The end of AM radio?

boy tuning transistor radio
Photo by Victoria Akvarel on Pexels.com

Did you know that EVs interfere with AM Radio waves?

I read yesterday in the Wall Street Journal that Teslas have already gotten rid of AM.

Here’s an excerpt from “Sadness and Static as AM Stations Fade–Space aliens, UFOs, the supernatural—all grist for radio shows” by Peter Funt.

Several European car makers, including Audi, BMWPorscheVolkswagen and Volvo, have stopped putting AM radios in certain models. Trendy EVs and hybrids have electrical systems that interfere with AM audio. But rather than moving a few parts around, or shielding the equipment better, manufacturers are cutting out AM.

American automakers are taking a more cautious approach, but Tesla has already eliminated AM radios, and Ford plans to drop AM from its electric pickup trucks. It’s no small matter, since about 47 million Americans still listen to programming on the AM dial, according to Nielsen data.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/sadness-and-static-as-am-stations-fade-electric-car-airwaves-radio-host-ufo-media-auto-drive-soundtrack-11675023531?mod=hp_opin_pos_2#cxrecs_s

The article also said that those of us who grew up with AM radio view it as the soundtrack of our lives. I grew up on the west coast of Washington State. KJR AM radio was the top 40 station. One of my best friends signed up our high school for a competition where we saved our Wrigley’s gum wrappers and made a chain with them. The school that built the longest chain won a concert downtown Seattle for the band WAR — free for the entire school.

We won. I always wondered if we really won, or if it was my friend dating a DJ at the radio station?

I used to listen to the wacky Art Bell at night when I couldn’t sleep. People would call in with tall tales of UFOs and abductions, mysterious discoveries of crystal skulls and assorted weirdness. I found it entertaining.

I’d also tune into talk and news shows while I drove. It sort of was a soundtrack of my life.

Now with Sirius in the car, we rarely tune in AM. We listen to music of our preferred decades.

Do you think that AM will fade away? What AM stations have you listened to and what was their format?

One year ago

Desert clouds and views
A view of the desert last January from the Sears-Kay Ruins.

What was I up to in the New Year of 2022? One of the things I like about blogging is being able to look back on what I was doing, thinking and feeling.

A year ago to the date, I was returning home from Berkeley after taking care of my son post surgery.

Imagine that!

AND my husband wasn’t answering the phone. I was worried about him. It turned out he was sick in bed with COVID. As sick as I have ever known him to be.

I took a Lyft home from the airport in Phoenix. The Lyft driver was not happy when he learned how far away I lived. I didn’t mean to be an inconvenience, you’d think drivers would want to pick up a long ride. But I think we are so far out, there’s not much of a chance for the driver to pick up any rides on the way back to Phoenix. Plus, he was going to be late picking his wife up after her work. I wondered why he accepted my ride in the first place?

In any case, I moved into our Casita and kept my husband isolated in our Master bedroom. (I heard master isn’t PC to use, but I really don’t care.)

I cooked him homemade chicken soup with onions, garlic and carrots. I carted it to the front porch and then called him to let him know food was waiting for him. This went on for several days.

When he was finally better, we went exploring and hiked the Sears-Kay Ruins. Then we went to hang out with friends who invited us over to watch football.

What were you up to a year ago? Do you find yourself doing many of the same things year after year?

This was last night in our backyard. We call them “Mulies” short for Mule Deer.

This was Olive, checking out the Mulies from the bar in our living room.

The final post of 2022 and it’s embarrassing

Olive the cat
Olive the cat is very introverted.

We boarded Olive the cat for our vacation in Palm Springs. I got a call from the boarding place three days into our trip. Olive wasn’t drinking, eating, peeing or pooping.

It’s the first time she’s been at this boarding place, because the one we went to before closed. I was impressed with this new outfit. It was spanking brand new, had huge two and three level kitty suites complete with climbing towers and TVs! Cats can climb up and down through the suite through large holes cut in the platform levels.

