Saturday, December 25, 2021


                               M E R R Y     C H R I S T M A S  !

Rain ... rain ... rain ... !   Our Christmas gift from Mother Nature has arrived at the base of  Southern California foothills where I live.    Snow is falling in the surrounding mountains.  This moisture won't end our drought conditions but will certainly be a welcome step in that direction.

One hot summer day in SoCal,  many years ago,  singer Mel Torme' visited his co-song-writer, Bob Wells as Torme' has described numerous times.  Observing a piece of paper with words written on it lying on the piano, Torme' inquired, "What is this?"

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, 

Jack Frost nipping at your nose"

Wells explained the weather was just so miserably hot, he had tried everything, finally jumped in his pool but nothing he did soothed him, so he wrote those words to see if they might help cool him down.  Torme' commented he thought the words looked like a song.  Collaborating once again, "The Christmas Song" was written in the next forty minutes to become one of the most performed Christmas songs ever.

"The Christmas Song"  (Live/1990)

Mel Torme' with John Campbell

Album -- "The Christmas Song/Autumn Leaves"

Mel Torme' whose singing voice had perfect pitch was referred to as "The Velvet Fog",  a description he did not like but some thought non-offensive and most apropos.  Torme' maintained vocal quality as he aged which not all singers do -- such control, sophistication and class.  

Memories can be pleasant on a Christmas day celebrated virtually with distant family members.  I have fond recollections of attending with my husband,  a Mel Torme' performance in a local midwestern city dinner club where we lived years ago -- a most entertaining evening.  

I am also reminded of hearing George Shearing, a consummate pianist, incidentally blind, perform in a San Francisco hotel's club room years after his guest appearance on that live TV show with which I had been associated and where I met my husband.   Listening to this music conjures memories of my much preferred small intimate club or concert hall atmosphere where people relaxingly sit, focused on the music, musicians, rather than large concert venues with loud sensory bomb-barding sound and video extravaganza distractions prevalent in recent years.

Torme' joins George Shearing in the following concert video in Germany.  

Torme's song early in the show suggests to me we're again living in times when we may need to "pick ourselves up" and get on with life.  Then Neil Swanson's fast-fingered bass solo was reminiscent of my husband who also played the acoustic upright bass with his various groups and occasionally backed some musical stars.  
About 28  minutes into this smooth easy-going video Torme' sings a very emotionally moving rendition of "Stardust" with poetic lyrics eliciting many more memories as he showcases his vocal talents.   Some  upbeat tunes are featured with an early-on bit of scat singing -- vocal interpretation of a musical instrument -- reveals that Torme' is a master in those songs he vocalizes here.  

Mel Torme' George Shearing Jazz Festival Berlin 1989 Full Concert

Mel Torme' Vocals, George Shearing Piano, 
Neil Swanson Bass, Donnie Osborn Drums.

Torme' and Shearing pay tribute to somewhat younger Caterina Valente (age 90 now) a world famous multi-talented, mult-lingual (fluent in 7 languages) entertainer traveling from her home in Switzerland to attend their concert.

An even more youthful Caterina Valente's sensuous dance and vocal interpretation of "Malaguena" begins this next video, that integrates memorable movie clips of other popular stars of the era performing to her song.  

Caterina Valente
"Malaguena" (1955) 

                         H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S !

Sunday, December 19, 2021


Short holiday letters with no greeting cards for the first time were what I mailed this year.  I guess sending holiday greeting cards are a thing of the past for me now.   Not many left with which to engage in our traditional holiday activity with personal updates, caring messages as we caught up with each others year.  I really miss sending and receiving all those cards and letters as occurred in yesteryear but that was then, and this is now.  Actually, I've also missed letter exchanges throughout the rest of the year, though there have been a few emails, but not quite the same. 

Frank Sinatra 

"I'm Gonna Sit Right Down (And Write Myself A Letter)

Swing Easy!  Album -- 1998 Capitol Records, LLC

What is it with email that when I receive one that I feel I must respond quickly, likely even the next day, or is that just my reaction and others don't feel that way?   I can see such promptness is a good business practice, but should that timeline apply with personal correspondence?

I still remember the days before we had the internet, do you?  How did you stay in contact with friends and family who lived some distance from you?   Did you exchange phone calls -- calls that perhaps were long distance, incurring additional charges?  Did you also exchange letters written back and forth -- handwritten, or typed on those now old-fashioned devices called typewriters, manual or electric?  (I still have two.)

Personal letter exchanges were often spaced weeks or months apart.  After finding time and getting in a writing mood to respond, the letters took a number of days for the U.S. Postal Service to transport, then deliver them.    Corresponding parties were quite accepting of such a time gap in contact.  Then, we got the internet with email.  Suddenly, seems like people began expecting much quicker responses, almost to the point of being instant or, at least next day.   Just how many days can be acceptably allowed to lapse before sending a response to a friend's email?

This came to mind when someone with whom I had recent contact sent me a short email two days after receiving my email noting that life was hectic right then, but a response would be coming on the weekend.  I appreciated receiving that thoughtful note, but it did set me thinking and recalling how years ago if we'd been exchanging letters, a week, maybe two, or even more could have gone by which would have simply been not only expected but quite acceptable by both parties.  There would have been no need to write explaining a delay.  What is an acceptable response timeline now?

This was an issue for me when I first began using a computer, sending emails.  I took my cues about what the expected frequency behavior was from those who were longtime email users now emailing me.  What occurred is that the primary person with whom I was first emailing, other than my adult children, was a new acquaintance.  That person almost always responded to my emails the next day at the latest and if later apologized for the delay.   I concluded this very prompt response was the accepted timeline expected with emails and tried to do the same which often created extreme pressures for me.

Quite some time passed before I began to realize a next day response was probably an ideal business practice, but my correspondence with this person I believed to be personal, not business.  So, I didn't realize until much later I did not need to respond so promptly even though the other person continued the rapid response.    I had begun to feel like a hamster on a wheel trying to keep up before finally ceasing to  do so.  I wish I had known this in the beginning, but I had thought I should follow what appeared to me to be the expected digital internet-world timeline for email correspondence.   

Do you have timelines you follow with email correspondence?  Are they different than when you corresponded with hand-written or typed letters years ago, including business versus personal with family and friends?

Sunday, December 12, 2021


Some of you are busy readying to celebrate Christmas; others are focused on Hanukkah; and additional people have their celebrations in the offing.   My holiday preparations here at home are quite minimal compared to those sometimes frantic years when my family were all present to celebrate together, or in later years when I travelled to their homes. Since I'm doing so little I've had more time to ponder some of the matters in this epistle length post.   I hope all is going well for whatever you may be doing with decorating, gift selections, baking and more.

Michael Buble'   -- Album "Christmas" -- 10th Anniversary Edition

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.                                                         

My recent transition from my cell phone to a smartphone has had me thinking about the changes that keep occurring in my life. Like so much in this digital internet world, the technology, even its security, has moved forward at a much faster rate than has the quality of some of the services provided.  The driving force in our capitalistic society where for many monetizing takes precedence over all else -- sometimes even including ethics and morality -- seems to have become the primary driving force in technological companies' operations (perhaps thanks to Wall Street) which is important, but only to a degree, especially after a company's viability is established.

We see this with questions arising about the values of those dictating the operations of social media companies such as Zuckerberg and Facebook; others who own Twitter, Instagram to name some additional ones; also businesses like Bezos and Amazon, Microsoft, Google and more.  Establishing a balance between the best interests of all Americans, especially those of our children, plus what constitutes "enough" for each company's profit-making goals are issues about which many express considerable concern.  Fair distribution of such income increasingly comes into focus given the uneven distribution of wealth in our country.  There are no easy answers.

Existing technology keeps evolving, some ideas developed being replaced before the services they offer are at least as reliable and efficient as what previously existed it seems to me.  Perhaps this is how progress occurs.  The public is subjected to tolerating a decrease in some operation functions that had been achieved by an existing technology, but they are gradually being replaced by the new technology that can't yet provide a previous important mastered feature but may have additional appealing new ones the old technology does not.   We're left with less than what we had, in some respects, while we navigate the treadmill of the latest new device.

