Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not a bad day yesterday. I waited until Pat got up at 11:30, then went to Shop-Rite. Stopped at K-Mart and got a small (1.5 quart) slow cooker, so I can make Pat's meals more easily. Then realized it was 1:45 and Lorrraine, the nurse practitioner, was coming at 2:00. Rushed home to find Pat at least out of bed and washing; barely got him dressed before L. came in, but we made it okay.
I like Lorraine a lot. She is careful and thorough and is a kind and intelligent person. She examined Pat's toe (red, swollen, and sensitive) and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic. She's a quilter and we have mutual friends.
Had a long, enjoyable phone talk with Betty. I'm still a little worried about her stomach problems and headaches, but she felt better when we talked.
Wider: Here's a truly humbling exercise from brother Frank. I'm ashamed at how badly I did, considering the death-dealing and life-altering things going on there under our auspices. Try it!
http://www.rethinkingschools.org/just_fun/games/mapgame.html

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yoicks, I didn't get up until quarter of six, so had to rush to dress and meet Susan for our walk. Yesterday was very slow. Did lots of wash, as usual, puttered around here and there, but mostly hung around waiting for Pat to wake up. Mary Ann Van O. called to invite me to dinner on New Year's Day--yes, indeed, would love to--and to a violin concert in Toms River on the 11th, which I hope I can swing--we'll see. Marissa, the p.t., came in the afternoon and the nurse practitioner will come today.
I'm so sick of the sickroom atmosphere and so tired of caregiving and so sad at my husband's decline.
Wider: Re the above. How dare I complain, knowing there are people in the middle east who would give anything to be in my situation--instead of existing as targets. A quote from Anti-War.Com:
"Israelis and Arabs 'feel that only force can assure justice,' I. F. Stone noted; he also wrote, 'A certain moral imbecility marks all ethnocentric movements. The Others are always either less than human, and thus their interests may be ignored, or more than human and therefore so dangerous that it is right to destroy them.'"
So true! So exactly the attitude of the warmongers and their supporters! And it's so topical, isn't it?
Actually, that was written in 1967, forty-one years ago, during the Six Day War.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Took Ellen to the airport about noon--sob!--and got home with no problem. Pat was up, but I had left him breakfast and he was okay. Spent the rest of the day at the supermarket, washing, and so on, my usual routine. Got a web call from sister Betty, but it was almost 6 and I had to get dinner, so didn't talk long.
Wider: I caught 60 Minutes last night. It was all about Obama and his successful campaign. The program showed past and present footage of his fight for the nomination, the democratic convention, and interviews with him, the first lady apparent, and many of his staff by Steve Croft.
Obama was his usual personable, articulate, winning self--and oh, how I wanted to love him and those beautiful teeth! What a terrific American story! How different he was from the mean, seemingly crazed, illiterate little jerk he'll succeed! Surely, surely, Obama will lead us out of the wilderness and...
But I had to remember the little boy with no legs and no right arm sitting with his friend on the ground in Iraq. Obama has never, in thought, word, or deed, been an anti-war candidate. I had almost forgotten my dismay when he chose Biden as his running mate. Wait--why was I so concerned? Why did I vote for Nader? BECAUSE BIDEN'S A WARMONGER, THAT'S WHY! And the other picks of "O" (better get used to it; that'll be his moniker in the press) that have the neo-cons slavering with delight have been just as indicative of his war-business-as-usual stance. Emmanuel, Gates--Clinton, fer cryin' out loud!--and the rest, staunch child killers all.
One of the many difficulties of taking seriously members of the media is their obvious old boy (and girl) network. How can we believe they aren't influenced by their proximity to power? I saw Croft laughing and joking with Obama and Biden and--dare I say it?--sucking up to them. He was thrilled, clearly, to be one of the boys and, significantly, he didn't pose a single hard question about war, "defense," or killing children. None of them do because, if they did, they'd find themselves shut out of the interviews and exclusive chats and dinner parties for which they live.
Now the scene of the crime is Gaza, where the Israelis continue to murder with the aid and support of the U.S. And Obama has said nothing. Soon, we'll hear, I assume, a carefully crafted, perfectly craven response excusing our Jewish friends and justifying the slaughter.
And babies will continue to be massacred.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quiet day, as Ellen spent it at her sister's. Pat slept a lot of the day--he always does now--and I performed my wifely duties...
No, not those duties! I did a lot of wash, went to the supermarket and cooked. Got a web cam call from sister Betty in Santa Barbara, her device newly installed. Later, got another from Mike and Vivian; she's still recovering from her surgery, but is doing well.
Wider: I just re-read the John Caruso quote I posted yesterday, about Israel's crimes against the neighbors they mistreat. It seems to contain in it a sad and unanswerable question about, as he puts it, "the universality of human evil," especially:
"This base drive to impose suffering on others -- out of fear, out of greed, out of the lust to dominate -- lives in us all, in every individual, every nation, every people, every tribe, every sect, every clan."
But why, why, why should this be so? Is there no hope that it will ever be different? I'm old enough to have lived through World War II--now romanticized and nostalgia-coated out of all recognition--and I well remember the pervading sense of U.S. goodness, as opposed to the clear and perfect badness of "the enemy." I believed this right up to a few years ago. Then I finally--I'm a slow learner--began to wonder how it could be that Americans, out of all the world, present and past, could be so loftily different from the citizens of other countries.
Now I know we aren't.
And a riddle:
It's deafening!
What is?
The silence of the Great Black Hope of the dems.
(They're dizzy with happiness over his ascendency, but ignore the lack of condemnation for the latest Israeli rape in Gaza.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We continue to have a good time with Ellen here. Went to Boscov's and bought a new vacuum cleaner yesterday, and I was glad to have her advice. Unfortunately, E. has a cold. After lunch, she took a lap and I didn't wake her until dinnertime. I did get a chance to do a lot of wash. Today, Ellen will drive up to her sister's and be with her and the two little boys. How I wish I could go, but Pat just can't be alone so much of the day.
Susan got back yesterday and we'll resume our walk Will also go to Weight Watchers to assess the damage of the last few riotous (?) weeks.
Got a cam call from the Singapore Four and saw darling V. She went through the surgery well and seemed pretty good, just a bit cranky, which isn't like her, but I'm sure she'll get over that.
Tomorrow, I have to take precious number two daughter to the airport--sob!
Later: Now I have some cause for concern: I'm up 2 pounds, bringing me to 130 and 69.6 off. That means I've gained a full 5 pounds since my low of 125. Okay, I'll get back there, I have no doubt, starting right now (actually, I got back on the straight and narrow yesterday).
Wider: Lest any reader think I've gone soft, contemplate this from Anti-War.Com:
"According to the US government's logic, Iraq is now better off than ever before. As for the millions of lives that have been unjustly taken, and the millions of Iraqis on the run, their plight is a worthy price for freedom and democracy, precious US commodities that apparently come at a heavy price. Americans and the sanctioned Iraqi government are never to blame for any wrongdoing. Iraq's tragedy is always someone else's fault, but largely the making of elusive terrorists, whose identities and sources of funds change according to whatever Washington's political mood dictates."
This is from a piece on the shoe-throwing journalist and starts by describing the American and Iraqi presidents shaking hands--complacent, self-serving child killers both. Of course, it should be read in its entirety.
Also: John Caruso writes in "A Distant Ocean" about the inhuman embargo of the Gaza Strip by Israel and ends:
"It seems to be the tragic fate of this generation of Israel to teach the world, once more, the bitter lesson of the universality of human evil. This base drive to impose suffering on others -- out of fear, out of greed, out of the lust to dominate -- lives in us all, in every individual, every nation, every people, every tribe, every sect, every clan. It must be resisted at all of these levels -- beginning within, of course. And when it breaks out into the open, we must condemn it forthrightly, call it what it is, no matter what form it takes or who unleashes it."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Very enjoyable, low-key Christmas. Mike web-cammed and I talked to him and Paula, Patrick called, and our two girls were here.
We opened the bottle of champagne friends had given us for our anniversary and toasted our family, drinking out of the fluted glasses I had bought for Joel and Jen's wedding party to use more than 5 years ago. Served chicken, rather than turkey (it was probably more tender, anyway), plus the turkey gravy from the freezer (the one that I made from scratch and that took nine hours), cranberry sauce, potatoes both baked and sweet, banana and pumpkin bread, and stuffing, of course. Ellen bought and prepared fresh string beans and Alison contributed a carrot dish made with mayonnaise and horse radish--very tasty.
I confess though, that FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I bought, rather than made, the pies, pumpkin and apple. I had pumpkin, which I thought had a strange, gelitan-ish consistency, but I did add real whipped cream. The apple was okay, I guess, but can't compare with my homemade.
We opened our presents after, with some members of the party violating the terms of our cheapseanna gift-picking and getting Pat and me gifts. Pat got two nice sweaters, each with the required front closing and two pockets and I got silicon oven mitts (my daughters are convinced I'm going to set my kitchen towels on fire) and a crock pot index file with great recipes, along with more kitchen towels--always welcome. Also received a Christmasy cutting board and an ornament from a neighbor.
Along with little Lulu, who mostly stayed on the floor and scrouged for scraps, we had a lovely time. The upper Jersey company left about 9:00, I had my glass of wine, and fell into bed.
Much as I love the fall and winter holidays, I yearn for spring.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's Christmas Day at 11:00 am. Had a nice time at Lisa's last night, although I got lost several times on the way to Rancocas, due to the dark and rain. It was fun watching the antics of the little boys and girl, ages 6, 5, 4, and 1. Got home at 11:00, stayed up to chat with Pat and Ellen (and enjoy my glass of wine), then got to bed about midnight. Slept until quarter of eight (!). Good thing Susan's still away; will resume our morning walk on Saturday.
Mike called on the web cam. It was evening over there and he described a lovely Christmas. I was fascinated by Vivian's baby doll present, which not only eats and wets, but poops! Geez, that's just a little too much realism for me. (And with a doll like that, why do they need Violet?)
Vivian, poor child, gets her adenoids removed tomorrow.
Just now, Pat is still sleeping, Ellen's in the shower, and I'm looking forward to a pleasant, but quiet Christmas, very different from some of the hubbub of Christmases past. Guess I should be nostalgic for those, but I'm not.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Zipped up to get Ellen in the morning while Pat was still asleep. We had a good time together, as ever: Walked to Shop 'n' Bag, made Nana Mix, and so on. Pat loves having her here, too, of course. Mike called on the web cam and talked to Ellen and me. After dinner, E. trimmed the tree while I took a shower--it looks great (the tree, not the shower).
Will go to Lisa's Christmas Eve party tonight. So sorry Ellen can't come with me--but we can't very well leave Pat alone.
Wes J. asked for the Nana Mix recipe, so I posted it on his "wall" on Facebook. It's a million times better than the commercial kind and much, much better than the bland, conventional recipe, too. My mother didn't like the original Chex recipe--partly because she was too cheap to add mixed nuts--and revised it with peanuts and to be much spicier. It really is good. Mom had told me that my nephew, David W., came up with the name "Nana Mix."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gosh--Ellen called early to say her flight would be delayed because of bad weather in various parts and she wouldn't be in until 9:30. I'm afraid to drive in Philly at night, so had to make other arrangements. Will go up to get her at the halfway place this morning.
The damn Christmas tree I was so pleased to find (because it's only a five-footer) fell over last night. M. and J. had trouble getting it in the stand and it was leaning as it was. Sigh...now I'm thinking the decoration will be an ordeal; next year, will go earlier and try to get a really small one.
Was pleased that Pat's bay buddies, Old George and Charlie, stopped in. However, Pat had gone back to bed, although it was almost 3. They stayed to chat for awhile and I showed them pictures of our anniversary party, which they had attended. I asked them to come back sometime.
Would love to go to the Christmas Eve party in Rancocas, but I don't see how we can leave Pat.
Talked to sister Betty and we thanked each other for our birthday presents. Brother Jim called to wish me a happy one.
Other than that, nothing much except another trip to Acme. Somehow, I manage to spend plenty on nothing much every time I go. It was bitterly cold all day, so I stayed in most of the time and stuck to my knitting (figuratively).
Later: A hard-hitting entry from the blog "Dead Horse" on the continuing slaughter of Palestinians by Israelis--aided and abetted by the U.S., of course, and never mentioned in the western press:
"The picture at the top of this post is of a Palestinian father carrying his dead child, the handy-work of an Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip. However it could be any number of scenarios – perhaps an Iraq father carrying his dead child, or it could be a father in Afghanistan after one of our murderous air raids – take your pick for our “humanitarian” work is never done. This is, after all, what we do best -- murder – we have an entire industry devoted to it. But heaven forbid that we should ever question the morals of our beneficent calling, our white man’s burden, our destiny of bringing hope and change to the world. What is a little collateral damage compared to our great shining destiny for when we kill brown people we kill them for their own good. It certainly is difficult to understand why they don’t love us.'

