Saturday, December 26, 2009

MY DEAR FRIEND, RENAISSANCE WOMAN

I have a most incredible friend. She is a Renaissance Woman. She has skills, abilities and knowledge about so many different things that it boggles my mind. She is or has been an ecologist, a conchologist, a wonderful nature photographer, a childrens book author, an exceptional organizer, a decorator, a crack legal assistant, a travel agent, generous with her talents, caring, principled, energetic, capable of inspiring others to perform at their highest level. Her outlook on life is to help others: older people, young people, animals of all kinds. She takes action when she sees something wrong and she does something about it to make it right.

And all the while she downplays her involvement. She's just doing what comes naturally to her and doesn't think she is extraordinary in any way. But she is and everyone she comes in contact with thinks so, too!

I not only have a deep respect for all that she does but a deep love for this woman whose heart is so big, the world is not large enough to hold it. That she regards me as a close, personal friend is an honor for me. She epitomizes all that is good in the world.

How many are blessed to have a friend like this? I am and I treasure her friendship beyond measure. Bless you, Marion. You are one of a kind.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CHANUKAH CARD OR CHRISTMAS CARD

Christmas is not my holiday. I celebrate Chanukah or at least I acknowledge that it comes around this time of year. For years after our sons left home it just wasn't the same. We lit the candles but that was it. It is not a major holiday.

Over the years we've made numerous wonderful friends and acquaintances, all of whom know we are Jewish. But, every year, from several (not all), we've received Christmas cards, some with just a hint of winter sentiments but many with Christian religious overtones. I always scratched my head and wondered why people would send such cards to us. It never, not once, ever occurred to me to send Chanukah cards out to my Christian friends.

Our really good friends always sent appropriate cards but, in the last 5-6 years, the change has come to some of our more casual friends and acquaintances, you now, the ones you speak to or see only once a year. They actually go out and buy Chanukah cards for us. It's gratifying to know that the effort is made.

We still get Christmas cards from some but I attribute that to laziness. It must be quite a chore to pick out a box of Chanukah cards hidden among ALL the Christmas cards staring back from all the shelves in all the stores everywhere. But, at least we get acknowledged and their hearts are good. We get cards from people who care about us. And that's the point, isn't it?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DRIVING................ME NUTS!

Drivers here in Arizona are a bunch of whiners, complaining about roads, speed cameras, other drivers and traffic. They have nothing to complain about if they haven't driven anywhere in New England.

Many hate the speed cameras and regard them as an invasion of privacy. The loudest blowhards are the ones who get ticketed. Well, gee, if you go 11 miles over the speed limit the flash of the camera will get you. Why are you going 11 MILES OVER THE LIMIT? One guy wore a monkey mask as he sped past the cameras.....26 times or more! He intentionally sped and wore the mask to hide his identity. Why? He was not just a scofflaw. He was endangering everyone else on the highway. The cameras are doing the job. People slow down or stay within the speed parameters. That makes all of us safer.

The roads here are wide, even on the local streets. There are left turn lanes everywhere so traffic is not impeded. There are stop & go lights at the entrances to the freeways so entering cars are spaced onto the freeway. People are courteous enough to let people change lanes without a hassle.

Even drive time traffic, as congested as it is, travels at a pretty good pace most of the time. Yet, people complain and complain. I say send them to any New England state and let them try to drive on Interstate 95 with the traffic congestion that generates, let them navigate morning and evening rush hour traffic on the 2 or 3 lanes highways that meander all over the place. Secondary roads are a nightmare in traffic. You can't speed because traffic is crawling at 5 miles an hour.

So, Arizonans, stop your bellyaching and bitching. You've got it good.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'M FLABBERGASTED

We went to pick up a registered envelope today at the post office. My husband had to sign for it. This is, of course, a very busy time of year for the post office and there was a line of people with packages. However, as soon as we walked in, a postal worker saw the card in his hand and asked if picking up the envelope was the only thing he had to do (besides mail a few letters.) The worker immediately took us to a side counter and he went to the back, got the envelope, my husband signed for it and the worker took our letters to place in the appropriate slots.

Why were we flabbergasted? This never would have happened at our old post office in Connecticut. There, they usually have two windows open until the line gets long, then they close one! They take their time doing anything and the attitude is not conducive to "service with a smile."

Nevertheless, the happy experience at the post office started the day off just fine. Funny how something so simple can create a nice aura which lasted the entire day!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

HE REALLY HAS IT

His speech was electric, erudite, well-thought out, compassionate..... all the things that make him the epitome of what the President of the United States should be. I cannot imagine anyone else in the position of POTUS, not one other person in this country who is up to the tasks he faces, not one.

He came into this office having to clean up after the worst 8 years of a failed presidency. Those of us who wanted him to come in like gangbusters don't really know what he's up against. We have no first hand knowledge. Those screaming for fast solutions need to step back and let him do his job without all the sidewalk superintendents sticking their collective noses into business they know nothing about.

Let the wingnuts and whack jobs scream their uninformed, unintelligent diatribes. People of substance and intellect don't listen to them.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I COULD NOT HAVE SAID IT ANY BETTER

Read the section that starts with:

"Part the Ultimate: It is early days, surely..."

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/altercation/501060/slacker_friday

I had so wanted him to kick ass. But he's still trying to kiss up and I'm fed up.

Friday, November 27, 2009

THE NUTS KEEP ROLLING

Her book is full of lies. The lies are documented but she doesn't care. She has the audacity to think she has the intellect to interview Katie Couric to "see what she's learned." I'm doubling over with laughter on that one. The woman doesn't know how to spell "intellect." The woman doesn't know what it means. The woman doesn't have the capacity to think critically. Those who love her can't come up with any reasons why they do except that "she's one of us." That doesn't qualify for leading the US. She just doesn't qualify for dog catcher, much less anything else. She is just plain creepy.

