boy but a Holocaust survivor and Home Army veteran living in fear of Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD. I ended up moving to what was then the British mandate of Palestine, fighting in a war of independence for a Jewish homeland I didn’t even know I had.

Perhaps it is because I was only a child that I did not notice the storm clouds that were gathering, but I believe that many who were older and wiser than me at that time also shared my childlike state.

If disaster comes, you will find that all the myths you once cherished are of no use to you. You will see what it is like to live in a society where morality has collapsed, causing all your assumptions and prejudices to crumble before your eyes. And after it’s all over, you will watch as, slowly but surely, these harshest of lessons are forgotten as the witnesses pass on and new myths take their place.

Stanisław Aronson took part in the Polish resistance under Nazi occupation. He lives in Israel

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September 06, 2018 at 02:08PM
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