Saturday, August 29, 2009


A friend recommended I read Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. It is the story of a little publicized event in Paris during WWII. France police rounded up thousands of Jewish families and placed them in the VĂ©lodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported them to camps in the countryside before their final transport to Auschwitz from which none returned.

The story is primarily from the point of view of an American ex-pat; a journalist and mother living in Paris with a family connection to the events of 60 years before. She makes much of the fact that the French authorities were responsible for the round-up, imprisonment and transportation of these families, including thousands of children. The story is engrossing and the switch from the story in 1942 to present day is smoothly told. Overall I enjoyed the book.

However, I found it very odd that this woman was so astonished and upset about the complicity of the French people in the arrests, the confiscation of their personal goods, their homes and businesses when a similar event had gone on by government decree in the US at the same time.

The round-up and internment of Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans was ordered by the President of he United States and carried out by our military. These families were also removed from their property, businesses and homes and transported to live in tar paper shacks surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. Granted they were not shipped off to die, but many did under the rather primitive conditions of the camps.

Of the Holocaust we say "Never Forget". I think the same should be said of the interment of our own out of fear, prejudice and ignorance.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


When I was a 21 year old college student I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Washington DC. I was an intern in the lobbying office of the California State Universities.
When it was learned I had student loans, I was trotted up to Capital Hill and put in a big chair in front of a row of Senators and their staff. I was the living example of a student dependent on the loan program which was under threat of being cut from the budget.
The hearing was chaired by Ted Kennedy. I made my way through the questioning and knew I would remember that day the whole of my life.
When I left the hearing room I made my way to the elevator. Shortly after I stepped in, so did Senator Kennedy. He smiled at me and turned around to face the front of the elevator. In that moment I completely understood the meaning of the word "charisma". I had never before experienced that almost supernatural feeling of magnetism, life force and electricity in the presence of a human being.
It was a memorable day and he was, flaws and all, a most magnificent person.

Monday, August 24, 2009


This morning I was upstairs, getting dressed, making the bed - the usual. I noticed that the bathroom trash basket was full so I went to get a bag to dump it in; went through all the upstairs rooms and dumped all the wastebaskets. I noticed the toilet paper roll in the hall bath was empty so I put a new one on. I grabbed the folded dish towels from the laundry room and carried them down with the trash, put them away, took the trash out. Checked the patio pots to see if they needed water. Then I sat down to work.

While the computer was booting up I ran through a list of things that some people in my household never do. Some people never change a light bulb, dust a table, empty the dishwasher, clean a toilet or plan a meal. There are those who have never cleaned the refrigerator, folded a tee shirt or matched socks. Who don't know where the vacuum bags are or how to iron a shirt, fry an egg or go to the pharmacy or back to school night.

Then the computer was ready to go so I logged on and started my work.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


So we did the high school version of the death march through the desert on Tuesday. Long lines of parents and chattering students sweltering in the 90 degree heat. Each new line allowing them to check our utility bills (2) to make sure we live here, take the quick ID photo, hand over the many forms and then write the really big check.

Then we get to see the highly anticipated class schedule! Hurrah.

Uh, Oh. They put her in AP Spanish and we are done with Spanish.

So we move to the really long line to see the vice-principal about schedule problems (no counselors available because of budget cuts) only to find out they are not making any corrections until the second day of school.
At least I don't have to go through this for 3 kids like I did in years past.
On the way home the cell phone rings. Zac, college senior, has cut his finger and it won't stop bleeding. Advice is given. Later, Maggie, also college senior, calls for recipe assistance and a chat.
I may not need to fill out their forms and stand in lines with them, but they still need their mom!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I have managed to crash my computer at least 3 times this year. I don't know how I do it - just that not knowing what I am doing has gotten old and dangerous for any important information kept on the computer. Anything "paperless" is not safe around me.
Tom was fed up with fixing it last time I broke it and instituted a "tough love"approach - this time I managed to get a lot of it corrected, but I still have gaps in my knowledge and understanding of these damned machines.
Everyone says "just play around with it and you'll learn" - but that is not my learning style. I can rarely remember the steps of what I have done in order to repeat them now, let alone repeat them months later. So I take notes, which clarify things like some middle of the night scribble when I go to refer to them .
One thing I am very good at is keeping a book full of user names, passwords, codes and log on information. Now I am going to write down all my e-mail addresses, too. I have lost track of a few people this year...
So this time when I set up my user account, instead of calling myself Susan, I have used my new AKA : "Computer Killer". Funny thing is that the little photo icon that popped up was a woman in mid karate kick. Sooo appropriate.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Sarah Palin in a recent Facebook rant said that was what if Obama's heath insurance reform passed that "Death Panels" would be convened to decide who lives and dies.

What she seems unaware of is the current existence of these "Death Panels" in each and every Health Insurance Company. Denials of life saving treatment are an everyday practice. Exclusions of certain tests, "experimental" treatments (like bone marrow transplants) and delays in treatments often result in death of the patient.
Refusals to cover prescription medicine prescribed by doctors is also like a death sentence if the patient cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket. So the pharmaceutical companies have death panels, too, by virtue of their pricing.

Refusal to accept an applicant for insurance due to a "pre-existing condition" throws millions into an uninsured abyss. Those denials are sort of like death threats.
Even people who have no history of ill health but who admit that they smoke or are overweight are denied (as happened to me and my husband when we were in our forties.) Considering the low threshold of pre-existing conditions, I wonder just who is considered insurable? Very thin young Nuns, perhaps.

Monday, August 10, 2009


The phone rang and we hear a sobbing girl.

She is in the emergency room late Saturday night. She had waited, bleeding and in pain for nearly 2 hours (with her enebriated friend who also needed attention) and she had lost her ever present cool.
They had decided to walk the last few blocks home (to help sober up her roommate.) Then they tripped and fell on the pavement.
We called long distance to the ER and asked them to see to her quickly, she is so far away from home, and they did - 4 stitches for her and 10 for him.

All in all it took 6 hours which is about average based on my rather extensive recent experience.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Mrs. G over at the Colony asked for help. She needed a change and wanted advice about her hair. Would changing her hair make the "sucky" better? She received much advice. I am not sure which advice she took because this is what she posted.

So, Mrs. G, this is my really bad hair decision which I am posting in your honor:
This was my hair before.

This was my hair after "The Perm."

And, yes, I was very pregnant - with twins. I thought it would make my life easier for some reason...

Hope you take the bag off soon.