Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nice day. Jack B. stopped in at exactly the right time: about 3:00 when Pat had eaten breakfast and was washed, dressed and settled in his easy chair. We laughed when he told us he had just played a round of golf. Snow was coming down--just a dusting--and even he knew he was possessed.
Ray came in while Jack was here to get our picks for the Super Bowl (we kick in $5.00). Naturally, this isn't simply who's going to win or by how much. Ray had made up a big, intricate chart and tried to explain it. You write your name on 4 or 5 squares and winning depends on what the score is at what time or if the Jupiter and Mars are in alignment or something--have no idea. Anyway, Pat added his name and the four of us sat and chatted for a half hour or so. It was very enjoyable, although it pointed up how much I miss company.
Earlier, Anne Mary called and we talked--rather, she talked, I listened--for one hour and six minutes by the clock. She needed to tell me what happened to Eddie,who died in her arms last week. Never one to leave out the most minor detail, she filled me in thoroughly.
Okay, we laugh over things like this, but Eddie meant the world to her, especially after Carlos died 18 months ago. I wasn't so crass as to ask how much the services they received cost her, but it must have run into the thousands. She finally had him "put down," as the saying goes.
Yes, that's right, Eddie and Carlos were doggies--pure white miniature poodles and if I say it myself (just as I often say, "A good dog is a stuffed dog"), they were very cute and playful animals.
I'm afraid of big dogs, but small ones are okay as long as they belong to somebody else.
Later: Went to Weight Watchers and was pleased to be down by 1.2 for a total of 71.6 pounds off and a current weight of 128. Want to get down to 125.
Wider: There's a remarkably clear and well-written treatise on various "wars" the government promotes, especially the so-called "war on terror." See for this.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Well, the snow is gone and the rain has stopped and it was a pretty nice day yesterday. Went to B.J.'s and stocked up, then discovered I had left my wallet home. Had to pay by credit card. Later, went to Acme to pick up some stuff for Pat. Yep, those were the high points.
But I still have the life of the mind, so...
Wider: Great hosannas from the denying democrat crowd on O's "outlawing" torture. Directly by us, yes, but I understand the ugly "rendition" practice hasn't been touched. In other words, we can still send suspects--or those who might become suspects, or those who look as if they have a tendency to be suspects or the guy down the street whose looks you don't like--to other countries to be tortured.
Maybe this is actually worse than doing it directly. If you arrange an evil, and pay somebody to commit that evil, and forcibly put a victim in the hands of the evil-doers, yet don't participate yourself, you can pretend you've "outlawed" the evil. Torture by hire is still torture, but it's more politically comfortable to have it at a remove.
It seems there's NOTHING concerning our government that isn't subject to spin, misdirection, sleight-of-hand, and all other forms of falsehood. The road of deceit, mapped out by Orwell, might not have been completed on the day the Department of War was labelled "Department of Defense," but it was already cut into the forest of the national landscape.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

For all my rapturous comments on the snow yesterday, the slushiness and slight slipperiness ("slushiness and slipperiness!") of it persuaded me not to walk. It rained later and is now all washed away.
Used the new carpet cleaner and was pleased at the results. Did other stuff not worth mentioning.
Barb H. came last night while I went to the acting workshop. That was enjoyable. There's a big variation in degrees of aptness or suitability or whatever you want to call it in the participants. One of the guys seems to have had some experience and is good as Popoff (?) in The Boor with a Russian accent. He also tends to be kind of full of himself and lets others know their deficiencies. One woman has a monologue in which she's a nagging wife. She talks in an absolute monotone and really needs work. The others vary, but I guess aren't bad.
We had been asked to flesh out our characters and do a little research and I found the delightful book Synge wrote called The Aran Islands. Also found the play itself and printed it out. I was surprised, considering the availability of material on the Internet, that several people in the group had very little to offer in the way of background.
Next week: gestures!
Later: Was just happily surprised with a web cam call from precious four-year-old Vivian in Singapore. She got a computer of her own for Christmas and the camera is built in; picture is much clearer than Mike's. We talked for a few minutes, then she had to take her bath, as it was evening over there. I'm so glad to have the web cams so I can see my darlings from so far away.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It snowed last night! How lovely! I got up at 4:30 and saw a beautiful blanket of white covering the lawn, the trees, the pavement--
Wait a minute. I'm an old lady and I'm supposed to think snow is a nuisance at best and a menace at worst. Guess I forgot to whine and complain about it. Okay, it'll be annoying when Susan and I go for our walk, but for now--
it's beautiful!
Last night, I idly asked Pat about some background on his parents and he was vague about it. Called his brother, Bill, talked to SIL, Regina, and was delighted to hear they had just been contacted by their elderly cousin, Eileen. She sent them pictures of Mr. and Mrs. M., wearing medals they won in a dance contest. Bill and Regina's daughter, Amy, will duplicate them and send us copies. Pat then remembered his parents had been in a dance club that met every Friday night in Philadelphia. I knew Mrs. M. played the organ in Wannamaker's in Philly and that Mr. M. played the violin, but didn't realize they danced. Looking forward to the photos.
Wider, Sort Of: Drove to Ace Hardware in Pomona yesterday to buy Resolve, the "dry" carpet cleaner recommended by Good Housekeeping. (In front of Pat's chair in the living room, the light grey carpet is badly stained. He can't make it into the kitchen to eat, so I give him his and dinner there.) The article in the magazine said it costs $6.99 and on-line, it was listed at the same price; however, you spend an equal amount on postage, so forget that. Couldn't find it at Acme or Shop 'n' Bag, and discovered it's sold at Ace, about 15 miles away. Got it, but when I went to pay, found they were charging $8.99--with tax, it came to $9.62! That reminded me why I quit going to the Ace Hardware that used to be nearby: Their prices were ridiculous. Hmm...maybe that's why they went out of business a few months ago.
