About Those Pills……

Musing alert ahead. I was reading a post earlier about a man whose daughter had temper/lack of discipline issues when she was young. Her behavior was unlike their other children and when someone first suggested ADHD, they dismissed the idea. Fast forward to age nine and a counselor did convince them of the diagnosis and the need for medication. However, it was an approach where different dosages were tried to find the minimal amount effective which also did not have side effects. In the early part of the post was the man’s initial belief that ADHD was too quickly diagnosed and most children could be managed with “better parenting”. This is not an uncommon reaction and as the mother, especially when I was a single mother, of a very active child – the one who didn’t sleep through the night until he was four years old – I have no doubt there were people who thought he, too, might be ADHD on at least some level. He was definitely a handful and there were plenty of rounds of tantrums, etc., but he did respond to actions and yes, that often included a swat or two across the bottom. (No more than that and never anywhere except his bottom, and I realize many will still disapprove). I do think medicating children is something that must be very carefully considered and other alternatives should be thoroughly explored first.

On the opposite end of the spectrum though is medicating the elderly, especially when they enter some kind of assisted living arrangement. As I discussed in the book, “Your Room at the End: Thoughts About Aging We’d Rather Avoid”, there is almost always some condition that can be medicated. Then if there is a side effect to one medication, there is one to offset that. Before you know it, the number of prescriptions have doubled or even tripled. I’m not against medications; I take one prescription for blood pressure and some over-the-counter supplements. I am very cautious though when it comes to immediately recommending continuing medications if other viable options are available.


Days Zipping Past….

Things have been extra hectic as sometimes happens with multiple commitments. It’s also part of why I wasn’t able to get out to dive in June and not sure how the rest of July will go either. It’s not uncommon for me to miss both months because during peak dive season the boats are often full on the few days I’m available.

Anyway, one of the things I was busy with was preparing for, then holding a presentation for high school students in the College and Career Prep Program of the Homestead Mexican-American Council (MAC). https://www.mexamcouncil.org

It’s a great program that runs all year with extra sessions in the summer. This year they have 20 students in the classes and 20 students in a variety of companies/organizations as interns. The title of the presentation was, “The Writing Journey: Rarely a Straight Path”. This is version three as I tailor this to the audience I am talking to. It was a combination of my own extended and circuitous path to writing and some of creative process with crafting a novel and a “cozy series” in particular. All the students were polite and several were actually interested.

Another big chunk of the week has been juggling multiple tasks involved with our upcoming Art and Artisan Show. This is the event we were supposed to have last year. If we are successful, our intent is this will be a premiere event annually in April or March. (There is one other annual event we have to work around so we don’t schedule them both too closely together). We held a small version in 2019 as a part of our Homestead Center for the Arts Showcase and that’s what led us to try for something “bigger and better”. With only a couple of exceptions all the vendors are artists or artisans with hand-crafted items. We have a nice variety with jewelry, a couple of our woodturners, a lady who does hand painted mail boxes, soaps and lotions, and more.

This is no “flea market”; it’s a boutique shopping experience that we think will resonate with the community.

Of The Seven Deadly Sins….

Musing ahead alert. A recent situation set me to pondering about the insidious nature of greed and if jealousy was not in fact an element of greed. Before I proceed with that thought, Christianity lists the sins as “pride, covetousness (also known as avarice or greed), lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth”, with some verbal tweaking over the centuries. Keeping in mind the “sins” are related to the Ten Commandments, although not a one-for-one.

