Sunday, October 22, 2017



Eleven years ago this week this blog was unintentionally launched onto the Internet.  Frantically searching into the wee morning hours, I was unable to find Blogger directions for removing that content I had been writing experimentally.   I couldn’t phone friend or family at that hour either for help.  I understood so little about digital technology then as I was still teaching myself how to use a computer which I had acquired for the first time earlier that year.   I panicked at the thought my words were irretrievably “out there”, which I’ve long since realized hardly mattered at all.  But, given my Internet naivety I reconciled myself there was nothing I could do but continue with the blog to save face, so to speak. 


Writing for my blog, coincided with a major life change following my husband’s sudden death earlier that year.   Natural reminiscences prompted by his loss, my gradual aging-related recollections with the increasing passing of family and friends, has often stimulated my thoughts to reflecting on my feelings and life experiences. Often when I’ve sat down to write a blog post I’ve gotten side-tracked with some of those tangential tales.

So, I began writing those stories as they emerged, but in no particular sequence.  I’ve recounted a few, or portions of them, here, but the rest I consider personal, to be more appropriately appreciated for sharing with my adult children and, likely their children one day.   One fond memory, in abbreviated form here, often comes to mind when I think of fall -- and especially Indian Summer.  


October, or autumn, has also happened to be my favorite time of year.   Living many years in a Great Lakes State we were treated to fall’s magnificent leaves colors of golden yellow, shades of flaming reds to rust and rich browns embracing the trees before gently falling to the ground in preparation for winter’s snows.   I looked forward to those years when late in the season we’d experience a period of cold temperatures or frost, then unexpectedly a brief episode of unseasonably warm, dry and calm weather would suddenly intrude ….. Indian Summer arrived… has this memory in subsequent years.

I had ended a relationship the previous year and a lengthy period followed before I began to notice in the Spring the presence of a nearby resident to whom I had previously never paid any attention, when he and his parents had moved there from out of state many months earlier.  I now became aware of this handsome young man who had a light olive complexion, short dark hair slightly receding at the temples, that said to me he was older, possibly close in age to my 23 years. 

He had a physical build one would expect to see today on someone who regularly did body building, though his 5' 11" trim muscular stature was just natural.  Few men engaged in exercise workouts then that I knew, as many do today, nor had he, I later learned.    I didn’t really date that much and didn’t really think of him as the type I expected to date. 
I was quite pleased though when almost simultaneously with my awareness of him, he phoned me for the first time.  That spring and summer we enjoyed each others company in as many fun activities as were available in the small town environment where I was living then.   I remember the increased rush of feelings I felt on those occasions when he began periodically coming to transact business where I worked instead of where he previously had gone, though we had no direct contact in the business place.   

We sometimes played penny ante poker with my parents.  He was clearly gambling card savvy, generally winning, and my strong suit of bluffing seemed not to work with him.   There were afternoons and evenings swimming at a large spring fed lake nestled in the hills outside of town.   Sometimes, we just walked together, talking or in silence, holding hands, sauntering past stores on the few short blocks of the downtown main street, only a short distance from where we each lived. Sometimes we visited the one popular darkened interior atmospheric watering hole, or further up the street there was the attraction of the local Isaly's ice cream store – which, coincidentally, has returned to the marketplace this year.

Television (black and white only, as color came years later) was becoming accessible with cable installations enabling more people to receive broadcast signals from the distant stations.  Their reception had previously been unavailable due to topography interference.  I don’t recall that we watched any TV, however.    Little did I know, though it had always been in the back of my mind, that before the next year ended I would be employed at one of those commercial television stations -- in spite of the fact Public Broadcasting was what initially interested me most. 

High Fidelity was being enhanced to stereophonic sound on our long playing (LP) vinyl records for the music we enjoyed.   Occasionally we went to the local movie theater.  Then there was the annual County Fair with those colorful “Dancing Waters”, rides including a Ferris Wheel, Tilt-O-Wheel, the fun wandering among the various animal barns, treating ourselves to the fast food only available at traveling fairs and carnivals. 

