Friday, December 25, 2015


“All I want for Christmas …” is rain and snow! 
 (apologies to lyricist Don Gardner who wrote “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” in 1946.  Other songsters have since orchestrated their own versions -- you may even have your own!)

California’s state-wide drought issues have caused the need for serious water usage conservation efforts, hence my wish.  I’m delighted the weather effect known as El Nino is bringing snow to our mountains and rain in our valleys that will, hopefully, continue the next few months.  Even then we’ll need such winter weather each year for several years to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, or Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanza -- these are the holiday wishes with which family, friends, or others we encounter are most likely to greet us this time of year.    The season offers us all, including those not celebrating any of these holidays, a unifying opportunity.   

Events this year have elicited emotional reactions from some across this country on how to insure future safety for all that have raised questions challenging our values -- personally and as a nation.    Hopefully, we'll all continue to practice tolerance throughout the coming year as we offer others respect, love one another and seek peace. 

Thursday, December 03, 2015


"Act of Terriorism"  declared by FBI -- Fri., 12/04/15 Update

More violent madness unbelievably explodes, but now in  Southern California east of Los Angeles in  San Bernardino -- Redlands -- a mere thirty minutes freeway drive east of my community.   This has been a day of mayhem, tragedy and mystery.   We're all mourning.

All media news has been focused on this evolving story beginning with a mindless shooting event around 11 o'clock yesterday, Wednesday,  morning.   Law enforcement is laboring through the night as I write this to ensure public safety -- uncover the facts.   You can readily access particulars through your news source as ongoing information continues to surface surrounding the circumstances of this tragedy that has taken lives, maimed others, grieved so many of us, but still has unanswered questions.

Two now deceased shooters in their twenties, engaged or married (with a six month old baby girl they left with her grandparents)  have been identified.    The male, born in U.S., was a five year San Bernardino County Health Dept. employee. Further information about the female presently not known.

A distraught member of the male shooter's family, supported by cultural and religious community leaders, briefly spoke on TV expressing their surprise, shock and sadness this had happened.  Religious leaders stressed such violence was not supported by their religion.

Law enforcement investigation continues disarming bombs and considering the possibility of other conspirators.  Meanwhile, thank you to law enforcement for swift and effective efforts to prevent further carnage.

Police officials revealed additional specifics that the male had angrily left an annual holiday party, then returned later with his companion to initiate the shooting.  Officials speculate all the equipment and masks worn by the shooters, their firearms, bombs in their possession and left in other locations raise questions about motives for the shootings and suggest long term planning.

So many questions in the beginning and continuing -- work place anger -- terrorism ?  Maybe it's both.   Other conspirators?  The FBI's investigation is now considering this a possible act of terrorism, but we don't yet know for certain.

News reports state two recovered guns involved in the shooting were legally purchased.

Would tightening gun control laws in this country have lessened or prevented this happening?

Does it make sense individuals on airline watch lists who are prohibited from flying be allowed to purchase guns?

Should there be limits placed on gun purchase by those with select diagnosed mental illnesses?

What if gun purchase registration was required at gun shows?  Would it be different than what we require to buy and sell a car, motor vehicle? 

When do we start answering these questions ...... taking action?

We must find a way to preserve our liberties and be safe.

Why isn't Congress addressing these issues?

Saturday, November 14, 2015


May the French people receive some comfort from knowing there are many people such as me, even our whole nation's population, sharing their grief following the tragic events in Paris.  

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


Pollsters report a few ranking changes in the Presidential candidate political world since my previous post.   Perhaps in the months ahead we'll begin to hear meaningful news reports that all the candidates are primarily only debating the national and international issues that really concern each of us.

Age change occurred when I entered another decade.  I was delighted to celebrate with family from age 4, 20 years and up.  Then, I enjoyed a visit with a decade older cousin beginning her journey to 100.   Finally, a special get-together with college friends I hadn't seen for over fifty years capped my activities.   Wonderful memories!

There were numerous flight delays on my travels due to aircraft mechanical problems.   Little did I know my initial departure on a major airline I hadn't previously used  would be only the first of what was to come.   Just as I settled into my seat, buckled up, ready for take off, the pilot's voice came over the speaker causing me to laugh incredulously to myself.

