Tuesday, December 24, 2013

GREETINGS 2013 - 2014


Thursday, August 22, 2013


The jazz music world's Marian McPartland died Tueday, August 20, 2013 at age 95.   This talented musical artist's unique life and achievements can be read about by clicking on this link to the New York Times article.  

She was featured on this blog five years ago and here's a link to that blog post Marian McPartland -- Happy 90th Birthday.    

Here's a special video profile of Marian McPartland: A Life of Jazz

Marian McPartland plays her "Afterglow" at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1975:

Marian McPartland plays "In A Mist"

Marian McPartland's music continues on CDs,  her NPR program recordings and her many record albums from yesteryear.  

Thursday, August 01, 2013


Each year progresses with increasing rapidity, or so it seems, as I realize 2013 is already half over.  “Along the way” I’ve continued with numerous activities including taking continued education classes and working part time.  In the process a few body creaks and quirks were gradually resolved with physical therapy facilitation and independent practice early in the year. 

My plans for travel east precluded my being present for the official opening of the retirement community  Green House concept Villas for which Geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas was present – a topic about which I’ve written previously.  

The timing of my trip also prompted me to relieve myself of even more work-related obligations in that community since last I wrote here.  Then, I had a realization that I felt like more change was in order for me and the facility could only benefit from the newer younger therapists with whom I’ve previously worked.  I still may help there occasionally, since somehow I haven’t quite been able to completely retire.  Meanwhile, I continue to fulfill California medical setting professional license continuing education requirements and national certification for clinical competence.   

My east coast trip brought me together with my adult children and their families to celebrate my granddaughter’s high school graduation.  This was the first occasion we had all been together at the same time since the memorial service for their father years ago.  Our small gathering this year was a most enjoyable experience during busy days and nights coordinating our visiting with some working schedules, including my granddaughters lifeguarding duties.   My endearing young red-headed grandson was an active 2 1/2 year old who kept us entertained.  What an age spread between these cousins.

Also, she was involved with a variety of casual social activities in which east coast graduating seniors engaged that were quite unlike those of her parents, uncle and aunt and my much earlier generation when we graduated from high school.  Even the student numbers contrasted as my class had only forty seniors and hers had over four hundred. 

Beginning several days preceding graduation various seniors, or two or three friends together, would have graduation parties in their homes.  All evening students would arrive, drifting in and out of several of these parties as we discovered when we attended the one our granddaughter and two of her friends held in one of the girl’s home.  Her friend’s parents were quite accustomed to such large student gatherings throughout the school years as the father also happened to be a popular high school teacher who enjoyed these young groups.  Fresh veggies, fruit, chips, sandwiches of pulled chicken or pork followed by delicious cookies and sweets the girls had prepared earlier were tasty attractions for attendees. 
I was impressed with this generation of young people.  Another night the cap and gown ceremony occurred in an auditorium packed with families whose numbers had necessarily been limited despite the huge seating area. 

A few days later many students left for a traditional senior beach week trip to stay in homes specifically rented  for the occasion as parents chaperoned - fathers for the boys residences and mothers at the girls housing.   I was particularly intrigued to learn they were near an area inhabited by wild ponies.  The only wild horses I’d ever heard of in the U.S. are mustangs in the west.  

My granddaughter will begin her well-deserved college experience in a few weeks which she anticipates with great enthusiasm.  I am especially proud of her academic achievements, dedication to developing her personal talents and skills despite the challenges beginning when she was upper elementary school age and her father left the family.  This attractive personable young lady is maturing in a manner that makes this grandmother very proud (I admit that’s a prejudicial grandma statement, but it’s true!)  

While I was in Virginia we experienced a little excitement with a Derecho.  I’d heard of hurricanes, tornados, sand storms in Arizona, Santa Ana Winds here in California, and a few other type storms but “derecho” was a new term to me.  Fortunately, the burst of wind that sped through our neighborhood only broke a large pine tree in a neighboring yard that caught on a branch in my daughter’s yard which kept it from crushing her fence and the top of a shed in another yard.  Unfortunately, other areas had far more serious damage including even loss of one young boy’s life.   

