Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Never Too Late to Give Peace a Chance


OCPCA 8/16/2019













For four years, 2000 to 2004, I worked at Peace Corps Headquarters, at 20th and L Streets, DC. I was the technical specialist for community health projects, first for IAP (InterAmerica/Pacific Region), and then for EMA (Europe/Mediterranean/Asia Region). 

Recently when asked what countries did I get to in Peace Corps and I mentioned a few, Samoa, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Guyana, the questioner laughed and remarked, "Nothing exotic, huh?"

One of my favorite wall hangings is the certificate of appreciation I received from Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez when I left in June, 2004. On the right side of the certificate traditionally those exiting get a generic Peace Corps stamp, plus a stamp for each country that RPCV may have served. Mine include:
  • Belize (2061 served there)
  • Dominican Republic (4792 served there)
  • Seychelles (49 served there)
After I left Headquarters, I served again, this time as a Crisis Corps RPCV in the first and so far only time Volunteers have served in the USA. So I always include Beaumont, Texas, as part of the USA/Katrina Initiative, 2006 (272 served).

So I'm always tickled when people ask me if Peace Corps is still around. Some think if was a way for people to avoid the draft in the Vietnam war years and faded shortly after the war came to an end.
Oh, not so! Not in the least. Peace Corps is alive and thriving, and it's former Volunteers are active all over the United States, still spreading the world about how you can change your worldview forever.

It's never too late for somebody to take the leap. There's no upper age limit for Volunteers. When I served in the D.R. we had what then was the oldest PCV, a retired bantamweight boxer named Joe. Joe, at 84, worked as recreation director at a senior center in Bani. He strolled to the town square every evening to sit with two PCVs in the twenties, licking ice cream cones, and watching the pretty senioritas walk by.
With my Seychelles sis, Colette, 2017

Last night I attended a gathering of the Orange County Peace Corps Association where we met the new Los Angeles/Ventura/Santa Barbara recruiter, Dr. Sakeena Ali. She updated us on the latest Peace Corps needs. Take a peek...maybe one of these assignments is in your future.

Health, HIV/AIDS: Health Education Volunteers needed in Malawi and Mozambique
English teachers (BA in English): Mongolia, Sri Lanka
Community Economic development: Paraguay, Colombia, Panama
Math/Science/Engineering: Educators, high school and university, African nations
Agriculture: Cameroon, Togo

 Go to www.PeaceCorps.gov to see education and/or work experience requirements for each of these opened positions. What have you got to lose? The world is waiting! Be the difference in this world. Give Peace a chance.

(If you are a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, please update your Peace Corps portal at the Peace Corps website. Just click on the right side menu and you'll see the button come up. If you were previously registered with Google, your registration is no longer valid and you have to request a new invitation code to be verified as a bonafide RPCV to be readmitted.)
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The Peace Corps‘ Mission. To promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals :
  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.(www.peacecorps.gov)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Pay-4-Delay: Why Prescription Drug Costs Soar

CA State Senator Tom Umberg, Terri Elders, AARP Vounteer, Jordan Rosenthal, MS Volunteer
Everybody, rich or poor, should be able to afford their medical bills without going bankrupt or going hungry. A 2010 study by the Federal Trade Commissioner concluded that pay-for-pay delay agreements cost consumers $3.5 billion each year in higher costs for prescription drugs. Older adults on average take three or four medications daily for multiple chronic conditions and they need these medications for the rest of their lives.

I'm fortunate in that I take only two. Others take a dozen or more. A close friend has to take an extra carry-on when he travels, just to tote his meds.

So what can anybody do about it? Take some action.

Today I visited the new offices of California State Senator Tom Umberg, to speak on behalf of AARP California. Together with Jordan Rosenthal, an MS District Activist Leader, we outlined for Senator Umberg some of our concerns about the Pay-for-Delay agreements where drug companies pay competitors to delay research, marketing or sales of a competing drug.

Why would they do that, you might wonder. Despite what pharmaceutical lobbyists might say, the purpose of such delay can be traced to the simple old adage, "follow the money." The longer the drug companies can keep competition out, the longer they can charge ever-increasingly exorbitant prices for their brand-name drug even after their patents have expired.

