Thursday, August 30, 2012

Caregiver Stress

A quick Mom update:  we admitted her to Life Care yesterday afternoon.  This is a good thing!

Life Care is located on the 8th floor of WK Pierremont, so she didn't have to move very far.  Life Care is an acute care hospital and is often where patients go when they have been released from an intensive care situation in a hospital but still need more acute, long term care.  I was told that patients stay there on average about three weeks (depending on the situation) before they can transition either home or to a nursing home or rehab facility.  Our plan is to get mom back up to her fighting stance and into The Glen for rehab.  It's a long road.

She's not seeing rabbits anymore; we had our first conversation today since probably Saturday.  Today I can say for sure that she knew who I was and where she was.  She was tracking previous conversations, too.  I told her that she will feel a little better every day, now, and she said, "That's what you told me yesterday."  Progress.

She's still got a Picc line and is getting fed through tubes in her arm, but she did eat a little soft food today.  I want to get those lines out of her ASAP.  They've backed off the pain med cocktail she was on and I think we're just back to Lortab today.  She's coming out of that drugged haze, I think, so, like I said, no more rabbits.

They will begin aggressive treatment and therapy, as much as she can tolerate, and she should show improvement each day, I think.

I was thumbing through this booklet they gave me while I was sitting there today and found this section on caregiver stress.  I've been mom's caregiver for the past seven years.  As I read through the list it occurred to me, to no great surprise, that I have every symptom.

That stressed me out more than anything.

But, it does make one more aware; you have to take care of yourself and too often we caregivers forget to do that.

There is support online for those who find themselves in the same boat.  Here's a Mayo Clinic site dedicated to caregivers.  One of the first things on their list to do to combat this situation is to "Accept Help" which has always been difficult for me to do.  I'm so lucky that Steve forces me to do that.  He insists I accept his help and he works hard to take as much of the burden off me as he can.

When this happened with mom last week, I had a long conversation with my daughter on the phone.  She has a newborn and lives in Dallas; I wanted to keep her apprised of developments but assure her that she needed to take care of her baby and not try to come over here unless the situation changed badly for the worse.  Knowing my tendency to carry the burden, she insisted that I ask for help from others.  I did; it wasn't wholly successful, but at least I asked.

Here's one more site from WebMD about caregiver stress.  I'm going to make an effort to follow some of the recommendations to combat this situation.  I've already begun by contacting a professional estate planner to help me with the overwhelming financial details and complicated estate decisions that should be made now to make things easier later.  I forced myself to leave the hospital earlier today by about two hours and to turn mom's care over to the professionals.  They know what they're doing and I don't need to sit there and watch her sleep.  I'm going back to work Tuesday which will be good for both me and mom.

And Steve is helping too; he's going to take me out to dinner at our favorite Mexican place tonight because a local band is playing that I love to listen to.

We've got a long way to go, but I saw some of Mom's fighting spirit coming back today and to me, that's progress!

Thanks for all your notes, emails, and continued prayers.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Blogging has been light because I've had family issues; I know the RNC has a convention this week and I know a hurricane is headed my way, but blogging takes backseat to family so that's why you're not seeing much about all that here.

Many regular readers know my mom and my anecdotes of caretaking over the past seven years, but the last time I posted something about her I got some snarky comment about how my mom's medical issues aren't anybody's business.  It kind of stung so I haven't posted anything else about her.

However, mom took a fall at home Thursday evening and fractured her C2 vertebrae so I've been busy hospital sitting and dealing with all that this entails.  She's okay - she's in a collar brace for six to eight weeks; this is a non-surgical injury.  She's sore and banged up and quite drugged right now.  Yesterday she thought I was a rabbit.  When the doctor came in she asked him where all the rabbits were coming from.  

We are transitioning back to The Glen probably tomorrow which she is actually looking forward to.  If you want to get up to speed on mom, just click the tag at the bottom.  We've done The Glen before and she likes it there.  Great people there.

