Wednesday, May 31, 2023

New Neighbors

The family I watched grow from elementary school through high school moved away at the beginning of the month, and the new people came right on their heels.  Actually, their repair and installation and other contracting people showed up and got right to work.  It was hard to tell if the new owners belonged to any of the vehicles.   

There was a partial lull in the proceedings this week, and the garbage cans were out for collection in front of their house yesterday (and Monday, too, because they are new and didn't realize that the holiday pushes our pick up days back).  Those were clues enough, I baked and wrapped and left brownies on the packages stacked up at their front door; the only response to the doorbell came from two delighted to see me dogs.

She called to thank me this morning, and we visited in her semi-furnished new home for just enough time.  Once again, I found a neighbor who loves to cook, and whose interest in an herb garden led to talk of a trip to the nursery down the block.  They moved from Las Vegas so the heat and dry air aren't as much of a novelty as it's been for other new neighbors......

...... which started me thinking about all the new neighbors I've had over the years.  

There was Claire, who shared our Honda del Sol in exchange for space in her garage.

There was Dara Blake's mother, who was delighted to park her 3 year old with the neighbor across the hall whenever I got home from work.  Dara Blake helped me change my clothes (ew... stinky stockings!) and sometimes snuggled while I read her a book and then she was ready to go home.

There was the mother and sons combo living above and below us when we were first married, the ones who painted the entryway steps (and then the risers so everything was drippy) the morning of our Kentucky Derby Party.

There was Sean who roped me into organizing an NCL chapter with our daughters and went on to become president of the national organization.

There was the owner of a well-known chain of gyms and his daughters and wife and two very scary pit bulls on one side of our Chicago house, and an absolutely delightful couple on the other.  Linda is in my life on a regular basis since her Strawberry Banana Jello Mold is a holiday staple, the recipe still on the small card she handed me 3 decades and more ago. 

We had gates linking the properties; they were never locked. 

For the longest time, we had JannyLou and Fast Eddie; the path between our houses now links us to The Wanderers, whose history of fixing a house until it is perfect and then bemoaning the fact that there are no new projects to be done makes me wonder how long we'll have them.

I'm not worried.  We have a pretty good track record so far. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

If There Are Words, I Will Read Them

Sometimes the ticker along the bottom is a much fun as the game.
I can hear her squeaking, can't you?

(BTW, it was a great game with Notre Dame winning the Men's NCAA Lacrosse Championship.  There was no squeaking.)

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day

  First posted in 2008.  


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 embarrassing anklets. I wore them because the troop leader said we couldn't march without them, they were part of our official uniform.  Marching was too cool to pass up.  I wore them and bore the scorn.

All the school bands marched too, and the moms on 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.

I belonged to something bigger than my family, my school, my town.  

Belonging means different things in different places. 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 and a picnic and a coming together as Americans.

I've got the flag G'ma bought us for a housewarming present, which replaced the one Dadooooo got us in Chicago.  I'll wear the tie-dyed tank top the Cuters and I made early one July.  I'll remember the fallen and recommit to doing everything I can to make this country worthy of their sacrifice.

We have a long way to go, but I have confidence in the future.
We are the ones we've been waiting for

Friday, May 26, 2023

A Silly Snippet or Two

Flipping through channels, TBG landed on a local station, announcing its 70 years of service to Southern Arizona.

He looked at me with horror.

I am older than tv.

*****

Little Cuter's children are used to being photographed.  They understand posing and smiling and saying cheese.  

They are also, at times, total goof balls.

*****

And what would the weekend be without a photo of the littlest addition to our family?  

Just thinking about her lowers my blood pressure. 

Have a wonderful three day weekend, if your life admits such things.  

Thursday, May 25, 2023

There Are Holes in My Life

School's out for the summer.  I have no scholars begging for my attention, sidling up for a quick hug, screeching HELLO!! across the playground.  

It's been many months since Lady Jane shed this mortal coil; I miss her every time I drive past her house.  I could count on her for lunch or an adventure every week.  I didn't have to plan them.  She did the work.  All I had to do was show up.