Now that I’m home in California, except for a few really hot days about which I wrote last month, we’ve been having some lovely weather.  We could certainly use some more rain, but then such moisture is uncommon here this time of year.

I resumed a regular sleep schedule when I came home, then weeks later one recent night I couldn’t fall sleep for unexplained reasons.  Days later I heard a news report about a Swiss study  that had concluded sleep patterns are affected by moon phases and falling asleep was more problematic when there was a full moon.  I checked the lunar calendar and learned the night I couldn’t sleep coincidentally(?) had a full moon.  Hm-m-m!   

Monday, July 01, 2013


Comments here began to be moderated early this year which had not previously been done on this blog as visitors may have noticed.    Further comment screening efforts will regrettably necessarily be initiated.   

Anonymous spammers continue to write unrelated or palavering general comments in an effort to piggyback promotional and/or commercial web links soliciting readers to their site. Any comment with such links generally never is accepted for publication.     The reality they fail to recognize is that if their often nonsensical language was allowed to publish this would only serve to stigmatize their site as one that readers would not want to visit, or certainly wouldn’t consider engaging with for business purposes.  So, they waste their efforts.

Even though their leaching lingo never actually publishes on the Internet, I have better things to do with my time than bothering with periodically deleting their pollution from my computer.    But the necessity of this process has served to dampen my personal blogging enthusiasm which partially accounts for my decreased activity.    


Weather is setting records for 3-digit temperatures in the U. S.  Southwest.    Gradually increasing heat this past week peaked at 104 F degrees the last day of June as we slowly begin our descent toward more normal 2-digit numbers where I live in Southern California.    We’re significantly below normal rain and snow pack levels which has had our State at increased fire risk for several months to a degree we typically don’t see until late summer into fall.  

Fires are already burning in various California locales with the yellowing smoke-filled clouds rolling above mountains north of me noted in the sky on a recent afternoon.   None of California fires have been so tragic with lives lost as late news reports tonight from Arizona in home-owner evacuated Yarnell, near Prescott (a favored location of mine) north of Phoenix, where the wildfire took at least 19 firefighters lives as reported by the BBC.
Having lived in environs with dry heat and those with humid heat I can attest to having more tolerance for dry heat in higher temperatures, but hot is hot.    When I heard Phoenix , Arizona had reached 120 F degrees yesterday, I was reminded when the top reading I had experienced while living there years ago was 115 F degrees that  I had  concluded then I wanted nothing hotter.

The hottest temperature ever recorded on earth is 134 F degrees.    Death Valley’s temperature Sunday is up for debate between 128 F degrees and 129.9 F degrees due to a difference in thermometer readings but will be established later this Monday morning the Los AngelesTimes reports. 

Those of us living in Southern California have been spared any power shortages or outages so far as our summer begins.    Alternative home energy sources are becoming more cost effective.  Currently we’re told that solar roof panels may be viable if our monthly residential electric bill is $150 or more.   

Meanwhile for our electricity usage there are numerous energy conservation practices recommended for businesses and individuals.   Most residents routinely limit power usage during the peak daytime heat periods including using our major appliances such as washer, dryer, dishwasher only in the early morning or in the evening, keeping our air conditioners at slightly higher settings.  

Our nuclear power plant, San Onofre, located along the Pacific Coast between Los Angeles and San Diego has been permanently shut down as reported in The New York Times.   There has been much controversy as Southern California Edison Company pressed to resume the plant’s partial operation following their safety assessment of the radiation leakage problem status.     What impact this closure may have on the electric power generation for our future use remains to be seen though electric company rate increases may be anticipated.   Job losses have become a reality with the first 600 terminations. 

Presently we ratepayers are still saddled with costs of San Onofre so who should pay – customers or stockholders?   What about Mitsubishi “…for generator design and construction flaws…”?  These are questions raised by Morgan Lee, Business Writer at U-T San Diego, which have significant import to me.    Comments noting the California Public Utilities Commission as “…not being in the business of protecting ratepayers...” is a view that raises more, but not new, troubling questions.  


