Here’s another Sunday Stealing from the League of Extraordinary Penpals
Have you ever written to a celebrity? Did they respond?
I don’t know that I’ve ever written to any celebrity directly except to some comic book creator types who I have gotten to know. I did write to Paul Simon’s label once to complain that the six-minute version of Boy In The Bubble should have been on the expanded version of Graceland, but there’s no reason to think that Paul himself ever read it.
Do you read letters immediately or wait until you are ready to reply?
What are “letters”? Oh yeah, I remember letters. Usually wait, although if I think I’ll let it slip through the cracks, I’ll try to push it up in my queue.
My preferences when it comes to reading
Sufficient light (a growing requirement), probably on the sofa because it’s the only place, other than my office (and I want not even to see the computer, lest I be tempted to check it out), that provides comfort and sufficient illumination. The television must not be on. Music can be, but it should not have words, which is to say mostly classical or jazz.
What I’m least likely to change my mind about?
Things that are true over time. An example: my wife had some medical issues involving her left leg. She has not been to church in over a month. I recommended that she take her cane to church today. This is because when someone does not appear hurt/injured, others perceive that he or she is better physically than they might be.
I believe this to be true because my wife and I have a friend who has experienced severe pain over time. They have told us that because they don’t LOOK unwell that others believe they are faking or malingering. Having a crutch or sling or wheelchair or visible bandages – and my wife has bandages under her clothes – is a sign that “something is wrong.”
Whether my wife will take the advice, IDK.
The topics I would get wrong during trivia
Car models, flower varieties, and actors who became famous in the 21st century.
What I’m hopeful about right now?
That my wife will continue to heal
Philosophies I’ve learned/embraced from others
A Unitarian once told me that “we create our own theology,” and I think that’s true. I may believe something uplifting from the Gospel according to Matthew, but I don’t feel obliged to explain some dreadful verses from Leviticus.
What makes home feel like home?
Music and books.
Talents and skills I like to cultivate
Getting around via mass transit, keeping up with political events
What makes my heart race?
Music, for sure. There is music that will make me cry with joy or cry with melancholy. Take one example: Gone Away by Roberta Flack. It really doesn’t get going until the second verse. It’s described here: The late, great Donny Hathaway “lifted that fleeting horn melody from his own ‘I Believe to My Soul’ and used it to anchor the chorus and closing section.” In the right mood, the song can make me weep.
What power means to me
The ability to turn on my computer, my CD player, my cellphone…
I was pretty uncomfortable, living on antibiotics and extra-strength pain relievers, which provided only a modicum of actual relief.
On Wednesday, August 16, I had a scheduled appointment with my dentist first thing in the morning to fix a chipped tooth. But a couple nights earlier, I started to experience severe pain elsewhere, in tooth 19, for those of you keeping score.
So my dentist called an audible and had X-rays done. He saw nothing. I mean, he saw the tooth, but he couldn’t see anything wrong. So his office set me up to see an endodontist at 2:40 p.m. to fix it, find more info here.
At 12:20 p.m., I got a call from the orthodontist’s office office asking if I could come in earlier, say 1:10. And I could have caught a 12:25 bus and gotten there. But I said “no” because I wanted to finish the reference question I started, and instead kept the original appointment.
Unfortunately, they were running late. While there was time to take the pictures of my tooth, with much more detail – think an MRI, though that’s technically incorrect – there wasn’t time to do the necessary root canal. And the next opening wasn’t until August 31.
So I was pretty uncomfortable, living on antibiotics and extra-strength pain relievers, which provided only a modicum of actual relief. I muddled through work and a five-day vacation in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.
What I discovered is that some food was OK – the obvious soft foods such as apple sauce and eggs. Cheese and sliced tomatoes were OK, if I ate them on the other side of my mouth. But some foods, such as broccoli and lettuce and raisin bran had the annoying habit of drifting to the wrong side of the mouth. MISERY!
Finally, the day of the procedure came. It’s not nearly as painful as it apparently was a generation ago. And while I was tired afterwards, and the mouth was sore from the manipulation, pain from the infection went away almost instantly. I still need to go back to my primary dentist to get the tooth capped. Visit this site https://dugasdental.com/ if you have dental problems.
