Sunday, December 17, 2017

HOLIDAY -- AGING -- HOUSE -- MORE

FRIENDS -- MEMORY -- COMPUTER

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES -- QUESTIONS


HOLIDAY SEASON

Readying for the holiday season requires little additional effort here, since my decorating doesn’t necessitate preparing for guests this year.  I have set out some of my miniatures, including my pre-decorated tree, also candles, and vibrantly bright red live flowers.  Packages have been mailed, followed by receipt of subsequent messages notifying me some have already been received.   Greeting cards are all in the mail – yes, I still send them though the numbers decrease every year since recipients keep departing this earth – one of the less pleasant aspects of aging.   


AGING, FRIENDS, MEMORY

I was reminded of that loss difficulty with aging this week when I received a phone message the 92 year old husband of a friend of my husband’s  had passed away earlier this year.  I especially recall my husband’s fascination with flying, beginning as a military pilot, his wife reminisced.

She was one of the female vocalists with one of my husband’s vocal groups many years ago that sang in the style of the Hi Lo’s and Manhattan Transfer before I met him.  She dovetailed her music career with her “real job” -- as the musician’s describe work taken to support daily living needs – was an airline stewardess in the days commercial flying was a pleasure for passengers.  I had met her and major airline pilot husband only once but enjoyed sharing their friendship.

I returned her call the next evening and we talked for hours.  She had experienced such challenges, becoming a caregiver as his health declined and he ultimately required hospice.   She talked of the current fires which prompted her to relate accounts of past evacuations the two of them had to undertake years ago, since asthma caused him to be sensitive to smoke.   They went in whatever direction the wind wasn’t blowing the smoke, to Palm Springs, sometimes Yuma, Arizona and occasionally even further east as others in their area did.  Now that she’s alone, fires this year have required evacuation to a community center, neighbors assisting her, she reports, as those folks also seek refuge elsewhere and for their horses.    

Our conversation included discussing the inevitable living spouse’s task of resolving myriad business matters following our loved one’s death.  Sorting through possessions she came across some discs bearing my name she had intended, but never got around to sending to me.  I recalled after my husband died she had mentioned having recordings of their group she would copy for me if I wanted them, which I had written her I did, of course. 

But, about that time her husband’s health altered, necessitating she provide him ever-increasing care.   Those who’ve experienced the challenges of caregiving are familiar with all that entails -- how many good intentions must be temporarily, or even permanently set aside, some escaping our memory.   This first Christmas or seasonal holiday without the loved one can be especially difficult, but can also arouse many happy celebratory memories. 


HOUSE HEALTH

Unrelated to holiday preparations, much work required for my house has been completed.  I’ve been very pleased with the primary wood and stucco workers following the electrician.  They’ve gone above and beyond expectations.  I’ve especially appreciated their pointing out and sealing screw applications in a small but significant roof area the electrician neglected to do which is necessary to prevent leakage, to describe just one of their extra efforts. 

As might be expected a glitch or two interrupts the efficient scheduled flow of further work toward completion.   A temperamental workman cancelled after jumping to an erroneous conclusion, so now I must hire another.  Perhaps he simply did so because he had the opportunity for a more lucrative job, since he previously told me how busy he was.  In any event I won’t attempt to clarify matters with him due to the manner in which he ended our association.  I had even been considering him for additional work if this job was satisfactory. 

In another instance, so much for words of a handyman carpenter when I first hired him, who said he would be available for whatever I might need.  Perhaps he’s getting more work to his taste as he has become more particular – rejecting painting now.   I can’t fault that because isn’t that what most of us seek when we choose to work independently – to be able to focus our efforts just on those tasks we enjoy doing?


TECHNICAL CONVERSION

This over ten years old laptop my tech guru son has resuscitated for me more than once, is now exhibiting a previous problem again, but struggles along – for how much longer, I don’t know.  My little old netbook backup computer also died early this year.   Now, I’ve reached a point I can have little confidence in this device with which I really don’t want to part, but…….this condition is close to terminal.

My tech supporter son has converted to a Mac so it seems I best do the same to ease any troubleshooting I might need across the miles that separate us.   My daughter is also a convert and will benefit from my granddaughter’s assistance if she has adaptation problems, so guess I’d wisely best join the crowd.   I’m not sure I’ll welcome having to learn the new system.  On the other hand, learning something new is recommended for stimulating our brain to help deter stagnation and other mental ailments.


CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

The  3rd largest California wildfire ever, referred to as the Thomas Fire, is only 40% contained as I write this – continuing, are designated red flag areas, as very low humidity prevails.   Sundowner winds with gusts to over 40 miles per hour, sometimes up to 60 mph, are wickedly whipping the flames licking around the Santa Barbara area and Ventura.   A life, many homes, other structures, animals including numerous horses, vegetation have all been lost since this fire, raging from Los Angles to San Francisco, has roared through thousands of acres leaving devastation in its wake.


QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Do you have special plans for the holidays?

Is your residence’s physical condition in need of repair? 

How successful are you in having good reliable workmen/handyman help?   

Is the average citizen being snowed by touts of how much more money they’ll have if this budget passes?

