Archive for the 'Well THAT was Random' Category

30
Aug
20

so tell me, did you, did you do, did you do all you could?

Nothing changes because we want it to, but only when we act.

But when you’re in the middle of a pandemic, and you’re not a scientist, what actions are available to you? I can wear my mask and avoid gatherings (oh how I miss people!) and take my temperature and check my pulse oxygen and take my D3 and my kelp supplements and paint my house and water my tomatoes. But those all just seem like waiting “things,” not doing “things.”

And what can I possibly add to everything that’s been said already? We have more time to notice things, we spend less money on gas and restaurants, less time driving around to this place or that. I actually was thinking it might be a good time to get and train a puppy for when our older dog is gone to keep our younger dog company, but how do you socialize a puppy when you can’t get within 6 feet of anyone? And while I’m grateful I don’t have young or school age children at home that I have to try to educate, entertain, and appease, what happens to all of those young and school age children out there who are missing out on these important socializations of school and play dates and learning how to share a sandbox or take turns on a swing at the playground?

Only Daughter lost almost half of her freshman year in college and will lose at least half of her sophomore year (still “going,” but it’s all remote/online) – the best time of your life in some really important ways. Every new class filled with new people to meet from a myriad of cultures and backgrounds, friendships to be made over textbooks and index cards and endless cups of coffee in the cafeteria. If I drive onto campus for something, it’s like a dystopian novel – abandoned, eerie.

I’ve heard it said that it’s like we’re living through the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, the race riots of the 1960s, and the Depression simultaneously. It’s not wrong. I would add the landscapes of Divergent, the disconnect between government and the people in The Hunger Games,and I Am Legend, without the zombies.

may-you-live-in-interesting-times

And while I know how lucky I am – I had MORE work this summer because of Covid, Husband’s job is secure unless one of the largest universities in our state closes down (not an impossibility I guess given the CANCELLATION OF FALL FOOTBALL [don’t get me started on the ludicrous dependence of a university budget on football ticket sales]), we have enough tomatoes in our garden to feed an army for at least a month, our children so far are healthy and housed and fed – I can’t help but instinctively pair that with grief for all the people who aren’t so lucky.

Now I recognize that a sign of mental health and stability is the ability to hold two conflicting ideas in your head at the same time. And I find myself consistently split 50/50 between gratitude and grief.

Why does this have to be so horrible? Why are so many people so angry? Why can’t we come together and recognize that, for what will hopefully be the only time in our history or future, we are all

In. this. together.

The divisiveness with which we in the U.S. are facing this is no surprise, really, given the baby man/menace who is in office and all of the spineless twits who care more about their hold on power than their duty to the Constitution and people they swore to protect. (And if you ask me, I’ll tell you what I really think.) But are we really so hopeless as a species that we need one leader to tell us what to do? (I’m asking this rhetorically, since the answer is Obviously Yes.)

We used to learn about our responsibilities as members of a society; I remember even in my children’s school days posters in hallways about civility and decency and sympathy and gratitude. And I’m old, but not THAT old, so it wasn’t THAT long ago. What’s happened to that? The end of everyone basically watching and reading the same news sources

the internet ruined everything

The availability of niche information markets that allows us to seek out and believe only whatever fringe theories–and I facetiously include mine in that distinction, as many others might, since I get my news from such liberal “dishrags” as the New York Times and the Washington Post–we are predisposed to believe? But it seems like so much more than that; willful ignorance, so precious to so many, so cultivated.

fox news

We’ve all been taught not to talk about money, religion, or politics. Is that maybe not such a good idea? I mean, we are told it’s vulgar to talk about money, which just allows our colleagues to be paid less, or more, for equal work; we don’t talk about religion because it’s “sacred” somehow (pun 100% intended), but the result of that is just that we don’t understand other’s beliefs or lack thereof, and just become even more firmly entrenched in whatever brainwashing we were subject to as children.

And politics. Ah, politics. I don’t bring it up right now because if I have a friend or family member who might still, for some completely incomprehensible reason, support our “President” Chump, I will lose all love and respect for them, so it’s better off if I just stick my fingers in my ears and sing really loudly.

wise-monkey-hear-no-evil

But what about in normal times? (Since these are decidedly not normal) Why not then? Because I do actually believe that most of us want the same things: healthy food, air, water; good schools; un-potholed roads; access to health care. Is it really so impossible to talk about our different theories about how we might have those things? And how we might make sure that everyone else does as well?

And while we’re on the topic of “everyone else,” It never ceases to amaze me that there are people out in the world, people who are clean and well dressed and even polite in grocery store lines, who aren’t wearing a mask. What’s so difficult about this? We all wear shoes, and if you have AIDS and don’t tell your sexual partners and give it to them I’m pretty sure you can be charged with attempted manslaughter, or at least reckless endangerment. Hopefully you stop at stop signs and drive on your side of the road and don’t drink and drive – all things that could be argued inconvenience you in one way or the other, but are good for society, and we all recognize that, so we comply, or are ticketed or even arrested. You don’t go out with the flu or typhoid and cough on people; at least I hope you don’t. (Although I’ve had my share of parents bringing their sick children to my house for their piano lessons; one of the reasons I’m barely teaching anymore.) Wearing a mask means you recognize that you MIGHT be sick and that it would actually be infringing on everyone else’s rights to expose them, even unwittingly. Seems like a no-brainer to me. And if it’s the law, and a local sheriff declares he won’t enforce it, how does he or she still have a job? Are we that much cowards? (And while I’m speaking of cowards, how is it possible that it’s legal to carry a semi-automatic weapon into a state capitol? That just makes no sense.)

People argue that they “can’t breathe” while wearing a mask. I imagine that a mask is a lot less uncomfortable than a ventilator. I actually had someone on facebook arguing with me that it was his right to do whatever he wanted, and if he got sick, it was the medical worker’s jobs to take care of him. Zero concern about their health, their families; It. Was. Their. Job. People. Die. Every. Day. End of story. Such a lack of empathy is pathological, and not uncommon.

Alas.

People argue that at first they were told they didn’t need to wear one, and now that they do. So therefore no one knows what they’re talking about, so they won’t. That means they’re listening to the first thing, and not the second, which is ridiculous in and of itself. And this is how science works. We learn new things, and change our behaviors accordingly. People also used to think you got malaria from eating watermelons, that lightning meant that god was angry. Doctors also didn’t wash their hands before performing surgery, and when some doctors started arguing for it they were ignored, belittled, challenged.

The long-term consequences of this virus for many are certainly an argument for persistent care and consideration. Young, healthy athletes are debilitated with lung damage or myocarditis; people on ventilators for a long time suffer from all kinds of long-term physical effects of the ventilator and the drug-induced paralysis needed to have them on it. Is this really worth risking? For yourself? Your loved ones? ANYBODY ELSE ANYWHERE YOU MIGHT ENCOUNTER? If you have it and don’t know it, and someone behind you in line at the hardware store contracts it, are you going to pay their medical bills? Support their families if they die? Because if you’re not, and you’re not wearing a mask, How Dare You?

And while we’re talking about healthcare (I was, really), let’s talk about healthcare. Here’s an argument I wish someone would make: what would it save employers if we had universal healthcare? From tens of thousands to millions of dollars a year, amiright? This would free up money for better salaries, to hire more people and give them full time work. This in and of itself would seem ro make up whatever extra we would have to pay in taxes to have it. And wouldn’t it be a nice thing to know that if you or a loved one needed long-term care during a long illness, or at the end of their lives, that you wouldn’t have to choose between not providing it and bankruptcy? I realize that people have a real aversion to “give” anything away

bootstraps

part of the same argument against free college tuition [“I had to pay for it, so do you”] or food stamps, but if it’s universal, and everyone’s helping pay for it, according to their own resources, it’s not actually a giveaway. Just think how much less of your income you’d have to save for your child’s education, along with the insurance costs? It seems to me like a win-win.

Now I recognize the benefits of capitalism, and that the motivation for money often drives ingenuity and many of the things for which we are grateful. Nobody’s saying we shouldn’t make sure that this ingenuity isn’t to be rewarded. But do CEOs of health insurance companies fall into that category? Do they really need to be paid millions and millions of dollars? “Insurance” as a profit-making enterprise is, in fact, an endeavor rife with inherent conflict of interest. The point is we pay into a pool so that when people need it it’s there. If part of that pool is going towards crazy salaries and big fancy buildings THAT’S NOT WHAT WE’RE POOLING IT FOR.

