Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Air Travel

Sitting at LAX, relaxing in the super-sized wheelchair which toted me from Gate 3 to Gate 5 in style, trying to stay calm as our connecting flight to San Francisco is delayed and delayed and delayed once again.  Sure, we could change to an earlier flight, but our bag is checked and we'd have to return to retrieve it or pay to have it delivered to our hotel.  Apparently, the contract between the airlines and the passengers is weighted in the carrier's favor.  Apparently, I am the only one on the planet who is surprised by this.


I love to fly.  I love taking off and watching the ground drop away.  I like holding TBG's hand and squeezing as we leave the earth.  I like the free drinks and the little bags of pretzels and I like the fact that sitting still brings me closer to those I love.  I'm not nervous about crashing and I'm little enough that I'm rarely uncomfortable in the much too small seats.   


My fellow travelers, however, are a different story.  The people I'm looking at obviously did not look in the mirror before leaving the house today.


Jack Spratt should've donned underpants if he was going to squat in front of his infant while feeding him.   His butt is flat and exposed and it's really more flesh than I'm interested in describing.  Earth Mother,  his fleshier wife, is also going commando - a fact verified by the tightness of her flowered cotton dirndl and the camisole she's passing off as a blouse.  A deep V-neck allows her breasts the freedom of movement they need to peek out, nipples begging to be exposed to the air.  There ought to be a law.  These people are obscene.


We're sitting in the corner, right near the door to the gangway.  It must look like a phone book; this is the second person who's taken the space and used it to make a phone call.  He's on his way to Omaha.  He'll be late.  He's as aggravated as we are.


The Spanish speaking lady in the wheelchair across the aisle from me is reading a tv fan magazine.  She had a hard time understanding the announcements, even when a volunteer translator appeared from the ranks of the passengers.  She's calmer now than she was before.  That's a good thing.  I don't need any more anxiety than I am creating myself.  


Why does the wait upset me so?  I've only got 3 days to spend with my boy, and the edges of the travel days are bonus times I had planned to treasure.  Late afternoon, checked in to the hotel and transported via ZipCar to his apartment, I'd planned to tackle his closet before dinner today.  Obviously, that is not going to happen.  


There is not a fit person in this waiting room, TBG and I excluded.  The high school kids reading tarot cards on the floor might be in shape.  It's hard to tell when their clothes are 15 sizes too big.  They certainly have no compunction about blocking the main aisle between  the corridor and our gate.  Splayed on the ground, backpacks open and contents in disarray,  underwear on display and uncovered yawns on their faces, they are our future and I am scared.


TBG bought us a snack after the second delay was announced.  I was too upset to eat more than a bite or two.  You know the PTSD Monster is on the prowl when my belly rejects Thai Chicken Pizza.   No worries.  The lovely lady whose left arm is wrapped in bandages was happy to take the last piece in the box.   She's also going to Oakland.  She's also going to be late for dinner.  Sigh.


The TV Guide lady found her way to our new gate, pushing her own wheelchair as she meandered down the hallway.  Obviously, she has more inner strength than I'd given her credit for.  She was very grateful that we had told her the flight was moved to Gate 14.  I was grateful that she'd understood my pidgin Spanish.  I had to count the numbers out in my head, but the information was transmitted and received since she's here waiting with the rest of us.


This must be teen travel week.  There are three groups of kids supervised by extremely harried grown-ups milling about the gate.  More of the boys have earrings than the girls.  There's not one of them who managed to comb hair and tie shoes before leaving for the airport.  All but one group is fully-ear-plugged.  How do they talk to one another with earbuds installed?  it's a mystery.  Good thing I have time to ponder.


We've just been informed that we'll be leaving 2 hours earlier than the prior announcement had reported.  It's funny how gaining two hours has lessened my angst over losing two hours. I'm still bitter, but it's a little better.  Not much.  Just a little.


There are several of us with blue TSA-approved plastic covers for our boarding passes.  This allows us to bypass the Southwest queue and enter the plane early.  I'm really hoping for a bulkhead seat.  Bending my leg is okay for a while, but I need the length to stretch it out and remind it not to go into spasm.  It should be interesting, watching me fly down the gangway past the aged and infirm.  The plane's on its way from Nashville; I hope everyone gets off here in LA so my seat is waiting for me.


In my next life I'm raising children who never want to live more than a block away from their parents.


That's the plan and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I think that recycling this Memorial Day post has officially become a tradition. Here it is, again, updated for 2013.

  Happy Three Day Weekend, denizens!!
*****

I used to march in the Memorial Day parade. I was dressed in my Brownie uniform, and then in my Girl Scout uniform - replete with those hated anklets. I wore them because they said you couldn't march without them and marching was too cool to pass up, but the shame............

