Sunday, October 21, 2018



Do you have your U.S. I.D. card yet?   You know, the one enabling you to board any of our airlines that will be required in 2020 – unless you want to carry your Passport.  I don’t know the situation in your State, but in So Cal I’m hearing that the closer we come to that effective year the busier our Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) expects to be – that they are anticipating a last minute rush.  I don’t want to think about having to seek the I.D. card anytime during these next two years so am getting mine now.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned our DMV encountered nightmarishly long lines and waits from applicants already.  So, when my ordinary driver’s license needed to be renewed after five years I tried to make an appointment as recommended to avoid several hours waiting time. Lo and behold the earliest date I could get was a month after my driving license expired.

Concerned about the legality of my interim driving, I phoned the DMV office and had to hold over an hour in order to speak with someone.   The response avoided that legality point with the friendly agent’s suggestion a friend’s experience in one of my area offices on a Saturday morning had been that they weren’t busy at all – speculating people thought they’d be crowded so maybe they didn’t go there. 

As my driving license expiration date has been drawing closer, I finally decided to risk any lines and plan for long waiting hours.   Having had a bit of abdominal upset I was concerned about possible recurrence while on this task.  Arriving an hour before opening I encountered a long line already around the building’s corner.  A young woman reluctantly agreed to mark my place ahead of her in line so I could sit down since standing for an hour strains my endurance, especially if I’m not feeling at peak level.  I noted an older man in line perched on a sturdy three-legged cane-stool and made a mental note that perhaps I should obtain one for the future. 

I did have a cane I’ve carried since earlier this year as have been negligent starting an exercise regimen to boost my oomph.  A half-hour before opening DMV officers circulated outside and started a line for those with appointments and the disabled where they put me. A middle-aged woman with an appointment who was heading that line readily agreed to mark my place for me so I could sit down, then signaled to me later when the office opened.   
The whole process was shortened and very efficient, especially since I had completed my application on the internet days before.   I experienced a modicum of waiting, but could sit intermittently as I was called sequentially to four different windows – checking in, making further registration and payment before I was stymied with having one unaccepted document of the three required to obtain the I.D. card.   I was processed for my more limited regular renewal of my expiring driving license, passed my eye test, had my photo taken,  provided my thumb print several times, then moved on to the computer touch screen written test.  

Someone waiting in the test line thoughtfully told me I should go directly to the desk, which I did and was immediately directed to a soft cushioned seat to await availability of one of the touch screen computers with seating.  A staff person almost immediately came to confirm I was okay, then assure me I would be next to take the computerized driving test.

While waiting I observed the rest rooms conveniently located nearby, comfortingly in case I needed them.   (I don’t mean this as more information than you might wish to know, but in keeping with discussing aging as it is -- a matter of fact acknowledgement is that sometimes, especially when we get older, use of special insurance pads can be wise accessories in some situations.  Men and women have finally been able to readily purchase these potential little leakage protectors -- just in case ready access isn’t available to needed facilities as when traveling, or access is unknown.  We don’t have to feel shamed because of leaky valve weaknesses but might want to discuss with our doctor.)

Waiting to take my computer driving test I noticed some users seem to be quite unfamiliar with computers so were quite slow operating them.  The busy supervising assistant was constantly moving these novices along from screen page to page while darting off to keep the main waiting line rotating.    Finally taking my turn I passed my driving test as was confirmed with receipt of official temporary documents at the last DMV window.    I was told if I returned within 30 days with the additional different required document that they would issue me the I.D. card at no additional cost as had been my original quest.  
In all my wisdom, I thought promptness would be best, so after gathering the document from last year’s income tax form (to display my Social Security number in a manner they accepted), the next morning I returned to the DMV office.   This time I intentionally didn't arrive until about two hours after they opened.  I had noticed the previous day that by the time I left there was no line outside so correctly gambled that could be true other days, too.  

