Thursday, August 21, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/20/14: Target Kindness, Nap Therapy, Daytime Jeopardy Finale

1.  I'm having some difficulties securing a bottle of Lisinopril at the Richmond Hwy Target at the corner of Southgate Drive.  Same old, same old.  The prescription expired.  I had to call my Eugene doctor to get it renewed since I'm not established here.  I thought the Eugene had called Target, but found that hadn't happened yet.  On and on.  BUT, the pharmacy people at Target have been so pleasant to deal with that any frustration I might have felt never happened and, as a bonus, to help keep my blood pressure where it should be,  Rhadika, the pharmacist, gave me some pills to take until this gets straightened out. 

2.  The Deke and I talked about whether we were going to D. C. in the evening and I surprised myself with my crankiness on the phone.  I realized it was from not getting enough sleep and remedied that problem with a couple of afternoon naps. 

3.  The death of Don Pardo this week got me thinking about watching Jeopardy on weekday mornings at home in Kellogg and I wondered if I could hear Art Fleming say "thank you, Don Pardo" again when he entered the television studio.  Since, as I've heard, everything is on, I figured I could watch some old daytime Jeopardy footage and I was right.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the final episode of daytime Jeopardy, broadcast on Friday, January 3, 1975.  You can, too. Just click here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/19/14: Meds, Costco Excursion, Beer Run

1.  Because I think we'll live in Maryland and, I think, we'll move within the next month, I was dragging my feet on having my meds transferred, but I needed to do it today and went to the local Target and took care of that piece of business, knowing I'll be having the prescriptions transferred again when we get settled in Maryland.  (And, who knows, we might end up living in Virginia.  I'll believe we've made a decision when we sign a lease....)

2.  Molly needed some things from Costco and I volunteered to go buy them and it was fun -- it's hard to explain why it was fun -- I enjoyed tracking down the things I purchased and continuing to get a feel for this area where I'm living.

3.  I got back from Costco and we made a quick unanimous family decision that we'd like to have some more beer in the house, so Molly and I went to Giant and I bought us some Crispin Pear Cider, a six pack of Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, a six pack of Lagunitas A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale, and a six pack of  Breckenridge Vanilla Porter.  There was something in this purchase to please everyone (I hope) and it gives us all a chance to try some new beers and enjoy ones some of us have relished in the past.  Molly and I had a good time picking out these beers as we did our best to please each member of the family. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/18/14: Done, Dog Peace, Sublime Cider

1.  I got some small business things taken care of that were putting more weight on my mind than they deserved.

2.  When Yzerman, Charly, and Maggie were all resting and sleeping on the sofa together and I was seated at the end, it was one of the most extended times of serenity I've experienced in months.  

3.  I blissfully discovered today that in that six pack of beverages the Deke brought down from Nanuet, New York was the very best hard cider I have tasted:  McKenzie's Seasonal Reserve Hard Cider, out of West Seneca, NY.  It was brown sugary, cinammony, but not awful sweet.  It was like drinking a superb apple pie. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/17/14: Two Versions of the Same Selfie, Fruit Beer Fest, Yakking in the Kitchen

1.  It was fun working with pictures I took, after I'd been away from it for a couple of weeks.  If you read this blog from time to time, you know I enjoy taking kind of oddball self-portraits -- well, selfies.  I took this one in color on King Street in Old Town Alexandria on Saturday and edited it in both color and black and white.  Here are the two versions:

2.  The Deke returned from her visit to New York with a six-pack of four beers and two ciders from Growler and Gill in Nanuet.  Molly and I enjoy fruit beers and especially enjoyed the Strawberry Lager and the Lemon Wheat from Abita Brewing Co. in Covington, LA. 

3.  Sitting there at the kitchen table splitting bottles of beer, tasting, commenting was more more than a mini beer fest.  The Deke, Molly, and I got in some good time shooting the breeze about all kinds of stuff.  Hiram did a lot to get David and Olivia ready for bed and it left the three of us about forty minutes to enjoy one another's company and yak.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/16/14: Wandering Around Old Town, Sushi at Momo, States and Capitals

1.  I took the bus to Old Town Alexandria and wandered around, checked out the Farmer's Market at City Hall Square, and enjoyed listening to a string quartet made up of members of the same family.

2.  Next door to Bilbo Baggins is a Japanese restaurant, Momo, and I stopped in for lunch and ate three orders of Nigiri sushi, eel, sweet shrimp, and sweet fried tofu and two spicy Maki rolls, scallops and tuna.  It was delicious and I always find the variety and the surprises of eating sushi a lot of fun.

3.  I also listened to a father quizzing his, I'd say, five year old daughter on states and capitals.  I silently chuckled as he told her the capital of W. Virginia was Wheeling and, until his wife corrected him, that the capital of New York was Buffalo.  I wanted to pass him a note, telling him that Charleston is the capital of W. Virginia, but I figured some day the family would figure it out. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/15/14: Inertia Broken, Molly Likes Peach Beer!, Soup and Family

1. I broke some  inertia. I cleaned up my laptop's desktop.  I backed up all the pictures I hadn't backed up for a while and got other documents organized. 

