Tag Archives: life

Feeling Great Even on a Rainy Monday

I am writing this on Monday even though it is appearing for the first time on Tuesday. That’s the benefit of having many ADD characteristics. I start out doing one thing and end up somewhere I had no idea where I was going. I had no intention of writing about Christina Aguilera yesterday when I started out ninety minutes ago. But that was where I ended up.

I wanted to talk about it being another rainy day and Monday. The rain has been falling non stop since before I woke up this morning. I have no idea when it began. I was too busy sleeping. Last May I went to a doctor I saw several years ago and dropped when I thought I was better. Little did I know what a big mistake that was. There were so many things wrong with me, I was a walking medical encyclopedia. One of my problems was chronic insomnia. Slowly I am developing longer periods of sleep. Last night was one of them. I didn’t wake until 8:00. Ri-Leigh, bless her soul, does not wake me to go out.  She will jump up and insist if she sees that I am awake but otherwise she is very patient.

Other things also seem to be falling into shape and I woke this morning to a feeling of wellness that is alien to me. I love it. I have never been bi-polar but to me this feeling would definitely be on the high end of my own polarity scale. I envy people who feel this energetic every day. To me it is a miracle.

Since I have an aversion to driving anywhere in the rain, I am confined to home. The sounds of the rain falling is very lulling and hypnotic but I am refusing to allow it to con me into losing this elevated mood I am experiencing today. It’s great to feel alive!

One of the things that happens when I feel good is that my words start tumbling out of me. It seems I can whip out a blog or several blogs in record time. I can’t attest to the quality of such blogs but they are easy to spill out. The other thing that happens is that I get the urge to dig myself out of the pit I call my home. When I do not feel well, which has been since last May, things pile up. Usually I find other things to do to occupy my mind until that urge passes, but today I think I’ll do at least a little work. It makes me feel better…like when I change my sheets and crawl into the spring fresh smooth bed at night. It’s a great feeling.

It’s hard to separate into different boxes feelings that might be physical, psychological, emotional, or spiritual. I listened to a song sung yesterday by a great vocalist which contributed to my being in a good mood. All of them are contributing to my feelings of love and life. Will this last? Probably not. Will these feelings come again? Probably so. I’m still crying for the pain I feel towards my friend’s loss of a young daughter. I cry at the pain whenever any friend loses someone close. I am sending him my love and willing him to take one step at a time to get through this ordeal. But it’s still not dampening my mood.

My attitudes about so many things are changing. I think for the better. On those days when I realize I am actually feeling I am thankful. Decades of burying all emotions have taken their toll on me but I’m not finished yet. I envision the first spring’s sprout appearing ready to shoot up and produce some beautiful work of some type. I feel myself growing. Monday’s rainy day is a blessing. I feel like I am in and surrounded by love. No, there’s no particular person in mind….except maybe me. Like Martha Stewart says, “It’s a good thing.” Namaste. Attic Annie

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The Reunion of Shirley and Jennie

Whenever I see videos like this one I am so moved by the idea that all creatures are capable of love. How could any scientist or animal behaviorist prove else wise? I’ve seen it in dogs staying with owners who are injured or other dogs, ducks who  remain with mates, cats who adopt baby bunnies…You Tube is filled with such videos. How can we be so blind as human beings not to notice relationships around us because “only humans have spirits”?

Shirley and Jennie were truly fortunate to find each other. It is the story of a friendship that never died. Their undying love for one another is obvious. It is a very moving story.

Shirley’s handler must have had a feeling of pride beyond anything I will probably ever feel when he said, “I don’t know who the first one was to put chains on Shirley but I am the last one to take them off.” What a blessing to know you helped free another sentient  being.

I am jealous that I feel that I have never had a friendship as close as this one. Such friendships are truly rare and a blessing. Perhaps there is still time to be able to feel such joy. I can only hope. Namaste Attic Annie

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Will an Honest Lawmaker Please Stand Up?

Over the past few months I have become involved with sharing news items I find interesting with friends on Facebook. I have resorted to being incensed several times but I limit my frustration to sharing the actual site with the addition of a sentence or two instead of devoting time to blog about it.