Unfortunately, on this next day visit after a short line wait to check in, then another brief wait, just as I thought I was on the home stretch, I was told since the regular driving license was in process that they could not issue the I.D. card.  I would have to wait until I received the limiting renewed driver's license in a week or two and come down again.   I was not pleased and could only wish they had told me this the previous day since these activities require more effort than when I was younger, so I do try to minimize my trips plus plan ahead.   I look forward to completing the final stage of this process and hope this new I.D. card’s duration is for many years. 

* * *

Our California DMV system is simultaneously registering all people to vote as they initiate issuing these new I.D. cards.   Only a week or so ago, in addition to horrendously long lines, they discovered thousands of people had been erroneously registered to vote who were not entitled to do so.  I don’t recall the specifics of all that situation, but reportedly the error has been corrected.

That initial rush for I.D. cards, the hullabaloo, subsequent hue and cry over all the waiting lines, has resulted in the DMV being subjected to loud criticism all over the news, and by politicians.  I have decided, at least presently, the nightmare lines, bollixed-up operations must have been resolved and I’ve benefited.

However, if people around the U.S. (I don’t know about other countries, or if they have the I.D., too, in order to fly our airlines) are wise, within these next two years, not only with our critical U.S.  national election coming up in 2020, they will apply for the new I.D. card early. Check your State to determine what is happening for you to acquire your I.D. card, and any voting registration if you have questions.

In California residents will have the updated or new voter registration via DMV driver’s license registration completed long before our new earlier Presidential Primary Election date in March 2020, but it is important to be registered to vote then, and vote in November 2020.  More immediately we’re focusing on the upcoming 2018 election in a couple weeks. 

* * *
Driving always presents us with the challenge to consider whether or not we are at our best for safe driving our vehicle ... in whatever our condition ... whatever the condition of our vehicle ... whatever the weather conditions ... whatever our age ... from the time we receive our driver’s permit ... then our license ... ever after.

The latest International Road Safety Commission’s 2016 report of 31 countries reveals only one other country has more road accidents than the United States per 100,000 population on a graph in the above link.   

We would be wise to consider driving statistics – in the U.S. older adults are ranked second in number, only less than teenagers for being in the most automobile accidents.

This gives thought to thinking about when we might need to consider retiring from driving as I was reminded when reading the recent 10/19/18 conversation at "Nick Here and Now" 
in Ireland.

I think when to turn in my keys is a highly individual determination since we all age differently.  Some of us might best retire from driving earlier than others for a variety of issues that could be associated with our physical, medical, or mental condition we need to honestly and realistically consider.  Others may have to counsel with us as to what is best for our own safety and that of others, especially if we’re not always thinking clearly which can be challenging for all involved. 

Driving license renewal requirements vary from State to State though similar basics apply.

* * *

We’ve been given an official explanation for the disappearance of newsman Jamal Khashoggi by his Arab nation from their Consulate in Turkey.  He lived in the United States and wrote for The Washington Post newspaper.  What facts are really known about his now-admitted death? 

I am grieved ... beyond being appalled ... with the events surrounding the disappearance of this newsman ... disgusted with .....

 ... how our nation’s leaders have responded or not reacted since this story was first revealed

 ... how our humanity or lack of is portrayed

 ... how this nation’s values, morals, ethics are represented.

Then there is that all important question posed by one of our nation’s leader’s religious base supporters in light of $$$ and Arab’s arms sales:

Some might ask:   What would Jesus say?       

* * *

Coincidentally, Nick's comment introduced in my previous post the topic of uncontrollable laughter occurring in some people he’s encountered.  I said I would describe one of my rare experiences with someone exhibiting that behavior – Emotional Lability – a neurological issue that can occur due to numerous causes.

My only encounter with emotional lability was with a 40+ aged highly intelligent lady.  She had multiple medical problems including a shunt in her brain, necessary to drain excess accumulating fluids to lower brain pressure.  Her speech had been affected resulting in slow productions since she couldn’t move her articulators – tongue, lips, jaws, other, effectively  enough to produce quick sharp speech (a condition called dysarthria). 

