The Bright Hour

A Book Review: “The Bright Hour” by Nina Riggs


People tease me about being too interested in death and I do see the subject as something to be explored. After all, it is the last and greatest mystery of all time. We won’t know what it’s like until it’s our death and then we won’t be able to share details. Therefore, I wonder about the subject.

While “The Bright Hour” subtitle is “A Memoir of Living and Dying” I saw it as much more about living. Nina Riggs faces death from terminal breast cancer while she is witnessing the death of her Mother from a blood cancer. Riggs is in her late thirties with two children. She and her husband face cancer with strength and even humor.

The author manages to find beauty and truth because she looks for it. She is brave and she shares her most personal hopes, fear, and treatments. I recommend this book. It will make you smile and maybe shed a tear.

“It’s mostly just normal human drama, negotiating life with your kids, your parents, your partner, your friends, you job, your home, your pets, etc. It’s life.” Nina Riggs



Silent Ailment

Hearing Loss

When a person has problems seeing or walking it is obvious and most people make allowances for the person who has such disabilities. When a person is hearing impaired it is less obvious. Often the person with a hearing deficit seems to not be paying attention or to be ignoring the conversation.


Hearing loss is common for people over the age of sixty-four (64) and often progresses for a decade or more. In America, it affects more than 48 million people and is more common than either diabetes or cancer.


Hearing loss can be acute from head trauma and illnesses such as infection. More likely, however, the cause is exposure to prolonged loud noises, an illness such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure. Genetics can play a factor and some medications can contribute to hearing loss. 


Treatment may include surgery, medication or cochlear implants (for younger patients) but is more likely to require hearing aids. Hearing aids come in various styles and the cost may range from around two to seven thousand dollars. This is a good reason to shop around and do serious research before investing in aids. It also helps to have realistic expectations for hearing aids. They amplify sounds. They do not restore normal hearing. Hearing aids take time and patience to learn how best to use them.


It also helps if family and friends understand that they can assist the hearing impaired by 1. Getting their attention prior to speaking, 2. Making sure they are positioned so that their lips can be seen and 3. Speaking clearly, but not shouting. Most people with hearing loss are particularly impaired when there is more than one person speaking at once. 


Sounds and therefore hearing are measured in decibels. A hearing loss of thirty decibels or more is considered significant. The sounds in our environment can be measured in decibels. 

You can measure decibels easily by using a smartphone app. Restaurants are notoriously noisy and knowing the decibel level can be helpful in choosing which to patronize. I use VenueDB on my iPhone, but there are several for both Android and IOS phones. I recently measured one of my favorite restaurants at eighty-two (82) decibels. That can be appreciated by knowing that a lawn mower registers around 90. 

NOTE: some information contained herein obtained from WebMD. 

“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food or the sound of a loved one’s voice.” Joseph B. Wirthlin


Photo & graphic by Pixabay

Frogs 2


Frogs Are Valuable

Frogs are precious and, not as dinner. Did you know that according to the Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project* (Panama) between 1996 and 2006, over 100,000 tons of frog legs worth almost half a billion dollars were consumed by human diners? 

Frogs are valuable and not just as pest control. We would certainly suffer without frogs eating flying pests. Considering the diseases carried by mosquitoes I cannot imagine a world without frogs and other amphibians to keep them under control yet, since 1980, we have lost over 120 species of amphibians!

“So what?” some may say, but the value of frogs goes way beyond pest control and culinary uses. Frog skin is a virtual bonanza for medical research and treatment. Frogs have been found to carry cures and controls for some of humankind’s most threatening conditions*.  


 It is True

Someone has said: “Frogs have it made, they get to eat what bugs them.” Anonymous and it is true. We once had a koi pond with frogs and lily pads and it was great entertainment until one very large frog became “bugged” by a bird. The bird just wanted a drink from the pond, but that hungry frog rose up and gulped the bird into its mouth! Only the tail and wing tips were not swallowed. I would never have believed it possible had I not seen it in my own backyard. And, you might not believe it either except in addition to a couple of (frightened) witnesses I have pictures.

Warning, it is not pleasant. 


Like people, they may not all be sociable but we need frogs and they need us to preserve them for the value they add to our world. 

Part 2 of 2