Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Kava Kava, Jose Jose"

I was listening to a 1974 playlist on my iPod this morning and said to myself, "Okay, I give up, just what the hell was John Lennon singing there?"

Here's an answer.

Then again, I grew up in the Bronx and I thought "Frere Jacques" contained the line "Sonny Lay Martinez."

Sundae Will Never Be The Same

I had dinner last night at Rosa Mexicano. They make their own guacamole in front of you. The guy asks you if your table wants guacamole and then grinds everything in a bowl right there at the table. They're the Benihana of guacamole.

I had the seared tuna on a bed of a variety of things sweet and spicy. Then I splurged on dessert. They had a sundae with Mexican chocolate ice cream that, according to the menu, was made with cinnamon and almonds. What would that taste like? Then there was another ice cream that was made with roses. What would that taste like? Would it taste like flowers?

The sundae tasted like a sundae and left me feeling bloated. I'm too used to this healthy eating nonsense now, and next time will content myself with a scoop. But the seared tuna was virtuous.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Krazy Kat Got Me Kommitted

See! They really do get lost in walls.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Couch, Fun and Guilt

My new couch was finally delivered this morning. It was back-ordered for two months. Don't ask me why. Actually, I think I know why: So the store could use my money for two months.

But it still looks great, doesn't it?

I got the pillow from the IKEA in Brooklyn. I went by subway and bus this time, which was fun because I saw neighborhoods I'd never seen before. There was an aura of mystery, too, because I never know where the hell I am when I'm in Brooklyn.

I always go to IKEA alone, because it's always so crowded there that I would feel guilty subjecting anyone else to it. There's this playroom called "Smaaland" where you can drop off your kids; maybe there should be a playroom to drop off adults who you dragged to IKEA.

Also, I like having one weekend day just to myself to take care of things that get done more quickly when you don't have to think about anyone else. Then, by the next day, I feel like Boo Radley and am happy to socialize again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Science Isn't Finished With Me Yet

This morning, I saw the specialist for the autoimmune disorder. He thinks I have the more benign form that's treatable with a medication harvested from bears. So if you see me steal a pic-a-nic basket, you'll know why.

This afternoon is my second session of physical therapy for my back. They assigned me a guy whose prior experience was in the Middle East, rehabbing people who'd had limbs blown off by suicide bombers. His main area of expertise now is treating people with chonic injuries brought on by sitting at a computer in a high-stress job, which is less stressful than having your limbs blown off by a suicide bomber, although more chronic.

Time to go hibernate.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Aggravation, Aggravation, Cultural Event, Aggravation

It's still Crunch Week in my department, but we were able to slip downstairs yesterday to watch the All-Stars Parade going past the building. I caught it just as Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford rode past, looking like a couple of grizzled WWII veterans.

Signs on top of the trucks had the names of each player. That didn't help the twenty-somethings standing behind me. "Jim Palmer? Who's that? Tommy LaSorda? Who's that?"

Back upstairs for more aggravation, this time with the help of the help desk. The system's locked me out. The system says I don't exist. The system doesn't recognize me. I have a deadline in fifteen minutes.

Then the "hurry up and wait" aggravation, waiting for approval by 5:00 so I could leave and go to the free Philharmonic Concert in Central Park. I brought a low chair that folds up into its own little carrying pouch. By 79th Street it felt as if I was carrying a set of golf clubs.

My cohorts and I set up our blankets and chairs at the same point in the Great Field where I'd sat to watch the Simon and Garfunkel Concert in 1981, a distance where you could just about distinguish Simon from Garfunkel. At that concert, my two friends from improv class and I kept saying, "This must have been what Woodstock was like," because we'd been too young to go to Woodstock. So now whenever I'm watching a concert in the park, I keep referring to the Simon and Garfunkel Concert the way hippies keep referring to Woodstock.

Like the Simon and Garfunkel Concert, there were Porta-Potties, and like the Simon and Garfunkel Concert, you had to step over other people to get to them. And the guys ended up going in the woods. I came back from the Porta-Potties to hear music playing quietly and wondered if it were a CD the Philharmonic was playing to get people to go sit down and get ready for the concert. No. It was the concert itself. Somebody had goofed on setting up the speakers; they faced in instead of out. So the sound was best if you were either a few yards away, or halfway up the road towards Fifth Avenue, where there was another set of speakers somewhere.

But even with the lousy acoustics, it was a beautiful night; warm but not humid, and the park smelled like earth. It was a good excuse for a huge open-aired picnic, and the stuff people brought was almost a caricature of a yuppie picnic. A vendor hawked red wine and white wine. Hopping to and from the Porta-Potties, I counted the number of blankets, tables and trays that had baby carrots and hummus. With my own, the number came to 30.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Year Ago Today

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Disk Error

In addition to Crunch Week at the job and getting ready for Jim's memorial for this Sunday, my sciatica's been constant lately. I could have my left thigh pierced and put an earring through it and not feel it.

