Tag: Life

Quote of the Day: Life


“Life is ten percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.” – Lou Holtz

Since Holtz gave a stirring speech at the Republican Convention on Wednesday, I thought it worth highlighting him this week.

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Titus Livius ,in the introduction to his History of Rome from it’s Founding (Ab Urbe Condita) written roughly around the time of Christ, laid out the cyclical theory of history in its purest form: For true it is that the less men’s wealth was, the less their greed. Of late, riches have brought avarice, and […]

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Just a few weeks ago, life would reveal itself as if I were playing a leading role in a technicolor movie. My movie would have surprises, delights and friends of all kinds. We’d all go out to colorful restaurants—Mexican, Asian, American—enjoying bright murals on the walls and savory dishes. My husband and I also had […]

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Testing… Testing…


If I were a certain sort of woman, I’d blame it on The Patriarchy. If I were another sort, I’d blame it on A Culture Insufficiently Supportive of Life. (And, if I were a very specific sort, I’d do both.) Instead, it was the understandable result of The Powers That Be in our neighborhood hospital system not having leeway to make more fine-grained distinctions in a crisis. Which is how pregnant women, who aren’t permitted to receive any in-person prenatal care right now if they have the least little sniffle but no negative lab result for Covid-19, must go through a lengthy, frustrating, and high-exposure screening process to see if they qualify for Covid-19 testing, while the nonpregnant may simply waltz – or rather drive – through safer, low-exposure Covid-19 testing in about 15 minutes.

If you’re pregnant, though, the screening process might take hours, during which you hear, at each step along the way, that you may be ineligible for the lab anyhow – and that’s just your time spent at the walk-in screening center. It doesn’t count the hours (days) you may have spent trying to find a walk-in screening center that hasn’t run out of swabs for the day, and finding out whether you’re even eligible to visit it.

Life and Death: A Balancing Act


Death, or the specter of death, has been weighing on my life lately. It feels like a weight that I am able to carry, but one that is sometimes oppressive.

I first noticed it around D-Day. Normally I try to take these events in stride. After all, life and death are inextricable partners, no matter how difficult they may seem. But the thought of soldiers dying in huge numbers, and their leaders knowing that they would likely be sacrificing their lives, was a sad awareness that still lingers.

How do You Choose to See Your Life?


After being in Indianapolis for two days for a wonderful seminar by Hillsdale College, I was going to write a post on the pluses and minuses of our trip. I have about twelve complaints about Delta Airlines in Atlanta just for our return trip, including their not asking local passengers to stay in their seats so the rest of us could try to make our connections; about sending us to a gate where the next flight to Orlando would be leaving, only to find out it was full; about giving us boarding passes that had red streaks that prevented the bar code being read the next morning at TSA. I’m not going to complain anymore than that, although there are lots of other annoying, stupid and inconvenient occurrences. (Did I say we were told to get to the airport at 5:30am for an 8:00am flight??

Okay, now I’ll stop—or I will completely destroy my premise for this post.

Thoughts on Making Friends at Coffee Shops


People across the room, coffee shopI was thinking about all the stuff everyone says these days about the loss of community over the last few decades, and about this article I had just read (tl;dr: even the coasty lefties at Vox agree, the Midwestern model works better for people), in which a millennial expresses gratitude for having found community, as exemplified by her neighborhood coffee shop where “everybody knows her name”, so to speak.  I (very belatedly) started watching Cheers, curious to see what insights it might offer.  I thought back to my own experiences as a busboy and waiter at a restaurant, where it was deeply important to the regulars to know and be known.

I wondered why I didn’t feel that way about any of the local coffee shops I’ve gone to.

I went to a local coffee shop to get some work done.  At some point, as a handful of customers and staff concentrated around the bar, one of them asked, “Who’s this quote from?”

Choosing Your Stories


Hollywood is a place of endless stories.

Part of what @davesussman does at Whiskey Politics is cover movie premieres when we get the chance, and the other night Dave and I met at the TLC Chinese 6 (formerly Grauman’s Chinese theater in Hollywood) for the red carpet premiere of Unplanned. The film opens with an emotionally shocking gut punch, then unravels the true story of Abby Johnson, the young director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas.  UPDATE:  Dave Sussman talks about the emotional impact of the movie on radio.