Why are the people’s tax cuts for only ten years but corporations are permanent?

Will most of the corporations use their financial gains to buy back their stock, pay investors dividends, as many indicated last summer when asked, rather than creating jobs?

How much will Donald Trump and his families companies profit from this tax bill?

When will Donald Trump reveal his tax return to dispel conflicts of interest concerns?

Will Donald Trump ever express concern a foreign nation, Russia, attempted to interfere in our elections and continues to do so?  

Why does Donald Trump not want to protect our nation from this Russian elections invasion our national security agencies have documented -- a threat violating our fundamental constitutional rights?  

What will happen to all the people who will lose health care as this tax bill continues the collapse of the Affordable Health Care Act?

Will net neutrality really prevail now that the FCC removed the safeguard?

What more do you have yet to do to be ready for this holiday season?    



        

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

POWERING ON

So much going on in the country and the world – pretty serious matters having bearing on all our lives.   I continue staying abreast of much, especially issues from our government, but for now will refine my focus here to my immediate concerns. 

I haven’t shorted out yet, but these household projects go on … and on … and on … or so it seems.   I’m awaiting another written proposal for some needed work on the house in the area where the upgraded electrical circuit box was installed. 

No, same-size electric box trade-out there – the new box is bigger.  So they whack away at the house exterior which later requires hiring other workers to repair all that, then paint to match as best they can – but we’re not there yet.  I hardly expected as much shattered exterior as I saw when they had installed the box.   I don’t recall that I was forewarned about this eventuality, but they encountered more than they expected, too, I guess. 
  
Did I mention the electrician was here from before noon with first an estimate and then about noon began a 4-5 hour job, they said, but didn’t finish until after midnight?   I was exhausted, and I hadn’t done anything and am even, usually, a night owl.   They encountered unexpected complications – isn’t that always the case!

One such difficultly had to do with the power line from the pole to the house – I’m still waiting for the power company to come raise and lengthen that line – hoping strong Santa Ana winds blowing now don’t come through here breaking my connection.   The city official to clear the electrical work meets code must check yet, also.  

Meanwhile, electricians managed to get me connected so all systems go -- I finally had light, other than my emergency lantern. 

At least the much needed servicing of my furnace and air conditioner could now be finished, so I called him back to complete that service.  This is what started all this as our crazy weather has bounced back and forth from Southern California’s summer warm  to fall’s cool, when, coincidentally, suddenly the blower didn’t work. 

Then, I had my previously planned service from the plumber who simply replaced one commode’s entire innards and handle.  No more water running briefly into the bowl for a short while after each flushing due to slow leakage from the tank. 

No need to replace the whole commode contrary to what a handyman said who’d put in a new part of the unit’s “guts” last spring, but offering only I needed a new commode for this latest issue which he likely was prepared to install.   I may not use him again.

So, I now await a final service proposal, then I’ll make a selection for the next steps -- repairing, culminating in allowing the stucco to dry, then painting.   What is it that all of this exhausts me thinking about it and seems more draining of my energies than when I was younger?   And I’m not doing the physical labor!   

I’m looking forward to slightly decreased electric and water bills – every little bit helps.  I think of all this as contributing to the economy – that I’m helping the young businessmen coming to work – who need money for the holidays.   Where are all the old timers -- blogging about aging?    Can’t help noticing these service guys are all much younger than me, but then who isn’t!  

My goal is to have all of this completed before Christmas – maybe even within this week or surely by next week at the latest; absolutely before New Year's Day!  


Monday, November 27, 2017

HOLIDAY POWER

I trust all had a happy Thanksgiving as did I.   Kind young neighbors surprised me with a dinner plate plus pie and some creative miniature turkey treats from holiday food they had prepared for their several day visit to family.    This was so generous and appreciated as I had not planned to cook, but had some deli items I had purchased.   

Life had been a bit complicated the preceding week and is only partially resolved now.  I do have electrical power from an upgraded system, but there’s more to address. 


Have you ever noticed that house issues usually occur at the end of a week, on a weekend and/or around a holiday – that what may appear to be a relatively simple problem has an uncanny way of morphing into more matters requiring attention?   Or, at least that’s what’s happened here.   So, I am, and continue to be busy with all this.   

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

HEARING -- HARASSMENT -- HOPE

HEARING AIDS

As often happens beginning when I first encountered Ronni Bennett’s writing at her blog  “Time Goes By”  eleven or so years ago, her words often prompt me to think about the topic or associated matters introduced.  Her subject (11/13/17) discussing hearing loss and using hearing aids prompted me to make this comment though edited which I’m sharing here in case readers didn’t see it there.   

I’ve long believed aids to sensory system losses should be regarded as a fundamental health care need.  We are the information our brain receives through our senses -- just as the ability to communicate in some form or another is vital to our well-being, whatever our physical state.   Our priorities seem not to recognize these facts until we begin to lose these abilities  at any age, though the older we become the more prone to their functional decline we are.

What that means is — eye care, including glasses ..... ear care and hearing ..... are two  senses of critical importance to our retaining  a healthy mental — cognitive status.    Maintaining this state holds special significance as we age -- our bodies start to reflect the wear and tear of living -- and the ability to communicate — hearing and speaking to express our needs, wants and feelings — becomes increasingly vital.