And while we’re here, let’s talk about racism. In this case I’m probably not saying anything that hasn’t been said before, but I’ll say it anyway. Slavery aside, which is obviously a horrible injustice, alongside Russian serfdom, sexual trafficking and exploitation, what we as a nation did to the American Indian and what the Canadian government did to their First Nations people , the continued misogyny to varying degrees in almost every culture against women, the confiscation of passports of immigrant workers in Saudi Arabia, all belong to the same category. (The fact that black slaves were considered 3/5 of a person for census purposes, and then black MEN were granted the right to vote* long before WOMEN were [so what does that make us, 2/5? 1/5?] never ceases to get my goat, so to speak, but I digress. Again.) The treatment of people, humans, as anything less than human, is abhorrent, should be recognized as such, and every step necessary to alleviate it should be taken at once and in perpetuity.

People argue that crimes are committed by a higher percentage of blacks than whites, so therefore things like racial profiling and discrimination in sentencing and the inherent fear that drives much of police brutality is warranted. But discrimination and brutality are never warranted, never okay, and isn’t racial profiling just a form of discrimination?

Post 9/11 I was traveling with First Husband and our Three Children and we were flagged to have all of our luggage inspected, by hand, at every gate in the airport. While I thought it was ludicrous that a family a five would be considered viable candidates to possibly perpetrate terrorism on airplanes, I also recognized that I couldn’t argue that only people who looked Arabic were. And if we want to get to the root of the problem, and talk about what it would COST to alleviate racism – social support for drug addicts and single mothers, truly equal schools, proper training for police officers – wouldn’t all of this cost less than what it costs to imprison tens of thousands of people a year? I guess the problem is at this point we would have to pay for both. But what about releasing people who were non-violent? Imprisoned for selling marijuana, since it’s mostly legal now anyway? And spending the money that would cost to imprison them on job training and education instead?

bleeding heart

So many of these problems predate Chump. And I can’t really be angry at him – he’s one man, and only ever been exactly who he is. There have been no surprises here; he has behaved exactly as any thinking person would have expected him to. What really concerns me is all the people who voted for him, and continue to think he’s doing a great job so will vote for him again. What is he providing that might be found comforting? Reassurance that your own racism and misogyny are okay? That greed is good? That we should all just take what we can get and the devil can take the rest?

I guess I could take some comfort in the fact that only 19% of eligible voters voted for him in the last election. How many this time? As far as I’m concerned, 5 votes is too many, although I imagine he and his equally narcissistic spawn

trump and his spawn

could be counted on for at least that many. I would be very curious as to who Melania voted for.

I felt sorry for her at the inauguration,

I don’t any more. I think she’s not any better than the rest of them

I really don't care

So all of these thoughts are going through my mind as I go about my business – listening to piano exams, teaching my small handful of students, writing my book, painting my house, watering my tomatoes. Grief and gratitude, gratitude and grief. My Sangha holds me together on weeks I can face two more hours on Zoom; I miss my pottery class, some new friendships that were forming there. I miss the world. I’m healthy, my recent mammogram was normal, my broken ankle has healed, I have enough to eat. So many don’t. So many things to hope for, so many to mourn. All we can do is our best.

 

Wear your mask. Be kind to your neighbors. Share your tomatoes.

And Vote.

Blue.

 

No Matter Who.

 

 

* I do wish more people took their right to vote more seriously. Not just the actual voting, which would be great, but only if they’ve also taken the time to educate themselves about the issues and the relative stances thereon. The fact that Chump LOST the popular vote (a topic for another time I guess), and won with ~ 19% of Eligible Votes, is shame on us big time.

 

21
Jun
20

Shirley

Two of the best acting moments I’ve seen in a while were in this fascinating movie about Shirley Jackson.

Shirley

The first is by Elisabeth Moss, who may be the next Meryl Streep (she seems to be able to play just about anything)*, playing Shirley. The scene is near the end of the film, right before she chases her cheating, controlling, condescending husband out of her study (I think she throws scissors at him) — this look crosses her face, showing that she  despises him (old news) and that she’s okay with that (new news).

The second is from Odessa Young, playing the wife of an equally despicable faculty husband, as she gets into a car on her way to the next stage of her life; when she shudders, and shakes her head, as if waking herself from the dream of the past two years when she completely subordinated herself to what everybody else needed her to be and forgot who she was.

The movie is a little weird, but I get the feeling that the people being represented might fall under that same category. I thought it was generally quite fabulous, and pleasantly surprised that there was something new on that I hadn’t already seen (my husband claims we’ve “used up” Netflix.) 😀

 

*Top of the Lake is amazing; if you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading and go.

01
Apr
19

Home is where your….

We put our house on the market today. We actually bought a house in the city where Husband works (an hour away) at the end of November, but, for professional reasons, was keeping pretty quiet about it until recently. He’s been commuting that hour for 11 years, so we thought it was time.

The funny thing is, we were looking at houses on Zillow for a year, and weren’t finding much that we were really interested in. The house we ended up buying I actually saw last April, and sent the link to it in an email to Husband with just the line “This might be the house.” He didn’t reply (I think it was finals week), so I thought, “okay, it’s not the house,” and moved on. Five months later it popped up again because of a price drop. The week I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It did not seem like a good time to buy a house, but Husband did, in fact, think it was The House,* so buy it we did. (*Told ya’.)

As you can imagine, we’ve been very busy. Refinishing the floors in the new house (all oak or pine); decluttering this house; moving the decluttered clutter into the basement of the new house (where we will no longer call it “clutter,” it will, again, be “our stuff”); cleaning up this house. It’s never looked so fine. Of course, if I want to find my extra iphone power cord or my silk robe I’m going to have a hard time because there are four unlabeled boxes in the basement (actually, one of them is labeled “Surgical Stuff and Purple Things” for all you M*A*S*H fans out there) .

But that’s not why I’m writing today. Long intro, I know.

As any of you who have sold a house or bought a house or moved house know, such occasions prompt reflection. About who you were when you moved in and how that compares with who you believe yourself to be now. About the nature and joys and frustrations of fixing up a house and the sadnesses of leaving it behind. About the Christmas mornings, and hockey games watched on TV in the living room, the whispered (or not) fights in the bedroom late in the night, the first days of school and the day you finally quit the job that had been making you nuts for months. About the mornings you rush out the door with BelVita crackers and a banana in your bag because that’s all you have time for and the night you and Husband made a 3-course authentic Thai meal for just the two of you. About the childhood fevers and common colds and hysterectomy and stents and breast cancer and the healing that takes place when people who love each other take care of each other.

When I first saw this house, in May of 2007, I was at the end of a 20-year marriage; moving in with two of my children, barely able to afford the payment and the frugal life I was trying to lead. Shaky, and broke, and hopeful. I had barely any furniture, and many of the walls were an ugly color and there was so much to be done, so much to become.

A little more than a year later, the man I now call Husband (well, to you), moved in. He brought an Aga stove and his grandmother’s furniture, and we embarked on the beginning of a marriage. So much we knew, and so much we didn’t. We knew how much we loved each other, we knew what we wanted this marriage to be. We had no idea how hard any of it would be.

I look back sometimes and it feels like I scrabbled my way up a dusty, rocky mountaintop wearing ripped jeans and falling apart Keds and using just my fingernails for climbing tools, sometimes dangling by not-strong-enough fingertips, sometimes hiding behind a rock in the rain eating the last crumbling biscuit in my jacket pocket and hoping the rescue helicopter would find me soon.

But I also see a life well lived. Meals prepared together and laundry folded together and conversations late into the night. Laughing so hard over a “Shouts and Murmurs” in the New Yorker about Debussy’s La Mer, or reading “Here We Aren’t, So Quickly” to a group of friends around our dinner table and trying not to cry. Coffee brought and feet rubbed and shoulders leaned on. Dogs cuddling on the couch and Mahler blasting on the speakers. Nights in the hot tub under beautiful skies at 10˚ below. Beautiful travertine and bamboo floors installed with money I inherited from my Grandma. A bright and light-filled conservatory half paid for with money I inherited when my mom died after a five-year battle with brain cancer. Rooms Husband and I painted, sometimes more than once, and a pizza oven and patio we put in ourselves, proving that married people can work together. My daughter grew up here — she’s 18 and will go off to college soon; a force to be reckoned with, a shining light. A humble home nestled in the woods, surrounded by vinca and perennials and grass somebody should cut more often.

