By mid morning I was out in the back 40, continuing my assault on the invasive thorny bushes. There are certain things that continue to amaze me; A) that I'm gardening/landscaping B) that I actually went out today and a pair of short shorts, and a tank, & C) that I was actually comfortable doing so. Having been obese since my mid-20s, the Second Amendment right to bare arms was never something I choose to exercise. Amazing what losing 70 pounds, and working at the gym will do for you. Incidentally, when I started in the back 40 it was already 85° and in the hour and a half that I was out there it got up to an even 100°, by which time I have had quite enough, thank you. I did manage to remove all but one of the thorny bushes, including on most of the smaller ones a good chunk of taproot. I also noticed that two of the three stout wouldn't trellises out there needed some reinforcements, so I went ahead and attack them with an impact drill and some four-inch deck screws.
After that the heat was intense enough that I just laid low for the remainder of the afternoon. I did reach my quota of unpacking and putting away at least one box from the garage & I did get together seven more items to list on eBay, including getting them photographed. I packaged up the last pair of boots that sold on eBay to mail out in the morning. To my pleasure, all seven items that I listed initially, six pair of boots & one pair of shoes, have sold in the last two weeks, not for as much as I would've liked, but certainly pocketing $125 was the better option financially then bringing them to the Goodwill. I have another seven items that will go up for auction on Sunday, again six pair of cowboy boots & a pair of shoes. Divesting myself of things that are no longer items that are useful, but instead have a come clutter, is a damn good thing, but as I have said previously, not easy for me to do. In listing things for sale, I have to look at them with a detailed eye, to adequately describe them and hopefully get a better price for them. However that's often when Tim Tatian comes in to hold onto them. Today the item that almost got held onto was a pair of boots that fits me well and were quite comfortable – & are also bright red. If I lived in cowboy boots every day and we're getting more dressed up, they would periodically get worn, but it's been at least three or four years since this pair was on my feet, so honestly I don't need them. I'm hoping some cowboy will take them out for her to step on a Saturday night. They're in superb condition, so I'm hoping they'll get me at least 50 bucks, but we shall see. Can't count those chickens before they hatch.
The truth is that getting these things out of here actually feels pretty good. Decluttering is a good thing. Winnowing is a good thing. Some extra cash in my pocket, is a good thing.
LJ is sleeping peacefully right now, whiIe I have wandered out to the porch to post and to enjoy the cool of the evening. It's dark out here in the country and pretty much all I think you're a few lights in the kitchen behind me and some house lights in the distance across the lake. The night is alive however, with the sounds and of crickets & other fauna. Finally, I get to enjoy the feel of this cool porch swing & a gentle breeze across my bare skin.
by Alex Lu, at the Establishment
Creation Entertainment’s refusal to provide access comes at a time when the inclusion of people with disabilities at fan conventions is increasingly recognized as an issue.
How Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon Manage That 'Big Sick' Illness in Real Life
by Ashley Lee, at the Hollywood Reporter
It’s not ideal to fall in love with someone who’s in a coma, but that’s what happens to Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick — and in real life. The Silicon Valley actor co-wrote the romantic dramedy with wife Emily V. Gordon, based on their actual courtship (Zoe Kazan portrays her onscreen, and Holly Hunter and Ray Romano play her parents).
The titular sickness remains unnamed throughout most of the movie, as it was to Gordon for much of her life.
“And far away, as Frodo put on the Ring and claimed it for his own, even in Sammath Naur the very heart of his realm, the Power in Barad-dûr was shaken, and the Tower trembled from its foundations to its proud and bitter crown. The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him, and his Eye piercing all shadows looked across the plain to the door that he had made; and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash, and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare. Then his wrath blazed in consuming flame, but his fear rose like a vast black smoke to choke him. For he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung.”
Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
I've been up since shortly before seven. Last night's dishes are done, the food plants have been watered, my daily quota of getting at least one box unpacked and either put away or discarded has been met, & I made a light & cold breakfast for LJ and I. In this heat, he didn't balk when I put an iced latte down in front of him. I had the bowl of cherries and raspberries with yogurt I'd portioned out, but didn't eat yesterday morning, while I put out for him a bowl of cold cereal with blueberries, and his standard portion of coffee cake. He had gotten several more pieces of redwood siding on to the back of the house before breakfast, and decided after eating, in this heat to head back to bed.
Since I haven't been doing as much landscaping as is needed recently, due to the heat as well as work within the house itself & the heat here was not too cbad yet I went out into the back 40 with the Weedwhacker and landscaping tools. We have a rather vigorous and somewhat invasive fuzzy bush which has sprung up with a vengeance. I planted a peach tree several months back in the new year which was free of all of the plans except some grass. This unidentified bush, which turns out to have some other unwanted thorns as well was now crowding the peach tree. Well I've pulled out about a quarter of these bushes clearing out an area of about 60 ft.² I need to do some reading about how to get rid of the roots organically. I'm unwilling to use and herbicide why ground up. An hour in this heat was about all I could take. However, I'm realizing why my weight-loss is ongoing. It's now 70 pounds since retiring.
Before coming up onto the porch to chill (so to speak), I decided to get the Roomba started vacuuming. So far I think I'm pleased with the unit, though it's not doing everything I had hoped it would do. The floors are decidedly cleaner, but we have a canine that in spring and early summer sheds a Chihuahua daily. The vacuum is good and getting up dirt and some stray hair, but somehow it manages to wad up balls of hair that it leaves behind scattered about the rugs. These in turn are much easier to pick up than individual here spread out over everywhere. My suspicion is long-term once I program the machine to run daily on its own, it'll get ahead of the amount the dog sheds every day and be more efficient in cleaning. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) Watching the dog eye the vacuum is interesting. He's rather wary of it. He'll look around the corner when he hears it running and when he sees it that the far side of the room and make a dash for the door. This is the same creature that I've had to pull off of the deer that he was determined to make lunch with the poor creature have a misfortune of having a run-in with him in the yard. Frankly I find his reaction to the vacuum almost comical.
