The off-and-on ramblings of a Long Island guy (with help from his partner). There's no format, other than sharing what I feel like sharing.
If you're looking for rugby photos, please feel free to visit our photo site, Brown Hound Photos.
I think I should add a little color to this blog. Color and some men to look at!
(Click them for larger versions)
I was going to add captions to these, but what's the point? But if anyone ever wonders why I head out so many Saturdays to photograph the boys on my rugby team, well... that's because they're my friends. Nothing more than that. ;-)
Marc was up very early to go supervise a 5k race his hospital was running, so he had Dodger out early. Once Dodger was up, he spent the next hour or two nagging me to get up and feed him. Despite my insisting that he go back to sleep (really, it is Sunday!), he kept at it until I surrendered. That canine persistence always prevails!
Since I was up early anyhow, I got an early start on chores, paying some bills, throwing out junk mail, etc. One big accomplishment was scanning a bunch of documents and then shredding them.
All in all, it has been a very productive day so far. The house is a lot neater, and I feel inordinately satisfied. Being this satisfied with chores--as well as marching around in slippers--makes me feel way too adult! Granted, lots of the guys on the rugby team probably see me as an old man. Still, in my head I feel like a kid. But between the hair (not) on my head and a variety of other things, I think it may be true. Somewhere along the way I grew up, despite my best efforts to avoid it!
Dodger worries me. He's very old. I know that. We've gotten him through all kinds of things where other dogs' humans would have given up. But as long as we can give him a good quality of life, we'll get him whatever care he needs. Not living just to draw breath, but if truly have good days he can enjoy, that's worth it. Lately, his back legs--long a source of trouble--have gotten very weak, a problem exacerbated by a balance issue called Vestibular Disorder. He also cries sometimes, particularly at night. Marc is worried that he's feeling pain, but Dodger is smart and has always been good at getting people to do what he wants (and he was the same with his sisters when they were still alive). So I think he's just complaining and demanding things. That often seems to be the case. Many nights when he cries, if you open the bedroom door and let him go to his water bowl to get a good drink, the crying is done. The other night, I thought he might want to hang out with us (he was acting that way), and sure enough, we put him on our bed, he cuddled up between us and was asleep in no time. The crying stopped the moment he was lifted onto the bed. Even so, he takes a number of medications for arthritis, related pain, and dizziness (from the vestibular disorder), as well as vitamins and probiotics. He needs those to get by comfortably, and I do worry that somewhere along here we'll run out of things we can do for him. While I realize we all have to depart this earth eventually, and he's about 14 years old now, so I won't really be justified in claiming it was "too soon" when that day comes, he's my boy, and I'll be devastated whenever it happens. There's an old line (Shakespeare?) that says a coward dies a thousand deaths, but a brave man dies but once. I'm not saying the idea of my own mortality doesn't give me pause, but the thought of losing a loved one troubles me more--and I am way too good at imagining that day. Earlier today, when Dodgie was really out of it, as he sometimes is, I found my eyes filling with tears. I'll cry when we lose him, but even seeing him this late in life can be tough.
Today, we had our friend Andrew over for a visit. Actually, we have a few friends Andrew. This Andrew is a friend from Toronto, and now that he's headed back into NYC, we were just discussing what a sweetie he is and how glad we are that he's our friend. Then I was remembering how random our initial meeting was and how life--and friendships--can turn on moments that could easily never have happened.
We met Andrew on a train from Manchester to Edinburgh when we were in the UK for the Bingham Cup rugby tournament in 2012. We'd finished the tournament and were heading to Edinburgh for some sightseeing. We found our car on the train, and the conductor took us to our seats. After we all were seated we found ourselves sitting with two nice looking young men (never a cause for complaint!), friends named Andrew and Tom, who were wearing what looked like rugby clothes. So we asked if they happened to be coming from a tournament. Sure enough, they'd been at the same tournament, playing with their teammates from Toronto.
We introduced ourselves and had a lovely conversation on our way to Edinburgh. Once we got there, we parted ways, wishing each other well and saying we'd keep in touch online. Later that day, we went to take a tour bus around Edinburgh (something we often do on the first day of a visit to a new city, so we can orient ourselves). When we got on the bus, who was there? Andrew and Tom. After that, we decided we all should enjoy Edinburgh together.
Since then, the NY welcome mat has been out for both of them. Tom hasn't visited us yet (n.b., they aren't a couple), but Andrew was in town with friends for a couple of days. He decided that today he'd head out our way, and we had a wonderful time!
What amazes me is that a chance encounter led to a friendship with a wonderful guy. How easily could we have been seated in the next set of seats? Or the next car? Or on a different train? Or we could have flown. Or they could have. Or any number of ways that things could have gone differently. But that didn't happen. We all sat together. And then to see them on the bus later that day?
It's even less likely than our unlikely connection with our dear friend Keir. If our teams hadn't been paired up... No, it's not even that big. If Keir hadn't run late to the joint dinner of their team and ours, he wouldn't have wound up sitting with us. But he did and he did, and now we have a close friend we otherwise wouldn't have gotten to know. Funny how those things work!
For some time now, I have been using my iPad to read e-books. I've had a Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader for a few years, but the iPad seemed more convenient, letting me read books without switching devices, after I had been using the iPad for e-mail, reading the newspaper, magazines, etc. So several months ago, I stopped using my Nook.
Recently, Marc mentioned that the light from the iPad may be bad for me to look at before going to sleep. He'd read about such light interfering with the mind's process of getting ready to sleep. Since I do most of my reading before going to sleep, this did seem like a serious issue, especially since I don't sleep enough as it is.
