A storm coming

The air blew bitter cold on the day’s first walk. Less so in the second.

On Cypress Street a hawk swooped overhead, its wing outlines sharp against a leaden sky.

I’m asking myself today: what is freedom? What is loyalty? And what kind of accountability ought to be operating in certain caregiving relationships.

Tomorrow we are supposed to get snow. Possibly a foot.

I’m taking down today’s earlier post regarding Salem. If you want an email link, I’m happy to share, but I almost always have fairly immediate misgivings about airing these personal matters.

Tomorrow, it’s back to final chapters for my manuscript.

Household phrase

“I WAS AN ENGLISH MAJOR! I KNOW THINGS!” (to be yelled like Billy Eichner interviewing New Yorkers on the street).

This week, that became a saying in this house.

It was a friendly thread on FB. Should we capitalize the word “enslaver,” asked someone who thinks about these things. Like “Democrat” or “Pope?”

I’m pretty sure everyone in the thread had come to grips with the idea that referring to ‘slaves’ as ‘the enslaved’ was less objectifying and worth the effort. And further, that replacing the benign, perhaps even noble, titles “planter” and “landowner” with “enslaver” in certain times and places in history was corrective. Necessary.

But with a capital ‘E’?

I played with the idea (Thomas Jefferson, President, Enslaver). Said I liked how it put the shameful next to the prestigious — right out there.

Martha set me straight. “Oh good grief,” she began. She made a condescending comment, complete with examples of usage. Went on to make a nonsensical distinction between occupations and appointments.

To my credit, I stayed in it without getting snide or contentious. I never mentioned the law degree that followed my English degree. She eventually gave up.

But now at odd moments in our house, you might hearing me loudly pronouncing: “I WAS AN ENGLISH MAJOR! I KNOW THINGS!”

Pages turning

Ran to the store near the lions to get my new calendar. Does that make the new year official?

Yesterday, some of us stood on the corner near Rep Kennedy’s office. I dashed off to writing class, late, while others met with our rep. Does that make the new political season official?

Also yesterday: Pelosi was sworn in as Speaker of the House, ushering in a season of HOPE and accountability.

(Year-end review produced this gratitude-soaked realization: I’ve needed no major dental work for the last two years. Ahhhh!)

Time to get back at it. It’s easier to pick up the needle than the pen, but both are in hand again.

Reading for the new year will be facilitated by the generosity of others. I’ve devoured three from this glorious pile already.

Still in between

Dumplings in Chinatown.

Home Depot run followed by Savers. Look at that beautiful linen shawl and swath of Woolrich houndstooth!

Ansel Adams at the MFA — unbelievably crowded. Tolerable because I know I’ll be back.

Watching Bird Box (creepy good with some unexplained baloney that I now call ‘the Lost Effect’ — after the TV show).

Not sharing.

Fitbit early observations: the steps have got to be inflated (it doesn’t take 1200 to get dressed and make breakfast), sleep stages are all in the normal range but I could use a little more, and I really am not that keen on having this apparatus on my wrist (don’t tell K. And anyway I know I’ll find it useful).

All good holidays now include trips to the airport. We head back to terminal B later today.

I cannot believe that I used to put out dinners for four 350 nights a year.

We are all wishing for snow.

Photo from MFA pictured above:

Interim

Picked up studio today. It felt good, necessary even. Moved two giant pin boards back downstairs, including the plot map one (I don’t need it anymore. It had become clutter). Finn wrecked the puzzle while we were out yesterday, so I slid all the pieces back into the box and put the card table away. Loving the space. If D. wasn’t coming home on Sunday, I’d take down the tree. I can wait.

Gratitude at year’s end

It took time to make all the calls — to the caseworker at the hospital, the caseworker at the caregiving agency, the O-2 people, the nurses at Davenport 7, my sister, and then all of them again. I had the time.

When the scanner on our printer didn’t work, I took pictures of her eight page health care proxy and emailed them (today’s FAX?). My sister turns 64 today and is waiting to get the okay to go home, which because of her oxygen needs, will be by ambulance.

I grocery shopped early, made lentil soup midday, and lamb for dinner. Calls all in between. Here, we all read and watched a little TV in a comfortable, restorative quiet.

I am ever so grateful.

For these legs that walk. For a body I can maneuver in and out of cars. For the car. For money to buy food, including lamb, which I love. For a pile of Christmas novels, one of which I finished yesterday.

I am grateful for the health care professionals that took over ordering the home oxygen and guaranteed that it would be in place at my sister’s return (I was struggling to figure out how to make that happen). I am grateful for the nurses, doctors, and social workers who know what to do and do it well, even on Christmas Eve and Day. I am grateful for Medicare and MassHealth. The costly intervention will not cost my sister a single penny. And good thing, too, because she has no spare pennies.

We will bring champagne and cookies, order Japanese for lunch, and deliver — you guessed it — another owl!

(I better post this now because a trio of leaf blowers over at the school and day three of tree work are getting on my nerves. And my sister just called to report not just delays in her release but idiotic tinkering with her meds).

Wending our way

We are frail. We are resilient. There comes grace and aid but also failure and the pull to extinction. We are wending our way, one and all, from birth to the grave. Hallelujah. No really: hallelujah.

Yesterday on the phone, my sister’s doctor poo poo’d me. Her oxygen levels were fine. She was likely just upset about her aide’s departure. I announced, “I’m ten minutes from calling 911.” A short time later, he made a house visit. He called 911.

What a way to spend Christmas! She was admitted last night and is now comfortable. Getting oxygen and other meds she needs. Today, K and I went first to the apartment — put out a few days’ worth of food for her cat; took out garbage; put away the bags of delivered groceries that had been abandoned. Next, we went to the hospital for a brief visit.

We are frail. We are resilient.

The seven of us that shared Christmas Eve dinner have our own impressive list of diagnoses. We aren’t particularly unusual or unhealthy. Just human.

The sense of mortality pervading this Christmas Day, believe it or not, has a holier cast than the usual holiday.

Merry Christmas, dear readers. Hope it is a warm and safe holiday for one and all!