"Ladies and Gentlemen" ... in a slightly subdued embarrassed sounding tone ... "A knob has fallen off and we've been unable to reach it.  So, we have a contract maintenance man coming to correct the problem.  Fortunately, he only has to go across the tarmac where he can get a pair of needle nose pliers, to bring back here to retrieve the knob."  

I only hoped the rest of the plane would hold together.   I made a mental note to carry needle nose pliers on all future flights to hasten repairs and facilitate on time departures.

Then there were the frantic issues associated with making the next flight's connection.  How could I fully appreciate the stressed out manner of the cart driver transporting some of us, since I didn't know airport police had threatened his job for reckless driving through terminal passengers when he was rushing to meet our plane?   Why couldn't he and we passengers have been told no need to rush as so many from different flights making this connection that the flight was being held?  

I'll spare you the coming home saga of the multiple delays with first one plane, then the replacement plane, all due to mechanical problems.   I took as a good omen a most beautiful red sunset visible through the airport window as we awaited boarding and departure.     A race was ensuing between our flight getting airborne so I could make a connecting flight several hours away and  a hurricane before  the storm arrived there from Mexico.    Even finally arriving home near midnight was not uneventful through no fault of my own.    A few days later I began to feel rested. 

Weather change has come with rain actually finding its way to Southern California bringing snow in our mountains yesterday.  We're hoping for more moisture and snowflakes in the weeks and months ahead.  El NiƱo is the weather condition expected to provide some relief though won't eliminate our drought condition.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Is Donald Trump "putting on" America ala the TV character created by Stephen Colbert on his former show ???
                                --  real issues presented in outrageous manner!!!

Should we take this candidate at his word and seriously?  

What are the repercussions for all of us if some do? 

Is his type rhetoric what is required to arouse people to take action to resolve these long-standing American problems?   

Just asking! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


UPDATE 8/14/15:    Kenju's serious take on what I wrote here prompted me to do a search on SADS, an acronym that just happened to come together as I wrote this Skip-A-Day  piece.  I just now did a Google search and was surprised to learn SADS is an acronym for a seriously legitimate organization dedicated to making people aware of Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome.   I was aware of SAD as referring to seasonal affective disorder, but by adding the "S" I concluded I would not be confusing matters with that group.  However, I did not know there was an official SADS organization when I originally wrote and posted this Skip-A-Day piece. 

I'm acutely aware of the serious nature of the  medical  diagnosis arrhythmia, but  I want to clearly state it was not my intent to infringe on the SADS organization's acronym.  If I ever inadvertently create what I think is an original acronym in the future, I will certainly search to see if it may already exist in some other context, or represent an existing real organization I hadn't known about..  Meanwhile, though arrhythmia has absolutely nothing to do with what I intended as a humorous post, I'm  providing a link to the real SADS organization.  I strongly urge you to click on that link and learn about this arrhythmia syndrome.. 

Then, re-focus by reading the unrelated topic of my Skip-A-Day and hopefully, have a chuckle or two.  You will have to suspend belief since there are arrhythmia disorders in the ICD  code listings, but just not Skip-A-Day which was something else entirely in my imagination. 
                                      *                                              *                                                        *

Skip-A-Day Syndrome (SADS) is not a medical diagnosis you’ll find in the ICD (International Classification of Diseases -- official listings of diseases, functioning and disability – nor among specific psychiatric and psychological disorders.)  The ICD is where coding numbers are assigned to each of the listings – a system that brings order and chaos to health care -- the latter when getting into the billing for services provided – but that’s another story.

ICD 10 updates 9 this fall with continuing refinements and improvements, hopefully outweighing any new system complications.   But, medical science being what it is with new discoveries and research findings, we can be assured change will continue to affect ICD, as it does most aspects of the world in which we live.   Who could possibly become bored when change is everywhere -- so much a part of our lives?  

As for SADS, I hardly think ICD inclusion is appropriate, nor is official or even unofficial consideration being given to the syndrome’s listing.  In fact, this SADS account is what the medical community considers to be strictly anecdotal.  I would agree with that.   This may even be the first place the syndrome has ever been identified, much less written about.   Who knows if others have ever experienced or observed SADS behaviors?      

