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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Perpetual Change

It's July 2nd. Half of 2015 is gone and I'm still making sure that I've written 2015 on my checks. How does time speed up so?

Which brings me to deadlines and why I understand George RR Martin, who's adopted "Deadline? What deadline?" as his family arms motto..

Unlike GRRM, I'm not writing an opus work for the ages. I'm just trying to keep up with projects, causes and the occasional articles I write for a small paper and some websites I now admin. For most of my life, as soon as there was something to be done I jumped in and did it. That sort of immediacy only happens now if the toilet is clogged (happens every time Billy visits) or Beest is stuck somewhere on something (happens about twice a week). Everything else goes into my datebook several times, with "MUST BE FINISHED" on the final deadline. Guess when things actually get done? Yep, on the last day possible.

And so, in July, I'm attempting to catch up with the year so far. The last time I posted about life was in March and lots happened in those following 3 months.

Strider and Olive the Kissydog did get to come for an overnight, it was great to see them but too short a visit. I miss them, even though we email almost every day.

After admitting to Billy that I couldn't sit in what we now call The Billy Chair, he told me to get my old wingchair revamped for my birthday present. I found a woman who was happy to work on such an old chair (it's about 80 years old) and she gave it new life. It's good for another 80 years!

At the end of March Chiefy contracted viral meningitis in Florida. He was in hospital for 2 weeks, and was well enough to drive home to NJ mid-April. After being home a week his abdomen swelled up and Billy and Lynn talked him into going to the ER, but he'd only go to the one near his home. There, they ran several tests including a paracentises to drain the fluid and analyze it. He went home still in discomfort, and then began running a high fever. He went back to the local hospital. They couldn't find what was wrong and so he went to Columbia Presbyterian in NYC. They determined that someone nicked his intestines doing the paracentises and he was bleeding out. He was up and down for a week, then the sepsis set in. He died on May 2nd. He was 66.

This not only shocked and upset everyone who knew him, it changed Billy's life and left him friendless. He is the last survivor of the whole gang he's known since school days. Last month he started looking to move here to Vermont. As we perused RE listings, signed on with a friend who's a buyer's broker, and went to look at houses on the market, it became clear that what he wants is the house he's in. Since he and Mac had made a lot of changes there, it's not something easily found. A 20X20 bedroom, for instance, is not a common feature. He's now saying that if something doesn't turn up by Fall, he'll just stay in NJ and do more to that house (solar, new siding, new roof, etc.). He also ended up not taking the puppy Kick was holding in place for him from her German Shepherd's litter, which upset us all. I worry about him. I've no idea how this will pan out. He's not taking care of himself and was sneaking Ring Dings when I left him alone. He cut his visit short by a day and went home complaining of a stomach bug, but there was more to it than that.

MaryEllen had another round of chemo thru the Spring, and though nothing's remarkably better, nothing got worse. She started another round of chemo yesterday. Her strength and attitude are amazing.

We were told that the emptying of The Shire will begin next Summer. They've just begun breaking ground at the new site that will be a senior housing apartment building. There will be another building for the rest of us gimps but meanwhile they're moving low income young folks in here, which is changing The Shire. I'll wait for the second site. Let the old bitty next door move to Red Clover Commons ("Red Rover", we call it), and maybe I'll get lucky and have a year of peace here. She's joined a Holy Roller-type church. Now the preacher and his helper come by twice a week, yelling and singing and clapping. You must know how I love that. They did it last night during the Chris Squire Memorial. I turned up the music to drown them out.

The fate of The Shire itself is unknown. It's worth several million, and I believe that what I've been saying since the flood came will happen. In the end, it'll be sold off to a developer who'll landfill it to above flood plain level and build McMansions on this pretty site along the Brandywine.

Beest is Beest, and abides in a sort of bitchy but sweet way. Gal Friday and I have taken to dressing her up.

Gold suits her. More to come.

I'm thrilled and scared about Bernie running for President. Thrilled because he's just what we need, scared because he has an opponent who's ruthless and devious. It takes a lot out of one to have such hope for a great man to take the reins, but look at the crowds he's attracting. In Wisconsin last night he drew more than twice the size that showed up for Hillary's rally in NYC. People know that Hillary is only another corporate shill for the oligarchs, and maybe, just maybe, Bernie will win...

And I, overall, am fine. Aside from 3 newly-broken teeth and the allergies to Summer, my health is the same as usual. There is always pain. I've come to ignore it as much as possible and keep a smile on when anyone else is around. Since Western Medicine has nothing good to offer I stay away from it, treat myself with herbs, and carry on. I can't wait for cool weather again. Summer is Hell to my body. It's nice to see my front garden so full and flowery, but it's not worth the pain. Bring back the cold and long, dark nights!

Be well, have fun. Tempus fugit.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Farewell to The Fish

Chris Squire has died. Just last month the announcement came that he had AML, a rare and deadly form of leukemia. His fans hoped for the best, that somehow he'd beat it or at least be with us a while longer, but AML is a fast killer. I hope his passing was easy.

Not everyone knows who Chris was. He was the co-founder (with Jon Anderson) of Yes, the legendary Progrock band. At the announcement of his illness Chris sent regrets that he wouldn't be on this year's Summer tour, the first time in Yes' 47 years that he'd be absent. There is much online about Yes and Chris, anyone interested can find their entire histories. Youtube has all the Yes albums as well.

