Thursday, December 29, 2016

That "Safe" Spot

If you're anything like me, you tuck important things away in, well, what you think of at the time are "safe" spots. It might be an important document, one you know you are going to need later, but don't have, say, the correctly labeled file folder for at the moment. It might be that newly updated  password, or combination for a new lock you haven't customized yet.

And, if you are anything like me, that safe spot is the safest place in the world to keep things from... me. The "Where did I put that?" can plague you for months, years, or as long as  you are willing to keep hunting and never finding it.

What doesn't count is that thing you never thought you'd need again in your lifetime. I got married back in '67, divorced in '81. Best forgotten, as much as possible. Papers "lost" on purpose. I know who I am, so does the government when it's time to collect taxes, or keep track of my eligibility for Social Security. I have an original birth certificate, issued way back when it was thought important to know whether I was legitimate or not. For you younger generations, that translated to whether my parents were married before I was born. But I hear lately that if I ever want to fly again, I need documentation to prove not only that I am who I say I am, but I am who I was. My name changed. It'll be a major document hunt, involving two states I no longer live in, but I have to trust that those proofs are in a couple of government files someplace, that is, in truly safe spots, and only a migraine full of work will be involved in securing copies. So that doesn't count.

The real heartbreaker for me was when I noticed a prong was missing from my Mother's ring, and rather than chance losing a very nice sapphire, I chose to remove the ring and put it in a "safe spot." No, that safe spot was nowhere within my jewelry chest, logical as that may have been. Face it, if you throw in a touch of paranoia, that would be the first place a thief would look, and that ring is one of the two only truly valuable pieces of jewelry I have ever owned. Why would I think it was safe in a jewelry box? It also had a lot of sentimental value. My youngest had given me the three birthstones, and they are richly colored and sizeable. It was custom designed, nickle-free gold since I had just found out about that allergy, and just-for-fun I had taken a bunch of small diamonds from another, old piece of jewelry and had them channel-set around the birthstones. I turned in several pieces of old gold, including a tooth crown, so my out-of-pocket at the time was affordable. Replacement now? Forget it!

The other valuable one was a dinner ring that I had made using my engagement diamond plus a few other smaller stones. Both rings had been appraised and insured, and for years, both worn every day. The half carat diamond got to seem a bit showy, and having managed to lose the other one, I decided to pass that along to the child I had picked to inherit it before something happened to it too.

I never put an insurance claim in on the other ring, as I "knew" I was responsible for putting it somewhere, and claiming anything else had happened to it, despite encouragement from others, didn't sit well. Some day I would find it again. But where?

I could picture myself sitting on the side of my bed in Arizona when I noticed the missing prong. My memories come that way. Important moments come with pictures. But then what? I will confess to looking through that entire jewelry chest at least five times over several years, unwilling to admit I'd done the job well enough the previous times. I checked out my suitcase pockets and my purses, because I had it stuck in my head that I would be returning to Minnesota and would be taking it to get repaired at a reputable jeweler I knew there. I emptied and refilled all of my camera cases, thinking I might have stuck it there. I looked through the laptop bag. I checked my files boxes because at the time I was still working and tax documents traveled back and forth. I even started looking through jacket pockets, nic-nacs, pottery pieces... everything I could think of, multiple times.

Steve and I had even discussed finding a hypnotherapist to locate that memory, but it seemed a lot of work to find one every once in a while when we thought about it, when I have no idea if I'm hypnotizable. Not to mention possible cost. Still, I wouldn't let it go.  Even tonight, with nothing much on TV and a bit of cleaning and sorting begging to be done, I decided to start with that old jewelry chest "just one more time". Until the next time. It wasn't there, of course.

There were a few storage bins on my shelves that needed some  sorting and tossing as well. I found a couple pairs of nail clippers that I knew had to be somewhere. Chapsticks too. Glasses cleaner. Old safety pins, padlocks, vitamins well past date, and a tube of athlete's foot cream that I haven't needed since I retired and go barefoot much more than shod. That tube was in a plastic bottle and looked like it had been oozing out the bottom and turning dark.

Luckily I took another quick look at it before I threw it out. That dark spot moved. It rattled. It turned into my missing Mother's ring, tucked away in a Safe Spot where nobody would ever be stupid enough to look for it. Especially not me.

Yeee Haaaaa!

Now, let's see: what else am I missing?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I'd Love To Say....

...That my extracted tooth isn't bothering me any more. I'll have to settle for gratitude that I kept several Oxy around after knee surgery. And that I don't seem to get hooked on the stuff. I suppose I should also be grateful that it only takes a little over an hour for it to kick in after the big near-screaming jolt when the previous pill wears off at 2:15 AM.

...That I'm not depressed and scared silly with each new announcement of The Donald's latest cabinet appointee. But I just am. That's when I look over at Steve and am thankful for the thirty years of great friendship and each additional day of loving and being loved. I hope whatever new species follow us on this planet deserve it more than we did, and can figure out how to take better care of it.

...That I've figured out how to leave a meaningful legacy behind that we as a species haven't already demonstrated how to obliterate, that I believed beauty and love would outlast ugliness and evil,  or that there were a way to avoid permanent heartbreak that didn't involve total amnesia.

I'd love to say....

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

They Just Keep Coming

There's nothing quite exactly like being so high on your painkiller of choice that you think the reason you couldn't drive was that you were going to be lucky enough to find a dentist who would put you under in order to pull that abcessed tooth out, and now that the only one who could take you today would only use novocaine, you figured you'd be able to drive yourself home afterwards.

Good thing that the logic in that thought hit you while your driver was the one backing the car out of the drive, and not you.

I had a few Percoset left after the knee replacements, saved for just-in-case, and getting a broken and abcessed tooth over the X-mas holiday defined itself in my brain as the proper in-case moment. Days, actually. It has been so long that I'm not used to them any more, and the result was that 5 mg. was enough to kill pain, mostly, ensure sleep through half the night until time for the next pill, and once awake, leave me high enough to be silly. Downright dangerous as a driver as well,  had I chosen to be that stupid.

Still am, for that matter. Give me about 5 more hours before I get behind the wheel again.

On the plus side, the tooth is gone, the pain isn't likely to return except in a minor form which will serve to remind me I can't eat anything interesting for about three days and ceretainly not on that side, and I've discovered that the closest dentist is one I actualy like.

Yes, like!


On the not-so-plus side, extractions don't come free. Medicare doesn't pay for them. Maybe they figure that by my age the teeth are all fake anyway. Maybe they're just cheap buggers. So I hope not to be going back anytime soon. There have been enough minor emergencies hitting the budget to hold me for a while. And I still haven't replaced those other three tires, hired getting the pine straw up off the back yard, fixed the bathrooms' plumbing, or gotten the roof properly insulated. Not to mention ...
oh shucks, I forgot whatever it was.

Time for a nap, anyway.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Makin' A List, Checkin' It Twice

Sending out holiday cards (aka X-mas cards if you insist, but not everyone in the family is religious) is a chore. Yes, it's one I usually enjoy. But it takes time, and work, and a lot of frustration when people move. That's the list I have to check twice. Maybe five times.

Some of you get lost. And it's not all my fault.

Let's start at the beginning. I have a tradition of sending out photo cards. No, not pictures of us, the kids, the pets, with the sole exception of 2012 when we sent out a wedding photo, all credit given to my son-in-law, Ben Zvan. Otherwise, the picture(s) sent out are whatever lodged itself in my brain during the year when I took it. They have a knack of saying,"I'm the one,"

Then it's a trip to Target, Walgreens, or Walmart. Somebody who'll take my photo and my idea of a message and print out cards for me. Many years ago that meant I had the option of creating my own message. Now I have to chose the message from a limited list, so no more clever "Have a Whale of a Good Holiday Season" combined with my favorite Alaska shot of a pod of humpback whales surfacing from bubble-net feeding.

Resigned to settling for their choices of message, I sit before their machine-of-the-year and try to figure out how this one works this year. Every one is programmed differently from the previous year. You may or may not be able to crop, or move within the frame differently than how the machine decided you wanted to do it. Most have switched to touchscreens now, but some years it was click-and-drag, some years a choice of buttons to push, other years a different set that only pretend to do the same things.

I still have never sat in front of one of their machines without taking up about half an hour of whatever employee  could spare seconds here and there. I will say, most of them have been polite about it, forgoing the chance to dish out heaps of humiliation to somebody less tech savvy than they are.

One change for the better is the wait for the cards. You used to get a receipt with a date on it to come back and pick them up. Now they're printed right in front of you from the machine you just used. They make sure you pay because that's how you get your envelopes to match the cards. Another improvement is the quality of the color. It used to be terrible if the chemicals wore out because of the workload and nobody bothering to refresh them.

This year had an extra glitch before even getting to the  store. That new computer has no disc drive. I didn't feel like fighting holiday shopping traffic to go out and find a thumb drive, or whatever the current version of media transfer technology is. I didn't even care to have to answer that question, thank you. Luckily, the new computer doesn't wipe the SD card when you upload picture files, so I still had them on the card. And about the only thing wrong with the old computer, once I charged it up again for a few hours, is no Wi-Fi. So I uploaded the files into the old one, selected out the ones I wanted, and burned a disc.

As a side note, I had extra motivation to use cheap on-hand media rather than buy a thumb drive. Some of those pictures were shot at Crex Meadows. Crex has an annual summer photo contest, and one of the requirements is a digital file of submissions for their future use. If I still like those pictures next summer, I can just send that disc in with the pics, no extra fuss or expense.

