Sunday, May 15, 2022

CAN WOMEN CONTROL THEIR OWN BODY'S HEALTH?

The U. S. Supreme Court Dobbs vs Jackson pending legal case is one demanding significant attention.  This case decision will have profound consequences in our nation for women and men due to  ramifications for Roe vs Wade that legalized abortion in 1973.   

Reading CNN's  account of Politico that first published leaked Justice Alito's proposed 1st draft majority opinion (98 pgs)* suggests to me an ideologically obsessed Court.  The majority judges appear to have  gone to great lengths citing as a basis for their convolutional interpretation of our constitution justification to overturn a fifty-year precedent rule recognizing a woman has a right to decision-making about the health of her own body.   The Court's final decision is expected to be announced in late June or early July.

*(Note: click on emphasized content items to link with source.)

What I'm writing here is not about discussing the religious and moral question of abortion though those are signifiant issues individual women consider for themselves based on what they believe, also  in consultation with their health care provider(s)/physician.     Current reality and history through the ages is that some women will look for ways to end pregnancies as has always happened whatever one's belief and whatever the law.

NPR's fact checks include:  the majority of U.S. adults say abortion should be legal in most or all cases; the rate of abortions has decreased since 1973; more than 60% who get abortions have a religious affiliation.  

The issue of abortion with questionable issues about life has been so politicized which is reprehensible since the matter is one that should be between a woman and her doctor much less have a court of law injected into the matter. But that's what has happened.

What is really at stake with this currently pending case decision is:                                                          does the U. S Constitution guarantee equality for women?

Abortion is the current issue chosen to answer this question. There may be even more issues introduced later with rights of privacy and other fundamental rights also threatened if Roe vs Wade is overturned.  

One such right to consider, a friend wrote me recently:  "...the right granted in HIPAA should apply to women's reproductive rights.  It's nobody's business but patient/doctor."

"HIPAA:  The health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge."  

"Abortions: Past, Present and Future" with an unsettling photo referencing Handmaid Tale-like laws is written by Jean you can view by clicking on her blog: "Misadventures of Widowhood".   She has advocated "keeping abortions safe, legal and rare."

"Handmaid's Tale" references Margaret Atwood's book to which she referred in a current Atlantic article.  She wrote: "I invented Gilead.  The Supreme Court is making it real.  I thought I was writing fiction".   She went on to write, should this Supreme Court adopt Judge Alito's majority opinion to overturn Roe vs Wade the United States would be "...turned into a theocratic dictatorship based on 17th-century NewEngland Puritan religious tenets and jurisprudence."  She asks, "Is this where we want to live?"

Margaret Atwood's 'Handmaid's Tale' Is Inspiring A New Generation

Some of you may recall Ronni Bennettt's blog, "Time Goes By" (TGB), you can still access by clicking on that link.  Some of what she wrote over the years is current even now as you will see.

(Ronni's writings with comments are still available on her internet site which she made significant effort to ensure would be available for a period after her expected death just as many fellow bloggers said they wanted.  Since her blog's continuation by a friend as Ronni wrote she had arranged has not occurred and no explanation after 2018 has been provided as to when or whether if ever will, I'm taking the liberty of linking for you to some of Ronni's blog posts to share here.)

Ronni hoped blog conversations would continue many timely topics she introduced that are not outdated today.  She documented what she wrote, identified thoughts as her opinions when she expressed them and sometimes offered suggestions about how to resolve some issues.  She often cited examples of the subjects about which she wrote to bring to others attention.   Ronni hoped other bloggers would also note examples they encountered in their lives writing about them, too, perhaps attracting additional bloggers to do the same since many doing so might influence desired change.  One such topic was Roe vs Wade and issues concerning a woman's health.

"The Supreme Court Abortion Decision" Ronni published first at Blogher, then on TGB in April 2007 questioned the Court's ruling on a case "...banning late-term abortion with no provision for the health of the mother".  In lieu of the strong words I think Ronni would be writing today I recommend you read what she wrote then that is still pertinent.  

Ronni felt so strongly about the matter that in her forthright honest manner she revealed in that article her own personal harrowing experience as an example of what women were and can be subjected to if Roe vs Wade is overturned by the Court.

Ronni also wrote:  Until a man is capable of giving birth and/or every man is forced by law to both financially support and participate in the gestation and raising of every child he fathers, and such law is enforced without exception (a permanent ankle tracking device for those who run comes to mind) no man has a right to discuss abortion, let alone to vote on it. 

In September 2018 Ronni shared in another post "The Penis Legislation Act" during now Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh's Senate hearings for that appointment. He was questioned about his views on a woman's right to choose.

Read Associated Press News for what Kavanaugh and other judges said in their nomination hearings about Roe to the Senate panel.  

Devorah Blachor's  satirical article, "Why Are Men Getting So Hysterical About the Penis Legislation Act?" prompted Ronni's post which is a must read.  Just imagine if men's bodies and sexual organ/function was subjected to legislation, much less judicial judgement as this "Act" describes.

The point of all this I want to make is the simplicity of the issue -- it's not complicated.   

Our Supreme Court's decision should affirm in the case before them now upholding the 50-year precedent Roe vs Wade rule ensuring women's right to make health decisions for their own bodies as the Piedtype blogger notes in "It's About Equality" with excerpts below:

"From  'America Is Not Ready for the End of Roe v. Wade' by the New York Times editorial board on May 6:

The principle is clear:

   Women and men should have equal control over their own bodies ...

Even more fundamental than our religious and/or unscientific differences about when human life begins is that simple statement:  Women and men should have equal control over their own bodies.  To deny women the right to abortion is to deny them equality with men.  Period.

Gender equality in the United States either is, or it isn't."  

Thousands gather for pro-abortion rights rally in Los Angeles and across the nation/ABC-TV 7

Sunday, May 08, 2022

ACQUAINTANCES/FRIENDS/MOTHER REMEMBERED

Remembering my mother with much love and affection this Mothers Day!
Tributes to my mother have been written here previously that may be read in the archives.
Increasingly I experience a desire to share my thoughts with Mother the older I become.
She always listened when I wanted to talk.
If only Mother was alive today.

Mother, having become a single parent and the sole support of our family saw that there were funds available so I could have the requisite uniforms as a Brownie then, when I "flew up" those of a full-fledged Girl Scout.  Maybe this Scout song was added later as our troop never knew it.  After mother wed again, then later when my family moved to the country scouting was no longer an available activity for me. 

GIRL SCOUT SONG "MAKE NEW FRIENDS'

 

Thinking of the people at varying levels of acquaintanceship/friendship I've known during my lifetime they have likely affected my life.  I've previously written of some of them here.  A few others come to mind.

Early in my life, my fifth-grade teacher, Miss Barroway, who a week before had wrapped my knuckles hurtfully with a wooden ruler for exchanging written notes with my boyfriend is one such person.  This day I was staring at a pulsing throbbing on her neck as she sat behind her desk at the front of the room.  Staring intently back at me as our eyes locked, she suddenly called to me to come up front causing me to quickly gasp wondering what had I done now?

I was immediately relieved when she announced I would read the spelling words to the class as she arose and departed the room.  Later, our principal, Miss Broome, entered the room to tell us our teacher had a heart attack.  I must have seen the carotid artery on the left side of her neck pulsating.  

Then there was the Jr. High boy and girl enraptured with each other whose names I don't recall now who were the only classmates that befriended me, a new student at this third of new schools in different states I was in that year.  A fourth school soon followed with a much more friendly student body.

I remember my high school English teacher who introduced me to important mind-expanding literature including Shakespeare via Hamlet.  Nor can I forget she had us memorize the last stanza of 19th century poet William Cullen Bryant's poem, "Thanatopsis", that is encouraging and reveres life, but notes death is part of the life experience.   This poem assumed increasing meaning to me as I became older.

"Thanatopsis" 

"So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves 
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."

People we've known and admired can disappoint us but we can still respect their more positive qualities I remind myself now when I think of her.

This disappointment with her for me is because during my high school years, a classmate, Jim, rejecting his father's unknown KKK racism to me then had written a final paper for our English class supporting school integration.  I never knew of his paper's subject matter which I didn't learn about until recent years.  That was in the early fifties of the 20th century.

The teacher had given Jim's written thoughts to school administration, who possibly ultimately referred them to the retro-thinking school board.  He was actually expelled from school though I hadn't known all that then.  

