It’s Still Alive

It is now fifteen months since receiving the snake plant from Aunt Linda, and I am so very happy to report that it is not only still alive, but it is thriving. Just a reminder: This plant began as a cutting from a plant that originally belonged to Dad’s grandmother—great grandma Esther.

Dad came up with its name—Yodar—after the character your grandfather created years ago as the family’s chosen name to go into the Yonker’s telephone directory in lieu of paying for an unlisted number. (See Off to Jail.)

Once the temperatures began to dip below freezing at night, I brought newly-potted Yodar inside, where he sits near the front door to welcome our visitors. I feel encouraged that he will live to be passed down through a few more generations.

 

I Have My Limitations

I have great difficulty doing anything mechanical, and Dad will attest to the fact that my definition of “mechanical” is quite broad. “Mechanical” may be as basic as opening a bottle with a childproof cap or figuring out how to stream a television show.

One day Lily wanted to watch Blippi on YouTube in the pink bedroom, so I followed her there and was faced with great frustration working the Roku. I managed to turn on the television but just could not figure out how to get to YouTube. I pushed one button after another, making certain that the remote was pointed perfectly toward the TV. Finally, finally, finally, I did it, and Lily cheered: “You did it, Grandma!! I know you could!” I should have just given her the remote from the start.

Last week I spent a few nights at my sister’s house while she was away. She left me two videos. One showed how to make a pot of coffee (easy thank goodness) while the other explained how to work her Smart TV. (One needs to be both smart and not mechanically-challenged.)

Again, there were two remotes involved. Just like before, I was able to turn on the television, but I could not figure out how to get the Guide to appear. This was mentioned in the tutorial but not shown, so I was stuck watching the last channel Aunt Ar had watched (MSNBC, not FOX thank goodness!)

Luckily I had loaded my local Spectrum APP on my tablet, so I was able to watch other networks until 9:00, when I switched on the big television and settled down with my glass of wine to watch Rachel Maddow.  I confess that after that stressful experience I had two glasses that night.

If only I had a three-year old to help me! Well, I have many other talents, as long as mechanics is not involved.

       

A Surprise Meeting

I was in New Jersey recently, and while I was there, I hung out for a while at the American Airlines “Ambassadors Lounge.” When I travel I usually buy the basic economy ticket, which does not permit a change even for a fee, nor does it allow me to choose my own seat, so I usually end up in the middle.

When Dad was working and traveling all the time, his company enrolled him in one of these lounges, which I recalled having free food and wine. We recently decided to splurge by enrolling in a club on our own dime, and I must say, it made my recent trip to the Garden State quite fun.

The bathrooms are considerably nicer (and you all know about my ten-point bathroom scale which I wrote about in The Best Places to Pee), and the breakfasts and lunches were not bad. I had oatmeal, fruit, and yogurt in both Charlotte and Newark (Charlotte’s oatmeal was definitely better than Newark’s), and chili, a lovely salad from the Newark Airport salad bar, and a yummy chocolate chip cookie.

The best surprise happened upon checking into the lounge at Newark Airport. I was asked to show my boarding pass and photo id, and upon handing my driver’s license to the airline employee, it somehow dropped into a crevice at the desk. A hunt for the license followed, and within a short time it was found. I commented that it was not a big deal if it had not been located since I had a duplicate license. I then proceeded to tell the story of losing my license at that same airport earlier that year and then receiving it in the mail after Dad got me a replacement license.

The woman behind the counter then examined the license and then told me that she had been the person who had found and returned my license. I thanked her profusely and then headed to the snack bar.

What a small world!

Does This Make Sense?

Did you ever notice that the pills you take may differ in size, shape, and color depending on whether they are a name brand or a generic pill? Look at the Advil or Motrin in your medicine cabinet and compare it with the generic ibuprophen. I never paid attention until Dad pointed out the differences in the pills he takes whenever his pharmacy changes the manufacturer. Take a look:

  • Row 1 is a single baby aspirin
  • Row 2 is the generic versions of his blood pressure medicine. Despite the fact that the four pills vary in shape, the formula for each is the same.
  • Row 3 are two generic versions of the allergy medication, Singulair
  • Row 4 is a thyroid supplement.

This can have dangerous consequences because it is clear that a change from a square yellow allergy medicine to a round yellow allergy pill could be confused with a similar-looking round yellow thyroid supplement, particularly when the person taking those pills is an elderly person living alone who may have beginning dementia issues. In addition, there are reports of people refusing to take the different appearing drug because of fear and distrust that the variation in shape or color is no longer the same pill.