Monday, December 22, 2008

Well, it was fine! Had a wonderful birthday, the house full of children and toys, our stomachs full of Chinese takeout and cake, my heart full of love and gratitude. Little "T" got into everything to our delight--it's such fun watching him explore and enjoy. With the help of an adult, J. made ornaments of cinnamon and applesauce (believe it) and the guys watched whatever the Eagles were doing.
Got great gifts: Two terrific blouses, a pretty candle, a wireless mouse, a plethora of kitchen towels (yay!), another candle, a family picture of the Singapore contingent, and a gift certificate to SeaOaks. Most remarkable was from P. and N. With hand-written and illustrated directions, it's an unusual purse that can turn into other things simply by tying and knotting differently. I've never seen anything like it--it's just superb.
Later: Just got back from our walk. It's so cold my hands are hurting and my toes, too. Thank heavens it didn't snow, though, and I hope it holds off while Ellen is here. Will pick her up late this afternoon--best birthday present I could ever get.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Well, this is my birthday--ugh! ("Barfday" might be more descriptive.) However, I feel fine, look okay for my doddering self, and am looking forward to a family gathering today.
Was pretty busy yesterday. Made two recipes of "Nana Mix" to give Joel and Jen, plus made "sweet and spicy pecans." Think I'll give the ones in a pretty container to Susan; she and Walter are going north to her daughter's for Christmas.
Went out and bought a Christmas tree. Most of them were so humungous I couldn't go for them, but I managed to get a five-footer. Joel will pick it up for us and the nursery guy will trim it so it fits in the stand. (We may be the only people on the eastern seaboard who still buy a live Christmas tree.) I know, I know, the artificial ones are more symetrical, they're already equipped with lights, they don't shed, they're beautiful, and so on and on. I don't give a damn. In this plastic world, I want something that speaks of nature--0r at least, NOT commercialism gone nuts.
Wider: Continuing to read Morris Berman's book, I find it ominous, frightening, and--unfortunately--right on the mark. He asks rhetorically, "Would our penchant for aggression have been any less if Kerry had been elected?" Sadly, his conclusion is no, not in the long run, but it may have been marginally lessened. (These are paraphrases.)
Early on, Berman points out the seeming inability of Americans to give up their game and celebrity fixations to allow even a low level of serious intellectual activity. It seems to me the universality of television marks the truth of this belief. It's everywhere! It's hard to find a doctor's waiting room without one--or two--and many supermarkets have several. Wal-Mart has one at each check-out. I don't often go into many other stores, so I'm sure I'm missing some. What's much, much worse is, I understand, the routine introduction of television into classrooms, from kindergarten (and, for all I know, nursery school) up to college. No matter where you go, it seems, the constant din of plastic people making mindless noise, is going to follow. It makes me crazy.
But I'm going to enjoy my birthday, anyway.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

