Sunday, June 13, 2021

BECOMING WOKE

I received an interesting phone call the other day.  A gal I know said she wanted to ask me a question.  She prefaced her enquiry by noting how we disagreed on a number of matters but she seemed to think the matter she was enquiring about was associated with views of mine, even though she repeated not agreeing with some of them.

Her query was, "What does woke mean?"   I explained I understood its use today referred to individuals becoming aware of realities they previously might have not believed to be true.  Probably one of the most significant areas of being "woke" was with regard to the prevalence of racism.  

She replied she had begun to think that was what the meaning was, then immediately related the topic to those today becoming "woke" to discriminatory actions, even racism in our law enforcement.  She noted those people who had that belief would be sorry if funding was altered which she seemed to assume would result in loss of the protection from our police -- as though any proposed change in our police department policies, functions, or re-allocation of funding would result in undermining the safety our police could provide.

I reminded her of a decade or so younger mutual acquaintance (deceased now) who had years earlier shared with us stories we all found quite appalling, even objectionable, of actions of some of her family members in law enforcement,  even one who had been a very high official in state law enforcement.  Yet, this person's overall beliefs were very much aligned with that of the gal with whom I was talking, that no change in law enforcement practices relative to discrimination was needed.

My caller acknowledged recalling our mutual acquaintance's examples she, too, found unacceptable behaviors, but there was no further progression of thought that just maybe something needed fixing.   Apparently, both of their beliefs are that those law enforcement individuals were just a couple of rare instances of bad attitudes but no recognition the system might need some overall adjustments to lessen the prevalence of such actions reported elsewhere, too.

How does that make sense?  If the problem is so prevalent not only with those two officials but most everywhere else, too, as is being revealed, perhaps there is more of an issue than just a few so-called "bad apple" law enforcement persons.  Something more may need reassessment and change -- hiring requirements, training, policies, to name a few areas that should be re-examined.

I mentioned to her that some years ago, here in California -- perhaps in some other states, too -- there had been significant decreases in our mental health care system services to decrease costs.  The unintended consequence placed more burden on law enforcement to criminalize some of these people's actions absent the health care they needed.  

Mentally ill patients were released from care settings back into ordinary life for which they were ill-prepared to function effectively.  They often did not have adequate access to, support for their mental issues, or receiving monitoring to try to ensure they take necessary medication.  Some individuals, unable to cope, initiated behaviors necessitating law enforcement being called to protect law-abiding citizens, and even these ill patients from themselves.

I think of family issues, neighbor quarrels, acquaintances squabbles, distorted thinking with poor judgement resulting in calls to the police to quell disputes -- social issues others might be better trained to resolve to avoid violence, the challenge of helping those with the inability to reason rationally.   

Perhaps some adjustments to our law enforcers responsibilities might not only be better for all by relieving officers from the responsibility of coping with such, though I don't profess to be an expert on such matters.    Officers might even welcome a focus back on more traditional criminal activity.   What do you think?

Sunday, June 06, 2021

WHERE IS THE EQUATOR ..... EARTH'S CENTER?

Visiting family in Quito, Ecuador (9350 feet above sea level) I was introduced to numerous sights and experiences during that 1950s time.  This video reveals how much the city has developed, expanded into the countryside in the past almost seven decades since I was there.  I do recall never having seen as much gold in one location as I did in a church we visited, contrasted with the surrounding poverty outside.

 

In one interesting experience we drove a narrow two-lane dirt road out of the nation's capitol, Quito, occasionally passing cottage-like houses at the side of the road.   I noticed large carcasses of fly-covered butchered meat hanging under the roof covering front porch-like areas at some of those small houses.  Obviously, power for a refrigerator or freezer, electric lights and other features taken for granted in most U.S. homes was not present.

Our travel led us to a large cleared rough dirt area with the Ecuadorean nation's small plain marker in the center around which we could drive, also with ample room to park which we did.  There were no other structures or people visible, a very isolated nondescript site actually.  Stepping to designated areas I was able to stand spreading my feet simultaneously with each foot on purported opposite sides of the equator.

Suddenly, a small wizened-looking woman with classic witch-like appearance including long hair flying about her head appeared, apparently from the natural unkempt surrounding brush.  Startling us, she cloyingly but demandingly solicited a hand-out to which being mesmerized we did not immediately respond, still adjusting to her unexpected presence.  Her manner and facial features abruptly became very contorted into a wicked grimace with glaring eyes when we did not respond as promptly as she expected.

This truly witch-like-looking little woman waved around her arms and pointing long nailed fingers at us, shaking her hand menacingly, uttering Spanish-sounding curse words as she began casting a damning spell on all of us.  Such an intended fear inducing outburst in that brief period of time served to dampen any inclination we felt toward acquiescing to her demands leading us to not linger there longer.   I don't think we even had bothered to take any photographs at that point and never did.

Recently, I searched for an Internet photo of the small plaque/monument I recalled seeing to share here.  What has been revealed to me is the subsequent evolution of Ecuador's "Middle of the World" equator concept the nation has developed for their unique recognition in the decades since my visit.

The site we visited in the mid-1950s appears to have acquired a surrounding small town marking the area, but in Jim Ferri's NeverStop Traveling fun-reading short article is designated as "Ecuador's Fake Equator".   Wha-a-a-t !  ..... FAKE equator?  

