Category Archives: randomocity

To be this feisty when I am old

I’d planned to write my blog post over lunch today at the day job, but I think I’m going to be too busy for that. Here is an article from my breakfast reading which inspired me instead.

http://taskandpurpose.com/world-war-ii-vet-celebrates-95th-birthday-little-skydiving/

I aspire to be this feisty when I am old.

Ten More Days

On Friday they measured (and then remeasured) my healing progress. I healed 1.5 cm over the course of the last week. The wound care doctor asked me if I’d like to have the Vac off once I run out of supplies.

Yes, please. Very much so.

As of today, that will be 10 days from now. Maybe sooner if I get lucky.

Yesterday started out dreary. Ms. Roommate and I took out Sophie-dog for a walk. I snapped a picture just before the first mist started falling. We turned around shortly after this as the rain kept getting heavier. I tucked the Bellysucker 9000 into my rain coat to keep it dry and we got back to the car damp, but no worse for wear as the clouds opened up and the real rain begain.

We skipped the Tweed Ride. Temperatures didn’t get much above 50 and the rain barely let up all day long. Watching the traffic go by as we at lunch at a favorite local restaurant, Ms. Roommate remarked that the day could be worse: We could be on a Tweed ride.

That became the theme of Saturday: This is great because we’re still not on a tweed ride.

When we decided that maybe trying to ride bikes with a medical device and the accompanying tubing wasn’t a great plan, I understood the wisdom of making the choice. It still disappointed me to have to make the choice. I enjoy biking and this whole summer has been something of a bust for me on that front.

Saturday I felt extremely happy we’d decided not to go on the ride. Riding in wool in the rain sounds like a recipe for misery to me. Imagining the prospect as cold rain came down with more and more force made the prospect even less appealing.

We wandered through Aldi, which was packed. I still wasn’t on a Tweed Ride.

I got a cup of hot tea and watched rain fall through the windows. I wasn’t watching it fall around me on a Tweed Ride.

I logged up my computer and played some Rift. I still wasn’t on a tweed ride.

I put a heating pad on my back because it felt a little twingey. Still not a tweed ride.

Ate a nice dinner with Ms. Roommate with steak and mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and a glass of wine. Warm. Dry. Only a known number of days left lugging the Bellysucker 9000 with me. Also not on a Tweed Ride.

Now with extended Monday feeling

I have systematically broken every nail this week (and it’s only Tuesday).

I have blisters under the adhesive of my wound vac bandage (vac change is tomorrow morning).

Every project I want to start at home with yarn has a critical piece missing like no orange yarn that feels “just right” for a candy corn shawl and no red yarn for a Wonder Woman Shawl.

Time to recalibrate

Can’t fix the nails. They’re gone. Back to square one with that.

At least tomorrow is bandage day. I’m going to talk to the Wound Care Doctor and see if there’s something different we can do to protect my skin. Wednesday morning is going to be a tough morning no matter what we decide to do.

The Wonder Woman shawl seems like it’s on hold for a while unless I think about doing it in shades of gold and brown instead of red and yellow. I’m okay with putting it on a shelf for the time being. I rewatched Wonder Woman over the weekend and I really feel I’m more of an Etta Candy than a Wonder Woman. (Meaning, I get three scenes in the whole film, but I steal them when I’m there.)

Likewise, maybe I should rethink the seasonal shawl. I was looking at the harvest colors in my stash and I kept thinking “Indian corn,” either like the candy corn with brown on the end instead of yellow or like the the beautiful ears of maize that are becoming endangered crops.

I am left with questions. Are we allowed to call the candy Indian corn? Is that culturally insensitve? Should I call the corn “flint corn” instead of “Indian corn” even though all I mean is the beautiful multi-colored corn grown by indigenous people and not specifically “flint corn” vs “dent corn,” which is a different distinction entirely? Am I the only person who thinks about these things?

