Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Auld Lang This!

I'm not sure why, but I've never liked  New Year's Day. It could be the football games. It could be that the end of the holiday season  is nigh. It could be that there'll be at least 5 months (at least in Northeastern Ohio) of gray skies, dun- colored grounds and skeletal trees. It's just a dull and uncertain time, uncertain because of capricious weather. Planning ahead for anything that involves travel, for instance, can be tricky because of heavy snow and icy roads. Even though I no longer drive, I don't even like to be in a car when it's snowing.
New Year's Eve used to be enjoyable time when I was younger. Lots of parties, lots of putting on my prettiest clothes, high heeled shoes and glitter. Most of my closest friends are gone off to green pastures, and those of us left are too old to drink in the New Year. And the thought of high heels, just the thought of high heels, makes my feet hurt. How did I ever wear those things, to say nothing of dancing in them. Oy!
 I went to get my hair cut this morning. The place I go is one of those chain salons which doesn't take appointments. I expected it to be packed, but I got right in with my favorite stylist. I asked her where the crowds were, assuming all the ladies would be in, getting all glossed up for the big night. She told me that people just don't do that any more, and haven't for some time, preferring to have informal gatherings. Poor things.
But New Year's Day is so un-joyous to me. When I was working, or in school, it  meant going back the next day, but  that's no longer the case. It's a good time to see a movie, at least. And in the Catholic church it's called The Feast of the Circumcision. That's something the nuns never explained.
The Boar's Head Festival was terrific, as usual. We had to sit in the west  transept for a change and found it even better than the usual place we have sat for years. The shepherds entered right in front of us with two small goats, one of which sang aling with them all around the cathedral and right up to the manger. We also went to a different Vietnamese restaurant, this time on the near West side of Cleveland.
Dessert was ice cream at Sweet Moses, a trendy creamery in an emerging neighborhood in that part of town. Wonder if it's open on New Year's Day?  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

'Tis the Season

I'm not sure what exactly impels our family toward the bleaker side of entertainment, but this Christmas season is one example of the penchant for the dark side. One evening at dinner, the subject of film noir came up. I mentioned one favorite of that genre, "The Kiss of Death,"  which I saw back in the late 40s. It featured Richard Widmark as a psychopathic hood named Tommy Udo,  with a chilling giggle, which he displayed copiously as he  pushed an old woman in a wheelchair (played by Mildred Dunnock, who had played Willie Loman's saintly wife , for God'sake !)  down a very, very, steep staircase. As soon as my progeny heard about it, the title was looked up on YouTube, and after the dishes were stashed into the dishwasher, Sally's laptop was connected to the big TV and the movie was enjoyed by all. This was on Christmas Eve eve.
We made up for it the next night by watching that first of the Walton's saga, "The Homecoming." I fell asleep.
We have gone to two noir films this past week: " American Hustle," and "The Wolf of Wall Street," both quite enjoyable, and both about pretty rotten cheaters who use gutter language, very noir- ish, only in technicolor. Tomorrow we are going to see the new Coen brothers movie, which is about a folk singing loser and promises to be quite depressing.
Tonight we are joining the normal holiday revelers at the Boar's Head Feast at the beautiful Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland.
By the way, those of you old enough to remember Frank Gorshin, the brilliant impersonator, who also  played the Riddler on the TV Batman, one of his greatest impressions was of Widmark's character in "The Kiss of Death." He even looked like him.

Monday, December 23, 2013

And a Merry Christmas To Y'all

This poor blog is being neglected these days. Blame it on Facebook, Netflix and general laziness. Thanks to Netflix I developed a meth-like addiction to "Breaking Bad," a modern day "Crime and Punishment"-like episodic television series. It is one of the best-written, best acted television presentations ever. I became a zombie-like watcher,  determined to watch just one episode at a time, but finding myself binge watching three more. I kept wondering to myself why an 86 year old, non-violent, non-druggy woman was so fascinated by this tale of a good man turned evil was driving me into an obsessed  IPad voyeur. As I said, it was just so good, and I was, I found out, not alone. Netflix has still not shown the last 8 episode, so I have yet to know how it all turned out.
Well, that's not so Christmassy, but it does account for my neglect of this poor blog.

I did this illustration weeks ago with the intention of making Christmas cards, but have not done so. Not being a driver can be constraining when it comes to more frivolous tasks, like going to places which handle blank cards. I prefer to use my ride mooching for things like doctor and dentist appointments or grocery shopping. So I am using this post and Facebook to send greetings out to friends (the actual kind) and family. This is Sixto's second appearance on one of my cards, succeeding the late card star Dupree. Sixto is an extraordinary cat, very people oriented and a very warm and comforting lap cat.

I am feeling quite well after my summer of discontent. I am back to water aerobics, even though rising from a warm bed at 6 a.m. seems a cruel thing to do to myself during the cold, dark days of the next 4 months.

It's the time of good movies, because the rush to get them into theaters before the new year is now on. Saw "American Hustle" the other day and found it delightful, with stellar performances. Going to see the new Coen brothers film about the folk singer later this week. Polly's here and Emily checks in periodically with Face Time, so we have a together family which is lovely
If Netflix finally gets those last 8 episodes I shall probably binge watch for a few days. No calls, please.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Colors Have Arrived

Almost overnight, the trees have finally decided to flash their colors, just like that! Last Tuesday, the trees around here were still bright green. Thursday morning, after a windy, rainy night, when my friend Frances and I were driving back from our early morning aerobics class, Brady Lake Road was edged with the brilliant golds, oranges and coral reds we'd been waiting for. They are still that way, in spite of several quite windy days. I've never seen such stubborn leaves. I wonder if they'll be reluctant to come out next spring.
We are back to Eastern Standard Time as of this morning. It's good to have that hour back, even though it's very dark by 5p.m. It could be worse, of course. The first time I was in London it was December. My friend Susan and I  went into  Fortnum and Mason's to gawk at their wonderful Christmas goodies around 2 in the afternoon. We spent about an hour, buying a few very British things, visiting Father Christmas (there were no children around and he looked lonesome)  and when we came out of the store it was pitch black.  I looked at my watch, and it was 3 o'clock. Since this was our second day in England, we had gone to bed early the previous day and hadn't't noticed the early darkness. It was very disorienting at first, but we got used to it. So at least in this part of the world we don't have to experience that in the winter.
Right now the sun is shining on the beautiful orange gold trees across the street in Dix's Woods and my front yard golden maple is also glowing through the window.
My real fall is here at last.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Green Fall