A quick shout out to those who are helping me so much right now and being so supportive: my principal and my school people have stepping up to help with my classes and I'm forever grateful.  Bearkats take care of other Bearkats and they're like family to me.  I'm overwhelmed.  I have nothing but good things to say about the folks at Willis Knighten Pierremont - those seventh floor nurses are great and mom's nurse, Rachel, has been a dream.  I'll post something about all that later (despite Mr. Snarky's comment from last time).

I've never been one to ask for help; I just bear the load and do what has to be done.  But I had to ask some folks this time and I'm forever grateful for the support.  Lucky to have such good friends and family when you need them!

Anyway, we're okay, but blogging is light until I get my momma taken care of!  A fractured neck at 87 is no small deal.  

I appreciate your prayers and support and thank you for checking in.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Lemonade Stand Metaphor

I watched some of the talking head Sunday shows today.  What is Stephanie Cutter's strategy here?  If you lie and you stick with that lie no matter the proof to the contrary, people will eventually believe you?

I think it's a losing strategy.  She is going to have a difficult time retaining any credibility.

Not to make too much of a small thing, but I thought this piece by Andrew Malcolm was interesting.  It's just one example of a growing number of signs that the Obama campaign isn't living up to 2008 expectations.  Malcolm writes about Obama's Iowa trip last week:

Obama's experienced advance team had a bunch of flubs. That farm family with all the windmills that President Quixote loves to laud turns out to be Republicans and informed reporters after Obama's visit that he sure wasn't getting their votes this time. 
There was the state fair beer tent where Obama bought a round of Bud Lights for everyone, except the guy with the Mitt Romney sign. Great summertime photo op. Except it turns out the Secret Service closed down the guy's tent long before Obama's arrival and the small business owner lost thousands in sales. 
Then there was the caterer who wore a "Government Didn't Build My Business" T-shirt to work the president's event. 
I don't think that trip went exactly as planned.  But, more telling, according to Malcolm's piece,  was Team Obama lumbering past a little girl's lemonade stand in Marshalltown.  The big, black armored bus drove right past the child who "fell to her knees" as Obama drove by.

As Malcolm notes, "spontaneous" stops are often very coordinated, and an important president does have a schedule to keep, but imagine the photo op that would have been.

The story is more a metaphor, it seems to me, of a campaign and a man that is oblivious to real America.

The Romney/Ryan campaign, by contrast, seems the polar opposite of the Obama campaign.  On one side we have demagoguery and negative attacks and on the other side, Romney/Ryan seem to offer the optimism that we can "turn this thing around" as Ryan likes to say.  To be sure, Romney will get his share of attacks in on Obama, but it seems that the Obama campaign is particularly aggressive awfully early.

Shannen Coffin at NRO pointed out that so far Romney has been accused of:
...complicity in the death of a cancer victim, failure to pay taxes owed the United States, wanting to return the American populace to shackles, poisoning the common man with e coli, and, generally, being a very mean white guy who mistreats animals. With his selection of Paul Ryan as vice president, we are reminded that Ryan relaxes by throwing grandmothers in wheelchairs off of cliffs. 
Arguments on policy are one thing, but character attacks are another.  I've never been a fan of that approach.  Love her or hate her, what the media did to Sarah Palin in 2008 was unconscionable.  Don't remember that?  A refresher course from Professor Jacobson is here.

Mark Steyn points out that the addition of Ryan to the Republican ticket has already raised the level of the Obama campaign in that we're no talking about Joe Soptic's wife now, but about Medicare:
Underneath the poseur narcissism, the half-wit demagoguery, and the 13-figure innumeracy is bleak reality: a flatline economy, underwater property, declining social mobility, half the population getting a check each month from the government and with minimum-wage service jobs as the only alternative to long-term dependency. 
If you seriously think this election is about gay marriage or affordable contraception, you’re about to do to America what Gavrilo Princip did to the Habsburg Empire. 

