Six or seven years ago I went to the Doctor with some vague discomfort in the middle of my bodily self and before I knew what was happening I was pushed into a wheel chair, told to notify anyone who needed to know (I called my cat sitter to take over the kitty routine for me) and was wheeled across the parking lot to the hospital wherein an unknown gentleman invaded my bod with a device through an artery in my groin and reamed out the plumbing to my heart, leaving behind one or two stents to keep things open and to show he had been there. Since then the old pump has been performing rather well and I have been most grateful and very impressed.
Last week, I went to the Doctor with some vague discomfort in the middle of my bodily self and was told I had a cardiac flutter which, while not life threatening at this moment, needed to be tended to either with medication or with ..........the dreaded term.....a Procedure. Before I even heard what the Procedure was, I had decided that I was already taking too damned many pills and capsules and was leaning toward mechanical intervention (that is after I was assured that the Procedure was NOT Open Heart Surgery). And when I heard that meds were only 70% successful whereby the Procedure was 95% successful I was even more convinced.
So it has come to pass that I will go to the hospital this Thursday as an outpatient , whereupon an adorable Armenian Doctor (whom I now do know) will violate my bod with his magic wand (get your minds out of the gutter) entering a vein somewhere and proceeding upward with camera and electrical probe to find the misbehaving nerve in my heart and Zap it to extinction with his stun gun After the appropriate zapping and my return from blurred consciousness I am told I can go home same day and go about my normal life cured of flutter. Piece of cake. Well,. it sounds good anyway.
My blogging may be a bit more erratic than usual, depending how well I tolerate this fascinating invasion, but I promise I will try to blog a line or two when I get home just to let you know that I did not get Zapped altogether. I actually have very little anxiety about this since the more drastic procedure in the past (where I was also sedated but conscious) was no problem at all and it sounds a bit Science Fiction-y so I am looking forward to seeing how it all works. I already saw the magic wand and it looks very ordinary and much like any old computer connector wire except for the business end which is teeny and I am sure is very sophisticated. (in other words.....don't try this at home.)
I do not want you to worry, but if any of you care to think a kind thought or two and send good vibes my way I will certainly receive them with open arms.
Ain't it amazing the things they can do these days? So why can't we figure out World Peace??? What a dumbkopff I am..........I know why.....there's no profit in it. Sigh
Ode To My Cardiac Rhythm Specialist
Tickle my heart, tickle my heart Give me the pink pill for a start Then the purple one, next the yellow spotted. Dose me until I am quite besotted. Then proceed with the local numbing Before you invade my cardiac plumbing.
Am I smiling beatifically? Then you may start to gently climb up to my heart. Carefully peruse my trusty pump and find out what is making it jump. Instead of ka-boom, ka-boom, why is my ticker sounding more like a Chickaboom, chickaboom chick-er?
When you find the errant, rebellious nerve, please zap it neatly, do not swerve with your amazing magic cattle prod ..... Just promise me, for the love of God, that while messing around among my heart's swirls and loops I do not hear you mutter the dreaded word.......... "Oops".
Even though I am constantly protesting that I don't know nuthin',. I am frequently coming to conclusions which could be filed under "Things I Think Could Be True........For the Time Being Anyway." And one of the things I have concluded to be undeniably true is that there are two kinds of people in this world..........those that love leftovers and them that hates 'em.
Oddly enough, I have come to believe that what motivates both types is good, old fashioned fear. (actually, I think that motivates almost everything we do, one way or another....but that is for another blog).
There are people like me who are so afraid (yea, terrified and paralyzed with fear) of not cooking "enough" for the particular occasion that they prepare vittles sufficient to feed an army. Consequently, after those who came to the table to be fed have staggered off, stuffed with second and third helpings, we are left to view the scene, and mutter shamefacedly (while eying the mountains of food left on the table), "I guess I made too much". The shame quickly fades and is followed immediately by raucous cackling and gleeful rubbing of hands at the prospect of LEFTOVERS. Lunches for days, dinners and midnight snacks for nights into the coming week without the need to stir a pot or lift a spoon (except as a tool with which to nibble the delicacies that your overstuffed guests have left behind. Oh joy! Oh rapture! And so many things taste even better the 2nd and 3rd day anyway.....Glorious leftovers....... a gift from heaven.
And then there are those others. I cannot promise to properly explain the thinking of those people, but I will give it a try. I firmly believe this it is also fear....... a fear of waste or an inexplicable fear and dread of LEFTOVERS. That is the only acceptable excuse I can come up with for stingy portions.......unless it is just plain stinginess. (that could be it, couldn't it?). After all, it is no more trouble to cook 8 chicken breasts than it is to make 4. (a bigger pan helps). And the very idea of someone leaving your table hungry is such a fearsome thought that it cannot be tolerated for a moment by type #1 folk and generates a panic that says, "Better have another appetizer and two more side dishes, maybe". (Hmmmm I do wonder if this could be a Jewish thing?????) (back to that later )
If you are poor and cannot afford chicken breasts, folks of my ilk will be undaunted and will serve up huge portions of Chili and Beans sparked with tons of chopped raw, sweet red onion, bowls of Tabouli (bulgar wheat, tomatoes, onions, mint, olive oil and lemon juice) and hummus with lots of fresh pita bread for dipping. Wealth does not make a feast........cooks with love in their hearts for food and for people make feasts.
