Friday, December 05, 2008
Emergency room! The thought of having to go there horrifies me. As the answer to the country's refusal to accept the notion of health care as a "right", the pressure has been placed on emergency rooms throughout the United States to treat those patients with inadequate or no healthcare. So for most of us it is a nightmare whenever we are so sick there is no alternative.
Fortunately, my daughter-in-law and grandchildren qualify for State of Washington medical assistance. Their doctor was so worried about the 5 year-old that she sent them to the emergency room for a bloodtest and x-ray. They left at 5 pm and returned about 1 am. The waiting room was packed with children -- some with broken bones and my grandson with a temperature around 105! (F) When he was seen the staff at St. Peter's were great -- but why does it always take so long? To be honest, emergency room treatment in the UK can also take a very long time, but I think the American nightmare is singularly dreadful for its time frame.
Both little boys are now on the mend and the care of their personal doctor has been superb. But the problem that face hospitals across the country are shocking. I cannot understand why, as I heard on television yesterday, 50% of the country thinks we should leave medical care the way it is. I am due back in Britain on the 15th of December and will be relieved to get back with my health intact. In the meantime I'm taken daily doses of Echinacea and Zinc in the hope that I can stave off any illness, at least until I get back.
So far my history of taking Echinacea and Zinc has been very successful. My son told me about it a few years ago when I complained to him about how often I got sick as a result of flying. So now whenever I fly I start of regimen of taking Echinacea tablets (4-6 per day) and Zinc (1 tablet per day) about two weeks before I'm due to fly. The measure is now being put to its greatest test! I feel pretty good, but as though I am fighting off something that doesn't quite have the where-with-all to strike me down. Just over a week to go and then once I get there there it's almost Christmas! (Scream, Scream, Scream)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
And in the further meantime Democrats are screaming about Joe Lieberman's 'no fall' from grace and second guessing Barack Obama's apparent choice of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. The media is greatly relieved to have something to make 'drama' with, probably because the ratings have taken a hit since election day. Personally, I think the choice of Hillary is inspired.
I love Chris Matthews, but he is losing his mind, live on MSNBC. Then again, maybe I'm confusing insanity for enthusiam! I can't help thinking though that it sure would be nice if they would just let Obama and his team get on with it. But that is not the way with this culture of immediacy. Listen, all will be revealed in due course. But then I am as guilty as anyone of staying tuned in to political broadcast after broadcast, day after day.
It's been a long time since I've yearned to be back in DC. I lived there for 17 years and some of those years were the best. I knew the city very well and lived on Capitol Hill for 12 of those years. I was there while the subway was being built and took it to work on Connecticut Avenue for a long time. I witnessed Watergate while living there. I was even there to see Watergate being built!! At the time I was working for my Congressman from the then Sixth District of Connecticut, Bernard F. Grabowski. One of the other secretaries in the office had an architect husband who was a project manager at the Watergate. At any rate, the point I started to make before nostalgia set in, is that lately I have been wishing I was still part of that unique political buzz to be found only inside the Beltway.
So 'bring it on' Rachel, Keith and Chris -- I'm all eyes and all ears!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
In September of 1963 the "poor innocent child" that was me, flew the safety of my family cacoon in Connecticut and boarded a train in New Haven for Washington, DC. The memory of the next few months is harsh both for my development as a young woman on her own, but also for the unhappy events of November 22nd. The assasination of John Kennedy in Dallas was an event so monumental in my life and for others of my age and idealistic nature, that I think our psyche's still bear the scars.
Scars that would be brutally re-opened only a few years later with the deaths of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The Viet Nam War, the hippy movement, the election of Richard Nixon, the violence of the police -- by the end of the decade our dreams and our idealism were shattered, our hopes, the making of a nightmare. The nightmare was underscored by the violence in Chicago during the convention of the Democratic Party. Politically, there was nowhere for us to turn, to be heard. The world seemed to fall apart and then the 70's happened. We left our beads and idealism behind, got jobs, married, bought houses -- in a daze. We 'dropped in' instead of 'out' and gave it up. The promise of "Camelot" faded in the memory but lurked forever in our souls. As so 'life happened' for me and my generation.