After a soggy trip to Acme (it rained most of the day), I stayed cozily in. Made an apple crisp, did some wash, and it was actually pretty enjoyable. There's something I like about being more or less forced to stay in, but I guess I wouldn't like it for long periods.
Amy, the OT, came. She's very nice and made a few suggestions for "independent living," but we kind of agreed having the PT come twice a week was enough.
I was a little uneasy this morning when Pat asked for another pillow--he already uses two--and for me to put his oxygen up to 3 1/2 liters. His breathing was even more labored than usual, maybe an ominous sign, but I'm not sure. Emphysema is a particularly lousy disease, although I guess none of them are fun and games.
Later: Just back from Weight Watchers. Somewhat disappointing (but understandable, considering dinner out and Susan's party), I'm up a pound. This brings me to 128, with 71.6 off. Must be particularly vigilant, what with my birthday tomorrow, Christmas Eve, and Christmas all looming with yummy stuff to tempt me. Okay, I'm going back to WW next Saturday and will take my lumps, whatever they are, then get back on the straight and narrow in the new year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Got to Kohl's, Wal-Mart, BJ's, and Target in the morning. Had to rush home before Marissa came at 1:00. Finally found some knee socks for Preshy and sent them off.
Took my illegally (I contend) opened box to the post office and was astounded to learn that yes, the government has the right to open any package and they often do at random. Unbelievable and horrifying, to keep learning how many rights (this one, to privacy) have been stolen while we were contemplating our navels.
Today, I'm going retaliate in a minescule way, by sending shoes to the serial killer in the White House.
Yes, that serial killer in that White House. Hope thousands, then millions do the same until the Godforsaken, corporate media has to pay attention.
I invited a number of "friends" on Facebook to do send shoes, also.
After postponing no fewer than five times, the O.T. is to come today--wouldn't you know, I agreed she could come this one time at 1:00. Asked Marissa to push back her usual 1:00 time and she'll come Monday at 3:00.
Wider: My current favorite, Justin R., at Anti-War.com, has a good post linking the economic crises with the billions we spend to murder children. Here's just a snippet:
"Our present military budget is more than all the other nations on earth combined, an inconceivable sum that drains the very lifeblood out of our economy. Weapons are not capital assets. The productive energy used to produce them is captured and frozen in time, until the weapon is either used, or junked as outdated: in either case it vanishes."
And so on. But go there and read it all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The "Ladies' Luncheon" across the street at Susan's was just superb. Guests were greeted at the door with a tuxedo-clad Walter, who acted as butler, footman, wine steward, and general factotum throughout the day. Immediately, a glass of champagne (yeah!) was pressed on me and I drank that with a few refills while I enjoyed the appetizers (fresh, not frozen, shrimp, vegetable platter, hummus and chips, etc.). Main course(s) were three delectable strattas, entirely homemade, several kinds of salad, and another dish or two--all of them just scrumptious Dessert? Homemade miniature cheesecake and cookies, plus chocolate candies in several forms. Even better: Susan's famous eggnog (in cooperation with Turkey Hill), laced with a generous portion of rum for those who wanted it--and you can bet I did.
Of course, I greatly enjoyed the company, about 20 women, all neighbors and friends. Met a newly-moved-in one whose husband is on dialysis and talked to her about our mutual lives and Wellspouse. Just a terrific day all altogether.
Combined Wider and Narrower Note: An odd and unsettling
incident capped the day. I received a birthday gift from my son, who lives in Asia. Having been told I could open the outer box, as the inner one was in gift paper, I did. I was surprised to find the inner flowered wrapping torn off and stuffed back into the shipping box. I was then amazed and infuriated to see the box had been re-closed with a tape that read: "Opened for U.S. Customs and Border Protection" with the seal of the "Department of Homeland Security."
How dare they? Since when does our mean, sneaking, Big Brother-like government have the authority to open private mail? And from Singapore yet! Do they think this little city state is a threat to our almighty exceptionist country? I'm going to pursue this and find out if one of my rights has been violated.
If I have any rights left, that is.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The less said about yesterday the better. With great difficulty, got Pat into the car in garage and, just as we pulled out, an icy rain started to fall. It continued--more heavily--all the way to godforsaken Toms River. Was able to get the chair and Pat out of the car under an overhang, then parked, getting soaked, and finally got in the doctor's office. The receptionist then chirped, "The doctor was called away; is it all right if the nurse sees him?" I said, "I don't care if the janitor sees him, this is the last time I'm coming here." As it turned out, the ear is healing nicely. Now, though, Pat has sores--certainly more cancer--on his other ear.
To top off the diem horribus (who do I think I am, the queen of England?) while we were sitting in the world's heaviest traffic in TR, somebody rear-ended me. I found no damage when we got home, but didn't know that at the time, so wailed and cried and gnashed my teeth. Well, not really--by that time, I was numb.
Okay, it's over and today is Susan's Ladies Luncheon, to which I'm looking forward. Even more, I'm happily anticipating my birthday on Sunday, when I get to have the family here. And better, better, best, Ellen comes in on Tuesday--happy day!
Wider: Here's Justin R. on Anti-War.Com, in his piece on my hero, the guy who threw the shoes at the mass-murderer, Bush:
"The next time some pompous politician, earnest policy wonk, or just your average, everyday agent of a foreign power suggests invading and occupying a nation purportedly just waiting to be "liberated," we should all reach for our shoes and – like Mr. al-Zeidi – take careful aim…"
Justin goes on to write about what for me is a deeply-unsettling truth: The propensity of "liberal democrats" to show an undue reverence for the presidency. He asks if, now that their candidate is about to succeed, whether their anti-war noises will subside. A good question--and I'll definitely look into the "progressive (read actual, not republican lite) democrat" movement.
Couldn't resist adding this, from the blog "Dead Horse"":
"How I despise patriotism in all its manifestations for it brings out the worst in people, the ignorance, the violence, the indoctrination, the destruction of any kind of thought, the double standards, the murder, the lies, and the rivers of human blood soaking the earth. And it ought to be shocking how little it takes to convince the gullible masses for the need of war. All it takes is a little propaganda. A few lies repeated over and over, the bogey man of manufactured non-existent threats."
And how true. And how horrible.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I decided to pull myself out of the gloom by calling Marissa, the p.t. and asking her to come later (she had been due at 1:00) so I could go to the mall. I did, while Pat took his after-breakfast nap, got what I wanted, and was back before he woke up. Marissa got here later--about 4:30--but it worked out well.
Also asked the Visiting Physician service again about the podiatrist, and told them to give me the number. Called that office and hope to get somebody to call back for an appointment. Also told the V.P. Pat needs to be seen by the nurse practitioner or doctor to check the new leison on his ear.
This morning, I go to my doctor for a BP checkup, then we drive up to Toms River to the plastic surgeon. That's looming as a nerve-racking ordeal and, wouldn't you know, it's raining, which makes it worse. If we just get through this week, we can relax--I hope--for a time.
Wider: There's an interesting piece in Truthout (on-line) about how the health care system got as bad as it is. This is just a snippet:
"All of these problems are due at least in part to an employer-based system, the original intent of which was not to provide quality health care to all, but to circumvent wartime wage regulations. As we begin to debate how to reform health care, we should keep in mind that the American health care system was not created to express American values or to meet Americans' health care needs. And knowing that, we should not be afraid to change the system if we can come up with a better one."
Makes a lot of sense and for those who cry, "Socialism!" one can just point to the police, education, the military--not to mention now the banking system--and ask why they aren't considered "socialism."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Kind of a dreary day. Aside from forays to Rite-Aid and Acme, did little. Pat slept a lot and I just had to wait around to help him dress, get his meals, clean up, and so on. He pointed out a new cancerous sore on his ear--not the one we have to go back to the plastic surgeon for tomorrow--and asked me to "make an appointment" at the dermatologist's. I absolutely will not do that unless I have to--we have a visiting physician, for heaven's sake; that's supposed to relieve us of going out to doctors and I'll be damned if I'll combine the inconveniences of both.
Wider: If you really want "dreary," here's a must-read from Justin R. at Anti-War.com:
http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=13904
But OH, I got a real lift (heh, heh) when I saw the video of Bush under shoe attack. "You dog!" said the hurler, an Iraqi T.V. reporter. Yes, yes! He IS a dog and a serial killer and a child-murderer. That reporter should be cheered and feted and rewarded for taking direct action against such a monster. Yay!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yesterday quiet, but okay in a mild way. Went to WW, later to Kohl's in the morning while Pat slept. Had a 30% off coupon and bought a few things, waited in line for what seemed an age, then found the coupon doesn't kick in until next week. In a mellow mood, I just laughed.
Got to see adorable little granddaughters on the web cam. Incredibly, little Violet has two teeth--at 5 months! Vivian, as vivacious (hey, those words have gotta have the identical root) and talkative as ever, showed me several items, sang, and was generally entertaining. What a beautiful child she is.
Wider: Last night, during my daily 45 minutes of television-viewing, we had the History Channel on and saw a piece on FDR. What struck me was that in his era--let's say the forties and earlier--there was a secretary and department of "War." When did they change that to "Department of Defense?" Was it before or after the publication of 1984 ? Words matter and they can lie. I believe the word "defense" sets up an automatic combination of beliefs that crystallizes into something like "we are blameless and we're not aggressors, but we must defend our country against our enemies." If we called the whole, vast complex of death-dealing apparatus--human and mechanical--the "Department of Child Murder" or even if we went back to "War," would it make a difference? But of course, that will never happen. The whole reason for the change was and is to keep this nation of sheep focused on their iPods, satisfied they're being "defended."
Later: Well, well--I just looked it up and the federal department mentioned above was re-named in 1949, the same year 1984 was published. Coincidence?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The sun broke through in the late morning yesterday, portent of a happy day. (Mimi, don't be a sap--but it was.) Pat slept late, even for him, and had just finished breakfast when Jack B. stopped in. They enjoyed talking while I put out a few more Christmas decorations (I'm trying to quit, honest!), then made and wrapped Pat's lunch, and zipped over to Marge's.
We went to a new restaurant in Galloway--Romanelli's Garden Cafe--and had a great time. Marge and I are on the same wave-length on most things and talked and talked and talked. I had a delectable turkey wrap, half of which I ate then, and half I saved for dinner.
Pat's cousin, Joe, from Jacksonville, and they had a good talk while I mad Pat a breaded pork chop, applesauce, scalloped potatoes, corn, and banana vanilla pudding for dinner. A miracle: He told me on how good it was.
Neat day all around.
Later: Back from Weight Watchers, I'm down another .2 and at an even 127; total loss is 72.6 pounds. I'm okay with that, but will continue to weigh in every week, as this is the danger (birthday/Christmas/New Year) zone. I'd like to get back down to 125.
Wider: From Arundhati Roy at Anti-War.com:
"'Here is a list of the countries that America has been at war with - and bombed - since the second world war:...China (1945-46, 1950-53), Korea (1950-53), Guatemala (1954, 1967-69), Indonesia (1958), Cuba (1959-60), Vietnam (1961-73), the Belgian Congo (1964), Laos (1964-73), Peru (1965), Cambodia (1969-70), Nicaragua (the 1980s), El Salvador (the 1980s), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), Panama (1989), Iraq (1991-99, 2003-08), Bosnia (1995), Sudan (1998), Yugoslavia (1999), and Afghanistan (2001-08).[37]. From this, by simply counting, the years 1947-49, 1955-57, 1974-79, 1990 and 2000 were the only peaceful ones. 73% of the years, from World War II's end until 1989, the U.S. was militarily intervening somewhere."
Oh, but we're a peace-loving nation, aren't we?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Got to the post office to send off the last of my Christmas cards and mail the gifts for the little girls in Singapore, but aside from that, stayed in all day. It rained and rained and was dark and dreary, so staying in was cozy and nice. The P.T., Marissa, came and I got a call from library person, Jean C. Looking forward to lunch with Marge today.
Wider: Doug Bandow, in Anti-War.com, writes on the folly and crime of foreign intervention. He emphasizes the suffering of innocents, but also points out that our own soldiers are horribly at risk. (From "Force: The Real "F" Word"):
"Servicemen and women are not gambit pawns to be sacrificed in some global chess game. War is murder and brutality writ large, something sometimes necessary in self-defense, but never an appropriate tool for attempted social engineering in other nations."
I don't agree with the "necessary" part (a standing army isn't "necessary" for Switzerland, is it?), but it's a good article to be read in its entirety.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ho-hum day. Went to Shop-Rite and Kohl's while Pat was asleep and ran into his friend, John. He was happy to hear Pat had gone to the bay on Tuesday for the first time in two months. John called him later and they had a good chat.
Got sister Betty and the two little girls gifts at Kohl's. MUST wrap and send them today. After lunch, I did something or other, and it must have been thrilling, I can't remember what.
Brother Jim called and we had a nice talk. He said he had put our mother's name in a site called missingmoney.com and had come up with info that the state of NJ owes her something. He applied for it and will let us all know if we're millionaires or not (yeah, sure).
Incidentally, yesterday and today, I didn't get my walk in. Slept late yesterday after getting home at 11:00 and today, Susan and Walter are going to Radio City Music Hall (something I've always wanted to do), and will leave early. This is the first time we've missed our mile and a half in months, but it's raining anyway, we'll resume tomorrow, so no matter.
Wider: Does the following sound contemporary?
"The clever ones, up in the high places know how childish and silly the workers are. They know that if the government dresses them up in khaki and gives them a rifle and starts them off with a brass band and waving banners, they will go forth to fight valiantly for their own enemies. They are taught that brave men die for their country’s honor. What a price to pay for an abstraction – the lives of millions of young men; other millions crippled and blinded for life; existence made hideous for still more millions of human beings; the achievement and inheritance of generations swept away in a moment – and nobody better off for all the misery!"
Helen Keller spoke these words at a Women's Peace Party rally in 1916 (quoted in LewRockwell.com). The more things change...
Here's something else--very important, it seems to me. I admit that after my family, I probably love food best; this by Nicholas Kristoff is a must-read:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/opinion/11kristof.html?ref=opinion