This feels like losing an old friend. With his death, and Jon Anderson not in the band anymore, to me it's the death of Yes as well. All things must pass, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

From Wiki, on his nickname: "Chris Squire was commonly known by his nickname, "Fish", and the name is associated with many of his works including his solo record, Fish Out of Water, and the solo piece "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" from the 1971 Yes record Fragile. The name has multiple origins, not least of which is the heteronymic meanings of "bass", describing low frequency sound or the bass guitar as well as the fish. Additionally, Squire's astrological sign was Pisces. Further, in the early days of Yes' career, he once accidentally flooded a hotel room in Oslo, Norway, while taking a shower, and Bill Bruford gave him the nickname. On the 2007 documentary "The Classic Artists Series 3: Yes", Bruford says that the nickname arose because Squire spent long periods in the bathroom while they shared a house together in Fulham."

He was a close friend of Greg Lake's for almost 50 years, going back to their being roommates in London when they both were starting out and finding their first successes.

Chris played bass like nobody else could. He wrote songs we'll have forever. I'll treasure that moment when he smiled wildly and gave me a protest fist as the cops carried me off in Madison Square Garden all my days. 

Farewell. RIP. Thanks.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Foster's Hay Truck

Out of nowhere and unrelated to anything else, I just had a vivid memory.

It was Summer '80 or '81, those were the two Summers I worked on Foster's farm. There was a blueberry field complete with air guns that blasted every ten minutes from sun up til sundown. People drove from everywhere to pick their own by the pound. There were 20 dairy cows, clumsy, gentle and not caring about much. I loved their big sweet eyes and soulful moos. They walked up the same track every day to the grazing field that smelled of timothy and deerstongue. After the hottest part of the day they'd meander back down the trail for the barn- sometimes without our going after them- to be milked and brushed, fed, watered and washed down as necessary. It was a small farm and ran efficiently. 60 year-old Foster, a high school kid, 2 little boys, and I made sure everything was done by 7 p. Long days, but healthy and peaceful.

My favorite part of the whole operation was the haying. Foster owned huge fields along both sides of the highway and after filling his silo and barn he sold bales to other people. He'd drive his old wooden-bed hay truck with the aluminum floor (I sailed right off that when unloading bales, twice) and I'd sit shotgun. With a SLOW sign flashing on the back we trundled up to the hayfields and loaded the tremendous crib with bales. I was so fit in those years that I did chin ups in the barn to stretch.

But the cab of that c.1940s truck is the flash scene that brought all this back. The only seat was the old bench style, no seatbelts. The whole interior was utilitarian blue and filthy. There were spaces for the driver and a farmhand and every other available inch was a pile of boxes with parts for things and various pieces of paper. The only thing that was clean was Foster's omnipresent cup of coffee. It sat in a tin box he'd jammed into a hole in the dashboard and it miraculously never sloshed over as we bounced along.

It was that that I just remembered so clearly, all that in an instant.

If you've never been in a beaten up hay truck on a hot Summer day with a fresh cut load, when a breeze floods the cab with the heady scent of a dozen different grasses filling your senses, you've missed something.

Thanks, Foster. You were one of the best bosses ever.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

In Like a Lion

Sometimes it's a little thing that sets one off. Whole avalanches of shit could be raining down for months, years, without much kerfuffle. Then a small thing- like someone presenting you with the gift you'd given them at Christmas last year as your gift this year- throws one out of kilter. It's like getting hit between the eyes with a whiffleball bat. You won't have a concussion, but it's a stunner.

In all. life's been boring and/or stressful.
I can't make myself write.  I feel like I have nothing to say. Sometimes that's out of contentment, which I had lots of over the Fall and Winter. Sometimes it's because there's so much info and writing everywhere now that anything I'd say would be redundant. And sometimes it's just all too damned sad to dwell on.

I'm learning to use my left hand dominantly, and surprised and pleased to find it's not nearly as bad to draw with as I dreaded.

Everyone has been sick/having operations/dying.

This past week: I did something that made my left arm too painful to move for 2 days (then something popped in my shoulderblade and it was better).

This past month: Big Brother Billy bought me a swiveling recliner (lovely). It takes up a third of my living room and now I can't go into that area (not lovely).

Winter was wonderfully cold and pain went way down. I got used to that. It's Mud Season now and Mr. Pain is back for the next 7 months. That rat bastard.

Beest abides. When we were going to sleep the other night she grabbed my hand with a paw and licked my whole palm. Never had a cat do that before. Little weirdo. Little weirdo has big Winter belly now.

Yes, she still bites off her belly fur.

Fingers crossed that Strider can get here next weekend. I haven't seen her since Thanksgiving '13 and I miss the girl. And crazy little Olive will be bringing joy to me and annoyance to the Beest.

Billy went to Florida and came back houseless. Chiefy and Lynn will be back in a week and a half. They too, will return houseless. I don't think Florida is going to happen, but I've been wrong before.

MaryEllen's ovarian cancer did not respond to the 16 courses of chemo. In fact, there are new growths. She's a helluva fighter though. She started a new drug last week. Her spirits seem good.

Politics on every level, from local to international, is an arena of fools and filth. But you know that.

We still don't know when the Shire will be upheaved. The new site is a brown field, and some waste disposal company was illegally dumping hazardous waste there as well. Since the capable manager left we get a minimum of news, so who knows. I'm going to ask to be left here until the next building is done. That should buy me a couple more years.

I hope my bloggy friends are all well and feeling chipper. Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Friday, March 6, 2015

March Already?!

Lawless left a comment on my last blogpost, and in coming to post it I realized I haven't blogged in forever. I don't know how time gets away from me, but it does. This isn't a post, but a promissory note. I will blog before the weekend is out! So much to catch up on. And John and Chris are getting married today! Glad I hopped on so I could add my wishes on time. Thanks Lawless, I'll be back!