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Archive for the ‘Books, Journaling, Wedding, Country’ Category

Stop the presses!

You know how you have to initial a HIPAA form every time you go to a doctor’s office, or a hospital, or a car wash? We Americans like to think our medical records are sacrosanct, we deserve privacy, in fact we demand it. That boil the size of a baseball we had removed from our back in high school – nobody needs to know.

Until now.

Google wants to know our medical history! It’s bad enough they are already taking pictures of our backyards and listening in to our wants and needs, sneaking ads into social media like a flickering lightbulb to a moth. Google has cut a deal with Ascension Health to access troves of its patient data:

Among the data Google reportedly has access to under the deal are lab results, diagnoses, records of hospitalization and dates of birth.

Neither doctors nor patients need to be told that Google can see this information.

The Wall Street Journal reports that data access began last year and was broadened over the summer. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50388464

Ascension runs 2,600 hospitals, including St Thomas in Nashville.

Along with an overnight dusting of snow, this bit of news sent a chill down my spine. What’s worse is their data trolling started last year! While we’re busy attacking Elizabeth Warren about Medicare for All, this corporate giant stuck its finger in the cookie jar. “Ascension said the deal would help it to “optimise” patient care and would include the development of artificial intelligence (AI) tools to support doctors.” Sorry for the British spelling but I’m quoting the BBC.

Wasn’t I just talking about doctors and AI? I know this is the generation of solipsistic selfies, living their lives online, charting every meal, video taping every hotel room, uploading their songs to YouTube in search of InstaFame. Jumping onto Tic Toc which I don’t even understand.

I had an appointment with a retina specialist yesterday at Vandy, about my little West Nile incident 20 years ago, and people were sitting like zombies in a dark, crowded waiting room with dilated pupils staring into their smart phones. HGTV was on in the corner but everyone was glued to their tiny black mirror. I was thinking to myself, why not get rid of all the TVs in doctor waiting rooms, and what kind of neck problems will this generation have?

I still thought we had a right to our own medical records. And granted, this blog is a peek into the window of my soul, but do we no longer care about privacy… at all?

Send in the lawyers! Here is my lame attempt at a selfie in that old ice cream parlor.

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Since Bob has retired, I’ve found our roles have reversed. I was always the one in the know, collecting local news and crafting interesting stories that would eventually help light up the wood stove. Newspapers still sell, but mostly online today. Without my deadline, I write whenever I please about whatever I want, and I’m no longer constantly on the hunt for tidbits of local lore.

Bob, on the other hand, has been picking up garbage once a month with a dedicated group of neighbors, and has joined a few Nashville associations; he’s become a regular social activist!

Aside from catching up on all the development going on in North Nashville, including going to those dreaded zoning committee meetings, he’s signed us up for something called “The Villages.” And no, it’s not that place in Florida.  https://www.aarp.org/home-garden/livable-communities/info-04-2011/villages-real-social-network.html

This is a national aging-in-place movement that started in the Back Bay area of Boston – which is strangely enough where I started my college career at Emerson in 1966. We have a core group of people dedicated to keeping our community informed and helping our neighbors; almost like co-housing. Our weekly ride to T’ai Chi with a 93 year old friend, who stopped driving at 90, is one small part of this plan, which also includes pot-luck suppers. Mostly, it’s a way to stay connected, stay in our homes, and combat loneliness.

I’ve mentioned many times that our generation was going to age differently. After all, we brought you the Women’s Movement and the Civil Right’s Movement, so it’s only fair we bring you the Old Geezer Movement too.

Anyway, our Village has organized a day trip this weekend to Alabama. Why, one might ask would I want to go to Alabama just when the weather has dipped below freezing? The state that just might elect Jeff Sessions again to the Senate. The state with probably more Confederate flags flying than any other state in the union.

Because it’s the site of one of the prettiest Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the country and I LOVE Frank Lloyd Wright – and it’s in FLORENCE, AL! https://www.wrightinalabama.com/

“A genuine work of art—from the floors to the furnishings to the faucets—the Rosenbaum House grows naturally from its surroundings, cascading down a 2-acre lot facing the Tennessee River. It is one of the purest examples of Usonian design (named for the USA) with open floor plans and rooms that naturally flow from one to another. Built in 1939, the same year Wright delivered his treatise on organic architecture, this significant structure is cypress, glass, and brick and still has original hardware and furnishings designed by Wright.