Referring to telephone service in this instance is what comes to my mind as wireless cell phones, now smartphones replace our copper-wired landline phones.  The reality is that people are increasingly using wireless phone systems in preference to the wired landlines so the inevitable seems only a matter of time -- that wired landlines will cease to exist.  

Only about 37% of American households now still use landline phones according to Statista as summarized in numerous web site reports such as Digital Information World.  This data was obtained by the local telecommunication company running off the copper phone lines across the country in a report earlier this year.

Despite the declining use of landlines some of the pros and cons of keeping a landline, particularly in the event of an emergency, still apply as described in an older article written by Nicholas Gilmore.   Recent article comments describe individual's situations like my experience where this is true.

This brings into question the conclusion reached by AARP's John Quain in an article earlier this year.  Contrary to what he wrote, not all problems with 911 calls have been resolved as described above -- one problem he didn't address as well as a few others he cites as having been eliminated but have not everywhere either.  Additional commenters, too, have questioned the accuracy of his perceptions about the state of 911 call problems applying everywhere in the U.S.

My own personal experience a few years ago was with a cell phone in my home.  Surprisingly to me, my call went to a nearby city.  I had to be able to speak and tell them what city and where I was calling from.  They then transferred my call to my city's emergency system which also had the capability of identifying my exact location without my having to be able to speak as the landline 911 system does.  

What if I couldn't speak when I first called -- locating me via cell towers could have taken longer.   A 911 call from my home using my landline phone a few years earlier had gone directly to my city's emergency line and they knew my precise location though I could have verbalized then if needed.  All 911 systems today should have the same tracking capabilities as the landline 911 system.  

Note: I was unable to locate current percentages of cell/mobile phone systems that can precisely identify a 911 caller's location as quickly and efficiently as the 911 landline system.  The last figures I read a few years ago were that only less than 50% of cell/mobile phone systems in the U.S. had acquired this capability.  

Check the 911 system where you live to determine if their wireless emergency response system has adapted to be one equivalent to that of a landline phone.  The automatic and immediate location identification is time-saving and doesn't require the caller having to be able to intelligibly speak to say where they are -- both of which can be life-saving critical acts in the event of some medical emergencies i.e. stroke, heart, respiratory, and others.

A recent Forbes article by Mike Vorhaus recognizes Americans are using their mobile phones to replace their landlines.  He also reports having a mobile phone but is keeping his landline and thinks it is very sensible to do so.  He describes how landlines have their "own energy" allowing "landlines to operate completely independent of the household electricity or the general electric grid."  Electric power to the house and grid if lost, over time results in phone batteries dying and the wireless home phone system failing.  Our landlines continue to live on.  

I think about possible earthquakes in California and being able to communicate with the rest of the world after a major disaster.   My landline phone will possibly be more readily operative in such a situation since I "...don't think it will fall as quickly as cell towers thus destroying wireless capability in an earthquake"   What kinds of disasters are you at risk for experiencing where you live?  Hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, other destructive forces.

I didn't yet have my smart phone when I  experienced an unexpected sudden extended power outage of about 12 hours duration just before Thanksgiving.  I was certainly glad to have my landline phone then to eventually learn what was happening after several phone calls over time. The landline had to be used because my then cell phone's battery was almost completely run down but I had planned to charge it later that night.   

Another future landline benefit now is I could call my smart phone should it become lost.

Obviously, with these wireless phone and other devices we have become very dependent on batteries so need backup and supplemental energy sources -- reserve energy chargers, solar units, generators -- if we're going to be so dependent on wireless technology.  

Do you keep your tech communication devices fully charged for the unexpected?  What do you have for backup in emergencies?  A few hours outage is one thing, but what about longer outages?  

Are our tech device batteries immune to shortages unlike those for EVs?  Google summary reports for electric vehicles for example:  

"Lithium, nickel and cobalt are the key metals used to make EV batteries.  Analysts believe there is a potential shortfall in the global mining capacity required to extract the minerals needed to manufacture sufficient batteries to meet projected EV demand."

Apparently there is a scramble by countries around the world to acquire the necessary minerals for digital device batteries that might give you pause for what could occur in the future which you can read in this BR article.

There was an era when our  personal time wasn't taken up by riding herd on keeping our devices charged and needing batteries for everything.  Our phone and electric lines once installed just were and we rarely had to give much thought to them.  My-y-y, how that all has changed.

What's interesting to think about is what communication system may replace our smart phones and how long before that occurs?  Don't get too attached to your smart phone because Forbes MikeVorhaus suggests this may be our future (for however long this lasts, I might add):

"...the next disruptor of personal communications -- the messaging service.  Today, according to my recent national survey of U.S. households, over 75% of the US population with connection to the Internet and/or mobile phone services, use a messaging service at least once a week.  It is quite clear where this trend is headed because 91% of 18-34 year olds are using messaging services regularly, vs. only 56% of the over 55 year old age group.

"Messaging services are universally used by the 18-34 year old age group.

"Eventually the messaging service may well challenge the "phone" function of the smartphone.   Messaging services not only offer text, but also robust voice services, free, over the Internet.  And remember, your smartphone is also a TV."

On the other hand, or additionally, Augmented Reality Technology is being developed with headsets, glasses, or computers that can be worn on the head.  AR is thought by some tech leaders to be that smartphone replacement possibly in the next decade, but we'll not explore that here now.

Personally, I don't care for the idea of wearing such technological devices on my head, but who knows what most of our population, especially large numbers of influential younger generations, will adopt using.  Will other older systems like our smartphones then be gradually phased out like the phone landline so we're forced by a user majority into using a Messenger Service, AR, or something else?  Perhaps we don't have to have just one dominant system for all like we use to for so many years, or do we?

Sunday, December 05, 2021


Late News Bulletin -- University of Michigan won Big Ten college football championship for the first time since 1997 thrilling their fans everywhere, including our family alums and the rest of us who share that enthusiasm!  

>  >  >  >  >

College Football is one of numerous U.S. sports enjoyed by many, often even more so during challenging times.   All sorts of other news items catch my attention including some that can make this world in which we live seem like a very scary place.   The "ignorance is bliss" saying could well be a true "blessing in disguise", but also could be a dangerous one leading to "burying my head in the sand" if I choose to just "tune it all out".  Mostly, I realize there's little I can do to avoid some worst-case scenarios as reported in some of these following examples.

Last month NASA launched DART (short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test), a rocket to smash into an asteroid to alter its path.  Success is desirable to protect our Earth in case there ever is such a threat.      Live Science summarizes a NASA report that there is an asteroid named 4660 Nereus entering Earth's orbit but is expected to pass by us.

Then I read Solar Superflares may occur more frequently than scientists thought.  The result could be devastating geomagnetic storms adversely affecting a wired global society as we're becoming -- obliterating satellites in orbit and infrastructure on the ground -- causing an internet apocalypse. Given how wired we are here on Earth personal and businesses connections could be wiped out as could be all individuals' personal data.

We all know Omicron, the latest variant after Delta+ evolved from Covid-19 creating the pandemic now circulating in our world.  Scientists rush to determine how serious the threat, how to best combat the infection.  Will there be even more variants in our future -- some possibly immune to presently known vaccines?

That's not even considering climate change with oceans rising resulting in water overflowing our shores consuming land masses to cite just one undesirable consequence.

Fortunately, none of what I discover causes me to worry to the point I'm filled with anxiety through the day and doesn't depress me to a degree I lose sleep at night over what might happen.  Like most others I defer to scientific experts to analyze the situations and trust they'll come up with possible solutions to save themselves and the rest of us.  

While we can't fix everything, occasionally, as with climate change and the pandemic viruses, there are some actions, in addition to the scientific experts, we as individuals can initiate to effect beneficial changes for ourselves and others to some small degree.  Of course, many individuals acting together can begin to have more effect meaningful for all others.  There are many positives in this world which I keep reminding myself and I suspect you may be doing the same, too.  

A respite from thinking about all the more negative matters can become a mentally healthy exercise by  distracting, then redirecting my mind's focus elsewhere.   Nature, other living creatures, music are just a few examples of elements that can serve that purpose for me.   They always seem to demand my full attention, bringing me a good dose of much welcomed pleasure.    I wonder what interesting activities others engage in to stimulate desired positive thoughts and feelings with which to brighten their lives?      