For many years, at least in earlier generations, people disdained wearing glasses and were often the butt of disparaging jokes i.e. called “four eyes” and other terms, just as many others with various disabilities were subjected to put-downs.   We seem to have become more accepting of glasses use, but many people are still too proud to use hearing aids, or are in denial they have hearing loss — often blaming others for not speaking clearly or loudly  enough.

Also, many with hearing loss, or those who communicate with them, don’t use the techniques needed to best enable their hearing with what residual hearing they have.  As a Speech-Language-Hearing Pathologist (retired now)  I have additionally provided services for individuals with hearing loss, some with their family members, and others — to best maximize hearing aid use and benefits.

The first thing to understand is that not all hearing loss is amenable to correction simply by amplification.   Purchasing amplifying hearing aids would obviously be of little benefit for some in that case.   Having hearing evaluated by a licensed and certified American Speech-Language-Hearing (ASHA) Audiologist who is trained to identify not only hearing loss types,  but also possible medical issues requiring further medical assessment is recommended,  as opposed to hearing assessments provided by some businesses simply testing and  selling hearing aids.

My experience has been that too many people expect hearing aid(s) will return their hearing to be exactly as it was before the loss.  Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.  Numerous factors come into play, and the brain processing of information that the ear mechanism receives with the help of the aid(s) must be relearned in the brain. 
(Darlene’s description in her TGB blog comment describing the challenge she’s had appreciating music again is an example of that process, though speech sounds are processed in different brain areas and are more amenable to intelligible adaptation.)

For the brain to best adapt to the hearing aided sounds -- the individual needs to wear the hearing aids over time.   All too often when my services were requested the hearing aid(s) had been spending most of their time in the drawer as others report in their TGB comments.  Also, the individual with hearing loss did not know how to compensate for the aid(s) short-comings, or what they needed to educate their friends and family to understand about how to best communicate with them.   Or, those same caring family didn’t pay attention to what was needed and my patient’s hope was they might listen if they had a professional explain it to them.

Attenuation issues are a common complaint with hearing aids.   Our brain has the ability to selectively focus on one speaker in a crowd while somewhat tuning out some of the crowd noise, for example.   Amplification simply turns up the volume on all sounds.   Aid users must learn through use and practice how to accommodate and adapt to making their aid(s) work best for them in all situations.     Considering our individual unique perceiving skills, doing so will vary to some extent for users depending on how they respond to the differing hearing situations they’re in, their hearing loss and possibly the type aid they have.

I note from what users have written in comments at TGB that the hearing aids promoted as having attenuation capabilities leave much to be desired.  This should be a cautionary tale to explore their limitations  with a competent professional before purchasing.

All that said, using hearing aids can be a godsend for those with hearing loss and those with whom they interact.    Given the technological knowledge and skills in this nation, high quality inexpensive hearing aids should be available to everyone with hearing loss who needs them.

  
HARASSMENT

Me too!   That exclamation supports what far too many individuals around the world experience.  Here in the U.S., the courageous outpouring of individuals revealing the pain and mental suffering they’ve experienced -- afraid to protest against those who have harassed, molested or physically assaulted them at some time during their life time.  

Nothing angers me more than those whose ignorance causes them to condemn individuals finally feeling able to safely identify their perpetrators, sometimes from decades earlier in their life.  I hear the condemners of those who have been violated disparage them by saying, “Why didn’t they come forward to report it immediately after it happened?” – therefore, they make the erroneous assumption the act, whatever it was, did not occur.

I can personally vouch for the fact that revealing having been harassed, been aware of others harassed, molested or groomed for assault and naming the perpetrator is as authentic in reporting whether doing so occurs immediately afterward, 77 years later, or on any given day in between!  That does allow that some effort can be made to authenticate the report.

In my case, I only recently learned the perpetrator of one of my unsolicited events was convicted twenty years later following other persons experience.  He had ascended to a high position in a trusted life-saving caregiving position by that time.  I have wondered how many unrevealed others there were in the interim following me and before them?  

Thought to be a first time offender and such a credit to society in his work position, I think he may have been released.  That has led me to wonder how many more since then?   I’ve concluded given what his age must be now, he must surely have expired or is physically harmless. 

Lest you ask, he has lived across country from me and I don’t intend to invest my time or money into tracking him down now.  Had I  known about all this years ago I most certainly would have contacted authorities there then.

I won't describe a number of my additional experiences, or that of others I know to be fact,  but a startling though minor one to me at the time was the occasion years ago I was waiting at a crowded crosswalk on a famed street in San Francisco, California and received an unsolicited buttocks grope – supposedly to be interpreted by the groper as a compliment, I gather, much as I’m told routinely occurs in Italy, possibly other select European cities and cultures.  Knowing what is harmless and what is not isn't always easily determined and can be learned by some too late. 


HOPE

Our Offender-in-Chief has hardly modeled morally desired behavior for persons in power based on documented reports of numerous instances in his adult life as he self-described..   Though this was known before his election, a minority of this nation’s electorate still voted for him – some, reported to be of strict but hypocritical religious moral beliefs, ironically, continue to support him.

