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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Funny, You Don't Look Fluish.

Depends on the day. The couple of days a week I feel like I'm breathing normally and not absolutely happy to die (how you know it's the flu) I look almost human. But jeezus, the rest of the time I want to die. Just recently I remember someone on Downton Abbey died of the flu (we had family die of flu before I was born) and I can totally understand how it happened. I'd forgotten what having a tough flu was like. It goes on and on. "A cold is 3 days coming, 3 days here, and 3 days going." and "If you feel miserable, it's a cold; if you think you're gonna die and don't care, it's a flu." are sayings I grew up with in my practical upbringing.

Aside from that, I'm distracting myself with the funny stuff on facebook (see below), reading a lot and have been talking to my brother a lot. We have something in common again, being old and alone. Oh yes, Boomer moved to the west coast for a job he'd be an ass not to take. So I'm entirely single again.



Billy still has an enormous job in front of him. The garage is packed wall to wall, from Mac's hoarding. The full stand-up freezer is surrounded by cases of foods that are now too old to eat and nobody's been able to get to the freezer for several years. It's gonna take a dumpster. And she'd told me the worst place was the attic, which he hasn't looked in yet. One bite at a time. He's too busy to fall apart. He's in the market for a motorcycle. The same make of bike he had back in the 70s now sells for 23 grand! Damn! I've got 2 minds about it. I'm thrilled to get old Billy back, and scared as hell he'll be on a bike at this point in his health. But I can't tell him what to do. If he can still hold a bike up, he'll get it. I know he won't be suicidal. Or I have to believe that anyway.

Emmet has recovered and is his silly dogness again. Typing that made my shoulders drop just now. That was a scary while there but he seems to be okay. Strider isn't sleeping enough, but otherwise okay.

I've also reverted to sick foods of childhood-



tea, 7Up, Campbell's chickynoodle, crackers and cheese. Which didn't make things better either time. It's just what I got, not what I should've had. But I haven't had it in me to cook things. And food in general has been pretty iffy. My tonsils are up too, and my ears hurt.  The earthquake effect is back, too. It's quite a showy thing, a dramatic flu.



Nonetheless, the minute I show an interest in food, I'll make a health soup and eat potatoes and yogurt til I'm hale.

Well, It's midnight now and I'm hoping my stomach is going to stay uneruptive. So while I have the window of time, I'm off to bed. Will do better about being in touch.
xo

Monday, January 21, 2013

Resuming Our Regular Broadcast Soon

It's been a while! I've missed you! There's a lot of catching up to do, but things have slowed down a bit, and I'll get around to everyone before the end of the week.

The flu bug won't quit. This is Round 3 at least, and I'm going to take Wayne's advice and stay mostly in bed for this week. That should do it in for good and all.

Billy isn't good but he's holding up. He has a project in getting the house in order so he's keeping busy. I'm very happy that Chiefy has been there for him, too.

My heart is with Strider right now. Ems is slowing down. He's been the best friend you could ever imagine to Strider. He's our Wonder Dog. I love him very much.

Much of everything is the usual. The weather has been Winter, we even had a January Thaw, which is reassuring in these days of weirdness. We reinstalled the President today. It's also the national holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I'm hoping for better times ahead. Not counting on it, but I'll never lose hope.

I've been keeping up with Facebook, cuz it allows for bits and short exchanges, which is much easier to do than to put together a blogpost when your thoughts are scattered in so many directions. It's a great source for news, too. That's a whole schmagiggle unto itself. I'll get back to news as well. It's never good; it can wait.

For now I just want to thank everyone for all the love and support through a difficult time, and to let you know I'm still here. Soon as I don't feel like sleeping every 2 hours I'll be back here consistently.
Hugs and kisses
LA

Saturday, January 12, 2013

An Unfixable Dish

If life was like cooking I'd have it made. Need things to cohere? Add eggs. Need it lighter? Whip air into it. Want it richer? Add cream. Ruin a dish? Toss it and start over. But there's no fixing life, and few chances to toss it all and start over.