Now we come to that address list. My new computer does not recognize my old HP1200 printer. It still works perfectly, but I have to hook it up via the old laptop. Last year's X-mas card list with last year's addresses is one of the stored documents on it. Of course I printed it out along with the x-mas letter, also written (yesterday) on the old laptop.

 BUT... that list was a year old. And the rest of my problems are your fault. Some of you died, but I recognize that scolding you is pointless. Some of you married, some moved, some even moved again. Some of you have never figured out that if you give your new information to Steve, thinking it'll get onto my address list, it's likely not going to happen. That's especially true if you're on his cell directory, in his email list, or he can connect with you on Facebook. I'm still trying to let him know it's necessary to save your holiday card envelopes if you sent one.

I can at least connect with my family and friends. Well, until abut 3:00 PM this afternoon. That's when my address book on my new computer crashed.


I'd go old school, since I still carry an analogue address book with me. But again, some of you have moved so many times that many pages filled up years ago. I really just need another one of those. The original is about 40 years old. A new one should last just fine. Especially if I invest in some White Out while it's still available.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Better Than New, Worse than Old

More tidbits for you. First, comparing the new vision to the old vision ... and lest I terminally confuse you, I mean the new lens in the left eye to the "normal" one in the right ... The new lens is already better, sharper, clearer vision than the other eye, and both used to have nearly 20-20 vision, just reading corrections. This is after less than a week, and the only other difference is that the natural lens has a bit of a yellow tint to it and the artificial one leans a tad bluish. Not a big deal, just interesting. I'm told the eye will stabilize in a few weeks, but if it stays just as it is right now, I'm more than happy.

The tree is up and decorated, as decorated as it will get this year. That always means bubbler lights, and we have three strings of the good old-fashioned kind, hooked up end-to-end. If there's going to be a tree, there have to be bubblers. If we don't feel like all the work of a tree, there will still be bubbler lights, somewhere. This year it meant that my craft table got moved, aka put away, and the futon got put in its place by the patio window, making room for the tree on the lanai with its lights shining in the dining room window. It also means Steve did the heavy work this year, since I wasn't allowed. Mustn't bump the new lens.

I hope I don't have to tell you what all that heavy work did to Steve's knees, especially the one that got the big knock last year, the one that never was much good (oh hey, that means both, actually) but never really healed in the past year. Just as well then that today was his scheduled lumbar block. That means in-and-out , aka day surgery, with an injection on one side of the spinal column 'cause they can't do both sides at once. The point is to numb his knee to block the pain so he doesn't need painkillers all the time and can approach functioning on that leg.

We don't know if it worked. For some folks it does, some not. What I can vouch for is  that it took two of the medical staff to walk him out to the car and sit him down in it so I could drive him home. I can also vouch that while he was out from under the general anesthetic, he was higher than a kite for past the time we got home, and after a little supper, went to bed. High for Steve is a combination of motor-mouth and having to be persuaded frequently that when they tell him he can't drive for 24 hours they do NOT mean tomorrow morning when the procedure was at 6 PM! But at least for tonight he was literally feeling no pain.


One of the satellite TV networks has been offering what they call the "Battle of the Nutcrackers", where 5 different ballet companies from around the world put on their version of The Nutcracker and you can watch them all and pick your favorite. OK, I love the music, so I really could listen 5 times in 5 days. However, not a single one of them was up to snuff for me.

I have been thoroughly spoiled. I took the kids to see it in Minneapolis several times, back when they were little. Lloyce Holton (apologies if it's spelled wrong) put it on each time. It was charming, magical, perhaps a bit on the cute side with the little budding ballerinas in mouse costumes, but told a very distinct story that none of these supposedly "world class" companies managed to do, and showcased real talent. The children were children, not just short dancers, and acted as bratty as children can do at a formal adult party. Their Cossack dancers actually managed to do that squat-kicking  move throughout their dance. The Arabian dancers knew how to undulate rather than just wave scarves around.  The Spanish dancers looked like they knew something about Flamenco rather than just wore something-like costumes but did ordinary ballet steps. The toys weren't puppet shows but actual dancers in costumes, and it always opened with a scene in the magical workshop of Godfather Drosselmeier where he's making the toys before the party.

All of that is what the Nutcracker is to me, and everything else comes short. Maybe I should just settle for a good complete soundtrack and memories.

Meanwhile we've been enjoying upper 70s down here and watching the blizzards on TV. Eat your hearts out. Better yet, come visit!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Surgical Light Show

Yes, cataract surgery is finally in the past, and I'm recovering. Of course, you know me, and writing abut it is never going to be that simple.

First, the big lie. Both the doc's office, and the person from the Eye Institute who called the day before to remind me of the appointment ('cause I'd forget?) and to bring insurance and ID cards along with the extra $500 for using lasers, both of them assured me that I could do the procedure under a general anesthetic. I mentioned previously that I have/had a horror of having to watch surgery on my very own eye.

When I mention that during prep, they actually laughed at me for being so silly as to think I could get a general. I suggested they talk to whomever it is sending out the reminder calls to get their info straight. But I was there, the IV was hooked up, I really wanted to see again with that eye, so I figured it was too late to back out. But it was a passing thought.

I settled for reminding myself that the procedure was only supposed to last 15 minutes, and I've had worse times in the dentist chair. So really, how bad could it be?

I know, I know, never  ask that question unless you're ready for the answer. But it turns out that maybe the only good thing about a cataract as thick as mine was is what you couldn't see before, you also can't see during.

Except the light show.

They taped the good eye shut during the procedure. Thank goodness. They also had a shaped pillow to hold my head steady, and enough anesthetic that I couldn't move that eye around if I wanted to. In spite of that fact, they told me to stare at the bright central light. I could feel the eyelid spreaders, first pulling the top lid up then the bottom down, but there was surprisingly no pain.

It didn't work, of course, for me to stare at some alleged central bright light. The cataract made the whole field of vision uniformly bright giving me nowhere to look. Except... slightly up and left of center there was a light show going on, so I decided to concentrate on that. It was a fairly small circle, and nobody said they didn't like where the eye was pointing.

It's a bit hard to describe accurately, and not just because it came into sharp focus, got a bit blurry, then a lot, then returned to sharp. The colors when in focus were blue and white, blurring into the background brightnes when focus was lost. The background was a nice deep blue, just a touch more faded than indigo. Inside that were vibrating white shapes that could be described as gears, stars, or pointy amoebae. They didn't move relative to each other but they moved, giving me something to focus my attention on, to study other than the actual procedure. I was surprised retinal fatigue didn't seem to come into play. Shouldn't things get dark occasionally, colors reverse?

The light show didn't block my awareness of the procedure, of course. The Doc was telling his female assistant what was going on while she was commenting on things like how hard it was to tell how deep to cut with the laser with such a solid cataract. Occasionally she commented on his doing a good job - how reassuring -  and he pointed out how well the pieces of cataract got sucked out of the eye. Oh, there was another tiny one.

At that point I wondered if I should be seeing anything different, but no. Not till the big ring began appearing. My first impression was it was a rubber or a diaphragm, but wrinkled with darker lines radiating from the outer ring in towards the center like spokes in a bicycle wheel. Was my vision going to have lines in it like that? It went away for a little bit, then returned without the spokes but with bits like dust and microbes coating it. Were those just "floaters"? Did they forget to clean it properly? Couldn't they see it was dirty? Or maybe were those teeny bits of the cataract that hadn't been removed?

In no time after that surgery was finished. I couldn't see a thing but generalized light, a bit of a disappointment as I hoped for some kind of vision now. More eye drops, a pad over the surgical eye held by a stretchy band to avoid my tape allergy, the good eye's pad removed so I could see again for the shift off the gurney onto a chair to make sure I was good to go.

While the bandaging was happening, I peeked a bit but saw almost nothing. Not until the eye was closed. Then I saw general pink, with a horizontal deep red center figure 8 radiating spikes out all over, tiny needles on interconnected balls, the left one being smaller. I guess the tranquilizer they gave me before surgery was really working, because I wasn't freaking out that my vision might be like this.

Once the bandaging was complete, I found I couldn't keep the left eyelid completely closed, as a ring of white light around the bottom kept informing me. I finally decided to just keep both eyes closed unless absolutely necessary, like, say, walking to and from the car. It reminded me of back when I had Bells Palsy and couldn't close the eye properly. As it turned out, I couldn't do it now either. I was so numb, I found out later as feeling slowly returned, that the numbness included not just the eye, but the brow and forehead, one side of the nose, and the upper lip. Kinda like a trip to the dentist, just without the drill. And as each bit wore off, the area newly unnumbed hurt, whether it actually did or not.

They gave me water and crackers since it was late afternoon and I hadn't had food nor drink since before midnight. Of course they also shot me a pageful of instructions during this process. Some were the same as both the general handout pamphlet or the typed handout from the Doc, some different.

So... I guess take your pick. Which drops how often? One set of instructions had every four hours for 3 meds, one had two meds 4 x day but 1 only 2 x day, one added artificial tears every hour to avoid irritation. Then there was the pill for after supper (which schedule? mine where 4PM was breakfast? or theirs?) that kept me up all night peeing so there wasn't pressure buildup inside the eye.

The light show wasn't anywhere near over. While the light pressure bandage was on it, I had a center of bright dancing purple lights, shaped much like NASA's space pictures of noctilucent clouds,
 but not in blue. Simultaneously with them were flashing pinpoints of light in red and yellow, about 2 or 3 at any time. Both went away when I pulled the bandage slightly up off the eye for a couple seconds.

The eye patch  stayed on for 5 hours until it was time for the first drops. That was when I could actually see something real out of that eye for the first time in weeks or months. I forget now just how long it's been how bad, especially as it got worse a bit, then better, then worse. I found out that wasn't at all unusual for cataracts from the prep nurse while we had a bit of time.

