Monday, April 30, 2012

A constituent looks at the powerful, rich, and media

My e-mail shows CNN stories of the day, and I noticed one teaser said "Jimmy Kimmel, no less, addressed the (national press and dignitaries) at their annual banquet in Washington Saturday night."

I have a problem with that, you see. Because I don't watch entertainment news. I don't, in fact, watch much television, and I don't stay up late.

I had never heard of Jimmy Kimmel, so I google'd him before watching the YouTube speech, which made me wince in a coupla places ("I see your cleavage" made me want to throw something), but overall, it was good. Biting. Funny.

I know it was biting humor, because you see, I know who the politicians are, and even who a great many of the news folks are. And what they've done. I follow news. I don't follow gossip and entertainment publicity. It's not news.

I don't get this slavish attention to the entertainment people and conspicuously rich and vacuous. I had to google the Kardashions, too, a while back, after I kept hearing the name with no connection to anything they did. When I google'd, I discovered the reason--they don't do much except be rich, dysfunctional and pose for publicity.

I say slavish attention, because I frequently hear a reporter mention an entertainment figure with no tag about who they are, even if they are fairly obscure. And when they do this, I flash to high school history.We were required to subscribe to a news magazine every week and were quizzed every Friday. We were expected to know all the major politicians, Supreme Court Justices, our Congressional representatives at least for our state. We were never quizzed about movie stars, musicians, or comedians. National news magazines, of course, no longer regularly carry this information, although they will have a fair bit of entertainment news.

Sometimes I wonder if the reporters who gush about models, movie people, television entertainers and talk show hosts could pass such a test today.

Sigh. Probably not. And maybe it doesn't matter. Congress isn't passing bills or even a budget. I have no expectation that any newly eclected ones will do better.Party seems to matter more than country.

Why vote? Out of habit, I will. I have ever since I was 21. I have frequently had to vote not for whom I liked but the one I disliked least. I always had the hope, though, that the people I voted for would serve our country. They would get things moving. They would have some care or awareness of the constituents.

I will vote, but for the first time it seems an empty gesture signifying nothing. I blame the Democrats. I blame the Republicans. If they will not work together, we end with anarchy.

Maybe they all need to read an inspirational book called "Profiles in Courage." Written (or ghostwritten for) this guy named John Kennedy. A long time ago. Talking about legislation even longer ago.

Hopefully, you remember who he is. If not, just google him.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A 15=minute Picture of a Woman and Two Dogs

Yes, I realize I've been a little slow to get to the phone at home lately. No,, I don't carry it on me.  Too many accidental calls to people I don't know my phone is calling. 

The main reason I am slower, though, is that I have become a leader. Not always a willing one, but a leader. One dog on my left heel, one on the right, sometimes crossing in the middle. It takes some nimbleness to weave my way around and over them.  Where I go, they follow. Sat down to write just now.

Two dogs plopped on the floor between me and the door. I forgot my reading glasses. Found them. Started back to the computer. Whoops, no, I want a drink of water. The two dogs exchanged glances and followed.

While I got the water, they stood at attention. We were, after all, in the kitchen. Where the FOOD is. I have been capricious enough to give them chew strips for no apparent (to them) reason. I started back to the computer. They trotted slowly ahead, trying to guess just which room I might be going to. They stopped dead in the hall between the two rooms. I had to go around.  They followed. I sat. They sat. They flopped and closed their eyes. 

I had forgotten a book I wanted. I got up again.  They startled, scrambled, and got to their feet.. They staggered around between me and the door. Again, I danced through and they followed. And followed me back. And flopped again.

Just then, my granddaughter came in. They abandoned post and flew to her side.She turned on the tv after finishing her chores, and the dogs sighed in relief. At last  a Someone who knew what she was doing and stayed put, leaving only to get her snack in the kitchen where the FOOD is.  They will stick with her until she goes home for the day or goes outside to play. To my dogs, she makes sense. I am wearying.

Oh, I know. A really good leader would run my troops through their paces  till they will sit, stay, and heel on command. That will improve my speed to the phone.
Probably a good enough reason to do it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gracie Thinks I Need to Become More Active

My last blog was written with an IT on board. He needed some sentences to see what I needed to do to paragraph. I let 'er rip. I was more irate at my machine and its systems than I can remember being at a human being in years. More irate than I was later at Gracie.