Now there is talk of that nut-job Beck going on the 2012 ticket with her. That would be the biggest gift of all to Democrats. And Lou Dobbs running for the Senate? How do these creepy, over-the edge, deranged, unhinged, nutty as a fruitcake, loopy, ditzy nuts running around with their screws loose get people to listen to them?

Another example of the dumbing down of the far Right. I know that somewhere there must be a Republican with some modicum of intelligence. That person must be so embarassed!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MAMMOGRAMS-PART 2

So, the new guidelines are recommendations based on science. Sounds reasonable, but........ also recommended was that doctors cease doing or teaching women how to do a breast exam. The reason? Now here is where it gets just stupid.... It's not worth the doctor's time! The whole breast exam takes under 5 minutes. The instructions could take maybe 2-3 minutes. This is not worth the doctor's time???? The instructions, I assume, would be a one-time thing. A young woman's life is not worth her knowing how to do a breast exam???

Another issue raised because of these recommendations is that women, in their 40's, would suffer emotionally while waiting for mammogram results, suffer emotionally if they got a false positive and suffer emotionally with a follow-up exam that may prove to be negative. What? Does this panel think that women are that fragile, that stupid, or that intellectually devoid of the ability to think?

And now that these recommendations are public, it didn't take the health insurance companies long to state that they are already thinking of adjusting their coverage to exclude payments for mammograms for women starting at age 40.

Apparently, not even one of the panelists was a breast cancer expert. Talk about a "stacked deck," no pun intended.

How about a strong recommendation that every women, at age 40, get a paid mammogram to be used as a baseline. Then one paid mammogram every 3 years from then on unless a lump is discovered. Wouldn't that be more practical?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS

What happened to preventive medicine, preventative care? The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends women get mammograms at age 50 instead of 40 and then screened every other year. Breast cancer is a major killer of women. Why shouldn't women have every available weapon to detect it at their disposal AND paid for by their health insurance?

Isn't it true that the earlier a lump is detected the better? Why in hell's name should this be taken away from women? There is no doubt that the insurance companies will stop paying for mammograms for any women under 50 because it will help their bottom line. There are a lot of women under 40 who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. What do they do now?

Early detection has been a medical mantra for a long time. And the new guidelines are backed up by science. But, how many women under 50 will die if they do not get mammograms and don't their lives matter? This is simply OUTRAGEOUS! The science and the personal horror stories have to be melded into a reasonable, workable program that doesn't sentence younger women to a shortened life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

I love living here in Arizona. But I'm beginning to feel like a caged bird. I came here thinking I would be able to find a job, either full time or part time. That hasn't happened given the current economic situation. And it still doesn't look good.

In the beginning, we spent time finding our way around. Did all the things necessary to begin a new life in a new place. We live in a nice neighborhood but we don't really know too many of our neighbors other than to pass pleasantries when we see them. My husband is teaching a course at the law school so he gets to interact with other people a few times a week.

I, on the other hand, spend a lot of time in the house, at my computer, editing 1000's of photos, writing my blog, answering tons of email, reading news from everywhere and generally adding to my store of miscellaneous information. My very dearest friends are all thousands of miles away so Skype, phone and email are the only ways I can keep in touch. It's impossible to plan having lunch or dinner with them (she writes with sarcasm.)

Our slowly expanding circle of friends are wonderful people. But they all live 20+ miles away from us and the mindset here is that we live too far away (like in another country) for them to come this way with any regularity. Some have been here but I keep feeling that it seems to be an imposition to invite people "down here" and so I tend not to ask.

Consequently, my interaction with other people is minuscule and my social graces are falling by the wayside.

We are a one car family which isn't too bad, especially since I have nowhere to go. But I could do some volunteer work if I could figure out what and when. I assume this situation will eventually work its way to a satisfactory solution. But in the meantime................

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SOMETIMES IT'S JUST A HARD DAY

I received news of the passing of a cousin last night. We had met just 7 years ago through a geneology search that was really the result of a chance happening. The search produced a long lost branch of my family. And for the last 7 years the members of this branch have been emailing to me and so many of my family almost daily. My cousin, Craig, hailed from Madison, Wisconsin and proved to be a very funny guy, a wonderful photographer, a very active advocate for the disabled, all the while battling many medical conditions on all fronts.

When Craig's son was to be married in New Hampshire a few years ago, he asked if we would come to the wedding since we lived in Connecticut at the time. We, along with some Massachusetts cousins, jumped at the chance to meet him and his family. What a wonderful time we had, not only meeting him but several members of this "new" branch.

Despite his medical issues, Craig's resilience, indomitable spirit, perseverance, and optimistic outlook resonated with everyone. He always looked at the glass as being half full. No matter how things were going, he always ended his emails with the idea that "life is good and he was still cuddly and studly." His emails were full of interesting information, commentary on all sorts of things, wonderful photographs chronicling his city of Madison (which is beautiful) and generally keeping us all informed about so many things.

In sending my condolences to the group email, I was astonished and saddened to find out that another cousin's wife, had passed away in July. Everyone on the group email list has different groupings and somehow I had not received that email.

And so, the tears are flowing today. Sometimes it's just a hard day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

THIS IS JUST CREEPY

There is an ad on TV begging for people to let the government know we don't want a tax on juice drinks and soda. Notice what the two specific drinks are? Juice drinks. Not fruit juice. And soda???? The spokesperson in the ad is a young mother. She says she's been taxed enough so please don't tax sodas and juice drinks.

