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.   





Sunday, September 24, 2017

BUSINESS DRAMA -- W.H. DRAMA -- THEATRE DRAMA


DRAMA, Drama ... everywhere – just can’t seem to escape drama whether at international, national or local level.   Several weeks ago I unexpectedly received a phone call one weekend afternoon.   I was advised my next hair appointment would be at a different location even closer to my home.   I had learned on my previous appointment that some long simmering intrigue the beauty shop’s hair dressers had with their colleague who owned the shop was coming to a head.   I knew something was eminent but hadn’t expected that the whole staff, except the owner, would be relocating -- but that’s what was happening I was told.    These ladies have all worked together for decades – mostly just part time now -- and qualify age-wise to be elders.

Allegedly, instead of managing the business to benefit all as had been promised -- when the group had supported their co-hair dresser assuming ownership a couple decades ago from another member now deceased -- she had focused mostly on her own self-interest.  Apparently, failure to effectively manage shop financial obligations, absence of disclosure, lack of truthfulness, secretive maneuvering had resulted in the business collapse with their suddenly being told she was closing the business and they had two weeks to vacate. 
   
A week later the owner had reportedly engaged in a sudden loud and emotional verbal outburst -- totally unprofessional when some customers were present -- upon discovering the staff was departing a week early for their own best interests.   One customer almost a century old became very upset, so when her next appointment got cancelled because she was in the hospital, speculation was rampant that the explosive incident to which she had been subjected might have been the precipitating cause.   She’s since returned home and continues appointments at the new location.  

Just as I adjusted to the idea all was normal in this new setting, I was apprised this past week that the group sensed some sort of change was in the works at the new place, but they were unable to determine what it was yet.   Never ending drama everywhere.


W.H. DRAMA

I can’t help thinking how aspects of this hairdresser’s business drama situation mirror what may be occurring in our nation’s White House.   This is especially ironic that this group whose misplaced trust in the person they chose to manage their business operation may well be further disillusioned if our national leader they avidly support also betrays them.  Guess they'll learn the hard way since, evidently, our leader continues to be more interested in just getting his way -- as with demanding revocation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA – Obamacare) – without consideration for the quality of any replacement healthcare plan. 

The drama of our leader arrogantly ratcheting up the juvenile tit for tat name-calling inciting North Korea’s blustering leader creates a literal world-threatening situation.   I’d like to lock the two of them in a cage together and leave the rest of us out of it. 

Thinking of the circumstances that lead our nation into the Iraq War, and now viewing the current PBS-TV Vietnam War series should give us reason for serious concern.   The latter program in Episode 4 features Sam Wilson, U.S. Army who makes a statement worthy of consideration today by those leading our nation:

   “It’s very very difficult to dispel ignorance if you retain arrogance.”     


THEATRE DRAMA

Reading about the importance of avoiding falls, especially for older people, that Ronni Bennett wrote about at “Time Goes By” recently, stimulated a number of my thoughts.   She described lots of effective measures and links to help us stay on our feet -- short of gluing them to the floor.     We do have to remember and then use those techniques for them to work which we may be careless about doing.   

I am reminded of an accidental fall I had 20 years ago – was in a cramped bedroom area, reaching up and twisting my body in some contorted way for an item on a shelf above the closet – I leaned slightly …but too far, I quickly realized.   I instantly knew I would be unable to regain my balance and instinctly determined to take a “stage fall”, which I did -- protecting my head and landed mostly on one side.  Coupled with the fact I fell on some objects I did end up for the first time ever with what I later figured must be deep tissue bruising.   Seemed to take weeks for that soreness and stiffness to go away.

I try to remember to use a “stage fall” if I’m going down – learned it in drama class in my young adult theatre “ham” years.   Basically, I just try complete body relaxation, allowing my knees and torso  to gradually fold down as my arms position to protect my head.   Keep in mind I am a lay person on this topic, so I’m not saying do as I do.   

For any oldsters -- with more brittle bones I don’t practice stage falls now as I did when young and certainly don’t recommend others do it either.    I simply try to remember those techniques I mentioned to use if and when I have a real accidental fall. 

