Friday, December 28, 2018

TGIF

It's late on Friday night, and we have returned from a wonderful week with our kids and grand kids.  We are exhausted (duh).

After such a high, I am feeling melancholy.  I just watched a recording from 60 Minutes last week about the moon landing in 1968, 50 years ago at Christmastime.  It was a terrible year filled with riots and assassinations that would alter the course of our country's history.  The moon landing and orbits by Apollo 8 crew was watched by more people than ever before.  And to us, these men said, upon viewing the awesome splendor of planet earth rising over the moonscape:

William Anders

We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

James Lovell
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Frank Borman
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called the Seas: and God saw that it was good.

And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.
Well, dear reader, I confess that I wept. Tears flowed because I remember well that horrid year even though I was only eleven years old; tears flowed because my young self thought, perhaps, the world was coming to an end; tears flowed because I was caught up in the wonder of what people and science could do; tears came and washed over me for all the heartache that the last 50 years has brought, both to me and the world.  That tiny globe floating in the darkness, that orb that we all live on and could do so much good with, if we had the collective will.  That we don't possess that will is a devastating realization.Of course this is a dark assessment, the Night of our existence.  I also know the light of Day, and the joy it can bring.  I mostly hang on to the Light.  Not the light of Christianity which I do not embrace or believe, but simply the light and dark that is the cosmic reality of the universe.

But like many of you, I worry. I worry mostly for the world our grandchildren, and their children, will inherit.  I'm going to be an old woman in the blink of an eye, a person who easily gets cold and no amount of thermostatic increase will help much.  I'm going to face the assaults and ailments of an aging body but also the freedom and release from the passions of youth: the aspirations for material goods and for conquests of all kinds.  I am already experiencing the detachment of someone who has lived long and seen a lot. So, perhaps I can let go and breathe a little easier.

Then I read with horror of the death of another migrant child, or the trauma our children are suffering from the 'active shooter' drills in our schools, and I want to possess super human strength and rip some heads off: the NRA, the GOP, FOX News, fat cat one percenters who live only for themselves behind their guarded gates and security systems.

You'd think after all these years I would find a way to have some peace about all of this.  But I don't.  Not sure I ever will.  Or should.

And then there is this:  Astronaut Anders so taken with the sight, that even though they had limited amounts of film and were supposed to be taking pictures of the moon, he was moved to make a series of photographs, including this:




Over and out.  God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.

Friday, December 21, 2018

TGIF

Happy Solstice to you!

We're in Colorado, visiting the family and enjoying grand child hijinks.  Five days until Christmas and spirits are high.  The weather is colder than what we are used to, the altitude higher.  The house is warm and cozy and it's easy to doze off on the couch.

Great to be away from the Big House for a bit.  Our dining room manager has left for another job, and the head chef is gone now as well.  That explains a couple of truly lousy meals we had there recently:  crepes that were more like mushroom enchiladas covered in a heavy creamy goo, and a chicken sope that came on flat bread instead of a tortilla (complete with dried out chicken).  I do hate to complain, but jaysus.  This is not the level of food excellence I expect in a place like this. 

Yes, well, ahem.  We are enjoying the change and delighting in the little ones and their stellar parents.

Time passes quickly, and before you know it, these kids will be graduating high school.  And I'll be an even older lady.  Hopefully not irrelevant in their lives.  Projecting waaayyy into the future, I may even get to experience being a great grandmother.  Wow.   It could happen. 

I'm not likely to post again until the New Year, so, dear Reader, I wish you a splendid holiday and a very happy and healthy 2019!


Monday, December 17, 2018

Monday Musings

I had to think about it a little bit, or, really, more than a little.  My years of writing this blog began just before Christmas in 2005 when we lived on Jeter Street in Santa Cruz.  My daughter was in her senior year of high school, I was scheduled for my bariatric surgery in early January 2006 and my wife and I were dealing with a landlord who lived on the property and was quite the busy-body.  My job was excessively stressful, managing building projects at the university that would eventually drive me to take an early retirement a few years later.

Through it all, I kept writing.  Silly stuff, really.  I was getting the hang of it all.  I was figuring out how much to share, and what exactly this blogging exercise was really about.  My friends over at New Dharma bums inspired me and mentored me, as they would mentor me during the first few years of my retirement.  They talked me down off the ceiling when post retirement anxiety got the better of me.

So here I am all these years later, through retirement, catastrophic accidents, divorce, becoming a grandparent twice over, dating, the disasters of dating (after the thrill was gone) and meeting a man that asked me to marry him, and we did.  Now living in a retirement community and wondering how in the hell I got here (even though it's a lovely community that I love for the most part.).

me, 60 lbs lighter
Oddly enough, I am once again scheduled for bariatric surgery to remove the Lap Band I had installed 13 years ago.  January 9 I shall go in for an out-patient l procedure to get it out of there since it has slipped and roamed to a completely unusable spot.  I've gained a considerable amount of weight since 1.) living at a place that offers an array of sugary desserts every evening and 2.) getting no restriction from the band that kept me slimmer for the bulk of 11 years.  I had to laugh when the new surgery center had me fill out a form regarding my 'diet history.'  I think I answered "30 years" to every questions.  In addition to "varied," as in varied results with every said dieting technique I used over 30 years.  I'll be consulting about having another kind of procedure, since I obviously need it, I am at my highest weight in 13 years and it's uncomfortable, unhealthy, and unattractive (to me).  I've got perhaps another decade and a half in me before true old age may strike me down, and I am not going to spend it in obesity.  Before you say it, or think it, diets don't work.  If they did, we wouldn't be an obese nation.  We'd lose the weight and keep it off.  There is a $40 bazillion diet industry out there and we just keep getting fatter and fatter.

