03 May 2015

Number 999!

I started this blog in December 2005. Back then, everyone was doing blogs. I kinda felt left out not having one of my own so, on a lark, I started one. And now, here we are nearly ten years later and the little blog that could is still chugging along, singing a song, side by side. (Sorry, I got off on a little Sondheim tangent there.)

As I was saying, it’ll be ten years this coming December and now here is my 999th blog entry. Everyone writes about their milestones, like their 500th blog. I wrote about my 499th entry back in June 2009. They also write about their 1000th entry but, as you can see, I’m celebrating my 999th entry, instead.

As you would expect, a lot has changed for me in that near-decade since: I married my longtime companion, Matt (we’ve now been together almost 21 years), I left my longtime safety-net job to return to writing full time (which I’ve been doing since the late 1970s!), I’ve published ten books with an eleventh due this summer, I was diagnosed with a potentially fatal genetic heart ailment that was corrected with surgery, we lost a cat, we gained a cat and a dog, and so many other things. Kinda hard to believe so much can happen in so little time.

I plan to keep up with my blog -- even though social media has been stealing the thunder of blogs and replacing it with photographs of cats.

02 May 2015

May Be

Over the years, May has proven to be a bad month for me:
  • my father died in May (on the 20th)
  • our beloved cat, Eames, died in May (the 8th)
  • Joan Crawford died in May (the 10th)
  • I got Valley Fever in May (the 30th)
  • I had my first near-fainting spell in May (the 22nd) that would lead, several years later, to me being diagnosed (just last May, the 15th) with a potentially fatal genetic heart ailment (it’s all better now, BTW). 
What is it with May and me? I understand it’s not an evil month and that it’s all just about probabilities and coincidence. After all, there are only twelve months in a year, meaning any event has a 1-in-12 chance of occurring in May. But still.

01 May 2015

Hair of the Dog

And now, ingrown hairs. I guess it would make sense that, when you carve open the chest of a man with chest hair (for heart surgery), that hair follicles would become buried beneath the scar yet continue to produce hairs that cannot pierce the scar tissue. Those hairs keep growing, becoming lodged under the scar, desperately trying to break through something that cannot be broken through. So, out come the sharp pointy things and the tweezers and the alcohol (the sterilizing kind, not the drinking kind) and the surgeon in all of us. I’ve pulled four or five of these recalcitrant hairs out from under the scar, some with only the hair, some still hanging tenaciously onto their follicle. I think there may be three or four more to excise at some point. Sigh! It’s the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it?

20 April 2015

Old Man Rhythm

click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click This is what I hear all day every day for what I presume will be the remainder of my natural life click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click It’s the sound of my artificial heart valve click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click It’s made of plastic and keeps on clicking click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click

17 April 2015

Be Nice -- Always

Many years ago I was a day or two into my new job at a big corporation. My boss had a family emergency and had to go out of town for the rest of the week. I, of course, knew no one and was left to sink or swim on my own.

One afternoon, a woman showed up at my desk. She gave me this huge project to do. I had no idea how to do it, or who she was, but I’m always nice, so I accepted it and (surprisingly) tackled it. When my boss got back she shared with me an email from this person who had said how helpful I had been to her in completing this giant project that was under deadline. When my boss told me who sent it, I asked “Who’s that?” My boss stared at me bewildered. It turns out this mystery woman was my boss’s boss’s boss: the big department vice president.

I have always said that you should be nice to people because you never know who it might be you’re talking to. Now, I think that should be changed to “be nice to people because you never know when you’re being filmed and when your douchebag conduct will be broadcast on television.”

10 April 2015

Scars for the Memory

I was doing some online research into taking care of the scar left over from my open-heart surgery. I'd heard I was supposed to stay out of the sun, or cover it with sunscreen or tape or whatever. Along the way I found some sites where people discussed their feelings about their scars.

Some people said they were sad about their scar ("I feel so sad and stressed about my scar. Sometimes I cry when I’m in the shower") and others talked about how happy they were with their scar (“They are my battle scars earned and gloriously celebrated as such”) and lots of other feelings in between.

I was taken aback by the wide range of feelings about scars mostly because no such thoughts ever crossed my mind. I neither loved nor hated my scar. It was the result of needed surgery and was now part of me -- not good or bad, just there.

So, I started contemplating my scar. What did I think of it? It's there and doesn't bother me either physically or aesthetically, my spouse says he doesn't mind seeing it and, so far, it's not scared any neighbor children. So, I guess I really didn't feel anything about it at all. I mean, I'm not defined by this scar or any of the other scars on my body, just like I'm not defined by my thinning hair, my blue-green eyes, or the fact that one leg is a tiny bit shorter than the other.

Soon enough, my scar is supposed to fade to the point where it'll be hard to see. We'll see if that happens but, until then, expect to see me at the pool or working in the yard. I'll be the guy with the big scar down the middle of his chest.

09 April 2015

12!

Here it is, the magical end of the 12th week post heart surgery. It’s the point where I’m basically healed! Yeah!