Sunday, October 25, 2020


Consider with me whatever these thoughts surfacing in my mind during this pandemic may prompt you to think about in your own lives.  I think I am blessed with a somewhat optimistic outlook on life as I consider my situation, that of the current world and especially in my own country, the U.S.   I don't know why I tend toward an optimistic perspective, whether it's genetic, environmental, or due to other unknown factors.  Maybe it's the water I drink.

My mother mostly modeled positivity with a considerable dose of stoicism through circumstances she experienced in her lifetime including during the previous 1918 flu pandemic.  Years later we shared some unexpected significant life changes beginning when I was only a child to which we adapted.  I was able to observe her demeanor, how she coped, acquiring increasing appreciation and understanding for how she managed as I became an adult.

In my mother's case, her religious faith coupled with the secure foundation of her farm family upbringing were strong influences for her coping mechanisms in a very different time from that of my own generation.  Her religious/spiritual beliefs were personal, private, non-extremist, devoid of politicization.  They were not the kind pressed on me or others, a practice which might be better for all today to clearly separate church from state.

My life has been presented with its share of complications of varied complexities beginning when I was very young, so I have had adversities to address before, a few of which, unfortunately, could even be characterized as traumatic.  Fortunately, without denying such, I still developed an overall outlook somewhat like this song's lyrics.  (Much to my surprise I discovered among name vocal artists recordings a version by actor/director Clint Eastwood, not known as  a singer.)

Particularly during this pandemic time as I hear and read about many having all sorts of difficulties adapting and coping, I am grateful to feel fairly comfortable with how I have been able to manage, at least to date.  I do know what exists today is no guarantee for what the future may hold.  Certainly, my circumstances have not been without challenges as I age, incur some unexpected medical issues, and practice living in place in my home with no family nearby and too many friends long since deceased.

Also, anyone reading this blog knows I have very real concerns about the state of our government, our nation and the world.  I have ample reasons to be emotionally depressed, negative in attitude, even feel overwhelmed with the future's uncertainty.  For whatever the reasons, generally speaking, I do not feel that way though I am acutely aware of the potential for worse case scenarios both personally and with our country, even the world.  I do not ignore any of them, but they generally do not press on me emotionally though I do have my moments.

I try to consider what my options are in order to be as prepared as possible mentally and otherwise for what might occur which I've attempted to do throughout my life with varying degrees of success.  Beyond all that, knowing there are factors over which I have no influence, I simply go on with my daily life much as most of you probably do, too.  Always, the unexpected may occur, does and has, which is just a given, but I'll not fret about it.

A board game I had growing up was called "Pollyanna", the glad game, though I don't recall that I ever read the book which prompted the games creation.  I do know the name has become associated with describing someone "excessively cheerful and optimistic who wants to pretend life is all sweetness and light" as defined in Oxford Languages.  I certainly know life is not "all sweetness and light" as I'm sure you do, too.

Though I've never been accused of being a "Pollyanna" and never thought of my outlook on life as being excessively optimistic, some might not differentiate the nuances in meaning.  But don't confuse my type of optimism with that version prostituted to the extreme by our nation's leader's prevarications -- bald-faced optimistic-like lies.  

I do think between this pandemic,  how it's been handled, the general state of the nation and the world with the creeping autocracies featuring fascism ideologies, racism, environmental planet preservation issues, other inequities that a whole lot of negativity has been created.  This negativity permanating our lives can be as contagious as a self-replicating virus and we know something about that now, don't we.  

So, when I express some potential optimism and hope for the future I do so fully cognizant of the immediate reality, possible implications in the present and time to come.  (Countermanding this "permanating negativity" here's Steven Wilson's tune "Permanating" he performs with the Bollywood Dancers to lighten the mood.)

Positive Psychology  discusses that Pollyanna Principle but also notes "A tendency to be optimistic and find a silver lining does impact health and well-being" in beneficial ways as I think we need to keep reminding ourselves.  I think science and we can readily conclude the degree to which one is optimistic does have some bearing on the quality of our lives, though I wonder how many people agree with that view in practice.

