Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reminders Unnecessary

I've been indoors for a couple of days. I have a cold. I'm not happy about it, but I am grateful that I didn't have to board an airplane with it, or take an exam with it, or give birth with it, or address the nation with it.

I'm not superstitious, generally, but I'm wary of complaining too much. It's as though I expect a booming voice to reprimand me. You think that's bad? I'll show you something worse!

Even so, I'm going to toss aside my reluctance and just say it: The year 2008 was not a good year. It wasn't completely awful, but some awful things happened. I'm glad to have survived it, and I'm glad it's over.

I know it could have been worse. No reminders are necessary.

Friday, January 16, 2009


English is my only language. When I want to get a laugh, I retrieve my high school Spanish from (deep inside) my memory vault. "Pasame la sal!" I love to shout (on any random occasion-- I just like the way it sounds). Pass the salt!

And so I don't know if other languages have as many words that have several meanings, though the same spelling and pronunciation.

"Battery" comes to mind. I put a new AA battery in my Aunt Netsy's table clock. She lives in a nursing home. She can't see the one on her wall. I then painstakingly reset the clock. Somehow the knobs on the back had come off. Finally the clock was in good shape again, and she was happy.

When I arrived the next day, the little clock lay on its face on the table. The battery cover was taken off and-- surprise!-- the battery was gone. My aunt hadn't noticed anything, and I wouldn't have expected her to. But, sadly, she wasn't surprised. "People can do what they want to do," she said simply.

If you are at all familiar with nursing homes, you already know the insidious attitude that can permeate even the best of them: Your room also belongs to me. "Me" is the staff. Since I take care of you, I can walk in whenever it suits me, rummage through your drawers if I choose, take your newspaper if I want to read it, and remove furniture without telling you. I can show up with a paintbrush and work in your room without notice. I can change your television programs to MTV. I can remove batteries from your remote control or your clock if I have another purpose for them.

You? You're a body in a bed.

It's not just a battery. It's also battery, as in assault.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sad and Sorry

Last week I spent a couple of days visiting my grandchild. He's nearly three. I loved being with him, as always, but he had a nasty virus that made him congested and feverish. He felt awful. His parents felt awful, too, since they got almost no sleep for several consecutive nights.

My grandson has learned to verbalize his feelings. Over and over he told whoever was in the room, "I'm sad." Sometimes it was "I'm so sad." After a while he expected a response and provided promptings when necessary. "Are you sad?" he would ask. Indeed I was, I always responded. Somehow it didn't seem enough, and so I would direct his attention to my face. I made sure my face looked really, really sad.

Other times he would inquire, "Are you sorry?" I couldn't emphasize enough how truly sorry I was. When I mentioned a telephone call from my husband, he asked "Is Granddaddy sorry? Is he sad?" I answered Yes, and my grandson nodded gravely.

At one point, when the fever was down and he seemed in the mood for it, I injected a little humor into our conversation. Face in hands, I pretended to sob over his plight. He squealed and clapped. More! More! He recognized Over The Topness when he saw it.

One of the benefits of being two is surely the power to direct the emotions of others. I admit it, I was a little envious.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Still Salvageable

What can I say? I've missed my blog. I've missed writing.

I closed down Salvageable several months ago. I didn't do it impulsively. I had thought about it for several weeks, maybe longer, and decided that I had run low on fuel. I was barely creaking along and I couldn't stand to be one of those bloggers who posted only once every month or two.

The problem with NOT blogging, though, is that you still have all those thoughts. You still get excited and depressed and angry and silly. But if you don't have a blog, where do you put them? I've tried laying them on my family and friends-- mainly family!-- but it hasn't worked too well. Even a loving family member can take only so much of my ranting and ruminating.

So, it's back to you. Again. Still.