So, if you take, “Thou shalt not covet”,  as the sin of “envy”, think about what causes one to envy. Someone wants something someone else has. Isn’t that, in a way, “greed”? While the concept of greed brings to mind money, it can certainly be any material item, but also a desire for that position at work, that prestige, that marriage/relationship, those looks; pick from multiple categories. Granted, if someone is impoverished and simply envies someone who isn’t, then it may not be considered greed. On the other hand, many people who are not impoverished may well want more – more of many things which does reflect a level of greed even though it is easily defined as envy. Carrying that further, greed can then lead to terrible and ugly behaviors/actions. I’ll set aside the truly horrible of wars waged and “turf battles” for the sake of this post. How about “office politics” that causes strife among co-workers? Or cutting down other individuals in a social setting? On a larger scale, businesses that raise prices for that extra profit when they think they have a “captured market”? In trying not to stray into politics, one of the hallmarks of capitalism is to open the way for that individual who can figure out how to “break the hold on a market” and offer a better deal. As we see though, greed can strike again and efforts can come together to “squeeze out the competition”. In a lot of cases though, the new can hang on and maybe not replace the “top dog”, yet maintain a solid footing.



May Have Summer Scuba Gap…..

Although I have managed the last few months getting out to dive, June and July are often months I have to miss. It’s one of those good news-bad news situations. The summer is always a peak dive time because conditions are the best barring storms of course. The water temperature is in the 80s, seas are generally calm, and visibility is good to excellent. The surge in divers means full boats which is why I don’t always get to go along. Since direct family members of the staff don’t pay, our understanding is we won’t take the place of a paying diver. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, the past year has been an anomaly because of extended high-to-maximum bookings until more overseas locations re-open to tourists. I’ve seen notices of re-openings and am not certain of how wide-spread those are.

On the up-side of divers coming down, my bud, Richie Kohler, and some of his friends were in Key Largo the past few days and we all had lunch together yesterday. It’s a guaranteed fun time and the big news is they are prepping for a September dive on HMHS Britannic again with the even more exciting news they will finally be allowed to penetrate the wreck. That has been raging controversy for years. There is a list of items they hope to recover; the success of which will depend on many variables, most of which will be out of their control. The only drawback at the moment is none of the previous media companies are willing to underwrite the expedition. If something great does come out of it, there will of course be likely takers as the camera/film experts going all have history with the companies in question. They are experienced in what kind of footage will appeal and their quality is well-known. They will shoot hundreds of hours of footage that can be edited accordingly if someone picks up the documentary.

The Dilemma of Doing The Right Thing…..

Sort of musing here. In continuing with watching old episodes of the TV series, “Northern Exposure”, yesterday’s main plot depicted in two different scenarios was about doing the right thing. In one case it was acknowledging being bested in what would have been a lucrative business deal and the other was temptation to cheat on income tax. There were of course the usual rationalizations about why it wasn’t really cheating even though the “savvy” businessman was certain he had included a provision in the deal that would benefit him in the future at the expense of the other individual. After all, that was just smart business. The fact the other individual slipped in a different provision far more in his favor was – well, that was “unfair”. On the tax side, hey, the government gets plenty of our money and it was a small amount in question they would never know about. In both situations, the right choice was ultimately made at a financial cost to the individuals, plus a severe blow to the pride of the wealthier businessman.

The expression exists that, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking”, and sounds good in principle. Let’s take traffic violations as a simple example though. An individual is behind someone driving 5 miles per hour under the posted speed limit and no way to pass. The slow driver is in fact obeying the law. And yet, the odds are the individual behind will be irritated going into anger depending on how long the situation lasts. Well, “everyone” knows the posted limit isn’t really the limit. And yes, drivers stopped are often let off with a warning depending on the circumstances and the officer involved. In many cases, unless it’s something like a school zone and it is less than 5 miles an hour over, a stop won’t even occur. One logical reason is speedometers can vary, and in reality, if there is no sign of other careless driving, an officer does “look the other way”. On the other hand, that doesn’t always work out and once the ticket is issued and the fine (often hefty)  paid, there is usually great indignation on the part of the ticketed driver.

Dueling Perspectives….

I posted previously about the movie, “Ford Vs Ferrari”, and how enjoyable it was. I actually have four favorites scenes; all of which emphasize the juxtaposition of independent sports car builder Carroll Shelby and the corporate aspect of collaborating with Ford. In the movie, Lee Iacocca, who is responsible for Ford bringing the Mustang to the American people, is prominently featured in several places. The feud that grew up between Ford and Ferrari lasted longer than indicated in the movie, but Hollywood versions often compress timelines for the sake of “flow”.