Hey, nice that something about me resembles normal, eh?

For bed, after the last drops, I covered the eye with a rigid curved frame which I'll use at least a week for sleeping protection, held on by reusing that elastic strip and a safety pin.

So how was my first look at the world through the new lens? Blurry. Red. But visible again. Unless of course I looked at a light, like the dining room chandelier. Every light turned into a shimmering black blob for as long as I looked at it. I kept rechecking just to see if the effect was real. It was. I just had to hope it was simply another version of the light show artifact from having my eye messed with so drastically, and indeed, it hasn't reappeared, nor any of the other bits of the light shows, since morning. The blur is still there, but it's better. The whole eye is vampire red, and recolors my vision a bit, but that's all supposed to get better.

Steve drove me back to the surgeon's regular office this morning for my post-op check, and he - the surgeon -is happy. The eye chart already shows my vision restored to 20-50, and he expects it to become very close to 20-20. I'll still use trifocals because there's no near or middle distance correction, but that's my old normal.

I'll take it!

Oh, and there's a completely different schedule of which drops when, plus a new drop to replace the final of the 4 x a day ones before bed.  Damn good thing it's all printed out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Couple Weird Tidbits

No, I'm not talking about Trump's announced cabinet picks. Their weirdness speaks for itself.

The first weird thing tonight is a new use for Botox. It got its whole couple minute segment on the 10 PM news. Apparently the stuff's not just for facial wrinkles anymore. And migraines are old news as well. But tonight's newscast could have been straight out of The Onion. Only it's apparently not.

They are calling it Scrotox. And if you think about it a sec, that's exactly what it's for. Men are getting Botox injected into the scrotum, or "below the belt" as the newscaster tried to euphamize it. They claim it has a couple of uses, and we're not talking protection against a good swift kick. Although I wonder....

The first use is to drop the testicles to reduce sweating.  Uh, hey, guys, showers? That's the best cure for stink. Trust a woman on this. Plus they're much cheaper, and  useful in other ways too. Although I could see dropping them to cool the testicles to increase fertility. Too much heat impairs sperm. Don't rely on it for birth control, however.

The second use is also about dropping the testicles, in order to increase the apparent size of "certain other parts" in the, uh, foreground.

And they said, "Vanity, thy name is woman!"

You hear us laughing?

The second weird tidbit is an apparent side effect of my getting ready for Wednesday's cataract surgery. If you recall, the last vision check had my eye down to distinguishing light and shadow in very general terms, and some retention of the color red. I'm now on a regimen of two different pre-surgery eye drops, taken two and four times daily respectively. Tonight in mediocre lamp light, some high-contrast shapes are a little more defined, green and yellow are back, and blue in a cloudless sky has reappeared. So far as I know, the purpose of the eye drops is to rid the eye surface of infective microbes. Why my vision is improving is a mystery: weird, but I'll take it!

Saturday, December 3, 2016


I freely admit it: I kinda enjoy mentally insulting other drivers that I consider idiots while I'm out driving. It's mostly a mental monologue. I seldom actually say anything unless whatever boneheaded thing they just did is particularly egregious, and very rarely swear.

Oh wait: is "asshole!" swearing?

Anyway, I'm usually pretty calm behind the wheel, even in stop-and-go rush hour traffic. I listen to public radio, classical music, or work on mental problem solving as a way to get through it all. I never forget there are a whole lot of idiot drivers out there. After all, you only have to get 70% of the questions right at the time of the test in order to get a license. That can leave a whole lot of ignorance and stupidity behind the wheel, not to mention non-sobriety, texting, fighting, whatever.

So while mentally insulting my fellow drivers is a tool for keeping calm, I still stay back and stay wary.

This afternoon, returning from a lunch with friends, I was just over a block from home when suddenly a big grey SUV appeared in my rearview, then pulled out into the oncoming lane and passed me. My first reaction any time I'm passed is to check my speedometer. I might be being given a "subtle" hint to speed up to the limit. Not this time though. I was doing 30 in a 30. He was speeding.

Not only that but we were coming up on an intersection, 105th Ave. It's one I normally slow down for simply because it has a big dip in the center, enough to hurt Steve's back if he's along and I don't slow. It's become habit.

FYI for you non-Arizonans out there, the dips are for rain removal. It doesn't happen often or hard enough to make it economical to put in storm drains, so dips are all you get. The really big dips are called washes, and come with warning signs, occasionally ignored by - you guessed it: idiots - never to cross when water is flowing through them. 105th, though, is just one of the bigger normal dips.

Back to the SUV. I'm guessing he didn't see the white sedan that ran the stop sign any sooner than I did. He'd just sped into her way while I hadn't. Her car finally made it across the intersection and came to a stop with its front end crumpled to about half its original length. The SUV, having been broadsided, rolled over, tossing papers all over through its open windows, and finally stopped right side up again against the curb about 4 houses past the intersection on the other side of the street.

I managed to completely avoid all flying debris from either car, and pulled over to a relatively clean spot along the curb to make a 911 call for both cops and ambulance. Within a minute, if adrenaline didn't screw up my time sense, I heard sirens from both east and west. I carefully drove the 2/3 block left to get home, not only to clear the area for the important vehicles, but because there was a piece of plumbing at home loudly calling my name. By now neighbors were coming out of their houses to lend aid if needed, something I was ill-equipped to do.

I did, however, walk back down after a couple minutes and give my eyewitness account and personal information to the two deputies who showed up, before heading home for the day. I'm ready for some fake adventure from the TV.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Daily Vision Changes

Well, I broke another machine. No, I didn't knock anything over because I couldn't see it or anything like that. I'm just one of those people in whose mere presence machines break down. Never get behind me in a check-out line of you're in a hurry: something will happen. This time, it was a machine in the eye surgeon's office. They needed a final exam, which is supposed to lead to a print-out of data on my eye. Both, actually.

The repairman has been called. It probably started working again soon after I left.

In the meantime they switched to a different machine in a different room. I didn't manage to break this one. The biggest problem for me, with both machines, actually, is I'm supposed to hold my eye open for about 15 seconds. I blink about every one to three seconds. Can't help it. I blame it on the antihistamines I take, but allow for the possibility it's an early stage of Shogren's. Another gift from Mom, if so.

I had plenty of time  to do nothing much while they were trying to get the information they needed, so I decided to see for my own "amusement" - or edification - how the cataract is progressing from my side. An unfamiliar room is a great place to compare what is visible or not from each eye. There are two major changes today.

First, bright lights, seen through the cataract, used to be blurs covered with black spots, evenly distributed tiny specks like looking through a thin machined filter. No more black specks. Colors have changed too. Today I see light or shadows in various intensities, and red. The red can vary from pink to reddish brown. Yellow, green, blue: gone. I only know they are there by checking with the good eye.

I haven't decided whether I find this interesting or frightening. Both, I guess, along with relief/hope that in a week all will be changed. Surgery is the 7th.

Oh, and there's a complication. I have - if I got this right - pseudo exfoliation. The term may not be exact, but I correctly translated it back to the surgeon as false shedding. There's a ring around the lens that sheds cells. Over time, it could mean that the implant loosens and falls back inside they eye, requiring another surgery to pull it forward back into place.  He told me to spend some time on the internet finding out more about the condition.

Hey, when does a Doc tell  you that? Usually it's to ignore all the misinformation out there and listen only to the Doc.

Anyway, there are two things to consider, besides a possible future second surgery. One is a choice between scalpel surgery and laser surgery. Lasers cut more exactly and with less movement applied to the eye in the process,  which could help postpone problems. Scalpel surgery -yes, it's still done! - applies more movement and could hasten a problem.

Seems like a no-brainer, eh? But the second thing to consider is there is a difference of $1,500 between the two procedures. And Medicare only covers the cheap one. They don't recognize there may be a good medical reason, not just a comfort reason since the eye heals sooner, for doing the laser surgery.

I opted for digging out the plastic to cover the better option. I took some time to think about it. After all, I'm only going for the simple new lens Medicare pays for and will continue with wearing trifocals. The technology exists for me not to need any corrective exterior lenses after.

Oh, I'm also promising myself that the first indication of blurriness from the other eye, fast as this one has been growing,  I'm heading back to the surgeon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

So... Updates.

Some good, some not so.

Turns out I found the card proving my auto insurance paid for the tow to the tire  store. While I worked the craft show, Steve rode with the truck, found out we needed more than a plug, and ordered a new tire. It, of course, was in the warehouse. They shuttled him home, and finally got the tire in time to pick him up again for back to the store so that he with the car arrived home well after I did. My day out was 7AM to 5:something PM.

Yep. Beat. With another 4-hour shift the next day to follow. Add two days to mostly recover.

We thought we had good news when the tire company we used advertised a buy-3-get-4th-free deal, good through Monday. Turns out they didn't mean our tires. So we didn't get the other three replaced.

Steve's been a bit under the weather with the cold air arriving. It brought a 1/4" rain, along with enough wind to kick the bucket I set out to catch rain water not just over but unfindable until daylight. Maybe a rock in the bottom next time. But the back yard got pooper scooped before the first drops fell, whether I felt like walking any more or not. Welcome as the rain is, the cold air means that by the time he arrived at the center to play cards Monday night, a high point in every week, he was so chilled and achey he came right home again and went to bed. He's there again now instead of Tuesday's cards. And the furnace is finally officially "ON". Blankets and sweats are as well.

He got good news from his Doc. The shadow on his lung hasn't changed a bit since last year, so he's to check in again in another year. It may be scarring from Valley Fever, but if so it's old news, not ongoing. If something else, it's inactive for the last year. That's a relief.

