Archive for June 2016


June 23, 2016

Just a quick update. We have been trying to get Mary to drink more water. We kept telling her that it was good for her. It keeps all you plumbing working, I tell her. How do you know, you’re not a doctor? She would have none of it.

But we finally solved it. It seems that she had been watching the news about the water troubles in Flint, Michigan. And she thought that there was a problem with our tap water as well. We tried to convince her that our water here in LA was safe, but she wasn’t convinced.

So we ask her if she would drink bottled spring water. Why yes, she says. So we bring up a couple of bottles from the trunk of our Jeep. And she started drinking it. Success. She’s not up to the recommended 8 glasses a day yet, but getting better.

Of course, she doesn’t see me fill up the bottles from the water dispenser in our refrigerator. Need to know, and all that.

Now for a second story. We finally broke down and got a land-line. We did it for a couple of reasons. First, we got a note from AT&T that Mary’s phone would no longer be supported. She’s had it for a long time. Mary doesn’t use it much if at all. And AT&T has been charging her $50/month.

The phone is small and gets easily lost. A land-line allows us to get in touch with care givers while we are away, which we had trouble doing with Mary’s cell phone.

Time Warner is charging us $10 / month for a year. So I went to one of the local TW stores to pick up the modem and then to Costco to pick up a phone. I requested the phone # be unlisted. The phone number is available on a need to know basis. I don’t want to start getting telemarketing calls. Paula and my cell phones are still our primary method of contact.

FB Rant

June 21, 2016

Okay, here are a couple of things that bug me about Facebook (or maybe FB users). If you don’t do FB then go read something else or go arrange your sock drawer or something.

At this moment in time, I have 336 FB friends that are spread around this country. These friends are from a wide range of organizations including Eastern Star, Masons, Church(es), Relatives and ex-coworkers. I have been doing FB now for about 8 years. My lovely wife Paula does it too but not for quite as long.

So every now and then I get some new friend requests or FB suggests people that I should be FB friends with. So I ask myself, who is this person? And where do I know them from? Are they from the east coast or west? Did you once work for DEC or Compaq or HP? Did you work with Paula? You get the picture.

So I get a friend request. I start by looking at person’s profile picture. Oh dear, the person a picture of their dog or cat for their profile pic. How am I supposed to figure out who you are if I can’t see your face. When you get to my age, you have met many people.

I know that people like to put up pictures of something they feel strongly about. But for God’s, sake get the picture back to what you look like, preferably a picture that was taken in the last 10 years. There are other places on FB for pictures of your pets or your boat or whatever.

If you don’t have a picture up on your FB profile and you don’t know how to do it. Stop and figure it out or ask someone for help. It’s not rocket science.

There, I feel better.


June 20, 2016

It’s been over a week now and these ideas have been kicking around in my head. It’s time to start writing. First off, I am not gay, bisexual or transgender. I am an ally, plain and simple.

One of the things that has been particularly bothering to me has been some of the responses from alleged Christians. First was from one Pastor Steven Anderson from the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona. He said,

“The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles. That’s who was a victim here, are a bunch of, just, disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar, okay?”

I would like to call the pastor’s attention to the Bible, in Matthew 22:36-39 and also in the Old Testament, something about “Thou shall not kill”

Matthew 22:36-39 ESV
[36] “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” [37] And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. [38] This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Okay, the Bible doesn’t add to the above, “Unless you’re LGBT”. Perhaps, they are using a different translation? But, I doubt it.

My favorite translation of the above that applies to all religions is:

Don’t be an a$$hole.

Oh and as if it might matter, the Old Testament has something called the Ten Commandments, among them is the following:

Deuteronomy 5:17 ESV 

[17] “‘You shall not murder.”

Okay, maybe the Bible isn’t your thing. Then, there’s the quote from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness;

Once again, it doesn’t say “unless you’re LGBT and/or Muslim

I could go on and on. There seems to be more “alleged” Christian pastors saying similar statements.  Of course there is the infamous Pat Robertson who has been using his bully pulpit to denigrate the people who were murdered in Orlando. They seem to ignore the inconvenient parts of the Bible. They make me feel embarrassed to say that I am a Christian.

Shame! Shame! Shame!

Father’s Day

June 19, 2016

stan bowkerMy father died about 50 years ago when I was about 19. I don’t exactly remember all the exact dates. My memory has gotten just a bit foggy over the years. So here’s my story.

