A Day of Remembrance

Major General John A. Logan
Major General John A. Logan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day (a day to decorate the graves); it is dedicated to the remembrance of those who have died in service to their country.  It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and first observed on May 30, 1868.  It was first recognized as a holiday in New York State in 1873.  By 1890 it was being recognized by all of the northern states.  Southern states refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting any war).

This 4th Monday in May is not the traditional day of observance; it was changed by Congress in 1971 with the National Holiday Act of 1971.  This was to ensure a three-day weekend for Federal holidays.

Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

Increasingly many more think it is to honor those who have served and are serving today.  There is a special day for honoring our Veterans (who are serving or have served), it is Veterans Day which is observed in November.  It is now common to interchange and combine the meaning of these days.

The meaning of this Remembrance Day is falling away more and more each year.  The media neglects its meaning and calls it the “Unofficial Start of Summer”.  Commercially, it has become another excuse for a big sales event.   It is not just the domestic car makers that promote the “Big Memorial Day Sales Event” but also the imports have gotten into the act.  Maybe they think that, just because they have manufacturing facilities here, they are American and therefore justified.

It is time that we return to the ideals which started the observance in the first place, to honor those who have died in service to their country during the time of war.

The Beauty and Grace…

At 11 pm last night I turned off the TV and took Scamp out before going to bed; well we thought we were going to bed.  It is our normal routine for Scamp and me to go out to the grassy area for him to potty.  Nothing was special about this until we started to go into our building.  We live in a condominium were there are four units accessible after passing through the outer entry door.

I had released Scamp to wait for me at the door.  After making a deposit in the garbage can I started to go up the two concrete steps and across the porch to the door.  But before I could manage to get to the door I stubbed my toe on the top step and flew head first toward the door.  I tried to catch myself but proceeded to land on my knees and forehead.  Exposed aggregate concrete does not make for a smooth landing surface.

When I opened my eyes I found myself lying on the porch with Scamp looking at me with a very concerned look upon his face.  I slowly got up, collected my glasses and went inside.  Kathy was in the kitchen preparing to take her bedtime medications.  I told her that I was going to bed with a very bad headache; at this point she looked up and with a surprised look upon her face asked what happened.  She made me sit down so she could clean up my forehead and knees and told me that we were going to the ER to make sure that I did not have a concussion.

When we arrived at the ER, one of the first questions asked by the nurse was “Did your wife hit you?”  I told him no, but it would have made for a much better story.  While standing at the counter and continuing to answer questions they took my vital signs, placed a collar around my neck and put me on a gurney for transport to the ER room.  I was surprised at the sense of urgency displayed, even though the ER was fairly busy.

The doctor was there as soon as they got me into the room and he was checking the wound on the forehead and asking questions about the fall and how I was feeling.  He then ordered some medication for nausea and a CT scan to determine if there was any internal damage to my head and neck.

After the check in had been completed and an IV was in place I was transported for the CT scan.  I was back to the room within 20 minutes; Kathy said that she didn’t even have time to fall asleep.  The doctor came back in after 30 minutes and removed the collar and pronounced that there wasn’t any damage to the brain or neck but said that I would be sore today.  So at 1:30 this morning Kathy and I are driving home.  As we are driving along we are teasing each other about stopping and getting something to eat.  We watch what we eat very closely and as we were driving past the donut shop I started teasing her about getting some donuts as she continued driving past the shop without slowing.

Finally we got home and to bed, Kathy fell asleep quickly, but it took me a couple of hours to finally get to sleep.  It seemed like a short night because I was awake at my normal 7 am; old habits are hard to change, even when you only get about 3 hours of sleep.

This is my tale of “The Beauty and Grace of Being a Klutz”.


Note:  On this site yesterday Kathy wrote her very first blog entry.  She found that she liked the idea of writing a blog and has started her own blog page.  She welcomes you to share her stories. Check out her blog at:  http://kathyharmon.wordpress.com.

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Note from Larry – This is Kathy’s first attempt at blogging.  I am sharing my space so she can get a feeling for it.

Last night, since our lives have been altered somewhat by a health issue I am having and problems with walking, we were sitting at home deciding what we would do that would be of entertainment.  We quickly decided that a good DVD from a Redbox would be something we wanted to do.  Then we both agreed to get the one called “Silver Lining Playbook” even though I had already read the book not too long ago.  I found the book very good and also that it was something I could relate to.  Since I am reading so many different books I really did not dwell on the significance of this particular book but just found it to be an extremely well written book that was strikingly something I could relate to.