I hit my cardiologist today, combining my semi-annual visit with the official OK for the cataract surgery. Tomorrow Solar panels go up, Thursday we head back to the surgeon for all the last info before surgery the next week. It can't come soon enough! As quickly as it came on, it's thickening more with a vengeance. That eye now can distinguish only extremes of light and dark. I can wave my own hand in front of that eye now, and already not only can't tell fingers, I can't see the hand moving.

It's annoying!

I can still watch TV, read, and pooper scoop with one eye, so I'm putting up with it, however grudgingly. However, without being able to detect even motion on that side, Steve is now our official driver. Thursday will be fun. He gets about 20 miles in full morning city rush hour. This from the guy who hates traffic, rush hours, and city driving. Give him a country lane to a fishing hole every time!

That's my guy!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Yet Another Thanksgiving Disaster

Why does it always have to happen on Thanksgiving Day? After all these years, you'd think I'd know, if there's going to be any kind of a disaster, that's when. There have been so many. Sewers back up, pipes freeze, weather is at its winter worst, power goes out so dinner can't cook.... Name it, that's when it picks to happen.

Today it was a flat tire. Not a real disaster, you'd think. Just pop on the spare, fix it when stores open again. It's not as if Steve and I were going anywhere. Today. Tomorrow and Saturday are a whole different thing. No, not idiot Black Friday. I need to help out our club at the all-Sun City clubs craft fair. We display and sell whatever it is that our club does. I have three shifts scheduled behind the tables selling, and one driving a golf cart to give rides to folks who had to park far away and want to have enough energy to stick around and spend money. You know, Cousin Julie needs a necklace and Aunt Margaret needs a towel with a crocheted top to hang over the whatever she's going to hang it over, and Fred needs a new lawn sign. We have a lot of cool clubs.

I've changed a lot of flats in my day. Taught my boys how to do it. Developed my own process that includes jumping on the lug wrench to loosen lug nuts I haven't the arm strength to turn. While I haven't changed my own tire since the knees went bad, I actually had hopes of being able to kneel down enough to set the jack. I even pulled out the fattest old quilt in the house to go under the knees, with cushions on standby if needed. Failing all that, there are some nice able-bodied neighbors.

All I had to do was pull out the jack and the spare. As a bonus in the process of digging my way down to the spare tire well, I even got rid of oatmeal that had been kicking around since some time last summer when Steve took it carp fishing (he can explain it to you) and the box leaked. Anyway, I get all the junk cleared, lift off the floor piece, and....


Hyundai, apparently. I bought it new in 2013, and in 90,000+ miles have never needed to change a tire. Never ever considered that standard equipment wasn't. Oh, there was a cute little grey styrofoam filler in the spare tire space. Holding the floorboard up, I guess. That's all the help it was.

I contacted the one other club member whose home phone number I actually have, and secured a ride for tomorrow. It is, of course, for three hours earlier than I need to get there, so I need to find a way to kill time that won't be too uncomfortable. They will have those standard metal folding chairs that nobody can sit in for more than a half hour without squirming, or outside picnic tables or concrete benches, but outside won't be warm until mid afternoon. No place to put the feet up or the head down.


Meanwhile, Steve will be - with luck - locating a service that can come out, remove the tire, take him and it back to their shop to repair or replace the tire, and bring both back and reinstall the tire. Yes, I know they'll find an excuse why they can't fix it and try to sell him a set of four. Won't happen. I'll accept one if absolutely necessary. I used to have a mechanic I could trust to do the minimum necessary and do it well. He's about 1800 miles away. So Steve and I have had the chat about how to be hard nosed and just where the balance needs to fall between ideal and possible.

With any luck, the car will be ready for him to pick me up and bring me home when I'm done.

Aren't I an optimist?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Willful Ignorance

One of my biggest annoyances from this last election cycle was everybody who'd say, "I don't know much about politics, but..." and proceed to spout off about what they thought was going on and how they "excused" their vote.

This or that candidate would give them this, primarily because they thought/wished/needed them to. No checking on actual factual history or patterns of behavior. That candidate was awful because somebody else said so and that was good enough for them. Either way, either candidate, it all amounted to willful ignorance.

If I haven't made it clear yet, I have absolutely no patience for that. I don't give a shit how busy you are. It's your civic responsibility not only to vote but to make informed choices.

I recently had somebody slither up to me after I mentioned something about Minneapolis and start spouting about those awful radical Somalis who were congregating there and conspiring gawd-only-knows-how. Well, I used to work with a whole lot of those Somali immigrants. We had occasions to chat about customs, religious practices, how families were typically run. There was a corner set aside for prayers and cubbys to tuck prayer rugs into in order to keep them clean and handy. There was a foot washing facility in the unisex restroom (since there was only room for one restroom in the waiting area).

My only comment to her in response to her offensive comments was to inform her I had worked with many Somalis and had found them to be really good family people. She couldn't get away from me fast enough. I doubt she's any less willfully ignorant today than before. I'm willing to bet that if she bothered to vote her choices were made from fear of "those others".

I demonstrate twice a month with a group of folks (Grandmothers for Peace), holding up a variety of signs against war. Any war. We sit, we talk, we wave at the folks who honk their agreement as they pass. We discussed the upcoming election. More than one of them proudly announced their choice to vote for a third or fourth party candidate because they believed that was the best route to ending wars.

I was raised to be too polite to challenge them with, "How in hell can a candidate with absolutely no chance of winning be able to effect one iota of the change you/we want? Are you too stupid, or too willfully ignorant, to realize that the only way to make a positive difference is to vote for one of the top candidates, one with an actual chance, whose position is closest to what you want even if it's not absolutely perfect? Once in office, they can be lobbied with everything you've got to work on getting your goals met?"

I didn't go demonstrate today. Only part of it was due to an early medical appointment. (Yes, on a Saturday: eye sonogram.) Or even how much I needed a nap afterwords.Mostly I wanted to chew out a bunch of them, asking how they liked all the hawks being put into cabinet positions for the upcoming administrationjust because they, and so many like them, were too willfully ignorant, or just plain willful, to understand that failing to vote for the lesser of what they think are two evils is the same as a vote for the greater evil?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cataract II: Seeing - Sort Of - The Expert

"How many fingers am I holding up?"

"I'm not sure. Where's your hand?"

We were about a third of the way through the actual exam. This doesn't count the hour filling out paperwork, the wait with Steve well past appointment time because they were busy, or the actual connection with the Doc at the end to check my dilated eyes and start scheduling a variety of pre-op, surgical, and post-op appointments. (I'm going to be very busy, starting tomorrow.)

But the midpoint of the exam was with the staff, rechecking eye pressure, vision, and whatever else they needed first, then showing me a video explaining what the surgery can and can't do, what Medicare will and won't pay for, and eventually directing me to the corner where they were hiding the restroom. All through the first two major parts of the visit, I caught repeated comments from the staff about how impatient several of the patients were as they were running so late.

I decided not to be one of those. I found the staff very helpful and informative, from answering my questions to apologizing to Steve for how long they were keeping me. Who needed to add to their challenges for the day?

The video reassured me that nearly the entire procedure is performed by lasers so I can maybe not freak out over the prospect of watching scalpels digging into my eye.

For the record, in the how-many-fingers exam, once she started moving her hand out of the deep shadow it had been in and waved it back and forth a couple times, I was able to tell her, "Five."

Information I got back was that I have a type 4 or stage 4, or whatever their jargon is, kind of cataract. There was something about a hard rim as well. At least I think I got that last part right. He translated that as being fully mature. A bit of a surprise for something that was just being hinted at a year ago. And a bit of a worry once he announced another one is starting in the other eye. I can't tell  it's there yet, but it's definitely a strong incentive to fix the first ASAP. Although he also said something about granules and I  didn't manage to get my act together soon enough after that to ask if the cataract surgery will fix those and/or what their prognosis is.

Because they can't see through this one, I have to get a procedure that's essentially an ultrasound of they eyeball so they can look for any other abnormalities, like, say, retinal detachment, as well as measuring the eye for the new lens fit. They called the Doc who does that, catching him in his car heading home as it was so late. He agreed to see me Saturday.

Tomorrow I have to call his office staff to assure them he OKed the appointment, call my cardiologist to see if we can push up my appointment so I have an EKG for them, or get one elsewhere within a week, and head to my Primary Doc for an already scheduled appointment. See? Busy.

Once the tests are in, there's a final appointment with the surgeon to go over everything, and then get my new lens Dec. 7.  I go back the next day for post-op check, then again after two weeks. It's kinda vague as to exactly I get examined for the new Rx for my glasses after that. Weeks. Months.

One thing sure is that I will still need glasses. Not just for the other eye, but because Medicare will only approve the simplest, cheapest version of an implant. While there are ones out there that correst for far, middle, and near distance vision, and can even fix astigmatisms, Medicare will pay to fix only one of those. Your choice. For the rest you pay yourself or get glasses. I'm opting for good distance vision. It's what I'm used to.

Oh, and don't forget the page full of possible bad side effects. And the lack of guarantee, which can even include the growth of a second cataract at the very rear behind the part they replaced. They can maybe fix that by punching a hole through with a laser, though.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Did you know cataracts are black? I didn't. I grew up watching the neighbor's old, old dog wandering up the middle of the street with white film over its eyes. Somebody explained it it was in the street because it was blind, and it was blind because those white things were cataracts. Nobody ever contradicted that piece of "knowledge".

Not till today.