I do  find blogging a great way to vent my frustrations. Back when I was writing every day I realized I was starting to have a following. It was small, but people were actually responding. Then life got in the way and I stopped blogging on a daily basis.

There is so much happening that I have an opinion about, I’ve got to start talking again.

This is the article that captured my attention today in the New York Times. I posted it for my friends on Facebook saying

“Is there ANY management ANYWHERE that isn’t milking Medicare and screwing the workers who actually provide the service?”

It is the story of part-time workers in New York who “go into the homes of developmentally disabled people to teach them simple tasks, like grooming or how to take a bus.” Since they do not need any particular credentials, they are paid $10 to $15.00 an hour. The non-profit agencies who employ them, bill the state three to four times that amount for their services. According to the article, the agencies are swimming in money from this enterprise. The head of one of the agencies is drawing a salary of $400,000. The article states that the agencies which are doing this are sitting on multi-million dollar surpluses.

The agencies are designed to serve those children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, and Down’s Syndrome. The workers teach them life skills which allow them to live outside state financed group homes.

And who is providing all of these funds? Medicare, of course: public funds.  And who is overseeing these agencies? Nobody, although people have started to pay attention and investigate. I am 100% positive similar events have been happening throughout the United States for as long as there have been safety nets set up.

In Congress, our illustrious leaders are debating cutting funding to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. There is rampant abuse of finances in the companies who dip into the public funds. There is probably enough misappropriation of public funds to provide insurance to those who can’t afford it.

We know if they cut funding, it will be the patients, the senior citizens, the least able in our society who suffer. It won’t be the executives who have lined their nests with silks and gems. These organizations have already helped thousands or more of people across the United States to commit fraud.

This summer, in a related event, I had two sleep studies. I am now on Medicare with secondary coverage through another insurance company. The first test had to be repeated another day because there was another patient in the same testing facility who kept me from getting an adequate amount of sleep the first night. I was supposed to sleep half the night and then be hooked to a C-Pap machine the second half the night. I only got about four hours of sleep the entire night and not all at once. The test involved having leads placed in various areas of my body to monitor my brain and other organs during sleep. I was monitored by one technician. The hospital charged for both studies.The hospital said the cost was close to $12,000. This did not include a physician’s report which was extra. Of course Medicare had a set agreement with them and did not pay full price but they did pay a significant amount. With my secondary insurance, my part of the bill for both nights was somewhat over $100.00.

A couple of months ago my primary care physician ordered a urinalysis. The hospital lab said that the cost of this service was $900.00. This involved spreading a drop or two of urine on agar plates and letting the bacteria grow for a couple of days. They did not send the bill to Medicare but to my secondary insurance who denied payment. That’s how I know the charge. That’s one technician, one or two agar plates, and one incubator using electricity. $900.00! I have no concept of hospital accounting, but I think the hospitals are allowed to “write off” costs that are not covered thus lowering their tax bills.

The ones who are yelling the loudest about cutting government spending are many of the same people who are participating in the bankrupting of America for their own greed. Of course they want less government intervention. These are just two examples of what is happening in this country. I’m wondering if there is any hope left for our morally bankrupt country. Patients go without services while hospitals are being built to rival the great temples and grandest hotels in the world. The cost for one night is not even being questioned. It is sometimes more than a week’s stay at a five star establishment.

When are we going to wake up and start challenging these agencies and rein them in? Where are the Congress persons who will stand up and see where the cuts and oversight REALLY need to be?  Is there any hope?  Namaste Attic Annie

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An Anglo/Chinese Wedding Part 3

The day of the wedding finally arrived. The four of us went down to breakfast again and my son joined us at to our hotel (it was a five minute walk) around 9:00 a.m. It was the same strange serving as the day before. The restaurant was all set up for another wedding but they were allowing people to eat breakfast. We waited for the photographer and videographer and then returned to the room. When they arrived,  they proceeded to get all the pre-wedding pictures that are usually taken. We noticed that the air in Becky and Bob’s room was not on either. We opened the window but there was little circulation.

My son was already dressed for the day, but he had to undress for the pictures. They couldn’t take the pictures at the apartment because that was where Julie and her bridesmaids were preparing for the day. So…make believe time.

