Saturday, March 4, 2017

March Came Quickly, and...

Trying to Save Piggy Sneed was an interesting memoir penned by John Irving, back when he was my age.  It's actually a compilation of memories, short stories, essays, and anecdotes from his life.  The title of this work lets it masquerade as a novel, and I must confess it tricked me. (Even its spine classifies it as fiction!)  Piggy is a cruel nickname for an unfortunate man Irving knew in his childhood, whose life comes to a sad end.  Since this collection of stuff starts with him, I expected it to end with giving Mr. Sneed a better ending, because that is what writers do. If I were to put my hand up in Mr. Irving's class and say, but what about Piggy Sneed, weren't you gonna save him? He'd peer at me over his half-specs, suppress an eye roll, and tell me to use my imagination.

Well, my imagination says that Piggy was way smarter than he let on, and those bones you found after the fire weren't his. He'd been stashing cash somewhere else forever and retired to a warm place, way way out of Maine, where people don't make fun of him. The End.

This is why I am not a writer. But still, I must persist, it would have made for a nice symmetry to end it all with Piggy Sneed--not ending it all.

Seriously, though, I stand in wonder of how Irving is able to effectively proselytize* about any subject that strikes his fancy; I know nothing about wrestling, it all looks like rolling around to me, but his wrestling stories are great, especially the ones involving refereeing. Yes, the famous author refed, and got screamed at by some of the strangest people I never want to meet. Great material...

Another subject Irving proselytizes about is literature. Yes, yes, it's true. He's part teacher. After reading his rhapsodies (the h filled in for me, love that) about certain authors and books, I picked up The End of the Affair, my first Graham Greene book. I know that we saw the movie years ago, but it's not memorable. This short novel is. The whole of this sad narrative is told in first person, takes place in one mind, and it is riveting and thought provoking.

After the end of  The End of the Affair, I picked up a novel that's been in my queue for awhile, one that's gotten a lot of buzz. It's called The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah. It's a tall order to follow Irving and Graham, and at first, I thought her style seemed thin, but that might be me acclimating to  different prose. Readers have to do that. I am getting into the story, which involves two very different sisters. Lately, I feel as though the two-sister theme is a strong one. Another book awaiting me is Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi. I'm digressing. A much more common theme is World War II. The End of the Affair and The Nightingale both take place during WWII.

WAIT....I forgot to do a Rabbit Rabbit post. March came so quickly, hopped right in after what must have been the warmest February ever. We are experiencing cold and windy sensations right now, but this shall pass very soon. And California has gotten multiple inches of rain. I remember watching it rain from the porch or "the old old house" with Granny, that's how unusual it was (Pasadena, long ago).
I do not have anything to report that would be exciting to anyone else...to me, it's exciting that I'm not working this weekend, and I get to sit and bask in the fact that I get to bask. And feel well. My parts are feeling better than ever, even my tendonitis seems to be gone, I can do the snow angel thing, and I'm sleeping better. Not to brag.


Yeah, yeah.

So. Whatchaupto? I'm all ears!



*Mike and I recently watched a spelling bee. That word did not come up. I was so far off that Blogger had nothing. I love google.




Sunday, February 12, 2017

February Distractions

On a rather dreary but unusually balmy February morning, our Sunday paper arrives in its electric orange sheath, just before we arise. That's one of the little things in life I enjoy--the paper, yes, but especially that orange contrasting with the lack of color around it.

Last night, we watched a documentary called Wiener. Yes, Wiener--it's all about Anthony Wiener. And he participated, and let the camera roll behind the scenes. It's a fascinating train wreck. I highly recommend it. I have so many thoughts regarding this film, especially because of what's happening right now in our nation's capital. Anthony Wiener was a talented politician, brought down because of a weird online obsession. Many of Wiener's constituents felt betrayed that he'd lied about his actions, though that would appear to be the least surprising thing about his behavior.  Allowing this film to be made might qualify as astounding behavior, but then, Wiener is obviously an exhibitionist.

Does it take an exhibitionist to run for public office?  An important part of honing one's public image is now taking place online, and perhaps it's exacerbating some people's inner tendencies.

Okay, enough about the Wiener, except to point out that some emails that turned up on his computer helped to bring down Hillary Clinton, too.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




And now a break to sit here, and be here, and experience the moment...

More than just a moment...I went for a three mile walk in my nifty yellow raincoat. Yes, it's raining, and there is a treadmill in the basement, but I can't pass up the opportunity to be The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat experiencing the rain, the slight breeze, the dog barking, and--the sirens. I spend enough time indoors.
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This is the week of Valentine's Day, and next weekend will be our 28th wedding anniversary. Last year, on our anniversary, I was unfortunately unable to eat, which bothered and disappointed me, but this year, I'm worried that I've been eating too much, which does not stop me from looking forward to it! What difference a year makes.