Frank Lloyd Wright freed Americans from Victorian “boxes” and revolutionized art and architecture. He was born just two years after the Civil War and died two years after the launching of the satellite Sputnik and is considered to be America’s greatest architect. Originally built for $12,000 as an affordable, middle-class home, the house is the only Wright design open to the public in the southeastern United States.”

Call me excited! People fly in from all over the world to see this house! Our Rumson house had his Usonian style, and our home on a mountain in the Blue Ridge was designed with clean white oak floors and trim with lots of windows. I’ve been an Art Deco fan girl since forever and yet only managed to look from the outside at one of Wright’s homes in Minnesota once. Or was that St Louis?

Somehow, in all my trips from VA to TN, I never stopped at Falling Water in PA, and that’s something I’ll have to add to my bucket list now.

Note to self, don’t forget to Facetime with Aunt KiKi (my Daughter-in-Love) from Alabama since she is one super talented designer in California and working on many renovations of this vintage.

Happy Weekend Y’All! Oh and here’s an old pic of our VA not/so/big house. I do miss my little 3rd floor aviary.

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Today is election day! Here’s something everyone can agree should happen, whether you’re red, blue or purple – it’s time to pass the EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT!

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the state that brought us so many founding fathers/presidents, the state who’s motto is “Virginia is for Lovers,” stood up for all of us and passed this long-suffering amendment to the Constitution? We only need ONE MORE STATE to ratify the ERA! Why do we still need this you may ask:

“Because women don’t currently have equal protection under the United States Constitution. By some estimates, 80 percent of Americans mistakenly believe that women and men are guaranteed equal rights, but the only right the Constitution explicitly extends to both men and women is the right to vote.

The E.R.A., a proposed amendment to the Constitution, would guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. It would also require states to intervene in cases of gender violence, such as domestic violence and sexual harassment; it would guard against pregnancy and motherhood discrimination; and it would federally guarantee equal pay.”

nytimes.com/2019/02/22/us/equal-rights-amendment-what-is-it.html

What? We know domestic abuse is a contributing factor in our country’s gun violence epidemic. Abusers could not escape over state lines. This is also why some work places may only grant very limited “Maternity” leave, and not “Family” leave. This why women, for the most part, make 80 cents to a man’s dollar. And I’ve already reported the case of Trans-women discrimination being considered by SCOTUS right now! https://www.businessinsider.com/gender-wage-pay-gap-charts-2017-3

Even though over half a century ago women were granted the Equal Pay Act, we are far from fulfilling that goal. At least we can still vote thanks to our Suffragette ancestors 100 years ago, when Tennessee was the last state to ratify that amendment, and we’re still bragging about it today!

So, what do you say Virginia? Earn a bit of bragging rights too. The rest of the South looks up to you, and you know it’s the right and proper thing to do! Here is the Bride in the Blue Ridge with her Flower Girl V, who was just visiting us yesterday!

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Our L’il Pumpkin just turned 5, so naturally the Bride and Groom threw him a party.

Nashville’s Adventure Science Museum is a hands-on wonderland for kids, and it proved the perfect setting for science experiments and birthday cake. But let’s talk about the logistics of an almost “holiday” birthday – Thursday night was Trick or Treating and a house party with a whole neighborhood, Friday night was a family dinner with the Big Four generations followed by a sleepover at Nana and Pop Bob’s, and Saturday we had nearly 20 kids at his kids’ birthday party.

In other words, it was party central here all weekend!

Isn’t it nice to know that White House staffers could bring their little ghosts and goblins to a Halloween party at the Eisenhower Executive Office that was hosted by Mike Pence? Did they bob for apples? No, they were given brick-colored card stock and told to write their names on the cards, oh and then paste their cards up on that wall over there in the hallway, under the big letters that said “BUILD THE WALL.”  https://news.yahoo.com/children-were-told-to-build-the-wall-at-white-house-halloween-party-153024720.html

What is going on in our country? Mr T shows up at a baseball game and the crowd chants, “Lock HIM up!” Then he goes to Madison Square Garden and gets Booed by Mixed Martial Arts fans… I’m surprised we didn’t see anyone dressed up as Mr T for Halloween. Or maybe an anonymous whistleblower…

It was just your typical crew of super heroes and princesses, followed by teenagers without costumes holding out plastic bags. I’m glad we don’t have Mischief Night in TN. Egging cars and teepeeing trees seems to be more of a northeastern tradition. There was even an enforced curfew in NJ, one both of my kids ignored!

