Search This Blog

Monday, February 6, 2023

Monday Miscellany

Taken by Ten on his frozen Sunday walk
I can’t recommend drinking cranberry juice right after brushing your teeth and gargling with a minty antiseptic mouthwash.  At minimum, this was a jarring experience and it will NOT be repeated.
~~~
Newgrange, just north of Dublin, is a 5,200 year old passage tomb. It’s 1,000 years older than Stonehenge which, in turn, is older than the Giza pyramids in Egypt.

According to ancient mythology, the Tuatha Dé Danann ruled Ireland and were said to have built Newgrange as a burial place for their chief, Dagda Mór, and his three sons. (source)
Considering how wild I am about wandering ancient sites, you’d think I’d have visited the joint on one of my holidays in Ireland. Nope. They only permit guided tours and, oopsie, I’m deaf so would miss out on all the fab info the guide would impart. Mind you, the entry fee is just a hair over four bucks but…eh, I was miffed. Ya see, with the exception of Maeshowe I’ve been able to wander about sites on my own and at my own pace. (Maeshowe—it was off season and closed. I had to see the caretaker who, very kindly, unlocked the gate to let me crawl in. After that, I was happily on my own.)

What taking my own unguided tour means is that I get to stop, sit and daydream about what life might have been like way back when people lived (and died) there. Hard—life had to have been mostly about survival. Still, Twitter hadn’t been invented yet so that’s a big plus, right?

Why does Newgrange come up this morning? I was reading a bit about it online.

County Meath residents had known about Newgrange for centuries — and sometimes "borrowed" stone from the structure for their own homes … (source)

I feel an Irish ghost story/horror movie coming on.
~~~

For no particular reason, here’s a ‘49 Mercury Monterey. Yur welcome.
~~~
Yesterday was too damn cold and blustery to stroll along the seawall so Jen and I mall-walked. it was surprisingly not bad. At 8:30 AM there were few people in the place so it was ridiculously easy to maintain safe distance from other walkers.

The worst bit? The window displays in most of the shops. WHO wears this shit? There must be a huge market for ugly, absurdly tasteless togs.
~~
I’ve long thought about redoing the kitchen. It’s tiny and, between my mother giving me two sets of dishes (which have been in the family nearly as long as I’ve been alive), having personally made so many mugs, etc. and having a ton created by friends, I have too much stuff. Oh yeah, there’s also the couple dozen Victorian era teacups and saucers my grandmother collected. So much beautiful stuff with great sentimental value. 

Holly Sears

I don’t spend a lot of time in the food room—Ten does all the cooking. Why should I bother with the kitchen considering I hardly ever go in there now? Because I want to be able to see and appreciate all the great ceramic pieces that I have. Duh.

I know! I’ll build shallow, glass fronted display cabinets (like built-in bookcases) so I can actually view all my treasures AND free up kitchen space.

Sure...I can do that with all the wall space not occupied by paintings, tiles and bookshelves. Hmmph. More thought is obviously required here.

I think I should live in a combination museum-library. I guess I already do—it’s just small and not set up very well.

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Assorted

A gattara is an elderly woman who takes care of cats.

Who knew—my career choice has a name!

~~~
I’ve long had a roller coaster, off-leash and kind of a Fauvist approach to life. Think Matisse on microdot and crack under a late March full moon. It's been fun. Colorful too.
~~~
Are memoirs just autobiographies with off topic rambling? Do personal blogs (like this one), constitute autobiography? Let’s ask the experts.
A memoir is a nonfiction narrative in which the author shares their memories from a specific time period or reflects upon a string of themed occurrences throughout their life. An autobiography is a factual and historical account of one's entire life from beginning to end. (source)
So, I’m a memoirist like Joan Didion (only not as deep and depressing) or Augusten Burroughs (but not as witty or incisive) or a much less talented Mary Karr.  Plus I throw the odd essay or word obsession into the mix.
~~~
Diane Smith (name changed to protect the potentially fragile)  was a girl with whom I attended high school. Way back then she was beautiful, sparkly and came off as awfully sweet. Years after high school’s horrors, I heard that (shortly after we graduated), she had a ‘nervous breakdown’ (whatever that meant). According to the gossiper, Diane was living at home with her mother and rarely left her bedroom. How did the gossiper know this? She hadn’t been friends with Diane either.