Either way, going with a white, dark orange, and brown color scheme might be less “Halloween season” and more generally wearable throughout the year. White, orange, and yellow screams “Halloween season” to me, even if it doesn’t to anyone else, so I know I’ll be likely to reserve it for that instead of just wearing and enjoying it.

With a bit of luck, this extended Monday feeling will fade before it extends into Wednesday. Hey, a person can hope, right?

More from the harvest

Bell peppers and three different varieties of tomatoes from my garden.

Aren’t they pretty? They tasted as good as they look. I made a ragout of onions, green peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and northern beans spiced with ginger and rosemary and served it on a sweet potato. It sounds a little odd, but it was very tasty.

The last day of September

On the last day of September, I stood on my deck and looked into the little stand of trees in the flood plain behind my back yard. Though fall is officially here as of the 22nd, neither my garden nor the woods have given it much heed yet. Still, there’s some yellow among the green. The temperatures have finally dropped seasonably in the 70s for daytime highs and the harvest is well underway.

My jalapeno, bell pepper, and tomato plants are all heavy with fruit that’s not quite there yet. I’ve never had so good a harvest of either jalapenos or bell peppers. Doctor Roommate has been taking the jalapenos in to work to share with anyone who will take them and handed off a load of tomatoes to her mom yesterday.

We had plenty more today to put into a batch of Eggplant Parmesean. Parm’s a lot of work, but between the leftovers from dinner tonight and the potential leftovers from tomorrow’s planned game night dinner, we should be set for lunches to take for the week. If not, we got to Aldi today to restock the pantry and the fridge with staples, so I’m set for what we like to call “punt meals.”

Punt Meals: Quick meals off the plan for the week made with items already in the pantry, either because the planned meal no longer sounds good, we’re missing a vital ingredient for the meal, or because the shifting demands of the week require giving up the preparation time of the planned meal for something quicker.

Dr. R: Why are we having Red Beans and Rice for dinner tonight?

Me: We’re out of both tahini and peanut butter so I can’t make Dan Dan Noodles. I punted.

I like predictability. I plan meals not just so I can try to take advantage of sales items at the store, but so that I know what I can expect to eat during the week.

I like the changing rhythm of the seasons. The chaos of planting in the spring. The whirlwind of events in summer. The race to the end of harvest in autumn, even if every tomato in the garden decides to ripen at the same time. Actually, I’d prefer that; then I would know for certain that I’d have enough tomatoes ripe at one time to put them up for the winter. The long, deep breath of winter as the land rests before it all begins again in spring. Each year the particulars are different but the shape of the season is the same.

I know the secret of adulthood: It’s that we’re all faking it. We’re all making it up as we go. It’s the rhythm and cycles that keep our lives from flying off the rails.

It’s the last day of September. Tomorrow begins the final quarter of the year.

Sunday Thoughts – 20170917

  • I like bean dishes. You can cook them in the crockpot. They taste even better over the next few days, so they make great leftovers for cook ahead lunches. This week’s bean dish was a spicy baked bean pot with chorizo, bacon, onions, green peppers, and two jalapenos from the garden. It will be yummy for lunches this week.
  • The garden has been slower to start this year than usual, but it’s set to go crazy within the next two weeks. We picked tomatoes, eggplant, jalapenos, and the first real green peppers I’ve ever gotten from the garden. The green peppers that are big enough to make stuffed green peppers. I’m planning to stuff them and put them in the freezer tomorrow or Tuesday (depending on my energy level and how long things take at the doctor.
  • I have another appointment on Monday for wound care follow up. I’m hoping that we can finally move to the next stage of care, which I think is saline solution and repacking once a day. The wound care nurse is supposed to be at this appointment, so I’ll learn more then.
  • My endurance is still very uneven from surgery. I’m trying to wean myself off my afternoon nap, but I’m still finding it necessary, which throws off my ability to go straight to sleep at night. I’m writing this on the Sunday side of midnight and I feel very awake. After I finish writing, I’m going to put on Thunderstorm white noise from my tablet, and see if that works to get me to sleep.
  • I miss the way work structures a week. I hope that my return to work appointment in just under two weeks goes well even with my open wound.