So it is, one such effective distraction for me occurs when for short times I vicariously live in another world including with nature's creatures or listen to music I favor. 

BIRDLAND by Manhattan Transfer 

A popular vocal group from an earlier decade vocalize live in Tokyo Japan 1986 with remarkable lyrics they added to this complex Weather Report song.  From the album "The Very Best of Manhattan Transfer."  

I've also been intrigued again by the Big Bear Bald Eagles so will update their saga though I really hadn't planned to do so this year.   I've periodically been writing about them the past few years since they've become SoCal residents nesting in the mountains east of where I live.   My attention was recaptured this year when I read a new improved live camera had been installed continuing to focus 24/7 on the eagles nest.

Curiosity had really got the best of me this past October when I remembered these eagles had laid two eggs last year, sat on them for weeks and then, disappointingly, neither hatched.  I couldn't help wondering, would this adversely affect the wanna-be parents' relationship?  Would they try to hatch eggs again?  Would they even return to the nest?  When would they arrive if they were coming back this year?

If you're curious about what they were up to in the past few years on those occasions when I peeked in on their life, type "Big Bear Bald Eagles" in my blog's search in the upper left-hand corner of this screen which will bring up several of my accounts including some videos.

The Friends of Big Bear Valley is a site I recommend for ongoing current updates.  Preserving Bald Eagles from extinction has been serious business after all as has been my general attitude in writing about them, but I may waiver a bit this time.  

These bald eagles have become celebrities even garnering news media coverage.  The birds are constantly under the video and audio monitoring of the live nest camera -- a real reality show!   Celebrities in our society garner a lot of attention from their public especially if some of their behaviors have been characterized as being unorthodox.  Perhaps this bird couple could be no exception though they seem to be oblivious to the fact we are watching them night and day.  Maybe, somehow these birds aren't immune to all the hoopla either.  I wonder if they know or suspect on some level they're being observed.   I wonder if they ever have that feeling -- you know -- that you're being watched, but you don't see anyone, or sometimes you discover there is someone intensely looking at you?   

Indulge me -- here's a little different take on these birds' story.  Consider this -- the life of these Bald Eagles is a soap opera story, you know -- Jackie's a cougar, having chosen a younger partner,  Shadow, for whom she unceremoniously ditched her previous older partner who will remain nameless.  On my initial visit to the BB site that first year, the old partner was reported to have been sighted flirtatiously flying around again after their previous season together.   The rumor was he may have been a bit flaky, so she gave him the cold wing which is more than just gossip!  Hooking up with this new guy, Jackie had apparently decided he was a keeper from their previous successful first year together.  Would he continue to be?

The Big Bear people reported they weren't sure the couple would be back, or even as the same pair.  But then Jackie and Shadow showed up again in November last year and began bringing those sticks to the nest to ready up the place a bit for another brood.  All of this was for naught since along with some other drama there was no egg hatching.  What happened?  We'll never know.

Bird-wise as I had become, I was wondering if those eagles would return this Nov. since they had such an unsuccessful previous year -- or would Jackie have traded Shadow in for a new model? . .  .  .  . t i m e . . . .. passing . . . . . FWIW I was just motivated to check their site -- they're back!   Here's the new link:

And... BB authorities added an additional link to a new wide view camera focused on Big Bear Lake to enable seeing the eagles flying, along with the continued coverage on that nest site link above.

Jackie won't lay eggs until after the first of the year.  Meanwhile she and Shadow will fly in with sticks and fluff they gather, then architecturally carefully arrange their material in the nest's remodeling process for their new brood.  This nest in the upper branches of a very tall tree must withstand winter's occasional icy cold rains, snowy blizzards, and the strength of tree-shaking winds before some hot dry days descend on the area.  The eggs must be safely secure and protected from breaking as the parents incubate them while sharing the multi-weeks alternating responsibility of sitting on the nest.

During this nest construction, the couple may occasionally be seen dining on fish or snacking on other wild-life food Shadow generally flies in as primary provider.  If they want their eggs fertile which they must be to hatch they will also have to find time to caboodle (not exactly a scientific term), beak to beak, lots of romance and more, but nature being what it is, the necessary behavior will likely occur numerous times whether on site or out of view.  Eggs are laid between January and March.  
Check out the eagles-updates link.  

So, there you have it -- once again, this blog post content has evolved into being . . . .  . for the birds!


Sunday, November 28, 2021


This Thanksgiving season has been interesting.  A couple of days before that holiday my power suddenly went out about ten minutes into the Colbert TV program I was watching that night.  Having had my lights suddenly go out before, as I have previously described HERE, catching me "unarmed" in the bathroom, I had added to my regular strategically placed full-size flashlights by purchasing several small flashlights to place about my home in even more locations.   I was well prepared this time.

A phone call to my electric company revealed I was the first to phone in and the woman to whom I spoke said she didn't know what had happened either.    I wasn't the only one wondering, if even the company  representative didn't know.  Another call later I learned this was a planned outage and they didn't know how long the power would be off.   I went to bed.

The next day the power didn't come on again until around 10 a.m.   Meanwhile, there had been public service news reports that Santa Ana winds, sometimes as strong as 100 mph whipping downslope through mountain passes, were expected as we approached the holiday -- that our electric company might need to cut the power in some areas for safety reasons, but I hadn't thought we would be affected.

Harve Presnell sings "They Call the Wind Mariah" (remastered).                                                           from the movie 'Paint Your Wagon" (original Broadway musical)

Generally, we've not received Santa Ana's hot dry strong winds, except I recall once years ago finding a few roof shingles in our yard the next morning, but I wasn't concerned this year.  The areas that are really at-risk experience trees falling with most concerning of all, electrical lines can come down causing dangerous fires threatening homes and lives, even destructive-of-whole-communities' wildfires as has happened in recent years.

A power company other than my own near San Diego had a tree fall on their power line resulting in a town-destroying-fire called the Camp Fire, traumatizing over 70,000 people.  They lost their California homes and businesses not to mention some lives lost with that devastation that came to their town ironically named Paradise.  Too many residents are still 3 years later awaiting expected recompense so they can more fully resume their lives as described in this action news now report.

I was told our power outage occurred so maintenance could be performed that would serve to prevent our experiencing damage.  The wind did come to other areas subsequent days with violent gusts to 80 mph subjecting a hundred thousand or more people to either deliberate power cuts or those unpredictable outages.

Unfortunately, on Thanksgiving over 60,000 residents in some areas suddenly had their power shut down as a preventative measure against possible wildfires, so their turkey, ham, pies, or other food didn't get cooked this holiday and they unexpectedly had to seek dinner elsewhere.  Some families where these winds are most prevalent did resort to using outdoor grills, others may have had personal generators to power their ovens, as well as refrigerators, even coffeemakers, so they were better able to cope.

Indeed, I have much for which to be thankful since we had no winds where I live and had power Thanksgiving!

> > > > >
We humans have been quite concerned about vaccinations, the flu and Covid,  but now our pets have unexpectedly had a new threat to their health.  Seems a potentially deadly dog flu has descended on our Los Angeles area.  Some businesses catering to dogs are requiring they must be vaccinated.  

Hm-m-m!  Will some dogs organize and protest?   Violently resist ..... attack others?   I wonder if there will be owners picketing with their pooches to protest this being a possible violation of their dogs' freedom rights?
< < < < <

> > > > >
University of Michigan has upset Ohio State University football team to win the Big Ten championship.  This classic rivalry outcome proved once again to be unpredictable and an exciting game to view.  My family has individual allegiances to each of these teams.  Consequently, I said our family has a winner no matter which team prevailed!

I"m happy for Michigan fans to have this win to celebrate given to what Covid has subjected residents.  I just hope the packed "Big House" as the Michigan stadium is called, hasn't been a virus spreader location.
< < < < <   

Recently I answered my phone to hear a deep rough-sounding male voice authoritatively ask, "Do you want to sell your house?"   I responded, "Absolutely not!"  He abruptly hung up.  There surely weren't any niceties or words wasted in that call, not even so much as an apologetic "Sorry, thank you." for intruding uninvited into my life and wasting my time -- just right to his point.

I hope I don't hear from him again as I read a current news story that the housing situation is such, homeowners around the country are being repeatedly bombarded by some aggressive individuals to sell their house.  They especially focus on older people with some succumbing to their repetitive persistently prevalent pressure techniques with an offer that may not even be reasonably favorable to the home owner.   