I was hoping I’d wake up from my candy and birthday cake coma today and the Impeachment would be over. We could go back to expanding human rights and building bridges, but alas, that scary clown is still in the Oval Office. And worse yet, if he is removed, the VP of making kids create propaganda wall art will be in charge.

It’s a good thing we have a rebel star fighter and a black cat to fight for truth and justice!

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Bob will often recount that time I cried over a news report about a dog being thrown out of a car onto a highway.

It was at the end of the evening news – remember that quaint time of day we’d all turn to our favorite anchor person to sum up the world’s most important events? We didn’t have the New York Times or NPR on our phones. We weren’t glued to political coverage at odd hours.

We were just sitting there in our not/so/big house while the list of deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq scrolled across a screen, ending with that poor innocent dog. That’s what got me.

Well, it happened again this week. One morning I was watching Mr T walk up to a podium and scowl at his audience for the longest presidential pause in history. This in itself was intriguing; then without an introduction, not even so much as a, “Good Morning nice people of the Fake News,”  he announced the raid on an ISIS terrorist and he also mentioned a K9 was injured as a cave exploded. The suspect had fled with 3 of his children when he detonated his vest; civilians had been killed too. But a dog…and it was probably a German Shepherd dog like our Bones.

Why don’t they send robots or drones or droids into caves?

Last week I had a mammogram, because October is breast cancer awareness month, and I’ve been told that some Artificial Intelligence (AI) actually reads the test! It recognizes patterns in breast tissue and tells the radiologist what to report. Since my test was negative, I didn’t give it very much thought. Still, having an AI interpret a mammogram left me wondering what’s next. Maybe the government is afraid of a robot army? But robot doctors are fine.

Could a robot K9 sniff out cannabis? Nashville International Airport has 8 real drug-sniffing dogs!

A list released by the police department indicates that in the last 12 months, BNA Police have seized, approximately 600 pounds of marijuana, 800 THC pens, one pound of meth, six ounces of cocaine, and five ounces of heroin.

Chief Griswold says, “Our main focus is to make this a safe and secure airport and if you are coming through here with a large amount of drugs, some people might make this as a test thing to see if they can get something worse through, so we make those arrests and make sure they have a record on them,” said the chief.  https://www.wkrn.com/news/local-news/new-drug-k9s-at-nashville-airport-sniff-out-16-pounds-of-marijuana-in-mans-luggage/

I like the idea of a bomb-sniffing dog at an airport. Heck, I love dogs doing just about anything and will immediately melt to the sidewalk when confronted with a Corgi. I guess you could call me a severe dog lover.

Word on Twitter is that Mr T wants this injured K9 from the battlefield in Syria to come visit him at the White House. Isn’t he the ONLY president to NOT have a family dog? I would imagine dogs growl when they sniff him, most dogs can smell fear and inferiority and just plain craziness instantly. This brave canine would surely know he or she’s being used as a political prop, something to buoy his sinking ship.

Mr T should also stop using the phrase, “He died like a dog.” When it was Bones’ time, he went under our porch and wouldn’t come out. I had to coax him out with steak, and then we brought him to the Vet. There was no whimpering or crying, he was the such a beautiful, brave boy.

If you have a little love leftover in your heart, give it to a rescue dog and love will be returned tenfold. Here is my sweet, old Ms Bean in my office who would never hurt anyone but could kill a squirrel in 3 seconds.

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In the next few days, two famous women will be released from US prisons. One is a celebrity we all know and love for her acting chops, who did the right thing. Felicity Huffman was only trying to leverage her daughter’s chances at getting into a good college, and was the first parent to plead guilty in a bizarre scheme of “pay to play” in order to enhance SAT scores. It would seem Huffman has a conscience and admitted the error of her ways. The other woman, Maria Butina, is a Russian asset.

Without much fanfare, Butina will find herself in a Miami deportment center this weekend en route to Moscow.

According to the FBI, in 2015 Butina emailed a US Republican lobbyist Paul Erickson, who she reportedly dated and lived with, a project proposal called “diplomacy”. It centred around using NRA links to influence the US Republican Party’s foreign policy and their traditionally hostile stance toward Russia.”  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50180445

And we all thought Russia was just searching for Hillary’s emails and manipulating Facebook ads to influence the 2016 election. Butina is like a modern day Mata Hari – only instead of facing a firing squad for her role as a double agent during the First World War, Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to just ONE count of conspiracy. Her handler was reportedly Alexander Torshin – “…an influential former member of the Russian senate and deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank.”