I did find this wikiHow to Fall Safely link which does offer some good ideas about how to best try to position our bodies if we do accidentally fall.  You may find some good ideas to consider.   Discuss them with your doctor, a physical therapist if you have one, or other qualified orthopedic professionals. 

Move slowly -- don't turn too fast -- look where you're going -- stay on your feet -- and don't fall!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

HURRICANES -- CHAOS -- REDHEAD'S DENTITION


HURRICANES ON MY RADAR

Hurricanes have never really been on my radar much, but they have certainly made their presence known in recent years.    My familiarity had been pretty much limited to news reports.

My only and closest hurricane encounter was in the late 1950’s when I had occasion to be in Miami -- staying overnight in a motel near the airport awaiting a next day’s flight to Ecuador.    Early evening I recall leaving my room for dinner at the restaurant, then for nearby clothing store shopping.  When I stepped out of my room, I was confronted with an oppressive wall of humid heat unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.  Thinking this was just more of the dense hot humid weather I associated with Florida, I gave little more thought to the matter. 

Even more of the intense heavy moist air greeting me the next morning gave me reason to be glad we were flying out.   Only on my arrival at my destination did I learn a hurricane had assaulted Miami the day after I left causing me to be glad I wasn’t there.  

Now I see as the most recent Harvey and Irma hurricanes have wrought their damage that we have three more raging in the Atlantic ocean: Maria possibly threatening to follow Irma’s path – Jose, though offshore, is spinning with potential impacts further up the U.S. east coast – Tropical Storm Lee is expected to spin itself out with no land warnings issued presently.

Storm language has its own terminology:  systems over the Atlantic or the eastern Pacific Oceans are named “hurricanes”.    Western North Pacific and Philippines systems are called “typhoons”.  Indian and South Pacific Ocean systems are called “cyclones”.   Strong destructive winds and flooding rains whatever we call them.


HURRICANES AREN’T ALL THAT CREATE CHAOS

Hurricanes in the U.S. are apropos for the chaotic world our leader and his cohort, Mr. Bannon have been dedicated to creating in their efforts for “deconstruction of the administrative state” with “a new political order being formed.”   Continued orchestrated chaos is the order of the day.

Thinking citizens might want to closely examine what that language really means -- not just what some want to believe -- or they may awaken one morning to learn they got more than they expected and not what they wanted at all – but could be too late to preserve the constitutional democratic republic our forefathers created and some of my ancestors fought to establish.   
  
Is the Washington swamp that was to be cleaned out by this Administration increasingly appearing to have been replaced by a cesspool?


REDHEAD REVELATIONS

Redheads, or “Gingers” as we’re known in some other countries, have a number of distinct features from those with different hair color.    Recently my attention has had to be focused on my teeth.   A root canal, followed by a crown that came without a kingdom, then my routine cleaning has meant I have had to focus on the condition of those chompers. 

I was reminded of what had periodically crossed my mind much of my adult life.  Toothpaste commercials, dental caps, implants all touted the bright white teeth they offered.   I often wondered why I didn’t seem to have those eye-blinding “pearly white” teeth so highly desired.   I had carefully brushed my teeth as recommended.  

If I ever mentioned the topic to a dentist, I basically was told just that tooth coloring varied for individuals which seemed sufficient and acceptable to me. This time when I thought about it, I spontaneously decided to see what might be said on the Internet which seems to have an answer for everything.  This is what I learned. 

One site states there is a scientific reason for why a redhead’s teeth can have a slightly yellowish cast that’s attributed to “a Dental Hygenist” on Yahoo Answers.  

The scientific reason given is:

“Embryonically, there are 3 germ layers: ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm.  The tooth enamel (the outermost part) and the skin both derive from the ectoderm.

….redheads usually have a very fair, translucent skin…in general, their skin is thinner than that of people with other hair colors…having been derived from the ectoderm, their tooth enamel is thinner, as well

…the effect you see, due to the thinner enamel, is more of the underlying tooth surface (dentin) showing through the enamel…dentin is normally a yellowish or grayish color. 

 As a result, the redhead’s teeth will appear to be less white, because more dentin is apparent.”