Talking about all of this reminds me of my beloved friend, Dorothy..........the one who taught me to curse properly by adding "shitpissfuck" to my vocabulary. And thinking about Dorothy brings me back to my whimsical query about whether bountiful, groaning tables might be a Jewish thing. You see, the fact is that Dorothy, a paragon of virtue and possessor of numerous talents was one of the worst sinnners in category # 2 described above and it always baffled me because Dorothy was a superb cook and great hostess, but Dorothy was only HALF Jewish. An invitation to Dorothy's for dinner was a highly prized thing and we all knew that we would be fed in high gourmet style, on lovely china and with candlelight, shining flatware, goblets and fine wine. The conversation would be bright, intelligent and funny and you would leave delightfully entertained but dreadfully hungry. If Dorothy had 6 people to dinner she would present a platter with 7 chicken breasts, one helping of veggies for each guest and 6 wonderful dinner rolls. Maybe even a potato for each.....whatever there was for dinner, there would be one serving for each person and perhaps a teensie smidge over....like the 7th chicken breast. Everybody desperately wanted the last breast but none of us had the guts to take it and we all knew that it would not look civilized (which we all felt we were) if we divided it up into 6 pieces and scraped the smidgeons remaining in each bowl plus spinning a bottle to see who got to lick the spoon. So, the 7th breast always remained forlornly on the plate, hugely coveted but unclaimed.
When everyone left and I was helping Dorothy clean up I once asked her why she didn't make more food in case someone wanted seconds. She looked at me like I was crazy and said in the most scathing and condescending tone of voice..........., "For heaven's sake, what for......Haven't you noticed there is always one piece leftover?
As I have said a number of times, when I was 40 I thought I knew pretty nearly everything........now, not only do I feel like I know nothing, but, worse yet, I understand nothing. I have kept my mouth shut mostly about my total bafflement about lots of things, but particularly about the young celebrities in the news and plastered all over everything. Vapid blondes with faces as distinctive as a bowl of unflavored yogurt; young men so undistinguished looking that you almost miss them when you are looking right at a picture of them, or so weird looking that you find that, if your life depended on making a choice between the two types, you would have such a helluva time deciding that maybe you would actually prefer the odd ones. At least with odd and ugly, you would have a chance of recognizing them and being able to pick them out of a crowd (solely to be able to avoid them).
Sorry if my ranting here ends up spoiling what might have been a nice movie experience......I just couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer. I really hate to be an old curmudgeon and name names , but last night I watched a movie on TV (The Ides Of March) which featured one of my favorite actors and favorite faces in the whole universe, George Clooney, but actually starred a young man whose name I have seen here and there but have never actually SEEN, if you know what I mean and whom I felt I had still not seen, despite watching him for an hour and a half. And I found myself in a puddle of befuddlement as the closing credits rolled. I had to quickly go back and check the cast to get his name......it seems to be Ryan Gosling.......a rather interesting name for the most innocuous, indeterminate non-face I have ever tried to look at.Please understand, I know nothing about this person as a person. He may be the salt of the earth, kind to animals and children a paragon of virtue.......a prospective Saint even. I am not talking about his entity.......I am talking about his appearance and this performance as an actor.....some of the main things that usually figure into hiring an actor to be in your movie.
Holy moly, if I were married to that guy for 5 years I would still be unable to pick him out of a lineup much less a crowd. It would have been necessary for me to bonk him on the chin or cheekbone with some blunt object on our Honeymoon, thereby creating a definitive scar which I could recognize. I do not know what would have made me notice him in the first place much less marry him......I would have to think about that. I suspect I would have had to go through our relationship calling him "whatshisname" even though his name is more distintive than his visage. I will briefly comment on his skill as an actor.......I cannot tell if he has any. I realize how much I depend on facial characteristics and expressions and even voice and subtle vocal intonations to establish acting talent and, to my eye and ear, there just ain't anything there. I am not even saying he is a terrible actor......he is just a nearly invisible one.
I am baffled about what the movie moguls and the public see in this young man that I have missed. And I am using him as a symbol of all of the bland young things who dominate our entertainment world and who can hardly be distinguished visually, one from the other. Can anyone out there help me.?
By the way, the movie itself was OK.....George Clooney and Philip Seymour Hoffman (both of whom have gorgeous recognizable faces) give good performances and, thank heaven, they have faces that enable me to tell one of them from the other. The plot is Philosophically sound and it did grip me occasionally though it made me sad when virtue did not really triumph. (Reality, especially political reality sucks.) I do think it might have been improved by a leading man whom I would have been able to recognize from scene to scene but then.....hell.....what do I know? Nuthin'
I had intended to blog about one of the Zen precepts.........Be in the moment.....Be here now. It is the lesson I am working on right now and it is damned hard.........maybe impossible But before I go there I must share with you one of my favorite things. I do not know who to give credit to for the following gem. I received it years ago in an email and it has held an honored place on my wall ever since. Let me see if I can conjure it up out of my mysterious often un-accessible goody files. Oh shit. It is too tiny to read no matter how I tried to enlarge it. I may have to retype select portions of it for you. Aaaarrrrgggghhh.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. and thenwhat do you have? Bupkis.