All the school bands marched too, and Benjamin Road provided the materials and the labor to make the capes the high school kids wore. There must have been a military presence there, but I didn't pay enough attention to notice. I was marching and I knew that, all over America, other kids were being Americans and marching, too. It was great.

In Marin, the Memorial Day parade was always good for a controversy or two. Or three. Should the anti-war protesters walk alphabetically in the main march, or have their own march, or walk 50 yards behind the official march? I especially liked this discussion: Should weaponry be allowed? That was fairly disingenuous even for Marin.

There were bands at this parade, too, and with Bobby Weir as the Grand Marshal you know the music was worth hearing, especially at the picnic in the park afterwards. Not exactly your typical VFW-sponsored event, but no one was complaining. It was Memorial Day; there had to be a parade.

I've got the flag G'ma bought us for a housewarming present, which replaced the one Dadooooo got us in Chicago. There are white lilies in a glass vase, with some red and blue additions just for today.  I wore the tie-dyed tank top the Cuters and I made early one July to the gym this morning.  I've got the plastic flag on my bike handles - the same one I bought with the Cuters at the Five and Dime Store in New Buffalo in 1985. Maybe next year I'll be strong enough to pedal up the hill to the house.

And I am grateful to Lois and Kevin and Kyle and Amy and Cat and Sara, and to Courtney and her sister and the 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron, and to Terry and Moose and Stroker and Uncles Chuck and Paul and Abby and to Aaron, clerking for a judge and carrying the memories of a convoy of trucks in the desert along with his diploma. 

The military gave me Dr. Rhee, who honed his craft on the battlefield and returned to create a system which saved my life.  It trained Dr. Bowman to triage in a crisis, and I am here to thank him in person.  

I'm watching jets fly overhead, aiming towards Davis-Monthan Air Force Base south of town.  There's a silent salute in my heart for those who are training to keep me safe, for those, like my youngest, bravest, nephew, who are awaiting their chance to serve.  

Life is good. Thanks to all those who've made it so.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pain

If one more person asks me how I am doing I think that I will scream.


Loudly.  For a prolonged period of time.  With gusto.


There won't be any rage attached to my shrieking.  The questioner always has love in her heart and compassion in his tone.  There's a sense of trying to bridge the gap between us, between those who wonder and those to whom it was done.  Whatever it is.  Establishing the connection helps to explain the inexplicable, I think.  If I can tell you how it feels, then you'll know and you won't have to worry because the social conventions dictate that I tell you that I am doing fine.


Little Cuter calls this the teflon answer.


When it was only my physical condition which aroused curiosity I had a set piece to pull out when the question was raised.  Healing took time.  My pain was lessening.  I looked forward to a complete recovery.


I was delusional.  There is no doubt about it.  Despite having no evidence to substantiate my conclusion, I convinced myself that I would be fully ambulatory soon after I was able to put weight on my shattered hip.  I was fit going into this and I would be fit coming out of it.  The awful, excruciating, unrelenting pain of the hospital and the first month or so of being at home was long in the past.  I was able to get by without medication.  I would be fine.


Somehow, I forgot how easy it is to lose strength and flexibility.  I used to notice it after a week away from the gym.  It never dawned on me that 4 months away from anything resembling exercise would have a much more potent effect.  It's probably a good thing that was the case.  Lying still would have been unbearable had i given real thought to the consequences.  


I was happy in my delusional state and no one seemed to notice that I was digging myself into a hole from which extrication would be necessary.  


Dr. Boaz said walk and I walked - one weak step and two hands grasping for the walker.  There was no there there.  My femur was stuck in one position and it rebelled - quite actively- at being moved.  I talked such a good game that the doctor said I didn't need physical therapy.  That lasted two weeks until my knee and my ankle and my back told me that what I was doing might be locomoting but certainly could not be called walking.  Hence, Marcus the Master Manipulator.


I've been using my hip flexors and my quads instead of my glutes.  The exercises require strengthening those deep, big muscles while relaxing the hamstrings and quadriceps.  Clenching my glutes requires stability in the back and abs and a conscious decision on my part to use my tush and leave my leg at rest.  


Want to try it?  Sit up straight and tighten a butt cheek.  Either one.  Don't clench your jaw or your thigh - neither the front nor the back.  Use that squeeze to raise your thigh off the seat.  Don't incorporate your leg muscles.  Don't lean back and use momentum.  Just lift your foot off the floor by clenching your glutes.


Feel that sensation in the front of your groin?  That's your soaz telling you that it is displeased with you.  Very very displeased with you.  Now, imagine that underneath that soaz you have gazillions of staples and wires and plates creating the socket into which that leg resides.  Those are new staples and there are a lot of them and they are still swollen and sensitive even 5 months after they were installed.  