Jim wrote:  "...the screw-up was caused by a French expedition in 1736 that marked the wrong spot.  And get this, the mistake wasn't realized until just a few years ago when the Global Positioning System (GPS) was invented."

But never fear you can go to the close nearby real equator at "the Inti Nan museum, which is about five minutes away" though "tourist trap" has been applied by some to that site.   "...you can stand on the line painted on the "real equator," plus do other interesting equator activities.

Wait a minute!  "...others say that neither spot marks the real equator and that the correct location is even further away."  Incidentally, Jim notes there are some GPS issues with the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, too,  lest we become too concerned.

Quitsato Project describes "there is the possibility that the Quitu-Caaranqui indigenous people, Before the conquest of the Incas, they were able to reach the exact positioning of the equator in the archaeological site of Catequilla (see 27 sec. aero vdeo), which was possibly used as an astronomical observatory ... located exactly on the Equinoctial line, easily verifiable with satellite technology, GPS or Google Earth".

Hugh Morris of Great Britain's "Telegraph" describes the situation well, along with short paragraphs on numerous other sites around the world where designations of the center has become questionable.  In addition to London, other centres in Europe, there are complications with Alaska and Hawaii causing the centre of America to be in South Dakota, then there are 3 centres declared in Scotland.  Seems there can be some confusion.

Many of the links above feature some colorful photos accompanying mostly short articles.  The Quito countryside is surrounded by spectacular mountains with one inactive dormant volcano, Mount Chimborazo peak soaring to over 20,564 feet above sea level -- the highest peak on earth when measured from the center of the earth rather than sea level.

 

A brief recap before moving on to a different topic is what I expected to describe when I started writing this post.  This would be a simple account of my standing with each of my feet simultaneously on opposite sides of the equator.  Clearly, the matter has taken on unexpected complicating proportions.

Without the Internet most of us lay people would likely never have known about all these matters others now disagree about.  Ignorance can sometimes be bliss as the saying goes, simplifying life, not knowing what we don't know.  This applies to other topics, too.  Would you agree or whadda you think?


Sunday, May 30, 2021

"TIME GOES BY" -- HAS TGB GONE ... BY ... BYE?

MEMORIAL DAY COMMEMORATION

Memorial Day commemorates those whose lives were taken in defense of each of us and the United States.  I especially remember those who fought in WWII though few of that generation are still living -- the veterans themselves, other contemporaries.  I have written posts devoted specifically to honoring all those serving our country you may access in this blog's archives numerous years on this date.

HAS TIME GONE BY?

Others have commented here missing the "Time Goes By" community and reading Ronni Bennett's writing at her blog due to her death last year.  I was reminded last month we often celebrated her April 7th birthday with her.  I think we all knew what skills, experience and perspective with humor she brought to her blog were unique to her, not to be easily imitated or reproduced by another.  She expended considerable time and energy into promoting the goals she had for TGB's focus on aging and providing encouragement to elderbloggers.  

Like most who were influenced by or followed RB's blog we have looked forward to the blog continuing with a new writer.  We were delighted to read a close friend Ronni had encouraged decided to become TGB's blogger to be known as Autumn as she last told us in December  2020.

Since Autumn's December pronouncement TGB readers have awaited the next communique.  Some readers, including myself, wanted to support keeping the TGB community together.  We, independent of one another, tried to follow Ronni's dictum to "talk among yourselves" as she had encouraged on those few occasions in the past when she had little to write.  So, we generally referenced some topics about which she had previously written offering our new fresh commentary and encouraging others to add their thoughts, to select other of her blog post topics to comment on, or even introduce some new topics.  This was all done, hopefully to maintain interest, and TGB community followers until that unknown time when Autumn has been expected to begin writing there.

Whatever the plans for TGB they remain unknown.  In the past months comments have been closed on all of the TGB topics so keeping the blog active for reader community dialogue is obviously not part of the plan for the blog presently.  Or perhaps someone stopped the comments because too much moderating was needed for an increasing number of unacceptable comments, those seeking free advertising, trolls polluting the content.  Coincidentally, just before comments were closed, I had decided to discontinue commenting there further any way, on what I had come to see as a dormant TGB for new posts.

I don't presume to know what Ronni's thoughts were, but based on what I knew of her desire for her blog, I think she would be disappointed her blog has not been actively continued in some fashion with at least an occasional brief status update since that last December pronouncement. Possibly Autumn continues to be involved with resolving issues associated with RB's death, formulating her plans for TGB, securing her own continued anonymity if that is her preference, and many other explanations.   Everything is pure speculation so TGB followers apparently must be patient a while longer for the promised blog continuation.

I've looked forward to learning what the philosophy of TGB would be, the guidelines for posts and comments to be followed, if TGB will continue to be non-commercial as well as the blog's content focus.  I've looked forward to seeing if the blog will still be of interest to me as one of the older bloggers there.  RB was close to being a contemporary of mine though slightly younger, plus we had other shared interests.