I’ve only recently been able to “connect the dots”, so to speak, tracing back in time to when I experienced what I now recognize as my first SADS episode.    My young children had started attending school .   One week there was a day when all their classes were cancelled due to special teachers meetings.   Normally, the only time during the school year they were ever home during the day was on weekends – Saturdays and Sundays.   Of course, if they were ill, or there was a special holiday, they would be home on a weekday, but there would be pronounced activity in our home memorably different from “every day” type living.   So, SADS episodes never occurred those weeks.  But I discovered …..the week they were home on one just plain ordinary unmemorable weekday was what had triggered my SADS!

I lost track of what day it was, because, clearly, it seemed as though this had been a weekend day or they wouldn’t have been home.    Yes, I could have looked at a calendar, but that doesn’t always help unless you’ve been marking the days off.  Besides I was really busy around the house and with them -- who cared what day it was!  My bedside alarm clock featured time only.  We didn’t have computers or smart phones then, where the day, date and time appear on the screen when the digital devices are turned on.    But directing ones attention to the specific screen area where that information appears is required. 

After that first SADS episode, I realize now, I continued to have such lapses periodically until my children graduated from high school.    Those day disorientation events were infrequent because the teachers didn’t have too many all day meetings during each school year, fortunately.

The following years of my life I may have had an occasional SADS episode, but I don’t recall any of them specifically now.   Consequently, I’m unable to connect them to any one stimulating causal factor, unlike the teachers meeting events. 

I had completely forgotten all about such SADS episodes until the past year when I began to work less, eschew obligatory commitments and generally revel in engaging in whatever, whenever I felt like doing so – or even doing nothing.   I, truly, could lose track of time – delighting in not even looking at the written pocket calendar I prefer to keep vs using one of my digital systems. 

None of those latter digital systems are the first thing I look at each morning.  In fact, I may not look at them until evening, or may even skip a day or two, including reading my email.    After all, this is not a business I’m in and I’m no longer on call every week day – this is my life, now.  (Using the devices in business is a whole different matter.)  Just as long ago, I ceased allowing the ringing of a phone to command my presence (answering machines helped) -- no digital device – cell/smart phone, computer – is going to usurp my control.  

I’m not completely irresponsible -- a few significant people are able to text me, so when that signal goes off, I attend to it immediately, thus I recognize importance where I think it matters.

Sometimes, I don’t even direct my attention to the day/date/time on my digital device screens.   I don’t deliberately think about not doing so, but just doing so is not an established habit.  Consequently, seems I might have had an occasional day slip by but “no harm, no foul” as the saying goes.  And then ……..

This is how I became aware of Skip-A-Day Syndrome (SADS) -- how I searched my memory to discover and conclude this was not an age-related disorder as some might be quick to ascribe to any such slip-up by an older person.   Am I rationalizing or deluding myself?

One morning I rolled out of bed, took care of my morning personal care, dressed, then drove to my early annual eye doctor appointment only ten minutes away from my home.    How strange!   I observed the gates to the office and parking lot were closed, but noticed cars lining both sides of the street for half-a-block, though no people were in them.   I discovered an open area where I was able to park across the street from the doctor’s office.   I was actually a few minutes early for what would be the first appointment time of the doctor’s day, so I waited.   He always seemed to have lots of people in the office booked for the same hour.

No one showed up outside at the time the office would open.   Oh, I thought, the staff must already be inside….the parking lot is probably locked to keep cars out because they’re going to resurface it today.   So, I exited my car, walked to the sidewalk gate, only to discover that it was still locked.   Did they forget to unlock it?  How would those people from the other cars have gotten in?    Maybe they didn’t go to his office but to some other location nearby. 

Hm-m-m .....I turned and walked back to my car.   Using my cell phone, I called his office number printed on the annual reminder card they always send me.  I reached an answering machine – surprised a live staff member hadn’t answered my call.    I left a short message, thinking they must be busy as usual, would hear me and call right back saying they’d unlocked the gate.   After a few minutes I decided maybe I better double check the date – after all, it’s right there on my phone’s screen. 

Well, whaddya know!   It’s Sunday!  My appointment is for Monday.   I quickly phoned his office again and laughingly left a brief message that gave them a chuckle to start their Monday morning workday and another chuckle when I spoke of it the next day at my appointment.   Even my doctor was laughing when he came in the examination room.   