Every room is filled with our lives.

I would like just to take the joy with me, and to leave the emotional cobwebs and struggles of the past buried here somewhere; not in the basement, that would be haunting and weird, but maybe out in the woods, or in some kind of ceremony over the fire-pit out back. Yeah. That sounds like a really good idea.

New chapters, clean slates, fresh starts.

It is time.

 

11
Dec
18

crowd sourcing


Hey all you just sayin’ followers out there — your turn. I’m curious.

In the comments: If you could change one thing about your life what would it be, and what’s stopping you?

19
Nov
18

tick tick tick tick

As those of you who follow this blog regularly already know, I have recently been diagnosed, and am in the midst of treating, breast cancer.

Since my tumor was on my left side, they like to have you do what they call breath-hold radiation, so that your breast is as far from your heart as possible when they zap it with their cancer-killing laser rays. (I might be paraphrasing.) for what is probably obvious reasons, they actually want you in the same position every time they do this, so you have to be put into position, have a system for repeating it, and learn how to hold your breath just so.

My radiation setup appointment was last Friday. First I had to lie on what they called a bean bag (hardest bean bag I ever laid on) on a sliding table that looks a lot like it’s going into a very small MRI machine, with my arms above my head. Then they let the air out so that you end up being encased in a kind of mold (as in “cast” not as in “green fuzzy stuff that grows on old food in your refrigerator”).

Next you put on some nose pincers (piercing, ouch), put your mouth onto this scuba-like breathing contraption (have I mentioned my overly reactive gag reflex?), and a pair of goggles while they teach you how to hold your breath at 75% capacity for 30 seconds. This is actually really difficult to do. Especially around 22 seconds, when every cell in your body is yelling

BREATHE 

At first they want you to breathe normally though, which I thought was kind of funny. Because it’s every day that I’m lying on a hard “beanbag” in a cold hospital room, with a hospital gown untied and folded down around my middle, three random people standing around watching, while wearing a pair of virtual reality goggles, scuba mask, and nose pincers.

r12_627_3902_2825_w1200_h678_fmax

Like this, but she didn’t get the cool goggles.

See? Totally normal.

I do have tattoos now, albeit three tiny little dots I can barely find, and I know where they are.

It’s interesting/funny/odd/strange. The nurse who called with my biopsy results told me I had the “best possible bad news” and that “this would not be the source of [my] demise.” Except there is still an 11% chance of recurrence. And breast cancer has a funny way of coming back elsewhere and causing more problems. So even with radiation, and tamoxifen (of which I read all kinds of horror stories about side effects, which worry me greatly, especially the arthritis ones in which it doesn’t go away even after stopping the medicine — not what a pianist wants to hear!), it could still come back.

I know I’ve said this before, that it wasn’t like I thought before that I would never die and now I know I will. But now I also feel like I might be carrying around the thing that kills me, and there isn’t a whole lot I can do about it.

This is very difficult.

Like there’s a teeny tiny time bomb lurking somewhere in your body, too small to see, but when it’s really quiet, you can hear it…. tick……tick……tick…..

Let’s hope I’m wrong.

31
Oct
18

cancer, depression, and (looking for) the light at the end of the tunnel

So according to the National Cancer Institute, depression is “a comorbid disabling syndrome that affects approximately 15-25% of cancer patients.”

Also, apparently, women are more likely to experience depression than men, especially in the transitional period between pre- and post-menopause.

I can’t help but wonder what the percentages are of menopausal women with cancer. Sounds like a lot of really sad women.



I did just get my blood work back from the medical oncologist visit on Monday. At which I cried, more on that in a minute. Apparently I am post-menopausal. Who knew?


Does probably explain the subsiding of the hot flashes even though I’ve stopped HRT, the weight gain over the past couple of years, the moodiness, the lack of interest in….well, just about anything. (Phew! That was close!)

So here I sit, with a breast cancer diagnosis and the best possible prognosis. These details include:

  • Estrogen and progesterone positive—100% and 70%, respectively—which means that my good friend The Tumor, (whom I have named Bobba Fett), had every available surface covered with little seats in which estrogen could rest its weary head and on which the tumor could feed; 70% of it was also receptive to progesterone. This characteristic makes it very vulnerable to blocking those hormones in the body. And apparently it would seem that I’m almost out of them anyway, but not so much so that I won’t have to take Tamoxifen or, more likely given my hormone status, Aromatase Inhibitors, for 5-10 years. And AIs sound like a lot of fun, with side effects like joint pain, loss of bone density, weight gain (yeah, I really need that), vaginal dryness, carpal tunnel syndrome (great for a pianist), increased blood pressure, and mood swings (cuz I’m not having enough of those already).
  • HER2 negative. HER2 is a protein in some breast cancer tumors that seems to make the tumor more aggressive, both faster growing and more likely to spread. HER2 negative means no chemo.
  • Lymph nodes negative—no indication that Bobba Fett has tried to set up little colonies elsewhere in my body, although that is always held out to be possible.
  • Negative genetics for any kind of cancer that is currently identifiable through genetic testing
  • OncoDX score of 17 (out of 100)-–which means it is in the “low-risk” category for spreading, albeit still an 11% chance. Husband likes to point out that that indicates an 89% chance that it won’t spread, but somehow that’s not really where the mind goes. At least not mine.

Apprently once cancer is detected it has been in the body for many, many years; little sneaky sleeper cells lurking around with tiny little time bombs strapped to their  backs.

Bastards.

And most people think that this “best possible prognosis” would mean that I was walking on cloud 9, surround by sunshine, chirping birds, and harp music.


But I’m not.

When I posited the theory that maybe I should be to my medical oncologist earlier this week (right before the tears started) she scoffed, and said, “Pah! It’s still a prognosis, and nobody wants one of those.” The recognition of that, and a prescription for a teeny-tiny bit of Lexapro, has made a big difference.
My bullshit tolerance meter is set to zero. But maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing (equivocation, anyone?)

But I do apologize if I’ve “yelled” at you in anyway in the past few weeks — verbally, via email, or even in my head. I sincerely hope, at some point in the not-too-distant future, that the


sign stops blinking in my head and leaves room for other things. Until then, be well, be safe, get your mammogram, and if somebody snaps at you for no apparent reason, remember, they might have something really shitty going on in their lives right now, and they’re probably really really sorry.

15
Oct
18

happy haiku

Benign were benign.
Malignancy, wide margins.
All lymph nodes are clear.

giphy1

 

 

 

08
Oct
18

how to help

The past few weeks have been quite a ride.

giphy

I mean, I’ve always been a little (🙄) emotional, but sheesh.

CBD drops were helping, until I was told I needed to stop taking them until after the surgery.

One of my dogs ending up with, well, let’s just call it “some gastrointestinal distress” 😬 hasn’t helped.

My lumpectomy is tomorrow.

*Please know that the above cartoon in no way reflects my feelings about my husband. First of all, we don’t even own a La-Z-Boy.

And I am so grateful for all of the messages of love and support I’ve gotten from so many people. The best of which acknowledge the difficulty of the time I’m going through, and/or include specific offers of assistance.

The thing is, while well-intentioned, and appreciated as such, things like “Cancer picked the wrong woman to mess with!” or “You’ve got this! I know (!!!) you’ll be fine!” don’t really speak the truth; a truth we all know. Because cancer is a test you can’t study for, and there are lots of strong women who have lost their noble battles against it.

You want to feel like


but it actually feels more like


I do accept and treasure it all as encouragement. And it might seem odd, but it’s actually more helpful to acknowledge the randomness and lack of control over all of this. As M said to me last night in a text: Cancer isn’t pink, it sucks.


Looking forward to looking back at all this.

13
May
18

My eyes!

uglyshirt 1uglyshirt 2

No, please, just, no.

Also, why?

 

29
Jul
17

everybody has their role

It’s interesting to me how we adopt certain roles with certain people. 

For example, if a woman in her early 50s of a certain age is wearing a bathing suit skirt at the beach, and kind of smacks her thighs, muttering something like “ugh, I hate my old lady legs,” what she wants to hear back is directly connected to to whom she is speaking.

