Politics on Facebook.

Featured

donkey_elephantEvery day I observe political postings on Facebook. I think that’s okay. I don’t mind seeing people promoting the candidates they like.  I do it too. Perhaps too often.   My theory, though, is that anyone who doesn’t care for what I post can block me or block a particular group that I’m prone to posting fairly regularly. I block occasionally. I have done so a few times recently.  Sometimes I delete the dissenting comment and carry on.  My opinion is just that — an opinion.  Please know that I have done a great deal of research before deciding whom I’m supporting.

When I first signed on to Facebook I gleefully jumped into the fray believing that surely the person who posted was longing for my thoughts on the matter. It took me longer than it should have to realize the poster probably didn’t want opposing  comments.  I learned much more quickly that I didn’t want them. That begs the question, “Why post political propaganda if no response is required?”

I’ve thought about this a great deal during our never-ending political season.  I believe it is human nature to want to voice our choice for a given political office. It feels that way to me and I’m obviously not alone.  It’s probably also natural to want to express our views on the candidates we oppose.  But maybe we should do that in our own space.

I’m still trying to figure out FB etiquette.  As far as I know there’s no guide to help me on my way. That means I am left trying to do unto others as I would like them to do unto me.  I’m not always successful but I try.

I dislike giving space on my site to dissenting views.  I’m a Democrat and I’m voting for Hillary Clinton.  I neither want nor need anyone to tell me I’m nuts for doing so.  And I’m assuming  they don’t want me to write in their space that I think they’re crazy for voting for one of those bloviating loose cannons running on the Republican ticket.

One more thing.  If either of the two GOP front-runners should be elected, the US, and indeed, the rest of the world will be in deep doo-doo. That’s my opinion.

Note: This is a blog post not a Facebook post. Dissent if you wish.

Born a feminist…voting for Hillary.

baby-718146_640I entered this world many years ago. I wish I could say I came in (out) kicking and screaming. That would establish an aggressive and dramatic image of things to come. Unfortunately (or not) the reality is the opposite. According to my mother I failed to cry right away. The doctor used cold water to shock me. That’s how I took my first breath.

One might think the cold water would have upset me but apparently it did not. Well, if it did, I didn’t hold a grudge. Mom said I immediately started sucking my thumb and snoozing. I was an easy baby. I loved to eat and sleep. I still do.

I can’t say exactly when I started to notice gender inequities. I think I was quite young. Maybe five or six.small

I remember that my dad was the boss of the family. He made all of us toe the line, including Mom. I recall thinking a few times that she should get my baseball bat and take a swing at him but she never did. I knew then that I wanted a more equal partnership when I grew up.

I noticed as early as first grade the seemingly favored status of boys versus girls. My brother was required to look after me when we went somewhere together. At first that made sense because he was two years older. I started to recognize, though, that he was given the job because boys were supposed to take care of girls. I found myself puzzled because I was more responsible than he.

For years I noticed and noticed and noticed

Girls were told what to wear. No pants/jeans after elementary school. We must look and behave like ladies. Yuck! To this day I detest the word lady/ladies. It’s used to remind women of their place in society. It’s used to avoid using our real designation – women.

We were told what we could become when we grew up. Secretary, nurse, teacher. That’s it.

My daughters started to notice as well. One day my oldest told me girls weren’t allowed to work at the school’s recycle center. Different boys were chosen each time, but no girls (emphasis, hers). We agreed that I would write a note to the school expressing our concerns. I’m proud to say we got immediate results. Girls were allowed from that day forward. Lesson learned:  Ask respectfully and you might make a difference for yourself and for others.

As I observed, I developed a keen sense of fairness and justice. I read Marilyn French and Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan. I started to understand how things needed to change. I could, in fact, help to instigate positive change. I learned how women’s lives could and should be better.

I was thrilled when women started to run for public office. We started small but look at us now.

I find it difficult to express how joyful I felt when Hillary Clinton became the official nominee for the Democratic Party. I have been waiting for this my whole life. I won’t rest, though, until she becomes our President.

I’m puzzled by the Hillary hate. I can see why some white men might have a problem with a woman in the highest office in the land. It verifies what they already knew but probably would not say — that their iron-fisted control of everything in our society since our beginning is tenuous. It has been for quite some time now. It’s probably what has destroyed the Republican Party. Fear is a great motivator and they are afraid. Probably as afraid as I am that Trump will be elected.