Naturally, every New Ager I know would say that I'm somaticizing my feelings onto my lower back. Such people, you could have a greenstick fracture to your arm and the bone could be sticking out through your skin and they will still smile smugly and tell you it's all in your head.

But I've been "in touch with my feelings" since the '70s and let me tell you, I know a pinched nerve when I feel it as opposed to "holding tension in my lower back and if I would only get in touch with my feelings, it would go away." As if my feelings were some remote, alien things to which I had an autistic's disconnect, and only the Smug New Agers held the key to release Rapunzel from her feelings-ignorant prison.

Three years ago when I had a flare-up of symptoms, I spoke with my husband's neurologist.

"Sounds like a pinched nerve in the lower back," she surmised. "Take some Tylenol, heat and gentle exercise and if it's not better by Monday, call me." It was better by Monday, and in the intervening three years, it was always better by Monday. But for the past few months, instead of three days of sciatica followed by three months of being pain-free, it's been the other way around.

There is certainly enough emotionally to deal with, and I'm not in denial about that. There's the memorial service, which I set up and coordinated, and where I feel as if I have to come up with the ultimate speech about who Jim was and what he meant to me.

Then last week, the day before my birthday, my internist called.

"I have the results of your blood work."

"You gave me the results of my blood work two weeks ago."

"Yes, but we ran other blood work on your blood work, and you have an auto-immune disorder."

She referred me to a specialist, who I'll be seeing the week after next. I Googled "auto-immune disorder" and the treatment is steroids, which have numerous unwanted side-effects, the least of which is making you as fat as that Violet kid in Willy Wonka. The words "no" and "second opinion" come to mind.

So even when I set aside some time to talk it over, think it over, write it over and give vent to all feelings and possible solutions to what's pressuring me, I still feel as if I need root canal on the bones of my butt. Because, to paraphrase Olivia Newton-John, it's physical, you idiot! Physical! Physical! Even a secular New Age neurotic living in downtown Manhattan has problems, especially at 54, that stem from physical causes and need to be seen by an allopathic, Establishment, degree-from-a-recognized-medical-school doctor.

So I'll be seeing her on Friday, and she'll probably send me for an MRI to confirm most likely a slipped disk, and I'll wave that MRI in front of all of the "it's all in your head" people. Then I'll get a prescription for physical therapy and learn the exercises they give me, the way I did for my knee. And thus I will continue to take responsibility for my health, although to hear the Smug People speak, that would be like handing over the controls of a 747 to an inebriated toddler.

Update, Friday Afternoon: I'm back from the back. It's a pinched nerve, "although stress doesn't help," and the treatment is physical therapy, a heating pad and OTC pain-killers. If there's no improvement after a month, I have to come back for more tests.

I have a feeling there will be an improvement. For one thing, I notice that I hunker down in my chair gripping my keyboard as if I'm about to be launched bodily into cyberspace, an action that has to be turning my vertebrae into a stack of pancakes. That's probably the part that stress doesn't help.

So onward and outward to Sunday, and then Monday I'll call the physical therapy people.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Oh hey hen, I'm gonna pat all eggs

Here's the answer to a quesiton that's been plaguing me since middle school: What the Hell was Joe Cocker singing?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

That Super-Ego Negro By The Piano

There were a bunch of links today on New Republic's blog commemorating classic Clay Felker-era articles in New York Magazine.

I remember reading this one when I was 16, around the time I started making clandestine trips out of the Neighborhood and into (Whore! Idiot!) The City, by myself. It brought together all of the class and social distinctions I was grappling with at the time.

Like, Leonard Bernstein and his (beard) wife had a really cool apartment and lots of money, but all their friends seemed stupid and shallow and phony. And the outer borough people, that's where I was from, but I wanted to be from there, not stuck there the rest of my life and fearful and envious of the people with more.

And the Black Panthers, like the other radicals, I liked the way they wouldn't let themselves be defined by The Establishment, but I could relate to what Barbara Walters said to a Panther wife:
"All I’m asking is if we can work together to create justice without violence and destruction!"

Nobody had a satisfactory answer to that question, and a few years later we forgot about all that silly seriousness and went disco-dancing and got drunk and elected Ronald Reagan. And I moved into The City. By myself.

And now that I'm headed towards Grumpy Old Ladyhood, I'm reading this article again and the person I can relate to the most is Otto Preminger:

"You dun’t read anyt’ing! Dat’s your tdrouble!”

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