So, skipping forward. I have also explained how I have insomnia and many mornings as I can’t get back to sleep, I fix a cup of chamomile tea and read non-fiction (book or magazine) as I drink my tea. I took out “Iacocca: An Autobiography” written by him and William Novak. It was published in 1984 which is of course after he was at Chrysler. (This is one of the books Hubby had when we merged households.) I started the chapter about the Mustang a couple of nights ago and was genuinely surprised. There was a great deal about how the car was developed, questions surrounding the decisions, and the wild success for several years. There was not, however, any mention of the drawn-out acrimony with Ferrari or of the momentous Le Mans races. A complete slice of American automobile history he was very much a part of, was completely excluded. Now, I am only part way through the book and perhaps he comes around to it later. Or, perhaps in view of him ultimately being fired from the top ranks of Ford, he chose not to include this highlight of Henry Ford II. Perhaps for some odd reason, he didn’t view this with the same reverence as many automobile enthusiasts.  Maybe there is an autobiography of Carroll Shelby I can read one of these days and see what he has to say.

Transitioning Stages of Careers…..

Last night we had a few friends over to watch as our son was with Bowen McCauley Dance Company (www.bmdg.org) at the Kennedy Center. For those who might be new to this blog, many years ago when we discovered our son had a deep passion and talent for dance, we went through a questioning time about the difficulty of supporting an adult child to pursue a career that was not financially viable. Since that’s not the point of this post, I’ll get to the bottom line of him with the performing company and also with the Fairfax Center for Ballet Arts where our daughter-in-law also works part time.

The dance world was of course hugely impacted with COVID-19 closures and restrictions as were so many other areas. While they were able to do some virtual things and able to tap into some of the relief funding, last year’s season was upended. This year’s (which began in September) was adapted to virtual performances as they added in as much other as they could each time certain restrictions were lifted. What no one outside the Board of Directors knew though was the founder, Lucy Bowen-McCauley, had previously planned to set the company on a path to close at the completion of their 25th year, as in 2021. The impact of COVID meant what would have been a fairly spectacular closing “farewell season” had to be significantly scaled back. The performance last night was the first time for the company to return to a major stage as they danced live to a very restricted audience, but it was broadcast live over YouTube. Hubby did the research and we picked up an HDMI cable to connect the laptop to the big TV. In the interview part before the performance, Lucy explained about the final season and what she would still be engaged with. After the first number, she brought our son and one of the female dancers onto the stage in tribute. They are the senior members of the company; he for sixteen years and her for fifteen. In one sense, it’s the usual of, “How can sixteen years have passed?”. For all of us who have marked significant transitions in our lives, we know how it works. I think I posted previously that we are going up for the final performance and gala in September.

Measuring Success……

Musing content alert. I interact on some level every day with other authors on social media. Since highly commercially successful writers have no need to interact, the ones I am talking about are predominantly self-published or in the process of writing/have written and are striving to be traditionally published. Some have made a breakthrough to be either traditionally published or have adequate independent sales to be considered commercially successful. This can be where they may do multiple types of writing such as articles, etc., and/or a book. In this case, that means they make a profit on their writing, although it may not be adequate to be their only source of income. I’ve previously posted that while I continue to take steps to try and have a commercial breakthrough, I also understand that may never happen.