I’ll admit I now regret my customer service orientation at work that, as it turned out, cost me two weeks of unnecessary pain.
Wednesday morning, 3 a.m. – that’s a Simon & Garfunkel song and album! – I awoke to some excruciating pain near my right elbow. It had been bothering me for over a week, and I had called my primary care physician Tuesday with the symptoms, which included prickly pain radiating from the elbow to the fingertips. My doc says it’s probably tennis elbow, ironic because I no longer play any racquet sport.
Apply ice, take pain meds, call the ortho guy (no appointment until August 4!) But the pain exhausted me, so I stayed home from work Wednesday. Ah, maybe I’ll catch up on reading or TV or something; or better still, I’ll take a a couple naps instead.
Go to work on Thursday. The wrist brace, secured the LAST time I had this ailment, on the LEFT side, helped some. Per usual, rode the bike to the bus stop. Put the bike on the bus rack gingerly, get on the bus, bus pulls out, I use my swiper card, take two steps. Apparently, they hose down the floors at night, and the right side of the aisle was still wet.
I did a classic banana-peel fall, landing on my coccyx, my back (STILL stiff and sore), my right elbow (oh, stars, that hurt!), and my head. Fortunately, I still had my bike helmet on, because, while it may have facilitated a little neck strain, it kept me from slamming my head on the floor. Not sure that I would have gotten up on my own power had THAT happened.
Ever have a day when you felt a bit crummy, stayed home, then returned to work the following day, only to feel worse?
Are there any events in your life that you feel make good parables that you want to share one day with your daughter?
I was 51 when she was born, so there is a lot of my life to draw from. Huge parts of it she doesn’t know, significant events, and I’m not sure exactly when/if to tell her. Maybe if she asks. She DOES know about JEOPARDY!
I remember looking at photos of my mother with some guy she went out with before she dated my father, and initially, it was kind of weird, but hey, that was rather natural. When she would talk about it- I was at least in my 20s by then – and say, “Oh, I could have married” so-and-so, it was rather disconcerting. I mean, I wouldn’t have been me!
My daughter is ALWAYS asking me to tell her stories, and I always struggle to tell her some. I know I’ve not wanted to poison her with some of the racism that I’ve experienced, yet at the same, try to subtly let her know – and some of it she’s figured out on her own – that it’s not all in the past.
I suppose I could tell her about being a conscious objector during the Vietnam war or going to various demonstrations for peace and justice. Not sure I want to tell her how I quit a job without having one to go to, more than once.
Really struggling with this one.
If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50, what would you say?
At 10, I was feeling pretty good about things. Got 100 in the spelling final. I started becoming real friends with the girls in my class. Maybe I’d say that I needed to develop more male friends, because, even to this day, I have a dearth of them. I’ve usually preferred the company of women, and not just in romantic settings. I have some great male friends, but they are in the clear minority.
At 20, I was married to the Okie. I’d tell myself to press her about what was going on with her that would lead to her leaving the next year. Maybe I would have gone to the Philadelphia folk festival (which we couldn’t afford) if it was THAT important to her. (Ah, something the Daughter does not know about yet.)
At 30, I had a good friend die and got my heart broken in a fairly short period of time. I’d tell myself to avoid a certain emotional entanglement the following year, though it felt so good at the moment.
At 40, I had just started my current job the year before. I would have suggested taking a temporary position when it became available because the whole path of my employment could have changed.
At 50, Carol was pregnant with Lydia. Actually, there’s very little I would have said at that point because it’s impossible to understand parenthood without experiencing it.
What do you think you didn’t study enough in high school and college?
In high school, it was French, though I DID put in the effort, I just didn’t GET it, past the first year or so. Wish I had had the chance to have taken it earlier. In college, I’m surprised, in retrospect, that I took exactly one course in music, which I aced, and didn’t participate at all in a choral group, at college, or a church or something.
Did you have to write a thesis for your graduate program?
It was not a thesis as such, but it was a long paper, close to 50 pages. I couldn’t tell you what it was about if you paid me. It was torture when I wrote it.
What’s your favorite subject to study in-depth? What is your least favorite subject?
