Safely Through Another Week

That is the title of a Protestant hymn we sang in the Presbyterian Church of my youth. The hymn was an expression of gratitude, oddly lacking in our contemporary culture of entitlement and grievance. How can the entitled and aggrieved express gratitude for anything? We either think we deserve our gifts and therefore expect to receive them or we resent that we have been denied what is ours by right. I suspect that the rigidity of the thinking of Grievance Culture does not allow for Thanksgiving.

So I made it through this week safely. My week culminated in a colonoscopy this Friday. My colon looks pretty good, one small polyp, snipped, most likely benign. Anybody who has experienced a colonoscopy knows the procedure itself is a holiday, after undergoing the preparation. The prep, at least here in the U.S. of A, involves a purging of the colon by drinking about three litres of water, after taking a course of purgative salts. At the end one is dehydrated and exhausted from the purge. General anaesthesia is a “consummation devoutly to be wished.”

Post procedure, I had a meal, my first solid food in about thirty six hours. I enjoyed a bowl of soup that tasted a tad salty, but I actually needed the salt. Then I came home, texted friends and family that I had the procedure and was OK.

The solid foods fast was not bad at all. I realized we build up a lot of anxiety around not eating. We in the developed world can afford to fast for a day and probably should, not necessarily as a religious obligation, but to allow our bodies to use some stored fat, and to rest. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have prescribed fasts of varying lengths. So if G-D expects it, fasting isn’t such a bad idea.

I’m looking forward to working out again, recommitting to healthy eating, and learning new stress reduction skills.

My next round of medical examinations and procedures will be as simple as an eye exam, and as complicated as a hip replacement.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Ennui

I’m waiting around for a colonoscopy, four days away. I had to get COVID-19 tested today. They recommend I self-quarantine so I won’t be exposed to the virus after the testing.

But wait! I’ve been vaccinated! Doesn’t matter, I suppose. So why did I submit to the jab if these doctors are dubious enough about its efficacy to advise I self-quarantine. It’s a question for the ages.

I found this website The Internet Archive. It is the world’s digital attic, with billions of pages of stuff. I can waste hours rummaging around in it,which I did tonight.

I finally found Josef von Sternberg’s Blonde Venus, starring Marlene Dietrich and a young Cary Grant. I was pleased to identify Sterling Holloway in the opening scenes. His distinctive voice can be readily discerned. I believe he later became the cartoon voice of Disney’s Winnie The Pooh.

J texted. She was headed home and wanted me to heat some of Sunday dinner’s leftover spaghetti, which I did.

I switched out some dry clothes for wet ones in the dryer. I have a cup of decaf beside me, that I fixed in the Keurig. I should go to bed.

But I really just wanted to acknowledge the deep loneliness in my life, the ennui, the sexual frustration. I lack the courage to risk being rebuffed by my wife. So I sit.

Procreative Insomnia

Here I am, awake again at Two in the Morning. I was tired early last evening, slept for a couple of hours, awoke about 10:30 and have been up ever since.

I’m drinking peppermint tea, watching for trains in Ashland, and hoping I fall asleep again soon. A freight is coming from somewhere, either the North or the South. I cannot discern the direction just yet.

We have two trains, converging in Ashland They’re not the longest freights I’ve seen, but they’re long enough and loud enough,

After watching a particularly explicit erotic dance to the tune of Body & Soul, sung, I think, by Billie Holiday, I’ve decided to end my avoidance of praying The Holy Rosary, by joining the priest and pilgrims at Lourdes. Via YouTube, I mean. Not that I think that dancer’s gestures and gyrations were particularly sinful. Sex just seems so oddly out of place in our world of politics and killing.

If making a baby is the last thing on your mind, why do you even bother? To have sex, I mean. I know, there are plenty of answers to that rhetorical question. Maybe some of you, young enough and in love with life enough , ought to bother to do precisely that, procreate. It will make more sense when you’re 70, believe me.

Rant over. Rosary begins Later.

3:00 AM. Awake Again.

Last night I went upstairs about 11:30 PM. J was watching a show where HGTV’s Illustrated Man, David Bromstad, was showing a couple houses near Punta Gorda, Florida. For all I care, he could be showing them houses on Saipan. But there was J, enraptured with these bungalows Tattoo Guy was showing to the prospective buyers.

I had been watching a DVD, When Jews Were Funny, about Jewish comedy, particularly the old comedians, who appeared regularly on the Ed Sullivan Show. These were men like Alan King (one of my mother’s favourites), Henny Youngman, Shelley Berman, Jackie Mason. The list is long. They told jokes, almost entirely apolitical, Alan King told jokes about the absurdities of suburban life. He wrote a book Anybody Who Owns His Own Home Deserves It. Mort Sahl was the only overtly political comic. He used a newspaper as a prop. Woody Allen did comedy about his supposed neuroses. I miss them. Like my parents, they understood what a blessing it was to simply have enough to eat. The Fifties and the Sixties (up to 1967) was a time when nobody had extra money to buy so-called recreational drugs, like marijuana.This was also a world without cheap and available contraception. Nobody cohabitated with a member of the opposite sex, outside of marriage.

I’m trying to get out of my head, the extent of suburban decay, in an outdoor shopping mall, maybe eighteen years old. We went to P.F. Chang to eat overpriced Chinese food in an “upscale” setting. At least, it was once upscale. The restaurant is still nicely decorated, appropriately dark for its ambiance. Outside the upscale veneer falls off, as the stores are largely boarded up. Brooks Brothers, Saks Fifth Avenue survive. I don’t see how, but they do.Now one doesn’t have to drive all the way downtown to see boarded up retail locations. The pandemic was a stab in the heart of this community.

