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Okay, that example may be a little out of date--different times--but respect still matter.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.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Two years without our Dodger

If you know us, you probably know Dodger. Maybe you met him or maybe you knew him through this blog or Facebook. In any case, you know that he was a very special part of our lives.


Two years ago today, he died. We helped him in that process, and I still feel guilty about that. Don't get me wrong--on an intellectual level, I know his time had come. His body was failing him. We'd done everything we (and the vets) could. The night before he died, he couldn't even get up to go out, and that was with meds and his special harness to help him walk. He'd been having serious trouble, on and off, for months. But we'd reached the point where he really was done.

Logical thoughts are not what haunt me, however. Emotions do. Deep down, I feel like I failed him. I feel like, if I looked hard enough, I could have found some other way to help him. He would have given his life to protect me, and I had a hand in taking his life. It feels so wrong. I'm sorry, Dodger! I wish I knew what else to do!

I loved all of our dogs--and I love this crazy girl we have here today--but Dodger was very unusual. He was smart, but others are smart. He also had a personality that was very human. He showed his opinions, and he had a sharp wit. I know... wit in a dog? Oh, yes. You could see it in action if you lived with him. He was quite amazing.

By the way, he didn't always have that white face, but that's how some knew him and many of our friends remember him. Here's a shot from when he was about four-and-a-half years old:


From the look, he either was in no mood to have his photo taken or I'd done something wrong. :-) Most of the time, he was ready with a smile!

We say that Bernice was the one who defined all the things a dog is supposed to be, but Dodger combined dog traits with an amazingly human personality. He also had great judgment. We knew our friend Sid was someone we were likely to keep in our lives for the long run. A couple of months before Dodger died, we barely knew Sid from rugby, but he needed some portraits done, so I agreed to shoot them.

Now, one of Dodger's traits was that he wouldn't welcome just anyone into his home, even if we did. Rather, he'd observe them for a bit and then decide if they were worthy of his attention. He exercised his judgment freely, and his judgment about people tended to be sound. Well, when he met Sid, this is what happened virtually the instant Sid arrived...


For Dodgie, it was love at first sniff. That's all we needed to know. And sure enough, Sid became and remains a close friend.

As I got in bed last night, with Lexi between Marc and me, I remembered how Dodgie spent his last night in that same spot. We knew the end was coming, and we wanted him to be as comfortable as possible. Really, we always did. But once that thought entered my mind... well, I didn't sleep much last night. Today marks two years without our sweet, wonderful little boy. I'm starting to cry again as I type this. I do try to remember all the joy he brought, but I miss him so much! I'm sorry, my Dodgie! I wish you could still be here with us, happy and healthy! Rest in peace, my little boy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A dog after my own heart

Lexi has this thing she does in the morning, called "going back to bed." Marc gets up earlier than me. That's not unusual, as he's a morning person. He also has a job. I got up not long after, but Lexi knows there's about an hour that she can come back, hop on the bed and curl up against my legs after she has gotten her breakfast and yard visit from Marc.


But now we've reached a new level of canine accomplishment. She may be a full-of-energy less-than-two-years-old pup, but she knows the value of a comfy bed! After I got up this morning, she watched me go brush my teeth, get dressed, etc., and then she just watched me leave. The look on her face seemed to say, "I'm good right here. You go have fun! I'm here if you need me."

After a while, she came downstairs, but I had to laugh. She just watched me go, while she relaxed on the bed.