Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Victor texted me last night that there had been another earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. I didn't want to believe it, and I especially didn't want to believe that there were fatalities this time. During the last big quake in September, not a soul was lost.

Pictures this morning make it clear how devastated the city is. "Whole" pictures are from 10 months ago, when Victor and I were there. The other pictures are from the BBC today (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12533722). Christchurch Cathedral is from both sides 10 months ago (full on and then the spire next to the sculpture), but in the aerial view its spire is gone. Awful.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jersey City

On our way to Philadelphia yesterday, we stopped to see Drew in Jersey City, NJ. Drew's an old friend of mine, an even older friend of my sister's.

He took us on the best tour of his neighborhood that you could imagine. The views of Manhattan are spectacular. Plus, on his side of the Hudson, there's a touching 9-11 memorial, made up of actual girders from the fallen Towers. People leave significant items (e.g., mementos, flags, pictures, flowers) at the memorial.

There also is a statue that makes a very strong statement about Russian treatment of the Poles during WWII. A rifle stabs the back of a Polish soldier, with its tip protruding from his chest. His hands are tied behind him.

In the picture of the Manhattan skyline, what you see is silver building, flat top, pointy top, then the Freedom Tower rising from Ground Zero (two cranes on top), then a domed top.


To date, not enjoying Philly so much. It appears they have blue laws -- not a single grocery store open after 6pm on Sunday. Plus the hotel (Sheraton) has only half its elevators working, a miserly selection of towels, and frighteningly thin walls.


"Bold" tax cutters lack courage. That's the simple truth. They swoop into office riding populist surges that do not encourage leadership, having won their positions, invariably, on promises to roll back taxes. A true leader would be fearless in RAISING taxes.

He or she would remind us that taxes cover everything in our infrastructure, that the "extra" 50 cents in your paycheck could be vitally important if applied to bridge repair or public schools.

Fellowship and interpersonal respect are not found in polls.


Mom is not eating as she should. Her hands shake, and that makes it difficult to manipulate a fork. Plus the food at the rehab is pretty dismal. Thing is, there is so little of her left.

I was there for her dialysis on Saturday, and her blood pressure crashed, then surged. This is not an ideal scenario considering her aneurysms.

I just feel... oh, you know.

Class War?

I'm wondering if the Wisconsin assault on unions, which has so polarized Dems and Repubs, liberals and conservatives, represents another theme. It appears that public employees tend to have more education than their private sector counterparts have.

Of course, public employees include teachers, who are now pretty much required (outside charter schools, that is) to earned have masters in education.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Gave over most of my weekend to homework, and didn't get anything other than ABA stuff done. This will not do. I had already signed a lot of my week over to ABA stuff!

I have a thesis to write, and a two-weeks-overdue paper for my technology class that isn't written yet. (I got an extension, but still.)

Friday, February 11, 2011


I know that I have to do homework. I signed up for two courses last week. I knew they would start during this time, when my mother's in the hospital.

I sit down at my computer, and I do =anything= other than what I'm supposed to do. Help.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Renal Diet

So I was told today that my mother is now on a special diet -- which she should have been on for the past week. And Spaulding Rehab did not have the presence of mind to put her on it! PLUS, she had been given orange juice a couple of times by me and my sister, I had brought her special English caramels, my bro brought her a banana...the rehab had given her mashed potatoes and coffee every single day. Un-effing-believable. Was anyone going to say, ever: SPECIAL diet?!?

ACCEPTABLE: alfalfa, apples, bean sprouts, berries, breads, cabbage, cake, carrots, cauliflower, corn (fresh), iron-fortified cereal, cherries, cranberries, cream of wheat, cucumber, eggplant, green and wax beans, hard candy, honey, kidney and lima beans, margarine, mayonnaise, non-cola sodas, non-dairy milk substitute, noodles, oatmeal, oils, onion, peaches, pears, peppers, pineapple, plums, puffed rice cereal, rice, sherbet, snow peas, sugar, syrup, tangerines, tea (in moderation), unprocessed meats, watercress, yellow squash, and zucchini.