Dix's woods is as green as June. The maple tree in the front yard is still mostly green, with a few touches of yellow, but not its usual brilliant gold. One of the reasons our recent visitor from Germany chose to come to Ohio in  October was to enjoy the glorious burst of autumn color. We even went down to Holmes County,hoping to see the annual display. Well, not only was it pouring torrents of rain, but the trees were still green, with an occasional dull brown here and there and several bright spots.
Normally by this late in October, the trees are bare, with trick or treaters shuffling through deep  piles of dead leaves. Now the trees oare resisting their fall fate, refusing to change color and hanging on for dear life. What does this mean? Climate change? Arboral rebellion, a cry of "Hell no, we won't go?" Will Christmas decorations be competing with trees finally bearing red, orange and golden leaves?
We did have a lot of rain this summer, which meant that everything was greener than usual for a longer time, which was nice, but I do miss the October colorfast.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Foiling the Fantods

The Lake District of England is a wild and wonderful place. The fells rise up precipitously from bowl-like valleys. You can see for miles from ridges and hillsides. Mortarless stone walls snake up from dells straight up the steep sides of fells to the very top. Everything in summer is brilliant green , like Day-Glo paint, with lovely blue lakes reflecting everything.
My friend Susan and I were invited to meet and stay with the Martins in Ambleside, a lovely town in Wordsworth country. Tony, now retired, was a professor at Lancaster University, specializing in literacy. He had written a book about struggling readers and teaching technique to assist their learning. Susan, whose field is also literacy, had written him a fan letter, and he, in turn, told her that if she was ever in England, to please visit him and his wife in the Lake District.  Susan, not one to let an opportunity pass, took him up on the invitation. We were invited to stay in their home, which was rather brave of him and his wife , Nancy. She was the education coordinator at Dove Cottage, the Wordsworth Home in the nearby little village of Grasmere.
Nancy took us to Dove Cottage and gave us a tour of the cottage, where the poet and his sister Dorothy had lived, and told us about their life there, and talked about the remarkable journal which Dorothy had kept in which she described her day to day activities, her long walks, her garden and her devotion to the Great Poet. I became more interested in her than in the poet, and bought a copy of the journal and found it wonderful to read over and over. She was a memorable woman.
In the museum connected to the cottage there were many artifacts from the period ( early 19th century) among them the Claude Glass. When the early railroad provided access to the Lake District, it became a favorite vacation  and tourist spot for city folk from other parts of the U.K. Among these tourists were young ladies of a delicate makeup, whose contact with nature consisted mainly of Austenian walks about the shrubbery of country estates. Unfortunately, these young ladies found the wild scenery of the Lake District so overwhelming that they were won't to swoon from a surfeit of natural beauty.
Enter the Claude Glass. This device was held up, facing the scenery, while one's back was to the dangerous view. The Claude Glass was convex, thus taming the wildness into a more concentrated, more easily tolerated compact view. The young ladies could thus enjoy the full Lake District experience while retaining full consciousness.
The next evening, the Matins took us out to Wrynose Pass for a hike. It is a vast valley, surrounded by the Langdale Pikes, enormous green fells reaching  up to the sky.
I turned to Nancy.
"Oh, my God! Did you bring a Claude Glass?"
She had not, but somehow I managed to stave off the vapors. I understood those young ladies of old.
(I am quite sure that Dorothy Wordsworth never needed such a thing. She walked over the fells for miles almost very day and wrote in her journal of a host of golden daffodils before the Great Poet ever thought of that image himself. )

Monday, September 30, 2013

Moving Right Along

My last post about what to carry when traveling reminded me of another aspect of moving about the planet with baggage; that is, how we do it by train.

When I first came to Kent State University back in 1947, the main means of getting here involved a rather long session with trains. I left Springfield, Ohio, in the south central part of the state via the New York Central line. In a little town in the middle of nowhere, I got off that train and had to wait for two hours in an old wooden train station for the Erie line, from Chicago. It pretty much took all day. Car transportation wasn’t much better, even if I were lucky enough to catch a ride. I think  I was the only person from Springfield going to Kent State at the time. This was before Eisenhower and General Motors took over the country and replaced all the two lane highways with the super highway system we know today. I tried the bus once, but it was full of Appalachians headed for the tire factories in Akron, complete with whiskey bottles in brown paper bags. So the long train trip became my transport modus operandi for four years, by which time I was thoroughly sick of trains.

It wasn’t until I began traveling abroad that I fell in love with trains. I love the Victorian architecture of stations in England, places with names like Victoria, King’s Cross and the venerable Paddington. It was at Paddington where I met a man who had been a clock keeper there, who talked about the thousands of children being evaluated to the country during WWll, and how heart-breaking it had been to watch the parents saying goodbye to those children. The train station at Windsor is fit for a queen, one of the most elegant looking depots I’ve ever seen. I’ve been to the little station used in the Harry Potter films, when I took a steam-train through the moors in Yorkshire, years before those films were made.

When my friend Susan and I took the train from Munich to Florence, we passed through the Alps, covered with snow. We shared our compartment with a Greek businessman, who, of course, had relatives in Cleveland. He talked about the traffic rules in Athens, where one is allowed to use a car only every other day. He got around that by having two cars so he could alternate each day. The issue around this was the pollution’s effect on the antiquities of the city, so he wasn’t exactly doing his part.

Speaking of a compartment, that’s another thing I enjoy. It’s like.  being in one of those great thriller films, where the person across from you may be a spy or an escaped murderer.

On long trips, there’s the dining car, where you can enjoy a meal with constantly changing scenery, from snowy Alps to palm trees at Lake Como. From open country to the sooty backs of old faded brick buildings as you come into a city. I think it is a more active from of transportation. You’re not driving a car, but you are absorbing all sorts of sights, sounds, smells, atmospheres. You’re grounded, not aloft, attached to the earth and moving along it.

After a flurry of traveling abroad for over ten years or so, I have not been thee for a while and I do miss it. It’s a combination of age and hip replacements, I don’t have the stamina I once had for al the walking (once you get off the train), but I am so glad I have had the chance to enjoy and appreciate the fun and excitement of train travel.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

The ThIngs We Carry

My brother Ed and I talked the other day via Facetime, just before he and his wife took off for a tour of Ireland. He talked about packing for the trip and we discussed how to manage with a minimum of bulky luggage. He mentioned that once he picked our older brother Bill up at the airport when Bill was returning from a 10 day trip to Greece. Bill greeted him at the terminal carrying a gym bag. When Ed suggested that they go to pick up his luggage. Bill lifted the gym bag. “This is it,” he said. He said he accompanied him to the car, with Bill downwind.

