Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flu Prevention

Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

Stay home if sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Practice other good health habits.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Obama's First Hundred Days

I love my President and think that he is doing an amazing job. He's well on his way to repairing the broken relationships around the world. He's overturned lots of the idiot's mistakes and he's signed laws that truly make sense.

I am proud of my President, which is something I haven't said or thought in 8 years.

He's confident, believeable, smart and literate. I don't envy him his job and it's only going to get worse if this swine flu turns into a pandemic. We will then see our economy crumble.

I have complete confidence in him and know that he's the best person for that riducously hard job.

I think that Michelle Obama is fabulous and that she has redefined the role of first lady. Their kids are adorable and as for their dog, who doesn't love a fluffy black dog?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Swine Flu

I have previously warned about bird flu and a possible pandemic. It seems that this newest flu has taken the World Health Organization by surprise. Here's a link to help you know what to do to prepare for any type of global virus or pandemic:

A unique strain of swine flu is the suspected killer of dozens of people in Mexico, where authorities closed schools, museums, libraries and theaters in the capital on Friday to try to contain an outbreak that has spurred concerns of a global flu epidemic.

The worrisome new virus — which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before — also sickened at least eight people in Texas and California, though there have been no deaths in the U.S.

"We are very, very concerned," World Health Organization spokesman Thomas Abraham said. "We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human ... It's all hands on deck at the moment."

The outbreak caused alarm in Mexico, where more than 1,000 people have been sickened. Residents of the capital donned surgical masks and authorities ordered the most sweeping shutdown of public gathering places in a quarter century. President Felipe Calderon met with his Cabinet Friday to coordinate Mexico's response.

The WHO was convening an expert panel to consider whether to raise the pandemic alert level or issue travel advisories.

It might already be too late to contain the outbreak, a prominent U.S. pandemic flu expert said late Friday.

Given how quickly flu can spread around the globe, if these are the first signs of a pandemic, then there are probably cases incubating around the world already, said Dr. Michael Osterholm at the University of Minnesota.

Epidemiologists are particularly concerned because the only fatalities so far were in young people and adults.

The geographical spread of the outbreaks also concerned the WHO — while 13 of the 20 deaths were in Mexico City, the rest were spread across Mexico — four in central San Luis Potosi, two up near the U.S. border in Baja California, and one in southern Oaxaca state.

Scientists have long been concerned that a new flu virus could launch a worldwide pandemic of a killer disease. A new virus could evolve when different flu viruses infect a pig, a person or a bird, mingling their genetic material. The resulting hybrid could spread quickly because people would have no natural defenses against it.

The most notorious flu pandemic is thought to have killed at least 40 million people worldwide in 1918-19. Two other, less deadly flu pandemics struck in 1957 and 1968.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Obama Handshake and the Politics of Civility

by Melissa Harris-Lacewell on 04/20/2009 @ 9:51pm

I was going to blog today about this same topic then I read this at Ms. Harris-Lacewell says it so much better than I could. acdc

Why is it that Barack Obama's handshakes create such a stir?

The Obamas fist pump congratulation after the North Carolina primary win sent Barack's candidacy into a bit of a racial tailspin, raising the specter of a secret terrorist plot apparently masterminded by dap-giving black folks and urban youth of all races. Now the genuinely pleasant greeting between President Obama and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has some in the GOP concerned about the security of America's state secrets. Newt Gingrich seems to believe that the Obama-Chavez handshake signals to all the world that U.S. foreign policy now condones human rights violation, drug trafficking, and illegal border crossing.

I'm not completely sure how this transference of policy authority occurs through skin-on-skin contact between world leaders, but we might need to get some vaccine research going right away. Afterall, President Obama shook hands with Senator John McCain at least a half dozen times last year. Does this mean that Obama has also authorized a Republican domestic, policy agenda? (shudder)

Those who are alarmed about President Obama's easy, casual camaraderie with Chavez misunderstand the role of civility in public life. Barack Obama is, if nothing else, a civil and gracious political leader. In all honesty, he is a little too civil for my taste. I am cut from the sarcastic, snarky, blogger cloth. I hold grudges and prefer to punish my political foes with biting commentary whenever possible. Barack Obama appoints his adversaries to cabinet positions and asks those he disagrees with to pray at his inauguration. It is a core element of who he is. Even in Obama's pre-presidential book, The Audacity of Hope, he displays his brand of polite restraint. He condemns racism, but doesn't name racists. He blames conservative policies for creating our national mess, but doesn't attack conservatives. You don't have to like it, but that handshake was authentic Obama.