Sounds like something out of a Dickens novel? Precisely. Would that Dickens were here today to 
Charles Dickens
expose these charlatans for what they are and how they profit from human misery.  In a late preface to "Oliver Twist," Dickens wrote, "I fear there are in the world some insensible and callous natures, that do become utterly and incurably bad. . . . Whether every gentler human feeling is dead within such bosoms, or the proper chord to strike has rusted and is hard to find, I do not pretend to know; but the fact is as I state it, I am sure."

I shared some stories today with Senator Umberg. I started with mine. I live in an active senior living complex in Westminster. This is a lower income neighborhood. Some of the residents who here live are on subsidized housing and SNAP. Even with this help, their income barely meets basic needs from one SSI payment to the next. When the prescription requires a copay that has gone up, many have to choose to do without it. I saw one woman in our recreation area last week crying because of pain because she couldn’t afford her regular medication. She lived in constant agony once her meds ran out and she had to wait a week before she could scrape enough together to pay for another supply.

I heard this from a member of my American Association of University Women branch: 
“I recently renewed a prescription for blood pressure. It more than doubled in price. One more dollar, it would have tripled in cost.  I am able to afford the increase in price. However, I was upset that the increase was so significant.  I called my pharmacy insurance. They said it was an increase due to the drug company.”

And a fellow Orange County 2018-2019 Grand Juror  told me this:
“About 4 months ago I had an infection that required a very targeted antibiotic.  My physician warned me that it was very expensive but said he would work with my insurer (Anthem Blue Shield/Medicare) to see if the price could be lowered.  The drug was Xifaxan.  Three times a day for 2 weeks.  Price without insurance=$1400.  Price to me=$440.”

Jordan Rosenthal, whose late wife lost her struggle with multiple sclerosis 11 years ago, told Umberg that even then he had to pay $1500 out of pocket each month for her prescription drugs. There were no generics. Even on a two-income living basis, he explained, this took a substantial amount of money that he could have been setting aside for his children's college fund.

Senator Umberg listened intently. He had been familiar with State Assemblyman Wood's AB 824 and had voted for it when it came before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rosenthal and I thanked him
heartily for his vote. Umberg understood that the bill had been altered slightly, after pressure by Big Pharma lobbyists, but that it still gave California some teeth to enforce already existing laws. Umberg promised to be alert for when the bill reappears in the Senate.

"I can't promise 100% I will vote for it," he said, "But the chances are if I've voted on an earlier version of a bill, unless it's been substantially altered, the chances are 99.9 I'd vote for it again."

Thank you, Senator Umberg and fellow advocate Jordan Rosenthal. And thank you to AARP California and Health Access for collaborating on setting up this meeting. 

And thank you to any of my California readers who can stay up-to-date on AARP's National Rx campaign by visiting https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/advocacy/prescription-drugs/?CMP=RDRCT-ADV-POLT-022519

Together we can stop greed. A recent AARP report finds costs average more than four times the average annual Social Security benefit. What the Dickens?!!?


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Are You Lonely Tonight?

Scot Bruce in Westminster, August 1, 2019
Still a newlywed in January, 1956, I'd been startled the first time I turned on my radio and heard Elvis Presley belt out, "I get so lonely, I could die." A few years later when he crooned "Are You Lonesome Tonight," again, I felt he was talking directly to me.

How is it, I sometimes think, that I could have so much in my life to be thankful for, books, California sunshine, travel opportunities, theater, friends all over the world...and still identify so strongly with Presley's laments on loneliness?

Last week a busload of my fellow residents at my senior living complex went to a concert in our local park, an Elvis tribute. I expected a Las Vegas style impersonator, with pasted-on sideburns and a pot belly, rasping out the oh-so-familiar lyrics, just a smidgen flat. Instead, I got the real thing, or as close to it as anybody could expect outside of a hologram.

Scot Bruce, a lifelong Elvis fan, has paid tribute to The King in the Los Angeles area since 1990. He
not only looks very much like the younger Elvis, he strums the guitar and swivels his hips in exactly the same manner. Additionally, he's able to elicit an emotional connection with his audience. Though many in the crowd danced through the hour-and-a-half show, others of us sat reflecting on where we were and what we were doing when we first heard Elvis sing each particular song.

But it was the especially evocative quality of the songs about loneliness that resonated with me that night. How could I feel lonely when surrounded by a crowd? It may be simply not knowing what changes will take place when my apartment complex comes under the supervision of the new owners this upcoming week.