I am especially concerned about the women who are Hillary haters. I don’t understand it. I encourage you to research Hillary. If you’re watching just one news source all the time, you’re not getting the full picture. Watch all of them from time to time.

Vote for HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. I am.

Thank you for reading this rather long post.

 

IMG_1355

Hillary Rodham Clinton.

 

I’m allowed to change my mind.

Today is an exciting day. Last night I slept upstairs for the first time in almost a year. Since I came home from rehabilitation last December, I’ve been downstairs in the guest room. IMG_1108Yesterday my daughter and I cleaned my room and carried my clothes back upstairs. I suddenly came to the realization that I belong in my bed. I don’t like feeling like a  guest here. It took me a while to go to sleep but once I did, I slept all night. Lulu didn’t have any difficulty making the transition. She went to sleep straight away.

After falling down the stairs last year, my first thought was that I should sell my house and move to a one-story place. It seemed reasonable, the right thing to do.

As time passed, though, I started to feel more and more unsettled about that decision. Fortunately, I can change my mind. And so I did. The thought of downsizing a second time became a great weight on my shoulders. It’s too heavy and I’m unwilling to carry it. I have the option of doing it later — or not.

I feel lighter and happier than I have in a long time.

Pluviophile.

PLUVIOPHILE: (n) a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.
IMG_1095

The definition above is the most simple one I could find to describe this lovely word. The meaning is evident to anyone who spends time taking apart and playing with language. I love words. I like saying them, sometimes even when I don’t know what they mean. I looked this one up just to see if there were some undertones or overtones that I could learn. And there are. There can be a sexual connotation. There are some who would argue that a Greek word would better fit the definition. Don’t remember the Greek word. Have some fun — look it up.

Sometimes I’m a pluviophile, sometimes not. This is the second day that we have had constant, steady rain day and night. We need the rain. We’re a little below our average. That knowledge makes me more accepting of rainy days than I might be otherwise. And when I become intolerant, it’s usually because the gray skies; the lack of sunshine is taking a toll. As you can see in the photo above, an umbrella a la Monet goes long way on a rainy day.

IMG_1082-2I love the way the rain wets the remaining, soon-to-fall, colorful leaves and gives them an almost neon brilliance. This scene is my constant companion as I write and enjoy the gas logs in my family room.

I was a serious lover of rainy days as a child. My brother and I used to beg our mom to let us play in the rain. If it wasn’t lightning she would sometimes relent and out we’d go straight for the puddles where we squished mud through our toes. I know she didn’t like the clean up that followed our muddy forays into nature but she was a good sport about it. Fortunately, not all of her five children were eager to play in the mud. That would have meant a really big mop up.

I don’t care for the way the rain wets the steps I have to take to get the mail. I have what used to be considered a rural-type mail box. Now they’re used in neighborhoods and subdivisions in the suburbs. Mine is at the foot of my driveway, not far at all. Far enough, though, to be iffy when wet.IMG_1087

Not long ago I wouldn’t have given a second thought to a little rain on the steps or the sidewalk. That was before I took that life-changing fall in October, 2014. Now I find myself ever alert and checking out the big picture and the minute details a great deal more carefully. Are there wet leaves on the wet steps? Is there a rail I can hold? Am I wearing appropriate shoes? Is my phone in my hip pocket? And you get the picture.

The challenge, of course, is to live each day as normally as possible. I’ve never been a scaredy cat and I don’t intend to be one now. I still have some spontaneity in me but I’m more likely to access it on a fair weather day. That doesn’t mean I stay in on rainy days. It does mean I routinely do a quick mental scan about what I’m wearing, whether I have plenty of gas in my car, and how tired I am.

I’ve learned that I much more likely to make mistakes when I’m over tired. I also know that the statisticians predict that I am MUCH more likely to take another debilitating fall because I had the first one. My goal in life is to prove them wrong. The challenge is to disprove their theory by living my life as normally as possible without becoming obsessed with the possibility/likelihood of falling. I’m walking tall and straight with a firm step. I’m thinking positively. Always.