I was thinking about this streak of civility in the President a great deal today because April 20th is the anniversary of the Columbine massacres. For many of us who are teachers, this is a day a for reflection. We seek to understand the immensity of the horror in that murderous rampage, but also seek to encounter the agonizing reality that the murderers were just boys themselves. It is hard to imagine that our students, even at their worst, would be capable of such monstrosity. So the effort is to condemn the violence while honoring the humanity in both the victims and the perpetrators. The work is to examine our own complicity in both damaging and arming the young people in our midst. On April 20th it feels like a struggle to separate the acts we condemn from the human people with whom we share our earth.

So it is with Obama and Chavez. Barack Obama is no friend of Venezuelan economic and political policies, but Obama follows a political logic that separates human actors from the atrocity or banality of their acts. I sometimes vehemently disagree with this impulse, as in the case of his unwillingness to prosecute the perpetrators of torture, but I do see a kind of consistency in his approach. Obama is following a politics of civility.

Or maybe a handshake is just a handshake.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Persistence Pays Off

OMG! OMG! OMG! I cannot tell you all how happy I am at this moment in time!

I have been looking for a friend of mine for many, many years. He moved from RI to PA and somehow we lost contact. Over 5 years ago, I started looking for him on the internet and have mailed letters to different addresses I've found, only to have them all returned.

Last Friday I mailed yet another letter to yet another address. At 17:10 this afternoon my phone rang with a number that I did not recognize. I hoped it was Bob as I answered and it was!!!!

We have talked for the past 2 and 1/2 hours and he's coming here for a long weekend for the July 4th holiday!!!

The really great thing about our conversation today is that, although it's been years, we picked up right about where we left off when we last saw each other. All those years (well, some of them) melted away now that we have connected again. He's doing fine, really good actually, and I am greatly relieved. Besides missing him so much, I was also worried about him.

I am so looking forward to seeing him in a couple of months, we've already talked about places we want to go to. Caserta's Pizza for a wimpy, Apsara's (Vietnamese/Asian food in South Providence) Newport, Waterfire (haven't checked the schedule yet, but probably is scheduled for the holiday weekend) among so many other things.

You know that bucket list that those of us at an age have, whether written down or not? Today, I can cross one item off my list. I have found my old friend and he is well!

And I am happy.

35 Years Seems Wrong

This June 7, it will be 35 years since I graduated from high school! In so many ways that time seems to have flown by. In other ways, it seems so like a really long time since getting up and going to school every day.

My high school reunion is scheduled for sometime later in June. I've already sent back my questionnaire and let them (whoever they are) know that I will not be attending.

I didn't have a really great time in high school. It was okay and I was relieved to graduate and move onto working full time. I still stay in touch with the people who I want to stay in touch with. Jerry and I met in 11th grade cooking class, where we were assigned to the same table. He and Faith, who I met in 12th grade, got married a couple of years after graduation and I see them pretty regularly. I am godmother to their daughter and look forward to spending time with all of them. Tom, who married Janice about 3 years after graduation, graduated with me and Faith. Jerry had gone to Tollgate and Janice to Pilgrim, yet we have all remained best friends all these many years later.

So I did (very grudgingly) go to the 20th reunion. It was okay. Not great and not bad, just okay. It was strange to see people who looked familiar, yet different. There were no great surprises, just a bunch of people who used to know each other a long time ago. Now, 15 years past that, it seems pretty silly to go. I suppose it would be interesting to see who ended up where, but we did all that at the 20th and I don't remember who ended up where. I think I forgot because I didn't really care.

Faith/Jerry and Tom/Janice have gone to every reunion. Each time I would tell Faith to let me know if one particular classmate was there. If so, I would get dressed and meet up with them. But he never showed. About 6 years ago, I ran into his brother who gave my numbers to him. I got a call and we reconnected. He was living in DC and after talking for a couple of months he planned a trip to RI. I picked him up at his downtown hotel and we went for dinner and then to a PawSox game. During our dinner conversation I realized two things; the first being that he was a total and complete drunk and, secondly, he had no recollection of me at all. After all those years of wondering what happened to him, now all of a sudden, I couldn't get rid of him. It took some time and many late night calls where he was pretty loaded to finally get him to stop calling. I also moved and changed my phone number which may have helped as well.

So, mostly, I don't want to know the details of the lives of a bunch of people I don't recall all that well and didn't really care about to begin with.

However, at 52 years old, I am finding that life is pretty tenuous. Just a couple of days ago I ran into an old school friend. She is having some health problems and has lost most of her eyesight. She also mentioned that a guy from our class, who was at that kitchen table with Jerry and I back in 11th grade, had come to a mini-reunion that was held in March. A couple of weeks later, he was dead after suffering a massive heart attack.