As Scot Bruce sang, I felt overwhelmed by nostalgia for "the way things used to be." This might not be an uncommon reaction. But since that evening in the park, I've begun to focus on what wonderful things I have to look forward to, rather than lamenting the things I will lose. That helps.

I recall when I was in grad school in English first seeing the imagism poem by ee cummings, "l(a":
So many ways to understand this poem, often known as "a leaf falls." A brief discussion can be found here: https://poemanalysis.com/a-leaf-falls-by-e-e-cummings-poem-analysis/

It's the very lack of completion that seems to bring on a deep sense of being alone.

Tonight I'm going to "The Jazz Angels in Concert: Summer Jazz on the Patio" at Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach.  The Jazz Angels, a young group of artists working to preserve America's only original art form, will bring a different beat. Bet I won't feel one mite lonely!

For more info on The Jazz Angels, a program based in Long Beach that pairs professional musicians with youth, age 11 to 18, to improve the quality of their lives through jazz education, performance and community awareness: https://jazzangels.org/

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

All the Tea in China

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
C.S. Lewis 

One of my favorite childhood memories involves sitting down with Mama for tea.  In my teens iced tea became my tipple of choice. In my fifties I worked for three years in Seychelles, an Indian Ocean nation, where everybody at the Ministry of Education stopped work promptly at 10 to savor a cuppa and nibble a samosa.

In recent years I've fallen into the habit of drinking a cup or two most weekday mornings. On weekends, or when I am going to be working at my computer for any length of time, I make a pot of coffee. That's my plan for today.

Nonetheless, I'm wondering why I didn't choose tea instead. After all, just last Saturday I attended a tea tasting and a lecture, "Journey into Pu-erh Tea," at my Westminster Public Library. Thirteen guests listened to Pasadena's Denong Premium Tea guru Jeffrey McIntosh share his personal experience in the tea industry where he visited multiple tea mountains and tea growing regions in China over the last 10 years. 

Then we sampled, savored and scored four types of tea. We examined the appearance of each, the aromas, the in-mouth sensations and the aftertaste. McIntosh informed us about the stimulating or soothing qualities of each.

Those familiar with the novels of Lisa See may be familiar with pu-erh from reading "The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane," set in both Pasadena, CA and Hunnan, China's pu-erh production area. The oldest pu-erh tea tree in the world, 3200 years old, grows there. McIntosh explained the humid area resembles a rain forest, promoting the production of these tea leaves which retail for over $400 per kg. But global warming has created droughts, affecting that area, according to a July 25 Reuters report. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-china-tea/global-warming-reshapes-almanac-for-tea-growers-in-chinas-yunnan-idUSKCN1UL0BR

Consequently an anticipated shortage of this expensive tea may drive prices even higher. The Reuters article quotes a Beijing National Climate Center director who points out that the precipitation pattern in that area has changed substantially. 

McIntosh discussed the difference between raw and ripe pu-erh teas. The raw tea is cooling for warmer weather, the ripe, warming for cooler weather. One valuable tip: because tea is good for the digestion, we should drink it after, not with, the meal, to savor the flavor and let it soothe our tummies. 

McInstosh insists that burping is beneficial for the digestion, releasing trapped air. I suspect that public burping isn't going to gain ready acceptance in a lot of local social circles.
  • Use 3-5 grams of tea for every 6 oz. of water.
  • Use only good tasting drinking water.
  • Raw tea: water 185 degrees F, Aged, Raw or Ripe: Water at boiling, 212 degrees F.
  • Steeping times: First infusion, 10 seconds, gradually increase times in subsequent brews.
For more about Denong and its teas: https://www.denongtea.com/
xxx

My tea story about Mama has been published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book and additionally in Tea, a Magazine.

Tea for Two

My sequined purple satin princess costume remained in its tissue paper wrappings on the top shelf of my bedroom closet, as I perched in my pink rosebud flannel pajamas on the window seat, peering out the bay window at the neighborhood witches, ghosts, and cowboys scurrying by. 

 On October 31, 1944, we didn't expect any knocks at our front door, festooned not with the Jack O'Lantern cutout I had made in my first grade classroom the week before, but with a stark black and white quarantine sign that shouted “Contagious Disease, Chicken Pox.”

