the perks of being a Snow Queen’s mommy

It’s cold out there today. I know because Al Roker told me so…it was 47° in Miami, Florida where he was reporting this morning. I also know because of everyone sharing this morning.

Oh you Siberian Express, you! I don’t miss the kind of cold that freezes the snot inside your nose…Not. At. All. This blast of icy cold is getting serious because in Kentucky there is a warrant for the arrest of a certain Snow Queen.

All points bulletin!!! Harlan Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for Queen Elsa of Arendelle, Suspect is a blonde female last seen wearing a long blue dress and is known to burst into song “Let it Go!” As you can see by the weather she is very dangerous. Do not attempt to apprehend her alone.

Clearly she can’t be bothered because she is much too busy making appearances here in the Central Valley and the Bay Area making little girls and boys wishes come true. Also she wouldn’t dare freeze my neck of the woods because the cold does bother her mommy!

I’m sorry everyone else seems to be freezing…really. For what it’s worth, it’s foggy and snowing here in the Central Valley right now.

At least it looks like snow.

Don’t worry, I might not be freezing but I am suffering because almond blossoms and allergies.

Stay warm my friends.

 

numbers for the ass-hats, anti-vaxxers and other nimrods

This morning I came home after a pretty busy 12 hour overnight shift in NICU-Land to a very sick little boy, who has been sick all weekend with god-knows what because he has no fever, no appetite, is pale and is coughing and wheezing.

I need to remind myself that he is thirteen and no longer a little boy except for the fact he is pale with dark circles under his eyes and mostly wants to just lie on the couch with one of his sisters, Zelda or his mom close by for comfort and reassurance as he struggles to breathe.

But I digress…

I come home after a busy 12 hour overnight shift in NICU-Land to a sick child. I am exhausted. He is too as breathing is work right now. All we both really want to do is just curl up in bed and sleep except…

My new, next-door neighbor is busy building loudly just under my bedroom window…where the sick child and I are trying to rest and sleep a little. Hammering, drilling, loud, loud, loud, loud!!!

Ugh!!!

I get up and go out to talk to my new neighbor…asking how long is he going to be hammering, drilling and using his loud, hydraulic equipment to erect this thing under my bedroom window is going to go on.

He’s going to be here awhile, he tells me. Is that a problem?

Well, yes. I tell him why. He looks at me for a beat, shrugs and tells me he has to get his tuff-shed built now. Then being the awesome new neighbor that he is, he moves all the loud hammering, drilling and hydraulic equipment action over directly under my bedroom window because ass-hat neighbors are the best neighbors when you are a night-shift nurse sleeping during the day.

I give up on sleep and focus on caring for Daniel and plotting as my friends and I are currently planning my revenge on Facebook. I’m sure that I won’t follow through because I am me. Although the tossing handfuls of birdseed into his yard certainly does appeal.

Truthfully, I don’t expect my neighbor (or even my family) to be silent during the day when normal people are living their lives as they do while the Vampires that is the nocshift are trying to sleep. Twenty-five years of daytime sleeping has given me strategies for sleeping when I can, where I can and learning to cope with those strange daylight dwellers. Still a part of me expects, wishes, hopes and dreams for the daytime species to at least give me a heads up when they are having a party going on right here, or are digging a pool or building a shed directly under your bedroom window…not because I am basically a bat…no…how about because of common courtesy…being a good neighbor…with good manners.

Hey, I am going to be building shit directly on the other side of our fence and it is going to be real loud for a few hours and I don’t know if it will bother you or not but I thought I should at least give you a heads up that it is going to be real loud here between our two homes.

Is that hard?

For some yes.

I might be getting some bird seed and soon…

Meanwhile, in the news, mainstream and Fox and even all over social media is the Measles. Today’s moment of pure WTF idiocy came courtesy of my own Facebook timeline:

This whole battle of those who didn’t vaccinate their kids bugs me. We were all doing fine until millions of illegals were allowed across the border against our laws. Stop the infighting and let’s blame the real culprit.

Um…

Wow.

Of course everyone has an opinion about the measles and to vaccinate or not to vaccinate now that measles has been in the news since December. Opinions are strong too. Mine is vaccinate your kids…dammit! I’ve said it before and I will say it again.