Scarlett is seriously under the weather and in no condition to amuse me three times a week with mah jong and long stories.  I miss her little dog racing like a crazy person whenever you come to the door.  There are certain smiles on the faces of certain friends that will live in my heart forever; Scarlett's joy in her pooch's love for me is certainly on the list. 

JannyLou is long gone to her retirement community; a good move for her but a big loss for me.  She was always up for a quick lunch or a long chat, without any notice at all.  Friends with availability are a rare commodity these days.

I find myself to be good company, and TBG provides hours of entertainment when asked to engage beyond the sports and politics talking heads.  But there are holes in my life that I just can't mend right now.  

I'm feeling bereft.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

It's A World Gone Mad

The judge told the defendant that he'd be in big trouble if he opened his mouth, and made him say out loud that he understood and that he didn't have any other questions.

The defendant's own lawyers agreed that there was no question about infringement of the defendant's First Amendment right to make a fool of himself on a national stage.  He just can't put others in danger while doing so.  

The talking heads were straining to come up with different ways to say As if.

Zero to none; hard to imagine; highly improbable; total lack of impulse control (cf E. Jean Carroll remarks in New Hampshire) makes this not if but when.  We changed the channel when they started giggling and calling him a petulant child.

He's in trouble in courts all over the country.  He's being challenged by others calling themselves Republicans but acting more like theocratic fascists than small government isolationists while trying to get to the right of a man with no ideas or ideals or a moral compass.  

And he was President of the United States.

Remember when we were sure that this would finally be the thing that put an end to it all?  Today, I'm wondering if all of these might send him away someplace where he can't bother anyone else.  He's a nuisance, a canker on my sunny spring afternoons.

Dealing with a toddler is often quite challenging.  I'm all agog, waiting to see how the judge handles his.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

My Desert Garden

I planted sunflower seeds in February, and promptly forgot all about them.  

Once they arrived at the nursery, I filled my basket-on-the-post container and the 2 little make-the-post-look-less-awkward pots beneath it with purple and yellow  pansies and violas and verbena
and calibrocha and the remains of an osteospermum which never quite took off no matter where I relocated it until it began to thrive atop the post. 

It was a lovely, if static, arrangement, requiring little maintenance, doing nothing, just sitting there, looking lovely.  And then, large leaves began to appear in one of the little pots.  I'd distributed all kinds of seeds quite liberally over the season; I wasn't sure what would develop.

I found out soon enough.  Those seeds were powerful stuff, producing clusters of blooms and soon-to-be-blooms and thinking-about-it blooms
all the way up, at every juncture of leaf and stem. 
There are a lot of nodes getting ready to sprout; that's a lot of sunflowers.  I watch the flowers follow the sunshine, the younger ones attempting to assert themselves over the bigger and more established first born.

This looks like a very interesting conversation, albeit in a language unfathomable to me. 

Actually, it's the newer blooms facing the setting sun, shoving the older one aside.  Survival of the fittest and all that, but I still found myself humming Old and In The Way and commiserating, all while reveling in the unexpected burst of activity in my little corner of heaven.

I've shared the space with a hummingbird and a family of quail. I've watched the flowers open and the centers change shape and color. Every day, there's something new, something more, something less, but always, there is something else.  
All because of some forgotten seeds.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Happy Birthday, Little Cuter

There are some people who really do make the world a better place, just by existing within it.

There are some people whose presence brightens the room, the party, the meeting.  

There are some people who elicit Oh, thank God she's here! when a team is formed.

I'm lucky enough to have birthed one of them.

People gravitate to my daughter; in first grade the girls made a rotating list to keep track of who could sit next to her at lunchtime.  She was nonplussed by the drama.  She just wanted to be.

In 6th grade she wondered why the girls all fight with one another.  Don't they realize that if you don't fight with anyone you can sit anywhere you want at lunch?

Recruited to participate in Peter Pan, she won the part of Nana and wagged her tail into 5th grade history.  She's not one to push herself into the limelight; that giant dog costume was the perfect foil.  