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Wellspouse dinner in Manalapan was just great. Vivian and I wish we lived closer to the Java Moon where they meet monthly; it's more than an hour away and I didn't get home until after 11:00. Slept until 8:00 this morning, practically the middle of the afternoon.
There were about twenty people there, including two new members. One of them cares for a (fiftyish) spouse who was diagnosed in March with ALS--a true horror--and the other's husband has dementia caused by strokes.
It's always so comfortable being with this group. You don't get any of the well-meaning, inane comments civilians serve up (see earlier posts) and there's a close, fellow-feeling that makes you feel less alone. I brought a bottle of wine, as did several others, and we had a great time.
Wider: There's an interesting piece on "Lew Rockwell.Com" that compares, of all things, the car bailout with the piano market. It's worth reading at
http://www.lewrockwell.com/tucker/tucker115.html

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

'Twas bitter, bitter cold yesterday, and I went out only to the post office, having completed about one-fourth of my Christmas cards.
Marissa, the P.T., came and had Pat walk down the hall to our bedroom several times. She's a very pleasant young woman and I think he enjoys having her here, so it's okay even though there seems no particular purpose to the "exercise."
Had a long, long talk with friend Julie L. and heard all the ins and outs of a recent incident in our insular little community. It was interesting, but I silently repeated my mantra, "We'll all be dead in fifty years," which kind of puts all our little peccadilloes in perspective.
Wider Note Addendum: At Anti-War.Com, Norman Solomon has a well-considered treatise called "The Silent Winter of Escalation" that refers to his appearance on "Washington Journal" and his book, War Made Easy. It's well worth reading in its entirety here:
http://www.antiwar.com/solomon/?articleid=13877
Just one more? Couldn't resist this characterization of Dubya by my idol, Chris Hedges, in Truthdig.Com. He calls Bush "...a man with severely limited intellectual capacity and no moral core."