I actually want to wax philosophical about this. People often bemoan the disappearance of the "little" stores, shut out by the biggies. Ace is a worldwide chain (I saw one in Singapore) and hardly a mom-and-pop, but I guess it's the neighborhood hardware for some. I'm sure The Home Depot and Lowe's underprice it, and boo-hoo about that, but why should I pay considerably more for the same damn thing at Ace? I complained to the cashier--and was met with utter indifference, of course--then to the manager. If possible, he was even more utterly indifferent. He listened, looking right at me, and simply nodded twice. If a head can shrug, his did.
This, it seems to me, illustrates our whole economy and our media-shaped conception of it. Business are in business to MAKE MONEY. How come we can't seem to understand that? They don't give a rusty nail about whether I'm happy with their service, or if I drive a total of 30 miles to Ace Hardware just to be ripped off. All those ads and commercials that show a kindly, helpful employee whose day is made if he can assist in meeting your needs--are crafted by highly paid ad execs and psychologists who know just what buttons to push to separate you from your money. They love you to believe Ace Hardware cares about your satisfaction--or if you live or die, for that matter. However, once they tear the money out of your hands, you could rot in the gutter for all they care.
Okay, Ace, you got your extra lousy two bucks, but I'll never walk in your door again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Can barely remember what went on yesterday--it sure as heck wasn't anything exciting. Went to Acme, did wash, performed my caregiving chores, and so on and so forth. Had enjoyable calls from sister Betty and darling bro ans sis, Frank and Marybeth in California. I had called MB because she was born in Ireland and still has a strong brogue. I left a message on their machine in my contrived Irish accent and was delighted when they called back to tell me they thought it was her sister in Dublin! However, I have to keep trying as I find it hard to sustain it over the full monologue.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Took a long-overdue trip to Santori's and stocked up on yams, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, and feta cheese. Thought Pat wouldn't be up yet by the time I got home, as he's been sleeping so late, but he was. Luckily, I had the coffee maker ready to turn on and he didn't have to wait too long before I got his breakfast.
Very nuthin' doin' day otherwise. Lazed around a lot, bored out of my mind, and actually over-indulged in food I don't usually eat. This is the first time, aside from celebratory meals, I've done that since I've lost the seventy-some pounds, and I'm not too concerned--but want to nip it in the--uh, body.
Wider: On the blog, "Sans Everything," Ian Mason writes about the recent increase in military recruits because of the tanking economy. His quick history of armies is enlightening, and so is his concluding paragraph as he discusses all-voluntary military service:
"An army must give its loyalty to someone, and if by paying it well we ensure that this someone is not the generals, then we should be glad of that; but we should also consider that by exempting ourselves from service, the army has been left free to give its loyalty to the state rather than to us. We shouldn’t be surprised to find it engaged in war after war, defending “interests” we don’t quite understand, and fighting ever longer and ever farther away from home. What is there, after all, to hold it back?"
Note closely that sentence about the army and its loyalty. It's essential for citizens to acknowledge the divide between "the state" and "us." We are not the state! And we should be aware when the two are confused, as they routinely are by media "echo chambers," as Justin Raimondo calls journalists.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nephew Wes posted a fabulous video on Facebook from 1970 of a party at my twin, Betty's, house in Margate. His father, gone so many years ago, took it with his movie camera. My sibs and I, now the older generation, were young marrieds in our thirties--all so animated and so happy and so beautiful! Our mother is shown, younger than Betty and I are now. Our children were there, just little kids and now they're approaching middle age and at least one is a grandmother. Of course, none of us were thinking of who would be alive in 2009. And there were some--all laughing and talking like everybody else--who wouldn't live to 1980, although the matriarch had almost 40 more years of life to go. We were all there except brother Larry and his gang and Jay, not yet born. What a wonderful gift for Wes to give us--and what a wonderful family in which to belong.
Aside from that--went to the library and picked up a CD of Frank McCourt reading his book, 'Tis, so I can work on my Irish accent for my monologue in the acting workshop.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

High point of yesterday was a call, through Skype, from both our sons, one in Singapore, one in Tokyo. We didn't use the web cam feature--not sure how that works and I know it costs--but enjoyed a three-way conversation. After, P. called with picture, then I talked to sister Betty re the same.
Other than then, dull day.
Later: Just back from Weight Watchers. I re-gained the 1.6 pounds I had lost last week, for a current weight of 129.2 and a total of 70.4 pounds off. I'm pretty okay with that for now, but will definitely tighten up, as I want to get back to what I consider ideal weight of 125.
Wider: From
"Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W Bush has not changed...."Since September, the US is estimated to have carried out about 30 such attacks, killing more than 220 people."
Oh, what the hell is this? Can we never have an end to the killing? I understand three children died with this latest atrocity. Maybe the blindly adoring Obamaniacs will begin to see, but I'm afraid it will take even more than this.

Friday, January 23, 2009

While Pat slept, I spent time searching the Internet for "how to speak in an Irish accent." I keep trying, but don't seem to have the knack. Also looked up the full text of Riders to the Sea and was taken aback to realize my monologue is actually several speeches, My character is Maurya (not "Maura," so I guess that's the Irish spelling), the bereaved widow and mother. I learned a bit about Synge, who died a hundred years ago, in 1909, at the age of 38.