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Well, he’s at it again. Gavin Newsom, California’s newly elected Governor, has once more decided his moral sensibilities take precedence over the duly enacted law. Today, March 13, 2019, Governor Newsom, with a stroke of the pen, signed an executive order placing a moratorium on executions. As per Article 5, Section 8 of the California […]

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Why I Don’t Have a Smart Phone: Five True Stories


1. I was carpooling with some people on a six-hour trip (to Urbana), but before we could start, we had to get on the highway. Our GPS navigator took us right past the highway on-ramp we all knew, down some other road, then on a crazy four- or five-mile detour through other neighborhoods and odd side streets, finally coming full circle, back to the same on-ramp where we had started, which, this time, we took.

2.  For the next six hours, an extroverted older guy (maybe in his sixties) sat next to a younger guy (early twenties) and tried to make polite conversation. Even though they didn’t know each other previously, the older guy was friendly and full of energy, and it was clear that he really valued human interaction. The younger guy sometimes engaged, but his talking and even his listening eventually trailed off, as he lost interest in the conversation and paid more and more attention to reading whatever was on his phone. Perhaps unintentionally, the younger guy’s visible boredom sent the message loud and clear that he wasn’t interested in talking to the older guy. I ended up feeling bad for the older guy, and spending a lot of the trip engaging with him, even though we were sitting in different rows and had to crane some to make it work.

3.  A friend of mine, a psychologist, notices a trend: She has always had toys available in her waiting room, for any children who come. At the beginning of her career, it was a pretty reliable rule that children loved toys; now, some decades later, children seem less and less interested in the toys, or anything that requires manual dexterity to manipulate or use; the children may pick up a toy briefly, but they become frustrated or lose interest much more quickly, and revert to the one thing that still can hold their interest: a screen.

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The last couple of months have been full of learning experiences and tests. The most recent test has to do with technology, and I am failing. After almost 10 years of using Windows Vista on a wonderful computer, my system crashed; dead as a doornail. So, after my initial meltdown I went on the journey […]

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Mus Ex Machina


I recently spent $511 on long-overdue servicing for my ride-on mower. Then I got busy with work for a couple of months, spent a lot of time out of town, and finally got around to mowing this weekend. The mower didn’t start. I briefly entertained the idea of pushing it up onto the trailer and hauling it back to the service center, but decided to first disassemble it and see if I could figure out what was wrong. The problem seemed simple enough: the starter clicked but wouldn’t turn the engine. I’m not mechanically adept (my engineer clients worry whenever I pick up a screwdriver, and with good reason), but I thought it was worth a quick look since the machine had worked when I drove it into the garage just a few weeks before.

The problem, it turned out, was that a family of mice had taken up residence in the engine. The mother had built her nest precisely at the point where the starter gear engaged the flywheel (or whatever you call it) on the engine, and the dry matted vegetation was sufficiently dense to prevent the starter from spinning.

I Am a Toad and I Live in a Swamp


Toad Hall is situated on a hill overlooking the beautiful Swartekill, or Black Creek, Swamp. Usually around Memorial Day, we have an influx of snapping turtles, and occasionally other types of turtles like painted turtles, coming up out of the swamp to lay their eggs in our warm flower beds and compost piles. Turtles, being reptiles, lay eggs that must be kept warm to incubate and hatch. My fluffy, sunny flower beds are apparently irresistible.

Yesterday, we saw several turtles in the yard. One mama got out on top of an old stone barn foundation, about ten feet high, and then fell. Fortunately she is a sturdy reptile and she landed in a flower bed, so she was fine. Here is a picture of her at the bottom of the wall. Her shell was probably about 15-18 inches or so:

Alfie and the Failure of Medical Ethics


The case of Alfie Evans once again brings to light the ethical and moral landmines that are promulgated as governments intrude further and further into the personal lives of its citizens.

Young Alfie suffers from a so-far unknown and undiagnosed congenital ailment that has left him in a near-vegetative state since late 2016. As such, the officials of the UK’s National Health Service have brought it upon themselves to hasten the death of the child … for his own well-being.

If you think that is sarcasm … it is not. The Royal College of Pediatrics literally made that argument this week. And that would be bad enough except for the fact that there is no medical or moral reason for their conclusion. So far, there is little to no medical evidence that the child has been suffering at all.

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The village I grew up in had a population of about 850 (not including livestock). It was a peaceful little place, nestled next to mountains, and far away from the hustle and bustle of any city. In winter, I played outside in the snow; in summer, I played outside on the lawn (or in the […]

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