Monthly Archives: May 2016

In Memoriam: A Brother-in-Law I Never Met

Leonard Lapidus, aka Leonard LaPidus.  I married his younger brother in the year 1958.

Leonard was a navigator on a B-29 bomber during WWII.  I had heard this particular plane was fraught with mechanical failures (hearsay).  I don’t know if this was the case in Leonard’s plane; it could have been the fault of damage from an enemy plane or from artillery on the ground below.  I was told, according to family stories, that Leonard’s plane crashed into a mountain due to mechanical failure:  navigational controls were inoperable.

My husband was 7 years old at the time, which means Leonard was only 20 when he was killed.  My mother-in-law, Florence, became another “Gold Star Mother.”  She hung the small flag in the front window, as so many others had done.

gold star

My husband’s parents were completely distraught, of course.  Leonard was the topic of conversation many times during my marriage; always with smiles of remembrance and shaking of the heads with sorrow about the great family loss.

The family on both sides was large – siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins – all who remembered Leonard as being a special, caring person, and who was also a gifted artist.  In fact, he had sent Walt Disney examples of his work, and Disney wrote back that he wanted to personally interview Leonard when Leonard returned from service.  Of course, that interview never took place.

Florence completely fell apart, and could not remain at home – she had to have a change and get away from the house where all the memories lived so vividly.  She took my husband and ran to Florida, leaving her husband for a year, and tried to cope with her sorrow.  It was a very bad year, according to my husband.  His father came several times to visit, but there was a serious separation during that time.

There was more than sorrow.

You see, it was my father-in-law that encouraged Leonard to enlist and “serve your country.”  Leonard was a peace-loving soul and war did not attract him.  He was deeply engaged in his studies, and dreamed of having his life concentrated on his art.  But, his father convinced him it was his duty, and he finally submitted to those wishes.

Blame and guilt got all mixed up with the sorrow and despair, and Florence fled.

In time, she returned home, and did her best to continue with a “normal” life.  Her husband, who was a strong man in many ways, became contrite, but more loving, and did his best to take Florence’s mind off their devastating loss.

We lived in that house for several years, after my in-laws moved to another state.  When we decided to move, we went through closets with a fine-toothed comb, and came upon a painting by Leonard that no one had remembered.  It was leaning against a wall in a bedroom closet – totally unnoticed for decades.  It was my favorite of Leonard’s.  It was a beautiful painting of an American plane with the American star emblem on its side, soaring in the beautiful blue sky.  A painted photograph.  It was beautifully done.

He had dreams; however, didn’t live to fulfill them.

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[Gold Star Mother flag from bingdotcom]

 

 

 

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A Little History About Memorial Day, Previously Called, “Decoration Day”

 

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Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.

Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).

It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363). This helped ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays, though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19th in Texas; April 26th in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10th in South Carolina; and June 3rd (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

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Solve ME/CFS Initiative Takes Part in #MillionsMissing Protest

 

Solve ME/CFS Initiative President Carol Head said that following last year’s Institute of Medicine report, there is no reason for the federal government to drag its feet on aggressively funding research on the disease.

“It is the role of NIH and CDC to care for the health of their citizens, and the health of those citizens is currently being funded by ourselves for ourselves,” Head said.

The protest included a series of demonstrations by ME/CFS patients and their loved ones at locations around the country and across the world, including: Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Philadelphia, London, Melbourne, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Raleigh, Canada, the Netherlands and Belfast. Protesters in D.C. assembled outside the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) headquarters. Other U.S. protesters assembled outside the regional HHS offices.

seattle netherlands canada

Millions Missing demonstration in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mary F. Calvert)

#MillionsMissing demonstration in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mary F. Calvert)

The shoes represent the active lives lost by the owners of those shoes due to being stricken with this devastating disease.

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[Video and photos from Solve ME/CFS Initiative]

The FDA Has Finally Unveiled The New Nutrition Facts Label

The FDA has finalized the new Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods with changes that will make it easier for consumers to make informed choices about what they’re eating.

What is new on these labels?

  • Servings:  Larger, bolder type
  • Serving sizes updated
  • Calories:  Larger type
  • Updated Daily Values (%)
  • New:  Added Sugar
  • Change in Nutrients – Required
  • Actual amounts of nutrients – Declared
  • New footnote

fda-nutrition-facts-label

It’s about time!!!

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The Unexpected Value of Blogging

Pussy Cats 3

I started this blog in 2011.  Didn’t know a thing about blogging, but for a few posts on another blog which was connected to a small business I had at the time.