I've also received regular letters in recent years from several different individuals soliciting to buy my house, calls from a few people who have identified themselves as real estate agents, but this new breed I read about sound like they're borderline harassing or worse.  Homeowners are being besieged by these unsolicited offers as described in this NPR link.

> > > > > 

Well, this has turned into a mixture of the significant to rather incidental insignificant items, except to those directly affected by them or those who might be in the future, that can pepper our lives as we navigate the much more important to us activities of life.  

I wonder what sort of incidental matters you could probably live without that squander your time and intrude into your daily living?    Reading this blog, you say?   That's life!

Sunday, November 21, 2021


Thanksgiving will arrive during this week ahead, then we can really get into preparing for the next holiday.   What seems to be happening in recent years is that we're all in such a rush that we start pushing for the holiday that comes after the one we haven't even yet celebrated.

In fact, this year I started seeing promotions for Christmas before we even had Halloween the end of October, much less Thanksgiving the end of November.  I don't hear such early promotion of Hanukkah or any other holidays, especially those with religious emphasis, occurring during that time.

Halloween this year came and went as Christmas promotion became even stronger -- and we still hadn't had Thanksgiving yet!

Well, finally Thanksgiving will be here this week, so we can hardly wait to finally throw ourselves into really, major Christmas promotion, or -- wait a minute -- are we going to skip ahead to New Year's?

I remember my childhood and think about all the little children today.  When I was young Christmas was never promoted until the day after Thanksgiving.   Even then, I thought the time to wait was so-o-o very, very, lo-n-g-g -- I can only imagine how children today must feel -- waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... when is Santa coming?

I checked back to some of my old posts in which I wrote about Thanksgiving.  I typed "Thanksgiving" in that little search box in the upper left-hand corner of this screen on my blog and amazingly to me there were ten blog posts that came up.  I probably mentioned Thanksgiving within other posts most years, too.

Reviewing those ten posts, one, especially, elicited a mixture of feelings for me -- that Thanksgiving was the first one I remembered describing what occurred that year, about 7 months after my husband's death in 2006.  I wrote about my deliberately choosing to go alone to a restaurant as I wanted to know how I would feel.  The piece entitled "Adventure Alone on Thanksgiving" gave an account of what turned out to be a rather unusual experience.

I also wrote one year about a Thanksgiving controversy in our town over our school children's Indians and the Pilgrims tradition.  Another year, I suggested we should move the date of when we celebrate Thanksgiving -- seemed like a viable possibility at the time.

I've shared Thanksgiving memories.  I've written about how I've celebrated the day virtually with my family long before this pandemic which I likely will be doing again this year.  Generally, my Thanksgiving posts have just been a potpourri of thoughts, memories, and experiences.  I invite you to read any of them that might be of interest.

As I write this, I have just experienced an evening of viewing listening to Great Performances on one of my four antenna accessible Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS) TV channels -- a night of intoxicating music and am in a very reflective mood.  

There was the centennial celebration of the landmark Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.  They performed "La Valse" by Ravel, Stravinsky's "The Firebird" (a special favorite of mine) and more led by three renowned LA Phil conductors: current Music and Artistic director Gustavo Dudamel, Zubin Mehta and Esa-Pekka Salonen.  Then, "From Space I Saw Earth" was conducted by those three.

I think of Thanksgivings past, a house filled with laughter, attracting aromas drawing one and all of a variety of ages to a dinner table over-flowing with delicious food and beverage.  That was then, this is now.

May you enjoy every moment of this Thanksgiving season -- that special day you experience this year, the memories you have from yesteryear and look forward to the ones you'll form in the coming year(s).  

We may want to take a few moments to count our blessings -- to think for what we can be thankful.  

Diana Krall sings "Counting My Blessings"


This year, as every year, I wish each of you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Perhaps you have a special Thanksgiving memory, thought, or want to share here this year's plans.  

Sunday, November 14, 2021


You never know what you're going to read when you come to my blog as my previous post evidenced.  Some bloggers write sequential posts describing their day-to-day activities, others writings cover over a week or longer; then some have themed subjects, explore other topics, memories and ideas. 

By comparison, my blog posts are probably somewhat of a hodgepodge of my meandering thoughts, some of life at any given time, some recollections and mostly whatever happens to be capturing my interest at the time.  I'm not sure there is ever a long consistent connecting thread that might serve to stimulate readers to return and read more.

One such short thread currently is my "smart phone" that was delivered when expected at the end of the previous week.  I think the iPhone seems to be rather like a smaller version of my iPad-Mini that I like so much.  The larger phone size is less desirable to me than my cell phone which fit nicely into a small pocket-like padded carrier.  There was a soft material handle I could hook my fingers through to carry about and still have the use of both hands, or put the cell phone in my pocket -- to have handy should I need to make an emergency call.  

My little cell phone was ideal instead of subscribing to one of those special services necessitating wearing a device to hang around my neck or a pin to affix on my clothes with a button to push should I happen to fall, for example.  But there are various smart phone features that I may gradually incorporate into using that exceed those offered by my now former cell phone.

Perhaps the next change I might make will be to use a "smart watch".  I remember when reading the Sunday newspaper's comic strip page was a regular activity I began enjoying when I was elementary school age decades ago.  I wasn't a regular fan of Dick Tracy, but I do recall being impressed with the fantasy aroused when he started wearing a 2-way wrist radio on which he could send and receive messages -- pictures, too!  That could never happen in real life --- could it?

A few decades later kids got a toy 2-way wrist radio as featured in this commercial:

Another longer thread I've been mentioning occasionally had been our unusual weather.  Climate changes here occupy the interest of most of us Californians since we have been jolted into ongoing drought conditions.  For example, as Thanksgiving approaches we've unexpectedly been catapulted back into summer with our temperatures pushing 90F degrees where I live.   Others in SoCal are presently having even higher numbers -- no rain, of course.

Periodically a thread of aggravations will reach a pressure point forcing their emergence into my writings.  So it is, I wish radio and television commercials were prohibited from using the ringing of doorbells in their ads to garner a listener or viewer's attention.  

When I'm only half-way attentive sometimes, I hear the doorbell and all too often think it's my house doorbell ringing.  Inconveniently, I make my way to my front door to discover no one there, cause that bell wasn't my house ringer, just some broadcast commercial.

Just as there is no surety about the source of some doorbell rings I hear, there are no other guarantees either.  Definitely there are no guarantees in life as most of us likely have learned in many ways through our years if we didn't already know that truth.  

There have been so many unexpected situations, unlike those we experienced when he was living, that I've encountered since my husband's death 15 years ago.  I sometimes wonder if such surprises will ever end short of my death.  Most recently, an unexpected letter arrived announcing a specialty supplemental-type insurance policy that transferred to me when he died is terminating mid-month.

The highly rated one hundred-year-old-plus insurance company that issued that policy experienced a deadly siphoning of their assets over time through a complicated setup by one of their trusted administrators through other thought-to-be legitimate company associated businesses.  When the criminal enterprise was discovered, the financial deficits were so severe that even several years efforts to save and rehabilitate this once highly respected insurance company could not overcome the damage.

Just as the company could not be saved, this policy we had paid into with its benefits are being terminated.  The individual premium was very modest, much less than one hundred dollars annually, and we did have the coverage those years which we, fortunately, never had to use.

The coverage was for a variety of incidental expenses one could encounter, beyond what regular Medicare and other supplemental health insurance policies pay for cancer and a number of other serous medical conditions.  The group policy had been available through my husband's employer, continued following his retirement, then transferred to my name when he died.   Now, in my older years might be when I could be more prone to issues qualifying for the benefits.  Hopefully, I won't ever need them.

My time has been absorbed recently seeking information, including clarification on this matter, pursuing possible options on related issues revolving around this policy and determining if there is the possibility of  a replacement plan through the employer from whom he retired.  Predictably, given how life goes, accomplishing all this was not simple, in fact, rather complicated and time consuming.  There was lots of navigating recorded phone mazes, leaving messages, being transferred to a seemingly never-ending number of others who were said could better handle my inquiry, referrals to call a different number, a few emails, and the beat goes on, but I finally obtained some answers. 