There is a web site for a purported dentist promoting teeth whitening that says hair color has nothing to do with tooth color.  Yellow teeth indicate lack of proper dental care.  Well, I know my teeth have had and still do have appropriate care.

I don’t know if the purported scientific explanation is reliable and authentic or not as I couldn’t locate a credible science link.    I’ll ask my dentist when I see him next year – if I remember.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

DISASTER -- DIGNITY -- LANGUAGE


DISASTER

Life continues to test our mettle as humans are subjected to nature’s power.  Hurricane Harvey’s victims in the U. S. are busy reassessing their lives in the Gulf States of Texas, Louisiana.  Other affected areas include Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, Yucatan Peninsula, Windward Islands. 

South of our border Mexico experienced the most powerful earthquake in a century registering 8.1 off their southern coast with many deaths and much destruction. Another hurricane, Katia, created more damage there but has been downgraded now to a tropical storm once it moved ashore. 
  
A third hurricane, Jose, remains a potent force, but the hurricane of most concern presently churning ocean waters is Irma with wind speeds in triple digits.  Caribbean islands have been decimated as Irma demolished Barbuda made her way through Cuba, the Florida Keyes, to make landfall on the, U. S. mainland in Florida. 
  
Hurricane Irma is over 400 miles wide – wider than the state of Florida.  Moving up the Gulf Coast into Tampa Bay -- the Tampa, St. Petersburg area is now expected to take the direct hit -- over 700 miles of coastline that is especially vulnerable to flooding given the low sea level.   Unfortunately, failure to take measures in years earlier to prepare for predicted rising sea levels due to climate change reportedly will be even more challenging after this hurricane.   

Storm surges to 15 feet are possible reaching the roofs of single story homes.   South Floridians have had mandatory evacuations with more than 6 million seeking safety elsewhere.  Many storm shelters are full.    Even as I write this more last minute evacuations are occurring.  Power outages are present.  Tornadoes are reported in southeast Florida.   Irma took an unexpected turn to southwest Florida shores where the storm surges could reach second story level of many beachside occupied homes.

The U. S. Coast Guard is prepared to assist.  The Florida National Guard has been mobilized ready for deployment when appropriate.  FEMA has been marshaled in preparation.   Support personnel have been arriving in Florida for several days from across the United States.   For example, one news report filmed trucks on freeways with First Responders from the Los Angeles Fire Department including a Swift Water Team with their dog for rescue and recovery 
Hurricane Irma is expected to travel the full length of Florida into the states of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina where preparations for safety continue. 


DIGNITY IN DISASTER

Our President has been behaving and speaking with the dignity that his office warrants in these days when so many of our nation’s people are experiencing hurricanes devastation in their lives.

  
HELPING LANGUAGE

Last week with the extremely hot temperatures we were experiencing curtailing my activities, I wrote about some thoughts that crossed my mind regarding feelings and attitudes engendered when I might need to ask for help.  Also, I was reminded recognizing any limitations I might have was important for my own well-being.   

I considered the significance for all of being cooperative and expressing appreciation for assistance provided by others.   I noted a tendency toward grouchiness or being out-of-sorts could sometimes surface if a person didn’t feel well or was experiencing pain, but how, ideally, we minimize subjecting others to such. 

Now that our Southern California weather has sufficiently lowered into double digit figures, actually mild levels for this time of year where I live, I’m prompted to think of another helping aspect.   There are situations where we must provide assistance for the safety or best interests of another that is not wanted, even rejected. 

We might need to re-examine the manner or language we use, then adjust our tone and/or phrasing.   This can make a difference under ordinary circumstances, but anyone caring for a loved one experiencing dementia has or will find doing so to be especially important.  

In times of stress we are especially vulnerable to losing patience with others when calming may be needed but not always easy to provide.


Florida Department of Elder Affairs reports there are 5.2 million seniors there.  I think of them -- hope they're coping as well as possible through these difficult times.   






Sunday, September 03, 2017

HARRIED EVENTS -- SANITY -- AGING ACQUIESCENCE

WHAT A WEEK!

