If you carefully look all the way to the right, you can see the back of my head and my left shoulder.


Feb. 25th, 2007 10:28 am
My local JCC sponsors a photography contest every year; last year's honorees went on display around the same time that I started working out there, and I must admit that I was envious of all the exhibitors. I also like to think that I've taken a few decent pictures over the last two years (the period of eligibility for the competition) -- in fact, I may have taken too many. For each entrant is limited to seven submissions, and I have as many as nine good photographs in my portfolio. I've scanned in the prints of these nine candidates, and I'm hoping that you will help me Pick Seven )

Because I don't consider myself a skilled photographer -- my talent mostly lies in getting to the right place and then holding still instead of, say, understanding what an "f-stop" is -- I will be proud if I just have some of these accepted for display. Still I like to think that I might have some chance to do well in any category other than Jewish Life. Though I think the bear keeps kosher.
I've lost myself in a daze of nostalgia over the last month, and one of the worst things I have done was digging up the journal I kept from the end of my senior year at high school to the start of my sophomore year in college. It was originally intended as a repository of story ideas, but quickly devolved into a collection of keenings about women; rereading it now, I'm glad of this, as the story ideas are often banal but the keening is top-quality. I was surprised to see, though, several mentions of a song I hadn't listened to since 1990. I discovered "Six O'Clock" on a crappy Hollywood Records compilation cassette of the Lovin' Spoonful, and I fixated on it as the perfect accompaniment for a life then composed mostly of infatuation and regret.

I'm sure the tape has long since disintegrated, but I found a torrent of what seems to be the complete discography of the Spoonful, or at least those bits of their career before John Sebastian departed. I've been known to buy CDs for a single song, but this is the first time I've ever downloaded 257 megabytes for a two-and-three-quarters minute song. Right now I think it was worth it, but I'll let you be your own judge.

The Lovin' Spoonful -- "Six O'Clock" (
We transferred my grandmother yesterday from the Clinic to the Hospice House facility of the Hospice of the Western Reserve. It's a gorgeous space, right on the shore of Lake Erie, surrounded by spring blooms, and a wonderful program, with music therapy and art therapy and two 300-gallon fish tanks stocked with the best Lake Malawi has to offer. My grandmother would really enjoy it there, were she to have the capacity for awareness, and I myself am considering contracting a terminal condition just so I can move in. But as it is, it's all a bit wasted on both of us.

I was considering taking in a book to read to her, both based on [ profile] midnightsjane recommendation that I talk to her and on the Angel episode "A Hole In The World," in which Wesley, by reading A Little Princess to the dying Fred, transforms his public perception from a creepy psychopathic stalker who's a little too fond of firearms into that of a sweet, loving guy who's way too fond of firearms. But I'm very afraid that my grandmother's favorite book is this.
Thanks to all for their kind comments. I'm too exhausted for coherency; I got fewer than six hours of sleep last night, and I've had a very full day. I won't claim it was a bad day -- I tend to do very well with specific problems. I rode the stationary bike for an hour first thing in the morning, then went over to the optometrist, who prescribed some eyedrops and said to lay off the contacts until the redness is fully cleared up. I like my optometrist -- there was no charge for the drop-in, and I managed to get two sets of five dailies gratis. Of course the eyedrops would be much more dear. I was then going to proceed straight to the J, but climbing the steps in the mall tired me out enough I decided I would get some protein first. An unreasonably heavy, fatty and carby lunch later and I needed a catnap. I talked to my mother for a little while, and then went to drop off my prescription, buy a liter bottle of water and some naproxen sodium. Then I worked out at the J for a couple of hours -- this energized me long enough to get a half-caf Mint Condition from Caribou. The caffiene hit me the wrong way and by the time I met up with my father and we went down to the hospital, I was ready to drop.

We sat with my grandmother for an hour. Her pulse rate, pulsox, blood pressure are all still good. She seems less responsive tonight than last; last night she was opening her eyes seemingly in response to touch. Tonight her eyes were clamped shut the entire time we were there. It's tough for me to tell how much consciousness is behind her movements: only her left hand, which will grab a hold of yours if you put them together, seems to work volitionally. She keeps raising and lowering her left knee; my dad and I started timing it and it moved with a regular cycle of forty to fifty seconds. Her right side must be entirely paralyzed now -- she had been twitching her right leg last night, but not tonight, and her right arm's been motionless since the stroke. Yesterday, it seemed like she'd respond or try to respond to being touched or spoken to. Tonight, though, other than the hand there were not as many such signs on which to hang hopes of consciousness.

