Sunday, October 14, 2018

HAPPINESS IS RAIN -- DUAL LANGUAGES -- UNUSUAL BEHAVIORS


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

NETWORK NEUTRALITY -- DISTRESS -- LANGUAGE

NET NEUTRALITY
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.


DISTRESS
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.    

LANGUAGE    
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

EXCUSES -- TRAVESTY -- DIVERSITY -- TRANSLATION

EXCUSES


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.   


TRAVESTY


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.)


DIVERSITY


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.      


TRANSLATION


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

CALIF. STATE'S RIGHTS -- GOVT. INSULTS -- BUG TAUNTS


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.”  

GOVT.  INSULTS

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.)


BUGGY TAUNT


(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. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

POTPOURRI -- SPACE TO EARTH

A potpourri of topics from space to earth have my attention .....

Get your tickets!

Who will be the first passenger on Luknar BFR Mission? 

Find out by clicking HERE ..... revealed  Monday, Sept. 17, 2018 at 6 P.M.

* * *
(Unfortunately, I just discovered the Diana Krall video I had up here until 9/18, which is still on YouTube, has been withdrawn for play here. )  

Here's Julie London singing "Fly Me To The Moon"






* * *
On earth in the U.S. -– we’re all painfully aware of the devastating effects of Hurricane Florence – destruction, flooding and tragically, deaths.   Tropical Storm level continues to wreck havoc.

Our governments post-storm response must offer more meaningful support and compassion than that given to Puerto Rico last year.  

If the rest of us are ever similarly in need, what will be the concrete efforts our erstwhile leader will see are put forth at the federal level to assist us – or will we just hear a lot of rhetoric and falsehoods, much as he persists in extolling even today on matters, despite facts to the contrary?

Why don’t the current dominating Congressional legislators in the majority -- if they truly care about their constituents -- resist their governing leader – who fails to act and behave like a responsible leader?  Do they share his values, unethical behaviors and lack of morality?

* * *
In California -- Gov. Brown is promoting our state “...as a global leader in combating climate change.”  He recently signed “...16 new environmental laws aimed at easing global warming.”

“The bills he signed into law aim to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles and charging stations and reduce the number of heavily polluting cars and trucks.

The effort is key to California’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions because pollution from vehicles has risen even as emissions from other sources drop.”

We’ve experienced improvement in our inland air quality compared to when we moved here over forty years ago thanks to environmental protection efforts made. 

We really need to do more to reduce the extraction of fossil fuels including resistance to offshore drilling. 

Support to protect the environment is lacking from this current federal administration and, in fact, their philosophy undermines our efforts regardless of States’ rights.     

* * *
Caring about the security of the American people in terms of our health has been a pretty low priority by our leader, if not virtually non-existent at the federal level currently.  That seems to be the case where women are concerned -- years ago our administration with legislators gave us Clarence Thomas as a Judge on the Supreme Court.  Now they’re rushing to get nominee Brett Kavanaugh appointed whose attitude toward women's rights is highly questionable.

* * *
Locally -- an update on our first “Thriving in Place” group meeting -- 18 present, began by getting acquainted, establishing some pretty standard “rules of the road” -- including that everyone has an opportunity to civilly speak.  Humor will be an important element.  As my previous post explains, our group will be exploring: Thriving in the process of living as we age.

Exploring the different living choices for our older years will be the focus of our next month’s meeting – traditional settings and some of the more unusual, rare and unique ones.  Ultimately, reality will prevail with choice determined by financial considerations, issues associated with family and friends relationships, and where we can feel contented and reasonably happy.

* * *.
Would you like to take a trip around the moon, or take any flights into space?

Sunday, September 09, 2018

AGING LIVING BEST IF "THRIVING IN PLACE"



Earlier I wrote HERE about my interest in the concept of living in place in which I’m engaged.

I’ve had a related idea I decided to pursue that attracted the interest of others to whom I presented my thoughts earlier this year.    Subsequently, I mentioned here I would be sharing further information on the matter in the future. 

Meanwhile, some of the questions and thoughts I considered follow, that I think many of us have had or will have sooner or later.   

Where do we want to live these later years of life? 
     
When should we begin thinking about how and where we’ll live in these later years?   Probably we’ve gradually been accumulating thoughts on the subject for a long time as have I.

Our work, financial status and family or friends are usually the major factors influencing how we formulate our plans.  These are matters we each must assess individually.

What sort of living arrangement do we prefer?   Many factors will determine if we’ll live with others or on our own.

Our choices can include preferring housing with age limit requirements as for Seniors – usually age 50 or 55 and up.   Some classic groupings involve housing in Assisted Living or Retirement Communities, the latter offering multiple levels of care.

Select living settings are sometimes needed by those with any one of a variety of special medical needs, such as those experiencing behavioral problems, some cognitive issues affecting memory in dementia types, especially including Alzheimer’s Disease.

Those are some of the considerations in our decision-making process about our later life living environment. 