The first time I went to Europe, I consulted my sister, who has been on every continent except Antarctica. She told me to pack my bag, wait a few minutes and then take half of it out. I was traveling with my friend Susan, who had been abroad several times. She had 5 weeks off from her doctoral studies at Ohio University, and I had recently retired from my job at Townhall ll. My main objective was to visit my daughter in Germany, but I also wanted to go to England and Italy with a stop off in Zurich where y friend Ethel had been living since college. Susan had the great idea of our using Back packs for every day necessities, plus clean socks and underwear as carry-ons. I packed a lot of dark colored clothes. We were pretty much winging it after England. We had Eurail passes, which in those days were good for where ever you wanted to go.

We traveled like students, basically. No fancy hotels, no posh restaurants. We had an apartment in London, where we could cook Wearing black turtleneck shirts with a fancy scarf got us through a few concerts and stage plays. We ferried over to the continent, took a train to Munich and took off for Italy with only our backpacks, leaving our suitcases with Emily.

In Florence, we found a pensione and our room with a view was a bus station, but who cared. My friend Ethel took us to a wonderful fondue place in Zurich and we walked through strings of fairy lights decorating the streets for Christmas.

Back in Germany, we had a great time eating good food and enjoying the lovely town and 1 year old Katina. And washing out a few clothes.

Besides being very tired of the same old clothes, the mobility afforded by packing light paid off as we boarded buses, trains and cabs. Since then I have always traveled light, even leaving clothes behind. We stayed in a B.and B. in London once where the Breakfast servers all seemed to have recently arrived from Bosnia, or some other war-torn country. I left a nice cardigan I was sick of, a tee shirt and a nightgown. I’ve done that several times in various places in England. Some entrepreneur should come up with disposable clothes for travelers. Several times, Susan and I have rented cottages, which work out well, since one has the advantage of a washer and dryer right there if you can figure out how to use them.

I have never gone so far as my brother, carrying only a gym bag, but if one can get away with it, it’s not a bad idea.
The illustration above has been enhanced by a terrific app I downloaded on my IPad, called PaperArtist. I do my blog illustrations these days on the IPad, with a couple of paint programs apps I have downloaded. I used to do the drawings and scan them, but now I can do it all on the computer.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

To say the least, it was the summer of my discontent. It began in June, along with the kind of humid weather that destroys my soul. I had no energy, no appetite, no anything. I was losing weight, along with the general malaise. A few tests suggested a thyroid problem, a lack of vitamin D, but nothing else. I finally suggested that perhaps my pancreas should be checked, since I had had pancreatitis last year. So I had an MRI, which disclosed a couple of cysts on my pancreas. I was referred to a gastroenterologist, who ordered a series of endoscopic procedures. The first was diagnostic, which was inconclusive. Another was to put in stents in the ducts, in case the cysts blocked them. The  last was to remove the stents after a few weeks. I was put on two drugs, one to assist the pancreas in processing digestion, the other to allay the acid caused by that stent implantation. What I didn’t know at the time was that these medications were also, over time creating a problem with allergies.

The upshot of all that was that I ended up with the worst asthma attack I have ever had, which also resulted in an episode of A-fib, which can cause all sorts of problems, like a stroke. So they put me on more drugs,, which made me dizzy. The A-fib came under control rather quickly, actually, but now I have a cardiologist telling me that I need to take yet another drug, the side effects of which are unknown to me. I shall see her next week and inform her that I shall not be taking her drugs,, thank you very much.

The pancreatitis I suffered from last year was from high blood pressure medication, by the way. The A-fib was caused by the asthma attack brought on by the pancreas meds. Are they trying to kill me, or what?

I read an interesting op-ed piece the other day about how doctors are now ruled by “procedures” and drugs. Yea, verily.

BY the way, the pancreas docs, all of whom are good, gentle, competent people, have names that sound like roll call at the Mosque. Unfortunately, like most docs these days, they do not listen to old women. There is an idea that we lose our minds after so many years and know absolutely nothing about our own bodies, cannot decipher prescriptions and their side effects and  therefore should be willing to trust their superior knowledge=, which they get from drug salesmen.

And the last charming  medical Middle sterner told me that the cysts are benign.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

August Eats

The Good food month is here, with fresh; locally grow produce filling the refrigerator and bellies. I put in a lot of Roma tomatoes this year and they are producing bunches of lovely bright red little globes glowing through the greenery, I use then for cooking, eating and looking at. They’re great with basil, onion, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar over angel hair pasta. I also have the regular kind, ready for the BLT feast. I don’t ear a lot of bacon, because, you know, it’s full of all sorts of things that will kill you, but when there are tomatoes jumping off the vines, a person is obliged to combine them with good bread, mayonnaise and bacon. It’s obligatory.

Corn is excellent this year, too, all buttery with a touch of salt. Green beans are melt in your mouth tender and sweet. I haven’t planted beans in years, mainly because the squirrels just dig them up. The farmers’ market provides plenty. Gently steam them until they are tender, throw in a bit of butter and savor. The green peppers are scarce again, but there are enough to flavor other dishes and salads.

Peaches, apples and pears are coming on, too. Beeckwith’s Orchards already have their cider available, which seems a little early. They no longer press the cider on the premises because of some health laws, but it’s still the best there is.

We’ve had a spell of sticky weather, after some beautiful crisp days and nights, so summer is ending the same way it began. It went too quickly, heat, humidity and all, but I look forward to fall and visits from my fafaway daughters.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nature Here and There

\The garden is thriving, thanks to the rain, along with those beautiful August sunshine and blue skies. Yesterday was on of the most perfect, with billowy clouds against the bluest of skies. Not a day when one would think of driving over to Youngstown, but we went to the Mill Creek park, a great contrast to the Detroit-like ambience of the former steel. We went in search of Lanteman’s Mill, and an attempt to find a bizarre exhibit at the Ford Nature Center. The mill is an historic structure which has been restored to working order, actually grinding grain.

