&^(@*$)(@+!

There are times when I just feel that I cannot keep up. No, I’m not talking technology, I manage in that way. It’s other little things that let me know I’m out of touch. Like a recent text from my granddaughter, Elizabeth. 

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What does this look like to you? 

If you answered bacon on someone’s leg, then you are with me. If you responded “band-aids” then you are with it, up-to-date, cool, keeping up, so CONGRATULATIONS. 

My almost adult (she will be 21 next week) college student granddaughter had an accident recently which required a few stitches. Good Grandmother that I am I check on her frequently and good granddaughter that she is she keeps me up on how she is doing.

This morning she sent this photo with a text that read “Bacon can fix anything.” I sincerely thought she had put raw bacon on her cuts and started lecturing her on the dangers of tularemia and trichinosis. She is a Nuclear Medicine Technology student who happens to be on the Dean’s List so certainly not dumb, but regardless I was concerned. 

It seems one of her friends thought these band-aids would be fun. Apparently, it turned out she was right because Elizabeth certainly enjoyed my reaction. 

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When I googled “bacon band-aids” they came up in the dozens from Amazon to eBay to Walmart! Who knew?

So now I can no longer believe my eyes? 

 

Diverse Congress?

This past November, 35 new women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives bringing the total now serving to over 100. There has been abundant news coverage of this group’s number and their wide diversity in ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation.

Twenty-three percent of both the House and Senate being female is a first. It is great, right? Not quite. Before we proclaim “The Year of the Woman” yet again let’s look at some other facts.       https://crookedcreek.live/2018/06/13/year-of-the-woman-2018/ 

  • Women make up over 50% of the population of the U.S.
  • Over 60% of U.S. citizens holding college degrees (both undergrad and masters) are female
  • The U.S. Senate, since its inception in 1789 has had only 56 women to serve and many of those were appointed to fill the seat of a deceased husband rather than elected.  

Don’t think for a moment that the glass ceiling has been broken. There is not even a discernible crack, but that does not mean we give up. Instead, we stay informed, support the best candidate for the job, VOTE and perhaps most importantly stop judging females more harshly than we do men. 

Overall our government looks white, male and old but this does not reflect our population. We can and must do better! 

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https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/01/14/us/politics/women-of-the-116th-congress.html?emc=edit_nn_20190120&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=7295686420190120&te=1

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” Mark Twain

Theme photo of 27 incoming Congresswomen by Christelle De Castro of ELLE

POEM

This Winter Day

Why can’t you decide?
First, you let a few white flakes float down
then you drop an anemic sprinkle on the ground.

I decide this cloudy day I can abide
then the sun peeks out from behind the trees.
Winter Day you are such a tease.

At least there is no ice on which to slide
but the Meteorologist says just wait a day
and you’ll need your sleigh.

by Sue Baugh Mattingly – January 26, 2019

Field Trip

Death

I’ve been told that I think about death a lot. This is true; for as long as I can remember I have been interested in the subject. Some have said that I think about death too much. I do not agree. I think of it just the right amount, because I am not afraid of death. I consider it one of the few mysteries still left and I enjoy learning as much as possible until the time when I experience death personally, as we all will. 

I just searched for “death” here in the blog and found that I have written on the subject many times. OK, I admit it, more than I thought. You may do a search from the Home page if you are interested in reading more on the subject. 

Field Trip

One of my daughters approached me recently about our taking a trip to Yew Dell Gardens near here. It is a lovely place that I have enjoyed in the past, but could not see going there in the middle of winter. Then she confessed her motive and I was onboard immediately! We picked up my other daughter and the three of us bundled up to visit Yew Dell Gardens in January.   https://www.yewdellgardens.org

It turns out there is a very special flower in the greenhouse at Yew Dell that only blooms once each year and the bloom only lasts about 2 days, so there is a short window of time for viewing. We were there for the “viewing” of the Corpse Flower!