A juice drink has, literally, no nutritional value, very little actual juice (picture a piece of fruit being waved over the bottle), loaded with sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup and other stuff not suitable for healthy consumption. And soda???? Lots of nutrition there.

How stupid to portray a parent who couldn't care less for the health of her children. The ad simply screams: Please save my pennies so I can buy my kids sodas so their teeth can rot, they can develop diabetes, and get fat from the sugar. I need to buy them fake juice drinks for the same reasons.

How creepy this is!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

IS THIS A SERIOUS HEADLINE???

The HuffPost headline reads, "AP Asks If Obama Is "Obnoxiously Articulate."

Jeezzzzzzzzz, really? Obnoxiously ARTICULATE??? After listening to "Samurai George" for eight of the longest years of my life, slash, jab, thrust and quickly kill the English language by eliminating normal syntax and deep intellectual thought and replacing it with garbled goobledegook designed to obfuscate and mislead, it is a breath of fresh air and a reawakening of the long dead brain cells which had been so imbedded in the political atmosphere.

At last we have an intelligent, ARTICULATE, thoughtful individual in the White House who can speak eloquently, with great knowledge who has brought back a sense of pride to the office of POTUS. He speaks with the proof that he actually LISTENED in school.

AP, get over it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

AN EXAMPLE OF "TIKKUN OLAM"

My mother, of blessed memory, was one of those people who "made do" with very little. But she was incredibly intelligent and imbued with a deep sense of "Tikkun Olam," healing the world.

For as long as I can remember, she was always involved with organizations which helped people. When I was a child, I remember our doorbell ringing, some men in black coats and hats standing downstairs and mom going down to talk to them. Subsequently, she was on the phone for what seemed like hours, making many calls and finally, after the last call, hanging up with a satisfied look on her face. When I asked what that was all about, she merely shrugged and said that she was able to "get something for someone." This happened many, many times.

As the years went by, I noticed that she would be on the telephone asking about furniture, groceries, monetary help, rental apartments, jobs, etc. and where she could acquire such items. What I didn't know and learned about or figured out many years later was that my mother was a one-woman resettlement agent for refugees from the Holocaust. And she did this on her own, utilizing the connections she had made through her volunteer work. No one could say "no" to Fannie. It was years later that it dawned on me that neighbors who had lived downstairs from us were survivors. She and they never said a word.

As a teenager (yes, before cell phones) I could not talk on the phone at night because she was always on it, listening for hours to tales of woe from her friends. And she would dispense advice much like the Dear Abby columns of today. And it wasn't always advice. Sometimes she would be able to find money or groceries for them to tide them over when things were tough. So many times she would say to me, with that twinkle in her eye, "If I hung out a shingle I could make a lot of money doing this."

All these things she did for others were, for the most part, done anonymously. She vigorously guarded her privacy and would not allow her name to be used in connection with any of these "good works." However, one day a certificate of appreciation came in the mail from a prominent Boston Jewish organization with her name emblazoned on it, along with a wonderful letter praising her. As she read the letter, I saw my mother gasp and her face blushed into a deep red. She was totally embarrassed by the recognition. She had been invited to the luncheon where these were given out and she had elected not to go and be publicly acknowledged.

While doing all these things, she worked full time as an Executive Secretary at our local Jewish Community Center, a non-profit offering no benefits (except that the building was right next door to our house) and not a lot of money. She was friends with everyone who walked through those doors, adults and children alike.

My mother never talked to me about the work she did. I just observed her actions and only really understood the enormity of her wonderful work long after I left the house. She is an inspiration to me and is the exemplar of the spirit of Maimonides' eighth degree of tzedakah.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

EXTRAORDINARY HIGH HOLY DAY SERVICES

It has been many years since we have been affiliated with any religious organization. Here in Arizona, though, we have found a community that is like no other. It is a small, growing community, having recently celebrated its first birthday. But whereas most synagogues/temples can be classified as Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, etc., Kehillah of Arizona defies description. Kehillah, in Hebrew, means community and Kehillah of Arizona is made up of the most extraordinarily warm, wonderful, talented, caring group of people. Led by our Rabbi Bonnie, a passionate, intelligent, spirited dynamo, our services encompass many features of all the branches of Judaism.

What was most extraordinary were our High Holy Day services. The machzors (holiday prayerbooks), written and compiled by Rabbi Bonnie, contained a treasury of prayers and teachings from every facet of Judaism and world views. The language was contemporary and meaningful to our lives now without taking away from the wise and profound lessons of the past. The Yom Kippur Haftorah was sung to original music by our magnificent choir. The choir sang much of the service to original music with the congregation joining in. Their voices must have been touched by G-d. Honors were given to as many different people as possible. Readings were shared by most of the congregation.

And just near the end of the Neilah service, while the Ark was open, the Rabbi asked anyone who wished to come up to stand in front of the Ark and offer a personal prayer, to do so. A long line formed and people went up singly or in couples or families, covered their heads with prayer shawls and offered their prayers while the Rabbi davened (prayed) quietly. We had never seen this or been offered such a chance and were quite overwhelmed by the graciousness and opportunity this presented.

To say that this year's High Holiday services touched us is the understatement of the year. We have found a Jewish 'home' with Kehillah, one which beckons with open arms, kind and generous hearts, warm smiles, and where there are many opportunities to practice Kehillah's core values. Thank you, Rabbi Bonnie and Kehillah friends for showing us a way back home.

