Ponder this:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Please stay tuned

I feel a marathon blog post coming on once Time and Inclination collide. I have notes of thoughts, inspiration...

I can't tell you all how nice it was to get so many pithy comments on that last one. It is a great quote, isn't it?

Oh, and Jo?  ...I'm awful glad you finished your thought. I read your first response and got to the end and thought: Does she mean, she thinks she congratulates us? ...but isn't sure? 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

10,957 days

I read a lot of what some people might consider crap books. I don't look for the latest publication dates, I don't check the NYT [or any other] book reviews. In my forays into the library or the used book store or wherever, I happen across books that grab me by their titles or by the cover designs and fonts, I read the blurb inside the front cover, I check to see if there are lots of quotation marks (lots of conversation) in the text. Narrative only holds me for so long before I drift off into my own thoughts, which defeats my purpose.  People who read nonfiction . . . some of them . . . (coughH*sb*ndcough) . . . seem to feel that fiction is of a lower order, less worthwhile.  I like fiction: it is why I read.  I find a lot of memorable wisdom in fiction.

For example:
"...marriage is like an old tree.  It starts out a sapling . . . no, it starts out an acorn, a passionate little acorn, and slowly, slowly, it grows and sends out its branches and leaves, and every year new buds. All the things you did together, every trial you lived through, they're scored into that old trunk. The tree is the thing, not the acorn or the sapling or even the strong young tree.  After all is said and done, you want the old tree, no matter how misshapen it's gotten from ice storms and lightning strikes or bugs and what have you."  
~mad dash by Patricia Gaffney
Last Monday was our thirtieth wedding anniversary. 
We celebrated by doing the same things we do every day. There was no special fancy dinner, no diamond anniversary ring in a little blue box, no dewy-eyed and passionate expression of tenderness and gratitude, and that was fine with me. It's the day-in/day-out stuff, I think, that makes a marriage. Neither of us had had real good models for good married life; we sort of had to make up our own rules as we went along.  When it comes right down to it maybe everybody does that. 

Early on, we made a pact that we would always kiss hello and goodbye and goodnight. 
I remember that pact with every kiss.

The public library

I revel in my membership in the public library system.  

I have a vivid memory of one perfect Library Day when I was seven years old. One of our regular family Saturday stops was the local library. It was a rainy gray day in the spring or the fall, cool enough to need a jacket but not too cool for comfort.  I had gathered all the books I was allowed to check out, and hurried back to the car. As soon as I settled in the seat, I dove in and went away. That day it was a book about dinosaurs.  I was mesmerized by the idea of dinosaurs (a common fascination for children, I think).  I probably made my parents crazy with questions: How long is eighty feet? How wide is forty feet? And then I'd look around at whatever they used to show me those measurements and marvel at the idea of an animal that huge.  In those days, previous readers' names and due dates were hand-written (by Miss Feeney, the prototypical 1950s librarian) on the cards in the sleeves inside the back covers. Those cards were interesting too. Who else, I wondered, touched these pages and read these words, and what did they think? Did they marvel too?

For a few years I had stopped visiting the library and I can't remember why. The need for immersion in book air was satisfied by plundering used bookstores (piles of books for $10!) but I began to accumulate far too many books and ended up donating two lawn-and-leaf bags of books to the Literacy Volunteers for their book sale so I could regain some shelf space at home.

Every time I walk into the old place that is my current local library, I stop for a minute and look around with quiet glee. All the hours and hours of pleasure, in one building, for free! My local library is the perfect library building (although any building is good if it has books in it). I prefer old house conversions over modern perfectly-styled-for-library-use buildings. 
The house was built in 1866 by Jacob Miers, who ran a Dry Goods store on Main Street...  It has two fireplaces made of Italian marble inlaid with gold.  The front newel post is not original to the building; it came from an unknown structure on the grounds of the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.  The property was inherited by Jacob's only child, Hattie Miers and passed through several more owners before being acquired by the Library.

I have always loved creaky-floored libraries all redolent of book-scent; I like some history and character around me as I pore over the titles, all wrapped in their crackly mylar coverings.  I love that I need the battered old stepstool to reach the uppermost shelves near the ten-foot ceiling.  I love that there's an old round oak claw-foot table with mismatched chairs where I can sit to review my choices, and a needlepoint-seated rocker near the fireplace. Oh, comfort! Oh, atmosphere!

I was there just yesterday. I stopped on my way home from work to retrieve a couple of books that I'd ordered online from other locations in the library system. The best library trips are the ones that send me home with an armload, and yesterday was one of those; more of my online orders had arrived since the email notification had reached me. A wonderful thing, this online browsing of every book in the whole regional system. Click a check-box and know that a book is on its way to me from thirty miles away. For free. Other modern improvements . . .  the free internet access and the DVDs for lending are good, but for me, it's all about the books.

