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LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY

Teen Age Idol

I’m too old for this. Teen age idol? Aw, c’mon.

I was madly in love with Johnny Mathis (who?) then traded him in for Marlon Brando who I thought was very cerebral and deep. I loved (still love) the Beatles. the Doors and the Stones, but they weren’t my idols … just great bands I enjoyed.

I had a bit of thing for Harry Belafonte, but he was hot.

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it was more than 50 years ago. Seriously. That’s half a century.

If it was ever relevant, it has long passed over into mildly amusing trivia of the distant past.

 

THE WRONG ONE

Sometime during the last cold snap of the endless winter of  2013 – 2014, the windshield in our PT Cruiser cracked. Nothing specific happened. It just cracked. It was right before I was supposed to go into the hospital and it was not a crack that made using the car impossible, so it would have to wait until later … whenever that turned out to be.

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This morning, later arrived. My son made all the arrangements. About an hour ago, he got a call from Tim, the glass guy.

“This car doesn’t have a cracked windshield,” Tim said.

“I’m sure it doesn’t,” Owen replied. “Because our car is here in the driveway. I’m leaning on it. What color is the car you took?”

“Maroon,” said Tim.

“You took my neighbor’s car,” Owen said.

There was some back and forth as Tim ascertained that Owen wasn’t just screwing around, that he really had taken the wrong car. A few minutes ago, he came and took our car, presumably having returned the neighbor’s car before he discovered it was missing and called the cops.

I can only imagine what would have happened had the neighbor’s car had a cracked windshield too. Hmm.

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ICICLES IN NATURAL BLACK AND WHITE

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Small Subjects

How small is small enough? Icicles this past winter hung from the gutters above my office window, naturally black and white, just needing a bit of brightening and increased contrast.

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Are the icicles small enough to be small subjects? I guess it depends on your definition of small … and compared to what.

SHARING MY WORLD – WEEK 16

Share Your World – 2014 Week 16

How many places have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

Okay. This is a real challenge since I’ve moved around quite a bit in two different countries and several American states.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York. I have no idea where I first lived, but eventually we moved to Rose Street in Freeport, Long Island. By the time I was 4, my parents had bought a house in Holliswood, Queens.

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I lived there until I turned 16, at which point I moved to a shared house near Hofstra College in Hempstead. I wasn’t there long because I got married at 18 and Jeff and I moved to an apartment on Front Street in Hempstead. We were there just a year, then bought a cute little house on Bedford Avenue in nearby Uniondale. Eight years there.

The house was friendly, cozy … but had only 1 bathroom — which proved to be a problem. We balanced the cost of adding a bath against selling and getting a bigger house and bigger house won.

So we moved to a big Georgian-style house on Dikeman Street in Hempstead. Built in 1928, it was a classic old house — a classic money pit too. We loved it.

115 Dikeman Street

It needed tons of work. Endless. No matter. I loved it anyhow. But life was changing. Jeff got kidney cancer, then had a heart attack … and I needed to move on with life. I wanted a different life, so I left the house and the U.S. — and everything else — to Jeff. I took my son and moved to Israel.

The first place I lived was the absorption center in Gilo, outside Jerusalem. Almost in Bethlehem, really. Then, after getting involved with the guy I would so unwisely marry, moved to his house on Rehov Peterson, then to a new apartment and finally to an old Arab-build place on Derech Hevron, just down the road from the Old City.

Where I used to live.

Where I used to live.

Years passed. I was going home. First stop, Jeff’s house on Dikeman Street, then a tiny rental apartment in Waltham, then a condo I bought (again, unwisely) in Lynn. After that, Garry and I were together and moved into his place at Charles River Park in downtown Boston.

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A year later, we found a tiny (adorable and cockroach-infested) apartment on Grove Street on Beacon Hill.

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No, not done yet.

We bought a triplex townhouse in Roxbury. It was a great place and the ONLY home I’ve ever had with a really fine kitchen and enough closets. But then there were dogs and the big dig and we fled Boston for the far suburbs landing in the Blackstone Valley. Here we have remained.

Home

Home

What type of music relaxes you the most?

