I was telling a friend about a book I was reading, and couldn't remember the name, or the complete list of authors, so before I turn it back in:  "Duainfey" by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (I can ALWAYS remember the Miller part!  *laugh*).  It's a little bit Jane Austen meets the fairies; I thought it was a good read, but really should have been part of a larger work, because the ending was just the intro for the NEXT book in the series, and the only plot was "girl discovers she's been had, in service of a bigger plot."  Presumably, we see more of that bigger plot later.  Possibly they can't publish lengthy tomes any more (and Jaqueline Carey argues against that thesis), but that's what it felt like--the first half (or less) of the real story, chopped off and dropped into a cover.

I'll still pick up the next one(s).
So I went to see the movie Twilight with some other folks, so we could snark and otherwise enjoy hating the thing.  Having gone in expecting to be entertained by the badness, I was a little taken aback to be disappointed in it.  You could see the bones of a story that had the potential to be a decent movie, but the acting wasn't even wooden, it was one-dimensional  teflon--no substance, and nothing could stick to it.

Since we listened to the director explain what she wanted us to know about the cut scenes she chose for us to admire, I decided that it HAD to be her fault (she made it clear where all the vapid came from, that's for sure);  as popular as it is, the book couldn't have been that  totally empty, even factoring in the lowered taste one would expect from teenage girls.  I ordered the book from the library, and let me tell you--in the first three pages, Bella shows more personality than we saw in the whole movie, cut scenes and all.

Damn, but that movie was bad.  The kids squeeing were bringing the book with them.  There is no other explanation.

I may report back when I've read more than three pages, but it clearly deserved a better screen translation than it got.

Parenting advice: Treat your children the way you want to see them treat your grandchildren.

Observation: It is irrational to expect rational behavior from people, including oneself.

The power of eBay: http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/ebay-has-unexpected-chilling-effect-looting-antiquities-archaelogist-finds-20849.html



Crocus!

Mar. 15th, 2009 04:49 pm
There's a bright yellow crocus with its arms wide open to the sun sitting in my back yard. It must think spring is here. Poor thing doesn't have much luck against the dog, but it tries!
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kitwench , all the other folks who've been posting it, and to [livejournal.com profile] cadhla, who made it up :

I. Thou Shalt Have As Many Gods and Spirits and Personal Trainers and Gurus As You Like Before Me, But You Shalt Not Let Them Block the Exits, and More, You Shall Not Permit Them To Take the Last Beer, For That Beer Is Mine. Seriously. Don't.

II. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife, But Thou Art Totally Welcome To Admire Her Ass When She Walks By, and If It Happens To Come Out That They Are In An Open Relationship, Dude, Tap That Ass As Much As They Are Willing To Allow. Same Goes For the Ladies. Coveting Is Sort Of Stupid, But Sex Is Just Plain Fun, Unless Thou Art Doing It Entirely Wrong.

III. If Thy Neighbor Says 'Hands Off My Wife, Dude', Thou Shalt Listen and Back Off, Because Otherwise, Thy Neighbor Will Be Totally Justified In Hitting You About the Head and Shoulders With Gardening Tools, and Don't Think That I'm Going To Step In There and Stop Him.

IV. Adultery Is Actually Pretty Fun. Commit It All You Like. Just Make Sure Everyone Is Cool With It, Or I Will Not Help You Out Once the Hitting Gets Started.

V. Thou Shalt Not Eat Poisoned Bait. If You Do, Don't Come Whining To Me About It, Because I Am Very Unlikely To Care. Once It Is In Your Mouth, It Is Your Problem, Not Mine.

VI. Of Course Thou Shalt Kill. Carnivores Do That. Also, Swatting Mosquitoes, Sort Of Instinctive. But All Creatures Are Alive Before You Kill Them, and So Thou Shalt Respect Them In Their Lives and In Their Deaths. Thou Shalt Not Kill Without Reason. Thy Neighbor Tapping Thy Wife's Ass? Is Not A Reason. Don't Make Me Set A Plague Upon Thy Ass. Thou Wouldst Not Enjoy It, I Promise.

VII. Thou Shalt Not Hoard. Seriously, Here. If You Have Enough, Share. Only Asshats Bogart Life.

VIII. Thou Shalt Not Be A Martyr. If You Have One Beer, Drink It. Do Not Give It To Me and Then Expect Adoration. Dude, That Was Your Beer, I Did Not Break Your Arm To Get It. Give What You Can Give, and Expect Neither Praise Nor Worship. You Are Not Being Morally Superior, You Are Being A Decent Human Being. There Is A Difference.