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Amorphophallus

(from Ancient Greek amorphos, “without form, misshapen” + phallos, “penis“, referring to the shape of the prominent spadix) per BING

There are many interesting facts about the corpse flower (other than its name) and I recommend you read up or even better watch it go from dormant to fully bloomed to doomed on YouTube in just over two minutes of time lapsed photography.

I’ll tell you about our experience.

The moment we opened the door to the greenhouse we were greeted with a very unpleasant and overwhelming odor. The three of us had varying opinions of the smell, but I insist it was not like a decomposing body, which is what we expected.

The plant, from China, was over five feet tall and I understand they can reach ten feet. It was beautiful in an odd way in spite of its lingering odor. The colors were very dark purple or maybe wine (petals and stamen) and off white (seeds). The texture looked fibrous and tough and a bit like skin. I can best show you with this slideshow of photos we took while there. I wish there was a way to share the odor as easily!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you want to see it bloom on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSMKcE5XbAQ

If you want to know more:

https://www.livescience.com/51947-corpse-flower-facts-about-the-smelly-plant.html

“If smart technology can transform 3-D from a crude novelty to a genuine visual enhancement, why shouldn’t a sophisticated odor synthesizer follow a similar path?” Charles Platt

Thank you to Allison Puckett for the photos.

Pollinators

Do We Need Pollinators?

Pollinators, mainly bees, but also butterflies and other insects are necessary for our food supply. These pollinators are responsible for the sexual reproduction of plants by cross-pollination and also provide genetic diversity. Serious pollinator decline has been a worldwide problem since toward the end of the last century.

Pollinator Toxins

This decline coincides with the development of neonicotinoids (neonics for short) a chemical similar to nicotine which is used in a variety of insecticides. See the Wikipedia chart below for more information. Note that the US$ amount is from ten years ago.

Name Company Products Turnover in million US$ (2009)
Imidacloprid Bayer CropScience Confidor, Admire, Gaucho, Advocate 1,091
Thiamethoxam Syngenta Actara, Platinum, Cruiser 627
Clothianidin Sumitomo Chemical/Bayer CropScience Poncho, Dantosu, Dantop, Belay 439
Acetamiprid Nippon Soda Mospilan, Assail, ChipcoTristar 276
Thiacloprid Bayer CropScience Calypso 112
Dinotefuran Mitsui Chemicals Starkle, Safari, Venom 79
Nitenpyram Sumitomo Chemical Capstar, Guardian 8

Neonics are known to be toxic to not only pollinators but also birds, some aquatic animals, and other wildlife.  The EU and Canada, as well as other countries, have restricted the use of neonics in an effort to curb the pollinator decline. One would think that the US would have done the same, but one would be wrong. Virtually all corn grown in this country is treated with one of these insecticides. In 2014 at least one-third of all soybeans planted were treated with these products.

EPA

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has been reviewing this issue and has quietly pushed back its timetable for a decision of its own review. Knowing this I was curious as to whether the EPA’s website provided any current information. What I found was interesting.

  • There were twenty-two references found using the word “neonic” in a search. No, I did not read them.
  • Apparently, due to the monthlong government shutdown, the EPA had this notice at the top of the website:
    • Due to a lapse in appropriations, EPA websites will not be regularly updated. In the event of an environmental emergency imminently threatening the safety of human life or where necessary to protect certain property, the EPA website will be updated with appropriate information. Please note that all information on the EPA website may not be up to date, and transactions and inquiries submitted to the EPA website may not be processed or responded to until appropriations are enacted.

In spite of protests, petitions, lawsuits (NRDC) and Congressional bills (Conyers) the EPA continues its inaction while over 4,000 species of wild bees and other pollinators are destroyed.

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“When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.” Ramakrishna

Music 4

Deathbed Playlist

In November 2016 The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/06/opinion/sunday/my-deathbed-playlist-and-yours.html published an opinion piece about the kind of music one would want to hear while dying. I have a list that I’d like at my funeral, but I had never given any thought to what I’d want to hear while dying. As I read the desires of others I began to put together my own “deathbed playlist.”