The whole experience was rather dispiriting. The park is beautiful in itself, but it is apparent that there is not enough money to maintain any kind of meaningful nature center, which was staffed by a couple of rather rather apathetic women who barely made eye contact. A few kids were trying to interact with some pitiful learning exhibits, and one room was full of mournful, moribund turtles in glass cages.

The exhibit I was looking for, which has haunted me for years was a few glass jars of pickled snakes. Years ago we saw these at the mill, along with drawers full of dead songbirds, which someone had probably donated to the place. Several years ago, I found the snakes at the Nature Center, but these were only a few of the birds left. I wanted John to see them, but there was nothing left. Apparently, collecting birds was quite a hobby, and they were preserved somehow, so that their feathers stayed bright. It had been such a weird sight to see those drawers full of little, colorful bird bodies and wonder how they had cone to be victims of some nut-case bird collector.

The mill, when we finally found it, was staffed by the same sort of uninterested employee. I asked her if they had corn meal or flour for sale. She replied that they did, when they had any, as if that didn’t happen very often. There were a lot of people wandering about, but not many seemed to be interested in touring the immense building. It is something like four stories high, which means a lot of stairs, too many for me right now, so we just wandered around. It’s obvious that this park needs better funding, but Youngstown is struggling, as are many rust belt cities. It actually is a very interesting place, with a first rate art museum, a state university, and great ethnic restaurants.

We drove back via Rte. 422, which I’ve written about before, the road that used to be lined with the pre-historic like remains of giant steel mill, most of which have now been demolished. However, thee are several new ones, much sleeker and stream-lined compared to the old ones. I miss them, even though they were depressing, but in a good, artistic way, making me think of the thousands of people who spent their lives in these industrial hives.

We seem to have our own little nature center right in the back yard. The see have been at the tomatoes. Since we will be having bumper crop of the Roma variety, I guess we can share without too much trouble, Poor deer are losing their habitat and frequently wander the neighborhood, looking confused, but enjoying the vegetation.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Reality Check

When one reaches an advanced age, that is, becomes a genuine geezer, one has a rather panoramic view of the history one has lived all those years. Events come and go and come again. The BIG Decision Makers develop policies that they deem necessary, start wars, decide who counts and who doesn’t, argue about what the Founding Fathers really meant when they constructed the Constitution, and even though we vote for them, the government machine takes over and we have no control over what happens. Really.

One of the areas I have seen kicked around is that of our right to privacy, out right not to have the government looking over our shoulder and using the information gleaned to abridge our “freedom.’

Let me take you back to the so-called idyllic 50s, the era that some people want to bring back. The scene is Kent State University, to Fr. James Fleming’s Social Theory class. It was a senior level class in which we studied how, over the centuries of civilization; men had developed the means of forming society in workable ways to create the best possible outcomes for all – or in some cases for a chosen few. Included among these social philosophers was Karl Marx, naturally. Now in the class was an older student we had never seen before,; since most of the rest of us had been together for at least three years as sociology majors we all knew each other. He was very quiet in class, not asking questions or commenting. He was also dressed very formally, not in the casual way of the average student,. One day, after class, he joined a group of us at lunch. He had a lot of questions about Dr. Fleming, a wonderful teacher and scholar from Georgia. “He sure talks a lot about Karl Marx,” he said. We just stared at him. “It’s a social theory class,” one of us said. “You can’t ignore Marx.” He didn’t look convinced. He disappeared from class soon after that. He had FBI written al over him. SO far as I know, Dr. Fleming was not assigned to a list of subversives, but the watching had begun.

In Columbus, the state of Ohio had its own House Un-American Activities Committee, which forced the Ohio State University to establish a loyalty oath for all faculty, including graduate assistants.  To teach at Ohio State you had to swear that you were not and had never been a member of any organization that threatened to overthrow the government of the USA. They also established a gag rule on certain speakers invited to speak at university and class events. McCarthy and the Congressional un-American Committee were gearing up for the major witch hunts of that time. Nothing was too absurd: an acquaintance of my husband’s in graduate school was in charge of the classic film series, showing such films as “Grapes of Wrath,” “The Ox-Bow Incident,” “Citizen Kane,” etc., the kinds o films to stimulate discussion as both art and human behavior. (In those far-off days college students were actually interested in ideas, rather than special effects.) The young man was called before the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee because – gasp! – some of them had been written by the notorious Hollywood Ten, writers who had refused to testify against others who may or may not have once belonged to the Communist Party, or perhaps had fought with the rebels in the Spanish Civil War against the Fascists. It was the committee which decided what was subversive; they had a little list, which included groups like Blue Star Mothers, those dangerous government over-throwers who had had a son serving in WWII.  Our friend had to face these yobs who probably thought “Grapes of Wrath” was about the wine industry. Our friend was not hauled off for violating the loyalty oath, but the film series was cancelled.

The atmosphere in Columbus was oppressive, but worse was to come.

For reasons that I still do not understand, Joseph McCarthy was allowed to run roughshod over the civil rights of hundreds of people. People lost jobs, were black listed for years; He kept waving papers around, shouting that he HAD NAMES!!! Interestingly, one of the young lawyers on his committee was Robert F. Kennedy,

Two brave men stopped him, finally. One was Edward R. Murrow, and I you saw “Good Night and Good Luck.” you know what he did, when even the president seemed to cringe and avoid confronting that major villain of his presidency. The other was Joseph Welch, a Dickensian old Boston lawyer, who took him on during the Army-McCarthy hearings and smashed him but good.

Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover took up where McCarthy left off and created similar violations of free speech and illegal spying on American citizens, not presumptive terrorists, but civil rights workers, anti-war demonstrators, journalists, and commentators.

And now we have the IRS snoops checking out certain groups. It’s still wrong, but the magnitude of the offensive actions doesn’t come close to past skullduggery in the name of national Security.

In another sense, we are under constant scrutiny through our credit cards, computer pages, Twitter, Facebook, merchant preference cards, store cameras – we’re all in there.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Black Beauties

They’re here. Here to brighten up my otherwise sweaty, unpleasant summer. The season is not a long one, but I do my part to consume as many as I can. I don’t remember their being around when I was growing up. IN those days we ate sweet green grapes, cold from the refrigerator. Now black cherries fill the bill.

One time when my friend Susan and I were in London, every day on the way back to the B. and B. from the Metro, we passed a wonderful fruit store, where we would pick up plums, peaches and black cherries for a pre-dinner snack. Soon it was just the black cherries. If we had enough left after dinner, they were good for dessert, too. I once spent a week up op Traverse City doing a storytelling workshop at the EMU branch there. Traverse City, MI is only the black cherry capital of the world, I think. There was black cherry sauce on chicken, black cherry cake, black cherry ice cream and black cherries on sale by the road side. I l loved it.