Monday, December 08, 2008

Busy domesticity yesterday. Went to Manahawkin for groceries, changed our bed, did mountains of wash, and decorated a bit more. Talked to Ellen in the evening.
Wider Note: My friend, Gerri B., sent an alert that "Washington Journal" would feature Norman Solomon, talking about his book, War Made Easy. He also has a DVD adapted from it, with Sean Penn narrating, and a bit of that was shown. The segment was on at 7:30 am and I got back from our walk in time to catch most of it.
Solomon very calmly and seriously spoke about how we're victims of the politician/media network to first consider, then accept, then champion war. In fact, we seem to be putty in their hands.
Of course, when it goes on "too long" and the body bags start coming home, we find ourselves turning against it, but it's often too late to go back. From the show, it's evident that Solomon illustrates his points with not only Iraq, but Vietnam. I was intrigued by his mention of "progressive democrats"--dems who are pro-peace--and will look into the organization.
Solomon quoted Obama as saying (during his campaign, it's important to realize, not after the election) that he would end not only the war in Iraq, but end the "mindset" that led us there. This is essential if we're not to remain child killers. Ominously, though, I read on a blog that O. acknowledged after the election that statements are often made by candidates that may not be the absolute truth. He then, even more ominously, did not except himself from this failing.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The baby shower turned out to be a lot of fun. It was one of those crowded, noisy, exuberant gatherings that are often more enjoyable than the perfectly planned, staid kind. Took little T out for a walk and ran into some former neighbors with whom I chatted. The food was great--not a diet dish in sight--and I made good use of the sausage, meatballs, pasta, potato and macaroni salad, and so on--not to mention the cold beer.
Had to leave a little early to get home in time to give Pat dinner. Took him a platter and he ate every morsel, including a big slab of luscious, sugary cake. Angelic former fatty that I am, I didn't indulge in that, but distracted myself by jumping in the shower. Had my popcorn and wine and slept like a log. Nice day.
Wider Note: If it isn't already, this will make your hair turn grey:
Critical Facts Reporters Won't Report, Serious Issues which put our Lives at Risk
This illustrates one of the reasons I no longer reject conspiracy theories about 9/11, the wars, or any other direction-changing events in the U.S. and the world. That doesn't mean I'm completely convinced we've been set up in every instance, but I'm taking the possibility seriously. You can't trust the ruling class!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Shopping day: went to Staples, Acme, and Woodhaven Lumber. Talked to sister Betty and filled her in on the L.'s terrific party. Other than that, just putzed around at home. Got a web cam call from birthday boy, Mike. Saw adorable Violet and her Mommy; Vivian was downstairs playing with a neighbor friend.
Will get weighed at WW this morning to see what the damage is, then to the afternoon shower for Jen's sister back in Ewing.
Wider Note: This is from the "Fred On Everything" blog. I always feel I have to make the disclaimer that I don't agree with Fred on--well, everything, but he happens to be the kind of irreverent and entertaining writer I enjoy and this, especially the last paragraph, rings so true.
"Hillary. I don’t hate Hillary. She’s smart, tough, sane, been around, corrupt, and personally repellent as a fanged garden slug. By today’s standards, that’s a bargain.
But why the hell is she Secretary of State? How many years has she spent abroad? What languages does she speak? What does she know about the street in Karachi, Cairo, Guadalajara? She probably thinks Mumbai is what you eat with a RC Cola.
See, what’s happened is that we are ruled by an incestuous bridge club clucking to itself in what amounts to a thermos bottle. Hillary is SecState because Precedent O’Bama wants to heal rifts within the Democratic Party. It would make more sense to poison the lot, but never mind. Everything is about domestic politics. And these dismal retreads promote each other in circles. Hillary goes from governor’s wife to First Basilisk to senator to SecState. Oh help."
Later: Lost a big 0.2 for a total of 72.4 and a current weight of 127.2. I'm okay with that, considering this week's partying: dinner out, the luncheon, and the L.'s gathering. However, I do want to get back to my lightest of 125. To keep me on the straight and narrow, will weigh in next Saturday, also.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Had a terrific time at the L.'s party. Stopped first at Boscov's to get something on-sale for Joely, but he may have it already. Will check with his Mom tomorrow.
The L.s throw great gatherings and we've (I've) gone to theirs for six years running now. This is the second time I've had to go alone and it's a melancholy feeling, but I want to be there, anyway.
All the regulars were there: a small, very convivial group of four couples and, now that Pat's unable to go, three single women, including me. Last night, they had live music, too. This keyboard player--wouldn't you know--went to Holy Spirit H. S., as all but two of the party-goers did. "Joe" grew up in Atlantic City and was in school with my brother, Frank, but moved to Miami in his sophomore year.
Wider Note: Raimondo does it again on Anti-War.Com. Here's a teaser for the piece, but read it all:
"A Loud Silence: That's the response from the "antiwar" wing of the Democratic party to Obama's Iraq sellout"
Or maybe I should say, "Read it and weep."
See http://antiwar.com/

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Great fun at the Women's Club luncheon. Went with Barb H. and Pat H. and I won one of the raffle prizes--a pocketbook I like a lot. Got home by 3:00 and Pat was fine. Looking forward to the L.'s party today (starts at 4:00)--oh, the social whirl!
Wider Note: Yesterday's The Press of Atlantic City ran a picture on the front page of Obama and several of his cabinet. He had a blue tie on and so did at least two of the others. Now, I've noticed very often that Bush and his cohorts wear red ties. It's just incredible to me that whoever decides these things (the valets? Hah! More likely the costume and set designers) must consciously pick out the colors to correspond to the political camp in which the person falls. I guess the tie thing is fairly minor, but it seems to point up the degree of manipulation to which the American public is subjected. In ways subtle and blatant, large and small, we're maneuvered to where the ruling class wants us.
Along that line: In light of the confusion and unanswered questions surrounding the Mumbai tragedy, am I entertaining the notion that the whole thing was stage-managed, maybe with the connivance of the U.S.? Oh, yes, I surely am. And--something I never thought I'd consider--I'm beginning to take seriously the claims of the fringe that 9/11 was a put-up job, too. Then there's the Kennedy assassination...
It's a bad old world out there.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Went down to Ventnor to pick up Pat's records from the endocrinologist's office. Stopped at 15 South to say hello to Dee. She and her SIL have moved into the main part of the house, which she was decorating for Christmas. (Think every square inch covered with red, green, and Santa's elves.) Had a nice chat.
Went to Betty's house after, to see if everything was okay, but the key wouldn't work. Will call her today and let her know.
Later, cousin Dorothy called me to find out if our address was the same. Was sorry to hear George had a heart attack, then stroke last month. Nice talking to her, though.
We found a corpse under the hall table. I was damned if I'd touch it, so Pat did. He put it in a bag and I hurried it out to the trash. Was dismayed to hear somebody else we know has caught three of them--ugh! Pat re-set the thing and put it back.
Received the flickering "candles" from QVC (am I insane? Why would I order four of them when I need to get rid of so much Christmas stuff? However, they look lovely flickering in the windows.
Wider Note: But what's flickering in the wide world? Justin Raimondo at AntiWar.com believes the Mumbai tragedy was a put-up job. He reminds us that the Iraq war (now occupation) was launched under the pretext of a connection to 9/11 and the existence of WMDs, then goes on:
"The neat little narratives pumped out by war propagandists to rationalize acts of mass murder are an important part of any campaign to spark a conflict, so they have to be minimally convincing, or at least credible. Yet the story coming out of the Indian government is frankly incredible. The terrorists left a satellite phone conveniently placed next to the body of their ship's captain, whose throat they had slit, with the numbers of their handlers stored in memory. Very convenient...." (And here he mentions that the killers continued to get messages from cohorts!) "That little embellishment, I believe, gives the show away. Add to this the oddly unprepared – indeed, criminally negligent – role of the Indian security apparatus, and the whole thing reeks to high heaven. "Fishy" is putting it mildly."
I asked the Oracle when we could turn out the child killers and have peace in the world and he told me, "Never."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Pleasant day. Got our first Christmas card from my friend, Karen C.--she always gets hers out early. The PT came to assess Pat; she's very nice and will come in twice a week. Got a call from the OT and she'll come next week. Old George stopped in to say hello about 3:30. I left to meet Vivian at 5:00, stopping first to pick up my BP prescription and get a new battery for my small clock.
Great time with Vivian, as ever. It's oh, such a relief to talk openly about our sometimes shitty lives as caregivers and not have to deal with uncomprehending people who spout cliches, especially "I hope he's better soon." (Do they think he's a chameleon? You don't regenerate lungs.) "You're so strong." (Sez who?) "But are you taking care of yourself?" (Everybody seems to think they're being weightily original with that one--little do they know that nine out of ten ask this inane question.) And here's the kicker that makes me want to punch the well-meaning person right in her well-meaning face (it's invariably a woman): "You must be very special to have been given such a burden" or even worse, "God only gives you what you can handle" and variations thereof.
Okay, enough of that. Here's a wider note to ponder with alarm:
"The Real News" has a piece the secret posse comitatus the government has approved. This means combat troops can be used to, among other things, put down "civil unrest," which the president can define anyway he chooses. And that suggests the first steps toward a true police state. Our peaceful little anti-war vigils in Absecon could be dispersed at gunpoint, I guess.
Oh, but don't worry. Go back to your iPod and boob tube and pay no attention to what's behind the curtain...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Braved icy rain and strong winds to go to Target yesterday and get two tops for the luncheon on Wednesday, then ran a few other errands. Aside from that, stayed in. Looking forward to dinner with Vivian tonight.
Wider Note: For those Obama hopefuls still clinging to their dreams, this from Justin Raimondo at Anti-War.com:
"The War Party's decisive influence in the Obama administration is going to be rolled out on Monday, so that even the most craven Obama-bots on the Left will be left wondering who and what they voted for. Hillary the hawk at State, Bush's warlord Robert Gates at Defense, and Gen. Jim Jones – who wants to station U.S. troops in the occupied territories under the rubric of NATO! – as national security adviser to the president. Yes, antiwar voters took a chance on Obama, reasoning that anything would be better than four more years of Bushian belligerence, yet now they discover to their chagrin that the dice are loaded."
But there's much more and the piece, entitled "The End of the Affair"* should be read in full. Here's the address:
http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=13838
And there's this, from Chris Hedges, one of my favorite writers on war (in "Truthdig.com"):
"Barack Obama’s decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and leave behind tens of thousands of soldiers and Marines in Iraq—he promises only to withdraw combat brigades—is a failure to rescue us from the status of a rogue nation. It codifies Bush’s “war on terror.” And the continuation of these wars will corrupt and degrade our nation just as the long and brutal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank has corrupted and degraded Israel. George W. Bush has handed Barack Obama a poisoned apple. Obama has bitten it."
Those last two sentences almost took my breath away.
*Wonder how many besides me recognize the allusion to Graham Greene's book of the same name?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ordinary day. Neighbor Bob O. came over with Jasmine (cocker spaniel) to chat with Pat. Tried to web cam the Tokyo Two, but they weren't on-line. Various and sundry other stuff.
But when I'm dying, will I remember that day and this day and the day Mike cut his forehead and wish I could re-live them? Yes, sure, so I'm glad to be hale, healthy, and reasonably happy on this day of November 30, 2008.
Wider Note: This, from a reader's comment on a blog in The NYTimes regarding the Mumbai tragedy:
"Ah, here we go already. The racist name calling and anti Islam rhetoric. The problem isn’t Islam, the problem with most (but not all) terrorism is religious fundamentalism, of any colour. Tarring Islam alone demonstrates an astounding lack of historical perspective. It is only a decade ago where the longest running and bloody terrorist war was Northern Ireland. Prior to the 911 attack the single largest and deadliest terrorist attack on US soil was the Oklahoma bombing. A vice presidential candidate who refuses to label a Christian religious whack job who guns someone down in cold blood as result of a religious belief as a terrorist is not a good start.
Fanatical Islam is a serious problem. However when a significant element of its roots lie in the unholy alliance of the US and the Saudi royal families mutual support mechanism, and a major part of the arming and training of the Jihadists is rooted in the US funded anti-Soviet efforts in Afganistan, one would hope, that just maybe, some parts of the conservative US political groups might recognise where a large part of the blame for the current crisis lies. As you sow, so shall you reap."
--Francis
These words ring so true that I can't help but wonder what bitter harvest awaits us.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nothing of note yesterday except that we saw the two little angels in Singapore. Pat came into the study to participate and precious Vivian "read" us her book about butterflies. Mike held darling Violet up to show us, and she gazed at us obligingly. There was an article in yesterday's NYTimes grandparents and children keeping in touch that way. Well, yes, we've been doing it for almost a year and maintaining the illusion that they're closer helps a lot. Missing them, I mean.
Other than that, it was a wash/dry/fold and put away day. Did four loads (as I've remarked before, the two of us are either incredibly dirty or the cleanest folks in town). Put the Thanksgiving plates, napkins, and so on away.
Later: Went to WW to find I've gained 2 pounds, presumably a result of the birthday party and Thanksgiving in the same week. Uh-oh: next week, I meet Viv for dinner on Monday, have the Women's Club Christmas luncheon on Wednesday, the League's party on Thursday, and a baby shower on Saturday! Well, I'll try to hold the line at my present 127.4, with 72.2 pounds off.
Wider note: This from Robert Scheer, of Truthdig.Com:
"Maybe Ralph Nader was right in predicting that the same Wall Street hustlers would have a lock on our government no matter which major party won the election. I hate to admit it, since it wasn’t that long ago that I heatedly challenged Nader in a debate on this very point.
But how else is one to respond to Barack Obama’s picking the very folks who helped get us into this financial mess to now lead us out of it? Watching the president-elect’s Monday introduction of his economic team, my brother-in-law Pete said, 'You can see the feathers coming out of their mouths' as the foxes were once again put in charge of the henhouse. He didn’t have time to expound on his point, having to get ready to go sort mail in his job at the post office. But he showed me a statement from Citigroup showing that the interest rate on Pete the Postal Worker’s credit card was 28.9 percent, an amount that all major religions would justly condemn as usurious."
And so on and ominously on...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Had a neat Thanksgiving with just the five of us. The turkey was done to a turn, veggies were just right, and the desserts were delectable. I'm just not sure if the time and effort it took for the gravy was justified, but it was pretty good. Other children all called/web cammed, although there was some problem with my end of Skype.
The company left a bit before 9:00 and I got to bed by 10:00. There's still some straightening up to do, but the bulk is finished.
Wider Note: An essay by Doug Bandow at Anti-War.Com ("Foreign Follies," sub-titled "A Return to Liberal Warmongering? Peace Advocates Must Continue The Battle") unfortunately, rings true:
"But Barack Obama never presented himself as a candidate of peace. Rather, he used his prescient opposition to the Iraq war to create an image that attracted most people on the foreign policy Left...."
In other words, those who wanted to believe and needed to believe--as I did until Biden was picked--kidded themselves that Obama was anti-war and would work for peace. He isn't and he won't.
Bandow's piece should be read in its entirety. It's at
http://www.antiwar.com/bandow/?articleid=13827
On a different topic and written with humor (but almost as scary), see this piece on hyperinflation by Tom Charlier in Lew Rockwell. com:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/chartier/chartier117.html

