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.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Where Have All the Peaches Gone?

I haven't had a really decent peach in several years. I used to be able to by peaches at the supermarket that were just fine and peachy, even if they were shipped in early from the Carolina's. Lately they are either hard as rocks  or stringy and mushy and flavorless. I know this has been a bad peach year because of the harsh winter, but this not good peach thing has been going on for a number of years
One of the joys of August used to be the beautiful, ripe, juice running down you chin peach. I spent my childhood in the peach state, Georgia, where the fruit is , or maybe was, delicious, but even Ohio has had good peaches. We also used to get Monet- painting worthy Red Haven beauties from western Pennsylvania. Even  if you find a few good ones now, when you go back for more, they are no longer as good. Local orchards have peaches about the size of a lime, which is not the size a peach was ever intended to be.
It is a puzzlement. Maybe it's divine retribution for all that genetic manipulation of the food supply.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


I have a  friend , Nancy, who calls herself a COW, as in Cranky Old Woman.  It applies to many of us, at least to me and many people I know. My friend Caroline  was a COW, but she was also a Cranky Young Woman. She was the kind of person who was not satisfied with the way things were in the world.  However, unlike many of us, she did not just complain or whine.  
 Caroline used her energy, her talents, her fierce intelligence, and her voice to tackle problems and  issues  that she saw as reducing the quality of life and hampering the public good. She did not suffer fools gladly, but firmly believed that  understanding was possible through respectful dialogue with those who disagree. She was a terrific writer of essays on a variety of subjects, mostly focused on national and global issues, essays which were published in our local paper, but many of which were picked up by the online journal Common Dreams.  These essays are well thought out, carefully researched and liberal. Her views infuriated the local Tea Party, the leader of which seemed to be convinced that she was a C0mmunist.
Caroline worked for Senator John Glenn for many years as an assistant and writer, a job she love and did well. Here in Kent Caroline was involved in the Kent Environmental Council,  an early volunteer group which literally changed the environment in this community. Un deterred by snarky  "tree-hugger" comments, this group made our community a leader in cleaning up the environment, including the Cuyahoga River through actually getting themselves muddy and wet, as well as by  promoting legislation.  She served on the school board. She served on the Social Services board. She worked at the county clothing center, sorting out donated clothing which is given to those who are in need.
Although we were both students at Kent State at the same time, we did not know one another then. I knew who she was, since she was in a number of plays during that time. We both ended up back in Kent years later. We got to know one another when we were both Teacher Guides in the Experimental College. Caroline instituted,  a new class in that program -  prescient topic for the mid 70s: problems for the digital age. At this time, IBM was working on those room-size computer, with the PC yet to come.
Caroline was an educator, a musician and composer, and a poet. Every Christmas, if you were lucky, you would receive a little chapbook of poems, songs, and lovely small nature essays. They were little treasures. (If I got any of this wrong, I shall expect a ghostly poke some night in my sleep.)
In recent years, Caroline was one of the Lunch Ladies at Baked in the Village, a local eatery with plain good food and good conversation. She has not been with us for about two months, suffering a return if the cancer she has fought for the last year and a half, and she has been, and now will continue to be, missed. She died this past week, in hospice. I had only seen her once during this time, too early to say good-bye. But how do you say that anyway?
The picture is not of Caroline, but I did it because years ago, she photographed a blue heron down by the river, and it was used on the web site of the Kent Environmental Council. So my heron is in her honor.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Feline Dignity Affected

OA couple of weeks ago, Sixto, the resident Burnell cat, was obviously feeling under the weather. He was off his feed. He sort of crouched and his beautiful black coat had that dull, ruffed up look that cats wear when they lack that feline spark of well- being. In short, the beast was ailing.
 John took him to the vet, who checked him over and decided that whatever it was was beyond her expertise. She recommended  a place in Akrom which is the Cleveland Clinic for animals, a state of the art facility that operates 24/7.
The experts there started a process involving four different specialists in sick cat medical practice and lots of money concommitent with their their medico-scientific wonderful ness. Their actions involved IV infusions, and x- Rays (but no cat cat scans) looking for some sort of intestinal blockage. They kept him overnight, so that the odd specialist could study his condition, come up with a diagnosis and treat whatever it was.i
Sixto is a most agreeable cat, affectionate, friendly- he greets company at the door in a very un- catlike, semi- doglike manner - but at this upscale vet clinic he began to hiss and strike out with extended claws at these practitioners. John decided that they were more interested in conditions than in animals. He was also tired of waiting for each specialist to show up and pontificate on a diagnosis. Finally, since they couldn't find anything specific, and Sixto was indicating that he didn't much care for their attitude, that they saw him as a collection of symptoms instead of a particular animal. John decidided to bring him kome.
That seemed to work just fine, because whatever it was, it no longer is, and Sixto is fine, eating well again and looking sleek - except for his legs. In order to perform the IVs, they shaved his front legs and one of his hind legs. He looks like a damn poodle-cat. I am embarrassed for him. God knows what the other cats are thinking. The fur will grow back, of course, but for now, he does look strange indeed

Monday, August 11, 2014

Wet Tomatoes

This has been an unusual summer here in Ohio. Instead of the hot, humid summer days and nights, we have had pleasant, warm, sunny and breezy days and cool nights. July was like August, with blue skies and fluffy clouds, and , so far, August is like September, with cool mornings. This is fine with me, since I do like like the usual summer weather of Ohio. I completely lose the will to live. I sweat. I wilt. I droop. I toss the cat off my lap. Air conditioners help, but I feel locked in with the windows closed and the fresh air filtered, and the sound of machinery whirring. Since we have window units, at night I cannot hear if a serial killer maniac is breaking in. It is better than tossing about in the horrible humidity, when a serial killer would be a relief, actually. This summer of cool nights is preferable.
Along with the coolth,  we have had a lot of rain. It is raining as I write this post, and has been doing so since early afternoon. It has rained a lot on these cool nights. The problem for us tomato growers, is that tomatoes do not like too much rain. My poor plants look like late September has sneaked up on them, with leaves turning yellow at the bottom of the stalks, and all the tomatoes stunted. We did plant some aromas, but even they are smaller than they should be, and misshapen. Pitiful. A friend who is a very experienced gardener and has a huge vegetable garden said that she has just pulled all her tomato plants out because they were so waterlogged from all the rain. This was the year to do container planting, I guess, because people seemed to have more luck with sheltered container planted tomatoes. The herbs have done well, so I have lots of basil, but not enough tomatoes to serve it with.
In the meantime, everything is very green for this time of year. jut like the tomatoes.