Daddy had taken my unaffected older sister and little brother to Grandma's house for a party earlier that evening, leaving Mama and me home alone.  I had finished reading all the stories in the newest edition of Children's Activities, tired of cutting out paper dolls from the old Sears catalog, and longed to be outside.  Mama had promised me a special treat, but I couldn't imagine what could replace the thrill of joining the troops of children wandering door to door in the autumn twilight with their rapidly filling pillow slips.  No Hershey bars, candied apples or popcorn balls for me this year, I knew.  I didn't care, I told myself, because though the itching had ceased, I had yet to regain my appetite anyway.

Mama had turned on the Philco radio in the kitchen, and I heard the Andrews sisters warning “Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me.”  My sister was probably bobbing for apples right now at Grandma's house, I thought.  “O.K.,” Mama called,  “Time to get dressed!” 

Glancing down at my pajamas, I wondered what she could mean, but scooted off my seat and trudged to the kitchen.  On the back of one of the chrome dinette chairs hung Mama's fur chubby, a kind of short jacket that represented the essence of elegance to me those days.  I used to love to watch Mama get dressed for special evenings, in her chiffon dresses always topped by the chubby. 

“Put it on,” she said, pointing to the jacket.  “We are going to play tea party, and I am going to be the hostess, while you will be my guest.”  She draped a string of pearls around my neck, as I shrugged into the jacket.  I noticed that the table had been set with her best Blue Willow cups and saucers, and that an empty platter had been placed next to the toaster.

Though I could not venture all the way outdoors, Mama opened it a crack so I could at least knock on the outside, right below the Quarantine sign.  “Oh, Miss Terri, it's so good of you to call this evening.It's tea time,” she announced.  “And even though you are my guest, I'm going to ask you to make the meal, since you have such a special touch with cinnamon toast.”
 

I'd seen the bakery truck make its delivery earlier, and had wondered what had been left on our doorstep.  Now Mama opened the bread box and pulled out a loaf of sliced raisin bread.  She placed the sugar bowl, the butter dish and the red tin of cinnamon on the counter, and lifted the chubby from my shoulders.  Then she opened her Searchlight Recipe Book to page 44, handed me the yellow plastic measuring spoon set, and said, “Let's see how you do reading that recipe.”

I was the best reader in my class, so I stumbled only on “substitute” and “proportion” as I read aloud the instructions.

“Cinnamon Toast:  Spread freshly toasted bread with butter or butter substitute.  Spread generously with sugar and cinnamon which have been blended in the proportion of 1 teaspoon cinnamon to ½ cup sugar.  -- The Household Searchlight”

While I watched the raisin bread brown in our two-sided toaster, Mama put her tea kettle on to boil, and told me a story about the birds on the Blue Willow china.  She said that an angry Chinese father had been trying to catch his daughter who was running away with a boyfriend.  Before he could catch them, they had been transformed into birds and flew away together.  I rubbed my finger across the birds on the saucer.  “When you grow up, your father won't chase away your boyfriends,” she said with a little laugh.  “And now that you're learning to cook, it won't be too much longer before you are grown up for every day, not just for Halloween.”  I smiled.  It was true.  I was learning to cook. 

Though I hadn't been hungry all day long, the smell of the cinnamon sugar seemed to reawaken my appetite, and I ate my entire slice and half of Mama's, and even managed a swallow or two of my milk tea.  When my sister returned later that evening with the candied apples that Grandma had sent, I accepted one, but insisted I wasn't really hungry, since I had cooked and eaten a meal earlier. 

Mama's prediction came true, too, as I became engaged just a dozen years later.  And at my wedding shower in 1955 she presented me with a black leatherette bound Searchlight Recipe Book.  I turn the yellowed pages today to Page 44, and again recall  the delicious aroma of cinnamon toast as I remember the year that trick or treat became tea for two.


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Last Cat/Cow/Warrior at H-W

 Sue Burchfiel and the H-W Sun Salutation Gang
If I'd stayed in NE WA where I lived for ten years before returning to my native California, I'm convinced I'd need a walker and maybe even a wheelchair by now. Spinal stenosis and disc degeneration had been leading me down that path. I'd reached the point where I needed a spinal epidural about every six months to remain upright and mobile.

