My sister Marcia informed sister Leslie and me last week that our mom’s been at the doctor’s office, addressing some of her health issues, such as weight loss and pains, which could be for lack of eating and NOT DRINKING WATER. Perhaps she’ll start taking those Boost-type drinks.

Yesterday, my mom was at the doctor’s office for several hours, getting an IV for her dehydration. Marcia was driving mom home when she tried to avoid something on the road, left from some road construction, and hit something else. This briefly propelled the car into the air. The landing initiated the deployment of the airbags, which forced my mother’s glasses into her face, cutting her, which made her scream, which unnerved Marcia.

Bottom line is that my mom went to the hospital to get checked out for a few hours, but did end up returning home. The vehicle, on the other hand, was towed and is probably totaled. Marcia notes it could have been worse.

and speaking of lack of water

Our office, indeed a bunch of offices, got e-mail notices recently that state contracts could no longer pay for water. Now, we’re not a state agency. Nevertheless, our water dispenser was carted off yesterday. When I saw someone wheeling one machine, I knew ours would be next, and alerted everyone to get as much water as possible.

Odd thing is that we still have three bottles of water, but no real way to consume them. I used to have messages pop up on my computer to get a glass of water four times a day; I have to shut those down, and find a new way to stay hydrated.

and speaking of my office

We have been in our present building for 4.4 years. Never have I seen so many ladybugs on the walls and windows outside our office as I did yesterday after none noticed a couple days earlier. THOUSANDS of them, yet very few around the rest of the building. What is going on?

and speaking of checking thing out

I ordered checks by phone for the first time in over a year and a half. $32 for 150 checks? Don’t know what they were before, but it wasn’t NEAR that much! It’ll prompt me to do more online transactions, though most of my bills are autopay already.

and speaking of the unexpected

I was riding my bike downtown a couple days ago when I saw a woman riding a Segway down Western avenue in Albany. I had actually never seen one up close before, only on television. We happened to catch the same red light, and I engaged the young woman who rides it in conversation.

Seems that she won the machine in June in a drawing, a total fluke. Now she rides it to work twice a week, rides her bicycle twice a week, and drives the car once a week.

I checked the Segway site, based in New Zealand, and found five dealers in the state of New York, on Long Island, Queens, western New York, Poughkeepsie (mid-Hudson) and Coeymans (around Albany).

A bus driver said that one will see the Segway more often because they were once not legal to ride on the streets but now are, traveling in the same stream of traffic as the bicycles. I didn’t independently verify that, but it seems right.

The Middle Child

I was the eldest of the three Green children. Leslie was the middle child, and Marcia the “baby”. However, more than a few people who have assumed that SHE is the eldest because she’s much more outgoing, while I have always been bookish, keeping to a far fewer number of friends and associates than she has.

She really enjoyed being the only girl/the younger for the four years that she was, until she wasn’t. This led to all sorts of odd sisterly stuff that I tried to stay out of but would inevitably get sucked into. (One date in particular: March 12, 1995). I got along with both sisters most of the time, especially Leslie, with whom I sang with our father. Yet about once a year she’d goad me so much that I’d get really angry and some unfortunate outcome would take place. (When she was about 12, and I was 13, she and her friend Bonnie kept opening the bathroom door while I was sitting on the toilet – there was no lock – and I was trying to keep the door shut with my arm or leg; the end result was a broken bathroom mirror.)

I realized long ago that if I don’t have a strong opinion about something Leslie cares about, I tended to cede to her position. That was not the case, though, when she wanted to bury our father in a casket but the rest of us preferred cremation. The tension over that lasted a couple years.

Meanwhile, Leslie seems to have drawn closer to Marcia, as they both deal with my mother. (I do too, but Marcia lives with my Mom and Leslie is currently looking for a job, having been laid off after 18 years working for Long’s Drug Store after it got bought out by CVS.)

One of the good things about the last trip to Charlotte was, frankly, listening to Leslie kvetch about the CD that her church put out – she is on its music Praise and Worship team. Her name was misspelled as Lesley – thrice. I was going to plug the CD but can’t find the particulars. Did, though, find this YouTube video about the church.

Another highlight, oddly, came from watching TV. Lydia, my five-year-old, is watching Wonder Pets, which I admit to liking myself (Just saw “The Wonder Pets Save the Beetles”, which was full of Liverpudlian puns.) Turns out that Alex, Marcia’s 18-year-old, remembers Wonder Pets fondly. Then Rebecca, Leslie’s 30-year-old calls (or is called by her mother); come to find out, much to Leslie’s surprise and chagrin, that Rebecca and her husband Rico ALSO are big fans of Wonder Pets. Leslie watched and actually sussed out its charms.

So, it’s Leslie’s birthday, and even though she occasionally makes me crazy (and you don’t know the half of it), I still love her very much.
For all you folks in the San Diego area, here our the upcoming dates for Rebecca’s group, Siren’s Crush.
July 24th-Valley View Casino
July 31st-Valley View Casino
Aug 7th-Valley View Casino
Aug 8th-Viejas Dreamcatcher
Aug 21st-Viejas V-Lounge
Aug 28-Valley View Casino
Also, they have been asked to perform at a “VERY exciting event coming up on Sept 26th” in which they will be “opening up for Teena Marie, Lisa Lisa and some other favorite Old School artists for Magic 92.5 and Viejas Casino! This event is free and for the whole family!”
Click on this link for more information.



Reading Arthur’s post about his sister’s memory reminds me yet again of an incontrovertible fact: in the main, the sibling is the longest relationship one will have. Longer than parent/child or spouses. Probably longer than most friendships.

