Ya Win Some, Ya Lose Some

By Sara

Sometimes an unexpected event occurs that leads to great relief and celebration. Other times an unexpected event leads to disappointment and a “Now what do I do?”

For example:

I heard sounds of big movers behind my house — BIG, as in giant cranes and tractors. They were noisy but for a good cause. The 100-plus foot tree that had looked dead for years was finally being removed. It was an eyesore and a risk for neighbors, especially during the monsoon season. In my mind, I feared a nasty wind and rain could break off branches that could land on overhead utility lines or worse on someone’s home.

At last I could enjoy my window view of the mountains without that monstrosity haunting me.

Then . . .

Abbie my faithful and vigorous dog was lying down with chin on the ledge of one of the living room windows .It was a usual Tuesday around noon. Suddenly, she started barking in her serious, most obnoxious voice. Casually viewing the backyard expecting to see a running rabbit, I glimpsed the flash of an intruder. He had entered through the secure but unlocked back gate and gone into the shed. Thanks to the ferocious Abby he fled quickly. Nothing major was missing in the shed. Apparently he was not interested in the Christmas decorations stored there. Needless to say, the gate now has a padlock on it and bricks are stacked against the bottom of the door.

THEN. . . .

Two weeks ago, after turning off the living room lights, I was walking toward the hallway as usual. On my way, my previously injured foot collided with the edge of the bricks by the chimney. I had my partial boots on which were a safeguard but not complete protection. The discomfort was considerable and I was certain I had fractured yet another bone or two. Once on my bed I grasped my foot gently, elevated my feet on two huge pillows and started to repeat a prayer of healing over and over and over. The next day I confined myself to the wheelchair. The following day the foot was clearly healing, as the pain was subsiding. After a few more days I was pain free. THANK YOU!

Most recently, Stacy, my wonderful and joyful housemate, sadly announced she was giving notice. She had lost her job last month and could not pay rent. Fortunately for her, she has a friend who will rent her a room at a greatly reduced rate. She is very excited about the prospect of a large closet. I will miss her and hope that another potential renter will be as kind and enjoyable.

So, ya win some and ya lose some. I am thankful for it all. That’s life!

(Good news update. Stacy decided to stay and all is well.)

May 2018


Barbara Bush… thoughts and memories of personal moments

By Nando

I first met Mrs. Bush in the mid-80s. I had volunteered to photograph an event at an Orange County Mexican restaurant where Vice President Bush was to speak. The day started early in the morning. I checked my monster Minolta 9000 dual strobe smart-backed motor driven auto focus zoom-lensed camera. All ten pounds, including its 18 AA batteries, worked.

The weekend day was bright, and weather perfect for the VP’s speech in the gorgeous patio of the Mexican restaurant which had been established by a family from Mexico. Vice President Bush was to speak outdoors, after some group photos indoors and a short welcoming speech by the owner’s wife, in English, apparently a relatively new second language for her.

She stood on an 18-inch platform, behind a microphone, in front of which the “special photo guests” and others, including her family, were standing. Barbara Bush was standing, front row, slightly off center, in her dual-strand pearl choker and polka dot dress. Standing next to Mrs. Bush, on her right, I could raise my camera without bothering her.

The wife began her speech in English with mild apprehension in her voice. Mrs. Bush, after just a few words, began projecting assurance, confidence, and “you go girl” across the six feet or so separating them. Mrs. Bush’s lips moved, no sound, and the speaker seemed instantly fueled by Barbara Bush’s unselfish, supportive presence. Mrs. Bush’s support was palpable even to me.

The speaker continued, not in smooth English, but her tone was confident, and maybe even assertive. I turned left and saw nothing but gladness on Mrs. Bush’s glowing face. I never even raised the camera.

About an hour later after the outdoor patio event, Mrs. Bush was meeting and greeting folks after her husband’s speech. As I turned to end the day, a fellow event goer engaged me with comments on my camera, and said, only half-jokingly, that taking photos must really be tiring. Mrs. Bush, who was just behind me, evidently heard the remark, and as she turned my new acquaintance also half-jokingly said it was now my turn to be photographed.

Mrs. Bush volunteered that this was so, motioning for me to give up my camera to my “friend”. She placed her right arm over my shoulder as my strobes went off. The color photo shows my tiredness, her arm lightly on my shoulder, her smile gently expressing, “Naw, you’re not that tired.”