A few years ago, I ran into the mother of another classmate who I was pretty close to in 9th and 10th grade. They were a pretty wealthy family and when I would go to their house, I was surprised that they had a live-in housekeeper and an elevator in their house. The big surprise, however, was the master bedroom and bathroom which was one big room. The bed was huge and round and the bathtub was a double and there was a beer tap right into the tub! We'd hang out in that bedroom, not that we drank the beer, but it was funny to sit on the round bed and look at the double tub and the two toilets, one of which had a phone next to it. Anyway, when I ran into Mrs. Casey, I asked how Mary was and found out that she had passed away a few years earlier from cancer. I couldn't believe that I hadn't known.

Just in the past couple of months there have been two other classmated who's obituaries were in the newspaper. One guy I didn't recognize at all, but I did remember the girl (hard to say woman.)

So my thinking is that why should I spend time filling my brain with information that I don't need to store, when there is so much I work hard to remember, mostly regarding my nieces and nephews.

The only thing is that 52 is much too young to die.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Puppy Has Been Lei'd

Meet Bo, the Obama family's new puppy!!
How cute is he? And how excited do you think those girls are?

None of the Obama's have ever had a dog, can you believe that?
I am just so happy for them all!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Deadliest Catch - New Season

Starts Tuesday, April 14 at 9:00 on Discovery Channel

Here's Sig from the F/V Northwestern...

And the F/V Time Bandit crew...

Sig and the Northwestern crew...

And here's Phil from F/V Cornelia Marie...

All of my favorite fishing men!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I Rest My Case

A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest and “lying in wait” opened fire on officers responding to a domestic disturbance call Saturday, killing three of them and turning a quiet Pittsburgh street into a battlefield, police said.

Wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with an AK-47, a long rifle and a pistol, Poplawski fired about 100 rounds during the standoff.

Officer Paul Sciullo III, a 14-year veteran of the department, was the first to approach the home after responding to the scene around 7:05 a.m. He was shot in the head as he entered the doorway.

When Officer Stephen Mayhle tried to help his fellow officer, he too was shot in the head.

Officer Eric Kelly, who rushed to the scene on his way home after finishing his shift, was fatally shot as he attempted to assist his fallen colleagues.

Police Chief Nate Harper said the motive for the shooting isn’t clear, but friends said the gunman recently had been upset about losing his job and feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.

It just might happen now after this awful attack!

Also in the news tonight: A father apparently shot to death five of his children, ages 7 to 16, at their mobile home and then killed himself near a casino miles away, police said Saturday.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Constitutional Change

I'm pretty sure when our founding fathers wrote the constitution, including the "right to bear arms," they weren't thinking too far into the future. There's no way they would have envisioned how the United Stated would progress over the next one or two hundred years. Back then, people needed to have the right to bear arms. They didn't know where or when an attack would come from; be it man or beast.

But, nowadays, all you have to do is go to school, or the post office, or a nursing home, or today - an immigration office in New York. I get a bit of grief for being one who likes to stay home. I rarely go out, the idiot and rude drivers annoy me to no end. It's just easier to stay home. And much safer as well. I might fall down the stairs or cut myself when cooking, but it's pretty safe here.

Somehow, as we have progressed, we've taken a huge step backward. Something needs to be done about the availability of guns, shotguns, rifles, and, especially semi and fully automatic weapons. The playing field needs to be leveled.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The New Place

Though I'm still not sure where all my furniture is going to go, I am pretty much settled in at my new home. I really love it here.

I've changed the living room around a couple of times, but am still not happy with it. I can't decide what to do with the table - it's under a picture window now, but the floor is so crooked that anything round rolls right off - and standing across the room, you can tell the table isn't straight.

I've thought about putting the table in the kitchen, it would fit, but then the hutch (which is in the kitchen) would need to be moved out and I'm not sure where it would go.

My bedroom furniture has been moved around a couple of times. Veronica has my bureau, she has so many clothes that I had to give it to her so she could put some away and out of sight. I don't really need a bureau because the double closet that is in my bedroom now has shelves in half of it for me to put my clothes. Dennis did a great job on the shelves and the new double doors that replaced the very ugly pegboard sliders that were there previously.

One of the first things that we did was put up a clothesline. There were two of the little pulley thingys, one attached to the deck and the other attached to a tree about 30 feet away. Matthew and Emilee were here the day we put the clothesline up and were absolutely fascinated by it. I showed them how it works and we hung my pajama top on it so they could see. They couldn't believe how great it was and when Chelsea and Emilee were over a few days ago, Chelsea felt the same way and she and Emi made a big sign out of printer paper that said "Beware of Hannibal" and hung it on the clothesline. It stayed there for 3 days until I took it in and hung it on the wall as you walk into my kitchen. I explained to the kids that we only had clotheslines until clothes dryers were invented and they can't believe how "lucky" we were.

It reminded me of the time that I popped popcorn in a pan for Vanessa and Veronica years ago, they thought it was so cool and, again, I explained that this method predated microwave popcorn!

Thank goodness my nieces and nephews have me to show them the old school ways of doing things!!