I recall feeling sad for Diane, wishing there was something I could do to ease her pain but I never actually knew her. She was just a person I saw in the halls who, from the outside, seemed nice, happy and friendly—someone I would want to know but didn't.

I’d love to find out:

  1. Is the gossiper's story true or was this her bitter wish? (Gossip Girl was sour and sad over not having been one of the golden, popular high school girls)
  2. Did Diane survive whatever this supposed ‘nervous breakdown’ was?
  3. Did she get help?
  4. Did she ever break on through to the other side?
  5. If she didn’t, where is she now? Alive? If so, who’s taking care of her? Presumably her mother has moved on to whatever follows this life.

An aside: What, if anything, does follow life on Earth?’

  • Permanent dirt naps all around?
  • Heaven/Hell/Purgatory?
  • We become ghosts and then haunt the assholes who made our earth-time painful? I got a long list of deserving shitheelian wonders all composed. (Yes, I’m a gifted grudge holder)
  • Reincarnation? I’m coming back as a giant squid—squid don’t have to go to high school, right?

I’m imagining Diane at 15, full of life and potential, and what she may look or be like now at 65.

~~~
Gul
     noun
a large octagonal design derived from the shape of a rose, a motif on rugs.

Nice but no. This is what the cons and grifters (AKA the Republi/Fascists) do to their rube followers.

Rube
     noun
 : an awkward unsophisticated person : rustic. : a naive or inexperienced person.

You know, an easily fleeced idiot. Synonym? MAGAt
Rube showed up around the turn of the 19th century as a slur for a gullible country boy. Its origin is similar to that of hick. Both are diminutive forms of names that were associated with country folk at the time: Rube for Reuben, Hick for Richard. (source)
Emmm, happy Sunday!

Friday, February 3, 2023

Friday Floof

Ghost Cat in warmer, less floofy months
It’s gonna be windy all day with the temp dropping from the current high of 22º down into the negative numbers by tonight. Tomorrow will be worse. Joy.

Naturally, we’re worried about our visitor boy, Ghost Cat. He’s a regular here (and has been for a couple years now) but is still extremely shy. None of us can get within ten feet of him—possibly he’s well aware that us humans are stupid COVID spreaders and that’s his reason for keeping a distance. I don’t blame him—I'd do the same.

GC is a Maine Coon Cat so he’s got a good coat and we imagine he’s got a safe, sheltered hidey-hole. Still we worry.

If Ten sees the good boy today, he’ll try to lure him in.
Cake porn
~~~
I fully understand that I’m an odd old duck…or cat. I suppose what I am depends on the day, the weather, if I’m enjoying the book I’m reading, if there’s ice cream and cookies in the house and shit. What I’m getting at here is that, I totally don’t need mental health fail on top of everything else that’s physically wrong with me.

Now that I’m getting up there in years I want to do all that I can to encourage dementia to pass me by.

Doctor Richard Restak, a neuroscientist and author, has a post up at CNBC—7 ‘hard rules’ for keeping your memory ‘sharp as a whip.’

Those seven include:

  • Choose fiction when you can. The reason surprised me. It’s not about reading my way into a different, possibly happier world—it’s about the different way nonfiction books and fiction are generally organized and how we tend to read each genre.
He's not ALWAYS napping—HONEST!
  • Never leave an art museum without testing your memory. Not just which artists and paintings you viewed but the specific details of a piece—easier to do with a canvas done by Edward Hopper than one of Jackson Pollock’s. 
  • Keep naps under 90 minutes.
  • Don’t sit on the couch all day. That's an ongoing struggle.

There’s more go read.
I’d like to add a few suggestions:

  • Staying off Twitter or limiting myself to 5 minutes max a day. (working on it!)
  • Not watching or reading Fox Propaganda (I don’t).
  • Don’t read predictive opinion pieces. When they’re full of doom, they drive me to despair. When they’re full of hope and certainty of Republi/Fascist failure, I don’t believe them (even though I long to). Do I really need to live in a state of dread and/or false hope?    
  • Keep at least one adult cat on hand at all times. Why? If nothing else, an older cat will make even the most slothful person (me!) feel active.