But when she has a good idea and feels that it's being ignored, she raises her voice and makes sure she is heard. Some pretty wonderful changes have occurred in her orbit because she spoke up.

She was a beautiful child.  When her hair drew compliments at a summer job (hostess at a waterfront restaurant in Sausalito) she smiled and said Thank you, I grew it myself.

It's that little bit of snark that I love the most.

38 years ago right now we were struggling together to bring her into the world.  Her big brother was quite disappointed that she didn't throw the yarn ball back to him from her isolette the next day.  I think that's the last time she let anybody down.

I'm a very lucky mama.

Friday, May 19, 2023

A Convergence

Back in the Fall of 1968, I was seriously considering applying to New College. 

The Charter Class graduated, in 1967; the thought of being in on the start of something new was thrilling.  

At that time, individual majors were encouraged, and hands-on learning was part and parcel of the experience. Best of all, there were no grades.  With a faculty/student ratio of 10-1, faculty-student contracts were used to monitor progress. 

This had great appeal to me. I wanted to understand what Mr. Rudolph was teaching in Math 12X.  I wanted to learn, but I was being graded by what I could take in and reproduce before I fully grasped it.  If we'd had a contract, I'd have set my own goal, a much less lofty one than the District demanded, and I would have relished the opportunity to take my time and figured it out.  

That's not something you can do in a big school.  The intimacy appealed to me. 

G'ma put the kibosh on it pretty quickly.  It's brand new.  What makes you think it will be there for 4 more years? Nothing about the curriculum or the no grades, though she read the catalogs along with me.  Just my Mommy looking out for me, seeking stability for her first born.

I, foolish and na├»ve, didn't counter with,  I'll transfer.  I moved on.  And, as usual, G'ma was right. Her timing was a few decades off, but New College isn't there anymore. The fascists are coming for the books and the learning and New College has been swept up in the maelstrom. 

Remember the Jews and the Commies and the homosexuals who were purged from Germany's universities in the 1930's? Read this article and tell me that the same thing isn't happening in Florida right now. 

They want to take it down to the moral studs and build out a replica of Hillsdale College“I understand that there is a new mandate for this college,” was the President's response.  

Cornell University, my alma mater, has a Mission Statement:  I would found an institution where any person may find instruction in any subject.

Hillsdale College has a mission statement too.  It runs down several screens on the laptop, and includes items such as these: (font captured exactly)

The College also considers itself a trustee of our Western philosophical and theological inheritance tracing to Athens and Jerusalem, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law.
By publicly defending that legacy, it enlists the aid of other friends of free civilization and thus secures the conditions of its own survival and independence.

It ends with this gem:

The College values the merit of each unique individual, rather than succumbing to the dehumanizing, discriminatory trend of so-called “social justice” and “multicultural diversity,” which judges individuals not as individuals, but as members of a group and which pits one group against other competing groups in divisive power struggles.

Compare all that to the New College home page (as of May 18, 2023 at 8pm Pacific Time) Font captured exactly :

Join Our Community of Free Thinkers, Risk Takers and Trailblazers

Your education. Your way. Discover a public arts and science education driven by your curiosity, career aspirations, and individual learning style.

A new mandate for this college, indeed.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

I'm A Disastrophe

Remember that word, coined by FlapJilly and embraced by her grandmother with pride and glee?  It's a portmanteau of disaster and catastrophe, and it's exactly how I feel right now.

I went for my Annual Check Up this morning, but we never got around to any of those questions.  Apparently, my presenting symptoms were much more interesting.  

My doctor was late, a rarity in that office.  She sits with me for as long as I need her, so I assumed that she was doing the same for some other unfortunate soul.  I nursed my weeping eye patiently in the waiting room.  I had no place else to go and nothing else to do for hours; sitting quietly felt like exactly what I needed.