Friday, September 25, 2009

THERE IS ONE BRIGHT SPOT

I'm frustrated with the political and journalistic scene. The lunatics, screamers, whiners, ranters, ravers and liars all get front page coverage through the MSM. The MSM has abandoned it's traditional role of unbiased news reporting, investigative reporting, and truthful reporting. Factual accuracy isn't even in the equation anymore. The only real news reporting comes when there is a disaster, i.e. hurricanes, forest fires, and the like. What I want to see is someone on the major networks refuting, fact by fact, the gross exaggerations and outright lies put forth by the blowhards in Congress.

Enter Dr. Rachel Maddow on MSNBC (a cable channel.) The woman is brilliant. When she tackles major stories (every night) she has the facts and figures and quotes and videos to back up everything she reports on. She invites spokespeople from both sides of the issues to come on her show where she asks the questions no one else will ask and she does so with clarity, intelligence, and respect. She is the rare breed of journalist who adheres to the highest standards of the profession and for that I am thankful. I have abandoned the network news shows for the Rachel Maddow show because there I know I will hear true in-depth reporting and not prattling sound bites so prevalent on ABC, NBC, & CBS. (Ah, that other network is a non-entity.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

THE GROCERY ADVENTURE

I shop at several different grocery stores, supermarkets and a farmer's market. I am not your typical regular weekly shopper. And since we eat mostly vegetarian (at least 5 days a week) and keep a Kosher home, there is a lot of 'regular' food that just doesn't get on our shopping lists. But there are plenty of organic, 'green' and healthy items on that list.

I make lists of what we need: a list in the computer room where I remembered some items, a list in the bedroom where I remembered other items, a list in the kitchen. None of the lists is complete because I forget to consolidate them.

So, off we got to shop and I have a list of some things but not all. And as we back out of the garage we have to decide which store we're going to because not one of them carries everything we need. As we go through the stores I end up playing Russian Roulette with the grocery list I do have because I can't remember all the things on the other lists and all the stuff I didn't write down.

Inevitably, I pass stuff and think to myself "I'm out of that. I better get another one." Naturally, I find I have three more of the item at home. But the item I really needed did not get purchased.... not only because I couldn't remember that I needed it, but this wasn't the store where it can be purchased.

Sprouts, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's all carry different things. Our local grocers, Albertson's, Fry's and Bashas all carry different labels and different items in the same category. Why can't everything be in one place!!!! Planning shopping trips around here is almost as interesting as planning desert maneuvers.

Monday, September 21, 2009

ASK THESE QUESTIONS DAMMIT!

To the whiners, ravers, and screamers:

1. If you have a job with benefits: What will you do if and when you are let go because your job is being outsourced overseas? Can you pay the COBRA without getting a paycheck? (Love your health insurance company?) COBRA means having to pay 100%.

2. Have you made the decision about where your kids will live and with whom should you get hit by a catastrophic life-ending disease? What if you are in a vegetative state before making such a decision? (Remember 'End of life discussion'?)

3. If you do come down with a major health problem, how sure are you that your health insurance company will pay all your bills (after you pay the huge deductible?) And how sure are you that your insurance will not be rescinded because "the problem was probably there before and you did not reveal it?"

4. If you have a health problem why is it that your doctor may prescribe what he/she thinks is the most effective medication to help you but some pencil pusher at your health insurance company denies coverage because it costs more than the ineffective one the company will pay for?

5. Why do you allow the health insurance company to deny payment for services you need based on their bottom line?

6. Why aren't you allowed to shop around for a better deal than the crap you're straddled with now without going bankrupt?

7. Why are the health insurance companies afraid of competition? I'll answer that one. Because competition would insure that their grossly huge profits would go down and the *&^ CEO would have to get by on several million dollars less than what HE takes home now.

8. If you lose your job and you cannot make your mortgage payments, do you expect your bank to understand and quickly help you to refinance to a lower rate? Not happening.

9. So, if you end up on the street, you become like so many others who have lost the jobs, health care and pride. Are you still going to shout "Get a job. I don't want to have to pay for your health care." You are now one of them.

10. If you are a senior citizen on Medicare, are you still going to protest against a public option? You are using the public option granted to seniors. Are you going to get rid of your Medicare to be true to your crazy rhetoric?

11. Do you like going through hoops trying to get your medications paid for when your health insurance company keeps denying payment?

Keep screaming, whack jobs. With a little bit of luck you'll get just what you deserve.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

WHEN THINGS DON'T WORK

It makes me crazy when things don't work. Things like printers, computers, bread machines, blenders. I have been printing signs needed for this weekend. All was going well until there was a paper jam. So, I cleaned out the jam, made sure there were no bits of paper left in the printer and thought that would take are of the problem. I finished the signs and shut down the printer. All is good, right?

Wrong! Now, today I'm trying to print some other stuff and I get paper jams, crookedly printed documents, and documents with extra ink smeared on them. I pull everything out, I dust the damn thing, I make sure the paper is in the tray properly, I check for any extra pieces of paper that might be stuck (none) and try again. The machine starts printing and it is screeching like a %^^&^* parrot! The paper is still coming out crooked and smeared.

Who do you get to fix the thing? I don't know any teenage techies in my neighborhood. Help!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A SHORT NOTE OF THANKS

Any day I get up on this side of the grass is a good day. But it's a great day today because it is my birthday and I've made it through another year. Even though the genes on my side of the family have not been generous in the "length of years" category, I plan on adding a lot more numbers to the one I reached today.

So, I say "Thank you" to my family and friends for all the blessings, good wishes, joy and happiness that have filled my life this last year. And, at this special time of introspection, "tsehuvah" and renewal through the High Holidays, I give thanks to the powers that be for all the goodness that has come my way.

