Monday, June 30, 2008

Redhead's Aging Skin -- Answers

Plastic Surgery May Contribute to Ageism

My previous post described some of this redhead's perceptions of beautiful skin and my personal experience with aging skin issues. I raised the question of whether or not to seek various treatments and surgery to alter my aging appearance.

Discussion of aging skin reminds me of those youthful ages when we all aspired to tans and sometimes took extraordinary means to obtain one. The ideal golden-bronze look was never to be mine, a shade usually only those with darker hair and skin colorings achieved. These were the days before sunscreen lotions were in use and the medical term, melanoma, wasn't as prevalent in our vocabularies.

I did use one of the tanning lotions of the day, in an effort to protect my skin, enabling me to enjoy as much time in the sun and water as my friends. Some of them used baby oil, and one in particular mixed iodine in her baby oil, then baked herself daily in the sun's rays. Eventually she suffered severe sunstroke from which for a while, they thought she might not recover. When she did, her future required she stay out of the sun ever after.

Despite my care, I did experience one or two unpleasant burns during my early years. I'm convinced some of the cellular skin changes I've experienced in recent years are likely attributable to those sun assaults. Fortunately, melanoma has not been diagnosed for me, but even one, two, or more pre-cancerous skin cell conditions are not desired either. Frankly, I'm amazed I don't yet have more wrinkles than I do, between my sun exposure and the aging process, but they may well be just biding their time before surfacing. One day I will awaken, look in the mirror, much as with those corner-of-the-mouth furrows, and see another new me.

Given the onslaught of anti-aging articles, advertisements promoting miracle treatments, and eternal youth commentary to which we are subjected today, I guess I'm supposed to be alarmed and even repulsed enough by the sight of my own aging face I should want to avail myself of some of those products and treatments at all costs. Probably, I should be rushing to my dermatologist, or plastic surgeon, begging to have my youthful looks reinstated. I know with such interventions I can receive temporary relief from these furrows and beginning wrinkle crinkles affecting my facial appearance. The secret word there, of course, is that whatever is done is "temporary." I can also have the magic Botox administered, because I've previously been the recipient of such promotion brochures and seen TV infomercials promising to rejuvenate me.

I also see posted pictures and signs on the topic every time I'm in the dermatologist's office. Furthermore, when I phone the office if they need to put my call on hold, I am repeatedly subjected to a verbal description of all the cosmetic services provided. The recorded informative message sounds quite similar to an advertising pitch. I have wondered if callers are deliberately put on hold just so they'd have to listen to the recording? What's the difference between providing information and advertising/promoting a service?

The message in our culture seems to be to disguise or alter the appearance of any body features we don't like, or changes that occur with aging. The not always so subtle thought being conveyed is that feature and body alteration is necessary and may be especially so for the aging individual's emotional well-being. The marketers having successfully seduced so many women with this notion, have increasingly assaulted men with the same ideas, as more and more are told to suction off those pounds and darken the gray from their hair. I wonder, too, about those teens whose body features are physically altered before they've even matured?

The implication can also be drawn that men and women who don't utilize all means available to seek a more youthful appearance can fault only themselves for being victimized by ageism. Possibly, an inability to accept our own natural aging process, then our pursuing some of these perpetual youth seeking purported remedies and treatments help create some ageist attitudes. Such desperate actions may actually contribute to the very age discrimination we resent.

Right now I could have just a little tuck on each side of my face to eliminate my furrows, start constant creme applications at the corners of each eye to erase those squinty laugh lines, and seek tucks for those slight upper eye lid droops. Eventually I'll likely need regular creme applications or botox injections if those faint forehead creases become full-fledged wrinkles.

I know, too, there are those professionals in various medical specialties more than anxious for me to contribute to their income by having me seek their professional help to rid myself of such unsightly wrinkles. I know, also, that the "fix" is, at best not permanent, and I must keep returning periodically, at no small fee, to rid myself temporarily of these natural body changes. Advertisements run rampant with all these wrinkle cremes that work miracles, if only I will buy their product, for now and the rest of my life.

