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Sunday, March 18, 2018

One eighty five mystery

My blog has been here since 2011, when I brought Toby home from Pittsburgh. I need it to remember how old he is, without calling the vet. I have a John Gray question. Who else notices followers increase, then fall back to some old mark? That’s not so much a John Gray question as sentiment. I took a look at his number, which is 1119. I think I recall it over 1120, when he went on vacation, and his kitchen not totally finished!

I have 185 followers. Occasionally I’ll see a new face and a new number, and then a Jenga block from way down the pile is removed and I’m back to 185, but with the same new face at the top. I wonder if Blogger sorted out an unregistered lurker, or if someone did pick up sticks.

My new computer will be installed on my new desk on Wednesday. Someone asked what it is, and it is an IDon’tKnow. I have relied on the same computer nerd since forever. It is the one Jim recommended. It is “self-contained”, he said, but not a laptop, “because you can’t get along without a keypad, and laptops with keypads are too big.” OK, Jim. I’m sure he also understands I could not face Windows10 and a laptop, too.

I do need a new checkbook program. My QuickBooks is 2010. Totally unsupported both ways. The program won’t install on Windows 10, and QuickBooks certainly does not care. Years ago, before I taught her to use QuackBooks, I found a checkbook program for my sister. I’m sure it was Tucows, but I cannot download it to see. Another sign my computer brains are too foggy.

 I brazenly lifted the photo from FaceBook. With attribution. I think it’s fantastic. I’m happy to know the herons are back, and there are great young people out there snapping them. I haven’t been to the heron rookery to take pictures for at least two years. My hands aren’t steady enough, even to hold the camera to my eye.

Finally, how the sun is shining today. Perhaps the last of the snow will melt and the ground can begin warming up. Perhaps.

Rob Blair
Bath Road heron rookery
Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Laura takes a personal fitness and safety unit as part of her gymnasium requirement. I remember Hamilton taking a rigorous personal training unit, and emerging proud of his increase in strength and endurance. I have no recollection of Emily’s gym classes. I hear about Laura’s almost every day.   

The youngster who failed gym in elementary school because she could or would not do pushups, now tells me how to fend off several sorts of unwanted physical threats. When and how to use hands, feet, knees, fingers, physical objects commonly available is good knowledge.

This week Laura told me she’d learned how two people can disarm a gunman. How one person can. I won’t argue with her; only be glad she probably never will be in the situation. I don’t understand how her instructor, and by extension her school, can cover this topic in forty-five or ninety minutes and have the children believe it’s possible. Laura does want to join a local Krav Maga class, and we’ll do that when we get back from spring break.

On our way home from weekly grocery shopping Laura’s friend texted, “Can I come to your house and spend the night?” The friend said she had been at a sleep over the previous night where she had not only been bullied, she felt she was set up to be bullied.

“I warned her,” Laura said. “Now she wants to visit a real family.”

I have these mental images of this week, and one more to add. A young woman at my drug store took opportunity to turn my anger and make me a good customer and a friend. This incident happened last summer, when I was pretty much a mess of drugs, though she did not know that.

Carol is the assistant pharmacy manager, and worked diligently on the phone with me to unscrew a prescription mess up that existed. I was going to say “probably Keppra!”, but I do recall it was Lyrica, another Tier something or the other drug, easy to get boggled. When I appeared at the counter to pick up the prescription, it was sucked back into the quagmire.

In too loud a voice I said “NO!” From the back of the pharmacy area, “Noragon!”, and a young woman came forward. The voice belonged to the person who had helped me on the phone. A very young woman, long dark hair bleached far too blond. “I’m Carol. I helped you.” She elbowed the clerk aside, got my script back in the queue, and got it for me. Ever since, if she is on duty, even if I do not see her, from somewhere in the pharmacy I hear “Noragon!”

On today’s errand list, a stop at the pharmacy for my Belbuca script.  Of course the refill is sucked back in the morass, and I objected. Like magic, Carol appeared and worked magic with computer screens. Laura said “You got your hair cut!” “Just yesterday! You like it?” What I took for bed head was the real deal, and one young girl twirled for another.

Which made me brave enough to ask a year old question. “Carol, I like your accent. Where is it from?”

Utter silence. Then, “I don’t like to tell. But…you are my friend. Syria.”

I felt tears spring up, and Carol was distraught. “Oh, Carol, thank God you aren’t there now!” Laura handed me a tissue and Carol agreed, “Yes, it’s no place for anyone.”

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The irregulars’ rearguard

Laura told me about her National Student Walk Out experience yesterday. She was very somber; sad. All students who wanted to were ushered by 10 a.m.  into the gym of Hudson High School, to stand in silence for seventeen minutes. She often heard remarked, “This isn’t a walk out, it’s a lock down.” There was a police officer at every door, to prevent anyone leaving.

Laura and I discussed her dismay over her school’s lack of support. I told her the civil rights of any student who did plan on walking out of school had been violated (she was shocked), but it appeared to me more a problem of apathy. No adult had planned this event, or stressed the opportunity the students had to organize an event. It seemed to have snuck up and crept on by, unnoticed.

However, we continued, high school is the beginning of her adult life. It was a shame she’d missed an opportunity here to organize some solidarity, but on the other hand, she’d learned that waiting for a teacher to fulfill a promise to help them had been an empty promise, and now she knew she could do better in future, if she wished to. And, part of her college selection criteria should be campus activism.

In the afternoon I had a phone call from the Akron Beacon Journal reporter who quoted me in their weekend coverage of events being planned around the area. The photos of the Beacon reporter already were available to her, and she wanted to know how I thought our unique event went. “Did we chant?” she wanted to know.

I said we stood in support of the students in Florida; we were protesting nothing. We felt it important her readers knew we supported the next generation, and their effort to end gun violence.  She remembered I had said the gathering in Peninsula came about because I’d received an unsatisfactory answer from the Hudson school district, where my granddaughter was in high school, about their anticipated response to a National Student Walk Out. Did I know anything about their response; she had not yet contacted them.

I was happy to give her Laura’s version of the Hudson response, and sad to see nothing about Hudson reported this morning. That means I have letters to editors to write. I have three grandchildren left in high school. Beth posted video of both Caroline and Francis’ schools marching out of school as a group to honor the protest.

Yesterday was not lost on any of my grandchildren.

A group of 37 stood along Route 303 in front of the old Boston Township school in support of National School Walkout Day on Wednesday. (Phil Masturzo/Beacon Journal/