Another thought crossing my mind is that unlike the early years of our lives some choices we could make might leave us with less opportunity to alter them later, if for some reason we might desire to do so.  So, wise consideration of these issues can matter.

Choosing an option characterized with that broad label of Aging in Place usually means living in the community rather than in residential care as described in "The Gerontologist" article HERE.  The research discusses this choice
     “...is linked to sense of attachment and social connection”
     “...is linked to sense of security and familiarity: home as a refuge, community as a resource”
     “...is tied to sense of identity, linked to independence and autonomy

The person(s) aging in place may be living in a room, apartment, mobile home, house, with or without friends, family and this may also even include their receiving any care-giving help needed but they must seek these services.

I have preferred to think of this Aging in Place arrangement as Living in Place with the emphasis on a goal of living, even though we are also aging.  

That brings me to elaborating on my idea, as I occasionally mentioned it in earlier posts and elsewhere, to an activity I proposed to our local city-coordinated Senior Services.  My idea was enthusiastically received, has been developed, expanded upon and implemented beginning this week. 

In the collaborative process of creating this offering, what I consider to be a most descriptive name suggested in our group was provided which most precisely describes what participants want.

Not only will be aging in place, with a focus on living, but what we really want is to thrive in the process. 

So, our group will be known as and directed toward “Thriving in Place”.  

This is the most recent brief summary as it appears in our city’s monthly digital newsletter, "The Clicks", announcing this new program with monthly meeting dates and times. 

Aging can often pose new emotional and technical challenges, especially for those who wish to live independently at home for as long as possible. Join this group of peers as they discuss issues and trends, exchange information and tips, and receive informational presentations about living in place.”

The extent of my involvement I’ve limited to acting as a facilitator as I’ve envisioned this group to be very dynamic – adapting and fluctuating with the needs of participants which may change in the future.   The value of the gatherings will be dependent upon the attendees’ involvement and participation which I’ll certainly be encouraging to be strong. 

We’ve established through a variety of means, including survey questions, the demographics of initially interested attendees.  They will present a variety of differing perspectives including those of some who live alone – also subgroups of those both with and without friends and/or family in the area – with and without support systems.  There will be couples physically independent, others less so; some who are caregivers for a spouse/companion and any other possible situation as might be imagined.  Some are already committed to the idea of “Thriving in Place” and doing so. 

Others want to explore the idea to determine if this or another option would be best for them and discuss what are those other options.  Sharing experiences, positive and negative may benefit one another. 

We will have multiple sources for presentations for which the group has expressed interest.   I have specified wanting others to be responsible for arranging those sessions as I choose to limit my group obligations.  I also want the group to be able to thrive without the dependence of my presence.   

Offerings examples of some of our resources, in addition to other type living accommodations, there are a number of senior communities, at least three within a half-mile of our meeting center, offering all levels of care which I have served at one time or another when I was working.  Other desirable settings are available though at slightly greater distance.  Most offer get-acquainted sessions of their own interested individuals are encouraged to attend, often focused on downsizing.  

A prominent member of our group is associated with our local non-profit group REAL Connection 
that established in our city a decade or so ago.   Joining this group which does have a subscription charge can be very beneficial and will be one more resource of value.   This organization came into prominence on the east coast years ago based on the Village concept you can read about HERE.   There may be a similar group in your area.

I’m very enthusiastic about this free “Thriving in Place” group meeting the needs of some in our community including mine, who want to interact with others choosing this living arrangement.  This group does offer a socialization opportunity, too, through this shared living style community.

I know some bloggers I visit here are “Thriving in Place”.  Others are living in or have tried some of the options as in Assisted Living with various reactions.  Perhaps, some are currently living in retirement communities offering all levels of care.  Others, only now, may be considering where they’ll live in their later years.

What choices have you made about where and how you want to live in your aging years, or what options are you considering?   

Any thoughts you may have about our “Thriving in Place” community group are also welcome.


Sunday, September 02, 2018

CALIFORNIA NET NEUTRALITY -- EARTHQUAKE


California’s effort to establish Net Neutrality is successfully moving forward.  The legislation has now been passed and awaits our Gov. Brown’s signature. (refer to preceding two posts for specifics).  You might want to see what, if any, actions your state may be taking. 

A coalition of 22 states attorneys general formed the first of the year “... to sue the Federal Communications Commission for axing net neutrality rules...”  ― California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington ― and the District of Columbia” reported here.

* * *

The relatively uneventful life I wrote about occurring the preceding week was short-lived.   Nothing quite like a little 4.4 earthquake with an epicenter in the foothills just down the road to alter that impression.    A sudden sharp jolt shook my house as I was sitting in my recliner viewing the PBS News Hour.   The shaking and creaking sounds lasted a bit longer than I might have preferred but did not result in any visible damage inside.

My emergency battery-powered portable radio did not broadcast any stations though the light which I did not need worked fine.   The radio had worked fine when I last checked it, so I need to resolve that problem.  The electric power remained on so I was able to access my all-news station for pertinent information on my other radios.

Do you need to have emergency preparations for any potential disasters?