Several months ago an article I read in a prominent West Coast newspaper included interviews with a group of women who said they regretfully were having to forego their frequent visits for facial nips, tucks and surgeries due to the state of the economy. They good-naturedly reported they could no longer afford this self-indulgent luxury to which they regularly treated themselves. These many months later with other product costs increasing and the price of gasoline going sky high to support the fortunes of those whose dynasty is built on oil income, I expect these ladies may be having to give up even more. I hope for their sakes they are able to content themselves with their appearance.

Maybe if more individuals have those ladies experience, some specialty doctors providing services for purely cosmetic reasons might experience a decline in their practice. They might have to devote themselves to providing medical services and treatments to patients with true health ailments. Some other thoughts such as these that another blogger once suggested made sense to me, too. Consider what might happen if we lessened the demand for some of those medical people devoting their skills, time, and energy to purely cosmetic beautification surgery at all ages, including for those who are simply aging. Maybe some of those now-unneeded specialists might gravitate to other needed medical specialties, and general practice, thus contributing to the lessening of a physician shortage.

This could be just one more small item that could help reduce overall health care costs a smidgen for which there is certainly a need. My experience of budgeting often requires many small expense cutbacks if expenditure reduction is to be accomplished and this might help a wee bit. I do not hear proposals for long-needed pharmaceutical company cost overhauls by our Presidential candidates where we might reap some really significant savings. The plans they propose offer some changes, but we're forced to continue dealing with the health insurance plans we have. Costs will not be lessened and there are not even provisions to see that all citizens receive health care. Meanwhile, everyone continues to age with or without health care coverage.

When I continue to think about my own aging appearance, however tempting it may be to preserve a more youthful look for just a little longer, do I really want to subject myself to cosmetic surgical mutilation, anesthetic risks in such a futile temporary pursuit of a false appearance? Observing those who have pursued such body changes, their appearance confirms ultimately nature prevails, since aging continues. Eventually, too many who have subjected themselves to seeking the eternally youthful appearance often begin to look like some grotesque caricature of themselves.

I know even these treatments and cremes enhanced by the most radical body alterations will not be enough to deter my body's aging. Would I wonder then, why on earth I didn't spend my money on something more important in my life -- for myself, or others? More importantly, why would I take even the slightest of health risks, much less spend my time on such frivolous pursuits with so much of importance left to be achieved in this world, so many more pleasures to experience before I depart?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Redhead's Aging Skin Questions

"You have such beautiful skin." Hah! What was the person who said that the other day thinking, as I quickly questioned in my mind that person's judgment? When I was young I had difficulty accepting compliments with a simple "thank you" as they didn't always match my own perception of myself. I've gotten much better over the years at being willing to accept praise, even if I privately think the speaker's words don't describe me. I've never considered I had "beautiful skin" as I compared my own to that of others I admired.

I was aware of so many with varied skin tone gradations from pearly white through olive, to a golden bronze, to others with skin color shades of the darkest brown and blue-black. These were much more attractive than my own. But I was always envious of those girls and guys, no matter their color, whose skin was as soft and smooth as the proverbial newborns. My facial skin never had that quality though I rather liked the few small delicate freckles sprinkled at the top of my cheekbones. But, my face lacked that quality of glass-like smoothness present on other parts of my body that symbolized the truly smooth "beautiful skin" I thought was desirable.

When I was beginning to pay attention to my facial skin as a teenager, all I ever saw were the zits that kept showing up periodically. We lived in a climate with a higher level of humidity than what I've known over the past thirty-five plus years, so I don't know if that contributed to the fact my face always seemed to have excessive oil, as did my hair, or if it was simply genetic.

I do recall some drug store products and others that were supposed to eliminate those offending skin anomalies, including a white creme in a jar and a tube ointment that were supposed to be curative. There were mixed opinions among users as to how effective those treatments and most others were. There were varying stories as to what might be the cause of these skin problems, also what to eat or not eat for prevention i.e. avoid chocolate, stop drinking milk, and additional remedies in other old wives tales, or mother's cure solutions.

If all those blemishes weren't enough, I also had a chicken pox scar in the upper center of my forehead. My mother must have been very concerned about protecting me from acquiring any visible body scars when I was small. My small pox vaccine was administered to a part of my body other than my arm because she knew the inoculation always left a scar. She thought it would never be exposed to view, not realizing the body covering bathing suits of her day would give way to those skimpy one piecers of my day, then the ultimate bikinis, and thongs of today. She would probably say now, why don't we all just become nudists and be done with it.