Will matters pertaining to older bloggers be addressed as well as the focus wisely being primarily on Boomers and younger generations?  I realize as someone whose life as a child was during WWII that those of us still living are increasingly few in number, but I've appreciated encountering others like myself at TGB as well as reading of other generations experiences and point of view.  I don't know what sort of connection I may feel with another blogger or bloggers and the direction TGB may take if, in fact, TGB continues.  Unfortunately, many of the aging issues RB addressed continue to exist in our culture impacting all ages ultimately, so there are still many matters needing discussion for how to resolve.

Incidentally, quite by accident some months ago I came across an exchange of comments on another blog that has since become dormant, too.  That blogger expressed congratulations to her commenter for having decided to continue as TGB's blogger.   My clicking on that commenter's icon surprisingly to me linked to TGB though she was commenting from a different blog.  When queried about her relationship to TGB she responded such a link was an accident.  I did research that commenter's name who will remain unnamed in respect of her privacy.  I did not contact her and have no further information to share on this matter.

I don't know if or when TGB will resume with Autumn or someone else or others writing, or what is the intent for the blog's future focus and content. I'm as curious as you may be.  The December 2020 post Autumn wrote says she will be continuing with TGB, so only time will tell when a fresh post will be published, if ever.  Surely, if Autumn has since changed her mind, deciding to not assume blogging at TGB she or someone would say so.  Meanwhile, "Time Goes By".

 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

DID I, OR DIDN'T I ?

Another lesson learned ..... did I or didn't I take that daily antihistamine pill due in the regimen I started one recent weekend when the pollens worsened my reactions -- sneezing, sinus drainage, eyes watering, nasal stuffiness when I try to sleep, to name a few unpleasantries.  I recall noting directions said to allow 24 hours before taking the next pill as I was holding the pill bottle.

Suddenly, the phone had rung from a number I had, coincidentally, been thinking of calling myself, not some obvious unwelcome sales promotion.   S'pose that was ESP as I've experienced quite a few times before with phone calls through the years.  But, I digress -- that's quite another topic.  That catch-up phone conversation with my friend ended after a reasonable time with all pertinent topics covered, questions answered.   

A couple hours later, I happened to think -- "Did I take that antihistamine pill?"  I remembered holding the pill bottle, but did I take that pill just before answering that phone call?  I'm not sure, but I don't think so.  So I took a pill.   Then, I started to have second thoughts.  "What if I took a pill before?"  I reviewed the directions and read again what I remembered -- definite instructions "do not take another pill for 24 hours"!

Oh, my gosh!  What if I had taken a pill earlier and this one only 3 hours later -- is that an overdose -- and what could happen -- what should I do?  Obviously, this called for an Internet search which brought up -- "Call poison control!"

Referring to a more specific product link, I read the side effects I could experience -- "nausea, dizziness" and more unwelcome symptoms, plus "call your Doctor if you experience these".  Also, the description said if no complications I would just have to ride along with them 'til they were out of my system.  So, I settled back, to await my fate.

Fortunately, many hours passed without my having any of those side effects indicating I had not taken two pills as I had been concerned I might have done.  I've never had this kind of pill quandary previously and I don't want it again.  Another time, maybe I should make a little note on my calendar when I take that pill. 

I wonder if others ever find themselves in a dilemma over whether or not they took a pill they wouldn't want to overdose on? 


Sunday, May 16, 2021

REDHEADS AT RISK FOR DISCRIMINATION ?

All the senseless deadly discriminatory violence that is occurring across our country has reminded me of historical accounts revealing the many different groups singled out for rejection at one time or another.   

Discriminatory stories prevail about the Native American Indians, Chinese, Irish, Italians, Hawaiians, Japanese, Negroes/African-Americans/Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Mexican, various religious groups, and many others.   Discrimination occurs from some on the basis of how others speech sounds, or other differences considered to be outside the so-called prevailing range of what they consider "normal", or acceptable, though we're all human beings.

Could it ever happen here?  For example, could discrimination occur based on even hair color?  Could redheads ever be discriminated against as a group?  Surely not!

But ... given so many of our fellow country-persons continuing to believe our former President's lies, his new ones, including conspiracy theories, the most despicable discriminatory words and behaviors with individuals being physically attacked have been more openly expressed.  There are those who believe that it's okay to treat some people as "less than," because they are different  from them in some respect -- by skin color, other physical body differences.

Perhaps redheads and some other groups, including religious, political, social, to which some of us belong shouldn't be so confident we'll never be discriminated against.  As for redheads, it's not as though those with red hair have never experienced discrimination before.  

A recent prime example of discrimination is a woman in India with natural red hair I recently discovered when researching whether or not there were no redheads in India as a Google search statement reported.  I thought, considering India was under the rule of Great Britain for so many years with many English persons and some other nationalities living there that possibly there might have been some genes mixing.

During my process of verifying the facts, I found this story written in 2017 with photos of a lovely young woman and her parents where you can see this, apparently, rare redhead in India.  She was thought to be diseased, her parents shunned because she looked different.  Perhaps there are other redheads in India hidden away for self-protection who simply have not been discovered.

Redheads have been revered by some and reviled by others through the ages.  Given the current obsession and susceptibility some people have for believing conspiracy theories perhaps we redheads should be concerned we could be placed on the list in the future to join those being discriminated against in our own U.S. country. 

