Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I've discovered the secret to immortality!

And the secret to immortality is... mothballs!

My grandmother died over 13 years ago. We inherited some lovely furniture from her. In some of the furniture, she'd used mothballs.

Sometime last year, my sandals got dropped into a drawer. Probably after our summer trip to Savannah.

Since it's pretty warm today, I dug them out. I'm now walking around with the smell of Nana Nan's mothballs wafting up at me. *sigh*

Nana lives on!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sorry blog. I don't mean to abandon you. For now, here's a book review!

The Prisoner (John Wells, #11)The Prisoner by Alex Berenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Prisoner is the latest installment in the John Wells series by Alex Berenson. Unlike too many other authors' series, the John Wells novels don't take the easy or simple route. Our hero doesn't have magical strokes of luck or flashes of (literally) unbelievable intuition that save the day.

Wells is smart, experienced and tough, but he's still human. He makes mistakes and he feels his wounds. He can endure things that would finish most of us, but he still pays a price. In The Prisoner, he tries to balance a part of him that's pulling him to domestic life and tranquility that he's certainly earned against his internal call to duty that he can't resist. A serious threat is looming--a threat coming from a place that jeopardizes the US too much for him to ignore--and he can't just walk away.

To try to get to the bottom of it, Wells has to put himself in dangerous places he knows all too well, risking his own safety in the process. The tension in The Prisoner is palpable, and, sadly, much of the action is all too plausible in today's world. If you like espionage/terrorism-centered novels but find yourself rolling your eyes at some of the more simplistic authors' work, then you should try this series. Alex Berenson writes novels that make you think, don't take easy ways out and still give you an exciting ride!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

This is the example a leader should set?

Our new president continues to be hard to understand or believe. Still, the ease with which people can push his buttons can be entertaining.

Honestly, I'm partly horrified and partly pleased with every silly thing that sets off a Trump storm. The pleasure comes from the fact that few people deserve the irritation more than he (that, and it keeps him from doing more damaging things with that time). The horror is fueled by the example he's setting. How many millions think this kind of childish behavior is acceptable in an adult? I don't believe that leaders used to be without flaws--far from it--but there were certain expectations and levels of respect that were understood to be a requirement of such positions.

But this behavior? The way this man behaves would have gotten me in trouble as a child, let alone as an adult. My parents weren't old fashioned in most ways. In fact, they were very open, accepting people, but they did expect certain standards to be observed, particularly in public. For example, when I was a kid, I was taught that if I were lost or in trouble, I should look for a police officer. And then there's that title, police officer. I remember once using the term "cop," and I was nicely but quite firmly reminded that this is a person who works to protect the rest of us and is entitled to respect. I was to say police officer. RESPECT mattered.

Okay, that example may be a little out of date--different times--but respect still matter. Certain levels of civility and respect are vital. In the latest Trump bad behavior, he is showing his disdain for the courts, because judges have dared question the Constitutionality of his actions. This is unspeakably damaging to the Republic. No president before this one would do this. He is signaling to millions that it's okay to disrespect the judiciary. Not that judges don't make bad decisions--no one is perfect--but respect for the courts' role is vital. The three branches must respect each other's role.

This man isn't fit to be president. Anyone who could act as he does is simply unfit. So keep torturing him via Twitter and wherever else. He deserves every bit of it! Sadly, none of that is going to measure up to the damage he may be doing to our country!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Sources of satisfaction

As you may know, I lost my job about 8 months ago. Nothing I did to deserve it. My CEO retired, and the new one wanted to bring in her own people. I (and some other people) were in the way. That's life, unfortunately.

Since then, I've been looking for work. Given my experience and credentials, prior periods of unemployment (like when St. Vincent's went bankrupt and we all got laid off) were relatively short. A month or so. Not this time!

I've had some nibbles, but really very few interviews for this much time. No new job, either. Along the way, Marc and I talked about my starting my own business. I'd certainly seen others do the same.

So I went through the process to create an LLC for some protection, got myself insured, and I'm figuring out what to market and how. Luckily, my husband is a marketing guru!

Did I mention that it's unnerving and depressing to be unemployed? And every rejection for a job is a rejection of you as a person? Maybe I shouldn't take it that way, but that's how it feels!

Half our income is gone, but we've been careful over the years, so we're not buried in debt. Our care is being rewarded now. We have to budget much more carefully, but we're okay!

Back to the main thought behind this post--in the midst of disappointment, frustration and self-doubt, working on this business idea has been a real mood booster. We don't have the first penny of business yet, but building a structure and watching it come together has made me feel so much better!

