Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Autumn Leaves



In spite of continuous rains, we are having a lovely autumn. Last week Sally drove me through the golden tunnel, and then continued on Infirmary Road up to a little piece of New England in Ohio, Mantua Center. All along  the road there was a blaze of color.
Mantua Center is a little village of century buildings, a couple of houses that were once stage coach stops, a town hall, a church and some kind of meeting house, and a cemetery with a dry stone wall around it. I've never seen any people about, but when I was working, I used to go to the village school to do programs. The school is in an impressive building, much younger than the rest of the structures. It is red brick with white pillars and a domed cupula. It sat empty for a number of years, but has been saved by the locals to be used as a community center. The population is scattered quite a bit, but they seem to have a lot of community spirit. The little village is a perfect place any time of year, but spectacular in the fall.
On the way home, we stopped at Beckwith's orchard to pick  up some of their excellent cider, the best in the county.
It was a full autumn experience.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Wait...wait. Where'd September Go?


All week I thought it was still September, only to discover a few days ago that October, one of my favorite months, has been going on already. I have spent most of September chained to a walker, tending carefully to my injured greater trochanter. I am happy to report that it is healing nicely. Wednesday I ventured out, thanks to daughter Sally, to get my hair washed and cut. My hair was beginning to feel as if things were growing in it, as if bugs could get stuck in it and start laying eggs, or whatever bugs do. Rather than lug the walker into the salon, I used a cane and Sally's right arm. Even went to lunch afterward.
I still  use the walker around  the house for security. Sally picked up some wheels for it, so it moves more smoothly. She also got a tray which attaches to it, but not very securely. I have to pour my coffee into a tumbler, which fits into the hole meant for that which is not big enough for a coffee mug. John has been fixing my coffee in the morning before he leaves, along with my muesli and setting them on the table by my throne.  When he comes home from a hard day of historically restoring some ancient stone or brick structure, he rustles some dinner together.
I have reached a point now of being able to do more, but I am trying to keep off of the affected leg as much as possible. The doc said to do that for a month, which will be a week from today.
Thank god for Netflix. They just dumped a bunch of new stuff in, including a bunch of good old Woody Allen movies, like "Radio Days." (I just watched "Stardust Memories," possibly the most annoying  film ever made. I got so sick of his whining that I shouted at my innocent IPad, "Just shut the eff up!" ) His movies are so much better when he's not in them, with the exception of "Take the Money and Run. " At least in that one he's not importuning women to love him like some lovesick dog.
So October is here and I am healing and looking forward to the arrival of visiting children in a few weeks. And Ohio will be all red and golden.
The picture is what I have missed while healing inside my house.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September Song


We have had the most beautiful summer this year. It has rained a lot, but mostly at nighttime, so every growing thing is as green as May. September days are brilliant blue, bright green and yellow sunshine. The nights are cool and the summer's full moons have bathed every lawn and tree with pure silver. These are the diem one should truly carpe.
My friend and former favorite teacher, the late artist Robert Morrow, lived in an old house a few blocks away. One year he decided to focus on the view from one window, making watercolors of the view throughout the seasons. It was not a spectacular view- no mountains, not much sky, no cathedrals or palaces- but in his hands each small painting was a thing of beauty. The trees, the roof  and windows of the house next door, the tones of light, made each scene distinct, suggesting the passing of time in that one limited area, and how the artist or viewer might feel about the changes of the seasons.
I've often thought of doing the same thing, but I am no Bob Morrow, and now that my vision is not so clear as it used to be I'm not so sure I could get the results I want. (I do not want to compare myself to El Greco' but the dude must have had a form of macular degeneration.) Anyway, the drawing above is what my front window view looks like on a bright and sunny September afternoon.