Nathan took off his shirt and tie and pretended to be putting on his undershirt. Then Bob helped him tie his tie. I think he took off and put on his socks and shoes as well, but I’ll have to wait  until I see the pictures. All this time both of the camera guys were shooting pictures of everything else that was going on in the room. It was really a crowded place.

Nathan had brought a bouquet (the first one) to the room with him because that was part of the tradition that he present flowers to his loved one. With all the people passing it around, it started to wilt rather quickly. Nathan called and was told things were not ready yet so we just waited around. Finally, we were given permission to go over to the apartment.

When we arrived, the place was filled with relatives. We could hardly walk around. Julie was in her first dress of the day. There were pictures of honoring grandmother and then me (it was the first time she was supposed to call me Mom.) After Julie bowed to us, we handed her red envelopes with money inside.

A young male cousin jumped on the bed, her parents prepared a basket of personal items to be taken to the groom’s home, a male cousin nailed up a red curtain for which I paid him. Nathan was barred from Julie’s room by the bridesmaids and then had to “fight” his way in to his love. He had to find her shoe and put it on her foot. He knelt beside the bed and presented the bouquet (further wilting had taken place). One of the maids and Bob (one of the groomsmen) sat with Nathan and Julie and ate dumplings and then all tried to feed him a dumpling at the same time. Her mother and aunts had spent hours preparing 400 dumplings for the day to feed the family. We all stood around and watched the proceedings. I later asked Julie what some of these traditions meant and she said she had no idea. It was just something they did.

Although the hotel had moved my friend and me by that time to another room, it was obvious that the room next door did not have air conditioning either. Becky and Bob were upset that they didn’t have a king size bed. There were not quite double beds instead. It was decided that as soon as the picture taking session was over we were moving to a different hotel. The Howard Johnson Hotel was about a block away from where the wedding was taking place. It was much nicer. The first hotel would have been acceptable if the A/C had worked. Now we were in a hotel, it turned out, that the A/C worked too well. Later that night, we got up around 2 a.m. and turned the A/C off!

That afternoon the entire wedding party traveled to the park for outdoor pictures of the entire group…all the bridesmaids and groomsmen, bride and groom. I don’t know if her parents went with them or not but by that time I was really losing steam. I opted to take a nap instead. As a result, I realized when the wedding was over that there were no pictures of me posed with my son and his new wife by ourselves. Oh well!

Thankfully there was enough time to recharge our energy and get dressed for the wedding. It had been warm and humid all day. By the time of the wedding, the weather seemed perfect.

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An Anglo-Chinese Wedding Part 2

When we arrived at the Beijing Airport, we had to transfer to another terminal to pick up our luggage. Things went smoothly since we followed the other people from our plane and the few signs that were in English. We were only on the train a few minutes. By the time we figured out where to pick up our luggage and went to the bathroom, we were among the last to go through the check in to get to the gate.

I was still carrying the $4.00 bottle of water I had bought in Chicago. Because the flight attendants were so good at offering drinks, I had only sipped about 1/4 of it. It was taken away from me and tossed. That’s the last time I buy big bottles that I won’t have time to drink.

The plane to Dalian was already boarding. We were supposed to meet friends of my son at the gate. They were coming from South China for the wedding. I spied someone looking around and smiling just as she got to the front of the line. She looked like her facebook picture so I waved. It was really strange when I got on board and realized my assigned seat was right next to hers and her husband’s. We had about an hour to get acquainted. I could understand why they and my son had become friends. I liked both of them immediately.

Julie’s family all turned out for the reception at the airport. There were probably ten people there. Aunts, uncles, cousins, parents…all had come to greet us. Nathan was there to greet us with bouquets of flowers. We hugged each other and I didn’t want to let go. I almost started crying. It’s hard to see your son only every 18 months or so. I had sent a message to Julie that I was looking forward to her calling me Mom. She hugged me and did just that. It sounded wonderful.

It had taken quite a while for our luggage to arrive. Nathan’s friends had gone out first. Becky was standing there holding a bouquet as well. I wondered why but didn’t say anything. Julie’s grandmother grabbed my hand. She is only about eight years older than I am but she is very strong and healthy. When we started walking, I thought she was preparing me for a marathon as we headed to the car.

