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.

Sunday, September 19, 2021


Life's little annoyances take on increasing aggravation with each year I become older and need to adjust to unwelcome physical limitations.  Perhaps some of you have found this to be true for yourself as well.

Unexpected, unusual household problems arise I've noticed ever since I've been on my own in this house, dedicated to living in place rather than in a retirement facility.  The most recent problem was the other day when I was retrieving my mail.  I discovered my mailbox detached on one side causing that box to hang down haphazardly.   That never happened before when my husband was living.  Time to search for a needed screw, but ultimately I had to drag out the hammer.  Resolving some problems easier said than done.

Would that all of the problems that come up could be so readily resolved, even if I couldn't find a screw and had to settle on a nail.  Hope that new nail instead of a screw holds the box well.  Perhaps the smooth nail will more readily loosen than a screw would.  

If that wasn't enough, I had to re-install the screw on the other side of the box, too, which suddenly released causing me to nearly drop the whole box as I was affixing the first side -- also, almost throwing me off balance to tumble down.  So far, I think I've successfully anchored the mailbox, but for how long?  Time will tell since the postal person likely won't be handling my mailbox gingerly when opening each day.

I chuckled to myself later thinking how this event could have resulted in another one of those weird insurance company descriptions they sometimes report as reasons for life insurance payout claims.  Perhaps the account would read like one of the following:

"Claimant's death attributed to fall, striking head on edge of concrete entry way while attempting to re-hang mailbox."   

"Claimant died when struck in the head by mailbox she was trying to re-hang."  

"Claimant died when falling on hammer handle that impaled her open mouth and throat throttling her."

Can you come up with a more bizarre one?

* * *

Democracy survives assault ..... California's 286 million dollar wasteful expenditure of our tax monies the squandering Republican political party foisted on our citizens with the recent attempted special recall election of our Governor Gavin Newsom was unsuccessful by a large margin.  He'll be up for re-election when his regular term ends next year -- a regular election for which they should have waited.  

Thanking supporters voting "No" to recall Newsom, he focused on what this election really said "Yes" to as a state since the re-callers were mostly anti these items as reported in his speech in "The Week" magazine: 

We Californians said "Yes" to:

"science...vaccines...ending this pandemic.* 

"people's right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression.

"women's fundamental, constitutional right to decide for herself what she does with her body, her fate, her future.

"diversity, inclusion, pluralism.

"to all those things that we hold dear as Californians, and I would argue as Americans."

Newsom continued "Economic justice, social justice, racial justice, environmental justice, our values where California has made so much progress.  All of those things were on this ballot.

He said voters rejected "division, the cynicism, so much of the negativity that's defined our politics in this country over the course of so many years."

Newsom called on Californians to "disregard false separateness" and remember "we have so much more in common" than "we give ourselves credit for."

Correcting our state's recall election process may require three changes, I think.  One will be to increase the number of required signatures necessary to initiate a recall election.  

A second change would negate allowing a candidate receiving a percentage of votes far less than the combined majority from becoming our Governor as currently could occur if the majority voted to recall our Governor.  (This problem described in my previous post.)   

The expected solution will also be to designate the lieutenant governor, who is ordinarily the second in command of California's executive offices, to assume the top office in the event of future governors being recalled.

* * *

Phone Scams ..... I stopped answering my phone for quite some time but recently have resumed answering a few calls for various reasons.  I notice most calls are recorded messages which I hang up on after the first couple words.  Then, there are those ever-present scams.  Here are a few of the most recent scams I've received.

One scam was a recorded message that I've received several times seemingly from different locations or numbers.   The caller claims to be from Amazon's customer service alerting me to a thousand dollar plus charge against my account (assumes I have one, I guess).  I ended the call at that point.  Additional phony information is given in the rest of their message, followed by instructions to follow in order to address the matter as I recall listening to months ago when I received the first call. 

Another scam was with a real live person.  He said he was a neighbor living up the street and gave a house number where he said he lived (I was pretty sure that number was non-existent, plus would have been down the street from where I lived, not up the street).  He added that he and son had painted my neighbor's house across the street which I did recall actually being done and said I had talked to him then.  I said I didn't recall such a conversation.

He elaborated, saying I had talked to him and to call later in the year.  Again, I said I didn't remember such a conversation.  He said in a cajoling manner, that I talked to him of having my house trim painted, that he had even given me a flyer.  I said, I never talked to anybody about painting the trim on my house.  He said nothing and abruptly hung up.  (Note:  my neighbors reported to me later their handyman, not this caller, painted their house.)

I wonder if this type scammer may focus on older people they think may have memory problems,  possibly even have dementia, who will also be polite, and maybe succumb to their friendly overture?

A third scam I just remembered was the phone call from a young-sounding male voice greeting me with "Hi, Grandma!".  I ended the call without responding as I always do since they've been coming periodically for several years.  One earlier call was "Hi Grandpa" thinking I was male, I guess.

