Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Tomorrow marks our twentieth wedding anniversary! Chuck and I have known each other for 26 years. (It’s fun to say we’ve known each other for over a quarter of a century.) But on a gorgeous, sunny day in 1991, with some crisp, dry autumn air breezing through, we were married. Our Chuppah was the house we were living in; our guests were just a few family and friends who we wanted gathered round to celebrate with us.

When we married, we thought we were the happiest we could ever be. Twenty years later I’m delighted to report we were wrong. Our love has continued to grow and deepen and strengthen year after year.

Here’s to many, many more!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Eval

- The state and federal Emergency Management Agencies and meteorologists need to provide folks with all the facts about an impending weather event.
- The elected officials need to both reinforce the message as well as recommend appropriate action and reassure people that everything that can be done will be done.
- The media needs to report the story - the predictions, preparations, history, impact, aftermath and recovery.


There is a phrase “cool under fire”. Every single one of the individuals mentioned above need to do their jobs without histrionics; without hyperbole. They also need to be “cool under fire”. They need to do their jobs with honor and dignity. If they exaggerate the potential and the risks, then they cry wolf and endanger the populace.

The New England Hurricane of 1938 killed over 680 people and did tremendous and lasting damage. It was a category three storm when it made landfall. Had the satellite and forecasting computers we have today been available back then, countless lives could have been saved.

This weather knowledge is vital and must be used properly. A hurricane or blizzard should never be a “ratings bonanza” nor an opportunity for self aggrandizement. It should never, ever tip over into what Jeff Jarvis has called “storm porn”. This flow of information and reportage is a responsibility of the highest order and should be treated responsibly, not like a carnival barker trying to get paying customers into a sideshow.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sweet Dreams - I Hope

Well, it turns out that 13 hours of sleep over 87 hours is really not enough.
So I will say hello and then good night and try to catch up a bit.

May everyone in the path of Hurricane Irene’s rain, winds and storm surge stay safe and sound.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Dancing - Now Public!

I can now tell you, with great delight and excitement, that our niece Kate and her husband Phil are expecting their first child!

When Kate and Phil made the announcement to the family at the Fourth of July party, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. But tradition dictates that we wait until Kate had safely navigated her first trimester. Now that she is 14 weeks along, we are very happy to share the good news here.

Kate and Phil are smart, funny, loving and big hearted. This is one lucky baby who has chosen them to be her or his parents!

Class Warfare? I Call Bull Puckey!

And thank heavens, so does Jon Stewart!

Do watch both videos in sequence.
The “F” word and a few others are bleeped, but probably NSFW.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

All Clear!

Back in March I had Mohs surgery to remove a small basal cell carcinoma from above my right eyebrow. A few weeks ago I had my follow up visit with my Mohs surgeon. I jokingly asked him to remember which side of my face he had worked on - because that’s how dang near invisible the tear drop shaped scar is now. He surprised me by remarking on the remaining redness and puffiness and told me that it would look really good by next March. He then said if I still wasn’t satisfied by next year that I could have laser treatments to even out the skin tone. I don’t mean to portray him as not listening to me. He truly understood how delighted I am with the results. It’s just that the dude has extremely high standards! I like that in a surgeon!

Today I went to see my regular dermatologist. This was my six month screening and I’m happy to report that I got a clean bill of health. Dr. L. looked me over from head to toes - literally - utilizing a bright light and a magnifier and found absolutely nothing of interest! Because Chuck had been so impressed with Dr. L.’s manner and diagnostic skills, Chuck had his first screening today. And he got a clean bill of health as well! I have to go back in six months because once you’ve had a bcc the odds increase on getting another one. But Chuck was cleared completely and only has to come back if he notices something or, as Dr. L. put it, “if your wife says you have to come back”! I like that in a doc!

Bottom line: I am happy and healthy. If you see something on your skin you have questions about, find a good dermatologist, make an appointment and get checked out.

Related Mohs surgery posts from March:
Bye Bye BCC! - all about the procedure
Sláinte - with the wild post-op image
It’s True - a progress report
and OK! - the wrap up

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Local Hub

Just before we moved to our small town in Central Massachusetts we filled out all our change of address cards. Pretty much the first thing we did when we moved here was visit our new post office. We had a chat with the postmaster who told us what to do to install our shiny new mailbox. The day the letter carrier pulled up in front of our box, (now standing proudly at the side of the road), opened the door, slid in a couple of envelopes and snapped the door shut, we knew we had arrived.

For almost 17 years we have frequented that post office. When my sister was gravely ill 2600 miles away, it was that post office where I slid a card or note or letter into the box almost every day. Including shortly after closing one night, choked up and superstitiously scared that not posting that particular card to my sis would lead to a turn for the worse, the postmaster opened the door and wished both me and my sister well.

I even got to know a good friend via the post office. She has a box there and although we had seen each other around town, chatting inside the post office, then carrying those conversations outside was how our friendship evolved. I doubt we were the only ones to meet and connect that way. The bulletin board near the “Local” and “Out Of Town” slots is filled with what’s happening around town. And I’d bet my bottom dollar it gets far more traffic than the one over at the town hall.