I still wonder if there might have been some negotiations (formal or informal) on this matter that were part of his agreement to take early retirement that could be pertinent.  Those facts may be lost in time, so there is to be no replacement policy.

So far, a similar medical reimbursement policy purchased privately with a company to which I was referred, revealed that in California, at least, they will not sell such a policy to anyone over 65 years of age.  I notice the original now terminating plan still appears on an internet search, but I've been unable to locate such a plan with other insurance companies to establish their requirements.   In fact, I haven't been able to find another insurance company even offering such a policy other than that one with the age limitations.                        (Please don't suggest other policies to me and I hope insurance companies don't start contacting me with their very different and much more limited and expensive policies either.)

This is one more instance of how some of the care we may take to arrange matters after our death can go not as we expect.  We plan as best we can, but even the most improbable things can happen.  I'm reminded of Scottish Robert Burns poem from which "gang aft agley" is often interpreted as meaning plans going awry.

Perhaps you recall instances in life that have confirmed to you there are no guarantees, eh?

Sunday, November 07, 2021


Another exciting week in which what follows are only a few events during which I also received my Pfizer booster shot, anti-Covid ..... but this has nothing to do with my receiving the vaccination.  This is a flight of fancy!

I've succumbed!  I've been seduced!  I'd always said, "No!" before, but I finally gave in.  Actually, I was in a non-compromising position and could no longer resist.  I expect to hear from some, those words, "What took you so long?", and I may even wonder myself, but avoiding the inevitable for some time, if I could, seemed to be the better part of good judgement for me.

I hope you won't think any less of me for giving-in.  Who knows, I might even come to like it.  I didn't do this just because I kept being told, "It's safe, its okay, everybody's doing it."  I know that doesn't make it the right thing for all to do.  Still, the pressure is off now.  I've done it and there's no turning back.

I'll have to live with the consequences, whatever happens -- adapting my life, adjusting, coping with frustrations.  Facing a whole new way of life may be what I must accept.  Will I continue to oversee my life, or will dictates come from elsewhere?

This is, after all, "a smart phone" -- smarter than me?  Has artificial intelligence, aka AI, taken the device over which, in turn, will conspire to take over me?  Will my thoughts, my time, my whole being be devoured as reportedly seems to have occurred with some who are owned, er-r-r-r, I mean, that own these little devices?  You see, already I'm giving this little invention powers possibly beyond realistic entitlement.

Have I been brain-washed with tales dispersed full of conspiracies composed of unmitigated falsehoods formulated in deep dark dungeons ... spread by the unknowing, uneducated, and the un ... un .... un, whatever? 

Will truth ever emerge?

(I don't actually have this little devil phone in my possession yet, but meanwhile, my good ol' landline remains very operative which I will keep along with the "smart phone".   This may allow the fastest way in some areas for my exact location to be determined should I need to call emergency 911, or possibly if there is a power outage.)


I really had intended continuing with another topic at this point, but in recent days I've had reason to feel concern that word of this "Smart Phone" coming to my house may have unleashed a troubling event, causing me concern there could be more issues materializing.    Thursday I discovered my bedside clock radio had already turned back one hour.  But the daylight savings time change wasn't to occur until the coming Sunday, Nov. 7th at 2 a.m.   What happened?

This premature time reset on my clock prompted me to form a theory much like those promulgated by QAnon.  They may well want to adopt my speculation to spread among their citizenry as fact to those susceptible to such ideas.

I am speculating that the digital devices in my home may be communicating with one another.  Maybe my computer has spread the word a "smart phone" is coming, having deciphered an exchange of messages I had with my son ... but why, and has the word spread even further?  Perhaps to my clock radio, for one, a device that now has chosen to demonstrate a long-awaited increased sense of pending power.  What does this indicate could happen in the future?  

I'm discreetly, but closely, watching my TV, microwave, and oven.  Perhaps, even my dishwasher, clothes washer and drier received the word and pose additional risk.   The refrigerator, too?  Surely not the toaster oven.  Of course, the coffee-maker was, years ago, the forerunner of all these self-operating devices ... and then it went digital!  Now where is technology taking us?  My "smart phone" is coming!

Katzenjammer - "Land of Confusion" 

from the Album,  "A Kiss Before You Go - Live in Hamburg".                                                          Ab25.05. im Handel als CD/DVD: oder als Blu-ray erhaltlich: Sowie als Download

Alitlweird comment on youtube site reports between the four girls they play 50 different instruments; their music is acoustically produced, aside from electric sound amplification.   


As if my "smart phone" isn't enough, I've now been told on my landline phone, that I'm not human!  Not human? -- I didn't know! -- Am I a robot, an alien and only now learning this?  The digital devices with the smart phone in control are really the forces in charge?

Typically, if I have reason to answer a phone call and it's a recorded message, and there has suspiciously been an increasing number of them, I immediately disconnect without even listening.  Also, any calls with a real live but unknown person on the line, who instructs me at any point to press another key to answer questions or access a different contact, I don't do that either.  Who knows to what I might be acquiescing!

Sneaky ways some spammer, or scammer, tries to accost people include this example in a recent call I received.  I noted it was from a "Wireless Caller".  (I chose to answer this for personal reasons I won't try to explain here.)  The recorded message said, "This is an important call for ... (they accurately gave my name).  If you are (my name again) then press 5, if not press 3".  I did neither.  Following a silent pause, the message continued, "Sorry, you have revealed you are not human!"  Then the call disconnected.  

I consider all the newer inventions that I haven't acquired yet, but eventually may be the only ones available, like the "smart" TVs and appliances, cars that drive themselves, even houses equipped to do lots of things, and who knows what else.   What are the implications of these for our future?

So, here I am, in the autumn of my life, having been described as being not human, with a clock radio seemingly out of my control, and a "smart phone" possibly capable of doing who knows what coming into my home.  What lies ahead for us humans, assuming some of us are humans?   What am I to think or do?  What do you think and what are you going to do?

Sunday, October 31, 2021


Blogaversary -- my 15th on October 24th  -- Where have all the years gone?

I want to tell all of you how much I've come to appreciate getting to know you, along the way.   As I've aged, I've mentioned in recent years how my once large family and wide number of friends here and across the country have been, surprisingly to me, dying in significantly increasing numbers.   How very inconsiderate of them -- a thought with which most of them if still able would laughingly agree!

Never in my wildest imagination did I ever anticipate I would be deprived  of the presence of so many in my life as has occurred with contemporaries and especially those younger than me.  Somehow, though I knew differently on some level, I expected in my old age that most people in my life for whom I cared would be around at least as long as I was, especially my husband, or probably even longer.

After my husband died, I finally was able to begin participating more in some local interest groups to possibly form new friends filling the gap left by the death of the many friends I had acquired in moves about our country through the years.   I was surprised to discover new social relationships did not evolve as readily as they had in my earlier years.  Given the shortened remaining time in our lives can challenge building relationships.  That said, I recall one older long gone friend once told me, there are no friends like old friends.  

This proved to be true for socialization with any participants beyond the monthly meeting times of groups I joined, such as Night Writers, which ended several years ago.  Then, as the years passed, most aging members, even much younger ones, began moving away, or had to devote more time to their loved one's needs, with a few developing serious medical issues, others dying.

In another example, some book club members I learned were caregivers of a spouse or another, and this outing was their only respite time, a situation with which I could identify.  Others hardly had enough time and energy to sustain involvement with local family members, old long time friends, or those new ones they were developing in their nearby retirement community, so they regretted inability to predictably incorporate new people from outside their world into their lives.  Couples circulated almost exclusively with other couples.  All of this is understandable.  I discovered other bloggers reports of encountering similar situations where they lived, thwarting their efforts to form a new local social network.

When I stopped my part time work at age 79, after a couple years some unexpected complications aging can bring began gradually slowing my activities, surprisingly to me at what I thought was my young age.  Had I anticipated this I would have retired sooner, but life is unpredictable.  Of course, like all of you, the pandemic has impacted my life, altering my situation somewhat more and my further socialization efforts as I continue living in place in my home.

Blogging, when I began,  I had perceived from others was believed to offer a multitude of untapped benefits to many including opening the world to older people via the Internet, as well as providing an opportunity to participate in a community, especially for those who live alone or might not have family close by. This was a concept with which I agreed, though not necessarily thinking of blogging being that important to me at the time.  