Often individuals with a dysarthric speech pattern are erroneously assumed by others to be of lower level intelligence, then treated accordingly.  She was no exception, requiring constant education for everyone with whom she came in contact.  Often what she said might be ignored or she was unable to complete her message due to her slow speech, especially if staff just stuck their head in the room for a quick word or two.

I had to intervene occasionally while we were working on her speech when she made an unintentional speech error of a humorous nature.  She would see the humor in this and begin laughing, but then couldn’t readily stop.  When this laughter, or rare crying, emerged we focused on her using techniques to cue herself with a visual prompt to consciously stop her behavior.   

She spoke of fascinating life experiences, including having been in China for one such period of time, long before the country had established official diplomatic relations with the United States.  Her family, young adult children, seemed to be mostly estranged for whatever the reasons, possibly partly due to her permanent eventually worsening physical condition.

Unable to do much for herself, primarily confined to her bed, she was able to mostly maintain a positive attitude, had a sharp high level sense of humor when those getting to know her and interacting with her engaged so.  During all the time I worked with her and afterward I continued to educate frequent staff changes about her at every opportunity of which I became aware.

Eventually, I accepted a professional position elsewhere, then long afterward had occasion to return for a short time.  I learned after she had spent many years at this large facility where she was familiar she had been abruptly discharged to a new different place.  I never knew where she went or any other particulars, but she is another person whose subsequent quality of life I’ve sometimes wondered about.    

A Driver's I.D. Card, continuing issues swirling around how our nation's officials, especially our leader-in-chief, represent each of us in the world, and some complications that can occur in the human experience may offer a topic of interest to you, too.   

Sunday, October 14, 2018


What brings happiness can be experienced differently by each of us.   After many dry months I was pleased last evening to hear a rumble I determined actually was thunder.   The sound moved north to south over my house, then faded away.  Where was the rain, I wondered?   Is that all there is?    

Peggy Lee – Is That All There Is -- 1969

A short time later I heard another band of thunder gradually moving overhead preceded by brief lightning flashes.   This time I began to finally hear the sound of welcome rain.  I was happy.

Language translation I wrote about in my most recent previous posts brought to my mind another intriguing variation on the topic.  

I recall an alert 100 year-old woman a physician asked me to see in a long term care rehabilitation facility.   She presented my first work encounter with the French language other than my long ago college studies, but I’d had no conversational practice during the ensuing years.    This lady had lived in the U.S. most of her life speaking English, no French, her daughter said, but her birth language had been French. 

This agile petite lady had recently had a slight stroke from which she was thought to have mostly recovered.  Surprisingly to all, they discovered that she had begun speaking French which no one could understand.  She spoke to staff in French frequently, or seemed to be using a combination of English and French sounding words.  Later we learned, as with her infrequent English productions, even her French was lacking in grammar and meaning.   Staff and her family were having great difficulty in understanding her so they could fulfill her functional daily living needs and wants. 

I knew universal medical histories documented some individuals after stroke have reverted to a birth language though they might not have used it since early childhood or during their adult life.   I was asked to see if she could resume English speaking as she had before her stroke.

In addition to her impaired French, she had other cognitive complications and hearing loss issues I was able to determine.   The stroke had left her with short term memory problems, so what skills she might learn in the moment, to use English, was not retained, unfortunately.   Introduction of all techniques including pictures, gestures became a focus, too.   

Anything further that could be done to facilitate her better communication in a trial intervention was soon completed as meaningful progress could no longer justify continuing therapy.    Gains, if any, would be long term requiring 24/7 consistent reinforcement by all with whom she had contact.  

Staff, family, friends would need to use a combination of total communication techniques, reinforcing speech with English as a constant, but French words could be used if most helpful should staff and family acquire a few, too.   She made no later significant communication gains or changes in her use of English as far as I ever knew.   Inability to achieve a significant positive change in someone's life is always disappointing.  

Unusual behaviors can occur as a consequence of neurological brain functions.  This can be due to variations in neural connections, chemical imbalances, tumors, other effects and causes.   Our whole being is complicated but fascinating.   From the time I held a human brain in my hands and began to learn about that most important part of our body I have been mesmerized, but also very aware of my knowledge shortcoming.  