For the first time, Gracie chewed on my wiring. My mouse wouldn't work, and she dented the coupling for the extension cord. I was sitting here typing while she did it. It took two tries at two stores to get everything, but I got it, and now my computer works again. You probably don't understand. Sometimes I feel a huge thrill of achievement when I screw in light bulbs.

When I couldn't send an e mail with attachment on Friday, I assumed it was some Windows 7 thing I didn't know. Turned out to be the software in my new computer. Microsoft techs fixed it, but only after I bought a year's contract for IT protection. I'm paying for it, so I'm going to ask every stupid question I have for as long as I have it. And I already have used it three times. That's with losing a day and a half to Gracie. I type my question in, I can't see their eyerolls, and I get an answer I can use. Not so bad.

 I tried Microsoft for Dummies once, but it was over my head. So at last a happy solution.I still don't like this--seems to me I have more buttons to click to do the same thing. I'm not alone, I hear. A lot of writers, in particular, are going back to typewriters. Easier. You can think about what you want to say more than how you produce it.

  Oh,just give me
A simple life
With a working computer
And a lot less strife.

My last post was part of a test with IT to see how to paragraph. The tech needed some sentences.Imprpoved blogger means that now when I type, have the added step of hitting the compose button if I want it to paragraph.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. How much would would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood.

To be or NOT to be that is the question. Shakespeare said that so long ago. I cant even remember when. Man does NOT weave the web of life he is merely a strand in it: what ever he does to it he does so unto himself.
- Chief Seattle-


"Let's see if we can get actual paragraphs today without the brackets being typed in. And of course, it would be nice ifiif I could see what I'm typing. The left and right boundaries are out of sight while I type."

I can't see the friggin cursor when I started this sentence. Shere's my page bar on the bottom to shift left? Why does this have to be so difficult? Am I supposed to like this? Is this Google's work? Sheesh.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I H8 new Blogger "improvement"

I have never been a violent person. It is not my nature to hit or hurt except in self defense. I am beginning to understand how radicals feel when they shoot or kill innocent persons. AND IF YOU READ THIS FAR AND THERE ARE NO PARAGRAPHS, i DON'T KNOW WHY. THEY ARE HERE IN MY DRAFT.

Because really, there is no one person or few agents to blame. I am typing on my new blog format with no idea if it will ever see daylight. I feel as if I am being shoved into a cave.

Windows 7 is proving horrific to use. Google keeps changing. Facebook is changing and now this. Today I had to sign in a new way to access my emails. I seem to have more problems with the technology than most. I try. I do try very hard.

I have signed up for more computer classes. I have been using a computer for oh, 40 years, but always in job-specific ways. I keep finding it harder to get to my very simple stuff.
I don't believe taking off my shoes makes me safer in the airport. I don't believe I am really more protected with all these test words in a visual script very difficult for a woman with sight problems. I think I have access as I type, but who knows?
It is not my age. I was talking to a man in his 80s today who cannot believe the problems I have with the computer. He uses it ably.
It isn't my intelligence. I am above average,not a genius, but have a master's degree if no higher.
And every freaking time I learn how to function at the current level, the designers raise the bar. And most of you can follow. I'm not sure how much further I can go.
I don't know how, any more, to function without the internet. My email, Facebook, my blog, my documents, googling a word or name....and increasingly, I am finding it harder to access. I was commenting today to someone that using a tool should not require a lot of memory to access. Increasingly it is so. I should be able to use the tool easily to do my work. Do you have to think 100 steps to slice a tomato? Yet I find I am spending more and more time learning how to use the tool, and remember how, before doing the most simple things.
It is so. For many, it is easy. For me, very hard. but it is so. This machine is an important part of my life. I cannot yet just let it go. Sometime I may have to. I may be shoved out altogether. I wonder how many of us there are? Statistically, not enough to change behavior to access the bottom line.
I will adapt. I will adjust. I will go Neanderthal and abandon my computer if all else fails. I hope that doesn't appen because that, more than anything, would redefine who I am. I can't vote for the purveyors,, not that it makes any difference now anyway. I can't go to the competitor, assuming there is one. To Google? Hollow laughter.
I can take more classes. Perservere. Or just....give up. I won't do that.
Why do I write this? I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm more likely to get a hard pat on the head and suggestions for macrame, which I can't do either. I guess I just want to be heard. That I do try hard, and others do too. That we are of some intelligence, but for whatever reason find this difficult.
For me, I think, it is sequential reasoning. Very picky. I had fits learning to pay at the pump for gas. You absolutely cannot put the hose in the gas tank until you have finished the card transaction, yet I would forget, over and over, and put the hose in, then go to the slot for the card, then have to put the hose back, then process IN SEQUENCE and pay.
I bet not one reader can sympathize with that. As I say, sympathy is not the goal. I do hope, however, with our handicapped parking, curb access, telephone lines for the deaf, we add something fo the technologically challenged, and I am not joking here.
A cohesive world should be inclusive. Currently, it seems it is leaving more and more of us outside.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ah, Wheatsworth, I have loved you so