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Spent the day cooking up a storm again. Made the stuffing and pie crust, sliced the apples for the crisp, made the sweet potatoes sprinkled with lime, and assembled ingredients for the other dishes. I still have to stuff the bird, roll out the crust and make the pumpkin pie, mash the potatoes, bake the pie and crisp, etc., etc.
I was horrified at the bombings in Mumbai--even more because of the real possibility Mike and Paula were there. I e-mailed and he called; they weren't, but one attack was at a hotel is where they stayed a few months ago. Mike sent a spectacularly beautiful cornucopia with fresh flowers, plus a lovely about-to-flower Christmas cactus, from Calyx where he always orders. They're about the best flower company there is--pricey, but everything arrives perfectly and lasts a long time. I found them outside the door and opened them while he was on the phone. They're both gorgeous and the cornucopia will grace our Thanksgiving table tonight.
Wider note: From Anti-War. Com on Obama's appointments:
"It's now likely that not one of those posts will be filled with someone who either voted against the war in Iraq as a member of Congress or who, from outside Congress, vocally opposed the war. Not one."
Oh, there's a lot more, but it's too depressing to record. How disturbing, ominous, and disheartening that the Great Black Hope is just a warmonger like all the rest. Where do we go from here? To oblivion, I'm afraid.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Enjoyed kitchen duty again yesterday. Succeeded in finishing the turkey gravy without burning the house down, baked two loaves of banana bread, and picked up a few more supplies at the store.
Got an invitation from Susan for a "ladies luncheon" on December 17, plus Vivian asked if I could meet her for dinner on Monday. With those and a few more plans, the holiday season is shaping up nicely.
The nurse practitioner, Lorraine, came and what a neat person! She gave Pat a flu shot and checked him out. We both liked her a lot and look forward to her visiting again.
Wider Note:
Got an e-mail from Gerri B. to the effect that the repubs have "stolen" the Catholic church, because of the abortion thing--thanks, of course, to its leadership. Wrote back that when the church is as vehement about killing children in other countries, I may go back to my birth religion. Then again, maybe not.
And this, from Justin Raimondo at Anti-War.com:
"I never fail to smile when I read contemptuous references in American news outlets to the "state-controlled media" of, say, Russia or China. This from the same crowd whose news "reporting" in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq might have been written by someone in the Pentagon press office – and probably was!"
Be sure to click on the references. Then weep for your lost country.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yesterday was a cooking-and-preparing-for-Thanksgiving day. I was determined to make the turkey gravy myself and found a recipe in the NYTimes. Overall, it took nine hours, but most of that was just simmering in the pot. Also, I almost burned the house down, but got the fire out right away. I haven't even made the gravy itself yet, just the stock. I was a bit disappointed it didn't make more, but it still may be worth it. I may even use the same general idea to make chicken gravy one of these days.
The nurse is coming today to give Pat a flu shot. Other than that, nothing to report except doing mounds of wash, about four loads. Oh, how exciting is Mimi's life!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Great family birthday party. If I say it myself, the food was superb. Had a pork roast I dressed with a rub, then added a spiced apple topping. With that, served peas, baked potatoes and gravy, my crystal pickles, plus a veggie casserole a guest brought. The cake--chocolate with mocha icing--was delicious as ever. It was wonderful to have the little boys here--we were eight in all--everybody had a good time. Now looking forward to Thanksgiving.
Wider Note: I just saw a caption on the Comcast homepage: "Cabinet picks puzzle liberals." But why would liberals be concerned about their candidate stabbing them in the back? Don't they assume that? Anyway, for me, "puzzled" doesn't exactly cover it--I feel more like "furious," betrayed," and "empty."
Oh, but I forgot; I voted for Nader. He, at least, remains true to his beliefs against child murder.
Later Wider Note: Just looked at Comcast's video, now entitled "Obama picks confuse liberals." (Why the word switch? Who knows?) It's basically just "neutral" talking heads acting as apologists for the administration-to-be. The more things change...
Blood-chilling Note: Please read yesterday's (Nov. 23) entry in "A Tiny Revolution" if you don't believe the ruling class would engineer events--up to, and including, murder--for political gain. And not in some banana republic--it's clear the machinations were on behalf of our own fair land:
http://tinyrevolution.com/mt//
Blood-curdling Note:
Want a peek at the new world order, as conjured up by the neocons? Go to:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4689061169761152025.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Had a lovely evening at the concert at St. Teresa's last night. Went as a guest of the D.s and Dennis and Leslie came with us. Several performers were Westminster grads and they were all superb.
Didn't get to bed until almost 10--practically the middle of the night for me. Looking forward to the birthday party today. We'll have eight, including the kiddies, in honor of a mysterious somebody.
Wider Note: Please click on the video "below the fold" from "The Old Hippie's Groovy Blog." I defy anyone to view it without horror, disgust, and unutterable sorrow.
http://oldhippies.blogspot.com/2008/11/quote-of-week.html#comments