Of those who shared their lists some of the pieces were classical. I think classical music can be very comforting, but I am not educated enough in that kind of music to choose. Far more respondents mentioned rock pieces by specific artists or bands.  These I could identify with, such as Zeppelin, Cohen, Dylan, The Rolling Stones and others. 

After reading this article in the NYT by Mark Vanhoenacker I chose “When God Made Me” by Neil Young, for sure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5QjKLcod9Y It is not an especially comforting song, but one full of questions. I’ve always had questions and know they will continue until I draw my last breath. My hope is that the answers might follow. 

How about you? What music would you like to hear during your last hours on this planet? Please share with us. 

Funeral Playlist

I suspect that many of you know the music you’d like at your funeral. Am I right? I do, the list is in The Binder https://crookedcreek.live/2018/09/16/the-binder/I have listed songs I’d like my family to choose from and they include: “Remember” by Josh Grobin, an old hymn “It is Well with My Soul,” the aforementioned “When God Made Me,” and of course “Amazing Grace” by either Elvis, Andrea Bocelli or IL Divo. 

At the end of my cousin, Pat’s, funeral we were all surprised and jolted by “Spirit in the Sky.” We laughed and shared a moment of Pat humor. It was great!  

What music do you want at your funeral? Please share. 

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

Hans Christian Andersen

 

Theme photo by Pixabay

Music 3

Deceased Artists

Isn’t it ironic that we miss music most after the death of a star musician? So many that we have lost over the past couple of years come to mind, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Prince, Tom Petty, Glen Campbell, and Chuck Berry. The day that Franklin died, I began to play her old CDs and continued for days.

“Space Oddity” and “Purple Rain” each still bring a tear when I hear them. It goes without saying that we often appreciate folks more after they are gone. That’s life, that’s death, but the music lives on and we are lucky to be able to hear any favorite anytime of day, thanks to the Internet and YouTube.

“Space Oddity” 

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills
And put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown,
Engines on
Check ignition
And may God’s love be with you

This is Ground Control
To Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule
If you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating
In a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past
One hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much
She knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead,
Is there something wrong?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you….

Here am I floating
Round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.

Songwriter: David Bowie
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC,T.R.O. INC.
For non-commercial use only.

Nostalgia 

Tom Petty “Won’t Back Down” & “Free Falling

Glen Campbell “Rhinestone Cowboy”

Fats Domino “Blueberry Hill”

Chuck Berry “Johnny Be Good”

Aretha Franklin “R E S P E C T”

Prince “Purple Rain”

Who do you miss today?

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

William Shakespeare

Theme photo by Pixabay

Post from Elliott

Hi Readers,

My name is Elliott Mattingly. You may have heard of me, I’m pretty famous or is it “infamous” that I hear so often?  https://crookedcreek.live/2018/01/13/cats  

My Human (a.k.a. Sue) likes to make fun of my butt. I resent it and I do not know how to get even with her. If I could talk I’d tell her that her butt is big, too. Since I can’t talk, I’ve been searching and searching for a way to get her back. I could puke as Zoe does but I’m too refined for that although I do enjoy watching the Human clean it up. 

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See? My butt isn’t so big!

I do everything that I can to keep in shape and she knows it because look at the photos she takes. She must think I’m pretty good looking, but still she has to mention my almost 22# weight and my big butt. 

I decided to steal her blog for this entry. Never mind how I learned to type, but can’t talk, just work with me here. My diabolical plan to really get even with her is something I did learn from Zoe. Zoe can never be caught to go to the vet. I don’t know why she doesn’t want to go, but that’s her problem. I’ve seen how upset the Human gets trying to catch her so I decided that could work for me. 

Last week we had an appointment with our nice vets at the Shelbyville Rd. Animal Clinic. When the carrier appeared I ran under the king-sized bed and the human looked so ridiculous trying to get under there for me. She begged, pleaded really for some time, then she got mad and demanded I come out. I just sat and looked at her, licking . . . well, I won’t say where. I was quite pleased when I heard her calling the vet to reschedule. I tried to catch the date for the next appointment but wasn’t able to hear it. I’d just have to be on the lookout for that carrier to reappear. 