One might think they were laundering money through the NRA.

Butina grew up in Siberia and loved playing with guns. Her chief concern was herself however, telling the court she regrets “…ruining my own life.” When she steps off a plane in Russia I wonder what will happen to her? Will she be a returning hero, or will she be sent back to Siberia?

I heard Martha Stewart said that Huffman looked “frumpy” in her prison garb. That immediately ticked me off, I mean really? Martha, Martha, Martha! I would think that once you’ve done time in a women’s prison you’d have a smidgen of empathy for other celebrities suffering the same fate. After all, there are no hair and make-up experts tending to you, no aestheticians or mani-pedis happening behind those walls. I will never again buy her “Living” magazine, no matter how much I think I could craft a beautiful table setting.

So a Russian operative can plot to takeover our democracy, and she gets 18 months in prison and then is deported. A Hollywood star can swindle and bribe her daughter’s way into college, and she gets released after 11 days in prison (out of a 14 day sentence). And then there’s the old news –  a lifestyle “expert” and magazine mogul got caught lying to investigators in an insider trading scandal and she served 5 months in prison followed by 5 months confined to her Connecticut estate.

Then Martha sold her empire for 355 Million US dollars in 2015 telling the media a coverup is so much worse than the original crime. Now for some odd reason she’s associated with Snoop Dog. I hope he will school her about criticizing other female felons while they are whipping up a batch of brownies. Their friendship is the one shining light in this reality show world.

We were recently toasting marshmallows for our own private HGTV episode.

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My Nashville family has returned home from New Zealand and Australia. They Ubered straight from the airport to their home, just a few hours after we’d tucked the Grands into bed. Bob and I were happy no bones had been broken during our tenure. Well, just my left thumb, when a basketball landed straight on it in the Sound Waves pool. This was ostensibly the highlight of their week with us, the biggest water park in the world!! (maybe) at the Grand Ole Opry; but for me it was always those tender bedtime talks.

I found out that the L’il Pumpkin loves school. He really loves learning, and can now count by tens! He also plays alphabet Go Fish with aplomb, proving he’s ready to read. And the Love Bug is so sweet she offered to finish singing my Yiddish lullabies because my Fall cold was having its most severe effect on my throat. In fact, my croaking voice wasn’t relaxing at all, it only made them giggle.

Pop Bob had fun fixing little things around their house. Like any good pilot, he had his checklist of things to do – new batteries for the dogs’ invisible fence collars, fix master bathroom door, replace the silverware holder in the dishwasher. I texted my daughter in the middle of their trip, asking her if they might mind all this fixing-up? Great Grandma Ada had once warned me about stepping on the toes of in-laws.

The Bride replied, “You are welcome to fix as much as you’d like!”

After all, they are a busy professional couple. The Groom was accepting an award for his Vanderbilt research in Melbourne, at the World Congress of Intensive Care in collaboration with Australia New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS). As much as we’d like to think the world is flat and connected by technology, there is still something to be said for actually meeting up, face to face, with others around the globe doing research in your field.

Still, we could Facetime with them after meeting a koala! And I could pull out my smart phone at Sound Waves and slo-mo video the Love Bug under a waterfall!

I was reminiscing with Bob about his primitive use of early video cameras, the kind you hoisted on your shoulder in the 80s. Just then the Rocker texted us – did we happen to have that stop-action film he made in our NJ garage with his Star Wars action figures? He was just about the Bug’s age when he and a friend would spend hours recording Luke Skywalker’s adventures in minute detail. If the weather wasn’t conducive for a trip to the beach, creativity ensued on that cement floor.

The L’il Pumpkin and Pop Bob assembled an incredible Star Wars battle station in Legos while I drove the Love Bug to basketball practice one night last week. And just like that, this morning, my son and his new company Totem has released another amazing Star Wars trailer, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

All those years ago, in our garage with his imagination, and later with his bandmates. Music was always playing in his mind and through his fingers. I am trying to convince the Bride that we should all be Star Wars characters for Halloween because,  “The Story Lives Forever.” Here are our little Jedi Knights at the museum.

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