Whenever I think or write about rainy days, I start enumerating the many songs I know about rain and rainy days. If you’re in the mood, check out my Bob Dylan link to one of my favorite rain songs  www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6v5HrfeeV8

Pink porta potty–too much of a good thing?

There is a construction site in my neighborhood. I drive by it often.IMG_1053 It’s like most construction sites — three or four houses at different levels of completion. One, I believe, is already sold.

As builders go, these appear to be conscientious about keeping the surrounding area as free of debris as possible. I’m grateful for that as I imagine are the neighbors nearer the site than I.

There is one thing, however, that makes this site different from any other I’ve seen. There are two Pepto-Bismol pink porta johns. As you can see in the photo there’s a pink ribbon painted on the front.

I can’t say why, but each time I drive past these eyesores I feel a bit more disconcerted, maybe agitated, than the previous pass. In writing this post I’m not having a knee-jerk reaction. I’ve had months to contemplate the possible reasons a person might be compelled to promote breast cancer awareness via outdoor toilets.

For the personal/emotional reasons I have a fairly high degree of empathy and understanding. Those who have lost a friend, mother, sister, wife, husband, etc., to breast cancer feel helpless and want to do something to save others from suffering. I get that.

The organizations that promote breast cancer awareness (Susan G Komen and Planned Parenthood come to mind.) have done an admirable job of putting that little pink ribbon and its meaning in the minds of almost all Americans. I have some pink ribbon pins I wear during October, if I remember. October is breast cancer awareness month, of course. But the ubiquitous pink ribbon has made most of us aware during the other eleven months as well. That’s a good thing.

Maybe it’s the ubiquity that has caused my discomfort. I think perhaps it has a down side. Maybe it brings out the charlatans. I seldom go shopping anywhere for anything without seeing a pink ribbon decal and a message telling me that if I buy this item the company presenting it will give a portion of the proceeds to a charity promoting awareness. But do they really? How do I know that? Do I sound cynical? I suppose I do. But I prefer to pick my charities and check them out before donating.

I would appreciate your comments. Tell me how you feel. Kindly, please. I’m especially interested in hearing from people who have or have had breast cancer. Do you like the pink toilets? You may have guessed by now that I don’t.

The “dog days of summer” — an escape to the mountains.

The dog days of summer are finally starting to wane the slightest bit here in Charlotte.FullSizeRender-2 That is to say that our high temperatures are hitting around 90 F these days instead 98-100 F. Of course when the humidity is above 70 the days remain hot and sultry which is one definition of dog days. You’ve probably guessed that I don’t fare well in hot weather. It may be something about being a mountain woman.

Imagine my delight when my daughter and granddaughter invited me to go with them to Asheville, NC. I didn’t have to think about it so I set about packing my bag.

We left early on Saturday morning for the mountains.IMG_1033 It’s about a two-hour drive. We were there before lunch and began our shopping/eating frenzy in earnest. Here’s my granddaughter waiting patiently for lunch. We took this trip in her honor because she leaves for her first year at university this week.

How do I describe Asheville? It’s a small, diverse city with many good restaurants, especially if you like being able to eat vegetarian. And I do. While I’m not a vegetarian, I eat very little meat. For beer lovers there are a number of local mini-breweries. I must not forget the Biltmore Estate, and most important of all — the air is cooler up there.

For Saturday dinner my daughter had made a reservation at The Sunny Point Cafe. Before and after our meal IMG_1034we traipsed around the backyard garden behind the restaurant where they grow many of the vegetables and herbs used in their dishes. The menu is varied and there are yummy choices for the most discerning diner, vegetarian or not.

If you click the photo to the right you’ll see a welcome-to-our-garden sign. Upper right, that orange thing is one of several bouncy rides for the children. Perhaps those little bits of entertainment help to minimize destruction of the plants. Perhaps, too, they distract big feet like mine from squashing the plants. Yes, I rode it. Yes, my granddaughter took a picture of me.  No, I’m not going to publish it.

I enjoy taking pictures in vegetable and flower gardens. This is a yellow squash that my mom called patty-pan squash.IMG_1042 I have no idea why she called it that but I liked the name because it’s a form of my name. And sometimes people call me Patty, especially Spanish speakers. In Spanish it’s spelled Pati. Okay, in Spanish it sounds more like potty than Patty but I still like it. I think the diminutive sounds affectionate in both languages.

