Friday, July 27, 2012


This weeks LBC topic is deadlines. 

A deadline is nothing but a time limit or constraint put on some activity – getting the paper  done in school, getting the report to the boss at work – things like that.Deadlines make the procrastinator’s job simple –he/she has a time (the dreaded deadline) to ignore, thus removing the stress of trying to get whatever he/she is supposed to get done  when it is supposed to be done.  Thus the procrastinator floats merrily along without a care in the world.  Time is on his/her side. Hmm – sounds like a song segue to me. What, me worry is his/her attitude.

Deadlines are the anal person’s friend too since deadlines give them the structure their analness (is that even a word?) needs.  The truly anal will be done early – time won’t let them just get it done on time.  Yep – another  song segue.

Deadlines and time go together like chocolate and peanut butter.  You can't have one without the other. And of course there is that Friday LBC deadline.  Sigh - every Thursday it's a mad scramble to find the topic.  And then, honestly it's the first thing I do Friday morning.  Procrsatination? Well I prefer to think of it as having the unique ability to say what I want without constant revision.  (Procrastinator's rule #9).  I just sit and type.  Of course with my typing skills spellcheck is critical.  The actual writing is relaxing and somewhat cathartic.  Deadlines, you see,  are my friend.  And speaking of relaxing, the next tune (sax by Denis Payton) and as cup of coffee are just the ticket!

So that's my take on deadlines and time.  Please check the other members takes on the subject -  Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Care giving - LBC topic

Care giving.  That's this weekc LBC topic, brought to us by Ramana.

I am admittedly somewhat biased on this topic as I am the primary care giver for my wife of 40 years, Lynn. Here's what she looked like 1/1/1972 when we got married.  Never confuse fat with stupid - I picked a holiday so I'd never forget my anniversary, and it worked.
Lynn inherited a genetic condition from her father called Huntington's Disease - sometimes called Huntingtons Chorea. To the uninitiated, think of it as a combination of Alzheimers and Parkinson's rolled up in one ugly disease.  It is incurable and a death sentence - not only to the person with the disease but to the family in many cases. There is a 50% chance the offspring of a person with HD will inherit the gene and be doomed to have HD.  We have 2 kids.  They have not yet been tested for a myriad of reasons.  I see my job as care giver as doing whatever I can to keep the family together - no mean feat as we are the definition of dysfunctional in many ways - and do whatever possible for Lynn.  Lynn has the mental capacity of a petulant 5-yr. old these days. She has trouble controlling her bodily functions. She nearly choked to death twice last week due to a loss of control of the muscles that allow us to swallow. If she wants something and is told no, I hear her chant "I hate you and hope you f***ing die" for 30 minutes or so.  That happens more than once daily.

Our daughter and her family live with us and Jamie trys to assist me.   She does the best she can but...

So why do it? The reason is simple - Lynn has nobody else. It is simply the right thing to do.  I am no saint.  Lynn has had 15 or more years of her life stolen from her.  Whatever chance we had for a happy end to our relationship has been stolen from us.  Knowing now the root cause of the troubles that started 15-20 years ago does nothing but explain them.  It is too late for healing those wounds.  The girl I married essentially left the building as it were 10 or so years ago.  Until last year there were occasional flashes of that person. The pic above is the last one taken in which Lynn doesn't look like a raving lunatic. She's holding her youngest grandson - now 21/2.  He will never know her for the loving, doting grandmother she used to be. Her oldest granddaughters are rapidly forgetting that grandma as well.

In the midst of her rants or those times she gets violent - another common occurence with HD - it can be very very difficult. The fact that she is still strong as an ox does not make matters easier. We just take it one day at a time.  When she asks the same question for the 30th time we try not to snap at her.  We are not always successful. When she's into one of her I hate you... rants I try to ignore her. She doesn't mean it. She couldn't. But there's always that nagging thought down deep that she does mean it and everything about the last 40 years has been a fraud.  But I prefer to think we started off like this...

Again - why do it?  I believe we are dealt a hand of cards in life.  Several in fact. Many times the hand is not one of our choosing.  But we must simply play the cards we are dealt. There's nowhere to run  and nowhere to hide.  Lynn did not intentionally inherit the gene that has decimated her life.  It's common knowledge that bad things happen to good people. Guess it was her turn.  I've been called a saint and I've been asked what I did to deserve this kharmic backlash. Both comments seriously offered by well meaning people.  Guess that means I am either amazing or I am to blame.  I suppose the comment that galls me the most is the one about god opening a window when she slams a door. Or vice versa. I can never keep that one straight.  Fact is, stuff happens and this is our stuff. I will continue to persevere and care for my wife.  As long as she is here my life is fairly well locked down. If she's awake I need to be near to keep her as calm as possible. And if one day I am dealt another hand well - we'll see how that one goes. As it stands now we are here...