Believe me, everything is talking to me as I do what I've just described to you.  Sitting here typing and clenching and aching.  I dangled in the pool.  I had a massage.  I'm going to PT this afternoon.  I've taken Aleve.  I have a hydrocodone waiting for later.  


How am I doing?  I'm making myself hurt and I have to do it and I don't want to but I am so tired of being slow and bent and an object of pity that I don't know how I am doing any more. The pain is a limiting factor and I feel justified in giving in to it but I know that if I do I will just be limping and aching for longer.  


So, I am doing my exercises.  I am doing my blog.  I am doing a book.  I am doing good deeds.  


Would you like to know how I am feeling?  Sorry.... saying it out loud just reminds me that there is still work to be done, that this will not go away because I will it to be gone, that my recovery depends on inner strength and fortitude and that I am not doing as well as my fantasies had predicted but from the outside I'm doing.  


That there is new and more interesting pain attached to my doing is an unpleasant surprise, a limiting factor, and totally irrelevant if I want my old self back.  Pain is my companion, my reminder, my annoyer.  I consider it before I move and if I don't it announces its presence with authority.  Will it disappear?  Will it reach a steady state and ask me to adjust?  I wish I knew.


For now, though, pain and I will be together, getting this old carcass back in fighting trim.  I'm digging deep inside and finding that there is a growing kernel of discontent pushing at my soul, encouraging me to ignore the tingling nerve endings and to get going.  


I think it's time to listen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sitting



I never gave much thought to sitting.  I didn't even need a chair.  If I got tired I hit the floor, or the couch, or the overstuffed tiger, and made myself at ease.  I didn't much like backless benches, but not much else made me uncomfortable.


My body knew just how to get down there. The right parts bent at the right times and there I was, snug as a bug in a rug.  There wasn't anything conscious about it.  It just happened.


Kind of like getting shot.  It just happened.


Well, not really the same except for the piece about it not being something I thought about.  I walked.  I stood.  I sat.  Those things happened and didn't require space in my brain.  I felt safe and unworried on January 8th and I didn't need to spend a moment wondering if mayhem was in my future.  There was no reason to devote an iota of brain space to the notion of bullets and my body occupying the same place at the same time.  


I saw a chair and sat down.  I held Christina's hand and I got shot.  They both just happened.


And now they are both items occupying almost all of my brain space.  Holding CTG's hand and getting shot... that's obviously going to be there for a long time in a variety of ways and that's okay.  As he told me in February, Juan and I will make new memories to sit beside those old ones in my heart.  It won't fill the hole, but it will help to ease the pain.


Now, if Juan could only manage to figure out a way to make my soaz understand that it must release its hold on itself and allow my hip to flex the way it needs to in order for my butt to reach a seat.   Marcus the Master Manipulator pulls and pushes and prods and pokes and may well have lengthened my leg by 1/8" yesterday afternoon but he isn't having any more success than I am in getting through to the tension that is the sitting mechanism on my right side.


It's a very simple matter, really.  Approach the venue, place the feet, bend the knees, keep the back straight, do a squat and try not to scream as the glute and the groin vie for first place in the "who can stab her harder" contest.  


tabers.com
It's a sharp, hot, burning sensation that is not dangerous.  I have been assured of that. I am not injuring my repaired acetabulum, the socket that holds my thigh (the head of my femur, to be precise) onto my body. Although it may feel as if the thing is floating there unconnected to the rest of me in any way, Dr. Boaz and Marcus have told me that they "would be quite surprised" if that were to happen.


Notice that they did not say that it couldn't happen or wouldn't happen.  Just that it wasn't something that was occupying any brain space.  I'm doing my best to emulate their lack of concern.  Some days that is easier than others.


Why all this emphasis on sitting today?  TBG and I sat in the Federal Courthouse in Tucson again today, watching the lawyer for the Washington Post and the Arizona Republic quote Joseph Heller in an attempt to wrest documents from the Pima County Sheriff's Department. If you're interested in the First Amendment issues I'm sure there are places on the interweb that will support that conversation.  For us, it was just 45 minutes of sitting on a hard bench with a thin cushion.  The AUSA from Phoenix was a young man who reminded me of Big Cuter and I watched him with a mother's pride, sitting there on the Group W bench..... oops, I slipped into Alice's Restaurant right there didn't I but honestly that's where my mind wandered as the attorneys and the judge made their legal souffle.  


We sat through the shooter's competency hearing and watched him opt to sit in another room and watch the proceedings on television and watched the defense counsel and prosecutor stand each time they addressed the judge and we sat there, spectators at an event in which we were alternately at the epicenter or immaterial, depending on the circumstances.  


