Good article from Jocelyn Maffin, Wheeled Mobility , critiquing how media celebrates highly impractical mobility devices invented by designers.
It took most of the day but I successfully got across town and got this wart thingie removed from the edge of my eyelid. I had two injections in the eyelid to numb it (novocaine eyesocket!) and they did a lot of other confusing and scary stuff and then neatly, quickly, cut out the wart. The tiniest little weird shaped forceps! Then it was cauterized. And swiped with mysterious substances.
All the way home on the bus I could smell it, too — like singed hair and extra crispy bacon.
I was trying to think what it reminded me of because I was having a vague proustian memory feeling and then realized it was when I got that brand on my arm, but also the time that I first lit a gas oven when i was 17 and burned my own eyebrows and bangs off, and then wayyy back to where I got on my friend pam’s older brother’s motorbike and burned the fuck out of my calf on one of the tailpipes (I still have just a trace of the scar).
While the surgeon was doing his thing I began to babble from nervousness and to get my mind off of creepy steel instruments coming towards my eye. I asked him about his practice (out of UCSF where he does reconstructive eye-related surgery) and then was like “Oh you know I read an interesting book about the clinic in World War I run by the guy who basically invented plastic surgery, Gillies, by this guy who was a pilot and had his eyelids burned off.” Somewhat taken aback the doc said, Yes, he knows about Gillies! and there is a procedure still named after him. This was ridiculous, but I couldn’t help it – it just popped into my head and it really does help me stay calm to get an interesting conversation going. In retrospect as I look at the Wikipedia entry I think I am actually mixing up at least 2 different books, one about Gillies’s clinic and one the memoir of the RAF pilot much later about the Guinea Pig Club, called The Last Enemy.
It took a ridiculous amount of time to get to the clinic and back (note to self, next time, take the 24 and just scoot half a mile, because, the J is a PITA and the 22 is possibly the worst slowety-ass bullshit bus, somehow) and I also had to wait very long times in between mysterious Things happening in the eye surgeon waiting rooms.
Eye surgeon waiting room was very full of older people hobbling painfully or with walkers or being pushed in those hellish “transport chairs” that give you no autonomy (and parked by their relatives/caregivers in humiliating places) Anyway older people with not very good mobility looking me up and down having some thoughts. Like planning to chairjack me I’m sure! You… yes you… you too could have this freedom…. take the wheels! *puts on mirror shades, fake-smokes a long candy cigarette* Don’cha wish your walker was hott like me, doncha wish your crutches were wheels right nowwwwww, doncha… I wish I could pep talk and liberate them all. Lovingly….
I worked a little when i got home but my eyeball feels weird. My eyes both keep watering and my eyelid on the formerly-warty side feels swollen and unpleasant.
So glad I got this over with! I’ve been putting it off for 2 years. Next up, a painful wart on my finger and then the dentist (way worse than eyeballs – dental phobia – I am going to try a new super nice sounding dentist who specially focuses on disabled/ phobic people hoping that I won’t throw up and cry when they even do the xrays and also I don’t want to be molested by any more creepy dentists and it’s an all women office, whew…)
It’s so nice, and comforting, to be with familiar people who you’ve known a long time. They may be very different from when you knew them in other phases of your life but it’s a good feeling.
I was just saying to yatima today that I’m glad we have known each other in this time of our lives through our 40s raising children. Thinking about that a bunch tonight, in general (also because I was thinking about this kind of thing, and long relationships, knowing people for a long time, for the APAzine I am part of). I have had a very lucky time in life in general.
Today I worked more on my sidewalk tree and repotting some plants, wrote a little bit, checked up on work, went to Oakland, met up with a nice writing group, came back to Danny making a whole lot of nice food for the week. Ada came back from Eastover with abomination bunnies (melted and weirded up chocolate rabbits with like, 6 eyes and 2 heads) and Danny and I watched Game of Thrones. Fittingly for my train of thought they were all having meaningful buddy conversations. (In Winterfell just before the Enormous Horrible Battle with the Dead.)
Spent a late afternoon at Aquatic Park lying in the sand. It was gorgeously warm, and then a thin river of fog started pouring past the Golden Gate Bridge. Perfectly sunny in our little sheltered cove while the fog river got thicker & streamed in further, cargo ships blaring their horns as they emerged from the mist — I also watched them on the Marine Traffic app.
Best trick – brought a stretchy skirt to put on over my jeans. Then took off the jeans. Instant beach readiness. I also had on my new sandals (with socks in my bag for evening) so I could admire the little flower and jewel on my super glam copper painted toenails in the sun.
I love watching people get into position to take photos of their day with loved ones & friends. It’s specially beautiful.
A little girl spent about half an hour running up and down the beach after seagulls, waving a stick, screaming “Please be my pet! PLEASE be my pet! Maybe YOU want to be my pet!” She didn’t give up hope! I love her!