Hurricane Harvey wrecking havoc in Gulf Coast lives with parts of U.S. cities under water – tragic deaths -- thousands of people in shelters.  Another part of the world revealing South Asia experiencing monsoon rains causing many deaths due to flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.   Buildings collapsed in Mumbai, India.   Traumatic experiences for so many whose lives have been altered in many ways. 

Disasters began to strike closer to home with wildfires in Southern California erupting in the midst of our record-setting three digit teen figure temperatures as the work week ended.  The heat has been made even more miserable given the humidity we’re experiencing from unusual monsoon moisture to which we’re unaccustomed. These fires are far enough away to pose no danger to my community.  

Toward the Pacific Coast, west of where I live, the largest wildfire ever within Los Angeles city limits, La Tuna, continues to threaten several communities including Burbank.  Fickle winds fan scorching fires racing over San Fernando Valley hillsides burning almost 6000 acres.  A hundred or so So Cal firefighters are in Texas necessitating a call here for more help, reportedly.  

So far only a few So Cal houses have been lost though thousands of residents have had to vacate their homes.  A few have been allowed to return home as I write this – others wait breathlessly watching from afar one large condominium complex as the fire creeps slowly down the hillside toward their development.   Thousands of other homes are without power.  

Now, miles east of here, the Palmer Fire in Riverside County has an out of control fire raging over 3000 acres endangering homes there.   Officials report this firestorm was unintentionally started by individuals playing with fireworks. 
   
Planes dropping fire-retardant Foscheck -- water-dropping helicopters flying day and night -- aid the firefighters on the ground in containing these wildfires.   Fleeing wild animals including antlered deer are seen as are other creatures running for their lives.   Smoke-filled darkening skies with winds spewing ashes into the air fill our TV news coverage.

Owners are shown corralling frantic horses with young sons riding some out of danger while others are loaded for transporting to safety.   Domestic pets, including dogs, cats, even chickens, are caged and crated to join other personal possessions with which their owners must quickly depart.

Many of these flood and fire residents displaced permanently or temporarily, believed that this would never happen to them.   But, between the water and fire we are reminded that we may not be as immune to human mistakes as well as nature’s environmental catastrophes as we might like to believe. 


SANITY

Coincidentally, explosions -- a hydrogen bomb -- detected in North Korea has been determined to be the country’s sixth nuclear test.  They say the warhead is for its intercontinental ballistic missile believed to be capable of striking anywhere in the U.S.   Our Pentagon says we are protected by missile interceptors though some say not 100%. 

I wish I could have more confidence our nation’s leader was capable of making rational decisions on how to best govern under these circumstances for the best interest of U.S. citizens and the world.  I can only hope the judgment of knowledgeable sane heads surrounding him prevails.


AGING ACQUIESCENCE

This past week has brought us a humdinger of a heat wave with temperatures soaring into three digits.   I keep my appointments though the close humid atmosphere in one new-to-me small compact area business, though air conditioned, caused me to experience what were slight dehydration feelings after I’d been there about an hour, so I sat a bit and drank ice water before I left.  I always carry water in my car, too.

After about three hours of in and out of A/C from my auto in the parking lot to one place or another, I concluded my errands with shopping at my grocery.   By then, my body was telling me to acquiesce to having help with carry-out to my car -- that my energy had become sapped by even those brief times in that 111 degree moist heat.   I was more than pleased to arrive home where I’ve remained indoors since I replenished my supplies. 

Accepting help from others in an appreciative and gracious manner makes the whole experience so much more pleasant for the helper and the recipient.  I think we accept assistance in some situations more readily than in others as I did with carry-out at the grocery store.    I’m reminded that when I worked I observed with adults of all ages, but often with some of those who were older, a reluctance to allow, much less ask for help in other settings and situations. 

I suppose there can be different reasons why this is so – a person wants to “do it myself” which can be desirable, even appropriate.   The person is determined to be independent when they really aren’t able to safely be so, may talk in a grumpy grouchy manner, and be uncooperative.     

Sometimes that person unrealistically believes they are more capable than they are, so may undertake unsafe activities despite cautions, even instructions, to do otherwise.  
 
One major example might be insisting on walking without using a prescribed walker.  Another could be not waiting for a caregiver’s assistance to aid their getting up from bed or a chair to safely walk to another room.  

