January 2007


Three kinds.

First, we have a significant lake effect event in progress. Beginning and subsequent photos shall be posted. (Cool: a couple kids are out playing in the snow next to the lake–ok, water retention area; but water drainage ditch view apartment does not have the same ring as “lakefront condo”…)

Second, there’s a blizzard of paper inside tonight, as I try to tackle a few things before Superbowl Sunday rolls around. (Is anyone else hoping for a snow machine to be used in Miami to simulate REAL football playing conditions? I’m exceptionally pleased with this year’s match-up, but that’s another post!)

Outside update: they’ve managed a great start to a fort! Ah, fit of nostalgia… OK, I should get a picture, but I don’t want to risk interrupting them or making them aware anyone’s watching. I’m not immediately related to them. Surprising, I know, because you would think I’m the only adult who would allow kids out to play after 10pm, and in temperatures below 20F!

This is how the . . .

pause for comprehension/incomplete Wheel-of-Fortune-like fingerspelling reading…

blizzard . . .

Insert various attempts at correct phrase completion, in excited manner–as if mindreading were involved

of 1978 started.

(Of course, I forgot the exact year-date. But I was in the right decade and century at least!)

I wore a hat yesterday primarily because:

(This is a test of how well you know me, so choose one.)

A) I needed to keep my head warm.

B) I needed to tame hair that’s in dire need of a haircut*.

Btw, I’m “growing it out” for this retro party I have tomorrow night (tonight). My Golden (well, yellow) ticket was hand-delivered on Saturday!

I’m watching a brain sugery (with tumor removal) on Discovery Channel. I haven’t seen any of my surgeries. I’m not sure if there are videos and DVDs of them floating around medical schools. A friend of mine was given a DVD of her most recent surgery, and she watched it. I’m sure it’s engrossing.

What prompted this post, though, was how I remember the cartoon of the brain surgeons touching parts of the brain to stimulate responses in other body parts, and how funny that was to me (and continues to be for me.) I know I’ve wondered this before, and here I am wondering it again: what all did they do to me all those times while I was under anesthesia? If they did need some laughs, and getting those laughs comes as part of the functional testing gig, then I find that to be pretty cool. Why not?

I have also wondered if my neurosurgeons operated with musical accompaniment. If yes, then what kind? We were often too busy talking about things not related to medical stuff (or just about me, me, me and my pieces), so that’s why I don’t know these things.

But this guy who shared his operation: he had speech problems after sugery. They could have been more specific: is it that he couldn’t think of the words, or that he could not say them? (Neural vs. motor deficits, or some combo) Or there’s that inability to translate concept to the word, and then express the idea, and it seems so silly and invisible.

You know, like an old friend of mine used to say, “words are turds.” And still, I continue to love those turds. To misplace language, and not know if/when/how it may resurface… It still boggles my mind. How have I maintained anagrammatic skills through all this? Some stuff has certainly caught up with me, despite ongoing efforts to stem and reverse trends. The fluidity is both remarkable and not to be envied.

One of the highlights of this past week included fixing a piece of machinery that, while not essential to a homestead, would need to be replaced if it stopped functioning. That would not be cool because it was preventable: I remember the same thing happening before, but could not recall what I did to fix it even though I could remember vowing to adhere to simple preventative measures.

“Don’t panic.”

No problem. I was in a mellow mood and I was riding on the tailwind of an earlier accomplishment of having washed out, replaced filters, and reassembled my economical-yet-highly effective bagless vacuum cleaner. (It doesn’t cut, but it sure sucks.) And I didn’t even pull out the manual for reference or have pieces left over after getting it back together! Of course, if I did this as often as it should be done, this would not be noteworthy. Also keep in mind that there were components to dry overnight, that were given several nights while I delayed buying replacement filters, so I was really winging it there.

But back to the task here.

With the paper shredder, I wasn’t sure if there was a jam or an overload, or what. I tried to free any debris that was visible. The motor would run for reverse (for cleaning it or whatever), but the auto feeder wasn’t gobbling up what I tried to offer. I decided I couldn’t try to force it. No, it’s always taken offerings and left me feeling quite satisfied (and contemplating what New Year’s Eves would’ve been like if we had had this confetti producer back in the old days…). So I moved on. First allowing it some time to chill, perhaps reset… Then unplugging it and plugging it back in… Then trying to clear even more of some bits here and there. To no avail.

By this time, I’m about ready to give up. The life-saving effort wasn’t continuous (I do this weird multi-tasking thing between active and sedentery tasks, often forgetting something that’s in process), but time was passing and I was running out of new ideas to try every time the basket would catch my eye*.

Then it hit me! If there may be a jam, then maybe things got off track, and perhaps I could find a (safe) way to physically correct them, yet maintain the integrity of the device. Ok, honestly, the picture in my mind was that of what my dad does when he’s fixing the millions of things he has fixed. (And the fact he’s generally successful, and I can’t tell the difference between when he’s doing something because he knows it will work vs. when he is just fiddling and winging it. Me, well I haven’t developed the skill of looking like I know what I’m doing, even when I don’t. At least not aside from a few freak instances–and even in those, people who know me could definitely tell the difference.)

So, yeah, I hadn’t hit the thing. I felt no anger. It was probably my fault it wasn’t working. I decided I couldn’t abuse it. No, but what if it was an instance when I had to choose between shaking it up a bit, or leaving it to waste?

So I chose to shake it, and agitate the rotor and spikes, but I assure you that all shaking was done in the spirit of love. The demonstration of how this approach contrasts with that of my dad’s was performed with grand flourishes, precisely because it was successful. I’m not so sure it was as entertaining as I thought it was.

* In relaying this story verbally, I was able to glaze over a lot of the above, but I think it needed to be included in a textual account. To build suspense or whatever. Too much?

Would someone please refrain from relocating the pulls?

I was trying to figure out, aside from jackhammers working from inside my skull, how to describe today’s headache. It is reminiscent of kettle drums, but not in the sense of calm tympanies… No, this is at the climax of a grand, energetic movement. Only it’s not so grand after the conversion from triumph and exhilaration like the original score, to what amounts to a constant banging against my precious brain.

I still have not decided whether I prefer the constant pain like this, which I should eventually become accustomed to, and raise tolerance level still more. Or if the unpredictable, intermittent-though very sharp stabs allow me a better cushion to function.

These are the kind of days that slip and slide. But it’s like the homemade slip-and-slide we had as kids: the one my sister broke her thumb on because it got caught in an undetected hole in the tarp.

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