As I checked out, I said to the clerk, "Oh boy. And it's Friday!"
No Miss Feeney, this pierced young lady, but a bibliophile all the same, she responded with that particular pleasure, "Yeah! The whole weekend for books!"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ho hum. Life goes on.

I fold my hands, and wait patiently, and it all comes out right.
Sooner or later.

I bought liverwurst: Max's pilling goes well. Liverwurst is the only edible that he will swallow without suspicious lingual examination for foreign objects.

MiMau has lost all her sharp and bony angles and has become soft and rounded once again. Whatever it was that, nearly overnight, turned her all limp and bony, has passed. She's been quite a little comfort kitty for these two weeks of my recovery. One morning I woke to find her sleeping furry forehead and nose pressed against my forehead and nose . . . giving me a mind-meld of healing.

Angus had something like a seizure one night a week ago. Since early puppyhood, he's had a little Parkinsons-like wobble that comes and goes. The vet said then: He's five weeks old; it's probably an immature nervous system. The wobble seemed very slightly more frequent after his mauling by the fisher, and it accounts, I think, for his occasional stuckness on the stairs. During Last Time Out last week, both boyz ran all over the yard sniffing and barking maniacally. Something terrifically exciting . . . I hoped nothing more unusual than a rabbit . . . or maybe the local feral cat, but who knows? . . . had recently visited. Max was out at the edge of the light cast by the roof-edge floodlight, bouncing back and forth and yelling his curly pink-blond head off. I turned my head to check on Angus' position, and saw that he was on the front walk,  wriggling on the ground as he would in a particularly lovely fresh pile of woodchuck poop. Almost that way . . . but a little less wriggling, a little more stiffness. I went closer to get a good look at him. His eyes rolled toward me; he was in there. He grew quiet. I patted him, told him he was all right, stood next to him wishing Max would shut up, settle down, and come over closer to the door. After a few minutes . . . less than five . . . Angus rolled from his side to his chest, and got up on his feet. Max returned and we came inside. Angus didn't seem distressed, and he hadn't lost control of any sphincters; whatever it was came and went and hasn't recurred. I'm not especially worried. The way life has been going around here, it seemed like just another bump in our road. I'll mention it to the vet next time we go, or if it happens again we'll make a special trip.

With three pets, trios of bad luck are predictable. It could have been worse. I might have had to give him a de-woodchuck-pooping bath at eleven at night.

Two weeks ago tonight I was wandering around the hospital looking for some way to pass the time, finding a dogeared magazine aimed at an audience between the ages of, I'd say, fifteen and twenty-five, and being astonished at the clothing styles. Can it be that the current fashion is to gather several articles of clothing that bear no relation or resemblance to each other, throw them together and call it good?

I had a wonderful last day of sick time today. Moderate temperature, low humidity, a pedicure on the patio, an absorbing book to read, a nap in the afternoon. Tomorrow I'll return to work. I'm just about ready, physically and psychologically. 
I have the coffeepot and my clothing prepared for the early morning launch.
Tomorrow at 8:30 as I go out the door to start my commute I will be sad, the same way I was always sad when a new school year started. But it will be good to be back among people, doing the tap dance by which I earn my bread. And at the end of the day I'll get to come home again. Blessed home!

So now I'm a breast cancer survivor. 
Frankly, I consider myself to be a survivor just having managed to keep breathing through the first utterance of the diagnosis. Now I'm at the other end of it, and I have all but the last, formal pronouncement of "all clear," which will come, in due time, from the Yale laboratory.

The routine resumes.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I am home.
And I am well.
I still have, at least, all the lymph nodes I was born with...none of them, not a ONE, had to be removed!

So IT, 

The Disease, 

The Scourge,

is All Gone!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today's the day!

Max and I are managing with the Tramadol, and we're on the lookout for empty gelatin capsules to hide it in and thereby ease the pain of the twice-daily horror.  He eyes me whenever I come near him, but he still loves me, God help him.
MiMau has Clavamox twice a day, and has been (for the second time in as many months) wormed . . . a huntress of her skill does have to suffer the consequence. She dove into her food last night for the first time in nine or ten days, and it did me good to see it.
Husband is planning a field trip around town after
(a) seeing me into the inner sanctum, or
(b) handing me over to the caring medical team, or
(c) abandoning me to my fate.
Check-in time is 9AM and I'm so looking forward to it! Almost like being at a spa, the way the nurse shepherds me into the changing room and takes away my uncomfortable restrictive clothing and supplies me with that crisp blue paper gown with the nice airy rear and the tissue paper shower cap. That getup always makes me feel so attractive and girly. 

Angus is prancing around feeling quite superior to all of us, and wondering how Dad will do with all these medications while Mom is down for the count.