I keep slipping into euphemism. I was going to say "I hope she can achieve peace soon." But I'm a materialist; I mean that I hope she can achieve nothingness soon. My father and I are on the same page as to our belief that she'd prefer death to this. (Though, I don't know. No neurologist's been able to show me on the CAT scan that the stroke destroyed the center in the brain which prevents me from a callous disregard for her autonomy.) We think there's a living will somewhere. I've had some terrible thoughts such as the realization that Ohio's Attorney General is a Republican running for Governor, locked in a primary battle with our Secretary of State; they're competing to show which of them can be the most muscularly right-wing Fundamentalist Christian, so I'm hoping my uncle won't come in and countermand our no-heroic-measures stance or else I'm going to be the new Michael Schiavo.

I really need some sleep now.
Bullet points:
  • My Grandmother had a severe stroke sometime yesterday or the night before; she's now stable and (we assume) cognizant, but she's got a lot of paralysis and she hasn't been able to communicate. The doctors haven't said anything yet about what the situation is, what sort of meaningful recovery she might make, what sort of awareness she has now. I can kind of sympathize with the more distant family in the Schiavo controversy now; I had a tendency to read intentionality into every tic and spasm last night. Of course, even when my Grandmother had all her faculties, she was ready to die. She's a believer in reincarnation and she's ready to shed her infirmities and start anew. So, not to be too ghoulish about it, I won't be arguing for heroic measures; however, since she's stable, there's no plug to pull. I appreciate your sympathy, and I'm already feeling guilty about how much of my reaction to this is tied up in my own selfishness, so I'd rather not get a lot of comments or e-mails about this. I'll appreciate your expressions thereof, for after all, I'm still an attention whore. Which doesn't mean that I'll know how to I probably won't treat them either graciously or gracefully.

  • After not wearing contacts on Sunday and then wearing daily disposibles on Monday, I put the current pair of fortnightlies back in yesterday, the pair I was wearing that caused Saturday's reaction. By midnight, my right eye was again bloodshot (though the redness started dissipating immediately upon removal of the contact. So I will be less blase about this and go see my optometrist today.

  • I feel that if I don't get into the gym today, I will forget everything I learned in the personal trainer sessions, so I'll be trying to fit that in too.
I think I'll certainly have to peel the banana from both ends today.
A quick glance through my LJ calendar reveals that I have a tendency to go months on end without saying much of anything, and post frenetically for about two weeks. This seems to be the end of one of those manic periods, so we'll have to see tomorrow whether or not I can break the cycle. I think I put too much pressure on myself to write, and I think this paralyzes me. Especially as I usually prefer to shy away from diary-style recountings of my day -- as I don't do much of interest on a daily basis.

Today I blew off any idea of going to the optometrist -- between various appointments, I couldn't really free an hour or more to sit around her office -- and in fact decided that my eye infection was neither fusarium keratitis nor [ profile] rahael syndrome. The eyeball is still a light shade of mauve or puce or one of those colors straight men can't recognize, but the swelling and gooping have completely subsided. After planning to wear glasses all day, I dared instead to attempt some of the daily disposibles my doctor gave me for SCUBA diving. They stayed in for the duration without irritation.

Also today I went to the second of my two free personal trainer sessions at the JCC. I'm not sure how many of the exercises I'll retain; my brain had turned to meringue by the end. There's one thing I do know, though: I'm going to need a bigger water bottle.
There's been a rather listless response to my last update, from which I have determined that I suck you may not be as familiar with the music in question as might be hoped. I've added a few lines to the seven remaining lyrics, should that serve to shake anything free.

2. "Well, New York City really has it all /
Oh yeeeeaaa-ah, oh yeah." ([ profile] buffyannotater recognizes "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" by the Ramones.)

3. "Dreams are strewn across the sand /
You won't need (you won't money) /
Oh no"

4. "Hip shakin' mama, I told ya /
I'm in love with only you /
Gotta, do it baby why don't ya /
I'll give ya everything you want."

7. "Do things do things do things bad things with it /
Do things do things do things good things with it." ([ profile] dlgood correctly notes that this is "For the Love of Money" by the Ohio Players The O'Jays.)

8. "On stage or on record /
Go to the Wiz and select it /
Take it off the rack, if it's wack put it back /
I like the Whopper, fuck the Big Mac." ("It Takes Two" -- Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock as ascertained by [ profile] dlgood.)

9. "Jingling a wish coin that I stole from a fountain that was drowning all the cares in the world /
When I get older climbin up on the back porch fence just to see the dogs runnin."