There may be hope that his supporters are decreasing in numbers.  Desperation, due to increasing threats to his credibility and legitimacy, has motivated him to resort to his standard playbook of instigating distraction, deflection and attack, as usual, in such circumstances. 

He has enlisted his partisan appointee Attorney General (shades of Nixon/Mitchell) to pursue questionable accusations involving a foundation associated with the candidate who opposed him in last year’s election.  I’m left to wonder if the Russians are coming and/or the kitchen is beginning to get a mite too warm for him given investigations of him and his family.  .  





Wednesday, November 01, 2017

BUGS--GERMS -- SOCIAL NETWORKS -- BASEBALL


BUGS …. Germs ….. of some unknown variety,  do play havoc with our lives sometimes.  Who knows where they come from, or even what they are.   They just do their nasty little thing disrupting daily life for however long -- sometimes causing us to wonder if they’re serious enough to call 911 for emergency transport to the hospital, or if this is one more situation we can just tough out.  

Well, clearly I’m here, so guess I made the right decision remaining at home.   Only a couple or so of those days had instances of my pondering where it was best for me to be.    I did always keep my phone with me, just in case.    I managed to stay on my feet long enough to get around for needed nourishment, to take care of business, to drink plenty of water, and sleep as I could.   The microwave and prepared soups I try to keep on hand were real convenient.  

I have to confess to not being as dedicated during this time I’ve not posted as others who write.  I just laid around in bed some of those days this past week, didn’t always dress, sometimes lounged in the recliner with eyes closed while allowing the TV to babble on, and at least daily texted my children as they had long ago requested I do in any such circumstance.   Then, I tested my endurance for a few days with increasingly longer trips out on errands. 

I could have resumed writing here sooner, but I just couldn’t enthusiastically center my thoughts on any one of a never-ending number of topics continuing to emerge in our unsettled U.S. and world news – much less explore in writing some of life’s other fascinations.    However, there are some matters which have caught my attention that are worth following in future news as they could portend troublesome influences in the quality and truthfulness of our news dissemination -- what is true and what is fake. 


SOCIAL NETWORKS

The digital social networks are finally being revealed to be of concern as we’re officially learning in Congressional Committee testimony given from Facebook, Twitter and Google corporate representatives.   Users of those free services are the product being sold, in case anyone doesn’t recognize that fact.  And purchasing their attention is what was done....by Russian bots…..who gifted them with content designed to create division, foment violence with controversy and lies, spread fake news -- the intent being to influence their readers, our elections and undermine the integrity of our system of government.  

Questions every citizen should ask:

--  why has our current President been so willing to accept a foreign nation’s interference in our election – that nation being Russia, recognized by national security forces as an adversary at best?

--   why has our current President been so reticent, even resistant, to investigating Russia’s interference in our election  – he certainly hasn’t pressed that matter?  

--  why doesn’t our current President regard interference in our election process a threat to our nation’s security – this fundamental basis for our form of government?

--  why doesn’t our current President who wants to build a wall, restrict entry into our country by select peoples, and increase our military might for protection not care enough to protect our form of government from this “invasion”?

--   why did our current President swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution if he isn’t dedicated to protecting the validity of our voting system?


The  Presidential oath to which our current President swore includes these words: 

“…will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”


BASEBALL

The 2017 World Series of Baseball final game will be played later tonight.  

This has been an exciting series -- lots of action -- bases stolen -- base runners thrown out -- the most home runs in a World Series -- some great pitching and some less so -- an instance of bad behavior -- some players with hair to spare (think redhead) -- and what would baseball be without lots of chewing and spitting!  (at least they've given up tobacco and snuff)

Emotional cords are pulling on fans heart strings for both the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

I can't be unhappy whoever wins, but will root for our California team.

Don't tell anyone, but I've been stuck with a soft spot in my heart for the Cleveland Indians ever since they last won a pennant in 1948.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

BLOGAVERSARY -- MEMORIES -- INDIAN SUMMER

BLOGAVERSARY

Eleven years ago this week this blog was unintentionally launched onto the Internet.  Frantically searching into the wee morning hours, I was unable to find Blogger directions for removing that content I had been writing experimentally.   I couldn’t phone friend or family at that hour either for help.  I understood so little about digital technology then as I was still teaching myself how to use a computer which I had acquired for the first time earlier that year.   I panicked at the thought my words were irretrievably “out there”, which I’ve long since realized hardly mattered at all.  But, given my Internet naivety I reconciled myself there was nothing I could do but continue with the blog to save face, so to speak. 


AUTUMN MEMORIES

Writing for my blog, coincided with a major life change following my husband’s sudden death earlier that year.   Natural reminiscences prompted by his loss, my gradual aging-related recollections with the increasing passing of family and friends, has often stimulated my thoughts to reflecting on my feelings and life experiences. Often when I’ve sat down to write a blog post I’ve gotten side-tracked with some of those tangential tales.

So, I began writing those stories as they emerged, but in no particular sequence.  I’ve recounted a few, or portions of them, here, but the rest I consider personal, to be more appropriately appreciated for sharing with my adult children and, likely their children one day.   One fond memory, in abbreviated form here, often comes to mind when I think of fall -- and especially Indian Summer.  


