Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In Memory

I am more of an "Off the Wall" sort of gal. Sure, "Thriller" had the cool-o video and Vincent Price. But, still. Nothing beats "Don't Stop til you Get Enough", "Off the Wall", and my favorite -

"You Got To Feel That Heat
And We Can Ride The Boogie
Share That Beat Of Love "

Do you know how certain memories- even though they are really not obviously significant events at the time, or even now - are etched deeply? When I hear this tune I'm 18 years old, driving in Fritz the Wondercar with my friend, Sandy. We're on State Route 41 and driving just outside of Covington. It is late afternoon and we're headed to the Springfield Mall. It is December and Michael Jackson is on the radio.

"There's A Magic That Must Be Love
Just Take It Slow
'Cause We Got So Far To Go"

1979. We are freshmen in college and we've completed our first quarter. It is almost Christmas. We're going to Springfield where we, for some reason, will leave the mall and drive into the city to a department store. There, we'll travel to the upper-most floor, the toy department, and for the first time ever I'll get my picture taken with Santa Claus. I take the photo and I send it off to my first true love.

"When You Feel That Heat
And We're Gonna Ride The Boogie
Share That Beat Of Love "

It's funny how Michael Jackson has made such a comeback in my life in the last couple of years: the dancing Phillipino prisoners, the GOMA lip-sync exhibit, and, of course, as patron saint of our "new" car. Even though they were all a bit silly, listening to the music was always fun. A cool breeze from my youth.

Rest in peace, Michael. Thank you for the music.

"And When The Groove Is Dead And Gone (Yeah)
You Know That Love Survives
So We Can Rock Forever, On "

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

One upping in the neighborhood

There is some sort of odd competition developing in our neighborhood. It started in January while Kevin was gone. Our across-the-street neighbor placed a cash register on their mailbox. (See below. Of course! I took a picture.)
From Singles 2009

It didn't last long. A few days. I wondered if maybe they had had a yard sale - one of those invisible sign free yard sales - that I had somehow missed. It could happen. I work odd hours.
From Singles 2009

Then a few weeks later, their next-door neighbor put this up on their mailbox. For days I honestly crept past it trying to get a good look. I was initially convinced it was a Virginia opossum - but later when I got a good look at the plant depicted decided I was wrong. Marsupials. They all look alike.

And, that's the way its been around here - until last weekend.

From Singles 2009

The pressure is on! I can only see one response...
From Our mailbox

Monday, June 22, 2009

My last week...

From Singles 2009

For the past 6 months repeated blood counts have come up short on neutrophils - those white cells with the mulilobular nuclei that fight infection. My doctor has measured my folate and checked for anti-nuclear antibodies and... and I'm fine. Now, I have an appointment with a hematologist. (Actually, a doctor like a hematologist but with an extra "a" in his title.) So, it may be my last week of being normal, of being healthy. Next week, or the week after, I might have a label or a disease. My best option is that I have some sort of idiopathic neutropenia - but I'll only score that after they test me for everything under the sun and come up empty handed.

We've had a cocker spaniel in the clinic lately. She has the opposite problem. She has too many neutrophils. Way too many. While she should have 12 (x 10 to the ninth) or less, at last count she had 64 (x10 to the ninth.) In speaking with her owner I advised a bone marrow biopsy. She "didn't want to put her through that. It would be too painful" to which I replied that I certainly hoped not as there was one looming in my future.

People generally ask if I'm worried. And, so far I'm not.

I'm fine. I feel fine.

Well, the ways I don't feel fine have nothing to do with neutrophils, I believe. Like, my left wrist hurts if I bend it all the way back. And, my right foot just fell asleep.

But, maybe I should be doing something different these days. Maybe I should be doing something that celebrates being healthy and normal. Maybe I should be walking the dog or eating more ice cream. Maybe I'll be looking back on this week with regret or nostalgia.

What do you do on your last week...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Short Days Begone!

From Singles 2009

June 21. Summer solstice. Not.

Even though June 21 is really early summer, there was always something bittersweet about it for me. The longest day. It's all downhill from here.

Of course, now that I'm on the upside down side of the world, June 21 is the shortest day...and I am so, so, so ready for some more daylight.

I spoke with my mother this morning and she reminded me that on the solstice we're supposed to dance naked on the hill. But, its been raining all day - I think I'll skip the ritual this year.

On the other hand, at this time of year (if by this time I mean the first day of winter) my grandfather would repeat the adadge, "As days lengthens, winter strengthens". That is true here, too. Our coldest days are still ahead of us, most likely.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This is going out to everyone!