My classmate was ahead of his times.  A few years later integration did occur after I moved away from that southern state, though only after the federal government had to bring in troops for the integrating students' protection and to prevent violence.

Having previously been following in his father's footsteps, Jim had altered course.  He went on to a university, then studied to become a minister, was active in the 1960's integration movement, continued his dedication to include assisting those seeking citizenship and asylum in the US. as he presently does.  Now he's also active in the long term care facility where he and his wife reside in Illinois.

After my undergraduate college graduation, having returned to my northern home state I was distressed to discover racism was present there, too, but just less obvious.   Unexpectedly, a situation arose necessitating friends there and I take action to circumvent and bypass a racist exclusionary effort by an organization to which most of us belonged toward a new member of our group of friends.

Such protest and resistance is precisely what I believe each of us must do in everyday living if we're ever to truly integrate to fulfill America's and democracy's promise of equality for all.    This does not occur with that population minority striving toward converting our nation to an autocracy contrary to their occasional words.

Undergrad college in my early years brought lifelong friends as did the university in Southern California where I returned for post graduate study many decades later.  In between those years were relationships formed as a consequence of my various employment settings.  There were also neighbors who became friends wherever I lived around the country through the years.  Everyone impacted my life in one way or another contributing to the person I've become.

The harrowing circumstances in Ukraine, refugees fleeing to Poland, Russia's Nazi-like behavior in the war-like invasion of their neighboring country, threat to other nations, prompts me think of a Holocaust survivor, Isabelle Teresa Huber. 

I had the privilege of knowing her in recent years during the short time she was part of our writing group. She had been a professional classical music pianist among her talents.  When she joined our group she was in the process of writing her first book recounting her life experience as only one of three children to live and escape her Poland city during WWII at age three.  She and her mother were separated for a time but ultimately reunited, eventually coming to the United States.

Isabelle's mother came to live with her and son-in-law doctor husband.  He painstakingly regularly engaged her mother in periodic conversation about the early years his wife didn't fully recall.  He took notes of the unraveling of his wife's family's comfortable life then disintegration when the Nazis arrived, her father's departure, how she and her mother escaped, the countries where they lived, how they survived.   All this storytelling became part of her book a regular member of our writing group and longtime personal friend of Isabelle, Nan Miller, was facilitating and editing.

Her book, "Isabelle's Attic", was originally published in 2013 which I reviewed on Amazon.  I looked forward to her next book but her life and that of her friend, Nan, aiding her took quite a different turn.  Isabelle's highly respected orthopedic surgeon husband who had retired, sold his practice, later coped with Alzheimer's Disease, and had to be institutionalized, then died in July 2020.   Meanwhile, Isabelle developed a terminal illness and died in November 2020 -- click on her Claremont Courier obituary with her photograph.   Her second book never could be completed for Nan's editing. 

Meanwhile, Nan's husband and later she also coped with serious medical conditions that prevented their further writing and publishing plans following up on Nan's first published book in 2013, "Girl 44", about her early life as a foster child known by her number 44.

There have been so many more people at a different level of friendship whose names are prominent in my memory but I won't attempt to write about them now.

Each of you have interesting stories of those individuals entering your life and the varying levels of friendships you have formed, I'm sure.  Perhaps you are prompted to recall some of them to share?

Saturday, April 30, 2022

LENNON'S "IMAGINE" 2022 INTL JAZZ DAY CONCERT

2022 INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY ALL-STAR GLOBAL CONCERT

        LIVE AT 2 PM PDT today -- SATURDAY APRIL 30 

               VIEW ON YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK or .....

On April 30th AT 5 PM US EDT, watch the International Jazz Day 2022 All-Star Global Concert, streamed live from the UN General Assembly Hall in New York, featuring dozens of acclaimed artists affirming the importance of jazz as a means of achieving unity and peace through dialogue and diplomacy.

"Paris and New York -- UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock ... announced the program for the 2022 celebration of International Jazz Day, with events taking place in more than 180 countries.

The flagship Jazz Day event, a spectacular All-Star Global Concert, will be staged in the UN General Assembly Hall, in NewYork, emphasizing the importance of jazz as a means of achieving unity and peace through dialogue and diplomacy.  With Herbie Hancock serving as Host and Artistic Director and John Beasley as Musical Director, the program is set to feature performances by some of the world's most accomplished jazz artists..."

The jazz day web site continues ...

"This concert will be webcast worldwide today on April 30th at 5 pm EDT/2 pm PDT/11 pm CET on jazzday.com, unesco.org, hancockinstitute.org, the International Jazz Day YouTube and Facebook channels, UN Web TV and US State Department outlets.  

Jazz carries a universal message with the power to strengthen dialogue, our understanding of each other, and our mutual respect.  As the world is affected by multiple crises and conflicts, this international day highlights how much music and culture can contribute to peace," said Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, who co-chairs International Jazz Day with the Director-General of UNESCO."

There have been a number of exciting jazz artists I've heard in recent decades including vocalists, instrumentalists. bands.   Jazz is very alive, thriving and exciting as performed by creative and talented musicians in countries around the world even though less prominent to many in our country in recent decades.   

*.  *.  *

Did you view Michael Douglas introducing on PBS-TV Saturday 30th International Jazz Day I first viewed Friday night the 29th as I write this.  Unforgettable performances were featured by Herbie Hancock, Andra Day, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller and many more.  

This introductory program closes with various artists with Sean Lennon, son of composer John, joining to sing his father's memorable "Imagine" so poignant for our world today.

Check your Public Television Station (PBS-TV) for the airdate and time you can access!

Upcoming Airdates on our local Los Angeles Southern California PBS-TV stations:

Saturday.   April 30       3 am PDT on PBS SOCAL TV 50

Wednesday, May.  4     10 pm PDT on KCET TV 28

Thursday,     May.   5.      2 am PDT on KCET TV 28

Click on this website's "EXTRAS" for videos of many jazz artists performances including "Manteca" featuring an unforgettable performance at the historic Gran Teatro de La Habana -- Latin America's oldest theater.


Sunday, April 24, 2022

WILDLIFE ON EARTH DAY -- OLDER PEOPLES NEEDS

Earth Day in SoCal was highlighted with groundbreaking for the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing to be completed in 2025. 

The world's largest such construction with more SoCal wildlife bridges across freeways hoped for in the future.

Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing.         

Erin Myers reports for the KTLA 5 Morning on April 22, 2022

*. *. *

Living in place and thriving as I age presents increasing challenges the older I become.  Talking with a friend a decade younger but who is coping with issues of her's and husband's our conversation evolved to some of the needs we have.   My family lives across country from me and, especially since Covid rarely is able to visit, unlike her family but they live in  different communities so cannot easily visit their parents either.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a pre-screened group of people, maybe even senior high school or college students wanting to pick up a few hours of paid work occasionally, to provide assistance for incidental tasks?

Instances of retrieving boxes of items stored in high storage areas or replacing them, for example -- all those once simple actions that are no longer easy or even wise to undertake for physical or safety reasons.  Somebody could pop in for a couple hours with advanced schedule coordination and take care of an accumulated list of tasks we prepared.

Most of the available help seems to be only those to do house cleaning or provide nursing or personal care such as bathing, cooking/feeding, companionship.  There is a woman where I live who advertises as a Girl Friday who comes closer to providing such service, but she only runs errands, or shops for people.

Not all older people have such needs as my friend and I discussed, but perhaps some of you do or have thought about a source of such help.


Sunday, April 17, 2022

PETTY PROBLEMS -- SURVIVAL LAUGHTER

Bringing this topic up with all the very real problems each of us likely have I probably should feel embarrassed.   These "little aggravations" can be the proverbial back-breaking straw that becomes overwhelmingly exasperating -- especially if the problem does not easily respond to resolution.   This is one I had years ago, may have written about here before.   I thought it had been permanently ended.  As my loving brother would have quipped, "We don't pay you to think!"

I manage to cope with the big issues that come up, but then if a bunch of little matters like this one pile on they can reach a point where even one more can break me down.  I find myself wondering if that's just my weakness or if any others have the same experience?

In the realm of annoyances, after several halcyon years I noticed in a dirt area next to my front entrance the soil has again been recently disturbed with obvious digging much like that made by cats in a litter box.  Sure enough, a cat appeared on my back patio one day.