This leads me to the related point I’ve also previously discussed when it comes to how one measures success in one’s livelihood. I think many of us  know of a modest restaurant with someone who has been working there for 20+ years as a server. It’s not an easy job by any means, yet it is honest work. (For those who have traveled to Europe where it is an actual profession, that’s a post for another time.) Being a server in this country is generally considered as a starter or supplemental job, especially in college towns, New York City, and Los Angeles. In other situations though, it’s does become a career whether originally intended or not. Moving then into the trades – the theme here if you haven’t picked up on it is non-college careers. (I’m skipping retail for this post). Most trades can be learned adequately to be employed at the entry level in one or two years. Instruction combined with apprenticeship is common and often the best path when it is available. Barring going to work for a  bad company/bad boss, a business wants to retain good employees and there will be internal salary tiers as experience is gained. The reason you pay the hourly rate you do for electricians, etc., is precisely so those employees can be paid more while the necessary overhead costs and owner profit can be covered. Good employees may often also set up a sideline, freelance business to either supplement what they have or look to perhaps opening their own business some day. It’s true that blue collar work as an employee doesn’t usually result in six figure incomes. It is, however, a path that should be encouraged and supported if an individual shows inclination rather than being fixated on attending college.


Asking Forgiveness or Permission…..

Many, many years ago I and a friend wanted to do something that quite frankly would be utterly not allowed these days. (It was questionable then, too). So I had my first encounter with the phrase, “Better to ask forgiveness than permission because some asshole will always say no.” We went ahead and didn’t encounter an issue, but that was another of those “youthful indiscretions” that could have easily gone awry. (The details aren’t important) A recent local situation brought this memory to mind along with a common misconception about this phrase.

I have heard others cavalierly toss this out when faced with the sudden realization forgiveness might not be granted. People have a tendency to think their “initiative” or “boldness” will count more heavily in their favor. It very often does, particularly if the action results in something good. Even so, though, it can also lead to friction within a group as not everyone may be in the “forgiving” mode. The point though is it doesn’t always. At those few times I’ve witnessed the reaction of the one “not forgiven” the common reaction is one of disbelief followed by an emotional response of anger and/or pleading for reconsideration. (More about that below)

A boss of mine later expanded on the idea with his three “rules”. First, make sure what you want to do is legal. Second, think it through carefully and be able to explain your reasoning. Third, accept the consequences if things don’t go as planned. To reinforce the above paragraph, that meant prepare myself if the action/decision didn’t work out correctly or forgiveness was not in the mix. This is one of those life lessons that served me well and I passed it on to numerous subordinates during my career.

Might Miss Another Party….

In the scheme of things, this isn’t an overly important point, but it did bring an interesting memory to mind. I’ll start with the main thing.As I mentioned in a previous post, last year was granddaughter’s fifth birthday and the first one she was to have as a “major event”. Our present to her was to be the venue, a popular place with a specific children’s birthday party package. She was inviting people months ahead and then, as timing has it, her March 13th day hit right before the official shutdown. At that stage, however, parents were becoming concerned and most basically told the kids they weren’t going to be comfortable with attending. The venue acknowledged they’d had many cancellations and so the decision was made. The grandparents from Maine did come down and they had a special day which helped take the sting out of no big party. Granddaughter hasn’t forgotten though and apparently the decision again this year is “not yet”. They are looking for something extra special so we’ll see what that turns out to be.

Anyway, reaching way back to when her dad was a baby, as I have explained, his dad was killed when he was only four months old. Single parenting with an infant and being on active duty in the Army came with more challenges than I want to get into. And as often happens when the “needs of the Army” and the “desires of the individual” conflict, it’s not hard to guess who wins. This is how I found myself on the way to a specialized school at Fort Ord, CA in Monterey for almost four months when the child was only ten months old. Most at the school did not have their families with them and since I didn’t really have anyone to care for him for that length of time (as was suggested), they made an exception for me to have him with me. However, being the only single parent, especially with an infant, came with yet another set of challenges. We were divided into work groups and since several of the individuals in our group were also parents, they rallied around to help at least some and those who weren’t parents got into the swing of it. As the child’s first birthday approached, they were startled I said I wasn’t having a party for him. The fact is birthday parties for a one-year-old is for parents and grandparents to have cute photos. Unknown to me, the group decided that wouldn’t do and our “dinner out” that night segued into a surprise party complete with messy chocolate cake and a ride on an indoor merry-go-round. They also gave me a touching framed multi-photo piece of photos one of the guys had taken over the series of weekends as I brought the baby along for times we when went out to lunch. And yes, I do still have that hanging on the wall.