This probably demonstrates how little I get out, but I only heard this for the first time today while I was shopping. I thought it was beautiful - so I scribbled down the line "This is going out to everyone" and did a google search this evening. From there, it was an easy move to youtube and then on to YOU.


Some thoughts on the color RED

Since Father's Day is coming up this weekend and my father's favorite color was red...
From photo a day

From photo a day
From photo a day

From Singles 2009

I love this lamp. It hangs in the newly remodeled lobby of Kevin's office building...right above these very mod/retro black and white pocket chairs. Can anyone look at this and not think "sushi"?

Sounds - dusk at Chermside

They're lorikeets.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I haven't heard this in forever...

Well, at least not since Sunday night.

Funny, I looked up the lyrics this morning. I guess when you "know" a song when you are 12 or 13, you hear things and understand things differently. For the last 30 years I thought it was a song about a dog named "Bailey".

Still, a catchy canine tune... but maybe a bit disturbing.

You give me the creeps
When you jump on your feet
So get down, get down, get down
Keep your hands to yourself
I'm strictly out of bounds
From photo a day

...but I still want you around.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Time for a little Show tUne!

Put on a Happy Face!

Walking through the city yesterday

Because I am trying to rectify an inconvenient paucity of neutrophils, I found myself walking along Ernest St...when I found these. Since, June in black and white month - my salute to winter - these are, ahem, in black and white.

They look good with a blue sky, too.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A turn of phrase

"You hide your feelings like a cat in a spin dryer."

Clete Purcel in James Lee Burke's "Sunset Limited"

Sunset Limited

From Singles 2009

"The guy who was crucified against the barn wall?" he said. "The reason people don't buy conspiracy theories is they think "conspiracy" means everybody's on the same program. That's not how it works. Everybody's got a different program. They just all want the same guy dead. Socrates was a gadfly, but I bet he took time to screw somebody's wife."
I really enjoyed "Sunset Limited". Maybe it was because I read it in larger chunks over the course of only a week, but it certainly felt much more coherent than the last couple Burke novels I read. But, I really need someone else to read this (and soon) so I can ask a basic question...why all the Christian symbolism? What does it mean that "Jesus" has two children? What am I supposed to take from their behavior? their character? (I did try to find a discussion of this on Google, but gave up quickly. One writer posed most/all of Burke's work as "Christian" because they are about "redemption". While Robicheaux is obviously a good Catholic man, I don't think that redemption in and of itself defines or is exclusive to Christianity.)

"Cause you got an obsession over the man we stretched out on that barn wall. You gonna do right, no matter who you got to mess up. It ain't a compliment."

Now, for a little game. Can you pick out the killers? and who ends up dead?? Hint: some are killers, some die, some are both, and some neither. I guess that isn't much help. And, for the record, this isn't a complete list of characters.

A. Billy Holtzner: When I walked out the front door the man in the reclining chair had turned off the bug light and was smoking his cigar reflectively, one knee crossed over the other. I could feel his eyes on me, taking my measure. I nodded at him, but he didn't respond. The ash of his cigar glowed like a hot coal in the shadows.

B. Alex Guidry: I looked into the rearview mirror and saw him watching me from the end of the shell drive, his legs slightly spread, a leather riding crop hanging from his wrist.

C. Adrien Glazier: Her handwriting was filled with severe slants and slashes, with points in the letters that reminded me of incisor teeth.

D. Willie Cool Breeze Broussard: Cool Breeze looked like two hundred pounds of soft black chocolate poured inside jailhouse denims. His head was bald, lacquered with wax, shiny as horn, his eyes dropping at the corners like a prizefighter's.

E. Meagan Flynn: It was sprinkling now, and she wore an orange silk shirt and khaki slacks and sandals, her funny straw hat spotted with rain, her hair dark red against the gloom of the day, her face glowing with a smile that was like a thorn in the heart.

F. Swede Boxleiter: The shots had been taken from an upper story or guard tower with a zoom lens. They showed him moving through the clusters of convicts in the yard, faces turning toward him the way bait fish reflect light when a barracuda swims toward their perimeter.

G. Archer Terrebonne: When you dealt with Archer Terrebonne, you simply accepted the fact that his gaze was too direct and personal, his skin too pale for the season, his mouth too red, his presence too close, as though there was a chemical defect in his physiology that he wore as an ornament and imposed upon others.

H. Ruben Esteban: ...he answered, his eyes focused on the backs of his square, thick hands, his mouth curling back in neither a sneer nor a grimace but a disfigurement like the expression in a corpse's face when the lips wrinkle away from the teeth.

