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Random Vicissitudes

Most people understand – at least in a theoretical sense – how quickly life can change. In the two months since I last posted, the silence hasn’t come about due to a lack of blogging material. No, no, no. Furthermore, every single day without a post brought a deeper sense of unease … the pattern of my life seeming slightly upended! Red-Pencil

But the respite from my daily pattern was necessary and welcome … necessary because life demanded I attend other matters and welcome because it freed me (somewhat) from my irrational obsession to slavishly maintain daily posts – no matter what! With each day that passed, my figurative pencil grew more insistent and red-faced. Much to my surprise, people continued to drop by and read previous posts. (I am gratefully humbled by your interest.) Continue Reading →

Raising Canes . . . Maybe

Back in February, I posted about a day when I made a specific appointment to prune the raspberry bushes in my garden. I mentioned my reluctance to perform the task because I believed the productive plants might – given my notoriously purple thumb – take offense at being pruned and simply refuse to produce another crop! About two weeks ago, I took a hopeful gander at the raised-bed garden. I’m afraid it wasn’t good news.raspberry 1While I can’t confirm that said canes have actually given up the ghost, I’m beginning to worry. While the usual complement of weeds have begun to flourish (and propagate without any assistance), if there are new canes sprouting, I have not spied them. I will go out tomorrow and confirm. Granted, the temperatures may be fooling them into thinking it’s still late winter! Continue Reading →

Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats

From the time I was born, I had feeding issues. Those were the days when breastfeeding was on the decline and my parents had difficulty finding a milk-product I could digest. Cow’s milk made me sick so they began testing the potential of other similar milks.goatsEventually, they settled on goat’s milk which enabled me to thrive. Those were also the days when goat’s milk wasn’t sold in every grocery store. I’m not sure where they found goat’s milk in our relatively large city because I doubt it was readily available … I’m just glad they found it!

Once I graduated to solid food, my belly matured enough that I didn’t have serious food challenges. However, there were plenty of foods I didn’t care to eat. (Truthfully, my daddy was a picky eater and I know I must have watched him turn up his nose at multiple foods, especially vegetables. I learned from him … but then I ventured out on my own. He’d eat peas and lima beans, while I’ve always gagged on them!) Continue Reading →

The Shocking Lure of Celebrity

Usually, I take less than minimal interest in the ways congressmen or women choose to decorate their DC offices. It’s mostly trivial to me. However, when a congressman decides to go with the Downton Abbey motif (at a cost of $40,000), that piques my curiosity (and causes me to question his wisdom). The unfortunate revelations surrounding U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) have gradually surfaced, leading to his resignation announcement today.

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/6o0nvx

FROM: http://tiny.cc/6o0nvx

Schock made a pretty big impression in the nation’s capital. He recently was described this way by Politico:  The guy might just be America’s most photogenic congressman. The Men’s Health cover (above) dates from June 2011. The congressman rose quickly through the ranks and enjoyed wide margins of victory in his most recent elections. Continue Reading →

New Wrinkle in Care Packaging

For as long as I can recall, sending a “CARE package” meant you were sending a parcel of food or supplies (toiletries, socks, lotion, shampoo, etc.) to needy people in distant lands, mostly during emergencies. Under the CARE trademark, this humanitarian organization was originally named Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe and adopted as its mission (in 1945) sending food relief to hungry Europeans following World War II.CARE-37Over time, the organization continued its core activity but revamped its name to the more encompassing Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere. Today, CARE is active in 87 countries and engages in fighting poverty and assisting during emergencies. Continue Reading →

Live and Let Live?

Nobody needs to be reminded of the horror that took place last week in Paris. The uncertainty of possible copycat episodes in other places around the world causes each of us to doubly consider where we go, what we do and what we say. It’s not an ideal way to live, trying to think two steps ahead in anticipation of potential dangers. I’m not normally a worrier but I’ve known people who were. They can wear me out quickly!

lashesFailure (even unwillingness) to describe what occurred at Charlie Hebdo (and other places over the last several years) as Islamic Extremism or Radical Islam has lit up Twitter feeds and apparently surprised people around the world.

The twisted verbiage used to avoid such terms is laughable and maddening … for me at least. One State Department official tried to explain they were “… going to focus on all of the different kinds of extremism” and when challenged to identify other specific forms of extremism they’d be focusing on, the official replied:  “… there are people out there who want to kill other people in the name of a variety of causes.”

Oh, I get it. This walking on eggshells is because lots of unspecified other people (with their unspecifiedvariety of causes“) want to kill us. Perfectly clear. Should we just cede now that being liked by everyone is our chief goal? Close up the State Department offices. Close up the White House and Congress. Maybe Joel Osteen (with his feel-good, positive message) would step up and get all the various world parties together for a group hug? Continue Reading →

Reach Out and Touch

My mother-in-law phoned this morning. For many people, this might be an ordinary event. More often than not for me, phone calls from her send a tremor of worry through me.

DSC_0266

With one of her granddaughters, 2010

Because of her various life challenges, using the phone has become a complex operation; her dementia makes communication problematic, plus her hearing has diminished so she can’t always hear information clearly through the receiver. When I receive a call from her, my first thought is she needs emergency care or she’s fretting about an imagined crisis. (Prior experience has borne this out.) Continue Reading →

Salutations Small and Great

Whenever our grandson comes over to the house to play, we trade greetings similar to what many people do. Usually, I greet him with an eager smile, howdy and “How are you?” He smiles back, a broad smile. Then in his most sincere voice, he responds with, “Great!” (Not just good, but great … and not a bored “great,” but a lingering, meaningful “great.“)

20140308_162814Today, many greetings tend to have a throwaway aspect to them. I’m not saying we’re not genuinely interested in how someone is doing; it’s just we have these greeting phrases that get thrown out and are responded to in casual, almost absentminded, fashion … we do this so we can move on to the meat-and-potatoes portion of our conversation. Continue Reading →

Wasting Time

Earlier this week, my younger daughter and I were on the phone and the subject of sleep came up. Her habits are much like mine used to be:  work hard all day (she home-schools), feed and bathe children before bedtime, focus on husband until he retires for the night, and finally, collapse on the couch to breathe in the wonderful, relaxing silence, the blessed me-time.

harried-momSometime during that last interval, the urgency to notch various “accomplishments” (onto the day’s figurative belt) hits full force. For the next several hours, determination rules. Whether it’s a writing project or some other creative endeavor, the drive for project completion outweighs all tiredness … until at least 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. When this accomplishment machine is engaged, all-nighters are not uncommon. Continue Reading →

Hurting To Heal

When our elder son was just a boy (not quite three), he had surgery. I remember the situation and how I dreaded having my son cut on, even though I had total confidence in his physician. Our son was so young, so precious and utterly trusting … yet I had this terrible sense of guilt that we (his parents) were engaging in a kind of mini-betrayal.

AdamLittle2In the picture above, our boy is standing at the hospital desk, just prior to admission. He holds a lightweight suitcase with his right hand, a nerf football in his left and he’s wearing a smile and his favorite ball cap. The surgery occurred in early September, weeks before his end-of-the-month third birthday. Continue Reading →

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