Friday, August 28, 2009

Remembering Senator Kennedy

Yes he made many mistakes in his life - one was deadly to a young woman. Most of his mistakes could have been self-destructive. However, even though he was born into a life of comfort and could have taken on the role of playboy (as he was once accused), he instead took the mantle of champion of the underprivileged - those in the extreme opposite circumstances of his own life. He tried to make life easier for the millions of people who had the least. For that he will always be remembered.

The president of our company has a memory of "Teddy" Kennedy. Both were college students at a bar having drinks and Teddy walked away, leaving Frank with the bill. Yep, Frank was stiffed by a Kennedy. I guess it didn't make Frank too upset because years he later worked on Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign.

As Frank told me the Teddy story yesterday, he became very quiet. "Frank, you could have been..." I wanted to say, a Kennedy confidante, someone high in government... but I didn't because it looked as if he was misting up.

"Life takes unusual turns sometimes" was all he said.

Unusual turns. And endings of eras.

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24, 1989

I was in Philadelphia staying in a small hotel that was not air-conditioned and because it was run by a religious group (less expensive than the modern hotels around it), I had to wear skirts with pantyhose - no slacks, no capris and certainly no shorts. It was hot but I didn't mind.

I would walk the three blocks to the U of P Hospital every morning and take their courtesy van back to hotel in the evening.

This day was Rich's birthday - his 42nd - and he was in the cardiac care unit of the hospital waiting for a heart transplant.

I'd decorated his room with tropical scenes and family pictures. His mother and one of his sisters came down with a birthday cake to celebrate. It would be the last time they saw him alive. He died less than two weeks later, without the heart that could have saved him.

Since 1990 I've gone to his grave every August 24. I take flowers; I stay a few moments and I remember the man who was in my life such a short time.

It's still difficult to think about what might have been.
I've taken those memories and the life together that we never had and put them in a bell jar, preserving what was and what wasn't.

This may be the last year that I go to his grave.
I may finally pack that bell jar away.

Rich will understand.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inalienable and Constitutional Rights

Last week a man with an assault rifle stood near the venue where the President of the United States was about to speak. There was also a sign about "watering the Tree of Liberty" - a partial quote from the Revolutionary War - the "water" to be blood of tyrants.

The inference was pretty clear: Obama was a tyrant for wanting health care (insurance) reform and his blood should water the Tree of Liberty.

Let's go to another quote from 1776, one that helped to bring about that revolution:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

We seem to have forgotten that "life" is included in that list.
Tell that to the mother without prenatal care because she has no health insurance.
Tell that to the young man with leukemia who will die because his insurance won't cover a bone marrow transplant.
Tell that to the man who's been laid off and can't afford the cost of the COBRA serve.
Tell them that the first "inalienable right" refers to everyone BUT them.

Preamble to the Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Promote the General Welfare?
By not having a public option for health insurance, are we NOT promoting the "general welfare" of our citizens and therefore, according to the Preamble, denying them their constitutional rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Without good health nothing else is possible.

Monday, August 17, 2009

1692 and 2009

I just finished reading The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe - a marvelous book about the Salem witch trials and the view of women today.

I was thinking about the world of America in 1692 and how that it may not be that much different than what some people believe today.

1692: Illness was a sign of God's disappointment in you or a a bewitchment by someone who wished you ill.

2009: If you can't afford health insurance then that must be a sign of God's disappointment in you, that you're not wealthy enough, healthy enough or have a good enough job - or maybe it's a bewitchment by people who wish you ill (like everyone who refuses to accept a public and afford health insurance option).

The more things change.....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hooked on Rx Medications....

...I'm not but I can really understand how that can happen. Especially today.
I drove out to Pittsburgh on Wed (after being in the office for part of the morning) and then drove back on Friday (and went into the office).

Yesterday I did some minor housework (thank the Goddess that Olivia is doing the big stuff for me and for $ at least until she finds a job). And then I pulled the weeds in my tiny flower garden. By 9 AM I was at the laptop writing. I didn't sit all day. I did move around. I did some stretching exercises.

But today was Revenge of the Weeds ... TA-dum! I could hardly get out of bed, the pain was so bad.
I took my Tylenol extra strength (now, now, Mitzi, only two and only two every eight -8? - hours) and then I stood in the shower and let the warm water beat on my back. Ahhhhh....that lasted for....well....until I tried to raise a foot to step out of the shower. Owwwww! Back must have wanted me to stay in the shower.

I moved around slowly to wait for the Tylenol work - barely. Then I started back on my short story. I finished it and decided, as reward, to take myself to the new Target by my apartment. I got a cart and slowly walked around. At the end of 30 minutes I was ready to die. I checked out and came home - leaving the bucket of kitty litter in the car for another time.

So, I know how people can get hooked on prescription drugs. There's more than one kind of pain and if they relieve the physical and the emotional, well...heck, why not. The problem occurs when the physical pain should be over but the emotional lingers.

I was "abusing", as my Dr. wrote on the script for blood work, Advil. I was taking two liquid gels every four to six hours - sometimes three liquid gels. But the blood tests that shows kidney function was a little out of whack, so I've been taking Tylenol - which, if I "abuse" that (like more than 6 of the extra strength a day), I can get liver disease.

So I have back pain.

So the next time I pull weeds, I will do it from a sitting position to see if that's better.
But still gotta drive to Pittsburgh.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Michael Vick is.....

.... sick. Still.

Has he served his time?
Should he we reinstated him into sports.....?
In my opinion...there is one sport he is best for...
in a ring with four or five of the dogs he trained and made vicious (or "Vickious").

But being a realistic person, I think fifty percent of his income from football be distributed to agencies that rehab these dogs and to other animal shelters.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

August 1

I hate August 1.
I don't care what the calender says; for me, August 1 marks the last month of summer.
I think it's imprinted upon our psyche as children when we were able to have those glorious months off - months that seemed to stretch ahead of us endlessly.
Even then whenever August 1 came, I realized that I hadn't accomplished everything I'd wanted. I hadn't lost the weight, I hadn't read all the books, I hadn't written all the stories...
That's what bothers me now with August 1 - the negative "hadn't".

But now that I'm older with a more rational mind (at least at times), I can look back on June and July and think:
I did the revisions to my book
I made promotional material for it
I promoted it at RWA
I wrote half of the next novella
I worked on other writing projects
I went to the Deadly Ink conference
I planted a little garden
I rearranged some of my hoards of books
And I did all of that while working a full time job that suddenly gave me more responsibility.

Then the irrational (the twelve-year-old part) of my mind says, "Yes, but..."
You didn't lose the weight
You didn't read all the books
You didn't write all the stories.

August 1 should be the day for those of us imprinted with the long, luscious days of a childhood summer to reflect on what we have accomplished and give ourselves credit, ignoring the deriding whispers of unmet "great expectations".

Oh, crap! I wanted to read THAT book again this summer...