I had left Olive with her Rx laxative, kitty soup and dry Friskies. She even had an old smelly t-shirt of my husband’s to make her comfortable. After a few phone calls, the boarding place said they’d take Olive to the vet if she didn’t settle down. They also put her in an empty bathroom, where she’d be all alone.

Our Olive isn’t exactly neurotic, but she’s a loner and trembles and gets frightened of new people and places. You’d think having a friend take care of her in our house would be the ideal situation rather than boarding her. But no, you’d be wrong. As long as my friend’s daughter took care of Olive she was fine when we lived in Palm Springs. The friend’s daughter got scared of Marco — our homeless guy who believed our house was his — so her dad took over Olive duty.

Olive doesn’t like strangers, but really doesn’t like men. The end result of the father taking care of Olive was a urinary tract infection — plus me purchasing two new comforters, sheets and mattress toppers.

I got a call five days into our trip that Olive was doing fine.

Now for the embarrassing part.

On our way home we stopped at the boarding place to pick up Olive.

They gave me her meds, foods and handed me her soft carrier. I insisted it was not the right one. Hers was black, I swore — and the one they tried to pawn off on my was gray with blue piping.

I had four frantic employees opening up every cupboard shelf searching for the black-sided carrier.

Finally, 25 minutes later, we came to the agreement that I’d take Olive home in their hard cased carrier and they’d deliver Olive’s carrier to our house once they figured out what happened to it. Maybe it went home with the wrong cat? Maybe the manager who was trying out new spaces to make Olive comfortable had placed it in a safe place?

Once home I decided to check on Amazon for my purchase of the carrier. This is what I discovered:

I had bought a gray carrier with light blue piping. Not black. I bit the bullet and called and apologized for being totally insane and a pain in the behind. Then I had to drive over there and exchange carriers and apologize profusely.

I realized my error. Waffles the pug and his carrier I bought six years ago. This is what I thought Olive the cat had too. She doesn’t get out much and Waffles get in his carrier daily.

Waffles the pug in 2016 with his black carrier.

Here’s to a New Year and sanity! What are your hopes for 2023?

Conflicted about Christmas

Christmas in Palm Sprigs
Christmas decorations in our Palm Springs home.

In a couple days, we’ll be leaving to have Christmas with my kids, dad and our son’s girlfriend’s family. Our kids suggested Palm Springs, where we moved from exactly two years ago this week. Last year we gathered in Santa Barbara, which was a fun — if not rainy and cold adventure.

I’m conflicted over Palm Springs. After leaving, I don’t have a strong desire to return. I don’t know if it’s an emotional response. If it brings up too many memories. If I miss it, or if I don’t miss it. It makes me feel things I don’t want to feel.

For the kids, who never wanted us to move from Palm Springs, my husband agreed to rent an Airbnb a few blocks from our old home. It’s all for them, not us.

What I’m looking foward to:

Seeing our big extended family.

Walking around my old park.

Swimming in my former city pool.

Going to my old favorite restaurants for a taste of Mexican food and Italian. We haven’t found any good spots here.

Do you think it’s true that you can never go home again? Why or why not?

Wreath on our old wooden gate
The wreath I made on our gates at the Palm Springs house which was built in 1937.

It’s a stretch

Olive posing on the casita sofa.

I feel like there is more I need to do for me. A popular term for it is “self care.”

I try to eat right. I take vitamins. I walk seven days a week. I swim. I pray.

But I feel like I’m missing something. Why am I so tired all the time? Why do my knees, hands and feet hurt? Yes I’m getting older. That’s probably why. Arthritis is settling in my joints.

Something else dawned on me. Somewhere along the line, I forgot about stretching.

I used to be religious about my morning stretches and crunches. Then for some unknown reason, I stopped.

I used to take a stretch class followed by ballet. I incorporated the stretches and crunches into my daily life for decades. I think I stopped because I get busy wanting to start my day after my morning walk. Also, it’s harder to get down on the floor than it was years ago!

I need to start stretching again. Visiting my mother and seeing her in skilled nursing because her body is giving out on her has motivated me to “Use it and not lose it.”

Do you have any healthy habits you want to incorporate into your life? What are things you start and stop for no significant reason?