But let’s look at numbers because even nimrods have opinions…Facebook timeline proves that every day, literally.

102: The number of currently confirmed measles cases in the United States to date this year.

59: The number of 2015 measles cases linked directly to a December 2014 visit to Disneyland. Eleven more cases linked to Disneyland were caught December 2014.

More than 1,000: The number of people in Arizona that are currently being quarantined and monitored for 21 days for possible measles exposure…that can be linked to the December 2014 Disneyland visit. Measles is that contagious.

90 percent: The number of people who are not fully vaccinated who will get the measles if they are exposed to the virus.

2: The number of hours the measles virus can live, either in the air or on a surface. It’s much more transmissible than Ebola. Before 1963, an estimated three to four million people in the U. S. got measles every year, and of those people, 400 to 500 would die, 48,000 would be hospitalized and 4,000 would develop encephalitis.

1968: The year that the measles vaccine as we know it today was developed and first distributed. The vaccine dramatically lowered the number of cases and in 1989, when a second measles vaccine was recommended the measles rates dropped even further.

1968 was also the year that I came down with measles (yes, I had both measles and German measles as a small child). Mommy-Dearest was pregnant with my sister, Valerie. My brothers had not had measles. So six-year old me was separated and quarantined for a little more than three weeks away from my family. What first grader wouldn’t be able to handle that and not be afraid? Stir in the rare complication of optic neuritis and yes, measles are indeed marvelous for a small child! True I get to enjoy a lifetime of immunity so no shots for me but whatever!

2000: The year there was no continuous measles transmission for more than 12 months which meant measles had been eliminated in the U.S.

No more measles!!!

Whoo-hoo!!!

Unfortunately an increasingly connected world and decreased vaccine rates because of people blindly believing “Doctor” Wakefield’s made-up studies and personal beliefs and whatever bright, shiny belief held fast to have collided to create measles outbreaks all across the U.S….the same nation where 15 years ago there was no measles.

That’s super awesome!

20 million: The number of measles cases around the world every year.

92-94 percent: The herd immunity threshold or the number of the population needed to be vaccinated to interrupt the transmission of the disease, especially to the more vulnerable of the population who can not be vaccinated.

9 percent: the number of students at my son’s school who currently have opted out of vaccinations for medical or personal exemption.

75.1-80 percent: The percentage of school-aged children here in the Central Valley who are immunized.

1 in 10: The number of children with measles who will get an ear infection which sometimes can result in permanent hearing loss.

1 in 1,000: The number of children with measles who will develop encephalitis, or swelling and infection of the brain. This complication can leave children deaf or mentally impaired.

1-2 in 1,000: The number of children with measles who will die from the disease. You know, like Roald Dahl’s little girl back in 1962. So no, the measles isn’t a harmless childhood disease.

0: The number of anti-viral therapies that exist for the measles. Unlike the flu or HIV, there is no anti-viral treatment for the measles. The only option is to support and treat the symptoms, let the disease run it’s course and hope for no complications.

There’s that. and nowhere do millions of illegals allowed across the border against our laws come into the picture.

Vaccinate your kids! Get your own titer checked and, if need be, get a booster or be an ass-hat nimrod. But if that is what you must be please make sure you have some really good insurance because the rest of us do not want to pay for your stupidity..truly.

 

even more than a good, brave man

Of course we all know that last week was Martin Luther King Day which of course means a holiday for most folks…and the perfect time to maybe catch a good movie about an American Hero…which would be why American Sniper scored 105.3 million at the box office last weekend.

Don’t get me started…

The days leading up to Martin Luther King Day and after is also the perfect time for American school children to learn about the man and what he accomplished in the times that he lived; which is what Daniel has been doing…as he does every year since preschool. Last week, as I helped study for his test on Dr. King on Friday, I was struck with the fact that this time he was learning much more than him being a good man, a great man, a brave man with a dream for all American children. As a student his age should. Together we studied and talked about segregation, voting rights, peaceful activism, the Nobel Peace Prize and assassination at the hand of a sniper. And I was struck with the consideration my son had as he expressed his understanding of the subject of Dr. King that we were studying together and recent events in the news. It really is hard not to draw some comparisons whether one is a thoughtful, curious 6th grader or a musician accepting an award for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.