Another day for several hours, every time I peered out my window that same cat sat by a hedge at my front driveway's edge near my garage door.  I don't know if the cat is new to some neighbor since most have dogs or has been dumped here as has occurred in years past.  

This predominately gray cat with flecks of white I've since seen again, appears to be well cared for so may have a local owner.  People must keep their dogs inside and I wish the same was true of cats.  They discourage birds from my yard, not to mention the hazard the outdoor roamers can present to our declining avian population.

We had a neutered male cat his long entire life so I'm not anti-feline, but I just think owners need to be more responsible, especially given the risks to the kitty's nine lives here at the mountains lower foothills edge.  Selfishly, I don't want a cat creating a personal litter box immediately next to my front door, either.  "Go in our own yard, kitty!"

I went through an unwelcome period of time some years ago when that same dirt area by my door was commandeered by some cat as a personal litter box that began to attract even more felines.  Repellent efforts with some commercial deterrents were unsuccessful but eventually the felines permanently seem to disappear.

Those unfortunate cats may have been the victims of wildlife predators that prowl our community for a tasty morsel.  Those hunters come mostly at night, such as coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and even bears have been known to appear.  Coyotes, reported to have dens in our city, are the only ones I've ever seen, but I do have a coyote whistle our city distributed to residents to carry when out walking.   Owners of small pets, cats and dogs, are cautioned to take care letting their pet outside, especially after dark.  

When I've looked daily at that front-of-my-house area soil I had smoothed over, there has continued to be obvious digging disturbance.  I may try spreading a common hot spice cooking powder suggested as a possible repellent.  Supposedly, sprinkling the red hot pepper powder over the soil will result in the cat getting some on their paws.  They would then lick their paws when bathing after covering their business and find the smell, taste, or other quality totally unacceptable, even offensive to them, and not return.  Furthermore, all other trespassing felines would avoid the area, too, should any appear.  I wonder if anyone else has had success using such seasoning with this approach?  

You can see after reading this, what one of the most immediate pressing petty issues in the scheme of life is in my current daily existence.  This is that proverbial straw exasperating me when I have more important matters on which I need to focus my attention.  

I'll end this now by digressing to a cartoon that tickled my funny bones "borrowed" ...  okay! ...  stolen from my go-to blog for laughs:  Oddball Observations.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

CODA -- LADY GAGA -- RESPECT OLDER PEOPLE

Some of the more recent noteworthy Academy Award Oscar winners and nominees have been over-shadowed by a now notorious face slapping  event.  One such Oscar was the best motion picture award (reviewed by the New York Times) to CODA  (child of deaf adults) -- a first major award for a film with a predominantly deaf cast.

The social uproar occurred with the recent Hollywood Academy Awards of the Oscars when the best actor prior to his award being announced unexpectedly walked on stage, slapped hard the comedian host for making a joke about the actor's wife.  Once the actor returned to his seat, he proceeded to utter a few curse word threats warning the comedian not to mention his wife's name.  All for which the actor ultimately apologized later.

Given that the comedian's joke referred to the actor's wife's bald head, which is due to a medical condition, I am of the view these type jokes should be off limits.  Making jokes about people who have a medical condition seems more than inappropriate to me to say the least -- such as how they look, walk, talk, react, and more.  Not known is if the comedian knew the wife shaved her head because of a medical condition, though this was public knowledge.  There  still is no excuse for the actor's actions.

The actor's reaction, after I observed him initially laughing at the joke, was quite an illegal physical assault on the comedian for which the actor could and, perhaps, should have been arrested on the spot, removed from the premises, and maybe even jailed.  How the whole situation was handled is another issue I won't even discuss further here.  There still was no excuse for the actor's behavior.

If an individual has a medical condition which they are comfortable publicly discussing and choose to laugh at or make jokes about, then that makes such humor about themselves more acceptable but not otherwise in my opinion.

*. *. *

Liza Minnelli, celebrating the 50th anniversary of "Cabaret", the film that earned her an Oscar for best actress years ago, presented the best picture final award in spite of the adverse effects she was experiencing from medical problems.

Lady Gaga was a class act keeping the presentation going by assisting Ms Minnelli without ever being patronizing or awkward.   She, Liza, was enabled to retain her dignity despite the variety of medical issues that have challenged her functional abilities in recent years.

Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli present Best Picture Oscars 2022.  ABC Live

My years as a Speech-Language Pathologist I worked with a rehabilitation team of other therapy disciplines and medical professionals.   Though I initially trained and planned to work with children who had severely disordered language, I evolved into working primarily with  adult patients of all ages but mostly older adults, in hospitals, eventually in long term  care including skilled nursing in my later years of practice.

I encountered individuals with many varying medical diagnoses that included a broad variety of communication, swallowing, cognitive and related difficulties, some such as Ms Minnelli has encountered.  In every instance with all patients, whatever the diagnoses,  their retaining personal dignity and being respected by all professionals, family members, friends, and any others they might encounter has been a vital element in enabling them as human beings to optimize achieving their highest potential functioning level of which they are capable at any given point in time. 

They and all of us want little more for ourselves than respect and dignity, too, even if our only issues are that we've become old.  Maybe we've reached an age we tire more easily.  Perhaps we're less able than we once were in some functional areas ... vision or hearing not as sharp ... thinking sequentially a little slower ... recall sometimes short-circuited ... some words not always available ... feeling overwhelmed occurring more readily ... walking not as fast or far, or not at all.  We may occasionally make mistakes in our words or speech that are not over-looked by some others as similar errors when we were younger that we laughed about then.   

So it is, that I've been so impressed with Lady Gaga as she has shared the stage with Tony Bennett who has Alzheimer's and now Liza Minnelli coping with her own, but different challenges.

Here's Liza in her prime singing the title song ... in the 1972 movie "Cabaret" of that Broadway show.  The setting is:

"Berlin, 1931.  As Nazism rises in Germany, flamboyant American Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) sings in a decadent nightclub and falls in love with a British language teacher (Michael York) ... [this] carefree, tolerant and fragile cabaret world is about to be crushed under the boot of the Nazis as Berlin becomes a trap from which Sally"s German friends will not escape".

That government's oppression and Russia's behavior toward Ukraine today is what an autocracy offers that all should remember come elections in our own and other countries.  Be not fooled by lying autocrats with their appeasers appearing to be different with promises of enrichment for all.

Perhaps you have some thoughts about some of the topics I've mentioned?

Sunday, April 03, 2022

BOOK BANNING -- POTPOURRI -- RIGHT-SIZING

My life did become a bit busy as I predicted previously.  I had scheduled posts in advance but did read your comments as I moderated them, found them stimulating, though I did not take time to add my own views as I usually do when I publish them.  

I appreciated concentrating more of my time on the activities with which I became involved.  Some issues I was experiencing were resolved which I welcomed -- some major, some merely pesky little ones needing intervention, and some unanticipated new ones to hassle, all together reaching close to overwhelming proportions it felt like.   Even now more have arisen.

My son was able to visit  to assist me, also in initiating some long overdue "right-sizing" in my house.  We filled a special trash/recycle bin for starters.  I continue the process since his departure as I had been gradually doing on my own in recent years with just the usual smaller weekly bins.   

Of course, there are sorting items for shredding, donation, other special dispositions.   As usual, there are always more issues requiring my attention along with some that seem to unexpectedly emerge, but they can be more readily integrated into my daily activities now.  These efforts seem like so much more because I'm slower than in years past, I think.

*  *. *

I'm pondering the pros and cons of getting this second Covid booster shot though I've tended to think I would wait until Fall.   I'll monitor what science information is forthcoming about the efficacy of taking this new booster sooner since I don't really experience a lot of situations  and other people that might expose me to the virus whatever the variant. 

Still, reportedly, this latest variation is much more contagious even if the illness is not more serious for those who have been vaccinated plus had the first booster shot as I have.  More viral variations can always surface sooner or later as they seem to be doing.   

Why don't people just use common sense, critical thinking, and judgment weighing science reports and health officials recommendations?   Instead they complain of being confused, tend to blame officials for not telling them specifically what to do in this evolving ever-changing situation the virus dictates.   This virus situation often seems like a "kill the messenger" reaction by some people.

It really is a tragic circumstance for all of us trying to protect one another to think that if more people had cooperated for preventative measures with vaccines, masking, etc., our nation could have had a higher percentage of more virus-resistant people but most significantly less deaths -- even today.  