10. "Hugging like a monkey see, monkey do /
Right beside a riverboat gambler." ([ profile] dlgood again comes up with the identification: Terence Trent D'Arby's "Wishing Well.")

There, nothing passive aggressive about that.
I'll be leaving for North Africa in a few hours. I should be able to check my email in Sharm El Sheik, so if you'd like a postcard from Libya or Tunis, send your address to dherblay at livejournal dot com.
My doctor could not find any structural problems with my knees; he diagnosed them as suffering from "overuse." I am now to warm my knees before exercising and ice them after.

Cooling my knees down should not be a problem if the cold snap continues (I think it has already passed): I was able to get out skiing last night for an hour and thirteen minutes of moonlit cross-country. I hit a few patches of soggy, sticky snow, and my left ski was grabby by the end, but the pseudo-spirituality of crossing the empty fields (well, golf course) illuminated only by moonshine made it worthwhile. This morning my technique was better and the night's freeze prevented the snow from adhering to my skis. I was out for only fifty minutes though. Tonight, eager to test my now-warmed knees I walked for thirty-five minutes. I am unsure whether but hopeful that my joints will be loose enough that I can test out new shoes before Friday's departure.

Happy Birthday to me. I might mark it with some light stretching.
Slightly shoddy research has led me to determine that the day I was born was the last day of the Chinese lunar year (of the boar), as well as the penultimate day of A.H. 1391. (The Chinese calendar begins its lunar months on the astronomical new moons, while the Islamic calendar delays a day and a half or two until somebody sharp-eyed sees the crescent moon in the evening sky. In fact, it's very hard to tell which day was the penultimate day of the year until the year is actually over.) So, as soon as the sun goes down, I'll be celebrating both my Chinese and Islamic birthdays! I must say I like the synergy of the convergence -- I think it happens only twice every thirty-three years.

And to share the celebrations, let me get an early start and wish everyone happy Chinese Lunar and Islamic New Years. (How come every year when Rosh Hashanah rolls around, I see people saying, "Happy Rosh Hashanah to all my Jewish friends, including [ profile] dlgood, [ profile] graffitiandsara, and [ profile] buffyannotater!" but I have never once seen anyone say, "Happy Chinese New Year to [ profile] scrollgirl and [ profile] deevalish"?) And happy early socially-hegemonic Gregorian birthdays to [ profile] wisewoman and [ profile] scrollgirl! Parties all around!
I just took the Little One into the pet hospital -- it appears to be the same problem he had two years ago. This time, though, I caught it a lot quicker, which might be for the best but had I instead waited until tomorrow morning, I could have taken him to my regular vet, who I suspect is a lot cheaper. I've never really had to weigh a pet against money, but saving this cat is going to be more expensive than the new computer I'd been eying. Anyway, I'm a little heartsick over the whole thing.
Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone for your warm birthday wishes. They were much appreciated. I, on the other hand, skipped the pleasantries and just tried to buy my own affection with a book run, getting Redmond O'Hanlon's Trawler, In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs by Christopher de Bellaigue, and Lawrence Block's new Matthew Scudder novel, All the Flowers Are Dying. I've read only the first chapter of the latter so far, but I liked this bit from page five:
"This is the best, this black pudding. There aren't many places you can get it. I suppose the old Irish neighborhoods, Woodside, Fordham Road, but who's got the time to chase out there?"

"Well, now that you're retired."

"Yeah, I can spend a day looking for black pudding."

"You wouldn't have to go that far," I said. "Any bodega can sell you all you want."

"You're kidding. Black pudding?"

"They call it morcilla, but it's the same thing."

"What is it, Puerto Rican? I bet it's spicier."

"Spicier than Irish cuisine? Gee, do you suppose that's possible? But it's pretty much the same thing. You can call it morcilla or black pudding, but either way you've got sausage made from pig's blood."


"What's the matter?"

"Do you fucking mind? I'm eating."

"You didn't know what it was?"

"Of course I know, but that doesn't mean I want to fucking dwell on it."
According to the Islamic Calendar, I turned 34 on Tuesday. I didn't even know to celebrate. It seems that I was born on the 28th day of the last month of the Muslim year, which means that in certain localities with moonspotters lax to start the month and eager to finish it, my birthday might get skipped, which would be a bummer. In any case, I do think it's nice that the 33-year cycle by which the Islamic calendar travels around the Gregorian gets to be embodied at this moment by me.
A few people might recognize how royally irritated I am by the release date of this.


Nov. 26th, 2004 01:43 am
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My presence will be a rare one online for the next two weeks.



April 2009

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