My cats were the incentive, and I took photos and posted them.

This blog has become my memories, which I can look in on whenever I feel the need to see how far they’ve come and how far I’ve come along with this chosen avocation.

Now that I don’t have Romeo with me anymore, I can look back on all the happy times and his shenanigans and his interplay with Rusty and Patches, that I so much enjoyed!  Better than framed photos on the wall or on a shelf!!

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Discrimination By Insurance Companies Against The Chronically Ill

 

Despite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly called “Obamacare,” and its requirement that medical insurance companies accept those with pre-existing conditions, insurance companies have found ways to deny services while keeping their eyes on the bottom line at the expense of those patients who are the most vulnerable.

An article by Angela Ostrom, published in Newsweek, points to the denial of quality coverage to patients with epilepsy, cancer and a host of other chronic conditions.  New and creative ways are found in which medical insurance companies could “skirt around” the lawful charge and focus of the ACA.

“One common strategy is to design plans so that medications for conditions like epilepsy, cancer [ME, fibromyalgia, lyme disease and others] and HIV/AIDS are all but unaffordable.”

“Federal rule makers are set to change that. They’re attempting to prevent insurance companies from denying quality coverage to patients with epilepsy, cancer and a host of other chronic conditions.  If they succeed, they’ll have, at long last, achieved one of the ACA’s most important goals:  ending discrimination against sicker patients.”

It is widely known that Big Pharma is getting rich upon the backs of unfortunate sufferers of chronic and/or serious and life-threatening illnesses.  These patients have huge medical and prescription costs – a greater percentage than those of us who are blessed with good health.  The more ill the patient is, the higher their cost of medical care, of course; however, the more ill the patient, the less income.  A paradoxical situation, but that’s the truth of it.

“The ACA bans insurers from outright refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, that provision didn’t actually stop insurance companies from turning away chronically ill patients—it just forced them to find new and creative ways to do so.

Cutting back on prescription medication.  It's too expensive.

Cutting back on prescription medication. It’s too expensive.

“Insurers place many or all medications for a particular condition on the highest “tier” of their drug formularies—the lists of medicines patients are allowed to take, or off the formulary altogether. For medications in the highest tier, individuals are often required to cover 40 percent—or more—of the total cost.”

“Sadly, this technique for raising the cost of essential and often lifesaving therapies is now standard.”

There are other tactics that medical insurance companies use in order to make it more difficult for very ill patients to get the medication and care they need.  Too many patients don’t buy the medication they need.  It’s too costly.  Many patients cut back on their dosage of medication, trying to make it last longer, but while doing this, they render the medication useless as it then has no beneficial effect.

On another note:

Assistance from governments – state and/or federal – is like trying to trudge through a mud slide several feet deep, while going against the slide’s direction of movement.  Not a good picture.

Social Security Disability applications go through an automatic first denial.  One applicant’s application was denied along with the explanation for denial that had totally nothing to do with the applicant’s reason for applying for financial relief.  It was evident that the federal employee didn’t take the time to actually read the application and accompanying documentation.  Or, he/she was under orders to automatically deny.  This tactic sounds more reasonable, since Social Security Administration keeps complaining about its bottom line.

As with too many federal agencies, the weakest keep getting pushed “under the rug.”

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Flush and Plunge

 

gender neutral restroom

I am getting so tired of the media’s fixation on the states that have passed the “bathroom” laws.  Sure, there’s good reason for that:  Discrimination is yet again raising its ugly head into the fabric of American society.  Laws, pushed through by prejudicial politicians in the name of their “religious beliefs,” and “protection of our children,” are causing havoc in many sections of our citizenry.

The only thing media can do is report; they cannot out-rightly take sides – not if they want to keep their jobs and avoid lawsuits.

“A majority of Americans in a new poll say they oppose President Obama’s order telling schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity, rather than biological sex, according to the Washington Times.”

Yesterday morning, I heard there are 11 states that are suing Pres. Obama because of his order telling schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity, rather than biological sex.

“Americans overwhelmingly believe the federal government should not be involved in regulating school bathroom access, with just 24 percent supporting regulations issued from Washington. Another 25 percent said the matter is best left to state governments, while a plurality, 41 percent, said it’s a matter best left to the local government.”

I believe President Obama is wrong.  He should butt-out.  The Obama administration should not have became involved in the issue IMHO.