Possibly we could well have circumvented this virus continuing to be such a threat in our country on a permanent yearly basis.  Perhaps even more tragic are all those countries that still don't even have some of the basic vaccines and medications in quantities available here and in a few other nations.

*. *. *. 

California is destined to another drought year weather authorities tell us as our so-called wet season, which has been quite dry, ends.  Our water shortage is such that we likely are going to incur having mandatory usage limits since voluntary cutbacks have been insufficient.  

*  *. *

Putin's Russian army unable to overwhelm Ukrainian's forces in the manner they expected have withdrawn in some areas, leaving behind boobytraps and bombs to kill the innocent.  Wherever possible they also seem to be increasing slaughter of the helpless citizens, women, children, old people and their homes.   That once proud Russian nation fought against Hitler's Nazis and now emulates them in too many ways while their leader lies to the citizens.

*. *. *

Have you read any good banned books lately? 

PBS Newshour -- Book Banning 

Seems to be a lot of book banning going on in parts of our country -- along with efforts to suppress voting under the guise of false claims alleging election fraud.  Amazing the number of people who continue to believe these sensoring extremists, lie mongers and conspiracists.

*. *. *

Maybe you have some thoughts on your mind to share here?  

Sunday, March 27, 2022

POSSIBILITIES ONCE, MAY NOT BE LIKELY NOW

I don't recall my age or the year I realized and accepted that some activities I had always imagined I would experience some day, that I never would, such as visiting Paris, Scotland to name a couple foreign locations.  I have always had an appetite not even remotely fulfilled for travel to sites and continents away from my own.

I did fly to South America's Ecuador where I had never even thought about going or imagined I would visit, but leaped when the opportunity was presented.  Taking advantage of such situations when they occur is wise even if sudden schedule and life adjustments may be necessary.  I had to borrow money for the trip from the bank where I was then working in the loan department. 

An unscheduled stop occurred in Jamaica on the flight there.  I made a quick deplane just to say I'd been there before re-boarding to continue the flight.  My return flight had an unexpected stop in Peru where the most strikingly handsome and beautiful golden-skinned couple I have ever seen in my life boarded our plane.  I'll always wonder who they were.

Years later after I wed, I learned my husband was much more enamored with traveling in the U.S.   He said there was so much here that we had never seen.   So, we stayed primarily on this continent, did go to Hawaii but didn't get to Alaska and enjoyed only a limited Niagara Falls trip into Canada.  An anticipated further exploration north of our border never materialized, regrettably.  

Mexico visits were few, but simply walking across the border, except for once when I convinced my husband to drive over.  Thoughts of driving the Pan American Highway intrigued me.  I learned later the highway was incomplete in many places and little more than a dirt road in others as I rode on in Ecuador. 

This trip with my husband was a very brief intrusion into Mexico.  He was  unfamiliar with the Spanish language so turned on to a street with a sign that probably had said the street was closed to traffic for repairs.  I had studied French so was no help.  A workman running toward us, shouting, frantically waving his arms, conveyed our presence was a mistake. His behavior quickly convinced my husband to turn the car around and drive back across the border to the U.S. before we had an accident or got arrested.  The workman probably muttered to his colleagues, "Those loco gringos don't know how to drive!"

Early years before our children were born, we took a few short cross-country flights he privately piloted that were compensating pleasures to foreign travel for me then.  Many scenic drives through numerous states, plus visits to our U.S. national park system and monuments offered a bounty of attractions.   We were unable to visit as many Parks as we had hoped, especially when his declining health in later years altered those expectations.  Lengthy cross country scenic train trips in the U.S. and Canada about which we mused never could become a reality.

All of this came to mind when I recently checked my KCET Public Television Station's (PBS) weekly Friday night movie.  I always wanted to visit Scotland which I learned was the evening's 1983's movie's setting.  I was in the mood for a movie with some beautiful scenery and a light entertaining story line.  No record of Scottish ancestors had been found among those of mine so efficiently researched a few years ago by blogger/researcher Judy at "Onward and Upward -- Ever Forward".   I remain convinced there may be some forefathers preceding those whose identity was named in my English/European background.  

"Local Hero was filmed in several locations around Scotland.   Most of the Ferness village scenes were filmed in Pennan on the Aberdeenshire coast and most of the beach scenes at Morar and Arisaig on the west coast" reported by Wikipedia.

Here's the original 1983 "Local Hero" movie trailer:


Here's a more extensive current link to sites with color photos of film locations offered at "Almost Ginger" by blogger Rebecca Sharp "twenty-something avid cinephile and traveller, as well as a minimalist, optimist, Hufflepuff and proud ginger."  Corrected link to "Almost Ginger".


So, I viewed "Local Hero" -- lovely country and beach scenes, subtle ideas and all that you might enjoy from a Criterion Collection of films I recommend.  Here's some of what Criterion said about the film:

"Bill Forsyth put Scottish cinema on the map with this delightfully eccentric culture-clash comedy.  Riffing on popular representations of Scottish life and folklore, Local Hero follows the Texas oil executive Mac (Peter Riegert), who is dispatched by his crackpot boss (Burt Lancaster) to a remote seaside village in Scotland with orders to buy out the town and develop the region for an oil refinery.  But as business mixes with pleasure, Mac finds himself enchanted by both the picturesque community and its oddball denizens---and Texas starts to feel awfully far away.  Packed with a near nonstop stream of droll one-liners and deadpan gags, this enchanting cult hit finds Forsyth surveying the idiosyncrasies of small-town life with the satirical verve of a latter-day Preston Sturges, arriving at a sly commentary on conservation, corporate greed, and the legacies we leave behind."

An interesting 2019 essay by Jonathan Murray includes:

"Bill Forsyth is Scotland's most famous filmmaker, and Local Hero (1983) is his most famous film---for many, the true subject of Local Hero's title is the Glasgow-born writer-director himself."

Perhaps you have also concluded some once anticipated activities are no longer likely to occur for you during your lifetime.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

QUESTIONS: DEMOCRACY VS AUTOCRACY

(My life has been busier than usual the past week or so and will continue to be for at least another week or more.   I've been visiting other blogs  less frequently but will resume again soon.) 

                             *                                               *                                              *

                     Tears For Fears -- "Everybody Wants To Rule The World"

Performed on a recent Late Show With Stephen Colbert celebrating the release of their latest album "The Tipping Point".


DW a respected German news source, one of several media in other countries I follow, recently reported "Democracy in decline worldwide" in Peter Hille's article you may read by clicking on that title with these excerpts:  

"For the first time since 2004, the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) has recorded more autocratic states than democracies around the world.  Civil society activists often represent the last bastion of resistance."  [Emphasis is mine.]

Hille's report continues:

"Of the 137 developing and transition countries examined, only 67 are still considered democracies.  The number of autocracies has increased to 70."

Additionally, Hille notes:

"This is the worst political transformation result we have ever measured in the 15 years of our work," says Hauke Hartmann, BTI project manager at the Bertelsmann Foundation.  This is due to the fact around the world there are fewer free and fair elections, less freedom of opinion and assembly, as well as increasing erosion of the separation of powers." [Emphasis is mine.]

Many tactics were employed for four years during our previous president's administration to weaken our democracy including spreading falsehoods about our election's fairness, attempts were made to stifle contradictory opinion, and limiting efforts were directed toward our free press.

Most egregious was the exploitation of the legal system to undermine our U.S. Constitution including efforts to erode the separation of powers in our nation's three branches.  The executive branch increasingly dictated to the other branches, legislative and judicial, often attempting to ignore or circumvent the rule of law which was espoused to being believed but  actions demonstrated otherwise.

You are probably aware of many examples of efforts within our country that continue to be made to weaken our democracy as practiced by that former president and enablers.  Consider voter suppression laws in some states.  Efforts to manipulate election officials.

Those who falsely lament most about our 2020 election being stolen appear to currently be engaged in using nefarious means to be able to attempt to steal future elections should they not like the results of fair and legal voting.  They do so under the false flag our election process cannot be trusted  Even members of their own political party have stated unequivocally there is no evidence our election results were false and cannot be trusted in the future with existing officials.

Unfortunately, one political party appears to currently be dominated by that ex-president with those who are appeasing autocracy supporters, to describe at best what they are about.  This would seem to give voters who want to preserve our democratic republic pause to seriously think about not only their national but local and state candidate selections, including judiciary, plus voting choices in the future.