We experienced the always surreal to me Indian Summer that year after the summer turned into fall.   I remember those occasions when we lost track of time as conversation and our friendship took a more serious turn.   I think this may have alarmed both of us, since we each had quite different plans for our lives.  Just as suddenly as we had started dating, we stopped.  I had mixed feelings, but neither of us reached out to the other.  

Indian Summer inexplicably signaled the finality of more than just the season after a very special spring and summer.   There have been times over the years when I've wondered what became of my bronzed young friend.  I do know that though we would not have been a good long term match, fall seasons that have an Indian Summer are very special to me.

Here’s Sarah Vaughn’s rendition of a favorite “Indian Summer” jazz melody:    

Sunday, October 15, 2017



Open letter to whom it may concern  . . . . .  if you receive any reports I was seen behaving rather strangely last Friday afternoon, I just want you to know  . . . . .  I have not slipped a mental cog . . . . .

-yes,  that woman sitting in a lawn chair at the end of the sidewalk outside her dentist’s office next to a  small American flag planted in the ground was me . . . . .

-yes, I  was overlooking  Route 66 with the boulevard’s usual busy auto trafficin all lanes  . . . . .

-yes, I did attract a few curious gazes from passersby and the young boy skateboarding on the sidewalk . . . . .
-yes, I did sit there for ten or fifteen minutes before seeing a vehicle with a sign across the front that said, “Convoy Follows” . . . . .

-yes, there was a jeep-like vehicle behind it, but I didn't notice any other military vehicles, plus I wasn’t sure if the other ordinary cars and SUVs were part of the convoy or just the usual traffic . . . . .

-yes, I waited ten minutes or so more but saw no more recognizable military vehicles . . . . .

-yes, I finally gathered my belongings into my car’s trunk, then parked overlooking the boulevard just in case more vehicles should come . . . . .

-yes,  I waited about  ten minutes longer, then as I was about to leave a large military troop carrier type truck and a couple or so more jeep-type vehicles passed by quickly  . . . . .

-yes, I noticed on the back of one of those vehicles a sign that said, “Convoy Ahead”  alerting me to the fact the Convoy had come and gone . . . . .

-yes, I felt kinda foolish that the military vehicle convoy I had expected to see apparently was much more disconnected and shorter than I expected . . . . .

-yes, I understood now why the local newspaper office and police department when I phoned them several hours earlier knew nothing about a convoy coming through our town  as this turned out to be pretty much traffic as usual . . . . .

-yes, I felt rather silly to have contacted our newspaper and local police asking for the convoy schedule here,  plus I had even  gone to the trouble earlier to phone the convoy group’s national office to find out when they would be coming through our town . . . . .

-yes, I was encouraged about seeing the convoy when the phone person spoke enthusiastically about all the vehicles she had seen when they had been in her Midwestern town . . . . .

-yes, when she gave me the convoy leader’s phone number I even called and received a courteous call back giving me an accurately close approximation of when the vehicles would pass through our city. . . . .
-yes, I did plan to take a photo or video to share here, but the convoy was so short, came and went so disjointed and fast, I have nothing to share except this tale of unrealized expectations.

Refer to “Route 66 Convoy” segment in my previous post for specifics about MVPA if unfamiliar.

I am left to share with you one of my favorite versions of the following tune.

“This exclusive performance by The Manhattan Transfer of "Route 66", one of their classic signature tunes.”


We have so many expectations in life – of ourselves and of others -- as I did of the Convoy above.  What is reasonable and realistic?   I think of this in relation to all the needs that are arising in view of the disasters sweeping our nation – the current destructive life-taking fires raging in Northern California, our own fires here in Southern California, the hurricanes winds and flooding waters affecting so many U.S. citizens and others elsewhere, as well as those victimized by gun violence.  Certainly the expectation for our good health is ranked high on our list, too, but when disease, accident, illness intrude, our lives are drastically affected, but that's a whole topic unto itself.    

Seems we’re hearing increasing news accounts of older people being especially adversely affected in these disasters.  I think of the Florida nursing home where residents should have been evacuated to a nearby hospital when their facility was flooded.  There have been numerous reports of Puerto Rico older residents in dire need of food, water, medicine and other health care long after the hurricane has passed, not to mention the continuing needs of all other ages.   Reports are still emerging from Northern California fires for unaccounted lives -- but some known older folks, who were unable to evacuate quickly enough to survive,  have been identified.  What were their expectations?   