Three friends try a triathlon – I watch

Team Splash Flash Dash was briefly in the lead of their heat.

My big activity today was watching The Taming of the Slough, a triathlon event for Kayak, Mountain Bike, and Trail running. Doctor Roommate and two friends made up Team Splash Flash Dash. Splash was the kayaker. Flash was mountain biker (aka:Doctor Roommate). Dash ran the final leg.

They came in second in the three-person women’s teams, which is awesome. They’d never done this before. They came in second among the women’s three-person teams even though Doctor Roommate should have had the codename Crash instead of Flash. (Doctor Roommate has no serious injuries. Just some bruises, a bit of road rash, and she will be replacing her helmet since it took one for the team.)

Spectator this event was one of the most active things I’ve done since my surgery. There was plenty of walking around the park to find a place to settle and knit while waiting for the kayaks to come in and then lots of walking around to cheer people on as friends and new acquaintances came into the relay points.

Also, I made two new doggiefriends. Lincoln was a four-month old labradoodle who looked like my Sophie-doodle-ee-doo when she was that age. He was friendly and still all puppy mouth.

At the other end of the doggo spectrum was Craig the piddy boy, an extremely mellow, beautiful yellow and white piddy, who struck me as the second friendliest and calmest piddy I’ve ever met. The winner for breed (IMO) was a piddy girl named Swee’pea, owned by my friend Worm. Craig the piddy was a close second, though. Craig did the Sophie-dog patented nose nudge under the hand and I spent a good part of the award ceremony giving love to a piddypuddy because Sophie’s taught me that nose nudge means doggo needs love now because doggo is about to die.

While the race itself wasn’t exactly my thing to try for myself, it reminded me how much I miss being able to bike or kayak or take quick steps in succession without being yelled at. Currently I’m allowed to walk and lift nothing heavier than a milk jug. I’m also not allowed to get wet in any kind of submersive fashion.

Showering is okay. Bathing is not. Doing something where I have the potential to go swimming in current is RIGHT OUTTM.

All this before 10:30 AM. Satisfied napping happened all around once we got home. All in all, it was a pretty great way to spend a day.

To Haley and Nathan

Today is your wedding day.

I’ve only gotten to know Nathan a little bit. He seems like a good hearted young man, hard working, and kind to animals, all qualities that are good in a person. I’ve seen the way he looks at you when you’re not looking at him. You are his world, Haley, and that seems the way a marriage should be.

Haley, I still remember when I first met you and your sister. You guys were young. I’m so bad with kids. I wasn’t sure where the lines between friendship and family fell back then, but I loved you both immediately. You weren’t “AJ’s little cousins.” I always felt like you two were the gift of two more nieces to go with my own Adriana and Sam.

I looked forward to your visits. I enjoyed AJ telling me about how things were going in your lives when you called or wrote her. It may not have always seemed like it, but I loved every crazy minute of your life and your sister’s life.

As you’ve gotten older, I’ve watched you blossom into an amazing young woman. You’re fearless, passionate, and astonishingly sensible (which I have to admit, I wasn’t sure you were going to achieve when you were a teenager.) As you move into the next part of your life with Nathan, remember the courage and the fire that drives you now and continue to temper it with your wit and reason.

Something will go wrong today. Maybe several somethings. None of that matters. What is important is that you’re with family and friends to celebrate coming together with your person, Nathan, to build a new branch of both your families and to cement the bonds of the life you’re building together.

Today something incredible and new begins. I wanted so very much to be able to be there to share it with you. With my surgery next week it just wasn’t meant to be. Please know that I am there with you in spirit even though I cannot be there with you in person.

All my love to you and to Nathan.

The yearly attack of the killer tomatoes

It started slowly this year, with a smattering of grape tomatoes a few at a time. I’d hoped for a few more than we got. At least we weren’t overwhelmed by them again this year. Last year this time I was drowning in grape tomatoes and had no full sized fruit.

It seemed like it was taking forever for the full sized tomatoes to come in.