The truth is, nobody cares about Mitt Romney's tax returns, his dog, or his wife's horse.  It's clear that the Obama campaign can't run on his record and so demagoguery is all they have.

I think the American people will see through that.  I think in a debate on the issues, Obama will lose.

For BoR

Here it is.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Currently Reading

Loose Thoughts

I'm trying to get back into the school groove.  I just want to come home every afternoon and take a nap.  I don't, though.  Then I'd be up all night.  I don't remember it taking this long to get back into the swing of things last year,though.  Oh wait.  It's only been a week.  Damn.  Seems like longer.

Since I'm too tired to come up with much original material, lets hit some links that caught my eye.

I broke faith with Peggy Noonan after she waxed rhapsodic about Obama in 2008 but she does have an interesting idea for a new Republican ad:
Republicans should do their own spot, now—one that's comic and sweet. Grandma in the wheelchair is speeding on a downward slope toward a cliff. She looks terrified. Suddenly a young guy who looks like Clark Kent—that is, like Paul Ryan—springs forward, puts his body between the wheelchair and the edge, and stops it. She looks up at him, smiles, touches his face with her hand. He smiles, turns the chair around and begins to push her back to safety. "Romney-Ryan. Trying to get things back on firm ground." 
That's pretty good, I think, except I'd change the catch line to "Romney-Ryan.  We can turn this around."   Something to that effect.  More forceful.

I like it.

Elsewhere, Bride of Rove got a giggle out of me today.  I love it when she gets on those rants:
This is embarrasing. You’ve got Biden setting new lows with the ethnic dialect and crazy-eyed babble speak. Wasserman who has no idea if Democrats are, in fact, part of the party she is in charge of, the head of the Senate accusing Romney of not paying taxes citing a rumor he heard … Holy mother of god, people! Did Romney kill his dog? Obama freaking ATE HIS DOG. 
Her overall point, of course, is that this whole election business has run off the rails and people are acting, as she would say, "sprayed roach crazy."

I can't recall ever seeing this country so polarized.  (I wasn't born during the Civil War - that might have been an exception.)  Obama's class warfare and demagoguery has divided people into the Obama camp, the Romney camp, and the I-Hate-All-Of-Them camp.  There are still some folks who are blissfully unaware of an imminent election but most of them will snap out of that soon as the airwaves become flooded with political ads.

According to the latest Rasmussen poll, about 7% are still undecided.

Speaking of polls, what's up with these polls.  I can't believe it's this close.

It's a good thing I don't pay any attention to polls.  That's damn depressing is what that is.

I can't believe anyone would consider giving this guy four more years, much less "four more beers."

Speaking of that, Politicaljunkimom has this:
This is why they’re travelling with bottles of beer: to make a rather subversive point about Romney’s Mormonism. They could do it with coffee. Or soda. But beer is the most effective way to show how “out of touch” he is while they follow the “traditional All-American home brewing” methods. 
I’m not fooled. But how many would be? What’s next, a reporter pointing out that Romney wouldn’t hold a beer summit (thank God)? Or the usual test pre-election, “With whom would you rather sit and have a beer?” would have to be hypothetical since, you know, Romney doesn’t drink. How far will the media carry this? 

Wonder if he has an Oktoberfest brew?

A friend of mine expressed concern today that there will be a Christian backlash against Romney and Mormonism.  I thought we got past all that when Kennedy was elected but maybe across the country there is still some lingering mistrust.  In this day and age where we're all supposed to be so tolerant of everything, I can't believe Romney's faith would be a big issue, but you never know, I guess.

Pretty heady stuff.  Head over to Andy's Place for a brain break.  I know Michelle Obama has been branded as the second coming of Jackie Kennedy and the epitome of style but I don't see it.  This looks like she made a dress out of the tablecloth on the picnic table.

"A renewed sense of glamour,"?  Nope.  I don't see it.