I think the ability to find and envision reasons to be optimistic, thus have hope for our future, is vital to our mental, emotional and physical health.  I also believe the language we choose to use describing situations to others and to tell ourselves, especially, has some bearing on the attitude we create, thus influencing how well we cope.  (I rather like this version of jazzy sentiments Paul McCartney sings with artist Diana Krall and her musical group to convey the message.)

There are various means we can use to best adapt to whatever our situation.  Resilience is a means defined by numerous dictionaries and psychologists as our being pragmatic, able to adapt, withstand and recover from significant stressful events, adversity, trauma, threats, to return back into shape.  We're all mustering our resilience to survive this pandemic, our governmental and world situation as well as our own challenges.

I find being resilient, even stoic for a limited period of time, beneficial.  Combined with a degree of humor, being realistically optimistic without rigidly specifying a specific time when all will be resolved or overcome, can be a healthy approach to survival.  

Critical, too, is having hope for the future, again without defined timelines given the uncertainty, optimizes my overall wellbeing to travel the adversity of any rough and rugged road ahead.

I wonder how others view the manner they approach what they do to effectively deal with life's adversities, be it this pandemic or other experiences including from the past -- if either optimism or hope are present in your life now and as compared to other times?

Sunday, October 18, 2020


This is the anniversary of my fourteenth year blogging though on a couple occasions I took a hiatus for periods of time, once thinking I might permanently stop writing here.  Starting my blog, coincided with a major life change following my husband's death in his sleep months earlier in 2006.

Launching my blog was accidental when I was experimenting with setting up a site unsure if, or when, I would even want my own blog.   Exploring the blog idea I unintentionally clicked in error a trial piece I was composing,  thus publishing my words onto the world-wide web.  I left my blog there because I was so digitally uneducated then, also just learning to use a computer, I didn't know how to remove it.  

Once my blog was started I was erroneously under the impression I must write daily which I came to recognize altered my everyday activities in less than positive ways for me, especially upsetting my sleep patterns.  This proved in time to be problematic since my body did not readily adapt at my age then to such an erratic sleep schedule unlike my experience when I was younger.

Writing proved to be very time consuming, requiring considerable editing, was not the dashing off in twenty minutes I expected.  Implementing ideas for a blog site involved a learning curve and more time.  Too long later I eventually realized the obvious, that the frequency of writing and publishing was solely at my discretion, regardless of what I thought were others expectations.

Prior to my blog's internet entry my husband's ashes distribution delays followed by my later travel east for a period of time to join friends and family for his life's celebration seemed to keep my life more unsettled than I realized.  After I returned home I eventually began to resume part time work, started the blog.   Only years later in retrospective reflection of my first couple of years as a widow did I realize how I was coping during that time.  Interesting to me is how a loved one's death can have such a profound effect over time in unexpected ways not initially recognized.  

My life has continued to evolve with each passing year as I've aged, with all that entails in terms of my lifestyle and physical well-being.  One of the most challenging aspects of these years has been the loss through death of increasing numbers of family and friends until very few remain living.

Fall has arrived -- autumn long my favorite season but now emblematic of my life's stage.  Living many years in a Great Lakes State when I was younger, I was treated to fall's magnificent leaves changing colors from green to golden yellow, shades of flaming reds to rust and rich browns embracing the trees before gently fluttering 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, often the first frost, then unexpectedly a brief episode of unseasonably warm, dry weather would suddenly emerge ..... Indian Summer had arrived ..... in which I reveled but miss here in So Cal.'s foothills though may be experienced in the mountains higher elevations.

Music resonates for me in relation to so many aspects of life including nature.  Here's legendary trumpeter  Chet Baker's instrumental jazz version of composer Victor Herbert's "Indian Summer", the original tune to which romantic lyrics were added years later.  The song became a popular tune sung by several vocalists becoming a favorite of mine several decades ago.

Contemporary "Indian Summer" has become the title of quite a different romantic tune referring to the nation.  Here's today's popular exceptionally talented trumpeter Chris Botti I had the pleasure of hearing in person in recent years capturing this new melody for his instrumental version.


Life for each of us is somewhat like these two songs.  Each have variations as interpreted by different relationships to the music, though as the years go by other changes also occur.  One song may fade into obscurity, remembered by fewer people with each passing year, eventually disappearing from the consciousness of others.