I recall my hairdresser years ago, shortly after I received my first "Grandma" call, telling me about customers she characterized as intelligent as having fallen for this scam.  They had even rejected their bank teller's admonitions to not send money without further checking.  They persisted in withdrawing a large sum anyway, subsequently sending their unretrievable money to the scammer.  

Additional "stranger" calls come from contractors, solicitors wanting all sorts of donations, other commercial types.  I simply don't do business with any phone callers though some few may be legitimate.  I don't waste my time listening to familiar pitches, am not polite, and simply interrupt them by cutting them off.  My fantasy would be to eliminate all these scam calls and calls from strangers.   

I'm sometimes hard-pressed to view the benefits of some technologies as outweighing the negatives, but once they're in use, there's no going back.   Guess I'll return to not answering my phone again unless I recognize the number. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021


You may read my recollection of 9/11 written ten years after that momentous day by clicking on the link below.   I was not blogging in 2001.  (Also, to read history of 9/11 click here.)

Comments written then triggered still strongly felt reactions from readers though a decade had passed.  

This 20 year anniversary of such a tragedy continues to elicit from me only slightly tempered emotional feelings as I've felt on 9/11 every year since 2001.   

I had no loved ones, friends, acquaintances, whose lives were taken, but like so many across this nation, around the world, we didn't know what was happening ... what might happen ... where ... when ... who ... why?    

Reliving the experience I wrote about, I again felt the increasing anxiety I felt then about what was occurring as I was viewing on television events unfold in real time that morning.  I was simultaneously speaking on the phone with my daughter in Virginia as the east coast atrocity came to the Pentagon, much closer to her.  Was my son and family safe in middle America?   What about family who I learned later could actually view the Twin Towers out their window?   At some point it even crossed my mind to wonder if we were safe on the west coast?

Like many, I never imagined such an attack could or would ever occur on our shores.  I had been a mere child on December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor, (click to read event history), the day that has lived in infamy, so did not fully grasp the significance of that event at the time, unlike 9/11 when I was an adult.   

Also, on the Hawaii attack we did not have the immediacy of visual television news capturing the real time tragedies as occurred on 9/11.   Radio broadcasts, newspapers were dominant news sources.  I think most of us have wanted to believe that our shores would never again be subjected to such a foreign attack.  9/11 proved we were wrong.  

Domestic terrorism as we experienced January 6th is what we are subjected to today.  We cannot rule out foreign forces will continue to be of concern.   Our democratic republic is under assault but largely from within.  Truth has been trampled as leaders have let the American people down.  

We have ceased to be united as a people despite our differences, unlike how we were after December 7th, then for a short time after 9/11 before actions taken then went askew.  There is a truth to the saying, "United we stand, divided we fall."  We are long overdue for putting our country over political party. 

May we preserve our nation intact with a government as prescribed by our Constitution, not led by a one person leader who perceives and promotes himself as omniscient, God-like.    

Meanwhile, we remember 9/11, the lives of those taken from us, honor the national heroes who rendered aid.  
May we never ever have to experience any tragedy even remotely like this again.  

Sunday, September 05, 2021


Thanks to my son for revealing internet gremlins were once again up to their tricks preventing me from publishing my usual weekly commentary, so that you wouldn't think I was sick or died.   His doing so bodes well that he will notify you of my demise when eventually the time comes as we bloggers have said we wish each of us could arrange for someone to do.

My internet connection was lost a few days after my last post here.  Following a reasonable amount of time with my inability to access the internet, I decided the connection was not going to resume.  Referring to my provider's monthly statement for a phone number to report problems, I mainly saw admonitions to use the internet for any issues.  In contrast, I noted a prominent large print phone number to call about where and how to pay my bill, but much less apparent was the miniscule-sized print phone number for customer service I didn't note until much later.  I first tried another number there, though there was none designated specifically for technical internet problems.

Thus, began what became a deteriorating circus of events that included a comedy of errors from what presumably must have been individuals well-meaning, sometimes misguided, maybe incompetent, efforts to resolve my internet service loss.

What information each of the numerous individuals with whom I had contact had and could, or should, have readily accessed I don't know.  What I do know is many seemed to not know the history of my problem from the facts of each of numerous previous calls I was making.   With each call, what do they record on my account besides the date, time, and "has internet" or doesn't -- assuming they do that?   I discovered what little they seemed to know if I got a real live person, occurred when they uttered enlightened "aha" type verbal reactions after it became clear in each call that I must describe the situation all again.  

My initial calls were mostly listening to recorded messages and talking to some voiced, some not, robots.  The first call warned me an unusual number of calls was being received so I would have a long-g-g wait.  After an hour I disconnected and found a different number I thought might work.  I ended that call after half an hour without talking to any real person.   I tried pressing "O" for Operator to seek a real thinking person but I reached no one.