The trip to downtown Dalian was really a trip! I didn’t see any accidents but I was prepared for one at any moment. Those people cut in front of each other with centimeters to spare. I get nervous when there are only a few feet in between me and someone cutting in. I was astounded at the drivers. Traffic was flowing freely, literally bumper to bumper. It was amazing. I tried to relax but I was glad when we stopped and I could breathe again.

We checked into the hotel. Nathan and Julie went with us up to the room and turned on the air conditioning and checked to see that everything was o.k. The other couple was in the room next to ours. Since it was about 10 at night there, we went to bed. About two in the morning, both of us woke up. It was getting warm. The a/c had been turned off. That even included the fan. We made it through the night and in the morning we opened the window to let in some air.

The breakfast was part of the charge for the room. Nathan and Julie joined the four of us. I had a couple of brown (soaked in tea) hard boiled eggs, some orange liquid that was supposed to be juice, and a variety of non-descript vegetables. After breakfast, a tour around Dalian by van was arranged for us.

Dalian is a lovely city…or at least it would be if there were not so much construction going on. I don’t believe we drove a single mile without seeing at least two projects. They took us along a road that bordered the coast. We could see the East China Sea in the distance.

Nathan and Julie had arranged for everyone to eat at this lovely restaurant. There were eight of us, including the two drivers who were giving us the tour. When we entered I saw tank after tank of fresh live seafood. We were taken to a private room upstairs and waited while Nathan and Julie went downstairs to pick out our food. It was our first exposure to eating Chinese family-style.

There was a large Lazy Susan in the center of the table. As the dishes began to arrive, they were placed there. The others picked up their chopsticks and began eating right from the dishes, one bit at a time. The last dish to arrive was a fresh fish (I don’t know what kind) who I called “George”…as in, “George, I knew him well….”. He was the first George. Before our trip was over, we had been served at least four more. I told the story about George Foreman and his sons to Julie. Each new fish now became another George. They were by far, in my opinion, the best part of the meal. I’m in love with Chinese steamed fish…heads and all.

After a rest back at the hotel, we met one more time for supper. This was kind of the “rehearsal dinner”. There is a popular restaurant chain called “The Hot Pot” where Becky, Bob, Barb, Julie, her parents, Nathan and I went. It was delicious as long as I, like the noon meal, didn’t ask too many questions as to what we were eating.

Unfortunately, when we got back to the hotel, we realized the a/c was still not working. Barb and Betsy went down to the desk. They thought that translators were being called. Instead, Nathan and Julie arrived. At that time of night, nothing was done. We had to sleep with the window open which meant the traffic noise was unceasing. We got little sleep. I was so proud of Nathan. He kept his cool the entire time he was trying to handle this. Here it was the night before his wedding and there were still things which needed attention. I smiled as I realized the calming effect Julie had on him. I could see the tension, but he didn’t explode. I fell in love with her even more so.

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A Marriage in Dalian

Yesterday was my only child’s marriage thirteen hours ahead and half the world away. While I was in bed trying to sleep, he and his fiance were at the marriage hall signing papers in Dalian, China. A friend of mine calls her adult offspring her chadults. This was my chadult. He has waited almost thirty five years of his life to “take a wife”.

He has had several serious relationships in the past seventeen years or so but nothing ever really clicked. I never heard who broke  up with whom with those girls.

He left this country to become a world citizen while he was still in his twenties. The amount of time we have spent together since then can be measured in days, not years. It’s hard to find out about his life in that kind of situation. so many sons don’t share those kinds of feelings anyway .

I’m glad that he decided to marry. I’m hoping that means he is wanting to have a child. I don’t know how long he plans to stay in China but there will be only one if they stay there, although China  makes exceptions if neither parent has siblings or for foreigners.

I’m old fashioned enough to believe that a child needs both a father and a mother. Sometimes that idea is not realistic if one parent or the other is a poor role model.

I grew up without a mother and I did not want my son to grow up without a father. I never would have left him, even though our marriage was rocky from the start and became rockier when my son was born. In many ways, I was relieved when his father left our home. I tried to find healthier role models for him as he grew older. My son was and still is very closed about how our divorce affected him. I hope he didn’t take his father’s actions as lessons into his own marriage.