And today it did! I retreated under the big bed again and we went through the whole scenario from last week. I am good! Or so I thought listening to yet another call to cancel and reschedule. This could be fun for a long time! Zoe watched the whole thing and I’m pretty sure she was impressed and taking notes. 

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Zoe

So things got quiet for a while and I thought the Human must have left the premises so I wandered out to hop onto my window seat to watch the birds outside. I jumped, but instead of landing on my target two big human hands caught me midair and before I knew it I was in the carrier! No amount of crying and cussing made any difference, we were in the car and backing out of the garage so fast it made me dizzy. 

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I’m back home now and a little embarrassed at the scene I made. Dr. Patterson was so nice and I really enjoyed the exam and care, but the best news was that I have lost almost two pounds! It was worth all the fuss and bother to get that news. I knew the Human was jealous because she never has even a pound to celebrate! 

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” Sigmund Freud

Music 2

Unique Voices

There are musicians with very unique voices and they are among my favorites. I listen to these three daily on my Pandora stations.

Whispers

Leonard Cohen (1934-1916), Canadian, whispers into the microphone as though he is engaging in an intimate moment. His voice haunts and follows. You can hear his top 20 hits here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Cb4VjBKjc  My favorite is “I’m Your Man.”

Growls 

Your first guess must surely be Bob Dylan, the 77-year-old Nobel Prize winner for Literature (2016.) Dylan the anti-war, civil rights singer and songwriter growls all his music as an angry man. If you, like me, are a fan here’s his top 25: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWQWh86sJsA

Willie Nelson    

I invite you to describe the sound, the style of 85-year-old Willie Nelson. His voice is like none other and he has been writing music since he was seven years old. I’m not a big country music fan, but Willie is an exception for me. I love Willie! Hear his greatest hits here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzhW678PK4U&t=187s

“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.” Plato

 

 

Theme Photo by Pixabay

First Snow

Poem by Sylvia Mattingly – January 10, 2016

a first kiss of snow

with a first kiss of snow on a january day 

perhaps winter at last has something to say

after patiently biding its time to alight

it has covered the earth with a blanket of white

 

it is not as though winter has come without warning

the animals sensed it on yesterday’s morning

with instinctual nature that leads them to know

when to gather and store for the coming of snow

 

as the whitetail deer hungrily forage on grass

the squirrels in my yard bury acorns en masse

and i watch them and learn from their God given ways

that teach me to ready for the hardest of days

 

now that winter has come in a vision of white

and has hung up its coat in the dark depths of night

we can rest in the peace that the snow comes with reason

and trust without doubt that we need this cold season

 

eventually the coldness of winter will wane

and the passing of time will ensure the spring rain

but for now we must live with a sky full of gray

and a first kiss of snow on a january day

 

“A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder.” Susan Orlean

Music

Memories of Music

Other than church hymns, my earliest memories of music are of Elvis, Little Richard, and Fats Domino. There were others, such as the Everly Brothers (I really liked “Wake Up Little Susie”) that I enjoyed, but mainly I remember these three from my early years.

I, like every girl of that era, loved Elvis. His mellow and sensuous voice seemed to be singing just to me. The other two were more for dancing. That was the time of the jitterbug and sock hops and Little Richard particularly got everyone to their feet. 

As we age music tastes and styles change, but my love of Elvis’ voice remains. Some of the other oldies are still favorites: Credence Clearwater Revival, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, and Neil Young.

 

What Music Do You Recall From Your Early Years?

Please share with us your favorites. 

“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” Ludwig van Beethoven

 

Photo by Pixabay

Book Reviews – Under Fire & Becoming

I always have a wish list for Christmas which includes books. This past Christmas I received four. I just finished the second.