Watergate was a shattering experience for me. I detested President Nixon and his policies. I wanted to see the end of him. But when the end came I was overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. When he gave his resignation speech on television, I wept. This was after all the president of the United States and we were witnessing one of the greatest humiliations in our history. Impeachment was avoided -- just. What was most impressive about this time, especially considering the way Congress has operated since, was the bi-partisan nature of the investigation and the committee investigating what had happened. The Congress would do well to study that time when Congress seemed to understand it's role in our government and rose to the occasion.
Make no mistake about it, impeachment is exhausting for the nation and should not be entered into lightly. I believe in the case of Watergate, it was necessary to do if the President did not resign. But I also believe it was in the best interests of the country for President Ford to pardon Richard Nixon. The country had had enough and needed to move forward.
The last President I lived under, and one I voted for, was Jimmy Carter. His presidency was much more successful that most people realize. I was not impressed with him at the time. Like many Americans respect grew with his reputation after he left office. Unfortunately, his presidency was hijacked by the Iranian hostage situation. I always felt it a sad footnote that the Iranians waited until the very moment Reagan took office, but it was touching that Reagan sent Carter to greet them upon their release.
Ronald Reagan may have been 'the great communicator', but he never communicated with me! Though there are now aspects of him that I find intriguing -- particularly the 'penpal letters' that were made public only a few years ago. I suspect that he began suffering from Alzheimer's Disease well before he left office. I now have much more admiration for Nancy Reagan, for her protection of him. And I have admiration for their genuine love and devotion for each other.
At the time I was living in Britain and was thoroughly amused by the lampooning Reagan and Thatcher took from 'Spitting Image', particularly the segment, The President's Brain Is Missing. For me, living in England, the Reagan years were embarassing. I was more accepting of George H.W. Bush, until he literally wrapped himself in the American Flag during the campaign and with the Willie Horton ads. Also I very much liked and admired Michael Dukakis.
And then the Gulf War happened, Thatcher was ousted as leader of the Conservative Party and the World of the 60's was about to enter once again upon the scene in the personages of Bill Clinton on the one hand and then George W. Bush on the other.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
John McCain keeps saying "I've been tested" -- guess referring to what happened to him 40 years ago, and not to:
- The Keating 5 Scandal. Senator McCain was cleared of wrongdoing, however, his judgement was severely criticized.
- His decision to choose Sarah Palin for Vice President is another instance of bad judgement.
- His decision that "The fundamentals of the economy are strong".
- His decision to "suspend" his campaign and ride into Washington and end up having to leave with his tail between his legs when it became obvious to everyone that his presence was harming the bi-partisan work that was being worked out. Where is evidence of good judgement? Then claiming that he had 'saved the day' only to discover that negotiations had completely broken down.
- His decision to not show up for the first debate unless a successful conclusion to the 'bailout' was in hand -- and then showing up ...
- His decision to adopt Joe the Plumber as a spokesman for his faltering campaign without due care and attention as to the who the hell 'Joe' really is but carrying on as if he is really the middle class "everyman". Judgement seems to be lacking again ...
- Oh, yes, let us not forget the judgement and decision-making behind the concern calls made to the unfortunate girl who claidmed to have been mugged by a black man who then carved a "mirror B" on her face -- ending up with egg all over McCain's face when with a little investigation it was proven that she had made the whole story up.
Well, I've voted for Barack Obama already. In Washington State you get a ballot in the mail and can either mail it or take it to a conveniently located drop-off ballot box. So no standing in line and no worries about my ballot being counted.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
We had lunch in the local Pizza Hut -- for a good reason! In 1979 that was the local place
The next day we clipped the corner of Kansas as we headed toward Missouri. A few days earlier there had been a terrible tornado which destroyed every house in the small town of Pilcher. We didn't see the town, but passed about 3 miles from it, in the northeastern most part of Oklahoma. From what was being reported on CNN a decision had been made not to rebuild the town -- which must have been sad for those people and I thought about them quite a bit while we were travelling in througth the area.