Finally, it was a diagnosis of Raynaud's Syndrome that forced me to rethink about living just below the Canadian border. I could no longer tolerate the extreme cold winters of Colville, WA. I'd be risking gangrene when the circulation in my fingers shut down and they turned blue.

When I relocated at H-W I tried water aerobics for a while, suspecting that I no longer could manage the kind of aerobics I did in my in my forties in Long Beach or my fifties in Seychelles. But for some unknown reason the water aerobics only made my lower back ache more. Plus I began to burn and peel, even at 10 a.m. The California sun was unfair to my fair skin.

I'd avoided the classes in the Sunshine Room. Then I learned that teacher Sue Burchfiel espoused low impact aerobics and chair yoga. No athletic leaping and bounding. No yoga mats on the floor. After all, many of us are in our eighties...we might be able to get down but could we get back up? Instead Sue emphasized stretches, flexibility, balance. She made certain we kept our arms moving. She included a few pilates leg kicks...we celebrated birthdays with as many kicks as the birthday person had in years, including a few extra since Sue always purposefully couldn't keep count. Often 77 turned out to be closer to 97 in Sue's double-count.

Results? After five years here at H-W I haven't required a single epidural. I have had only two or three severe sciatica attacks...and many of those were on trips abroad where I'd engaged in far too much uphill clambering. So far, my arches may have fallen, but my spirits have not.

After all, Sue convinced us that we are strong women, warriors, goddesses. The few men who attended our classes agree that it's necessary to remain limber, despite our advancing ages.
Therefore, her final yoga class this past Friday was difficult here for all of us. Sue has left us, but our memories of what she has taught us will remain.

H-W Senior Living soon will become FountainGlen, when new ownership takes over in two weeks. Maybe I'll be moving along soon, too...maybe a little more south. So many endings all at once. Nonetheless, I must remember to stretch and bend and improve my circulation. This will help to relieve my stress, and promote my overall well-being.


But, what the hell? I'm a strong warrior. I can remember to pick myself up by the scruff of my neck, even when all I really want to do is take a nap.

Namaste.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Grand Time in Orange County

2018-2019 Grand Jury
We take for granted that some things are grand...it's an intrinsic part of their being. We've got the Grand Canyon, grand pianos, grandparents, grand slams both baseball and breakfast, Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel, grand tours, even the Grand Old Opry. And then there's Grand Juries.

When I applied to serve on the Orange County Grand Jury a year and a half ago, I realized I'd have to change my life if I made it. It's a full year, 25-hours-five-day-a-week commitment. Well, I did and I didn't make it. I made it through all the background investigations to the top 30, and then came the Final Draw.

This quaint tradition, not quite so grand, reminded me of the tombolas I'd participated in when I lived in Belize. After all 30 finalist names are placed in a wooden drum, it's rolled. The first 19 persons whose names are drawn will be sworn in as the new Grand Jury. The remaining 11 will be alternates, subject to being called if any of the original 19 cannot serve the complete term.

The morning of the drawing I'd mixed feelings. My fella and I had made reservations for a Road
Scholar autumn trip along the St. Lawrence, taking in Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara s, Falls. He'd also been offered the opportunity to perform rabbinical services for High Holy Days aboard a cruise from New Jersey up the Eastern seaboard into several Canadian provinces I'd never explored. We'd tentatively talked about linking the two with a week's drive around upstate New York.

So though I wanted the adventure of serving on the Grand Jury,  I also craved a five-week excursion with my guy. I couldn't choose...but decided I'd rather be in the first 19 or so far along in the
remaining 11 that I didn't have to worry about suddenly being called upon to change plans.

I turned out to be #21. We decided to take our chances with the planned vacation. This turned out to be a wise decision. By early December I learned from Alternate Juror #20 that she hadn't been called and nobody had left. I started to think about possible spring trips.

Then right after New Year's Day I got a phone call. Would I be willing to come in and serve so late in the year? Yes, I said, yes.

What did I gain? An in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of many county departments. New acquaintances and links with people from all over the county, many from areas I barely am familiar with, both geographically and professionally. Memories of pleasant lunches at many restaurants in
and around the Santa Ana Superior Court, where we met daily. An awakened respect for how much time a job consumes of one's day. Not just the driving to and from, but the evening preparations for the next day's routine. Five unnecessary pounds from sitting behind a computer several hours each weekday.