IX. Assume This Is It. Maybe There Is Reincarnation; Maybe Not. Not Only Am I Not Saying, Please Consider the Fact That I Probably Get A Say In Whether You Come Back, and If You Are the Sort Of Person Who Doesn't Do Anything With One Life, Why Should I Waste My Time Giving You Another One? Live Like You Get No Second Chances. You Will Have More Fun.

X. Are You Going To Eat That?

Edited to include original author.

I met Jennie only the one time, at a holiday gathering, when her lungs were new, and her body was learning to breathe again.  I met her because many of the people of whom I am most fond had befriended her and her mother when they came to St. Louis to wait for new lungs.

Jennie's mother came to my husband's funeral; she was planning to spend the next week just relaxing here, because Jennie had gone home, finally, and crisis mode was no longer necessary.  Except, of course, crisis--and Jennie in a helicopter--returned before that week was over, and never left again until this past Sunday.

One of Jennie's friends is a writer who works for a local newspaper.  She turned her grief into a tribute to Jennie:  http://www.bnd.com/yourlife/story/674585.html.  Maybe Jennie's life was too short--most certainly it was that--but it needn't have been in vain, if her story's ripples spread out to others who need the gift she had, once.

Go, thou, and read, and ponder, and then give Life a chance, if it should one day desert you--give others who need them the parts you won't use any more.  There is no generosity greater.  And pass the link along, because organ donation isn't necessarily simple, and your state may require more than just a signature on your license (although that's a great start!). 

Someone who sees that link could make a difference to another someone--and the world will be a bit brighter because Jennie touched them, too.

Backstory:  I am eldest of three, my brothers being two and seven years younger than I am.  We had a nicely normal childhood, and have maintained good relations as adults.  When I turned 40, I decided to imitate Jack Benny, and remained "39" when someone (besides my doctor, anyway) asked my age.  As my  brothers also reached that milestone, I started claiming to be younger than them, when I wasn't saying that because my mother was so talented, we were triplets born over seven years.  When Don had his first pneumonia, many years ago, my brothers were in the room when friends showed up, one of whom guessed that we were siblings, at which I trotted out the triplets story: "I'm 39, *pointing at Will* he's 39  and *pointing at Jim* he's really 39!"

Will sends me birthday greetings most years, riffing off this long-standing joke.  He sent this one yesterday, titled "How does one do such a thing":

Hey kid,
 
Another anniversary is here, OK so it tis tomorrow, but it doesn't relive the problem I face.  What actually do I wish you?
 
You have become perpetually 39 or something like that.  So I don't want to repeat and repeat and repeat Happy Thirty-ninth Birthday. (It will show my age, which by the way I don't conceal...nor do I brag about either.)  If I don't wish you a Happy Thirty-ninth Birthday, does that mean I am a un-caring, un-loving, un-other things a Christian feller ought not be?
 
So if I neglect to comment on it as if there is no twenty-second anniversary of your thirty-ninth birthday, is that being untruthful?  Remember, I am one of those who knows that "the truth will set you free."  and I would want my bestess (all be it my only) sister to be free of any delusions.  (Although watching the delusional can be fun and make for good TV, it isn't something I would want for family members.  It may be genetic and you know what that would mean...Jim might get delusions too.)
 
I realize that some folks would not mind if birthday anniversaries were forgotten but on the other hand there are others of us who like to gleefully remind others that they are older than I. 
 
It is, as usual, quite a dilemma.  So in hopes of not doing the wrong thing...Happy Ground Hog's day.
 

Birthday, [livejournal.com profile] sheyeblaze ! 

I hope this one is better than the best you ever had--but just the baseline for many more to come.
Dammit!  He wasn't SUPPOSED to die!

*stamps foot, turns sharply on her heel, and flounces off*
Burnished brass notes
carry the rasp of flag-draped grief
into October’s cerulean vault.

Along the afternoon breeze,
a single orange butterfly tumbles south.


Such a small, heavy box to be all that's left of his poor, battered body.  I can almost scratch his permanently itchy back--except he's in that damned box.  I can almost taste the coffee on his mustache when I kiss him goodbye in the morning--except he's in that box.

But he's home from the hospital, now.  Tomorrow, we take him down to Jefferson Barracks, where he will stay until they tear the place down--presumably well past our lifetimes, when that happens.  Next Friday morning, Kevin will get the military honors he wants so much, and he'll receive his father's flag, and I'll listen to Taps rising into the October sky the way it did when we buried my mother in '94.