From her best friend: “I know, right? It’s all down hill from here. Pass me another wine cooler.”

From her personal trainer: “Well let’s see what we can do about that.”

From her husband: “Your legs are beautiful. They have carried you through graduate schools and pregnancy and all over the world. You should wear every freckle and dimple and bit of wrinkled skin with pride and joy.”

And the most interesting thing is, THESE ARE MOSTLY NOT INTERCHANGEABLE. 

Just sayin’.

01
Jul
17

oops

EF sale

I guess it is marked down $55,010.

10
Jun
17

an hour and 45 minutes I can’t get back

Just watched All is Lost.

The reviews were all about how masterful Robert Redford’s acting was; how ingenious that there was an entire movie made with 3 lines of spoken “dialogue” — even though it was “monologue.”

I’ll just say this:

The story was so full of holes, it should have sunk along with the sailboat. And anybody smart enough to go out and sail across the Indian Ocean by himself should be smart enough not to start a fire in a lifeboat. “Resourceful” my heinie…

Just sayin’.

16
May
17

rofl

You won’t see it coming.

Pooh Piglet Trump

07
May
17

What?

You’ve got to be monkey-flipping kidding me.

Kind of makes you wonder if the scientists involved (all male, I’m sure) were getting a kickback from the feminine-sanitary-products industry.

Blergh.

01
May
17

fill-in-the-blank

The Trajectory of the Republican Party

In the comments below, please insert the image of what you think the GOP will present next  by which to screw us over I mean to serve the American people.

My best guess:

A mad pile of poo

26
Apr
17

I think that word doesn’t mean what you think it means

27
Mar
17

from “Bodily Harm”

That sounds about right. But in a good way. 🙂

Redamancy Lit

“Being in love was like running barefoot along a street covered with broken bottles. It was foolhardy, and if you got through it without damage it was only by sheer luck. It was like taking off your clothes at lunchtime in a bank. It let people think they knew something about you that you didn’t know about them, it gave them power over you. It made you visible, soft, penetrable; it made you ludicrous.”

– Margaret Atwood

View original post

26
Feb
17

In case you haven’t laughed yet today

NSFW

But watch it anyway. It’s hilarious.

31
Jan
17

Me, on facebook, yesterday.

https://www.facebook.com/wtfwatchofficial/videos/344218495963608/

19
Nov
16

Just keeping our options open

jobposting

 

25
Oct
16

Letting go of s#!t is hard

Have spent a large chunk of time over the past few days cleaning up piles and papers and organizing desks and drawers and cupboards, etc.

Finding myself also in need of shedding the burden of some observations I’ve been carrying around for awhile. Feel free to forward this on to anyone for whom one or more of them seems to speak to directly. I may do the same.

A new category: You Might Not Know This, but…

For example: 

  • You might not know this, but the reason some people don’t say “hello” in a loud and cheerful voice every time they walk into the office is because a secretary in a previous office may have sent everyone an email once, pointing out how busy she is, and how distracting it was for her to have to stop work and exchange greetings with every person who walks in, and could everyone please limit their casual conversations with others perhaps to a different area of the building; so maybe they’re just trying to be considerate.
  • You might not know this, but the day you said “Hell-O” in a very pointed way, I had already said hello, very quietly, so as not to interrupt people at their work.
  • You might not know this, but misspelling or omitting names of participants in programs or brochures or during the official “thank-yous” might make them feel their contribution is insignificant, or cause them to wonder why they work so hard to be so professional and conscientious all the time when so much of what they do will be attributed to someone else, or to no one at all.
  • You might not know this, but I had decided not to charge you for the recital we performed together, but when you sent me a copy of the publicity with your name in size 36 font and your 5×7 picture and your bio and made no mention of a pianist, no less no mention of me, I realized that you did not see us as collaborators and equal contributors, but rather that you were the soloist and I was the hired help, so charging seemed like the logical thing to do.
  • You might not know this, but forbidding an active, full investment from someone with whom you are “collaborating” (in scare quotes, since, if you’re not encouraging an active, full investment, it’s not actually a collaboration at all, is it?) will not only make them feel small, but will prevent you from learning anything from them, and may actually interfere with your own goals, as chances are they have ideas worth at least considering.
  • You might not know this, but in rehearsal, when a collaborator says “we’re not together” it might mean that you actually miscounted and came in wrong, and maybe they were being polite, and considerate of your feelings. And, in case this is not obvious, firing them on facebook is kind of a shitty thing to do. 
  • You might not know this, but the look on my face at that meeting was not impatience or animosity toward you for holding the meeting, but sheer embarrassment on your behalf that other people’s actions had made the meeting necessary.
  • You might not know this, but some people may not insert themselves into conversations or invite themselves along to social gatherings because they were taught not to intrude on others’ conversations, or to invite themselves, and does not necessarily imply a lack of desire for personal interaction or connection; and it may even be possible that your lack of welcome and inclusion had as much to do with a lack of connection as anything else you might want to blame.
  • You might not know this, but it’s not appropriate to pay someone half a salary, or hire them to work 15 hours a week, and expect them to make a 100% commitment. You wouldn’t do it, I can’t for the life of me why you would expect someone else to.
  • You might not know this, but people may not agree with how you choose to do your job, share your ideas (or not), gossip, post on facebook, manage your relationships, or even how to be. But realize that, as they show you respect in allowing you to make those choices for yourself, they probably long for the same respect to be shown in return.
  • You might not know this, but allowing the person who was hired to do the job actually do the job might actually lead to more consistent and professional results than if you encourage your spouse, who has no training or expertise in the area, to express opinions and influence on how the job should be done. Likewise if you replace “spouse” with “person who writes the huge checks every year as a donation to save the organization when yet again the deficit budget fails to miraculously convert itself into a surplus.”
  • You might not know this, but calling to yell at someone about a blog post you hadn’t even read hurts the writer’s feelings tremendously, maybe even more so if the writer was advocating for someone close to you. These feelings may continue to reverberate, including creating a hesitancy to write anything at all, and a lack of trust in your fundamental relationship, which is regrettable for all concerned.
  • You might not know this, but people who feel deeply and are always striving to improve are not necessarily pessimistic, but may in fact be exceedingly optimistic, but find their optimism harder and harder to act on, given the responses this optimism has met in the past. 

I think everyone should read Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Here We Aren’t, So Quickly” (New Yorker, June 14 & 21, 2010) and pick which sentence best describes them. I used to think it was “You were too injured by things that happened in the distant past for anything to be effortless in the present” but now I think it’s “I was never indifferent to the children of strangers, just frustrated by my own unrelenting optimism.” 

Tomorrow: the linen closet.
P.s. An opportunity for catharsis for you, dear readers, in the comments section: You might not know this, but…

Or maybe a sub-sub-category for parents: …the dishes don’t put themselves away, …the cupboards don’t wipe themselves, …lights don’t turn themselves off, …sometimes it’s nice to do something just because you know it needs to be done not because somebody asked you, …it’s more polite to ask if there’s anything you can do to help with dinner than to ask what is for dinner, or what time it will be served, …the laundry is not actually done by the laundry fairy, …

09
Aug
16

Random Thoughts

Yes, I’m still here.

Waiting till I have something to say I guess.

And now just these:

This world is not a meritocracy. It sucks, but it’s true. Discuss.

There might be something to be said about an unforeseen problem brought on by showing your children unconditional love, as in no one feels compelled to clean the house before your return after a long absence. Creating the psychological need to “earn” love might be underrated after all.

One can definitely gauge one’s fed-up-ness with the world, that is, the state of politics and the American citizenry’s unwillingnessifnotinability to actually Face the Truth, by one’s propensity to take “Cook’s Illustrated” to bed rather than the New Yorker.

Alas.

 

 

 

01
Mar
16

somebody save us from ourselves

Will this help?

25
Jan
16

Putting things into perspective

At 3:40 in the morning on Tuesday, January 19, I was awoken by my husband calling to me from the floor. As I sat up and leaned over to respond, he got to his hands and knees and crawled over to the bed and put his head on the mattress, but seemed to be completely unable to come any further.

As he kept saying “I need to tell Sheri” (I’m Sheri) “that I fell on the floor,” over and over again, I worried that he had had a stroke.