A little bit of my heart breaks every day.

Twilight Baseball

We are now experiencing the annual phenomenon know as the Major League Baseball Playoffs. This is a month-long series of games used to determine the respective “league” champions, who then play in the World Series.

Of course, the World Series was never that, just a series of games between the National League champions and the American League champions, to determine bragging rights in American professional baseball. This dates back to when the two leagues were separate entities at the turn of the Twentieth Century.

As time went by, and the greed of the owners, players, advertisers and TV networks grew, a playoff system grew from a League Championship Series between two separate Division Winners in the respective leagues. Then Major League Baseball created Three Divisions and a “wild card” team, i. e. the second place team with the best record. Then there were declared two wild card teams who played a one game “play-in” game to determine the Division Series Champs who then played the League Championship.

By now, if you’re aren’t saying “Whatever”, you’re either a die hard “fan” or a compulsive gambler or both.

So those innocent days when The World Series games were played in the afternoon and the country, more or less, took a breather to follow the game or at least the inning by inning score, are long gone.

Now, it’s a big Nothing Burger. Hardly anybody watches. And why should they?

Up. All I Can Say.

I am awake. I am watching the Ukrainian metal detecting guys , as they work over a recently ploughed field somewhere in Ukraine. They are finding artefacts from a span of roughly three hundred years, from the Romanovs to the Soviet Union. These guys never cease to astonish me.

I am back to swimming, back to feeling alive, somewhat randy, and appreciative of the world about me. The three seem to go together, sustained physical activity, heightened awareness and sexual desire. Go figure.

I’m delayed in my home tidying, decluttering project along the lines of the Marie Kondo methods. I get little support from J, for whatever reasons she may have. I just need to press on.

I have discovered video streaming , having purchased a little device from Amazon. Coupled with video library of the Internet Archive, I can view all manner of stuff to no end, without using Netflix or Hulu or any other streaming service. Today I watched old home movies, discarded by those who inherited them, for whom old movies of Easter, Christmas , or Passover Seders hold less interest than they did to their creators. Our gain is the fruit of their indifference.

Right now, I’m hungry. J and I are going out to eat. I know I want a Coke. That’s for starters, but I’ll settle for coffee or iced tea. Sugar. Ya know?

Later.

Totally Nuts

My physical therapist wants me to swim as part of rehabilitating my neck with its pinched nerve. Today I went swimming. I was slow, but I felt good. I went a mile. The fears and considerations I possessed seem so trivial now. They always do, once I resume swimming or walking, after a hiatus.

At lunch, while eating a “white pizza” , I realised I may just as well buy a salt block at a farm supply store and lick that for my daily sodium intake. It is almost that ridiculous how much salt I ingest. while we’re on the subject of poor nutrition habits, I confess to eating sizeable amounts of carbohydrates, bread, crackers, whatever.

What I fall back into around my health and fitness is a paradigm about “getting back in shape” that doesn’t serve me. I’m out of shape, overweight, then I “get serious”. I lose weight, work out regularly and attain some goals.Then I stop. After a few months it’s back to where I was, physically, mentally, emotionally at a nadir.

The cycle is mentally exhausting. I punish myself for feeling good

Totally Nuts!

Monday, Just Monday

The issues with the pinched nerve and pain, numbness, and tingling in my right shoulder and arm continue. Physical Therapy helps, as does activity in general. I did a walk yesterday. The walking antagonises my left hip. The pain from my left hip complements the pain in my right shoulder.

My wife actually willingly touched, rubbed, caressed my left forearm early this morning. It was nonsexual touching, but it was touching nevertheless.

I’ve been watching lectures and discussions on Tantric. To me it is an approach to sexuality that should fit well with the ideals of sexual intimacy within a traditional marriage paradigm. That’s going a long ways to say it’s good and positive for married couples.

#1 Son continues to progress in his recovery from a TBI. #2 Son calls me when he is grocery shopping, because my familiarity with the Publix store layout helps him find things.

Do couples still pack food in a covered basket and drive out to a pleasant spot on a sunny day to have a picnic? Do they spread a blanket on the ground and just sit down or lie down and talk? Manet did a painting with a picnic as the subject. His painting had strong erotic undertones. ( Manet died of syphilis, by the way).

My head is in one of this spaces where thoughts pass through like an express train. The writing produced there from can be a little disjointed or scatter shot.

It’s Monday. I’m retired, accountable to no one for what I do with my time. If I want to go inside and take a nap, I can. I just might do exactly that.

Irony And Sexuality

I was watching a bit of pornography early this morning. It was a display of large breasted women, seemingly as endless as it was lurid.

Then my thoughts wandered as to what the function of breasts are in the first place. We know the answer. Mothers feed their babies with the milk from their breasts. Yet when women do precisely that, some people get all weird.

We have been dancing around sexuality and its purpose ever since reliable contraception became a pillar of modern culture. I’m not deriding contraception, but it does do an excellent job of alienating us from the natural purpose of sex.

In its wake, contraception contributes to the prolonging of adolescence and childhood

333

My clock says it’s 3:33. Maybe that’s the diet version of 666 , with only half of the demonic evil.

I went to bed early. Then I awoke and went in the other room, tried to sleep there, but came downstairs and watched pointless videos on Internet Archive. I would scroll through, hoping to find anything to watch.

Yesterday evening, I made macaroni and cheese from scratch, just to be doing something. Tasted pretty good too.

The sadness persists. The loneliness. I’m going back to bed.