Peace on Earth…

…good will to men. To quote Ebenezer Scrooge “Bah Humbug!” I have been unemployed since April 2016. Last year at this time, the Hubby and I reached out to several friends asking for financial assistance. One of our friends created a “Go Fund Me” account in my name to help get us over our hurdle. Several friends contributed; others provided sound financial advice and gave ideas as to bringing in money based upon what we currently were not using and could sell. A few months later, the Hubby reinitiated the “Go Fund Me” account when he joined me on the unemployment line. This was early Summer. We have not reached out to anyone since this time. Today, someone we contacted last year wrote a lovely dissertation on social media stating that if an individual is looking for financial assistance, the person in question is irresponsible if they have a mobile device or cable at home. Hmm… Cable provides access to the Internet which enables me to perform job searches and fill out applications on said mobile device. Repeat after me… Close-Minded! Inflexible! I would NEVER wish the circumstances of our lives since last year on anyone; however, as this person has decided to pass judgment, please walk a mile in my shoes! Happy Holidays to all the Grinch wanna-be’s! Green suits you well!

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Barking…

No, this doesn’t refer to my fur babies but to myself specifically. Negative…i am not discussing my state of mind! I came down with a bad case of asthmatic bronchitis and when I cough, I sound like a barking seal! So bizarre! Whenever I have a “barking” fit, one of the dogs runs around looking under furniture and blankets for the “other animal” making such a ruckus! In all truth, I’m not so sure his elevator goes to the top floor but the look of utter confusion on his face whenever I cough is hysterical! When I come down with bronchitis like this, I do need to find the humorous side of feeling under the weather. Albuterol gives me the shakes but helps keep the lungs open along with Symbicort. Antibiotics leave me queasy and the cough medicine diminishes my appetite. On top of this, the congestion that preceded this infection has clogged my ears which unnerves me as my hearing is normally top notch! All in all, I accept being a barking sea puppy! I LOVE the ocean and seals are cute…except for their diet. They eat the cute tuxedoed swimming birds, don’t they?!?

St. Nicholas’ Day…

In 2009, the Sister and I journeyed to Germany for the first time. We were sailing on the Danube, visiting Christmas Markets between Passau and Budapest! We spent 2 days in Munich…which wasn’t enough…before the cruise. Our first day we paid our respects at Dachau which was a very sobering, tearful experience. When we returned to our hotel, the concierge recommended we try a local Biergarten for dinner. Try it we did and we were reprimanded by a very stern waiter yelling “Nein!” if we asked for a second Bavarian pretzel to eat along with our meals! The same individual shouted “Schnell!” at us when it came time to finalize our bill. Walking back to the hotel, we were very tired and a little confused. Was our entire visit to Germany going to be like this? When we entered our hotel rooms (the hotel gave us adjoining duplex single rooms), we discovered little chocolate Santa’s tucked into our slippers! Too tired to indulge, we both fell asleep while Santa watched over us! The next day, a friend of ours drove from Stuttgart along with his son to take us sightseeing. After visiting the Christmas Market at the Englischer Garten, we sat down for a lunch of turkey schnitzel. During the meal, I mentioned the surprise of finding Santa in the slippers the night before. I must have told the funniest joke because they both started laughing and were saying to the other “They don’t know!” The Sister and I both stopped eating and demanded to be let into the loop! “You had a visit from St. Nicholas!” Huh? Perplexed much? “It’s December 6th! Santa isn’t due to arrive until the 25th!” It seems St. Nicholas is a different individual than Santa Claus! He usually appears at the beginning of December and places small gifts into the shoes of well-behaved children! We were most fortunate to have been visited by St. Nicholas rather than his traveling companion, Krampus! Why? “Krampus gives the bad children coal!”

Medical Practices…

The Sister and I grew up in a medical family. Our grandfather was the town physician. Each patient he treated was a PERSON, an INDIVIDUAL! Our grandfather NEVER withheld medical care from a patient if s/he was unable to pay! Several months ago I made arrangements with the medical practice the Hubby and I have been using since 2001. The staff is aware that I lost my job last year and, due to our illustrious leader in DC, our medical insurance was canceled late last Spring when he tried, but failed, to overturn Obamacare. He may have unsuccessful but our insurance company dropped us like hot potatoes and informed the Hubby we could reapply for 2018. We didn’t…we chose a different insurance carrier. Be that as it may, I have come down with asthmatic bronchitis. You may ask how do I know? I’m not a physician. This is something I have suffered from since I was a small child. Three times it blossomed into something more and I’m in no mood for a repeat of pneumonia 10 years later! That bout lasted 5 months! I scheduled an appointment with my primary this morning. When I arrived, I was handed a stack of paperwork to complete. It seems the practice was taken over by a “business conglomerate.” It is now being run as a business proper. The individual aka the patient isn’t primary. The almighty dollar rules and if you don’t have the funds, you don’t receive medical care. Whereas in the past the practice billed me, today I was turned away at the door! No visit with my primary! I sent a message directly to my doctor through the practice’s SECOND version of an online medical portal regarding my current status and requesting assistance. Someone else read the note on her behalf, didn’t address my health and directed me to the THIRD iteration of the medical portal! There wasn’t a note waiting for me there…only copies of my previous exams and tests. I have a very healthy respect for the medical profession. Nurses are the unsung heroes! And, truth be told, these days they know as much…if not more..:than the physicians and are not given their due! The medical field, I believe has become too specialized. I understand the need for oncologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists…but we need to harken back to the time of the simple GP who practiced EVERYTHING medical 24/7/365 and had a staff that oversaw the internal workings of the practice while maintaining dignity and respect for the patients.