INDIAN SUMMER

October, or autumn, has also happened to be my favorite time of year.   Living many years in a Great Lakes State we were treated to fall’s magnificent leaves colors of golden yellow, shades of flaming reds to rust and rich browns embracing the trees before gently falling to the ground in preparation for winter’s snows.   I looked forward to those years when late in the season we’d experience a period of cold temperatures or frost, then unexpectedly a brief episode of unseasonably warm, dry and calm weather would suddenly intrude ….. Indian Summer arrived…..as has this memory in subsequent years.

I had ended a relationship the previous year and a lengthy period followed before I began to notice in the Spring the presence of a nearby resident to whom I had previously never paid any attention, when he and his parents had moved there from out of state many months earlier.  I now became aware of this handsome young man who had a light olive complexion, short dark hair slightly receding at the temples, that said to me he was older, possibly close in age to my 23 years. 

He had a physical build one would expect to see today on someone who regularly did body building, though his 5' 11" trim muscular stature was just natural.  Few men engaged in exercise workouts then that I knew, as many do today, nor had he, I later learned.    I didn’t really date that much and didn’t really think of him as the type I expected to date. 
   
I was quite pleased though when almost simultaneously with my awareness of him, he phoned me for the first time.  That spring and summer we enjoyed each others company in as many fun activities as were available in the small town environment where I was living then.   I remember the increased rush of feelings I felt on those occasions when he began periodically coming to transact business where I worked instead of where he previously had gone, though we had no direct contact in the business place.   

We sometimes played penny ante poker with my parents.  He was clearly gambling card savvy, generally winning, and my strong suit of bluffing seemed not to work with him.   There were afternoons and evenings swimming at a large spring fed lake nestled in the hills outside of town.   Sometimes, we just walked together, talking or in silence, holding hands, sauntering past stores on the few short blocks of the downtown main street, only a short distance from where we each lived. Sometimes we visited the one popular darkened interior atmospheric watering hole, or further up the street there was the attraction of the local Isaly's ice cream store – which, coincidentally, has returned to the marketplace this year.

Television (black and white only, as color came years later) was becoming accessible with cable installations enabling more people to receive broadcast signals from the distant stations.  Their reception had previously been unavailable due to topography interference.  I don’t recall that we watched any TV, however.    Little did I know, though it had always been in the back of my mind, that before the next year ended I would be employed at one of those commercial television stations -- in spite of the fact Public Broadcasting was what initially interested me most. 

High Fidelity was being enhanced to stereophonic sound on our long playing (LP) vinyl records for the music we enjoyed.   Occasionally we went to the local movie theater.  Then there was the annual County Fair with those colorful “Dancing Waters”, rides including a Ferris Wheel, Tilt-O-Wheel, the fun wandering among the various animal barns, treating ourselves to the fast food only available at traveling fairs and carnivals. 

We experienced the always surreal to me Indian Summer that year after the summer turned into fall.   I remember those occasions when we lost track of time as conversation and our friendship took a more serious turn.   I think this may have alarmed both of us, since we each had quite different plans for our lives.  Just as suddenly as we had started dating, we stopped.  I had mixed feelings, but neither of us reached out to the other.  

Indian Summer inexplicably signaled the finality of more than just the season after a very special spring and summer.   There have been times over the years when I've wondered what became of my bronzed young friend.  I do know that though we would not have been a good long term match, fall seasons that have an Indian Summer are very special to me.

Here’s Sarah Vaughn’s rendition of a favorite “Indian Summer” jazz melody:    


Sunday, October 15, 2017

CONVOY -- EXPECTATIONS -- ORDERS-AIR-RUSSIA

STRANGE BEHAVIORS

Open letter to whom it may concern  . . . . .  if you receive any reports I was seen behaving rather strangely last Friday afternoon, I just want you to know  . . . . .  I have not slipped a mental cog . . . . .

-yes,  that woman sitting in a lawn chair at the end of the sidewalk outside her dentist’s office next to a  small American flag planted in the ground was me . . . . .

-yes, I  was overlooking  Route 66 with the boulevard’s usual busy auto trafficin all lanes  . . . . .

-yes, I did attract a few curious gazes from passersby and the young boy skateboarding on the sidewalk . . . . .
              
-yes, I did sit there for ten or fifteen minutes before seeing a vehicle with a sign across the front that said, “Convoy Follows” . . . . .

-yes, there was a jeep-like vehicle behind it, but I didn't notice any other military vehicles, plus I wasn’t sure if the other ordinary cars and SUVs were part of the convoy or just the usual traffic . . . . .

-yes, I waited ten minutes or so more but saw no more recognizable military vehicles . . . . .

-yes, I finally gathered my belongings into my car’s trunk, then parked overlooking the boulevard just in case more vehicles should come . . . . .

-yes,  I waited about  ten minutes longer, then as I was about to leave a large military troop carrier type truck and a couple or so more jeep-type vehicles passed by quickly  . . . . .

-yes, I noticed on the back of one of those vehicles a sign that said, “Convoy Ahead”  alerting me to the fact the Convoy had come and gone . . . . .

