Archive for Books

My Quarantine Project…

In the days before the great pandemic, when life was simpler and we were living normally, M and I stopped to have a glass of something before dinner – often with a small dish of nuts or olives – and talk over the day. We still do but these days are not normal, but it seems especially important now to share small pleasures. It doesn’t surprise me that sales of beer, wine, and spirits have risen 300-500 percent in the last two weeks in the wake of the statewide quarantine. After you’ve binge watched Mrs. Maisel, Chernobyl, Berlin Babylon, and Jack Ryan you need a jolt of something strong. read more

Live by the Sword…

For 40 years America has had a health care problem. We spend more per capita than any other country with substantially poorer patient outcomes. The majority of Americans agree that the system is unfair, too expensive, fails to cover the neediest, and rewards insurance and pharmaceutical companies while limiting patient care.

Until a month ago, Democratic presidential aspirants were arguing about how to pay for better coverage – Medicare for All, single payer, or an expanded Affordable Care Act. All would cost more than the current system. Republicans scoffed and called their proposals socialism. read more

Under House Arrest…

No ankle bracelets. No vertical bars. No knuckle dragging guards. No orange jumpsuits, but still… it feels like house arrest.

It might just be cabin fever, but for the past week M and I have been cloistered a scant five miles from Kirkland’s Life Care Center – epicenter of the American coronavirus scare – just over there, dead center, across the lake.

We’re making the best of it, but it’s already getting old. Experts predict it will get worse before it gets better and that means we could be prisoners for the long haul. The best information is that we are one step down from the most vulnerable population – older, but “in good health with no underlying conditions such as cardiopulmonary disease, obesity, or diabetes.” read more

Lord of the Flies Redux…

I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the spring and summer of 2012. M and I were living and working in Saigon, far away from the bickering and embarrassment of the Sarah Palin/Tina Fey show. Obama looked like a shoo-in, though it was likely his second term would be handcuffed by Mitch McConnell and a Republican Senate. The campaign was in full swing, but we were on the sidelines an ocean away. If we wanted to know what was happening, we bought the International Edition of the New York Times. But even that was rare.  read more

Weather and Creativity…

This is the bus I take from home to my downtown “office” on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Marilynn comes with me every Thursday. She hates the bus but loves me, so she bites the bullet and rides along. I love both her and the bus… in that order.

Over the years I’ve made a number of friends on my bus commute – all women. I got to know two of them well enough to have an occasional lunch with them. One, Mary Lou, lost her husband Bob unexpectedly and her confusion and grief were palpable. Not long after Bob’s death she moved away and we no longer share the bus ride. I often wonder how she’s doing? The younger one, Linda, has two children in Middle School. She’s married to Mark, a former airline pilot. He flew for Aloha and commuted to Honolulu. It was the job he’d always dreamed of but after two furloughs he gave it up. Now he drives a bus for King County Metro just like the one I ride to work. It pays well and he has a stable life with Linda and their kids. No more white scarf and leather flight jacket glamor but a healthy family life. read more