Monday, December 07, 2009

Ok, I'm Up

What more do you want from me?

Slept twelve hours, and that after a three hour nap. Yesterday, I went to an art exhibit on the theme of preserving the Orchard Street Shul in New Haven.

My friend Robert Rattner had on display several magnificent photographs of the inside of the shul. Two other acquaintances of mine also had work shown.

Before that I met a friend from NYC for coffee at Koffee. So nice to see him. I was going to go to a crafts fair at the Jewish Community Center after all this socializing but realized I was pooped, so came home, and had to call in sick to a very short performance the gospel group was gonna do along with some other groups out in Madison. Just couldn't do the 40 minute drive.

Saturday morning I went to a couple of crafts fairs, but was disappointed, so I went to see the one day old baby of a client of mine. He was totally cute, and mom was a bit overwhelmed as this is her first child and she is 40. It felt very grounding to hold such a young sweet life, and made me remember my father who was so good at soothing infants. The baby's dad was so funny: the baby's bassinett was next to where he was sleeping on the sofa. He woke up, saw the bassinett empty, and slightly panicked said, "Where's the kid?!" Mom said, "Right here." Dad rolled over and went back to sleep.

Saturday night I went to a friend's trim-the-tree party, which she holds every year. She makes soup, we bring other stuff, have dinner, then decorate her tree. It was a small group, since people in the Northeast get freaked out over 1/4 inch of snow and a bunch of folks didn't show, but I went out there and had a great time. I realize I can't drink wine anymore, or not enough to make it worthwhile, if you know what I mean. Makes me too tired, and gives me leg and foot cramps. Here's a photo of an ornament I made to contribute to her collection; the fabric is from the material used to make her wedding gown for her marriage in October. I went to a fitting with her and asked the dressmaker for a bit of leftover, not knowing what I would do with it. But early in the week when I was thinking about the party, I began to make, by hand, this item. It's stuffed with cotton and lavender, and embellished with some vintage beads that were given to me a long time ago.

At one of the crafts fairs I attended recently, my best find was walking the dog outside the building, and finding this vintage postcard just lying on the ground.
A happy birthday greet to me, I guess. It felt kind of magical and special to find it.

Friday afternoon I went to visit my friend G, whom I hadn't seen in ages. We had proper tea at 4 at her place, and her niece was visiting. I quite liked her a lot. She was on her way home to Bangalor, India, where she is from, taking a break from her PhD program for a while.

On Thursday morning, I took T. swimming at my fitness club, and he liked the place very much. We then went out to lunch at Bread and Chocolate, a nearby cafe with a comfortable atmosphere. I went home to prepare M's birthday dinner: Moroccan style chicken with cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, spinach salad with apples and roasted pine nuts, cucumber in yogurt with garlic, and homemade brownies with vanilla ice cream. I schlepped it all over to her house with the Bindster and we had a great time.

Wednesday I saw the naturopath and my therapist, and then had a client in the afternoon. Tuesday was the colonoscopy, and Monday was the prep for the colonoscopy. And did I tell you recent blood work shows I have Lyme disease again? But I thought I didn't have any symptoms.


Now today I have to take Camilla back to the vet cause her diarrhea still isn't gone, even with all the drugs. And it's cold out. And it's icy. And I don't like it.

I look forward to coming back home and going back to bed . . .

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Propofol Hangover

Angela Clemmons, our fearless and compassionate director.

Looking over the program.

Angela's daughter.

The choir getting ready.

Here are photos of the Gospel Choir before our performance last Sunday. I'm not in any of them since I took the pictures!

Had the colonoscopy today. After they hooked me up with the iv, and started the antibiotics per the infectious disease doc's orders, and started the propofol, I was out in 30 seconds. Amazing. No wonder Michael Jackson used it to sleep. Results showed internal hemmoroids (which I knew about), diverticulitis (which I didn't know about), and they removed a small polyp. Not too serious I guess. Aren't you just sick of hearing about all my ailments? I AM! The prep wasn't as bad as everyone said, but I am tired. The medical center was only about a mile away which was wonderfully convenient, and I got a ride there from my neighbor and a ride home from my accountant! She used the same docs I did.

After the clear liquid diet all day yesterday, I had flying dreams last night!! I was flying and it was wonderful! No airplane! I could go up and down and everything, although I don't fly very far off the ground, just in case.

Finally cooking dog food for the pooch. I'm afraid except for a few processed kibbles, she's off her feed unless I make it for her. Oh well.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in Manhattan

Setting the table.

On a dog walk.

Statue of liberty.

The apartment.

Building across the street.

A local fire department.

Photos from Thanksgiving in Manhattan.

* * * * * * * *

Fasting for the colonoscopy tomorrow. It's amazing how much I'm getting done around the house since I'm not thinking about food. Can only have clear liquids. I've changed the sheets on the bed, up/downloaded lots of photos and made Shutterfly sites so the photos can be visited, did laundry, put patches on ripped sheets/pillowcases, cleaned the kitchen sink, polished the stove and the teakettle, and did some online shopping.

The gospel choir concert was yesterday. I wasn't feeling my best, but I think we did well anyhow. There was standing room only at the church! Only one of my friends whom I had invited showed up. That's why I have to move to Florida. Need a new group of friends who do stuff.

Thanksgiving in New York City was really nice. Lots of new people, interesting sights, good food, lovely apartment in which to stay, Bindi got along with the resident dog Tess. Was invited back to stay anytime, which is a really special invitation. My knees and feet hurt from walking on so much cement taking the dogs for walks, but my efforts were much appreciated by Tess's owners. Met Betty Woodman at the dinner, who is apparently a very famous ceramicist. But we talked about Facebook, and how she doesn't understand how to use it. I encouraged her to not use FB if she finds it too daunting. There were additional famous people there I guess, but I just had pretty normal conversations with everyone. I didn't know who was famous and who wasn't!