Finally, discovering the small print customer service number, I reached a person after only a five-minute wait.  Eventually, his "aha" moment came when he decided further checking was in order after I short-circuited his usual tech routine.   He discovered "over 50% of the 23 people in your box reported problems, too"!  He observed this possibly means my lack of internet connection is probably "an outside box problem", rather than inside my house.  He volunteered I would receive credit for my time without the internet.  The earliest a technician would come to my house he said, was Friday between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Later, I unexpectedly received a recorded phone call giving me a service ticket number that sounded like they must have lots more people with outages if this was my area:  "xxx hundred million, xxx hundred thousand and x hundred" was my number.  

I was content all was in order until Friday after 5 p.m. when I still had no internet, no technician had arrived, and I had received no phone notification about the status of my service.  My call to the phone company garnered a recorded message they were still working on the problem and would let me know the resolution.

Saturday, 11 a.m., I phoned again to receive another recorded message, still no internet restoration and they were not predicting a time when there would be a resolution.  (I learned days later this was untrue as the problem had been resolved Friday, but apparently not for me.)  

Periodically, every day I also checked my computer and/or modem but no internet connection.  Saturday, Sunday ran into Monday morning 1 a.m. wee hours when I started thinking about changing internet providers.  I decided to call my provider once again, reached a technician that from past experience sounded to be coming from India.  Once again, the conversation devolved to the point I knew I would have to again explain the whole story.   When I ended my convoluted tale, the tech concluded he needed to do some further checking.

Soon, the tech totally surprised me by saying the internet connection had been restored.  Since I didn't have a connection,  he said I definitely needed a new modem, though there was no mention further technical checking might be needed. The tech said he would have a new modem sent to me by UPS to arrive Wednesday. 9/1 which I would need to install myself.

I had never been notified of the internet restoration as the recorded messages said they would.  I asked when the internet connection occurred and was told 8/27 (Fri.).  I don't know if the tech came that Friday and didn't bother to make certain I was connected by checking with me, because I was home all afternoon, or what occurred.   He could have and should have provided a modem at that time if that was necessary, from my point of view.  

Frankly, my patience had long since worn thin.  I was now well beyond being annoyed,  having become angry at not being told of the internet restoration days earlier.  Now I was having to wait until Wednesday for a new modem.  At that point, I demanded a tech bring me a new modem and install it the next day (forgetting it was no longer Sunday, but 1 a.m. Monday now).  

The technician insisted he could not schedule the other tech to come Monday but would have to be Tues.  to which I finally agreed between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. -- almost one week since I had been disconnected from the internet and four days after service had resumed -- but not to me.

Meanwhile, I had a troubled night trying to get to sleep, though I wasn't aware of fretting about this.  It was late (early morning) when I went to bed.  Just as I was finally about to fall asleep at 5 a.m. my phone rang.  I answered unbelievably to a recording from my phone company/internet provider "reminding" me I needed to be home for their service man Tuesday and the time.  What an inconsiderate time of day for such a call!

The recorded reminder call's only instruction to confirm the message was received was if I now had the internet that I should cancel the appointment by pressing the number 1 key on my phone.   There was a long period of silence, so I finally ended the call.  A few minutes later, the phone rang again -- same recording, same message, I hung up the phone as before.  Thank heavens the robot didn't call again.

Nevertheless, I didn't get to sleep so I finally just got up, decided to proceed with my morning.  While I was in the bathroom, the phone rang again.   I could hear what was becoming a very long message being recorded on my answering machine, but the words were too feint to be intelligible at that distance. 

Later, I listened to the never-ending same message recorded, repeating over, and over again on my answering machine.  The message was the same as the early morning one but with extra instructions this time, to press the pound key or to just hang up to end the call.   Surprisingly, after all those repetitive messages ended, an additional one was an actual apology for all the repeat messages.  An intelligent robot?

Tuesday arrived, but at 4 p.m. when I still hadn't heard from the scheduled tech, with only an hour to go in the 5 p.m. window of my home service time,  I decided to call my provider before their office hours closed to see if, and when the tech was coming.  Good thing I did!

The woman to whom I spoke contacted him.  Seems he texted my landline phone, got no response -- of course! -- since he overlooked landlines don't take text messages -- so he didn't come.  This company provides my landline phone service -- shouldn't the tech know?  After my rather irate elaboration that a tech person should know better than to text, and once again, describing my experience to date, the now  understanding woman transferred my call to a techie.  

The intelligent young-sounding woman technician to whom I was referred resolved my problem in no time.  I did again have to describe my experience.  She then had me check out my modem, made some adjustments on her end, and voila!  I was connected to the internet.  I didn't even need a new modem or further tech service here at home.

Perhaps the moral of this story for me is, don't contact after-hours techies.  Only report a technical problem to regular hours staff and technicians.  

My internet connection successfully restored, I decided to just wait and publish this latest epistle at my usual weekly time.  I feel better.  Thanks for "listening".

Moving on to a truly important matter in this world . . .

--- the U.S. military has departed from Afghanistan, finally ending our longest war.