Those are simplistic instances of when two people can have an unpleasant experience – the person and the caregiver, often a spouse.  I think when we experience pain and discomfort we may be more prone to be unpleasant, too – reflecting how we feel to others, however unintentional that might be.

I hope I’ll always be able to recognize any of my limitations, accept or ask for assistance when appropriate, and express my appreciation to those who provide me the support I might need. 

Every small positive effort or gesture we make toward deserving others can help create an atmosphere to make life more pleasant -- whatever the world situation that exists around us.  


Sunday, August 27, 2017

SCIENTIFIC EVENT -- CATCHING MY BREATH -- 2024

The moon eclipsing the sun last week was another refreshing respite for me, considering the continuing betrayal of our nation’s values by the emperor-like actions of our leader. 

This eclipse was also an event demonstrating the validity of scientific explanations of what was happening in our universe that no one denied -- unlike climate warming being denied despite the weather changes being experienced around our earth.    

Though Southern California experienced only a 60% eclipse I finally decided a week before the actual event that I wanted to view it after all since the sun would be easily visible from my own yard.    Contacting my local library for a free pair of safe viewing glasses, I learned they had dispensed them all two weeks earlier.  Internet web sites revealed the reputable safe brands were all sold out.   Los Angeles area TV news reported a couple stores had a few glasses left selling for ten dollars.  Family in another state learning my plight surprised me by sending glasses so I didn’t have to pursue some alternative viewing options.  
 
That morning our sky was overcast but finally cleared shortly before the eclipse time was to begin.   I sat down outdoors in my lawn chair, affixed my glasses, gazed directly at the sun as a portion slowly began to disappear from view ….. not from the side as I had anticipated, but from the sun’s curved top.    I confess to catching my breath ….. feeling a spark of emotional wonder on seeing the moon make its beginning intrusion over the sun’s edge.

After a few minutes I decided to retrieve a cup of coffee from indoors.  Once I stepped inside I was struck by how long my vision was taking adjusting to indoor darkness from the outdoor lighting.    Giving me pause, this caused me to alter my plan of sitting outside steadily gazing at the sun, preferring brief glances only periodically for the next however long – hour or so.  That was a wise choice I’ve subsequently learned.

So, I alternately viewed the live event outdoors with indoor viewing of television set network coverage, and NASA’S streaming video from the Internet on my laptop as the eclipse action sequentially moved across our continent.  The most dramatic totality view I observed was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with the Grand Tetons backdrop.  This isn't that particular view but a short time lapse one in the area.


During the event Instant Messages were exchanged with friends here nearer the Pacific Coast, family in the Midwest who also saw only a partial eclipse, plus another who had traveled from her east coast home to visit friends in South Carolina where they experienced the awe-inspiring full eclipse with accompanying darkness.

I will always be enchanted by the wonders of nature and the universe.  Next time, if I’m still around in 2024, I might just make an effort – with advance planning – to travel where I might see a full eclipse with that total daytime enveloping darkness. 
Such experienced totality this year was just over 2 minutes, but will have 4 ½ minute peaks in 2024. 

April 8, 2024 the path to view a total eclipse in the U.S. extends from Texas to Maine summarized in a CNN article link noting: 

“Cities like Austin, Texas, Dallas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Indianapolis; Toledo, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio; Buffalo and Rochester, New York; Montpelier, Vermont and Montreal will be directly in the path of totality.”

If you’re wondering whether you can safely use your 2017 eclipse glasses in 2024, the short answer is that it’s probably best to get a new pair, according to this article at Live Science.  They offer some excellent references with links providing additional information about safe further use of these glasses, also cautions including that even with the eclipse glasses, looking directly at the sun should never be for more than a few seconds which I had never heard mentioned before.        

“After the 2024 event, the next closest rounds of total solar eclipses over the U.S. will occur on March 30, 2033, Aug. 23, 2044, Aug. 12, 2045 and March 30, 2052”.

Thought I’d best include those future dates in case anyone wanted to view a total eclipse but might be inclined to delay.  I’m not sure how many of those dates, if any, I’ll still be around to experience – but can we ever be sure of anything?  