Me Too…

Two words that have been seen a great deal on social media since the Harvey Weinstein expose was released. In the weeks that have followed, we have seen the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Piven, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor lose their jobs due to sexual misconduct allegations. On social media I have noticed many references by individuals of both sexes stating that the complainants are looking for their fifteen minutes of fame or they willingly placed aside their principles in order to get ahead in their careers. The company that I formerly worked for has a zero-tolerance attitude to sexual harassment. If someone is reported to management and HR, the offending employee is terminated. So many people are arguing that the “harassers” are pronounced guilty before proof has been offered. When it comes to sexual harassment or molestation how is this proven? It is one individual’s word against another. Unless the victim was raped and had the “strength” to go to the authorities, had a rape kit processed and a great support system, nine times out of ten it will remain word against word. Me too… I was barely a young lady when my life tipped end over end. Two people I trusted decided I was an object to be “played with” for their own enjoyment. One I gave a black eye; the other’s “little brain” wound up being very sore. The first one made sure that no one in my family spoke to me for about three months; the other said if I told my parents, I would be sent away for lying. No one but he wanted me as it was. No one was talking to me…I was basically alone. I couldn’t comprehend what was going on in my life so I compartmentalized. At the time I needed to face what had happened, I sought the best advisor I knew…my grandfather. For several months he helped me come to grips with my life and then he passed away! For the longest time I thought my revelation had killed him! I told two others after that…my BFF (at the time) and my childhood sweetheart who was also one of my closest friends and advisor. Shortly after my BFF informed me I was “depressing” and she walked out of my life. A few months later so did my sweetheart. I told myself it was due to the fact that I was damaged goods. I remained quiet for several years. I worried my Mother so very much. I couldn’t bear to see her fretting over me. I finally blurted everything out to her, told her I would leave since I was such a disappointment plus she didn’t need someone “dirty” like me in her family. My Mom held me in a big bear hug. Cleansing tears broke forth that night. The healing process, which continues to this day, began. The Sister has been such a wall of strength for me! She sometimes believes that I am angry at her for not being taken advantage of but she is so very wrong! In the past, whenever I noticed she was being eyed the way I had been, I sent her away…out of the room, out of the building. No one would touch her! NEVER! I finally healed enough to attempt trust in a relationship. The Hubby and I met several moons ago. One week after we started seeing each other, I wrote him a LONG note stating why we should discontinue our relationship. I viewed myself as being unworthy and most undesirable. He read the note twice, ripped it up in front of me and buried the pieces in the dirt. “I’m in it for the long haul and NO ONE will ever hurt you again,” Home…this is my home. For those of you asking why didn’t I follow through legally, the statute of limitations had expired. I did see an attorney. My statement was taken and notarized but it was word against word. I am patient and I know Karma has worked her magic over the years. Do not prejudge those currently in the news unless you know the full story or have walked a similar path. They are on a healing quest.

Kristallnacht…

Today is the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht or Night of the Broken Glass. It was a major pogrom aimed at the Jewish population that remained in Nazi Germany and Austria in retaliation for the assassination of a German diplomat, Ernst von Rath, by a Polish Jew. During this act of terrorism, more than 7,500 Jewish-owned storefronts were destroyed, countless Jewish homes vandalized, 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and sent to concentration camps such as Dachau and at least 200 synagogues were burned to the ground. One of these was the Old Synagogue in Freiburg, Germany. After World War II, Jewish residents of Freiburg who had survived the camps, returned to their former home town. They came to an agreement with the city council – the Jewish population would allow the city the rights to the Old Synagogue site providing the remains be treated with dignity and a memorial be erected reflecting the devastation of 1938. The council agreed and a square dedicated to the Old Synagogue was established complete with a bronze marker. This lasted until 2016 when the city council created a wading pool on the footprint of the destroyed Shul! The bronze memorial? It is now under water and can barely be read. The people of Freiburg seem all too unaware of the historical importance of this site. They simply frolic and bathe in the chlorinated, recycled water of the pool. Why haven’t the powers that be in Berlin have a meeting of the minds with the Freiburg city council? The people of Berlin do not take lightly the mistreatment of their Holocaust memorial. Why should another town be so lackadaisical?

Petrichor…

As I was standing in the rain yesterday, honoring my Mother at the cemetery, I noticed something was missing. It was a cold, raw rain which, in actuality, is not conducive to producing the missing element. For those of us who live in the northern areas of the northern hemisphere, when the cooler, rainier weather rolls around, Petrichor disappears. What, you may ask, is Petrichor? According to Wikipedia, Petrichor “is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil.” It is a fragrance that needs to be experienced rather than explained. To me, it is a soothing aroma of water misting on warm stones and grass. It elicits a feeling of well-being that is missing during a raw, chilly rainfall. Considering the holiday season is almost upon us, it is unfortunate that perfumers have not formulated a Petrichor essence. I do believe it would do well in sales especially for individuals who are looking for a clean and earthy perfume plus it just may aid those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.