Everyone wanted a piece of us, a comment, a photograph.  The marshals kept them at bay and we stopped sitting and stood up and I took my achy breaky self down the hallways and elevators and I came home.


And sat down.


Everything hurts.  My heart.  My head.  My hip.  My glute.


Just from sitting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Progress

Slow and steady wins the race.You are so much quicker/stronger/more flexible than you were before.Can you carry that?  Let me do that?  Okay, Okay, Okay.... but be careful
That's what I hear.  From everyone.  Strangers and loved ones and loving strangers and strange loved ones all agree - my progress is remarkable, I am an inspiration, I look great.

The problem is, I don't see that person when I look in the mirror.  Nor, for that matter, when I think about sitting down or contemplate walking through the aisles of Wally-World or consider anything at all that will require movement.  I'm becoming G'ma, whose idea of exercise is moving her index finger up and down.  Need more investment on her part?  She'll wiggle both pointers and laugh in your face.  She's doing what she feels like and if you're unhappy about it you can just go away.

I'm beginning to see her point.

Marcus the Master Manipulator sent me home last week with a work-out that didn't require equipment from the gym.  True to form, without the motivation supplied by fellow exercisees I was useless.  The leg raises hurt so I didn't do them.  I couldn't see the tv while stretching; so much for long slow releases.  I tried to convince myself to get with the program, but the energy was lacking.  There was no desire.  There were only aches and pains and boring repetitions all alone on the floor of the bedroom.

Granted, it's a gorgeous room, with big bright sunny vistas and a welcoming non-itchy low nap carpet.  There's music and tv and plenty of room.  I just didn't feel like doing it.  I tried to berate myself for lack of follow-through.  Still no motivation.  I made an appointment with myself to do the work.  The time came and went  For a while I lost the list of exercises and then there was G'ma visiting and blog-writing and here it is, 2 hours before I'm to be physically therapized and I've only done my homework once.

Oh, well.

It's not that I've been idle.  I can walk 100 short laps of the pool.  I attended a yoga class and had a pilates session on the machines. I can now push a grocery wagon through the store (although Wally-World's girth still requires an electric cart).  The walker sits idly in the garage, propped up against the wheelchair. I can tote a snack from the kitchen to Douglas and spill nary a drop.  I can make the bed and wash the dishes and all of a sudden I'm realizing that there were a lot of secondary gains to enforced stillness.

The gains are close to the basics of life.  I can shower without an assistive device, even maintaining my balance while I close my eyes to wash my face.  I can put on my shorts while standing up; my damaged leg now bends to a right angle all by itself.  My toes are within reach of my socks and my lotion and I can brush my teeth without leaning against the sink for support.  All wonderful, each and everyone of them.  I smile with every swoosh of the washcloth.  Rubbing aloe cream into my parched skin brings relief to my pores and a sigh of relief that I can manage the simple things once again

On the larger stage I am still an on-looker.  The Hot Hikers still send me their emails, but all I can do is envy their cooler-than-down-here hike up on Mt. Lemmon tomorrow.  I could sit on the molded plastic chairs and watch the Hot and Spicy Bowlers (is there a naming trend here?) do battle with the pins, but I'll pay for the pleasure of their company with back pain and a sore glute. And I won't be able to throw even one ball.  Not a one.  Nor can I participate in the propagation work with Master Gardeners nor plant the aloes in the front yard nor empty my trunk of the heavy parcels.  I need help getting my dry cleaning into my car; I don't have enough hands or balance to hold it and unlock and open the door
Slow and steady wins the race.You are so much quicker/stronger/more flexible than you were before.Can you carry that?  Let me do that?  Okay, Okay, Okay.... but be careful 
I hear that I'm doing well.  I guess I just have to choose to believe it.

It's not a bad thing to have high expectations of oneself.  I'm trying to learn to be accepting of my limitations and to push through the rehab piece of my recovery.  That piece which I have been telling everyone is "on me" is, in fact, getting in my way with its insistence on being front and center in my routine.  Enough enjoying the ability to concentrate on a novel, to type posts which don't revolve around January 8th and the aftermath, reveling in my status as the poor injured specimen.

It's time to get over myself, to stop giving in to the lovely ennui of sitting on Douglas in the late afternoon, with no expectations other than to heal.  If I'm not satisfied with my rate of progress then it is incumbent upon me to do something about it.  If I think that I am being rewarded for sloth by those who are so grateful that I am alive that anything short of a coma would look healthy to them.... well, then, I will just have to say thank you to them and put their compliments in a special box reserved for love.