Mike called on the web cam last night with an urgent request: He wanted me to e-mail him my recipe for banana bread, which I did promptly. They were on their way to Vivian's sports day show.
Talked to Leonard B. and his aunt in Canada. I sent in my registration for the "Quinvention" and will share a room with the 86-year-old aunt. She seemed very nice--lives "in the woods" in Quebec.
Wider: Now, although I don't agree with the guy overall (I always think I need to make that disclaimer), I was charmed at this passage from his latest. It's from "Fred On Everything" and is refreshing for its sheer nose-thumbing irreverence at the ponderous presidential goings-on lately:
"On the lobotomy box the babble-blondes kept nattering on like concussed parrots about how wonderful it was that we had a black president. Oh God, I thought, spare me. I mean, so what? So he’s black. Lots of guys are black. It’s a pretty common thing, really...I mean, if we had elected, say, a giant fronded barnacle from a geothermal vent, then, sure, I’d want to hear about it..."
Love that "lobotomy box."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Lifeline lady, Marlene, came while Pat was finishing breakfast and was here for about two hours. She's so nice--was very knowledgeable, informative, and thorough; Pat and I both liked her. We also found we had mutual acquaintances and enjoyed chatting about that.
Susan came to sit with Pat after dinner and I went to the acting workshop. Desi, the director, gave me a passage from Riders To The Sea, by the Irish playwright, J.M. Synge. My monologue is a terrific one delivered by "Maura," a woman bereaved by the loss of her husband and six sons--all taken by the unforgiving ocean. Must read up on Synge, the play, and Maura.
Wider: Just a cranky note from the old cynic--that's me, folks. I read that Obama took the presidential oath a second time because of the stumbling or faulty word sequence or something at the big bash on Tuesday. It occurred to me that this is a perfect illustration of the triumph of style over substance in our ticky-tacky world. Don't worry about what you're actually saying--TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION, GOT IT?--just so long as it sounds good.
Okay, now I'll shut up.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Saw about 45 minutes of the coronation. It was so "royal," only a day-old neoconservative could have failed to get the significance of:
the trumpets heralding the approach of dignitaries;
the cannons booming;
the red drapes with gold tassels;
the chants--"O-BAM-A, O-BAM-O...." (You could almost hear "Hail, Caesar...");
even the scarfs of the senior Bushes--imperial purple!
But hey, wait a minute, they were the vanquished, weren't they?
Other observations, on color and otherwise:
Guess it's impossible to find ties in yellow or green or pink anymore. Virtually every man was wearing either blue or red. Obama actually had on a red one, presumably to signify his willingness to "reach out" to "the other side"--a willingness that makes me distinctly uneasy.
Michelle was wearing a truly ugly outfit in gold, for heaven's sake. Can't get more royal than that, I guess. Both she and the little girls had their hair straightened. (I guess the handlers decided okay, enough with the black already, at least pretend the hair ain't kinky.)
Aretha Franklin wore a hat like no other. I actually thought it would light up and twirl around.
I listened to Diane Feinstein, who was chair of the affair, as she delivered one cliche after another: "the choose is the rock of democracy...the supremacy of the ballot, not the bullet...those who march and die to make (freedom) a reality..." and so on and boringly on.
The grim, middle-aged white men preceding Bush, Jr., could have been plucked from the cast of a gangster movie; I half expected Sonny Corleone to be among them. They all wore dark, heavy overcoats--okay, it was cold, but they looked as if they could have concealed Tommy guns under them--and it was easy to imagine them in back rooms, making deals. Or in other rooms, nodding "yes" to torturers.
I turned it off after I heard a few words of O's speech. I didn't need to listen, as I can read it--or I could if I wanted to--and it will be examined and interpreted, and damned or praised all over the papers and the Internet. It's all a script anyway and it's meaningless compared to the actual events that Obama will institute.
My only hope is that he will end the international slaughter that drenches our country in blood and guilt. There may be little reason for optimism, but it's all I have.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Five years and four months ago, we made one of the biggest moves of our lives--here to Sunrise Bay. Aside from our marital one--and the jury's still out on that--it was probably our best decision ever. It snowed yesterday, and not just a dusting. The service doesn't clear it if it's under a certain number of inches and this was, barely. Well, our close neighbors and friends, Frank and Ray, shoveled our walk, driveway, and entrance, then stopped in to josh Pat about the Eagles loss. What a great place we landed and how glad I am we're here!
While the guys were here, I asked both if they'd consent to be one of the "contacts" on the medical alert device Pat will have and they both instantly agreed. Hey, we do some things right.
"Doctor Mark" came, as promised, a little after 8 am. He examined Pat right in bed, spoke to him warmly, slightly adjusted his insulin, and was generally kind, friendly, and down-to earth. In addition--an essential trait for a doctor, it seems to me--he's gorgeous! Talk about eye candy--hey, if I were the patient, I'd want to stay sick.
I didn't go out at all yesterday. Called Susan to tell her I'd skip our walk--just as well, in the snow--to prepare for the doctor. I made butterscotch pudding and did this and that all day. Pat didn't get up for breakfast until noon, then went back and by the time he was washed, dressed, and ready for his tea in the living room, it was 4:30. This seems to be the pattern he's following now and I can live with it--not that I have a whole heckuva lot of choice.
Nothing on the calendar today, but tomorrow, the medical alert rep comes and I go to my first acting class in the evening.
Wider: Lest you think I've mellowed, think again. From "The Peaceful Transfer of Violent Power" on The Future of Freedom Foundation site, here's some of Sheldon Richman's take on the bizarre "American Idol"- type interest in today's extravaganza in D.C.:
"We might wonder why inaugurations aren’t more sober affairs. Why all the hoopla? The answer is simple. Government is a horrendous and exploitative imposition on most of us. From the rulers’ perspective, there is always the danger that we may figure this out and refuse to go along. Hence the need for regular propaganda spectacles to reinforce the myth that we are the government."