The reality is, we may need to reassess our expectations of ourselves and others.   Whether or not we like it, most older people are not going to be as agile, fast, or as able to avoid dangerous situations.  Those with mobility limitations, in addition to being older, are going to be slowed whatever their age, wherever they are, whether they are subjected to a sudden disastrous occurrence, or even if they have warning.   We’re all wise to think about our situation now, or well in advance whenever --  in terms of our own personal status -- our physical condition, where we live, to plan in advance accordingly.  We may need to “leave”, not “stay”, or act early -- long before others.

Often we’re given recommendations about creating an environment inside our residences that will maximize our safety, or to move to a one floor plan setting, to eliminate steps, avoid ladders indoors and outdoors.   There is more we need to do.

We need to inquire in each of our communities about what systems are in place to provide us advance evacuation or shelter-seeking warnings, if we live in a fire, flood, hurricane/tornado high winds area.  Those of us living in earthquake prone areas are looking forward to a possible warning system in California, but that’s a few years away, if at all, though Japan has had an effective one for several years.    

We all will want to familiarize ourselves with what provisions have been made by our community to come to our aid before the storm, if expected, and after the disaster.    Older couples need this information, but older single people certainly do, too, and especially those who may not have family or friends nearby to be checking on their welfare.   Others may need to be occupied looking out for themselves.  Certainly we would hope all of us would be looking out for each other -- that would be our expectation.   


Expectations for most Americans, other than the most wealthy, are not very promising based on this current Prez‘s continued betraying actions of the voting majority.    Undermining the solvency of the Affordable Care Act (ACA; aka Obamacare) is systematically being done by Executive Order.  What we will have now is basically Trump Care, as any resolution is left to his Congressional political party whose solutions to date have been untenable with either party. 

This administration also continues to dash the expectations of citizens for safety -- environmentally -- as efforts to provide clean air -- the very breath of life -- are undermined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations reductions.  One such,  results in increasing polluting coal burning (in an already fading industry whose decline has been due to a growing independent evolution to cleaner energy sources).   

Revelations of Russian propaganda efforts to interfere in our past election continue which demonstrates their government's lack of honorable values.   This dishonest ethical failure leaves me with an expectation that, regrettably, Russia's government will continue to be  untrustworthy.   

Monday, October 09, 2017



Collecting monies we’re due often seems unduly complicated.  For example,  I sometimes wonder if there’s a legitimate rationale behind some claim rejections, or if a  denial is merely the first step of an automatic process deliberately designed to wear down a claimant’s will.    Often with a denial the claimant is told they may appeal as a next step.  Sometimes even that appeal may be denied and a further appeal may be necessary.    This requires even more action which some claimants may tire of expending their time and effort on, so they just don’t bother following-up.  
However, on general principle, I did appeal two denials when I was awarded only a partial amount of a full claim I filed after a first denial earlier this year as described in my June “Gift Card Saga” post.     

1)  I purchased $200 USPS insurance to cover several gift cards totaling $205; mailed to arrive before Mother’s Day; never delivered, received, or redeemed by anyone.

2)  I filed a claim in mid/late May for $55 – the amount of two businesses that could not or would not void the balances on the unredeemed cards and reissue replacements, unlike the other two businesses I had contacted, so I didn’t file those amounts but did report what I had done.                                                         
3)  June I received a check for only $17.67 USPS claim settlement which I appealed.

4)  July my appeal was denied but was advised I could appeal further up chain of command which I did, asking for either the difference or an explanation of how only the partial amount I was awarded had been determined. 

5)  Oct. I received a check for the balance of my claim $37.33; no explanation.

Note my time and effort required because the full amount of my claim wasn’t honored when first filed.  I might well have not pursued this due to the small amount when my life was so busy years earlier before I retired because.....

-- I successfully had to make multiple phone calls, await call backs over time, obtaining from two businesses transference of the full unused card balances to new accounts; unsuccessfully doing so with other two cards due to their systems. 

--  Meanwhile, also unreimbursed was my time, energy, postage to prepare the claim, copy required documentation.  

--  Indirect costs also were incurred for employee(s) processing the claim whose salaries are paid for from my insurance and postage monies – perhaps this contributes to postage rate increases.   