All in all, mental health-wise, I believe I’m doing okay. For now. It helps that, when I find myself doomscrolling, I immediately look for vids of adorbs and/or heroic animals, pets and their caregivers.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

REPRIEVE!

View from MEEI 10th floor waiting room
So, I met with my eye surgeon yesterday. He feels it’s not yet time to sew my eye shut. The orb is most def dry BUT with all the drops and ointment I’m putting in (combined with my lack of pain, redness or further vision loss), I’m doing okay. I need to be on the lookout for those nasty symptoms and be monitored by my awesome cornea minder, Doc Jacobs. If shit acts up or Jacobs discovers a rabid naked mole-rat burrowing ‘round looking to cause some ocular havoc, well then, it’s OR time again for yurs truly.

Lemme just tell you, I thought I was all emotionally prepared for what I felt was inevitable, more slice action AND losing half my vision. Maybe I was but my first reaction—OH-MY-GOD-IS-THIS-TRUE-OR-ARE-YOU-CRUELLY-FUNNIN’-WITH-ME and extreme relief beg to differ.

I only mention it but I was doing reasonably alright—no panic, already keeping a close watch on the old peepers—before my generally unobservant neuro-ophthalmologist freaked. Normally, I see him once a year, have a few tests done, his baby docs give me a studied look see after which he steps in for a fast two minute glance and glad handing. He’s been pretty useless. I rely on Jacobs for my actual eye care. Why do I still see neuro-oph guy? I was told I need to (in order to get referrals to Jacobs? Insurance reasons? //shrugs//) 

What was his freakage about? I suspect the origins lay in his asking me (scolding me?) why I’d missed a few of our annual appointments. Instead of yelling at him to read my motherfucking chart, I calmly explained that I’d had four neurosurgeries in two years, spent four+ months of those two years in hospital and rehab joints, had to relearn how to walk (ongoing) and, given my relative fragility, was disinclined to be out amongst the COVID spreading masses.

I believe my calm soliloquy snapped him out of his astoundingly clueless I’m-the-head-of-the-department-and-you-should-feel-lucky-to-be-in-my-presence bullshit. Possibly what I’d conveyed was I’m not impressed and If you did your damn job, motherfucker, you’d know all this already.

In any case, I’m now back in my usual wait, watch and see mode. I’m totally cool with that. I can now get back to the important business of rehab exercising, finding the perfect bra (akin to hunting the Holy Grail), reading steam-punk novels, tax prepping and annoying Ten, Jen and Oni.

Tenacious
     adjective
holding together; not easily pulled asunder; tough.

Donna was not a whiny little twat—no, she was one tenacious motherfucker.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Today

Ten and I are headed in to Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary for a meet and greet with my next eyelid cutter. Why am I having more lid surgery?

It's that  leftover nerve damage from the brain slicing I had 18 years ago. My left eye doesn't close entirely which means it dries out entirely too easily—thus, putting my vision at risk. My poor dehydrated orb was doing reasonably well with generous applications of eye drops and medicinal goop (whose name sounds something like Eurythmics but isn't) and then I started chemo.

Chemo, by the by, dries the fuck outta me. I'm constantly moisturizing, putting in eye drops, occasionally wearing a black pirate patch to shield my eye from the cold winter wind and indoor aridity. Still, my vision is dropping. NOT cool mes amis, NOT COOL.

Sadly, the only way to protect my peeper is to have it sewn shut (or close to it). I've been told that the surgery is reversible. After I'm done with chemo (and no longer subject to extreme desiccation), my eye can be reopened. The problems?

  • Most of my sense of balance, what keeps me upright, not walking into walls or random strangers on the street, comes from my ability to see. With one eye closed...well, walking will be even more of a challenge than it already is.
  • I may be on the chemo pills for as long as five years. That's a long time to be rocking the lopsided cyclops look, eh?