Going to M's on Thursday to make her birthday dinner. It's a school night for her daughter, so no party, just the three of us. Am waiting for menu of what she would like me to cook. But she's easy, she eats anything.

I hit a couple of holiday crafts fairs on Saturday. Found some things! :-)

It's raining, but still we've had no hard freeze.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Small Things

Yukky day, today. Tired, no motivation, bored, kind of depressed.
Thought I'd share a few photos of small pleasures/interests from the past few days.

Went to a craft fair yesterday. On the ground in the parking lot I found this
list. Hmmm . . .

Loved this label of the sauce made by the nuns who had organized the fair. Have no idea how it tastes, but I'll take it as a hostess gift on Thanksgiving.

Went to my community garden plot and picked these late fall roses. No hard frost yet.

Cement horse lawn sculpture at a garden center being wrapped up for the winter. I think it's beautiful.

At the Starbucks closest to me, I saw this van. So clever, esp. the small print which reads, "Cats Too!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Saw my naturopath yesterday who said I have bronchitis. I got some acupuncture, the heat lamp on my chest, and some nasty tasting herbal tincture to take in tea or juice. I actually think I feel a bit better today, not so tired. I'm two weeks into this thing.

Had a nice long chat with my sis this afternoon. Among many other topics, we talked about the high price of sending parcels through the mail. It used to be a good way to get one small thing from one place to another, but not anymore. Very expensive.

Am off to Manhattan for Thanksgiving, just an overnighter at M's sister's, but am looking forward to it. To the Midwest on December 25, and will stay through my nephew's birthday on New Year's eve. 2010. Crazy.

Went shopping for a baby sling for a new mom present. Those things are expensive, too! Met a woman in the store who had two children and was giving me her opinion on them, and advised me to go to Marshall's as she said they had them for much less money. My sister in law makes her own, smart woman that she is. I bought a couple at Target, very pricey even for Target, but if I find one at Marshall's, well, that's why we keep receipts.

Met a new kind of dog on the street today: a dalmation mix from Puerto Rico. He was a rescue, and looked just like a small spotted dalmation. Very very cute.

Gospel choir rehearsal last night. Had to tell two women to stop chewing gum, first because one of them was making snapping noises which makes me nuts, but also because you DON'T CHEW GUM WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO SING!! HELLOOOOOOOOO!!!

Tonight is supposed to be the Leonid meteor showers. Best viewing time around 3am. Guess I'll miss it. The temperature has dropped sharply from today.

Friday, Nov. 20

My bro's birthday. He's 45. Happy birthday, D!

Was driving in my car today practicing my songs for the gospel performance. Two girls on the street saw me rockin' out, and motioned for me to open the window, which I did and blasted the music. They smiled so big!! A precious moment.

Went to the community garden which has yet to have a hard freeze. Picked parsley, lettuce, greens, and roses. Bindi got to play with another small dog named Indy!! They were so cute together. I think one of the kids said it was a Havanese poodle mix. A poodanese. A Havoodle. Whatever.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I had lab work done today and they took 15 vials of blood!!!! I had saved up a few lab slips from various doctors, as I thought none of the tests were that crucial (I was wrong). Some slips had duplicate tests between doctors, and I pointed this out to the lab staff to see if they could just do the one test and send it to the various doctors who wanted the same result, but they gave me a bunch of hooey and proceeded to play vampire. Talk about inefficiency and overcharging in the health insurance industry! I guess it was my bad for holding onto the slips, but I've become so pain sensitive that I wanted just one stick for all the tests instead of going four times. The one I should not have put off was the one tracking the past infection of my knee, but it was a standing order with Quest lab and I couldn't remember the last time I had the test done, and they didn't remind me, so I was three weeks overdue on that one. And I guess I should have kept track of which doctor was ordering which test so that I could then call the other doctors and say there are duplicates, and what should I do, blah blah blah, but I'm not that organized. I don't see why Quest couldn't have contacted the doctors themselves, but obviously they stand to profit from doing the same test more than once. What should I have done?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hack Hack

Been sick for a week with some weird virus. Started in my chest and has stayed there. No runny nose or sore throat or fever or anything, just this phlegmy-ness in my chest and great tiredness. Oh these mutating viruses, is there no end to your uniqueness? Quite a bit of wheezing so haven't gone to the gym, but should go and just do an easy bicycle workout for my knees. But I think I might have picked up the virus there. Or else at the gospel workshop two weeks ago. Went anyway on Monday night, couldn't sing, but lip-synced the words to try to learn them, and enjoyed the neverending humor of the director. There were a couple of other people there too who weren't singing cause they were sick.

Had lunch at Midori today, the Korean/Japanese restaurant near me. Yum. Udon soup with seaweed and vegetables. Kim chi. Pickeled radish. With a friend I haven't seen in quite a while. I could have yacked with her for a long time but she had somewhere else to go. Came home, took Bindi for a walk, visited the dogs Rosie and Roscoe across the street, talked with my neighbor about the need to live in the moment, not take the future for granted, be aware of the preciousness of each day. We both had stories of people who had just dropped dead in their 50s and 60s.

All the leaves on the trees are nearly gone, but the air temperatures are still moderate. No frosts yet. But it looks bleak.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Doctors and Dolphins

Saw my radiation oncologist yesterday for a followup. I had felt some irritation on my tongue, at the place where the cancer was, and I was freaking out. She said everything looked normal, and likely the antibiotics were changing the flora in my mouth and making it more sensitive to whatever. That was a relief. Today I go to the foot doctor with the MRI cd to find out what's going on there. I described the pain to my naturopath last week and she said it could be gout. Gout? Gout? My old dead alcoholic abusive grandfather had gout! Oh this body, this body. I feel like it's decaying bit by bit. The dentist on Friday, for which I have to take another antibiotic 30 minutes before, as dental work can put bacteria into the system, and the ID doc wants to protect my previously infected leg.

