Saturday, February 18, 2012


The days since I last posted have slipped by rather quickly I notice. What can I say? One thing or another has resulted in my focusing my attention elsewhere. Actually, there were a few days when some sort of bug slowed me down with the effects primarily in my head (sinus, ears, eye.) Residual effects continued for several more weeks. I'm not convinced it was bacterial so may have been viral. I was most comfortable avoiding digital device visual stimulation, then allowed myself to continue avoiding writing long after I could have resumed doing so.

Coincidentally during some of those weeks, when I fortunately had no patients, the site I serve had an onset of the norovirus -- the one you've likely heard of that sometimes occurs on cruise ships. Lucky me, I was able to avoid exposure to that unpleasantness, but have been in retirement communities before when norovirus emerged and I've always avoided contracting or spreading the contagion. Health officials emphasize the importance of hand washing protocol which I always follow at all times anyway.

During this time I've listened to many news reports locally, state-wide, nationally and internationally on subject matters that have kept my thoughts roiling. Many of the serious issues might aid my tolerance through some mellowing with the introduction of humorous quips. I continue to notice missing being able to exchange such commentary with my husband. Instead my pithy observations are all relegated to just my thoughts and I don't have the pleasure of his observations. You likely know all the news fodder anyway, and may well have written about some of these topics yourself, but here are a few matters I noted.

The ups and downs of the European financial crisis is no laughing matter when we consider the potential impact on our own pocketbooks if they fail to achieve some solvency, first in Greece, then in several other nations. The world of those nations citizens is being turned upside down -- their jobs, businesses and future financial status. Those whose age has them in the second half of their lives are likely the most profoundly affected. The younger folk have more time to adapt.

The continuing evolution of Arab Spring events with people fighting for their freedom from military rule and/or despot rulers continues to leave many unanswered questions as to the outcome. Again, the resident's suffer the adverse consequences with too many paying the ultimate price with their lives.

Our attention to nations south of our border beyond Mexico is minimal in our news reports, but there are significant activities happening there, too, which are intriguing -- including the Falklands ownership matter challenged again, Ecuador's dispute with America's Chevron oil company over billion dollar damage awards for distribution to rainforest residents, and Brazil's burgeoning commercial growth.

Internet privacy concerns keep periodically appearing with many companies including Facebook in the past. More recently Apple and Google have joined those whose activities have raised privacy questions. Finding ways to monetize the Internet while protecting a users privacy is the challenge. Whatever develops I want the "opting" choice for myself.

I've noted the behavior and statements from some of the current U.S. political candidates vying to be their political party's presidential nominee to be quite a circus. They aren't lax in playing fast and loose with the facts, either. So far my state of California has been spared being subjected to the obnoxious advertising bombardment. We'll likely receive our share when we draw closer to California's Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Primary Election.

Locally my community is protesting against the financial maneuverings of our water company rate setting. Seems the company has been so busy paying administrative salaries, dividending stockholders and providing their parent company profit, that they didn't reserve funds in advance for expected upkeep, improvements and expansion -- just raise the customer's rates for what is needed when the time comes has been the practice. Also, there are some other methods used that have allowed them to apply higher rates in our community than in other cities that has truly raised everyone's ire.

Our local officials continue to explore purchasing our cities water company as I've mentioned here before. When the state commission that has generally automatically green-lighted the company rate increase requests came to town for an open meeting, members were shocked at the overflow crowd protesting. They said they'd never before encountered such a turnout which gave them pause to reflect on their future considerations and actions.

I think most people take for granted and trust their utility company practices. Los Angeles residents are beginning to take a look at some of their utility company rates and executive salaries. Residents in all U.S. cities might do well to examine more closely their water company and other utility financial operations including, but not limited to, their pricing criteria, the size and use of various water pipes.

A few Tea Party residents have protested Occupy Claremont's tent erection outside City Hall. The area is always neat and clean, does not block an entrance -- only three or four tents on a concrete patio. The Occupy-previously supportive City Council determined the tents presence primarily qualified as camping equipment so Occupy's argument they were basically free speech symbols did not take precedence. The tents will have to be removed before this month ends. Further Occupy group activities are being determined but the group's intent is to be peaceful. In the future they plan to continue focusing on our local homeless population and homeowners subjected to bank foreclosure.

Tragically, a homeless 50+ year old former businessman who reportedly was finally beginning to experience some positive promise in his life unexpectedly died there recently. He had asked to sleep there that night due to safety concerns which he was allowed to do. There was no foul play. Ultimately, contact with his family was made.

The Los Angeles public school system continues to be jolted by the revelation that elementary school age children have allegedly been inappropriately abused by one of their teachers for many years in an unusual sexually-related manner. Subsequently a few other adult staff and teachers at other schools have also been accused of unrelated behaviors, but unacceptable ones, at their schools. No child should be subjected to such an experience and the emotional residue created with the betrayal by a trusted adult in any situation.

On the state level there's much discussion about whether or not we should proceed with the planned bullet train between southern and northern California even though a bond issue was passed for the project. The cost is now thought to be much greater than anticipated among other arguments.