Many people don’t know how to be at a beach with small children. Please, stop yelling at them not to get dirty or wet! Just take off their shoes, socks, and pants and let them run around. OMFG. Yes – I’m judging! Then brush them off and put their clothes back on, problem solved. Nobody cares if they see your 5 year old’s underpants at the beach!!!!! (To be fair I basically grew up on a beach so…. maybe it just doesn’t occur to them.)
One mom who did exactly this was in the “brushing off the toddler and his older sister” phase. Having spent really too long cleaning the smaller one, she focused on the sister while the drooling toddler flung himself face down back into the sand right next to me. Total sandface. I was lying with my face in the sand myself and as the mom gasped in horror I demonstrated to the baby that I too had sand all over, and we stuck out tongues at each other. Best mom . . . as she didn’t yell at her children … and didn’t mind my exchanging saucy facial expressions with the baby.
Later at home I realized i had gotten sand everywhere and I could magically hear my grandmother’s voice in my head from 40 years ago. “Ugh!!!! SAND!!!!” I’d be thinking, you have 2 kids in your beach house… at a beach. Duh, there is sand. It’s amazing how you can hear someone’s voice in your head, even when they are long gone. Sometimes when I’m lying in the sand I also think of my Aunt Gilda who would take us with her to the fancier part of Town Beach (Canonchet) where she had a cabana to change in (oh, so fancy!) She seemed so old to me, and probably was (she was my grandma’s aunt, really, so my great-great aunt) but she looked super glamorous in her beach chair, very tan, huge floppy hat and sunglasses, chain-smoking.
At my other grandparent’s beach house which they bought when they moved back to the U.S. there was an outdoor shower which sprayed onto a huge rock with a distinctive shape, sort of flat and good to stand on but with an unevenness in the middle, and I would stand on it thinking that it was from a glacier, so if I were able to travel in time I would be actually inside the glacier and then in very slow motion would sink down, down, while the glacier melted around me. There were similar rocks in Wesquage Pond just across the street where my uncle and cousin and sister and I would play a game where we each owned a rock for our home base. To go on someone else’s rock you had to pay a certain number of reeds. I wonder if these rocks are underwater now or if you can still hop from rock to rock… (inside a glacier of course.) The outdoor shower was much better than my other grandma’s house where you had to get brutally hosed off on the lawn before going inside. (Really, so much sand. And, while I’m complaining, I’d like to give a special mention to the way that even little kids bathing suits had a sort of pocket in the crotch (why???) which would collect FISTFULS of sand.)
Well, anyway, Danny came to meet me after work & we wandered around – ended up having fish & chips at a pretty nice place – and a giant mai tai.
Notably, I am feeling a lot better! Better enough to go off on an expedition in the afternoon (hour long bus ride) and stay out in the evening a little! Much improved.
No earthshattering thoughts here. I’m up to 1917 in the Morland Dynasty books, I did a ridiculous amount of bug triage, then took a friend to late lunch and got my toenails painted (copper colored with black and gold flowers on the big toes). Also worked on the sidewalk tree garden but not too hard – I did half of it and left the other half for tomorrow.
Early to bed with my book – that’s the plan – I feel a little boring today! But nice!
I went for a very short swim today, 15-20 minutes of slow coasting and walking back and forth in the little pool without lap lanes. Trying to keep it super low key to not re-injure myself. Somehow, I lost the waterproof ipod shuffle! ARRGH! But, meanwhile, I have a new swim cap which is just great – I thought of them as horrible but the silicone kind are very comfortable & this one keeps the water out of my ears which is unexpectedly nice.
Meanwhile, more boring news!
I’m planting some little things in the garden – Luckily I did all the weeding and cleaning out last month so it was super easy. I have some seeds planted & seedlings in pots which will get transplanted in a week or two. The container plants (mostly succulents and herbs but some flowers) are maybe 1/4 cleaned up so there is a lot of work still left to do for the spring!
Garden is roughly as follows,
Part shade but bright noon sun at side of house, long narrow strips – Vinca and violets are doing well. Mint and rosemary also not so bad. I tore out most of the nasturtiums but have some of them going up to the front porch. The african daisies that are too big for that spot are mostly gone but I’ve kept 3 of them. Considering even more drastic pruning to get them to grow very tall and narrow.
Back patio – containers are a mess but the worm bin is newly tidy and has a new batch of worms. I’m thinking about consolidating various pots of different colored aeoniums into one or two huge pots. One of them is about to have an enormous spikey flower. Parsley and oregano is going strong. Avocado trees are a bit neglected – I’m considering repotting them into the wooden barrels.
Front porch – mostly succuents. Flowers: lobelia, bachelors button seedlings, one of those solid black pansys, geraniums seem to be gathering strength. I have a tall fuschia at the bottom of the steps that maybe doesn’t get enough sun to flower so I’m thinking of moving it to the back yard.
