Saturday, November 28, 2009

Things I love right now

William Stafford, especially his title poem from "The Way It Is".
Denison Farms Harvest Boxes.
The colors of my children's hair.
A beautiful pair of eyebrows on anyone.
The woodstove.
The Swell Season's new album, and the poem, "Strict Joy", that its title comes from.
Very dark fair trade chocolate (as close as you can come to eating chocolate with a clear conscience).
The medical assistants at my office, every one of them.
The smell of my husband's face at bedtime.
One Fair World (this is its third name, after Self-Help Crafts and Ten Thousand Villages, so that I am tempted to call it Ten Thousand and One Fair Worlds of Craft or some similar permutation).
"Play With Your Food" calendars.
Orange rising moons.
Sourdough bread, the sourer the better.
The winter sun.
"And the Glory of the Lord" from "Messiah". Because altos lead, and because it is the best.
Singing with the Lindas.
Singing with Mennonites in general.

Friday, November 27, 2009

When you've got nothing to say...

I know what happens to bloggers who don't blog for a while; they lose their two or three regular readers. (Actually, if it's me who's your regular reader, it's likely to take me two or three months to believe you're not coming back. Hope dies hard.) But I'm kind of a believer in not speaking if you've got nothing to say.

This is something I hope I remember if Channel 12 news puts a microphone in my face some day and asks me for my reaction to a crime in my neighborhood. I have noticed that in the "If it bleeds, it leads" world of late-evening news, locals and bystanders are often asked to comment; they usually say something like "I've always thought this was a safe neighborhood....He was quiet, kept to himself, I had no idea he was capable of this....My kids play with the kids who live three doors down from there....I walk by here all the time, you just never know." It's hard to blame the man on the street for having nothing to contribute to the story but talking anyway; after all if the news guys are asking you to say something, you must have something to say, right? But we have to stop encouraging Channel 12 and its siblings. I hope if I am ever asked to comment when my next door neighbor sets fire to the warehouse down the street, I say, "I pray for mercy on everyone involved," or, "I wish I'd known him better, maybe I could have kept this from happening,", or maybe better still, "How could you possibly think my reaction is news?"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why I Should Quit My Job and Write for Women's Magazines

I don't chew out my patients much, but this is one thing they get yelled at for: Taking "innocent" overdoses of (especially over-the-counter) meds. By innocent I mean, they don't intend to kill themselves, or even necessarily to get off into some blissful state. They just decide if two Tylenol isn't helping much, then maybe four will do the trick, and maybe every two or three hours instead of every four to six. I march those people right over to the lab--after a brief raking over the coals--to draw their blood STAT and make sure they are not about to die. They act like "What? It's just Tylenol!" which just happens to be the number two (or is it number one now?) cause of acute liver failure/need for liver transplant in the U.S. these days.

Want to knock out your kidneys or bleed to death? Help yourself to extra Advil (ibuprofen) for a few days. Want to see what Reye Syndrome looks like? Give your child Excedrin Migraine, which contains aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine, in flu season. By the way, we're likely to be in a perpetual flu season for the foreseeable future, so please, just don't do it! Read labels, and if you want to depart from their advice in any way, consider taking less, not more. I mean, it, people. You want to see me mad?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rhythm of the Rain: Three thoughts

One: Rain and shine have chased each other back and forth across the sky the past few days. I'll leave for work in the rain and arrive in bright sun, shortly thereafter to look out into a downpour, then go see a couple of patients and come back to find one of one of my all-time favorite sights out my office window: A blue-black sky before me and all the trees between me and the blue-black sky lit up like fire.

Two: I've always loved the sound of pounding rain at night while I'm wrapped in my sheets and comforter, but that sound is bittersweet in recent years as I can no longer hear it without thinking of people who don't have the luxury of their own bed on a rainy night.

Three: And then there is the way the rain conspires to mess with my fragile exercise habits. I cannot bring myself to go out for a run in more than a light shower, but if I leave the house on dry pavement and it starts to rain within two to four blocks, I complete the whole 3+ miles without looking back. My friend Susan is a very talented amateur meteorologist who can actually read a satellite picture on the web and determine whether we will be rained on withing the next hour, so we don't have to miss our Sunday walk, just alter it a bit.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Warning: A very shallow, peevish post

A number of years ago I began to notice bare legs where I didn't expect to find them. The first time it struck me I was in a mall and saw a group of girls dressed for what I think must have been a winter formal. One was in a blue sparkly thing, very cute, but I commented to my daughter that she was wearing no pantyhose and her legs were starkly white. It looked like an odd oversight, but I was informed that it was in fact not. Over the years I've realized that neutral legwear has disappeared from the fashionable: Everyone is either bare or in boots or in opaque tights or colored (usually black) or patterned stockings. It doesn't bother me that all these options are available, but it does bother me that you can't wear the neutrals anymore. I thought maybe I was just imagining this, and then yesterday on the "What Not to Wear" website it was confirmed by the authorities: If you want to wear pantyhose, they can't look like your real legs only better.

That was the virtue of good old L'Eggs. Your own legs only better and a little warmer. It feels like I've been robbed, and/or the victim of a conspiracy against women my age who just don't look or feel good in bare legs in winter. And most of whom can't afford a huge wardrobe of boots and tights (the average life of a pair of which is about 3 wearings). Or the "shapewear" that you'd have to buy to replace the little bit of smoothing the $4 pantyhose did just fine.

I know, the obvious solution is for this natural-born dress wearer to switch to all-pants-all-winter or just to get over wanting to keep up with it at all. But it seems so unfair, and I want to know who is responsible and how I can get the rules changed.