Little did I anticipate or realize that blogging would, in the years ahead for me, become much more significant in my social life.  So, I genuinely and sincerely offer an inadequate "thank you", to every one of you for writing your entertaining, often informative, occasionally humorous blogs, taking the time to comment on my own conglomeration of thoughts, and offering the blogger community virtual friendship we all enjoy.

On to the current world in which I live .....

I had my annual medical examination with my doctor concluding I was still alive -- just as I thought.   I received this year's protective flu injection.  The end of this coming week I'll be the recipient of the Pfizer Booster jab in my other arm.  Then, I'll be all shot up for however long all that lasts!  ha

If you saw news reports or read about the "Bomb Cyclone and 'Atmospheric River'" lambasting California last week, that rain and storm was elsewhere, not where I live, just below SoCal's foothills.  I did observe we received only a very limited, meager, dripping-off-my-house's-roof amount of rain.

Now, we actually have summer again for a few days with temperatures pushing into the eighties, to be followed soon by cooling into the seventies.  There's even a hint (10% chance) of moisture for several days which will do little or nothing to lessen drought in our area, if the rain really arrives.

Never fear, I believe fall is still trying to come on the scene!  A favorite song of mine seems appropriate here as I think of fall, my favorite season -- the spectacular colors of changing leaves from Aspens golden yellows to Maples rich rusts and deep reds, plus color variations from other trees and shrubs most observable at higher elevations than my own and more profoundly in other parts of our country where I once lived.  

There was that memorable overwhelmingly colorful fall driving trip my husband and I made up the eastern Atlantic coast through states including New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, into Niagara Falls and Canada.   This was my husband's birthday month as well as my own and others in my family.   

I'm also reminded of Eva Cassidy whose vocal talents were just becoming recognized when she died much too early in her young life.

Autumn Leaves (official video) 

 Eva Cassidy & the London Symphony Orchestra

Then there were fall memories after our family was started, taking our children to a pumpkin patch at what was predominately a nut farm the rest of the year, near what was then called the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park, to make their selections for later carving.  One pumpkin's flesh I made into a family favored pumpkin pie.  

Many years later after I became a widow, fall trips to Michigan included visits to a cider farm reminding me of when as a young girl in Ohio we had an apple press from which we made our own cider a couple years. 

Another year in Michigan, when my grandson was younger we had come full circle with a trip to a pumpkin farm that included more cider and a challenging walk through a corn stalk maze.  

And then there's Halloween's ghosts and goblins along with the distributing and gathering of all those goodies!

Perhaps fall has special memories for you, too, and blogging has made your life more enjoyable. 

Thanks again to one an all bloggers and especially those I've come to know here! 

Sunday, October 24, 2021


Wracking my brain for some humorous topic to write about, I came up with diddly squat,  zero, naught, nada, zilch.   Unless you think it's funny that sometime during the past year I concluded, for some unknown curious reason, that I was a year older than I actually am!  

I credit my daughter for adding this unexpected year to my life when she phoned on my birthday, asked what year I was born and did the math.  I just lose track of the years which seem to have decreasing significance to me as I get older.  So, go ahead and laugh at my expense.  What do I care?  I'm a year younger than I've been thinking!

Old Folks -- FOUR FRESHMEN.    Vocal by Don Barbour

This seems a good time to consider the reports of a new study should we all continue to live through the coming decades -- Human Mortality at Extreme Age, recently released by The Royal Society Publishing you can read HERE.

"The first human could live to 130 within this century" as Victor Tangermann at Futurism's Neoscope reports in his summary of the study's conclusion HERE.

"The researchers also found that past a certain point, the risk of dying as a supercentenarian plateaus, and remains constant at a 50/50 chance of dying within a given year.  The implication, seemingly, is that sufficiently advanced medicine could provide many people with Methuselah-esque lifespans."

"Beyond age 110 one can think of living another year as being almost like flipping a coin," Anthony Davison, lead researcher and professor of statistics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), told Agence France-Presse."

This blog has no centenarians, those 100 years of age, or even in their 90's reading, writing here, including me, to the best of my knowledge currently.  (Some do have living parents in their 90's and Millie, a 96 year old long time blogger is on my blogroll),  Some of us are getting closer with the present years having a way of rapidly flying by, so I find some of these statistics and projections to be of greater interest to me now than when I was much younger.

Pew research reported in 2016:
"In 1990 there were 2.9 centenarians for every 10.000 adults ages 65 and older around the world.  That share grew to 7.4 by 2015 and is projected to rise to 23.6 by 2050.  That's only 28+ years from now!  Some of us may still be around then.  

The research continues, "Since 1990, the population of those ages 80 and older -- the oldest segments of the 65-plus population -- has grown more rapidly than that of the younger segments, those ages 65-79.   This faster growth is driven by improved life expectancies among those 65 and older."  

Reuters reports U.S. life expectancy in men has dropped 2 years in 2020 since the pandemic which isn't over yet.   The rest of the world effects are discussed, also.  The figures above may still reflect an expected generally accurate upward trend but further analysis is warranted.  

Pew research continues:  "...the U.S. leads the world in terms of the sheer number of centenarians, followed by Japan, China, India and Italy."

Perhaps the Global Conference 2021 on the future of aging as described by the Milken Institute provides some insights on what we can anticipate which you can check HERE.

BBC Future of Ageing focuses on some technologies that could transform ageing HERE.

I'm really curious about what the years ahead of us will be like?

I do wonder how this pandemic may further impact some of these figures and projections?

I ponder about possible adverse effects on our aged population if, in the U.S., we lose our constitutional democratic republic to the establishment of an autocracy masquerading as a democracy in our nation?

I consider sometimes, just how long I really want to live?  The bottom line for me is that keeping my mind is critical to my having the quality of life I desire.  My physical condition matters, too, as I wonder just how satisfied I would be continuing to live, should I experience a serious lessening of functioning abilities?

Have you given any thought to aging issues, formulated any views on these matters, or even changed your perspective as you may have experienced health changes and are becoming older?

P.S. Rain is on the way,  maybe up to an inch, which won't eliminate our drought, but moisture is coming to SoCal!    Hooray!

Sunday, October 17, 2021


Fall keeps flirting with Summer as our temperatures alternate between being in the 90s and then dropping 10 to 20 degrees for a day or so.  When will our SoCal seasonal weather stabilize here in the foothills?

^ ^ ^ Life events are erratic for me, too.  On a positive note, I've finally been consistently sleeping each night, so my efforts to realign my metabolic mechanism without resorting to medication or other aids is becoming effective to date.  I'm getting deep sleep, even remembering some dreams, despite at least one interrupting tour each night to survey the bathroom.  

^ ^ ^ On a less positive note, the mechanism on my car's moon roof has become inoperative with diagnostics unduly expensive, plus with the potential of uncertain part(s) needing repair also is not cost effective -- if a motor is needed, they aren't even made any more. 

I don't want a different car presently as this one, intended to last the rest of my life, has plenty of good mileage left and the rest of the car is in very good condition.   Plus, the timing is poor for purchasing another vehicle right now.   Consequently, I have had the slightly opened vent position sealed as-is on my vehicle to prevent any rain's infiltration as we, hopefully, but doubtfully given our drought, enter our rainy season.  Am I being too optimistic?  

^ ^ ^ What really irritates me is another issue -- when credit is due customers, all too often the amount is not automatically given.  After two months of receiving no credit for the week I was without internet service, partly due to my provider's comedy of errors which I described previously HERE, I had to contact the company to request they provide me the credit which was long overdue.   They offered no apology for not having already given me this credit.  I should be able to impose a late charge.   

^ ^ ^ An annual medical appointment I anticipated keeping was rescheduled but not until next year in January.   I guess the doctor figures I won't die between now and then, at least that's how I'll look at it.

^ ^ ^ The final recent aggravation occurred when I contacted a special designated L. A. County phone number that scheduled an appointment at a drive-thru site as I requested to receive my Pfizer booster injection to prevent the Covid infection.  Later, I decided to phone that site directly just to be sure that, in fact, the site was giving drive-thru booster shots.  They were not, only walk-ins.  I can get a walk-in injection at any number of much closer sites.