That must be my purpose in life – to make everybody feel good.   Laughing releases those healing endorphins you know!


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Profound U.S. Changes

Profound changes have been occurring in the United States of America during my lifetime over the past three-quarters of a century.   Recapping the progressive nature of all these changes would require describing considerably more than what I want to write here now.

Most recently our Supreme Court has ruled in favor of individual freedoms for all Americans to wed their loved partner.  This act will result in significant benefits for many individuals who deservedly will now become full citizens. 

Another Supreme Court ruling has made it possible for this richest of nations to continue to provide health care for some of our citizens who might otherwise have been without such assistance.  More plan refinement must continue for the ultimate benefit of all.  

Other issues involving symbols associated by so many with racial oppression are finally being relegated to a long overdue status of significantly reduced prominence as evidenced beginning with South Carolina's Confederate flag relocation.  Tragically, the life of many innocents allegedly taken by a hate-filled mentally-warped-thinking youth with allegiance to that very flag has been the impetus to arouse Americans to examine our morality on this issue.

Perhaps now we'll -- once again -- following another killing disaster -- seriously consider action to curtail the role of guns in our society.   We might even want to re-examine the use of the death penalty in our criminal justice system for all, but especially for the sake of wrongly convicted innocents.

We still have many important domestic issues to resolve over which we have some control and must act on them.   Clearly there are other unpredictable external forces we're unable to control taking actions that we will simultaneously need to address.  We must demand those elected legislators mired in obsessive ideology to the degree they neglect realistic practical action recognize compromise is an art they must acquire and practice for us to have an effective government.

The Supreme Court still needs to reexamine their erroneous decree interpreting corporations to basically have person status.  We, the people, have reaped the lopsided results allowing our political system to be corrupted even more by big money -- this in a time when such inequity exists between most citizens and the small obscenely wealthy percentage of those absorbing the bulk of all profits.

History is fraught with lessons of what can occur in a nation where such financial disparity is present.  Those who seek to be our government leaders, plus our nation's financial and corporate leaders would be well-advised to re-establish parity with citizens.  We citizens would be wise to take more responsibility for our government and its actions so discontent does not build to a potentially destructive force imperiling our democracy and republic.  Forces exist that all too readily want to usurp our way of life, belief in individual freedom and free speech.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Whales breaching, dolphins leaping had passengers with whom we shared passage on a Dana Point, California Catamaran oohing and awing with excitement recently.  The weather was ideal -- just enough sun to warm the not-to-cold sea air that made wearing a light jacket sufficiently comfortable.

Seagulls and pelicans had flown gracefully around the wharf, sometimes swooping down to skim the water's surface as our boat departed the shore at noon.   Though weather reports had cautioned those along beaches this was a high tide day with rip tides swimmers would need to avoid, the minimal increase in wave height our boat encountered was of no concern.  Ultimately, we went about six miles out to sea on occasional roller coaster Pacific Ocean waves before our return trip to shore.  No one became even queasy with the motion. 

My lively red-haired soon-to-be four year old grandson was wrapped between his father's legs behind a safety screen in the boat's bow with an unimpeded view of what was for a time only the vast ocean ahead.   Suddenly, we were all ecstatic with the sighting of the first grey whale's blowing, followed by a revealing glimpse of the mammal's barnacled back.   Beginning with that event we periodically encountered more whales gliding through the water, blowing, tail flipping -- others leaping upward from the ocean to then dive downward back into the dark waters.   

At one point, from the boat's interior one of the mates retrieved a pole on the end of which a small GoPro camera was attached.   He rushed to next to where I was sitting, then lowered the pole's camera end into the water boat side to capture a view of what surface-water appearance suggested was a whale swimming underneath closely by the boat, but in the opposite direction passing by us.   Later the mate launched a drone from the top of the ship to hover over ocean areas where whales were thought to be underwater, but no noticeable creature reaction was elicited.

Unexpectedly, a dolphin fin was spotted ahead at one o'clock slicing through the ocean -- then another was seen elsewhere in an arching leap above the surface in a dive back into the water.   A shout alerted all to yet another dolphin at ten o'clock, then one seen at 2 o'clock as we aided others sighting by using the clock technique for position identification.