This week has been awful. As I told Boomer tonight, I got nothing. He asked if I'm numb. I wish I was numb. What I am is a deep murky pot of sadness, and so submerged that it's all I can see. So until I can rise, I'll be quiet.

Stay well, everyone.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Love MaryAlice

My sis-in-law MaryAlice (or Mac as my brother and I call her) was a one-off. 110% Brooklyn Irish and proud of it. She was devoted to her family to a fault. She fiercely loved my brother. She was tough as steel and could be tender as a puppy. She was stubborn, had a bad temper and an infectious laugh. You didn't want to be on her bad side, but if you were family, even if she knew you were wrong, she'd back you up. She had a sense of loyalty that few people have these days.

She was a little person, 5 feet tall, with big blue eyes and dirty blonde hair. Most of her life she was anorexic. She wore a size 0 wedding gown. Next to my brother, 6'1" and always an athlete, she looked even smaller. But you never saw such a wee one command like she could. She directed things around her. We called her The Little General, as her mother'd been called, too. She took great pride in her appearance and in Billy's. Her hair and nails were always perfect. She took the saying, "Dress yourself with all the jewelry you're going to wear, then take off one piece" seriously. My brother indulged her love of jewelry, but with all the lavish pieces he'd given her over the years, the thing she loved best was the ankle bracelet he gave her for their 28th anniversary. She never took it off.

In 1991 Mac found out she was pregnant. We were all over the moon. They'd been married for years already and we'd given up the idea they'd have children. 9 weeks in, she miscarried. Right after that, her left breast ruptured. It was cancer. She had a full mastectomy. Then they found cancer in her right breast. That too was removed. After the radiation and chemotherapy, she couldn't have children. That same year, her gallbladder was removed. Then both of her parents died, just weeks apart. Somehow she made it through it all. Tough as steel, I tell ya.

What I'll always carry with me is Mac's sense of humor. No line ever passed unnoticed. If nobody else even heard it, if you muttered in a room full of noisy drunks, she'd hear it. I'm proud to say I made her spit and choke on her ever-present glass of wine many times. Mac and I spent many, many hours laughing and drinking at their kitchen table. I can't even count how many times my brother would come into the kitchen as the sun was rising and find us still there. With his hair standing on end, he'd look at us in disbelief and say, "Ladies, it's morning. Time for all good children to go to sleep." And we'd laugh even harder at him.

Mac didn't spare anyone from her humor, especially herself. After I left NYC, we spent hours at a time on the phone keeping up with each other and she'd tell me her stories. Like all good Irishmen, she had the gift of gab and impeccable timing (she was a tireless talker- Billy nicknamed her "Flipperlips" and "Motormouth"). A few years back, she'd been drinking at her sister Kathleen's house. Kathleen lives in a house where the garage is under the 2nd story sitting room. The slope of the front walkway follows the slope of the driveway. It's a significant angle, not steep but lengthy. Anyway, Mac was polluted. Billy went to pull the car up in front of the house and Mac started down the walkway. Somehow she picked up speed. Out of control, she ran down the walkway and face-first into a tree. A total wipeout. Billy pulled up, went over to her laying on the ground and said, "What happened?" She looked up at him and said. "I broke my glasses."

Then there was Uncle Jack's 90th birthday party. The entire clan of cousins, in-laws, everyone, assembled at her cousin Peter's house. Peter has a lovely house by the Narrows shore in Brooklyn. A big backyard that runs down to hedges that obscure the noise and sight of the Belt Parkway. By this time, Mac's osteoporosis meant that if she went anywhere it was in a wheelchair. Billy, at her direction, stacked a case of beer, a box of wine, a grocery bag of munchies and her purse on her lap and pushed her around back to where they were setting up the party. Then he left to go to the bathroom. Busy talking, Mac didn't notice he'd gone. So when her wheelchair started moving she thought Billy was pushing her. In a heartbeat, she was flying down the lawn, lap still full, and zoomed straight into the bushes. 