And to all who read this blog, Jewish or not, l'shanah tova, may you all be blessed with a sweet and happy New Year.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

DUMB DAH DUMB DUMB

In the past week it has been proven beyond a doubt that many parents of school-age children failed miserably: failed in school, failed as parents and are failing at life in general.

Failed in school: Obviously never paid attention in class, didn't finish homework either on time or ever, didn't respect teachers, used disruptive behavior in class, thought every subject was boring and never gave a thought as to how this all would affect their futures.

Fast forward to failed as parents: Many became parents because "sex is fun" and, oops, had a kid because they were not bright enough to take precautions. Nevertheless, parents they are. And school is where they send the kids: 1) to get them out of the house, 2) because they are mandated to educate them and 3) to let the teachers raise the kids for 7 hours a day. These are the same parents who don't attend PTA meetings but scream, when the kid gets an 'F' for not finishing homework and being disrespectful and disruptive in class. And these are the same parents who wanted to "protect" their kids from our President even though they knew the speech was about staying in school, doing your homework, value your education so you can amount to something and be of service to your country.

What moronic idiot wouldn't want those things instilled in a young person's mind? The President's speech was benign, intelligent and uplifting. But the nincompoops who didn't allow their kids to listen just added to the ever increasing"dumbness" of many in this country and we all know which side of the aisle they are on. These children will become the nincompoops of the future thus insuring that their parents will indeed, have failed at life.

Thank goodness, there are those parents who think that schooling is a good thing, who encourage their kids to do well in school, to think critically, to respect their teachers and to value education....for these are the kids who will find the cures, clean the air, save the earth and be the peacekeepers. I'm hoping their numbers grow.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

DON'T BLINDLY CLICK THE FORWARD BUTTON

Unfortunately, I get a lot of forwarded emails that appear to be warnings of dire consequences, political claptrap, self-serving nonsense, and vile untruths regarding mostly Democrats, President Obama, computer viruses and other nonsense. They are usually loaded with lies surrounded by a few half-truths or sentences taken totally out of context.

I can spot these before my eyes blink. I inevitably go to sources I trust to double check on the veracity of these diatribes. And when I am certain as to the factuality of the email, I then let the sender know, in no uncertain terms, how gullible he/she is, and how intellectually dishonest it is to forward emails without checking to see if they are true.

I normally have a very intelligent email list but there are some who either have a trigger finger on the mouse or just blindly forward everything they get whether or not it's true. That's lazy and inexcusable. It perpetuates the falsities and serves to bolster the crazies who originate this crap.

It's time to get some self respect by not forwarding malicious, incendiary, and untrue emails just because they are there or just because you're too lazy to check them yourselves. Get a backbone and stop the whackjobs from spreading lies because if you don't, you become one of them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

DOGGONE, ALMOST

I am upset at what happened this morning. We were walking our dogs in the neighborhood, my husband with one several feet in front of me with our other dog. A large pickup truck was coming down the street toward us with 2 large bulldogs in the flatbed part of the truck. One took a look at our dog in front and jumped out of the truck. Only he was leashed inside the truck and ended up being dragged.

I screamed for them to stop the truck which they eventually did. But during the time of the jump and the stop of the truck, all I could envision was that bulldog going under the HUGE rear tire and being squashed like a bug.

The man in the passenger side of the truck got out, looked at the fallen dog, shook his head, picked him up like a sack of potatoes and heaved (as in flung or threw) the dog back into the truck bed.

I was livid. He never checked the dog to see if he was hurt, never did anything to comfort him, just threw him back. And in the cab of the truck there were at least 2 more dogs. I yelled at the guy, questioning how he could do that. They just drove away. How do you leash a dog in a bed of a truck with a leash that is too long, long enough for the dog to take a flying leap out of the truck? How can one be so stupid?

This episode really shook me up. I just don't understand how people can treat animals with so little compassion. I would hope the dog turns on him someday but the creep would probably kick the sh^* out of him. People like that should not have dogs or any animals.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'M A FOODIE

I'm a Food Network junkie. I can't seem to get enough of the crazy shenanigans that go on every time I tune in. And I'm tuning in A LOT. I'm becoming ONE with the chefs. I can roll Bobby Flay's name off my tongue faster than a gulp of water. Or Mario Batali or Cat Cora. I love Flay's show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Iron Chef America, Giada at Home, Rachel Ray. I watch in utter amazement as these very talented chefs create incredible, edible masterpieces off the top of their heads. How do they keep this stuff straight?

But it's not just the cooking gems. I love Unwrapped with Marc Summers. All those familiar food stuffs from when I was a kid..........so that's how it's made! And Diners, Drive-Is and Dives with Guy Fieri....what a job!

And then there are the challenges with food chefs and pastry chefs from around the country vying for nice big money prizes. I watch them work while under the scrutiny of the judges sitting and watching their every move. Even my heart starts to race as the clock ticks down to the end. Oh, the pressure!

The thing is, most of the food cooked is stuff I wouldn't eat. Let's face it, the food isn't all that heart healthy. They're using lots of butter, cream, oil, bacon and that's just stuff I don't use in my cooking. I don't even fry. The fact that I eat mostly vegetarian accounts for my feeling that these foods look good and probably taste great but I wouldn't get near them. Besides, I do Kosher only so putting together some of the ingredients that they do is not in the cards for me.

Nevertheless, I am mesmerized by the action, the enthusiasm and the presentations. And, frankly, I have noted some cooking tips and recipes that I can play with for my own kitchen. I loved the contest to see who became the Next Food Network Star. My guy didn't win but the competition was fierce and really interesting.