In other ME news, I've been spending a little time in physical therapy--nothing serious, just learning some exercises to control some symptoms that will probably come and go. My therapist referred to it as cording syndrome, and I suspect a bad head cold brought it on. That probably sounds strange, but colds do put one's lymph nodes to work. Anyway, I was at first concerned that it was something that might get worse, but that is not the case. It's almost completely gone now, but I'm glad I met someone who knows what it is.

After this week, I won't have any appointments for awhile. Ahh, almost three months until the next oncologist appointment, six months until I see the dentist, eight months until the next GP visit, and NINE months until the next radiologist appointment (still looking for side effects, apparently).  Life is good.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My younger sister and her wife are in India now, and have shared some beautiful pictures of Taj Mahal. It's always a good time to see a masterpiece, but it seems especially wonderful to be there so close to a romantic holiday. A trip of a lifetime...

And now, I must spend some time reading...


Whatchaupto?






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Interesting:
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/internet-online-exhibitionist-anthony-weiner-psychology-mental-214201

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New Era

Facebook was supposed to be fun, a word here that means, posting funny memes and keeping up with your peeps.  Peeps: people you actually know, or at least pen pals with common interests.

Unfortunately, I've let it become a major time waster, sometimes a stressful one. My newsfeed has become all about politics, and I've contributed to it. It's not my intention to be thin-skinned, and I certainly don't think anyone is trying to upset me, but I find that some of the links shared by people I barely know from high school  are--upsetting me. So, I've unfollowed and made up a restricted list, because I'm sure I've upset them, too.

It's become a belated resolution for 2017: spend less time on Facebook. Look to see what specific friends are up to, then get off.

An example of newsfeed mania: President Trump Declares 20 January 2017 "National Day of Patriotic Devotion."  Yes, it's hilarious because it sounds just like him, but according to Snopes, this is just fancy verbiage, and President Obama also had a special name for his inauguration date.

The Women's March in Washington was a meaningful experience, and people everywhere were very nice and friendly. I enjoyed the speakers I was able to hear. Most of them I caught later. Gloria Steinem was, as usual--well, The Bomb. Michael Moore was excellent, and there were a couple young celebrities who were charmingly earnest. The only one who annoyed me was Madonna. We all know who she is, but it's not cool to mention bombing The White House, even in jest.  Also, I'm not offended by The F Word, but I thought the idea was to out-class Trump. Still, her heart is in the right place.

SO. It's back to reading my mountain of books--and yes, calling my representatives, because I can do that. It's our civic duty. Even those who voted for Barack Obama sent him petitions about drone strikes and Chelsea Manning. I want to participate in our democracy, not obsess over it. It cannot be my new hobby.

And now for something completely different:




It made me laugh, so here it is.

Happy Tuesday!




Friday, January 20, 2017

Dreary Day

Last night, my sisters and I went to the movies. This is news, because I hardly ever do that. We saw Lion, a film that follows a little boy's life after he becomes lost and separated from his family in India. It's based on a true story, and it's moving and parts of it are particularly sad and hard to watch--it's especially hard to watch adults shooing away homeless children, as if they were vermin.

This particular story reminds me a bit of Dickens; the boy, Saroo,  has a few misadventures until he is adopted by a nice Australian couple and gets to live a more privileged life. Still, memories haunt him, and the second part of the story is about how Saroo discovers who he is and just how far he's traveled.

Lion is the latest big film that reminds us of the more typical life much of the world experiences. India, in particular, has so many messy problems--population, sanitation, missing and homeless children, and extreme poverty, just to name a few.

Today seems like a dark day in more than one way, and yet--we are not India. With all the graphic news we receive online every day, we should cherish all we have, and all we stand to lose, instead of feeling that our "middle class" lives are normal. I know young people who seem to think that there is some law that would prevent congress from taking certain actions, such as repealing ACA without a replacement. See? Naïve. For granted. Not paying attention.

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MY CORNER: I'm feeling well, walking about three miles most mornings...I do plan to start physical therapy, aimed at treating lymphedema, in the near future. At this point, nothing is visually obvious, but I have a lot of tightness in my arm, and some spots, especially around my wrist, are feeling sensitive. I'm able to stretch the arm and live normally, but I do want to learn how to manage the symptoms as early as possible. I've been referred to a practice very close by, just down the street from my oncologist's, so if they don't receive my faxed script in a couple days, I'll have time on Tuesday to simply be my own messenger...

AND tomorrow, we'll go to Washington, D.C., and yell. Democracy is messy, indeed, and it will me messy in many places tomorrow.

And look! It's finally time for me to get dressed and go into work. What a shame, it's raining on a parade somewhere...





Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Ides of December...plus four

Good morning! I'm at work, watching these two guys in a pick up truck, salting our parking lot and going way too fast, a term that in this case means,  fishtailing around the corners. One of these guys looks almost cartoonish, with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. They did not beat my first customer, though, a middle-aged Barbie type who just had to get here at 9:00 am to cash her birthday checks.  I suppose everyone with an SUV thinks they were made to ignore travel advisories.