Why not do the gigantic PROSE lens? Tried that already—me and that huge motherfucking disk are most def NOT a good match.

So, off we go to MEEI to have a chat with my next surgeon. Joy. Here, enjoy my glossy good boy while we're gone.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

I only mention it but

It is wise, on those days that I’m feeling depleted and down, to get right the fuck up out of bed when I wake, brush my teeth, wash my face, don my robe and go downstairs for a cuppa joe. No delays, no ‘I’ll just crawl under the covers and close my eyes for five more minutes.

Amazing how those minutes *poof * become hours. Yesterday I, once again, proved Newton’s First Law of Motion—the object at rest part that is.

This morning it’s snowing. Very pretty but I might just wait a wee bit longer before I tackle the day. I have, however, already accomplished the first three items on my what to do first thing list (YEA me!).
~~~

If you list your height alternately as 5’7” and 6’ (quite a range there Gym) it might be a wise move to never be photographed next to someone who also and consistently claims to be 5’7”. Granted, Matt Gaetz is a sack of dirtbagian lawn gnome shit BUT at least he seems not to fib about his height. There’s absolutely zero shame in being of less than average stature (which, by the by, is 5’9” for American men). Why the freakish, glaring insecurity, Gymy? AND if Ohio’s Embarrassment lies about something as inconsequential as his height, what else is he being a duplicitous pool of tapeworm diarrhea about? Everything?

Yes, I think ‘everything’ is a safe bet.
~~~
In 1995, Jane Percy became the Duchess of Northumberland. With the title came a castle and grounds. Her husband, the new Duke of Northumberland tasked her with doing something about the gardens (which, at the time was, essentially, a no longer used Christmas tree farm). Instead of planting a bunch of roses and hedgerows she got wildly creative.

There are now waterfalls, roses, meadows of wildflowers, mini golf, a Tai Haku Cherry orchard AND an iron gated garden filled with poisonous plants.

The Alnwick Garden now gets more than 350,000 visitors per year. Not bad for a little project to keep the wife occupied.

Wait, what’s that I said—a garden of lethal, poisonous plants?

How very Addams Family of the Duchess.

An aside: Morticia and Gomez have black (or exceedingly dark brown) hair. Wednesday and Pugsley have medium to light brown hair. Was Lurch the sperm donor?

Back to the garden, supposedly the duchess got the idea after seeing Catherine de Medici’s ‘poison garden.’ Cathy’s wasn't specifically a 'poison garden' though—the main purpose was the growing of ingredients for perfumes.

There's a note on Alnwick's website:

