Friday, November 16, 2007

Album Cover Wars


Well here we are, my favorite time of year. The landscape seems to change almost by the moment: the leaves have turned, and one by one (or all at once overnight) the trees lose them. There is a HUGE silver maple out my office window that turns the most incredible fiery yellow-orange every year. Now half its hands are blown all over the ground around its base. I like watching the colors shift: green leaves/grass --> red/brown/orange/yellow leaves + green grass --> gray, leafless trees + red/brown/orange grass. Everything inverts, eventually.

And then there's the sky. This week has been particularly spectacular. Love the gray and blue hues, the way it's perpetually on the verge of roiling into a storm. And it snowed yesterday! Okay, just a few spits, but you could taste it in the atmosphere all day, that damp iciness in the lazy wind (can't bother to go around -- it goes right through you).

I think I like fall and spring best of all the seasons because they are so tumultuous and you can see so clearly the changes happening in the air.

It's also a good time to write, and I am once again doing a Poem a Day project this month (April is traditionally the sister month of this li'l endeavor). I always make it through to the end, content and quality be damned, but I do generally get behind here and there. "I owe 4 poems today" it says at the top of the page next to today's date. I seriously doubt I'll make quota today, but there will be time this weekend.

I also took time for what may have been the final (or nearly) bike trek on the Clear Creek trail Tues night. I only got one lap in after work before it got too dark to continue. (I didn't have a bike light on me or I might have tried for another circuit.) Gorgeous sunset! Encroaching frost! Dogs with inordinately long leashes and lazy owners! I'll probably be able to squeeze in a couple more rides this year. Indiana weather is funny like that.

I'm finally feeling a slow-down, although Turkey Day being NEXT WEEK ALREADY isn't helping at all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Don't Mind Me

Just taking some time out this evening to organize and add to muh links. I may be on the verge of launching ... something ... probably not a rocket. But I had an urge to spiff and do more than blog here, so I'm going with it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I've Just Been Handed This....

Extra-special thanks to Sir Loin for manhandling the camera and editing the footage.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Short Stent on Halloween

Travel back in time with me now...
My dad had quintuple bypass surgery in 1988, when I was a senior in high school. Good times, yes, that's right. He'd been ill and, frankly, pretty out of it for most of my adolescence. I now like to blame his passivity on a bad ticker.

Recovery took a while, like years. It was rough, on everyone. But he soldiered through and seemed to be enjoying life a good deal more eventually. Around 1997 or 98, he owned a travel agency, post-retirement, in Crawfordsville. He had a good time doing that, for a while. The best part was taking red-eye flights, mostly solo, hither and yon to check out airports and hotels, basically just get a feel for a vacation destination, at least the travel/accommodations end of things.

At one point, he was going to take one of these quick trips to Jamaica. But not long before the trip (he can't recall when exactly now), he passed out and lost some feeling in his left arm.

Sounds like a stroke, right? Right. However ... he didn't tell anybody about it, afraid he wouldn't be able to take the trip. He just sucked it up and flew to Marleyland anyway ... where the same thing happened again. And again, he didn't tell anybody, not even after he got back.

Not long after that, as I recall, he got tired of running the travel center and sold it. He then had a heart attack (his first) around that time, in 1999. (Some gentle readers might recall, this happened while I was on That Camping Trip in South Dakota/Montana....)

He has been getting, well, more fragile and less "peppy" since then -- which is understandable. That whole age thing, right? Bad circulation. Thin blood. Tiring easily. The usual.

Then another heart attack in 2005. Mild. But still, heart attack. He had been having chest pains for something like THIRTEEN FUCKING HOURS before he told anybody something was wrong ... okay, yeah, but at least he told somebody this time.

Now we're present day. He's been looking pale gray and just generally "down" ever since the last attack (go figure), but he's been having chest pains when exercising. When I went up to see him last weekend, he was in pretty good spirits (I tend to lift people up, it's a curse) but still just ... no pep, as he says. So he talked to his doc and they poured over his EKG. Apparently his LAD (left anterior descending) artery -- he likes to call it "the widow maker" ... I think he heard that on Oprah or something -- was blocked 95% (which, if you're bad at math, is QUITE A LOT!), so they wanted to put in a stent. But first, let's have a look at that carotid artery ... which, as it turned out, WAS (read: HAD BEEN) blocked but had made its own li'l bypass. This probably occurred as a result of ... well, let's just say that's when the Tale of the Jamaican Stroke came out. Ooops.


So, Dad's kidneys were acting up too, as if everything else wasn't enough, probably due in part to diabetes, partly to encroaching decrepitude. Anyway, his EXCELLENT heart doc told the PRETTY GOOD kidney doc, "Damn it! We're not going to lose this kid. NOT. ON. MY. WATCH!" only much, much less dramatically and sounding nothing like George Clooney. More like Mickey Rooney a svelter Andy Rooney.

ANYWAY, he was/then wasn't/then was/then WAS RIGHT NOW having surgery yesterday. He was in quite a bit of chest/arm pain all day Tuesday (even went in at midnight/Wed morning because of it), and they said he was "a whisker from a major heart attack" as they were taking him in for surgery, hence the sudden, uh, URGENCY. I didn't get up there (St. Vincent's -- and let me say, if you need cardio care in Indiana, this is the place to be) in time to see him pre- but I was there as he was coming down from the Happy Juice post-op. He's fine. It took about 50 minutes, and he should be released and coming home today.

What have we learned here? Your body has ample early warning systems to keep you from dying. Pain is one of the most obvious. Passing out is another. DON'T IGNORE YOUR BODY! It's the only one you've got.

Oh, and Dad says he wants to try being "vegetarian" like me, which I think is terribly cute, but first we have to work on his wife, the Valedictorian of Home Ec circa 1957 and Betty Crocker devotee ... who has really lost her will to cook anymore. I mean talk about phoning it in: Her no-account bachelor son can now officially put her to shame in the kitchen. And how sad is that.

Speaking of sad, the worst -- I mean absolute WORST -- part of the last two days has been the long-ass, bordering-on-hysterical rehash of a trip my family (sans me and Dad) took to DC recently to visit my Evil Sister, my bloke-in-law, and Baby Liz. I knew no good could come of it. No good! I'm only happy that I had a reasonable excuse not to go -- and I would have dodged it with an unreasonable one too, frankly.

It's like Dad said as I was making dinner for him Saturday, when I commented on the fact that everybody else was in DC: He said something to the effect, "I don't like going on those long trips with all you kids at the same time in the same place anymore. If it's just you and me and [my mom], I feel like I can talk freely. But getting all you kids together anymore is just too stressful."


Okay, time for holiday cheer!

I participated in the Zombie Walk this year for the first time ... although in a slightly different role than the usual lock-stepping zombie peons. (I need to write a post on the rise in popularity of zombies, as opposed to vampires or other more solitary, singular ghouls, which seem to be an 80s/90s/goth thing. Why is it zombies, zombies, zombies now? Two words: sexual politics. Think about it. More later.)

Yes, there is footage of my on-the-spot "reporting" from the whole damn walk, and yes, it'll get YouTubed at some point soon. Sir Loin is awesome for running around (literally) with me that night trying to stay ahead of a FAST-SHAMBLING hoard of reanimated necrotized flesh. Sheesh, people, slow down! This ain't 28 Days Later.

I closed out the holiday season last night (after I got back from the hospital) with a viewing of 30 Days of Night, which was AWESOME if you're into that kind of thing, and I am.


Remember me saying I'm ready for that fall-into-winter slow-down? Ahem, any time now, please.