Repeated attempts to get him to come up on to the bed failed, so I went out into the hall and called to some friends who had come in from out of town the night before to see if they could come help me. We managed to get him up on the bed, and he was able to look at me and talk and squeeze both of my hands, so I thought maybe it wasn’t a stroke after all. Then he told me that he needed to tell Sheri that he had had chest pains and while trying to take his pulse he had apparently fainted. There was blood on his lip and a split in the skin over his eyebrow, so it seemed clear that he had hit the floor pretty hard.

I called 911, gave him an aspirin per instructions, unlocked the door and turned on the porch light, and went back to sit with him and wait for the EMTs, during which time I made repeated calls (unanswered) to his cardiologist who is also a good friend.

Four people arrived — first, two firemen, who asked him some questions, had him smile and stick out his tongue (no stroke); then two EMTs with an ambulance who took a pulse, and ran a quick EKG which showed a mild arrhythmia but not enough to “require” a trip to the ER, although the EMT recommended it.

Our friends and I thought that would be a good idea, and he agreed, which kind of convinced me this was pretty serious, as he would generally resist such an idea, so off he went in the ambulance, and I followed with one of the friends in our car. The other stayed home with Second Son, StepSon, and Only Daughter.

We spent almost 6 hours in the ER while they monitored his heart rate, and took periodic blood tests for Troponin (sp?), the enzyme thrown off by the heart if there is a heart attack (all negative). He was then sent to the cardiac observation unit, so that they could do one more Troponin test and monitor things for the day.

He was allowed to move around, so we walked up and down the halls for a while, him walking his IV pole. His manner of speaking still seemed different from usual — not as different as in the first few minutes, when he didn’t seem to realize to whom he was talking, but still different — more monotone, at a slightly higher pitch. We observed people of many ages in beds, a young man in what seemed to be a 50% body cast walking (?) down the hall with crutches and family flanking him on all sides. We nodded to the resident who had come and asked him some questions already, heard rumors of the cardiologist’s impending arrival.

Six hours later (now 4:30 p.m.) the attending cardiologist, the resident, two students and nurse appeared in his room, where the doctor reported many lengthy conversations with Husband’s cardiologist friend and between the doctors at the (very excellent) hospital.

Many theories presented themselves, none with clearly obvious affirmative answers. Husband had an abnormal stress test in the fall, but only at the highest pulse rate they were willing to push him to. Perhaps a plaque had broken loose and blocked an artery, but there were no indications of heart attack and he had no physical symptoms of blockage — his pulse was good, his color was good, he wasn’t short of breath, the pain had been in his chest only, not radiating to chin, arms, shoulders, etc. Perhaps the pain had caused a vaso-vagal response, but there had been no moments of dizziness or nausea — he was conscious taking his pulse, then he was coming to on the floor. The attending’s theory was that there had been an arrhythmia, which might have caused fainting. The arrhythmia might be caused by some partial blockages, and the only way to know that for sure was to go to heart catheterization, so that was where we were going. Now.

So we went.

Thirty minutes later he’s in the cath lab, shaved and mildly sedated, and I’m in the waiting room.

For two hours.

And for one of them basically alone, as the routine procedures were over for the day, so the status board was shut off, then the woman at the desk went home. So I sat. And knitted. And texted people back who were checking in. And tried to decide if I had time to go get something to eat (had four bites of breakfast 8 hours earlier or so). And waited.

Granted, midway I did get a report from the nurse that they had placed one stent and were “trying” (?!?) to place another.

Finally he was on his way back. I went back into the pre-procedure room and waited; I could hear him talking to the nurse as they came down the hall, and he actually sounded much more like himself. When he saw me, though, there were a few tears in his eyes, and he reported on the surreal nature of undergoing a procedure on your heart while you can hear them talking about what they’re doing and what they’re going to do next and shouting orders to assistants and you can feel twinges deep within your chest as they run wires and place stents. Four were placed — one in one artery that had a 90% occlusion; three in a very complicated and zig-zaggy artery that had an 80% occlusion. There were pictures, of the before-and-after persuasion, which were fascinating; and a third artery with 70% occlusion that they left as is — he had already been in the procedure for two hours, and many doctors don’t seem to feel that stenting a 70% occlusion is a good idea.

Of course he was then admitted. As the procedure requires them to employ blood thinners, the cuts on his lip and eyebrow reopened and bled, and bled, and bled; the small contusion on his eyebrow swelled to golf-ball size proportions, and the lovely purple eye-shadow on his upper lid became a full-blown black eye. I sat by his bedside and dabbed blood from his lip for hours, and he tried valiantly to keep an ice pack on his very painfully swollen brow.

We slept, eventually, I on a marginally comfortable couch-like structure that “opens” up into a “bed.” By 6:45 a.m. the room was full of nurses changing over their shifts, and then the cardiologist and a couple different students appeared, with news that he would need a stress test, and if he “failed” they would have to go in and stent the one vessel they didn’t get to and if he passed he could go home.

And then the stress test was delayed until the next day because he had already taken his meds.

And then, a few hours later, the stress test was reinstated, because the meds don’t matter, but what? He’s eaten some of his lunch? Stop eating! Fine, a few bites don’t matter.

Stress test, wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait you can go home.

No, we don’t have results, but we have discharge orders.

So he’s home.

And then nobody sleeps. You think sleeping in a hospital is hard, but then you go home and realize that now nobody’s monitoring your heart, and there aren’t nurses a call-button away — just your wife, who slept through the whole thing in the first place until you called for her from the floor.

Not very reassuring.

And now for the point of this whole post.

Some questions.

Why do we get to live where access to this kind of medical care is available to us, just minutes from our house?

What happens to people who don’t live in such an area?

We were in the emergency room for 6 hours, and he was being treated the entire time. The friend who had come with me is from New York city, and pointed out that in NY we might not even have been seen yet.

He had state-of-the art care, within minutes of when it was needed. He needed a heart cath — there’s a doctor there ready to do the procedure within minutes. He needs a stress test, the woman with the wheel chair was in his room before I could even text his family. He needs blood thinners and a lifetime of anti-coagulants that cost $387 a month and will cost us $20 with our prescription insurance and THEY DID THIS PROCEDURE THROUGH HIS WRIST WITHOUT ANESTHESIA — he won’t even have a scar.

How can we maintain our normal work loads to continue to meet our financial obligations without losing sight of the fact that nobody gets out of this alive? That time is our most precious commodity and every single one of us might have a hell of a lot less of it than we think? That yes, life is full of frustrations and disappointments but joy and meaning and relationships are priceless so that we can should must try to overlook/let go of the former and treasure the latter?

Our friends were visiting at what might have been a most inopportune time — in the middle of a work week, while Husband suffers a cardiac “event.” But a snowstorm on the east coast meant that they were “stranded” here for a couple of days at the end of the visit as well, and we enjoyed delicious meals and great bottles of wine together, and laughed so hard last night that our stomachs hurt.

Yesterday I took our friends to a garden center with indoor greenhouses and sculptures and art installations. We walked around and took pictures of tulips and daffodils and cacti, with steamed-up windows and snow visible through them in an interesting seasonal juxtaposition. I watched a half-frozen waterfall through a window that flows to a Japanese garden and studied pieces by Rodin and Degas and Calder. I felt as I do when listening to Mozart — happiness and sadness at exactly the same time.

It all goes so much faster than most of us expect, maybe even than we would want. (I always say that the only way to slow time down is to just be really bored all the time; remember how long Sundays were when you were a child?)

We still don’t even know if the treatment resolved the cause of the problem. We might not ever know. So we live now with a lot of gratitude, and a little more apprehension, a little more care, a little more joy.

IMG_3499 IMG_3501 IMG_3504 IMG_3509 IMG_3511 IMG_3512 IMG_3513 IMG_3514 IMG_3515 IMG_3517 IMG_3518 IMG_3519 IMG_3520 IMG_3521 IMG_3523

 

Sorry the pictures aren’t better – I took them with my phone. Loved the colors though.

 

26
Aug
15

wonder what this is about

Wrong ad

vs. this

AmyShumerHerself

Better feminism.

That’s all.

30
Mar
15

casting out demons

Went for a walk today,
first time outside in a long time,
casting out demons as I went.
Begone!
No pigs to cast them into,
just a few robins, one really
fat
squirrel.

