Two weeks have passed since my last blog post and my head is utterly and completely empty. Oh, don’t get me wrong – a lot has gone on, and there’s much that needs to be done. But when it comes to blog ideas – or to any deep thoughts at all, frankly – I’m at a loss.
It’s just that my gray matter has been occupied by the usual nonsense, to wit:
(1) Taking on more work so that I can earn money to pay bills. One may think that, now that my house is effectively done and my daughter’s college is almost all paid for (thanks to a Parent Plus loan that will cover not only this summer’s courses but also a bulk of the Fall semester, which will thankfully be her last), I should be swimming in excess cash. NOT SO. There was my hospital stay that will need to be paid for somehow (given that my so-called health insurance carries a $6,750 deductible that has to come out of my pocket before they’ll pay for ANYTHING), not to mention the City MD bill (no reduced rate for a follow-up visit during which they basically just sent me to the hospital, evidently). And now my little Munchie needs not only bladder stone surgery (his second, which I expected) but also knee surgery (which I didn’t). There is no insurance (with or without a deductible) for THAT. Every time I think I’m out of the hole, something tosses me back in.
(2) I wake up every day (usually later than I’d intended, reluctant to emerge from the safe cocoon of my bed, entertained by silly dreams rather than having to face the drudgery of my real life) wondering what new nonsense our ersatz president has gotten up to overnight. I never thought I could hate a public figure as much as I hate that man. I want him DISAPPEARED. I still ravenously read every critique I can; I follow Robert Reich and Keith Olbermann religiously (and Rachel Maddow, who’s been “under the weather” and absent from her namesake show for nearly two weeks and I’m going through withdrawal); and I hope against hope that someone with ability, power and good sense will take the reins of the government away from what Charles Pierce of Esquire has fabulously called the “vulgar talking yam” and MAKE AMERICA GOOD AGAIN.
(3) I had barely recovered from the Gizmo finger biting infection when, lo and behold, at the Best Friends Adoption Event in NYC this past Saturday, a big jerk of a cat named Buster decided he’d had enough of my affection and bit the hell out of my right hand. My poor right hand! I’ve had to learn how to be more ambidextrous over the past month due to the fact that, before now, my left hand has been basically useless. And I am so paranoid now about infection! I have been washing and wrapping both bite spots on my hand obsessively, checking for the telltale red streaks up my arm (which have not appeared this time, thank goodness). I’ve heard from various sources that cat bites are even worse than dog bites, but so far I seem to have dodged a bullet. The oddest thing about it is, I’ve been bitten by shelter cats before and, for the first few months that he lived with us, Gizmo must have bitten my fingers and hands at least once a day, but there was never any infection. Someone said it might be that my diabetes has compromised my body’s ability to fight infection, and that brings me to . . .
(4) My health. Although I haven’t necessarily felt any specific physical effects, my “numbers” (sugars, A1C, thyroid-related hormones, cholesterol, lipids, etc.) have all been lousy over the past few months. I believe this is directly attributable to the fact that I gained back the 30-plus pounds I lost a couple of years ago, primarily because I can’t seem to stop eating CRAP. I also haven’t begun my walking regime. My injured big toe has been to blame for that, although when the nail finally comes off – which the podiatrist said could be any day now – I’ll hopefully be able to begin in earnest. I finally have a comfy pair of walking sneakers, so that’s no longer an excuse. If I could just start walking regularly and cut back on my food intake – including a major reduction of CRAP – it would undoubtedly have a positive effect on my blood numbers and my general health and well-being.
But despite all of the above contributing to the empty-headedness that has plagued me for the past couple of weeks (actually, it’s been a lot longer than that, which is part of the reason why my blog has been biweekly lately), I have managed to enjoy some diversions, including going to a local music venue last Friday with my sister to see a few not-very-good bands, although the people-watching alone provided a couple of hours of amusement. The evening was suggested by my cousin George (of the George and Tony Entertainment Show podcast), whose childhood friend was the drummer for one of the not-very-good bands (in their defense, it was in fact their first gig together), so he and his wife Connie had driven up from their home outside D.C. (eight long, torturous hours for a trip that should not normally take eight hours) for a reunion of old friends and family. We ended up at a local diner after the show, where we could actually hear each other talk and had some laughs amidst good company and pancakes. I didn’t get home till 2 a.m.!
Having my kid home has also been fun (if expensive). She’s been decorating her room and it really captures her personality. It makes me feel like bit of a sluggard because I’ve barely done anything to decorate or even organize the rest of the house and I’ve been back home for over two months. It is true, though, that in order to do so, I need to replenish the coffers, which hasn’t been easy (see #1 above).
I’m glad that the summer is finally here (although the weather has been anything but summerlike for the past couple of weeks now), most of all because, now that I have PARKING (!!), I can actually go out and have meals with friends, enjoy some live music under the stars (my friend Chris’ CSNY cover band Four-Way Street is playing right nearby in Island Park in July, which should be great, weather permitting) and generally engage in some semblance of a social life. It’s so liberating not to have to worry about where I’ll be able to park when I get home, at any hour of the day or night.
Hopefully, a few solid days of rest and relaxation, not to mention some power walks, will clear my head enough to allow in some ideas of substance that I can explore in future blog posts. I also need to broaden my exposure beyond Facebook and watching reality competitions on MTV. I haven’t read a meaty, thought-provoking book in ages, although I just finished Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, a lovely gay coming-of-age novel whose main character I envisioned as my daughter’s former therapist (and mine before hers) and I’m finishing up The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, who I like a lot but whose memoir-light doesn’t provide much food for thought (with the possible exception of a powerful piece about an abusive ex-boyfriend that should be required reading for every young woman). I also haven’t seen any quality films lately other than Mad Max: Fury Road, which was visually arresting but ultimately kind of bleak.
So I here and now commit, in virtual print, that I will devote this summer to filling up my empty head with beauty and art and deeper thoughts about humanity and the planet to share as they come.