There are so many stories that I could go on forever. But my personal favorite is this. Mac had been under a doctor's care pretty much constantly since the cancer. She was proud of being a 20-year breast cancer survivor. She had well-made custom prosthetic bras and continued to be a sharp dresser. Her doctor of the last 12 or 14 years is a younger woman and they didn't often get along. At one appointment, the doctor said Mac was an uncooperative patient. Mac countered that she did whatever she was supposed to do. The doctor said, "Well, you're in your late fifties and I have no record of you ever having a mammogram." Mac pulled off her bra, handed them to her and said, "Take them and do it. I don't have to be present for it."

Yep, that was Mac.

And I think I'll end this with the way we always ended our conversations. "Okay, I'll talk to you soon. Love ya. Bye."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Video Spoilage

It was a good day, all things considered. On top of Billy laughing, my Niecely sent a package of many fabulous dvds that came in the mail today. Movies, whole seasons of tv shows, wonderful, glorious distraction. I've spent the evening in non-reality. My heart's not pounding in my chest anymore. My shoulders aren't up in my ears. I just stopped in to brag before heading to bed with my big fantasy-adventure book (Zelazny is a Great Writer) and the Beest. I feel very spoiled. Thanks Niecely (and #1 Nephew!).

Sleep well, everyone. x

There's A Light....

Billy laughed this morning. That may have been the best sound I ever heard in my entire life.

It's gonna be all right. Slowly, but it will.

Kick and her family and a couple of other old friends are going to represent me at Mac's wake. And to be my eyes. It's so good to have friends in need.

We'll get thru this, together. There is a lot of life beyond death.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Unreal Reality

I finally reached Billy. Mac's family have made the arrangements and handed him the bills.What they've decided is what they say Mac requested, but nothing of what she told me she wanted. It doesn't really matter now. The only thing that would help my brother is to bring her back and that's impossible.

God knows we've fought over the years, even went almost 2 years without speaking once. But I love my brother and it's a helpless, angering thing to have him go thru this. None of our other brothers are alive to call and give support. I've been in his shoes and it's shit.

There will be a one-night wake and no funeral. Cremation next morning. That'll be $10,000, please.

I pray he'll be okay.

So Passes the Little General

The phone rang at 11:40 tonight. That only means one thing.

My sister-in-law Mac went in for a lay down earlier this evening, nothing unusual. My brother checked on her every hour or so, she'd fallen asleep watching tv. When he went in to check at 10:30, she had passed away. She was 62.

Billy's in shock. We're all in shock. No word on arrangements, of course. There's little chance I can get down there for the funeral. It's Winter, I'm broke, I'm on a walker, I don't have a car. I've emailed everyone and told everyone pertinent already. I just can't believe Mac's gone. I've gotta get some rest, as I have other battles to deal with tomorrow. And now a brother who's widowed and alone in his house in Jersey. It's the end of an era. She was the Little General of our family. The last person I thought would leave us so soon.

We'll miss you, Mac. Godspeed.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Return of The Bug!

Blech. It's baaaaaaack. I never nap, but today I did, and that's how I know. I'm exhausted. I had a fever when I fell asleep at 6 or so and that's broken now, but I'm dizzy and ready to cry over a pair of scissors I can't find.

So here are some things I've been meaning to post. I may be back over the weekend.

Cthulhu is rising:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/the-northerner/2013/jan/02/cumbria-horror-stories

Why fructose may not be so harmless:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10597121

The entire newest series of Peep Show is on YT
http://www.youtube.com/user/andblueandblue

Rebuilding an 11th century longboat
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2012/dec/27/viking-ship-roskilde-british-museum

Scottish folk and fairy tales
http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/scotland.html

This is too damn silly to not share again
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FtZkVRkusQ

And Rob Breszny reads your stars (and your beads)
http://freewillastrology.com/horoscopes/

All right, back to bed.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Man with the Bag

Santa was very good to me this year. I was given many amazing things, and some I have to say are Wondrous.