I'm looking inward for my motivation from now on.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tragedy and Resilience

I can't imagine it.  One minute the sun is shining and the next minute you're under a mattress in your bathtub as debris from your town blows overhead.  The noise is outrageous and the only thing louder is your beating heart.  You're not in control. You are not sure what your next move should be. You are doing the only thing you can do - you are staying still and hoping.


Just as you say that you can't imagine me, holding Christina's hand one sunny morning, laughing and then screaming in an instant, living through a tornado is beyond my ability to fathom.  


I lived through a hurricane on Long Island when I was 8 or 9.  Arnie's house flooded because the storm drain was clogged and a tree or two lost some limbs, but mostly it just rained a lot, or so I remember.  I wasn't scared.  I was thrilled.  School had closed at noon and Sam had come home with me to play cards because his parents were no where to be found.  


Life was simpler before "emergency release cards" were necessary. 


I've never had the world turn on me.  Though there were several large earthquakes while we lived in California, Marin was never the epicenter.  The walls shook and sonic booms rocked my eardrums but it never frightened me.  The world was a safe place, the earth was my home, I was secure.


Last week's Sports Illustrated featured Tuscaloosa, Alabama on its cover and devoted the feature article to the nexus of 'Bama sports and Mother Nature's fury.  Dead teenagers fill the pages as do 350 pound football players carrying chain saws to help clear front yards and driveways.   It was the antithesis of a safe and secure home, but the town is moving forward.


That's it in a nutshell.  Tragedy and resilience.  Senseless death and volunteers doing whatever it is that they do best, be it staunching a wound or hauling heavy equipment.  Things and people are gone, and yet the sun comes up the next morning.  Or, the rain keeps falling.  Those left behind wonder why and how and soon, if they and we are lucky, that energy turns outward and wonderful things happen - concerts for civility and community picnics and tender memorials and new playground equipment and whiteboards.  


It's not enough.  Not nearly enough.  But nothing will ever be enough.  How can it be?  What the survivors want cannot be granted.  Life cannot go back to the way it was before.  All I want is Christina-Taylor back in my courtyard, watering my containers and collecting her $2/day.  Too bad.  That is not going to happen.


But I can take those feelings and promote the CTG Foundation.  I can be Grandmother in Residence at an elementary school, giving and getting hugs, reading and being read to, putting bandages of love on my aches and sorrows.  I can take advantage of my wider audience and try to do some good.  It's not what I want; it's what is available.


I'm afraid of skinny white boys now.  I wonder if those in T-Town or Joplin will be afraid of the wind, or a certain smell in the air.  I hope that they are able to sleep soundly soon, because I know that right now sleep is the furthest thing from possible.  How can they relax? The world is a scary place.  


Don't try to tell us it's not.  We know better.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Abbottabad

Our president's gutsy call in Abbottabad


renewed my faith in the man for whom I had voted.  Laying back and watching the Republicans shoot themselves in the foot on the budget and the debt ceiling and social safety nets was an effective if boring strategy. I was looking for bold leadership, a stroke of genius, a monumental shift in the cosmos.  

Turns out I was looking in all the wrong places.  


Then, again, I can't really fault myself.  The world's intelligence community had OBL in a cave in Afghanistan (I'm not sure why we're there any more... can we come home now?) so how can I feel foolish if I thought that domestic issues were where President Obama would make his stand.  

A digression : Have you noticed that this president doesn't have an acronym, like IKE or JFK?  Carter, Bush, Clinton, Obama.... aren't headline writers tired of writing it all out all the time?  Are we so puerile as a nation that BO in bold on the front page of the NYTimes would make us giggle?  Is BHO too much Hussein for Americans?  Who knows?  Not I, for sure, and yet my mind wanders in these mysterious ways.  And you read it.  It's a wonder, that's for sure. 

But back to the subject at hand.  In June, 2009, Mr. Obama spoke in Cairo.  

The speech didn't get much play in the US media, competing with graduations and summer vacation planning and all.  But in the Arab world, it seems to have added to a conversation that was happening underground and which burst forth in 2011's Arab Spring.  I'm listening to the speech as I type to you, and, once I get over how much I love the cadence of his voice and the obvious intelligence behind the sounds and the fact that I could listen to him read the phone book..... again, I digress.... well, the man is bearing his soul, and America's soul, and talking about the melting pot that is America.  

Speaking of mixed religious and racial traditions in a country which looks for similarities instead of differences, Mr. Obama first went to the long ties between Muslims and the USofA.  Did you know that the first country to recognize the newly formed United States of America was Morocco?  Did you know that the first Muslim elected to Congress was sworn in "using the same holy Koran that Thomas Jefferson had in his own library." 


Shared risks and responsibilities and the inter-relationships between countries and religious traditions and empires and deserts and I am moved once again by the power of this man's mind and his command of the language and the co-mingling of cultures and events that brought him to power at this moment in time and suddenly I have lost the train of thought of this post because, Nance, I agree with you: I love this guy.