I just got home from my annual eye exam. It's the one that insurance actually covers, along with a tiny fee towards new glasses. I try these days to be a bit more religious about getting it done because they need to be checked to see if my pre-diabetes is having any effect on them. The first exam after the diagnosis revealed something called a "Nevis", easy enough to remember since I went to school in that small town in rural Minnesota from first through third grade, way back when postage stamps climbed from two to three cents and Mom was complaining on and on about it as we were leaving the post office once. Anyway, the next annual exam showed that it disappeared, and has never returned. The spot, not the town.

Well, unless it's in my left eye. They have a harder time seeing in than I do seeing out right now, so many things are possible.

I knew something was starting to happen just before last year's exam. For a few weeks I was positive I couldn't be getting my glasses lenses clear enough. I kept wiping them and wiping them, but they just never got clear. Not that my nearsighted eyes could see what was on them without wearing them, but....

Still, some days were better than others, which is why I figured it was just me. Or a dirty spot on the hanky. Or the new cleaner I bought just wasn't up to the task. I mentioned it at the eye exam, but that was one of the clear days, and nothing was said about it. I just got one of those looks like I was wearing three heads or something, like you get when nobody else experiences what you do.

I was given new glasses with a tiny correction, hated them immediately, and tucked them away somewhere. You know, in that "safe place" that turns out to be a hole in the space time continuum. The same spot my mother's ring and several important receipts have landed in over the years. As far as the glasses go, I'm much happier with my old titanium frames anyway. But I really miss that ring.

As time passed,  the blur got worse. And occasionally a bit better. Still, one eye sufficed for watching TV, driving, and most importantly of all, reading.

Early this week it worsened enough to drive me in for my annual exam, delayed for lots of unimportant reasons. That eye can see vague forms, light and shadow, washed out colors. Details are gone. I know that my display cabinets hold a plethora of very detailed pottery, since I see them clearly right-eyed. Left-eyed they are a brown blur in a couple of fuzzy tones. The window is bright - during the day - but the blinds, houses across the street, and passing vehicles don't exist. I can tell there are five bright spots in the chandelier over the table, but they look like they are coated with a thin black gauze. It moves slightly with major head movements, but otherwise the details stay the same in front of the lights.

Can you tell I've been studying what I can/can't see?

The exam proved  it was definitely a cataract. Not only did it drive his machines bonkers when they tried to get their various readings on my eyes before the Rx check, but when he shined his bright little light into that eye he was unable to see in. It was like a brick wall. I jokingly asked whether they were stacked horizontally or vertically, and he replied they were more like round cobblestones. Interesting. From my perspective, his bright little light simply vanished to black when he aimed it into the eye. That part really surprised me, since I can see out a bit still. The right eye he had just used it in still was having the afterimage dancing around on a squiggly line from its turn.

We didn't bother dilating my eyes since that will need to be done by the surgeon anyway before proceeding further. Any surgery will likely change my prescription once again, so I have to return afterwards to re-do that part with the first Doc. None of this stopped the staff at the counter from trying to interest me in a pair of new glasses before I left, of course.

Must be on commission.

I walked out with a set of referrals to pick from for further exam, and presumably surgery. One is a bit more of a drive than the others, but considering I likely got some help in growing this left side cataract from my two million miles behind the wheel, the drive doesn't scare me. Besides, the Doc in question is this Doc's very own Doc. I figure what better referral can there be?

And they'll see me tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Spoiler Alert

So you thought you could make your point by voting for somebody who had no chance of winning because you couldn't bring yourself to vote for the "lessser of two evils"? Setting aside for the moment the idea that Hillary was anywhere near as evil as the press and her opponents have pushed us to believe, please remember this one simple fact: failure to vote against the GREATER of two evils by going for the most likely candidate to beat them ENSURES that the greater evil wins!

You saw it in Florida in the 2000 election. 19,000 people voted for Ralph Nader because they liked him more than Gore and really hated the thought of Bush winning the Presidency. They were called spoilers. Rightly so. I don't give a shit how irate Nader gets at the word. The margin between the top two candidates was in the low hundreds of votes. Had these people voted effectively, their least favored candidate would not have gotten into the white house. They spoiled the election, for themselves, for the country. We're still dealing with the consequences of an unjust war, with ISIS getting all the ammunition it needs to sway people to their cause.

Don't forget Gore won the popular vote in 2000. It just didn't count.

Watching election returns, there were many states in which Hillary lagged behind Trump by a smaller margin than the number of votes cast for the closest "third party" candidate. (I use quotations marks because we all saw a much larger number than three candidates on our presidential ballot.)

This time Hillary won the popular vote. It just didn't count this time either.

Now I'm not telling people not to vote for their true top choice in the election. I'm simply reminding you that the way the rules are written right now, it's just a very stupid thing to do. You'll never convince me that a voter for a Green Party candidate who has no possible chance of winning would prefer sending the election to the guy who doesn't even believe in global warming.


But that's what you did. You have just ensured that this planet will become less and less survivable for more and more species. Including ours.

While it may be too late, not just for this election but for the long term, there is an alternative. It was designed and proposed by a mathematician as a way to get the highest number of people nearest to their top choice of outcome. It's called "Ranked Choice Voting." Minneapolis has been doing it in its local elections.

While it seems complicated, I'll try to make it a simple as possible. Let's limit the options to three choices for one position. It works for any number, but three is easier to explain. Everybody voting ranks the choices as 1, 2, and 3. Nobody "throws their vote away", as is commonly complained about now. At the end of the first counting, if any one choice gets a majority of the votes, aka 50% + 1, the election is over.

But let's say the top vote getter only gets 42% of the vote. That means that 58% didn't like that choice. Only a minority get what they want. So now we go to the bottom choice on the list. Let's say it got 16%. Those ballots are reexamined for their stated second choice, and those votes are put in one of the remaining two piles. One of those piles is sure to have more votes than the other, and that choice wins. The most people are the most satisfied with the result. Whatever it is.

In a real-world political election, supposing the choices are limited to Republican, Democratic, and Green, a lot of people who really prefer Green will be afraid of wasting their vote and vote the closest major party in its platform, Democratic. This way their first choice can now be Green. No wasted votes, no spoilers. Green may even show up in the top two if people feel free to really vote their minds. Note: it could work the same way if Republicans had initially split off the Tea Party which was way to their right. Any first choice with no presumed chance of winning would be backed up by the next closest choice.

The final result would be, depending on your point of view, either the majority's most liked or least disliked. The majority would be happier with the result. If they couldn't say, "Hoooray, my favorite won", they could still say, "Hooray, at least it wasn't _______".

Now, if only we could quit screwing up the system by getting rid of the Electoral College....

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Narcissistic To The End

What would you like to hear the losers of today's election say after it's all over? Something maybe about working together for the good of the country? Perhaps a nod to the issues they have brought to the country's attention and their pledge to continue working on them? Maybe thanks to the American people for showing up to the polls and using their democratic rights/obligations to cast a vote?

Don't expect any of that from Trump. (Please, please, may he lose!) He's already been complaining about how awful our democracy is because the system is rigged. His opponent needs to go to jail for unspecified and unproven crimes. His followers should all go out and exercise their second ammendment rights to overturn this election. Yada yada yada: there's been plenty of news coverage of all of that spew.

But yesterday, in case you haven't already seen who he is, he made it quite clear that this has all been about him, him, him! He announced to his followers that if he loses, this whole thing will have been his biggest waste of time ever. Yeah, that's right: his time.

Completely ignoring how much he's been wasting this country's time!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

And Continues....

Nope, "like" is still too strong a word. My relationship with my new computer is approaching tolerable. Approaching.

There has been some progress.

I tried to open my photo library and got told it was too old and would not convert. I needed to download some new update that would - far as I could interpret - reconfigure my photos so they could be read by the new computer. I started working on that yesterday. Epic fail. Times three. I didn't want to bother Ben again so soon, so I closed down and tried again this morning. Twice more. I still don't know what I did differently, but I did get a different result. A new window opened.

This one had more instructions in it, and after three tries or so I got the updated software downloaded. Then I was to go to something called a "go menu" in Finder and click on utilities. Nothing in my Finder that I can see expresses any interest in being identified as a Go Menu. But even I, by now, knew where to find Utilities, so I decided the name didn't matter so long as I got there and clicked on that. After that it was simple.

Sort of. I did find out that I had downloaded the updating software 5 times without ever seeing the green arrow I was told would appear to indicate success. So I spent a minute dragging 4 of them into the trash. Oh, along with another thing that downloaded twice from the other day. Then the conversion process took about half an hour, aka 18 minutes in computer speak. But really half an hour. After checking my photo library, I plugged in Time Machine and made a backup.

Having a bunch of newer pictures from this summer on my camera SD card, I put those in the computer too. Then this pesky window that I could not get rid of, announcing there were already improvements to add to my operating system finally persuaded me to add the damn thing. I now have Siri. Don't want it but I have it. There's supposed to be other stuff in there that I'm supposed to want as well. Half an hour (aka the usual 18 minutes according to the progress bar) later, it was ready for me to shut down and restart the computer.

Oh, somewhere in that process  it needed a new user ID and password. Oh sure, it might have taken the old ones, if there was still a living soul on this planet who knew what those were. So that was another set of hit-and-miss steps. And now there is one human who does know what they are and where that info is stored.  I took the time to check later and that password did not change the one that lets me open my own computer after I turn it on.

Finally something I can remember.

Of course, once that was done, it needed to be shut down and restarted, taking the usual 18 aka 30 minutes. (So-o-o-o glad I had nothing better to do all day. Well, there had been plans, but....)

Next was another Time Machine backup.

Have I mentioned we're getting solar on our roof? Of course not: too busy with computer crap. Initial contracts have been signed, credit score checked, guy up on the roof OKing its condition and the best places for the panels to go. We get their plan next week, and after our OK, panels go up in about 2 months.