The best buy around here is at one of those discount grocery stores over in Ravenna. For all I know they come from Lower Slobbovia, but they are superb, sweet and juicy and beautiful to behold. That’s the extra kick with this fruit. You con sit and admire it before you eat it.

Summer Time

Like most of the country, we have been suffering from what Polly refers to as dog breath weather. Even though I grew up in the sunny South state of Georgia, I have never been a l over of the summer season. We had a very nice, shady backyard with trees to climb, an old cement fish pond we could fill enough to cool off in and a public swimming pool we could walk to. We had a front porch with a squeaky glider to slouch in. In addition, we were children who played hard all day and fell into bed too tired to notice the heat.

It was when we moved to Ohio that we began to notice the hot, sticky weather of summer.

Now I love Ohio. It is a beautiful state with lush countryside hills and lakes and rolling hills. Our spring and autumn seasons are heavenly. Our winter and summer seasons can be dreadful. So far this summer we have had varying periods of heavy rains and heavy humidity. The past couple of days were quite lovely, but we’re headed to the nineties again. We have air conditioners, which save my sanity at night, but I still like open windows and fresh air.

I look forward to August, when the skies are that deep blue and the shadows have sharp edges and the dog are breathing in some other direction.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fleeting Spring

I have really neglected this blog. I think it’s probably because I seem to spend a lot of time playing with the IPad. I have not been feeling too well for the past few weeks, and I distract myself with Netflix, watching “Frasier,” which makes me laugh, and old Masterpiece Theater favorites.

We had a beautiful spring, even though it’s been a bit chilly and rainy, neither of which bother me too much, although to hear some people complain, one would think their lives are ruined. There have been enough blue sky days to suit me.

I find myself disturbed by the way the world is going, especially the Syrian issue. I fear that our government seems only too eager to jump in and get us in another quagmire which will involve more young Americans being maimed and killed for…what?? The “news” that the Syrian leader is using chemical weapons calls to mind another WMD excuse to spread our military/industrial complex into action, costing the billions which could better be used for life enhancing purposes, rather than causing more death and destruction.

I did this picture last month, and the lilacs are long gone, but they did leave a lovely memory of this spring.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sun! Color! Green Stuff!

This has been an unusually beautiful spring around here. The numbers of flowering trees has been dazzling.  We’ve always had flowering crab trees, dogwood and the occasional redbud. But now, everywhere you look, there’s color, something we used to see, in terms of bright colors, only in the fall.

Behind the science building on campus there are a bunch of magnolias of all things. They were by a cou0le of folks in the botany division of the biology department. They don’t bloom vigorously every year, but my friend Tom took me up to see them once during a particularly spectacular display a few years ago.

Unlike the colorful fall season, these delicate flowering trees don’t last very long. They are, however replaced by lilacs and now the rhododendrons, which are much flashier than the early spring trees.

We didn’t have a very harsh winter this year, but we were rewarded with a beautiful spring anyway.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Our Cat Is Cuter Than Yours, Probably

I think I am becoming one of those old ladies who talks about her cat.  Actually, he’s (Sixto) John’s cat, but I’m around more than John is.

Sixto is quite irresistible about being cute. He knows what to do to hear people saying, “Oh, my God, you are aDORable!”

Truly, this is what people say when they visit because he puts on a cuteness show. The above is one of his poses that cause observers to melt.

When my younger brothers were kids, they used to collect comic books. One of their favorite characters was Plasman. A superhero who could stretch his body, legs, arms, neck to extreme lengths.

Sixto is Plascat

And aDORable.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Life in the Theater

For a couple of years before I went away to college, I volunteered at the local community theater in Springfield, Ohio.We had a director who had been with the Clare Tree Major Children's Theater, a traveling company which put on plays for children. His background was in set design as well as in directing. He was no Corky St, Clair of "Waiting for Guffman." I had no interest on appearing on the stage, but worked behind the scenes, happily paintings flats, occasionally doing some special scenic design projects. The rehearsal and set construction venue was in a warehouse sort of space downtown over a local bank. Shelly, the director. did all the set designing and we backstage workers followed his instructions and produced some quite decent effects while eavesdropping on the play rehearsals in the front of the large space. I loved everything about it, the smells, the magic of turning flat canvas into brick walls, old wall paper, wooden paneled rooms.

The people I worked with were an interesting cross-section of our mid-size city in southern Ohio: a couple of judges, school teachers, college students, secretaries, store managers, housewives, a radio personality, all in love with theater, especailly the hometown variety.

Mrs. Grace Johnson Johnson,, above, was the prop mistress. She always wore a black beret, masses of silver necklaces, silver bangle bracelets up to her elbows, heavily rouged cheeks, brilliant red lipstick, and long skirts. Her gray hair was very short and she wore large silver hoop earrings. I never knew her story, but assumed she was wealthy. Shae looked like an aging flapper, perhaps, but she would have been in her 40s or 50s in that era. She had a rather severe look, and I don't remember ever engaging in conversation with her. She was a constant presence at the theater before and during productions.

I had no intention of ever appearing on stage, but the last year before I went away Io college, I told the director that if he had any really, really small parts, I would like to have a shot at it before I left. The next play was one of those so popular in the 40s about a city couple who buy an old house in the country and have to cope with the local yokels (or what the playwrights in New York assumed people were like outside the city limits of NYC.) It was called "January Thaw" and had probably been a one night wonder on Broadway at one time. There was a small part for a maid, described in the script as a buxom country lass. Since I weighed about 95 pounds with stones in my pockets, I didn't think I was quite suited for the part, but the director said there was a lot of latitude in casting and that it was a very small part, and mine if I wanted it. I figured I could play buxom, so I accepted the part.

Another newbie was George, a young lawyer recently out of the service. I used to babysit for him and his wife. He was going to play a lawyer, of all things. He drove me to and from the rehearsals and as the time neared for the performance he confessed that he wished he hadn't volunteered as an actor. I had been feeling the same way. He said it must be what it was like to be having a baby, too late to back out but not wanting to go through with it.