But I did take Bindi on a longish walk yesterday, then I went swimming at the gym, came home, took a nap, and drove to Guilford for the gospel singing workshop rehearsal since the idiots in Cheshire never got it together to do enough publicity so that we could have it here and I could drive ten minutes instead of 30. Oh well, the director rocks, is seriously funny and brilliant, and the woman next to me was actually quite friendly. The music is beautiful and uplifting, even tho in my mind I change some of the words, and the group is big. The other women from Cheshire I was hoping to car pool with folded on my, so lame, I swear, so I had to drive myself again. But there was a message from my friend D. who wants to get together Friday night, so that's good.

Big news. Had to cancel my trip to St. John as my travelling companion now has to have hip replacement surgery a week before we were to take the trip. So I've decided to spend three times as much money and go with a group on a wild dolphin adventure off Bimini in April.

I actually consulted Asia Voight, who is an animal communicator, if you believe in such things, when Camilla was having all her problems years ago. It was done by phone, and I found Asia's advice very helpful. So this will be an educational/spiritual trip, as well as fun in the sun and sea. It's only a group of twelve, all our meals are prepared for us, etc etc. I don't have to do a thing except show up in Ft. Lauderdale on April 24, where a hotel room will be waiting for me. This is my 60th birthday present to myself. Unlike the Disney or other organizations who offer interaction with dolphins, Asia's approach with the wild dolphins is absolutely no touching or feeding. I like that. There is a great deal of controversy about interactive swimming with dolphins and manatees, so we will fall on the side of deep respect for them. I think we will sleep on a boat for the five days as well, in order to be able to jump into the water at a moment's notice should creatures arrive.

Eleven year old girls carving and not carving pumpkins at the Halloween party last Saturday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Rainy Day

My Florida house. You can see it needs cosmetic work.

The side yard.

From the back of the property towards the street.

From the street to the back of the property.

My "out" building in the back.

Tom in front of the house. The house looks like it's leaning to the right, but it actually isn't. I don't think.
This change of season has got me tired out. Or else I'm still recovering from the St. Augustine trip. Planning on moving there sends me all over the emotional map, and that sort of travel is stressful.

Last night I went to the first meeting of the gospel singing workshop that was to be held in the town next to me, instead of on the shoreline where I had done it a few years ago. Unfortunately, only 5 people showed up, so the director cancelled that venue, and three of us decided we would drive to Guilford and do the workshop the director is still organizing out there. Such a disappointment, and I was annoyed at the people who were supposed to do the publicity, and clearly had no idea HOW to do outreach and publicity. So now it's another schlep out to Guilford, but three of us have decided to carpool, so at least that is something.

It's so odd. Three of my new friends live on the shoreline: Clinton, Madison, and Old Saybrook. All nearly an hour's drive from where I am. Seven of my older friends live out that way too. Oh how I wish I had been able to find a place to live out there. I like where I am living here, but I'm constantly driving out to the shoreline for something. My dog trainer is out there, my vet, my primary care doc.

Another disappointment. The woman who was going to go with me to St. John island to celebrate my 60th birthday told me yesterday she cannot go, as she has to have a hip replacement in early December. I knew she was in pain, and was just about to write her and ask if she thought she could do the trip, when I received her email. She has degenerative joint disease, has already had two knees replaced, now this hip, and will have to have the other hip done eventually. And she has constant pain in her neck. But she doesn't complain and does quite a bit of travelling for her job. I have written a bunch of other friends to see if anyone else wants to go with me. If not I will have to bag the trip for now, and make another plan.

Tried to go to a halloween party last Saturday night. Drove to Clinton in the pouring rain, got lost, couldn't find the house, called the person's cell phone, she didn't pick up. I got so annoyed, I turned around and started home. I stopped at the bank to make a deposit, and when I was backing up ran my car into a dumptster, now I have new scratches on the back fender. I don't get why these cars have this cheap plastic fenders instead of those heavy black rubber bumpers that could withstand anything. My old Corolla hardly had a dent on it cause it's bumpers were so protective.

Yesterday my 14 year old neighbor A. came over and helped me with some chores. Put a bunch of stuff out on the curb for bulk trash, dug up the canna corms (tubers?), spent some time trying to get runaway Bindi back into the house (so much for being a good citizen -- she still won't come when called when we are outside; the test itself was inside, and she does the recall fine indoors.) Went to physical therapy, my next to last session, and dropped off a Kenmore sewing machine that I had found in someone else's bulk trash to see if it was salvageable. The person to whom it belonged said he thought it just needed some oiling and such, so we'll see. It's an older model that was in a decent cabinet, and the there is a machine repair shop right near the physical therapy place, so that saved me ANOTHER TRIP OUT TO THE SHORELINE WHERE THE OTHER SEWING MACHINE REPAIR SHOP IS.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Nation's "Oldest City"

According to the white colonists, anyway. " . . . the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin in North America. The plaza also is the nation's oldest town square, laid out by Spanish settlers in 1598. " Here are some photos from my recent trip there.

Road to Tidewater, J & T's place.

Farmer's Market

I'd never seen eggplant this small.

St. Augustine Beach. The water temperature
was 82 degrees.

Can anyone identify this plant?

A very popular doorway that is often photographed in the town.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Yea, Bindi! She passed the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test today!

Here's what she had to accomplish:

AKC’s Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program
Training/Testing: CGC Test Items

Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. We believe that responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept and by signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others.
After signing the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, owners and their dogs are ready to take the CGC Test. Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the evaluator.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.

Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.

Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").

All tests must be performed on leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, etc. are not permitted in the CGC test. We recognize that special training collars may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however, we feel that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point at which they are transitioned to regular collars.
The evaluator supplies a 20-foot lead for the test. The owner/handler should bring the dog's brush or comb to the test.