I got bad news today. Actually, I persisted till I got the news, because I suspected it.

Nabisco has quit making Wheatsworth crackers. I have half a sleeve left. After that none. Forever.


I have bought other crackers, and in my dark suspicion, even bought another similar cracker the other day, but nope. Not the texture. Not the same thickness nor taste. Not my cracker.

I don't want buttery or pretzel tasting, except at a party maybe. Cheese nips or some sort for a snack rarely. Sweet? cracker? Blech.

Nope. A wheatsworth cracker loaded with a slice of pepper jack and a cherry tomato half was just so good. With peanut butter to eat with yogurt for breakfast. With soups and stews. Wheatsworth, you were my constant companion.

And now I must go on. Without Wheatsworth.

I will soldier on.

My life is a happy one. It will continue to be. But I will miss my cracker.

Things will never be the same.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

A new world with Zuchinni and Corgis

Last year's drought apparently actually killed a fair amount of bermuda grass in my yard. In the back, the ground currently is covered with a low weed with small, fragrant flowers that butterflies love.

Actually, granddaughter mowed today and alas, the flowers are mostly no more. Yesterday, however, they were plentiful. I had probably hundreds of butterflies skimming the grass, lifting up when danger or obstacles threatened.

Gracie, my Pembroke Corgi, is a year old later this month. She loved all the butterflies. She leapt for them. It was amusing to watch, as pratfuls always are. My sturdy little girl can run like a bullet, weave back and forth, track a treat and catch it in mid-air. Leaping after butterflies? Let's just say it wasn't graceful. At least when I saw her, she didn't land on her back.The butterflies were not particularly endangered.

Oh, Lord, why must she be one of the yapping Corgis? But she is. Butterfly! yap, yap, yap. Another! yap,yap,yap, yap, yap! Another butterfly! yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap.....Fewer flowers and fewer butterflies today, Gracie. A little more peace in the neighborhood. (She's inside now. I just heard a thud. She is trying to catch a fly in the living room.)

Brody, my half-Pembroke Corgi, with longer legs and a curling tail that constantly wags even when he bays at strangers, is mostly the strong, silent type. He's a city boy, as well. He could care less about some fluttering insects. Are snacks coming? More water? Will you scratch his belly? Are more snacks coming? An occasional whine, but mostly communication with ear pricks and pleading looks. I would say his other half-ancestry is dachshund except for his longer legs. He also can run very fast. When these two beautiful dogs chase in a large, green back yard, it is joyful to watch. Gracie outright laughs. Brody chuckles.

I am starting re-training with Gracie on walks and start 'lay downs". Brody has sit and stay down. His walking is atrocious and will need many treats and a shorter leash. Although he weighs only 25 pounds, I may need more muscle. He can be extremely stubborn. Well, so can I, Bucko.

Since Brody joined the family, Gracie sleeps on her pallet only if she and I are alone and he is outside. Otherwise, she sleeps under the bed, which saddens me. Sometimes she also weaves under the furniture to get to me. With Corgis, the female is supposed to be dominant, but she is still a puppy. He is two, and larger. He has gone after her with teeth bared on a few occasions when he wants my attention, or the snack offered. I am continuing to alternate in and out some each day so I can give special attention to each dog without competition from the other. That is helping. Hey. I am not a trainer. I've read a little, and been around animals. This seems to work, and it makes sense to me.

