Writing about the day to day mysteries of life.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nifty-Fifty and No Refrigerator Art

The McD fourth grade teacher set up a large, blank U.S. map in between bookshelves in his classroom.  He has books that feature each state, approx. 400 of them that the kids can choose from and read.  After a book is read, he takes a picture of the cover and posts it to the corresponding state.  I am sure he did this last year when Ian was in his class and I just did not notice.  Today I studied his map and books for quite awhile and decided this would be my 2012 personal reading challenge.  I read from 50-60 books a year, so this will be perfect.  I thought about reading by region, but knew I would choose all the southern states first.  I really love southern writing.  I am going to start backwards, which means I need a good book that takes place in Wyoming.  I have until Jan. 1st to choose.  Send me suggestions.  I think I will tell myself no re-reads, even though I want to re-read "Handling Sin".  This project will curtail my fantasy reading, but the choices in that genre are somewhat slim right now.  Maybe by March I will be to L and can read the new Sookie Stackhouse book.

I met the cutest little old man in the waiting room of Hopkins.  He was dressed very dapper and reading "HP and the Goblet of Fire".  I had to strike up a conversation.  He told me the series was his comfort reading and I totally agreed with him.  His copy was battered, creased and folded - well loved.  

The kids and I really enjoyed the book "The Inventions of Hugo Cabret".  The movie has just been released and it is a fabulous movie.  It is so rare to find a movie as good as the book.  I also found out today that the author has a new book out, name escapes me, and it is even better that Hugo.  These are not books for an e-reader, you have to read them in hard copy.

I am saying farewell to my two years of refrigerator art.  I got a new fridge that won't hold my quilts.  I haven't even made November yet.  I enjoyed doing this project, but it will be okay to let it go.  I am not sure what to do with all those little quilts anyway.  I wish I could finds some motivation to finish a large quilt.  My poor sewing room is missing me.  Buying a new refrigerator was the greatest thing ever, I can't believe I waited so long to do it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Run Out of Words

I haven't been posting lately.  I feel I have run out of words.  My entire life I have written words in my head, but right now they have vanished.  At night I write novels and forget them when I wake up, this has always been the case.  Lately, no stories, no words - zip, zilch, nada.  I go to bed unable to construct a story to fall asleep.  I am sleeping well, just not surrounded by characters.  My buckle has not been swashed by pirates.  I have not scaled Mt. Fuji.  I have not had tea with Thomas Jefferson in Paris.  I haven't been on an archeological dig in ages.

I can't seem to muster interest in relating the oddities of people around me.  For example, on my way back from San Diego after passing through the body scan machines the woman in front of me said, "you can smell the radiation!"  I didn't have a snappy answer for her.  My response was, "radiation doesn't have a smell."  You know what, having been radiated almost thirty times I do know what it smells like -NOTHING.  It feels like torture, but has no smell until you smear burn cream on black flaking skin.

I could tell you about Ned's very important story,  a "true story" according to Ned. There once was a boy with very dry skin.  It was very serious.  It was on his neck.  In fact it was really lint.   I had no words for him after he told me this story.  This is up there with Ellen's poem, I bought a duck for a buck.  I didn't tell him about the beauty of dryer lint after you have washed brand new colored towels.

I don't even have the words to tell you about getting fake eyelashes.  It was a spur of the moment decision and one I felt quite foolish about.  Truthfully and vainly, I derived great pleasure from the eyelashes and the fact that people even noticed them.  All was swell until the first little cluster of three fell off at dinner.  With a final hurrah they all jumped ship except for maybe six of them.  Now it just looks weird.   As heroine of my own stories, I always have long, lush eyelashes.

I don't know, maybe all the words are crowded and stuck into a little brain cranny.  Perhaps the words are all shoved to the side by homework, laundry, shopping lists, missing socks, unfinished/unstarted quilting ideas, and worry over holding an imploding body together.  I miss my words.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Morphsuit and False Teeth

That is a morphsuit.  Ned put it on and tore around the house, so excited with his costume.  He wore it to school and had so many comments that he got embarassed and was sad he chose it.  He wore a football costume to trick-or-treat. 

Grandpa's False Teeth

In the summer of 1978 I was 13 years old, and my grandfather was diagnosed with leukemia.  My grandpa was 76 years old or just before his birthday.  He had gone in for minor complaints and came back with a serious condition.  It was not a disease any of my family had heard of and probably never really understood.  I did not understand it at 13 and no one could explain it.  He went from well to sick in a span of days.  The doctors told my grandma and mom they had a new treatment they wanted to try, it was called chemotherapy.  It would destroy the bad cells and then he would be better, remember he was 76.  Seven weeks we spent all day sitting by his side, my grandma, mom, sister (11), brother (5).  He got worse and worse and in more and more pain.  The chemo was terrible and there were no palliative care meds, no nausea meds, no steroids - straight chemo.   I remember hearing doctors discussing the treatments with only clinical interest, technical information not understood by us.  My grandpa was the glue that held us all together.  He was the only one who could keep my mom from being crazy.   Seven weeks was all from the day he entered the hospital until the day he died.  He was begging to stop and let him go home.  The doctors agreed and they were making the arrangements to release him when he died.  The day he died my mom had decided to leave the hospital for some reason I still can't remember.  We had sat by his side all that time and while we were away, he died alone.  I was devastated by this.  I couldn't believe I wouldn't see him one more time.  While all the grown-ups were talking I slipped behind the curtain to look at him.  The nurses had tried to put in his false teeth, but his mouth had changed shape from all the weight loss.  The teeth were sticking straight out, like something from a scary movie.  He looked very dead and ghoulish.  I was absolutely terrified and have never been able to get rid of that image.  I ran back into the waiting room and never told anyone what I had seen. 

The veil thrown down here is my deep fear of hospitals, doctors and medical treatments.  Between the age of 13 and 30 I set foot in a hospital maybe only a handful of times.  I have been to the hospital in the last 5 years countless times and have had what feels like millions of treatments and I have never gotten over my fears.  Every little cancer thing makes me think of my grandpa and how much he suffered.  Medicine and medical ethics have come a long way thankfully.  I am scared of hospitals from the first whiff in the door and I know there is nothing I can do about it but suck it up and endure.    It is hard to have a voice as a patient, hospitals and doctors are intimidating.  No matter how much I learn about my cancer or cancer in general, it is still not really comprehensible. This makes patients vulnerable and easily confused.  I know this and yet every time I get the scary nurse I don't speak up and ask for a different one.