Sunlight seeped through the curtains to awaken me this morning so I could commence another day. My arm reached across the bedside table with fingers extended to give a customary one tap on my radio. This activated voices from the all news station with sound intentionally set on low volume so as to not jolt my system. I continue to enjoy the occasional luxury in these semi-retirement years of lolling in bed a bit, half awake, gradually acclimating myself to the world.
Today the radio newscaster reported California's Democratic governor announced negotiations with the minority Republicans had collapsed. The Republicans continue to rigidly refuse to allow a needed four of their number to join Democrats voting in favor of an election voting initiative. The proposal would give the voting public the opportunity to select which one of several actions we would choose to address our state's extremely serious budget deficits. None of the choices are desired but some action must be taken. I wonder about the allegiances of those politicians who don't want to let the people decide by vote where we would accept needed budget cuts.
Then I heard startling news that Newport Beach's library was going all digital. They would retain their children's library and activities in addition to a few other services. Throughout the day I thought about the ramifications. I considered the implications if all information everywhere was available only digitally and required a power source for the access devices. What if ... all power systems ceased to function? Those individuals retaining memory bank knowledge they could share would be prized elders in every community. We would have come full circle with our early ancestors, but would just be on a different level from them. Tonight's news reported the story was incorrect with the true facts misunderstood. Meanwhile an interview with the library's representative discussing an alarmed Australian communique on the change revealed her amazement the library had been receiving these inquiries from all over the world.
By this time, I've arisen, engaged in the usual morning personal self-care activities. Then comes breakfast preparation, retrieving my daily newspapers that I still prefer reading to computer scanning. Meanwhile, another room's radio continues with news, weather and traffic reports. I ignore traffic information unless some significant event could impact my driving area -- a freeway chase, roads closed for repair or major accident. I've already learned weather conditions before I dress. Typically their effect on clothing attire is simply do I need a jacket or not, an umbrella or raincoat -- a far cry from all those midwest years ago preparations for ice and snow.
News reminds me again the Governor has stated our 3-year water drought is over. Our annual rainfall and mountain snowpack exceeds the norm expected. We are admonished to still use conservation measures though the critical necessity has passed for now.
By now I've left home and am driving into the retirement community I serve, I enjoy the landscape of flowering plants including shades of pink, red and lavender. Dark green shrubs tinged with light yellowish tips are striking as are the emerging green tree leaves and red maples. This day I have only one patient to see, which I follow with a phone call to the patient's spouse confirming I'm ending therapy.
Exiting the facility I notice sudden movement in the bushes ahead. Suddenly a red squirrel with a fluffy arched switching tail darts across the walkway. A pursuing squirrel companion emerges, then stops short, unsure if I pose a danger. I casually walk on by, confident this pair will soon resume their Spring courtship activities once I'm out of their sight.
My thoughts are pondering whether I have time to drive to another nearby retirement community where I usually leave my previously completed end-of-the-month reports. I drive through the intersection where I would have turned if I was going directly for my hair appointment, so conclude I've made the choice by default. Driving cross town in another small college community I notice the greening arch-like canopy provided on this tree-lined street, how the symmetrical tree shapes suggest they're been recently neatly trimmed.
During this trip the radio resumes the all news reports. The newswoman repeats the not unexpected news I first heard early this morning, Japan nuclear officials are expanding the distance they now tell residents to stay from the increasing number of plants with dangerous emissions -- 10 times above the accepted limits -- water affected, but not their drinking water, some farmland and vegetables, cow's milk contaminated. In the U.S. Spokane continues to evidence "trace" amounts of radiation in milk and now that's true in California, too, but not in an amount to be of concern -- reported 5 times below the accepted limit.
I remember a days earlier news report about the San Onofre nuclear plant that's 51 miles from my home. An ex-plant manager has filed a whistleblower suit against utility Southern California Edison Company for wrongful termination in response to his efforts to expose safety violations at that nuclear plant.
"As Reuters reports, the firing came after the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent a warning letter in March, 2010, to Southern California Edison, the principal owner of the San Onofre plant. It rebuked the utility for a workplace climate that, the agency said, had the “chilling effect” of preventing employees from raising safety concerns."
My thoughts refocused as I drove the heavily travelled Route 66 Foothill Boulevard eastward to my hairdressers. Small business offices, one used book store, banks, restaurants plus mini shopping centers with department stores lined both sides of the roadway. I remembered this was the Route that my husband and friends traveled west from Ohio to L.A. in the early fifties. This whole area had been citrus orchards and would have been filled with bloom-covered orange or lemon fruit trees.
My younger native Southern Californian hairdresser knows this area well. She sometimes entertains me with her memories of when people, cars and freeways were not so prevalent as now -- her then back road driving trips past now landmark sites, the beach and nearby snow-covered mountains with young friends fortunate to have a car.
Haircut finished, with more gray and white strands visible as my aging process continues, I drive home. The radio weatherwoman's morning predictions have been confirmed by my car's thermometer -- 91 degrees outside. Two days ago and earlier we were having daytime 60+ degree temperatures. Tomorrow will cool down with a return to 60+ degrees and rain by Sunday.
Preparing dinner, later viewing the PBS News Hour I listen to talk of Middle East uprisings with speculations repeating no one knows what the outcome will be. Problems in Africa when a leader refuses to relinquish his office to a popularly elected replacement. The day is coming to an end. Tomorrow I'll shop for grocery items I need in the house to prepare for an upcoming colonoscopy. The preparation experience always seems worse than the procedure.
I guess today passes for being relatively normal but certainly slower paced than so many years of my life. There continues to be so much to think about. I didn't even mention what's happening, or not happening, in D.C. where we still don't have a budget. More than a few other critical items are pending there. Perhaps tomorrow some issues will move closer to resolution, or not.