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.

What I thought was said in response to where a piece of pie originated.

Another observation of the evening: Jell-O bridging the generations.

The wind-up on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

The single sock tendency of L. (He always begins with both socks, pulled up in a secure, loving fashion, but a sock eventually strays.)

Toddler with sock on one foot, and missing on the other.

Finally! Photographic evidence. (As always, scene documented as found via ordinary life processes.)

Here’s evidence from the following day, which is also representative of other days when photos were not collected):

Another naked foot!

I think L. could be an awesome foot model. Not only does he have beautiful feet, but he also possesses uninhibited fondness for other feet of various sizes, shapes, and smells.

Does anyone know if any of the Darths had a problem retaining socks, or if they even wear socks?

Photo Sharing

The best way to fine-tune the art and science of the omelet (whichever way you prefer to spell it) is to prepare several of them, in succession. And repeat on more occasions. Success is measured in smiles and satisfied stomachs.

I wasn’t fast (or prepared) enough to snap a photo while the sign announcing that a certain, usually seasonal, establishment would continue serving customers through the winter, but I shall obtain pictorial evidence to substantiate my claimed observation. It is my duty to posterity!

One night over the holidays, I noticed that my mom neglected to include the, “I love you,” after saying goodnight. I tried to give her more time, to no avail. And then my verbal expression of day-concluding, loving sentiments went unreciprocated.

I was shocked. It’s not that I felt she must have stopped loving me. That’s just crazy talk. But there was a void, and I needed to know if something was wrong.

I’m not the sort to stew in silence, or to make assumptions, so I brought what I had noticed to her attention, and asked what the deal was.

Apparently, now that she emails me longer messages than she ever has (we’re not talking about books here, but original, funny responses instead of simple answers: she really likes the 8700), she felt as if she’d already told me she loved me for the day.

I can understand that laboriously typing out an affectionate phrase, counts for a lot in her mind. And I never asked for that, although I do appreciate it. (I remain satisfied with the ILY abbreviation from the old days of character limits, and I’ve offered to add auto text for her, so it would translate like how my typing apt becomes, “apartment,” and I have to backspace if I only want “apt,” which is ok because I never use that word in email situations.)

Seriously, though, my mom never believed one could ever express too much love, or feel too loved. So what is happening?!!!

“Say they do, say they do, say they do . . . “

If you are reaidng this shortly, then you really should, “Look at the moon!”

Why?

Just trust me.

I am back to getting the decade wrong! (Only, at this point in history, that also implies indicating the wrong century.) I’ve done this multiple times in the past month–okay, months, even before the calendar year flipped.

I remember the days when it was a matter of writing the previous year’s year-date (mistaking only the final digit), until one got in the habit of writing the post-New Year year. Kid’s stuff!

Does anyone else do this? Ever? (It happens when I’m recalling things, too, and need to signify the year. Strictly unintentional–although in former days, I might have verbally invoked such misremembered dating for comical effect, or to see if someone was listening to me or just affecting a listening posture*.

The thing is, if this is simply a by-product of aging, then I’m especially pleased about actually attaining an age when it seems within reason to attribute it to aging. It probably has more to do with my brain and stuff, and the fact that Prince’s, “We’re gonna party like it’s 1999,” continues to resonate with every passing New Year. The song was cemented, relationally, as a future event of immense proportions, worthy of unprecedented anticipation. Does it continue to hold that quality for you? (if it ever did)

* I cannot blame people for this, but I really would prefer them to just let me know they aren’t in the mood for gibberish, than for them to feign interest or attentiveness. (This post was prompted by me realizing that my mom was doing a head nod thing recently, without really listening to me. Talk about a wake-up call, for me at least.) As I’ve mentioned before, I cannot always control verbal tangents, and often find myself surprised by how long/far a simple starting thought will meander. I do think there are times I come up with hilarious, spontaneous insights and funnies with stream-of consciousness speaking, but I prefer no audience to one held against its will!