When it was my turn to enter the portal, they took care of the basics.  My weight was within the range I can handle.  My O2 sats and pulse raised no alarms.  My blood pressure, however, was delightfully low. I've been medicating since Pandemica, but the numbers never budged from the 140's and the 90's.  After 5 days of holding my granddaughter in my arms, on my chest, near my heart, I was calm, to the tune of 122 over 83.

I think I will prescribe myself a regimen of frequent caretaking visits.

But, I digress.

Once the doctor came in and we dispensed with noting how pleased we were to see each other, she asked how I was doing.

Ten days ago I would have said I was in my best shape in a long time.  Today, I'm a disastrophe.

I started with the medical marijuana drying up my teary eye (which left her laughing and not at all judgmental).  She asked me one or two questions and declared that I had conjunctivitis, implying that now-legal drugs would not solve the problem. I've managed to live 71 conjunctivitis-free years.  I'm fairly peeved that it's invaded my cells right now.  

On the other hand, I'm very glad that just one dose of erythromycin salve stopped the drip and eliminated the pain.  My vision is a little blurry (coating your eye with goo will do that) but the relief is worth the annoyance.

Bending over my bright pink toenails (courtesy of a last-minute-before-we-left-for-San Francisco pedicure with Not-Kathy), she looked then gently and carefully and kindly pressed and pulled and pushed, all the while explaining what she was feeling and what she was thought she might find. 

I'm lucky. Good care like this is hard to find.

Luckily, there didn't seem to be any displaced chips of bone, nor an alignment issue requiring surgery. I can bend it and extend it without excruciating pain.  We agreed that an x-ray was superfluous; we could see where .  I'm buddy-taping the broken third one to the healthy fourth one now; the second toe will have her turn tomorrow.  It will take 6-8 weeks to heel in strongly soled shoes .... no flipflops, no wobbly, no weak  no no support footwear .... she took this part very seriously.  

I have another appointment for Fasting Labs and my Annual Exam in September.  I've got my medication and my instructions and permission to take 600 mg of Advil twice a day, thrice if it really hurts.  

I am currently a total disastrophe.  But relief is on the way

Yay, Science!



Wednesday, May 17, 2023

My Eye

Part One - Monday
My right contact was bothering me, but I was holding the baby and wasn't giving her up.  

Big mistake. 

By the time I convinced myself to deal with the offending object,  the damage was done. There was (and is) an ouchie on my eyeball.

Or maybe it's on my inner eye lid.  It doesn't really matter.  It's there and I can't ignore it.  

More than just the worry that it will never go away, there's the whole drainage thing. The eye is tearing at an alarming rate.  I have a kiddie pool of eye drool sitting on my face.   Every once in a while it overflows, and I have to dab with a tissue.  Sometimes the tissue rushes to my nose, sometimes to my cheek,  but always the tissue is rushing ..... somewhere. 

Part Two - Tuesday 
Closing my eye felt good, but it's not a great idea to have closed eyes while traveling through airports. Seeking relief, I was asleep, with my eyes closed, under a blanket next to TBG, a little more than an hour after we landed. 
I woke up to flowers from my San Francisco family and a weepy eyeball.  

We were hungry so I cooked a fritatta while wiping the weeps and washing my hands (again and again) before dealing with the food. 

The whole situation was getting old. 

My annual physical is tomorrow; knowing that I'll be seeing my wise and patient physician first thing in the morning kept me calm, but the irritation and the dripping were driving me mad.

Then I smoked a joint. I felt better in five minutes.  

I have my medical marijuana license, it's legal in Arizona, and it replaced my daily Advil and aspirin cocktail a decade ago, while I was healing from the shooting.  No one wants to take 2 Advil every 6 hours for 10 years, after all. As the naturopath says whenever he renews my license, your liver thanks you.

I always thought the effects had more to do with disrupting the pain signals than physically altering my body.  But tonight, I can state with confidence that there are definitely beneficial physical consequences.  

The irritation is subsiding.  It's not gone, but there is progress.  Even better, the dripping has stopped. I haven't stopped to wipe since I began composing this post. 