A new song given the same title yet quite different from the other song is introduced to then current generations.  The new melody begins its inevitable journey to the years ahead probable oblivion, too.  So it is with our lives and may even be so with our blogs, eventually.  

While I'm keenly aware of the dwindling years, in the meantime I intend to keep enjoying autumn, winter, as well as each spring and summer.   Music, blogging will enhance living my life to the fullest and hope your life is filled with joy, too.

Sunday, October 11, 2020


Be forewarned that I am feeling compelled to express what weighs most heavily on my mind right now with thoughts on the future of our nation.   Of special interest presently, as I cast my ballot and others vote across the U.S.A.,  is my concern our current nation's leader seems to be continuing to betray our constitutional capitalistic democratic republic.  We would be wise to remember his words and actions the past four years have gradually, chaotically bit by bit seemed to be systematically designed to destroy our trust in our government.

His goal appears to have been to alter our governmental system into what could be described as a capitalistic theocratic autocracy.

Capitalistic because of his strong emphasis on money, but largely for the benefit of himself and an oligarchy of a select number of the most wealthy supporting him, but not the majority of our citizens.

Theocratic because he panders to a religious extremist minority-in-number dedicated to forcing their protestant social beliefs on everybody rather than living in a society tolerant of others that also permits them to practice their own views.

Autocracy because he chooses to dictate everything to everybody, diminishing or eliminating the power of our other branches of government -- legislative, judicial and condemning anyone questioning him including in the fourth estate -- our free press.

Our government system will cease to exist as will freedom for anyone who might think or speak differently from him given his intolerance.

We would be wise to ask ourselves if our President is betraying or violating his oath of office to defend the intent of the country's founders and our constitutional democratic republic.

Is he placing our nation's citizens at risk of losing our democratic republic as one of the founders, Benjamin Franklin cautioned -- "if we could keep it"?  When asked "And why not keep it?"  Franklin responded, "Because the people, on tasting the dish, are always disposed to eat more of it than does them good."  So it is we could lose the freedoms our founders gave us.

While our current leader claims to care about all of the people, quite obviously that is just one more of his documented thousands of lies.   What is really alarming to me is how many people supporting him apparently do not realize what he is doing or don't care.  

Our leader is aided by this backing of the political party he hijacked whose members have failed to learn any of the twenty lessons from the twentieth century Timothy Snyder describes in a few hours of easy-read layman's language in his small paperback book "On Tyranny":

"Timothy Snyder reasons with unparalleled clarity, throwing the past and future into sharp relief.  He has written the rare kind of book that can be read in one sitting but will keep you coming back to help regain your bearings."

This book description is by Masha Gessen who eloquently predicted four years ago what to expect from our new leader then -- it has and is occurring.   Gessen also described how to survive based on experience as a citizen reporter in Russia ultimately perilously dissenting with leadership there before needing to come here and having dual citizenship with the U.S. now.  

A recent Guardian interview includes this statement from Gessen, "I never thought I'd say it, but Trump is worse than Putin".   Gessen went on to say,  "in order to actually survive Trump's attempt at autocracy we have to give up the idea of some imaginary pre-Trumpian normalcy and commit to reinvention.  And that is really what these protests are about."

Trump defies a basic democratic tenet by refusing to state he may not relinquish the office of the President if he is determined not to have been reelected.  This from a person who is in office now having received less than the majority of popular votes in 2016.  He suggests resolution of the 2020 election winner may end up being decided by our Supreme Court, apparently in expectation they will decide in his favor.

I can't help wondering if an earlier election in 2000 with Florida's hanging chads was erroneously given to a Presidential candidate that actually lost the election when our Supreme Court was injected into that process, then chose to decide who would be our President.  The consequences of that decision in subsequent years have been profound in our country and the world.

Preventing a stolen election in 2020 is critical but may not be easy since the Republican Party with the U.S. Senate leader seem complicit in allowing the loss of our democracy as does the Attorney General.  They think they control their President who has seduced them by establishing several of their ideological goals, but when unable to prevent potential takeover if he is reelected, they will find in the following years they've given away our and their democracy and freedoms.

The Republicans have been taken over by a minority-in-number faction of their once proud political party backed by private ultra-wealthy forces but fronted by those claiming to be representative of ordinary people under the guise of the Tea Party nomenclature intended to misleadingly imply a connection to a historical American event.  Reference: Dark Money.