Take this snowglobe from Stevil. I was happy just to get a snowglobe because I lost some in the move after the flood. But when the snow and glitter settled down, to my surprise and delight there were pictures of Greg and me from April in the center. Stevil made it. And that's not all Stevil did, he got dvds for me too including "Brave" (which I watched immediately and fell in love with), and vids of Lucy's first season and "White Christmas" - and a copy of the other book I helped with last year, Embattled Brattleboro by Dave Eisenstadter. Even the pic of me in that isn't too awful! And a bunch of other silly and useful things. Stevil spoils me.

Princess Cheesemonger gave me books, my favorite present! One of them is fast-becoming the most hilarious cookbook I ever had. It's called Good Swedish Food. If you see it, get it. It's handy too, things are in there that I haven't seen since childhood! Cam also gave me useful things. Balsam fir incense, music, a day planner and sweet Russian doll napkins. Special K gave me a range of things. Some chocolates, some makeup, a Wolfgang Puck baking tarts sort of thing, a hi-hat ornament for my tree, a scarf. Lise knitted a pair of mitts- merino and silk! Black! Nice! Paul gave me homemade truffles and blueberry jam (both ridiculously yummy) and a fantasy series in one volume- 1258 pages- by Roger Zelazny. I'm about 40 pages in. CarrieBoo and family sent me two Joanne Harris books and a pound of Sculpey! Can't wait to get my fingers in that. Maybe this weekend.... Beest wasn't forgotten. Stevil got her a windup mouse that she can't quite figure out, a laser light that she's scared of, and Lise made her a catnip mouse that she spent two days tearing at, biting and kicking it. One of those days she didn't even eat- she just laid on the floor with the mouse nearby, like an addict in an opium den.

There are Christmases yet to come. I can't take the tree down until the Christmases are over. I generally leave it up thru most of January anyway. As long as it's down by Bridey's Day (Feb 2) it's all good. I'm really quite tired this week, dragging my butt. And so off I go to a lovely warm bed with my new flannel sheets and duvet cover (Gal Friday) to hang a lovely calendar from England (Gary) and have a couple of lovely truffles (Paul) before getting some badly-needed beauty sleep.

Santa is good. Whatever happens, we gotta keep him.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Catching Up With The Boys

The boys of ELP are still bopping along. Keith Emerson has and will be on BBC2 all this week, talking about the new album he's put out, The Three Fates
http://www.amazon.com/Three-Fates-Project-Keith-Emerson/dp/B009DJB7UQ/ref=ntt_mus_ep_dpi_2
Keith seems to be hale and hearty, and if this collaboration with Marc Bonilla is as good as his last, there should be joy in Progville. You can hear the Keith week at
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pgpty

Greg is busy scheduling his year. Rumours abound that he'll be touring the US again in the Spring after doing the Moody Blues' "Cruise to the Edge" in March. There's now a pretty reliable source saying Greg will be in Japan in June, which will make a couple gals I know happy. His long-postponed, promised, delayed autobio should be in print by then. The first part on audio "stick" had so many problems that he may not be going with the other 2 parts that way. Just speculating, there. After the European tour, he said in an interview that he's been working on a new album that will be released in the Spring. He's just put out a cd from his SOAL tour in the US,
http://www.amazon.com/Songs-Lifetime-Greg-Lake/dp/B00APPJNWG/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1357143106&sr=1-1&keywords=greg+lake+songs+of+a+lifetime
 which will drop in late February. A busy year ahead for our Greg. I hope he'll do a show in Springfield, MA.....

Carl Palmer has been continuously touring, with Asia and also his own band, Carl Palmer Legacy. In December he came down with a bad case of e coli and had to cancel the final shows of the UK tour with Asia. He's recovering well and expects to be back at it soon. He will be playing on the "Cruise to the Edge" also. He has a new dvd to celebrate 10 years with his own band that will be coming out later this year. In early February he'll be touring Japan, "followed by a few weeks in Europe in February into March, culminating in the Cruise to the Edge on 25th to 29th March from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The cruise offers many opportunities to hear the band as well as meet up for other events to be confirmed at a later date. Following the cruise we will be taking the Carl Palmer Legacy into South America and back into the United States in April into early May." he says on his website. And then they'll record a new album. Busy guy!