“Under Fire”

April Ryan is a White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Network. She is also a political analyst on CNN. Ryan has spent two decades in this correspondent position under three presidents. I’ve always admired her tenaciousness in getting her questions answered during White House press conferences. She is an intelligent source of information on cable news. Knowing these things about her I looked forward to reading her new book, “Under Fire.

The book was interesting as an inside, behind the scenes account of the past two years under the current POTUS. Two things about the book were disappointing, however. First, as a reporter, I expected Ryan to be an outstanding writer. In my opinion, she was not in this book, often repeating parts of her story. And, her story was truly HER STORY. Perhaps I should have expected that from the title and pre-publishing discussions. The message was a bit “poor me” but on the other hand, it seems she has legitimate grievances that result from being a black woman seeking answers for the African American community. 

The book is a quick read and worth the time to get a better view of the obstacles before people of color working in or around a very white government. 

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“Becoming”

Another book written by a well-known black woman, Michelle Obama, former FLOTUS, I would highly recommend. “Becoming” is a well written and very thorough autobiography of Obama’s life from early childhood in the South Side of Chicago through eight years of living in the White House as First Lady. Her life is impressive and the journey is thoroughly and honestly documented in this book. 

This is the first such thorough account I’ve read of what it is like to live in what the author calls the “bubble” of the Secret Service. Raising two young girls in this highly protected environment was very challenging and Obama is quite forthcoming about her concerns that her children grow up normally under such non-normal circumstances. 

This inside view of life in the White House includes accounts of foreign and domestic travel, campaigning, press coverage, pressures both small and colossal. The sheer size of the operation and number of staff to keep it operating was astonishing to me.

Michelle Obama is an intelligent and highly accomplished woman and I enjoyed reading about her life both as a professional and First Lady. 

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“Historically, black women have suffered tremendously, but today’s black women are the triumph. We have choices, and that’s what freedom is all about: having the power to choose.” Susan L. Taylor

Health Care

Rant #1 

HIPAA – To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191, included Administrative Simplification provisions that required HHS to adopt national standards for electronic health care transactions and code sets, unique health identifiers, and security. At the same time, Congress recognized that advances in electronic technology could erode the privacy of health information. Consequently, Congress incorporated into HIPAA provisions that mandated the adoption of Federal privacy protections for individually identifiable health information.

What does HIPAA mean to you? To me, it has always meant privacy of my confidential information relative to healthcare. I do remember when HIPAA was passed in 1996 and that it was comprehensive reform of many things other than patient privacy. Back then I was still in the provider/payor role in health care. Today I am just a consumer and I am appalled by the lack of privacy and security of information. 

A few days ago I walked into the waiting room of one of my doctors and the person behind the desk asked me piece by piece for the following information: 

  • Your Name?
  • Your address?
  • Your phone number?
  • Your date of birth?

Does anyone see a problem here? The only identifying information left out for the dozen or so people in the waiting area to hear was my Social Security number. How is this privacy? How was my information secure? 

Rant #2

While I’m at it, have you not been told all your life to never sign any document without reading it first? OK, I know we won’t read every word of every page, but shouldn’t we at least SEE the document we are asked to sign? Maybe glance at the title? 

Does your doctor’s office or other medical facility have one of these little gadgets? Most of mine do now and I’m asked to sign this Topaz thingy three to five times with each encounter. If I ask, “What am I signing?”, I’m told, but I do not see the document. This may seem like a small thing, but it is very bad business and I wonder how it stands up in court? “Your Honor I do not recall signing a Consent for Treatment” or “When did I sign an agreement to pay? I only signed the little Topaz machine when told, your Honor.”

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There are also iPad versions of this process which gather a new patient’s medical history, demographics and consents. These at least show the form being signed and one can see one’s own signature on that form via the screen. 

Rant #3

Sorry, I’ve forgotten, but I am sure it is just as important and I’ll get back to you. 

 

“Healthcare is becoming part of information technology.” Bill Maris

 

 

Title photo courtesy Pixabay