NOT ACCEPTABLE: apricots, artichokes, asparagus, avocado, bacon, bagels, bananas, barbecue sauce, barley, beer, beet greens, bologna, boullion, bran, bratwurst, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, buns, canned fish, canned fruit, canned vegetables, cantaloupe, caramels, cheese, Chinese food, chips, chocolate, coconut, coffee, cola drinks, collard greens, corned beef, cottage cheese, dates, deli meats, dried beans, dried fruits, dried lentils, English muffins, figs, ham, hash browns, honeydew melon, hot dogs, ice cream, ketchup, kiwis, liver, liverwurst, milk, mushrooms, mustard, mustard greens, nectarines, nuts, olives, oranges, oysters, pastries, peanut butter, pickles, pizza, Polish sausage, potatoes, pretzels, processed cheese, prunes, Pumpernickel, pumpkin, raisins, rye bread, salami, salmon, salt, salt substitutes, sardines, sausage, seeds, soy sauce, Spam, cooked spinach, sweet potato, Swiss chard, tomatoes or tomato sauce, vegetable juice cocktail, yogurt, whole grains, and winter squash.

INSTEAD OF CHEESE, ICE CREAM, MILK, AND YOGURT: tub margarine, butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, ricotta cheese, brie cheese, sherbet, and nondairy whipped topping.

RECOMMENDED AFTER DIALYSIS: eggs, fish, pork, and poultry.

NOT RECOMMENDED AFTER DIALYSIS: celery, grapes, ice cream, Jell-O, lettuce, melons, popsicles, and soups.

Government =/= Chamber of Commerce

This year, I hope to receive my master's in organizational management. And I am horrified by the position that government is supposed to operate as though it is a business.

Chambers of commerce have no business dictating to government, no matter what one Republican legislator thinks. Businesses conflate what is good for them with what is good for country and community. It should be a priority to keep those interests separate and, certainly for legislators, to understand why they are kept separate.

Top 10 Hate-Its

Things I hate about my 80-year-old mother being in a hospital-level rehab at the moment:

1. She is not consistently lucid.
2. She is supposed to be "stable" but isn't really.
3. She refuses to exercise (she fears pain, and rehab is working through pain).
4. Dialysis takes up huge portions of her week.
5. She can't see well enough to read her meal-selection cards (or anything else).
6. She can't hear well enough to respond intelligently to her nurses and doctor.
7. When she is lucid, she gets depressed.
8. I worry that subjecting her to rehab at this point in her life is cruel.
9. Her periods of confusion reveal a life of unease in her adopted country.
10. I am told that she cannot ever have her beloved mashed potatoes or orange juice again (or cheese, or ice cream, or bananas, or caramels) because of the failure of her kidneys.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I got my husband a remote-controlled helicopter for Christmas. He said he didn't want anything, but he reeeeeallly wanted one of these.

Now he's bought himself a second one. The Christmas one takes video; the yellow one has more range of motion.

Friday, February 4, 2011


We await tomorrow's snow, full up and wondering where to shovel what falls.


I don't mean to exaggerate my mother's condition. I do mean to use this blog to express how I'm feeling. My question at this time is: How stable is she? The idea at rehab is that she is supposed to be stable.


When I arrived today to my mother's room, I found my two sisters and an oxygen tube leading to her nose. Apparently, yesterday, during dialysis, her blood pressure crashed. It is not clear what the sequence of events might have been, leading to her need to be on oxygen. I have terrible anxiety at this point.

The folder in her room indicates that more than 60% of the people in the hospital-level rehab (where she now is) are there because of how medically complicated their pictures are. That's my mother, certainly: The aneurysms, the ulcer, the GI bleed, the diverticulitis and associated abscess, the kidney failure, her legs' incapacity to hold her up, and her cataracts' effects on her vision. Of course, she was already auditorially challenged.

She is on two antibiotics but probably has a UTI. She does have a yeast infection, visible to one nurse. She seemed a bit confused early on, but later was alert to her situation -- and sad.

She expressed that what she craves most is the ability to see, to read, to verify. Next, she would feel less on the fringes of the family if she could hear. Man, I wish I could make that difference for her! I feel like all I can do is visit -- but I don't know that visits answer anybody's needs but mine.