Friday, June 26, 2015

A Landmark

The U.S.Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that State prohibitions against same-sex marriage violate our constitution. This makes same-sex marriage legal throughout this nation, a hard-won victory.  As a country, we still evidence racial hatred, inequality, lack of economic parity and a host of "isms" directed at various minority and disenfranchised groups. I hope one day in my old age to be able to say that more of these will have been defeated. I am wary. however, and wonder just what that will take.

Thanks to those of you who commented on my previous post. Loss is never easy and I remain concerned for my stepsister and her family.

Until Next Time.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Marking Time...

Longtime readers of this blog may remember that I had two step-siblings, both significantly older than I. The younger of these died not quite five years ago. His sister, whom I first met at five and a half when her father was dating my mother, is still very much alive and has raised three children and is now a grandmother. She has remained a constant presence in my life and makes no secret of her fondness for me. She married when I was ten and her husband was no less fond of me. Though we differed greatly in age and worldview, neither ever stinted on praise for my accomplishments, recognition of my humor or appreciation of my brain. I have been a guest in their homes since my teens and it was they who insisted on giving me a celebration following the end of graduate school   and a fiftieth birthday party. Seventeen years ago, while visiting and caring for her mother who had had several strokes, stepsister drove down to my mother's memorial service, renewing our almost lifelong bond.

When her brother was dying from complications of a major stroke, stepsister and I talked often. I visited them in late 2013 on my way home from a harrowing cross-country trip for the funeral of a young man who died in my home, and saw them last almost seven months ago here during a short but very enjoyable visit.

Last week during a chat, I learned that brother-in-law was to go for some testing. None of us had any inkling that a major stroke awaited him. I earned this via e-mail from one of stepsister's friends whom she has designated her point person for questions, last evening. He is non-responsive, under hospice care and is expected to die within days. Though I have spoken to a daughter-in-law, stepsister is in shock and unavailable. I have spent the last two days quietly at home, waiting, and hoping that her children, friends, neighbors and others who attend them will do so gently as stepsister is easily overwhelmed at the best of times.

I hope the kind and generous man she married and whom she adored is at peace as he leaves us. It is hard to fathom life without him. I worry for her, their children and his sister and her family, all of whom will bear the brunt of this loss.

Monday, June 8, 2015


One of the best antidotes to muscle pain, creaky joints and the soreness that remains after day after day use of the arms and hands is massage. While most people equate it with relaxation, it is a potent pain reliever that can restore the body, aid in healing and help with sleep. I had a massage two weeks ago amid great pain. Why? Age, wear and the tightness that perpetually accompanies my muscles. It had been six months since my last appointment, what with one thing and another, and my pain had reached a dull roar everywhere.

I am fortunate to have a massage therapist who makes house calls. I've done the bus before and after massage and it is never fun. Aside from the sitting, which can hastily undue the good done on the table, the waiting can be interminable and when one needs to stretch out and sleep, that just is not a good thing.

While I felt much restored following the massage two weeks ago, things in body land were still not quite kosher. Massage therapist advised that though she did as thorough a going over as she could in an hour and fifteen minutes, there were still areas that could use more work and that I should wait a bit, drink a lot of water to rid my body of any toxins and call to advise how I was feeling. With that, she was gone and I was left to assuage residual soreness with a hot shower, herbal tea and water.

In the ensuing two weeks, my shoulders and arms, including my forearms and hands, remained sore, though the degree was somewhat reduced. My left hand and wrist showed signs of repetitive stress and have been iced and braced regularly since. They are slowly healing.

 I had a second massage four hours ago and as I sit with a water bottle, the value of listening to one's body is not lost on me. It just seems that the signals of wear, fatigue and and pain are felt more often these days.

Until Next Time...

Friday, June 5, 2015

Still Under Wraps and More...

My hand and forearm are improving, but slowly. I now use ice three times per day or so and wrap my wrist. It has been six years since this last occurred, so I am hoping the ice and as much rest as I can give an arm that pushes me around will do the trick. My writing has been curtailed, which is frustrating but I am reading a lot, mostly about the term and research into Highly Sensitive People or HSPs.

The psychologist who coined the term, Elaine Aron, has a web site and a lot of information which has apparently spawned many books on the subject. Human behavior and reactions have always fascinated me and I enjoy using myself as a subject for further exploration and understanding, especially when someone around me behaves in a way I find confusing, irritating or annoying.

On another note, I thoroughly enjoyed the film The Woman in Gold that I saw the other day with a friend. I usually read reviews and synopses of films before viewing them but did not in this instance. Rather, I read about the film's central character after the fact in an attempt to refresh my memory and understand some of the legal issues involved. I found an interesting article from the Chicago Tribune writer Howard Reich which you can find here.

Critics have panned this film as mediocre but the facts and backstory upon which it is based are anything but and to me, as part of relatively recent and dark history and present attempts at restitution, I was happy to see that an individual can take on a government, have her day in court and win. While that is an oversimplification of what actually happened in this case, particularly with regard to the myriad and often conflicted feelings about heritage, religion, family and home that the backstory here engenders, the discrimination and hatred that lead to death or diaspora are still much in evidence.

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


You know the saying that you don't miss something until it is gone?

Try not using your hands or a hand, and see how far you get...

Life has been by turns perplexing, funny and irritating this week as I have struggled to keep my left wrist and forearm under ice packs at regular intervals. Too much manual chair, guitar, computer and writing, among myriad other things. The laundry, food prep, animal care and human interaction were all very different...

A friend and her kid appeared to bring food and say hi and the little girl asked if I could brush her hair. I tried but it wasn't long before the brush was put down. We then tried holding a book in my right hand so we could share a story...I wedged the book in my lap and we managed, though things were decidedly slower than usual in the reading and page turning departments.

Then, there were the cats...As only one of them is a dedicated lap cat, he did not understand the big, cold blue thing around my arm and kept trying to bite at it. This diminished his lap time considerably, making him more irritable than usual. His sister cat stayed to herself unless I was in bed.

I ate a lot of cold foods in an effort to avoid cooking which led to grazing, something I don't normally do. The upshot is that my hand and arm feel better but are still slightly bothersome, so the ice pack is still in use. Massage helps so I have been doing that on my arm while watching films or television series. I saw a wonderful film over the weekend at the theatre, a place I increasingly miss but for the cost and getting there. In this case, I was with another friend and we both enjoyed the movie which I will write about in a subsequent post. Thanks to all who have been concerned.

Until Next Time...