Many strains of marijuana make you thirsty. That same drying effect seems to extend to the eyes.  It's kind of obvious once I thought about it. I don't believe that any kind of magical thinking could have affected my tear ducts.  Believe me, if wishful thinking made it stop, I wouldn't be writing this post. 

The whole thing is still annoying and vaguely terrifying, but, without the waterworks, it's manageable.  Imagine research identifying what to use for what symptoms, something organic, not chemically created and compressed into a pill. 

It really is medicine.  So what if brings a little joy along the way?

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Travel

TSA Precheck saved us an hour of waiting at Oakland Airport just now.  It's 4:45 in the morning and thousands of travelers are waiting on lines that stretch forever; we cruised right to the front of the TSA line and were whisked through the total body scanner (our pesky repaired joints are not compatible with the first level screening technologies) and on to the gate with no delays.  

5:30am is a lot earlier than I usually join the world.  A 4:15am alarm is also unusual. Saying goodbye to the little one and the big ones never gets easier.  

Air travel has become very democratic.  All sorts of people surround us at the gate.  People who've never flown Southwest and are flummoxed by the boarding procedure wander aimlessly.  Business people make important phone calls at the top of their lungs.  Teens are glued to their phones.  Anxious travelers are lined up 15 minutes before the gate crew announces that it's time to do so. 

There is one other woman wearing a mask. No one is dressed up; sneakers and flip flops are de rigeur.

Still,  $100 and one morning is a small price to pay for traversing the miles between my family and my home. 

I'm trying not to judge the people who can't seem to read the signs. 

Back tomorrow with thoughts on E. Jean Carroll and Ron DeSantis and real life.  

I'd much rather concentrate on this

Monday, May 15, 2023

The Thing About Babies

The thing about babies is that they are all consuming. 

Honestly,  how could you look anywhere else when this is in the room?
That's my only excuse for the delay in posting this morning.  

She sleeps and eats and needs her diaper changed. She's not much of a conversationalist. She has no sporting achievements about which to brag.
And yet,  she is infinitely fascinating. 

Asleep
or awake
everything is new.

I have spent hours watching her watching the black and white checkerboard, wondering what she makes of it all. 

We leave tomorrow morning.  My brain will be filled with New College and Ja Morant and all the other mundane nonsense that grown ups think about.  

My heart,  though,  will be carrying her closer than close,  no matter how far away she is. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

It Was As Bad As I Expected

Not-Kathy and I got pedicures,  then our husbands met us for Mexican food.  A large margarita made the thought of watching CNN's Town Hall with the lying liar somewhat palatable.

I lasted for one question. 

That the audience was stacked with his supporters only made it worse.  The applause for his predictable responses (I saw clips all day long) made me cringe. 

Free media for a sexual predator in exchange for a ratings bump - they have no shame.

It's somewhat heartening to hear a few Republicans saying they won't support him.  We'll see how long that lasts. 

What I can't get over is that this one trick pony has no new material. He's pushing the same story,  with the same tired tropes, and the same folks are nodding along.

Fingers crossed that there is a different outcome in 2024.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Digging and Watering

I succumbed to the pressure.  

Grandma Suzi, is the water warm enough today?  I'd been using the excuse that it was too cold outside to turn on the hose, but the details were apparently unclear to my young listeners.  But the sun was out and they were so eager..... I'm a sucker for a hug and a pleading voice.

They line up outside the garden fence, holding JannyLou's colorful Dollar Store watering cans, as I stand on the other side of the fence, hose in hand, trying to avoid their feet and their t-shirts and their faces as they jostle for position.
Always willing to pause to pose, 
the regulars in the garden were eager to get to the real work at hand.
There were weeds plants growing along the garden wall which obviously needed some love.  
Not everyone was into the water.  I've enlisted the garden scholars in digging a deep and wide hole to house a new citrus tree.  Dumping the soil that's been excavated is an issue, but the little wheelbarrow helps when it's time to move the dirt.  Once again, digging soothed their souls.
And then there was the combination of digging and watering.  The young man in the center of things looked ready to defend his choices, certain that making a mud puddle would be unacceptable.
He was surprised when I laughed and said that I didn't mind, as long as you are having fun.  They were back at work before I finished my sentence.  
They were making eddys in the water before the thirsty ground sucked it down.  Refills were always on the way.
Then the holes began to be created in the pathway.  They were having too much fun to stop.  The ground was a muddy mess.  I had hand rakes looking for a task.  Thus, a plan was born.