So where does that fit in this tale?

They communicate mostly via email. Also by website, especially once billing starts. Today I got the email inviting me to set up my web account with them. I went through their process, finally clicked on their tab to log in with my email and their custom impossible password (to be changed later, of course), and got transferred to their login page. Tried again. And again. Got on the phone. Oops, sorry, this time it's their web problems, please wait and try it again tomorrow. By then my password will have expired, so its a whole new restart. But at least there's somebody else to blame.


Monday, October 24, 2016

"Upside Down" Saga Continues...

Hey, I now know what the symbol looks like. Not what I would have called it. Think of a V with three upwardly arcing lines horizontally running through it. Of course, I have no idea what "we" wanted it for all those days ago. Something about setting up Wi-Fi, I remember that part, but where that was to have taken and us to do which... still no clue.

Sunday dawned, if you recall, with me having Wi-Fi, mail only via my search engine and read-and/or-delete only. So-o-o-o-o not user friendly. So I popped the laptop in its Apple Logo bag, no longer plastic but now ecologically friendly paper. I get their point on the green thing. I still have years old Apple bags hanging around. Of course the new paper bag ripped halfway down its side the second it came in contact with the seat of the car so I could take it back to the store. (Well, nevermind the rip: I keep duct tape in the car. Fix it later.)

No,  I was not planning to return the laptop, tempting as the thought was at times. I was going to take Apple up on their oft-repeated offer for me to come back to the store with it, so long as I was willing to wait in line, and get their attention and help with whatever problem I was having setting it up.

Sunday afternoon is so not the time to do that! Not only was handicap parking full, but so was the rest of the center's parking lot. Topping off my irritation after driving around for ten minutes was my increasing need for a bathroom and increasing unwillingness to hike a mile before even hunting for one's location.

Exit, homeward. Still pissed off. More so. If that was actually possible.

I decided to hit the search engine, do some "normal" stuff. No problems with that functioning, at least, but I noticed my list of bookmarks had become unwieldy in its length. I tried everything I could think of to move and delete, aka organize, my list. Nothing that used to work on my old laptop worked. Mind you, the software had gotten regular updates until the capacity just couldn't handle any more, but it couldn't be that out of date, could it? Looked the same. Worked the same. Except for that. Though now that I think about it, probably in other ways I haven't needed to find out about yet.

Put that on the ask-in-store list too.

Plus once I got my email window up and running, I needed to find out how to add new folders for sorting out contents. You know, pictures from my brother (professional grade) versus family pictures vs. documents and info, vs. whatever.

Shouldn't take too long, eh?

This morning I tried again. New plastic bag this time. Opaque and with a hospital logo so it wouldn't look worth stealing while I walked in. Their paper one is wadded up in some landfill by now.  Steve decided he wanted to come too, despite the hike. (He's paying for it now, maybe tomorrow too.) Great close parking this time, maybe an indication of good things to come.


You knew there was one of those coming, didn't you?

When I walked into the store and explained my needs, they suggested I needed to take a class? Call in for an appointment at the "Genius Bar"? Sign up for a phone call? I firmly reminded them I had been repeatedly told while shopping that I could bring it in any time and wait for help, and meanwhile where would they like me to sit while I waited?

Maybe they'll take that offer out of the salesmen's patter, but they finally folded. It was only a couple minutes before a guy came over to, uh, help. First was the need to hook up my  regular email to my email server. That request came, of course, with a recitation of what had been tried so far over several phone calls and hours. He conferred with another employee, took my laptop, deleted the old email software, and set up a new email window which actually connected!!!!!


Well, except... the only email messages in the window were the three I hadn't read yet from today.


Where were the other thousand or so? Not just stuff left in the inbox because either they still needed attention or that was my only archive of them, but also the stuff from my "sent" box that I keep sometimes as a record of what I communicated when and with whom?

Well, this is what backups are for. But I had questions first. The email company had changed my password to access them. Would a backup change it back to the old one or just input the saved messages? Nobody knew. And if it did change the password, how would I change it back? I changed it in 3 places on my software during an earlier phone consultation and I had no clue how to get there, there, and there.

They decided my best bet at that point would be to take my computer back home, after arranging with the store for me to be called by one of their Geniuses in a couple hours. It was plenty of time to get home and plug in my phone to ensure I had plenty of battery reserve for a possibly long call. Plus, they very strongly suggested I should ask my other questions to the person on the phone.

Hey, if I'm not spending any more money with them, they were done with me.

I'm going to remember that, Apple. I'm also going to remember that while I got both a text and an email reminding me of my appointment shortly upcoming, nobody called. I didn't want to miss them, or inconvenience then by making them wait while I booted up and all that again, so I sat there with my laptop and cell, waiting. It was past lunchtime, but I could eat a little late, right? (FYI 4:00 PM)

After more than two hoursI I gave up on them.  I could have used that time in so many ways. I have a list of calls I wanted to make, chores around the house.And I was getting more pissed off by the minute. Not frustrated. Not impatient. Not annoyed. Royally pissed off!

Yes, Apple, I'm going to remember that too. Very clearly. Ver-r-r-r-r-r-y.

Despite my previous experiences trying to call into their voicemail system, I thought I'd give it a shot. You are answered by a machine that has questions for you. You never get to a real person without their version of the right answers. Silly me, to have forgotten that so quickly.  Frustration will do that to you, I guess. Make you even stupider than you were to start with, I mean.

Fine. Bypass time.

I tried this earlier, but my Web Guru was out of the country and not excited about paying international cell rates. I thought I remembered he would be back today. Turns out I caught him just as he was arriving home from the plane. Not only that, he was willing to help me right then, as long as I could wait for him to get up to the second floor and turn his computer on.

He hooked up his computer to mine, gave simple instructions, answered my questions about how the backup would really work and how to not only carry through the input, but after checking that it worked properly talked me through my immediate new backup. Remember, the instructions merely say to plug it in to a USB port. While that was progressing, all the other questions I could think of he was able to answer. Again, simply and clearly. A thousand thank yous to you, Ben. Just one more in a long list of reasons I'm happy you married my daughter.

That knot of fury has dissipated.

I almost think I might like this new computer.

Though with my luck....

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Look for the Upside-Down Pizza Icon"

I kid you not: that's what the "Genius" told me over the phone when I was trying to solve a problem with my old computer. Truthfully now: do you know what he was talking about? Nobody else at Apple that I've talked to can. I still have no clue. And the problem still isn't solved after three days.


A little history: my old (2008) laptop (MacBook) has been having increasingly frequent problems with getting connected with the Wi-Fi. It finally kept failing to connect after many tries last Thursday. After talking to Rich, he thought it was a failing Wi-Fi card.

I did the logical thing and called Apple about a replacement card. Well, logical to me anyway. To Apple, 8 years is too old. No parts. Nobody'd replace it even if I could find one. That's their story and they're sticking to it. Of course, I could buy a new computer....

So-o-o-o not a happy camper. But since the old one was a MacBook, I could call up their "Genius Bar" service and try to establish first for sure that it was in fact a dying/dead Wi-Fi card. After all the usual voicemail crap and holding crap (but hey, at least they give you a choice of what kind of music you want to listen to for your half hour and it includes classical) I connected with a young-sounding chap who tried to work me through to getting the old one to do a self-diagnostic test.

OK, how do I do that?

This is where it all broke down. He heard me repeat several times that I'm a technophobe. Perhaps he thinks we're as real and common as the Tooth Fairy? I got jargon this and jargon that until I had to stop him about 5 times for every piece of instruction and ask where I could find that on my screen. You know, is it in the applications menu? Under the Apple symbol? Because I can actually find those.  But no, too easy. After a series of instructions I finally got to where there were a bunch of symbols on the upper right bar of my screen.

And that's when he told me to find the upside-down pizza.

Are you shitting me? What the hell kind of symbol looks like an upside-down pizza?

I tried to work with him and describe the symbols as they appeared from left to right. I figured a physical description telling a simple shape like a star, or what kind of lines - straight, curved, bent, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, going in which direction - should cover it. You know, like pointing down, or an increasing stack of arcs like they used to draw for noise or volume control. I went through the whole lot of symbols and nothing registered with him. And he had no words to tell me what an  upside down pizza was supposed to look like.

He decided to change tack. "Go to the Bluetooth symbol." Another brick wall. To me a bluetooth is a shiny blue plastic thing that fits around my friends' ear letting her talk on her cell while she's not holding it. It's why she never sees  with bad news.  But I've never had one, used one, and certainly had no clue what its symbol looks like. I asked him to describe it.

Dead silence.

"Are you still there?" He was. But he couldn't describe a Bluetooth symbol. I do, for the record, now know that it is kind of a central vertical line through an X but on the right side of that vertical the lines turn into a pair of stacked triangles. Or a really weird-ass "B". But since there was absolutely no communication happening, the call ended.

 Where do they get these geniuses?

I trusted Rich's call on the diagnosis, and reluctantly went to the local Apple Store. By the way, poor communication seems to be endemic with them. Steve decided to come along. The store is in a huge mall, so I called to find out which entrance is closest to the store so we didn't have a 2-mile hike in store. So to speak. The 1st person I got was in a call center but put me through to the actual store. I was connected to a manager, explained mobility limitations as the reason for my question. (FYI neither scooter has living batteries right now, and Steve just replaced his.)

"It's the entrance by the ______ Theater."

That's fine but I've never heard of nor seen this theater. "Are we talking north, south, east, west, southeast, or where?"