Enough navel gazing for now. Got work to do.
Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction will be an issue of Uncanny Magazine 100% written and edited by disabled creators– an official continuation of Lightspeed Magazine’s immensely popular and award-winning Destroy series of special issues. The Kickstarter will launch July 24 and run through August 23.
LJ had beaucoup errands to run in Sonoma County yesterday, so I was here by myself. The day was productive. The curtain for the bathroom window got sewn and hung. The bathroom door of that painted and rehung. The toilet paper holder that hung. The casement around the pantry closet got its fourth and final coat of varnish. This morning, that door got rehung. The Roomba robot vacuum got unboxed and put into service. It is diligently working its way around the living room as I write. More items got put away and others into the car for Goodwill.
(I see a black door and I want it painted white!)
Need to pick up a couple of items that sold on eBay this weekend and get them into the mail. No rest for the wicked.
I was listening to the moth radio hour last night as I drove home from Santa Rosa. Given that today is Father's Day, the stories they featured were all father related. The bulk revolved around new fatherhood, but the final installment was by a young man who as a graduate student abroad, lost his father suddenly. It focused on what he learned about his father during the morning period after his death. I nearly had to pull off the road.
I was physically present in the room with my father breathed his last, along with my mother, my sisters, and an an aunt & uncle. My father was dying of leukemia, then only a few years older than I am now. It was the culmination of a 13 year battle. Up until a few months prior, I had been in denial that my father would succumb to the disease. It had been a chronic leukemia & he'd had health crisis after health crisis for over a decade in and after surviving each of them, he'd gotten back up and went back to work. I'd been called home too many times, that he had had a "terminal" event and I would be needed to help with funeral arrangements, only to have him sitting up and reading the newspaper in his hospital bed upon my arrival. There are chronic leukemias where the patient survives 30 odd years with the illness. Most of my father's aunts and uncles made it well past 80. My grandfather didn't retire until 90. I honestly expected my father would do the same. However, 2 1/2 months prior to his death, the leukemia became acute.
At the end of June in 1995, Pop called and said, "my absolute neutrophil count is under 100." It was his way of telling me, "This is it." My response? "I will be there this weekend." It was Thursday afternoon. I caught the redeye the following night. I was able to arrange for cross coverage; 2 rent-a-docs, actually a married couple just out of their residency came in and worked my office for the duration. Nearly 3 months later. my father died on September 26. I returned home the beginning of October.
This time together left us time to talk and to simply be with one another. When Pop died, we had each said what we needed to say; we had no unfinished business with each other. A few days before he passed, I said to him not to try and hold on for us, that if it was his time to go, we would miss the hell out of him, but we would be OK. I said it, because it was something I thought he needed to hear. He was suffering. I was lying through my teeth. My inner child, the little boy within me, was not ready to say goodbye to daddy. He still isn't. 22 years later he is still hurting, & he is still grieving.
There was much I learned in the process of losing my father. Four days before his death, his calcium levels became dangerously high, not a rare side effect of his malignancy. The residents working at the hospital (an Ivy League medical school no less), responded by opening Pop's IV line wide, pumping him full of fluid, and chasing it with a diuretic. I was sitting at his bedside reading, when I noticed Pop hop out of bed for the third time in half an hour to take a leak. Now as he was not a diabetic, that made me look for the why & seeing that his IV line was wide open, I went to the nursing station to find out why. There the resident, not realizing he was talking to a fellow physician, informed me that if he didn't do something about my father's hypercalcemia he was going to die. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. I responded, "I'm sorry, but is treating his hypercalcemia going to cure his underlying leukemia, which is killing him at the moment? He is still continent and neither needs nor wants a catheter. What you are currently doing to him is not going to lengthen his life significantly and its decreasing the quality of what time he has left. Please, Stop it now."
The day prior to his death I bathed him. He was too weak to be able to do that for himself. I was my honor. I knew the end was close, and I knew that at the funeral home that there would be a ceremonial mikvah, to cleans his body one final time. I had the satisfaction of knowing that I had allowed him to feel clean while he was still able to feel it. I heard him say it. That I could do that for him still gives me some solace.
As a physician, I thought I understood death. With my father's passing, I realized I understood nothing. In my youth I struggled to be my own person, to individuate from my parents & see our differences. It was in losing him that I finally came to see how much of my father remains within me. I have his gregariousness, his sense of humor, and even the timber of his voice (though thank God I don't need a basket to carry a tune as he did). I have his flat feet and his lousy eyesight, as well as his insanely low cholesterol (likely the reason most of my his parents' generation made it into their 90s). I came to recognize just how generous he was with me emotionally, how much he was in my corner. I recognize that I had, no, have his unconditional love and that's what sustains me in enduring his loss.
To each of you reading this a happy Father's Day. And to you Pop, I love you. I wish I could hear you say it again.
[CW: ableist slurs, ableist abuse, ableist violence, filicide] and discussion of prisons
What remains to be done in the bathroom is a curtain for the window (which I am likely to make rather than buy), a toilet paper holder, door knobs for the door, hanging said door, and deciding on a bathmat. Otherwise, the bathroom is done (& the check is in the mail).