For what, could others discriminate against you?   Those who discriminate against others should be aware that all groups of people are at risk of being discriminated against if some others decide, for whatever their reasons, to single them out for rejection because of their looks, beliefs, behaviors, or simply for political reasons as happens in some countries.

We see journalists as one group that are systematically under discriminatory attack by some nations leaders trying to exert excessive message control -- as did our previous President in his discriminatory press treatment.  Think also of Saudi Arabia's Jamal Khashoggi's assassination.  Other leaders stifle similar dissidents by imprisoning them as in China, Russia, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Turkey, to name a few current ones, by censoring their nation's press.

Some physical appearance differences occur that are unnatural.   I had occasion to be in Quito, Ecuador in the 1950's for a visit with family.  All of us had natural red hair and drew much attention with many stares, especially from native Indians we happened to encounter when we walked about the downtown area.

The surrounding region was inhabited by Indigenous Tsachila (means "true people") also known as Colorados which means "the red-colored ones" whose men traditionally dyed their hair red with sap from the achiote tree as in this Science Source link to a photo of a boy and one also on that site of an adult man.  So, some cultures have found red hair, even if artificially colored, to not only be desirable but to signify honored exceptionality.  

Redheads reportedly are thought by some amid current senseless conspiracy theories to be the result of aliens breeding with humans, citing supporting evidence involving red-headed kings and queens as farfetched as this may seem to most of us.

Then, there is also the belief some have had that redheads become vampires when we die.  Long ago ashes of redheaded males burned alive are reported to have been used to fertilize fields.  Redheads were believed to have no souls.  All this and more with photos appear in brief accounts of 11 historical myths about redheads by clicking on this link.

Redheaded women were thought to be witches, have volatile tempers.  A recent blurb featured by Wisewebwoman on her blog:  "The Other Side of Sixty" gave me pause, seeming apropos here:  

"Who knows why we were taught to fear the witches, And not those who burned them alive?"

On the other hand, redheads have been said to bring good luck.  When all is said and done, I don't think we have any special powers simply because of the color of our hair.  

Red hair (or ginger hair) is present in people all over the world though we're considered to be only less than 1-2% of the population.  Scotland and Ireland have the most frequency of redheads. 

A number of years ago redheads were reported to be becoming extinct but this study was subsequently refuted when Proctor and Gamble was disclosed to have sponsored the research in relation to selling their hair dying products as noted in a Smithsonian article, "Requiem for the Redhead" available with a direct search using this title.

A Geneticist reports redheaded people and even those with blue eyes will decrease significantly in number to become more rare, but will not completely cease to exist though there may be some disagreement among geneticists on that matter.

Whatever our future holds I hope discriminatory words and actions cease.  How everyone talks everyday with loved ones, friends, and others -- beginning in the home with children, our grandchildren, nieces and nephews, strongly contributes to eliminating discrimination.  Communication demands civility, courtesy and respect to all -- those we know and those we don't.  There is no place for physical assaults.

Language, words and actions matter!  


Sunday, May 09, 2021

MOTHER'S SAYING -- AGEING ODDITY

Best wishes to mothers the world over with this repeat post, some current editing, I wrote here years ago.

My mother enjoyed language, words, and the double-play of meanings.  Prominent in my mother's time was Dorothy Parker who was quite adept with word humor as a later quote will attest.  Ms. Parker is described in Wikipedia as "an American poet, writer, critic and satirist based in New York; she was best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th century urban foibles".

Phrases, Sayings, Idioms, and Ageing

Lying in bed one recent night thoughts of the world's financial precariousness caused me to wonder why so many corporate, financial and government leaders fail to accept and implement problem solving solutions provided them in ways to benefit their country's population multitudes and not primarily just the 1-2% obscenely wealthy as in the U.S.

Somehow, I evolved into thinking about how we receive information for ourselves or that we provide others and yet do not often apply what is in their as well as our own best self-interest in a balanced approach benefiting all.

I thought of my mother's youth occurring during horse and buggy days, the changes and necessary adaptations wrought in her world.  Autos, planes were invented.  Women's right to vote the year she became age 21 and cast her first ballot were some of the highlights in her time.

What else came to my mind was typical of what I've often experienced since my mother's death years ago.  The older I become, the more I think of her with increasing understanding, identification with some of her aging experiences.  One of her favored sayings will pop into my mind as did this one:

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." 

My curiosity led me to this information from phrases.org.uk.  Interestingly, that Old English Homilie was recorded as early as 1175, the oldest English proverb that is still in regular use today.

"The proverb 'lead a horse to water' has been in continuous use since the 12th century.  John Heywood listed it in the influential glossary A Dialogue Conteinying the Nombr in Effect of all the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue:

'A man male well bring a horse to the water, But he can not make him drinke without he will.'

It also appeared in literature over the centuries in a variety of forms.  For example, in the play Narcissus, which was published in 1602, of unknown authorship, subtitled as A Twelfe Night merriment, played by youths of the parish at the College of Saint John the Baptist in Oxford:

Your parents have done what they coode, 

They can but bringe horse to the water brinke,

But horse may choose whether that horse will drinke.

It wasn't until the 20th century that 'lead a horse to water...' got a substantial rewrite, when Dorothy Parker reworked it from its proverbial form into the epigram 'you can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.'

