Saturday, October 28, 2006

947 Annoyed with Coldwater Creek

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I like Coldwater Creeks' travel knit (lycra) pants. They are silky and stretchy and drapey and supremely comfortable, and last forever. But, they are pull-on, elastic waist, no pockets, and therefore in my opinion not worth most of the $60-$70 Coldwater Creek wants for them. So I buy them on sale. At 50% off or more, that approaches perfection.

So, I found a notice in my email Thursday night that it was the last day! of a 50% off sale of everything in the online store. Wow! On the one hand, I don't need more clothes, but having gone from large to medium to small in the past several months, I do need more clothes that fit, and especially pants, especially in solid colors other than black. So I looked to see what they had, pushed myself to stay awake, and I bought a few pairs in brown and dark green and navy. I finished my order at 11:45 pm, just under the wire, and was very proud of myself.

Today I find in my email a notice that today is the last day! of a 60% off sale of everything. (The email implies everything online, but I think it's actually everything in the "outlet" section, but everything eventually ends up there anyway, so it's probably everything left from the 50% sale of Thursday. Like, the stuff I just bought.)

I am miffed.

946 Birthday & Theater Group

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friday, yesterday, (it seems so much longer ago than that), was my 62nd birthday.

Roman called almost as soon as I walked in the door Thursday. He called from the LI Expressway, where he was on the way to visit his parents. He asked me out to lunch on Friday, for my birthday. That was nice of him. When I checked my email later, I found a birthday ecard from him.

We met at noon in Rhinebeck, and had a three-hour lunch at Foster's. He was teaching an evening class, and was getting a little antsy toward the end of the time, but it was good conversation anyway.

Then I went directly from there to the theater to help with whatever I could. I changed into grungies I had brought along, met some of the set people, and painted about a hundred acres of canvas and plywood flat black. I'm happy with a paintbrush or roller in my hand. Not very creative, but then I don't need creative. There's still a feeling of having accomplished something solid.

After I got home, I found two more (snail mail) birthday cards in the mail from Roman, an ecard from Daughter, an ecard from a friend of Daughter (the young man who reminds me so much of Jay, and whom I want to adopt), a chorus of "Happy Birthday to You" on the phone tape, and later another live rendition including the new son-in-law.

I also found a phone message from Sister, so I played phone tag with her a bit until we caught each other, and that's when I got the latest bad news about Nephew. Which led to more phone tag with Daughter. Then I called Roman to thank him for the additional cards and for lunch - I knew he was teaching a class and wouldn't answer his cell, so the intent was to just leave him a brief thank you message, but he answered, class had ended earlier than I thought, so we talked for a while, I told him about what was going on with Nephew, until Daughter returned my call and I had to cut him off.

I ventually got back to the computer, and the last I remember the clock said 2:30 am, and then I woke up with my head on the desk and it was 5 am. I went to bed for four more hours. I wanted to go back to the theater this afternoon, but I'm totally wiped, and my jaw hurts, and I have a terrible headache from bending my neck funny sleeping at the desk, so I'm not going.

There's been too much high and too much low with too much activity in between. I need a day of rest. I'll go tomorrow.

945 Nephew

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A commenter has asked for news about my nephew. I've been putting that off because it's not good at all.

After last Saturday's surgery, they had put him into a deeper coma (I didn't know they got any deeper!) and then took him off that medication later. Wednesday he was dumping urine. Thursday his pupils were no longer reacting - one is dilated and the other is constricted, but neither react to light. So they (finally!) did some kind of test for brain activity, and there isn't any. His heart is beating on its own, and although he's on a respirator, he's "one breath ahead of the respirator", but there are no higher functions.

So, decisions have to be made.

I asked my sister what the law is in Florida, who can make those decisions. He's 37 and had never married, no children. His mother, I guess? (She's our ex-sister-in-law. It gets complicated. When she and our brother got divorced, Nephew was very small. When she remarried, our brother allowed her new husband to adopt Nephew. They later divorced, and she remarried again. So Nephew has a birth father, an adopted father, and a step-father, all of whom have been very connected and involved. He has always been close to our family.)

Two weeks ago when I asked if he had a living will, my sister said no. Last night I made some comment about the lack of a living will, and Sister said that, um, uh, they'd, uh, found one. Located with the, uh, help of family friends. So there should be no problems, especially since I doubt that anyone would object to any decisions made by his mother.

They're talking about organ donation.

If I have to go to Florida, it will probably be on short notice, and more than two overnights, which gets complicated finding care for Miss Thunderfoot, so Roman has agreed to keep her for me for a few days if and when necessary. He likes cats. I am grateful.

944 Rochester Strange

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I didn't get out of the house Tuesday as early as I'd planned. It's usually about a six hour drive to Rochester, and I wanted to get to Jay's father's house in time for dinner. I had been invited to stay there, but I prefer a hotel (I can keep my own hours), so I had a reservation nearby. I ended up calling from east of Syracuse to tell Jay's sister that I'd get there about seven pm. That was the first strangeness. SIL said that since Dad went to bed about 8, there was no point in my stopping by, so she assumed that I'd just go directly to my hotel and arrange for my own dinner.

