Here’s an interesting piece in today’s New York Times about remnants of the Vietnam War and how they still affect vets:

The most authoritative study conducted on the disorder and Vietnam veterans, in 1988, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, estimated that at the time, 500,000 of the 3.14 million Americans who served in Vietnam had P.T.S.D., and a total of 1 million had experienced it at some point.

Even as Vietnam veterans now enter their 60s and begin to die off, the number seeking P.T.S.D. treatment is growing — up 11.6 percent from 2003 to 2005, the latest figures available. “We have new Viet vets coming in every week,” said David Bressem, who runs the Vet Center clinic here and is Mr. Van Cott’s therapist.

On so many fronts, the country still pays for the Vietnam War.

For the full story, go to:

I think it's time we got back to basics.

Over the past few days, I’ve met some interesting people while reporting out a story on marriage. Three, in particular, made me stop and think about where this blog is headed. I may invite one or all of them to participate. 

One highly accomplished woman told me she has had the rug pulled out from under her in the past few months. Not one accustomed to free-fall, she’s lost her marriage and her business, all in a very short time. She has no choice but to move on, she said. 

This woman's education and career should provide her some very positive choices, but still, she’s out there on a limb, maybe for the first time her life. I’m not sure of her age, but am certain she fits the situational requirement of the average birdsonablog reader.

Yesterday’s conversation reminded me how far many of us have come in our lives. We were all pioneers, but without the sunbonnets.

Those of us who grew up in the US in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, had few role models, really, for the lives we’ve lived. What were our choices? Not Barby, not Jane Fonda, not Nancy Drew or Betty Crocker, not even Gloria Steinem or Madonna. How did we ever find our way?  

(Click Read More for the rest of this story)


We went to hear Rani Arbo and her band Daisy Mayhem, the other night. As usual, we were not disappointed.

It was an unusually wet and cold Saturday for May, but all of the wooden pews and folding chairs in the old Unitarian church were filled. All you had to do was look around to see evidence of the hall's former use. What a perfect use for a former church! 

And, could there be a better venue for a band that describes its musical genre as “agnostic gospel?”

Aside from the flat-out excitement and originality these four classically trained musicians bring to everything they play and sing, we enjoy their song choice. On any given night, they'll play Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan tunes, old hymns, folk tunes, American classics, spirituals, and  sometimes country swing. Sit still long enough – I dare you! – and you’re bound to hear songs you know, or almost know.

Rani, herself, is a cancer survivor. She’s probably pushing 40, maybe a little older, and I could be wrong, but I believe she once said her breast cancer was diagnosed shortly after she gave birth to her son. To the delight of everyone in the audience, he sometimes runs around the stage while his parents perform. 

Daisy Mayhem’s latest CD, Big Old Life, focused on survivorship: hers, theirs and ours.

Survivorship was one of the building blocks of birdsonawireblog, from the very beginning. I saw this blog as a safe place for survivors of one threat or another. Sort of a virtual cafe where we can sit around, sip coffee and gain strength from each other.  

Almost half the women I invited to read this blog are cancer survivors. Some are dealing with it right now, today, as you read this post.  

Others, like me, escaped with their lives long ago. My cancer was detected so early, I’m a bit embarrassed to put myself in the company of those of you who endured hellish treatments and relapses. Still, even a "little bit" of cancer left a big imprint on my soul. That's plenty for me, thank you.  

When Rani started singing “Shine On,” it was all I could do to stay in my seat. I’m surprised every woman in the church didn’t rise up and join in to Daisy May Erlewine’s anthem to surviving whatever it is or was that scared them. My grandmother used to say, a little bit of fear is a good thing. I’ll take just a little bit, please. 

For a taste of Daisy Mayhem, go to They travel all around so, if they’re in your area, I encourage you to go hear them. We keep going back, and always have smiles on our faces when we leave.