Amazingly, they don't fight over toys. He came with his "wubbie"--a hard rubber squeaky bone--which he likes me to throw. If Gracie is present, she will beat him to it. I am charmed when they prance up, each holding half the toy in their mouths, to present it to me.

Gracie had been used to snacking leisurely at her food through the day. No more. I give both a small morning feeding and augment hers with a pinch of shredded cheese so she will eat it. Evening meal--I give them both another pinch, or a tablespoonful of stew or whatever. Both are healthy. Neither are fat. I firmly believe that is abusive.

When I finally got my vegetables planted, Gracie had taken out the Heirloom Tomato and the Bell pepper plant. I added two more tomato plants and parsley. I planted two cosmos flowers to draw bees, and planted one yellow squash and two zuchinni. Gracie promptly pulled one flower out and broke the yellow squash plant. I got some wire fencing today that I believe is too inconvenient for her to get over, yet short enough I can step over. I've replaced plants again. So far, so good. She's leaving it alone. Brody barely bothered the garden before. Now, I feel sure he will behave.

I had a pecan tree and burr oak too close together in the back yard, and planned to take out the oak. I watered sparingly last summer, but apparently not enough. The pecan has only lower branches in foliage. The burr oak, however, has prospered. Hmm.
Let's hear once more for Productive Procrastination.

Last summer, Gracie had me up and about with her in the summer from six to seven a.m. I suspect I will go back to that to get gardening and dog walking done before 9 a.m.

I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A good cradle for children makes a good cradle for civilization

Effectively, I have had tomatoes thrown at me. Whoever I am writing to, my readers expect more than a story about a woman who had a romantic love late in life and chose to curtail her own life when the terms were unacceptable to her.

And I am thinking a lot about life experiences--not just the more life itself that older people have. And make no mistake. I am older. but have a ways to go in my mind to be actually old. I know some old people and they are 20 years older. At least 15!

You see, it's not just being old enough to understand. That's part of it. It has a lot to do with what society was like when you were young and what society expected. It shaped who you are. Duty isn't a big word nowadays, but it used to be, not just for soldiers, but everyone. If you were raised to do your duty, your whole lifeset is different than being raised to find your fulfillment, or your fortune, or your lifemate after some experiments and sampling. Each of you can be responsible and caring, but each will have a different lifeview.

Child development experts say we have our world view--friendly, dangerous, depressing, exciting--by the time we are three. Not much changes that except child therapy and a heckova lot of care.

The sums of your past add up to who you are, and it is different for everyone. I tend to think the rapid changes in society and technology have left more gaps than ever before.....and yet. The elder who have been through much often calm the middle with less experience, and the young, who have so little and think they have much.I see this over and over.

I also see so many fractured families, where the elder almost demolished the middle, the parents trying to make sense for their kids and aim to be the wise elders themselves, without any blueprint.

And in my work, I often saw parents and grandparents who wouldn't do dependable and dutiful if doing so prevented death--which often, it would--because they craved the excitement of a life where children meant little, and life was exciting.

I'm prejudiced. I believe when children mean much, in terms of their own comfort, success, and security, then life goes well for all of us.

Lord knows I want a caring, knowledgeable health professional when I gasp my last. Seeing to the next generation after my own children literally is selfish. It benefits me.

But oh, how it benefits us all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


We treat it as if it is unending and replaceable. Boy, did Texas take a hit on that last year!

And still we have more to learn.

I have a couple of bees in my bonnet. (Bees? their survival? another time.)

I bought my family rain barrels. Tke it in, parcel it out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An Ancient and New love Story

I heard what to me is a great love story and wonderful life.
See what you think.

A man and woman met in a yoga class a few years ago, and rapidly fell in love. Both, in fact,called it the love of their lives. Both had been married happily for many years to other people. Both were widowed.

Both were in their late 80s.

They had had happy lives. They had been active in community and work. Both had family they adored. Both were so very fit in their late 80s. How many at any age meet in a yoga class?

They fell deeply in love. They thought marrying was silly at their ages, but both saw their doctors. The doctors said they probably could both count on five to ten years more of life. So they married.

They had a ball. The time of their lives. She went to yoga four times a week. Don't know what he did, besides continuing his own yoga. Both had been community activists. Both had been physically active and mentally active as well. Both had close family and many friends.

