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?    



        

29 comments:

  1. Serious and frightening questions.

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    1. Will we ever receive the answers?

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    2. Probably not, as long as DT is in the White House...

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  2. I feel so badly for the people dealing with the Thomas Fire.

    It makes sense for you to switch to a Mac if your son and daughter have. It will make it so much easier for them to help you when you need it. From what I understand the transition won't be hard for old brains to handle. Before you know it you'll be up to speed.

    Don't get me started on the changes the Trump administration is making. They have their fingers in places I didn't think would ever change. Like deregulating consumer protections. That's just crazy! Erin Brockovich spoke at our local high school last night because of a water issue we're having, a direct result of not having laws about where factories could dump their toxic waste. Ground zero is less than 3 miles from my house, but other dumping grounds are all over the county with no records from the factory itself; they have to depend on the memories of workers to find the places poisoning our ground water.

    Hope you have a nice Christmas. I plan to have a quiet one, but that's okay.

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    1. There are water issues around the country we don't hear a lot about. I think of the mountain streams in coal mining areas. Sorry you experience such pollution as you describe neer you. Destroying consumer protections is a destructive legacy of this Administration and the prominent political party.

      I, too, will have a quiet Christmas.

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  3. I hope you will solve your computer issue before this one dies on you.

    Many, many years ago (early 1990s) my man got me to agree to his daring plan of taking out a loan (something we never did) to purchase our first computer by describing how I could develop and store my knitting projects on it.
    Needless to say, I never did.

    As for your questions: Oh my!
    We don't do xmas, we just dawdle, skype with distant ones, eat, drink and take a walk and watch something before falling asleep.

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    1. I, too, have my fingers crossed for the laptops continued survival a bit longer. This iPad mini is not conducive to producing a new post, though I can read and write comments.

      That sounds like a pleasant way in which to enjoy the days ahead — just being with nature a gift in itself.

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  4. Happy that you are getting the work on your home done. Finding and engaging good work crews can be a challenge. In my own instance, the company that did so well in replacing our back porch and front steps chose not to bid on re-tiling a bathroom & replacing the counter top/sink; so, it's back to looking for a good contractor.

    I woke up to the fact, a couple of hours ago, that it is only one week before our holiday company arrives. Yikes!
    Cop Car

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    1. Looks like you, too, have had to go back to square one on the rest of your house plans. Mine are much less involved, but everything is relative.

      That’s right — only a week left for any necessary holiday preparations. How did we get here so fast?

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  5. I agree learning new things is great for the mind, just not sure that applies to new computer programs. That can be maddening. Good luck.
    I was wondering how all the smoke was affecting those near the horrid fires. I so feel for your state.
    Hiring good workers can be a crap shoot and when you find winners, you want to adopt them.

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    1. Maybe my learning MAC won’t be too time consuming as I only use the basics mostly — I don’t use all the bells and whistles techies plant in the machines. I want a device that doesn’t need a lot of attention and lasts for years. Having the latest model, or being the first to get one isn’t important to me. That’s how I feel about most mechanical objects — cars, appliances, etc.

      We’ve not been subjected to smoke and unclear air in the northeastern corner of Los Angeles County — no wildfires out our way and hope it stays that way. Finding consistently good workers is a challenge.

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  6. I had to replace a roof and a furnace within 3 months after Fred died. The handy men around here are good and reliable--I've never had a problem. I put a wreath on the front door--does that count as Christmas decorating? Last year, I did it all--had not nary a one visitor. This year, I was not in the mood, so I did nothing. It hasn't seemed to dampen my Christmas spirit. I will have 4 hours on Christmas Even with some of the children and most of the grandchildren and sister and then be alone on Christmas Day--which has been my routine for the last few years. BUT--we have snow. Lots of snow and it is beautiful!!

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    1. Wow, you did get clobbered with a new roof and furnace so soon after losing your husband. Not a welcome event, I’m sure. My oven went kaput that first year, was an old Westinghouse and couldn't find anyone to repair, so finally had to replace. Always enjoyed the first snow, and the picture window scenes of pristine snow — thinking of our first house in a somewhat rural type area. Often think of tunes “Whie Christmas” and Winter Wonderland”.

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  7. "the inevitable living spouse’s task of resolving myriad business matters". Indeed. As you know, my mum is now in a care home and I've been landed with sorting out all her numerous bank accounts. There were over 30 originally but I'm gradually whittling them down.

    A lot of my mum's friends have died so she was getting very lonely. The care home seems to have given her a new lease of life as she chats to all the other residents and staff and sounds a lot brighter and happier.

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    1. I know from reading your blog you have experienced first hand the challenges of handling business affairs of your Mum. So we’re reminded adult children as well as spouses can often be faced with sorting out business affIrs of loved ones, frequently aging parents. Glad you’re making some headway. Am pleased your Mum is benefitting from the move to the care home both for her and the comfort it must provide you. Increased socialization opportunities, especially with contemporaries, can certainly contribute to making life more enjoyable. I think one of the most difficult aspects of aging occurs as more and more of our family and friends leave this earth.