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Reports are that Clinton has accepted the secretary of state job. She'll join Emmanuel and the others, all smiling and nodding and congratulating each other: "Hey, good job! Welcome to the club!" But soon, the talk will turn serious: "Okay, now let's get down to the business of killing children." Naturally, there will first be a solemn prayer led by a man or woman of the cloth, to call down a blessing on the slaughter. The clergy are too genteel to actually say, "Kill the baby infidels!" but we know what they mean.
Hear that noise? It's a war drum. It's been just a faint rumble in the background for many years, so we didn't have to notice, but now it's getting louder and louder. Soon, it will drown out the cries of the children.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quiet as ever yesterday; going to Acme was the high point of the day. I have a dozen or so Life magazines from the forties and pulled them out to read.
I was--again--struck with the "all in this together" tone that ran through the ones during WW II. Many of the articles concerned the war and and a number of ads emphasized the fact that there were shortages because of
"the war effort." From a pacifist point of view, I'm not sure whether this is good or not. Is it better to be oblivious as we are now concerning the slaughter we're sponsoring around the world? That allows the hawks to pretty much call the shots. On the other hand, when war seems more a joint venture involving most of the population, maybe our insane nationalism is solidified and more of us will hold out for "victory." Not sure about this; I only know it was a different era--and a different country.
Related to that huge change of focus in my lifetime, here's another quote from Chris Floyd in his "Empire Burlesque":
"...the government has spent more on saving the rich from the consequences of their greed than it spent in winning World War II: more than $4 trillion so far, with much more to come. This astonishing theft – the largest gobbling of public loot by a rapacious elite in the history of the world – will only further cement the powerful in their entrenchments on the commanding heights of society. The nation may rot beneath them, may be roiled by storms of blowback; but that is not their concern, it is no defeat for them. You can lose; they do not. This is not to say that our elites don't tell themselves any number of flattering, self-justifying fairy tales about the boundless nobility and righteousness of their intentions. They can do this because they identify the interests of the system of elite rule (and the comfort, power and privilege they personally receive from the system) with the common good of the nation, or the world, as a whole. This allows them to pursue truly monstrous policies without regarding themselves as monsters. It allows them to order actions, such as the escalation of the destructive, destablizing conflict in Afghanistan, which they know, with absolute certainty, will needlessly murder innocent women, children and men -- and still talk earnestly and sincerely about their hopes for peace, their concern for humanity, their deep, abiding faith in a loving God. But again, as we have said over and over here, what matters are not the rhetorical justifications of power or the stated intentions of power -- or the charisma, likeability or compelling story of the wielders of power; what matters are the operations of power, its actual effects on the human beings on the receiving end of its machinations. Like love, power is what it does, not what it says." (Emphasis added.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Enjoyed a visit to Barb H.'s yesterday afternoon, while her Ray came here to chat with Pat. Barb showed me pictures of their trip to Europe last month (sigh; what I wouldn't give...), including the Czech Republic, Germany, and Hungary.
Other than that, nothing much. Am planning a birthday party for Sunday, then Thanksgiving a week from today. Cousin John will be coming for the latter, to there'll be five of us.
On a wider note: From The Nation, a note of alarm (and why I voted for Nader):
"Antiwar groups and other liberal activists are increasingly concerned at signs that Barack Obama's national security team will be dominated by appointees who favored the Iraq invasion and hold hawkish views on other important foreign policy issues.
"The activists are uneasy not only about signs that both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates could be in the Obama Cabinet, but at reports suggesting that several other short-list candidates for top security posts backed the decision to go to war. 'It's astonishing that not one of the 23 senators or 133 House members who voted against the war is in the mix,' said Sam Husseini of the liberal group Institute for Public Accuracy (emphasis added). Clinton, who was Obama's chief opponent during the Democratic presidential primaries, appears to be the top candidate for secretary of State...(She) voted in favor of the Iraq war resolution, and despite pressure, she never said during the primary campaign that she regretted that vote."
Get the picture? More of the same, wrapped up in a liberal shroud.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The lab tech came about 8:40 while Pat was still asleep. I woke him, but the tech said he didn't have to get out of bed. She drew the blood in about two minutes, he went back to sleep, and she left.
What a contrast to the chore it was for both of us to get Pat to Lab Corps for the same thing! That's not even to mention the 3-hour round trip when we had to got to Fort Dix for blood-drawing. So glad we found this Visiting Physicians outfit.
I went to my own doctor for the blood pressure thing. It was 134/85, not bad, but higher than she and I want it. She cautioned me again about my over=use of salt and now I'm going to get serious about cutting down on it. It was gratifying to discuss the election with her, as she's a liberal like me; maybe I should have kept my mouth shut about voting for Nader.
Later, the oxygen guy came for regular maintenance. He was here for quite a while, as Pat had a lot of questions and requests. (I think Community Surgical has a phone, but he would never dream of calling them--too proactive, I guess.)
On a wider note: From an article onTruthdig.com:
"(Obama's) policies are drawn from the same centrist Democratic Party sources as those of Bill Clinton, and Obama’s admirers might even find themselves with Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state—which makes no sense whatsoever." The writer suggests "...there are no significant differences of view on war and peace between the two of them."
This is an ominous sign, it seems to me and it prompted my vote for Nader.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Finally got to Santori's in the afternoon and regaled myself with a car full of goodies: green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, acorn and butternut squash, lemons, and feta cheese. Was able to get to Shop Rite after, then to the liquor store for my Taylor Country Red. Was gone about two hours, and Pat was okay.
Talked to the Visiting Physician outfit and arranged to have a podiatrist here. A technician will come draw blood this morning and a p.t. will come next week or so. Called the V.A. and was relieved there shouldn't be any problem (financially or medically) with this new arrangement.
On a Wider Note: I'm getting more and more concerned about the war mongers with whom Obama seems to be surrounding himself. Now Hillary is poised to be his secretary of state. Oh, great, a Caucasian Condi coming up.
And this--don't we all know it's true?--from Ron Jacobs at Anti-War.com: "Imperialism is the order of the day in Washington, D.C.: velvet glove or iron fist, trade agreement or shock and awe. George Bush or Barack Obama, Washington will do whatever it takes to expand its hegemony. If we want to change this fact we must rebuild a vibrant and massive antiwar movement. Within that movement there needs to be an understanding of the nature of U.S. imperialism. It's fine to oppose one imperial war, but it's even better to oppose the system of imperialism itself. That is our continuing task."

Monday, November 17, 2008

We had a glorious day at the hike yesterday. I guess we totalled about 3 miles. Followed the red trail a mile out, then back, and after that, hiked around the lake. It was overcast part of the time, pretty cold and very windy, but not bad hiking weather over all. The three children, ages 4, 5, and 6, were wonderful fun to be with; they took turns holding my granddog, a cockapoo, on the leash, and were full of energy, curiosity, and high-spirits.
I left at 1:15 after getting Pat settled in the living room. Expected to be home about 4:00, but didn't get back until 5:45. Everything was okay, though. Just had a great day.
On a wider note: Saw the Obamas on 60 Minutes and was struck by the contrast between his easy, intelligent, civilized manner and the crude, illiterate, trailer-trash demeanor of the sitting president. Also thought of Palin and her vapid and false "down home" style--an ignoramus who's proud of being ignorant.
Oh, it's hard, so hard to avoid being blinded by Obama's great gifts and our relief at getting a solid leader. It's so tempting to forget that little boy in Iraq with both legs and an arm blown off, courtesy of the U.S. The glaring omission last night was the complete and utter absence of a single question about foreign policy. "Tell me, Mr. President-Elect, will you continue our program of murdering children? Oh, never mind, we don't want to get off our knees at your shrine long enough to press you on that. Now, about the doggy for the girls..."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Donna came in the late afternoon and we had a wonderful visit. She brought a box of incredibly delicious chocolate-covered pretzels of various kinds. Will bring two over to Susan when we walk.
Mike called on the web cam and I saw the adorable little girls. Vivian showed me various objects, then started what I think children have loved since cavemen grunted: echoing what her daddy said. He, of course, pretended to be annoyed, then starting saying, "I don't want anything for Christmas" and "I deserve a spanking," which she repeated, giggling.
I delighted in this: my precious granddaughter playing the same joke my son did, and I did, and my mother did, and her mother, on and on. Guess it's one of those "we're human together" things.
I wonder if the children in Iraq play that little game. Oh, no, I'm sure not. Otherwise, how could we murder them?
Current The New Yorker came. This edition is devoted to the election and oh, how I wish I could join in the Obama rejoicing! I keep trying to push out of my mind what I'm afraid will mark his regime: more of the same in foreign policy, only better disguised--endless war. And we fall for it, over and over again.
A quote from that ever-quotable celeb, Herman Goering:
"Naturally the common people don't want war...But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship...the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." (Emphasis added.)
And what happens to "humanity in common" then?