-yes, I felt kinda foolish that the military vehicle convoy I had expected to see apparently was much more disconnected and shorter than I expected . . . . .

-yes, I understood now why the local newspaper office and police department when I phoned them several hours earlier knew nothing about a convoy coming through our town  as this turned out to be pretty much traffic as usual . . . . .

-yes, I felt rather silly to have contacted our newspaper and local police asking for the convoy schedule here,  plus I had even  gone to the trouble earlier to phone the convoy group’s national office to find out when they would be coming through our town . . . . .

-yes, I was encouraged about seeing the convoy when the phone person spoke enthusiastically about all the vehicles she had seen when they had been in her Midwestern town . . . . .

-yes, when she gave me the convoy leader’s phone number I even called and received a courteous call back giving me an accurately close approximation of when the vehicles would pass through our city. . . . .
-yes, I did plan to take a photo or video to share here, but the convoy was so short, came and went so disjointed and fast, I have nothing to share except this tale of unrealized expectations.

Refer to “Route 66 Convoy” segment in my previous post for specifics about MVPA if unfamiliar.

I am left to share with you one of my favorite versions of the following tune.

“This exclusive performance by The Manhattan Transfer of "Route 66", one of their classic signature tunes.”



EXPECTATIONS  

We have so many expectations in life – of ourselves and of others -- as I did of the Convoy above.  What is reasonable and realistic?   I think of this in relation to all the needs that are arising in view of the disasters sweeping our nation – the current destructive life-taking fires raging in Northern California, our own fires here in Southern California, the hurricanes winds and flooding waters affecting so many U.S. citizens and others elsewhere, as well as those victimized by gun violence.  Certainly the expectation for our good health is ranked high on our list, too, but when disease, accident, illness intrude, our lives are drastically affected, but that's a whole topic unto itself.    

Seems we’re hearing increasing news accounts of older people being especially adversely affected in these disasters.  I think of the Florida nursing home where residents should have been evacuated to a nearby hospital when their facility was flooded.  There have been numerous reports of Puerto Rico older residents in dire need of food, water, medicine and other health care long after the hurricane has passed, not to mention the continuing needs of all other ages.   Reports are still emerging from Northern California fires for unaccounted lives -- but some known older folks, who were unable to evacuate quickly enough to survive,  have been identified.  What were their expectations?   

The reality is, we may need to reassess our expectations of ourselves and others.   Whether or not we like it, most older people are not going to be as agile, fast, or as able to avoid dangerous situations.  Those with mobility limitations, in addition to being older, are going to be slowed whatever their age, wherever they are, whether they are subjected to a sudden disastrous occurrence, or even if they have warning.   We’re all wise to think about our situation now, or well in advance whenever --  in terms of our own personal status -- our physical condition, where we live, to plan in advance accordingly.  We may need to “leave”, not “stay”, or act early -- long before others.

Often we’re given recommendations about creating an environment inside our residences that will maximize our safety, or to move to a one floor plan setting, to eliminate steps, avoid ladders indoors and outdoors.   There is more we need to do.

We need to inquire in each of our communities about what systems are in place to provide us advance evacuation or shelter-seeking warnings, if we live in a fire, flood, hurricane/tornado high winds area.  Those of us living in earthquake prone areas are looking forward to a possible warning system in California, but that’s a few years away, if at all, though Japan has had an effective one for several years.    

We all will want to familiarize ourselves with what provisions have been made by our community to come to our aid before the storm, if expected, and after the disaster.    Older couples need this information, but older single people certainly do, too, and especially those who may not have family or friends nearby to be checking on their welfare.   Others may need to be occupied looking out for themselves.  Certainly we would hope all of us would be looking out for each other -- that would be our expectation.   

  
ORDERS-AIR-RUSSIA


Expectations for most Americans, other than the most wealthy, are not very promising based on this current Prez‘s continued betraying actions of the voting majority.    Undermining the solvency of the Affordable Care Act (ACA; aka Obamacare) is systematically being done by Executive Order.  What we will have now is basically Trump Care, as any resolution is left to his Congressional political party whose solutions to date have been untenable with either party. 

This administration also continues to dash the expectations of citizens for safety -- environmentally -- as efforts to provide clean air -- the very breath of life -- are undermined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations reductions.  One such,  results in increasing polluting coal burning (in an already fading industry whose decline has been due to a growing independent evolution to cleaner energy sources).   

Revelations of Russian propaganda efforts to interfere in our past election continue which demonstrates their government's lack of honorable values.   This dishonest ethical failure leaves me with an expectation that, regrettably, Russia's government will continue to be  untrustworthy.   

Monday, October 09, 2017

$$$ SAGA -- TRIBUTES-TRAGEDY -- RTE 66 CONVOY

CLAIM DENIAL UPDATE

Collecting monies we’re due often seems unduly complicated.  For example,  I sometimes wonder if there’s a legitimate rationale behind some claim rejections, or if a  denial is merely the first step of an automatic process deliberately designed to wear down a claimant’s will.    Often with a denial the claimant is told they may appeal as a next step.  Sometimes even that appeal may be denied and a further appeal may be necessary.    This requires even more action which some claimants may tire of expending their time and effort on, so they just don’t bother following-up.  
    