I have surmised that I am a very efficient user of calories, and it takes very few to keep me fueled.  In addition, 18 months of weight training and walking/bicycling brought me a whopping 6 pound loss.  Fuck that shit.  It brought me  happiness in other ways, but weight loss was not one of them.

On the heart front: the medications I'm taking to slow down the irregular  heart beats seems to be working moderately well.  A recent monitoring shows the premature beats reduced by about half.  This is rip-roaring good news and I hope it will continue to improve, as I've only been on the medications for about 5 weeks.  If I can avoid another ablation procedure I will be extremely happy and relieved.

Thank you for reading my blog over the years.  I don't have a large readership, but I have a loving one, and that is what matters. I keep it going for myself, and it's been a useful diary of sorts.  Many of you have also been keeping at it this long, and I love that we have shared this journey for 13 years.

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 14, 2018

TGIF

Good news on the health front: my latest Holter monitor test, which lasted 48 hours, shows a marked decrease in the number of premature heart beats I'm experiencing.  So, the medication seems to be doing its job somewhat.  Next question for the doc is: can I increase the meds for even better results?  Stay tuned.  And while this is good news, I'm still feeling pretty exhausted most of the time.  That could be due to my sedentary life, which is not helping in any way, shape, or form.  I get so winded when just walking, that I'm loathed to do so, and so....It's a vicious circle that I must break.

This was a good week for entertainment: An Americana music trio on Monday, a performance of Handle's Messiah on Wednesday, and the Davis High School Madrigals on Thursday bringing us Christmas music.


I've been feeling a bit down in the mouth around my health stuff, so live performances of music have been especially wonderful to experience.

There was a fella at the showing of Messiah (on DVD on the big screen in the auditorium) who was from Memory Care, and the dear man thought the performance was a sing-a-long. Turns out, he was a singer in his native land of Scotland. He was corrected, gently, and proceeded to watch with great wonder. He wiped away tears of joy. A sight to behold. He had a wonderful vest on in colors of Scottish red and green plaid -- dressed nicely for the occasion. My husband and I offered to usher him back to the unit since his caregiver hadn't shown up. Dear man kept asking "Where are we going? I'm confused." We gently assured him we were taking him home. His caregiver arrived when we were half way down the hall and he greeted her with a big embrace, still wiping away tears of joy.  We really do live in a loving and caring community.

On the way back to our place, I ran into Sheri who let me know that all the greeting cards I'd made for the Nook have sold out and people are wanting more.  So, more printing and pasting for me!

Hope you are enjoying the month of December, however you celebrate and even if you don't! There's always Solstice, right?

Friday, December 7, 2018

TGIF

Have we all lost our sense of humor?

I was having lunch out with my dad today, and long-time readers know that he and I differ VASTLY on many many topics.  But we did agree that people are losing their sense of humor.  Many stand up comedians won't perform at colleges anymore because the student body cannot handle humor.  Anneli Rufus, author of Stuck (and other books) posits these questions:

Is humor sometimes stolen from us—severed, siphoned, sucked from us (as marrow is from bones) by trauma, sorrow, anger, illness, isolation, depression, or distance from the sea? Can we lose our hilarity as others lose their hearing, continence, or feet? 

There was a thing circulating on FB -- a video of picky eaters (children) making the most dramatic horrible displays when parents tried to get them to take a small bite of a vegetable.  Some thought it funny, and I suppose it was (see?  where's my sense of humor?) but I thought I'd like to smack these seriously dysfunctional children.  Yes, my response was over the top and visceral.  So I responded thusly, somewhat sarcastically, and received this response:

me: I just want to beat these children, seriously. I never would, but I sure want to. Do you think children around the world can afford to be this picky? Probably not.

Jane: You want to beat children???? Sure glad I never ran into you!!!!

me:  I knew sarcasm would be lost on most readers. Oh well.

Jane:  Sarcasm is a very poor communication skill.

me:  Jane actually it is a sign of high intelligence, but thank you for your unsolicited comment.

me:  oh. wait. that was sarcasm again. Darn it.

I had a good laugh about it all. This is kind of misunderstanding is partly a function of social media, as it is sometimes difficult to tell when someone is making a joke unless they put little laughing emojis everywhere.  Subtlety is lost in social media.  But it's also a function of a person who feels the need to comment on my comment.  Just. Let. It. Go.  Jaysus. 

I hope we can all lighten up a little.  Here's to a lighter, brighter, funnier weekend.


Surly Bonds

My dad slipped the surly bonds of earth on January 13.  He'd had a massive stroke on the ninth and doctors were clear he was not going t...