Saturday, June 01, 2013


Istanbul is where we're going even though this song was a fifties pop tune, not jazz -- but has such fun lyrics that I couldn't resist sharing it here.   The Four Lads,  known for their close harmony and acapella, were influenced by negro spirituals and gospel music to which some jazz artists also  were exposed.  

Streamed live from Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday, April 30th this year the International Jazz Day Concert webcast was sponsored by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.)   Here's a link also to The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz which is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning this annual celebration, which began in 2012.  

This  second annual festival  scheduled in different world cities is the primary focus here with this approximately two hour YouTube video recording.   The first 37 mins. consists of introductions beginning with legendary jazz pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock, who "..serves as UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz."    He was  followed by other welcoming officials including International Jazz Day chair UNESCO General Irina Bokova. 

A little personal commentary -- ever since Ella Fitzgerald's scat singing many years ago of  "A Tisket, A Tasket, My Little Yellow Basket," demonstrating her vocal skills parallel with other musical instruments, many jazz singers subsequently have demonstrated their talents in a similar manner.   Wikipedia notes:

"In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice."  

I do appreciate this ability, but in small doses, just as there are certain other jazz forms I enjoy more than others.   That said, two singers do vocally play with "scat" here quite spectacularly -- Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves.   
The 2013 Jazz Day event as reported at the UNESCO website features "...Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, Joss Stone, Marcus Miller, John McLaughlin, Terence Blanchard, Ruben Blades, Ramsey Lewis, Hugh Masekela, Eddie Palmieri, Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves, George Duke, Lee Ritenour, Jean-Luc Ponty, Milton Nascimento, John Beasley, Igor Butman, Anat Cohen, Vinnie Coliauta, Imer Demirer, James Genus, Bilal Karaman, Pedrito Martinez, Keiko Matsui, Terri Lyne Carrington, Hüsnü Şenlendirici, Joe Louis Walker, Ben Williams and others."  (Spalding won a Grammy in 2011 you can read on my post then.)

A little historical background, "In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe." 

Most significantly,  "CO.NX: Connecting the World through Virtual Engagement -- a digital diplomacy team with the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) at the U.S. Department of State" whose website features many live performances notes:

"Each year, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, respect for human rights and human dignity, eradicating discrimination, promoting freedom of expression, fostering gender equality, and reinforcing the role of youth for social change."

UNESCO reports that "In 2012, [they] UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz presented three high-profile programs: a daylong celebration in Paris at UNESCO world headquarters; a sunrise concert in New Orleans’ Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz; and a sunset concert at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City.

"Among the world-renowned artists that participated were John Beasley, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona (Cameroon), Dee Dee Bridgewater, Candido, Teri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Robert Cray, Jack DeJohnette, George Duke, Sheila E., Herbie Hancock, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, Hiromi (Japan), Zakir Hussain (India), Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), Joe Lovano, Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Shankar Mahadevan (India), Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Danilo Pérez (Panama), Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Treme Brass Band and Stevie Wonder. Hosts included Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Quincy Jones."

Consider the 2012 and 2013 list of musicians names as reference for some jazz artists whose music  may tempt us to digitally access them -- especially, if like me, there are new names you don't recognize.   Recorded performances of many can likely be heard with a search for their own websites, on YouTube videos and with some tunes commercially available for download and/or purchase.  These are just some of the many jazz musicians performing today.  Other jazz artist names familiar to older generations have become part of jazz history as younger talents emerge into the music's future.    

Monday, May 27, 2013


Years pass .....

Visitors come and go .....

Generations continue to pay tribute ......

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Memories From Another Era

Memories from another era have been stimulated for me recently as I've been enjoying conversations with some delightfully alert elders.    A jazz aficionado gentleman recounted contact in the U.S. and Europe with numerous musicians of that genre's royalty.    A lovely lady only a few years shy of having lived for a century talked of changes through her lifetime that we both marveled over as she recalled West Coast life and I was reminded of my mother's early Midwest years.  