However, on general principle, I did appeal two denials when I was awarded only a partial amount of a full claim I filed after a first denial earlier this year as described in my June “Gift Card Saga” post.     
UPDATED RECAP GIFT CARD SAGA RESOLUTION

1)  I purchased $200 USPS insurance to cover several gift cards totaling $205; mailed to arrive before Mother’s Day; never delivered, received, or redeemed by anyone.

2)  I filed a claim in mid/late May for $55 – the amount of two businesses that could not or would not void the balances on the unredeemed cards and reissue replacements, unlike the other two businesses I had contacted, so I didn’t file those amounts but did report what I had done.                                                         
3)  June I received a check for only $17.67 USPS claim settlement which I appealed.

4)  July my appeal was denied but was advised I could appeal further up chain of command which I did, asking for either the difference or an explanation of how only the partial amount I was awarded had been determined. 

5)  Oct. I received a check for the balance of my claim $37.33; no explanation.

Note my time and effort required because the full amount of my claim wasn’t honored when first filed.  I might well have not pursued this due to the small amount when my life was so busy years earlier before I retired because.....

-- I successfully had to make multiple phone calls, await call backs over time, obtaining from two businesses transference of the full unused card balances to new accounts; unsuccessfully doing so with other two cards due to their systems. 

--  Meanwhile, also unreimbursed was my time, energy, postage to prepare the claim, copy required documentation.  

--  Indirect costs also were incurred for employee(s) processing the claim whose salaries are paid for from my insurance and postage monies – perhaps this contributes to postage rate increases.   

I wonder what sort of experiences others may have had claiming monies due them that they have been denied?  


TRIBUTES -- TRAGEDY

Fall is trying to make an appearance here in Southern California inland where I live.  What that means is our daytime highs are in the 80’s now.  Some dry winds, referred to as Santa Ana’s,   will be blowing in from the desert east of us.   I’d surely welcome some rain, but perhaps later. 

Lots of tributes in our Los Angeles area news to lives lost, those injured, loved ones sorrow,  stories of ordinary people becoming heroes  by exhibiting extraordinary valor during the Las Vegas atrocity (see previous post.)   So many folks attending the ill-fated Route 91 Harvest Festival were from Southern California.

I’m left to wonder what measures, if any, will be taken by our Congress and this Administration to address the stranglehold commercial gun interests have on our nation?   Action is avoided under the guise of protecting Second Amendment rights as the mindless killing continues in the U.S. – which we experience in greater numbers than in most other nations whose people also value life as well as freedom, but  have addressed the gun issue, unlike the U.S.  
     
Puerto Ricans continue to cope with life threatening situations for so many without power, communications, water and food reportedly due to distribution problems inland on the island.    Our Prez’s visit there recently and his behavior -- tossing token  paper towel rolls  to residents which had a “let them eat cake” quality – said and did little to cause me to think he had the slightest bit of empathy, compassion,  understanding, or caring for these U.S.  citizens dire situation.   Island residents are not eligible to vote there, so I couldn’t help wondering if this had any bearing on what has seemed to be an attitude of not even a modicum of concern for those in need ..... in addition to what some perceive as his disdain for those of some other cultures and people of little means?  


ROUTE 66 CONVOY

Living near U.S. Route 66 which extends from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California my attention was captured recently when I read a military convoy (MVPA) would be travelling that “Mother Road” -- as author John Steinbeck described this highway in his novel “The Grapes of Wrath” later made into a movie.   

That original Route 66 launched the nation’s first Federal highway system in 1926 by the Bureau of Public Roads.   Researching this Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) I learned:

"World War II caused a marked decline in civilian and tourist traffic, but it stimulated new business along U.S. 66, when it acted as a military transport corridor moving troops and supplies from one military reservation to another.  Motels saw an increase in occupancy, as families of servicemen stationed at military bases stayed for long stretches.  But more significantly, Route 66 facilitated perhaps the single greatest wartime mobilization, as thousands of job seekers headed to California, Oregon and Washington to work in defense plants.” 

I recall my husband’s sometimes humorous stories about a driving adventure  he and a couple of his buddies made from Ohio to Chicago to head west across the country on Route 66.  Coincidentally, twenty plus years later he and I would move to California to settle just north of that fabled highway (called Foothill Blvd. here) and where I still live.   My husband said when they drove much of the area into Los Angeles,  citrus orchards abounded on both sides of the road – primarily oranges, lemons – long since replaced with housing construction, strip malls, businesses, burgeoning city populations, numerous nearby colleges and universities.

This convoy description reports: 

“Established in 1976, the non-profit MVPA is dedicated to providing an international organization for military vehicle enthusiasts, historians, preservationists and collectors interested in the acquisition, restoration, preservation, safe operation and public education of historic military transport.”   

Among the key points of this 2,300 mile Convoy is this statement: 

“No weapons (real or otherwise) will be allowed on Convoy vehicles.”