We moved from the practice space to the school auditorium where the performances were done. One of my big scenes was to scream at the sight of the yokel stud with whom I apparently had some history, and rush off stage. The character's name was Matt Rockwood. At the final dress rehearsal I screamed "Rat Mockwood" as I dashed off. The dire cor assured me later that I would be fine at the performance because I had learned from my mistake. Right.

A key prop was an antique china Victorian chamber pot, which had an important role in the last act. It stood by the door on a slender stand. Not hard to know what would befall that delicate Victorian receptacle. On about the third night of the run, as I ran off-stage, having gotten the stud's name right, I crashed into it and it shattered with a loud noise, drowning out the next few lines, I'm sure. I skidded into the hallway, where the director, a professional about thses things, handed me a broom and another Victorian antique chamber pot. "Just go out there and sweep up the pieces and put this one on the stand as if It is a normal duty. People will just think it's part of the plot. " I  knew the antique had belonged to Grace, as did the replacement. I felt terrible. "Don't worry." the director said. "She has a house full of these things."I went back onstage, swept up the pieces and replaced the new chamber pot on the rickety stand. The play was saved. I managed to avoid the pot for the next performance . Grace Johnson Johnson never mentioned it to me.
And I never went on stage again, ever.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Tale of Two Tails

Sixto looks so much like the late Dupree that I have a hard time not calling him by that name. He is quite different in personality from Dupree, being much more outgoing, and not at all afraid of loud noises, like vacuum cleaners and thunder. Since his fur has grown so long, he resembles him even more. It’s like having the ghosted of Dupree around, friendly-like.

A significant difference in appearance is their tails. Sixto has the longest tail I have ever seen on a domestic cat. He looks like a lemur, holding it straight up. As you can see, Dupree curled his up like a plume. In both cases, there is feline pride displayed, swanning around in front of us poor humans with our puny two legs and nothing to wave behind us, having lost our tails thousands of years ago, victims of evolution.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Life at a Snail's Pace

It gradually has dawned on me that I am getting slow and snail-like in my movements. I used to be able to run up and down the stairs. I used to be able to hop into and out of a car or a bath tub. I used to be able to run, period Not only could I run up and down the stairs, but I could do it without holding on to a banister rail, and with a bag or two of groceries in my arms.

It is strange how this seeming decrepitude has come about. My sister and I were comparing notes on this phenomenon the other day. It is her belief that this happens automatically when you reach the age of 85, which I am and which she was a year and a half ago. Eighty-four and you’re still hopping in and out of the car. Eighty-five and – BAM!- you’re struggling like a turtle on its back, dropping your packages, purse, scarf, or gloves, just trying to get out of the damn car.

We also talked about getting around the house without crashing to the floor. She said that she has perfected the shuffle. I, on the other hand pick my feet up, looking like someone trying to avoid treading on doggy doo. Either way, one’s progress from room to room is appreciatively slower than in pre-85 days.

Then there’s getting out of a chair. If you remember the Carol Burnell show and the skit in which she and Harvey Korman played a coupe of geezers trying to rise from their respective rocking chairs, you’ll get some idea of what I look like when the phone rings. My sister has the same problem. Even though we both exercise, the problem seems to be the quad muscles. For some reason they seem to have given up their reason for being and do not provide the wherewithal for unassisted rising. This failing is the why chairs with arms were invented.

We also found out that we are both reluctant to attempt ascending, but especially descending steps without railings. I was watching some TV show involving some immense concrete steps, like a courthouse, or some such building. People were merrily going up and down with NO RAILINGS! How could they do that??? She said that if she were at the top of such steps, she would just have to stay there until she died. Exactly! I would never be able to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the place where Rocky ran up and down – probably to strengthen his quads and all. I get the fantods just thinking about it.

So my sister and I will stay on level ground and shuffle and high step very slowly along, only sitting in chairs with arms and trying not to fall out of car doors in slow motion, enjoying life in the snail lane.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Would a Groundhog Lie?

The other day there were articles in both of the local papers, headlined “Disappointed in Punxsutawney Phil’s Predictions,” and claiming that people were actually angry that spring hadn’t started when he had “sad” it would. Now everyone knows that the whole groundhog thing is just a whimsical custom, an interlude of fun in the gloomiest month of the year for those of us in the sections of the country where the North wind doth bow, and blow and blow. I just find it ludicrous that newspapers would fill space with such a nutty non-news item. I’ m also willing to bet that there are those who think the whole thing is real, the kind of folks who think that “cave” men rode around on dinosaurs.

John actually went to Gobbler’s Knob where Phil hangs out to watch the annual event. His friend Dave is a freelance photographer and had been assigned to cover it this year by the New York Times. As he described the ceremony, conducted by officials in top hats, holding fancy scrolls from which they read historical accounts of Phil’s life, I couldn’t help but think of my favorite Christopher Guest film –“Waiting for Guffman,” in which a small town puts on a historical pageant. The Punxsutawney citizens have the routine down, bringing in over ten thousand eager spectators with money to spend. John enjoyed it immensely. We don’t know how Dave’s photos turned out, but those of you who get the Times may have seen the results of his work back in February.

Since spring always begins 6 weeks after Feb. 2, no ,matter whether Phil sees his shadow, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous, unless you live in Punxsutawney’s Gobbler’s Knob and own a top hat you can only wear once a year.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bye, Bye, Birdie

Bird lovers may want to avoid this post. It’s that Law of the Jungle, Nature’s Way, the Nature of the Beast and all. I have written of Sixto, the extraordinary cat and his ability to catch and retrieve objects tossed his way. He can jump easily three feet into the air form the ground. He catches wadded up newspaper in his front paws, leaping up like Michael Jordan. When he gets bored with the action, he wanders away as if he had never been at all interested in this sort of thing, leaving his humans exhausted and amused.

Some time last week it was obvious that a bird had somehow become lodged in the air vent above the fan over the stove you could hear a faint chirping now and then, but there was not much one could do about it. I was in the living room reading when I heard this terrible crashing banging noise, and Sixto cam running from the kitchen, and then back into the kitchen, leaping about in there. Then he rushed back into the living room again with something in his mouth. When I bent down to see what it was, it got away from him and fluttered back into the kitchen. It was a small sparrow. It kept flying to the closed windows, where Sixto could easily trap it. As it flew around Sixto made these tremendous leaps, almost 5 feet off the floor, trying to capture it. Which he did finally, against a window. I picked him up and shoved him out the door. I did not care to watch aviacide. I felt so sorry for the bird. I had tried to catch it when it landed on a window ledge, hopping around and chirping (the bird, not me), but it was too fast for me, and ended up in the feline jaws of death.