She always tried to reassure me that I did not cause that chicken pox scar by picking at the scab. I guess she didn't want me to go through life blaming myself for this disfigurement in such a prominent facial location. She said that scab fell off of its own accord, leaving the scar behind. The scar never particularly bothered me, so her concern was greater than mine. The reality is, I've never once had anyone note that pox scar, including my closest friends, who wouldn't have hesitated to inquire about the cause of any ghastly blemish had they noticed.

Since then, I have proceeded along the continuum of aging, as we all do. I don't know when, but one day some years ago, I looked in the mirror only to be shocked by this face staring back at me with two wrinkles at each mouth corner. These wrinkles running downward on each side of my face toward the lower edge of my jaw appeared to be erosions wide and deep as a river.

This sight was most distressing as I recognized myself. I could only conclude those wrinkles made me look like an unpleasant perpetually perturbed disgruntled grumpy person. Fortunately, when I smile and laugh those furrows disappear, a motivation for laughing a lot. The reality is I find humor in most any situation as I embrace a sometimes-quirky perception of life. I laugh easily, abundantly, frequently, sometimes even when I probably shouldn't.

Those wrinkly furrows were the first images that came to my mind when I was given that unbelievable, to me, comment about my beautiful skin. I must admit I did feel compelled to finally respond with words to the effect that there must be some mistake because, look at these cavernous wrinkles as I pointed to the corners of my mouth. The response I received was, "I've never even noticed those." Well, I thought, good for me focusing attention on that flaw, that's probably the first thing that person will notice about me from now on. I better not make that mistake again.

I just noticed in the mirror tonight, I have faint lines, or are they minute' creases... Wait! I think they are slight signs of wrinkles in my forehead. They go right through my chicken pox scar. Good heavens! Didn't that person even notice those the other day? Should I confront that well-meaning soul and point out these budding wrinkles to prove how mistaken the initial perception of the state of my skin actually was? I know the person doesn't have vision problems, doesn't even need to wear glasses and is not given to falsehood flattery. Perhaps the friend has a mental cog slipping, about which neither of us know. On the other hand, is it possible? Could someone actually perceive I have nice skin covering this redhead's aging body?

I'll consider what to do about these skin issues/wrinkles in my next post – botox injections, facelift, plastic surgery?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Unbelievable Mysterious Forces Persist

I hadn't intended to write any more on this topic after the post "Hotter than Hot...Murphy's Law," then the "Bottle Tree...Evil Spirits" follow up piece, but unexpected circumstances have developed.

Incredibly we're having hot triple digit days again, but what I really find unbelievable are the mysterious forces continuing to besiege me. This afternoon as I drove through town on Historic Route 66 I suddenly noticed the air temperature blasting full force from my auto air conditioner felt exactly like Lucifer himself was airing out his place into my car.

I immediately made a quick U-turn at the next intersection driving the two miles west directly to my gas station for consultation with one of my trusted mechanics. He said they could take my car right then, would check the systems integrity, inject Freon, if needed, and be done in an hour. I gladly relinquished my car key and altered my afternoon's schedule. There was one caveat, that a more serious mechanical malfunction could alter the plan. Fortunately, no leak was detected, though I still wonder how that Freon escaped. At least I was able to resume my day in my now cool car.

That bad juju is still here and the mojo I've employed just isn't working. There are huge footprints in my yard now as something ate the dried chicken feet. I exhausted myself trying to keep the candles lit in the wind. Local law enforcement told me to tone down the mojo music as the neighbors were complaining. Before all this I tried running around my coffee tables, discovered I couldn't jump over them as I thought, so had to give up on that. I only had one colored bottle, so earlier I had planted it in the ground to grow a bottle tree, but so far it hasn't caught root, much less sprouted more bottles. Those evil spirits are still out and about.

Maybe hoodoo isn't enough and Louisiana voodoo is needed. I don't think a rabbit's foot could be used any more. I noticed a full moon in the sky tonight. Perhaps I should resort to dancing nekkid in my backyard's moonlight, while chanting incantations. Surely that would frighten those evil spirits from any more deviltry.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bottle Tree Captures Evil Spirits

My earlier recent post, "Hotter Than Hot..." referred to all sorts of unusual occurrences I've experienced recently. I was bemoaning the onset of mysterious forces attacking my car, malfunctioning household appliances, a non-functioning house air conditioning unit, a damaged yard water pipe to name just a few items. Some who commented could readily identify with my woes, as I expected. Others even related a litany of calamities I was grateful for not having experienced myself. I derived hope knowing they all had survived, actually overcome their obstacles, and lived to tell the tale.