The Federal government can, and I hope will, withhold aid to public schools in the states whose legislatures believe it is right to restrict bathroom use in schools to students who are transgender.  These states have gone back to Victorian beliefs.

The politicians in the legislatures are afraid their children and grandchildren will become the victims of predators.  This is a stupid reason and just an excuse,  which is evident to people with intelligence.

There’s one good thing that I can see coming out of this ridiculous situation:  The states in which these idiotic laws were passed, should be hiring monitors to sit by the bathroom entrances and check the students’ birth certificates and make sure they are of the “correct” sex, upon examination.  There will be an increase in the jobs reports.

And there will be an increase in requests for certified birth certificates, I suppose.  The county and/or state offices will be inundated and they will have to hire more people to take care of the need ASAP.   After all, the students will have to use the bathrooms at some point during the day.

Yes, I can see it all now.

 

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Update On Romeo’s Situation

You are still part of me, Romeo.

Pussy Cats 3

I’ve had a very heavy heart lately.  Wondering and worrying about what has happened to Romeo.

If you’ve read my “Hello Everyone!” posts (4 parts), you’ll know that my life has changed (these things happen as we grow “older”).  Rusty is back, but Romeo is not.

romeo Miss you, sweet boy.

I hadn’t heard from Linda of RU4ME rescue organization in the last 3 weeks (the amount of time since I re-adopted Rusty).  So, it was my assumption that Romeo was still being fostered.  I had to find out for sure about what has happened to him.  I called her this morning, and she apologized for not calling me.  The rescue “business” is a very demanding one, and fitting in personal responsibilities – well, she is very busy, for sure.

I started off my call by telling her how heavy my heart has been every day since I…

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Should Women Register for the Draft?

 

women register for draft

Senate panel re-ignites debate on draft for women

Congress is on the verge of ordering young women to register for a military draft for the first time in history, touching off outrage among social conservatives who fear the move is another step toward blurring gender lines.   

The female draft requirement, approved Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee, could be as heated as the divisive debate over what public lavatories and locker rooms transgender people should use.   

Opponents of expanding the draft may be unable to halt the momentum in favor of lifting the exclusion, triggered by the Pentagon’s decision last year to open all front-line combat jobs to women.   

After gender restrictions to military service were erased, the top uniformed officers in each of the military branches expressed support during congressional testimony for including women in a potential draft.   

The Senate Armed Services Committee added a provision to its version of the annual defense policy bill that calls for women to sign up with the Selective Service within 30 days of turning 18 — just as men must — beginning in January 2018, according to a summary of the legislation released by the committee.

This question is highly controversial.  I suppose I’m old-fashioned in my opinion that I believe women should not be required to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.  There is a growing trend among young women to enlist and serve in a capacity that heretofore was reserved for men only.  That’s a choice that was offered and has been accepted by so many women.

[Note:]  Women were nearly drafted during World War II because of a shortage of military nurses.

Military leaders maintain the all-volunteer force is working and do not want a return to conscription.

What is your opinion regarding drafting women into military service?  Please comment below.

Source:  http://www.sun-sentinel.com

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Meet Rik Carlson – ME Patient From Vermont

 

Imagine what it’s like to be so sick you cannot function.
Imagine there is no known pathology for your illness, only symptoms.

Imagine you are too weak to find your own voice… and because you are silent and confused, your physician says, “It’s all in your head.”

Imagine.

Because your illness is invisible, you disappear.

Rik Carlson was afflicted with a sudden onset case of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis on January 2, 1995 and 18 months later was passed the baton to form the VT CFIDS Association, now ImmuneDysfunction.org. He wrote the book We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Politics of Disease and has written numerous essays about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In 2006 he testified before the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee in Washington D.C. In 2009 he was part of the published Obama Biden Transition Team report on Health Care in America. In conjunction with Michael Thurston, Rik directed the film Invisible. He lives in Burlington with his wife Barbara, and their cats. Their son, David, is a Marine Corps Veteran and works with Veteran’s Services at the University of Vermont.

The movie, “INVISIBLE” gives voice to a select group of Vermonters who are gravely ill, and until now, have been out of sight. You will hear first person accounts from your Vermont neighbors as they talk about living their lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFIDS, Fibromyalgia, or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, the disease with a thousand names and no known cause or cure.

Please click on the link below and you will be taken to a new window to view the video.

https://www.cctv.org/stream-player-build?nid=118058

[ Source:  http://immunedysfunction.org/invisible.html ]

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