Paperwork for our passports was filed in our local post office. Even though they have yet to be stamped by any country, it sure was nice not to have to schlep into Worcester or Boston and stand in line.

We mail all our holiday, birthday, anniversary and sympathy cards from the local post office as well. When we were mailing off the DVDs and books from Carrie and Al’s wedding they departed from there. And a trip back had to made to share the finished product with the staff!

When we were traveling back and forth to Seattle to be with Chuck’s Dad in his final year, we extended our stay once. I called the post office to let them know we would be gone an extra week. They said it was fine, that we had put a “will pick up” on the hold mail order. But then they added, that if we hadn’t called, they would have begun to worry about us.

After September 11, 2001 and the subsequent anthrax incidents, in addition to the usual card to our letter carrier, we sent a holiday card to our post office. We thanked them all for their service and their courage. We still send a card. We are still grateful for all they do.

Now there’s a way we can be of service to them.

The managers in charge at the United States Postal Service are working hard against their own letter carriers. They want to lay off workers as well as slash pension and health benefits. They keep claiming that if they were a fully private company (rather than a semi-independent federal agency) that they would have filed for bankruptcy. The problem with that statement is that it is false. Much of what has led to the losses at the USPS in the past four years has been a congressional mandate to pre-fund future retiree benefits 75 years in advance and on a steeply accelerated schedule - enough to crush any organization’s budget, especially in a down economy. They are the only federal agency required to do such a thing.

Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced H.R. 1351. This legislation is designed to right the wrong committed by the Office of Personnel Management which has led to the enormous overcharges. Most significantly, it has kept millions of dollars of revenue out of the USPS which could have been used in day to day operations.

Please call your congressional representative. (You can find a list here.)

: : First off, please urge your congressperson to oppose the Postal Service's proposals to downsize its workforce through layoffs and strip its employees of their health and pension benefits.
: : Second, please tell your congressperson to support H.R. 1351 a vital legislative first step toward ensuring a sound financial future for the Postal Service.

Want more information? Please go to the website of the NALC - The National Association of Letter Carriers.

There are more issues on the table both for the employees of the Postal Service and the citizens of the United States. One of them is the proposal that the USPS should cut back from six days of delivery to five. Besides the significant inconvenience to the customers, the NALC has a list of reasons why five days just won’t work.

Another very disturbing plan is the USPS’ intention to close thousands of post offices across the United States - more than 3600 - many in rural areas. The most comprehensive website devoted to this is Save The Post Office created and administered by Steve Hutkins. The map of post office locations on the hit list alone makes it worth the visit. But the depth and breadth of the website is impressive and compelling.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hey! Verizon!

Chuck and I are Verizon Landline customers. We are outraged by a company which awards an enormous bonus to its CEO while trying to strip benefits from the workers who keep the phones in service!

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) began bargaining with Verizon on June 22, 2011. On August 7, 2011 IBEW and CWA went out on strike.

IBEW International President Edwin Hill summed up the problem succinctly:
”This is a company with a $100 billion dividend. The top five company executives were paid more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the past four years. If a company like this is not willing to provide wages and benefits to enable its workers to be part of the mainstream middle class in America, then all who work for a living have reason to fear.”

Please take a moment to sign the petition over on the CWA page.

Back in February, I posted here about The Folks Who Brought You The Weekend. Read that if you would like one woman’s perspective on the historical and contemporary importance of unions - as well as my shame over have unwittingly been a scab when I was about eleven years old.

Image courtesy of CWA

Truly Worthy Of The Word Awesome!

You MUST watch this video!
Within 30 seconds it will leave you gobsmacked.

You can watch this video and more over at Science Friday.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Prints and The Potter

Worcester, Massachusetts boasts a wonderful gallery and framing shop: The Prints and The Potter. Located at the corner of Highland and West Streets, they have been in business for 36 years. With an extensive selection of pottery, jewelry, glasswork and framed art, the cleverly named shop should be your first stop for a special gift - for yourself or others! They are also the only place we take artwork for framing. They have handled a variety of projects for us and always do a professional job with exceptional attention to detail. They really are a gem!

Friday, August 5, 2011

One Amazing Year!

”Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Isabella Rose,
Happy Birthday to you -
and many more!

One year ago today our grandniece, Isabella Rose was born fourteen weeks premature, weighing just one pound, six ounces and a wee twelve inches long. We met her when she was just four hours old and she struck us as "sweet and strong". We were right, because she is still sweet and strong plus well and happy; rolling past all of her developmental milestones!


...and now!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Our plate has been full lately - a little too full. But life doesn’t let us pick and choose when we will be needed. Nor does it let us choose how or by whom. When Chuck and I feel frustrated or overwhelmed we seek out the positive. Sometimes it is an electric pink sky at sunset; sometimes a kind gesture by a stranger; sometimes an old friend who makes us laugh and the years fall away. Focusing on a feeling of gratitude is transformative and lasting; sustaining us even as we reach to pick up the phone to deal with what’s coming next.

Photograph by LMR/Pink Granite. Layout by LMR/Pink Granite. Font: Hans Hand & Helvetica. Software: Apple iPhoto ’09 and Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Mac.
You’re welcome to “drag and drop” this image onto your computer for your personal use.