Sunday, August 20, 2017

TOOTHY -- THE GRIND -- DESPICABLE EVENTS -- MOON DANCE

TOOTHY

Self-attention has absorbed much of my focus the past couple of weeks -- nothing quite like a dental root canal to cause me to think about myself.   Having had one years ago -- that ultimately exhausted me with having to keep my mouth pried wide open for so long that I thought I’d crawl out of my skin before the Dr. finished -- I had this current root canal scheduled for two shorter sessions a week apart.  That earlier root canal had been more tolerable in retrospect because both of the roots were dead. 

I thought all teeth just had two roots, but I was surprised to learn this tooth had three roots.  In fact, some have four or five the endodontist said.   Should I have known this?  Did we learn this in grade school or higher grade science or health classes?   Had I forgotten this dentition knowledge?
This tooth’s third root nerve was alive, but numbing minimized or prevented most of the discomfort. 

When feeling returned after the first session, I finally reached the point I sought pain relief, but then the throbbing abruptly stopped so I didn’t take medication after all.   There was a dull ache, but I was not kept from sleeping that night.    The next week, expecting a possible initial similar reaction I was prepared, but unnecessarily so.   I experienced only a slight ache which interfered in no way with my night’s sleep, then that was gone when I awoke in the morning.  

Gotta finish up with this root-canalled tooth since, if all is well, then my dentist must crown it later.  I’m eating lots of soup, soft foods with minimal chewing on the opposite side of my mouth, but have discovered a sensitivity there.   Oh, well!


THE GRIND

Another day -- off I went on an errand necessitating I lower my driver’s side car window – click, click ….. gr-r-r- um, gr-r-r-um – the window doesn’t move back up.  So, on the way home I stopped by my trusty auto mechanic shop.   They agreed to keep the car there, trouble shoot the problem, give me a ride home and see if they could fix whatever was needed -- but cautioned they might not be able to do so until after the weekend.   Turns out they were able to install a new motor correcting the problem the next day, but the cost was double what I had paid for a similar problem several years ago when a warranty had applied absorbing half of the expense.  Oh, well!    

For the first time since I’ve used these mechanics, there was a flaw in the door control panel when the car was returned to me.  The fact that this occurred concerns me, but they will fix it free when I take the auto to them again.  Oh, well!


DESPICABLE EVENTS

This past week viewing television, surfing internet news accounts I’m appalled by events with hate-mongers crawling out from under their rocks to spread their venom in cities across our nation.    How anyone can excuse or defend their ideology of superiority is beyond rational moral comprehension.  

Marching in our streets to demonstrate power with threats describing their beliefs in documented conversations are reminiscent of what their counterparts did in Europe prior to WWII.   

U.S. Patriots peacefully counter-demonstrating in Virginia reaped the consequences of the hate-mongers spittle that corrupts weak minds, coupled with possible other trouble-makers deliberately inciting violence, resulted in a life lost and other decent persons being injured.  

The leader of our country is thought by some citizens to have betrayed our nation’s values once again.  He did so by not immediately unequivocally condemning those groups with whom the individual reportedly responsible for the death and injuries identified himself.

Providing/promoting equality, demonstrating moral, ethical values with the ideals on which our nation was founded to preserve our constitutional democratic republic is what our government’s leadership should be about.  We need to question whether or not our President is doing so based on his words and actions to date.


MOON DANCE

I learned we will see about 60% of the sun eclipse here in Southern California.   Fortunately, I was the recipient of the appropriately safe glasses to be able to directly view the moon and sun dance.  Their dance will begin around 9 a.m. here, reaching peak for us about 10:20 a.m., then ending about 11 a.m. I have only to hope we won’t have cloud cover interfering with my observing the event.  Oh, well!





Sunday, August 13, 2017

CALMING UNSETTLING TIMES

Music for my summer afternoons  . . . .  .  


"Summertime" -- Norah Jones with a svelte voice accompanied by suave pianist, Marian McPartland  at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival August 30, 2003




“Take Five” with Dave Brubeck’s classic . . . . .



"Estate (Summer)" with Shirley Horn's melancholy vocal . . . . .