I wonder what sort of experiences others may have had claiming monies due them that they have been denied?  


Fall is trying to make an appearance here in Southern California inland where I live.  What that means is our daytime highs are in the 80’s now.  Some dry winds, referred to as Santa Ana’s,   will be blowing in from the desert east of us.   I’d surely welcome some rain, but perhaps later. 

Lots of tributes in our Los Angeles area news to lives lost, those injured, loved ones sorrow,  stories of ordinary people becoming heroes  by exhibiting extraordinary valor during the Las Vegas atrocity (see previous post.)   So many folks attending the ill-fated Route 91 Harvest Festival were from Southern California.

I’m left to wonder what measures, if any, will be taken by our Congress and this Administration to address the stranglehold commercial gun interests have on our nation?   Action is avoided under the guise of protecting Second Amendment rights as the mindless killing continues in the U.S. – which we experience in greater numbers than in most other nations whose people also value life as well as freedom, but  have addressed the gun issue, unlike the U.S.  
Puerto Ricans continue to cope with life threatening situations for so many without power, communications, water and food reportedly due to distribution problems inland on the island.    Our Prez’s visit there recently and his behavior -- tossing token  paper towel rolls  to residents which had a “let them eat cake” quality – said and did little to cause me to think he had the slightest bit of empathy, compassion,  understanding, or caring for these U.S.  citizens dire situation.   Island residents are not eligible to vote there, so I couldn’t help wondering if this had any bearing on what has seemed to be an attitude of not even a modicum of concern for those in need ..... in addition to what some perceive as his disdain for those of some other cultures and people of little means?  


Living near U.S. Route 66 which extends from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California my attention was captured recently when I read a military convoy (MVPA) would be travelling that “Mother Road” -- as author John Steinbeck described this highway in his novel “The Grapes of Wrath” later made into a movie.   

That original Route 66 launched the nation’s first Federal highway system in 1926 by the Bureau of Public Roads.   Researching this Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) I learned:

"World War II caused a marked decline in civilian and tourist traffic, but it stimulated new business along U.S. 66, when it acted as a military transport corridor moving troops and supplies from one military reservation to another.  Motels saw an increase in occupancy, as families of servicemen stationed at military bases stayed for long stretches.  But more significantly, Route 66 facilitated perhaps the single greatest wartime mobilization, as thousands of job seekers headed to California, Oregon and Washington to work in defense plants.” 

I recall my husband’s sometimes humorous stories about a driving adventure  he and a couple of his buddies made from Ohio to Chicago to head west across the country on Route 66.  Coincidentally, twenty plus years later he and I would move to California to settle just north of that fabled highway (called Foothill Blvd. here) and where I still live.   My husband said when they drove much of the area into Los Angeles,  citrus orchards abounded on both sides of the road – primarily oranges, lemons – long since replaced with housing construction, strip malls, businesses, burgeoning city populations, numerous nearby colleges and universities.

This convoy description reports: 

“Established in 1976, the non-profit MVPA is dedicated to providing an international organization for military vehicle enthusiasts, historians, preservationists and collectors interested in the acquisition, restoration, preservation, safe operation and public education of historic military transport.”   

Among the key points of this 2,300 mile Convoy is this statement: 

“No weapons (real or otherwise) will be allowed on Convoy vehicles.”

The military convoy travelling Route 66 through our city likely will pass through here Friday, October 13 following a “Rest Day” in Barstow, CA east of here Thursday, October 12.  Their next stop Friday is expected to be In Irwindale, CA west of here before continuing Saturday to their final destination in Santa Monica.    Apparently there is no planned stop in my city.    I haven’t even read about or heard any mention of their passing through here, so I’m curious to see what develops.     

Talented jazz musician Nat King Cole accompanies himself on piano as he sings "Route 66"


Monday, October 02, 2017


Tragedy at an outdoor country music venue, the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada Sunday night October 1st.    Bursts of an automatic weapon submachine gunfire reportedly was heard for more than five minutes coming from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on the "strip".  There are 100+ plus  injuries, currently 20+ deaths among the possible 30,000 concert goers, including some police officers.   