I don't mean to offend the sensibilities of any reading this, but Parker has been considered to be quite a wit.

Noticing English wording and spelling in days of yore, I wonder how our language as we speak and write will evolve, perhaps looking antiquated to those encountering our current communications in future generations.

Aging observations Dorothy Parker is quoted as saying a few years before her death in an interview with Gloria Steinem with which my mother, I'm sure, and now I can agree.

"You know, the odd thing about being old is that you see something--something especially good or rotten or funny, and you think, 'Oh, I must show this to so-and-so, it's just his [or her] sort of thing.'  " She smiled, and walked slowly to the door.  "And what's odd--is there are so many gaps in the circle now--that so-and-so is gone."

 

Sunday, May 02, 2021

UNWRITTEN RULES -- LOW FLOW WATER

Have you noticed that household breakdowns, appliance malfunctions, even personal health problems for some unknown reason usually occur at the end of a week or on a weekend, challenging obtaining the service or care needed, or does that just happen to me?  What I recently experienced was no exception to this unwritten rule.

Perhaps I should forewarn you this topic focuses on bathroom issues in case any have sensitivities on such matters and want to skip reading further.  I figure there's little we can't talk about here though I suppose there still are some unpleasant, even taboo subjects.  

I encountered a serious household complication late one Thursday night, with a sudden stopped-up toilet.   I felt pretty lucky that the timing for service went well, even better than I expected, with no complications when the service people called first thing Friday in response to the recorded message I had left for them the night before.   The office person said the plumber was scheduled to come a couple hours later that morning.  Wonder of wonders the plumber called later that he was able to come an hour or so earlier than originally scheduled, "...to arrive in about twenty minutes, if that was convenient."   Convenient?  I was thrilled!

While awaiting repair service and during the time that service is being provided, I've found the logistics of timing when needing to use the bathroom can sometimes be tricky with that facility out of commission.  I don't recall this was ever a matter of as much concern when I was younger, or before this cursed pandemic, since going out somewhere to use other's facilities isn't as easy for me now -- and where to go?  Even that matter resolved without my having to leave the house.

The repairman arrived, ran his grinding rooter cable through the sewer line, discovered he had to further assess the problem which revealed a re-seal on some connections below the floor to the present commode would be needed.   Considering that cost, I determined I would be wiser to invest in a new environmentally sensitive low flow water commode, plus I could obtain that tall one I had long wanted that kept me from having to sit so low down.  Maybe I should have instead had that re-seal done, and purchased an elevated seat for the commode I had.  Too late now.   

Am I the only ageing person who finds standing up from a sitting position not as easy to do as it once was?  I was pleased with the prospect of getting this tall commode even more so when the service man checking his office learned he could pick up the unit and install for me that same day.  Could this be more perfect?

So, off he went for about an hour to pick up the new tall commode, leaving me with my now temporarily functioning old commode since he had previously cleaned out the line.  Even my body cooperated, and I was able to use the old commode as needed just before he returned.  An hour after his return I had my new tall functioning commode, one environmentally efficient with low flow water usage.

Fast forward to late Sunday night.  After multiple flushings since installation the preceding Friday, there was suddenly now trouble.  I had flushed the commode but did a double-take when the bowl didn't empty.  Fortunately, the strong force of minimal water that flows during flushing was limited so the bowl didn't fill up to overflow -- the bowl had just unacceptably not emptied.  I was afraid to flush it a second time lest the bowl fill up further with more water, then overflow.  I had to recognize that should an overflow occur I would be more than hard-pressed to try to clean the floor as I have always before been capable of doing, plus I have no one coming in to help me if needed.

A call from my plumber's office the next morning in response to the message I left the night before told me a serviceman would be available a few hours later.  Once he arrived his quick use of his hand-held device made my new commode operational within minutes.  He explained that California's new environmental water conservation commode requirements have resulted in less and less water being used for flushing purposes.  New housing constructions sewage lines and bathroom installations were designed to be more compatible, but all of us with older homes and sewage lines could have difficulties, he noted.  Wonderful!  Just what I needed to hear.

My other tall commode in the master bathroom hooked up to the same sewer system has been flushing just fine.  That unit met environmental conservation requirements in effect when it was installed, but during the ensuing years the commode water flushing amount has been reduced even more the repair man said.  Commode manufacturers keep having to redesign their product accordingly.

The serviceman explained in the future I might try flushing in the midst of using the commode for some functions, and then again when I finished.   So, this is the procedure I have adopted -- only I am concerned that flushing only once in the midst of use can sometimes not be enough.  I sometimes also flush one additional time after my final flush just to be sure the lines are as cleared as they can be.  I don't want to have to keep calling a plumber, though there was no charge for this last service.  Note: minimal amounts of toilet paper have always been used so that's not an issue.

I might add here that some time ago an ancient person I know (that means older than me), told me that in order to avoid having to call plumbers for her commode, an expense she couldn't afford, she had placed a box by her commode and a sign telling everyone to deposit all toilet paper in the box -- "Do not flush TP in commode".   At the time, I must confess to thinking to myself this must be an eccentricity and surely the odds of her frequently needing a plumber were slim.  It never occurred to me at the time as it does now, to ask if she had a new environmentally conservative low flow commode, but now I wonder if maybe she does.  The next time we talk, I'll ask her.