But I started out to make you smile, because I am looking for smiles and they seem to be coming my way with greater frequency these days and that is a good thing.  A very good thing.   Therefore, we will go back to the spoken word which is where I was headed before I got all goofy over the Pres.


Specifically, one word.  Abbottabad.  Stewart just put into words what I had been thinking.  Where did that name come from?  


As usual, NPR came to my rescue with this charming snippet.  The great-great-grandson of Sir General James Abbott, the founder of his eponymous community, submitted one of the worst poems ever written to NPR's All Things Considered.  This proper Brit, upon leaving his longtime home, eulogized it thusly
Abbottabad, we are leaving you now. To your natural beauty, do I bow.

Perhaps your winds sound will never reach my ear. My gift for you is a few sad tears.
I bid you farewell with a heavy heart. Never from my mind will your memories thwart.


THWART??  Perhaps the residents of Abbottabad were a more forgiving sort.  Perhaps their English wasn't quite up to obscure references. In any event, those lines, along with the rest of the poem, is carved in a marble slab for posterity.


And I'm left to ponder the notion that, perhaps, Abbottabad is just a little bit of the melting pot, too.  After all, the Empire has been gone for a good long time, now.  The Pakistani's could have changed the name.  


*****


In rereading this I find that I have wandered more than usual.  My family would tell you that this is my normal way of thinking.  I hope that they are happy and that the rest of you could follow my convoluted train of thought.


It's nice to be getting back to normal.  I just hope I figure out how to separate the trains of thought.  For now, as I ride the wave of returning mental health, hang on tight and watch out!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Republican Soup

Is anybody else out there enjoying watching the Republicans squirm?  Please please please tell me I'm not alone here.  I'm having so much fun; it seems a shame to keep it all to myself.


Poor Ahhhhnold, he'd "gone about as fer as (he) could go"

(and if you've never seen Lawrence Welk this is worth a look)

Term limited into oblivion, he'd peaked and he knew it. It's not that he won't have a good life; it's just that it probably won't be in politics any more.  I can't be the only one who has given up defending him.  He's toast.

The Trump-meister has gone back to worrying over the future of MeatLoaf and surveying his shining towers in the sky.  He didn't like being the butt of the President's humor at the Correspondent's Dinner.
The whole 5+ mins is great, but for my purposes, start at 3:11 into Mr. Obama's remarks.


And that was before we knew what had been keeping the President up at night.    

I love this image from the Correspondent's Dinner; Seal Team Six was up and running and he was seventeen places at once in his brain but right then he was enjoying watching The Donald's discomfort.  
President Barack Obama
http://reddogreport.com/2011/05/what-would-happen-if-republicans-defunded-obamas-teleprompter/
I start to giggle every time I see that face.  That's why it's so big.  I want to draw you into the joy that our President and I are sharing.  For the first time in a long long long time we have some traction and we're going to revel.  Just a little, because we're Americans and we're not going to spike the football, as he would be telling 60 Minutes the following Sunday evening.   But there's nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself every once in a while, now is there?

Then the whole bin Laden thing came out and there was Mr. Obama looking all macho and presidential and Mr. Trump took his hair and went home.  Comedians and bloggers all over the universe sighed; so much for the easy prompt.

Mike Huckabee is happy sharing tv time with Ted Nugent.  Ted is still a bad boy, only now it looks more like stupidity than anything else.  

Yes, that is Mike Huckabee rocking out.  Oy.  Vey.  Iz.  Mir.  
I'm posting the lyrics at the end of this piece. 

I suppose I ought to be glad about that.  I don't know enough about his politics, but his taste in music leaves a lot to be desired.


Mitt Romney, the human chameleon, is now trying to wiggle out of the fact that he created a health care welfare state in Massachusetts.  He's never had a problem changing his mind before, so I'm not too worried about him.  


OpenSecrets.org is a fascinating storehouse of easily readable data; according to them, only Hilary spent more to lose to Barack Obama.   The Romney campaign spent $107,142,234.  The next most expensive also-ran-extravaganzas are John Edwards (another of my favorite philanderers) and Rudy Guliani (who seems to be moving to South America for a while).  They hover around $58million.  


I love the fact that Romney spent $17million of his own money to finance his 2008 run.  Just think of it - he could have given that money to finance the campaigns of Dennis Kucinich, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, Tom Vilsack and Tommy Thompson (does anyone else think all those Tom's are creepy?) with enough left over for Alan Keyes, Mike Gravel and Jim Gilmore.  Or he could have given it to the United Way.  It might have done some good.


