Monday, April 24, 2017

A Few Thoughts

1. I'm writing these words on Sunday afternoon, the day after Earth Day and March for Science celebrations. I am somewhat dumbstruck by the very fact that we have to take to the streets for our planet and for science. SCIENCE! What is going on in our world? I said to Roger while we were out for our walk in the brief sunlit break between storms, "Shouldn't there be protest marches against Big Oil? Wall Street? The conniving thievery that is happening right before our eyes?" We need marches in defense of science? How is this possible? Why is this true? Please wake me up and tell me that it was all just a bad dream.

2. Donald Trump and I have something in common. It's ridiculously true. On the day he was sworn in, his 100-day countdown began, and so did mine. I suspect that his 100 days will be as empty as his cognitive skills, but mine will be fulfilled by finally getting my Medicare benefits. It's true, I will have me my socialized medicine. I can only hope that someday our country becomes enlightened and finally gets single-payer. But until then, Medicare, in one more week here I come!
I photographed the highway down to one lane in March.
3. We live in what is often referred to as "behind the redwood curtain." It's a 270 mile drive north from San Francisco to Arcata. The most direct and easiest route is Highway 101. The last 100 miles of the trip is through the redwoods and mountains. Some of it is two-lane winding, hairpin turns on the edge of a drop to the south fork of the Eel River. Speed limit 30 mph. Yes, it's typically a slow trip. Well, since the big rains of winter, there's been a stretch of that highway that was down to one lane because of a landslide. And since last weekend, there was an even bigger landslide that has completely closed the highway. Seriously. Food supplies and US mail are being re-routed to other crazy routes to get to us, on roads that have their own one-lane-traffic controlled brokenness. We asked our mailman the other day if he had noticed any changes, and he said yes. There are some things that are just not making it up here. Once the highway is opened, he said, you'll be getting lots of mail that is being held up. It's interesting being somewhat isolated at the moment. I told Roger, it sure would be a bummer if we had an earthquake now, wouldn't it? More rain in the forecast, although that almost goes without saying, doesn't it? (I remembered an old post from 2008 that Roger wrote about his travels on Highway 101. It's fun looking back. I sure wish we were using blogger for comments back then rather than Haloscan which disappeared in 2009. Sigh.)
Four Generations!
4. I don't get to talk to my mom as much as I would like to. We used to talk twice a day for years and years, but now I'm lucky if I get to talk with her twice a week. Her lucidity is not reliable at any given moment. But the sound of her voice, especially if I can make her laugh, is something as beautiful as a favorite song. On this Sunday afternoon my sister called me while I was typing this and said, "Call mom right now, she is in a great mood." So I called. She actually answered the phone and said, "Oh hello Robin, and how are you today?" I shouted "Mom..." with every bit of love I have in my heart. She said, "You know my phone doesn't ring much anymore." I told her that it's often hard to get a hold of her. She's not in her room all the time. She doesn't listen to her messages anymore. She doesn't really know how to make phone calls. I also told her that our phone doesn't ring much anymore either. She said,"I'll call you, and then I'll hang up. Okay?" We laughed and laughed. Oh, I just remembered that I forgot to write on the blog that my mom became a great-grandmother on March 24th!

5. If you have a gmail account, you may be surprised to know that every email you've ever sent or received is still available if you log in via a browser. Unless you have figured out how to delete things, check the category called All Mail. Our "robinandroger" account had over 24,000 items dating all the way back to August 2008, when we first set up our account. What a walk down memory lane that is.

6. These are the times we are living in.




24 comments:

  1. So good to get mom laughing; that's what
    I strive for during visits with mine. It's getting harder...
    Ya, so much rain, at least it's good sleeping weather! ;)

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    1. isabelita-- Laughter is the best. I smile just thinking about it. This has been a very, very long rainy season. We're already nearing double the average rainfall. Oy.

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  2. Hi Robin, I was reading in the paper about the March for Science. Sad state of affairs when it comes to that!
    You and I seem to be at the same point with out Mum's. this last week my Mums health has taken a turn for the worst. She and I used to talk everyday too a few years ago but she doesn't seem to enjoy it anymore so we talk twice a week now. I understand your elation about being able to talk to her Sunday afternoon.
    Have a wonderful week, be well!
    Robin

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    1. Robin-- I really am surprised that in the year 2017, we have to be marching to defend science. It helps so much to have blogging friends who share these moments of our aging mothers. A virtual community is a wonderful thing.

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  3. Such a beautiful photograph of the four generations. Welcome to the youngest member! How good for you to be able to laugh with your mother once in a while.