Some day, I won't miss him this way.  Some day, I'll be used to not having him love me.  Some day, his pictures will make me smile without having to reach for the Kleenex box.

Some day.  Just not today.
Donald E. McCracken
March 23, 1946-October 3, 2008

He went down fighting in the early hours of October 3, 2008.  His wife, Ruth, and his son, Kevin, his sisters Brenda and Beverley, our families and friends, all the people he touched with his humor and care will miss him most grievously.

He was a big man, and he lived big, with gusto and a style all his own.  Words cannot encompass him, tears cannot do him justice.  He was a gift to us, and his loss leaves us poorer as his life enriched those who knew and loved him.

We will celebrate what he meant to us on October 17, 2008 at St. Louis Cremation, 2135 Chouteau, St. Louis, MO, 63103.

Donate to your favorite charity or cause in his behalf and we will call it good.  He would.


* If I had paid what they wanted to charge, he'd have swarmed out of that urn and choked me on cremains!
and we will celebrate it next Friday, October 17th, from 2-5PM at St. Louis Cremation, 2135 Chouteau, St. Louis MO.

The space is very neutral, and large enough without being overwhelming.  If things go the way my son wishes, there will be a military honors service at 3, but we're not entirely sure yet.  Otherwise, I figure to mill and remember, laugh a bunch, and maybe play some bagpipe music.  Silly frog, loved bagpipes, and we have the CD to prove it.  Somewhere.  Found it!  Y'all are in for SUCH a treat!   *twirls the handle-bar mustaches, just like he would*

With this part is settled, it's time to write something for the paper.  *sigh*  Y'know, I really, really, really wish I didn't have to do this.  It's no fun at all.


I do love you guys, and thank you for the support.  It helps.  Don't be afraid for me*;  I'm pretty good at letting stuff flow through me until it's done and then letting it go. 

This hurts, just like I always knew it would.  We were always partners;  we belonged together, and we never really questioned that.  But now it's time for my next life to begin, and I'll be doing that, too.  I promise.

He's gone, but I'm not, and that's OK with me.  *smile*


*Well, I could use some Powerball-winning vibes--keeping the house may be tough without 'em.  Doesn't have to be the big win, just one of the second tier prizes, ok?  *grin*
I don't have to worry about him any  more.

I don't have to wonder what's going to happen next.  I don't have to listen to him harangue about stop lights and buses and cops giving out speeding tickets.  I don't have to buy food to fit the flavorless restrictions he had to live with, or go to the bookstore and not have time to look at books for me because he needed me to pick up the books he couldn't bend over to reach.  I don't have to spend gas and time running to a hospital 25 miles from my home and work.

I don't care.  I just want my Donald back.

I want my baby back.

I want him back.
Coming Home

It wasn’t how high she looked to find his face,
or that he said before she told him,
the years producing careful draftsman numbers bored her;

it wasn’t his casual laugh for palomino mice
incarcerated on her kitchen table next to hooded rats in a ferret cage,

nor the wryly mocking wrinkle beside his eyes as she beat him
two-of-three at Scrabble.

It was when he said his birthday is the day before her dad’s.

That night in the movies, he put an arm around her shoulder--
and she was home.

Editted for line breaks.  Not quite so klunky now.  I think.
And he did.  And later, when he stopped breathing, they worked on him to keep him going, but when they intubated him, his heart gave up, too.

Update

Aug. 11th, 2008 06:53 am
They settled for a biopsy because the neurosurgeon didn't like the placement of the tumor--too close to things he didn't want to disturb.  The results say it's a new primary cancer, a glioblastoma.  He's already begun the set-up for radiation treatments: 5 days a week for 6 weeks, they said.  Maybe some chemo.  We'll see the oncologist next Monday, and probably start the radiation next week (they have to remove the railroad tracks on the side of his face first, which should happen Friday).

This has officially become a transportation nightmare (just to keep the focus away from the truly scary parts--one does what one must to keep going).  He cannot drive now--too much chance of seizure, not to mention the memory and verbal problems.  He could get lost so easily.  This doesn't make him very happy, but he's begun to have quite a bit of dizziness and visual disturbance, and even fell at home the other day ( he thinks he passed out briefly;  I'm thinking small seizure.  It didn't seem to hurt him, although I worried about the biopsy site for a while).  I have to work (my boss is great, but I do have things to accomplish for him!), he has to be at MoBap 5 days a week, and dialysis in Florissant 3 days a week.  Our son is now on our auto insurance, so he can do some driving, but his classes at Flo Valley start in a couple weeks, and he has Guard training to do too.  Also a job in Olivette, if the ROTC deal he wants to make doesn't go through for this semester.