When the DVD began I actually thought it would be nothing like the book or as good.  But to my delight and also insight, it was something that only added more insight into just the significance of the whole story.

Larry also enjoyed the movie very much.  It is a long DVD so just watching it for that long was a surprise when it ended and also it sure did not seem that it lasted that long.

Then he said something about the movie that really was like a “light bulb effect” for me which always makes me get so excited and so connected with him.  He said very simply, “You know who that family reminds me of?”  I responded, “No” expecting him to say maybe his own.  But he said it is your family and he meant the time we had spent in Massachusetts.  This was when he was an Army recruiter and we were always around my mother’s family.  All my Aunts and Uncles were reminiscent of the family portrayed in the movie.  “Yes” I knew he had hit the nail on its head and pointed out something I had totally discounted.  I remember them then when I was in my mid-twenties and they would play cards and then get to going with talk and laughter and arguments and it was just non stop hilarity.  So alive and so funny!  I, as someone who has struggled with bipolar, have always tried to piece together some of my family’s traits and how I had what I had as far as mental illness but not connected all the dots.  This was just another dot to connect to the why and the fact of where I come from.

I am so grateful for Larry and his ability to sometimes come up with insight into what is going on and I will sometimes not see it is true for some time.  More and more I see that he has said so many things I would just put away thinking that this probably is not of much bearing.  My ears are listening more and more to him and also we seem to be more connected than ever before.  I have said to him at times as we lie down for bed, “I love you more.”   And he will say, “What do you mean?” I will reply, “I love you more than ever before.”

The Power of Pain

Miniature schnauzer
Miniature schnauzer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These past 2 or 3 weeks have been a real trial.  Pain is the culprit and it has been taking its toll upon both of us.  Pain is a demon that now only affects the body, but also relationships.  First there was the varicose veins and then the blood clot and then to top everything off – the rain.

Kathy’s legs have been getting progressively painful.  This caused her to slow down her walking, which she loves doing, especially with Scamp, our Miniature Schnauzer.  She saw her doctor and it was recommended that she have an Ultrasound performed on her legs.  A small clot was found behind her left knee in a superficial vein and she was told that this was should not be of any concern.  At this point the pain is getting so bad that she has stopped walking the dog, and started using a cane.

She was sent on her next step to see the Vascular Surgeon.  He looks at the veins and says that she should have surgery very soon, but first to satisfy the insurance company, she needs to have another, more intense Ultrasound.  Sounds simple enough, get the Ultrasound and get the approval from the insurance then the surgery.  But not quite so fast my friend, it is not that simple.

A couple of days later Kathy went in for her Ultrasound and everything was going along as planned, so we thought.  The nurse completed the first section on one leg and started on the other.  Before going very far, she found a larger blood clot in a larger vein, now we are into DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) territory.  To keep the clot from getting any bigger or breaking loose and traveling to the lungs, she was sent to the ER where they placed her on Coumadin and Lovenox, a self-administered shot, to start thinning the blood.

A few days later she is starting to feel better.  No longer using the cane as much and starting to get a full nights rest.  Kathy is ready to see her doctor to determine if the blood thinners are starting to work.  Well they are working so well that instead of a reading of 2 to 3 it has gone to 11.  Stop the blood thinners and take Vitamin K to counter the other drugs.  Two days later another blood draw and the count is back to normal and restart the Coumadin at a much lower dose.

The vascular surgeon now has no choice but to place her in compression stockings and wait 3 months before repeating the Ultrasound and requesting approval from the insurance company.  In the meantime hope and pray that the Coumadin works and no more clots develop.  With all this I have been at a loss, not able to keep her safe but unable to help her ease the pain.

As I said earlier the pain that Kathy was experiencing not only affected her but me also.    I had started a new level of the medication to shrink my tumor.  I was not sleeping like I should and I was feeling tired and letting things get to me.  The irritability was not only upsetting to my wife, but to me also.

All this has created great concern to me for my wife.  We will have been married 42 years this coming October.  We have had a good and loving life together.  Don’t get me wrong we have had our ups and downs, our disagreements and arguments, and what couple who have been married this long haven’t.  I love my wife and don’t want to see anything harm her in any way.  My concern is great and my love for her is greater.

A Long, Long Week

This morning Portland SkylineI woke up feeling more refreshed than I have in many days.  Was it the uninterrupted sleep, or was it that I was just so exhausted that nothing could come between me and the rest I needed.