EncouragementOwners/handlers may use praise and encouragement throughout the test. The owner may pet the dog between exercises. Food and treats are not permitted during testing, nor is the use of toys, squeaky toys, etc. to get the dog to do something. We recognize that food and toys may provide valuable reinforcement or encouragement during the training process but these items should not be used during the test.

Failures – Dismissals
Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed. The only exception to this rule is that elimination is allowable in test Item 10, but only when test Item 10 is held outdoors.

Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog is not a good citizen and must be dismissed from the test.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm So Tired

I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink
No,no,no. --The Beatles

Actually I did sleep. Yesterday was killer. Had an mri on my right foot in the morning. Forgot to tell them to put a pillow under my knees before the procedure, and didn't think I would make it thru the half hour, my knees were aching so badly. I did make it thru, but just barely. Almost cried. Hope to finally find out what this pain is I've had for a couple of years that comes and goes on that foot. Drove home.

Had a physical therapy appt. in the afternoon. The physical therapist said I have only two sessions left, and she was sad about not seeing me, so we made plans to get together after my sessions are done. That was nice. Drove home.

In the early evening was Bindi's Canine Good Citizen test cram session. She did well on everything but the sit and stay part where I have to walk ten feet away and she has to stay put. She kept trying to come to me. Turns out I've been giving her mixed messages again about the sit and stay thing. And she was nervous. I felt like such a dope. The test is on Sunday. I so hope she will pass, but if she doesn't, we'll just do it again. I think I'll cry either way. Training a dog is hard work. I missed her terribly when I was in Florida.

After the cram session I went to the market for food. Drove home. Long day of much activity.

Was supposed to have a dental cleaning today for myself, but called the ID doc who had told me I have to be on antibiotics before any dental work is done because of the artificial knees. I'm already on doxycycline, but was smart enough to call her yesterday to ask if I was on a sufficient dose for the cleaning. Turns out she has to prescribe a different antibiotic for the time around the dental cleaning, so had to cancel the appt. and now have to get yet another drug. My insurance company surely hates customers like me, but pharma loves me.

So I've got a full day ahead with nothing much I have to do. Might go to some classical Indian dance tonight, as my good friend G. always invites me to these things. She is Indian. Will give me a chance to wear the lovely silk garment she had made for me on one of her trips back to her country.

Fall is in full bloom here, and it might be my last one before I move to Florida. Yesterday around 5.40 as the sun was low in the sky there were a couple of gold leaved trees glowing like neon in the late afternoon light. So gorgeous. Will try to get out this weekend and take some photos now that I know the best time of day to do it. North Florida does have a change of season believe it or not. There are even some desiduous trees in my yard that lose their leaves. Can't remember if they change color or just drop leaves.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"I think therefore I . . . ARRRF!"

Went for a walk on the beach yesterday morning with J. The air temp was cool, but the water temp was very warm. He says the salt water helps heal the poison ivy on his foot. Got the NY Times at Barnes & Noble, then a quick stop at Target, back home. Had to lay down for a while; was anxious about my niece coming to visit from her conference in Orlando. Met her at the Winn Dixie, the easiest place off the turnpike, and we went on the train tour of old St. Augustine, comp tickets from T. who works there. Saw some awesome pooches across the street, went to visit them. Found out one of the owners of the Newfie was a dog trainer who said that St. Augustine is a very dog-friendly town, which is why he came here. Another woman had some fluffy white puppy, way too cute, and there was a street artist right there as well. A friendly tactile encounter all around. Cold on the train, but interesting nonetheless. Had done it once before, but hadn't remembered much. Showed her my house and some of the neighborhood, and J & T's yard (they were home but not feeling well). I was afraid she wouldn't like the hood and my house, but she said she did.

Showed her the wavy ocean out at Vilano Beach. Nice dinner at the fancy Casa Monica hotel restaurant, then I took her back to her car. Thanks, dear E., for making the trip. Made me happy.

9.30pm Monday

Cool/cold again this morning, around 55 degrees again; got up to around 70 maybe. T. was home again sick with IBS; poor man. I went out exploring, first to SM &JH's place, but they weren't home, were supposed to be back in an hour. Felt very depressed. Went to get a cappuccino, visited a pet store and got very sad looking at the cat and doggie sympathy cards. Drove around some of the back streets of St. A, went into a gift shop, bought nothing, then back to JH/SM's place. JH was home, and we chatted for a while. JM showed up a while later. I had met her at a potluck supper on Saturday night, even tho it turns out I had met her once before. We had been emailing back and forth for a while since she was in CT for ten years and we knew some of the same people. The potluck was pleasant enough, and I was very open about my ambivalence about moving here. They all had different takes on the place, but they all liked it. JH said St. A is on the 30th meridian earth-wise, whatever that means, but it seems to bring good energy to a place. Some complained about the heat, some about the lack of "culture" (they were mostly New Yorkers), but none spoke of leaving. When I left, one woman who I had barely spoken to said, "The only thing missing from St. Augustine is . . . you." How nice is that?!

Before that potluck, I had coffee with the woman who sold me the house here, and even though she would like to leave, she can't imagine leaving all the friends she has made. She's been here 20 years and just wants to be somewhere else, she's not even sure where. Everyone thinks it makes sense to move here, occupy the house and property, reduce my expenses, fix things up, and then see how it goes. It surely makes sense. I just wish I could go POOF! and it would be done.

Back to today: JM and I went swimming in S's mom's across the street outdoor salt water pool. Ninety four degrees. The air was chilly, but the pool was so warm and comforting. My knees liked it. JM and I had a good chat. The resident doggie is some kind of corgi mix named Jasper who was adorable and sweet. Wasn't expecting to get into water today, so it felt very luxurious to be offered a swim in such a pool.

Friday, October 16, 2009


. . . a little better, all the time . . .