So we made plans for this weekend.

We spent Sunday afternoon watching a film about American Heroes.

Moving.

Shocking.

Painful.

Inspirational.

And as we watched the pivotal scene where some 8,000 marchers (Black, White, Asian, Latino along with spiritual leaders from many religions and creeds) walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Martin Luther King, Daniel reached for my hand and whispered, “They did it!

Yes, they did.

American heroes…all of them.

Of course, as it always is in history, there is much more to the story; and there is the reality of today. May my son always continue in his thoughtful curiosity to learn and understand.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”
~Martin Luther King

 

in wonky times like these

Mercury is retrograde and honestly in times like these when everything seems to be all wonky and awry all one can really do is take a deep breath and ask themselves…

WWBD?

Because, yes, in astrological, astronomical times like these you know Queen Bey is not affected by crazy emotions, miscommunications and general weirdness as the rest of us are.

Truly.

Why else would folks like Bill O’Reilly and Mike Huckabee get their boy shorts all twisted up believing that Beyonce is what is wrong with the world today?

Right?

Then a moment like this with Jon Stewart reminds us that maybe Bey isn’t as all powerful or as scary as the Fox boys would want us to fear. Because, at the end of the day, she is still just a musician living in “Bubbleville”. But damn, I still wonder sometimes in the dark of night what would Beyonce do especially when Mercury is in retrograde.

 

no shelf life

As a 52 year old woman, I am struck by conversations related to friends celebrating or avoiding milestone birthdays, women getting older and how we are perceived as we (and the men around us, obviously) get older. Sadly, it seems to me, the majority regard a woman in her 40s or 50s or even 60s as somehow past the expiration date. Friends absolutely dreading the fact that they are turning 40…or mourning their obvious dotage as they pass “dirty thirty“…and it makes me sad just a little.

Age is definitely a relative thing. I wholeheartedly believe the idea that you are as old as you feel; which means I am basically an adolescent sometimes…an adolescent with a few grey hairs, laugh lines, squint lines, grown children and grandchildren. I’m not always an adolescent, but given my taste in music or the fact that I DO know almost every artist and song featured in the latest American Music Awards Show or Grammy nominations, compared to friends my age or 10 years younger…well… Yet, I wholeheartedly embrace the age that I am…grey hairs, creaky joints, laugh lines and everything else. I take very good of this aging shell of mine…and it shows. I take very good care of it because I have children and grandchildren and I definitely want to be around for a long time to watch them grow older. Added bonus is feeling good, perhaps better than other people my age (or younger).

I don’t take care of myself, or put on makeup, or wear jewelry or wear sometimes fashionable, flattering clothing for attention…except maybe perhaps from my darling husband. I know few women my age who dress for the day hoping for attention from a stranger…just like any other woman or girl dresses hoping for unwanted attention.

Why are there people who STILL think like this?

Honestly?!

So, no, telling me that I look pretty for my age is not a compliment.

Of course there is the reality that when a woman reaches a certain age, she, more often than not, is not getting looked at anymore…usually by the men. Ageism is real and women of a certain age become invisible to pretty much everyone…including men their own age. Men my age (and older) won’t give women my age (or even younger) a second glance unless they’re doing us a favor (in their small mind) because as Stevie Nicks pointed out in a recent Rolling Stone interview, “They wanna go out with somebody that’s 25,… So what am I gonna do, compete with that?”

But have you SEEN 66 year old Stevie Nicks?!

Damn girl!

Then there were the women…not the girls…the women at the Golden Globes this past week.

Hey ladies!

Then there is Julianne Moore who proved that people DO want to see a movie about a 50 year old woman, in the prime of her life, as she faces her own mortality and rapid decline.

If I can’t be Helen Mirren when I grow up, I want to be Julianne Moore. Really.

Shelf life?

Invisible?

No way.

Let’s re-think this because we all are getting older. We all are as sexy and smart and empowered and as visible as we chose to be and no one should ever diminish that for us because of the number of candles on our birthday cake this year…or the number of grey hairs, or laugh lines we might have.