Encountered someone the other day,
a sad, small person
with too much power and an inordinate willingness to use it;
a complete dearth of professional courtesy,
unapologetic disregard for anyone’s needs except her own
need
to exert that power.

She was the first to go.

Begone!

Also cast to each side other
demons too numerous to mention here,
and anyway I know that they only lurked behind the
bare trees and followed me home again;

but I closed the door quickly,
turned the bolt in its lock,
and took a nice long hot shower

leaving them mewling on the porch.

Perhaps the postman will take them
when he leaves the day’s packages.

Cuz apparently we're assholes.

Cuz apparently we’re assholes.

Play Ball! Well, maybe in a month or two...

Play Ball!
Well, maybe in a month or two…

Swoop!

There is actually a bird in this picture -- a very small black and white speckled thing that is apparently "designed" to blend in with tree bark. Can you find it?

There is actually a bird in this picture — a very small black and white speckled thing that has clearly evolved to blend in with tree bark. Can you find it?

Waiting for Spring...

Waiting for Spring…

I know

05
Mar
15

the real reason Rapunzel was locked up in that tower

rapunzelsketchMaybe Rapunzel was an eighth grader, going to public school.

Maybe all Rapunzel could talk about was boys, and all she worried about was her hair, her complexion, her makeup, her clothes, and whether the “popular” people (who, apparently, no one actually liked) liked her or not.

Maybe the boys on Rapunzel’s bus constantly made sexually suggestive and, therefore, (duh) inappropriate, comments and watched carefully to see what her reaction would be so as to know whether they could continue to make sexually suggestive and inappropriate comments or not.

Maybe Rapunzel thought it was so  important that these skanky excuses for human beings liked her and that she not seem a prude that it never even occurred to her to point out that their behavior made her uncomfortable. Maybe she had so little sense of herself and her own rights that their behavior didn’t even make her uncomfortable. And maybe this caused her parents great distress.

Maybe, at the same time, she was being treated to the state-approved “Sex Education” curriculum, “Willing to Wait” also known as “If you have sex you will get chlamydia and die” program.

Not helping.

I imagine Rapunzel’s parents would have been reassured if the class had involved realistic and valid discussions about the physical and emotional implications of having sex WHEN BARELY A TEENAGER; or discussions about what is and is not appropriate to say or to have to listen to.

I imagine Rapunzel’s parents would have felt better about Rapunzel’s outlook on life, career, education, her self and her agency and her responsibility for her own life if more of Rapunzel’s focus was less about what the world thought of her and more about what she thought of herself. It might also have helped if part of the discussion in these “Willing to Wait” classes included teaching the boys that what won’t be appropriate to say in the workplace when they’re 30 is also not appropriate to say when they’re 15, even if they are currently suffering from hormone-induced mental illness. Or if someone besides Rapunzel’s mother was telling her daughter that whether the boy liked her or not was less than half as important as whether she liked the boy; or that the first thing the girl needed to learn how to do was to support herself so that she would never need to rely on someone else for housing or food.

I imagine Rapunzel’s parents thought that shutting her up in a tower until she was 25 was actually for her own good.

rapunzeltower

I imagine I could agree.

It is too bad that the “happy ending” in this story requires her being rescued by a handsome prince.

rapunzel and prince

Alas.

Even better: a kick-ass job with a six-figure salary and a complete disregard for what anyone else in the world thinks about her appearance.

kickassrapunzel

01
Oct
14

God’s plan

You know how, when something tragic happens, there are always people who tell you, presumably to be Comforting, that “it is all part of God’s plan.”

Second Son sent me this today, thinking I might find it amusing.

I did.

Very, very amusing.

God'sPlan

 

 

16
Jun
14

busybusybusybusybusybusybusybusy. . .

As I start this I remember recently reading an article about whether we are actually as busy as we think we are.* Whether maybe we know we’re not actually that busy but it seems important to society that we be busy, so we’re also not actually as busy as we say we are.

I googled “Are we really that busy?” and got article after article after article about how we’re NOT actually as busy, etc. etc. so it must be true.

But anyway. I’ve been really really busy lately. Usually this time of year I have lots of time to sit in the adirondack chair on my deck with a gin+lemoncino+tonic (a “lemony snicket” apparently) and a good book. Not so much this year.

We were very busy in April and May turning this:

Our backyard in early April.

Our backyard in early April.

into this:

Our backyard now. (The perspective is the opposite, but they're the best panoramic I have of each)

Our backyard now. (The perspective is the opposite, but they’re the best panoramic I have of each)

Of course it helps that the world also turned green during that time span, but there it is.

We leveled 500 square feet of dirt, and then spread and leveled (with a carefully calculated 1/2″ per 8′ slope) 500 square feet 4″ deep in gravel, and then laid 5 tons of flagstone one piece at a time; and Husband built the pizza oven.

Lots of work. My back is still pretty pissed off at me, but there it is.

We also had to deal with the fact that Second Son’s car (my old Honda Odyssey) finally gave up the ghost after 13 years of service and 240,000 miles. We drove it, gently (the transmission was going, so there were to be no sudden moves), to the Honda dealer and basically gave it to them in trade for a 2004 Corolla with 96,000 miles on it (a significant improvement, nonetheless). After cleaning out bags of papers and food wrappers and water bottles, and, mysteriously, the steak knife that has been missing from our set for ~ 3 years (our driveway is “dark and creepy” at night, apparently the steak knife was to offer protection; thinking if someone were on the attack it would have been either useless or turned on him, but I guess it made him feel better, so whatchagonna do, especially since I didn’t know about it at the time?), Second Son stood in the parking lot and said his good-byes. I found myself “harkening” back as well — it was purchased in the week or two before Only Daughter (now 13+) came to us from her birth home (South Korea), and has seen us through a lot of life’s changes. More of my life looks different now than the same — divorced, bought a house and moved, remarried, children grown and graduated, different jobs, opportunities, friends. That van was a pretty significant material connector really to what I would call my “former” life. Maybe I should have stood next to Secondo and said a more formal goodbye as well.

He rescued his lego Ninja from the dashboard, we drove away.

Dante? Is that you?

Dante? Is that you?

 

This past week I completed my apprenticeship (hopefully) to become a member of the Royal Conservatory (of Toronto) Board of Examiners. This Wednesday I leave for a 12-day trip to the British Isles to perform with a choir for whom I play. Husband’s unable to come, so I’m traveling with the group and he’s holding down the fort, such as it is.

I find myself with new chamber groups to work with, new performance opportunities, job openings that I may or may not apply for, so the transitions continue.

Have you heard the expression:  “You throw your anchor into the future you want for yourself and then pull yourself along by the chain”? The thing is, (or shall I say the things are):

  • Do you really know what you want from the future? So often it doesn’t turn out the way we had expected.
  • Have you ever found yourself dutifully pulling yourself along by the chain, and The Whole Entire Time nothing in your surroundings seems to indicate that you’re pulling on the right one? Like, “Now just wait one cotton-pickin’ minute. Whose chain is this? Am I pulling on the right one? Is that yours? Where was it this was going again? Who moved my cheese?“)

marine anchor chain

 

It seems that we can spend months and years if not longer chasing things, trying to form our futures into that Future; you know? The Future We Want? And then all of a sudden all of this stuff happens, seemingly out of the blue.

Now I realize that it’s not “all of a sudden,” that all of the things I’ve done and connections I’ve made and hours I’ve spent practicing and trying to be a good teacher and good collaborator have paid into these opportunities.  But it still seems kind of random, and quite unexpected. Good, but unexpected.

Anyway, I’ve been really really busy moving rocks and practicing and pulling on those damn chains. I have a zillion ideas of things I want to write about, but it seems that my hands have been pretty full.

Thanks for sticking around.

I’ll  post some pictures of really old castles and Stonehenge and this drink I’m supposed to try in Scotland (a crabby green something?) as soon as I can.

ttfn!

 

*Being me, I have absolutely no recollection of the source of this article; hence I am unable to link to it. My apologies.

21
May
14

screaming out the window ’til my face is hoarse

Yesterday I started Robert Bly’s Sibling Society — a book I bought a long time ago and just rediscovered in a pile of dusty, unread books. He’s writing about what’s happened since the 50s to change us from a slightly paranoid while still seemingly optimistic society to one where children grow up expecting their parents to solve all of their problems for them and teachers struggle to get students to even CARE about learning.