I'm the spoiled kid with the garage-kept car, living just five easy miles from work. This is the end of my first week back from cruising, we are woefully understaffed, and so I will be on overtime in about half an hour from now. It takes me about a week to be mentally back from vacation and back in my groove.

This year's cruise was the best ever. It was impossible not to feel the difference between this year and last,  but also, everything really did go smoothly. We took more excursions than we ever have, very interesting ones. And we lucked into great weather.

The first time we boarded one of those small taxi buses, headed for our first excursion,  I couldn't help remembering how last year, on Tortola (our first stop), two passengers on our ship were killed when their bus turned over. One of them was about my age. It was predictably hard to get that off my mind, and I suspect everyone on the ship had the same experience.

Accidents always remind us how random and unfair life is.  Whatever it is I want to do or learn should not be put off for a "better" time, or retirement. A popular song when I was in college repeated, "everybody's working for the weekend," which is a tragedy. Some of us need an attitude change.  Today. Nothing is wrong with today. Seize the day, seize the moment. Unless you need a nap. Naps are good.

What a difference a year makes. Christmas this year will be a revelation, since I remember waking up last year feeling dreadful. Poor Mike ran out to a drugstore for me. On Christmas morning. Reminder to self: some people work on Christmas morning. By the time we got to his parents' house, I was feeling much better, but since I still had my drains and stitches, I flinched around their big, lovable, wild dog.  Comet has forgiven me. And I can drink this year--this sounds shallow, but life really is more fun with wine.

It's the little things, and it always has been. The smell of cumin, a soft blanket, admiring our Christmas tree, French fries, Peeps, Scrabble games. Which I almost always lose, but it's okay. Life is good.

Happy Holidays! May you visit with people you love, laugh, and have fun!



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It's almost December. Goodness, gracious!

Snap, crackle, pop...that's me getting out of bed this morning. I might have sleep position issues. As I shuffle out of bed, stiff back, stiff neck, stiff knees, I notice that my right ankle is not sounding off. Good. 'Bout time.

Today, before work, I'm having my yearly mammogram, which should take half the usual time. However, I'm going to a different place--actually, it will seem both different and the same, since I'll be beating the same path I've already trampled on the way to those thirty-three radiation treatments. This time, I'm hoping that someone actually looks at my pictures before I go. Not that I'm worried at all--just hoping a cancer center has a higher standard of care.  If I actually get to see my surgeon, that will be a bonus. I'd like to thank her for doing such a good job.

The years go by faster and faster...I must say that I'm grateful to have arrived on the latter side of 2016. Thanksgiving was wonderful, and we are cruising again shortly, and Christmas arrives shortly thereafter. Festive times! 

Our first stop on the cruise (the same for several years) is St. Croix. We always walk to the same small beach club, where we happily flop on the sand and bask in the fact that we are on the beach. This year, we both wonder, will anyone on the island be advertising their link to Alexander Hamilton, who grew up there? We won't be in the same port, though. Later, we'll also be on Nevis, where he was born. It would be impossible not to see these islands with different eyes this year.


On this map, St. Croix is not labeled by name, which I find strange. Frederiksted is a pleasantly sleepy place, and we're always there on a Sunday, when all the locals are going about their usual relaxed Sunday business.

December really caught me off guard this year. It's hard to believe that it's been a year since I was diagnosed with cancer, soon to be a year since my surgery...I've come a long way, feel a lot better,
and am much more relaxed. There are so many issues that I am no longer having. I'm torn between wanting to forget how bad some things were, and wanting to remember, so as to be all the more grateful for feeling so much better.

For now, I really must get to it--Cheers!




Friday, November 11, 2016

Mouth Off!

Here we are, in mid-November...and I am planning to enjoy the rest of this year. Thanksgiving, our cruise, Christmas with family, and New Year's Eve with friends. So there!

That said, I am still reeling and mourning what is going on in our country right now. That 53% of white women voted a misogynist man into office--inconceivable. Are these the Fifty Shades of Grey fans? I mean, WTF???? 

And about these post-election protests: I sympathize with how they feel, but--this is not productive. We all have a right to protest, but we do not have a right to damage property. These frustrated individuals need to organize behind the LGBT community and our planet, and do so quickly.  We need a focused protest, and I have faith that it will happen.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I've read so many sad articles.


An American Tragedy, in New Yorker Magazine.

Garrison Keillor's Op-ed










And now: a bunny in la la land. I'm feeling good, getting over the first cold to hit me in ages. It wasn't a bad one. And it's a bright and sunny day out there, and it's the first Veterans Day I've had off in years, and I should be outside an hour ago. Speaking of being focused and constructive...

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Whatchaupto?