"Lazy Afternoon" with Shirley Horn’s sensual rendition . . . .  .



"A Time For Love" with Shirley Horn's refined elegance . . . . .



"Dindi" with Shirley Horn Trio . . . . . 



"Gentle Rain" with Shirley Horn Trio instrumental . . . . . 



"Stardust" with Shirley Horn accompanied by Bill Charlap (piano), Peter Washington (bass), and Kenny Washington (drums). . . . .



"Smile" with Steven Tyler singing, featuring Chris Botti on trumpet . . . . .



"Here's To Life" as only Shirley Horn  can mesmerize . . . . .



Sunday, August 06, 2017

GERMS -- QUESTIONS -- DIGITAL COMA


VIRAL OR BACTERIAL?

“Under the weather” – what a curious saying – is one way to describe how I felt beginning early this past week.   I was annoyed at first when I finally contacted my doctor that he didn’t see me, instead sending me to Urgent Care.  In retrospect, that was probably wise, since UC being directly associated with my hospital can expedite some necessary laboratory tests, if needed, providing results more quickly.

The UC doctor noted a summer flu was going around which was probably what I had, so no need for special medication.  She said just follow the old standard standby BRAT diet – bananas, rice, applesauce, toast.  I had previously resorted to such soft bland foods, having already weathered several days of illness.  

Fortunately, even at its worst this flu was mild – the first I’ve experienced in decades, so never imagined that’s what I had.  In fact, within a few days after I went to UC I am already on the way to being healthy again.    I might never have gone to UC – just toughed it out, as I've done much of my life, when I knew there were others in my home to act on my behalf if I became unable to do so.  Knowing when to seek help, not waiting too long until I’m unable to help myself,  is one consideration that is important when living alone.

As for “under the weather”, I made a brief search for the origins.   One such suggests weather changes sometimes affect how we feel -- not always for the better -- since some describe rainy days cause them to have increased aches and pains, for example.  The saying seems to have come about long ago when stormy weather's roiling seas rocking the ship sickened some sailors.   The seasick Gobs would go down under the deck to recuperate.  

“Gobs” you say?   Yes, that’s a slang term for sailor that H. L. Mencken described as American language war slang.    

“Gob … had been in use in the navy for a long while, though the common civilian designation for a sailor had been jackie. The origin of the terms is much disputed. Gob is variously explained as a derivative from the Chinese (?) word gobshite, and as the old word gob, signifying a large, irregular mass, applied to a new use. The original meaning of gobshite I don’t know. One correspondent suggests that gob was first used to designate sailors because of their somewhat voracious and noisy habits of feeding. He tells a story of an old master-at-arms who happened into a land aĆ«ro-station and found a party of sailors solemnly at table. “My Gawd,” he exclaimed, “lookit the gobs, usin’ forks an’ all!”


CONTINUING QUESTIONS

Why have I felt like we’ve been seeing a White House version of an old TV show called “The Apprentice” in which the host gained fame and fortune for saying “You’re fired!”?

Does our leader judge all civilian leaders as being like himself -- capable only of creating chaos – inept of skills to competently lead and direct otherwise?

Why do we need so many military leaders in cabinet and administrative positions to exercise required chain-of-command leadership for order?  

Does our Prez judge everybody by his own behavior, not recognizing most successful leaders do not follow his unsuccessful chaotic management style in govt. or business?

Or, if he ever revealed his income taxes would we learn he's not as successful as he portrays himself -- and has serious conflicts of interest – possibly involving foreign governments?    

How can any patriot not see another nation's intervention in our elections as an extremely dangerous situation, yet our Prez has not been enthusiastic about the need for an investigation?

Wouldn’t ensuring foreign nations are prevented from interfering in our elections be critical to protecting our country?


DIGITAL COMA

Once again, my trusty little netbook’s screen suddenly went to black.   I hadn’t noticed that the battery was not recharging, instead, the energy was just slowly draining away.   Interventions to rejuvenate the device have so far been totally unsuccessful.   Unfortunately, blog notes I had for future posts are on my netbook, so you see what I’ve come up with today.  I'm using my ancient sluggish laptop.  Will I finally have to get a new computer?   Who knows what the future will bring!