I haven’t gotten very far, but it makes a lot of sense to me, based on what I’ve observed in the past dozen years or so of teaching-while-raising-children (a notable subgroup if ever there was one).

One of the things he addresses, albeit briefly, is our need to share, to speak, to rant (this was written, I think, before Twitter was Twitter or blogging was popular). As I recall he’s talking about how misguided this is; how, if we were striving to know ourselves rather than to feel that we were known by others, we would spend a great deal more time “talking” to ourselves in terms of self-reflection, self-improvement, self-awareness, etc. (And notable, at the risk of repeating myself, because this was written before Twitter was Twitter &c &c)

And I find myself wondering why I’m blogging.

Do I “find” myself by talking to you? Or am I (somewhat deliberately albeit subconsciously) missing the point?

I’m SO tired of and frustrated with the media’s portrayal of women; with the lack of support for equality in every respect in society and our government; in the ridiculousness that provides 9 year olds with smartphones and Only Daughter (in SEVENTH GRADE) coming home with stories about her “colleagues” talking about participating in various sexual acts that none under the age of 17 should even know the name of. Of course, we don’t know if any of them are ACTUALLY participating, or if it’s just a bunch of bravado — but shouldn’t the BRAVADO be something none under the age of 17 even think of? The government is being run by who can raise the most money, which means it’s not representing any of us without it, our roads are falling apart, schools spend too much money on unnecessary technology and fancy buildings and too little attention on whether my child is actually learning to think creatively, to problem solve.

But does my getting upset about any of these things, and ranting  writing about it, actually change anything?

Even when I decide that I’m tired of the sound of my own voice, and I go looking for other things to read, I’m just reminded about two things: how much blather there is out there (blogs with followers in the tens of thousands if not millions that are writing about how to organize your purse or the best recipe for lemon curd) and how much ridiculousness. Even Upworthy makes me feel sad/mad/angry/frustrated. I love Jessica Valenti, but she’s screaming out the window until her face is hoarse about the same things I am, but nothing changes.

I’m also becoming less and less comfortable with the “Me! Me! Pay attention to me!” nature of blogging. Maybe it’s my age, but I think maybe I need to spend more time listening, wearing muted colors, and practice speaking in a softer voice.

Maybe I should experiment with turning the blog over to you, my few but faithful readers. Introduce a topic, invite a conversation (civilized discourse only, of course). I know that might be asking for trouble. Internet/blog commenters are not known for their tactfulness or restraint. But you all aren’t the average internet readers/commenters, are you.

Hmmm.  Where should I start.

Suggestions anyone?

 

 

07
May
14

Caw caw.

Growing-Crowing

 

Hard to take it seriously when it’s mostly about crows.

04
May
14

reply vs. reply all

A brief tutorial, for those of you living at the bottom of a mineshaft, or too busy re-alphatizing your rolodex to pay attention, for the past 15 years:

Clicking on this button:
replyknown as the “Reply” button, sends an email message in response to a previous message, but sends this message only to the person from whom the original message, well, originates.

Clicking on this, one, in comparison:

replyall

will send your message of response to EVERY SINGLE PERSON TO WHOM THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR DIRECTED THE MESSAGE.

These buttons should be used judiciously; with consideration and forethought.

For example, it is important for the person administering the training session to know whether you have taken it previously. The rest of us don’t actually need to know that you have taken it previously, and despite being, as a whole, reasonably sympathetic people, about this particular issue I think it’s safe to say that we probably don’t care. It’s not personal, it’s just that, well, we don’t care. It doesn’t affect whether we need to take it or not, it doesn’t affect how we feel about you as a person that you have managed to take the course before we did, and we’re not bringing the doughnuts, so we don’t need a headcount.

If not sure, click Reply. While we won’t actually thank you for it, because we won’t actually know, we are all nonetheless grateful.

You know who you are.

Feel free to quote me.

 

 

 

30
Apr
14

Girls Who Read

26
Apr
14

A good example of when “You Might Like” might not be an appropriate term for referral

mightlike

19
Apr
14

never mind about the fact that ~65% of her crotch is missing

Look at her arm!

targetbathingsuit

I know you’ve all probably seen this already. But I have to say, after another round of weird and ridiculous negative self-image crises from Only Daughter (5′, 87 lbs, fit as a fiddle), I really have to wonder what all of this image-manipulation is really doing to us.

And is there actually someone out there THIS bad at photoshop who has an actual JOB for an actual company the size of TARGET; someone who can’t actually see how bad this is? It has to be some kind of a joke. Has anyone seen it in an actual ad?

 

 

14
Mar
14

part of the problem?

Showed up in my search terms today:

alliteracy among adolescents

Is that ironic?

Looking for this maybe? It was my most-viewed post — almost 5000 hits.

Although “alliteracy among adolescents” does have alliteration. Maybe they were being ironical.

????

02
Dec
13

the best Christmas presents for 2013

thelma:louisetshirt

Sounds great. Merry Christmas to both of us. AAAAaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

Okay, nvm.

cathouse mat

Cathouse: def

Wonder how Tracy feels about this.

chandelier canvas

Weird. Creepy. Ugly. and Stupid. It’s a four-fer!

playpiano

Why wait any longer? Do what you’ve dreamed about for years: learn to play an instrument you love. Each set of 12 DVDs includes 18-22 hours of clear, easyto- follow instruction, tips, tricks, and secrets from expert musicians and teachers. (“Piano” features Scott Houston, Emmy®-winning host of the PBS series “The Piano Guy.”) You’ll start playing immediately, learn to play your favorite songs and different styles, even compose your own music-and save thousands of dollars on lessons.

Feeling. Suddenly. Superfluous.

loveyoumoreblanket

loveyoumorebracelet

Cuz love’s a contest and I win.

So there.

06
Nov
13

that should really draw in the crowds

headlinesubmission

 

17
Oct
13

Is that ironic?

completion

15
Jul
13

we are all guilty, and we all acquit

Read this.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

15
Jul
13

The Power of an Idea

Ideas are divine portals
into the potentiality
of our birth,
our civilization,
our truth revered.
Ideas gave us freedom,
gave us law,
rights
and justice;
ideas are the reasons why
we never pull our punches.
Though they bring
self-righteousness
and conceit,
ideas can also
set us free,
from believing that we
were born to stay
in a spiritual poverty
to the awakening of our spirit
to the birthright of man:
that we were born for liberation
to take it if we can.

The power of the mind
is the power to divine
a world in which principles
are not constantly
weakening in the hands
of an apathetic
populace.
A world in which
we would want to
raise our children
to believe
that we could live
not only peacefully
but lovingly with others,
independent of class,
race,
gender,
or sexual orientation,
without the fear of economic,
political
or
psychological defamations.
Whether eternal,
and immutable
or
self-evident
and morally irrefutable,
ideas changed man,
moved nations,
and turned history.

Some would tell
that reason is
a slave to our passions.
Are we dogs or men,
is the question that
we need to examine.
To truly be free
we have to learn how
to think.
An education isn’t just a means
for putting money in the pocket,
it should foster knowledge worth guarding
lest our ideas become
nothing more
than technological equations,
as our passions have
bent to the whims
of sexual stimulations.
Our culture started with
and is still in the hands of
our minds,
let us not disgrace
our forefathers
by letting this
precious commodity
decline.

 ~Reejit Poole
30
May
13

blisters and dirt

Where I’ve been.

At art fairs, getting blisters on my feet; walking the dog, re-opening old blisters; planting flowers and moving flowers and spraying stinky stuff all over my yard to keep the rats-on-long-legs out of my yard.

deer

Grrrr.

Had a good “rant” going a couple of days ago when I read a “financial advice” column that started with the author advising a young new mother who was considering going back to work to pray about her decision.

Really?

That’s financial advice now? To pray?

Got distracted by dinner preparations or Dexter the Dumb Dog or my gin and tonic, though, so it never got written.

Noticed in the NYTimes that Michele Bachman missed three, count them, three, opportunities to change the world. Or maybe it was just politics. But she didn’t. Alas.

And that Angeline Jolie’s aunt died of breast cancer; further vindication of her (Angelina’s) decision to have a double mastectomy as a preventive measure.