What I soon realized is that the more we know about our brain’s function, the more we learn about how little we know.   The scientists who study the brain are acutely aware of this fact.  As much as we are all the same, we are also very different -- a reason to be compassionate, tolerant and try to understand one another.  

A neurologist author has written numerous books in very readable language about many real individuals whose brains had a slight variation from what is often considered normal.   I highly recommend Oliver Sacks books if you are unfamiliar with his writings.   His entertaining writing makes fascinating reading though we're deprived of more clinical tales since he died in 2015.   

His most well-known book became the movie “Awakenings” about some most unusual real people with Parkinsonian type behaviors.   His other books are equally fascinating.  

Some of their intriguing titles are “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales”, “The Island of the Colorblind”, “A Leg to Stand On”, “Seeing Voices” to name a few. 

Have you encountered unusual behaviors in others you know, or changes in them that you didn’t understand?  Perhaps we should use caution concluding too quickly the reasons why people act as they do sometimes.  Differences or changes are much more readily accepted and understood if they are visible than if hidden from our sight in the brain whenever they're acquired, or if present from birth. 

Did you ever wonder if maybe ... just maybe ... the person you thought was behaving strangely had changes in their brain over which they had no control, altering their behavior from what typically had been thought of as their normal?    

Sunday, October 07, 2018


Updating my earlier posts reports HERE about California enacting network neutrality rules to ensure equal internet access, our Governor Brown has signed the bill.  Immediately afterward the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit in an effort to stop the bill which you can read about HERE.   

California experienced the dangerous effects of not having the protections of network neutrality during a major fire this year, so once again this President and his political party betray the best interests of ordinary people – could even threaten our safety and security.

We live in increasingly troubling times for preservation of our individual rights as guaranteed by our democratic form of government’s constitution.   Once more our current government majority leaders have betrayed their responsibility to the American people.  

The serious matter of a lifetime appointment to our Supreme Court for any individual should warrant a thorough vetting and investigation when viable allegations are made questioning a nominee’s testimony before an official committee.   An adequate time period to search for the truth in this recent instance with nominee Kavanaugh was denied which our President could and should have prevented.  Even the Senate Committee should have specified this reasonable requirement.

The President’s failure to act in the interest of insuring our Supreme Court Justices are free of political bias, not to mention questions of mendacity related to their personal behavior, reveals his continued systematic undermining of the credibility of the other branches of our government in favor of Executive Branch excessive control.   

Most Congressional members of the political party which he represents collude with him which serves to perpetuate divisiveness rather than unification of the American people.   Foreign nations with dictator regimes, such as Russia, China and North Korean, increasingly Poland, Turkey, must welcome such democracy weakening actions as our President becomes more autocratic – like them.    

Relating my language translation experiences in my previous post prompted more recollections. 

Years ago when serving one local hospital we could access by phone a translator for a three way process – therapist, translator, patient.   I tried it but this was of limited value and could not be used effectively for services my profession provided in most regular intervention processes.   I determined coordination with a family member to be present for translation assistance was best.  

Sometimes if staff members who spoke the needed language were available they could assist, but they did so voluntarily in the moment as they were still responsible for their regular work assignment.  Total communication using speech, all non-verbal means including gesture, printed words, pictures were used – whatever helped.  

During some of my hospital years I encountered a variety of languages, the more common, Spanish, German, including some of the less common European, Asian, Arabic, Iranian and additional languages.   I thought of how I might feel being ill in a country where people did not speak my language, might not have anyone traveling with me and what would help me cope.

Some years I served a number of skilled level facilities providing rehabilitation services.    I recall my first ever encounter with a Spanish speaker and the only words that came to my mind as I walked down the hall toward her room were that song “Be’same Mucho”.  English translation is “Kiss me, now.”   There was no time for advance planning as I had just been told I needed to see her.  

In a well-intentioned effort to comfort this lovely grandmotherly type lady in her own language, since she had been surrounded by only English speakers, I managed to offer a brief Spanish greeting, smile and then talk-sang the song title words.   She gave me the strangest apprehensive look.   She hesitantly cooperated for an oral motor functional examination with my using gesture and eliciting imitation.  

