Monday, February 27, 2017

Sleepless In...

Not to steal the title of a Meg Ryan film or anything but between my cat and the dog upstairs whose barking has escalated to early-morning as in 4 AM howling, sleep is not something I'm doing regularly. The whole sleep thing was iffy in the first place given the hot flashes and night sweats women at a certain point in life must face. Since I'm not inclined to used potentially cancer-causing creams and my doctor doesn't do the bio-identical plant-based hormone thing, the quest for a new doctor has taken a backseat to three weeks of upper respiratory hell, chest congestion and bronchitis, all of which are now on the wane. No sleep, no function, and every little thing becomes a chore. I'm proud the cat and I get fed regularly and that I can get the garbage out, shower and consume something as basic as soup.

The cat eventually calms and sleeps, enjoys his tummy rubs and playtime. As for the dog, I've no clue and her owner doesn't seem to notice or care. I do know that dogs can be trained not to bark and that there are techniques for dealing with upset canines but such knowledge appears lost on this owner who besides leaving a trail of butts in her wake is very loud on the phone outside (my windows and doors closed) and has attempted to blame others for her smoke wafting through my vents. I guess I should be happy she hasn't burned the place down and now smokes with doors open. I keep our interactions to a minimum. She moved here at the request of her employer who owns the apartment so leaving isn't likely unless she gets fired.

Add to this the increasing cacophony from the now eight-lane road in front of our entrances and single-pain 1970's vintage windows, and there is just simply too much noise sometimes.

To fill my wakefulness, I read or watch films, the most recent being The Hundred-Foot Journey with Helen Mirren. It took three days because I could only handle short bursts. No reflection on the film or its cast, simply my short-circuiting brain.

If anyone has a nice island or a cave for rent, I'll consider it. Lack of sleep can make you fat, keep you sick or kill you...

Here's hoping for some sustained sleep.

Monday, February 20, 2017


After being overcast and rainy on Saturday, we were rewarded with sunshine and clear skies. It has warmed to the point that heat in the late hours, which I had been using to take off the chill that comes with old windows and poor insulation, is no longer necessary. I found a couple of old hot water bottles and those do a good job of warming the bed. My cat enjoys the extra bit of heat as well it seems. He is holding his own and loves the extra attention from me.

My cough persists though it appears to be improving slowly. Warm ginger tea with honey seems to help and yes, stuff is still coming up. Apart from that, I read when I cannot sleep and have three books : That Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, Quiet by Susan Cain and a study of housing and eviction by Andrew Desmond called Evicted.

Though originally published in the mid-thirties, Lewis could easily be writing about today.    Evicted is an ethnographic study of poverty, eviction and housing instability and the impact of those on families and community. Cain's book contains a lot of timely and well documented information on both introverts and extroverts which I as one of the latter, appreciate. All the not-so-good-natured remarks I received as a kid about needing to be more sociable? Crap. Introverts have our own strengths and this is a book I wish more parents and teachers would read.

Apart from these bibliographic adventures, I managed to find a childhood acquaintance on Social Media and look forward to chatting her up about the Lewis book when I'm done with it. I've got to do laundry and catch up on food preparation as well as organizing a check up for Jacob.

 I've been writing a bit offline and find myself stymied about conveying the feelings I had as a six-year-old around some of my early school experiences. At that point in my life, and yes, I do have some recollections, I was in a self-contained Special Education room with mostly teen-age boys on an Army base during the Vietnam war. One of my classmates who was about twelve or thirteen lost an older brother, at that time a recent graduate of West Point, in Vietnam and over my lifetime, I've periodically found myself dreaming about the younger boy who for a time would awaken from our rest period crying or lost in nightmares. I do not know why this springs to mind but it somehow left an impression on me.

Hopefully, I'll spend a bit more time outdoors this week. Cheers!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Hearts Day!

When I was a kid, my mother and I always exchanged Valentines. While most adults associate the day with romance, as in hearts and flowers, I've always viewed it as a day anyone and everyone should remember someone they love, and because I do not believe that the love I have for someone stops with death, my list grows with each passing year.

If you have been reading here for any amount of time, you've no doubt noticed that I don't put a lot of stock in the commercialism associated with the day nor any of the not-so-subtle messages about coupling or romance. Though the relationship my mother and I shared was a complicated and sometimes painful one, her cards and gifts to me and mine to her on this day were always heartfelt. To this day, I have rings, a cookbook and other items given on Valentine's Days past that remind me of the importance of small gestures in conveying large messages.

This year, I've given a gift to my cat of Catnip felt hearts that dangle and delight him when he has the energy to play and I will be making a small memorial donation in honor of a friend.

While most people may be caught up in the flowers, chocolate and bubbly, singles often feel left out when there is no need to be. Look at the day and the message more broadly. All of us have people in our lives who bring us joy, cheer, laughter. Thank one of them or better yet, be one of them, today.

Happy Hearts Day Everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bronchial Matters...

After three weeks, I am still dealing with post-nasal drip and phlegm from nose and chest. The cough that arises from trying to clear this is very bad at night and has interfered with sleep and resulted in coughing up blood last evening. Tonight, things are slightly improved as I suck down hot tea with lemon and honey. It is now almost five in the morning and I've had about three hours sleep, along with a nap in the late afternoon. I have no fever and no discoloration of phlegm, so no infection and I am blowing my nose like nobody's business trying to keep my coughing at bay. I am exhausted and this has gotten tiresome. My chronically ill cat has now resorted to following me every time I leave our bed and between cuddles is giving me the evil eye as if to say, "You haul me to the vet...haul yourself to the doctor."

The doc would have little to say other than stay warm, rest and push fluids, so I'm off to make yet another small pot of tea. Cheers!

Monday, February 6, 2017


Have you ever noticed someone approaching you on a public street and thought,"Oh, no!" This happened to me just the other day as I was awaiting a delivery. Apparently, it is no longer satisfactory for people to simply extend a friendly wave as they return to their flat...

This particular person decided to come over and chat me up. Introductions were made and then she began nattering about staying up through the wee hours organizing stuff to mail to her daughter in another state, her husband having died and her lack of vitamin D and refusal to take the recommended supplement, her lovely landlord, blah, blah, blah. This was all said in the face of very bland "Oh really," and "oh my."Then, seeing my wheelchair, she said, "You can walk still?" My answer, though none of her business, was not anymore, as in how would she have drawn that conclusion unless her toxic gossip of a neighbor said something about the past?

The neighbors here love to prattle, even when their prattle is stupid, misinformed or malicious, the downside of condominium living. I would feel sorry for her as she is probably lonely if I wasn't also feeling a bit treaded upon by someone not entitled to any personal information about me at all. The fact is, that beyond civil acknowledgement, I don't interact with the newest crop of neighbors in this building. The one directly above me was a bit too friendly when she first arrived and attempted to immediately insinuate herself into my life by saying she would be happy to do anything if I needed it despite just having known me for two minutes. She then decided that she wanted to know more and when I did not return the information, she was put out. She disclosed that white people have been screwed over by affirmative action, an idea I find ignorant and racist.

The gentleman across from me is, like me, quiet, and not a busy body. He says a quick hello if seen outside and leaves it at that. The others, a couple, also keep to themselves.
The little lady from the building next door revealed a lot to me without meaning to. She apparently talks to people who run their mouths and will not be talking to me again as I intend to avoid her and will say nothing remotely personal. Any further inquiries will be met with a firm "none of your business."

This from someone now known as, "The lady with the dead guy in her apartment," which references a tragic event from 2013.