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  8. My spouse made the transition to a Mac several months ago and has had very few problems adapting. Unfortunately, my answers to the political questions on your list are mostly negative. Hoping that really won't be true in the coming year, but prospects seem dim.

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    1. That’s encouraging to hear, Dick, that your wife found the transition to a Mac had few problems. Would that the long term future for ordinary people was more promising despite the temporary crumbs touted.

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  9. Wow ... you presented so many crucial topics and I could write a book about most of them. Trump has put such a shadow over everything that it's hard to know where to start. I feel so bad about California and what fire has done to your lovely State and yet he has not once tweeted or talked about his concerns for you. I doubt if he knows what empathy is and he certainly has none for a "blue State" He's a disaster and is bullying the world now and taking our country down with him. The Republicans should be ashamed. However, I want to wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and we'll catch up in the New Year.

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    1. Thanks for your good wishes for Californians and these holidays. A vindictive leader does little to bring our nation’s people together, but then, neither do many of his colluding political party — an embarrassment to what that party once represented.

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  10. Wow those questions and your fires and tax restructuring. A lot going good
    On. I see our GQ PM weasel has co-signed the Jerusalem BS. One of the few cowering to the Master. The nays had it but 45 promised revenge.

    What kind of planet is this?

    Stay safe m'dear.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. The world goes round and round ... and where it stops, no one knows. Hang on for the ride!

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  11. Many people I know love their Macs and keep trying to convert me. Perhaps you will love yours, too!

    Have a safe and happy holiday.

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    1. That’s what I hear from everyone who has a Mac. I got a refurbished one.

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  12. Sigh - my laptop died while back so at the moment I use my grandson's 7-inch tablet. That means my size 12 mitts type unit n a size 3 keyboard.

    Re aging and loss - my 50 year HS reunion was in October and there were 84 old friends and classmates on the memorial wall, almost 25% of outclass. I was stunned so many had passed.

    Your questions are I important and next year should be quite interesting.

    Merry Christmas and HappY New Year from nippy North CarĂ lina

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    1. Condolences over the loss of your computer. Can empathize with frustration using smaller devices as I experienced a lot with my iPad mini and still do to some extent with messaging — I don’t try to compose blog posts — do comment on blogs though.

      It’s a real jolt to discover how many classmates have departed, isn’t it. Can make us realize how fortunate we are to still be around.

      Holiday greetings to you, too!

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  13. I'd heard many stories about Apple products, and how hard it was to change to them, but when my laptop died in the middle of Arkansas a couple of years ago, I had to do something, so I bought an iPad. I really like it. I don't utilize it as fully as some people do; I use it primarily for email, responding to blog comments, and weather radar. But I tend to add new tech skills as I need them, so when something else comes along that the iPad can solve, I'll download the app and get with it. I don't have any longing for an Apple computer, but I must say, if I were really to get into photography, it would be worth it just for the screen resolution.

    I love every season of the year, but the Christmas season is especially delightful. Since I run on two calendars -- the liturgical as well as the chronological -- I'll be decorating my tree and doing a few other things tonight. But the tree will stay up until Epiphany -- the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas -- so there's plenty of time to enjoy it. I skipped the baking this year, but may indulge just once, to send my aunt some of her favorites.

    Besides, we've just had a nice front come through. Our temperatures have dropped thirty degrees, and the wind is whipping. It's what passes for Christmas weather around here.

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    1. I enjoy using my iPad mini for a few select activities— kindle app I use for some books instead of buying an ebook reader, being able to send instant messages, email, FaceTime, some blogging but can’t work on any posts. How different the Mac computer operation will be i’ll find out.

      Enjoy your holiday celebration as it sounds like you have a unique appreciation and a special way to enjoy Christmas. I’m not baking this year as the sweets are too tempting in addition to all those I am gifted. Our temps are due to warm a bit Christmas Day, but they haven’t really been that cold recently. I’ll be content to just dream of White Christmases I recall in the past, or picturing those my mother used to describe from her youth in horse and buggy days.

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  14. I am on permanent holiday and so nothing special is planned for. I will simply enjoy all the festivities and the goodies that come from our Christian neighbours and friends. My home does not need any repairs and I really cannot think of anything else that needs fixing. We can get good expert handymen/help through just phone calls and so lead quite placid lives here.

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    1. Pleasant, interesting and educational to learn about others holidays, how and why they're celebrated. Even the same holiday can be celebrated in special ways by different cultures. For example, Christian Christmas celebrations can
      vary by preferred holiday meals such as turkey, ham vs some
      neighbors/friends of Mexican heritage for whom tamales composed of different meats seasoned by a variety of hot peppers are a favorite; others of Nordic heritage have other preferences. I wonder if any Christians in or from India might well have their own unique preferences.

      Glad to know you're not experiencing any home repair needs and can so readily access handymen/help in whom you have confidence. There are many to easily reach by phone or internet here, but I find the quality of service can vary with some more capable of performing certain tasks than others. I am on my way back to a more placid life as most of the exterior house needs are resolved.....for now, as with a house we can always expect something, sooner or later is my experience.

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