One fact became very clear, actual final resolution of the varied problems I and others described, generally involved employing repair persons, and/or visiting store keepers, then ultimately transferring some form of monetary funds from ourselves to others. Personally, in this process I like to think I'm helping the economy despite impoverishing myself.

I noted some who commented about their experiences, also shared their various coping mechanisms. I soon realized the import of these informative offerings and am especially appreciative to each who shared. I have come to believe as a public service I am duty bound to briefly summarize what I've learned from them for my own and others possible future reference. I do stop just short of recommending some of these measures, since some refer to unusual less traditional methodology. In fact, some of their methods could even be thought of as unorthodox. However, I say, whatever works, is worth a try. But, I offer this caution and disclaimer, that if you undertake any of these actions, you do so of your own volition and at your own risk.

Joy at "Joy of Six" employs an interesting technique in times of disaster, but a coffee table is required. I believe her description suggests it's important to undertake this measure soon after first discovering major interior house destruction is underway. Actually it's quite simple, you just run round and round the coffee table, but she failed to disclose the length of time for which this must be continued. Also, I'm not clear about whether this action is to be done only in instances when unwanted water is spurting from wall pipes into various rooms in the house, or if the activity can be utilized for more ordinary catastrophes like a ceiling falling down. Perhaps she's still perfecting the technique.

Since I have two small rectangular coffee tables, I'm adapting her methodology to include aligning my tables in such a way I can include not only repetitively running around them, but jumping over them one at a time, should I ever encounter the problem she described.

I'm so happy I became a blogger and have an opportunity to learn all this from others.

Millie at "My Mom's Blog" quickly ascertained numbers were coming into play, citing the possibility the old saw about events happening in "threes" or that combinations might be at work. She's probably still trying to master how to overcome that challenge, as I haven't been able to figure it out either.

Pattie at "Texas Trifles" can always be counted upon to provide more exotic strategies that often have their roots in Deep South traditions, Texas folklore, or emerge from Louisiana's swamps. Some less well-informed individuals might discount them as simple myths. She clearly recognizes we should all be thinking more along the lines of preventative measures, though some of her suggestions can be instituted to ward off repetition of previous problems.

Reading of my woes, she instantly recognized the presence of "bad juju." She counseled my need for "mojo" to ward off evil spirits. A musical link she provided obviously set the right mood to initiate a search for just the right mojo. She reminded me of the possible benefits of dried chicken feet, candle lighting, but I failed to grasp the significance of her suggestion a "bottle tree" might be beneficial. I even naively suggested she must be confused (as she once erroneously thought I was) and was referring to the bottle brush tree.

Fortunately, Chancy, "Driftwood Inspiration" at quite knowledgeable herself about southern traditions, was intrigued enough to search for more information about the bottle tree. Thanks to Chancy for sending me this link to "Out of Nowhere" by Don Drane, with a colorful picture of a bottle tree.

You may see here, 74 yr old Charlotte Conner has an impressive looking "Blue Bottle Tree."

Then among the Mississippi Delta Artists there is the "Bottle Tree Man" who has a different variety tree.

Africa is the bottle tree's place of origin. The belief is the night's evil spirits are captured in the bottles, then destroyed when the next day's sunlight penetrates them as described in this Wikipedia article.

I'm sure there are many more ways to alleviate our woes, but these must suffice for now.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day Appreciation

Fathers revel in their loved ones expressions of appreciation.

Treasure and make time for fathers still living.

Recall life's shared moments with fathers who may now have difficulty remembering, or who have long since died.

Friday, June 13, 2008

When It's Hot, It Can Get Hotter ... If Murphy's Around

R&R -- Resolution and Recovery

"When it rains, it pours," or as I tend to think in my case, "When it's hot, it can get hotter" is much more apropos. I don't mean just the temperature. I mean the accumulation of various pressures taxing my usual optimistic outlook on life. Perhaps I could best describe the effects if I stated Murphy's Law is prevailing –

"Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

I am in the midst of R&R – "Resolution and Recovery" from a litany of trials which diabolically contribute to altering my mind's balance from its normal warped state toward one closer to insanity. Some lucky souls miraculously skim over life's edges never having the thrill of experiencing such similar adverse challenges. Others are burdened with much more adversity than what I'll describe here. "Everything is relative," as the saying goes.