I look at the vibrancy, the passion of this couple near 90, and I am amazed and maybe, just a little hopeful. How beautiful. How just downright beautiful.

Actually, both had passed 90 two weeks or so ago when she was rushed to the hospital. She had a bleeding ulcer that had burned through the stomach wall. I think that is what I heard. What I did hear was that she had an open wound that would require a year to heal, mostly in bed. The emergency surgery had prompted kidney failure and she would need dialysis. Her world would become an invalid's, not the one she had always known.

She looked at it clear-eyed and chose hospice. Her husband understood and supported her. It took her less than a week to die. Triumphant. Living on her own terms. No burden to anyone, and still living a life she loved. She had almost the five years the doctors thought she would have. They both had so many memories to make them smile. And her children came around. They loved her very much.

Somehow, they rejoiced. Her husband had already said he fully understood.

A friend of the family gave me the basic details. The obituary gave me more.
She was 91. Somehow, she managed to live and die on her own terms. After a long, happy marriage, she found a lifetime love. She worked fiercely for causes she believd in. She had daughters she loved and was proud of. Family.

She could have held on, taking the reduced circumstances and invalidism, and for some, that is right. For this woman, no quarter. No compromise. Life fully involved--or death.

To me, this is a beautiful love story. Hope you agree.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When the Wind Not Just Blows, But Strikes

Vicious violence struck in many closeby neighborhoods yesterday.

I watched with horror, with fascination, and yes, a frisson of excitement buried deep. I saw at least four tornadoes appear and disappear in real time. I saw the tractor trailers tossed in the air in real time. I saw roofs lift off houses. Cars flipped upside down before my eyes.

As the various funnels were tracked, I tensed again and again as they seemed headed for schools, a large shopping mall, beloved landmarks. Where friends or family live.
Part of the time I had to rely on the radio for information. Damn satellite television--no cable available here.

I had known it before. Now it was visceral. You can see what it does, but you cannot stop the wind.

Experts are trying to figure out just how many tornadoes we had. At least 6. Maybe 13. Two super cells with tornadoes on the ground at the same time. Most are a Force 1 or 2. The one that hit Forney, with a direct hit on the elementary school while children were still there, was a Force 3, I just learned.

With all the storms and wind damage, not a single death. We were so lucky. I believe less than a dozen had to be hospitalized.

We had hail, too, in varying sizes in varying locations. Most was quarter size. I heard accounts of some hens egg size, and briefly, a spate of "double softball size."
A friend on Facebook was rejoicing that while her van is now pitted all over, she didn't have the windows and sun roofs broken as some of her co-workers from the hail.

Schools around here were prepared. Whole districts went into shelter lockdowns. My oldest granddaughter groused about spending a whole class period with her fellow students in the bathroom. She had no way to know I was watching the storm trackers and a wall cloud came within a couple of miles. It never dropped down, and finally veered.

The rain was torrential when I left to pick up the kids. My privet hedges were almost flattened by the sheer weight of the water. Still, I knew by then the storms had moved east. This was the last of it. Danger was almost over.

We have so much that was untouched. More than 400 homes damaged, but we have millions living here. People are asking what they can do. Efforts are underway to rescue pets that went astray as well. The Red Cross is getting a lot of donations. They will need them.

Wow. I've lived somewhere in the metroplex for 51 years. We've never had anything like this before. We were lucky that many of the tornadoes were not so strong as some singles, such as the one that hit Fort Worth a few years back.

Fort Worth is in Tarrant County. Huh. Weather service said today that Tarrant County leads the nation in total number of tornadoes since 2000. Apparently they have been mostly small ones.

People can take credit for themselves, authorities say, that more injuries didn't occur. The warning system was good. They obeyed instructions, stayed inside, took cover in a closet or the bathtub. Maybe you have seen the grandmother who took shelter in the bathtub with her 18-month-old grandbaby. Her house is flat rubble. She and the child survived. Now they can't even find that bathtub.

Even so, it is hard to know where to begin on cleanup. I can't imagine how cities like Joplin have managed, but they have.

When the tornadoes come, and the hail hammers down, we are helpless to stop it.

Not hopeless, though. Never hopeless.