I do have to wonder with extra flushing needed, when before it was usually just once, are we ultimately going to be using the same amount of water as before, or maybe even more?   I'm trying to be as environmentally sensitive by preserving resources as much as possible, but some adjustments such as this leave me wondering how well-researched they all are.   Maybe we need to install old-fashioned outhouses in our backyards.

I wonder when I have guests who need to use my bathroom, if I may need to educate them about how to use my commode?  I must formulate the dialogue:   "Hi, welcome to my home!  By the way, if you need to use my bathroom, depending on what you have to do, we need to discuss the procedure you'll need to follow."

I don't want to wait until they've been here a while, then suddenly ask, "May I use your bathroom?"  They may not be able to wait for my instructions.  Or, maybe I need to post a sign for them to read.  I haven't yet composed the wording -- maybe something with humor?  I'm not real keen on the box for TP idea for several reasons.  Besides, there are landfill issues for trash, presenting more environmental issues.

Has anyone else encountered low flow water issues with commodes or other devices?

Oh, well!  This is the world in which we live today.  I'm sure I'll figure something out as I observe my water usage in the months ahead.

I should add, some consider California "the canary in the coal mine" predictive of what more U.S. areas and some in the rest of the world experience in water availability and conservation needs.  We've been told here in SoCal we're in a drought now with lakes and reservoirs way below normal though we're not at the severe level yet.    Reportedly, we have an ample amount of water for this year, but next year will be considerably less then, after that, what to expect?   Water rationing may well be in our not-too-distant future.  The last recorded drought here we're told lasted three decades, but now a major back up source, the Colorado River may no longer have as much water for our use  as once was available.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

HUMMINGBIRD DRAMA -- DANGEROUS LIVING

DANGEROUS LIVING

Remember those two cute little Allen's Hummingbirds in a nearby SoCal city I previously wrote about that hatched in a patio nest built on a string of Christmas tree lights?  During one of my occasional live streaming video visits I discovered their world has been more dangerous than I ever imagined as compared to those much larger Bald Eagles I've written about previously.

Here's a short video of Allen's Hummingbird from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles:

  

Streaming video site of the hummingbird nest I've been writing about here had dialogue reporting a Kestrel (member of the falcon family) had swooped in grabbing both hummingbird nestlings grown to fledgling size, almost ready to make their first flight -- expecting to fly independently, not to be carried up in the sky by a large raptor intent on a meal.   This predator Kestrel dropped one hummingbird nestling named Clover -- the other named Crimson likely did not survive.    

Here's a National Audubon Society Kestrel video.  I was surprised to learn they can hover in midair.

 

Alik of "Nature With Alik" who has been monitoring this nest was alerted to this kidnapping and luckily found one nestling, Clover, on the ground nearby.  He returned that nestling to the nest.   Reports were the nestling was traumatized, thought to be in shock for a time, apparently not visibly injured.  Fortunately, the mother, Emerald, eventually returned and Clover resumed feeding her one remaining nestling.  

A day later I visited again, coincidentally shortly before unexpectedly another hummingbird threateningly swooped in at Clover as I was watching.  Later, on the streaming video chat there was a report that the Kestrel had also returned and was observed to be spying from a distance on the nest containing Clover.  Also reported was an "aggressive female hummingbird ... with intent on harming Clover ... " had been harassing the nestling.  This led to the conclusion about Clover, "...this bird will not make it until tomorrow".

Alik is reported by Carole Turek at "Hummingbird Spot" to have been chasing away the aggressive female hummingbird and he reportedly planned to take Clover from her nest to the Ventura Hummingbird Rescue.  When ready to fledge Clover wold be released.

Unlike the Friends of Big Bear site of the Bald Eagles I wrote about here who simply observe whatever occurs naturally in nature without interference,  these Hummingbird folks apparently do involve themselves in some instances as with this nestling, thus altering nature.    Of course, the Eagles nest at the top of a tree in the mountains is hardly as easily accessible as that of this hummingbird's nest on a residential patio.  Also, I would think should two parental eagles decide they didn't want trespassers at their nest, given their size, dangerous-looking beak, the consequences for any visitor(s) could be more dangerous than the one tiny hummingbird mother might inflict who is the nestling's only caregiver, but I'm no bird expert.

I continued watching, expecting to see Clover removed from the nest, when suddenly the streaming video went black.  Soon, chat reported Clover had unexpectedly fledged when the effort was made to cover her with a small blanket in order to remove her from the nest.

Time passed, the video and chat remained inoperative with no report specifically describing what happened.  I was left to wonder then if the Kestrel had swooped down to capture Clover again as she fled ... and did she actually fly on what would have been her first flight, or did she fall out of the nest ... or did that other hummingbird attack her?  I visited a site where Carole reported Alik observed Clover had strongly flown to a tree and was thought to be safe where her mother, Emerald, could look after her.  

What an introduction to the world this newbie had!  Does give us thought to consider just how tough is our life?    