The Supreme Court may be a wild card presently but there is ample reason to be concerned their allegiance for constitutional interpretation will fall on the side of big money, just as it did when they basically concluded corporations were people, unleashing corrupting monies into political campaigns.  The pending appointment replacement for Associate Justice Ginsburg is another factor.   Reference: 'Corporations Are People' Is Built on an Incredible 19th-Century Lie -- "How a farcical series of events in the 1880s produced an enduring and controversial legal precedent."

We citizens must be ever vigilant in order to preserve our freedoms and rights best achieved with our current system of government, not an autocracy led by a dictator.  We must educate ourselves and vote at every election level.  We do need to continue progress toward healthcare as a human right, equality for all, and a more equitable distribution of wealth.  Along the way, we better take action to preserve this planet on which we live or eventually for future generations nothing else will matter.

Sunday, October 04, 2020


Ever-changing unexpected, unpredictable events continue to occur in our government about which we're all being informed by our news media, so I'll limit any review of most particulars here.  Suffice to say the pandemic continues to wreck havoc in the world to some degree from one country to another.  Here in the US. the inevitable viral spread keeps surfacing with varying intensity giving me concern as to how our lives are being affected, how our future will unfold.  

My previous post reveals how I discovered I use the British, not the American or French method to prepare my scrambled eggs.  I was intrigued with how some who commented described their own egg scrambling methods.  I don't think I'm overly picky about food but I do have some basic expectations when I eat out.   I recall a couple incidents unrelated to scrambled eggs that were quite objectionable.  

I was at an upscale restaurant with an old friend I hadn't seen for a while who had returned home for a short visit with her mother.  They lived in a small community whose local newspaper latched on to her visits as a social item worthy of note whenever she came to town.  She laughingly told me she had long since gotten use to her notoriety there which prompted headlines like "E (her name) is back in town!"  After all, girl/woman continuing to make good -- working in NYC television industry with celebrities was news during those years when TV was the prominent technology with only three major networks, long before cable and our digital world.

She took me to the most prominent of one of her small town's primo hotel's restaurants where we were practically the only people in the dining room.  I'm sure they were impressed and pleased to have her there.  Having placed our dinner orders my friend had my full attention as we caught up on our lives while waiting for our dinners to be served.  As I took a sip of my water I became vaguely aware of feeling something soft at the corner of my mouth.  Continuing to concentrate on what my friend was saying, I paid little attention as I just automatically reached with my fingers to remove what I felt on my lower lip.

Seeping into my consciousness then was the realization I was sipping water so there shouldn't have been anything of substance.  Glancing at the unknown as I laid it on the table after a few shocked seconds I incredulously recognized I was looking at a very large dead water-soaked cockroach/water-bug.  My friend was equally repulsed as was I.  The waiter we called over was mortified as he should have been since I think he surely would have noticed the creature when he brought our filled water glasses if he had been paying attention. 

Ever since that experience, I check all water glasses I'm served and hope that waiter learned to examine water-filled glasses, too.  As you might expect, the restaurant manager was quick to volunteer they were giving us complimentary dinners.   

Years later when having lunch at a different restaurant I suddenly realized the strawberry pie filling I was eating had a strange crunch on one chew.   Examining the remainder of the pie in front of me I discovered a rather large-sized neck piece of a broken glass bottle.  I was frozen for the moment, concerned I might have swallowed glass bits.  When I summoned the restaurant manager  he said they would pay for me to get an ER medical examination but I must sign a form first relieving them of any responsibility though I wasn't asked to pay for my lunch.   Of course I refused to sign the form.  

What I learned at the hospital was I must await the food to process through my body, then if bleeding symptoms appeared I would know there was a potential problem.    I was very alarmed for a day or so waiting to be certain my bodily system was unimpaired.   I did contact the attorney wife of my employer who counseled me to do nothing further at that time as I was concerned about future implications for myself and husband.  Those days were a different time since subsequent years lawsuits have become much more prevalent over every thing that happens.  Fortunately, I never exhibited any symptoms indicating interior body damage so no further action was taken.  

No doubt some of you may have had some dining experiences you hadn't expected, leaving a bad taste in your mouth.