Even now in my anguished state (and I am taking some dramatic license with that language,) I am reminded of how as a young adult, friends and I used a then common coping response to support each other through some of life's complications. We transformed even the most trivial life events we naively perceived as disastrous, from tragedy into humor -- matters we long ago learned to laugh about – and some were, truly, laughing matters compared to problems we encountered later in life.

We honed an underlying foundation of empathy for each other's adversities, that tempered one particular not-so subtle message we delivered, about life's ironies. That communiqué was expressed by shaping our hand into a specific position, then sometimes uttering a prescribed few sentences. We each understood this symbolic code meant we cared.

Sooner or later each of us required support for incurred woes, since life was simply exacting the usual price for our being. The individual describing their disruptive life-assaulting hard luck incidents, would soon see silent listeners make a fist with their thumb extended upward, bending forward at the first knuckle. The bent thumb would be rotating in a circle above the index finger -- moving round and round and round, much like yesteryear's broken record (or, CD today.) The intimation was obvious that the story's underlying message we were hearing was quite repetitious, like "a broken record." Eventually, the hard-luck storyteller and each of us would be smiling or even laughing at the ridiculousness of life.

Some tales of woe, such as I will now relate here, or for even more complicated havoc-causing matters, the listeners ceased to be silent as their thumb rotated. They responded to the storyteller's tragic tale, with mocking words in a tone of irony, sarcasm, and with underlying sympathy:

"I've been around the world many times, been subjected to listening to accounts of every hard luck experience known to humankind, but truly your story is the saddest I've ever heard."

The rotating thumb vision firmly visualized in my mind's eye, those words ringing in my ears, I begin my tale.

I have been inundated with all sorts of unexpected repair needs beginning with my car, which has likely been unintentionally victimized in my own driveway by a youthful skateboarder or bike rider losing their balance. They broke their fall with outthrust hands leaving two huge indentations on my car's fender.

Subsequently, a leaky washing machine and squealing dryer have successively followed each other in vying for my attention. Then the outdoor security light has begun requiring entirely too much personal manual adjustment. A pre-existing unresolved complex matter associated with a non-baking oven has been a continuing concern. Fortunately, I haven't often needed its use, thanks to stovetop cooking, a microwave oven, and restaurants.

Finally, the car has been repaired, but there's more. I have been able to resolve some pesky personal medical issues with positive outcome, after juggling some transportation complications only families of one experience. Along the way, I finally concluded the time had arrived to establish an appliance replacement hierarchy list.

No sooner had I read some reference data on my needed appliances, and I had begun venturing out to stores, when suddenly the weekend arrived. I didn't sleep well that Friday night as the room seemed warmer than I liked, but the thermostat showed the air was cooling, though slowly, and the blower was blowing. I realize now in my groggy half-asleep state, my raised arm's reaching hand, sampling the expelling air from the register near the ceiling, had failed to accurately discern the air's specific degree of coolness.

Saturday morning the house felt cool and comfortable, but by the afternoon, the indoor "resident baking hours" typically beginning around 4 p.m., revealed there was serious reason to believe the air conditioner was not working properly. Despite cleaning the air filter earlier, re-adjusting the thermostat, checking the circuit breakers, listening for the outdoor AC unit's motor to rev up, but hearing only silence, I recognized the equipment simply was not working. I was no longer deceived by air movement alone, since the blower inside quietly, lightly kept pushing what was clearly increasingly warm room temperature air through its registers. I felt miserably uncomfortable, hotter than hot, since ambient air outdoors was well into the triple digits.

A phone call to the AC installer reached only an answering machine. I knew then, that late Saturday afternoon, there would be no more service calls, that the weekend for me would be long and hot -- much hotter than I recall southwestern desert days from time in Arizona, Nevada, and various Southern California locales, or those miserable high humidity days and nights in the east at much lower temperatures. Our weather prognostication was for record-breaking high temperatures well over one hundred degrees through the weekend and continuing the first part of the following week. The predictions were correct.