2.  Molly was getting dinner ready and the Deke skyped from Nyack to tell us about the great taproom and bottle house she'd been to in Nanuet called the Growler and Gill and this led to Molly saying she'd like to try Flying Doghead's Festina Peche and she loved it and I enjoyed a glorious bottle of this peach infused, tart, very refreshing neo-Berliner Weisse along with Molly.  I'd called it a landmark moment in our seventeen years as (step)father and daughter!

3.  Molly fixed a divine potato soup and she fried bacon really crisp for a topping, along with grated Mexican cheese, and eating this superb soup together got Hiram, Molly, and I talking about how privileged we feel to have good family. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Day a Cop Drew a Gun on Me

Back in the spring of 1994, in Eugene, OR, Jeff swung by the house and we made sure we had our tickets and we headed off toward the WOW Hall to enjoy the first of a three night run of shows given by Zero, one of our favorite jam bands.

As we were strolling through the alleys, we nonchalantly noted that there sure were a lot of police in the area.

What we didn't know was that an armed man had just stolen a vehicle from Valley River Center, a mall about ten minutes away, come into our neighborhood, forced his way into a woman's house, and, for reasons I don't remember, fled on foot.

The woman called 911 and described the caller as having a pony tail and wearing a black Levi jacket and jeans.

Jeff's hair was pulled back in a ponytail.  He was wearing a black Levi jacket and jeans.

As we continued down the alleys between Madison and Lincoln Streets, we came to a vacant lot at the corner of W. Broadway and Lincoln and a SWAT team confronted us.

They weren't wearing camo, but were dressed in the all black SWAT team gear and the team's leader, head shaved and amped up had his pistol drawn and was pointing it directly at me and Jeff.


Immediately, the officers separated us, handcuffed Jeff, and began to question us.

It took about twenty minutes, but, thanks to a security officer at the mall who had seen the real perp and came to the scene and identified that Jeff was not the guy, the SWAT team let us go.

I've thought quite a bit about this incident over the last four or five days.

From the moment I saw that cop's gun drawn on me, I had confidence that this situation would all work out.

I never once thought we'd be hauled in.

It never crossed my mind that I might be treated unjustly. 

I never once thought that that officer would shoot me.

I did nothing to earn that confidence.

I was born into it. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/14/14: Comfort of a Bed, Confused Corgis, Grocery Bag Excitement

1.  While the Deke and I figuring out where to live -- Virginia or Maryland?  near Molly and Hiram or near the Deke's job? -- Molly and Hiram are letting us stay with them.  I have been sleeping on the couch in the living room and I'm fine with that, no complaints whatsoever, BUT, I have to admit, that when the Deke left today to go to Nyack to visit Adrienne and Jack, I darted upstairs and laid down on the bed she's been sleeping in, enjoyed its comfort, and caught up on some of the sleep I've lost sleeping on the couch.  I look forward to a bit more comfortable night's sleep tonight, as well. 

2.  Another reason I holed up in the room upstairs was to keep Maggie and Charly behind a closed door with just me as company for a while.  Understandably, they are not quite sure what's going on.  One day they lived in Eugene.  Then they lived in a car for a long day.  Then they lived in Kellogg for about three weeks and then the car again and a motel in Rapid City and then an unfamiliar lake house on Lake Michigan and then back in the car and now this townhouse in Groveton/Alexandria.  They have two children to keep an eye on.  Charly is freaked out by the cat.  They don't want the old dog Yzerman coming into "their" room.  I think they wish we'd get our minds made up about where to live and settle in somewhere.  As I write this, they are both stretched out, relaxed, Charly on the bed,  Maggie on the floor.  They've been settled down for several hours now and I hope they enjoyed a more peaceful day and don't resent me keeping them away from all the things that rile them up. 

3.  Molly and Hiram returned today from the Ft. Belvoir Commissary and I couldn't help but wonder if Olivia and David feel any of the excitement when paper bags of groceries come into the house that I felt when Mom came home from her Saturday weekly grocery shopping spree at Stein's IGA when I was a youngster.  As Molly and Hiram unpacked Gatorade and grapes and chips and pretzels and breakfast cereal and lunch meat and many other goodies, I was suddenly back in Kellogg, happy that Mom had bought pop and potato chips and cans of green beans and ice cream and cans of chili and milk and orange juice and all the other stuff I loved to eat and drink as a kid.  I felt some of that same excitement today.  I guess it makes sense.  It is, after all, Throwback Thursday!