Amazingly, we soon began to see dolphins in all directions around us -- scattered all over the ocean -- swimming, jumping, singly and in seemingly coordinated pairs -- groups of three and four flying briefly through the air like synchronized swimmers.   These ocean entertainers provided what seemed like a grand finale to our two hour voyage before we finally turned back toward shore leaving them all behind.       

Dinosaur figures have been replaced in the bathtub by small replicates of whales and dolphins by my grandson -- joining the more sublime, such as sharks, starfish, seahorses, jellyfish -- his father tells me now that they've returned home.      

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Ohio State University Buckeyes became the NCAA's 1st National Football Champions defeating University of Oregon's Ducks 42 - 20! 
  (If you want details about the game please refer to knowledgeable sports writers or bloggers which I am not..)

My first outing to a restaurant/sports bar proved to be far more pleasant than my stereotyped idea had been.  (Read my previous post as to what prompted me to even go there in the first place.)  The local restaurant, Espiau's,  I went to is popular here and I've been there in years past during the day but not for several years.  They've expanded with several different rooms, including a huge area that can be enclosed and heated if "cold" -- a relative term here in Southern California where "cold" today meant temperatures declining from high daytime 60's to low 50's after the sun went down.   

Monday night the restaurant TVs were all tuned to the 2014-15 NCAA National Football Championship game.  Judging by the periodic shouts for one or the other of the sports teams being viewed on large wall TV screens with audio and video in  a couple rooms -- the enclosed area described above and another adjacent bar room with table seating -- these were where the major sports fans gathered.  I was pleased there was no evidence of over-imbibers as the night went on.

Where I was, customers of all ages came to eat giving varying degrees of attention to the games activity.  A large room adjacent to where I sat in a smaller area in a plush cushioned booth, the opposite wall had two equally large TV screens but were video only with the sound turned off.   One TV had captioned commentators but I watched the other one without them.  I like not having to listen to all the "talking heads" described as "analysts."  My husband's analysis was adequate for me those years ago.   I pretty much had stopped paying much attention to TV sports long ago when these individuals replaced college marching bands camera time, especially the half-time shows.

The restaurant waitresses were super nice to this "older" lady -- gave me the wi-fi password so my son in the midwest, daughter on the east coast and I in the west could text together throughout the game.  Their OSU alumni Dad's Buckeye enthusiasm through the years he was living created in each of us a sense of team loyalty that continues to connect us to his spirit even today.    We realized our being together like this was reminiscent of their youth when we were all at home which prompted one to text with 15 game minutes left: 

"It's going to be a loong '15 mins', And we all know, 15 mins equates to 30 mins in sports time.  We had many years to learn the conversion chart while we waited for Dad's games to be over so we could watch our show. Lol"

We deliberately had only one TV and wanted none in bedrooms either, a parenting view which was especially important to me though we both had worked in television.   Still true.  But...with technology today -- computers, smart phones and what's yet to come, parents are challenged to help their children learn to establish healthy use patterns with all these digital gadgets.   I think of how addicted I unwittingly became when I first started using the computer less than ten years ago, then soon after became obsessed with blogging.   My husband had just died and I got lost in the blogosphere for better or worse.  Oh about the game ..... Columbus, Ohio is in rapture tonight!

Hooray for the Buckeyes!  

My husband's spirit must be ecstatic as are Ohio friends still around in the flesh -- especially that OSU head cheerleader from long ago -- John Crawford.
John has had perfect attendance at Ohio State home football games since 1943 the last I knew.   He attended his first game when 12 years old reports Joe Blundo which you can read about with a click on the Columbus Dispatch.    

Tales in the short article of unique ways John attended the games and same-day out-of-state personal events are intriguing.   His accommodations to the aging life encourage us to what is possible as is his attitude and perspective toward living.   Did I mention what a funny guy he can be?  He has a great sense of humor! 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015


Some years ago I gradually became overdosed on TV sports as games took precedence over so much more -- permeating television viewing like a virus.  While the effects on me were drug-like culminating in aversion, for others a strange viral condition developed.    I learned viral treatment could be administered by the TV remote control operator, but only if sports hypnosis had not yet set-in.   For some, like my husband, the hypnosis occurred simultaneously with the TV on-button activation.  The virus strength could be restricted by TV set power outage, accidental or otherwise, but that rarely occurred.    Recently I've noticed the virus' decade-long aversion effects have gradually neutralized for me to the degree  I have actually acquired some interest in viewing selected televised sporting events again.  