Monday, September 29, 2008
My conclusion is that pundits have no idea what is on the public's mind. Truth be told none of them thought Obama had won the debate and they were all flabberghasted at the polls afterward. While watching the debate I was impressed by Obama and thought McCain horrible and rude. But at the same time I thought that the Public would go for that and not for the Lincolnesqe demeanor of Obama. Ho ho ho, shows me that that the public really does like 'nice' but 'smart'. Sure, it would be good if Senator Obama also shared with Lincoln his sense of humour and ability to respond with off the cuff (seemingly) rebuffs in the give and take of a debate. But that is not his forte and trying to make it so would probably come off as rehersed and phony.
The performance of John McCain reinforced the idea that 'he just doesn't get it'. He looked like an out of touch grumpy and bitter old man, holding on to past glories in the hope that they will catapult him into the White House, despite lacking the intellectual ability to comprehend the task he wants so much to be entrusted upon him.
He repeated over and over the mantras of the campaign trail -- especially when he didn't have the ability to explain coherently and cogently the thrust of his debate. It was almost pathetic when he resumed the 'I am a maverick' phrase we have all heard over and over again. And he messed up the campaign rhetoric about earmarks and 'you shall know their names'.
Perhaps I should wait for the Vice Presidential debate before I say what I think about Sarah Palin. Most of all my greatest single fault with Sarah Palin is the way she was chosen. This was the first presidential decision-making that John McCain made and the way that was done indicates for me once and for all that he is a dangerous, impulsive gambler, that would not bode well for the future of our country.
It would seem that the American people are at long last 'getting it'!
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
But just down the street stands the ancient Church of San Miguel, built in
1610 and the oldest church in the new world. The old shrine was built and
occupied a full decade before the Mayflower arrived on the distant eastern
coast. Perhaps one of the greatest attractions inside is the Bell of
Andalusian, weighing 780 pounds with four inch walls. It is the oldest bell
in America, constructed in 1356 in Spain.
Before ever arriving in the New World, the bell developed quite a history. In the mid 1300's, the Spanish faithful were at war with the Moors. It was a losing campaign for the Spanish, battle after battle won by the invading Moslems.
In a desperate effort, the Spanish Catholics vowed to construct a bell in tribute to St.
Joeseph, and prayed that in return he would turn the tide of war in their favor.
Villagers from miles around brought gold and silver to add to other metals that the "miracle" bell might be built. An inscription on the bell reads "San
Jose, ruega por nosotros"...St. Joeseph pray for us! Be it the miracle of the bell or not, the tide of the war changed, and eventually the Moors were chased from Spain, giving the kingdom dominance in the region for centuries thereafter.
And so we continued on our way to the Capitol building. And on the way through the back streets -- we discovered later we merely had to continue up the Santa Fe Trail about a block -- but nevermind, it was a pretty diversion:
And so we arrived at the Capitol building, all new and round, only to discover that of course being Saturday, it was closed!
Back down the Santa Fe Trail, back to the plaza and our car. It was a lovely day, with many interesting sites. But we'd barely scratched the surface of Santa Fe. Another place for another visit. I hope it's soon.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
My priority our second day there was to find out if my computer had bitten the dust, and how much it would cost to repair it and could it be done before we had to leave. We decided the best bet would be to head for Best Buy -- we knew it was probably going to cost $200 or more just to look at the thing. Anyway, on our way down Juan Tabo Drive at 1701 Juan Tabo Drive, to be specific, we saw the sign for Computers Direct. The sign said diagnostics would be done for $32.50 (or maybe it was $36.50). Ok that was it! In we pulled. So we dropped off the laptop and they promised not to do any work on it until they called us with an estimate. Two days later I got a phone call: my computer was up and running! Turns out, it really had 'bitten the dust' -- far too much of it over the years. They blew some air through the vents and voila! I bought some compressed air, took a short lesson on how to use it and handed over $41.00 and left the shop very very very happy! Since then it's worked better than it has for a very long time.