Three Beautiful Things 08/13/14: Danny Almonte Doc, Portland Mavericks Doc, Martha Stewart in a Pot

1.  Via, today I watched a 30 for 30 Short entitled "Kid Danny".   Remember Danny Almonte?  Back in 2001, he was a dominating pitcher in the Little League World Series and played for a team from the Bronx.  It turned out he was two years older than the Little League 12 year old age limit and this movie is a documentary in which Danny Almonte tells his story.  I enjoyed watching it, but, predictably, found the adult behavior that lay behind Danny Almonte's cheating to be just awful.

2.  I was on a baseball documentary roll today and watched The Battered Bastards of Baseball, the fascinating and entertaining story of when actor Bing Russell, actor Kurt Russell's father, owned an independent Class A minor league baseball team in Portland, OR and called them the Portland Mavericks.  The movie chronicles the five year life of the Mavericks. One the one hand, it's a fun story about how these players (including Jim Bouton), rough and tumble, playing for the love of baseball and nothing else, were unaffiliated with any major league teams and created a devoted fan base in Portland; on the other hand, it also tells the story of the corporate personality and interests of Major League Baseball and its minor league farm system.  For now, you can watch it instantly on Netflix.

3.  I tried to remember the last time I cooked a Martha Stewart recipe.  I hadn't.  Tonight, I plunged into a single pot linguine meal that involved just boiling linguine, cherry tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, red pepper, salt, and pepper into a pot and boiling it for awhile until the pasta was cooked.  It was a good thing. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/12/14: Grandpa at the Range, Molly Likes Pils, Groundwork and *The Wire*

1.  I got to do one of my favorite all things this morning:  fix bacon and eggs for David and Olivia.  It's fun being Grandpa at the stove in the morning.

2.  It's been a rough few days for Molly.  This evening, she appears to have come through it.  It makes me really happy when I can listen to what someone likes in a beer and then pick out a good one for that person.  I bought a six pack of Wright Pils from Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland today with Molly in mind and she liked it.  That made me very happy. 

3.  Molly and Hiram have just started to watch The Wire and the Deke and I joined them tonight. They are at Season 1, Episode 3 and I watched in thinking, "Oh, man!  Wait until you see where all this is going with Omar and Lester and Daniels and the rest."  It's fun to see the groundwork being laid for really riveting stuff to come. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Briefly: My Experience with Depression

Since Robin Williams' death yesterday, I've read several posts where people I know have written about their experience with depression.  My sister did so here

I don't know if the "press" present in the words"depression" and "pressure" are related to each other etymologically.  What I do know is that my years of suffering from depression had less to do with feeling sadness and much more to do with feeling awful internal pressure, pressure pressing down on me, in my head and throughout my body, making me want to escape, isolate myself, and, most of all, sleep; sometimes I tried to escape with manic episodes of too much enthusiasm for my work or for other things in my life.    

I never hated myself, but I hated the pressure.  I wanted to be out from under it.  I didn't contemplate suicide for reasons having to do more with luck than strength.   

For mysterious reasons, this pressure and my bouts of depression disappeared in the spring of 2009 after two hospitalizations, neither for depression, but for pneumonia and then c-diff.   

I don't know if Robin Williams experienced this pressure.  I don't know if this sensation of pressure bearing down on one's mind and body is a common experience for those who suffer depression.  I do know that I never wanted to take my own life, but I wanted to escape the pressure. 

Now, every morning when I wake up, I feel apprehension that the pressure will return or has returned.  That it hasn't returned since 2009 means that for over five years I have lived with daily boundless gratitude that I experience my life directly.  While under the influence of depression, I experienced things in whatever way they came to me after passing through the fog and pain of the pressure itself.   

That was exhausting.

It's much better now.

I didn't do anything, to my knowledge, to bring this improvement about, but I do all I can to do what I enjoy:  relish time with family and friends, take pictures, watch good movies, pursue new experiences, do some writing, and enjoy good beer. 


Three Beautiful Things 08/11/14: Reunion, Williams and Whitman, David's Passenger

1.   I witnessed a former patient have a reunion with his doctor and the doctor, well, she was warm and gracious, the model of a humane professional taking time to bring joy to a former patient.  Their interaction made it clear that a physician's deeds of healing are as much (or more) spiritual as they are physical.

2.  Friends and family mourning the death of Robin Williams posted favorite clips and favorite quotations  from movies Robin Williams appeared in.  Several cited Dead Poets Society, a movie that came out when I was living out in the countryside and rarely seeing movies.  I remember renting it and watching it late at night and my mind was preoccupied with the pressure of a failed marriage and with general fatigue.  It was as if I never saw it.  Well, until tonight, I had forgotten that Williams' character in Dead Poets Society loved Walt Whitman and tonight I thought back on the few times I got to teach Walt Whitman and how much I loved reading his exuberant poetry aloud and how I would go into a zone, much like with Shakespeare, where I didn't know if any of my students were with me in feeling the passion of Whitman's poetry, but I let myself be transported and, if they wanted, they could watch me falling in love right before their very eyes. 

3.  In case you missed it, the Deke posted this picture of a model car of David's with a pair of fingernail clippers in the passenger seat.