Sunday, November 15, 2015

Vive La France, Vive Les Etats-Unis

I care about terror attacks all over the world. Why did the attacks in Paris just two days ago touch me deeply enough to inspire me to change my facebook profile picture in support of the French?

Because France is the USA's oldest ally;
Because without assistance from the French in the 18th century, the US would not exist;
Because so much of the philosophy that informs our highest ideals originated in France; and
Because we have so much of shared values and culture with the French.

Yes, both of our countries have problems and have made political and social errors. Putting our high ideals into actual practice is often a dirty business, both maddening and saddening. But for better or for worse, we are on paths that run together at so many important points in modern history.

France, our elder very different from us, yet so very much the same. Remember that the colors of the French flag are also the colors of ours.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


It is just shy of a year since my mother passed away.  2 days shy, to be exact.  My mother-in-law passed away last night.  We lost my father-in-law just 4 months ago, in May of this year.  I find myself in the midst of a cascade of memories and emotions that began on September 18th - my mother's birthday.  I well up with tears several times a day. 

I try to avoid memorializing specific dates, but I have been unable to stop myself this month, so here goes:  my mom reached her 90th birthday on 9/18/14.  She passed away 10 days later, on 9/28/14.  We held her funeral services on 10/6/14.  My mother-in-law's passing date of 9/26/15 adds another stepping stone into the emotional Via Dolorosa of September into October.  My father passed away on 10/30/85.  We held his viewing on 11/1 and his funeral services on 11/2/85.

I don't expect to grieve all of the way through October into early November, though I know there will be moments of tristesse whenever I think about Mom and Dad.  I felt the need to write a little bit about this, so I dusted off my old blog.  Posting about this on facebook feels a little bit too crass.  I don't want thumbs-up facebook likes on a post about this.  I don't want to publish this under my my name, on facebook, for all of my friends, acquaintances and co-workers to see. 

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Dear Donald

Dear Donald,

Yes, political correctness is a cultural phenomenon that can get out of control. However, treating people with dignity and respect is not merely a facet of political correctness: it is a sign of good character. We want to see presidential candidates who have the intellectual capacity to navigate complex social and political situations with diplomacy and wisdom.

Fair warning: if you show that you are capable of that by engaging with others respectfully, you will then have to run on your merit as a leader and your knowledge of the world. One uzbekibekibekistanstan moment could bring you down.

Start studying.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Just my opinion here:

1. Holiday is not a bad word, and it puzzles me that anyone would be insulted when someone wishes them a happy one.

2. There is no war on Christmas. It is still the one day in any year that most private businesses and government offices are closed. That's powerful: no other day in the US American calendar receives that much respect.

3. "Xmas" is not sacrilegious. The X represents the a Greek letter which was used a symbol for Christ. It is simple, ancient shorthand for Christ, not a way of "crossing Christ out of Christmas," as some people preach. In fact, you will see the Chi Rho (looks like an X with a P in the middle) embroidered on the altar cloths of churches and the vestments of ministers.

4. It is Christ-like to be respectful of the beliefs of others, so forcing a "Merry Christmas" on someone who does not observe Christmas seems kind of self-centered to me. I know that most people of other faiths are not offended by it, but it must get old to hear it. Showing respect for their beliefs seems like a better way to me.

It seems to me that we accomplish more by shining as a light by example, making people want to know what motivated us to give our time and efforts to them. It has become more and more prevalent for Christians to beat people with different beliefs over the head with words than it is to quietly reach out to them to meet their needs.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

If text falls into a long-still blog, will anyone hear?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Close Call

The last few weeks have been quite a ride.  My husband developed shortness of breath on October 18th.  He saw his doctor on the 19th, had an EKG and a chest x-ray (negative) and was scheduled for other tests in mid-November.  I kept asking him to go to the ER.  The shortness of breath got worse and worse, until we finally went to the ER on 10/26.  We found out that he had several large pulmonary emboli, and that the right chamber of his heart was greatly enlarged because it was working so hard to get blood into his lungs past the clots.

My husband had emergency open-heart surgery that day to remove the clots.  He spent the next 8 days in the Cardiovascular Unit (CVU) at the hospital.  Halloween this year is a blur to me.  He came home on November 3rd, and he is recuperating.  I have been fortunate to be able to take a good amount of time off to be with him.

My husband has to take Coumadin (and a big bunch of other drugs) for at least 6 months.  A visiting nurse comes twice a week to check his PT/INR level, to try to keep the dose of Coumadin regulated.  That's proved difficult, and he developed nosebleeds from the blood thinners.  We ended up taking off for the ER on Monday night (11/7) just after 11 PM.  We were there until almost 3 AM.  An incompetent ER doctor (he reminded me of all of the goofball interns on the medical shows we watch) left us in a cubicle for a couple of hours because he wanted to see if he bled anymore.  He did.  Then the idiot used Silver Nitrate to cauterize the bleeding blood vessels without numbing the area first.  My poor husband, who was less that 2 weeks out of open heart surgery, just about jumped off of the table.

The next morning, the bleeding started again.  We obviously were not going back to the ER.  We kept an appointment at the hospital with the surgeon that afternoon. His office sent us on to an ear/nose/throat specialist, who cauterized the blood vessels WITH the benefit of local anesthesia.  Unfortunately, the bleeding started AGAIN that night. We went back to the ENT the next morning (Wednesday), and he did some additional cauterization.  So far, so good (knock on wood).  It's Thursday night, and there has been no further bleeding of any significance. 

The visiting nurse came today, and the numbers are improving.  We actually got to spend the entire day at home today, and I got some cleaning done.  Life is returning to a more normal pattern, although there will be many doctor's appointments, as well as visits from the nurse and the physical therapist.  My husband still needs oxygen at night, and he won't be able to drive for at least a few more weeks.  He has to ride in the back seat for now, away from any possible deployment of an airbag.  He won't be able to lift more than five pounds for a couple of months, so I'll be busy taking care of the dogs, doing laundry, etc.  (That's OK!)

This week has felt like a bizarre road rally/scavenger hunt.  We found ourselves running to one place to pick up a clue which will send you on to the next place.  All the while we were hoping to make it to the prize.  Looks like we finally found it! 

Oh...and the cause of all of this?  The flight home from Italy led to a deep vein thrombosis in my husband's leg which, over the next few weeks, caused the clots in the lungs.  At the time of the heart surgery, a filter was installed which will prevent clots from the legs from ever reaching my husband's lungs again.           

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ciao Italia

Returned home from a tour of Italy on 10/6/11. It was a marvelous trip! Here are a few pics: