When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat.
It was not a Southern watermelon that Eve took:
we know it because she repented.”
~ Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson
I’m told that health is what old people talk about, but I’ll report on mine anyway. Having written one post about falling, I think a second on the topic is warranted. I don’t want people to think I spend all my time crashing to the floor or calling the fire department.
He requires me to ride in the wheel chair from the house to the car, and I comply without complaint. I know he has visions of another tumble and doesn’t want to have to deal with the aftermath. I don’t blame him. He had PT for sciatica several months ago and doesn’t want to do that again.
Three days ago, I received the magic chair and like it, although since I’m steadier, I haven’t had to use it. Except once, when lack of Valium kept me awake all night and the next day I felt a little shaky. It seemed a good time to employ the device. After all, that’s why I got it. (After David said I needed it.)
The technician who delivered it was a delightful man. He gave us lots of information, including the fact that dogs, cats, and grandchildren love to ride on it. We have no grandchildren and no dogs, and the cats have shown no interest in going anywhere near it. That’s a relief. I was afraid Ernest would try to eat it, as he ate part of my old exercycle and offered to eat my little foot/arm bike.
I tried out the chair while the technician was here and decided it wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be. I guess I’d been expecting it to be like a horse, but no other vehicle is as much fun as a horse. And my knee surgeon won’t let me ride one anyway.
So I settled for admiring the chair from across the room. It really is most attractive.
I told David he could navigate and I would stand on the back.
He has become a skilled driver, although he says he has a way to go.
He hasn’t mastered turning around without clipping nearby objects. Fortunately, the only casualty has been a cardboard box containing 3-ring binders that was sitting near my recliner.
I’m not so competent. That shaky day, I drove from the bedroom to the living room and made it across the room to retrieve the hole punch from the bookcase, and back to my real chair, made a 180-degree turn, all without incident. No running into doors or the column in the dining room or anything.
Then I did what I knew I should not do. I drove it into the bathroom. It’s a large enough room to accommodate the machine; nevertheless, I managed to scrape the door and knock most of the paint off the walls. On the trip to the sink, I forgot my bare feet rested on the foot thingy, and I ran my toes under the cabinet doors. And yelled, “Ouch.”
I later told David that when I say, “Ouch,” that loudly, he’s supposed to break in and rescue me.
(I started to write loud in the previous sentence but changed to loudly for the sake of correctness. I taught English, and some of my students might read this. Loud, however, is the right word.)
Warning: The next paragraph contains possibly sickening detail.
To quote an aunt, I sat there in excruciating pain. One big toenail was split across, and the other toe split above the cuticle. They bled like a stuck hog.
I’ve never seen a stuck hog, but I take the word of those who have.
I drove out with less grace than I’d driven in. David got out Band-aids and the Neosporin and taped me up, and I put on socks, and David draped ice packs across my toes. I swore I’d never wear shoes again.
I also swore I would never use the chair again.
And I named it The Spawn of Satan.
Oddly enough, the toe pain quickly subsided. The next morning, preparing to go somewhere I wanted to go, I put on shoes. They didn’t hurt either. Neither did walking.
When I removed the bandages, the toes looked fine. Nothing was split, and there were no scars. I rebandaged them. I may soak them in Epsom salt anyway. Just in case I missed something.
In fairness, I withdrew the label Spawn of Satan. The wreck was not its fault. I shouldn’t have taken it into a small room. I should have practiced. I should have worn shoes.
I’d thought about asking the technician if I should wear shoes but didn’t. I didn’t want to hear the answer.
I’ve never believed in wearing shoes.
The moral of my story: Stay off the Valium, use the walker slowly and carefully, let David follow if he wants, and continue to admire the magic chair from across the room.
I heard about an 84-year-old woman who frequently falls. Her daughter figured out she’s falling because she likes having the firemen visit. The firemen said they don’t mind and that if it becomes a problem, they’ll say something.
I’ve always been a pretty good faller. My fourth-grade teacher said if you relax when you fall, you’re less likely to break a bone, and Mrs. Fricke had a habit of being right. So I relax. I’ve never collapsed. I go down full-length. Mrs. Fricke didn’t mention the possibility of hitting one’s head on a blunt object. So far I’ve been lucky.
My short stories have been published in the anthologies Murder on Wheels, Lone Star Lawless, and Day of the Dark, and online in Mysterical-E. I’ve also published a novella, Stabbed, co-written with Manning Wolfe. The books and the novella are available in both paperback and ebook.
[Disclaimer: That had better be the right video of Marlene Dietrich. Some things one cannot control.]
In the first place, if you’ve been reading, you’ve noticed that two posts about Geoffrey the squirrel disappeared. After a little research, I decided it would be politic to take them down.
We still have Geoffrey–in fact, we have at least four Geoffreys, who share the name because we can’t tell them apart. I think the Geoffrey that spends the most time on the patio looking in at Ernest and William is the initial Geoffrey. The one dove is still named Geraldine. She looks in, too.
A grackle has added himself to the mix. I haven’t chosen a name for him. I was thinking of Hairy Black (as in Harry Black of the Jungle, starring Stewart Granger, but Stewart Granger was a heck of a lot better looking than this bird, and I hate to besmirch the memory of one of my favorite men to gaze at.)
My book is beginning to look like a book. Or like a manuscript. I’ve been writing scenes I’ll have to insert here and there, and pieces of scenes have to be inserted here are there–I hope I don’t have to discard any, because they really are darling–In short, there’s a lot to be done. But it looks doable. That’s a good feeling.
When people ask how I’m doing, sometimes they’re making a polite opening sentence, but since I have a health issue, sometimes they want to know how I’m doing in that realm.
I usually say, “Fine.”
Depending on who’s asking, I tell them the real situation, which usually starts with, “Fine,” but I add some detail.
We’ll, here’s some detail. Some is funny. If you like that sort of thing.
What happened at the New Braunfels Civic Center after a book fair was pretty awful at the time, but told correctly, it can be hilarious. I shall not tell it, though. Maybe in four or five years.
Anyway, I’ve been doing fine, sort of. But I can’t walk without a rolling walker, and that probably won’t change, and sometimes David has to haul me around in a wheelchair. We have two wheelchairs–one for transport, which has no wheels for the rider to use, and one real one I should be able to roll around myself but haven’t learned how because we use it only for rough terrain. It has more oomph.
Or did. The rubber wheels fell apart and strewed pieces all over the carpet. It looked like a semi whose tires are disintegrating and leaving strips of rubber all over the highway.
So yesterday a new wheelchair arrived. Which makes it three wheelchairs. I have not ridden in it. I have no desire to ride in it.
The transport wheelchair is for roaming around on smoother surfaces. The rider can’t navigate it. It’s not as sturdy as the real wheelchair. I don’t want to ride in it either.
The reason I’m walker/wheelchair bound is one of the meds I’ve taken every three weeks for six years. It makes me wobbly. (I finally got smart and googled side effects.) It gives me other problems, too. The doctor said I could take a vacation from the drug, but studies show . . . I said, Heck no, I can live with the side effects. Keep up with the drug.
Anyway, lately, I’ve been falling. Two separate weeks, I fell three times. Last week I slid off the bed. We bought a mattress with coils to the edge, but I’ll bet it doesn’t have them, because when I sit on it–it’s a little high–I have to scoot way back to keep from sliding off. I’ve fallen for other reasons, too.
The falls can sound amusing. But getting up is not funny, because it’s difficult to get up, even with David helping. I’ve been too weak. David’s back is only fourteen months younger than mine–I married a Younger Man–and I see no reason for him to risk injury getting me off the floor. After the bed thing I told David to call an ambulance.
Four delightful firemen arrived. When they got here, I was sitting against the side of the bed with a pillow behind me. I told them if I had the energy, I’d feel embarrassed. They asked if lifting me would hurt my shoulders. I said Yes, the left one, but I didn’t care.
They also asked questions. Was I dizzy? Nope. Did I need to go to the hospital? Nope. How did I fall? I was reaching for the handles of the walker, which was too far from the bed, and moved too near the part that doesn’t have coils, and slid off. They took my blood pressure. It was 122/77, the best it’s been lately.
Anyway, since I couldn’t get around the house without a chaperone, David suggested we get a chair that moves around the house under its own steam–I won’t use the brand name–and I said, “No. No. No.” My rationale: I did not want to be dependent on such a chair because I would stop trying to walk and doing my PT exercises.
Then I realized I was thinking like my uncle’s mother-in-law. She could hobble around the house but couldn’t get out. Her daughter wanted to get a wheelchair. No, no, no.
So I reversed my decision. This chair would let me move around the house without supervision.
And, although I hate to admit it, the thing could be fun.
I’ve always thought those scooters at the grocery store looked like fun. And the drivers seem to feel they can ignore the traffic laws of the state of Texas and the dictates of Emily Post. When they back up, they don’t consider a shopper might be behind them; they just back. When they go forward, they’ll clip you; they’ll mow you down.**
I don’t complain. It comes under the category of funny.
But back to the new chair, which is set to arrive next week. To combat insomnia caused by another drug (whoopee!), I’ve been taking a low dose of Valium at night. Then I remembered the big not-bad drug changes the way the brain reacts to soporifics.*** Which means the sleep aid sticks around in my system for days. And made me feel rather blah. And weak.
So I stopped taking Valium. I now get around quite well. I still use the walker but no longer need David to keep me off the floor. And I’m careful, careful, careful.
I assume I’ll still need the chair at times. I might need it all the time and permanently. My nurse practitioner told me not to become dependent on it and stop walking and doing my exercises. She sounded a bit like Mrs. C. I told her I’d thought of the possibility and would not fall into that trap. I didn’t add unless it was fun.
I’ve learned a lot about mobility and handicaps in the past few months. Automatic doors, ramps, handicap parking spaces, mirrors, and a number of other things. They make a difference.
*See Huckleberry Finn about preserving the unities. I believe the faux King says it. Aristotle said in his Poetics that a drama must have unity of action. “However it is not until 1570, in a book by Lodovico Castelvetro, that the concept of three unities evolves:” time, place, and action. Mark Twain knew a great deal about classic literature not only from reading but because he’d worked as a printer’s devil, setting type one letter at a time–which is a slow process requiring reading and perfection.
**See Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. One of Charlie’s lines was, “I’ll clip ya, Bergen . . . I’ll mow you down.” That Charlie was a ventriloquist’s dummy who wore a top hat and a monocle made it extra funny. So did the fact that he was Candice Bergen’s brother. So to speak.
***Soporific— causing or tending to cause sleep
I include the definition of soporific because I was in my thirties when I learned the definition. It appears in The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, by Beatrix Potter:
This is evidence that very young children can comprehend long and unfamiliar words. You read to them, go back over the context, ask, “Does anyone know what soporific means?” If no one volunteers, define the word, go back over the context. Lots of little people will have learned a new word.
I’ve published short stories in anthologies and online. and a novella, Stabbed, with Manning Wolfe. I’m working on a novel, a cozy mystery that’s intended to be funny. I hope it turns out that way.
First, the BOTA Sealy film festival was a singular event. A little underwhelming for David’s video.
During the “offensive” block, two policemen stood, then sat, in the back of the room. I don’t know whether they were monitoring language or potential riots. Before long, they were looking at their cell phones. There were no riots. Language would have amused seventh-grade boys–although the seventh-graders I dealt with were polite when I was around.
It was explained to David that his film was mid-offensive to provide laughs between offensives. The audience was small. I don’t remember anyone laughing at anything. The poIlicemen would have laughed at David’s video if they hadn’t been looking at their phones.
I laughed. When I asked David how he got Ernest to come up and stick his nose in the lens, he said he knew if he put something different in the living room, the cats would do something.
That was a long time ago, when they were kittens. Now they run under the bed, mostly for the maintenance man. Ernest disappears when he hears leaf blowers. William is not impressed by lawn care.
The highlight of the weekend for William and Ernest was visits from the kitty tech, who fed them, gave them their insulin injections, and played with them. She brought them a peacock feather. William’s interest is minimal. Ernest tries to eat the feathers.
Ernest also pulled a couple of loose pages from my novel manuscript, which is in a binder on the floor beside my chair, and chewed the corner off one. Last night he slept on the other one. I haven’t had the energy to pick them up. Anything he eats can be reprinted, and paper biodegrades inside cats. I hope. As long as he doesn’t eat string or thread or anything else that could cut into his GI tract and require CT scans and possibly surgery. So far we’ve been lucky. Just scans and enemas.
The highlight of the weekend for me was the booths set up on Main Street. A vendor who displayed a hat that wasn’t for sale–it was hers–told us about Images Boutique, around the corner, where she bought her hat. Because mystery writers need hats, I went looking for a fedora.
The owner had to open both doors to get my wheelchair in–it was a wheelchair kind of weekend–and the store was so packed with merchandise that I couldn’t get more than six feet into the store. It’s an “upscale” resale shop. Because I almost couldn’t get in, I received 25% off on a hat (not a resale). And the owner and I had a long and delightful conversation about everything but hats.
When I got out, I realized it wasn’t the kind of hat I wanted–the top is fedora but the brim is wide and circular, not the kind that turns down in the front and up in the back. I wanted the kind my father and Humphrey Bogart wore.
But it’ll keep the sun off, and it will be excellent for bad hair days. I have a lot of those. I’m going to my hairdresser and tell him I want my 1972-2010 cut, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll tell everyone it’s not his fault.
In the 1980s, a woman in the row behind me at a performance of Die Fledermaus at Texas State University leaned over and said, “Who cuts your hair? The back is perfect.” In the 1990s, a woman sitting next to me at a library conference said, “You have the perfect haircut. And my husband was a barber, so I know a good cut.” In the mid-2000s, a woman waiting on the porch at East Side Cafe asked, “Who cuts your hair? They do a good job.”
Chemo and another drug have done a lot to my hair, even after it grew back in. But I want my old hair back, or as close as I can get to it.
That’s a nice hat, but I don’t want to have to wear it every day.
Well, we’ve gone from videos to cats to hats to hair.
One more thing about hats: I have a snapshot of my father holding me in the yard the day they brought me home from the hospital. He was wearing his fedora and looking at Ime as if he didn’t know what he’d gotten himself into. It didn’t take him long to find out.
I also have some snaps of myself wearing the hat. But I’ve been having bad face days.
And about videos: David is working on a screenplay. I can guarantee it will not be offensive.
I’m author of short stories in anthologies Murder on Wheels, Lone Star Lawless, and Day of the Dark. One of my stories appears online in Mysterical-E, https://mystericale.com/pre-2015/index.php?issue=131&body=file&file=forall.html
I’m working on a mystery novel that will soon be finished if the cat doesn’t eat it.
Be advised: If you drive down IH-10 to Sealy, you will not see the sign for your exit, because it isn’t there. The highway is under construction. Hwy 36 is now a big pile of dirt.
We turned off at a Goodyear place and set the GPS for the hotel. It told us to avoid the mess on the interstate–in almost that phrase–and go east on the street we’d turned off on. David said he was grateful for GPS because he’d have gone west.
Our route took us down little streets and roads lined by trees and old fence posts and sagging barbed wire and all kinds of greenery and rusty barns and silos and even cows. I hadn’t seen a cow in forever. I miss them so much.
Finally we reached downtown Sealy. It’s a pretty little town, what we could see of it, but instead of going down Main Street, we turned off and went back to the interstate and our hotel. I don’t know now many people are staying here, but we’re the only ones I’ve seen. The construction is affecting their business. They’re short staffed, too.
David has gone to pick up our VIP passes. I am lying on the bed writing, eating Lorna Doones and Gatorade, and not listening to Father Brown.
I don’t watch network TV any more so I haven’t seen Father Brown in years. I am sorry the show has gotten preachy and soft instead of following G. K. Chesterton’s lead. His stories–and the TV shows made with Kenneth Moore–were serious. Sin was sin and there was nothing funny about it.
But I do like Sorcha Cusak. I liked Cyril Cusak back when and wondered if Sorcha is his sister. Google informed me she’s his daughter. I’m sure she’s too old to be his daughter. But The Golden Bowl, in which he appeared when he was up in years, was made in 1972 and ran on Masterpiece Theater in Season 2, 1972-73. It doesn’t seem that long ago.
I’m lying on the bed because I had to wake up before noon to pack, always a mammoth task, and I’m tired. I was going to bring some of my new clothes–a dear friend took me shopping and performed my mother’s function, saying, “You look good in that. Buy it.” But most are synthetic, and it will be hot as you-know-where, and I don’t want to be hotter. Furthermore, many people I’ve seen at film festivals look like unmade beds, and I can do better than that in old clothes.
David is going to order fried chicken online when he gets back. He said he wants three thighs. I thought he said thirty thighs. Works for me.
I considered ordering fried catfish, but it always tastes so bland. Not like San Marcos River catfish. San Marcos catfish tastes like the river, algae and all. Put a bite in your mouth and you smell river. People not raised on that fish might object. But farmed fish, which most restaurants probably serve, is, from what I hear, raised in a no more pristine environment. And shrimp are bottom-feeders, too, and nobody complains about them.
David’s film, Invisible Men Invade Earth, will be screened tomorrow in a block of “offensive, scatological” videos. You have to be 18+ to get in. I’ve laughed and laughed since reading. How a film David made managed to be categorized as offensive, I do not know. Unless viewers don’t like cats.
The video was judges’ choice in a Dallas festival several years ago and they screened it the next year, too. They said they often quote a line from it. For ten years, it’s been going to festivals.
Viewers have called it “sweet” and “innocent,” and a video “made just because the film maker wanted to make it.” Which is true. He told one audience he wanted to make a video while he was sitting on the couch and spending no money. That’s true, too.
The only positive about the category is that it might draw a large audience if they think they’re going to see something offensive.
If you haven’t seen the video and would like to, here’s the Youtube version. If it won’t load, go to the bottom of the film screen and click Yourube..
Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,
~ Oldest written English song, about 1260
The air conditioner is broken again.
~ David Davis, April 25, 2022
Sumer has not cume in yet, although the thermometer sometimes suggests it has. Today, though, it’s raining, 62 degrees, still spring.
The air conditioner will be fixed well before sumer cumes in.
“This 800-year-old song comes from a miscellany that was probably written in Oxford around 1260 and it’s the first recorded use of six-part polyphony.
“The beautifully preserved manuscript contains poems, fables and medical texts – and is the only written record of ‘Sumer is icumen in’. The song is a ‘rota’ or round, a canon for several voices (in this case six). It describes the coming spring, a singing cuckoo and various excited farm animals. Click the image below for a closer look at the full manuscript in all its glory.” (Listen to one of the oldest songs ever written, ‘Sumer is icumen in’)
Summer has come in,
Loudly sing, cuckoo!
The seed grows and the meadow blooms
And the wood springs anew,
The ewe bleats after the lamb
The cow lows after the calf.
The bullock stirs, the goat farts,
Merrily sing, Cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing, cuckoo;
Don’t ever you stop now,
Ground (sung by two lowest voices)
Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!
Sometime back in the 1930s, my grandmother picked up the telephone receiver just in time to hear the Methodist minister’s wife, on the party line, drawl, “I am just wo-ahn out. I’ve been waterin’ the yahd.”
To the layman, the statement might not seem funny, but my family has its own criteria for funny. And so those two sentences entered the vernacular.
They were used under a variety of circumstances: after stretching barbed wire, frying chicken, mowing the lawn, doing nothing in particular.
My father would fold the newspaper, set it on the table, and announce, “I am just wo-ahn out. I’ve been waterin’ the yahd.”
I am wo-ahn out now but not from waterin’ the yahd.