Here’s a picture of the Green children of 5 Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY, which my sister Marcia came across and sent to me in the last month. I recall that it was taken when I was 10, Leslie was 9 and Marcia was 5. But some notation on the back of the picture suggests that it was shot earlier. Frankly, I can’t believe that Marcia could have been 3 when this photo was taken. This was considered the “good” picture, compared the “ugly glasses” photo taken three (or five) years later.

I was talking to Marcia a month or two ago about a trip Lydia and I will be taking to visit her, our mother and Marcia’s daughter Alexandria in North Carolina. As I’ve noted, Lydia is afraid of dogs. In this conversation, my sister notes that they had to put their dog down. Now, previously, I might have offered some sentiment of condolence. But I was so focused on how this would affect my daughter, I felt – this is not admirable, but it is true – a sense of “Well, THAT issue is resolved.”

Of course, Marcia calls me on this, but she used this ancient example to make the point. She recalls that when I was about 12, each of us got a kitten. Mine was Tiger, Leslie had Taffy and Marcia had Tony. Somehow, Tiger got out and was run over by a car and killed. I was devastated and even more so because my sisters had taken some glee in this; children can be so cruel.

So in 2009, Marcia says, “Don’t you remember how badly you felt when you lost a pet?” and she’s correct, of course, but pulling out that 40+-year old example is something a sibling is most likely to have brought up.

I find it interesting that each of us has only one child.

Indeed, because she was the youngest, Marcia tends to remember almost everything. She can start a sentence, “Do remember when…”; many’s the time Leslie and I will say no, but the essence of the story and the details are so vivid that we accede to her recollection.

The sisters used to drive each other crazy, with me as the involuntary referee, but they’ve become closer over dealing with my mom. Whatever that childhood noise once was, we have more important things to do.
Marcia is the best at sending presents and cards for all occasions, something I’m lousy at and Leslie’s not much better. That is her arm holding a dress that she ultimately sent to Lydia for her last birthday, which Lydia likes to wear. (Cell phone picture taken by Alexandria.) She’s the one who sent the anniversary card to Carol and me.

When she lived in Binghamton, little sister’s name was pronounced MAR-sha, but since she moved south, it’s become mar-SEE-ah. Anyway, today’s Marcia’s birthday. Happy birthday, baby sister. Have I sent her a card yet? Er, it’ll be in the mail. Soon. I swear.


A Cornucopia of Stuff

The good news here is that after six weeks of having her teeth wired shut, my wife Carol can now open her mouth. This doesn’t mean she can have steak, but she can have soft foods such as scrambled eggs. After a month and a half of not using one’s jaw, one must relearn to use it.
One problem is that she cannot yet open her mouth sufficiently to use her toothbrush, something she was REALLY looking forward to. Fortunately, her clever husband, quite possibly inspired by this workshop, suggested that Carol use a smaller toothbrush, and as it turned out, we had a couple replacement brushes for Lydia that Carol could use.
One of my sisters works for Wachovia bank – well, she did until there WAS no Wachovia. Like just about everyone dealing with a bank, she didn’t originally work for the former giant, but rather First Union out of Charlotte, NC, where my mother also used to work. But First Union got taken over up by Wachovia and now Wachovia is owned by Citicorp. It reminds me of fish in the food chain being swallowing up ever larger creatures. In any case, she still has a job, for now.
While my retiring Democratic Congressman, Mike McNulty , voted for the bailout, the frosh Congresswoman from the area, Kirsten Gillibrand , voted no. So did Maurice Hinchey, a liberal Dem from my old district, whose state Assembly campaign I supported in 1974. And of course, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who’s been marginalized a lot this year, but is often correct. Someone sent me this alternative proposal; we’ll see if THAT passes.
Seriously, they’ll be some sort of deal soon, if only because there is no credit available for businesses large or small.
The Veep debate is tonight, and it ought to generate real interest, mostly to see if Sarah Palin will self-destruct. Based on her performances in the Alaska gubernatorial debates, excerpts of which can be found here, she may fare better than most people think. On the other hand, check out this link. After the 50 seconds of the Today show description of Tina Fey channeling Palin, you will watch a side-by-side comparison of Palin and Fey. As SamuraiFrog asked: “You know what the difference is between Tina Fey and a pit bull with lipstick? Tina Fey didn’t have to keep looking down at her notes.”
Bill Moyers’ interview with Andrew J. Bacevich on his book “The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism”, which is “one in a series called the ‘American Empire Project.’ Several noted scholars and writers are examine American aspirations at home and abroad, looking for ways to foster democracy without succumbing to imperial ambitions.”
Because you need to know: an Internet Memes timeline.
That’s all I’ve got, but I’d be curious to get your reaction to my piece Is getting people interested in politics REALLY a good idea?


Baby Sister Has a Birthday

And it’s significant, which means it’s divisible by 5. And I wonder how that came to be?

No matter.

Since she was younger than me, and my sister Leslie, I didn’t have as much one-on-one time with Marcia when we were growing up as I did with Leslie. Leslie and I sang with my father and did other things together. In fact, I sang once for her kindergarten class.

One thing I did do with her was to play The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I was Napoleon Solo, the American (played by Robert Vaughn) and she was Russian Illya Kuryakin (the David McCallum character).

I also tried to be the peacemaker between my two sisters. Triangulation: no fun, that.

Leslie and I were already in college when my father got a job in Charlotte, NC in 1974, so my mother and Marcia ended moving down later that year. For some reason, the pronunciation of her name changed from MAR-sha in Binghamton to mar-SEE-ah in Charlotte.

When I was adrift in 1977, I ended up staying with my parents and my sister for four months. She felt was invading her turf and we had our rows, but by the end of my tenure there, we had really bonded in a way we hadn’t before.

There are other tales to tell, but I’ll leave it at that. I love you, baby sister.


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