This past week has been nothing but run, run, run.  Monday started off normally, there was the Doctors appointment near Clackamas Town Center, along with a lodge meeting that night.  Tuesday, a meeting with a friend to help learn his ritual so he can progress to the next level, then a Weight Watchers meeting to attend and catch up on news with friends.

Wednesday started the ball rolling, slowly at first but the days were getting faster and more hectic as they went on.  I had an appointment to recheck my peripheral vision which was back to normal.  After lunch I took Kathy to pickup her new glasses, which suit her very well.  Then off to another meeting at the lodge for degree work.

Thursday Kathy had two appointments, one across town from the other.  First she saw a Vascular Surgeon who confirmed that her varicose veins were very bad and was not surprised that she was in so much pain.  He scheduled her for a more intense ultrasound to check which veins were involved.  Then we quickly drove over to Raleigh Hills for the other appointment.

Friday was the most difficult of all.  It started with a visit to OHSU to see my doctor and update her on how I was doing on my medication.  The visit went well and we all agreed that things are going as planned.  On this cheerful note Kathy and I left and headed for Adventist Medical Center for her Ultrasound.

After admission we headed for imaging. The wait was short and into the vascular imaging room we went.  We were prepared for test that was scheduled for 2 hours.  The first part was a repeat of the test that Kathy had the week before where they found a small clot, because of its location it was determined not to be life threatening.  The nurse doing the test started on the right leg and then moved to the left where she found a clot in a deeper and more important vein upon which she stopped the test and started calling the surgeon and our primary care doctor for more instructions.

Kathy was immediately sent to the ER where she was placed on Coumadin and Lovenox, a self-administered shot, both are blood thinners.  What started out to be a 2 hour appointment turned into 4 hours, making this a very long and intense day.

While in the ER I sent a text to my daughter to inform her about her mother.  She also had news that she has a tumor on her liver.  Talk about double a whammy.  She is being scheduled to see a specialists and she will keep us informed as to the results of her consultation.

Saturday after shopping for groceries, we stayed home the rest of the day to rest.  Resting was not anything that Kathy and I were able to do very well.  When we went to bed, I think we were so very exhausted that I was asleep before my head the hit pillow.


Why Do Republicans Hate this Democratic President?


I ask you – As a Republican why do you hate this Democratic President?  Is it when the president and the congress work for the general welfare of the people, that you get upset?  Or is it anybody outside your party with different ideas than your own that you hate?  Even when those ideas are those you expound and when the president agrees with you, you turn and dislike your own ideas.

As someone who enjoys learning about and studying history I have noticed a pattern.  You didn’t like President Roosevelt because he ran and won four elected terms.  His terms were successful because he got thing done for the general good of the people. Then during the Truman Administration you passed a constitutional amendment barring anyone from being elected more than twice, or three terms if having served less than 1000 days after assuming the duties of President upon the death of a President.

Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were disliked by the Republicans.  Was it because President Kennedy was Catholic and President Johnson, after the death of President Kennedy, for having been the Majority Leader of the Senate and knew how to get things passed?  He didn’t have to twist arms, as some have suggested, he just knew where the skeletons were buried.

President Carter was not liked because he had an accent, came from Georgia and was not a member of the Old Boys Club.  He may have graduated from the Naval Academy and had a degree in reactor technology and nuclear physics, but to them he was just a peanut farmer.

President Clinton was another Southern boy, who enjoyed life too much.  He had affairs outside his marriage (was impeached for it) and was accused and investigated of many deeds where no evidence was found especially of the death of Vince Foster.  This went on for the entire eight years of his Presidency.

Illinois State Senate
Illinois State Senate

 Along comes Barak Obama, a Black man (heaven forbid), whose father came from Kenya married to a white American woman, born in Hawaii and lived as a child in other countries.  A man who became a community organizer (to help his fellow-man), went to Harvard Law, served in the Illinois State Senate before becoming an US Senator.  Not finishing his first term he had the audacity to run and be elected as President of the United States.

 With this the Republicans meet on inaugural night 2009 and pledged to do everything in their power to make him a one term president.  Until the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, President Obama had a majority in both the house and senate.  After the election of Scott Brown from Massachusetts the ability to pass anything in the senate without 60 votes became impossible.

Here it is 2013 and President Obama has been reelected president.  Making him a one term president did not workout very well for the republicans.  Since the election they are still determined to undermine anything proposed by this president.


I learned in school that this was the land of opportunity and that any man (or woman) can grow up to become President.  Being young and naive I didn’t realize that this referred to whites only.  We have broken the glass ceiling of color; can we now break the glass ceiling of sexism?