A pharmacy may have a drive-thru business for prescriptions and other purchases but that does not automatically mean they provide injections as I needed.  I would have expected our County special services number personnel to have realized this, but apparently not, so I'm glad I double-checked.  I'll wait a while longer to see if a drive-thru site(s) is eventually scheduled in my area since I don't feel rushed to get that booster injection.  

I mask when out encountering others, which is infrequently, anyway.  I did forget to put my mask on when JAZZ musicians conversed with me at a distance outside my car where I sat for their patio concert as I've previously described.  We had all been vaccinated.  

^ ^ ^ Oops! The assaults are not over .....  a letter just received today, as I write this, informs me an insurance policy we've had for years through my husband's employer is now terminated.  The Insurance Company could not be rehabilitated so all Cancer Reimbursement Plan Policy/Certificates that company has underwritten are cancelled.  

This policy was to cover some costs ordinary health insurance didn't.  Fortunately, we never needed this insurance.   Now, I hope I never will regret no longer having the coverage.   Apparently, we should remember that in life there are no guarantees all insurance policies will remain in effect, or that we won't need the coverage they offer at some future time for that matter.  (I'll contact my husband's employer from whom he retired to see if they will be offering a replacement policy at reasonable cost.)   

Well, I hope the coming week proves to be go a little more smoothly.  Keep smilin' and laughin' is my motto.

* * *

Aging has had me making adjustments in my home to be more compatible with how my physical activities have changed as I've become older.  Those of us choosing to live in place sometimes find it necessary to  modify our homes in numerous ways.  Some modifications can become necessary to make living not only safer but more comfortable.

Numerous web sites provide lists of recommendations and other suggestions to aid our determining what changes or additions we may need or want to make where we live.  One such site is Assisted  For example, one of the most appreciated changes for me has been replacing the commodes in my bathrooms to taller ones.  

One unresolved problem I've encountered is changing light bulbs in ceiling lights.  In the dining area adjacent to my kitchen is a pull-down light over my table which is perfect, allowing me to easily change burned-out light bulbs.  Why not have pull-down lights for those in the ceiling in other rooms?

There are numerous pull-down lights I found in my web search but most are much too fancy as is their price, and that of even the few more appropriately plain ones given they're all considered vintage.  There were no pull-down lights revealed that I find acceptably appropriate for bedrooms which is what I need.

I did find a rather plain, simple light, with a frosted glass square having curled corners similar to what I have, that softens or mutes the two bare light bulbs above.  This light fixture would be ideal if only it was pull-down.  I've inquired of one light distributor whether or not such a light pull-down adaptation could be made by the manufacturer.

I would think there might be a market for such a pull-down light to others besides me.  This pull-down light could be what older people living in place need in order to change light bulbs safely --  no standing shakily on the bed if you're tall enough as I anxiously watched my husband once do,  or climbing on ladders,  having to ask a friend, or hiring a handyman when bulbs burn out, especially important for those who live alone.  Granted we have longer-lasting light bulbs now but they, too, ultimately burn out and need to be replaced.

Could numerous others use pull-down ceiling lights?

Do you ever encounter challenges having to pursue getting credit to which you're entitled? 

What modifications have you found to be beneficial or some you need to make to be safe and comfortable where you live?   

Sunday, October 10, 2021


"Kalilily Time" by Elaine -- a writer/blogger/poet of interest who has been in the blogosphere since blogging's beginnings -- read the "Who" and "Why" by clicking on her blog above.   Like many of us life has resulted in her needing to take a hiatus from time to time and I've missed her when that has occurred, so let's welcome Elaine back!  

Elaine's poetry has appeared in numerous publications.   She also wrote some very interesting blog posts which she has resumed doing in the past few days.  An excerpt from one of her recent blog posts says: 

"...I've been trying to track down other bloggers around my age to see if we can develop into a virtual community of kindred spirits.   That's what I had back in the 2000s, and I miss the virtual camaraderie."

I think you may want to pay her a visit to welcome her back by clicking on her blog above at her web URL:

* * *
I've had a rude awakening, or in the vernacular of today, I'm woke.  I discovered I may actually be ageist when I wrote to my adult children a description of my experience when I recently attended an afternoon outdoor jazz concert.  I referred to some other people there with descriptive words well beyond saying they were old, which, of course, I am, too, so I'll omit any of that ageist language which might be seen as offensive.  

The concert afternoon stayed hot in the mid to low 90s as I sat in my car in the parking lot right next to the concert area patio of the Japanese restaurant, with all of my car windows down.  I turned the A/C on briefly only once since I didn't want to run down my battery during those hours and my gas was rather low.  

I digress ..... but I haven't filled my gas tank, expecting rates will go down from the $4.40+ per gallon.  Now I learn that's not likely to happen any time soon and the price could go up -- to $5 or more!  Clearly, I better fill up my car's gas tank soon.

No doubt you've heard we've had a big oil leak off our Pacific Coast originating in the Long Beach area, with the oil slick moving southward, possibly to San Diego, adversely affecting the environment -- ocean life creatures including sea lions and otters, dolphins, fish, birds covered in oil though only a few needing rescuing so far, wetlands damage, pollution of numerous beaches.

Early aid to mitigate some of the potential problems has helped the total damage be less to date than had been expected.  The cause is presently thought to be a ship's 's anchor dragging and ripping open the oil pipeline, possibly occurring as long ago as a year earlier, but the definite cause is yet to be determined.  I expect the oil companies might cite that as another excuse for our high gas prices.  When will offshore oil drilling everywhere permanently cease?

Back to the concert ..... I enjoyed the young Exit 9 trio (note: current YouTube musical group videos with this name are not this group) who played classic mellow jazz standards including a favorite of mine, "On Green Dolphin Street", plus a few pop songs through the decades, other newer tunes, also easy listening compositions some call smooth jazz.The Exit 9 trio consisted of a keyboard, guitar and drums.  A duo of guitars played one short segment.  I hope this group is invited to return each month as I told them.   The next week's performing group, ZZAJis a longtime favorite of mine about which I've written HERE before.

Here are two different versions of "On Green Dolphin Street",  one with noted Pianist Peter Nero with orchestra, the other with the Latin beat of talented musician Sergio Mendes.

Peter Nero -- The Unforgettable  -- Sheet Music & mp3 - Okmusix 

Sergio Mendes -- Moderno - Milestones Records 

Continuing the now-edited-to-remove-ageist-attitude-wordings report of my experience ..... I had a pretty good view of the Exit 9 jazz trio, could hear the music fine, but sometimes people on the patio moving to seek shade, as the sun crossed the sky, would block part of my view.  There was only a low wall and greenery between them and me, but, irritatingly to me, some seated at the back of the patio closest to my car parked headed-in next to them in the parking lot, paid no consideration at all to my presence behind them they had to have seen.  They were inconsiderate, unlike those sitting on the patio in front of them were for them, so they could see.  

I wrote disparaging descriptions later to my children of the old man, and an old woman there who chatted with him as the concert wore on.  My negative attitude toward them was obviously colored by the fact they kept interfering with my view.  I didn't want to toot my car's horn, but I sure felt like doing so several times.

In my message to my kids, I groused about the guy's appearance and ponytail, was rather snide about her appearance in a backless, very very short sundress that I'm more accustomed to seeing on a much younger woman.  Actually, she was very smart, definitely, including her big red hat, and wisely dressed for the extremely hot afternoon of well over 90 degree temperatures.  Comfort and safety from heat stroke is the name of the game.  They were both quite respectable representatives of their 60s generation.

People mostly sat some distance apart with less casual interaction than pre-pandemic days.  Nobody wore a mask, but I had one at the ready in my car, especially since the decrease in Covid infections had instead gone up in both the public and our schools -- attributed to the unvaccinated, of course!

There's usually a pretty friendly group at these free jazz concerts -- a few folks came together, but a number of both sexes came and left alone.  Strangers talked with one another between tunes and during breaks.  I do recall one individual years ago who was married, apparently lived on my street, though I had never known of him or his family.  Some in the musical group seemed to know him, or maybe he had just been showing up for their concerts before I started attending after my husband died.  