Last night David, the family’s official printer, printed the manuscript of what I’ve been calling my putative book. It runs to over two hundred pages, 51,000 words. It isn’t finished–far from it. There’s more to write, scenes to put in order, clues and red herrings to insert, darlings to kill. All that stuff. And more.
However, for the first time it feels like I can stop calling it putative. No longer supposed, alleged, or hypothetical. It’s looking more like a potential novel. Possible, Even probable,
Now, about being wo-ahn out.
Last night I started putting the manuscript, scene by scene, into a three-ring binder. That required using a three-hole punch.
I hate using three-hole punches. I hate fitting the holes in the paper onto the binder rings. They never fit properly. Getting them on the rings requires effort. It’s tiring.
When I went to bed, I was all the way up to page 37.
Then I woke at 5:30 this morning. Instead of turning over and going back to sleep, I got up. I just couldn’t wait to get back to organizing my manuscript.
But I didn’t organize. I managed to drop the whole thing and then couldn’t pick it up. I had to wait for David.
By the time the notebook and manuscript were back in my possession, I was sick and tired of the whole thing. I played Candy Crush.
If I’d had any sense at all, I’d have gone back to bed. I was sleepy. I felt awful. I needed to sleep.
But did I go back to bed? Noooooooooooooooooooooo. That would have been the act of a rational person.
I stayed up added to my sleep deprivation.
I could go to bed right now. I could conk out and tomorrow feel ever so much better.
But will I? No. Because I’m too tired to stand up, too tired to put on my pajamas, too tired to pull down the sheets.
I am just wo-ahn out. I’ve been waterin’ the yahd.
Look above the notebook in the picture and you will see the tail of William the Cat. I lay on the bed all afternoon doing trivial, unnecessary tasks. William lay on the bed all afternoon and slept. He should be writing the book.
Carrie Juettner’s post reminded me of a post I need to put up. I post it nearly every year, but this year time got away from me, and I’m almost too late. The last lines of the poem, however, are appropriate for the time, though. Especially if April in Texas turns out to be as hot as March 26 was. And it will be.
Dear March — Come in —
How glad I am —
I hoped for you before —
Put down your Hat —
You must have walked —
How out of Breath you are —
Dear March, Come right up the stairs with me —
I have so much to tell —
I got your Letter, and the Birds —
The Maples never knew that you were coming — till I called
I declare — how Red their Faces grew —
But March, forgive me — and
All those Hills you left for me to Hue —
There was no Purple suitable —
You took it all with you —
Who knocks? That April.
Lock the Door —
I will not be pursued —
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied —
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come
That Blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame —
These websites about the Bulb River are worth clicking over to see. The 35,000 hyacinths reach full bloom in early May.
The picture below automatically embeds when I add the link to the page. If the copyright holder objects to its appearance here, I will delete the link.
I posted Tuesday at Ink-Stained Wretches–-a review (sort of) of A Velocity of Being: Letters to Young Readers, a wonderful collection of letters from authors, scientists, musicians, venture capitalists, a 98-year-old survivor of the Holocaust, astrophysicists, and many others, writing about what books and reading have meant to them.
Some of the letters might surprise, even shock you. Reading, they say, Is safety, solace, and power. One writer says, “Reading saved me.” That’s how important it can be.
This book is not just for young people–it also addresses why adults need to make books and reading part of their children’s lives.
The post also includes a delightful description of my own early experiences in literacy, including the time I wrote my name in gooey red adhesive tape on the inside of the back door.
To read, click here.
Such a kerfuffle.
In the previous post, I went on and on about forecast cold weather, possible snow, possible icy roads, and–my own special bugaboo–possible power outages.
Hysteria stemmed from living through the February 2021 Texas Freeze, six days without power, four without water–I never tire of repeating that–burning 2x4s in a faux fireplace and, on the last day, sending David off to bail our errant auto out of impoundment.*
The snow was nothing new–I’d survived heavy (for Central Texas) snowfalls twice in the mid-’80s–but the fact that a major municipality can, and will, selectively shut off power to an entire neighborhood without a by-your-leave was a revelation. It made my prior existence, turning off water before going to bed, draining pipes, heating with a propane tank across the driveway and a space heater in each room, seem like paradise lost.**
Anyway, the prospect of freezing temperatures/ice/snow put a cattle prod to my PTSD and spilled it all over the Internet.