My mom and dad got married after WW2. They got married on March 3, 1946. My father was not in the military due to his epilepsy. Plus he might have been a bit old for the military. They probably didn’t feel right starting a family while the war was going on. Another reason that they might have delayed getting married was that my mother was a school teacher and at that time school teachers were forbidden to be married. Get married, lose your job.

So marry they did. They had three children, born in 1947, 1948 and 1950. So they were well into their 40’s by the time all of my brothers and I arrived.

Okay, fast forward to the late fifties. My dad suffered a heart attack. I think it was 1958 or 1959. What I remember most about the incident was how little the hospital could do for him at the time. No open heart surgery. No stents. All they could do was have him rest. Eventually they sent home from St. Elizabeth’s. He asked the doctor how he was going to manage the stairs to our home on Etna Street in Brighton.

Doctor’s instruction was take a step and then say one Hail Mary, then repeat. Anyway, life went on. That’s it for post-hospital instructions. I suppose there might have been some medicines, but they didn’t tell this 10 year old.

So in November (or maybe December) 1966, my dad had gall bladder problems. Surgery scheduled. Back in the day, they didn’t have laparoscopic surgery. They did it the old fashioned way, they cut you open. In those days, there was no MRI so when they didn’t quite know what was wrong, they cut you open. The term they used was “exploratory surgery”. Yikes.

At any rate, Dad came out of surgery okay, but was suffering some bleeding (showing up in his urine, I guess). Mind you this was a man that only 8 years prior had had a heart attack. So they scheduled another surgery (exploratory this time). I learned this when I went to visit him at St E’s after school one day. At any rate, he coded during the surgery. The surgeons did managed to get his heart restarted, but the damage was done. He never woke from the surgery. He was in a coma for about 6-8 weeks before he died.

So here are my take-aways.

Medicine has come a long, long way since the 1950’s and 1960’s. Looking back on that time it seems like it was dark ages of medicine. If the heart attack had occurred even 20 years later, he might still be alive.

My Dad never got to see us get married and have children of our own. I can truthfully tell you that grandchildren are such a fantastic blessing. Nothing makes me happier than to have our grand-kids run up to me and say “Hi, Grandpa” along with a hug.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!


June 6, 2016

01a838c7416f7af69fac2c1d92078b7296d5cb9dafSo it’s been a while since I last wrote. I found out that an old friend of Paula (Chuck) is a faithful reader. Paula was talking to him this evening looking for info on judges running for election in Los Angeles.

So here we go. Saturday, we planned on going to the Summer Fiesta at the OES Senior Living Center in Yorba Linda. We asked Mary if she would like to come. She said yes. We described it to her as a bunch of booths with stuff for sale, food trucks, tours or the SLC. Parking was a challenge and Mary had to walk a bit. Weather was beautiful. We got her inside the center where she sat for about an hour in a comfortable chair.

Meanwhile, Paula and I wander around checking out the many booths and greeting friends. We came back and got Mary up and got her outside. She again sat down in a folding chair in the shade. Still no interest in seeing everything. We got her a coke and that was about it. We tried to interest her in food. Nope, not going to happen.

So Paula and I shared a grilled cheese with bacon, then vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries. Once we finished, we gave in and started taking her to the car to head home. We know when we are licked. We got her into the car and gave her a bottle of water. Well she only finished about three sips of water during the one hour ride home. It’s unbelievable what it takes to get her to drink water. I told her if she liked peace and quiet, the way to get it was to drink water. ie. I was going to nag her all the way home until she drank more water.

So on Sunday, we asked her early whether she would be coming to church. Initially she said yes, but changed her mind after a while. So she spent the rest of the day in bed. So we went to church and did lunch at the Pacific Diner with Theresa and the grand-kids. Little Sarah was none too happy when I gave her some home fries that happened to have some hot sauce on it. Oops, my bad.

Her memory is failing badly. She barely can remember anyone other than Paula and me. When we show her pictures of Harold (even a fairly recent ones), she doesn’t remember him. They were married for over 60 years and she remembers none of it.

Nevertheless, her general health is not too bad. A little bit weak at times. Her walk is pretty slow but she can get around. She tires easily though.

We found some pictures of a trip they took to Alaska. Remember any of it? Not a bit. We continue to dig through old pictures and letters found in her storage locker. I am sure they will help provoke more writings by me.

On occasion, Paula has brought up the subject of funeral planning. Nothing, she doesn’t want to talk about it. I guess we are on our own. Sigh.

By the way, we had a great trip back to Mass. in May. It was so nice to see many of our friends back there. We had caregivers taking care of Mary 24/7 while we were gone. There’s just no way now that we can leave her alone.