The Tao does not speak. The Tao does not blame. The Tao does not take sides. The Tao has no expectations. The Tao demands nothing of others. The Tao is not Jewish.
Wherever you go there you are. Your luggage is another story.
Breathe in, Breathe out, Breathe in, Breathe out. Forget this and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your worries.
If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?
Be aware of your body. Be aware of your perceptions. Keep in mind that not every physical sensation is a symptom of terminal illness.
There is no escaping Karma. In a previous life, you never called, you never wrote, you never visited.....and whose fault was that?
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Oy.
Drink tea and nourish life; with the first sip, joy; with the second sip, satisfaction; with the third sip, peace; with the fourth a Danish.
Accept misfortune as a blessing. Do not wish for perfect health or a life without problems.,....what would you talk about?
Let your mind be as a floating cloud. Let your stillness be as a wooded glen. And sit up straight.....you'll never meet the Buddha with such rounded shoulders.
and my personal favorite
Be here now. Be somewhere else later. Is that so complicated? ***************************
As I was saying, that last one is the one I am working on. And yes, dammit, it is complicated. Having found that all of my magic tools for coping which have kept the world, the Demons and reality at bay for lo these many years are no longer working for me I am indeed up shit creek without a paddle. . Disaster has struck. When the pains of living descend upon me I can no longer vanquish them with my old tried and trusty "just do something nice for someone and you and they will both feel better" Sword. Doesn't work any more and I do not know why. What I do know is that losing that weapon leaves a person at the mercy of everything.
We all live most of our lives safely within our little castle stronghold....with walls and fortifications and a moat filled with crocodiles (or is it alligators?) and relatives and friends gathered close by and available as needed. When attacks come at us we lift the drawbridge and huddle together, hurl a few stones or burning embers over the walls and wait till the attackers retreat in frustration. As long as we are able to continue to feel good by doing nice things for each other and can entertain ourselves and our loved ones by reminiscing about the good old days we can continue to delude ourselves that we have everything under control.
However, I just happened to look behind me recently and instead of seeing a rolling landscape with my path leading back into the distance of the good old days I suddenly realized that the small patch of ground on which I am standing at this moment is really all there is. There is nothing visible behind me except in my mind. And there is nothing clearly visible ahead of me except for one small patch of terrain just ahead of where my feet stand now.....a place for me to step forward into the next moment. Everything else is a figment of my imagination or a stored memory. It is a fascinating (and really scary) concept, but it has enabled me to finally grasp the premise of living in and savoring the moment as being the only reality. I am flabbergasted at how hard it is to keep from drifting off into thoughts of yesterday or tomorrow neither of which is touchable, tasteable or tangible. And while yesterday and all of our thousands of lovely or awful yesterdays were probably fact, tomorrow isn't even that ..... and may never be. It reminds me of one of my favorite Nat King Cole songs called "For All We Know". ( I wish I were skilled enough to include an excerpt for you to listen to because it is gorgeous). But the lyrics are so sweet and so profound......
....."for all we know, this may only be a dream.......we come and go like the ripples on a stream......so love me tonite.....tomorrow was made for some.....tomorrow may never come, for all we know....."
Since I have elected to NOT let my tribe put me on an ice floe and push me gently out to sea, I find that I must construct a new way to see and deal with the world from the perspective of this advanced age. Right now, it looks to me like living in the moment may be my solution...........if the moment happens to include that the cat just threw up on my bed, well, that is what I must deal with right now and that takes care of this moment As for the next one and the one after that.....I think I can't worry about them in this moment which is taken up with the results of kitty hairballs. Not my favorite thing, but do-able.
As for the next moment..........we'll see what that brings. (as long as it is not wanton kitty poop ) Sigh. I must keep repeating...."Be here now.....be somewhere else later......"
Maverick of a weird, but wonderful family. Have managed to stay alive for an astounding 86+ years kept alive by a passionate interest in many things and a sense of humor.
Have led 2 or 3 separate lives,the first 40 years as a starving artist, ceramist, and graphic designer. At age 40 a matchbook cover that said "Be A Computer Programmer" inspired me to go back to school and emerge as a binary fanatic. Loved my work, had a wonderful 20 year career as programmer and trouble shooter. At the same time I had the chance to meet, befriend and marry Jazz Cornetist Pete Daily,an idol of my youth, whom I had worshipped in my young life. Lost him to cancer after 11 wonderful (and sometimes awful) years. Retired in 1989 and had 20 years of fantastic travel adventures all over the world. Now I crochet afghans, tend my garden, my 3 cats, the neighborhood birds and squirrels, a flock of voracious hummingbirds and assorted wildlife like possums and raccoon families who come nightly to my Porch Buffet. A great life, and it ain't over yet !....(after all, I have just discovered Blogging....)