Voters no longer will be deciding between two political parties with differing issue views but united in their dedication to democracy and how best to govern our democratic republic.

Voters may well be choosing between a party dedicated  to retaining our freedoms within a democratic republic or a party that is masquerading an intent to convert our government to an autocracy with a dictator calling himself a duly elected president.  

Hopefully, more and more people will consider these issues preparatory for congressional elections as well as presidential election primaries, national conventions, and general elections   What are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 13, 2022

PUTIN'S WAR -- PUZZLING TERMS -- CATTLE CLIMBER

I would like to go through one week without some mechanical or tech device not requiring special operational attention or my having a dental or medical issue surfacing.  These are minor irritants for me compared to major catastrophes occurring in life for too many people around the world.  Most recently I continue to think of Ukraine.

Maybe I've become more sensitive to my personal annoyances since the pandemic descended upon us even though the virus effects appear to have lessened some presently.  Now, the invasion and atrocities committed by Putin's Russian army including slaughtering Ukrainian civilians also generates negative feelings in me.

One result of Putin's war on Ukraine felt here in SoCal is auto gasoline costs have been increasing every night.  The past week 13 cents a gallon has been added each of several successive nights with expectations that total costs per gallon will rise to $6, even $7 or more soon.  My displeasure with this added expense mellows a bit when I consider these higher gas rates are said to be a consequence of U.S. efforts to pressure Putin to stop his war, thus help the brave Ukrainians resistance.  Ukraine's needs are so much greater than my own, with no end in sight, and so little else I can do.

I welcome opportunities to lighten my mood a bit, often find entertainment in the most mundane places.  My attraction to unusual topics reflects my somewhat warped sense of humor though you may or may not perceive the matter in quite the same way.  One such topic is this recent TV news story I discovered being reported somewhat differently on various news channels.   With tongue in cheek, I note they all raised a fundamental question many may wonder about whenever any one of these animals is seen -- cow, bull, or steer?

The initial TV station I viewed, KCAL-TV, the male anchor described an escaped "steer" being shown racing for freedom on city streets before being safely corralled in a yard.  The female co-anchor then referred to her partner's steer as a "cow".  From that point forward they both used only the term "cow" which I found perturbing -- because I thought the animal was definitely a male, in fact a steer.  Why did the male anchor change the term he used?

A subsequent TV channel, KABC-LA reported the same story with both the male and female anchors describing an escaped "bull".   Maybe a bull or a steer (castrated male/bull is what seemed visually obvious to me) -- a cow (female animal) it was not.

I suppose some adults don't know how to discern the difference between male and female cattle or bovines, but that's another topic I'll not get into here.  However, I got to thinking about another matter -- what do we call one "bovine" if we're unable to see the physical differences to determine cow or bull?  I've not heard people say, "Oh, see that bovine?"

A pig is a pig, a horse is a horse, whether male or female.  Cattle, if just one animal is a bovine -- but who says that term?  

A third TV station's KABC-LA news anchor laughingly summed up the story by noting confusion in their newsroom as to whether the animal was a cow or bull.  He concluded his life experience had familiarized him with these animals and this was a bull.  All I can say is that he must have had a view not shown in the various news videos I saw, because I think it was a steer, but a bull is a more accurate term than a cow.

Finally, FOX 11 has a local newsman who generally really tries to get his stories straight (unlike some on FOX national network level, IMHO).   He described the animal as a steer.  A recorded earlier clip of his station reporters filming live from their helicopter in their audio used the term, cow.  I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they couldn't see the animal well enough at their altitude in the sky to discern if it was a steer or bull.

I subsequently noted in this NBCLA News video, totally off base with a "cow" designation, also answering an additional unrelated question about which I'm sure we've all wondered -- can cattle climb stairs?  Especially anyone living in a dwelling with steps considering having one of these animals as a pet would certainly want to know the answer to that question.


The matter is resolved in my mind that this bovine is a steer.  The issue of a commonly used term we can use, like we use pig or horse, for the unknown sex of a singular one of these cattle animals continues to be bovine at best as far as I know, unless you know some term I don't.

Now that I've brought these monumental issues to your attention, please feel free to make any astute observations, including disagreeing with me, that may come to your mind.  I hope, if you didn't already know, that you appreciate the fact I've also shown you that cattle can climb stairs, or at least this steer can. 

Sunday, March 06, 2022

UKRAINE WAR -- RICOCHETING WINTER -- EAGLET

What a week this has been!

My life challenges seem so insignificant compared to what is occurring for so many in Ukraine.  I find myself thinking about older people and how they are experiencing the events they're encountering.   I consider how would I be able to cope. 

This invasive war has significant bearing on our world as we know it.  For the sake of our younger and future generations, Ukraine's situation demonstrates our nation must preserve our republic's democracy.

SoCal weather in my area this past week gave us summer-like warm temperatures, then abruptly dropped about 20 degrees to wintertime again.   Promised rain where I live did not materialize though other areas did receive some moisture. 

A second storm in recent days has brought snow to the mountains and a little rain below the foothills.  We have only a few more weeks in our ordinarily rainy season to end our drought, but only dry warmer temperatures in the 70s arrive early next week.

We welcomed new life this past week when the Big Bear Bald Eagles successfully had the first of their two eggs hatch.  Pip watch continues for the second egg for possible hatching any day now.  The warmer weather was giving way to winter's return soon after that first little fluff ball finally emerged from the eggshell.   

The following video courtesy of Friends of Big Bear Valley reveals the incubating eagle literally covered in snow.  The video frame rate appears to have been ramped up at the beginning.  

PEACE !

Sunday, February 27, 2022

FREEDOM -- HUMILIATION PART II -- BALD EAGLES

FREEDOM and PEACE IN JEOPARDY

Recent events in Ukraine are very much on my mind as Russia's leader, Putin, has ordered his country's military to brutally invade their peaceful neighbor nation for the sin of wanting to be free and independent to determine their own destiny -- a democracy.   Innocent Ukrainians are dying defending their country.

UPDATE For the birds ..... 

Big Bear Bald Eagles I've been following on my blog for several years laid two eggs, the first on January 22nd this year.  Pip watch has begun this Saturday, February 26th as I write this.  Pip is the first small break in the egg shell as the eaglet inside begins to peck their way out.  Three days later is usually the earliest pip watch begins for the second egg laid January 25th.

Mother, Jackie, and father, Shadow, remodeled their nest for this year.  Shadow continues to share egg incubating time on the nest when Jackie permits.  Here's the link if you want to observe them on a live camera 24/7 courtesy of Friends of Big Bear Valley, nonprofit,  in a beautiful mountain community east of where I live.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4-L2nfGcuE&t=0s

An additional camera was added this year: Wide View Cam (Cam 2): https://youtu.be/Xx0nese3zL8

This is a recent video of Shadow arriving with a fish for Jackie......


ALONE, LONELY? -- HUMILIATING MOMENTS PART II

Continuing the previous post with a recap.....

Lying in bed at night, just before I fall asleep, sometimes unusual thoughts or memories emerge unbidden into my mind as I described in Part I.  I have no idea why this occurs since I'm usually thinking of nothing at that point in time when I'm about to drowse off.  A few curious events emerging recently during that time included an especially humiliating moment which I experienced as a pre-teen.

This city girl was now living in the country where I was learning to be alone and not lonely.  I was also adapting and adjusting to this most recent major change in my young life.  There was no longer an occasion for me to see other classmates outside of school and none here lived near to me as I previously wrote.  So, to have some sort of social life, make new friends, I signed up at school to join a nationally prominent organization that will remain unnamed for farm boys and girls.  I don't wish to cast the organization in a negative light since they are a very beneficial and positive group for so many.  As is often the case, youth groups are only as good as their well-intentioned leaders who as human beings can be less than perfect.

I didn't know when or where the group met but thought I'd eventually learn.  If meetings weren't anytime while I was on the school grounds, such as during lunch hour, but instead in the summer, I knew I might not be able to attend due to family transportation limitations.  I heard nothing until many weeks later, one afternoon a car turned off the main highway to come up the long drive past our neighbors to our house.  I hadn't seen the car, but a short time after the occupants arrival, they spoke with my mother.  She subsequently called to me where I was reading in my upstairs bedroom.