Why does this happen, one may wonder? Apparently, patent laws do not permit generic drug manufacturers to produce drugs identical to the brand-name counterpart.

In my unprofessional opinion, this is a dumb law, and I think that while our presidential candidates are discussing plans to reduce drug prices, they may want to at least consider eliminating the patent law prohibiting generic drugs from copying the appearance of the brand-name drug. There is probably a good reason for such a law, but the confusion that this likely causes could have life-threatening consequences.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

Forget the Heists

Dad and I need to come up with a better retirement plan because knocking off a bank, along with any similar crime, is now off the table forever.  That is because he and I are now in the system thanks to TSA Precheck.

After careful consideration, we decided to sign up for the service. My days of always being prechecked have ended so going in the “other line” is more sporadic than a constant. When I print out my boarding passes I have been compelled to remove my shoes, clear liquids, computer, and kindle more often than being able to leave them in my suitcase. I am no longer special.

Dad was convinced I had been prechecked because of being vetted by security in London because of my proximity to the former Irish prime minister five years ago, but I thought it was because I was a grandmother. (Who doesn’t trust their grandmas?)

So we filled out the application, had our fingerprints taken, and paid the fee to the TSA. Now we wait for our approval as the FBI checks us out.

What happens if we are rejected? What will we do for extra cash? Maybe we will set up a lemonade or Kool-Aid stand like in the good old days of our youth.

It’s Nearly Too Late

When I was young, our house backed up to my mother’s uncle house, whose yard was filled with apple, pear, and cherry trees (not to mention his grape vines). My first house as an adult backed up to a buffer of woods between our property and the homes behind ours.

The house we purchased in New Jersey again backed up to woods, so there was always plenty of wildlife to eat my tulips and woods to play in, which also added a bit of serenity to the view out of the back window.

Our home in Chapel Hill sat on a piece of property half the size of the other two, but the previous owner had built that very serene Japanese garden in the backyard, which always sounded like a gentle rainfall and was quite soothing from my perch in our screened porch. When we rented the house in Atlanta, not only did we have trees again, but also a nice little stream in the back yard to look down upon from our deck.

As I write to you today, I am enjoying my view from the screened porch of house #6, realizing that the time to do this is numbered as the days grow shorter and the temperatures are beginning to drop. I listen to the birds call out to one another, watch the butterflies chase each other on the lantana, peer across the pond at the pine trees along the banks of the water, and look for my friends, Ozzie and Harriet, those two very beautiful white herons which I recently mistook for drones. (I don’t know why but they did!)

This is my favorite view, and as I drive around my town and watch as thousands of beautiful pine trees are decimated to make room for one housing development after another, I realize that views such as mine are disappearing forever.

Bryce told his mom that if he were to run for president, his platform would be to make it illegal to cut down trees. While he is only six and does not realize that a blanket law like that could not be made, he told me that he learned while listening to a podcast that “pretty soon we won’t have good air to breathe.”

So today I went to the library and found two books on global warming for him to read, because although it is happening in my lifetime, my children and grandchildren will be impacted by its effects much more dramatically than me. And Bryce was correct about the loss of good air. One of the books I borrowed for him was written by a scientist, who teamed up with the Smithsonian Institute to write the book. The author mentioned that trees and other green plants covert carbon dioxide into oxygen, but those trees and forests are being cut down in such huge number that there is no longer enough plant life to absorb the carbon dioxide on the planet.

We are in deep trouble, my friends, and while we have so very many problems to repair in this country, in my opinion, if this is not at the top of the list, the other problems will disappear along with the life on this planet. Anyone who chooses to deny this science is ignorant and selfish.

 

 

Just Another Presidential Oops

When I noticed the “Esperanto” trending on Twitter recently, I was brought back to my school days when I had done a report on this subject. Don’t worry if this is unfamiliar to you. I thought it was a dead issue long ago.

For those of you not in the know, I will give you a brief lesson. Esperanto is a language which was developed during the late 19th century with the intent that it would become an international language. Although it did not take off, it is still spoken today by anywhere from 200,000 to 2 million individuals worldwide. Clearly there is not accurate data on the language.

If you want to learn Esperanto, I would suggest you go to Hungary, where it is taught in some universities, or use good old Google to find the Esperanto-USA group. It really exists but I am not interested in doing your research.

But getting back to why it was trending on Twitter. It turns out that our president, who has an annoying habit of not proofreading his Tweets because he is perfect and does not make mistakes, he erroneously referred to the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, as Mark Esperanto. I guess it’s like when Grandpa called Doogie Howser Hogie Dowser.