Just got back from the Present Moment cafe in my neighborhood, a vegan, raw foods cafe that is new since I was here last. I was most pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness of a pad thai made with kelp noodles that was scrumptious. Plus two glasses of organic, non-sulfite wine. A couple of very friendly people sat next to me at the bar, and I learned that Sicilian wine does not leave you hungover when you drink it there, as it is fresh and local, and has no sulfites either, and this gentleman comes to this cafe for the unadulterated booze. My server was most helpful and informative, very kind and I felt completely at home there. I'll for sure be going back.

Visited a couple of art galleries before dinner, beautiful stuff, and more good conversations with the staff. Before that went to the new Soloman Calhoun rec center, with its very nice outdoor pool. Weirdly, the women's and men's locker rooms only had one shower each. J & T had told me not to go to that "neighborhood" cause it was "dangerous," people got shot during the daytime there. Well, of course that freaked me out, but then I spoke with I. who said that was ridiculous, the facility was brand new. It's in a solidly African American working class neighborhood, but I saw no signs of danger at all. But I am wondering if the lack of showers is in some strange way connected to being asked on the sign in form to declare my ethnicity. The white woman at the desk said I didn't have to, but I said I didn't mind. The swim team there seemed mostly caucasian, and the pool itself was huge. Things are very different here.

I visited my house with the property manager and T. this morning. The house needs a lot of cosmetic work, but still the yard is huge, fenced in, and the young men living there seem to be taking care of things well enough. J. said the house has "good bones.". My closest neighbors seems to be doing some very nice landscaping. Dell, the young man living there with a roommate, said there is some street noise from the cars, which doesn't thrill me since I am living now in a place that is completely quiet. But it's a small street, not a main thoroughfare, so how bad can it be?

I went to visit R. for a while this morning, to break the ice a bit. She immediately, before even asking how I was, had to show me her house and a bunch of other stuff I was not interested in, but then I told her what I'd been going thru the past two years and she was able to muster about 20 minutes of attention, before putting the focus back on herself. I felt very depressed after talking with her.

Coincidentally, my niece E. is at a conference in Orlando, so we might try to meet up in Daytona on Sunday. She lives in Chicago and I haven't seen her in a couple of years, so would love to see and talk with her.

Stopped at the post office to get some stamps and met Cesar, an employee there and a friend of J & T's. He was very very nice, and really good lookin'.

I've got some photos, will post at a later date.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

St. Augustine

Ok, I'm here, with my friends T & J. It feels weird. Not being with them, they are being so gracious and funny. But being in this town, which is so different from CT. T and I went into the ocean today. It was warm and wavy. I've got some plans to meet up with some other folks in the next few days. Will visit my house tomorrow with the property manager. Moving here would be so very different from the northeast, at least the places I have lived. The neighborhood where my house is located is quite funky, old Florida, and I fear I have been spoiled by first living in Guilford and then Hamden, both solidly middle and upper middle class communities. I'm embarrassed to admit I may be experiencing some classism in myself, which I really hate. Did working at Yale too long do that to me? Things are slowly gentrifying here, but not fast enough perhaps? Uck. Being in the ocean was wonderful, but how will I deal with heat and humidity for months on end? I can easily drive to parts of St. Augustine that are "classy," big homes for the rich, fancy expensive shops, but that's not me either. Maybe being in the Hamptons last weekend, which is charming AND classy seduced me. But I had a meltdown at the reception after the friends I came with left, and I was there by myself with less good friends. What does that mean? I was better after i left the reception and went to the house I was staying, and could get into bed and be alone for the night. And the ride back the next day was fun. I'm very confused. I'm just trying to take this day by day, have a vacation, and not feel I have to make a decision, just experience the place again after not having been here for several years.

And Bindi is not with me. She's with Achilles, the doberman, and Peeve (as in pet), the Boston terrier, and I'm sure is having a great time. I miss Camilla and Misty. I miss my Hamden house, even though I'm often lonely there. What is going on? Am I just stuck in the familiarity of CT?
Uck, again.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


This is my niece's new dog, Phil. I'm a little bit envious as I would love to rescue a greyhound. Apparently Phil's previous owner's did nothing with him for six years, no socializing with other dogs or people, so the poor guy is scared and freaked out. Kudos to E. and her hubby for rescuing this beautiful animal.

I've got a mud mask on my face. I figure 60 isn't too old (or young) to start taking care of my skin. I neglected it for years, just washed it with whatever soap was around, with my hands. Amazingly, mud masks really have a benefit.

Camilla woke me up this morning bolting out of her cat bed leaving a pile of diarrhea, that in her haste to leave also left bits on my duvet cover and THE CURTAINS!! You don't have to guess how happy that made me. A hundred dollars later for more medication; seems she wasn't on the meds for her bladder/kidney infection long enough. Did I mention I have carpeting in every room but the kitchen and utility room? Let's not even go there . . .

T. called and asked if I was up for a swim. He's such a delight to hang with, that I said sure, and we had a nice time chatting and swimming laps in the pool. Of course I used the hot tub beforehand to warm up my knees. After I went to the community garden and picked some basil to make pesto. Picked some dahlias for my therapist, then went to the natural foods store for pine nuts. Sixteen ninety nine a pound, and I had no idea how many I needed, so I bought half a pound. Thirty one bucks for half a bag of groceries! Let me know when you get sick of me complaining about how much things cost.

So I made the pesto and I think it came out right, but I realize I'm not that fond of pesto afterall. Made dog food for Bindi, some movie about Darwin on PBS is playing in the background.

I heard a statistic on the news that reported nearly one in every two children in the world live in poverty.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Quotidian Quotables

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no [one] could have dreamed would have come her way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."

-- attributed to Goethe

I love good quotes. But I'm bad at writing them down when I come across them, so I forget them all. But maybe the essence is stuck in my consciousness somewhere.