But it should be read in its entirety at:

Monday, January 19, 2009

The opera, Hansel and Gretel, was wonderful! It was in English, staged by the Australian Opera Company, although composer Engelbert Humperdinck, wrote it originally in German. Both Hansel and Gretel were played by fairly hefty women, but after the slight surprise at "Hansel's" soprano, it all flowed beautifully. I'm not qualified to comment on the voices, but the sets were wonderful and I was struck by the excellent caliber of the acting. Anyway, after my grumbling of yesterday, I'm glad I went.
Got home to find the Eagles losing and after a one brief shining moment (ha!) when they were ahead by a point, they went down the tubes. Of course, good friend Ray called Pat immediately to harass him.
The doctor called to say he'd be here this morning a little after eight. Of course, I told him Pat sleeps until at least noon and would be in bed, but he said that was all right. I'm must concerned about the skin cancers on and around his ears. He can't possibly endure the hours-long M.O.H.S. procedure in the office and how can they be removed? Will ask the doctor, although I'm fast losing faith in the medical profession when the maladies are this many and the questions are this big. They don't seem to have much to offer.
Wider: Justin Raimondo comments on the "festivities" scheduled for tomorrow in D.C.:
"The Obama cult has imbued our new president with superhuman powers: they expect and enjoy the spectacle. Yet the relentless lionizing of this messianic figure is ironic, because here is an American chief executive who will doubtless become aware of his own limitations rather quickly. America is a bankrupt empire engaged in two overseas wars, with troops on every continent and bases ringing the globe. It's unsustainable, and our ruling elites know it."
True, sure, but there are no more vehement deniers than those who proudly count themselves as liberals. Thank Gawd, we got rid of Bush and his gang, now all will be sweetness and light with our new masters and mistresses. What's that noise? It used to be just a rumble, but it's getting louder and louder. A drum beat? A dirge? Never mind--let's celebrate!
Wider still: If you dare, see this site on photographic comparisons between the Nazi treatment of Jews and Jewish treatment of Palestinians:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cold, cold, bitterly cold. Managed to pick up two prescriptions for myself in Manahawkin, but aside from that and our morning walk, didn't venture outside. Pat slept until noon, had breakfast, then went back to bed until 3:30. By the time he was dressed and in the living room, it was almost 5:00. This is how his pattern has been for the past few weeks. It means he skips lunch, although I give him a cup of tea and a snack when he's finally settled in.
At 3:20 this morning, I awoke to his agitation. He had dropped his "rescue" inhaler--which is supposed to be used only in extreme circumstances, but he uses it every 20 minutes or so. I found it and was able to go right back to sleep.
Had a cam call from darling Vivian in the evening. She's so pretty and bright and lively--somewhat willful at times, but that just shows her spirit. Dear little Violet made an appearance, too. Vivian was planning meeting her friend, Anya, to play tennis. (Sounds like twentyish-something, doesn't it?)
The opera session is today and I have coverage, but I'm not anxious to go. I think this is the last time I'll be able to attend, anyway. Doctor is due to come tomorrow and I've got a slew of questions to ask and things to discuss--none of them pleasant.
Wider: From Chris Floyd at "Empire Burlesque":
"America's top officials -- including the president and vice president -- openly admit to ordering torture...and they are praised for it, even held up as shining examples for future leaders to follow. Vast swathes of the corporate media labor mightily to justify the ancient evil of the water torture, and other "high-end interrogation techniques," to use the diabolical terminology of CIA Director Michael Hayden. The escalation of the on-going American war crime in Iraq -- the so-called "surge" -- is lauded as a "success beyond our wildest dreams" by the new, "progressive" manager of the empire, Barack Obama. (Imagine calling an action that allowed a known serial killer to extend his spree for years into the future a wild, dreamy "success.") Citizens of the "liberal democracy" in Israel -- the "light unto the nations" -- gather in safety and comfort on open hillsides to watch, cheering, as bombs fall on the trapped and helpless civilians penned in the Gaza ghetto. These macabre celebrations are echoed across America, where bitter partisan foes put aside their differences to come together in their unstinting, uncritical support of child murder across the sea."
Hope for the future? A change for the better? Dream on.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

After a rocky start, had an enjoyable day. Before I picked up Marge for lunch, Pat and I had words and I slammed the door when I left. I'm not proud of that now. I vented loudly to poor Marge, got it off my chest and things were okay later. Had a delectable Cobb salad at SeaOaks, along with a delicious Coors Light (frigid though it was outside), and a talk fest that made the day. The woman with the medic alert or whatever it's called will be here Wednesday and life just goes on, a little more problematic every day.
Got an e-mail from cherished niece, Joan; all well in upstate New York, I'm happy to say. Was glad to hear from Ellen that her kitty, Tillie, is home. Still not well, but there's hope for improvement.

Friday, January 16, 2009

We got to the V.A. all right, although there wasn't much the doctor could offer--there hasn't been for several years now. When we got home, I started dinner, but then Pat told me he didn't seem to be getting oxygen. I thought there could be something wrong with the hydra tor, so took it off the concentrator, but then I couldn't get the hose in. I was tired, hungry, and frazzled and I really lost it at that point. Finally called Frank next door, who got it on--but it still wasn't delivering the oxygen. Pat told me to check the gauge, I did, and found it was down to zero. I immediately turned it up (Pat's on 3 1/2 liters) and it was fine.
