Supporting Her to the White House

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Your vote is your voice . . . don’t give away your shot. Let’s get America back to work building an energy system envied by the world. Let’s repair our schools and our highways. Let’s continuing investing in rapid transit. We’re no longer an industrial nation, let’s train our people to get those higher paying jobs. And let’s ensure our new president works with Bernie Sanders to make free college a reality. That’s why I’m With Her.

Stronger Together

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A simple statement and flag honoring the first woman nominated by a major political party in 2016. She made history. Her name is Hillary Clinton.

We have the power to send her to the White House. She needs your vote on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Won’t you be part of a revolution that could mean real change in America. A woman president. We can do it because we’re Stronger Together.

 

Learning to Crochet Online

aimg_7579Last Christmas, while cleaning out drawers, I found my old crochet hooks. Hadn’t used them since the 80s when friends from work tried to teach me the art of creating fabric.

In those days I only learned stitches – single crochet, double crochet, yarn over. My friends had projects going. No time during morning break to actually teach me to make anything, just to familiarize me with the various stitches. And to show me how the combination of stitches changed the look and texture of the output. While I enjoyed the process, I wasn’t actually making anything useable. Soon I tucked my needles away where they laid forgotten in a drawer. I moved on to statuary and tole painting. Making Christmas ornaments and a cookie jar satisfied the desire to see a project through to completion.

But last Christmas I dusted my hooks off, bought a skein of yarn and headed for the internet, where my 10-year-old grandson tells me you can learn anything. And he was right. People from all over the world post YouTube tutorials that take their audience step-by-step thru basic configurations to the most intricate designs. And if I have questions they answer my emails and comments.

First I crocheted scarves for my daughters. Christmas gifts. Surprised, they asked for matching hats/caps. My first attempts were lopsided from using the wrong yarn weight . . . and I still struggle with that . . . but the girls were game and championed me on.

When I heard my cousin, who’s lost much of her hair from chemotherapy, needed a cap to combat a freezing Tennessee winter, I cranked them out using the many free patterns available online. The ones she didn’t like I asked her to donate to the Goodwill. For me the joy was in learning new designs, then sharing them with people I love.

So far I’ve crocheted scarves, caps, blankets (the best baby shower presents), and a few sweaters. The scrapes of yarn are mounting, threatening to overtake my sewing room, but I’m not daunted. I’ll find a use for the remnants.

My one fear is that someday everything I own will be covered in a crocheted cozy.  Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

Here’s my latest project. A crocheted sweater for a little girl. To date it’s the most complicated pattern I’ve completed. To add a taste of drama to my project, I increased the size from infant to toddler.

Shy Butterfly Sweater for a Little Girl

Christmas 2012 on Dallas Road, CA

We’ve lived in Orange County, California for over 20 years.

For as long as we’ve lived here the residents on Dallas Road (approximately 12 houses) have decorated their homes for Christmas. Some put up their own decorations, while others hire professional decorators.

It’s a massive undertaking. No one opts out. It must get expensive. But I’ve never heard any of the residents complain or skip a Christmas.

They buy or pay for the decorations and electricity to power the light out of their own pockets. There’s no fee to view the lights. And I don’t believe the residents get a break on electricity from the city for their efforts. It’s their “kokua” or love gift to anyone interested enough to come by.

As the years have passed word’s gotten out and every night of December carloads of people come to enjoy the beautiful lights, animated figures, and spectacular decorations. Cars park outside the Dallas Road cul-de-sac. Visitors walk in. They pause to check out the often intricate details at each yard. Like me, they take pictures, and even visit with the residents who often sit outside watching the crowds “ooo” and “ahhh” over their creations.

Three cheers for the people on Dallas Road who, year after year, keep Christmas in their hearts and joy in the eyes of many awestruck children.

Watching My Garden Grow . . . 10252012

Two weeks later and significant growth is detected in my garden.

I water every other day. By hand. I love the interaction with my plants.

They seem to be hearty, tho we’ve lost a few pansies. They shrivel up and die so quickly once deterioration begins they’re a wilted mass of trash the next day. Revival impossible.

The pansies have far surpassed my expectations for colorful display and longevity.

Next year maybe I’ll plant violas. My neighbor has them in his yard year round. So beautiful, vigilant and fresh.

I’ve created a slideshow that’s too large to post here.

In the meantime, here’s a few of the photos I’ve posted there.

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Greek Yogurt, just like Poi to me

I love poi. The taste of it. The texture. The versatility of pairing poi with salty (dried fish), sweet (teriyaki beef), or crunchy (orange chicken) foods.

