Way back in the late Ordovician, before TV was even in color (!) there was a show on TV called “The Life of Riley” that starred William Bendix. It was a situation comedy, and just after they’d gotten into the situation, Bendix would break the fourth wall, look straight into the camera and say his catch phrase, “What a revolting development this is.”
Well, in this situation comedy that is my life at the moment, the situation is this: That slight numbness I’d gotten in the tips of a couple of fingers which I thought was from chemotherapy has continued to get worse. Now instead of just being on the tip of my middle fingers and along the left index finger, its on the tips of index, middle and ring fingers of both hands, and the pads of both thumbs. It’s not exactly numbness. It’s a little like pins and needles, and it amplifies sharp sensations way out of proportion. Stuff that should just register as slightly pointed is painfully sharp.
Here’s the deal: Mom has restless leg syndrome/peripheral neuropathy in her feet. Some of the causes of it are heritable. If I’ve inherited what she’s got, I’d rather have it in my feet than my hands (touch typing, knitting, and the zillion other things I do dexterously manually). But — oh, that “but” — there are other possible causes: Chemotherapy, carpal tunnel syndrome, and C2 radiculopathy. My second cervical vertebra (C1 has your head on top of it, C2 has C1 on top of it) is slightly cattywompus due to an old shoulder/neck injury from trying to lift a 40 lb bottle of water and upend it onto the water dispenser. I’m hoping that it’s mostly C2 radiculopathy and the chiropractor can improve it. I’m a side sleeper, too, which doesn’t help. Stay tuned.
When I went to my appointment at the VA, I did get three or four x-ray views of my tootsies. But then after I talked to my PCP, she sent me back for four or five views of my neck, including one with my mouth open, aimed straight into my mouth. (Yeah.) So bright and early this AM, the lady at the chiropractor calls me to schedule a chiropractic appointment for my neck. (My mom’s mom, a second generation Texan who spoke German better than she spoke English, called them “punch doctors”) I’ve never been to one, so I have that (and a passel of paperwork. Sigh!) to look forward to this Friday.
Today was my day for running errands hither and yon all over town. I yonned way the heck out to 122nd street and discovered I could have done what I needed to do there on line. (Well, zut, alors.) Then I hithered my way back by the bank to deposit a check, by Market Street on 50th and Indiana Avenue to make a donation to the Goodwill truck that they let park in their parking lot, by Red Lobster to treat myself to lunch and kill time until the framing studio opened at 1 pm, by the framers to get some pictures framed, and then made a Wal-Mart run.
The way out of Wal-Mart that puts this little piggy in the best field position to go north on Quaker Avenue and wee-wee-wee all the way home goes right by the Whataburger, so naturally I drove through the drive through and got a large Dr. Pepper, which I have been sucking down in large gulps ever since. Hithering and yonning is thirsty work, especially since somebody left the heat on outside today . . . .
In the parking lot at Wal-Mart, I got a shower scattered on me as I was loading up the trunk, and when I got back home and was unloading, I got another, longer shower scattered on me to the point that I waited it out under the carport where I park. (Is it technically still a CARport if it’s long enough to park eight cars under it?)
It’s sprinkling, flashing and grumbling as I type. The current humidity is 46%, so unless some serious rain happens, it’s pretty much evaporating as soon as it hits pavement.
But we had a nice little thunderstorm at about 4 o’clock this morning and got a good little rain out of it. This is how I like my thunderstorms, them outside and me inside. We’re having a jolly one now. Serious rain is happening. We’ll take the rain, but pass on the hail, please.
Yesterday was my birthday. (Let’s just say I’m old enough to know better but still young enough to seriously consider doing it again.) So today I took myself out to eat at Red Lobster and had crab legs and fried shrimp. I love me some crab legs. I brought home half my shrimp for later, and three of their rolls. I had a sneeze’s worth of French Fries. (I’m allergic to potatoes, but I eat them anyway because I love them. They’re worth a sneeze or two.)
This is what I took to the framer today. She’s “Spider Grandmother” revered by the Hopi as Kokyangwuti and by the Navajo as Na’ashjé’íí Asdzáá. The painting is by Susan Seddon Boulet. I used to get calendars featuring her work (this is one I kept for this picture). She was famous for her “Goddess” paintings, drawing from myths and legends of cultures all over the world to celebrate the feminine.
The spider is associated with weaving/fiber arts in many cultures. (See: Arachne, the Greek version, a weaver who was turned into a spider as a punishment for hubris. The Greek gods were always coming down hard on people who got too uppity, especially women.) Native Americans see Spider Grandmother as a wise and benign leader who helps and protects the people. She taught the people how to spin wool and weave blankets to help them get through the cold winters. Of course, the role of women in a society differs from culture to culture. The Greeks were a heavily patriarchal society and there’s a good deal of misogyny inherent in their mythos. The Navajo, on the other hand, are inherently matriarchal and matrilineal, but with strong respect for the elders of both sexes.
This pair of beautiful unicorns are two others of Boulet’s works that I had framed year before last by the same framer I’m having frame this one. This new picture will be my birthday gift from my mom.
I got a DVD of “Gate of Hell” which is the first Japanese film made in color (Technicolor). It’s a tale of unignited love and obsession set in 12th century Japan. The costumes are GORGEOUS. I think I’ll watch it tonight. Either that one or “3000 Years of Longing” with Tilda Swinton. Maybe both.
One of our brightest stars winked out last Monday. Ms. LeGuin gave the above speech in 2014. It was true then, it is even more true now. She writes like she speaks, pithily and to the point, choosing her words wisely, and making every one count.
The made-up books she wrote were powerful and True. (All the best made-up books are True. That is what makes them the best.) If you read her books and think about what she wrote and why she wrote it and how it relates to the human condition, — and if you will let her — she will crowbar open the windows of your mind, throw ope the shutters, and let in the fresh air and sunlight.
From all I read and hear from those who knew her, Ursula LeGuin was a light-bringer, an illuminator. It is a trait well worth emulating. No matter whatever else you might be or do, also be a light-bringer. Bring light to all those whose lives you touch; share your light, pass it along, let others light their candle from yours and shine forth, adding their own light to the world.
When one candle gutters and goes out, it behooves us other candles to burn that much brighter and to share our light with still others, so that the light is not diminished, but increased.