Dig a hole.  Use the rake to scrape the dirt/mud back into the hole.

Jump up and down to fill the hole, adding more and more mud until it's level with its surroundings.
That kept them busy until the whistle blew.  My garden was left relatively flat and walkable.  My tree hole was deeper and wider.  Most important - every one was happy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

E. Jean Carroll and CNN - Random Snippets

It only took the jury 3 hours to call the lying liar out.  After two weeks of swimming in that muck, they determined the truth and went home.  I hope they treated themselves to nice, long showers.  

Hoisted by his own petard, his deposition damned him as he played golf in Scotland.  

His whining that he was precluded from testifying was laid to waste when the no-nonsense judge told him to show up or shut up.  

The jury awarded her money, even though she made no specific request.  

How brave of her to take him on, to share her secret with the world. 

How horrifying that the judge had to suggest that the jurors continue to remain anonymous.  

*****

Why is CNN giving the lying liar free media time?  

This is the same idiocy that propelled him to office in the first place.  Searching for ratings, unable to compete with MSNBC for the liberal crowd, perhaps sensing some weakness on the Fox front, CNN is once again validating the lying liar, giving him a platform, providing gravitas where there is only deceit.  

This isn't a debate; the lying liar has already made clear he won't be doing that again.  It's a Town Hall, and I bet there won't be anyone there asking him how he can defend the Big Lie.

This is propaganda, not news. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Digging

I wonder if it has some deep psychological meaning. 

There's not an age group nor a gender distinction that I can discern. Grandma's Garden hosts cool kids and lonely kids and popular kids and odd kids and quiet kids, science kids and culinary kids and the occasional gardening kid, but they are all, each and every one of them, digging kids.

Look at that face. 
He's doing nothing but making holes in the ground with a plastic trowel. He is the essence of joy.  

So is he. 

It's not a planned activity.  In fact, many of the holes have to be filled in because they are in the middle of the path where people walk and I don't want anyone to trip and fall.  

Somehow, that's just as much fun. They dig them,  they stick prickerless cactus pads into them,  I tell them they are placed dangerously,  and back to work they go. 
There are lots of places to dig and plant. 
The birds and the wind and the trampling of little feet will uproot them so that tomorrow they can be planted and ticked in tight once again. 
They will be just as excited as they were today. 

It's gotta be hardwired into our shared human genetic pool.  









Monday, May 8, 2023

40

My son arrived on Mother's Day,  sunny-side up, eyes wide open, wondering what he'd missed during his trip through the birth canal.

There isn't much that he's missed along the next 40 years.  It takes him a while to get around to doing it, but when he does it, he does it very well.    

He never toddled; he ran. He never read on his own for pleasure until the end of 3rd grade when necessity forced him to finish Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter series all by himself.  He takes his time when meeting new people; his friends are his friends for life. 

He goes deep over a broad range of topics.  He sets high standards when accepting new information, so his recommendation of the smart person I listen to on this is always worth a look. 

We don't always agree. 

I've tried, but I still think the whole 538/Obama Boys/Pod Save America situation is puerile and self-referential and not worth the effort of waiting for the occasional nugget of a new thought to creep its way through the advertising and the whining and the blather.   He listens to my ranting with a loving smile, reassuring me that it's okay, he'll love me anyway, even if I'm wrong.... oh, so very wrong.

How did it happen that I now enjoy being patronized by my son?

How did four decades fly by?  

In the afternoon, 40 years ago today, he fit on his father's forearm.