However, the fried eggplant I was cooking, one of Pat's favorites, wasn't. It was burnt to a crisp, so I served him only ham, scalloped potatoes, and applesauce. However, he enjoyed it and the crises was over.
Hope Marge can make our lunch date today. That does necessitate getting Pat up by 11:30 or so, so he's safely back in bed while I'm gone, but I'm anxious to see her.
Wider: Friend Gerri B. directed me to this link with a remarkable montage of the presidents (and pres-elect):
It's fascinating to view, isn't it? But the way one morphs into the other is a little eerie. As if, indeed, there's no real difference between Washington and Adams, Eisenhower and Kennedy, Bush II and... Oh, but wait, that can't be right. Surely, Obama will lead our country into more virtuous and less bloodthirsty ways than Dubya.
Won't he? Won't he?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yesterday the usual. Pat didn't get up the first time until 12:30, had breakfast, then slept until almost 4:00. I used the waterless shampoo and the "washcloths" you can heat in the microwave and I think he felt a little better. However, the cloths are expensive. I used five of them and there are only eight in a package for $4.99. By the time I got him dressed and in the living room, it was almost five. We eat at six, so effectively, the whole day was gone. Well, that's the new normal, I guess.
Wider: For some time, I've been noticing the ties politicians wear. Wouldn't you know, Bush and his gang members almost invariably wear red ones, Obama and his cohorts blue. Of all the cynical, crappy, two-bit "symbolism," that takes the cake. But I guess it makes about as much sense as the flag pin uproar--early in the campaign, O. didn't wear one (how could his handlers have overlooked that sleazy evidence of "patriotism"?), but of course, the oversight was speedily corrected.
On the same topic, I wonder if anyone in the U.S. remains innocent of the care taken that everything surrounding politics is planned, arranged, and handled by a stableful of "advisers." This includes things as seemingly inconsequential as what politicians' families wear when they're trotted out to greet the public. I mentioned to someone I thought it was a mistake to dress Michelle in that hideous dark dress with the neon-red insets she wore for the acclimation. It seems to me her tall, athletic frame lends itself to spiffy tailored slacks and maybe blazer jackets. The woman to whom I was speaking was shocked that I thought the FL-to-be didn't choose her own wardrobe. Ha! Take note that she was almost invariably wearing a dress during the campaign. Now how many women do you know who regularly wear dresses or skirts? Almost none, right? Yet p0liticians' wives seem to have to, to prove they're not tainted by this scary women's lib stuff and know their place at home and hearth.
Case in point: Hillary Clinton. Contrast her sweet little hausfrau look when she was simply Bill's wifie and dressed almost invariably in skirts and dresses with the glory days when she was a presidential candidate--slacks and slack suits all around.
And so it goes. It's all grist for the political mill in which we're slowly ground to bits and emerge as chaff for the powers that be.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Had a terrific time at the Wellspouse dinner last night. We met at a new restaurant in Freehold and there were a surprisingly large number there, about 40, I think. Food was okay--I had talipia over rice--but of course, the company made the evening. Saw old friends and met new ones, including Lisa M., whose husband was a surgeon before he developed MS. Now he can no longer walk and is barely able to move his hands, let alone operate. The only drawback in being in this group is that it's so far away for Vivian and me. It's worth the drive, though, and being so late in getting home. Didn't get in until after 10:30, then had to unwind, so didn't get to sleep until close to midnight. We skipped our walk and I slept until about 8:45.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Heavens, I didn't get up until 6:25 today, very late for me. Had a web cam "visit" with P. and N. yesterday--so enjoyable. Had a long chat with Betty and we tried to see each other, but her web cam seems to be acting up. Talked to A., of course. Got to B.J.'s and a few other places in Manahawkin. Other than that, nothing thrilling going on. Looking forward to the Wellspouse dinner in Freehold tonight.
Wider: My friend, Gerri B., sent a long piece by Ann Jones on the escalation of troops to Afghanistan and the corruption and chaos we've unleashed there. Gerri asks plaintively,
"Why is Obama determined to perpetrate this horror?"
I think she's one of those decent, caring people, who were ever-so-enamoured-of-"change," they were easily hoodwinked by Obama and his war-loving crowd. They should have known as soon as Biden became his running mate.
Maybe they did know, but convinced themselves otherwise. Remember the passage in 1984 when O'Brien tells Winston Smith that he can't deny he had "known all along" of the horrors of their society? I believe many of those who championed Obama "knew all along" there'd be no change in our bloodthirsty imperial ways, but couldn't bear to recognize that knowledge.
I'm so sorry for them and for the rest of America--but more sorry for the innocents we continue to slaughter.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The violin recital yesterday was sublime. Brother and sister Piotr and Ania Filochowski, 19 and 15, students of Itzhak Perlman at Julliard, played selections from Bach, Mozart, Beetoven, and Brahms, as well as other composers. The place (Ocean C0unty Library in Toms River) was packed and there was barely a sound as the siblings played.
Piotr is a tall, lean young man with lots of dark, curly hair and his attractive--not conventionally pretty--sister has a web site. When I got home, I wrote her an e-mail, thanking her for her artistry.
Of course, I probably didn't get full enjoyment of it because I'm a musical illiterate. One of my biggest regrets is that I never attended to, or learned much, about classical music--or any other kind, for that matter. I like Cole Porter--but it's the lyrics I enjoy most, as I'm a word person--and fifties singers, e.g. The Platters. This was very different and very special and the fact that I liked it so much came as a surprise to me.
It also made me think of William Blake and "The Tyger." I mean that old, old question, maybe the pivotal question of religion and philosophy, that asks, "Did He who made the lamb make thee?"