The military convoy travelling Route 66 through our city likely will pass through here Friday, October 13 following a “Rest Day” in Barstow, CA east of here Thursday, October 12.  Their next stop Friday is expected to be In Irwindale, CA west of here before continuing Saturday to their final destination in Santa Monica.    Apparently there is no planned stop in my city.    I haven’t even read about or heard any mention of their passing through here, so I’m curious to see what develops.     


Talented jazz musician Nat King Cole accompanies himself on piano as he sings "Route 66"

c



Monday, October 02, 2017

ATROCITY IN LAS VEGAS

Tragedy at an outdoor country music venue, the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada Sunday night October 1st.    Bursts of an automatic weapon submachine gunfire reportedly was heard for more than five minutes coming from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on the "strip".  There are 100+ plus  injuries, currently 20+ deaths among the possible 30,000 concert goers, including some police officers.   

A Clark County Sheriff's news conference announces the shooter is dead, he is a local Las Vegas  resident they believe to be the sole actor, name withheld -- that there are no bombs -- motivation not known.  Sheriff is seeking search warrant so they can search the shooter's home.   The public's assistance is requested to locate a named Asian female of interest who is his friend or companion and identified two automobiles they want help locating. 

Consult your news source for updates and final accounts.

Though now discounted, at one point there had been speculation there was more than one shooter, reports of possible shooting in other hotels.   Authorities did shutdown Interstate 15 Freeway which is the primary route east of  my community and the primary Southern California route to Las Vegas.  Flights to McCarran International Airport were being diverted to our nearby Ontario (CA) International Airport. 

Los Angeles TV stations went live from Vegas in their news programs with video and witness accounts of  this atrocity just as I was going to retire for the night.    I immediately thought of friends coincidentally spending the weekend there to attend their young grandson's performance in a school play.  I am confident they and their musician son's family are not at risk as they would not have been attending this festival, but does bring home how fragile life can be. 


Sunday, October 01, 2017

MEMORY -- DO NOT FORGET -- OCTOBER SONG

LIFE LENGTHENING

The other week I guess my subconscious mind attempted to lengthen my life, if only by one day.   I had checked my calendar on Sunday, as I usually do, and was delighted to discover I had only one scheduled activity in the week to come.   I was thrilled as had seemed every week, for I don’t know how long, there had been few, if any, days free from some obligation.   So, the days that week went leisurely by.  

Then, one afternoon, just as I leaned back in my recliner for a few moments of post lunch shut-eye, I received a phone call.  A voice I recognized said, “I guess you aren’t coming?”   “What?” I confidently replied, “This is just Thursday, and we moved my appointment.”, recalling we had rescheduled to a day different from my usual one.   “No, this is Friday”, I was told.   A few minutes thought and I realized I was a day behind.   

What had happened?   I hadn’t consulted a calendar during the week, remembering well I had that one appointment.   I chuckled to myself recalling that a decade or so ago I had waltzed into the shop one day for my appointment to the surprise of all, only to discover I was a day early –  causing us all to have a good laugh for weeks to come. 

I was also reminded of years ago when my children were in school, my friends and I used to laugh about getting our days mixed up whenever school day schedules sometimes cancelled classes for a day mid-week.    The day often seemed like it must be a weekend -- Saturday or Sunday.  

We clearly weren’t experiencing typical memory loss, but when we reach a certain age and demonstrate such behavior, others might be inclined to assume otherwise.  We, sometimes, even wonder about ourselves which we probably didn't when we were younger.   

Wisely, at any age, if we experience an increased number of such mixed-up or forgetful instances, we should discuss the matter with appropriate others, possibly trusted friends, family, our doctor or other professionals. 


DO NOT FORGET

Disaster effects from hurricanes, earthquakes, fire, rock slides, continue to wreck havoc on the lives of many around the world including many island peoples we should not forget.  Volcanoes are even erupting though no known victims at this writing. 

Our U.S. citizens in Gulf States and East Coast areas, continue the hard part of cleanup and reforging their lives.   Florida Key’s officials announce they are able to accept visitors again --  probably in real need of income from tourists  as will be many other islands, especially, including Puerto Rico.  
   
The island of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated U.S. territory, received the force of two hurricanes, one after another -- a real double whammy.   Unfortunately, the Territory has been in dire financial condition since before this disaster which likely handicaps their resources needed for recovery. Obviously, being an island surrounded by an ocean makes providing assistance from others more challenging, but alerts for emergency support planning were known well in advance. 

Puerto Rico's residents have been United States citizens since 1917 following the conclusion of the Spanish-American War in 1898.   Referendums have been held periodically with serious consideration by residents and U. S. Congress given to Puerto Rico becoming the 51st State in the Union. 
  
Our nation’s leader continues to betray the ordinary citizens of the United States of America as evidenced by the negligent manner in which slower-than-expected assistance has been provided to Puerto Rico and the people there.  

Likewise, initial descriptions from our leader’s proposed tax reform plan consist of smoke and mirrors hardly benefiting the typical American.   Additionally, more elements are surfacing from the cesspool this Administration continues to create in the swamp he said he would replace. 


OCTOBER SONG 

An original blues, soul, pop composition by a talented but troubled young artist known for performing in various musical genres who died tragically much too young several years ago.