These time-tempered, elders observed that a positive outlook and attitude toward life, with a strong emphasis on humor, have been important contributing factors to their longevity which was true for my mother and is significant in my life.   I shared the following on Mother's Day in 2008 which I've edited slightly, plus I've provided additional links to some interesting sites. 

Mother, I wish you could experience the world today. You always said you had no fear of dying, but would be reluctant to go only because you didn't want to miss anything. I share your view.  You saw much change in your lifetime. I think of you and these thoughts of your first twenty-one years come readily to mind.

born in the nineteenth century
horse and buggy days
daughter of a prosperous farmer
fence lines clear of weeds
indicating a good farmer

father performed outdoor chores
matching work horse pair
plowing, harrowing, disking,
cultivating, planting
grain, corn and garden

threshing parties
sheaves of oats, barley and wheat,
corn shucking,
hay raking,
fork tossing hay in mow

raising chickens and ducks
roosters, hens, drakes
cows with calves
pigs with piglets
sheep with lambs

harvesting crops
root cellar storage
butchering and dressing meats
milking the cows
collecting honey, beeswax

pets and progeny
mares with foals
mouser cats with kittens
herder/guard dogs with puppies
chicks and ducklings

mothers work indoors
wood stove for cooking
baking bread
bearing and raising children
nursing the ill

food preservation and canning
apple, cherry, peach trees
blackberry, gooseberries
jams, jellies
herb collection like mint leaves

gathering eggs
cream separating
making cottage cheese
churning butter
making smearcase

sewing and mending
pattern and dress making
yarn for knitting, crocheting, tatting
quilting designs, stitching, needle point
hooking rugs

recitation of poetry
story telling using elocution skills
piano playing and singing
games, riddles, reading, writing
stereoscopes and pictures

candles to electricity
hand pump priming for well water
eventual party line phone
two longs and a short ring
outdoor plumbing - two or three holer

children's playhouse
curtains, tea set
miniature furniture
china head dolls
dressing cats and kittens

winter's heavy woolen clothes
dry cleaning non-existent
deodorant yet to be
large tubs, spit baths

playing church piano and organ
dating mostly for church social functions
breaking rules by sneaking off with date to go dancing
coming home snuggled under blankets in horse drawn buggy
horse required no guidance -- always knew the way home

automobiles becoming more prevalent
(autombile museums U.S.)
airplanes more prominent
(aviation museums U.S.)

family, friends, classmates,
boyfriends, neighbors die
Influenza Pandemic of World War I
Influenza Epidemic of 1918World War I

passing the proficiency exam
requirement for high school attendance
moving into town to live with a family - providing
them household services in exchange for room and board
high school graduation

acceptance and enrollment in "Normal School"
graduation after two years
teaching in one room school house
women given the right to vote 1921
mother legal age that year -- always voted thereafter.

Friday, April 19, 2013


This year has seemed to be a rather busy one for me – so much so, that I’ve blogged only once in January, twice in February, thrice in March and now we’re in April, the fourth month.   Here's some of what has kept me occupied.   

The income tax submission deadline is past but was hardly routine this year for many taxpayers.  The Internal Revenue Service’s preparation of tax forms was delayed thanks to our U.S. Congress’ failure to perform their legislative budgeting duties in a timely manner.  Next year our Congress should surely be capable of performing more responsibly. 

I do resent a tax system that is so complicated that far too many citizens must hire someone to complete their forms.  I continue to prepare my own tax forms which I started doing by default following my husband’s death.  Each year I become much more adept at the task which has resulted in the process taking much less time, causing me less mental strain and frustration.  Ideally, I won’t receive an IRS notice later this year informing me I either underpaid or overpaid. 

I continue to note that our administrative and legislative branches of government are composed of too many people who appear to be willing to penalize those receiving Social Security by altering the formula for computing cost of living increases in a manner tantamount to a reduction for too many individuals who can least afford it.  