(The drawing program I use is called IPastel, and while I can't always get exactly the color I want, it's close enough. I'm still figuring out how to use it.)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Greater Trochanter


The greater Trochanter is not a landmass south of Istanbul. It is not an island in the Adriatic Sea. It is not a superlative part of speech on Lower Slobbovia. It is not a species of prehistoric reptile, recently discovered in what was once ancient Tyre. And if there is a lesser or least Trochanter, I know not where that may be.
What it is, is that knobby part of the femur, the part many people call the hip bone, the one that sticks out on models when they do that slouchy kind of stance. There are those who have never seen or felt their greater trochanter, which makes them the kind of people who are built for comfort, which is a good thing, and who, if they fell on it, would most likely just bounce.
I tripped over a TV cord last week and landed on my G. T. , which hurt very much. I don't have any hip bones to spare, having had new hips installed over the past seven years. A trip to the ER, lasting 8 hours, showed only that I hadn't broken anything, and that the hip implant was intact. However, it hurt like hell. And the ER doc and the radiologist were not bone docs. Since this was on the worst night to be in the ER, a Friday,  I had to wait until Monday to get in touch with the devastatingly handsome orthopedic guy to find out why  I was writhing in pain like a Whirling Dervish.
Well, it was because I had done something to the Greater Trochanter and have to stay off the rest of the leg below that bone. John fetched me a walker, the shining metal symbol of the full  geezer. I clump around the house, spending as little time allowing the affected  limb to touch the ground as possible. The pain is a lot less, but I can't carry anything with this kind of walker, things like a cup of coffee, or a plate of food. There are things I can drape over it, like clothes. Can't wash my hair. The doc said to keep off it for a month and see him again then. How can I see this handsome guy with hair that by that time will really be, as the young folks say, totally gross?
Anyway, it feels better day by day, and it could be much worse, and I'll figure out something to take care of the hair. And it's not as if the gorgeous doc finds me irresistible in the first place.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Idly Comprimising Values



I have lately, like many people, been watching much lauded television series on Netflix. Beginning last year with "Breaking Bad," continuing with " Mad Men," and now "Dexter," I find myself wondering why there is so much interest and fascination with really terrible, sociopathic and evil characters. It's not just their badness, but the fact that I find myself rooting for them not to get caught-with the exception of "Mad Men's" Don Draper, so far as I know, hasn't killed anyone, but the environment he operates in is so cynical and sexist that his pathological behavior is shared by everyone in it, and it's easy to dislike them all.
How have I gotten caught up in this upside down version of the old tales I grew up on, where good triumphs over evil? Those old bad guys were one dimensional. These new ones are not. We learn how they were damaged early in some way that seems to not only explain their  dreadful behavior, but asks us to understand their need for it. We may not like what they do, but, after all.... We know the series will end with the doom they deserve, but not until we have been sucked into their lives for months and years when watching the series in  real time. Binge watching 90 some episodes on Netflix cuts that time to several weeks, but not the impact on us. What  is this doing to our minds and souls over that time as we watch and cheer for bad people doing bad things over and over?
At my age, I am pretty sure of the difference between right and wrong, pretty much immune to making stupid choices, uninfluenced by popular culture fads and craziness, have a good shit detector when it comes to people I don't want to know, and all that other dangerous stuff out there. However, how do young, unformed people take these bad, but sympathetic, characters? There's a lot of high risk behavior going on these days and a lot of really bizarre influences floating around. I know people have been saying this for centuries, but we have some very powerful and graphic elements that were not available in the past, and we make a lot of casual assumptions about those elements and the ability of young people to make sense of all of it.
 I'm not saying that "Dexter" will create serial killers, or that Walter White will turn your kindly high school chemistry teacher into a meth cook, but it's a strange trend  and must at least have an effect on how we think about the evil that people do and the people who do evil
 


Friday, September 5, 2014

Found 'Em



Son John happened to stop at Stahl's farm market on his way home from a weekend with friends in Pennsylvania. I used to go there frequently when I was. car driver, for things like their asparagus in the spring and Red Haven peaches in August and September. I can't seem to convince anyone to take me there. It's only about 7 miles away, but Kent people don't go there. Anyway, John brought home the peaches of my dreams and I'm glad to know they still exist. You have to eat them standing over the kitchen sink to avoid creating a peach juice puddle on the floor. I sliced a few to dress up some plain vanilla ice cream.
I don't remember how many there were, but they're gone. Now I shall have to nag Sally to drive out there for more. We are also behind in our trips to the ice cream place in New Baltimore, which will be closing soon for the season. Everyone is talking about how fast the summer flew by, unlike the past winter which dragged on and on in the polar vortex. This summer the weather was perfect, the kind that people think of during a polar vortex, and rare in usually humid Ohio. I shall think fondly of it in February, and be glad of it.