Sidewalk tree – It has a janky assortment of salvias, a jade plant, some tiny ice plant, sickly nasturiums. Planning to clean out the leaves and trash from under there, dump in some more dirt and mulch, and maybe put hardier things there (more jade plants and aeonium, I guess). Hard to keep it watered all summer!
I wish I had a consistently sunny spot and a fruit tree, but I do love my weird random assortment of experimental plants!
A post about pain and its relative absence. Warning: boring! The last month or so have been an amazing window into the world of Much Less Pain. I would describe my last…. well since 2012 or so… since the ankle blow out and recovery year. several years of having this daily rhythm:
* waking up: Pain about 7, move around and slowly unstiffen. slept 5 hours if lucky
* morning: coffee! pain at 5 or 6. functioning! or maybe even sharp!
* late afternoon: starting to wane. pain getting worse and I feel fuzzy
* evening: Oh fuck this where are the pain meds… OR…. Kinda OK still at 5 or 6
* bedtime: Oh fuck this where are the pain meds omfg. All the pain meds in the world. Pain at 7 or 8.
Last few months, increasingly so since last year’s surgery,
* waking up: Just feelin’ ok! I slept 7-8 hours even! Pain like, 4 ish
* morning: coffee! Woo hoo! Full speed ahead! Keen-minded! doing some tai chi! house work in between working! Pain at maybe 3-4, fabulous
afternoon: Some more activity. I feel like I can go up and down the stairs for things. I can go out and do an errand. I can do something frivolous like take BART all the way to some remote station and work from another town’s library! Not to mention, swimming laps! Swimming like 400-900 yards at a time! gardening! feeling the healthy glow of exercise!
* evening: I’m still able to maybe cook some food or do things or even go out
* bedtime: OK the pain is back to a 6 or 7 and I’m smearing voltaren on myself and smoking a little dope but really it’s manageable.
As usual I am posting this because I was in the 2nd happy state for a good long while, maybe since January? But for the last week, I’m in a little more of a “flare up” state where I can’t go swim laps, I’m thinking hard about going up and down stairs to do laundry or go out for errands, Sitting up tires me out, my joints are burning, in the morning, just walking all the way across the (tiny) house seems like a lot. Ankles burning and stiff. Neck and arm on my bad side giving me trouble. Waking up in the night with pain. Work has to be my priority, then housework and doing very easy PT. Scaling back everything.
Perhaps I just overdid things because I felt so good. Or maybe it’s just chance. But, I’m bouncing back and determined to keep doing all my PT and strengthening exercises.
Goal, tomorrow go to the pool and don’t try to swim laps, just gently float around in the shallow end.
I feel super hopeful and not too upset about it – because I feel just *stronger* all around for all the exercise and activity.
Really cool article about researching, curating, and analyzing the history of particular sweater and other textile patterns: The Norwegian Sweater Detective.
I went to see Saul again tonight this time with Danny who is very jetlagged. Amazingly he lasted for the entire concert though I was prepared to leave early. it was absolutely splendid & i felt like the whole room was kind of stunned at the virtuosity all around. I am still impressed with Yulia Van Doren’s gorgeous pure voice – especially good on “Author of peace” (again) – and got shivers at the countertenor’s song to Saul all over again. Everything was just perfect – I admired the conductor’s perfect modulation of everything going on as I tried to stretch my mind to hear everything at once. Whenever things got super complex I wanted that to keep going forever – all too short!
During intermission i was reading some of the exhibits about WWI when a lady gorgeously dressed in purple with silver hair came up to me. “Excuse me… could I ask you a question?” This happens to me a lot and I turned to her, fixing my face to politeness, prepared to discuss wheelchair technology or purple hair dye (and hoping not to have to deal with some sort of weirder question).
“It’s my birthday….” (beaming smile)
“And my friend bought me this big glass of champagne, but I can’t drink it. Can you drink champagne? And would you like it?”
I cracked up laughing. Sometimes!!! The things that happen to me! I just love it!
I accepted the large glass of nice champagne.
Happy birthday and many happy returns, nice opera lady!!!!!! This just made my day! So sweet and so amusing! I feel honored!
My mind is still internally playing bits of Handel but it is mixing up in an unholy way with bits of Purcell and also, the wrong Handel.
I bought me & danny tickets to see Orlando in June for my birthday – the countertenor from tonight, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, is going to be in it.
I’m on about book 26 or so. World War I is about to start, a bunch of damn Morlands just got onto the Titanic, and one of them is getting arrested at protests for women’s suffrage and force-fed in jail. Fairly intense!
Again… if you read these I recommend just skipping the U.S. Civil War one as it’s a hot racist mess. Go right back to England where this series belongs….. whew! Though, well, not like she doesn’t also manage to somehow have the Boer Wars be lily white as well (how?)
I had 2 days of conference-going after an active weekend of concert-going and I’m now having just a bit of a flare up feeling in various joints so I spent the day in bed. Sucks but I hope to be up and around quickly! But I don’t feel much like writing. Tired and achy.