Finally, Charles Krauthammer reflect on the Paul Ryan pick:
Image. Ryan, fresh and 42, brings youth, energy and vitality — the very qualities Obama projected in 2008 and has by now depleted. “Hope and change” has become “the other guy killed a steelworker’s wife.” From transcendence to the political gutter in under four years. A new Olympic record.

In Peggy Noonan's piece, referenced above, she suggested that Romney-Ryan go against convention and campaign together as the seem to complement and balance each other.  No question that their appearances last weekend were dynamic.  I don't think they'll do it, but Ryan's presence next to Romney adds a vitality to Romney that he sometimes otherwise lacks.

More Krauthammer:
Ryan’s importance is enhanced by his identity as a movement conservative. Reagan was the first movement leader in modern times to achieve the presidency. Like him, Ryan represents a new kind of conservatism for his time. 
I think we'll be watching Paul Ryan for years to come.

And that's just fine with me!

The election is still months away and much will unfold between now and then.  The debates, for one.  That'll be interesting.

Hang in there folks.  As will I.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's Time For a Little R and R!

I've donated to the Romney campaign twice.  The first time was when the ObamaCare ruling came down from the Supreme Court and the second time was today.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one!  The Hill:
Spokeswoman Andrea Saul announced on Twitter that the campaign has raised over $1.2 million since announcing Ryan as the vice presidential candidate early Saturday.
I think that conservatives are happy with the pick!  And I think that those who were holding back will now be on board.  Like the good professor:
I just donated to the Romney-Ryan campaign.  And in case you were wondering, maxed out. For the first time in my adult life I was proud to do so.
Around the web:

Hot Air has posted three fabulous Ryan videos, including the entire announcement event today.  I've listened to Ryan's speech three times now.  But especially refreshing (and just plain amazing) is this one of Ryan smacking Obama's health care bill:

Is this man ready for prime time?  You bet he is.

Pundette is thrilled; she has fireworks, too.
Yes, I'm happy. Paul Ryan is the guy who understands the urgency of putting the brakes on our national hurtle toward the fiscal cliff, and hence, is Obama's natural enemy.  

Michelle Malkin is very relieved; see her post (with links) here.

Robert Costa blogged about the rollout this morning noting:
The chemistry between the pair was evident, but what really made an impression was the reaction of veterans and suburban moms to Ryan. He doesn’t enthrall on the stump, but he connects. They don’t all know him well, but they like him, and they are excited.
I'd have to disagree on that "doesn't enthrall" thing;  I was enthralled this morning.  I found it refreshing to listen to a speech that was not filled with uhhhms, and uh, uh, uh staggers; one that showed humor, good nature and optimism.  Ryan seemed confident and happy to me.  Enthralling?  Yes, because I saw flashes of what is to come.

I'm not one of those who keeps looking for "the next Reagan."  There was only one Reagan.  I am, however, always looking for the bright leaders of the future.  I saw that in Marco Rubio early on (after being tipped off to him by Stacy McCain.)

I see it in Paul Ryan, too.  I was hoping, in a way, back in August that he would run.  As it turned out, I think we have the perfect ticket.  Or near perfect.

One of my favorite tweets that I saw this morning (sorry I didn't screen cap it and can't credit the tweeter) was after Romney announced Ryan as the next president.  The tweet was along the lines of "So you're changing roles?  Because if you are, that's okay with me!"

Charles Krauthammer reacts to the rollout today:
“Now here are the Republicans four years later saying, ‘well, you had your shot at charisma with this idea of hope and change. It’s not hope and change. It’s a dismal, sort of declining America. We have the ideas. We have the policies. We’re willing to risk on them. We are willing to lead on them, lead from in front. 
“And that’s what I think shifts the whole debate. It is a dynamic one about future, ideas and change. Change is now on the side of Republicans, where as it was on the policy of this side of the Democrats in 2008. And they can make a coherent case of that as we heard Ryan doing in his introductory remarks.”
Be sure to check out Doug Ross's post on the best reactions to the Ryan selection; especially rich is Ryan Lizza who notes that Paul Ryan is "light on experience."  Yes, well, we knew that was coming.