There were two women I met when I came downstairs who were this local group's leaders, they explained.  They said my name was on their club roster and though I had never attended any other meetings (if they had any), this was a very special day since some important official or other supervisory person was coming to assess them.  I guessed they wanted full attendance so that's why they came to get me and would bring me home afterward.   I didn't learn until later there was more to the story which they hadn't told my mother,  that my name had been scheduled to demonstrate  the activity that day.   Mom asked if I wanted to go, to which I enthusiastically said, "Yes".  I had to rush around cleaning up, changing my clothes and Mom quickly French-braided my hair as I wore pigtails then.

When we were driving to the meeting the women explained the learning activity that day was to cook a custard.  My name was listed on their schedule as the person to cook during that meeting.  I was not to worry because others were making the custard as we spoke.  When we got there I was just to take the spoon, stir the custard, and when this woman official arrived, she would probably walk over to see what I was doing and I could tell her cooking this custard.  That seemed simple  enough, but I was a bit uneasy.

When we arrived, I took my place and began stirring the custard as they had instructed.  The official soon appeared and walked over to observe me as the leaders had said she would.  She then started quizzing me about how I had made this custard.  I didn't have the foggiest idea as I'd never made custard in my life and didn't recall seeing my mother make any.  I knew there was milk in it, might have guessed some eggs, but beyond that I was ignorant.  I would have had to either not answer, or say I don't know.  

The official became increasingly persistent,  frustrated, and she kept pressing me by asking  questions I couldn't answer.  I was beginning to feel I was being made out to be stupid given her gradual vocal change in tenor.  She was becoming impatient with  her voice beginning to take on a disparaging tone toward me, querying what ingredient had I put in first -- the sequence of steps I had followed.  "Well, don't you know?", she demanded.  I could feel my face turning red with embarrassment, my ears were ringing, and my head inside felt like it would explode.  All the girls and the leaders were staring at me.

I looked helplessly at the leaders but they just looked back and weren't speaking up to clarify matters.  I didn't know what further to do or say.  Apparently, I was supposed to be able to successfully answer this woman's questions.  I began to realize this was important for whatever was at stake for the leaders and the rest of the girls.  I had a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach as I concluded that I would be letting them all down if I said I hadn't made the custard from the very beginning which must be what they wanted this woman to believe.  

The woman official may have said she didn't think I made the custard, or she may have asked me directly if I had made it from the beginning, in which case I would have answered, "No", but I  don't remember what happened as my mind and body were just frozen.  I was hearing in my head the loud deep male God character voice technically enhanced to sound other worldly, from the radio program"The Greatest Story Ever Told", that my Mom occasionally listened to and I knew I wasn't going to lie.  

The official went off to a corner of the room with the leaders.  On the opposite side of the room all the girls huddled together, then after just looking at me began whispering to one another, as I just stood there all alone.  I don't know how long I stood there, but I didn't know what to do and no one was giving me any guidance.   I didn't matter at that point to anyone, so finally, I simply went out the door, down the steps, walking several blocks to the road where I began the long two-and-a-half miles trip toward home.  I had just passed the city limits of that little village of a few hundred residents when a car stopped, horn tooted and I was relieved to discover the driver was a family member who had, coincidentally, come to town, was surprised to see me and wondered what I was doing.   I had a ride home.

I probably poured out my heart in the car to a very caring understanding ear and again to my mother when I got home, but I don't remember any of that.  Late that afternoon those leaders, I guess, drove to my house, but I was upstairs in my room and didn't have to see them.  I don't know what was said between them and my mother, but I know, as a former young teacher in a one room schoolhouse years earlier, coupled with being my understanding mother, she would not have been shy about saying what she thought about the situation.  

I don't know if the leaders had been frantic wondering where I was, had been searching for me before finally coming to our home.  If my mother and I discussed what occurred between her and them, which I'm sure she would have shared with me, I've long since forgotten.   I don't recall experiencing any repercussions from the other girls at school.   I didn't have further participation in the organization but wouldn't have been able to attend anyway since  I learned the meetings rotated to one another's home.  This all became a moot point since we moved out of state a couple months after school started again that fall.  

I never fretted about the event through the years to re-experience it as being post-traumatic, though I had recalled it from time to time.   I hadn't thought of it for years but clearly the event remained embedded in my memory.   This is all the more reason for my wondering why the recollection of  that experience I can still visualize in my mind came seeping into my consciousness this recent night.  

We've all probably had humiliating moments in our lives.  This and the others described in Part I  are some of the earliest ones which seem to have lingered in my memory only to surface recently when least expected in a most unusual way.   

What about you?   Do you recall any humiliating moments to which you may have been subjected?  


Sunday, February 20, 2022

ALONE, LONELY? -- HUMILIATING MOMENTS PART I

Lying in bed at night, just before I fall asleep, sometimes unusual thoughts or memories emerge unbidden into my mind.  I have no idea why any particular content appears since I'm usually thinking of nothing at that point in time when I'm about to drowse off.  A few curious events intruding into my mind recently included some humiliating moments with one especially so that I experienced as a pre-teen.   

We had moved to the country where we lived for a little over a year.  This city girl had previously visited family living in a rural area, even helped with some chores on my uncle's dairy farm.  These included aiding harvesting hay for the coming winter by driving a hand-clutch Farmall tractor, later leading the horse to pull a trip-wire fork of hay to drop into the barn's hayloft.  Living year 'round in the country in a house where the bathroom was an outhouse was quite a different matter as I discovered from those few weeks in the summer where the family house at least had indoor plumbing.  

In the city I previously could occasionally be with friends, though in the country there was no one my age living nearby.   I have a sense now of the feelings young people experience in our current pandemic, especially if they have become accustomed to almost constant contact with their friends and have other family nearby.   They probably have their own phones, but in my generation we didn't spend time chattering on the phone, much less had our own phone, or at least I didn't.   Youth today can text or interact on the internet, too, which wasn't available to me, plus we didn't even have a house phone in the country.

Where we had moved, should someone want to reach me, I was quite isolated from any contemporaries.  I no longer had the singular independence given me by city buses to transport me to some of my favored past times, by allowing me to ride downtown to the library, roller skating rink, movie theater to view musicals, all in addition to my Girl Scout activities.

That country living was when I became acutely aware of sometimes becoming lonely or unhappy.  I eventually learned I could be alone there and not lonely, that I was responsible for my own happiness, partly based on my own attitude which I could control.  When I complained of being bored, my mother (who grew up on a farm) said I would have to find new additional ways to entertain myself differently than I had been accustomed to doing.  

Consequently, adapting and adjusting to profound changes of which these were just more, became very important lessons I learned at an early age.  They became significant to me for coping with the rest of my life.  This became especially valuable when I became a widow entering my older years, then subsequently as friends and relatives increasingly began leaving this life.    The pandemic's limitations  have added more challenges.  

When school started that fall in the country, I had to walk alone three-quarters of a mile to catch the school bus, often in the dark during cold snowy winter months, then ride for an hour over the entire trip before arriving at school only two-and-a-half miles from our house since I boarded at the beginning of the route.  Girls could only wear pants to keep our legs warm until we reached school, then we had to be wearing skirts or dresses.  

The teachers didn't know me, of course, a new student.   So on one occasion when an event motivated me to speak up to the teacher privately as the class left the room, to express heart-felt empathy to her after a very rude student had caused her to reprimand him, I was taken aback she was not receptive to what I said.  Embarrassingly to me, I was chastised for speaking to her, then told to stay in my seat excluded from recess which the rest of the class had taken outside. 

I never understood how what I said provoked her since the very rude insulting student was allowed to go outside for recess.  So much for the warm trusting respectful relationship I had appreciated which seemed to be mutual with my teachers through my previous six elementary school grades in the city.   Well, there was that occasion when the city teacher wracked my knuckles with a wooden ruler for writing notes with my boyfriend.   Another day that same city teacher had me read the spelling words to the class as she left the room because she was having a heart attack we learned later.

Then, at my new school there was the instance of total invasion of my personal privacy I thought then, in a day when girls, especially, were taught and expected to be very modest about their bodies.  Seems there was an infestation of scabies in the school or community, a bug of some sort which I'd never even heard of before.   We were sent off to the nurse's office where one by one we went into her room, not really knowing what was to occur.  