Since I've been using Facebook, I've been blogging much less. I guess cause more people read my FB messages than my blog. I do like the silly and serious things my friends write on FB; it truly feels like an online community.

These are photos of the dressmaker's studio where I went last Tuesday with a friend who is having her wedding dress made there. I can't post a photo of her dress, cause it's a secret. I'll just say it's pale pink dupioni silk. The wedding is this weekend, on Long Island. I'll go out there very early on Saturday with M. and the girls, taking the ferry across the Sound, then driving a couple of hours till we get to the venue. I'm staying overnight. Still waiting to hear if Bindi is allowed to come, although she won't attend the ceremony and dinner.

Still doing physical therapy for my knees, and riding the stationary bike and swimming some. This physical therapist is the best I've had so far, and it's about time. I've been walking Bindi, trying to farther and farther (further and further?) each day. She loves her walks. And congrats to my niece E. and her husband, who just adopted a very handsome six year old greyhound named Phil. He needs some work in the training department, but what dog doesn't? What human doesn't?!

Watched Immortal Beloved on the telly the other day, the story of Beethoven's life, with Gary Oldman and Isabella Rossellini. It was fascinating, although how much of it was true I do not know. According to the movie, Beethoven's deafness was likely caused by his father's cruel physical abuse of him as a child. The soundtrack was lovely.

I've signed up for the gospel singing workshop again, the one I did twice when I lived in Guilford. But now the director is doing another one in the town right next to mine, so I've got no excuse not to do it.

I've started keeping track of how much money I spend every day. It's crazy. Pet food, coffee, doctors' co-pays, a new modem, gym fees, farmer's market, vet bills, meals, gasoline, airline tickets, postage, dvd rentals, supermarket. Living on a pension and social security disability is just not enough. And I'm not even an extravagant spender. When I was pulling down a salary, I didn't have to pay attention as closely as I am having to now, and I do not like it.

My guitar teacher moved away.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rainy Day Poem

I heard the fox
calling in the distance
stark black night
her howl carried
pierced the air
since the early morning
not that long ago
when miraculously
righteous on the boulder in the lawn
beckoning her mate
gathering her kits
howling for the pure joy
of being alive
making herself

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dog and Park

Bindi and I went to the first of the Canine Good Citizen classes today, and we didn't do too well. In fact, the trainer said we should take the beginner class again, because I HAD FORGOTTEN SO MUCH, and Bindi was confused by my commands. So I guess it's a good thing that we're back in school.

What was amazing is that there was an older man there with his golden lab Max, and we were doing an exercise where two people with dogs walk up to one another and greet and learn to have the dogs not interact with one another until we allow them to. This man's voice was SO familiar, and it hit me: "Bob?" I said. He looked puzzled. "Dr. Bob?" I repeated. He said, "Yeah." I said my name, and he said, "Oh, hi!" He was my vet for a long time, but I stopped seeing him 7-8 years ago. He had a stroke when I was still taking my animals to him, but recovered sufficiently to continue practicing. Today I asked him if he had retired (we're about the same age). He said he was managing the practice, but not doing clinical work, that the tremor in his right hand had become much worse, and although he had "worked" on it, he felt it was no longer viable for him to practice. The woman he had worked with for 25 years killed herself a little over a year ago, and since I had not seen him since that terrible event, I gave my condolences. He said, "She was like my daughter," they had worked together so long. So today's meeting was bittersweet, to say the least.

I went to the country fair in the park after class, the one held every year at this time, where my community garden is. It was such a beautiful day, and my eyes took in the atmosphere and interest of plants for sale, a scarecrow-making booth, some Morris dancers with their 'kerchiefs a-flying, a rock climbing wall, a bungie jumping machine, a petting zoo, snow cones, the food tent, the tag and book and bake sales, the Bonsai exhibit, the silent auction, the community garden sellers, and the Clydesdale horses taking people for rides in carriages. It was all so festive.

Except for Bindi. She was out of control. She would bark ferociously at other dogs, and especially the Clydesdales. She pulled on the leash, and would not do anything I commanded her to do. I guess she had had enough stimulation for the day, and I probably should have just taken her home after class, but I wanted to stop in the park. I spent $2.50 at the tag sale, and several more bucks on food. Although I did not take photos in the park, here are some other photos from my day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Woke up to Camilla having diarrhea on my white bedspread and then the carpet, after having had her pee on it twice before in the past two weeks. Took her to the vet on Thursday, and she obligingly peed in the cat carrier so the vet was able to find out very quickly that she has a bladder/kidney infection. So he gave her this new antibiotic that is an injectable, and is supposed to last two weeks. The substance makes a kind of pill under the skin after it is injected and then time-releases the antibiotic. I'm sure that's why she has the diarrhea. She's now sequestered in the utility room, with water and almost no food. She had this same thing just a few months ago, so it must be something with her age, which is 13. Vet told me to put down another litter box, cause if a cat doesn't like the current litter box, she can "retain" urine until she can't hold it any longer, and that's bad. Anybody got any Scoop Away coupons?

Since I was up, I went out tag sailing. Got a small bird feeder for a buck, a reflecting dog leash for a buck, cupcakes to take to dinner tonight at M's, and a really nice London Fog raincoat with a winter lining in excellent condition for five. I thought I was very good at not buying anything useless, although tempted.

Came home, took the dog for a walk. I'm up to about 15-20 minutes now, hoping to get to 1/2 hour soon, at least that's what I told the physical therapist my goal was.