I was surprised at the number of plants being cultivated in a small space.IMG_1044 It’s a well-tended garden with prolifically producing plants. In addition to squash, we saw grape tomatoes,IMG_1050 heirloom tomatoes, zinnias, nasturtium, sunflowers, rosemary, and on and on.

As you can see here, even their Sunny Point sign looked as if it were growing good stuff.IMG_1049

After lunch on Sunday we make one last stroll through downtown. Granddaughter and I spotted these “southern yoga” t-shirts and had to have them. I love the color. Now I have something to wear on St. Patrick’s Day.

This trip was proof that spontaneous is sometimes the way to go.IMG_1055 We had fun spending time together — lots of laughs. No stress. Good food. Happy shopping. Cool temperatures. Does it get any better than that?

If you can’t stop my pain, you may as well just shoot me!

pills_variety_crop380wI try to be a pragmatic user of medications. I think we have them for a reason and the reason was all mine when I found myself in rehabilitation and unable to perform the most mundane tasks because of intense pain. Having said that, let me add that I thought I possessed a healthy but wary attitude toward all drugs, especially narcotics. I realize now that my perception of pain-killing opioids was informed by my family of origin which was rife with alcoholism and other drug addictions. My father died of complications from his years of drinking excessively. My brother died of an alcohol and drug overdose. Obviously my viewpoint was skewed.

Over the years of my adulthood I have learned to enjoy an occasional glass of wine, and I once took a Vicodin at the emergency room when I had what we believe was a gall bladder event. Triage sent me home with four tablets and told me perhaps I should take only a half since the whole tablet knocked me silly. I ended up throwing out 3 1/2 of them. That experience didn’t do a thing to quell my fear of drugs. In fact, quite the opposite.  Imagine going from that kind of trepidation about taking pain killers to begging for them back in October after my accident. That’s some serious pain.

I don’t remember exactly how long I lay in that hospital bed without any real help for my pain. I know that the therapists came to my room twice a day and laboriously tried to get me to a sitting position but the pain was agonizing and I couldn’t do it. I told them I needed to see a doctor so they sent one to see me. She said she understood I wanted/needed something for pain. I explained that I had to have something if I were going to be able to get up and get well. She left an order. I don’t know what it was but it helped about as much as an aspirin. Even one of my caregivers told me that was not what I needed; that it was not going to help my kind of pain. More time wasted while my muscles continued to atrophy.

Then I got a stroke of good luck. A staff member stopped by one day and asked me how I was doing. I told her I wasn’t making progress because of the pain. She informed me that there was a doctor on staff (I think fairly new there.) who knew all about pain management. She said, “You need to see him. He’s very good.”

I tried not to get my hopes too high but I asked my daytime nurse (CNA) to ask him to see me the next day. In fact I pleaded, “Don’t let him leave tomorrow until he’s seen me.” She promised she wouldn’t. (I have this mental image of her with a lasso around him, dragging him back down the hall.🙂 )

I don’t think she had to rope him but by golly he showed up and my rehabilitation took a one-eighty turn and I was on my way back. My relief was palpable.

I’ve thought a great deal about what Dr. H (H is for hero.) does that makes him an effective and outstanding doctor. I’ve recently been back at the facility for additional therapy and I saw him in the gym talking to a patient. She was in a wheelchair. He got down in a squat to look her in the face and talk to her. That’s when it all came flooding back to me. That’s what he does. And much more.

He came into my room, introduced himself, looked me in the eyes and we talked. He listened. What I said mattered. He showed no sign of being in a hurry. I was the only patient he had in that moment. This wasn’t one of those 3-5 minute visits. We talked until we said what we needed to communicate to each other. I understood him. He understood me. He made me a partner in my care. That matters a great deal to me. I monitored my medication about as carefully as he did. And guess what? I’m not addicted. That had been a big concern for me.

Dr. H is very young for one so perfectly attuned to his patients needs and concerns. I believe that medical personnel can be taught a great deal about compassion and patient care. But I don’t believe this doctor had to be taught that aspect of caring. He cares about people. He has a good heart. And it shines as he goes about his work. He’s very good indeed, and I’m enormously grateful.