So I am hooked on the network and hope that someday one of the shows will be strictly vegetarian and one will be strictly kosher. It could happen!!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

IT WORKS -- VERY WELL

When I contemplated the upcoming surgery to my eye, I had the most awful pictures of what that involved creeping into my mind. Partial anesthesia administered with a needle, scalpel and/or needle coming in contact with the eyeball........yuck and ugh! The idea was provoking hyperventilation and high anxiety. But surgery was my only option if I wanted to keep my sight in that eye and it had to be done now.

So, ready to kick, flail and scream my way through this, I proceeded. I was gently anesthetized so that I was feeling nothing but was able to respond to questions and hear what was being said. My head was draped, it got very dark and I closed my eyes and waited. That is, I was sure I closed my eyes, both of them. But as the doctor performed his magic, and told me he was taking off a rather large amount of scar tissue, I wondered how he was doing that since I was sure I had BOTH eyes shut, tightly. Within a short while, the surgery was complete.

I was totally and completely astonished at what transpired which was not at all what I had anticipated. I saw nothing and I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing! I had no pain at all and have not experienced any since.

Relief is an understatement. Grateful for the skill of a brilliant surgeon, unending. And indebted to a GOVERNMENT-PAID HEALTH CARE PLAN. It works and everyone should have the option!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE MASTERS

The insurance companies are the ones who dictate care when they won’t pay for certain things. You need rehabilitation services? Naw, you only get to have a consult paid. That's it. You pay exorbitant monthly premiums and for what? Whatever the insurance company deems necessary, not your doctor, not your ailment, not your circumstances. How can they make such decisions, based on what?

And those idiots who don’t want health reform? They are happy with their own because they haven’t had a reason to use it. But let them come down with something where they need to be hospitalized or need an emergency room or doctor’s attention and then they’ll scream when they have to pay for stuff out of their own pocket. Send in the little insurance paper and watch it come back stamped DENIED.

Just pay the premiums and forget about the policy. When it comes time to pay, well you didn’t read the fine print, did you? These insurers have a terrific scam going. It’s no wonder they’re pouring millions into making sure you don’t have a choice.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A DAUNTING PROSPECT

I am not fond of doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals or anything medical. And that is the understatement of the year! I have been in a situation where the doctor was completely inept. No need to go into specifics but it's a good thing I didn't bleed to death at home.

That is not to say I haven't had ANY good experience. My beloved "Dr. Bob" predicted and delivered a healthy baby boy after much hardship. His expertise, kindness and encouragement was beyond measure. And my carpal tunnel doctor was gruff but an expert in his field.

And thank goodness I haven't had any major medical problems to contend with. I eat a healthy diet, exercise (have 2 dogs), keep my weight down, take lots of vitamins and plan to be around for another 30-40 years in good shape!

However, things happen and I am scheduled for eye surgery momentarily. I'm bright enough to know that nothing is ever guaranteed. So I am approaching the surgery with enough anxiety to make my heart race. Try as I might, I haven't found a way to alleviate the palpitations. I am trying deep breathing, envisioning calm and serene scenes, and lecturing to myself about how well this is all going to go.

So far, nothing is working. But I'll keep at it until there is no more time to be apprehensive because the doctor is looking at me face to face!

Monday, August 31, 2009

FANDOM

I am a New England sports fan: a boisterous fan (UCONN women's and men's basketball), a hapless fan (pre-2004 Red Sox), an exuberant fan (2004 to the present and a proud member of Red Sox Nation, always was), a loyal fan (Celtics and Patriots)...Bruins (not so much.)

And, now I have added teams from my adopted state so I am also a Diamondbacks fan, a Cardinals fan, a Phoenix Mercury fan and an Arizona State University football and basketball fan.

It's like having kids. Your heart expands when you keep adding to the mix.

However, I am the HUGEST fan of all of my two sons. One is a renowned photojournalist and one is a talented post-production audio engineer/guitarist. They have chosen professions in which they excel and which they love dearly. Years ago, when discussing what they might be doing as adults, the advice from us was that they should do something they really, really love. Holy mackeral, they took the advice!

Sometimes we think they succeeded despite our best intentions but seriously, we could not be prouder, not only of their accomplishments but of the way they conduct their lives, with honesty and integrity, lots of good humor, intelligence, caring and all the wonderful adjectives I could string along for the next several lines.

I see in these two wonderful guys (and many of their friends) a generation who will take care of the earth and all that is in it. And I know that they will make the world a better place. So I continue to lead the cheers for the guys because it's what I do best!!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

STUPIDITY 101

The RNC is now inferring that Democrats will use health care reform to deny Republicans medical treatment. And Mike Huckabee suggests that Senator Kennedy would have been urged to "go home and die" under health care reform. And "death panels" to knock off the elderly. And "I don't want government to run health care but keep your *&^ hands off my Medicare."

I think the Republican ultra-conservative wing nuts and all their followers have taken stupidity as their major class. It is beyond comprehension that the words uttered by these idiots are taken seriously by anyone who isn't comatose.

In 2000, intellectual integrity fled the White House only to be replaced by stupidity, muddling up of facts, greed, craziness and downright maliciousness. Yes, I could go on but you get the idea. So for eight years the country was brainwashed with the fallout of all that crap.

Now, we have an intellectual in the White House who has the capacity to actually think things through and present solutions for debate to the American people in a rational, open and respectful manner and the Republicans stamp their feet, cry and whine and distort with complete silliness everything they do not agree with.

The Republicans have not offered any solutions to any of the problems facing the country. They have no idea how to fix the mess they got this country into and they refuse to accept any responsibility for the mess.