Even though no longer a working band, ELP has new releases. "Tarkus" and their first album, "Emerson Lake & Palmer", have been remastered and released by Shout Factory and it's expected that their whole catalog will be. I can't wait for "Trilogy" to be improved- never thought it could be. We'll see. At the end of 2012, Shout had just released another greatest hits, "Come and See the Show" ,and a seemingly underwhelming bootleg partial audio recording of the CalJam concert in 1974. The whole CalJam concert is supposedly owned by CBS, so until they feel like letting it be spruced up, we aren't going to get it. Until then, there are a few clips on YT and by reports, it's better to stick with them.

The ELP catalog is available on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=emerson+lake+and+palmer&sprefix=Emerson+Lake+and+P%2Cpopular%2C162

Damn! Almost forgot the book by Gary Freeman that recently came out. Do You Wanna Play Some Magic? is a concert-by-concert review, with descriptions and notes on each one covered. It's gotten some meh reviews. It's not everyone's cuppa. You have to be a dedicated fan and ELP nerd to like it. Sadly, there are no bootlegs or notes for some of their shows. Only one of the 4 shows I saw is in it and I came away thinking, "Wow, I was there on the wrong night" several times. 
http://www.amazon.com/You-Wanna-Play-Some-Magic/dp/095664208X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357145408&sr=1-1&keywords=do+you+wanna+play+some+magic

I think that covers all they're got going on. Not bad for 3 senior citizens. ;)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My MS and Me by Jim Sweeney

This is a standup guy becoming a sitdown guy. I only caught the tail end of it but I'll make time for the rest tomorrow. He's the gimp's comic.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pjkxb

If you have function issues, give him an ear. I'm so tired of the handwringing over our troubles. This was refreshing, and might give some insights to those without chronic crap to deal with understand. For us gimps, it's a good laugh.

A Brave New Year

Here we are in 2013. Feel any differently? No? Neither do I. Except that it's remarkably silent around here, you can see the road and footpaths clearly today, and Fecebook is so busy that I can't stand it, it could be any Winter day.

The only passage of time I'm noticing is my own age. Stevil took some pix at our 2nd Xmas on Sunday. I'd put on a mobcap, and suddenly there I was looking like Angela Baddeley in "Upstairs Downstairs".


How did this happen? When did I turn from a Stevie Nicks into an Angela Baddeley? And when did things begin to annoy me? When was the last time I wore makeup? When did I stop caring about the Times Square bash? How many years have I been sober on New Year's Eve now? My gods, I'm old! Ack!

Well yes, it's better than the alternative. On most days. Maybe. But really, life goes by as we gallop through the details doing all the daily things and suddenly you're not who you think you are in your head. You're Angela Baddeley. Or your mother. The list of "things I can't do anymore" grows and you become inventive at doing anything you still do just to make them still do-able. You try to be graceful and not grieve too much at these losses. Everyone goes through it if they live long enough. You're not unique. There's still enough Episcopalian in me to shame myself for self-pity. Meanwhile the losses list keeps growing, and it pisses me off. Because I'm a Viking! and a Highlander, and that's what we do. Get pissed off.

Then you sit there all pissed off for a while and it gets funny. I'm friggin Angela Baddeley! Hahahah! When I was young I always wondered what I'd look like at this age. Could be worse. I could've ended up looking like poor Judy Garland, whose age at death I passed years ago. "Youth's a blast but it don't last", says Rod, rapidly becoming a caricature of himself. Even my adored Greg isn't the Adonis he was. That's got to be really tough, to lose looks like that. So who am I to bitch?

We've got a new year. Another chance to get it right. A blank page to write on, or to make a work of art. That doesn't change. And it's probably why we mark the occasion anyway. Because whatever we are, whatever we have, when we get another chance we ought to take it.

Happy 2013. May your new year bring you wonderful things to fill your page. Just remember- you hold the pen.