Turns out it's on the north end, very farthest from the road in. Glad I asked. Then it was"Turn to your right and it's about 50 feet." Sounded easy enough. He neglected the part about the fancy landscaping between handicap parking and the front door recessed about a hundred feet on a curved sidewalk. Gotta look nice you know. Or the part about this dumping you into the food court, meaning another hundred feet circling stands and dodging tables. Most especially he missed the bit about your being on the second floor and them being down on one, so you backtrack to the escalators, or the part about the storefront with all the Apple symbols on it being closed and the store having moved "across the aisle", which actually translates to completely on the other side of the escalators, aka down a different hall about as far as you've already come since getting off the escalators. But hey, it was on the other side when you got down that far. No Apple symbols on any of the doors, walls, or signs above the doors. Steve didn't think that was it but the inside just looked like an Apple store.

I bet you can guess our moods by this time. So it was probably a good thing that we got to sit for about 25 minutes after signing in before it was our turn to get the attention of a salesman!

I finally, after going through two different employees, bought a new laptop. We discussed how I was to transfer my data from that day's Time Machine back-up device, set up a call for the next morning so they could assist with any problems or questions, and I went home poorer but reasonably optimistic.

You'd think by now I'd know better.

Oh, the upload went fairly well. And one advancement I really appreciate is that it comes with all the basic operating installed, ready to go. I decided to be brave that night and see how far I could get by myself.  English as primary language? Click on that and then on continue. Whee, easy. Next was American or Canadian English, eh? American of course. Brits can't spell properly so I get the reasoning on that one.

Then it asked if I wanted to input my backed up data now or wait till later. Hmmm, not sure. Better wait, go onto next. How was I going to hook up to the internet? I spotted the home Wi-Fi system in the list of possibles and clicked on that. Fine, what's the password?

Uh oh. It's Steve's system so he should know. He offered me one possibility, but it didn't work. OK, maybe it was _______. It's been so long since needing to log anything into the Wi-Fi.  So where's it written down?

Huh? Where?

Meanwhile I thought maybe I should back up a page so I could try again with the different login, only this time the window options didn't even include the home network. WTF? 5 minutes and I've already broken the system? Time to give up and wait for that morning phone call.

Not ready to trust in my complete failure the next morning. I started it up again. This time it started over: English? American? When it got to the do you want to import part, I told myself what the hell and plugged in Time Machine. Maybe it had my passwords stored in it. Cause I only had about half of all of them memorized. Fingers crossed.

Well, the data mostly transferred. A few of my website passwords took an extra day to connect with where they belonged, which has me head scratching. Still no Wi-Fi right away though. I did some navigating while waiting for help and found a bunch of stuff in the operating system has changed. Firefox bookmarks are currently unmanageable, for example. They used to have "manage bookmarks" where I could go in and move or delete them and that's gone. I finally figured out their newer system on my last computer, but no luck with it on this one. Just one of the building list of frustrations.

My morning call took a mere 100 minutes before I got access to Wi-Fi again. Except... I can't connect to my mail system. And the way the window for mail is formatted now is terrible. I figured out a couple of fixes, simple stuff like paring down each entry from four lines to two, but can't get it down to one. Plus the header lines used to stack across the top of the mail window and now they take the  whole left  half of the window in a vertical column. That means when I open one of the old stored ones ('cause I still can't get or send new ones) I can only view a tiny upper corner of what was sent. I can't move around inside, scroll in any direction to read more than a few words per line or  more than a corner of the first of any pictures sent. And any links in them do not work.

Finding all of that out has thus far taken me two plus days, a dozen lengthy phone calls where Apple has given up on me and hung up on me, blaming my email provider, and the email provider has done the same thing blaming the computer. If you need me desperately, call. My ancient flip phone still works. No texting though.

Tomorrow my new laptop and I are going back to the Apple Store. Steve has already declined the hike. And even if they figure out how I can connect to my email, I still don't expect anybody there can tell me what an upside down pizza looks like.

If I were to draw it, it would look something like a flat fat-legged caterpillar without segments, eyes, or antennae. Those leggy things would represent all the toppings splatted over the floor.

I'd call that about a 20 minute cleanup.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


OK, everybody, I voted. Mailed in the ballot today. No more decisions, choices, questions.

And especially no more TV ads to watch. Not that I did watch them anyway. Oh, the glories of DVRs and skipping forward.

I had long ago decided my candidate for President. On the whole, I tend to vote by party platform. Of course, moving down here here recently, there were a lot of never-heard-ofs on the ballot. And some with no party affiliation. And that's just the candidates. There were also options to raise taxes and legalize marijuana.

Lucky me on several counts. I know long time residents who are politically plugged in and share most of my values. (Maybe all, but not every question has been asked.) If they didn't know, like in the long judges columns - yes, plural - they knew where to go to find out, say, who was rated poorly by their peers. Or who might rule in controversial ways.

I also had a door knocker who was passing out party information, including a listing of candidates for non partisan positions who were allied with her party platform. I'm not saying which party was represented, but it was useful information with which to base my own decisions. So thanks for taking those two minutes of my time.

Oh, and thanks for asking which is my most important local issue I'd like to see addressed and in what way. I told her that with global warming, the natural climate and the added drought, we ought to start getting rid of grass lawns down here and remember that water is a limited resource, even more so with the explosive growth in the area. If California can do it....

You may have heard about the lines up to 5 hours for those wanting to vote in the presidential primary down here in Arizona. I was already on the "Permanent Early Voter" list, so I get my ballots mailed our for all elections. A lot more voters signed up after that for that list. So rather than waiting around for hours, I have days to study the ballot, research candidates and issues, and still get my ballot in well before the election.

This part of Arizona voting I like.

The only down side, as I see it, is I no longer get an "I VOTED" sticker to wear.

Monday, October 17, 2016


You gotta know there's a (thousand?) stupidly programmed blog reader out there. You know, the kind that finds a key word, completely ignoring context in order to persuade you to be a new customer for something you spent your whole post giving reasons why you wouldn't be interested.

I've gotten three kinds of these over the last few months. The first came months after I was explaining why e-cigs were even more dangerous to my heart than regular tobacco because I couldn't smell it and thus do whatever I need to avoid it. Of course the "comment" was an ad for some brand of e-cigs.

The second came after I was extolling the virtues of my newest Hyundai and my history with the brand that keeps me going back to them. In comes an ad for a new Toyota. What? I need another new car when I just got one and fully expect to go years without another one needed? Or you missed my loyalty rant? Gotta wonder how these ever work for anybody, or if that's even their point.

Third are of course the totally irrelevant ones. I'm used to those coming in my spam folder. But some idiot out there (or face it, more than one) thinks because I have some kind of on-line presence that I'm looking for, say, a sex partner? Not talking let's meet and greet because something was interesting. I'm talking solicitations for a "F*** Buddy". Or some thing I can do by using their reasonably priced product to increase eyes on my blog. Their five minute video will explain, probably while they're figuring how to hack my system. Cause the blog is out there in cyberspace and even I am not connected to it unless I'm working on a posting.

I guess I should feel lucky I haven't come to the notice of the real trolls yet.

Friday, October 14, 2016

I Still Believe Anita Hill

I guess I was lucky. I wasn't busty and beautiful enough to attract the attentions of Gargoyle Trump. I was too old for Jarrod and didn't eat at Subway all that often anyway. I wasn't the type for Bill Cosby, didn't run in the right circles, though I bought every record of his I could find and can still quote passages from his conversation between Noah and God. I never worked for one of "those" bosses, although as a boss I got to report an obscene comment, from a potential manager I was training to one of my junior staff, higher up the chain of command that got the trainee fired. (Hey, one tiny victory. But I bet the jerk hasn't changed.)

While I somehow managed to miss all those stereotypical situations where sexual harassment and assault are commonplace, I didn't grow up unscathed.

I was on my way to high school in the big city of St. Paul. 99% of the time that involved walking 2 miles of sidewalk along main streets in daylight hours, very much in public view. I have no idea what I was thinking about that particular day, but it wasn't about paying attention to the guy approaching me on the other side of the sidewalk. He didn't look at all out of the ordinary, act strange or threatening, just another one of the hundreds I passed by through the school term.

But there was one difference.

Just as he was ready to pass me, he stuck out his hand and shoved it in my crotch. I was too startled to do anything but yell, "Hey!", but he was already running away, laughing.

Lucky for me.

Maybe lucky for him that all my fantasies of vengeance are just fantasies. There's no power here, no striking back. Never had a self defense class, wouldn't have been fast enough to chase him down had it even occurred to me. I wouldn't possibly even have been able to have identified him two minutes later.

I don't remember it often. But when I do, I remember the feeling of being ambushed just for being young and female, of being for the last time able to thoughtlessly pass a man by, of being embarrassed for not having done "something" while having no clue what that might have been, and being unable to tell anyone about what happened.


Till now.

So when I hear those ridiculous denials of wrongdoing because (a woman) / (several women) didn't report it right away, they don't count with me. They're crap. You better have a way better defense than that, Bud.

I still believe Anita Hill.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Grandma's Political Primer

I don't do Facebook. Sometimes Steve reads or shows me things he finds of special interest. Today it was a discussion between my daughter and granddaughter (no names but those who know me know them) about Clinton vs. Trump. My granddaughter starts with she doesn't really follow politics, but she thinks Trump has more to offer than Hillary.

I sent the following email:

subject line: Clinton v. Trump

Dear (Granddaughter),

Steve's been reading me some of the conversation between you and (your Aunt) on the subject. I can agree with one thing you have said. That's that you have not been keeping up with politics. Here's what you can call "Grandma's Political Primer."