Forty years later, his own first born child does the same, one month into her first journey around the sun.  Firmly believing in the power of early indoctrination imprinting, he has begun her education: a major in the intricacies of Warriors' basketball, with a minor in poor officiating.

He's sharing the love.  She's feeling the vibes.  

I know just where those 40 years have gone.

Friday, May 5, 2023

One Year Ago

It took me 11 years and 4 months to arrive at the out patient surgery center for a hip replacement.

Pandemica stalled any progress I might have made.  Age and the general deterioration that accompanied the trip from 58 to 70 left me lurching and aching and a gentle emotional nudge from Big Cuter made the decision easy.  

As the physiatrist told me early on,  you'll know when you know. I knew. 

And now, 365 days later,  I'm back doing the things I used to do before bullets upended my life.  I'm not doing them the same way; 71 is very different from 58 and there's only so much I can do about that.  

But I don't hurt any more than anyone else I know. 

That's something I haven't been able to say in a long,  long time.

Yay Science!

Thursday, May 4, 2023

The Yellow Season, Redux

Little Cuter stayed home from work on Monday, sleeping until mid-morning and napping in the afternoon.  Tuesday was an I sound worse than I feel day, her symptoms manageable with medication. Although the additional pill she took that morning had left her extra thirsty, it gave her immune system the extra boost it needed.    

You take that with the meds you take every day?  You can add them together?

Her laughing Yes was feeble, probably because she didn't want to annoy that tickle in the back of her throat, the one that should have alerted me to the fact that my disease was actually allergies.

Apparently, no harm has come to my child in her quest to survive her allergies  I'm not supposed to have allergies in the desert, but, somehow, I do.  I put those facts together with the overriding sense of love and affection and trust I feel for my youngest child and drove straight home to take all the medicines the PA suggested.

I'm not being weak.  I'm not giving in to something I should be able to overcome.  I'm not sure where I got these thoughts.... they are obviously not helpful and yet here they are, encouraging me to tough it out..... 

I took the pills, the nose spray, the inhaler, a pencil, and pad of paper and arranged them on my bathroom counter.  I'm keeping track of the every 4 hours rule for the inhaler, because writing it down keeps me honest.

The native peoples in the area really did call this The Yellow season.  You can feel it clogging your nostrils and your lungs and the back of your throat.  It's life and renewal and the birds and the butterflies and the lizards are happy.  It hurts so good.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

It's Gone

All those beautiful big blue and white coupons - useless.

No longer will I be able to spread holiday cheer as I wander through the aisles, bestowing coupons on unsuspecting shoppers, saving them 20% and $5 and $10, enough coupons to cover whatever was in their basket.  

No, the coupons don't expire..... or they didn't expire as long as the store existed.

But, nothing lasts forever.... all good things must come to an end..... here today, gone tomorrow -- I refuse to accept it.  Bed Bath and Beyond is gone.

The stores are in receivership.  There are no refunds, no coupons, no exchanges.  The signage is down inside the store, at least the one I peered into this morning, 90 minutes before they opened their doors.  TBG wants some softer, thicker hand towels; he didn't get any today.

I don't think he'll get them tomorrow, either.  There was nothing enticing about the store this morning.  And there's been nothing enticing inside the store for a year or more.  

I don't know where I'll go for my Hanukkah supplies. 

First Linens and Things and now BB&B.  All those items I have to touch before I can buy them are now only at Target and Costco.  I guess this is the end of the White Sale Era.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Was It Good?

I stopped at a new-to-Tucson restaurant for lunch today.

We are a World Gastronomic City.  Good food is easy to come by.  New restaurants pop up and disappear with alarming regularity.  Getting to all of them before they vanish is a challenge. 

I was hungry for food and not kid-comfort, so I skipped Grandma's Garden and went to Flower Child instead.  Flower Child caters to vegetarian and vegan lifestyles with healthy made-from-scratch salads, bowls and wraps read one review and the menu bore that out.  The chickens had no anti-biotics and a lovely lifestyle before being slaughtered.  There was lots of quinoa and beets and pickled peppers of all color and description.  There was one lonely steak wrap hiding in the bottom right corner of the flashing-too-quickly-to-be-read billboard menu above the counter.  