They are the dumbing down of America. And I watch with baited breath as they continue to talk themselves deeper into the black hole of hell with each ensuing bit of idiocy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

THE LION OF THE SENATE

I am a Massachusetts native. So, on this day of news of Ted Kennedy's death I feel devastated, as though I have lost a good friend. I never met the man but I always knew what he was about. No matter where I lived, Kennedy was always my Senator.

There will be those who denigrate Kennedy, personally or as a Senator, but I'd say they should look to the myriad of do-nothings who have been and still are in the Senate and compare their records to his. A few may have done more, most have literally done nothing but obfuscate, delay and offer nothing of any consequence to make US citizens' lives easier. I do not condone, nor does anyone else, his actions at Chappaquiddick. But I'd say this Senator has done more good during his lifetime than bad and those who belittle his accomplishments are angry, bitter curmudgeons!

Here are just some of Kennedy's accomplishments:

More than 300 bills that Kennedy wrote have been enacted into law, and he is known for his ability to work with Republicans and to find compromises among Senate members with disparate views. Kennedy has played a major role in passing many pieces of legislation that have affected the lives of all Americans, including the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the National Cancer Act of 1971, the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974, the COBRA Act of 1985, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act in 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Mental Health Parity Act in 1996 and 2008, the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997, the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009. During the 2000s, he was a leader of several failed efforts at immigration reform. (with help from Wikipedia)

May he rest in peace.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

PRACTICING MEDICINE WITHOUT A LICENSE

Health care for all. Certainly an idea whose time is long overdue. I paid the bills as an office manager in a law firm. I cringed every time the health insurance bill came in. And I literally sweated bullets every September when our 'new' year started and the health insurance bill arrived with its rise in rates and the wonderful booklet telling me what would no longer be covered.

As we got older, our premiums shot through the roof even though not one person in the firm ever was unhealthy enough to need a doctor except for the annual exams everyone goes through.

I always thought that if we had taken the premium amounts and invested them in CD's, we would have amassed, over the years, enough money to pay for catastrophic incidents, should that ever happen.

As it is now, health insurance companies decide the exams, procedures and doctors you may have or go to. That's practicing medicine without a license and, frankly, that's a felony. How do we let them get away with this?

Screw the insurance companies. Wouldn't it be fun if everyone in the country filed a lawsuit alleging that they ARE practicing medicine without a license and watch them melt down trying to answer ALL those cases????

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BITTERSWEET VISIT

Once again the adage comes true: You travel to see family when there is a wedding or a funeral.....never just to visit. This time it was for an unveiling of the gravestone of a beloved uncle. Family came in from Arizona, Denver, Chicago, Florida, New York and New Jersey. It was a bittersweet trip but we had the chance to really visit with family we rarely get to see.

And along the way we got to fall in love with two wonderful 13 year olds, twins, a boy and a girl, who are secure enough in their own skins to be easy to talk to, were so gracious, funny, smart and conversed easily with all the adults. How cool is that???


But the point of the visit was never very far away from our thoughts. How do you say goodbye to someone you loved and then leave those who are left behind. This country gets even bigger when you have to fly to such occasions.

Living far away from family sucks.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A HEADLONG RUSH TO DESTRUCTION

I am having a rather good time watching the Republican party implode. The screamers spitting out the lies they have been fed look and sound like deranged lemmings after sniffing crack. And they don't realize their handlers are raking in huge sums of money for giving them the lying talking points to yell about.

What I'm not happy about is how easily led so many people are, led by despicable and ruthless Republican politicians and handlers toward an abyss of lies, invention and misinformation, in an effort to mislead the vulnerable, the elderly and the simple to believe their government wants to knock off grandma and grandpa, among other stupid-ass ideas. They yell about "wanting my America back." What they rally mean is they want their WHITE America back.

If this isn't blatant and shameless racism, I don't know what is. I would not be surprised if the Republicans start handing out the white sheets. And when they do the last nail goes into the coffin.

Does this sound harsh? It's what I'm seeing and hearing on TV, and reading all over the Internet. I don't have to embellish this stuff. The wing nuts are prancing front and center. But I still believe the saner and more intelligent heads will prevail and eventually those who are moderate, thoughtful and concerned about the country and not just themselves will overcome the sideshow .

God, let's hope so.

Monday, August 10, 2009

PLEASE, MAKE HER GO AWAY!

For a year we have been sucked into listening to and reading the rantings of Sarah Palin. But this individual has had way more than her time in the spotlight and needs to go away and disappear from ever uttering a word in public.

She lacks intelligence (definition of stupid); is dense (implies an inability to understand simple facts); and is slow (a lack of quickness in comprehension and/or reaction.)
The woman cannot put together a coherent sentence, much less a thought. But she is quick on repeating Republican "talking points" and "sound bites" no matter how meaningless and inaccurate they are. And she has become really good at back-peddling.

Her latest ranting is about "a death panel" which would be included in President Obama's health care plan. Obviously such a thing is nowhere to be found in the proposed health care plan. Her comments are now being labeled as "crazy" by other conservatives. As a result she now says the debate should be civilized.

That's the problem with Sarah. Shout the lies repeatedly and when you are caught, back-peddle so you won't be blamed for uttering such nonsense.

I blame John McCain for this. He sicked this incredibly unqualified, self-absorbed, unintelligent, unworldly person on us and our collective angst continues as long as Palin opens her mouth in public.

"Palinology" - the science of opening your mouth and confirming that you paid absolutely no attention in class throughout all your schooling.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

QUEEN OF KLOTZES

As a kid I was pretty athletic. Played all the kids games: tag, dodge ball, stick ball, “half-ball," baseball, softball, touch football with my brother and his friends….they tried regular football but stunk at it. Besides they didn’t have a field to play on, just the street. And I climbed trees. I once climbed some kind of metal tower but I can’t recall how in hell I got to that. During college I played tennis and basketball.

