Monday, December 25, 2017




Carol of the Bells       London Symphony Orchestra

Christmas Time Is Here        Tony Bennett

Christmas Song         Mel Torme on Merv Griffin Show 1984-85

Snowfall        Tony Bennett

Charlie Brown Christmas Dance

Sunday, December 17, 2017





Readying for the holiday season requires little additional effort here, since my decorating doesn’t necessitate preparing for guests this year.  I have set out some of my miniatures, including my pre-decorated tree, also candles, and vibrantly bright red live flowers.  Packages have been mailed, followed by receipt of subsequent messages notifying me some have already been received.   Greeting cards are all in the mail – yes, I still send them though the numbers decrease every year since recipients keep departing this earth – one of the less pleasant aspects of aging.   


I was reminded of that loss difficulty with aging this week when I received a phone message the 92 year old husband of a friend of my husband’s  had passed away earlier this year.  I especially recall my husband’s fascination with flying, beginning as a military pilot, his wife reminisced.

She was one of the female vocalists with one of my husband’s vocal groups many years ago that sang in the style of the Hi Lo’s and Manhattan Transfer before I met him.  She dovetailed her music career with her “real job” -- as the musician’s describe work taken to support daily living needs – was an airline stewardess in the days commercial flying was a pleasure for passengers.  I had met her and major airline pilot husband only once but enjoyed sharing their friendship.

I returned her call the next evening and we talked for hours.  She had experienced such challenges, becoming a caregiver as his health declined and he ultimately required hospice.   She talked of the current fires which prompted her to relate accounts of past evacuations the two of them had to undertake years ago, since asthma caused him to be sensitive to smoke.   They went in whatever direction the wind wasn’t blowing the smoke, to Palm Springs, sometimes Yuma, Arizona and occasionally even further east as others in their area did.  Now that she’s alone, fires this year have required evacuation to a community center, neighbors assisting her, she reports, as those folks also seek refuge elsewhere and for their horses.    

Our conversation included discussing the inevitable living spouse’s task of resolving myriad business matters following our loved one’s death.  Sorting through possessions she came across some discs bearing my name she had intended, but never got around to sending to me.  I recalled after my husband died she had mentioned having recordings of their group she would copy for me if I wanted them, which I had written her I did, of course. 

But, about that time her husband’s health altered, necessitating she provide him ever-increasing care.   Those who’ve experienced the challenges of caregiving are familiar with all that entails -- how many good intentions must be temporarily, or even permanently set aside, some escaping our memory.   This first Christmas or seasonal holiday without the loved one can be especially difficult, but can also arouse many happy celebratory memories. 


Unrelated to holiday preparations, much work required for my house has been completed.  I’ve been very pleased with the primary wood and stucco workers following the electrician.  They’ve gone above and beyond expectations.  I’ve especially appreciated their pointing out and sealing screw applications in a small but significant roof area the electrician neglected to do which is necessary to prevent leakage, to describe just one of their extra efforts. 

As might be expected a glitch or two interrupts the efficient scheduled flow of further work toward completion.   A temperamental workman cancelled after jumping to an erroneous conclusion, so now I must hire another.  Perhaps he simply did so because he had the opportunity for a more lucrative job, since he previously told me how busy he was.  In any event I won’t attempt to clarify matters with him due to the manner in which he ended our association.  I had even been considering him for additional work if this job was satisfactory. 

In another instance, so much for words of a handyman carpenter when I first hired him, who said he would be available for whatever I might need.  Perhaps he’s getting more work to his taste as he has become more particular – rejecting painting now.   I can’t fault that because isn’t that what most of us seek when we choose to work independently – to be able to focus our efforts just on those tasks we enjoy doing?


This over ten years old laptop my tech guru son has resuscitated for me more than once, is now exhibiting a previous problem again, but struggles along – for how much longer, I don’t know.  My little old netbook backup computer also died early this year.   Now, I’ve reached a point I can have little confidence in this device with which I really don’t want to part, but…….this condition is close to terminal.

My tech supporter son has converted to a Mac so it seems I best do the same to ease any troubleshooting I might need across the miles that separate us.   My daughter is also a convert and will benefit from my granddaughter’s assistance if she has adaptation problems, so guess I’d wisely best join the crowd.   I’m not sure I’ll welcome having to learn the new system.  On the other hand, learning something new is recommended for stimulating our brain to help deter stagnation and other mental ailments.