Now, if it were anyone else, I'd say, well, there'd be an hour with him, and you'll be up later, right? But I long ago learned that when SIL says something, you simply accept. It's pointless and possibly even dangerous to question, suggest, or argue.

So I went to the hotel ... where the fire alarm went off at 10 pm, and blared for 45 minutes before the firemen turned it off. When it started, I had grabbed my jacket and purse and headed for the exit, but met some men coming up the stairs who said that the guy at the desk had said it was a false alarm and we could go back to our rooms. That bothered me. How could he be so sure it was a false alarm, without having checked upstairs? I don't know what the firemen did to decide they could turn the alarm off, but they didn't come upstairs, either. The only reason I decided to stay in the room was that my window opened onto the roof over the front door, so I had a backup escape route. (Well, the primary reason was that it was COLD outside.)

The next morning I went to Dad's. He was eating breakfast and didn't recognize me until SIL told him who I was. The first thing I noticed was that he was looking very frail, a lot more bent and unsteady on his feet. He has some dementia, but I'm not convinced it's Alzheimers.

One minute he and I would be having a good conversation about, oh, say the cycle of natural destruction, terraforming, and growth in the rainforest, and ten minutes later he'd decide (more like insist, over my protestations) that I was a security inspector with Homeland Security, interviewing him to get his views on what needs to be improved in Rochester. He argued that the street signs would confuse any emergency assistance from outside the area. He was very logical and reasonable in that argument, and also right - the Rochester metro area is a pastiche of small towns all schmushed seamlessly together, and each municipality has a different name for the same street, the street name changes at arbitrary points, and street signs are often absent, so even with a map it can be difficult to figure out what street you're on. The only strangeness in that conversation was that he didn't know who I was. Ten more minutes and he's telling me about how his hearing going, and vision so bad, and the iffy short-term memory, leaves him isolated and feeling that he has no control. Very aware and rational. Half hour later he's doing or saying something wildly irrational and very very strange, out of contact with his surroundings.

The good part is that he is apparently always pleasant and even-tempered. Which is interesting, because prior to his health problems, he was exacting, demanding, and irrascible.

I feel sorry for him. With the hearing and sight problems, he can't really read or watch TV. He used to go for long walks with his little dog every day, but is having difficulty walking now, so that's out. He has 24-hour caregivers, but I don't think they, like, read to him or whatever. So I guess he gets very little stimulation, dozes in his recliner most of the day. He does go to monthly luncheons with old coworkers and groups he used to be active in, so there's that. There's an elder center nearby that SIL tried to get him interested in a year or two ago, they have classes and field trips and activities, but I think he rejected that after deciding that the other elderly were, um, inane. I don't know what else can be done to make one day different from the day before.

The caregiver whom SIL had arrived to fire, being unaware that SIL was swooping in from Washington, had taken Dad on a 300-mile trip last weekend to visit her son in college. Of course Dad paid for the entire trip. SIL says he was so tired he slept all day Monday. When SIL fired the woman, she went through the kitchen and took all the food, claiming that she had paid for all of it.

I left at a little after 7 pm, when they were sitting down to dinner. I have a problem with my jaw at the moment, and can't chew, so I wasn't going to eat with them. By the way, note the time. The day before, 7 pm was too late for me to arrive. Oh, well.

SIL, the day caregiver, and Dad were leaving the next morning, Thursday, at 11 am to attend one of Dad's luncheons. I had to go home Thursday because I hadn't made arrangements for Miss Thunderfoot (and the original plan was for SIL to fly home Thursday, too, so I had assumed I'd be taking her to the airport on my way out, but she changed her flight to Friday). So I told SIL I'd stop in again before they left for the luncheon, and I'd call if it looked like I wouldn't make it.

When I arrived at 10 am (I ate breakfast first), I found Dad already in the car, and SIL and the day lady on their way out the door. They were leaving early because they wanted to stop at the bank and blah blah. Duh? SIL was angry at me for not having called. Duh? (She knew where I was staying. She could have called me.) I had to go to the bathroom so bad, the once-a-day one, ya know?, but I didn't feel like I could ask to use the bathroom. You don't inconvenience SIL. Especially when she has already determined that it's my fault for not calling. So I hugged Dad and left, and hurried to the first rest stop on the Thruway.

I don't know why I was so tired, but about four hours into the trip I couldn't keep my eyes open, so I took an hour nap in the car at a rest area. I got home a little after 6 pm.

It was all very strange.

Friday, October 27, 2006

943 I'm Back

Friday, October 27, 2006

I got home Thursday evening. About 6 pm-ish, I think. I don't remember. Lots of stuff happened, stuff I want to remember. Skeleton, to be fleshed out when I have more time:

Theater group

Monday, October 23, 2006

942 Nephew

Monday, October 23, 2006

I worked at the museum this afternoon. When I got home there was a message on my phone from Sister. She hadn't been in touch because she'd had a bad cold and so hadn't been to the hospital, and had nothing to report. But today she had talked to ... someone ... and called to fill me in.