The man was a big talker everybody could hear with his comments between sets directed toward varying musicians, sometimes naming an instrument he said he played.  At one point, he spoke disparagingly of marriage with broad statements, then intimating he would welcome meeting someone he could rendezvous with in a nearby town.  

Later that afternoon after that statement he called me over, then started talking quite confidentially, but didn't make much sense.  He finally gave me a weak excuse for this talk in his one-sided conversation of having a toe problem that didn't sound like much of one to me but suggesting I might want to examine him.  I don't know what he had in mind since he wasn't removing his shoe and sock to show me, though I wouldn't have looked anyway.  Did he really want medial advice from me -- there, in front of others?

I nicely explained to him his toe was quite out of my area of expertise since, I stressed to him, I was a Speech-Language Pathologist -- we weren't exactly trained in toe rehabilitation.  I walked away and we never talked again.   I shared that conversation, laughing it all away, with the vocalist with whom I had become friends.  He never showed up at the concerts again, at least when I was there.  I think he and his family eventually may have moved away to that town he mentioned.

* * *
I'm in disbelief -- we actually received about one-tenth of an inch of rain here in my SoCal foothills!  Furthermore, we may get a dribble or drop more later.  This will hardly matter much to alleviate our drought, but "every little bit helps", as the saying goes.  Mammoth Mountain even had snow -- a ski area, driving time approximately 5 hours from Los Angeles, 3 hours south of Reno, Nevada.  Our temperatures have dropped considerably and finally begin to feel like fall.

Are the seasons noticeably changing where you live?  Do you listen to your favorite music to influence your mood for weathering the vagaries of life, including pandemic confinement or isolation, to distract from or escape pain, or perhaps loneliness due to other reasons?

Sunday, October 03, 2021


Here's a tune with lyrics that readily describe the place songs, all music, can take in our lives.  This song was popular in a different era, in a different musical style than is currently prevalent and preferred by many people in later generations.  This version is sung by a prominent vocalist of the day, though many others including Mario Lanza, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, and in later years Mahalia Jackson, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder are named on the YouTube site as singing their interpretations with many available in videos there presently.

[If the video below does not appear when published in the wee morning hours, I apologize -- it will be because the powers that be have chosen to block it (as they did an earlier one of Perry Como as this post awaited publication).  Why, I don't know, as I thought sufficient credit to all had been provided -- especially since this blog does not exploit by accepting advertising or gain monetarily from content.]  

Read the song's lyrics beginning with these words from AZLyrics by clicking here on the link:    (Writers: V. Youmans, B. Rose, E. Eiscu.                             

 "Without a song the day would never end,   

 Without a song the road would never bend   

 When things go wrong, a man ain't got a friend

 Without a song."  

Frank Sinatra.

(read extensive commentary and credits on youtube site)


Have you been missing the Sunday musical extravaganza we use to enjoy from Australia's Peter Tibbles with his assistant, Norma?

We heard such a delightful variety of music of all genres from popular to classical, introducing many musicians, some new to each of us as were some of their chosen songs from vocals to orchestral concerts.  Then, there was Peter"s commentary, sharing interesting information with us we often hadn't known before.

Peter's musical selections are one of the features on Ronni Bennett's "Time Goes By" blog I enjoyed on Sundays, or other days if I visited later.  Sadly, TGB is no longer active, contrary to the last post written by the person Ronni expected after her death would continue TGB.   The blog, it appears, is not going to be revived, though no official statement to that effect has been released.  However, we can still enjoy Peter's music selections.

Who is Peter Tibbles?  If you don't know, read here by clicking on this link:

Previous TGB posts with all sorts of interesting topics and comments can be accessed by clicking on the various subjects shown on the right side bar on the home page:

A search on one of those links ultimately takes you to:                                                                                           "612 posts categorized "Elder Music".

Click on any one of those posts and you can enjoy the musical variety and commentary Peter provided weekly that so many of us appreciated.  We can continue to enjoy the music as there are so many melodies and tunes there with so much more, not all of which I was able to listen to or read about every Sunday --  perhaps you couldn't either.  Now is a golden opportunity to catch up on all you missed, or to listen once again to your favored music, performed by the well known, lesser known and any new artists to you.

Many have expressed disappointment new columns from Peter are no longer available which is why I'm writing this, to remind all we can still hear Peter's musical offerings.  We listen to music we especially enjoy repeatedly, so we can do so again and again with Peter's entertaining TGB musical columns simply by going to the TGB links above or following them on that blog's website.

What are your musical tastes?  

Sunday, September 26, 2021



We're trying to have fall here in Southern California.  We heated up into three digit figures for a few days a week ago, then for several days we cooled off a bit before the temps went back up into the nineties Fahrenheit.  Now we're dropping down into truly fall-like temps for us in the eighties or high seventies.  Oh, for some rain!

Air quality here has been adversely affected by another influx of clouds with sky-filling dark smoke escaping northern California from a lightning induced wildfire which destroyed some of our prized redwood trees there.  Some of our special treasured giant redwood trees have been wrapped in aluminum-based burn-resistant material to protect them, as noted by Sequoia and Kings National Parks in this CBS News report.



The latest bill signed by our Governor to address the housing crisis in California allows for single family homes to be converted into duplexes under certain circumstances.

Perhaps this could be an opportunity for some older people choosing to live in place to consider adding income producing housing on their property if they can meet any local requirements and those specified by the new state requirements.  Maybe a family and their parents want separate living accommodations.  

Already, additional living units such as little houses have been allowed to be added to single family residences in some situations.  A multitude of YouTube videos feature just as many designs, sizes, and costs.  Decide what features are wanted, such as all one floor plan, with minimal or no steps.  Or an elevated roof can provide an upstairs, lofts, accessed by ladders and steps if that is desired.  Proceed from what the need, including whatever the budget allows.

Homeowners must consider legal requirements which can vary in every community as this legal site, Nolo, explains for Californians.  Everyone would want to check the laws and regulations in their city, state, country.


Last night (Friday) was unusual when my doorbell rang at 10:30 p.m.   My outdoor sensor light was on, off, then on again before finally turning off as I reached my front door.  There was no one there.  I won't even speculate as to what that was about.  Maybe young kids playing "doorbell ditch", or maybe not.  Whatever!  I continue to be pleased to have installed my security screen doors with this event occurring.

News just announced a big bucks lottery winner at a California liquor store that has had a number of winners through the years.  That seems unusual to me as to why one store would have an inordinate number of winners when so many other businesses across the state never have any.  Officials long ago eliminated any monkey business is occurring.


My day, Saturday, as I write this, seems almost over before it has started.  For the first time in ages, I had an over-abundance of quality sleep last night.  My sleep consisted of two broken intervals for a total of about six hours.  I still felt sleepy when I awoke at an early but reasonable hour, but I decided to just close my eyes for a few more minutes.  The next thing I knew I awakened at 2 pm. in the afternoon ... 2 p.m.! ?  ... I never lie abed so late in the day.

Well, at least I must have finally had some truly deep sleep I've been concerned I might not be adequately having.  That's important you know, as science studies have reported lack of such quality sleep has been associated with the development of dementia in older folks.  They also say too much sleep isn't good for us either.

During that sleepy interlude I recall having a vivid color-filled dream which hasn't occurred for longer than I can remember.

That dream, however, I couldn't relate to anything.  Generally,  I have been able in the past to associate my dreams to something I've just seen, read, done, or someone I've ben immediately involved with or thinking about.   Also, action in my dream, however far-fetched, I could interpret as reflecting my emotional state or feelings if nothing else, but not this time.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor and I, both quite young, had become good friends because I was supporting her desire to become a Little League baseball player, an idea which no one else in her life would accept.  She shaved off all her hair, wore a baseball cap, dressed in a colorful baseball team uniform of pullover top with matching pants.  We engaged with my direction in taking promotional photographs of her for which she enthusiastically posed in dramatic fashion showcasing her bald head, later with her cap on, then herself in various poses.  How bizarre was all that!

There was no dialogue in my dream, just that video of action, but leaving me with positive feelings when I awoke, quite rested, to startlingly discover the incredibly late, to me, afternoon hour.

This is just a composite of one strange day or so for me.  Hope I can get to sleep tonight after I publish this.  I don't know which, if any, of these topics might be of interest to readers here, enough to warrant a comment, but have at it.