A Clark County Sheriff's news conference announces the shooter is dead, he is a local Las Vegas  resident they believe to be the sole actor, name withheld -- that there are no bombs -- motivation not known.  Sheriff is seeking search warrant so they can search the shooter's home.   The public's assistance is requested to locate a named Asian female of interest who is his friend or companion and identified two automobiles they want help locating. 

Consult your news source for updates and final accounts.

Though now discounted, at one point there had been speculation there was more than one shooter, reports of possible shooting in other hotels.   Authorities did shutdown Interstate 15 Freeway which is the primary route east of  my community and the primary Southern California route to Las Vegas.  Flights to McCarran International Airport were being diverted to our nearby Ontario (CA) International Airport. 

Los Angeles TV stations went live from Vegas in their news programs with video and witness accounts of  this atrocity just as I was going to retire for the night.    I immediately thought of friends coincidentally spending the weekend there to attend their young grandson's performance in a school play.  I am confident they and their musician son's family are not at risk as they would not have been attending this festival, but does bring home how fragile life can be. 

Sunday, October 01, 2017



The other week I guess my subconscious mind attempted to lengthen my life, if only by one day.   I had checked my calendar on Sunday, as I usually do, and was delighted to discover I had only one scheduled activity in the week to come.   I was thrilled as had seemed every week, for I don’t know how long, there had been few, if any, days free from some obligation.   So, the days that week went leisurely by.  

Then, one afternoon, just as I leaned back in my recliner for a few moments of post lunch shut-eye, I received a phone call.  A voice I recognized said, “I guess you aren’t coming?”   “What?” I confidently replied, “This is just Thursday, and we moved my appointment.”, recalling we had rescheduled to a day different from my usual one.   “No, this is Friday”, I was told.   A few minutes thought and I realized I was a day behind.   

What had happened?   I hadn’t consulted a calendar during the week, remembering well I had that one appointment.   I chuckled to myself recalling that a decade or so ago I had waltzed into the shop one day for my appointment to the surprise of all, only to discover I was a day early –  causing us all to have a good laugh for weeks to come. 

I was also reminded of years ago when my children were in school, my friends and I used to laugh about getting our days mixed up whenever school day schedules sometimes cancelled classes for a day mid-week.    The day often seemed like it must be a weekend -- Saturday or Sunday.  

We clearly weren’t experiencing typical memory loss, but when we reach a certain age and demonstrate such behavior, others might be inclined to assume otherwise.  We, sometimes, even wonder about ourselves which we probably didn't when we were younger.   

Wisely, at any age, if we experience an increased number of such mixed-up or forgetful instances, we should discuss the matter with appropriate others, possibly trusted friends, family, our doctor or other professionals. 


Disaster effects from hurricanes, earthquakes, fire, rock slides, continue to wreck havoc on the lives of many around the world including many island peoples we should not forget.  Volcanoes are even erupting though no known victims at this writing. 

Our U.S. citizens in Gulf States and East Coast areas, continue the hard part of cleanup and reforging their lives.   Florida Key’s officials announce they are able to accept visitors again --  probably in real need of income from tourists  as will be many other islands, especially, including Puerto Rico.  
The island of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated U.S. territory, received the force of two hurricanes, one after another -- a real double whammy.   Unfortunately, the Territory has been in dire financial condition since before this disaster which likely handicaps their resources needed for recovery. Obviously, being an island surrounded by an ocean makes providing assistance from others more challenging, but alerts for emergency support planning were known well in advance. 

Puerto Rico's residents have been United States citizens since 1917 following the conclusion of the Spanish-American War in 1898.   Referendums have been held periodically with serious consideration by residents and U. S. Congress given to Puerto Rico becoming the 51st State in the Union. 
Our nation’s leader continues to betray the ordinary citizens of the United States of America as evidenced by the negligent manner in which slower-than-expected assistance has been provided to Puerto Rico and the people there.  

Likewise, initial descriptions from our leader’s proposed tax reform plan consist of smoke and mirrors hardly benefiting the typical American.   Additionally, more elements are surfacing from the cesspool this Administration continues to create in the swamp he said he would replace. 


An original blues, soul, pop composition by a talented but troubled young artist known for performing in various musical genres who died tragically much too young several years ago.