For my part, for today, I'm not going to read any negative lefty attacks today.  (Team Obama started attacking Ryan before Ryan's speech was over.)  There will be plenty of them and there will be time for that in the days to come.

Just for today, I'm going to bask in the optimism and the return to American values that Romney/Ryan will be serving up in November!

(Memeorandum is all about the pick today; many links and much more there.)

Finally, I Feel Hope

More later.  On the go today.

But first, I'm making a donation!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

And The Kids Aren't Even Here Yet

Whew!  I'm exhausted and the kids haven't even reported yet.  One  more day of in-service before school actually starts.  We've got THREE in-service days this year!  That is because of the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Louisiana, which is being phased in this year, and the new Compass teacher evaluation program.  It's just overwhelming. (Thus, the picture, stolen from a co-worker's Facebook page which made me laugh.)

But, after sixteen years in the classroom I can confirm ... it's just another thing.  These ideological fads have come and gone and this is just another.  It may work, it may be wonderful, but this reinventing of the wheel every few years is ... what?  My job?  Challenging?  Amazing?  I don't know.  I'm all for whatever works.  I'm for whatever allows the red tape and bureaucrats to stay out of my classroom and let me do my job.  I can teach. I'm trained.  I'm experienced.  Maybe Common Core will be the ticket.  I'm on board and will give it my best shot.  I have some thoughts I might share later, but not right now.  I'll give it a good go right now.

Anyway, it's been good to see my friends and co-workers and we've had some fun through all the in-service, training, and workshops.  Whatever comes down the pike ideologically, I can say that I do work at the best school in the parish with the very best people!  Now that's something!

Meanwhile, life goes on while I'm consumed and focused on Common Core.

The Mitt Romney VP sweepstakes intensifies daily and speculation is rampant.  I'm not going there.  Both campaign camps are about to solidify and get real serious, and nasty I expect.  The economy truly sucks.  It's starting to show in places that have not previously been seriously affected.  Business people are very, very nervous and holding their cards very close right now.

I'll probably be quiet here for a few days until school settles in and things get normal again.  I've got to concentrate on my 75 new kids right now, but I'm here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The July Jobs Report is a Total Disaster for U.S. Workers

Let's put this July jobs report in perspective.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy supposedly grew 163,000 jobs last month.  Except that's not exactly true.

Rush Limbaugh was on a roll about these numbers yesterday.  He called Obama "a closed-minded economic bigot."  Here's his take:

Sadly, folks, there were 195,000 fewer people employed in this country in July than there were in June. It might have been 172,000 new jobs.  That's even debatable.  But it was a net wash because -- these are numbers from the BLS report.  I'm not making it up.  Obama's Department of Labor's own numbers, 195,000 fewer people employed in the United States in July than there were in June.  We lost jobs.  We also lost more people from the labor force.  The national unemployment rate went up, 8.2 to 8.3%. One-hundred and fifty thousand people simply dropped out of the labor force.  Actually that number is 155,000, which means that this 172,000 new jobs that he's trumpeting are actually a wash, folks.  No net new jobs, 195,000 fewer people employed, 150,000 simply dropped out of the labor force.  That's the pattern. 

If you figure in all the people that have just quit looking for work and have dropped out or gone on disability then our unemployment is closer to 15%.

Ed Morrissey:
July saw a slight move up in U-6, which had been coming down earlier in the year to the mid-14 range.  That measure of un/underemployment has now risen to 15.2%, increasing in both adjusted and unadjusted measures.  It’s the highest rating in this measure since February, and it’s now up more than a full point since April. 
Historically, no sitting president has won re-election with numbers like this.

Chris Cillizza:
Because the July jobs report affirmed the now-certain reality that the unemployment rate won’t drop below eight percent between today and November. And no sitting president since World War II has been re-elected with the unemployment rate above 7.2 percent. 
The numbers are daunting for Obama. The unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months— its longest period ever.