And then nothing happened. No snow, no ice, no power outage. Extra cold, but low temperatures taught me an important lesson: At 33 degrees F, my new plastic knee works. Getting from the house to the car, and from the car to the house, I made excellent time. Didn’t run, but made, as they say, tracks.
A happy non-event.
That was January. This is February. And another forecast–ice storm. Not pounding snow, but possible ice and slush, which means possible downed power lines, which means possible power outages. Not for six days, maybe, but for long enough to cause extensive shivering.
This time, I think, it will happen. Today’s physical therapy talk was all about the number of Thursday’s patients calling in to cancel. And the number of therapists who might call in to cancel.
Sounds serious. Below freezing at noon tomorrow. One hundred percent likelihood of precipitation.
But after a mild case of the fantods, I said, Oh, phooey, or words to that effect, and let it go.
If the electricity fails, I shall pile on the bed every blanket, quilt, afghan, and throw within reach–and shall ask David to get down from the shelf those without reach–and shall make of them a cave and crawl into it.
If wakeful, I’ll bury myself with the laptop followed by the Chromebook, good for at least six hours on battery. If bored with computers, I’ll occupy myself with an Energizer Bunny flashlight and a book.
None of that 2021 hysteria. In 2022, this aged Girl Scout is prepared.
*We parked in our usual handicap space but David forgot to display the placard. The morning of Day #6, he went outside and returned to announce the car had been stolen. After a moment’s reflection, we decided there was a more likely answer. He called a taxi, forked over a bunch of money, and drove home.
**The 2021 storm was a mere blip in the lives of the Davises. We were cold and miserable, but that’s it. People died. Unnecessarily. Politics.
What is a cause you’re passionate about and why?
I didn’t write the post for Bloganuary Day 16 because I felt passionate that day about absolutely nothing except not writing the post. It happens.
Tomorrow I shall be passionate about the weather.
It was 77(F) degrees today. Tomorrow morning, it will be 33(F) degrees. Or 27(F), depending on which website you’re looking at. There will be light precipitation, possibly sleet, or not. Streets might be icy or might not. The high will be 39(F) or 40(F) or something like that.
My husband and I have appointments for our second Covid booster at 10:00 a.m. I’m hoping for non-icy streets, because I’d really like to get that booster.
Yesterday and today I went outside wearing shorts and a tee-shirt. Tonight I went through my closet looking for the warmest clothes I have. I planned to wear a sleeveless cotton shell under a long-sleeved shirt, something from which I could easily produce a bare arm–this is a drive-through booster.
The closet wasn’t promising. When I downsized before the last move, a lot of clothes went to the Salvation Army. I bought several pairs of wool slacks when we drove to New York City the Christmas of 2000, but got rid of them after a few warm winters. The heaviest slacks I have aren’t really heavy and may be too long–as in, I’m going to take these somewhere and have them hemmed up--but that was before Covid hit and I retreated into my cave.
At this point I don’t care how long the slacks are. I’ll roll the cuffs if necessary. I may wear my sweats over them.
I have sweaters–I love sweaters–plus a heavy, baggy chenille thing I wear over light sweaters. And I have my old Denali sweatshirt. But how many layers can a needle get through before it reaches skin? And how many layers can I divest myself of while waiting in line?
Some (many) people who are used to below-zero cold laugh at Texans’ inability to deal with above-zero (what we consider cold) weather, ice, and snow.
It isn’t the cold per se that we get wound up about. It’s the rapid drop in temperature.
And the icy streets and bridges. We’re not equipped with sand and salt to keep cars from sliding into objects they shouldn’t slide into. Nor do we know how to drive in those conditions. There’s an art to it.