The evening air outside cooled, but most of the breezes stayed there. Disappointingly, I discovered I was unable to open more than one or two windows, probably stuck since the house exterior had been painted. Trying to pry them open with a screwdriver, I soon discerned, was a project best pursued in daylight hours, so as not to damage the two-year-old paint job. I recalled the heat-filled years of my life before AC, even before evaporative or swamp cooling. I was younger then, but clearly, this adult had readily acclimated to this AC creature comfort.

For some reason my mind was suddenly filled with a mental picture of my joining polar bears at the zoo joyfully playing in a pool filled with big blocks of ice. Visualizing that wet cooling image I wish I could say my mind prevailed over matter. Actually, my reality was under complete control of the lonely blower that was now forcing the accumulating downward flowing unbearable attic heat to streak through each room from one room register to another, racing endlessly.

The next day, Sunday, I needed no convincing to leave my house during those late afternoon/early evening baking hours, I had erroneously voluntarily endured the previous day. Assuming I would even have been alert enough, quite debatable, I was in no mood to shop for any new appliances either. Why not phone a good friend with whom I was long overdue to visit and confess my situation? No one else could empathize on quite the same level given our history, share the ironic laughs in appreciation of the ridiculous impositions of life.

I admit I was jealous when the answered cell phone disclosed the occupants were on their way up the coast, testing their new air conditioned car by driving to a family meet at The Strawberry Festival. I soon, thereafter, took respite in the cooling of my own car as I drove to a more pleasant air conditioned environment where I could comfortably sit, read from an unlimited selection of new volumes, and eventually enjoy a hot latte of Seattle's Best.

Upon returning home later at night, I was delighted to discover stored in the garage two fans I hadn't recalled having earlier. I soon had the table fan ready to blow and the floor pedestal fan assembled in about thirty-five minutes. These long unused fans actually worked and had quiet motors. I survived the night with their welcomed circulation of the limited much cooler air that managed to penetrate the house.

Monday, I adjusted my work schedule to assure being home for the AC miracle repair worker. He arrived on schedule, his short red hair signifying a good omen to this graying redhead. What a disappointment when, two hours later, he had exerted his utmost skills, but had not been able to conjure a permanent AC fix so the unit could safely be used. His home office said three days later would be the earliest another AC trouble-shooter would be available to assess the problem in greater depth, despite my pleas. The days were still hot, but thankfully beginning to cool slightly. The next repairman arrived on schedule, discerning a rather serious rusting condition existed in an AC housing unit above the indoor furnace. He was confident this would necessitate simply a coil replacement, though hardly an inexpensive item with labor added.

I was less than happy when his home office told him a week or so would pass, due to their prior commitments, before my coil repair could be undertaken, again despite my cajoling. I was somewhat relieved when future weather reports predicted continued cooling, but there was uncertainty about the possibility of another hot spell soon after.

The following day, the gods and goddesses of kindness smiled on me and my service call was catapulted to the top of the repairman's list. I later learned the AC team had shown up at a customer's location with truck, equipment and manpower for a scheduled AC installation and were told the customer had suddenly changed their mind, no longer wanted AC. (Because it cooled off, I wondered?) I couldn't help thinking about how the lack of common consideration impacts the lives of others, but in this instance I benefited. As promised, my AC people had called me, since this last minute cancellation enabled them to repair my AC unit first thing the next day.

By this time, our area weather had not only started to cool, but the day the AC wonder men arrived at my home, the outdoor air was cold, wet, filled with falling rain. Notably absent was any sign of the sun or its warmth. I needed indoor heat, but could not turn it on since the furnace unit had to be left off through the duration of the AC repair. Six hours later, with the AC successfully tested and functioning, followed by my being able to turn on the furnace's heat, I was able to begin to thaw my frozen body.

I think now how acclimated this older woman has become from the younger one who knew years of winter days and nights living in below zero temperatures. The younger me would likely have guffawed at older me, saying words to the effect, "This isn't cold -- simply a welcome warm winter day. You've forgotten what cold is."

I had no sooner thawed than, suddenly, another new trial was added to the mix – resolve one issue, add a new one seemed to be the pattern. An exposed section of a backyard sprinkler system pipe was noticed to be providing a slight water spout effect into the air. Examination revealed a fragile rusting pipe's external horizontal surface above ground crumbling to the touch at intervals with breaks allowing fountain-like water leakage.