Remember, Obama said he would get unemployment down under 6% if Congress passed the stimulus.  He's quite a long way from that.

James Pethokoukis on the jobs report:
Not only is the 8.3% unemployment rate way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.
In his remarks yesterday, "the smartest president ever" redefined economic policy as we know it to work with his theory of trickle-up economics:

And keep in mind, we're talking about folks like me going back to the tax rates that existed under Bill Clinton.  If you remember, that was when we created 23 million new jobs, we went from deficits to surplus, and folks at the top did well, too -- because when middle-class families have money in their pockets, they go out and buy that new car, or that new appliance, or that new computer for their kids, or they go out to a restaurant, or, heaven forbid, they take a vacation once in a while.  And that money goes back into the economy, and businesses do well because they've got more customers.
So the rich get richer because the middle class spends money?  And the middle class gets this money where?  Food stamps?  After all, that's Nancy Pelosi's theory.  She explained her food-stamps-as-stimulus theory back in 2010.  That these people are running the country just scares the hell out of me.

Rush Limbaugh again:

Did you catch that?  The money starts with the middle class, and as long as the middle class has money, then they go out and spend it, and that's how the rich get rich.  Wow!  Wow!  Folks at the top did well, too, because when middle-class families have money in their pockets, they go out and buy that new car, that new appliance, or that new computer for their kids when they've got money in their pocket. So we gotta get money into the hands of the middle class.  How we gonna do that?  We're gonna do food stamps.  Trickle up.  So we got a brand-new economic definition here from Mr. Wizard of Smart.  

It's just incredible.  How can the polls even be close?  As Mark Steyn said, "This should not be a close race."

Every number, every statistic, every graph, every calculation you look at shows Obama's ruinous effect on our economy from the explosion of the entitlement state to unemployment and more.

And stop to think for a moment about all the job killing regulations that are to come via the EPA and ObamaCare (for starters).  Think about Taxmageddon coming in January. ObamaCare is already killing jobs.  Think about another four years under Obama's energy policy (gas prices are now more than double what they were when he took office).

In light of all that, if Obama wins in November, we may look back at this jobs report and think these were the good old days.

(Graphic from James Pethokoukis)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

IPA Day 2012

Oh hoppy day!

It's IPA Day!

IPA Day was founded in 2011 to celebrate craft beers and the entire craft beer culture.  Read more about the founding of IPA Day here.

Via The Washington Post:

Today is a day to celebrate hoppy, citrusy, delicious India Pale Ales. Yes, this “holiday” is as contrived as National Cupcake Day or National Bosses Day. And no, it’s not as if the IPA -- or its cousin Double IPA -- is an endangered species, as a visit to any taphouse will demonstrate. But if National IPA Day is an excuse for bars to pull out some rare or fancy beer for us to sample, I’m all for it. 

New Jersey Online offers this list of IPAs for your consideration:

1. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA  
2. Founders Centennial IPA 
3. Flying Fish HopFish IPA 
4. Longtrail Double IPA (Brewmaster Series) 
5. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA 
6. Kane Brewing Overhead Double IPA 
7. Green Flash West Coast IPA 
8. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA 
9. Lagunitas IPA 
10. Tommyknocker Strike Black IPA 

The official IPA website offers this list of "the best IPA names":
  1. Modus Hoperandi
  1. Hoptical Illusion
  1. Hops Of Wrath
  1. Jack The RIPA
  1. Ryediculous IPA
  1. Trigger Hoppy
  1. Third Eye P.A.
  1. Boneshaker IPA
  1. Hoppa Smurf
  1. Yellow Snow IPA
What's not to love about a good, hoppy IPA?!

I've tried several IPAs (some of which I can't remember...) and my favorite is the Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA.  Abita Jockamo is another great one.  Red Hook does an okay IPA, too.

Craft Beer offers ways you can participate in IPA day here and there are several Facebook pages devoted to the event.

"Hop" you get the chance to participate with a good cold one today!