I had the pleasure of shaking her hand, as the First Lady, in receiving lines, in later years. In one instance, after having shook her hand and then President Bush’s, the President suddenly exclaimed, referring to the next in line, “Bahr-bra! It is Ruf-fu-sus’ brother!!” She exclaimed warmly. I heard later that the brother was detailed to the White House in some capacity.

Mrs. Bush, often reputed to be a class act, behaved as such.

April 2018

Entertaining Angels

By Sally

I recently had to take an emergency trip back home (Ohio). This is not the time of year to go from 70+ degrees climate to a snow-covered life – even for a visit. But this was an emergency and I really had no choice.

I called my friend and asked her to get me the quickest flight out (this was about 9:30 am). She soon called back and said my plane was leaving at 12:45. “WOW!” I thought. I was getting things together and still in my PJs, so I called my daughter, who happened to be close by at the time, and asked her to come over and help me pack, which she did. Well, I threw my thermals and other things at her, and she put them in my suitcase.

She drove me to the airport and I made it to the plane, after my daughter called for a wheelchair for me to make sure I would get there in time to board.

I sat next to a nice man who seemed pleasant. He didn’t say much, but was very polite. I was happy with that.

After flying a short while, I was getting hungry and in my mind I said, “I wish I had something to eat, even a cookie.” I knew the stewardess would probably bring some drinks, and most likely crackers or pretzels, but was really getting hungry as I had not tome to eat anything. After thinking to myself, I could enjoy a cookie (to myself, in my thoughts, not out loud), the man bent over and pulled out a bag from his things and said, “I have cookies. Would you like one?”

“Oh my gosh!” I thought. “Yes!” I said. Then he said, “I have some candy, too.” Funny as it sounds, the words of my mom popped into my mind, “Don’t take candy from a stranger.”” But I felt at ease with this man, and ate a couple of his cookies.

We then got to talking. We were headed for Chicago. He was going to Indiana and I was going to Cleveland. We both had about half an hour to catch our flights. However, mine was in another terminal.

After getting off the plane and asking for a wheelchair to get to the other terminal, they said I should have called ahead. About that time, the man I sat with came over and talked with them and they called for a wheelchair, and I ended up hopping on the terminal car that took me to my flight.

Now this man had his own flight to catch, but he made time and effort to make sure I caught my plane. How awesome is that!

When I got to Cleveland they had a wheelchair waiting for me to take me where my family was picking me up.

It was an unexpected trip, although for about a month, I kept getting the feeling I should take a trip home (even though Tucson is my home, I still call where I grew up home), but didn’t have any set reason to go, so I just waited. Then I got the phone call and all things went into action and just fell into place.

I laughed at my family when they said, “Where are your boots?” I said, “I don’t need them.” Even though I had a good warm jacket, they gave me another to wear plus a cap and gloves (I had brought my own but they weren’t up to their standards). So each day I was bundled up like a little kid going out to play in the snow.

It was beautiful to see the snow and things covered in white. There were even some wild turkeys that showed up in the yard, and some deer. It was very nice to watch them.

Everyone treated me very well. I even got a chance to visit a school friend I used to pal around with. I was well fed and taken care of, but wanted to return to Arizona – Tucson – which has been my home for more than 40 years now.

It was nice to see everyone, but I was really happy to get back.

January 2018

Something New

By Leslie

Do you know what a “POSSLQ” is? I didn’t until one week ago when my neighbor and her new housemate came over to read poetry. The census bureau created this category in the 1970s when they realized that many were leading a life that didn’t fit into the “single or married” categories. This new category stood for “Persons of the Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters.” Since Deb and Sharon are of the same sex, they modified the acronym to stand for, “Persons of Similar Sensibilities Sharing Living Quarters.” This living arrangement indeed appears to be mutually beneficial – both individuals enjoy sharing their housing and resources and, most importantly, care about one another.

Charles Osgood, a CBS radio program host in the 1970s and 1980s, write a poem about POSSSLQ and read it on the air when he retired:


There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
If you would be my POSSLQ.

You live with me, and I with you,
And you will be my POSSLQ.
I’ll be your friend and so much more;
That’s what a POSSLQ is for.

And everything we will confess;
Yes, even to the IRS.
Some day on what we both may earn,
Perhaps we’ll file a joint return.
You’ll share my pad, my taxes, joint;
You’ll share my life – up to a point!
And that you’ll be so glad to do,
Because you’ll be my POSSLQ!