Hummingbird Spot (click on link), a web site sharing colorful photographs and videos started by Carole Turek, may be of special interest to hummingbird fans as her effort is to film all of the many varieties of these delicate-looking little birds all over the world, some quite unique in appearance beyond their flashy iridescent colors.  Of note, reportedly ......                                           

"Carole is photographing EVERY hummingbird species?!  180/363 are already done!"

(Permission I requested in the past to share a YouTube video of that local SoCal hummingbird nest here but never received a response.)

Emerald is reported to possibly be building another nest elsewhere in which to lay more eggs for a third successful clutch this season, but I don't know if a live cam will be streaming video of that new site, but I don't expect to follow it or others here.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

REDHEADS AGING -- NESTLINGS -- EARTH DAY

REDHEAD AGING NATURALLY UPDATE

Periodically as a redhead I have shared my philosophy here endorsing aging naturally.  This is only my experience and point of view that may not be shared by all redheads.  What aging naturally means to me is that I avoid most concoctions said to create an eternal youthful appearance, substances that temporarily disguise actual aging facial effects, cosmetic surgical procedures, most so-called beauty products, coloring my hair.  

Most specifically I've been especially interested in what naturally happens to my hair color as I age.  I have a curl my mother saved from a haircut when I was very young preschool age.  My naturally curly red hair was a very definite but light red color.  My hair became slightly but more intensely red as I grew older into my teens, twenties and thirties.  I was always quite proud of the golden red shade of my hair, a perspective that was repeatedly reinforced by the many compliments I received from others, sometimes perfect strangers.

Entering my fourth decade I again styled my hair in a short cut.  When cut off I did retain the pony tail of hair  I had grown the previous less-than-ten-years during the time after we moved.  During that time when I had stopped working I unexpectedly became pregnant.  My hair color had slightly darkened but unquestionably still would be seen as red by everyone.

My older brother had red hair, too, though neither of our parents did.   My father's hair may have had a reddish glint in certain light, but he would not have been considered a redhead.  I don't recall seeing any other redheaded relatives on either side of my family including grandparents.  Both of my brother's children had red hair as their mother also had sufficient red hair in her darker locks to be considered somewhat of a redhead.  This is interesting only as confirmation of what genetics has learned about who acquires red hair.

By the time I was in my thirties I was married with two children when the decade ended.  My red hair which had always quickly became oily requiring frequent shampooing became less so.  We had moved to a dry climate from one where humidity was more prevalent.  Also, I had birthed two children during those years with expected hormonal changes..  I've always wondered how much either or both of those factors contributed to my hair changes, or was this simply the aging process?

My blond-haired older husband had very little hair left when I met him years earlier, but he had a red beard when allowed to grow.  Our oldest child had red hair a different shade from my own.  The younger child was a blond who also grew a red beard when he became older.  My daughter's child is not a redhead since her father's dark hair color has dominated.  My son's son is what has been characterized as a strawberry blond much like his mother's hair color.

When my fourth decade ended my red hair had become darker and I noticed what I have described as a few silver threads among the gold.  These years for me had become distressful, harried ones with many life pressures.  I have speculated this contributed or maybe even caused what I considered to be why silver/grey hairs invaded my coiffure, but maybe that was just all part of the aging process, too.

The next decade or two my life stressors altered and some new ones emerged.  My red hair color continued to darken but also gained an increasing number of silver threads.  Eventually, I could no longer best describe my red hair as having silver threads among the gold.  Now, I described my red hair as having a few gold threads among the silver.

The darkened red of my hair began to take on a brown color during my seventh decade to a degree that most people no longer perceived me as being a redhead.  Some even expressed skeptical surprise when I told them I was a natural redhead.  The silver threads continued to appear in greater numbers as I also began losing more hair with every shampoo and brushing.  Quite possibly hormonal changes may have been an issue for the continuing hair loss but that has been an unresolved matter.

Now in my eighth decade as I've allowed my thinning hair to grow from my longtime shorter hair style ever since I retired from work at age 79,  the dominant silver threads are quite obviously white.  Six inches or so of the darkened brownish red hair exist only in the curls of my lock's ends.  I find less hair in my brush each time I use it and hope that my once very thick hair thins little more.  Never had I anticipated hair loss would become an issue for me given the thick locks I'd always had.

Reports of genetic studies explanations of how red hair develops in less than 2% of the world population appear to be confirmed by the development of red hair in my family, except I can't verify a history of red hair in either maternal or paternal grandparents.  There must have been some recessive genes there that didn't manifest themselves in those person's actual hair color, or maybe some had red hair when they were young and I never knew.

I'm always interested in what scientific studies reveal about redheads.  One such conclusion has centered on finding the level of pain tolerance higher for red heads.  I had thought my pain tolerance was high before I ever knew about the studies.   Should a redheaded woman ever need to have anesthesia, I think knowing redheads possible heightened pain tolerance is important for doctors to be aware of when considering the amount of medication to be administered.

Redheads have also been said to have volatile tempers.  I have never believed that for me and still don't based on my emotional life all these years.

Genetic studies also reportedly concluded redheads never get grey hair, that the hair only becomes white with aging.  My hair is becoming white now but my experience when my hair first began losing it red color did go through a grey-appearing transition before reaching this white state.  My hairdresser spoke of my having grey hairs during those early years.