There are numerous other issues on my mind with the most pressing one unfolding in Massachusetts as I write this.  Law enforcement is engaged in a manhunt for the remaining known terrorist believed to have planted those deadly explosive devices at the Boston Marathon.   Live television coverage of breaking news on this event make it difficult for me to cease viewing and go to bed. 

Focusing more specifically on the mix of my time-absorbing activities since the first of the year, I had my required annual health physical examination followed by a variety of associated follow-up tests.  Coincidentally, I’ve acquired an infection that is somewhat resistant to the first round of bacteria-fighting medications and in another unrelated circumstance I had to get a dental crown. 

My life this year has also been periodically complicated by some residual effects from a bit of  fancy footwork I exhibited last winter that resulted in my colliding with the floor then.  The good news is that I prevented spilling the Chinese dinner I was holding in one hand or the water grasped in the other hand, so no mess to clean up. 

I went to my knees hard, then over on my shoulder, but I had no bones fractured or broken – the activity is not recommended for the spinal cord and back.  The consequence this year has been to experience some “creaks” that necessitate my having to exert more effort to engage in my activities some days.  Physical therapy coupled with practicing recommended exercises reinforces what has once again proven to be beneficial therapeutic intervention for me.   
Mostly I keep going just like the Energizer Bunny.  The past couple of months I’ve attended an unusual number of time-consuming seminars on a variety of interesting topics associated with my continued part time work.  One of the most interesting two day sessions focused on training for providing Speech-Language Pathology services in the new Green Houses at the retirement community I serve.  These new Evergreen Villas living units are currently in the final stages of construction.  

Several years ago Dr. Bill Thomas, Geriatrician, proposed the Green House concept.  Green House Projects are now in many states.  Green Houses are designed to create a more home-like atmosphere accommodating a small number of residents compared to traditional nursing homes.
The Gardens is the first organization in California to be licensed to construct homes using the Green House model...two new homes, each 7,000 square feet, with 10 private bedrooms with private bathrooms and showers, and a family-style great room with an open kitchen and dining area. While licensed as a skilled nursing facility, the two houses are designed to look like the single family homes in the surrounding neighborhood.”   

In keeping with this blog's policy to not provide free promotion, I want to clarify that I am not attempting to promote this Life Care retirement community and do not receive any financial benefits from mentioning them here.  I do so solely for the purpose of sharing information about my activities and as an example of this relatively new living environment approach that is becoming increasingly appealing to some elders. 

A few weeks ago I attended an excellent two day seminar focusing on swallowing therapy presented by a Speech-Language Pathologist from a Pennsylvania hospital. I chose these sessions for partial fulfillment of continuing education requirements for my California state license and national certification renewal requirements.  Many people wonder what a “Speech Therapist” has to do with swallowing.  Others are surprised that individuals can even have problems swallowing. 

The reality is that many of the same muscles and functions involved in producing speech are also associated with our swallowing function when we eat and drink.  Our airway function for breathing is intimately involved. Missing teeth, dentures for chewing can provide complicating issues just as foods may do in transit to the stomach or reverse i.e. reflux.  Aging, various diseases, neurological trauma such as stroke, which most readily comes to mind for many, all may have bearing on our ability to safely eat foods and liquids in a consistency and amounts providing adequate nutrition and hydration. 

I prefer attending seminars nearby when possible, so take advantage of those when offered since weeks, months may pass with none available.  A limited number of many such classes offered on the Internet can be taken for credit.  But I prefer attending these live seminars since I’ve ceased attending state and national annual conventions.   

Yesterday I attended a seminar on Functional Cognitive Activities presented by a very knowledgeable Occupational Therapist from North Carolina.  I was pleased with the interdisciplinary approach which I’ve always embraced.  I could readily perceive information that will also have application in Green Houses for Speech, Occupational, Physical Therapies in conjunction with all the other specially trained nursing personnel, plus additional support staff. 

The next several months are likely to keep me busy, too, but maybe the pace will slow in the summer, or not!   I think as I've aged my "pace" has tempered a bit.   I take on fewer obligations and am probably more deliberate in completing my commitments.