In other words, how is it that the same Being--generally regarded as supremely benign--could be responsible for the overwhelming beauty of music like this, but also the horror and carnage that exists in the world? The apologists may twist and turn in their efforts to answer and offer whole books in defense of this co-existence--which, I suppose, are really arguments to deny agnosticism--but I have yet to be convinced.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

WWe expected snow or at least, rain yesterday, but it was just cold and cloudy. Went to the laundromat to get the comforter washed; this necessitates three visits, of course. Seemed to be doing plenty of other stuff, but it sure wasn't very exciting, as I can't remember what. Looking forward to the violin recital in Toms River with Mary Ann and Mary S. today. Have coverage for Pat.
Wider: From Nir Rosen on "," linked by "Moon of Alabama," itself linked by Jim W. on one of my favorite blogs, "The Chestnut Tree Cafe":
"Terrorism is a normative term and not a descriptive concept. An empty word that means everything and nothing, it is used to describe what the Other does, not what we do. The powerful – whether Israel, America, Russia or China – will always describe their victims' struggle as terrorism, but (never their own)...."
Take it to heart, Americans!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm at a pretty low ebb. Web-cammed E. and was so sorry to hear one of her cherished cats is very sick. She's already spent $440 and now must decide whether to spend much more just for diagnostic procedures. She's sad and so am I. Mike and sweet Vivian called, too. As ever, I loved seeing and talking to them, but the web cam points up the distance between here and Singapore.
Had been signed up for an acting class with our little theatre group, but reluctanly e-mailed the director that I had to drop out. It's every week in the evening and I just don't think I should leave Pat--also don't think I can keep my mind on it properly.
Earlier, I did enjoy lunch with Julie and Iris at SeaOaks. I woke Pat for breakfast at 11:30, then saw him safely back to bed at 1:00 when Julie picked me up. When I got home just at 3:00, he was still asleep, at which I was relieved.
Don't have the heart to add much more, although I'll go to Weight Watchers after our walk and record progress or lack thereof.
Later: Lost another 1.6 pounds, for a current weight of 127 and total pounds off of 72.6. I still want to get back to 125, so will aim to go down two more.
Plus: During our daily 7 am walk, I told Susan I had dropped out of the acting class. She insisted that she and other friends nearby could easily stay with Pat for an hour or two on Wednesday evenings. I'm going to ask him how he feels about that and, if he's okay with it, maybe rescind my withdrawal, if possible.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Things have settled down and are fairly normal ("the new normal," as we in Wellspouse wryly say). Pat slept a lot, as usual, and I got a mountain of wash done. Tokyo called on the web cam and it was so good to see and talk to P. and N. They'll be coming on February 11, Pat's birthday. That works out fine, as we'll have the family down on the 14th.
Called a woman named Mary Jo H., near Allentown, Pa., to discuss whether I could drive with her to the Dionne "Quinvention" in May. She seemed receptive, although I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to go. It's a heckuva long way to North Bay, Ontario and I'm not anxious to be in a car that long, either. Interestingly, Mary Jo was born on the same day as the quints.
Another possibility opened when I heard back from Dorothy G., a woman I had met in Woburn, Mass. at the last Quinvention five years ago. She's considering flying from Baltimore, which may be the best solution for me, too.
Of course, I'm going on the assumption Pat's condition four months from now will allow me to leave for several days, even with A. here full-time. We'll see how it works out.
Wider: Don't give me all your cool, reasoned justifications for war. Just read this from the NYTimes, then shut your bloody trap:
"...a team of four Palestine Red Crescent ambulances accompanied by Red Cross representatives made its way to Zeitoun Wednesday where it 'found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own.'”

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rained all day and it was a quiet one--until later. Had a delightful time at J.s birthday party, eating two helpings of meat loaf, salmon, scalloped potatoes, cake and ice cream! Ha--all I didn't pile on was the salad I had brought myself. Why eat healthy when you've lost seventy-some pounds and can afford to splurge once in a while?
Got home about 8:30, had my wine, and went to bed. I was awakened a 2:30 with Pat groaning loudly, thrashing his arms and legs around, and sweating profusely. I jumped up, called his name over and over, shook him hard, but after ten minutes, still couldn't wake him. Called 911 and two police officers were here in a few minutes, followed closely by four EMTs.
I won't go into details, but it was a diabetic seizure caused by low blood sugar. They stabilized him with an injection and he became calm and coherent. They were going to take him to the hospital, but he decided against it. They were here for more than an hour, but finally left when he had recovered. The bed was soaked and I took off the top sheet and settled him in. He fell asleep and is still sleeping. I had trouble getting back to sleep, but finally did and awoke after 7:00.
Wider: There's a picture on the front page of my paper--and presumably, just about every other paper in the country--of the sitting president, the president-elect, and the three surviving former presidents. "Presidents Club convenes," it says, and the caption includes O.'s assurance that he's "very grateful" for "the opportunity to get advice, good counsel and fellowship with these individuals...." All five men are smiling broadly, of course.
Now what is this picture intended to convey? Of course, it's meant to emphasize the peaceful continuity of U.S. government--hey, we're no banana republic, the other guys haven't been shot--and the sacred suggestion of by-partisanship. That, we dreamily assume, signifies that our elected officials all work together for the common good. In fact, the caption informs us that the men "came hash over world's challenges." Lucky world!
Now, the cynics among us might see these fine gentlemen as a gang of cutthroats who have systematically led us down the path to ever-accelerating war. The torch of aggression is being passed to the new boy (oops--sorry) man on the block and he's ever so grateful for the chance to develop more venues to kill people.