Lets go back to when Hillary was First Lady... of Arkansas. She and Bill came up outside of the mainstream political system and still he won the support of the people. Yeah, he was screwing around, but that's on him, not her. Because they were "outsiders", they got attacked just to get some insider into the office "because they'd earned it" by being part of the organized system. Then, and at every step along the way, people who knew Hillary came to love and respect both her and her knowledge, not to mention her ethics.

Advance to Bill getting elected President. Still considered an outsider, and still hated by the establishment, the "Machine" cranked up to ruin him. By then Fox News, sponsored by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdock, gained the muscle to go on a 24/7 campaign to ruin the Clintons and any other Democrat they could in order to advance their own agenda. (Study fascism and its goals, not as a name calling tactic but the philosophy that thinks only the rich should have power, and should only use it to get richer on the backs of the little guys.)

Fox did 2 things. They put TVs in all kinds of public places like doctor's offices and airports, making sure they were tuned to their channel with no way to switch the channel, and then began their propaganda war against liberals. All liberals. They made liberal a dirty word, working to shame news outlets not to air contrary information for fear of being "too liberal". Facts became Fox facts, i.e. whatever served their cause only.

They knew their history, and knew the power of the "Big Lie". Repeat it often and loudly enough and it becomes perceived as the truth. After all, it's on TV, right? So it must be true, because we'd had years of integrity in news reporting, a policy called Equal Air Time, and actual fact checking of statements from everybody, including politicians. Reagan got congress to end that requirement, but the people still trusted. They weren't following politics either. Just in the habit of trusting.

Back to the Clintons. Even before they arrived in the White House, the Machine geared up against them. Are you old enough to remember Kenneth Starr? He publicly announced he was going to bring them down. And from that "neutral" position, he was made a special prosecutor for Congress in order to do just that. It started, actually, with Nixon, forced to resign over criminal activities rather than face impeachment. Republicans were mad and wanted to get even.

The outsiders were thought to be easy pickings. It started with Whitewater, probably the only "scandal" without a -gate added on the end. It was a real estate investment deal that the Clintons put some money in. They had no control over what happened, just made an overly optimistic investment. It fizzled. Good ol' Ken thought he had a scandal. He didn't, and not for lack of trying. Eventually he cost taxpayers $50 million for his investigations. Other issues were brought in: who was used as a travel agent, whom X-mas cards were sent out to. When a friend, Vince Foster, committed suicide, they were accused of murdering him. It finally all came down to sex. Two people were found who (later admitted) lied under oath. One was an Arkansas highway patrolman who claimed he "found" unwilling women for Bill to have sex with, and Paula Jones, who lied about being one of them. Of course, hearing so many accusations, a lot of folks believe/d there was something criminal actually there. (Big Lie at work.)

Since there was no there there, it might have all gone away, except for one thing. Bill actually had a history of infidelity, and was currently getting blow jobs from a very willing intern named Monica Lewinski. She was stupid enough to keep a souvenir, a little blue dress with a semen stain, and even stupider when she told another woman, Linda Tripp, a member of the opposition, all about it. Starr pushed for impeachment, stretching the terms to justify it way past the constitutional definition. It failed.

And interesting side note here is that history has shown that the loudest voices for impeachment were themselves philanderers, some hiring prostitutes, some diddling young boys, some closeted gays back when that was totally unacceptable, especially politically. At least Bill had willing, adult partners. Not saying his actions were OK, but less awful than many, and no worse than many former Presidents.

Note that Hillary very publicly gave him the cold shoulder for months, but after a lot of counseling, the two put their marriage back together. What it is now, what it was then, is private. She of course took a lot of flak for not divorcing him.

One of the first and main things Hillary did as First Lady was, consulting with a lot of experts, put together a healthcare plan that 1) got sent to congress for their evaluation and hopefully, after doing their thing with amendments, passage, and 2) was a whole lot better than what finally got put together as Obamacare. Please note that what finally passed years later is almost identical to Bob Dole's plan, fine by Republicans back when he proposed it, considered a very poor second to what Hillary's group recommended. Once again, being the "outsider" cost support.

Meanwhile, the machine ground on, though many of its members disgraced themselves publicly and fell out of public office and public view. Not necessarily out of actual power, however.

Hillary (and Bill) moved to New York. Ex Presidents can play golf, work for Habitat for Humanity, or start a charitable foundation to do good around the world. Hillary won a Senate seat and ably represented New York  while Dubbya ignored warnings about Bin Ladin planning to use airplanes a weapons, ignored reports that WMD's were no longer in Iraq, and took us into the wrong war for the wrong reasons. He also ignored Bin Ladin, the actual leader of 9/11. On the plus side, if he was screwing around, he kept it well hidden.

Obama came in, giving us a President we - and the world, don't belittle that! - could finally believe in. He made Hillary Secretary of State, so even though they were rivals, he saw something valuable there. The Machine now had two targets. There was the black guy, and never fail to underestimate the remnants of racism in this country. Those folks are still plentiful, and they're angry. They also had Hillary, as rumors swirled around her for years that she had ambitions on the White House.

First they tried to make hay out of the tragedy of Benghazi. You've surely heard the accusations by now. After all, there were 7 (!!!) hearings trying to pin the blame for the loss of 4 lives on her. Even the most slanted of them found nothing. Congress had slashed the security budget for our embassies beforehand. Ambassador Stevens had turned down extra guards, believing he was well liked and safe there. When a controversial video came out angering the devout Muslim world, a small group came in and took advantage of the unrest to turn it into a violent riot. (Hey, same thing in Fergusson and a lot of other cities in the US over cops shooting blacks, turning peaceful protests into riots and lootings. ) But because the video was known about first, crediting it for the unrest was seen as some kind of evil coverup by Clinton and others. The rumor that our jets were told to stand down instead of coming to our aid in Benghazi has been proven repeatedly to be false. No such order was given, and no jets were stationed close enough to have done an ounce of good anyway. So every, and I mean EVERY, investigation exonerated Hillary. Of course, Fox didn't, beating the drum with lies and innuendo for years.

(Your Aunt) has taken you through the email bruhaha. Listen to her. Believe her. Policies were changing at the time she - Hillary - took over as Secy. of State. Internet security was just becoming "a thing", and yes, mistakes were made. They have, and I'm sure will continue to increasingly be, corrected. No criminal intent was found, even by the head of the FBI. Fox plays the worse edit of his statement over and over, but I bet you've never heard him say that what happened never came close to rising to the level where any kind of punishment was appropriate. And yes, that question was asked. And answered.

And erasing emails, accidentally or on purpose? Give me a break please. My spam folder gets filled with suggestions on how to spend money I don't have, ways to increase the size of body parts that don't grow on me, diet miracles that never are, and even people I maybe have met but don't want to talk to.  My regular folder fills with cute pictures, funny jokes, more ads my spam folder hasn't filtered out yet, invitations for phone sex with a stranger, claims of court dates disguising malware, just open this zip attachment for the details. Sure I delete them. I even delete conversations with loved ones, long after they cease to be important.  I bet you do too. Are we crooks? We're not that important so we don't start off with 5,000 new emails each week. Imagine it.

Fox goes on and on about the use of 13 cell phones over the four years. Think about it. They get wet and die. Screens break. Newer models replace older ones. They get lost, maybe on the way out the door, maybe between car seats, maybe heading to 4 other countries in 3 days. Calls come in to associates who hand it over with a "it's for you". I bet you can think of more reasons people switch phones, and unless you know a lot of drug dealers, pimps, and terrorists, not one of them is hinky.

So please, before you swallow anything about "Crooked Hillary", consider the source and the history. It's way too easy to  dismiss it all with that smoke-there's-fire nonsense.

If you want a better health plan, or child care plan, or tuition plan, write an actual letter - not email, not form petition, but paper and stamps - to the person in office who has some say. Try Klobuchar and Franken, working where the actual laws get made. Find out who is the Representative where you live now and write them and if that's no help, vote for the opposition.

Now, why on earth would you consider Trump? Examine most of his so-called plans, then look at the constitution and the limits of powers, and ask yourself which of them he'll actually accomplish. Keep in mind he's even less liked by his own party than the Clintons were. Can he build a wall - much less should he? - and force another country to pay for it? Do you actually support all the racist things he's been saying about Mexicans, African Americans, Muslims? The rest of the world is terrified of him taking office, and equally afraid if we were stupid enough to elect Dubbya, and if Britain was stupid enough to vote in Brexit on a lark (per exit poll interviews), we might go for Trump this time. These are the world powers who know Hillary, and TRUST HER!

By the way, he'd love you. You're slim and attractive. That's how he values women. He wouldn't care if you're kind, smart, supportive, nurturing, decisive, happy, goal oriented, honest, hard working. Like I do.

As a businessman, first consider, on the experience of 12 years in government, that business and government often have opposite goals, require different skills, and have different kinds of results. So take his claim of expertise with a grain of salt.

Or a bushel.  Ask yourself, how does the house lose when it's a casino and everything is slanted towards the house winning? How does one go bankrupt running a casino? Might this have anything to do with his hiding his tax returns. Perhaps he doesn't want us to know exactly what kind of business man he is.   Look at his universities and the fraud charges against him for them. No, not drummed up by political opponents, but legal processes. Has he actually skipped paying income taxes for the last 18 years, and if not, why not show us? Does he care about this country, or just himself and what he can get out of it for himself? Do you want a president who mocks the handicapped, denigrates our soldiers, sexually harasses females? How about one who incites violence during his rallies?

If you think one possibly better idea, all disclaimers above noted, is worth throwing your vote that way, then with all respect, as you asked, I'll be terribly disappointed in you.


PS Grandpa says he loves you too.