American Indians and Spanish settlers carved their images on these
basalt boulders. The nature of the rock itself is what allows the petroglyphs to
be visible. The basalt is high in iron, manganese and calcium. The combination
of these minerals makes the basalt a light gray color. After long exposure to
oxygen and water the iron and manganese oxidize or rust. A dark shiny coating,
or patina, forms on the surface of the basalt boulders. The patina is called
desert varnish.When looking at the dark basalt boulders, you are actually
looking at desert varnish. American Indians discovered permanent marks could be
made by using another rock to chip off the desert varnish. Many American Indians
are able to claim cultural relationships to past inhabitants of this area be
cause they recognize the images as having deep cultural and spiritual
significance. Please respect the importance of petroglyphs to American Indians
and to the descendants of original Spanish settlers.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
I can't do justice to Sedona. It's very beautiful and has lots of red rocks and streams and woodland. We weren't there nearly long enough. Guess I'll just have to go back again.
Interstate 40 still has a few short spurs of Route 66, one of which, Winslow, we bothered to explore. Not much quaintness here -- it was sad and woebegone. So much for Route 66 until later in Oklahoma.
Except for the Painted Desert and the Petrified National Forest there was not much to interest us -- and nothing we were going to stop for other than lunch. Too bad -- both look to be very interesting. It is a sad fact that time always plays a role in journeys. We never seem to be really free enough to bide our time, no matter how much we think we will. We'd probably still be on our travels had time and money really been no object. It's still great though, having heard about these places for so much of my life that I now have in my head where they really are.
Soon we would have to change our watches and the car clock for the first time. New Mexico is one hour ahead of Arizona time. It's interesting how often state lines and borderlands anywhere have identifiable changes in scenery. New Mexico had rocks that seemed to define the 'pueblo' look!
I think we arrived in Albuquerque late afternoon and my nephew's directions being perfect drove straight to their beautiful home and welcome hospitality. I just loved New Mexico and could have stopped for a very long time!
Friday, June 27, 2008
My nephew had urged me to be sure to be there for sunset. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to time our visit to coincide with sunset time and we wanted to get on our way to Flagstaff for the night. But then this is all the more reason to have to go again! The weather that day was disappointing -- quite cool and very cloudy. So we weren't witness to the drama of the canyon colors and definition. I should point out that we visited the Grand Canyon National Park and did not see the Canyon from the Native American Reservations, which we understand is probably for more intrepid visitors anyway. I would have liked to go on the 'Sky Walk', which is some miles west of the National Park on Indian land.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
The three little boys had a great time, Heejung was beautiful, the sun shone brightly, and we all wished we had brought our bathing suits, if only to splah around at the shoreside. The water was surprisingly murky for so few bathers, and I do wonder what it might be like when there are lots of boats churning away at the water just beyond the buoys. However, on my birthday, that was not a problem. It being Father's Day, I was also surprised that it was not more crowded -- though by the time we left most of the picnic tables were occupied. Nevertheless, it remained pleasantly busy.
Now today is little Louis' First Birthday! What a year it's been for all of us. Party and pictures to come!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
We still had the last bit of the way to get to Glacier Point. I was now happy that Neil had insisted that we take this 'other' road. We were well above the snow line now, there were quite a few tourists, but still pleasant. When we arrived at the end of the road, which was, in fact, a large parking lot, there were several viewpoints -- all magnificent, of course, but still a treck to get to what they called 'Glacier Point'. It meant walking a distance -- which the guidebook said was about a mile, but which fortunately was more like a quarter mile and an easy meander at that on a well trodden trail.
As we approached the path there was the usual board explaining the area and its history. I did a bit of a double take when glancing at the photograph there -- it looked to me like the place where my father had stood and had his picture taken all those years ago! Indeed, I said as much to Neil, who thought the picture must have been taken somewhere else. At anyrate, we clambered along the pathway and finally reached our destination -- an amazing view overlooking the valley and Yosemite Village. I walked over to the right of this panorama and Neil to the left. A moment later he was at my side, saying, "You were right, this is where your father was. Come over here and look."
There was one more stop I wished to make and that was to see the glen of Giant Sequoia trees at Mariposa Grove. Wow are they something to see! Unfortunately, we could not stay very long. It was getting late and we had a fair distance to go to get to our destination for the night, Bakersfield.
Now, we didn't see a lot in Bakersfield -- it was dark by the time we arrived. But we did find a great Travelodge Motel, with great rates and a lovely garden with fountain right outside our door. Free hot breakfast, too!
Friday, May 30, 2008
And so they lived happily ever after!