College football has caught my attention for this first national championship under the NCAA's new efforts to determine the nation's best team.    Exactly how to make this determination has long been a subject of controversy with previous systems judged by many sports aficionados to be inadequate as my husband agreed.   The teams playing in this finals playoff would have been of special interest to him.

My interest stems from a history of my husband having indoctrinated me, as did his friends and other Ohio State University alumni I came to know.  They included a former head cheerleader, a marching band tuba player selected for the honor of dotting the "i" in their famed game half-time Script Ohio performance, and a prominent music graduate in his own right who also was in my husbands jazz groups.   Colorful memories from so many years ago include after purchasing our first home, my husband and I delighting in attending some Ohio State's legendary horse shoe stadium home football games, especially during the warmth of fall's Indian Summer. 

These are exciting times for college football fans especially in Columbus with Ohio State University Buckeyes competing with the University of Oregon Ducks for the national NCAA football championship January 12th in Arlington, Texas.

I've caught the game fever partially because OSU has seemed an unlikely contender.    Player injuries throughout the season have resulted in OSU having to field their 3rd string quarterback the past several winning games.  OSU's most recent Sugar Bowl upset win over the University of Alabama's strongly favored Crimson Tide catapulted the Buckeyes into the final playoffs. 

The Oregon Ducks have been winning their share of upsets including the most recent over Florida State University Seminoles in Pasadena's New Years Rose Bowl game.   The Ducks are favored to win the championship over the Buckeyes.  I think this game has the earmarks of being an exciting one!

I've long since lived on the West Coast where legendary Big Ten Conference versus the Western Conference games frequently pitted OSU against Southern California's UCLA/USC who have often been the major teams in NCAA's playoff system of the time at the Rose Bowl.   Whatever Big Ten team was in these competitions was the team my husband automatically rooted for including regular season arch enemies from Michigan Universities, Univ. of Wisconsin and others.  But this match is considered to be the first ever college playoff.   Western Conference teams have increasingly become powerhouse players, so Oregon's achieving this first ever NCAA championship competitive status makes the Ducks very popular here in Southern California where I have now lived over forty years. 

When I think of football I cannot discount the concern I've had long before the matter became a prominent issue over injuries players acquire, especially concussion consequences.   Providing Speech-Language-Cognitive-Swallowing Therapy Services to brain-injured individuals as I have for some through the years, I am acutely aware of the life challenges that such individuals and their family members can encounter.

I used to discuss with my husband concern for all age players potential for brain damage.   Many years later as his health declined, he evidenced some behavior changes giving me reason to wonder if a high school football concussion might have been a contributing causal factor for some of his issues.  I hope the sport at all levels of play will take whatever means necessary to insure the physical and mental well-being of all players.  I would ideally hope injuries would be non-existent for the sport. 

I'm looking forward to viewing the Buckeyes vs the Ducks.  Too bad it's only available on ESPN since I choose antenna TV over cable, so the game on TV will be unavailable to me.  Perhaps this will be the time to visit some game-viewing friends since excessively noisy loud boisterous sports bars with their share of over-imbibers don't appeal to me.  On the other hand DISH's newly announced Sling TV is offering a program package of Internet streaming video including ESPN, so maybe I can subscribe inexpensively, no contract, and see the game after all. 

Yes, I have an emotional link to this Ohio State University I cannot deny, if for no other reason than Ohio memories.  Years ago I had accepted a highly long-desired WOSU PBS-TV position but had to resign before even starting when we relocated.   Ever present in my mind are reminders from when I lived in the State including family gatherings, recollections of other Ohioans who touched my life and recalling OSU football game related experiences.  But most of all, providing my support for this Buckeye team to win simply is a way to pay tribute to my husband since I can imagine his spirit will hover over the event.

Many years ago  I recall his wistfully telling me of his high school senior year when authoritative state sportswriters had predicted he would be offered an OSU football scholarship.   But life happened -- including WWII -- causing Ohio State's football season to be cancelled that year -- that and other circumstances significantly altered his life.

"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

(Click on quote above for source as multiple individuals have previously been erroneously credited including John Lennon.)