The  3rd largest California wildfire ever, referred to as the Thomas Fire, is only 40% contained as I write this – continuing, are designated red flag areas, as very low humidity prevails.   Sundowner winds with gusts to over 40 miles per hour, sometimes up to 60 mph, are wickedly whipping the flames licking around the Santa Barbara area and Ventura.   A life, many homes, other structures, animals including numerous horses, vegetation have all been lost since this fire, raging from Los Angles to San Francisco, has roared through thousands of acres leaving devastation in its wake.


Do you have special plans for the holidays?

Is your residence’s physical condition in need of repair? 

How successful are you in having good reliable workmen/handyman help?   

Is the average citizen being snowed by touts of how much more money they’ll have if this budget passes?

Why are the people’s tax cuts for only ten years but corporations are permanent?

Will most of the corporations use their financial gains to buy back their stock, pay investors dividends, as many indicated last summer when asked, rather than creating jobs?

How much will Donald Trump and his families companies profit from this tax bill?

When will Donald Trump reveal his tax return to dispel conflicts of interest concerns?

Will Donald Trump ever express concern a foreign nation, Russia, attempted to interfere in our elections and continues to do so?  

Why does Donald Trump not want to protect our nation from this Russian elections invasion our national security agencies have documented -- a threat violating our fundamental constitutional rights?  

What will happen to all the people who will lose health care as this tax bill continues the collapse of the Affordable Health Care Act?

Will net neutrality really prevail now that the FCC removed the safeguard?

What more do you have yet to do to be ready for this holiday season?    


Tuesday, December 05, 2017


So much going on in the country and the world – pretty serious matters having bearing on all our lives.   I continue staying abreast of much, especially issues from our government, but for now will refine my focus here to my immediate concerns. 

I haven’t shorted out yet, but these household projects go on … and on … and on … or so it seems.   I’m awaiting another written proposal for some needed work on the house in the area where the upgraded electrical circuit box was installed. 

No, same-size electric box trade-out there – the new box is bigger.  So they whack away at the house exterior which later requires hiring other workers to repair all that, then paint to match as best they can – but we’re not there yet.  I hardly expected as much shattered exterior as I saw when they had installed the box.   I don’t recall that I was forewarned about this eventuality, but they encountered more than they expected, too, I guess. 
Did I mention the electrician was here from before noon with first an estimate and then about noon began a 4-5 hour job, they said, but didn’t finish until after midnight?   I was exhausted, and I hadn’t done anything and am even, usually, a night owl.   They encountered unexpected complications – isn’t that always the case!

One such difficultly had to do with the power line from the pole to the house – I’m still waiting for the power company to come raise and lengthen that line – hoping strong Santa Ana winds blowing now don’t come through here breaking my connection.   The city official to clear the electrical work meets code must check yet, also.  

Meanwhile, electricians managed to get me connected so all systems go -- I finally had light, other than my emergency lantern. 

At least the much needed servicing of my furnace and air conditioner could now be finished, so I called him back to complete that service.  This is what started all this as our crazy weather has bounced back and forth from Southern California’s summer warm  to fall’s cool, when, coincidentally, suddenly the blower didn’t work. 

Then, I had my previously planned service from the plumber who simply replaced one commode’s entire innards and handle.  No more water running briefly into the bowl for a short while after each flushing due to slow leakage from the tank. 

No need to replace the whole commode contrary to what a handyman said who’d put in a new part of the unit’s “guts” last spring, but offering only I needed a new commode for this latest issue which he likely was prepared to install.   I may not use him again.

So, I now await a final service proposal, then I’ll make a selection for the next steps -- repairing, culminating in allowing the stucco to dry, then painting.   What is it that all of this exhausts me thinking about it and seems more draining of my energies than when I was younger?   And I’m not doing the physical labor!   

I’m looking forward to slightly decreased electric and water bills – every little bit helps.  I think of all this as contributing to the economy – that I’m helping the young businessmen coming to work – who need money for the holidays.   Where are all the old timers -- blogging about aging?    Can’t help noticing these service guys are all much younger than me, but then who isn’t!  

My goal is to have all of this completed before Christmas – maybe even within this week or surely by next week at the latest; absolutely before New Year's Day!