So I expected to remain a ‘player’ as I got older. And I was…. for a while. But ‘tripping’ became a sport I was getting really good at. Senior year in college, the Friday before I started student teaching on Monday, I tripped getting out of a car and went down on both knees. There was nothing to trip over. Started student teaching with gobs of makeup smeared over the torn skin of both knees. Sixth graders can be so cruel.

During the first few months of marriage I tripped over the stove (trying to get a too huge turkey into it), tripped up the stairs to our third floor garret and tripped into the refrigerator when it was open. An inkling of how my life was going glimmered in the background.

Over the years I have ‘tripped’ over too many items to mention and over too many ‘nothing’s there’ to mention. It was becoming a comedy routine, earning me the nickname, “Queen of the Klotzes” bestowed on me by a myriad number of friends.

It happened again this morning while walking the dog…. tripped over a curb that was not there.

When asked to describe what sport I do best, I now say, “I trip over light beams.”

Thursday, August 6, 2009

STUPID ACTS-PART 1

How stupid does one have to be not to understand that texting while driving is hazardous to your health, let alone mine. The debate rages on here in Arizona whether to pass a law which prohibits texting while driving. So many are against passing the law....another way for government to get in your face. Well, stupid people, we wouldn't have to even discuss having a law if all you nuts would just stop doing it. It just doesn't take a genius to figure out that it's dangerous and that you have NO RIGHT to put my life in danger when you toodle down the highway with your eyes glued to your freakin' phones while you send meaningless and insignificant messages to your equally stupid friends.

It would be so much better if, before you leave the house, you check to see if your brain is present and in gear and then try to use it while driving.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

THE BIRTHERS ARE COMING AND THEY’RE USING THE SWIFT BOATS!

Viciousness has reared its ugly head and stupidity reigns supreme! A few nuts one can contend with. But this ‘birther’ conspiracy group has not only become obnoxiously vocal, they have grown in numbers to the point where everyone with an ounce of intelligence and who has the ability to read must be scratching his/her head and wondering how this group’s brains disintegrated into mulch.

Hawaii became the 50th state on August 21, 1959. Apparently, though, the ‘birthers,’ those who question President Obama’s legitimacy, never paid attention in history class! And they didn’t learn how to read, much less think. The State of Hawaii has produced the President’s birth certificate. The announcement of his birth was in the local paper.

And yet, there are those nuts who still think he was born somewhere else. But what is more galling is the way Republicans in Congress feed the paranoia. How can they not know how stupid they sound? Like the Swift Boaters lied about Senator Kerry, the birthers are lying about this issue. And the louder they scream, the more attention they get.

What are they snorting?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

DIDN'T YOU PAY ATTENTION IN ENGLISH CLASS?

When I was growing up my mother, who majored in English, corrected every misuse of speech that came out of my mouth. As a result I have tried to use words correctly. Since I worked in education, radio news broadcasting and in a law office in my earlier life, it was an absolute necessity that I speak clearly and correctly. I cringe today, though, when I hear people speak with mangled tongues.

There is an insurance commercial on TV now in which an actor uses the word (which is NOT a word) "alls," as in, "Alls I can say is...." What company/ad agency would let that get out to the public?

Then there are the news pundits who are obviously very shaky in grammar when they use the words "myself'' instead of "me" or "I;" or "yourself" instead of "you" as in "My friend and myself are going;" and "Someone such as yourself can do the job." You don't say "Myself is going." It doesn't take a genius to make the correction.

When letters came into the law office, inevitably there would be grammatical mistakes. How any self-respecting professional would allow a letter to be sent that way is beyond me. I had all I could do to stop from circling and underlining the mistakes in red pen and returning the letter to the sender with an admonition to go back to the fourth grade and listen this time!

Miss Fenwick would be proud of me!

Friday, July 31, 2009

NUTS R US

The Republicans are really good at what they do: obfuscate, terrorize and lie to advance their agenda to obliterate the rights of U. S. citizens. They are great at scaring the hell out of those who do not, will not or can't be bothered to do simple research about issues affecting them.

In this age of Internet information it doesn't take much to do some fact checking at legitimate web sites. Most people with a modicum of intelligence read about and research the issues they're interested in. So it's beyond comprehension to hear people prattling about "birth certificates" and "euthanasia of the elderly," which have become talking points of wingnut Republicans.

How in hell did these people get elected? I propose an I.Q. test and a test on the Constitution for all candidates for office: local, state and national. The results would have to be made public and the 'candidates' would have to get more than just a passing grade. At least the U. S. electorate would have a fighting chance of electing people whose brains haven't been scrambled.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Drove Me To Do It

I'm starting a blog because I just can't contain myself when I hear or read about the incredibly stupid rantings of people who write moronic letters to the editor or pontificate on TV when they really should be looking for their brains which obviously departed quietly from their heads out of shame!

Mothers are spinning in their graves, banging the earth and screaming to get out just once so they can knock some sense into their offspring. Most of the offspring I'm referring to are, unfortunately, 'holed' up in Congress where many of them have demonstrated what I have long suspected: When God told all those who wished for brains to come forth.... 3/4 of those in Congress came..... fifth!

We are saddled with wingnuts who cannot seem to think for themselves, whose soundbites are exactly that---taken from the same page, verbatim. They seem to be telling us, "Don't bother me with facts. My mind is made up." Unfortunately, they are all over the media and the constant barrage of stupidity is taking hold of a certain segment of society which can best be described as "teetering on the edge."

Oh, Wisdom, where art thou???