Her bilingual daughter eventually arrived to translate allowing me to explain my earlier behavior.   Ever after what limited contact was needed this dear grandmotherly lady and I exchanged lots of laughs over this “loco Gringo’s” behavior. 

Have you ever had complications, humorous or otherwise, trying to understand or communicate to someone whose language was different than your own?    

Sunday, September 30, 2018



Life in our small Southern California town has made big city Los Angeles TV news which occurs  only occasionally.   Seems some young gals swimming in their pool Saturday heard a voice screaming for help.   Trying to pinpoint if this was a genuine call and from what location on their usual quiet cul de sac, they responded.   A young man hollered back he was in desperate need of water -- that he was stuck in a chimney, had been all day since 3 A.M., and also needed assistance getting out.  

Police and Fire Department authorities were called who after several hours of effort extricated the young man covered in soot from a chimney down the hill from the girls’ house.   His explanation for being stranded in the chimney of a home whose owners were away was that he was looking for his drone.  Following hospital treatment for dehydration he was arrested on a charge of burglary and transported to jail.   


This past week’s events with testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearing cannot be ignored.   The hearing could have been avoided, the nominee spared his meltdown in front of a national television viewing audience and a woman spared possible further emotional trauma also.  

All this Administration and majority political party leaders had been required to do was follow logical procedures – order further FBI investigation when accusations reached a level of credibility raising significant questions about the Supreme Court Nominee’s behavioral history.    There is no excuse for this not to have been done, is insulting to women that it was not done and was a disservice to the Nominee.  

The fact the FBI investigation has now been ordered but could be limited by this President and must be completed in a week reflects more about political considerations than a search for truth.    

The responsibility for the politicization of this process is completely that of those who chose politics over seeking justice – the choice of this President and the Republican Party.   Their accusations blaming others defy common sense facts for justice seekers.   Also, false assaults on Senator Feinstein for respecting the ethical and moral responsibilities of confidentiality reveals just how crass her accusers have become. 

This President and his political party leaders are an embarrassment to what was once a proud grand old party that more and more faithful followers, including friend(s) of mine have increasingly recognized -- this is one more assault and betrayal as they say -- they hadn't left their Party, until recently, and even more now, but say “...the Party left me.”   

(FWIW I will state again that I am not affiliated with any political party, am an undeclared voter.)


New neighbors have been moving to our street this past year.  This has been another real estate market we’ve seen here before when elevated home prices entice owners to sell and buyers are aplenty.   Typically, such a period has been followed by a slow down with home values dropping slightly for a number of years before the up and down pricing process resumes again.

So it is, that in the ten or so homeowners on our southwest street section our immediate neighborhood has become even more diverse.   I don’t know any of the people living further up our street as my friends there including an African-American couple have long since moved away, died, or both.    Our little corner has all ages, widows, widower, young college agers, long term traditional families, same-sex housemates, hetero couples.  We have European-American, Mexican-American, Indian-American (India) homeowners, and a couple renters -- the latter, interestingly, seem to be more reclusive.      


A Chinese-American couple moved in down the street a year ago.  I recently learned their first child will be born in a few months.  Now a non-English speaking Chinese couple have moved next door this summer.   I don’t speak, read or write Chinese so I decided to experiment with Google’s instant translation site.   I don’t know what dialect it is but hoped that my new neighbors would understand.

I printed a page, front and back, of mostly simple sentences (both English and Chinese) introducing myself, offering the usual neighborly welcoming gestures.   When I went to their door, handed her my greeting, I was pleased to see the lady of the house, nodding her head in affirmative recognition of the translation’s Chinese symbols. 

She offered a fairly common English first name which started with an initial letter whose sound she struggled to produce.   Though her tongue had been unable to position itself to clearly articulate an /l/ sound, her smile and affirmative nod confirmed I had interpreted her name production correctly. 