And then there's Newt.  Good ole Newt, giving me an issue whenever I turn around.  For some reason or other he is apologizing to the Republican Party.  This is a neat trick, because I cannot seem to locate the Republican Party.  I can find the Tea Party and the Republican Speaker of the House and I can find obscure men debating at an event that not even their mothers knew was happening.  But the GOP?  Home to Eisenhower and Nixon, last bastion of something or other that was never going on in my house.... those people seem to be, like Clementine, lost and gone forever.


It's nice to laugh every once in a while, isn't it? 


*****
If you are easily offended just click through to the comments or go on about your life.  Believe me, you're not missing anything important.  At all.  Puerile, pseudo-porn, crap.  


And Mike Huckabee was offended by a rapper encouraging young people to stay away from cop killers...... somebody's not paying attention there..... or at least not reading the lyrics.

Cat Scratch Fever

Well I don't know where they come from

But they sure do come
I hope they comin' for me
And I don't know how they do it
But they sure do it good
I hope they doin' it for free

They give me cat scratch fever
Cat scratch fever

The first time that I got it
I was just ten years old
I got it from some kitty next foor
I went and see the Dr. and
He gave me the cure
I think I got it some more

They give me cat scratch fever
Cat scratch fever

It's nothin dangerous
I feel no pain
I've got to ch-ch-change
You know you got it when you're going insane
It makes a grown man cryin' cryin'
Won't you make my bed

I make the pussy purr with
The stroke of my hand
They know they gettin' it from me
They know just where to go
When they need their lovin man
They know I do it for free

They give me cat scratch fever
Cat scratch fever

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More on Ahhnold

A lot of women are very very angry with Ahhhnold right now.  I am one of them.  I can't seem to get off the topic.  I cannot leave it alone.  


Big Cuter calls and tells me that he is disappointed but not surprised at the news.  He'd always thought of Ahhhnold that way.  "Were you really surprised, Mom?  Didn't you know?"


Well, no, honey, in fact I didn't.  In fact, I bet that Maria didn't know either.  She may have suspected and endured wondering eyes from her friends who loved her enough to worry but knew enough to keep still.  She wanted to love him, she loved her family, her religion must have figured in there, too..... it doesn't have to make sense to her because she wants to believe him.  So she does.  


I watched a friend's marriage implode as she and I marveled at the fact that we seemed to be the only two people on the planet who thought that he had been faithful to her.  In retrospect, it was absurd. And yet there it was, the embarrassing truth that we'd been duped.   


Unbelievably naive?  Perhaps not so unbelievable at all.


So there's the humiliation of it all and that's just not right.  Maria Shriver had a real career and a nice family and she up-ended it all for Ahhhnold's political dalliance.  As I'm typing this 
I'm flashing to The Good Wife and hoping that *spoiler alert* Maria has someone to take her to the Presidential Suite tonight.  


I have tried three times to type a sentence that cleverly presents my disgust.  Two women.  Two pregnancies.  One house.  One man.  I went down a Thomas Jefferson route. I twisted those pieces around and around and I have come up empty.  I just can't imagine how creepy it must have been.


Is he really that good an actor?  Hard to believe. But still..... he did give us a machine with a sense of humor and a tender heart, after all.  


Oh, dear.  There I go again...... finding something to like about him.  


Please.  Make it stop.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not Again

I was just getting used to liking politicians again.  Our President's gutsy call in Abbottabad, Jan Brewer actually vetoing two of the more egregious bills sent to her by the Legislature.... well, I've been sitting here for a few minutes and that's all that I can come up with but you get my drift.  Things were looking up for the ones I admire and those I do not were at least not digging themselves deeper holes.  


Personally, I was feeling kinda sorta sorry for myself (see last week's posts as evidence).  I needed to put on a game face.  I needed intensity and concentration and devotion to specific goals.  My physical therapist took me at my word and loaded me up with exercises.  There was nothing else to do - I had to reread Education of a Body Builder.


I needed Arnold's encouragement to reach my goals.  I needed to immerse myself in the body I wanted to create.  I had to stay focused and strong and use my strengths to overcome my weaknesses.  I had to go outside and breathe the fresh air and....


..... everytime I get to this part of my Arnold Affirmation I hit a little bit of a speed bump.  This is the part of the book where he talks about climbing the Austrian Alps to lift weights in the sunshine.... with his buddies.... and his beer.... and some girls..... and no clothes. 


I recommend this book with a caveat  - you have to remember that he was 18 then, and just get over the wanton sex.  It's the best primer on the how's and more importantly the why's of body building.  There's no doubt in my mind on that score.  