All I'm doing this evening, as I watch the Super Bowl in the background, is sketching out more of the services we can provide, and it's so satisfying to see it down on paper! Not doing business yet, but I'm getting something done. That's enough for now!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Maybe there is no complete healing

Marc has told me many times that grief over the loss of a dear loved one is something you get through but you never really get over. He may be right.

Like so many of us, I've suffered terribly painful losses in my life. My Dad. My Mom. A number of others dear to me. I've realized over the years that my reaction to grief is to try to bury it as deep as I can. I was raised to be strong for those around me and not cry. That was my Dad's advice. He was a very loving father, and he meant well.

In any case, I did that with the biggest losses in my life. But I've realized over time that the pain doesn't go anywhere. It's buried in there, just waiting for something that makes it leak out. 20 years ago, I might have been moved by a film I saw but never would have been brought to tears. But now? Push the right buttons, and I'm all choked up.

What really brought this home today was a reminder of Jet. She was our dog when I was a boy. She was two years older than me, and she died when I was in elementary school. Here's a photo of me and Jet when I was 3 and she was 5:

Today's reminder brought me back to a day in 1978. I came home from school as usual. When I got here, the TV was on, and there was a commercial on for the Bronx Zoo. There was a lion on the screen. I said to Mom, "speaking of lions, where's Jet?" And Mom told me... Jet was gone. I remember I cried then, but in the years to come I got better about burying it, even as the losses piled up.

I'm crying as I type this, remembering that day when Jet died. That's almost 40 years ago. So when does the pain fade away? I guess maybe it doesn't. I'll always miss everyone. Dad, Mom, Uncle Allan... everyone. And the doggies... Jet, Hoyt, Bernice, Mandy and my baby boy Dodger. It seems the pain's never gone. I've just hidden it away. I guess it's how I am, and I need to make the best of it.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I'm busy enough to retire

After these months of unemployment, I'm now sure. I could retire right now. I just need someone to give me a big pile of money, so Marc and I don't need to work anymore. If I could just get that pile of money, I have plenty of non-work things to fill my day!

Whether I'm running errands, tending to household repairs or any of the many other things that fill my day, I continue to be amazed by how full these days are. As busy as when I'm working? No, I suppose not. But busy enough that I could accomplish enough each day to feel like I'm getting things done. Throw in a little of the volunteer work I'd enjoy doing, and I definitely feel ready for retirement. Now I just need that money! Any of you nice folks want to help us out? Don't be shy! ;-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thunderstorm Asthma? Is that like my "Extrinsic Asthma"?

‘Thunderstorm Asthma’ Kills 8 in Australia

This story got my attention, not just as an interesting story but because it may shed some light on a personal mystery. Years ago, I started having some trouble getting a full breath. I had medical tests done, saw specialists and they found nothing. One doctor's best guess--and it was very clearly a guess--was what he called "extrinsic asthma."

I've had allergies all my life. As a kid, I spent 8 years going to the allergist every Friday for shots. Yes, allergy shots. Every Friday after school. That helped, but eventually we were told I was as good as the shots would get me. The severity of my allergies varies, but they're always there. I'm allergic to pretty much anything that can float through the air--pollen, dander, dust and on & on. The doctor's guess was that when my allergies sufficiently irritated my lungs, my bronchial tree would get inflamed. While not meeting the technical definition of asthma, the effect is the same. Fortunately, it's never been so severe that it has threatened my survival, and I hope it never does! But trust me, not being able to get a full breath is quite a distressing feeling. On top of that, it always takes weeks or months to go away.

My "extrinsic asthma" recurs every few years. In the past, I've been through all manner of tests. I've had more cardiac tests than I care to remember. (When you're obese, they immediately think anything like this is cardiac.) After two rounds of those, a few years apart, I stopped them from doing it again the next time. We just went with a simple EKG--no thallium heart scans, stress tests, etc.--and ruled out heart issues.

I've been to pulmonologists a couple of times. The last guy put me through lots of tests, including one that determined I have 127% lung capacity. Not sure what that compares to--127% compared to what?--but he clearly had no idea what was going on. (I wasn't actively having my issues right then, so...)

Anyhow, this "thunderstorm asthma" makes pretty clear that an allergy attack can drive asthmatic symptoms. Actually, this is pretty scary, since this thing killed people. But it validates the "extrinsic asthma" theory. Maybe it's that simple. My allergies irritate my lungs, and eventually they rebel. Now, if I could just figure out how to tell when that's building up, so I can take Benadryl or whatever and head it off. No luck with that so far, but I think I have more faith in this answer now.