Thursday, January 01, 2015


This holiday season has me wishing each of you joyous, healthy, happy, and prosperous days in 2015!    

I  do relish each day's moments, but they seem to slip by ever so quickly -- often unexpectedly interrupted with instances of reflection or anticipatory thoughts for the unknown future as I continue "living in place."   

Reflection seems to become more pronounced for me this time of year --  stimulated by seasonal music -- often prompted,  too, by the holiday greetings received from friends, family, loved ones.  They give me pause to note the hand writing of the sender -- if differences observed in letter-making firmness, grammar, language used in thought expression -- to wonder if some writers may be experiencing other functional changes.   A very few greeting cards may have only an imprinted or signed name.   Hand-written personal notes, typed letters recounting personal family activity highlights and enclosed photos are especially welcomed by me.   Voice quality reveals much of emotions beyond words if we're able to talk. 

 I also become acutely aware of those from whom I no longer have contact by greeting card, phone, other social means causing me to wonder about their welfare.  My reality for too many years, especially as I've aged, is that this does not always bode well.   I know loss is to be expected, but the reality is no less difficult to accept as I celebrate a loved ones life. 

A profound loss for me early in this past year was that of my brother, a most significant person in my life about whom I have written here previously.   My big brother's personal caring for me provided unparalleled emotional sustenance and support throughout much of my life though we had erratic lengthy periods of time apart, separated by many miles, even oceans.  

This WWII veteran proudly served abroad in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service.  His subsequent civilian professional life centered on facilitating radio communication through association with many of the primary electronic companies focused on radio/television aspects in this major evolving technology of the time.    The result was his involvement with Project Vanguard, a beginning to our nation's space program and a forerunner to NASA's formation.    

("Project Vanguard -- The NASA History" by Constance McLaughlin Green, and Milton Lomask includes a must read introduction by Paul Dickson, "Sputnik" author.   He succinctly describes the Project's scientific successes leading to significant technologies today which others have omitted reporting.   Instead writers briefly allude only to a launch failure, but omit reference to the harried times with Vanguard's unique pressure-to-launch circumstances when Russia unexpectedly revealed their space program by successfully launching "Sputnik.")   

So many reflections I have since his death and especially this season.....

Vanguard's Ecuador satellite tracking station on Cotopaxi, a potentially active volcano over 19,000 ft with one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world, became his work site for a couple of years.    Saving for a flight to visit him and family in the countries capitol city of Quito became high on my priority list.  The flight there on the countries airline -- even though they weren't known for punctual schedules, give a day or two, and unscheduled stops along the way -- such as Panama going, Peru and Jamaica on return after a one day departure delay -- still allowed me to enjoy the flight adventure, culture and people for a memorable trip.   One unusual activity occurred at a site where I could stand on both sides of the equator by placing one foot on each side simultaneously.   Strangely, a tiny, wizened, weather-worn old woman appeared there before we left and put a curse on us.  

Another uncommon recollection after he returned to the U.S. was my seeing a TV airline commercial many years ago, "Give your wife Hawaii for Christmas!"   He was employed by a different company, living on the east coast by then, but, coincidentally,  he did just that -- summer of the new year the family moved to Oahu.   Unfortunately, not long after the family with teen children moved to that idyllic island his wife received a medical diagnosis of ovarian cancer which ultimately took her life.    

Changes for him continued as he remarried, left the electronics industry where he had additionally become engaged in recruiting, and briefly pursued a state political office.   His progression into industrial relations resulted in another  geographic move to participate in implementing Indonesia's then-ruler's plan for a staple food program to expand his nation's rice production.  Finally returning to another of Hawaii's spectacular volcanic islands his focus then addressed the companies sugar and macadamia nut production.  Subsequent retirement years offered he and his artist wife an opportunity to devote their energies toward a more settled home location.

Maintaining close connections through the years with those I care about can be challenging when many miles and even oceans separate us.   I've come to realize I much prefer the privacy accorded by postal letters or land-line phone calls for meaningful personal communication.  Current digital devices I now relegate to carrying mostly only general or superficial commentary. 

I'll be anticipating receiving those holiday cards, letters, phone calls, photos and the reflections they stimulate next holiday season -- and even some throughout the year along the way.