Visitors are strictly prohibited from smelling, touching, or tasting any plants, although some people still occasionally faint from inhaling toxic fumes while walking in the garden. (source)
GREAT marketing! This is billed as the botanical garden equivalent of a carnival house of horrors. Not everyone is bowled over and drawn to Alnwick though.
First of all, you are typically prohibited from touching or tasting plants in a botanical garden.  Second of all, what “fumes?”  Do they have a Gasoline Tree?  I’m curious which particular plant or fume is causing people to pass out.  Third, how is it that these potent toxic fumes are remaining within the confines of the gate in an outdoor, open-air garden?  It’s remarkably telling that to enter this oh-so-dangerous area, it requires no health waiver whatsoever, and costs £13.00 (£5.00 for kids).
~~~
As is the case with many tourist traps, the most insidious element of a poison garden is probably the gift shop prices, and the true history is far more nuanced. (source)

I'd be interested in checking the joint out but not enough to travel the whole way there and plonk down £13.00. Also, they have Marijuana plants but keep them in a cage. Gee, Reefer Madness much?

Okay, enough sluggardly crap from me. It's time to get dressed and get on the elliptical. *groan*


Monday, January 30, 2023

Three Pines—the Verdict

We, Jen, Oni and I, have watched three whole episodes of Three Pines (based on the fabulous Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny) and are throwing in the towel.

Why? Narrowing our reasons down to one—it’s tragically sad and real. Particularly the ongoing discussions and scenes about Canada’s barbaric Indian boarding schools.

I’m well aware of the horrific history of the USA’s Indian ‘schools’ and the way those despicable institutions destroyed so many indigenous lives.

There were more than 350 government-funded, and often church-run, Indian Boarding schools across the US in the 19th and 20th centuries. Indian children were forcibly abducted by government agents, sent to schools hundreds of miles away, and beaten, starved, or otherwise abused when they spoke their native languages. (source)
I was unaware that Canada had committed the same barbarous crimes. Canadians are much more civilized than feral white Americans or so I thought. Possibly the niceness, the humanity is a recent development? Or maybe, like in vast portions of the American south, that civility is nothing but a flimsy veneer?
Starting in the 1880's and for much of the 20th century, more than 150,000 children from hundreds of indigenous communities across Canada were forcibly taken from their parents by the government and sent to what were called Residential Schools. Funded by the state and run by churches, they were designed to assimilate and Christianize indigenous children by ripping them from their parents, their culture, and their community. The children were often referred to as savages and forbidden from speaking their languages or practicing their traditions. Many were physically and sexually abused, and thousands of children never made it home. (source)
I’ve got to face it, the human race, all around the world, is no more than syphilitic chum bags filled with broken cockroach brains who ‘think’ everyone else’s shit stinks but their own. (THIS, by the by, goes a long way toward explaining TFG, his henchfucks and fans as well as Putin and his murderous posse)

Jen, Oni and I are trying to escape reality during our weekend Tea Time teevee watching. Diving head first into the muck, the ferociously disgusting crimes of mankind is, pretty much, totally contrary to our goal.

The other reasons for calling it quits on Three Pines—the townsfolk:
  • Most look alike. Seriously, with few exceptions they look like siblings and dress the same too (ultra limited color palette of L.L Bean and Vermont Country Store togs). 
  • The men (with the exception of Gabri) simmer with insecurity and hostility. 
  • The women are smilingly vapid (exceptions: the elderly poet, Ruth, Myrna, the bookstore owner and Bea, the gallery owner)—they're just one footfall away from rural Stepfordism.
I imagine these 2D characterizations will expand and evolve as the series goes on BUT we won’t be there to see it. At the end of the last ep, we were all in tears. For Oni, this is personal. For Jen and I? We’re sane and empathetic.

With TFG and his band of despicable, cartoonishly evil miscreant’s ‘border separations’ (AKA the kidnapping and caging of children), our vile history has been repeated.
Under the El Paso program, begun in mid-2017, adults who crossed the border without permission – a misdemeanor for a first-time offender – were detained and criminally charged. No exceptions were made for parents arriving with young children. The children were taken from them, and parents were unable to track or reunite with their children because the government failed to create a system to facilitate reunification. By late 2017, the government was separating families along the length of the U.S.-Mexico border, including families arriving through official ports of entry.
~~~
Prior to the Trump administration, families were generally paroled into the country to await their immigration cases or detained together. (source)
If the Three Pines’ townspeople develop beyond their current, roughly drawn presentations, this could be a great, if depressing, show. For us though—too much reality. Bring on the spaceships and Wookies!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Groan, Whimper, Mewl

I’m exhausted. Though it’s supposed to get up near 50º today, it was a piddling 34º when Jen took me out for my morning walk. (By the by, today is Jen's birthday. HAPPY B-DAY you awesomely malevolent hellion!)

I’ve been trying to increase my outdoor rehab workout—especially since late December's onset of slothfulness (okay, sporadic sloth-i-tudeness with a dash of torpidity). I want to get back up to the endurance and performance level I was at back in early December. It’s far too easy to lose hope of ever getting back to a decent mobility level when faced with the hurdles of near constant rain, snow and ice. I keep taking four steps forward and three back. Sisyphus comes to mind.
The physiological and metabolic impact of exercising in cold weather can be intense. The body needs to work harder to perform in a harsher climate and be able to generate adequate heat to keep warm. (source)
So, hopefully I’ll make better, more consistent progress as the temps warm. And maybe I should stick to walking later in the day when it’s not so brisk out. Sure sure, that makes oodles of sense BUT I’m particularly partial to the shapes of shadows and the colors of the sky and water during the earlier part of the day.

Whine, snivel.