My turn came and I was suddenly being told to expose my genital area to this strange woman -- totally contrary to everything my mother had taught me about my privacy and rights, especially after my having been sexually molested when I was preschool age.   I politely resisted and then, adding insult to injury, the nurse started using what I considered offensive cajoling baby talk and euphemistic terms to me in her effort to gain my cooperation.  Despite this, I did ultimately allow her to complete what must have been a less than pleasant task for her, too, though I didn't think about that then.  I was so disgusted and again, embarrassed.  

There was never an occasion for me to see other classmates outside of school and none lived nearby as I said.  So, to have some sort of social life, make new friends, I signed up at school to join a nationally prominent organization that will remain unnamed with separate clubs  for farm boys and girls.  I don't wish to cast the organization in a negative light since overall they provide a very beneficial positive experience for so many young people.   As is often the case,  youth groups are only as good as their    well-intentioned leaders who as human beings can be less than perfect.   

The most humiliating experience I had during this time in my life I will describe next week in Part II since this has become so lengthy.   

Strange, isn't it, what comes into our thoughts at times though we may not have been thinking about anything remotely related, or even anything at all for that matter.    

 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

MENTAL RESPITE -- DEMOCRACY -- PEACE -- LOVE

Some of our U.S. populace is caught up in the excitement of today's (Sun. 2/13) NFL Super Bowl American football playoff game occurring in a newly built Los Angeles area stadium that media describes as being quite spectacular as such arenas go.   

I may view this game on TV as I have been intrigued with the young 36 years old L.A. Rams coach Sean McVay, their quarterback, Matthew Stafford age 34, and the team's success -- information hard to ignore learning of since the game, team and players have been repeatedly and aggressively promoted by local, even national media.

The Cincinnati Bengals opposing our coincidentally local Rams are also attractive with the story of their young 25 year old quarterback, Joe Burrows and his team finally producing a winning season after a 31 years drought from such success.  Zac Taylor, 38 years old, the second youngest NFL head coach for the Bengals.  

I can enjoy watching some sporting events but am not avidly engrossed in them as my husband was.  Years ago, when I learned of brain injury issues, then coupled with what has been learned in more recent years about dementia effects some athletes have experienced, my attitude toward the violence in some sports has colored my enjoyment.  As for this Super Bowl, I'm inclined to root for our L.A. team, but I think I could derive pleasure from the joy expressed by whichever team wins.

Perhaps the Super Bowl will be a mental respite from thinking about the numerous issues our country faces both internally, such as the GOP not being a true political party but perhaps a radical insurgency, and externally like the current situation in Europe.

Democracy, such as practiced in our nation's republic,  continues to be under assault by those advocating for various forms of dictatorships.  They promote autocratic leaders just as does even one of our own -- a former self-aggrandizing President who makes no secret of his intent to subvert our nation to becoming an autocracy he would lead.   

My recent weekend luck forces me once more to focus on my latest woes since a long-ago-broken tooth has once again come unglued.  At least I can be glad I didn't swallow the released tooth piece.  I'll weather this new inconvenience until, hopefully, a re-glue is received ideally Monday rather than referral for a root canal -- just when I thought I could attend to other matters.

Only last week having replaced tires on my car after an unexpected flat and revelations of the poor condition from age deteriorations the rest of the tires exhibited, I had thought I could indulge in thinking about less personal matters.   Come to think of it, there are still a few other personal issues for me to address, none the least of which are income taxes.  Oh, well!

I still can't help thinking about what is happening in Europe.  Why are we concerned we might ask?  

My view is -- please, not more war -- not again -- a European nation, this time Russia, threatening a geographically adjacent smaller country ... Ukraine ... an unwanted invasion into a sovereign nation ... a reversion to a less stable continent whatever the rationale or excuse for doing so.

This crisis is discussed by Judy Woodruff with New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart in a PBS News Hour segment.  An excerpt of what Brooks said:

"I'd say the stakes are this.  In 19-- from 1915-1945, we had  a culture and a regime in Europe which was the law of the jungle, the strong nations get to conquer the little ones.  In 1945, after 150 million deaths and two World Wars, we set up a rules-based order, where strong nations do not get to take over little ones, that we have some sort of global international order, with NATO and the U.N. and all sorts of organizations making it a much more peaceful place.

And we have enjoyed a peaceful, peaceful land.  And, if Russia is allowed to take Ukraine, that would destroy, that would shred that international order."

As for the pandemic,  I continue to find it alarming the simple matter of wearing a facial mask which is a proven means of limiting viral spreading has become such a controversial issue.  These viruses could care less that we humans are tired of adjusting our daily lives to combat them.  So, we will each be forced to confront the virus's potential illness consequences, protecting ourselves on our own, given that some of the selfish humans in our midst don't seem to care what happens to others or themselves by taking measures best for all.  "We're all in this together" as these viruses dictate -- except for some -- unfortunately affecting all.  

I understand the virus mutations present changes that can only be determined over time, after the fact, but some objectors seem not to grasp this concept.   Whatever federal to local officials may prescribe or recommend for various settings, I will continue following basic common-sense practices including wearing a mask filtering small particles despite some of the falsehoods such as described in this U.S.A. Today article, as well as taking other care including hand washing/sanitizing.  Also, I'll still make selective contact with others and the situations into which I'll go.

These are, indeed, challenging times in which we live with all sorts of changes occurring throughout the world.  Like most of you who have lived many years, I've learned to adapt and adjust.  Perhaps more difficult has been to differentiate the situations or matters which I can alter from those I can't, then making peace within myself with the latter.  I stay abreast of what is happening around us and around the world as, probably, you do, too.

I find happiness in my daily life for my own well-being as I expect you do also.  I make an effort to share joy, to encourage future generations that there is hope for the future, which I truly believe -- not always easy with what all too often appears to loom ahead as now.

We can celebrate Valentine's Day this week and spread that love to all, but especially to those close to us.  Maybe some will send a little love to you.  

   

Sunday, February 06, 2022

NEW & OLD BUSINESS -- GROUNDHOGS FOILED

OLD BUSINESS

A few years ago I wrote here of my frustration with an unexpected large expense when my neighbor's back wall caused an attached segment of my wall to need reconstruction to prevent my own wall from completely falling.   My neighbor refused to acknowledge his wall was adversely pressuring my wall despite our both being able to literally see his whole back wall was leaning.  He saw this in person on several occasions, but denied the effect of his wall on mine.   In fact, over the time I gave him to become convinced, his wall could easily be seen to keep leaning further and further.  Additionally, I had sent him periodic measures and photos of the changing effects on my wall.

I finally consulted with our city authorities, they inspected, then gave me permission to detach his wall from mine.  I had to have my wall section reconstructed to prevent a worsening situation.   While that was in progress I had received notice my home insurance was in jeopardy.  My neighbor later told a city official when they asked him that he would provide some financial reimbursement to me for the corner of my damaged wall's reconstruction.  He never did.  

I ultimately determined my legal pursuit of him for my costs, or even a part of them, was not best at that time for a variety of reasons.  A few years later he subsequently sold the house.  He had only been renting the house anyway since he was living somewhere in Los Angeles.  I learned this week that during our storm the neighbor's backyard wall finally fell over.  I feel sorry for the new owner who I haven't yet met, but at least his wall no longer has any effect on my wall. 

RECENT BUSINESS

Writing of our SoCal weather,  I might add we've continued to have Santa Anna/Santana's (devil) winds.  Given the strong winds downing over 300 trees in our city, damaging some homes.  I have continued to withhold putting my trash bin out at the curb for weekly pickup lest it be blown over as would have happened the week I wrote of earlier.

I must not be living right because I had another weekend power outage about a week after the first power loss.  I had been able to regain electricity the first time the furnace mechanism had been affected but had power after that for only a week before this second sudden loss.  Only a service person was able to completely reactivate my power when he discovered a special code for restarting my furnace was required.  At least I hadn't caused the problem I was relieved to learn since my thermostat adjusting efforts trying to turn on the furnace had been lacking.  

Naturally, outages and breakdowns only occur on a weekend when repair service isn't readily available.  That second weekend of power outage was miserably SoCal cold again for me, but nothing compared to what people in the rest of the U.S. have been having with snow, ice, zero and below temperatures so I shouldn't complain.  Interestingly, this coming week our temperatures are going to be in the 70's - 80's F.  This is unusually warm for these months.

The wonderful December rainfall we received has not been repeated, so our drought seems to be dominating again.  There are no storms predicted in our future.  February and March are typically the last months of our rainy season.