I don’t like studying anything in-depth; I get bored. I like to know a little about a lot of things. Recently, I HAVE become more expert in START-UP NY (an attempt at an economic stimulus in the state) and NYS sales tax law than anyone ought to be, and still, I have to look up. I suppose I’ve picked up some knowledge of The Beatles and other musical entities of the 1960s and 1970s.
My eyes glaze over when listening to talk about cars; I couldn’t tell you a type of Chevy that doesn’t start with C (Corvette, Corvair).
If you could give one piece of advice to a college student today, what would it be?
Resist learning about job skills that you can go into today; the field could be gone tomorrow. DO learn about all sorts of stuff, and know-how to think, not just regurgitate back the facts. In other words, in spite of the great affection for STEM education in the country these days, and I’m not against it, I still believe in the value of a liberal arts education. Do you read the funnies? What’s your favorite internet comic?
I seldom read the comics on the Internet, more as a matter of time. I’ve seen stuff I like online, such as XKCD, but it’s not part of the routine. (Here is a special version of the strip.) I read Pearls Before Swine, Luann, Zits, Doonesbury (when there’s new daily stuff) and Blondie, because it has evolved somewhat. Having said this, I did support the Kickstarter for the movie STRIPPED, about the history of the genre, so I am interested in the topic.
What types of jokes or humor make you laugh the hardest?
It’s language: clever puns, things that evolve from double meanings of words. Can’t give you an example, because, as I have often said, I can’t REMEMBER a joke I’ve heard since the age of about 12, even with fiscal incentive. But the visuals on the page, while not the best examples (but they are the last two on my Facebook feed) at least suggest the genre of humor.
I HATE, BTW, America’s Funniest Home Videos; the bits usually involve physical pain and embarrassment. I was at an urgent care place with Lydia a couple of years ago, and it was on the TV; my loathing was confirmed.
Music: The Barber Adagio I have almost a dozen versions of. Lenten music in general. But a great final movement of a classical piece will do it too, especially with organ power chord endings. I’ve mentioned some sad songs, associated with romance, in the past. Music evokes some very specific memories. Sometimes, songs, songs I associate with my former church in Albany make me very sad. Know what song used to make me weepy? Captain Jack by Billy Joel. Movies: the first one was West Side Story when Maria yells “Don’t you touch him!” over the dead Tony, but there have been several since. An occasional television show will do this as well, but it’s been a while, mostly because I’m not watching much TV. Other people being sad: I remember when Bobby Kennedy died and people were all sad. I wasn’t, but their tears became mine because THEY were hurting. That Kickstarter/Veronica Mars thing that you experienced made me sad for you, almost to tears, and surprisingly angry. My melancholia: More now than in quite a while. Sometimes, even in the midst of a crowd, I can feel quite alone. And I cry and/or I get angry. My daughter in pain, my wife in pain: the worst pain I ever saw my wife endure was after some surgery involving her jaw. MUCH worse than childbirth.
Just before we turned northbound on Everett Road, we see a low-flying helicopter, a tipoff that the VP was on the move. One could not actually travel across the Everett Road I-90 overpass, so the eastbound cars exiting I-90 at Everett could only turn right towards Albany, or go straight, right back onto I-90. We were stuck waiting for cars to reenter I-90 when we felt that familiar sound, and moreover, feeling of the vehicle you’re in being hit from behind.
This was The Daughter’s first car accident, and while a relatively minor event, I know *I* felt achy in my head and lower back for hours. The Wife was likewise affected, and the Daughter was mostly complaining about pain in her shoulders.
Ironically, by the time phone numbers had been exchanged, the Biden contingent had passed and Everett Road was clear again.
It’s interesting to me that a lot of people I know did not know that Biden was even coming to town. I was reminded by Megan Cruz of Channel 9 YNN Time Warner Cable News that morning, who was out doing a stand-up in the bitter cold, for no newsworthy reason, and one could tell she was freezing; it was about zero Fahrenheit, or below. She needed a hat.
The buses were rerouted several times that morning, apparently. The police had blocked I-787 for a time, by plows and when my colleague tried to come back to work after lunch, ended up taking city streets instead.
There’s lots of speculation that Biden and Cuomo are vying for the 2016 Democratic nomination for President, but its WAY too early for me to care.