Am meeting a friend at a dessert cafe here her husband is giving a talk on the globlization of the coffee trade, or some such. This place is advertised as the "only listed science cafe in CT." Who knew.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Grrr, Sniff, Arf


What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
By Alexandra Horowitz
353 pp. Scribner. $27

September 8, 2009, New York Times

The literature about dogs is not quite the same as the literature about, say, Norwegian rats. Dogs get the literary respect: there are brilliant memoirs about dogs like J. R. Ackerley’s “My Dog Tulip” and Elizabeth von Arnim’s “All the Dogs of My Life”; there’s James Thurber and Virginia Woolf and Jack London; there’s Lassie and Clifford and, of course, Marley. White rats, on the other hand, get most of the scientific attention. Alexandra Horowitz’s “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know” attempts to rectify that situation, exploring what science tells us about dogs without relegating our pets, emotionally, to lab rats. As a psychologist with a Ph.D. in cognitive science, as well as an ardent dogophile, Horowitz aims “to take an informed imaginative leap inside of a dog — to see what it is like to be a dog; what the world is like from a dog’s point of view.”

Her work draws on that of an early-20th-­century German biologist, Jakob von Uexküll, who proposed that “anyone who wants to understand the life of an animal must begin by considering what he called their umvelt . . . : their subjective or ‘self-world.’ ” Hard as we may try, a dog’s-eye view is not immediately accessible to us, however, for we reside within our own umwelt, our own self-world bubble, which clouds our vision.

Consider one of Horowitz’s examples: a rose. A human being experiences a rose as a lovely, familiar shape, a bright, beautiful color and a sublime scent. That is the very definition of a rose. But to a dog? Beauty has nothing to do with it; the color is irrelevant, barely visible, the flowery scent ignored. Only when it is adorned with some other important perfume — a recent spray of urine, perhaps — does the rose come alive for a dog. How about a more practical object? Say, a hammer? “To a dog,” Horowitz points out, “a hammer doesn’t exist. A dog doesn’t act with or on a hammer, and so it has no significance to a dog. At least, not unless it overlaps with some other, meaningful object: it is wielded by a loved person; it is urinated on by the cute dog down the street; its dense wooden handle can be chewed like a stick.” Dogs, it seems, are Aristotelians, but with their own doggy teleology. Their goals are not only radically different from ours; they are often invisible to us. To get a better view, Horowitz proposes that we humans get down intellectually on all fours and start sniffing.

Dogs, as anyone who has ever met one knows, sniff a lot. They are, says Horo­witz, “creatures of the nose.” To help us grasp the magnitude of the difference between the human and the canine olfactory umwelts, she details not only the physical makeup of a dog nose (a beagle nose has 300 million receptor sites, for example, compared with a human being’s six million), but also the mechanics of the canine snout. People have to exhale before we can inhale new air. Dogs do not. They breath in, then their nostrils quiver and pull the air deeper into the nose as well as out through side slits. Specialized photography reveals that the breeze generated by dog exhalation helps to pull more new scent in. In this way, dogs not only hold more scent in at once than we can, but also continuously refresh what they smell, without interruption, the way humans can keep “shifting their gaze to get another look.”

Dogs do not just detect odors better than we can. This sniffing “gaze” also gives them a very different experience of the world than our visual one gives us. One of Horowitz’s most startling insights, for me, was how even a dog’s sense of time differs from ours. For dogs, “smell tells time,” she writes. “Perspective, scale and distance are, after a fashion, in olfaction — but olfaction is fleeting. . . . Odors are less strong over time, so strength indicates newness; weakness, age. The future is smelled on the breeze that brings air from the place you’re headed.” While we mainly look at the present, the dog’s “olfactory window” onto the present is wider than our visual window, “including not just the scene currently happening, but also a snatch of the just-happened and the up-ahead. The present has a shadow of the past and a ring of the future about it.” Now that’s umwelt.

A dog’s vision affects its sense of time, too. Dogs have a higher “flicker fusion” rate than we do, which is the rate at which retinal cells can process incoming light, or “the number of snapshots of the world that the eye takes in every second.” This is one of the reasons dogs respond so well to subtle human facial reactions: “They pay attention to the slivers of time between our blinks.”) It also helps explain those ­eerily accurate balletic leaps after tennis balls and Frisbees, but Horowitz lets us see the implications beyond our human-centric fascination with our pets. This is more than a game of fetch; it is a profound, existential realization: “One could say that dogs see the world faster than we do, but what they really do is see just a bit more world in every second.”

Humans are good at seeing things right in front of us, Horowitz explains, because our photoreceptors are centrally located in an area of the retina called the fovea. Dogs do not have foveae and so are not as good at seeing things right in front of them. Those breeds, like pugs, that have retinas more like ours and can see close up, tend to be lap dogs that focus on their owners’ faces, making them seem “more companionable.” In dogs with long noses, often bred for hunting or herding, however, the photo­receptors cluster along a horizontal band spanning the middle of the eye. This is called a visual streak, and those dogs that have it “have better panoramic, high-quality ­vision, and much more peripheral vision than humans.”

As for their hearing, despite a talent for detecting those high-pitched whistles that are inaudible to us, dogs’ ability to “pinpoint where a sound is coming from is imprecise” compared with ours. Instead, their auditory sense serves to help them find the general direction of a sound, at which point their more acute sight and smell take over. As for dogs’ ability to respond to language, it has more to do with the “prosody” of our utterances than the words themselves. “High-pitched sounds mean something different than low sounds; rising sounds contrast with falling sounds,” Horowitz writes. Dogs respond to baby talk “partially because it distinguishes speech that is directed at them from the rest of the continuous yammering above their heads.”

Horowitz also discusses the natural history of dogs, their evolutionary descent from the wolves, but she cautions the reader to pay attention to those wolf traits dogs have discarded along the way. “Dogs do not form true packs,” she writes. “They scavenge or hunt small prey individually or in parallel,” rather than cooperatively, as wolves do. Countering the currently fashionable alpha dog “pack theories” of dog training, Horowitz notes that “in the wild, wolf packs consist almost entirely of related or mated animals. They are families, not groups of peers vying for the top spot. . . . Behaviors seen as ‘dominant’ or ‘submissive’ are used not in a scramble for power; they are used to maintain social unity.”