What did I lose? The ability to keep up with my blog, with my regular submissions to publications, with my aerobics/yoga/strength classes that help me maintain my mobility. The time to organize drawers, closets, stacks of books and magazines. The time to simply sit down with a book and read it from beginning to end.

Now it's over, and I am glad I served. I'm also glad I participated in producing the seven final reports of the 2018-2019 Orange County Grand Jury. They are here:
 Now the application period for the 2020-2021 Grand Jury already has begun. If you live in this area, consider serving or calling attention to friends who might be eligible and willing. Here's where you can find more information.
http://www.ocgrandjury.org/pdfs/20-21_GJ_Recruitment_Flyer_EarlyR.pdf

Go ahead...apply! And I'll toast you with a tipple of...oh, how about Grand Marnier?




Sunday, February 24, 2019

Winners and Losers on Oscars Night


The Place Where Lost Things Go
Do you ever lie
Awake at night?
Just between the dark
And the morning light
Searching for the things
You used to know
Looking for the place
Where the lost things go?
Song writers: Scott Wittman / Marc Shaiman

Joan Fontaine, Gary Cooper
The first time I remember hearing about the Oscars, I was four-going-on- five, newly living on Hildreth Avenue across the street from the South Gate Park. Mama, my sister, Patti, and I huddled near the Philco radio that evening, February 26, 1942. Daddy, who worked swing shift at the Aluminum Company of America, was absent. So Mama readied on the coffee table her yellow pencil that she usually used for crossword puzzles and a scrap of paper. She planned to scribble down the winners and share all the news when he returned near midnight.
As was our habit on Daddy's working nights, we'd feasted on toasted cheese sandwiches for supper. WWII raged, with sugar rationed. But Mama had set a few pinches aside to make vanilla ice cream in the tiny refrigerator ice cube tray so the three of us could have a special dessert to celebrate after the radio show. 

Patti and I had been introduced to movies just a few months earlier when Grandma Gertie had taken us to see Dumbo. During the cliffhanger serial that preceded this Disney classic, I'd trembled in my
seat when a train appeared to be charging directly at the audience. Convinced it would fly off the screen and mow me down, I remember slipping under my seat for protection. Grandma Gertie found my behavior neither charming nor sanitary, and, after yanking me out, scolded me throughout the opening scenes of the feature film. 

Now I spooned up my frozen treat and listened raptly as Mama explained that two sisters, Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland were vying for Best Actress. Patti and I nodded knowingly, as if to verify it was only normal for sisters to compete. To this date I've not seen de Havilland's losing role in Hold Back the Dawn. An Alfred Hitchcock fan, I've watched winner Fontaine in Suspicion at least twice.
This year I've caught all but one (Roma) of the best picture candidates, and all the best actors and best supporting actors, both male and female, except for Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk. I hope to remedy that soon. I shall root for Glenn Close for Best Actress. I'd read Meg Wolitzer's novel several years ago, and thought at the time it would make a wonderful movie. It did. And Close's performance was close to perfection in my eyes. 

1940s Philoco
I'll also be thinking of Mama and Patti, and how the next day we'd ambled across the street for a  stroll near the recreation center where I hankered to take acrobat lessons. After a chilly night it had warmed up to the low 60's and Mama had thought we could all benefit from a little fresh air. We chatted about how much fun it had been to listen to Bob Hope. We agreed that we had been blessed indeed to own our formidable Philco.

Tonight I'll be snuggled in my rocking chair, with my laptop on an adjacent TV tray, Facebook messaging with actress friend Joyce Ann Newman-Scott in Miami, FL, as I stare at my 42" screen. Yes. Technology gets an award in my book.
I'm looking forward to seeing Bette Midler perform my favorite of the nominated songs, "The Place Where Lost Things Go." At least my memories haven't gotten totally lost in the shrouds of time. And it will be fun to see last year's winners once more.
Sam Rockwell, Frances McDormand, Alison Janney, Gary Oldman
I have no prediction about which film will win for best picture. I remember that 1942's winner had been How Green Was My Valley. I barely remember that movie. I do remember the film that lost, and one that I have seen at least half a dozen times...the magnificent classic Citizen Kane.



Orson Welles, Citizen Kane