HUMANS FOIL GROUNDHOG'S WEATHER PROGNOSTICATIONS

Groundhog Day this past week on February 2nd brought thoughts that come to my mind every year.   I'm finally going to share them here in a somewhat light-hearted questioning manner -- maybe even humorous.  As if we don't have enough truly serious matters in the world -- what do you think?

Living many years beginning in my youth in a state adjoining Pennsylvania I always heard a lot about Punxsutawney Phil on Gobbler's Knob, long before he became a national celebrity with a special day observed in all groundhogs honor.

Phil, a groundhog, was said to exhibit behavior that would tell us on February 2nd if we would have more winter or spring, depending on whether he saw his shadow when he emerged from his burrow and hibernation.  Learning more about various creatures lives as I became an adult, I soon concluded Phil's human owners actions were not only exploiting him but interfering with anyone's ability to reasonably judge by Phil's behavior future weather conditions.

Not only does Phil have to cope with variable weather issues, he's not even allowed to emerge from his burrow when he thinks the timing is appropriate as described in Mary Bernath's Sunbury, Pennsylvania's Danville News article linked here.   One observer is reported to have noted:

"Phil doesn't want to come out, so they have to grab him by the scruff of his neck to pull him out."  

Well, in my view, no wonder Phil has such a poor weather predictive accuracy record.  Seems to me Phil's knowing when to emerge to see if he can see his shadow is a critical element in determining any prognostication for future weather.

Bernath reports people turn out in large numbers to see Phil on Groundhog Day:

"While all this hoopla is going on, most ordinary Pennsylvania groundhogs are still soundly asleep in their burrows.  According to Jon Beam, naturalist at the Montour Preserve and assistant director of MARC, groundhogs settle in for the winter in late October and don't awaken until the last half of February or even early March.  Males get up first, to wander around and check out female burrows to see who is awake.  They might go back to their burrows for a while to keep warm, but the deep sleep is over."

I think we're long past time when Phil needs the freedom to determine for himself when to emerge from his burrow after awakening from hibernation.  Maybe then Phil and other groundhogs will give us more accurate weather predictions about when or if winter is ending and spring is coming.  

Sunday, January 30, 2022

DREAM VENTURES IN OLDER LIVES

When you were still in the working world, did you ever wonder what your life would be like when you were older or after you retired?

Did you ever think after you retired you might take up a long-desired interest you simply did not have time to thoroughly explore during your regular wage-earning professional career?  

Have you pursued such an interest, maybe engaged in something else, or might in the future?   

Perhaps there's an interest which you wish you could take up but seems unlikely you"ll ever be able to do so?

I don't know if the person described here thought about those questions, but when he retired, he was motivated to pursue further his deferred interest in playing the drums.

Harvey Leff,   aka "Styx", and others in the Physics Department at California State Polytechnic University - Pomona, near where I live, came together while still working and formed a musical group -- Out-Laws of Physics (audio recordings on the link).   They performed just for fun for their colleagues, then commemorated another with original Styx lyrics and raised scholarship funds.  Amazingly to this Physics professor and his department cohorts, their music was greeted with appreciative enthusiasm.  They were a resounding success asked to perform more on occasion.

Eventually, Harvey retired; was thoughtfully gifted by his wife,  Ellen, with a drum set.  He continued practicing and playing, taking some drumming lessons from a professional drummer jazz musician in the ZZAJ group I've enjoyed and written about.  Harvey's university musical group and he had evolved --  to paying jobs playing country, folk, pop, jazz and all sorts of music entertaining a growing number of fans.  

I met Harvey and his wife, Ellen, interesting and fun-loving people, at the free Sunday afternoon jazz concerts I started attending after my husband's death years ago.  Later, I enjoyed attending his group's appearance at a popular local restaurant that regularly features live music.

This delightful and personable couple eventually moved to a Portland, Oregon retirement community offering all levels of care to be closer to their twin sons and families.  They've become very active in their community.  Ellen chairs the movie scheduling group, also line and folk dances while Harvey and their sons have formed a musical group, the Leff Trio.  He also drums regularly with a local Portland jazz sextet.  He seems to have plenty of gigs, in that music world terminology, to keep him busy.

"Sing, Sing, Sing" -- Leff Trio.              
  (One of their numerous tunes listed on the right side bar of this You Tube link).


Here's another video of the Leff Trio performing "As Time Goes By":


Even if we are unable to fulfill long held dreams, much less don't achieve the recognition from enjoyment Harvey has given others, I think he would be the first to say the satisfaction, pleasure, fun he has been having is worth all his efforts.  He might also say that what has unexpectedly developed musically for him is simply the icing on life's cake!

Some of us may not explore our life's dream ventures in our older years for a variety of reasons, including due to complicating circumstances in our lives.  Still, anything can be possible for many!  We never know what may develop whatever our situation unless we investigate and experiment with what gives us joy.

Monday, January 24, 2022

LIVING IN PLACE WINDY CHALLENGES

Interesting times living in place as we age .....  as if the pandemic isn't enough .....

My house at long last welcomed receiving electric power again a short time ago this Sunday night as I write this following a sudden outage Friday night.    We had some pretty strong winds sweep through Friday all night long.  They had such a strong force for only the second time in our area of town that I've experienced in the almost fifty years I've lived here.   

I opened my door early Friday evening once to check for delivery of an expected package which I learned later had been delayed but finally came today, Sunday.   The wind was so strong I could hardly push the door shut again.   As the night wore on I realized the power was not coming back on so I headed into bed.

As the winds howled and whistled I could hear my small empty trash container, half the size of a full size bin, banging and thumping around from the sheltered corner area of my covered front entry where I had placed it in anticipation of easily filling it the next day.  I'm so glad I hadn't yet put anything in the bin as light content weight would likely not have prevented it being upset. 

The next day I found the bin, open, laying on it's side up against my car.  Any contents would have been spread all over -- what a mess it would have been to clean up.   I'm not sure if a few small hard pieces of material I found in my drive are from my house as I will have my gardener coming later this week double-check to see if any others in the yard, though I haven't seen any shingles as I surveyed through my windows, but then I can determine if there is any roof concern.  

We knew there would be winds as there often can be every year with other communities generally receiving the worst and only minor issues in other parts of our town but not on our street.  In fact, this is only the second time in the almost fifty years I've lived here our street has been even remotely close to having such a destructive wind.   

Saturday when I drove out to get some hot food as I drove only a block into an adjoining small town, then others, they all seem to have some power.   I didn't see any trees down on our street, but elsewhere traffic lights were out, major boulevards closed to traffic blocked by fallen trees.   

We received varied reports of when we would have power again.  First it wasn't known yet, then we would have power 3:30 a.m. Saturday, then back to not determined again, later some misinformation, and finally to be 9 p.m. Sunday, but the power didn't come on so they weren't predicting again.   Happily an hour or so later we had electric.  Certainly as winds go these were not comparable to what those having gone through tornados and hurricanes experience, but everything is relative and what anyone experiences brings its own challenges.

I kept warm but it was SoCal cold here, meaning 40 to 60 degree temperatures and I'm glad to have an interior warm house again.   My body has long since acclimated to our climate so I reminded myself that where I once lived we would have thought of temperatures like these as nice winter days -- but this ol' bod just isn't impressed with my effort to influence mind over matter so I was aware of cold air.

Ironically, earlier Friday I had allowed my new iPhone to run very low before plugging in, thought it had fully charged but hadn't actually yet checked it had charged when I unplugged it.    I'll always check immediately now as I discovered the phone hadn't charged, perhaps the plug had been loose.   Such was also the case with my computer.  So, here I was poorly prepared technologically to effectively cope with any long power outage emergency.  

Once again having my landline telephone kept me connected to the rest of the world  with the ability to track my electric company's progress, contact my family, and have the capability to summon emergency help should I need to do so.  

Another learning experience for me in this grand experiment of living in place as I age.   I have decided to finally purchase a solar charger which I first considered doing a few years ago but had not done so.   I must do better emergency preparedness.  

Without the ability to access the internet, publish a blog post early Sunday,  see and hear the news, I did a lot more reading, completing one book and starting a second.  I hadn't been in the mood for reading books for a while as periodically occurs for me, so maybe that spell is broken.

I've learned a family member who has been so very careful has somehow been caught by covid but with only mild symptoms, lots of fatigue.  

Hope all of you continue to be well,  Also, that your emergency plans and preparedness kits are in good order.