I don’t know if my son will follow in his father’s footsteps or will consciously choose to take another path. I’m hoping everything that was negative in his life he will use in a positive way in his marriage. If it had not been for the fact that I desire to have a grandchild, I think I might have tried to convince him to just continue to live with her rather than marry her. That lifestyle has become more acceptable now.

I think a man behaves better when he realizes that she can walk out at a moment’s notice without any strings attached. That idea keeps him behaving much better towards her. I’ve seen too many men take their wives for granted and treat them with contempt once the wedding is over.

I see so much good in my son and know he is capable of being a wonderful husband. I have never talked with my new daughter-in-law to know anything at all about her. I just wish the best for them and a long road of happiness ahead of them. I wish them both my best wishes. Namaste Attic Annie

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SC and Video “Games” Shame on You!

OK. I have a burning question. How much longer before the venerable Supreme Court in our land strikes down the laws banning the sale of alcohol and tobacco to our underage children?

It seems that there is no reason to have these laws on the books any more. They only poison the lungs and the livers of their users. It is obvious we have no care about the poisoning of the  minds of our young anymore so why care about the bodies?

I’m very concerned about the recent ruling of the Supreme Court on striking down the California  ban on violent video games being sold to children.

The ban was lifted under the guise of “Free Speech” .

According to one definition from Wikipedia

“Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The synonymous term freedom of expression is sometimes used to indicate not only freedom of verbal speech but any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as on “hate speech“.”

I contend that delaying the time that a child can be exposed to such horrendous violence is not censorship of free speech. It’s the promotion of common sense.

As much as I dislike some of the things being said today, I support the right of anyone to say anything at anytime without being censored. I don’t have to listen. I can walk away or change channels. But I am an adult. I am not an impressionable child. Children must be protected until old enough to think for themselves.

I was in college in the 1960s when I first was introduced to the topic of children and violence. At that time it was noted that children (preschoolers) who watched cartoons portraying violence were themselves more violent when allowed to play with the boxing clown toy.

We are so far beyond the violence of the Road Runner and the Coyote anymore. We are at the point where the children can control the violence being perpetrated on their victims. How much longer before the video gamers introduce snuff actions into their games like the underground snuff films being sold?  The kids aren’t allowed into theaters but the games are allowed to be brought right into their homes!

The military uses violent simulation games in preparing their soldiers to become killers. They call that “training”. My question: What are we training our children to do when they play the same types of games and worse in the guise of “entertainment”?

We can have the support of the law to help keep alcohol and tobacco out of teenager’s hands but we can’t have their support to keep violence out of their minds.  SHAME on you, SC! The video gaming industry is making more and more “games” intentionally targeted for children yet you ignore that and let their money from their aggressive, influential lobbyists influence your decisions.

One argument is that it is up to the lazy parents to get up off their butts and monitor their children. With parents needing to be out of the house working to support the children, there are too many hours when they can’t be there. There are times when the older children play these games right in front of younger brothers and sisters. All while the parent cannot be in the home.

There is the argument that children can’t buy these games without their parents providing transportation for them to the store. Evidently those arguers have never heard of malls  where dozens of stores await the money of their children. They’ve never seen the children on public transportation.

Yes, parents buy children the equipment for playing the games. That does not mean they intend to expose their children to such violence as found in these games. Teenagers have many ways to earn their own money for such things. They swap games back and forth among friends. One parent may prohibit such games but that doesn’t stop the child from playing it at a friend’s house.

One Supreme Court justice defended peddling violence to kids by stating that there has always been violence in the lives of children. He then cited the Grimm Brother’s story of Snow White. Come on, now! He sees no difference between Snow White and modern day video games? To me that’s like comparing vinegar to hydrochloric acid. Both can do damage but the hydrochloric acid does it much more rapidly!

To me this law reversal is one more in the path the Supreme Court is following. I strongly feel they are allowing the huge corporations to control their decisions. These are dangerous times. I cry for the children and all the others whose rights are being ignored in the interest of big money!

Namaste. Attic Annie

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