Nephew had a craniotomy on Saturday. They removed (presumably) necrotic matter from the frontal lobes (Sister said "front lobals", so I assume that's what she meant) to help reduce the swelling and give some breathing room. I guess the pneumonia must be better, because her message said he made it through the surgery just fine, although he's still in a coma.

I called her back this evening, but her phone went directly to message, so I assume she was at the hospital.

I'm a little surprised that the doctors employed such a drastic measure when they are not encouraging hope. (Good article on the function of the frontal lobes:

In other news, I got a call from a guy with the amateur theater group - they need help with set construction and lighting for the production opening this coming Sunday evening (I think...). I told him I would be out of town for a few days, but would be able to help probably Friday afternoon, definitely Saturday and Sunday. He was pleased. So am I.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

941 Why Blogs Die

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yesterday, looking for my past entry about Nephew at my mother's funeral, I reread a lot of my old entries, and was amazed at how much my journal has changed. The difference from the beginning on AOL in June of 2004 and now is amazing. I used to write a lot of opinion and observation. Now it's mainly "I went there, I did that", without a lot of thought or comment.

I started the journal on AOL when I was just starting to come out of the depression and isolation I had gone into when Jay died. I used it to work through my feelings, to remember our relationship, to think about what I had learned, to break the isolation. I needed to think some things through, to get some things out, to put them outside myself so I could let them go. I don't have to keep going over those things now in my head, they are someplace safe forever, not lost.

The journal didn't always show what was going on in my mind. The surface things I wrote about were often just the waves on top. I sometimes went into rants, which was an improvement on the prior three years of not feeling anything. It was an exercise in feeling.

Then Roman happened, and the character of the journal changed. Emotional stress. Too much feeling too suddenly, and no one to talk to about what was happening.

Some people who know that I keep a blog (but don't know where it is) have asked why (especially when their only knowledge of blogs is MySpace and the like, which horrifies them, they can't imagine me doing THAT!). The "why" changes as conditions change. Right now it's sort of just to keep track of my days. My daily notes.

So then thinking about that got me thinking about how over the past two years, many of the blogs I had been following have died, or have gone private, and I wondered if they "got old". I guess many of them probably died of old age and boredom. They had outlived their purpose.

Blogs with a theme, like photos, political comment or current events, seem to last longer than personal blogs. When they die, it's often because their readership got too large, trolls moved in, the comments area took on a life of its own, becoming virtually a chat room, and the blog owner finally lost patience with mediating arguments, taking abuse from idiots, and cleaning up the comments. So they close and lock the doors. Sometimes they open shop again in a different "storefront", under a different name.

Some personal blogs start out in the "I went here, I did that" vein, then some late night, the owner drops a bomb, a personal revelation that scares him or her, and they disappear. It appears to me that the need to make the revelation, to come clean, was probably the impetus for the blog in the first place, but the owner wasn't ready yet, took too long to get to it, and in the meantime built up a readership that they suddenly realized were NOT the people they really wanted to reveal this stuff to. Panic, end of blog.

Something I saw a lot of on AOL was scammer blogs, filled with sob stories of mistreatment, misfortune, and how bravely the blog owner is coping. They eventually build a loyal following of syncophants who will valiantly defend their hero against anyone who questions the inconsistencies in the stories, the blatant impossibilities, the similarities to old novels. Then comes the "it would make so much difference if I had a ....". I watched one woman scam a new computer with all the bells and whistles out of her readership. She was working on a car (her old one being too unreliable to pick up her emotionally disabled son at the residental facility for his Christmas visit home, etc, sob sob), when she suddenly went private. I guess she had her base of suckers, and didn't want any more of those nasty "why don't you look for a job" or "how come you can go visit a boyfriend in another state when you can't feed your child" hecklers. Easier to milk her victims in private, without interference.

And then there's the folks who talk about their life which (oh, wow!) intersects with the lives of others (no kidding!), or a job, and the others find the blog, and have fits. What they don't realize is that although they recognize themselves in entries, nobody else would recognize them! Only another friend in common or coworker could recognize them, and then if what it written is true and known, how can they reasonably object? I mean, is the blog owner not allowed to have observations? An opinion? Is it a law that you have to keep your opinions to yourself? And don't give me that "to the whole world!" crap. Nobody knows who you ARE! But the blogger gets so much guff he or she has to censor the blog out of existence.

I don't tell very many people who know me how to find this blog, but if anyone put even an ounce of thought into it they'd know exactly what to look for. And I don't care. Anything I may have said about anyone else is the truth as I see it, and certainly my opinion, and I am a very open person, so they already know what that opinion is. There should be no shocks. (Well, maybe the ditz from an entry or two back, but everyone knows she's a ditz, so it wouldn't be shocking to anyone else, and she's such a ditz that even given the date and the others at the table, she wouldn't recognize herself, and of all the people we know in common, she's the only one who would be stupid enough to explain it to the ditz. So, I'm safe.)

So, blogs grow up, learn, mature, and then either commit suicide, are murdered, or have fulfilled their purpose and die of old age.

Mine is going to limp on forever, through dementia, if necessary. Just like me. Something exciting might happen at any moment, and neither the blog nor I want to miss it.