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Got to BJ's early and stocked up on supplies. Galvanized myself later and actually cleared out, washed, and re-arranged the refrigerator. After that, I did the same to one half of the linen closet; will do the other half today. It's incredible the of amount of medication, plus inhalers, bandages, and other medical stuff we have--we could open a drugstore.
Sister Betty called about noon (9 am her time), thinking I was worried about her, as she lives in Santa Barbara where forest fires are raging. Worried? I didn't even know about the fires, as I don't watch television aside from "Countdown" from 8 to 9 pm. Get most of the news from The NYTimes, which I read on-line, but at the time, they were running only a small piece I didn't notice. Anyway, Betty's okay and is at daughter Carolyn's for the duration.
Was pleasantly surprised when good neighbors Dennis R. and Bill G. stopped in to chat with Pat for a bit and change our furnace filter. Just another "we're so lucky to live here" incident.
Got a nice message from son Mike, who announced that 4-year-old darling Vivian has now mastered use chopsticks! She said she's "going to teach Nana" to use them, a skill I've been incapable of inquiring. Of course, if I had such a capable little instructor nearby, I would probably be able to pick it right up.
Note: Darn, now I can't remember what "code" I was going to use for my weight. The hell with it: just got back from WW; lost 1.8, for a total of 74.2 off and a current weight of 125.4. Yipee!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Well, it's up and down, down and up when it comes to good and bad days around here. Yesterday was a washout--literally and figuratively--as the rain came down in torrents most of the day. Pat slept a lot and I was at loose ends; didn't feel like doing anything productive, such as cleaning out closets and just toyed with the computer and brooded. At 2:00 pm, I suddenly realized I had missed my 1:15 doctor's appointment I called to apologize and reschedule, but was furious at myself.
Pat didn't get up until almost 3:00 and I was still in a sour mood. Gave him lunch, saw him settled in the living room, then--because I had to get out--went to Manahawkin in the driving rain. Picked up his prescriptions ($3 for one, $124 for the other--that's for 10 pills!) and got some cute shirts for the little boys.
By the time I got home--the rain even heavier--I felt much better. I must remember that when I'm low, I can snap out of it by changing my venue or doing something different to re-focus my attention.
Rest of evening was pleasant and after my popcorn and wine, went to bed and slept like a log.
On A Wider Note: The following is from the blog "A Tiny Revolution," illustrating the writer's (Jonathan Schwartz) belief that wars are consciously sought and promoted by those in power. The first quote is from 1984:
"It's not a matter of whether the war is not real or if it is. Victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous...The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects. And its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia but to keep the very structure of society intact."
Then this from a memo by White House Counsel Clark Clifford to President Harry Truman:
"There is considerable political advantage to the Administration in its battle with the Kremlin. The worse things get, up to a fairly certain point—real danger of imminent war—the more is there a sense of crisis. In times of crisis, the American citizen tends to back up his President."
(Also see War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, by Chris Hedges. I have this book and have read its hair-raising truths several times.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good day yesterday. The "home physician" came early--about 10:30 and I liked her a lot. Pat wasn't up yet, so we got the paperwork (archaic term--it's really "computer work") done over a cup of coffee. Later, she examined him, explained the program, said she "didn't like" the color of his mucus (I can just hear my legion of readers go, "Ee-w-w!), and prescribed another antibiotic and a steroid. She said we'd next have a nurse practitioner or P.A. visit him; she also mentioned therapy to help in practical solutions to problems.
A. came in between her appointments and I was able to go to Kohl's I was astounded when I got home and was told the X-Ray technician, after calling first, had already been there and taken Pat's X-Rays! Home Physicians also do blood work, EKG's, and Echo grams in the home. I think this will be a good help to have, although he'll still have to go to the surgeon's office, for instance.
Otherwise, enjoyed hearing from good friend, Lynne; niece by marriage, Robyn; and friend Gerri by e-mail, as well as Pat's niece, Donna, by phone--all people of whom I'm fond . D. will visit on Saturday, which will be such a treat for both Pat and me.
On a wider note*:
Gerri sent a long article by Paul Waldman, in The American Prospect, which is so exactly what I (and evidently, millions of others) feel about the Bush departure, we could have written it--but not in such intense and elegant prose. It's called "Goodbye and Good Riddance" and I strongly recommend finding it on line (dated November 11) and reading the whole thing. For laying on the line the Bushies' inanities and inhumanities, it can't be beat. Here's an excerpt:
"Goodbye to the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war. Goodbye to the lust for sending off other people's sons and daughters to fight and kill and die just to show your daddy you're a real man. Goodbye to playing dress-up in flight suits, goodbye to strutting and posing and desperate sexual insecurity as a driver of American foreign policy. Goodbye to the neocons, so sinister and deluded they beg us all to become fevered conspiracy theorists. Goodbye to Guantanamo and its kangaroo courts. Goodbye to the use of torture as official U.S. government policy, and goodbye to the immoral ghouls who think you can rename it "enhanced interrogation techniques" and render it any less monstrous.Goodbye to the accusation that if you disagree with what the president wants to do, you don't 'support the troops.' Goodbye to stocking government agencies with people who are opposed to the very missions those agencies are charged with carrying out. Goodbye to putting industry lobbyists in charge of the agencies that are supposed to regulate those very industries. Goodbye to madly giving away public lands to private interests. Goodbye to a Food and Drug Administration that acts like a wholly owned subsidiary of the pharmaceutical industry, except when it acts like a wholly owned subsidiary of the fundamentalist puritans who believe that sex is dirty and birth control will turn girls into sluts. Goodbye to the "global gag rule," which prohibits any entity receiving American funds from even telling women where they can get an abortion if they need it."
*Decided to alert readers to political material with "on a wider note," starting now. Those who wish to read it can do so; those interested only in my mundane little day-to-day stuff can skip it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yesterday, I did a whole lot of nothin'. Am now just waiting to wake Pat to prepare him for the home physician's visit. Got a welcome call from sister Betty (the nun-ha!). She said Steve is home and recovering. I've been back and forth with her daughter-in-law, Robyn, whom I love and respect, on political stuff. Trying to explain why I voted for Nader isn't easy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

While Pat took his after-breakfast nap, I drove the mile to the post office to mail a package. When I came out, the damn car wouldn't start. I assumed it was the battery. Called Frank B. from next door and he came, but tried it and it did start. He had me turn on the lights and step on the gas; lights didn't dim and he thinks it's something other than battery. Must get the car to Mastercraft before long.
Took Pat to the plastic surgeon in Toms River. Ear doing all right, but the graft doesn't seem to have taken well. We received this information with a kind of numb acceptance. Can no longer get excited about bad medical news--it's all bad. Made an appointment for a month from now, but who knows what the situation will be then?
Told Pat about the "home physician" coming tomorrow and he thought it was a good idea. Relieved about that.
Note: Re Bush and ilk: Ever wonder how these gibbering numbsculls came to dominate Washington? Here's a link to a Brit piece that rings sad, but true:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/oct/28/us-education-election-obama-bush-mccain
Oh, and this just in--what The Washington Post calls "a quiet windfall for banks":
"With virtually no public attention, and without the input of Congress, Treasury made a change in an obscure tax provision that benefited banks to the tune of well over $100 billion."
My friend, Gerri B., sent this piece in its entirety. The quote above is from Bob Herbert's column in The NYTimes.
You think we're not screwed? Tell me we're not screwed.