I haven't attempted to describe all that is being learned genetically and otherwise about redheads but am always interested in new research findings.

HUMMINGBIRD NESTLINGS UPDATE

Those two baby hummingbirds mentioned in earlier posts continuing to grow at an amazing rate will likely fledge 'ere long.    Moderator on that site reports to watch for fledgling behavior beginning this coming week Tuesday the 20th.  

I've been intrigued by a couple matters I've observed on occasional visits via the live stream.   One, is noticing the rapid growth of the beak each day from barely present visually at hatching to increasing length, compared to what is needed to feed as an adult  The other surprising matter to me was that the hummingbird nest is stretchable.  I could actually see the nest being expanded as the mother and at other times the nestlings pressed against the sides enlarging the space as they became larger.  

EARTH DAY this week -- Thursday the 22nd !


Sunday, April 11, 2021

SO CAL -- PATIENCE -- VISITOR -- POST VIRUS

SO CAL DROUGHT & ENVIRONMENT

Our rainy season is past, and we didn't get enough of those moist drops from the sky to fill our reservoirs or snow to build deep packs for summer melting into mountain streams and rivers.   Californians are being told we are definitely in a drought.   Forest fires may well be an exceptional risk.  There reportedly is sufficient water to meet our needs through the coming year and the next one despite the low reservoir levels.  I wonder if any special water conservation measures will become necessary?

I've not incurred the expense of converting my yard to desert landscaping, especially after having to repair a corner of my concrete block back wall's separation caused by pressures from my neighbor's leaning wall.  Our city regulator's inspected and allowed me to separate his wall from mine so I won't encounter this issue in the future.

Meanwhile, I just received notice that our trash/recycle/sewer/street sweeping rates are increasing 12%.  We're told other cities across the country will be having to increase their rates, too, at least by 10%.  Eventually we may have to sort our trash for separate disposal of food waste which will be composted.  This is all an effort to compensate for dwindling land-fill sites and control where the majority of man-made methane gas is emitted which contributes to smog.  We have 3 bins now for weekly pickup -- trash, recycle (paper, cardboard boxes), greenery for compost.

PATIENCE ... Patience ... patience !

These are the words I said so many times to so many of my different patients when I provided all sorts of communication rehabilitation in speech-language-hearing-voicing-cogniltive and swallowing due to a variety of causes.   Patience -- a word easier said then practiced as I focus now on doing what I preach.

I'm finally reconciled to the fact my physical activity has slowed a bit from what I hoped might never occur, or expected at the very least not until I was older than my present eighth decade.  I may engage in physical therapy again, but my once-expected gains are being limited.  I ponder if surgery is warranted with benefits outweighing potential deficits.

Pain with movement experienced the past several years has significantly lessened but is not eliminated.  I recently read a report that redheads have a high tolerance level for pain.    I can attest to the truth of that for me, surprising even some medical people I've encountered.  

It does get tiresome having to spend more time than I had been accustomed to, just doing ordinary activities.  Also annoying are limitations even engaging in some activities.  I've been trying to wait out the pandemic before seeking some much-needed assistance here.

UNEXPECTED VISITOR

California's Western Scrub-Jay looks somewhat like a Blue Jay, "are bigger and longer than bluebirds"; have lots of "attitude" as described at Audubon.org.  in an article with photos by Garrison Frost, "Ten Birds Every Californian Should Know".  This handsome blue bird with a splotch of reddish-brown feathers has been flitting between the large leaves through the lower levels of my Bird of Paradise just outside my living room window that looks out onto my back yard.  This is the first time since we've lived here that I've observed this particular bird species in my yard visiting every afternoon for several days this past week though it's described to be common here.

The other day the Scrub-Jay finally came to the window, apparently attracted these several days by the perpetual motion of mini-solar powered figures sitting on the inside windowsill.  One realistic-looking figure appears to be a large bee hovering with rapid wing movement over colorful flowers.  Touching the window glass gently with his beak, the blue bird soon discovered penetration was restricted, keeping him from reaching that fake insect.

Apparently not completely discouraged, the Scrub-Jay then hopped further down the window out of my sight.  I soon heard pecking sounds which was obviously the bird determined to find a way inside to get to that tasty-looking bug.  Scrub-Jay quickly discerned entry was a futile effort there, too, and flew away.  Fortunately, my window is dirty enough the bird hadn't mistakenly flown into it, unlike a small bird I noticed one year repeatedly butting against a then clearer window.   I miss seeing Scrub-Jay and wonder if he will return another day but hasn't so far.

POST PANDEMIC

Now that -- presumably, going out in the world is safer for those of us who have our vaccinations, if we've waited the two weeks following the injections(s) for antibodies to fully develop in our system -- I don't feel any real drive to do so.   We have yet to see the full effect of variants.  I haven't set foot in a store or restaurant for over a year.  I've grown accustomed to ordering more items online and having other deliveries.

I rather like making pick-ups at grocery stores, other businesses, various restaurants and drive-thrus.  I hope some of these services continue after the pandemic is in our past -- assuming it will be eventually.  Perhaps I will evolve into using more of a mix of such conveniences than I've used in the past.  I wonder if others may alter their future shopping routines, too, from past patterns before this pandemic?