I don’t possess the art. The one time I tried it, I slid off the highway and ended up in a ditch facing the wrong direction. Across from my father’s place of work. So embarrassing. He was stationed in Pennsylvania for a while during World War II and then drove across Northern Europe. He knew what to do. He drove the car out of the ditch and took me to the university, which is what he’d wanted to do in the first place. (“Don’t worry. I can drive myself.”)
Fortunately, my husband comes from cold country and has experience in getting around. I put my nose in a book and try not to think about it.
Well, whatever. This isn’t new. Sometimes, as my mother said, there’s nothing between us and the North Pole but a barbed wire fence.
And it’s common knowledge that if you don’t like Texas weather, just wait a while.
P.S. If this turns out to be like last February’s storm, when my neighborhood was selected for a power outage that lasted six days, and my husband went to Lowe’s every morning to buy ten 2x4s to burn in a fireplace designed to look charming rather than to emit heat, I shall not say Whatever. I shall pack my bags and move to El Paso, where a connection to the New Mexico power grid keeps the lights on. Or so I’ve heard. There’s only so much John Wayne-Rugged Individualism that this native Texan can take.
What is a life lesson you feel everyone can benefit from learning?
“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” ~ Wade Davis
Related: Other individuals are not failed attempts at being you.
Write about a challenge you faced and overcame.
I’ve faced a number of challenges and overcome (most of) them, or faced up to not overcoming them. But the important ones aren’t fodder for this blog.
A minor challenge that comes to mind:
Two summers after receiving my B.A. with a minor in biology, I returned to college to take an undergraduate course in microbiology. I thought it would be fun.
I had not taken the prerequisite chemistry courses—organic chemistry and biochemistry, if I remember correctly—but nobody at the registration table asked, and I didn’t volunteer the information. I guess they assumed I’d read the requirements in the catalog. I assumed that what they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.
I spent the next five weeks growing, staining, and identifying bacteria.
I also spent five weeks memorizing where and at what angles to hang little H’s and O’s and N’s and other letters from little C’s, over and over and over, so I could draw the metabolic processes of bacterium after bacterium after bacterium on exams.
But I persisted—lecture and lab during the day, little C’s and H’s and O’s at night.
Things went well. That was back when my brain had space in which to stuff all those letters and the ability to spill them out into the right places on test papers.
When I turned in my final exam, I told the professor (a) I’d enjoyed the class; (b) I hadn’t had the prerequisites; and (c) good-bye.
It was a fascinating course. I’ve never regretted taking it.
But that was a long time ago. I’ve since altered my definition of fun.
Image of D-glucose by Ben; Yikrazuul, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
What does your ideal day look like?
Scrap the walker, the mask, and everything related to Covid, including Covid
Walk a mile or two or three
Drive—not be driven, but drive—downtown
Sit in a bookstore coffeeshop—BookPeople would do—drink coffee with cream and sugar, and write
Leave the bookstore with a stack of books—mine, all mine
Have lunch at a cafe; the Magnolia would do
Go to the mall, buy clothes that fit and shoes that feel good
Drive some more, nowhere in particular, just drive
See Greater Tuna with the original cast at the Paramount Theater
Have dinner at a restaurant; the Magnolia would do—they’re open 24/8
Come home, get a good night’s sleep, and do the same thing tomorrow
IN OTHER WORDS
Do things I haven’t done for the past two years. Add to the list, See family and friends close up, travel more than thirty miles from home, and . . .
When I began this post, I didn’t have a specific theater production in mind; I just wanted to sit in a theater with a crowd of unmasked people and not have to worry about being coughed on. And then it happened—an idea!—I really, really want to see Joe Sears and Jaston Williams in Greater Tuna. Again. For the umpteenth time. And then A Tuna Christmas. Again. Also for the umpteenth time. I can’t get enough of those shows.
But Sears and Williams are no longer acting in them. Since they started in 1981, I guess that’s reasonable. Still, I can’t imagine the play without them. Or as a film production. Half the fun is sitting in the audience, watching two men play twenty characters, change costumes and personas in seconds without a hitch.
Anyway, Tuna hijacked the post. So here are some links to Youtube.