The cynic might also ask, "Hashing over the world's problems? Who died and left them boss?" But hey, the joke's on them: Lots of people died, millions and millions, including the old, the sick, the women frantic to save their babies, the children screaming in terror--.
Just skip all that, spoil sports. Let's swell with pride to see what we have wrought. All hail to our leaders, past, present and war lords to come!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Quiet. The blood tech, Debbie, came at 7:45. Pat didn't even have to get out of bed and hardly woke up. The oxygen guy came about noon--Pat still asleep--and showed me how to affix the water bottle onto the concentrator. Dr. M. had told me it was a good idea to hydrate the oxygen because of the dry heat in winter. I hope that helps relieve Pat's coughing, too, but who knows? (I forgot to mention I talked to the doctor on Monday because Pat was coughing blood, but not "copious amounts," as the doc put it.)
Got the Christmas decorations packed up, but the boxes are still in the dining room. Made an apple crisp, a favorite of Pat's. Got a call from Julie L. and we'll set a date for lunch at SeaOaks, along with Iris G.
Other than that, Nada.
Wider: There's an important piece on Common Dreams. Org in which Ward Churchill, University of Colorado, relates our arrogant "exceptionalism" and military mess to 9/11. It is linked by "A Tiny Revolution." An excerpt:
"It is not disputed that the Pentagon was a military target, or that a CIA office was situated in the World Trade Center.* Following the logic by which U.S. Defense Department spokespersons have consistently sought to justify target selection in places like Baghdad , this placement of an element of the American "command and control infrastructure" in an ostensibly civilian facility converted the Trade Center itself into a "legitimate" target. Again following U.S. military doctrine, as announced in briefing after briefing, those who did not work for the CIA but were nonetheless killed in the attack amounted to "collateral damage." If the U.S. public is prepared to accept these "standards" when they are routinely applied to other people, they should not be surprised when the same standards are applied to them."
*I hadn't known this before.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Went to Franklin's "life celebration" last night. What a spectacular sight it is to approach Atlantic City in the dark! The casinos are dazzling with light and you'd swear you were in some big, sophisticated world capitol, instead of poky little south Jersey. In Brigantine, the whole gigantic Borgata is kind of "wrapped" in a light show; it's breath-taking.
Or maybe I'm just easily impressed.
I had thought the "life celebration" (idiotic--see yesterday's entry) was some kind of ceremony, sermon, or talk, scheduled from 6 to 7, as it said int he paper. However, when it got to be 6:20, I surmised it was simply a viewing without the whole body (which was reduced to ashes and contained in a little wooden box). After I extended my condolences to the family, identified myself as F.'s fellow Holy Spirit grad, and told them when a great guy he was, I sat for a while, then left. I was disappointed that the only one there I knew was Don M., also our classmate and a devotee of Padre Pio and the idea that only those baptized can go to heaven.
It's all right for people to believe what they believe--it's fine! I object only to those who think I should, too, and preach to that effect. Of course, they want always to explain and promote their own religion, but never want to hear about yours, if any. That's Don for ya--in spades. However, he was relatively mild last night and I was able to get away without being prayed over.
Wider: Hey, what about "the good war"--WW II? Weren't we utterly blameless when we suffered the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor? See a piece by Robert Higgs on "The Independent Institute" that explains what went before (something of which Americans seem so often to insist on remaining ignorant) and quoted by Arthur Silber. Higgs talks about the actions of the U.S. that were tantamount to war tactics, then writes of Japan's retaliation:
"Washington knew...that Japan's "measures" would include an attack on Pearl Harbor.[4] Yet they withheld this critical information from the commanders in Hawaii, who might have headed off the attack or prepared themselves to defend against it. That Roosevelt and his chieftains did not ring the tocsin makes perfect sense: after all, the impending attack constituted precisely what they had been seeking for a long time. As Stimson confided to his diary after a meeting of the war cabinet on November 25, 'The question was how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.'[5] After the attack, Stimson confessed that 'my first feeling was of relief ... that a crisis had come in a way which would unite all our people.'"
Sound familiar? Think WTC.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The hike around Osewgo Lake started out great--it was a perfect day: cold, brilliantly sunny and not a cloud in the sky--but for me, didn't last. We started out (18 of us) along a broad dirt road and went about two miles. At that point, the leader deviated onto a narrow path through the woods. All well and good, except the bottom of the path was a sheet of ice. There was no way to walk on the edges, as it was "cut in" and I started slipping and sliding. If I thought it would melt off soon or was only on a portion of the path, I might have continued, but I'm very nervous about ice and dread a fall and broken bone. I had to tell the group I'd have to drop out. One of the guys said he'd walk me back but, luckily, I was only a few yards (through a clearer space) away from the dirt road, so went back myself--disappointed and somewhat embarrassed, but I couldn't risk it.
It was eerie walking back through the silent and vacant woods, but I made it fine. Got home just as Pat was waking. Gave him breakfast, his companion and I ate lunch, then she and I went for a 2.5 mile hike in Freedom Fields, the park near us. I figure I got in 4 to 5 miles at least--less than I had hoped, but not bad.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Got to BJ's and Staples early and picked up essential stuff that we desperately needed, that we couldn't live without, what items were they, exactly? All I remember is cottage cheese.
Saw in the Atlantic City Press that a classmate of mine, Franklin H., has died. I'll go to the "Life Celebration"* in Brigantine tomorrow night. Other than that, just the usual. In a few hours, I'll leave for my first hike of the new year. It's at Oswego Lake and I'm looking forward so-o-o much to getting out in the woods and away from the incessant noise: the ever-present television no matter where you go, the lousy music piped into every store, the car, trucks, planes--no wonder everybody's on Prozac or alcohol.