This is a kid whose father was an Austrian policeman, a member of the Nazi Party (though not guilty of any war crimes according to the Simon Weisenthal Center), and by all accounts a rather despicable character.  This is a kid who ran away to find the American dream and who made it big, literally and figuratively.  It's real estate as well as body building and movies.  He learned from American political royalty and turned that knowledge into election and re-election in California.  I was sad that his foreign birth precluded his running for President.


He is a pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-gay rights Republican.  Are there more than 4 of them extant?  It wasn't only that I liked him and admired him.  He was an endangered species; it was my job to protect him.  


I made excuses.  I looked the other way.  I shrugged my shoulders and chalked it up to European values.  His sexual escapades kept making the news, but I was determined to admire him.  He was Ah-nold, after all.


I wondered about Maria Shriver giving up her fabulous career to become California's First Lady.  I didn't judge, though many of our generation did.  It wasn't seemly to comment on another woman's choices, I thought.  She saw in him what I saw in him and she was willing to give up some of herself so that he could be all of himself.  


I couldn't fault her.  I moved from Chicago, from my friends and my history and my life, so that TBG could run his own business with somebody else's money.  I got it then and I get it now.  Neither of us made a bad choice.  It might not be your choice, but that doesn't mean it wasn't the right choice for me.... or for her.


Yahoo! alerted me to the fact that Maria and Arnold were splitting up.  No reasons, "we still love one another,"  she wasn't living with him any more, the kids were going to be fine..... yada yada yada.  I was sad.  I wondered about the possibility of an annulment after 4 children and 25 years of co-habitation.  I sighed and moved on.


I woke up this morning to TBG's face - a mysterious amalgam of distaste, confusion and surprise.  CNN had alerted him to the fact that Arnold was the father of a 10 year old child whose mother was a household staffer who had just recently retired after 20 years of service to the family. 


Service, indeed.


My heart is broken, denizens.  I stood up for him, I defended him, I made excuses for him because I thought the reports were typical media hype.  He's a big sexy guy who smokes cigars and wields weaponry with aplomb.  Reports of groping and innuendo seemed par for the course.  I was willing to laugh it off.  


Foolish child.  Silly, ignorant, foolish child.  I put my heroes on pedestals and that's it.  I'm committed for life.  I'm all in.  I can justify all manner of silliness that seems to stick like feathers on tar, for that is all that it is .... a mob overreacting.  Get a life, people... or at least a sense of humor.


No longer.  This is it.  The man had a baby with a woman who had worked in his employ for 10 years. He had a 12 year old daughter when he created her half-sister, and she had 3 other siblings living in that house.  In the house.  With his wife.  


And the woman stayed there, working, in the house, with his wife, for 10 more years.  Am I the only one who finds this kind of creepy?  


I take that back - it's totally creepy.


So, here I am, disappointed once again in a man of my generation.  Bill Clinton.... Arnold.... John Edwards...... they each have fabulously talented, intelligent, successful wives and they can't keep their pants zipped.


I sound like G'ma.  I know.  I don't care.  She's right.


I'm going to have to find my gym inspiration elsewhere today.  I'm just not in the mood for Arnold right now. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gardening On A Leg and A Half

I couldn't carry very much.  I had to plan ahead and bundle my errands.  I had to keep track of everything and remember not to leave anything behind because I really didn't want to have to walk any further than necessary.  But I managed to limp around with my cane and my equipment and my plants and my gloves and I spent three or four lovely hours in the sunny and breezy afternoon.  At the end,  everything I'd purchased at Rillito was in the ground and irrigated.  I even have the pictures to prove it.




One basket carried my two trowels and the delicious basil which almost ended up in the front courtyard but didn't.


See the cool walking stick?  Created by Daddooooo for our first Chanukah in Marin, I've decided that it is the perfect tool for this next stage of getting well.  It's really and truly mine:




There's my S in brass studs. 








The petunias are holding their own in the heat, though I imagine that they will be replaced by vinca before the Spring is over.  There are two in the front with the petunias and one in this sunshine pot I brought with me from Marin.   

Concert Pal gave me these before she left for the summer.  I'm not up to getting them into the ground right now; getting down onto the ground myself is still an issue.  So, for now, they sit to the side of the front hardscape, enjoying their plastic pots and mocking me.  I'll get there soon enough.

I moved around to the back yard and the raised veggie garden.




The basil and mini-yellow peppers went in after I finished working on the irrigation tubing.




The tomato plants start out with these pretty little flowers





and they turn into these little beauties



Despite my brother's protestations to the contrary, these are not Michael Pollan's $80 tomatoes.  These grape and yellow pear varieties will provide Mr. 5 and me with endless afternoons of snacking as we harvest and watch MOTG's handmade hummingbird feeder.




I might not be able to load 20 pounds of potting soil onto my garden cart, but I had a pretty successful day in spite of myself.  



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