So I decided to brush off the old Nook, charge it and start using it again. I'm not sure if it makes for a better sleep experience so far, although I think it may, but one thing I noticed is that it is a better reading experience. It's not just that the Nook screen is easier on the eyes (which it is), but rather that there are fewer distractions. With the iPad, I would check e-mail, respond when a Facebook notification came up, etc. With the Nook, I just concentrate on reading the book. Definitely a better way to go!
Blogs started as online diaries, and this may be more of that than anything you actually want to read. After all, this could be a useful reference for me down the road. (Sorry!) :-)
Okay, so Friday wasn't really fun, but I was relieved to be done with it. "It" being a medical procedure. Tests, actually. A colonoscopy and an upper endoscopy. I started colonoscopies in my early 40s, because of family cancer history. The upper endoscopy was new. That was done because of recent issues that made my regular doctor think I could have had an ulcer or a hiatal hernia or any number of other possible issues related to some unsettling feelings after eating--including a feeling like an irregular heartbeat at one point. It's been a fun year so far!
And what made this day really fun? Well, a couple of things. For one, I am scared of anesthesia. I worked in hospitals a long time, and I heard too many nightmare stories of anesthesia gone wrong. Logically, I knew the odds were very much in my favor. Also, I was having these tests done in Marc's hospital, so he asked the Chief of Anesthesiology to watch out for me. The result was one of their top anesthesiologists taking care of me, with the Chief standing there, too, as I went under. Another fun thing? I've been having on-and-off diarrhea for a couple of months. (Glad you're reading this yet?)
Being the great worrier I am, I was thinking things like, "if it's cancer, I just hope it's stage 1." These thoughts kept popping up, despite negative occult blood tests and the fact that I had a colonoscopy 5 years that was fine (and you normally wouldn't go from nothing to cancer in 5 years). Still, I can torture myself with such thoughts. Logic is nothing when faced with neurotic worry!
And when it was done, what did we find? Nothing. Well, nothing bad. It all looked great. My esophagus and stomach are fine. My colon is fine. In fact, the doctor told Marc to tell me (I was still slightly groggy at that moment) to keep using fiber, because "the beginnings of minor diverticulosis" that he'd seen 5 years ago had disappeared. (What he saw 5 years ago was minor but, if allowed to keep going, could turn into diverticulitis eventually, and that's bad stuff.)
So what was causing the diarrhea? No idea. But it's been slowly (very slowly) improving, so maybe it was a virus or something. While doing the colonoscopy, he took a couple of biopsies. He said the tissue looked fine, but he'll check for "microscopic colitis." Apparently, that's unlikely, but he's being careful to rule out all possible concerns.
Overall, a very good result and a very smooth procedure. And one bonus: that top anesthesiologist I mentioned? Well, he also turned out to be HOT! Wow, that was a nice treat. Hey, I can be a scaredy-cat patient and still appreciate a handsome face in well-fitting scrubs! ;-)
Some things just matter more than a
small chance of being hit by lightning. This post is being dictated into a little pocket recorder while standing on a Manhattan street corner in the middle of a thunderstorm. Someone else might take shelter somewhere.
However, Marc is making his way up
here. We're going to see a show at Café Carlyle. Melissa Manchester.
Should be fun!
Thing is, he may have trouble finding me if
I don't stay in this one location. I've been standing out here quite a while, as he makes his way to join me. Yes, I could find a place to hide,
and then I could send him a message. But he's coming up on the subway.
He might not see the message until he came wandering out here. He might start walking around, looking for me. While the lightning isn't a huge risk, crazy drivers are. And crazy
drivers in wet weather are not a good thing. So I will wait here where he can find me.
He'll get here soon enough, and then we'll walk to the show together.
In the meantime, I am much happier knowing that he should have no
problem finding me, rather than taking
some risk with his safety. That's just the way I want it. I think it's a better way
to live! At least, I'm happier this way!
You shouldn't take the wrong message from this video. There was nothing unsaid between me and my Dad. No disagreements we didn't solve. Still, this song's message is a good one--don't let disagreements drive a wedge between you and someone you love. If you can heal the rift, do it before it's too late.
The reason I'm posting this is because it's the song that broke through and let the pain from losing my Dad finally start to come out. When he died, I did virtually no crying. I did what he taught me--I was strong for the family.
I could go on and on about my theory of how, since that day, I have a well of pain in me that can be tapped easily and unexpectedly in certain emotional moments. The first time I felt that was some time after his death. Marc and I were driving on the NYS Thruway. I don't remember where we were going, but this song was playing on the radio. As I said, there was nothing left unsaid between us. I had a wonderful relationship with both my parents, and there were no quarrels to fix. But then the song got to the line (around 3:46 in this video) that was factually accurate for me: "I wasn't there that morning when my father passed away." And with that, I burst into tears.
I wasn't there that morning when my father passed away. He had just begun home hospice hours before. It was about 2:30 or so in the morning (we got the call around 2:45), and he was in the room where I'm typing this now. Again, no guilt for me. There was no reason I would have been here. We didn't even know he'd go so fast. But I don't think whether I was there or not was the point that hit me. It just took the right thing to poke a hole in the balloon of pain I'd built up. A sufficient reminder from a song full of emotion.
It seems that some of that pain will always be there, but as wonderful a Dad as he was, I suppose that's to be expected. And did I mention that today is his birthday? That's what made me think of this.