That's my take on Care Giving.  Basically you do it because it's the right thing to do.  You do it because you care for the person you are caring for.  And you try and maintain a degree of sanity. Your sanity.  And remember - it's OK to get frustrated and occasionally angry.  But keep playing.  And Grannymar and Ramana - I'm trying to handle this with as much aplomb as the two of you.

Please check what the other LBC members have to say on the topic.  Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Ramana The Old Fossil and Will.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Is Pessimism More Realistic Than Optimism?

Conrad - aka the The Old Fossil - posed an interesting question for this week's LBC topic. Everyone knows the old glass half full or half empty question.  Trouble is, some people don't even have a glass.

So - it it more realistic to view the world in a positive light or vice versa?  Like most intellectual exercises there is no pat answer.  Obviously for some folks optimism works whereas for others pessimism makes more sense.  The optimist - says the pessimist - is destined to be repeatedly disappointed while the optimist says to the pessimist you will forever be pleasantly surprised!

The realist simply says you'll both get what you expect out of life if you put in the effort.  Oh - that's a good one -  the very broad-brushed term "effort". Truth is, if you work hard, treat others fairly and the way you wish to be treated, you'll probably achieve a fair degree of success in your life.  Now the definition of that success is purely personal and subjective.  If money is your motivator, simply check your bank account. If - like most people - you judge yourself on a broader landscape, simply examine the results piece by piece.

Some judge themselves harshly,  That is their perogative.  The pessimist sees himself/herself in a much harsher light than does the optimist in my opinion. But both are constantly seeking to improve. The pessimist can seem like a harsher critic to others but that isn't necessarily true.  I find the pessimistic approach to criticism much more direct - with optimistoc criticism you have to read between the lines to get at the heart of the critique. The pessimist lays it out in clear, concise terms.

So the answer to Fossil's question is yes.  And no. The Fossil himself is essentially an oiptimist most of the time. I hope he isn't too disappointed by the responses to his query. I suspect he'll be pleasantly surprised.

Is the Boss an optimist or a pessimist?? 


Does it get more optimistic than an 80 plus year old singing the optimist's anthem?

The ultimate pessimist? 

Please check the other members of the LBC and see their take on this weeks topic -  Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulThe Old Fossil, Will and Ramana.

Friday, July 6, 2012

LBC - Nicknames

Welcome to the weekly LBC post.  This weeks topic - Nicknames - comes via Paul (Blackwatertown).

Nicknames can be fun, informative and/or cruel. Some are logical - take mine - Shackman - for instance. I'm called Shackman because I have worked at RadioShack for over 25 years. Several other nicknames attached to me come from my given name - Charles. I happen to hate the name Charles - it's way too formal sounding. Now Chuck - its most common nickname - suits me just fine. One old friend calls me Charlie - a name I am not overly fond of but from Dave it works, likewise  Chas. That's Charles abbreviated and one of my oldest friends refers to me that way. Then there's the family nickname - Bubba. There's a 10 and 11 year age difference between my sister, brother and I. When they were little they could not say brother - it came out Bubba and it stuck. Of course that means my five nieces between the two of them call me Uncle Bubba which then assumed a life of its own as several friends' kids call me Uncle Bubba. One common nickname for folks with an McC or Mac last name is Mac - for some reason nobody ever called me that but it is my brother's nickname amongst nearly all of his friends and coworkers. And lastly there's what my buddy Bob and his wife call me - Big. Can't get much simpler (or accurate) than that.

Then there are nicknames for groups. Take The Wrecking Crew for example. You may not know that name but if you are a fan of sixties/seventies pop/rock music produced in Los Angeles then you may not know the Wrecking Crew but you do know their work.

Motown had The Funk Brothers -

Sports and entertainment are bastions of nicknames and with the substantial sums of money involved these days nicknames become a very important part of the individuals brand. Frankly that takes some of the fun out of it but what do I know. Shaq, Captain Marvel, The Refrigerator (I was occasionally The Freezer), The Haryana Hurricane, Bhaji and Captain Cool are just a few from a variety of sports. Entertainment offers Duke (named after his pet dog), The Boss, The Fab Four, The Velvet Fog, The Man in Black, The Rat Pack and The Chairman of the Board to name a few.Check out the Velvet Fog

That's a quick take on nicknames - please check  in on  Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Ramana, The Old Fossil and Will  and see what their take is on this week’s topic.