I scolded Sixto when I let him in and he knew I was not happy with him, rubbing around my ankles and doing his adorable rolling around thing.. Or he could have been celebrating his first kill. Who knows the mind of a cat, if they indeed have one? It was very sad to me, but it’s what they do. I remember reading “Watership Down” years ago and looking at the resident cat of the day and wondering how something so furry and sweet could be so vicious. It’s the downside of owning the beasts, much as \we love them. Now that coyotes have invaded the cities, cats have become prey, too, but I hope that never happens to any that I know or love.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Birds Gotta Fly, Fish Gotta Fry

It’s the Lenten fish fry time down in St. Joseph, the little village founded by German Catholics about 150 years ago. It is at that fish fry where I broke my hip three years ago. I didn’t go the year after the accident even though, as I lay writhing in pain at the time, I was f promised a free dinner whenever I came back. I went once last year and managed to get out of there intact, but with no free dinner. I didn’t really want to remind them. I think they were afraid that I would sue, which, of course, I wouldn’t have. It is a most enjoyable event, even though we don’t attend any church functions there, being pagans, and all. There is a wonderful community spirit abut the thing. The parish is in a rural community. They have managed to hang onto their school, which I think brings people together. There are on ly two Catholic elementary schools left in Portage County, the other being St. Patrick in Kent. But I digress.

YOU can get the full deal, or the half deal. There is baked or fried cod, a combo of baked cod and shrimp and a choice of two sides - mac and cheese, baked potato, green beans or French fries. Homemade desserts are included, along with beverages. Ten bucks for the full deal, 5 bucks for a half deal meal.

It’s easy to get into conversations with table mates. We had in interesting geezer next to us, a retired rubber worker. First he talked about how inefficient the major Akron rubber company he worked fro had been. He told us how difficult and exacting the work of the tire builders was. He himself never got the hang of it, and worked at another job in the factory for over 40 years. Then he segued into his favorite retirement hobby: reading. He goes to flea markets and buys a bag of books every week. He reads a book a day. He has eclectic tastes. He’s read “Lord of the Rings,” the Harry Potter books, some early James Patterson, and mysteries. He’s been coming to the St. Joseph fish fries ever since they started. He said that in those days there was also gambling and he lost $100 bucks the first time he gambled there and never did it again. He said he’s not even a Catholic either. This reminded me of the time my in-laws were vesting, and I took my no card playing, no dancing on Sunday mother-in-law to the neighboring St. Michael’s Catholic Church summer carnival. The priest greeted me, holding a bottle of beer and running a wheel of chance. Ernestine practically froze in her tracks. We didn’t stay long. I Hope we’ll go back to another St. Joseph Lenten Fish Fry this year.

Oscar notes: I don’t know how they managed to find 10 movies this year to nominate for best picture. I saw only one movie all year that I’d want to see again, and that was “Moonrise Kingdom, which only had one nomination. Think about 2011: Hugo, The Artist, Descendents, The Ides of March, The Help, and Midnight in Paris – all of them first rate. The much hyped movies I saw this year were just lackluster, formulaic bores. I didn’t see Argo or the Zero Dark Thirty, mainly because I don’t want to even think about the Middle East in the last 60 years or so.. Friends who have seen Argo reacted with “eh.”

The Oscar show was a total bore, overloaded with schtick. Either they need to get Billy Crystal back or just hand the damn things out in an unpadded hour broadcast.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

That's Entertainment

Opera! Theater! Downton Abbey heartbreak! Lots of drama this past week-end. First, I watched the Met in HD and the new production of “Rigoletto", one of my favorite operas. This was a way cool production, placing the story in 190s Las Vegas, rather than 15th century Italy, but still with  Italian (mostly) characters. The sets designer used the colors of the Las Vegas Strip, all bright neon. The evil seducer, the Duke, was patterned after Frank Sinatra, wearing a white dinner jacket, and singing his opening aria surrounded by leggy chorus girls waving huge feather fans. His henchmen were wearing those cheesy shiny multicolor tux jackets that the famed Rat Pack wore. Rigoletto, the court jester in the traditional presentation, was wearing a wild sweater with the harlequin diamond pattern of the usual jester’s outfit. He represented a comedian, based on Don Rickles. Nothing in the music or dialogue was changed from the Verdi original. In interviews during ht intermission, the director described his decision to set the story in Las Vegas, since the court of the Duke was full of swaggering, womanizing, corrupt nobles with lots of power. It worked very well, especially since the voices were just excellent. The singer who played Rigoletto said in an interview during an intermission that he actually preferred the traditional setting to this one, but he certainly didn’t let that get in the way of a boffo performance. This is one of those operas where someone dies at the end, so even with all the neon, it was still moving. The director of this “Rigoletto” had also been the director of “Spring Awakening,” a Tony award winning musical from several years ago. All of the folks who worked on this production came from Broadway, the aforementioned director, the set designer and the costume designer. It was their first opera production and I think they’ll probably be doing more of them. There’s a drive to get more young people interested in opera and this isn’t the first non-traditional production, and most that I have seen have been interesting and exciting. By coincidence, “Spring Awakening” is playing at the KSU Theater. Sally and I went to see it and it is the usual excellent production. These theater students are so good you forget that you are watching a college production. The theater and music departments work together, so you get good acting and good singing. The only problem I have these days is that everyone is miked, including the orchestra and whoever runs the soundboard doesn’t seem to know how to work it so that the music doesn’t drown out the lyrics. The drums completely blocked one lyrics in a number of songs.Since the melodies are not the type which you can leave the theater humming, the lyrics are pretty important.  The action takes place in the early 20 th or late 19th  century and the title is self explanatory: adolescents trying to understand their burgeoning sexuality. The moral of the story is that you’d better tell your kids where babies come from or disaster will strike. By the end of the play, the death tool was worse than that in “Rigoletto." I have a feeling that not too many college students could relate to it these days. Those kinds of concerns are quite dated and have been for many years. What’s the big deal? I can imagine many of them thinking. Didn’t these kids know you could buy condoms at the local drug store? You’d almost have to give a history lesson before they could make sense of issues in this play. The one character struggling with homosexuality would probably be one of the few they could comprehend, since some things haven’t changed all that much for the young in that area. I think there could be some interesting discussions about this play in the classrooms, both in college and in high school. Be entertained while you learn.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dining on Dobbin