Call-A-Ride may work out, once we get through their paperwork, but I wonder if the drivers are prepared to help him in and out the door, complete with oxygen tank and walker.  I hope to hear about a possible van ride from the American Cancer Society, but I can't count on that, and they certainly wouldn't cover the dialysis trips.

Oh, and none of this addresses establishing a new permanent access for his dialysis to replace the one that collapsed on him; at the moment, they're using a temporary chest catheter (or whatever they call it) that means he can't take his preferred long, hot showers.  We'll try to get it covered enough to protect it from shorter careful showers, but sitting under a soothing hot stream of water has been just about the only pleasure he had left.  That and his Dragon Realms text game, which already gives him enough difficulty that he's talking about dropping it, after building up years of experience with his main character.

One thing I've not paid enough attention to, is his isolation;  he's very lonely, and would sometimes like to see or talk to other people.  It's always been hard for him to make new friends, and now he doesn't have any hobbies that he can pursue to help bridge that, as he did in the past.  No job, no hobbies, no Dragon Realms.  Until this, I'd been figuring that we'd find something he could do, but now, I don't even know how to begin.  It could be that dialysis will be his new outlet.  And that just feels wrong.

He needs some reason to keep fighting besides sheer stubbornness, y'know?
The plan at this point is to take him for a Stealth MRI (to help them with their planning and surgery) at 6:30,  followed by three or so hours of dialysis to get rid of most of the contrast dye, followed by an estimated eight hours of poking around inside his head with sharp instruments.  Oh boy. 

I guess I picked a good time to start "Guns, Germs and Steel."

Edit:  So they're already behind THAT schedule.  Whee?  *sigh*
My poor Frog's health is such that a week in the hospital really doesn't count as a big emergency any more.  We've been to MoBap so often that the people in the cafeteria check-out ask me if i work there when I buy my dinner.

Two weeks ago, our A/C had been out for several days (took a week to get it fixed--blower fan needed a mounting bracket and the first guy who said he'd fix it instead of trying to sell us a new blower for several hundred more didn't deliver when he said he would), and we weren't all that surprised when he felt bad enough to call a doctor and hit the ER.  It was a little disconcerting that he didn't improve very fast, and stayed a week, but it didn't seem that out of the ordinary.  And it didn't seem too unexpected that he was worn out, and having trouble remembering things, like his computer password and how to operate the television controller after we got him home. 

I still went out for the evening, thinking he just needed to rest in his own bed.  However, he was still awake when I got home, but neither reading nor playing on the computer--just lying there with the light on, tired but unable to sleep.  And then, later that morning,


Frog:  Don't I have some babies to take?

Mouse:  Babies?

Frog:  Yeah, I'm supposed to take babies with my breakfast, but then there was a fire, and the babies all got away.

Mouse:  I'm calling 9-1-1.


Long story shortened,  they admitted him again because he was too weak to stand up at all--and continued to have trouble connecting to us linguistically, even though he knew where and when he was, and all those easy questions--he just didn't know WHY he was there.

Since then, they tried to get him started on dialysis, since he spends a lot of time not breathing from fluid build-up, and can't seem to keep his sodium intake low enough to keep it off unless he's eating the hospital renal diet, only to find that the A-V fistula the surgeon told us was ready to use, is a dud (Frog: The quack blew it.  Doctor's chorus:  It happens like that often enough, but we'll send you to a different surgeon we like at Barnes--later).

That meant installing a chest catheter so they can dialyze him, because they really, really wanted an MRI with contrast dye (which is bad for the body, and must be dialyzed out immediately in kidney patients), to follow up the CAT and uncontrasted MRI that showed some edema in the left temporal lobe and a suspicious area they couldn't get a good look at.

They got their contrast MRI this morning, and the neurosurgeon says there seems to be a tumor.  He was relaying the report he got, since he's out of town, but Monday morning, he'll come in and look and talk to us, and probably try to get the thing examined/biopsied/whatever sometime that day.  It could be any number of things, some benign, some not.  They'll probably just use a sedative for the surgery itself , so it shouldn't be too hard on him.  It's just that it IS, after all, brain surgery.

And the unknown thing inside, of course.
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