And apparently the newest styles for the summer involve completely see-through white tops for women. Any color bra seems to be fine.

Read a little Rilke (Diaries) and paid more than expected for my “oil change” (the new loss-leader for car dealerships to draw you in so they can lube things and replace things and rotate things. What do I know?).

Since eliminating the ONE photo of the couple playing nude Scrabble on what one can only hope was a nude beach (You won’t find it, so don’t bother looking. Sicko.), I have seen my stats go through a subtle transformation.

Looks like this now:

newestsearchterms

Better, I guess, but I’ve lost 3 “followers,” although I can’t help but wonder why they were hanging around if that was all they were looking for. I do still really like the Versace post. I think it was some of my best work. . .

Maybe I’m just not writing enough. Or timely enough. Or funny enough.

If only I had bought a big metal chicken at Bed Bath and Beyond today. . .

 

15
May
13

amazon recommends

amazonrecommends

 

Is that weird? Or is it just me?

(pun intended)

14
May
13

the week in pictures

When a student of mine graduates from high school, I always buy them Michael Jordan’s I Can’t Accept Not Trying. I found the book way back in the ’90s, and found it to be inspirational and to resonate from athletics to music to life, as so many things do.

It’s been out of print for a while, so when I need a copy now I must buy them used. I have a student graduating, and an upper-level high schooler moving this year, so I just acquired two copies. Opening them up to write a little note, I discovered this:

dedication

Isn’t that sweet?

The book has never been opened.

Mark’s a loser. Mom clearly overestimated his ability to read, process, and appreciate the messages regarding tenacity, discipline, and commitment contained therein.

Is that ironic?

Actually, that’s not even the case, since Mark never bothered to read it. Mark didn’t even respect his loving and devoted mother enough to READ IT.

Mark’s a loser. Mom’s admiration is misdirected. I’m deeply saddened by the dismissiveness embodied in the fact that this book was sold to me for $1.99 (I paid a LOT more for shipping than I did for the book; is that ironic?), discarded by a thoughtless and inconsiderate young man.

Next.

Three guesses which magazine this is on the back cover of:

yoga thighs

 My letter to the editor:

I am profoundly disappointed by the photo featured on the back cover of the June 2013 issue of Yoga Journal.

I read the magazine as part of an ongoing pursuit of a balanced, meaningful, enlightened life. A reference to, and picture of, a pole dancer does not seem to be in support of this.

I try to overlook the fact that the majority of your yoga models have super-model body types; I try to overlook the ads that feature women who are “skinny” rather than healthy and fit. But this seems to go too far. There are so many images in the media portraying unrealistic body types for women, sending subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle messages to women about how they should look and conveying the idea that women are primarily sexual objects. I would hope that YJ could be one place that didn’t.

I also like to leave the magazine out for piano students, friends, my daughter, to leaf through. This one I feel I need to hide. 

Kathryn Budig is finally clothed, but we have an image of a woman participating in the sex trade on the back instead.

It seems that more thought could be put into these types of things, and some editorial guidance might be more judiciously applied. 

Meanwhile, I will be looking for a different yoga magazine to subscribe to.

Sigh.

***

In pursuit of a balanced, meaningful, enlightened life, I planted some perennials and annuals and a bush and a tree yesterday. I decided, in my infinite wisdom, since I was planting some 4″ pots in the midst of a lot of very persistent ground cover, to use the small planting shovel.

Here is my right palm:

bruised hand

The circles are around bruises (the arrow thing wouldn’t make an arrow).

They really hurt.

I’m a pianist. This was really really stupid.

I could barely stand to push the cart at costco today, and this is NOT a commentary on the sizes of the packages contained therein (although do we really need to buy ziploc sandwich bags 600 at a time?).*

Hopefully next week will be a little less ridiculous.

*We are spending a lot less on groceries.

09
May
13

as if Van Gogh’s woolly balls weren’t enough, updated

More of this week’s ridiculousness:

Amber&FitchI will show this to my daughter. And then we will not shop there anymore. Ever. I will buy the A&F stuff she already has from her and burn it in the fire pit in the back yard. WE DON’T NEED MORE OF THIS!

Update: As if this isn’t offensive enough, here’s what the top of  the abc website page hosting a video clip denouncing this offensive statement* looks like:

Yeah, that helps.

Yeah, that helps.

So while the commentators show their support for all of the non-cool by being (appropriately) righteously indignant, the ad next to, and almost as big as, the video screen tells about the show that will teach us how to “live well” be “being and feeling beautiful.”

WHY DOES EVERYONE CARE SO MUCH WHAT WE LOOK LIKE??????

screaming-stress-lady

And then there’s this foolishness:

sexualchaos

Wow. Contraception leads to all that. I must have been using the wrong kind FOR 20 YEARS.

This from a website called “One More Soul,” (not linking to it. won’t do it. find it yourself if you must, but I will not be privy to such heinous acts) dedicated to “Fostering God’s Plan for Love, Chastity, Marriage, and Children.

Trying to take a quick glance without looking at it directly, so as to avoid retching, raging, and/or breaking out in hives, I did notice one particularly insightful headline:

Abortion, Contraception Consequences on Display in Gosnell’s ‘house of horrors’

Fantastic.

Because what EVERY SINGLE FERTILE WOMAN ON THE PLANET, actually, no, what every single person on this planet needs is necessarily AS MANY CHILDREN AS POSSIBLE.

Does anybody else notice that one of the symptoms of “Sexual Chaos” is the implementation of artificial reproductive technologies? So ya’ll listen and listen good — no sex unless you want to make babies, but if God doesn’t think you’re suitable parenting material heinhisinfiniteandunknowablewisdom will deny this blessing, and you are absolutely forbidden from doing anything about it, because, despite the fact that you believe it will bring you great joy, support a strong family life, and contribute to a long, stable marriage, it actually leads to individualism, hedonism, selfishness, and lust.

Oh, and there’s an article discouraging immunizations for children, supported by their step-by-step bastardization of an article published in JAMA.

Ugh. now I’ve looked at it directly, and must go wash my eyes out with oil of newt and kill a couple of kittens or some unsuspecting old person.

*In the abc news clip, they interview a “plus size” model — she’s probably 5’11” and maybe weighs 125 pounds. Puh-lease.

06
May
13

I’m not making this up

From my latest knitting magazine.

woollyballs

 

You can’t convince me that these people didn’t know exactly what they were doing.

 

18
Apr
13

little help?

Maybe it’s the limitations of my non-mathematical mind (I am “only” a musician, after all), but does the logic of this reveal itself to anyone out there?

examschedule

Husband claims there’s some kind of complementary arrangement, as in, all of the days are covered. I think that the whole thing was created by some kind of a calendar-disabled sadist (a.k.a. administration). But maybe it’s just me.

02
Apr
13

Marriage equality, and what any of us, no matter what our religious views, should have to say about it

What she said.

I can’t say it better myself.

27
Mar
13

25
Mar
13

My Letter to Calvin Klein

Dear Calvin-

Can I call you Calvin? It seems that I know you, and you are always smiling in such a kind and generous way, with that flowing mane of white hair. Oh, wait. I think that’s Ralph Lauren. I’m not even sure I know what you look like. Hmmm. Awkward. . .

ralphlauren

Well. You make beautiful clothes. I especially love your casual Tshirts and more dressy items like your jersey knit shells, tanks, and dressy shrugs. (Frankly I haven’t tried on a pair of your jeans since college, because they fit me then, and, well, you know.) Where was I? Oh, yes. The tops — the knits are so soft and drapey, the fit is always just right, the colors so richly hued and seem to hold their color through washing after washing.

But there is one problem, Calvin, dear.

The tags.

The tags in your shirts seem to be made of Kevlar. They are stiff, and scratchy, and seem to be attached to the garment with some kind of industrial-strength steel thread.

Victoria’s Secret has solved this problem; American Rag has solved this problem; for crying out loud, Hanes has solved this problem.

It’s called a stamp. Or, perhaps, you could use a fabric as soft as that of the garment. Or maybe, if the tag means so much to you, you could wear it.

Augh! Something's scratchy!

Augh! Something’s scratchy!

Just a suggestion.

Meanwhile, perhaps you could recommend a salve for this rash I now have on the back of my neck? I’d really appreciate it.




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