It started yesterday.

The onslaught continued tonight.

I ate four whole tomatoes myself. Two of them I sliced and broiled with mozzarella on top, like mini all tomato and cheese pizzas. The other two I just sliced in half and ate in hand with a sprinkle of salt. I need to figure out something to do with them. Maybe a tomato and onion quiche since I still have eggs I get from the friend whose wife breeds chickens as a hobby.

There’s an insane number of jalapeños on the plant in the garden. Three just fell off into my hand while I was checking them. I need to figure out what to do with them, too. Salsa seems so ordinary, but I like that it’s simple to make and very tasty.

There was a handful of blackberries, but I ate them, too. I think there will be enough for one more cobbler’s worth for the freezer before the blackberry canes stop producing for the year.

Zombie society

I’ve been thinking a lot about zombies lately. I mean more than usual for me. I’d been dwelling on the idea of zombie society before George Romero passed away.

Right after he passed away, I thought I wanted to write something about how enjoyable I find his films. He’s influenced my writing with his stories outside the horror genre as well as with Night of the Living Dead. I started digging for a little Romero on Romero, trying to understand better how he thought about his work as a creator and the father of the zombie film. I found some interesting articles where he talks about his own influences, including I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson, which I recall reading some time ago.

I also found this quote of Romero’s.

I don't want a zombie society. I don't want to go that far. -- George A. Romero

It’s been worse ever since I found that quote. The zombie society thoughts, I mean.

I know he intended it to mean that he doesn’t want to deal with the idea that zombies might have a society. Having just re-read I Am Legend, I can understand the desire to stay away from the topic. If the monsters are too human, they cease to be monsters. It leaves the hard question: If they’re not the monster, who is.

Robert Neville, Richard Matheson’s protagonist, had one answer to that question.

Robert Neville looked out over the new people of the earth. He knew that he did not belong to them: he knew that, like the vampires,  he was anathema and black terror to be destroyed.

Whether Romero thought that was the ultimate answer or not is uncertain. Either way, he didn’t want to ask the question or attempt to explain it. It is the question I keep coming back to, though. When we recognize the ‘other’ has become human, and we understand that, but keep treating them as if they were monsters, who is the real monster then?

When we accept the ‘other’ as no different than ourselves but keep treating them as something else, worthy of destruction only, have we become the monster? Or were we always the monster, but have awoken with the self-awareness of what our actions make us? Or is it just as Walt Kelly said,”We have met the enemy, and he is us?”

The question seems significant. If we accept the idea that zombies represent consumerism in its most indifferent form, then everything that flows from consumerism is as much our fault as a collective of mass consumers as it is the fault of the people who encourage consumerism.  From the destruction of natural resources and exploitation of workers to pollution and the erosion of the middle class, we helped shape the world we live in for the worse. 

Having awoken to the problems that arise from mass consumption, the siren call of minimalism beckons, and that brings a new set of problems. Firstly, there’s the issue of shaming everyone for the problems caused of mindless consumerism, which tends to assume all consumption is mindless and that shame is a good technique for affecting social change. The second is straight out classist politics surrounding minimalism. As I’ve commented before, it’s easy to say it’s a point of pride to have fewer things when you can afford just go out and buy what you need when you need it. The working poor can’t do that. I couldn’t do that until a few years ago.

Besides, we all still need to eat. There’s no getting around it.

The minimalist might well be the general standing against a zombie horde. What if that horde is mindful consumers who buy what they need on sale? What if they find joy in the security of knowing, for example, the tools required to fix their car when it breaks down are right in their trunk? What if they only have time to go to the laundromat once every two weeks and require enough clothing to go that long between trips?

If zombies are consumers, how do you tell the story of the mindless consumer that’s respectful of the mindful consumer? Where is the intersection of zombie and human society that isn’t Romeo and Juliet with the dead? I mean, I loved Warm Bodies, (though I preferred the book,) and that story has been told. It was about warmth and human connection, not consumption.

I still have thinking to do on this, but I’m getting closer.