So, the other day, while grocery shopping, it occured to me that Greek yogurt tastes a lot like Hawaiian poi, especially when the yogurt is mixed with blackberries.

I know. Poi. Yuck. Most mainlanders dislike the look of poi (brown/grey mass), the consistency (thickness of clam chowder). The smell? Poi doesn’t have a scent unless it’s sour, like yogurt, and that’s when it tastes the best. Similar to Yoplait yogurt, poi undulates off the spoon back into the bowl. Though almost silent to its connoisseur, poi can make a slight sound when one dollop hits another, like when it’s being stirred. Oh, yummmm.

In Hawaii it’s common knowledge that poi, the cornerstone of Hawaiian cuisine, is a perfect food. It contains vitamins, minerals, and anecdotally, healing properties. Among Hawaiians it’s usually the first food babies are given when they transition from formula to table food.

Poi can be watered down to a liquid consistency. Coats the belly. And gives baby’s immune system a great start in life. And a great night’s sleep.

Getting poi in the mainland is tough. Hard to find. Usually only stocked in small “mom & pop” stores that carry island goods. Marukai in Gardena, California is my source.

Once purchased for almost $10 per bag, the poi must be brought home, mixed with water to the perfect consistency. Then, for me, it’s got to spend a day or two on top of the refridgerator where it will ferment.

Remix. Pair with fried fish, lau lau, or even pork chops and spinach, and you’ve got a meal.

When that’s not convenient, I go to my local supermarket cold storage bin, choose a 4-oz tub of Greek yogurt. While I’d rather have a spoonful of poi, Greek yogurt satisfies that craving. It’s inexpensive. Easy to find. And has great nutritional value.

Why Americans Should Whole-heartedly Support Obamacare

A relative is dying of cancer. She fell out of bed at home. Couldn’t get up or take care of herself. The only help her abusive husband could offer was a call to 911. EMTs took her to Kaiser.

Even without health insurance Kaiser gave her fantastic care, one that I understand Obamacare is modeled after.

The patient was in bad shape – stage 4 breast cancer that spread into her bones, liver, skull. Prior to hospitalization she developed a bedsore that Kaiser staff immediately started treating with a second-skin type paste. We later learned it’s the best medication available for bedsores.

She also had Sepsis, a blood infection, which required round-the-clock doses of penicillin.

She was depressed, disoriented, starving from lack of food, immobile, and we soon discovered filled with cancer.

Immediately, Kaiser started paperwork to apply for Medical insurance. They followed up with a resource contact person to help us sort thru the massive paperwork.

With the patient’s permission, Kaiser doctors biopsied the cancerous lump. The pathology report revealed the devastating picture of her prognosis – a few months to live. Only treatment: comfort care – meds that will allieviate pain and suffering.

Within a week (Tuesday), Kaiser released the patient to family care with a complete list of meds/dosage, description of med uses, emergency contact phone numbers, followup appointments with oncologist and outpatient GP, etc. She was given meds from the pharmacy to increase appetite, alleviate depression, combat nausea, heal the bedsore, and cartons of Boost to stave off starvation.

They inserted a pickline connecting the patient’s heart to ports on her arm. They’re used to administer doses of penicillin to continue treating sepsis. An RN showed me how to connect the port to a machine. A one-time-only Kaiser home care professional was sent to our house the next day to train me how to change the bag and clean the lines. They delivered meds to our home to cover a two week supply of penicillin. They also made sure we knew who to call if we needed help with the machine or meds. (The day after training, the trainer called to be sure I didn’t have problems changing the bag of penicilin or restarting the machine.)

On Friday morning the Kaiser pharmacy called to be sure we had all the penicillin, battery, medical lines needed to cover the weekend. And provided a 24-hour hotline number in case of emergency.

On Friday morning a Kaiser automated reminder call: the patient had a one-time-only appointment with a Kaiser out-patient doctor to remove the pickline.

On Friday again, a Kaiser automated reminder call: the patient had a one-time-only appointment with a Kaiser ocologist who would hand her case to another oncologist of her choosing.

The Kaiser hospice case worker assigned to the patient called to give us the number to call for non-Kaiser hospice care.

We had two days after release to call the doctor with additional questions. I called. She immediately returned my call, answered my questions and said her discharge nurse would call me back with instructions, and she did.

Kaiser is an innovative, high-tech machine that has not forgotten human in its equation. They overlook whether the patient is one of their own or not. They offer the same level of care, compassion and hope to the insured or non-insured. All patient information is computer databased. For all services all you need is your membership number.

If Kaiser is the Obamacare model sign me up today! and I’ll happily endorse that conversion.