* Who in the H-E-double toothpicks** ever came up with the idea of a "life celebration?" Talk about stupid, idiotic, and just plain vulgar! Could this type of happy, sappy talk have contributed to ease with which the electorate swallows "war is peace" type lies? Hey, give this guy a funeral, fer cryin' out loud, he's DEAD!
** An old lady of my acquaintance, long dead herself, used this expression. I was always charmed by it.
Wider: Arthur Silber's writings on his blob, "Once Upon A Time," are so clear and penetrating and so angry and true, they send me reeling. All his stuff is good and he references sources religiously. Here's just a tiny snippet:
"I almost admire the Democrats' defenders in a certain way. The Democrats stab them deep in the gut and, while the knife is disemboweling them, the Democrats continue to lie in their agony-ridden faces -- and the victims still tell these bastards they will continue to support them. This collection of subhumans give sado-masochists a bad name. The commitment to cruelty, self-abasement and self-humiliation is all but perfect. It's no wonder they can regard one genocide after another with equanimity. It appears none of these people has a conscience any longer to be troubled in the smallest degree."
Boy, Arthur, you helped turn this lifelong dem into a--well, what? I voted for Nader because Obama chose Biden and I'm glad I did. But I'd like to come in from the cold and now I have no place to go.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

After our walk, Susan came over to help me dismantle the Christmas tree and drag it out. We must be the only ones on the east coast who still have a live tree, judging from their scarcity at the curbs. The work went so quickly and easily with Susan helping. After we fooled around with trash bags, I got a sheet and we laid the tree on that to drag it outside. Worked fine.
The rest of the de-decorating was a chore. I got it all down, but it's now piled on the dining room table. EVERY year, I vow to get rid of some of my Christmas stuff. I did last year, but still have enough to decorate Macy's. Have decided to go through it sometime when it's warmer, as it's all stored in the garage and I can't face trying to do it now.
Other than that, the usual. Marissa, the P.T., came and I went to the store. Pat slept--again--until very late. Didn't get up until after 12:00 initially, then got up for the day only when I woke him at 2;15; I did that only because Marissa was due at 3:00.
Looking forward to a hike at Atsion Lake tomorrow; A. will come up and will also come next Sunday, when I go to a violin recital with Mary Ann Van O. and Mary S.
Wider: This, from Arthur Silber's blog, "Once Upon A Time," crystallizes the sad realization that the president-elect is not substantially different from Bush--and all the other death-dealing pols:
"Obama has passed his first test with flying colors. He's made himself disappear so Israel can continue its killing spree in Gaza...What a relief it must be for his critics at AIPAC and the far-right think tanks to know that the next Commander in Chief will be every bit as compliant as the last. That's 'continuity they can believe in.'"
Later: Lost 1.4 pounds for a total of 71 pounds even and a current weight of 128.6. I want to get back down to 125 and am confident I will.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Had a good time at Mary Ann Van O.'s little dinner party. There were two other couples, both of whom I've known almost since we moved here, and the Van O.'s daughter. Bart, who has the same malady as Pat--emphysema--didn't come out of the bedroom until dessert time, but clearly enjoyed the gathering.
Pat did not have a good day yesterday. He didn't get up the first time until 11:30, late even for him, went back to bed after "breakfast," then didn't get up again until after 3:00. By the time he washed and shaved and I had made him tea and wrapped him a sandwich, I actually had to rush to get to the Van O.'s by 5:00. He's sleeping his life away, and I'm afraid that's literally true.
When I got home, Mike web-cammed and I enjoyed talking to adorable Vivian and seeing precious Violet. Vivi loves the knee socks I sent her, but two pair are big for her. She put a black pair on the usual area--they reached to a few inches above her knees--and put a white pair on as long gloves! She's so cute and funny and pretty and smart. (This from an entirely neutral source, her Nana.)
Wider: Started the book Rogue State, by William Blum, last night. I feel such grief to discover what our country has done over years--and not just during Republican control, but as bad or worse with the Democrats. With so many millions of others, I had always complacently believed our causes were just and our wars unavoidable. If I ever considered the slaughter and maiming of other people, I let that horror slide away in the confident knowledge that "we couldn't help it" in our (practically devinely-willed) goal to save the world from itself.
I'm so ashamed.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The last day of 2008 was okay. Ran up to Manahawkin in a driving wind and a little snow to get Pat's prescription filled. Took the small crock pot back, as I don't think it's necessary after all. Got new cartilages for the printer, but now am not sure if they fit. Marissa, the p.t., was supposed to come at 3:00, but called to say the parkway was jammed and could she come on Friday? Yeah, sure, why not?
High point of the day was a web call from Tokyo. It was great to see P. and N., who were about to go to her mother's for New Year's (it was 2009 there).
Wider: My dismal performance re the geography quiz I mentioned yesterday shamed me so much, I used a printed map as a guide, and filled in the countries. I want to print it out and study it to finally know where we're spreading such death and destruction.
Speaking of D and D, Chris Hedges, in Truthdig.Com has this to say about our complacent acceptance and support of the slaughter in Gaza:
"Our self-righteous celebration of ourselves and our supposed virtue is as false as that of Israel. We have become monsters, militarized bullies, heartless and savage. We are a party to human slaughter, a flagrant war crime, and do nothing. We forget that the innocents who suffer and die in Gaza are a reflection of ourselves, of how we might have been should fate and time and geography have made the circumstances of our birth different."
But who hears and who cares?