I. Harpo Scruggs: The movement caused him to pucker his mouth and exhale his breath. It touched my face, like the raw odor from a broken drain line.

J. Lila Terrebonne: She was light-hearted about her profligate life, undaunted by hangovers or trysts with married men, laughing in a husky voice in nightclubs about the compulsions that every two or three years placed her in a hospital or treatment center. She would dry out and by order of the court attend AA meetings for a few weeks, working a crossword puzzle in the newspaper while others talked of the razor wire wrapped around their souls, or staring out the window with a benign expression that showed no trace of desire, remorse, impatience, or resignation, just temporary abeyance, like a person waiting for the hands of an invisible clock to reach an appointed time.

Can't wrap my head around this

From Singles 2009

That would be FROST encasing my car windows this morning...and silly me in a pseudo-tropical climate without a window scraper! Fortunately, the defrost setting works and I made it to my 6:15 yoga class on time.

I totally get that this is winter...but I cannot reconcile that concept with the month of June.

And, the photo is a bit of a cheat. Sorry. The windows are covered with only dew this morning...at least at 8 AM.

Friday, June 05, 2009

"Where the Sidewalk Ends"

From Singles 2009

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

While I've known the title and cover for years and years and years, I had never read Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends".

So, why read it now? That would be a result of "Title Recall" played at this year's On the Beach. The book wasn't well known - or maybe wasn't known would be a more apt description - by the other players (read this as Australian players.) So, I thought I'd pick up a copy and start it circulating through Aus.

It was OK. There are some poems I liked a lot. (Like the one above - and "The Generals"). I was surprised to learn that "The Unicorn" (song) was first "The Unicorn" (poem). In general, I found I liked the poems better if I only read a few at a time and if I read them aloud. Still, some that didn't work for me - I didn't like the cadence (or found it awkward) or the "smart alecky*" attitude and on some I had a problem with the rhyming structure. Maybe it is because I know them better (I love you long time) I much prefer the poems of Maurice Sendak: particularly "Chicken Soup with Rice" - brilliant!! and Robert Louis Stevenson: "A Child's Garden of Verses".

*Had to check the spelling and found synonym: weisenheimer. Haven't thought of that word in forever...probably not since my mother called me a weisenheimer!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Chip crimes

From photo a day

In Queensland it will soon be required that all new pets are microchipped. This means that despite the fact that we've all been implanting microchips since time began, (well, sort of) we have to be instructed, evaluated, and certified. I did all this yesterday, as well as get lost.

So, all this talk about microchipping (and doing of microchipping) stimulated me to find out what I needed to do to register Zelda's chip in Australia. I figure (reckon) that no one is going to call either Avid or Home Again in the US if they find her wandering the streets of Brisbane. (And, even if they did, I am no longer residing in either Fayetteville, NC or Cleveland, OH!) I contacted the Australian Animal Registry and got the necessary paperwork.

Step 2 fill in paperwork including reporting her chip number.

So, I took her with me to work on Saturday evening to read her chip.

Zelda has....shhhhhhh....two chips.

I know. I know. I know. I know. That is ILLEGAL in Queensland - maybe ALL of Australia.

The problem was that I had given her a Home Again chip but when the time came to immigrate to Australia, she was required to have an Avid chip. So, she has two.

Neither of which scans.

Now, the dilemma. What do I do? Another illegal (illegaler?) chip??? Try to dig out old chips?? (How would you find them if you can't locate them with a scanner?)

Supposedly there are multiple format chip readers out there and maybe one of those would read one (or more) of Zelda's chips. My plan is to visit a couple of other clinics this weekend to see if anyone can read her- including animal control. But still, what if one of them will? What is the chance that this is the place she gets taken to when she needs to be reunited?????

Monday, June 01, 2009

First day of Winter

From photo a day

Yes. You heard me correctly.

And, to celebrate, I had Zelda groomed. Cunning plan - remove hair coat and she'll cuddle with me.

(As you can see, grooming is immediately followed by meditation. What you can't see, the next step is scratching at head until ribbon comes off.)

Roma Street Parklands with Kevin

This was Kevin's first trip to the Parklands. It was a beautiful May morning - sunny and cool. I enjoy sharing the garden with Kevin. I don't take as many photos, however.

You aren't seeing the dahlias that still look terrific. Or, the impatiens. The chrysanthemums are past their prime. Many beds are waiting to be planted. Several of the big fig trees have been toppled lately by storms.