    Being "cut-off" should be an interesting scenario of what happens when we lose our safe dependency on what we consider important. In the 1970s, a friend (sociologist) spent long periods of time in two isolated communities: a large Pygmy community in the rain forest of central Africa and the fishing/farming village of Glencolumbcille in NW Ireland, which at the time was only accessible by boat from the Atlantic coast. He found in both places a strong sense of resilience and solidarity, very highly developed communication skills and excellent cooperation on all levels, i.e. farming/fishing/ food production, health care, child care, education, entertainment etc.
    You could be in for an interesting time.

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    1. Sabine-- It is truly grand that mother gets to hold her great-grandson. Such a wonderful thing. I've been reading in the local paper that CalTrans hopes to have to the highway cleared for one-lane travel by Wednesday. It all depends on the rains today and Tuesday. I don't think we'd ever be as isolated as the communities you described. That would be WILD!

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  4. I see marching for science from a positive perspective. Forget about Trump but think instead of the people who are being reminded that science matters. We need more students going into the sciences as some corporations claim they can't get American graduates in sufficient numbers for the needed jobs and it's why they hire from overseas. I think a healthy reminder about science is as important as earth day. They can work together and don't have to be in opposition.

    It's amazing on that highway and I had no idea the limitations on getting to the norther Cali coast. In some ways that might help you stay natural though :).

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    1. Rain-- I do agree that there is a positive perspective, but it seems a little scary to me that we have to march for SCIENCE. Yikes. I do hope young people are inspired to study and help shape and enlighten the future. We do like living behind the redwood curtain. It's always been a trek to get here, but now it's almost impossible (at least until Wednesday!).

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  5. It was so neat of your sister to let you know your Mom was in a receptive, good mood. Good idea to spread the wealth when those days arrive. It is so sad that she has problems making calls. I am just so happy that you got to share a laugh. What a blessing that had to be.

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    1. Patti-- It really was so thoughtful of my sister let me know it was a good time to call my mom. I am grateful for every moment I get to hear her voice.

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  6. Lovely posting. I enjoy reading about your mother and the wonderful relationship you continue to have. You can express your emotions so well in writing, the love you have comes across.

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    1. Nora-- Thank you so much for your kind words.

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  7. How long before the scientists are labeled heretics and witches? I heard about 101 being closed on the news. A detour by road is certainly a long way around. That was so nice of your sister to call you when your mom was like that. Really nice... I just checked my gmail account out. You are right, there is over 30,000 messages there! Great post Robin!

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    1. Pat-- Exactly! I can't believe we have to take to the streets to defend SCIENCE! Although I am grateful that there are enough of us to do so. Thank you for your kind words.

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    2. I saw a video of the slide tonight. Wow!

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    3. Pat-- We watched that video too. Our local paper said that that slide undid five days of work in about 30 seconds!

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  8. I quite love seeing all those scientists coming out of their labs and marching in the streets. What extraordinary times we live in. It also makes me happy that you had that great phone conversation with your mother. And that she has seen her first great grandchild, what a joy that must have been for her.

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    1. Colette-- Yes, I am so glad there are scientists and supporters who came out to march. I am just disappointed that we actually have to march for science. Crazy times. I appreciate every call I have with her, even the ones where she hardly makes any sense. Sigh.

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  9. Nice that your sister contacted you at the right time to talk with your real mom. Those times are precious.

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    1. Dave-- I was so grateful that my sister called. It was perfect timing. The times, they are precious.

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  10. Regarding #1:

    “We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”
    ― Carl Sagan

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    1. Marcy-- Thank you so much for this quote. It is perfect, eerily prescient and sadly unfolding before our eyes.

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  11. Medicare has been a real boon for us. My health insurance is more than $400 a month cheaper now, and so is Leah's, once she switched from a Medicare supplement to a Medicare Advantage plan. The Advantage plan is kind of a pain with networks and lots of copays, but much, much cheaper in the long run. We did run into a problem noted on one of the network news reports. Leah went to the emergency room, which was in the network, but one of the physicians who charged was not. So our insurance didn't pay until we protested. How are we supposed to know that a particular doctor isn't in the network if he's working in an in-network ER? Do we have to ask each person who comes into the room if they're in our network before we let them treat us? Just crazy.

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    1. Mark-- I really am looking forward to having Medicare. My small university pension has a supplemental plan, so I shall be all set. I have heard other stories like yours about ER visits and docs not in the plan. I'm glad you worked it out. It is absolutely crazy. Single-payer would be so much better.

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