The 9th Circuit Court has issued a decision against the legality of a ballot measure voters previously passed that prohibits gay marriage. The passage of that measure overturning the right of gays to marry had been unexpected by many. This latest judicial decision to allow gay marriage has been appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court.

Another tragic youthful death with Whitney Houston's demise the night before the Grammy Awards here in Los Angeles. She was one of those vocalists whose voice I most enjoy hearing because they simply sing. The note changes are natural sounding and don't seem to be forcibly tacked on. The vocal quality is smooth, not rough, raspy and strained, so not abusive to the vocal cords. These singers, male and female, don't need excessive gesticulating and acrobatics augmenting their delivery. They don't need the trappings of costumes designed for shock appeal, a band behind them playing so loud I can't hear or much less understand the song's lyrics. They don't need a stage full of special effects with flashing lights and explosions. Such a voice that reveals the singer's inner emotions in relation to the song's mood could hold my attention for many of the songs she sang with such ease.

Outside my living room window when the sun beams down warming the colorful golden bird of paradise hummingbirds have been flitting about seeking nectar, with pauses to rest on the more sturdy protruding flower projections. Those spring-like days have been intermittent with cooler temperatures. The past week winter finally arrived here for a few days. Eventually the parting clouds revealed some snow on our local Mt. Baldy. Further down the foothills where I live we were treated to some rain. Hopefully we'll have more moisture in an amount to at least reach our normal seasonal level in the weeks or months ahead.


  1. I love reading your posts....this one was like a meditation....just the thing for a quiet winter afternoon. hope you can stay away from all the bugs.

  2. Good to know you are well and back to blogging. Nice job in this post of summarizing the important events of the day.

  3. It's been a while since your last post JoAnn...but you sure told us a lot in this one. Good to know you've been okay and that the 'head bug' you had is finally gone. They can be stubborn and hard to diagnose sometimes. Take care... ~Joy

  4. So glad to see you posting!!! I was about to drop you an email. Sounds like you have been busy in a good way!!!!

  5. Glad to see you are alive and well. The news is mostly depressing these days. Probably pays to concentrate on those hummingbirds as much as you can. Dianne

  6. thank you for sharing your thoughts about the news. Your post reminds me to be thankful for my life partner, and our daily discussions.He works with international issues, so I treasure his perspective.

  7. I am sorry you had a miserable bug, but glad you're better.

    I agree with you that Whitney didn't need the trappings of glitter and crazy gyrations to become a star. She did it with her own beautiful voice, as did Rosemary Clooney, Jo Stafford, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbara Streisand and so many others.

  8. Good to see you back and to know that you are feeling better, Joared. Water company: be careful what you wish for. Locally, our privately-owned water company was bought by the town (of about 20,000 people, then). It was an eye-opener. We were on well water and found that 3 of the 7 (numbers that may or may not be right) were contaminated, the water level having subsided to such a degree that natural contaminants became concentrated in water that was pumped out. Eventually, the city decided to buy our water from the water company of a larger city a few miles from us. They draw water from river and lake. We now pay about four times as much for water as previously. Recently, there has been some re-districting that will divert the water on which the larger city had planned to be dependent in the future (and invested $$$$ in preparing to use) to agricultural uses. Never mind that the agricultural businesses (Hey! There is no such thing as a small family farm anymore. Even "family owned" farms are thousands of acres and may include feedlots of tens of thousands of head of beef) are a huge source of contamination to our "fresh" water sources.

    Untility company: No, I don't think they are benign. Just now our (copiously remunerated through finagling) gas/electric utility is trying to get yet another raise in rates. One of the features of the rate increase is a guaranteed profit of 10% to its stock holders. I used to hold a few bonds from the company; but, sold them in about 1998, when it became apparent to me that they were just plain unscrupulous.
    Cop Car

  9. The world is coming apart at the seams...! The Utility Problem...HELP!!!!! And so many other things you wrote about....It is so very depressing.
    I'm glad you have recovered from your illness, my dear----these things can really lay one low...!
    Good to have you back!!!

  10. I particularly liked what you said about Whitney Houston and I felt the same way about her voice. It was wonderful and didn't need all those tricks. I listened to Adele last night and altho she has a beautiful, powerful voice, she does lay it on.

  11. Thanks to all for your well wishes -- I just did a lot of layin' around (by myself.) Despite all the depressing events there are many positive happenings in the world. I don't let it get me down.

    helena: Yes, treasure having someone with whom to exchange thoughts and ideas -- nonsensical ones and serious matters.

    Darlene: You named some singers I enjoy listening to, also.

    Cop Car: Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll add the info to facts and thoughts I consider re our city water situation.

    Nora: I most enjoyed Adele singing some of the songs written by others as compared to some of her own compositions in a special I happened to view a day or so after the Grammy Awards. I did like the fact she was a pretty straight forward singer compared to many of her contemporaries.

  12. Nice to have you back. Your report on local matters was especially interesting to me.