Every morning on BBC Radio 4 there is more news about the horsemeat scandal. Apparently some unscrupulous providers of frozen beef have been mixing horse meat into their product. Much of this goes to nursing hones, schools and other institutions. Now, with apologies to horse lovers, there is nothing nutritionally wrong with horse meat. Once on a trip to Italy, we stopped in Verona, the site of the doomed romance of Romeo and Juliet. I got out of the car and right in front of my horrified eyes was a butcher shop featuring horse meat, the hanging sign over the door depicting a painting of handsome horse’s head. Various cuts of meat were displayed in the shop window. It looked like any other sort of red meat, but I knew it was horse, not beef. I wonder if that’d what the Capulets were serving it the ball. Verona is a lovely city with sidewalks of marble, but I shall always associate it with carnivores who eat horsemeat. At least they now what they are eating, but the people in England who are the ultimate animal lovers, did not know that they were eating the creatures they love to ride to hounds over the beautiful English countryside. Well, actually they had no choice, since it was sold as beef. I don’t know where the neat has come from, whether it was from healthy stock. There have been no contaminants found, but it is just not cricket to disguise foodstuffs. Next thing you know, we’ll e having other creatures mixed in with our ground beef. Enough to turn one into a vegan or vegetarian. Almost.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sixto, the Extraordinary Cat

I know that people can be boring about their pets at times, almost as boring as they are about their children’s potty achievements, but Sixto is actually a really extraordinary cat. Truly. One night Sally was tossing him a wadded up piece of paper, his favorite toy. Suddenly, he brought it back to her. She threw it again. Again he brought it back. Again and again. Imagine that, a retrieving cat, self motivated. Or course he looks absolutely adorable, trotting back with the paper I his mouth. He also passes gas occasionally which is no t so cute. I think he needs a new, lass gas producing sort of food. This condition is also extraordinary, but not adorable.

Home Defense

I come from a gunless family. I realize that is downright un-American, but that’s the way it is Oh, m younger brother, about whom the Christmas Story of Jean Shepherd could have been written, did wear my father down finally and got a BB gun one Christmas and did almost shoot his eye out, but that was the extent of weaponry in my family. (He also had to make a solemn promise that he would never shoot a bird, a promise he promptly broke but felt really bad about.) My husband told me that he and his father went squirrel hunting once, with an old rifle, but ended up sitting under a tree and watching small animals frolic about the forest. I guess we were lucky, since we never had a home invasion or mugging. During WWII we never encountered any Nazis sneaking through the shrubbery and were too far away from the West Coast to need any armed defense against marauding Nippon invaders. We never have felt the need to be armed, in spite of our God given rights as written in the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, which God has blessed via Irving Berlin. This is not to say that we have never felt the need to defend out home. A fierce dog works well. But the one incident when we were dogless, as well as gunless, my husband managed to rise to the occasion. We heard a noise downstairs, a noise as of someone possibly dropping or throwing something. My husband bravely decided to investigate, grabbing a heavy object from his study. I waited while he slowly made his way downstairs and into the kitchen, where the noise had come from. Fortunately, there was no masked and armed burglar. He discovered that a bottle o grape juice has popped its cork, creating the suspicious clatter. He returned to the bedroom, still clutching his weapon of choice: Gunnar Myrdal’s “An American Dilemma,” a classic and the heaviest book in his library. As a professor of sociology, it all seemed a logical tool of the home defense by an academic. Pity the fool that could have been conked with that leaden tome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mom Jeans

My last pair of non-fashionable blue jeans, the kind with an elastic waist, gave up the ghost a few months ago. I had been searching for a replacement for some time at the usual haunts: Macy's, K-Mart and - ugh- Walmart. No one seemed to carry them any more.I prefer jeans to other kinds of slacks, or as my Brit friend Helen calls thenm "trousers." I have other pants, cotton knit and corduroy, for instnace. What I like about denim, however, is that you can swipe your wet hands over them without fear of destroying the fabric. Jeans are work worthy clothing. I don't care if they are in fashion or out of fashion so long as they are made from that sturdy denim and fit reasonably well. I have no waistline anymore.My butt looks large no matter what I'm wearing. Saturday I persuaded Sally to take me shopping at Walmart, mainly because groceries are just getting so expensive these days. I relaize that I am being un-American, but the budget can only stretch so far and the big store has good produce and good meat and I knew I could save almost half of what I have beebn spending. On the way to the grocery part of the huge place, I ambled through the women's department, and lo! and behold! there were the very jeans for which I had been searching.They had y size (noine of yer bidness) and I bought two pairs. They should ladst at least as long as I do. NOTE: Nancy from Near Philadelphia solved my picture problem handily, for which I thank her profusely.

Monday, January 21, 2013

From the Gut

My doctor sent me to an allergist. The allergist looked up my nose and declared it a mess, sinus-wise. He prescribed a strong antibiotic to attack and clear up the mess. In spite of being careful and ingesting buttermilk to provide my guts with good bacteria which the antibiotic was attacking along with bad bacteria, I ended up with C-dif and a couple of days in the hospital tethered to an IV machine which allowed me to travel as far as the bathroom, which, fortunately, was the only place I really needed to go. All staff entering my room had to glove and gown up, especially if they had to touch me. I was a regular Typhoid Mary. Once the main symptom, which I really don’t wan to go into, subsided, I was able to be set free.

My doctor makes his rounds in the evening, unlike normal docs, who come in the morning. So I had a whole day to wait for him to show up. I had my IPad with me, so I started to watch “The Tudors” (via Netflix) an extremely cheesy, inaccurate drama about Henry VIII’s sex life, which was extensive. And must have been exhausting, in the days before energy drinks. After a while I got bored with this, played a few rounds of solitaire, got bored with that and waited for the doc to show up to set me free. I sort of threatened to break out and they finally got him to come in.  I didn’t get out of there until almost 8 o’clock.

I am now taking another antibiotic And feel fine, eating yogurt to stave off any gut reactions and have no interest in what has happened to Henry VIII. I believe he married many women, beheading some, divorcing the lucky ones.

When I got home, this is what the sky looked like. I haven’s seen so many stars in ages. It was a clear, cold night and if I’d gotten out of the hospital when I wanted to, I’d have missed it.

Well, Google in all its wisdom has screwed up the way I donwload pix, which I draw and store on my desktop and do not give mne a way to download them onto the post. Take my word for it, it is really nice.