Classical for relaxing, but folk, country and some rock for listening! I’m eclectic.

If you could instantly become fluent in another language, what would that language be and why?

Spanish, because a lot of people speak it and I don’t.

If you could fly or breathe under water what would you prefer?

Not an easy choice, but flying has to be the winner here. How can I help it? To soar in the sky, free of the earth? Got to do it!

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A MIDWEEK UPDATE

Time for an update!

The visiting nurse made her final visit today. I am officially able to be on my own. I have been assured no matter how I feel, I’m doing really well.

All four of my incisions itch. The big one down my chest, the medium one on my shoulder and the two smaller ones on my left leg. I dare not scratch but oh, how badly I wish to claw at those incisions!

My chest still hurts. I can’t pick anything up. It’s an interesting cocktail of sensation. My guts are in knots because it appears I have picked up a case of The Stomach Virus That’s Going Around. Garry has it, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that I have it too, but the timing could be better. Keeps things lively in an unpleasant way.

It turns out what’s been making the chest pain worse is my computer. Not the computer per se. It’s the picking up and putting back that’s making my sternum hurt, so now I have to ask Garry to hand the computer to me, then put it back when I’m done.

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It’s almost as bad as needing help to go to the toilet. Okay, not quite that bad, but bad enough. And this is my ultrabook, the lightest computer I own. Not counting the tablet which is under-powered and runs Windows 8, a hateful operating system that renders it even more useless than it would otherwise be. Seriously useless.

But — I digress.

am getting better. I can’t see the changes from one day to the next, but I can see the differences from week to week. I’m a lot stronger than I was, but it’s infuriatingly slow.

Impatience has always been my nemesis. This time I have to find patience. I can’t let myself get stressed, can’t push the process. It takes time for bones to heal, for a new valve to settle down, for a reshaped ventricle to work properly. It’s only three weeks since I came home from the hospital. It will be at least another seven before I can haul a laptop without help.

I’d heave a sigh, but it would hurt.

GROWING OLDER

Marilyn and I are watching a “NCIS” episode involving Gibbs and his dad. Mark Harmon and the late Ralph Waite. We’ve seen it before but it’s an especially poignant show because Waite died just a few months ago and the story deals with a difficult father son situation.

It also touches home on aging and health issues. Gibbs’ dad, his driving license just revoked, is desperate to find an old war buddy who is dying. Gibbs is preoccupied with a case and impatient with his dad. Conversation is awkward. It reminds me of another father and son.

My dad was never big on intimacy. We’d talk about sports and men’s clothing. Towards the end of his life, My dad talked a bit about frustration with his health. He was a big, strong man who was very handy for most of his years. Now, he mostly sat in the dark as his strength ebbed. Conversation was even more difficult. Even sports and men’s clothing drew little interest. The award-winning TV news journalist was having difficulty talking to his father. The image of my father, the younger man, kept flashing through my mind as we sat in silence. I made a silent vow that I would not become my father, wrapped in silence.

Almost 20 years later, that vow is still flashing through my mind. For one thing, I’m no longer the perennial young man whose pictures adorn our home. Mortality has made its presence known. Marilyn is fighting to regain some semblance of quality of life after complex heart valve surgery. She is a proud, fiercely independent woman who doesn’t like asking for help. It’s awkward for both of us. We make jokes about our so-called golden years but we don’t really laugh.

Photo: Debbie Stone

Photo: Debbie Stone

It’s funny because we actually look younger than people our age a generation ago. But it doesn’t help when we hear our bones creaking. It’s certainly no joke to Marilyn who wonders if she’ll be able to do some very basic things to re-establish her independence.

Marilyn has had health issues most of her life so she is no stranger to pain. Fittingly, she sometimes looks at me wryly when I complain about aches. Who do I think I am? Well, I am that vain guy who burned through a lot of prime years with little regard about paying the piper.

The dues are coming in. But the reporter in me must acknowledge there are so many others who have more serious health issues. That’s probably an understatement if you just flip through today’s news stories. Still, growing older isn’t the picture perfect stuff of those old movies.

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