Why was my daughter so annoyed with me?

My kids not wanting me to take their pic.
My kids not wanting me to take their pic.

I wrote this years ago, when I was visiting my mom in assisted living near Seattle. After visiting Mom last week, I wanted to repost this.

Why is my daughter so annoyed with me?

I understand how she feels. After all, I was once 19 years old. I remember it very clearly.

When I was that age, everything my mom did, I found unbelievably annoying.

I’ll never forget sitting with her in the car, getting ready to shop at Bellevue Square. She had parked the car. She was fumbling through her purse, making sure she had what she needed. She reapplied her lipstick. Dug through her purse for her wallet to look through credit cards. Searched several times to check where she placed the keys.

Mom and me in the early 90s, big perm.
Mom and me in the early ’90s Like my perm? My mom’s curls are natural.

Would we never leave the car? Would I be stuck all day? I must have said something to her quite snippy or flat out mean. A few tears rolled down her cheeks. Which made me more upset with her.

Isn’t it a sad feeling, transitioning from a mom who could do no wrong—from changing diapers, to cooking their favorite spaghetti, to taping treasured colorings on the fridge that were made just for you—to being the person of their abject disdain?

It’s a tough new role. Let me tell you.

But, having gone through these feelings myself, I understand. I’m visiting my mom this week in her assisted living center. I talked about it with her, what I’m going through now, and what I felt like when I was 19. Fortunately, she doesn’t remember me ever being a snarky 19-year-old.

For some reason, I’ve gained more patience throughout my life and that has been a blessing. I’ve also learned forgiveness.

Something else I’ve learned through years of parenting — this too shall pass.

It’s called independence and freedom. We want our children to grow and become separate human beings who can stand on their own. They need to separate from us. A good time to do that is during their senior year of high school, or their freshman year of college. They need to. I keep telling myself that.

However, we also want to be treated with respect, and once again—someday—to be cherished.

A beach day with my daughter.
A beach day with my daughter.

Have your children been annoyed with you? Do you remember being annoyed with your parents? What were the reasons why?

Use it or lose it

This was my lunch at Sushi Oto, where I used to go with my mom.

My mom wasn’t in her room when I arrived at her assisted living facility.

Her name was still on the door. Her things were inside. I took a quick roam around to the dining room and living rooms to see if I could find her.

I stopped at a nurses’ station and was informed that she was upstairs in “Skilled Nursing.”

My brother had told me that they were going to move her there eventually. He fought against it for two years. But I didn’t know they finally moved her. She had fallen several times, she wasn’t walking and she’s incontinent — so she went to the next level of care.

When she first moved in, she was in a two-bedroom apartment on campus that didn’t have help. Then she was moved into a studio room when she need more help with daily tasks.

I found her upstairs in the skilled nursing floor. The rooms are all the same. Two hospital beds with a curtain in between.

Her roommate came out from behind the curtain, wearing nothing but adult diapers. I mean stark naked except for pull ups. She spoke gibberish and my mom dove under her blankets to hide.

I went to the nurses station and said, “The woman in my mother’s room is talking to me and I don’t understand what she needs.”

“Oh, don’t mind her. She has severe Alzheimer’s. I’ll send someone to check on her,” the attendant said.

Two staff members came in and profusely apologized to me as the naked geriatric patient was standing at my side.

“Miss Helen, where are your clothes?” she was asked.

They moved her back to her side of the curtain and got her dressed.

My mom needs physical help, but mentally she is not as far gone as most of the people I saw on the skilled nursing floor. She has trouble with short term memory but enjoys laughing and has a great sense of humor.

During my last visit, we played croquet and I took her out to lunch for sushi. We played cards in the card room, went to Bingo and chair yoga. This visit, she demanded that I take her back to her old room. I told her if she could walk to the elevator, I would take her there. She walked about ten yards with her walker and said, “I can’t do it.”

What a reminder for me to get out and move. I’m heartbroken at how quickly my mom has aged since my last visit.

When our parents age, do you find it heartbreaking too?