The idea that a dog owner must become the dominant member by using jerks or harsh words or other kinds of punishment, she writes, “is farther from what we know of the reality of wolf packs and closer to the timeworn fiction of the animal kingdom with humans at the pinnacle, exerting dominion over the rest. Wolves seem to learn from each other not by punishing each other but by observing each other. Dogs, too, are keen observers — of our reactions.”
In one enormously important variation from wolf behavior, dogs will look into our eyes. “Though they have inherited some aversion to staring too long at eyes, dogs seem to be predisposed to inspect our faces for information, for reassurance, for guidance.” They are staring, soulfully, into our umwelts. It seems only right that we try a little harder to reciprocate, and Horowitz’s book is a good step in that direction. But she can be a bit coy and overly stylish in her attempt not to sound too scientific, and to the particular choir to which she is preaching, much of her material will be familiar.

In that same vein, the tone of the book is sometimes baffling — an almost polemical insistence on the value of dogs, as if they’d long been neglected by world opinion. But then Horowitz will drop in some lovely observation, some unlikely study, some odd detail that causes one’s dog-loving heart to flutter with astonishment and gratitude. When researchers, she notes in one of these fine moments, studied the temporal patterns of dogs interacting with people, they found the patterns to be “similar to the timing patterns among mixed-sex strangers flirting.”

Cathleen Schine’s most recent novel is “The New Yorkers.” Her next book, “The Three Weissmanns of Westport,” will be published in February.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Seven with Moogie's hand

Precious, huh? Look at those grey eyes. All the six other kids have brown eyes. This one has my dad's eyes. Moogie is Klingon for grandmother, on Seven's maternal side.

Had lunch with M. yesterday, polenta made from heirloom corn hand ground, and ratatouille. Yum. Then we took Bindi down to Shell Beach where she splashed in the muddy sea water, and oddly didn't smell any the worse for the experience. She went in deeper than she ever has before, but still not deep enough to need to do the dog paddle.

After, I stopped by my community garden, and got into a flurry of weeding, which it badly needed. I must have punctured a vein on my right hand with a rose thorn, cause a big purple bump rose up immediately, has gone down some now, but is sore and still raised. I think it was in the same area as the anesthesia needle I had for my second knee surgery, which was a big honking needle, so maybe I'm still not healed there completely. Whatever. It's always something. I pulled up all my carrots to ready for planting a fall crop, and gave a bunch to a strolling couple who had come to see the gardens. Another woman who was walking around looking at the beauty said to me, "This place is so ALIVE!" Truly. By far my favorite place in town.

Came home and entertainingly, there was a "House" marathon on the telly. I stayed up much too late watching back to back episodes, including some I'd only seen parts of. Mark your calendars: September 21 is the 2-hour season premier of "House," and he's in a psych hospital trying to detox from his addictions. Hugh Laurie is such an amazing actor. Did I mention I really like "House?"

Shout out to CSA: Right after you told me Ripley was your favorite superhero, there were two showings of "Aliens" on the tube, and I thought of you.

Stopped at three tag sales yesterday. Found a funky old fashioned telephone marked $30 -- she let me have it for $5. A couple of things that will make nice gifts, a book on horses for S., and a really nice manatee tile for a buck. I surely don't need more crap, but buying nice things for almost nothing and giving them away is satisfying.

Today I'm going to try to get myself to Old Saybrook for the grand opening of "The Kate," the new theatre built there is honor of Katherine Hepburn, who lived in the town for many years in her family home on the water. The traffic yesterday was way bad, but I told my friend that if I get on the road and it's too congested, I'll just turn around and come back home. Later I'm meeting another friend for an early meal. He's up from NYCity.

Got myself to go lap swimming on Friday, although it was very hard to get into the pool. First I went into the hot tub to warm up, then tried the pool. Too cold. Then I went into the warm therapy pool and paddled around a bit, then tried the pool again. Too cold. Finally I took a long hot shower, and was then able to get into the lap pool. I swear, since the cancer and radiation experience last year, my core temperature has dropped. It's very annoying, esp. with winter coming on. That trip to St. John is gonna be my salvation in December.

Chicken photos below were taken at a small farm when I was in Michigan. A friend of my family grows corn, grapes, apples, squash, beans, etc. on about a half acre of land, and has a chicken coup with gorgeous birds, the ones with the fancy feathers? The place was immaculately kept, really beautiful.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Full Corn Moon

According to Native American tradition, the full moon on Friday this month will be the Corn Moon (sometimes referred to as one of the Harvest Moons, but they typically occur in October). Photo by Birdgirl.

Very cold at night and in the mornings since my return from Michigan. I'm drinking coffee again, but have none in the house to my dismay. I was off coffee for months when I was so sick, but picked it up again while away. My plants did well while I was gone, and yesterday I severely pruned the tropical hibiscus so that it would not take up so much room in the house when I move it inside. She looks a bit in shock, but should have a few more weeks to sprout new branches before the cold weather really sets in and I have to move her in.

Yesterday I saw the ID (infectious disease) doc who said my lab work looks good, the sed rate is now normal (a predictor of infection), and I can cut back the antibiotics to once a day. I don't have to go see her for another six months unless something happens, which IT WON'T. Started back with physical therapy at a new place connected to my gym. Every PT I've seen, and I must have seen at least ten or so does something different, and she had a creative use of a dog leash to stretch my knees. Now how can you not like that? I'm off to see the surgeon today, and then to the dreaded supermarket. I've come to hate big stores immensely, but I don't have good small ones near me.

Does anyone watch Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations"? It/he just keeps getting better and better. He goes everywhere in the world meeting interesting people, getting off the tourist track, and eating the local fare. Tough job. He says he likes the travelling, but it would do me in, I'm afraid, no matter how interesting.