January 2018

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

By Leslie

An old proverb states, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” I spent my entire academic life teaching – teaching students, teachers, interns and residents, and even seasoned clinicians. I also hope that I taught my patients.

I have kept in touch with a number of former residents. It is a joy to hear about their excellent and caring patient care, as well as to provide “curbside consultations” for patients who pose diagnostic or therapeutic problem.

Amongst those residents is a woman who was in the Peace Corps before entering our residency program, and who has worked in a migrant-workers clinic since she moved to Washington State. We share a love of plants, as well as people. For the last two years she has sent me six monthly bulb collections – containing all those flowers we do not grow in Tucson, including hyacinths and tulips. How delightful to watch these bulbs grow and flourish; how wonderful to enter the room of freshly blooming, marvelously fragrant hyacinths. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

And now in my work as an editor of a journal published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, I still strive to provide excellent instruction – both to a new, as well as older, generation of pediatric clinicians. That too is a gift – perhaps of a different sort – that keeps on giving.

February 2018

How Many ____________ Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

By Sally

Let’s see – a light bulb located on a high ceiling needs to be changed. Let’s see how many electricians it takes to do this:

  1. An electrician flips the switch to see if it works. When the light doesn’t go on he says, “It must be the bulb.” He calls another electrician to get a ladder.
  2. The ladder is brought and set up. He then goes up the ladder to remove the bulb.
  3. The bulb is given to another electrician to get a new one.
  4. The electrician holding the ladder leaves to go to lunch.
  5. Another electrician takes his place. The electrician gets tired of waiting for the new bulb and takes a coffee break.
  6. When the electrician can’t find the right bulb he calls to another for help.
  7. Upon finding the correct bulb, he returns to the ladder and finds the first electrician gone. So he calls another electrician and gives him the bulb because it’s time for him to go home.
  8. Upon waiting with the bulb, the one holding the ladder is getting sleepy and goes for a break, calling for another electrician to hold the ladder.
  9. The first electrician returns from his coffee break and checks the bulb, noting that it’s the wrong color and sends it back.
  10. About half an hour later an electrician returns with the light bulb, stating the previous electrician had to go home sick.
  11. The electrician holding the ladder suddenly feels faint and another electrician is called to hold the ladder.
  12. The first electrician really doesn’t want to climb the ladder again so calls for another who drinks all the time.
  13. When the new electrician arrives he climbs the ladder and replaces the bulb. When he gets back down the second ladder holder doesn’t know where the ladder came from so he calls for another electrician to take back the ladder. He, also not knowing where it belongs, folds it up and leaves it against the wall.
  14. When two electricians pass by the ladder they pick it up and walk away, taking the ladder with them. Where they took it to, I don’t know. Ask the electrician!

December 2017

How We Look at It

By Sally

I was led to write about prosperity. What I was to write, I didn’t know.

As I thought about it, and looked up a few definitions, I kind of got my answer. When we hear the word prosperity we (most of us) immediately think of wealth – money, homes, etc. But that’s not the whole story.

We don’t need to be wealthy, rich, to be prosperous. It’s more our state of mind. Yep, that’s right. There are many ways, if you stop and think, that we are all prosperous.

  • Having a caring, helping family – children that have become honest and reliable – is being a prosperous parent. Being a grandmother/grandfather that your children can still come to, or even your grandchildren. If they are not doing that now, just give them a little time and prayer, and they will.
  • You may not have a big, beautiful home, but you do have a place to live, even if it’s only a one room place.
  • Did you ever stop to think how things came about, and how you were able to overcome your hardships? That’s being prosperous in life.

I could go on for 100 pages to bring things to your memory that you have been through and succeeded in, even the minor things, that don’t seem like much, but you came out of in good shape. Blessings you received when you needed them.

So you see, we often misuse words to go in one direction, not always the right way. And don’t forget, in every situation that arises, we have our choice as to what to do. We are not bound by a one way street, and we can make a U-turn at any time.

What? You say it’s too late. Guess what? It’s not! As long as you are breathing it’s not too late. It’s your determination to do so that will make the difference in your life. If you don’t know where to state, start with asking God for your direction. Don’t know God? All you need to do is call out to Him, and He’ll answer you. Believe me, I know. I’m not rich by a long shot, nor in excellent health, but I still consider myself prosperous in life because, even though I had to change my life style in certain areas, I’m still here, alive to enjoy the many things God has given me.

I am prosperous!

December 2017