The pipe had to be replaced post haste ..... before the upward spouting water expanded to once-famous Dancing Waters proportions .....
(the multiple water streams manipulated with varying colored lights and synchronized "dancing" heights, sometimes accompanied by music. Cash paying customers viewed this visual and auditory sensory pleasing experience promoted as a "cultural" attraction in special tent shows at 1950's county and state fairs.)

Several days later even this water leak problem is corrected with a new pipe, but not without the old one first providing its share of resistance at each of several various connection ends, frustrating another helpful repairman.

Guess it's past time to get back to researching facts and figures on some new appliances. At least I now have a choice of hot or cold air for comfort in my own home. Morning's "June gloom" (when the sun doesn't emerge until around noon – I love it) is reported to be giving way to another heat wave coming. At least my backyard is absent the water leak.

Presently resolution of this indoor appliance rebellion takes precedence over all else, beginning with that leaky washing machine. The dryer has suspiciously stopped squealing – waiting to do -- what? Could anything else go wrong? I wonder how old the dishwasher is? Maybe part time work for me isn't enough after all!

I hear the refrain now – "I've been around the world many times...but truly yours is the saddest story I've ever heard."

(Post script: In true Murphy's Law form, when this post published it somehow appeared twice. Efforts to erase one copy were prevented when my computer mysteriously lost Internet connection. Ah, the irony of it all! But, finally nine hours later, the issue is resolved-- I think. What's next?)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Unique 2008 USA Presidential Election

Future Election Primaries

I'm glad to see the USA Democratic Political Party has resolved who they expect to nominate as their Presidential candidate, Barack Obama. The National Republican Party had settled on John McCain as their expected candidate some time ago. Both political parties will officially designate their candidates this summer.

The original competing prospective Democratic candidates uniquely reflected gender and race differences. The expected final two national political party candidates have differing racial backgrounds, but that's just one factor making this year's Presidential election special in our country's history. I recognize, respect and honor that racial factor difference, but I don't intend to dwell on it any more than I would imagine the candidates see the need to do so. I hope they'll be allowed to focus their campaign efforts elsewhere in these months ahead.

I'm anticipating an election campaign that has the candidates debating the important issues that affect our daily lives and those of our country internationally, especially since all are so inter-related in todays' global economy.

Also, I hope the candidates, pundits, media-types and political junkies make every effort to keep the rhetoric focused on the pertinent issues through civil discourse.

We learned this year how election primaries can thwart our candidate selection process. I continue to condemn any primary election arrangements in future campaigns that prevent the electorate in any State from having the opportunity to vote for all the candidates. Rules that deprive individuals of their votes may be legal, but we saw in Florida and Michigan how convoluted government and/or political party manuevering adversely affected the rights of voters to participate in a meaningful primary election. We observed the muddled efforts to correct the problem after the fact. I believe in the rule of law -- ethical and moral application of just laws. Just because something is legal does not mean it's right and such limiting rules need to be changed, amended, eliminated, or whatever to protect all legal voters.

Voters in every State should protest loudly and clearly LONG BEFORE primary elections, should there be reason to believe they may be deprived of a legitimate meaningful primary election -- especially if circumstances develop as they did in Michigan and Florida this year with the Democratic Party candidates. If political parties and candidates are serious candidates, then each voter's ballot should provide the choice of selecting those candidates.

Candidates with their political parties are equally responsible to be certain they get their name on all States primary ballots for the sake of the voters and accurate primary election results.

Before our next primary elections I would welcome hearing others perceptions of the pros and cons of the various ways in which State primary elections are conducted.

My local California area uses the confidential election InkaVote ballot. I understand some other States use a much more open interactive caucus forum with which I have no first hand experience.

Is one of these systems preferable or superior to the other, and why?

Are there any other State primary election systems than these two types?

Just a reminder, we have about 21 more weeks until our November 2008 Presidential election date.

Lest anyone doubt it, this is a watershed year for change with much at stake for the everyday citizens of our nation and our democracy. We already know much about the Presidential candidates positions, but let's be certain we clearly understand their issue differences.

We want to make it strongly clear to all those chosen to represent our interests:

We demand accountability and expect our rights to be protected.