My later research revealed that phoneme consonant sound is among those most difficult for Chinese speakers to produce.  We weren’t able to speak long, but if they choose to have further contact I did refer them to the Google site I used. 

I expect now there are likely some audio sites I haven’t explored yet that give instant translation. 

Have you had foreign-to-you language experiences and/or translation devices or websites you’ve used to aid communication?

Sunday, September 23, 2018


CALIFORNIA'S NETWORK NEUTRALITY  PRESERVATION EFFORTS continue under assault by this current administration’s FCC hatchet man, Ajit Pai.   Our state’s legislature’s bill as I described in previous posts now awaits Gov. Brown’s signature.   

“...Ajit Pai might be doing fundraisers for organizations that have a vested interest in watching him wield the federal weight of the FCC against California's actually-legal state net neutrality laws...”  Where's the political support for state's rights here?

Our state found out what can happen with “throttling” during one of our worst forest fires ever.  If you think your state’s rights, and other issues, are unaffected you may be mistaken.  I strongly  urge that you read this article HERE:

(Also of note,  this article,  though four years old, may have information bearing on current and future activities of import to be aware of)

“...Facebook sponsors a US state policy clearinghouse for turning conservative ideas (like "faith-based healthcare") into state laws.”

“A Guardian investigation concluded that State Policy Network is a "nexus of funding arrangements behind radical right-wing campaigns" with "members in each of the 50 states." As in, the Maine Heritage Policy Center.”  


I am so angry with the failure of government leaders to respectfully give the accuser, Ms Ford, of the current U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Mr. Kavanaugh, the benefit of open-minded consideration she is speaking her truth that I can hardly restrain myself from making the most vile wishes for unwanted acts to happen to each of those leaders.   I won’t distract from her issues by describing how I know the attacks and arguments the deniers utter condemning her for not having come forward sooner, or condemning others choice to respect her initial wish for confidentiality are totally without credibility, but they are – at least for anyone with any understanding and normal intelligence!

This President’s comments are disgusting but that’s to be expected from him most of the time, especially given his own documented attitudes and behaviors toward females he regards as sexual prey to be groped at will.

I have sympathy for the accused and have no difficulty believing that SC nominee may believe this alleged event never occurred, but let’s allow the FBI to investigate and establish that and other facts. I think it's a legal investigative travesty to not be done.   If the event did occur, multiple explanations could account for his failure to recall this alleged occurrence, none the least of which is the degree of significance some males place on their behaviors toward women compared to how some females may perceive it -- inebriation complicates the matter for all but is never an excuse.  (assuming no one has unknowingly been given a mind-altering substance.)


(YouTube video--not my cricket) 

Serious issues here – am going buggy!   A year or so ago, occasionally, I heard a cricket sound.  Determining the source was inside the house, not outside, I have concluded that during the time I was having a door to my covered patio reversed and rehung, one, or more crickets must have gotten inside.  The fact their presence continues indicates reproduction since their life span is only about 3 months. 

When I first heard the singular cricket sound (and I’ve never heard more than one cricket's plaintive cry with no response forthcoming) I thought I must be mistaken.  Complicating matters some public service TV announcement (PSA) features a cricket sound to attract attention -- it took me months to figure out that source.  By that time I had strategically placed sticky surfaced traps, advertised as attracting crickets, along the wall baseboard from whence the sound had originated.  These traps have been worthless as no cricket, or any other creature has become stuck on them.

For many months the only cricket sound I’ve heard has occurred when that PSA has aired, but I’ve left the traps in place – just in case.  Then, this week, as I sat across the room from where the cricket sound has previously emanated those months ago, I glanced down on my pant leg and there, briefly, sat a brownish-colored cricket – then quickly disappeared.  Research suggests to me this is the field variety rather than a house cricket which would correlate with how it entered into my house in the first place from outdoors.  As if I didn’t already have enough on my mind, I now have to figure out how to capture this wildlife threat. 

Any suggestions – hiring a professional debugger for a cricket seems quite out of proportion here?
Comments on other topics mentioned here welcome, also, if the spirit, or other, moves you.