I can't remember what I ordered.  It had the largest combination of ingredients I don't actively despise.  I thought I asked for a salad but when the wrap appeared I did not complain.  Like I said, I can't remember which very healthy, very crunchy, very chopped and unprocessed decision I had made.  I do remember deciding on Rose Lemonade and then switching at the dispensers to the Fox group's passionfruit black iced tea - the best tea I've ever had.

The setting was lovely.  The chairs and tables were neither too high nor too deep nor too close together.  I was enjoying myself, deciphering each bite as I ate, when the woman at the next table wondered if it was good.

I decided that she deserved more than a nod of my head; she was alone, older than I, waiting for her daughter to return with their drinks.  

It's fresh.  It's interesting. (no, I don't remember what it's called). It's distinctive.  It's good .... but do I like it?

I'm still not sure.  I'll have to go back and find out.

Monday, May 1, 2023

On My Son's Bookshelf

I didn't have to bring a book when I went to meet Honey Bunny.  Her daddy's library always has something I will enjoy.  I always let him choose.  He rarely steers me wrong.  

Ilium lived up to his over the top review as he handed me his well-read copy.  Mostly, he kept repeating you'll love it with the glint of recognition over our shared passions - those ancient Greeks and gods and goddesses whose stories we try our best to keep straight but the fact that they are pretty much all incestuously related to one another it's hard to tell where motherhood and sisterhood diverge.  

He did not lead me astray.

I was hooked by the end of the first page, a mashup of Homer's Iliad and Dan Simmons's interplanetary imagination, with paragraphs so dense that they took more than one reading to absorb.  I'm sure I missed many allusions, but I took great joy in the many I recognized.  The book can be enjoyed without a familiarity with the Trojan War and the Greek dramas, but the knowledge adds another layer entirely.

Actually reading it was another story entirely.

The print is small and the 700+ pages are bound together very tightly.  I was admonished not to break the spine of the book by its owner.  I respected his wish even though it made reading many sections a visual and digital nightmare.  My hands wanted to pull more so that my eyes could see all the words in the same beam of light.  Alas, that was not an option if the integrity of the spine was to be maintained.

But that's my only complaint.  The story starts at several nodes on the outer edge of a mystery which are gradually drawn into the center of a galaxy of sentient, organic, mechanic, nano-technologic, holographic, divine, and reconstituted beings.

Keeping it all straight became less of a challenge as I relaxed into the author's cadence, and began to trust the narrative. Like Homer reciting his tale to an audience without a scorecard to tell who the players are, Dan Simmons connects descriptors to his characters.  He repeats many of Homer's - the fleetfooted mankiller Achilles - and makes up his own - Daemon, pudgy seducer of women - and it's really helpful.

It was hard to grab long stretches of time when I was both awake and something other than the baby's inhales and exhales weren't capturing my attention.  I had a few hundred pages left when I packed to leave.  Big Cuter offered me the second and final volume of the series, warning me that Ilium ended in media res and I didn't want to be left dangling.  So, I accepted his offer and put this in my suitcase.

I finished Ilium and dove right into Olympos.  Or I tried to dive.  I was only able to dip a toenail or two into the story.  Maintaining the structural integrity of the binding required turning the entire book in order to finish reading a sentence.  Light did not penetrate the crevasse I was forced to create in order to preserve the pristine condition in which it was presented to me.  

I got to page 137 before I gave up.  It wasn't worth the effort.  My library system doesn't have access to a hard copy (with, presumably larger type and a binding that opens fully without cracking).  I'm considering following TBG's suggestion and downloading it on the Kindle App, or facing my aversion to audio books and listening to 900 pages of dense prose.

While I pondered my decision, I left fantasy/sci fi/historical fiction/the classics behind and escaped into the library's hardback, normal size font filled copy of Harlan Coben's I Will Find You.
It seemed like the easiest thing to do.